Nov 152020

Pablo Picasso Les femmes d’Alger Version 0 1955


New US Defense Chief Tells Troops ‘Time To Come Home’ (F24)
Biden’s Transition Team: War Profiteers, Beltway Chickenhawks (GZ)
The Filthy Rich War Hawks That Make up Biden’s New Foreign Policy Team (MPN)
Cecilia Muñoz Defended Family Separations Under Obama, Joins Biden Team (DN)
Biden Will Fail To Bring Back ‘Normal’ Politics (Cook)
How Pence & GOP Senators Could Try To Steal The Election (DP)
Donald Trump’s Likeliest Path To Staying In Office (du Quenoy)
Everybody Knows the Fight was Fixed (Curtin)
Lockdowns Haven’t Brought Down COVID Mortality, But Killed Millions Of Jobs (Mises)
COVID19 Vaccines May Have Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects (Kaiser)
Australia Revels In Covid-free Days (G.)
The Huge New Trade Deal ‘Western’ Media Do Not Like To Talk About (MoA)
The Housing Bubble is Even Bigger Than the Stock Market Bubble (Mish)
The EU Funds Global iPhone And Facebook Surveillance (F.)
Bay Area Food Bank Now Serves 500k Working-Poor As Demand “Doubles” (ZH)





Great War of 2020



“We are not a people of perpetual war — it is the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought. All wars must end,” the memo reads. “Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”

New US Defense Chief Tells Troops ‘Time To Come Home’ (F24)

Newly appointed Pentagon chief Christopher Miller signaled Saturday that he could accelerate the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East, saying, “It’s time to come home.” “All wars must end,” Miller, named acting defense secretary by President Donald Trump on Monday, said in his first message to the US armed services. He said that the US is committed to defeating Al Qaeda, 19 years after the September 11 attacks on the United States, and is “on the verge of defeating” the group. “Many are weary of war — I’m one of them,” he wrote in the message, dated Friday but posted early Saturday on the Defense Department’s website. “But this is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role,” he said.

“Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.” Miller did not mention specific US troop deployments, but the reference to Al Qaeda appeared to single out Afghanistan and Iraq, where US troops were deployed after the September 11 attacks. The former US special forces officer and counterterrorism expert was named to lead the Department of Defense after Trump fired Mark Esper. Trump, who lost to Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 election, has been pressing to pull US forces out of both countries since he came into office four years ago. Any such action would have to come in the 67 days before Biden takes office on January 20.

Esper cut US forces in Afghanistan by nearly two-thirds in the wake of the February 29 US-Taliban peace deal. But, drawing a line, he said he would hold troop numbers at 4,500 after this month until the Taliban, as they negotiate with the government in Kabul, follow through on pledged reductions in violence. Trump, however, has pushed for continued cuts, tweeting that he wants the troops “home by Christmas,” December 25. His national security advisor Robert O’Brien has said the goal is to cut to 2,500 by February.

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It’s a long list.

Biden’s Transition Team: War Profiteers, Beltway Chickenhawks (GZ)

A glance at the Biden-Harris agency review teams should provide a rude awakening to anyone who believed a Biden administration could be “pushed to the left” An eye-popping array of corporate consultants, war profiteers, and national security hawks have been appointed by President-elect Joe Biden to agency review teams that will set the agenda for his administration. A substantial percentage of them worked in the United States government when Barack Obama was president. The appointments should provide a rude awakening to anyone who believed a Biden administration could be pressured to move in a progressive direction, especially on foreign policy. If the agency teams are any indication, Biden will be firmly insulated from any pressure to depart from the neoliberal status quo, which the former vice president has pledged to restore.

Instead, he is likely to be pushed in an opposite direction, towards an interventionist foreign policy dictated by elite Beltway interests and consumed by Cold War fever. A prime example of the interventionist-minded establishment-oriented figures filling the Biden-Harris Defense Department agency team is Lisa Sawyer. She served as director for NATO and European strategic affairs for the National Security Council from 2014 to 2015, and worked for Wall Street’s JPMorgan Chase as a foreign policy adviser. Sawyer was part of the Center for a New American Security’s “Task Force on the Future of US Coercive Economic Statecraft,” which essentially means she participated in meetings that focused on methods of economic warfare that could be used to destabilize countries that refused to bow to American empire.

Sawyer believes the US government is not doing enough to deter Russian “aggression,” US troop levels in Europe should return to the levels they were at in 2012, and offensive weapons shipments to Ukraine should continue and increase in violation of the Minsk Agreements. “Instead of saying we will lift sanctions when Russia decides to comply with the next agreement, say that we will raise them until they do. Instead of kowtowing to Russia’s supposed spears of influence, provide Ukraine the lethal assistance it so desperately needs and increase US support to vulnerable nations in the gray zone,” Sawyer declared when testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2017.

US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield was appointed leader of the Biden-Harris State Department team. She is a stalwart ally of former US national security adviser Susan Rice, who pushed for war in Libya, supported the invasion of Iraq, and was involved in the decision to remove peacekeepers from the United Nations which enabled Rwanda genocide. As a developer and manager for US policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, she cheered President George W. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Account, a neocolonialist policy designed to privilege US corporations and facilitate the economic exploitation of so-called emerging African economies.

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And then there’s more. Enjoy your cabal.

The Filthy Rich War Hawks That Make up Biden’s New Foreign Policy Team (MPN)

Biden is no stranger to the rich and powerful. He kicked off his presidential campaign last year with a dinner for ultra-rich patrons at a Manhattan hotel, insisting that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he were elected, reassuring them that he would never demonize the rich and that they were not at fault for growing inequality. “I need you very badly,” he concluded. The former vice-president’s team is also looking to be made up of extremely wealthy individuals as well. His transition task squad has been, in his website’s words, crafted to ensure they “reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration,” and includes executives from Lyft, Amazon, Capital One, Uber, Visa, and JP Morgan.

One name being strongly floated for a cabinet position is former mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, a move being met with vocal opposition from the left. Emanuel’s first tour of duty in the White House came under President Bill Clinton, where he was one of the key architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal that decimated manufacturing in the Midwest, hobbled union power, and sent well paying blue-collar jobs to Mexico. In 2016, Trump constantly brought up NAFTA as a weapon to attack Hillary Clinton, winning him votes (and states) across the region. Emanuel also pushed through welfare “reform” bills that sharply reduced benefits for the poor and worked with Biden on the now-infamous 1994 Crime Bill, a key accelerator of mass incarceration.

