How to take down an Economic Region – OPEN SOURCE INSURGENCY and other Ideas from Global Guerrillas

OPEN SOURCE INSURGENCY >> How to start

Superempowerment — an increase in the ability of individuals and small groups to accomplish tasks/work through the combination of rapid improvements in technological tools and access to global networks — has enabled small groups to radically increase their productivity in conflict. For example, if a small group disrupts a system or a network by attacking systempunkts, it can amplify the results of its attacks to achieve as much as a 1,400,000 percent return on investment.

Open source warfare is an organizational method by which a large collection of small, violent, superempowered groups can work together to take on much larger foes (usually hierarchies). It is also a method of organization that can be applied to non-violent struggles. It enables:

  • High rates of innovation.
  • Increased survivability among the participant groups.
  • More frequent attacks and an ability to swarm targets.

Here are some suggestions (this is but one of many methods based on recent history, I’m sure that over time a better method will emerge) for building an open source insurgency:

A)The plausible promise. The idea that holds the open source insurgency together. The plausible promise is composed of:

  • An enemy. The enemy serves as the target of attacks. This enemy can either be either received or manufactured (any group or organization that can be depicted as a threat). The enemy can be any group that currently holds and exerts power: invader, the government, a company, an ethnic group, or a private organization.
  • A goal. This objective animates the group. Because of the diversity of the groups and individuals that join together in an open source insurgency, the only goal that works is simple and extremely high level. More complex goal setting is impossible, since it will fracture/fork the insurgency.
  • A demonstration. Viability. An attack that demonstrates that its possible to win against the enemy. It deflates any aura of invincibility that the enemy may currently enjoy. The demonstration serves as a rallying cry for the insurgency.

B)The foco. Every open source insurgency is ignited by a small founding group, a foco in guerrilla parlance. The foco sets the original goal and conducts the operation that provides the insurgency with its demonstration of viability. It’s important to understand that in order to grow an open source insurgency, the founding group or individuals must follow a simple path:

  • Relinquish. Give up any control over the insurgency gained during its early phases. In practice, this means giving up control of how the goal is achieved, who may participate, how to communicate, etc. The only control that remains is the power of example and respect gained through being effective.
  • Resist (temptation). Stay small. Don’t grow to a size that makes the original group easy for the enemy to target (very few new members). Further, don’t establish a formal collection of groups, a hierarchy of control, or set forth a complex agenda. This will only serve to alienate and fragment/fork the insurgency. In some cases, it will make the foco a target of the insurgency itself. It will also slow any advancement on the objective since it limits potential pathways/innovation.
  • Share. Provide resources, ideas, information, knowledge, recruits, etc. with other groups and individuals that join the insurgency. Share everything possible that doesn’t directly compromise the foco’s integrity (operational security and viability). Expect sharing in return.

Will keep adding to this doctrine over the next couple of months. Could potentially package it into a PDF document for wider distribution when done.

The Hollow State Politics: The Left Behinds vs. Technorati

The shift from a marginally functional nation-state in manageable decline to a hollow state often comes suddenly…”Onward to a Hollow State

The western-style democratic nation-state is in deep decline. As I’ve been warning for nearly a decade, the nation-state as we’ve known it is rapidly hollowing out.  Simply, this century’s spike in globalization, financialization, and technological change is gutting it and there’s nothing that can be done about it.  Further, this decline isn’t a secret anymore.  It’s real and tangible and visible — it’s playing out in US politics right now.

Recently, we hit a new milestone in this decline.  The forces hollowing us out have enabled the development of a unified ruling class. A class united by global outlook, education, financial success, status, and technological adoption.

This milestone became crystal clear after Super Tuesday, when everyone in the establishment, from the Democratic and Republican party regulars to the media elites to academic policy wonks to senior government employees to the heads of large corporations and financial firms, banded together to denounce Trump.

In that moment, connected as they were on social networks to confront their existential enemy, America’s technorati was born.

The technorati, a group held together by social networking and unified by common values. A group that strongly senses it has more in common with the technorati of different countries than it does with the other people living in this country.  A group that now understands their common interests are far more important than the petty political issues, party loyalties, and policy nuances that divide them.

Of course, the only problem facing the technorati is that it is a very small slice of the population.  A small segment of the population that isn’t growing.  Globalization, financialization, and rapid technological change is not delivering the improvements it promised — at least, not to anyone but the technorati.  The rest of America is being left behind.

The left behinds are the supermajority of Americans getting creamed by the hollowing out of America.

Americans who lose more good good jobs, benefits, and status with each passing year. Americans who went deep into debt for college (in order to ascend to a slot in the technorati) but are perpetually underemployed. Americans who work all day but can only make enough to buy food with the money they earn.  Americans now adrift in an America so culturally unmoored, it makes the “people of walmart” not only possible, but common.

The problem for the technorati is that the left behinds are starting to realize they’ve been conned.

They are starting to find their political voice, and their candidates want big changes.   A demand that will only grow more intense as the hollowing out of America continues.

Social Violence Networking

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Social Violence Networking 
This use of social media has led to a new dynamic that bypasses the “redirecting – calming – slowing” influence of traditional media and the government.  This new dynamic is raw, unfiltered, and fast.  It also radically increases both the likelihood and the intensity of social violence.
Let’s dive into some of the details:
  • Violence as performance art.  Selfies.  Instagram videos.  Twitter.  We’ve been conditioned to record our experiences using social media.   Naturally, we’re are seeing the same thing with violence. Recording violence and showing it to the world, raw and unedited, can be used to “elevate the act” and memorialize it.    NOTE:   ISIS recently stumbled onto this as a way to motivate people to engage in terrorism.  In these cases, the attackers used social media to turn their bloody attacks into both performance art and solemn ceremony.  It gave it meaning. We’ll see more of that in the future.
  • We are bombarded with Instant outrage.  We are more vulnerable to emotional manipulation than ever before.  Our use of social media has changed us.  We are constantly on the hunt for pics, news, stories, and videos that grab our attention and titillate us.  Once we find them, we are then quick to share them with others.  Few things provoke outrage faster than violence and injustice.   It is proving particularly effective when the videos arrive raw and unedited from an individual rather than from the media.  These personal broadcasts have an authenticity, a vulnerability, and an immediacy to them that greatly amplifies their emotional impact.  This makes them more effective at triggering violence than any sterile broadcast from a traditional media outlet.
  • Echo chambers.  Our virtual networks on Facebook, Twitter, etc. surrounded us with people who think like we do.  These networks can easily become echo chambers.  Echo chambers that radically amplify outrageous social media videos, spreading the outrage like a contagion.  More importantly, it appears that this amplification can trigger individuals on the fence to engage in violence.

Watch out.

This roiling dynamic for amplifying social violence is very, very dangerous.  It has the potential to rip the lid off of this country faster than we can respond.

The Return of Great Power War


After a brief post Cold War hiatus, great power conflict has returned and it is likely to intensify as the economic woes of China, Russia, and the US worsen.

During the Cold War, great power conflicts were fought through proxies using a variety of different means (my friend Frank Hoffman’s Hybrid Warfare). This method of indirect fighting was used to avoid situations and military casualties that could trigger a nuclear war.

In the near future, we are likely to see the great powers — China, Russia, and the US — fight it out in the same way they did historically, in intense set piece battles (see explanation below). 


What is a set piece battle? 

  • It’s optional. It only occurs when both opponents agree to fight (it’s not a siege).
  • It’s contained. It’s only fought in a finite battlespace that both opponents agree on (e.g. a specific field or river crossing or island).
  • It’s a showcase of capability. It allows both opponents to execute their plans simultaneously.

However, unlike historical set piece battles, these battles won’t be fought with people. That would be too dangerous since high numbers of Chinese, US, and Russian casualties could lead to a nuclear crisis.

Instead, these battles will be fought and won by autonomous robotic systems.

In the next dozen years, as robotic weapons become autonomous and capable of executing mission orders, we’re going to see a spike in the number of lethal (to the system) tactical engagements between robotic weapons fielded by peer competitors. These early engagements will condition the military and political leadership to fighting in this way without escalation.

However, it won’t be long before one of the great powers decides to test their capabilities in robotic weapons against a regional antagonist.

For example, China could deploy a fully robotic A2/AD (anti access, area denial) system of precision guided munitions, autonomous drones/UUVs/etc. across hundreds of the Spratly islands. A veritable hedgehog of lethal machines capable of destroying anything that entered the territory.

China could then provoke a set piece battle by activating the system and declaring that anything within a very specific territory is off limits to all traffic not specifically approved by the Chinese government.

At this point, the US has three options in response to this “pop-up A2AD” (I love that term). It could:

  • Ignore it. This would likely lead to more pop-ups all over the world from any power capable of fielding robotic A2AD.
  • Engage it with manned forces. There are two options here. First, the US could sail a carrier battle group into the area in a classic Cold War test of strength, challenging the Chinese to sink it, which would escalate the engagement to a nuclear war. Second, the US could choose to attack it with conventional forces augmented with robotics (teaming), however the battle would likely result in significant loss of US life (a waste of lives if the islands aren’t retaken or neutralized).
  • Engage it with autonomous robotics in a set piece battle. This option would test the relative strengths of the respective militaries in robotic systems and AGI (artificial general intelligence). It would be bloodless and contained to a specific battlespace.

These battles could be short and over in hours, fought with robotics and cyber combined arms. In some cases, they could go on for decades. An eternal contest until one side or the other runs out of money or the political need to distract an angry population.

How fast, frequent and FAKE terrorism could sink the EU

The ROI (return on investment) from making FAKE attacks against EU targets could exceed $1,000,000 to $1.  IF 10,000 FAKE attacks are made in the next year by self-activating, super-empowered individuals, the costs would be incalculable.  

The successful terrorist attacks on Brussels and Paris have left the EU vulnerable to tens of thousands of fast, frequent and fake attacks by self-activating terrorists.

Here’s how.

The recent attack on Brussels was big, bloody, and effective.

Fortunately, attacks on this scale don’t occur often. They take lots of time to prepare for and lots of support. Given these costs, it’s unlikely we’ll see an attack on this scale for a while.

Unfortunately, there is a way for terrorists to get around that limitation.  A way to continue to damage the EU without mounting a new, large-scale attack. This is accomplished by self-activating terrorists making small, frequent and fake attacks.  Fake attacks that have a disruptive impact similar to a real attack.  Attacks like:

  • threats to buildings, organizations and individuals
  • suspicious packages left on trains, airports, etc. or mailed bombs/biochem
  • reports of suspicious activity – building, organizations, and individuals

Why are fake attacks effective?

  • in the current environment, every threat/attempt is taken seriously by the government.  Police, fire, and the military responds.  Buildings are searched.  People are accosted.
  • it costs orders of magnitude more to respond to a fake attack than it takes to mount it.  Airports are closed.  Subways are suspended.  Traffic is stopped.
  • these attacks can be made frequently, with very little risk/cost to the attacker.  Simply, anybody can participate with 10 minutes of instruction.

Worse, at scale (tens of thousands), these attacks could deeply damage the socioeconomic fabric of the EU, by increasing distrust of minorities, generating hundreds of billions in security costs and sinking Schengen.

Deep Maneuver (Autonomous Robotic Weapons)

Many cyber weapons are designed for deep maneuver.  These virtual weapons drift across the Internet, jumping from computer to computer to computer, potentially travelling for years until they find the target they were designed to destroy.

Deep maneuver is also possible with autonomous robotic weapons in the real, physical world.  I’m not talking about the minimal performance improvements  achieved by removing the weight of a pilot or crew from a manned system.  Instead, I’m talking about autonomous robotic systems that can undertake missions that last for years and traverse tens of thousands of miles.

Let’s dig into this idea a bit.

The earliest example of robotic deep maneuver I’ve found is an operation from WW2 called Fu-Go. Fu-Go was the Japanese attempt to bomb the continental US using balloon bombs. Although Fu-Go was a complete failure, I find it useful as a way to think productively about how robotic intelligence can be used to surmount physical challenges (distance, time, etc.).

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Where the Fu-Go balloons landed in the US

Here are some details about Fu-Go:

  • The operation began in late 1944 in November, as US B-29s began the bombing mainland Japan and a couple of months after the Germans began launching V2 rockets. Operation Fu-Go was commanded by Major General Sueyoshi Kusaba of the Imperial Japanese Army and carried out by 2,800 soldiers. These soldiers launched 9,300 balloons made with mulberry paper and held together with potato paste, by hand.
  • The balloons were built to carry hundreds of pounds of explosives across the Pacific in about three days, using the winter jet stream as propulsion. In order to access the jet stream the balloons were outfitted with systems (releasing ballast and venting gas) that kept them between 30,000 and 38,000 thousand feet. Some of the balloons were outfitted with radio transmitters, so their progress could be mapped by Japanese facilities on island bases across the Pacific.
  • The operation was a complete failure.  The level of robotic autonomy used by the Japanese wasn’t advanced enough to overcome the challenges of the task.  For example, the Japanese predicted that 10% of the balloons would reach the US (about 900 balloons), but only 300 balloons made it.  On top of that, no major damage was done by the balloons that completed the journey.

I find that this example provides me with some insight into how robotic weapons can make deep maneuvers like cyber weapons.   As we know, cyber weapons are already experts at using the environment for propulsion.  They use everything from open network connection to the stochastic motion of personal gadgets (cell phones, etc.) to maneuver themselves to their target.

Autonomous robots can do the same in the physical world by substituting intelligence for mechanical performance.  This intelligence would allow them to leverage a wide variety of environmental factors to extend mission duration and range, from using wind/ocean currents to hitchhiking on vehicles (ships, trucks, aircraft, etc.) to slow self-propulsion using solar energy (or buoyancy).  Deep maneuver makes it possible to:

  • Traverse an ocean.  Hide in the muck of an opponent’s harbor or in the coral reef near a disputed island. Engage kinetically with PGMs when required.
  • Infiltrate a remote region and set up a sensor network to monitor enemy activity and look for targets of opportunity.  Persist for a decade, permanently denying the area to opponents.
  • Fly by night.  Hide and/or recharge by day.   Tap into the opponent’s electrical grid or fuel systems.  Do so until target is found/neutralized.

Have fun

John Robb

I spent last year working for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a vision for how advanced robots will transform warfare over the next twenty years.  This year I’ll share my thinking with you.  Tag along if you are interested.

Zero Day Warfare

The winner of the next big conflict will be the side with the best understanding of how to use bots in warfare. Bots aren’t just an iterative improvement in warfare, like stealth or PGMs, it’s a revolution in the making. The US military, to its credit, is working on this. So far, the US military has identified three (out of nearly a dozen) of the foundational ideas needed to successfully employ bots in warfare:

  • Teaming
  • Autonomy
  • Swarming

Learning from Nitro Zeus

However, these early ideas are a long way from the operational thinking required to win wars using bots. That type of thinking requires a synthesis of the foundational ideas into new operational concepts. Here’s a good example operational concept I’m calling zero day warfare. It builds off the thinking already demonstrated in recent US cyber operations:

  • The US recently leaked plans for Nitro Zeus, a sweeping cyber attack on Iran to be used only if the nuclear negotiations with the country broke down.
  • Nitro Zeus, building on the earlier success of the Stuxnet/”Olympic Games” (the earlier cyber attack that set back Iranian nuclear activities by destroying 1,000 centrifuges), was designed to seize control or knockout Iran’s air defense system, communications grid, transportation system, and energy grid on the first day of the conflict.
  • The rapid onset of chaos caused by Nitro Zeus would have then made it possible for immediate kinetic attacks on the real objective of the operation: the Iranian nuclear facility at Fordo.

