Saturday Matinee: Parasite

Bong Joon-ho delivers a biting satirical thriller about class warfare and social inequality

By Prahlad Srihari

Source: Firstpost.

Bong Joon-ho has always been interested in the mechanics of genre cinema. The South Korean director has made a career of subverting established genres in an intelligent, meaningful manner. In The Host and Okja, he took the creature feature and added socio-political subtext to it. The serial killer thriller, Memories of Murder, highlighted police incompetence in South Korea and the Hitchcockian murder mystery, Mother, revealed the cultural divide between men and women in Korean society.

Fortunes change when Ki-woo falsifies his credentials to land a tutoring job with a wealthy couple, Mr Park (Lee Sun-kyun) and his gullible wife Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong). While he teaches their daughter Da-hye (Jung Ziso), he learns that their troublesome son Da-song (Jung Hyeon-jun) also needs help improving his drawing skills. Ever the opportunist, he recommends his sister — not revealing her real identity of course. She recommends her father as a driver after getting the previous one fired by setting him up as a sex fiend. Ki-taek then recommends his wife to take over as housekeeper after a scheme involving the most creative use of peaches since Call Me By Your Name. After their clandestine infiltration operation into the Parks’ lives is complete, the story makes so many intense and unexpected twists and turns, it turns into a whole different beast altogether.

The cast of Parasite deliver performances of exceptional psychological acuity and perverse frivolity. Led by Bong’s frequent collaborator Song Kang-ho, they are sure to conjure the loudest of laughs and the strongest of emotional reactions from their audiences.

Bong brilliantly uses the upstairs-downstairs distinction in the Parks’ house to reveal a socially divided society. And the society is not just divided by wealth but also culture. Bong revisits a familiar theme of the proliferation of American values over traditional Korean ones. The Parks are a Westernised family who live in a sleek, modernist home with white picket fences — and who buy toys and gadgets from the US, exemplifing the upper crust. Ki-taek’s family, meanwhile, lives in a sordid apartment in the basement, where cockroaches thrive and drunkards urinate on their windows. So, with Parasite, Bong tries to bring to light this deep, festering malady at the heart of Korean society.

Parasite offers a cleverly paced, thoroughly entertaining blend of sumptuous visuals and wickedly dark humour. The music too makes the plot twists and revelations hit that much harder.

Despite the cultural and language barriers, Parasite is an unforgettable cinematic experience as it speaks to universal ideas, themes and emotions. If Bong Joon-ho’s style of genre filmmaking hasn’t become an adjective already, it sure is time now.

Watch Parasite on Kanopy here: https://www.kanopy.com/product/parasite-2

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PENTAGON AND ITS OVERSEERS SUPPRESSED WHISTLEBLOWERS WHO CHALLENGED MASSACRE IN SYRIA

By Kevin Gosztola

Source: Shadowproof

Whistleblowers in the United States military exposed a strike in Syria that resulted in the massacre of around 70 women and children, according to an investigation by the New York Times.

The command responsible for the strike conceded a war crime may have taken place, but a report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Defense Department removed this opinion.

Officials in the Pentagon impeded an investigation and ensured no one would ever be held accountable for the civilian deaths. They also turned on one of the whistleblowers, forcing them out of their position in the I.G.’s office.

What happened proves once again that going through proper channels can be a fruitless and risky career-ending effort.

Lisa Ling, a former tech sergeant who worked on drone surveillance systems and is a known whistleblower, reacted, “Again, the public is notified of a ‘possible’ war crime by a brave whistleblower who was eventually forced out of their job.”

“This is a pattern that exemplifies the need for robust whistleblower protections especially for the intelligence community so often carved out of them. We need more light shined in these secret spaces so that this doesn’t happen again, and again, and again, without the public knowing what is done in our name.”

As the Times reported, on March 18, 2019, “In the last days of the battle against the Islamic State in Syria, when members of the once-fierce caliphate were cornered in a dirt field next to a town called Baghuz, a U.S. military drone circled high overhead, hunting for military targets. But it saw only a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank.”

U.S. military forces launched a double tap strike. An American F-15E “attack jet” dropped a 500-pound bomb. As survivors scrambled for cover, another jet dropped a 2,000-pound bomb that killed “most of the survivors.” A “high-definition drone” recorded the scene prior to the bombing. Two or three men were near a compound. Though they had rifles, neither engaged coalition forces. Women and children were observed in the area.“

At nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike. The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized, and classified,” and the Times added, “Coalition forces bulldozed the blast site.”

The strike was the work of a classified U.S. special operations unit known as Task Force 9. They were responsible for the third-worst “casualty event” in Syria. According to the Times, an unnamed Air Force intelligence officer in the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar contacted Lieutenant Colonel Dean Korsak, who was an Air Force lawyer. They were ordered to preserve video and other evidence from the “F-15E squadron and drone crew.”

Korsak concluded a “possible war crime” was committed that required an independent investigation. He noted that Task Force 9 was “clearly seeking to cover up” incidents like this strike by logging false entries after the fact—for example, the man had a gun.

The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations was notified. However, as the Times recalled, a major refused to investigate because civilian casualties were only investigated if there was a “potential for media attention, concern with outcry from local community/government, [and/or] concern sensitive images may get out.”

In other words, if the Pentagon needed to get ahead of a potential scandal, they would investigate and craft a narrative that could tamp down outrage. But they did not believe the Baghuz strike would ever make headlines.

Korsak tried once more to convince his superiors to investigate in May 2019. They still refused. So Korsak filed a “hotline complaint” with the I.G.’s office in August 2019.

