Brandon Smith: The Meaning Of Good And Evil In Perilous Times

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Perhaps the most destructive idea ever planted in the minds of the general public is the notion that nothing in this world is permanent – that all things can and must be constantly changed to suit our whims. The concept of impermanence fuels what I call “blank slate propaganda.”

The usefulness of the blank slate as a weapon for social control should be explained before we examine the nature of good and evil, because these days it infects everything.

The push for never ending social “evolution” has been called many things over the decades. In the early 1900s in Europe it was called “futurism;” an art and philosophical movement that helped spawn the rise of communism and fascism in politics. The argument that all old ideas and longstanding traditions should be abandoned to make way for new ideas, new technologies, news systems etc., assumes that the supposedly new ways of doing things are superior to the old ways of doing things. Things are rarely this simple, and in most cases the new methods so proudly championed by movements for social change are usually recycled and repackaged old ideas that are notorious for failure.

The blank slate theory is designed to confuse people with self-doubt and to misrepresent the constructs of nature as constructs of society. It most effectively disrupts people’s relationship to their own moral compass by suggesting that moral compass should be completely ignored as artificial. The argument by blank slate proponents is that all boundaries are created by society instead of by inborn conscience, and that these boundaries often hold us back from achieving our goals, bettering ourselves as a species and generally getting what we want out of life.

But the things we want are not always the things we need, and this is something that movement’s for social change often refuse to grasp. If we are all blank slates and if morality and the human soul are myths, why not do whatever the hell we want, whenever we want and live life as if it is one big Roman orgy of feasting, self-medicating and overall addiction to sensation?

The problem with the blank slate concept is that while it purports that all restrictions in the human psyche are taught to us rather than being inborn and that they can be abandoned any time we want, we still can’t seem to avoid the consequences of breaking those restrictions.  People lose their sanity, societies crumble and nations fall to ruin over time the more we cast aside our principles in the name of social evolution or short term gain. It is unavoidable.

The only people who seem to benefit from the spread of the blank slate are the people already in political and economic power. For if they can convince the masses to ignore their conscience, they can then convince us to accept almost any other conditions.

To act in a manner consistent with inherent conscience, or to ignore conscience and act destructively, is a choice. It is the core pillar of free will. The choice to act destructively does not erase the reality of inherent conscience; in fact, people often have to be fooled into believing that a destructive and immoral action is a “good thing” before they are convinced to carry it out. Inherent conscience must be bypassed through trickery.

The problem with choosing to stick by one’s principles is that it is easy during times of relative stability, but increasingly difficult during times of struggle. In perilous days, the temptation to use destructive tactics to maintain an expectation of comfort or to merely survive can be high. It is no coincidence that power elites, the same people that tend to promote blank slate propaganda, also tend to deliberately engineer social crisis and chaos. But perhaps this needs a deeper explanation. We must define something most of us already understand intuitively. We must define “evil.”

Like inherent conscience and moral boundaries, blank slate theorists and social change advocates attempt to muddy the waters of what constitutes evil. Some will say there is no such thing — that evil is whatever we deem it to be in any given era depending on our biases.  Others will claim that tradition, permanence and anything in society that remains static is evil. The only “good” for them is constant change.

But evil is not as illusory and changing as these people suggest. In fact, most men and women recoil automatically from certain specific behaviors regardless of how they were raised, what environment they come from, what culture they were born into or what era they lived.  The people who don’t recoil at these behaviors are the people we have to watch out for because they are missing something integral to the heart and mind that makes the rest of us human.

In psychological terms, the characteristics of high level narcissists and sociopaths match most closely with our historic concept of evil.  And, in my view, most great evils done in history are in fact done by people with multiple narcissistic traits.  As far as global elitists are concerned, they represent a rather insidious threat, because they are narcissistic sociopaths that have organized into a predatory gang, so all the traits consistent with the behavior of your average serial killer are now magnified a thousandfold by their access to unlimited resources.

How do we identify these people? Well, this is a difficult prospect at times because narcissistic sociopaths commonly hide in plain sight.  Some people live with them for years before realizing exactly what they are. They also like to insert themselves into nonprofit organizations that claim to do good for the community as a cover for their more insidious motives.

Some traits and behaviors that are common are a lack of normal emotional response to traumatic events or joyous events, or they will mimic the responses of others to blend in but they come off as “forced” or “fake.” They have no concept of empathy; it does not exist for them.