He then left politics to pursue a lucrative career in finance — something that quickly netted him a reported $16 million fortune — before returning and becoming President Obama’s advisor and enforcer. Many of the president-elect’s potential picks for foreign policy positions — including Susan Rice and Michele Flourney — have onlookers worried. “With a Biden administration, we can expect a continuation of the Middle East wars and possible escalations in places like Syria. Biden could be better than Trump on Iran and Yemen, but judging by his potential cabinet picks, that should not be expected without significant pressure from antiwar activists and lobbyists in Washington,” Dave DeCamp, assistant news editor of told MintPress.

“His administration will likely be more successful than Trump at expanding the empire, with a more diplomatic and coherent approach at building alliances to face Russia and China.” Rice, who was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor under Obama, has amassed a fortune of around $40 million. After leaving office, she was given a spot on the board of Netflix, being paid $366,666 as a base salary. On top of that, she was given $2.3 million worth of the company’s stock. However, it is her husband, former ABC News executive producer Ian O. Cameron (whose father was a super-wealthy industrialist), who is the prime source of her wealth. She was a key driver in U.S. action in Libya, and also successfully lobbied Obama to place harsher sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

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Unpossible, that was all Trump, remember?

Cecilia Muñoz Defended Family Separations Under Obama, Joins Biden Team (DN)

Joe Biden has named President Obama’s former top immigration adviser Cecilia Muñoz to his transition team. During her time in the White House, Muñoz often justified Obama’s harsh immigration enforcement policies, including the administration’s deportation of thousands of Central American children and its decision to kill an executive order that would have halted deportations. In 2011, Muñoz was interviewed by PBS’s Maria Hinojosa. Cecilia Muñoz: “At the end of the day, when you have an immigration law that’s broken and you have a community of 10 million, 11 million people living and working in the United States illegally, some of these things are going to happen, even if the law is executed with perfection. There will be parents separated from their children. We don’t have to like it, but it is a result of having a broken system of laws. And the answer to that problem is reforming the law.”

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“Those now bleating about how dangerous his current assertions of election fraud are should remember they were the ones who smashed that particular glass house..”

Biden Will Fail To Bring Back ‘Normal’ Politics (Cook)

The narrowly averted Trump second term has at least prompted liberal pundits to draw one significant lesson that is being endlessly repeated: Biden must avoid returning to the old “normal”, the one that existed before Trump, because that version of “normal” was exactly what delivered Trump in the first place. These commentators fear that, if Biden doesn’t play his cards wisely, we will end up in 2024 with a Trump 2.0, or even a rerun from Trump himself, reinvigorated after four years of tweet-sniping from the sidelines. They are right to be worried. But their analysis does not properly explain the political drama that is unfolding, or where it heads next. There is a two-fold problem with the “no return to normal” argument.

The first is that the liberal media and political class making this argument are doing so in entirely bad-faith. For four years they have turned US politics and its coverage into a simple-minded, ratings-grabbing horror show. A vile, narcissist businessman, in collusion with an evil Russian mastermind, usurped the title of most powerful person on the planet that should have been bestowed on Hillary Clinton. As Krystal Ball has rightly mocked, even now the media are whipping up fears that the “Orange Mussolini” may stage some kind of cack-handed coup to block the handover to Biden. These stories have been narrated to us by much of the corporate media over and over again – and precisely so that we do not think too hard about why Trump beat Clinton in 2016.

The reality, far too troubling for most liberals to admit, is that Trump proved popular because a lot of the problems he identified were true, even if he raised them in bad faith himself and had no intention of doing anything meaningful to fix them. Trump was right about the need for the US to stop interfering in the affairs of the rest of the world under the pretence of humanitarian concern and a supposed desire to spread democracy at the end of the barrel of a gun. In practice, however, lumbered with that permanent bureaucracy, delegating his authority to the usual war hawks like John Bolton, and eager to please the Christian evangelical and Israel lobbies, Trump did little to stop such destructive meddling. But at least he was correct rhetorically.

Equally, Trump looked all too right in berating the establishment media for promoting “fake news”, especially as coverage of his presidency was dominated by an evidence-free narrative claiming he had colluded with Russia to steal the election. Those now bleating about how dangerous his current assertions of election fraud are should remember they were the ones who smashed that particular glass house with their own volley of stones back in 2016.

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Steal? You sure?

How Pence & GOP Senators Could Try To Steal The Election (DP)

Since Donald Trump lost the election, he and GOP state legislators have suggested that the race was marred by voter fraud, and Trump administration officials have been publicly talking about Trump remaining president. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence reportedly told a conservative group that there is already a “plan” for a second Trump term. Though Republicans have not produced any evidence to substantiate the fraud claims, they have continued to promote the fraud allegations — which could serve as a rationale for state legislatures, Republican electors and Mike Pence to try to use the Electoral College system to hand Trump a second term.

The unlikely-but-possible scenario revolves around the prospect of competing slates of electors. That situation has only arisen once in the modern era, when in 1960 then-vice president Richard Nixon faced a decision on whether to recognize Hawaii’s Republican or Democratic electors during the joint session of Congress to certify that year’s election results. The mini controversy spotlighted the pivotal role that the vice president can potentially play in the Electoral College system — and according to Harvard University law professor Larry Lessig, it should worry everyone right now.

In an interview with The Daily Poster, Lessig explained how Vice President Mike Pence could try to recognize slates of Republican electors sent to Congress from five Biden states where GOP legislators have started voicing allegations of voter fraud. In that situation, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate would be in a position to decide on Pence’s move — and if they backed him up, Lessig says they could potentially throw the presidency to Trump. So far, GOP leaders in four of those states are saying they will not try to replace Biden electors with Trump electors in defiance of certified election results. Lessig’s group Equal Citizens is launching a petition on its website that calls on Republican U.S. senators to commit right now to uphold elector slates that represent the will of the popular vote in all states.

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“26 out of the 50 state delegations are majority Republican. Assuming they deliver strict party-line votes, Trump would win the contingent election and be constitutionally re-elected..”

