The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Wages Of Embarassing Elites Are Death

Everyone remember the Panama papers? A leak of bank records showing that the ultra-rich are hiding massive wealth, tax-free and often breaking the law to do so?

A rather weak set of laws designed to allow tax avoidance by rich people, at that.

Found out the other day that the reporter who broke the Panama Papers story was killed by a car bomb.

Coincidence, no doubt.

You may recall the Ferguson protests, started after another black man was killed by a cop. They were a big deal.

Since then six of the Ferguson protest leaders have died: two inside burnt cars, three by suicide, one an overdose.

Coincidence, no doubt.

Then there was a high ranked pimp, who flew important men like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates and Prince Andrew in his private jet and provided under-age women for sex. The first time he was indicted he was let off because the prosecutor was told to back off, as he belonged to intelligence. The second time, influence not having worked, he “committed suicide” in prison.

I used to work in life insurance. There’s an adage, backed up by lots of studies, that people who are worth more dead than alive tend to die a lot more than the actuarial tables would suggest for someone of their age and health.

Coincidence, no doubt.

The simplest fact of modern life is elites kill and impoverish other people in order to make money and secure their power. You are seeing it in the pandemic, where Billionaire wealth has spiked 60% and vaccine companies refuse to share their “intellectual property” while planning to sell Covid booster shots in perpetuity. Actually wiping out Covid would close pharma money, but if it stays around, it’s golden.

Meanwhile, all the small and medium businesses closing has lead to a vast buying opportunity for those with lots of money, and private equity is moving big into buying up distressed homes.

It’s just business, baby. Your death, or homelessness, well, it’s someone else’s profit opportunity.

We have the richest wealthy the world has ever seen; even more than the gilded Age. Richer than kings and emperors. They are rich exactly because they hold political power: in the period from 32 to the 70s they lost relative wealth and income, because that’s what government policy was set up to to do.

So they bought up intellectuals like Milton Friedman and politicians like Reagan, Thatcher, Blair, Clinton and Obama, along with tens of thousands of lesser lights. They changed how government was run. It lowered taxes massively, sold off its crown jewels, and got rid of regulations meant to keep wages up while education and housing were cheap.

It’s not that long ago. I remember the last parts of the post-war era, and many people still living remember the 50s and 60s, even as adults.

But that world is long, long dead, and we live in a new one. One where it doesn’t matter if climate change or a pandemic will killing millions or billions. One where lower wages are good, and the Federal Reserve intervenes constantly to lower them, while always making sure the rich never lose everything in a financial collapse.

And in this world, the rich kill and impoverish you for money. Usually they do it in ways they can pretend aren’t about them: policy changes, or increases to insulin prices, but if you really get on their nerves or might even be a real threat, as with our pedophile pimp (and almost certain blackmailer) Jeffrey Epstein, well, people who are worth more dead than alive, they tend to get dead.

Are you worth more dead than alive to some rich person, or some politician in the pay of said rich people?

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Ricardo’s Caveat


Open Thread


  1. Ché Pasa

    This goes back to the assassination post and thread.

    We don’t see archdukes assassinated these days. There aren’t any archdukes, czars and such to assassinate. Few kings, one emperor, a few sultans here and there. But who would bother with these powerless figureheads? Who runs things? Not the royalty of old. Not at all.

    Who gets assassinated? Not those who run things, no not them. Those who get assassinated are people of no rank who get above themselves, who expose what the high and mighty are really up to without authorization to do so, who stir the pot, who back the wrong faction, who interfere with the prime directive: making money at the expense of the Little People, etc, etc, etc.

    Those who run things who fuck up get put to the side, but they very rarely get dead. No one can touch them. Not even their own kind. Understand, they steal from all of us all the time, but they also steal from one another. It’s a game to them. Like the video games that inform the killers-by-drone and the wet workers we send all over the world to keep the lower orders down. Nothing is real to them. It’s all a game. That they keep winning.

    Or so they believe.

    What would happen if the tables turned?

