May 032019

Paul Klee In angel’s care (In Engelshut) 1931


Day of the Long Knives (Kassam)
Is The Media Driving America Insane? (LN)
How The News Took Over Reality (G.)
Assange or Khashoggi: Whither Journalistic Standards? (Aziz)
Democrats Rage At Empty Chair As Barr Misses Mueller Hearing (ZH)
How President Trump’s Legal Team Outfoxed Mueller (Chamberlain)
Ukrainian Embassy Confirms DNC Contractor Solicited Trump Dirt In 2016 (Hill)
April US Auto Sales Crash 6.1%, Worst Slide In 8 Years (ZH)
Global Foreign Direct Investment Flows Collapse (DQ)
Hippie-Punching MMT (Edward Harrison)



“If all these peoples’ ideas were not relevant, or popular, they would not need to be banned.”

It’s World Press Freedom Day today. Painfully ironic. We can’t let Facebook police our world. Or, rather, be police, judge and henchman all in one. We need laws for this and we need to apply them.

I don’t do Facebook anymore since they froze our account, what is it, 3 years ago?! I see Paul Joseph Watson every now and then on Twitter and though I don’t see myself becoming his best friend, he is an intelligent and articulate guy who has never violated Facebook’s regulations. Other than he has a link to Alex Jones. It’s easy to say Good Riddance, but you are next.

Day of the Long Knives (Kassam)

Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos have been unpersonned by the digital tech giant Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram. They’re coming for you, next. Or more likely, for us. Human Events stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those being routinely targeted by the would-be ‘Masters of the Universe’, no matter if we agree with them or not. Also banned was Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the repugnant Nation of Islam group. But Farrakhan, like the others, should not have his fate decided by some little nerd in Silicon Valley who has decided his or her feelings are hurt. His fate should be decided in the court of public opinion, with sunlight acting as the greatest disinfectant.

Unfortunately, recent precedent has informed Big Tech that its methods to some extent work. The removal of people like Laura Loomer, Milo, and Tommy Robinson has directly impacted their livelihoods, their work, and their fundamental freedoms. And while Farrakhan is far from someone we would be seen dead around, it is only intellectually consistent if the rules apply both ways. For the psychopaths of Silicon Valley however, intellectual considerations come a distinct last to power, profit, and pandering. The likelihood is Farrakhan’s inclusion on the list is simply a sop to make the decision seem less of a one way street. If I were him, I’d be especially pissed off at being the fall guy in this regard.

But Jones, Loomer, Milo, and Watson have a claim to massive anger too, given they are being lumped in with a man who has said “white people deserve to die”, and who has said to Jewish people, “…don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” Tommy now struggles to gain traction – albeit with a smile on his face – and a plan to drive a bus around the country with a big screen on it, to highlight the censorship he faces. Milo – and he will probably hate me for saying this – faces total financial ruin. Alex Jones has had a massive business ripped out from under him. And Laura Loomer has been relegated to staging protests on the front lawns of those who needlessly aggress her.

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If they can make a buck from it, they certainly will.

Is The Media Driving America Insane? (LN)

Now that more of us are consuming news media more often than ever, a higher number of Americans are being fed a steady mental diet of outrage, fear, and hostility wrapped in clickbait headlines designed to make us even more contemptuous of those whose political beliefs clash with our own. Many media outlets have transformed emotionally charged, but ultimately irrelevant, stories into their bread and butter, manipulating their audiences into giving them their precious clicks in exchange for a dose of anger and panic. Otherwise unimportant stories are catapulted into the mainstream simply because the press knows Americans will tune in and boost their ratings.

The Covington kids fiasco is a prime example. What should have been a local matter was morphed into an issue of national importance by a left-wing media apparatus that wanted to further their “MAGA Hat-wearing white people are the spawn of Satan” narrative. In the end, what is accomplished? For the press, it is higher ratings and more clicks. But for the American public, it is a heightened sense of fear, hatred, and stress – a toxic brew rending the social fabric. It is no wonder that many are predicting another civil war. It would be easy to dismiss such claims as pure alarmism, but given how the Fourth Estate wields their influence, this reality is not hard to imagine. Is it possible to reverse course? Sure, but it won’t be easy. The media is in this game for two reasons: To earn a profit, and to achieve their political objectives. They have no incentive to inform rather than persuade. If the trend persists, things are sure to get uglier before they get better.

