Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Trump Makes Sense to a Grocery Store Owner


thehindu |  Economist-mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb contends that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts
After predicting the 2008 economic crisis, the Brexit vote, the U.S. presidential election and other events correctly, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Incerto series on global uncertainties, which includes The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is seen as something of a maverick and an oracle. Equally, the economist-mathematician has been criticised for advocating a “dumbing down” of the economic system, and his reasoning for U.S. President Donald Trump and global populist movements. In an interview in Jaipur, Taleb explains why he thinks the world is seeing a “global riot against pseudo-experts”.
I’d like to start by asking about your next book, Skin in the Game, the fifth of the Incerto series. You do something unusual with your books: before you launch, you put chapters out on your website. Why is that?
Putting my work online motivates me to go deeper into a subject. I put it online and it gives some structure to my thought. The only way to judge a book is by something called the Lindy effect, and that is its survival. My books have survived. I noticed that The Black Swan did well because it was picked up early online, long before the launch. I also prefer social media to interviews in the mainstream media as many journalists don’t do their research, and ‘zeitgeist’ updates [Top Ten lists] pass for journalism.
The media is not one organisation or a monolithic entity.
Well, I’m talking about the United States where I get more credible news from the social media than the mainstream media. But I am very impressed with the Indian media that seems to present both sides of the story. In the U.S., you only get either the official, bureaucratic or the academic side of the story.
In Skin in the Game, you seem to build on theories from The Black Swan that give a sense of foreboding about the world economy. Do you see another crisis coming?
Oh, absolutely! The last crisis [2008] hasn’t ended yet because they just delayed it. [Barack] Obama is an actor. He looks good, he raises good children, he is respectable. But he didn’t fix the economic system, he put novocaine [local anaesthetic] in the system. He delayed the problem by working with the bankers whom he should have prosecuted. And now we have double the deficit, adjusted for GDP, to create six million jobs, with a massive debt and the system isn’t cured. We retained zero interest rates, and that hasn’t helped. Basically we shifted the problem from the private corporates to the government in the U.S. So, the system remains very fragile.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

In Purchasing Power Parity - America is a Third World Country


sprottmoney |  What metric does PricewaterhouseCooper rely upon as the basis for its economic projection? It uses an economic term called “purchasing power parity”. It is the total purchasing power of that population.

PWC argues that this produces a clearer picture of actual economic strength because it cancels out price differentials between economies. In general, prices are much higher in Western economies than in the Emerging Market countries (and even BRICS nations), thus having higher nominal amounts of wealth circulating in Western economies can be deceiving, since it can buy less stuff.

What makes this metric and report so interesting is that PWC is essentially projecting the real wealth levels of these populations. This projection is about a lot more than just evening out price differentials.

Canada’s GDP is more than four times as much as that of Egypt, and more than five times as much as that of Pakistan. Even by 2050; PWC estimates that Canada will still have GDP greater than either nation. But Egypt and Pakistan will have stronger economies, because their populations will have more real wealth circulating in those economies.

We’re not dealing with a small differential here. Note that PWC is talking about Egypt and Pakistan having much stronger economies than Canada. By 2050, measured in purchasing power parity, both Egypt and Pakistan will have economies more than 1/3 stronger than Canada.

This seems to be incongruous. If Canada will still have the larger economy by 2050 (as measured in GDP), why will Egypt and Pakistan both have stronger economies, as measured in the real wealth circulating within that economy? We get a large clue by looking at a chart which is familiar to regular readers.
For the past 8+ years; the bankers of the Federal Reserve and the bankers of Wall Street have been boasting about all the “wealth” that has been created in the United States during the mythical U.S. recovery. Yes, lots and lots of wealth.

Regular readers know that B.S. Bernanke conjured more than $3 trillion of new U.S. funny-money into existence during the infamous Bernanke Helicopter Drop, quintupling the entire U.S. money supply in less than five years. And every, single dollar was handed to the Big Banks of Wall Street – for free. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks to the magic of “fractional-reserve banking”, where U.S. banks are allowed to lend $35 for every $1 they receive. The $3+ trillion which B.S. Bernanke handed to them became well over $100 trillion in new liquidity. That works out to more than $300,000 per American.

So why are there roughly 50 million permanently unemployed Americans? Why are more than 40 million forced to rely upon food stamps to survive? Because when the bankers conjured their $100+ trillion into existence (for free), they kept it all – kept it all for their Masters, the oligarchs. What did the oligarchs do with that extra $100+ trillion?

As the chart above clearly shows, the oligarchs stuffed most of that $100+ trillion into their own hoards, spending virtually nothing. Of course that’s not entirely true either. They gambled with much of their funny money, in the bankers’ private, unregulated, rigged casino – the derivatives market. The derivatives market is a hoard of private wealth which never circulates in the real economy that is somewhere in the magnitude of $1.5 quadrillion ($1,500 trillion).

We’re no longer sure how large the rigged casino has swollen, since in 2010 the bankers changed their “definition” of the casino, and overnight the derivatives market (supposedly) shrunk by 50%. This financial cesspool is the most gigantic repository of dark pool liquidity the world has ever seen.