  2. Hugh

    It isn’t just being worth more dead. It’s being worth nothing living. I call it the Mitch McConnell Doctrine because it is so much more obvious among the Republicans –but it certainly shows up among the Democrats as well. These are people for whom the Pentagon budget is never big enough and who never met a war they didn’t like. They will enact a trillion dollar tax cut for the already under-taxed rich. They will watch in approving silence as the Fed pumps trillions to the rich, err, the stock markets. And they will resist to their last breath wasteful boondoggles, like a national healthcare system, that could save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans a year, hundreds of thousands during the current pandemic, and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of us. The current infrastructure bills are a perfect example. Money that will go to rich and the corporations they own is vital for the country’s future. Money that will go to ordinary Americans to improve their lives is pure and simple waste. And the same guys who have no problems funneling trillions to billionaires suddenly become Responsible Fiscal Conservatives. We can’t spend money that we don’t (i.e. they can’t) have. If we the hoi polloi start receiving things from government –gasp–we might start expecting it to work for us, not them. That truly would be their world turned upside down. Just think of how Mitch McConnell’s chins would wobble over that.

  3. Mark Pontin

    Ian: ‘And in this world, the rich kill and impoverish you for money.’

    Is the pope a catholic? Mostly, that’s always been the name of the game.

    It’s becoming more obvious again right now because humankind has covered the planet and there are fewer external resources to exploit. Thus, predators seeking wealth have to target some aspect/segment of the human society around them.

  4. Rick Jones

    This current era you speak of arguably began—in the U.S., at least—with the so-called “Powell Memo” of 23 August, 1971:

    This memo laid out the blueprint for much of what has since followed, and Lewis Lapham documented one particularly virulent strand of what followed in his September 2004 Harper’s article, “Tentacles of Rage – The Republican propaganda mill, a brief history.”

    What we need is a progressive version of Powell’s memo . . . something that will rally the relevant sectors of society to change the course we’re on.

  5. Huntly

    “ It’s not that long ago. I remember the last parts of the post-war era, and many people still living remember the 50s and 60s, even as adults.”
    Unfortunately that era was an exception, not a rule. Don’t hold your breath for anything to change.

  6. Plague Species

    Hell is empty and all the devils are here. ~ Will Shakespeare

  7. Thomas B Golladay

    Exit the system, exit the system, exit the system.

    Network with friends and build a parallel economy and culture that doesn’t use their system to exploit you. Its what true conservatives and the doomsday preppers have been doing for more than a decade now. Stop buying their products, stop using their systems and choke them off from your wealth and money.

    Above all take personal responsibility for yourself and build local government outside their system.

    Then watch these elites die beneath the weight of their own hubris.

  8. bruce wilder

    My grandmother, a one-time carpet seamstress, married to a tool and die maker who struggled to find work (in Detroit in the 1920’s thru the 1950s!) knew Herbert Hoover had been out to get her and people like her and hated him. That kind of clear-eyed politics is rare now, I think.

    Lots of what we used to call working-class people simply do not know much. At best, they muster an unfocused cynical skepticism. At worst, they latch onto whatever hope might flicker around such unlikely figures as the conman Trump or the animatronic Biden.

    The better-educated (credentialed at least) seem only more self-deceived. I know some moderately well off people who listen to talk radio and believe all kinds of favorable stuff about Trump. And I read this week about the concoction of the Russiagate story and the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story and I wonder who would I trust? Or maybe more to the point of Ian’s essay, who would be brave enough to be genuinely trustworthy?

    Whistleblowers go to prison as we all know. But who among us really cares?

    Or is it that those of us with a minimum of political awareness simply do not think revelations will change anything? Based on the experience of 20 years past with the non-reactions of the great mass of voters and citizens.

    As Ché Pasa hints, we do not seem to know who the enemy is — not in the visceral (and arguably accurate) way my grandmother knew Hoover was her enemy.

    Or maybe we simply to refuse to admit to ourselves that a whole class is our enemy/enemies?

  9. bruce wilder

    Which conspiracies (conspiracy theories of particular events) do you believe in?

  10. anon

    Has anyone seen the Gates interview with Judy Woodruff? When asked what lessons he learned from his experience with Epstein, his answer was, “He’s dead, so you have to be careful.” His body language during the interview was creepy too. Rubbing his hands together like a classic evil villain.

  11. js

    “It’s not that long ago. I remember the last parts of the post-war era, and many people still living remember the 50s and 60s, even as adults.”

    Yes it’s where “ok boomer” comes from, people who think, or worse vote as if, we still live in that era, inspire the unending rage of anyone younger. But with the economy now Gen Z might become the new “ok boomers”. Only it probably won’t last, unless all the talk of socialism actually DID scare those in power.

  12. Joan

    This makes me think of one of Occupy protests I attended, wherein I witnessed a zip-tied protester walking willingly to the police van, but the cop was shaking the guy’s zip-tied wrists and saying loudly into his mic “Stop resisting!” That changed the protestor from someone who willingly allowed himself to get arrested, to a felon who will have trouble finding work once he gets out of prison.