Zero Day Warfare

The goal of zero day warfare is to win the war before it starts (a very zen concept) by deeply penetrating the opponent’s territory years before the conflict begins. Like all maneuver warfare, it is focused on shattering the opponent’s physical and logical cohesiveness. Here’s a quick summary of the highlights:

  • Autonomous robots and software bots (collectively “bots”) deeply penetrate the opponent’s territory both physically (territory) and logically (their computer systems). Most would be hidden and remain dormant until activation. Some would actively or passively map opponent networks, analyze them for vulnerabilities, and take advantage of opportunities for stealthy exploitation.
  • When activated, these forward bots conduct a coordinated attack from inside the opponent’s territory and systems. Damaging, degrading, or taking control of computer systems and physical infrastructure. Advanced robots would emerge from stealth to kinetically engage with opponent forces or physically seize points (airports, ports, etc.) to enable the rapid entry of conventional forces.
  • External forces, both bots and conventional, would utilize the disruption of the Zero Day attack to rapidly enter the territory and seize control of key facilities and capture remaining leadership.

Have fun,

John Robb

PS: A zero day warfare that includes deeply deployed autonomous robots will be possible within the next decade. Almost all of the tech needed to pull it off is almost here.

A Robotic 9/11

The current revolution in robotics is due to rapid advances in the ability of robots to think  (enough to fly themselves).

This means that most of the big improvements we’ll see in the use of autonomous robots in warfare will be due to finding new uses of this attribute more than any other.  Let’s explore this a bit.

It’s now possible to turn a simple low performance drone into a weapon that is nearly as effective as a precision guided missile (PGM) that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is accomplished through the creative substitute inexpensive and sophisticated machine thinking for expensive mechanical performance.

In other words, the smarter the drone is, the better it can mimic the performance of the much more expensive PGM.

This is already possible today with inexpensive, commercially available drones.  Low cost drones are now smart enough to approximate the performance of an expensive surface to surface missile system with a little creativity.   Let’s dive into this a bit.

From a mechanical perspective, consumer drones aren’t that impressive:

  • ~1-2 pound payload
  • ~20 min flight time
  • 20-40 miles per hour flight speed

However, these drones are already very smart:

  • They can fly themselves.  They can take-off, fly enroute, and land autonomously.
  • They can precisely navigate a course based on the GPS waypoints you designate.
  • They can now (a recent development) use digital cameras to find, track, and follow objects.  Some can even land on objects they find based on a description of that object.

Even this basic capability is more than enough to turn a basic drone into an extremely dangerous first strike weapon. Here’s a scenario that pits ten drones against a major airport:

  1. Ten drones would take off autonomously in 1 minute intervals.
  2. Each would follow a GPS flightpath to a preselected portion of an airport.
  3. Upon arrival, a digital camera would identify the nearest wing of an aircraft.
  4. The drone would land itself in the middle of that wing.
  5. A pound of thermite in the payload would ignite upon landing.
  6. The thermite would burn through the wing, igniting the fuel inside…
  7. Most of the airport and nearly all of the planes on the tarmac are destroyed.

Here are the takeaways:

  • Even the simple robotic platforms of today can be extremely effective as weapons.  At current rates of improvement in machine intelligence, the situation will get much more interesting very, very soon.
  • It’s possible to creatively trade inexpensive machine smarts for expensive mechanical performance.
  • We need to figure this out before the bad guys do.  However, figuring this out requires a deep insight into the dynamics driving this forward.
By Capricorn4049 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

SPECIAL GUEST: John Robb (Global Guerrillas). We’re joined by JOHN ROBB, author/entrepreneur/inventor/former USAF pilot, for some futurist looks into drones and self-driving cars. How does the current situation with these technologies mirror the early days of the Internet, what possible ways they will transform society, and through it all, how is DEEP LEARNING reshaping our lives. With a side of social networking, including our favorite kicking target FACEBOOK. Recorded on 1/7/2016.

You can download the episode here, or an even higher quality copy here

 

Mike & Matt’s Recommended Reading:

John’s blog Global Guerrillas, about Networked tribes, system disruption and the emerging bazaar of violence, the future of conflict.

John on Twitter

Global Guerrillas on Facebook

John’s Wikipedia entry

Google Brain: “Can we build a centralized machine leaning platform?” Smarter Devices for our Connected Environments, suggested “find out more” link by our Twitter friend, Nicholas Perry

Culture is Everything

What is culture? In the broad sense, it’s a way of life.  More specifically, it’s a basket of shared behaviors that determine how we solve problems, define success, and treat each other.

Culture is important. It has been proven critical to socioeconomic success, at every level, from the extremely large group to the individual (although at the individual scale, we call it character). For example, in the corporate world, most successful CEOs will tell you the same thing: culture is everything.

So, if it’s so important, why don’t we talk about culture more?

It isn’t easy to quantify. It’s not easy for bureaucrats to dictate or markets to measure.

Fortunately, there is a way to understand it a bit better. Culture is important because it plays a critical role in personal and group decision making. More specifically, it drives the “orientation” step of John Boyd’s decision making model, the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop.

Orientation is different than the other steps in decision making.  It’s a gut check.  A check of core values.  It is a synthesis of everything you’ve learned as it applies to the problem you face.  This makes it squishy and holistic.  It’s the step that Einstein so elegantly referred to in this quote:

If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.

Unlike orientation, the other steps (observe, decide, act) used in decision making are largely mechanistic, analytic and quantitative. To improve these other steps, you speed them up (i.e. computers), increase their fidelity (accuracy without error), and widen their scope (more data).

In contrast, culture is how human beings have learned to speed up orientation in a dependable way.

Culture can provide any individual, organization, or country with the outlook needed to successfully orient problems repeatedly and without hesitation.

Here’s an example:

Some business cultures place a high value on treating the counterparty in a transaction with respect and dignity.  In those cultures, it’s important that every business transaction is a win-win, where both sides are better off for doing business together, regardless of the contractual details.

In other business cultures, business transactions are highly competitive.  In those cultures, it’s important to win every business transaction and contractual details are used as a weapon to bludgeon the counterparty into submission.

See the difference in approach due to culture?

What should also be obvious from this example is that cultures differ.  They can be wildly different.

They aren’t equally effective, the usually don’t mix well, and some can be toxic.

Sincerely

John Robb

PS: John Boyd developed the OODA loop to figure out how to win conflicts.  He postulated, correctly, that successful decision making is the most important factor in survival — from simple organisms surviving evolutionary pressures in primordial pools to winning wars on modern battlefields.   Therefore, success in any conflict was largely due to faster, better decision making.  The faster you can make good decisions, the faster you can iterate to success.

Supersoldiers and Autonomous Weapons

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Here’s some thinking on how warfare will change over the next twenty years.

Fast forward 20 years (about the age of the WWW).  An aging, schlerotic EU has become the destination for over a hundred million refugees and migrants fleeing the densely populated killing fields of Africa and SW Asia.

The rapidity of influx has led the EU to take extreme measures.   Tens of millions of these migrants/refugees are roughly housed in relocation camps all across Europe.

Violence within these camps has risen steadily, leading to an EU-wide Islamic insurgency.

The soldiers sent to counter this insurgency are outfitted with autonomous weapons.  These weapons combine deep learning (making them very smart) and cloud robotics (allowing the military to rapidly share advances in training and technique) to provide these soldiers with capabilities far beyond what we’ve seen in previous wars.

Here’s an idealized example so you can get the idea.  A human/robot team advances down a street in an urban environment.

  • Big Data:  The autonomous weapons used by the team continuously scans the street in all directions.  These weapons can visually ID everyone on the street from a database of 3.5 billion people in under a second.  It also continuously analyzes the people, windows, etc. down the street looking for the visual signatures of concealed weapons and IEDs.  i.e. A car at the end of the street is resting a bit too heavily on its springs, indicating there may be explosives in it.  These weapons learned to do this based on billions of hours of combat and police training images/footage (aka Big Data).
  • Customized Training:  The human members of the team have trained the weapons to alert the team when it sees any electric vehicles demonstrating even the slightest bit of irregular behavior — the rapid acceleration possible with autonomously driven electric vehicles can make them dangerous kinetic threats in three seconds.
  • Cloud training:  The autonomous weapons with the soldiers with connections to military’s cloud.  Fortunately, this connection to the cloud gave these weapons access to the certified methodologies for identifying and neutralizing a new DIED (drone IED) used by Islamic insurgents only yesterday.  This paid off.  The new DIED entered the street behind the team, and the systems new how to ID it, engage it, and neutralize its countermeasures flawlessly.  During the engagement, the human team member noticed a slight change in the behavior of the DIED — it released its homemade cluster bomblets earlier than anticipated.  The data/footage of the engagement is tagged with a note to this effect and it is uploaded to the cloud in order to add to the approved methods for countering it.

Of course, much of this capability might become open source and available to anyone smart enough to employ it.

How do you control Autonomous Weapons?

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How do you control an autonomous system?

This isn’t an academic question.  Some organizations already employ truly autonomous systems and these systems are getting very good very quickly.

Since these systems are already in use, I think this question is about as important as it gets.

Unfortunately, these systems are so new, very few people are working on the answer to this question.  Worse, this question is devilishly hard to answer, because a truly autonomous system…

  • will solve problems that only human beings can currently solve.
  • will write its own “code” and build its own models for solving problems and making decisions.
  • will continuously learn/change/improve its code and its models as it gains experience.

Here’s my early thinking on this.

You can’t control these systems using the methods we built for controlling the human built software and machines we already have.  If you attempt to control autonomous systems in the same way you control automation, you will fail (and fail badly).

A new method of command and control is needed.  Here are some ideas for how to pull this off:

  • Human beings must be paired with these systems.  These people must act as coaches, trainers, teachers to these systems.  They must take responsibility for failures in their training.
  • These systems must be continually certified for use in way (largely qualitative vs. quantitative) that are similar to how we certify human beings.  Put them through a series of real world exercises.  If they can handle them and explain why they made the decisions they made (optimally, using natural language), they are certified for use.
  • We need to develop and deploy something I’m calling BIG SIM.  This is a compliment to the BIG DATA that’s used to bootstrap these systems to minimum capability.  BIG SIM provides a massive real world sandbox that will allow autonomous systems to undergo extensive training and testing to suss out problems.  BIG SIM can be completely virtual.  It can also be accomplished through decentralized real-world testing as we are seeing with Tesla’s crowdsourced “autopilot” or via a corporate solution like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Beyond Automation

There’s been a big change in the wind for a decade.  Many of us have heard and felt it rumbling in the background, shaking the foundations of an already decrepit global socioeconomic system.

Depending on how you view the world, you see it differently.  I see it as as technological transformation.  A technological transformation that will upend everything.

Here’s a taste of what is driving this change forward.  It’s real and it’s coming.

>>

Up until three hundred years ago, the world relied on the work being done by people, largely by hand.  The skills and methods required to do this work were largely inside the minds of the people doing that work.  We created organizations to aggregate the people needed for doing work on a large scale and guilds to protect this knowledge.

To overcome the limits of a world made by hand, we developed something new:  automation.  We’ve transformed the world by building machines (in both hardware and software) that do work for us. Automation is based on a scientific process that figures out how things work and an engineering process that turns these scientific ideas into machines that actually do work.

However, we’ve now reached the limits of automation.  How so?  Automation is limited by the ability of human beings to construct the cognitive models (both scientific and engineering) needed to build the machines that provide it.

To overcome these limits, we’re now building cognitive machines that can build their own models for how things work and how to accomplish tasks. Unlike the machines that provide us with automation, these machines aren’t built in the traditional way and they can tackle problems far more complex than anything done by automation.

The big change is that these machines build themselves.  They bootstrap their abilities in the same way human beings do: through learning, training, and experience.   However, they can learn it MUCH faster (deep learning) than we do and once they do, they can share their new abilities with other machines all over the world instantly (cloud robotics).

If you don’t think this is a big deal, you are wrong.  It’s the biggest shift in technology we’ve seen since the rise of automation over three hundred years ago and it’s going to change everything.  In particular, it’s going to upend the rules of economics, warfare, and politics we thought were immutable.

It’s Open Season on the Tech Elite

Crosshairstwitter

Battles between the corporate allies of hollow nation-states and the gangs and tribes of black globalization are at the center of this century’s epochal war.  That war will eventually put the senior executives of US tech and financial companies in the crosshairs.  Here’s a good example.  Over the weekend, ISIS threatened the life of Jack Dorsey, a co-founder and Chairman of Twitter.  Why?  Twitter, at the urging of the US government, has been shutting down the accounts of ISIS supporters for months.  So, ISIS supporters responded by making a threat with a nifty graphic:

We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life

The CEO as an Objective of War

Unfortunately for the suits in Silicon Valley, ISIS isn’t as much of a pushover as al Qaeda was. They have mass and momentum and they are smart enough to understand the role of the Internet in this struggle.  Additionally, they have lots of experience coercing CEOs and other senior executives.  They did it quite a bit of it during the war in Iraq (and it worked).

Regardless, the targeted killing of a well known tech executive in sunny California by ISIS jihadis does appear impossible to imagine. Few places are more remote from each other, and not just geographically. Silicon Valley is a hyperconnected, financially mainlined zone striving for a tech nirvana. ISIS is a disconnected autonomous zone striving to return to the 7th Century. However, that’s probably a bad assumption.   Charlie Hebdo showed the world that terrorism is evolving and corporate targeting on global scale is now on the agenda. This means an attack on a tech CEO isn’t just possible, but probable. Worse, once an attack on a senior tech executive happens, future threats will be instantly credible and highly coercive.

If that occurs, we are going to find out very quickly that the corporation, and particularly tech companies, are particularly bad organizations for warfare.  One reason is that they are too centralized.  In particular, the institution of the CEO is a grave weakness (a systempunkt in global guerrilla lingo).  The CEO’s centrality to the corporate network makes him/her a single point of failure for the entire organization.  Another is that executives in most of the western world are very soft targets.  Easy to find (Google and Google maps), easy to isolate, and easy to kill…

The Middle East doesn’t Matter Anymore

Back in 2003, the US was headed towards complete dependence on foreign oil.  Additionally, the demand for energy (particularly from China) was growing far faster than production, which meant an energy price spike was inevitable.

Oilimp

Of course, this could be avoided if another big source of oil was found and exploited.  However, based on existing production technology, the only big fields left untapped were in Iraq, but due to sanctions (limiting production to 2m barrels a day, far less than the 8 m bpd projected to be possible).

The result was inevitable.  The US invaded Iraq to free up production (that’s largely why the fields were secured in the first couple of days of the invasion), but it screwed up.  The national security “brain-trust”  didn’t anticipate that the Iraqi guerrillas would disrupt this production so effectively (I covered this in detail on this blog and in my book).  The result?  Iraq produced less oil, for years after the invasion, than it did under sanctions.

That loss of production in combination with disruption caused by Nigerian guerrillas (who copied the success of the Iraqis), produced an energy crunch that drove the global economy into a massive recession.  Worse, this recession became a decade long depression due to the disruption caused by the banks and hedge funds we allow to hack the global financial system.

One of the benefits of this oil crunch was that high prices spurred technological innovation that led to an upheaval in the US energy system over the last decade.  New technology has enabled US oil and natural gas production to boom. Not only that, this tech enables energy production to scale industrially — that’s a big change if you understand the implications.

The most immediate benefit of a return to US energy autonomy has been lower natural gas, oil, and gasoline prices (autonomy that will only grow as solar zooms). However, there’s other benefits that should be obvious too.  Since the US isn’t dependent on Middle Eastern energy anymore, US national security policy will be decoupled from Middle Eastern conflicts.  Like it or not, this is inevitable.

What does this mean?

  • If the US does get involved in Middle East conflicts it’s due to outdated policy and doctrine.
  • Nobody in the West will do anything to stop the spread of ISIS (as a humanitarian crisis it rates well below Rwanda).
  • Saudi Arabia is going to get desperate to get the US to intervene.  It sees ISIS as an existential threat.  How will it do that?  I’ve got some ideas…

ISIS isn’t the long term problem, Saudi Arabia is

Here’s a new way to think about something that should be obvious…

To the politicians in DC and financiers in New York, Saudi Arabia is an island of stability in a sea of chaos.  A reliable ally, willing to keep the oil flowing, year in and year out.  A place that’s not vulnerable to the instability that routinely guts the countries around it.

Of course, that line of thinking is utterly misguided.  The opposite is true.

In reality, Saudi Arabia is extremely fragile and much of the chaos we see in the Middle East is due to the way Saudi Arabia avoids falling to pieces.  Worse, we are largely to blame for this.  We go along with this charade, and our willingness to play along is doing much of the damage.