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Such a piece coming from the Guardian is pretty priceless. Even if it makes some valid points, it’s publications like that which seek to alter reality. Don’t report the news, but manufacture it.

How The News Took Over Reality (G.)

In recent years, there has been enormous concern about the time we spend on our web-connected devices and what that might be doing to our brains. But a related psychological shift has gone largely unremarked: the way that, for a certain segment of the population, the news has come to fill up more and more time – and, more subtly, to occupy centre stage in our subjective sense of reality, so that the world of national politics and international crises can feel more important, even more truly real, than the concrete immediacy of our families, neighbourhoods and workplaces. It’s not simply that we spend too many hours glued to screens. It’s that for some of us, at least, they have altered our way of being in the world such that the news is no longer one aspect of the backdrop to our lives, but the main drama. The way that journalists and television producers have always experienced the news is now the way millions of others experience it, too.

From a British or American standpoint, the overwhelmingly dominant features of this changed mental landscape are Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump. But the sheer outrageousness of them both risks blinding us to how strange and recent a phenomenon it is for the news – any news – to assume such a central position in people’s daily lives. In a now familiar refrain, the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof bemoans his social circle’s “addiction to Trump” – “at cocktail parties, on cable television, at the dinner table, at the water cooler, all we talk about these days is Trump.” But Trump’s eclipse of all other news is not the only precondition for this addiction. The other is the eclipse of the rest of life by the dramas of the news.

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Excellent point. But there’s more: how does Assange’s freedom relate to that of the people who got banned from Facebook yesterday? Most of us will initially react to that question with something about what and who we like, but that’s not good enough.

Assange or Khashoggi: Whither Journalistic Standards? (Aziz)

Did international media and free press advocates who once celebrated Assange, utilized his revelations and heaped awards on Wikileaks, collectively agreed to abandon their erstwhile hero? And why the turnaround? (It’s not easy to explain although one observer suggests former associates actually conspired to depose him.) Increased silence from within Assange’s refuge presaged his recent ‘capture’. Then, when he suddenly appeared, subdued by dozens of guards, how shamelessly international media rushed to cheer his arrest. They seemed to delight in highlighting scant, salacious details of his condition at the time of his arrest. Reprehensible. Dismaying. Will those gloating journalists care what his captors do to Assange in detention?

This for the man whose political analyses and Wikileaks revelations had been daily headlines not long ago. This for a journalist and publisher who introduced a profound strategy to expose a government’s sinister diplomatic schemes, excesses and crimes documented by their own internal reports. This for an organization gathering evidence of government wrongdoing at a critical time, starting in 2006 when U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were being reevaluated by a sobering public. Rumors of military crimes, cover-ups, torture, black-site prisons, etc. had gradually, although belatedly, gained credibility and, following the Abu Graib Prison revelations, Wikileaks provided irrefutable evidence of how U.S.A. and its allies conducted their wars.

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From the WSJ Editorial Board yesterday: “Mr. Barr has since released the full Mueller report with minor redactions, as he promised, and with the “context” intact. Keep in mind Mr. Barr was under no legal obligation to release anything at all. Mr. Mueller reports only to Mr. Barr, not to the country or Congress.

Mr. Barr has also made nearly all of the redactions in the report available to senior Members of Congress to inspect at Justice. Yet as of this writing, only three Members have bothered—Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and ranking House Republican on Judiciary Doug Collins. Not one Democrat howling about Mr. Barr’s lack of transparency has examined the outrages they claim are hidden.”

Doug Collins’ tirade is a good listen. No need to agree with him.

Democrats Rage At Empty Chair As Barr Misses Mueller Hearing (ZH)

Refusing to allow the fact that AG Barr chose not to attend today’s Mueller Report hearing, angry Democrats took full advantage of the photo-op to conjure images of a terrified attorney general cowering from the truth and protecting a clearly guilty-of-something president. Despite Barr’s decision last night not to attend, because he objected to Democratic demands that their staff counsel be able to question him, Democrats went forward with the theater of the hearing anyway, setting up an empty chair for the absent attorney general. As The Hill reports, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to the morning event, and accused Barr of being a coward after it ended. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) tore into Barr, accusing him of failing to check President Trump’s “worst instincts” and misrepresenting Mueller’s findings.