    So even if they cannot disappear you, they’ll do their darndest to ruin your life. That was the message I got from that!

    This makes me think back to the Saturday Preparing for Bad Times Ahead post, because honestly, it sounds silly, but the greatest rebellion might be learning skills, like canning and food preservation, so you can keep your own peasant self, and your loved ones, alive through the various shocks heading our way.

  13. Jim Harmon

    Sometimes legal persecution is even more effective than outright assassination. A good example is the case of Steven Donziger, the lawyer who’s been fighting Chevron in court for 28 years over Texaco’s environmentally destructive actions actions in Ecuador.

    Donziger has spent over 2 yeas in strict home confinement in New York and is due for a six-month criminal contempt sentence. He’s never been allowed a jury trial. The case has been written up on this site as well as NC, Esquire, and numerous other sites.

    In certain circumstances, openly lawless court proceedings can be an even bigger lesson to the proles than assassination, the 2000 election being a prime example.

  14. Plague Species

    …the 2000 election being a prime example.

    How much different would things be today if the election wasn’t stolen from Gore? For the “proles” as you say, there would be no difference. Both parties have advanced the mission of wealth concentration and wealth disparity. Carrot and stick. Good cop, bad cop. Smae result.

    The better question is, considering there is no substantial difference between Gore and Dubya, why bother to steal the election? For the fun of it? What’s the point. Gore would have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq just as Dubya did. When has Gore ever not done the bidding of the Deciders?

  15. Plague Species

    Exit the system, exit the system, exit the system.

    To the extent and degree you can, but you can’t exit it entirely. It’s a matter of degree of cooperation with the system and enthusiasm for it. That’s the scale. You limit your cooperation with it to the extent you can and your enthusiasm for it should be less than zero meaning you criticize it every moment of every day until it is no more if that’s even possible.

    I’d say activate against it, but once you do it involves cojoining with others into a group and the system ALWAYS coopts such groups and you become a tool of the system thus foolishly and naively undermining your purpose and intent.

  16. Jim Harmon

    “Gore would have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq just as Dubya did.”


  17. Trinity

    The theory that I believe is the theory they told us they will do: global government, global control of all resources, and the enslavement of all people not themselves. Their activities support this view.

    I would note, however, they are as enslaved by their own ideologies as are Trump supporters. And I still believe the seeds of their destruction lies within their activities. This is true for every living thing. What goes up must eventually come down; what goes around, comes back around. We live on a cyclical planet in a cyclical solar system in a cyclical universe. The only thing that varies are the time scales of each cycle.

    What they are doing can’t last forever, because nothing does. The universal constant is change and thank goodness for that. And that is exactly what they cannot, or will never acknowledge, right up to their bitter end. Their illness won’t let them. Multiple stressors are in play, from social protest to a few errant politicians to climate change. The problem is they are dragging us into their insanity along with them and the innocent will suffer, too.

    They might think they are cutting off the head of Hydra with each assassination, but what they are really doing is constructing their own opposition, generating natural opposing forces that will expose their lies and oppose their will. The more people who suffer at their hands, the more people who oppose them. So, another way of thinking about their assassination of truth tellers is as an indicator of their increasing desperation to maintain the righteousness of their insanity. And also as admissions of their guilt.

    I just read an AP article out of Louisiana about an insane person with power who moved all the residents of his numerous nursing homes into a single filthy warehouse to ride out Ida. And several of them died. I can’t even imagine the thinking behind this, let alone understand it. Even though I know that most nursing homes are built in flood plains (cheap, available land because old people don’t matter). Some days these daily atrocities make me depressed and sad. Some days they make me really, really angry. I would imagine others feel the same. Momentum may be with them for now, but it won’t be with them forever.

  18. nihil obstet


    Which conspiracies (conspiracy theories of particular events) do you believe in?

    That JFK was taken out by the CIA and other assorted elites. I was a good, trusting citizen for years, thinking the alternatives to the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald had been thoroughly investigated and proved wrong. Mostly, it was because I could not get my head into a place where there were assassinations in America. We aren’t that kind of country, I thought.

    Then I learned about the CIA’s participation in assassinations and assassination attempts on foreign leaders. And I also noticed that JFK might have been planning to terminate the CIA — the Bay of Pigs fiasco showed him the agency’s accuracy. There are also reports that he had commented about winding down the commitments in Vietnam. So if the CIA can participate in the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem and keep trying to assassinate Fidel Castro, what differentiates a domestic assassination from a foreign one in what they see as the interest of the U.S.?

