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[Politics] “Amateur hour for government ethics” – Obama ethics chief BLASTS Biden WH for helping Hunter profit off Biden’s public service AGAIN The ethics chief in the Obama administration is blasting the Biden White House for hatching a plant to help Hunter Biden sell his artwork for BIG money to anonymous donors, essentially profiting . . . Published:7/8/2021 6:33:11 PM
[Markets] The Second Amendment's Right To Bear Arms: What It Means The Second Amendment's Right To Bear Arms: What It Means

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

- The Second Amendment to the US Constitution

You can largely determine where a person will fall in the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment based on their view of government and the role it should play in our lives.

In the first group are those who see the government as a Nanny State, empowered to look out for the best interests of the populace, even when that means overriding our rights as individuals and free will.

These individuals tend to interpret the Second Amendment to mean that only members of law enforcement and the military are entitled to own a gun. Case in point: President Biden recently (and wrongly) asserted that “the Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”

In the second group are those who see the government as inherently corrupt.

These individuals tend to view the Second Amendment as a means of self-defense, whether that involves defending themselves against threats to their freedoms or threats from individuals looking to harm them. For instance, eleven men were recently arrested for traveling on the interstate with unlicensed guns that were not secured in a case. The group, reportedly associated with a sovereign citizens group, claimed to be traveling from Rhode Island to Maine for militia training.

And then there is a third group, made up of those who view the government as neither good nor evil, but merely a powerful entity that, as Thomas Jefferson recognized, must be bound “down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” To this group, the Second Amendment’s assurance of the people’s right to bear arms is no different from any other right enshrined in the Constitution: to be safeguarded, exercised prudently and maintained.

How to exercise this right is the question that keeps jockeying for supremacy before the U.S. Supreme Court. After declaring more than a decade ago that citizens have a Second Amendment right to own a gun in one’s home for self-defense, the Court has now been tasked with deciding whether the Constitution also protects the right to carry a gun outside the home. The case, NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett, takes issue with a state law that requires a license in order to carry a concealed gun outside the home.

On the heels of Corlett is another legal challenge to the state’s authority to regulate—or ban outright—gun ownership outside the home. The attorneys general of 21 states—including Louisiana, Arizona, Montana, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming—have filed an amicus brief in Young v. Hawaii asking the Supreme Court to uphold Hawaiians’ Second Amendment rights to bear arms outside their homes.

Unfortunately, while the various federal circuit courts of appeal continue to disagree over the exact nature of the rights protected by the Second Amendment, the government itself has made its position extremely clear.

When it comes to gun rights in particular, and the rights of the citizenry overall, the U.S. government has adopted a “do what I say, not what I do” mindset. Nowhere is this double standard more evident than in the government’s attempts to arm itself to the teeth, all the while viewing as suspect anyone who dares to legally own a gun, let alone use one in self-defense.

Indeed, while it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at, and killed. (This same rule does not apply to law enforcement officials, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons against unarmed individuals.)

Now the Biden Administration is setting its sights on gun control.

Mark my words: gun control legislation, especially in the form of red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people “suspected” of being threats, will become yet another means by which to subvert the Constitution and sabotage the rights of the people.

Giving police the power to preemptively raid homes in order to neutralize a potential threat is a powder keg waiting for a lit match.

Under these red flag laws, what happened to Duncan Lemp—who was gunned down in his bedroom during an early morning, no-knock SWAT team raid on his family’s home—could very well happen to more people.

At 4:30 a.m. on March 12, 2020, in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that had most of the country under a partial lockdown and sheltering at home, a masked SWAT team—deployed to execute a “high risk” search warrant for unauthorized firearms—stormed the suburban house where 21-year-old Duncan, a software engineer and Second Amendment advocate, lived with his parents and 19-year-old brother.

The entire household, including Lemp and his girlfriend, was reportedly asleep when the SWAT team directed flash bang grenades and gunfire through Lemp’s bedroom window.

Lemp was killed and his girlfriend injured.

No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, had a criminal record.

No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, was considered an “imminent threat” to law enforcement or the public, at least not according to the search warrant.

So what was so urgent that militarized police felt compelled to employ battlefield tactics in the pre-dawn hours of a day when most people are asleep in bed, not to mention stuck at home as part of a nationwide lockdown?

According to police, they were tipped off that Lemp was in possession of “firearms.”

Thus, rather than approaching the house by the front door at a reasonable hour in order to investigate this complaint—which is what the Fourth Amendment requires—police instead strapped on their guns, loaded up their flash bang grenades and acted like battle-crazed warriors.

This is what happens when you adopt red flag gun laws, which Maryland did in 2018, painting anyone who might be in possession of a gun—legal or otherwise—as a threat that must be neutralized.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets. Moreover, under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

Ironically, while the Biden administration’s gun control efforts have helped to spike gun sales nationally, the government has made no effort to curtail its own addiction to weapons of war, a significant number of which have conveniently been “lost” and used in violent crimes in communities across the U.S.

We’re talking about rifles, pistols, machine guns, shot guns, and grenades. Some of these weapons were lost through gross negligence. Others, however, were trafficked by military police.

The U.S. military boasts weapons the rest of the world doesn’t have, and it continues to develop even more weaponry, each deadlier than the last.

Make no mistake: every last one of these weapons will eventually make its way back to domestic police forces to be used against the American people.

Included in the government’s military arsenal are armed, surveillance Reaper drones capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away; an AA12 Atchisson Assault Shotgun that can shoot five 12-gauge shells per second and “can fire up to 9,000 rounds without being cleaned or jamming”; an ADAPTIV invisibility cloak that can make a tank disappear or seemingly reshape it to look like a car; a PHASR rifle capable of blinding and disorienting anyone caught in its sights; a Taser shockwave that can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button; an XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle with built-in sound and flash suppressors that can hit a man-sized target nine out of ten times from over a third of a mile away; and an XM25 “Punisher” grenade launcher that can be programmed to accurately shoot grenades at a target up to 500 meters away.

What the government has yet to acknowledge, however, is that its own gun violence—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—is not making America any safer.

Indeed, the U.S. government may be the most egregious perpetrator of gun violence in America, bar none.

All the while gun critics continue to clamor for bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, the U.S. military is passing them out to domestic police forces.

Under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like, 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government agents armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines.

While Americans have to jump through an increasing number of hoops in order to own a gun, the government is arming its own civilian employees to the hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style equipment, authorizing them to make arrests, and training them in military tactics.

Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities.

This is the double standard at play here.

How is it that while violence has become our government’s calling card, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents, “we the people” are the ones who must be regulated, restricted and banned from owning a weapon?

If we’re truly going to get serious about gun violence, why not start by scaling back the American police state’s weapons of war?

I’ll tell you why: because the government has no intention of scaling back on its weapons.

We’ve allowed ourselves to get so focused on debating who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—and whether the Second Amendment “allows” us to own guns that we’ve overlooked the most important and most consistent theme throughout the Constitution: the fact that it is not merely an enumeration of our rights but was intended to be a clear shackle on the government’s powers.

When considered in the context of prohibitions against the government, the Second Amendment reads as a clear rebuke against any attempt to restrict the citizenry’s gun ownership.

As such, it is as necessary an ingredient for maintaining that tenuous balance between the citizenry and their republic as any of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, especially the right to freedom of speech, assembly, press, petition, security, and due process.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas understood this tension well. “The Constitution is not neutral,” he remarked, “It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.”

In this way, the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights in their entirety stand as a bulwark against a police state.

To our detriment, these rights have been steadily weakened, eroded and undermined in recent years. Yet without any one of them, including the Second Amendment right to own and bear arms, we are that much more vulnerable to the vagaries of out-of-control policemen, benevolent dictators, genuflecting politicians, and overly ambitious bureaucrats.

When all is said and done, the debate over gun ownership really has little to do with gun violence in America. It’s also not even a question of whether Americans need weapons to defend themselves against any overt threats to our safety or wellbeing.

Truly, the debate over gun ownership in America is really a debate over who gets to call the shots and control the game.

In other words, it’s that same tug-of-war that keeps getting played out in every confrontation between the government and the citizenry over who gets to be the master and who is relegated to the part of the servant.

The Constitution, with its multitude of prohibitions on government overreach, is clear on this particular point. As 20th century libertarian Edmund A. Opitz observed in 1964, “No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.”

In a nutshell, as I make clear in Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms reflects not only a concern for one’s personal defense, but serves as a check on the political power of the ruling authorities.

It represents an implicit warning against governmental encroachments on one’s freedoms, the warning shot over the bow to discourage any unlawful violations of our persons or property.

As such, it reinforces that necessary balance in the citizen-state relationship. As George Orwell, who plays a starring role in my new novel The Erik Blair Diaries, noted, “That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/08/2021 - 00:05
Published:7/7/2021 11:13:26 PM
[Markets] Luongo: Eviction Is Just Another Word For Extinction Luongo: Eviction Is Just Another Word For Extinction

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The Federal Moratorium on evictions is ending at the end of the month. Like last month, it could always be extended again.

It will be extended until the most opportune moment to do the most damage to the economy. Why? Vandals are in charge in D.C.

This was always a misguided program but was an integral part of destroying the relationship between lender and lendee, renter and landlord. The government comes in all humanitarian-like to suspend payments on FHA-backed mortgages, which are all of them post-Lehman Bros., after locking people in their homes for a year while blocking access to therapeutics which would have mitigated the worst of COVID-19’s effects on the society.

We know this now. Vaccination is patriotic. Stay home on the dole wearing a mask during sex for the greater good. If not, you’re a COVIDiot.

But, let’s leave all that aside for a minute. People have been terrorized and many of them are still not thinking straight, regardless of why and how they were driven to that state.

Moreover, I’ll stay away (for once) about any conspiracy surrounding this issue. Because the argument actually works better if we don’t go there. Let’s assume the intentions of people we know to be liars had the best of intentions and run the scenario in housing out.

So, while interrupting the normal ebb and flow of capital because of extreme circumstances may have felt like the right thing to do, the consequences of that policy are wholly predictable given the deplorable state of our politics. Again, even without any personal accusations of malice by individuals in decision-making positions, we still arrive at the outcome we have today.

Everyone on both sides of the residential debt divide is staring at a step-function reset of their cash flow when the eviction moratorium ends and that step-function will be a doozy, down.

Then when you think through what it is that Davos is trying to do with the Great Reset, which they have stated forthrightly, it is very clear why this moratorium has been extended until this summer, far beyond when it should have been.

And it has nothing to do with trying to keep Joe Biden’s poll numbers from collapsing by buying the votes of renters.

It has a lot to do with forcing both landlords and debtors into bankruptcy simultaneously, and do so when the bulk of the next round of government spending can be doled out to those closest to the Washington laundromat.

Martin Armstrong is right to bring up this issue but I don’t believe he’s thought through the full effect of the policy:

Those in power are just incompetent of ever managing the economy. Once they stuck their foot in the door, if they take it out and there is a wave of foreclosures, they will be to blame. So what do they do then? Put the foot back in the door and suspend all mortgages because they have an election in 2022?

Assuming incompetence over malice isn’t a bad rule of thumb when it comes to certain things.  But in the case of a bunch of dirty European commie oligarchs trying to take over the world, bankrupting the middle class is their raison d’etre.

The play here is simple, convince everyone to stay put and look like the hero to the little guy by suspending mortgage payments for more than a year. This helps get Biden inaugurated president.  Then keep the bogeyman of variants of COVID going well past any reasonable person’s patience until the economy has endured maximal pain, bankrupting hundreds of thousands of landlords and assisting the cocking up of the labor market subsidizing sloth through extending unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.

Why do you think they are rolling out your Child Tax Credit as a monthly support payment? Magnanimity?

Once you can’t hold back the “stay in your homes until XXX” narrative anymore you lift the moratorium. Since a lot of small businesses are gone most of the jobs available are McJobs. Even with a labor shortage forcing entry level wages higher that isn’t enough to cover the mortgage payment of a 3/2 in the ‘burbs.  

To give you an idea of how bad it is local restaurants are closed on both Sundays and Mondays here in my neck of the woods because they explicitly can’t get anyone to come to work. McDonald’s are begging people for cashier’s jobs at $12/hour.  In Florida.  Right-to-work.  $12 to jockey a register.  Madness.

There is little to no incentive to go back to work for even $12/hour when the government will pay you more than 2/3rds of that to stay at home. If it’s bad in Florida where unemployment benefits are less than enough to starve on, you can imagine what it looks like in more enlightened states like New York.

Now all those people have more than a year of back payments to make, which they can’t.  The landlords need the money now to keep from being foreclosed on by the bank.  And guess who gets to swoop in and buy up all those single-family homes and apartment buildings with newly-minted USG ‘infrastructure’ spending money?

You guessed it…. Blackrock.  That story made it out into the world in April with a piece by the War Street Journal.

If you think we’ve seen the peak of Blackrock’s takeover of the economy, just wait until people have to pay their mortgages again.

You really will own nothing and like it or else.  But wait, there’s more.

Blackrock will buy those houses at pennies on the dollar. They will wipe out hundreds of billions in mortgage debt but, more importantly, they will force a massive reassessment of housing prices across the country. And, as Dexter K. White pointed out on the latest episode of my podcast, Blackrock et.al. don’t even have to buy indiscriminately to have maximal effect.

They’ll just buy up the properties in red and purple districts to flip the electoral map. Under Obama it was called zip code targeting. And it’ll be accelerating once the eviction moratorium ends sometime soon.

Who do you think they’ll move in there? Well, go ask the people in places like Minneapolis.

Even worse, because the story got too much traction by late June none other than The Atlantic was running an apologia to tell us we’re crazy to think there’s anything weird going on here. The Atlantic. The only publication more Davos than it is The Economist.

But, after debunking the idea that Blackrock becoming the country’s biggest slum lord as ludicrous, the writer Derek Thompson, tells us what the real agenda is:

How can we encourage Americans to support more housing construction near where they live? Maybe the answer is … more single-family rentals. As the Bloomberg columnist Conor Sen points out, homeowners tend to look down on nearby construction, because more ample housing could drive down the cost of their property. But renters might celebrate nearby construction for the same general principle: Ample housing might hold down their rent.

In the arithmetic of online outrage—where big banks are evil, and landlords suck—nothing is more villainous than a big-bank landlord. But the larger villain in America’s housing crunch isn’t the faceless Wall Street Goliath overseeing your apartment building or house; it’s the forces stopping any new apartment buildings or houses from existing in the first place: your neighbors, local laws, and local governments. If we can’t see the culprit of America’s housing crisis, that’s because we’re eager to look everywhere except in the mirror.

Right Derek. More rentals. Why don’t you just polish Herr Schwab’s knob on Tik-Tok while you’re at it.

Here in North Florida, after twenty years of forcing density restrictions on agricultural zoned land development to “preserve green spaces” Alachua County is now trying to get rid of single-use zoning so they can build the equivalent of Section 8 trailer parks in those same low-density zones. So, first they destroy your ability to develop the land for your benefit then they want to use Federal money to bring in refugees and “Dreamers” and create rural slums.

Because The Walking Dead is their model of the future.

And what will that do to the price of your home? You who worked through COVID, who did things right, who paid their mortgage?  Oh right, you’ll now be upside down on that place you just bought in Florida or Tennessee to get away from the lunatics in California and New York. 

Hamster meet wheel.  

This is why you get out of debt in the face of a crisis.  Don’t always assume they want endless inflation.  Deflation of specific assets is always how they consolidate power.  First they’ll make you feel rich through the boom and then they’ll take it away with an inexplicable policy error from the Fed (sound familiar?) and there’s trillions in zero-cost money to help get out from underneath all that stress.

All you have to do is embrace extreme minimalism.

The New Single Family House in the Post Great Reset America

There is no recovery story now.  There is only liquidation of the middle class and the destruction of even the veneer of civility granted by the suburbs.

Last week’s jobs report may have kernels of truth in it which point to things improving, but it won’t matter, not with oil prices headed to $90 a barrel or higher.  The next phase of the destruction of the middle class in the U.S. is well underway.   All those new cars we bought with our stimmy checks? We won’t be able to afford those either. But, hey, there’s a silver lining.  Your per child tax credit will come to you as a monthly handout to help you walk to your McJob to make ends meet thanks to a benevolent government who just broke your legs.

*  *  *

Join my Patreon if you finally get what’s going on.

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/07/2021 - 17:25
Published:7/7/2021 4:45:03 PM
[] Obama's 'Voter Protection Director' Is Now Lobbying on Behalf of the Chinese Communist Party Published:7/7/2021 4:12:39 PM
[Markets] "Sadly, It Starts With Two Lies": Peter Daszak's Latest Wuhan Screed Shredded "Sadly, It Starts With Two Lies": Peter Daszak's Latest Wuhan Screed Shredded

Peter Daszak, the guy who landed a lucrative NIH contract to study bat COVID in Wuhan four months before the Obama administration banned gain-of-function research on US soil, has penned yet another screed in The Lancet in an obvious attempt to put a 'science' bow on the natural origin theory, while once again dismissing the possibility of a lab-leak.

Peter Daszak (right) toasts with Zhengli Shi (Wuhan's 'Bat Lady')

Recall Daszak was behind a now-infamous February 2020 Lancet letter signed by 27 authors - many of whom have since distanced themselves or retracted - which claims COVID-19 could have only evolved in nature, and that the lab-leak hypothesis was virtually impossible. Daszak has since 'recused' himself from the Lancet's COVID-19 commission due to his overwhelming conflict of interest, but has still been provided a platform to reiterate his defense.

"We believe the strongest clue from new, credible, and peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature is that the virus evolved in nature, while suggestions of a laboratory-leak source of the pandemic remain without scientifically validated evidence that directly supports it in peer-reviewed scientific journals," Daszak writes.

He also claims that his own compensation is "paid solely in the form of a salary from EcoHealth Alliance," his nonprofit which received the NIH contract (among tens of millions received from the US Government), and that he, nor EcoHealth, have never received funding from the People's Republic of China - a lie you'll read about below.

What's more, Daszak casually discloses that his worked on bat coronaviruses "includes the identification of viral sequences in bat samples, and has resulted in the isolation of three bat SARS-related coronaviruses that are now used as reagents to test therapeutics and vaccines. It also includes the production of a small number of recombinant bat coronaviruses to analyse cell entry and other characteristics of bat coronaviruses for which only the genetic sequences are available."

Nothing to see here - just a regular guy genetically engineering a few bat coronaviruses to check out how they can enter cells - which Daszak says the NIH reviewed and determined didn't warrant oversight by its Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight (P3CO) committee - which, as the Daily Caller noted in April, was shielded from review.

Daszak's letter was utterly shredded yesterday by balena.io CEO Alexandros Marinos in a must-read Twitter thread:

(Continued, emphasis ours)

Second, the intent of the letter was not to "express solidarity with our professional colleagues in China". The thrust of that letter was the following statement: "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin."

As such, it is puzzling that when they do discuss the original letter, the only thing they reaffirm is the solidarity that nobody asked about: "The answer is clear: we reaffirm our expression of solidarity with those in China who confronted the outbreak..."

It gets better though: "The second intent of our original Correspondence was to express our working view that SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated in nature and not in a laboratory". It's worth wondering why an expression of solidarity had to be paired with a "working view".

In that paragraph, they chide themselves for getting ahead of the scientific method: "Opinions, however, are neither data nor conclusions. Evidence obtained using the scientific method must inform our understanding and be the basis for interpretation of the available information"

"We believe the strongest clue from new, credible, and peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature is that the virus evolved in nature". This is the only new claim, but clearly this whole letter could not have been a way to do a literature review.

If it was, leaving out the many "new, credible, and peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature" should have gotten this paper thrown out in said peer review. In addition, contradictory statements from the first signatory, as well as one other, deepen public confusion.

Charles Calisher, first signatory in this letter, told ABC that "there is too much coincidence" and "it is more likely that it came out of a lab". Which is it?

Stanley Perlman told the Washington Post that “On both sides, there’s really a lack of information. That’s why we have such extensive discussions and, in some cases, vituperative discussions. There’s really no data. It’s really just opinions.” Which is it?

"Allegations and conjecture are of no help, as they do not facilitate access to information and objective assessment of the pathway from a bat virus to a human pathogen that might help to prevent a future pandemic." - This is clearly self-criticism for publishing a "working view"

In any case, other than highlighting for the whole world how a small cabal of deeply conflicted experts pretended that scientific consensus had been reached in 25 days, it is unclear what they point of this statement is, unless to muddle the waters further. It's too late.

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/07/2021 - 12:26
Published:7/7/2021 11:44:19 AM
[Middle Column] Let’s Rebrand ‘Infrastructure Bill’ as ‘Anti-Suburban Zoning Bill’

As explicitly stated, "This final rule, and Assessment Tools and guidance to be issued, will assist recipients of Federal funding to use that funding and, if necessary, to adjust their land use and zoning laws in accordance with their existing legal obligation to affirmatively further fair housing."

In brief, AFFH gave HUD a weapon of power to force any community that received federal funds to meet racial distribution quotas. To accomplish this, HUD applied the notion of "disparate impact," which unilaterally deemed housing patterns to be discriminatory if minority representation was not evenly spread across the jurisdiction.

Communities with high concentrations of minorities are then automatically labeled "segregated" according to paint-by-number land use assessments.

Accordingly, the proposed infrastructure plan would create a gigantic pot of taxpayer handouts for towns that agree to surrender self-rule to HUD bureaucrats.

Published:7/7/2021 8:44:16 AM
[Markets] Russia's $190 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Is Nearly Done Dumping Dollars Russia's $190 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Is Nearly Done Dumping Dollars

Just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out a new national security strategy (seemingly timed to coincide with the US Independence Day Holiday to underscore the general theme) where he elaborated on how Washington uses the dollar as a tool to wage economic warfare against its geopolitical adversaries, Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund, a nearly $190 billion pool of capital derived from the country's vast oil and mineral wealth, has taken a critical step toward dumping all its assets.

  • RUSSIAN FINANCE MINISTRY SAYS IT HAS COMPLETED FX CONVERSION NEEDED TO SCRAP U.S. DOLLAR FROM THE NATIONAL WEALTH FUND

The news isn't exactly a surprise. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced plans to dump all dollar-denominated assets from the fund's portfolio a month ago. Still, while it's unclear how much of the dumping has already been completed, the alacrity with which the massive fund is moving ahead with its plans (trading tens of billions of dollars in FX is a laborious practice and can take time) shows that this wasn't an empty threat. 

News that the fund has finished this critical step toward rebalancing its portfolio also coincides with Tuesday's jump in oil prices, triggered by the latest OPEC drama.

The sovereign wealth fund's decision is consistent with the Russian Central Bank, which has dumped dollar-denominated reserves in favor of gold.

As we have explained in the past, the trend of de-dollarization is a very real threat to the dominance of the greenback, which has ruled as the world's reserve currency since the end of WWII (when it officially supplanted the British pound).

While the National Friendship Fund's decision to excise US assets from its portfolio is certainly alarming, it's only one piece of Russia's strategy to undermine the greenback. The dollar's dominance comes largely from its position as the global intermediary of choice for transnational trade. A few months ago, we reported that for the first time ever, Russia settled less than 50% of payments for its exports in currencies other than the dollar.

It's a trend that's been in place since the Obama Administration imposed sanctions over the annexation of Crimea back in 2014.

And it's perhaps the single biggest threat, because if the dollar loses its special status as an intermediary for global trade, than international central banks will have less of an incentive to hold dollar reserves, since it will reduce the demand for dollars overall.

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/07/2021 - 05:45
Published:7/7/2021 5:08:15 AM
[Markets] Fauci-Funded EcoHealth Refuses To Give Wuhan Documents To Congress Fauci-Funded EcoHealth Refuses To Give Wuhan Documents To Congress

Four months before the Obama administration suspended federal funding for gain-of-function research on US soil, the process by which virologists manipulate viruses to be more transmissible to humans, a subagency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci - effectively shifted this research to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) via a grant to nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Peter Daszak.

Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance

The first $666,442 installment of EcoHealth's $3.7 million NIH grant was paid in June 2014, with similar annual payments through May 2019 under the "Understanding The Risk Of Bat Coronavirus Emergence" project, as we noted in April.

As we noted in April, the WIV "had openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions" for years under the leadership of Dr. Shi 'Batwoman' Zhengli, according to the Washington Post's Josh Rogin.

Now, Daszak is refusing to comply with a months-old document request from House Republicans related to his work at the Wuhan lab, according to Just The News.

As government investigators and journalists dig to uncover the full scope of Daszak's links to the WIV, Daszak is continuing to spurn a congressional request for that information

In April, Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent Daszak a letter directing him to submit, among many other documents, "all letters, emails, and other communications between [EcoHealth] and [the WIV] related to terms of agreements, bat coronaviruses, genome or genetic sequencing, SARS-CoV-2, and/or laboratory safety practices" pursuant to key NIH research funding through EcoHealth to the Wuhan lab as a grant sub-recipient.

Yet Daszak himself has not cooperated with the request. An aide with the Energy and Commerce Committee confirmed to Just the News this week that the committee has "received no response still from EcoHealth Alliance and Peter Daszak to the April 16th letter from Leaders Rodgers, Guthrie, and Griffith." -JTN

"We have asked Daszak to provide information we know he has that sheds light on the origins of this pandemic," said GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who has also publicly noted Daszak's refusal to play ball.

"Dr. Daszak, you received American funds you used to conduct research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Rodgers continued during a House subcommittee meeting last week. "You owe it to the American people to be transparent."

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats aren't actually interested in getting to the bottom of things - as they themselves hold subpoena power in both chambers. The ultimate authority, as JTN notes, rests with that party - specifically Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone - who notably boosted funding to Fauci's NIH in 2015 to the tune of $2 billion per year through 2020. 

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

Why a subpoena hasn't been issued in more than two months is unclear, but we could venture a guess...

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/05/2021 - 13:00
Published:7/5/2021 12:26:40 PM
[Markets] The New State Of Play Post Biden/Putin The New State Of Play Post Biden/Putin

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

Sometimes the significance of events doesn’t hit you until far after the event took place. One of the hardest parts of this job is knowing when not to write about a subject and let it sink in for a bit rather than burp out the first thing that comes to mind. It also helps to spend that time considering what others say on the subject.

The Saker’s thoughtful post on the outcome of the Biden/Putin summit is worth your time.  He rightly points out that the main outcome was a signal from Biden’s team, and handlers, that the hyper-aggressive war against Russia going on since 2013 is now over.

… what Biden did and said was quite clearly very deliberate and prepared. This is not the case of a senile President losing his focus and just spewing (defeatist) nonsense. Therefore, we must conclude that there are also those in the current US (real) power configuration who decided that Biden must follow a new, different, course or, at the very least, change rhetoric. I don’t know who/what this segment of the US power configuration is, but I submit that something has happened which forced at least a part of the US ruling class to decide that Obama’s war on Russia had failed and that a different approach was needed. At least that is the optimistic view.

I have some ideas about who actually ordered this shift in tone which has become readily apparent in the weeks since the meeting. More on that in a bit.

This summit was the signal of the major shift in policy.  Kissinger is no longer the driving force intellectually for U.S. foreign policy.  Divide and conquer hasn’t worked.

As Alex Mercouris brought up in my talk with him recently, the likely main offer made on Biden’s behalf by Jake Sullivan to his Russian counterpart, was to cut Russia in on the infrastructure deals in Africa if Russia would loosen ties to China. China is the new pivot for U.S. foreign policy.

If that offer was made then it was a calculated move to tell Putin that the U.S. was unserious about changing the dynamic between them.  I think there was a lot more said than just this. But Putin didn’t say it directly to Biden. This summit was a ceasefire in the war against Russia, a typical move to retrench and rethink options after a major defeat. That defeat was not ginnng up a war in the Donbass.  The two events are intimately connected.

In fact, that show of force and ultimatum by Putin to NATO (and more specifically The Davos Crowd) in Ukraine is what catalyzed this summit in the first place. Between that and the collapse of the COVID-19 narrative were all the excuse needed to publicly pivot U.S. aggression from Russia to China.

This was a major summit, with hundreds of people on both sides, as The Saker points out, that took months to put together. My initial reaction to it was that nothing substantive had changed. A ceasefire with Russia isn’t an end to the war with her so, what changed exactly.

That’s why I took some time to think things through.

In order to understand my broader point I’m about to make you have to see things from Davos’ point of view and their goals. I took the time to work through this in Part I of a recent podcast series I did to lay the background out (listen to it here).

Most importantly, keep in mind that Davos isn’t a monolithic organization under complete control of puppet master WEF Chair Klaus Schwab. It is, at best, a loose coalition of interested parties all looking for their piece of the globalist pie. And it only hangs together for as long as Schwab et.al. win and continue doing so.

Davos sees the best path now for them to complete their Great Reset agenda comes from placing the U.S. and China on an irrevocable path to war. Making a temporary peace with Russia is part of that plan. It’s also a major defeat for Davos.

Russia has refused to fight the war Obama’s started and MI-6 ran during the Trump Interregnum on Davos’ behalf. It played the long game of freezing the conflict in Ukraine while allowing the political attrition to take its toll on everyone involved. It also allowed Russia the time necessary to complete its strategic theater dominance in Eastern Europe now having hypersonic missiles capable of neutralizing any thought of NATO air superiority.

Culturally, Russians understand how to deal with this type of European aggression.  The Russian people have pride in themselves but are not nationalistic, i.e. they are not subsumed by cultural hubris the same way both China and Europeans/Americans are. This is a critical difference in understanding why events have played out as they have.

European/American ethnic hubris is nothing new. However, anyone who doubts my read on the Chinese in this respect, I only have to remind you of how easy it was to blow up Japanese/Chinese relations in 2012 over the Senkaku islands, which led to vandalism against Toyota and Honda dealerships… over nearly worthless rocks.

So, by this calculus, now that Ukraine refused to show up for the war Davos threw, war with Russia is off the table for the time being and the pivot to China commences.  You have to force an existential crisis on Russia to get them to fight and failing that there is no point in pursuing it directly.  Putin made the point very clearly that any aggression in the Donbass would be an act of war which would not end at the contact line in Gorlovka.

Their response would target the real enemy, NATO. And this is why both nothing changed and everything changed with this summit.

Davos is still going to run their script of destroying the U.S. and China by pitting them against each other while trying to pull off the full-blown remaking of Europe into a technocratic supranational police state. On that last part, they are more than 80% of the way there.

But, at the same time, the only reason for the European Union’s existence as it has been sold to Europeans is to prevent any further devastating wars fought on European soil. If Putin threatened a wider war with NATO he assured them Russia would this time win, then the whole rationale for the EU vaporizes like the first F-16 or logistics center hit by a Kinzhsal missile.

Rock meet hard place, Herr Schwab. For once someone else presented you with a no-win scenario.

So, in order to insure that Russia remains placated and happy to reopen somewhat normal relations with the EU, Biden was sent to Geneva to craft a face-saving summit and co-sign a simple statement committing to reopening arms control talks, coordinating on terrorism and not nuking Europe.

Part II of my podcast series went over in detail the whys and hows of the summit in much more detail.

The two exceptionalist-minded empires, the U.S. and China, make for much easier adversaries to spark into conflict because of the intense need for both sides not to lose face. For the U.S. as the global ‘hegemon’ losing face is a clear loss of potency. When you rule the hierarchy through dominance and fear, any moment of weakness is deadly.

It’s why Putin’s intervention in Syria, the freezing of the Donbass and reunifying with Crimea were so significant. They were a series of events which blew holes in the perception of U.S. potency. And since then it has been one brush fire after another which has not panned out.

As The Saker rightly points out in his article, Biden took a big hit with the Davos-controlled media for not “standing up to Putin.” And it was significant that that they even entertained that calculus no less made the diplomatic overtures. It’s why I feel my analysis of the situation is right. Only a real, credible military threat by Putin could have forced the outcome we saw at Geneva.

That said, weakening Biden and the U.S. only to sets the stage for when he or (more importantly) his Republican/mid-term successor has to confront China for real.

Now that I’ve laid that out, did anyone miss the Fed’s surprise hawkish statements released the same day as the Biden/Putin summit?  

Did anyone not notice the extreme reaction to the supposed nothingburger statements from the FOMC?  

All the Fed did was move a couple of dots on the rate forecast ‘dot-plot’ and bump IOER and RRP up by 5 basis points.

And yet the Euro crashed into the end of Q2 and opened Q3 still crashing.  And yet the Yen was thrashed. And yet, everyday more people jump on the bandwagon highlighting the huge run up in the Fed’s Reverse Repo Facility. Since that announcement what was a record amount of reverse repos at around $450 billion has more than doubled to just under a trillion.

Since the Fed no longer reports Excess Reserves of the banking system we have no idea how much has flowed into those either. In short, a measly 5 basis points drained at least half a trillion in dollar liquidity in less than two weeks.

And too many people can’t make the connection.

The dollar spiked to a significant bullish monthly reversal in June. The Fed followed up Powell’s statement with Bullard’s to ensure the technical reversal in the minds of currency and bond traders.  

And the question is why?

Just before the meeting I told my Patrons I thought at some point the Fed would have to come in and defend the U.S. dollar. Biden’s consistent trashing the dollar for Davos simply couldn’t stand forever.

I’ve written in the past about what Davos’ Great Reset plans are for the commercial banks, to scapegoat them for the next crisis and throw them to the angry Millennials they’ve taught to hate all things not-Marxist and be pilloried on the altar of egalitarian envy. And honestly, it’s not like these fucking people deserve anything less for what they’ve done to the world.

But at the same time, they still have allies and cards to play. And that means the Fed may align with Davos on some issues but not all of them. And I think it’s clear to everyone now that this is the plan and that plan is not workable.

The Fed is now ready, I think, to go to war with Davos over the future of money and they aren’t ready to hand over the keys to the candy store to a bunch of European commies, at least while also cutting Wall St. out completely of the New World Order.

Part III of the podcast series goes over the Fed’s moves and how it ties into what comes next.

The plan is pretty obvious at this point: hand over the keys to capital formation to the central banks and destroy all risk assessment. Commercial banks aren’t needed.  Only socially acceptable projects going forward will get funded. This is what Christine Lagarde wants with her new all-European Green Stock Exchange she introduced at Ankara last week.

But what’s clear to me now is that Davos went for the boob too fast on Prom Night at the Eschaton.  It’s too much, too soon and the acceleration is exposing its flanks.  Why would China and the U.S. go to war over COVID-19 and trade issues when they are being manipulated into it by a bunch of feckless Eurocrats with delusions of adequacy.

Why not turn on them first, at a minimum, wipe them out with a wave of your hand, i.e. 5 basis point rise in RRP, and remind everyone where the real power in the markets lies.

It’s hard to ignore what’s happened during the week of June 16th both geopolitically and monetarily.  There are no coincidences here.  If Powell hadn’t blown up the markets that week then I would be writing a different take on the Putin/Biden summit today.

But he did so I am.

So many people mischaracterize the Fed’s policies.  They miss the global significance of what they do by hyper-focusing on bad and misleading U.S. economic data. But the dollar is the global reserve currency, a point Martin Armstrong makes every single day, and that means Fed policy is made in the context of global capital shifts and politics.

Most analyst myopia comes from their training. They’ve trained a particular skillset and because of that miss the bigger picture. They get lost in the miasma of low-quality, conflicting and purposefully confusing domestic data and miss the bull rampaging through the political china shop.

What’s lacking, for example, in The Saker’s analysis of Geneva is looking at it, for the most part, from a monolithic Russia v. U.S. perspective, while ignoring the bigger picture of who is vying for control over the monetary system. This isn’t a rebuke, it simply isn’t his top priority.

But it is a rebuke of those trained in these areas to know better.

Geopolitics stems from control over the flow of capital, not the other way around.  So, when you see big changes on both fronts from one major player like the U.S. it means something. The U.S. changed it’s stance on Russia while also course correcting monetary policy and throwing markets into a tizzy on the same freaking day!  

That’s why you have to do the multi-variant analysis of ALL the players, not just the two dominant ones and analyze all of their motivations. This was a story so big I took two hours of podcasts to scratch the surface of it.

The bottom line is this: I maintain that Powell isn’t the same kind of globalist other Fed chairs have been, like Yellen and Bernanke. His private equity background marks him with a different mindset and set of priorities than his predecessors. That means he may be more willing to buck Davos when the time is right.

That understanding along with Davos’ needle-scratch mistakes has a lot of powerful people questioning the plan. It can easily explain why the cracks are beginning to widen as to who should actually be in charge after this is all done.

The real war now isn’t between the Empire and Zone B.  Or the Commies vs. the Conservatives.  It’s Davos against itself and we are now, unfortunately, caught in the middle between these factions.

All hierarchies built on force are meta-stable.  Up until recently Davos maintained its control because it competently managed all of the players, moving pieces where they needed them.  Now, they’ve made fatal errors — COVID, Trump, Brexit, NS2, Russia’s intransigence, the JCPOA, Syria, Ukraine, — and from where I sit it looks like the various factions are going all Knives Out on each other, quickly.

And as Daniel Craig said so eloquently in that movie, “I do suspect… foul play.”

I don’t doubt for a second Powell would crash the global economy in 2021 to protect Wall St. and back China down.  I also don’t think he was given the green light to do so by Biden. I think he was told to fire a warning shot by, for lack of a better term, Wall St.

If Davos listens to that in the same way the Brits listened to Russia’s warning shots at the HMS Defender in Crimean waters recently than the expect a full salvo at Jackson Hole. Can anyone say 25 basis points?  

Biden and Obama have been told to pull back and refocus on China by Davos, but those behind Powell are setting them up for a massive backlash for the mid-terms.  

The smartest thing for Xi Jinping to do during all of this is nothing. If he is truly interested in carving up the world and not replacing the U.S. with a Chinese hegemony then these next few months of turmoil in the West will prove that.

Given his recent actions and statements, however, the likelihood of that is slim.

The more things change…well, you know the rest.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sun, 07/04/2021 - 18:00
Published:7/4/2021 5:20:54 PM
[Markets] Trump Promises To Restore Free Speech In America Trump Promises To Restore Free Speech In America

Authored by Melanie Sun via The Epoch Times,

Former President Donald Trump warned at his third “Save America” rally on Saturday night that Americans no longer have free speech, describing a powerful system “for media and online censorship” that only presents the Democratic Party’s view of politics, including that Trump is attacking democracy by discussing potential election fraud.

“We have a truly sick election system, it’s got to be changed,” the 45th president told thousands of supporters gathered in Robarts Arena in Sarasota, Florida.

“Remember this, I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy,” he said in response to the legacy media and Democrat claims.

“I am the one trying to save American democracy.”

Democrats and Republicans have exchanged barbs since the chaotic 2020 election, which Trump maintains he will not concede, awaiting the results of a complete audit for Arizona’s Maricopa County that has been run independent of the secretary of state’s office. Additional audits are expected to follow in other jurisdictions.

“We can’t let them take away our free speech so we can[‘t] talk about corrupt elections. Otherwise you’ll have … that’s communism. That’s what they do in these communist countries, you have no voice,” Trump warned.

Communist and socialist states like Cuba and Venezuela remain embroiled in repeating cycles of contested elections, with their populations split between recognizing two heads of state, and both sides of politics accusing the other of election fraud.

“Democrats used COVID to cheat. They illegally changed the rules in key states. They stole the votes,” Trump continued.

“They abolished signature verification requirements, created a powerful system for media and the online censorship of their opponents, and did everything possible to facilitate fraud just like you would do in a third world country. That’s what happened with this election.”

Trump gave special mention to the Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN), which was suspended by YouTube from live-streaming to their channel for a week just hours ahead of the rally. RSBN has carried feeds of Trump’s public appearances since July 2015. Following the suspension, the company migrated to the video platform Rumble to stream Trump’s speech.

The former president also mentioned how left-wing billionaires had allegedly funded unsecured drop boxes in the 2020 election. He named Facebook as an example, referring to reports that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, partly funded a nonprofit that irregularly distributed $350 million to nearly 2,500 election officials in 48 states and the District of Columbia, which could have helped increased voter turnout for Democrats.

People listen to former U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3, 2021. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

Trump, true to the stated mission of his “Save America” campaign office, said he will continue working to help secure support for “Republicans or MAGA” in the upcoming 2022 elections, with the goal of retaking the House and the Senate.

But in order to do so, the 75-year-old said that actions are needed to restore trust and transparency for all Americans in the nation’s election systems.

“We got them by surprise in 2016. And then they work for four years to make sure it didn’t happen again,” Trump said of the Democrats, accusing them of election fraud.

He again questioned President Joe Biden’s vote count, saying that he found it hard to believe that Biden got more votes from black people than President Barack Obama. Trump said that, like many other things including the Wuhan virus lab leak theory and his border policies, he believes his claims about a “rigged election” will be proven right.

“I wonder what I will be proved right about next. Perhaps it will be the election, perhaps,” he said.

Trump said that Republicans around the nation are uniting around efforts to secure future elections, by progressing legislation to demand voter ID, universal signature signature verification, citizenship confirmation, chain of custody integrity controls, and updated voter rolls.

“That’s before the elections, not after the elections,” Trump added, amid his criticism of Democrat actions passed ahead of the 2020 election to expand voter access that he said in effect reduced voter security in the name of needing to allow people to vote from home during the pandemic.

He said that Republicans “will restore the right to free speech in America again, which we don’t have.”

Hundreds of Trump’s supporters had lined up for the event overnight, with a large crowd staying until past 8 p.m. for Trump’s speech despite a thunderstorm ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Trump remarked that if American voters had faith in the integrity of the 2020 election, he wouldn’t have so many people still attending his rallies.

“If we lost the election … I wouldn’t have a crowd that goes beyond what the eye can see, that stays in a thunderstorm,” he said of the crowd.

He then joked that some of the women in attendance were “a mess” from the pouring rain, adding “but the truth is, you look more beautiful now than you did when you went to the beauty parlor … You’re real, it’s great.”

People wait for former President Donald Trump to speak at a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3, 2021. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)

He also dismissed legal efforts launched by New York prosecutors to bring charges against his company, the Trump Organization, and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg over “fringe benefits.”

“It’s really called prosecutorial misconduct. It’s a terrible, terrible thing,” Trump said of the legal efforts, contrasting them against cases of murder and human trafficking that he said were not pursued to the full extent by prosecutors. Weisselberg has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did not join Trump at the rally after both decided the state leader would remain in South Florida to oversee recovery efforts for the condominium collapse at Surfside and preparations for Elsa, according to state GOP Chairman Sen. Joe Gruters, local media reported.

Trump’s speech was followed by a fireworks display in celebration of Independence Day, when “56 brave patriots at Philadelphia proudly declared our independence and boldly proclaimed the eternal truth that we are all made equal by the almighty hand of our creator,” Trump said.

“With the spirit of July 4, 1776 stirring in our souls … We will make our elections free and safe again, we will make America powerful again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America strong again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again, and we will make America great again,” he said in his closing remarks.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/04/2021 - 14:30
Published:7/4/2021 1:50:15 PM
[2021 News] One of Obama’s Top Advisors Arrested For Stealing a Boat Load of Money From Needy Kids

One of Obama’s Top Advisors Arrested For Stealing a Boat Load of Money From Needy Kids. It looks like Seth Andrew flunked his final at the Obama School of Graft. He was supposed to get a shipload, not a boatload.

The post One of Obama’s Top Advisors Arrested For Stealing a Boat Load of Money From Needy Kids appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/3/2021 10:15:27 PM
[Markets] Biden's Bloated White House Payroll Is Most Expensive In American History Biden's Bloated White House Payroll Is Most Expensive In American History

By Adam Andrzejewski, of OpenTheBooks.com,

If the White House payroll is a leading indicator of the president’s commitment to expand government then taxpayers have a reason for concern. Projected four-year costs of Biden’s White House payroll could top $200 million. For comparison, inflation adjusted, the Trump administration spent $164.3 million (2017-2020) and the Obama administration spent $188.5 million (2009-2012).

On July 1st, the Biden administration released the annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel. President Biden hired czars, expensive “fellows,” “assistants,” and spent on a much larger First Lady (FLOTUS) staff.

The payroll report included the name, status, salary and position title of all 567 White House employees costing taxpayers $49.6 million. (Search Biden’s White House payroll and Trump’s four years posted at OpenTheBooks.com.)

Since January, the Biden administration has quickly staffed up. Here are some key findings from our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com:

  • There are 190 more employees on White House staff under Biden than under Trump (377) and 80 more than under Obama (487) at this point in their respective presidencies.
  • $9.6 million increase in payroll spending vs. the Trump FY2017 payroll. In 2017, the Trump White House spent $40 million for 377 employees, while the Biden payroll amounts to $49.6 million for 567 employees. All spending amounts are inflation adjusted.
  • Hires include 320 female staffers ($28.9 million salaries) vs. 240 male staffers ($20.8 million salaries). In terms of top staffers — Special Assistants — there are 53 female ($6.3 million salaries) vs. 37 males ($4.4 million).
  • Currently, there are 12 staffers dedicated – at least in part – to Dr. Jill Biden vs. five staffers who served Melania Trump in her first year (FY2017).
  • Counts of the “Assistants to the President” – the most trusted advisors to the president - are the same (22) in for the Biden administration and the Trump and Obama administrations. This year, these advisors make $180,000.
  • This year’s list of key advisors includes names such as Ron Klain (Chief of Staff), Susan Rice (Domestic Policy Council), Jennifer Psaki (Press Secretary), and Kate Bedingfield (Communications Director), Mike Donilon (Senior Advisor), and Steve Ricchetti (Counselor).
  • In the Trump first-year, Steven Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and 17 others made salaries of $179,700. In Obama’s first-year, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and twenty others held the title with top pay of $172,000.
  • The most highly compensated White House Biden staffer? The top paid is Molly Groom ($185,656), Policy Advisor For Immigration, a crisis issue for the administration. The second highest paid is Elizabeth Hone ($183,164), Senior Policy Advisor For Broadband. The administration proposed $100 billion in government ownership of broadband.

In Trump’s administration (2017), Mark House, Senior Policy Advisor, had a salary of $187,500. In Obama’s Administration (2009), David Marcozzi earned $193,000 “on detail” from Health and Human Services.

FLOTUS Staff

Dr. Jill Biden has 12 staffers including press, communication, and advance trip directors; media coordinators and schedulers. There are senior advisors, and even a couple of social secretaries. Five of the employees also serve the president in some capacity.

In 2009, former First Lady Michelle Obama faced criticism for her twenty-four assistants, advisors, aides, and social secretaries. Laura Bush had a staff of eighteen. In 2017, Melania Trump, in her first year, had a staff of five employees.

These 12 White House employees serving First Lady Dr. Jill Biden (five also serve the president in some capacity) cost taxpayers $1.35 million and include:

  • Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and White House Gender Policy co-chair ($180,000);
  • Elizabeth Alexander, Director of Communications for the First Lady ($155,000);
  • Carlos Elizondo, Social Secretary ($155,000) and Deputy Social Secretary, Liz Hart ($80,000)
  • Press Secretary, Michael LaRosa, $100,000

Special Initiative Czars

Starting in 2009, President Obama came under fire for hiring special initiative czars. From 2017-2020, we found no evidence of “czars” on Trump’s payroll. 

However, Biden has czar(ed) up – naming at least 21 czars to date, with plans to fill 55 positions. These include:  National Climate Advisor Regina McCarthy ($180,000) and a Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry – who is listed in press accounts, but doesn’t appear in the payroll data. Others include Jeff Zients ($36,000), the COVID-19 czar.

Critics at Politico have already questioned, “How many czars does the Biden administration need?”

White House Leadership Development Fellows

Starting in 2015, President Obama instituted a new fellowship – a White House Leadership Development program with an initial class of sixteen. During the Trump years, the program was dormant.

On June 4th, Biden appointed 22 members to the fellowship program. None of these appear in the payroll disclosure.

Like most presidents, Joe Biden doesn’t donate his salary. Donald Trump was the first since John F. Kennedy to donate his pre-tax quarterly salary to government agencies.

Following tradition, Dr. Jill Biden isn’t paid as First Lady. However, she is the 1st First Lady to maintain an outside income – her government salary as a community college professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

Although the White House personnel budget is an infinitesimal part of the $4+ trillion federal budget, it could be a leading indicator of Biden’s commitment to expand the size, scope, and power of the federal government.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/03/2021 - 19:30
Published:7/3/2021 6:43:59 PM
[] Profs Rank Trump Among the Worst Presidents in History, Showing Again Why They Can’t Be Trusted Around Students Published:7/3/2021 3:14:41 PM
[2021 News] ACLJ Obtains Full, Unredacted Psaki Email Detailing That the Obama-Biden Administration Was “Battening Down the Hatches” and Trying To “Shut . . . Down” Any Public Information on Secret Iran Deal Negotiations

ACLJ Obtains Full, Unredacted Psaki Email Detailing That the Obama-Biden Administration Was “Battening Down the Hatches” and Trying To “Shut . . . Down” Any Public Information on Secret Iran Deal Negotiations. What a joke that it takes a lawsuit and 4-5 years to get information from the government. This shit needs to stop. The […]

The post ACLJ Obtains Full, Unredacted Psaki Email Detailing That the Obama-Biden Administration Was “Battening Down the Hatches” and Trying To “Shut . . . Down” Any Public Information on Secret Iran Deal Negotiations appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/3/2021 2:17:37 PM
[] The Oligarchy Sees the War on Terror Winding Down, So They've Repurposed Their Anti-Terrorist Surveillance Programs to Target the New Budget-Justifying Enemy: You Some great articles on Biden -- Obama's third term -- finishing Obama's project to reorient the "counterterrorism" establishment away from countering terrorists to surveilling, entrapping, prosecuting, and harassing a more justified target: Trump supporters. And also: putting them through forced... Published:7/2/2021 2:35:56 PM
[Markets] US Forces Exit Bagram Air Base  As Biden's Afghanistan Pullout Speeds Up  US Forces Exit Bagram Air Base  As Biden's Afghanistan Pullout Speeds Up 

In late April, President Biden announced it was time "to end the forever war" in Afghanistan, saying the US has accomplished its mission. We noted in May that US troops were expected to be out of the Middle Eastern country by early to mid-July, well before the Sept. 11 deadline set by Biden. New developments on Friday indicate that all US forces have been removed from a major airbase. 

"All American soldiers and members of NATO forces have left the Bagram airbase," a senior US security official on condition of anonymity told Reuters

Two decades since US troops landed at Bagram, the base was a major command and logistical base for the entire operation in Afghanistan. The base is located about an hour and 20-minute drive north of Kabul. 

In the coming days, additional troops stationed in Kabul will be withdrawn. The departure marks the longest American war in history, and the costs include 2,312 American lives and a $2.26 trillion bill to US taxpayers. 

The US officially handed over Bagram to the Afghan military on Friday, Rohullah Ahamadzai, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, told CNN.

A Taliban spokesman praised the US for removing its forces from the base and said this is a "positive step."

"The presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan was a reason for continuation of fighting in the country," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid told CNN Friday. "If foreign forces leave Afghanistan, Afghans can decide future issues among themselves. We will step forward for the security of the country and our hope for the peace would increase and inshallah we will have development."

For years the base was also home to a secret CIA black site detention center for terrorist suspects that former President Obama acknowledged. 

The top U.S.commander in Afghanistan, defense official General Austin Miller, said the US "still retains all the capabilities and authorities to protect the forces" stationed in Kabul. 

Fox News reports 650 US troops will remain in Afghanistan indefinitely, based mainly at the US embassy. There's a possibility that 300 troops may stay at the base in Kabul for additional security measures. 

From now on, if the US wants to launch military operations, such as reconnaissance or air-support, it must do it through Qatar and or other Middle Eastern Allies, all of which diminish the reaction response time. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/02/2021 - 11:20
Published:7/2/2021 10:34:58 AM
[Markets] America, Leader Of The Free World? How To Forget US Interference In Foreign Elections America, Leader Of The Free World? How To Forget US Interference In Foreign Elections

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

After only five months in office, President Joe Biden has already become notorious for his verbal gaffes and mis-spokes, so much so that an admittedly Republican-partisan physician has suggested that he be tested to determine his cognitive abilities.

That said, however, there is one June 16th tweet that he is responsible for that is quite straightforward that outdoes everything else for sheer mendacity. It appeared shortly after the summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was apparently intended to be rhetorical, at least insofar as Biden understands the term. It went:

“How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country.”

There have been various estimates of just exactly how many elections the United States has interfered in since the Second World War, the numbers usually falling somewhere between 80 and 100, but that does not take into account the frequent interventions of various kinds that took place largely in Latin America between the Spanish-American War and 1946. One recalls how the most decorated Marine in the history of the Corps Major General Smedley Butler declared that “War is a racket” in 1935. He confessed to having “…helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”

And there have been since 1900 other regime change and interventionist actions, both using military force and also brought about by corrupting local politicians with money and other inducements. And don’t forget the American trained death squads active in Latin America. Some would also include in the list the possibly as many as 50 Central Intelligence Agency and Special Ops political assassinations that have been documented, though admittedly sometimes based on thin evidence.

That Joe Biden, who has been at a reasonably high level in the federal government for over forty years, including as Vice President for eight years and now President should appear to be ignorant of what his own government has done and quite plausibly continues to do is astonishing. After all, Biden was VP when Victoria Nuland worked for the Obama Administration as the driving force behind efforts in 2013-2014 to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who is the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square accompanied by Senator John McCain to encourage the protesters.

A Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé who is married to leading neocon Robert Kagan, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. As Biden’s tweet even recognized in a backhanded way, it is hard to imagine that any U.S. administration would tolerate a similar attempt by a foreign nation to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, particularly if it were backed by a $5 billion budget, but Washington has long believed in a global double standard for evaluating its own behavior. Biden clearly is part of that and also clearly does not understand what he is doing or saying.

Nuland is most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The Obama and Biden Administration’s replacement of the government in Kiev was the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea. That point of conflict has continued to this day, with a U.S. warships in the Black Sea engaging in exercises with the Ukrainian navy.

Biden was also with the Obamas when they chose to destabilize and destroy Libya. Nor should Russia itself be forgotten. Boris Yeltsin was re-elected president of Russia in 1996 after the Clinton Administration pumped billions of dollars into his campaign, enabling him to win a close oligarch-backed victory that had been paid for and managed by Washington. Joe Biden was a Senator at the time.

And then there is Iran, where democratically elected Mohammed Mossadeq was deposed by the CIA in 1953 and replaced by the Shah. The Shah was replaced by the Islamic Republic in turn in 1979 and the poisoned relationship between Washington and Tehran has constituted a tit-for-tat quasi-cold war ever since, marked by assassinations and sabotage.

And who can forget Chile where Salvador Allende was removed by the CIA in 1973 and replaced by Augusto Pinochet? Or Cuba and the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 where the CIA failed to bring about regime change in Havana? Can it be that Joe Biden cannot recall any of those “interventions,” which were heavily covered in the international media at the time?

And to make up the numbers, Joe can possibly consider the multiple “interferences in elections,” which is more precisely what he was referring to. As a CIA officer stationed in Europe and the Middle East in and 1970s through the early 1990s, I can assure him that I personally know about nearly continuous interference in elections in places like France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, all of which had prominent communist parties, some of which were on the verge of government entry. Bags of money went to conservative parties, politicians were bribed and journalists bought. In fact, during that time period I would dare to say there was hardly an election that the United States did not somehow get involved in.

Does it still go on? The U.S. has been seeking regime change in Syria since 2004 and is currently occupying part of the country. And of course, Russia is on the receiving end of a delegitimization process through a controlled western media that is seeking to get rid of Putin by exploiting a CIA and western intelligence funded opposition. China has no real opposition or open elections, nor can its regime plausibly be changed, but it is constantly being challenged by depicting it and its behavior in the most negative fashion possible.

Joe Biden really should read up on the history of American political and military interventions, regime changes and electoral interference worldwide. He just might learn something. The most important point might, however, elude him. All of the intervention and all of the deaths have turned out badly both for the U.S. and for the people and countries being targeted. Biden has taken a bold step to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, though it now appears that that decision might be in part reversed. Much better to complete the process and also do the same thing in places like Iraq, Somalia and Syria. The whole world will be a better place for it.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/01/2021 - 23:40
Published:7/1/2021 11:01:57 PM
[Markets] The Tyranny Of The Minority Is Just As Dangerous As The Tyranny Of The Majority The Tyranny Of The Minority Is Just As Dangerous As The Tyranny Of The Majority

Authored by Michael Rectenwald via The Mises Institute,

In a previous installment, I pointed out that in On Liberty, John Stuart Mill advocated for minority opinion to be specially “encouraged and countenanced,” and thus that Mill was not an absolute free market thinker where opinion is concerned. Mill suggested that minority opinion should not only be tolerated but requires special encouragement in order to gain a fair hearing. Such special encouragement would amount to the subsidization of opinion, most likely by the state. Thus, Mill did not argue for a free and fair “marketplace of ideas.”

It should be noted here that “the marketplace of ideas” is not only an analogy, where commodities are to markets what ideas are to the public square. The public square is also market in its own right, and not only metaphorically associated with the market. The expression “the marketplace of ideas” somewhat obscures rather than clarifying the situation of opinion.

Further, I argued that Mill’s advocacy for special treatment of minority opinion does not solve the problem of “social tyranny,” which Mill suggested is “more formidable than many kinds of political oppression.” Rather, when minority opinion is foisted on the majority through special sanctions or subsidies, “social tyranny” is actually increased rather than diminished. To the extent that a majority is unwillingly subjected to minority opinion, the majority is tyrannized.

This argument begs the question: What about the opinion of minorities? After all, the mere mention of minority opinion invokes minorities themselves. Don’t the opinions of minorities require special encouragement, special sanctions, especially when said opinions have to do with fair and equal treatment of minorities themselves? Doesn’t a free market in opinion, or an unfettered marketplace of ideas, drown out or otherwise suppress the opinions of minorities? Wouldn’t a free market in opinion thus serve to perpetuate discrimination, lack of recognition, or unfair treatment? Isn’t the state required to rectify the situation through special subsidies for opinion?

Leaving the nonremunerated voicing of opinion aside—that is, opinion expressed casually or even in public demonstrations—the question becomes whether in the actual marketplace of ideas, state subsidies are necessary for the opinions of minorities to get a fair hearing.

The question implies that state actors are specially qualified or motivated to subsidize minority opinion in order to rectify the unfair treatment of minorities—that the state is the most qualified entity for intervening in opinion to favor minorities. But it is easily demonstrated that the market provides more incentives to advocate for the fair treatment of minorities than does the state. Markets encourage legal equality among buyers and sellers. The state, meanwhile, has no monopoly on equal treatment—to say the least. Quite to the contrary, states have more incentives to discriminate against particular groups, as state prerogatives often depend on discrimination. Consider the treatment of the Japanese and Germans in America during World War II, or the treatment of Middle Easterners after 9/11. (Notice how discrimination against Middle Easterners morphed into the consternation about “Islamophobia” when the prerogatives of the state shifted from “the war on terror” under George W. Bush to the incorporation of Islamic immigrants into the electorate under Barack Obama.)

Thus, we should be quite skeptical when states impose the opinion of minorities on the majority through special programs in schools and elsewhere. Such programs likely involve “positive discrimination” against particular groups, consistent with state objectives.

