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[Markets] Sean Davis: Was 9/11 The Day America Started To Fall? Sean Davis: Was 9/11 The Day America Started To Fall?

Today marks 22 years since the fateful events of 9/11. 

The following infographic provides an overview of what happened on that morning in 2001 from the first plane taking off in Boston to the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Infographic: 9/11: How Events Unfolded That Morning | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

In total, 2,977 victims were killed in the attacks with many more dying in the years since due to illnesses.

115 countries lost citizens on 9/11 while it's estimated that it took 3.1 million hours to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris in the wake of the attacks.

But, potentially even more notably in the long-run, as Sean Davis tweeted earlier, in hindsight, 9/11 looks like it might have been the beginning of the end of the American empire.

It spawned the worst and most destructive foreign policy in the country’s history.

The government response to 9/11 birthed the constitutional abomination that is the modern warrantless surveillance state.

The Patriot Act enabled the government to weaponize its vast resources against its own people.

Bush’s failed foreign policy led to directly to Obama’s presidency, and indirectly to Biden’s, both of which are responsible for diminishing the U.S. at home and abroad, militarily and economically.

After two failed forever wars that wouldn’t have happened without 9/11, our government is now desperately trying to foment potentially nuclear forever war against Russia.

Meanwhile, all the massive surveillance powers claimed by the U.S. after 9/11 are being ruthlessly deployed against American political enemies of the regime via the most insidious censorship-industrial complex the world has ever seen.

And then there’s the crippling legacy of debt enabled by America’s response to 9/11.

Not content to spend trillions on poorly thought out invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, our leaders spent as thoughtlessly at home, creating insane amounts of new entitlements, while doing nothing to put the country on a sound financial footing.

And where are we today?

The ruling political party is criminalizing its opposition and attempting to throw its top political opponent and his supporters in prison, all under the guise of “democracy.”

We generally remember 9/11 as the day that the towers came down, but Sean leaves us pondering the most poignant question:

"I wonder if historians will look back on it as the day that America started to fall."

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/11/2023 - 15:45
Published:9/11/2023 2:56:58 PM
[Markets] CNN's Van Jones Sounds Alarm Over 'Grandpa' Joe Biden Running In 2024 CNN's Van Jones Sounds Alarm Over 'Grandpa' Joe Biden Running In 2024

After seeing this shitshow of a performance by President Biden at the pos-G20-Summit press conference, how can anyone be surprised that even the most vehement 'believer in 'Bidenomics' has had enough...

Reality appears to be setting in for Democrats after a recent poll revealed that two-thirds of Democrat-leaning voters don't want President Biden to run in 2024, 82% of whom said they want "just someone besides Joe Biden."

Jones, a former Obama adviser, was asked by co-host Poppy Harlow on "CNN This Morning" about recent comments from former Obama aide Jim Messina, who told Politico Playbook that Democrats worried about recent polls are "fucking bedwetters."

"If Jim Messina says that we’re bedwetters, invest in Pampers and Depends because a lot of people are terrified that Joe Biden is in real trouble and that you can’t talk about it," Jones said, adding "So that's what's going on."

That said, Jones did admit that Messina "is right" in that "is right” since “it may, in fact, be true that a year from now things look very different because there’s been a year of a real campaign, and all this kind of stuff."

"But right now, today, I think a lot of Democrats look at these numbers and say the whispers are finally showing up in this data," Jones said of a recent CNN poll in which Biden's approval rating has dropped to just 39% - with voters concerned about his advanced age and declining mental faculties.


"They worry about Joe Biden," Jones continued, adding "Joe Biden’s like that grandpa that you love, that you believe in."

(That takes 'probably inappropriate' showers with his daughter?)

"But you start to wonder, you know, would you give this grandpa a high-stress job for six more years or would you want something else for him?"

Frankly, the fact that the president's aides had to play him out tells you all you need to know about the struggles The White House is having to hide Biden's degradation...