    Once I saw that the CIA was simply a secret police and was not held to obedience to the law, the door opened to my belief in lots of other “conspiracy theories”.

  19. Plague Species

    I still contend this world, this realm of existence we live in and under, is the creation of a (compared to humans) clever, cunning, malevolent evil genie. I find gnosticism appealing for this very reason, even if it’s just for the metaphorical implications. In this realm, good is punished and bad is rewarded. Suffering seems to be the nucleus of this existence — its purpose. For much of civilization prior to the industrial revolution, physical suffering was rampant and pervasive. Industrial civilization curbed physical suffering to a certain degree and extent but replaced it with psychological suffering. It was a trade-off of sorts because suffering is the goal — the purpose.

    The Gnostic Demiurge

    In otherwords, the Demiurge is the worst of humans wrapped in one since this is its creation and therefore a reflection of its perverted depravity.

    Our betters, well, they are perfectly described as Archons, aren’t they?

    Spirits In The Material World

  20. Plague Species


    Liberal Myths: Would Al Gore Have Invaded Iraq?

    Per that excellent analysis, it’s clear Gore would have invaded Iraq, but he would have done it better than Dubya, or at least better in Gore’s arrogant mind.

    Jim, you feel it’s important to be liked in life. The more someone is liked, the more important the person is. Being liked is part of a person’s worth. If you’re not liked by many or any, well, you have no worth. From what you have posited, this is your philosophy.

    According to your philosophy, Dubya’s worth as a human being is prodigious. He is liked by a great many people and by many people who are also well-liked. Michelle and Barack Obama are well-liked and they like Dubya, for example, but they’re not alone. The Dems now and the “liberal” media now not only like Dubya but in fact love him. They have embraced him with loving arms in their faux hatred of McDonald and put the soul seer Shrub on a pedestal. According to your philosophy of likability and being liked, Shrubya deserves it just as you deserve your self-importance for how well-liked you are.

    Meanwhile, it’s all burning down, but it doesn’t matter so long as you’re liked.

  21. Ché Pasa

    I saw the Woodruff interview of Bill Gates. Also her grilling of Steven Breyer. I can’t decide who was creepier. Well, Gates has always creeped me out since way back. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an interview with Breyer before. But he was a horror show. WTF?

    Gates is clearly trying to hide something wrt Epstein. What that might be gets into realms of such utter depravity it’s hard to fathom. Maybe Melinda will let us know. But I’d kinda rather she didn’t.

    On the other hand, this Breyer character, who has written some very fine opinions and dissents on the Supreme Court, came across in Judy’s interview as an arrogant son-of-a-bitch pissant creep who should not be a judge let alone a Supreme Court justice, fer cripes sake. Jebus, what a slime.

    These are two of the people who rule us, and they are freaks who likely shouldn’t be in positions of authority over us. Others, like @Jack or that robotic thing that runs Facebook — or pretends to — are equally freakish and unsuited to being Masters of the Universe. And they’re just some of the ones we can see from time to time. Many more sit behind the scenes pulling strings — and we never really know who is pulling what string when, but their puppets perform no matter.

    There’s an old Rod Serling movie, “Patterns,” that gets into what the corner office of the executive suite was like back in the ’50s, not just the environment but the people, freaks who ran the outfit, and what they were doing to corrupt and destroy those around them and loot the operation in the meanwhile.

    “Evil” is too mild a term, I think. When we encounter it, most of us recoil in disgust and horror, but some see their advantage by joining up with it — which is part of the “pattern” Serling is dealing with in the picture. Fighting it doesn’t necessarily get you what you think it will nor what you hope to. But neither does joining up with it and “fighting from the inside.” You’re stuck unless you just get away from it altogether, and in the end, you can’t do that either.

    The system of rule is frail and fraught with chaos. Deteriorating. The only alternative system on offer (fascism) is inadequate to the problems at hand, but it makes some people feel good. As long as their precious feelings are assuaged, which ruling clique holds sway doesn’t much matter to them.

    We, the Rabble, have so little say in these matters we may as well not exist, and from all appearances, that is the goal of the Overclass — make the Rabble disappear.

  22. Willy

    I’m wondering if the Cyber Ninjas are gonna get whacked.