“He has failed the men and women of the Department by placing the needs of the President over the fair administration of justice,” Nadler said. “He has even failed to show up today.” Republicans did not take it lying down with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) noted vociferously that “Judiciary Democrats say AG Barr is “terrified.” Yesterday he testified for over five hours in an open hearing. Today, they cut off my microphone.” And, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) accused Nadler of staging a “circus political stunt” and said the Democratic chairman wanted the hearing to look like an impeachment hearing. “That is the reason. The reason Bill Barr is not here today is because the Democrats decided they didn’t want him here today. That’s the reason he’s not here,” Collins said. “Not hearing from him is a travesty to this committee today.”

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Excellent read. Mueller wanted to make Trump’s firing of Comey to be obstruction. But that would have taken some hoops to jump through.

How President Trump’s Legal Team Outfoxed Mueller (Chamberlain)

When the Mueller Report was released on April 18th, most commentators focused on the “explosive” factual allegations. But other than the shocking revelation that the President once used an expletive in private, very few of those facts were novel; most were leaked long ago. At the end of Volume II of the Mueller Report, however, there were 20 pages of genuinely new material. There, the former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his “Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes To The President.” These overlooked 20 pages were dedicated to defending Mueller’s interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

That’s quite strange, but you know what’s stranger still? In June 2018, Bill Barr, then in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis, wrote a detailed legal memorandum to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This memo came to light in December, when Barr was nominated for Attorney General. The subject was Mueller’s interpretation of the aforementioned 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). [..] Reading Barr’s June 2018 memo alongside the last twenty pages of the Mueller Report is a curious experience. Together, they read like dueling legal briefs on the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2); the type of material one would expect to see from adversarial appellate litigators.

So-why did Robert Mueller dedicate 20 pages of his report to a seemingly obscure question of statutory interpretation? Why did Bill Barr write a detailed legal memorandum to Rod Rosenstein about that very same statute? And how, exactly, did Bill Barr know that that § 1512(c)(2) was central to Mueller’s obstruction theory – in June 2018, when he was still in private practice at Kirkland? [..] why, exactly, was the interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) so contested? Let’s start by looking the statute, excerpted here: (c) Whoever corruptly— (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or (2) otherwise obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so [is guilty of the crime of obstruction].

Why was this so important to Mueller? Because most of the obstruction statutes couldn’t possibly apply to President Trump’s behavior, as they require that a defendant obstruct a “pending proceeding” before an agency or tribunal. It is settled law that an FBI investigation does not constitute such a proceeding. But § 1512(c) applies to acts of obstruction done with the intent of impairing evidence for a future, potential proceeding. That made it potentially usable against the President.

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Ukraine is central. Even without Biden.

Ukrainian Embassy Confirms DNC Contractor Solicited Trump Dirt In 2016 (Hill)

The boomerang from the Democratic Party’s failed attempt to connect Donald Trump to Russia’s 2016 election meddling is picking up speed, and its flight path crosses right through Moscow’s pesky neighbor, Ukraine. That is where there is growing evidence a foreign power was asked, and in some cases tried, to help Hillary Clinton. In its most detailed account yet, Ukraine’s embassy in Washington says a Democratic National Committee insider during the 2016 election solicited dirt on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and even tried to enlist the country’s president to help.

In written answers to questions, Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s office says DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government on Paul Manafort’s dealings inside the country, in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress. Chalupa later tried to arrange for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to comment on Manafort’s Russian ties on a U.S. visit during the 2016 campaign, the ambassador said. Chaly says that, at the time of the contacts in 2016, the embassy knew Chalupa primarily as a Ukrainian-American activist, and learned only later of her ties to the DNC. He says the embassy considered her requests an inappropriate solicitation of interference in the U.S. election.

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Am I still the only one who thinks this is good news?

