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[Barack Obama] The Week in Radical Leftism, 11/25/2022

Welcome back! Light week for the holiday, and hopefully you had a great Thanksgiving 11/18 – Michelle Obama Is So Stunning And Brave, You Guys 11/19 – Fake Hate: San Diego Vegan Food Truck Owner Charged With Arson, Insurance Fraud 11/20 – Pious Candy-Ass Sidewinder Yes, this is one of those posts that made the […]

The post The Week in Radical Leftism, 11/25/2022 appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:11/25/2022 8:28:46 AM
[Politics] Fawning NY Times’ ‘Review’ of Michelle Obama’s New Book Is an Embarrassment

Ben Shapiro was blunt on Twitter. He had discovered “the most sycophantic book review ever written.” The book was the second tome from multimillionaire author... Read More

The post Fawning NY Times’ ‘Review’ of Michelle Obama’s New Book Is an Embarrassment appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:11/25/2022 4:10:02 AM
[Politics] Trump special counsel’s wife worked on Obama film and donated to Biden The wife of newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith is a filmmaker who produced a movie about former first lady Michelle Obama and donated to President Biden’s 2020 campaign.  Published:11/24/2022 1:29:32 AM
[] Wig Out: Michelle Obama straightened her hair because Americans weren't ready for her natural hair Published:11/19/2022 2:11:14 PM
[World] How Karen Bass prevailed against Rick Caruso's $100-million campaign

A late endorsement from former President Obama, along with the Supreme Court decision striking down Roe vs. Wade, helped propel Karen Bass to victory over Rick Caruso.

Published:11/18/2022 8:04:54 AM
[] Michelle Obama Says She Didn’t Wear Her Hair in Braids in the White House – Can You Guess Why Not? Published:11/17/2022 6:07:39 PM
[Markets] Relationship Among FTX, Ukraine, And Democrats Sparks Speculation Relationship Among FTX, Ukraine, And Democrats Sparks Speculation

Authored by Andrew Moran via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Samuel Bankman-Fried, founder and then-CEO of FTX, testifies during a Senate Committee hearing about Examining Digital Assets: Risks, Regulation, and Innovation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Feb. 9, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Is there a questionable relationship between Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt FTX, Ukraine, and the Democrats? In the aftermath of the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange, new questions are being raised surrounding these connections, from crypto partnerships to the billionaire’s contributions to Democrats.

But is there something behind the curtain or was it a group of young people in over their heads?

It All Begins with ‘Aid for Ukraine’

In March, the Ukrainian government established a crypto donations website, allowing Kyiv to convert digital token contributions into fiat money that would be deposited at the National Bank of Ukraine. The Ukraine government maintained a goal of $200 million. By October, it had raised more than $60 million.

The contributed funds have been used to purchase everything needed for the war effort, such as digital rifle scopes, medical supplies, field rations, fuel, military clothing, and other critical items.

The initiative, known as “Aid for Ukraine,” garnered the support of FTX, staking outfit Everstake, and Ukraine’s Kuna exchange. It has been powered by the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

“At the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, FTX felt the need to provide assistance in any way it could. By setting up payment rails and facilitating the conversion of crypto donations into fiat currency, we have given the Central Bank of Ukraine the ability to deliver aid and resources to the people who need it most,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement in March. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Sergey [Vasylchuk] and the Everstake team as they continue to work tirelessly in helping Ukrainians as they suffer from this conflict.”

Days after the launch of the Ukraine–FTX collaboration, U.S. President Joe Biden announced an extra $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total contribution to $2 billion since the start of the administration. In total, it’s estimated that the United States has given more than $60 billion to Kyiv.

While it’s unclear if reports that Ukrainian officials have invested in FTX are accurate, many are seeking an explanation as to whether Ukrainian officials have used funds delivered to Kyiv through FTX to funnel money to Democratic campaigns.

Bankman-Fried’s Donations to Democrats

Bankman-Fried was the second-largest Democratic donor for the 2021–22 cycle, donating $39.8 million. This was behind George Soros’s total donations of $128 million. Bankman-Fried gave the most amount of money to the Protect Our Future PAC, a group that “endorsed Democratic candidates such as Peter Welch, who won his bid to become Vermont’s next senator, and Robert J. Menendez of New Jersey, who secured a House seat,” according to Fortune. But this past summer, Bankman-Fried suggested that he could’ve spent $1 billion on the midterm elections to support the Democrats, although he stepped away from this proposition.

In the first half of 2022, he contributed $865,000 to the Democratic National Committee, $66,500 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, and $250,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In addition, Bankman-Fried made multiple visits to the White House. According to White House visitor logs, he met with White House counselor Steve Ricchetti on April 22 and May 12. The FTX founder also met with Charlotte Butash, a policy adviser to the White House deputy chief of staff, on May 13.

Mark Wetjen, the head of policy and regulatory strategy at FTX, who served as a commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under former President Barack Obama, also attended some of the meetings.

Visitor logs also show that Bankman-Fried’s younger brother, Gabe, made visits to the White House on March 7 and May 13. His first appointment was with Nathaly Maurice, special assistant to the president and director of partnerships at the White House. His second visit was with Butash.

Gabe had previously worked as a Capitol Hill staffer and is the founder and director of Guarding Against Pandemics.

Bankman-Fried has been open about his attempts to influence public policymaking, explaining that he’s championing crypto regulations, including legislation that would codify licensure for crypto assets. The bill, the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022, was proposed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in August. A key aspect of the legislative pursuit is that it would allocate crypto regulatory power to the CFTC. Bankman-Fried donated $5,800 to Stabenow’s campaign in February.

“One in five Americans have used or traded digital assets—but these markets lack the transparency and accountability that they expect from our financial system. Too often, this puts Americans’ hard-earned money at risk,” Stabenow said in a statement. “That’s why we are closing regulatory gaps and requiring that these markets operate under straightforward rules that protect customers and keep our financial system safe.”

So everything that has transpired between Bankman-Fried, FTX, Ukraine, and the Democrats has raised some eyebrows. Billionaire CEO Elon Musk is also intrigued by the latest developments.

Was FTX being used to launder money for the Democratic Party?” a Twitter user asked.

Musk replied, “A question worth asking.

Alex Bornyakov, the deputy minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, took to Twitter on Nov. 14 to dismiss this “narrative.”

“A fundraising crypto foundation @_AidForUkraine used @FTX_Official to convert crypto donations into fiat in March,” he tweeted. “Ukraine’s gov never invested any funds into FTX. The whole narrative that Ukraine allegedly invested in FTX, who donated money to Democrats is nonsense, frankly.”

Corruption or Incompetence?

Is there truth to any of the speculation that Ukraine funneled money to Biden through FTX or that there was anything iniquitous in the Ukraine-FTX partnership?

A cryptocurrency expert, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Epoch Times that there isn’t much credence to the suggestions. Although Bankman-Fried was a significant Democratic donor, the downfall of FTX was because of mismanagement, poor decision-making, and a lack of experience and corporate controls. It was an enormous financial firm that was run by 20-somethings.

The other factor was that FTX’s assets were denominated in volatile cryptocurrencies, and many of these tokens’ valuations crashed in 2022. FTX’s balance sheet, which was obtained by the Financial Times, shows that its assets were comprised of joke coins or unreliable tokens, including TRUMPLOSE, the Brazilian Digital Token, Oxygen (OXY), and FTT (FTX’s native coin).

In recent months, FTX has been acquiring troubled assets throughout the crypto and tech industries. In May, Bankman-Fried revealed a 7.6 percent stake in Robinhood, but the value had tumbled by more than 5 percent since the purchase.

It has been a year of turmoil for a wide array of crypto firms, such as Coinbase, crypto lending firm Celsius, BlockFi, and Singapore-based crypto trading platform Three Arrows Capital—which Bankman-Fried bailed out with a $750 million credit line.

“We’re willing to do a somewhat bad deal here if that’s what it takes to sort of stabilize things and protect customers,” he said in June.

The FTX scandal will likely have a domino effect in the sector. BlockFi, a crypto lender, revealed that it had large exposure to FTX. The Wall Street Journal also reported that BlockFi is exploring a bankruptcy filing, citing people familiar with the matter.

There’s growing concern that Gate.io and Crypto.com could be the next two giants in the crypto ecosystem to experience financial troubles.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/15/2022 - 17:40
Published:11/15/2022 5:00:20 PM
[Politics] Michelle Obama's new book is self-help — but it goes high

'The Light We Carry' is former First Lady Michelle Obama's follow-up to her mega-bestselling memoir, 'Becoming.'

Published:11/15/2022 11:03:44 AM
[Political Cartoons] Senator Festerman

by Tom Stiglich at CDN -

Pennsylvania voted … badly and as Obama once said, “Elections have consequences.” He’ll likely be hidden away to avoid video being taken of regular malfunctions. Democrats just seem to like electing non compos mentis politicians. Cartoon by Tom Stiglich, Commentary by R. Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief See more Stiglich (@TStig822) toons HERE.

Click to read the rest HERE-> Senator Festerman first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:11/13/2022 6:35:52 AM
[adddc847-9422-599f-8606-6be96d69b5c9] TUCKER CARLSON: The most powerful people in the world are always telling you they're victims Tucker Carlson reacts to a noose allegedly being found around the construction site of former President Barack Obama's presidential library on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Published:11/12/2022 5:22:01 AM
[Markets] "Anti-Democratic" Just Means "Something The Regime Doesn't Like" "Anti-Democratic" Just Means "Something The Regime Doesn't Like"

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

“Democracy” is the new “revolutionary.”

In the old Marxist regimes, anything that displeased the regime was said to be contrary to “the revolution.” For example, in the Soviet Union, national leaders spoke regularly of how the nation was in the process of “a revolutionary transformation” toward a future idealized communist society. Many years after the actual revolution and coup d’état in Russia following the collapse of tsarist rule, the word “revolution” had “positive connotations and was considered a source of legitimacy in official ideology.”

“Revolutionary” became a synonym for “a thing we like,” and it’s no surprise that 1952 Soviet legal manual lists “counterrevolutionary” activities as among the “political crimes … deemed generally dangerous crimes against the order of the state.” Moreover, in the early 1950s, when Mao Zedong launched new efforts to consolidate Communist power, he called the effort a “campaign to suppress counterrevolutionaries.” Other regimes adopted similar practices as well. Fidel Castro’s regime frequently launched investigations and campaigns against “antirevolutionary” dissidents and Ethiopia’s Marxist governments in the 1970s described domestic opponents as guilty of “anti-revolutionary crimes.”

Anything that was deemed “counterrevolutionary” or “antirevolutionary” was assumed to be an awful thing that was a threat to the reliably vague notion of progress toward the fulfillment of the alleged revolution. The vagueness of the term was, of course, an advantage from the point of view of the regime. Consequently, to be a counterrevolutionary required nothing more than to be guilty of thought crime by subscribing to heterodox views on the current ruling party.

Thus, to be a counterrevolutionary was simply to be opposed to the regime, regardless of one’s actual ideological views. This is why communist Emma Goldman (a bona fide revolutionary) could be denounced as “antirevolutionary” for expressing doubts about the virtues of the Soviet regime. One’s support for actual revolution was irrelevant, and “antirevolutionary” could simply be defined or redefined as whatever the regime found objectionable at any given time.

In the year 2022, we find the word “democracy” serving a similar role in political discourse. President Joe Biden has delivered two major speeches this year on how “democracy” will supposedly be abolished if his opponents win. Last week, former president Barack Obama solemnly intoned that if Republicans win in Arizona, “democracy as we know it may not survive.” Indeed, this has become something of a mantra among left-wing politicians and their media allies. One writer at Salon chastised voters for daring to let their votes be influenced by economic concerns when “democracy is under threat.” One New York Times headline bemoaned the apparent reality that voters don’t seem interested in “saving democracy” when it’s supposedly all so clear that “democracy is in peril.”

So why are so many voters allegedly ready to “trade democracy for cheap gas”? The answer probably lies in the fact that most voters can see what is obvious: the only thing actually in peril is the Left’s version of democracy, which is an anything-goes-including-rampant-voter-fraud model for US elections. Moreover, the Left wants a federal takeover of elections, which in the United States have always been at least moderately decentralized. Instead, the “prodemocracy” camp wants federally enforced election regulations prohibiting limitations on voting for aliens, dead people, and frauds. If the Left does poorly in this election, that’s a lot less likely to happen.

Any attempt to limit fraud - such as requiring identification for voters is denounced as “anti-democratic.” Indeed, nothing better shows this than the Left’s complaints about the fact that some law enforcement officers have monitored polling places. As one Georgetown University bureaucrat put it, allowing law enforcement personnel to guard ballot boxes might “intimidate” some people, and sends the message that voter fraud actually occurs. This, she tells us, is “abhorrent.” But at the core of this complaint is simply an aversion to the idea that the presence of police might scare some people away from ballot stuffing and other forms of fraud.

Ironically, by this way of thinking, to be “pro-democracy” is to not care whether the voting process is fraudulent. Thus, just like the term “revolutionary” under the old Communist regimes, the terms “democratic” and “democracy” in the US today cease to have any meaning and really just mean “what our side likes.”

After all, most reasonable people would conclude that democratic institutions exist whenever there are regular elections and generally universal suffrage for citizens. This is clearly the case in every state of the union. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of countries that the Left calls “democracies”—France, Germany, Iceland, etc.—have voter identification requirements, checks against double voting, and similar means of preventing fraud. In the United States, the Left calls all this “antidemocratic.”

The actual details of what it means to be prodemocratic or antidemocratic don’t actually matter when it comes to political discourse. The word “democratic” is an emotionally loaded term, and essentially code for “politically legitimate.” All that really matters is to call one’s allies “democratic” and to denounce the other side as “undemocratic.” In America today, to be labeled “democratic” means one has the approval of the ruling regime. Those who are labeled “undemocratic” are those who, like the “counterrevolutionaries” of old, have been deemed—rightly or wrongly—threats to the status quo.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/11/2022 - 19:40
Published:11/11/2022 7:02:03 PM
[Markets] Election Night Results: Early Signals To Watch For As Polls Close Across America Election Night Results: Early Signals To Watch For As Polls Close Across America

There were 45,920,446 early votes cast in the elections, according to the latest tally by the University of Florida’s United States Elections Project. That includes 20,487,803 in-person early votes and 25,432,643 mail ballots returned.

As a reminder, Bill Clinton lost 54 House seats in 1994, Barack Obama lost 63 in 2010 and Rabobank forecasts Democrats to lose 75 seats in this election.

Polls have now closed in a number of states and while the percentage of votes counted remains low, official media sources have called a number of seats.

In the Senate:

  • AP: Democrat Peter Welch Wins Election to U.S. Senate From Vermont

  • AP: Republican Rand Paul Wins Reelection to U.S. Senate From Kentucky

  • AP: Republican Tim Scott Wins Reelection to U.S. Senate From South Carolina

Source

In the House:

Source

Watch live:

What time do polls close?

*  *  *

Well, you've done your patriotic duty to uphold democracy across the union and now all that is left is to sit back and watch the completely error-free results of the Midterm elections quickly roll in as the billions of dollars spent on people and machines to enhance voting integrity and accuracy are shown as being well spent.

Of course, that's all ridiculous as the mainstream media and Democrat apparatchiks have already set the narrative that 'we, the people' should not expect the results tonight (like Brazil managed?) or in fact any time soon.

Around 44 million people had cast their ballots early for the midterm elections as of November 7. Of those, roughly 20 million people voted in person nationwide, while more than 24 million returned their ballot by mail. This is around a 13 percent increase from 2018, when the last midterms were held. Then, a total of 39 million ballots were counted, according to the U.S. Elections Project.

Infographic: 2022 Midterms: Have More People Voted Early? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Analysts claim that this could be interpreted as a good sign for Democrats, as in past years the party’s followers have been more likely to vote ahead. While even with these figures it is unclear what the midterm results will be, it does show that there is an increase in political engagement in several states. As The Washington Post notes, 2.5 million people had voted in person early on Friday in Georgia this year when early voting ended, far surpassing the 1.9 million who cast their ballot early in 2018.

It is worth noting that in some states, for example in Vermont and Hawaii, early voting was much higher than in the last midterms because these states changed the law to make it easier to vote early by mail. In 2018, Hawaii moved to all mail-in, which explains the state’s high figures. Vermont in 2021 changed its law to mail out ballots to all active voters without the need to request.

The U.S. Elections Project was last updated on 7 November, with states showing the latest available data.

Remember this chart...

As a reminder, in 2020, 42 states and Washington, D.C., had reported enough results for news organizations to project winners in the presidential race by about 3:00 a.m. Eastern.

But eight states took longer. Six of them — all but Alaska and Michigan — have competitive Senate races this year that could determine the balance of power in Congress.

Of course, before we get to what to watch for tonight, we can't let the elephant in the room go.

We have seen 'voting issues' across multiple states today with 20% of Maricopa County (AZ) machines non-functioning at one point.

So, don't hold your breath for any real final answers tonight. However, while there are a handful of key races to watch, we note that Axios details seven bellwethers which will help navigate the results as they drip-drip-drip in tonight to see whether Republicans are gaining a foothold in parts of the country that have long eluded them, for example, and the types of Democrats who can win even when the odds would seem to be stacked against them.

1. The best early bellwether: Rep. Abigail Spanberger's (D-Va.) race against Republican Yesli Vega, in the exurbs outside Washington, D.C., will offer a clear early signal of the national political mood.

  • A pragmatic Democrat with a national security background, Spanberger has condemned her party's left wing early and often On Saturday, she was endorsed by vocal Trump critic Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

  • Vega reflects the under-the-radar diversity of the GOP's recruiting class — a Latina candidate who serves as a county supervisor and has a law enforcement background.

  • Polls close in Virginia early (7 p.m. ET) and the state typically counts ballots quickly. Spanberger's early victory in 2018 foreshadowed the Democratic wave that year. If Republicans return the favor in 2022, it would be a sign of a wave in the opposite direction.

2. The most important county: Miami-Dade, Florida.

  • Republicans are confident that Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio will comfortably win their re-elections, but the bigger dynamic to follow is their margin of victory in the state's most populous, majority-Hispanic county.

  • Miami-Dade County hasn't voted for a Republican for president since 1988 and hasn't backed a GOP governor since 2002 (Jeb Bush). Rubio hasn't won an outright majority in his home county for his Senate races, either.

  • But both have a chance to win in Miami-Dade — result that would signal a GOP landslide and provide rocket fuel for a potential DeSantis presidential campaign.

3. The Democrat best-positioned to survive a red wave: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who is still running neck-and-neck against Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett.

  • Even as many Democratic colleagues in bluer territory look awfully vulnerable, Slotkin is holding her own in one of the most expensive House battlegrounds.

  • If Slotkin runs against the tide, she'll credit Liz Cheney's endorsement for pushing some suburban swing voters her way. But if Barrett defeats the two-term lawmaker, he'll be reflective of the new MAGA-aligned Republican majority.

4. The upset to watch: The New York governor's race.

  • It's hard to imagine deep-blue New York electing a Republican governor — especially one who has been closely aligned with former President Trump.

  • But Gov. Kathy Hochul's tone-deaf reaction to voters concerned about crime is giving Republican Lee Zeldin a fighting chance.

5. Rare Democratic bright spot: Kansas.

  • Kansas was one of the first signs of a backlash to aggressive abortion restrictions in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling this past summer.

  • Even as Democrats are struggling in some deep-blue states, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is running competitively against Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, according to strategists from both parties.

  • Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), representing a suburban Kansas City district that Republicans drew to their favor in redistricting, is also in a strong position. A NYT/Siena poll this week showed Davids leading Republican Amanda Adkins by 15 points in a Biden +5 district.

6. The races that will settle the Mitch McConnell-Rick Scott feud: Arizona and New Hampshire.

  • The cash-flush, McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund decided not to spend in Arizona and pulled out of the New Hampshire race in October. The super PAC's reason: It was more important to spend in the races that will decide the Senate majority, rather than gambling on candidates who may be general-election liabilities.

  • Scott's allies, meanwhile, view McConnell as overly cautious and worry Republicans will miss an opportunity to take advantage of the GOP wave in two swing states, even with flawed nominees.

  • If Blake Masters and Don Bolduc win without much establishment help, they'll likely be thorns in McConnell's side if he becomes majority leader.

7. Biggest demographic shift: Working-class Hispanic voters.

  • Republicans are growing bullish that they'll make significant inroads in Hispanic-heavy parts of the country, where concerns about crime and the economy are creating a wedge against their traditional Democratic affiliation.

  • "Everyone is seeing that the Hispanic districts have been two, three, four clicks to the right compared to their historical performance," said one GOP official tracking House races. "They're coming in red hot Republican."

  • The American Enterprise Institute demographics tracker finds the Democratic congressional margin among Hispanic voters 7-9 points below its 2020 level and 17-19 points below its 2018 level.

  • Key areas to watch for as a sign of the Hispanic shift right: Nevada, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas (where Republicans are hoping to sweep three majority-Hispanic districts), and Colorado's 8th district, a newly created seat outside Denver.

Finally, while it sounds odd, Alex Berenson makes an interesting point as to why Democrats should be hoping they get crushed.

Tactically, they need a loss so big that Uncle Joe has no choice but to announce very quickly that he will not be running in 2024.

They need a wide open primary that will help them find the next generation of CENTRIST Democrats.

What they do not need, under any circumstances, is for Biden to limp along until late fall 2023 and then bow to reality, creating a giant mess that will only help those Democrats with super-high name recognition.

A close loss will not force that reckoning. But a bad one will (I hope). And a saner Democratic Party will be good for everyone.

Having said all that, we are left thinking, just what do liberal Democrats do, if, in a free and fair election, US voters throw them out and replace them with people our elites routinely equate with fascists and Nazis?

...and most importantly, who (or what) will get the blame?

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/08/2022 - 19:27
Published:11/8/2022 6:59:03 PM
[] Democrats Are Losing, So Politico Is Very Worried About Election Integrity Published:11/7/2022 7:17:09 PM
[] WATCH: John Fetterman Declares 'I Celebrate the Demise of Roe v. Wade' Published:11/6/2022 2:33:48 PM
[f7ec04c3-a3e7-53fb-bda7-6d0a4b1b4e9a] Fetterman, Obama stump for candidate who previously supported plans to 'abolish' ICE and 'Defund the police' John Fetterman and former President Barack Obama campaigned on Saturday with a candidate for the U.S. House who wants to "defund the police" Published:11/5/2022 6:37:00 PM
[2022 Election] Tossups? I Don’t Think So (John Hinderaker) Breitbart has an article on New Hampshire’s Senate race, where General Don Bolduc–of whom I admit I had not heard until recently–has come storming from behind to overtake incumbent mediocrity Maggie Hassan. At Breitbart, Wendell Husebo points out that neither Joe Biden nor Barack Obama has set foot in New Hampshire to campaign for Hassan. I infer that Hassan doesn’t want to be associated with Biden, while Obama doesn’t want Published:11/2/2022 10:27:54 PM
[eaee1c12-9059-5ffe-a0f1-b169a65e3306] Obama’s influence: Voters in battleground states weigh impact of former president on key races Voters in Scottsdale, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, weigh in on former President Obama's campaign visits to battleground states ahead of midterm elections. Published:11/1/2022 12:07:48 PM
[Markets] "Another Stab In The Back": Climate Movement Miffed After UK's Sunak Snubs Cop27 Climate Talks "Another Stab In The Back": Climate Movement Miffed After UK's Sunak Snubs Cop27 Climate Talks

Several developing countries are more than a little upset after newly minted UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak decided to snub the Cop27 climate talks, and to keep King Charles from attending, The Guardian reports.

"I can understand why the king was asked not to attend – keeping him out of the fray. However, as the principal UK policymaker and the Cop26 president, the PM should have led the summit," said Belize's ambassador to the UN, Carlos Fuller. "It seems as if they are washing their hands of leadership."

Sunak’s reason for not going – to concentrate on the UK’s economic statement – was questioned. Mohamed Nasheed, speaker of the Maldives parliament and former president, said: “[It’s] very worrying that the UK thought there was anything more serious than climate change. You can count the pennies but might lose the pounds.”

Developed countries were also concerned. One senior government aide said: “It appears as if the new UK prime minister wants to wash his hands of the previously strong role the government played on international climate action. It’s another stab in the back for [Cop26 president Alok] Sharma.” -Guardian

Last year's Cop26 talks held in Glasgow were notably headed by Boris Johnson, and ended with a global consensus that global temperatures need to rise no more than 1.5C. The conference was chaired by cabinet minister Alok Sharma - who will not be at Cop27.

Sunak will instead speak at a reception for businesses and environmental leaders at Buckingham Palace this Friday, just 48 hours before Cop27 starts.

"The prime minister is not expected to attend Cop27 and this is due to other pressing domestic commitments including preparations for the Autumn Budget. The UK will be fully represented by other senior ministers as well as the Cop president Alok Sharma," said a #10 spokeswoman on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson may attend this year's talks, following precedent set by former leaders including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"For all Boris Johnson’s ills, no one can reasonably accuse him of ignoring or not prioritising climate action. The UK has benefited from the leadership of Alok Sharma and Lord Goldsmith," one Commonwealth diplomat told The Guardian. "One hopes [Sunak’s stance] is not a backsliding of the positions the UK has taken in recent years on both areas."

It is unusual for the head of state of an important Cop not to attend the handover. After convening the landmark Paris agreement of 2015, French president François Hollande was warmly received at the following UN climate Cop, in Marrakech.

The UK still holds the presidency of the UN negotiations, until the reins are handed over to the Egyptian government at the Cop27 summit in Sharm El-Sheikh. This puts the British government in a key position in the long-running climate talks, and the prime minister would normally be expected to hold closed-door bilateral meetings with counterparts around the world, focusing on the climate but including other subjects, such as the Ukraine war and the global economic crisis.

Egypt is particularly miffed at Sunak's decision for some reason, voicing "disappointment" according to the report.

Perhaps it's time to send the Gretas. Or the bees. Or the Gretas with bees in their mouth so that when they bark they shoot bees at you.

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/01/2022 - 04:15
Published:11/1/2022 3:57:26 AM
[Markets] Virginia Military Institute Went Woke, Enrollment Fell 25% Virginia Military Institute Went Woke, Enrollment Fell 25%

Authored by Daniel Greenfield via the Gatestone Institute,

The Virginia Military Institute is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the presence of women at the nation's oldest state military college with an appearance by Kimberly Dark: a fat rights activist and author of lesbian fanfic who wants to "reimagine masculinity".

"Why couldn't we see that America has been racist forever, sexist forever?" Dark ranted in a post titled, "For those who do not want a Trump presidency — this is what we will do now."

Under Superintendent Cedric Wins, this is what the Virginia Military Institute has become.

The institution that gave us Patton, Marshall and Byrd now asks about your "gender role", urges you to reimagine "masculinity" and spews hate toward anyone who happens to be white. Pictured: Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. (Image source: Kipp Teague/Flickr, CC by-NC-ND 2.0)

Young men who once turned to VMI for its tradition of excellence and were eager to serve their country are now going elsewhere.

"How have you benefited from adherence to your gender role?" a VMI diversity training presentation asks.

The resources for it included journal articles like, "How Military Service Members Reinforce Hegemonic Masculinity." There's not meant to be any room for "hegemonic masculinity" at an institution whose students experience spartan living and the warrior tradition.

The institution that gave us Patton, Marshall and Byrd now asks about your "gender role", urges you to reimagine "masculinity" and spews hate toward anyone who happens to be white.

VMI's Preston Library's DEI resources features "The History of White People" and "White Guys on Campus" discussing "whiteness" and the "habits of racism among white male undergraduates" along with the racist ravings of Ibram X. Kendi in "How to Be an Antiracist", Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" and Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me".

The message at VMI is one of undisguised loathing for white people, injecting the ugliest racist concepts of critical race theory directly into the campus dialogue while trying to silence critics.

Superintendent Wins, VMI's woke head, has been accused of undermining its proud tradition and driving away cadets. His "One Corps, One VMI Unifying Action Plan" puts DEI at the heart of VMI and claims that it will "empower Cadets to gain strength through diversity, acceptance by inclusion". But the cadets aren't coming.

Enrollment for the new VMI class fell by 25%.

Wins blamed the pandemic and even falling birth rates, but that fails to explain why the number of freshmen fell from 522 in 2020 and 496 in 2021, to 375 now.

It clearly wasn't the pandemic. Were those the birth rates kicking in?

The VMI Inclusive Excellence plan called for pushing "diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice" on students, faculty and alumni. It was based on the One Virginia Plan which declared that "Inequity is rooted in America's foundation."

VMI's Board of Visitors had already hosted a state equity official pushing critical race theory and the hatred toward white people of "White Fragility" author Robin DiAngelo. A good deal of effort is being spent on eliminating, renaming and "recontextualizing" historical elements of VMI's legacy. And VMI's woke personnel are overtly dismissive. A faculty member insisted, "We really aren't military. I have a bird on my shoulder – doesn't mean anything – just I am a field professor, So – compare us more to University of Maryland than a military academy."

VMI's DEI training included "White Like Me: Race, Racism, and White Privilege in America."

According to the video, "white privilege" is "built into the very foundations of the country." The video, with its racist attacks on white people, its partisan attacks on Republicans and promotion of Obama shows where VMI's woke leadership wants it to be.

Another video, "Disarm Hate", uses the Islamic terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub to "demand LGBTQIA equal rights, fight the NRA and challenge America's obsession with gun violence."

Critics of critical race theory at VMI have spoken out through the Spirit of VMI PAC. Gov. Youngkin's victory has brought a fresh wind of change to the racist equity systems imposed in the Northam era. But VMI's woke leaders are doing their best to turn the proud institution into just another woke college campus. And the fall in enrollment shows that it's working.

Superintendent Wins has angrily fought with VMI alumni working to defend its proud traditions in clashes that have gone public. Arguing over VMI's massive spending on "equity", the superintendent railed at a critic, "You have no understanding of DEI or what it means, or how much of the funding for DEI is represented in our request."

To see what DEI means, just go to VMI's DEI resources list assembled by Lt. Col. Ticen and Maj. Carroll that includes Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me" which states that the 9/11 firefighters and police officers "were not human to me" and Ibram X Kendi's "How To Be an Antiracist" which contends that, "The most threatening racist movement is not the alt right's unlikely drive for a white ethnostate but the regular American's drive for a race-neutral one."

If there's any ambiguity left about how much the VMI administration loathes and discriminates against white people, there's a direct link of "anti-racism resources" as a "resource to white people". Black people and other races, it's understood, cannot be racist. Only white people.

The resources also include not only the 1619 Project, which claims that America was built on racism, but also "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" and Howard Zinn.

While trying to explain why students weren't coming to VMI, Superintendent Win blamed, among other things, "Ideological differences among a divided alumni base."

But the divisions aren't among the patriotic alumni who served their country, they were imposed by Win and leftists who are making VMI a divisive place defined by the ugliest racism.

"Misinformation regarding our initiative for diversity, equity and inclusion and the thought, the notion, the misinformation about the institute and what it's doing or what it's not doing with critical race theory is certainly having an impact, we believe," Win complained.

Except it's not "misinformation". It's the DEI agenda that's right there in VMI's resources.

The Virginia Military Institute deserves better than Win and wokeness. So do the great men who came out of it. And their nation that needs the service of the heroes of tomorrow.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/31/2022 - 00:00
Published:10/31/2022 12:13:58 AM
[9610da21-db52-57c3-9122-176557ec5e64] Herschel Walker reacts to Obama attacking him as a 'celebrity' politician: 'I'm a warrior for God' Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker has responded to remarks from former President Barack Obama that claimed he is a "celebrity who wants to be a politician." Published:10/29/2022 2:52:24 PM
[Markets] House Republicans Plan Onslaught Of Investigations Into Biden’s China Ties, Virus Origins House Republicans Plan Onslaught Of Investigations Into Biden’s China Ties, Virus Origins

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

If there is a House Republican majority when the 118th Congress convenes on Jan. 3, 2023, it will launch an onslaught of congressional investigations to expose, among much else, what they view as the Biden family’s abuse of public office to enrich themselves.

The U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 6, 2022. (Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

Three House Republican veterans—Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, plus an unknown player to be named later—will be at the center of the tidal wave of document demands, televised corruption hearings, depositions, sworn testimonies, subpoenas, cross-examinations, and contempt citations that have been in the planning stages for months.

All three promise to go wherever the facts lead.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images)

Oversight Republicans are investigating the domestic and international business dealings of President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and other Biden associates and family members to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality,” Comer told The Epoch Times.

Comer is expected to be chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform if voters, as widely expected, return Republicans to control of the lower chamber of Congress.

The Kentucky Republican, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2016, is presently the ranking GOP member of the oversight panel in the Democrat-controlled House. His ascension to chair one of the major House committees in only his fourth term would be among the fastest in recent memory.

Hunter and other members of the Biden family have a pattern of peddling access to the highest levels of government to enrich themselves. The American people deserve to know whether the President’s connections to his family’s business deals occurred at the expense of American interests and whether they represent a national security threat,” Comer said.