  23. Willy

    I still contend this world, this realm of existence we live in and under, is the creation of a (compared to humans) clever, cunning, malevolent evil genie.

    We have spooky action at a distance, yet not a hint of intelligent life away from this planet, and most often on. Some models say the sweet spot for enough frequency of intelligent life to make it past the Great Filter to be able to detect each other, is at least a hundred billion years in the future, when the red dwarves which make up 90+ percent of all long-lived stars (long enough for intelligent life to happen) settle down.

    Personally I think we really are living in a simulation. You’d think that an all knowing everywhere-all-the-time supreme being couldn’t have it any other way. I mean, how can knowing everything that can possibly ever happen not get old? You can’t really create anything and be entertained by watching it evolve because you already know every possible outcome. So I guess you’d try to live vicariously through your little creatures, which would necessitate the creation of evil.

    I’ve tried selling this to conservative Christians but they just call me a libtard.

  24. Hugh

    Justice Breyer is pulling a Ginsburg. He’s 83 and the Democrats could well lose the Senate next year. What could go wrong? He inhabits a different world, a different reality. It’s like the saying, there’s a club and you’re not a member, but good ole Stephen is.

    In the Woodruff interview, he comes up with some idiotic bafflegab about why the Supreme Court (and the federal courts generally) are not political/politicized. At a minimum, he comes across as embarrassingly out of touch. I mean how can you trust anyone on anything who is so divorced from reality, so willing to deny the obvious? But then I remember Breyer is a member of the club. And this is all about power and his turf. He is not going to say anything about the Court that lessens its power, and by extension his own. That’s why he invokes the Court’s history without exhibiting any understanding of it.

    Re Gore and Iraq, it is much more likely that Gore would have continued Clinton’s sanctions rather than invading. He did not have Dubya’s obsession with it. And I am not sure that the Republicans would have supported an Iraq war as much if it was led by a Democrat.

    The Cyber Ninjas pretty much only embarrassed themselves. Besides, who can embarrass Trump more than Trump does himself?

  25. Plague Species

    Re Gore and Iraq, it is much more likely that Gore would have continued Clinton’s sanctions rather than invading. He did not have Dubya’s obsession with it. And I am not sure that the Republicans would have supported an Iraq war as much if it was led by a Democrat.

    Why President Gore Might Have Gone Into Iraq After 9/11, Too

    The story of how Bush bought into this is well-known. His instinct after 9/11 was too think big and aggressively, and his inner circle was littered with neocons and other hawks who’d been waiting for just the right opening to push for an invasion of Iraq. This, supposedly, would not have been the case in a Gore White House.

    But look a little closer and you’ll realize that President Gore would have been hearing the same pleas. His own vice president would have been Joe Lieberman, perhaps the most hawkish Democrat in Washington on Middle East issues. Marty Peretz, his old friend and confidante, would have had Gore’s ear and filled it with arguments for going into Iraq. Loud, influential, non-conservative media voices — like Tom Friedman and Peter Beinart — would have amplified these calls on the outside. Republicans would have been screaming for an invasion, and the public would have been on their side. Clinton could barely hold them all back in the ‘90s; after 9/11, would Gore have stood a chance?

    Here it’s worth remembering Gore’s own history. In the 1980s, he made his name as a senator and presidential candidate by positioning himself as one of his party’s foremost hawks. One of the reasons, in fact, that Clinton put him on the Democratic ticket in 1992 was Gore’s vote for the Gulf War, which most Democrats had opposed. You could argue that Gore was a changed man by 2001 and 2002, and that he saw the world in a fundamentally different way, and maybe that’s true.

    But it should be noted that when he announced his opposition to Bush’s war push in the fall of ’02, Gore endorsed the basic goal of removing Hussein and securing his (supposed) WMD stockpiles. What he objected to was more the go-it-alone nature of Bush’s approach. In other words, you could also argue that Gore, still stung by the 2000 election outcome, may have been motivated in some way by his desire to stage a big, principled fight with Bush — and that a different result in ’00 might have produced a different, more hawkish response from Gore, one that would have led to … an invasion of Iraq.

  26. Mark Pontin

    Willy: “Personally I think we really are living in a simulation.”

    [1] Posit a future society that’s tried various methods to deal with their psychopaths and sociopaths, but ultimately confronts the conundrum that to cure one means to radically deconstruct, then reconstruct their brains — which amounts to executing them as they are, with all the (im)morality arguably entailed in that. Hence, this future culture solves the problem by dropping their psychopaths and sociopaths into a simulation and letting them live out their issues there.

