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A Nation of Imposters
Charles Hugh Smith

That's how we've become a nation of imposters: our imposter stock market hits a new high and the imposters cheer because it proves the scam is still working. 

You've read the warnings about the proliferating imposter scams: scammers posing as "officials", representatives of utilities or "a close friend of a family member" all exploit the fast-draining reservoir of trust in America to extract financial information out of the unwary marks. 

I'm not sure what's more remarkable: the depths of scammer perversity or the fact that some people can still be conned by claims of authority or friendship.Most are seniors, of course, as the elderly still retain an easy-to-scam trust in institutions and officialdom as a holdover from an era before trust was unraveled by wholesale self-serving deception. 

The deeper problem is that America is now a nation of imposters. Everything that is presented as august and trustworthy is an imposter organization designed to enrich the few at the expense of the many via deception and the cloaking of self-serving skims and scams. 

A useful tool to uncloaking imposters is to ask: cui bono, to whose benefit?Take the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve. It claims to be serving the public and the common good, but who actually benefits from its policies? 

1. Insiders frontrunning the Fed's public pronouncements to enrich themselves. Here's looking at you, Chairperson Powell and the rest of your self-serving imposter cronies. 

2. The top 0.1% who own the majority of productive assets goosed ever higher by Fed policies. 

3. Billionaires. 

4. The top 10% who own 89% of all stocks:  The wealthiest 10% of Americans own a record 89% of all U.S. stocks 

If we strip away the PR, the Fed is an imposter, a self-enrichment scheme for the already-wealthy and the super-wealthy. Its claims to serve the public are just the imposter's deceptive mumbo-jumbo to exploit the naive trust of the marks. 

Next up: our imposter judicial system: white-collar financial criminals get wrist-slap fines, if that, while hundreds of thousands of people rot away in America's Drug War Gulag, the fruit of a judiciary obsessed with locking people up even as the War on Drugs enriches drug cartels and has completely failed to reduce drug use. 

Rich people can plunder without any fear of our imposter judiciary. Bernie Madoff's fatal mistake was ripping off other rich people, and that made him the perfect stooge for a Soviet-style show-trial in which one fall-guy is convicted as a PR stunt to mask the systemic rot of an imposter judiciary. 

Then there's our imposter media, virtually all of which is owned by a handful of quasi-monopoly corporations. This imposter media/social media exemplifies the appeal to authority via "objectivity" and "expertise", while the real action is in what's off limits to serious journalistic digging, what's buried and what's touted as the dominant narrative to explain away what is risibly questionable. ("Let's go Brandon," etc.)  

Unfortunately, even the scientific media is riddled with imposters: Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies( 

Once again, the imposters exploit one of the last remaining pockets of trust, in this case, the trust that "research" that makes it into an academic journal is trustworthy, i.e. the results can be replicated by other researchers, the data hasn't been massaged to reach highly profitable results, dosages haven't been adjusted to skew the results in favor of special interests, and so on. 

Lastly, consider our "democracy," which is now little more than an invitation-only auction of favors: $10 million in "auction bids" (campaign contributions, Super-PAC funds, etc.) and some grease in the lobbying machinery can easily garner $100 million in private gains via tax subsidies, no-bid contracts, Medicare limitations on monopoly pricing, etc. 

Sorry, but this is an imposter form of democracy, a PR facade fabricated to mask the invitation-only auction of favors. If you don't have the money, your vote doesn't count. If you doubt this, please read: 

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens( 

Monopoly Versus Democracy: How to End a Gilded Age ( 

No one wants to admit we're a nation of imposters because that's a confession of just how deep the rot has penetrated. The systemic rot of imposters exploiting the last reserves of trust starts at the top and then filters down into every nook and cranny as everyone looks at how the rich get richer and learns from the top-level imposters. 

That's how we've become a nation of imposters: our imposter stock market hits a new high and the imposters cheer because it proves the scam is still working. 



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Recent Videos/Podcasts: 

Charles Hugh Smith on the Failure of the Federal Reserve and Rising Secular Inflation(31:16) (with Richard Bonugli, FRA Roundtable) 

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At readers' request, I've prepared a biography. I am not confident this is the right length or has the desired information; the whole project veers uncomfortably close to PR. On the other hand, who wants to read a boring bio? I am reminded of the "Peanuts" comic character Lucy, who once issued this terse biographical summary: "A man was born, he lived, he died." All undoubtedly true, but somewhat lacking in narrative.

I was raised in southern California as a rootless cosmopolitan: born in Santa Monica, and then towed by an upwardly mobile family to Van Nuys, Tarzana, Los Feliz and San Marino, where the penultimate conclusion of upward mobility, divorce and a shattered family, sent us to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernadino mountains.

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