To understand why this illusion Saudi stability is so toxic, let’s dig into a very smart idea from thermodynamics called dissipative structures.  In fact, the idea was so good that won Ilya Prigogine the Nobel prize in Chemistry.  Prigogine’s idea provides us with insight into how everything from how biological structures (e.g. bacteria, apes…) to natural phenomena (e.g. tornadoes) to social systems (e.g. nation-states) build order and prevent collapse.

The important part of this idea for us, is that all dissipative structures grow by exporting or expelling waste products into an external environment.  In other words, they achieve “order” by getting rid of the disorder produced by building it.

Here it is in very simple terms.  Within biological structures, eating produces the energy needed to build and maintain an organism.  In turn, consuming food produces disorder in the form of feces.  Organisms expel feces into the outside world because holding onto it is dangerous.  The same process is true with almost all complex structures. With automobiles, it’s exhaust fumes. With complex social systems, it is everything from warfare to pollution.

We could spend all day on this idea, but let’s cut to the chase and apply this framework to Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia is a particularly expensive dissipative structure because it is extremely rigid, anachronistic, and unchanging.   To maintain this archaic structure despite the titanic forces of globalization trying to pull it apart, it must export an incredible amount of disorder (entropy) into the surrounding region.  Disorder such as:

  • A corrosive fundamentalist ideology.  The KSA’s Wahhabism fuels both ISIS and al Qaeda and it’s spent billions spreading it around the world.
  • Thousands of violent zealots.  The vast majority of the hijackers during 9/11 were Saudi as well as thousands of ISIS members.  People it can’t control are sent abroad.
  • Billions in destabilizing financing.  Saudi Arabia provided the start-up funding for both al Qaeda and ISIS.  It even “invested” $10 billion in the current Egyptian military dictatorship.

Obviously, this Saudi entropy has damaged everyone in the world.  It spreads violent instability throughout the world, from the terrorism of 9/11 to the violent ascent of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan…

Worse, the damage being done by Saudi Arabia is increasing with each passing year, as it attempts to defy the inexorable gravitational attraction of a fluid, dynamic, and tightly integrated global system.

This means that even if ISIS is defeated in the next couple of years, Saudi Arabia’s dysfunctional system will produce something worse soon thereafter.

Make room for Violence Capital

The jihadi entrepreneurs of ISIS don’t just accumulate wealth and territory.

They are also accumulating violence capital.

What is violence capital?   

In traditional businesses, money is the primary form of capital.  In on-line businesses, network capital (the size of the network it controls or influences) is often more valuable than the financial capital it has.  In the fluid world of jihadi entrepreneurship, violence capital is often most important form of capital.

Groups and individuals accumulate violence capital through the calculated application of violence.  It’s expended on the following:

  • Credibility and Reputation.
  • Coercive Influence.
  • Instant FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

Violence capital comes in lots of different forms and is expended in lots of different ways — from the neighborhood bully to the petty mobster to petty tyrants to global superpowers to the Mongols (the unmatched, epic purveyors of violence capital).

Hopefully, you can see that it’s a useful tool for thinking about the use and value of violence.

In the case of ISIS, the violence capital they are accumulating is of a special type.  They are building their capital by:

  • killing,
  • enslaving, or
  • routing

any and all apostates, unbelievers, moderates, etc.

Why are they doing this?  To become credible as an expansionist jihad within the fundamentalist Wahhabi tradition.  A credibility can only be built with lots of violence capital.

The FAA, Drones, and Caltrops

Here’s one of the reasons that the FAA has seized control of all drones (including toys) and is slowing the development of automated aviation to a crawl.  It’s a dumb move, since it won’t work, but they are doing it anyway.

The reason is that drones make disruption easy.

For example.  Let’s take a simple $1,350 drone like the X8 from 3D robotics.  It’s a good product, with solid duration (15m) and payload (.8 kg) numbers.

That’s more than enough capability for significant disruption with a little innovation.

BB7A0968

How so?  With GPS auto-navigation and a container that auto-releases its payload over GPS coordinates (an easy mod), it can become the perfect delivery vehicle.

What could it deliver?  Caltrops for example.  A handful of caltrops can shut down automobile traffic on major highways for hours.

Images

Combined with a drone, caltrops can shut down most ground transportation in a big city in less than an hour.

For example:

  • Flight 3 mi.  Fly to target. Drop payload.  Fly back. – 13 minutes.
  • Replace battery and refill cargo container – 5 minutes.
  • Flight 2 mi.  Fly to target. Drop payload.  Fly back.  – 9 minutes.
  • Replace battery and refill cargo container – 5 minutes.

Iterate.

Recover vehicle and depart area.  Potential for capture: very low.

Disruption potential?  High.

The big question:  Will the FAA effort to control drones protect against this type of disruption?  No.  It won’t.

It actually makes the situation worse.  It prevents the development of the safeguards an economically viable drone delivery network would produce.

Perversely, limiting drone use to big corps (that make political contributions) and government agencies, won’t create the economic progress that will turn this technology into a beneficial innovation.  It will do just the opposite.   It will simply increase the level of economic corruption/stagnation we are already experiencing in the US.

Caltrops and Systems Disruption

Some of the recent protests over Furguson have attempted to block traffic (LA and Boston) to cause delays.  Here’s an example (note the barricades on the left).  Of course, this method isn’t much of a danger.

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A more troublesome method?

Disruption that uses a very old technology: the caltrop (see below).

Caltrops were originally designed to damage the hooves of horses (or impale the foot of a soldier).  They work equally well against tires.

2014-11-26_20-37-14

A handful of these tossed onto a highway at periodic intervals and in different locations can achieve very high levels of disruption.

Not only that, they are actually very easy to make.  Just clip a section from a chain fence.  Clip the ends to a point and bend them into shape.

2014-11-26_20-25-19

PS:  Years ago, I pointed to a study by the Federal Reserve that showed that disruption like this can act as a “tax” on a urban target that can cause a severe economic contraction.  The trick is keeping it going long enough to happen.

PPS:  Here a vehicle (with a false bottom) that was used to disrupt the main N-S highway in China last year.  Was it the cause of the 120 mile/week long traffic jam?

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OODA Loops and Innovation

John Boyd is famous in large part for showing how decision making is critical to victory.

To do this he built the OODA loop.  The OODA describes how we make decisions:

  1. Observe.
  2. Orient.
  3. Decide.
  4. Act.

The OODA, when repeated quickly and accurately, allows any organism to quickly adapt to new and evolving circumstance.

As you can guess, making great decisions are particularly critical in warfare.

Although Boyd doesn’t spend much time on it, it’s also critical in economic activity.

Better decisions yield economic success for both individuals and the global economy as a whole (when many people make them).

The trick to doing it repeatedly is by getting the orientation right.

Orientation is the most critical step (by far) in the OODA.

Orientation is the step that combines everything in an instant — cultural tradition, morals, training, education, personal experience, emotional intelligence — in a way that provides a decision with direction, scope, and scale.

Orientation provides us with the cross connections necessary for high quality innovation.

Here’s an example.

I just saw this pic online.  It’s from Spotify, the online music service, about how they develop products.   It was meant to clever .  It wasn’t.

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I know from decades of developing innovative products (or being near to those who are) that real product innovation doesn’t work this way.

The depicted method is simply a description of incremental improvement.

Real innovation requires orientation.

Here’s Boyd’s example: the snowmobile.  It’s unlikely that iteration will yield a snowmobile.  It’s a strange device.

A mix of skis, tank treads, bike handlebars and outboard motor.

032 Snowmobile

 

It’s a product derived from connections drawn from numerous sources to combine an innovative whole.

Simply, it’s a product of good orientation.

Hacking the US with only a Sound

What happens when a terrorist network (ISIS) finds a way to activate terrorists using social media (neatly piercing the security defenses that we pay hundreds of billions of $$ for every year) to randomly attack civilians (like the  knife attack in Roanoke VA last week)?

You get a society at a tipping point.  A society at this tipping point is reactive and labile. It is EASILY sent into a frenzied retreat.

Shooter

How is this different?

Unlike the classic example of yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater, this panic can be induced by anything that sounds/looks/feels like a threat rather than the claim of a specific threat (like “fire”).  Nearly anything can set them off.

Here’s three examples of that over the last two weeks (there have been many more):

  • JFK Airport.  Unfounded reports of gunfire led to an evacuation of terminals.  Police march passengers out of the terminal with their hands up.  Police speculate that it was started by load fans of the Rio Olympics.
  • CrabTree Valley Mall (NC):  Unfounded reports of an active shooter leads to a panicked evacuation of the mall.
  • LAX Airport.  Unfounded reports of a shooter led to people storming the jetway doors and spilling out onto the tarmac, people barricading themselves into bathrooms in multiple terminals, and more.

Shooter jfk 3

This public reactiveness may become the new normal both here and in Europe.  If so, we can expect people take advantage of it.

Here’s how.

All it takes is a single audio clip.  Like this or this either near a public space or done remotely on a timed playback device is all it would take to ignite the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that leads to a large scale evacuation.  In fact, people are so reactive now, I suspect it wouldn’t even take a sound that is explicit, only something that sounds similar.

Think about this for a moment.  The ability to shut down a public space for hours:

  • anytime (just walk in and play the sounds),
  • remotely (low cost playback device on timer/remote activation), or
  • on a large scale (thousands of people playing the sounds on their smart phones in public spaces simultaneously)

is a substantial capability.

How so? Take this fall’s election for example.

It is a far easier to close a voting location with a sound than hack a voting machine.

The Terrorism Tax hits Europe

This is big news.  This is the first large scale demonstration that the “Terrorism Tax” I speculated about back in 2004, actually works.

______________

Liz Alderman at the NYTimes reported that terrorism is squashing Europe’s first glimmer of recovery since the financial crash.  EU economic growth has been halved since spring, with France now at zero.  Here are some details:

  • Tourism is sinking.  For example:  “In France, growth in nightly hotel room bookings after the Paris attacks fell to single digits from 20 percent. After the Brussels bombings, bookings went negative, and after Nice, bookings fell by double digits.”
  • Daily security costs are spiking.  Here’s an example from a single venue, “the Paris Plage, a makeshift beach erected along the Seine, a dozen armed police officers guarded an entry checkpoint on a recent day. Army troops marched past families playing in the sand and half-empty activity points along the river. The patrols, cost taxpayers about 1 million euros, or $1.1 million, a day.”
  • Broad spectrum economic damage.  For example:  retail sales are slumping due to low traffic in stores and large numbers of entertainment events are being cancelled.

The Terrorism Tax

Although Europe has suffered terrorism before, this time it’s different.  Instead of big and relatively infrequent terrorist attacks, these new attacks are small, numerous and geographically dispersed.  This change is a big deal, because it makes it possible for terrorists to turn attacks into “a tax” that depresses economic activity by imposing new costs and changing economic behavior.  Here’s some of the theory from my 2004 article on it:

A terrorism tax is an accumulation of excess costs inflicted on a city’s stakeholders by acts of terrorism.  These include direct costs inflicted on the city by terrorists (systems sabotage) and indirect costs due to the security/insurance/policy/etc. changes needed to protect against attacks.  A terrorism tax above a certain level will force the city to transition to a lower market equilibrium (aka shrink).  So, what is that level?  Here’s what they concluded:

  • Singular terrorist events (black swans), like 9/11, do not impact city viability.  The costs of a singular event dissipate quickly.  In contrast, frequent attacks (even small ones) on a specific city can create a terrorism tax of a level necessary to shift equilibriums.
  • In the labor pooling model of city formation, a terrorism tax of 7% will cause a city to collapse to a lower equilibrium.  Labor pooling equilibrium reflects the benefits of aggregating workers in a single location.  Workers get higher wages and more choices.  Firms get stable wages (no one firm can deplete the market) and more candidates.
  • In the core-periphery model of city formation, a terrorism tax of 6.3% will push a city to a lower equilibrium.  The core-periphery model is based on transportation costs.  Firms generate transportation savings by concentrating in a single location next to suppliers and customers.  Customers and workers glean the benefit of lower transportation costs by locating near jobs and goods.

________

The terrorism tax is even more effective when it is combined with systems disruption (the intentional disruption of infrastructure).  That combo puts in play hidden dynamics – both economic and societal – that can turn a functional society into a violent insurgency within months.

The Race to Weaponize Empathy

There’s a war for the future being waged online. It’s being fought across the world’s online social networks, and the outcomes of these online battles increasingly dictate the outcome of what happens later in the real world.

One of the most successful tactics used in this war is the manipulation of language in order to confuse, scare, nullify or outrage targeted audiences with the objective of making money, aggregating political power, and disrupting opponents.

While this manipulation has ALWAYs been true of human conflict, it’s being done on a scale and to a degree that we’ve never seen before due social networking, globalization, and social/media fragmentation.

A great example of tactical manipulation is called the the Russell Conjugation (or the “emotive conjugation” championed by the philosopher Bertrand Russell , the pollster Frank Luntz and recently Thiel Capital’s Eric Weinstein).

The Russell conjugation exploits the gap in the emotional content of a word or phrase and the factual content.  Here are a few of Russell’s examples:

“I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool.”

“I am righteously indignant; you are annoyed; he is making a fuss over nothing.”

Notice how the factual content remains unchanged. In each case, the person referenced is factually described as “a person who is reluctant to accept new information.” However, the words used change the emotional content drastically, from a positive to neutral-negative to negative-opprobrium.

The ability to change the emotional spin on a fact is critical. As all great marketing pros already know, the emotional content of a message is much more important than the factual content when it comes to selling anything. All brands are simply emotion (a commercial brand is monetized emotion).

However, this gets more complicated when an emotional spin is applied to facts presented as news.  As Weinstein correctly points out, people don’t just care about the factual content since they don’t view a fact as a bit of disconnected information.  They see all facts within a social context and that context is identified by the emotional context attached to that fact.

In fact, if historical behavior is a guide, people care more about the social consequences of the facts than the fact itself.

We’ve seen this before.  Context seeking is also the basis of consumerism as Thorstein Veblen pointed out in his classic book on modern economics The Theory of the Leisure Class.   Simply, the entire modern economy is based on people buying products and services in an attempt to mimic the choices and habits of people they consider cooler, wealthier or more successful than they are.

This is also true with news in a fragmented society.  Most people go to news sources they trust to find out more than the facts.  They want to find out how they should feel about a fact (or whether they should reject that fact) from people they consider to be leaders of their social network.

This context seeking used to be limited to the news presented by reporters/editors of the big papers like the New York Times and the TV network news organizations like CBS.  That’s not true anymore.  Control over the emotional content of news has fragmented due to the rise of social media and social networking.  People don’t just look for the “correct” emotional spin on a fact from a big media company, they seek it from alt news orgs and personalities on social networks they identify with.

This suggests that the current debate over “fake news” isn’t due to the use of fabricated information.  Instead, it’s really a negative way of describing news that has an emotional context that is at odds/war with the emotions approved by the major media, academia, or government.

Sincerely,

John Robb

PS:  Here’s a good book from Frank Luntz on how this manipulation works in practice.   Example:  how the Estate Tax was redeemed by calling it the Death Tax and Illegal Immigrants were redeemed by calling them Undocumented Immigrants.

Luntz

Political Networking (how social networking is changing politics forever)

Social networking is changing politics, that fact should be clear by now.  A simple proof:  Trump wouldn’t be in the White House without it.

But where is political networking taking us?  That’s the BIG question. I’ve been doing lots of thinking about this (it’s going into my book). Here’s my shorthand for where our political system is headed. We have three political networks to choose from:

  1. Insurgency
  2. Orthodoxy
  3. Participatory

Insurgency

Trump used an open source insurgency (I first wrote about this back in 2004) to become president. This insurgency didn’t just with the election, it:

  • blew up both the Republican and Democrat parties
  • did it without much organization or advertisement spending
  • accomplished it despite vocal and strident opposition from the entire media establishment (from NY to Hollywood), all of academia, and most of Silicon Valley

Trump’s insurgency worked like open source insurgencies in the past (from the Iraq war to Egypt/Tunisia).

