How to Rule the World in Three Easy Rolls

I was born a nerd, and I will die a nerd.

Like every nerd growing up, I was not much of an athlete.  I preferred to play board games with my best friend Thad, a fellow nerd. This was long before Nintendo and PlayStation, long before World of Warcraft or Minecraft.  We played chess and checkers, Risk and Stratego, and many of the Avalon Hill war games, like Tactics II and Stalingrad.

But I was not just a nerd.  I was also a tycoon wannabe.  And so I enjoyed the games where you made a million bucks: Careers and Masterpiece and above all, Monopoly.

I was a cutthroat player in Monopoly.  It was the greatest game, because (unlike every other game in which you might merely come out ahead) in Monopoly you only ever won by absolutely wiping out your opponents.  The game was over when every property on the board was yours, from Mediterranean Avenue to Boardwalk, and everyone else’s dollar was in your pocket.  If you knew how to play the game right, down towards the end when your opponents were struggling, you could ignore a few of their stops at your hotels, let them pass GO a few more times, allow them to stick a few more dollars in their pockets, and then finally bankrupt them when the Bank was out of money and the other players were, too.  You could own everythingMonopoly is more than just a game of about real estate.  It is a primer in how to rule the world.

So imagine my glee in 1975 when I espied on the shelf of the local bookstore a tome with the title 1000 Ways to Win Monopoly Games.  I bought it and devoured it three times in a row.  Then I invited my pal Thad over to play Monopoly.  Thad was always a savvy gamester, but this time I wiped the floor with his tooshie.  Thad suspected something was going on, and then he spotted the book on my shelf.  Naturally, I declined to let him borrow it.  (And in the days before, with a less popular book, one could easily own the only copy in town.) The next week Thad invited me to his house to play games, and asked me to bring the book … and not to worry … he wouldn’t try to read it.  Naively, I brought it. We played Monopoly and I won again. But towards the end of the play date, Thad distracted me. I realized when I got home that my book was still at his house.  By the time I got it back at school the next day, Thad had read the whole book, and my days of domination at Monopoly were done.

There was, though, in that silly little book (co-written, it so happens, by the future founder of and a future president of Cornell University), a story that stuck with me for life (which you can read for yourself here).  It had to do with a time when these tournament-level Monopoly players—some of the best in the land—decided to play a game for fun … except one of their buddies was a sub-par Monopoly player.  They wanted to give poor Andy a handicap.  But what should it be? To start with more money? To own some properties from the outset?

One of the gang came up with a better idea: let Andy have the power to demand that a roll of the dice be done over. But only three times in the course of the whole game.  Three times only could he say, “Pick ‘em up and roll again.”  Andy chose wisely. The first time he called for a re-roll was when a player barely missed Andy’s Yellow properties; on the re-roll, the poor sap landed on Marvin Gardens and went bankrupt to Andy. The second time, Andy used his advantage to miss a Chance card that would have advanced him to Boardwalk and someone else’s hotel there.  The third time, Andy negotiated with another player to call for a re-roll that might have bankrupted the other guy, but in exchange Andy got a Red property that completed the color group for him.  Not long after, Andy mopped up and beat four tournament-quality champions.

For me, that story was a life lesson.  Tiny changes, even few in number, can make a huge difference in outcomes.  It was a variation on the theme of Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The Gold-Bug.”  Whether you hit buried treasure or come up empty all depends on which eye socket you drop the scarab through—a matter of millimeters can make you a millionaire or leave you a pauper.

I am reminded of these stories often as I browse through conspiracy theory postings. A while back, a commenter here at Piece of Mindful had questions for Mark about how deep into the fabric of society extends the dabbling of The Powers That Be.  To me, this is one of the most interesting of all the questions debated here.

My take, for what it’s worth, is that the manipulation (of election results, cultural trends, court rulings, financial markets, social media forums, you name it) is as light-handed as can be.  It simply doesn’t take that much to push things in a desired direction.  A few faked Napalm Girl photos, for instance, have the power to sway the mindset of a generation.