Gene Tate, a “former Navy officer who had worked for years as a civilian analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Counterterrorism Center before moving to the inspector general’s office,” told the Times, “When [Korsak] came to us, he wanted to make it very clear he had tried everything else first. He felt the I.G. hotline was the only option remaining.”

Roadblocks prevented Tate from having any success. He could not find the footage from the task force drone that called in the strike. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) removed the war crime finding from a report on the massacre.

In January 2020, according to the Times investigation, the deputy inspector general refused to sign off on a memo that would have alerted authorities to the war crime.

Tate did not hesitate to criticize leadership in the I.G.’s office, and by October 2020, he was forced out of the office.

In May 2021, Tate contacted the Senate Armed Services Committee and sent a 10-page letter that detailed the Baghuz strike. However, as of November 13, he was still waiting for any member of the committee to call him back.

*

To further illustrate how stunning it is that senators on the committee ignored what Tate shared, CIA officers in Syria were so alarmed by the conduct of Task Force 9 that they complained to the I.G.’s office for the Defense Department.

“CIA officers alleged that in 10 incidents the secretive task force hit targets knowing civilians would be killed,” according to one former task force officer quoted by the Times.

The New York Times shared their reporting with CENTCOM prior to publication and asked for official comment. CENTCOM acknowledged “80 people were killed” but insisted the strike was justified.

“The bombs killed 16 fighters and four civilians.”“As for the other 60 people killed, the statement said it was not clear that they were civilians, in part because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes took up arms,” according to CENTCOM.

This is part of the legacy of President Barack Obama’s administration. He developed a method of counting civilian casualties that would not “box him in.”

In 2012, the Times reported all “military-age males in a strike zone” found dead were presumed to be “combatants” unless there was “explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”

If commanding officers refuse to support an investigation into a massacre, then they never have to worry about an investigation moving deaths in the “combatant” column to the “civilian” column, which would make them look bad.

On November 3, the Air Force released the findings of the investigation into the U.S. drone strike in Kabul on August 29 that killed Zemerai Ahmadi, an aid worker and father, his three sons, two of his nephews, and three girls who were toddlers. They exonerated themselves.

“The investigation found no violation of law including the law of war,” Air Force Inspector General Sami Said declared. “We did find execution errors.” Combined with “confirmation bias” and “communication breakdowns,” that “regrettably led to civilian casualties.”

But Said is undoubtedly implicated in the coverup of countless war crimes committed by Task Force 9 and various other special operations units, which engage in similar bombing attacks.

Meanwhile, drone whistleblower Daniel Hale is in a communications management unit (CMU) at a medium-security federal prison in Marion, Illinois. He is closely monitored by the FBI and Bureau of Prisons officials so they can prevent him from further commenting on the bloodshed caused by U.S. drone strikes.

Reflecting on how the cycle of violence with militant groups continues, Ling stated, “They don’t hate our way of life. They rightfully hate our way of killing. Seventy innocent women and children were needlessly killed in Syria, 10 killed in Afghanistan, and plenty more we will never know about.”

“These are human beings, and we took their lives while using sanitized words with fancy legal footwork to get away with breaking international law. It is wrong. It is terror, and I believe Americans are complicit as long as we remain silent about what is being done in our name.”

“We cannot fight a war on terror with more terror,” Ling concluded.

Posted in black ops, CIA, Conspiracy, culture, Deep State, Empire, Geopolitics, imperialism, military spending, society, State Crime, war, war on terror, Whistleblowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Everything Is Artifice and PR, Collapse Beckons

By Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

The notion that consequence can be as easily managed as PR is the ultimate artifice and the ultimate delusion.

The consequences of the drip-drip-drip of moral decay is difficult to discern in day-to-day life. It’s easy to dismiss the ubiquity of artifice, PR, spin, corruption, racketeering, fraud, collusion and narrative manipulation (a.k.a. propaganda) as nothing more than human nature, but this dismissal of moral decay is nothing more than rationalizing the rot to protect insiders from the sobering reality that the entire system is unraveling and heading for its final reckoning: collapse.

We’ve become so accustomed to the excesses of marketing that we’ve lost the ability to recognize the difference between “science” that’s been carefully designed to reach a pre-planned conclusion and science that accepts the outcome, even if it harms well-funded interests.

The vast expanses of ignorance greatly aid this artifice. Even though high school physics, chemistry and biology are sufficient to tease apart the vast majority of rigged experiments, trials and studies, few Americans have the interest or fortitude to read Phase III trial results, etc. critically, and so the corporate media can trumpet bogus results without fear of exposure: all the statistical tricks and gimmicks are passed off as “science” to the distracted and gullible.

And if someone dares to examine the results critically, then those benefiting from the ignorance make the results “secret” until the year 2929. And that’s the entire game in a nutshell: maximizing private gain from artifice, PR, spin, corruption, racketeering, fraud, collusion and narrative manipulation, all masked by an putrid spew of virtue-signaling and PR.

Every institution that was once trustworthy has been debauched to maximize private gain: higher education, science, medicine, national defense–the list includes virtually every sector and industry in America. Nothing can be trusted because somebody behind the scenes is spinning the story and data to mask their self-interest, their immense gains and the carefully contrived structure of diverting investigation and eliminating transparency, competition and accountability.

Our technocratic obsession denies the existence of the moral universe, reducing the world to techno-gimmicks (electric air taxis for everyone!), techno-fantasies (fusion reactors on every corner!) and techno-distractions (which billionaire will be the first on Mars?), as if a nation and society hurtling toward moral, social, civic and economic collapse can be saved by some “innovation” that beneath the surface is nothing more than another profiteering monopoly or cartel.