Comer’s views were echoed by multiple GOP Members of the House of Representatives, and present and former congressional investigative staff veterans interviewed by The Epoch Times in recent days.

Congressional plans to dig into the Biden family’s alleged brew of government duties and business dealings have been solidified in recent months as a laptop owned by Hunter Biden has been found to contain thousands of incriminating emails, photographs and other documents.

The laptop materials describe multimillion-dollar deals between companies linked to Hunter Biden and James Biden, the President’s brother, and individuals and firms in Russia, China, Ukraine, and other foreign nations.

Those deals were made possible in part by access occasioned for Hunter and James Biden by Joe Biden’s duties as Vice President under President Barack Obama, and possibly since his elevation to the Oval Office in 2021, investigators believe.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, during a hearing in Washington on July 27, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski has insisted that references to “the Big Guy” in the emails and documents are to the senior Biden, who he said received 10 percent of the proceeds from a deal with the Chinese energy firm, CEFC. Bobulinski is all but certain to be called to testify during the committee’s hearings next year.

Jordan, the likely Judiciary Committee Chairman in a Republican-led House, told The Epoch Times he will be focused initially on two major areas, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ role in creating the worst immigration crisis in American history on the U.S. border with Mexico, and political abuses of the Department of Justice by Attorney General Merrick Garland and senior officials within the FBI.

“Everyone knows what the Biden administration has done on the border is intentional, so we are going to look at all of that. There is just a whole host of things that are a problem that I think warrant aggressive oversight. Mayorkas knew, for example, that these guys they accused of using their whips to hit migrants, he knew that was [expletive], like we all suspected it was,” Jordan told The Epoch Times.

Asked about the prospects of an impeachment effort against Mayorkas, Jordan said, “this guy certainly warrants it. He came in front of our committee and couldn’t remember when I asked him about the status of the individuals on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist arrested at the border and he sneeringly said ‘I don’t know.’ This guy is bad news.”

The other big thing, of course, is the Justice Department and how political it has become, with the 14 whistleblowers, 14 FBI agents that have come to us as whistleblowers, so we’ll look at all of that,” Jordan said.

“We’ve had more whistleblowers come to us than I’ve ever seen while we’re in the minority, which means we can’t do the investigation in the proper way. But they’re willing to do it because it’s that bad over there,” Jordan continued. The Ohioan was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 and has been reelected seven times in the years since.

The Ohio Republican remarked that the first whistleblower who came to the Judiciary panel’s GOP members concerned DOJ’s creation of a “threat tag” to be applied to concerned parents protesting at school board meetings.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) speaks during a town hall event hosted by House Republicans in Washington on March 1, 2022. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Two other FBI whistleblowers who have come forward to Jordan and the panel’s GOP members—Special Agents Kyle Seraphin and Steve Friend—have since gone public with descriptions of how senior bureau officials pressure agents to exaggerate the extent of violent acts by “domestic terrorists.”

He also pointed to the fact former FBI senior official Jill Sanborn has agreed to sit down with Republican committee staff for a transcribed interview on Dec. 2 as evidence more whistleblowers will come forward in the coming months.

Sanborn was Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and Executive Assistant Director of the bureau’s National Security Branch. She is expected to provide significant information regarding DOJ and FBI actions on a host of crucial issues of interest to Judiciary Republicans.

Another individual who will be summoned to testify is Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) within the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Comer told The Epoch Times he plans to “continue our oversight of COVID origins. Our oversight has already uncovered “growing evidence” that the COVID-19 virus “likely originated from the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) in China and the Communist Party of China covered it up.”

Comer warned that “U.S. taxpayer dollars were being funneled to the Wuhan lab to conduct risky experimental research on bat coronaviruses” and the evidence shows that Fauci “was aware of this information at the start of the pandemic and may have acted to conceal the information and intentionally downplay the lab leak theory.”

Jordan also wants to get the facts about the more than 50 former intelligence officials who signed an October 2020 letter claiming the emails on the Hunter Biden laptop were likely part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

It looks like they were working with the FBI to put together that letter. Where did that letter originate, who started it. We need to get to the bottom of all that and how the FBI was a part of that, or not a part of that. It sure looks like they were because they went to Facebook and told them to be looking for Russian disinformation.” Jordan said.

McMorris Rodgers, whose congressional career began in 2005, is in line to take over the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has oversight responsibility for a host of issues in the energy, environmental, and economic spaces.

“We have a full agenda to hold President Biden and his administration officials accountable on behalf of the American people for how they’ve shut down American energy, broken trust at America’s public health agencies, made the fentanyl crisis worse, and increased our dependence on supply chains controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, among many issues,” McMorris Rogers told The Epoch Times.

“Nothing is off the table,” she warned.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, attends an event at the White House in Washington on April 18, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Both Comer’s oversight and McMorris Rodgers’ energy and commerce panels are leading extensive investigations into the origins of COVID-19 with the latter taking a particular focus in how U.S. taxpayer dollars may have helped fund potential gain-of-function research that might have caused the pandemic. McMorris Rodgers is also looking at how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mismanaged the federal response to the virus that to-date has killed more than one million Americans since January 2020.

“Trust in public health has been broken by the Biden administration’s authoritarian actions to mandate vaccines, force masks on children, collude with teachers unions to keep schools closed, and urge Big Tech to shut down free speech,” the Washington Republican said.

She also said her panel will look into “the flawed studies and mischaracterization of data the CDC repeatedly used to justify school closures and mask mandates on children.”

On the energy front, McMorris Rodgers earlier this year introduced a bill to prevent sales of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to any entity under the control of or influenced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). How the Biden administration has managed the SPR will get heavy attention from the energy and commerce panel.

The committee under McMorris Rodgers’ leadership is also planning an inquiry into social media giant TikTok’s relationship to the CCP.

“We have been doing some investigations as to how the Chinese Communist Party is stealing our data and collecting a ton of data on Americans. TikTok is going to be at the top of the [investigations] list,” she told The Epoch Times.

China’s influence on U.S. supply chains and the relationship of some environmental advocacy groups in the United States to Beijing are also on the energy and commerce agenda for 2023.

An energy and commerce Republican aide said McMorris Rodgers plans to expand the oversight subcommittee staff and noted that “every member of our staff across all our subcommittees is working together on a robust oversight strategy of the Biden administration, which will inform how we take action on policies to reverse the damage they’ve caused to our economy, our global competitive edge against China, and our American way of life.”

The “player to be named later” is whoever House GOP leaders designate to succeed Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) on the House Administration Committee that has oversight responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Capitol Complex, including how officials prepared for and responded to the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/27/2022 - 17:20
Published:10/27/2022 4:59:25 PM
[Markets] Democrats In Panic Mode As Midterm Momentum Favors GOP Democrats In Panic Mode As Midterm Momentum Favors GOP

With midterm elections weeks away, desperation among Democrats is palpable.

After horrendous polling which shows that Americans not only care most about inflation and the economy ('Change the subject!'), and a mass exodus of independent voters, Democrats have even resorted to shuffling a clearly-impaired President Biden around to stump for candidates and reassure the base how wonderful things are.

Here he is discussing 'ramrod-spined' VP Kamala Harris - who apparently has "enormous integrity."

"Enormous integrity."

Anyway... 

As The Hill makes abundantly clear, Democrats are freaking out right now as momentum into midterms is clearly with the GOP.

As recently as a few weeks ago, Democrats were bullish about their chances of defying harsh historical and political headwinds, believing that voter anger over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and lingering GOP concerns about the quality of Republican candidates might allow them to not only hold, but expand their paper-thin Senate majority.

But the political winds appear to be shifting once again in the GOP’s favor. Recent polling has found Republicans regaining an edge on the so-called generic ballot, a survey question that asks voters which party they plan to vote for in November. Meanwhile, the data website FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast shows Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate dropping by 11 percent over the past month. -The Hill

"A month ago, it looked like not only were the Democrats poised to hold the Senate, the question was: were they going to be able to get, you know, two extra seats?" said former Democratic pollster, Fernand Amandi, who worked on former President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns. "Now I think the hope is just to hang on."

"Perhaps Democratic messaging hasn’t been as strong as it could be," he continued. "But we’re talking about things tightening when the choice is between chaos and competency. The Democrats have governed with a competent, steady hand in a very volatile environment. What we’ve seen from the Republican Party over the last six years has been wholesale unhinged chaos. And what they’re offering is more chaos."

Really?

According to Democratic strategist and former Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) aide Jon Reinish, "If you look at the Dobbs decision — that seems to have come a little too early for the Democrats," referring to the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs Wade.

"And I think there [are] other currents — inflation is probably the biggest one — that have kind of interfered with the singularity of that argument."

So - the timing of the USSC overturning Roe wasn't ideal for maximum outrage, and inflation is highly inconvenient.

Maybe Democrats can simply campaign on the economy being "strong as hell"?

According to the most recnt NYT-Siena College poll, the economy and inflation top the list of problems facing the country, while just 5% of voter said abortion is the most pressing issue. January 6th came in at 7%. Nobody cares about the hill Democrats have chosen to die on.

In one of the poll’s more alarming findings for Democrats, women who identified as independents said they preferred Republicans by an 18-point margin, a stark reversal from September, when those voters favored Democrats by a 14-point margin. Democrats have sought relentlessly to sway those voters by warning of threats to abortion rights. -The Hill

"The voters who would be most susceptible to the Democrats’ messaging on abortion are shifting," said former GOP strategist and congressional candidate, Ford O'Connell.

"As long as the Republicans stay focused on two things — my money, my family — then they’ll win in 2022," he added. "They’ll win in 2024. Because the Democrats aren’t showing any sign of changing their approach."

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/24/2022 - 20:40
Published:10/24/2022 8:55:52 PM
[] Here's the young 'girl' meeting with President Biden to talk about trans issues Published:10/22/2022 2:56:30 PM
[Economy] Obama’s Government Propaganda on Netflix

Netflix is paying Barack and Michelle Obama millions of dollars to produce shows for them. The latest Obama documentary series is “The G Word.” “G”... Read More

The post Obama’s Government Propaganda on Netflix appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/20/2022 12:17:07 PM
[Markets] NOPEC Bill Moves To The Senate Floor NOPEC Bill Moves To The Senate Floor

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

  • The NOPEC bill, which would allow OPEC’s members to be sued under U.S. antitrust laws, has been placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar.

  • Due to the packed legislative schedule before the midterms, the NOPEC bill will likely only be up for discussion after the elections.

  • Interest in the NOPEC bill has intensified since the cartel agreed to a 2 million bpd cut to its November production quotas.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee moved on Tuesday the bill that would allow the U.S. to sue OPEC for antitrust behavior and market manipulation to the Senate, Congress records show.

The so-called No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act, which proposes to amend the Sherman Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal, was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.    

Chances are that the bill won’t be debated until after the midterm elections on November 8, but that will depend on whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moves the bill for debate. Considering the packed legislative schedule before the midterms, the NOPEC bill could only realistically be up for discussion after the elections, Reuters notes.

NOPEC has been an on-and-off topic for U.S. lawmakers and Administrations for over two decades but has never moved past discussions at committees in Congress. Forms of antitrust legislation aimed at OPEC were discussed at various times under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but they both threatened to veto such legislation.

NOPEC was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May this year, but calls for passing such legislation have intensified since the OPEC+ group decided in early October to reduce their headline oil production target by 2 million bpd as of November.

Following the OPEC+ decision, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, author of the bipartisan NOPEC Act, called for action “to hold foreign oil producers accountable for colluding to fix global oil prices.”

“If this administration insists on making us more dependent on less friendly, less environmentally conscious foreign oil producers, we should at least be able to hold them accountable for their unfair price fixing. My bipartisan NOPEC Act would crack down on these tactics by the foreign oil cartel,” Senator Grassley said in early October.

The White House has vowed a response to what it described as a “short-sighted” and “misguided” decision of the OPEC+ alliance.  

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/20/2022 - 11:05
Published:10/20/2022 11:41:37 AM
[Uncategorized] Has The Democrat Dam Holding Back The Red Wave Finally Broken?

It's more than the polling. You can just feel it. Biden is flailing, selling off the strategic petroleum reserve in a desperate last minute attempt to lower gas prices. He can sense it, and the Team Obama running him can sense it.

The post Has The Democrat Dam Holding Back The Red Wave Finally Broken? first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:10/19/2022 10:24:40 PM
[e42d664e-d591-5366-becc-cc26d01dbfd6] Obama travels to blue state Nevada as Democrat Senate candidate in razor-thin race with Republican Former President Obama will travel to Nevada to campaign for Democrats, including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is in a tight re-election race. Published:10/19/2022 8:52:24 PM
[Podcasts] It All Began With Obama
Podcast: Obama, the Left's moralism, and James Bennet's sour grapes.
View Post
Published:10/19/2022 12:56:51 PM
[Politics] How desperate are Democrats? Obama is now telling them to stop focusing on woke issues… Democrats are facing a potential shellacking in November and they know it. They are desperate to come up with a winning narrative to try and stem their potential losses. So what is . . . Published:10/17/2022 7:42:38 PM
[Markets] Michelle Obama's Driver Charged With Criminal Harassment Michelle Obama's Driver Charged With Criminal Harassment

Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The driver of former First Lady Michelle Obama, who is also a U.S. Secret Service employee, has been charged with witness intimidation and criminal harassment.

A secret service agent is stationed outside the funeral of Ivana Trump, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in New York. The U.S. Secret Service recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic funds to the Small Business Administration, Friday, Aug. 26. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

According to a report filed by the Oak Bluffs Police Department last month, Douglas Vines, 53, was involved in a relationship with a woman which allegedly ended up with the latter’s harassment. The woman told police that she had been dating Vines for about two months when an uncomfortable situation came up one evening when Vines asked her to have sex with him, which she declined.

The Secret Service employee is said to have gone “off the handle,” shouting at the woman and texting her that she was “messing with the wrong person,” the report said, according to CNN.

Vines is alleged to have used his position as the Obama family driver to intimidate the woman. He is accused of threatening the woman to have her deported as he had secretly recorded one of their conversations during which time she had revealed her citizenship status.

Vines also reportedly told the woman that he could get into her phone and read her text messages. He claimed to possess her DNA, the report stated.

Vines is said to have had images of the woman that he threatened to release and get her deported if she went to the police. One of the images was a shirtless picture of the woman covering her breasts.

The woman told the police that she was “in distress” because Vines had possession of consensual and non-consensual nude photos or videos, and she was worried he would use them against her. The woman attested that Vines never threatened to physically harm her. Instead, he is accused of having “emotionally abused” her.

Suspension, Testimony

In an email to MV Times, Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the Secret Service, said that the agency has “extraordinarily high” ethical standards and found the allegations against Vines “very concerning.”

“Consistent with our protocols, the employee has been placed on administrative leave, and their security clearance has been suspended. The employee has been restricted from accessing any Secret Service facility or protected site,” the email stated.

The Secret Service later made it clear that Vines is only an investigative protection officer and not an agent of the agency.

At the court, Judge Edward Lynch allowed vacating a restraining order against Vines owing to a lack of evidence of physical harm or threats of physical harm.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/17/2022 - 10:40
Published:10/17/2022 9:53:22 AM
[Democrats] Fear and Self-Loathing in the White House: Inside Obama’s Quest To ‘Solve Race’ With Fancy Words

Remember Barack Obama, the cocksure memoirist who ran for president to pad his résumé and went on to solve racism and restore peace on earth? The guy whose soaring rhetoric sent thrills of ecstasy coursing through the inner thighs of veteran journalists and millions of American voters who could finally prove to the world they weren't racist?

The post Fear and Self-Loathing in the White House: Inside Obama’s Quest To ‘Solve Race’ With Fancy Words appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/15/2022 5:39:07 AM
[2e629567-5fa3-52ce-91ba-086f518332ee] Democrats need Barack Obama on the campaign trail With less than a month to go, President Obama's presence on the trail would be much-welcomed by Democrats within striking distance. Published:10/12/2022 7:38:32 AM
[Left Column] UN Weather chief: ‘From climate perspective, the war in Ukraine may be seen as a blessing’ – Putin Saved the Earth!?

AP: The head of the U.N. weather agency says the war in Ukraine “may be seen as a blessing” from a climate perspective because it is accelerating the development of and investment in green energies over the longer term — even though fossil fuels are being used at a time of high demand now. ...

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the UN's World Meteorological Organization: “From the five- to 10-year timescale, it’s clear that this war in Ukraine will speed up our consumption of fossil energy, and it’s speeding up this green transition." “So we are going to invest much more in renewable energy, energy-saving solutions...“So from climate perspective, the war in Ukraine may be seen as a blessing,” Taalas added.

#

Climate Depot's Morano's comment: "So the head of the UN's World Meteorological Org. said the quiet part out loud --- that he believes Russia's invasion of Ukraine is helping save the Planet! Putin is the UN's new climate hero. Will Vladimir Putin now get a Nobel Peace Prize like Al Gore did in 2007 in service of the climate? The UN joins many other climate campaigners in cheering on the chaos, calamity, and hardship that wars, shortages, and disruption cause the world. See: Former Obama U.S. Treasury official Mark Mazur says quiet part out loud: ‘We don’t want lower prices for fossil-fuel buyers, we prefer higher prices’ to achieve ‘climate change goals’

As the UN now openly admits, high energy prices and shortages are NOT the unintended consequences of the Green New Deal-style policies, they are the INTENDED consequences. In short, there is no better way to increase the politicians' and bureaucrats' power than by exploiting war, tragedy and chaos. Skyrocketing energy prices are exactly what the climate and environmental agenda demand and has demanded for the past 50-plus years. From President Obama to President Biden, higher energy costs have been the plan to soften up Americans and the economy to prepare them for accepting less in order to impose the progressive energy-restricted vision on society. Endless wars, high energy prices and shortages will condition Americans and Europeans to accept a 'new normal' in energy that is entirely due to following the climate agenda." See: Collapse of energy, food, transportation systems prompt calls for government nationalization of industries – Echoes 1930s push for Great Reset style reforms

Published:10/11/2022 9:34:09 PM
[Markets] Shellenberger: Biden Is Failing The World Shellenberger: Biden Is Failing The World

Authored by Michael Shellenberg via Substack,

The world desperately needs energy and yet President Joe Biden is preventing sufficient quantities of oil and gas from being produced...

Below is the written transcript of the above video. Additional slides and graphs are in the video.

Many people in the U.S. are still unaware of just how dire the situation is in Europe. They have started logging their old-growth forests for wood fuel to stay warm during the winter. You can see in a tweet that just came out today from somebody in Denmark that “people are stealing each other's wood pellets and their wood briquettes as soon as they're delivered.” To make matters worse, “There's constant reports of cars having their tanks drilled and their gas stolen.” Remember, it's not even winter yet. Winter's actually over 72 days away. So this is a very serious situation.

You can see that in Poland people are actually burning trash to stay warm. Burning trash in your fireplace creates toxic smoke. It's hazardous. The government's considering handing out masks so people can breathe more safely when they're outdoors.

Recall that natural gas is the reason the United States reduced its carbon emissions more than any other country in the world. Carbon emissions have been on the decline globally, in large measure, because of the transition from coal to gas. Natural gas is something that most reasonable people agree is a superior fuel to coal. Natural gas is the reason the United States reduced its emissions by 22% between 2005 and 2020, which is five percentage points more than the United States had agreed to reduce our emissions under cap and trade legislation, which nearly passed Congress in 2010 and under the UN Paris Climate Agreement.

The above is a graph that was produced by Matthew Yglesias, a well-known progressive blogger. He tweets it out whenever somebody points out that President Biden isn't doing all he can to expand oil and gas production. It's accurate. It does show that oil production increased on a daily average under Biden from under Trump. But it's deeply misleading. You have to remember that under Trump, the Coronavirus pandemic, for several months, massively slashed oil production.

You can see from the below chart of the EIA data on crude oil production that we still haven't gotten back to where we were before the pandemic. Now consider how the need is much greater for US oil now that Europe and the United States are rejecting Russian oil.

The United States is the biggest liquified natural gas exporter, it’s true. But it takes five years to bring online new LNG capacity in the United States.

So all of the new LNG that's come online during Biden's presidency was due to past presidents.

And Biden has leased less land than any President since World War II. It's a shockingly small amount of land: 130,000 acres as opposed to seven million acres under Obama, four million acres under Trump, during the first 19 months of their administrations.

It’s a huge reduction in the amount of land being leased.

You can see that in some particular cases, like a very large oil and gas sale in Alaska, the Department of Interior claimed there wasn't any industry interest in the lease. This turned out not to be the case. The Senator from Alaska, Lisa Markowski said, “I can say with full certainty based on conversations as recently as last night, that Alaska's industry does have an interest in lease sales and the Cook Inlet to claim otherwise is simply false, not to mention stunningly shortsighted.”

People point out the oil and gas industry does have many thousands of leases, and that's true, but there's a high degree of uncertainty about whether the leases they have will produce oil and gas at levels that make sense economically to produce from.

So increasing oil and gas leasing at a time of an energy crisis in Europe seems like a no-brainer, but the Biden administration is not doing that. In fact, it's been preventing the expansion of gas in many other ways.

You can see the Biden administration denied a request to have a formaldehyde regulation exempted. All else being equal, you'd wanna reduce that pollution. But I think a little bit of formaldehyde is gonna be a less toxic airborne event than having people breathing toxic wood and plastic smoke in Europe. The right thing to do, in terms of aiding our allies, would be to wave that regulation. But the Biden administration refused.

You can see that the Biden administration is actively considering forgoing all new offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific. It may do no offshore leases at all for oil and gas.

Instead, the Biden administration has sought to give sanctions relief to Venezuela in the hopes that Venezuela would produce more oil. And of course, most famously Biden went to Saudi Arabia to ask the Saudis to produce more oil in July. Now, everybody agrees that was a huge foreign policy failure. The Saudis announced they would be cutting production with the rest of OPEC+. The Biden administration’s pressure on the Saudis apparently annoyed them. Now, they've been pushed closer into the arms of Russia. This is a pretty significant setback for the Biden administration.

At the same time Biden was going to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to produce more oil. Biden administration was refusing to even meet with oil and gas executives. That’s a pretty serious snub when you consider that it’s an industry you want to expand production.

An oil and gas analyst on Twitter criticized a Senator from Wisconsin for suggesting the Democrats are responsible for the lack of refining capacity. He said, “What — do you also blame a political party for a flat tire?”

I pointed out that a single oil refinery outage would have little impact if we had sufficient refinery capacity, and the reason we don't is that politicians, mostly Democrats have used regulations to prevent their construction. When I interviewed executives one said to me, “If you were an oil company, why would you invest hundreds of millions of dollars into expanding refining capacity if you thought the federal government would shut you down in the next few years? The narrative coming out of this administration is absolutely insane.”

So you can see here that refinery capacity was increasing all the way through 2020. It then declined due to the pandemic. And it has not risen since then. When the analyst was asked, why don't we get more refineries? He clearly didn't know. Or at least he said he didn't know. But it's clear the Biden administration has not wanted more refineries.

There was a chance to retrofit a major refinery in the US Virgin Islands. It was a refinery that was older. It needed pretty significant upgrades. It was polluting. But these are machines that can be fixed. Several billion dollars of investment would've fixed it and it goes back many years. This is an article from 2008. It describes how, at that time, the Democrats in the Senate killed a proposal for refinery expansion.

Go back to 2006. The same thing happened. The House was in the hands of the Republicans who passed a piece of legislation to expand refineries. And it was the Democrats who killed it. And, incidentally, they're using the exact same arguments today that they used back then.

More recently, we've seen an attack on expanded natural gas pipeline capacity, including from Pennsylvania to the Northeast, particularly to Boston. The result of not having pipeline capacity is that they've been burning more oil for electricity in New England. In fact, oil-fired power jumped to a four-year high earlier this year. And they've been having to import liquified natural gas to New England rather than just pipe it in, which is significantly cheaper. Probably half as expensive.

Grassroots advocacy and lawsuits have prevented pipelines from being built. You can see there's a strong correlation between the price of natural gas and the ability to get pipelines built. We stop building pipelines and gas gets more expensive. Globally, the impact is that we're gonna return to coal. This is the consequence of stifling oil and gas production.

One could argue that we just need more scarcity in order to accelerate the transition to electric cars. But it's notable that the major figures in this, including President Biden, supporters of President Biden, and representatives of his administration aren't defending a pro-scarcity position. They're instead claiming that they're doing all they can to bring down oil and gas prices and expand production.

I think this data, and the historical chronology, paint a picture that shows that there has, in fact, been a war on natural gas and oil United States and that it is impacting global supplies, and leaving Europe vulnerable.

*  *  *

Subscribe to Michael Shellenberger. Thousands of paid subscribers. Reporting on cities, energy, and the environment.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/10/2022 - 23:40
Published:10/11/2022 12:45:07 AM
[Markets] Snowden Didn't "Flee to Russia": Obama Trapped Him There Snowden Didn't "Flee to Russia": Obama Trapped Him There

Authored by Brian McGlinchey via Stark Realities

When Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Monday, the news revived a long-simmering debate about the propriety of his revelations of U.S. government secrets. At the same time, it prompted reiterations of a widely-embraced falsehood: that Snowden “fled to Russia.”

The disinformation-trafficking wasn’t limited to random people on social media. Among others, The New York TimesThe GuardianABC, Christian Science Monitor and Canada’s CBC all asserted in the past week that Snowden “fled to Russia” in 2013 after revealing that the United States government had created a mass surveillance regime targeting its own citizens, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

What many people don’t realize — and what some people both inside the government and out of it purposefully ignore — is that Snowden wasn’t traveling to Russia, but merely through it.

When he left Hong Kong after meeting with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and turning over hundreds of thousands of stolen files, Snowden’s ultimate destination was Quito, Ecuador.

It’s important to note that Snowden says that, before leaving, he destroyed his cryptographic keys that provided him access to the files, and didn’t bring any copies of the files with him.

At the time, the Ecuadoran government was providing political asylum to Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange at the country’s London consulate, and Snowden hoped Ecuador would provide him asylum as well.

Snowden’s itinerary was arranged such that he wouldn’t land in countries that would extradite him to the United States. Nor would he cross U.S. airspace along the way. He was to make four flights in all, taking him from Hong Kong to Moscow, then Havana, Cuba; Caracas, Venezuela and finally Quito.

However, upon arriving in Moscow, Snowden was escorted by Russian security officials to an airport conference room, where they informed him that, while he was flying to Moscow, the Obama administration had invalidated his passport.

He’d spend the next 40 days at the Sheremetyevo airport, during which he applied to 27 countries for political asylum. “Not a single one of them was willing to stand up to American pressure,” Snowden wrote in his memoir, Permanent Record, “with some countries refusing outright, and others declaring they were unable to even consider my request until I arrived in their territory — a feat that was impossible.”

Seemingly tired of the spectacle, Putin granted Snowden asylum, and he’s been in Russia ever since. The essential point, however, is that Snowden is in Russia because the Obama administration deliberately trapped him there.

In 2013 and ever since, rabid Snowden detractors have failed to acknowledge how that move by the Obama White House belied its own assertions that Snowden was a traitor who traveled to Moscow with highly valuable intelligence information and was at high risk of turning it over to the Russian government.

Aside from revealing the unconstitutional surveillance regime, Snowden’s disclosures also proved that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had committed perjury in testifying before Congress:

Clapper didn’t merely escape perjury charges, termination or a shameful resignation — CNN actually put him on the payroll as a “national security analyst,” giving him a pulpit from which to continue spewing all manner of falsehoods on behalf of the national security establishment, on everything from Russiagate to Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Meanwhile, though Snowden has been vindicated many times over — including a 2020 federal court ruling that the NSA’s surveillance program violated the Constitution — he’s compelled to live in Russia to escape prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917.

Which brings us to another myth that goes hand-in-hand with “fled to Russia” falsehood: Detractors routinely say Snowden was a “coward” to flee the United States at all.

The noble course of action, they say, would be to go to trial in America and let a jury of his peers decide whether he was justified in exposing his government’s crimes by leaking secret documents to journalists.

However, as government-whistleblower attorney Jesselyn Radack explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, that’s not how Espionage Act prosecutions work:

“The Espionage Act has morphed into a strict liability law, which means the government does not have to show the defendant had a felonious intent. A defendant cannot argue that the information was improperly classified…The motive and intent of the whistleblower are irrelevant. And there is no whistleblower defense, meaning the public value of the material disclosed does not matter at all.”

In short, the only way for Snowden to be treated justly is for him to be pardoned or given a plea deal with a very short sentence.

As the intelligence community continues to wield excessive influence on our government, neither outcome is likely anytime soon.

Stark Realities undermines official narratives, demolishes conventional wisdom and exposes fundamental myths across the political spectrum. Read more and subscribe at starkrealities.substack.com

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/01/2022 - 23:30
Published:10/2/2022 1:13:19 AM
[Markets] Larry Summers Pre-Empts Coming Crash, Says Market Feels Like 2007 Larry Summers Pre-Empts Coming Crash, Says Market Feels Like 2007

It's a curious coincidence that the day the name of Jeff Epstein's close buddy, Larry Summers, was being thrown around as the next Treasury secretary, Clinton's Treasury Secretary and Obama's top economist issued the loudest warning yet that something is about to break, and not just in the UK but in the US.

As a reminder, earlier today Rabo's Michael Every said this:

There were rumours, long heard on the Street, that Janet Yellen is out as Treasury Secretary after the mid-term elections. Who, without a key role at present, has been all over the press talking about the need for higher rates? Larry Summers. So who is next in line, perhaps? What a shock for markets that would be. From someone who once ran the Fed to someone who wanted to run the Fed. How apt given the increased link-up between fiscal and monetary policy.

Well speak of the devils...

... because, according to Bloomberg, in Larry's latest bid to frontrun the coming crash and then say "I told you so" even though it was his policies in the late 1990s that enabled the current crash possible, the former (and future) Treasury Secretary likened the risks facing the global economy to the pre-crisis summer of 2007, with the UK’s current troubles just one example of potential breakdowns.

“We’re living through a period of elevated risk,” Summers told Bloomberg Television’s “Wall Street Week” with David Westin. “In the same way that people became anxious in August of 2007, I think this is a moment when there should be increased anxiety.”

The summer of 2007 was when markets briefly plunged after the entire quant space went haywire for a few days, prompting substantial losses across all asset classes; the move was prompted by the first signs of strains over a collapsing US housing market, eventually morphing one year later into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Besides the UK, “I don’t there’s any sign that I see -- yet -- of other markets being disorderly,” said Summers, a Havard University professor and paid contributor to Bloomberg Television. “But we know that when you have extreme volatility, that’s when these situations are more likely to arise.”

According to Summer, some of the dynamics behind the current fragility are substantial leverage, uncertainty about the economic policy outlook, unease about high rates of underlying inflation, volatility in commodities and geopolitical tensions tied to Russia’s Ukraine invasion and to China.

One particular area to monitor is the strains inherent in Japan’s policies right now, the former Treasury chief said, echoing what we said back in March (see "Yen At Risk Of "Explosive" Downward Spiral With Kuroda Trapped... And Why China May Soon Devalue")

Pointing out what our readers have known for much of the past year, Summers said that - like the BOE - on one hand, Japan has been withdrawing liquidity from its markets, through its purchases of yen last week in an effort to support the exchange rate. But on the other hand, it’s injecting liquidity through the Bank of Japan’s continuing monetary easing. It’s an “extraordinary thing” Summers said adding that “It will be interesting to see how that plays out." Japanese investors have “vast holdings” of fixed-income securities around the world, and that will be something to keep an eye on, he said.

Turning to the UK, Summers said that “we’re in very complex and uncharted territory,” warning that while the Bank of England’s intervention in the gilt market stabilized things for a time, that won't last, noting that the BOE’S plan is for operations to continue until Oct. 14. The key problem - according to the man who single-handedly redefined unsustainable economic policy - is that markets don’t believe UK macroeconomic policy is sustainable.

“It’s not going to stay stable forever on the basis of two weeks buying -- and it’s probably not even going to stay stable for two weeks, unless there is a sense that this is a bridge to the fundamentals being fixed,” Summers said of UK markets. “And that’s not what we are seeing from the indications we’re getting this morning.”

Summers, who served at the Treasury during the Clinton administration and was director of the White House National Economic Council under President Barack Obama, said that given the current risks, “this is certainly not a time when very many firefighters should be taking vacations.”

“When a country as major as Britain is going through something like this, that is something that can have consequences that go beyond,” Summers noted. He likened financial troubles to tremors before an earthquake. While sometimes the tremors pass, that’s not always the case -- as was true in 2007, he said.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/29/2022 - 11:55
Published:9/29/2022 11:32:49 AM
[Markets] Unpacking The Ukraine 'Game Change'; Is A Major Conflict Inevitable? Unpacking The Ukraine 'Game Change'; Is A Major Conflict Inevitable?

