Nov 202022
 November 20, 2022  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »

Paul Gauguin Van Gogh painting sunflowers 1888


Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account After Millions Vote In Poll (JTN)
War On Everything (El Gato Malo)
Europe Warns Musk He Must Hire Hundreds Of Moderators (ZH)
German Public TV Compares Elon Musk to Goebbels (Kogon)
CBS News Suspends All Twitter Activity (NYP)
France Should Stop Backing Zelensky – Ex-Presidential Candidate (RT)
West Is ‘Pushing’ Kiev Toward Talks – Medvedev (RT)
Germany Warns Against Escalation Between Russia and NATO (RT)
Goodbye G20, hello BRICS+ (Escobar)
Ukraine Could Seize Crimea Before Year Ends – MOD (RT)
‘Harsh Winter’ Ahead For Ukraine – Lloyd Austin (RT)
Outcome of Ukraine Conflict Will Help Define 21st Century – Lloyd Austin (RT)
EU Leaders Accuse US Natural Gas Producers Of Profiteering (IA)
‘Laziness Epidemic’ Grips France – Study (RT)





Judge Nap- Macgregor MUST watch






Old video





Tucker FTX



“If you don’t believe how powerful American propaganda is, they made Fauci and Zelensky the heroes..”





Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account After Millions Vote In Poll (JTN)

New Twitter owner Elon Musk declared Saturday night that former President Trump’s account will be reinstated. Musk made the decision after polling Twitter users Friday. More than 15 million people responded, with nearly 52% supporting the return of the 45th president to the social platform, “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted at about 8 p.m. ET Saturday. The former president’s account was suspended after the Jan.6, 2021, Capitol riot. Since then, Trump has launched his own social platform called Truth Social that has attracted millions of new users. Both Trump and Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes have said the former president plans to stay on his own platform. Trump reiterated that position on Saturday, even as he encouraged followers to vote in Musk’s poll. “Vote now with positivity, but don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere. Truth Social is special!,” he wrote.

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One of the last things Michael Moore said that made sense, was “You can’t declare war on a noun”. El Gato takes it from there.

War On Everything (El Gato Malo)

We live in the age of the war machine. The purpose of the war machine is not to produce victory. The purpose of the war machine is to produce war. War unending. War on everything. Permission to think the unthinkable and excuse to do that which is inexcusable. It is the triumph of the terrible and the tyrannical. The war on covid, poverty, injustice, drugs, terrorism: It’s all the same. War is the worst of humanity. It is the end of cooperation, the end of rationality, the abrogation of ethics. War is permission to “do what it takes to win” This cannot be the way. War is the end of good choices and the embrace of conflict, the end of citizens and the pursuit of subjugation. It is the end of humanity and the beginning of amoral destruction of the enemy. Perfect for politicians. Anathema to the free breath of we the people.

This is jingo as justification. It’s the supplanting of rights by righteousness. And this war machine will roll right over you and if it does its job well you will never even guess at the real reasons why. The facts and faces may change, but the war will not. It will take from you those most fundamental rights and choices and replace them with the fist, with violence, with taking. The war on drugs takes the free choice of free people and replaces it with 27 kinds of new statist intrusion breaking down doors with unaccountable no knock warrants and systems of international collaboration giving rise to vast police and surveillance states. Has it stopped drugs or even made headway? Nope. Does it have any ethical basis in a world where our own intelligence agencies traffic in the very narcotics our police profess to suppress? Nope.

It just oppresses you and takes the rights of peaceful people and shifts to unsafe and violent black markets that which was once free. It just tightens the net around you and the endless failure to win is right there in the design. The goal is not to stop drugs. The goal is to rule and to profit. The war on poverty is just the same. It seeks to take by force from some and give to others. Has it alleviated poverty? No. By most credible accounts, it has made it FAR worse among those it purports to help from the african american community in the US that was literally devastated by the so called “great society” programs to the african african community in africa where endless, meddling aid has made dependencies of countries while preventing real domestic industry and self sufficiency from emerging for who can open and support a store or a farm when trucks of free rice arrive daily and aid money is laundered into vast programs of profiteering by folks like the gates foundation? It has enabled 700 kinds of grift and grasping rapacity.

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Some two-bit little man trying to make himself look powerful.

Europe Warns Musk He Must Hire Hundreds Of Moderators (ZH)

At a time when Musk is cutting hundreds if not thousands of workers on a weekly basis, early on Friday Europe delivered some unexpected news to the world’s richest man: according to Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, Musk will have to increase the number of moderators in Europe, a continent which long ago gave up all pretense of having free speech. “He is in the process of reducing a certain number of moderators, but he will have to increase them in Europe,” Breton told Franceinfo in an interview, Bloomberg reported. Breton added that Musk “will have to open his algorithms. We will have control, we will have access, people will no longer be able to say rubbish.”

By “rubbish” he meant anything that Europe’s unelected technocrats disagree with, which these days is anything not endorsed by the World Economic Forum. Breton earlier warned that Twitter would have to “fly by our rules,” shortly after Musk closed his $44 billion takeover last month. The EU’s Digital Services Act gives governments power to enforce rules governing how tech companies moderate content and to decide when they must take down illegal content. The DSA specifically will also force companies to moderate content in the languages they operate in, according to Bloomberg.

If Musk doesn’t comply, Twitter will face fines of as much as 6% of annual sales and could even be banned. Breton said he had proposed establishing a “working relationship” with Musk to discuss Europe’s expectations of the social media platform. “He knows perfectly well what the conditions are for Twitter to continue operating in Europe,” Breton said, and he is right: Europe is one so-called “Democracy” where nobody even pretends there is freedom of speech even as it bashes authoritarianism in places like China and Russia; and sadly it’s a preview of what is coming to the US.

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It’s a German specialty after all. Meanwhile, that country is falling apart fast.

German Public TV Compares Elon Musk to Goebbels (Kogon)

After Germany’s “first” public television network, ARD, compared Elon Musk reducing Twitter censorship to “letting rats out of their holes,” Germany’s “second” public television network, ZDF, has now compared Musk to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels! (The network’s name Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen literally means “Second German Television.”) Thus, last Friday, ZDF’s would-be comedy program, the “Heute Show,” posted the below tweet and photoshop.. The Tweet reads: “Thanks to Elon Musk, you’re allowed to say anything again on Twitter! Total freedom of speech! #heuteshow.” The caption, whose color scheme and font invoke Nazi-era propaganda, reads “Do you want total tweet?”