They seek out centers of power and are drawn to positions of authority. They always seem to be demanding the efforts of others while rarely offering their own help. They make terrible leaders, always attempting to lead from a place of safety while letting their conscripts take the risks. Leading by example is a foreign concept to them.

They will lie repetitively about their accomplishments and their accolades. They will misrepresent their professional achievements in order to gain people’s trust. Ask them to prove through actions that they can do all the things they claim they can do, and they will try to avoid the test or respond indignantly and angrily.

They will gaslight their ideological enemies or people they are trying to control. They will accuse others of being “narcissists” or “sociopaths” or fascists or any moniker that will push the buttons of their target. Whatever evils they are guilty of, they will try to flip and lay at the feet of their enemies.

They always seem to have “minions” to do their dirty work for them and attack those that oppose them. People that have dealt with narcissistic sociopaths in their personal lives sometimes refer to these minions as “flying monkeys,” referencing the flying monkeys enslaved by the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. Flying monkeys are essentially useful idiots that the narcissist employs through fraud and sometimes through pay. Whenever the narcissist is under threat of being exposed, they unleash their flying monkeys onto the streets or onto the internet to undermine truth tellers.

They do not believe in moral or personal boundaries which is why they are always trying convince people that such boundaries are a myth.  They will cross moral lines, always testing the fences for weaknesses; trying to wear others down until they give up and stop fighting back.

They desperately want to come out of the shadows and into the light of day. They want to be adored as the monsters they are, rather than the fake philanthropists they portray themselves as. In order to do this, every narcissistic sociopath makes it their duty to erase the idea of conscience, whether they are part of the globalist cabal or just another ghoul down the street. Their natural inclination is to corrupt whatever they touch, and if they cannot corrupt a thing, they will attempt to destroy that thing.

Most of all, narcissistic sociopaths want everyone around them to believe that we are just like them. That “deep down” all of us are unprincipled and morally bankrupt and all it takes is a crisis or calamity, just a little chaos to bring out the devil in everyone.

But if this were really the case, then humanity would have died out long ago through endless self-destruction; something keeps bringing us back from the brink in our personal lives and in society as a whole. Conscience keeps defeating evil by refusing to grant evil people the utopia of blank slate chaos they want so badly. And this is what give me confidence that no matter how terrible our days might become there is something on our side that goes beyond the physical world.

Every crisis is a test, a test of each person and a test of our culture. Can we act with reason and courage and principle even in the worst of times, or will we be lured to make our struggle easier through malicious means? Will we do right by those around us, or will we happily trample over them in the name of “survival?”

In the end, the worst men bring the best men to the surface. This is the only “good” they will ever do.

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Syria: “Rebels Played Russian Roulette, And Lost”

Middle East analysts are appropriately noting, “Rebels played Russian roulette, and lost” after Syrian Army ground forces accompanied by overwhelming Russian airstrikes in Syria’s contested southwest region have collapsed anti-government lines with rapid speed. 

Early Friday a major strategic victory was announced as government forces took the Nassib border crossing after recapturing a string of over 8 border outposts in Daraa province.

The Nassib crossing is among Syria’s most important and busiest international border crossings, and sits along the Damascus-Amman international highway. Prior to the war it was a main artery for Syrian exports to GCC countries. 

Opposition leaders have confirmed the crossing will now be controlled by Syrian government and Jordanian authorities for the first time after the FSA flag long flew over the outpost since anti-Assad militants captured it in 2015. 

The ongoing major offensive to take back Daraa and Al-Quneitra provinces from long entrenched FSA, al-Qaeda, and ISIS groups began last month, and though predicted by many to be a long and grinding affair that held the potential for external state military intervention, the unexpectedly rapid advance of pro-government forces has stunned observers. 

Al Masdar reports that three quarters of the region that witnessed the start of armed conflict in 2011 is now back under the control of Damascus:

As a result of these advances, the Syrian Army finds themselves in control of approximately 72 percent of southwest Syria. The remaining 28 percent is under the control of the Free Syrian Army, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham and Jaysh Khaled bin Walid (ISIS affiliate).

Meanwhile Reuters reports that hundreds of troops in a large military convoy with Russian and Syrian flags have been seen heading to the newly liberated Nassib border crossing as anti-government fighters are laying down their weapons in droves.

