Saturday, December 31, 2022

Nice Peso You've Got There - Be A Shame If Something Happened To It....,

Reuters  |   Concerns about a U.S. recession and a trade spat Mexico is embroiled in with the United States and Canada over Lopez Obrador's energy policy, which critics call nationalist, muddy the outlook for the peso.

"The perception of risk could rise due to the consultations in the framework of the USMCA (trade deal), which could lead to the imposition of measures against Mexico," said Banco Base.

Traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, considered a bellwether of market sentiment, have started to bet the peso will begin depreciating.

Mexico's peso, which is ending 2022 with one of its strongest performances in a decade, could have its gains wiped out in 2023 after an expected end to the Bank of Mexico's rate hikes cycle and a possible recession in top trade partner the United States.

The peso last month clawed its way back to pre-pandemic levels and has appreciated over 5% versus the U.S. dollar in 2022, making it one of the best-performing global currencies alongside Brazil's real .

Houstonchronicle  |  Just weeks before President Joe Biden’s planned visit to Mexico, talks on the neighbors’ biggest trade dispute have stalled due to the departures of negotiators from the Latin American nation’s side and its reluctance to make concessions, according to people familiar with the matter.

The two sides have struggled to make headway on the energy-policy spat after Tatiana Clouthier, the economy minister at the start of the dispute in July, resigned in October, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The dismissal of her trade deputy and more than a dozen senior staff also hindered progress, they said. 

Divisions have affected the Mexican team, with Energy Minister Rocio Nahle and Manuel Bartlett, the head of the electric utility, refusing for months to provide the nation’s trade negotiators with key information needed to address U.S. concerns, the people said. 

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also has been unwilling to push for major changes in the nationalist energy policy at the heart of the U.S. complaint, the people said.  

A spokesperson for the Mexican economy ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council acknowledged the request but didn’t immediately respond. The U.S. Trade Representative’s press office declined to immediately respond.

The two sides and Canada — which has some of the same concerns as the U.S. — are working to address the conflict before Biden visits Mexico next month, but American negotiators have little expectation for advances in that period, the people said.

Lopez Obrador’s policy privileges Mexican state-owned oil producer Petroleos Mexicanos and the electricity provider known as CFE. The U.S. says this violates the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade, which went into force in 2020 to replace the two-decade-old NAFTA pact. Canada filed a similar request for talks over Mexico’s electricity policy.

Lopez Obrador denies that his policies violate the pact, saying that the U.S. must respect Mexico’s sovereignty.

López Obrador Is One Of The Most Popular Leaders On Earth

LATimes |   From the roadside stand in this muggy stretch of southern Mexico where Carmelo Morrugares sells coconuts for a living, the 45-year-old father of three says he can see his country changing for the better.

There’s his pay, which has doubled from $5 to $10 daily thanks to a series of minimum-wage hikes. And there are the hefty welfare payments that his elderly father and student daughter now receive from the government.

Then there’s the highway itself, repaved amid a boom of fresh investment across the impoverished south.

For all this good fortune, Morrugares credits one man: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“He’s a visionary,” said Morrugares, who cheered on the president recently as he zipped past the coconut stand on his way to promote a refurbished train line that will pass through this region. That the famously frugal López Obrador traversed the dense tropical forest by car instead of helicopter said it all.

“Presidents before would just fly over,” Morrugares said. “We’ve never had a leader so close to the people.”

That sort of praise isn’t something you hear much in Mexico’s wealthier enclaves, where criticism of López Obrador has reached a fever pitch. Detractors, tens of thousands of whom marched in Mexico City last month, hate everything about the president: his moralizing tone and his ill-fitting suits, his disregard for democratic norms and his embrace of the military, his hypersensitivity to critique and his insistence that every problem can be blamed on a single enemy — the rich.

But as they pen newspaper columns and fire off tweets insisting that Mexico has never been worse off, his critics are speaking largely to themselves.

López Obrador is one of the most popular leaders on Earth.

He won in a landslide four years ago vowing to finally put the “poor first” in a country that he said had been hijacked by a corrupt and conservative elite. And despite a stagnating economy, staggering levels of violence and growing evidence that his efforts to reduce inequality have failed, his approval rating still tops 60%.

To better grasp the breadth of that support, The Times traveled this month across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a 140-mile wide strip of land that spans two states — Veracruz and Oaxaca — and stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

Here in the hinterlands, far from cosmopolitan Mexico City and the thriving industrial hubs in the north, it quickly becomes clear why AMLO, as he is widely known, is so beloved.

Great Reset, Or Else...,

pamho  |  The plan is to make Stockholder ideology, oops, sorry, *Stakeholder* ideology THE ideology of a new world system of governing. Leading non-governmental organizations — like The UN, The World Bank, The IMF, along with the biggest corporations and investment funds — and of course the governments of America, Europe, Asia and so on — they will kindly ask our new African friends to pretty please join our save-the-world party. The leaders of countries and businesses who don’t want to hop aboard the Stakeholder express, well, they don’t want to make all those groups and people have a sad at them do they? We are all in this together people.

Soon enough the African countries will “see the smart thing to do.” Capeesh? Like giving up on “advancing their economy” in favor of “saving the world” so Babs and Granpa Snooty feel like they are saving the world by telling them what they can and can’t do. And of course since batteries are such an important part of saving the world, “everyone” will have to pitch in and help the worldwide group effort. And wouldn’t you know it, it just so happens that the stuff that needs to be mined to make lots of powerful batteries are stuck, by gosh — under the ground in the underdeveloped world! Wow, what a coincidence!