It is an allusion to Goebbels’s 1943 speech at the Berlin Sportspalast, in which the Nazi Minister of Propaganda famously shouted, “Do you want total war?” – in response to which audience members leapt to their feet shouting “Yes!” and raising their arms in the Hitler-salute. The background image appears to show a Nazi Party rally with the swastikas replaced by the Twitter bird logo. Two smaller swastikas are still visible in the lower left-hand corner of the full-size image. Leaving aside the extreme mental contortionism required to associate freedom of speech with Nazi Germany, if ever there was a don’t-throw-stones-in-glass-houses moment, this was it. For, as so happens, during the Second World War, the founding director of ZDF, Karl Holzamer, himself served in one of the propaganda units that none other than Goebbels’s Ministry of Propaganda embedded with the different divisions of the Germany military.

Holzamer served in a propaganda unit of the Luftwaffe or German air force. As noted in a 2012 article titled “Goebbels’s Soldiers” in the German daily Die Frankfurter Rundschau, Holzamer was embedded with the Luftwaffe during its April 1941 bombing of Belgrade and was “the first” to report on the German subjugation of the Yugoslav capital. The online Lexikon der Wehrmacht, which also notes Holzamer’s service in the propaganda troops, cites Goebbels himself, who explained that “the Wehrmacht’s propaganda troops ensure the coordination between propaganda warfare and armed warfare in the theater of operations.”

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Musk inch perfect on Twiter: “Who made that decision?” “Oh, never mind, who cares?”

CBS News Suspends All Twitter Activity (NYP)

Fearful of the “uncertainty” surrounding Elon Musk’s management of Twitter, CBS News announced that it would be suspending its usage of the social media site. CBS News is one of first major media entities to flee Twitter in the wake of threats from many Musk critics to leave the platform once the billionaire Tesla CEO took over the company. The major news network confirmed the move during Friday’s episode of “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.” Coverage began with the network reporting on the mass resignations of employees offended by Musk’s “ultimatum” from earlier this week. In his quest to streamline the company, the world’s richest man emailed all employees asking them to commit to an “extremely hardcore” workload or leave the company.

The “ultimatum,” as many disgruntled folks called it, prompted backlash from onlookers who trashed the company under Musk, some calling it a “hellscape.” The ensuing chaos from Musk’s email, as well as the general vitriol generated by him taking over the reins of company, did not sit well with CBS News. During its segment, titled “Twitter Turmoil,” CBS News national correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reported in a dire tone, “Tonight, as questions mount over Twitter’s future, Elon Musk offers little reassurance he has a permanent plan, tweeting, ‘What should Twitter do next?’” The story featured a quote from a disgruntled former engineer who was laid off, who claimed that the culture of Twitter under Musk was “definitely a culture of fear and uncertainty, of anxiety.”

Apparently, that anxiety made quite an impression on CBS News. In the middle of the segment, Vigliotti reported the outlet’s decision to pause its usage of Twitter. He reported, “In light of the uncertainty around Twitter, and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform.”

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“Let’s stop supporting this dangerous man. [We should] urgently make up a peace plan,” he added.”

France Should Stop Backing Zelensky – Ex-Presidential Candidate (RT)

France should stop supporting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky after he almost incited a global conflict by alleging that a recent deadly blast in Poland, a NATO member, was caused by a Russian missile, former presidential candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan suggested on Saturday. Writing on Twitter, Dupont-Aignan, who heads the right-wing party Debout la France and has run for the presidency several times, said that “by launching a missile at Poland and accusing the Russians, Zelensky almost triggered World War III.” “Let’s stop supporting this dangerous man. [We should] urgently make up a peace plan,” he added.

Following up on his post, he claimed that the Ukraine conflict could be resolved only if Moscow and Kiev agree to a ceasefire and autonomy is given to the two Donbass republics, as the Minsk agreements were designed to do. Both the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics recently overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums. The politician also argued that any peace plan would have to include “Russia’s retreat” and “Ukraine’s neutrality.” On Tuesday, two civilians were killed when a missile landed in the Polish village of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border. Shortly after the incident, Poland signaled that it may invoke Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which allows any member of the bloc to request consultations if it believes that its security is at risk. Western officials subsequently admitted that the missile was of Ukrainian and not Russian origin.

However, following the blast, Zelensky pinned the blame on Russia, calling the incident “a very serious escalation” and as an attack on NATO that demands a response. Later, however, he toned down his claims, admitting that “we do not know for 100%” what caused the explosion. The Russian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in the incident, saying its military experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified the debris as parts of an S-300 air defense system missile used by Ukraine. France, along with many other Western countries, has been providing Ukraine with military aid to support it in its fight against Russia. In recent months, Paris has sent to Kiev a number of Caesar self-propelled howitzers, MILAN anti-tank missiles, and other military hardware.

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“..if [Zelensky] does not accept the reality of Ukraine’s collapse, it is pointless to sit down at the [negotiating] table. And if [he] does accept it – he will be taken out by his own nationalists, who are intertwined with the army top brass.”

West Is ‘Pushing’ Kiev Toward Talks – Medvedev (RT)

The collective West is growing tired of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and is “pushing” Kiev into talks with Moscow, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a Telegram post on Saturday. He added that the US and NATO don’t want to risk a new world war. The reaction to the missile strike that hit the Polish village of Przewodow on Tuesday, killing two civilians, has revealed a new “symptom” in this trend, with even “the most ardent Russophobes” in Warsaw refusing to blame the incident on Moscow, the ex-president commented. On Friday, Warsaw said the strike was an “unfortunate accident” that was “practically impossible” to prevent. Kiev has repeatedly tried to blame the strike on Moscow.