Many people fear collapse, but quality, service and reliability have already collapsed. The washing machine that two generations ago was designed and built to last 25 years now breaks down after a few years–so sorry, the motherboard failed. That will cost you almost as much as new washer, and so the manufacturer, bank and retailer win because the weary, clueless consumer will do the easy thing and buy a new, expensive appliance on credit. The “old” appliance (brand-new by previous standards) is hauled off to the landfill, the ultimate destination of everything in our Landfill Economy of poorly made junk.

Service would be hauled to the landfill as well if it was tangible. Alas, it is simply maddening, as nothing works and Kafkaesque bureaucracies have so much power that they are immune to transparency, competition and accountability. their websites don’t work, they botch the most basic transactions and they perpetuate incorrect information, but too bad–there is no recourse.

Big Tech is equally impervious to transparency, competition and accountability. Your “crime” is never explained, and there is no recourse, for the Machine has no judiciary or human contact: you query the Machine knowing full well that you will never extract anything remotely fair or just from its algorithmic monstrosity.

Technology doesn’t extinguish moral decay or eliminate the stench of self-serving artifice, PR, spin, corruption, racketeering, fraud, collusion and narrative manipulation. Technology only enhances the potential for profiteering under the tissue-thin guise of “innovation,” “technological advance” and the threadbare delusions of a populace that has watched too many contrived narratives in which technology saves the day.

The moral buffers have already thinned; there is nothing left to tap. There is nothing left in what actually matters: social cohesion, moral legitimacy, civic virtue–all stripped, depleted, gone.

Drones and robots won’t save us from collapse. Neither will fusion reactors, electric air taxis, billionaires in space, missions to Mars, algae-based meat or any of the other thousand “innovations” those profiting from moral rot promote in the hopes that the banquet of consequences being served can be swept away by more gimmicks, more artifice, more delusions, more fantasies, more PR, more spin and more narrative control.

Collapse can’t be gimmicked away. The notion that consequence can be as easily managed as PR is the ultimate artifice and the ultimate delusion.

Posted in Corporate Crime, Corruption, culture, Dystopia, Economics, education, Empire, Financial Crisis, Health, Inequality, military spending, Oligarchy, Philosophy, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, Technocracy, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Omicron Variant” – Magic pills, or solving the Africa problem?

By Kit Knightly

Source: OffGuardian

Yesterday [11/26/21] the WHO labelled the sars-cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and officially named it “Omicron”.

This was as entirely predictable as it is completely meaningless. The “variants” are just tools to stretch the story out and keep people on their toes.

If you want to know exactly how the Omicron variant is going to affect the narrative, well The Guardian has done a handy “here’s all the bullshit we’re gonna sell you over the next couple of weeks” guide:

  • The Omicron variant is more transmissable, but they don’t know if it’s more dangerous yet (keeping their options open).
  • It originated in Africa, possible mutating in an “untreated AIDS patient” (sick people are breeding grounds for dangerous “mutations”).
  • “it has more than double the mutations of Delta…scientists anticipate that the virus will be more likely to infect – or reinfect – people who have immunity to earlier variants. (undermining natural immunity, selling more boosters, keeping the scarefest going).
  • “Scientists are concerned” that current vaccines may not be as effective against the new strain, they may need to be “tweaked” (get your boosters, and the new booster we haven’t invented yet)
  • “Scientists expect that recently approved antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s pill, will work as effectively against the new variant” (more on this later)
  • It’s already spreading around the world, and travel bans may be needed to prevent the need for another lockdown

We’re already seeing preparations for more “public health measures”, with the press breathlessly quoting “concerned” public health officials. We’re being told that a new lockdown won’t be necessary…as long as we remember to get boosted and wear masks and blah blah blah.

Generally speaking, it’s all fairly boilerplate scary nonsense. Although it is quite funny that the Biden administration has already put a bunch of African nations on a travel ban list, when Biden called Trump a racist for doing the same thing in 2020.

AFRICA

It’s interesting that the new variant has allegedly come from Africa, perhaps “mutating in the body of an AIDS patient”, since Africa has been the biggest hole in the Covid narrative for well over a year.

Africa is by far the poorest continent, it is densely populated, malnourishment and extreme poverty are endemic across many African nations, and it is home to more AIDS patients than the entire rest of the world combined. And yet, no Covid crisis.

This is a weak point in the story, and always has been.

Last Summer, the UK’s virus modeller-in-chief Neil Ferguson attempted to explain it by arguing that African nations have, on average, younger populations than the rest of the world, and Covid is only a threat to the elderly. But five minutes of common sense debunks that idea.

The reason Africa has a younger population, on average, is that – on average – they are much sicker.

There are diseases endemic to large parts of Africa that are all but wiped out in most of the Western world. Cholera, typhus, yellow fever, tuberculosis, malaria. Access to clean water, and healthcare are also much more limited.

And while it has been nailed into the public mind that being elderly is the biggest risk factor for Covid, that is inaccurate. In fact, the biggest risk factor for dying “of Covid” is, and always has been, already dying of something else.

The truth is that any REAL dangerous respiratory virus would have cut a bloody swath across the entire continent.

Instead, as recently as last week, we were getting articles about how Africa “escaped Covid”, and the continent’s low covid deaths with only 6% of people vaccinated is “mystifying” and “baffling” scientists.

Politically, African nations have shown themselves far less likely to buy into the “pandemic” narrative than their European, Asian or American counterparts. At least two “Covid denying” African presidents – Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and John Magufuli of Tanzania – have died suddenly in the last year, and seen their successors immediately reverse their covid policies.

So maybe the Omicron Variant is a way of trying to fold Africa into the covid narrative that the other continents have already fully embraced. That will become clear as the story develops.

Of course, it’s also true that being “African” is media shorthand for being scary, relying on the deeply-seated xenophobia of Western audiences. See: “Africanized killer bees”.