According to Reuters:

Syrian rebels reached a deal with Russian officers on a phased handover of their weapons and the deployment of Russian military police near the Jordanian border, a rebel spokesman said.

Ibrahim Jabawi said the agreement was reached during ongoing talks in a town in southern Syria that also includes a cessation of hostilities by both sides.

The past week especially has witnessed mass handovers as well as abandonment of weaponry on the part of anti-government insurgents, resulting in some interesting photographs. 

Since the Syrian Army offensive in the southwest, many thousands of weapons have been recovered, including advanced anti-tank and shoulder fired rockets — a significant bulk of them originally supplied via the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, and other western allies:

Anti-tank “TOW” missiles supplied as part of a CIA program have been recovered recently:

And in some cases Israeli supplied items have been recovered in Syria’s southwest, near the contested Golan border:

https://twitter.com/theLemniscat/status/1011873978158407680

Even this far into the Syrian conflict and after many other such weapons seizures throughout the country, analysts and journalists have commented that the sheer numbers of advanced weapons — in most cases obviously externally supplied — are “staggering”.

Meanwhile, all of this begs the question: where will all the surviving jihadists currently fleeing the Syrian battlefield go? (assuming Syria-Russia will hit the last major expansive jihadist bastion of Idlib next).

Days ago Middle East based journalist Elijah Magnier translated a command issued and circulated by senior al-Qaeda operatives in northern Syria.

The al-Qaeda terror leaders urged followers to take action outside Syria now that the government and Russia are emerging victorious: “put your explosive belt on, take your family to a safe place, don’t think of coming to Idlib for there only humiliation & rely on guerrilla/ insurgency.”

Communiqué by AQ in Syria (Hurras al-Deen) to foreign fighters & Syrian fighting among Mujahedeen: “put your explosive belt on, take your family to a safe place, don’t think of coming to Idlib for there only humiliation & rely on guerrilla/ insurgency”

As we’ve never been shy to point out over the years, the West and its gulf allies armed al-Qaeda to the teeth in Syria — something so well documented that international arms monitoring groups can pinpoint weapons serial numbers down to identifying particular European transit points through which weapons flowed as part of CIA covert shipments. 

Surely, just as many or more quantities of weapons as have already been recovered will remain in the hands of jihadists seeking to exit Syria… but where will they go? 

Very unfortunately, we have an idea of where they might end up… as we predicted years ago in the following: They Sow the Cyclone – We Reap the Blowback

First-Of-Its-Kind University Study Proves Without A Doubt That Your Phone Is Spying On You

Authored by Matt Agorist via ActivistPost.com,

For years, conspiracy theories about smart phones listening to users without their permission to show them advertisements have abounded.

While some researchers have shown this could happen, a first of its kind study just found something far more insidious. Academics at Northeastern University have just proven that your phone is recording your screen – as in taking video – and uploading it to third parties.

For the last year, Elleen Pan, Jingjing Ren, Martina Lindorfer, Christo Wilson, and David Choffnes ran an experiment involving more than 17,000 of the most popular Android apps using ten different phones. Their findings were alarming, to say the least.

As Gizmodo points out, during the study, the researchers started to see that screenshots and video recordings of what people were doing in apps were being sent to third-party domains. For example, when one of the phones used an app from GoPuff, a delivery start-up for people who have sudden cravings for junk food, the interaction with the app was recorded and sent to a domain affiliated with Appsee, a mobile analytics company. The video included a screen where you could enter personal information – in this case, their zip code.

GoPuff did not disclose in its terms of use that its app was recording users screens and uploading this data to a third party. What’s more, when they were contacted by the researchers GoPuff merely added a disclosure to their policy acknowledging that “ApSee” might receive users PII.

The fact that these apps can record your screen without you knowing and use this data is chilling. It illustrates how easy it would be for a malicious actor to be able to look at your private messages, personal information, passwords, photos, and videos. None of this is stopped by your phone’s security either as it is a function built into the apps and you don’t have an option to disallow it.

According to Gizmodo, the researchers will be presenting their work at the Privacy Enhancing Technology Symposium Conference in Barcelona next month. (While in Spain, they might want to check out the country’s most popular soccer app, which has given itself permission to access users’ smartphone mics to listen for illegal broadcasts of games in bars.)

As for the theory that your phone is listening through your mic, the researchers could not debunk it. Due to the nature of the study — using automated programs to interact with apps — the spying apps may have not been triggered the same way they would if a human was using them.