The Russian military, meanwhile, said it did not carry out any launches near the Ukrainian-Polish border at the time, while analysis of photos from the site showed that the projectile was an S-300 anti-aircraft missile operated by Ukraine’s military “Everyone is tired of the Kiev regime. Especially of the neurotic Zelensky, who is constantly whipping up tensions, whining, sniveling and extorting more and more money and weapons handouts. [He] acts like a hysterical child with developmental problems,” Medvedev stated. Fatigue with Kiev and its actions is prompting the collective West to “push” Ukraine into talks with Russia, the deputy head of the nation’s Security Council continued. “The US, NATO and the European Union do not want a complete rupture with Russia, risking a third world [war]. Hence, the frequent attempts to rein in Kiev and bring it to its senses, to push it to negotiate,” Medvedev wrote.

By refusing to talk with Russia, Zelensky is actually pursuing much more mundane and selfish goals, Medvedev suggested. He added that “if [Zelensky] does not accept the reality of Ukraine’s collapse, it is pointless to sit down at the [negotiating] table. And if [he] does accept it – he will be taken out by his own nationalists, who are intertwined with the army top brass.” The former president’s comments came as several leading politicians in the West, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have repeatedly called for direct talks between Kiev and Moscow. Recent reports have also indicated that Washington has been privately pushing Ukraine to drop its uncompromising rejection of the peace process with Russia. Last week, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that a Ukrainian military victory might be unachievable and that winter could provide an opportunity to begin talks with Moscow.

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Noted that Scholz, Sunak, Zelensky are all 1.70m (5’58”). That’s a lot of complexes to make up for. Even Macron is a whole inch taller.

Germany Warns Against Escalation Between Russia and NATO (RT)

The West should do its best to prevent an escalation between Russia and NATO, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday, while stressing that it is necessary to continue providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia. Speaking at a conference of the Social Democratic Party in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen, Scholz admitted that many European citizens “are scared, and have reasons for it.” While highlighting the importance of supporting Ukraine militarily, he noted that Western countries should “be concerned that there is no escalation that could lead to a war between Russia and NATO.” “It is important to act prudently and decisively at the same time,” he added.

Scholz’s comments come after last month he warned against taking “careless steps” amid the Ukraine conflict. “There must be no direct conflict between Russia and NATO,” he stressed at the time. With relations between the West and Russia already having hit new lows after Moscow started its military operation in Ukraine, fears of a direct clash between Russia and NATO were recently triggered by a missile having landed in a Polish village close to the Ukrainian border. Shortly after the incident, the Polish Foreign Ministry claimed that the projectile was “Russian-made.” Later, the nation’s authorities signaled that they may invoke Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which allows any bloc member to request consultations if it believes that its security is at risk.

Following the blast, Zelensky pinned the blame on Russia, calling the incident “a very serious escalation” and an attack on NATO that demanded a response. Ultimately, however, Western officials admitted that the missile was of Ukrainian and not Russian origin. The Russian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in the incident, saying its military experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified the debris as parts of an S-300 air defense system missile used by Ukraine. Germany, along with many other Western countries, has been providing Ukraine with military hardware, including Gepard anti-aircraft guns, MARS II multiple rocket launchers, and the IRIS-T air defense system. Moscow has repeatedly warned that weapons shipments will only prolong the Ukraine conflict.

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“..the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value..”

Goodbye G20, hello BRICS+ (Escobar)

The increasingly irrelevant G20 Summit concluded with sure signs that BRICS+ will be the way forward for Global South cooperation. The redeeming quality of a tense G20 held in Bali – otherwise managed by laudable Indonesian graciousness – was to sharply define which way the geopolitical winds are blowing. That was encapsulated in the Summit’s two highlights: the much anticipated China-US presidential meeting – representing the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century – and the final G20 statement. The 3-hour, 30-minute-long face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden – requested by the White House – took place at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue at the luxury Apurva Kempinski in Nusa Dua.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs concisely outlined what really mattered. Specifically, Xi told Biden that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question. Xi also expressed hope that NATO, the EU, and the US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Russia. Instead of confrontation, the Chinese president chose to highlight the layers of common interest and cooperation. Biden, according to the Chinese, made several points. The US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence;” does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain Beijing. However, the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value.

The final G20 statement was an even fuzzier matter: the result of arduous compromise. As much as the G20 is self-described as “the premier forum for global economic cooperation,” engaged to “address the world’s major economic challenges,” the G7 inside the G20 in Bali had the summit de facto hijacked by war. “War” gets almost double the number of mentions in the statement compared to “food” after all. The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its “economic impacts” – especially the food and energy crisis – in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context, related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia – for everything.

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This kind of fantasy costs a lot of lives.

Ukraine Could Seize Crimea Before Year Ends – MOD (RT)

Ukraine could capture Russia’s Crimea by the end of this year, the country’s deputy defense minister, Vladimir Gavrilov, has said. In an interview with Sky New on Saturday, Gavrilov stated that what is known as a ‘black swan’ – or a sudden and unexpected event – could bring about Kiev’s victory. “I think Russia can face a black swan in their country, inside Russia, and this can contribute to [our] success with Crimea,”he said, adding that there was “also a military option as well with some kind of combination of forces, resources and something else.” “We can step into Crimea, for example, by the end of December. Possible? Possible. Not ruling out that it can be so,” Gavrilov added.

When asked what type of a black swan event could happen in the coming months, Gavrilov suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could “disappear, for example, due to some reason, physical and political,” or that the Russian public could become “disillusioned” with the situation on the battlefield. Echoing a previous statement by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Gavrilov said that Kiev would resume negotiations with Russia “only when they’re ready to leave our territories.” Expressing optimism about Ukraine’s chances, Gavrilov stated: “My feeling is that by the end of spring this war will {be} over.” Crimea broke away from Ukraine and voted to join Russia shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev.

In July, Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the refusal “by Ukraine or any NATO state” to consider Crimea a part of Russia would be considered a threat. In early October, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Ukraine’s former Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, officially became part of Russia following referendums that saw the majority of local residents vote in favor of accession. Last week, Russian troops withdrew from Kherson, amid concerns that Ukrainian forces could destroy a nearby hydroelectric dam, thus provoking flooding that could cause the deaths of soldiers and civilians. Putin said in late September that Moscow would defend the new territories “with full force and all means at our disposal.”

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“..Austin claimed that Ukraine’s population would rather go without electricity and heat than have talks with Moscow..”

You asked them?