But, either way, Africa is the long game. There’s a more obvious, and more cynical, short term agenda here.

THE MAGIC PILLS

Let’s go back to the Guardian’s “Omicron” bullet points, above:

  • Scientists are concerned by the number of mutations and the fact some of them have already been linked to an ability to evade existing [vaccine-created] immune protection.
  • Scientists expect that recently approved antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s pill, [will work effectively] against the new variant

The “new variant” is already being described as potentially resistant to the vaccines, but NOT the new anti-viral medications.

Pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer are both working on “Covid pills”, which as recently as three days ago, were being hyped up in the press:

US may have a ‘game changer’ new Covid pill soon, but its success will hinge on rapid testing

In the US, an emergency use authorisation can only be issued if there is no effective medication or treatment already available, so the vaccines not being proof against Omicron would be vital to rushing the pills onto the US market, at least.

If Omicron is found to be “resistant to the vaccines”, but NOT the pills, that will give governments an excuse to rush through approving the pills on an EUA, just as they did with the vaccines.

So, you bet your ass that testing is gonna be “rapid”. Super rapid. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rapid. Rapid to the point you’re not even sure it definitely happened. And now they have an excuse.

Really, it’s all just more of the same.

A scare before the new year. An excuse to make people believe their Christmas could be in peril. An exercise in flexing their control muscles a bit, milking even more money out of the double-jabbed and boosted crowd, now newly terrified of the Omicron variant, and a nice holiday bump to Pfizer’s ever-inflating stock price.

At this point either you can see the pattern, or you can’t. You’re free of the fear machinery, or you’re not.

There is one potential silver lining here: It feels rushed and frantic. Discovered on Tuesday, named on Friday, travel bans on Saturday. It is hurried, and maybe that’s a reaction to feeling like the “pandemic” is losing its grip on the public mind.

Hopefully, as the narrative becomes more and more absurd, more and more people will wake up to reality.

It has been pointed out that “Omicron” is an anagram of “moronic”.

One wonders if that’s deliberate and they’re making fun of us.

Posted in Authoritarianism, black ops, civil liberties, corporate news, culture, Deep State, Dystopia, elites, Geopolitics, Health, news, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two for Tuesday

Nick Cave

Posted in Art, culture, Music Video, Two for Tuesday, Video | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Saving Capitalism or Saving the Planet? 

By Colin Todhunter

Source: Dissident Voice

The UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team helped to push the public towards accepting the COVID narrative, restrictions and lockdowns. It is now working on ‘nudging’ people towards further possible restrictions or at least big changes in their behaviour in the name of ‘climate emergency’. From frequent news stories and advertisements to soap opera storylines and government announcements, the message about impending climate catastrophe is almost relentless.

Part of the messaging includes blaming the public’s consumption habits for a perceived ‘climate emergency’. At the same time, young people are being told that we only have a decade or so (depending on who is saying it) to ‘save the planet’.

Setting the agenda are powerful corporations that helped degrade much of the environment in the first place. But ordinary people, not the multi-billionaires pushing this agenda, will pay the price for this as living more frugally seems to be part of the programme (‘own nothing and be happy’). Could we at some future point see ‘climate emergency’ lockdowns, not to ‘save the NHS’ but to ‘save the planet’?

A tendency to focus on individual behaviour and not ‘the system’ exists.

But let us not forget this is a system that deliberately sought to eradicate a culture of self-reliance that prevailed among the working class in the 19th century (self-education, recycling products, a culture of thrift, etc) via advertising and a formal school education that ensured conformity and set in motion a lifetime of wage labour and dependency on the products manufactured by an environmentally destructive capitalism.

A system that has its roots in inflicting massive violence across the globe to exert control over land and resources elsewhere.

In his 2018 book The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequalities and its solutions, Jason Hickel describes the processes involved in Europe’s wealth accumulation over a 150-year period of colonialism that resulted in tens of millions of deaths.

By using other countries’ land, Britain effectively doubled the size of arable land in its control. This made it more practical to then reassign the rural population at home (by stripping people of their means of production) to industrial labour. This too was underpinned by massive violence (burning villages, destroying houses, razing crops).

Hickel argues that none of this was inevitable but was rooted in the fear of being left behind by other countries because of Europe’s relative lack of land resources to produce commodities.

This is worth bearing in mind as we currently witness a fundamental shift in our relationship to the state resulting from authoritarian COVID-related policies and the rapidly emerging corporate-led green agenda. We should never underestimate the ruthlessness involved in the quest for preserving wealth and power and the propensity for wrecking lives and nature to achieve this.

Commodification of nature

Current green agenda ‘solutions’ are based on a notion of ‘stakeholder’ capitalism or private-public partnerships whereby vested interests are accorded greater weight, with governments and public money merely facilitating the priorities of private capital.

A key component of this strategy involves the ‘financialisation of nature’ and the production of new ‘green’ markets to deal with capitalism’s crisis of over accumulation and weak consumer demand caused by decades of neoliberal policies and the declining purchasing power of working people. The banking sector is especially set to make a killing via ‘green profiling’ and ‘green bonds’.

According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), corporations and states will use the financialisation of nature discourse to weaken laws and regulations designed to protect the environment with the aim of facilitating the goals of extractive industries, while allowing mega-infrastructure projects in protected areas and other contested places.

Global corporations will be able to ‘offset’ (greenwash) their activities by, for example, protecting or planting a forest elsewhere (on indigenous people’s land) or perhaps even investing in (imposing) industrial agriculture which grows herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that are misleadingly portrayed as ‘climate friendly’.