In fact, discrimination is precisely what is involved in the teaching of critical race theory in schools, the military, the intelligence agencies, and in other government agencies today. Critical race theory is a minority opinion that even most blacks do not agree with. It is being foisted on the majority to establish discrimination against “whites,” in order to destroy a political contingent deemed inimical to the Democratic Party–run state. It is a means for marginalizing oppositional elements and driving others into the voting ranks of the Democratic Party by means of ideology. The state imposition of minority opinion does not serve minorities.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/01/2021 - 20:20
Published:7/1/2021 7:30:33 PM
[Markets] Federal Cash For Illinois Is Vastly More Than Commonly Reported: $138 Billion And Counting Federal Cash For Illinois Is Vastly More Than Commonly Reported: $138 Billion And Counting

By Mark Glennon of Wirepoints

We finally have a more comprehensive tally of the grotesquely oversized federal assistance dispensed under the guise of pandemic relief. It’s from CRFB, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and it’s broken down by states. It obliterates claims made by Illinois lawmakers that they’ve put this state on a sound fiscal path. Illinois, instead, was temporarily bailed out.

The total amount committed or disbursed to public and private sector recipients in Illinois is $138 billion and growing, the CRFB shows. Another $24 billion is allowed for Illinois under federal legislation already passed.

The current total of $138 billion may even shock many who have been following the federal bailout. That’s because most reporting to date has focused only on the direct aid to the state under the recent American Rescue Plan Act, which was only $8.1 billion. CRFB’s $138 billion total state aid includes distributed aid to both the public and private sector across Illinois:

  • Loan and Grant Programs: $63.5 billion

  • State & Local Funding: $16.2 billion

  • Income Support: $24.3 billion

  • Direct Payments: $10.0 billion

  • Health Spending: $7.86 billion

  • Other Spending: $4.01 billion

  • Administrative: $5.95 billion

  • Lending Facilities: $4.04 billion

  • Other Loan Purchase Programs: $1.59 billion

The full breakdown is available on their site by clicking through for details.

The portion that went to the private sector bolstered the state by keeping tax receipts far higher than predicted. The direct aid to local governments also benefited the state by taking the pressure off on areas where expenses are shared, such as school funding and allocation of the Local Government Distributive Fund. The state is floating on federal money.

CRFB’s numbers blow to smithereens claims made Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers that the State of Illinois has gotten its financial house back in order. The state’s new budget is a “giant step forward to true fiscal stability,” Pritzker says. He claims Illinois achieved “a level of fiscal prudence not seen in our state for two decades…We are also paying off pandemic borrowing early, we’re meeting our full pension obligation, and we’re saving taxpayers tens of millions of taxpayer dollars along the way.” One Democrat in the General Assembly after another has claimed basically the same.

That’s hogwash. The direct aid alone, to most states, including Illinois, exceeded any fiscal harm caused by the pandemic. We made that case earlier, as have many others.

The CRFB reaffirmed that and went further, addressing the impact of the indirect aid. Earlier this month it reported:

New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) for the month of April shows that disposable personal income (DPI) was 12.0 percent above pre-pandemic levels, or 3.8 percent above pre-pandemic levels excluding COVID relief. We have documented in a number of analyses how the $5.9 trillion ($5.2 trillion net) of enacted COVID relief to date has propelled personal income to record levels. [Emphasis theirs.]

It’s true for Illinois, too, which is clear from BEA numbers. Personal income for the state’s most recently reported quarter ending in March is 17% over pre-pandemic highs. That’s thanks to the tsunami of federal cash, not fiscal genius in Springfield.

Importantly, much more has yet to be included in CRFB numbers, as explained in their methodology page. Still to be added are most funds that go to individuals that are not currently tagged by state including Economic Impact Payments, unemployment insurance benefits, and various tax breaks. CRFB updates its report weekly so its totals will grow. In addition, another $4 trillion of federal aid legislation in further aid looms being pushed by the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats which also isn’t in CRFB’s numbers!

CRFB is a credible, reputable, bipartisan source. Its board of directors includes Erskine Bowles, who served as director of the Small Business Administration under President Clinton; Mitch Daniels, former Republican governor of Indiana; Leon Panetta, who served in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations; and former Republican U.S. Senator Alan Simpson.

The only place I see where CRFB’s numbers might be overstated is their inclusion of $3.2 billion of loans from the Federal Reserve Bank under the Municipal Liquidity Facility, which is being paid back in next year’s budget. However, that’s tiny in relation to the whole. I suppose one might also recognize that much of the federal bailout has been lost to fraud. About $260 billion of PPP and other loans may be lost to fraud, according to a new report in Reason, and a full half of unemployment benefits probably went to fraudsters, according to a detailed Axios report.

Meanwhile, much of Illinois and the rest of the nation is crippled by a severe labor shortage. President Biden recently admitted, in essence, that the policy of paying people not to work is designed to force the private sector to increase wages to compete with that federal policy.

So, instead of wages being bid up as they should be – by a strong economy like we had before the pandemic – they are now to be bid up by gifts from Washington that taxpayers will have to repay through taxes or inflation.

Has any developed nation ever undertaken such madness? The insanity of American fiscal and monetary policy is matched only by the gall of Illinois politicians who are using it to claim they’ve put Illinois on the right track.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/01/2021 - 17:20
Published:7/1/2021 4:29:37 PM
[World] At the CIA, Dave Marlowe is an inspired choice for a critical job

In December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor’s self-immolation to protest government corruption sparked the Arab Spring, with levels of unrest unprecedented since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The White House was pressing hard for the latest intelligence and analysis on which President Obama would rely to respond to the ... Published:7/1/2021 2:32:12 PM

[] The Deranged Trump-Hating Left Is Still Screaming Published:7/1/2021 1:33:33 PM
[Markets] Decisions That Would Cause U.S. To Lose World War III Decisions That Would Cause U.S. To Lose World War III

Authored by David Pyne via RealClear History,

This month marked the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union which took place on June 22, 1941. Hitler’s witting or unwitting pre-emptive attack against the Red Army, which were massed on the borders of eastern Germany, western Poland, Hungary, and Romania poised for their own invasion, enabled the Germans to capture or destroy tens of thousands of Soviet tanks and aircraft. Some authors who have examined Soviet archives have suggested the offensive was scheduled to take place a mere two and a half weeks after Hitler’s attack.

Despite the fact that the Soviet Union had joined with Nazi Germany in invading Poland and starting World War II as co-aggressors, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill responded to the German invasion of its former Soviet ally by pledging their unqualified support for the Soviet war effort no matter what the consequences of their unqualified political and military support might be. U.S. and U.K government war propagandists went to work to deceive their citizens into believing that the world’s greatest mass murderer, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, was, in fact, a gallant ally of democracy and freedom in the fight against Nazi Germany.

In the four years that followed, the U.S. and Britain sent 15,000 combat aircraft and nearly 23,000 tanks and armored fighting vehicles to the Soviet Union along with even more massive quantities of strategic materials. Without these, Stalin stated he could not have produced the tanks, aircraft, and other heavy weapons needed to defeat Nazi Germany. This Allied military-industrial aid put the wartime needs of U.S. and U.K. forces as well as their own citizens behind Stalin’s needs and requisitions while also providing the Soviets with atomic bomb making plans and materials according to the new book “Stalin’s War-A New History of World War II”. This critical U.S. assistance to the Soviet atomic bomb program likely enabled the Soviets to explode their first atomic and hydrogen bombs several years earlier than they otherwise would have. 

Lend-Lease allowed Soviets to triumph

This massive U.S.-U.K. military aid provided the Red Army with the ability to engage in mobile counteroffensives, which succeeded many times in encircling German forces, that it otherwise would have largely lacked. The 430,000 US trucks and jeeps provided under Lend-Lease constituted the bulk of Soviet motorized capabilities of the Red Army and enabled the Red Army to overrun half of Europe and much of Asia while annexing parts or all of nine countries and conquering half a dozen more during and after the war.  

While a reasonable argument could have been made for providing the Soviets with some military aid to help them halt the German advance in the east, by 1943, the rationale for this enormous U.S.-U.K. military-industrial assistance had largely evaporated. This is due to the fact that, after the Battle of Kursk, the German Army was never again able to mount an offensive in the east and began a rapid retreat culminating in the Soviet capture of the German capital of Berlin less than two years later along with the eastern half of Europe. 

After the fall of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Blitzkrieg continued in the Far East in what later came to be known as Operation “August Storm” as the USSR entered the war against Imperial Japan exactly one week before it surrendered, claiming Manchuria, northern Japan and North Korea in a rapid armored advance that lasted scarcely more than two weeks. Inexplicably, the U.S. continued its Lend-Lease military-industrial assistance program to the Soviets including about sixty U.S. warships and dozens of amphibious landing ships until September 1945 — a month after Imperial Japan had surrendered. 

U.S., U.K., helped create Iron Curtain

Shortly after the war, Winston Churchill feigned surprise when he announced in his famous speech at Fulton, Mo. in March 1946 that an “Iron Curtain” now divided Europe and claimed that he alone had foreseen this unfortunate event. His claim was questionable given that he and FDR had authored the Yalta Agreement and previous agreements which had ceded virtually all of eastern Europe and much of Central Europe to the Soviets, thereby creating the Iron Curtain, leading to the Cold War between the Western and Soviet blocs that lasted half a century. Of course, for any educated observer of international affairs and world history at the time, the end result of the U.S.-U.K. decision to provide massive military-industrial aid to the Soviet Union was clear from the onset.  

When the war began, the Soviet Union was the largest and most heavily armed nation in the world by far -- more than 33 times larger than Nazi Germany at its greatest extent -- and it spanned two continents. The decision of the U.S. and U.K. to ally themselves with the Soviet Union along with the enormous amount of direct military and military industrial aid they provided the Soviets ensured that the Soviet Union, not the Western Powers, would be the dominant power in postwar Europe. 

Rather than merely liberating it from Nazi control and rebuilding postwar Germany as an ally of freedom against totalitarian aggression, at the Yalta Conference, the Big Three — FDR, Churchill, and Stalin decided to destroy and dismember Germany into six pieces and starve millions of its citizens as part of their implementation of the Soviet-inspired Morgenthau Plan. This decision proved to have devastating consequences for U.S. national security, let alone the hundreds of millions of captive peoples enslaved in the newly expanded Communist bloc. 

Following Germany’s defeat, General George S. Patton was very upset with the Truman-Eisenhower continuation of FDR’s appeasement policy of the Soviet Union and their decision to unjustly hold 70 million Germans collectively responsible for the crimes of Hitler and top Nazi leaders. He resolved to resign his commission and go on a speaking tour of the United States to urge a patriotic call to support a policy designed to confront, contain and, possibly even roll back, Soviet tyrannical control of Central and Eastern Europe. Tragically, Patton was assassinated in a joint OSS-NKVD conspiracy mere days before he was able to do so, depriving the free world of one of its most visionary leaders.  

European balance of power tilted

One of the main results of the war was that the balance of power in Europe was destroyed and the Soviet Union became the new hegemon of continental Europe and, for a time following the Communist takeover of mainland China, Asia as well. Visionary anti-Communist statesmen such as former President Herbert Hoover, predicted this tragic and apocalyptic outcome if the Western Powers chose to ally with the Soviet Union. The U.S. and U.K. could have won the war against Nazi Germany and liberated Europe without their Unholy Alliance with what President Ronald Reagan later rightly termed “an evil empire”, let alone without providing massive military aid to it. It would have been far better for the U.S. to have simply signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union and raced them to see which of the two countries could liberate the Nazi-occupied countries first. That way, the U.S. and U.K. would not have been complicit in the many horrific Soviet war crimes including the mass murderers of millions of people who dared resist the Soviet Communist onslaught helping to extinguish the flames of freedom from nearly a dozen nations in Eastern Europe, which yearned to be liberated from their enslavement by tyrannical dictators. 

During the Pacific war, the Chinese National Revolutionary Army, led by Chiang Kai Shek, fought gallantly against the Japanese. By tying down nearly 80 percent of Japan’s Army divisions in China enabled the U.S. to engage in a Pacific island-hopping campaign that defeated Japan in three and a half years. They were able to accomplish this great feat despite being provided with only about 1 percent of the military assistance that the U.S. had given to the Soviet Union. 

In 1946, the year after World War II ended, America’s Chinese Nationalist allies seemed on the verge of defeating Mao’s Soviet-backed Red Army and winning the Chinese Civil War. Then, General George C. Marshall, who had been sent by President Truman to lead U.S. foreign policy with regards to China, decided to cut off all military and logistical support to Chinese Nationalist forces, depriving them of the fuel and ammunition they needed to prevent China from being taken over by murderous Communist forces.

In the end communism prevailed

In response to this unprecedented gift by the Truman Administration to Stalin and CCP leader Mao Zedong, the U.S. Congress voted to approve $1 billion in military aid to help the Nationalists avert total defeat. Sadly, President Truman and Secretary Marshall ordered the U.S. Pacific Fleet to dump all of the tanks, aircraft and other U.S. weapons that Congress had been earmarked for the Nationalist freedom fighters into the Pacific Ocean rather than allow them to fall into Chinese Nationalist hands. In the meantime, Stalin had, since August 1945, been arming and equipping Mao’s Red Army forces with the latest tanks and other weapons in the Manchurian sanctuary we granted to him to help Mao Communize all of mainland China. When Mao proclaimed victory in the Chinese Civil War on Oct. 1, 1949, the only surprising thing about it is that it took them so long to finalize their victory.

While claiming to be fighting a war for democracy against totalitarian tyranny, U.S. leaders  enabled the Soviet and Chinese Communists to double the amount of territory under their control from 16 percent to 30 percent of the world’s landmass. Thanks to FDR and Truman, the number of people enslaved by godless Communism increased by nearly 430 percent from 170 million in 1939 to 730 million a mere decade later -- 30 percent of the world’s people. Communist tyrants have since mass murdered nearly a billion people including forced abortions and infanticide — lives that otherwise might have been spared. 

Did U.S. really “win” cold war?

While the U.S. supposedly “won” the Cold War when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, World War II’s tragic aftermath has continued as Russia signed a military alliance agreement with Communist China two decades ago in July 2001, forming the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Russian President Putin has rightly called “a reborn version of the Warsaw Pact”.  If Roosevelt and Truman had not chosen to prolong the Second World War unnecessarily for seven months after the issuance of the MacArthur Memorandum in January 1945 which documented five separate Japanese surrender attempts, Stalin would not have been able to conquer Manchuria, enabling him to provide a safe haven to Communist Chinese forces. 

Had Truman not cut off all U.S. military support to Chinese Nationalist forces from 1946-49, Communist China and North Korea (with whom we remain technically in a state of war due to the fact no peace treaty ending the Korean War was ever signed) would not exist today. China and Korea would be united and free, having fought as allies in our Cold (and sometimes ‘hot’) War against the Soviet Union and its Communist vassal state allies.  Meanwhile, had the U.S. not provided such vast amounts of military industrial assistance to the Soviet Union helping them conquer or annex vast territories during and after the war, Russia might be considerably weaker today and might pose a significantly lower nuclear threat. 

Certainly, the decision of U.S. leaders from President George H.W. Bush to Barack Obama to unilaterally disarm America of over 94 percent of its Cold War-era nuclear arsenal, while leaving its citizens largely defenseless against the existential threats of nuclear missile and Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack in the face of a massive nuclear buildup by our Sino-Russian alliance enemies, bodes ill for America’s future prospects. However, if the U.S. ends up fighting another major war against Russia and its Communist Chinese and North Korean allies in the near future, and goes down to defeat, an outcome which is more likely than not, future generations of Americans may recall that it was the decisions of two U.S. presidents -- Roosevelt and Truman — over 75 years ago, that sowed the seeds of America’s demise and helped ensure we would lose the war for our very national existence.

*  *  *

David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and H.Q. staff officer with a M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as Deputy Director of National Operations for the EMP Caucus on National and Homeland Security and as a Vice President of the Association of the United States Army’s Utah Chapter.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/30/2021 - 23:40
Published:6/30/2021 10:56:34 PM
[Markets] Biden Sends Federal Motor Fuels Tax Packing, Washington Insider Says Biden Sends Federal Motor Fuels Tax Packing, Washington Insider Says

By Mark Solomon of FreightWaves,

President Joe Biden has thrust a dagger into the heart of the federal motor fuels tax and, with it, the trust fund that’s long been dedicated to paying for highway projects.

So says Randy Mullett, a multi-decade veteran of the inside-the-beltway transportation wars and head of a Virginia-based consultancy. Biden’s staunch opposition to an increase in the federal fuels tax — which hasn’t been raised since 1993 — sends a clear message to Congress that the Highway Trust Fund, which for decades has used fuel tax proceeds to funnel money to states for road infrastructure projects, has reached the end of its useful life, Mullett said. The Trust Fund was created in 1956 to fund the interstate highway system and other road projects.

“The days of a dedicated highway trust fund are finished,” Mullett said Tuesday afternoon during a virtual session at the SMC3 annual summer meeting.

House Democrats had been tinkering with the idea of raising the fuel tax by indexing it to inflation, Mullett said. Biden’s pronouncement quashed those efforts, he said. From now on, every infrastructure project will compete with other federal spending initiatives for the same pot of money, a prospect no one in the transport ecosystem relishes, Mullett said.

Bereft of federal money, states will be pressured to continue hiking their fuel taxes, Mullett said. Over the past three decades, states have repeatedly raised fuel taxes and related fees to pay for necessary infrastructure improvements.

Perhaps the oldest unresolved issue in official Washington has been how to pay for infrastructure improvements absent any increases in the federal fuels tax. The tax has sat at 22.4 cents per gallon on diesel and 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline since President Bill Clinton’s first year in office. Groups including shippers, carriers and the 3 million-strong U.S. Chamber of Commerce have repeatedly endorsed measures to raise fuel taxes. However, the Obama administration consistently rejected it as a regressive tax, a position that Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, has adopted. The Trump administration talked early on about supporting a fuel tax hike, but nothing ever materialized.

Adding to the cost squeeze is the administration’s refusal to support taxes or user fees on the use of electric-powered vehicles (EV), which currently escape levies because they don’t require fossil fuels. Though still a distinct minority of the nation’s truck and auto fleets, EVs will become much more commonplace on American roads over the next 20 years. Hardly anyone disputes the need to capture EV activity and tax their use. The question is how it will be done.

The urgency behind the “how-do-we-pay-for-this” question has reached a crescendo, with the administration and a bipartisan group of senators agreeing to an eight-year, $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, and with the House and Senate dueling over how to reauthorize the 2015 FAST Act, the last federal transport-spending bill. It is expected that the legislation, if a version gets enacted, will cost an additional $500 billion to $600 billion depending on its duration.

With costs running far ahead of revenues due to years of inaction at the federal level, the trust fund regularly runs out of money and requires periodic capital transfers from the general treasury to meet its commitments. The House’s reauthorization bill, which is set to be voted on by the full chamber later this week, contains $148 billion in transfers over the next five years. The Senate is still putting together its version.

It is unclear whether the administration-backed initiative and the reauthorization legislation will be consolidated or will move forward on different tracks. Either way, there is more infrastructure funding on the table than at any time in recent history.

Panelists at the session said transport and business interests need to be on guard for any form of revenue-raising coming out of both branches. The Biden administration has proposed hiking the corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21% to pay for infrastructure programs, a move that would be a “huge hit” on retailers, said Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail industry trade group. 

There has also been bipartisan talk of a bill-of-lading tax, which would have a direct and enormous impact on all of logistics. Mullett said the broad strokes of the measure are “ill-defined” and that it’s unlikely to go anywhere. However, anything is possible when the executive and legislative branches are “scrambling for dollars,” he said.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/30/2021 - 21:40
Published:6/30/2021 8:56:14 PM
[Markets] Kamala Harris Staffers Are Leaking -- And Her Office Is A 'Dysfunctional' Mess Kamala Harris Staffers Are Leaking -- And Her Office Is A 'Dysfunctional' Mess

Vice President Kamala Harris' office is a toxic, 'abusive' environment where "people are thrown under the bus from the very top,' according to 22 current and former staffers, administration officials and associates of Harris and President Biden.

In a Politico exposé reminiscent of a Feb. 2019 New York Times in which over fifty current and former staffers decried her dysfunctional campaign (h/t @mattdizwhitlock), Harris and her Chief of Staff, Tina Flournoy, are slammed for running an office with "low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials."

Vice President Kamala Harris, Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy

"It all starts at the top," said one administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity (as they all did).

"People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment," said another person with direct knowledge of Harris' office. "It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like shit."

As Politico notes, "The dysfunction in the VP’s ranks threatens to complicate the White House’s carefully crafted image as a place staffed by a close-knit group of professionals working in concert to advance the president’s agenda. It’s pronounced enough that members of the president’s own team have taken notice and are concerned about the way Harris’ staffers are treated."

Harris spokeswoman Symone Sanders - a racist who mocked a white Trump supporter after he was beaten by a group of black men - and was passed over for Biden's press secretary, pushed back against the nearly two-dozen accounts of dysfunction, saying Flournoy has an "open door policy," and that "Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina."

Symone Sanders

Sanders called the anonymous sources "cowards."

"We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day. What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like ‘welcome to the club,'" Sanders continued. "We have created a culture where people, if there is anything anyone would like to raise, there are avenues for them to do so. Whoever has something they would like to raise, they should raise it directly."

Harris and Flournoy's defenders are pulling the race card - saying that "Black women in particular—are subjected to standards that men often don’t have to clear. A tough and demanding office environment may be seen as a virtue for one and a sign of disorder and lack of leadership acumen for another."

Staffers looking for an exit.

According to the report, some of Harris' aides are looking for other employment opportunities, while others have left already. In recent days, two top advance staffers, Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, left the 'dysfunctional' office. And while Harris' team said the departures were 'long-planned', two people familiar with the departures call bullshit.

For DeFranceschi, the deputy director of advance, the departure came down to a “difference in opinion on how things should run,” according to another person familiar with the matter, who said that Harris’ office is run “very different” from the Obama operation, where DeFranceschi previously worked. “If you have an opinion about how things should run and it’s not listened to, that can be frustrating.”

DeFranceschi did not respond to a request for comment.

A third Harris aide who worked on her digital team, Rajan Kaur, left the staff after opting not to relocate to Washington from Brooklyn.

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the president, defended Flournoy as well as the decision to keep news of the border trip contained among a small group of people, saying Harris’ office didn’t want it to leak or “turn it into a spectacle.”

It was closely held and there may be people whose feelings were a little hurt on her staff that they weren't brought into the discussion,” Dunn said. “But any suggestion that it was mishandled or kept a secret from people who needed to know about the arrangements or needed to know about it is absolutely not true.”

Asked if she was aware of the complaints about the VP’s office, Dunn replied that it was “not anywhere near what you are describing.” -Politico

Flournoy, a veteran of the Clinton White House and Al Gore's 2000 campaign, is part of an 'informal group of Black women who’ve worked together for decades in Democratic politics, which includes Donna Brazile, Minyon Moore, Leah Daughtry and Yolanda Caraway,' according to the report.

"Look, [Tina’s] strong, she's intelligent, she's driven, and she expects strong, intelligent, driven people around her," said Daughtry, adding "But some people may find strong, driven, smart people intimidating, but I think that’s more projection than reality because that’s just not Tina's intent or style. And nothing in her experience would lead you to think that she’s an intimidating person."

So the staffers are the problem? Hilarious.

Politico paints a different picture - having developed a reputation for being Kamala's gatekeeper, often refusing to delegate while second-guessing others in Harris' office.

Apparently, she did the same thing as Bill Clinton's post-presidential chief of staff.

"People who Clinton knew for decades all of a sudden couldn’t get through to him because Tina choked off contact," one of the people said. "Because Clinton didn’t use email," just his blackberry, "she was able to keep many FOBs [friends of Bill] out."

Morale is "rough," and in many ways 'similar to the failed presidential campaign and her Senate office,' according to a former Senate aide who speaks with Harris' staffers.

Read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/30/2021 - 19:20
Published:6/30/2021 6:23:11 PM
[Markets] What The Pentagon Papers 50th Anniversary Means What The Pentagon Papers 50th Anniversary Means

Authored by Peter van Buren via WeMeantWell.com,

It was a humid June on the east coast 50 years ago when the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers. The anniversary is worth marking, for reasons sweeping and grand, and for reasons deeply personal.

In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret U.S. government history of the Vietnam War, to the Times. No one had ever published such classified documents before, and reporters feared prosecution under the Espionage Act. A federal court ordered the Times to cease publication after an initial flurry of excerpts were printed, the first time in U.S. history a federal judge had invoked prior restraint and shattered the 1A.

In a legal battle too important to have been written first as a novel, the NYT fought back. The Supreme Court on June 30, 1971 handed down a victory for the First Amendment in New York Times Company v. United States, and the Times won the Pulitzer Prize. The Papers helped convince Americans the Vietnam War was wrong, their government could not be trusted, and The People informed by a free press could still have a say in things.

This 50 year anniversary rightfully marks all that.

Today, journalists expect a Pulitzer for a snarky tweet that mocks Trump. In our current shameful state where the MSM serves as an organ of the Deep State, the anniversary of the Papers also serves as a reminder to millennials OnlyFansing as journalists that there were once people in their jobs who valued truth and righteousness. Perhaps this may inspire some MSM propagandist to realize he might still run with lions instead of slinking home to feed his cats.

The 50th anniversary of the Papers is also a chance to remember how fragile the victory in 1971 was. The Supreme Court left the door open for prosecution of journalists who publish classified documents by focusing narrowly on prohibiting the government from prior restraint. Politics and public opinion, not law, have kept the feds exercising discretion in not prosecuting the press, a delicate dance around an 800-pound gorilla loose in the halls of democracy. The government, particularly under Obama, has meanwhile aggressively used the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to those same journalists.

There is also a very personal side to this anniversary.

When my book, We Meant Well, turned me into a State Department whistleblower and set off a wall of the bad brown falling on me, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg sent me two of his books, unannounced, in the mail.

He wrote a personal message inside each one, explaining to me what I was doing was hard, scary, and above all, a duty. It changed me and my understanding of what was happening to me. I wasn’t arguing procedure with the State Department and grubbing for my pension, I was defending the First Amendment itself. I wrote Dan a thank you note. Here’s some of it.

Thank you for sending me copies of your books, and thank you even more for writing “with admiration for your truth telling” inside the cover flap of one. I am humbled, because I waited my whole life to realize today I had already met you.

In 1971 I was 10 years old, living in Ohio. The Vietnam War was a part of our town’s life, same as the Fruehauf tractor-trailer plant with its 100 percent union workforce, the A&P and the Pledge of Allegiance. Nobody in my house went to war, but neighbors had gold stars in their windows and I remember one teacher at school, the one with the longer hair and the mustache, talking about Vietnam.

It meant little to me, involved with oncoming puberty, but I remember my mom bringing home from the supermarket a newsprint quickie paperback edition of the Pentagon Papers. There of course was no Internet and you could not buy the Times where I lived. Mom knew of politics and Vietnam maybe even less than I did, but the Papers were all over the news and it seemed the thing to do to spend the $1.95. When I tried to make sense of the names and foreign places it made no impact on me.

I didn’t understand then what you had done. While I was trying to learn multiplication, you were making photocopies of classified documents. As you read them, you understood the government had knowledge early on the war could not be won, and that continuing would lead to many times more casualties than was ever admitted publicly.

A lot of people inside the government had read those same Papers and understood their content, but only you decided that instead of simply going along with the lies, or privately using your new knowledge to fuel self-eating cynicism, you would try to persuade U.S. Senators Fulbright and McGovern to release the papers on the Senate floor.

When they did not have the courage, even as they knew the lies continued to kill Americans they represented, you brought the Papers to the New York Times. The Times then echoed the courage of great journalists and published the Papers, fought off the Nixon administration by calling to the First Amendment, and brought the truth about lies to America. That’s when my mom bought a copy of the Papers at the A&P.

You were considered an enemy of the United States because when you encountered something inside of government so egregious, so fundamentally wrong, you risked your own fortune, freedom, and honor to make it public. You almost went to jail, fighting off charges under the same draconian Espionage Act the government still uses today to silence others who stand in your shadow.

In 2009 I volunteered to serve in Iraq for my employer of some 23 years, the Department of State. While I was there I saw such waste in our reconstruction program, such lies put out by two administrations about what we were (not) doing in Iraq, that it seemed to me that the only thing I could do — had to do — was tell people about what I saw. In my years of government service, I experienced my share of dissonance when it came to what was said in public and what the government did behind the public’s back. In most cases, the gap was filled only with scared little men and women, and what was left unsaid hid their flaws.

What I saw in Iraq was different. There, the space between what we were doing (the waste), and what we were saying (the chant of success) was filled with numb soldiers and devastated Iraqis, not nerveless bureaucrats. It wasn’t Vietnam in scale or impact, but it was again young Americans risking their lives, believing for something greater than themselves, when instead it was just another lie. Another war started and run on lies, while again our government worked to keep the truth from the people.

I am unsure what I accomplished with my own book, absent getting retired-by-force from the State Department for telling a truth that embarrassed them. So be it; most people at State will never understand the choice of conscience over career, the root of most of State’s problems.

But Dan, what you accomplished was this. When I faced a crisis of conscience, to tell what I knew because it needed to be told, coming to realize I was risking at the least my job if not jail, I remembered that newsprint copy of the Papers from 1971 which you risked the same and more to release. I took my decision in the face of the Obama administration having already charged more people under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined, but more importantly, I took my decision in the face of your example.

Later, whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden would do the same. I know you have encouraged them, too, through your example and with personal messages.

So thank you for the books you sent Dan. Thank you for your courage so that when I needed it, I had an example to assess myself against other than the limp men and women working now for a Department of State too scared of the truth to rise to claim even a whisper of the word courage for themselves.

Fast-forward to 2021. In these last few years the term “whistleblower” has been co-opted such that a Deep State operative was able to abuse the term to backdoor impeachment against a sitting president. The use of anonymous sources has devolved from brave individuals speaking out against a government gone wrong into a way for journalists to manufacture “proof” of anything they want, from claims the president was a Russian spy to the use of the military to create a photo op in Lafayette Park.

On this anniversary we look at individuals like Ellsberg and reporters like those at the Times and know it is possible for individuals with courage to make a difference. That is something worth remembering, and celebrating.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/30/2021 - 00:05
Published:6/29/2021 11:17:39 PM
[Markets] Biden Plans Anti-Monopoly Executive Order Targeting Big Business Biden Plans Anti-Monopoly Executive Order Targeting Big Business

Yesterday, a US district judge tossed out an anti-trust case brought against Facebook by the federal government and a coalition of states (swiftly sending the tech giant's market cap past the $1 trillion mark). At the same time, reports emerged claiming the DoJ's anti-trust division was preparing to revive a Trump-era anti-trust push targeting Google's display ad business.

With Lina Khan in charge at the FTC and Tim Wu installed as special assistant to the president on competition, increasing attention is being paid to the Biden Administration's anti-trust plans now that breaking up Big Tech has become an issue with bipartisan support in Congress, with lawmakers of both parties supporting more scrutiny (while others said to be in the pocket of Big Tech have dutifully pushed back). As curiosity about the administration's next steps mounts, WSJ reported Tuesday evening (following an earlier report from Reuters) that the White House is planning a sweeping executive order that would direct federal agencies to strengthen oversight of industries that they perceive to be dominated by a small number of companies.

The order comes as House lawmakers are pushing ahead with a package of anti-trust legislation aimed at restraining Big Tech. The order reportedly builds on a 2016 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors. A similar anti-trust order handed down by President Barack Obama in 2016 failed to "move the needle" on the competition front.

The order will direct regulators of industries from airlines to agriculture to rethink their rule-making process to inject more competition and to give consumers, workers and suppliers more rights to challenge large producers.

Based on what we know so far, it doesn't look like the order will pressure regulators to push for the outright breakup of industrial conglomerates, large corporate farms or American tech giants.

The goal is to broaden the way policy makers approach business concentration in the U.S., going beyond conventional antitrust enforcement focused on blocking big mergers. For example, companies in industries controlled by a small number of big firms might face new rules for disclosing fees to consumers or for their relationships with suppliers, the people familiar with the effort said.

Opponents of tighter anti-trust rules are hopeful that the conservative SCOTUS will weigh in to block Biden's attempts to override Congress and unilaterally impose new restrictions on American corporations (while at the same time working out a new global minimum corporate tax that would, if ever implemented, likely increase the tax bills of American multinationals).

Big business groups and some Republicans will likely protest any new Biden measures. Businesses and conservative legal groups could challenge the rules in court, as they already have with administration moves to limit oil and gas drilling on federal lands and to extend a pandemic-related moratorium on evicting renters. Regulatory opponents are hopeful that conservative judges appointed by former President Donald Trump will make it easier to challenge Biden administration rules.

"I find the way this is being framed questionable," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist who worked in the George W. Bush administration and who has advised GOP lawmakers and candidates. "They’ve decided the economy isn’t competitive, but when you look closer at the data, you just don’t see a radical increase in concentration."

However, the supposedly "conservative" SCOTUS that Democrats spend an inordinate amount of time railing against hasn't come through for conservatives on a handful of recent rulings, including declining to strike down the CDC's eviction moratorium while also refusing to strike down Obamacare for the third time.

Per WSJ, the order will likely focus on pressuring companies to disclose more information, including fees, that would provide more transparency about pricing.

While both WSJ and Reuters reported that the executive order could land as soon as next week, White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons said no final decision has been made.

She added that the president has in the past called for giving small farmers more protection from large concentrated farms. Biden has also called for restricting the ability of employers to force workers to sign non-compete agreements limiting their ability to go work for competitors.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/29/2021 - 21:05
Published:6/29/2021 8:17:57 PM
[Markets] When A President Lies When A President Lies

Authored by David Rosen via Counterpunch.org,

“Did you, too, O friend,
suppose democracy was only for
elections, for politics, and for a party name?”

– Walt Whitman, “Democratic Vistas” (1871)

Joe Biden received much media praise for his meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on June 16th. However, little attention has been paid to an issue posed by an Associate Press reporter in a press conference following the meeting: “U.S. intelligence has said that Russia tried to interfere in the last two presidential elections, and that Russia groups are behind hacks like SolarWinds and some of the ransomware attacks you just mentioned.”

In response, Biden answered:

Let’s get this straight: How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everybody knew it?  What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he is engaged in?

He concluded,

“It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power.”

Sadly, Biden was lying, whether intentionally or out of false claim of ignorance.

It appears that NBC News was the only mainstream media outlet that raised concern about Biden’s assertion. It noted, “the United States does interfere in foreign elections. We’ve done it for decades.” It added, “denying this basic historical reality does us no favors with the rest of the world; indeed, it hampers our ability to continue to champion democracy and human rights.” It follows outlining numerous incidents in which the U.S. intervened in the domestic electoral affairs of other countries.

A quick search for information about U.S. backing of coups and military interventions in foreign elections is revealing. Wikipedia identifies 77 “U.S. involvement[s] in regime change” from the late-19th century through the 2010s; William Blum identifies 57 “instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War.” The political scientist Dov Levin notes, “between 1946 and 2000, the United States and the USSR/Russia intervened in this manner 117 times, or, put another way, in about one of every nine competitive national-level executive elections during this period.” In a 2013 study, Foreign Policy magazine detailed seven CIA orchestrated coups in the post-WW-II era.

The follow list details some of incidents when the U.S. – to use Biden’s words — “interfering with the elections directly of other countries” since World War II.

Syria, 1949 – as reported by Time magazine, it is “’one of the first covert actions that the CIA pulled off,’ since it had been created in 1947, according to Douglas Little, professor of history at Clark University.”

Iran, 1953 — CIA orchestrated a coup against Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh; according to the CIA: “It was the potential … to leave Iran open to Soviet aggression — at a time when the Cold War was at its height and when the United Sates was involved in an undeclared war in Korea against forces supported by the U.S.S.R. and China — that compelled the United States [REDACTED] in planning and executing TPAJAX [the code name of the coup operation].”

Guatemala, 1954 – the U.S. State Department moved against Guatemalan Pres. Jacobo Árbenz after he introduced land reforms that threatened the holdings of the U.S.-owned United Fruit Company; the coup forced Árbenz from power.

Cuba, 1959-present – the U.S. government supported Fulgencio Batista, a former soldier and Cuban dictator from 1933 to 1944, who seized power for a second time in a 1952 coup. On January 1, 1959, the 26th of July Movement, led by Fidel Castro, forced Batista to flee the island. In April 1961, the U.S. launched the Bay of Pigs invasion, an unsuccessful attempt to remove Castro from power. The U.S. followed with an embargo of the island that lasted 60 years. In 1983, Pres. Ronald Reagan labeled Cuba a “terrorist state” and, in 1996, the Helms-Burton Act was adopted, further tightening the embargo. In 2009, Pres. Barack Obama eased some of the restrictions but, in 2017, Pres. Donald Trump reinstated the embargo.

Congo, 1960 – the U.S. Senate’s 1972 Church Committee found that the CIA “continued to maintain close contact with Congolese who expressed a desire to assassinate [Patrice] Lumumba,” and that “CIA officers encouraged and offered to aid these Congolese in their efforts against Lumumba.”

Dominican Republic, 1961 — the Church Committee found that the CIA backed the assassination of the dictator, Rafael Trujillo, through the provision of “[m]aterial support, consisting of three pistols and three carbines, was supplied to various dissidents…. United States’ officials knew that the dissidents intended to overthrow Trujillo, probably by assassination…”

South Vietnam, 1963 – following the defeat of French forces in Dien Bien Phu in 1954 to Vietnamese nationalist forces led by Ho Chi Minh, the U.S. military sought to contain communist from the North; as detailed in the Pentagon Papers, in 1963, South Vietnamese generals — with CIA support — seized and assassinated country’s leader, Ngo Dinh Diem.

Brazil, 1964 – U.S. Ambassador Lincoln Gordon feared that Brazilian Pres. Joao Goulart would “make Brazil the China of the 1960s” and Pres. Lyndon Johnson told CIA officials planning the coup, “I think we ought to take every step that we can, be prepared to do everything that we need to do.” President Lyndon Johnson told his advisors planning the coup,

Chile, 1973 – the CIA backed the Chilian military’s violent overthrowing of the democratically elected leader, Salvador Allende, paving the way for the brutal — and U.S.-friendly — Augusto Pinochet

Afghanistan, 1979-present — during the 1980s, the CIA funded military operations to frustrate the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Fighting between CIA-funded Afghans and the Russians continued through 1988 when the Russians decided to withdraw, and the CIA ended its aid in 1992. However, the attacks of September 11, 2001, led the Bush administration to conduct operations against terrorists throughout the world.  Osama bin Laden, the apparent mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, was based in Afghanistan where a U.S. military occupation will last until September 11, 2021.

Nicaragua, 1981-1990 – in November 1981, Pres. Reagan signed National Security Directive 17, authorizing the CIA to back “democratic” leaders and take actions against the Sandinistas to stop the spread of “communism” in Nicaragua; in October 1986, Congress approved $100 million in funds for the Contras; the following year, after the discovery of private resupply efforts orchestrated by the National Security Council and Oliver North, Congress ceased all but “non-lethal” aid in 1987. The war between the Sandinistas and the Contras ended with a cease-fire in 1990.

Russia, 1996 – as originally reported in the Los Angeles Times, “a team of American political strategists who helped Gov. Pete Wilson with his abortive presidential bid earlier this year said this week that they served as Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin’s secret campaign weapon in his comeback win over a Communist challenger.” Following the recent Biden-Putin summit, The Guardian notes,” without the chaos and deprivation of the US-backed Yeltsin era, Putinism would surely not have established itself.”

Venezuela, 1998-present — since Hugo Chavez was elected president in 1998, the bipartisan Washington establishment has been out to put an end to what has been dubbed Latin America’s “pink tide” of socialism. As The Intercept reported, “In 2002, the Bush administration encouraged and supported a (failed) coup against Chavez. … In 2015, the Obama administration made the absurd decision to formally declare Venezuela an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat’ to U.S. national security.” In 2019, the Trump administration called Nicolás Maduro, “illegitimate” and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president.

Presidents lie – it goes with the job. If Biden lied about the U.S.’s role in innumerable coups and regime changes, one can only wonder what else he is lying about.

More troubling, with the exception of NBC News and The Guardian, the mainstream media chose to ignore or avoid challenging Biden, thus reinforcing their role as echo chambers of Democratic-corporate establishment agenda.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/29/2021 - 00:10
Published:6/28/2021 11:11:43 PM
[Markets] Jason Whitlock: Dear Black America, We Are Being Lied To... Jason Whitlock: Dear Black America, We Are Being Lied To...

Authored by Jason Whitlock via TheBlaze.com, (emphasis ours)

Dear Black People:

We are being lied to and set up. The mainstream media, Democratic politicians, social justice activists, and perhaps even your church pastor have led you to believe America is in the midst of a racial conflict similar to the Civil War and the civil rights movement.

They have pitted us against the Proud Boys, the KKK, rural militia groups, and Trump supporters in a made-for-TV race war. Just five years after Barack Obama completed two terms as president of the United States, we're supposed to believe America has been overrun by violent white supremacists determined to reinstate segregation, Jim Crow laws, and maybe even slavery.

Evidence of this massive wave of 1920s-style bigotry amounts to three things:

1) Republicans want all voters to show a government-issued ID;

2) On January 6, unarmed Trump supporters crashed the Capitol and took pictures inside Nancy Pelosi's office;

3) Across the nation, police kill on average 250 black men and 450 white men per year.

Oh, I almost forgot. There's a fourth piece of evidence. Colin Kaepernick failed to land a job as a starting quarterback after pissing off a large segment of football fans by taking a knee during the national anthem.

Those are the main smoking guns proving that white supremacy is the most dangerous domestic threat America faces. George Floyd, a habitual criminal and drug addict, is the Crispus Attucks of this raging race war. He is our rallying cry and hero.

It's a setup. We're being used as decoys and distractions in a war that has nothing to do with race.

The real war is about global power and the future of America's system of government. This country's elite, global citizens, and corporations prefer communism over capitalism and democracy. They prefer China's system over our system.

America has been the world's leader in racial progress and fairness. The mainstream media are not allowed to explain this to you. Advertisers, aka major corporations, will no longer support media outlets that back our current democratic and capitalistic systems of governance.

You say, what about Fox News? Turn it on. It's filled with a bunch of MyPillow and wounded soldier commercials. America's big, global corporations, the ones looking to improve their market share in China, are not financially supporting Fox News. The most popular voices at Fox News dislike China.

The faux race war the mainstream media have promoted is a tool being used to convince you and non-black Americans that our system of government has been a giant failure.

They want you to believe that a great reset is necessary to achieve fairness.

The reset is communism, which starts with the gateway drug of socialism and ends in full-blown Marxism. China is run by the Communist Chinese Party. Communism has no respect for individual freedom or religion of any kind. Communism has no tolerance for political dissent.

Your religion and free speech will not survive the reset. Communism is racial oppression's best friend. When a nation is stripped of religious faith and free speech, few people have the courage to defend the rights of minorities. The elites cozying up to China do not care about you. They are aware of how despicably China treats black people. They are aware of how China squashes dissent.

Do your own research on communism and what it stamps out and how it oppresses. Don't take my word.

You might be wondering why Oprah Winfrey or LeBron James or some other super popular black celebrity isn't telling you what I am. They're global elites. The reset won't hurt them or their loved ones. Communism favors wealthy elites far more than capitalism and democracy do. Oprah, LeBron, and the other uber-wealthy black tokens will thrive under socialism and communism.

You won't. Unless you're a 6'6" basketball star or some other black entertainer capable of entertaining the people in power. That's a tiny percentage of black people.

Why won't your favorite white cable newsman or newswoman tell you what I'm telling you? Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Joe Scarborough, aren't they our allies? No. They're not. They're political lobbyists working on behalf of the corporations and politicians pushing the reset.

OK. What about me? You might think I'm a political partisan working on behalf of conservative Republicans. That is certainly how I've been painted by left-leaning media outlets and social media platforms. And I'm now partnered with Blaze Media, a platform that leans right.

Judge my career. I have been at this for more than 30 years. I have been equally despised by the left and the right. I have publicly feuded with Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann. I've been a guest on their old Fox News and MSNBC shows. I've worked and/or written for ESPN, Fox Sports, the Huffington Post, Playboy Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal. I spent years bashing Sarah Palin.

I don't play for any political team. I've never voted. I go wherever I believe I can speak, follow, and write the truth. The truth I believe the most is that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

I believe Jesus is under attack. That's why I'm at Blaze Media. You can't defend Jesus at corporate media outlets. Advertisers won't allow it. You can discuss the religion of racism every day at ESPN, CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox Sports. But it's taboo to discuss the cure for racism — Jesus — on those platforms.

I'm not saying any of this because there's a big paycheck for black men espousing my views. The money for black broadcasters and journalists is connected to preaching the race-bait religion.

Let me be clear. I'm not broke by any stretch. I've earned and saved a substantial sum of money. But I've bypassed far more money than I've earned with the choice I've made to follow the truth wherever it leads and my refusal to support the racial groupthink dictated by global elites.

My faith won't allow me to jump on board with the lunacy, racism, and sacrilege of Black Lives Matter, a movement founded by three lesbian self-admitted trained Marxists. BLM is an atheist movement in support of LGBTQ issues and the reshaping of America into a communist country. BLM is part of the deception.

Black people tell me all the time: "I don't support the BLM organization, but I support the slogan and sentiment."

Let me translate that. You despise the devil's tree but love the fruit it produces. That's some Don Lemon-Lori Lightfoot-Van Jones-Colin Kaepernick level of hypocrisy. You know, all the Malcolm X-wannabe, anti-white radicals in relationships with white partners. They hate the white tree but can't live without the white fruit.

We have to stop letting everyone use us. We're being played. We're all being played, black and white working-class people. It's all a giant setup. Look at what they did to Trump supporters. They were manipulated into storming the Capitol, and then the corporate media portrayed it as a bloody, violent KKK rally intended to overthrow democracy. The so-called "insurrection" is an excuse for the government to seize more power and crush dissent.

We, black people, have been convinced the crushing of working-class white people is good for us.

It's not. Working-class white people, Christian white people, are our true allies, not the elites. We can't see that because of the made-for-TV hyper-focus on racial conflict.

The defunding and demoralizing of police are tactics deployed to increase violence in major cities. Local media outlets are focusing on this rise in crime, national media outlets have followed suit, and social media platforms are generating viral videos exposing the crime wave.

Guess who are the stars of this content. Black perpetrators.

It's all a massive setup. The stirring of racial animus between Obama worshippers and Trump worshippers is orchestrated by billionaire elites, executed by trained Marxists, promoted by millionaire influencers in the media, sports, and entertainment worlds, and co-signed by religious leaders pursuing popularity.

Black America, print this letter and share it with family, friends, co-workers, and, most importantly, your pastor.

My critics will tell you: "Oh, Jason Whitlock is a sellout. He hates black people."

That's laughable. It's part of the deception. I despise the people deceiving us, manipulating us to participate in a racial clash that will be used to destroy the religious and individual freedoms that liberated us.

There's a reason black and brown people across the globe fight to get into this country and excel when they do. They love the American tree and the fruit it produces.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/28/2021 - 21:30
Published:6/28/2021 8:41:16 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: Biden's Lawless Bombing Of Iraq and Syria Only Serves The Weapons Industry Funding Both Parties Greenwald: Biden's Lawless Bombing Of Iraq and Syria Only Serves The Weapons Industry Funding Both Parties

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com,

For the second time in the five months since he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden on Sunday ordered a U.S. bombing raid on Syria, and for the first time, he also bombed Iraq. The rationale offered was the same as Biden's first air attack in February: the U.S., in the words of Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.”

US President Joe Biden salutes along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin before delivering an address at the 153rd National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day in Arlington, Virginia on May 31, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Embedded in this formulaic Pentagon statement is so much propaganda and so many euphemisms that, by itself, it reveals the fraudulent nature of what was done. To begin with, how can U.S. airstrikes carried out in Iraq and Syria be "defensive” in nature? How can they be an act of “self-defense"? Nobody suggests that the targets of the bombing campaign have the intent or the capability to strike the U.S. "homeland” itself. Neither Syria nor Iraq is a U.S. colony or American property, nor does the U.S. have any legal right to be fighting wars in either country, rendering the claim that its airstrikes were "defensive” and an “act of self-defense” to be inherently deceitful.

The Pentagon's description of the people bombed by the U.S. — “Iran-backed militias groups” — is intended to obscure the reality. Biden did not bomb Iran or order Iranians to be bombed or killed. The targets of U.S. aggression were Iraqis in their own country, and Syrians in their own country. Only the U.S. war machine and its subservient media could possibly take seriously the Biden administration's claim that the bombs they dropped on people in their own countries were "defensive” in nature. Invocation of Iran has no purpose other than to stimulate the emotional opposition to the government of that country among many Americans in the hope that visceral dislike of Iranian leaders will override the rational faculties that would immediately recognize the deceit and illegality embedded in the Pentagon's arguments.

Beyond the propagandistic justification is the question of legality, though even to call it a question dignifies it beyond what it merits. There is no conceivable Congressional authorization — none, zero — to Biden's dropping of bombs in Syria. Obama's deployment of CIA operatives to Syria and years of the use of force to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad never had any Congressional approval of any kind, nor did Trump's bombing of Assad's forces (urged by Hillary Clinton, who wanted more), nor does Biden's bombing campaign in Syria now. It was and is purely lawless, illegal. And the same is true of bombing Iraq. The 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, which the House just last week voted to repeal, has long since ceased to provide any legal justification for ongoing U.S. troop presence and bombing campaigns in that country.

In its statement justifying the bombing raids, Biden's Pentagon barely even bothered to pretend any of this is legal. It did not cite either the 2002 AUMF for Iraq or the 2001 AUMF authorizing the use of force against those responsible for 9/11 (a category which, manifestly, did not include Iran, Iraq or Syria). Instead, harkening back to the days of John Yoo and Dick Cheney, the Biden Defense Department claimed that “as a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense,” and casually asserted that “as a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq."

Those claims are nothing short of a joke. Nobody seriously believes that Joe Biden has congressional authority to bomb Syria and Iraq, nor to bomb “Iranian-backed” forces of any kind. As The Daily Beast's long-time War on Terror reporter Spencer Ackerman put it on Sunday night, discussions of legality at this point are "parody” because when it comes to the U.S.'s Endless Wars in the name of the War on Terror, “we passed Lawful behind many many years ago. Authorization citations are just pretexts written by lawyers who need to pantomime at lawfulness. The U.S. presence in Syria is blatantly illegal. Such things never stop the U.S.”

That is exactly right. The U.S. government is a lawless entity. It violates the law, including its own Constitution, whenever it wants. The requirement that no wars be fought absent congressional authority is not some ancillary bureaucratic annoyance but was completely central to the design of the country. Article I, Section 8 could not be clearer: “The Congress shall have Power . . . to declare war.” Two months after I began writing about politics — back in December, 2005 — I wrote a long article compiling the arguments in the Federalist Papers which insisted that permitting the president unchecked powers to wage war without the approval of the public — through their representatives in Congress — was uniquely dangerous for ushering in the kind of tyranny from which they had just liberated themselves, and another article in 2007 which did the same:

The Constitution -- while making the President the top General in directing how citizen-approved wars are fought -- ties the use of military force to the approval of the American citizenry in multiple ways, not only by prohibiting wars in the absence of a Congressional declaration (though it does impose that much-ignored requirement), but also by requiring Congressional approval every two years merely to have an army. In Federalist 26, this is what Alexander Hamilton said in explaining the rationale behind the latter requirement (emphasis in original):

The legislature of the United States will be obliged by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. They are not at liberty to vest in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence.

Public opposition is the key check on the ill-advised use of military force. In Federalist 24, Hamilton explained that the requirement of constant democratic deliberation over the American military is "a great and real security against military establishments without evident necessity". . . .

Finding a way to impose checks on the President's war-making abilities was a key objective of the Founders. In Federalist 4, John Jay identified as a principal threat to the Republic the fact that insufficiently restrained leaders "will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal, such as a thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people."

But as Ackerman says, even discussing legality at this point is meaningless, an empty gesture, a joke. It gives far too much credit to the U.S. ruling class, as it implies that they care at all about whether their posture of endless war is legal. They know that it is illegal and do not care at all. Many have forgotten that President Obama not only involved the U.S. in a devastating regime-change war in Libya without congressional approval, but so much worse, continued to do so even after the House of Representatives voted against providing him authorization to use force in Libya. Obama ignored the House vote and kept troops in Libya anyways as part of a NATO mission, claiming that NATO and U.N. authorization somehow entitled him to do this despite his own country's Congress voting against it, reflecting overwhelming opposition among the citizenry. (The U.N. authorization — even if it could somehow supplant the U.S. Constitution — only allowed the use of force to protect civilians, not to overthrow the Libyan government, which quickly and predictably became the NATO mission, making it clearly illegal).

This is one reason I found the Trump-era discourse so suffocatingly dishonest and fraudulent. I began writing about politics in 2005 in order to document the systemic lawlessness that had become the fully bipartisan Bush/Cheney War on Terror. The executive power theories that were adopted — that the president has the right to do whatever he wants under Article II regardless of congressional laws or any other acts by courts or the citizenry, even including spying on American citizens without warrants — was the pure expression of authoritarianism and lawlessness. That lawlessness not only continued but escalated severely under the Obama administration, with the war in Libya, the claimed right to assassinate anyone in the world without due process, including U.S. citizens, and the CIA's covert regime-change war in Syria.

Having to watch the Bush/Cheney and Obama/Biden operatives who ushered in this permanent state of illegality and lawless wars prance around during the Trump years as noble defenders of the sacred rule of law — all while being celebrated and profiting greatly — was nauseating in the best of times. American elites do not care about the rule of law or the Constitution. Ignoring it is how they empower themselves at the expense of the citizenry. That is why very few will care about the fact that Biden (indulging the fiction for a moment that it was he) ordered the bombings on two countries without the slightest whiff of legal authority to do so.

While it feels frivolous even to raise questions of legality — since so few in Washington care about such matters — the real overarching question is the simplest one. Why does the U.S. continue to have a military presence in Iraq and Syria? What conceivable benefits redound to American citizens from the massive expenditures required to keep U.S. troops stationed in these two countries, the risk of those troops’ lives, the endless acquisition of bombs and other weapons to fight there, and the obvious but severe dangers from triggering escalation with powerful militaries that — unlike the U.S. — actually have a vital interest in what takes place in their bordering countries?

While the ordinary American only suffers from all of this, there are definitely some sectors of U.S. society which benefit. The corporation that Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin left in order to run the Pentagon — Raytheon — needs ongoing troop deployment and permanent warfare for its profitability. According to The New York Times, it was “Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, [who] briefed Mr. Biden on attack options early last week,” after which "Mr. Biden approved striking the three targets.” So Gen. Austin's colleagues on the Raytheon Board of Directors, as well as his comrades on the Boards of General Dynamics and Boeing, are surely thrilled with this attack.

Indeed, anyone invested in endless war in the Middle East — including the entire U.S. intelligence community and the weapons industry which feeds off of it — must be thrilled by all of this. Each time the U.S. "retaliates” against Iran or Iraqi militias or Syrian fighters, it causes them to "retaliate” back, which in turn is cited as the reason the U.S. can never leave but must instead keep retaliating, ensuring this cycle never ends. It also creates a never-ending supply of angry people in that region who hate the U.S. for bringing death and destruction to their countries with bombs that never stop falling and therefore want to strike back: what we are all supposed to call "terrorism.” That is what endless war means: a war that is designed never to terminate, one that is as far removed as possible from actual matters of self-defense and manufactures its own internal rationale to continue it.

But what is beyond doubt is that this illegal, endless war in the Middle East does nothing but harm American citizens. As they are told that they cannot enjoy a sustainable let alone quality standard of living without working two or three dreary hourly-wage, benefits-free jobs for corporate giants, and while more Americans than ever continue to live at home and remain financially unable to start families, the U.S. continues to spend more on its military than the next thirteen countries combined. This has continued for close to two full decades now because the establishment wings of both parties support it. Neither of them believes in the Constitution or the rule of law, nor do they care in the slightest about the interests of anyone other than the large corporate sectors that fund the establishment wings of both parties. The bombs that fell on Syria and Iraq last night were for them and them alone.

 

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/28/2021 - 16:36
Published:6/28/2021 3:38:53 PM
[] Iran Says It Will No Longer Give Images From Nuclear Sites to the IAEA Published:6/27/2021 11:30:36 AM
[Markets] Happy Birthday, Global Warming: Climate Change At 33 Happy Birthday, Global Warming: Climate Change At 33

Authored by Rupert Darwell via RealClearEnergy.com,

This month, climate change celebrates its 33rd birthday. On June 23, 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified that the greenhouse effect had been detected. “Global Warming Has Begun,” The New York Times declared the next day. Indeed, it had.

A year older than Alexander the Great when he died, climate change took less than one-third of a century to conquer the West.

Four days earlier, the Toronto G7 had agreed that global climate change required “priority attention.” Before the month was out, the Toronto climate conference declared that humanity was conducting an uncontrolled experiment “whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.” In September, Margaret Thatcher gave her famous speech to the Royal Society, warning of a global heat trap. “We are told,” although she didn’t say by whom, “that a warming of one degree centigrade per decade would greatly exceed the capacity of our natural habitat to cope,” an estimate that turned out to be a wild exaggeration. Observed warming since then has been closer to one-tenth of one degree centigrade per decade. Two months later, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held its inaugural meeting in Geneva.

The tendency to catastrophism was present at the outset of global warming. The previous year, at a secretive meeting of scientists that included the IPCC’s first chair, it had been recognized that traditional cost-benefit analysis was inappropriate, on account of the “risk of major transformations of the world of future generations.” The logic of this argument requires that climate change be presented as potentially catastrophic—otherwise, the cure would appear worse than the putative disease.

Although catastrophism gave climate change emotive power, the most consistent feature of climate change is the failure of predictions of catastrophe to materialize. In 1990, Martin Parry, a future cochair of an IPCC working group, produced a report claiming that the world could suffer mass starvation and soaring food prices within 40 years. Yet the prevalence of undernourishment in developing countries has been on a downward trend since the 1970s and was nearly halved, from 23.3% in 1991 to 12.9% in 2015.

Although global warming conquered the West, it failed in the East. The model for international environmental cooperation was the 1987 Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer. Its negotiation and ratification was led by the Reagan administration, which recognized that the U.S. would be the biggest beneficiary from having a strong treaty. Thanks to U.S. leadership, the negotiations were conducted quickly (in a matter of months) and the protocol has teeth, containing strong incentives for countries to join and the threat of trade sanctions for those that do not.

This path was quickly blocked for climate change. At the end of 1988, the Maltese government sponsored a resolution of the UN General Assembly on the conservation of the climate as mankind’s common heritage, the subtext being that rich countries shouldn’t negotiate a climate change treaty and then impose it on the rest of the world. The advantage of going down the UN route was that it led to the creation of a permanent and growing bureaucratic infrastructure with annual meetings to keep global warming’s place in public discourse. The downside is that negotiating texts must be agreed by consensus, foreclosing the possibility of a Montreal-like negotiating process and outcome. In 1990, the General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change, which produced a final text in time for the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

The most important features of the 1992 climate convention are its ground plan, carving the world in two, with the developed North listed in Annex I, and the doctrine of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (the first principle listed in the convention and arguably its governing one). The bifurcation was made concrete in 1995 at the first conference of the parties in Berlin. Presided over by Angela Merkel as Germany’s environment minister, the Berlin Mandate stipulated that Annex I parties should strengthen their commitment to decarbonize on condition that non–Annex I parties did not, preparing the way for the Kyoto Protocol two years later.