The gambling done in the derivatives market is used to manipulate the real economy, but none of the “wealth” in that rigged casino ever circulates within the real economy. The chart above, the heartbeat of the U.S. economy, shows what happens when most of the wealth/liquidity in an economy is hoarded: the economy withers and dies.

Globalist Plantation Economy - Why No Walmart in Russia?


washingtonsblog |  One of the themes I’ve been addressing since 2008 is the neocolonial-plantation structure of the U.S. economy. The old models of colonial exploitation that optimized plantations worked by cheap imported labor (or situated in peripheral nations with plenty of cheap labor) have, beneath the surface, been adapted to advanced capitalist democracies.

The adaptations have been so successful that not only do we not even recognize the Plantation structure–we love our servitude within it.

As noted yesterday, the current mode of production optimizes the commoditization of everything: computer chips, fish and chips, labor, expertise, everything.

This commoditization optimizes the Plantation Model of integrated production, global supply chains and distribution to global marketplaces, a hierarchical management focused on maximizing profits to send back to the owners, a ruthless focus on lowering costs via labor arbitrage (commoditize the work so it can be performed anywhere labor is cheaper/more desperate) and a fanatical desire to eliminate competition or fix prices via cartels to ensure high profits.

Global capital has optimized the Plantation Model in the form of global corporations. Wal-Mart is the quintessential example. Like a classic agricultural plantation, Wal-Mart enters a region with a diverse, employment-rich ecology of small businesses and supply chains of local and regional manufacturers and distributors, and it bulldozes the entire “forest” of businesses, suppliers and distributors with the irresistible blade of integrated global supply chains and “lower prices, always.”
 
Wal-Mart replaces the localized economy with a low-pay, highly efficient plantation economy in which the townpeople’s only choice is to work for Wal-Mart or scrape out a living feeding the Wal-Mart workers, doing their laundry, etc.–exactly as on a classic plantation.

On a classic plantation, the wages are low and the “company store” offers easy credit, binding the workers to the corporation not just for wages but for credit.

Those few who manage to save up enough capital to start small service businesses– laundry, cafes, etc.–must do so in the shadow of the Company, which can always drive them out of business should they speak against their corporate overlords.

A once-diverse landscape is reduced to a monoculture wasteland dependent on subsidies, either implicit or explicit. Wal-Mart’s low wages leave many of its workers’ families on state aid or food stamps to survive, and so it prospers on the backs of taxpayers who subsidize its low wages.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Do Try and Keep Up


Why it's not possible for an IQ-116 to fathom the strategy of an IQ-160+ player...,

oilprice |  Former Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice, who also sits on the BoD, along with Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, both listed as an Exxon consultant, also were strong backers of Tillerson to Trump.

It’s hardly a coincidence that Henry Kissinger, for decades, the Rockefeller Family’s chief foreign policy advisor, with strong personal connections to Russian President Putin, has emerged as a chief foreign policy advisor to the Trump Administration.

Nor is it surprising that published reports of Kissinger’s advice to Trump is to seek to normalize US/Russian relations, diametrically opposed to the Obama/Clinton policies of confrontation with Russia.

It is also part of a broader strategy to tempt Russia towards closer relations with the US/EU while sacrificing its growing close relations with China, viewed by Trump, as it was by Obama and Clinton, as the chief obstacle to the U.S. dominant global leadership. As a critical part of the deal, Russia is expected to accede to sacrifice its budding alliance with Iran.

Now the human drama watch begins; will Putin cave in to the demands of the West to renounce his allies in exchange for the improved relation and the dropping of sanctions?

The West has in hand some very powerful means of persuasion, including increased Russian access to the huge European energy market, restored western financial credit, access to Western technology, and a seat at the global decision-making table, all of which Russia badly needs and wants. Consider that three Russian proposed natural gas pipelines to Europe have been stalled since sanctions were imposed over Ukraine, leaving billions of dollars on the table.

Foreshadowing all of this was a news leak late last year in Germany’s Bild Zeitung, that Kissinger has drafted a plan to officially recognize Crimea as part of Russia and lift the Obama administration’s economic sanctions.

What this means for Russia, just now emerging from nearly two years of recession, is a possible return to prosperity, an offer that any national leader would find hard to resist. 

Chess Not Checkers...,


theburningplatform |  First, we can all agree that Trump, if nothing else, throws a lot of punches. We really saw this in the primaries where barely a day could go by without some scandal that would supposedly end his presidential bid. His opponents and the press erroneously thought that responding to each and every “outrage” was the correct thing to do without ever taking the time to think whether or not they had just walked into a trap. They would use their turn to block his Twitter attack but he wouldn’t move that piece again once that was in play but, instead, brought on the next outrage – just like my coach instructed me to do.

Second, Trump is very vocal in what he is going to do. Just like I had my students announced to each other their plans, Trump has been nothing but transparent about what he intends to do. After all, announcing your plans only works if your position is unassailable. It demoralizes your opponent. You rub their face in it. Another benefit to being vocal is that it encourages your opponent to bring out his favorite piece to deal with said announced plans. This is a big mistake as any good chess player will quickly recognize which piece his opponent favors and then go take them.