  • An open source insurgency is a loose network (meshed) that is composed of many individuals and small groups working independently, but united by a single purpose (in this case: electing Trump).
  • Open source insurgencies are much more innovative than their bureaucratic counterparts. They constantly coming up with and trying out new ideas. For example: the seventy to one hundred groups in the Iraqi insurgency rolled out new innovations (tactics to weapons) in days, while it took months for the US military to counter them.
  • Trump accelerated and directed this insurgency by interacting with it.  For example, he accelerate the innovation of the insurgency by paying attention to it (read Gustavo’s essay for more). Tweets and media mentions incentivised innovation and spread new ideas across the insurgency in minutes (not days/weeks).   Trump also selected targets for the insurgency. In many, many instances, Trump directed the insurgency to silence individuals in the opposition through a torrent of online/offline abuse.

Trump’s currently trying to adapt this insurgency to govern.  Where will it take us? Early results suggest that Trump’s insurgency is better suited for dismantling a large, bureaucratic government and international order than running it. It’s also the type of network that will erode the rule of law over time.

Orthodoxy

The second form of political social networking I’m seeing is found in the opposition to Trump’s presidency.  Right now, it’s known as the #resistance   The orthodoxy wasn’t planned, it:

  • arose out of the ashes of the political parties and it is growing without any formal leadership
  • is ALREADY firmly in control of nearly all public forums
  • enforces opposition to Trump

The orthodoxy is an open source insurgency in reverse.  It uses social networking to crack down on deviation and dissent.

  • The orthodoxy is tightly interconnected network that uses social networking to exert pressure on people to accept the orthodox position (in this case: #resistance to Trump).
  • Online orthodoxies grow through peer pressure and disconnecting deviants from the network.  It doesn’t innovate.  It rejects, cajoles, and pillories.
  • This online orthodoxy is growing at an accelerated pace because Trump feeds the outrage that fuels it.

How will an orthodox network govern?  It will eventually formalize compliance with the orthodoxy. Compliance, evidenced by a long social networking history, will qualify people for positions of authority and power. Any deviation will result in bans, loss of income, etc. until the target repents.  This orthodoxy will work in parallel to the rule of law and likely exceed its coercive power over time.

Participatory

This form of social networking doesn’t have an example in the US yet.

  • The Movement 5 Star in Italy is a political party run as a social network.  It is running number one in the polls, has mayor in Rome and Turin, and recently deposed the Prime Minister.
  • The political representatives the M5S sends to Rome must vote the way the party tells them to vote.  They aren’t independent.
  • The M5S is a participatory political party.  The people in the party debate the issues and vote on how their representatives should vote in Rome.

The participatory party is still young, but it combines the fluidity of the “insurgency” with the solidarity of “orthodoxy.”

  • A participatory party could be run as a cell phone app.  This would allow it to scale… to 70 plus million members is possible.
  • Unlike current political parties, this party wouldn’t just vote every 2 years to elect candidates.  It would operate continuously.  Voting on all major issues.
  • A participatory party could arise independently, growing virally, or it could coopt an existing political party from the inside out.

How would a participatory network govern?  Unlike the other systems, it has the best chance of working within the confines of the current US Constitution.  It also has the strength to tame political distortions caused by globalization without resorting to the extremes of either the orthodoxy or the insurgency.

ExpressPass1My bet is on a participatory political system made possible by social networking.  It’s the best chance for a better future.  A system where we put social networking to work for us instead of against us.

Of course, the reality is probably something different: we’re prepping for a civil war.

Using Drones to Rapidly Set up Networks

Here’s a new drone (warning, acronym creep) called the CICADA, or Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft.

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It’s tiny and weighs only 65 grams.  It is meant to be dropped by an aircraft in a swarm (dozens at a time).  Once released, each drone flies/glides to its target location and takes up residence.

What are they good for?  Not much right now, but they could evolve into a way to rapidly deploy large, geographically dispersed networks of sensors and/or mesh communication nodes.

Why use them?  They have the potential to provide P2P communications and real time intel to human units and autonomous weapons operating in a contested environment.  In other words, a relatively simple mesh comms/sensor network like this would  allow units in the field to connect with each other and sources of intel sideways.

Longer term?  We will likely see vast networks of drone sensor/comms nodes that provide resilient over the horizon services that surpass (both in survivability and usability) those provided by satellites and other traditional means.

Idea: The Automation of Terrorism

I figured out what I’m going to talk about at the Prime Minister’s conference in Singapore next month:  the automation of terrorism.  Here’s the outline of what I’m going to discuss (I already have most of the thinking on this topic already done and the trend is already in motion).

____________

New technologies have put us on the brink of a significant upgrade to extremist violence.  Specifically, it may now be possible to fully automate a terrorist attack or worse, a terrorist network.  Here’s how:

Social networking already connects billions of people worldwide and it is rewiring us psychosocially.  We can already see the disruptive effects of this, creating an environment conducive to extremism:

  • It made it possible to topple governments across the Middle East.
  • It enabled ISIS to recruit 30,000 people from across the world.
  • It made the very rapid shift to self-activated terrorism (over the last year) possible.

Bots (software) build make it possible to automate extremist activities on and across social networks (as seen in the recent US election).

  • Bots have demonstrated the spread and amplification of extremist disinfo.
  • Bots can shape public discourse online.
  • AI fueled bots will make it possible to completely automate the recruitment, grooming and activation of extremists.

Drones (hardware bots) make it possible to automate physical attacks.  With relatively simple DIY modifications, drones can already:

  • Carry a payload large enough to cause significant damage.
  • Fly and navigate to a target w/o human support.
  • Visually identify targets and take action autonomously.

Sincerely,

John Robb

Written on a cool summer morning near “the shot heard around the world”

PS:  Automation of this type has the potential to leverage (on a grand scale) the breakdown of masculinity in the West to disruptive effect.

 

New generation of drones set to revolutionize warfare

Autonomous drones are being called the biggest thing in military technology since the nuclear bomb. David Martin reports.

One of the biggest revolutions over the past 15 years of war has been the rise of drones — remotely piloted vehicles that do everything from conduct air strikes to dismantle roadside bombs.  Now a new generation of drones is coming.  Only this time they are autonomous — able to operate on their own without humans controlling them from somewhere with a joy stick.  Some autonomous machines are run by artificial intelligence which allows them to learn, getting better each time.  It’s early in the revolution but the potential exists for all missions considered too dangerous or complex for humans to be turned over to autonomous machines that can make decisions faster and go in harm’s way without any fear. Think of it as the coming swarm, and if that sounds like the title of a sci-fi mini-series, well, as we first reported earlier this year, it’s already a military reality. We saw it with our own eyes and captured it on camera.

This swarm over the California desert is like nothing the U.S. military has ever fielded before. Each of those tiny drones is flying itself. Humans on the ground have given them a mission to patrol a three-square mile area, but the drones are figuring out for themselves how to do it. They are operating autonomously and the Pentagon’s Dr. Will Roper says what you’re seeing is a glimpse into the future of combat.

Will Roper: It opens up a completely different level of warfare, a completely different level of maneuver.

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A Perdix drone

CBS News

The drone is called Perdix. An unlikely name for an unlikely engine of revolution. Roper, head of a once-secret Pentagon organization called the Strategic Capabilities Office, remembers the first time he saw Perdix, which is named after a bird found in Greek mythology.

Will Roper: I held it up in my hands, it’s about as big as my hand.  And I looked at it and said, “Really? This is, this is what you want me to, to get excited about?” You know, it looks like a toy.

Perdix flies too fast and too high to follow, so 60 Minutes brought specialized high-speed cameras to the China Lake Weapons Station in California to capture it in flight.

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A Perdix swarm captured by high-speed cameras at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.

CBS News

Developed by 20 and 30-somethings from MIT’s Lincoln Labs, Perdix, is designed to operate as a team, which you can see when you follow this group of eight on a computer screen.

Will Roper: We’ve given them a mission at this point, and that mission is as a team go fly down the road and so they allocate that amongst all the individual Perdix.

David Martin: And they’re talking to each other.

Will Roper: They are.

David Martin: By what?

Will Roper:  So they’ve got radios on and they’re each telling each other not just what they’re doing but where they are in space.

David Martin: How frequently are they talking back and forth to each other?

Will Roper: Many, many times a second when they’re first sorting out.

David Martin: I mean, it looks helter skelter.

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Dr. Will Roper, left, and correspondent David Martin

CBS News

Will Roper: You want them to converge to a good enough solution and go ahead and get on with it. . . It’s faster than a human would sort it out.

Cheap and expendable, Perdix tries to make a soft landing but it’s no great loss if it crashes into the ground.

Perdix can be used as decoys to confuse enemy air defenses or equipped with electronic transmitters to jam their radars.

David Martin: This one looks like it has a camera.

As a swarm of miniature spy planes fitted with cellphone cameras they could hunt down fleeing terrorists.

Will Roper: There’s several different roads they could have gone down. And you don’t know which one to search. You can tell them, “Go search all the roads,” and tell them what to search for and let them sort out the best way to do it.

The Pentagon is spending $3 billion a year on autonomous systems, many of them much more sophisticated than a swarm of Perdix.

This pair of air and ground robots runs on artificial intelligence.

Jim Pineiro: I’m going to say “start the reconnaissance.”

They are searching a mock village for a suspected terrorist, reporting back to Marine Captain Jim Pineiro and his tablet.

Jim Pineiro: The ground robot’s continuing on its mission while the air robot is searching on its own.

The robots are slow and cumbersome but they’re just test beds for cutting edge computer software which could power more agile machines — ones that could act as advance scouts for a foot patrol.

Jim Pineiro: I would want to use a system like this to move maybe in front of me or in advance of me to give me early warning of, of enemy in the area.

David Martin (standup): This time I’m the target. The computer already knows what I look like, so now we’ll see if it can match what’s stored in its memory with the real thing as I move around this make-believe village.

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Compiled photos of correspondent David Martin

CBS News

The robots’ artificial intelligence had done its homework the night before, Tim Faltemier says, learning what I look like.

Tim Faltemier: We were able to get every picture of every story that you’ve ever been in.

David Martin: How many pictures of me are there out there?

Tim Faltemier: When we ran this through, we have about 50,000 different pictures of you that we were able to get. Had we had more time we probably could’ve done a better job.

David Martin: So because you’ve got 50,000 pictures of me, how certain would you be?

Tim Faltemier: Very.

David Martin: Now it’s looking at me.

Tim Faltemier: It recognized you instantly.

Tim Faltemier: So, what we reported today on our scores we’re about a one in 10,000 chance of being wrong.

While the robot was searching for me inside an auditorium at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, Lt. Cdr. Rollie Wicks was watching from a missile boat in the Potomac River.

Rollie Wicks: What I was doing was, I was turning over control of the weapon system to the autonomous systems that you’ve seen on the floor today.

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Computer’s point-of-view of target

CBS News

Had Wicks given permission to shoot, the missile would have struck my location using a set of coordinates given to it by the robots.

Rollie Wicks: They were controlling a remote weapons system.  They were controlling where that weapons system was pointing, with me supervising.

It will be about three years before these robots will be ready for the battlefield.  By then, Captain Pineiro says, they will look considerably different.

David Martin: Will those robots when they reach the battlefield will they be able to defend themselves?

Jim Pineiro: We are looking into that.  We are looking into defensive capability for a robot – armed robots.

David Martin: Shoot back?

Jim Pineiro: Correct.

This Pentagon directive states “autonomous . . . Systems shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force.”

What that means, says General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military’s man in charge of autonomy, is that life or death decisions will be made only by humans — even though machines can do it faster and, in some cases, better.

David Martin: Are machines better at facial recognition than humans?

Paul Selva: All the research I’ve seen says about five years ago machines actually got better at image recognition than humans.

David Martin: Can a disguise defeat machine recognition?

Paul Selva: If you think about the proportions of the human body there are several that are discrete and difficult to hide.  The example that I will use, as I look at you, is the distance between your pupils.  It is very likely unique to you and a handful of other humans.  A disguise cannot move your eyes.

David Martin: So if I have a ski mask on that doesn’t help?

Paul Selva: Not if your eyes are visible. If you have to see, you can’t change that proportion.

David Martin: So, if the machine’s better, why not let it make the decision?

Paul Selva: This goes to the ethics of the question of whether or not you allow a machine to take a human life without the intervention of a human.

David Martin: Do you know where this is headed?

Paul Selva: I don’t.

Virtually any military vehicle has the potential to become autonomous. The Navy has begun testing Sea Hunter, an autonomous ship to track submarines. Program manager Scott Littlefield says that when you no longer have to make room for a crew, you can afford to buy a lot of them.

Scott Littlefield: You could buy somewhere between 50 and 100 of these for the price of one warship.

David Martin: I’ve heard somebody describe this ship as looking like an overgrown Polynesian war canoe. Why does it look like it does?

Scott Littlefield: To be able to go across the Pacific Ocean without refueling, this hull form, the, the trimaran, was, was the best thing we could come up with.

David Martin: What is its range?

Scott Littlefield: We can go about 10,000 nautical miles on, on, on a tank of gas – 14,000 gallons.

Sea hunter is at least two years away from being ready to steam across the Pacific on its own.  Among other things, it has to learn how to follow the rules of the road to avoid collisions with other ships.  When we went aboard it had only been operating autonomously for a few weeks and there was still a human crew – just in case.

When testing is done, this pilot house will come off and the crew will be standing on the pier waving goodbye.  From then on this will be a ghost ship commanded by 36 computers running 50 million lines of software code.  And, these life lines will have to come off too since there’s no need for them with no humans on board.

It has a top speed of 26 knots and a tight turning radius which should enable it to use its sonar to track diesel-powered submarines for weeks at a time.

Scott Littlefield: Many countries have diesel submarines.  That’s the most common kind of submarine that’s out there.

David Martin: China?

Scott Littlefield: China has them.

David Martin: Russia?

Scott Littlefield: Russia has them.

David Martin: Iran?

Scott Littlefield: Iran has them.

David Martin: North Korea?

Scott Littlefield: Yes.

David Martin: I think I get the picture.

Scott Littlefield: Yes.

But of everything we saw, tiny Perdix is closest to being ready to go operational – if it passes its final exam.  Will Roper and his team of desert rats are about to attempt to fly the largest autonomous swarm ever: 100 Perdix drones.

Will Roper: This is one of the riskiest, most exciting things that’s going on right now in the Pentagon.

Risky not only because the swarm would be more than three times larger than anything Roper’s ever done before but also because 60 Minutes is here to record the outcome for all to see.

David Martin: Why are you letting us watch?

Will Roper: Couple of reasons, David, I, I, when this first came up, I have, I have to be honest with you, my first response was, “That sound, sounds like a horrible idea.”  Right? I mean, it’s just human nature.  I, I don’t want this to fail on camera. But I did not like the fear of failure being my only reason for not letting you be here. And we also wanted the world to see that we’re doing some new things.

This time, the Perdix will be launched from three F-18 jet fighters, just as they would on a real battlefield.

Will Roper: There they are.

David Martin: Yup.

Will Roper: All right. A little piece, a little piece of the future.

The F-18s are traveling at almost the speed of sound, so the first test for Perdix is whether they will survive their violent ejection into the atmosphere.

[Radio: Complete…104 alive.]

Will Roper: That’s 104 in the swarm, David.

David Martin: 104 alive.

Will Roper: That’s 100 swarm. There they are.  You see them?

David Martin: Yeah, yeah.

Will Roper: Look at them, Look at them.

Will Roper: They flash in the sun as the come into view.

David Martin: There’s a – oh yeah.

As the Perdix descend in front of our cameras, they organize themselves into a tighter swarm. Imagine the split-second calculations a human would have to make to keep them from crashing into each other.

Will Roper: Look at that!  It’s just everywhere you look it’s coming into view.  It does feel like a plague of locusts.

Will Roper: So they’re running out of battery.

There are reams of data that still have to be analyzed but roper is confident Perdix passed its final exam.

[Radio: One vehicle down.]

And could become operational as early as this year.

David Martin: I’ve heard people say that autonomy is the biggest thing in military technology since nuclear weapons. Really?