April US Auto Sales Crash 6.1%, Worst Slide In 8 Years (ZH)

It was yet another dismal month for US auto sales in April, continuing a recessionary trend that has been in place not only in the US, but globally, for the better part of the last 12 months and certainly since the beginning of 2019. The nonsense-excuse-du jour for this month’s disappointing numbers is being placed on the weather on seasonality on rising car prices, which easily pushed away an overextended, broke and debt-laden U.S. consumer. In a nutshell, US auto sales in April tumbled by 6.1% – the biggest monthly drop since May 2011 – to just 16.4 million units, the lowest since October 2014.

Aside for an incentive-boost driven rebound in March, every month of 2019 has seen a decline in the number of annualized auto sales. Furthermore, as David Rosenberg notes, the -4.3% Y/Y trend is the weakest it has been for the past 8 years. Adding “fuel to the fire”, the average price of a new car in April came in at $36,720, the highest ASP so far this year, according to The Detroit News. It comes at a time where interest rates remain above 6% on average, further pressuring sales.

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Mostly US funds flowing back home.

Global Foreign Direct Investment Flows Collapse (DQ)

Global foreign direct investment flows plunged by another 27% in 2018 — after having already plunged 16% in 2017 — to just $1.1 trillion, the equivalent of 1.3% of global GDP, the lowest ratio since 1999, according to new data released by the OECD. It was the third consecutive annual plunge in global FDI flows, as more and more companies either choose not to invest in businesses or assets in other countries or are prevented from doing so. At the peak in 2015, before the trade wars began, before the Brexit vote happened, and before China began cracking down on the capital outflows that had fueled big-ticket purchases of strategic companies across the globe as well as surging asset prices in multiple jurisdictions, global FDI flows totaled $1.92 trillion and represented around 2.5% of global GDP. FDI has since collapsed by 43%.

The OECD apportions much of the blame for the latest fall in FDI flows on the US tax reform in 2017, which prompted many US companies to repatriate large amounts of earnings held with foreign affiliates in countries such as Ireland and Switzerland, which both suffered a massive reduction in inward foreign investment last year. The U.S. is traditionally the world’s biggest source of FDI, but last year it recorded negative outflows for the first time since 2005, as the movement of funds from U.S. investors into global businesses and assets reversed and flowed back toward the U.S., at least on paper. The total sum of outflows last year was -$48 billion, compared to $316 billion in 2017.

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Time to reserve some space for MMT. Harrison has some valid views.

Hippie-Punching MMT (Edward Harrison)

A lot of people like to argue that the central bank and the central government are independent and autonomous powers. And the argument goes that because of this autonomy, central governments like the US aren’t really all-powerful because the central bank can simply refuse to create more IOUs. I think this is a ridiculous argument, though. The central bank is the central government’s agent. And it exists only as a vehicle for executing banking and monetary policies in the government’s interest. The independence it enjoys is entirely at the central government’s discretion – mostly to create the appearance of non-politically motivated policy which would create inflation and debase the currency. If push came to shove, the central government would do whatever it took to issue IOUs to promise to pay the bearer of its money the required sum of fiat currency.

Notice, though, that Euro Zone governments don’t have the same power because they cannot create euros. Sure, they can enforce tax in euros with the coercive power of the penalty of prison as an incentive. But, when their euro taxes fall short, they can’t create euros to make up the shortfall. The euro is not their IOU. They are just like any other debtor in the eurozone. And the MMT crowd were onto this right from the start. In fact, one of the MMT forefathers, Wynne Godley, predicted the European Sovereign Debt Crisis when the euro was first conceived in 1992. On the other hand, most mainstream economists were caught flat-footed by the crisis. They were operating under the assumption that the bond vigilantes had the same power over all debtors including sovereigns.

They said the bond vigilantes just gave sovereigns more leeway. And that’s still their position today despite all evidence to the contrary. How do you trade that? For me, I trade that by saying Germany is the de facto ‘sovereign’ in the euro zone because of its size and fiscal rectitude. The euro would have to cease to exist before German sovereign debt came under attack from bond vigilantes. Now, if Deutsche Bank went bankrupt and Germany bailed it out at great cost and went on a deficit binge to boot and government debt to GDP ended up ballooning to 120% of GDP, things would be different.

