Nobody cares what you believe.

Never wear your beliefs as a badge of honor.

Calling yourself a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or Zoroastrian does not define you.

Your words and your behavior and your deeds; they define you.

Nobody needs to know what you believe in or don’t.

All we care about is interacting with you justly.  That means courtesy, honesty, and the trading of value for value, whether spiritual or material.

If I or anyone else have nothing you want, ignore us and go about your business. Well do the same for you.

When truth doesn’t matter.

I was under the impression that the “mainstream media” – the big TV news channels, metropolitan daily newspapers, national magazines, and their respective online presences – were essentially mouthpieces of the government because they’re mostly owned by the same small clique of vested-interest cronies.

While that may be at least partially true, I always questioned what that meant in terms of changing administrations.  Would not the government of the day seek a different editorial slant depending on which ideological propaganda (left or right) they wish to broadcast?

Listening to Paul Craig Roberts in an interview with Stefan Molyneux, I’ve learned there is another parameter at play.

It seems the major news media are controlled by a handful of companies, run now by executives whose goal is not journalism, but rather, advertising revenue.  They are dependent on the government for their broadcasting licenses, and so are beholden not only to whichever administration is in power, but to an entrenched bureaucracy, the constituents of which, by the nature of their upbringing, their education, and their zeitgeist, are left-leaning progressive liberals with a vested interest in keeping ‘the masses” uninformed, or worse, misinformed.

So, the government wants to operate nefariously with impunity and needs certain “open secrets” to remain unknown (to most).  Mainstream media is happy to “toe the line” because as long as they have “sensation”, they’re happy.  Truth is optional when it comes to attracting readers/viewers, and thereby ratings, and thereby advertising revenue.

How else can one explain the almost complete lack of coverage of the tapped conversation (see below) between US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt, which clearly reveals that the current US administration is conspiring to steer events in the Ukraine?  Those using only legacy news media sources were titillated by the “sensational” revelation that Pyatt expressed rude disdain for the EU, while hearing nothing of the conspiratorial nature of the conversation.

It cannot be that any self-respecting journalist would not be eager to report the far more important essence of the story, so one can only assume that editorial teams were under instruction to misdirect attention to the cussing and to ignore the scheming.

Interested individuals could of course find the truth, but that doesn’t matter.  It never matters that a tiny minority knows the truth in politics, the truth in economics, the truth in philosophy.  When the entrenched politico-ecenomic power has a megaphone blaring its propaganda 24/7, the voice of reason is not heard by enough to make a difference*.

*But that will never stop us from trying.

How To Speak So That People Want To Listen

Successful communication is an essential leadership and life skill.  Engaging well with others depends on it.

Here’s Julian Treasure with a 10-minute TedX talk on “How to speak so that people want to listen” that’s very worthwhile, with one caveat about his take on “judging” (more on that in a bit).

In summary:

If you want people to listen and take notice when you speak, you may want to audit yourself and be sure you’re not committing one or more of these “seven deadly sins” of speaking.

1.  Gossiping – speaking ill of someone who is not present.  Nobody really likes a gossip.

2.  Constantly pronouncing judgment – Julian states it simply as “Judging”, with which I cannot agree. (This is the caveat. More below.)

3.  Being negative – nobody listens to a pessimist (except maybe another pessimist);

4.  Complaining – which Julian aptly refers to as “Viral Misery”;

5.  Making excuses – not taking responsibility for one’s actions, always blaming someone else.  (MJ: No surer way exists to stymie your progress in an organization);

6.  Embroidering – aka, exaggeration, aka, lying;

7.  Being Dogmatic – You know this guy.  The one who always knows everything about everything, treating his opinions as facts and boring you with them constantly.  Blah, blah, blah.

Now, a little more on #2, Judging.

You need to judge everything and everyone, to the best of your ability, with all available evidence, constantly.

How do you deal with people unless you judge them first?  Is the new boss rational?  Is this salesman being honest?  Are my friends giving me straight feedback or telling “white” lies to make me feel better?  Judging, in this context, means doing your best to always know the truth.  Not only is there nothing wrong with making judgements, doing so is your duty to yourself.

What I hope Julian really means, and what I would advocate, is that one should not constantly pronounce or pass judgement.  First of all, not everyone needs to know everything you’re thinking all the time.  It’s called, “keeping your own council”.  Secondly, judging people and situations is, especially in the beginning, a fluid process.  You need to take care not to judge conclusively too quickly.  Often a first impression or “thin slice” will give you an accurate picture, but not always.  Snap judgements can be terribly wrong.  (Read more on this in Seth Godin’s excellent book, Blink.)

So when should you pronounce judgement?  When you’re sure, and when to not express your judgement would be an act of injustice.  Otherwise, “always be judging”, but keep it to yourself or share only with close confidants.

Now, here’s Julian Treasure:

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A little related reading (all 5 minutes or less):

How to tell if you’re being lied to and why you must never stop judging.

Judge and Be Judged

The Truth About Truth

The 2nd Rule of Communication

 

 

 

 

Who are Generation Z?

From the good people at Sparks & Honey (@sparksandhoney), comes this look at Generation Z (born 1995 to now).  Whether you’re trying to market to them or not, knowing a little about what makes them tick can’t be a bad thing.

 

Ruth Chang: How To Make Hard Choices

This TED talk is worth watching repeatedly, until you get it all the way through to your soul.

 

If that made sense, these might too:

I = Choice

You Are Your Will

 

Yellen Janet and the Infinite Inflation

Update 21st June, 2014

Below I liken central banks’ monopoly on money creation to a Ponzi scheme.  Who’s raking in the benefits?  See Bill Bonner’s latest post at Acting-Man:

Proof the Stock Market Is Being Rigged

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Devalued US Dollar

If I said to you that the country needs a central bank, the goal of which is to issue money, smooth out the economic cycle, ensure full employment, and act as a buffer against bank runs, you’d rightly have some questions.  A good many of them, answered honestly, would negate the need for such an institution and put a swift end to the proposal.  Leaving those questions aside, assuming simply that I’ve convinced you that the problems I’ve enunciated are real and my “Federal Reserve Bank” is the remedy, there’s still one question you’d likely ask.  It has to do with the value of the notes that I issue as money – my “legal tender”.

One of the fundamental characteristics of any medium to be used as money is its ability to transmit value (purchasing power) safely, over distance, and over time.  You want to feel comfortable that the money you trade for today will be accepted later by anyone & everyone and at the same value as it is today.  So, a fair question for you to ask would be, “Will the notes you issue hold their purchasing power?  If I give up something today in exchange for your “Federal Reserve Notes”, will those notes buy me back that same something in the years to come?”  If I answered “No, in a century or so those notes will buy back about 2% of what you give for them today”, you’d reject my proposal out of hand.  If I answered “Yes”, I’d be lying.

So the real question now is: how is it that the currency issued by the US Federal Reserve has lost 98% of its purchasing power since the Fed began operations?  And, as long as we’re on the subject, where did that purchasing power go?

The sad truth is that the devaluation of the dollar has been concomitant to the transfer of purchasing power from the people who created the wealth, (that money was supposed to store), to the issuers of the fiat currency, their cronies, and sundry hangers-on; – the share-holders in the federal reserve banking system and their buddies in “well-connected” businesses, the recipients of “government benefits”, the multitude of beneficiaries of government-mandated “easy credit”, and a succession of government administrations and their army of bureaucrats, – all of whom have, over the last century or so, padded their nests nicely with wealth created by others.

The theft, which is what it is, is perpetrated via support from the trick of inflation.  Contrary to popular belief, inflation is not “rising prices”.  And contrary to a slightly more sophisticated view, inflation is not “an increase in the money supply”.  No, inflation, the reduction in purchasing power of the dollars in your pocket, is the result of an increase in counterfeit credit, which is what US Dollars (and every other fiat currency in the world), ultimately is.  Every US Dollar is an IOU, backed not by unconsumed wealth, as it should be, but by the US Government’s ability to borrow endlessly.  Its a Ponzi Scheme on the grandest of scales.  The notes of the Federal Reserve are created more or less out of thin air, and each new note issued takes a little of your purchasing power away.

So, when Janet Yellen says that “A high degree of monetary accommodation remains warranted…”, meaning that the US will continue to inflate its currency to a target of 2% per annum, remember what that means:  your dollars will buy you a little bit less every year.  Every dollar you possess, by its very nature, is slowly, but very surely, eroding your wealth.  You might also keep in mind that Ponzi Schemes, by their nature, sooner or later run out of suckers and collapse.

Related reading:  In case you didn’t click on the “counterfeit credit” link above, consider clicking here now.  It’s an article by Keith Weiner, explaining in detail and with far greater expertise than I, the true nature of inflation. 

May you live in interesting times – The Joker versus The Thief

Update 7th August, 2014

You might like to read the article first, starting below at “Interesting times indeed”.  If you’ve read it already, you’ll know that Putin’s main weapon against the west, albeit a self-destructive one, is to hasten the decline of the US Dollar as the World’s defacto reserve currency.  Looks like he’s drawing his gun.

Russia Sanctions Accelerate Risk to Dollar Dominance

Update 19th June, 2014

The currency war heat’s up.  Given the huge implications, the lack of coverage by the major agencies, (Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, etc.) is noteworthy.

Putin Advisor Proposes “Anti-Dollar Alliance” To Halt US Aggression Abroad

Update:  9th June, 2014

As alluded to below, it now seems Russia is playing its “currency card”, moving to alternatives to the Greenback.  Via The Financial Times, see:

Russian companies prepare to pay for trade in renminbi

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Interesting times indeed.

Watching the dual between Putin and Obama would be instructive (and amusing) if the consequences of the battle were not so dire.  Both are amoral, both are ideologically wrong, and both are tragic second-handers whose self-image is based on what others think.  It’s a fight that can only end in tears all around.

Young Putin V Obama 1.2

No matter who wins, we don’t.

In one corner you have Obama, the protected species; untouchable.  An inexperienced amateur bumbling his way through somehow, glossing the mess over with his silver tongue, and getting a hand-up from mainstream journalists raised on the same liberal-leftist fare, for whom Obama is the flag-bearer.

He’s got a good percentage (perhaps half) of the US electorate behind him, not because they share an ideology (they’re either too stupid or too skeptical to speak of ideology), but because they share in the loot that Obama and his cronies are dishing out.

He’s got Europe on side, though increasingly reluctantly.  They know somehow that he’s a fraud, but he’s only doing now what they’ve been admonishing America to do for decades.  Careful what you wish for – you might get it.

In the other corner is Putin, a professional bureaucrat, raised on subterfuge; a hard-nose bully.

And he is the hardest kind of bully.  Most, when someone finally stands up and slaps them down, shrink in shame and self-pity.  Putin though, is the rarer breed.  He means it and he’s tough.  You could whack him to the point of concussion and he’d still drag himself up and fight on.  The tighter the corner you back him into, the harder he’ll fight.  Worst of all, his small-penis-compensatory machismo endears him to a large majority of his countrymen, most likely because it embodies their own national insecurity; their yearning for the Motherland to be strong and prominent once more.

Third-man in is Europe… well, really Germany, who, as the “economic engine” increasingly dictates EU policy.  They would love to take Putin down; the echoes of 1938 are loud and frighteningly clear.  But, the principled stand required would leave them cold.  Literally.  Russia controls enough of their energy supply to make their winters very uncomfortable and very expensive.  For a generation raised on the pillow of welfare and under the blanket of US security, that kind of hardship is unthinkable.  And throwing principles like national sovereignty, justice, and honor under the bus in the name of “keeping the peace” is easy for a culture so thoroughly steeped in post-modern relativism.  When it’s “your truth” versus “my truth”, apathy, pragmatism and compromise reign supreme.

So how will it play out?

Russia may take Eastern Ukraine, make incursions into the “Stans”, start sniffing at Belarus; but these “geographic plays” are secondary.  The primary weapon Russia holds is financial.  The USD is on the brink of losing it’s status as the world’s reserve counterfeit money currency.  If Putin initiates acceptance of other currencies in payment for oil and gas, that will push the USD into the abyss.  It will be like removing the bottom-most layer in the house-of-cards that is our global monetary system.

My guess is the only reason that hasn’t yet happened, by Russian or any other hand (say, the Chinese), is that the resultant economic crash and societal chaos will make the Great Depression look benign.  Even the worst of bullies are loath to start a fire that is likely to burn them too.

But if Obama et al. continue to up the ante, sooner or later their bluff will be called.  And if they back-off, and “The West” capitulates, letting Russia off the hook this time (sacrificing some of Russia’s near neighbors in the process), the Sword of Damocles that is our massive, debt-driven ponzi-scheme of a monetary system will still be hanging by the thinnest of threads.  It will then be the next “crisis” in the Middle East, China or maybe even the US, that brings it crashing down.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, when the dust has settled, a good deal of your wealth is gone, and we’re resigned to a new era of dark-ages-like toil and hardship for “the masses”, don’t worry about Barry and Vlad.  They’ll no doubt be enjoying a little time-out together on Barry’s Hawaiian estate or Vlad’s Moscovy Dacha, with some of their pals from the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank.

Joker and Thief

A people get the leader they deserve.

Ayn Rand once observed that a people get the leader they deserve.  Personally, I find that in Obama and Putin that rings sadly true – the US has become frivolous, complacent, and image-obsessed; a Joker, while Russia is a force-driven, jingoistic bully with a chip on its shoulder; a thief.