So instead of their economy being based on uplifting their people out of their underdeveloped state, they can now focus on being good people! Good people who know their place in the worldwide effort to “save our planet!” Which means they must renounce the dirty fossil fuels they say will make them rich like America and Europe. I mean, fossil fuels are so damaging to our shared prosperity in our new Stakeholder world, right? People in Manhattan and London have just as much right as people in the Congo and Bolivia to say what the rules of industry are for the Congo and Bolivia because WE ARE THE STAKEHOLDER NOW!

Sure, some cynics might say that rich people from the developed world in reality just don’t want what they believe are “the limited stores of oil and gas left in the world,” to be “wasted” on building up Africa or other underdeveloped areas of the world.

But no no no, that cynicism is what Stakeholder Capitalism is supposed to put to rest. Don’t be cynical, because The Great Reset is all about equity, inclusion, AND anti-racism. Being good stewards of the environment, stopping climate change, and other words meant to make them look good is what it’s all about baby. It’s most definitely not about “creating a worldwide enforcement system funded by the richest and most powerful capitalists in the world to make themselves richer and more powerful.”

It’s also NOT about keeping undeveloped nations undeveloped so a cheap labor force can continue to be exploited in mines and factories. The new and purehearted “green economy” is about equity, clean air, buzzword, and another buzzword. So what if you can’t travel when and where and how you want? You will be safely made to take your medicine when you are told, and safely made to show your papers when you are told. No more scarey free speech and freedom to live as you choose! That’s old selfish extremist thinking. You must think the right safe thoughts. You must. No, really. YOU MUST.

The Great Reset also includes some newer ideas for newer “problems,” like a system to be set up for worldwide coordinated reaction to health-based “emergencies.” I mean, you can’t have the common non-rich people making the rich nervous by breathing near them can you? If it is flu season we don’t nay WE WILL NOT ALLOW Sally the waitress to be able to breath properly if the person she is serving has a trust fund. What to speak of flying on the same plane. I mean private jets don’t grow on trees people. It’s so much simpler to make sure Sally is kept from causing any potential harm she might bring to Justin and Jules on their bi-weekly getaway to the islands. So a no-fly list for Sally is best. She can visit her sick Dad next year when the flu isn’t so bad. PRIORITIES PEOPLE! The Great Reset knows best.

 

Friday, December 30, 2022

Twitter Files 8, 9 & 10

neuberger |   These are the latest Twitter Files since the first two sets were released. They extend the list collected here and here. (Emphasis added below.)

Twitter Files 8 — How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign
Lee Fang, December 20, 2022

An expanded version was published at The Intercept.

Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the U.S. military’s influence operation. […]

Twitter Files 9 Twitter and “Other Government Agencies”
Matt Taibbi, December 24, 2022

Also published as “Twitter Files Thread: The Spies Who Loved Twitter” at his Substack site.

The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.

2. The operation is far bigger than the reported 80 members of the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), which also facilitates requests from a wide array of smaller actors - from local cops to media to state governments.

3. Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track. Is today the DOD, and tomorrow the FBI? Is it the weekly call, or the monthly meeting? It was dizzying. […]

Twitter Files 10 — How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate
David Zwieg, December 26, 2022

2. So far the Twitter Files have focused on evidence of Twitter’s secret blacklists; how the company functioned as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI; and how execs rewrote the platform’s rules to accommodate their own political desires.

3. What we have yet to cover is Covid. […]

5. Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for @TheFP showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes. […]

As I’ve said many times about these reports, if you build a gun, anyone can use it. Especially if its use is widely cheered. This is how we repealed the Fourth Amendment — by both parties approving and participating in its violation.

The next Republican president will use every power bequeathed by the last two Democrats. And when out-of-power Democrats complain, as they rightly should, much of the public will say “So the shoe’s on the other foot.”

The public will be wrong in that. But only because no party should have these powers, not because one of them should.

Imagine If Jabba Put 1/10th The Effort She Puts Into Censorship Into Exercise Instead?

Kunstler |   Could it be that the educated and creatives of the coastal cities — the thinking class, the politically active on the Left — had become so callous and arrogant as to dismiss the suffering “little people” they once worked to protect and defend — or had that also been an act? One thing for sure: the Democratic Party lost this group as core constituents and they had to search elsewhere for a voter base.

     Another thing had changed along the way: the Democratic Party became dominated by activist women, who exhibited two outstanding behavioral tendencies: they tended to make decisions on the basis of emotion… their feelings about this-and-that; and they were much more ruthless in political battle than men — their emotions eclipsed age-old principles, such as the idea of fair play. In short, they resorted almost automatically to dirty fighting.

     That is probably at the heart of what is most confounding and vexing about the great political division in America these days. We are under a vile spell of pervasive dirty fighting. Dirty fighters have no respect for reality or for principle; they do whatever they can do to win the fight. Bad faith is the order of the day. Hence, the battle over how elections will be conducted and who gets to vote. You can read about it in Monday’s (Dec 26th) New York Times, an above-the-fold story titled: Democrats, Feeling New Strength, Plan to Go on Offense on Voting Rights. (As long as it stays up.) The story says:

     Now it is Democrats, who retained all but one of the governor’s offices they hold and won control of state legislatures in Michigan and Minnesota, who are ready to go on offense in 2023. They are putting forward a long list of proposals that include creating automatic voter registration systems, preregistering teenagers to vote before they turn 18, returning the franchise to felons released from prison and criminalizing election misinformation.”

    Note the last three words. The Times boldly announces that opinion about elections should now be subject to criminal prosecution if it deviates from whatever the official story is — as determined by whom? Well, that would be a juridical apparatus controlled by the Democratic Party. Who else might it be? The Times doesn’t venture to say. You can also see that the Party doesn’t believe in any principle that states who or why somebody should be qualified to vote. Sign up people who manage to get a driver’s license, whether they are citizens or not. Sign up the convicted criminals and the children. Dirty fighting = dirty elections.

