The Far Middle episode 149 explores various forms of manipulation across society, spanning government, finance, electric vehicles, real estate, and more.

In one of The Far Middle’s more unique sports dedications, the episode highlights an unlikely honoree: Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein. Nick explains that while the manipulative Rothstein didn’t excel in professional sports as a player or coach, his infamous role in fixing the 1919 World Series (which he denied) would transcend the sports world.

Beginning this installment’s connections, Nick transitions to the evolution of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The agency “has succumbed to ideological pressures from the Left, the radical environmental movement, and the code red crowd,” says Nick. Those interests have skewed IEA’s demand forecast for global oil and natural gas use, and they then use that manipulated data as evidence there isn’t a need for further oil and natural gas investment. The argument is then parlayed into energy policy decisions, such as the Biden administration’s pause on new U.S. liquefied natural gas export facilities.

Revisiting prior episode 148, “Fields of Resistance,” Nick highlights the German government’s budget manipulation attempts that ultimately sparked the German farmer protests.

“Manipulation by government is not unique to Europe,” says Nick. “Our government here in the United States is fully capable of manipulation of its own.” This leads to a conversation about the U.S. EPA’s vehicle emissions rule, which is a de facto EV mandate. Nick reviews a paper by Paul Bonifas and Tim Considine, “Analyzing the EV Rule,” which finds, “The EPA’s EV rule would cost the U.S. economy and taxpayers $1,407 billion, an underestimation of $3,007 billion.”

Next up is a topic familiar to readers of Precipice, which is the magnitude of public pension underfunding. Examining state and local government unfunded pension obligations, Nick references a Hoover Institution analysis that, “As of fiscal year 2021, the total reported unfunded liabilities of [state and local government pension] plans is $1.076 trillion. In contrast, the market value of the unfunded liability is approximately $6.501 trillion.”

Switching from the public sector, Nick explains the manipulative tactics housed in the commercial real estate market to raise property values artificially.

Perhaps one of the biggest manipulators is the Federal Reserve, which “has set interest rates far below normal for decades resulting in negative real interest rates, and such monetary manipulation has massive ramifications across society, much of them negative,” says Nick.

In closing, Nick questions the absence of the media and journalism who, by not calling out the manipulations discussed, are a willing accomplice by reporting opinions and the image rather than facts and the truth.

As episode 149 reaches twilight time, Nick pays tribute to what might be the greatest song in rock and roll history about manipulation.