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Home Forums Debt Rattle May 3 2019

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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    Paul Klee In angel’s care (In Engelshut) 1931   • Day of the Long Knives (Kassam) • Is The Media Driving America Insane? (LN) • How The News Took
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle May 3 2019]


    Continuing from yesterday’s thread, and Chris M’s comment about lawmakers wanting lawyers to question Barr because they don’t know the law: First, many of them are lawyers themselves. And second, as the GOP said (see the video above): “Over the 206-year history of this committee, staff have never questioned witnesses in an oversight hearing. Never. Not once. So, to say Chairman Nadler’s demands are unprecedented would be an understatement.”

    They’re afraid of Barr, it would seem. Well, the first indictments are about to hit home. You think it’s ugly now, just watch.

    V. Arnold

    Another, superb, reality bending Calvin and Hobbes…

    On another note: I thought it rather interesting that Ron Paul said that Guaido is now at the point of being more useful to the U.S. if he were dead/killed.
    He’d be perfect for a false flag op right about now…
    The U.S. would/could use that to launch a military op against Maduro.
    Let’s hope the fat one and the Stache are smarter than that.
    Lavrov, apparently, made it pretty clear (in a phone call made by the fat one) that Russia and China will have none of that.


    According to we don’t need to change our driving habits. We just need to have electric cars. And then we need to have time of day tariffs, to stop the grid collapsing. This is madness. How much will electricity cost when it is used by all the cars?

    As for Facebook, don’t worry, I am not on there either. I think it is a good place for the masses to congregate and leave the rest of the internet smart people like me.

    Dr. D

    Don’t worry abou that: we don’t have a grid, we are not upgrading it AT ALL, and are actively closing all kinds of power plants.

    So never fear you will be driving your electric cars: you won’t. The cities will go dark.

    Dr. D

    The Angel’s Care looks like Casper the holy ghost.

    “Day of the Long Knives (Kassam)”

    They are doing a lot of this, and unfortunately, it’s very often a result of slander, which is difficult and expensive to prosecute. This is a great example of why, if a thing is legal, it must be allowed on Facebook, Twitter;,allowed to be in McDonald’s or WalMart, because otherwise, one crank claims something spurious and you’re banned because the company doesn’t care and doesn’t have time to pursue whether it’s true or not. –And mostly on purpose.

    But this is why IF your rights are going to be removed, like being unable to go into a restaurant, a store, THEN your case must be adjudicated in a court of law. Instead, you are being adjudicated by how popular you are to a far-distant billionaire who could care less about you, or even hates you from his(her) own personal prejudices. So if it’s legal, it should be allowed, and allowed unless a judge or someone says, “Oi! Calling for violent X is a thing you can serve time for!” P.S. as it always has been, since the begining of the West.

    Far, far crazier – if such a thing is even possible these days – is that they are now banning a friend-of-a-friend, who followed somebody, who had dinner once with someone who is banned. No one can defend against that level of nonsense, which is of course arbitrary in the extreme. …Exactly as long-wished, and published since 1949. So we can ban all my enemies, and move all their (collapsing) ad revenue to my friends, and even better, PRETEND we’re being high-and-mighty, just “following the rules” with great equality and restraint. Because it’s really the ILLUSION of truth, the ILLUSION of justice, heck, the ILLUSION rule and law other than arbitrary one for my enemies, that they are defending. If everyone knew they were lying, conniving, psychopathic billionaires roaming the earth killing people at whim in a quest for more power, the game would be off. YOU have to believe them, and believe they AREN’T banning any argument they don’t like. …And the friend of a friend of a friend who once made that argument.

    Note above, being poor, gay, Jewish, female, black, whatever, is no defense whatsoever. They beat these people in the streets as well as off “ultra-progressive” Facebook and Twitter. The only thing that matters is your politics and whether you obey the billionaire lords. Because isn’t publicly disagreeing with a billionaire really hate speech?

    “The media is in this game for two reasons: 1) To earn a profit, and 2) to achieve their political objectives. They have no incentive to inform rather than persuade.”

    Except for the part about earning a profit. They are not making those, or sacrificing them by the $275 millions to pursue part 2). So the point of media is what, Mr. Bernays?