I, for one, do not find reason to think that all the polling results on Election Day in every single contest are fictitious.  The Powers That Be, wanting to put Trump in office, only have to tweak a few key precincts in a few swing states to get the outcome they desire. I am sure that the NSA employs crack mathematicians to run the numbers for that hanky-panky.

Likewise, I do not see evidence that every single football or basketball game, professional or college, is scripted. They need only to finesse particular contests, and then only by having a few fouls called (or not called) here or there.  Change the roll of the dice three times—and three times only—and you can rule the world.

For me, the Monopoly story is a cautionary tale.  If we in the Truther community posit that “everything is scripted, everything is falsified, everything is manufactured by the elites,” our claims are easily falsified.  Theories should be tight, rigorous, well-evidenced, and with clear markers for confirmation or falsification.   I see too many arguments, especially about revised chronology or genealogies, that depend on absence of evidence (known in logic as the argumentum ad ignorantiam).  Folks, this hurts the cause.  Just asserting that “everything is fake” will convince few and will prove to be embarrassing in the long run.

How deep into local politics does the tinkering of the Elites extend? Are they deciding the race for State Attorney General?  House of Representatives?  County Drain Commissioner?  I doubt it. There are enough useful idiots in every system.  There is no need to dictate every outcome. A little cajolery … a few incentives … a well-timed warning here or there … and the human herd instinct kicks in.  Most things will go in the intended direction of those at the top.

And if they lose a deal here or there, like Vegas, the house still wins in the end … without having to stack every deck, rig every roulette wheel, and load every pair of dice from time immemorial.


28 thoughts on “How to Rule the World in Three Easy Rolls

  1. Very good. I couldn’t agree more. Even if it were possible for the PTB to control everything at all levels, it’s simply human nature for most to do the minimum required to achieve the stated goal.


  2. Very well written. Regarding elections, a few thoughts: There has always been an ability to control the outcome of elections. We saw it when Teddy Roosevelt ran as Bull Moose, or Ross Perot as American Independent, thereby assuring election of minority candidates. That tactic was used on behalf of Jon Tester in Montana in 2012, indicating that at a senate level in that state, votes were probably counted. Third parties exist for various reasons, but are sometimes used to change outcomes for the major parties, and have no more lasting importance.

    There has always been the ability to win by force, stuffing or losing ballot boxes. We saw this in 1948 and 1960.

    And there has always been the ability to control both candidiates, which gives the lie to the Trump over Clinton being a stolen election affair. Neither differs, both take orders on bended knee, so stealing it on behalf of one over the other was redundant.

    My only concern then are the machines. They were counting votes in Florida in 2000, which is why the Supreme Court had to step in and dictate the outcome. There was a reason for that having nothing to do with Gore, but perhaps with getting the right people in place for 9/11. Who knows. After that came HAVA, and right away in 2000 2002 we saw a stolen election in Georgia. Then 2004, stolen. We know they have the ability.

    So the question is, how far down does it go? They don’t have to do it, true enough, as we are as clueless and dumbed down a population as has ever existed. But if they can, and no one questions it, have they not eliminated elections in total? Is that not a remarkable accomplishment?

    I do not believe sporting events, by and large, are scripted. Occasionally, yes. Jets over Colts, 1969, for starts. What Golden State is doing to the Cavaliers has to be bad for that sport and ad revenues. I don’t believe all or most events are staged. But with elections, I see now that they can be run without the necessity of counting votes. So why bother?

    County Clerk, Bond issues, local sheriff … ? No certainty, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just a nit: After last year’s finals collapse, which was awkwardly managed to cement LeBron’s long term (post retirement) earning power, due diligence is being enforced to cement the Warriors historic and extremely lucrative status as the biggest road draw (And to placate fans who might have suspected chicanery after having the best season in history). Curry becomes a long term immortal earner as well, a shelf below Jordan and James. The short losses on this year’s likely sweep (tip-off is in 90 minutes) is a longer term investment by NBA inc. as well as reinforcing the obligations these guys have to their life long owners.
      I recall somewhere it was revealed that Michael Jordan earned over 100 million a year post-career where during his career he only made 96 million total. These guys work for more than just the teams they are on, obviously.
      (BTW, did anyone bother to notice just how much room back tracking LeBron gave Durant with that final shot? Who are they kidding?
      Oh, and soccer fans, this is a salient point, not a rah rah for the Dubs!)