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/10/2023 - 17:00
Published:9/10/2023 4:29:44 PM
[Markets] Pardon Issued For Dad Who "Exploded With Rage" Over Daughter's Transgender Bathroom Rape, School Coverup Pardon Issued For Dad Who "Exploded With Rage" Over Daughter's Transgender Bathroom Rape, School Coverup

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has pardoned the Loudoun County father who protested his daughter's rape in a school bathroom by a transgender student, and her public school's attempted cover up of the incident, Youngkin's office announced Sunday.

Scott Smith

The parent, Scott Smith, was charged with obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct in June of 2021 and convicted in August 2021 after he raged on school officials in a viral video.

And now, after several investigations, he's been pardoned.

Smith in 2021 told the Daily Wire that his 15-year-old freshman daughter at Stone Bridge High School was raped by the 14-year-old transgender boy in the girls' bathroom on May 28 of that year.

He says school officials called and told him only that there had been a 'physical altercation.' After arriving on scene, he learned that she had actually been sexually assaulted, and the school staff said they wanted to handle the situation 'internally' without calling the police.

After Smith became enraged, officials called Loudoun County Sheriff's deputies.

"I went nuts. I called the principal a pussy. Six cop cars showed up like a fucking SWAT team," Smith continued, adding that he "exploded with rage."

Smith said his outburst is the only reason his daughter was tested with a rape kit that proved the incident occurred.

"Thank God that I drew enough attention to it, without getting arrested, that we got an escort to the hospital and they administered a rape kit that night."

Lies, Coverup...

During the June, 2021 school board meeting, board member Beth Barts claimed not to know of any assaults happening in bathrooms or locker rooms during the trans student discussion. Now-fired Superintendent Scott Ziegler echoed that sentiment, saying "To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms," adding "the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist."

He went on to quote Time magazine research that he said disproved the notion transgender kids might sexually attack cisgender kids, and said: 'I think it’s important to keep our perspective on this, we’ve heard it several times tonight from our public speakers but the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.'

It was after this comment that Smith went ballistic, resulting in his disorderly conduct charge.

In the aftermath of the rape and Smith's outburst, the Loudoun school board voted in February of this year to keep the findings of an independent report on the sexual assault private.

"My wife and I are gay- and lesbian-friendly," Smith told the Wire. "We’re not into this children transgender stuff. The person that attacked our daughter is apparently bisexual and occasionally wears dresses because he likes them. So this kid is technically not what the school board was fighting about. The point is kids are using it as an advantage to get into the bathrooms."

In October of 2021, a Virginia judge found the transgender student guilty of sexual assault charges. The following month, the boy pleaded no contest to sexual battery involving "forced sodomy" and "forced fellatio." He was sentenced to probation at a residential treatment facility until his 18th birthday in June 2024. As part of the sentence, he was ordered to register as a sex offender, but a judge reversed that decision.

While awaiting trial, the student allegedly sexually assaulted another teenage girl at Broad Run High School.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Loudoun County school board fired superintendent Ziegler after a special grand jury report found that he lied about the rape.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/10/2023 - 12:00
Published:9/10/2023 11:28:15 AM
[Markets] Twilight Of The Democrats Twilight Of The Democrats

Authored by Alex Gutentag and Michael Shellenberger via Public,

During the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, the Democrats were the party of the future. They were the party of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who were sworn in as presidents at the ages of 46 and 47, respectively.

Today, that seems like a very long time ago.

Consider the new CNN poll. Three-quarters fear Biden’s age could affect his ability to finish another term. Nearly half of registered voters say any Republican presidential nominee would be a better option than Joe Biden in 2024.

If Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, 47% of voters would vote for him, and 46% would vote for Biden. While this difference is within the margin of error, CNN noted that they did not have a single poll in 2020 that showed Trump leading against Biden. 