Time has been the one area that our president is having problems. Executive Orders and Twitter Wars have pushed the opposition off balance but he has not been able to use this time to get all of his pieces into play. The Justice Department (his Queen) is still stuck behind a wall of pawns. 
Furthermore, only 5 of his 15 Cabinet picks have been confirmed as of this writing. Without control over these departments, the president can fight a war of attrition but he really can’t go on the offensive. In chess, I will gladly trade a piece for a piece if it means you have to waste your turn dealing with it. It isn’t a long term strategy if you do not have all of your pieces ready to go.

In the end it would appear that Trump is playing the kind of game that I was taught to play by my coach. His opponents are never given time to mount an attack. Their queen – the MSM has been removed from the board and their favorite piece – the Celebrities are locked in a war of attrition while Trump gets the rest of his pieces on the board. Remember, these are all Tactics but Strategy flows from Tactics. Sooner or later the Left will find itself in some terrible position and the Strategy to drain the swamp will present itself.

Duterte Tells Globalist Gaviria That Methamphetamine Is Not Marijuana or Cocaine...,


NYTimes |  The war on drugs is essentially a war on people. But old habits die hard. Many countries are still addicted to waging this war. As Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos, said, “We are still thinking within the same framework as we have done for the last 40 years.” Fortunately, more and more governments also concede that a new approach is needed, one that strips out the profits that accompany drug sales while ensuring the basic human rights and public health of all citizens.

If we are going to get drugs under control, we need to have an honest conversation. The Global Commission on Drug Policy — of which I am a founding member — has supported an open, evidence-based debate on drugs since 2011. We strongly support reducing drug supply and demand, but differ fundamentally with hard-liners about how this should be achieved. We are not soft on drugs. Far from it.

What do we propose? Well, for one, we do not believe that military hardware, repressive policing and bigger prisons are the answer. Real reductions in drug supply and demand will come through improving public health and safety, strengthening anticorruption measures — especially those that combat money laundering — and investing in sustainable development. We also believe that the smartest pathway to tackling drugs is decriminalizing consumption and ensuring that governments regulate certain drugs, including for medical and recreational purposes.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Corporate Colonization of Local-Business Main Street



charleshughsmith | An insightful correspondent recently remarked on the striking transition of American neighborhoods from commercial districts dominated by locally owned businesses to streets lined with look-alike outlets of Corporate America. This transition is so obvious that few even comment on it, much less ask if this wholesale replacement is in the best interests of residents and consumers.

I have long suggested starting any inquiry with a simple question: cui bono-- to whose benefit? Let's add a second essential question: what does the system optimize?

By this I mean: what is optimized by the infrastructure, regulations, political structure, etc.--what we call the mode of production.

I think it's abundantly clear that our mode of production optimizes large-scale global corporations, which have access to the capital and expertise needed to optimize production, management, employee training and discipline, supply chains and the purchase of political influence. 

tonyskansascity |  ANOTHER KANSAS CITY COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA BIZ CALLS IT QUITS!!!

Higher crime and generic competition didn't inspire this local biz to remain in this town's most embattled entertainment district. Take a look:

Trump's Truth Bombs Devastate Establishment Consensus Reality


counterpunch |  Obama’s administration was, to be frank, a veritable killing machine, one comprising almost daily drone strikes, kill lists, and the wholesale destruction of entire countries, as in the case of Libya. In his final year in office the US dropped 27,000 bombs, up from the number dropped in 2015. Yet we are meant to regard the 44th president and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize as the modern incarnation of Dr Martin Luther King, a president who worked tirelessly for peace and justice.

Reminding Mr O’Reilly and his ilk of a few basic facts when it comes to the difference between Moscow and Washington’s actions around the world in recent years, there is a significant difference between a foreign policy driven by restoring stability and security to entire regions, in the case of Russia vis-à-vis the Middle East, and a foreign policy that has only succeeded in sowing instability and terrorism across those regions, in the case of the United States.

Bill O’Reilly’s discomfort at being corrected by the country’s President on the egregious record of his own country when it comes to body count, was redolent to that of a vampire suddenly exposed to daylight. The Fox News anchor was left floundering around in his chair, rattled by Trump’s simple yet withering words of truth in response to the kind of statement that has no place being made by any self-respecting journalist.

But then the Bill O’Reilly’s of our world are not journalists they are propagandists, engaged in spreading disinformation in the cause of the previously mentioned myths that both sustain and nourish a perverse worldview. America, the ‘land of the free’, is a force for good in the world people such as him choose to believe. When we kill people we only do so reluctantly and in service to the greater good of freedom and liberty. Thus our bombs are good bombs, a fact that should be of comfort to the families and loved ones of those we obliterate.