The Clinton administration hadn’t given much thought to the implications of the Berlin Mandate. The Senate did. In July 1997, by 95 votes (including those of then-senators Biden and Kerry) to zero, it adopted the Byrd-Hagel resolution: America should not sign any protocol that imposed limits on Annex I parties unless it also imposed specific, time-tabled commitments on non–Annex I countries. Although the Clinton administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, the Senate had killed U.S. participation; it was left to the incoming president, George W. Bush, to garner the opprobrium for stating the obvious. Both he and Barack Obama pursued essentially the same post-Kyoto strategy of trying to get China and other major emerging economies to make treaty commitments to decarbonization, an attempt that failed at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, when China, India, South Africa, and Brazil vetoed a new climate treaty.

In picking up the pieces, Todd Stern, President Obama’s climate negotiator, had the twin objectives of crafting something that China would accept but that didn’t require the Senate’s advice and consent. The outcome was the Paris climate agreement. It embodies the climate equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Sinatra Doctrine of allowing individual parties to the agreement to “do it their way.” Hailed as a game changer in the fight to save the planet, the reality of Paris was rather different. Just as Gorbachev’s Sinatra Doctrine was an admission that the Soviet Union had lost the Cold War, the Paris agreement signaled that the West had given up on having a global decarbonization regime, with credible sanctions against free riding.

Although the Obama administration played an essential role in its gestation, the U.S. is the biggest loser from the Paris agreement. America is to forfeit its recently won position as the world’s largest producer of hydrocarbon energy. For what?

The story of carbon dioxide emissions is acceleration in the declining share of Western emissions. The year 1981 was the last one in which the West’s energy and cement manufacture carbon dioxide emissions were greater than the rest of the world’s (the latter includes Japan—culturally non-Western, ambivalent about climate change, and the only nation to have hosted a major climate conference presided over by a foreign national). By 1988, despite the economic expansion of the 1980s, the West’s emissions had grown by only 3.8%, while the rest of the world’s had grown by 27.0%.

After 2002, non-Western emissions grew even faster. In the 12 years before 2002, non-Western emissions grew by 21.2%; and in the subsequent 12 years, by 76.8%. By 2014, with Western emissions broadly flat over the 24-year period, Western emissions had shrunk to 26% of the total, and the share of non-Western emissions had risen to 74%. In less than a decade and a half, the increase in non-Western emissions outstripped the combined total of U.S. and E.U. emissions. In terms of affecting the physics of global warming, it doesn’t really matter what the West does any more.

William Nordhaus, the world’s preeminent climate economist, offers a brutal assessment of climate policy. “After 30 years, international policy is at a dead end,” he said in a little-noticed October 2020 presentation to the European Central Bank. “We have policies, but they have not been effective, and they’re getting us basically nowhere.” The culprit, in Nordhaus’s view? The free-rider problem. Nordhaus’s solution is to replace the current structure with a “club” whose members agree on a uniform price for carbon dioxide (he suggests $50 per ton of CO2) plus a straight 3% penalty tariff on imports from non-club members. What Nordhaus proposes, in essence, is the Montreal Protocol structure adapted for climate change.

Joe Biden campaigned to restore U.S. climate leadership and rejoin the Paris agreement. The two are contradictory. Following the Europeans down the dead end of a three-decade-old UN process hardly constitutes leadership. Heeding Nordhaus’s advice and abandoning the UN process is something that only an American president can do. But that would be to assume that the purpose of the UN is to moderate global warming.

Days before the Paris conference, Maurice Strong died. A committed environmentalist, no person did more to put environmentalism on the international agenda, leading the 1972 Stockholm UN conference on the environment and the Rio Earth summit 20 years later. A small gathering was held at the Paris conference to share reminiscences about Strong and his achievements. One of his aides at the Stockholm conference recalled asking him what the policy of the conference should be. “The process is the policy,” Strong replied.

Strong’s genius was to understand that a self-perpetuating UN process would continuously accrete money, influence, and, above all, power. Environmentalism would not have become the dominant ideology in the West without the deployment of the UN’s climate apparatus: the annual cycle of climate conferences spliced periodically with ones that are going to save the planet (Kyoto in 1997; Bali in 2007; Copenhagen in 2009; Paris in 2015; and Glasgow in 2021). Then there’s the IPCC, set up by the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization, and its five—soon to be six—generations of assessment reports.

“Embedded in the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C is the opportunity for intentional societal transformation,” the IPCC says in its scientific assessment of the 1.5°C target. All ideologies seek power. Seen in this light, global warming gave environmentalism the means for it to conquer the West and become the dominant ideology of our age. Environmentalism’s attitude toward nuclear power provides a test for this proposition. If the paramount concern of environmentalists had been to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and slow down climate change, they would campaign to keep existing nuclear power stations and build new ones. Yet viable nuclear power stations are being prematurely closed in California, New York, Germany, and Belgium. Why?

Nuclear power is a Promethean crime of humanity stealing the deepest secrets of nature to release unlimited quantities of energy, in the eyes of environmentalists—a crime far worse than global warming. Instead, humanity must live within the rhythms and constraints decreed by nature; hence environmentalists’ belief that power stations should be replaced by inefficient, weather-dependent wind and solar farms.

The growth of wind and solar generation is not a market-driven phenomenon of a superior technology displacing an obsolete one. It’s what happens when governments heavily subsidize zero-marginal cost output, flooding wholesale markets with unwanted electricity when there’s too much sun and wind and risking power failures when there’s too little. The ubiquity of wind and solar symbolizes environmentalism reversing the logic of the Industrial Revolution in transforming predominantly agrarian societies at the mercy of climate to weather-resistant ones and helps explain the contrasting fortunes of environmentalism and Marxism. Environmentalism succeeded in the West and has become part of the political mainstream, to the extent that it defines politically acceptable opinion. Marxism lost in the West but thrived in preindustrial societies, because the political priority remains economic development. In practical terms, this is synonymous with industrialization and carbonizing their economies.

The outcome has been to shift the balance of climate power from the West to the rest of the world and the major emerging economies, in particular. Yet the lopsided arithmetic of the West versus the rest’s emissions has not softened the effectiveness of global warming as an ideological weapon because it is not based on any rational calculus but derives from its threat of planetary catastrophe. The future, as it had been in Marxism, again becomes “the great category of blackmail,” as the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner writes in “The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse.”

Climate change does represent an existential threat to Western civilization, although not in the way environmentalists say. Net-zero climate policies threaten to undermine the internal cohesiveness of Western societies and drain them of economic vitality. Externally, they will accelerate the redistribution of power away from the West to those nations that decide not to decarbonize, especially to China. Decarbonization will see the progressive elimination of high-paying, high-productivity blue-collar employment such as coal mining, oil and gas, steelmaking, and energy-intensive manufacturing. The aristocracy of labor will become an extinct social class; instead, as social mobility stagnates and class stratifications solidify, social geographer Joel Kotkin foresees the coming of neo-feudalism.

Accompanying these regressive social developments is the atrophying of democratic politics. Net-zero climate policies require reorganizing society around the principle of decarbonization—not through a couple of election cycles but over the next three decades. Net-zero must therefore be put beyond the reach of democratic politics so that voters cannot reverse a decision that was taken for them. This provides a better fit for a post-democratic polity such as the European Union. Britain has a statutory climate change committee to hold the government to account for meeting decarbonization targets.

Although the Biden administration has adopted a target of net-zero by 2050 and of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Congress has not passed—and is unlikely to pass—climate legislation mandating these targets. Nonetheless, American corporations in droves are pledging their own net-zero targets. Wall Street and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing and climate disclosures, which the SEC intends to mandate, have opened an alternative route on the basis of what gets measured gets managed.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, candidly admits that forcing companies to disclose their emissions isn’t transparency for transparency’s sake: “disclosure should be a means to achieving a more sustainable and inclusive capitalism.” This collusion between the administrative state and climate activists to bypass Congress has been condemned by Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee. “Activists with no fiduciary duty to the company or its shareholders are trying to impose their progressive political views on publicly traded companies, and the country at large, having failed to enact change via the elected government,” Senator Toomey and his colleagues wrote in a letter to SEC chair Gary Gensler earlier this month.

In addition to this usurpation of the political prerogatives of democratic government, forcing business to take on governmental functions to address societal problems will see them, over time, acquire the modes and culture of government bureaucracies. This subtracts from the core economic function of the business corporation in a capitalist economy. “The capitalist economy,” in the words of the growth economist William Baumol, “can usefully be viewed as a machine whose primary product is economic growth.” What distinguishes it most sharply from all other economic systems are free-market pressures that force firms to engage in a continuous, competitive process of innovation. “This does not happen fortuitously,” writes Baumol, “but occurs when the structure of payoffs in an economy is such as to make unproductive activities such as rent-seeking (or worse) more profitable than activities that are productive.”

If CEO remuneration is aligned with ESG objectives and decarbonization targets and if directors risk being voted off boards for not having them, businesses will increasingly focus their efforts on meeting these non-business objectives. As this incurs costs and impairs business performance, businesses will turn to politicians to seek protection from their antisocial competitors that refrain from doing the government’s work. Capitalism’s legitimacy rests on its record of raising living standards through its prodigious capacity to generate productive wealth. Should that slow down to a trickle, capitalism becomes hard to justify, even though the explanation is that the system is no longer a capitalistic, free-market one.

Global warming flourished during a period when the world had taken a holiday from geopolitics. It had entered the world as geopolitical tensions were easing. Six months earlier, in December 1987, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF treaty, eliminating intermediate nuclear missiles. By the time of the Rio Earth Summit, the Soviet Union was gone. Geopolitics is now back. There is a broad consensus in Washington that President Xi’s China is a strategic rival to the U.S. Yet the new strategic realism ceases when it comes to climate change.

According to the IPCC, net-zero requires “transformative systemic change” that involves “unprecedented policy and geopolitical challenges.” The International Energy Agency calls decarbonizing the energy sector “perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has faced.” The West embarking on this process when China does not is akin to signing a strategic arms-control treaty binding on only one side: it can only be to China’s strategic advantage. So far, the grip of environmentalism on Western policymakers lulls them into the belief that global warming operates in a strategic vacuum, insulated from the factors that constitute geopolitical weight and ambition. It is in that sense that climate change constitutes an existential threat to the West.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/27/2021 - 09:20
Published:6/27/2021 8:29:30 AM
[Markets] Bitcoin's Homegrown Hash: Did China Just Make A Deal With The US? Bitcoin's Homegrown Hash: Did China Just Make A Deal With The US?

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

There was a lot of drama over China’s announcement over the weekend forcing Bitcoin miners to pack up and leave the country. It sparked a furious sell off earlier in the week which briefly breached recent lows just above $30,000 per coin.

But the big question for me, as always, is why now?

There are never any coincidences in geopolitics. Things happen when they happen for reasons. And sometimes those reasons are not readily apparent.

In the case of bitcoin it happened after the FOMC shocked markets the same day Presidents Biden and Putin met in Geneva, signaling a shift in monetary policy which drained markets of a lot of dollars.

So the stage was set for China to pile on, here.

For bitcoin bulls, especially those looking at things technically, these were a scary couple of hours. Bitcoin has been vulnerable psychologically since the May 19th bloodbath. It’s never bullish when a recent low is violated, it’s especially worrying when that May19th low of 30,261.70 (Investing.com Bitcoin Index price) had already been tested a few times and seemed to hold.

So, in no way should we make light of that violation. But as the day wore on and the market refused to break down further, we saw the inevitable snapback rally associated with the bulls making a big statement, forcing overzealous shorts to cover.

But as I’ve discussed multiple times recently, governments and the traditional financial community are hostile to bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies. They have stepped up that hostility with the price getting out of control above $64,000 and the cracks in the financial system widening in the aftermath of the Coronapocalypse.

Anyone serious about what bitcoin is, what it represents and what it was designed to do knew this fight was coming and isn’t surprised now that it’s here. So, China’s crackdown on the immense amount of mining going on in the country is no surprise. China’s pilot projects to introduce its digital yuan, already struggling against entrenched systems like Alipay and Tenpay, are further complicated by any strong cryptocurrency underground economy.

And the reality is that bitcoin mining in China was always tacitly approved of by the Chinese government as long as it served the CCP’s purpose to pressure western financial dominance as an extension of their mercantilist playbook. But, at some point, that relationship was going to end.

But there are a few other issues at play here that may not be readily apparent. And I went over them in a video I did recently. Asking the following question:

Like I said, sometimes the reasons aren’t readily apparent. So, here’s what I thought then and still do.

At Bitcoin 2021, Kevin O’Leary, chairing a discussion on being a Public Bitcoin Mining company made the statement that there’s more than $1 trillion in institutional money that wants to come into cryptos but are being held back by a number of things.

First, there are custodial issues, legally, but those are being worked out. States like Wyoming have, and soon others will have, the financial institutions capable of acting as custody agent for moving funds in and out of crypto. But the problem they focused on in this discussion was ESG — Environmental, Social and Governance — compliance which has inserted itself as a roadblock thanks to The Davos Crowd’s declaring bitcoin to be “not green enough.”

That argument is, of course, a silly one which I addressed recently with respect to Lizzie “Slapaho” Warren’s silly comments about bitcoin. Elon Musk was, I think, forced to make the comments he made to help break the market back in May.

Where so many bitcoin bears go wrong in their analysis is thinking that all the banks are against cryptos. But they aren’t. If anything they all want in because the reality is that their traditional business has been choked off by the central banks.

Remember, I told you last month that the big untold story of Davos’ Great Reset is that the commercial banks are to be thrown under the bus and fed as chum to the remnant of the Occupy Wall St. crowd when the next iteration of the global financial collapse gets underway.

The Davos Crowd in Europe is setting up the U.S. banks to be the villains of the next big financial crisis. Obama through Biden is putting in place regulation, tax policy, court decisions, etc. to ensure both maximal anger at the banks and get the maximum effect on the structure of the U.S. economy.

So, once this crisis hits and the banks are caught once again having been irresponsible, they will be blamed like no other villain has been blamed since Hitler. And the Progressives on Capitol Hill — the Lizzie Slapahos and the AOCs — will demand the banks pay for killing the little guy.

Now let’s connect another couple of dots.

If O’Leary’s numbers are even close to correct then the floor under bitcoin is a lot stronger than recent price action would indicate. That means there is a third reason holding back their investment into crypto.

Bitcoin’s hashing power being centered in China. A lot of miners there saw the writing on the wall and began moving out of the country earlier this year. China’s share of bitcoin’s hashing power had dropped to around 50% of the market. In a business this big and a potential investment pool also large enough looking to make it bigger China controlling that much hashing power is a national security issue.

So, the deal is a simple one.

China doesn’t want the corruption surrounding bitcoin mining. It also is tired of it destabilizing its electrical grid, feeding off its electricity subsidy. It also helps knock a few local officials skimming mining profits back down to size. It also wants more control, not less, over its internal currency flow.

The U.S. wants more security surrounding bitcoin production to support its financial oligarchs staying relevant and tapping into the massive latent demand for cryptos in general. Pension funds, yield starved after nearly a generation of being turned Japanese can no longer tap the fracking junk bond markets to make their 8% mandated returns thanks to Biden’s doing Davos’ bidding to shut down U.S. domestic production.

In a podcast at the beginning of the year I made the prediction that DeFi would become the new junk bond market in the U.S. because of this as the potential returns off a rising crypto market was attractive to yield-starved investors.

And with new BIS rules putting cryptocurrencies on par with junk bonds for capital reserve requirements, that prediction seems to have been prescient. The reason the Fed raised interest rates in 2017-18 was to help pension funds meet their obligations. That policy had to fail then and it quickly reversed course last year.

Now they aren’t going to do so for at least another eighteen months and the markets freaked out by a simply 5 bps raise of both IOER and the RRP rates.

So, this leaves us with the scenario that bitcoin actually helps fix this very real problem and it does so without the Fed or the Treasury having to just bail everyone out and foist the bills off on the next generation. Moreover, it blunts the Davos plan to just blow everything up, issue a bunch of scrip, i.e. MMT, and turn us into China on steroids.

And if that helps mitigate some of the tension between the two countries it’s a small price to pay allowing institutions and big players who want into crypto to further accumulate at much lower prices while keeping all the bears scared to join in because they still think the headlines tell the tale.

In my experience, headlines rarely do anything close to that. A close this week above $30,000 looks more like a matter of watching out above rather than below.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 06/26/2021 - 09:20
Published:6/26/2021 8:22:48 AM
[] Washington Elites Are Weaponizing the Tax Code Against Christians Published:6/24/2021 11:13:49 PM
[Markets] The "Conspiracy Theory" Charade The "Conspiracy Theory" Charade

Authored by James Bovard via JimBovard.com,

How government and media use the phrase to suppress opposition...

Biden’s “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism” report last week declared that “enhancing faith in American democracy” requires “finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories.” In recent decades, conspiracy theories have multiplied almost as fast as government lies and cover-ups. While many allegations have been ludicrously far-fetched, the political establishment and media routinely attach the “conspiracy theory” label to any challenge to their dominance.

According to Cass Sunstein, Harvard Law professor and Obama’s regulatory czar, a conspiracy theory is “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Reasonable citizens are supposed to presume that government creates trillions of pages of new secrets each year for their own good, not to hide anything from the public.  

In the early 1960s, conspiracy theories were practically a non-issue because 75 percent of Americans trusted the federal government. Such credulity did not survive the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Seven days after Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson created a commission (later known as the Warren Commission) to suppress controversy about the killing. Johnson and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover browbeat the commission members into speedily issuing a report rubberstamping the “crazed lone gunman” version of the assassination. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, a member of the commission, revised the final staff report to change the location of where the bullet entered Kennedy’s body, thereby salvaging Hoover’s so-called “magic bullet” theory. After the Warren Commission findings were ridiculed as a whitewash, Johnson ordered the FBI to conduct wiretaps on the report’s critics. To protect the official story, the commission sealed key records for 75 years. Truth would out only after all the people involved in any coverup had gotten their pensions and died.

The controversy surrounding the Warren Commission spurred the CIA to formally attack the notion of conspiracy theories. In a 1967 alert to its overseas stations and bases, the CIA declared that the fact that almost half of Americans did not believe Oswald acted alone “is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization” and endangers “the whole reputation of the American government.” The memo instructed recipients to “employ propaganda assets” and exploit “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out… parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists.” The ultimate proof of the government’s innocence: “Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States.”

However, the CIA did conceal a wide range of assassinations and foreign coups it conducted until congressional investigations in the mid-1970s blew the whistle. The New York Times, which exposed the CIA memo in 1977, noted that the CIA “mustered its propaganda machinery to support an issue of far more concern to Americans, and to the C.I.A. itself, than to citizens of other countries.” According to historian Lance deHaven-Smith, author of Conspiracy Theory in America, “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited…with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.” (In 2014, the CIA released a heavily-redacted report admitting that it had been “complicit” in a JFK “cover-up” by withholding “incendiary” information from the Warren Commission.)

The Johnson administration also sought to portray critics of its Vietnam War policies as conspiracy nuts, at least when they were not portraying them as communist stooges. During 1968 Senate hearings on the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara denounced the “monstrous insinuations” that the U.S. had sought to provoke a North Vietnamese attack and declared that it is “inconceivable that anyone even remotely familiar with our society and system of government could suspect the existence of a conspiracy” to take the nation to war on false pretenses. Three years later, the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers demolished the credibility of McNamara and other top Johnson administration officials who indeed dragged America into the Vietnam War on false pretenses.

Condemnations of conspiracy theories became a hallmark of the Clinton administration. In 1995, President Bill Clinton claimed that people who believed government threatened their constitutional right were deranged ingrates: “If you say that Government is in a conspiracy to take your freedom away, you are just plain wrong…. How dare you call yourselves patriots and heroes!” The same year, the White House compiled a fevered 331-page report entitled “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce,” attacking magazines, think tanks, and others that had criticized President Clinton. In the following years, many of the organizations condemned in the White House report were targeted for IRS audits, including the Heritage Foundation and the American Spectator magazine and almost a dozen individual high-profile Clinton accusers, including Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers. Despite Clinton’s protestations that he posed no threat to freedom, even the ACLU admitted in 1998 that the Clinton administration had “engaged in surreptitious surveillance, such as wiretapping, on a far greater scale than ever before… The Administration is using scare tactics to acquire vast new powers to spy on all Americans.”

Some “conspiracy theory” allegations comically expose the naivete of official scorekeepers. In April 2016, Chapman University surveyed Americans and announced that “the most prevalent conspiracy theory in the United States is that the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks with slightly over half of Americans holding that belief.”  That survey did not ask whether people believed the World Trade Centers were blown up by an inside job or whether President George W. Bush secretly masterminded the attacks. Instead, folks were simply asked whether “government is concealing information” about the attacks. Only a village idiot, college professor, or editorial writer would presume the government had come clean. Three months after the Chapman University survey was conducted, the Obama administration finally released 28 pages of a 2003 congressional report that revealed that Saudi government officials had directly financed some of the 9/11 hijackers in America. That disclosure shattered the storyline carefully constructed by the Bush administration, the 9/11 Commission, and legions of media accomplices. (Lawsuits continue in federal court seeking to force the U.S. government to disclose more information regarding the Saudi government role in the attacks.)

“Conspiracy theory” is often a flag of convenience for the media. In 2018, the New York Times asserted that Trump’s use of the term “Deep State” and similar rhetoric “fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media.” However, after allegations by anonymous government officials spurred Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, New York Times columnist James Stewart cheered, “There is a Deep State, there is a bureaucracy in our country who has pledged to respect the Constitution, respect the rule of law… They work for the American people.” New York Times editorial writer Michelle Cottle proclaimed, “The deep state is alive and well” and hailed it as “a collection of patriotic public servants.” Almost immediately after its existence was no longer denied, the Deep State became the incarnation of virtue in Washington.

The media elite can fabricate “conspiracy theory” designations almost with the flip of a headline. A week after Election Day 2020, the New York Times ran a banner headline across the top of the front page: “Election Officials Nationwide Find No Fraud.” How did the Times know? Their reporters effectively called each state and asked, “Did y’all see any fraud?” Election officials answered “no,” thus proving that anyone who subsequently questioned Biden’s victory was promoting a groundless conspiracy. While top liberal politicians denounced electronic voting companies as unaccountable and dishonest in 2019, any doubts about such companies became “conspiracies” after that headline in the Times. The Times helped spur a media cacophony drowning out anyone complaining about ballot harvesting, illegal mass mailing of absentee ballots, or widespread failures to verify voter identification.

Actually, “conspiracy theory” accusations helped Biden win the 2020 presidential election. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently noted, if Americans believed that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese government lab, Trump would have likely won the election because voters would have sought a leader who could be tough on China. But the lab origin explanation was quickly labeled a pro-Trump heresy. The Washington Post denounced Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR,) for suggesting the virus originated in the lab, which supposedly was a “conspiracy theory that was already debunked.” Twenty-seven prominent scientists signed a letter in the Lancet: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin… Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus.” The Lancet did not reveal until last week that one of the signers and the person who organized the letter signing campaign ran an organization that received U.S. government subsidies for its work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab. President Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to take another look to seek to determine the origin of COVID-19.

Will “conspiracy theory” charges provide a “get out of jail free” card for the FBI and other federal agencies regarding the January 6 clash at the Capitol? After Fox News’s Tucker Carlson featured allegations that FBI informants or agents may have instigated the ruckus, the Washington Post speedily denounced his “wild, baseless theory” while Huffington Post denounced his “laughable conspiracy theory.” It doesn’t matter how often the FBI instigated terrorist plots or political violence in the past 60 years (including the plot to kidnap the Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer last November). Instead, decent people must do nothing to endanger the official narrative of Jan. 6 as a horrific private terrorist event on par with the War of 1812, Pearl Harbor, and the 9/11 attacks.

“Conspiracy theory” is a magic phrase that expunges all previous federal abuses. Many liberals who invoke the phrase also ritually quote a 1965 book by former communist Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Hofstadter portrayed distrust of government as a proxy for mental illness, a paradigm that makes the character of critics more important than the conduct of government agencies. For Hofstadter, it was a self-evident truth that government was trustworthy because American politics had “a kind of professional code… embodying the practical wisdom of generations of politicians.”

 Much of the establishment rage at “conspiracy theories” has been driven by the notion that rulers are entitled intellectual passive obedience. The same lese-majeste mindset has been widely adopted to make a muddle of American history. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the court historian for President John F. Kennedy and a revered liberal intellectual, declared in a 2004 article in Playboy, “Historians today conclude that the colonists were driven to revolt in 1776 because of a false conviction that they faced a British conspiracy to destroy their freedom.” Was the British imposition of martial law, confiscation of firearms, military blockades, suspension of habeas corpus, and censorship simply a deranged fantasy of Thomas Jefferson? The notion that the British would never conspire to destroy freedom would play poorly in Dublin. Why would anyone trust academics who were blind to British threats in the 1770s to accurately judge contemporary perils to liberty?

How does the Biden administration intend to fight “conspiracy theories”? The Biden terrorism report called for “enhancing faith in government” by “accelerating work to contend with an information environment that challenges healthy democratic discourse.” Will Biden’s team rely on the “solution” suggested by Cass Sunstein: “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups” by government agents and informants to “undermine” them from within? A 1976 Senate report on the FBI COINTELPRO program demanded assurances that a federal agency would never again “be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order.” Actually, the FBI and other agencies have continued secretly warring against “threats” and legions of informants are likely busy “cognitively infiltrating” at this moment.

“Conspiracy theory” will remain a favorite sneer of the political-media elite. There is no substitute for Americans developing better B.S radars for government claims as well as wild-eyed private balderdash. In the meantime, there’s always the remedy a Washington Post health article touted late last year: “Try guided imagery. Visualizing positive outcomes can help clamp down on the intense emotions that might make you more vulnerable to harmful conspiracy theories.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/25/2021 - 00:05
Published:6/24/2021 11:13:49 PM
[Markets] Biden's Widely Mocked 'F-15s And Nukes' Speech Is Latest In String Of Gun Control Blunders Biden's Widely Mocked 'F-15s And Nukes' Speech Is Latest In String Of Gun Control Blunders

President Biden made headlines on Wednesday, after suggesting in a rambling gun control speech that gun owners who want to take on the government would need "F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."

Biden then said that there have always been limits on what kinds of weapons people can legally own - incorrectly including cannons, which have been legal to own for centuries.

Biden's gun control push was widely mocked:

All jokes aside, as Emily Miller of Emily Post News wrote in March, Biden has been tripping over his own feet on gun control for quite some time.

*  *  *

Joe Biden has not yet been president for 100 days, and he is already trying to get more gun control. Biden is exploiting the tragic mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder to placate his base and try to prove his old “assault weapon” ban would work after all.  He will fail. Again.

Biden has tried to get gun control measures for decades and with Democratic control over the House and Senate, this is his last ditch effort. But looking at his past mistakes, this effort will be full of missteps. 

On Tuesday [March 23], he called for the Senate to “immediately pass” two House bills -- one that address the supposed loophole in background checks and a return of the old  “assault weapons ban.”

Biden has been pushing for these and other pointless measures to address gun crime for years. I went back to my own book “Emily Gets Her Gun” to recall Biden’s past gun control agenda and the multiple mistakes he’s made on basic facts in order to promote his agenda. These sections are indented with the page numbers for those of you who have the book and want to follow along. 

1994- “Assault Weapon” Ban Goes Into Law

Biden was one of the authors of the 1994 Crime Bill that included a 10-year “assault weapon ban.”  The gun control law was so unpopular that Democrats lost the House that year. As a result of that shift in seats, Congress has not been able to get the votes for anything that violates the Second Amendment since then. 

2004- “Assault Weapon” Ban Expires

The ban expired in 2004 after the FBI told Congress the law was not needed for gun crime. Crime overall decreased in the 90s and 00s and rifle crime is rare in the country. FBI statistics show that most years, about 300 people are killed by rifles of any kind. Dianne Feinstein who is the biggest proponent of an assault weapon ban, estimates about 50 people are killed each year in America by guns with the characteristics that make them banned. 

2008- Obama elected president, Biden Vice President

Obama ran against guns but once in office, he didn’t pursue the agenda with any real effort because he wanted to get reelected. Note the landmark Supreme Court Heller decision was in June 2008 and affirmed an individual’s right to keep arms and struck down DC’s total ban on gun ownership. This applied only to federal lands since the District is not a state (so far.)

In 2010, the high court ruled in the McDonald case that Chicago’s laws requiring guns be registered and effectively refusing any handguns be possessed was also unconstitutional. This ruling made the Heller decision on the individual’s right to have a gun (not the common mistaken reading of the militia) the law for the states.   

So with all this pro-Second Amendment movement in the courts, it wasn’t until after Obama had been reelected in 2012 that he started coming after guns. 

2012- Obama re-elected president

In the eight years since the “assault weapon ban” expired, annual gun crime had continued to decrease or stay the same. But the media attention on mass shootings had dramatically increased. So right after the horrific shooting of young children in Newtown, CT by a psychopath in Dec. 2012, Obama launched a real push for gun control in Congress. He tapped Vice President Biden to lead a task force that would come up with “concrete proposals” by January (the next month.) 

(p.26) Just five days after Sandy Hook, he announced that Vice President Joe Biden would lead a task force to come up with “concrete proposals no later than January—proposals that I then intend to push without delay.” The president made it clear that the recommendations of the task force were predetermined, saying he had picked Biden to lead the effort because “he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill,” which included the “assault weapon ban.” 

While it was developing the agenda, the Biden task force invited pro-Second Amendment groups to just one White House meeting, on January 10.

2013- Biden Pushes for Background Checks He Doesn’t Understand

The Brady Law mandates an instant background check before buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer. These “NICS” checks can check for data in the FBI system such as felonies, mental illness, drug convictions and instantly tell the dealer if the gun purchases can legally buy the gun. Since the person didn’t actually buy a gun, these NICS checks can be used to prosecute the criminals trying to buy guns again by their signature on the application which is a felony for perjury. Biden didn’t understand this as late as 2013. 

P. 92- NRA’s Chief Lobbyist James Baker to Biden- “I told him that it didn’t make sense to have federal penalties for lying on the form you have to fill out to purchase a firearm if no one is ever prosecuted for it,” he recalled in an interview. Baker told me that Biden turned to him and said, “Jim, we’re not interested in chasing paperwork violations.” Baker said, “Well Mr. Vice President, with all due respect, if you’re not prosecuting when they lie on the forms, you’re not stopping them.”

“Universal” Background Checks

Biden today is calling for what the left calls the “Charleston Loophole.” This is just another term for what they used to call “universal background checks” that failed to pass the Senate in 2013. 

The Senate did not pass any gun-control measures after the pro Second Amendment Democrats joined with the REpublicans to stop the bills that Mike Bloomberg spent millions promoting. 

P. 109- At 5:30 p.m. on the day of the vote, President Obama held a drama-filled press conference in the Rose Garden with families of victims of gun violence. A father of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School spoke. Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the victim of a gun attack by someone with apparent mental health issues, stood to Obama’s right side.

Vice President Biden stood to his left side with his arms crossed, first scowling and then crying.

P-110- Obama, who once served in the Senate, bizarrely blamed the normal procedural rules of the upper body of our legislature for the failed vote. “A majority of senators voted ‘yes’ to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks, but by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.” 

There was no “distortion.” The Senate was created to be a deliberative body. To avoid filibusters, while still moving business along, the Senate normally agrees to require 60 votes for bills to pass. 

Biden’s Misguided Advice on Shotguns vs AR-15 Rifles

Pres. Biden has said in the past that he owns shotguns for self defense. At the same time, he helped write legislation to outlaw AR-15 style rifles, which were - at that point- less often used in homicides than shotguns. Anyway, he clearly is not a responsible gun owner. 

P. 48 - Biden said "a shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15" and "people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon in terms of both their aim and their ability to deter people coming." 

Biden told Field & Stream magazine in 2013 that a shotgun is better than an AR-15 “because if you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” [Never do this at home, kids!]

At a town hall meeting at the White House, a female reader of Parents magazine asked him whether the administration’s ban on certain firearms and magazines would make law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to criminals.

“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun,” he answered: “As I told my wife — we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded — I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you, whoever’s coming in is not going to.’”

[Note to gun owners: never shoot in the air unless you’re hunting and never walk outside when a criminal is trying to enter your house.]

Biden Doesn’t Understand Supreme Court Rulings

P. 253 - Vice President Biden used the White House bully pulpit to help reinforce the gun grabbers’ misinterpretations of Scalia’s remarks. “Justice Scalia, who is a brilliant conservative mind on the court, pointed out the government has the right to prohibit the sale of certain types of weapons. It’s constitutionally permitted. Senator Feinstein has an amendment to keep those weapons of war off the streets and not aimed at you,” he said.

This is not at all what Justice Scalia wrote. The court never ruled on the type of guns that could be carried, which is why it’s still up for interpretation and why many states and cities have “assault weapon bans” in effect still in 2021. That AWB has been in effect in Boulder, CO since 2018. 

We will soon learn what drove the mass murderers in Atlanta and Boulder to commit evil crimes, but it is not access to guns. From the federal to city government, every gun-control law that has been conceived has been tested. None reduced gun crime nor stopped criminals from killing innocent people.

You would think after 30 years of leading the charge to ban guns, Biden would have learned by now that getting a new gun-control law is as effective as Jill Biden shooting into the air. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/24/2021 - 10:06
Published:6/24/2021 9:11:12 AM
[Markets] Critical Race Theory May Violate Civil Rights Act, The Constitution: Dr. Carol Swain Critical Race Theory May Violate Civil Rights Act, The Constitution: Dr. Carol Swain

Authored by Ella Kietlinska via The Epoch Times,

Critical Race Theory training, which pressures people not to say certain things, take a certain stance, or forces them into some segregated settings, may infringe on people’s constitutional rights and even violate civil rights laws, said Dr. Carol Swain, a former professor of political science and law at Princeton and Vanderbilt universities.

The main tenet of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is that the people of the world are divided into oppressors and oppressed, and in the United States, “all white people are considered oppressors who benefit from undeserved advantages,” Swain told The Epoch Times in an interview on EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program.

“[Whites] are deemed guilty of having set up a system of systemic racism,” she said of one main assumption being drawn from CRT.

“The demonization of one group of people because of the color of their skin is something that is discriminatory.”

A lot of white people who are forced into CRT-based training, and forced to confess to being racist because of their race, do not realize that they are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and disability, explained the retired professor.

White people are protected in the same way that black people are by civil rights laws, she said.

“We’re not a country where it’s acceptable to bully and shame people because of the color of their skin.”

Such acts create a hostile environment at work or may cause psychological harm to children at school, the award-winning author explained, adding that parents have reported depression, trauma, or other problems in their children who had been told that, because of their whiteness or the fact that their ancestors inflicted harm, they are also guilty of oppression.

Moreover, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees certain protections to all people, even non-citizens.

If a public institution such as a school tries to restrict people’s speech or behavior, it may be also a First Amendment violation, Swain said.

Private schools have more freedom to discriminate than public ones, but students whose rights are infringed can use other bases, such as the student handbook that guarantees students certain rights, to fight discrimination, she added.

Swain suggested that students facing discrimination can also seek help from organizations defending students’ or individuals’ freedom of speech, association, and religious liberty, such as The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) or the Christian Legal Society.

Another way to counter discrimination at schools is publicity, the professor advised. Students can write articles about discrimination cases and publish them in student media like The College Fix or Campus Reform as there have been cases of universities backing down due to the public outcry over the reports of unfair treatment, according to Swain.

She also recommended that students “always document things that are discriminatory and use that evidence when the time is right.”

History of Race Relations

 “I think America has been so important to the world, that the true history of its founding, as well as the mistakes that were made and just how we address those mistakes, are things that enrich people. And it is something that should not be hidden, and certainly not something that would be a cause of shame,” Swain told Crossroads.

“The true story of America is a story of blacks and whites working together to overcome that tragic part of our history.”

During the period following the end of slavery, “it was white philanthropy that set up schools across the South, that set up those historically black colleges and universities, and trillions of dollars have been donated since the end of slavery to try to address the past and present effects of slavery,” explained the co-chairwoman for former President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission.

Johnny Taylor, Jr. speaks after President Donald Trump announced him as the Chairman of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 27, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The civil rights movement itself is a moment in history where whites, blacks, people of other races and ethnicities came together for a cause. “That was powerful,” she continued.

Swain was born during the time of “systemic racism” in the segregated South. She witnessed the collapse of institutional racism and benefited from the opportunities created for black Americans like herself.

“My love of country came about because when I was in school, we were taught civics and patriotism. And I felt like I lived in the greatest nation in the world,” Swain said.

Racism was dying in the United States before President Barack Obama was elected, she said. At that time, the country was portrayed by legacy media as being a post-racial society. “I think that because we were making so much progress, the political left and those that benefit by racism and keeping us divided … they had to act.”

This was the time when the racial tensions, which divided people, restarted and when standards in classes, especially in public schools, were lowered owing to CRT and the restorative justice agenda being pushed, she added.

Opportunities for black people have never been better than today and ultimately, success depends on a person’s attitude, she said.

Swain shared that as one of 12 children, she had dropped out of high school, married at 16, and had three small children by the time she was 21. Despite that, she went back to school, got a high school equivalency, and went to a community college where she got the first of her degrees.

She pointed out that she was able to achieve success and overcome the circumstances of her birth because she believed that hard work mattered and applied herself as such.

“I did not see myself as handicapped because I was black, poor, a woman,” the professor said. “I took advantage of what America offered.”

Among today’s youth, minorities are being “crippled in their minds because they’ve been told by the political left what they can’t do and they are being handicapped,” she warned.

“They’re not even being held to the same standards that people of my generation were held to at colleges and universities. And as a consequence, they do feel inferior. A lot of what is crippling them is what they have been indoctrinated with.”

In her view, the racism coming from the political left is a forced re-segregation, and the lowered standards being pushed out for racial, ethnic minorities are impeding the development of their fullest potential.

Racism Serves Political, Financial Interests

Inciting racism serves the political interests of the Democrats who use the CRT to sow divisions between races in order to secure the black votes that they need to maintain their power, Swain said.

Protesters march to the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., Sunday, July 10, 2016. People are protesting the shooting death of a black man, Alton Sterling, by two white police officers at a convenience store parking lot last week. (Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP)

Any time some progress is made with race relations, an incident is found “to play up in the media to get Americans all worked up and divided by race. And it’s very easy to do because there’s always something happening somewhere,” she added.

She pointed to the many incidents like police shootings that have been played up by the media, acting to inflame people’s emotions and distract the public “during a time when there’s something in the news that is not favorable to the progressive agenda.”

It makes black people keep feeling like there is so much racism and blames Republicans or white people for being guilty of this racism, Swain continued.

“They are creating a very dangerous situation in this country because they’re demonizing all white people, including themselves and their own children,” she said, adding that hatred, once unleashed, cannot be easily “put back in the box.”

Black Lives Matter (BLM), an openly Marxist organization, was able to capitalize on the public’s reaction to George Floyd’s death and raise millions of dollars for progressive black causes, Swain said. People around the world who care about black people were shocked by the video of Floyd’s death, which was played over and over again in the news and many then donated money to the organization because they believed in the slogan “Black Lives Matter.”

“Black lives do matter, all lives matter,” she said. But “that money did not go into black communities. It didn’t change black lives.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Black Lives Matter for comment.

Swain went on to encourage Americans to counter the negative impact of CRT by becoming informed about CRT and “where it comes from, and how it operates, and how it’s contrary to the Constitution, and the Equal Protection Clause and civil rights laws.”

“If people become equipped by knowledge and have the courage to stand up on principle, to fight for principles they believe in, there’s no way that this radical agenda can take down our nation,” she said.

“You should know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” Swain said, citing the Bible.

If people, however, allow CRT to advance through the nation’s institutions of power and reshape the way the society functions, then state-sanctioned discrimination will soon be instituted by the U.S. government—by the highest echelons of power—weakening and destroying the nation from within, she warned.

“The remedy is the American people standing on principles, standing on values, standing on their history, and being courageous enough to fight back,” said Swain.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/23/2021 - 18:00
Published:6/23/2021 5:07:52 PM
[] Weird! Tom Perez left something pretty important out of his pitch to be the next Governor of Maryland [video] Published:6/23/2021 12:35:37 PM
[Politics] McManus: Biden's making a deal with Iran. It's good foreign policy — at a painful political price

President Biden's negotiators are moving toward renewing former President Obama's 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a deal renounced by former President Trump.

Published:6/23/2021 9:01:53 AM
[] Obama Ethics Chief Sounds Alarm About Hunter Biden Artwork Scam Published:6/22/2021 10:05:59 AM
[Markets] The Biden 'No-Go' Zones The Biden 'No-Go' Zones

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

The Democratic Party won the long march through journalism, but this Pyrrhic victory has meant the destruction of every principle of journalistic integrity liberals ever claimed to champion...

In American journalism, there are supposed to be some clear, nonnegotiable third-rails. 

One is zero tolerance for overtly racist language and comportment among our movers and shakers. Reporters, for example, for four years damned Donald Trump for his neutralizing summation that there were both “fine people” and extremists mingled among the hordes of protestors during their occasionally violent encounters in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

It mattered little to the media that Trump added qualifiers of “many” and “both” sides of the protests: 

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides . . . And I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally—but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, OK? . . . Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats—you had a lot of bad people in the other group, too.

Selected words from the above quote were recycled ad nauseam as proof Trump was a racist. 

Another no-go zone is any hint of contextualizing sexual harassment or assault.

No statute of limitations can provide exemption, much less a “she said/he said” defense in the age of “women must be believed.” The Brett Kavanaugh circus of September 2018 was a reminder that a lack of evidence, credible witnesses, or basic logic is no defense against the 30-year-old charges of alleged teenage sexual misbehavior. Bill Clinton managed to use his progressive credentials as an insurance policy to avoid for months any condemnation that he was a callous womanizer, but finally the press corps found his exploitative appetites too egregious to ignore.

A third zero-tolerance zone is any hint of presidential debility.

We were told in the dark days of 1973 that Nixon was non compos mentis, nursing his wounds with drink as his legendary constitution finally cracked under the pressure, making him supposedly unable physically to withstand the impending impeachment. “Saturday Night Live” made an industry out of Chevy Chase replaying Gerald Ford’s stumbles. Ronald Reagan was all but declared senile by the press for using index cards in some of his summits and speeches, or putting his hand to his ear and claiming he could not fathom reporters’ gottcha questions amid the din of swirling helicopter blades on the White House lawn. 

Finally, lying, fibbing, and even presidential exaggeration are deemed intolerable—or so we are told by the media.

It does not matter that the newsroom is currently one of the great purveyors of untruth, as we saw in the Russian collusion hoax, the dubious Wuhan wet-market narrative, or the yarn about the Lafayette Square militarization to green-light a Trump photo-op. 

Reporters never let Richard Nixon live down his “tricky Dick” reputation for his purported bouts of misinformation. Lyndon Johnson’s lies about the supposed impending victory in Vietnam doomed him. 

George H. W. Bush never got free of his “Read my lips: No new taxes” pledge. Bill Clinton was impeached because what he said about his sexual misadventures, sometimes under oath, could not be squared with the facts. 

There is no need to rehash the media’s echo chamber of “Bush lied, people died” in connection with the flawed CIA intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. One reason why the media’s canonization of Barack Obama ultimately failed was the latter’s blatant lies. (Who can forget “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”?) The Washington Post and an epidemic of “fact-checkers” tallied up all of Trump’s exaggerations and contradictions to convince the public that he was an inveterate liar. 

Americans may disagree with these journalistic rules, but to quote Hyman Roth about the state of our media, “This is the business we’ve chosen.”

Yet it is arguable that while no other president in modern memory has trespassed more egregiously on these no-go areas than Joe Biden, he has received no criticism for his transgressions. 

Joe Biden (never mind his son, Hunter) has compiled the most glaring rap sheet of racist quotes of any current modern political leader.

He characterized Barack Obama as the first “clean and articulate” black presidential candidate. He told a group of accomplished black professionals that Romney would put “y’all back in chains,” as if they were helpless laborers. 

Biden’s rants about Indians and donut shops, the Corn Pop fables, his dismissals of black journalists with put-downs such as “you ain’t black” and invectives such as “junkie” would have disqualified any other candidate.

His earlier treatment of Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearing, his idolization of fossilized racist kingpins in the Senate, his rhetoric on busing and black career criminals, were all couched in racial condescension. 

At a time when the current incarnation of Biden is siccing the federal government—and the Pentagon in particular—on a mythical, nationwide white supremacist conspiracy, the president’s own son is revealed to have habitually used the N-word and emulated what he thought was a backward black patois. Was Joe warning America about Hunter, when he charged that white supremacy reigned and must be dethroned?


 

While Joe Biden is also pointing fingers at white America with despicable false accusations of anti-Asian hate crimes (in truth, these attacks disproportionately are committed by black males), the press is quiet about Hunter Biden’s exchanges with his cousin Caroline Biden over set-up “dates.” In one, Caroline warns Hunter “I can’t give you f—ing Asian sorry. I’m not doing it.”

Hunter trumps her racist slurs with his own agreement: “No yellow.” 

That story was buried by mainstream journalists who have long ago fused with the progressive cause.

As senator, vice president, and presidential candidate Joe Biden was often caught—and occasionally even apologized for—habitually touching, smooching, squeezing, hugging, and breathing on women, some of them preteens, in a manner that can only be called creepy, with all of the females recoiling at his advances. When the intrusions became too great to ignore, the would-be president said only he would be “mindful” of invading the private space of women. 

Tara Reade, a former assistant in Senator Biden’s office, replayed the role of Christine Blasey Ford with charges of sexual assault—but with far greater credibility and detail (“There was no exchange, really, he just had me up against the wall . . . I remember it happened all at once . . . his hands were on me and underneath my clothes.”). Reade provided corroborating evidence, and explicit details of assault, yet the same journalists and politicians—again so often joined at the hip—who had sought to destroy Brett Kavanaugh gave Biden a pass, absurdly citing the statute of limitations, and even questioning the sanity and stability of Reade herself.

As far as presidential health goes, even Donald Trump’s enemies have remarked on his almost unnatural stamina and energy, characterized by 20-hour work days and near inexplicable rapid recovery from COVID-19. No matter. By mid-2017 there was a nonstop journalist mantra that Trump was “crazy” and “unhinged,” and too “sick” to remain president. The clamor continued until Trump himself took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and aced the exam’s questions. A Yale psychiatrist achieved mini-celebrity status by unprofessionally diagnosing Trump in absentia as mentally challenged and in need of a forced intervention—unhinged charges that nonetheless enhanced reporters’ frenzied calls for invocation of the 25th Amendment. 

Contrast this with Joe Biden. He has trouble walking up the steps of the Air Force One. He forgets names and events. His days are short and his attention span shorter, his press conferences rare—and scripted. At the recent G-7 summit he displayed a mishmash of bizarre interruptions, “get off my lawn” temper tantrums at reporters, slurred words, incomplete thoughts and sentences, cognitive freezes, and general fragilities. His own administration, or more likely those around Vice President Kamala Harris, habitually leak to their lackeys in the media portentous “worries” that Biden’s infirmities are such that they can longer be successfully hidden. And yet the ruse continues.

Finally, Biden says things that are just flat out lies. He declared that no Americans had been vaccinated until he took office, despite a presidential photo-op of him greeting the vaccination on December 21, 2020, and the fact 1 million people had been vaccinated by the day he took office, including him. At the G-7 meeting Biden offered his most egregious untruth—that Trump supporters had killed officer Brian Sicknick—although the autopsy report, now several weeks old, found Sicknick had died of natural causes a day after the riot. While the border is wide open, Biden ignores the chaos and asserts the border is secure and closed. Hunter Biden’s laptop, Joe insists, was a result of “Russian disinformation.” Almost everything Biden has said on illegal immigration, the effects of his proposed tax hikes, and the January 6 Capitol assault is untrue

Reporters ignore the mounting lies, ironically winking and in acknowledgement that most are the result of Biden’s own cognitive deterioration—as if it is more reassuring that a president does not know what he is saying rather than is saying something untrue.

How can we explain this utter dereliction of American journalism? 

The media was always left-leaning. But after 2016, it openly announced that it could no longer remain unbiased given the existential threats supposedly posed by President Trump. CNN transmogrified from a leftist airport news aggregator into a purveyor of whoppers, open threats against the president, and outright obscenities. 

Remember the blasé reporting about presidential decapitation and poisoning? On-air discussion of defecation? The forced retractions of fake news? The retirements and firings for fabricating stories? All that characterized CNN after 2015. 

But aside from Trump, another reason why journalism died was the rise of Silicon Valley and related left-wing billionaires, enriched from monopolies of social media and Internet communications, buying up media companies. Abetted by the subversion of higher education that turned journalism schools into ideological factories, the tech oligarchs made war on the First Amendment, which they hate almost as much as the Second.  Reporters were rewarded handsomely for upholding woke orthodoxy, knowing that while an accurate story offering a positive view of a conservative could stall a career, any inaccurate negative take on conservatism was likely to be job enhancing.

Finally, there is no longer a Democratic Party—at least not of the kind that Joe Manchin and earlier incarnations of Joe Biden and Bill Clinton used to represent. The Left talks of Representative Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) psychodramas and fissures in the Republican Party, but only because civil war for control of the Democratic Party is long over, and was won by the hardcore neosocialist left. Now it is only a matter of mopping up stragglers and relics. 

Translated into presidential coverage, reporters know that any tough question or honest reporting on Joe Biden will not be praised for disinterested journalism or personal courage, but damned as apostasy and disloyalty. In truth, Democratic politicians treat the media now as if they were obedient poodles. They consider any who timidly bark when not so instructed to be in need of neutering.

The final ironies? The Democratic Party won the long march through journalism, but this Pyrrhic victory has meant the destruction of every principle of journalistic integrity liberals ever claimed to champion. Now its most progressive leaders—Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi—have grown so accustomed to fawning Soviet-style reportage that they no longer have the ability to answer any real journalist’s questions. 

Stranger still, the beneficiaries of media obsequiousness have nothing but contempt for the helots who now serve them. Remember Ben Rhodes’ haughty putdown of slavish journalists who “know nothing” and were unknowingly drowning in the swampy echo chambers he had so cynically created?

Once politicians lose all fear of the press, they will say and do anything in their hubris, as we now see with the completely unmoored Joe Biden. And having lost not just the respect of the public but also the regard of the very progressives they idolize, America’s journalists are routinely slapped down as the fawning toadies they have become.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 21:40
Published:6/21/2021 9:03:07 PM
[] Don't Count Out the GOP's Glenn Youngkin in Virginia Published:6/21/2021 1:59:55 PM
[] The Global World's in Trouble: What's Plan B? Published:6/21/2021 9:58:17 AM
[Markets] Bovard Blasts Biden's Buffoonish War On Extremism Bovard Blasts Biden's Buffoonish War On Extremism

Authored by James Bovard via JimBovard.com,

The Biden administration revealed on Tuesday that guys who can’t get laid may be terrorist threats due to “involuntary celibate–violent extremism.” That revelation is part of a new crackdown that identifies legions of potential “domestic terrorists” that the feds can castigate and investigate. But there is no reason to expect Biden administration anti-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts to be less of a farce and menace than similar post-9/11 campaigns.

Since the French Revolution, politicians have defined terrorism to stigmatize their opponents, a precedent followed by the Biden administration’s National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. The report labels the January 6 clash at the Capitol as a “domestic terrorism” incident but fails to mention it spurred a mushroom cloud of increasingly far-fetched official accusations. Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told Congress that January 6 was “a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists.” Less than a thousand protestors entered the Capitol that day but apparently any Trump supporter who hustled down the Mall towards the Capitol became the legal equivalent of Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, this “seen walking in the same zip code” standard for guilt could be the prototype for Biden era domestic terrorist prosecutions.

The Biden report did not bestow the same “terrorist” label on the mobs who burned U.S. post offices in Minneapolis or assailed a federal courthouse in Portland last year. In its litany of terrorist incidents, the report cites “the vehicular killing of a peaceful protestor in Charlottesville” at the 2017 Unite the Right ruckus but omits the 49 people killed in 2016 by a Muslim enraged by U.S. foreign policy at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Maybe that case was excluded because the murderer was the protected son of a long-term FBI informant and FBI falsehoods derailed the subsequent trial of his widow. Nor did the report mention the worst terrorist incident since 9/11—the Las Vegas bloodbath where a single shooter killed 58 people and injured 900 others. The FBI claimed it could never find a motive for that slaughter and its “final report” on the incident was only three pages long. Never mind.

The White House claims its new war on terrorism and extremism is “carefully tailored to address violence and reduce the factors that… infringe on the free expression of ideas.” But the prerogative to define extremism includes the power to attempt to banish certain ideas from acceptable discourse. The report warns that “narratives of fraud in the recent general election… will almost certainly spur some [Domestic Violent Extremists] to try to engage in violence this year.” If accusations of 2020 electoral shenanigans are formally labeled as extremist threats, that could result in far more repression (aided by Facebook and Twitter) of dissenting voices. How will this work out any better than the concerted campaign by the media and Big Tech last fall to suppress all information about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the election?

The Biden administration is revving up for a war against an enemy which the feds have chosen to never explicitly define. According to a March report by Biden’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “domestic violent extremists” include individuals who “take overt steps to violently resist or facilitate the overthrow of the U.S. government in support of their belief that the U.S. government is purposely exceeding its Constitutional authority.” But that was the same belief that many Biden voters had regarding the Trump administration. Does the definition of extremism depend solely on which party captured the White House?

The report notes that the “Department of Defense is reviewing and updating its definition of prohibited extremist activities among uniformed military personnel.” Bishop Garrison, the chief of the Pentagon’s new Countering Extremism Working Group, is Exhibit A for the follies of extremist crackdowns on extremism. In a series of 2019 tweets, Garrison, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, denounced all Trump supporters as “racists.” Garrison’s working group will “specifically define what constitutes extremist behavior” for American soldiers. If Garrison purges Trump supporters from the military, the Pentagon would be unable to conquer the island of Grenada. Biden policymakers also intend to create an “anti-radicalization” program for individuals departing the military service. This initiative will likely produce plenty of leaks and embarrassing disclosures in the coming months and years.

The Biden report is spooked by the existence of militia groups and flirts with the fantasy of outlawing them across the land. The report promises to explore “how to make better use of laws that already exist in all fifty states prohibiting certain private ‘militia’ activity, including…state statutes prohibiting groups of people from organizing as private military units without the authorization of the state government, and state statutes that criminalize certain paramilitary activity.” Most of the private militia groups are guilty of nothing more than bluster and braggadocio. Besides, many of them are already overstocked with government informants who are counting on Uncle Sam for regular paychecks.

As part of its anti-extremism arsenal, DHS is financing programs for “enhancing media literacy and critical thinking skills” and helping internet users avoid “vulnerability to…harmful content deliberately disseminated by malicious actors online.” Do the feds have inside information about another Hunter Biden laptop turning up, or what? The Biden administration intends to bolster Americans’ defenses against extremism by developing “interactive online resources such as skills-enhancing online games.” If the games are as stupefying as this report, nobody will play them.

The Biden report stresses that federal law enforcement agencies “play a critical role in responding to reports of criminal and otherwise concerning activity.” “Otherwise concerning activity”? This is the same standard that turned prior anti-terrorist efforts into laughingstocks.

Fusion Centers are not mentioned in the Biden report but they are a federal-state-local law enforcement partnership launched after 9/11 to vacuum up reports of suspicious activity. Seventy Fusion Centers rely on the same standard—“If you see something, say something”—that a senior administration official invoked in a background call on Monday for the new Biden initiative. The Los Angeles Police Department encouraged citizens to snitch on “individuals who stay at bus or train stops for extended periods while buses and trains come and go,” “individuals who carry on long conversations on pay or cellular telephones,” and “joggers who stand and stretch for an inordinate amount of time.” The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security recommended the reporting of “people avoiding eye contact,” “people in places they don’t belong,” or homes or apartments that have numerous visitors “arriving and leaving at unusual hours,” PBS’s Frontline reported. Colorado’s Fusion Center “produced a fear-mongering public service announcement asking the public to report innocuous behaviors such as photography, note-taking, drawing and collecting money for charity as ‘warning signs’ of terrorism,” the ACLU complained.

Various other Fusion Centers have attached warning labels to gun-rights activists, anti-immigration zealots, and individuals and groups “rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority.” A 2012 Homeland Security report stated that being “reverent of individual liberty” is one of the traits of potential right-wing terrorists. The Constitution Project concluded in a 2012 report that DHS Fusion Centers “pose serious risks to civil liberties, including rights of free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion, racial and religious equality, privacy, and the right to be free from unnecessary government intrusion.” Fusion Centers continue to be bankrolled by DHS despite their dismal record.

The Biden report promises that the FBI and DHS will soon be releasing “a new edition of the Federal Government’s Mobilization Indicators booklet that will include for the first time potential indicators of domestic terrorism–related mobilization.” Will this latest publication be as boneheaded as the similar 2014 report by the National Counterterrorism Center entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts”?

As the Intercept summarized, that report “suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as ‘Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,’ … and ‘Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity)’ … to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.” The report recommended judging families by their level of “Parent-Child Bonding” and rating localities on the basis in part of the “presence of ideologues or recruiters.” Former FBI agent Mike German commented, “The idea that the federal government would encourage local police, teachers, medical, and social-service employees to rate the communities, individuals, and families they serve for their potential to become terrorists is abhorrent on its face.”

The Biden administration presumes that bloating the definition of extremists is the surest way to achieve domestic tranquility. In this area, as in so many others, Biden’s team learned nothing from the follies of the Obama administration. No one in D.C. apparently recalls that President Obama perennially denounced extremism and summoned the United Nations in 2014 to join his “campaign against extremism.” Under Obama, the National Security Agency presumed that “someone searching the Web for suspicious stuff” was a suspected extremist who forfeited all constitutional rights to privacy. Obama’s Transportation Security Administration relied on ludicrous terrorist profiles that targeted American travelers who were yawning, hand wringing, gazing down, swallowing suspiciously, sweating, or making “excessive complaints about the [TSA] screening process.”

Will the Biden crackdown on extremists end as ignominiously as Nixon’s crackdown almost 50 years earlier? Nixon White House aide Tom Charles Huston explained that the FBI’s COINTELPRO program continually stretched its target list “from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line.” At some point, surveillance became more intent on spurring fear than on gathering information. FBI agents were encouraged to conduct interviews with anti-war protesters to “enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles and further serve to get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox,” as a 1970 FBI memo noted. Is the Biden castigation campaign an attempt to make its opponents fear that the feds are tracking their every email and website click?

Biden’s new terrorism policy has evoked plenty of cheers from his Fourth Estate lapdogs. But a Washington Post article fretted that the administration’s report did not endorse enacting “new legal authority to successfully hunt down, prosecute, and imprison homegrown extremists.” Does the D.C. media elite want to see every anti-Biden scoffer in the land put behind bars? This is typical of the switcheroo that politicians and the media play with the terms “terrorists” and “extremists.” Regardless of paranoia inside the Beltway, MAGA hats are not as dangerous as pipe bombs.

The Biden report concludes that “enhancing faith in American democracy” requires “finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories.” But permitting politicians to blacklist any ideas they disapprove won’t “restore faith in democracy.” Extremism has always been a flag of political convenience, and the Biden team, the FBI, and their media allies will fan fears to sanctify any and every government crackdown. But what if government is the most dangerous extremist of them all?