    This world is that simulation, and our entire existence was created to be a backdrop to host a malignant psychopath or sociopath, or set of them. This is a kind of high-tech Gnosticism, of course, but alternatively ….

    [2] Willy: “We have not a hint of intelligent life away from this planet ….”

    The universe is a simulation. Including more than one sentient species in the simulation would vastly increase the necessary computational resources, and the guys running the simulation just can’t afford it.

    In fact, we’re living in the freebie demo beta version of the universe. The fluctuations in the Cosmic Background Radiation are a watermark.

    Alternatively ….

    [3] The universe is a simulation and ….

    Well, I can do this all day. But simple blind evolution as posited by Darwin, with all its “red in tooth and bone” nature, is sufficient on its own to account for the nature of our existence as it is. Occam’s razor would suggest we can settle for that explanation.

  27. different clue

    @Che’ Pasa,

    There may be a way to approach our ” they don’t care about us” problem from the side.

    I will again offer my parable of the moles and gophers and the Washington Monument. Bring ten tons of moles and gophers to the Washington Monument and have them dig all the soil out from under one side of its base. Give them enough time, and eventually it will fall over.

    What would a “culture of rejection and underminement” look like if directed at the revenue-streams of the upper class? If a billion First-ish World ninety-nine per centers decided to dig their own little bit of soil out from under one side of the Washington Monument?

    Someone should re-write the old Civil Rights song to match the new title I imagine . . . We Shall Undermine. ” We shall un der mine, we shall un der mi-i-ine, we shall un der mine each day-ay-ay-ay-ay” . . . . and then more words which I can’t think up myself.
    And more verse-blocks, starting with the phrases . . .
    We shall not be bought . . .
    We shall not be sold . . .
    We shall make them pay . . .
    and so forth and so on.

    It would be an inspiring song of revenge and rebirth.

    Perhaps we need a new hippie movement made up of leaner tougher meaner hippies for today’s leaner tougher meaner times of today.

    Make love, not money.
    I am not my keeper’s brother.
    Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

    Tune out, slow down, slack off.

  28. different clue


    I thought of a word to balance ” libtard”. And that word is “conservatard”. A word to use whenever someone uses the word “libtard”.

    If someone calls you “libtard”, don’t be offended. Get offensive and make them be offended instead.

  29. nihil obstet

    In 1980 Elizabeth Janeway’s Powers of the Weak was published. I recently reread it — it’s somewhat behind the science and the politics now, but holds up reasonably well in thinking about how to withhold power from the powerful. I think there are probably better books around. There has been some thinking on the subject.

  30. Gaianne

    A delight to read this clear, concise post.

    Thank you, Ian.


  31. Ché Pasa

    If you haven’t read it already, check out David Graeber’s (all honor to him) “Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology” . There are a number of examples of counterpower and how it can work.

    I’ve seen anarchist systems at work in the temporary intentional communities that were elemental to the Occupy movement of 2011. Every one of them that I personally witnessed fell apart well before the coordinated law enforcement crackdown and dispersal of the encampments. They were not physically sustainable, but worse — and not a good sign for the future of counterpower in this country — was the fact that forming a lasting community of like minded people cannot be done spontaneously. Inevitably, the loudest and often the craziest among them will take over.

    Yet we can learn plenty from Graeber’s examples. (May he rest in peace.)

  32. Feral Finster

    Team R had no problem with Obama’s wars on Syria, Yemen, Libya and Ukraine. If anything, they whined that Obama wasn’t aggressive enough.

  33. The elite are experts and need to be followed. They would never do anything bad, be wrong, or lie. Only conspiracy theorists think they would. The elite commands, “inject this experimental drug that my career depends on” and the sane intelligent response is “How many times?” Only quacks and Trump supporters believe the rich do not want what is best for all.

    Anyone refusing to take drugs is dangerous and a terrorist who needs to be canceled, impoverished, censored, and forcibly injected. The rich experts know all and best. The drug corporations own data showing the drug increases mortality should be ignored because science. Increased mortality being correlated with the drugs world wide is the fault of those refusing to take the drugs. I can’t be safe until everyone else takes the same experimental drugs I did. Your body my choice because my inability to use logic and admit being wrong is all I care about.

  34. Hugh

    What is peculiar about our upside down world is that so few want to turn it right side up. Instead they want to replace the prevalent elite upside downism with their own version. It’s like being on the Titanic and instead of discussing how to avoid icebergs, the arguments are all about which iceberg to run into.