Will Roper: I think I might agree with that, David. I mean, if what we mean is biggest thing is something that’s going to change everything, I think autonomy is going to change everything.

Agenda 21: The Elite Plan for Global Tyranny

If you’ve found your way to this humble outpost of truth, you might have noticed the world around you is beginning to not make any sense. Up is down, left is right, black is white. Part of the reason for the chaos is the fact George Soros and other elites are organizing camera-ready protests, then bringing two sides of extremists together to clash while pinning the blame on one side.

This agenda has been going on for years. (Ferguson, San Jose, Charlotte, et al.) So, it’s worse than what happened in Charlottesville. What’s more, almost every “news” item one sees in the mainstream media is a farce, a marvel of the Hegelian dialectic intended to accomplish goals of elites paying talking heads to read propaganda before they swoop in like vultures with “solutions.” These false flags and psyops are designed to create division and to implode the remnants of the American republic. We are entering the advanced stages of a long-term elite plan for a so-called post-democratic, post-industrial world. It is to be a world constrained by a tightly controlled, planned economy. In essence, global Communism is its aim.

The irony that the U.S. and Russia have so dramatically switched roles in the world since 1991 is all the more astounding, in that the U.S. is now making concrete steps to enforce its brand of totalitarianism on the world and Russia is making strides towards democracy, nationalism, and national identity once prized by America.

It now seems the Cold War was a fight over who would get to take over the world first, not the trite freedom vs. tyranny narrative American statesmen sold us for half a century. The U.S. used the power of the free market to take advantage of the economic weaknesses of Socialism, only to make a stunning about-face once the Soviet threat died and the world lay before the American elite as spoil.

The bleak future of American-style global Socialism (and later, Communism) is what many have dubbed The New World Order. One of the key ways global tyranny is being implemented is through Agenda 21. Not enough people know the truth of what Agenda 21 really is, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 as a “voluntary” (it’s not) agreement to create a world run by the elite in which each citizen is as interchangeable as a piston rod (to paraphrase Howard Beale) and every bit as expendable.

Most think Agenda 21 is just another crazy conspiracy theory, although in modern times, conspiracy theories are beginning to make more sense than the unending stream of lies from corporate media.

Looking back, the transition from a free society to a society run by tyrants began 100 years ago with the creation of the Federal Reserve, effectively handing over the power to create money to a private bank. As the Rothschild family knows, and Nathan Rothschild once said:

Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.

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The Barbary Slave trade culminated in 1 to 1.25 million white Christians being enslaved by black Muslims between 1500-1800

Indeed, those who control the purse strings make the rules. But, the ball really got rolling on the agenda to topple American democracy and replace it with worldwide tyranny after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the institution of mass feminism, and the scapegoating of whites for the crime of slavery (which all races participated in – the first American slave owner was a black man, and there was the Barbary slave trade in which Africans enslaved millions of Europeans between 1500-1800) as an offshoot of the Civil Rights movement. It’s no coincidence all this happened in the 1960s.

The current obsession with the slavery narrative in the brainwashed world of the corporate media is intended to start small, strategic fires around the foundation of the American republic with the removal of Confederate statues, then progress into a big, roaring flame culminating in the burning of modern Rome. The slavery narrative is the perfect Trojan Horse, since the Founding Fathers were slave owners when they formed the American republic.

The slavery narrative is intended to ultimately debase and destroy the United States Constitution.

No matter how noble the aims of the authors of the founding documents were, how they inspired the world and how rare the gifts they bestowed on the masses have been in the course of human history, the lobotomized narrative is the fruit of their labor must be discarded because it is “tainted” by their participation in an economic system that dominated the entire world at the time. Slavery, as horrible as it was, and is, was the entire world’s economic system for thousands of years. (Interestingly, only 5% of the African slave trade came to the U.S. and the rest went to Latin America! Yet another fact the Anglo-American media cartel refuse to acknowledge!)

The elite intend to enslave mankind by decrying slavery. This is just how diabolical the plan the American elites have for the world really is.

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One of the NWO blueprints, in which a central planning agency decides where people can and cannot live

Agenda 21

The supreme hypocrisy of media narratives is the fact talking heads condemn a world run by white men, but the New World Order will result in world run by rich white men once again – a 1% which is ostensibly the same 1% that owned slaves in the first place (99% of whites never owned slaves). If there plans are realized and the U.S. Constitution is dissolved, thus begins a downward slide into hell on earth. Here are key bullet points that are part of Agenda 21. It’s aims are anti-life and anti-humanity:

  • Ending national sovereignty
  • Constant surveillance of all activity
  • State planning of all land resources
  • Ensuring global equity (equal slavery)
  • Elites only defining the role of business and finance
  • Abolishing private property
  • Restructuring the family unit (i.e. destroying it)
  • The State raising children rather than moms and dads
  • The State choosing jobs for citizens
  • Restricting movement (Think TSA on steroids)
  • Creating “Human Settlement Zones”
  • Beginning mass resettlement and forced eviction
  • Dumbing down (even further) education
  • Mass global depopulation (killing billions)

All these goals are being worked on piecemeal, as the economy is inflated and then crashed in concentric rings with the noose slowly tightening around the West’s throat as living and working conditions worsen with each generation. The above goals are the antithesis of what America is supposed to stand for, and each legislator who has supported them in the past and supports them today are treasonous scum.

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We must be this generation’s Paul Reveres, alerting the masses to the danger the American government is placing them in

We Are The Resistance

If Agenda 21 realized, we will live in a world in which the individual is finished. Man nor woman will have any control over their own lives, as electronic slavery is unleashed on the world via RFID chips. The State and the henchmen who finance it in the corporate world will have total control over the populace. Indeed, Agenda 21 realized could lead to the end of the human species itself.

How do we resist? We went searching for answers. Interestingly, the Jeremiah Project proposes one of the most viable short-term solutions. It offers a three-pronged course of action for those awakened men who see what’s coming. It says the awakened man must:

  1. First, he must defend himself by protest, i.e., legal action.
  2. Second, he must flee if at all possible,
  3. Third, he may use force if necessary to defend himself.

The full treatise of the plan of action to resist the NWO is available here. As TNMM has repeatedly written, we must not let ourselves be divided any longer on matters of race, gender, sexuality, and other wedge issues designed by the planners of Agenda 21 and The New World Order to keep us fighting amongst ourselves while they dissolve any remaining freedom we enjoy. From the Jeremiah Project:

We must reject the collectivist idea of “divide and conquer” and instead accept ALL men as equals. We need to consider the words of Martin Luther King and reject the racist labels put on humanity by those who want to control and dominate us. There is no black, no white, no Hispanic, or whatever when it comes to humanity. Sure, there are those ethnic differences, but those differences are only descriptors of our heritage, not differences in human value. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and we should live our lives that demonstrate that solidarity.

We should encourage whatever talents each person has and allow them the opportunity to express those talents in a way of each person’s choosing.

The controllers of the world know that in order to dominate and control the masses, the easiest way to accomplish this goal is to keep the people divided amongst themselves. Rather than expending valuable resources to conquer a society, the controllers instead pit one another against their neighbors and let them fight amongst themselves, thus destroying their unity.

Unity is strength, always remember that. Here is more sage advice to resist the NWO as the world descends a world electronically controlled darkness, unlike any mankind has ever known:

  • Disconnect from all Establishment media and other sources of Marxist propaganda
  • Seek out like-minded men and help build each other up
  • Self-educate and think critically
  • Learn to recognize the Hegelian Dialectic: Most “problems” are created so the masters can impose preconceived solutions on the masses, stealing their liberty and autonomy
  • Learn to recognize false flags, which have been perpetrated on the public for literally thousands of years
  • Patronize small business rather than multinationals and chains
  • Get your money out of the banks – fractional reserve banking means the bank only has 10% of the sum of all customer deposits available at any one time
  • Reduce the amount of taxes you pay into the system as much as possible by any legal means necessary – this usually means learning to live on less
  • Eat non-GMO food and organics when possible

Of course, these bullet points are only a start when it comes to planning a peaceful resistance movement. The bad news is, we absolutely cannot expect our representatives to do anything except blow hot air as we’ve seen with the Establishment’s moves to maroon Trump on a political island. (Whether he is part of the ruse remains to be seen.)

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Mighty Mouse and The Gobbler aren’t going to save you – Ryan and McConnell are traitors to the American people

Republicans Are Complicit

If the election of Trump has proven anything, it’s the the Republicans are malware. They refuse to move on any of his agenda items despite having an overwhelming mandate as they control more of the United States government than the party has at any time since 1929. It is obvious they are complicit in impaling the heart of the American Republic as Democrat Socialists lead the way. Laurence Vance of the Lew Rockwell blog details how bad Republicans really are:

Republicans are worse than Democrats because they use libertarian rhetoric to deceive conservatives and libertarians into thinking that they actually believe their mantra of the Constitution, limited government, federalism, fiscal conservatism, personal freedom, private property, and the free market.

Just take one issue: the war on drugs. Republicans support it lock, stock, and barrel even though it is not authorized by the Constitution, it increases the size and power of government, it violates the principle of federalism, it wastes billions of dollars a year, it negates personal freedom, it infringes upon property rights, and it is contrary to the free market.

How bad are the Republicans in Congress? The few that are good are very, very good. The many that are bad are horrid.

The only thing Americans could possibly do to drain the swamp at this point is to elect an entirely new Congress, throwing every Republican and Democrat currently in office out on their asses. That simply won’t happen. Re-election rates for incumbents are high, despite the fact their approval ratings are low. The shuck and jive still works for those holding the levers of power.

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Leaving America may just buy you some time

Go Minimalist Now, Expat if Possible

The best advice for those planning for the worst is to go minimalist now if you haven’t already. Destroy your debt. Stay out of debt. Live on less. Downsize from a McMansion to a smaller home. Don’t buy new cars. Stockpile money and diversify your investments. Plan for the worst, because the current economic bubble we are in will be imploded just as all the rest were imploded since the advent of the Federal Reserve, by design.

Future articles will expound on what men can do to safeguard their own lives and those of their loved ones.

If you haven’t made strides to expat and take the fruit of your labor with you, now might be a good time to speed up that agenda. At least it will give one breathing room and a buffer zone when the inevitable conflagration begins in the United States. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be here when Martial Law is declared and mass chipping of the public begins.

Falling back at least gives men time to regroup and come up with a new plan, since we are painfully behind the 8-ball as earnest efforts to de-legitimize the U.S. government begin. As we either try to weather the storm or fall back and regroup, when making our plans we must always remember one sage piece of wisdom. As the Founding Fathers knew: Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.

 

Locus says, “the only solution is the complete and total end of all involvement in the UN and similar organizations, and the withdraw of all western nations from any and all involvement with non-white nations. All political elites and corporate leadership and their families must be liquidated, deportation of non-whites (especially non-white males), and anti-white populations within the west must be relocated to controlled zones for reeducation for those who can be, and termination of those who refuse to submit to white male rule.”

SPLC mocks white victims of Genocide in South Africa.

SPLC mocks white victims of Genocide in South Africa.

http://cofcc.org/

Don’t worry, says SPLC, black people are only killing whites because they want to steal from them. It’s not hatred or genocide. The dead guy is a victim of a love crime!

SPLC posts absurd and hate filled rebuttal to the numerous protests against South African Genocide.

What did you expect from a group that equated the American Family Associated to the Ku Klux Klan and says Lord of the Rings is a racially offensive movie?

The radical left-wing SPLC denied claims by major International Human Rights organizations that whites face genocide in South Africa. The SPLC lays out it’s alternative explanation. You see blacks in South Africa only want to steal from whites and sometime kill them in the process. The SPLC suggests that the whites are not victims of hatred or genocide, but victims of robbery. Then the SPLC cites ANC propaganda that white people caused it all. The ANC is the very organization that is actively promoting and encouraging hatred against white people. This includes singing songs like “Kill the Boer (white people)” at huge ANC rallies.

This is nothing new. The SPLC has mocked and insulted white victims of racially motivated hate crimes in the United States.

The SPLC then claims that white people who are protesting the Genocide in South Africa are “neo-nazis.” To back this claim, they cite one guy in Louisiana with a website. They say he is an ex-con and a member of an obscure “neo-nazi” group that no one has ever heard off. We did some searching and can’t find any evidence that there was a protest in Louisiana, or that the guy named by the SPLC had anything to do with organizing any of the protests that occurred around the US. The SPLC then rants about two other people they say is connected to the first guy. We googled their names. One is dead and the other appears to be in prison. So obviously neither of the those two organized any protests. Nice detective work SPLC!

Look at this comment that the SPLC allowed someone to post on their website! This was in response to the SPLC mocking the victims of Genocide in South Africa. Look at the poster’s name. “Antifa” is a violent Marxist gang that has committed violent attacks on conservatives all over the world.

The protests against South African genocide are part of a worldwide effort launched in Europe. In the United States, the protests were organized primarily on facebook. We can’t find any evidence that the ex-con named by the SPLC played any significant role whatsoever. It is simply some guy with a website that redistributed information from other sources.

To show you how much integrity the SPLC has, check out this story. A while back, the Associated Press ran a fake story claiming that Rosa Parks was the victim of an attempted rape by a white employer when she was young. CofCC.org immediately debunked the story as a hoax. The SPLC posted a tirade on their website attacking CofCC.org for debunking the hoax. Yet, at the same time they admit in the condemnation that we “might” be right. Well, in short order, the Rosa Parks institute also denounced the story as a complete and utter hoax. The SPLC had claimed that CofCC.org might be right about the story being a hoax, but “the answer died with Parks in 2005.” Well, we did know. The Associated Press writer faked the evidence. Every single aspect of the story was a hoax.

The fact that the SPLC would condemn someone for exposing a very blatant, obvious, and racially incendiary hoax shows they are completely without any moral compass.

The fake Rosa Parks story:
CofCC.org exposes the story as a hoax.
SPLC attacks CofCC.org for exposing story as a hoax.
Rosa Park Institute denounces AP hoax as an even bigger hoax than originally reported by CofCC.org

Mandela health problems renew fears of mass genocide in South Africa.

A common racial abuse that blacks hurl at white people in South Africa is “wait until Mandela dies.” This stems from a common belief among black South Africans, and some American blacks, that the all out mass genocide of whites will begin when Nelson Mandela dies. Militant black South Africans believe that they have yet to experience the “Uhuru” that came to other African nations in the 1960s. This “Uhuru” was usually marked by mass murder and a catastrophic collapse of society.

Below, Khallid Muhammed describes the “Uhuru” plan for South Africa.

This is Khallid Muhammed died in 2001. He was the National Youth Minister for the Nation of Islam and the Leader of the New Black Panther Party. He was publicly supported by Al Sharpton and Sharpton paid $10,000 to cover the cost of his funeral. Major black politicians like Keith Ellison, and black celebrities like Ice Cube were vocal public supporters of Muhammed and his violent rhetoric.

Notice Muhammed spits on Nelson Mandela and considers him a weakling for not having led a mass murder of white people himself. In other parts of the video Muhammed praises the campaign of violence and murder led by Winnie Mandela and endorses the “necklacing” of blacks “snitches and sellouts.”

Winnie Mandela’s horrific campaign of necklacing. She was found guilty of being an accomplish in the murder of a 14-year-old black boy. She was ordered to pay a fine. In 1998, the South African government declared that she “politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights.” Nothing happened to her. In fact, she ran for parliament and won. She was convicted of election fraud in 2003, but allowed to run for re-election anyway. She still holds her seat in parliament.

“With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country” – Winnie Mandela 1986.

 

Know The Enemy

Know The Enemy

http://cofcc.org/

Any Questions?

Obama spends $1.6 million tax dollars for Atzlan murals.

This hideous anti-America “mural” brought to you by the Obama administration with US tax dollars.

The Obama administration loves America so much that they spent $1.6 million of your money to “restore” trashy “Chicano Nationalist” graffiti murals in California.

The murals depict the Latino conquest and breaking up of the southwestern United States. They also pay tribute to Fidel Castro and mass murderer Che Guevara.