*  *  *

James Bovard is the author of Lost RightsAttention Deficit Democracy, and Public Policy Hooligan. He is also a USA Today columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/19/2021 - 23:30
Published:6/19/2021 10:47:28 PM
[Markets] NSA Agrees To Release Records On FBI's Improper Spying On 16,000 Americans NSA Agrees To Release Records On FBI's Improper Spying On 16,000 Americans

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The National Security Agency (NSA) has agreed to release records on the FBI’s improper spying on thousands of Americans, the secretive agency disclosed in a recent letter.

The agreement may signal a rift between the NSA and the FBI, according to attorney Ty Clevenger.

Clevenger last year filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of The Transparency Project, a Texas nonprofit, seeking information on the FBI’s improper searches of intelligence databases for information on 16,000 Americans.

The searches violated rules governing how to use the U.S. government’s foreign intelligence information trove, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama nominee who currently presides over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, wrote in a 2019 memorandum and order that was declassified last year.

The FBI insisted that the queries for all 16,000 people “were reasonably likely to return foreign-intelligence information or evidence of a crime because [redacted],” Boasberg wrote. But the judge found that position “unsupportable,” apart from searches on just seven of the people.

Still, Boasberg allowed the data collection to continue, prompting Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, to lament that court’s decision on the data collection program, authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), “is even more inexplicable given that the opinion was issued shortly after the government reported submitting FISA applications riddled with errors and omissions in the Carter Page investigation.”

Page was a campaign associate of then-candidate Donald Trump who was illegally surveilled by the FBI.

After the judge’s order was made public, Clevenger filed FOIA requests for information on the improper searches with both the FBI and the NSA.

The FBI rejected the request.

In a February letter (pdf), an official told Clevenger that the letter he wrote “does not contain enough descriptive information to permit a search of our records.”

The NSA initially declined the request as well, but later granted an appeal of the decision, Linda Kiyosaki, an NSA official, said in a letter (pdf) this month.

“You had requested all documents, records, and other tangible evidence reflecting the improper surveillance of 16,000 individuals described in a 6 December, 2019, FISC Opinion,” Kiyosaki wrote.

Clevenger believes the NSA’s new position signals a rift between the two agencies, potentially because the FBI has repeatedly abused rules governing searches of the intelligence databases while the NSA has largely not.

“There’s been a battle between them, for example, Mike Rogers tried to shut off FBI access to the NSA database back in 2016,” Clevenger told The Epoch Times, referring to how Adm. Mike Rogers, the former NSA director, cut out FBI agents from using the databases in 2016.

“And so there’s been some history of the NSA trying to limit the FBI’s access because they know that the FBI is misusing the data intercepts,” he added.

The NSA and FBI did not respond to requests for comment.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/19/2021 - 15:30
Published:6/19/2021 2:46:32 PM
[Entertainment] How Michelle Obama, Janelle Monáe and More Stars Are Honoring Juneteenth 2021 Michelle Obama, Janelle Monae, Kaitlyn BristoweJust two days after President Joe Biden officially made Juneteenth (June 19) a new national holiday, celebrities and politicians are taking a moment to honor the important date. The...
Published:6/19/2021 2:17:47 PM
[Markets] White House Denies Report That Biden Froze Military Aid To Ukraine White House Denies Report That Biden Froze Military Aid To Ukraine

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

On Friday, the White House denied a Politico report that said the Biden administration temporarily paused a $100 million in additional military assistance for Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the idea that the US halted the aid is "nonsense."

"The idea that we have held back security assistance to Ukraine is nonsense. Just last week — in the run-up to the US-Russia Summit — we provided a $150 million package of security assistance, including lethal assistance. We have now provided the entire amount appropriated by Congress through the Ukraine security assistance initiative," Psaki said in a statement.

Ukrainian military forces, via Newsweek

The 2021 Pentagon budget allocated $275 million for Ukraine this year, which the US has already released. The Politico report said the US prepared an additional $100 million in lethal military aid in response to recent tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Sources said the additional assistance was put on hold after Russia withdrew troops from the region.

Psaki acknowledged that additional funds were allocated for Ukraine but said it was contingent on a further "incursion" from Russia. "We have also prepared contingency funds in the event of a further Russian incursion into Ukraine," she said.

The news about the additional aid came after President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Psaki said Biden told Putin that the US "will stand unwavering in support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity."

A Friday Politico report initially set off the controversy...

President Trump was impeached for temporarily freezing military aid for Ukraine in 2019. Trump was accused of leveraging the aid, but the impeachment was also motivated by the idea that Trump was soft on Russia and somehow beholden to Putin.

The narrative about Trump ignores the fact that he was the first president to authorize offensive weapons for Ukraine. Trump approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, a step President Obama was not willing to take for fear of stoking tensions with Moscow.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/19/2021 - 11:30
Published:6/19/2021 10:46:03 AM
[In The News] Obama’s Land Management Director Says Biden Nominee Should Be Disqualified For Her Involvement In 1989 ‘Eco-Terrorism’ Case

By Andrew Kerr -

Former Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey said President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the agency should be disqualified due to her involvement in an “eco-terrorism” case in her early 20s. “To put someone in that position that has this type of resume will just bring needless controversy that …

Obama’s Land Management Director Says Biden Nominee Should Be Disqualified For Her Involvement In 1989 ‘Eco-Terrorism’ Case is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/18/2021 8:39:46 PM
[Markets] IRS Denies Tax-Exemption To Texas Religious Group Because Prayer, Bible Reading Boost the Republican Party IRS Denies Tax-Exemption To Texas Religious Group Because Prayer, Bible Reading Boost the Republican Party

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

An IRS official denied tax-exempt status to a Texas group that encourages church members to pray for state and national leaders regardless of their party affiliation because it benefits “the private interests of the [Republican] Party.”

You do not qualify as an organization described in IRS Section 501(c)(3). You engage in prohibited political campaign intervention,” wrote Stephen A. Martin, Director of the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements in a May 18 letter (pdf) to Christians Engaged, the Garland, Texas-based prayer group recognized by Texas officials as tax-exempt.

You are also not operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 50l (c)(3), because you operate for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the D party,” Martin said.

Internal Revenue Service Headquarters (IRS) Building in Washington on March 8, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The “D party” is a reference to the Republican Party, according to a novel “Legend” Martin provided at the top of his letter to the Texas Group.

Martin’s letter was made public Wednesday by the First Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based public interest law firm that specializes in religious freedom litigation.

Martin also noted that the group’s activities “educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God,” Martin explained.

Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental, including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations,” he said.

“The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the D party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under lRS Section 50I(c)(3),” he said.

Christians Engaged President Bunni Pounds said in a statement issued by the First Liberty Institute that “we just want to encourage more people to vote and participate in the political process.  How can anyone be against that?”

First Liberty Institute is appealing Martin’s decision on behalf of Christians Engaged.

The IRS states in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican. That might be news to President Joe Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs,” said First Liberty Institute Counsel Lea Patterson in the statement.

“Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”

In the appeal letter, First Liberty said, “By finding that Christians Engaged does not meet the operational test, Director Martin errs in three ways 1) he invents a nonexistent requirement that exempt organizations be neutral on public policy issues; 2) he incorrectly concludes that Christians Engaged primarily serves private, nonexempt purposes rather than public, exempt purposes because he thinks its beliefs overlap with the Republican Party’s policy positions; and 3) he violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech, and Free Exercise, and Establishment clauses by engaging in both viewpoint discrimination and religious discrimination.”

Martin’s letter and decision are certain to ignite a new firestorm of protests among congressional Republicans, conservative and religious freedom advocacy groups, and civil liberties defenders, as happened during President Barack Obama’s Oval Office tenure.

The IRS under Obama singled out hundreds of conservative, Tea Party, and evangelical tax-exemption applicants for special treatment that included long delays and multiple requests for detailed information about the beliefs and activities of officials associated with the groups.

Multiple lawsuits were filed against the IRS by such groups and the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed in two separate settlements to compensate them for undisclosed amounts.

The DOJ also acknowledged that the IRS had targeted the groups on the basis of their political and religious activities and beliefs for “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays.”

“The act of praying for our country and our leaders is about the most non-partisan and patriotic thing that Americans can do. Millions of citizens do it every day,” Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) told The Epoch Times Wednesday.

The IRS was wrong to deny tax exempt status based on the false belief that the Bible somehow only belongs to one political party. The IRS still has a long way to go to ensure religious liberty for all,” Budd added.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/18/2021 - 18:20
Published:6/18/2021 5:39:32 PM
[Markets] Family Of Top Biden Officials Find Jobs Across Administration Despite 'No Nepotism' Pledge Family Of Top Biden Officials Find Jobs Across Administration Despite 'No Nepotism' Pledge

During his tenure in office, President Trump faced incessant criticism from the media for hiring family members - including his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner - and placing friends in positions of authority within his administration.

But just as President Joe Biden has ripped off many aspects of Trump's "America First" foreign policy and rhetoric, top officials in his administration have shown little compunction about hiring family members, despite Biden's promise that nepotism wouldn't be a feature of his administration.

Steve Ricchetti

According to a Washington Post report from Friday, during the first few months of Biden’s presidency, at least five children of his top aides have secured coveted jobs in the new administration. They include two sons and a daughter of a White House counselor, the daughter of a deputy White House chief of staff, and the daughter of Biden's director of presidential personnel. The pattern continued this week when the Treasury Department announced that it had hired JJ Ricchetti, son of Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti.

A handful of ethics experts told WaPo that it was "disappointing" to see the Biden Administration embrace cronyism, just like most of his predecessors.

"While it may not be as bad as appointing your son or daughter to a top government post as Trump did with Jared and Ivanka, it is still bad," said Walter Shaub, who served as director of the Office of Government Ethics from 2013-2017. "'Not as bad as Trump' cannot be the new standard."

Other relatives of top Biden aides also have secured high-level administration jobs or nominations, including the wife of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and the sister of White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Federal law generally prohibits government officials from directly hiring, or encouraging the hiring, of close relatives, however there is no evidence that any of the Biden administration officials named above have directly intervened in the process, according to WaPo. The White House maintains that everyone in the administration has been well-qualified for their positions.

"The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office," deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates said. "And he’s proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values."

But the hiring of senior aides’ children remains alarming to ethics experts, because it suggests that people with ties to high-ranking public servants might be getting an advantage over similarly qualified people.

"In a country that had just come through a pandemic, how can these children of political appointees be the only people who are qualified for employment?" Shaub said.

Elsewhere in the federal bureaucracy, some of the "more experienced" relatives of top officials hold other higher-level jobs.

Steve Ricchetti’s son Daniel Ricchetti is a senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. He previously worked for seven years on the staff of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, most recently as a policy analyst.

Cathy Russell, the director of presidential personnel in the White House, has a daughter, Sarah Donilon, who graduated college in 2019 and works in the White House National Security Council. Sarah Donilon’s uncle, Mike Donilon, is a senior adviser to Biden in the White House. Russell’s office does not oversee hiring at the White House or NSC, according to a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The official said those hired were well-qualified applicants and cited examples of how their experience levels were commensurate with some of their predecessors.

Sarah Donilon, for example, worked as a McCain Institute Fellow with Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council coordinator for the Indo Pacific, with whom she now works in the White House, the White House official said. The official also said the Biden administration places a priority on hiring former campaign volunteers and that J.J. Ricchetti is a former volunteer. Julia Reed earned praise from Biden aides for her work on the advance staff of his presidential campaign.

Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office implementing ethics rules that went further than the Obama administration's policies. But nothing in the regulations bars the administration from hiring people who are related to White House officials. As WaPo adds, for Biden, family has been central to his decades-long political ascent. His sister, Valerie Biden Owens, has been perhaps his most influential aide, managing his campaigns for local, state and national office over the years. Additionally, the tragic deaths of his wife and infant daughter in a 1972 car crash, and his son Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2015, have become core pieces of his political identity.

But just because Hunter Biden doesn't have an office in the West Wing doesn't mean Biden didn't mislead the public about the role family members of senior officials would play in his administration.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/18/2021 - 18:00
Published:6/18/2021 5:08:32 PM
[Entertainment] Hear Kevin Hart's Sweet Story About Bonding With Barack Obama Over Fatherhood Kevin Hart, Barack ObamaKevin Hart is just hoping for some peace and quiet this Father's Day. In a hilarious and heartfelt interview with E! News' Daily Pop co-host Victor Cruz on Friday, June 18, Hart...
Published:6/18/2021 1:37:59 PM
[Culture of Corruption] The Week in Radical Leftism, 6/18/2021

Welcome back to Day 150 of the Harris* Occupation! Let’s jump in: 6/9 – Obama tries to deflect America’s attention from Critical Race Theory The Bookworm does another excellent job – read to the end for a succint summary of what a nasty, hateful person our former president truly is. 6/11 – BrainPop is totally […]

The post The Week in Radical Leftism, 6/18/2021 appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:6/18/2021 12:07:48 PM
[Markets] Lois Lerner Of 2021: IRS Political Corruption Unchanged With Billionaires' Tax Returns Lois Lerner Of 2021: IRS Political Corruption Unchanged With Billionaires' Tax Returns

Authored by Emily Miller via Emily Post News

When the private tax returns of billionaires were leaked to a left-wing group, liberals and conservatives reacted very differently. Liberals fell for the political trick and immediately said that the tax code was unfair and the rich should get a tax hike. Conservatives saw through the conspiracy and wanted answers on how the Deep State at the IRS could, once again, have so much unchecked power for political purposes. When it comes to outrage, liberals always protest louder, so conservatives have to respond better.

ProPublica juicy headline

The billionaires' actual tax returns were “provided”  to the leftist activist group called ProPublica. It says it has “a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.” It alleges that:

The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg.

ProPublica never explains that whoever gave them these documents broke multiple federal laws. The end justifies the means in their worldview. 

The FBI is investigating the leak. House Republicans have demanded IRS Commissioner Charles Retting keep Congress informed on the investigation and have hearings into any “evidence of political influence or motivations.”

Partisan politics at the IRS

The stunning revelation that the IRS released private tax returns was overshadowed by the juicy details, like Jeff Bezos didn't pay any income taxes in 2007 and 2011 and neither did Elon Musk in 2018. (We aren’t told if they lost money those years to explain this.)

The billionaires picked to use for this political hit job were chosen because they are so extremely wealthy and household names. There are many more millionaires who no one would recognize that likely have more income, rather than wealth, so they wouldn’t fit the narrative.

The Left has been jumping all over the billionaires' low tax rates but never considered that every American will see the horrible breach of privacy by Uncle Sam as a threat to themselves too. That’s why when I saw the leak, my first thought was, this is Lois Lerner all over again.

Lois Lerner, former director of Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights for a second time in 2013 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

To remind you, Lerner was the head of the tax exempt division of the IRS that targeted conservative groups from 2010 to 2012, the height of the “Tea Party” movement. Lener admitted what they did — delaying tax-exempt status applications and harassing the groups that sounded right of center — and took the FIfth when she was called before Congress. Everyone at the IRS who had a hand in the political scandal got off without charges.  

I looked around to find what Lerner is doing now. It’s pretty easy to find her and her lawyer husband, Michael Miles. They are both 70-years-old and have lived in the same Bethesda house since 1998 that is now worth about $2 million. She most likely is still receiving her $100,000 a year government pension. There were no consequences for the horrendous abuse of power.

Biden tax hikes

Ostensibly, ProPublica is using the stolen returns to show the public that the super rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.  It is supposed to be a revelation that the richer you are, the more you can hire the fanciest and most clever accountants to take advantage of every tax break.

Anyway, the real reason for this stunning power move to drop IRS forms to the public is clear: promote Pres. Joe Biden’s budget agenda.  The timing of this leak and the exact perfect messaging is not a coincidence.  ProPublica writes: 

The revelations provided by the IRS data come at a crucial moment. Wealth inequality has become one of the defining issues of our age. The president and Congress are considering the most ambitious tax increases in decades on those with high incomes. 

The Left wants the public to hate the rich enough to support demands to raise taxes and increase the budget and power of the IRS.  Biden’s budget, called the “American Families Plan”, was released on April 28 and calls for lots of government freebies that are funded by taxing the rich. He wants to increase  the top tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent and increase the capital gains tax rate to 39.6 percent.

Biden also wants to increases the power of the IRS by spending $80 billion on “enforcement against those with the highest incomes.” By the way, Biden’s term is “increase investment in the IRS.” That means he will invest and get bigger returns by having more agents rifling through tax returns to get more money. Do you really think the IRS where Lois Lerner went for years without getting stopped will only target the billionaires?

Tax facts

Even if you want to just debate the information that ProPublica posted on the billionaires’ taxes, it doesn’t fit the facts. CATO did a great analysis - link at bottom, chart summary below —to show how the clickbait headline “You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire” is just factually wrong. 

CATO compares ProPublica analysis of tax rates with other major sources

The tax code is already heavily progressive. Americans for Tax Reform’s analysis of a new report from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows:

Taxpayers making $1 million and up pay an average federal tax rate of 31.5% while the bottom half of income earners ($63,179 or less) pay an average federal tax rate of 6.3%. That’s nearly five times as much in taxes as a percentage of income. 

The rich already fund most of the government. The Heritage Foundation, which made the cool graphic below to illustrate the concept, reports that the top 1% of income earners paid 40% of all the federal income taxes. The top 10% earners paid 71% of the federal income taxes.

This number has always struck me because -- you can do the math too-- 90% of us are only paying for one third of the total government spending. This is why I’ve always supported the flat tax. Everyone should be participating in funding the government — even the lowers income owners — and stop all the tax breaks and schemes. I spend days every year on TurboTax and still come out with using the standard deduction. It’s a waste of time.

ProPublica has a graphic (below) that is supposed to make it easy for people to get angry at the billionaires for reducing their tax bill. But look at it this way: Jeff Bezos paid almost $1 billion in taxes. Elon Musk paid almost half that. These successful businessmen are funding entire government agencies. A busload of the rest of us couldn’t come up with that kind of cash.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also thought of Lerner’s get out of jail free card this week in a floor speech (below.)

Referring to both the Lerner-led Obama administration targeting conservative groups and the release of the National Organization for Marriage returns, McConnell said:

These situations all have two things in common. First, a blatant political agenda aimed at advancing the cause of the political left. And second, the utter absence of criminal charges against the leakers.

The federal government has proven far too often that it is, at best incapable, and at worst unwilling, to protect taxpayers’ data from misuse by the political left.

The left vs right on billionaire taxes

Conservatives took this news so differently because we are inherently suspicious of the government. And, unlike liberals, we admire success and want the rich to do well because it means better jobs and economy. We want to be rich too. That is the American dream.

I hosted a YouTube show on Monday, and we discussed the FBI investigation into the leak of IRS forms to the left-wing ProPublica. I read some of the 1,200 comment on the video from the angry liberal, socialist audience. They mostly hate me for saying there is more to the issue than showing how the rich are paying taxes at a lower rate. The audience fell hook, line and sinker for the IRS/ProPublica tactic and did not want me to tell them that the people who broke federal laws were not the billionaires.

I expected their attacks on me personally because that is how they fight politics- dehumanize the messenger. The comment that surprised me is the one that said that the former hosts — who they miss — would never have told them that there was anything more the story other than billionaires don’t pay enough in taxes. They did not want more facts, they actually prefer to be scammed by the political powers. And that is always the split in how liberals and conservatives consider policies — feelings or facts. When you make a policy decision on your emotions, you are not capable of debating with a rational idea or substantive position, so you attack like a wild animal.

LINKS TO SOURCES:

ProPublica The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax &  You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire

Americans for Tax Reform: JCT Confirms: Tax Code is Already Steeply Progressive

The Joint Committee on Taxation: Tax Gap: Overview Of Federal Tax Provisions And Analysis Of Selected Issues 

The Heritage Foundation In 1 Chart, How Much the Rich Pay in Taxes

CATO ProPublica Analysis of Taxes on Wealthy

The Hill "Rising" -- Colin and Emily: What Billionaire Tax Story REVEALS About Our Tax System

House Ways and Means Committee Brady Briefed by IRS Commissioner Rettig on Leak of Sensitive Taxpayer Information & Letter to IRS

House Oversight Committee- Republicans Demand Hearing on Massive IRS Leak of Americans’ Sensitive Information

White House Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan

C-SPAN Lois Lerner testimony

*  *  *

Subscribers - Will the FBI catch who leaked the tax returns and will people be charged this time? What do you think of Biden's tax increase proposals?
Also, do you think conservatives and liberals view the same news differently?

Readers- Did you notice there are no ads or sponsors on this free post? That's because I am funded only from subscriptions. Please consider supporting me to continue this work and to get access to all my material by becoming a paid subscriber. It’s just $6 for a month and cancel anytime.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/17/2021 - 22:00
Published:6/17/2021 9:05:14 PM
[Markets] "Divine Vessel" Rockets Chinese Astronauts To New Space Station "Divine Vessel" Rockets Chinese Astronauts To New Space Station

In the last month and a half, China has launched the core capsule of the new Tiangong space station and supplies. On Thursday, three astronauts were catapulted into low Earth orbit and successfully docked with the new space station launched in April, according to Nikkei

The trio of astronauts - Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo - were transported in the Shenzhou-12 or "divine vessel" spacecraft on top of a Long March 2F at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country's northwestern Gobi Desert Thursday morning. By late afternoon local time, state broadcaster CCTV reported the craft had docked with the core capsule. 

Source: RTRS  

This is the first time China has launched humans into space in five years and the seventh since 2003. The country has been banned from the International Space Station (ISS) since 2011, when Congress, under the Obama administration, passed a law that prevented Americans from working with the Chinese space program due to national security risks. 

The three astronauts will be living on the 90-metric-ton T-shaped space station called Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, for 90 days. The new space station is still under construction as there are eight more missions to expand it. 

The launch was broadcast live on Chinese television and social media, attracting tens of millions of viewers.

This is another milestone for China as there are now two space stations operating in low Earth orbit. The ISS is nearing its working life, and Russia will soon withdraw from ISS cooperation in 2025

Another launch is set for September. That crew will replace the current trio onboard the space station.

For President Xi Jinping, the new space station represents power and his vision to dominate the world and space. 

The great power competition between the US and China, the two largest economies and largest military spenders, means space is becoming the next battleground. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/17/2021 - 20:20
Published:6/17/2021 7:32:41 PM
[Markets] Supreme Court Saves Obamacare Again After GOP Challenge Rejected Supreme Court Saves Obamacare Again After GOP Challenge Rejected

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a GOP challenge to Obamacare, upholding the Affordable Care Act for the third time.

In a 7-2 decision, the Court found that Texas and 17 other states lack legal standing to sue, as they had not suffered a direct injury, according to the New York Times.

The Justices did not touch on the larger issues in the case, however, namely whether the majority of Obama's signature legislation could stand without a provision that forces Americans to obtain insurance or pay a penalty.

Developing...

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/17/2021 - 10:19
Published:6/17/2021 9:29:46 AM
[Markets] IAEA Chief Says Nuclear Deal Will Have To Wait For New Iranian President IAEA Chief Says Nuclear Deal Will Have To Wait For New Iranian President

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said any agreement reached on a restored nuclear deal in Vienna will have to wait until after this weekend's Iranian presidential election

A national vote will take place on Friday, June 8, and it's expected that the hardline candidate and current head of the judiciary Ebrahim Raisi will succeed Hassan Rouhani as president. Rouhani's term ends on August 3rd. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in a Wednesday interview with an Italian daily paper that "Everyone knows that, at this point, it will be necessary to wait for the new Iranian government."

Via AP

"The discussions that have been going on for weeks have dealt with very complex and delicate technical questions, but what is needed is the political will of the parties," he added.

The remarks come after prior widespread overly-optimistic reports that a deal would be reached prior to a new Iranian president being sworn into office.

These statements had actually previously come from the Iranian side, also given it was Rouhani who oversaw negotiations with the Obama administration in 2015 for the original deal. Rouhani has this week been pushing for a hasty positive conclusion to Vienna talks, with the hoped-for US dropping of sanctions:

President Hassan Rouhani in his cabinet meeting Wednesday said that while progress in the Vienna nuclear talks had slackened, an agreement was "two words and a dot" away and would happen soon.

With his period in office ending in August - he was ineligible to seek a third consecutive term in Friday’s presidential election - Rouhani has been heralding the imminent conclusion of Iran’s multilateral talks with world powers that began in April to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, the JCPOA.

As for the current state of the now 6th round of talks in Vienna, which is being done "indirectly" in terms of Iran engaging US officials, Grossi stated: "The discussions that have been going on for weeks have dealt with very complex and delicate technical questions, but what is needed is the political will of the parties."

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/16/2021 - 21:20
Published:6/16/2021 8:26:59 PM
[Middle Column] There he goes again: Al Gore Lobbies White House on Infrastructure bill which will benefit his $55 million investment in electric battery company

Former vice president Al Gore, whose investment firm raised $55 million in financing for the electric battery company in 2017, reportedly spoke with Biden in recent weeks to lobby the White House on keeping climate policy as a focus of his infrastructure proposal, which is expected to include major subsidies for green energy companies like Proterra.

#

Morano’s Book details Al Gore’s quest to become world’s first ‘carbon billionaire’ – ‘Lavishly’ profited off climate lobbying - According to a 2012 Washington Post report, “14 green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of Obama’s historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money."

Published:6/16/2021 9:26:02 AM
[Markets] How Rigidly Controlled European "News"-Media Are How Rigidly Controlled European "News"-Media Are

Authored by Eric Zuesse via SouthFront.org,

NATO is America’s military alliance against Russia and China - primarily against Russia, because at the start of the Cold War, the two nuclear superpowers quickly emerged to be U.S. and U.S.S.R.

If America blitz-nuclear-attacks Russia, as the U.S. Government’s “Nuclear Primacy” geostrategy ever since at least the year 2006 has envisioned to be the end-game in the Cold War (in order to ‘win’ that War, since a blitz-attacker has a vastly higher likelihood of winning a war, whereas a defender has no opportunity to plan in advance when and where to strike and no opportunity to obliterate the opponent’s defenses at the very start of the conflict and thereby to prevent retaliation — only a blitz-attacker can have such opportunities), then what countries will Russia nuke in return (if any of its retaliatory forces do survive such a blitz by America)? All of America’s allies would likely be nuked, in response, though mainly the U.S. itself would be. However, European countries are nearer to Russia than America is, and therefore will be taking the hits from the shorter-range Russian missiles — more “bang for the buck” there. All of the U.S., and all of Russia, could be totally destroyed, but America’s allies also would be. By being America’s ally, each other NATO-member-nation becomes a target for Russia to retaliate against in the event of an American blitz-attack against Russia. Although America’s goal (since 2006) is a 100% successful blitz attack and 100% shielding of America from any possible Russian counter-attack, that’s not yet possible (and probably it can’t ever be): ‘winning’ a nuclear war between America and Russia would mean merely having the last person to die from the war.

This means that (in practical fact) the safest countries will be non-aligned ones - not allies of either side. In other words: NATO membership greatly increases a European country’s risk. That’s the actual fact.

However, by overwhelmingly high margins within each one of the NATO countries, the publics there believe exactly the opposite.

Here is from the “NATO Secretary General Annual Report 2020”:

p.42 of the document = p.44 of the pdf:

Support for NATO remains high. As in 2019, most citizens would vote for their country to remain a member of NATO in a referendum (62%, compared to 64% in 2019), with only 11% stating they would vote for their country to leave the Alliance. The graph below shows responses to the question “If you could vote for or against your country’s membership in NATO, how would you vote?”:

Albania 94/5 (94% for, 5% against), Lithuania 83/7, Poland 82/5, Romania 80/7, Portugal 78/6, Estonia 76/10, North Macedonia 76/14, Hungary 73/8, Luxembourg 73/7, Denmark 72/8, Germany 69/12, Italy 68/11, Latvia 67/15, Norway 67/18, Canada 66/7, Croatia 65/16, Netherlands 64/10, UK 64/8, Belgium 63/10, Czechia 63/17, Greece 61/20, Turkey 61/16, Spain 60/16, Bulgaria 67/22, U.S. 57/10, Slovenia 55/26, Iceland 52/14, Slovakia 51/27, France 50/13, Montenegro 50/30. 

The majority of Allied citizens (58%) continue to see NATO membership as decreasing the likelihood of attack by a foreign nation, with only 16% disagreeing with that statement. The graph below shows agreement with the statement “Our membership in NATO makes it less likely that a foreign nation will attack our country”:

Lithuania 78/8, Albania 76/14, Poland 76/8, Norway 74/10, North Macedonia 73/9, Denmark 72/7, Portugal 72/9, Romania 70/12, Estonia 69/15, Hungary 69/12, Turkey 69/17, Croatia 67/14, Netherlands 66/10, Latvia 63/15, Spain 63/13, UK 61/12, Belgium 60/12, Bulgaria 60/19, Germany 60/15, Canada 58/11, Greece 58/23, Luxembourg 58/14, Slovenia 58/20, Italy 57/17, Czechia 54/21, Iceland 52/13, Slovakia 51/23, U.S. 51/17, France 47/19, Montenegro 45/22.

For example: 76% of Albanians believe that “Our membership in NATO makes it less likely that a foreign nation will attack our country,” and 94% of them endorse continued Albanian membership in NATO.

What this shows is that the ‘news’-media in NATO countries are refusing to present to their public the reality, that alliance with America greatly increases the likelihood that if and when a war breaks out between America and Russia, the allied countries will be destroyed far more than the neutral countries will be destroyed. They strongly believe the opposite, instead.

Because the global center of the U.S.-and-allied permanent-warfare empire is the United States itself (the U.S. invented NATO to defeat the Soviet Union), the propaganda for NATO is more intensive in America than anywhere else. For example: the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winning organization ICAN headlined on 6 July 2018, “New Poll: Europeans Reject US Nuclear Weapons on Own Soil” and reported that “in [each of] the four EU countries that host US nuclear weapons [Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Italy] … an overwhelming majority of people surveyed were in favour of removing the weapons from their soil, and for their countries to sign the Treaty that bans them outright.” Consequently, if any of those nations had been authentically a democracy, then that nation definitely would not have U.S. nukes on its soil, and definitely would sign and ratify the U.N.’s ban against nukes. Europeans don’t want nukes on their soil, but do want NATO membership. By huge margins, they are that loony!

However, according to Gallup’s polling, even within the United States itself, an overwhelming majority (64% in 1995, rising to a peak of 80% under Obama in 2017 after America’s February 2014 nazi coup in Ukraine, which America’s ‘news’-media reported as having been instead a democratic revolution there that was being fought against by Russia) approved of NATO. (That’s a very carefully manufactured consent, within the American ‘democracy’.) The ‘news’-media throughout NATO are constantly propagandizing for NATO. In all NATO countries, they are controlled by the same people who control Lockheed Martin and the other international corporations whose sales and profits are entirely (or nearly entirely) derived from selling (weapons) to Governments that are allied to the U.S. — not from selling to the public.

This is the U.S. regime’s boom-time for bomb-makers. See the trailer for the documentary about it, “Shadow World Trailer”, which summarizes how this system works. Corruption is the system’s core. The system works by corruption.

A fine book about the almost unlimited corruption in the world’s ‘defense’ industries, Paul Holden’s 2016 Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade, states that, “NATO members, including the US, spent a total of $904bn in 2015, 53.9% of total military spending.5 Other countries that the US classes as ‘major non-NATO allies’, including Japan, Australia and Israel, accounted for another 10% of the total,” raising it to 64%. And those nations’ weapons-manufacturers sell also outside the U.S.-allied bloc. “Among these purchasers, for example, are some of the world’s poorest nations.” That book’s Introduction asserted: “The arms business needs to be undressed. Every rotten item needs to be thrown out. Then, we will find, there is nothing left. The arguments [for governments’ weapons-purchases] are nothing more than myths.” Essentially, companies that sell almost entirely to governments hike their profits enormously by controlling their markets by buying-off politicians, since those politicians essentially control those huge buying-decisions. Instead of democracy, there is dictatorship in these countries: it’s imperialism internationally, and fascism nationally. A reader of that book summarized at Amazon what he had learned from it, by headlining “The world really is run by psychopaths” and saying: “One of the things that came across from this book was that the elite class simply doesn’t consider the rest of us. They talk to each other and deal with each other and give each other presents – of arms – in order to signify and qualify for status. They also buy and sell arms, and it’s the biggest business on earth. It is also a major emitter of carbon gases, yet never included in measures to reduce carbon emissions – so why would you take global emissions talk seriously? Official reasons for war are almost always lies; war is about business.”

Behind all the “reasons for war” stands the aggressor’s craving for conquest. On 31 May 2021, Valery Kulikov headlined at “NEO Journal,” “US Actively Prepares for War with Russia”, and described (and linked to) three recent U.S. and UK articles about U.S. and UK plans for a modern equivalent of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa invading Russia, but each article pretended that this would be ‘defense’ against Russian ‘aggression’. The three articles headlined “US Navy SEALs are training to fight on land and water in a ‘strategic location’ near Russia”, and “Russia Is Scared: America Has A Secret Plan to Attack Kaliningrad”, and “British Carrier Joins U.S. Amphibious Forces In North Atlantic In A Vision Of What’s To Come”. Supposedly, this was ‘defensive’. That’s how the regime’s media present it.

In other words: European countries are getting highly misleading (pro-NATO) ‘news’-reports and commentaries. Those ‘news’-media are pretending that, ever since 1991 (when the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirror military alliance the Warsaw Pact ended), Russia has aggressed against vastly more countries than America has. In fact, America, ever since the end of World War II, has done dozens of coups, starting in Thailand in 1948. How many did the Soviet Union do? How many has Russia done? And America has also done vastly more invasions, and also vastly more sanctions and economic blockades. Europe is, in fact, allied with the most aggressive nation in the world. That makes Europeans safer?

In the event of a war between the U.S. and Russia, the safest nations will be the nations which are not involved in that war. If you are America, then it might be smart to have continued NATO after the Soviet Union ended; but, if you are any other member of NATO, then staying in NATO was smart only for your weapons-manufacturing corporations, and was exceedingly stupid for all the rest of your population, because staying in NATO makes you a target for Russian retaliation if America blitz-attacks Russia, as the U.S. regime intends to do.

The ‘news’-media shape the public’s perceptions. Europeans are profoundly deceived. Though they don’t want nuclear weapons on their soil, they nonetheless believe that they ought to be allied to the world’s most aggressive nation, which continues the Cold War after the end of the Soviet Union. The sheer stupidity of this is awesome, but it’s the sort of thing that “manufactured consent” refers to.

*  *  *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VEN

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/16/2021 - 03:30
Published:6/16/2021 2:50:07 AM
[Markets] An Apparently Confused Biden Goes Silent After Fielding Question About Putin An Apparently Confused Biden Goes Silent After Fielding Question About Putin

More clips have surfaced which highlight Biden's apparent difficulty in handling unscripted back-and-forth discussion during his ongoing foreign policy focused Europe trip. As early as the weekend at the G-7 the Associated Press had noticed a "handful of verbal stumbles" the US president made. As we also highlighted there would be more to come. And then at his big Monday night NATO summit presser, there was the following bizarre moment...

Vladimir Putin laughed at the suggestion that you had called him a 'killer,'" a CNN reporter asked. "Is that still your belief, sir, that he is a killer?"

The reporter followed with a second question, also asking, "Do you believe if he does agree to cooperate, then what kind of a challenge do you find yourself in? How would you ever trust him? And if Ronald Reagan said, 'trust, but verify,' what do you say to Vladimir Putin?"

After an unusually long and awkward silence as Biden grasped for words, he later forgets the second question and looks around the room for a verbal que. 

Many pundits have observed that it's alarming that the leader of the free world is about to go into the biggest foreign policy meeting of his presidency, with Vladimir Putin, and he's appearing to have trouble keeping track of simple questions and verbal exchanges.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald on Monday wrote the following:

"Given this genuinely disturbing videos and others like it, it's a good day to remind everyone that the warnings that Biden is suffering from serious cognitive decline came *not* from MAGA people or Bernie supporters, but from worried establishment Dems," Greenwald said Monday.

There's growing speculation that Biden's planned-for "solo news conference" - as opposed to the norm in a bilateral summit of two world leaders jointly taking question from the press - is really about ensuring a predictable and scripted enough exercise to avoid any personal embarrassment which might involve the US president stumbling in his thoughts or grasping for words.  

Certainly the White House fears that Putin would seek to capitalize on any potential 'confusion' on display by Biden, hence the solo press conference.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/15/2021 - 14:56
Published:6/15/2021 2:16:39 PM
[World] Heck of a job on border security, Kamala Harris

Anyone who watched the Obama administration closely knows that Joe Biden failed at just about every special assignment given to him by his president — remember stabilizing Iraq and limiting ISIS, the Cancer Moonshot and gun violence reduction? Consequently, when President Biden announced that Kamala Harris would reprise his role ... Published:6/15/2021 1:46:16 PM

[Markets] Greenwald: The Enduring False Narrative About The PULSE Massacre Shows The Power Of Media Propaganda Greenwald: The Enduring False Narrative About The PULSE Massacre Shows The Power Of Media Propaganda

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com

Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the site of Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were killed on June 12th shooting by a single gunman, July 22, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Brooks Kraft/Getty Images)

On the fifth anniversary of the PULSE nightclub massacre in Orlando, numerous senators, politicians and activist groups commemorated that tragic event by propagating an absolute falsehood: namely, that the shooter, Omar Mateen, was motivated by anti-LGBT animus. The evidence is definitive and conclusive that this is false — Mateen, like so many others who committed similar acts of violence, was motivated by rage over President Obama's bombing campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and chose PULSE at random without even knowing it was a gay club — yet this media-consecrated lie continues to fester.

On Saturday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) falsely described the massacre as an "unspeakable act of hate toward the LGBTQ+ community.” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) went even further, claiming “the LGBTQ+ community was targeted and killed—all because they dared to live their lives.” Her fellow Illinois Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, claimed forty-nine lives were lost due to “anti-LGBTQ hate” (he forgot the +). These false claims were compiled by the gay socialist activist Matt Thomas, who correctly objected: “the shooter literally picked PULSE at random from Google after security was too tight at the mall he went to first,” adding that while LGBT groups “are hopeless of course,” too much money and power is at stake for them to give up this self-serving fiction. But he asked, “Shouldn’t the bar be a little higher for senators?”

In the immediate aftermath of that horrific crime, it may have been reasonable for the public to speculate that Mateen, given his professed support for ISIS, chose PULSE because it was a gay club. That belief also neatly played into a liberal political agenda of highlighting anti-LGBT hate crimes, and also comported with the dual stereotypes of the gay-hating Muslim and the closeted gay man who harbors self-hatred that ends up directed at other gay people. This storyline was instantly consecrated when politicians and LGBT groups quickly seized on this claim and ratified it as unquestionably true.

Rather than acknowledging that it was anger over his relentless bombing raids in the Muslim world, President Obama immediately declared that anti-LGBT hatred was the real cause. “This was an attack on the LGBT community,” the president said, adding: "And hatred towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.” Chad Griffin, then-head of the largest LGBT advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, claimed: “the maniac who did this was somehow conditioned to believe that LGBT people deserve to be massacred, that they are ‘less than’ in this society.”

Then-candidate Hillary Clinton, as part of her campaign, made a pilgrimage to Orlando and seized on the attack. In addition to its constituting anti-American terrorism, the Democratic nominee proclaimed the massacre “was also an act of hate,” adding that “the gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month.” She vowed: “We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.” Speaking with Clinton in Orlando, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that it is “a cruel irony that a community defined almost exclusively by whom they love [LGBT people] is so often a target of hate.” Then-candidate Donald Trump also endorsed this view: “A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub, not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens, because of their sexual orientation.”

Liberal propagandists who pose as journalists treated this storyline as definitively proven. The massacre was “undeniably a homophobic hate crime,” Jeet Heer wrote in The New Republic. “Let’s say it plainly: This was a mass slaying aimed at LGBT people,” Tim Teeman wrote in The Daily Beast. In USA Today, James S. Robbins speculated that Mateen was likely “trying to reconcile his inner feelings with his strongly homophobic Muslim culture.” In the days following the killing spree, one writer in USA Today, Steph Solis, even accused those of questioning this narrative of propagating bigotry and exhibiting cruel indifference to gay suffering: “Those who insist the shooting was solely an Islamic terror attack try to erase the LGBT community from the narrative, causing only more pain by invalidating their experiences in this ordeal.”

US President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden place flowers for the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub Sunday at a memorial at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida, June 16, 2016. (Photo SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

But journalism is supposed to function on evidence, not speculation, and there never was any evidence that supported the storyline that he was driven by hatred for LGBTs. The evidence that was available suggested the opposite.

On June 12, 2016, Mateen spent just over three hours in PULSE from the time he began slaughtering innocent people at roughly 2:00 a.m. until he was killed by a SWAT team at roughly 5:00 a.m. During that time, he repeatedly spoke to his captives about his motive, did the same with the police with whom he was negotiating, and discussed his cause with local media which he had called from inside the club. Mateen was remarkably consistent in what he said about his motivation. Over and over, he emphasized that his attack at PULSE was in retaliation for U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. In his first call with 911 while inside PULSE, this is what he said about why he was killing people:

Because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. They are killing a lot of innocent people. What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. … You need to stop the U.S. airstrikes. They need to stop the U.S. airstrikes, OK? . … This went down, a lot of innocent women and children are getting killed in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, OK? … The airstrikes need to stop and stop collaborating with Russia. OK?

In the hours he spent surrounded by the gay people he was murdering, he never once uttered a homophobic syllable, instead always emphasizing his geo-political motive. Not a single survivor reported him saying anything derogatory about LGBTs or even anything that suggested he knew he was in a gay club. All said he spoke extensively about his vengeance on behalf of ISIS against U.S. bombing of innocent Muslims.

Mateen's postings on Facebook leading up to his attack all reflected the same motive. They were filled with rage about and vows of retaliation against U.S. bombing. Not a single post contained any references to LGBTs let alone anger or violence toward them. “You kill innocent women and children by doing U.S. airstrikes,” Mateen wrote on Facebook in one of his last posts before attacking PULSE, adding: “Now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”

It was of course nonetheless possible that he secretly harbored hatred for LGBTs and hid his real motive, but that never made sense: the whole point of terrorism is to publicize, not conceal, the grievances driving the violence. And again, good journalism requires evidence before ratifying claims. There never was any to support the story that Mateen's attack was driven by anti-LGBT hatred, and all the available evidence early on negated that suspicion and pointed to a radically different motive. But the media frenzy ended up, by design or otherwise, obscuring Mateen's anger over Obama's bombing campaigns as his motive in favor of promoting this as an anti-LGBT hate crime.

As the FBI investigation into Mateen proceeded, all the early media gossip — that Mateen was a closeted gay man who had searched for male sexual partners and had even previously visited PULSE — was debunked. The month after the attack, The Washington Post reported that “The FBI has found no evidence so far that Omar Mateen chose the popular establishment because of its gay clientele,” and quoted a federal investigator as saying: “While there can be no denying the significant impact on the gay community, the investigation hasn’t revealed that he targeted PULSE because it was a gay club.” The New York Times quickly noted that no evidence could be found to support the speculation that Mateen was gay:

F.B.I. investigators, who have conducted more than 500 interviews in the case, are continuing to contact men who claim to have had sexual relations with Mr. Mateen or think they saw him at gay bars. But so far, they have not found any independent corroboration — through his web searches, emails or other electronic data — to establish that he was, in fact, gay, officials said.

The following year, the local paper that most extensively covered the PULSE massacre, The Orlando Sentinel, acknowledged that “there’s still no evidence that the PULSE killer intended to target gay people.”

As the investigation proceeded, this anti-LGBT hate crime narrative became more and more unlikely. But the question of Mateen's motives was settled once and for all — or at least it should have been — during the unsuccessful attempt by the Justice Department to prosecute Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, on numerous felony charges alleging her complicity in her husband's attack. That trial — quite justifiably — ended in a full acquittal for Salman, but evidence emerged during it that conclusively disproved the widely held view that Mateen chose PULSE because he wanted to kill gay people.

Along with my then-colleague Murtaza Hussain, I extensively reported on the Salman trial and compiled all the evidence that emerged during it that proved anti-LGBT hatred was not part of Mateen's motive. But it was not just us: virtually every journalist who covered that trial, including several who began believing or at least suspecting that this was an anti-gay hate crime, definitively concluded that this was false. Reporter Melissa Jeltsen covered that trial for The Huffington Post and — writing under the headline “Everyone Got The Pulse Massacre Story Completely Wrong” — explained:

Almost overnight, a narrative emerged that until now has been impossible to dislodge: Mateen planned and executed an attack on PULSE because he hated gay people. . . . Salman’s trial cast doubt on everything we thought we knew about Mateen. There was no evidence he was a closeted gay man, no evidence that he was ever on Grindr. He looked at porn involving older women, but investigators who scoured Mateen’s electronic devices couldn’t find any internet history related to homosexuality. (There were daily, obsessive searches about ISIS, however.) Mateen had extramarital affairs with women, two of whom testified during the trial about his duplicitous ways.

Mateen may very well have been homophobic. He supported ISIS, after all, and his father, an FBI informant currently under criminal investigation, told NBC that his son once got angry after seeing two men kissing. But whatever his personal feelings, the overwhelming evidence suggests his attack was not motivated by it.

Even the gay reporter for NBC News who covers the LGBT community, Tim Fitzsimons, tried to make clear that the commonly held view of the PULSE attack as an anti-LGBT hate crime was false. “The attack on the nightclub has long been seen as a hate crime directed at the LGBTQ community,” explained the headline under which he wrote, "but all evidence says the gunman chose it at random.”

NBC News, June 12, 2018

 

What that conclusive evidence proved is that Mateen had spent days scoping out Disney locations but concluded they were too secured to attack. Search records from Mateen's phone and computers showed him looking for “Orlando clubs,” but never “gay Orlando clubs.” That night, after cell tower records and security cameras showed him scoping out several Disney venues, he used his phone to Google the search term “Orlando nightclubs” — not "gay clubs” — and chose PULSE because the popular nightclub was the first search term that appeared. Witnesses said that when he entered, he asked security guards: "where are the women?” As Jeltsen wrote: “As far as investigators could tell, Mateen had never been to PULSE before, whether as a patron or to case the nightclub.” None of Mateen's phones or computers had any evidence he sought sex with men but contained ample evidence of his affairs with numerous women.

Whatever Mateen's motives were, the horror and tragedy of the extinguishing of forty-nine innocent lives at PULSE on June 12, 2016, remains the same. But this enduring falsehood — which continues to deceive many well-meaning people through this very day, long past the point that it has been definitively debunked — is damaging for so many reasons.

Lying about what happened dishonors Mateen's victims. It harms the cause of LGBT equality, which does not need lies and fabrications to be a just movement. It obscures how often U.S. violence in the Muslim world causes "blowback” — to use the CIA's term — by motivating others to bring violence to the U.S. as retaliation and deterrence for violence against innocent Muslims. And a major reason for the completely unjust prosecution of Noor Salman was to appease understandable demands within the Orlando LGBT community for someone to be punished, but mob justice rarely produces anything benevolent.

No matter how noble the intent, journalism — and activism — becomes corrupted if it knowingly supports falsehoods. That the PULSE massacre was an act of anti-LGBT hatred is a fiction. Unless you are a neocon, there is no such thing as a "noble lie.” It is way past time for politicians and activist groups to stop disseminating this one.


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Tyler Durden Mon, 06/14/2021 - 18:20
Published:6/14/2021 5:32:20 PM
[Markets] Biden-Putin Summit: Boon Or Bust? Biden-Putin Summit: Boon Or Bust?

Authored by Ray McGovern via AntiWar.com,

Reading the tea leaves a week before Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin meet in Geneva puts a premium on the kind of media analysis we old-school Kremlinologists had to rely on back in the day. Not all rhetoric is equal though; it is just as important to make an honest attempt to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding a major initiative like the summit proposal. The weird timing of the invitation cries out for explanation.

You Asked For It, Joe

Lest we forget, President Biden suggested a summit with Putin in the midst of very high tension over Ukraine. On March 24 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued an official decree that Ukraine would take Crimea back from Russia; Kiev’s strategy includes "military measures" to achieve "de-occupation." U.S. and NATO voice "unwavering" (rhetorical) support for Zelensky, who sends tons of military equipment south and east. Russia sends troops and arms south and west into Crimea and the border area opposite Luhansk and Donetsk in the eastern Ukraine.

One Day in April

The following refresher on what all went down on April 13 may throw some light on why – in such tense circumstances – Biden proposed a summit with Putin.

  • NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg slams Russia for sending "thousands of combat-ready troops to Ukraine’s borders."

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says, in effect, Yes, Stoltenberg has that right; Moscow has sent "two armies and three airborne formations to western regions" over the prior three weeks.

  • Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov criticizes NATO and the US for "deliberately turning Ukraine into a powder keg." Strongly advises cancellation of plans for imminent passage of two US guided-missile destroyers into Black Sea. (The plans were canceled.)

  • President Biden calls President Putin, later calls the conversation "candid and respectful." Putin spokesman describes it as "businesslike and rather long." Biden proposes "a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia," according to the White House.

"Stable and Predictable"

In broaching a summit meeting to Putin, Biden "reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with US interests," according to the White House. The White House readout gave pride of place to their discussion of "a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty."

It is a safe bet that Biden and his advisers learned a valuable lesson in barely avoiding being mousetrapped into facing open hostilities (or an embarrassing backdown) in Ukraine – an area in which Russia has an "asymmetric" (as Putin later described it) preponderance of power. Thus, beneath all the gratuitous insults and asymmetrically harsh Western media rhetoric, Biden and co. might see a priority interest in heading off such misadventures in the future.

If Not Yet Trust, Then Mutual Interest

Biden and Putin might see at least a modicum of common interest in developing a useful dialogue on regional issues (like Ukraine), as well as a more obvious strategic interest in avoiding mutual annihilation. On Monday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan defended Biden’s summit initiative, stressing the need for "strategic stability and progress on arms control." Sullivan described Putin as "a singular kind of personalized leader, so a chance "to come together at a summit will allow us to manage this relationship … most effectively."

For his part, President Putin commenting in St. Petersburg on Friday on what issues will enjoy pride of place at the summit, also spoke of "strategic stability [and] settling international conflicts in the hottest spots," disarmament and terrorism. Acknowledging the political pressures any US president faces in trying to carve out a more sensible relationship with Russia, Putin conceded that "to a certain extent, Russian-American relations have become hostage to internal political processes in the United States itself." He added:

"I hope it ends someday. I mean the fundamental interests in the field of at least security, strategic stability and the reduction of weapons dangerous for the whole world are still more important than the current domestic political situation in the United States itself."

Taking a more conventional tack regarding current US policy, Putin lamented:

US leaders "want to hold back our development and they talk about this openly. Everything else is a derivative [including] an attempt to influence the internal political processes in our country, relying on the forces that they consider to be their own in Russia."

In a separate interview on Russia’s Channel 1, Putin described Biden as "an experienced, balanced, and accurate" politician, and expressed the hope that those qualities would have a positive effect on the upcoming negotiations. Putin said, "I am not expecting anything that could become a breakthrough in U.S.-Russia relations," but added that the Geneva talks may well create the right conditions for taking further steps toward normalizing Russia-U.S. ties, which would in itself be "a positive result."

A Senior Among Sophomores

If Biden can shake himself free from his more extreme Russophobe advisers and the arms merchants who thrive on tension with Moscow, he has a mentor at hand to help him navigate the shoals. CIA chief William Burns has as much experience in foreign affairs as the rest of Biden’s wet-behind-the-ears rising sophomores (Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, et al.) put together. Indeed, Burns happened to be Ambassador to Russia when plans were afoot to make Ukraine and Georgia members of NATO.

On February 1, 2008, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, explained to Burns precisely what the US should expect from Russia were NATO to move to incorporate Ukraine. (To his credit, Burns played it straight, titling his cable "NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES," and sending it to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with IMMEDIATE precedence.

Burns reported that "Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains ‘an emotional and neuralgic’ issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene."

I believe I can detect the fine, experienced hand of now CIA Director Burns in the "2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" published in early April. I found it remarkedly balanced and candid on how Russia sees threats to its security:

We ?assess that Russia does not want a direct conflict with US forces. Russian officials have long believed that the United States is conducting its own ‘influence campaigns’ to undermine Russia, weaken President Vladimir Putin, and install Western-friendly regimes in the states of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. Russia seeks an accommodation with the United States on mutual noninterference in both countries’ domestic affairs and US recognition of Russia’s claimed sphere of influence over much of the former Soviet Union.?

Such candor has not been seen since the DIA (the Defense Intelligence Agency) wrote, in its “December 2015 National Security Strategy” over the signature of DIA Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart:

The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts.

What If Things Go Bump in the Night?

The analysis above is heavily dependent on fragile tea leaves. Other straws in the wind point to a disaster at the June 16 summit in Geneva.

Let’s say that the NATO summit, in which Biden will take part on June 14, issues a Declaration (as it did in April 2008, two months after Lavrov’s loud Nyet) that Ukraine and Georgia "will become members of NATO."

Or let’s say Biden keeps ringing changes on the theme of "democratic values" to contrast the West with Russia and China, and feels compelled to talk to Putin "from a position of strength" (as Biden did in his Washington Post op-ed Sunday); or he harps on "Russian aggression" in Ukraine, without any acknowledgment of his own complicity (or at least guilty knowledge of) the Victoria Nuland-orchestrated coup in Kiev in Feb. 2014.

Or let’s say the US Department of Justice indicts a bunch of Russians for hacking (as happened three days before former President Donald Trump met with Putin in July 2018).

There are a number of things that could go bump in the night, so to speak, and either cancel the summit or turn it into an acerbic exchange like the March 18 meeting in Anchorage between Anthony Blinken/Jake Sullivan and their Chinese counterparts – Yes, you remember, the ones who warned their interlocutors not to not speak to China in a "condescending way" or from a claimed "position of strength."

Should that kind of debate ensue in Geneva, the US team will have to have their loins girded on the chance the following questions are asked:

  • Do you now regret greasing the Senate skids for the attack on Iraq?

  • Did you have a chance to watch the Dr. Strangelove dvd that Oliver Stone gave Mr. Putin? Do you have any Air Force generals like that still on active duty. What about the commander of STRATCOM who talks nonchalantly about using nuclear weapons?

  • What do you think about the sworn testimony of the head of the cyber-firm CrowdStrike that no one – not Russia, not anyone – hacked those DNC emails that WikiLeaks published? Why has the NY Times turned that into a state secret?

  • Does your Democratic colleague, Rep. Jason Crow, really believe that "Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy." And what does Speaker Nancy Pelosi mean exactly, as she keeps repeating "All roads lead to Putin"? Are we correctly informed that Hillary Clinton suggested President Putin was giving President Trump instructions on Jan. 6 as your Capitol building was attacked?

Finally, here is Putin in his own words. He has long had an allergy to "exceptionalism." After he pulled President Barack Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire by persuading the Syrians to give up their chemical weapons in early September 2013, Putin had high hopes, and set them down at the end of a New York Times op-ed on Sept. 11, 2013:

If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere … and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is "what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional."

It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

I was told at the time that Putin dictated those paragraphs himself. That report garnered additional credence in early 2020, when President Putin said the same thing during an interview with Andrey Vandenko:

VANDENKO: But things did not go well [in your relationship] with Obama … Did somebody put you at odds with him?

PUTIN: No, it has nothing to do with ‘being at odds’. It’s just that when a person says that the US is an exceptional nation, with special, exclusive rights to practically the entire world, I cannot go along with that. God created us all equal and gave us equal rights.

It seems it would be good to be aware of this and to take it into account.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/13/2021 - 07:00
Published:6/13/2021 6:29:09 AM
[Markets] "It Won't Be Pleasant" - Mark Carney Unveils Dystopian New World To Combat Climate 'Crisis' "It Won't Be Pleasant" - Mark Carney Unveils Dystopian New World To Combat Climate 'Crisis'

Authored by Peter Foster via NationalPost.com,

What Carney ultimately wants is a technocratic dictatorship justified by climate alarmism...

In his book Value(s): Building a Better World for All, Mark Carney, former governor both of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, claims that western society is morally rotten, and that it has been corrupted by capitalism, which has brought about a “climate emergency” that threatens life on earth. This, he claims, requires rigid controls on personal freedom, industry and corporate funding.

Carney’s views are important because he is UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance. He is also an adviser both to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the next big climate conference in Glasgow, and to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Since the advent of the COVID pandemic, Carney has been front and centre in the promotion of a political agenda known as the “Great Reset,” or the “Green New Deal,” or “Building Back Better.” All are predicated on the claim that COVID, and its disruption of the global economy, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not just to regulate climate, but to frame a more fair, more diverse, more inclusive, more safe and more woke world.

Carney draws inspiration from, among others, Marx, Engels and Lenin, but the agenda he promotes differs from Marxism in two key respects. First, the private sector is not to be expropriated but made a “partner” in reshaping the economy and society. Second, it does not make a promise to make the lives of ordinary people better, but worse. Carney’s Brave New World will be one of severely constrained choice, less flying, less meat, more inconvenience and more poverty: “Assets will be stranded, used gasoline powered cars will be unsaleable, inefficient properties will be unrentable,” he promises.

The agenda’s objectives are in fact already being enforced, not primarily by legislation but by the application of non-governmental — that is, non-democratic — pressure on the corporate sector via the ever-expanding dictates of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) and by “sustainable finance,” which is designed to starve non-compliant companies of funds, thus rendering them, as Carney puts it, “climate roadkill.” What ESG actually represents is corporate ideological compulsion. It is a key instrument of “stakeholder capitalism.”

Carney’s Agenda is promoted by the United Nations and other international bureaucracies and a vast and ever-growing array of non-governmental organizations and fora, especially the World Economic Forum (WEF), where Carney is a trustee. Also, perhaps most surprisingly, by its corporate victims. No one wants to become climate roadkill.

Carney clearly feels himself to be a man of destiny. “When I worked at the Bank of England,” he writes in Value(s), “I would remind myself each morning of Marcus Aurelius’ phrase ‘arise to do the work of humankind’.” One is reminded of French aristocrat and social reformer Henri de Saint-Simon, the “grand seigneur sans-culotte,” who ordered his valet to wake him with similar words: “Remember, monsieur le comte, that you have great things to do.”

That is not the only thing Carney has in common with Saint-Simon, who believed that society should be ruled by savants such as himself; an alliance of engineers and other technocratic intellectuals, along with bankers. Carney is very much a banker technocrat, not merely at ease gliding along the corridors of global bureaucratic power, but expert at framing arguments that support an ever-expanding role for his class.

His expansive pretensions first appeared at the Bank of Canada. If the economy is like a game of ice hockey, then central bankers should, ideally, be like Zamboni drivers, whose job is to keep the ice flat (Carney had in fact been a goalie during his academic years at both Harvard and Oxford). At the Bank of Canada, he often seemed like the Zamboni driver who thought he was Wayne Gretzky. He could never resist lecturing private businesses to stop sitting on “dead money,” or telling them they were too timid in the international arena, or advising consumers that they were spending too little, or borrowing too much. He promoted “macroprudence,” the idea that regulators, in their panoptic wisdom, would focus on the forest, not the trees. Now, he wants to establish himself as an intellectual.

Carney has a lot to put straight with the world. According to his new book, and the related BBC Reith Lectures that Carney delivered last year, the three great crises of credit (2008–09 version), COVID and climate are all rooted in a single problem: People in general, and markets in particular, are not as wise, moral or far-seeing as Mark Carney. He sums up this failing as the “Tragedy of the Horizon,” a phrase he concocted for a speech ahead of the 2015 Paris climate conference.