‘Harsh Winter’ Ahead For Ukraine – Lloyd Austin (RT)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned on Saturday that Ukraine faces a “harsh winter,” as Russia continues missile strikes on its infrastructure. Earlier, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that Kiev should take the opportunity to talk with Moscow. Speaking at the Halifax Security Forum in Canada, Austin praised the Ukrainian military’s efforts against Russia, but cautioned that “hard times lie ahead as Ukraine faces a harsh winter.” Although Ukraine has received tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons from the US and NATO, Russian drone and missile strikes have been pounding its command centers and energy infrastructure since early October. These launches have, according to Ukrainian authorities, left 40% of the country’s power infrastructure destroyed or damaged.

Amid the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure, a split has reportedly emerged within the White House. Some top-level Biden administration officials are urging Kiev to keep fighting Russia “for as long as it takes,” whereas Milley has declared that Ukraine cannot win militarily and should instead seize “an opportunity to negotiate.” In his address on Saturday, Austin claimed that Ukraine’s population would rather go without electricity and heat than have talks with Moscow. However, he reiterated that the US would “not be dragged into [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war,” but would continue to funnel arms to Kiev.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Earlier, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked. In early October, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, officially became part of Russia following referendums that saw the majority of local residents vote in favor of accession.

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Open. Door.

Outcome of Ukraine Conflict Will Help Define 21st Century – Lloyd Austin (RT)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin declared on Saturday that the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine will shape the geopolitical order of the 21st century. The West’s “stability and prosperity” is on the line, he stressed. “The outcome of the war in Ukraine will help determine the course of global security in this young century,” Austin told an audience at the Halifax Security Forum in Canada. “And those of us in North America don’t have the option of sitting this one out.” “Stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic are at stake,” he continued, asserting that Russia’s military operation “tears at the rules-based international order that keeps us all secure.”

“Rules-based international order” is a term often used interchangeably with “liberal world order.” It encompasses the web of Western-dominated institutions – such as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, UN, EU, and NATO – that have regulated global diplomacy, trade, and conflict since the end of World War II. Commenting on this approach before, Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued that, rather than benefiting the whole world, this order serves as an instrument of “unipolar hegemony,” used by the US to make the rest of the world its “vassals.”

“The West is insisting on a rules-based order,” he remarked in a speech in September. “Where did that come from anyway? Who has ever seen these rules? Who agreed or approved them?” “Russia is a great thousand-year-old power, a whole civilisation, and it is not going to live by such makeshift, false rules,” he declared. Putin has spoken on numerous occasions of building a competing “multipolar” world order, in which multiple superpowers balance and constrain each other, and disputes are settled in accordance with laws rather than Western-dictated “rules.” Earlier this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared that Beijing stands ready to work with Russia “and other like-minded countries to promote the development of a multipolar world.”

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“It’s hardly a surprise he did not go into detail on how this affordable price would be achieved. …This is a free market, isn’t it?”

EU Leaders Accuse US Natural Gas Producers Of Profiteering (IA)

European leaders are unhappy with natural gas prices. Some leaders are insisting that the EU impose a price cap on all natural gas imports, regardless of origin, – notes France’s president Emmanuel Macron accused the United States of a “double standard” because of the difference between the price at which liquefied natural gas produced in the U.S. sells in Europe and the price at which natural gas sells within the U.S. “The North American economy is making choices for the sake of attractiveness, which I respect, but they create a double standard,” Macron said, also adding that “they allow state aid going to up to 80% on some sectors while it’s banned here – you get a double standard.”

He wasn’t alone among European national leaders in being unhappy about gas prices. In fact, as many as 15 leaders were unhappy, and they insisted that the EU imposes a price cap on all natural gas imports, regardless of origin. Now, the U.S. is striking back at the accusations. “What’s happening is the companies that hold those long-term contracts with US LNG producers, they’re marking that up and earning that margin in the European market,” Brian Crabtree, an assistant secretary at the Department of Energy, – told the Financial Times. “It’s not the US LNG company, it’s basically European-headquartered international oil companies and traders.” Indeed, producers of liquefied natural gas do not invariably sell their product directly to the consumer, in the face of a country in Europe, for instance, They work with commodity majors such as Vitol and Trafigura, or the supermajors, including BP and Shell.

This is not to say that LNG producers are not benefiting from the much stronger demand for LNG from Europe. And this is exactly the reason they have been benefiting, in the form of higher profits: demand has surged, and when demand surges, prices follow, especially if supply is not growing as fast as demand. In other words, Europe seems to want businesses to not act as businesses and take every opportunity to make a profit, which is what businesses are all about. Be that as it may, a Ministry of Energy analyst, told the FT that the U.S. was committed to helping Europe get enough gas “at a price that is affordable to the continent.” It’s hardly a surprise he did not go into detail on how this affordable price would be achieved. …This is a free market, isn’t it?

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“..prevents nearly half of the French population from leaving their homes..”

‘Laziness Epidemic’ Grips France – Study (RT)

Laziness regularly prevents nearly half of the French population from leaving their homes, a new study has revealed. The “epidemic of laziness,” which is affecting roughly 45% of the population, is a direct consequence of the Covid lockdowns, the researchers say. “This laziness to leave home particularly affects the medium age groups: 52% among 25-34 year olds and 53% among 35-49 year olds, against only 33% of those 65 and over,” according to the study by the International Market Research Group (IFOP) and the Jean-Jaures foundation think tank. The survey, which was published last week, found that “the appeal of the sofa seems to be very powerful,” and the word “bed” had positive connotations for 74% of the respondents.

According to the research, the pandemic and strict lockdowns have had “a profound impact” on the attitude of the French to work, family life, free time, and personal space. Some 37% of respondents said they were less motivated than before in their work, and 41% complained about feeling more tired. The increase in fatigue seems to occur regardless of gender, age, social background, and location and “affects the morale of the population,” according to the research. From a historical standpoint, the attitudes of the French to ‘work-life balance’ have changed even more dramatically, the study shows. In 1990, 60% of French people believed that work was “very important,” compared to only 24% in 2021.

