There are nooks and corners in every city where talk is cheap and scandal is honorable. The Alley, in Downtown Los Angeles, is a magical place where shrewd entrepreneurs, shameless salesmen, and downright hucksters coexist in symbiotic disharmony. Fakes, fugazis, and knock-offs galore, pack the roll-up storefronts with sparkle and shimmer.
Several weeks ago, the LAPD seized $700,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics from 21 different Alley businesses. Apparently, some of the bogus makeup products – which were packaged to look like trendy brands MAC, NARS, Kyle Cosmetics, and more – were found to contain human and animal excrement.
“The best price is not always the best deal!” remarked Police Captain Marc Reina via Twitter. Did you hear that, General Electric shareholders?
Yet the Alley, for all its dubious bustle, offers a useful public service. It provides an efficient calibration for the greater world at large; a world that’s less upright and truthful than an honest man could ever self-prepare for. In 30-seconds or less, the Alley will impart several essential lessons:
The price you’re first quoted is the sucker’s price. To negotiate effectively, you must appear to care far less about buying than the merchant cares about selling. Don’t trust someone that says, “trust me.” And, most importantly, don’t believe what you see and read…or what you hear.
For everything worthwhile, there exists a counterfeit. This modest insight extends well beyond the boundaries of flea markets and tent bazaars. It extends outward to news, money, prescription drugs, wars, public schools, Congress, corn ethanol, medical insurance, public pensions – you name it. There’s plenty of fraud, phony, and fake going on.
For example, in the year 2018, the most reputable news outlets have been reduced to mere purveyors of propaganda. The stories they spread are stories of fiction.
Investigative reporting is defunct. Veracity is for bores and troublemakers. We don’t like it. We don’t agree with it. But we can’t change it, nonetheless.
So, we embrace the deception with proper perspective. We drink from the firehose of deceit with unquenchable thirst. We smile at false prophets who sell salvation without repentance, benefits without taxes, and new programs and new deals that promise to sprinkle money around and make everyone rich.
According to the government’s statistics, the economy has never been better. By the official numbers, we’re living in the charmed days of full employment, less than 2 percent price inflation, and the second-longest growth period in the post-World War II era.
Agreeable reports like these are broadcast each month as news, without question. Yet anyone who stops to ask a question or two can quickly discern that these reports are fabrications. They’re tales of fiction, which are requisite to these fictitious times.
Ask the wage earner, the mortgage holder, the recent college graduate with six-figures in student loan debt. They’ll tell you: “Reality bites. The official economic accounts are a sham.”
Is it an accident that the debasement of society has followed the debasement of money? We don’t know, for certain. But we have a hunch they’re somehow related.
What we do know is that fiction and deception helped usher in the dollar’s transformation to a phony currency. How else could the dollar have been debased from money coined of gold and silver and issued by Congress, as specified by the Constitution, to paper legal tender notes that are borrowed into existence by the Federal Reserve?
When President Nixon closed the gold window at the U.S. Treasury on August 15, 1971, he told several whoppers. He said it was to, “defend the dollar against the speculators.” He also said the action would, “suspend temporarily, the convertibility of the dollar into gold.” Furthermore, he told Americans that, “your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today.”
Nixon’s actions came on the heels of 60-years of gradual steps to remove gold’s backing of the dollar. In effect, $1 today has the same buying power that $0.16 had when Nixon took these “temporary” actions. Over this same period, the U.S. national debt has run up from about $398 billion to over $21 trillion, and the economy has been utterly warped.
Today’s reality is the fantasyland of full faith and credit in counterfeit money. Paper legal tender notes, derived from debt without limits.
What a fictitious world it has wrought. Do you buy the lie?
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