FoE states:

Offsetting schemes allow companies to exceed legally defined limits of destruction at a particular location, or destroy protected habitat, on the promise of compensation elsewhere; and allow banks to finance such destruction on the same premise.

This agenda could result in the weakening of current environmental protection legislation or its eradication in some regions under the pretext of compensating for the effects elsewhere. How ecoservice ‘assets’ (for example, a forest that performs a service to the ecosystem by acting as a carbon sink) are to be evaluated in a monetary sense is very likely to be done on terms that are highly favourable to the corporations involved, meaning that environmental protection will play second fiddle to corporate and finance sector return-on-investment interests.

As FoE argues, business wants this system to be implemented on its terms, which means the bottom line will be more important than stringent rules that prohibit environmental destruction.

Saving capitalism

The envisaged commodification of nature will ensure massive profit-seeking opportunities through the opening up of new markets and the creation of fresh investment instruments.

Capitalism needs to keep expanding into or creating new markets to ensure the accumulation of capital to offset the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall (according to writer Ted Reese, it has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s). The system suffers from a rising overaccumulation (surplus) of capital.Reese notes that, although wages and corporate taxes have been slashed, the exploitability of labour continued to become increasingly insufficient to meet the demands of capital accumulation. By late 2019, the world economy was suffocating under a mountain of debt. Many companies could not generate enough profit and falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent. In effect, economic growth was already grinding to a halt prior to the massive stock market crash in February 2020.

In the form of COVID ‘relief’, there has been a multi-trillion bailout for capitalism as well as the driving of smaller enterprises to bankruptcy. Or they have being swallowed up by global interests. Either way, the likes of Amazon and other predatory global corporations have been the winners.

New ‘green’ Ponzi trading schemes to offset carbon emissions and commodify ‘ecoservices’ along with electric vehicles and an ‘energy transition’ represent a further restructuring of the capitalist economy, resulting in a shift away from a consumer oriented demand-led system.

It essentially leaves those responsible for environmental degradation at the wheel, imposing their will and their narrative on the rest of us.

Global agribusiness

Between 2000 and 2009, Indonesia supplied more than half of the global palm oil market at an annual expense of some 340,000 hectares of Indonesian countryside. Consider too that Brazil and Indonesia have spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid from the UN to prevent it.

These two countries gave over $40bn in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012, some 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rain forests.

India is the world’s leading importer of palm oil, accounting for around 15% of the global supply. It imports over two-­thirds of its palm oil from Indonesia.

Until the mid-1990s, India was virtually self-sufficient in edible oils. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), import tariffs were reduced, leading to an influx of cheap (subsidised) edible oil imports that domestic farmers could not compete with. This was a deliberate policy that effectively devastated the home-grown edible oils sector and served the interests of palm oil growers and US grain and agriculture commodity company Cargill, which helped write international trade rules to secure access to the Indian market on its terms.

Indonesia leads the world in global palm oil production, but palm oil plantations have too often replaced tropical forests, leading to the killing of endangered species and the uprooting of local communities as well as contributing to the release of potential environment-damaging gases. Indonesia emits more of these gases than any country besides China and the US, largely due to the production of palm oil.

The issue of palm oil is one example from the many that could be provided to highlight how the drive to facilitate corporate need and profit trumps any notion of environmental protection or addressing any ‘climate emergency’. Whether it is in Indonesia, Latin America or elsewhere, transnational agribusiness – and the system of globalised industrial commodity crop agriculture it promotes – fuels much of the destruction we see today.

Even if the mass production of lab-created food, under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and ‘sustainability’, becomes logistically possible (which despite all the hype is not at this stage), it may still need biomass and huge amounts of energy. Whose land will be used to grow these biomass commodities and which food crops will they replace? And will it involve that now-famous Gates’ euphemism ‘land mobility’ (farmers losing their land)?

Microsoft is already mapping Indian farmers’ lands and capturing agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, farmers’ personal details, profile of land held (cadastral maps, farm size, land titles, local climatic and geographical conditions), production details (crops grown, production history, input history, quality of output, machinery in possession) and financial details (input costs, average return, credit history).

Is this an example of stakeholder-partnership capitalism, whereby a government facilitates the gathering of such information by a private player which can then use the data for developing a land market (courtesy of land law changes that the government enacts) for institutional investors at the expense of smallholder farmers who find themselves ‘land mobile’? This is a major concern among farmers and civil society in India.

Back in 2017, agribusiness giant Monsanto was judged to have engaged in practices that impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. Judges at the ‘Monsanto Tribunal’, held in The Hague, concluded that if ecocide were to be formally recognised as a crime in international criminal law, Monsanto could be found guilty.

The tribunal called for the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. However, it was also careful to note that an existing set of legal rules serves to protect investors’ rights in the framework of the WTO and in bilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free trade agreements. These investor trade rights provisions undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human rights and the environment and represent a disturbing shift in power.

The tribunal denounced the severe disparity between the rights of multinational corporations and their obligations.

While the Monsanto Tribunal judged that company to be guilty of human rights violations, including crimes against the environment, in a sense we also witnessed global capitalism on trial.

Global conglomerates can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture or co-opt governments and regulatory bodies and to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever influence. As Jason Hickel notes in his book (previously referred to), old-style colonialism may have gone but governments in the Global North and its corporations have found new ways to assert dominance via leveraging aid, market access and ‘philanthropic’ interventions to force lower income countries to do what they want.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to an unjust model of globalisation is an example of this and a recipe for further plunder and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Brazil and Indonesia have subsidised private corporations to effectively destroy the environment through their practices. Canada and the UK are working with the GMO biotech sector to facilitate its needs. And India is facilitating the destruction of its agrarian base according to World Bank directives for the benefit of the likes of Corteva and Cargill.