Democrats were quick to defend Biden’s record. “He’s not getting credit for what I think is a fairly substantial list of achievements,” said David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Yet no matter how much Democrats try to convince the public that “Bidenomics” are working, 58% of Americans still believe that Biden’s policies have worsened economic conditions. Only 30% of Americans say things are going well in the country.

It may be true that, on paper, Biden revived the economy, but the reality most voters experience is different. Prices are up 16.9% since Biden took office, real wages are down 3%, mortgage rates are at their highest in 22 years, and credit card debt has reached a new peak.

It’s likely that the constant flow of money to Ukraine only worsens Americans’ fears that the president is mishandling the economy. With hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars going overseas, 500,000 Russian and Ukrainian troops killed or wounded, and no end in sight, the conflict has become the kind of nightmarish “forever war” that voters once associated with Republicans.

For many years, Democrats insisted that they were the party of diplomatic solutions; today, they are eagerly sending depleted uranium rounds and internationally banned cluster munitions to Ukraine.

Biden’s poor approval ratings are likely also influenced by the brewing scandal around his son. Over half of voters believe that the president’s actions related to the Hunter Biden probe are inappropriate, and 61% say they think the president was involved in his son’s business dealings.

Indeed, there is mounting evidence that Biden’s Department of Justice is criminalizing the political activity of his enemies while shielding his son from real prosecution.

When Biden took office, he vowed that his administration would put an end to the division of the Trump years and would restore unity. Yet, on several occasions, Biden has made highly charged and antagonistic remarks about ordinary American citizens. Despite the media’s efforts to portray him as a wise and grandfatherly figure, Biden often appears to be angry and confused, lashing out at us unpredictably.

Due to the president’s age and obvious cognitive decline, it is unclear who is actually running the country and calling the shots. Biden, a corrupt and disoriented old man controlled by shadowy figures behind the scenes, is emblematic of what the Democratic Party has become.

The old vibrancy and inspiring messages of “hope” and “change” are gone, and all that remains is a cynical and desperate thirst for power.

Like its figurehead, the Democratic Party operates through secrecy and can barely conceal its contempt for large swathes of the country. It has become a party of censorship, war, elitism, and dishonesty.

There is only so long that Democrats can keep pretending Biden is a competent leader, and the latest CNN poll has provided a chance for many to finally state the obvious. Said Van Jones on CNN, “A lot of Democrats look at these numbers and say, ‘The whispers are finally showing up in this data’... People are scared to come out and say anything about it, but I think it’s important for us to have this conversation now.”

And yet Biden has shown no sign of throwing in the towel. Rumors periodically fly that he is about to announce he won’t run for a second term. Many thought it would happen in August.

The problem for Democrats is that they might have no one who can replace him. Kamala Harris is even less popular than Biden, and San Francisco is Gavin Newsom’s albatross.

This is perhaps what is most damning about the current state of the Democrats: Biden may really be the best they have to offer.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/10/2023 - 09:20
Published:9/10/2023 8:57:03 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The 2024 Election Doug Casey On The 2024 Election

Authored by Doug Casey via,

International Man: President Biden is running for reelection in 2024.

However, many Americans are questioning Biden’s physical and mental faculties. He appears half asleep on many occasions—often forgetting his train of thought or stumbling on his words.

Biden will soon be 81, making him the oldest president in US history.

What’s your take?

Doug CaseyThe very fact that he’s supposedly even contemplating running in 2024 is further proof that he’s non compos mentis. He’s so far gone that he doesn’t even realize what an embarrassment he is. But it’s not a question of his age, per se.

A lot of people in their eighties are sharp as a tack. Age slows you down, true. But if you’ve gained wisdom through many years of experience, you can still play the game. The problem with Biden isn’t so much that he’s decrepit and feeble—although those things are highly undesirable in a national leader. It’s that he lacks any semblance of ability, has no judgment, and is devoid of morality and ethics. The world is asking: How degraded are the American people that they could not just elect but are thinking of reelecting, such a pathetic shell?