What needs to be explored in light of Mr O’Reilly’s interview with President Trump is not so much his journalistic credentials but the education system of which he is a product. It reveals a man who when confronted with the choice between embracing truth or ideology has chosen ideology.
While nobody should be under any illusions when it comes to Donald Trump as the reincarnation of Hugo Chavez, he has revealed a propensity for dropping the odd ‘truth bomb’ here and there, much to chagrin of conservative and liberal commentators alike. And such truth bombs are the killers that Bill O’Reilly truly fears – killing the smug complacency and hypocrisy without which life loses all meaning.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Which Came First, 3rd Richest Man or CIA Tool?


unz |  The Editorial page of The Washington Post newspaper generally holds to its current progressive-dominated program consisting of anti-racism, pro-diversity plus multiculturalism, “choice,” LGBTQ “rights,” and, ironically, constant war. It is not noted for its sense of humor except on Saturday morning when it runs a number of cartoons ridiculing Donald Trump.

All of which contributed to my surprise when I read a piece on January 29th penned by no less than Fred Hiatt, the Editorial and opinion pages editor. Fred, a Harvard graduate, of course, has been around at The Post since 2000. His foreign policy is pure John McCain and his domestic policy is Elizabeth Warren. Apparently kicking around people overseas is okay while in the United States white male Christian heterosexuals in particular can be targeted with impunity, but no one else.

Hiatt’s piece entitled “Trump considers the media his enemy. We shouldn’t treat him as ours” is the type of faux high-minded nonsense that one expects from the new breed of journalist that considers that reporting a story is not enough. For them, it is far more important to actually be the story through selective use of available information and the random insertion of opinion disguised as fact.

But back to Hiatt’s clearly robust sense of humor. He cited presidential adviser Stephen Bannon’s labeling the media the “opposition party,” noting that press-phobia is not exactly unusual for any White House, but warning “it is vital that we not become that party.” Rather than take on the Administration aggressively by exposing its lies, shutting it out or “be[ing] the voice of the other side,” the media should not “answer dishonest or partisan journalism” with “more partisan journalism, which would only harm our credibility.”

Hiatt’s answer to the “dishonest or partisan” journalism problem is “professionalism: to do your jobs according to the highest standards, as always.” He then adds “So far, I believe The Post has been setting the standard in this difficult job. It is not boasting for me to say so…” Regarding his own particularly bailiwick the “opinion side of the house…it is important to maintain a thoughtful perspective.”

Google the Financial Sponsor of Tech Anti-Trump Lawsuit


zerohedge |  Moments ago, we found the other "source of funds" missing link in the ongoing anti-Trump executive order campaign. As Bloomberg reports, the company footing bill for the legal brief signed by more than 120 mostly tech companies that oppose President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, is none other than the Company which offered Hillary Clinton its "strategic plan" to help Democrats win the election, and track voters, and which hired former Clinton Foundation CEO, Eric Braverman: Google (technically, its parent company Alphabet). 

Eventually, the funding - which should be a nominal matter for most of the tech giants who are on a crusade to keep cheap H1-B workers - may end up being distributed: other companies have offered to fund a share of the fee, Bloomberg writes, and Alphabet, which coordinated the effort, plans to accept the offers. However, for now  it's only Alphabet who is paying Washington, D.C.-based law firm Mayer Brown LLP to handle the friend-of-the-court brief.

The rest of the story is familiar, as per our earlier report, only instead of only 97 companies, the list has since grown to 128.

The tech companies emphasized the economic and social contribution made by immigrants in their arguments filed Sunday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The companies support a lawsuit by the states of Washington and Minnesota seeking to stop Trump’s executive order. Apple Inc., Airbnb Inc., Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., Tesla Inc. Intel Corp., Lyft Inc., Netflix Inc., Snap Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. are among the technology companies that participated. Businesses beyond the tech industry who signed on include Levi Strauss & Co. and yogurt maker Chobani.

How the CIA Made Google


So, it's an established fact that the Washington Post is a CIA tool - and one might be inclined to think Amazon and its increasingly ubiquitous cloud services are, as well. But we would do well to remember that Google is an even more wholly owned child of central intelligence and the Deep State.

medium |   In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.

Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.

Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.

I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet — or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.

That story was based on a little-known Pentagon-funded ‘white paper’ published two months earlier by the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington DC, a leading US military-run institution that, among other things, generates research to develop US defense policy at the highest levels. The white paper clarified the thinking behind the new initiative, and the revolutionary scientific and technological developments it hoped to capitalize on.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Why is MSM Relentlessly Attacking Trump?



strategic-culture |  Even amidst a cacophony of nearly nonstop media fusillades against President Trump, the New York Times’ charge has stood out. After months of stories presenting Donald Trump as a sexual predator, business fraudster, puppet of Vladimir Putin, tax dodger, walking emolument disaster and whatever else it can dream up, the New York Times called Trump a liar in a prominent headline—proclaiming “Meeting with Top Lawmakers, Trump Repeats an Election Lie.”

Speaking in a closed door meeting with congressional leaders, Trump had apparently claimed that he would have won the popular vote were it not for the votes of millions of noncitizens. After escalating this bit of semi-private braggadocio into “a lie,” the Times justified itself three days later, explaining somberly that it had not made the charge lightly, but that it “ultimately chose more muscular terminology” instead of terms as “baseless” or “bogus” because, as editor Dean Baquet stated, Trump had made a similar assertion months ago in a tweet. “We should be letting people know in no uncertain terms that it’s untrue.” Times opinion columnists, who—with the notable exception of Ross Douthat—have for a year seemed to write about little else than how despicable Trump is, followed up, rolling around passionately with the L word. “Our president is a pathological liar. Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it,” wrote Charles Blow, in one instance among many.