However, Carney is sophistic when it comes to the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism. It has been one of the most tedious tropes of the left since at least The Communist Manifesto that the rise of commerce would drive out all that is virtuous in society, leaving nothing but the “cash nexus” of trade. One of Carney’s favourite philosophers is Harvard’s Michael Sandel, who produces endless trivial examples suggesting that we have moved from a “market economy” to a “market society.”

“Should sex be up for sale?” Carney thunders, following Sandel. “Should there be a market in the right to have children? Why not auction the right to opt out of military service? Why shouldn’t universities sell admission to raise money for worthy causes?” But the very fact that people reflexively feel uneasy about — or outright reject — such notions entirely disproves his point. People do not believe that everything is, or should be, for sale.

Carney notes the long debate, going back to classical times, on the nature of commercial value. This was theoretically resolved by the “marginalist revolution,” which put paid to the “paradox of value” that puzzled over the (usually) low price of useful water and the (usually) high price of useless diamonds. The marginalists pointed out that commercial value isn’t determined by usefulness or labour input. It is inevitably subjective, based on personal preferences and available resources. There is no paradox. Someone dying of thirst in the middle of the desert might be more than willing to offer a bucket of diamonds for a bucket of water.

Mark Carney is a UN Special Envoy on Climate Action. PHOTO BY TOLGA AKMEN/POOL VIA REUTERS/FILE

However, market valuations are essentially different from moral values, a distinction Carney continually muddles. He misrepresents the marginalist/subjectivist perspective, claiming that it implies that anything not commercially priced is not considered valuable. “Market value,” he writes, “is taken to represent intrinsic value, and if a good or activity is not in the market, it is not valued.” But who holds such an idiotic view? Nobody “prices” their family, children, friends, community spirit or the beauties of nature, although there is certainly lots of calculation going on in the background. Carney constantly berates “market fundamentalist” straw men who employ “standard economic reasoning” and who believe that people are rational and markets perfect.

He incorrectly claims that Adam Smith — in his first great book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments— said that a sense of morality was “not inherent.” In fact, Smith believed that we are born with such a sense, which is then fine-tuned by the society in which we grow up. However, Carney — like all leftists — leans towards the blank slate, nurture-over-nature perspective because it suggests that human nature might be beneficially reformed under the right (that is, left) social arrangements.

Carney believes our moral sentiments started going astray around the time of the publication of Smith’s better-known book, The Wealth of Nations, in 1776, when the Industrial Revolution was beginning to take off. He rightly suggests that one should read both books to gain a full appreciation of Smith’s insights, but he seems to have missed the significance of Smith’s putdown of “whining and melancholy moralists,” his cynicism about “insidious and crafty” politicians, and his thoroughgoing skepticism about those who would “trade for the public good” (that is, the ESG crowd). Moreover, Smith noted that the greatest corrupter of moral sentiments was not commerce but “faction and fanaticism,” that is, politics and religion, which come together in the toxic stew of climate alarmism and ESG.

ESG used to be called Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR. The Nobel economist Milton Friedman warned against its subversive nature 50 years ago. He noted that taking on externally dictated “social responsibilities” beyond those directly related to a company’s business opened the floodgates to endless pressure and interference. The big questions are responsibility to whom? And for what?

Carney also typically misrepresents Friedman, suggesting that he claimed that shareholders should rank “uber alles,” and to the exclusion of other legitimate stakeholders such as employees and local communities. Carney claims that “At times, large positive gains could accrue to society if small sacrifices were made on behalf of shareholders.” But by what right would management “sacrifice” shareholders, and who would decide which sacrifices should be made?

Carney admits that the “integrated reporting” required by ESG is a morass: “ESG ratings consider hundreds of metrics, with many of them qualitative in nature… Putting values to work is hard work, but as with virtue, it should become easier with sustained practice.” No need to ask whose version of values and virtue is to prevail.

*  *  *

Despite his thorough castigation of market society, Carney somehow also believes this “corroded” society is clamouring to make great personal sacrifices for draconian climate actions and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Carney has been a prime pusher of “net-zero,” the notion that climate-related human emissions must be entirely eradicated, buried or offset by 2050 if the world is to avoid climate Armageddon. He claims that net-zero is “highly valued by society.” In reality, the vast mass of people have no clue what it entails; when Carney talks about this version of “society,” he is talking about a small, radical element of it.

Carney peddles the non-sequitur that because the world wasn’t ready for COVID, this confirms that the world is being short-sighted about climate catastrophe. But COVID is an obvious reality; an existential climate catastrophe is a hypothesis (frequently promoted — admittedly with great success — by those with agendas). He claims that “A good introduction to this subject can be found in journalist David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth,” a work heavily criticized even by prominent climate-change scientists for its factual errors and exaggerations. Indeed, even its author admitted its tendentious purpose.

Carney also commends the knowledge and wisdom of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg: “The power of Greta Thunberg’s message lies in the way she drives home both the cold logic of climate physics and the fundamental unfairness of the climate crisis.”

Anybody who cites an anxious 17-year-old as an authority on climate science and moral philosophy should be an object of deep suspicion, but then, according to Carney, climate science is easy. Greta’s “basic calculations” are ones that she could “easily master and powerfully project.” (Carney says he once gave Greta a tour of the Bank of England’s gold vaults. One wonders if she also offered up tips on monetary policy.) But then, in early 2020, Greta demonstrated her complete disconnect from reality when, at the WEF in Davos, she called for an immediate cessation of emissions, which would tank the world economy and potentially kill millions. Even Carney admits deviating from her wisdom on that point.

Far from demonstrating a firm knowledge of the climate system himself, Carney cites scary but misleading statistics. “Since the 1980s,” he writes, “the number of registered weather-related loss events has tripled, and the inflation-adjusted losses have increased fivefold. Consistent with the accelerated pace of climate change, the cost of weather-related insurance losses has increased eightfold in real terms over the past decade to an annual average of $60 billion.”

I asked Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., an expert on climate and economics at the University of Colorado, to comment. He replied “(Carney) has confused economics with weather. The increase in losses he describes is well understood to occur for two main reasons: more wealth and property exposed to loss and better accounting of those losses. To assess trends in extreme weather one should look at weather data, not economic loss data.”

Among Mark Carney’s current responsibilities since leaving the Bank of England as its governor is advising Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. PHOTO BY SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS/FILE

Carney’s confusion is hardly innocent since his Agenda depends on incessantly claiming that “What had been biblical is becoming commonplace.”

Fortunately, Carney has been making claims about worsening weather for long enough that we can assess some of his predictions. In his recent book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, Steven Koonin, former undersecretary for science at the Obama-era U.S. Energy Department, cites the speech Carney made to Lloyd’s of London before the Paris climate conference in 2015. The speech was designed to frighten the insurance industry into divestment from fossil fuels, on the basis that many oil and gas reserves would be “stranded” as we exhaust our allowable carbon “budget.” Carney pointed out that the previous U.K. winter had been the “wettest since the time of King George III.” He went on to say, “forecasts suggest we can expect at least a further 10% increase in rainfall during future winters.” For support he cited the U.K. Met Office’s forecast for the next five years. It turned out to be dead wrong. The six winters after 2014 averaged 39-per-cent less rainfall than the 2014 record. Meanwhile a Met Office report in 2018 acknowledged that the “largest source of variability in U.K. extreme rainfalls during the winter months was the North Atlantic Oscillation mode of natural variability, not a changing climate.”

“(I)t’s surprising,” notes Koonin, “that someone with a PhD in economics and experience with the unpredictability of financial markets and economies as a whole doesn’t show a greater respect for the perils of prediction — and more caution in depending upon models.”

During his BBC Reith Lectures last year, on the topic of “How We Get What We Value,” Carney received few challenges from his handpicked questioners, but a couple came from eminent historian Niall Ferguson. Ferguson asked Carney why, in his discussion of the climate issue, he made no reference to Bjorn Lomborg (a much more knowledgeable Scandinavian than Greta), and in particular to Lomborg’s book, False Alarm, in which Lomborg establishes — using “official” science — that there is no existential climate crisis, that adapting to climate change is manageable, and that the kinds of policies promoted by Carney are likely to be far more costly than any impact from extreme weather.

Carney of course hadn’t read that book, but he dismissed Lomborg by saying that “it’s 15 or 20 years ago when he first came out with his ‘Don’t worry about the climate.’ How’s that working out for us?” But Lomborg never said “Don’t worry about the climate,” he just suggested that we had to put risks into perspective. Meanwhile Lomborg’s non-alarmist thesis is working out much better than that of doomsayers such as Carney.

This offhand rejection of someone as widely respected as Lomborg exposes the hypocrisy of Carney’s statement in Value(s) that “experts need to listen to all sides…All of us as individuals have a responsibility to be more open and to engage respectfully with different views if we want constructive political debates and to make progress on important issues.” Except, climate-catastrophe dissenters don’t make it into the debate. There can be zero diversity of views on net-zero.

Ferguson put another thorny question to Carney at that Reith lecture: He pointed out that since the 2015 Paris agreement, China had been responsible for almost half the increase in global carbon emissions, and it was building more coal capacity in the current year than existed in the entire United States. What did China’s promises of net-zero by 2060 mean, Ferguson asked, if it was “actually leading the pollution charge”? Carney’s non response was that China is the largest manufacturer of zero-emission cars, and the leading producer of renewable energy.

Koonin notes in his book that Carney “is probably the single most influential figure in driving investors and financial institutions around the world to focus on changes in climate and human influences upon it…. So it’s important to pay close attention to what he says.”

*  *  *

Mark Carney cries crocodile tears at the possible viability of the Marxist perspective in today’s political environment. But if there is one sure sign of a Marxist, it’s a belief that capitalism is — or is about to be – in “crisis.” His new book has an appendix on Marx’s theory of surplus value: that all profits are wrung from the hides of labour. He also cites Marx’s collaborator, Friedrich Engels. In particular he notes “Engels’ pause,” the one period in capitalist history, early in the 19th century, when workers may not have shared the increases in productivity brought about by industrialization.

Carney projects that the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (a phenomenon much invoked by the WEF) might bring about a similar period, thus providing a source of political unrest. “(I)t could be generations before the gains of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are widely shared,” he writes. “In the interim, there could be a long period of technological unemployment, sharply rising inequalities and intensifying social unrest… If this world of surplus labour comes to pass, Marx and Engels could again become relevant.”

He rather seems to hope so.

Carney claims powerful parallels between Marx’s time and our own. “Substitute platforms for textile mills, machine learning for the steam engine, and Twitter for the telegraph, and current dynamics echo those of that era. Then, Karl Marx was scribbling the Communist Manifesto in the reading room of the British Library. Today, radical viral blogs and tweets voice similar outrage.”

In fact, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto, based on a tract by Engels, in Brussels, not at the British Library, but it’s more important to remember where Marx’s misguided and immutable outrage led: to a disastrous economic and political model that generated poverty and mass murder on an unprecedented scale. Meanwhile “outrage” is surely a dubious basis for policy. The outraged are certainly a useful constituency for those seeking power, however, which brings us to the influence on Carney of the man who first tried to put Marxism into practice.

When it comes to the COVID crisis, writes Carney, “We are living Lenin’s observation that there are ‘decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen’.” Strange that Carney would cite one of the most ruthless murderers in history for this rather bland insight, but then Carney’s Agenda is not without its own parallels to Lenin (minus, one presumes, the precondition of rampant bloodshed).

Although Vladimir Lenin didn’t know much about business or economics, he declared that “’Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country.” Carney’s plan is global. “We need,” he claims, “to electrify everything and turn electricity generation green.” The problem is that wind- and solar-powered electricity needs both hefty government subsidies and fossil-fuel backup for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Green electricity is inflexible, expensive and disruptive to grids.

Carney cites Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of “creative destruction,” but his own version involves not the metaphorical and benign process of market innovation making old technologies redundant, but a deliberate suppression of viable technologies to make way for less reliable and less economic alternatives.

When Lenin wrecked the Russian economy after brutally seizing power in 1917, he was forced to backtrack and allow some private enterprise to prevent people starving. However, he assured his radical comrades that he would retain control of “the commanding heights” of heavy industry. Carney’s plan is to control the global economy by seizing the commanding heights of finance, not by nationalization but by exerting non-democratic pressure to divest from, and stop funding, fossil fuels. The private sector is to become a partner in imposing its own bondage. This will be do-it-yourself totalitarianism. Indeed, companies in our one-party ESG state are already pleading like show-trial defendants, making suicidal net-zero commitments, lest banks cut them off.

Left: A portrait of Karl Marx. Top right: Vladimir Lenin makes a speech in Red Square on the first anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Below right: Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers brief remarkssurrounded by other student environmental advocates in 2019. Mark Carney draws on all three in his agenda to address the “climate emergency,” writes Peter Foster. PHOTO BY FILE; HULTON-DEUTSCH COLLECTION/CORBIS/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES; SARAH SILBIGER/GETTY IMAGES/FILE

To further that end, Carney has helped to start a key organization, the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a collection of central banks and regulators. He has also signed up an ever-growing constituency of activist policy wonks who peddle emissions measurement and certification, eco audits and ESG rankings. This agenda is inevitably appealing to transnational organizations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD, whose empires are all lucratively intertwined with the global governance thrust. In May, the IEA issued a report calling for an immediate end to fossil fuel investment to get to net-zero.

Part of Carney’s strategy is to force “voluntary” standards on banking and industry, then have governments make those standards compulsory. The major accounting firms appear keen to promote the possibility of endless auditing extensions, under which the relatively straightforward metric of money is to be replaced by the infinitely malleable concepts of “purpose” and “impact.”

Carney has also helped turn the accounting screw though “carbon disclosure.” Companies are pressured to make explicit the kind of damage they might suffer if the alarmists’ worst nightmares are realized. Such disclosure is a variant on that famous loaded question “When did you stop beating your spouse?” Instead, carbon disclosure asks the climate equivalent of “If you were to beat your spouse, what sort of injuries might he/she suffer?” Companies must also disclose their plans to deal with the presumed crisis. No company dares to say “We do not believe your apocalyptic forecasts.” They meekly regurgitate the required climate porn about floods and droughts and hurricanes, and make elaborate fingers-crossed emissions-reductions commitments. This in turn leads them into arrangements such as buying emissions offsets, a complex scheme analogous to the medieval Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences. Carbon markets have inevitably led to a surge in work for offset generators, certifiers and auditors. Carney projects this market could be worth $100 billion.

Ironically, earlier this year Carney found himself tangled in the murky metrics of offsets. In 2020, he was appointed a vice chairman with Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management, where he is in charge of “impact investing.” As historian Tammy Nemeth points out in her critical study of the “Transnational Progressive Movement,” of which Carney is a leading light: “(I)t is perhaps ethically murky for someone who is actively working within the UN and advising two different governments on how to change national and global financial rules to be working for a company that will be a direct beneficiary of those rule changes.” Still, who better to lead your company through a minefield than the person who planted the mines?

Except that Carney was hoist with his own petard when he claimed that Brookfield, which has major investments in fossil fuels and pipelines, was already “net-zero” due to emissions “avoided” as a result of its investing in renewable energy. Carney’s claim produced instant refutation and accusations of greenwashing. The Financial Times called it a “major stumble.” A representative of CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) castigated those who attempt to hide “dirty coal issues.” Carney subsequently issued a qualified mea culpa on Twitter: “I have always been — and will continue to be — a strong advocate for net zero science-based targets, and I also recognize that avoided emissions do not count towards them.”

*  *  *

H. L. Mencken observed that “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule.” So, just how big a threat is the agenda of Mark Carney and his fellow “transnational progressives”?

In his book, Value(s), Carney lays out rationalizations and autocratic pretensions, although he is less forthcoming about his motivations. He writes that “Leaders need to renounce power for its own sake and discern the power of service.” Mencken would be amused.

The shambolic response to COVID of many governments, not least in Canada, and the distinctly unsettled nature of pandemic “science,” have not done much for the credibility of either governments or experts. The Carney-backed agenda is not predicated on working through democratic institutions but on circumventing them. Still, he is also reported to have more conventional political aspirations, namely to join the federal Liberal party and rise within it, very possibly to prime minister. (Carney recently gave a speech at the Liberal national convention, where he pledged his full support.)

He thus has a rather ill-fitting section in Value(s) on “How Canada Can Build Value for All.” It reads like a Liberal party stump speech. According to Carney “We (in Canada) routinely transcend the limitations of our size to model values and policies for other countries.” It’s the old chestnut that no progressive Canadian leader ever seems to tire of: The world needs more Canada.

Carney is a classic example of what Friedrich Hayek called the “fatal conceit” of constructivist rationalism: the belief that the largely spontaneous institutions of the market order should be rejected in favour of more deliberately planned arrangements. Carney is undoubtedly an intelligent man, but Hayek stressed that the thing that intelligent people tend most to overestimate is the power of intelligence — particularly if they happen to be socialists.

Carney is also of the class that philosopher Karl Popper described as “enemies” of an “open society.” Popper noted that social upheavals tend to bring forth prophets who claim to understand the forces shaping the future, and promise salvation if they are given absolute power. Such was Plato’s model — in response to the upheavals of the Peloponnesian War and the first wave of democracy — of a necessary dictatorship in which the rulers lived as communists, using a specially bred military to control a cattle-like populace. Similarly, Marx’s communism was a response to the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution.

Considering the squalor of Manchester in the 1840s, one might forgive Marx and Engels for thinking a radical response was in order. But given the success of capitalism and the horrors of autocratic systems in the intervening period, it takes considerable chutzpah to be promoting net-zero totalitarianism.

Still, Carney claims that great crises demand great plans. He cites Timothy Geithner, secretary of the U.S. Treasury under president Obama, saying “plan beats no plan.” But Geithner was talking about the very real and immediate 2008–09 financial crisis. Carney’s climate plan is much closer to the notion of Soviet central long-term planning. Clearly, when it came to the subsequent welfare of the Russian people, “no plan” would certainly have beaten “plan.”

What Carney ultimately wants, like Saint-Simon, is a technocratic dictatorship justified by climate alarmism. He suggests that “governments can delegate certain aspects of the calibration of specific instruments… to Carbon Councils in order to improve the predictability, credibility and impact of climate policies.” These carbon councils will be able to demand that national governments “comply or explain” when they inevitably fall short of targets. How these commissars will bring governments into line is unclear, although Nobel economist William Nordhaus has suggested “Climate Clubs” that will punish recalcitrants with punitive tariffs.

The threat of punishment will clearly be necessary because governments are doing little more than hypocritical tinkering on climate policy. China and India are hardly even playing lip service to the “climate emergency.” Nevertheless, according to Carney “political technology” is needed to “build a broad consensus around the right goals.” No question of debating the goals, or the science, just building a consensus to support them.

Carney is a man on a mission to change global society. “Business as usual” — the most hated phrase in the socialist lexicon — is “ultimately catastrophic,” he writes. There is too much “misplaced acceptance of the status quo.” But somehow the new socialism will not be socialism as usual. This time it’s different. We can because we must. The threat is too great to permit any argument. It’s surprising that as he was picking out choice quotes from Lenin for his book, Carney missed this one: “No more opposition now, comrades! The time has come to put an end to opposition, to put the lid on it. We have had enough opposition!”

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/12/2021 - 23:30
Published:6/12/2021 10:56:24 PM
[] 'This tweet is an absolute lie': Glenn Greenwald calls out senators saying the LGBTQ+ community was targeted at the Pulse Nightclub shooting Published:6/12/2021 5:55:18 PM
[Uncategorized] Ex-Mossad Chief Hints At Israel’s Role in Disrupting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

The revelations come as the Biden admin makes more concessions to Iran in hopes of restoring Obama-era nuclear deal.

The post Ex-Mossad Chief Hints At Israel’s Role in Disrupting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:6/12/2021 1:24:22 PM
[Markets] "Wholly-Owned Subsidiary Of The Gun Lobby": Newsom Attacks Federal Judge Who Ruled In Favor Of Gun Rights "Wholly-Owned Subsidiary Of The Gun Lobby": Newsom Attacks Federal Judge Who Ruled In Favor Of Gun Rights

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Remember when networks and legal experts (correctly) denounced President Donald Trump for his attacks on judges who ruled against him?

Two years ago, I ran a column noting that Democrats were adopting the same attacks on conservative judges but the media was entirely silent.

Now,  California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrats are lambasting a federal judge who ruled in favor of gun rights in a recent decision — accusing him of being in the pocket of the NRA and a danger to the country.  The response to Newsom’s attack from all of those same media and legal experts has ranged from outright support to conspicuous silence.

We recently wrote about the decision of U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez to strike down the ban on “assault weapons.”  In Miller v. Bonta, Benitez found that the ban on weapons like the AR-15 are based on both a misunderstanding of the weapons and a misinterpretation of the Constitution.  I previously discussed many of the same issues surrounding the AR-15 which remains one of the most popular weapons in the United States

The recent decision led to a barrage of personal attacks from Newsom, state Attorney General Rob Bonta and legal experts.  Newsom called Benitez a “stone-cold ideologue” who writes “press releases on behalf of the gun lobby.”  He warned that everyone needs to “call this federal judge out” because “he will continue to do damage.”

Benitez has indeed ruled for gun owners in the past.  However, he was upheld in that decision (which is still on appeal). In 2017, he struck down the state’s nearly two-decade-old ban on the sales and purchases of magazines holding more than 10 bullets. As recently discussed, the Ninth Circuit upheld his decision, which is now scheduled to be reheard by an 11-member panel. These cases have a very strong chance for review before the Supreme Court given the division across the country and the 6-3 conservative majority on the Court.

One can have good-faith reasons to disagree with both decisions.  Indeed, I am all in favor of passionate and pointed analysis of judicial rulings. Moreover, there are occasions where a judge’s personal bias is an issue.  Despite previously praising Judge Emmet Sullivan, I wrote columns that later criticized him for what appeared bias in his handling of the Flynn case. This is not such a case. Newsom is attacking this judge because he ruled in favor of gun rights arguments that are supported by many judges, lawyers, and citizens. These arguments have never been rejected by the Supreme Court. Indeed, he was relying on strong case law in favor of the Second Amendment claims raised by the litigants.

It is the strikingly different response to the attacks on the judge that caught my attention. As discussed in the earlier column, legal experts expressed outrage over attacks by Trump of judges as “Obama judges” or “political judges” during his term. There was however no push back on Democratic members denouncing “Trump judges” and “Trump Justices.”  Esquire magazine published a column denouncing judges who ruled against ObamaCare, declaring that the Republican arguments “don’t need to make sense. They just need the right judges — and they’re everywhere in the federal judicial system.” One Nation article explained how Trump jurists “swarming our judicial system . . . will linger, like an infected wound poisoning the body politic.” CNN ran headlines about “Republican-appointed judges” supporting the ObamaCare challenge, while Democratic members of Congress denounced federal judges ruling for the Trump administration as examples of why new judges must be appointed by Democrats.

Benitez ruled on arguments that have long been discussed by many of us as raising serious questions over the constitutionality of these laws. Again, one can disagree with the arguments but they are not fringe or fanciful positions. Indeed, Newsom’s demand for an appeal may be great news for the gun rights groups. Liberal states and cities have repeatedly pushed appeals that resulted in magnifying their losses. The District of Columbia is a great example of such poor choices in triggering the decisions in Heller. Later the Supreme Court expanded on its pro-gun rights case law in  McDonald v. City of Chicago. The Supreme Court just took up a new major gun rights case out of New York.

Benitez and his family fled communist Cuba and remains a powerful American success story.  He was able to get through law school as a first generation American. Benitez was confirmed 98-1 and had the strong support of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other Democrats. (Only Sen. Dick Durban voted against him). Feinstein rejected the negative review of the ABA based on his “temperament” and noted that her own inquiries found that lawyers “say he is a man of the highest ethical standard, that he has superb demeanor, intelligence, pragmatism, and fairness. And the chief public defender notes that he has good judicial temperament and is courteous to his employees and the attorneys who appear before him.”

Newsom’s attack omits that Benitez was upheld by other judges in his earlier decision. That does not mean that the opinion is manifestly right (Indeed, it is being appealed). However, the opinion advanced well-established arguments and authority in reaching its conclusion. A majority on the Supreme Court would likely agree with much of the opinion. It is not about him. It is about the law.  That is why I criticized Trump for his attacks on judges and why we should be equally critical of Newsom and Democratic leaders doing the same thing now.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/11/2021 - 19:00
Published:6/11/2021 6:17:52 PM
[Entertainment] A three-pronged examination into what happens to America next A former Obama speech writer travels the world to uncover how we’re seen, and whether it matters Published:6/11/2021 7:15:14 AM
[Markets] The Iran Nuclear Deal Won't Happen Any Time Soon The Iran Nuclear Deal Won't Happen Any Time Soon

Authored by Cyril Widdershoven via OilPrice.com,

Global oil markets have been on edge recently due to the continuing JCPOA discussions and the possibility of the U.S. rejoining the deal. While there have been no real breakthroughs in the discussions so far, the possibility of Iranian oil exports coming back online is adding downward pressure to oil prices. Despite this added pressure, international oil benchmark Brent is still firmly above $70, and oil price optimism is only increasing. This optimism is due to the growing global demand for oil and petroleum products and is also driven by warnings from U.S. diplomats that Iranian sanctions are far from over. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated to the press that “even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration”.

This blunt but clear approach has given analysts confidence that additional Iranian oil volumes will not be entering the market any time soon. When it does enter the market, Iranian oil is almost certainly going to be priced at normal levels as Tehran will need the revenues to fund its failing economy and support IRGC linked projects and proxies. Blinken also stated yesterday to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Iran is rapidly developing its nuclear program. To block this, according to the Biden Administration, the U.S. needs to return to the 2015 JCPOA deal. In the view of the Democrats, the Trump sanctions and leaving of the JCPOA have been partly responsible for the current Iranian program.

Republicans, however, are still supporting a hardline approach to Iran, an approach that even some Democrats support. Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, the committee’s chairman, has been a leading opponent of the original JCPOA crafted under Democratic President Barack Obama. Republicans and several Democrats want the new JCPOA discussion to include Iran’s continued pursuit of ballistic missiles and support of proxies.

Before Blinken’s statement about sanctions staying in place, analysts had already suggested that a flood of Iranian oil was unlikely as production levels were constrained, outlets unavailable, and customers uncertain. Also, even if sanctions were lifted, Iran would potentially be part of the OPEC+ export agreement. If that were the case, it would stop a serious oil glut scenario from happening. Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Russia would not be interested in destabilizing the oil market by allowing Iran to flood the market.

Washington has reiterated that Iran needs to let the UN atomic agency IAEA continue its monitoring activities, as stated in the agreement valid until June 24, before new talks can begin. Iran’s position on that front was weakened by the recent IAEA report which accused Iran of obstruction and not conforming to the agreement. As long as Iran is not keeping to its promises, the entire JCPOA agreement is at risk. A breakthrough this week as talks resume in Vienna is very unlikely.

Officials of the National Iranian Oil Co claimed that Tehran could restore its crude oil production within a month of sanctions being lifted. Farokh Alikhani, NIOC’s Production Deputy, stated that Iran plans to start with an increase to 3.3 million bpd in one month, followed later on by an increase to 4 million bpd. He believes that the 4 million bpd target could be reached within 3 months of sanctions being lifted. These unrealistic claims will continue to be released by Iranian officials but should not be taken seriously by analysts.

Markets and participants in the JCPOA discussions should acknowledge that there is no room for maneuver right now as long as the Iranian elections are still undecided. On June 18, Iran will officially elect a new president, although the outcome of those elections is a bit of a foregone conclusion. Most diplomats seem unwilling to state that the likely election victory of hardliner Raisi, backed by Ayatollah Khamenei and considered to be a possible successor of the religious leader in the future, will put a potential deal at risk. Raisi could even use a breakthrough in the JCPOA talks to step up his radical and hardline politics.

Dealing with a radical new Iranian regime is a near certainty that no one in Washington, Berlin, London, or Moscow wants to admit to. Raisi backers have made it clear that Iran will not be bound to any further expansion of the JCPOA. The real message is that Tehran just wants to use a possible JCPOA breakthrough as a political advantage. Removal of sanctions will bring in cash, to be used not to expand Iran’s economy but to solidify the Khamenei-Raisi hardliners. Regional analysts are worried that a Biden move to join the agreement would act as a clear sign to Iran that it can proceed with all its current activities. 

The geopolitical threat that the new Iranian regime poses also appears to be being overlooked by analysts. At present, Iranian naval vessels are steaming up to or are already in the Atlantic Ocean, heading to Venezuela for a possible showdown with the U.S. There are already signs that Iran will be transferring fast attack boats to the Venezuelan Navy. Intelligence sources report that a pair of Iranian Navy ships, including a frigate, has rounded the Cape of Good Hope and is believed to be making a high-seas voyage to Venezuela. The flotilla includes the Makran, an oil tanker that was converted into a floating forward staging base. Satellite pictures show that fast attack crafts are stored on the Makran. A potential military confrontation in the Caribbean is the last thing Washington is looking for right now - but it is a threat that can’t be ignored. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/11/2021 - 05:00
Published:6/11/2021 4:15:00 AM
[Markets] New Leak Of Taxpayer Info Is (More) Evidence Of IRS Corruption New Leak Of Taxpayer Info Is (More) Evidence Of IRS Corruption

Authored by Daniel Mitchell via The American Institute for Economic Research,

I sometimes try to go easy on the IRS. After all, our wretched tax system is largely the fault of politicians, who have spent the past 108 years creating a punitive and corrupt set of tax laws.

But there is still plenty of IRS behavior to criticize. Most notably, the tax agency allowed itself to be weaponized by the Obama White House, using its power to persecute and harass organizations associated with the “Tea Party.”

That grotesque abuse of power largely was designed to weaken opposition to Obama’s statist agenda and make it easier for him to win re-election.

Now there’s a new IRS scandal. In hopes of advancing President Biden’s class-warfare agenda, the bureaucrats have leaked confidential taxpayer information to ProPublica, a left-wing website.

Here’s some of what that group posted.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. …ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period. We’re going to call this their true tax rate. …those 25 people saw their worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.

Since I’m a policy wonk, I’ll first point out that ProPublica created a make-believe number. We (thankfully) don’t tax wealth in the United States.

So Elon Musk’s income is completely unrelated to what happened to the value of his Tesla shares. The same is true for Jeff Bezos’ income and the value of his Amazon stock.

And the same thing is true for the rest of us. If our IRA or 401(k) rises in value, that doesn’t mean our taxable income has increased. If our home becomes more valuable, that also doesn’t count as taxable income.

The Wall Street Journal opined on this topic today and made a similar point.

There is no evidence of illegality in the ProPublica story. …ProPublica knows this, so its story tries to invent a scandal by calculating what it calls the “true tax rate” these fellows are paying. This is a phony construct that exists nowhere in the law and compares how much the “wealth” of these individuals increased from 2014 to 2018 compared to how much income tax they paid. …what Americans pay is a tax on income, not wealth.

Some journalists don’t understand this distinction between income and wealth.

Or perhaps they do understand, but pretend otherwise because they see their role as being handmaidens of the Biden Administration.

Consider these excerpts from a column by Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times.

Jeff Bezos…added an estimated $99 billion in wealth between 2014 and 2018 but reported only $4.22 billion in taxable income during that period. Warren Buffett, who amassed $24.3 billion in new wealth over those years, reported $125 million in taxable income. …some of the wealthiest people in the United States essentially live under a different system of income taxation from the rest of us.

Mr. Appelbaum is wrong. The rich have a lot more assets than the rest of us, but they operate under the same rules.

If I have an asset that increases in value, that doesn’t count as taxable income. And it isn’t income. It’s merely a change in net wealth.

And the same is true if Bill Gates has an asset that increases in value.

Now that we’ve addressed the policy mistakes, let’s turn our attention to the scandal of IRS misbehavior.

The WSJ‘s editorial addresses the agency’s grotesque actions.

Less than half a year into the Biden Presidency, the Internal Revenue Service is already at the center of an abuse-of-power scandal.

…ProPublica, a website whose journalism promotes progressive causes, published information from what it said are 15 years of the tax returns of Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and other rich Americans. …The story arrives amid the Biden Administration’s effort to pass the largest tax increase as a share of the economy since 1968.

The timing here is no coincidence, comrade. …someone leaked confidential IRS information about individuals to serve a political agenda. This is the same tax agency that pursued a vendetta against conservative nonprofit groups during the Obama Administration. Remember Lois Lerner? This is also the same IRS that Democrats now want to infuse with $80 billion more… As part of this effort, Mr. Biden wants the IRS to collect “gross inflows and outflows on all business and personal accounts from financial institutions.” Why? So the information can be leaked to ProPublica?

…Congress should also not trust the IRS with any more power and money than it already has.

And Charles Cooke of National Review also weighs in on the implications of a weaponized and partisan IRS.

We cannot trust the IRS. “Oh, who cares?” you might ask. “The victims are billionaires!” And indeed, they are. But I care. For a start, they’re American citizens, and they’re entitled to the same rights — and protected by the same laws — as everyone else. …Besides, even if one wants to be entirely amoral about it, one should consider that if their information can be spilled onto the Internet, anyone’s can. …A government that is this reckless or sinister with the information of men who are lawyered to the eyeballs is unlikely to worry too much about being reckless or sinister with your information. …The IRS wields an extraordinary amount of power, and there will always be somebody somewhere who thinks that it should be used to advance their favorite political cause. Our refusal to indulge their calls is one of the many things that prevents us from descending into the caprice and chaos of your average banana republic. …Does that bother you? It should.

What’s especially disgusting is that the Biden Administration wants to reward IRS corruption with giant budget increases, bolstered by utterly fraudulent numbers.

Needless to say, that would be a terrible idea (sadly, Republicans in the past have been sympathetic to expanding the size of the tax bureaucracy).

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/10/2021 - 22:30
Published:6/10/2021 9:42:05 PM
[Politics] Beyond Lois Lerner: Is Europe Now Writing American Tax Policy? Who was Lois Lerner? She was at the center of the last big scandal at the Internal Revenue Service. It occurred during the Obama years. Ms. Lerner was head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS. She learned that groups with Tea Party, Patriot, or 9/12 sentiments were being targeted for extra IRS scrutiny and she defended that scrutiny. Then the scandal broke amid political scorched heat from conservatives whose tax exempt status was legal. And Ms. Lerner and the IRS investigated and... Published:6/10/2021 7:41:00 PM
[Entertainment] Lori Harvey Reveals Why She Took the "High Road" After Ex Future Dissed Her and Michael B. Jordan Michael B. Jordan, Lori HarveyAs Michelle Obama says, "When they go low, we go high." This is Lori Harvey's philosophy when it comes to any speculation about her personal life, particularly as it relates...
Published:6/10/2021 4:45:27 PM
[Markets] Ordinary New Yorkers (& Anthony Fauci) Make A Mockery Of "Science" Ordinary New Yorkers (& Anthony Fauci) Make A Mockery Of "Science"

Authored by Andrea Widburg via AmericanThinker.com,

Science is a buzzword on the left, but an Ami Horowitz video about masks, combined with Fauci’s contention that attacking him is the same as denying science, shows that there is no difference on the left between science and ideology. The former is completely subsumed into the latter.

In my neck of the woods (the Southeast) even during the height of COVID mania, only about 50% of people wore masks outdoors. And depending on which store you were in, not everybody was wearing them indoors either. Target had full mask compliance. Walmart and Palmetto Armory did not.

Things are different now.

First, the CDC finally conceded that masks aren’t necessary outdoors.

More importantly, masks aren’t necessary for people who have been vaccinated.

And still more importantly, we know from Fauci’s emails that he was lying to people when he insisted on masks. 

He knew all along that people weren’t wearing masks that made the slightest bit of difference in stopping the virus’s spread (something the data confirms).

Again in my neck of the woods, a conservative state, people are abandoning their masks with the utmost rapidity. That’s not the case in many places. Ami Horowitz went out on the streets of New York to find out why vaccinated people were stilling wearing masks outdoors. He reminded all of them that, if you’re vaccinated and outdoors, it is virtually impossible to get or give COVID.

What was fascinating was that most people really struggled to come up with an answer as to why, on a lovely spring day, they were suffocating themselves on the streets of New York.

A lot of them said they had just gotten used to the masks. Some, though, had principled reasons and I can say with absolute honesty that every one of their principles was the result of Stockholm Syndrome or brainwashing:

What I hope jumped out at you watching that video is that science didn’t factor into any of these. Remember, they were all vaccinated. It was all about feelings, attitudes, and peer pressure. Emotion ruled the day.

And that makes perfect sense because, for the left, science is not a process by which someone advances a hypothesis, conducts a rigorously controlled and carefully observed experiment to test that hypothesis, and then admits honestly whether the hypothesis lived or died. On the left, science is a thing in which you “believe” (kind of like faith), and it invariably supports one’s political beliefs.

And if you have any doubt about that, take a gander at Anthony Fauci. He may be the biggest mass murderer in American History, defending himself for a year full of lies and derogatory statements about medicines that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, all to defeat Trump.

He doesn’t try to argue the merits of his many positions (he can’t). Instead, he goes on the attack. When you, the conservative troglodyte attack Fauci, you’re attacking “science.” I’ve cued the video up to the point at which he makes that risible claim, but I suggest you watch the whole interview. It’s a miracle of doubletalk, in which his endlessly conflicting positions are all “science.” Also, both he and Chuck Todd carefully ignore that much of what he said in public was belied by his emails, including the fact that he lied to Congress about the whole gain of function issue:

If anyone tells you leftism isn’t a religion, Fauci’s take on matters puts the lie to that claim.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/10/2021 - 11:49
Published:6/10/2021 11:09:37 AM
[Markets] Biden Launches Plan To Close Gitmo "Quietly" After Obama Tried & Failed Biden Launches Plan To Close Gitmo "Quietly" After Obama Tried & Failed

Despite long being part of the Democrats' agenda, especially under Obama, closing America's most controversial post-9/11 detention facility at Guananamo Bay, Cuba has remained elusive especially given the question of what to do with those "high security risk" prisoners housed there.

But now NBC is reporting that President Biden has "quietly" initiated efforts to pick up where Obama left off in pursing its permanent closure, but this time "using an under-the-radar approach to minimize political blowback" ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Biden's approach will reportedly be centered on a plan to transfer the remaining some 40 detainees to foreign countries for these host countries to deal with them legally. This would not, however, include the most infamous prisoner at Gitmo Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the group dubbed the "9/11 five" - believed to be directly behind the 9/11 terror attacks which killed about 3,000 Americans.

The "five" were supposed to stand trial in January 2021 but controversy over transferring them to the continental United States has seen any such request blocked by Congress. This also after Trump previously signed an executive order to keep Gitmo open.

A top former Biden administration official privy to the ongoing discussions said of the Biden White House and its "quiet" approach to closing Gitmo: "They don't want it to become a dominant issue that blows up," and further "They don't want it to become a lightning rod. They want it to be methodical, orderly." 

AFP via Getty Images

A statement from the National Security Council (NSC) to NBC reads as follows: "As to the overall issue of Guantanamo, the Biden administration remains committed to the goal of closing the facility." It added: "To that end, the NSC continues to work closely with the Departments of Defense, State, and Justice and other departments and agencies."

Last January Gitmo was again at the center of controversy when the Biden admin abandoned plans to prioritize giving Gitmo terrorists the COVID-19 vaccine following a wave of public outrage

In terms of timeline an actual full closure would take years to finally accomplish, but the White House reportedly hopes to make significant progress on prisoner transfers to foreign countries amid resolving a complex web of legal issues by the time of this upcoming 9/11 anniversary, which is also Biden's deadline for the final Afghan troop withdrawal. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/10/2021 - 08:24
Published:6/10/2021 7:39:01 AM
[Markets] Greenwald: Yet Another Media Tale - Trump Tear-Gassed Protesters For A Church Photo Op - Collapses Greenwald: Yet Another Media Tale - Trump Tear-Gassed Protesters For A Church Photo Op - Collapses

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com

For more than a year, it has been consecrated media fact that former President Donald Trump and his White House, on June 1 of last year, directed the U.S. Park Police to use tear gas against peaceful Lafayette Park protesters, all to enable a Trump photo-op in front of St. John's Church. That this happened was never presented as a possibility or likelihood but as indisputable truth. And it provoked weeks of unmitigated media outrage, presented as one of the most egregious assaults on the democratic order in decades.

CNN with Anderson Cooper and Jim Acosta, June 1, 2020

This tale was so pervasive in the media landscape that it would be impossible for any one article to compile all the examples. “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op,” read the NPR headline on June 1. The New York Times ran with: “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church.” CNN devoted multiple segments to venting indignation while the on-screen graphic declared: “Peaceful Protesters Near White House Tear-Gassed, Shot With Rubber Bullets So Trump Can Have Church Photo Op.”

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos “reported” that “the administration asked police to clear peaceful protesters from the park across the White House so that the President could stage a photo op.” The Intercept published an article stating that “federal police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters from Lafayette Square in front of the White House,” all to feature a video where the first interviewee said: “to me, the way our military and police have behaved toward the protesters at the instruction of President Trump has almost been Nazi-like.”Nazi-like. This was repeated by virtually every major corporate outlet:

At a June 2 Press Conference, then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) proclaimed with anger: “last night I watched as President Trump, having gassed peaceful protesters just so he could do this photo op, then he went on to teargas priests who were helping protesters in Lafayette Park.” Speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi exclaimed: “What is this, a banana republic?,” when asked about NBC News’ report that “security forces used tear gas and flash-bangs against a crowd of peaceful demonstrators to clear the area for the president.”

There were some denials of this narrative at the time, largely confined to right-wing media. ABC News mocked “hosts on Fox News, one of the president's preferred news media outlets, [who] have spent the days since the controversial photo op shifting defenses to fit the president's narrative.” Meanwhile, The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway — in an article retweeted by Trump as a "must read” — cited sources to assert that the entire media narrative was false because force was to clear the Park not to enable Trump's photo op but rather “because [protesters] had climbed on top of a structure in Lafayette Park that had been burned the prior night” and the Park Police decided to build a barrier to protect it.

But as usual, the self-proclaimed Superior Liberal Truth Squad instantly declared them to be lying. The Washington Post's "fact-checker,” Phillip Bump, mocked denials from Trump supporters and right-wing reporters such as Hemingway, proclaiming that a recent statement from the Park Police “brings the debate to a close,” as it proves “the deployment of security forces using weapons and irritants to clear a peaceful protest so that the president could have a photo op.”

All of this came crashing down on their heads on Wednesday afternoon. The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, issued his office's findings after a long investigation into “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.” Greenblatt has been around Washington for a long time, occupying numerous key positions in the Obama administration, including investigative counsel at the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at Obama's Commerce Department.

The letter released by Greenblatt's office accompanying the report makes clear how far-reaching the investigation was:

Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.

The IG's conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish. Namely, he said, “the evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.” Instead — exactly as Hemingway's widely-mocked-by-liberal-outlets article reported — “the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “ the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day."

The detailed IG report elaborated on the timeline even more extensively. It was “on the morning of June 1” when “the Secret Service procured anti-scale fencing to establish a more secure perimeter around Lafayette Park that was to be delivered and installed that same day.” The agencies had “determined that it was necessary to clear protesters from the area in and around the park to enable the contractor’s employees to safely install the fence.” Indeed, “we found that by approximately 10 a.m. on June 1, the USPP had already begun developing a plan to clear protesters from the area to enable the contractor to safely install the anti-scale fence” — many hours before Trump decided to go.

The clearing of the Park, said the IG Report, had nothing to do with Trump or his intended visit to the Church; in fact, those responsible for doing this did not have any knowledge of Trump's intentions:

The evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow the contractor to safely install the anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of property and injury to officers occurring on May 30 and 31. Further, the evidence showed that the USPP did not know about the President’s potential movement until mid- to late afternoon on June 1—hours after it had begun developing its operational plan and the fencing contractor had arrived in the park.

Beyond that, planning for that operation began at least two days before Trump decided to visit the church. “The fencing contractor told us and emails we reviewed confirmed that on May 30, the assistant division chief of the Secret Service's Procurement Division discussed with the contractor how quickly the contractor could deliver anti-scale fencing to Lafayette Park,” the Report found.

Plans for the fence were finalized at least the day prior to Trump's walk: “the fencing contractor's project manager told us that she learned on May 31 that the Secret Service had contacted the fencing contractor about an anti-scale fence.” And while Attorney General William Barr did visit the Park shortly before Trump's walk and saw what he viewed as unruly protesters, causing him to ask Park Police commanders whether they would still be there when Trump arrived, the order to clear the Park had been given well before that and was unrelated to Trump or to Barr: there is “no evidence that the Attorney General’s visit to Lafayette Park at 6:10 p.m. caused the USPP to alter its plans to clear the park.”

Indeed, none of the key decision-makers had any idea Trump was coming when they implemented plans to clear the Park:

The USPP operations commander, the USPP incident commander, and the USPP acting chief of police told us they did not know the President planned to make a speech in the Rose Garden that evening. The USPP incident commander told us he was never informed of the President's specific plans or when the President planned to come out of the White House. He said, "It was just a, 'Hey, here he comes.' And all of a sudden I turn around and there's the entourage."

The USPP acting chief of police also told us he did not know about the President's plans to visit St. John's Church and that the USPP incident commander told him the President might come to the park to assess the damage at an unspecified time. The USPP acting chief of police and the USPP incident commander told us this information had no impact on their operational plan, and both denied that the President's potential visit to the park influenced the USPP’s decision to clear Lafayette Park and the surrounding areas. Numerous other USPP captains and lieutenants and the ACPD civil disturbance unit commanders also told us they received no information suggesting that the USPP cleared the area to facilitate the President's visit to St. John's Church. The DCNG major we interviewed told us that his USPP liaison appeared as surprised as he was when the President visited Lafayette Park, stating, "We [were] both kind of equally shocked."

Of the dozens of people who participated in the investigation, “no one we interviewed stated that the USPP cleared the park because of a potential visit by the President or that the USPP altered the timeline to accommodate the President’s movement.”

In sum, the media claims that were repeated over and over and over as proven fact — and even confirmed by "fact-checkers” — were completely false. Watch how easily and often and aggressively and readily they just spread lies, this one courtesy of CNN's Erin Burnett and Don Lemon:

With the issuance of this independent debunking of their claims, the journalists who spread this latest lie have started to come to terms with what they did — yet again. “A narrative we thought we knew is not the reality,” NBC News’ chief CIA Disinformation Agent Ken Dilanian awkwardly acknowledged on Meet the Press Daily. Shortly before publication of this article, Politico begrudgingly admitted that while “the department's Park Police failed to give Black Lives Matter demonstrators proper warning before it cleared them from Lafayette Park,” their primary media claim was untrue: “its actions were unrelated to President Donald Trump’s photo-op appearance at a nearby church.” Time will tell how readily others who spread this lie will account for how they — yet again — got this story so wrong.

Over and over we see the central truth: the corporate outlets that most loudly and shrilly denounce “disinformation” — to the point of demanding online censorship and de-platforming in the name of combating it — are, in fact, the ones who spread disinformation most frequently and destructively. It is hard to count how many times they have spread major fake stories in the Trump years. For that reason, they have nobody but themselves to blame for the utter collapse in trust and faith on the part of the public, which has rightfully concluded they cannot and should not be believed.


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Tyler Durden Thu, 06/10/2021 - 08:06
Published:6/10/2021 7:11:02 AM
[Markets] The Coming Biden/Putin Train-Wreck Summit The Coming Biden/Putin Train-Wreck Summit

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

I have my doubts whether the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva will take place later this month, but even if somehow it is pulled off, recent Biden Administration blunders mean the chance anything of substance will be achieved is virtually nil.

The Biden Administration was supposed to signal a return of the “adults” to the room. No more bully Trump telling NATO it’s useless, ripping up international climate treaties, and threatening to remove troops from the Middle East and beyond. US foreign policy would again flourish under the steady, practiced hands of the experts.

Then Biden blurted out in a television interview that President Putin was a killer with no soul. Then US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discovered the hard way that his Chinese counterparts were in no mood to be lectured on an “international rules-based order” that is routinely flouted by Washington.

It’s going to be a rough ten days for President Biden. Just as news breaks that under the Obama/Biden Administration the US was routinely and illegally spying on its European allies, he is preparing to meet those same allies, first at the G7 summit in England on June 11-13 and then at the June 14th NATO meeting in Brussels.

Make no mistake, Joe Biden is up to his eyeballs in this scandal. Ed Snowden Tweeted late last month when news broke that the US teamed up with the Danes to spy on the rest of Europe, that “Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around.”

Though Germany’s Merkel and France’s Macron have been loyal US lapdogs, the revelation of how Washington treats its allies has put them in the rare position of having to criticize Washington. “Outrageous” and “unacceptable” are how they responded to the news.

Russia has been routinely accused (without evidence) of malign conduct and interference in internal US affairs, but it turns out that the country actually doing the spying and meddling was the US all along – and against its own allies!

Surely this irony is not lost on Putin.

Biden has bragged in the US media that he would be taking Putin to task for Russia’s treatment of political dissidents like Alexei Navalny. Biden wrote recently in the Washington Post, that when he meets Putin, “I will again underscore the commitment of the United States, Europe and like-minded democracies to stand up for human rights and dignity."

Perhaps President Putin will remind him of how the Biden Administration continues the slow-motion murder of Julian Assange for the non-crime of being a journalist exposing government misdeeds.

Perhaps Putin will remind Biden of how US political dissidents are being treated, such as the hundreds arrested for what the Democrats and the mainstream media laughably call the “January 6th Insurrection.”

Many of these non-violent and unarmed protesters have been held in solitary confinement with no chance of bail, even though they have no prior arrests or convictions. Most await trial on minor charges that may not even take place until next year.

The Washington foreign policy establishment is hopelessly corrupt. The weaponization of the US dollar to bring the rest of the world to heel is backfiring. Only a serious change in course – toward non-interventionism and non-aggression – can avert a disaster. Time is running out.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/09/2021 - 20:50
Published:6/9/2021 8:03:49 PM
[Uncategorized] Democrats Enlist Obama to Defend Critical Race Theory

"Lo and behold, the single most important issue to them apparently right now is Critical Race Theory. Who knew that was the threat to our Republic?"

The post Democrats Enlist Obama to Defend Critical Race Theory first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:6/9/2021 4:32:43 PM
[Markets] "True Dat N***a" - Shocking Text Messages Show Hunter Biden Repeatedly Using The 'N-Word' "True Dat N***a" - Shocking Text Messages Show Hunter Biden Repeatedly Using The 'N-Word'

Authored by Rusty Weiss via ThePoliticalInsider.com,

The Daily Mail has revealed shocking text messages from Hunter Biden showing him using racial slurs and repeatedly using the n-word with his white lawyer in conversations.

The news comes just days after his father, President Joe Biden, gave an emotional speech on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, in which he condemned racism.

Corporate attorney George Mesires, who is white, is allegedly referred to in the text messages multiple times as being black or referenced as a variation of the n-word.

Hunter Biden’s text messages were, based on reporting by the Daily Mail, discovered on the 51-year-old’s infamous laptop, which was allegedly “abandoned” at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019.

The news sparked the hashtag #RacistHunter to begin trending in social media, according to Forbes.

Hunter Biden’s Racist Text Messages

Hunter Biden’s text messages purportedly show the President’s son flippantly making use of the n-word with his white lawyer.

In one exchange in January of 2019, it is reported he told Mesires, “I only love you because you’re black” and peppered in the phrase, “true dat n***a.”

In another, allegedly from December of 2018, one month earlier, Biden jokes with his lawyer, “How much money do I owe you. Because  n***a you better not be charging me Hennessy rates.”

Hennessy, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a “liquor targeted towards black people.”

“That made me snarf my coffee,” his lawyer replies.

Hunter then adds, “That’s what im saying ni…” likely cutting off the use of the n-word yet again.

Race Has Been A Central Element Of The Biden Presidency

President Biden has made race a central element to his presidency from day one, making policy decisions based on the view that white supremacy is the biggest threat this nation faces.

He seems to have ignored the white supremacy coming from his own son.

In another text message to Mesires, Hunter Biden writes, “I only love you because you’re black.”

The Daily Mail also claims Biden shared a meme of his father hugging former President Barack Obama with the caption:

Obama: Gonna miss you, man

Joe: Can I say it? Just this once?

Obama: *sigh* go ahead

Joe: You my n***a, Barack.

Critics couldn’t help but notice the obvious, predicting that the media would largely ignore the shocking text messages from Hunter Biden, something they would never do if Donald Trump Jr. or Eric Trump had flippantly made use of a variation of the n-word.

In fact, the mainstream media would be plastering images of these text messages all over their networks and newspapers on a 24/7 cycle if Hunter’s last name was Trump instead of Biden.

Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL) jabbed the President by calling Hunter Biden’s text messages “the REAL Jim Crow 2.0.”

“I look forward to seeing wall-to-wall coverage and outrage from the Democrats on these offensive and racist comments from the President’s son,” Donalds tweeted, knowing full-well it will never happen.

Social media stars the Hodge Twins, joked, “Not surprised by Hunter Biden saying the N-word multiple times in writing … the man smoked parmesan cheese.”

The President has himself made controversial statements on race in the past.

That includes comments going all the way back to when he argued desegregation would mean his children would be forced into a “racial jungle,” and up to his most recent campaign when he told African-American voters “you ain’t black” if you don’t vote for him.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/09/2021 - 15:25
Published:6/9/2021 2:32:04 PM
[Markets] Barack Obama Admits "Cancel Culture" Has Gone Too Far Barack Obama Admits "Cancel Culture" Has Gone Too Far

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, former president Barack Obama said that cancel culture has gone too far in American society.

A lot of the dangers of cancel culture and ‘we’re just going to be condemning people all the time,’ at least among my daughters, they’ll acknowledge that among their peer group or in college campuses, you’ll see people going overboard,” said Obama.

Although he said individuals and institutions should be called out if they engage in “cruel” behavior, Obama warned that expecting everybody to be “perfect” was futile.

“We don’t expect everybody to politically correct all the time,” he added.

Obama’s opinion on ‘woke’ puritanism hasn’t shifted since 2019, when he asserted that calling people out on social media for not being politically correct is “not activism.”

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly,” said Obama, adding, “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

He also warned leftists that trying to one up each other in terms of political correctness would lead to a “circular firing squad.”

Meanwhile, many on the left still continue to claim that cancel culture doesn’t even exist, even as sports stars continue to be canceled for edgy tweets posted when they were teenagers.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Wed, 06/09/2021 - 13:24
Published:6/9/2021 12:32:08 PM
[World] Bill Clinton was right about Obama ...

Maybe Bill Clinton was right about President Obama.

After all, Arkansas Bubba was America’s “first black president.” 

Back in 2008 when Hillary Clinton was scheduled to be America’s Next President (The first time. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!), Bill Clinton became enraged after his Black voters down in South Carolina ... Published:6/9/2021 11:31:59 AM

[Barack Obama] Obama tries to deflect America’s attention from Critical Race Theory

The same man who turned America into a more racist nation than it was before he entered the White House now wants everyone to look away. Barack Obama is now and always has been a race hustler. He got into the White House by identifying as the culmination of Black

The post Obama tries to deflect America’s attention from Critical Race Theory appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:6/9/2021 10:33:06 AM
[Markets] COVID Origins Report From Lawrence Livermore "Z Division" Concluded In May 2020 Lab Leak 'Plausible' COVID Origins Report From Lawrence Livermore "Z Division" Concluded In May 2020 Lab Leak 'Plausible'

While Anthony Fauci spent much of last year telling the public that COVID-19 couldn't have possibly come from a Wuhan lab his agency was funding, the Lawrence Livermore Lab's intelligence arm, known as the "Z-Division," found the Wuhan lab-leak theory to be quite plausible and deserving of further investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a classified May 27, 2020 report that the US State Department heavily relied upon its investigation (and which President Biden canceled shortly after taking office), scientific investigators studied the genetic makeup of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in what was "among the first U.S. government efforts to seriously explore the hypothesis that the virus leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology along with the competing hypothesis the pandemic began with human contact with infected animals."

One person who read the document, which is dated May 27, 2020, said it made a strong case for further inquiry into the possibility the virus seeped out of the lab.

The study also had a major influence on the State Department’s probe into Covid-19’s origins. State Department officials received the study in late October 2020 and asked for more information, according to a timeline by the agency’s arms control and verification bureau, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The study was important because it came from a respected national laboratory and differed from the dominant view in spring 2020 that the virus almost certainly was first transmitted to humans via an infected animal, a former official involved in the State Department inquiry said. -WSJ

The WIV was home to scientists internationally known for genetically modifying COVID viruses to better infect humans - perhaps including an intermediate horseshoe bat coronavirus they collected in 2013 which is  96.2% identical to SARS-CoV-2, while we know know that a subagency of the NIH headed by Fauci was funding risky coronavirus research to the tune of millions of dollars, funneled through nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance after the Obama administration cut off funding for so-called "gain of function" research in 2014.

What's more, the Fauci's agency resumed funding the risky research in 2017 without the approval of a government oversight body.

Of note, the WIV "had openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions" for years under the leadership of Dr. Shi 'Batwoman' Zhengli, according to the Washington Post's Josh Rogin.

Zhengli Shi (Bat lady)

On May 26, President Biden called for a fresh, 90-day review of intelligence collected on the origins of COVID-19. While he didn't directly reference the Lawrence Livermore classified report, he said that US national laboratories overseen by the Energy Department would augment the spy agencies' work. Hours after Biden's announcement, the New York Times reported the existence of  a 'raft' of still-unexamined evidence which required additional supercomputer analysis.

In other words, the US government has been sitting on a large collection of intelligence in perhaps the most important investigation into an economy-wrecking global pandemic, as China destroyed evidence and has refused to cooperate with international probes. According to the report, Biden's call for the new investigation was in response to the 'new' evidence.

According to the report, US allies have been providing evidence since the beginning of the pandemic. Australia, a member of the so-called Five Eyes partnership which also includes Britain, Canada and New Zealand, has strongly promoted the lab-leak theory. And while US intelligence agencies are reportedly coming together "around the two likely scenarios," a former State Department official says the evidence to support the natural origin theory is virtually non-existent.

"We were finding that despite the claims of our scientific community, including the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Fauci's NIAID organization, there was almost no evidence that supported a natural, zoonotic evolution or source of COVID-19," said former State Department official David Asher in a statement to Fox News. "The data disproportionately stacked up as we investigated that it was coming out of a lab or some supernatural source."

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/08/2021 - 09:11
Published:6/8/2021 8:23:34 AM
[Markets] An Ideal Rule For The Age Of Rage? Critics May Be Making The Best Argument For Keeping The Filibuster An Ideal Rule For The Age Of Rage? Critics May Be Making The Best Argument For Keeping The Filibuster

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in the Hill on the future of the filibuster and why this may be the most credible period for the use of such a compromise-forcing rule. There have always been good-faith arguments against the use of such a rule as inhibiting democratic voting. After all, the rule blocks bare majority voting. However, with a razor-thin margin in both houses, the use of such a rule can help force greater dialogue and compromise in Congress, which most voters indicate that they want in polls. It now appears that Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) will block the federal voting rights legislation even without a filibuster. As a result he was attacked as a “not very bright” aider and abetter and “cowardly, power-hungry white guy” by the left. Sen. Dick Durbin’s press secretary on the Judiciary Committee even curiously declared that democracy should not be “in the hands of a man who lives in a house boat.” The furious response explains why Manchin has been one of just two Democrats willing to demand compromise. The Republicans have roughly the same number willing to push from that side. However, combined these senators are seeking bipartisan agendas in a deeply divided nation. Killing the filibuster will remove the key pressure to seek bipartisan approaches.