Authored by Alastair Crooke,

Any political solution – however theoretical, at this point – would involve Moscow sitting with the collective West. Kiev had become a bystander.

Russia is preparing for an escalation in this war. She is augmenting her forces to the minimum level that could deal with a major NATO offensive. This decision was not precipitated by a significant attrition in the existing force. The facts are clear: The militias of Donetsk and Luhansk represent the majority of the Russian allied forces fighting in the Donbas. The militias have been reinforced by contract soldiers from the Wagner Group and Chechen fighters however, rather than by regular Russian forces.

But this is about to change. The number of Russian regulars fighting in Ukraine will rise dramatically. However, the referenda in the Ukrainian oblasts come first; and those will be followed by the Government of Russia and the Duma accepting the results and approving the annexation of these territories. After that is concluded and the territories assimilated into Russia, any attack on the new Russian territories would be treated as an act of war against Russia. As former Indian diplomat, MK Bhadrakumar, notes, “The accession of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye creates a new political reality and Russia’s partial mobilisation on parallel track is intended to provide the military underpinning for it”.

Clearly, we – the world – are at a pivotal moment.

‘Collective Russia’ has concluded that the former low-intensity war is no longer viable:

Unimaginable flows of western $ billions; too many NATO fingers in the Ukraine pie; too wide a ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’ of ever more long-range and advanced weaponry; and too many ‘delusions’ that Kiev can still somehow win – effectively have undercut any ‘off-ramp solution’ and portend inexorable escalation.

Well, ‘Collective Russia’ has decided to ‘get ahead of the curve’, and to bring the affairs of Ukraine to the crunch. It is a risk; that is why we have reached an inflection point. The $64 thousand dollar question is, what will be the studied reaction of western political leaders to Putin’s speech? The next weeks will be crucial.

The point here is that western leaders ‘claim’ that Putin is just bluffing – as he is losing. Western hype is ‘shooting the moon’: “Putin is panicked; Russian markets are falling; young men are fleeing conscription”. Yes, well the Moex Russia index closed higher on Thursday; the rouble has remained steady; and the big queues are at the recruitment offices, rather than airline offices.

Just to be clear: The limited mobilization Putin announced only applies to those who serve in Russia’s reserves and who have seen prior military service. It is unlikely to hobble the economy.

The Russian pre-planned, tactical withdrawal from Kharkov – though militarily sound in logic, given the troop numbers required to defend a 1,000 km border – has generated throughout the West a fantasy of panic in Moscow and of Russian forces fleeing Kharkov before an advancing Ukrainian offensive.

The danger to such fantasies is that leaders begin to believe their own propaganda. How could western Intelligence reporting become so divorced from reality? One reason undoubtedly is the explicit decision to craft ‘cherry-picked’ intelligence to serve as deliberately ‘leaked’ anti-Russian propaganda. And where would be the best quarry for such propaganda material? Kiev. It seems that largely, intelligence services come to accept and circulate what Kiev says, without cross-checking for accuracy.

Yes, it is hard to believe (but not without precedent). Politicians naturally love what seems to bolster their narratives. Contrarian assessments are met with scowls.

Therefore, western leaders are doubling down on promises to continue sending money and advanced weaponry to Ukraine that will be used to attack – among others – Russian civilians. A new co-ordinated narrative from the West is that whereas on the Russian side, one man can end the war; on the other, for Ukraine to stop the war would mean ‘no Ukraine’.

Neocons, such as Robert Kagan, naturally have put their own spin on the official psyops, by pushing the line that Putin is bluffing. Kagan wrote in Foreign Affairs:

“Russia may possess a fearful nuclear arsenal, but the risk of Moscow using it is not higher now than it would have been in 2008 or 2014, if the West had intervened then. And it [the nuclear risk] has always been extraordinarily small: Putin was never going to obtain his objectives by destroying himself and his country, along with much of the rest of the world.”

In short, don’t worry about going to war with Russia, Putin won’t use ‘the bomb’. Really?

Again, to be plain, Putin said in his speech on 21 September:

“They [Western leaders] have even resorted to the nuclear blackmail … [I refer] to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia”.

“I would like to remind … in the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country, and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff”.

These Neocons advocating ‘hard deterrence’ rotate in and out of power, parked in places like the Council on Foreign Relations or Brookings or the AEI, before being called back into government. They have been as welcome in the Obama or Biden White House, as the Bush White House. The Cold War, for them, never ended, and the world remains binary – ‘us and them, good and evil’.

Of course, the Pentagon does not buy the Kagan meme. They well know what nuclear war implies. Yet, the EU and U.S. political élites have chosen to place all their chips on the roulette wheel landing on ‘Ukraine’:

Ukraine’s symbolic expression now serves multiple ends: Principally, as distraction from domestic failures – ‘Saving Ukraine’ offers an (albeit false) narrative to explain the energy crisis, the spiking inflation and businesses shutting down. It is icon too, to the framework of the ‘enemy within’ (the Putin whisperers). And it serves to justify the control regime currently being cooked-up in Brussels. It is, in short, politically highly useful. Even perhaps, existentially essential.

Russia thus has taken the first step towards a real war footing. The west will be well advised to acknowledge and understand how this situation came about, rather than to pretend to its public that Russia is on the verge of collapse – which it is not.

How did ‘collective Russia’ arrive at this point? How do the pieces fit together?

The first piece to this jigsaw is Syria: Moscow intervened there with a tiny commitment – some 25 Sukhoi fighters and no more than 5,000 men. There, as with Ukraine, the operation was one of giving support to frontline forces. In Ukraine, through aiding the Donbas militia to defend themselves – and in Syria, through offering the Syrian army air-support, intelligence and mediation outreach to those with whom Damascus was not talking.

The other key piece to understanding Russia’s Syria ‘posture’ was that Moscow could rely for the cutting-edge ground-fighting on two highly skilled, and motivated fighting auxiliaries, in addition to the mainstream Syrian army: i.e. Hizbullah and the IRGC.

Taken together, this Russian intervention – limited to a supporting role only – nevertheless yielded political results. Turkey mediated; and the Astana Accord resulted. Notwithstanding that Astana has not been a great success – but its framework lives on.

The point here is that Moscow’s deployment in Syria ultimately was politically oriented towards a political solution.

Fast-forward to Ukraine: The militias of Donetsk and Luhansk represent the majority of the Russian-allied forces doing the fighting in the Donbas. The militias are reinforced by contract soldiers from the Wagner Group and Chechens fighters. This explains why Russian losses of 5,800 KIA, during the SMO are ‘small’. Russian forces were rarely on the frontlines of this war. (In Syria they were not on the frontlines at all.)

So, the Syria blueprint effectively was lifted aloft, and fitted down over Ukraine. What does this tell us? It suggests that originally Team Putin was angulated towards a negotiated settlement in Ukraine, just as in Syria. And it almost happened. Turkey again mediated, with peace talks occurring in Istanbul in late March, with promising results showing.

In one respect however, events here did not follow the Syria pattern. Boris Johnson immediately scuttled the settlement initiative, warning Zelensky that he must not ‘normalise’ with Putin; and if he did reach some accord, it would not be recognised by the West.

After this episode, the SMO nonetheless continued in its highly restricted format (with no signs of any political solution on the horizon). It persisted, too, despite growing evidence that taking down the defences that NATO had spent eight years erecting in Donbas likely were beyond the militia capabilities. In short, the SMO was demonstrating its limitations: what worked in Syria, was not working in Ukraine.

More forces plainly were required. Could this be done by tweaking the SMO (which imposed legal constraints on Russian regular forces serving in Ukraine), or was a complete re-set required? What resulted was the limited mobilisation and referenda outcome.

Plainly, however the decision to assimilate Ukrainian territory would foreclose on a likely political settlement, but this latter possibility was falling away anyway as the West fell for its fantasies of a Ukrainian complete victory, and as NATO escalated.

The ‘war’ was becoming less and less about Ukraine, and more and more NATO’s war on Russia.

Any political solution – however theoretical, at this point – would involve Moscow sitting with the collective West. Kiev had become a bystander.

Well, this was the point at which other geo-politics thrust itself into the equation: Russia, under sanctions, must pursue a strategy of building-out a protected ‘strategic depth’ that trades in own currencies (outside the dollar hegemony). MacKinder called this sphere the ‘World Island’ – a land-based mass, well distanced from the naval Great Powers.

Russia needs the support of BRICS and the SCO as partners both in creating this ‘trading strategic depth’, and for the multi-polar world order project. Some of its leaders though – particularly China and India – mindful of the SCO’s 2001 founding charter – naturally could have difficulty in lending public support to Russia’s Ukraine plans.

Yes, China and India are sensitive to interventions in other states, and Team Putin has worked hard, continually briefing its allies on Ukraine, so that they could understand the full background to the conflict. The summit at Samarkand was the final ‘piece’ – the personal briefing of what was to come in respect to Ukraine that needed to fall into place.

How will the West react? With a public display of ‘fury’ for sure; yet despite the hype, some fundamental realities will have to be addressed: Does Ukraine, with its severely abraded forces, have the wherewithal to continue this war after the loss of so many men? Is Europe even able to mobilise towards a larger NATO war against Russia? Do the U.S. and Europe retain a sufficient inventory of munitions, after so much has already been passed into the hands of Kiev?

The next crucial weeks will provide answers.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/28/2022 - 23:40
Published:9/28/2022 11:02:59 PM
[Markets] Remembering Hate Speech: Victor Davis Hanson Remembering Hate Speech: Victor Davis Hanson

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

It has been a canard of the Left that “words matter.” We are lectured that “hate speech” leads inevitably to street violence.

So how ironic that the Left defames nearly half of America as dangerous “semi-fascist” extremists, white-raged and privileged, ultra MAGA, and guilty of all sorts of thought crimes from secession to civil insurrection? And what is the result?

Does this constant demonization matter? And what are the bitter fruits of such labors? After all, what did Barack Obama long ago mean by “clingers” or once Hillary Clinton by “deplorables”  and “irredeemables”?

What did Joe Biden imply by “dregs” and “chumps” and “semi-fascists”? Or what did the FBI lovebirds really mean by smelly Walmart goers and “hillbillies”? After a point, did not America get this monotonous message?

And what does Joe Biden really mean when he recycles his academic advisors’ tired tropes of right-wing insurrectionists threatening the republic?

MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. . . . MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards—backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love . . . They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country . . . MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.

When the president fuels the now familiar old narrative by claiming that 75 million who voted for Donald Trump do not live in the “light of truth” but in the “shadow of lies,” and they do not follow “the rule of law,” some questions naturally arise.

First, what evidence does the president adduce to prove that 75 million Morlocks in the shadows are liars and avoid the “light of truth” of the Eloi? By what criteria does he use to judge them “semi-fascists”?

Is his proof the 120 days of violent looting, arson, violence, and death in the summer of 2020—virtually green-lighted by mayors, the media, and, yes, the current vice president? Who “fanned the flames of political violence” and were a “threat to the rule of law”?

Does Biden mean half the country is not respecting the Constitution by its systematic attack on our long-standing constitutional precepts, from the Electoral College and the rights of states to set voting laws? Are the “semi-fascists” trying to pack the Supreme Court? End the filibuster? Bring in two states solely to elect four left-wing senators?

Does the president mean the illegality of the often-rogue Washington-centric FBI, whose past director and legal counsel have lied to federal investigators and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court? Does he refer to himself who was enriched by the grifting efforts of his wayward son? Do semi-fascists brag that they got foreign state attorneys fired for looking into the shady dealings of their own family? Perhaps Biden was railing against scores of big-city state attorneys who systematically refuse to enforce the law, and so leave the innocent at the mercy of serially released criminal felons?

Second, what are Americans in the Old Testament/eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth Prophet Biden’s eyes to do with those miscreants?

What should America then do when half the country prefers to live in the “shadow of lies,” and rejects the “light of truth”?

Sic the FBI on them to monitor their speech at school board meetings? Hire 87,000 IRS agents to continue the Obama-era policies of weaponizing the IRS? Bring Lois Lerner out of retirement?

Put them in solitary confinement for “illegal parading”?

Keep them out of their capital by stringing barbed wire and militarizing it with 30,000 federal troops?

Draft the Democratic Party to work with the FBI in destroying a political candidate through false dossiers, paid informants, and concocted conspiracies?

Leg-irons for former Trump officials?

Performative FBI SWAT raids on their homes?

Government workers colluding with private companies to censor free speech and expression?

A new Ministry of Truth?

Who then is destroying the rule of law? Joe Biden, who violated his oath of office and nullified the entire corpus of federal immigration law, in 1850s fashion, and allowed 3 million illegally to enter his country?

Joe Biden, who by fiat illegally canceled an expected half-trillion dollars in student debt?

Joe Biden, who recalibrated the FBI into a first-family retrieval service of lost computers and diaries of his wayward children?

Or is the shadow-dweller who “does not respect the Constitution” none other than Hillary Clinton who hired two foreign nationals to compile dirt on her Republican opponents in hopes of warping an election, or the FBI who also hired both her paid fraudsters as FBI informants in efforts to aid the Clinton smear?

Is urging a candidate never to concede if he lost the popular vote or boasting of joining #TheResistance to an elected president whom she pronounced “illegitimate” anti-Constitutionalism? Or maybe destroying subpoenaed emails or destroying court-ordered evidence?

And who exactly are the merchants of racial hatred about whom we so often hear?

Is it the same Joe Biden who claimed Barack Obama was the first black presidential candidate who could speak intelligently? The same Joe Biden who screamed to a group of accomplished black professionals that Mitt Romney would put “y’all back in chains”? The same Biden who bragged that his heroic Southern segregationist senatorial colleagues never called him “boy”?

Or is it Joe the healer who called black media hosts “junkie” and “You ain’t black”?

Perhaps it’s the unifier Biden who spun racist Corn-Pop stories about how he had faced down criminal black gang leaders? Or the ecumenical Biden who called a senior African American aide “my senior advisor and boy”? Who boasted that young black children used to love to feel the golden hairs on his tan legs?

Or would Biden mean by racists none other than the current Democratic candidate for Senate in South Carolina, Krystle Matthews? She recently gushed that one must “treat white people like sh-t”?

Or was it Kelisa Wing, the Pentagon’s “Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at the Department of Defense Education Activity”? She in the past complained, “I’m exhausted with these white folx in these [professional development] sessions,” and “I am exhausted by 99% of the white men in education and 95% of the white women. Where can I get a break from white nonsense for a while.”

At one time, stereotyping millions as a toxic collective was the classic definition of racism.

Is Wing a target of what Lloyd Austin and Mark Milley promised when they boasted of scouring the Pentagon ranks to root out racism and racial rage?

Or maybe Biden was referring to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot?

She barred reporters from one-on-one interviews on the basis of race with the putdown, “By now, you may have heard the news that on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city, I will be exclusively providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of color.”

When Joe Biden talks about the supposed violent, racist, MAGA dwellers in darkness, does he produce data for his allegations? Are his proverbial white-male insurrectionists committing violent crimes at five times their numbers in the general population?

Do MAGA Midwesterners threaten Orthodox Jews in New York or Asians in San Francisco? What do statistics suggest about who is disproportionately committing these hate crimes that Biden would otherwise characterize as typical of those living in the shadows or in lies?

Are the MAGA voters swarming the homes of Supreme Court Justices? Are they running them out of restaurants? Are they mobbing at the doors of the Court to threaten justices by name, and warning that liberal justices won’t “know what hit you” as they justifiably “reap the whirlwind”?

Is Biden’s putatively dangerous Trump supporter out killing a teenager who, postmortem, is dubbed a political activist opponent; running down dozens at Christmas parades; threatening a U.S. senator and his wife as they exited the White House; or attempting to assassinate key members of Congress?

At the University of Oregon are white MAGA denizens in the “shadows of lies” screaming “F—k the Mormons” during football games, or plastering the Stanford campus with anti-Semitic posters of “Ben B Gone” bug spray to gin up violence to stop the implied Jewish insect Ben Shapiro from speaking?

We are reaching a critical juncture now in America.

Writing off half the population as irredeemable and deplorable or semi-fascists is not a sustainable proposition. And we can see how it is not.

Is the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at the Department of Defense relieved or worried that the army will not have enough white raging males to die in the next optional war in the Middle East at twice their percentages in the population? The Army has only met 50 percent of its annual recruiting target.

When Biden demonizes in now stereotypical fashion—and without data—an entire 75 million person demographic, when the popular culture has legitimized smearing these millions as dangerous “racists” fueled by “white rage,” and when the media manufactures a series of fake melodramas—from the Russian collusion hoax to the Russian disinformation use of his son’s laptop to the Jussie Smollett lie, the Covington kids slander, or the Duke lacrosse and volleyball mythologies—at some point is it any wonder that we are beginning to witness an epidemic of violence directed at the supposedly privileged, or the supposedly politically incorrect, whether targeting random solitary women for violent acts or purported conservatives or any demographic who are all apparently deserving such punishment due to their race or political beliefs?

Joe Biden’s “Phantom of the Opera” rant will be memorialized as the most reckless and venomous presidential speech in recent history. Such vile rhetoric fuels even viler reactions—and eventually filters down to the street where criminals believe that shooting a congressman or mobbing a Supreme Court justice or killing a solitary jogger or a teen-aged “Republican” is some sort of reification of what they feel is now acceptable retribution.

In sum, what we used to know as “hate speech” is now presidentially acceptable speech, and what has followed from it is no surprise.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 23:40
Published:9/26/2022 11:10:23 PM
[Markets] Washington Post Columnist Calls For The End Of Impartiality And Balance In Journalism Washington Post Columnist Calls For The End Of Impartiality And Balance In Journalism

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

In an age of rage, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin has long been a standout in her attacks on Republicans and conservatives: “We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.” However, her recent column shows that she has made a clean break not only from Republicans but from reason. The writer (long cited by the Post as their “Republican columnist” for balance) has called for the media to abandon balance and impartiality. Rubin is demanding that the media just become overt advocates in refusing to report both sides in the myriad of political issues in this election.

In her column, Rubin rejects the “need for false balance” because the coverage can suggest that Republicans are “rational.”

“The Kabuki dance in which Trump, his defenders and his supporters are treated as rational (clever even!) is what comes from a media establishment that refuses to discard its need for false balance that it has developed over the course of decades.”

That balance was once called “journalism” but Rubin now calls it facilitating “disinformation.” Balanced reporting is now dangerous and makes the media “a megaphone for disinformation, upholding the pretense that there are two political parties with equally valid takes on reality.”

What is striking is how Rubin objects to the current coverage when many already object to a heavy bias in such reporting. Yet, Rubin believes the media must go further.

Rubin’s attack on disinformation is ironic given her own past controversies in misrepresenting news, cases, and events. For full disclosure, I clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony and later column misrepresenting the holding in an appellate case involving Trump. That false account was never corrected by the Washington Post. It appears that misrepresenting the holding of a major case is not being a “a megaphone for disinformation.”

Rubin, however, is not alone in this call to abandon the foundational principle of impartiality in journalism.

We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. Writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy.

Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll decried how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

Lauren Wolfe, the fired freelance editor for the New York Times, has not only gone public to defend her pro-Biden tweet but published a piece titled I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.” 

Former New York Times writer (and now Howard University Journalism Professor) Nikole Hannah-Jones is a leading voice for advocacy journalism.

Indeed, Hannah-Jones has declared “all journalism is activism.” Her 1619 Project has been challenged as deeply flawed and she has a long record as a journalist of intolerance, controversial positions on rioting, and fostering conspiracy theories. Hannah-Jones would later help lead the effort at the Times to get rid of an editor and apologize for publishing a column from Sen. Tom Cotten as inaccurate and inflammatory.

These figures are killing journalism. Polls show trust in the media at an all-time low with less than 20 percent of citizens trusting television or print media. Yet, reporters and academics continue to destroy the core principles that sustain journalism and ultimately the role of a free press in our society. The result is to turn newspapers like the Post into echo chambers for the values of its reporters and a core of liberal readers.

For the rest of the country (including roughly half that voted for Trump), figures like Rubin are saying that they should go elsewhere.  They are. Media outlets like CNN have faced sharp declines in viewership and are trying to break away from this advocacy model to restore ratings. (The move has been denounced by some in the media as potentially helping Republicans by fairly reporting their side of these controversies).  The movement toward advocacy journalism is likely to build in the coming years to remake the media in the image of figures like Hannah-Jones and Rubin.

Viewers clearly tune in to Fox News and MSNBC for their strong editorial opinion and commentators. However, there has long been a line between reporters and commentators in how stories are presented. If journalists want to be advocates, they can shift to the side of commentary. That is clearly not sufficient for some like Rubin who do not want readers to be able to receive both sides of these controversies. Readers are to be shaped in their opinions like impressionable children. That was the message from the conference on disinformation led by media and Democratic figures like the recently fired CNN media host Brian Stelter.

Even as a columnist, I prefer the approach of Theodore White that “when a reporter sits down at the typewriter, he’s nobody’s friend.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 15:30
Published:9/25/2022 3:18:48 PM
[Biden Administration] WATCH: 17 Times the Biden Administration Said the Border Is Secure

The unanticipated arrival of 50 illegal immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, the elite liberal vacation hotspot and site of former president Barack Obama's $12 million mansion, forced the mainstream media to talk about the humanitarian crisis on the U.S. southern border. While most professional pundits were outraged that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) would dare to defile their favorite island getaway—which apparently lacks the infrastructure to support an extra 50 people—the Department of Homeland Security reported a record 2.5 million immigration encounters on the southern border for fiscal year 2022.

The post WATCH: 17 Times the Biden Administration Said the Border Is Secure appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/21/2022 2:33:03 PM
[Markets] Why The World Economic Forum's Plutocracy Should Be Dissolved Why The World Economic Forum's Plutocracy Should Be Dissolved

Authored by JB Shurk via The Gatestone Institute,

previous essay highlighted the serious threats posed by the World Economic Forum's "Great Reset" to individual liberty, human innovation, and general prosperity. It is important to expand discussion of these threats by examining the inherent dangers to free nations when so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of so few.

No matter how noble its stated intentions, the "Great Reset" is at its heart a program for driving political power away from individual citizens and toward the controlling interests of a small international class of financial elites. This shift in society's balance of power has fundamentally changed the relationship between Western citizens and their national governments.

For citizens to reclaim power, they must not only embrace the basics of free markets once again but also rekindle a fondness for questioning the motivations of political authorities.

Of all Lord Acton's persuasive defenses of individual liberty as the highest end of human civilization, one observation remains most memorable: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." As well-known as these words are, the universality of their meaning is often ignored.

It is not just kings, generals, and popes who possess great power. Wherever a person, group, or institution is capable — through enticement, coercion, or brute force — of bending an individual's free will, the structures and instruments of power exist. A local school board, after all, may well have more immediate and intimate influences over a person's family than the United Nations Human Rights Council and its revolving door of despots who tend to promulgate international resolutions shielding their own crimes. A wealthy landowner who exerts hefty influence over agricultural or cattle markets influences the pocketbook fortunes of more modest farmers, too. The small number of multinational corporations that control most television and print news sources around the globe also control the sociological levers capable of manufacturing or shifting public opinion. Power in any form — political, economic, cultural, spiritual — is an abiding challenge to human liberty, and in this way, must always be guarded against as a potential foe.

It is also true that those with power have little incentive to check what they possess and have every incentive to grow and strengthen the powers already in their grasp. Rare, indeed, is the Cincinnatus or Washington who has gained near total control over a nation state only to relinquish such tremendous authority voluntarily and return with humility to the life of an ordinary farmer. Examples of virtuous self-restraint are historic exceptions to power's innate tendency to become all the more coveted once obtained. So, too, is it uncommon to find those in possession of raw power who ruthlessly or bombastically proclaim their dominance over others. Instead, people and institutions with power prefer to remain somewhat in the shadows, exercising authority in the name of ideas, causes, or populations beyond themselves.

"The welfare of the people," Albert Camus succinctly noted, "...has always been the alibi of tyrants."

The great mass murderers of the twentieth century attest to this truth. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao killed tens of millions, but they did so, they assured the world, not for their own glory but for the benefit of "the people." Castro and Guevara executed tens of thousands of political prisoners while absurdly claiming they did so in the name of "freedom."

"Most of the evil in this world," T.S. Eliot is said to have coldly warned, "is done by people with good intentions." So when people or institutions wrap themselves in the garments of "good intentions" and proclaim loudly to be working for "the people's best interests," that is precisely the time when individual liberty is most at risk.

Today in the West we are confronted with an uncomfortable paradox. At the same time as national leaders defend vague notions of "democracy" against "authoritarian" threats beyond their borders, power and influence continue to rapidly amalgamate into the hands of a small few. It is no secret that money influences politics, no matter how profusely politicians may assert their civic independence from the lobbyists and benefactors filling their campaign war chests. With organizations such as the World Economic Forum openly working to direct the legislative programs and executive actions of nation states across the globe, however, wealthy patrons of elite economic societies have become increasingly vocal about their ambitions toward remaking the world according to their own "Great Reset" designs? while flexing their political muscles within the domestic affairs of discreet nation states for ordinary citizens to see.

Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, appeared with David Gergen in 2017 at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and openly boasted of his influence over many national leaders:

"I have to say when I mention names like Mrs. Merkel, even Vladimir Putin and so on, they have all been Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, but what we are really proud of now is the young generation like Prime Minister Trudeau, the President of Argentina and so on. So we penetrate the cabinets. So yesterday I was at a reception for Prime Minister Trudeau, and I know that half of his cabinet or even more are Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.... It is true in Argentina and it is true in France now...."

When the chairman of an international economic body publicly brags about his leverage over the leaders of sovereign nation states, he can hardly be mistaken as defending the merits of "democracy."

In a somewhat farcical display of the World Economic Forum's control over individual nations, it has become eerily commonplace these last two years to hear the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States all parroting the same "Build Back Better" slogan propagated by Klaus Schwab's economic club. With wealth and political power bonded densely into such haut monde cabals, the insular prerogatives of the WEF have succeeded in dominating government policies throughout the West.

Both in their immediate handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and their planned response to the harsh economic repercussions dovetailing from prolonged lockdowns, Western nation states have taken many of their cues directly from the World Economic Forum's policy edicts. Whatever vestige of "democracy" still casts a shadow across North America, Europe, and the South Pacific, it has become unmistakable that plutocracy — rule by a wealthy elite — is fast assuming total control over the West's future.

Notably, today's plutocrats have little interest in truly free markets. Unlike J.D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and other late-nineteenth-century industrialists and business magnates who made their fortunes in the heyday of economic growth before the massive expansion of the regulatory State, those with great wealth today often champion government intervention in markets. The World Economic Forum, for instance, demands governments take urgent action to combat or address climate changecybersecurity, online misinformationartificial intelligenceoverpopulation, the use of hydrocarbon energyfarm ownershipfood supplies, the elimination of private vehicle ownership, and the imposition of citizen-control protocols to defend against future pandemics. Regulation of people and markets is now of paramount importance to those with wealth and power.

By their nature, regulations (which are indistinguishable from taxes in this effect) make the cost of doing business more expensive and benefit the deep-pocketed monopoly Goliaths at the expense of any upstart Davids threatening their market positions. When the uber-elite successfully influence politicians to enact laws that benefit their personal financial interests -- a corrupt practice known as "regulatory capture" -- they distort the normal dynamics of any free market. When governments mandate more expensive forms of "clean" energy across the market, for instance, wealthy corporations capable of enduring these added costs reap the ancillary benefits of gobbling up the market share abandoned by smaller competitors unable to survive. This is by design.

By utilizing law and regulation as a sword and shield to prevent potential competitors from entering the market while expanding monopoly power, plutocrats use political patronage and fashionable policy goals disguising self-interest to maintain their own wealth and control. Climate change, public health, sustainable food supplies -- the public policy issue is never anything more than an expedient stalking horse for the wealthiest in the West to use cynically in an effort to maintain economic control.

This fusion between monied interests and government power has created a type of reverse fascism. Instead of some charismatic political leader in the mold of a Benito Mussolini demanding that titans of industry follow his commands for the benefit of the State and in the interests of the people, a new class of plutocrats now steer the direction of national policies and pay the politicians to make sure the people will comply.

Notably, today's plutocrats take a nearly identical position as traditional communists in asserting that the "economic pie" is only so big and can therefore only be divvied up among a growing population in smaller and smaller portions but never actually enlarged. When economic wealth is seen as finite, preventing others from acquiring personal prosperity is necessary for maintaining political power's status quo. When market competition is permitted to grow wealth in perpetuity, however, not only does a growing share of the population increase its wealth, but also political power becomes spread out more diffusely.

When the "rising tide" of free markets is allowed to "lift all boats," neither the plutocrat nor communist politburo holds as much sway. For this reason, both communists and plutocrats share a similar goal — minimizing the prosperity of the majority of citizens, while maximizing the political power of a small minority of government officials. Under communism, this type of power arrangement takes the form of an oligarchy, or rule by a small few. Under the World Economic Forum's brand of oligarchy? where the West's wealthiest manipulate centrally-controlled governments, the result is demonstrably plutocratic.

For plutocrats, actual free markets are a threat to their habitual control over political power. When real markets exist, endless human innovation regularly upends the market position of any one firm. Yesterday's industry leader can go bankrupt fast if today's upstart inventor designs a better or cheaper competing product. Creative destruction is at the heart of free market growth. When product innovation is understood as the single greatest variable for generating long-term economic success, it is easy to understand how difficult it is to stay ahead of the market for any length of time. Rare is the company that manages to innovate so effectively year after year that it survives for decades or longer.

This is, of course, why so much capital is sunk into research and development in constant pursuit of the "next big thing." It is also why corporations and private investors diversify their holdings so that they may still benefit financially, even when successful innovation occurs far from their domains. When corporate behemoths adeptly forestall their own impending financial deaths through political influence and regulatory capture, however, they cheat the markets at the larger public's expense. When this alternative, yet corrupt, path to permanent wealth becomes the model for economic "success," creative innovation takes a permanent back seat to raw political clout. "Absolute power," in other words, still "corrupts absolutely."

For individual liberty to flourish, competing forces must always counterbalance concentrated power in any form. When economic monopoly is used to create plutocratic control over government policy, then it becomes imperative for society to unleash the full potential of market forces to destroy protracted power and wealth and encourage more widespread prosperity.

The steps for achieving such a result are no different today than they were when Adam Smith first published The Wealth of Nations in 1776. Cheap and abundant energy sources reduce the entry costs of building a business. Minimal taxation that seeks neither to confiscate wealth nor to punish successful innovation produces an endless supply of creative talents and energies. Limited regulation keeps the costs of market transactions low. Respect for private property and fair and impartial application of commercial laws encourage capital investment. Refraining from taxing the fruits of an individual's labor fosters an exponentially more productive labor force. Providing populations with the tools to pursue and obtain knowledge and skills at minimal expense promotes not only an educated workforce but also politically competent citizens.

It seems no coincidence, then, that every one of these policy prescriptions is today either stymied or subverted. Political interventionism has precipitated a Western energy crisis. When campaigning for the U.S. presidency in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that he would raise taxes even if doing so ultimately decreased total public revenues because pursuing such a policy was only "fair."

Regulatory agencies and taxing authorities claim jurisdiction over every element of industry, production, and product distribution. Tens of thousands of laws, rules, and regulations make it nearly impossible for any entrepreneur to navigate markets without inadvertently committing infractions or becoming a future target of an ever-growing army of regulatory code enforcers. Citizens are taxed on their wages, incomes, purchases, property, investments, improvements, sales, etc., and should they still possess anything of worth upon their ultimate demise, some agent of the State is likely to take one final cut of their bequeathed estates. The same unit of labor is thus taxed repeatedly along the government's conveyor belt of confiscation.

Lastly, in an age of rampant political correctness and "woke" cancel culture, indoctrination and political dogma have supplanted basic education. Math, science, history, and philosophy have been watered-down to make room for ideological fluff often meant to divide students against each other. The combined and natural effect of all this government-sponsored malfeasance has been that intergenerational social mobility in the United States, once impressively robust, has absolutely plummeted.

Who benefits when the most basic foundations for creating prosperity are denied to the majority of citizens? Well, those in power benefit because, by rigging the system in their favor and institutionalizing destructive habits, very few people who might challenge their dominion ever rise high enough to do so. The plutocracy wins. The insular and selfish cabal of wealthy elites who populate the World Economic Forum ultimately win. The vast majority of Western citizens, however, lose substantially... over and over again.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/19/2022 - 23:40
Published:9/20/2022 12:21:59 AM
[Markets] Fauci, Klain, Yellen, Kendi Headline Pfizer-Funded, Far-Left Conference In D.C. This Week Fauci, Klain, Yellen, Kendi Headline Pfizer-Funded, Far-Left Conference In D.C. This Week

Authored by Raheem J. Kassam and Natalie Winters via The National Pulse,

Anthony Fauci is set to headline a major far-left conference whose lead sponsors include COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer, The National Pulse can reveal. Fauci will appear alongside race-baiter Ibram X. Kendi, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and more.