  35. Joan

    @Trinity, you’ve made a lot of good points! It hadn’t occurred to me that nursing homes tend to be built on cheap land such as floodplains. I wonder if they are also built near landfills and such.

    @Bruce, some conspiracies, like JFK, are such that if the truth ever came to light and it turned out the CIA was the perp, I wouldn’t be that surprised. But I highly doubt the truth will ever come to light on things like that, so I’m not holding my breath!

    @nihil obstet, Powers of the Weak is something I’ll want to check out, thanks!

  36. Joan

    @Different clue, exactly! I encourage my friends to avoid centralization and globalization in their shopping, in other words to hit up friends with skills or local itty bitty shops, and they think I’m wealth flexing, because the little shops often charge more than the huge competitors that are trying to undercut them.

    The funny thing is, my husband and I decided to keep our “starving student lifestyle” from college going through adulthood, and never upgrade (there’s a term I’m missing, lifestyle inflation? lifestyle upgrade?). Anyway, it amounts to me living more humbly than the friends who accuse me of wealth flexing, pfft.

    On We Shall Overcome, I think ultimately to best the elites, hit them where it hurts. They value money, and their egos. So you don’t give them your money, and you pretend they don’t exist. I often explain this to people who ask me about it. “How do you have the time to read so many books?” or what have you. I tell them I don’t have social media accounts, or a TV, or Netflix. My husband and I spend our evenings reading on the couch. Just that quick of an explanation, and it tends to land with people.

    Also, as my grandmother used to say, blessings are more effective than curses. So instead of focusing on cursing the elites, if we could work to build up the average American and our local communities, without the elites, I think that would be a better world for the children being born right now.

  37. Ché Pasa

    I think back to the Occupy encampments that fell apart before my eyes — and why that happened. Why it was almost inevitable.

    A big part of it, I think, was the spontaneous or nearly spontaneous nature of the formation of the Occupy encampments by (mostly) strangers. These weren’t organic, in other words. They were purpose-formed out of whatever was at hand — and a marketing concept. Those who were familiar with intentional communities and their formation and sustenance knew this wasn’t going to last and would probably implode very quickly. It did. Not only were the encampments formed by strangers based on little more than a marketing concept by Adbusters and vague notions of what had happened during the Arab Spring and the Indignado movement in Spain — along with more than a little poorly understood anarchist theory and practice — they were beset from the outset by what I call “injected poison.”

    It wasn’t just the surveillance and police-adjacent provocateurs. It was the presence of, indeed welcoming of in many cases, a significant contingent of people who had no intention of community building. To be blunt, they wanted to rule. To form a cultish gathering around themselves. And many of them were as mad as or worse than our current elites.

    It may be human nature, I don’t know. I saw it happening over and over again, and it was disheartening to say the least. Communities in crisis face similar issues. We’re living through a period when crises compound, and some of the madness we see is due to that compounding of crises.

    We think about and talk about community building a lot as we consider alternatives to the current foul oligarchic rule under which we live. But that’s no simple process, and it doesn’t necessarily result in anything better.

    Just be aware.

  38. Synoptocon

    It’s more like the wages of embarrassing near-elites is death. Those at the very top of the pile don’t need to do anything so crude as killing people. It’s the next tiers down, the ones who don’t have more elegant tools / options available, that you have to watch out for.

  39. Trinity

    “if the truth ever came to light and it turned out the CIA was the perp”

    Back in November 2013, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s murder, the reports were supposed to become public domain. I searched google “who killed JFK” and the response was “CIA” and the usual links that followed. I wish I had done a screen shot, because now … that isn’t the result.

    “… forming a lasting community of like minded people cannot be done spontaneously. Inevitably, the loudest and often the craziest among them will take over.”

    Which is exactly the problem world wide. They must have had help, though. I think it’s well known that subversive groups are infiltrated the minute they are known? Your advice is excellent, Che. Using the internet is also a problem.

    “Tune out, slow down, slack off.”

    DC, you have a way with words. I really like this.

  40. Plague Species

    Speaking of Occupy, that was also an embarrassment. Look what came of it. Nothing. Things are worse, not better. Check that. It did do something. It served as precedent for another brand to Occupy the Capitol Building on January 6th.

  41. Willy

    DC, I was only half kidding. “Libtard” is so ought years. “Lefty” seems the current pejorative, or “Marxist” or “progressive”, since “Stalinist” isn’t trending much anymore. Trump is still their master ya know. And I never heard him call anybody a Stalinist. Sometimes it’s good to have their king not even know what Stalinist is.