     This is the direction our country has been going in. I can offer only one note of consolation about what looks like a pretty demoralizing predicament: what you’re seeing is the end product of the late-stage in the life of a society. Obviously, it is ending badly. The catch is we are entering a new era of American life, an era of deep economic disorder, especially, that will go very hard on the nation, that will rearrange many of the social categories we now take for granted, that will compel people of all classes to pay attention to reality, to what actually works and who actually knows how to work what works. In that disposition of things, dirty fighting will be recognized for what it is.

    Perhaps the biggest part of that unspooling event will be the bankruptcy and the failure of the government in Washington, its consequent loss of legitimacy, and the end of its ability to control and harass the people who live under it. Think I’m kidding? Stand by now and wait for it.

How Long Before The DHS, FBI And The CIA Move On Substack?

greenwald  |  These moves by the U.S. Security State to commandeer censorship decisions on TikTok, accompanied by the hovering threat to ban TikTok entirely from the U.S., appear to be having the desired effect already. When we launched our new live nightly show on Rumble, System Update, our social media manager created new social accounts for the program on major social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok, etc. Each day, she posts identical excerpts from the prior night's shows on each social media account.

For Monday night's show, I devoted my opening monologue to documenting how reporting by mainstream Western media outlets on Ukraine and President Zelensky completely reversed itself as soon as Russia invaded in February. When one reviews the trajectory of how these media outlets radically reversed everything they had been saying about Ukraine and Zelensky, one can see the Orwellian newspeakwe have always been at war with Eastasia — happening in real time.

For years, for instance, mainstream news outlets in the West repeatedly warned that the Ukrainian military was dominated by a neo-Nazi group called the Azov Battalion, that the Kiev-based government was becoming increasingly repressive and anti-democratic (including ordering three opposition media outlets closed in 2021), and that Zelensky himself was not only supported by a single Ukrainian oligarch but he himself had massive off-shore accounts of hidden wealth as revealed by the Pandora Papers. And the U.S. State Department itself, in 2021, had documented a long list of severe human rights abuses carried out either with the acquiescence or even active participation of the Zelensky-led central government.

One of the video excerpts from our program that was posted to all social media sites, including TikTok, was this indisputably true and rather benign review of how media outlets, including The Guardian, had previously depicted Zelensky as surrounded by corruption and hidden wealth. To be sure, the excerpt was critical of Zelensky, but there is absolutely nothing even factually contestable, let alone untrue, given that the whole point of the clip is to show how the media had spoken of Ukraine and Zelensky prior to the invasion as opposed to the fundamentally different tone that now drives their coverage:

Shortly after posting this video, we were notified by TikTok that the video was removed by the platform. The cited ground was “integrity and authenticity,” namely that the video, for unspecified reasons, had “undermine[d] the integrity of [their] platform or the authenticity of [their users].” The warning added that TikTok "removes content and accounts that…involve misleading information that causes significant harm.” In a separate communication, TikTok notified our program that our “account is at high risk of being restricted based on [our] violation history” (the sole violation we were ever advised of was this specific video). As a result, TikTok warned, “the next violation could result in being prevented from accessing some feature.” A more ambiguous warning could scarcely be imagined.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Between Russian Tanks And EU Banks There'll Be Nothing Left Of Ukraine When This Is Over...,

kremlin.ru  |  I have pointed out many times and have written in my articles that the goal of our strategic adversaries is to weaken and divide our nation. This has been so for centuries, and there is nothing new in this now. They believe that our country is too large and poses a threat, which is why it must be diminished and divided. Wherever you look, this has been their goal over the past centuries. I will not provide any examples now; you can find them in the relevant materials. They have always nurtured this idea and such plans, hoping that they will be able to implement them, one way or another.

For our part, we have aways or nearly always pursued a completely different approach and had different goals: we have always wanted to be part of the so-called civilised world. After the Soviet Union’s dissolution, which we ourselves allowed to take place, we thought for some reason that we would become part of that so-called civilised world any day. But it turned out that nobody wanted this to happen, despite our efforts and attempts, and this concerns my efforts as well, because I made these attempts too. We tried to become closer, to become part of that world. But to no avail.

On the contrary, they undertook, including with the use of international terrorists in the Caucasus, to finish off Russia and to split the Russian Federation. There is no need to prove this to many of you in this room, because you know what took place in the mid-1990s and the early 2000s. They claimed to condemn al-Qaeda and other criminals, yet they considered using them on the territory of Russia as acceptable and provided all kinds of assistance to them, including material, information, political and any other support, notably military support, to encourage them to continue fighting against Russia. We overcame that complicated period in our history thanks to the people of the Caucasus, thanks to the Chechen people, and thanks to the heroism of our military personnel. We have survived those trials, growing stronger in the process.

It took off from there, as the saying goes. Not to offend anyone, but I will still say that our geopolitical rivals started using every opportunity they had to pursue their agenda. They started brainwashing people across the post-Soviet space, primarily in Ukraine. And they have been quite successful at that and well prepared, since back in the Soviet era they had entire institutions working on these matters.

After the 2014 government coup in Ukraine – let me emphasise that we spent decades trying to improve our relations in the new geopolitical environment – we did everything to build not only neighbourly, but brotherly relations: we granted them loans and supplied them with energy resources for next to nothing. This lasted for years. No, nothing worked. I mean nothing.

Let me remind you that when the Soviet Union was breaking apart, Ukraine withdrew from the union. In its Declaration of Independence, and I think – I am actually certain that back then the Russian leadership took this into consideration – Ukraine wrote that it is a neutral state. For this reason, we can understand why the Russian leaders at the time did not see these threats. They viewed Ukraine as a neutral state, a brotherly nation sharing a single culture with us, as well as having common spiritual and moral values, and a shared past. They did not see any threats. However, our adversaries persisted in their efforts, and we must recognise that they have been quite effective.