Donald Trump’s Likeliest Path To Staying In Office (du Quenoy)

So far, the media debate revolves almost entirely around the final tabulation of votes. If enough evidence of fraud surfaces, and if court rulings based on that evidence favour Trump decisively, it is possible that he could win by court decision. Another scenario, however, lies in the recesses of the American Constitution. A significant part of Trump’s legal strategy is oriented toward preventing crucial states from certifying results that would be averse to him. All states require vote certification before electors are dispatched. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, allow slates of electors to be split in their support of candidates, but neither is among the states in contention. If Trump can throw sufficient dirt on the electoral process to convince the courts to issue injunctions against certification in just enough states, neither candidate would win the majority of 270 electoral votes needed to triumph in the Electoral College.

In that scenario, Article Two of the US Constitution, as modified by the Twelfth Amendment, provides for a “contingent election” in which the president is chosen by the House of Representatives from among the top three electoral vote winners, while the vice president is chosen by the Senate (recall that the electoral voting for president and vice president are separate). A “contingent election” provides for the vice president to be elected by a simple majority of votes cast by individual Senators. With a Republican Senate majority in the current Congress, Mike Pence would presumably win re-election as vice president. In the bigger contest, however, the House’s vote for president is not by individual ballot, but rather by state delegation en bloc. That means that all the Representatives from each state would cast one collective vote for president.

In the current Congress, 26 out of the 50 state delegations are majority Republican. Assuming they deliver strict party-line votes, Trump would win the contingent election and be constitutionally re-elected. This procedure is obscure, but not unprecedented in choosing American presidents. Thomas Jefferson was elected president in a contingent election in 1801, when the electoral vote in the previous year’s election resulted in a tie between him and incumbent president John Adams. In 1825, Adams’s son John Quincy Adams also won the presidency in a contingent election, in which four candidates split the Electoral College vote that resulted from the election of 1824. The younger Adams prevailed over Andrew Jackson, who had won large pluralities in both the popular and electoral votes.

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“Neither has the guts or the intelligence. They are nowhere men who fear the fate that John Kennedy faced squarely when he turned against the CIA and the war machine.”

Everybody Knows the Fight was Fixed (Curtin)

At the end of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, A Doll’s House, Nora, the aggrieved wife, leaves her husband’s house and all the illusions that sustained its marriage of lies. She chooses freedom over fantasy. She will no longer be played with like a doll but will try to become a free woman – a singular one. “There is another task I must undertake first. I must try and educate myself,” she tells her husband Torvald, a man completely incapable of understanding the social programming that has made him society’s slave. When Nora closes the doll’s house door behind her, the sound is like a hammer blow of freedom. For anyone who has seen the play, even when knowing the outcome in advance, that sound is profound. It keeps echoing. It interrogates one’s conscience.

The echo asks: Do you live inside America’s doll house where a vast tapestry of lies, bad faith, and cheap grace keep you caged in comfort, as you repeat the habits that have been drilled into you? In this doll’s house of propaganda into which America has been converted, a great many of our basic assumptions are totally illusory. Americans who voted for either Trump or Biden in the 2020 election are like Torvald clones. They refuse to open that door so they might close it behind them. They live in the doll’s house – all 146+ million of them. Like Torvald, they are comforted. They are programmed and propagandized, embracing the illusion that the electoral system is not structured and controlled to make sure no significant change can occur, no matter who is president. It is a sad reality promoted as democracy.

They will prattle on and give all sorts of reasons why they voted, and for whom, and how if you don’t vote you have no right to bitch, and how it’s this sacred right to vote that makes democracy great, blah blah blah. It’s all sheer nonsense. For the U.S.A. is not a democracy; it is an oligarchy run by the wealthy for the wealthy. This is not a big secret. Everybody knows this is true; knows the electoral system is sheer show business with the presidential extravaganza drawing the big money from corporate lobbyists, investment bankers, credit card companies, lawyers, business and hedge fund executives, Silicon Valley honchos, think tanks, Wall Street gamblers, millionaires, billionaires, et. al. Biden and Trump spent over 3 billion dollars on the election. They are owned by the money people.

Both are old men with long, shameful histories. A quick inquiry will show how the rich have profited immensely from their tenures in office. There is not one hint that they could change and have a miraculous conversion while in future office, like JFK. Neither has the guts or the intelligence. They are nowhere men who fear the fate that John Kennedy faced squarely when he turned against the CIA and the war machine. They join the craven company of Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. They all got the message that was sent from the streets of Dallas in 1963: You don’t want to die, do you?

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But it’s easy to find the exact opposite view as well.

Lockdowns Haven’t Brought Down COVID Mortality, But Killed Millions Of Jobs (Mises)

[..] many proponents of lockdowns still contend that every covid infection is a failure of public policy. But this position is largely a luxury of white-collar workers who can afford to work from home. Lockdowns have been described as “the worst assault on the working class in half a century.” Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician, says, “the blue-collar class is ‘out there working, including high-risk people in their 60s.” Kulldorff’s colleague Jay Bhattacharya notes that one reason “minority populations have had higher mortality in the U.S. from the epidemic is because they don’t often have the option…to stay at home.” In effect, top-down lockdown policies are “regressive” and reflect a “monomania,” says Dr. Bhattacharya. With this in mind, it is easy to see why more affluent Americans tend to view restrictive measures as the appropriate response.

For many Americans, prolonged periods of time without gainful employment, income, or social interaction are not only impossible but potentially deadly. Martin Kulldorff notes that covid-19 restrictions do not consider broader public health issues and create collateral damage; among the collateral damage is a “worsening incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer and an alarming decline in immunization.” Dr. Bhattacharya correctly notes that society will be “counting the health harms from these lockdowns for a very long time.” Bhattacharya emphasized the politicization of these restrictions: “When Black Lives Matter protests broke out in the spring, ‘1,300 epidemiologists signed a letter saying that the gatherings were consistent with good public health practice,’” while those same epidemiologists argued that “we should essentially quarantine in place.”

Such a contradiction defies logic and undercuts arguments about the lethality of this virus. If this novel virus truly were as devastating to the broader public as advertised, then political leaders supporting mass protests and riots during a pandemic seem to be ill founded. This contradiction has been cited in countless lawsuits challenging the validity and constitutionality of covid-19 restrictions. Separately, these often heavy-handed restrictions have targeted constitutionally protected rights like the freedom of religion. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito criticized the Nevada governor’s restrictions saying, “that Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise…We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility.” This scathing criticism, however, did not gain the support of the Supreme Court as a 5–4 majority deferred to the governor’s “responsibility to protect the public in a pandemic.”