In 1953, 54% of employed adults believed that they had a good work-life balance. Now, only 39% think that is the case, while 48% of respondents “consider themselves to be losers.” This “movement of tectonic plates,” as the study puts it, was exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, but its origins are related to the general “devaluation of certain business experiences.” Regular lay-offs of long-term staff and management focusing solely on financial achievement “have altered the relationship” between employers and employees, the research claims. Some 1,001 French adults took part in the research, which was conducted online between September 1 and 2.

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Anthrax Ukraine









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Nov 112017
 November 11, 2017  Posted by at 9:15 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »

Jean-Léon Gérôme Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind 1896


An entire library of articles about Big Tech is coming out these days, and I find that much of it is written so well, and the ideas in them so well expressed, that I have little to add. Except, I think I may have the solution to the problems many people see. But I also have a concern that I don’t see addressed, and that may well prevent that solution from being adopted. If so, we’re very far away from any solution at all. And that’s seriously bad news.

Let’s start with a general -even ‘light’- critique of social media by Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan for the Guardian:


How Did The News Go ‘Fake’? When The Media Went Social

Social media force us to live our lives in public, positioned centre-stage in our very own daily performances. Erving Goffman, the American sociologist, articulated the idea of “life as theatre” in his 1956 book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and while the book was published more than half a century ago, the concept is even more relevant today. It is increasingly difficult to live a private life, in terms not just of keeping our personal data away from governments or corporations, but also of keeping our movements, interests and, most worryingly, information consumption habits from the wider world.

The social networks are engineered so that we are constantly assessing others – and being assessed ourselves. In fact our “selves” are scattered across different platforms, and our decisions, which are public or semi-public performances, are driven by our desire to make a good impression on our audiences, imagined and actual. We grudgingly accept these public performances when it comes to our travels, shopping, dating, and dining. We know the deal. The online tools that we use are free in return for us giving up our data, and we understand that they need us to publicly share our lifestyle decisions to encourage people in our network to join, connect and purchase.

But, critically, the same forces have impacted the way we consume news and information. Before our media became “social”, only our closest family or friends knew what we read or watched, and if we wanted to keep our guilty pleasures secret, we could. Now, for those of us who consume news via the social networks, what we “like” and what we follow is visible to many [..] Consumption of the news has become a performance that can’t be solely about seeking information or even entertainment. What we choose to “like” or follow is part of our identity, an indication of our social class and status, and most frequently our political persuasion.

That sets the scene. People sell their lives, their souls, to join a network that then sells these lives -and souls- to the highest bidder, for a profit the people themselves get nothing of. This is not some far-fetched idea. As noted further down, in terms of scale, Facebook is a present day Christianity. And these concerns are not only coming from ‘concerned citizens’, some of the early participants are speaking out as well. Like Facebook co-founder Sean Parker:


Facebook: God Only Knows What It’s Doing To Our Children’s Brains

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, gave me a candid insider’s look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains. Be smart: Parker’s I-was-there account provides priceless perspective in the rising debate about the power and effects of the social networks, which now have scale and reach unknown in human history. [..]

“When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.'”

“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'” “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” “The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”

Early stage investor in Facebook, Roger McNamee, also has some words to add along the same lines as Parker. They make it sound like they’re Frankenstein and Facebook is their monster.


How Facebook and Google Threaten Public Health – and Democracy

The term “addiction” is no exaggeration. The average consumer checks his or her smartphone 150 times a day, making more than 2,000 swipes and touches. The applications they use most frequently are owned by Facebook and Alphabet, and the usage of those products is still increasing. In terms of scale, Facebook and YouTube are similar to Christianity and Islam respectively. More than 2 billion people use Facebook every month, 1.3 billion check in every day. More than 1.5 billion people use YouTube. Other services owned by these companies also have user populations of 1 billion or more.

Facebook and Alphabet are huge because users are willing to trade privacy and openness for “convenient and free.” Content creators resisted at first, but user demand forced them to surrender control and profits to Facebook and Alphabet. The sad truth is that Facebook and Alphabet have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. They have consciously combined persuasive techniques developed by propagandists and the gambling industry with technology in ways that threaten public health and democracy.

The issue, however, is not social networking or search. It is advertising business models. Let me explain. From the earliest days of tabloid newspapers, publishers realized the power of exploiting human emotions. To win a battle for attention, publishers must give users “what they want,” content that appeals to emotions, rather than intellect. Substance cannot compete with sensation, which must be amplified constantly, lest consumers get distracted and move on. “If it bleeds, it leads” has guided editorial choices for more than 150 years, but has only become a threat to society in the past decade, since the introduction of smartphones.

Media delivery platforms like newspapers, television, books, and even computers are persuasive, but people only engage with them for a few hours each day and every person receives the same content. Today’s battle for attention is not a fair fight. Every competitor exploits the same techniques, but Facebook and Alphabet have prohibitive advantages: personalization and smartphones. Unlike older media, Facebook and Alphabet know essentially everything about their users, tracking them everywhere they go on the web and often beyond.

By making every experience free and easy, Facebook and Alphabet became gatekeepers on the internet, giving them levels of control and profitability previously unknown in media. They exploit data to customize each user’s experience and siphon profits from content creators. Thanks to smartphones, the battle for attention now takes place on a single platform that is available every waking moment. Competitors to Facebook and Alphabet do not have a prayer.

Facebook and Alphabet monetize content through advertising that is targeted more precisely than has ever been possible before. The platforms create “filter bubbles” around each user, confirming pre-existing beliefs and often creating the illusion that everyone shares the same views. Platforms do this because it is profitable. The downside of filter bubbles is that beliefs become more rigid and extreme. Users are less open to new ideas and even to facts.

Of the millions of pieces of content that Facebook can show each user at a given time, they choose the handful most likely to maximize profits. If it were not for the advertising business model, Facebook might choose content that informs, inspires, or enriches users. Instead, the user experience on Facebook is dominated by appeals to fear and anger. This would be bad enough, but reality is worse.

And in a Daily Mail article, McNamee’s ideas are taken a mile or so further. Goebbels, Bernays, fear, anger, personalization, civility.