    “But Trump’s eclipse of all other news”

    Ugh. And that fact is entirely due to The Guardian. Without them, he’s just some guy.

    “Did international media and free press advocates who once celebrated Assange, utilized his revelations and heaped awards on Wikileaks, collectively agreed to abandon their erstwhile hero?”

    Duh yes. And why? He told the truth, which is a thing they won’t do and don’t want. They will applaud him getting shived then chopped up in Belmarsh or the American Embassy. Yay! Truth no more!

    “Democrats Rage at Empty Chair as Barr Misses Mueller Hearing (ZH)”

    That chicken was pretty funny.

    “Ukrainian Embassy Confirms DNC Contractor Solicited Trump Dirt in 2016 (Hill)”

    No matter how many crimes committed, how many murders, bank frauds, intel sales, uranium handouts, it doesn’t matter, because it’s My Side, Right or Wrong™. It only matters if the billionaires on CNN and Facebook like it. Then it’s okay and legal. When they don’t like it, didn’t profit by it, it’s horrible bad bad bad, wrong and illegal. Easy, see? It just changes every second depending on what they’re thinking, and you need to know what they want every moment of the day like a good slave, because “The law is in my mouth.” I mean, otherwise, why bother putting in every structure from 1984™ and make people defend, love, and adore the little piggies as equal masters?

    From Venezuela yesterday, I argued about the nonsense but not WHY. The why is that the compounding debt of the world monetary system is running exponential and is risking collapse. They had planned to have an event – as always! – to kill half the system in Russia, over a Syrian no-fly or elsewhere, and thereby blame “them”, and re-set the system under a new currency/rules while stealing their gas and selling it back to Europe. That stopped, and mankind reprieved for a moment or two, they have had to wander to and fro over the earth seeking someone to devour. Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Africa, specifically their massive gold.

    But with an exponential function, it’s never enough. It can never BE enough. And if it fails, the money masters will fail with them and their captive governments will break free. So as the function runs away, they need, I dunno, maybe 300B bbls x $60/bbl = $18 Trillion then hypothecated with fake bonds @ 400:1? If they don’t get this, they die. So you can’t get in their way right now, you have to let them fail on their own idiot-trust-fund-child failure and lose the earth on their own stupidity and blame. Hand them Pompeo, the CIA, and let them front idiot-child Guiado from George Washington U to the laughed off the streets of the nation for being moron. Moron? Yes, he trusted the CIA. And who is THAT dumb?

    And thus we have Venezuela or bust. And they will bust. And they will also show, not only can they not push China or Russia around, not only do they have no power in the middle east, not only have they lost Ukraine and can’t pick winners in Libya, they can’t even hold the Western Hemisphere, a mere 2,000 miles away, even when surrounded by a pack of poodle nations who will savage their own neighbors rather than tell the truth for 30 seconds. And when that’s gone, it’s gone. The U.S. will just be a place, and an empire no more.

    Downside: when the existing monetary system cracks, you won’t like it.


    “Because it’s really the ILLUSION of truth, the ILLUSION of justice, heck, the ILLUSION rule and law other than arbitrary one for my enemies, that they are defending.”

    TAE is unique in the blog world. What I like the most is the many sides of the truth that are presented.
    We are fortunate that we are getting a report of truths from all the blind observers.

    Here is My truth. Maybe you share some of my truth.
    Today’s image, Paul Klee In angel’s care (In Engelshut) 1931, is as solid as truth. There are 3 flimsy and transparent images.

    Does the truth hide behind the money, $?
    Maybe, truth lies behind oil.
    Maybe, truth hides behind power.
    The lies are everywhere pretending to be the truth.

    The French Flash-Ball gun should be made the symbol for the EU for it provides crushing repression of the masses with great PR spin to make it seem humane and caring. It is for our safety after all that they use these, right?


    Some people can explain truth better than me.

    Venezuela: It’s Only a Coup if the US Government Says So

    May 1, 2019
    Venezuela: It’s Only a Coup if the US Government Says So
    Media side with Trump cronies rather than common sense in labeling coup a ‘protest’
    Alan MacLeod

    Chris M


    I certainly wasn’t suggesting that was the only reason for them to bring in lawyers to do the questioning. I simply found it humorous, at first glance.