The TRIPS Agreement, written by Monsanto, and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, written by Cargill, was key to a new era of corporate imperialism. It came as little surprise that in 2013 India’s then Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar accused US companies of derailing the nation’s oil seeds production programme.

Powerful corporations continue to regard themselves as the owners of people, the planet and the environment and as having the right – enshrined in laws and agreements they wrote – to exploit and devastate for commercial gain.

Partnership or co-option?

It was noticeable during a debate on food and agriculture at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that there was much talk about transforming the food system through partnerships and agreements. Fine-sounding stuff, especially when the role of agroecology and regenerative farming was mentioned.

However, if, for instance, the interests you hope to form partnerships with are coercing countries to eradicate their essential buffer food stocks then bid for such food on the global market with US dollars (as in India) or are lobbying for the enclosure of seeds through patents (as in Africa and elsewhere), then surely this deliberate deepening of dependency should be challenged; otherwise ‘partnership’ really means co-option.

Similarly, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that took place during September in New York was little more than an enabler of corporate needs. The UNFSS was founded on a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum and was disproportionately influenced by corporate actors.

Those granted a pivotal role at the UNFSS support industrial food systems that promote ultra-processed foods, deforestation, industrial livestock production, intensive pesticide use and commodity crop monocultures, all of which cause soil deterioration, water contamination and irreversible impacts on biodiversity and human health. And this will continue as long as the environmental effects can be ‘offset’ or these practices can be twisted on the basis of them somehow being ‘climate-friendly’.

Critics of the UNFSS offer genuine alternatives to the prevailing food system. In doing so, they also provide genuine solutions to climate-related issues and food injustice based on notions of food sovereignty, localisation and a system of food cultivation deriving from agroecological principles and practices. Something which people who organised the climate summit in Glasgow would do well to bear in mind.

Current greenwashed policies are being sold by tugging at the emotional heartstrings of the public. This green agenda, with its lexicon of ‘sustainability’, ‘carbon neutrality’, ‘net-zero’ and doom-laden forecasts, is part of a programme that seeks to restructure capitalism, to create new investment markets and instruments and to return the system to viable levels of profitability.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Corporate Crime, Corporate Welfare, culture, Economics, elites, Empire, Environment, Financial Crisis, Geopolitics, Health, Neoliberalism, news, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Housing Crisis in America Is Coming

By Tim Kirby

Source: Covert Geopolitics

There is now an unprecedented spike in housing costs while COVID-19 has driven down the wealth of the average American.

Let’s begin our discussion of the next Housing Crisis with a relevant personal anecdote, that is a microcosm of what is happening all over the United States right now.

Some of my relatives made the wise decision to live within their means and build a smaller (by American standards) house in the early 2000s. They live in the Midwest which means there is generally plenty of space for a big house even within city limits. Mortgages and loans were super easy to get for even fantastically large sums of money at that time. So my kin were definitely in the minority in terms of choosing something smaller and affordable rather than a giant debt pit with a huge kitchen. In a region of America known for having a shockingly low average income of $20,000-$30,000 per year in the 2020s, the banks two decades ago were just throwing $300,000 worth of credit for McMansions to all-comers with seemingly little discretion.

When the 2008 Financial Crisis hit it was the McMansions that got seized first and foremost, whereas my relatives got through it relatively unscathed. It looks like across America some 10,000,000 homes were lost (or perhaps it would be better to say “transferred” to the banks) due to this crisis. Again, because of choosing to have low square footage my family members did just fine with their more reasonable payments, however something recently happened that should sound some alarm bells that a second crisis is nigh.

Image: It costs over a quarter of a million dollars to live in a relatively small stick-frame house in the absolutely most dangerous neighborhood in a city with no significant employment opportunities. Something is not right here.

My relatives were given an offer from a neighbor to buy their home at its value (the last time it was appraised before the Covid Pandemic) plus more than $100,000 on top of that. The explanation was that the offering party wanted to have their son or daughter move closer to them and they were willing to pay big bucks for any house on that particular street. My family members thought they had won the lottery. They ecstatically looked for smaller homes to buy, so they could sell theirs, pay off their current mortgage early and keep a hefty percentage of this seemingly massive overpayment living the rest of their lives debt free.

But to their surprise, besides double-wide trailers they couldn’t find anything to buy. Now even the price of a home, smaller than their already modest home, in the impoverished Rust Belt, now sells for the prices that the McMansions demanded before the 2008 Crisis. To be clear, a house at Pre-Covid value + $100,000 in that region, now cannot even buy a sanitary home that is one half its size.

Again, for foreign readers, the house in question is not a piece of real estate in Silicon Valley or Manhattan where insane sounding prices could be justified by elite salaries and the presence of successful entrepreneurs. No, this is in the part of America where making $15 an hour to sling pizzas is considered a “good” job, but this price hike is not isolated to my state of birth, this madness is happening across all of America, just take a look at the graph below.

It does not take an elite degree in economics to see that there is now an unprecedented spike in housing costs while at the same time, paradoxically, COVID-19 has driven down the wealth of the average American. It is true that building materials have become artificially expensive and that would reflect on housing prices, but in a nation that has so many homes, including abandoned ones, it is hard to believe that America is in a desperate shortage of housing, furiously building to catch up like the Soviets after WWII, who had all their villages bombed into the dirt by the Germans.

Panic is driving housing prices up in a few different ways. Americans are flipping out because of the supposed…

  • Lack of building materials, which means there must be a housing “shortage” because construction is mostly off the table, so they must buy now or be left outdoors.
  • Prices, that are just going to keep going up so they must buy now before the affordability train leaves the station forever.
  • “Historically low mortgage rates”, which are probably the most dangerous aspect of this situation that will turn it into the next economic fiasco.