Trump is only four years younger, but he appears hale and hardy. All this should be academic, however. It should, ideally, make little difference who the president is.

Switzerland is the most prosperous country in Europe, and nobody knows or cares who the president of Switzerland might be. It would be nice if the president of the US was nothing but a figurehead, someone respectable to set a moral tone and give a good example. Perhaps that’s the biggest reason Biden shouldn’t run. He’s almost the antithesis of a role model. Although admittedly superior to his thoroughly degenerate son, who he once identified as the most intelligent man he knew.

International Man: Despite the countless indictments against him, Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican ticket with an enormous lead.

What’s your perspective on Trump this time around?

Doug Casey: I did an interview here in 2016 when he first talked of running—and nothing has changed.

He has absolutely no philosophical core; he flies by the seat of his pants. Trump is popular because he’s a traditionalist and a nationalist. He wants the US to return to the values of a kinder and gentler era. However, he’s not a libertarian. He has no understanding of economics, as evidenced by the fact that he wants massive duties on imports. He has no fear of gigantic deficits. He’s fine with borrowing even more money. He’s quite willing to put on regulations when he arbitrarily thinks it’s a good idea.

At a time when the US is collapsing in on itself, bankrupt, crime-ridden, and overtaken by crazy wokeness, I believe most people would prefer a traditionalist—at least someone who’s not a Jacobin looking to overturn the whole basis of society. I hasten to add that Biden himself isn’t even the real problem—as degraded as he is—it’s the people who manipulate the doddering old fool. His cabinet and top officials are an assortment of criminal personalities. They are, without exception, stupid, incompetent, and/or psychotic. That’s a radical statement, but I believe it’s factual. The overweight tranny sporting an admirals costume while masquerading as a woman is far from the worst of the bunch.

At least Trump is something of an outsider. The people in the evil party hate him simply because he’s an outspoken traditionalist who resonates with the hoi polloi. They suffer from what’s known as “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

I’m not really a fan of Trump, except for the fact that he’s a traditionalist. It’s interesting that the people who do hate him, hate him just because he’s a traditionalist. I see zero evidence that he’s a criminal. He is just a successful self-promoter, a celebrity who made some money in real estate and has genuine concerns about his country. Plus, he’s very entertaining—that actually counts for something.

International Man: Now that actual libertarians seem to be running the Libertarian Party, do you see anything interesting coming from them in 2024?

Doug Casey: I neither follow nor care about the Libertarian Party. It only counts because it’s registered to run candidates in all 50 states. None of them have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning more than a local race for dogcatcher. That said, the major parties will each try to use it to draw votes from the other party. That was the case in 2016 when Johnson/Weld got 4.5 million votes, 3.3% of the total. That’s a big deal in a close election.

Except for Ron Paul and Harry Browne, who intelligently used the election as a bully platform to spread the philosophy, the Libertarian Party’s candidates have been non-entities. I’m sure that’ll be the case this year as well.

In fact, they’re worse than just narcissistic non-entities. Their 2016 candidate, Gary Johnson, was just a good-natured pothead who somehow got elected governor of New Mexico. He picked William Weld, ex-governor of Massachusetts and a classic Deep State operative, as his VP. How did that ever happen?

I understand the Libertarian Party has evicted the party-archs who promoted that ticket. I used to say, if you’re going to vote, at least vote Libertarian as a protest vote. But it really is a wasted vote from every point of view these days. Not that it really matters. I understand the arguments why you should vote, but the fact is that your vote counts about as much as a grain of sand on a beach, especially if the election is rigged.

International Man: Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, suggested a Trump/RFK ticket would win in a massive landslide.

Presuming the DNC rigs the primary against RFK Jr., what role do you see him playing in the general election?