Here is the column:

“If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog,” is a quote often attributed, perhaps erroneously, to President Truman. When it comes to Sen. Joe ManchinPresident Biden may be thinking of offering his voracious dog, Major, to the West Virginia Democrat.

Biden has trolled Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in public speeches, denouncing both as those “two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.” In reality, Manchin and Sinema have voted 100 percent with Biden so far, more than such liberal icons as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). That’s why the Washington Post gave Biden three more “Pinocchios” to add to his growing collection.

However, both Manchin and Sinema support preserving the Senate’s filibuster rule, and they are portrayed in the press as fighting for what is being called a “Jim Crow relic.” One reporter asked Sinema how she would respond to what critics are calling a “choice between the filibuster and democracy,” while the Los Angeles Times ran a column titled, “What’s the matter with Kyrsten Sinema?

In truth, the filibuster is no more racist than any other procedural rule. The irony is that, despite its abusive use in the past, this is arguably the most compelling time for a filibuster rule.

While Democrats and the media have painted anyone supporting the filibuster as anti-democratic, even racist, they overwhelmingly supported the rule when Democrats were in the Senate minority. As a senator, Biden denounced any termination of the filibuster as “disastrous” and declared: “God save us from that fate … [since it] would change this fundamental understanding and unbroken practice of what the Senate is all about.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) previously warned the Senate that it was “on the precipice” of a constitutional crisis as “the checks and balances which have been at the core of this republic are about to be evaporated” by a proposed elimination of the filibuster. Likewise, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) denounced those seeking to eradicate the filibuster as trying to change “the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.” He added: “If the majority chooses to end the filibuster and if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only become worse.”

Back then, the filibuster was the embodiment of “democratic debate” — and those words were echoed in the same newspapers and on the same television programs that now denounce the rule. When Sinema recently made the same defense of the rule as Biden, Schumer and Obama, she was attacked as mouthing specious, racist or reactionary talking points.

In reality, the rule did not originate as a racist device. Indeed, as I have previously written, it is more a “relic” of the Julius Caesar era than the Jim Crow era. In ancient Rome, the filibuster was used to force the Roman senate to hear dissenting voices; Cato the Younger used it to oppose Julius Caesar’s return to Rome and to denounce rampant corruption. It was viewed as protecting minority viewpoints in senate proceedings. In the United States, it can be traced to a procedural argument by former Vice President Aaron Burr to get rid of an automatic end to debate on bills in the early 1800s. It was not created in or for the Jim Crow era — and Cato the Younger was not the junior senator from Alabama.

The rule has been used for different purposes, including, most infamously, to oppose 1950s civil rights legislation. Over the years, it has been modified, as in 1975 when the threshold to end a filibuster was reduced to 60 votes. However, both parties agreed that the rule was needed to force greater consensus in the Senate, which fashions itself “The world’s greatest deliberative body.”

There are good-faith arguments that filibusters frustrate democratic voting. However, this is arguably a time when the value of the rule is most evident and most compelling as a compromise-forcing legislative device. The Senate is split 50-50, a reflection of the country’s division. (The House is little better off, with a majority of just a handful of votes, the smallest majority since World War II.) That leaves Democrats struggling to pass bills based on the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Harris.

Democrats were able to circumvent the filibuster rule to pass a $1.9 trillion relief bill, with no need to compromise, by using a budget reconciliation tactic. Heavily laden with pork projects and few spending limits, that bill embodied the dangers of enacting legislation on simple “muscle votes.” Now, though, they want to push through non-budget bills that cannot be shoehorned into a budget reconciliation framework.

For example, many senators want to add as many as four new Supreme Court justices to give liberals an instant, controlling majority on the court. There also is a demand to make D.C. the 51st state. Notably, both moves are highly unpopular with a majority of voters. And Democrats are pushing an unprecedented federalization of elections to prevent states from requiring forms of voter identification that are popular with voters.

Pushing through such controversial measures with bare majorities and on straight party lines will only deepen the divisions and increase the rage in this country. So this is precisely a time when the filibuster can play a positive role, by forcing legislation to pass with a modest level of bipartisan support. It requires consensus and compromise at a time of growing, violent division.

Democrats, media figures and activists are aware of the hypocrisy over the filibuster rule and its long defense by Democrats as a positive democratic device. That is why there is a concerted effort to portray support for the filibuster as racist. It is a familiar pattern in silencing an opposing view: Frame the rule as racist, and dismiss the consensus arguments accepted just a few years ago in defense of the rule. You then pass bills on straight party line votes in the name of national unity.

The filibuster has gone through historic controversies through the centuries, from opposing Caesar to opposing civil rights. But as a consensus-forcing rule, its time may have arrived, to the chagrin of many.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/07/2021 - 17:00
Published:6/7/2021 4:16:09 PM
[Barack Obama] Obama declines to answer (Scott Johnson) I subscribe to Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff email summary. I scan it quickly to minimize my anger management issues. Most of the time it strikes me as an arm of the Democrats’ press relations team. Occasionally, however, I find an item of interest. One such is Matthew Kassel’s interview with Barack Obama in connection with the publication of Obama’s memoir A Promised Land. Saying I found the interview of interest Published:6/7/2021 7:44:25 AM
[5693c863-f76d-5d2f-bca8-32425f14325f] Gov. Larry Hogan: Fight crime and support police – 3 key ways to make communities safer, back law enforcement In 2015, in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, President Obama?warned?not to let police get "scapegoated for broader failures of our society and our criminal-justice system." Unfortunately, over the last few years, far too many – especially in his own party – have sought to do exactly that. Published:6/7/2021 7:13:42 AM
[Markets] The DARPA-Taped Letters The DARPA-Taped Letters

Via Harvard2TheBigHouse Subsatck,

Why have several researchers with close ties to the CCP been undermining the dissemination of peer reviewed research which looks at a lab origin of the COVID-19 Pandemic and gain-of-function research?

Few things are as nerve-racking as your first day at a brand-new school in a brand-new state, that’s on the other side of the country.

And so I was beyond relieved when the teacher of my second grade class Mrs. Mongelluzzo – easy to spell with the Mickey Mouse Club cadence – told everyone at the end of a rough first day that to help break the ice, everyone should try and bring a joke back to class the next day as their only homework. Knowing my dad seemed to at least think he was pretty hilarious, I waddled home so fast that I almost started rolling at one point, eager to call my dad at work to get the joke to help me fit in with a class of eight and nine year-olds the next day.

I’m not sure I’ve ever raised my hand faster in my life that next day, when Mrs. Mongelluzzo asked if anyone had remembered their homework and returned with a joke. Brand news class, all eyes on me, time to show I can fit in:

“Alright, so… how do you tell a male chromosome, from a female chromosome?

(At this point I assumed the confused looks meant my classmates were deeply pondering this profound genomic kaon.)

“Well… of course – YOU JUST PULL DOWN ITS GENES!!”

And so I learned my first hard lesson in the school of having a Microbiology PhD father trying to help you navigate through novel social situations. Or any social situations. But I digress. 

However the good news was that although my dad’s job might not have made fitting in among my peers any easier, he more than made up for it during my first Take-Your-Kid-to-Work Day a few weeks later. Riding the Red Line from the Shady Grove Metro decades later while living in a halfway house as an ex-con and felon for the rest of my life, GPS anklet banging around underneath my extra-long khakis, I had a hard time imagining myself back then, staring out the window, oblivious to so much of the world that prison would later reveal to me.

But for eight-year-old me, the metro was the first part of the most incredible adventure of my life up to that point. 

After the metro it was just one science-fiction escalator ride towards an impossibly distant windy pinpoint, stopping to ask the friendliest pair of glasses I could find for directions to the right building, and then one elevator later - I stepped into a massive slew of cubicles, absolutely terrible haircuts and pocket-protectors as far as the eye could see - but most importantly for me, a crowd that would appreciate my sense of humor.

After the laughs and smiles it was kaleidoscopic protein models that spun and danced on screens and the same microscopic structures that I remembered from my dad’s t-shirts blow-up to preposterous proportions and popping up on office walls and projector screens, I felt like I’d walked into a movie set - watching discoveries and knowledge get summoned into existence in real-time, and being able to poke around and find a community that loved the fact I had something of a precious science vocabulary and wasn’t afraid to ask what might be a stupid question… since the other hand of that is it just might be a really good one too.

So all of these happy formative memories swirled back to the surface when shortly after our paper examining a laboratory origin of the COVID-19 Pandemic was published in August 2020, the end of a journey that’d started with its submission back in April, a handful of random folks emailed us. My assumption initially and for several weeks afterwards was that at least one of them had been an old colleague of my father’s, since I mean - after you have your PhD for about 40 years you tend to build up a fairly long list of contacts.

However once a bit of time had passed and I thought about it, I wasn’t aware of my dad ever significantly interacting with a former Secretary of the Navy and Obama advisor directly attached to defense work, a federal global technology S&T researcher interested in engaging with China and who it’s hard to imagine hasn’t been extensively involved with defense programs, an MIT artificial intelligence and cyber-security wonk with extensive ties to the defense industry, and a scientist part of another team which denigrated my father’s career and said he never should’ve written a paper like ours also with extensive ties to DARPA and the defense industry.

Even more bizarre, that former Secretary of the Navy spent much of 2020 directly lobbying with the help of Johns Hopkins for more scientific and academic engagement and cooperation with the CCP, alongside the sitting Director of National Intelligence (and soon to be oxymorons), Avril Haines. And so maybe it should raise a few eyebrows that the sitting Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, attempted to scrub existence of his company’s efforts to aid and abet the CCP placing students and researching into American institutions and especially key STEM programs via multi-million dollar contracts from the internet. 

This company, WestExec Advisors, is also tied to the current Press Secretary, Jen Psaki.

And it was only co-founded by Blinken, it’s other founder writes whitepapers alongside Avril Haines, since it’s all one big happy not-even-vaguely-corrupt-and-compromised mob family.

Oh and Ms. Psaki just spent today telling the American people that there’s no grounds whatsoever that would cause President Biden to fire Tony Fauci. Not even treason? 

In a time of war? Because the punishment for that very clearly isn’t losing your job - it’s losing your life via state execution. And so aiding and abetting the the Chinese Military in covering up the worst war-crime in human history would certainly be nominal groups for a bullet to the head, or however the government is doing it these days. 

And in case any of this sounds a bit outlandish, turns out there’s been a high-level defector from China in America for several months, working alongside the DIA exclusively since “DIA leadership believes there are Chinese spies or sources inside the FBI, CIA, and several other federal agencies."

The idea that there’s even a discussion as to whether or not SARS-CoV-2 was engineered is entirely absurd, the only people acting like this is in doubt at all are looking to cover as many asses as they possibly can while directly aiding and abetting a disinformation campaign being run by the Chinese Military, and simultaneously keep the door open to violate as many Natural Laws as they possibly can.

Most notably, Alina Chan, who’s already designed a protocol to insert freaking Ebola into human cells, and has been falsely presenting herself as some sort of honest actor while literally attempting to bribe other scientists to hide the truth.   

And so as our emails with this giant wildly corrupt and conflicted cabal of DARPA-JHU-WestExec squad of fuckbois below recounts, their contact with us has become even stranger considering what’s happened since... and what hasn’t happened. Instead of our ideas being embraced by the wider scientific community like I would've expected from my childhood, they've been marginalized and our voices largely ignored.

My father wouldn’t even let me take the super-cool U.S. Government pens to use in school since it could technically considered stealing, he’s never sniffed anything resembling defense work or the hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to do it, been anywhere near Big Pharma, or sought membership in some sort of international group or organization that’s supposed to somehow give one credibility since you can say you’re a part of it and it allows you to claim expertise you simply do not have

And maybe my dad's existence as just a simple scientist a good thing.

Because if this pandemic has demonstrated anything, it’s that our international institutions have not only failed us as they’ve enabled the profiteering of public citizens that's turned what was once a historic wealth gap in human history into one that’s only ever been demonstrated before in science-fiction movies, all the while we die off in the worst ongoing mass casualty event in generations. And these international organizations and their false sense of authority enable charlatans like Peter Daszak to corrupt and defile the scientific process by hiding behind imaginary xenophobia, when all he’s really been doing is running interference for the people providing the funding for his work.

Because if one thing is certain, it’s that he has no interest in anything other than preserving the many hundreds of millions of dollars of funding he collects a six-figure salary to coordinate – as opposed to being worried about saving human life or getting to the bottom of this pandemic. And yet he doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and the “dual-use” side of the gain-of-function methodologies like serial passage refer to their possible uses in the defense industry, and now by those wishing to continue playing God and attempting to directly alter the human genome in at attempt to cheat nature’s basic strictures.

Maybe it's more than a coincidence that the last point made by the biggest cinematic franchise in history is that playing games with reality and attempting to manipulate the popular media's perception of it can put an enormous number of lives at risk, and that there’s a lot of money to be made and power to be seized when seemingly benign international groups present themselves with authority they do not have, and with responsibilities they refuse to uphold.

Maybe those movies were on to something.

However, sure, maybe my dad and I are mistaken and there is something wrong with our paper which accounts for so many seeking to exclude it from the discussion at this point and keep our voices out of the media.

We’re waiting.

From: Karl Sirotkin PhD Date: Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 10:51 AM

Mr. Danzig, Dr. Kwik-Gronvall, Mr. Triolo, Dr. Leighton, and Mr. Mallery:

When you all initially contacted my son and I about our paper, Might SARS-CoV-2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage through an Animal Host or Cell Culture? my initial thoughts went to fond memories I have from much earlier in my career when I was publishing more.

On both occasions, scientists reached out to me after a paper I'd written was published, excited about my work, and asked me to present it at conferences.

However, since your group initially contacted us to point out that we hadn't properly supported one of our assertions, to which we replied with the citation which we had mistakenly left out, we have heard nothing at all from any of you since. Unlike my previous experiences, your group doesn't seem at all interested in helping what you called "a real contribution" to the discussion around the origins of COVID-19 gain any traction anywhere, either among fellow professionals or the popular press.

Your contact seems different and outside my normal experience as a professional.  If Mr. Danzig was simply curious about the 1977 influenza incident, I would have simply expected him to ask, so the rest of the distribution seems a bit mysterious, and frankly we are curious about the motivation especially considering the silence since and where things now stand.

The larger distribution seems odd to me, since the four of you come from such diverse backgrounds. And it was made ever stranger after Dr. Kwik-Gronvall's team at John Hopkins asserted that I was not qualified to write our paper, as part of a team with extensive ties to DARPA and the defense industry. A characteristic that, to an outsider, would also seem to bind your group together as well?

Unless I am mistaken and the four of you have some other longstanding interest in gain-of-function work outside of DARPA and other defense work that brought you together to email us about the use of serial passage in our paper?

Finally, are you aware of Alina Chan, who is attached to the Broad Institute and MIT as many of you are, actively telling reporters to ignore the peer review process, and presenting herself as some kind of expert after this article which reads like badly-researched fan-fiction from a lovesick writer was published? This article was published nearly a month after our peer reviewed paper was. And long after Zero Hedge made international headlines getting kicked off Twitter for asserting the possibility of a laboratory origin. Events this Boston Magazine article ignores entirely as it attempts to create a parallel universe. Since you were so concerned about an incorrect citation in a peer reviewed paper published from strangers, certainly you’re concerned about someone with ties to the same institutions as many of you denigrated the scientific process, and allowing herself and her research to be misrepresented in the press.

So my question is: Why did the four of you contact me and my son? If it was to make sure the science is presented and communicated correctly, why has there been only silence since? And Dr. Kwik-Gronvall, why did your team assert I was unqualified to write this paper after you were already so familiar with it? I appreciate the fact JHU retracted that statement, but I assume that was only after my son emailed asking very politely for a correction.

With the entire globe in the grips of this pandemic, accurate and honest scientific reporting and research has never ever been more important. It is already looking as if continually updated vaccines might be required to control COVID-19 as it mutates, and with confidence in vaccines already low - aren't the four of you concerned with the potential damage that can be done when the scientific peer review process is not respected?  Such lack of respect causes lowered belief in the entire scientific enterprise.

Alina presented herself as superior to out peer reviewed paper by telling journalists that it would be ok to ignore it, but of which we have yet to see specific criticisms other that Richard's excellent question. When four scientists as accomplished and connected as you take all that time to reach out about our paper, but then remain silent afterwards which this implied criticism by one with which you seem to have an association?

So maybe you can help us understand your motivations and the larger context of your interest? Since I’m baffled that this even seems to be a question when reviewing a field, in any context, scientific or journalistic: Is it professional and appropriate to ignore or encourage others to ignore a peer reviewed article? The clear answer is, “No,” unless specific criticisms are part of that assertion.  And we are happy to discuss this, if there is any question about this being appropriate behavior for a scientist, since Alina is rather young and perhaps hasn’t been properly trained.

And since all of this is so bizarre, and since several articles have already appeared in the popular press which ignore the peer reviewed science, and so many others with backgrounds in finance and politics seem to be coming out of the woodwork writing articles and pretending to have the ability to address the science when all they hold no relevant degrees and have only ever written popular pieces, acting like their research and work should be considered with the same seriousness as ours – this email will be posted to a public forum for open discussion.

Dr. Karl Sirotkin

Richard Danzig responded to that email chain below:

Saturday, Jan 23, 10:14 AM

Karl,

When I read your and your son’s paper I wrote to you about what seemed a mistaken description of a previous paper. You quite properly wrote back acknowledging the mistake. I haven’t written further because there doesn’t seem more that I can contribute. I am not a scientist, but rather simply someone with some expertise on national security questions who wants to understand what is happening in relevant domains of science and technology. As shown in my message, I copied several scientists who I knew were interested in this topic. They do not constitute “a group” and hadn’t seen my message before I sent it. I cannot speak for them. I have copied these others on this email and also included John Mallery who ably supervises the “biosecurity analysis” mailing list. As John has said he does not want these communications directly circulating on that list, I leave to him whether he wants to circulate this further. I hope this addresses your concerns about my original message and why you have heard no more (save for this!) from me. 

Sincerely,

Richard

Since all this seemed to do was dodge any sort of explanation, Dr. Sirotkin tried again below:

Sunday, Jan 31, 9:37 PM

Dr. Danzig, Dr. Kwik-Gronvall, Mr. Triolo, Dr. Leighton, and Mr. Mallery:

Dr Danzig, Your courtesy is appreciated, but not of the questions I’ve asked have been addressed, so apparently, I need to be more direct.

I’m including the bio-security mailing list in this distribution since there are unanswered questions here that go well beyond SARS2’s origins and affect National Security from the biotechnology perspective. Dr. Danzig, you sent the first email to a handful of people as well as a email list of anonymous recipients in what seemed to be an attempt to sideline our work and push aside questions about gain of function research – we should be able to answer to that same distribution, especially because in your follow up to that same distribution, you seemed to say we agreed we were mistaken in the context of pandemic influenzas viruses. But the only mistake was a missing citation, we neveragreed that any of the conclusions were mistaken, nor have we seen any criticism of the logic and conclusion of our August 2020 Bioessays peer reviewed publication. A letter is in press that adds the citation, and goes into more signs regarding serial passage and this novel coronavirus.

And we address you along with everyone else, Dr. Danzig, because these questions don’t relate to granular scientific issues but instead are more ones of integrity and the common public good. By the way, for a non-scientist you really must have been following the scientific field closely both to spot our paper and notice it was missing a citation.

Due to the number of lives on the line, and that fundamental issues of scientific and professional integrity seem to be in question, I hope you can provide direct answers to the following questions which I’ve tried to make as clear as possible. Some questions only a few on the initial distribution will be able to answer, but I hope those on the mailing list will respond as well since these questions obviously relate to biosecurity and go way beyond SARS2’s origins.

In my more than four decades as a practicing scientist I have never felt this sense of bewilderment and concern over the conduct of other professionals, and especially now in the middle of a pandemic that has no end in sight – to have the scientific community act with such apparent duplicitous intent, in a possible effort to secure their own access to billions of dollars of funding is truly disconcerting, a feeling I would expect to be shared by everyone who considers themselves a part of the wider scientific community.

Question 1:  What were the context of the discussions were that led you to initially use the rather broad email distribution that you used as well as the national security list? I also want to restate for this question that the missing citation did not cause any of our logic or conclusions to be compromised, it did not affect our analysis of the current pandemic, instead only provided a nice narrative parallel to it. However, you decided to contact us in the first place, and include others on that initial email distribution which also included a broad anonymous list, so out of professional courtesy and transparency I’m simply asking how the decision was made to contact us, with such a broad distribution list and then to avoid answering our questions? 

Question 2: At least two of you appear associated with the Johns Hopkins team which stated that I was unqualified to write a paper covering the origins of SARS2. Why did your team make that judgment? What made your group more qualified than myself when my experience includes teaching molecular virology, molecular biology, and performing nearly two decades of genetic engineering wet-work, and as a bioinformatics scientist I have much longer tenure in the field than anyone on that report’s author list. Why has the entire John Hopkins COVID-19 tracking unit been either pretending that our paper does not exist, or actively trying to undermine its credibility – when they’re obviously entirely aware of it, and how sound it is? To the point of not even citing us in their list of peer reviewed literature citations?

Question 3: How much more death is needed before the discussion around gain-of-function work is opened back up and the moratorium against it (or at the very least monitoring by those who do not have a conflict of interest) is reconsidered? And shouldn’t there be intense, independent scientific scrutiny of all gain-of-function genome-altering work that asks, not only: “What might be the benefit?” but also, “What can possibly go wrong?” We cannot help but wonder if the DARPA-funded Foundry , or work on the recent Apollo report, played a role in what appeared to be an attempt to discredit us, and if this distribution list has an interest in that work going forward, and is part of the efforts to minimize such moratoriums or safety monitoring?

I sincerely hope everyone on this list has National Security interests foremost in your priorities and we are wrong to be worried about your desire to continue the inadequately monitored gain-of-function work which puts humanity at such terrible risk.

Question 4: How is it that all of you are concerned enough about academic integrity to contact us about a missing citation, but have sat back and done nothing as our peer-reviewed work is appropriated in the popular press? And since this is so obviously a public health issue, do you believe that journalists should report on the peer reviewed science, or be encouraged to make their own opinions about what the state of the science really is?  This would not be an issue for me, if any honest detailed criticism of our paper at all was known to me, however since it is not – If academic integrity was at the heart of your initial contact with us, why have you been sitting back spectating as our ideas have been stolen and misrepresented to the general public at large by multiple mainstream outlets?

We look forward to your responses.

Karl Sirotkin, PhD

Strangely enough, they were never heard from again!!

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/06/2021 - 23:30
Published:6/6/2021 10:43:04 PM
[] 'You're white, are you an oppressor?' Dan Bongino TORCHES former Obama aide during Critical Race Theory debate and DAMN (watch) Published:6/6/2021 11:09:45 AM
[Markets] Bovard: Will Treason Mania Destroy America? Bovard: Will Treason Mania Destroy America?

Authored by James Bovard via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

At the start of the Biden era, America is being torn apart by more allegations of treason than at any time since the Civil War. Historian Henry Adams observed a century ago that politics “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” And few things spur hatred more effectively than tarring all political opponents as traitors.

The Founding Fathers carved the Constitution in light of the horrific political abuses that had proliferated in England in prior centuries. That was why there was a narrow definition of treason in the Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

After the end of Reconstruction, treason charges became relatively rare in American politics. Wars were probably the biggest propellants, with anyone who opposed American intervention abroad being tagged with the scarlet T. But by the late 1960s, when the futility of the Vietnam War was becoming clear, treason charges had largely lost their political clout. Gen. Alexander Haig, who later became Richard Nixon’s last White House chief of staff, denounced the Pentagon Papers as “devastating … a security breach of the greatest magnitude of anything I’ve ever seen … it’s treasonable” But the Nixon administration’s protests failed to sway the Supreme Court to block the New York Times from publishing the secret official records of decades of U.S. government deceit on Indochina.

Unfortunately, the political exploitation of the 9/11 attacks included reviving treason accusations against anyone who did not cheer George W. Bush’s promise to “rid the world of evil.” On December 6, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee, “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and … give ammunition to America’s enemies.” At that point, Bush had already suspended habeas corpus and his underlings were busy sabotaging laws limiting federal surveillance of American citizens. But regardless of how many civil liberties were actually destroyed, critics were traitors.

Run-up to 2016

While Bush was rehabilitated by the mainstream media in recent years as a reward for criticizing Donald Trump, his 2004 reelection campaign relied on tacit treason accusations to tarnish Democrats, liberals, and even a few libertarians. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, keynote speaker Democratic Sen. Zell Miller implied that political opposition was treason: “Now, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats’ manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.”

There was no evidence that such criticism of Bush’s foreign policy was ripping America asunder — but trumpeting the accusation made Bush critics appear a pox on the land. Other Republicans used the same theme. John Thune, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in South Dakota, denounced Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle: “His words embolden the enemy.” Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman condemned the Kerry campaign for “parroting the rhetoric of terrorists” and warned, “The enemy listens. All listen to what the president said, and all listen to what Senator Kerry said.” Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, stumping for Bush, told audiences, “Political criticism is our enemy’s best friend.” Six weeks before the 2004 election, the Washington Post noted, “President Bush and leading Republicans are increasingly charging that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and others in his party are giving comfort to terrorists and undermining the war in Iraq — a line of attack that tests the conventional bounds of political rhetoric.”

In 2006, the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration was illegally seizing personal financial information of millions of Americans. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, declared, “We’re at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous.” Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) also labeled the Times guilty of “treason.” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) suggested that the Times had become the “Benedict Arnold Press.”

After Barack Obama was elected in 2008, treason allegations simmered down, except for occasional allegations that Obama was a secret Muslim scheming to impose Sharia law on America. Former NSA employee Edward Snowden’s leak of NSA documents was the biggest treason boomlet of that era. Numerous congressmen called for Snowden to be charged with treason, though the Founding Fathers neglected to include “embarrassing the government” in the Constitution’s definition of treason. House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and former NSA chief Michael Hayden publicly joked about putting Snowden on a government kill list.

But the Snowden uproar was a kerfuffle compared to the Pandora’s box opened by the 2016 presidential campaign. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton repeatedly effectively asserted that Republican nominee Donald Trump was a Russian tool, betraying the nation.

Treason in the White House

After Trump’s surprise victory in November 2016, treason became the coin of the realm for denigrating political opposition. Democratic politicians, activists, and their media allies responded to Hillary Clinton’s surprise defeat by smearing Donald Trump for colluding with Russia. Leaks to the media from the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies spurred raging controversies that contributed to Trump’s firing FBI chief James Comey. That resulted in the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate Trump. Endless wrangling followed, including a claim by prominent Democrats claiming that Republicans would be guilty of treason if they released a memo detailing the FBI’s abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Mueller quickly became sacrosanct; liberals even bought votary candles with his likeness. A piece I wrote for The Hill on Mueller’s lawless record as FBI chief spurred 1,500 comments, including denunciations of me as a treason weasel, bearded grifter, Alt-moron, lackey, lickspittle, and librarian (some folks can’t spell “libertarian”). In April 2019, Mueller finally admitted that there was no substantive evidence of collusion but that did not stop the endless “RussiaGate” refrain and treason accusations from Trump critics. Most of Trump’s presidency was permeated by charges of treason against him.

But the Mueller-induced treason prattle was child’s play compared to what followed disputes over the 2020 presidential election. As law professor Jonathan Turley noted, after the media announced Biden won, “All court challenges [to election results] then became unethical for lawyers and all congressional challenges became sedition for members.” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro this past December denounced one challenge to the election results as a “seditious abuse of the judicial process” that was guilty of “misleading the public about a free and fair election and tearing at our Constitution.” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wailed, “The most serious attempt to overthrow our democracy in the history of our country is under way.” Twitter’s left-wing tilt has helped spur hashtags such as #GOPSeditiousTraitors and #TreasonAgainstAmerica. One leftist activist got 65,000 “likes” when he declared that “Donald Trump should replace Benedict Arnold in history as America’s most reviled traitor.”

On the other side of the political divide, some Republicans sounded equally hellbent on demonizing any opposition to their demands. Republican lawyer Lin Wood declared that Vice President Pence would be guilty of treason for certifying the election results and that he “will face execution by firing squad.” The Pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk tweeted, “After listening to the leaked call put out by the Washington Post we are convinced that Georgia’s secretary of state and his lawyer need to be arrested for Treason!”

After protesters crashed into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 (some crashed into the building while others sauntered in), treason accusations went into overdrive. The definition of treason was vastly expanded to include members of Congress who filed a lawful challenge against the 2020 electoral tally. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that Republicans who signaled they would not ratify the Electoral College results earlier that month “gave aid and comfort to [protesters] with the idea that they were embracing a lie … that the election did not have legitimacy.” A court of law would never convict Republican members of treason, but Pelosi can convict them in the court of public opinion, thanks to the hanging judges at CNN and MSNBC.

Civil War politics

Many Trump opponents are invoking 1861, denouncing any Republican challenges to the election as the same type of treason supposed to have been committed by states that exited the union. But the Civil War illustrates the catastrophic damage that can result from broad-brush definitions of treason. Northern politicians quickly persuaded their supporters that all Southerners were traitors — a capital offense. In 1864, Gen. William Sherman wired the War Department in Washington, “There is a class of people — men, women, and children — who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.” Union armies in Virginia, Georgia, and elsewhere late in the war intentionally devastated civilian populations who were considered collectively guilty of secession and treason.

Unfortunately, many pundits and politicians know only a fairy-tale version of the Civil War. The fact that Trump had high support in many southern states is spurring bizarre proposals that would be the final coffin nails into any hope for a semblance of peaceful coexistence between Americans with different views and values. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the media’s favorite progressive congresswoman, declared, “The only way our country is going to heal is through the actual liberation of southern states.” She didn’t specify whether she favored the type of military dictatorship that was ended only by a historic compromise after the fraud-ridden 1876 presidential election. Politico, one of the most respected Washington publications, printed a piece titled, “What Ulysses Grant Can Teach Joe Biden about Putting Down Violent Insurrections.” The piece stressed, “Grant’s approach relied on a combination of brute military force and a drastic curtailment of civil liberties, yet it nevertheless has relevance for the current moment.” The article stressed the need for “overwhelming force” to suppress the type of people who violated the sacred space of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Any federal attempt to expunge political dissent in America with “brute military force and a drastic curtailment of civil liberties” would very likely provoke a civil war. But that could be the end result of current trends of presuming that political opponents are traitors who must be exterminated. While Democratic members of Congress and some Biden officials are comforted by the thousands of National Guard troops now occupying Washington at their behest, they would be unwise to presume the troops would obey orders to scourge their countrymen in every nook of the land.

Perhaps the ultimate cause of the proliferation of treason accusations is that politicians have captured far too much control over Americans’ lives. The more power politicians seize, the more unhinged political rhetoric becomes.

American politics is increasingly becoming toxic because presidents nowadays are elective dictators. Rather than a process of selecting a chief executive who will uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws, elections nowadays confer a license to run amok over the lives and property of practically anyone who falls under federal sway. Government has amassed so much power that the vast majority of Americans no longer trust Washington.

The surest recipe for curtailing political vitriol is to reduce political power so elections are not demolition derbies that doom losing sides. Thomas Jefferson in 1799 offered the ideal that can rescue America from strife today: “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” And if presidents and members of Congress choose to openly scorn their oaths of office and constitutional constraints on their power — well, many Americans would consider that to be treason.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/05/2021 - 22:30
Published:6/5/2021 9:33:01 PM
[] Donald Trump breaks with 'the tradition of ex-US presidents putting themselves above politics once out of office'; Now here's Barack Obama Published:6/5/2021 8:02:39 PM
[] Media misinformation police don't seem to have a problem with questioning election integrity when Barack Obama does it Published:6/5/2021 2:32:06 PM
[Markets] US Spying On "Allies" Spoils Biden's Set-Piece Visit To Europe US Spying On "Allies" Spoils Biden's Set-Piece Visit To Europe

Via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

American President Joe Biden flies to Europe next week for a series of major summits in what was being billed as a happy revival for the transatlantic alliance. Four years of bitter and divisive chaos under Trump were supposed to be sutured by the new president declaring the importance of a strong U.S.-European partnership and “shared values”.

Unfortunately for Biden, the scandal over U.S. spying on European governments looks like casting a shadow on the “happy family reunion”. What’s more, this American president is fully implicated in the illicit snooping.

The timing also upsets Biden’s attempt to burnish America’s image as a defender of “rules-based order” and “shared Western values” when he meets Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva for their first face-to-face presidential summit.

Several European media outlets published reports last week on how Denmark’s intelligence services were spying on European neighbors on behalf of the American National Security Agency. The illegal surveillance is said to date back to 2013 when Barack Obama was in the White House and Joe Biden was his vice president. Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who formerly worked as a contractor for the NSA and who is now in exile in Russia to avoid persecution in the United States, claims that Biden was closely involved in the surveillance operations.

There was stunned silence among the European governments last week when the reports emerged. However, this week several leaders, including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, have become more vocal in denouncing the reports of American spying as “outrageous” and “unacceptable”.

When Biden attends the G7 summit in England on June 11-13 and the NATO meeting in Brussels on June 14, his first in-person encounter with allies since becoming president will be strained by awkward questions about the reported U.S. tapping of private communications.

As Danish defense analyst Peter Viggo Jakobsen drily observed: “This is an embarrassing matter for the Americans. Joe Biden must try to find a grimace useful for sweeping this under the carpet.”

The Europeans bear some of the shame too. For their embarrassment stems from them being seen in the eyes of their own citizens as pathetic vassals under American domination.

Indeed, the latest reports of illicit spying on allies are hardly new. Snowden revealed as far back as 2013 that the Obama administration was tapping Merkel’s private phone conversations. Snowden also revealed that the British intelligence agency, GCHQ, has been acting as Washington’s ears and eyes over Europe for many years.

And as our columnist Ron Ridenour commented in Strategic Culture Foundation this week, the Danish intelligence services have been colluding with the American NSA for decades to spy on Danish citizens and European governments. In an article we published back in January 2021 – five months before the latest media furore – Ridenour explained how Denmark has been “serving U.S. wars for three decades”, including by facilitating illegal surveillance across Europe.

See also his investigative report published in December 2020 in which he commented: “Denmark’s military allows the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on the nation’s Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry, private weapons company Terma, the entire Danish population, and Denmark’s closest neighbors: Sweden, Norway, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Information that the NSA acquired, with the aid of Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service (FE) under the command of the Defense Department, was used to convince the government to buy Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter F-35 capable of carrying nuclear weapons, albeit Denmark forbids the possession of nuclear weapons on its territory.”

So, the latest scandal is actually an old – if under-reported – story of malign conduct by the Americans towards their European allies, and often with European assistance against their own citizens and neighbors. In this context, European leaders will scarcely be surprised by the supposed latest revelations. There is good reason to believe that all European intelligence agencies are in bed with their American counterpart.

What the Europeans are obliged to do at the forthcoming summits with Biden is to put on a public show of indignation and protest.

Not so much to actually challenge the American leader but to try to appear as less than mere vassals in the eyes of their own citizens.

In other words, the U.S. spying and European collusion will continue into the future. There will be no stopping the intrusion any time soon. Because European governments and their political establishments are not independent of American power. That is reflected in the way the European Union abjectly acquiesces to a reckless and criminal U.S. policy of hostility towards Russia, China, Iran, and other nations.

The political benefit from the reports of U.S. mass espionage and European collusion is the empowering perspective it gives to European citizens and others around the world.

Almost with comic timing, Biden is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16 in Geneva only days after his embarrassing encounter with European vassals, er sorry, “allies”.

The White House and several U.S. lawmakers, as well as anti-Russian European lawmakers, were huffing and puffing that Biden would reproach Putin over allegations of the Kremlin’s malign conduct. Those allegations include Russian intelligence agencies and hackers interfering in Western democracies. How richly ironic! And for people willing to see the truth, how powerfully self-indicting of American and European actual malign conduct, as opposed to the baseless claims made against Moscow.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/05/2021 - 08:10
Published:6/5/2021 7:28:21 AM
[Markets] Buchanan: Were The Wars Wise? Were They Worth It? Buchanan: Were The Wars Wise? Were They Worth It?

Authored by Pat Buchanan,

Through the long Memorial Day weekend, anyone who read the newspapers or watched television could not miss or be unmoved by it: Story after story after story of the fallen, of those who had given the “last full measure of devotion” to their country.

Heart-rending is an apt description of those stories; and searing are the videos of those who survived and returned home without arms or legs.

But the stories could not help but bring questions to mind.

While the service and sacrifice were always honorable and often heroic, never to be forgotten, were the wars these soldiers were sent to fight and die in wise? Were they necessary?

What became of the causes for which these Americans were sent to fight in the new century, with thousands to die and tens of thousands to come home with permanent wounds?

And what became of the causes for which they were sent to fight?

The longest war of this new century, the longest in our history, the defining “endless war” or “forever war” was Afghanistan.

In 2001, we sent an army halfway around the world to exact retribution on al-Qaida for 9/11, an attack that rivaled Pearl Harbor in the numbers of dead and wounded Americans.

Because al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden had been given sanctuary by the Taliban in Kabul, who refused to give him up, we invaded, overthrew that Islamist regime and cleansed Tora Bora of al-Qaida.

Mission accomplished. But then the mission changed.

In control of a land that had seen off British and Soviet imperialists, we hubristically set about establishing a democracy and sent hundreds of thousands of Americans to hold off the rebel resistance for two decades while we went about nation-building.

We did not succeed. All U.S. troops are to be gone by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. And the Taliban we ousted has never been closer to recapturing power in Kabul.

Today’s issue: How do we save the Afghans who allied with us in this war, so that they do not face the terrible vengeance of a victorious Taliban.

The second American war of this century was the invasion and occupation of Iraq, to strip its dictator, Saddam Hussein, of weapons of mass destruction with which he intended to attack the United States.

Begun in 2003, the war has lasted 18 years. No WMD were ever found. Most U.S. troops have come and gone. And today, the Baghdad regime rules at the sufferance of Shiite militia who look to Tehran for guidance and support.

Afghanistan and Iraq cost us 7,000 dead and 40,000 wounded.

Were they necessary wars? Were they wise? Were they worth it?

In the second decade of this century, we intervened in Syria to back the “good rebels” seeking to overthrow Bashar Assad and became the indispensable ally in Saudi Arabia’s murderous air war to stop the Houthi rebels from consolidating power in Yemen.

In both Syria and Yemen, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been wounded, killed, uprooted or driven into exile. Both countries are listed among the humanitarian catastrophes of the 21st century.

Having helped to inflict so much damage on those countries, did we succeed in our missions?

Today, after six years of fighting, the Houthi still control the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, and Assad just won a fourth term as president with 95% of the vote.

In 2011, President Barack Obama ordered U.S. air attacks on Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in Libya, beginning a NATO intervention that would lead to his overthrow and lynching.

In 2020, however, the future of Libya was not being decided by the European Union or U.S. but fought over by proxy forces supported and supplied by Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. And Barack Obama had conceded that the worst mistake of his presidency was not to plan for the aftermath of his 2011 decision to topple the Libyan dictator.

Again, the men and women sent to the Middle East to fight these wars did their duty and deserve the gratitude of their countrymen that they received this Memorial Day weekend.

But where is the accounting from those who sent them to fight, bleed and die in what turned out to be unwinnable wars — or, at the least, wars they were not given the requisite weapons or forces to win?

What makes these questions of importance, and not only to historians, is that the cry of the hawk may be heard again in the land.

We hear calls to confront Iran before the mullahs build an atom bomb, and to challenge Putin and arm Ukraine to retake Crimea and push Russia out of the Donbass. We hear talk of the American Navy contesting Beijing’s claims in the East and South China Seas, including to Taiwan.

The stories of Memorial Day should make us think long and hard before we launch any more unnecessary, unwise, or unwinnable wars.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/04/2021 - 21:40
Published:6/4/2021 8:58:11 PM
[Markets] COVID-19 Has Forever Destroyed Americans' Trust In Ruling Class 'Experts' COVID-19 Has Forever Destroyed Americans' Trust In Ruling Class 'Experts'

Authored by Josh Hammer via The Epoch Times,

As even many casual observers of America’s fractious politics are aware, the overwhelming majority of lawmaking at the federal level no longer takes place in Congress as the Constitution’s framers intended. Instead, the vast majority of the “rulemaking” governing Americans’ day-to-day lives now takes place behind closed doors, deep in the bowels of the administrative state’s sprawling bureaucracy. The brainchild of progressive President Woodrow Wilson, arguments on behalf of the modern administrative state are ultimately rooted in, among other factors, a disdain for the messy give-and-take of republican politics and an epistemological preference for rule by enlightened clerisy.

Put more simply, the most straightforward version of the argument offered by partisans of the administrative state amounts to, “Trust the experts.” And over the century-plus since Wilson’s presidency, the “trust the experts” leitmotif has moved well beyond the realm of prevailing dogma for mandarins in such agencies as the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. Rather, for large swaths of the citizenry and the elected official class, “trust the experts” now reigns supreme for everything from the military (“Trust the generals!”) to public health (“Trust the epidemiologists!”).

And therein lies the rub.

The trials and tribulations of COVID-19 in America have dealt an irreparable blow to the credibility of America’s ruling class and the ruling class’s implicit appeal to its authority as a coterie of highly trained and capable experts. No single person exemplifies this more than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has attained celebrity status during the pandemic as the nation’s leading immunologist and forward-facing spokesman for our public policy response. As Steve Deace and Todd Erzen detail in their new book, “Faucian Bargain: The Most Powerful and Dangerous Bureaucrat in American History,” Fauci has repeatedly contradicted himself throughout the pandemic, waffling on what the “science” demands at any given moment while still always seeming to err on the side of draconian overreaction.

Recent Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests by BuzzFeed and The Washington Post only underscore the point.

Perhaps most damningly, the FOIA requests revealed a February 2020 email to former Obama-era Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell explaining that store-bought face masks are “really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection.”

He also added that the “typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material.”

Of course, barely over a month after Fauci’s unearthed email to Burwell, Americans were required to wear masks pretty much every time they left their house—and mask-skeptical posts were censored or deleted by the ruling class’s preferred private-sector enforcement arm, Big Tech. And none of this is to even broach the separate issue of the extensive COVID-19-era societal lockdowns, which were never justified on the scientific metrics despite being ubiquitously promoted by those excoriating lockdown-skeptical conservatives to just shut up and “trust the science.”

In addition to the Fauci FOIA cache, there is also the Democratic Party and the media’s inexplicable 180-degree turn on the plausibility of the Wuhan lab leak theory—that is, the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic has as its origins not a zoonotic transmission at a local “wet market” but an escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was conducting dangerous coronavirus research (partially subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer) and happens to be located within the immediate vicinity of the then-novel virus’s first confirmed cases. The lab leak theory was always plausible, if not probable, but those who promoted it as a possibility from the onset—such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and then-President Donald Trump—were routinely lambasted as Sinophobic conspiracy theorists.

There was never any compelling reason to dismiss the lab leak theory out of hand, and in retrospect, it seems that those who did so were likely motivated more by “orange man bad!”-style anti-Trump personal animus than anything else. The Biden administration has recently called for a 90-day intelligence community review into the origins of the pandemic, which is welcome news for those of us who have called COVID-19 a “Chinese Chernobyl” demanding serious geopolitical accountability since day one—but sad news for those who may have presumed a modicum of intellectual honesty from our political elites.

American politics is currently in the throes of a populist moment. That populist moment is characterized by widespread distrust of elites and a perceived ever-widening chasm between the ruling class’s prerogatives and the wishes of the American people at large. As we finally begin to emerge from COVID-19, that chasm will only grow wider. The ruling class has finally sullied itself one time too many.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/04/2021 - 21:00
Published:6/4/2021 8:08:43 PM
[Markets] Make Way For The Snitch State: The All-Seeing Fourth Branch Of Government Make Way For The Snitch State: The All-Seeing Fourth Branch Of Government

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“It is just when people are all engaged in snooping on themselves and one another that they become anesthetized to the whole process. As information itself becomes the largest business in the world, data banks know more about individual people than the people do themselves. The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.”

- Marshall McLuhan, From Cliche To Archetype

We’re being spied on by a domestic army of government snitches, spies and techno-warriors.

This government of Peeping Toms is watching everything we do, reading everything we write, listening to everything we say, and monitoring everything we spend.

Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it is all being recorded, stored, and catalogued, and will be used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing.

This far-reaching surveillance has paved the way for an omnipresent, militarized fourth branch of government—the Surveillance State—that came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum.

Indeed, long before the National Security Agency (NSA) became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace.

Even agencies not traditionally associated with the intelligence community are part of the government’s growing network of snitches and spies.

Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service, which has been photographing the exterior of every piece of paper mail for the past 20 years, is also spying on Americans’ texts, emails and social media posts. Headed up by the Postal Service’s law enforcement division, the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) is reportedly using facial recognition technology, combined with fake online identities, to ferret out potential troublemakers with “inflammatory” posts. The agency claims the online surveillance, which falls outside its conventional job scope of processing and delivering paper mail, is necessary to help postal workers avoid “potentially volatile situations.”

Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.

It’s not just what we say, where we go and what we buy that is being tracked.

We’re being surveilled right down to our genes, thanks to a potent combination of hardware, software and data collection that scans our biometrics—our faces, irises, voices, genetics, even our gait—runs them through computer programs that can break the data down into unique “identifiers,” and then offers them up to the government and its corporate allies for their respective uses.

All of those internet-connected gadgets we just have to have (Forbes refers to them as “(data) pipelines to our intimate bodily processes”)—the smart watches that can monitor our blood pressure and the smart phones that let us pay for purchases with our fingerprints and iris scans—are setting us up for a brave new world where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

For instance, imagine what the government could do (and is likely already doing) with voiceprint technology, which has been likened to a fingerprint. Described as “the next frontline in the battle against overweening public surveillance,” the collection of voiceprints is a booming industry for governments and businesses alike. As The Guardian reports, “voice biometrics could be used to pinpoint the location of individuals.”

We are now the unwitting victims of an interconnected, tightly woven, technologically evolving web of real-time, warrantless, wall-to-wall mass surveillance that makes the spy programs spawned by the USA Patriot Act look like child’s play.

Fusion centers. See Something, Say Something. Red flag laws. Behavioral threat assessments. Terror watch lists. Facial recognition. Snitch tip lines. Biometric scanners. Pre-crime. DNA databases. Data mining. Precognitive technology. Contact tracing apps.

These are all part and parcel of the widening surveillance dragnet that the government has used and abused in order to extend its reach and its power.

The COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in acclimating us even further to being monitored, tracked and reported for so-called deviant or undesirable behavior.  

Consequently, we now live in a society in which a person can be accused of any number of crimes without knowing what exactly he has done. He might be apprehended in the middle of the night by a roving band of SWAT police. He might find himself on a no-fly list, unable to travel for reasons undisclosed. He might have his phones or internet tapped based upon a secret order handed down by a secret court, with no recourse to discover why he was targeted.

This Kafkaesque nightmare has become America’s reality.

Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the government continues to operate its domestic spying programs largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like.

The question of how to deal with government agencies and programs that operate outside of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution forces us to contend with a deeply unsatisfactory and dubious political “solution” to a problem that operates beyond the reach of voters and politicians: how do you hold accountable a government that lies, cheats, steals, sidesteps the law, and then absolves itself of wrongdoing?

Certainly, the history and growth of the NSA tracks with the government’s insatiable hunger for ever-great powers.

Since its official start in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency—nicknamed “No Such Agency”—has operated covertly, unaccountable to Congress all the while using taxpayer dollars to fund its secret operations. It was only when the agency ballooned to 90,000 employees in 1969, making it the largest intelligence agency in the world with a significant footprint outside Washington, DC, that it became more difficult to deny its existence.

In the aftermath of Watergate in 1975, the Senate held meetings under the Church Committee in order to determine exactly what sorts of illicit activities the American intelligence apparatus was engaged in under the direction of President Nixon, and how future violations of the law could be stopped. It was the first time the NSA was exposed to public scrutiny since its creation.

The investigation revealed a sophisticated operation whose surveillance programs paid little heed to such things as the Constitution. For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”

Senator Frank Church (D-Ida.), who served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that investigated the NSA, understood only too well the dangers inherent in allowing the government to overstep its authority in the name of national security. Church recognized that such surveillance powers “at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”

Noting that the NSA could enable a dictator “to impose total tyranny” upon an utterly defenseless American public, Church declared that he did not “want to see this country ever go across the bridge” of constitutional protection, congressional oversight and popular demand for privacy. He avowed that “we,” implicating both Congress and its constituency in this duty, “must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The result was the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated. The law requires that the NSA get clearance from the FISA Court, a secret surveillance court, before it can carry out surveillance on American citizens. Fast forward to the present day, and the so-called solution to the problem of government entities engaging in unjustified and illegal surveillance—the FISA Court—has unwittingly become the enabler of such activities, rubberstamping almost every warrant request submitted to it.

The 9/11 attacks served as a watershed moment in our nation’s history, ushering in an era in which immoral and/or illegal government activities such as surveillance, torture, strip searches, SWAT team raids are sanctioned as part of the quest to keep us “safe.”

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails. That wireless wiretap program was reportedly ended in 2007 after the New York Times reported on it, to mass indignation.

Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.

It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.

Even so, nothing really changed.

Since then, presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone, but none of them have done much to put an end to the government’s “technotyranny.”

At every turn, we have been handicapped in our quest for transparency, accountability and a representative democracy by an establishment culture of secrecy: secret agencies, secret experiments, secret military bases, secret surveillance, secret budgets, and secret court rulings, all of which exist beyond our reach, operate outside our knowledge, and do not answer to “we the people.”

Yet the surveillance sector is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually runs Washington, DC, and works to keep us under close watch and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for the CIA, and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.

Most recently, the Biden Administration indicated it may be open to working with non-governmental firms in order to warrantlessly monitor citizens online.

This would be nothing new, however. Vast quantities of the government’s digital surveillance is already being outsourced to private companies, who are far less restrained in how they harvest and share our personal data.

In this way, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its militarized domestic surveillance efforts.

Cue the dawning of what The Nation refers to as “the rise of a new class in America: the cyberintelligence ruling class. These are the people—often referred to as ‘intelligence professionals’—who do the actual analytical and targeting work of the NSA and other agencies in America’s secret government. Over the last [20] years, thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity firms. In their new jobs, they replicate what they did in government—often for the same agencies they left. But this time, their mission is strictly for-profit.”

The snitch culture has further empowered the Surveillance State.

As Ezra Marcus writes for the New York Times, “Throughout the past year, American society responded to political upheaval and biological peril by turning to an age-old tactic for keeping rule breakers in check: tattling.”

This new era of snitch surveillance is the lovechild of the government’s post-9/11 “See Something, Say Something” programs combined with the self-righteousness of a politically correct, technologically-wired age.

Marcus continues:

“Technology, and our abiding love of it, is crucial to our current moment of social surveillance. Snitching isn’t just a byproduct of nosiness or fear; it’s a technological feature built into the digital architecture of the pandemic era — specifically when it comes to software designed for remote work and Covid-tracing… Contact tracing apps … have started to be adapted for other uses, including criminal probes by the Singaporean government. If that seems distinctly worrying, it might be useful to remember that the world’s most powerful technology companies, whose products you are likely using to read this story, already use a business model of mass surveillance, collecting and selling user information to advertisers at an unfathomable scale. Our cellphones track us everywhere, and our locations are bought and sold by data brokers at incredible, intimate detail. Facial recognition software used by law enforcement trawls Instagram selfies. Facebook harvests the biometric data of its users. The whole ecosystem, more or less, runs on snitching.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, what we are dealing with today is not just a beast that has outgrown its chains but a beast that will not be restrained.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/03/2021 - 23:40
Published:6/3/2021 10:48:17 PM
[Markets] Escobar: Mapping The Post-Unilateral World Order Escobar: Mapping The Post-Unilateral World Order

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers carve the post-unilateral order...

It’s the Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi show – all over again. These are the two players running an up and coming geopolitical entente, on behalf of their bosses Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

Last week, Yang Jiechi – the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee – visited Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow. That was part of the 16thround of China-Russia strategic security consultations.

What’s intriguing is that Yang-Patrushev happened between the Blinken-Lavrov meeting on the sidelines of the Arctic Council summit in Reykjavik, and the upcoming and highest-ranking Putin-Biden in Geneva on June 16 (possibly at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1985).

The Western spin before Putin-Biden is that it might herald some sort of reset back to “predictability” and “stability” in currently extra-turbulent US-Russia relations.

That’s wishful thinking. Putin, Patrushev and Lavrov harbor no illusions. Especially when in the G7 in London, in early May, the Western focus was on Russia’s “malign activities” as well as China’s “coercive economic policies.”

Russian and Chinese analysts, in informal conversations, tend to agree that Geneva will be yet another instance of good old Kissingerian divide and rule, complete with a few seducing tactics to lure Moscow away from Beijing, an attempt to bide some time and probing openings for laying out geopolitical traps. Old foxes such as Yang and Patrushev are more than aware of the game in play.

What’s particularly relevant is that Yang-Patrushev laid the groundwork for an upcoming Putin visit to Xi in Beijing not long after Putin-Biden in Geneva – to further coordinate geopolitically, once again, the “comprehensive strategic partnership”, in their mutually recognized terminology.

The visit might take place on July 1, the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party – or on July 16, the 20thanniversary of the China-Russia Treaty of Friendship.

So Putin-Biden is the starter; Putin-Xi is the main course.

That Putin-Luka tea for two

Beyond the Russian president’s “outburst of emotions” comment defending his Belarusian counterpart’s action, the Putin-Lukashenko tea for two in Sochi yielded an extra piece of the puzzle concerning the RyanAir emergency landing in Minsk– starring a blogger from Belarus who is alleged to have lent his services to the ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi-ridden Azov battalion, which fought against the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Ukrainian Donbass in 2014.

Lukashenko told Putin he had “brought along some documents so you can understand what is going on.” Nothing has been leaked regarding the contents of these documents, but it’s possible they may be incandescent – related to the fact that sanctions were imposed by the EU against Belavia Airlines even though the carrier had nothing to do with the RyanAir saga – and potentially capable of being brought up in the context of Putin-Biden in Geneva.

The Big Picture is always Eurasia versus the Atlanticist West. As much as Washington will keep pushing Europe – and Japan – to decouple from both China and Russia, Cold War 2.0 on two simultaneous fronts has very few takers.

Rational players see that the 21st century combined scientific, economic and military power of a Russia-China strategic partnership would be a whole new ball game in terms of global reach compared with the former USSR/Iron Curtain era.

And when it comes to appealing to the Global South, and the new iterations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), emphasis on an international order upholding the UN Charter and the rule of international law is definitely sexier than a much-vaunted “rules-based international order” where only the hegemon sets the rules.

In parallel to Moscow’s lack of illusions about the new Washington dispensation, the same applies to Beijing – especially after the latest outburst by Kurt Campbell, the former Obama-Biden 1.0 assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific who is now back as the head of Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council under Obama-Biden 3.0.

Campbell is the actual father of the ‘pivot to Asia’ concept when he was at the State Department in the early 2010s – although as I pointed out during the 2016 US presidential campaign, it was Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State who claimed Mothership of the pivot to Asia in an October 2011 essay.

At a gig promoted by Stanford University last week, Campbell said, “The period that was broadly described as engagement [with China] has come to an end.” After all, the “pivot to Asia” never really died, as there has been a clear Trump-Biden continuum.

Campbell obfuscated by talking about a “new set of strategic parameters” and the need to confront China by working with “allies, partners and friends”. Nonsense: this is all about the militarization of the Indo-Pacific.

That’s what Biden himself reiterated during his first address to a joint session of the US Congress, when he boasted about telling Xi that the US will “maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific” just as it does with NATO in Europe.

The Iranian factor

On a different but parallel track with Yang-Patrushev, Iran may be on the cusp of a momentous directional change. We may see it as part of a progressive strengthening of the Arc of Resistance – which links Iran, the People’s Mobilization Units in Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and now a more unified Palestine.

The proxy war on Syria was a tragic, massive fail on every aspect. It did not deliver secular Syria to a bunch of takfiris (aka “moderate rebels”). It did not prevent the expansion of Iran’s sphere of influence.  It did not derail the Southwest Asia branch of the New Silk Roads. It did not destroy Hezbollah.

“Assad must go”? Dream on; he was reelected with 95% of Syrian votes, with a 78% turnout.

As for the upcoming Iranian presidential election on June 18 – only two days after Putin-Biden – it takes place when arguably the nuclear deal revival drama being enacted in Vienna will have reached an endgame. Tehran has repeatedly stressed that the deadline for a deal expires today, May 31.

The impasse is clear. In Vienna, through its EU interlocutors, Washington has agreed to lift sanctions on Iranian oil, petrochemicals and the central bank, but refuses to remove them on individuals such as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

At the same time, in Tehran, something very intriguing happened with Ali Larijani, former Parliament speaker, an ambitious member of a quite prominent family but discarded by the Guardian Council when it chose candidates to run for President. Larijani immediately accepted the ruling. As I was told by Tehran insiders, that happened with no friction because he received a detailed explanation of something much bigger: the new game in town.

As it stands, the one positioned as the nearly inevitable winner on June 18 seems to be Ebrahim Raeisi, up to now the chief justice – and close to the Revolutionary Guards. There’s a very strong possibility that he will ask the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to leave Iran – and that means the end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as we knew it, with unforeseen consequences. (From the Revolutionary Guards’ point of view, the JCPOA is already dead).

An extra factor is that Iran is currently suffering from severe drought – when summer has not even arrived. The power grid will be under tremendous pressure. The dams are empty – so it’s impossible to rely on hydroelectric power. There’s serious popular discontent regarding the fact that Team Rouhani for eight years prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear power. One of Raeisi’s first acts may be to command the immediate construction of a nuclear power plant.

We don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowin’ when it comes to the top three “existential threats” to the declining hegemon – Russia, China and Iran. What’s clear is that none of the good old methods deployed to maintain the subjugation of the vassals is working – at least when confronted by real sovereign powers.

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in a fog of sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers like Yang Jiechi and Nikolai Patrushev relentlessly carve the post-unilateral order.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/03/2021 - 22:20
Published:6/3/2021 9:24:12 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: Never Let A Plague Go To Waste Victor Davis Hanson: Never Let A Plague Go To Waste

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via PJMedia.com,

During America’s first-ever national lockdown, thousands of unelected bureaucrats, as well as federal and state governments, assumed enormous powers not usually accorded to them.

They picked and chose which businesses could stay open without much rationale. They sent the infected into nursing homes occupied by the weak and vulnerable.

Their rules for prosecuting those who violated social distancing, sheltering in place, mask wearing or violent protesting often hinged on political grounds. Their spending measures on “infrastructure” and “health care” were excuses to lard up redistributive entitlements.

Conservatives moaned that left-wing agendas were at work beneath the pretenses of saving us from the pandemic. And the giddy left bragged that it was true.

After the 2008 financial meltdown, Barack Obama spoke of “fundamentally transforming” the country.

Now he’s back, weighing in on the panic-driven, multitrillion-dollar spending that has pushed America’s debt to nearly $30 trillion.

“There’s a teachable moment about maybe this whole deficit hawk thing of the federal government,” Obama said in a recent interview with Ezra Klein of The New York Times.