The September 21st to 23rd Atlantic magazine festival will take place at the Wharf in Washington, D.C., with tickets going for a cool $400.00 per person. Topics are set to include critical race theory, diversity, Ukraine, censorship, climate change, and centralizing healthcare and pandemic response control.

Fauci – who has overseen most of America’s COVID-19 response in his role as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – has long been the subject of “fact checks” by corporate media sources such as Reuters, which deny his links with Big Pharma group Pfizer. The chairman and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Thomson Reuters Foundation– James C. Smith – is a top investor and board member for Pfizer, as The National Pulse revealed in December 2021.

Pfizer vaccine studies have also shown adverse effects on the health of its recipients, including altered menstrual cycles in women, lowered sperm count in men, and cardiovascular problems in children and young adults. Despite the flaws – or perhaps because of them – the company hired a record-breaking number of politically connected lobbyists to help advance vaccine mandates.

Anti-America Line Up.

Other participants in the event include White House Chief of Staff Ronald A. Klain, “anti-racist” activist Ibram X. Kendi, top “Critical Race Theory” scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, as well as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

The first day of the conference includes “underwritten” panels by Pfizer, Genentech, the Walton Family Foundation, and Edward Jones. The website explains that “underwritten” sessions are “not produced by the Atlantic’s Editorial Team”. In other words, they are long, paid “advertorial” by major corporate interests. Underwritten sessions account for half of the first day’s events; 62.5 percent of the second day’s events; and none of the last day’s events.

The second day’s programming includes a panel on “misinformation”, underwritten by the Boston Consulting Group, and starring TikTok’s “Misinformation Researcher” Abbie Richards, as well as Louis Jacobson from the partisan “fact checker” Politifact. Richards is unlikely to be quizzed on recent revelations that dark money Democrat groups are paying for misinformation to be spread on her Chinese Communist-owned platform by leading Obama acolytes.

Southern Company is then underwriting a panel on George Floyd, followed by the MacArthur Foundation hyping ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ and Penguin Books promoting critical race theory.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/19/2022 - 17:40
Published:9/19/2022 5:22:14 PM
[Markets] Are You Ready For Societal Winter? Are You Ready For Societal Winter?

Authored by James Wesley Rawles via SurvivalBlog.com,

Many of you reading this are ready for winter, both literally and figuratively. Your firewood is stacked and your kindling is split. Your barn is stacked full of hay. Your larder is crammed full of food. Your fuel tanks are topped off. And your home armory is “dialed-in”, with its walls comfortably stacked with ammo cans.  But some of you reading this are not nearly so well prepared. Whether by lack of resolve or lack of resources, you aren’t ready for the manifold challenges of the 21st Century.

Winter is coming. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that the winter of 2022-2023 will be harsh, for most of the country. And in Western Europe, the winter will surely be an uncomfortable one, since the Russians have embargoed natural gas.

Far worse than the predicted La Niña winter in North America, we are also entering what I term a Societal Winter: An era of rancorous discontent between political factions here in the United States that is replete with iciness, and dismissiveness, by The Powers That Be. With divisive “Woke” rhetoric and plenty of finger-pointing, people are feeling a lot less “United” these days. From my vantage point here in the rural Northern Rockies, it appeared that immediately after Joe Biden and his activist cabinet took office in D.C., the Mainstream Media (MSM) cranked the Acrimony knob all the way up to “11.”  (For those not familiar, the 11 is a reference to the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.)

All signs now point to the advent of a deep and long Societal Winter.

Here are some key indicators of an incipient Societal Winter:

  • The “us versus them” chatter in social media has become more extreme and pronounced.

  • The homes of Supreme Court justices have been picketed and blasted by vile shouts and taunts on bullhorns.

  • Ex-Presidents now frequently criticize the sitting President and other former Presidents. (That was heretofore considered a no-no.)

  • There is seemingly no more middle ground in American politicsThe “debate” and “conversation” have been turned into one-sided lectures by the left.

  • The divide between Red States and Blue States has deepened, prompting many conservatives to “vote with their feet.” The American Redoubt movement is just one manifestation of this.

  • The stage-managed and quite partisan congressional hearings on the unarmed January 6th “insurrection”.

  • The FBI and DOJ have been used as weapons against political opponents of Biden & Company. The experiences of Roger Stone and Mike Lindell are indicative.

  • The ATF has begun to issue edicts on gun parts that go far beyond their legislated mandate. (They should take note of the recent West Virginia v. EPA decision — Federal agencies enforce laws. They are not supposed to create laws.) The ATF edicts have turned parts that they had previously approved into felonies. In just the past three years, the ATF has issued controversial rulings on bumpstocks, solvent traps, forced reset triggers, auto key cards, arm braces, and 80% complete receivers that are sold along with drilling fixtures and parts sets.

  • The IRS plans to add 87,000 new employees, and many people fear that they will be targeting conservative small business owners with audits.

  • Politically-motivated “swatting” is on the rise.

  • The homosexual rights movement has been co-opted by militant trans-sexual crusaders. They’ve also infiltrated public schools and now seem to be proud of grooming children.

  • Mask mandates and vaccine mandates have been politicized and used as weapons to purge conservatives from the military.

  • A $500 billion student loan forgiveness scheme that is just a thinly-veiled gambit to buy votes.

  • The Governor of New York recently taunted conservatives, and suggested that they leave the state.

  • Search engine and social media searches are manipulated, via algorithms.

  • Conservatives have been systematically de-platformed, de-funded, de-banked, and de-ranked from search engine results. On this, I’m not spouting hyperbole. I’m writing this from personal experience. In late 2021, my own bank account that I’d held for nearly 20 years with never a bounced check was canceled on short notice, with no reason given. And, because of the way that search engine results are algorithmically ranked, I’ve lost 30% of my blog’s readership over the past 10 years. Just do a web search on the word “preparedness”, and scroll through the results. You will see that 95% of the results in the first 10 pages point to government web pages. In contrast, do a web search on the more precise phrase “n”, and see what results. So… The truth is out there, but the tech titans are doing their best to conceal it.

  • Mainstream journalists have dropped any pretense of objective reporting.

  • Joe Biden recently has given speeches where he castigated conservatives, terming us “a threat to democracy” and “semi-fascists.”  Using labels like that puts targets on our backs. In effect, he declared about half of the population enemies of the state.

  • Politically-motivated prosecutions of former Trump White House staff members.

  • American society’s long-standing tacit agreement to show restraint at public meetings seems to have been dropped. In response, governments have clamped down on dissenters.

  • Vocal dissent has now expanded to local school board meetings and library board meetings.

  • Character assassination of those with dissenting voices is now carried out on a grand scale, via skewed polls, social media bot influence, “reports” from pressure groups like the SPLC, slanted news reporting, and the overt manipulation of Wikipedia.

  • A cozy relationship has developed between government officials — who are constitutionally barred from censorship — and the tech titans who operate social media platforms – who feel that they can censor their users.  Some of the tech moguls have admitted that they engaged in censorship and swayed elections “in partnership” with the government. And we’ve all read that the Federal government had plans to create an Orwellian Disinformation Bureau.

  • Gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) / extreme risk protective orders (ERPOs) — a.k.a. “Red Flag” laws have been used to exercise ill will, often regarding grudges and even political differences, by the police or within families. This seems to have already increased, in the city and county of San Francisco. In the past year, San Francisco judges have issued more Red Flag court orders than in the rest of the state, combined.

  • The overturn of the Roe v. Wade decision infuriated many liberals, to the point of some of them demanding defiance of the court order and that the court be expanded, to create a majority of liberal justices.

So, where does all of this lead us? I believe that it will lead to a winter of discontent, possibly lasting for many years, and perhaps with polarization worsening to the point of Balkanization of the 50 States and even civil war.

WE’LL ALL FEEL THE COLD

Even if you live in the hinterboonies, don’t expect to be immune from the effects of the nascent Societal Winter. I predict that a lot of these effects will come “top-down”, by orders issued by the Federal government, over the course of several successive Democrat or RINO administrations. Just like the Europeans now facing a government-mandated chilly winter in under-heated homes this winter, we can expect to feel the cold gaze of both liberal elitists and The Woke, in the years to come.

I can foresee that their wrath will be felt in many ways. For example: Higher income taxes, higher fuel taxes, a Federal “per-mile” tax on private highway travel, draconian new gun laws, politically-targeted IRS tax audits, the “dumping” of busloads (or Amtrak trainloads) of illegal aliens in rural towns, Federally-imposed leftist school curricula, umpteen new un-funded Federal mandates on the states, the forced phase-out of internal combustion engine light cars and trucks, the imposition of a Social Credit Score system, manipulated interest rates that will devastate the national economy, the “apportionment” of power grid resources–favoring Blue cities and states, continued government over-spending that is wrecking the purchasing power of the Dollar, Federal over-ride of state fish and game laws, increasingly stringent EPA and OSHA regulations, and a military draft that may include both our sons and our daughters.

If socialists, Marxists, Maoists, fascists, or other collectivists eventually consolidate power, then they will surely make attempts at overtly controlling businesses that go far beyond the already repugnant taxes and minimum wages. How? They could legislate hiring metrics that will arbitrarily dictate the percentage of minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts, mentally ill, simple-minded, and sexual deviants. Or the percentage of members of various religions. Or the percentage of members of various political parties. This forced hiring would be mandated regardless of the qualifications or the merits of applicants. In California, they already attempted to mandate the racial composition of corporate boards. (That was found unconstitutional by the courts, a few months ago.) There could also be attempts to limit farmers and ranchers in the production of livestock. By the way, this was just recently announced in The Netherlands. That triggered massive protests that were clearly downplayed by the American mainstream media. Just imagine a law dictating that 50% of firefighters, or military members, or professional athletes be women, or that 10% of new hires be people that are physically or mentally handicapped? Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut’s fictional Harrison Bergeron wasn’t so fictional, after all.

Collectivists might also take advantage of times of emergency — whether real or fabricated — to simply seize packaged foodstuffs, livestock, farm produce, and/or fish catches.  Dictatorial collectivists never learn from history.  The term “seizing power” might take on a new meaning, in this era of grid-tied photovoltaic power systems and net metering.  (“It is all for the public good, comrade.”)

And what if any of the 50 States start making secession noises?  I’m sure that the Federal authorities will find ways to severely penalize and downright punish any such states, economically.

Some of the measures that I’ve outlined might seem outrageous or downright inconceivable. Take a minute to read this recent news article: RAF ‘pauses job offers for white men’ to meet ‘impossible’ diversity targets.

INCREMENTAL TYRANNY

Just consider how socialists operate: by incrementalism. Here is their time-proven game plan in a nutshell: “Good ideas” morph into “suggestions”, then “guidelines”, then “targets”, and finally into “mandates” with penalties for noncompliance. The busybodies and do-gooders have already instituted a myriad of laws and taxes, and yet surprisingly there hasn’t been a revolt. They won’t stop adding more laws, new taxes, increased monitoring/surveillance, higher fines/penalties, more licenses, more permit inspections, additional fees, and new reparations to the point that they dictate just about every aspect of our lives. It is as if they want to turn America into an enormous Homeowner’s Association (HOA). It is all about control and power — and they want every bit of it.

We are facing a very cold Societal Winter, indeed. Nothing cuts to the bone quite like the icy gaze of someone in a position of authority–especially when they are backed by the might of law enforcement and the armed forces.

In closing, I’d like to remind my readers that the Greek general and politician Pericles once famously wrote: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/18/2022 - 23:30
Published:9/18/2022 10:54:15 PM
[Democrats] Two Arrogant Pricks Walk Into the White House…

Barack Obama didn't even want to pick a running mate in the summer of 2008. Assured of his impending victory in the general election, he had already begun planning his presidential transition and was "thinking expansively about his place in the world." He would have picked himself if that was allowed, but ultimately settled on Joe Biden, the "overly loquacious and overly self-assured" lifelong senator who placed fifth in the Iowa caucus earlier that year. The rest is history.

The post Two Arrogant Pricks Walk Into the White House… appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/17/2022 4:49:33 AM
[Markets] Imports To Los Angeles, America's Largest Port, Plunged 17% In August Imports To Los Angeles, America's Largest Port, Plunged 17% In August

By Greg Miller of FreightWaves

The Port of Los Angeles, the highest-volume container gateway in America, is diverging from the nationwide trend. U.S. container imports remain close to record highs, yet imports to LA are falling double digits.

On Thursday, the Port of Los Angeles reported total throughput of 805,672 twenty-foot equivalent units in August, down 15.5% year on year (y/y). Imports came in at 404,313 TEUs, exports at 100,484 TEUs and empties at 300,875 TEUs.

Imports were down big, sinking 16.8% y/y and 16.7% compared to July.

It was the lowest import total in Los Angeles for any month since December, when volumes were suppressed by extreme landside congestion. 

It was also the lowest import total in LA for the month of August since 2014, eight years ago, back when Barack Obama was president and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” topped the charts.

But last month’s import plunge in Los Angeles is not indicative of a countrywide trend. According to data from Descartes, U.S. imports in August were essentially flat compared to July. The nationwide import total was up 18% versus August 2019, pre-COVID. Los Angeles’ imports last month were down 8% versus August 2019.

Los Angeles’ performance stands in stark contrast to the blowout numbers just announced by the Port of Savannah in Georgia. Savannah handled 290,915 TEUs of loaded imports in August, by far the highest tally in the port’s history.

Savannah’s August imports were up 15.6% from July, 14.7% from the previous record month in May, 20% y/y — and 34% versus August 2019, pre-COVID.

Drivers of August decline

During a news conference Thursday, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka pointed to multiple reasons for the drop.

“Some of the cargo that usually arrives in August for our fall and winter seasons is already here,” Seroka said. “Cargo owners who expected longer lead times shipped earlier in order to guarantee delivery schedules. This just-in-case strategy versus the traditional just-in-time approach has been widespread in the market.”

Meanwhile, with 8.3% inflation, Seroka said “consumers are naturally getting a bit anxious, as are retailers. We’re starting to see canceled production orders out of Asia.”

Another reason for weaker August numbers, as highlighted by the booming stats out of Savannah: Imports have shifted to the East and Gulf coasts at the expense of West Coast ports.

“Some shippers diverted cargos to East and Gulf Coast ports in order to avoid port congestion and as a possible hedge against West Coast labor contract negotiations,” Seroka said. “Consequently, those ports have substantial backlogs, while here in Los Angeles, we have very little congestion.”

Yet another reason for August’s drop: local competition from Long Beach, the port next door. A substantial volume of cargo shifted from Los Angeles to Long Beach.

Asked by American Shipper about the cause of the local shift, Seroka said, “There are some discussions on the ground between union leadership and the folks over at APMT [APM Terminals] about health and safety measures around the automated area.”

This led to a shift of around 40,000 TEUs from Los Angeles to Long Beach in August, he disclosed (that equates to around half of the sequential import drop in August versus July). Seroka said that shift to Long Beach could be even higher this month: 60,000-80,000 TEUs.

He maintained that the shift will be temporary and the situation will “get back to normalcy between Los Angeles and Long Beach very soon.”

More volume weakness ahead

Seroka expects the volume pullback to continue in the months ahead.

“The bottom line is that we’re projecting lighter numbers in September and for the balance of the year,” he said. “But to keep things in perspective, even with this projected softer volume in the back half of the year, the Port of Los Angeles is headed toward the second busiest year in our history.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/16/2022 - 11:26
Published:9/16/2022 12:06:06 PM
[Entertainment] A.M. Homes traces the frightening (and hilarious) roots of GOP decay "The Unfolding," by A.M. Homes, is a witty satire about wealthy Republicans plotting to set America straight after Barack Obama defeats John McCain. Published:9/13/2022 1:18:54 PM
[Markets] Bear Traps' Highest Conviction Trade: A Perfect Storm Is About To Hammer The Dollar Bear Traps' Highest Conviction Trade: A Perfect Storm Is About To Hammer The Dollar

At a time when Wall Street is stuck in a furious debate with itself whether or not the Fed will pivot because inflation this or that, we recently proposed on Sept 1 an alternative theory: the coming Fed pivot will come not because an "inflation target has been hit" (it won't be for quite a while, especially since US unemployment will need to rise by over 4 million to contain inflation, a political unpalatable outcome), but because the dollar is soaring, and recently hit almost daily all time highs. As such we suggested that the Fed pivot will come not because of inflation but due to "devastation across the ROW."

Over a week later, we were surprised that someone even as patently clueless as Paul "fax machine" Krugman had figured out that the multi-trillion global dollar short squeeze is having catastrophic consequences on the rest of the world, when he wrote that "whatever the reasons, however, it’s clear that the strong dollar is inflicting a lot of pain on economies around the world. Once again, it’s our currency but their problem. Should this influence policy?"

Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist (inventor of the famous Sahm Rule recession indicator), has been a strong critic of the Fed’s hard line on inflation and more recently has been arguing passionately that the Fed has a responsibility to consider the damage its policies are inflicting on the rest of the world. She has a point. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Fed will listen — yet.

But...

Federal Reserve officials are still deeply worried about the possibility that high inflation will get entrenched in the U.S. economy, and that concern will dominate everything else until there are clear signs that underlying inflation is coming down. Once the Fed feels that it has some breathing room, however, it should start taking international repercussions into account. The dollar may be other countries’ problem, but even a purely self-interested America needs to live in the world our policies help shape.

Of course, the growing USD-bearish consensus is hardly news to Zero Hedge readers who knew more than two weeks ago that according to Michael Hartnett, the most accurate Wall Street analyst of 2022 by far, the top trade of 2023 will be to short the dollar, while going long the inverse trade, EMs:

The Trade of 2023: it’s “short US dollar, long Emerging Markets”... but only after the US recession starts (which will mark peak US$) and China troughs (likely after the coming China currency devaluation).

All of which brings us to the latest Bear Traps note by Larry McDonald, who not only echoes everything we have previously said about the Fed's coming funding squeeze (see "The Fed Is Quietly Paying $250 Million To A Handful Of Happy Banks Every Single Day" from July 1) but puts the coming dollars crisis in stark contrast.

Here is how Larry explains it:

After the Great Financial Crisis – regulators wanted to make sure the U.S. financial system would never again succumb to the double-edged sword of excess leverage. Regulators forced U.S. banks to “reserve up” and so – for the last 14 years – Wall Street's financial epicenter stored an ever-enormous dollar number of reserves – mostly found in U.S. Treasuries.

Today, as promised the Fed must pay these banks MORE and MORE interest on these reserves. As the central bank hikes rates – the unintended consequences are MOUNTING along with a political backlash - potentially louder than a Donald Trump appearance on “The View.”

This time next year, the Federal Government is looking at a near $400B negative swing;

  • a) from profit to a loss on the Fed's transfer of net interest income – triggered by a surge in interest payments to banks on reserves,
  • b) plus $200B additional interest on their $31T debt load.

Dollar headwinds are mounting from; emerging market credit risk, China currency devaluation, the Eurozone energy crisis, a weaker U.S. consumer (see Capital One CDS), and one-year inflation expectations crashing at the fastest pace since the fall of Lehman Brothers.

Sit back, think of taking the Fed Funds rate from 25bps in March to 325bps this month, that's three years of accommodation withdrawal in just six months. The price has yet to be paid for this violent right hook. A freshman-year economist can tell you it will take 12-24 months for the full effects to play out.

Now think of great films. Anyone that ´s ever seen the Hollywood classics in “Top Gun” knows how “Maverick” plays the game. Take extreme chances and push your next move as close to recklessness as possible – make the other-side believe there are no limits to your unpredictable path – when you know in your heart of hearts there are.

Running, not walking while blind in the dark. This is Powell ´s dangerous dollar–rates game.

Make NO mistake, the Fed knows what they don't know. It's time to get real. No academic on this planet can calculate the 12–24-month forward outcome of 300-450bps of rate hikes and $1T of QT - all delivered in less time than a “Hamilton” intermission on Broadway.

The whole lot has been tossed on a massively levered global financial system. They have very publicly sold investors on a path littered with incalculable risks with their pawns delivering weekly golf claps along the way.

After all the drama, genesis knocked on the door early Wednesday morning after breakfast. The truth is starting to come out. “Fed's Brainard: There's a risk of raising rates too much” – said Axios.

Let's be clear, the S&P 500 is up nearly 4% since Lael started to acknowledge two-sided economic risks of a “global nature.... risks with overtightening.” Gold miners are 8-10% higher since the speech.

When stocks rally like this into a tape filled with really bad news, there is almost always a central banker behind the move. As much as “Maverick” shows off his dance with darkness, the political will to kill inflation just isn't there.

Here we agree 100%: in fact this was our (rare) criticism of Zoltan Pozsar's August note "War and Interest Rates", in which the Hungarian predicted that Powell will pull a Volcker and push rates into the stratosphere. We countered that there is no way this will happen, since the tradeoff would be a crushing recession and millions unemployed as even Obama's chief economist Jason Furman admitted late last week. In fact, with inflation now trending back down, we expect the Fed to pivot very soon, a move which will reverberate across commodities and send prices truly exponentially higher... but not for a few months. Meanwhile, the dollar will be crushed as near record longs scramble to cover. And speaking of the cost of fighting runaway inflation, McDonald writes that...

In reality, similar to the 1970s, it's a social price just too high. As the breadth of bearishness rose, in recent weeks we covered half our shorts, and added to longs. JPM notes that after front-end rates have screamed 10x + higher, there are $15T of adjusted excess cash balances outstanding, or 16% of World GDP - highest level on record.

Bottom line: re-read Hartnett's "top trade of 2023" reco: it could, and most likely will be, the most profitable trade of the coming year. Not surprisingly, his top trade is identical to what McDonald sees as the best risk-reward looking out 12 months: "Our high conviction - U.S. dollar bear basket is locked and loaded – EWZ Brazil, EEM Emerging Markets, FXI – KWEB China, global value names in EWU and gold miners GDX."

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/12/2022 - 23:40
Published:9/13/2022 12:34:10 AM
[Markets] Luongo: The Queen Is Dead, But Is The UK? Luongo: The Queen Is Dead, But Is The UK?

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

I wrote a scathing piece on new UK Prime Minster Liz Truss the other day because I had to. Truss, I believe, is everything I said she is.  Sadly, she was also the best choice among the Tories to potentially carry Brexit to its real fruition.

Queen Elizabeth II finally gave up this mortal coil and say what you want about the British Crown and its perfidiousness throughout the centuries, Elizabeth was, I believe, something different.

I’m no royalist, or even a fan of the Brits at the geopolitical level.  I’ve spit enough fire and brimstone at them for their provincial attitudes towards all of their former colonies to level mountains.  The British aristocracy is as corrupt and enabling of the corrupt as any group of people in human history.

And many of the people they have enabled have no intention of giving up that power. Hence, the mess we see in Europe and the UK.

For all of the complaints I level at our own government being in the pay and service of foreign actors, I more than recognize the UK is dealing with the same problem.

But that said, I have a more balanced view of Elizabeth II and will not be dancing on her grave this morning.  In fact, I’ll remind you of the many posts I wrote back in 2018-19 about Brexit, Johnson and Trump bringing the Queen back on the chessboard to help get us out of the crisis we are now in.

The British crown has been a captured piece for generations to British globalists and Communists, but I repeat myself. They have dominated British foreign and domestic policy for decades.

And if there is one thing we know about Elizabeth, she hates Commies.

Sadly, so much of what we hoped for died when Davos stole the 2020 election and destroyed the Trump/Johnson/Elizabeth axis of power. Who do you think was really the target of COVID?

Us? The plebes? No. It was The Fed, Trump and the Queen. Davos got two of three. It ain’t bad, as the song goes, but without all three they can’t win.

That’s the most important part of Elizabeth’s story - as Queen she backed Brexit. Now, say what you want about what Brexit unleashed, the multiple power vacuums it created, and the confusion of who has sought to profit from it, in the end Brexit was an immense, world-shaking statement of popular sovereignty.

On this issue alone Queen Elizabeth II put paid Hans Hoppe’s trenchant analysis from 20 years ago in his book, Democracy, the God that Failed, that as bad as it is, even monarchy is a superior form of government than democracy because at least the monarch has a property right in their people.

Whereas in democracy, it’s just one big tragedy of the commons and all the corruption, graft, sloth and banality that implies. The crown at least purports to stand for something. And by backing Brexit Elizabeth stood for her people over those jackals in Parliament, the House of Lords and the Civil Service working so hard to tear them down.

Trump understood that Elizabeth was not Davos and Brexit the chance to really change the dynamic between not only the US and the UK but also between those two and Russia/China.

There was an opportunity for a negotiated settlement with them on behalf of the Global South and avoid the crisis we are in right now.

Elizabeth understood this as well, but was mostly powerless to stop the train because the UK government and its entrenched aristocracy is a cesspit.

Trump also understood that Charles was as compromised a figure as you could be.  The manila folder on Charles is more than thick enough to ensure he does as he’s told. 

Elizabeth, on the other hand, was no one’s toady.  It simply wasn’t her.  It doesn’t mean she was an heroic figure we should lionize. People are complicated.  Stories are never as cut and dried as we would like them to believe. Charles is still taking the throne after all.

I view the British Crown the same way I view the Vatican — corrupt and the power it wielded caused mission creep over the centuries in defining “their interests.” You’ll note how they’ve corrupted the United States with this same idea of “interests.”

The imperial mindset is one of the stickiest things in human behavior. But at some point pure survival takes over and pragmatism trumps all those old ambitions and machinations. The problem, of course, is that the jackals have weakened everything to the point of unleashing the worst people to run around doin’ stuff.

So, when Trump “lost” the stage was set to off Johnson and reverse Brexit.  Davos made their move against Johnson this summer because, as Alex Krainer reminded me in an email the other day, the British Cabinet actually runs the country, not Parliament.  

This was why Marc Sedwill being both Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service under Theresa May was so dangerous.  He was really Prime Minister, directing Brexit negotiations doing Davos’ bidding.

It’s also why Johnson firing him as nearly the first thing he did when taking power was the definitive statement of his position on Brexit, the Queen and the UK as a sovereign nation.

Sedwill’s power and betrayal of the UK showed in the Brexit deal May negotiated and left for Johnson to clean up.  One of the things she left behind was the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It was Elizabeth that helped along the destruction of May and the ascension of Johnson.  None of this excuses their activities in Ukraine, of course, but that’s a different matter.

Davos wanted Johnson gone because they wanted Brexit undermined.  The Northern Ireland protocol is the key to this.  There is a provision in the Brexit agreement where the NI protocol is to expire in a couple of weeks. There was a two-year time limit on it and if UK didn’t think the EU were acting in good faith (or whatever) they could cancel it and the UK would now be in charge of the border crossings. 

Conversely, if the NI protocol remains in place, the EU will still set trade policy for the UK.  Sunak was supposed to win and make sure the UK negotiated down.

Liz Truss has been at the forefront of pushing the legislation, now in the House of Lords, that would invoke that Article within the Brexit agreement and end the tussle over Northern Ireland.

So, this is the issue on which Brexit hangs.  It’s why Davos couldn’t wait for Liz to die before removing Johnson and creating a fight within the Tories for control over the party.  

It’s why Johnson kept saying they would have to remove him from office bodily.  In the end BoJo may have been a clown but it looks like he was, on balance, a patriot.

The goal was for Davos to get their dark-skinned Tony Blair, Rishi Sunak.  

They failed and got Johnson’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss.  

And I think Elizabeth held on long enough to see this through to completion, for the UK to be independent of Europe and re-establish its sovereignty. 

Truss then looks like a counterweight to Charles’ clear alliance with Davos on Climate Change and the Great Reset.  Then again, he may surprise us now that he has the crown.   I won’t speculate further.

The path to that is having nationalists in control of the cabinet who, in turn, control Parliament and the Civil Service.  

Now, all of this analysis depends on how Truss handles Northern Ireland.  If she stands her ground and wins then the above is correct and Brexit will eventually be achieved. Elizabeth’s legacy will be preserved.

If she caves Theresa May style, then the UK will be torn apart by Brussels/Davos to strip mine it. Remember, for Schwab’s plan to work in his mind, everyone must be brought low.  If only Europe is destroyed he wins nothing except historical vilification.

Remember what I said about Elizabeth hating Commies?

Now, as for Truss, if she begins backing off on the foreign policy front and focuses all of her attention on domestic policy, then the UK could avoid some of the damage clearly aimed at them.

If she doesn’t and continues Johnson’s insane belligerence against Russia then the UK’s future is far murkier.

For now, the early returns are good.  Her lifting the ban on fracking and oil/gas exploration is exactly the thing the UK needs to do.  It will put the Scottish Nationals led by Nicola Sturgeon on their back foot.  Expect increasingly strident calls for Scottish independence in the coming months.

Will Truss have the strength to ride herd over all of this?  I doubt it, especially with Biden/Obama in the White House.  This may all change post-mid-terms here in the US and Italy’s elections in two weeks.  

As it stands, on balance, Elizabeth did the best she could with a terrible post-war hand as monarch. The march towards this moment was well beyond her control. If, in the end, she was able to help the UK out of the mess she couldn’t or didn’t do enough to stop, then her legacy will have been a good one.

Originally tweeted by David Mack (@davidmackau) on September 8, 2022.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Mon, 09/12/2022 - 03:30
Published:9/12/2022 4:07:10 AM
[Entertainment] Meet the artists who painted the Obama White House portraits Robert McCurdy’s and Sharon Sprung’s portrayals of Barack and Michelle Obama reflect strong artistic visions, developed over decades-long careers Published:9/8/2022 3:22:06 PM
[Markets] First Came 9/11, Then COVID-19, What's The Next Crisis To Lockdown The Nation? First Came 9/11, Then COVID-19, What's The Next Crisis To Lockdown The Nation?

Authored by John and Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

- H.L. Mencken

First came 9/11, which the government used to transform itself into a police state.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which the police state used to test out its lockdown powers.

In light of the government’s tendency to exploit crises (legitimate or manufactured) and capitalize on the nation’s heightened emotions, confusion and fear as a means of extending the reach of the police state, one has to wonder what so-called crisis it will declare next.

It’s a simple enough formula: first, you create fear, then you capitalize on it by seizing power.

Frankly, it doesn’t even matter what the nature of the next national emergency might be (terrorism, civil unrest, economic collapse, a health scare, or the environment) as long as it allows the government to lockdown the nation and justify all manner of tyranny in the so-called name of national security.

Cue the Emergency State.

Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters”: the government has been anticipating and preparing for such crises for years now.

As David C. Unger writes for the New York Times: “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have given way to permanent crisis management: to policing the planet and fighting preventative wars of ideological containment, usually on terrain chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies. Limited government and constitutional accountability have been shouldered aside by the kind of imperial presidency our constitutional system was explicitly designed to prevent.”

Here’s what we know: given the rate at which the government keeps devising new ways to establish itself as the “solution” to all of our worldly problems at taxpayer expense, each subsequent crisis ushers in ever larger expansions of government power and less individual liberty.

This is the slippery slope to outright tyranny.

You see, once the government acquires (and uses) authoritarian powers—to spy on its citizens, to carry out surveillance, to transform its police forces into extensions of the military, to seize taxpayer funds, to wage endless wars, to censor and silence dissidents, to identify potential troublemakers, to detain citizens without due process—it does not voluntarily relinquish them.

The lesson for the ages is this: once any government is allowed to overreach and expand its powers, it’s almost impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. As Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe recognizes, “The dictatorial hunger for power is insatiable.

Indeed, the history of the United States is a testament to the old adage that liberty decreases as government (and government bureaucracy) grows. To put it another way, as government expands, liberty contracts.

In this way, every crisis since the nation’s early beginnings has become a make-work opportunity for the government.

Each crisis has also been a test to see how far “we the people” would allow the government to sidestep the Constitution in the so-called name of national security; a test to see how well we have assimilated the government’s lessons in compliance, fear and police state tactics; a test to see how quickly we’ll march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, no questions asked; and a test to see how little resistance we offer up to the government’s power grabs when made in the name of national security.

Most critically of all, it has been a test to see whether the Constitution—and our commitment to the principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights—could survive a national crisis and true state of emergency.

Unfortunately, we’ve been failing this particular test for a long time now.

Indeed, the powers-that-be have been pushing our buttons and herding us along like so much cattle since World War II, at least, starting with the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, which not only propelled the U.S. into World War II but also unified the American people in their opposition to a common enemy.

That fear of attack by foreign threats, conveniently torqued by the growing military industrial complex, in turn gave rise to the Cold War era’s “Red Scare.” Promulgated through government propaganda, paranoia and manipulation, anti-Communist sentiments boiled over into a mass hysteria that viewed anyone and everyone as suspect: your friends, the next-door neighbor, even your family members could be a Communist subversive.

This hysteria, which culminated in hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where hundreds of Americans were called before Congress to testify about their so-called Communist affiliations and intimidated into making false confessions, also paved the way for the rise of an all-knowing, all-seeing governmental surveillance state.

By the time 9/11 rolled around, all George W. Bush had to do was claim the country was being invaded by terrorists, and the government used the USA Patriot Act to claim greater powers to spy, search, detain and arrest American citizens in order to keep America safe.