We pinned our hopes, it seems, on our efforts to improve these relations, but they proved ineffective and failed to reach the desired objective. Let me emphasise that we have nothing to blame ourselves for. I say this with full responsibility.

You know my position on this matter: we have always treated the people of Ukraine as a brotherly nation. I still think this way. What is currently happening is, of course, a tragedy. It is our common tragedy. But it does not result from our policy. On the contrary, it results from the policies carried out by other countries, by third countries, which have always wished to split the Russian world apart.

They succeeded, to a certain extent, and pushed us to the brink we are at now.

So, after the 2014 coup – I am not going to talk about the reasons behind this coup and will only say that it was unacceptable. As you may remember, in February 2014, three foreign ministers from Poland, France and Germany arrived in Kiev and put their signatures as guarantors of an agreement between the opposition and the incumbent government. The coup took place several days later. Everyone forgot about these guarantees, as if they had never existed. What should have been done instead? All they had to do was say, “Friends, we are the guarantors and major European countries, so please go back to the negotiating table, go to the polls and resolve the power issue using political procedures.” That is all they had to do.

Everyone realised perfectly well that, for better or for worse, the then government would have certainly lost the elections, especially since the then president agreed to almost all the opposition’s demands, including early elections. And when I ask our so-called colleagues why they allowed the coup to happen, they have no answer to that. They just shrug their shoulders and say it just happened. Good grief. It just happened? That way they let us know that no pro-Russian forces, and all politicians, journalists, or public figures who were even slightly in favour of developing relations with Russia were simply killed in the street, and no one thought about investigating anything. It became clear that we would not be given any chance, simply no chance whatsoever to restore relations with this portion of our former common country. No way. In fact, they used terror in a shameless and brazen manner.

The brainwashing of the citizens of Ukraine and the neo-Nazi and extremely nationalistic ideology that went on for decades did their job, one way or another.

What is it all about? Hitler's acolytes were elevated to the rank of national heroes, and no one seemed to care. Indeed, they are nationalists, but there are nationalists in any country, and we have them as well. But we are fighting manifestations of neo-Nazism and fascism; we are not elevating it to the rank of national policy. While in Ukraine they do and everyone pretends not to notice it. Nationalism does not seem to be a bad thing since it is about fighting for national interests, but the fact that this is done on the basis of a Nazi, neo-Nazi ideology is simply ignored. They walk around wearing swastikas in central parts of major cities, including the capital city, and they make it look as if it were nothing unusual. Why? Because it is the same approach they used in the 1990s and the early 2000s with the international terrorists fighting Russia. Pardon me, but they did not give a damn that those were terrorists, recognised international terrorists. They did not care, because they used them to fight Russia. It is the same now: neo-Nazis are used to fight against Russia. No one cares about the fact that they are neo-Nazis. What matters to them is that they are fighting Russia. But we do care.

It became clear back then that a clash with these forces, including in Ukraine, was inevitable, the only question was when. Military operations and hostilities always come with tragedy and loss of life. We are aware of this. But since it is inevitable, better do it today than tomorrow. I think that everyone in this audience understands perfectly well what I am talking about, including the state of our Armed Forces and the availability of advanced types of weapons and other equipment that we have but other countries do not. All of the above gives us a certain margin of safety.

We know our advantages: the nuclear triad, the Aerospace Forces, the Navy in certain segments, and so on. We know this, we have it all, and all of it is in the right state. We also see what we need to do to improve the Armed Forces, including the Ground Forces, our counter-artillery warfare, communications systems, and so on. Everyone in this room understands what I am talking about, and I am sure you agree with me.

There is something I want to emphasise. We in Russia (there are very few such countries in the world, and certainly not our neighbours, who will be left with nothing soon except for foreign handouts such as money, weapons, ammunition, only handouts – things are completely different in Russia), we have everything. I want to emphasise this: we have every single thing, we have the resources to build up this potential, and we will certainly do this without cutting any slack. Moreover, unlike many other countries, as I said, we will rely on our own (I want to emphasise this) our own scientific, technological, production and personnel resources. Moreover, we will attain our goals without detriment to economic growth or social development, while unfailingly fulfilling our social obligations to our citizens. All the plans outlined here, all our long-term goals will be achieved, and all plans will be carried out.

We will not repeat the mistakes of the past, when we harmed our economy to boost our defence capabilities, regardless of whether it was warranted or not. We are not going to militarise our country or militarise the economy, primarily because we have no need to do it at the current level of development and with the structure of the economy that we have. Again – we do not intend to, and we will not do things we do not really need, to the detriment of our people and the economy, the social sphere.

We will improve the Russian Armed Forces and the entire military component. We will do it calmly, routinely and consistently, without haste. We will attain our objectives to strengthen our defence capability in general as well as meeting the goals of the special military operation.

An Important Lesson That A U.S. Administration That Actually Cares About American Security Should Heed...,

MKRU  |  In Russia, you really need to live a long time in order to finally hear not from the communists, not from the people's patriotic opposition, but from the head of state: people who pump money out of here are dangerous for the country. Significant change in rhetoric.

Thirty years ago, in 1992, Yeltsin spoke in the US Congress and, just like Zelensky the other day, ended his speech with the words: “Lord! Bless America!" And before that, he invited the United States to investigate the communist past of the USSR - "these dark pages of the former empire." They surrendered the great country and began to rapidly turn it into a gas station, a weak-willed Western protectorate, building peripheral capitalism here.