Doug Casey: They’re both outspoken and very entertaining—90% of politics is entertainment. They mostly agree on Covid, which is wonderful. They’re both anti-war. They’re both anti-Deep State.

It’s possible that Bannon’s right; the public would love two refreshing semi-outsiders. But it would probably be like taking a couple of cats and tying their tails together.

Kennedy, as I explained before, is basically an old-style “reasonable” Democrat. He believes in a “safety net” (i.e. welfare), regulation, the green agenda, and the rest of it. So does Trump, to a great extent. It’s not that Bannon’s wrong; it’s just that the two of them would always try to overshadow each other. But at least they’re not woke Democrats…

In my view, the Republicans are the stupid party, and the Democrats are the evil party. Given a chance between stupid and evil, you should probably go for stupid. They might be less destructive. Although perversely, since stupidity is amorphous, illogical, and unpredictable, they could be just dangerous in a different way. It’s a classic Hobson’s Choice.

International Man: What sort of dirty tricks do you see occurring in the run-up to the 2024 election?

Is it possible the Deep State will find a way to cancel the election if it isn’t going their way?

Doug CaseyYou may recall that in 2016, I placed a money bet that, against all odds, Trump would win. In 2020, I gave six reasons why the Democrats would win.

So I’m foolishly starting to think I’m a handicapper of the how hoi polloi will vote. Or at least who’s best at fixing an election.

The Democrats might win simply because the American electorate has become so corrupt; they accept socialism in principle. In addition, the Dems currently control the apparatus of the State and are aggressively using it to cement themselves in power.

They’re actual Jacobins, Neo-Marxists, and will do anything to stay in office. Like the way, they’re prosecuting Trump in four different jurisdictions for scores of nonsensical, fabricated charges. They’re attempting to bankrupt him with legal fees, de-legitimize him with unthinking voters, and tie up his time so it’s impossible for him to campaign.

This is the type of thing, like the extraordinary sentences handed down for the Jan 6 protests, that goes on in Third World countries. Serious MAGA people could go wild. It’s possible that we won’t even have an election in 2024, as outrageous as that sounds.

The Dems can’t run Biden. It’s egregious elder abuse; the old criminal is just a shell of a man. Nor can they run the cackling, dim-witted Kamala, even though many black people will predictably cry racism in today’s environment. She’s a parody of herself.

So, who can the Democrats run? Michelle Obama? She is way too much of a hot potato ultra-leftist. Another option is Gavin Newsom, who’s undistinguished by anything except being good-looking and running California into the ground. I don’t see anybody else with name recognition.

There are several other huge X factors. Between now and the election, we’re very likely to have a financial and economic crisis. The Greater Depression could well up from under the surface and explode like a volcano, creating chaos. The military crisis in the Ukraine could spin out of control into an actual war against Russia. The US continues to antagonize China, a big wild card. And Washington seems to be plumping for a war in North Africa.

Perhaps most important is the fact that the red people and the blue people in the US actually hate each other. It’s much more serious and widespread than any culture clash we had in the past, including the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It could lead to something resembling a civil war. The US Government itself is losing legitimacy with wide swaths of domestic and foreign public opinion. I know it’s outlandish to consider seriously, but is it possible that we could wind up with a military government in the US?

Although the US military has become corrupt and is also collapsing on itself, it’s about the only government institution that Americans still trust. In a time of chaos, when neither party can put forward a candidate, we could get a general as a (temporary) solution. Likely an opportunistic leftist like the recently defrocked Petraeus.

It’s a reasonably safe bet that 2024 is not going to be just a bad year but one for the record books.