By way of the National Defense Authorization Act, Barack Obama continued Bush’s trend of undermining the Constitution, going so far as to give the military the power to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, label them extremists, and detain them indefinitely without trialall in the name of keeping America safe.

Despite the fact that the breadth of the military’s power to detain American citizens violates not only U.S. law and the Constitution but also international laws, the government has refused to relinquish its detention powers made possible by the NDAA.

Then Donald Trump took office, claiming the country was being invaded by dangerous immigrants and insisting that the only way to keep America safe was to expand the reach of the border police, empower the military to “assist” with border control, and essentially turn the country into a Constitution-free zone.

That so-called immigration crisis then morphed into multiple crises (domestic extremism, the COVID-19 pandemic, race wars, civil unrest, etc.) that the government has been eager to use in order to expand its powers.

Joe Biden, in turn, has made every effort to expand the reach of the militarized police state, pledging to hire 87,000 more IRS agents and 100,000 police officers. Read between the lines and you’ll find that Biden has all but declared war on the American people.

What the next crisis will be is anyone’s guess, but you can be sure that there will be a next crisis.

So, what should you expect if the government decides to declare another state of emergency and institutes a nationwide lockdown?

You should expect more of the same, only worse.

More compliance, less resistance.

More fear-mongering, mind-control tactics and less tolerance for those who question the government’s propaganda-driven narratives.

Most of all, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, you should expect more tyranny and less freedom.

There’s every reason to worry about what comes next.

Certainly, the government’s past track record and its long-anticipated plans for instituting martial law (using armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems) in response to a future crisis are cause enough to worry about the government’s handling of the next “crisis.”

Mark my words: if and when another nationwide lockdown finally hits—if and when we are forced to shelter in place— if and when militarized police are patrolling the streets— if and when security checkpoints have been established— if and when the media’s ability to broadcast the news has been curtailed by government censors—if and when public systems of communication (phone lines, internet, text messaging, etc.) have been restricted—if and when those FEMA camps the government has been surreptitiously building finally get used as detention centers for American citizens—if and when military “snatch and grab” teams are deployed on local, state, and federal levels as part of the activated Continuity of Government plans to isolate anyone suspected of being a threat to national security—and if and when martial law is enacted with little real outcry or resistance from the public—then we will truly understand the extent to which the government has fully succeeded in acclimating us to a state of affairs in which the government has all the power and “we the people” have none. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/08/2022 - 00:05
Published:9/8/2022 12:25:02 AM
[Politics] At White House portrait unveiling, Michelle Obama seizes the moment

After Biden and Obama spoke, former First Lady Michelle Obama reflects on the ceremony's meaning and the state of a country in turmoil.

Published:9/7/2022 5:12:47 PM
[Entertainment] In new Obama portraits, a traditional but necessary nod to goodwill In a White House ceremony, the Bidens unveiled a painting of the former president by Robert McCurdy and a portrait of Michelle Obama by Sharon Sprung. Published:9/7/2022 5:12:47 PM
[World] WATCH: Michelle Obama swipes at Trump about 'peaceful transition' in White House speech Former first lady Michelle Obama took a not-so-subtle jab at former President Donald Trump during a portrait ceremony in the White House Wednesday. Published:9/7/2022 2:11:30 PM
[World] Biden to unveil Barack and Michelle Obama's official White House portraits Former President Barack Obama and his first lady Michelle Obama's official White House portraits have been revealed. Published:9/7/2022 1:24:25 PM
[World] Obama returns to White House, where he's upstaged Biden before Former President Barack Obama is stepping back into the political spotlight before November's midterm elections with a message to voters about the importance of protecting democracy. Published:9/7/2022 5:59:52 AM
[Markets] Biden Puts The 'Total' In Totalitarianism Biden Puts The 'Total' In Totalitarianism

Authored by Roger Kimball via AmGreatness.com,

America has come perilously close to the edge of the point of no return...

Joe Biden certainly set the punditocracy abuzz with his neo-totalitarian performance piece at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Thursday. The significance of that speech can be broken down into three parts, two of which have already received abundant commentary. 

The first has to do with the theater of the piece, its optics or stagecraft. As many commentators (myself included) noted, the feel of the event was distinctly, and distinctively, bombastic. The melodramatic red lighting, the presence of armed Marines flanking the president, and Biden’s hectoring, gesticulating delivery made the event seem eerily reminiscent of a speech by Stalin, Mao, or—the closest parallel—that diminutive former house painter who, for a few short years, mesmerized the world with his elaborately staged rallies before pushing ahead with more kinetic activities. 

To those who object that I am flirting with Godwin’s Law by invoking old AH, I reply that the flirtation was not mine but the doing of Biden’s producers and puppeteers. The visual similarity between Joe Biden’s event and some nighttime events at Nuremberg are just too striking to be coincidental. Leni Riefenstahl, as someone noted, would have been proud. Those who point out that Biden’s speech took place on September 1, a fraught day on the Polish border anno domini 1939, may be too ingenious for this historically illiterate age, but who knows? Often these things are, as our Marxists friends like to say, no accident. There are wheels within wheels. 

Which brings me to the question of the intent behind the theatrics. Was this exercise in garish, totalitarian kitsch a “gaffe,” as some are saying—an aesthetic miscalculation for which that blinking inarticulate muppet who is Biden’s press secretary will have to apologize? Apparently not, since she just said that the speech was “not political.” 

The entertainment committee never sleeps. 

A year or so back, I might have thought that the theatrics were inadvertent. I have changed my mind. Having watched Biden’s Justice Department morph into an American Stasi with the FBI conducting predawn raids against various Trump supporters, arresting former aides and confiscating the mobile phones and other property of his lawyers, I now think that the tactics of intimidation are part of a larger strategy. The FBI’s raid last month on Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach residence, belongs in this category, as of course do the hundreds of indictments and incarcerations of January 6 protestors. Almost all of those unfortunate souls wind up being charged with minor torts like “parading” in or around the Capitol, yet are nonetheless thrown in a special D.C. gulag for months before being found guilty by biased juries and subject to enhanced sentences handed down by Trump-hating judges.

None of this is adventitious. Like the intimidating and slightly unhinged theatrics of Biden’s speech, they are all deliberate scare tactics, warnings to us all of what can happen to those who dissent. The spectacle of 87,000 newly minted IRS agents waiting in the wings is another part of that “shock-and-awe” campaign. 

Beyond Theatrics

So much for the theatrics of the speech. What about its substance? It was a tooth-and-claw attack on Donald Trump and the MAGA agenda. How sharp were those teeth and claws? Trump and his supporters, said Biden, shaking his fists, represent “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” “The very foundations of our republic,” forsooth! A week earlier, he noted that the problem was “not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the . . . semi-fascism” of the MAGA agenda. 

The response to this unprecedented attack by a sitting president against his predecessor—as well as against the tens of millions (more than 74 million we are told) of his predecessor’s supporters—has been so robust that Biden felt it necessary to walk back his remarks, sort of. “I don’t consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country,” he said Friday, after saying just that on prime-time television to the entire nation the night before. 

But wait, what is the MAGA (or, to quote the results of the lucubrations of Biden’s focus group, “ultra-MAGA”) agenda that is supposedly so dangerous? It’s worth keeping the meanings of these epithets in mind. When Donald Trump first proposed his “Make America Great Again” formula, he specified several things that it encompassed.  At the top of the list were efforts to restore American prosperity, in part by exploiting our enormous energy resources, in part by abolishing mischievous and burdensome regulation, in part by cutting taxes and providing incentives for American business to hire Americans and produce their goods in America. 

Also at the top of the list was the integrity of our southern border, stanching the flow of illegal immigration, and rebuilding a military that had been woefully neglected during the Obama years. Elsewhere on the domestic front, Trump battled against political correctness and what has come to be called “identity politics.” He largely remade the federal judiciary, seeing three Supreme Court justices and hundreds of lower court federal judges confirmed, all of whom were nominated because they subscribed to a Antonin Scalia-like judicial philosophy that limited the role of judges to interpreting the law in the light of the Constitution, not making law under the inspiration of their personal policy preferences. 

In the sphere of foreign policy, the MAGA agenda meant “putting America first.” He insisted that our NATO allies begin to shoulder their stipulated financial burden, challenged China on trade and military adventurism, and scuttled the disastrous Obama-era nuclear deal (since renewed) with Iran. Trump also stood firmly against the democracy-exporting (or, more accurately, “democracy”-exporting) policies of the Bush era. America would go to war not to promulgate democracy but only to defend its own interests. His Abraham Accords brought peace to the Middle East, a world historical achievement for which Trump deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. 

And how did all that work out? Pretty well, I’d say. By the time Trump left office, America was a net exporter of energy; illegal immigration had slowed to a trickle; before the onslaught of COVID, his policies had resulted in the lowest unemployment in decades, the lowest minority unemployment ever. Wages were rising, especially at the lower rungs, and the stock market was booming. All-in-all, MAGA meant American prosperity and success. 

It did not, however, bode well for the elite globalist agenda which rested upon endless foreign wars, the neglect of American workers, and a disdain for traditional bourgeois values like hard work, family solidarity, and local initiatives. 

Biden’s handlers have attempted to co-opt or usurp the epithet “MAGA” and transform it into something ominous. But what it means is not some existential threat to “the very foundations of our republic.” On the contrary, it is an affirmation of the principles of limited government and individual liberty that undergird the foundations of the American republic. 

The Goal Is Control

Which brings me to the third current of significance in Biden’s performance. There was a theatrical aspect, a substantive aspect—the attack on Trump, his supporters, and all things MAGA—and there is the long strategic game implied not just in Biden’s speech but in the extraordinary, overweening activity of his administration.

In “Joe Biden and the Sovietization of America,” a column that will be published in the October edition of Spectator World (available online mid-September), I mention in passing the practice of Gleichschaltung, the attempt to bring all aspects of life into alignment with the governing philosophy of the state. The term was popularized in Germany in the late 1930s, but it describes a process that is common to all totalitarian societies (indeed, it describes the effort that puts the “total” in “totalitarian”). Among other things, it involves the politicization of all aspects of life, the surrender of individuality to ideology. George Orwell sketched the process in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Lenin and Stalin brought that fiction to real life in their iron-fisted control of life in the Soviet Union. Xi Jinping continues that legacy today in China. What we call “political correctness” hints at the program, for really to be politically correct is to suffuse every element of one’s life with the dogmas that the ruling consensus has defined as the correct orthodoxy. The fascistic formula “the personal is the political” gives one expression to this idea, since, taken seriously, it denies the legitimacy of the personal altogether. 

The Biden regime is making great strides in this direction. As Josh Hammer observes in a penetrating column, Biden apparatchiks are moving on multiple fronts to abolish the distinction between the public sector and the private sector. Late last month, the world was treated to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg confessing on Joe Rogan’s podcast that, yes, the FBI did in fact put pressure on the social media giant to bury news about Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell”—news that very likely would have changed the results of the 2020 election had it been allowed to circulate. Entities like Facebook and Twitter, Hammer points out, “no longer qualify as meaningfully ‘private’ and have instead simply become appendages of the state.” They are simply part of the propaganda machine of the ruling party. Citing Missouri Attorney General (and U.S. Senate candidate) Eric Schmitt, Hammer describes the “vast censorship enterprise” promulgated by the state. Former U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) described aspects of this enterprise in his book Countdown to Socialism

But the goal of total control involves more than censorship. It also involves the insinuation of the state into the most intimate areas of our private lives. One example is the Biden regime’s new weaponization of Title IX legislation. This brief statute, which, in just a couple of lines, says that institutions that receive federal funds may not discriminate on the basis of sex, has been enlisted in the campaign to abolish natural sexual identity and replace it with a polymorphous, “gender fluid” model. Among other things, this radical new interpretation of Title IX gives teachers priority over parents on matters of sex and gender, requiring, for example, that “K-12 schools support socially transitioning children to a different gender without requiring notice to parents, the involvement of medical professionals, or legal documentation.” 

The late Andrew Breitbart liked to point out that politics is downstream from culture. Indeed it is. It saddens me to report, though, that the Left seems to have a livelier appreciation of this fact than the Right. Barack Obama came to office promising to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Obama laid the groundwork for that transformation. Now his bumbling, senescent protégé, aided by an army of Obama-era lieutenants, a compliant media, and a corrupt deep-state bureaucracy, is completing the job. 

There is, I know, a point of no return, a point beyond which a society beset by totalitarian impulses must either rebel or succumb utterly. Are we there yet? I do not know. I do sense, however, that we have come perilously close to the edge. I pray that it is not too late. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/04/2022 - 23:30
Published:9/4/2022 11:42:50 PM
[] Obama Worship Continues With Barack's Emmy Win Published:9/4/2022 4:21:21 PM
[Markets] President Biden Says He'll Attend Detroit Auto Show Because He's A "Car Guy" President Biden Says He'll Attend Detroit Auto Show Because He's A "Car Guy"

President Joe Biden is going to be expected at the forthcoming Detroit Auto Show that will be taking place in two weeks. It'll mark the first time he has visited Detroit since his days as Vice President, Bloomberg noted last week. 

“I’ll be there. I’m a car guy, as you kind of noticed,” Biden said last week when asked if he was going to attend. 

Sure, we noticed. In fact, we couldn't help but notice that Biden is such a car guy that his administration is trying to force through counterproductive and burdensome environmental and EV requirements for auto manufacturers. Biden apparently has such reverence for the industry he has decided that it needs to be changed in its entirety.

The new requirements and subsidies under the Biden administration have forced automakers to fundamentally change their vehicle lineups and how they operate. They've also become a tax on the American people that is dropping straight to the bottom line of auto manufacturers, as we've noted over the last week that automakers are raising their EV prices by almost the exact amount that the Biden administration is offering in subsidies to buyers.   

And he's such a fan of U.S. auto companies that Biden has barely acknowledged U.S. automaker Tesla's existence, simply because the company isn't embracing unionization amongst its workers. 

Recall, back in May, we noted when Musk delivered a scathing criticism of Biden and the President's handling of inflation. Musk told a virtual conference ;last month that he believes the government has printed too much money in recent years.

“I mean, the obvious reason for inflation is that the government printed a zillion amount of more money than it had, obviously,” Musk said, likely referring to COVID-19 relief stimulus packages worth trillions of dollars that were passed in recent years.

If governments could merely “issue massive amounts of money and deficits didn’t matter, then, well, why don’t we just make the deficit 100 times bigger,” Musk asked. “The answer is, you can’t because it will basically turn the dollar into something that is worthless.”

During the same conference, Musk said: “The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter" and "The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.”

Biden was officially invited to the Auto Show by Maureen Donohue Krauss, chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Partnership, who also sought out Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to attend.

The show starts on September 14 and the last sitting President to attend was Barack Obama, Bloomberg noted. 

Biden concluded: “As my grandfather used to say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of my neighbors, I’ll see you at the Auto Show.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/03/2022 - 19:00
Published:9/3/2022 6:58:55 PM
[Markets] Top Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy Leaving White House, John Podesta Joining Top Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy Leaving White House, John Podesta Joining

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours)

White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy is leaving her position, the White House said Friday as it also confirmed reports that former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta is joining the Biden administration.

“Gina is indeed leaving us,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing Friday in response to questions about McCarthy’s departure. “She, as you know, has been a leader in what we have seen as one of the largest investment in dealing” with the climate, Jean-Pierre said.

Gina McCarthy as seen in a file photo. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

It’s not clear why McCarthy is leaving the White House. She has not issued a public comment about leaving.

At the same time, President Joe Biden said in a statement that Podesta, whose emails were leaked by WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 election and contained controversial material, will be joining the administration to serve as a senior advisor on “clean energy innovation and implementation.”

Podesta served as the White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton and was also a senior Obama administration official before he became Clinton’s campaign manager. Podesta was most recently at the left-wing Center for American Progress think tank, which he founded.

“We are fortunate that John Podesta will lead our continued innovation and implementation,” Biden said in a statement on Friday. “His deep roots in climate and clean energy policy and his experience at senior levels of government mean we can truly hit the ground running to take advantage of the massive clean energy opportunity in front of us.”

John Podesta is seen looking on before the first vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Oct. 4, 2016. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Podesta was tapped to “oversee implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s expansive clean energy and climate provisions and will chair the President’s National Climate Task Force in support of this effort,” the White House said.

Podesta will not replace McCarthy. Her former deputy, Ali Zaidi, was named to be the White House’s national climate advisor, said Biden in a statement.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/03/2022 - 14:30
Published:9/3/2022 2:13:41 PM
[The Week In Pictures] The Week in Pictures: Leni Riefenstahl Edition (Steven Hayward) That was hands down the worst presidential speech in the history of the republic. Never mind the self-flattering puffery of how Biden is a combination of FDR—Ike—Clinton & Obama (a line the egregious Jon Meacham has been peddling to him since January 20 of last year). Who could have thought the setting and lighting for that speech was a good idea? I know the millennials who run the White House Published:9/3/2022 6:39:45 AM
[] Remember When Hillary Destroyed Subpoenaed Docs and the Feds Gave Her a Pass? So Do We. Published:8/31/2022 6:28:23 PM
[] Noted genius Max Boot wants you to know that liberal Martha's Vineyard is the REAL America Published:8/31/2022 4:35:33 PM
[World] Biden to unveil Obama's White House portrait after Trump snub President Joe Biden and his onetime boss, former President Barack Obama, will reunite next week to unveil the 44th commander in chief's official White House portrait. Published:8/31/2022 10:25:14 AM
[World] Biden felt 'Obama's eggheads saw him as a foolish distraction': Book While serving as former President Barack Obama's wingman, now-President Joe Biden couldn't skirt his misgivings that the Obama "eggheads" viewed him as a foolish nuisance, a new book claims. Published:8/30/2022 5:18:00 PM
[] New Biden Appointee to White House "Intelligence" Board Pushed Deep State Disinformation That Hunter Biden's Laptop Was a Russian Op He did exactly what The Big Guy who promised him future employment told him to do. The White House announced on Friday that Joe Biden has appointed to his Intelligence Advisory Board an Obama-era intelligence official and MSNBC contributor who... Published:8/30/2022 4:43:17 PM
[a5111b5c-a0a7-5ad5-8b77-c539ecd37bf9] My IRS audit from hell, over a small boat and the folly of 87,000 new agents Twice in my lifetime Democrats have seriously abused the tax powers. Most recently it was under Barack Obama. My experiences date back to the Clinton administration. Published:8/29/2022 9:53:21 PM
[Markets] Trump Derangement Syndrome Is Going To Get Worse Trump Derangement Syndrome Is Going To Get Worse

Authored by Mark Bauerlein via The Epoch Times,

Never in my lifetime have so many people been so obsessed with one man.

People despised Nixon; they cheered or reviled Reagan, and they revered or dismissed Obama, but none of those responses comes close to the mania attached to Donald Trump. I mean the hate side, not the adoration. The former feeling and the cult it spawns dwarfs the latter. Liberals mock the idol worship they find among Trump’s supporters, but while Trumpists smile and cheer and vote for the man, liberals abhor him with a passion three times as fierce. It’s visceral, fanatical, knee-jerk. If nearly the entire psychology profession didn’t suffer from the condition to greater or lesser degrees, it would be a likely subject for diagnosis, particularly given the unself-conscious way in which the victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome act out their animus. 

It doesn’t occur to the diseased ones to ask why they can’t get the Orange-Haired Man out of their heads. They hate him; they loathe him; they fear him . . . We get it nonstop; we hear them; they can’t stop saying so. But the expression doesn’t bring them any relief—not that we can see. Their exasperation only grows and sputters. Voicing what one feels deep inside is supposed to ease the feeling, to externalize it and let the anger, love, bitterness, joy, etc. flow, not be dammed up within. One of Freud’s patients called it “the Talking Cure,” when he asked her to speak, just speak of anything that pops into her mind, and she and other patients found that they did feel a little better once the session concluded.

But those with TDS don’t. He lingers in their heads. Like a bad penny, he won’t go away. Nothing that has happened has “disappeared” him. Jeb Bush couldn’t beat him, nor could Hillary, the Mueller Team, Avenatti and Stormy, Vindman and House Democrats, or The Washington Post, NPR, and MSNBC. Not even the 2020 defeat, January 6th, and Liz Cheney’s hearings have removed him from the body politic. If anything, the Mar-a-Lago raid will only ensure his continuance. Martyrs have sticking power. The prospect of Trump 2024 appears ever more likely, and if the inconceivable happened once (November 2016), it can happen again. 

If Trumpist candidates for Congress do well in the midterms, the agony will only intensify. The media’s reaction as the results of that dark day six years ago unfolded was shock and incredulity.  This time, if Republicans take the House and lots of Trumpy types prevail, we will see a different reaction. Liberal elites now know that “it can happen here,” which leads them past incredulity and toward resolve.

He must be stopped! He and his enablers are demons, cretins, bigots, and monsters. They are not fellow citizens and ordinary Americans. They are something else—odd, frightening, unenlightened, vandals, and barbarians. I have seen liberals of sterling egalitarian profile speak of the ones who go to Trump rallies in terms one usually reserves for bugs in the woodwork. Now, in 2022, liberals and progressives and Never Trumpers believe they have tolerated these dunces and villains long enough. They’re out of patience. No more generosity, no more pluralism.

Hence, it’s OK with them to withhold from Trump the rights of free speech, due process, innocence-until-proven-guilty. It is downright extraordinary to see how liberals have flipped on principle now that Trump and his backers have persisted. The intelligence agencies liberals used to suspect and decry earn liberal praise when they target the ex-president. Traditional liberal sympathy with the working class dissipates when Trump wins the lion’s share of that voting bloc. Liberals flatter themselves as cosmopolitical and nonjudgmental, able to mingle with diverse others, jumping from culture to subculture with relaxed facility. But put them amidst a group of MAGA souls and the blood pressure rises—they can’t converse, and any escape route will do.

It would be laughable if not for the power of the cancel. Irrationality rightly gets shuttled off for professional help, but when college students stomp into their president’s office irate at an essay a professor wrote against woke activism, and the president bows and commiserates, the tantrum worked. When a corporate chain bends to a few Twitter posts demanding that produce be withdrawn from its shelves because it’s offensive to the posters, the spirit of the First Amendment is broken.

Donald Trump is the ultimate rationale for this abandonment of American tolerance. Liberals have made him into the embodiment of all the social evils of racism, nativism, etc. He’s done them a favor, offering them a concrete focus for resentments and worries otherwise hazy and fluctuating. Anxiety lessens when it can find an object. It wants to attach to something, and the attachment eases the uncertainty. Trump gives them psychological relief even as they huff and puff at the sound of his voice.

Which means that liberals don’t want to give him up. Every day we watch the obsession continue, the conversation eventually turning to Orange-Man-Bad whether the topic be Biden, Russia, gas prices, or COVID.  No person, no thing, and no event in living memory has so unified and mobilized liberals and their institutions—not even 9/11. That attack 21 years ago produced ample debate and divisions on both sides—on the right and the left (for example, Bush conservatives vs. Pat Buchanan conservatives). This time, however, with Trump, there is no debate on the left, no dissenting voices. In their eyes, he is beyond discussion, outside the world of ideas and policy. The Overton Window doesn’t include him. To witness him still in the public sphere, drawing crowds to his rallies and endorsing candidates who proceed to win, is infuriating. They love to hate him, but the hate nonetheless takes a toll on their hearts. They know they’re being illiberal, and so they have to cast him as a demon to justify it.

Don’t expect liberals to resolve this dilemma before November. The pain will only get worse—especially if Trump candidates poll well. Smart populist conservatives such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis aggravate the problem. He spotlights liberal illiberalism and moves forward to squelch it. His popularity, along with Trump’s, widens the public square to include them both, which means that liberals must address them as a political force, not a demonic one. I just read a Tweet from former-Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich calling DeSantis a fascist, but the charge has no force. Liberal outrage is spent. The rabid indignation gets chuckles from everyone except the True Believers, the ones who cling to their outrage as a psychological crutch. That will bring on more manic behavior, more delusion on the left.  Be ready for it.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/26/2022 - 23:55
Published:8/27/2022 5:05:41 AM
[Markets] CIA Paying Agents Who Suffer From A Likely Fake Illness CIA Paying Agents Who Suffer From A Likely Fake Illness

Authored by Kyle Anzalone via The Libertarian Institute, 

America’s spy agency is making compensation payments to agents who claim they suffer from "Havana Syndrome." The alleged condition was first reported by government employees in Cuba who reported suffering various symptoms, including dizziness, headaches and memory loss.

The New York Times reports that "About a dozen people suffering from debilitating symptoms that have become known as Havana syndrome have either received the payments or been approved to receive them, the people familiar with the program said."

US Embassy in Havana, AFP via Getty Images file

"Several of the recipients are former C.I.A. officers who were injured while serving in Havana in 2016 and 2017," the Times detailed further. "However, payments are also being processed for current and former officers whose injuries occurred elsewhere."

The CIA has studied over 1,000 potential cases of the mysterious ailment and has been unable to prove it exists

Havana Syndrome was brought into the spotlight during the early Trump administration. In 2017, US officials stationed in Havana reported a vague set of symptoms. The White House responded by rolling back President Barak Obama’s policy of normalizing the US relationship with Cuba. 

At the time, people who asserted they were suffering from Havana Syndrome claimed it was caused by a foreign power using sonic or microwave weapons. The official recorded the sound generated by the alleged weapon, which was later determined to be crickets.

Multiple government agencies have examined 1,000 cases of people claiming to be Havana Syndrome victims. Natural causes have explained nearly all cases; many of the people were experiencing psychosomatic symptoms. There are a few cases where an alternative cause that cannot explain the symptoms. 

A few dozen people who work for the CIA and have unexplained symptoms are now receiving compensation payments. Congress authorized the funds through the HAVANA Act, which was signed into law last October.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/26/2022 - 23:05
Published:8/26/2022 10:40:28 PM
[Biden] Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor Blasts Biden’s “Reckless” Student Debt Bailout

Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor Blasts Biden’s “Reckless” Student Debt Bailout. Biden, the Democrats, and probably the RINOs don’t give one shit about this. They’re vote buying and they only care about remaining in power. Pouring roughly half trillion dollars of gasoline on the inflationary fire that is already burning is reckless. Doing it while going […]

The post Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor Blasts Biden’s “Reckless” Student Debt Bailout appeared first on IHTM ™ ®.

Published:8/25/2022 4:54:51 PM
[World] Top Obama economic adviser torches Biden's student loan forgiveness plan Jason Furman, a Harvard professor of economics and the chairman of former President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, heartily criticized President Joe Biden's Wednesday action to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year. Published:8/24/2022 3:27:46 PM
[Biden Administration] ‘Indefensible’: Former Obama Adviser Trashes Biden’s Student Loan Plan

President Joe Biden's plan to cancel up to $40,000 of student loan debt for households earning $249,000 a year is "reckless" and "indefensible," former Obama adviser Jason Furman said Wednesday.

The post ‘Indefensible’: Former Obama Adviser Trashes Biden’s Student Loan Plan appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/24/2022 3:27:46 PM
[World] The constitutional crisis over an Ocasio-Cortez presidency In 2008, Barack Obama was "The One." He charmed a nation and inspired a generation of young voters. Published:8/23/2022 1:20:07 PM
[Markets] Sanctuary City Mayors Cry 'Uncle', No More Migrants! Sanctuary City Mayors Cry 'Uncle', No More Migrants!

Authored by Joe Guzzardi via ProgressivesForImmigrationReform.org,

Sanctuary cities are once again in the headlines.

But this time, sanctuary cities, the bane of immigration law enforcement advocates, have a different spin. Since five-time deported illegal immigrant Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate murdered Kate Steinle in July 2015 on Pier 14 in San Francisco, state and city governments have persisted in welcoming illegal aliens and protecting them from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. San Francisco is a sanctuary city in the sanctuary state of California.

Despite a federal immigration detention request to hold Garcia-Zarate so immigration officials could take him into custody, San Francisco authorities freed the seven-time convicted felon just three months before he killed Steinle. Eventually, Garcia-Zarate was acquitted and sentenced to time served on an illegal firearms possession charge.

Between January 2014 and September 2015, the Center for Immigration Studies reported that sanctuary jurisdictions rejected 17,000 ICE detainer requests – 17,000 individuals who should have been deported but remained to potentially pose criminal risk to U.S. citizens. Claiming that migrants are fleeing poverty and persecution, local leaders have been willing to spend their constituents’ taxpayer dollars on affirmative benefits for the newly arrived illegal immigrants.

Suddenly, however, with President Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas opening the Southwest border to foreign nationals from 150 countries and clandestinely flying them to faraway cities, attitudes are less welcoming. New York Mayor Eric Adams said that busing migrants from Texas to mid-town Manhattan, as Gov. Gregg Abbott has done, is “cruel.” About 4,000 unlawfully present migrants have entered New York’s shelter facilities since May, an ”unprecedented surge,” said Adams, who has unsuccessfully called on the federal government to intervene.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has made the same complaints as Adams, labeling the migrant flood “critical,” issuing identical rejected pleas for federal intervention. Since April, Gov. Abbott has sent more than 6,800 illegal immigrants to Washington. Bowser has begged for the National Guard to intervene “to help prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis in our nation’s capital resulting from the daily arrival of migrants in need of assistance.” McAllen, Texas, Mayor Javier Villalobos mocked Adams and Bowser. Villalobos said: “The city of McAllen was able to deal with thousands of immigrants a day; I think they can handle a few hundred.”

Adams and Bowser should have known that pleading with the feds, especially Mayorkas, would be futile. At the January U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayorkas tried to sell the assembled mayors on his new, mostly gutted ICE. But the attendees wanted to hear about border enforcement, a subject Mayorkas studiously avoided.

While it may be overly optimistic to hope for a change now that prominent Democratic mayors are experiencing first-hand the fiscal burden and public safety risks that sanctuary policies create, a shift is in the wind.

The mere existence of sanctuary cities is illegal. Local laws that protect illegal immigrants prevent routine cooperation among municipal, state and federal law enforcement agencies. President Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch realized the importance of keeping law enforcement apprised about any individual’s immigration status. Lynch warned sanctuary cities that they would not receive Justice Department funding in the 2017 fiscal year if they did not comply with 8 USC Section 1373, which prohibits any agency from restraining “in any way” the exchange of information among federal, state and local agencies regarding foreign nationals’ immigration status. Despite saber-rattling from Lynch, and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, funding continued.

With millions of border crossers already released into the U.S. interior, and millions more anticipated during Biden’s remaining two and a half years in office, sanctuary cities will come under increasing pressure to provide for their unlawfully present alien residents, an untenable situation for the already underfunded, overcrowded municipalities.

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/22/2022 - 23:40
Published:8/23/2022 12:29:45 AM
[Markets] An Inauspicious Anniversary: Nixon Slams Shut The Gold Window An Inauspicious Anniversary: Nixon Slams Shut The Gold Window

Authored by Michael Maharrey via SchiffGold.com,

Fifty-one years ago this week, President Richard Nixon slammed shut the “gold window” and eliminated the last vestige of the gold standard.

Nixon ordered Treasury Secretary John Connally to uncouple gold from its fixed $35 price and suspended the ability of foreign banks to directly exchange dollars for gold. During a national television address, on Aug. 15, 1971, Nixon promised the action would be temporary in order to “defend the dollar against the speculators,” but this turned out to be a lie.

The president’s move permanently and completely severed the dollar from gold and turned it into a pure fiat currency.

The First Steps Toward Fiat

Nixon’s order was the end of a path off the gold standard that started during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. June 5, 1933, marked the beginning of a slow death of the dollar when Congress enacted a joint resolution erasing the right of creditors in the United States to demand payment in gold. The move was the culmination of other actions taken by Roosevelt that year.

In March 1933, the president prohibited banks from paying out or exporting gold, and in April of that same year, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102. It was touted as a measure to stop hoarding, but was, in reality, a massive confiscation scheme. The order required private citizens, partnerships, associations and corporations to turn in all but small amounts of gold to the Federal Reserve at an exchange rate of $20.67 per ounce. In 1934, the government’s fixed price for gold was increased to $35 per ounce. This effectively increased the value of gold on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet by 69%.

The reason behind Roosevelt’s executive order and the congressional joint resolution was to remove constraints on inflating the money supply. The Federal Reserve Act required all Federal Reserve notes have 40% gold backing. But the Fed was low on gold and up against the limit. By increasing its gold stores through the confiscation of private gold holdings, and declaring a higher exchange rate, the Fed could circulate more notes.

Nixon’s Final Blow

While American citizens were legally prohibited from redeeming dollars for gold, foreign governments maintained that privilege. In the 1960s, the Federal Reserve initiated an inflationary monetary policy to help monetize massive government spending for the Vietnam War and Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” With the dollar losing value due to these inflationary policies, foreign governments began to redeem dollars for gold.