“Just being nervous about our debt 30 years from now, while millions of people are suffering — maybe that’s not a smart way to think about our economics.”

He apparently means that borrowing tons of money in a pandemic and not worrying too much about paying it back is a new, better approach to economics.

Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom boasted about leveraging California’s statewide quarantine.

“There is opportunity for reimagining a progressive era as it pertains to capitalism,” Newsom said. “So yes, absolutely, we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.”

Hillary Clinton said something similar early in the pandemic:

“… This would be a terrible crisis to waste as the old saying goes. We’ve learned a lot about what our absolute frailties are in our country when it comes to health justice and economic justice …”

The “old saying” she cited was actually a recycled quote from Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama’s chief of staff. His exact quote was: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Later, Emanuel clarified that crises allow radical changes that had never been considered or were considered impossible. Without catastrophe, no one in his right mind would vote for far-left agendas.

Manipulating COVID-19 is not just a left-wing effort. The Davos crowd responsible for the World Economic Forum has talked of using the global crisis to push “the Great Reset.” These self-appointed guardians wish to create global rules governing the world’s economy, energy, transportation, education, climate, wealth distribution and media. In other words, a few elites will seek to override local laws.

What do all these efforts have in common?

One, they are all top-down agendas. Polls show that average Americans are worried about massive borrowing. They fear the government gaining new powers under the pretext of a pandemic.

Two, our elites are anti-democratic. They talk of forcing change down the throats of citizens through edicts, executive orders, court decisions or bureaucratic directives. Obama, Newsom, Clinton and the Great Resetters don’t want to put up their agendas for discussion before the people and their elected representatives.

Three, behind fancy slogans about not wasting crises, teachable moments and resets is the panic-porn reality that these initiatives are not popular in normal times because they defy common sense. If Americans tried Obama’s economics with their family budgets, they would go broke or go to jail after piling up unpaid debts. Only elites, with their private security guards and the money and influence to remain safe, talk of defunding the police. Few of the woke elites who fly their carbon-spewing jets into Davos ever fly economy class.

Four, our rich revolutionaries have no record of policy success. Massive borrowing, increasing government powers, restrictions on personal freedoms, higher taxes and more regulations don’t appeal to most Americans. Brexit and pushbacks against the European Union suggest that the same is true abroad.

Many members of the left-wing elite became wealthy by monetizing their political careers through lucrative insider networking. A cynic might conclude they didn’t go full reset until they first got filthy rich — allowing them not to live like, think like or listen to the rest of us.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/03/2021 - 19:00
Published:6/3/2021 6:23:05 PM
[Markets] Luongo: The Fauci Files, The WuFlu, & The War To Come Luongo: The Fauci Files, The WuFlu, & The War To Come

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

Isn’t is amazing how quickly things seem to change when it’s in the interest of those that think they run the world? For years we’ve been trying to get access to Hillary Clinton’s missing e-mails as Secretary of State but to no avail. However, at the most opportune time in the collapsing COVID story, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails are uncovered and broadcast to the world.

The same mechanism, FOIA, that Hillary has stonewalled us on for six years uncovers Fauci’s emails in six weeks?

Doesn’t that strike you as just the slightest bit odd?

Fauci was the hero bureaucrat facing down the evil and ignorant President Trump over COVID-19. He became a national celebrity playing down treatments like Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, flip-flopped on wearing masks and running cover for a corrupt WHO/CDC while whitewashing his own involvement in COVID’s origin.

For all intents and purposes this lying, evil, Janus-faced troll set policy for the entire country.

And from the moment anyone broke a story about the origins of COVID-19, the damage control began behind the scenes and the public shaming and deplatforming began.

And democrats of all stripes cheered him on, simply because he came with the right credentials and an antipathy to Trump.

As the face of the the scientific establishment, he terrorized millions into submission of Americans using fear over a virus not much more deadly than the annual flu. His constant changing the goalposts on ending lockdowns and spread prevention guidelines while needing to remain in front of the narrative kept people crazy with imaginary death statistics, fraudulent models and overwrought case counts while elevating the prevention principle beloved by state-worshipping Boomers and their younger ‘adjacents’ to its most ludicrous extreme.

Because of him we became a nation even more divided than before the Coronapocalypse, which is clear he was an integral part of the operation. Thanks to Fauci the mask became a symbol of virtue for shitlibs and your unadorned face their symbol of evil.

I predicted this would happen in the early months of COVID. I demanded that #FireFauci be the ‘Rallying Cry for a Generation.”

For more than a year we had to suffer this man who:

… never seems to approve or green light treatments that do that {advocate for stronger immune systems}. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking cancer, AIDS, or COVID-19, the man is a walking death sentence. He’s the very essence of regulatory capture and prima facia evidence that power and corruption go together like peanut butter and jelly.

If you squint hard enough he really does look like Gollum.

If there is one thing that this pandemic has exposed, along with the concomitant economic dislocation it is that ‘experts’ better run for cover.

For more than a year we’ve had to suffer insufferable shitlibs (but I repeat myself) telling us to ‘respect the science.’ Well, their high priest of scientism just got caught saying one thing in private and telling them the exact opposite in public, validating everything those dirty spreader Republicans, anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers told them.

Moveover, from the beginning this thing was an operation designed to do exactly what it has done — leave people in love with their mask which makes them sick, genuflecting to Big Brother and doubling down on their paranoia simply because they are too ashamed to admit to themselves (no less those evil MAGA folks) that they were duped by yet another bad script from the House that Klaus Built.

Because Fauci, like all the other so-called experts paraded in front of us for the past year are nothing more than political operatives told to just keep the narrative alive for as long as possible.

He’s now being sacrificed alongside Bill Gates and the other hired help like Andrew Cuomo and Gretchen Whitmer while also securing a multi-million dollar book deal as his gold watch for a job well done.

The question I have now for all those terrorized and radicalized into frothing brain-eating zombies will some of them finally wake up from the real virus they succumbed to, the mind virus of government propaganda, and have the kind of memetic collapse which brings them back from the brink of literal insanity?

Or will they simply pivot to the latest deflection of blame from Fauci’s Davos masters and fall for the simple version of the story, that it was China alone that set COVID-19 on us as a bioterror weapon. Because without this controlling idea and the constant threat of the fake bogeyman of the Omnipotent Russian Secret Agent, who is now being blamed for the JBS cyberattack, how else will they continue doomscrolling through their Twitter feed simping for Rachel Maddow’s quivering Adam’s apple and still be able to scream into their cameras on TikTok?

This is the real problem I see in front of us. That narrative is here now, building on years of propaganda to gin up a war with China. Now, don’t take what I’m about to say as any kind of apologia for China’s involvement in the COVID-19 scam. There is plenty of blame to lay at their feat.

But don’t you think it’s a little convenient to all of a sudden flip the script about COVID on its head overnight in order to spoon feed the Left the new bogeyman, China? Trump did a fine job of this while in office, blaming China for everything and whipping his base into an anti-China frenzy.

However, when Trump was in power and he called it the China Virus, Maddow’s Army was all aTwitter with opprobrium for him and his racism and blamed him for deaths literally caused by Fauci, Gates, Whitmer and Cuomo.

“China was a victim too.” “Trump listen to the SCIENCE!” Blah blah blah.

But the science was wrong and we now know it was all just politics.

Now within the last couple of weeks we have a coherent narrative form around both Bill Gates and Dr. Death that it was, most likely, a man-made virus funded by U.S. taxpayers and visited upon us by the evil CCP while we all huddled in our homes hoping the Angel of Death would pass over us.

This new narrative along with putting all the blame on Fauci and Gates creates the perfect deflection away from Davos who were the ones capitalizing on this, if not behind the whole thing. If you think I’m running out of tin foil spinning out this tale stop and think for just one second and ask the only question that ever matters in matters like these… Cui bono?

Who benefits?

Because if there is one thing that could unite Americans at this point it would be turning on China for having ‘done this to us!’

MAGAtards and Shitlibs, marching down the streets of Atlanta singing the Battle Hymn of the Dying Republic, holding hands (well, okay, bumping elbows) and ratcheting up the belligerence until something dumb happens, like re-electing Trump in 2024.

Who benefits from China and the U.S. at each other’s throats? Who benefits from a collapse of the global economy as trade embargoes proliferate? Who benefits from conflicts in the South China Sea? Taiwan? Hong Kong? Los Angeles? Ukraine? Belarus? Israel? Who benefits from the cyberattacks on our infrastructure, the closing of our pipelines? The Freezing of Texas? Who? Really? China?

No. China loves selling us their stuff. Who actually created the policies which hollowed out our manufacturing, domestic production, turned us into fake-money addicted YouPorners and gender fluid deracinated children? It wasn’t China.

I’ll tell you who benefits. The European Union and Davos.

Why else do you think The Davos Crowd worked so hard to get Biden installed as president? Control of the U.S. military is the main reason. This is why Biden is pulling back from the Middle East. It’s why he’s leaving Israel out to hang while renegotiating the JCPOA. If you want to set yourself up as the next great power how else are you going to do that without fomenting a war between those bigger than you?

Who do you really think controls our courts? Who bought all all of those insane Attorneys General and Secretaries of State? Who actually is actually fighting the election fraud cases? China? Really? If you believe that then I suggest therapy.

And the saddest part is that most people won’t see this coming and we’ll stumble blindly into it as we take our political revenge for Davos’ and China’s dirty deeds in the 2020 election and beyond.

At this point there’s no scenario I see that doesn’t have the Republicans return to power in 2022, controlling both the Senate and the House, especially if Democratic opposition to these election audits crumbles.

That’ll happen later this year after the German elections, and just in time for the beginning of the mid-term primary season to begin.

The 2022 mid-terms are shaping up now to be a referendum on the events since the world broke in March 2020. By then the vandals in the White House will have done enough damage that the stage will be set for the final act of this pathetic psychodrama.

The next shift is for the U.S. to redeploy assets away from Central Asia, cede that area to the inevitability of the Russia/China/Iran alliance and the final nail in the coffin of Halford Mackinder inspired Heartland geopolitics. Those assets will be needed for what comes next.

Europe can’t stop the flow of oil globally but it can certainly cripple the U.S. with multiple assaults by foreign powers to weaken it from within. Pipelines shut down, ‘cyberattacks’ on our food and energy production, election integrity destroyed, courts fully politicized, tech corporations turned into behavioral thought police and people fleeing the insanity of cities intentionally allowed to turn into dystopian nightmares that play like a pastiche of a Philip K. Dick novel and a John Carpenter movie.

Let’s call it “Escape of the Electric Sheep from New York”

The Steve Bannonites still want to call him China Joe, but Joe isn’t owned by China, he’s owned by Davos. That conclusion fits the data better.

Because China would never throw Fauci under the bus like this, it doesn’t serve their purpose. China’s MO has always been to suppress criticism of it. They are very predictable that way. Gates didn’t work for China, he worked for Davos. Davos is cleaning out “The Help” and there’s no one for China to negotiate with the U.S. to stop this nonsense.

This is why there’s been such overt diplomatic incompetence since Biden took office. Do you think these provocations of China over Taiwan or the Uyghurs, as amateurish as the are hypocritical, were just gaffes? Really?

Is that air you think you’re breathing?

No, the point here is to cut off any possibility of rapprochement, to permanently sour relations between China (and Russia) and the West. Joe’s going to go to Geneva in two weeks to try and neutralize Putin and buy him off with gas into Europe while turning his focus away from Russia to China. Hopefully it won’t work. Hopefully Putin is too savvy to see what’s happening.

Just wait until Biden and Obama no longer serve their purpose. They’ll be served up like chum to the justified anger of the conservatives who will seek someone to blame. All the while both sides of the political aisle will be united for the first time in trying to ‘get our country back.’

So while I’ve described the benefits to Europe and Davos for this. I haven’t given you the reason why Davos is throwing China under the same bus it’s throwing Gates and Fauci. Simple. It goes back to this year’s virtual Davos summit where Xi gave lip service to the Green New Deal and the Great Reset and Putin told Schwab, politely but firmly to go fuck himself.

So now China has to be neutralized in the longer term by hopefully getting into a war with the U.S. neither wins but cripples both. How else are you going to attract global capital to the economic wasteland that is modern Europe?

I’m not saying this truly insane and megalomaniacal plan will work, I’m just calling it out the way I see it.

I’m happy to hear some other version of these events, but this story makes sense because it truly encapsulates the mindset of those who are they are willing to burn the world to the ground rather than lose their status. That’s the real war we’re fighting, not some Great Powers game of the last century which is the last war, the ones politicians and generals are fantastic at preparing us to fight.

And we all know how well that goes.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 06/03/2021 - 17:40
Published:6/3/2021 4:47:44 PM
[Markets] How Biden's Favored Unions Could Get Jammed in His Infrastructure Traffic How Biden's Favored Unions Could Get Jammed in His Infrastructure Traffic

By Vince Bielski, RealClearInvestigations

President Biden repeatedly insists that his infrastructure plan will create millions of jobs and labor unions will be the big winners. But interviews with economists, union leaders, government officials and trade groups as well as basic math suggest otherwise.

The once dominant trade and construction unions no longer have enough members outside of their strongholds on both coasts and in the Midwest to claim most of the projected infrastructure jobs. By some estimates, two-thirds of these jobs will go to nonunion workers who dominate the construction markets in most states.

Biden, in short, appears to be harking back nostalgically to an era of union strength in the private sector that is decades gone. “It’s going to be really hard for unions,” says David Macpherson, an economist at Trinity University who specializes in organized labor. “I expect they would get far less than half of the infrastructure jobs.”

In addition, the overall number of jobs that the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan will generate is a matter of debate. The proposal is so sprawling -- covering roads, bridges, water and transit systems, broadband, the power grid, clean energy, housing and more – and the labor market is so unpredictable because of the pandemic that economists are making wildly divergent forecasts. One group says it will create a few million jobs; another says it won’t create any jobs.

“The challenge for economists is particularly difficult in this situation,” says Bill Dupor, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “There is a wide range of estimates of the jobs effect of infrastructure spending.”

Unions don't have enough members outside blue strongholds to claim many infrastructure jobs. 

In response to these challenges, the Biden administration is trying to put its thumb on the scale to give unions an advantage in securing the jobs that are created – and in some projects force nonunion workers to pay union dues to get a piece of the action.  North America’s Building Trades Unions and other labor groups involved in cement, iron, electrical and other construction work are in line to benefit from the strategy.

Biden’s Union Jobs Strategy

The administration is pushing “prevailing wage” requirements on federally backed projects that make it easier for unions to win bids. Democrats say these laws, which often set wages at higher union rates, prevent a “race to the bottom” by nonunion contractors who pay about 13% less. Nonunion companies that don’t like the higher labor costs and compliance headache shun these projects -- to the benefit of unions.

Biden’s second lever of federal power – government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) – packs more union clout. The PLAs hand unions control over big and complex developments to provide an ample and skilled workforce and prevent delays. PLAs, which were used on the Hoover Dam and Cape Canaveral, also keep nonunion contractors such as Mohawk Northeast away by imposing union work rules and extra costs.

“PLAs hurt nonunion contractors and are not fair because the competitive advantage we have is lost,” says David Schill, a vice president at Mohawk, which operates in New England.

Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade group of mostly nonunion members, and Republican lawmakers aim to undercut Biden’s union strategy. They deride it as a Democrat payback to unions that punishes nonunion blue-collar workers and taxpayers.

“President Biden will receive pushback from the vast majority of the construction workforce and industry as well as some state and local governments,” says Ben Brubeck, vice president of regulatory affairs at ABC in Washington. “Taxpayers lose when small businesses can't access these jobs.”

The PRO Act Withers

The pressure on the administration to deliver union jobs is rising as one of its major pro-union efforts, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, languishes in the Senate without enough votes. Sens. Mark Kelly and   Sinema of Arizona and Mark Warner of Virginia have been the Democratic holdouts. A top priority of organized labor, the PRO Act would change the rules to make it far easier for unions to win collective bargaining rights. More controversially, it would void the right-to-work laws passed by 27 states that give workers a choice of whether to join a union.

The legislation, which union leaders see as key to reversing the steady decline in membership, would mostly effect workers in manufacturing plants and warehouses like those run by Amazon. But when given the chance, employees at some companies have voted down unions. Workers at an Amazon facility in Alabama, for example, defeated a union drive in April.

With the PRO Act all but dead, trade unions are not in the mood for an infrastructure compromise with Republicans that significantly slashes the plan. While the president has trimmed his proposal from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion in a nod to bipartisanship, it’s still several times bigger than the offer from Republicans. They also reject Biden’s call to raise corporate taxes to pay for it.

“A big infrastructure package will mean an enormous growth in employment and it’s going to build roads, bridges and tunnels that the country desperately needs,” says David Mallino, legislative director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America in Washington. “The current Republican offer falls short.”

Clashing Job Forecasts

In the face of the obstacles, the administration has offered questionable and misleading estimates of the jobs the plan would produce. Although predictions from economists are all over the map, the administration’s go-to estimate is from Moody’s Analytics, a Wall Street research firm. Its chief economist, Mark Zandi, said in April that the infrastructure plan would generate about 2.6 million jobs over a decade after calculating the impact of federal spending on economic growth. Zandi wrote that spending on infrastructure when unemployment is high produces more bang for the federal buck, making the next few years “an especially propitious time” to increase investment.

Economists are making wildly divergent job forecasts because Biden's proposal is so sprawling and the labor market so unpredictable due to the pandemic.

Administration officials then pumped up Zandi’s estimate for public consumption. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told ABC News in early April that the infrastructure plan “will lead to 19 million jobs” – a number that added the Moody’s estimate to the 16 million jobs that the firm said will be created regardless of the plan. Confronted with this fuzzy math, Buttigieg later walked back his overstatement. But a month later Biden stated in a speech in Louisiana that “we’ll create up to 16 million good-paying jobs,” overstating Moody’s forecast six-fold.

In fact, the overall effect of the infrastructure plan on jobs may be nil. That’s the conclusion of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. By the time most of the infrastructure spending rolls out in the mid-to-late-2020s, the researchers predict, the economy will have already returned to full employment, eliminating the benefit to jobless workers at the center of Moody’s analysis. Improvements to roads and broadband Internet will make the American workforce more productive, but that will be largely offset by the reduction in business investment from higher corporate taxes to pay for Biden’s plan.

“We project that the net effects on employment will be very small,” says Alex Arnon, associate director of policy analysis for the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

America’s last major infrastructure push, which was part of the Obama administration’s Recovery Act, didn’t go according to plan. Overall the legislation did provide a needed boost to the collapsing economy. But Dupor of the St. Louis Fed says the $28 billion given to states to fix highways didn’t significantly improve them and created only a limited number of construction jobs.

How could that be? As President Obama put it in 2010, "There's no such thing as shovel-ready projects," which made it hard for states to quickly spend the money within the allowed two years. In addition, as federal dollars poured into states, Dupor says, they slashed their own highway funding, freeing it for other uses during the recession. Biden’s buildout, which is set to occur over a decade, is designed to avoid these pitfalls.

Prevailing Wage Violators 

How many infrastructure jobs go to unions will partly depend on a legal relic of the Great Depression called the Davis-Bacon Act. Congress expanded this prevailing wage law over the years to cover federally backed roads, bridges, airports, dams, schools, housing and community development projects as well as federal buildings like Veteran Affairs hospitals and courthouses. The giant construction union LIUNA, with the support of the Biden administration, is lobbying Congress to expand Davis-Bacon again as part of the infrastructure plan.

They want prevailing wage to apply to Biden’s ramp-up of wind and solar farm construction, which will be heavily backed by federal tax credits. If developers get a tax break, LIUNA officials say, workers should benefit too with better wages.

But prevailing wage has never been tied to tax credits before, making the proposal a tough sell amid moves by Republicans to repeal Davis-Bacon. An unlikely repeal would save taxpayers $12 billion in construction costs over the decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The bigger problem for unions is the widespread noncompliance with Davis-Bacon. The Labor Department found 7,000 to 16,000 violations a year by companies over the last decade, according to department data. “To say the violations are common is an understatement,” says Irv Miljoner, who enforced prevailing wage laws for decades at the department before recently retiring.

Many complaints target nonunion contractors who win bids for prevailing wage projects but then pay workers less – undercutting the advantage that the law bestows on unions. In a rare crackdown, S.A. Taylor, a nonunion construction company in Virginia, agreed to a big $560,000 settlement in March after federal prosecutors said the company paid workers significantly less than the prevailing wage on two VA projects and falsified records to try to hide it.

The Biden administration is making Davis-Bacon enforcement a priority in preparation for the infrastructure buildout. The enforcement division is hiring investigators after its ranks were depleted during the Trump administration. It now has more than 700 investigators spread across the country, a few hundred shy of Obama’s crew.

“Our goal is to continue to try to put more boots on the ground to make sure we are pursuing the laws,” says Jessica Looman, the division’s principal deputy administrator and former building trades official.

The Mario Cuomo Bridge ran short of welders, offering a cautionary tale on mandating union workers.

The administration is also promoting controversial project labor agreements, which convert big developments like the Woodrow Wilson Bridge that spans the Potomac River into union work sites. PLAs are negotiated with unions before ground is broken. They set the rules of the road on wages, benefits, training programs and more to keep the many contractors on a big project in line and on time.

But nonunion contractors like Mohawk Northeast avoid such agreements because they can jack up labor costs. Under these agreements in Connecticut, for instance, Mohawk must hire 70% of its workers from union halls, carry extra insurance to cover them and pay union fees for its nonunion workers who will never enjoy the benefits, says Schill of Mohawk. “Already this year there have been four major projects with PLAs that we haven’t bid,” he says.

The administration’s ability to mandate PLAs on federal projects is limited by laws protecting free competition. In a 2009 executive order, Obama went as far as encouraging federal agencies to consider mandating PLAs on projects on a case-by-case basis after surveying the views of contractors.

Obama’s order spurred a counter-offensive by PLA opponents. Nonunion companies with Associated Builders and Contractors attacked the proposed agreements in hundreds of surveys, arguing they were anti-competitive. As a result, agencies required them on only about dozen federal projects out of almost 1,900 over the last decade.

The order also lifted a ban by the prior Bush administration on the power of states to require PLAs on their own federally backed projects. In response, more than 20 states in the South, Midwest and West passed laws restricting government-mandated PLAs, shielding hundreds of billions of dollars in construction spending from the union-friendly agreements. A handful of states like New York moved in the opposite direction to encourage their use.

Construction on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge just north of New York City shows how the agreements can backfire. When there was a shortage of experienced local union welders, ABC’s Brubeck says, nonunion welders in the area declined to work on the bridge because of the PLA. Contractors ended up importing robotic welders from the South to do some of the work and made their handlers join a union.

Union leaders, frustrated with the slow PLA rollout under Obama, are now pressing the Biden administration for better results. In May, the Treasury Department encouraged state and local officials to use PLAs on projects funded with $350 billion in pandemic recovery money. The administration is also urging Congress to attach them to upcoming infrastructure construction.

Whether the president who calls himself a union man can deliver a huge infrastructure package with a bonanza of union jobs is the test he’s yet to pass.

“I’ve worked in the labor movement for 20 years and I’m always ready for disappointment,” says LIUNA’s Mallino. “But I have never felt more optimistic in my life about achieving real gains for members with this administration.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/03/2021 - 15:36
Published:6/3/2021 2:47:14 PM
[Opinion] Don’t be Fooled. Obama is Still Calling the Shots.

By Ray Cardello -

Barack Obama may not be in the Oval Office, but he may as well be. Joe Biden is mentally challenged. It is not his fault, but it is obvious. It is part of the aging process, and for some, mental deficiency may come on sooner than in others. The responsibility …

Don’t be Fooled. Obama is Still Calling the Shots. is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/3/2021 7:46:33 AM
[Markets] Ukraine Between Biden And A Hard Place Ukraine Between Biden And A Hard Place

Submitted by South Front,

Joe Biden’s extensive interest in Ukraine during his tenure as Obama’s vice president meant that US attention towards the country would instantly be elevated once the new administration came into power. The Burisma scandal which implicated Hunter Biden and which became a problem for Joe Biden on the campaign trail, combined with Biden’s own apparent frailty and avoidance of extensive public engagements, have meant that Biden himself is in fact yet to have a telephone conversation with Zelensky. However, whether he deliberately chose to outsource Ukraine policy to his trusted advisors or they are taking initiative in order to fill the vacuum of power left by their boss’ incapacity, US Ukraine policy has taken a number of new twists and turns in the less than two months of the Biden Administration.

The Biden Administration’s actions so far indicate a certain degree of impatience with the goings-on in Kiev which is behaving in an all too independent fashion on many issues. Kiev’s decision to nationalize Motor Sich, an aircraft engine manufacturer whose purchase was sought by Chinese investors thus robbing Ukraine of a significant influx of badly needed hard currency, took place after Washington had expressed displeasure at Chinese companies’ foothold in Ukraine which moreover brings with it access to Soviet-era technologies attractive to China’s aerospace industries. This action was taken in spite of the considerable risk of Chinese retaliation, which indeed occurred in the form of China’s Foreign Ministry informing its Ukrainian counterpart that it would no longer respect their wishes concerning economic activities in the Crimea, something that Chinese firms have thus far shied away from. The US Embassy in Kiev’s instant endorsement of Zelensky’s shutdown of three opposition TV stations and the placement of sanctions, in violation of Ukraine’s own laws, on one of Ukraine’s opposition leaders Medvedchuk on the grounds that these were involved in spreading so-called “Russian disinformation” suggests that Washington was at the very least aware of the move and may even have prompted it. US sanctioning of Igor Kolomoysky on the basis of his corrupting Ukraine’s politics indicates that Zelensky had not gone far enough in fulfilling Washington’s wishes. In doing this Washington demonstrated it is willing to publicly humiliate Zelensky should he fail to display appropriate deference to their wishes. The question at this point becomes, in which direction will Washington push Zelensky? How far, what means will Washington use to get its way, and to what extent will Zelensky resist?

The greatest service that Ukraine could render Biden’s administration is to launch an all-out assault on Novorossia. A pitched battle between Ukrainian and DPR/LPR forces would instantly create the appropriate headlines and provide the necessary additional pretexts to condemn Russia and introduce more economic sanctions. It would then deliver the outcome that no amount of phony poisonings of Navalny could, namely the suspension or even shut-down of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has become such a thorn in the side of the Anglo-Saxon powers. A major military campaign involving several brigades supported by airpower and the now-operational Bayraktar TB-2 drones in an effort to replicate Azerbaijan’s success against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh would place Moscow before the unenviable choice of abandoning the Donbass to its fate or committing its regular military forces to battle in Novorossia’s defense.

Whether Ukraine’s political leadership is willing to undertake such a desperate measure, in a country whose president suffers from a 20% approval rating and which has seen extensive protests against the recent sharp increase in utility costs, is another question. On the one hand, Ukrainian troop movements near the Donbass have generated considerable attention, and exchanges of fire between Ukrainian and Novorossian forces appear to have continued at an elevated pace over the past several weeks. At the same time, no extraordinary measures such as the recall of reservists or closure of borders in order to prevent military-age males from leaving the country have been observed. While Ukraine’s Rada is considering laws making draft evasion more harshly punishable, these laws will not have an immediate impact, and appear to be a reaction to the failure to build up a professional army of volunteers or even to give the draftees a positive reason to serve. It has even been pointed out that the Ukrainian troop movements have been so ostentatious and lacking in even elementary efforts to preserve concealment and surprise that they represent a “war of nerves”, an exercise in brinksmanship, and possibly an effort to simulate action for the benefit of Washington, rather than genuine preparations for an offensive. A train carrying a reinforced tank company that had been spotted slowly passing three different railroad crossings in eastern Ukraine over the course of several days looks much like an operation staged for the benefit of ubiquitous smart phone cameras.

Therefore the likelihood of the Ukrainian military opting for a large-scale offensive remains low due to the fear of heavy and pointless losses which might cause Ukraine’s military morale to collapse, with unpredictable consequences. Small-scale raids to capture select positions, shelling of Novorossia’s towns and cities, even a staged atrocity, remain more plausible and attractive from the political point of view. Ukraine’s most dangerous military capability is represented by Bayraktar drones, cruise missiles like the Neptun, and short-range ballistic missiles currently in service and being developed, because their use would not entail the danger of major Ukrainian personnel losses. Moreover, Novorossia’s forces would be hard pressed to retaliate in kind against such strikes and Russian efforts to do so would be highly provocative internationally and would carry the risk of causing Ukrainian civilian casualties. Fortunately for Novorossia, the drone park remains fairly small and the drones themselves are vulnerable to Novorossia’s air defenses, while the cruise and ballistic missiles are still years from large-scale operational deployment. The sort of missile bombardment that would represent a genuine threat to Novorossia’s unrecognized republics is still years away. By the time such a serious threat could materialize, Novorossia’s forces would likely have their own means of retaliation in the form of barrage munitions, also referred to as “suicide drones” that could be produced on the spot in Donetsk and Lugansk. However, Ukraine’s current capabilities are sufficient to launch provocations, including the bombardment of civilian targets as was the case in Mariupol in 2014.

That Ukraine’s military is unwilling to risk another misadventure against Novorossia is evident enough, as is Zelensky’s reluctance to go down in history as the president who destroyed Ukraine. These considerations are unlikely to be salient for decisionmakers in Washington, who need Ukraine to advance US interests and are rather less concerned about the US advancing Ukraine’s interests. But the lengths to which Washington is willing to go to pressure Zelensky are still unclear, though the possibility of outright blackmail raised its head when a prominent Maidan propagandist Dmitry Gordon announced that on March 15, the “Ides of March” immortalized by the assassination of Julius Caesar, Ukraine would face a trial of historic proportions once a certain bombshell news story was revealed. While March 15 came and went with no bombshells or even duds, Gordon did reveal that the event consisted of a Bellingcat “investigation” into the SBU plot to lure Wagner PMC contractors into Ukraine in order to have them put on trial. The “bombshell” aspect of the Bellingcat effort is that the plot failed because of a highly placed source in Zelensky’s own presidential cabinet, who leaked it to Russian intelligence services. Considering Bellingcat’s reputation as a firm which does info-warfare “hits” on designated targets and Gordon’s hyping of the potential impact of the film once it becomes public, one has to consider the possibility that Bellingcat is part of a campaign to blackmail or even oust Zelensky from office should he fail to satisfy Washington’s demands.

As noted previously, Zelensky has taken a dim view of Washington’s meddling in Ukraine’s affairs, though it remains to be seen whether he is able to stand up to even his own national security officials who ostensibly are subordinate to him but in reality take orders from Washington. Lacking the independent power base that allowed Poroshenko to resist Washington’s initiatives for “reforming” Ukraine’s economy, Zelensky may yet prove the ideal president from Washington’s perspective, if not Ukraine’s.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/03/2021 - 02:00
Published:6/3/2021 1:15:21 AM
[Middle Column] BARACK OBAMA SUGGESTS HUMANS COULD BE EXTINCT IN A HUNDRED YEARS DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Big If: Obama: “Well, if we don’t get a handle on climate change, then if there’s anybody around to judge us, they’ll judge us pretty harshly on it, because the data is here,” Obama replied. “We know it. And we have the tools to make real progress with it.”

Published:6/2/2021 9:42:15 PM
[018b0ff2-a69f-52ee-b868-8c982a942ef4] New animated Netflix series from Barack, Michelle Obama aims to teach ‘young Americans’ about government Barack and Michelle Obama serve as executive producers on Netflix's "We the People," which will feature music from Bebe Rexha, Andra Day, Janelle Monae, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more. Published:6/2/2021 8:16:09 PM
[Markets] Biden & 'The 1-Percent' Biden & 'The 1-Percent'

Authored by Andy Puzder via RealClearPolitics.com,

In a speech last week introducing his proposed $6 trillion 2022 budget, President Biden claimed that the benefits of the Republican Party’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “went to the wealthiest 1% of America.”

It’s not the first time he’s made this claim.

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Biden described the TCJA as a “huge windfall” for “those at the very top.”

To right that wrong, he proposes getting rid of loopholes and raising the top tax rate from its current 37% to 39.6%.

Why? So that “the wealthiest 1% of Americans” will “pay their fair share,” a phrase that the president and his fellow Democrats repeat with abandon.  

But there’s a big problem with Biden’s claims: They are simply untrue. It’s time Republicans started more aggressively pointing that out.

Let’s start with that supposedly “huge windfall” that went to the “wealthiest 1%” of America.

While the TCJA reduced effective income tax rates for all income groups in 2018, the top 1% experienced no windfall. Rather, according to the most recent IRS income tax data, the top 1% of taxpayers paid $616 billion in 2018, roughly the same amount they paid in 2017. But the bottom 99% paid $65 billion less. Some “windfall.” If the TCJA was a tax cut for the rich, it was the weirdest one in the history of tax cuts for the rich.

But did those evil 1-percenters pay their fair share? Turns out they did – and certainly a larger share than when tax rates were last at Biden’s proposed 39.6%.

In 2018, while the top 1%’s share of adjusted gross income declined slightly to 20.9% (from 21.0% in 2017), its share of the income tax burden increased to 40.1% from 38.5%. “Fair” is in the eye of the beholder, but consider: The top 1%’s share of taxes paid nearly doubles its share of income. For more “fair share” perspective, consider that in 2018, the top 1% paid more in income taxes than the bottom 90% of taxpayers – combined.

Biden also might be surprised to learn that the top 1% actually paid a higher percentage of income taxes in 2018 under the TCJA than in any year since at least 2001 – when it paid 33.2%. That includes each of the five years from 2013 to 2017 following the Obama tax hikes, when the top rate last stood at 39.6% – the rate Biden is currently proposing.  

You read that right. The highest earners paid a greater share of income taxes after the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts than they paid after the Democrats’ 2013 tax increase.  But how can that be if the top tax rate in 2018 was only 37%?

Well, the TCJA increased taxable income for wealthier Americans by reducing the itemized deductions they could claim. High earners generally benefit more from itemizing deductions. Lower earners generally benefit more from the standard deduction. The TCJA increased the standard deduction and limited itemized deductions. 

According to IRS data, following the TCJA, the amount taxpayers claimed for itemized deductions dropped by 55%, from about $1.46 trillion in 2017 to about $650 billion in 2018. That’s over $800 billion that was taxed in 2018 but not in 2017.

The TCJA’s capping the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) at $10,000 was responsible for $480 billion of that decrease – a whopping 59%. But Biden supports restoring the SALT deduction even though that deduction benefits mostly the upper-income taxpayers he so desperately wants to tax. Why would he want to do that?

Well, the SALT deduction primarily benefits high earners in high-tax blue states. So Biden is not alone is seeking to restore it. Repealing the cap President Trump put on the SALT deduction is a top tax priority for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who want either to increase or eliminate the $10,000 cap as part of Biden’s infrastructure bill.

Like Biden, these legislators also claim to favor closing tax loopholes for the wealthy – just not for their wealthy supporters. “Do you want to give the wealthiest people in America another tax cut?” Biden asked in his budget introduction speech. Apparently for the Democratic leadership, the answer is: Yes, we do.

So, the TCJA was not a windfall for the rich, and it did not result in the rich paying less than their fair share of income taxes. It closed loopholes – the largest of which Democrat leadership would like to restore – that primarily benefit wealthy taxpayers. Raising the top tax rate to 39.6% under Obama resulted in the rich paying a smaller share of income taxes than they paid in 2018 under the TCJA. There is certainly no guarantee that they would pay a larger share if Biden repeated Obama’s tax-increase error – particularly if the Democrats start restoring tax loopholes for their wealthy backers.

Republicans have the better part of this argument. They need to start making it.

*  *  *

Andy Puzder is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, a board member of the Job Creators Network, and the author of “The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/02/2021 - 20:05
Published:6/2/2021 7:14:23 PM
[Markets] Quinn: There Are No Solutions, Part 2 Quinn: There Are No Solutions, Part 2

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

In Part One of this article I described the circumstances which make it impossible to change the system from within. The past year should put the final nail in that coffin. Now on to what is in our control.

“Experts agree that it is only a matter of time before one of these epidemics becomes global - a pandemic with potentially catastrophic consequences.”

 Center for Health Security – October 2019

The boldness and extremeness of their actions since the Fall of 2019 seem out of character with their usual shrouded machinations behind the scenes, where the public is ignorant of their actions. Something broke within the debt saturated financial system and Powell was ordered to restart QE and start reducing interest rates to fend off disaster. In a fascinating coincidence, Event 201, a pandemic simulation, was conducted on October 18 in New York City, jointly run by The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The four-year coup attempt by the Deep State against Trump was floundering, with their pathetic last gasp impeachment farce in January 2020.

The weaponization of the Chinese bio-weapon lab virus into a global pandemic narrative accomplished numerous objectives for the Deep State. It provided cover for the Federal Reserve to funnel trillions into the pockets of the criminal Wall Street cabal and their billionaire clientele. It provided the means for Democrat governors and mayors to use it as an excuse to allow mass mail-in voting in order to fraudulently steal the election. Destroying the economy through unnecessary worthless lockdowns and blaming it on Trump gave the Democrats a further impetus to steal the election.

Convincing the entire nation masking and lockdowns stopped the spread (they did not) allowed the ruling class to exercise tyrannical authoritarian un-Constitutional mandates with little to no push back from the masses – giving them the confidence to push further. Cases and deaths were plummeting before vaccines were rolled out in any quantity, but the media mouthpieces and lying politicians will credit the jab for decline.

Using propaganda fear, convincing the masses cowering in your basement was brave, using their captured media to lie about “being in this together” as our rulers flaunted their own lockdown dictates, creating social unrest based on the false narrative of systematic racism, forcing people to be scared and suspicious of each other, and pitting families and friends against each other based on falsehoods, has accomplished the mission of tearing the fabric of our society. And now for the coup de grace – forced vaccinations with an experimental untested DNA altering concoction for a virus with a 99.8% survival rate.

The immune systems of all but the sickliest are sufficient to fight off this virus and cheap, effective, and safe treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine have been scientifically proven to successfully defeat this virus. Watching scientists and doctors declare these treatments dangerous and ineffective, with Big Tech censoring anyone dissenting from this narrative, tells you how corrupted the medical and media industries have become. Science is never settled.

“No scientist ever believes that he has the final answer or the ultimate truth on anything.” – Carroll Quigley

Again, following the money leads to the most likely reason for this totalitarian insistence on everyone on earth be inoculated with a substance that has not been thoroughly tested or vetted over the long term. Demanding mass vaccination as the only way life can return to normal has generated tens of billions in profits for Big Pharma and the medical industrial complex administering the jabs. Scientists and medical professionals have been bought off to sway their research and opinions.

Do No Harm has been replaced by How Much Will You Pay Me to endorse your unproven drug. They tell you the jab is free, but the government is funding this disgraceful exercise with your tax dollars. Actually, the tax dollars of unborn generations (if they can be born after the sterility impact of the jabs surfaces in the future) are being used since we now borrow $4 trillion per year from them. Bribing the ignorant masses with donuts, fast food, million-dollar lotteries, and vaccine passports guaranteeing access to the jabbed, certainly seems excessive for a relatively non-lethal illness.

They have accomplished convincing and coercing over 50% of adults into getting fully vaccinated, pushing hard for 70%. Now they have turned their attention to children, who have a .003% chance of dying from Covid. Is this asinine idea only to generate profits for the ruling class or is there a darker motive for injecting a substance that has already killed thousands, creates blood clots, and is now causing heart problems in teenagers.

When you step back and try to comprehend the motives of Gates, Schwab, Fauci, and the criminal cabal running the show, with their “new normal”, “build back better”, and “you will own nothing and be happy” slogans, you get the feeling this is all part of a much bigger agenda of control over the masses by an elite few, who believe they know what is best for the planet regarding population size, resource usage, climate, and what they allow you to do and not do.

This is essentially a globalist attempt by the Davos crowd to create a new world, run by them, with you as a debt enslaved peasant, asking their permission to leave your house. Enrichment and control for them, meager existence, and enslavement for you.

The majority of Americans have been conditioned to believe their government and their leaders. The oligarchs have nearly perfected the art of manipulation.

They have utilized propaganda, public school indoctrination, and pharmacological methods to create a dictatorship without tears, just as Aldous Huxley predicted many decades ago.

I do not think Huxley realized how much easier it would be for the masses to be subjugated and made to love their servitude with the advent of advanced technology, controlled by the powers that be. Propaganda has been so much more effective in the manipulative hands of Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Bezos, Cook and Schmidt, with their stranglehold on social media, search engines, apps, and ability to censor what they do not want heard. They have convinced the masses consumerism, materialism, personal satisfaction, wokeism, and various other “ism” tripe is what is important in this world.

The past year has borne out Huxley’s painless concentration camp analogy, as we allowed ourselves to be locked down in our homes, while enjoying the fact our liberties and freedoms were taken away by government tyrants at the behest of billionaires pretending to be medical authorities and bought off medical “experts”. Any thoughts of rebelling against this tyranny had been conditioned out of the masses over the course of decades. This is why there are no macro-solutions to extract us from this concentration camp.

When I write articles detailing the subversion of our country by the Deep State/criminal cabal/ruling elite/oligarchy, a frequent comment has been – “He is great at detailing the problems, how come he never offers any solutions?” That comment always irritates me, because I have proposed solutions for over a decade, which never had a chance of being implemented or even considered. I wrote an article one week after the election of Barack Obama in November 2008 –  U.S. Economy: There Are No Problems, Only Solutions – which laid out dozens of solutions to what I considered the major problems facing our nation.

How naïve, uninformed, and foolish I was back then to think any of my proposals had a realistic chance of being adopted, when the ruling class had created the system and reaped the benefits from maintaining it just as it is. Working to get Ron Paul elected in 2008 and 2012 was a futile effort. Our political leaders are selected, not elected, as we have seen with Dementia Joe and his cackling vacuous VP. Hoping for the next election to go your way and your favorite candidate to win is nothing but false hope. The system is rigged, and they do not care what you think. We need to cast aside childish thoughts and deal with the harsh reality of being pawns in a game we do not control. Quigley described the two-party farce five decades ago, and it has only gotten worse since.

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years, if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.” – Carroll Quigley

The only solution is to not play in their game. We only have micro-solutions which can be implemented on an individual level to reduce our risk and exposure to the criminal enterprise known as our government. Depending on our financial resources, location, occupation, and personalities, we can all take actions which provide more freedom and distance from the corrupt system. Some actions are easier than others, but every step in the right direction pushes us closer to a tipping point where good outweighs evil. Make no mistake, we are at war with evil men with evil intentions, and they have no qualms about killing you or your family. Individual actions will matter.

Reducing your debt increases your freedom. Disconnecting from technological imprisonment keeps them from tracking you. Reducing your taxable footprint, if possible, helps starve the beast. Associating with like-minded people and dis-associating from untrustworthy establishment supporting stooges will clarify your life. Raising your own food, and/or forming an alliance/friendship with local farmers will reduce your dependence on the toxic manufactured food industry.

Get healthy through exercise to limit your exposure to the medical industrial complex. Move out of cities and stay away from crowds. Own guns and be prepared to use them. Become part of a community (online or in-person) where ideas are shared, and different viewpoints are heard. Prepare for energy and food shortages. Currency debasement has entered a hyperbolic phase, so own some alternatives (gold, silver, land, crypto). Get right with your family and decide who you can trust and depend upon.

  • Do not consume – save.

  • Do not obey – resist.

  • Do not believe – think.

  • Do not trust – investigate.

  • Do not conform – rebel.

  • Do not submit – withdraw your consent.

Based on the global experiment conducted by the oligarchs over the last year, it appears only a small fraction of the population seem capable of independent thought and a willingness to resist entering the technological gulag orchestrated by our gatekeepers. There may be no implementable solutions on a grand scale, but there is a semblance of hope once their master plans self-destruct and crumble under the weight of hubris and ego driven ambition. Cracks in the façade are already forming as they have turned on Gates, Fauci and Cuomo for glorifying themselves ahead of the agenda.

Quigley held out hope based upon human virtues which have fallen out of favor, but still exist among a portion of the population. I know they exist because the on-line community I call home has people with these qualities in abundance. And a number of these friends will be getting together at a farm in New Hampshire on July 4 to celebrate our quaint belief we can help once again set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men and seize the moral high ground from the criminal cabal who occupy it now. Our choices are few and road ahead difficult, but what choice do we have?

“The hope for the twentieth century rests on recognition that war and depression are man-made, and needless. They can be avoided in the future by turning from the nineteenth-century characteristics just mentioned (materialism, selfishness, false values, hypocrisy, and secret vices) and going back to other characteristics that our Western Society has always regarded as virtues: generosity, compassion, cooperation, rationality, and foresight, and finding an increased role in human life for love, spirituality, charity, and self-discipline.”

– Carroll Quigley

*  *  *

The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/02/2021 - 17:25
Published:6/2/2021 4:42:11 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: The Democrats' New War On (Domestic White) Terror Has Already Begun... Greenwald: The Democrats' New War On (Domestic White) Terror Has Already Begun...

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com,

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a new warning bulletin, alerting Americans that domestic extremists may well use violence on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. This was at least the fourth such bulletin issued this year by Homeland Security (DHS) warning of the same danger and, thus far, none of the fears it is trying to instill into the American population has materialized.

Photo taken in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on June 1, 2021 shows a screen displaying U.S. President Joe Biden delivering a speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of Tulsa massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images).

The first was a January 14 warning, from numerous federal agencies including DHS, about violence in Washington, DC and all fifty state capitols that was likely to explode in protest of Inauguration Day (a threat which did not materialize). Then came a January 27 bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks” from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority” (that warning also was not realized). Then there was a May 14 bulletin warning of right-wing violence “to attack higher-capacity targets,” exacerbated by the lifting of COVID lockdowns (which also never happened). And now we are treated to this new DHS warning about domestic extremists preparing violent attacks over Tulsa (it remains to be seen if a DHS fear is finally realized).

Just like the first War on Terror, these threats are issued with virtually no specificity. They are just generalized warnings designed to put people in fear about their fellow citizens and to justify aggressive deployment of military and law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. A CNN article which wildly hyped the latest danger bulletin about domestic extremists at Tulsa had to be edited with what the cable network, in an “update,” called “the additional information from the Department of Homeland Security that there is no specific or credible threats at this time.” And the supposed dangers from domestic extremists on Inauguration Day was such a flop that even The Washington Post — one of the outlets most vocal about lurking national security dangers in general and this one in particular — had to explicitly acknowledge the failure:

Thousands [of National Guard troops] had been deployed to capitals across the country late last week, ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized.

Once again on Wednesday, security officials’ worst fears weren’t borne out: In some states, it was close to business as usual. In others, demonstrations were small and peaceful, with only occasional tense moments.

Americans have seen this scam before. Throughout the first War on Terror, DHS, which was created in 2002, was frequently used to keep fear levels high and thus foster support for draconian government powers of spying, detention, and war. Even prior to the Department's creation, its first Secretary, Tom Ridge, when he was still the White House's Homeland Security Chief in early 2002, created an elaborate color-coded warning system to supply a constant alert to Americans about the evolving threat levels they faced from Islamic extremists.

DHS Bulletin on domestic extremists, Jan. 27, 2021; DHS Bulletin on domestic extremists, May 14, 2021.

In 2004, Ridge admitted that he had been repeatedly pressured by Bush officials to elevate the warnings and threat levels for political gain and to keep the population in fear. He claims that he, in particular, was coerced against his will to raise the threat level just prior to the 2004 presidential election and resigned for that reason shortly thereafter. DHS's color scheme became "the brunt of endless jokes and derision,” concluded a 2007 scholarly study in the journal International Security, noting that it "became perceived as being politically motivated” largely due to the complete lack of specific information about what Americans were supposed to fear or avoid. Moreover, “its designers assumed that the population would trust in the national leadership and believe in the utility of the system's information.” It failed because of how often the alleged threats failed to materialize, and because the warnings were rarely accompanied by any specificity that could permit action to be taken or avoided.

Though Obama scrapped the unpopular color-coded system in 2011, he — in a classic Obama gesture — merely replaced it with an equally vague and fear-generating bureaucratic alternative that was also subject to political manipulation. National security writers at Lawfare ultimately acknowledged that “like the [Bush/Ridge] system, there were no clear triggers for alerts [under Obama's new scheme,] so the system remained objective and opaque.” As a result, they said, “the lack of specificity over time has resulted in similar levels of confusion as surrounded the [Bush/Ridge] color alerts.”

Fear is crucial for state authority. When the population is filled with it, they will acquiesce to virtually any power the government seeks to acquire in the name of keeping them safe. But when fear is lacking, citizens will crave liberty more than control, and that is when they question official claims and actions. When that starts to happen, when the public feels too secure, institutions of authority will reflexively find new ways to ensure they stay engulfed by fear and thus quiescent.

I saw first-hand how this dynamic functions when doing the Snowden-enabled reporting on mass domestic NSA surveillance under the Obama administration. By the time we broke the stories of mass domestic surveillance on Americans — twelve years after the 9/11 attack — fear levels over Al Qaeda in the U.S. had diminished greatly, especially after the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden. As a result, anger over Obama's sprawling domestic surveillance programs was pervasive and bipartisan. A bill jointly sponsored by then-Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) — which would have greatly reined in NSA domestic spying powers — was on its way to easy, bipartisan victory as a result of that anger over NSA spying. But suddenly, the Obama White House convinced Nancy Pelosi to whip enough Democratic votes to ensure its defeat and save NSA domestic spying from reform. But the momentum which that bill had — it would have been the first since 9/11 to rollback rather than expand government powers — along with anti-surveillance-and-pro-privacy polling data, proved how significantly the playing field had shifted as a result of those revelations and, especially, the reduction in fear levels experienced by Americans.

But shortly thereafter, a new group — ISIS — emerged to replace Al Qaeda. It had a two-year stint with middling success in scaring Americans, but it was sufficient to turn back the tide of pro-privacy sentiment (at one point in 2014, the U.S. intelligence community claimed out of nowhere that a Syria-based group that virtually nobody in the U.S. had ever heard of previously or since — "the Khorasan Group" — was “a more direct and imminent threat to the United States,” but that new villain disappeared as quickly as it materialized). After ISIS’s star turn in the role of existential threat, the Democrats, during the 2016 campaign, elevated Russia, Putin and the Kremlin to that role, abandoning without explanation Obama's eight-year argument that Russia was merely a regional power of no threat to the U.S. This revolving carousel of scary villains ensured that the pressure to reduce the powers and secrecy of the U.S. security state eroded in the name of staying safe.


Before Joe Biden was even inaugurated, he and his allies knew they needed a new villain. Putin never generated much fear in anyone beyond MSNBC panels, the CNN Green Room, and the newsrooms and op-ed pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post. While negative views of Russia increased in the U.S. during Russiagate mania, few outside of hard-core Democratic partisans viewed that country as a genuine threat or primary enemy. Few Americans woke up shaking in fear about what the Kremlin might do to them.

The search for a new enemy around which the Biden administration could coalesce and in whose name they could keep fear levels high was quickly settled. Cast in that role would be right-wing domestic extremists. In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that “Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.”

Pending Domestic War on Terror legislation favored by the White House — sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — would simply amend the old War on Terror laws, which permitted a wide range of powers to fight foreign terrorist organizations, so as to now allow the U.S. government to also use those powers against groups designated as domestic terror organizations. Just as was true of the first War on Terror, this second one would thus vest the government with new, wide-ranging powers of surveillance, detention, prosecution and imprisonment, though this time for use against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

Even while that legislation is pending, the U.S. government is already waging an aggressive new domestic war on terror that has largely flown under the radar. Grave warnings from DHS are now just as common, vague and unreliable — but also fear-inducing — as they were in the days of Tom Ridge. Domestic surveillance is also on the rise. Last month, CNN reported that “the Biden administration is considering using outside firms to track extremist chatter by Americans online, an effort that would expand the government's ability to gather intelligence but could draw criticism over surveillance of US citizens."

CNN, May 3, 2021

he security mindset has subsumed the Democratic Party in particular. Just last week, the same Party that spent the summer of 2020 denouncing the police approved $1.9 billion in additional spending for Capitol security and police. The very faction of that party which chanted "Defund the Police” — the Squad — had the power to stop that expenditure, but half of them instead voted "present,” ensuring its passage.

Meanwhile, one of the most repressive features of the first War on Terror — due-process-free no-fly lists against American citizens — is now back in full force. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) have both been demanding that the FBI ban January 6 protesters and other “domestic extremists” from air travel without being convicted of any crime or even given a hearing to determine whether this prohibition is justified. Rep. Thompson even demanded that Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) be put on the no-fly list, then took to Twitter to boast of how proud he was of this demand:

Beyond the DHS bulletins, that agency and other intelligence operatives continue to issue reports, for both public and classified consumption, warning that the greatest national security threat the U.S now faces is domestic extremism. As we reported here last month, that "domestic extremist” designation includes not just anti-Biden and anti-government protesters on the right but also leftist groups including animal rights activists — essentially anyone who objects to prevailing ruling class dogma and wants to use their constitutional rights to advance those views. To compile these reports, the CIA appears clearly to be breaking the law in using its vast intelligence weapons for domestic monitoring and control.

Online censorship, of course, is also rapidly increasing in the name of stopping the threat of domestic extremism. The extraordinary destruction of Parler in January by three Silicon Valley monopolies — Apple, Google and Amazon — occurred after leading Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — publicly demanded the platform's removal from the internet. And Democratic-led Congressional committees continue to summon Silicon Valley executives to demand they impose greater degrees of political censorship against their political adversaries or else face legislative and regulatory reprisals.

These are all the same weapons as the ones invoked for the first War on Terror. Yet what is perhaps most notable about comparing this new domestic War on Terror to the first one is not the common weapons invoked to fight it but rather how identical are the rhetorical strategies used to demand submission to it.


No nuance or questioning is permitted when it comes to discussions of how much danger America really faces from domestic extremists. The parallels with the first War on Terror are manifest.

I know of nobody who dismissed the significance of the 9/11 attacks. A one-day attack that wipes out 3,000 human beings and crashes four passenger jets into three large buildings is a gravely serious event. But there were plenty of people — including myself — who spent years arguing that the threat reflected by that attack was being aggressively and deliberately exaggerated by U.S. officials and both political parties in order to justify extraordinary power grabs for themselves.

In response, a standard tactic was deployed against those who, after 9/11, urged that the threat be placed in rational context rather than melodramatically and cynically inflated. Anyone urging sober restraint was instantly accused of being sympathetic toward if not outright supportive of anti-American terrorism. The Bush administration demanded a binary framework most vividly expressed by the then-president's decree in his late September, 2001, address to the Congress: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” And thus was any middle ground — I condemn the 9/11 attack but oppose dangerous overreaction or authoritarian power grabs in the name of combatting it — abolished.

That Bush "with-us-or-with-the-terrorists” directive provoked a fair amount of outrage at the time but is now the prevailing mentality within U.S. liberalism and the broader Democratic Party. I do not know a single prominent commentator or political figure who, after seeing what transpired, expressed support for the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Quite the contrary: all of them, at least to my knowledge, condemned the conduct of at least some of the protesters on that day. From the start, that group certainly included me (on January 7, I wrote: “It is not hard to understand why [the Capitol riot] has generated intense political passion and pervasive rage: the introduction of physical force into political protest is always lamentable, usually dangerous, and, except in the rarest of circumstances that are plainly inapplicable here, unjustifiable"). That is still my view, even as I denounce the Biden administration's expansive domestic powers and attempts to exaggerate the threats and dangers that protest illustrated.

But that position is disallowed, or at least not recognized. Just as was true of the first War on Terror, any attempt to place the actual lingering threat in context (by rejecting the claim that the danger is so grave that it requires vast new powers), or to suggest it is being manipulatively exaggerated (by calling it The Insurrection), or to document actual lies being told in service of the prevailing narrative (such as the ongoing lie that a pro-Trump crowd murdered Officer Brian Sicknick) provokes furious accusations that one must be sympathetic to if not supportive of the January 6 rioters and any groups associated with them. Attempts to suggest that those charged in connection with the January 6 riot are being excessively prosecuted and punished provoke even greater rage — despite the fact that not a single one of them has been charged with treason, sedition, insurrection or domestic terrorism, and despite the fact that concerns about overzelaous prosecutors and the carceral state are supposed to be staples of liberals politics (though ones which, like anti-police sentiment and opposition to killing unarmed protesters, instantly disappear when convenient, such as when it comes time to exploit Officer Sicknick or cheer the fatal point-blank shooting of the unarmed Ashli Babbitt).

Objections to new powers vested in the U.S. security state in the name of fighting domestic terrorism are met with still greater scorn. If you oppose new anti-terrorism legislation for use on U.S. soil or are deeply concerned about the invocation of civil-liberties-destroying weapons such as no-fly lists, online censorship, and heightened domestic surveillance, then it is assumed that you must support domestic extremists — just as those who opposed the war in Iraq or the Patriot Act or NSA spying or torture were accused of supporting Al Qaeda.

It is a shoddy, anti-intellectual and deceitful tactic, to be sure, but it is now commonplace. And that is particularly concerning as the Democrats’ devotion to a new War on Terror continues to grow. On Monday, President Biden, citing "the intelligence community,” asserted that white supremacist terrorism is "the most lethal threat to the Homeland today.”

Opposing this new domestic War on Terror and all those new powers and secrecy authorities that go with it does not require support for or even indifference toward what happened at the Capitol on January 6. It merely requires a basic knowledge of recent U.S. history and how these powers are invariably used by the secretive U.S. security state when government-generated fears lead to their widespread enactment. The dangers of the first War on Terror were grave enough. Transferring it to "the Homeland,” as President Biden calls it, is bound to be far more dangerous still.


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Tyler Durden Wed, 06/02/2021 - 16:21
Published:6/2/2021 3:28:12 PM
[] Grandpa Sundown Diddlefingers Just Can't Get Enough of Pre-Pubescent GirlsAlso Avers That "White Supremacy" is The Greatest Terrorist Threat He rushes over to two little girls and offers them ice cream, and maybe a van ride. First, Biden claims that the "intelligence community" -- staffed at the top with leftwingers appointed by Obama and now Biden who have been... Published:6/1/2021 4:32:31 PM
[Markets] "This Is Not Acceptable": Macron Demands Explanation Why Obama Was Spying On Merkel "This Is Not Acceptable": Macron Demands Explanation Why Obama Was Spying On Merkel

Once upon a time, not that long ago, the biggest outrage in the world of politics was the "shocking" revelation made possible by Edward Snowden's exposure of the NSA's deep state operations, that the Obama administration had a penchant for spying... on everyone, and especially its top allies such as Angela Merkel who BlackBerry was notorious breached by US spies (yes, even the ultra-partisan outlet CNN covered it "Obama administration spied on German media as well as its government").

Of course, the outrage eventually died down with nothing changing - after all, the US deep state can and will spy on anyone and everyone it chooses, and it's not like the president has any control over it, but over the weekend the story reemerged when in an investigative report on Sunday, Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio and other European media outlets "discovered" the the NSA had eavesdropped on Danish underwater internet cables from 2012 to 2014 to spy on top politicians in Germany, Sweden, Norway and France (we of course knew all this from Snowden's original NSA leak but let's pretend it's news).

The NSA was able to access (and accessed) text messages, telephone calls and internet traffic including searches, chats and messaging services -- including those of Merkel, then-foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and then-opposition leader Peer Steinbruck, DR said.

This, too, was not news, but since most don't remember yesterday's news cycle let alone that from 2013, European leaders had no choice but to address, which they did when the leaders of Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that they expected the US and Danish governments to present explanations over allegations of spying by Washington on European allies with Copenhagen's aid (the alternative would give the impression that the US can do whatever it wants without any accountability to anyone... which of course is the correct impression).