How "Greed is Good" Wrecked Lancaster PA

npr |  It was a hostile takeover. It's still a little bit mysterious exactly how hostile it was, but they buy it in a hostile takeover, and the first thing they do is fire all of the executives and close down the headquarters. So now you have gutted a core group of people that were active in the life of the town. As one person in Lancaster, an old-timer who I interviewed said, "It ripped the heart out of this town." So you've taken away the executives, you've taken away their wives, their families. ...

[It was] devastating for the town. And the new incoming people, the people Newell picked to run Anchor Hocking never lived in Lancaster; they all lived in Columbus. There's a long-standing belief, unshakable belief, that Newell instructed its incoming executives to not live in Lancaster, so as not to be involved in the United Way and other Lancaster civic activities. I could not find any proof of that, but you cannot shake Lancasterians' belief that that was, in fact, the case. ...

Workers will tell you that Newell was not a bad employer. They were not necessarily unhappy under Newell. It wasn't the same; it was less of a family atmosphere. Workers who are hourly people and salaried people all say the same thing. They say that the company became somewhat more efficient, that they made money, they made money for Newell, that they were not unhappy under Newell, but it didn't feel like the old Anchor Hocking, and it never would again.

On how what happened in Lancaster reflects a larger trend in capitalism
When you can pay a foreign worker a third or less of what you're paying a unionized flint glass worker in Lancaster, that's an element, but it's far from the only one. We seem to have this shrugging-shoulders belief that this is all some sort of natural evolution, like how the dinosaurs died. But what I'm trying to argue in the book is that some of this, at least in part, results from a series of conscious decisions [by] politicians, economists, business people, financiers.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Kremlin Wants Apology For Fox News Slander


reuters |  The Kremlin said on Monday it wanted an apology from Fox News over what it said were "unacceptable" comments one of the channel's presenters made about Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly described Putin as "a killer" in the interview with Trump as he tried to press the U.S. president to explain more fully why he respected his Russian counterpart. O'Reilly did not say who he thought Putin had killed. 

"We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting, and honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Fox News and O'Reilly did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Trump's views on Putin are closely scrutinized in the United States where U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Moscow of having sponsored computer hacking to help Trump win office, and critics say he is too complimentary about the Russian leader. 

Trump, when commenting on the allegations against Putin in the same interview, questioned how "innocent" the United States itself was, saying it had made a lot of its own mistakes. That irritated some Congressional Republicans who said there was no comparison between how Russian and U.S. politicians behaved.

Putin, in his 17th year of dominating the Russian political landscape, is accused by some Kremlin critics of ordering the killing of opponents. Putin and the Kremlin have repeatedly rejected those allegations as politically-motivated and false.

Pelosi Demonstrating How Democrats Have Lost Touch With the Rust Belt


newsmax |  Paul Pelosi Jr. was president and chief operating officer of Natural Blue Resources, which specializes in environmentally-friendly ventures, and in 2009 he was listed as owning 10 million shares in the company, according to the Free Beacon.
Four executives with the company, including former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya, have been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which suspended trading in the company’s stock.

The charges were handed down after the SEC learned that the company was "secretly controlled" by Joseph Corazzi and James Cohen, who had previous fraud convictions, according to the Free Beacon.

dailybail |  House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s husband bought up to a quarter million dollars of stock in SunEdison, a now financially troubled green energy company just weeks before it announced a major 2014 acquisition that sent its stock price soaring. SunE's 2014 purchase of wind energy company First Wind “further bolstered the reputation of the company,” wrote one market-watcher at the time. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, SunEdison’s stock soared 29% on news of this acquisition alone.” 

Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, had invested just in time. He bought between $100,000 and $250,000 in SunEdison stock on Oct. 24, 2014, according to congressional financial disclosures. The company announced its First Wind acquisition on Nov. 17.

Pelosi has previously been accused of trading stock based on information gleaned through her official duties. A law passed in the wake of that controversy prohibits members of Congress from using nonpublic information for personal gain. Language in that measure was informally dubbed the 'Pelosi Provision.'

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Inked and Swole American KILLER Contractor Says "They Don't Love Us!"



fmshooter |  Plenty of mainstream media outlets have been critical of the Trump executive orders regarding immigration and “vetting” of refugees.  There are too many to list, but I will use an excerpt from a U.S. News article to drive the general point home:
When the United States accepts refugees from countries with a significant Muslim population, we undermine the anti-American hatred that underlies Islamic State group recruitment. Closing America’s door to Syrian refugees, therefore, is not only a heartless hiccup in our nation’s history, it also validates Islamic State group propaganda, advances the group’s agenda and drives refugees back into the arms of dangerous terrorists. By turning away Syrian refugees, Trump is plunging America into a national security nightmare.
The “fact-check” website Snopes (which has previously been outed as being heavily liberal-biased, being run by a “failed liberal blogger”) also gets in on the act, saying that Syrian kids aren’t holding guns, instead labeling them as “Pakistani”:

Trump: U.S. Not As Innocent As You All Pretend


RT |  In an interview to be aired ahead of the Super Bowl later on Sunday, Bill O’Reilly asked if Trump respects Russian President Vladimir Putin, to which the he replied, “I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them.”