This is exactly how a gold standard is supposed to work. It puts limits on the amount the money supply can grow and constrains the government’s ability to spend. If the government “prints” too much money, other countries will begin to redeem the devaluing currency for gold. This is what was happening in the 1960s. As gold flowed out of the US Treasury, concern grew that the country’s gold holdings could be completely depleted.

Instead of insisting on fiscal and monetary discipline, Nixon simply severed the dollar from its last ties to gold, allowing the central bank to inflate the money supply without restraint.

Consequences

When he announced the closing of the gold window, Nixon said, “Let me lay to rest the bugaboo of what is called devaluation,” and promised, “your dollar will be worth just as much as it is today.”

This was also a lie.

The dollar has lost more than 85% of its value since Nixon’s fateful decision, based on the CPI calculator. The purchasing power of a 1971 dollar is equal to less than 14 cents today.

Meanwhile, the dollar value of gold has gone from $35 an ounce to just under $1,800 an ounce today. In percentage terms, that’s a 4,970% increase.

Investment analyst Nick Giambruno said this was an entirely predictable consequence of the US abandoning sound money.

By every measure—including stagnating wages and rising costs—things have been going downhill for the American middle class since the early 1970s. August 15, 1971, to be exact. This is the date President Nixon killed the last remnants of the gold standard. Since then, the dollar has been a pure fiat currency. This allows the Fed to print as many dollars as it pleases. And—without the discipline imposed by some form of a gold standard—it does precisely that. The U.S money supply has exploded 2,106 percent higher since 1971. The rejection of sound money is the primary reason inflation has eaten up wage growth since the early 1970s—and the primary reason the cost of living has exploded.”

Another consequence has been an enormous national debt that continues to grow at a staggering pace. Most people don’t realize it, but this is a direct and intentional result of the current fiat money system.

Dollar devaluation is considered an acceptable tradeoff because a free-floating currency is exactly what the government needed. It would be impossible to fund the American welfare and warfare state with a currency constrained by gold. With the dollar untethered from any fixed standard, Uncle Sam could create as many dollars as it pleased in order to fund all of its massive social and military programs. With a free-floating fiat currency, the US government can borrow as much money as it needs, knowing that the central bank will always be there to monetize the debt and backstock the spending.

And that’s exactly what has happened.

As Frank Holmes put it in an article published by Forbes, “there’s been a significant and growing lack of discipline when it comes to government spending,” since Nixon’s fateful act.

Before 1971, there was a natural limit to how much money could be printed. New issuances were dependent on the amount of gold sitting in the nation’s coffers. Today, with the dollar backed not by a hard asset but by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the US government, the federal debt is closing in on an astronomical $28 trillion, which is more than 130% of the size of the US economy.”

To put this into perspective, in 1960, the national debt was just a little over half the size of the US economy.

This is exactly what politicians like Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, Trump and Biden wanted — the ability to spend without restraint and grow government with no limits. The result: massive national debt and devalued currency that buys the average person less and less every year.

As Ryan McMaken summed up in an article on the Mises Wire:

Nixon yearned to be free of this restraint so he could spend dollars more freely, and not have to worry about their value in gold. Nixon’s move was, in short, the final and total politicization on money itself.”

For most people, this anniversary will pass unnoticed. But it should be a day that lives in infamy.

Peter Schiff produced a video last year for the 50th Anniversary of Nixon closing the gold window that details more of the lies and consequences.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 16:25
Published:8/17/2022 3:30:08 PM
[ea904346-b2b0-5366-817f-2341eb9ee2c4] Biden’s federal overreach started with Obama Biden's abuse of power started with Obama administration's misuse of the IRS, harassment of its political opponents and the phony Russian collusion story Published:8/17/2022 1:30:59 AM
[Markets] NARA Responds To Trump's Remarks On Obama's Classified Documents NARA Responds To Trump's Remarks On Obama's Classified Documents

Authored by Caden Pearson via The Epoch Times,

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) responded Friday to former President Donald Trump’s statements that former President Barrack Obama took classified records from the White House when his term ended in 2016.

“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” Trump said in a statement on Friday.

Trump repeated his assertion about Obama’s presidential records in a post on Truth Social after the FBI conducted its unprecedented raid of his Florida property to search for classified presidential documents.

NARA released a statement in refute of Trump’s claims, saying they exclusively maintain Obama’s presidential records according to the Presidential Records Act (PRA).

“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” NARA said in a statement.

“Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, D.C., area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.

The Epoch Times contacted Obama’s office for comment.

NARA’s Pursuit of Trump’s Records

It is unclear why an FBI warrant and subsequent raid was needed given Trump’s cooperation with NARA to return presidential documents.

Throughout 2022, NARA has released a series of statements about Trump’s presidential records, starting in January, when it spoke about receiving some “paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.”

In one of the statements, NARA said Trump’s presidential records “should have been transferred to NARA from the White House at the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021.”

In February, NARA noted that Trump and his representatives had been cooperating with NARA to transfer boxes of records from the Mar-a-Lago property to the National Archives.

NARA official David Ferriero said in February regarding Trump’s records that NARA “pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.”

Five months later, on Aug. 8, the FBI carried out a raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach in search of presidential documents.

After pushback, the Department of Justice asked the court to unseal the warrant, which revealed that Trump is under investigation for alleged violations of 18 USC 2071—concealment, removal, or mutilation; 18 USC 793 of the Espionage Act—gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information; and 18 USC 1519—destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump said in a statement.

“Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted to without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called on the DOJ to “release the information as to why a warrant was necessary” saying the “DOJ must lay their cards on the table.”

Trump and Republicans have said the raid is an example of the “weaponization of the justice system” against a political opponent of the sitting president who is mulling running against President Joe Biden in 2024.

Tyler Durden Sat, 08/13/2022 - 20:30
Published:8/13/2022 8:35:12 PM
[Markets] US: The New Real Hoaxes? US: The New Real Hoaxes?

Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute,

  • The investigative reporting by these two organizations [the New York Times and the Washington Post] was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

  • For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

  • The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

  • Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

  • Also not allowed during the January 6th hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

  • One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote: "I was in the room."

  • The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power.

  • Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system?

Recently former US President Donald Trump challenged the award of Pulitzer Prizes to the New York Times and the Washington Post for their investigative reporting on alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The investigative reporting by these two organizations was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

You have to hand it to them for this so-called "great reporting": the Pulitzer Committee sure did.

We now know, of course, the grand conspiracy pushed by these papers is nothing more than thoroughly debunked disinformation. For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

The intractability of the Pulitzer Committee is only the latest example of why so many Americans have been losing trust in their institutions, both public and private. Rather than admitting that these awards were a mistake, and that much of the reporting was not investigative reporting, but merely a recitation of fabrications put forward by political hacks for campaign purposes, the Pulitzer Committee announced that it will stand by its initial decision, facts be dammed.

The Russia hoax is emblematic of the model built by the anti-Trump, anti-America First, anti-populist movement that the American people have experienced for the last six years. It embodies many of the characteristics that have frustrated Americans. It is a combination of influential forces -- media, social media, political players, and government -- that put forward information detrimental to one -- oddly always the same -- political viewpoint. In this instance, populists -- believers in the rights, wisdom or virtues of the common people, according to Merriam Webster -- who might embrace the concept of personal freedom espoused by the Constitution, a free market economy, economic growth, energy independence, school choice, equal application of the law and decentralized governance.

Much of the material used to foster the Russia hoax originated from the discredited "Steele Dossier," pedaled by former British spy Christopher Steele, funded by Clinton-linked opposition research firm FusionGPS, and pushed by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman. This discredited information was shared widely -- and often, it seems, with prior knowledge of its falseness -- through the mainstream media and social media when it was leaked to the press early in 2017 just before Donald Trump was sworn in as president. The material contributed to the launching of the Mueller "Russiagate" investigation, which cast a shadow over the first two years of the Trump administration. Government officials were involved as CIA Director John BrennanFBI Director James Comey and DNI James Clapper all lent their credibility to the supposed authenticity or seriousness of the Russian materials. All of this did tremendous damage to the effectiveness of the Trump administration, as it sought to govern, by putting it under a cloud of suspicion and illegitimacy from the outset.

This, however, was not the only example. Consider the disrupted kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her key swing state for presidential elections. "The FBI got walloped [in April]", according to the New York Post, " when a Michigan jury concluded that the bureau had entrapped two men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Those men and others were arrested a few weeks before the 2020 election in a high-profile, FBI-fabricated case...."

The media, however, for the most part portrayed the kidnapping plot as the work of domestic terrorists, with the implied inference being they were right-wing Trump supporters. Whitmer went so far as to accuse Trump of being complicit in the plan, even though it emerged that these alleged plotters had also supposedly wanted to hang Trump. The FBI, it was later shown, had been heavily involved in the plot through informants and individuals it had placed in the group. By the time the case came to trial after the election, Biden had won Michigan's electoral votes and the damage had been done.

Consider, also, the COVID pandemic. The "facts" at the time were supposedly that it came from "nature" and that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government had supposedly known nothing about its human-to-human transmissibility, even though it had "made whistleblowers disappear and refused to hand over virus samples so the West could make a vaccine."

The CCP, early on, was portrayed as a constructive player in controlling the spread of the virus, even as it was recalling and hoarding all of its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This fiction was reinforced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, and other prominent participants – apart from Taiwan, which futilely tried to warn the WHO of the coronavirus's fierce human-to-human transmissibility, only to be dismissed.

The mainstream media and social media also quickly began parroting the "official" story line. Social media companies suspended the accounts of whoever might have had a different opinion and some were even canceled.

For the 10 months leading up to the November 2020 election, the narrative was set: COVID-19 was a naturally occurring virus and the CCP was in the clear. Imagine how different the 2020 presidential election might have been if the debate was how the world would have held the CCP accountable for the leak and coverup of COVID from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Now in 2022, a lab-leak is considered the most "likely cause" of the coronavirus, but again the political damage, and a gigantic amount of non-political damage, has already been done. The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

Discussion of Hunter Biden's laptop with its reportedly incriminating information about the Biden family business dealings with the CCPRussia, and other actors in what appeared to be a model of pay-for-play, was instantly shut down. Fifty-one former government intelligence officials , who we now know were perfectly well aware that the laptop was real – the FBI had been holding it for months -- wrote a letter describing the contents of the laptop as having "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation" designed to damage Joe Biden.

NPR famously downplayed the story, and once again, if you used social media to post information originally reported by the New York Post, you were canceled.

A year and a half after the election, the facts were finally "officially" accepted: Well, what do you know, it really was Hunter Biden's laptop and the material on it "is real!"

Once again, the leadership at the FBI, the media, social media, and former government officials had developed a hoax to damage their political opposition and the people who supported it.

Finally, there is the January 6th Committee, a one-sided investigative body, sometimes called "the third (attempted) impeachment." The Committee appears to have been put in place to stop Trump from running for office again. Before the proceeding even began, its outcome was predetermined: Trump was to be found guilty of -- something. As Stalin secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria used to say during Soviet Russia's reign of terror, "Find me the man and I'll find you the crime." So the US show trial commenced.

Even its start was ominous. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an unprecedented move, vetoed the committee appointments of Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan. This rebuff led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pull his five Republican candidates from participating. Pelosi, it appeared, wanted only anti-Trump folks to serve on the Committee. Also not allowed during the January 6 hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote:, "I was in the room:"

"Great OpEd. Reinforces my earlier comment on 6 Jan Cmte. Has quote from DOD IG Report regarding 3 Jan 2021 meeting with Actg Def Secy Miller/CJCS Milley in the Oval on the 6 Jan NG request by POTUS on troops needed. I was in the room."

While purportedly examining in detail every decision and action by Trump and his team, the Committee refuses to question Pelosi, among the leading figures responsible for the security of the Capitol. She reportedly "turned down" requests for greater security. According to the Federalist:

"Four days after the riot, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned his post in the aftermath, told The Washington Post his request for pre-emptive reinforcement from the National Guard ahead of Jan. 6 was turned down. Sund said House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, overseen by Pelosi, thought the guard's deployment was bad "optics" two days before the raid.... Despite the Associated Press and Washington Post's best efforts to run interference for the speaker, suddenly exonerating her of duties overseeing Capitol security, the riot on Jan. 6 was a security failure Pelosi owns. If the "speaker trusts security professionals to make security decisions," then why, as the police breach unfolded, did Irving feel compelled to seek the speaker's approval to dispatch the National Guard, as The New York Times reported? How could Pelosi also order the extended shut down of the Capitol to visitors, citing coronavirus, and install metal detectors in the House chamber?"

The Committee has not evaluated the performance of the Capitol Police or other law enforcement agencies, but it has targeted the "private records of individuals with no connection to the violence."

The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power. The Committee's narrative is clear: Donald Trump is responsible for the events of January 6, now let us manufacture the evidence to prove it.

This article has not even delved into the 28 states that "changed voting rules to boost mail-in ballots." Some States apparently omitted both state law and the need for states' legislatures to be the sole arbiters of election law, as required by the Constitution; the $400 million spent by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; the 2000-plus "mules" and the algorithms that sent conservative emails to spam while emails with liberal content went through to the addressees.

Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost faith in their institutions and leaders? Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system? The media, social media, government officials and others have been complicit in undermining our rule of law and possibly even subverting an election.

*  *  *

Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/12/2022 - 23:55
Published:8/13/2022 12:22:27 AM
[Politics] Turns out Obama took 30 million documents from his White House and NEVER got raided… Late last night President Trump revealed on Truth Social that Obama took some 30 million documents from his White House and he never got raided for it. Here’s a screenshot of Trump’s . . . Published:8/11/2022 10:35:41 AM
[Markets] Democratic Party Playbook Exposed: The Cloward-Piven Strategy Democratic Party Playbook Exposed: The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Via EconomicNoise.com,

Cloward and Piven is the Playbook of the Democrat Party. It is the second part of this two-pronged approach:

  1. When you don’t have logic or reason on your side, use power.

  2. If you don’t have enough power, flood the system to acquire more.

Cloward and Piven

Flooding the system was the Cloward and Piven strategy to bring down this country. Create real or phony problems that “require” government actions that begin the process of shifting freedoms from individuals to the State. (For a more layman’s insight, see here.)

Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, said that “no good crisis should ever go to waste.” That implied an opening for more government, a Cloward and Piven (CP) opportunity. (To visualize one asserted implementation of this, involving Acorn, see here.)

The strategy is not a Democrat monopoly. Republicans use it also, although do not brag about it or depend upon it almost exclusively.

The process is like rust eroding liberty, slowly and steadily. It replaces freedom with dependency and controls.

There are two problems with the strategy:

  • It must be slow and steady (boil the frog beginning with unheated water, slowly increasing the temperature [a wonderful metaphor but physically erroneous] so that the frog doesn’t notice until it is too late).

  • It must be stealth, that is citizen “frogs” must not realize what is happening.

The CP strategy was developed in and for a world very different from today. The Internet changed this world. Conventional media was all that needed to be controlled in the CP world. By controlling this source, government created its own “Pravda.”

Controlling the  media was possible because it was owned by corporations. It consisted of known and immovable assets, which are easy targets for government. The message was simple: Obey or we will put you out of business! 

Legal action against government is a “fool’s errand.” They own the courts and have unlimited funds to fight. If threatened, you will comply or they will bankrupt you! Tax issues and anti-trust cases are the bludgeoning weapons of choice. Fighting charges, regardless of how false, is akin to a minor suing his parents. That is why media, other companies and wealthy individuals generally settle government claims for enormous sums of money, but without the admission of guilt. There is no better job than that of blackmailer when you are also the sheriff or the Department of  Justice!

Why are Things Different

Then came the internet! While it didn’t stop extortion of corporations, it exposed the media as “captured” propagandists. Bloggers began telling different “truths.” The first reaction was to shut them down. Unfortunately for government, this group is so diverse geographically and otherwise, that traditional threats of “putting you out of business” were meaningless. Asset confiscation threats are meaningless when there are no physical assets. To be a blogger only requires electricity and the internet (and perhaps some intellectual capital to enhance success).

The only way to shut these sources down is to control the Internet and its content. The first was impossible. The second was tried. Unfortunately for government, silencing free speech is frowned upon in free countries, especially those where Free Speech is the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Definitions of speech that didn’t qualify for protection were tried (“hate speech,” “lies,” “dangerous rhetoric,” “racism,” “inciting danger,” etc.) in an effort to obviate the First Amendment. Threats of imprisonment were tried, but the First Amendment was too broad and too sacred for these efforts to succeed. Government then went after the platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). It was the same corrupt strategy employed against traditional media — You impose our “bans” (censorship) or we will put you out of business!

But, “muscling” these corporate platforms only caused new competitors to sprout. Most were smaller and not asset-heavy. Suppressed views and voices began to move to these venues where free speech was allowed.

Censorship works, but only where government can exert leverage via harm. It was easy to cow Facebook and Twitter. Ditto for established institutions like public schools, colleges and corporations. These entities had to decide whether they wanted the hassle and threats of being “un-woke.” Most submitted, presumably determining that losing some customers would be less costly than getting into a legal or other battle with Leviathan. Some probably thought this “new inclusiveness” would gain them additional customers.

The Wrong War

Generals are always prepared to fight the next war in the same manner they fought the last one. They are rarely prepared to fight the next one if it requires different strategies and tactics. So it appears to be here! Government believed prior tactics and strategies would suffice.

The prior war was against traditional media with fixed positions and assets. The Internet changed “warfare.” It created media guerrilla war! This new enemy moves quickly and has no assets to threaten or destroy. Take away a bloggers website address and he easily gets a new one.

Government wins against corporate internet players but loses against the “guerrillas.” Vietnam and Afghanistan showed US military weaknesses in non-conventional wars. Traditional bloggers or start-up sharing sites are guerrillas. Conventional war strategies do not win guerrilla battles!

Arguably the demented Joe Biden and his Obama staff are to thank for ultimately saving this country. Someone inside that Administration realized the “slow boil” strategy was not convincing the American public fast enough and had to be sped up. They put Cloward and Piven into overdrive! Time was likely not on their side, but escalating the war was a fatal mistake! Marty Bent summarized it nicely:

They tried to do too much too quickly and people have started to develop pattern recognition on the go that allows them to recognize when the unproductive class is attempting to manipulate their minds.  This pattern recognition is accelerated and enhanced by our ability to communicate directly with each other in real time over the internet.

Instant communications were not possible when Cloward and Piven designed their strategy. Nor was there a means to present an opposing view. That all changed with the Internet. Now you see why governments around the world want to control the Internet. They can’t and they must not be allowed to change that!

For all its negatives, the Internet has at least one positive — it obsoleted traditional and controllable sources of information. The fragmentation of the internet makes it impossible to control (unless you wish to go full Communist Korea or China). This country is not ready for that step, at least not yet.

Thank God for the private sector, technology and the Internet. Together they voided the Cloward and Piven strategy, censorship and a complete government take-over of society.

So long as the Internet exists in its present form (warts and all), freedom cannot be extinguished. Big guns do not silence big truths! Only big censorship can do that and we must not allow that to happen!

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/10/2022 - 23:40
Published:8/11/2022 12:11:30 AM
[782adee1-798f-5af5-923a-6ba82b31a05d] Judge who green-lit raid at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home donated thousands to Obama Bruce Reinhart, the federal judge who reportedly signed off on the raid of former President Trump's residence, previously donated thousands to former President Obama's campaign. Published:8/9/2022 6:54:14 PM
[Markets] Russia Suspends US Inspections Of Its Nuclear Arsenal Under New START Treaty Russia Suspends US Inspections Of Its Nuclear Arsenal Under New START Treaty

While the world is creeping closer toward a DefCon 1 exchange with every passing day, should Russia launch tomorrow there will be no way of knowing just how many warheads and ICBMs Putin is letting loose (not that he needs all that many). The reason is because on Monday, Russia informed the US that it is temporarily suspending American inspections of its nuclear weapons sites under the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START).

"On August 8, 2022, the Russian Federation officially informed the United States via diplomatic channels that our country is temporarily exempting its facilities from inspection activities under the New START Treaty," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding it also covers "facilities that can be used for demonstrations under the treaty.”

According to Anadolu, the statement stressed that the measures had a "temporary character" but everyone knows there is nothing more permanent in this world than a "temporary" government mandate.

It added that the exemptions would be immediately canceled in case of a "resolution of the existing problems and issues regarding the resumption of inspection activities under the treaty."

The first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START I, was signed in 1991 between the US and the USSR at a time when there were many thousands of nuclear warheads and took effect in 1994.

In 2010, former US President Barack Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a successor agreement called New START which set a limit of no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 missiles, including inspections to verify compliance with the deal.

Days before it was set to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, the two countries agreed to extend it for another five years.

Russia's obfuscating move harkens to the depths of the cold war when every Russian nuclear move was shrouded in secrecy, and clearly what this means is that it's time for a Spies like Us sequel.

Tyler Durden Tue, 08/09/2022 - 02:15
Published:8/9/2022 1:34:06 AM
[Markets] UN Warns Of 'Worrying And Dangerous' Conspiracy Theories UN Warns Of 'Worrying And Dangerous' Conspiracy Theories

The United Nations would like everyone to be on the lookout for 'worrying and dangerous' conspiracy theories - especially those that might lead people to the conclusion that COVID-19 escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China... you know, the thing the WHO just admitted could very well be the case, and which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has launched recent investigations into.

Some background

Before we get into the UN's latest salvo in the war over narratives (feel free to scroll down if you're a regular reader); We know from government contracts, FOIA records, and leaked emails that the US government was conducting risky gain-of-function research on US soil until former President Obama banned it in 2014 over ethical questions raised by the scientific community. The 'research' included manipulating bat Covid to be more transmissible to humans, and following Obama's ban, was funneled overseas to the Wuhan Institute of Virology through New York nonprofit, EcoHealth Alliance - whose CEO Peter Daszak secured lucrative contracts to study and manipulate bat coronaviruses in Wuhan China four months before Obama's ban.

Daszak was the guy behind The Lancet's "it couldn't have come from a lab" Natural Origin statement - for which he reportedly engaged in a "bullying campaign" - before generating significant controversy over conflicts of interest involving many of its authors and co-signatories, to which the Lancet later admitted.

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.

Then, in 2017, a subagency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci - resumed funding a controversial grant to genetically modify bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China without the approval of a government oversight body.

Notably, 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.

We also know (thanks to a FOIA lawsuit by The Intercept) that Daszak wanted to release 'Chimeric Covid Spike Proteins' Into Bat Populations Using 'Skin-Penetrating Nanoparticles,' only for the 'DEFUSE' proposal to be denied by DARPA on the grounds that it was too risky.

Further reading:

We challenge the UN to 'debunk' any of the above.

Now that you're up to speed

Enter the UN's new #ThinkBeforeSharing campaign, which helps people "learn how to identify, debunk, react to and report on conspiracy theories to prevent their spread."

To aid gullable individuals navigate the information highway without hitting any conspiracy potholes, UNESCO provides some helpful infographics - one of which thanks Stephen Lewandowsky - Australian psychologist and co-author of a March 2022 Scientific American report complaining about how "The Lab-Leak Hypothesis Made It Harder for Scientists to Seek the Truth."

So the default position of those behind the UN's "watch out for conspiracy theories" campaign is that the lab leak is a conspiracy theory. Right.

They recommend taking action when you've "identified a conspiracy theory," but that you don't get lured into an argument with a conspiracy theorist.

"Any argument may be taken as proof that you are part of the conspiracy and reinforce that belief," which will cause the conspiracy theorist to "argue hard to defend their beliefs."

So what to do? Show "empathy," and avoid "ridiculing them."

"If you are certain you have encountered a conspiracy theory," you must "react" immediately and post a link to a "fact-checking website" in the comments.

In short - this (from 2020):

Stay safe out there citizen!

Tyler Durden Sun, 08/07/2022 - 14:00
Published:8/7/2022 1:15:52 PM
[Politics] ‘Poor’ Brittney Griner: WNBA Star Is So Rich Obama Wanted To Raise Her Taxes

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced Brittney Griner, the left-wing activist and WNBA "star," to nine years in prison for attempting to smuggle cannabis oil into the authoritarian country. American journalists pounced on the news in an effort to make a political point about sexism and income inequality.

The post ‘Poor’ Brittney Griner: WNBA Star Is So Rich Obama Wanted To Raise Her Taxes appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/5/2022 4:12:09 PM
[Markets] Escobar: How A Missile In Kabul Connects To A Speaker In Taipei Escobar: How A Missile In Kabul Connects To A Speaker In Taipei

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle,

Washington’s hard power display of taking out Al-Qaeda’s Al-Zawahiri will not be reciprocated by Beijing over Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan. It does however, definitively bury the decades-long era of cooperative US-Chinese relations.

This is the way the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) ends, over and over again: not with a bang, but a whimper.

Two Hellfire R9-X missiles launched from a MQ9 Reaper drone on the balcony of a house in Kabul. The target was Ayman Al-Zawahiri with a $25 million bounty on his head. The once invisible leader of ‘historic’ Al-Qaeda since 2011, is finally terminated.

All of us who spent years of our lives, especially throughout the 2000s, writing about and tracking Al-Zawahiri know how US ‘intel’ played every trick in the book – and outside the book – to find him. Well, he never exposed himself on the balcony of a house, much less in Kabul.

Another disposable asset

Why now? Simple. Not useful anymore – and way past his expiration date. His fate was sealed as a tawdry foreign policy ‘victory’ – the remixed Obama ‘Osama bin Laden moment’ that won’t even register across most of the Global South. After all, a perception reigns that George W. Bush’s GWOT has long metastasized into the “rules-based,” actually “economic sanctions-based” international order.

Cue to 48 hours later, when hundreds of thousands across the west were glued to the screen of flighradar24.com (until the website was hacked), tracking “SPAR19” – the US Air Force jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – as it slowly crossed Kalimantan from east to west, the Celebes Sea, went northward parallel to the eastern Philippines, and then made a sharp swing westwards towards Taiwan, in a spectacular waste of jet fuel to evade the South China Sea.

No “Pearl Harbor moment”

Now compare it with hundreds of millions of Chinese who are not on Twitter but on Weibo, and a leadership in Beijing that is impervious to western-manufactured pre-war, post-modern hysteria.

Anyone who understands Chinese culture knew there would never be a “missile on a Kabul balcony” moment over Taiwanese airspace. There would never be a replay of the perennial neocon wet dream: a “Pearl Harbor moment.” That’s simply not the Chinese way.

The day after, as the narcissist Speaker, so proud of accomplishing her stunt, was awarded the Order of Auspicious Clouds for her promotion of bilateral US-Taiwan relations, the Chinese Foreign Minister issued a sobering comment: the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland is a historical inevitability.

That’s how you focus, strategically, in the long game.

What happens next had already been telegraphed, somewhat hidden in a Global Times report. Here are the two key points:

Point 1: “China will see it as a provocative action permitted by the Biden administration rather than a personal decision made by Pelosi.”

That’s exactly what President Xi Jinping had personally told the teleprompt-reading White House tenant during a tense phone call last week. And that concerns the ultimate red line.

Xi is now reaching the exact same conclusion reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year: the United States is “non-agreement capable,” and there’s no point in expecting it to respect diplomacy and/or rule of law in international relations.

Point 2 concerns the consequences, reflecting a consensus among top Chinese analysts that mirrors the consensus at the Politburo: “The Russia-Ukraine crisis has just let the world see the consequence of pushing a major power into a corner… China will steadily speed up its process of reunification and declare the end of US domination of the world order.”

Chess, not checkers

The Sinophobic matrix predictably dismissed Xi’s reaction to the fact on the ground – and in the skies – in Taiwan, complete with rhetoric exposing the “provocation by American reactionaries” and the “uncivilized campaign of the imperialists.”

This may be seen as Xi playing Chairman Mao. He may have a point, but the rhetoric is pro forma. The crucial fact is that Xi was personally humiliated by Washington and so was the Communist Party of China (CPC), a major loss of face – something that in Chinese culture is unforgivable. And all that compounded with a US tactical victory.

So the response will be inevitable, and it will be classic Sun Tzu: calculated, precise, tough, long-term and strategic – not tactical. That takes time because Beijing is not ready yet in an array of mostly technological domains. Putin had to wait years for Russia to act decisively. China’s time will come.

For now, what’s clear is that as much as with Russia-US relations last February, the Rubicon has been crossed in the US-China sphere.

The price of collateral damage

The Central Bank of Afghanistan bagged a paltry $40 million in cash as ‘humanitarian aid’ soon after that missile on a balcony in Kabul.

So that was the price of the Al-Zawahiri operation, intermediated by the currently US-aligned Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). So cheap.

The MQ-9 Reaper drone carrying the two Hellfire R9X that killed Al-Zawahiri had to fly over Pakistani airspace – taking off from a US base in the Persian Gulf, traversing the Arabian Sea, and flying over Balochistan to enter Afghanistan from the south. The Americans may have also got human intelligence as a bonus.

A 2003 deal, according to which Islamabad facilitates air corridors for US military flights, may have expired with the American withdrawal debacle last August, but could always be revived.

No one should expect a deep dive investigation on what exactly the ISI – historically very close to the Taliban – gave to Washington on a silver platter.

Dodgy dealings

Cue to an intriguing phone call last week between the all-powerful Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, and US deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. Bajwa was lobbying for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release a crucial loan at the soonest, otherwise Pakistan will default on its foreign debt.

Were deposed former Prime Minister Imran Khan still in power, he would never have allowed that phone call.

The plot thickens, as Al-Zawahiri’s Kabul digs in a posh neighborhood is owned by a close advisor to Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the “terrorist” (US-defined) Haqqani network and currently Taliban Interior Minister. The Haqqani network, needless to add, was always very cozy with the ISI.

And then, three months ago, we had the head of ISI, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, meeting with Biden’s National Security Advisor  Jake Sullivan in Washington – allegedly to get their former, joint, covert, counter-terrorism machinery back on track.

Once again, the only question revolves around the terms of the “offer you can’t refuse” – and that may be connected to IMF relief. Under these circumstances, Al-Zawahiri was just paltry collateral damage.

Sun Tzu deploys his six blades

Following Speaker Pelosi’s caper in Taiwan, collateral damage is bound to multiply like the blades of a R9-X missile.

The first stage is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already having engaged in live fire drills, with massive shelling in the direction of the Taiwan Strait out of Fujian province.

The first sanctions are on too, against two Taiwanese funds. Export of sable to Taiwan is forbidden; sable is an essential commodity for the electronics industry – so that will ratchet up the pain dial in high-tech sectors of the global economy.

Chinese CATL, the world’s largest fuel cell and lithium-ion battery maker, is indefinitely postponing the building of a massive $5 billion, 10,000-employee factory that would manufacture batteries for electric vehicles across North America, supplying Tesla and Ford among others.

So the Sun Tzu maneuvering ahead will essentially concentrate on a progressive economic blockade of Taiwan, the imposition of a partial no-fly zone, severe restrictions of maritime traffic, cyber warfare, and the Big Prize: inflicting pain on the US economy.

The War on Eurasia

For Beijing, playing the long game means the acceleration of the process involving an array of nations across Eurasia and beyond, trading in commodities and manufactured products in their own currencies. They will be progressively testing a new system that will see the advent of a BRICS+/SCO/Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) basket of currencies, and in the near future, a new reserve currency.

The Speaker’s escapade was concomitant to the definitive burial of the “war on terror” cycle and its metastasis into the “war on Eurasia” era.

It may have unwittingly provided the last missing cog to turbo-charge the complex machinery of the Russia-China strategic partnership. That’s all there is to know about the ‘strategic’ capability of the US political ruling class. And this time no missile on a balcony will be able to erase the new era.

Tyler Durden Thu, 08/04/2022 - 23:40
Published:8/5/2022 12:19:23 AM
[Markets] Kansans Overwhelmingly Reject New Abortion Restrictions Kansans Overwhelmingly Reject New Abortion Restrictions

In a decisively lopsided win for pro-abortion activists, Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have expanded the legislature's power to restrict abortions. With 98% of votes tallied, "no" votes were ahead 59% to 41%.  

It was the first major test of voter sentiment on abortion since the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade and effectively left it to individual state legislatures to decide which, if any, abortion restrictions are to be allowed.

The referendum may also be an indicator of voter motivation in the upcoming midterms. Turnout soared to a level not seen since the 2008 primary -- with then-Senator Obama on the ballot -- and may set a record when the counting is done. Observers projected a 36% voter turnout, but it may have hit 50%. Historically, about twice as many Republicans have voted in the state's August primaries compared to Democrats.  

To take one example that puts the abortion result in context, consider Ellis County. In 2020, Trump won in a resounding 71%-27% landslide. However, on Tuesday, the "yes" vote only prevailed 58% to 42%.  

The ballot measure was aimed at negating a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In a 6-1 decision, the court found that abortions are protected under the state constitution as an unenumerated "natural right of personal autonomy."

The operative part of Tuesday's ballot proposition, which was a proposed amendment to the state's constitution, stated:

"The constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. The people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother."

Despite the referendum outcome, abortions will still be subject to some restrictions in Kansas. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, they're generally prohibited at 22 weeks and post-viability -- a term that describes the ability of a fetus to survive outside a woman's uterus. 