One of the key reasons that the 2008 Financial Crisis happened was because of the low interest rates on mortgages and inflated values of homes in connection with a lack of regulation over the financial world as a whole – and these exact same things are happening again right now in front of our faces. Just look at these interest rates.

It is not hyperbolic to say that they are “historically low”, because they are. The only difference is that in the past people were suckered into a McMansion while making $20,000 a year, now they will be suckered into a tiny house, trailer or grungy hellhole for the same price, that they will probably end up losing anyways when the crisis hits. Ranch-style homes in Texas far from major cities are starting to reach the $600,000-$700,000 mark which is simply unsustainable unless there are vastly more cattle and oil tycoons down there than we are aware of.

It simply does not require a genius financial mind or the word “Harvard” on your resume to see where this is going. We are again heading towards a housing crisis, only this time the bar is lower as the average American is getting less house and is paying more for it. Of course, the banks will “win” because whenever homes are lost they do not vanish out of existence, but get transferred to them the real lords of the realm so this won’t be bad for everyone, just almost everyone. The normies are doomed.

In a political context this repeating madness seems only to underline my belief that the arguments for small government are correct, but the problem is when government is both small and weak. This situation would not happen if those we elect were completely in charge of how America works systemically as a reflection of the will of the masses. The power that banks have may at times be overexaggerated by the conspiratorial types, but as we can see the nation is again being pushed down the wrong path and no one can stop it, meaning the benefactors of the coming crisis, the bankers, must have vastly more influence and power over Washington than anyone else, who would not benefit from this housing catastrophe.

Posted in Corporate Crime, culture, Dystopia, Economics, Financial Crisis, Housing Crisis, Oligarchy, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

HOW HYPNOTISTS (AND MASS MEDIA) HACK YOUR MIND TO CONTROL YOUR BEHAVIOR

By Dylan Charles

Source: Waking Times

I’m a committed advocate of freedom, personal liberty, pharmaceutical free health, bodily autonomy, and free-thinking, which, apparently, puts me at odds with the majority. As shocking as it is, these basic standards of a good life, which have governed humans for centuries, are suddenly being portrayed as selfish and even dangerous.

How does an individual come to view personal sovereignty as a detriment to themselves and to society, especially when that society is so obviously sick and dysfunctional? How does one come to see their own body as a threat to the world at large, and a playground for experimental science?

People ask me these questions all the time, and the best way to explain what’s happening is to look at how mind control, social engineering, propaganda, and hypnosis affect the mind and steer the individual away from individualistic and self-governing behavior. The hysteria so prevalent today only makes sense when you recognize that most people are truly not thinking for themselves, but are instead programmed to run scripts and programs that have been prepared for mass consumption.

By looking at how hypnotism works, for example, you can begin to understand what’s really happening today, and more importantly you can begin to understand how your own life is affected by the environment we’re in.

Here’s a look at how hypnosis (and mass media) hack your mind to control your behavior.

First of all, let’s acknowledge the power of hypnosis. Therapeutic hypnosis is widely used clinically for the management of pain, depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, and habit disorders, such as smoking.

Stage hypnotists are well-known for inducing some extraordinarily illogical and ridiculous behavior in their subjects. In a matter of minutes, an accomplished stage hypnotists can get complete strangers to do absurd things like believe their hands are glued together, forget their own name, lose the ability to drink water, to be unable to see a person or object right in front of their face, to jump up and yell something bizarre when they hear a code word, and on and on.

Hypnotism is real, and anyone is susceptible to it, in varying degrees. In the following clip, hypontist Keith Barry explains what it takes to hypnotize a person… any person. He explains that a subject needs to be intelligent, as a key requirement for hypnotism is the ability to focus on the imagery, speech and commands of the hypnotist. He gives us a simple exercise to show that certain people can be more or less susceptible to hypnosis.

YouTuber Derek Banas explains the process of how to hypnotize someone. Firstly, you must hold the belief that hypnosis is real and that it will work, then you must build a rapport with the subject, have them place their full attention on you, completely focusing at all levels on one thing. When their attention is completely focused, the subject is ready to be led into trance, which involves giving repeated simple commands and suggestions, until they are told to close their eyes and fully relax.

There are variations of this, including different techniques, although the process is essentially uniform.

You act with authority and confidence. You direct all of their attention on to one thing, You repeatedly tell the subject that they are being hypnotized. You lead them into trance with repetitive language and directives, while directing the movements of their eyes.

As the subject undergoes this process they are making a series of micro-agreements along the way, essentially giving the hypnotist deeper access to consent. The attention is focused along with repetitive and downwards inflecting suggestions while their eyes are trained on a specific object, like a swinging watch, for example. Doing this brings the subjects brainwaves closer and closer to an alpha state, the most hypnotic brainwave state.

The confidence and rapport of the hypnotist serves to bypass what is known as the critical factor, which is considered the gateway between the conscious and subconscious mind. It is believed that 95+% of our behavior is governed by the subconscious mind, and bypassing the critical factor moves the subject from analytical thinking toward emotional and unconscious thinking, forgoing logic and reason. Essentially, the subject’s nervous system is either overloaded, or made to completely relax, and high emotions such as lust or fear are the most effective emotional energies to bypass the critical factor. A hypnotist does this by presenting with authority and certainty, thereby giving the subject the freedom to relax into a subconscious or automatic mode of behavior.

The physical signs of hypnosis include dilated pupils, relaxed breathing, eyes wanting to close, skin flushes and other subtle physiological signs. When a person is deep in an alpha brainwave state, a hypnotic state, their conscious, rational mind is effectively switched off, and they become incredibly open to suggestion, making it possible to implant ideas and behaviors into them, which the subject will adopt without critical thinking.