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“We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt..”

COVID19 Vaccines May Have Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects (Kaiser)

Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic but also sets up a tight time frame to make sure consumers understand what it will mean to get the shots. The vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate that the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and fever — that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90 percent effective, the rate Pfizer touted for its product, 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can’t stop social distancing and throw away their masks.

[..] Pfizer and its partner, the German company BioNTech, said Monday that their vaccine appears to protect 9 in 10 people from getting Covid-19, although they didn’t release underlying data. It’s the first of four Covid-19 vaccines in large-scale efficacy tests in the U.S. to have posted results. Data from early trials of several Covid-19 vaccines suggest that consumers will need to be prepared for side effects that, while technically mild, could disrupt daily life. A senior Pfizer executive told the news outlet Stat that side effects from the company’s vaccine appear to be comparable to those of standard adult vaccines but worse than those of the company’s pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar, or typical flu shots.

The two-dose Shingrix vaccine, for instance, which protects older adults against the virus that causes painful shingles, results in sore arms in 78 percent of recipients and muscle pain and fatigue in more than 40 percent of those who take it. Prevnar and common flu shots can cause injection-site pain, aches and fever. “We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.”

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For how long?

Australia Revels In Covid-free Days (G.)

When the premier of Queensland held her regular Covid-19 update on Friday she couldn’t help letting a smile creep across her face. “Now, here’s a good one,” Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters. “I think all Queenslanders are going to be happy about it.” She went on to announce that Brisbane’s Suncorp stadium would host a capacity 52,500 crowd for the forthcoming State of Origin rugby league decider against New South Wales next week. “The cauldron can be filled to 100% capacity,” she said. In the midst of the pandemic, the idea of responsible leaders encouraging citizens to gather in large crowds to sit or stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers might seem to be a case of extreme recklessness.

But in Australia, where the Covid-19 pandemic has largely been controlled after months of lockdowns, border closures and strict limits on gatherings, moments like these are becoming more and more common. Last month, footage from a packed nightclub in Western Australia went viral, offering a surreal image of pre-Covid normality even as countries in the northern hemisphere began to return to lockdowns amid surging case numbers. In Sydney, about 40,000 fans were present for the rugby league grand final last month. The country has reason to be bullish about its successes. On Friday, Australia recorded no new cases of the virus for the fifth day in a row. In Victoria, where a second-wave spike of the virus forced Melbourne into a months-long lockdown and left hundreds dead, Friday marked the 14th day in a row with no new cases.

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Includes Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.

The Huge New Trade Deal ‘Western’ Media Do Not Like To Talk About (MoA)

Tomorrow a new trade agreement between 15 Asian states will be signed. It will soon be seen as a milestone in the global economic history. But only very few ‘western’ media have taken note of it or of the huge consequences the new agreement will have. The agreement is also a huge victory for China over U.S. hegemony in Asia: Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations including China and Japan plan to sign the world’s biggest free trade deal this weekend. The FTA will cut tariffs, strengthen supply chains with common rules of origin, and codify new e-commerce rules. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is expected to be announced at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which Vietnam is hosting virtually.

It will involve the ten member states of the ASEAN bloc – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – as well as their trade partners Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. The new economic bloc will thus represent around a third of the world’s gross domestic product and population. It will become the first-ever free trade agreement to include China, Japan, and South Korea – Asia’s first, second and fourth-largest economies. The economies of the RCEP members are growing faster than the rest of the world. The agreement is likely to accelerate their growth. India is the only country that was invited but is missing in the deal. Its Hindu-fascist Modi regime had bet on the U.S. led anti-Chinese QUAD initiative pressed for by Trump and Pompeo and thereby lost out in trade terms.

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Bubbles “R” The Economy

The Housing Bubble is Even Bigger Than the Stock Market Bubble (Mish)

Stocks may be expensive based on historical measures, but it’s nothing compared to skyrocketing home values says Robert Shiller.

“Consider that the Case-Shiller National Home Price index has gained in excess of 6% per year on average since January 2012, while net rental income has barely kept up with inflation, increasing just less than 2% per year. The result is that home prices seem as overvalued as they were in the spring of 2005, nine months before the peak. One way to measure home valuations is with a cyclically adjusted price to earnings (CAPE) ratio developed by Yale University professor and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller for stocks. The concept can be applied to a broad swath of assets by dividing the current price of an asset by the average annual inflation-adjusted earnings over the prior 10 years. The chart above shows CAPE for U.S. home prices and the S&P 500 Index since 1996.

The bad news is all previous history came at higher mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell below 3% for the first time in August 2020, and rates are close to the lowest possible levels given the credit risk and costs of writing mortgages. It’s one thing to be a peak valuation, it’s another to be at peak valuation with no discernable upside.” Shiller compared home prices to stocks based on CAPE. To compute the CAPE for housing he used rent. My chart looks at household income vs the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Both indexes have a base year of 2000. Household income is annual and the latest year available is 2019. I used Case-Shiller quarterly data. Since 2000, median household income is up about 64%. Home prices are up 118%. Robert Shiller calls this a bubble and so do I.

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Just lovely.

The EU Funds Global iPhone And Facebook Surveillance (F.)

Police across the world are getting special training from a little-known European Union agency on how best to snoop on Facebook and Apple iPhones, according to documents obtained by nonprofit Privacy International. The files reveal that CEPOL, the EU’s law enforcement training agency, instructed officers across the globe, from within Europe and in Africa, on how to use malware and other tools to gain access to citizens’ phones and monitor social networks. In some cases, the training was funded by EU aid coffers and went to countries with histories of human rights abuses, Privacy International warned. Furious about the previously secret initiatives that are aiding surveillance rather than protecting people from it, Privacy International and fellow human rights organizations are calling for reform, demanding that aid money going to intelligence training be diverted to more altruistic programs.