Putin, who came to power (here you will have to deal with generalizations and look at the whole), could not go into open confrontation with the pro-Western Russian elites without plunging the country into chaos. And started a long journey. Remember how many times over the years you have had to be surprised: the president says the right things, but the output turned out to be something wrong. Well, at least with the same import substitution - visibility, fraud for reports.

Everything changed in February. Putin had warned (and more than once) the oligarchs long before that – keep your money at home, it’s better at home, and abroad you are tormented by courts to swallow dust in order to unlock assets. And so it happened.

But the freeze did not end there. The US Senate passed the defense budget, which contains an amendment to confiscate Russian private assets in US jurisdiction. Canada did something similar before. The oligarchs who fell under the distribution are not sorry for a second - they got what they deserved. However, the important thing is that this money will be used to help Ukraine.

A simple logical chain: the oligarchs ripped off Russia, taking funds abroad, and now the collective apad will kill Russian soldiers with these funds.

Although the word "oligarchs" (simply their assets are the most significant) in this case is rather narrow. Putin, answering a question from journalists on December 22, 2022, put it more precisely: “If a person does not associate his life with this country, but simply takes money out of here, and everything is there, abroad, then he values ​​​​not the country in which he lives and where earns, but cherishes good relations where he has property and money in his accounts. And such people are a danger to us.”

What do they do with people who are dangerous to society?

However, these Putin's words are not a guide to action for those who are supposed to, but an announcement of these actions for those who can still come to their senses. No wonder he made a reservation in the spirit of “even a tuft of wool from a black sheep”: “But we are loyal to everyone. The main thing is to work efficiently.”

Believe it or not, 20 years have passed between the phrase “you are tormented to swallow the dust” and its implementation. In Russia, you really have to live a long time. Although since February, everything has unimaginably accelerated.

 

 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

George Santos Insists He's Still Gay And Jewish

NYTimes |  George Santos, whose election to Congress on Long Island last month helped Republicans clinch a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, built his candidacy on the notion that he was the “full embodiment of the American dream” and was running to safeguard it for others.

His campaign biography amplified his storybook journey: He is the son of Brazilian immigrants, and the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent. By his account, he catapulted himself from a New York City public college to become a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” with a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats.

But a New York Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Mr. Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters.

Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, the marquee Wall Street firms on Mr. Santos’s campaign biography, told The Times they had no record of his ever working there. Officials at Baruch College, which Mr. Santos has said he graduated from in 2010, could find no record of anyone matching his name and date of birth graduating that year.

There was also little evidence that his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, was, as Mr. Santos claimed, a tax-exempt organization: The Internal Revenue Service could locate no record of a registered charity with that name.

His financial disclosure forms suggest a life of some wealth. He lent his campaign more than $700,000 during the midterm election, has donated thousands of dollars to other candidates in the last two years and reported a $750,000 salary and over $1 million in dividends from his company, the Devolder Organization.

Yet the firm, which has no public website or LinkedIn page, is something of a mystery. On a campaign website, Mr. Santos once described Devolder as his “family’s firm” that managed $80 million in assets. On his congressional financial disclosure, he described it as a capital introduction consulting company, a type of boutique firm that serves as a liaison between investment funds and deep-pocketed investors. But Mr. Santos’s disclosures did not reveal any clients, an omission three election law experts said could be problematic if such clients exist.

And while Mr. Santos has described a family fortune in real estate, he has not disclosed, nor could The Times find, records of his properties.

Whoopi Fitna Catch Another Whooping For Taking The Name Of The Lord YOUR GOD In Vain!!!!

yahoo  |  Whoopi Goldberg is talking again about whether the Holocaust, which involved the murder of 6 million Jewish people, was racially motivated.

In a new interview with The Sunday Times of London, shared during Hanukkah, Goldberg suggested Jews are divided about whether they are a race, religion or both.

"My best friend said, ‘Not for nothing is there no box on the census for the Jewish race. So that leads me to believe that we’re probably not a race,’ " she recalled.

When The Times journalist Janice Turner mentioned racially divisive laws set by Nazis aimed at Jews, "The View" cohost insisted that the Holocaust "wasn't originally" about "racial" or "physical" attributes.

"They were killing people they considered to be mentally defective. And then they made this decision," she said.

Goldberg's new comments echo remarks she made about the Holocaust on "The View," which led to a suspension in February.

ABC News president Kim Godwin said that Goldberg would be suspended from "The View" for two weeks effective immediately for "her wrong and hurtful comments," in a statement shared with USA TODAY on Feb. 2.

“While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments," Godwin added. "The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities."

Previous: Whoopi Goldberg returns to 'The View' after suspension

Goldberg posted a now-deleted statement expressing her "sincerest apologies" on Twitter on Jan. 31, after the episode aired, also echoing a statement from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt who wrote that the Holocaust "was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race."

"On today's show, I said the Holocaust 'is not about race, but about man's inhumanity to man.' I should have said it is about both," she wrote. "I stand corrected. The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I'm sorry for the hurt I have caused."

On the show the following day, she addressed the controversy again, saying she "misspoke."

 

Wickliffe Draper: The Philanthropic Wellspring Of American Race Science

undark  | The web woven by Wickliffe Draper in the 20th century, when he could count on august leaders of scientific institutions to support his segregationist and eugenicist causes, is far less distinguished today. But it hasn’t been wiped out completely. Stealthy back-scratching continues among The Mankind Quarterly contributors with scant academic credentials and those in mainstream academia and publishing.