*  *  *

Disturbing economic, political, and social trends are already in motion and now accelerating at breathtaking speed. The risks that lie ahead are too big and dangerous to ignore. That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse. It will help you understand what is unfolding right before our eyes and what you should do so you don’t get caught in the crosshairs. Click here to download the PDF now.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/08/2023 - 21:00
Published:9/8/2023 8:19:33 PM
[Markets] America's Closer To "Imploding Under The Weight Of Its Own Absurdities" Than Many Realize America's Closer To "Imploding Under The Weight Of Its Own Absurdities" Than Many Realize

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

A Theory Of The Game

“…a system that has been hollowed out by a string of cascading failures runs into one more crisis than it can tolerate, and implodes under the weight of its own absurdities. We are much closer to such scenes in North America and Western Europe right now than I think most people realize.”

- John Michael Greer

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss was a bigger shock to the Washington DC deep state Blob than Donald Trump’s victory. But the dynamics of this trauma operated at many levels. At the most superficial level was the hysterical response of Democratic Party rank-and-file women who regarded Donald Trump as the most extreme and horrifying embodiment of an archetypal “bad daddy.” This was all sheer psychodrama of course, but women are engrossed with psychodrama — generating it and relishing it — which men often fail to appreciate.

In cases of madness, there is often a dark, sordid secret behind the weird behavior that presents outwardly.

In the group madness provoked by Hillary Clinton’s loss, the dirty secret was that she had actually bought the Democratic National Committee in 2016, meaning the machinery that runs the party. She used lavish contributions to the Clinton Foundation to accomplish that. And Hillary along with her foundation — and husband Bill, who had been reduced by late career misadventure to a kind of political fashion accessory — had committed any number of grave crimes against our country over the years, especially during her service as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. Think: Skolkovo… Uranium One…. In 2016 Hillary used her ownership of the DNC to underhandly de-rail the likely Democratic primary winner, Bernie Sanders, from being nominated.

The initial act of madness by the “Resistance” on Mr. Trump’s inauguration day was the women’s march of pink pussy-hats, so called, a symbolic exhibition of fleering female genitalia in Mr. Trump’s face, so to speak, as an act of defiance against the new national daddy figure (and his millions of deplorable supporters watching the ceremonies on TV). This proved to be a mere overture to the more extreme sexual acting-out that evolved in the years to follow, overall a campaign to horrify people of normal appetites, beliefs, and moral codes, culminating in the drag queen story hours aimed at maximally inducing outrage among people organized as families.

All of that psychodrama was hijacked, of course, by the serious neo-Marxists lurking among the Left, who used it in the usual neo-Marxian way: to overthrow everything in the established social order. And who were these? The circle around Barack Obama. And who was Barack Obama exactly? Good question. This mysterious figure who rose so swiftly from being, briefly, a mere state senator in Illinois, then to the US Senate — for only a few years, accomplishing next to nothing there — then to being nominated for president, and actually winning the 2008 election!

Since we’re speaking in terms of psychodrama, Mr. Obama was liberalism’s wish-fulfillment: a half-century after the Civil Rights movement, America elects the first black president (half-black, anyway)! Liberalism needed, above all, a sense of moral superiority, to heal an imperfect world, to be ahead-of-the-curve in mankind’s implacable march of progress toward perfection, and especially to set an example for how to live for all those gun-loving, bible-thumping, meth-smoking, opiate-scarfing, racist, rapist flyover rubes who would dare to vote for such misogynistic vermin as the TV-clown Donald J. Trump.

It was known, at the time, that Mr. Obama was a close associate (probably an apostle of) Chicagoan Bill Ayers, a former leader of the 1960s domestic terrorism group called The Weathermen. But by 2008, Mr. Ayers had managed to rehabilitate himself into professor of education at the U of Illinois Chicago campus, and hitched himself to Chicago school czar Arne Duncan, who would be appointed Secretary of Education by Mr. Obama, opening the doors for a neo-Marxist coup in the public schools — now on display in the battles raging over race-and-gender-Marxism installed in the Common Core State Standard Initiative.

To what degree was Mr. Obama a tool of other forces lurking in the deep background of world politics, and what are these forces?  Many of the non-Left will say they are a loose consortium of corporate and financial actors desperate to keep in motion a set of rackets that magically stabilize business-as-usual, which asset-strips the remaining wealth of the middle classes and transfers it to the already super-wealthy.