The revelations land just days after the EU Parliament announced plans to curb spy tool exports where human rights abuses were possible. “Today’s revelations confirm our worst fears about the diversion and securitization of EU aid,” said Edin Omanovic, advocacy director of Privacy International. “Instead of helping people who face daily threats from unaccountable surveillance agencies, including activists, journalists and people just looking for better lives, this ‘aid’ risks doing the very opposite. “The EU as the world’s largest provider of aid and a powerful force for change must enact urgent reforms to these secretive and unacceptable programmes. Failure to do so is a betrayal not just of the purpose of aid and the people it’s supposed to benefit, but of the EU’s own values.”

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Silicon Valley.

Bay Area Food Bank Now Serves 500k Working-Poor As Demand “Doubles” (ZH)

The virus pandemic is threatening another lost decade, similar to the Great Recession of 2007-2009, or even the Great Depression of the 1930s, for America’s working poor. Widespread permanent job loss and the collapse of small and medium-sized enterprises have become a severe risk to the broader recovery – as the economic fallout from the virus-induced downturn could linger for years. Case in point, the San Francisco Bay Area has lost 350,000 jobs this year – leaving many households with food and housing insecurity problems ahead of the holiday season. Local news station KQED offers a sobering reminder of the economic devastation left behind from the virus – and one that will likely continue to intensify as virus cases explode to new highs, forcing state officials to reimpose new social distancing restrictions.

KQED said, “food banks are racing to keep up with increased demand for food — and volunteers.” One of the top food banks in the state, called Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, has “literally doubled the amount of food we’re distributing,” said CEO Leslie Bacho. Bacho continued: “We already serving a quarter-million people. Now we’re serving a half million people.” She said many of the folks picking up care packages at food banks across the Bay Area are coming for the first time. “This is a testament to how the pandemic-induced economic crisis is disproportionately impacting low-wage workers,” she added.

“We are seeing so many people who are already just living on the edge, having to then burn through their savings,” Bacho said. “More than half the people we’re serving now have never sought food assistance before.” Someone named “Gabriel” sent Second Harvest of Silicon Valley a donation of around $1,300 – the letter Gabriel received from the food bank outlines the dire situation playing out in the Bay Area.

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Home Forums Debt Rattle November 15 2020

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    Pablo Picasso Les femmes d’Alger Version 0 1955   • New US Defense Chief Tells Troops ‘Time To Come Home’ (F24) • Biden’s Transition Team: War Pr
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle November 15 2020]

    Dr. D

    Ah, the wonders of not working. Eating food, buying clothes, but never, ever working. The lazy are heroes. The working people are saps. Traitors, even. How dare they deliver that food and keep the hospitals open? Do they hate grandma? We should kill them all, stop their jobs, and grind them to dust for even DARING to help other people with “work.” —Ptoooey. Bourgeois scum. How dare you be a nation of Shopkeepers, with a piano back home, selling “food” to “people.” Under Communism those food and shoe shops are empty like they’re supposed to be. And you’ll be happy about it. At least I don’t hear any complaints there, now do I?

    …And so it goes for Klaus Schwab. He will indeed stop all work. He will indeed steal everything you own and leave you owning nothing: he has promised. And another 300 million will starve, but this is a GOOD thing, a GREEN thing, and of course he’s gong to be at $800 a plate private dinner parties with Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsome, so it’s a sacrifice he’s sharing equally. And he has promised you will not be allowed to complain, either. You’ll be “happy happy happy” as every resident of Ptompkin.

    “the US government is not doing enough to deter Russian “aggression,”

    Yes, I see how they started 8 new wars, have military bases in 300 countries, and have toppled 100 democratic regimes in the last 100 years. Wait: what’s that? That was US?

    And boy are they mad when there’s sauce for the gander. France is like “What? You can’t sanction us BACK. How dare you!”

    Cecilia Muñoz Defended Family Separations Under Obama, Joins Biden Team (DN)”

    Brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it, to get things back on track? Joe will have to triple deportations now to make up for all the lost deportations under Trump and match the Obama years.

    “Biden must avoid returning to the old “normal”,”

    Too late: he’s into the beltway normal on turbo-boost. First thing asked Kuchinick to speak, added many Republicans to the cabinet, and said “We need to turn hard right to ‘Unite’ as one country.” Uh, what? You won the election only so you could NOT do the Democratic platform but install the Republicans? By kicking out Bernie and Warren first thing in public glee? And they say we don’t have a Deep State Uniparty system.

    NSFW, as all his:

    Biden’s Cabinet Of WAR!

    Pete Buttigieg REWARDED For Fulfilling Mission During Primary!
    “Biden World” BLAMES Progressives for Their Losses

    BIDEN’s Cabinet Looking WORSE Than Expected!

    And now Democrats saying “If I knew Joe was going to lock down the economy I wouldn’t have voted for him”. WTF? Was he unclear? Hate to say, but the lowest-information voters I’ve seen. When NASCAR guys are more well-read you’ve really got to branch out on your sources. Hey, go read what the other guy thinks. Call him on the phone for a statement. Listen to your brother-in-law over Thanksgiving. Oh wait: Joe and Lori canceled it so you couldn’t. But they can! They’re gonna be eatin’ 5-stars while you eat cake.

    “Since Donald Trump lost the election,”

    Stopped reading right there. The election isn’t over in a large number of states, open recounts are happening, and they know it. That’s aside from the lawsuits which may be more proper to dismiss as unlikely.

    “competing slates of electors” Which is why it was right to stop reading. Electors cannot “compete”. Only the state legislatures can send them. There isn’t a legal alternative path. Just one the media lies about like everything else.

    Lockdowns Haven’t Brought Down COVID Mortality, But Killed Millions Of Jobs (Mises)”

    As predicted. Heck, as SAID BY THE CDC THEMSELVES. They said they needed 15 days breathing room to forestall medical overload. And as said by the recent multi-nation study. …To which no one is comparing with successful states and places. Masks are sold with “This is not a medical device and will stop nothing” printed in bold letters on top. Reporters and all the lockdown promoters are wandering around maskless, having public meetings and dinner parties, allowing non-stop riots and Biden rallies. WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

    Nothing. They will die by the millions before questioning authority as every time before.

    “Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of November”

    The one that caused their CEO to sell the majority of his stock? I’m sure that’s not suspicious and there’s nothing behind it. I mean, when have pharmaceutical companies ever lied?

    she couldn’t help letting a smile creep across her face. …“The cauldron can be filled to 100% capacity,”

    Yes, I can also solve the gun problem in the U.S. with an unlimited surveillance police state kicking in the door to every house and hauling every man away to be hung in front of their children then burning their town to ashes. But there is more to life than solving one problem. Life is made of many things. Life, Freedom, Work, going to Church and Christmas dinner, are just some of them.