    Seems those people hardly debate anymore, as if they ever did. You either agree to bash anything left because “the left ruins everything”, or you agree to agree.

    But that culture does seem to be heading towards a will to cripple elites by depriving them of their money addictions. Seems. The next challenge seems to be getting their news sources to quit calling hated elites lefty.

  42. Willy

    Occupy enabled Tim Pool who eventually got bought and now is now a spokesman for those same elites. Not directly of course. The elites are pretty good at that. According to bruce wilder’s sources, PTB elites adapted to the growing youth culture of freedom from PTB control by thinktanking and then adapting their business and agitprop practices to cater to selfish individualism.

    I used to watch cable news but cut that cord a while back. It got too expensive paying for mostly commercials. I remember the days when cable was a place to go to avoid commercials. Then it dawned on me. It isn’t the news we’re consuming, not neccessarily fake but definitely diversionary. It’s all the mindless products sold by those commercials, which eventually fill up garages which people used to park their multiple vehicles in. I miss George Carlin. I’m not sure how they’d react if we suddenly all quit consuming unnecessary junk like a buncha alcoholics. Would they legalize weed? Or maybe, even go into the infrastructure building business?

  43. Willy

    And finally I come to the Deep State. Again. Some people say “The Deep State” is the military industrial complex gone militarily industrial and complex. Other say it’s a cabal of pedophilic lefty elites led by Tom Hanks. Damned evangelicals with their faith-based rational-atrophying reasoning, always mooing in herds. I say it’s a culture by and for the insatiably greedy. Here’s an oldie quote which describes them pretty well:

    “For us to live any other way was nuts. To us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.”

  44. elkern

    It’s surprising that Ghislaine Maxwell is apparently still alive AND still in custody. She must be (almost) as dangerous to (almost) as many rich/powerful f**kers as Epstein was (or is?); what’s keeping her from “getting dead”?

    OTOH, if Epstein’s death was faked, then the question is actually “what’s keeping her in jail?”

  45. Joan

    @Willy, Good job on ditching the TV! I think eliminating personal mindless consumption is how to make the elites squirm. The last thing they want is for people to do things for themselves, and rely on friends for other skills, via cash under the table or barter. If we realize we’re not helpless and useless, and that we don’t need their products, then they’ll really squeal!

  46. different clue


    I doubt Epstein’s suissassination was faked. If I am right, what keeps Maxwell alive?
    She probably has all the files, evidence, pictures, everything, placed in very good hands unknown to the Elites despite their best efforts, with instructions to release it all in the most publicly damaging way if anything bad enough happens to her.

    Even if she doesn’t, Elite fear that she does keeps them from killing her in jail.

  47. different clue


    Feel free to use it. I think I saw something like it in Subgenius material and just changed it around some.

    I do continue to use the internet. I use the internet every time I read Ian Welsh, for example.

    Here is something interesting for a little mild brain rearrangement . . . Subgenius Pamphlet Number One.

  48. different clue

    @Che’ Pasa,

    I have referred to compounding crises as the “crisis crisis”. Too many crises to keep up. Each crisis making several other overlapping crises worse. There is a crisis for every taste in crises.

    People should probably focus on the crisis they understand best and/or feel they are best able to relieve or reduce. People for one crisis should not try recruiting people for another crisis into their own people for one crisis group. People do their best work on what they believe in the most.

    People who have known eachother in place for years probably form the best potential community for platforming “getting something done or at least preserved” locally. Members of an affinity or an identy or a hoby/interest group probably form the next-best potential communities. They could be “distributed communities” or “dispersed communities”. The Seed Savers Exchange is one such. Native Seeds/Search right in your own area is another.

  49. different clue


    Thanks for all this. Much good advice. Some advice in this vein could probably go into the end of each Weekly Wikrent Wrap-up thread. Various outlooks and methods to enhance and advance economic combat against the upper classes and the OverClass.

    The lower class majority is very carefully coached and re-inforced in a belief in its own helplessness to achieve anything at all whatever, in order to induce a mood of weary resignation. What if the First World’s billion-strong lower class tried living their own lives just a little bit to each do a little bit to shrink the world economy from the top down, to shrink-wrap the economy around the face, head and neck of the upper classes and thereby cut off their financial air supply? First a billion First World lower class people would have to begin thinking that way.

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