‍In early 2018, I reported for The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. that there were at least two individuals sitting on the editorial board of the Elsevier journal Intelligence who failed to meet the publisher’s own professional benchmarks. One of them was editor for The Mankind Quarterly, Gerhard Meisenberg. The other was Richard Lynn, then assistant editor of The Mankind Quarterly, and the president of Draper’s Pioneer Fund. Lynn was an emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University in Northern Ireland, but a few months into 2018 that title would be withdrawn, following a motion by its student union that his views were “racist and sexist in nature.” (Since 2015, The Mankind Quarterly has been published by the Ulster Institute for Social Research, a think tank headed by Lynn.)

At the time, Haier, the editor of Intelligence, defended Lynn and Meisenberg. “I have read some quotes, indirect quotes, that disturb me,” he told me, “but throwing people off an editorial board for expressing an opinion really kind of puts us in a dicey area.” Yet, by the end of 2018 — after the piece in The Guardian was published — the journal’s editorial board went through a dramatic reshuffle and Lynn and Meisenberg were both gone. 

A spokesperson for Elsevier told Undark that it is policy “to rotate Editorial Board members from time to time” and that “Elsevier’s journals operate under the guidance of an Editor-in-Chief and an Editorial Board. Editors-in-Chief are established researchers with a broad interest in their field and are well connected and respected in their subject community.”

Publishing is one side of the research coin. The other is funding. And following a temporary hiatus, Wickliffe Draper’s Pioneer Fund is still in business. In 2013, following the death of its president Jean-Philippe Rushton, only a small fraction of the fund’s assets remained. By 2020, though, they had risen again to almost $300,000 — suggesting that money was coming in from somewhere.

The Pioneer Fund’s U.S. tax records show that its most recent grant was given in 2019, totalling $15,000 to support an organization known as the Human Phenome Diversity Foundation, based in Ohio. This foundation’s president was listed as Bryan Pesta, then a tenured business professor at Cleveland State University in Ohio. In 2016, Pesta published a paper in which he predicted that as the IQ level required to do a job increases, “the percent of White and Asian workers will increase, while the percent of Black workers will decrease.” This was published in Open Differential Psychology, an open-access online journal edited by a right-wing blogger with no known reputable academic affiliations, who is — like Pesta — a contributor to The Mankind Quarterly.

In 2020, Pesta also published research in Intelligence on racial and ethnic group differences in the heritability of intelligence. Roughly a year later, the University of Virginia psychologists Evan Giangrande and Eric Turkheimer responded, stating that the work of Pesta and his colleagues in this paper served “as an example of how racially motivated and poorly executed work can find its way into a mainstream scientific journal, underscoring the importance of robust peer review and rigorous editorial judgment.”

In 2021, Pesta worked on another paper, this time trying to look for correlations between race and behavioral traits using data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development database, a long-term study of brain development in American children supported by the National Institutes of Health. The paper analyzed the DNA of almost 10,000 of the children in the study to calculate the percentage of five broad population groups each one might statistically belong to, in a similar way to modern-day genetic ancestry tests. Children were labelled as 10 percent or less African, for example, or 90 percent or less European. The goal was to see if differences in rates of depression, educational attainment, and other factors could be linked proportionately to a child’s race.

In 2021, after losing all respectable academic affiliations, Lynn went on to co-author a paper in another Elsevier journal, Personality and Individual Differences, comparing the processing speeds of people in the United States and Taiwan. He made the unverified claim that part of any gap could be attributed to genetic differences between population groups. Lynn sat on the editorial advisory board of Personality and Individual Differences as recently as 2018. The journal’s editor published a review of his memoirs in 2021.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Whole Idea Started From Maxwell's Equations

wikipedia |  Salvatore Cezar Pais is an American aerospace engineer and inventor, currently working for the United States Space Force. He formerly worked at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. His patent applications on behalf of his employers have attracted international attention for their potential military and energy-producing applications, but also doubt about their feasibility, and speculation that they may be misinformation intended to mislead the United States' adversaries or a scam.[1]

Salvatore Pais received his advanced education at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, graduating with an MS for a thesis titled "Design of an experiment for observation of thermocapillary convection phenomena in a simulated floating zone under microgravity conditions" in 1993.[2]

Pais received his PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Case Western in 1999 on the subject of "Bubble generation under reduced gravity conditions for both co-flow and cross-flow configurations" for which he endured a number of parabolic flights in order to produce a low-gravity environment.[3] His doctoral advisers were Yasuhiro Kamotani and Simon Ostrach who had carried out spacelab experiments in low-gravity aboard the space shuttle STS-50 in 1992.[4] Pais's research was sponsored by NASA.[5]

Pais works as a scientist, aerospace engineer, and inventor, at the United States Navy's Naval Air Station Patuxent River. His patent applications on behalf of his employers have attracted international attention for their futuristic-sounding technology and potential military and energy-producing applications, but have also led to speculation that they may be misinformation intended to mislead the United States' strategic adversaries about the direction of United States defense research.[1]

Pais left the NAWCAD in June 2019 and moved to the US Navy's Strategic Systems Programs organization. He transferred to the U.S. Air Force in 2021.[8]

His patent applications include:

  • A "piezoelectricity-induced room temperature superconductor" with the function of enabling "the transmission of electrical power with no losses."(2017).[9][10] The Institution of Engineering and Technology commented that no evidence was presented to show that the device worked and that the highest temperature superconductors so far created worked at around -70 °C.[11]
  • A "plasma compression fusion device" (2018),[7][12][13] described by Popular Mechanics as a "compact nuclear fusion reactor" that "seemingly stretch[es] the limits of science."[14]
  • An "electromagnetic field generator and method to generate an electromagnetic field" (2015), the principal stated application of which is to deflect asteroids that may hit the Earth. The patent is assigned to the US Secretary of the Navy.[15]
  • A "craft using an inertial mass reduction device" (2016), one embodiment of which could be a high speed "hybrid aerospace/undersea craft" able to "engineer the fabric of our reality at the most fundamental level",[6] the patent application for which was supported by the Naval Aviation Enterprise's chief technical officer on the grounds that the Chinese military were already developing similar technology.[1]
  • A "high frequency gravitational wave generator" that may be used "for advanced propulsion, asteroid disruption and/or deflection, and communications through solid objects."(2017).[16]