    Dark humor, perhaps.


    I don’t agree with the trend of having a beard. To me, being clean shaved is a visual sign to all, that I live in an advance social/economic structure that is capable of producing complex shaving tools. Not being able to shave will happen soon enough. I don’t need to rush to that moment.

    Polder Dweller

    Wow, Dr. D. I have to admit to being a bit of a searcher after doom porn from time to time, but your piece today about why takes the biscuit. Trouble is, I can’t fault your logic. I fear you’re right.

    As for the Klee, thanks zerosum, you’ve allowed me to appreciate a work I would normally dismiss.


    I personally don’t like Facebook and my participation in it is purely utilitarian (semi-non-existent) which annoys some of my friends and family, and I’ve never tweeted nor do I read tweets. That said Facebook is a private company and not required by any stretch of the imagination to allow purveyor’s of yellow journalism, hate speech, conspiracy theories, etc., (yes those are my words) to make a living off of Facebook’s platform. They have no right to free speech on Facebook! Actually, they have no rights what so ever! In the event Facebook, google, etc. become classified as media companies then the rules and laws change though what gets published will still be subject to an editorial board. The likes of Alex Jones and his ilk won’t likely be in the news feed. The web is a big place, if Jones can find a following, bully for them. There will still be restrictions on them even then. Fighting words, libel, etc.


    Perhaps oversight hearing and confirmation hearing are truly different animals but then again maybe it’s ultimate hair splitting. But I seem to recall just last year the Repubs used a lawyer to question a private citizen, Christine Blasey Ford, in the Kavanaugh hearing. Perhaps I’m mistaken? Some memories are shorter than others!

    Dr. D

    That MIGHT be true, except that a) they’re monopolies, which we claim to regulate, and more importantly b) they take billions in government dollars and always have.

    It shocks me that a high school football team can’t say an off-campus prayer because they took $10 from the feds, but Bezos can take $300M in CIA money, Google is a major AI/Drone defense contractor, and Facebook is the inheritor with the same code as the U.S. Army’s “LifeLog” site, and yet somehow they are NOT able liable to have free speech. Ain’t that a thing? It’s almost like the law only applies to the little people.

    This is in addition to how, as my example, WalMart can NOT kick you out of a store for off-site actions, or even for expressing opinions on-site. I mean, isn’t this EXACTLY what we fought in the Civil Rights movement, to say a private diner can NOT exclude any customers they wish, because they are PRIVATE entities? They are “Public Accommodations.” Yet when the billionaires at Facebook and PayPal erase their vocal critics and then whole political campaigns, they are NOT public accommodations. They can erase all the black, Jewish, or yes, Conservative people they want, any time they want, for any reason they want? Even when they take billions from the CIA and Congress, being their only profit and business model?

    Hey, let’s NOT reverse all of Civil Rights here? I don’t think any of us are on that side, and no one would like the results. You’re allowed free speech in WalMart, in McDonald’s, and yes, on Twitter.

    They ain’t free, and they ain’t private. They’re the corporate-state merger Mussolini warned about.

    Ask me about how, the minute they edit content, the are BY DEFINITION liable as publishers, which is another whole kettle of fish. Can’t have it both ways, people! If you don’t censor, you are a platform, great! If you DO censor –which you are — you’re legally liable for EVERYTHING ANYONE EVER POSTS. Have fun, suckers!


    Many companies were once private enterprises, too many to mention, Standard Oil, AT&T, Bell, etc etc, and some still are, but nobody ever thought of giving them the choice of refusing customers just because they didn’t like them or their views. I think that sort of died with refusing them for the color of their skins. When these issues got out of hand in the past, for various reasons, the US government acted in decisive manners.

    What Facebook and Google are doing is very dangerous for the fabric of society. They’re turning us into China. It’s equal to saying: you cannot have a car, or gas, or a phone, a home. Because you grow a beard, or you have a crappy old car, or whatever.

    Or it’s like saying you cannot drive on a certain road, maybe that’s a better example. At some point infrastructure must be available to everyone. You can’t say: this is private, go build your own road, or put up your own telephone poles, because your skin is black and we don’t like that around here.