This is all part of an effort by the Obama administration to mobilize radical Latinos to get to the polls in 2012. Obama is abandoning white voters and plans to run a non-whites vs. the white man re-election campaign.

Click Here.

Eric Holder vilifies whites at NAACP rally.

From Examiner.com…

While few other groups would welcome the Attorney General speak at their event, the NAACP did. His speech remained true to his usual pattern of vilifying white people. He claimed that South Carolina’s new voter ID law is an attack on minorities.

The AG is cuurently blocking South Carolina’s voter ID law from going into effect. Holder said the “achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang in the balance” because of the voter ID law.

Holder categorized the voter ID law as “racially discriminatory” and part of “overt and subtle forms of discrimination” that “remain all too common.”

Teen struggles to live after huge mob attack by immigrants.

A huge mob of Latino immigrants, screaming in Spanish, attacked a group of three white teens in Orange County, CA. One of the victims had his head smashed in by multiple blows from bricks. He is comatose in critical condition. His father rushed into the attack and drug his son away and the Latino thugs beat him as well.

From Patch.com…

Three suspects — Filiberto Thomas Cordova, 23, Francisco Javier Sanchez, 29, and Gilberto Velazquez, 29 — have been charged with attempted murder and assault in the case. In addition, Velazquez and Sanchez face felony street terrorism charges for their alleged affiliation with the San Clemente-related Varrio Chico street gang, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman did not return messages seeking confirmation that the charges were related to Friday’s assault, but the date and details in the D.A. complaint match up with the accounts of five witnesses interviewed by San Clemente Patch.

The brawl, which erupted around 11 p.m. near the corner of Avenida Rosa and Avenida Victoria, involved more than a dozen people, according to witnesses, police reports and fire officials.

Dan Jacobsen, one of the victims, got involved after hearing a commotion outside his apartment and running outside, where he saw his 19-year-old son and two friends arguing with several other men.

Suddenly, a white, two-door Chevy pickup sped to the stop sign at the end of Rosa from the direction of El Camino Real, and several men got out, he said.

Jacobsen, who pulled away some of the attackers and was injured in the process, said he dragged his son — who had been knocked unconscious — to the concrete stairs of their apartment, where a faint bloodstain remained Tuesday.

Jacobsen said it was then he saw the attackers descend en masse on the victim who is now comatose.

“They were beating on him,” Jacobsen said. “[The man in the coma] got hit at least three times.”

The media insults the victims by calling it “a brawl.” If the races had been reversed, this would be the biggest news story in the nation.

 

 

 

 

London Telegraph: EU not meant to be a democracy.

London Telegraph: EU not meant to be a democracy.

London Telegraph calls EU a “planned technocracy” of bankers and elitists.

http://cofcc.org/

From London Telegraph…

So, as headlines scream that vain bids to save the euro threaten us with “Armageddon”, the EU’s ruling elite has toppled two more elected prime ministers, to replace them with technocratic officials who can be trusted to do Brussels’s bidding.

The new Greek prime minister, Lucas Papademos, was the man who, as head of Greece’s central bank, fiddled the figures to enable Greece to get into the euro (against the rules) in the first place – before being rewarded with a senior post in the European Central Bank. He is no more democratically elected than Mario Monti, who will most likely be Italy’s new prime minister and had hurriedly to be made a “senator for life” to qualify him for the job. Monti’s main qualification is that, as a former senior EU Commissioner, he has long been a member of the Brussels elite himself.

One of the few pleasures of watching this self-inflicted shambles unfolding day by day has been to see the panjandrums of the Today programme, James Naughtie and John Humphrys, at last beginning to ask whether the EU is a democratic institution. Had they studied the history of the object of their admiration, they might long ago have realised that the “European project” was never intended to be a democratic institution.

Fall of the American Empire

The American Empire is falling off a cliff.

Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, look at gold’s standing ovation for the Obama-Boehner debt ceiling theater. In the second half of the show, Max talks to Stefan Molyneux about the Fed audit and the debt ceiling.
KR on FB: http://www.facebook.com/KeiserReport

 

WHY AND HOW AMERICA MUST COLLAPSE

by Kirk Brothers

CLICK HERE to return to Index

INTRODUCTION

     To anyone with a penchant for history, it is obvious that
our once-great nation is dying--and the end will not be peaceful.
The United States, like an aging star, must first collapse, and
then explode, in a final burst of energy that will be awesome to
behold.
     Alternatively, to pursue our astronomical metaphor for one
more sentence, the United States might by that dreadful time have
become so massive from the dead weight of political corruption
that it will end as a black hole, from which nothing can escape.
     This grim prophetic view of our destiny will, of course, be
laughed off by those who habitually refuse to see the truth even  
when it walks up and spits in their faces--but happily, I do not
expect to live long enough to see the end, which is inevitable.
     The signs of our bleak future are to be seen everywhere, and
it is our national tragedy that neither our alleged leaders nor
the majority of the people are intelligent enough to recognize
them.  For what it is worth, this article will point out the
facts, if only for the benefit of future generations who must
pick up the pieces of rubble and try to decide what to do with
our junk.  It is my hope--albeit a forlorn one--that my articles
may survive long enough to serve as documentary evidence of
exactly who and what were to blame.

THE ROOT CAUSES

     Let's begin with Malthus (1766-1834)--the Catholic Church
disapproves of Malthus, which is reason enough to hold him in
high esteem.  And by way of introduction, let's recall for a
moment the innumerable times you've heard some older person
reminisce about "the good old days"--before you were born.
     Well, the good old days were pretty rotten in some ways, but
on balance they were very good, indeed--for one reason.
     There weren't so damn many people overcrowding this planet!
     Malthus wrote in his classic economic work, AN ESSAY ON THE
PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION, that population increases much faster
than the resources necessary to support them--so that as popula-
tion goes up, the quality of life goes down.  Let me give you a
specific illustration from my own life span.
     I grew up in a little town in Massachusetts at a time when
the country's population stood, fairly constant, at around 120
million people (the latest figure available estimates our numbers
now at some 266 million).  My home town numbered about three
thousand, and there were a number of farms quite close to the
center--which was marked by the Unitarian Church and a row of
about a dozen small stores.
     Less than two blocks from our home on the main street stood
a 60 acre dairy farm where we could buy raw milk.  A mile further
down the main street, a shallow river trickled through what we
called a swamp, but would nowadays be termed a wetland (it sounds
better).  We could catch fish there in the summer, and skate on
its ice in the winter.  During summer vacations, school buses
took us to Red Cross swimming lessons in Walden Pond--where
Thoreau's cabin site was still marked--or we could drive to
Revere Beach to swim in Boston Harbor.  For a day of fun, there
were steamships from Boston to Nantasket Beach for swimming or
amusement rides.
     There were only 120 million people in the entire country
then.
     Well, the old town has changed.  The dairy farm was sold to
make room for a large shopping mall.  The wetlands were drained,
and the river reduced to an underground pipeline, to make room
for a second mall.  Walden Pond has long been so polluted with
human sewage that it is closed to swimming--the same is true of
Boston Harbor beaches.
     The town's population is at least 15,000 nowadays, or about
five times what it was in "the good old days".  The point is that
the land area remains the same size, but five times as many
people try to live in the space we knew and loved as youngsters. 
And now here's an example of what Malthus was talking about, in a
simple everyday example.
     Suppose you're having a family dinner and you've baked a pie
for dessert.  If there are six in the family, everybody gets a
good slice.  If a seventh person shows up unexpectedly, it's
possible to do some tricky cutting and offer each diner a seventh
instead of a sixth--a little skimpy, but still adequate.
     But suppose there are two extra people.  In that case Mom
says she isn't hungry or is on a diet or some such alibi, and
cuts seven slices, going without dessert herself.  We all had
Moms who made such small sacrifices.
     Okay, now suppose you have thirty people for dinner--five
times as many as you have food for.  Figure it out for yourself.

POPULATION PROBLEMS IN A NUTSHELL

     There are one billion people too many on this planet.
     The best figures available tend to show that two billion is
the maximum number the Earth can sustain if the quality of life
is to be acceptable.  Yet in South America (Latins are predomi-
nately Catholic and therefore opposed to birth control, abortion,
or common sense like Malthus' observations) the population grows
so rapidly that the vast tropical rain forest is being cut down
at an alarming rate.  Loss of the Amazon rain forest will alter
the whole world's climate and ecosystems in a way that cannot be
projected, much less prevented.  The changes will be catastrophic
--but try telling that to people who have too many children to
feed and house, and are stupid enough to argue that "nobody needs
a jungle".
     In brief, the human race is fornicating itself into extinc-
tion, and nothing can possibly improve significantly until one
person out of every three now alive dies without being replaced
at the world food table.  But just try telling that to the Pope.

WHAT ELSE COULD BE WRONG?

     Very simple.  It is an absolute and unquestionable fact that
fully one half of the world's population is below average in
intelligence.  The figure is the same for each and every country,
without exception.
     Okay, so I'll prove it--and here's the proof.  What is the
definition of the word "average"?
     It's a mathematical or statistical concept which determines
the midpoint in any population--and if you calculate a midpoint,
one half must fall above and one half below the average--obvious.
     Okay, what does that mean in the world of politics?
     It means that elections are decided by the stupid.
     It means that laws are made and enforced by and for the
stupid.
     It means that intelligence counts for nothing, because the
majority of those voting don't understand what the intelligent
are talking about.  And by intelligent, I mean those smart enough
for college work--with IQs of 120 or higher.
     Let me give you an example.  In the first three articles in
this series, I proved that Social Security (and therefore that
virtually every major government program) is blatantly unconsti-
tutional--that our Federal Courts are so corrupted by party
politics that Judges refuse to address that question--and, worst
of all, that we have had no valid Constitution for at least 150
years.
     Suppose you want me to prove it here and now, in a half-
dozen well-chosen sentences of less than ten words each.  I can't
--simply because it took about 30 pages, single spaced, to prove
it there, and stupid people don't want to read 30 pages of
anything except sex novels.  They want the news in headlines with
the important events summarized in 10-second sound bites, so as
to have lots of time for the latest scores and sports action.
     Why?  Because they're stupid.
     Who caters to the stupid?
     Well, our politicians--the mass media--the academic airheads
who dictated the Conventional Unwisdom that is leading our
country to economic collapse--and our government-controlled
schools--to start the list.
     In any rational society, laws would be made exclusively by
the wise, leaders would be only the wisest men and women in the
nation, there would be a mere handful of laws, based upon
universal principles easy for all to understand, applied by
Judges who are both wise and unprejudiced--and only those with
IQs of at least 110 would have the right to vote.  
     If these standards be reasonable, by which one of them does
ours qualify as a rational society?

FALLACIES OF THE STUPID

     The list is virtually endless, but let's look at just a few
of the most important ones, because they impinge on our lives in
the most nefarious ways each and every day.
     It should be common knowledge that most Americans (or other
people worldwide) will choose a pleasant lie over an unpleasant
truth.  By making that choice, they believe they have done the
right thing, and they don't want any intelligent person to point
out their mistakes.
     They won't trouble their brains to read this article, but
I'll point out some of them, anyway.  I list them in no particu-
lar order of importance--I believe they're all valid observa-
tions.

NOBODY WANTS EQUALITY

     We were all taught to respect the idea that we are all
equal, at least under law.  But nobody would be satisfied with
that idea, even if it were true.
     Why?
     Because equality means you're exactly the same as your worst
enemy.  He has exactly the same rights you have, and you have no
more political power than he does.
     Nobody wants to be equal to his worst enemy.  And so Bible-
belt fanatics persist in trying to shove Christianity into public
schools by hook or by crook--heterosexual fanatics persist in
passing laws to punish homosexuals--gun control fanatics persist
in destroying the priceless right of the Second Amendment--
ignoramuses who view "drugs" as evil persist in passing more and
more stupid laws to prevent even moderate use of substances which
clearly have great medicinal value--and so on.
     Fanatics want to be "more equal" than the people they hate,
for one reason or another.  But a Libertarian (of which I am
proud to be one) believes that government must adopt the princi-
ple of laissez faire--letting people DO WHAT THEY WANT, as long
as they do no injury to OTHERS (what injury they might do to
themselves is their own fault, and society is NOT to blame!).
     Bad habits might be deplored, but to outlaw them is to put
Mrs. Grundy in the driver's seat, where she is absolutely out of
place.  Mrs. Grundy wants to PROHIBIT things which many people
like, simply because she feels superior for not liking the same
things.  She is stupid, and a bigot to boot.

NOBODY IS SATISFIED, EVER

     I hold it to be self-evident that nobody is happy with what
he already has (except for those rare individuals who have seen
the fallacy in pursuing what erroneously passes for wealth).
     All too often a person says that if he could only make so
much money he'd be satisfied.  He goes on strike and gets the
money he demanded.  And then it's not enough.  He strikes again
to get more.
     Or a young man says that if he could get a new Ford he'd be
happy.  He gets a new Ford.  And then he wants a Mercury instead.
Or a newlywed couple say they'll be happy in a nice apartment. 
But don't worry--in a year they'll want a house.  Perhaps because
all their friends have houses, and they have to keep up with
them.
     The love of money might not be the root of all evil, but
it's at least the seed.  The greed shown by many Americans
indulging themselves in conspicuous overconsumption has unfortu-
nately caused the peoples of underdeveloped nations to want the
same things--increasing demand for more and more consumer goods
at prices which are excessive to begin with, and are inflated
even more by the increased demand.
     In "the good old days", a loaf of bread cost about ten cents
if a supermarket brand, or fifteen cents if a "name" brand.  Now
a loaf of bread costs more than a dollar at a bakery thrift shop. 
Twenty cents used to buy a quart of milk, or a can of soup, or a
gallon of gas.  A new family car, of sturdy steel and easy to fix
oneself, used to cost well under a thousand dollars.
     In what way are today's prices an indication of improvement
in our economic well-being, according to the Conventional
Mistakes of our lunatic economists?  Only that people have more
dollars to spend.  But the dollar is worth less, so nobody bene-
fits, except those who live on over-extended credit--of which our
government is the prime example.  And the more world population
increases, the worse everything gets.
     Malthus understated his case.

THE FALLACIES OF ECONOMICS

     Most Americans appear to be suckers for anyone with a degree
in anything.  A prime example of this is their gullibility for
anything labeled "economic" in any terminology.  The government
issues monthly fiction called things like "cost of living index"
or "consumer price index", etc., but they all boil down to hot
air and wishful thinking.  I submit as fact, which few will
accept, that the so-called science of economics is 90% garbage
which should be tossed in the garbage can.  Here's why.
     There are basically two types of science: descriptive and
experimental.  Some sciences are both.  A botanist like Luther
Burbank, for example, first learns to classify and identify
plants (descriptive), and then learns by experiment to develop
new and/or improved varieties by selective reproduction
techniques.
     But some sciences do not lend themselves to experimentation. 
Geology is one.  A geologist describes earthquakes but does not
try to control or cause one--he's lucky to be able to predict
aftershocks from a major tremor.  Similarly, a meteorologist
describes hurricanes and tornadoes but cannot control them--
prediction is the best he can hope for.
     Economics is also a descriptive science--which applies
useful terms to human behavior in acts of getting and spending
money--and may lead to meaningful predictions.  But it is of
value only if it is studied in a context of conservative common
sense (which is not common), or a practical application like
business administration.
     Unfortunately for all of us, economists for more than 60
years have fooled Americans into believing that theirs is an
experimental science, and that the economy can be controlled.
That delusion has been so deeply ingrained in Americans' mind-set
for 60 years that eradicating the error is a virtually impossible
task.  Nevertheless I'll give it a try.