Testing on the feasibility of a High Energy Electromagnetic Field Generator (HEEMFG) occurred from October 2016 to September 2019; at a total cost of $508,000 over three years. The vast majority of expenditure was on salaries. The "Pais Effect" could not be proven and no further research was conducted.[8] Brett Tingley wrote for The Drive that "Despite every physicist we have spoken to over the better part of two years asserting that the "Pais Effect" has no scientific basis in reality and the patents related to it were filled with pseudo-scientific jargon, NAWCAD confirmed they were interested enough in the patents to spend more than a half-million dollars over three years developing experiments and equipment to test Pais' theories".[8] Pais remained defiant regarding the veracity of his theories, in an email to The Drive he wrote that his work "culminates in the enablement of the Pais Effect...as far as the doubting SMEs [Subject Matter Experts] are concerned, my work shall be proven correct one fine day...".[8] 

Even In Physics - Innovation Follows The Factory Floor

wikipedia  |  The causes of the Casimir effect are described by quantum field theory, which states that all of the various fundamental fields, such as the electromagnetic field, must be quantized at each and every point in space. In a simplified view, a "field" in physics may be envisioned as if space were filled with interconnected vibrating balls and springs, and the strength of the field can be visualized as the displacement of a ball from its rest position. Vibrations in this field propagate and are governed by the appropriate wave equation for the particular field in question. The second quantization of quantum field theory requires that each such ball-spring combination be quantized, that is, that the strength of the field be quantized at each point in space. At the most basic level, the field at each point in space is a simple harmonic oscillator, and its quantization places a quantum harmonic oscillator at each point. Excitations of the field correspond to the elementary particles of particle physics. However, even the vacuum has a vastly complex structure, so all calculations of quantum field theory must be made in relation to this model of the vacuum.

The vacuum has, implicitly, all of the properties that a particle may have: spin,[18] or polarization in the case of light, energy, and so on. On average, most of these properties cancel out: the vacuum is, after all, "empty" in this sense. One important exception is the vacuum energy or the vacuum expectation value of the energy. The quantization of a simple harmonic oscillator states that the lowest possible energy or zero-point energy that such an oscillator may have is

Summing over all possible oscillators at all points in space gives an infinite quantity. Since only differences in energy are physically measurable (with the notable exception of gravitation, which remains beyond the scope of quantum field theory), this infinity may be considered a feature of the mathematics rather than of the physics. This argument is the underpinning of the theory of renormalization. Dealing with infinite quantities in this way was a cause of widespread unease among quantum field theorists before the development in the 1970s of the renormalization group, a mathematical formalism for scale transformations that provides a natural basis for the process.

When the scope of the physics is widened to include gravity, the interpretation of this formally infinite quantity remains problematic. There is currently no compelling explanation as to why it should not result in a cosmological constant that is many orders of magnitude larger than observed.[19] However, since we do not yet have any fully coherent quantum theory of gravity, there is likewise no compelling reason as to why it should instead actually result in the value of the cosmological constant that we observe.[20]

The Casimir effect for fermions can be understood as the spectral asymmetry of the fermion operator (−1)F, where it is known as the Witten index.

Relativistic van der Waals force

Alternatively, a 2005 paper by Robert Jaffe of MIT states that "Casimir effects can be formulated and Casimir forces can be computed without reference to zero-point energies. They are relativistic, quantum forces between charges and currents. The Casimir force (per unit area) between parallel plates vanishes as alpha, the fine structure constant, goes to zero, and the standard result, which appears to be independent of alpha, corresponds to the alpha approaching infinity limit", and that "The Casimir force is simply the (relativistic, retarded) van der Waals force between the metal plates."[16] Casimir and Polder's original paper used this method to derive the Casimir–Polder force. In 1978, Schwinger, DeRadd, and Milton published a similar derivation for the Casimir effect between two parallel plates.[21] More recently, Nikolic proved from first principles of quantum electrodynamics that Casimir force does not originate from vacuum energy of electromagnetic field,[22] and explained in simple terms why the fundamental microscopic origin of Casimir force lies in van der Waals forces.[23]

Monday, December 26, 2022

Hypernormalization

wikipedia  |   The film contains nine chapters, and is composed primarily of montage with voice-over.

1975

The fiscal crisis in New York City and the emergent idea that financial systems could run society; shuttle diplomacy between then-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Middle Eastern leaders in the Arab-Israeli dispute and the subsequent retreat by Hafez al-Assad of Syria; and the onset of hypernormalisation in the Soviet Union.

The Human Bomb

Following the United States' involvement in the 1982 Lebanon War, a vengeful al-Assad made an alliance with Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran. They planned to force the US out of the Middle East by encouraging civilians to carry out suicide bombings on American targets in the region, thereby avoiding reprisals. In February 1984, the US withdrew all its troops from Lebanon because, in the words of then-US Secretary of State George P. Shultz, "we became paralysed by the complexity that we faced".

Altered States

By the mid-1980s, banks and corporations were connecting through computer networks to create a hidden system of power, and technological utopians whose roots lay in the counterculture of the 1960s also saw the internet as an opportunity to make an alternative world that was free of political and legal restraints.

Acid Flashback

John Perry Barlow's vision of cyberspace as the 1990s equivalent of the Acid Tests. Barlow had been part of the LSD (also known as "acid") counterculture in the 1960s and founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He wrote a manifesto called A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Addressed to politicians, it declared "the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose upon us". Two computer hackers—Phiber Optik and Acid Phreak—knew that in reality corporations were using the internet to exert more control over the lives of people than governments had done in the past, and they demonstrated that hierarchies did exist online by obtaining Barlow's credit record from TRW Inc. and posting it on the internet.