    Facebook is a private company is dead before you hit the water. Problem is, no politician wants to burn their hands on the issue, which they don’t understand to begin with, until it’s too late. It’s much easier to say: look over there, those guys don’t do anything either.


    <“Am I still the only one who thinks this is good news?
    • April US Auto Sales Crash 6.1%, Worst Slide In 8 Years (ZH) >

    That’s the best of news in this dismal time of lost freedom of speech.

    I’ve been re-reading Alice Friedemann’s “When Trucks Stop Running – Energy and the Future of Transportation.”

    Here in the SF Bay Area people are working towards 100% renewable electricity, but of course the catch is that trucks can’t use electricity without batteries, and the technology for batteries may never allow it become real. So “save” fossil fuels for the truck and decrease single occupancy autos. Gas prices in this area have risen from about $3 to $4 a gallon. People will just pay it. But… we will per-force have to cut back on all the many extravagant uses of fossil fuels. The sooner the better for a “Recession”. A Green New Deal could help, if not nationally, perhaps locally for a just transition of jobs from fossil fuels to rebuilding our infrastructure.

    Many city councils in the Bay Area are proclaiming a Climate Emergency, which actually makes state funds for emergencies available. An interesting strategy.

    As for 100% renewable electricity – I”m working with local 350 groups, city and county people to have a convening of the many groups in the area to work on the Emergency. We’ll see how that goes, probably very slowly.

    We also have a movement to Buy Out PG&E (with a budding Public Bank) which has declared bankruptcy, and make it actually owned by elected officials from counties served by it. PG&E admits negligence in maintaining the needed infrastructure. So it could happen. Additionally the 100% renewable energy electric service costs extra with a “100% carbon free” (that includes Nuclear) as a free option. (No nukes! I’ll be speaking against this option.)

    All of these issues are super tricky. I can only hope we can make it work well.

    As far as FB and depersoning people, that is the fad of our times. Such a nasty self righteous time we live in. I’ve had to deal with much of this in groups I work with.

    Thanks for posting about my hero Assange. I do enjoy reading you as part of my daily morning coffee and news.


    Facebook and Google are not monopolies. There is no overarching need for service such as Facebook and Google which is far different from Standard Oil and Bell Telephone which controlled important sectors necessary for society to function in its then current manifestation. No one needs to be on Facebook to function in life to their fullest extent. It is in reality a social network. If someone wants to communicate with “friends and family” they can send a letter with photos. I communicate with my daughter in Europe via Telegram (yes it’s via the internet). Facebook is just another avenue. I personally use Duck Duck Go as a search engine because it doesn’t keep a record of my searches. There are a whole host of other search engines. I also use hushmail as an email service because it’s a private service and I’m not a product like so many other so called free email services. Emails between hushmail participants is automatically encrypted. It’s also free up to so many megs. If I want to do move into the Gig range then I have to pay for the service which is rather nominal in the scheme of things, even for a poor person like me. Okay, so my margarita has rendered me too intellectually incapable to coherently to go on any further at this point. Ciao

    V. Arnold

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
    “First they came …” is a poem written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984).

    Doc Robinson

    Wouldn’t it be better if the critics of fake news were careful to avoid exaggerations and misconceptions in what they themselves write?

    Some of the arguments above are neglecting to consider the distinctions regarding “protected groups” in the USA. Can the owner of the only bar and restaurant in town legally refuse to serve people he doesn’t like? As long as they aren’t members of a protected group, then it seems they can be discriminated against without legal repercussions.

    Look for a sign of the tensions, and you’ll find it on the front door of the one bar and restaurant in town, La Gitana Cantina. The owners have grown so fed up with the militias that they’ve posted a sign saying “UNWANTED: Members of any vigilante border militia group, including, but not limited to AZ Border Recon. Do Not Enter our establishment.
    “We’ve had confrontations with them about bringing their guns in here, or harassing people that work here,” says co-owner Maggie Milinovitch. “And so, we just put the sign up. You cannot come in.

    “A protected group or protected class is a group of people qualified for special protection by a law, policy, or similar authority.
    U.S. federal law protects individuals from discrimination or harassment based on the following nine protected classes: sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, or genetic information (added in 2008).
    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets ‘sex’ to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

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