The Kansas outcome will encourage Democrats to make abortion a defining issue in the midterms. Meanwhile, Tuesday's gubernatorial primary result in Michigan set up a stark abortion-stance contrast in November's general election. Tudor Dixon, a Trump-endorsed former steel industry executive and online conservative commentator, will face incumbent governor, lockdown enthusiast and near-FBI-kidnap-victim Gretchen Whitmer. 

As Reuters explains: 

Whitmer has made the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of constitutional protection for abortion a centerpiece in her re-election campaign. Dixon supports a near-total ban on abortion, including for child victims of rape and incest, with the only exception for cases when the life of the mother is at risk. 

Michigan Republican candidate for governor Tudor Dixon 

 

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/03/2022 - 18:00
Published:8/3/2022 5:14:05 PM
[Middle Column] Al Gore touts climate pork-barrel spending bill as ‘single largest investment in climate solutions & environmental justice in U.S. history’

Climate Depot's Marc Morano:  "Sen. Manchin caved to utter climate nitwittery that has real consequences for the U.S. economy currently being starved of energy by a wacko ideology that is dominant within the Democratic Party. Now Al Gore is claiming that this bill, which is just a much larger rehash of Obama's green stimulus, will somehow save us from a pending climate 'emergency.'  Meanwhile, in the real world, this new Orwellian named 'Inflation Reduction Act' will have no impact on global emissions -- let alone the climate. Even fellow climate activists and democrats are admitting this, calling the deal "a baby step" and "minimum" impact on climate change. Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. analyzed the climate bill's impacts and found that Biden’s 50% emissions-reduction target for 2030 would have an undetectable impact on overall global emissions. 

Morano: "But never fret, the bill will have massive impacts on American energy, the economy, and inflation and it may solve racism." See: ‘$60 billion in climate reparations’ – Dems’ New Spending Bill Imposes Methane Tax To Fund ‘Environmental Justice’ Programs - Morano: “Somehow the ‘solutions’ to climate change have morphed into including $60 billion in climate reparations in the name of ‘equity.' Anyone who drinks milk or eats meat will now be paying reparations. Will the $60 billion actually help solve racism? Anyone who thinks this climate bill has anything to with the climate has not been paying attention.”

Published:8/1/2022 2:23:03 PM
[Markets] The New Age Of Orwellianism The New Age Of Orwellianism

Authored by Josh Hammer via The Epoch Times,

Community organizer and left-wing social activist Saul Alinsky wrote, in his 1971 book “Rules for Radicals,” that “he who controls the language controls the masses.”

Alinsky, whose work profoundly influenced at least one notable fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama, was in that quip channeling George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel, “1984.”

“Newspeak,” the language of Orwell’s fictional single-political party superstate, was a tool devised for monitoring the people’s communications, prosecuting “thoughtcrimes,” and ultimately controlling and dictating the people’s very beliefs.

Conservatives have taken pleasure in poking fun at the modern Left’s “Orwellian” tendencies—perhaps too much, actually, as overuse of the accusation has had the effect of limiting its potency. But as the woke ideology metastasizes within the American Left like the cancer it is, and as censors increasingly clamp down on anything sniffing of dissent to the regime’s orthodoxy, it is now clear that we are in a new age of Orwellianism.

In this new age, the regime and its enforcers pursue the suffusion of its orthodoxy at any cost, gaslighting dissenters into not believing their own lying eyes.

Last week, new governmental data revealed that the American economy, measured by gross domestic product, contracted for the second straight quarter.

That was, up until perhaps two weeks ago, the universally accepted definition of what constitutes a “recession.” This was not a partisan issue; indeed, well-known liberal, Democratic Party economists have frequently defined recession in precisely these terms. Back in 2008, President Joe Biden’s current National Economic Council director, Brian Deese, stated: “Of course economists have a technical definition of recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.” And in 2019, top Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein said that a “recession” is “defined as two consecutive quarters of declining growth.”

Democrats are now singing a different tune.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has stubbornly refused to concede that America is now in an economic recession. Deese apparently also disagrees with his old self of 2008: Following the release of the data evincing the second straight quarter of economic contraction, Deese stipulated that we are “certainly in a transition,” but also added that “virtually nothing signals that this period … is recessionary.” The ruse is transparent and obvious to the point of comedy. As famed investor David Sacks tweeted: “A lot of people are wondering about the definition of recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth if a Republican is president. The definition is far more complicated and unknowable if a Democrat is president.”

Democrats similarly seem interested in changing the definition of “inflation,” which currently sits at four-decade highs and is disproportionately responsible for Biden’s dismal job approval ratings and Democrats’ unfavorable political outlook this fall. The widely accepted economic definition of inflation is when there is too much money chasing too few goods. The way to tamp down inflation is thus to limit the money supply and/or increase the production of goods.

Just last week, around the same time as when the United States formally entered a recession, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) finally reached an agreement on a version of the White House’s long-sought after Build Back Better domestic initiative. But Democrats renamed the bill: It is now not called Build Back Better but the Inflation Reduction Act.

And the revised bill includes new government expenditures to the tune of nearly $400 billion in energy- and climate-related spending. Authorizing such a fiscal boondoggle is the precise opposite of limiting the money supply. It is the logical equivalent of trying to put out a fire with a blowtorch.

Remarkably, it is the same ideologues who are eager to change the well-accepted definitions of “recession” and “inflation” who remain perplexed as to what exactly a “woman” is. In March, then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, pointedly refused to define what a “woman” is. Her excuse was that she is “not a biologist.” Related, in Matt Walsh’s excellent new documentary, “What Is a Woman?,” the myriad “gender studies” professors and gender ideology-bewitched “doctors” interviewed by Walsh invariably define a “woman,” in circular fashion, as being “someone who identifies as a woman.”

Whether it is a Supreme Court justice herself or the vogue flatulence that now constitutes “gender studies” in the American academy, then, the Left is incapable of defining what a “woman” is. That confusion appears to be ubiquitous: Lia Thomas, the biological man who has been wreaking havoc in women’s collegiate swimming, was even nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Alinsky would be proud of such an imperious enforcement of regime-approved orthodoxy; “he who controls the language controls the masses,” after all.

The Left’s fundamental problem is that its haughtiness, fervor and zeal for gaslighting us sane Americans is belied by its unpopularity. It is curious that the Left can talk and act this way when its most notable avatar, Biden, is as severely unpopular as he currently is. Perhaps the Left will be chastened by its impending November defeats at the ballot box. But don’t bet on it.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/31/2022 - 22:00
Published:7/31/2022 9:23:07 PM
[9953b52d-144b-5cf4-aee8-964d7f24b831] Biden invites Barack and Michelle Obama to White House for portrait unveiling Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will return to the White House in September to unveil their portraits. Published:7/29/2022 5:16:44 PM
[] Obama Finally Decides to Unveil White House Portrait After Refusing to Do so Under Trump Published:7/29/2022 12:49:06 PM
[815ee666-0231-5adb-9690-47ee41daf03b] Joe Biden met with at least 14 of Hunter’s business associates while vice president President Biden met with at least 14 of his son's business associates from the U.S., Mexico, Ukraine, China and Kazakhstan while he was vice president in the Obama White House. Published:7/28/2022 4:26:39 AM
[White House Watch] Conservative And Pro-Energy Activists Urge Senators To Reject Top Biden EPA Nominee

by Gabe Kaminsky at CDN -

Conservative and pro-energy activists are urging senators to reject President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Joseph Goffman, an Obama-era EPA official who was executive director at Harvard Law …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Conservative And Pro-Energy Activists Urge Senators To Reject Top Biden EPA Nominee first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:7/27/2022 12:22:59 AM
[Markets] Hunter Biden 'Almost Certainly' Broke FARA Laws: Report Hunter Biden 'Almost Certainly' Broke FARA Laws: Report

Hunter Biden's failure to register as a foreign agent while conducting business overseas, much like former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, almost certainly violated foreign lobbying laws under the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Aaccording to the New York Post, while Hunter registered as a lobbyist for domestic interests ("a gig which so annoyed President Obama that Biden was forced to drop it in 2008"), he never registered as a "foreign principal" under the 1938 law - a crime which carries a punishment of up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

We aren't holding our breath. That said...

The Post’s examination of Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop in the last year has exposed myriad foreign business schemes the then-Vice President’s son tried to shepherd. Last week The Post revealed dozens of sit-downs between Hunter and Joe Biden that were frequently scheduled just days after Hunter visited with foreign officials. -NY Post

"The recent disclosures of additional foreign contacts has only strengthened what was already a strong case. Indeed, in the last few weeks, the compelling basis for a FARA charge has becomes unassailable and undeniable," according to law professor Jonathan Turley. "The influence peddling schemes directly reference the President and [Joe Biden] is repeatedly cited as a possible recipient of funds."

And while a CNN report from last week indicated that the DOJ is focusing on Hunter's tax issues and alleged violations of federal firearm regulations, the first son's foreign dealings have undoubtedly been part of the investigation - particularly since the Post exposed evidence of extensive foreign dealings from Hunter's "laptop from hell," which they published in October 2020 shortly before the US election.

The inquiry began as a tax probe in 2018 but has expanded considerably since a series of New York Post exposes showed how Hunter Biden’s private business interests became commingled with his father’s public career. The revelations were contained on a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden at a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019.  -NY Post

Yet, despite potential violations of foreign lobbying laws and money laundering - insiders say Hunter could receive a "generous" plea agreement.

House Republicans, meanwhile, say that should they take back control of the chamber in the upcoming midterm elections, they'll launch their own investigation into Hunter's overseas exploits.

Let's review some of Hunter's dealings...

For starters, he worked for CCP-linked Chinese energy company CEFC, which sought to gain a foothold into the United States. After the New York Times questioned Hunter's involvement in 2018, Joe Biden left him a voicemail in which he told his son "I think you're clear."

Republicans have accused CEFC of being an arm of the Chinese government. In 2017, the year Joe Biden left the Vice Presidency, Hunter received a $1 million retainer for his services as a lawyer. CEFC official Patrick Ho was later convicted on international bribery and money laundering charges on unrelated work in Africa.

When the Hunter Biden laptop story broke in October 2020 (and was immediately suppressed by the media), the Bidens allegedly accepted a $5 million interest-free loan from CEFC that enraged their business partner, Tony Bobulinski - who flipped on the Bidens following a Senate report which revealed the $5 million 'loan.'

Text messages from Bobulinski also reveal an effort to conceal Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter's business dealings, while Tony has also confirmed that the "Big guy" described in a leaked email is none other than Joe Biden himself.

More on Hunter's dealings from the Post:

After additional revelations from The Post in 2020, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the Justice Department demanding a review of possible FARA violations. Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski said in public comments at the time that the Chinese saw Hunter Biden “as a political or influence investment.”

Since then, I’ve only seen and gathered more records and information that confirm that [Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden] are closely linked to foreign interests,” Grassley told The Post.

While Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter Biden $83,333 a month to sit on its board, Hunter Biden introduced Vadym Pozharskyi — one of the company’s top executives — to his father, emails show. Less than a year later, Vice President Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.

Meanwhile, Hunter arranged for the former president of Columbia, Andrés Pastrana Arango, to have a sit-down with his father during a March 2, 2012 meeting.

In Nov. 2015, Hunter met with Crown Prince Alexander Karadordevic of Yugoslavia and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, who told the Post that they asked Hunter to 'put in a word' with his father to help rehab the royal palace in Belgrade.

"If Hunter relayed the request for US government assistance then that would be a FARA registrable event," said FARA expert Craig Engle, who leads the political law practice at Arent Fox Schiff. "Given the nature of the client, given the nature of the work, and given his relationship with Joe Biden as demonstrated on his calendar, it makes it likely that FARA is part of an investigation," he added.

Emails on Hunter's laptop also reveal concerns over FARA violations - with Eric Schwerin, president of Hunter's investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners - discussing the issue.

"Was reading an article saying how [former White House Chief of Staff William] Daley was never a ‘registered’ lobbyist although he directed [Telecoms company] SBC and JP Morgan’s lobbying efforts. Also the article noted that he was registered as Foreign Lobbyist under FARA at one point … sometimes I wonder why we stress about this so much," Schwerin wrote to Hunter in January, 2011.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/24/2022 - 22:00
Published:7/24/2022 9:06:40 PM
[Climate ugliness] Our Green Future? Energy Impoverished Aussies Risking Carbon Monoxide Poisoning to Stay Warm President Obama called it right when he said renewable energy would cause electricity bills to skyrocket. But he forgot to mention all the dead people. Published:7/24/2022 12:18:36 AM
[World] Obama's former doctor says White House avoiding press scrutiny of Biden's health EXCLUSIVE — Ex-President Barack Obama’s longtime former doctor said the White House may be shielding President Joe Biden’s physician from broader questions about the president's health following a COVID-19 diagnosis. Published:7/22/2022 8:02:22 PM
[In The News] Watchdog Sues DHS To Obtain Hunter Biden Secret Service Records For Obama And Biden Administrations

by Gabe Kaminsky at CDN -

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is being sued by a federal watchdog for allegedly failing to turn over records in connection to Secret Service details for Hunter Biden during the Obama and Biden administrations, according to a complaint. Judicial Watch, a conservative group probing ethics in government, filed …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Watchdog Sues DHS To Obtain Hunter Biden Secret Service Records For Obama And Biden Administrations first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:7/22/2022 9:30:41 AM
[] Oh honey, NO: Justice Kagan SCHOOLED on her own job after claiming SCOTUS shouldn't stray too far from public sentiment Published:7/22/2022 9:30:40 AM
[In The News] Biden Admin Dumps Millions Into Studying ‘Equity’ In School Lunch Programs

by Gabe Kaminsky at CDN -

Kids throw Obama school lunch program food in trash

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hand an academic or research group up to $2 million to study “equity” in government food programs for needy children, according to a grant listing reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The grant, which was listed on July 8, is in connection …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Biden Admin Dumps Millions Into Studying ‘Equity’ In School Lunch Programs first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:7/20/2022 2:03:03 PM
[Markets] Court-Packing House Dems Demand Four New Seats On Supreme Court Court-Packing House Dems Demand Four New Seats On Supreme Court

A group of House Democrats on Monday pushed for Congress to add four seats to the US Supreme Court in order to overcome the panel's 6-3 conservative majority.

At a Monday press conference hosted by 'Take Back the Court Action Fund,' Democratic lawmakers decried recent rulings from the Court which overturned the landmark abortion precedent in Roe v. Wade, which followed a decision which prohibited New York from restricting concealed carry permits.

Eight House Democrats, including Reps. Andy Levin (MI), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Mondaire Jones (NY), Ed Markey (MA) and Senator Hank Johnson (GA) were at the conference.

According to Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), the Supreme Court is "making decisions that usurp the power of the legislative and executive branches."

Republican politicians made controlling the judicial branch part of their platform, said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), adding that the court has “gone rogue” and “become a radical institution.” 

The lawmakers also emphasized that the longevity of the lifelong terms the sitting justices are now serving makes action to expand the court more urgent. 

Of 72-year-old conservative Justice Samuel Alito, Johnson said, “You can see the gleam in his eye as he thinks about what he wants to do to decimate the rights of people and put us back in the Dark Ages.” -The Hill

And of course, they're framing the current USSC configuration as "court packing" by the Republicans - when in fact Ruth Bader Ginsburg's decision not to retire when Obama could have appointed another liberal Justice, and GOP lawmakers' lawful refusal to confirm an Obama nominee after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia - allowing President Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch, followed by Brett Kavanaugh (replacing Anthony Kennedy), and Bader's replacement Amy Coney Barrett, are what led to the Court's current weighting.

"The nightmare scenario of GOP court-packing is already upon us," said Rep. Jones, adding "That’s how they got this far-right 6-3 majority in the first place."

As The Hill notes, Congress has changed the number of justices on the court seven times.

Regardless, the measure is unlikely to succeed, as Democrats are not expected to be able to clear the filibuster's 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/19/2022 - 23:05
Published:7/20/2022 12:16:03 AM
[] Quick Hits Former Obama chief economic advisor Larry Summers: the Fed lost its way in 2021, focusing on "social justice and the environment" instead of inflation and the economy. Larry Summers, who served as treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, has... Published:7/19/2022 5:36:18 PM
[Markets] Judge Questions FBI's Aggressive Arrest Of Former Trump Official Peter Navarro Judge Questions FBI's Aggressive Arrest Of Former Trump Official Peter Navarro

A federal judge has questioned why the FBI made a public spectacle out of arresting former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro at Reagan National Airport last month, rather than simply summoning him for a court appearance.

Navarro was handcuffed, denied food and water, and denied a request to phone his lawyer, as he was on his way to a speaking engagement in Nashville, Tennessee. He faces two misdemeanor contempt of Congress charges for doing exactly what Obama AG Eric Holder did (with zero consequences) - ignore a Congressional subpoena, according to Politico.

Of course, Holder was held in contempt for concealing documents related to the "fast & furious" scandal, which was tied to the death of an estimated 150 Mexican civilians - while Navarro is refusing to answer House Democrats' questions surrounding the 2020 election and the January 6th riot.

"It is curious...at a minimum why the government treated Mr. Navarro’s arrest in the way it did," US District Court Judge Amit Mehta said during a Friday hearing on Navarro's case. "It is a federal crime, but it is not a violent crime."

Mehta, a former federal defender, said it was puzzling that prosecutors didn’t just tell Navarro he was going to be charged and allow him to walk into an FBI office, as some white-collar defendants are permitted to do.

It is a surprise to me that self-surrender was not offered,” the judge said. However, he proposed no particular response and did not demand any explanation from prosecutors. -Politico

The FBI has accused Navarro of making "numerous false statements" about his arrest, and said that his first request to use the phone that day was for a lawyer - rather, a TV producer about a scheduled interview. 

One of his lawyers, John Rowley, suggested that the FBI's treatment suggested "animus" toward Navarro, considering that two other Trump White House aides who similarly ignored subpoenas - Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino - were not charged (much less arrested at an airport).

Rowley also suggested Navarro had been placed in leg irons by the FBI when he was arrested, but his client clarified after the hearing that the shackles were used by deputy U.S. Marshals when he arrived at the courthouse for his initial appearance last month. The FBI agents “are responsible for those leg irons,” Navarro told reporters.

It also emerged at the hearing Friday that Navarro rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors in the case, proposing to drop one of the two charges and not seek more than the minimum 30-day jail time. -Politico

"This is the first time in our nation’s 250-year history that a senior adviser to a president has been criminally charged for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena," said Rowley.

"The Justice Department...has longstanding policies about not prosecuting someone criminally for this kind of situation, so I wonder, what changed?....and we intend to find out," said defense attorney John Irving.

Navarro isn't the first Trump-era official to receive harsh treatment.

Weeks after Navarro's arrest, and just one day before the House select committee heard testimony about Trump's efforts to reverse the 2020 election, the Biden DOJ hauled former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clary outside of his home in boxer shorts while they executed a search warrant as part of an "ongoing fraud investigation."

Clark, who was central to Trump's efforts to prove that the 2020 election was fraudulent, told Fox News that the DOJ investigation into the events of January 6, 2021 were "Stasi-like" and that the case had been "highly politicized."

He proposed sending a letter to officials in swing states that Mr Trump lost to inform them that the department had “identified significant concerns” about the outcome ... as well as urging states to appoint a “a separate slate of electors” to support Mr Trump to be approved in Congress, according to testimony. -Independent

And let's not forget the time the FBI executed a pre-dawn raid on Trump adviser Roger Stone's home for lying to Congress, and somehow CNN was there before it went down (which the network said came after "more than a year of observing comings at the DC federal courthouse and the special counsel’s office – and a little luck on the timing").

And they say the DOJ isn't used as a weapon...

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/16/2022 - 13:00
Published:7/16/2022 3:02:14 PM
[Biden Administration] Famous Fathers, Infamous Sons: Joe Biden v. King Salman of Saudi Arabia

President Joe Biden visited oil-rich Saudi Arabia on Friday to grovel before its authoritarian leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), in a desperate attempt to stem the soaring price of gasoline in the United States. The president fist-bumped MBS upon arriving in Jeddah, which was an embarrassing moment. Not quite as embarrassing, however, as Barack H. Obama's servile bow before the late King Abdullah during his 2009 apology tour.

The post Famous Fathers, Infamous Sons: Joe Biden v. King Salman of Saudi Arabia appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/15/2022 6:08:08 PM
[Entertainment] Phoebe Robinson thinks ‘Everything’s Trash’ and wants you to feel good about it Phoebe Robinson, the multi-hyphenate talent that got her start on the podcast "2 Dope Queens," has been trying to get a half hour comedy on air for years. After more podcasts, three books, appearing on stage with Michelle Obama and creating a publishing imprint, finally Robinson's new series "Everything is Trash" premiered this week. Published:7/15/2022 5:23:40 AM
[Science] Obama called WH physician ‘unprofessional’ for questioning Biden’s cognition: Book Former President Barack Obama rebuked a former physician who worked in his administration for questioning President Joe Biden’s cognitive health during his 2020 presidential campaign, according to emails detailed in a forthcoming book. Published:7/13/2022 9:50:40 AM
[dbef22a8-af14-534c-ad9c-7c219951ebda] Exclusive: Read the private email Obama sent his former doc after he questioned Biden's cognitive health Former White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson got a "scathing" email from former President Obama moments after he criticized Biden's mental state on the 2020 campaign trail Published:7/13/2022 1:40:00 AM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: Left-Wing Elites Are Our New Antoinettes Victor Davis Hanson: Left-Wing Elites Are Our New Antoinettes

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness,

These humanitarian rich feel just terrible about the sins of America, but not terrible enough to sacrifice any element of their privileged lifestyles... the just deserts they feel for being so righteous.

Marie Antoinette, the beheaded wife of the beheaded French Bourbon King Charles Louis XVI, did not really say “Let them cake.” 

But in the short time that the French Revolution became utterly unhinged, toxic, and nihilistic, she became nonetheless iconic as an out-of-touch elite who had lived in a make-believe world at Versailles, without a clue (or care?) about the ordeal of the masses. 

Rather than worry about the drudgery of the French peasant, Marie dressed up as one. And she roamed about in her idyllic faux peasant “farm” at the Hameau de la Reine, near the palace at Versailles. 

Apparently, during these brief rustic interludes, Marie felt that the more she might act out a sort of aristocratic peasant life, the more she could find simplicity and escape the drama of court life, but without the real-life, crushing poverty of the poor. 

The modern left-wing elite are becoming our version of Antoinettes. Thirty-eight-year-old Mark Zuckerberg is worth over $60 billion. But he enjoys T-shirts, jeans, and apparent simplicity in his many landed estates. He is so worried about the wrong voting tendencies of the clueless middle classes that he poured nearly $420 million of dark money from his vast fortune into the 2020 election—de facto absorbing the work of key precinct registrars—to ensure the “right” result for the unthinking multitudes. 

Americans, almost uniquely among modern nations, mostly do not envy, much less despise the rich. But there is a certain sort of privilege that they do not like: the sanctimonious and hypercritical rich whose rhetoric is at odds with their own lifestyles and the methods by which they inherited or made vast sums. And they especially are turned off by those who exude open disdain for the clinger/deplorable/dregs class—to paraphrase the Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden nomenclature. 

An especially grating habit of the left-wing wealthy is to lecture the middle class on their supposed illiberality. Often, those struggling are told they need to pay more for what White House economic advisor Brian Deese recently called the “liberal world order.” 

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or George Soros, to take a few examples, are multibillionaires who live lives unlike any in the history of civilization. They also fund various agendas through multibillion-dollar foundations and their own personal riches. 

Their causes are all deemed critical to the nation and planet, but unfortunately not fully appreciated as so vital by the peasant classes—whether they be global governance, massive restructuring of the economy to stop carbon releases, radical abortion on demand, or the sponsoring of critical legal theory prosecutors who feel crime is but a rich man’s construct. 

Indeed, when various pollsters recently asked the public what their chief worries were, they found the culprits were the prohibitive price of gasoline, the ruinous effects of hyperinflation, supply chain shortages, the nonexistent southern border, or the escalating violent crime wave—all of which concerns are of apparent little interest to left-wing billionaires. 

In other words, the worries of the Antoinette liberal elite—climate change, abortion on demand, transgenderism, strict gun-control—are not those that terrify the middle and lower classes. The latter, for some reason, first want to survive one more day with enough affordable food and energy and to be safe from criminals. 

Why Democrats are currently unpopular transcends even Joe Biden’s daily, dangerous, and tragic loss of cognition. Their low ratings arise more from the implementation of an array of disastrous policies dreamed up at left-wing university departments and think tanks. 

As a result, voters have concluded that the Left “just doesn’t care.” 

By that, they conclude that the drivers of modern hard progressivism—the billionaire donor class, the highly compensated professional bicoastal elites, the ideologues who have captured and transformed the old Democratic Party—ignore criticism of their policies. Or they claim that their disasters are unappreciated benefits, or mere PR problems, or shift blame to the Russians, the Emmanuel-Goldstein Trump, the toadish media, or the victims of their disastrous policies. 

The border is overrun by illegal aliens. Lethal drugs, cartels, gangs, and child traffickers enter at will without consequences. American towns and cities are being swamped by hundreds of thousands of unlawful border crossers. In response to public outcries, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas either ignores the anguished or falsely claims that the border is “secure.” Translated that means Americans either are racists or should get over the fossilized idea of a border itself.  

Gasoline is at all-time highs. Joe Biden tells the public “Putin did it”—although prices soared well before the Ukraine War. Translated, that means the spiral to nearly $5 a gallon in California by February 2022—before Putin invaded Ukraine—was “cheap” compared to the current $6.70 a gallon. 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

When Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was asked whether she might take measures to ease the fuel burden on American commuters, she laughed and thought it “hilarious” that she either could or would consider such action. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) scoffed that clueless gas-guzzling motorists should buy a Tesla (base price for a low-end Model 3: $46,990) like she drives and so skip the greedy service stations. 

Biden will not reconsider pipelines, new federal leases, or his green demonization of fracking. But he will drain the strategic petroleum reserve on four apparent Orwellian principles:

  • Oil pumped into an underground vault and then pumped back out does not exude the stigma of pristine oil pumped first out of the ground.

  • Motorists would be encouraged by cheaper prices to drive more and thus consume more of the dirty fuel that Biden wishes to restrict.

  • The oil pumped out of the reserve to cushion Americans in times of national emergencies can be sent into the global market and thus end up in the hands of our de facto enemies, the communist Chinese.

  • Biden looks to the reserve, the Russians, the Saudis, the Venezuelans, and the Iranians to pump more of the awful fuel that America has in abundance, needs desperately—and should not dare extract.

Commercial air travel is in near shambles. Shortages of everything from baby formula to tampons are making America seem akin to the old Soviet Union. For Biden’s cabinet, this disaster is called “transitioning” to a better green future.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg presumably oversees our nearly ruined commercial air travel system, ports where cargo ships are backed up to the horizon, and gas and diesel prices that are impoverishing the middle classes. In response, when he is not on paternity leave, Buttigieg brags that he rides a bike, and lectures Americans on the racist origins of their once modern but now ossified freeway system.

Why does the party of caring and good ole Joe Biden from Scranton seem so indifferent? Why is the Left so callous to the consequences of Biden’s self-created high inflationary, unaffordable gas-and-food presidency and what it has done to the middle class? 

The answer is not just that the Democratic leadership or the progressive elite are smugly “rich.” Rather, the problem is that they are “Antoinette rich.” 

That is, they have lost any empathy for those who endure firsthand the consequences of the elites’ ideological rigidity. So, this is not the Democratic Party of Harry Truman or even of Bill Clinton. 

Hunter Biden, without any apparent income, is renting a $20,000 a month Malibu mansion, necessitating that the Secret Service rent a nearby $30,000 a month mansion to watch over this 50-something trainwreck of an adult. The elite know that Hunter’s prior income came from quid pro quo shakedowns of foreign governments, that he failed to pay taxes in a manner that would earn any other American a jail sentence, and that he is exempt from investigation. 

Americans are not supposed to even mention the truth: the president’s son was enriched, deeply leveraged by the Chinese, and so, too, by association was the president himself. And such “collusion” may explain the Biden Administration’s inexplicable tolerance for Chinese aggression. 

Multimillionaire Governor Gavin Newsom lectured Californians on why they must wear masks and avoid social gatherings even as he declined to do so while enjoying a birthday party at the pricey French Laundry restaurant in Napa. He was captured on camera, maskless again, and in the company of the celebrity Magic Johnson while the state mask mandate remained in place. 

Now Newsom preens that California won’t pay for its state employees to travel to supposedly backward, homophobic Montana for business trips. But Newsom has no problem dragging his costly state security detail to his in-laws’ tony Montana ranch. 

From time to time, Michelle and Barack Obama pontificate to Americans about their racist, sexist, and homophobic pathologies—but always from their Washington, D.C. Kalorama digs or their Martha’s Vineyard chateau, or now from their new, third mansion on Oahu. 

How strange that the more millions of dollars the Obamas earn, the more castles they acquire, so all the louder they hector the struggling middle classes. Most apparently illiberal Americans can hardly afford to fill their 250-gallon propane tank; the Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate tanks require 2,500-gallons of dreadful carbon polluting fuel. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi castigates the illiberality of the deplorable classes. During the lockdowns that she championed, however, she got caught maskless violating quarantines—to get her hair done. 

Pelosi also released a clueless Antoinette video of herself boasting about her just delivered $13 a pint ice-cream, stocked up in her twin $23,000 sub-zero refrigerators in her Napa estate. Her multimillionaire husband, Paul, recently wrecked his new Porsche (a carbon guzzler) while driving under the influence. 

Americans are reaching the point where they either cannot afford vacations at all or are terrified of flying only to be left stranded in the now inert airport archipelago. No matter. The woke Pelosis this week are guests of superstar Andrea Bocelli at his Tuscan beach estate. 

No one begrudges the elite Left their riches or their frolics. But they do resent the talk-down and accusatory sermons that come with them and the hypocrisy that fuels them. 

This list of Democratic “men and women of the people” who are detached from the people could be endlessly expanded but the size of it explains why they seem tone deaf to the struggles of others they never wish to see or hear. Their exalted status reflects the new globalized wealth of the United States that is found most often in high-tech, media, entertainment, professional sports, finance, investment, law, universities, and insurance—and is mostly left-wing. 

The new zillions are quite unlike the old, fossilized money in timber, mining, agriculture, oil, construction, and manufacturing that was grounded in grubbier realities and without the high-altitude sermonizing. Whether one calculates elite blue money by ZIP code, congressional district, or counties, the result is the same: the Democratic Party is run by billionaires and is the sanctimonious party of highly compensated bicoastal professionals. 

Both have agendas that transcend the middle class and reflect the reality that they care little for those who cannot match their wealth and tastes. The “crazies” and “clingers” lack the elite’s supposed empathy, superior talent, and wisdom. More bothersome, our left-wing elite has the means to ensure that it is never subject to the disasters that naturally follow from its own ideological bankruptcy. 

In other words, the left-wing has a problem. These humanitarian rich feel just terrible about the sins of America, but not terrible enough to sacrifice any element of their privileged lifestyles—the just deserts they feel for being so righteous. To square that circle, of indulgence for their rich selves, and sacrifice for poorer others, they hector and preach—and thereby find medieval penance and indulgence that excuses their own spectacular levels of illiberal consumption. 

To the bread-poor masses, the irredeemables, the chumps, and the “right-wing Latinas” they don’t quite say: “Let them eat cake.”

Instead, as they jet about on private planes, free of their own bothersome quarantines, edicts, and masks, while acquiring additional, carbon-gulping, seashore estates, they let their guard down with cries of, “Let them drive Teslas,” “Wear a mask!” and “Transition to a greener future!”

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/12/2022 - 20:05
Published:7/12/2022 7:24:54 PM
[Markets] Biden Heads To Middle East, Plans To Abase Himself Before Saudi Royals Biden Heads To Middle East, Plans To Abase Himself Before Saudi Royals

Authored by Doug Bandow via AntiWar.com,

President Joe Biden is off to the Middle East. He apparently plans to welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – ole "Slice 'n Dice," when it comes to journalistic critics – in from the cold. The president is abandoning the pretense that human rights motivate his administration.

Of course, this should come as no surprise. Campaign promises rarely last much beyond election day. Candidates collect votes from hapless citizens, only to announce after winning that their commitments are impossible to keep. So it has been with treating Mideast royal dictatorships as the criminal regimes they are.

President Donald Trump set the standard for shamelessly catering to Saudi whims. So ostentatious was his subservience that some suspected mercenary objectives, perhaps hoping to build a Trump Tower in Riyadh after leaving office or collect future investments for his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The more mundane explanation may be that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia brilliantly played to Trump’s vanities while the Israelis convinced him that Riyadh was a necessary ally against Iran. Whatever the reason, there was no Saudi crime the Trump administration would not aid, abet, and cover-up.

