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June 28, 2018 | Do You Live Next to One of These Spy Hubs?

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

POITOU, FRANCE – The corks popped last night all over the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Architects anticipated grander and gaudier new assignments. Lawyers eyed their new vacation homes on the Delaware coast. The movers and shakers celebrated another victory…

…and stocks sold off.



Season of the Swamp

Our guess – still just a guess – is that U.S. stocks topped out on January 26, 2018. The “primary trend” is down… probably for a long time.

Trade barriers are going up. Win-win deals are giving way to win-lose deals. The government is getting bolder. Debt is increasing. And interest rates are rising.

It is the Season of the Swamp.

The swamp critters are already enjoying billions of dollars’ worth of crony contracts, billable legal hours, and lobbying fees from Donald Trump’s new “trade war.”

Earlier this month, The Donald slapped 25 percent tariffs on roughly $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, 1,102 items in total.

Every one of the 1,102 Chinese products targeted by the administration has a manufacturer, an owner, and a competitor. And every one of them is now writing a check – to a trade rep, a lawyer, a lobbyist, or a politician – trying to wrangle a better deal.

And now, insiders are anticipating hundreds of billions more as the president drags America’s most dynamic industry into the swamp, too.

Yes, he announced yesterday a whole new bureaucracy under the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) to watch over and approve any technology transfer that could affect America’s national security… or, according to the president himself, its prosperity:

Should Congress fail to pass strong FIRRMA legislation that better protects the crown jewels of American technology and intellectual property from transfers and acquisitions that threaten our national security – and future economic prosperity – I will direct my administration to deploy new tools, developed under existing authorities, that will do so globally…



Ominous Dots

Almost all our ideas, thoughts, and business transactions now run through some form of technology. Any or all of it could have some consequence for our security or our prosperity.

Want to sell your computerized widget in China? Nope. No can do. They may reverse engineer it.

How about your trucking coordination software? Nope. They might learn something important.

Want to partner with a European company… or buy your silicon wafers in India? Hold on… we need to check this out… By the way, did you make a campaign contribution?

That last question is the most telling one. It reveals the real effect of the whole program – to increase the Deep State’s power and wealth.

And soon, they won’t even have to ask.

Because – and here, we revisit the ominous dots that we looked at yesterday – they will already know.

Financial records, phone records, computer records… online conversations… purchasing histories… church memberships… political affiliations… clubs… friends… books… movies… jokes…

Already, Big Data allows governments and corporations to know you better than you know yourself.

Algorithms and machine learning tools monitor and interpret every action you take online. Geolocation trackers in your smartphone keep tabs on where you are… and where you’re headed.

On Monday, we went to get our tires rebalanced. We were told we needed new ones.

On Tuesday, we got an ad online for new tires. How did they know?

Did you exceed the speed limit on your way to work? Did you look at a naughty website? Did you laugh when your brother-in-law made a joke about Donald Trump, or fail to fill out your census questionnaire?

Stalin’s secret service couldn’t keep up with everyone all the time. But now, thanks to Big Data… it’s a piece of cake.



American Spy Hubs

From Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, GPS, search engines, facial recognition apps, credit cards, and a host of other tech innovations… internet traffic flows into the vast spy centers already operating in eight American cities – where it is processed… reviewed… and analyzed.

The surveillance program, code-named “FAIRVIEW,” has been operational since 1985.

The Intercept has the details:

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

And now FIRRMA helps to bring Big Data – already working on huge federal contracts – more completely under Deep State control.

A big-government democrat such as Hillary Clinton would have wanted to expand the Deep State.

But she would have faced the unrelenting, instinctive opposition of Republicans whose knees – weakened by years of kneeling – would have twitched wildly and uncontrollably whenever she suggested an increase of her authority. She would have been stifled. The Deep State would have had to wait.

But come The Donald… and the kingdom of Heaven is opened unto them… Republicans are back on their feet, cheering the very Big Government they despised a generation ago. It was a devil in the ’80s. But it’s an angel now.

And now, Big Brother… run by the Deep State… is becoming a reality – restricting the flow of information… manipulating public opinion… controlling money and how it is used… and finally, detecting and disappearing any opposition.

Already, when you search on the internet, the search engine (Google!) will direct you where it wants you to go. It can make sure you see what it wants you to see… and keep you from seeing what it doesn’t want you to see.

China is ahead of us on this. In our Beijing office, for example, we have to be careful what we write… or it will never get delivered to readers. And the Chinese feds may arrest us!

Subtle Control

In the U.S., the control system is more subtle.

We are regulated by “private sector” businesses (whose R&D may have been provided by the feds… whose market cap was bolstered by the Fed’s fake money… and whose profits may depend on fat Fed contracts) following rules that we are not allowed to see.

If our thoughts are too “extreme”… or too “frightening”… we will not get very far on the World Wide Web.

Imagine if this technological cone of silence had been around in 1939.

Imagine if we had foreseen then a grim period coming… with world war… massacres… concentration camps… and 50 million corpses. What if we had tried to warn people?

Had Google and Facebook regulators (backed by the feds) been on the case, our warning never would have made it beyond our small circle of loyal dear readers.

And now, the tech giants ARE on the case. And they appear to be coming together with the Deep State to create a society with little scope for dissent or traditional conservatism.

As we proposed yesterday, there is always an invisible struggle going on. It is between the elite insiders, with their win-lose deals… and the ordinary people, with their win-win deals.

Yes, Dear Reader, it is an age-old fight:

…makers are always forced to protect themselves from takers…

…civil society is always threatened by barbarians…

…and the hosts are always competing with the parasites.

The tech innovations of the last 30 years were thought to bring a new era of wealth, freedom, and happiness.

Instead, they seem to have given the parasites a huge advantage; it is the Season of the Swamp.

Stay tuned…




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June 28th, 2018

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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