Although they didn’t find evidence your phone was listening to you, this does not mean it doesn’t still happen.

“We didn’t see any evidence that people’s conversations are being recorded secretly,” said David Choffnes, one of the authors of the paper. “What people don’t seem to understand is that there’s a lot of other tracking in daily life that doesn’t involve your phone’s camera or microphone that give a third party just as comprehensive a view of you.”

The authors of the study, titled Panoptispy: Characterizing Audio and Video Exfiltration from Android Applications, concluded:

Our study reveals several alarming privacy risks in the Android app ecosystem, including apps that over-provision their media permissions and apps that share image and video data with other parties in unexpected ways, without user knowledge or consent. We also identify a previously unreported privacy risk that arises from third party libraries that record and upload screenshots and videos of the screen without informing the user. This can occur without needing any permissions from the user.

In the age of technology, privacy and security are the only things that separate us from a total surveillance grid. Unfortunately, as this study illustrates, we have very little of both.

Myth: Gold Makes Boom-Bust Cycles Worse

Authored by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute,

According to some commentators on the gold standard, an increase in the supply of gold generates similar distortions as money out of “thin air” does.

Let us start with a barter economy.

John the miner produces ten ounces of gold. The reason why he mines gold is because he believes there is a market for it. Gold contributes to the well-being of individuals.

He exchanges his ten ounces of gold for various goods such as potatoes and tomatoes.

Now people have discovered that gold apart from being useful in making jewelry is also useful for some other applications.

They now assign a much greater exchange value to gold than before. As a result, John the miner could exchange his ten ounces of gold for more potatoes and tomatoes.

Should we condemn this as bad news because John is now diverting more resources to himself? This however, is just what is happening all the time in the market.

As time goes by people assign greater importance to some goods and diminish the importance of some other goods. Some goods now then considered as more important than other goods in supporting people’s life and well-being.

Now people have discovered that gold is useful for another use, such as the medium of the exchange. Consequently, they lift further the price of gold in terms of tomatoes and potatoes. Gold is now predominantly demanded as a medium of exchange — the demand for the other uses of gold, such as for ornaments is now much lower than before.

Let us see what is going to happen if John were to increase the production of gold. The benefit that gold now supplies people is by providing the services of the medium of the exchange. In this sense, it is a part of the pool of real wealth and promotes people’s life and well-being.

One of the attributes for selecting gold as the medium of exchange is that it is relatively scarce. This means that a producer of a good who has exchanged this good for gold expects the purchasing power of his effort to be preserved over time by holding gold.

If for some reason there is a large increase in the production of gold and this trend were to persist, the exchange value of the gold would be subject to a persistent decline versus other goods, all other things being equal. Within such conditions, people are likely to abandon gold as the medium of the exchange and look for another commodity to fulfill this role.

As the supply of gold starts to increase its role as the medium of exchange diminishes while the demand for it for some other usages is likely to be retained or increase.

Therefore, in this sense the increase in the production of gold is not a waste and adds to the pool of real wealth. When John the miner exchanges gold for goods, he is engaged in an exchange of something for something.

He is exchanging wealth for wealth.

Contrast all this with the printing of gold receipts, i.e., receipts that are not backed 100% by gold.

This is an act of fraud, which is what inflation is all about, it sets a platform for consumption without contributing to the pool of real wealth. Empty certificates set in motion an exchange of nothing for something, which in turn leads to boom-bust cycles.

The printing of unbacked gold certificates divert real savings from wealth generating activities to the holders of unbacked certificates. This leads to the so-called economic boom.

The diversion of real savings is done by means of unbacked certificates, i.e., unbacked money.

Once the printing of unbacked money slows down or stops all together this stops the flow of real savings to various activities that emerged on the back of unbacked money.

As a result, these activities fall apart – an economic bust emerges. (Note that these activities do not produce real wealth, they only consume. Obviously then without the unbacked money, which diverts real savings to them, they are in trouble. These activities did not produce any wealth hence without money given to them they cannot secure the goods they want.)

In the case of the increase in the supply of gold, no fraud is committed here. The supplier of gold – the gold mine – has increased the production of a useful commodity. Therefore, in this sense we do not have here an exchange of nothing for something. Consequently, we also do not have an emergence of bubble activities. Again, the wealth producer, because of the fact that he has produced something useful, can exchange it for other goods. He does not require empty money to divert real wealth to him.