THE ECONOMY CANNOT BE CONTROLLED

     What is "the economy"?  It's the sum total of each and every
consensual contract between each and every person, in the course
of doing business of any kind--from buying a hamburger at
McDonald's to selling a thousand shares of blue chip stocks on
Wall Street.  There are literally millions of such transactions
each and every day, and it is absolutely impossible to even list
them, much less make decisions about their effect on other
transactions.  The fact is that the staggering number of economic
transactions in a single day would surpass the capacity of the
largest computer to extract and manipulate data.
     So economists do what they think is almost as good.  They
use statistics and propaganda.
     We used to joke that there are three grades of lies: little
white lies, big black lies, and statistics--the joke being that
statistics can be used to prove anything the statistician wants
to prove.  He simply "adjusts" his "data" and sets up the numbers
to give him his desired results.
     Does this sound familiar?  The government issues some
damfool economic summary, predicting that next quarter will be
much better or worse than this one.  The prediction turns out to
be wrong.  So the government "revises" its index to "reflect"
more "accurately".  And millions of Americans (the stupid ones)
smile in satisfaction at the wisdom of our leaders.
     There would be another problem if economics were a truly
experimental science: the only way one could control the economy
would be to regulate EVERYTHING (and don't think they're not
trying it already)!  That would mean tinkering in everybody's
business, laying down thousands of laws and rules governing how
one runs his company--and punishing people who either don't know
all the rules, or have the attitude that our stinking, lousy,
meddling government should get the hell off our backs and LEAVE
US ALONE!
     Economists are the greatest (worst) meddlers in the world,
and the tragedy is they meddle in order to "prove" a theory that
by the rules of logic cannot be proved.  Economists appear to
believe that a free market is not to be trusted.  Libertarians
hold that ONLY a free market is to be trusted--not self-serving,
empire-building bureaucrats on a power trip.  Laissez faire
again.

WHAT ECONOMISTS NEVER TELL YOU

     Every true science has laws which can be demonstrated time
and again by students anywhere at any time.  For example, in
physics a student performs simple experiments (in the beginning)
to prove the laws of magnetism or gravity.  Economics has no
"hands on" test for anything it preaches, but presumes its laws
to be carved in stone by the finger of God.  And many courses in
economics omit facts which should be common knowledge to anyone
interested in his personal economic security.  Here's one such
example.
     Let's assume you had a million dollars to spend last year,
so you invested it in an original Picasso oil.  Art experts
appraised the work as worth more than two million--but you got a
bargain.
     Your original Picasso is hanging on your dining-room wall so
you can admire it, and you are so happy with it you aren't at all
interested in selling it.  It's given you a million dollars'
worth of pleasure so far, perhaps.
     Question: how much is your Picasso worth now?
     Answer: not a dime.
     Why?  Because you don't want to sell it.
     The value of anything is determined only when it is traded,
and its value is exactly what the seller will take and the buyer
will pay.  As a matter of fact, art values are totally fictitious
--because collectors are notorious for putting an art work such
as a Picasso on the auction block every few years, bidding the
price up above others at the sale, and buying it back.  There's a
commission on the sale price, but that's all it costs them.  In
return, it is now a matter of record that the painting increased
in value by so many thousands of dollars between auctions.  That
proves it's a good investment, right?
     Well, is it?  Here's a well-known anecdote reputed to be a
true-life story.  After the Communist revolution in Russia, many
of the old wealthy families (who could not leave the Soviet Union
and take their wealth with them) were down on their uppers, and
in a bad way for basic things like food.
     So one day a man of prior wealth decided to sacrifice part
of it, by bartering his beautiful Faberge egg--an artifact for
which the Age of the Tsars was noted.  It was hand-painted,
decorated with precious gems, and had cost a fortune in the old
days.  The man covered his priceless egg in a protective cloth
and carefully took it by horse and buggy to a farm on the
outskirts of Moscow where he hoped to exchange it for food.
     When he told the farmer what he wanted and what he offered,
the farmer sneered and offered a sack of potatoes.  The former
nobleman was shocked at the offer--until the farmer beckoned his
customer to the door of an adjoining room.
     The table, the shelves, and the floor of the next room were
littered with a vast collection of Faberge china--all beautiful,
and all useless to the farmer, who could not sell them any more
than the nobleman could.  The nobleman took the sack of potatoes.
     And you think you have security because you've invested in
comic books--having paid, perhaps, a hundred dollars for a copy
of the first Batman story in "new" condition?  Well, the person
who paid ten cents for it, and kept it carefully for future
collectors, made a killing on his investment--but as a general
rule most art collectors are loaded with expensive, yet worth-
less, items they can never recoup their investment on.
     One man I met has a collection of miniature elephants in
many sizes, materials, and poses.  He honestly believes them to
be worth what he paid for them, plus a profit.  But if a Faberge
egg could be worth a sack of potatoes, how much could an elephant
statue demand?  Think about it.
     There is an excellent paperback book called "Economics in
One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt, a journalist like myself, whose
style and illustrative examples are a pleasure to read.  I will
not steal his thunder, but I should like to give him credit for
two points which I must re-argue in my own discussion.
     To paraphrase Hazlitt, economists are prone to "prove" their
theories by showing you only one side of a two-faced coin--the
side favorable to their theory, and the only one they want you to
think about.  In that way they are like magicians who show the
audience an impressive box of sturdy construction, which they
open to show full of money--but fail to show that the box has no
bottom, and the money is on a spring inside a special table the
box is set upon.
     In arguments over various hare-brained proposals, economists
like to show you the "heads" of a coin--namely, WHO GETS WHAT--
and argue, using every propaganda trick in the book, to show how
"good" their proposal is.  But they never show you the "tails"
side, which is WHO LOSES.
     The true science of mathematics is based upon the law that
you cannot get something for nothing--but the pseudo-science
economics pretends you can.  During the hard times of the 1930's,
truth-telling mathematics offered only unpleasant reality, but
New Deal economics promised pie in the sky--something for
nothing--a pleasant lie.  So stupid people chose the pleasant
lie, and voted for Franklin Delano Rooselvelt four times.  And
here we are now, seeing what was on the other side of the New
Deal coin.
     Economists occasionally "prove" their wisdom by the propa-
ganda fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc (meaning "after that,
therefore because of that").  For example, say that three months
ago the "Fed" lowered interest rates, and the economy improved.
"Hooray!" they say, "lowering the interest rates caused the
improvement".
     First, and in passing, let's stop to think if we really give
a damn about the Fed's raising or lowering of the interest rate. 
What the hell has it ever meant to you?  Only what you heard
somebody say on the news, I'll bet.  When the news tells you
everything is great, do you really believe it?  If so, what's
your IQ?
     But let's get back to the fallacy of "after that, therefore
because of that".  The fallacy is to leave out all other events
and facts that might indicate the true cause.  An example more
easily seen as a fallacy is that of a superstitious farmer who
plants corn after the new moon and before the full moon.  If he
gets a good crop, he says it's because he planted his seed after
the new moon and before the full moon (ignoring weather, fertili-
zing, etc.).  
     The economic fallacy of concern to us is the failure of our
government to admit the obvious fact that if something is "free"
to some people, it's being paid for by others.  Or, as a simple
variation, it will be paid for in the future by the next genera-
tions.  Social Security, as shown in the first article in this
series, was "sold" by Franklin Delano Roosevelt by golden rheto-
ric dwelling on its short-term "benefits".  Roosevelt himself
ignored the real (long run) cost of those "benefits", and the
final price will be the total economic collapse of the United
States in a few decades or less.

OTHER OMISSIONS IN ECONOMICS

     Economics mentions barter more or less in passing, and
quickly dismisses it as irrelevant--a mere holdover from primi-
tive times in economic history.  The fact is that barter is still
the basis for every transaction, but most people don't bother to
perform the rituals of asking price, offered price, and negotia-
tion--in fact, they've never tried "dickering" over the price, or
think it's not dignified.  Barter demands aggressiveness which we
regard as antisocial, but is absolutely necessary if and when
money is worthless.
     When is that?  Well, in Australia today there are some
tribes in the Outback who still don't use money.  They exchange
goods or services for goods or services, by mutual agreement. 
People from "civilization" who go into the Outback and may need
to obtain food while there are well advised to have trading
goods, like the Dutch who bought Manhattan Island for 24 dollars'
worth of jewelry.

BUTTER AND GUNS

     One of the classic illustrations used in economics is the
real (practical) problem of striking a bargain between parties in
a barter system--the usual example being that of exchanging
butter for guns.  In a barter economy, a gunsmith who needs
butter for his kitchen, and a dairy farmer who needs a shotgun to
shoot crows, must somehow meet face to face to agree on how much
butter is a fair trade for one gun.  Obviously, if a gunsmith
doesn't need butter or a farmer doesn't need a gun, they can't do
business.
     In the dim past, when communities were isolated and trading
was done by traveling merchants, the problems of doing business
were greatly eased by the mercantile invention of money.  It was
the merchant, acting as a go-between, who offered the gunsmith or
the farmer so much symbolic paper or coinage for each man's
goods, and sold each customer what he needed in a monetary
exchange.  The barter was limited to how much money was agreeable
in each separate transaction, not how many pounds of butter for a
gun.
     Money is truly one of the great human inventions, but it was
not the work of a political bureaucracy!  It was only later that
politicians saw the enormous potential in controlling the money
used, and governmental control of money has been universal ever
since.
     That control is the power, and the weakness, of economics--
for if a government collapses, the money in circulation becomes
trash.  It happened in the South after the Civil War, with the
demise of the Confederacy and therefore Confederate money.  It
happened in Germany after World War I, when a wheelbarrow-full of
paper money might be needed for a loaf of bread.
     As part of economists' meddling in matters they do not
understand--like the Sorcerer's Apprentice who conjured a broom
to carry water--they seek to control both the supply of money and
the value of money.  Basically, they want inflation.  Inflation
is good for debtors (which is most of the people), and bad for
creditors (who are held to deserve a little loss, by the morality
of Robin Hood).  Deflation, which nobody really wants to see,
would be a bonanza for creditors and the final straw for debtors
--they would have to pay back more real value than what they
borrowed, rather than less.
     In any rational society, money would be absolutely rock hard
and absolutely beyond the power of any political scheme to change
it a hair.  If one were to borrow ten dollars now, he would have
to pay back the full value of ten dollars, plus agreed interest
for the time borrowed.  If you think that's unfair because you
borrow money, how would you feel if you were the lender?
     There is one, and only one, way I can see that could create
such a rock-hard, non-manipulable monetary system--and it has
been suggested by a number of theoreticians with common sense,
who were therefore called crackpots.  That is, to establish a
money system in which the minimum unit of coinage (one cent, for
example) would be deemed equal to exactly one minute of time
spent at minimal labor.
     Obviously, there can never be one second more or one second
less than sixty minutes in an hour.  Therefore in this system,
the minimum wage would be sixty cents per hour, and all higher
units of money and all contracts would be negotiated in terms of
money at that rate of exchange.  All market prices would be nego-
tiated using this system of hard money as its basis, so that a
person earning the minimum wage could afford a modest lifestyle
(my first job paid me fifteen cents an hour).
     Of course, some people would want to borrow an hour's worth
of work time, and pay it back with fifteen minutes--that's
inflation.  But the short answer to all demands of that nature
must be NO.

WALL STREET

     Stock markets are the biggest gambling casinos in the world.
That's not their public-relations image, but it's the truth. 
Wall Streeters like to pretend they're doing a profound and
patriotic service in helping little Americans buy a piece of the
nation in stocks and bonds.  I submit that such claims are an
earthenware container of organic fertilizer.
     Wall Street is a complex mechanism for manipulating wealth--
in the form of symbolic paper--and its attraction for high
financiers is the lure of a quick killing by buying low and
selling high.  If financiers guess wrong they may jump out
windows--or take a flight out of jurisdiction with embezzled
funds to evade criminal prosecution.  The little Americans who
lose their shirts when the market crashes never know what hit
them.  It happened in 1929, and is due to happen again--despite
the best efforts of economic "experts" to keep it from happening
by more and more controls.
     The fact is that Wall Street is a bubble perilously close to
bursting.  Our economists can't control Wall Street, so how the
hell can they pretend to control anything else?  I'll tell you
how--by bluff and bluster.
     We all know that Social Security will be bankrupt in about
thirty years, and Medicare in about ten, and that our economists
created the mess by meddling in the free market system instead of
letting banking and insurance institutions offer retirement
pensions by consensual contracts.  Now our "experts" admit that
Social Security is in trouble, and their God-given superiority
has advised them exactly how to prop it up.
     Invest in Wall Street--the world's biggest gambling casino!
     And stupid Americans continue to trust them!  How long can
their brains hibernate before they wake up and smell the coffee?

SUMMARIZING FOR THIS TIME

     The Medicare Program will go bankrupt in perhaps ten years,
and Social Security will go down the tubes perhaps twenty years
later--if we're lucky.  These blatant swindles are the legacy of
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and for proof of this statement please
read my previous articles in this series.
     The collapse of our country will be the result of numerous 
interlocking factors, which I have here tried to separate for
individual consideration by thoughtful readers.  The factors are:
     1) The overpopulation of the planet, by about 50% of what it
     should be.
     2) The domination of politics by a two-thirds majority of
     people below IQ 120, who are the least qualified to make
     intelligent political decisions.
     3) The facts (few) and fallacies (many) in the so-called
     science of economics which have contributed to, and continue
     to maintain a moribund national economy which gets worse as
     time passes.
     4) A bit about the psychology of the American people, and
     the propaganda tricks which are used to deceive them.

HOW AMERICA WILL COLLAPSE

     There are two options--neither one desirable--but I cannot
say with certainty which will prevail because I broke my crystal
ball last week, and my Tarot cards are out for repair.
     One possibility is that political revolution will come
first, if apathetic Americans can be galvanized to take decisive
action to force reconstruction of our corrupt bureaucracy at all
levels.  A proposal for the first step is a Constitutional
amendment to bring the American people back into the political
process in a meaningful way.  See THE TIME BOMB IN OUR CONSTITU-
TION for details on our plan to restore freedom and civil rights
in a country which is shown to be a de facto police state, though
not recognized by the mentally retarded majority.
     The second possibility is more likely, in my opinion--
namely, that Americans are too cowardly to take action until
economic collapse becomes a reality.  That collapse will come
with the end of Social Security and the sudden termination of all
welfare programs which bleed all Americans to support the present
corrupt regime.
     With the collapse of government programs and, therefore, the
entire government, the so-called "Domino Effect" will cause a
remorseless chain reaction worldwide.  First, American money will
instantly become as worthless as Faberge eggs, and Wall Street
must crash almost immediately.  With the collapse of Wall Street,
all foreign exchanges must follow as the panic spreads, and our
so-called leaders--a pack of congenital idiots--look, for the
first time, for lifeboats on the S.S. Titanic.  There aren't any,
because the Titanic is unsinkable, right?
     So, must we all sing hymns as the ragtime band plays
"Nearer, My God, to Thee"?

BUT WAIT!  IS THAT A SHIP ON THE HORIZON?!  CAN WE BE SAVED?!

     Maybe.
     It's the U.S. Congress, and if the crew is intelligent
enough to see what needs to be done--and has the courage and
integrity to do it--they might yet be able to keep us afloat and
tow us to shore safely.
     The problem is that the crew of the U.S. Congress has been
on a binge for sixty years, getting drunk with power--that's
always been our problem.  Will there be any heroes on board the
Congress who'll sober up in a hurry and do what has to be done?
     I'll have the script for our eleventh-hour rescue in my next
article.
     But will anybody in Washington read it?

                                      Kirk Brothers

How America will collapse (by 2025)

Four scenarios that could spell the end of the United States as we know it — in the very near future

By Alfred McCoy

How America will collapse (by 2025)



This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.

A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.

But have no doubt: when Washington’s global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.

Significantly, in 2008, the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America’s global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited “the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East” and “without precedent in modern history,” as the primary factor in the decline of the “United States’ relative strength — even in the military realm.” Like many in Washington, however, the Council’s analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American global preeminence, and harbored the hope that somehow the U.S. would long “retain unique military capabilities… to project military power globally” for decades to come.

No such luck. Under current projections, the United States will find itself in second place behind China (already the world’s second largest economy) in economic output around 2026, and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America’s current supply of brilliant scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an ill-educated younger generation.

By 2020, according to current plans, the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass for a dying empire. It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace robotics that represents Washington’s last best hope of retaining global power despite its waning economic influence. By that year, however, China’s global network of communications satellites, backed by the world’s most powerful supercomputers, will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.