    The Housing Bubble is Even Bigger Than the Stock Market Bubble (Mish)”

    High prices mean high taxes. But people are hiding their money outside of banks and outside of bonds. There are limited options.

    Bay Area Food Bank Now Serves 500k Working-Poor As Demand “Doubles” (ZH)”

    See what your high housing price gets you.

    “malware and other tools to gain access to citizens’ phones”

    I don’t know Europe’s complex situation, but wouldn’t that require a warrant?

    Fox: They mean the news isn’t independent, but seems to be directed by a few oligarchs via their paid editors? Who knew?


    Insightful selection for today
    Here are the enablers/puppet masters
    Woman power
    Meet the Biden-Harris agency review teams

    Dr. D did a good essay last night, don’t forget to check it out.

    Slouching Out of the Fog Toward Pennsylvania Avenue

    November 15, 2020 at 11:59 am reply #65603
    Question for Keymaster
    Why are the replies not numbered sequentially?

    D Benton Smith

    It’s all so confusing. Reality is confusing. Except it isn’t, really. You have understood it well enough for quite some time now, you just don’t choose to get up off your fat (safe) arses to do anything about it. Just like me. And there’s is a perfectly rational explanation why that is.

    The horrifying reality  ( and yes, it is horrifying, and yes it is also reality )  is that the economic system of the world is a single system.  A Muslim or Chinese or American billionaire is  . . . first and foremost . . .  simply a billionaire, and that billion has no loyalties. Money has no moral sense, nor patriotic fervor.  It’s just wampum.   The control of money ( and thus the ownership of all things, all salaries, all institutions, all possible interests.)  has no national boundaries. It respects no national values, and obeys no (ridiculously fictitious) “national elections.”  The United States Presidential Election is not an election.   It is a transnational “auction”  attended by all of the billionaires from all over the world.  It will be “won”  by the most powerful faction of players (i.e. has greater control of the money). Right now it looks like CCP and its stake holders have the advantage, but that could change . 
    How could it not change ? Things are breaking, shrinking, disappearing (open communication of sensible thought being not the least of which.) The world is getting weaker as a result, and the value of peasant votes weakens right along with it.
    In other words, the election and the votes themselves do not mean shit because everything that could possibly pertain to the election and to the votes  (e.g. who got the most votes,  or which votes were legal or illegal, or fraudulent etc.)  is for sale to the aforementioned billionaires.   Even the information about that information is for sale.  That’s why the Chinese Communist Party bought up the  mainstream media,  or suborned it with cash and blackmail as pregame warm-up step #1.  Just as they have also done with Academia,  and the “Uni-Party”. [ Uni-Party;  the financial elites of all stripe considered as a single, politically collaborative,  entity].

    The volume , magnitude  and awe inspiring chutzpah of the lies being told (to the American electorate in particular, at the moment) is so overwhelmingly overwhelming that I’m losing interest in even talking about it any more.It would take a science fiction writer of considerable imaginative skill to even match the depth of deceit and betrayal  that is simply the day-to-day business of the folks who run our world,  and nearly impossible to exaggerate.
    It’s all very confusing because deliberate confusion is the primary product of our times. It’s what they’re selling. Hell, they’re shoving it into your face whether you asked for it or not. Why ? Because confusion is better even than secrecy for hiding the dire fuckery they are up to.
    No one thinks any of the proposed solutions are going to work. No one. Everyone knows the system is irreparably broken. Everyone. The only question is about what the hell is going to happen as a consequence? Theories abound. Here’s mine :
    Some folks are going to get wiped out. Others will be rubbed out. And a precious few will bask in the drug-rush of temporary ( very temporary) and reduced power as the combined strength of failing shrinking illogical systems gets smaller and weaker and dumber.
    Most of us , however, ( and here is the good news) are simply going to continue doing what we have always done, which is also the only thing we are able to do. And that is to go on living until further notice.

    Doc Robinson

    Lockdowns Haven’t Brought Down COVID Mortality, But Killed Millions Of Jobs

    Some medical research was published a few days ago, comparing mortality rates for Norway and Sweden. The study looked at mortality rates during the 5 most recent “epidemic years” ending in late July, which covers the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths this year.

    These 3 paragraphs from the study are like a breath of fresh air, away from the smokescreens and fear propaganda. I would normally emphasize the important parts of a quotation, but here it’s all good:

    Our study shows that although Covid-19 associated mortality rate was almost 15-fold higher in Sweden than in Norway during the epidemic, all-cause mortality was not higher in Sweden compared with three of the four preceding years. An increase in all-cause mortality was only observed in comparison to the immediately preceding period (2018/19), because mortality was lower than in the previous years. The excess mortality was confined to individuals older than 70 years. In contrast, mortality rates were lower than expected for all ages in Norway and individuals younger than 70 years in Sweden.

    At the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, extensive social measures were introduced in Norway in the form of restrictions and prohibitions to limit the spread of Covid-19 (13–19), while the public health authorities in Sweden chose a much less intrusive strategy (20–25). The Swedish strategy against Covid-19 has therefore received intense international attention and criticism (9), notably because reported mortality rates in Sweden have been higher than in comparable countries such as Norway. In Sweden, however, mortality was lower than expected in the months preceding the epidemic. This finding may suggest mortality displacement.

    Mortality displacement (37) entails temporarily increased mortality (called excess mortality) in a population as a result of external events, such as heat waves (38), or epidemics like influenza (39) or Covid-19. The observed temporary excess mortality likely arises because people in vulnerable groups die weeks or months earlier than they would otherwise, due to the timing and severity of the unusual external event. The excess mortality is therefore preceded or followed by periods of lower than expected mortality. The period preceding the excess mortality in Sweden during the Covid-19 epidemic, characterised by lower mortality than usual, might be due, at least partly, to a mild influenza season during the winter of 2019-20 (40). Further, after the Covid-19 epidemic, we might see a decline in morbidity and mortality below normal levels in Sweden, as the oldest and frailest have already died.

    Mortality in Norway and Sweden before and after the Covid-19 outbreak: a cohort study

    Dr. D

    Charles Smith: “The reset already happened.” Yup, and we’re in the controlling lockdown now.