  3. Probably is not that hard to fool more than 90% of the population (maybe more than 98%). The 10% problem can be solved by using various gatekeepers that focus on various demographics. In the end the 10% are divided in many groups that are to weak to make changes. There are a few people in the liberty movement that believe 5% can change the country/world. They give the example of the American Revolution. Of course during the American Revolution, the elites ( or many of them) were on the side of the revolutionaries. The problem is that the American Revolution may have been another elite project.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. neat story, let me know where i can get one of those “turn back time three times” cards. the more likely method is to grind the dice and position your hotels accordingly. i’m honestly a little surprised – the comments on here seem to imply you think they actually count the votes.

    much less than 5% can change the world. that’s sort of the problem. unless you can flip the board and start over there’s no way to drain their status


    1. “You think they actually count the votes?!?” That’s a manly piece of Truther swagger. But let’s think about what it’s saying for ten seconds in a row.

      In the last election, on the same ballot as the Clinton or Trump choice, was a proposal in my township for a millage increase for the expansion of parks and play areas. If the ballots are not counted for the presidential race, then they are not counted for the township issue … right? So that means—by your lights—that someone in Langley (or the Vatican, or Tel Aviv, or the City of London … whoever you think is running the world) is picking numbers for elections results for every bond issue, township proposal, drain commissioner, county sheriff, and school millage … AND, I hasten to add, picking numbers for every outcome that seem plausible to the local electorate … AND at the same time … (this is crucial) … every goddamn county clerk in America knowingly bags up the ballots and tosses them in the dumpster to go along with the charade … because in every county—even the most rural, God-fearing places in the Bible Belt and upper Midwest—The Powers That Be have positioned it so that one of their own lackeys gets to play county clerk and help rig the parks millage question … along with the presidential race.

      Geez O Pete, that’s a lot of work!!!

      Not so much to rig the elections in that manner … but to believe such an outlandish conspiracy theory. And on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

      Are certain races rigged in certain key districts? Absolutely. There is clear evidence for that, like the 2000 Volusia error and the 2002 Baldwin County, Alabama results. And in the Electoral College system, the outcome of a presidential race really boils down to swing voters (or swung voting machines) in just a few places. Yes, this happens. But the idea that there is this massive, country-wide, grassroots covert operation to gin up phoney-baloney numbers for every single school board race in the country? That’s cuckoo.

      When valid, well-evidenced claims (9/11 was an inside job) get mixed with wingnut paranoiac delusions, it weakens the Truther community’s ability to awaken others. That is ultimately the point of my present piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tend to think that the presidential election was rigged based on the following: 1) Rush Limbaugh knew in advance that Trump would win; 2) Green Party candidate Jill Stein challenged the results in WI, MI and PA. In WI a judged ruled that only the machine tallies could be recounted, not actual ballots. In PA a judge intervened and stopped the recount. In MI the recount was stopped as well.

        Essentially, as we are now set up, recounts, which ought to be automatic and SOP, are illegal. When I lived in Montana, I used my status as a CPA to urge my representative to pass introduce a law mandating basic audit standards for elections, that is, statistical analysis coupled with hard recounts of randomly selected precincts. I was told, sheepishly, that such a law was an impossibility.

        That told me that it was even possible that all down ballot issues could be rigged as well. If every county clerk is honest, but has no power to use public funds to physically recount ballots, then indeed it is possible that votes are not counted at any level, and by a system of trickle down the power to call election outcomes is delegated to interested parties.


        1. I agree that the Deep State pretty much has its choice of patsies to sit in the White House. The Electoral College system makes that easy enough.