I’m not so sure about that, though the role of Davos remains persistently murky. Why, after all, would the super-rich invite as front-man a crypto-Marxist, as Mr. Obama is alleged to be, dedicated to destroying the existing social order that is the very ecosystem of the super-rich? Is it possible that Mr. Obama is fronting for nothing more than Mr. Obama now, desperately, as they say, weaponizing the “Joe Biden” government against its own people just to save Barack Obama from discovery, infamy, and loss of power?

Mr. Trump proved to be easily controllable in office. With the Blob and all its primary agencies marshalled against him, he was systematically disabled and humiliated by serial Blob hoaxes during his tenure, culminating in the bizarrely successful criminal plot to launch Covid-19 as an election-rigging device. Mr. Trump was thereby neatly disposed of in 2020. Of course, RussiaGate, The Mueller business, Impeachment No. 1, and Covid-19 were all essentially acts of treason and perfidy — that is, high crimes committed by the Democratic Party.

“Joe Biden” was Mr. Obama’s device for wresting control of the DNC from Hillary Clinton’s gang. But now “Joe Biden” has criminal problems of his own that threaten to take down not only his own presidency, but everything connected to it, namely his controller, Mr. Obama & Company, and the Democratic Liberal order itself driven insane by its own criminality. Meanwhile, his nemesis, Donald Trump has proven to be extraordinarily resilient in the remorseless war against him. And now that has culminated in the (so far) four cockamamie criminal cases cooked up by Obama / “Biden” as the final line of defense against the Golden Golem of Greatness — who obviously has no intention of surrendering.

It looks like Mr. Obama is now in the process of being “outed” as something other than the suave performer he was for two terms in the White House. The Tucker Carlson interview with one Larry Sinclair, a gay cruiser and druggie who claims to have frolicked with Mr. Obama before he was a celebrity, was met with ominous silence in the mainstream media. They didn’t even dare denounce it to avoid drawing more attention to it. And the mysterious “drowning” of the Obama family’s chef, Tafari Campbell, paddleboarding at night in the shallow bay off the Obama estate on Martha’s Vineyard, remains woefully under-investigated.

Will Barack Obama and “Joe Biden” end up sinking each other and the Democratic Party with them? And then, Will Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. be called in to rescue the darn thing while driving all the demons out of it?

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/08/2023 - 16:20
Published:9/8/2023 3:59:13 PM
[Markets] The Petro-Dollar's Shaky Future: How The Biden Admin Has Alienated One Of Our Crucial Allies The Petro-Dollar's Shaky Future: How The Biden Admin Has Alienated One Of Our Crucial Allies

Authored by Christopher LaBorde via,

In late 1973 a deal was struck between the US and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that changed the future of both nations and the U.S. dollar for the next 50 years.

The importance of the deal has been downplayed, and the Biden administration’s near destruction of this deal has almost been outright ignored.

However, I have had a front row seat to the sentiment changes I am writing about, and I recommend that the reader consider this political game a concerning matter for the long-term stability of the U.S. dollar. 

In summary, it appears that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is open for new alliances outside of the US that would have never been considered before this time.

The History

In October of 1973, the US, UK, Netherlands, Canada and Japan were the targets of an OPEC oil embargo that increased the price of oil from $3 a barrel to $12 a barrel in a matter of months after they chose to support the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War. In the four years prior, Nixon price ceiling policies had doubled our dependency on foreign oil and 83% of that oil came from the Middle East. To make matters worse, in the three prior decades, US industry and consumers had become drunk on stable cheap energy, built an entire infrastructure and prosperous economy that was dependent on prices remaining low, and had firmly closed the door on any form of alternative energy options (nuclear). The sudden 4-X spike in oil prices over a 3-month period from this embargo created a real shock to the US way of life and threatened to cripple the US economy. OPEC had our attention and its un-official leader, Saudi Arabia, was in a good position to listen to proposals from the US.