Early Facebook Investor Compares The Social Network To Nazi Propaganda

Facebook officials have been compared to the Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels by a former investor. Roger McNamee also likened the company’s methods to those of Edward Bernays, the ‘father of public’ relations who promoted smoking for women. Mr McNamee, who made a fortune backing the social network in its infancy, has spoken out about his concern about the techniques the tech giants use to engage users and advertisers. [..] the former investor said everyone was now ‘in one degree or another addicted’ to the site while he feared the platform was causing people to swap real relationships for phoney ones.

And he likened the techniques of the company to Mr Bernays and Hitler’s public relations minister. ‘In order to maintain your attention they have taken all the techniques of Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels, and all of the other people from the world of persuasion, and all the big ad agencies, and they’ve mapped it onto an all day product with highly personalised information in order to addict you,’ Mr McNamee told The Telegraph. Mr McNamee said Facebook was creating a culture of ‘fear and anger’. ‘We have lowered the civil discourse, people have become less civil to each other..’

He said the tech giant had ‘weaponised’ the First Amendment to ‘essentially absolve themselves of responsibility’. He added: ‘I say this as somebody who was there at the beginning.’ Mr McNamee’s comments come as a further blow to Facebook as just last month former employee Justin Rosenstein spoke out about his concerns. Mr Rosenstein, the Facebook engineer who built a prototype of the network’s ‘like’ button, called the creation the ‘bright dings of pseudo-pleasure’. He said he was forced to limit his own use of the social network because he was worried about the impact it had on him.

As for the economic, not the societal or personal, effects of social media, Yanis Varoufakis had this to say a few weeks ago:


Capitalism Is Ending Because It Has Made Itself Obsolete – Varoufakis

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete. The former economics professor told an audience at University College London that the rise of giant technology corporations and artificial intelligence will cause the current economic system to undermine itself. Mr Varoufakis said companies such as Google and Facebook, for the first time ever, are having their capital bought and produced by consumers.

“Firstly the technologies were funded by some government grant; secondly every time you search for something on Google, you contribute to Google’s capital,” he said. “And who gets the returns from capital? Google, not you. “So now there is no doubt capital is being socially produced, and the returns are being privatised. This with artificial intelligence is going to be the end of capitalism.”

Ergo, as people sell their lives and their souls to Facebook and Alphabet, they sell their economies along with them. That’s what that means. And you were just checking what your friends were doing. Or, that’s what you thought you were doing.

The solution to all these pains is, likely unintentionally, provided by Umair Haque’s critique of economics. It’s interesting to see how the topics ‘blend’, ‘intertwine’.


How Economics Failed the Economy

When, in the 1930s, the great economist Simon Kuznets created GDP, he deliberately left two industries out of this then novel, revolutionary idea of a national income : finance and advertising. [..] Kuznets logic was simple, and it was not mere opinion, but analytical fact: finance and advertising don’t create new value, they only allocate, or distribute existing value in the same way that a loan to buy a television isn’t the television, or an ad for healthcare isn’t healthcare. They are only means to goods, not goods themselves. Now we come to two tragedies of history.

What happened next is that Congress laughed, as Congresses do, ignored Kuznets, and included advertising and finance anyways for political reasons -after all, bigger, to the politicians mind, has always been better, and therefore, a bigger national income must have been better. Right? Let’s think about it. Today, something very curious has taken place.

If we do what Kuznets originally suggested, and subtract finance and advertising from GDP, what does that picture -a picture of the economy as it actually is reveal? Well, since the lion’s share of growth, more than 50% every year, comes from finance and advertising -whether via Facebook or Google or Wall St and hedge funds and so on- we would immediately see that the economic growth that the US has chased so desperately, so furiously, never actually existed at all.

Growth itself has only been an illusion, a trick of numbers, generated by including what should have been left out in the first place. If we subtracted allocative industries from GDP, we’d see that economic growth is in fact below population growth, and has been for a very long time now, probably since the 1980s and in that way, the US economy has been stagnant, which is (surprise) what everyday life feels like. Feels like.

Economic indicators do not anymore tell us a realistic, worthwhile, and accurate story about the truth of the economy, and they never did -only, for a while, the trick convinced us that reality wasn’t. Today, that trick is over, and economies grow , but people’s lives, their well-being, incomes, and wealth, do not, and that, of course, is why extremism is sweeping the globe. Perhaps now you begin to see why the two have grown divorced from one another: economics failed the economy.

Now let us go one step, then two steps, further. Finance and advertising are no longer merely allocative industries today. They are now extractive industries. That is, they internalize value from society, and shift costs onto society, all the while creating no value themselves.

The story is easiest to understand via Facebook’s example: it makes its users sadder, lonelier, and unhappier, and also corrodes democracy in spectacular and catastrophic ways. There is not a single upside of any kind that is discernible -and yet, all the above is counted as a benefit, not a cost, in national income, so the economy can thus grow, even while a society of miserable people are being manipulated by foreign actors into destroying their own democracy. Pretty neat, huh?

It was BECAUSE finance and advertising were counted as creative, productive, when they were only allocative, distributive that they soon became extractive. After all, if we had said from the beginning that these industries do not count, perhaps they would not have needed to maximize profits (or for VCs to pour money into them, and so on) endlessly to count more. But we didn’t.

And so soon, they had no choice but to become extractive: chasing more and more profits, to juice up the illusion of growth, and soon enough, these industries began to eat the economy whole, because of course, as Kuznets observed, they allocate everything else in the economy, and therefore, they control it.

Thus, the truly creative, productive, life-giving parts of the economy shrank in relative, and even in absolute terms, as they were taken apart, strip-mined, and consumed in order to feed the predatory parts of the economy, which do not expand human potential. The economy did eat itself, just as Marx had supposed – only the reason was not something inherent in it, but a choice, a mistake, a tragedy.

[..] Life is not flourishing, growing, or developing in a single way that I or even you can readily identify or name. And yet, the economy appears to be growing, because purely allocative and distributive enterprises like Uber, Facebook, credit rating agencies, endless nameless hedge funds, shady personal info brokers, and so on, which fail to contribute positively to human life in any discernible way whatsoever, are all counted as beneficial. Do you see the absurdity of it?

[..] It’s not a coincidence that the good has failed to grow, nor is it an act of the gods. It was a choice. A simple cause-effect relationship, of a society tricking itself into desperately pretending it was growing, versus truly growing. Remember not subtracting finance and advertising from GDP, to create the illusion of growth? Had America not done that, then perhaps it might have had to work hard to find ways to genuinely, authentically, meaningfully grow, instead of taken the easy way out, only to end up stagnating today, and unable to really even figure out why yet.