Getty Images

Candidate Biden responded by sharply criticizing Trump and promising to make the crown prince, known as MbS, a "pariah." President Biden began well, by refusing to meet or even call the killer prince. The governments could still cooperate, and Americans could still buy oil even if Washington stopped pretending that the KSA was a vital pillar of US Mideast policy.

However, Biden quickly fell back into the conventional wisdom of which he has been a poster boy since entering politics. One factor is Iran. Although Biden committed to restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or nuclear deal, with Tehran, he blundered away his chance to improve relations, proving hopelessly timid and fearful of Republican criticism.

Vicious GOP attacks were inevitable if he did anything less than launch a nuclear attack on the Islamic Republic, and even that probably would have been dismissed as insufficient by congressional Republicans. He should have accepted the inevitable and immediately entered into negotiations with Iran. Instead, he dithered and accepted the poison pill sanctions imposed by Trump to prevent his successor from making a deal.

Now seemingly stuck with Trump’s disastrous "maximum pressure" campaign – instead of causing Tehran to accept Washington’s dictates, the policy spurred the Islamic Republic to speed up its nuclear program – Biden is similarly increasing sanctions and threatening military action. Which means effectively turning Iran policy over to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Instead of attempting to extricate Washington from a sectarian feud between Shiites and Sunnis, Biden appears to be going all in for the Saudis, no matter how loathsome and irresponsible the royal regime.

Biden’s second objective is to win over Israel first fans who voted Republican during Trump’s reign. The Abrahamic Accords brought no peace, since Israel was not at war with the likes of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. Indeed, the US had to buy Arab assent – for instance, accepting Morocco’s illicit annexation of the Western Sahara. Rather, the public normalization of relations created the basis of a Sunni Arab-Israeli alliance against Tehran. Israel would like to add the Saudis, which in practice means the administration wants the same, even though the American people get little out of the bargain. At least President Barack Obama made a pretense of caring about promiscuous Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human rights.

Finally, Biden is desperate to get more oil flowing. He fears a Democratic wipeout in November with inflation raging and his approval rating plummeting. The US has spent years using sanctions to drive producers off the market, recently Iran and Venezuela and since February Russia. Playing the craven beggar, he hopes to convince the crown prince to open the spigots.

Officially, the president said he doesn’t plan to ask for the Kingdom to sell more oil, but he doesn’t have to. That message has been communicated for weeks. He also said he wasn’t going for the purpose of seeing Crown Prince Slice ‘n Dice, though they would be in meetings together. However, no one doubts that the president and MbS will do more than greet one another. The only question is whether the crown prince will insist that Biden kiss the royal feet first.

It’s not clear that the Kingdom can deliver a lot more oil – apparently MbS told French President Emmanuel Macron that the Kingdom was already at maximum production. Moreover, the KSA has no reason to give up the opportunity to fill its coffers with petroleum prices running at record levels. It is easier to take money from American and European consumers than to again turn the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton into an informal prison and shake down the Saudi mercantile class. (Not that anyone can be certain Prince Slice ‘n Dice won’t use that tactic again!)

In any case, the only reason MbS would agree to even a little moderation in oil policy is if Biden offered something more valuable in return. And that appears to be some sort of security guarantee, officially or unofficially turning American military personnel into royal bodyguards. This is an awful idea. If the Saudi people can’t be trusted to defend their nation’s brutal, rapacious ruling class – the Kingdom is ranked by Freedom House among the world’s dozen least free nations, with China, Iran, and Russia ranking above Riyadh – young Americans certainly shouldn’t be dispatched.

MbS has loosened totalitarian social controls, leading to a burst of popularity among the young. Imagine, Saudis now can attend movie theaters! However, he has tightened political controls. There is no sign that he is willing to stop kidnapping, jailing, imprisoning, murdering, and even dismembering his critics. Moreover, despite his studied appeal to credulous evangelicals, he maintains the ban on any faith but Islam. Although no one could confuse the United Arab Emirates with a liberal society, the Kingdom is in a class almost by itself.

Riyadh and its well-renumerated Greek Chorus in Washington promote the KSA as a vital ally. However, the reality is quite different. The energy market has diversified. Biden is desperate to expand Saudi oil production because the US is now waging economic war against multiple oil producers. Instead of empowering the Saudis, Biden should abandon the Trump administration’s failed strategies of starving already suffering Venezuelans and wrecking Iran’s economy. The US also should be offering Ukraine at least as much encouragement to make peace as war.

The Kingdom’s factotums also present the Saudi royals as a heroic barrier to aggressive Iranian Islamic revolutionaries. Yet the KSA has been even more disruptive and interventionist than Tehran. Riyadh financed the brutal al-Sisi coup and dictatorship in Egypt, sent troops to preserve the oppressive minority Sunni monarchy in Bahrain, blockaded and threatened to invade neighboring Qatar, underwrote Islamist fighters in Libya and Syria, kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister, and invaded Yemen, the poorest country in the region. Quite a record!

The latter misadventure has proved to be an extraordinary humanitarian disaster. The situation even worsened after Biden was elected. Reported the Yemen Data Project: "January 2022 was the most violent month in the Saudi-led air war in Yemen in more than five years. Yemen Data Project recorded 139 civilian deaths and 287 civilians injured in Saudi coalition airstrikes in January, taking the casualty toll to over 19,000 civilians killed and injured since Saudi Arabia launched its bombing campaign in Yemen in March 2015. Not since October 2016 have more civilian casualties been recorded in a single month in the air war. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes caused more civilian harm in the first month of 2022 than in the two previous years combined."

The KSA and its propagandists blame Iran, but Yemen’s Ansar Allah, or Houthis, always kept their distance from Tehran. The latter got heavily involved only after the Saudis and Emiratis, armed and supported by Washington, provided Tehran with an Allah-sent opportunity to bleed them. The royals turned another round of internal strife which has bedeviled Yemen for a half century into an international sectarian war, with catastrophic results. More than seven years later a ceasefire has finally halted fighting. However, no one knows if MbS has learned from his folly and is prepared to make a realistic peace.

Perhaps the worst aspect of Biden’s trip is the US president going as impecunious petitioner, acting as if the KSA was the superpower and America was the supplicant. This long has been Saudi Arabia’s perspective of Washington. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recognized that the Saudi royals were ever ready to "fight the Iranians to the last American." Biden seems likely to grant the Kingdom’s wish. Once he does his ostentatious kowtow to MbS, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to be the last dubious "ally" to take this administration’s measure and treat the president with disdain. No wonder polls show that less than a quarter of Americans approve of his trip.

Instead of abasing himself, the president should transform the bilateral relationship into something approaching normalcy. First, he should encourage the ongoing dialogue between Riyadh and Tehran. The Kingdom decided to engage its potential antagonist after sensing Washington’s waning interest in treating the royals as permanent defense dependents. Better for Iran and the KSA to defuse their hostility than for Americans to make the Mideast safe for despotic Medieval monarchies.

As for a security guarantee, Saudi Arabia should turn to Israel. The Mideast is perpetually unstable and shouldn’t consume so much attention and many resources from Washington. Israel is a regional superpower. Instead of expecting forever US subsidies, Jerusalem should underwrite the security of neighbors it believes to be important for its security.

Moreover, if Riyadh (and Abu Dhabi) want to make nice to China and Russia, so be it. Beijing’s economic strength ensures that it will play an important commercial role, but it is unlikely to offer much militarily. Moscow’s role will be naturally limited by its modest reach beyond the "near abroad" and the disastrous fallout from its aggression against Ukraine. With far more important issues to worry about, starting with fiscal solvency at home, the US need not dominate every region on earth forever.

If the Saudis complain, the Biden administration should publicly reconsider the federal government’s previous resistance to lawsuits against the Kingdom for alleged complicity in the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, the president could note that the Saudis and Emiratis might be appropriately declared state sponsors of terrorism, given their manifold war crimes in Yemen. And the administration could create a commission to investigate Riyadh’s influence-peddling in Washington, which exceeds anything undertaken by, say, China. Why continue to exempt the Saudis from rules applied to other nations?

Every president seems to fall for the myth that the Kingdom is a vital partner for America. It is the Saudi royals who need the US. Washington policy should reflect this geopolitical reality.

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/12/2022 - 02:00
Published:7/12/2022 1:07:51 AM
[Markets] Taibbi: The Financial Bubble Era Comes Full Circle Taibbi: The Financial Bubble Era Comes Full Circle

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News (emphasis ours),

Subscribers have noticed that it’s been quiet on this site for a while. This is because I spent much of the last month researching the #CryptoCrash, and the last week and a half engaged in an increasingly maddening search for a civilized and respectful way to write about one particular actor: Circle Internet Financial, makers of USDC, at $55 billion the second-biggest stablecoin in the world.

I’m giving up the hunt for “civilized and respectful.” That dog lived a long life, but it now must be taken out and shot. I’ve dealt with many frustrating institutions, from Bank of America to the press office of the FSB, but none produced such headaches. They’re the mother of all black boxes, and God help anyone invested in them.

Circle Internet Financial CEO Jeremy Allaire

Trouble started with one question. On April 12, Circle announced it had raised $400 million with investments from BlackRock, Fidelity, Marshall Wace and Fin Capital, noting BlackRock and Circle had entered into a “broader strategic partnership” that would include “exploring capital market applications for USDC” that would “drive the next evolution of Circle’s growth.” This would involve the establishment of a new, BlackRock-managed, government money market fund, the Circle Reserve Fund, through which BlackRock would become “a primary asset manager of USDC cash reserves.”

Sources called with concerns. The fund’s registration statement says “shares are only available for purchase by Circle Internet Financial, LLC.” Not only is this unusual — one legal expert I spoke with said he’d “never seen such a fund… available for sale solely to a single entity” — but it raised a potentially troublesome issue for USDC holders. If Circle is to be the sole counterparty to a reserve fund, that would mean reserves would belong to the company, not its users. This could raise the same issue that recently dogged its partner, the digital exchange Coinbase, when it revealed in an SEC filing that “In the event of a bankruptcy, the crypto assets we hold in custody on behalf of our customers could be subject to bankruptcy proceedings and such customers could be treated as our general unsecured creditors.”

The firm insisted “your funds are safe with Coinbase,” but as noted in another story coming out today, the damage was done, and the news triggered market mayhem. Coinbase isn’t the same kind of company as Circle, but the issue of bankruptcy remoteness is relevant to both. It’s at the core of the whole dilemma of the cryptocurrency markets. Certainly the question of who actually owns and controls reserve assets exists, or seems to exist. Here Circle is unlike some competitors, whose user agreements specifically spell out that reserves are, say, “fully backed by US dollars held by Paxos Trust Company, LLC,” or “custodied pursuant to the Custody Agreement entered into by and between you and Gemini Trust Company, LLC.” Those describe trust agreements, which are truly bankruptcy remote.

Circle’s BlackRock fund suggested a different arrangement. Also, the new fund would be “permitted to invest up to one-third of its total assets in reverse repurchase agreements.” Would Circle be making use of that provision?

After 2008, we learned some firms really hated being boring old depository banks, because regulators didn’t allow them to do anything really risky with giant sums of customer cash they held that could easily earn huge returns at scale. It’s like walking into a casino with a trillion dollars in chips and being barred from all the really fun tables. This is how the so-called “London Whale” episode took place. A wing of JP Morgan Chase called the Chief Investment Office, whose ostensible purpose was to reduce risk at the company, started to make enormous returns of $400 million or more on trades its officers didn’t feel were directional bets at all, but hedges. The company felt these trades were only sort of risky. “We believed that what we were doing at the time was consistent with [American accounting practices],” is how one executive later described their attitude.

Then those “hedges” turned into giant suckholes of loss, and instead of unwinding them, the bank doubled down, and next thing you knew, they had a $12 billion bomb crater and Elizabeth Warren was screaming at an eye-rolling Jamie Dimon on television.

After 2008, remember, Chase had the reputation of being Wall Street’s “good bank,” or at least the non-stupid one, with the New York Times even describing Dimon as Barack Obama’s “favorite banker.” But the London Whale episode revealed the company’s extreme impatience with the idea that they owed it to anybody, either regulators or depositors, to refrain from engaging in certain types of risky behavior. This impatience was written all over executives’ faces at subsequent Senate hearings.

The big tell, always, is when finance executives start giving what one analyst described to me as “nuanced answers to yes and no questions.” In the Whale episode, Michigan Senator Carl Levin had to ask repeatedly if the bank had lied when it said in a public conference call that the chief banking regulator, the OCC, was getting data about those infamous trades on a “regular and recurring basis.” Chase Vice Chairman Douglas Braunstein kept talking around the question, first saying “I believed it to be a true statement at the time” that the bank was being “fully transparent” with regulators, then hedging again and again and again, before finally conceding, “They did not get the detailed positions regularly.”

Getting back to Circle, I reached out with simple questions. Do USDC holders bear bankruptcy risk, or not? Will they be making money lending their reserves or not? The firm at first was solicitous and seemed anxious to educate about their company structure. Then the answers became contradictory. Then they became “nuanced.” Finally there was so much spin, the company’s name began to make unpleasantly ironic sense.

For instance, Circle “is not a trust,” but believes it holds funds in trust; USDC both is and is not a virtual currency (it may be a “stored value product”); and in the unlikely event of a bankruptcy, USDC holders would be “shielded from Circle creditors,” although nothing is bullet-proof and of course there’s risk. How are USDC holders shielded from Circle creditors and “separated from a bankruptcy estate”? According to the firm, customers first of all are guarded “per the protections afforded under state money transmission laws.”

Without being cheeky, this is a little like saying the DMV is making sure you’re driving safely. Moreover, Circle is only regulated in the states where Circle has licenses, and the firm has obtained licenses only in those states were licenses are required (what happens to USDC holders in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Wyoming, for instance?). Beyond that, by their own public admission, “not all states in which we are licensed regulate virtual currency activity as money transmission.

Regarding the BlackRock fund’s provision allowing them to borrow up to a third of the reserves, I learned that government money market funds typically do not borrow, but also that the company would enjoy access to the Fed and its repo borrowing program.

The dealbreaker came after reading Circle’s User Agreement, which contains the following passage:

Circle is not a fiduciary, and Circle does not provide any trust or fiduciary services to any User in the course of such User visiting, accessing, or using the Circle website or services. 

I had reason to be surprised to learn that Circle is not a fiduciary and does not provide any trust or fiduciary services. When I expressed that surprise to a Circle spokesperson, recalling certain recent communications involving the exact word, “fiduciary,” their response was:

The paragraph cited from the Circle Account User Agreement refers to Circle’s custody of supported digital assets in a Circle-hosted wallet, and does not relate to USDC reserves management.

Answers don’t get much more “nuanced” than this. The company was now saying Circle is not a fiduciary, and does not provide any trust or fiduciary services to anyone visiting, accessing, or using the Circle website or services, unless those services involve the company’s management of USDC reserves. In that case, the firm does believe it has a fiduciary responsibility with respect to reserve funds, as required by state law, ostensibly in those states where Circle both has a license and virtual currency is regulated as money transmission.

Asked where exactly its reserves are right now, the company replied:

As we have shared publicly, the cash portion of the reserve is held with a number of banking partners, including Silvergate Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank. The US Treasury bills are purchased by BlackRock, and are held in custody at BNYMellon. We have not published a detailed breakdown of how much cash is held with which bank partner. We are working with many leading banks to onboard them and add them to our group of partners.  

This is a non-answer. Circle discloses where some of its reserves are, but not all, and not how much of what is where. Now, Circle separately features a Yield program, which offers guaranteed returns. These were never as high as Terra’s preposterous and obviously Ponzoid 20% guaranteed returns, which quickly attracted $60 billion that vanished even more quickly, but the program exists nonetheless, at one time offering 12-month yields as high as 10.75%.

In the time it’s taken to write this piece the guaranteed return has dropped from 6% to 1% to 0.5%. In characteristic fashion, Circle’s web page on the subject contains both the incorrect statement, “Circle Yield’s interest rates offer superior returns compared to traditional fixed-income investments” like 1 month CDs and 8-week T-bills — this is no longer true — and the correct statement, “In comparison to traditional fixed-income investments, products like Circle Yield can offer superior returns.”

The company maintains that the program is relatively small, that there “is currently less than $300M in loan volume outstanding for the Circle Yield program,” and “no ‘exposure,’ as we are over-collateralized at 125%.” (It is “over-collateralized” by plummeting Bitcoin). All the same, the company began this past Tuesday, July 5 to allow customers with active loans to withdraw funds from Circle Yield before the conclusion of those loans, with no penalty, until August 2, 2022 at 11:59PM ET. Asked why they did this, the firm said:

There is currently much uncertainty in the digital asset lending and borrowing markets. Circle Yield is a regulated, 125% overcollareralized, fixed-term product, offered to businesses only, and has performed as designed during these turbulent times, with borrower margin calls being met in a timely fashion to sustain the 125% overcollaterlization. However, we recognize that our customers might wish to withdraw their assets entirely from these markets at this extraordinary time… We have made a one-time change to the legal product structure to enable all our customers to withdraw their funds if they so wish during this time of uncertainty.

Make of that what you will. Meanwhile, the firm also believes federal bankruptcy laws should protect USDC holders, but this belief depends on the notion, which Circle states for the record, that “USDC reserves are held in segregated accounts for the benefit of USDC holders, not Circle,” and “USDC reserve funds are held for the benefit of USDC token holders,” because “Circle does not and will not use USDC holders’ money to run its business or pay its debts.”

If Circle does not and will not use USDC holders’ money to run its business, how is it projecting to earn $438 million in revenues from its USDC reserves this year, and over $2.188 billion next year? Again, is USDC a utility-like product content to earn little caring for giant piles of money, or more like a profiteering financial firm that earns money creatively leveraging up its assets? This raises another question that first came up last year. If Circle is holding its reserves in segregated accounts strictly for the benefit of customers, why was it, at least at one time, keeping a not-insignificant portion of its reserves in commercial paper and instruments like Yankee CDs?

Last summer, after Allaire announced plans to go public via a $4.5 billion SPAC deal, Coinbase said that all of its USDC holdings were “backed by a dollar in a bank account.” As Bloomberg wrote, the promise “was important for the stablecoin, which unlike Bitcoin has a set price and can be redeemed by users for regular currency.”

However, after being contacted in August by Bloomberg reporter Joe Light, Coinbase president Emilie Choi began issuing a series of amended statements on Twitter, for instance: “We know that a lot of customers get USDC on Coinbase, and we previously said that every USDC is ‘backed by a dollar in a bank account.’ Our language could have been clearer here.”

Circle then said that it had been backed entirely by cash until March, 2021, when it began to buy U.S. Treasuries to “accommodate the coin’s rapid growth,” as Bloomberg wrote. In fact, the very first time that Circle made a major disclosure in describing its reserve assets, releasing in July of 2021 an attestation by what one former regulator chucklingly called a “grownup” auditor Grant Thornton, it turned out only 61% of its reserves were in cash, with a surprisingly high amount held in riskier or less liquid investments like corporate bonds and commercial paper:

A spokesperson for the company also said that, as the news outlet put it, “the coin’s reserves moved to a broader portfolio of investments in May 2021.” In other words, by a seemingly extraordinary coincidence, Circle only branched out into riskier investments in the exact month before its first major audit-like disclosure, and just before Bloomberg ran a story saying that the “backed by a dollar in a bank account” representation was “not true.”

The response was brutal. “You can’t market a product with falsities,” Columbia Law School lecturer Lev Menand told Light. Such companies “say trust us and that’s all well and good until there’s a problem,” was how Georgetown professor Adam Levitin put it.

Circle from there began to make new gestures toward transparency, publishing regular attestations from Grant Thornton, each of which appeared to show moves away from riskier holdings and toward cash and short-term treasuries. For example, in July, 2021, Grant Thornton attested that 47% of the assets backing USDC were cash and cash equivalents, while 16% were in corporate bonds, and 8% were in commercial paper. Within a month the auditor was saying 100% of Circle’s reserves were “cash and cash equivalents,” although “Circle Internet Financial, LLC’s management is responsible for its assertions.” Then in early December, when Allaire testified before congress, he said (emphasis mine):

The dollar-denominated reserves backing USDC are held conservatively in the care, custody and control of the U.S. regulated banking system. These are strictly held in cash and short-duration U.S. treasuries and we have consistently reported on the status of these reserves and their sufficiency to meet demands for USDC outstanding with third party attestations from a leading global accounting firm.

Strictly speaking, this wasn’t true. Circle had indeed reported on its reserves, but hadn’t done so in detail until that spring of 2021, when it announced a sudden move into riskier investments. The Grant Thornton attestations soon after began dropping the detailed breakdowns from its reports, and moreover tweaked its language from saying reserve accounts were “correctly stated” to “fairly stated.” These reports include the curious lines, “Circle Internet Financial LLC’s management is responsible for its assertion,” and “Individuals who acquire and utilize USDC tokens and other crypto assets are responsible for informing themselves of the general risks and uncertainties.” The firm in its most recent “report” used the word “opinion” four times and “audit” zero times. Grant Thornton did not respond to requests for clarification as to whether or not they consider these reports audits, though the company, Circle, considers itself audited.

Circle’s rep has always been as the good crypto, not a target of armies of short-sellers like Tether. As far back as 2018, it made news by ostensibly seeking to become the “first cryptocurrency company to obtain a banking license,” and the company over the years has emphasized that it is “focused on providing even greater transparency, quality and scale for USDC reserves,” because “trust and transparency are our ultimate goals.” Four years after it first declared its intention to be the first coin with a bank license we’re still reading headlines like, “Circle Will Apply for U.S. Crypto Bank Charter in ‘Near Future,’” in the hopes now of becoming the fourth stablecoin to get licensed. The company does not believe current law allows it to become a bank, but similar companies didn’t seem to have had a problem.

None of this has dented Circle’s momentum or reputation. In fact, in mid-February, Circle and its partner, Bob Diamond’s Concord Acquisition Corporation, announced they were doubling the size of their SPAC (click here for a TK video refresher on what a SPAC is). The February agreement set the value of the new Concord-Circle deal at a whopping $9 billion, with a big chunk of that value, they said, coming from the booming success of USDC in the marketplace:

The new agreement… reflects improvements in Circle’s financial outlook and competitive position – particularly the growth and market share of USDC, one of the fastest growing dollar digital currencies. USDC’s circulation has more than doubled… reaching $52.5 billion as of February 16, 2022.

Diamond is perhaps best known for bringing American-style huge CEO compensation to Europe, and for stepping down as Barclays chief after Britain levied a then-record $92.7 million fine for manipulating the LIBOR interest rate benchmark. Less-well-remembered is his role in the largest bankruptcy in history, Lehman Brothers, an episode I wrote about in The Divide. After Barclays acquired the shipwrecked firm for pennies in September of 2008, the bank’s creditors sued, claiming Barclays absconded with between $4 and $7.6 billion in funds owed to them through a variety of schemes. The creditors mostly lost that case, which was eventually settled for $1.28 billion. This is relevant because the question of whether or not USDC reserves are truly bankruptcy remote is central to this story. Asked about this, Circle replied, “We are delighted by the support and involvement of all of our shareholders.”

Meanwhile, the players from the Circle side have their own history. Jeremy Allaire and at least one other future Circle officer were accused in 2002 of making misleadingly positive statements about a failing product called Spectra while selling “over $53,000,000.00” of stock in their company, Allaire Corporation, in the first three quarters of 2000. In August of 2000, Allaire was asked about an annual goal of 100% growth, and reportedly said, “We definitely think that is achievable.” A month later, the company announced a substantial third quarter loss, and its share price dropped 40% in three days, prompting the action.

Massachusetts District Judge William Young used remarkably strong language to reject a motion to dismiss the suit, saying, “It is difficult to conceive of a complaint pled with more particularity than the one presented,” and “in many respects, if this complaint is not specific enough, no complaint is.” He added:

Essentially, the Plaintiffs invested in a company which promised to build the best mousetrap ever. When it was done, the mousetrap was ugly, did not catch mice, and, as word got out, people stopped buying.

The case was eventually settled for $12 million, without an admission of wrongdoing. In conversations with former regulators, some raised a question as to whether or not the Allaire Corporation case might prevent Circle officers from ever obtaining a banking license, given that charters are only given to persons of “good character and responsibility.” Opinions on the matter were very mixed. However, it was certainly not a non-issue.

Any case involving alleged fraud will be a matter of great concern to the banking regulators,” said former FDIC General Counsel Mike Krimminger. “If there were a settlement with no admission of guilt, there might be explanation that could be acceptable to regulators, but it will still be a real concern that could be fatal to an application.”

In any case, when asked this week why that old story shouldn’t make investors in a different, newer mousetrap nervous, a Circle spokesperson replied:

The case settled without any finding of wrongdoing… The defendants disputed the factual allegations, and as with the vast majority of securities class actions, the case settled. The factual allegations were never tested in court, and there is really nothing more to say about this 20 year old case.

In 2008, when reporters and investigators began pulling at the threads of terms like “fully hedged” or “triple-A tranche,” they often found there was almost no way to stop pulling, even if they wanted to. In fact, by the time people stopped pulling, the entire global financial system was basically a pile of string. It may very well be that the same experience awaits anyone who pulls at threads like “100% backed” or “secure wallet” or other such catch-phrases from any one of dozens of crypto companies. In other words, these issues may not be unique to Circle. But make no mistake: this is the definition of an “opaque ledger.” If every crypto company will struggle this badly to answer basic questions like Where’s your money? or What’s your risk?, the storm hasn’t even started yet.

* * *

TK News by Matt Taibbi is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/09/2022 - 19:30
Published:7/9/2022 6:57:28 PM
[Politics] Biden and former U.S. presidents shocked by Shinzo Abe's assassination

Despite his ultranationalism, Shinzo Abe built strong relationships with Biden, Trump and Obama, all of whom called him a 'friend' after his assassination.

Published:7/8/2022 4:24:52 PM
[Markets] Senators Blumenthal & Graham Call For "Hand-to-Hand Insurgency" In Russian-Occupied Ukraine Senators Blumenthal & Graham Call For "Hand-to-Hand Insurgency" In Russian-Occupied Ukraine

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) visited Kyiv with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday and said he hopes to see a "hand-to-hand insurgency" in territory Russia has captured since it invaded Ukraine.

"Long-range artillery is very, very important. But so is the hand-to-hand insurgency that we are hoping to see in eastern Ukraine, in the territory that’s already been occupied by the Russians," Blumenthal said.

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are greeted by Ukraine's President, via Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters.

Both Blumenthal and Graham voiced support for an insurgency in eastern Ukraine in the latest sign that the US plans to support Ukraine in its war against Russia for years to come.

But the main purpose of the visit was to discuss a plan to designate Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism" with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Currently, only Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Cuba are designated as state sponsors of terror. Cuba’s designation was lifted by President Obama, but the Trump administration put Havanna back on the list as one of its last foreign policy moves.

Graham said he believes the designation would have near-unanimous support in the Senate. In May, the two senators introduced a resolution that would call for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to make the designation.

The senators also called for more weapons shipments to Ukraine. Blumental said the US should send HIMARS rocket systems with "longer ranges" than what has been provided, more Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and air defense systems.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/08/2022 - 12:05
Published:7/8/2022 11:17:39 AM
[Markets] Top House Republican Presses Yellen For Records On Hunter Biden’s Foreign Business Dealings Top House Republican Presses Yellen For Records On Hunter Biden’s Foreign Business Dealings

Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A top House Republican is demanding Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen release records on Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities, alleging that the biden administration’s reluctance to release such details suggest an effort to shield the Biden family from scrutiny.

Hunter Biden, the son of U.S. President Joe Biden, is seen during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on April 18, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

In a letter on July 6, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), a ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, asked Yellen to provide reports of what he thought was “suspicious activity” on the part of the younger Biden, his business associates, and other Biden family members.

Hunter, the second son of President Joe Biden, is currently under federal investigation for potential tax violations. Scrutiny has been growing over his overseas business dealings in countries such as Ukraine, Russia, and China, particularly during the period while Biden was vice president in the Obama administration.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. banks flag cash transactions exceeding $10,000 a day and automatically generate suspicious activity reports, also called SARs, in a bid to help U.S. government agencies prevent money laundering.

Comer previously wrote to Yellen in late May requesting the SAR reports for Hunter Biden but received no answer. He accused the Biden administration of restricting Congress’s access to SARs, citing a recent Treasury Department rule that allows Congressional staff to review such materials in a Treasury reading room. They are barred from making copies of the documents.

“Committee Republicans are investigating whether this change in longstanding policy is motivated by efforts to shield Hunter Biden and potentially President Biden from scrutiny,” the letter read.

Refusing Release

“Despite Treasury’s assertion in the press that it ‘provides SARs to Congress in a manner that enables robust oversight,’ Treasury is refusing to release SARs connected with Hunter Biden or his family and associates—including the President,” Comer wrote in the letter.

He noted that in a phone call on June 13, five days after the June 8 deadline for Comer’s request, Treasury officials told Republican staff on the House Oversight Committee that “they will not provide SARs to Committee Republicans unless Democrats join the request.”

That marked a contrast with the Treasury Department statement shortly after Comer’s initial request.

Treasury has made SARs available for every request we’ve received, regardless of party, and will continue to do so,” the department told Wall Street Journal at the time.

“It is troubling that the Biden Administration is willing to provide a false story to the media to create the appearance of transparency, while continuing to thwart congressional oversight,” Comer said. “Treasury’s actions call for investigation and raise new questions about the degree to which the Biden Administration is using the federal government to provide cover for the Biden family and its associates.

Ranking member Rep. James Comer Jr. (R-KY) speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence in Washington on June 8, 2022. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

“The American people deserve to know whether the President’s connections to his son’s business deals occurred at the expense of the United States’ interests and whether they represent a national security threat.”

Comer’s inquiry to over a dozen banks in May, including the Bank of China, Cathay Bank, and JP Morgan Chase, also didn’t receive any responses.

The banks said they cannot provide the requested materials without a subpoena, Comer’s office told The Epoch Times.

Biden’s Voicemail

Hunter in 2017 and 2018 received millions in payments from Chinese state-linked companies, according to recently released bank records. Emails from what is alleged to be his abandoned laptop also show him trying to broker a $120 million oil agreement between a Chinese state-owned oil company and Kazakhstan’s prime minister at the time.

Biden has in public repeatedly denied having discussed with Hunter about the latter’s foreign business transactions. But a leaked voicemail, dating back to December 2018 and recovered from the laptop that Hunter allegedly left in a Delaware repair shop, contradicts his claims.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/07/2022 - 22:20
Published:7/7/2022 9:36:25 PM
[Middle Column] Watch: Morano on OAN TV: Supreme Court CO2 ruling helps prevent ‘Chinafication’ of America – Makes it harder to ‘bypass democracy’ with un-elected bureaucrats

Morano: "Now the whole point of this exercise politically was to bypass democracy. Obama tried to pass climate bills to Congress utterly failed with Democrat House Democrats Senate. So they ended up going through the bureaucracy. They use this 2007 Supreme Court ruling occurred. And then, of course, all these lawsuits came but this is how they had that called that the Chinaification of America -- they bypass the vote of Congress -- bypass everything -- unelected bureaucrats could determine that our breath, human breath, what's in human breath was a pollutant and therefore start regulating the American energy industry, small business big business, however, they felt without having to worry about pesky democracy. And so this new SCOTUS ruling strips that all away and says if you want to regulate this, you're gonna have to do it. Like we've traditionally done it like all democracies do, through the legislator through Congress and have the President sign it. And of course, the liberals are freaking out. They don't like that kind of democracy, which is why they like the COVID lockdown. Same principle. Yeah, you had an emergency decree and you didn't have to have a vote on lockdowns and mask mandates and backs, it all just happened magically to decrease the unelected bureaucracy. They wanted to keep that going with climate." 

Published:7/5/2022 3:38:37 PM
[Entertainment] See How Shawn Johnson, Tom Brady and More Are Spending 4th of July Shawn Johnson, Andrew EastLight the grill, hop in the pool and get ready to pop some fireworks! It's the 4th of July and some of your favorite stars--including Shawn Johnson, Michelle Obama, Christina Haack...
Published:7/4/2022 1:45:54 PM
[Energy Policy] Green Dreams Dashed (John Hinderaker) This essay by a disillusioned environmentalist is one of the best, and most honest, pieces I have seen in a long time. It can’t have been easy to write: “I wasted 20 years of my life chasing utopian energy.” Here are some highlights, but please do read it all: [B]y 2008, I started to see cracks in my beliefs. The Obama administration had earmarked billions of dollars in federal funding Published:7/1/2022 5:55:21 PM
[World] Supreme Court Reins in the Administrative State in West Virginia v. EPA

The Supreme Court’s decision today in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is an important brake on the administrative state that has inexorably grown since the New Deal. The Court held that in issuing new emission caps designed to remake the U.S. power generation industry in an Obama era Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection […]

The post Supreme Court Reins in the Administrative State in West Virginia v. EPA appeared first on Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Published:6/30/2022 1:26:49 PM
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