          Whether or not recounts are possible anymore, I cannot say. The Kabuki theater that was the 2016 election cannot be taken as indicative of policy throughout the nation down to the local level.

          But not recounting is different from not having an initial count . Surely in all those places without electronic ballots (like mine), someone is sitting down after the polls close and processing votes. And is thus in a position to notice if the published results vary from what was counted at the precinct.

          But why should the Deep State manufacture vote counts for every contest on every ballot? It simply doesn’t matter for their purposes who is the drain commissioner in Podunk County.


        2. The key is, I think, the “black box” aspect of the voting machines. We only know input and output, and not the process in between. So if the machines are programmed to switch votes from one candidate to another in important races, and that is done, and the output is reported, and sure enough it agrees with published results. But vote count, which can only be done with paper ballots, was not verified. That is the only way I know of to run a transparent election*.

          I have not followed the issue in several years, but another aspect of the matter was the programs that run the machines, far less complicated than grocery store cash registers, are proprietary. They should be open source and public. That is absurd.

          I agree on the general good nature of public servants at lower levels, and assume that every county election official wants to do a good job. They do everything in their power to assure a clean outcome, but if they cannot verify the votes are accurately counted, it is all for naught.

          *That is why it was so suspicious in Wisconsin that a judge ruled that only machine counts would be re-tallied, but that there would be no paper ballot counting to verify machine accuracy.


          1. Kudos on Normal Illinois for using paper ballots as the actual vote tally. Machines can and do perform with a high degree of accuracy … when left alone. They are easily hacked.

            Sometime, check out the Prosser Supreme Court election in Wisconsin in 2011. It was essentially a referendum on Scott Walker. Election night results showed Prosser losing by 204 votes, but the Waukesha election supervisor kept election results on her personal computer, and discovered the next day that she forgot to put 14,000+ votes in the system. This discovery gave Prosser a 7500 vote victory, just out of range of a mandatory recount.

            Yes, all of this is done with a straight face.


          2. The Prosser case is interesting. That’s what a “re-roll” would look like for the elites. Although, in this instance, given that the County Clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, was a former employee of Prosser, it could be argued that this was an individual act of bad faith, not necessarily one ordered “from above.”

            But if one takes this, or the 2002 Alabama gubernatorial fix, as cases of Deep State rigging, it actually proves the point that they do count votes. If outcomes were simply assigned from an office in Langley, there would be no need for these clumsy fixes. Every election at every level would be smooth and seamless, nothing to see here.


          3. I’ll go with that, or maybe this: Votes are counted when the outcome is known and approved of, and massaged when not. We have in place a massive apparatus for counting votes, and at the same time, a means by which counting can be faked. Your point, that public opinion is easily managed, is well taken.

            I don’t imagine these machines were foisted on us as fully understood toys. There has been tweaking over the years. But those who pulled off an event as massive and fake as 9/11 are surely capable of staging fake elections. (That’s just a new way of saying “If they can put a man on the moon…,” isn’t it.)


  5. in this discussion we’re also accepting the idea that the elected actors actually make any difference. DC is run by the back of the house. who cares about school boards when the state legislature is stitched up? let the peons have a few to make them believe


  6. So, yes, that’s the interesting question: Just at what level of government do the candidates stop being public servants and start being actors? I know personally a city manager, a county circuit court judge, a county probate court judge, a state representative, and in years past, a US Senator. They are not actors. They are honest, albeit flawed people who work hard at hard jobs. (If Mark wants names to verify, I will gladly divulge these to him.)

    Sure, Donald Trump is an actor and a clown. And Obama before him. But is my mayor an actor? My governor? My representative to Congress? Where is the cutoff line? Does it vary from one state to another, or by the size of a municipality?

    And most importantly … what is the evidence by which one divines this?