Industries that are not productive, but instead only extract money from society, need to be taxed so heavily they have trouble surviving. If that doesn’t happen, your economy will never thrive, or even survive. The whole service economy fata morgana must be thrown as far away as we can throw it. Economies must produce real, tangible things, or they die.

For the finance industry this means: tax the sh*t out of any transactions they engage in. Want to make money on complex derivatives? We’ll take 75+%. Upfront. And no, you can’t take your company overseas. Don’t even try.

For Uber and Airbnb it means pay taxes up the wazoo, either as a company or as individual home slash car owners. Uber and Airbnb take huge amounts of money out of local economies, societies, communities, which is nonsense, unnecessary and detrimental. Every city can set up its own local car- or home rental schemes. Their profits should stay within the community, and be invested in it.

For Google and Facebook as the world’s new major -only?!- ad agencies: Tax the heebies out of them or forbid them from running any ads at all. Why? Because they extract enormous amounts of productive capital from society. Capital they, as Varoufakis says, do not even themselves create.

YOU are creating the capital, and YOU then must pay for access to the capital created. Yeah, it feels like you can just hook up and look at what your friends are doing, but the price extracted from you, your friends, and your community is so high you would never volunteer to pay for it if you had any idea.


The one thing that I don’t see anyone address, and that might prevent these pretty straightforward ”tax-them-til they-bleed!” answers to the threat of New Big Tech, is that Facebook, Alphabet et al have built a very strong relationship with various intelligence communities. And then you have Goebbels and Bernays in the service of the CIA.

As Google, Facebook and the CIA are ever more entwined, these companies become so important to what ‘the spooks’ consider the interests of the nation that they will become mutually protective. And once CIA headquarters in Langley, VA, aka the aptly named “George Bush Center for Intelligence”, openly as well as secretly protects you, you’re pretty much set for life. A long life.

Next up: they’ll be taking over entire economies, societies. This is happening as we speak. I know, you were thinking it was ‘the Russians’ with a few as yet unproven bucks in Facebook ads that were threatening US and European democracies. Well, you’re really going to have to think again.

The world has never seen such technologies. It has never seen such intensity, depth of, or such dependence on, information. We are simply not prepared for any of this. But we need to learn fast, or become patsies and slaves in a full blown 1984 style piece of absurd theater. Our politicians are AWOL and MIA for all of it, they have no idea what to say or think, they don’t understand what Google or bitcoin or Uber really mean.

In the meantime, we know one thing we can do, and we can justify doing it through the concept of non-productive and extractive industries. That is, tax them till they bleed. That we would hit the finance industry with that as well is a welcome bonus. Long overdue. We need productive economies or we’re done. And Facebook and Alphabet -and Goldman Sachs- don’t produce d*ck all.

When you think about it, the only growth that’s left in the US economy is that of companies spying on American citizens. Well, that and Europeans. China has banned Facebook and Google. Why do you think they have? Because Google and Facebook ARE 1984, that’s why. And if there’s going to be a Big Brother in the Middle Kingdom, it’s not going to be Silicon Valley.



Dec 262014
 December 26, 2014  Posted by at 9:23 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  27 Responses »

Dorothea Lange Drought hit OK farm family on way to CA Aug 1936

From just about as early in my life as I can remember, growing up as a child in Holland, there were stories about World War II, and not just about Anne Frank and the huge amounts of people who, like her, had been dragged off to camps in eastern Europe never to come back, but also about the thousands who had risked their lives to hide Jewish and other refugees, and the scores who had been executed for doing so, often betrayed by their own neighbors.

And then there were those who had risked their lives in equally courageous ways to get news out to people, putting out newspapers and radio broadcasts just so there would be a version of events out there that was real, and not just what the Germans wanted one to believe. This happened in all Nazi – and Nazi friendly – occupied European nations. The courage of these people is hard to gauge for us today, and I’m convinced there’s no way to say whom amongst us would show that kind of bravery if we were put to the test; I certainly wouldn’t be sure about myself.

Still, without wanting to put myself anywhere near the level of those very very real heroes, please don’t get me wrong about that, that’s not what I mean, I was thinking about them with regards to what is happening in our media today. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think Joseph Goebbels had anything on US and European media today.

That propaganda as a strategic and political instrument has been refined to a huge extent over the past 70-odd years since Goebbels first picked up on Freud’s lessons on how to influence the unconscious mind, and the ‘mass-mind’, as a way to ‘steer’ an entire people, not just as a means to make them buy detergent. These days, the media can make people believe just about anything, and they have the added benefit that they can pose as friends of the people, not the enemy.

But there is a reason why such a large ‘industry’ has developed on the web with people writing articles that don’t say what the mass media say. That reason for is, obviously, first and foremost that not everybody believes whatever they are told. The problem is equally obvious: not nearly enough people are being reached to make a true difference, and to question the official narratives.

Me, I have no claim to fame outside of the appreciation I get from first, my readers and second, from my colleagues and peers. I get a lot of both, and I thank you for that, but this certainly is not about me. If anything, it’s about trying to live up to the desire for truth in the face of odds squarely stacked against it, and against the people I try to reach out to. Trying to do just 0.1% of what the WWII underground press was about.

A few days ago, I wrote in About That Interview :

The FBI claims they are certain the hackers are North Korean, but they have provided no proof of that claim. We have to trust them on their beautiful blue eyes. I think if anything defines 2014 for me, it’s the advent of incessant claims for which no proof – apparently – needs to be provided. Everything related to Ukraine over the past year carries that trait. The year of ‘beautiful blue eyes’, in other words. Never no proof, you just have to believe what your government says.

And that truly defines 2014 for me. A level of propaganda I don’t recognize, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. 2014 has for me been the year of utter nonsense. To wit, it just finished in fine form with a 5% US GDP growth number, just to name one example. Really, guys? 5%? Really? With all the numbers presented lately, the negative Thanksgiving sales data – minus 11% from what I remember -, the so-so at best Christmas store numbers to date, shrinking durable goods in November and all? Plus 5%?