Seemingly surprised, O’Reilly goes on to ask him why.
"He is the leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS – which is a major fight – and the Islamic terrorism all over the world, that’s a good thing,” Trump answered.
“Will I get along with him? I have no idea.”
O’Reilly then challenged Trump, calling the Russian president “a killer.”
Trump shrugged the comment off, saying: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”
It is not the first time that Trump has made such comments when journalists question his stance regarding the Russian leader.
At the end of 2015, the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe told Trump that Putin “kills journalists,” to which the unfazed then-presidential candidate replied, “I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.”
“I’ve always felt fine about Putin. He’s a strong leader. He’s a powerful leader,” Trump added.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Real Democrats Work With Trump For Peace - And Are Demonized For It



facebook |  I have dedicated my life to peace. As a member of Congress I led efforts to avert conflict and end wars in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Iran. And yet those of us who work for peace are put under false scrutiny to protect Washington’s war machine. Those who undermine our national security by promoting military attacks and destroying other nations are held up as national leaders to admire.

Recently Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and I took a Congressional Ethics-approved fact finding trip to Lebanon and Syria, where we visited Aleppo and refugee camps, and met with religious leaders, governmental leaders and people from all sides of the conflict, including political opposition to the Syrian government.

Since that time we have been under constant attack on false grounds. The media and the war establishment are desperate to keep hold of their false narrative for world-wide war, interventionism and regime change, which is a profitable business for Washington insiders and which impoverishes our own country.

Today, Rep. Gabbard came under attack yet again by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin who has been on a tear trying to ruin the reputations of the people and the organization who sponsored our humanitarian, fact-finding mission of peace to the Middle East. Rogin just claimed in a tweet that as community organization I have been associated with for twenty years does not exist.

The organization is in my neighborhood. Here’s photos I took yesterday of AACCESS-Ohio’s marquee. It clearly exists, despite the base, condescending assertions of Mr. Rogin.

Enough of this dangerous pettiness. Let’s dig in to what is really going on, inside Syria, in the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon. In the words of President Eisenhower, let’s beware (and scrutinize) the military-industrial-complex. It is time to be vigilant for our democracy.

Boston Judge Bish Slaps the Identity Politics Propaganda Over Trump Executive Order


GMANetwork |  Which left the judge to decide (as the full docket explains here),
“The language in Section 5 of the EO is neutral with respect to religion,

"The provisions of Section 5, however, could be invoked to give preferred refugee status to a Muslim individual in a country that is predominately Christian. Nothing in Section 5 compels a finding that Christians are preferred to any other group.”
Gorton wrote there is a rational reason for the Trump administration’s policies. The federal Immigration and Naturalization Act gives the president broad power over immigration.
“The order provides a reasonably conceivable state of facts (which concerns national security and) that could provide a rational basis for the classification,” he wrote. “Accordingly, this Court declines to encroach upon the “delicate policy judgment” inherent in immigration decisions.”

ORDER

For the forgoing reasons, the Court declines to impose any injunctive relief and will not renew the temporary restraining order that was entered on January 29, 2017 (Docket No. 6).

Friday, February 03, 2017

Military Industrial Congressional Complex Pushes War With Russia




mishtalk |  This bit of asininity just came in from McCain: Send Weapons to Ukraine.

McCain also repeated idiotic comments on Russian interference in the US election.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is calling on President Trump to send lethal aid to Ukraine after attacks this week were blamed on Russia-backed rebels.

“Vladimir Putin’s violent campaign to destabilize and dismember the sovereign nation of Ukraine will not stop unless and until he meets a strong and determined response,” wrote McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCain also reiterated his call for Trump to maintain sanctions on Russia and impose new ones for Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

Failing to provide more help to Ukraine, McCain said, risks the country’s sovereignty and American credibility.

“Ukrainians are not asking Americans to do their fighting,” McCain said. “Nearly 10,000 Ukrainians have died to protect their homeland and many more are serving and have sacrificed for the cause of a free and united Ukraine. But America does have a proud history of helping free people to defend themselves.”

Just after I published Preposterous Rumors From Pelosi on Russia, Trump, Sanctions, McCain started yapping.

Military Industrial Congressional Complex Pushes War With Iran



craigmurray |  So what are the Clinton gang doing while Trump introduces anti-Muslim immigration discrimination? Oh, they are pushing for war with Iran, which might give pause to some who think the world would have been less awful had Hillary won.

Here is the front page of the resolution introduced into the House of Representatives by Democrat Alcee L Hastings, an extremely close ally of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who had to resign in disgrace as chair of the Democratic National Committee after WikiLeaks published emails establishing her corrupt endeavours to fix the primary elections for Hillary against Bernie Sanders.