    1. Ballot access rules/laws weeds out almost all the potential competition outside the two main parties. The vote count favoring Dems or Repubs changes little if both candidates have been pre-approved and selected for their obedience to the status quo. Lastly, what is there that hasn’t already been rigged to favor TPTB. Sitting on a pat hand in most areas of so-called “controversy.”


    2. Blue Lodge-This is your basic level of “tptb government”. This is where community leaders make decisions on various subjects.
      State regional district-This is a collective group of blue lodges who meet under the Scottish Rite or York Rite temple. It is a group of area blue lodges who meet to discuss business within their areas.
      State Grand Lodge-This is where the many districts within the state will meet.
      National regional district is set up of many state lodges to meet and discuss their regional matters.
      The governing bodies are nothing more than actors in a play put on for the public and are trusted to apply policy and handle daily operations locally and nationally. The state grand lodge makes your state decisions and runs the state, the state regional lodge makes your county decisions and runs the counties, your blue lodge makes your city decisions and runs your city.
      So yes, despite all he charades and besides a few dupes here and there everyone is controlled and handpicked regardless of how we vote. You would really have to handcuff and painfully torture most for them to admit to it. But then you would be taken out or put away.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The question of how deep into the fabric of society the finger touch of “The Powers that Be” extends is also the most important question for me.

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a “nerd” but I did indulge in my share of board gaming. For me it was games of conquest – especially “Diplomacy”- by Avalon Hill.

    I would say the finger touch of power extends pretty far but the long cons of that power we all labor under every day are well established and firmly in place so as to not be felt, noticed, or even so much as commented upon and are easily staffed and sustained by those unaware.

    They are constantly working to establish more long cons in our society and that is where you see the finger touch of power most active and most easily. But it doesn’t take herds of people. I’m of the opinion that there are basically “Intelligence” organizations of some sort active in every major urban area and every state. Obviously population centers like New York and Greater Boston and Philadelphia and Chicago and LA have rather large intelligence contingents- active throughout “the arts”, the fake criminal “underworlds”, financial centers, police, local politics . . . so on and so forth. But I suspect every state has some nest of spooks no matter how rural or backwater.

    As for elections. I think with the long cons of The Powers That Be being firmly in place so as to hamstring the power of local politicians it really doesn’t matter all that much who becomes country commissioner or town selectman. Those are administrative rolls. The “politics” they encounter are of such a low level (trash pickup times, park budgets, dog poop on sidewalks . . . .). They can’t touch anything major. The school systems are so integrated into the long cons that no local politician can touch them with a ten foot pole. Mayor offices- of even big cities are basically ceremonial positions as they sit atop bureaucracies protected under layers of legalism- professional associations, and increasingly federal law and oversight- that as long as the local Mayor is just a boring clown who speaks in sound bites and regurgitates boilerplate- the Powers That Be don’t care if he is one of them or not. I don’t think Mayor Walsh of Boston is “them”. He doesn’t have to be. He exists to say stuff on the News. Mayors have no power anymore. They can appoint some people- but they don’t command jobs and contracts like they used too- that served as the basis for their power.

    At the national level it is almost all scripted- every player. I think few Congressman these days are anything but paid agents. And if they aren’t- they are dumb dumbs. I do believe however that the Powers That Be are getting far to overzealous and I think they have a lot of people to employ and keep busy. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I suggest that the personal incentives facing Senators are sufficient to prevent them from doing anything good. I agree that Martin’s Senator is not an actor. But he doesn’t represent his constituents. The constituents want an end to Middle East wars, $900 toilet seats, banker bailouts, medical price gouging, etc. The Senator consistently votes for the exact opposite of what the people want. Why? He’s not actor, but he is a faker when it comes to prioritizing the will of the people. He’s only human. He knows that the consequences of attempting to rein in the military industrial complex, Wall Street, or Big Pharma will be negative for him personally. Lost job, lost financial opportunities, lost status. So he doesn’t attempt to rein in those entities. Even though they are preying on his constituents. The voters aren’t blameless. They want tax cuts and benefit increases too, no matter how unsustainable. But really it’s big concentrated pools of capital who call the shots.


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