It really doesn’t matter what I say, does it? You have enough people believing ridiculous numbers like that to make it worth your while. After all, that’s all that counts. It’s a democracy, isn’t it? If a majority believes something, it becomes true. If you can get more than 50% of people to believe whatever you say, that’s case closed.

With well over 90 million working age Americans counted as being out of the labor force, and with 43 million on food stamps, you can still present a 5% GDP growth number, if only you can get a sufficiently large number of people to ‘believe’. And you do, I’ll give you that. As far as the media goes, we have achieved the change we can believe in. We may not have that change, but we sure do believe we have, don’t we? And isn’t that what counts? Are congratulations in order?

Well, not where I’m at, they’re not. I should do a shout out to the likes of Zero Hedge, Yves Smith, David Stockman, Wolf Richter, Mish, Steve Keen, Jim Kunstler, and so many others, we’re a solid crowd by now even if we’re neglected, and please don’t feel left out if you’re not in that list, I know who you are. The problem is, we’re all completely neglected by the mass media, even though there are a ton of very sharp minds in this ‘finance blogosphere’. And perhaps we should make it a point to break through that ridiculous black-out in 2015.

2014, in my eyes, has been the year of propaganda outdoing even its own very purpose, and succeeding too. We are supposed to be living in a time of the best educated people in the history of mankind, and everyone thinks (s)he’s mighty smart, but precious few have even an inkling of a clue of what transpires in the world they live in. Talk about a lost generation. Or two.

We really need to question the value of higher education, if all we get for it is a generation of people so easily duped by utter blubber. What do they teach people at our universities these days? Certainly not to think for themselves, that much is clear. And then what is the use? Why spend all that time raising an entire generation of highly educated pawns, sheep and robots? I can think of some people liking that, but for society as a whole, it’s devastating if that’s all higher education is.

And if you would like to raise doubts here, the very existence of finance blogosphere I mentioned before is proof that we indeed have raised a generation of sheep. If we had functioning media, there’d be no need for that blogosphere. We are the people who keep on pointing out where the mass media fail, let alone the politicians, simply by being there and being supported to the extent we are by the few people who escape the sheep mentality.

But that’s not nearly enough. Journalists, reporters, whatever they call themselves, working for Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC etc. should at the very least quote Zero Hedge on a daily basis, and Mish, and Steve, and Yves, and perhaps even me – though it’s fine if they continue to ignore me, as long as they give the rest their rightful place.

There are many people in the blogosphere who are many times smarter than the people who write for the mass media, and that’s a very simple and hardly disputable fact that needs to be recognized. When you read something in your paper or at your online news provider, it should be second nature to ask yourself: but what would Tyler Durden say, or the Automatic Earth, or Naked Capitalism, or David Stockman?

But we’re nowhere near that, are we? We’ve been fooled with economic stats for years, not just in the US, not even just in the west, but all over, they all grabbed on to the potential of providing people with numbers that have little to do with reality, but that simply feel good. Or even just look good.

Still, boy, have we been, and are we being, fooled. Then again, most of you wouldn’t know, would you? We people tend to discount the future, to see today as more important than tomorrow, and in the same manner we find our children’s future much less important than our own. Because that feels good too. If we are comfy right now, screw them. Not that we’d ever put it into those terms.

But you know, that’s really all old hack by now. 2014 brought us a whole other class of nonsense. And we swallowed it all hook line and entire sinker.

2014 gave us Ukraine. And you just try and find anyone today who doesn’t think Vladimir Putin is and was the evil genius mind behind the whole thing, including the 4500+ people who died there over the past 10 months. Why is it so hard to anyone who doubts that narrative? Because our media told us Putin is the bogeyman. And ‘we’ never asked for any proof. That is, except for those of us in that same blogosphere.

Meanwhile, round after round of sanctions against Russia have been set up and activated by EU and US, causing hardship for both Russian people and European businesses. But why, what exactly is Putin allegedly guilty of?

The US/EU installed a government in Kiev in February (yeah, yap about it), which is still in place, with a bunch of US citizens recently added for good measure – and for profit-. The chocolate prince president was indeed elected months later, but the prime minister – Yats – was handpicked by America, and is still -amazingly – in place. That’s the same government that had it own army murder thousands of its own citizens, and not a thing has been resolved so far.

The whole thing came to a head when MH17 was shot down over the summer. That too was blamed on Putin. Or was it? Well, not directly, nobody said Putin ordered that plane to be shot. Nor did anyone say Russia shot it. There is the accusation that Russian speaking Ukrainian ‘rebels’ did it, but proof for that was never provided in the 6 months since the incident. And there must be a best before date in there somewhere.

Is it possible the ‘rebels’ did it? We can’t exclude it, but that’s for the same reason we can’t exclude the option that little green Martians did it: we don’t know. But even then, even if they did, there’s the question whether that would have been on purpose. Which seems really stretching it: nothing they want would be served by shooting down a plane full of European, Malaysian and Australian holiday goers.

But here we are: no proof and layer upon layer of sanctions. And nary a voice is raised in the west. If one is, it’s to denounce the Russians as bloodthirsty barbarians. Even though there is no proof they did anything other than protecting what they see as their own people. Something we all would do too, no questions asked.

Ukraine defines 2014 as the year western propaganda came into its own. Not just fictional stories about an economic recovery anymore, no, we had our politico-media establishment ram an entire new cold war down our throats. And we swallowed it whole. We may have had a million more years of higher education than our parents and grandparents, but we sure don’t seem to have gotten any smarter than them.

There is a lot of information out there, written by people inspired by things other than monetary incentives or job security or anything like that, people who simply want to get information out that your trusted media won’t give you anymore than Goebbels’ media did in occupied Europe in the 1940s. And you don’t even have to risk your lives to access that information. All you have to do is to get off your couch.

The Automatic Earth is but a small part of a very valuable and fast growing resource that warrants a lot more attention than it’s been receiving to date. A reported 5% US GDP growth print is one reason why, the entire Ukraine fantasy story is another. The blogosphere is full of functioning neurons, which is more than you can say for your papers and online MSM.

As far as media is concerned, 2014 has been downright scary in its distortion of reality. Let’s try and move 2015 a little bit closer towards what’s actually happening.