Hypnotherapist Marc Marshall explains this in more detail and in the context of our global situation, discussing how the amygdala is also hijacked to bypass the critical factor, taking over a person’s fight or flight responses.

“Let me pull back the curtain a bit on how this process works and show you what has happened and is continuing to happen in this current emergency. Many of you have witnessed what hypnotists call an instant or shock induction. These are the dramatic inductions that many stage and street hypnotists use to induce a trance state (hypnosis) in their volunteers. It literally takes just a few seconds for this to happen. What the hypnotist typically does is cause a firing of that portion of the brain known as the amygdala. We literally hijack the amygdala which is responsible for the “fight/flight/freeze” mechanism of our bodies. It is in this split second of time, that the subconscious mind is looking for a program that will provide an appropriate response. Nancy Moyer, MD., describes it as When stress makes you feel strong anger, aggression, or fear, the fight-or-flight response is activated. … It happens when a situation causes your amygdala to hijack control of your response to stress. The amygdala disables the frontal lobes and activates the fight-or-flight response.” It is this most basic of instinctual responses that is responsible for our survival as a species. It is caused by the release of cortisol, a powerful stress hormone.

There are several extremely critical parts of this phenomena of amygdala hijack that are the essence of what I am seeing and which concerns me. As stated above, the amygdala disables the frontal lobe of our brains. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors. It is, in essence, the “control panel” of our personality and our ability to communicate. We lose our ability to make rational judgements, our stress increases and dramatic physical changes take place in our bodies. Most importantly, we become and remain highly suggestible in this highly aroused state. Our subconscious minds are seeking to find that “program” that will free us from this threat and we take that cue from the perceived leaders.” ~Marc Marshall

That’s a short synopsis of how a hypnotist brings someone into a suggestive trance, and here’s an excellent video of this process, and a demonstration of what a hypnotist can influence a person to unconsciously do.

The keys to the process of inducing hypnosis are the projection of confidence and authority, capturing the full attention of the subject, using repeated trance inducing language and repeated suggestions, bypassing the critical factor, and inducing an alpha brainwave trance.

Confidence, authority, repetition, suggestion and trance induction.

Now, back to how mass media uses this very skillset to induce mass hypnosis and generate widespread unconscious and controllable behavior.

Firstly, the primary medium for blasting non-stop cable news into your brain is TV. Television itself is well-known to rapidly induce alpha brain wave states in the viewer, bringing them into a hypnotic trance automatically, typically affecting the function of the frontal lobe within an astonishing 90 seconds, and bypassing critical thinking.

“If you’ve ever experienced a mind fog after watching television, you’re not alone.

The brain has four modes that it operates in, and four brain wave patterns. Delta is when you’re deep asleep, Theta is when you’re in light sleep, Alpha is awake but relaxed, it’s the mode of thinking that you are in when you’re in the most heightened state of suggestibility, and then there’s Beta, the highest functioning mode like when you’re reading a book or you’re having a very stimulating conversation.” ~Pseudology: The Art of Lying

This presentation explains this in greater detail.

Furthermore, the graphic design elements commonly used in news presentations serves the purpose of capturing one’s full attention and jarring the nervous system into an overloaded state. Think about the various moving parts and messages the screen at any given moment during a regular broadcast. While the anchor is speaking about one thing, you’ll see side-scrolling text at the bottom talking about an entirely different issue, with evolving background graphics, typically emphasizing the colors red and blue, which are subconsciously regarded as the colors of authority and trust.

Also, they commonly use swirling spheres and circles, graphics are used much in the same way that hypnotist uses a watch or a pen as a point of eye fixation to capture the full attention of the viewer.

Here’s a perfect example:

Now, if you look at marketing in general, it is a confidence game. That is, marketers will attempt to sell you anything at all while pretending it is the most amazing and life-changing thing ever. TV infomercials come to mind.

Mass media is a confidence game (con-game), meaning that the anchors, reporters, experts and pundits are adept at presenting any information with absolute and total confidence. Colin Powell did this when he showed up at the UN with a vial of white powder and told everyone in the room that Saddam Hussein was going to kill everyone. It’s difficult to disbelieve someone who presents with such confidence, and psychopaths are the best at this, and know to exploit their victims’ trust by over exaggerating confidence.

The top news anchors will never let their confidence down, and they’re marketed in such a way as to manufacture rapport with the audience. They’re seen in heart-warming town hall segments relating to the common man, out in nature celebrating life, and out on the town kissing babies. Here’s everyone’s favorite, Anderson Cooper, being portrayed as a humanitarian. Such a likable guy!

Finally there is the detail of suggesting and commanding the viewer to believe or to do certain things. In hypnosis, when the critical factor is bypassed, it allows access to the subconscious mind where what are known as ‘pillars of belief’ are implanted. Below the rational, critical thinking part of the mind is a deep sea of beliefs which govern most behavior. Once a subject is in an induced trance, the news repeats ideas, suggestions and beliefs, ad nauseam until the viewer basically becomes a parrot and information repeater. You see these people everywhere today.

Final Thoughts

More than ever before, those of you who believe in freedom, as I do, are called to gather your strength, sovereignty and power to stand up for these timeless moral values. It is of critical importance to recognize that the world has been deliberately lulled into a hypnotic state and fed beliefs and ideas about how things should be or how we should address crisis.

If you understand what is happening, and if you understand how all of this plays a role in shaping your own life, beliefs, and behaviors, you’r better equipped to take back control of your life.

Posted in Authoritarianism, consciousness, Corporate Crime, corporate news, culture, media, Media Literacy, news, Philosophy, Psy-ops, Psychology, Science, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment