Posts Tagged ‘George Orwell’

After a White House official used the term ‘alternative facts’ to refute accusations of White House falsehoods, sales of the 1949 dystopian science fiction novel 1984 spiked to the top of Amazon.com’s best-seller list.

The exchange quickly became infamous: on NBC’s Sunday show “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd interviewed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway about her colleague, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who offered “provable falsehoods” during his very first meeting with the press: namely, the size of the crowd that watched President Trump’s inauguration.

After some arguing, Conway said: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood… Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

“Wait a minute,” said Todd with an incredulous chuckle. “Alternative facts? Alternative facts?… Alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”

Conway’s comment was widely derided by Trump opponents, and many claimed that the phrase “alternative facts” sounded like a comment from the oppressive police state known as Big Brother in Orwell’s famous novel.

That novel contains the line, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Many compared this to Spicer”s comments about the inauguration, despite photographs clearly demonstrating fewer attendees to Trump’s inauguration than to Obama’s eight years prior.

In 1984, society is controlled by a totalitarian government that watches nearly every aspect of human life. The main character, Winston Smith, is a minor bureaucrat with the Ministry of Truth whose job is to rewrite historical events to fit Big Brother’s version of events, including erasing all evidence that certain people ever existed.

A major theme of the novel is Big Brother’s manipulation of the truth to better suit the policies of the authoritarian state. Facts and reality are irrelevant, and only what Big Brother says is true matters. The novel coins many terms to describe this behavior, including “goodthink” (thought approved by Big Brother), and its opposite, “thoughtcrime.”

Orwell, a democratic socialist, was distressed by atrocities committed by both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, and believed the western world was beginning to move down a similar path. Orwell died shortly after the book’s publication. 1984 is frequently read in the west by high school students, making it one of the most popular novels of the 20th century.

Spikes in 1984’s popularity often follow moments of distrust in the government. Sales increased significantly following the 2013 leak of NSA documents from Edward Snowden and others.

In the west, it has become common to compare governments the author dislikes to Orwell’s worst-case-scenario. A 2014 Forbes story had the headline, “Obama’s Corruption of the English Language Comes Right From Orwell’s ‘1984.’” A 2002 article from SFGate was entitled “Learning to love Big Brother / George W. Bush channels George Orwell.”

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The Burning Platform’s quote of the day sums it all up perfectly: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” George Orwell

Contemporary governance embodies corruption within deranged systems resting on foundations of theft and fraud. Corruption makes reform impossible; derangement assures eventual collapse.

“Defense” spending is a misnomer. The US could defend itself at a small fraction of what it spends on its military and intelligence. The US government’s foreign intervention and maintenance of a confederated empire are actually a welfare and transfer payment program. Spending has become the point: maximizing the payoff to military and intelligence contractors, their think tanks and lobbying arms, captured politicians, and the vast bureaucracies. Winning wars doesn’t serve the interests of those beneficiaries, lengthy and inconclusive engagements do.

The war on terrorism is a mother lode. The enemy is whomever the government deems it to be, wherever the government chooses to fight it. The war itself creates more terrorism. Victory cannot be defined; the war will go on as long as the current ideology remains in place. It enriches the military-intelligence-industrial complex, but a war-without-end welfare program is clearly deranged, a fitting target of satire. It will continue indefinitely because its beneficiaries have far more incentive and resources to promote their interests than the rest of us have in promoting peace.

Politicians use other people’s money to line their own pockets and buy votes; recipients accept the largess and become dependent on it. There is no limit to demands that the government fund “needs,” and no limit on the political willingness to meet those demands. It is testament to this lack of limits that the world’s richest countries cannot fund the demand for redistributive largess from their countries’ own resources. Aggregated, they have accumulated the largest debt load in history, far beyond their ability to repay it.

Mounting debt generates its own limit: insolvency. Demographics shaped by the transfer state compound the problem. Stealing the fruits of labor penalizes honest productivity and constricts opportunity. Faced with bleak prospects, many of the young opt out of the financial obligations of starting families, rearing children, or even supporting themselves. Birthrates have dropped far below replacement in most developed countries: fewer people to fund taxes and debt just as the number of putative beneficiaries skyrocket. Pension shortfalls around the world are the canary in this coal mine. The mathematics are inescapable. Present arrangements are unsustainable, but will continue until debt markets and taxpayers rebel.They will face a counter-rebellion by dependency-warped recipients deprived of that which was never really theirs. Those who can but don’t honestly produce are both dishonest and unproductive. Faced with a cut-off, expect chaos and violence.

Debt and taxes fund governments and enslaves their constituents. They’re the foundation for the second most insidious racket: the banking complex. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 began the shift from real money (gold) to debt, enshrined the banking cartel, and was, through the establishment of the lender of last resort function, the first major step towards making taxpayers the guarantors of bank liabilities. Later, deposit insurance and Too Big To Fail (TBTF) sealed that guaranty.

Bankers have found heaven on earth, but their paradise has destroyed the economy. TBTF has removed capitalism’s most potent corrective: failure. Government debt issuance, central bank monetization, interest rate suppression, and random, whimsical, and absurd policies provide banks with middleman’s profits, inside information, access to cheap funding for speculation, and, as a particularly vicious policy—the war on cash—gathers steam, captive deposits. They destroy honest saving and investment and burden the economy with an increasingly onerous load of debt and taxes. Even governments and central banks, entities that can conjure their own debt and mandate its acceptance, will for all intents and purposes go broke if spending outruns revenues long enough.

The most insidious racket? While the banking camarilla is nothing to sneeze at, lawyers writing laws and regulations must be reckoned the Mt. Everest of rackets. They write, implement, interpret, and enforce the laws, augmenting their wealth and power every step of the way. Even the bankers ostensibly kowtow to the government (what happens behind the scenes is another matter). The repository of lawful coercive force, government inevitable becomes organized crime and the law nothing more than the means to corrupt ends. Write the law and write your own ticket.

Standards of honesty and integrity crumble in societies based on theft and fraud, replaced by a new standard. Coercive, redistributive “altruism” excuses all manner of corruption among the powerful and the servitude of those who either choose or are forced to produce. Bread, circuses, and moral degeneracy entertain and placate the masses. The bizarre becomes commonplace, but the populace grows sated with each new manifestation, always more “transgressive” (of standards that no longer exist) than the previous one, in progressively shorter spans of time.

Anything and everything goes. Only one standard remains that rouses virtually everyone—rich and poor, powerful and powerless—to righteous indignation: the more pervasive the corrupt derangement, the less acceptable it is to talk about it. In our own time, the obvious conclusion that the warfare and welfare states are morally and fiscally bankrupt, doomed to collapse, remains confined to the fringe.

Here’s a rewrite of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” in light of modern realities.

 The child points out the Emperor’s nudity.

The Emperor’s beholden courtiers and the impoverished but thoroughly cowed townspeople immediately threaten and intimidate the child.

Naively stubborn, he repeats himself until someone claps a hand over his mouth.

The headline next day: “Child who Questioned Emperor’s Attire Found Dead in Field Outside of Town.”

Hillary Clinton wins support not despite her corruption and derangement, but because of it, especially among the establishment. Their rackets need a participant and patron. Donald Trump is hardly a naively honest child, but he has had the temerity to question a few rackets, notably immigration, trade, and the warfare state’s global empire. Questioning that last one—because it’s the largest and most lucrative—has provoked copious quantities of vehement vitriol.

Truth can awaken minds and rouse people to action, posing an obvious threat to the corrupt and deranged. Should Trump win the election, he will assuredly be presented with the same choice as the child in the story: get with the program or die. Odds are he folds, in which case those of us rooting for meaningful change will be left with the hope that the inevitable collapse occurs before we die.

By Ian Sinclair

“The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary”, George Orwell noted in his censored preface to his 1945 book Animal Farm. “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban”. Orwell went onto explain that “at any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it”.

The corporate media’s ‘coverage’ of Syria adds a twist to Orwell’s dictum – inconvenient reports and facts do occasionally appear in respected newspapers and on popular news programmes but they are invariably ignored, decontextualised or not followed up on. Rather than informing the historical record, public opinion and government policy these snippets of essential information are effectively thrown down the memory hole.

Instead the public is fed a steady diet of simplistic, Western-friendly propaganda, a key strand of which is that the US has, as Channel 4 News’s Paul Mason blindly asserted in January 2016, “stood aloof from the Syrian conflict”. This deeply ingrained ignorance was taken to comical lengths when Mason’s Channel 4 News colleague Cathy Newman interviewed the former senior US State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, with both women agreeing the US had not armed the insurgency in Syria.

In the real world the US has been helping to arm the insurgency since 2012, with US officials telling the Washington Post in last year that the CIA’s $1bn programme had trained and equipped 10,000 rebel fighters. “From the moment the CIA operation was started, Saudi money supported it”, notes the New York Times. According to the former American Ambassador to Syria, the US “has looked the other way” while fighters it has backed have “coordinated in military operations” with the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. The UK, of course, has obediently followed its master into the gates of hell, with the former UK Ambassador to Syria recently explaining the UK has made things worse by fuelling the conflict in Syria.

And if they are not playing down the West’s interference in Syria, journalists and their political masters are presenting Western actions as having benign, peaceful motives. For example, in his official response to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on UK military action in Syria, British Prime Minister David Cameron argued “since the start of the crisis the UK has worked for a political solution in Syria”. The Guardian’s foreign affairs specialist Simon Tisdall echoed this idea of the West’s “basic benevolence” in 2013 when he noted in passing that President Obama “cannot count on Russian support to fix Syria”.

Compare, this propagandistic framing with what Andrew Mitchell, the former British Secretary of State for International Development, had to say about the West’s role in the 2012 United Nations peace plans on the BBC Today Programme earlier this month:

“Kofi Annan, the very distinguished former General Secretary of the United Nations, came forward with his plan, asked by the UN General-Secretary to do so. Part of that plan was to say that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is part of the problem here and, therefore, by definition, is part of the solution, and therefore he must be included in negotiations. And that was vetoed by the Americans and, alas, by the British Government too.”

Mitchell’s astonishing revelation is backed up by two highly respected Middle East experts. In September 2015 Avi Shlaim, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Oxford University, noted that Western insistence that Assad must step down sabotaged Annan’s efforts to set up a peace deal and forced his resignation. Professor Hugh Roberts, the former Director of the North Africa Project at the International Crisis Group, concurs, writing “the Western powers… sabotaged the efforts of the UN special envoys, Kofi Annan and then Lakhdar Brahimi, to broker a political compromise that would have ended the fighting”. Indeed, the US Secretary of State himself conceded this reality when he recently noted that demanding Assad’s departure up front in the peace process was “in fact, prolonging the war.”

A quick survey of recent history shows this warmongering isn’t an unfortunate one-off but a longstanding US policy of blocking peace initiatives in times of conflict.

In 1999 the US used Serbia’s rejection of the Rambouillet Agreement to justify its 78-day bombing campaign. However, the proposed agreement included the military occupation and political control of Kosovo by NATO, and gave NATO the right to occupy of the rest of Yugoslavia. It was a document “that no sovereign country on earth would have signed”, reporter Jeremy Scahill noted.

Two years later as the US geared up to bomb and invade Afghanistan, the Taliban raised the idea of handing over Osama bin Laden if the US produced evidence of his involvement in the attack on 9/11. According to the New York Times “the White House quickly rejected the move” because “it did not ‘meet American requirements’ that Afghanistan immediately hand over the prime suspect in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon”

Several months into the 2003 Iraq War, the Guardian reported that “in the few weeks before its fall, Iraq’s Ba’athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even to allow US troops to search for banned weapons.” Like Afghanistan, the Guardian noted “the advances were all rejected by the Bush administration, according to intermediaries involved in the talks.”

And finally, in January 2015 the Washington Times highlighted the various attempts made by the Libyan government to push for a negotiated settlement during the 2011 NATO intervention. Citing secret audio recordings between an intermediary working for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Libyan government, the newspaper noted the head of the US African Command attempted to negotiate a truce but was ordered to stand down by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department. This account resonates with other reports that show how NATO ignored peace initiatives coming from the Libyan Government and the African Union.

Of course, some or perhaps all of these peace overtures may have been disingenuous and/or unworkable. However, we will never know because they were never seriously considered or explored by the West in its rush to war.

Turning back to Syria, the facts clearly show the West, by blocking the UN’s peace initiative while continuing to arm the insurgency, played a key role in prolonging and escalating a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and led to a staggering 11 million refugees.

Of course, Russia and Iran, by backing the Assad Government, have also played a central role in prolonging and escalating the war but as a British citizen whose taxes fund the British government my primary concern is the actions of the UK and its allies. As Noam Chomsky has noted “You’re responsible for the predictable consequences of your actions. You’re not responsible for the predictable consequences of somebody else’s actions.”

Roberts clearly understands what the predictable consequences of the US and UK actions in Syria have been: “Western policy has been a disgrace and Britain’s contribution to it should be a matter of national shame.”

As always, the government prefers to treat the public like mushrooms – keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit. And with our supposedly crusading, disputatious, stroppy and difficult fourth estate unable or unwilling to report basic facts and to connect some very simple dots, what chance does the general public have of ever gaining even a basic understanding of what the West is doing in Syria?

Black people live under a fascist system, whether the occupant of the White House is a “fascist” or not. For Blacks, the “rule of law” does not exist. “It matters not whether a victim complies, or has hands up, or is armed, or is unarmed, or opens a door, or speaks, or doesn’t, or flees, or stays put, or does or doesn’t resist arrest.” None of the supposedly “non-fascist” politicians will “dare lay a finger on the modern day slave system.”
By Margaret Kimberley
“Trump wouldn’t bring anything to the country that is not already in existence for black Americans.”The word fascism has reappeared in the American popular lexicon thanks to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The word is used to keep progressive Democrats in a state of fear should he win, but its existence in this country right now is rarely discussed.

If Trump became president and was indeed a fascist he wouldn’t bring anything to the country that is not already in existence for black Americans. Fascism is practiced against them on a daily basis. They are at risk of police interaction, arrest and even death for committing the most minor infractions or for no infraction at all.

Korryn Gaines was shot to death by police in her own home near Baltimore, Maryland. Her five year-old son was also shot and injured. Ms. Gaines came into contact with police initially because of a traffic violation and a dispute with her boyfriend. Every day thousands of people are given tickets or make accusations against one another but rarely do they have an expectation of ending up dead as a result.

Arrest warrants are the first line of defense for the police, who are the 21st century embodiment of the slave patrol. If black people are lucky they may have to pay a fine or suffer some inconvenience, if unlucky they are killed.

“The cops’ much vaunted body cameras were turned off and the dead woman was deprived of any means of defense or telling of her story.”

The Baltimore police used maximum force and disregarded accepted police practice meant to de-escalate such situations. They broke down Gaines’ door and cut off her Facebook feed. As is typical, their much vaunted body cameras were turned off and the dead woman was deprived of any means of defense or telling of her story. The only version of events comes from the people who killed her.

Death is the worst result but not the only means of keeping black people under physical control and in a state of humiliation. A recent video from a Kentucky courtroom shows an unidentified black woman suffering the cruelties of the police system. She was arrested for not completing a diversion program after a 2014 shoplifting charge. The only logic to arresting someone for this violation is cruelty for its own sake and the proof of that played out in the courtroom.

The woman arrived at court wearing only a pair of shorts. She reported that she had been denied feminine hygiene products and clean pants.  The judge dismissed the charges but not before lecturing the woman. “The fact that you’re in custody is your fault. You gotta come to court. But once you were arrested, the rest of this is completely inhumane and unacceptable and I’m very sorry that you had to go through this.” She added, “This is not normal. I’ve never seen this.” Of course this treatment is normal and happens all the time. Her arrest for a minor offense was normal and so was the denial of her human rights in an American jail. Actually the humiliated woman may be considered lucky. It was recently revealed that 6,900 people died in custody in Texas jails and prisons in the last ten years.

“Body cameras and other ‘reforms’ won’t save black people’s lives because they are meant for public relations purposes only.”

All of the tools which are supposed to protect the public from this system are useless. Paul O’Neal (*link O’Neal) was summarily executed by Chicago police while driving a stolen car. Again their cameras were turned off during the shooting. But once they felt safe, they recorded themselves rejoicing over their kill, giving one another high fives. One complained, “Fuck, I’m going to be on desk duty now for 30 days.”  The nonchalance is logical. The officer has no reason to fear anything worse.

Body cameras and other “reforms” won’t save black people’s lives because they are meant for public relations purposes only. The system in this country spends large sums of money, passes legislation and empowers the police to do what they like to black people. The suffering is quite intentional.

All the videos in the world won’t upend the brutality of the laws enforced against black people. It matters not whether a victim complies, or has hands up, or is armed, or is unarmed, or opens a door, or speaks, or doesn’t, or flees, or stays put, or does or doesn’t resist arrest. The police are a constant threat to black lives because the system demands it.

There will be no end to the body count without serious discussion about the ways in which racism is supported and encouraged. None of the supposedly non-fascist politicians dare lay a finger on the modern day slave system. Occasionally white people die at the hands of police, too. But that is considered a small price to play to keep the racial hierarchy in order. There is no hope of ending the carnage without first understanding the system we have and calling it what it is. Black Americans have always lived under fascism.

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In the wake of all of the Brexit vote furore, a chilling blurb made headlines and it went largely unnoticed and uncommented upon.  The line was couched within comments made by Boris Titov, an economic policy maker for Russia’s Kremlin.  Actually all of the following merits attention, but one line stands out.  The source for this excerpt is a Facebook post by Titov.  Here it is:

 “…it seems it has happened — UK out!!!  In my opinion, the most important long-term consequence of all this is that the exit will take Europe away from the anglo-saxons, meaning from the USA. It’s not the independence of Britain from Europe, but the independence of Europe from the USA.  And it’s not long until a united Eurasia — about 10 years.”

This is a very revealing post to show how unfavorably the past 50 years of post-World War II American imperialism has been viewed.  The tipping point, as mentioned in a previous article was the outright 180-degree that George H.W. Bush pulled on Mikhail Gorbachev: the promise of NATO membership upon reunification of the two Germany’s and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and then not fulfilling that promise.

The American corporate interests inserted themselves, as the communist government shattered, leaving in its wake oligarchs, the Russian mafia, and a “Wild West” environment within Russia proper and the ex-SSR’s, the former Soviet satellite nations.  A tremendous amount of chaos occurred for a decade that was both enabled and further fostered by the United States.  The perception in Russia even before the Soviet Union came into being was that Russians were in an economic war with Great Britain, and the United States was looked upon as an “extension” of Britain: a country with language, law, and cultural parallels,especially in terms of expansion.

As of the past several years, the United States has been encroaching upon Russian territory and economic interests.  That encroachment has intensified into a U.S.-created “Cold War Resurrection” stance with the bolstering of NATO forces in the Baltic states.  The U.S. is virtually thumbing its nose at Russia with the distribution of the “anti-ballistic missile systems” emplaced in places such as Moldova.  As Putin pointed out, it takes not even a sneeze and a couple of hours to convert those platforms into use for Tomahawks with nuclear capability.  The Russians did not exercise “en passant” with such an opener, and are placing missiles of their own to face the U.S. assets.

 The U.S. and Russia are fighting one another indirectly.  Two weeks ago we were treated to the U.S. aircraft attempting to throw Russian bombers off of their mark in bombing forces hostile to Assad, and the Russians were blocking our planes from bombing their intended targets as well.  The Russians support Assad’s defense against insurgents that wish to topple his government, and the U.S. supports the “freedom-fighting rebels” determined to overthrow Assad.  Syria, Ukraine, and the entire western border of Russia are the flash points that can be transformed into a conflagration with the tip of a hat.

The true hat tip needs to be given to Eric Blair (or George Orwell, if you prefer): he gauged it right and was completely spot-on We are seeing the novel “1984” solidifying into the actual breakdown into zones of influence – one of them even now being named by Titov.  The three zones: Oceania (to include the United States/North America, and Britain), Eastasia (the Oriental nations), and Eurasia, just as mentioned in Titov’s quote.

The spheres of influence are forming.  Vladimir Putin met with the Chinese Prime Minister last week.  Make no bones about it: the Chinese and Russians have been enemies for a long time.  In this vein, however, both recognize the United States actions and have committed to aid one another militarily if the necessity arose.  The United States (with NAFTA and the Chinese Free-Trade, as well as the aforementioned attempt to turn Russia into a third-world vassal when the USSR dissolved) expected Russia to knuckle under, and China to follow suit for big daddy Warburg’s New World Order waltz.

The music didn’t play in that manner, however, because strong cultural ties and nationalism cannot be eradicated as quickly as they wished.  Brexit is a clear proof of this.

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.” — Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission.

Normally, I would not bring a European politician into a discussion about the U.S. economy. But in this case, European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker has “let the cat out of the bag.” In an unguarded moment, Junker let slip the working principle that guides politicians everywhere.

Think about it.

Is there any more serious issue for U.S. politicians than convincing you to give them your vote? You know that most voters in our intervention-addicted world credit politicians for prosperity they enjoy during their time in power. Just as primitive tribes credit the local chief or high priest for prosperity — or blame his sins when bad weather or pestilence make living conditions difficult.

Is there any more serious issue for you than understanding how you can preserve and build your capital in an uncertain world? Without capital, you are in danger of sinking to the level of the billions of Indians and Chinese whose livelihoods depend on their ability to rent their time. Not a happy prospect.

A crucial characteristic of the world that could make both the politicians’ dreams of power and your dreams of secure retirement come true would be the resumption of rapid economic growth — as reflected in both GDP accounting and employment reports.

Unhappily, the news on that score is far from encouraging…

In fact, a close reading of the data suggests that economic growth is negligible, and the real unemployment rate is about 23%.

That is the Shadow Government Statistics alternative unemployment rate for May 2016. Quite a contrast with the headline “official” unemployment rate of 4.7%.

Fake Jobs - Unemployment Data

But upon inspection, you can see that the alarming 23% ShadowStats unemployment rate is merely unemployment calculated as it was until the Kennedy administration, when out-of-work Americans who had suspended an active search for jobs — primarily because none could be found — were relabeled “discouraged workers” and dropped from the tally of the unemployed.

The Clinton administration widened the memory hole further.

In 1994, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) redefined the workforce to exclude all but the small percentage of the discouraged who had been seeking work for less than a year. The longer-term discouraged — some 4 million U.S. adults — disappeared into a statistical black hole.

Clinton also reduced the sample-sized employed in the household survey that determines the unemployment rate — excluding a disproportionate share of inner-city households who were less likely to have jobs.

Over the years, American politicians have used statistical sleight of hand to protect themselves from the angry mobs of voters in a way that the witch doctors and high priests of the past could only envy.

In the old days, when the rains didn’t come and the crops failed, the high priests could not fool anyone by merely issuing a proclamation thanking the gods for bumper crops.

Today, Obama proclaims a “vigorous recovery” and The New York Times pretends to believe it.

But wait…

If you are a connoisseur of government press releases — and you actually believe them — you may imagine that the U.S. has been enjoying a “vigorous recovery,” as Barack Obama never tires of pretending.

Perhaps you were even convinced by the report of the U.S. unemployment rate falling from 5% in April 2016 to 4.7% in May 2016?

That is what the government reported.

But a closer look at the data reveals something else.

The decline of 484,000 unemployed persons reflected a mere 26,000 unemployed persons finding employment and 458,000 unemployed falling into a statistical “black hole.”

458,000 People Disappeared From the Labor Force

This highlighted a record monthly surge of 664,000 persons of working age dropping out of the workforce. As of May, workforce dropouts hit a record high of 94.7 million.

In other words, the reason that the unemployment rate fell was that lots of people were either defined into a “black hole” or voluntarily left the workforce.

No Hiring Surge

To the contrary, the headline gain of 38,000 net jobs reported in the Labor Department’s payroll survey was comprised entirely of fake jobs.

John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics has parsed the BLS numbers carefully. He reports that the BLS inflates its monthly account of new hires with approximately 200,000 fake jobs, including jobs conjured up by its so-called “Birth/Death Model” that are meant to account for new employment in startup companies that are too new to count.

Notwithstanding the fact that the BLS has been adding an average of 200,000 fake jobs to the monthly payroll report in recent years (as confirmed by the March 2015 benchmark downside revisions that subtracted 206,000 jobs), the actual employment picture has become so weak that they have brazenly added additional monthly upside biases.

That’s why Donald Trump says: “Only ‘dummies’ believe Fed’s unemployment figure.”

Donald Trump has tried to advance the national conversation by underscoring a point that should be evident to any thinking person. Namely, that the “recovery” the establishment is so keen to have you embrace is a fraud.

If elected president, Trump promises to draw back the veil of statistical flummery that disguises reality for credulous people. Trump is the first candidate in my memory to say he “will investigate the veracity of U.S. economic statistics produced by Washington — including ‘the way they are reported.’”

No wonder the establishment hates him.

As George Orwell, the author of 1984, put it: “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”

Let’s look more closely to see why my comments and those of Donald Trump on the employment situation are not merely impudent name-calling, but sober conclusions informed by the facts.

Start with the issue of business dynamism that lies at the heart of a lot of statistical mischief in government pronouncements on the job market.

As economists Ian Hathaway and Robert E. Litan pointed out in research conducted for the Brookings Institution: “Historically one new business is born about every minute, while another one fails every 80 seconds.”

That was then.

Since the Great Recession, not so much. Now there are more failures than startups.

Business dynamism in the U.S. has been in long-term decline, so not all of the recent problems of entrepreneurial stagnation could be fairly attributed to Barack Obama. Nonetheless, extensive research shows that the old ratio of business births to deaths no longer holds.

The rate of business dynamism collapsed when the subprime bubble popped. Obama’s presidency is the first to see more firms go out of business than created. As you will readily understand, it makes a difference in a supposed “economic recovery” if business deaths run considerably ahead of new firm formations.

You might think that if the Brookings Institution can figure out that more firms are going out of business than are being created, then that insight should not elude the BLS. But it has, primarily because it gives the lie to the fake job strength the BLS ballyhoos every month.

Obama’s bean counters add about 200,000 (now 224,000) imaginary jobs each month through the “Birth/Death” model that continues to suppose — contrary to the evidence — that more jobs were created in new firms (births) than lost in firms going out of business (deaths). These fake jobs account for a big percentage of the growth in employment announced by the BLS.

The bottom line is that at least 4.5 million jobs announced during the Obama presidency never existed. They were statistical adjustments inserted in the data reflecting outdated historical ratios that no longer hold true.

But this is only part of the story.

The Brookings data, along with surveys conducted by Gallup, show that far from adding 200,000 jobs through the “Birth/Death” model, a more accurate report would have subtracted 70,000 jobs a month to account for the jobs that disappeared when firms died.

That would be another 840,000 annual jobs (or 2.5 million jobs subtracted since 2014). All told, 6.95 million (or 75%) of the officially announced 9.15 million jobs supposedly created through the first quarter of 2016 were fake.

I should point out that might actually be a low estimate, as the BLS inflates jobs estimates with seasonal-adjustment shenanigans that result in double counting of the same fake jobs, and other frauds that are too complicated to get into here.

Fake Employees Are Not Paid

You don’t need to be a Nobel Prize-winning economist to realize that fake employees cannot form the basis of a strong economy. Employers are not writing checks to employees that don’t exist outside of statistical models. The income those imaginary employees would be earning if they were real is not being spent at the businesses that are going out of business by the hundreds of thousands each year.

And, inevitably, if business deaths continue to outstrip business formations in an environment of slack consumer demand, the result to be expected is economic collapse.

Evidence of this is the growing tally of corporate debt defaults that normally precedes a recession. Both Moody’s and Deutsche Bank are predicting a surge in corporate debt default, perhaps as high as the 12 to 15% range typical of recessions.

That could be why financial stocks have been underperforming.

Declining Productivity Reflects Fake Jobs

Yet another telltale hint of the large number of fake jobs is the declining productivity that seems to puzzle so many mainstream economists.

Duh. Of course productivity is disappointing.

The millions of fake employees aren’t actually doing much heavy lifting, are they? The fake jobs obviously skew the denominator for calculating productivity growth. All the actual work is done by real employees who show up, not by statistical hypotheses.

A Turn for the Worse?

Be smart about it. You owe it to yourself to think about what it means when the government announces an increase of just 38,000 payroll jobs in a month when they ramped up the total of fake jobs to 224,000.

The mainstream economists took a variety of tacks to explain and rationalize this. Some blamed the Verizon strike for the weak payroll number. Others took the ridiculous view that an increase of only 38,000 payroll jobs in the month meant the U.S. economy was approaching “full employment,” meaning that wages would soon rise rapidly. What piffle!

You can do the arithmetic. And even if you can’t, John Williams has done it for you.

Williams reports: “Net of heavy seasonal distortions and bias factors, May payrolls likely plunged by about 200,000 (-200,000).”

Far from getting stronger, the economy is lurching to the downside. The politicians can disguise some of the weakness with dishonest statistics. Even so, reality inevitably begins to shine through.

Adjust your portfolio to reflect the rising prospect of acute weakness in an already bankrupt economy.

Fake Prosperity Winds Down

The long-term decline in median income, amplified in 2016 by the biggest drop in weekly earnings in history, puts the lie to the pretense of self-sustaining recovery. Average people don’t have enough discretionary income to sustain expanded economic activity.

If you have your wits about you, you will take the hint.