    “Put another way: the elites have cannibalized the system so thoroughly that there’s nothing left to steal, exploit or cannibalize…. and the only thing staving off collapse is money-printing… [The only way this can go on is] Martians arrive towing huge meteorites of pure lithium and gold, and rather than incinerating the global elites, they hand the global elites the meteorites to further their concentration of wealth and power.”

    No wonder they discuss exactly this, mining of asteroids, about monthly. And Musk not having a rocket burn up, much less get an asteroid back home cheaper than mining here, is just as unlikely. Can’t fault ’em for trying!


    What constitutes discrimination against employees?
    Updated November 18, 2019. What is workplace discrimination, and what constitutes discrimination against employees or job applicants?
    Employment discrimination happens when an employee or job applicant is treated unfavorably because of his or her race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age.
    Updated November 15, 2020
    Job termination of Republicans by Biden
    Job termination of Democrats by Trump


    Trump didn’t start any wars?  What utter BS.  Sanctions are an act of war, and no president has used them more than Trump.  
      “Americans have become so accustomed to the concept of sanctions that the policy has become hum-drum and commonplace. Since the violence associated with sanctions is indirect and difficult to see, people don’t put them in the same category as bombs. But the reality is that sanctions, by virtue of their targeting foreign citizens for death, are every bit an act of war as dropping bombs on them.”
      Sanctions against N Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others.
      Coups against Bolivia, and Venezuela
      Provocations w/ China in the S China Sea, Iran in the Straight of Hormuz, w/ Russia in Syria
    If Iran had assassinated an American general, the US would be at war.  Trump did not get the US into a hot war, but he certainly tried. (Loser)
       FDR started the war with Japan with an oil embargo, that’s why they attacked Pearl Harbour, AND the Philippines, Japan’s major source of oil.
    When did TAE become a MAGA site?

    D Benton Smith

    @ Arttua

    You are a very poor historian, and not much of a lexicographer either. The US oil embargo on Japan in July 1941 was an effort to stem Japan’s murderous, expansionist, unprovoked blitzkrieg across Asia that had already been running for three years (since 1938) before it’s treacherous sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Japan had already invaded China, slaughtered millions of Chinese civilians en masse , and raped Nanking . They needed oil to do it, so FDR reckoned embargo was better than war.

    Sanctions are not war. To equate them is simply stupid, so I guess that settles that. You’re stupid. Now, about that “provocations” thing . Building fake islands for the sole purpose of extending military reach, and forcing peaceful nations from their traditional (and international legally recognized ) waters is provocation. That’s what China is doing, and has been doing for years, and in its typical ham-fisted bullying way continues to do. Peacefully instructing them to stop that provocation is called LAW. I think you’ve got your definitions mixed up. Not too surprising , considering how dumb you are about everything else. Pack up and go back to Beijing, troll. Or perhaps I should say, consider yourself sanctioned, you lying provocative idiot.


    @ D Benton Smith

    Is that you D Benton Smith
    Were you hacked
    You’re not your usual commenter.


    Sanctions are an act of war

    No. They are not an act of war. Stop changing the definition of words to suit your purposes. It is tiring.



    WTF? What or who are you talking about? Damn dude! The hatred!..always trying to get me to hate myself. I’m so over it. So much of it coming from the left.

    @D Benton Smith. I have to agree and you won AE today for me with your first post :

    “Some folks are going to get wiped out. Others will be rubbed out. And a precious few will bask in the drug-rush of temporary ( very temporary) and reduced power as the combined strength of failing shrinking illogical systems gets smaller and weaker and dumber.
    Most of us , however, ( and here is the good news) are simply going to continue doing what we have always done, which is also the only thing we are able to do. And that is to go on living until further notice”.

    Adapt, create and endure, the people perennial as grass………..

    V. Arnold

    I really didn’t want to post today, but: the vitriol, name calling, and just general bad manners are beyond the pale for TAE.
    You did not deserve that rude response to your post.


    Perhaps D.B. had reached his Popeye moment.
    “that’s all I can stands ’cause I can’t stands no more”

    “Sanctions are not war. To equate them is simply stupid”
    I have to agree with that point of view, having done the war part.
    Dead is very far from deprived.

    John Day

    The McCollum Memo, The Smoking Gun of Pearl Harbor

    Life is complex, amigos and amigas.
    As much as I admire FDR, he purposely left thousands of American sailors in floating tombs to be killed by the Japanese Imperial Navy, after conspiring to draw Imperial Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, and knowing that they were steaming over to do so for 2 weeks, and he got all the aircraft carriers out then, and the modern ships out by December 1 1941, so that only the men and the WW-1 navy would die on December 7.
    It was important. He had a point. His strategy prevailed.
    He died.
    Stalin said he was poisoned by Churchill’s team.
    I can’t tell.
    Let’s be civil. Fewer regrets in the long run.

    V. Arnold

    Let’s be civil. Fewer regrets in the long run.

    Spot on, well put…

    Michael Reid

    @ V. Arnold,

    I feel everyone is on edge and alcohol may play a part but we are imperfect beings. I enjoy the intelligence that exists here. Certainly some things are said that offends others at times however I was not troubled. Freedom to express one’s feelings whether fueled by intellect or alcohol should not be wrong and a subject of offence. Simply disregard it. These are maybe the end of days. Who knows but I know that I have enjoyed communicating with you during these trying times

    Michael Reid

    And I agree with with most of the points Arttua made.


    @Artuua @DBS
    Your points are both valid.

    It’s true that sanctions aren’t war. Trump has bombed less than Hillary would have, and almost certainly less than Biden will if he gets in. He may well have bombed even less, were he not under constant pressure to demonstrate that he wasn’t “soft” – on Russia, Iran or whatever. Credit where credit is due – for all the sh*t that’s hurled at Trump – some warranted, some not – his record on armed conflict, and his present increased actions to withdraw troops (though highly suspect in timing) deserve merit.

    AND – sanctions are a form of violent coercion targeting innocent citizens for political objectives. And Trump has used them extensively, eg preventing Iranian and Venezuelan citizens from accessing medicine causing certain deaths in the process.

    It’s kinda weird that Trump – for all his gauchness – has favoured less visible violent coercion, whereas Obama – for all his Nobel peace prizes – was content to bomb and invade.