The Colonel

This chapter describes the Reagan administration using Muammar Gaddafi as a pawn in their public relations (PR) strategy of creating a simplified, morally unambiguous foreign policy by blaming him for the 1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks and the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing that killed US soldiers, both of which European security services attributed to Syrian intelligence agencies. Gaddafi is described as playing along for the sake of increasing his profile in the Arab world as a revolutionary. The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, 10 days after the disco bombing, is described as an operation carried out mainly for PR reasons, because attacking Syria would have been too risky.

The Truth Is Out There

This chapter begins with a montage of unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings recorded by members of the public in the United States. It argues that the phenomenon surrounding UFOs in the 1990s was born out of a counter-intelligence operation designed to make the public believe that secret airborne high-technology weapons systems tested by the US military during and after the Cold War were alien visitations. Top secret memos forged by the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations were allegedly leaked to ufologists who spread the manufactured conspiracy theory of a government cover-up to the wider public. The method, called perception management, aimed to distract people from the complexities of the real world. American politics are described as having become increasingly detached from reality. Curtis uses the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s as an example of an event that took the West by surprise because reality had become less and less important. A Jane Fonda workout video is shown to illustrate that socialists had given up trying to change the real world and were instead focusing on the self and encouraging others to do the same. The video is intercut with footage of Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, being executed by firing squad and buried following the Romanian Revolution in 1989.

Managed Outcomes

Ulrich Beck is identified as a left-wing German political theorist. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he saw the world as too complex to change, and Beck asserted that politicians should merely keep the West stable by predicting and avoiding risks. Curtis looks at Aladdin, a computer that manages about 7% of the world's financial assets, analysing the past to anticipate what may happen in the future; and how anti-depressant drugs and social media both stabilise the emotions of individuals.

A Cautionary Tale

The start of this chapter is about the flaws of trying to predict the future by using data from the past. Curtis tells the story of how a card counter was recruited by Donald Trump to analyse the gambling habits of Akio Kashiwagi at his casino, the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, after Trump had lost millions of dollars to Kashiwagi. In an effort to avert the impending bankruptcy of the casino, a model was devised that predicted a way of recouping the money from Kashiwagi, who lost US$10 million. However, before he could pay, he was killed by yakuza gangsters and the casino went bankrupt, with Trump having to sell many of his assets to the banks.

Attention turns back to the Middle East and the Lockerbie Bombing in 1988. Curtis says that immediately after the bombing, journalists and investigators blamed Syria for carrying out the attack on behalf of Iran in revenge for the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 by the United States Navy.[a] It was generally accepted as true until US security agencies announced that Libya was behind the attack. Some journalists and politicians believed that the West had made the volte-face to appease Syria's leader, who the US and the United Kingdom required as an ally in the coming Gulf War.

He focuses on the spread of suicide bombing tactics from Shia to Sunni Islam and the targeting of civilians in Israel by Hamas during the 1990s. The resulting political paralysis led to a stalling of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. It is described as an unintended consequence of Israel's response to the 1992 killing of an Israeli border guard.

A montage is shown of clips from pre-9/11 disaster films in which New York City landmarks are variously destroyed by alien invaders, meteorites, and a tsunami. Curtis argues that such films were characteristic of a mood of uncertainty that pervaded the United States at the end of the 20th century.

Curtis shows how Muammar Gaddafi was turned into the West's "new best friend."

A World Without Power

The effect of the Iraq war wreaks havoc on the American psyche and people retreat into cyberspace. Judea Pearl creates Bayesian networks that mimic human behaviour. Judea's son, Daniel Pearl is the first American to be beheaded on a video uploaded to YouTube.

Meanwhile, social media algorithms show information that is pleasing to their users and hence does nothing to challenge their beliefs. Despite this, Occupy Wall Street emerges in an attempt to disrupt the system by imitating the leaderless system that the internet was once imagined to become. Using a similar method, the Egyptian revolution of 2011 commenced.

Britain, France and the US turn their backs on Muammar Gaddafi once Libyans rise up against him. The US drops bombs using drones, and then footage is shown of Gaddafi being captured by rebels.

Neither Occupy Wall Street nor the Arab Spring turn out very well for the revolutionaries.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin and his cabinet of political technologists create mass confusion. Vladislav Surkov uses ideas from art to turn Russian politics into a bewildering piece of theatre. Donald Trump used the same techniques in his presidential campaign by using language from Occupy Wall Street. Curtis asserts that Trump "defeated journalism" by rendering its fact-checking abilities irrelevant.

The American Left's attempt to resist Trump on the internet had no effect. In fact, they were just feeding the social media corporations who valued their many additional clicks.

Syria's revolution becomes more vicious and violent. The technique of suicide bombing that Curtis argues Hafez al-Assad introduced in order to unite the Middle East has instead torn it apart. Russia uses Surkov's concept of "non-linear warfare" to fight against the Syrian rebels. Russia claims to leave Syria, but doesn't.

Abu Musab al-Suri in Syria suggests that terrorists should not carry out large-scale attacks such as Osama Bin Laden's, but instead carry out "random" small-scale attacks throughout the West to create fear and chaos, against which it would be more difficult to retaliate.

Destabilisation of the West's psyche leads to the vote for Brexit and the popularity of Donald Trump.

Farmer Brown Gives No Kind Of Phuks About Bringing On Mass Psychosis

washingtonmonthly  |   A new study has documented a remarkable rise in Americans’ use of marijuana. Over the last 30 years, the number o...