Note that a major factor for the emergence of a boom is the injections into the economy of money out of “thin air.” The disappearance of money out of “thin air” is the major cause of an economic bust. The injection of money out of “thin air” generates bubble activities while the disappearance of money out of “thin air” destroys these bubble activities.

On the gold standard, this cannot take place. On a pure gold standard without a central bank, money is gold. Consequently, on the gold standard money cannot disappear since gold cannot disappear.

We can thus conclude that the gold standard, if not abused, is not conducive to boom-bust cycles.

Raytheon Is Developing A 100kW Tactical Laser For The US Army

Raytheon is developing a mobile 100 kW laser weapon system under the U.S. Army’s $10 million High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstration (HEL TVD) program contract. With the Pentagon flush with cash from the Trump administration, laser weapon systems have been a significant focus regarding research and development before the next round of global hybrid conflicts.

In a recent news release, Raytheon said the 100 kW laser would be mounted on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

“The beauty of this system is that it’s self-contained,” said Roy Azevedo, vice president of Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business unit.

As Azevedo adds, “multi-spectral targeting sensors, fiber-combined lasers, power and thermal sub-systems are incorporated in a single package. This system is being designed to knock out rockets, artillery or mortar fire, or small drones.”

HEL TVD is part of the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability, Increment 2 — Intercept (IFPC Inc 2-I), which is a rugged, mobile, pre-prototype laser system that meets the size, weight and performance requirements of the Army.

The laser system mounted on the FMTV can eliminate aerial threats, including artillery, cruise missiles, drones, mortars, and rockets.

To date, the program tested lasers at various strengths, from 2kW to 50 kW. Last year, Lockheed Martin announced it completed the development of a single-beam 60 kW laser for the program. The next phase, which could be as early as 2019, could test a massive 100kW multi-beam fiber-laser design, considered to be just enough directed energy to take down most aerial threats.

Ahead of the coming “hybrid wars“, the Army recognizes that lasers could provide a significant advantage over its adversaries. Laser weapons have “unlimited” ammunition, as long as a power plant can continue to deliver energy. With an average cost per kill of $30, laser weapons are significantly cheaper than traditional kinetic weapons, such as mortars and rockets that can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars per round.

The Army will test and evaluate the mounted laser system on an FMTV in the first half of 2019. If successful, a three-year system development, and demonstration contract estimated at $130 million, to build and integrate a weapon system, could be next. The Army hopes by the Fiscal year 2022, the HEL TVD will have enough data through field training exercises that it could enter service shortly thereafter.

The HEL TVD could see its first mission in the mid-2020s, as the most likely place for deployment could be the U.S. and allied force’s fixed and semi-fixed bases.

Over the year, the Army and U.S. defense contractors have been busy mounting lasers on all sorts of war machines.

In March, Raytheon decided to mount a 5 kW laser on a militarized all-terrain Polaris light-vehicle. The company’s press release describes the vehicle as an “agile, mobile, and effective” war machine to protect troops from weaponized unmanned drone threats.

The push for lasers could be explained by the Army’s rush to plug the gap in short-range defenses.

Richard P. DeFatta, director, Future Warfare Center, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command spilled the beans in February on air and missile defense and told an audience that Army conducted field training exercises with the first-ever Mobile High Energy Laser (MEHEL) mounted on the M1126 Stryker armored personnel carrier. The Stryker-mounted MEHEL is designed for short-range aerial threats, such as weaponized drones.

MEHEL is a 5kW laser system mounted on a Stryker-armored fighting vehicle chassis and serves as the primary vehicle for research and development. The Army acknowledges that high-energy lasers are a “low-cost, effective complement to kinetic energy to address rocket, artillery, and mortar, or RAM, threats; unmanned aircraft systems and cruise missiles,” said Army Recognition.

However, it is not just Washington and its military-industrial-complex mounting laser systems on exciting things. China announced earlier this week that its ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle could “burn through clothes in a split second… If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire.

So as Washington mounts lasers on dune buggies, tanks, and trucks, China is also testing and deploying laser weapon systems of its own, as both countries gear up for the next round of hybrid conflcit  that could emerge some time in the mid-2020s or sooner. All this is, of course, happening in the context of the greatest Thucydides Trap in modern history: one in which China’s army and military spending is expected to surpass that of the US, some time in the late 2030, on its way to becoming the world’s dominant military (and perhaps economic) superpower