Wrapped in imperial hubris, like Whitehall or Quai d’Orsay before it, the White House still seems to imagine that American decline will be gradual, gentle, and partial. In his State of the Union address last January, President Obama offered the reassurance that “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” A few days later, Vice President Biden ridiculed the very idea that “we are destined to fulfill [historian Paul] Kennedy’s prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended.” Similarly, writing in the November issue of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs, neo-liberal foreign policy guru Joseph Nye waved away talk of China’s economic and military rise, dismissing “misleading metaphors of organic decline” and denying that any deterioration in U.S. global power was underway.

Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65 percent of Americans believed the country was now “in a state of decline.”  Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America’s closest economic partners are backing away from Washington’s opposition to China’s rigged currency rates. As the president flew back from his Asian tour last month, a gloomy New York Times headline  summed the moment up this way: “Obama’s Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage, China, Britain and Germany Challenge U.S., Trade Talks With Seoul Fail, Too.”

Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be. In place of Washington’s wishful thinking, let’s use the National Intelligence Council’s own futuristic methodology to suggest four realistic scenarios for how, whether with a bang or a whimper, U.S. global power could reach its end in the 2020s (along with four accompanying assessments of just where we are today). The future scenarios include: economic decline, oil shock, military misadventure, and World War III. While these are hardly the only possibilities when it comes to American decline or even collapse, they offer a window into an onrushing future.

Economic Decline: Present Situation

Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar’s privileged status as the global reserve currency.

By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11 percent of them compared to 12 percent for China and 16 percent for the European Union. There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.

Similarly, American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane. In 2008, the U.S. was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with 232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400 percent increase since 2000. A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the U.S. hit rock bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” during the previous decade. Adding substance to these statistics, in October China’s Defense Ministry unveiled the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one U.S. expert, that it “blows away the existing No. 1 machine” in America.

Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.

Such negative trends are encouraging increasingly sharp criticism of the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency. “Other countries are no longer willing to buy into the idea that the U.S. knows best on economic policy,” observed Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In mid-2009, with the world’s central banks holding an astronomical $4 trillion in U.S. Treasury notes, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev insisted that it was time to end “the artificially maintained unipolar system” based on “one formerly strong reserve currency.”

Simultaneously, China’s central bank governor suggested that the future might lie with a global reserve currency “disconnected from individual nations” (that is, the U.S. dollar). Take these as signposts of a world to come, and of a possible attempt, as economist Michael Hudson has argued, “to hasten the bankruptcy of the U.S. financial-military world order.”

Economic Decline: Scenario 2020

After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world’s reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.

Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace. Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.

Oil Shock: Present Situation

One casualty of America’s waning economic power has been its lock on global oil supplies. Speeding by America’s gas-guzzling economy in the passing lane, China became the world’s number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century. Energy specialist Michael Klare has argued that this change means China will “set the pace in shaping our global future.”

By 2025, Iran and Russia will control almost half of the world’s natural gas supply, which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe. Add petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has warned, in just 15 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could “emerge as energy kingpins.”

Despite remarkable ingenuity, the major oil powers are now draining the big basins of petroleum reserves that are amenable to easy, cheap extraction. The real lesson of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was not BP’s sloppy safety standards, but the simple fact everyone saw on “spillcam”: one of the corporate energy giants had little choice but to search for what Klare calls “tough oil” miles beneath the surface of the ocean to keep its profits up.

Compounding the problem, the Chinese and Indians have suddenly become far heavier energy consumers. Even if fossil fuel supplies were to remain constant (which they won’t), demand, and so costs, are almost certain to rise — and sharply at that. Other developed nations are meeting this threat aggressively by plunging into experimental programs to develop alternative energy sources. The United States has taken a different path, doing far too little to develop alternative sources while, in the last three decades, doubling its dependence on foreign oil imports. Between 1973 and 2007, oil imports have risen from 36 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. to 66 percent.

Oil Shock: Scenario 2025

The United States remains so dependent upon foreign oil that a few adverse developments in the global energy market in 2025 spark an oil shock. By comparison, it makes the 1973 oil shock (when prices quadrupled in just months) look like the proverbial molehill. Angered at the dollar’s plummeting value, OPEC oil ministers, meeting in Riyadh, demand future energy payments in a “basket” of Yen, Yuan, and Euros. That only hikes the cost of U.S. oil imports further. At the same moment, while signing a new series of long-term delivery contracts with China, the Saudis stabilize their own foreign exchange reserves by switching to the Yuan. Meanwhile, China pours countless billions into building a massive trans-Asia pipeline and funding Iran’s exploitation of the world largest percent natural gas field at South Pars in the Persian Gulf.

Concerned that the U.S. Navy might no longer be able to protect the oil tankers traveling from the Persian Gulf to fuel East Asia, a coalition of Tehran, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi form an unexpected new Gulf alliance and affirm that China’s new fleet of swift aircraft carriers will henceforth patrol the Persian Gulf from a base on the Gulf of Oman. Under heavy economic pressure, London agrees to cancel the U.S. lease on its Indian Ocean island base of Diego Garcia, while Canberra, pressured by the Chinese, informs Washington that the Seventh Fleet is no longer welcome to use Fremantle as a homeport, effectively evicting the U.S. Navy from the Indian Ocean.

With just a few strokes of the pen and some terse announcements, the “Carter Doctrine,” by which U.S. military power was to eternally protect the Persian Gulf, is laid to rest in 2025. All the elements that long assured the United States limitless supplies of low-cost oil from that region — logistics, exchange rates, and naval power — evaporate. At this point, the U.S. can still cover only an insignificant 12 percent of its energy needs from its nascent alternative energy industry, and remains dependent on imported oil for half of its energy consumption.

The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane, sending prices to startling heights, making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition, putting real wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from their overseas bases.

Within a few years, the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking toward midnight on the American Century.

Military Misadventure: Present Situation

Counterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures. This phenomenon is known among historians of empire as “micro-militarism” and seems to involve psychologically compensatory efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories, however briefly and catastrophically. These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.

Embattled empires through the ages suffer an arrogance that drives them to plunge ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle. In 413 BCE, a weakened Athens sent 200 ships to be slaughtered in Sicily. In 1921, a dying imperial Spain dispatched 20,000 soldiers to be massacred by Berber guerrillas in Morocco. In 1956, a fading British Empire destroyed its prestige by attacking Suez. And in 2001 and 2003, the U.S. occupied Afghanistan and invaded Iraq. With the hubris that marks empires over the millennia, Washington has increased its troops in Afghanistan to 100,000, expanded the war into Pakistan, and extended its commitment to 2014 and beyond, courting disasters large and small in this guerilla-infested, nuclear-armed graveyard of empires.

Military Misadventure: Scenario 2014

So irrational, so unpredictable is “micro-militarism” that seemingly fanciful scenarios are soon outdone by actual events. With the U.S. military stretched thin from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea, possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.

It’s mid-summer 2014 and a drawn-down U.S. garrison in embattled Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is suddenly, unexpectedly overrun by Taliban guerrillas, while U.S. aircraft are grounded by a blinding sandstorm. Heavy loses are taken and in retaliation, an embarrassed American war commander looses B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of the city that are believed to be under Taliban control, while AC-130U “Spooky” gunships rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire.

Soon, mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques throughout the region, and Afghan Army units, long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war, begin to desert en masse. Taliban fighters then launch a series of remarkably sophisticated strikes aimed at U.S. garrisons across the country, sending American casualties soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, U.S. helicopters rescue American soldiers and civilians from rooftops in Kabul and Kandahar.

Meanwhile, angry at the endless, decades-long stalemate over Palestine, OPEC’s leaders impose a new oil embargo on the U.S. to protest its backing of Israel as well as the killing of untold numbers of Muslim civilians in its ongoing wars across the Greater Middle East. With gas prices soaring and refineries running dry, Washington makes its move, sending in Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf. This, in turn, sparks a rash of suicide attacks and the sabotage of pipelines and oil wells. As black clouds billow skyward and diplomats rise at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back into history to brand this “America’s Suez,” a telling reference to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of the British Empire.

World War III: Present Situation

In the summer of 2010, military tensions between the U.S. and China began to rise in the western Pacific, once considered an American “lake.” Even a year earlier no one would have predicted such a development. As Washington played upon its alliance with London to appropriate much of Britain’s global power after World War II, so China is now using the profits from its export trade with the U.S. to fund what is likely to become a military challenge to American dominion over the waterways of Asia and the Pacific.

With its growing resources, Beijing is claiming a vast maritime arc from Korea to Indonesia long dominated by the U.S. Navy. In August, after Washington expressed a “national interest” in the South China Sea and conducted naval exercises there to reinforce that claim, Beijing’s official Global Times responded angrily, saying, “The U.S.-China wrestling match over the South China Sea issue has raised the stakes in deciding who the real future ruler of the planet will be.”

Amid growing tensions, the Pentagon reported that Beijing now holds “the capability to attack… [U.S.] aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean” and target “nuclear forces throughout… the continental United States.” By developing “offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare capabilities,” China seems determined to vie for dominance of what the Pentagon calls “the information spectrum in all dimensions of the modern battlespace.” With ongoing development of the powerful Long March V booster rocket, as well as the launch of two satellites in January 2010 and another in July, for a total of five, Beijing signaled that the country was making rapid strides toward an “independent” network of 35 satellites for global positioning, communications, and reconnaissance capabilities by 2020.

To check China and extend its military position globally, Washington is intent on building a new digital network of air and space robotics, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and electronic surveillance. Military planners expect this integrated system to envelop the Earth in a cyber-grid capable of blinding entire armies on the battlefield or taking out a single terrorist in field or favela. By 2020, if all goes according to plan, the Pentagon will launch a three-tiered shield of space drones — reaching from stratosphere to exosphere, armed with agile missiles, linked by a resilient modular satellite system, and operated through total telescopic surveillance.

Last April, the Pentagon made history. It extended drone operations into the exosphere by quietly launching the X-37B unmanned space shuttle into a low orbit 255 miles above the planet.  The X-37B is the first in a new generation of unmanned vehicles that will mark the full weaponization of space, creating an arena for future warfare unlike anything that has gone before.

World War III: Scenario 2025

The technology of space and cyberwarfare is so new and untested that even the most outlandish scenarios may soon be superseded by a reality still hard to conceive. If we simply employ the sort of scenarios that the Air Force itself used in its 2009 Future Capabilities Game, however, we can gain “a better understanding of how air, space and cyberspace overlap in warfare,” and so begin to imagine how the next world war might actually be fought.

It’s 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday in 2025. While cyber-shoppers pound the portals of Best Buy for deep discounts on the latest home electronics from China, U.S. Air Force technicians at the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) on Maui choke on their coffee as their panoramic screens suddenly blip to black. Thousands of miles away at the U.S. CyberCommand’s operations center in Texas, cyberwarriors soon detect malicious binaries that, though fired anonymously, show the distinctive digital fingerprints of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The first overt strike is one nobody predicted. Chinese “malware” seizes control of the robotics aboard an unmanned solar-powered U.S. “Vulture” drone as it flies at 70,000 feet over the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. It suddenly fires all the rocket pods beneath its enormous 400-foot wingspan, sending dozens of lethal missiles plunging harmlessly into the Yellow Sea, effectively disarming this formidable weapon.

Determined to fight fire with fire, the White House authorizes a retaliatory strike. Confident that its F-6 “Fractionated, Free-Flying” satellite system is impenetrable, Air Force commanders in California transmit robotic codes to the flotilla of X-37B space drones orbiting 250 miles above the Earth, ordering them to launch their “Triple Terminator” missiles at China’s 35 satellites. Zero response. In near panic, the Air Force launches its Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle into an arc 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and then, just 20 minutes later, sends the computer codes to fire missiles at seven Chinese satellites in nearby orbits. The launch codes are suddenly inoperative.

As the Chinese virus spreads uncontrollably through the F-6 satellite architecture, while those second-rate U.S. supercomputers fail to crack the malware’s devilishly complex code, GPS signals crucial to the navigation of U.S. ships and aircraft worldwide are compromised. Carrier fleets begin steaming in circles in the mid-Pacific. Fighter squadrons are grounded. Reaper drones fly aimlessly toward the horizon, crashing when their fuel is exhausted. Suddenly, the United States loses what the U.S. Air Force has long called “the ultimate high ground”: space. Within hours, the military power that had dominated the globe for nearly a century has been defeated in World War III without a single human casualty.

A New World Order?

Even if future events prove duller than these four scenarios suggest, every significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.

As allies worldwide begin to realign their policies to take cognizance of rising Asian powers, the cost of maintaining 800 or more overseas military bases will simply become unsustainable, finally forcing a staged withdrawal on a still-unwilling Washington. With both the U.S. and China in a race to weaponize space and cyberspace, tensions between the two powers are bound to rise, making military conflict by 2025 at least feasible, if hardly guaranteed.

Complicating matters even more, the economic, military, and technological trends outlined above will not operate in tidy isolation. As happened to European empires after World War II, such negative forces will undoubtedly prove synergistic. They will combine in thoroughly unexpected ways, create crises for which Americans are remarkably unprepared, and threaten to spin the economy into a sudden downward spiral, consigning this country to a generation or more of economic misery.

As U.S. power recedes, the past offers a spectrum of possibilities for a future world order. At one end of this spectrum, the rise of a new global superpower, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out. Yet both China and Russia evince self-referential cultures, recondite non-roman scripts, regional defense strategies, and underdeveloped legal systems, denying them key instruments for global dominion. At the moment then, no single superpower seems to be on the horizon likely to succeed the U.S.

In a dark, dystopian version of our global future, a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral forces like NATO, and an international financial elite could conceivably forge a single, possibly unstable, supra-national nexus that would make it no longer meaningful to speak of national empires at all. While denationalized corporations and multinational elites would assumedly rule such a world from secure urban enclaves, the multitudes would be relegated to urban and rural wastelands.

In “Planet of Slums,” Mike Davis offers at least a partial vision of such a world from the bottom up. He argues that the billion people already packed into fetid favela-style slums worldwide (rising to two billion by 2030) will make “the ‘feral, failed cities’ of the Third World… the distinctive battlespace of the twenty-first century.” As darkness settles over some future super-favela, “the empire can deploy Orwellian technologies of repression” as “hornet-like helicopter gun-ships stalk enigmatic enemies in the narrow streets of the slum districts… Every morning the slums reply with suicide bombers and eloquent explosions.”

At a midpoint on the spectrum of possible futures, a new global oligopoly might emerge between 2020 and 2040, with rising powers China, Russia, India, and Brazil collaborating with receding powers like Britain, Germany, Japan, and the United States to enforce an ad hoc global dominion, akin to the loose alliance of European empires that ruled half of humanity circa 1900.

Another possibility: the rise of regional hegemons in a return to something reminiscent of the international system that operated before modern empires took shape. In this neo-Westphalian world order, with its endless vistas of micro-violence and unchecked exploitation, each hegemon would dominate its immediate region — Brasilia in South America, Washington in North America, Pretoria in southern Africa, and so on. Space, cyberspace, and the maritime deeps, removed from the control of the former planetary “policeman,” the United States, might even become a new global commons, controlled through an expanded U.N. Security Council or some ad hoc body.

All of these scenarios extrapolate existing trends into the future on the assumption that Americans, blinded by the arrogance of decades of historically unparalleled power, cannot or will not take steps to manage the unchecked erosion of their global position.

If America’s decline is in fact on a 22-year trajectory from 2003 to 2025, then we have already frittered away most of the first decade of that decline with wars that distracted us from long-term problems and, like water tossed onto desert sands, wasted trillions of desperately needed dollars.

If only 15 years remain, the odds of frittering them all away still remain high. Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country’s role and prosperity in a changing world.

Europe’s empires are gone and America’s imperium is going. It seems increasingly doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain’s success in shaping a succeeding world order that protects its interests, preserves its prosperity, and bears the imprint of its best values.

  • Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, “From the Cold War to the War on Terror.” Later this year, “Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State,” a forthcoming book of his, will explore the influence of overseas counterinsurgency operations on the spread of internal security measures here at home. More: Alfred W. McCoy