The Resolution reads “To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

There is in fact no evidence that Iran is continuing a covert programme to produce nuclear weapons. British, French and Russian intelligence all assess that Iran is sticking to its agreements and – here is a key point – so do the CIA. But when did politicians ever let facts stand in their way?

Trump’s mad visa ban, which excludes Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States which are the main financiers, armers, ideologues and exporters of Salafist terrorism, turns out to be imposed on the countries which were on Obama’s watchlist. As the Hastings resolution shows, the anti-Iranian and pro-Saudi madness is bipartisan. To include Iran but exclude Saudi Arabia is further evidence of the twisting of US foreign policy to serve the interests of Saudi Arabia and its ally Israel.

Need More Rex Tillerson and Omarosa - Less of DJT's Dipsticks....,



thesaker |  It is a rare privilege to be able to criticize a politician for actually fulfilling his campaign promises but Donald Trump is a unique President and this week he offered us exactly this opportunity with not one, but three different SNAFUs to report.

First, there was the botched raid against an alleged al-Qaeda compound in Yakla, Yemen. First, let me commit a crimethink here and remind everybody that for all the great Hollywood movies, Americans have a terrible record of doing special ops. The latest one was typical. First, it involved Navy SEALS, one of the most disaster-prone US special forces. Second, it involved special forces from the United Arab Emirates (don’t ask why, just don’t). I am pretty sure that using US Rangers alone would have yielded better results. Third, as always, they got detected early. And then they began taking casualties. This time from female al-Qaeda fighters. Finally, they botched the evacuation. They did kill some kids and, so they say, an al-Qaeda leader. More about this raid here and here. As I said, this is pretty much par for the course. But I am sure that some Hollywood movie will make it look very heroic and “tactical”. But the real world bottom line remains unchanged: Americans should give up on special ops, they just can do it right.

Second, there was the absolutely terrible press conference by General Flynn.

So not only did Flynn put Iran “on notice” like a high-school principal would do to a rowdy teenager, but FOX TV is already speaking about “lines in the sand”. Wait – were “lines in the sand” not one of the dumbest features of the Obama Presidency? And now, just one week in the White House, we see Trump doing exactly the same?

This also begs the question of whether a very intelligent man like Flynn seriously and sincerely believes that he can bully or otherwise scare Iran. If he does – then we are all in a lot of trouble.

There is also the troubling aspect of the language chosen. Instead of speaking about “international concern” or the will of the UN Security Council, Flynn decided to use the kind of language typical of a wannabe World Hegemon. Again, been there – done that. Do they really think that this kind of imperial hubris will work better for them than it did for the Neocons?

Lastly, the Ukronazis are apparently back on the warpath. For many months now they have been shelling the Novorussians, and they even have tried a few, rather pathetic, local attacks. This time around this is different: incoming artillery strikes are counted not by the tens, but by the thousands and the shelling is happening all along the line of contact. Of course, this is not directly Trump’s fault, but it does show that the Ukronazis in Kiev are taking their cues from the former power configuration – that is the Germans, the Neocons, and the East European cry-babies à la Poland and Lithuania. At the time of writing, there are no signs that Trump is taking the situation under control. The good news is that the Russians are still waiting, but with that level of violence there is only that much they can wait before having to give the Novorussians the green light for a counter-attack (the Novorussian forces are already engaging in strong counter-battery fire, but they have not yet pushed their forces forward).

I sure hope that this week is not a harbinger of what the rest of the Trump Presidency will look like.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Sean Spicer's Replacement Shows How It's Done


DJT and the Establishment's Replacement Negroes Dilemma


thesaker |  A very brief and quick look at the post USSR Western “left” reveals that it did everything BUT stick to its original principles and ideals.

To elaborate, we must look at certain examples; beginning with the highly controversial subject of refugees. The “left” in the West continues to uphold the principle of aiding and welcoming refugees, and this is good and ought to be applauded. However, the “left” does not even seem to question how those refugees have become refugees in the first place! Whilst it is a fact that most refugees are in essence political refugees who have been displaced due to wars inflicted upon their countries, mostly seeking regime change, the Western “left” seems to turn a blind eye to this reality. Even worse, when the Western “left” gets democratically elected and assumes power, it does not try to reverse the course of events that create refugees.

It gets even worse. Take the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as examples. Both wars were initiated by the “right” wing Republican American President GWB. However, his partner in crime in Iraq was Britain’s Labour leader Tony Blair; who was meant to be from the Western “left”.

And whilst the Australian Labor Party (ALP) can hold its head high because it was an ALP Prime Minister (Gough Whitlam) who bailed Australia out of the infamous Vietnam War, other ALP administrations have followed the USA into wars without too many questions asked about their legitimacy and whether or not they conform with the foundations and principles upon which the ALP is based.

Such views and politics have nothing to do with the original “left” values of promoting freedom, supporting the oppressed and working towards social justice; none what-so-ever, and quite the opposite, if anything.

And even though APHEDA, an organization sponsored by Australian trade unions, supports and sponsors humanitarian projects in Palestine, the current ALP leader Bill Shorten has recently described Israeli PM Netanyahu as a friend.