"This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners," said Macron after a French-German summit meeting held via video conference between Paris and Berlin. "I am attached to the bond of trust that unites Europeans and Americans," Macron said, adding that "there is no room for suspicion between us".

At this point the background laughter could be clearly heard.

As for Merkel, who supposedly told Germany's Stasi secret police Stasi that she could not keep secrets well enough to be an effective spy when told to spy on her colleagues, she said she "could only agree" with the comments of the French leader, adding that she was "reassured" by statements by the Danish government, especially Defence Minister Trine Bramsen, condemning such actions.

"Apart from establishing the facts, this is a good starting point to arrive at relations that are truly based in mutual trust," she said.

Alas, she was not reassured by Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, who was last seen facing immense challenges trying to determine what year it is.

And since Merkel isn't that much younger, we will leave the last word to Macron who said that "what we are waiting for complete clarity. We requested that our Danish and American partners provide all the information on these revelations and on these past facts. We are awaiting these answers."

Considering that Obama spied on his own Congress ("A Brief History of the CIA's Unpunished Spying on the Senate") just as generously as he spied on foreign leaders, we urge Macron not to hold his breath, especially since even having bad thoughts about Obama automatically makes the French president a racist.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/01/2021 - 16:20
Published:6/1/2021 3:33:23 PM
[] Report: UN Nuclear Inspectors Still Being Denied Access to Iranian Facilities Published:6/1/2021 2:31:28 PM
[Middle Column] Biden’s War on Single-Family Homeowners – ‘Biden is pushing to end single-family zoning’ – Despite owning a 4-acre lakefront home w/ no public housing nearby

Biden’s plan should be called “hypocrisy housing.” Its backers are hypocrites. Biden himself owns a four-acre lakefront home in upscale Greenville, Delaware, where there is absolutely no public housing, affordable housing or rentals that accept housing vouchers. And don’t expect any to be built next door to the Bidens.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband own a $5 million gated home on a street of expensive single-family homes in Brentwood, California. That reeks of privilege.

President Barack Obama launched his Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing program in 2015 to ensure that every neighborhood includes housing for low-income buyers and renters and public transportation.

Yet, for their own family, the Obamas bought an $11.75 million Martha’s Vineyard mansion on 29 waterfront acres. Martha’s Vineyard is critically short of affordable housing, according to a public report, but that didn’t stop them.

Published:6/1/2021 11:33:10 AM
[Markets] Memorial Day: Remember Political Lies That Caused Soldiers To Die Memorial Day: Remember Political Lies That Caused Soldiers To Die

Authored by James Bovard via JimBovard.com,

On Memorial Day, the media do their usual sacralizing of war. Instead, it should be a day for the ritualized scourging of politicians.

During the last 70 years, their lies have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of almost 100,000 American soldiers and millions of foreigners. And yet, people still get teary-eyed when politicians take the stage to talk about their devotion to the troops.

On Memorial Day 2011, for instance, the Washington Post included numerous touching photographs of graves, recent widows or fatherless kids by the headstones, and stories of the troops’ sacrifices. The Post buried a short article in the middle of the A-Section (squeezed onto a nearly full-page ad for Mattress Discounters) about the U.S. military killing dozens of Afghan civilians and police in a wayward bombing in some irrelevant Afghan province. The story’s length and placement reflected the usual tacit assumption that any foreigner killed by the U.S. military doesn’t deserve to be treated as fully human.

The Washington Post celebrations of Memorial Day never include any reference to that paper’s culpability in helping the Bush administration deceive America into going to war against Iraq. When Post reporters dug up the facts that exposed the Bush administration’s false claims on the Iraqi peril, editors sometimes ignored or buried their revelations. Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks complained that in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “There was an attitude among editors: ‘Look, we’re going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?’”

The Post continued aiding the war party by minimizing its sordidness. When the Bush administration’s claims on Iraq’s nuclear-weapons program had collapsed, the Washington Post article on the brazen deceits was headlined, “Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence.” According to Post media columnist Howard Kurtz, the press are obliged to portray politicians as if they are honest. He commented in 2007, “From August 2002 until the war was launched in March of 2003 there were about 140 front-page pieces in the Washington Post making the administration’s case for war. It was, ‘The President said yesterday.’ ‘The Vice President said yesterday.’ ‘The Pentagon said yesterday.’ Well, that’s part of our job. Those people want to speak. We have to provide them a platform. I don’t have [sic] anything wrong with that.”

World War I: Transport of the Wounded. Oil painting by Ugo Matania. https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0018185.html [Wikimedia]

The Post was not alone in its groveling to war. Major television networks behaved like government-owned subsidiaries for much of the period before and during the Iraq War. CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan explained a month after the United States attacked Iraq, “I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance, at CNN, ‘Here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war,’ and we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.” Jessica Yellin, a CNN correspondent who formerly worked for MSNBC, commented in 2008, “When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings.” NBC news anchor Katie Couric stated that there was pressure from “the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of it.”

Before the war, almost all the broadcast news stories on Iraq originated with the federal government. PBS’ Bill Moyers noted that “of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC, and CBS nightly news, from September 2002 until February 2003, almost all the stories could be traced back to sources from the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department.”

But this record of servility and deceit has not slackened the media’s enthusiasm to drench Memorial Day with sanctimony.

In reality, Memorial Day should be a time to remember the government’s crimes against the people. Politicians have perennially sent young Americans to die for false causes or on wild-goose chases.

Over the past century, war memorials have become increasingly popular. However, most of the memorials do little or nothing to inform people of the chicaneries or deceits that paved the way to or perpetuated the war. It would be a vast improvement if each war memorial also had an adjacent monument of major lies—such as an engraved plaque listing the major deceits by which the American public were swayed to support sending American boys off to die for some grand cause.

UH-1D Operation MacArthur Vietnam 1967 [Wikimedia]

The Vietnam War memorial in Washington, for instance, lists the names of each American killed in that conflict. If that memorial could be complemented by excerpts from the Pentagon Papers—or from some of the major admissions of deceit by some of that war’s policymakers—the effect on the public would be far more uplifting.General Patton said that an ounce of sweat can save a pint of blood. Similarly, a few hours studying the lessons of history can prevent heaps of grave-digging in the coming years. President Trump has saber-rattled against Iran, North Korea, Syria, and other nations. His bellicose rhetoric should spur Americans to review the follies and frauds of past wars before it is too late to stop the next pointless bloodbath.Memorial Day can benefit from the creativity of free spirits across the board. Tom Blanton, the mastermind of the website Project for a New American Revolution, proposed in an exchange on my website changing Memorial Day to make it far more realistic:

It used to be that Memorial Day was to honor dead soldiers. In recent years, we are asked to also honor veterans (who already have a day) and active duty members of the armed services. This may be an indication that the politicians feel there aren’t enough dead soldiers…

I think Memorial Day should simply be renamed Tombstone Day and people should decorate their yards with styrofoam tombstones like they do for Halloween. True-believers might even consider a few flag-draped coffins made of cardboard and maybe hanging dismembered arms and legs made of rubber from their trees.

Blanton’s proposal would provide a shot in the arm for party stores during the slow period between Valentine’s Day and Halloween. And it would be a spark for conversations that were far more substantive than the usual flag waving.

I would favor celebrating Memorial Day the way the British used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes was the leader of a conspiracy in 1604 to blow up the Parliament building in London. Until recently, the British celebrated the anniversary of that day by burning Guy Fawkes in effigy. (Government officials have recently banned such burnings on the grounds that something bad might happen because of the fires. The movie V for Vendetta probably made some bureaucrats nervous.)

It would be appropriate to celebrate Memorial Day by burning in effigy the politicians whose lies led to the deaths of so many Americans (and innocent foreigners). Those whose images deserve to be torched run the gamut from Lyndon Johnson to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton (Kosovo) to George W. Bush (Iraq, et cetera), to Barack Obama (Afghanistan, Libya, et cetera). Donald Trump’s warring has primarily resulted in the killing of foreigners, but they are also worthy of remembrance and lamentation. The burnings could be accompanied by recitations of the major offenses against the truth and liberty that each politician committed.

The best way to honor American war dead is to cancel politicians’ prerogative to send troops abroad to fight on any and every pretext. And one of the best steps towards that goal is to remember the lies for which soldiers died.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/31/2021 - 17:00
Published:5/31/2021 4:25:41 PM
[Politics] Kamala Harris Runs Aground at Annapolis Not since President Obama's speech to graduating cadets of the class of 2014 at West Point have there been remarks to a military academy as atonal as those Vice President Harris just delivered to the midshipmen at Annapolis. Ms. Harris talked to our midshipmen trained for naval warfare of the perils of climate change and the niftiness of solar panels. Not a peep about how Russia, Iran, and Red China are maneuvering for conquest. Published:5/31/2021 8:52:59 AM
[Markets] A Critical Shift In The War For Oil A Critical Shift In The War For Oil

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats. 'n Guns blog,

Davos really do think they are too clever by half. Despite prognostications to the contrary, negotiations with Iran over a new JCPOA are nearing completion which Biden/Obama will sign off on after putting up a bit more token resistance to lifting sanctions.

Why do I say this? Nordstream 2.

Biden backed down on Nordstream 2 and, at The Davos Crowd’s insistence, he will back down on the JCPOA.

Davos needs cheap energy into Europe. That’s ultimately what the JCPOA was all about. The basic framework for the deal is still there. While the U.S. will kick and scream a bit about sanctions relief, Iran will be back into the oil market and make it possible for Europe to once again invest in oil/gas projects in Iran.

Now that Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer going to be leading Israel, the probability of breakthrough is much much higher than last week. The Likudniks in Congress and the Senate just lost their raison d’etre. The loss of face for Israel in Bibi’s latest attempt to bludgeon Gaza to retain power backfired completely.

U.S. policy towards Israel is shifting rapidly as the younger generations, Gen-X and Millennials, simply don’t have the same allegiance to Israel that the Baby Boomers and Silent generations did. It is part of a geopolitical ethos which is outdated.

So, with some deal over Iran’s nuclear capability in the near future, Europe will then get gas pipelines from Iran through Turkey as well as gain better access to the North South Transport Corridor which is now unofficially part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Russia, now that Nordstream 2 is nearly done, will not balk at this. In fact, they’ll welcome it. It forms the basis for a broader, sustainable peace arrangement in the Middle East. What’s lost is the Zionist program for Greater Israel and continued sowing dissent between exhausted participants.

But the big geopolitical win for Davos, they think, is that by returning Iran to the oil markets it will cut down on Russia’s dominance there.  That the only reason Russia is the price setter in oil today, as the producer of the marginal barrel, is because of Trump taking Iranian and Venezuelan oil off the market.

With these negotiations ongoing and likely to conclude soon I’m sure the thinking is that this will help save Iranian moderates in the upcoming elections. But with Iran’s Guardian Council paving the way for Ebrahim Raeisi to win the election that is also very unlikely(H/T to Pepe Escobar’s latest on this) :

So Raeisi now seems to be nearly a done deal: a relatively faceless bureaucrat without the profile of an IRGC hardliner, well known for his anti-corruption fight and care about the poor and downtrodden. On foreign policy, the crucial fact is that he will arguably follow crucial IRGC dictates.

Raeisi is already spinning that he “negotiated quietly” to secure the qualification of more candidates, “to make the election scene more competitive and participatory”. The problem is no candidate has the power to sway the opaque decisions of the 12-member Guardian Council, composed exclusively by clerics: only Ayatollah Khamenei.

I have no doubt that Iran is, as Escobar suggests, in post-JCPOA mode now and will walk away from Geneva without a deal if need be, but Davos will cut the deal it needs to bring the oil and gas into Europe while still blaming the U.S. for Iran’s nuclear ambitions because they’ve gotten what they actually wanted, Netanyahu out of power.

Trump’s assault on Iran did what Neocon belligerence always does, increase domestic sympathies for hardliners within the existing government. I told you his assassinating Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not only a mistake but a turning point in history, it sealed the alliance between Russia/China/Iran into a cohesive one which no amount of Euro-schmoozing will undo.

Seeing the tenor of these negotiations and the return of Obama to the White House, the Saudis saw the writing on the wall immediately and began peace talks with Iran in Baghdad put off for a year because of Trump’s killing Soleimani.

The Saudis are fighting for their lives now as the Shia Crescent forms and China holds the House of Saud’s future in its hands.

Syria will be restored to the Arab League and all that ‘peace’ work by Trump will be undone quickly. Because none of it was actually peaceful in its implementation.  Netanyahu is gone, Israel just got defeated by Hamas and now the rest of the story can unfold, put on hold by four years of Jared Kushner’s idiocy and U.S. neoconservatives feeding Trump bad information about the situation.

The Saker put together two lists in his latest article (linked above) which puts the entire situation into perspective:

The Goals:

  1.  Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces, and security services.

  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan but further north.

  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.

  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone,” but this time in Lebanon.

  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.

  6. Break up Syria along ethnic and religious lines.

  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and force the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.

  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert, and eventually attack Iran with a broad regional coalition of forces.

  10. Eliminate all centers of Shia power in the Middle-East.

The Outcomes:

  1. The Syrian state has survived, and its armed and security forces are now far more capable than they were before the war started (remember how they almost lost the war initially? The Syrians bounced back while learning some very hard lessons. By all reports, they improved tremendously, while at critical moments Iran and Hezbollah were literally “plugging holes” in the Syrian frontlines and “extinguishing fires” on local flashpoints. Now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).

  2. Not only is Syria stronger, but the Iranians and Hezbollah are all over the country now, which is driving the Israelis into a state of panic and rage.

  3. Lebanon is rock solid; even the latest Saudi attempt to kidnap Hariri is backfiring. (2021 update: in spite of the explosion in Beirut, Hezbollah is still in charge)

  4. Syria will remain unitary, and Kurdistan is not happening. Millions of displaced refugees are returning home.

  5. Israel and the US look like total idiots and, even worse, as losers with no credibility left.

The net result is everyone in the region who were aggressors are now suing for peace. This is why I expect some kind of deal that returns Iran to the global economy. There’s no way for Germany’s shiny new trade deal with China to work without this.

Trump’s hard line against Iran was always a mistake, even if Iran’s nuclear ambitions are real. But with the Open Skies treaty now a dead letter the U.S. has real logistical problems in the region and they only multiply if Erdogan in Turkey finally chooses a side and gives up his Neo-Ottoman ambitions, now very likely.

But when it comes to economics, as always, Davos has this all backwards vis a vis oil.  They still think they can use the JCPOA to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia over oil.  They still think Putin only cares about oil and gas sales abroad.  It’s clear they don’t listen to him because the policy never seems to change.

So, to Davos, if they bring 2.5 to 3 million barrels per day from Iran back online and oil prices drop, this forces Russia to back down militarily and diplomatically in Eastern Europe.  With a free-floated ruble the Russians don’t care now that they are mostly self-sufficient in food and raw material production.

None of that will come to pass.  Putin is shifting the Russian economy away from oil and gas with an announced ambitious domestic spending plan ahead of this fall’s State Duma elections. Lower or even stable prices will accelerate those plans as capital no longer finds its best return in that sector.  

This carrot to Iran and stick to Russia approach of Brussels/Davos is childish and it will only get worse when the Greens come to power in Germany at the end of the year.  Unless the German elections end in a stalemate which is unforeseen, the CDU will grand coalition as the junior partner to the Greens, just as Davos wants it.

Don’t miss the significance of the policy bifurcation either when it comes to oil.  The Biden administration is trying to make energy as expensive as possible in the U.S. — no Keystone Pipeline, Whitmer trying to close down Enbridges’s Line 5 from Canada into Michigan, etc. — while Europe gets Nordstream 2 from Russia and new, cheap supplies from Iran.

This is what had Trump so hopping mad when he was President.  This is part of why he hated the JCPOA.  Israel and the EastMed pipeline was what should have been the U.S. policy in his mind.

Now, those dreams are dead and the sell out of the U.S. to Davos is in full swing.  Seriously, Biden/Obama are going to continue on this path of undermining U.S. energy production until they are thrown out of office, either by the overwhelming shame of the election fraud lawsuits which recall Senators from Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, the mid-term elections which brings a more pro-Trump GOP to power or by military force. That last bit I put a very low probability on.

Bottom line, for now global oil prices have likely peaked no matter what drivel comes out of John Kerry’s mouth.

The Brent/WTI spread will likely collapse and go negative for the first time in years as Iran’s full oil production comes online over the next two years while U.S. production falls. We’ll see rising oil prices in the U.S. while global supply rises, some of which China is getting at a steep discount from who? Iran.

Meanwhile Russia continues to hold the EU to account on everything while unmasking the not just the latest Bellingcat/MI6/State Dept. nonsense in Belarus surrounding the arrest of Roman Petrosovich, but also filling the void diplomatically left by a confused and incompetent U.S. policy in the Middle East.

If I’m the Bennett in Israel, the first phone call I make after taking office is to no one other than Putin, who now holds the reins over Iran, Hezbollah and a very battle-hardened and angry Syria who just re-elected Assad because he navigated the assault on the country with no lack of geopolitical skill.

Because it is clear that Biden/Obama, on behalf of Davos, have left Israel out to twist in the wind surrounded by those who wish it gone. We’ll see if they get their wish. I think the win here is clear and the days of U.S. adventurism in the Middle East are numbered.

The oil wars aren’t over, by any stretch of the imagination, but the outcome of the main battles have decisively shifted who determines what battles are fought next.

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Tyler Durden Sun, 05/30/2021 - 12:01
Published:5/30/2021 11:27:01 AM
[Markets] Appellate Court Strikes Down Racial And Gender Preferences In Biden's COVID Relief Law Appellate Court Strikes Down Racial And Gender Preferences In Biden's COVID Relief Law

Authored by Glenn Greenwald vis Substack, (emphasis ours)

This judicial ruling about the raging debates over group-based benefits vividly highlights the social, political and culture divisions driving U.S. politics...

A federal appellate court on Thursday invalidated the racial and gender preferences in President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act as unconstitutional. The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit of Appeals ruled that provisions of that law, designed to grant preferences to minority-owned small-restaurant owners for COVID relief, violate the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The specific provision struck down was part of the law's $29 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant program for small, privately owned restaurants struggling to meet payroll and rent due to the COVID crisis. The law, which was passed almost entirely by a party-line vote in March, grants priority status to restaurants that have 51% ownership or more composed of specific racial and ethnic groups as well as women. By effectively relegating struggling businesses owned by white males or ethnicities and nationalities excluded from a priority designation “to the back of the line,” the COVID relief program, ruled the court by a 2-1 decision, ran afoul of core constitutional guarantees.

The ruling is not only constitutionally significant in its own right but also vividly reflective of broader societal debates over how race and gender categories ought to be treated when set next to class. The parties to this case as well as the judges involved in the ruling themselves highlight the pervasive conflicts created by race and gender preferences.

The lawsuit was brought by Jake’s Bar and Grill, a restaurant jointly owned by Antonio Vitolo, who is white, and his wife, who is Hispanic. If Vitolo's wife owned more than 50% of the restaurant, then Jake’s Bar and Grill would be eligible to receive priority treatment for a grant, since her ethnicity qualifies as “socially and economically disadvantaged” under the law. But because she only owns 50% — her white husband owns the other half — the restaurant's application cannot be considered until the Small Business Administration (SBA) first processes all applications from restaurants entitled to priority status based on race and gender, as well as veteran status.

The Vitolos’ restaurant, said the court, “has struggled during the pandemic—it closed on weekdays and offered to-go orders on weekends. It lost workers and a considerable amount in sales.” For that reason, they filed their application for a grant under the COVID relief bill on the first day the SBA accepted applications, which was May 1. But under the law, their application could not be considered until the 21-day period reserved for priority businesses elapsed. If all of the allocated grant money were exhausted during that designated 21-day period — as the Vitolos feared — then Jake’s Bar and Grill and other non-minority-owned struggling businesses would receive no relief.

The Vitolos filed a lawsuit against the SBA administrator asking that the race-and-gender-based scheme be enjoined and that, instead, their application be processed without regard to their race. Though the district court judge rejected the request on a variety of procedural and substantive grounds, the three-judge appellate panel yesterday ruled in their favor.

The court ordered the government to cease “using these unconstitutional criteria when processing Antonio Vitolo’s application.” The majority expressed the crux of its ruling simply: “This case is about whether the government can allocate limited coronavirus relief funds based on the race and sex of the applicants. We hold that it cannot."

The appellate judge who wrote the majority opinion is Amul Thapar. He made history when, in 2008, he became the first-ever South Asian judge appointed to the U.S. federal bench after being selected by then-President George W. Bush. The son of immigrants from India, whose father owns a heating and air-conditioning supply business in Toledo, Ohio, Thapar was elevated to the Sixth Circuit in 2017 after first being considered by President Trump for the Supreme Court vacancy ultimately filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amul Thapar authored a ruling invalidating the race and gender preferences in President Biden's COVID relief bill, May 27, 2021 (photo: Court of Appeals)

Thapar's ruling contains multiple indirect references to his own ethnicity and race. Among the components of the racial preference scheme that clearly offended his constitutional sensibilities was the seemingly arbitrary classification calculus — what he called a "scattershot approach” — used to determine which groups do and do not qualify as “socially and economically disadvantaged” under SBA regulations. As Judge Thapar put it:

[I]ndividuals who trace their ancestry to Pakistan and India qualify for special treatment. But those from Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq do not. Those from China, Japan, and Hong Kong all qualify. But those from Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco do not.

The racial divisions and ethnic categories imposed on the citizenry for determining which restaurants are eligible for COVID relief are, in his view, as irrational as they are discriminatory. One hypothetical invoked by Judge Thapar illustrated the precise racial discrimination which, in his view, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection guarantee was created to avoid:

Imagine two childhood friends—one Indian, one Afghan. Both own restaurants, and both have suffered devastating losses during the pandemic. If both apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Indian applicant will presumptively receive priority consideration over his Afghan friend. Why? Because of his ethnic heritage. It is indeed “a sordid business” to divide “us up by race.” League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399, 511 (2006) (opinion of Roberts, C.J.). And the government’s attempt to do so here violates the Constitution.

Thapar was referencing the fact that under SBA regulations, a person is deemed “socially and economically disadvantaged” if they are “black, Hispanic, or Native American.” They are deemed presumptively disadvantaged as “Asian Pacific Americans” only “if they have origins from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Samoa, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru.” Meanwhile, for a person to qualify as “Subcontinent Asian Americans,” they “must have origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, or Nepal."

If a person is in one or more of those groups, they are deemed presumptively disadvantaged — and thus entitled to priority grant allocation — unless “someone comes forward” with “credible evidence to the contrary.” But if someone is not in one of those groups — not just if they are white or male but also from any of the countries excluded from the preferred designations — then they can qualify only if they “prove they have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination or cultural bias by a preponderance of the evidence,” a process filled with lengthy delay and red tape.

If they fail to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the SBA, then they must wait, and perhaps never receive relief. As Judge Thapar put it, “the schedule of racial preferences detailed in the government’s regulation—preferences for Pakistanis but not Afghans; Japanese but not Iraqis; Hispanics but not Middle Easterners—is not supported by any record evidence at all." The law, in his words, is designed for “presumptively sending men from non-favored racial groups (including whites, some Asians, and most Middle Easterners) to the back of the line.”

Thapar, who was joined in the decision by Reagan-appointed Judge Alan Norris, recognized that racial and gender preferences are sometimes constitutionally permissible under Supreme Court jurisprudence, but only if “the government has a compelling interest” in giving some racial and ethnic groups preferential treatment, and only if the preferences are "narrowly tailored,” whereby “the government must show ‘serious, good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives.’”

The court ruled the preference scheme in the COVID relief law constitutionally insufficient for multiple reasons. Among them was the lack of a specific nexus between the discrimination suffered by the favored groups and prior government action. Equally significant, said the court, was the existence of numerous race-neutral alternatives to the problems identified by the government that they are trying to fix: namely, that minority-and-female owned businesses have had greater difficulty obtaining credit or prior COVID relief funds. “The government could,” said the court, “grant priority consideration to all business owners who were unable to obtain needed capital or credit during the pandemic,” rather than only those who are from preferred racial groups. Or the state “could simply grant priority consideration to all small business owners who have not yet received coronavirus relief funds” (emphasis added).

But instead of a targeted effort to assist all American small-restaurant owners who have suffered equally from the pandemic, the law arbitrarily grants priority to some based on racial or gender identity that has no necessary relationship to economic suffering. The law, for instance, favors white women over Middle Eastern men. And it grants priority to ethnic groups that are among the highest earners in the U.S. — including Indian-Americans and specific groups of Asian-Americans — over lower-earning groups including white men and Middle Easterners.

Group-based income levels in the from 2013-15 U.S. Census Bureau data. Data from subsequent years adheres to these trends.

The court explained this irrational approach in the context of striking down the law's gender preference:

The priority system is designed to fast-track applicants hardest hit by the pandemic. Yet under the Act, all women-owned restaurants are prioritized—even if they are not “economically disadvantaged.” Pub. L. No. 117-2, § 5003(c)(3)(A). So whether a given restaurant did better or worse than a male-owned restaurant next door is of no matter—as long as the restaurant is at least 51% women owned and otherwise meets the statutory criteria, it receives priority status. Because the government made no effort to tailor its priority system, we cannot find that the sex-based distinction is “substantially related” to the objective of helping restaurants disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

In sum, divvying up Americans by race and gender and determining who, on that basis, is entitled to benefits and who is not, is something that is constitutionally permissible only in the narrowest and most extreme circumstances. In the view of the court, the race and gender preferences embedded in the COVID relief bill for small-restaurant owners did not come anywhere near that requisite justification. “As today’s case shows once again,” concluded the court, quoting a prior Supreme Court ruling, the ‘way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’”

The dissenting judgeBernice Donald, is an African-American woman who was first appointed to the federal bench in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, then elevated to the Sixth Circuit in 2011 by President Barack Obama. Her dissenting opinion thoroughly captures the broader political arguments in favor of providing race-and-gender-based preferences.

“It took nearly 200 years for the Supreme Court to firmly establish that our Constitution permits the government to use race-based classifications to remediate past discrimination,” she wrote, but “only seven days for the majority to undermine that longstanding and enduring principle.” Echoing the argument made by those who advocated for such legislative preferences in the first place, Judge Donald insisted that the purportedly race-blind majority opinion ignores systemic realities about how the United States functions and the damages it imposes on specific groups of people:

The majority’s conclusion that Plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief requires us to make several assumptions. The majority’s reasoning suggests we live in a world in which centuries of intentional discrimination and oppression of racial minorities have been eradicated. The majority’s reasoning suggests we live in a world in which the COVID-19 pandemic did not exacerbate the disparities enabled by those centuries of discrimination. The majority’s reasoning suggests that we live in a world in which Congress passed the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (“RRF”) not to aid the nation’s economic recovery, but to arbitrarily provide special treatment to racial minorities and women.

She also argued that the evidence is overwhelming that the racial and gender preferences in the law correspond to those most discriminated against by COVID struggles. Citing the legislative process and the judicial hearing, she said “experts offered evidence showing that minority-owned businesses were more vulnerable to economic distress than businesses owned by white entrepreneurs—they were more likely to operate in retail, accommodation, food services, and personal care services industries, which were hardest hit by government shut-down orders and a decrease in foot traffic.” Beyond that, she said, minority-owned businesses were more likely to be in areas with higher rates of COVID-19 infections.”

Judge Donald seemed to concede that no scheme of racial or gender preferences will perfectly match the realities of the population. Some people who do not suffer as much will receive race-based benefits, while others who suffer more will be denied them. But such schemes, in her view, are nonetheless constitutionally justified given the "broad-based emergency legislation designed to fight business fallout that is uniquely and directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Given the one-time emergency nature of this grant, she said, "we must avoid hurried judicial decision-making under such circumstances,” and should grant extra deference to the legislature regarding its assessments of how best to help a struggling population.

Judge Donald's core argument is that racial and gender preferences, even if imperfectly targeted, are justified to cure widespread racial and gender inequalities.

“Entrepreneurs of color have had specific difficulty in accessing business capital,” she said, while “banks require more documentation from minority applicants but approve loans less often or for lower amounts” and “minority entrepreneurs had lower familial and household incomes, decreasing access to private capital.”

But what of the solutions proposed by the majority, which would target people based on need rather than race and gender? Judge Donald conceded that “in normal times, there may be some force to the majority’s position,” but given the need to “act fast,” some imperfections are inevitable. The Congress, she said, is far better positioned than the Court to assess what is best for the nation during an emergency.”

The undercurrents and conflicts driving this case are highly illustrative of broader cultural debates. Indeed, the case captures the core question driving much politics in the U.S. and the West: is it remedial, or bigoted, to continue to divide people based on race and gender and determine their official rights, benefits and preferences based on their membership in demographic groups rather than the realities of their individual lives?

Specific states, such as Oregon, have explicitly set aside millions of dollars in COVID relief funds available only to black residents. Such race-based benefits across the nation have prompted similar litigation and have resulted in many of these funds being frozen pending their outcome (a Mexican-American resident of Oregon who sued the state over the state's black-only relief fund had her case rejected).

This latest appellate ruling — at least when it comes to COVID relief for small-restaurant owners in the Sixth Circuit (parts of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) — resolves that question in favor of individual treatment and against group-based preferences. But that specific decision is likely to be appealed to the full court and perhaps the Supreme Court and, either way, this specific race and gender debate will continue to rage.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/29/2021 - 21:30
Published:5/29/2021 8:32:27 PM
[] Ben Rhodes says we're 'losing democracy' because 'a couple of people' are protecting the filibuster Published:5/29/2021 3:09:50 PM
[Markets] Virologists Say Genetic "Fingerprints" Prove COVID-19 Man-Made, 'No Credible Natural Ancestor' Virologists Say Genetic "Fingerprints" Prove COVID-19 Man-Made, 'No Credible Natural Ancestor'

Two notable virologists claim to have found "unique fingerprints" on COVID-19 samples that only could have arisen from laboratory manipulation, according to an explosive 22-page paper obtained by the Daily Mail.

The paper's authors, Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen (left) and British Professor Angus Dalgleish (right) via the Daily Mail

British professor Angus Dalgleish - best known for creating the world's first 'HIV vaccine', and Norwegian virologist Dr. Birger Sørensen - chair of pharmaceutical company, Immunor, who has published 31 peer-reviewed papers and holds several patents, wrote that while analyzing virus samples last year, the pair discovered "unique fingerprints" in the form of "six inserts" created through gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

They also conclude that "SARS-Coronavirus-2 has "no credible natural ancestor" and that it is "beyond reasonable doubt" that the virus was created via "laboratory manipulation."

DailyMail.com exclusively obtained the 22-page paper which is set to be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery. In it, researchers describe their months-long 'forensic analysis' into experiments done at the Wuhan lab between 2002 and 2019 (Daily Mail)

A 'GenBank' table included in the paper lists various coronavirus strains, with the dates they were collected and then when they were submitted to the gene bank, showing a delay of several years for some (Daily Mail)

Last year, Sørensen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that COVID-19 has properties which have 'never been detected in nature,' and that the United States has 'collaborated for many years on coronavirus research through "gain of function" studies with China.

One diagram of the coronavirus shows six 'fingerprints' identified by the two scientists, which they say show the virus must have been made in a lab (Daily Mail)
A second diagram showed how a row of four amino acids found on the SARS-Cov-2 spike have a positive charge that clings to human cells like a magnet, making the virus extremely infectious (Daily Mail)

The paper detailing their months-long "forensic analysis," which looked back at experiments done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology between 2002 and 2019, is set to be published in the scientific journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery.

More via the Mail:

Digging through archives of journals and databases, Dalgleish and Sørensen pieced together how Chinese scientists, some working in concert with American universities, allegedly built the tools to create the coronavirus. 

Much of the work was centered around controversial 'Gain of Function' research – temporarily outlawed in the US under the Obama administration.

Gain of Function involves tweaking naturally occurring viruses to make them more infectious, so that they can replicate in human cells in a lab, allowing the virus's potential effect on humans to be studied and better understood. 

Dalgleish and Sørensen claim that scientists working on Gain of Function projects took a natural coronavirus 'backbone' found in Chinese cave bats and spliced onto it a new 'spike', turning it into the deadly and highly transmissible SARS-Cov-2.

One tell-tale sign of alleged manipulation the two men highlighted was a row of four amino acids they found on the SARS-Cov-2 spike.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Sørensen said the amino acids all have a positive charge, which cause the virus to tightly cling to the negatively charged parts of human cells like a magnet, and so become more infectious

But because, like magnets, the positively charged amino acids repel each other, it is rare to find even three in a row in naturally occurring organisms, while four in a row  is 'extremely unlikely,' the scientist said.

'The laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row. The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it,' Dalgleish told DailyMail.com.

Their new paper says these features of SARS-Cov-2 are 'unique fingerprints' which are 'indicative of purposive manipulation', and that 'the likelihood of it being the result of natural processes is very small.'

'A natural virus pandemic would be expected to mutate gradually and become more infectious but less pathogenic which is what many expected with the COVID-19 pandemic but which does not appear to have happened,' the scientists wrote.

'The implication of our historical reconstruction, we posit now beyond reasonable doubt, of the purposively manipulated chimeric virus SARS-CoV-2 makes it imperative to reconsider what types of Gain of Function experiments it is morally acceptable to undertake.

The study concluded 'SARS-Coronavirus-2 has no credible natural ancestor' and that it is 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the virus was created through 'laboratory manipulation' (Daily Mail)

When Sørensen and Dalgleish floated their findings last year, it was 'debunked' with the thinnest of logic - however former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove pointed to the pair's findings as an "important" development which could prove that the pandemic may have originated at the WIV.

Sørensen and Dalgleish aren't the first scientists to find unusual features within COVID-19. Last June, the Daily Telegraph reported that there are two unique features to COVID-19:

First, the virus binds more strongly to human ACE2 enzymes than any other species, including bats.

Second, SARS-CoV-2 has a "furin cleavage site" missing in its closes bat-coronavirus relative, RaTG-13, which makes it significantly more infectious - a finding we reported in late February.

According to Israeli geneticist, Dr. Ronen Shemesh, the Furin site is the most unusual finding.

"I believe that the most important issue about the differences between ALL coronavirus types is the insertion of a Furin protease cleavage site at the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2," he said. "Such an insertion is very rare in evolution, the addition of such 4 Amino acids alone in the course of only 20 years is very unlikely."

"There are many reasons to believe that the COVID-19 generating SARS-CoV-2 was generated in a lab. Most probably by methods of genetic engineering," he said, adding "I believe that this is the only way an insertion like the FURIN protease cleavage site could have been introduced directly at the right place and become effective."

Dr Shemesh, who has a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and over 21 years of experience in the field of drug discovery and development, said it is even “more unlikely” that this insertion happened in exactly the right place of the cleavage site of the spike protein - which is where it would need to occur to make the virus more infectious. -Daily Telegraph

"What makes it even more suspicious is that fact that this insertion not only occurred on the right place and in the right time, but also turned the cleavage site from an Serine protease cleavage site to a FURIN cleavage site," he added.

In January 2020, a team of Indian scientists wrote in a now-retracted paper that the coronavirus may have been genetically engineered to incorporate parts of the HIV genome, writing "This uncanny similarity of novel inserts in the 2019- nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature," meaning - it was unlikely to have occurred naturally.

The next month, a team of researchers in Nankai University noted that COVID-19 has an 'HIV-like mutation' that  allows it to quickly enter the human body by binding with a receptor called ACE2 on a cell membrane.

Other highly contagious viruses, including HIV and Ebola, target an enzyme called furin, which works as a protein activator in the human body. Many proteins are inactive or dormant when they are produced and have to be “cut” at specific points to activate their various functions.

When looking at the genome sequence of the new coronavirus, Professor Ruan Jishou and his team at Nankai University in Tianjin found a section of mutated genes that did not exist in Sars, but were similar to those found in HIV and Ebola. -SCMP

According to the Nankai University study, the furin binding method is "100 to 1,000 times as efficient' as SARS at entering cells.

"This protein cleaving protein is highly promiscuous, it’s found in many human tissues and cell types and is involved in many OTHER virus types activation and infection mechanisms (it is involved in HIV, Herpes, Ebola and Dengue virus mechanisms)," said Dr. Shemesh. "If I was trying to engineer a virus strain with a higher affinity and infective potential to humans, I would do exactly that: I would add a Furin Cleavage site directly at the original less effective and more cell specific cleavage site."

Meanwhile, Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky found last year either "a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention" within COVID-19 telling the Telegraph that COVID-19 is "exquisitely adapted to humans."

Professor Nikolai Petrovsky

"We really don’t know where this virus came from - that’s the truth. The two possibilities is that it was a chance transmission of a virus...the other possibility is that it was an accidental release of the virus from a laboratory," he said, adding "One of the possibilities is that an animal host was infected by two coronaviruses at the same time and COVID-19. The same process can happen in a petri-dish."

"In other words COVID-19 could have been created from that recombination event in an animal host or it could have occurred in a cell-culture experiment. I’m certainly very much in favour of a scientific investigation. Its only objective should be to get to the bottom of how did this pandemic happen and how do we prevent a future pandemic."

Keep in mind - reporting any of this last year was punishable by social media banishment, demonetiziation, and hit-piece articles from propagandists peddling CCP talking points.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/29/2021 - 10:45
Published:5/29/2021 9:46:44 AM
[Markets] Taibbi: So Much For "Transformational" Joe Biden Taibbi: So Much For "Transformational" Joe Biden

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News,

Joe Biden is cruising, in a happy-place few politicians reach. Outside of a few grumpy right-wing outlets he faces almost no hostile press questioning, political threats within his own party are minimal, and his approval rating, if one believes the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, hovers at an astonishing 64%.

Biden has the press paper-trained to a degree we haven’t seen in modern times. Not even at the height of the media’s drooling love affair with Barack Obama — a phenomenon I confess I was part of — did we ever see such enthusiastic, reflexive backing of White House messaging. The Biden press even reverses course on a dime when needed, with the past weeks being a supreme example.

Last Friday, word came out via The Washington Post that the Biden administration’s new budget plan wouldn’t contain a host of key ideas proposed on the campaign trail, from a public health care option to raising the estate tax to forgiveness of student debt. Some of these were major, central campaign promises — the idea of a plan to insure “an estimated 97% of Americans,” for instance, was big Biden campaign rhetoric whose passing was barely commemorated. The key line in the Post article:

The White House jettisoned months of planning from agency staff as their initial plan could fuel criticisms that the administration is pushing new spending programs too aggressively. 

Say what? Just a few weeks ago, we were being told in headline after headline that Biden was a “transformational” president who’d heroically abandoned fruitless efforts at bipartisanship and moreover had conquered the fear of deficit spending that kept Barack Obama from fulfilling his own “transformative” destiny. Insiders regaled us with tales about how this administration exiled the Clintonian tricksters like Larry Summers who robbed Obama of his legacy by whispering false worries about inflation.

We even saw the bizarre spectacle of Treasury Secretary and erstwhile deficit hawk Janet Yellen publicly throwing down with Summers, battle-rapper style, about his excess fiscal caution, saying the biggest risk wasn’t inflation but if “we don’t do enough” to address the economic damage of the pandemic. Yellen all but told Summers to go back to Cranbrook with his bitch-ass spending fears.

Then a few weeks ago, on Meet The Press, Yellen reverted to form and said that Joe Biden “has made clear that permanent increases in spending should be paid for, and I agree,” adding that “over the long run, deficits need to be contained.” After that came the Post story and word that the administration had backed off a host of plans, including a proposal to lower prescription drug costs, while also engaging with seeming seriousness in “bipartisan” negotiations on an infrastructure/jobs bill.

Why might a Democratic White House recently praised as “radical” by the New York Times because they “stopped devising compromised bills in a bid to win Republican votes” suddenly be interested in getting Republican votes again? Politico hinted at the answer:

There also are deepening doubts about an agreement on how to pay for the infrastructure spending package. Democrats are resistant to tapping leftover Covid-relief money, which the White House argues isn't sufficient to cover the plan, anyway.

Translation: Biden is worried about deficits, and having Republicans on whom they can pin lower budgetary outlays is once again politically useful. Therefore, bipartisanship is back, fiscal restraint is back, maybe even austerity is back. Good times!

Whatever one’s feeling about the appropriateness of any of these policies, it’s clear the messaging surrounding them has undergone a near-complete turnaround almost overnight, which would normally prompt at least a raised eyebrow or two in media. But all that’s happened is that the moment the Biden administration stopped talking about being “transformative,” the White House press quietly did the same, in silent recognition that they’ll all be selling a different product for while.

Joe Biden’s journey to “transformational” status and back has been an expert political PR campaign. It took a year, and Biden’s camp never had to break a sweat.

Biden had been a symbol of non-change since before disco, and embraced that image at the start of the 2020 campaign. In a fundraiser in June of 2019, he reportedly told supporters he didn’t want to “demonize” the wealthy, that “no one’s standard of living would change,” and that in fact, if he were elected, “nothing will fundamentally change.” It was an iconic line. He was the un-Obama. Even Steven Colbert ripped him for being an inspirational Shepard Fairey poster in reverse.

Biden didn’t push back on the meming and mockery for that incident or a dozen others like it. He seemed to understand that his appeal in the Trump era lay in the perception that he’d lived in the middle of the political road for so long, he wouldn’t know how to find the edge if he tried.

Biden and his aides spent much of the 2020 primary race engaged in what Clinton-era political analysts would have called triangulation. They pushed back against Medicare for All, the decriminalization of border crossings, defunding the police, and other ideas that seemed to be hot among blue voters. “Status Quo Joe,” sneered the New Republic.

The reporters who covered Biden’s campaign every day were told over and over by surrogates that Biden was about stability, not big ideas. Reporters wrote a lot of those stories. When Biden was doing well in polls, we were told he was “an implicit contrast to potentially riskier rivals” who are “offering more disruptive policy platforms,” as the Washington Post put it. At other times, we were cautioned that Biden’s “adult-in-the-room civility and pragmatic compromise” might not cut it, in an era when Democrats wanted an “ideological warrior,” as Politico magazine wrote.

Biden went so far as to describe himself as literally too old to have new ideas, saying voters would have to settle for him being a “bridge” a future group of possibly idea-having politicians. “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” he said in March of 2020. “There's an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.” When the primary race was down to him and Bernie Sanders, he said he was about “results, not revolution.” And with such pronouncements, he walloped Sanders.

There was a paradox in those results. Although the Democratic electorate overwhelmingly chose Biden in the two-horse race, polls suggested they preferred Sanders policy prescriptions on ideas like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, raising corporate taxes, and so on. Well, maybe they did.

In March of 2020, for instance, at the supposed critical moment of the Sanders-Biden showdown, 66% of voters said they believed the candidate who promised “transformational change” had the best chance of beating Donald Trump. This was compared to 34% who said they believed “someone who promises to build off previous administrations” had the best chance to win. Yet by an almost exact opposite ratio, voters chose Biden at that time.

One way of looking at those results was that many Democrats wanted more of the same, but also wanted to feel like they were voting for “transformative” change. The Biden camp, which had seen both ends of this phenomenon in Obama’s evolving relationship with Democratic voters, seemed to grasp this. Once Sanders was toast and Biden was the de facto nominee, he and his aides began rolling out the word “transform”:

After George Floyd was killed, the rebrand accelerated. There was a classic trial balloon piece on the theme in Politico. Citing anonymous advisers, the story told of an internal campaign debate. On one side, supposedly, were pragmatists who believed in sticking with the status quo platform that won them the primary. Another group believed a shift in the attitudes of white suburban voters especially made it politically feasible (if not necessary) to embrace a more rad-changey posture. Politico phrased things thusly:

Internally, Biden’s campaign is balancing how to best respond to the transformational demands of protesters while maintaining his commanding lead over Trump. Biden gained the lead by staying largely out of the spotlight as Trump has praised the “beautiful heritage” of the Confederacy and called protesters “thugs.”

In July of last year, Matt Yglesias published “Progressives don’t love Joe Biden, but they’re learning to love his agenda,” in a piece that had maybe the Vox-iest sub-head of all time: “The most transformative presidents in our nation’s history — Lincoln, FDR, LBJ — were not ideologues.”

Biden aides then began telling reporters their guy wasn’t just about “stability” at all, that in fact Joe Biden had always been more of a dreamer than he let on, we just didn’t notice. Heading into Election Night, multiple stories played on this theme of “At Age 750, the Real Joe Biden is Finally Emerging,” and almost all had either a quote from a surrogate using the word “transform,” or a line about how little the public knew about the “real” Biden. “Many people might not know what a policy wonk Biden is at heart,” wrote Eugene Robinson just before the vote, in a piece that put the magic word in the lede:

The hits kept coming. “Joe Biden Has Changed: He’s Preparing for a Transformative Presidency,” wrote Franklin Foer in the Atlantic in October, 2016. “‘Moderate’ Joe Biden has Become the Most Progressive Candidate in History,” wrote the Washington Post, with transition board member Felicia Wong saying Biden’s agenda was “transformative.”

From inauguration on, basically every elected Democrat started calling Biden a “transformational” leader. When Biden called his own Covid-19 relief package “transformational,” critical mass was achieved. Nancy Pelosi promised a “Big, bold, and transformational” infrastructure bill. Jim Clyburn said Biden’s approach was “truly transformational.” The coordination was like something out of a Chinese Olympic parade:

The inevitable next step was that TV talking heads and newspaper pundits started using the term like it was their own idea. The list of media people who seem genuinely to believe they independently arrived at the thought, “Joe Biden is a Transformational President” is staggeringly long. It includes everyone from analysts at the Heritage Foundation and the Atlantic Council to David Brooks to Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. The latter ironically made their assessment before the same Steven Colbert who beat up Biden for being the “nothing will change” guy two years before. The web in the end became a sea of “transformational” headlines:

There are no accidental choices in propaganda. Transformational is less threatening than revolutionary, but also promises less than sweeping or fundamental. It’s a word the Biden campaign started using a year ago and had surrogates pulling oars every day since to get its momentum rolling. By March of this year they didn’t have to row, as pundits muttered it automatically. Then the moment it became expedient, the Biden White House backed off the word and started creeping back in certain expected political directions. Still, they’ll retain the campaign’s PR gains, because none of their pet editorialists will bother outing themselves with a, “Hey, what about that ‘transformative’ thing we talked so much about?” piece.

One of the underreported stories of the 2020 race was that Biden’s handlers somehow ran quite a smart campaign, even as their candidate pooped his drawers and disintegrated mentally on an almost daily basis. They leaned into social media mockery of their candidate, realizing there was an untapped reservoir of Democrat voters who loathed the Twitter discourse far more than most reporters understood, then shifted in the general, and now are shifting back again. The effectiveness of their rhetorical approach has been astounding in its consistency, but there’s only so much credit to give, When you’ve got nothing but friends in the press gallery, everything works.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/28/2021 - 16:20
Published:5/28/2021 3:32:27 PM
[Markets] Senate Republicans Block Jan 6 Capitol Riot Commission Senate Republicans Block Jan 6 Capitol Riot Commission

As was largely expected, The Senate failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to advance a bill creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, voting 54-35 as Republicans invoked the first legislative filibuster of the Biden presidency.

Schumer asked Republicans in a speech on Friday, moments before the vote:

"What are you afraid of, the truth? Are you afraid that Donald Trump’s Big Lie will be dispelled?"

"The Department of Justice is deep into a massive criminal investigation," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) countered.

"I do not believe the additional, extraneous 'commission' that Democratic leaders want would uncover crucial new facts or promote healing. Frankly, I do not believe it is even designed to."

Six Republicans who voted in favor of the commission were Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Ben Sasse (Neb.).

Former President Trump, who remains the most popular figure in the GOP, has condemned the proposed commission as "partisan" and demanded investigations into left-wing political violence during racial-justice protests last year.

House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) previously told reporters that Democrats would likely pursue a select committee if the bill fell short in the Senate.

This vote comes as James Bovard warns, via The Mises Institute, that the bogus Jan 6th Commission posed a real threat to freedom.

“Truth will out” is the most popular fairy tale in Washington. Members of Congress are clashing over whether politicians will appoint an “independent” commission to reveal the facts behind the January 6 Capitol ruckus. Proponents are portraying the issue as a simple choice between “truth or Trump.”

Recent history provides no reason to expect a politically controlled process to expose facts that undermine powerful politicians. Congress has long been worse than useless as a fact-finding agency. “Oversight” is a euphemism for stupefying congressional procedures designed to avoid discovering information that might embarrass their allies. A senior House Republican admitted in 2004: “Our party controls the levers of government. We're not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to cause heartburn.” Most members of Congress are more likely to grovel before federal agencies than to challenge their power. “How are you so great and how can we help you?” is the usual response when the FBI director testifies, as Guardian columnist Trevor Timm noted in 2016.

There is no reason to presume that a commission investigating January 6 would not be hogtied official stonewalling. Former Senate Intelligence Committee staff director Andy Johnson observed in 2014: “The fog of secrecy made a mockery of oversight” of the CIA torture scandal. The Obama administration did not object even when the CIA illegally spied on a congressional committee to thwart the torture investigation. Both Bush and Obama administration officials repeatedly lied during congressional testimony on war on terror policies but faced no consequences. But everything would be different in this investigation, right?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team want a congressionally appointed commission in lieu of disclosing what actually happened on January 6. Cameras posted in and around the Capitol recorded fourteen hundred hours of film on January 6, but very little of the evidence has been publicly disclosed. Fourteen news organizations have requested that the Justice Department publicly release key videos on the federal court’s electronic dockets but no such luck. Capitol Police chief lawyer Thomas DiBiase warned that “providing unfettered access to hours of extremely sensitive information to defendants who already have shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process will … [cause that information to be] passed on to those who might wish to attack the Capitol again.” But it is also “interfering with the democratic process” to withhold evidence of actions which have been endlessly demonized by the president, top congressional leaders, and their media allies. 

Disclosing the video could settle the question of whether most protestors behaved like violent attackers or gaping tourists. Julie Kelly, writing for American Greatness, recently posted a forty-five-second video clip of protestors after they entered the Capitol that day. Capitol Police officer Keith Robishaw tells a group of protestors:

“We’re not against … you need to show us … no attacking, no assault, remain calm.”

The citizens shown in that clip don’t appear to have been hell-bent on overthrowing the government that day.

The media is touting the fact that Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the cochairs of the 9/11 Commission, have endorsed a commission to investigate January 6. But invoking Kean and Hamilton is like relying on the Three Stooges as references for a job application at a pie factory. 

Kean and Hamilton issued a joint statement boasting about the 9/11 Commission: 

We put country above party to examine, without bias, the events before, during, and after the attacks…. The January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol was one of the darkest days in our history. Americans deserve an objective and accurate account of what happened. As we did in the wake of September 11, it is time to set aside partisan politics and come together as Americans in common pursuit of truth and justice.”

The 9/11 Commission “pursued truth and justice” by permitting the White House to edit the final version of their report before it was publicly released. Despite its canonization inside the Beltway, that report would not be admissible in a court of law, because it relied on torture for many of its key assertions. The New York Times’s Philip Shenon, the author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigationnoted that “more than a quarter of the report’s footnotes—441 of some 1,700—referred to detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s ‘enhanced’ interrogation program.” Shenon reported that commission members “forwarded questions to the CIA, whose interrogators posed them on the panel’s behalf. The commission’s report gave no hint that harsh interrogation methods [including waterboarding] were used in gathering information.” The commission’s report was released months after shocking photos from Abu Ghraib and key Justice Department and Pentagon memos leaked out, exposing the Bush administration’s torture regime. Yet, as Shenon noted, “The commission demanded that the CIA carry out new rounds of interrogations in 2004 to get answers to its questions.” The 9/11 Commission became profoundly complicit in the torture at the same time it pretended to objectively judge the Bush record.

The commission report was released in July 2004 at the same time that Bush was exploiting the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War for his reelection campaign. The commission ignored evidence compiled by a joint House-Senate investigation revealing that Saudi government agents bankrolled multiple Saudi hijackers in the US prior to the attacks (fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis). But the Bush administration suppressed those twenty-eight pages of that congressional report and they were not released until 2016. Bush embraced Saudi leaders while insisting that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was somehow to blame for 9/11. If the 9/11 Commission had quoted the 2002 FBI memo stating that there was “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these [9/11 hijacker] terrorists within the Saudi Government,” Bush might have been seriously damaged, but 9/11 commissioners chose to serve the White House rather than truth. Kean and Hamilton remain venerated by the media, because their kowtowing buttressed public trust in the political system.

Would an investigation of January 6 be more honest than the investigation of September 11? President Biden and Democratic congressional leaders are vested in the “terrorist attack/Pearl Harbor” narrative that they established within hours of the fracas. Democrats still refer to the protestors murdering a Capitol Police officer long after the belated revelation that he died of natural causes. The New York Times noted that that advocates of a January 6 commission insist it is "an ethical and practical necessity to fully understand the most violent attack on Congress in two centuries." Tell that to the Puerto Rican nationalists who shot up Congress in 1954 or to Congressman Steve Scalise and two other Capitol employees who were shot by a Democratic Party zealot in 2017. If such “facts” are the baseline for accuracy, then citizens can start scoffing long before a commission issues a final report.

The biggest illusion behind the push for a January 6 commission is that there is a political constituency in Washington for truth. But that hasn’t been the case for decades. As French essayist Paul Valery warned long ago, “At every step, politics and freedom of mind exclude each other.”

In the same way that it took almost fifteen years for some key facts about the 9/11 attacks to be revealed, it may be months or years until key damning revelations about the Capitol clash are extracted from federal agencies or private individuals and groups. Creating a pseudoindependent commission is more likely to codify a deceptive but politically profitable storyline than to expose facts that undercut powerful Washingtonians or government agencies. 

A façade of political “truth” can be more dangerous than no disclosure at all. Biden and congressional Democrats are seeking to turbocharge their push for a new domestic terrorism law to permit widespread federal crackdowns on their opponents. Any rigged commission would likely pour gasoline on a fire that could singe far more American rights and liberties.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/28/2021 - 12:26
Published:5/28/2021 11:35:46 AM
[Markets] 15 State Treasurers Warn They Will Pull Assets From Banks That Obstruct the Fossil Fuel Industry 15 State Treasurers Warn They Will Pull Assets From Banks That Obstruct the Fossil Fuel Industry

Authored by Samuel Allegri via The Epoch Times,

Fifteen Republican State Treasurers sent a warning that they will pull assets from financial institutions if they give in to Federal pressure to de-carbonize and “refuse to lend to or invest in” the fossil fuel and coal industry.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Jan. 27, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The letter (pdf), led by West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, is directed at Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. It expresses concerns over reports that Kerry and other members of the Biden administration have been “privately pressuring” U.S. banks to stifle the fossil fuel industry.

“We are writing today to express our deep concern with recent reports that you, and other members of the Biden Administration, are privately pressuring U.S. banks and financial institutions to refuse to lend to or invest in coal, oil, and natural gas companies, as part of a misguided strategy to eliminate the fossil fuel industry in our country,” the letter reads.

The State Treasurers sent a plain message to financial institutions, telling them not to submit to the present administration’s coercion to deny investment and lending for the natural resources.

Furthermore, they assert that the approaches will “discriminate against law-abiding U.S. energy companies and their employees, impede economic growth, and drive up consumer costs,” adding that the strategy in question would make the free market submit to the will of politicians.

The signees of the letter are representing collectively more than $600 billion in assets, according to Axios.

They are backing some of the largest fossil fuel producers in the country.

“As a collective, we strongly oppose command-and-control economic policies that attempt to bend the free market to the political will of government officials,” they write.

It is simply antithetical to our nation’s position as a democracy and a capitalist economy for the Executive Branch to bully corporations into curtailing legal activities. The Biden Administration’s top-down tactics of picking economic winners and losers deprives the real determinate group in our society—the people—of essential choice and agency. We refuse to allow the federal government to pick our critical industries as losers, based purely on President Biden’s own radical political preferences and ideologies.”

The Obama administration’s previous conflict with American coal and natural gas industries is mentioned as an attack on jobs, tax revenue, and health insurance provided to families across the country, specifically hard-working middle-class families.

“As the chief financial officers of our respective states, we entrust banks and financial institutions with billions of our taxpayers’ dollars. It is only logical that we will give significant weight to the fact that an institution engaged in tactics that will harm the people whose money they are handling before entering into or extending any contract,” they warned.

The Epoch Times reached out to the White House for comment.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/27/2021 - 18:40
Published:5/27/2021 5:56:22 PM
[Markets] Ministry Of Truth 2.0 Looms Ministry Of Truth 2.0 Looms

Authored by Cal Thomas, op-ed via The Epoch Times,

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is reportedly considering the development of tools that would help America’s children discern truth from lies and know when they are being fed “disinformation.”

The Washington Times, which first reported the story, says a department spokesperson declined to give details, but that more information would be revealed “in the coming weeks.”

Mayorkas might want to start by fact-checking his recent claim that the U.S. southern border is “closed.” He made the statement when news pictures showed waves of people crossing the border. Should kids believe him, or their “lying eyes”?

Should anyone, regardless of political party or persuasion, be comfortable with government telling especially children what they can believe and whom they can trust? This is what totalitarian states do. It’s called propaganda.

We are already inundated with political correctness, cancel culture, and woke-ism. TV networks spend more time delivering opinion and slanting stories to particular points of view than what once resembled—if not objective journalism—then at least fairness.

The list of government officials who have lied is long and dates back to the founders of the nation. Some lies could be defended on national security grounds. Others were used to cover up wrongdoing or enhance the image of the one who lied.

In recent years, we recall President Clinton’s denial of having sex with Monica Lewinsky, President Obama’s claim about his health care program: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” President George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips, no new taxes,” assertions by the George W. Bush administration that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Richard Nixon’s lies about Watergate, the lies told by Lyndon Johnson, members of his administration and generals about how we were winning the war in Vietnam (Johnson had pledged during the 1964 campaign not to send Americans to fight in Vietnam, another lie), and the CEO of R.J. Reynolds telling a congressional committee in 1994 that “cigarette smoking is no more ‘addictive’ than coffee, tea, or Twinkies.” The Washington Post reported in January that by the end of his term, former President Trump “had accumulated 30,573 untruths during his presidency—averaging about 21 erroneous claims a day.”

I could go on, but you get the point.

George Orwell was prescient when he wrote in “1984” about Newspeak and the Ministry of Truth. We have already achieved the former in what we are allowed to say, or not say, lest we be smeared with nasty rhetorical stains. Let’s revisit the Ministry of Truth for those who haven’t read the book or need a reminder.

The Ministry of Truth was related to Newspeak in that it had nothing to do with truth, but propaganda by another name. Its job was to falsify historical records in ways that aligned with government policies and its version of those events. It was also tasked with defining truth, which sometimes resulted in “doublespeak,” or contradictions, that served the purposes of the state.

Truth has become subjective and relative in modern times and is now personal. You have your “truth” and I have my “truth.” Even when they contradict each other, it doesn’t matter as long as we both feel good about it.

This flawed notion has contributed to our cultural decline.

Try this experiment if you want to see how far we have moved from objective truth. Go to any popular definition website and type in “truth.” They assume truth exists and can be discovered.

The truth is supposed to set us free, but if we can’t recognize or define it, we will be in bondage. Secretary Mayorkas should reread Orwell’s novel and then abandon any plans to indoctrinate schoolchildren.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/27/2021 - 16:40
Published:5/27/2021 3:55:49 PM