    Is one better or worse than the other? I guess on balance I see sanctions as the lesser evil, in that if reversed, starving people can get better. Whereas exploded people are still dead. But it’s a pretty trivial distinction.

    It would’ve been very interesting to see what Trump would’ve done absent the constant media vitriol. But there was absolutely no doubt what Obama, and Hillary, and Biden’s instincts were, even absent the pressure.


    I still want to know what @Arttua was alluding to? I went back thru the comment thread and did not find anyone saying anything. May have missed. Dr.D. had an insight that actually supported much of what Arttua said in between the beginning and ending sentence. But to be fair the last sentence seemed like a veiled insult to Raul, somebody on the site or all of us? I can’t tell? And I agree with much of @DBS ‘s take as I do Dr. D’s and John Day’s and many others on here

    ……whereabouts unknown. No kidding. Popeye moment!! So funny… I had one this week! Good point on the dead versus deprived! I agree.

    Reid..Drinking and typing can definitely get you in trouble! I often wonder!

    Way to much left brain on here sometimes. What do you guys and gals do for fun? Seriously. What’s your mojo?


    V. Arnold

    And I agree with with most of the points Arttua made.

    The saying is correct, IMO: Sanctions are war; by other means, very important to the meaning.
    The U.S sanctions on Iran are killing people in real time. Iran cannot get critical medicines because of those very sanctions.
    War = death & maiming…
    Sanctions = death & maiming…


    … and taking that thought process a couple of steps further:
    Trump may be a NY millionaire, but his base is close to natural instincts – Joe Sixpack. WWF, reality TV et al.. Trump is them and they are him. And that base is the one that pays the costs of military adventurism, without benefiting from the financial wins of it.

    Obama, Hillary and Biden (having eliminated pro-Sanders socialism from the Democratic agenda) are the exact opposite. They pay no price for military adventurism, but enjoy the bounce in their Lockheed Martin stocks. Sanctions OTOH, rile their woke base. No surprises they’ve wound up where they are.

    So Obama was quite content to luxuriate in the manufactured approval and moral solace of his European and Australian elite compadres in launching his Libyan fiasco. He associates with them, cares about their opinion, and cares little for that of the Deplorables.

    Trump OTOH, feels no association with that class. He launched his first term on reducing military conflict, so he can;t subsequently embrace it without alienating all his support base. So he chooses more covert means – eschewed by the more woke populace for the lethal violence that it is – to strengthen his hand at “negotiating”.

    Liberals convincing themselves that Trump is the ultimate Satan and that the Coming of Biden heralds the redemption, are little different than the Christian evangelicals looking for the rapture.

    It’s insane. Beyond insane. PTL that TAE helps facilitate the conversations that make these things visible..

    D Benton Smith

    Apparently an addendum is needed in to remove any nascent doubts and make my position completely unambiguous. First of all, I don’t drink. Sober as a judge (although perhaps I give judges too much credit on that count.)
    Secondly, I’m no cheerleader for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but his sins and virtues are matters for another day. Today’s lesson was , and remains, that @arttua should be grateful that he got off so lightly for his idiocy, treasonous claptrap and covert propagandizing for the Chinese Communist Party.

    At best he’s an uneducated and ill informed fool. At worst he is literally a professional troll, and if that’s the case he isn’t the first that has tried to mess things up around here. TAE is one of the last, and best, bastions against the deliberate assault against logic, reason, free speech and human dignity. That onslaught has spewed from the covert intelligence operations of Red China and its sycophants for far too long. We should have shut that door in 1972, instead of opening it (Thanks again Tricky Dick)

    So, just in case any one is left with any doubts about the sincerity for my vitriolic contempt for Arttua and his ilk, or who thinks propitiation is the correct response to evil , let me put those thoughts to rest. I meant every word of it, and then some.



    Love the thought *process*. Keep on. David Bohm is smiling from somewhere in the continuum.

    Michael Reid

    @ D. Benton Smith,

    Please educate me sir. I have read some of your posts in the past and have felt they were in agreement with my thinking.

    Today my worldview is no longer intact. Is yours? I have spent most of my life developing weapons for the USA. At this point I am ashamed of that. The USA is the biggest bully in the school that wants to beat you up and steal your lunch money. Where have I gone wrong in my thought process?

    Leave Venezuela alone and every other country for that matter is my current thinking. Military should only be used for defense and not extracting the wealth out of the rest of the world…which in my opinion is what sanctions are all about.

    What are your thoughts?


    The handful of blogs, I read every day; have gone to the ground. Fear of the future, going stir crazy, protests downtown, does that. It is natural to cling to the life raft of beliefs and faith. Except, human instincts, tend toward violence. The world is too full of people and nuclear weapons for that. The nations that controlled COVID-19 have functional governments. Science that is divorced from the drive for profit has proven to be a useful tool to observe reality. Magical thinking resulted in a quarter million Americans dying and overwhelming the for-profit healthcare system in US hot spots.

    Life will only get a lot worse in the West unless there is a restoration of democracy and government that works for the greater good.

    D Benton Smith


    Thank you for the David Bohm reference. Somehow or other I had missed him in my own work research, maybe because my early interest in the field (physics) leaned so heavily at first toward the materialist/deterministic school of thought. Based on your mention of him I did a quick scan of his work, and am delighted. Thanks again.


    What are your thoughts?
    @ Michael Reid

    Let’s be civil.

    D Benton Smith


    reference : “Science that is divorced from the drive for profit has proven to be a useful tool to observe reality. ”

    So true, but of late it looks like they married it instead. What happened ? You would probably enjoy what Eric Weinstein and his kid brother Bret Weinstein have to say on that topic. There is hope !

    I think the main thing that happened was as an unintended consequence of the Google work model of communications. It is now true that without the full support of Google search results promotion then professionals of every kind ( which includes scientists and universities, as well as business) one becomes utterly invisible and inaccessible to others. If Google likes you (and thus promotes you) then you can thrive. If it does not like you ( and therefore buries or outright censors you) then you disappear from the marketplace and cannot long survive except as a hobbyist. This phenomenon made Google the ultimate and virtually omnipotent “gatekeeper” of pretty much everything that depends upon communications and/or commerce. That’s a lot of stuff, and that profit-driven choke-point obstructing the free and open communication of ideas may well crash our civilization and cost all of us a few thousand years of hard earned progress.

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