The contradictions within the Western “left” are not the result of a deliberate attempt to create confusion, but rather the direct outcome of loss of identity and soul, and an inability to reinvent itself in the post-USSR New World Order era.

A proper reinvention process requires new ideas, but instead of undergoing a serious process of soul-searching, the Western “left” shopped around for existing populist issues to capitalize on.

Elite Establishment Unhappy About What DJT is Cooking...,



FP |  Believe it or not, President Donald Trump has a grand strategy. According to some analysts, Trump’s endless streams of erratic and apparently improvisational ideas don’t add up to anything consistent or purposeful enough to call a grand strategy. We see it otherwise. Beneath all the rants, tweets, and noise there is actually a discernible pattern of thought — a Trumpian view of the world that goes back decades. Trump has put forward a clear vision to guide his administration’s foreign policy — albeit a dark and highly troubling one, riddled with tensions and vexing dilemmas.

Grand strategy is the conceptual architecture that lends structure and form to foreign policy. A leader who is “doing grand strategy” is not handling global events on an ad hoc or case-by-case basis. A grand strategy, rather, represents a more purposeful and deeply held set of concepts about a country’s goals and orientation in international affairs.

At a minimum, a grand strategy consists of an understanding of the basic contours of the international environment, a country’s highest interests and objectives within that environment, the most pressing threats to those interests, and the actions that a country can take in order to address threats and promote national security and well-being. Grand strategy, then, is both diagnostic and prescriptive. It combines an analysis of what is happening in the world and how it impacts one’s country, with a more forward-looking concept of how a country might employ its various forms of power — hard or soft, military or economic — to sustain or improve its global position. Every grand strategy has a “what” dimension, a notion of what constitutes national security in the first place, and a “how” dimension, a theory of how to produce security in a dynamic international environment and given the tools at hand.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

DJT Had Some Black Visitors Today


boston |  President Donald Trump raised more than a few eyebrows with his remarks Wednesday — the first day of Black History Month — during an “African American History Month Listening Session” at the White House.

Sitting beside Housing secretary nominee Ben Carson in the Roosevelt Room, Trump began the session with a circuitous speech in which the president, among other things, lambasted the media and rehashed a recent controversy involving a Martin Luther King Jr. statue in the Oval Office.

Donald Trump just gave a Black History Month speech about the persecution of Donald Trump,” reads the headline of the Toronto Star‘s account of the speech. A few highlights below, as noted by reporters:

Dr. Changelove’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.


mintpressnews |  But the United States is not the only “America.” 

Indeed, crossing the southern border and entering into that mysterious place called “Latin America,” one encounters a very different Obama legacy, one that is defined by the same policies that Yankee imperialists have employed for more than a century: destabilization, militarization, and exploitation.

Yes We Can!…continue to pursue a neocolonial agenda in Central and South America.  

A mural in Lithuania depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump embracing in a passionate kiss has gone viral. The meaning of the image is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the skull, but it is no less perspicacious for its lack of subtlety. And while Russia has indeed tacitly, and rather shamefully, supported far-right candidates and causes for its own coldly pragmatic political reasons — Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, etc. — the truth is that Obama’s administration has also backed right-wing reactionaries and extremists where it has suited its interests.

Throughout Latin America, President Obama has been a driving force behind the resurgence of right-wing forces that have rolled back the gains of socialist and social democratic governments, targeted indigenous and African diaspora communities, assassinated activists, and toppled governments where they could.

So, yes, let’s talk about “legacy.”



Dr. Changelove's Legacy In Africa: Terrorism, Civil War & Military Expansion


mintpressnews |  The corporate media is predictably churning out nauseating retrospectives of Obama’s presidency, gently soothing Americans to sleep with fairy tales about the progressive accomplishments of President Hope and Change.
 
But amid the selective memory and doublethink which passes for sophisticated punditry within the controlled media matrix, let us not forget that in Africa the name Barack Obama is now synonymous with destabilization, death, and destruction.

The collective gasps of liberals grow to a deafening roar at the mere suggestion that Obama is more sinner than saint, but perhaps it would be useful to review the facts and the record rather than the carefully constructed mythos being shoehorned into history books under the broad heading of “Legacy.” 

In the summer of 2009, little more than six months after being inaugurated, President Obama stood before the Ghanaian Parliament to deliver a speech intended to set the tone for his administration’s Africa policy. In addressing a crowd of hundreds in the Ghanaian capital, he was, in fact, speaking directly to millions of Africans all over the continent and throughout the diaspora. For if Obama represented Hope and Change for the people of the United States, that was doubly true for African people.

In that mostly forgettable speech, Obama declared:

“We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans … the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.”

Building prosperity, shedding corruption and tyranny, and taking on poverty and disease, he said
“can only be done if you take responsibility for your future. And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way, as a partner, as a friend.”

Despite being the First Black President, Obama’s words and deeds with respect to Africa perfectly embody “the White Man’s Burden” — that desire to help those poor, lowly wretches whose poverty, corruption, disease, and violence must be the product of some natural deficiency. Surely, five centuries of colonialism, combined with Obama-style imperial arrogance, had nothing to do with it.