In late 1973, A deal was made to end the embargo in early 1974 and pull the United States out of the Oil Crisis. Despite the US being in a tight spot, the negotiations created a deal that benefited both countries unimaginably over the following 5 decades that was described in a May 2016 Bloomberg article.

The gist of this deal can be summarized in the following two reciprocal agreements:

  • Agreement 1.
    • The Al Saud family, the ruling family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, agreed to sell the US oil at a price that we could live with if we agreed to become their defender and supplier of military equipment - This helped ensure the family and the kingdom’s position in the region and provided a great customer for the US military industrial complex over the next 50 years.
  • Agreement 2.
    • The Al Saud family also agreed to buy an unfathomable amount of U.S. treasuries with some of the proceeds from the annual oil purchases - This helped back the Saudi Arabian currency with dollars while providing the U.S. economy with a very healthy and regular dose of liquidity.

This two-part mutually beneficial deal allowed the US to continue to spend money and have the stability of OPEC’s energy reserves behind it, while providing support for the kingdom and its ruling family. This deal has been active for multiple administrations up until this very day despite some rough waters, but as you will read, it appears to be changing.

Recent History

In 2015, a freedom of information act was filed in the 9-11 investigations that sought reparations from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia based on the participation of some of its citizens’ roles in the bringing down of the twin towers. During the following years the Obama administration maintained the position that the KSA government could not be held responsible for the action of a few of its people, and the treasury / petrol dollar deal maintained its mutually beneficial terms. The PR troubles of the deal were then inherited by the Trump administration, who quickly realized the value of maintaining the trade relationship and worked hard at continuing to have the kingdom recognized as a pro-US ally and one of our primary supporters in the region against the backdrop of an unstable nuclear Iran. Officials from the Kingdom suggested that the US get its political house in order rather than bring the 1973 deal to light for the full scrutiny of the general public to digest; and the Trump administration saw an opportunity to ask the kingdom to be the fulcrum for a “Peace in the Middle East” deal.

In 2017, the then 32-year-old Mohammed Bin Salmon “MBS”, the emerging leader of the kingdom, was in the process of both fully securing his leadership position and managing a country-wide corruption clean-up campaign. In many discussions with Saudi nationals the prince’s cleanup exercise was seen as a god-sent action that put the country back on track. However, in the U.S. the press chose to cover the event from the point of view of an old-school coup playing out on live television, which served the press well and renewed U.S. / K.S.A. tensions. Despite another round of disturbances in the optics between the countries, the deal survived and continued on. 

In 2018, after the “house cleaning exercise” was cooling down the young millennial prince emerged as the clear leader for the kingdom and the Trump administration vowed its support for him and the continued U.S. / Saudi alliances. The idea was to bring things back on track as quickly as possible and start working with the new normal. Unfortunately, it was later determined that someone in the young prince’s afterguard was not in favor of how he was being spoken about after the house-cleaning exercise and independently took matters into their own hands to quiet down the opposition.

On October 2nd, 2018, the unfortunate result was a journalist and son of a powerful family that had been promised a diplomatic position in the pre-housecleaning KSA regime, entered into the KSA Embassy in Turkey and would never exit. As a result of the rogue actions of a staff member, the young prince became embroiled in a freedom of the press / human rights scandal with the apparent assassination of a reporter and outspoken critic of his administration. The PR situation only became worse in the US press as MBS appeared to not fully realize the crimes he was being accused of. The problem was that with each stab from the press, MBS felt as though he was being personally wronged, and with each response from the prince, the U.S. social media public gained a deeper split with the Kingdom. As the Kingdom was gaining new foreign eastward facing ties, this was quickly becoming a bigger problem for the US than it was for the Kingdom.

In late 2019, a very exposed relationship between the Kingdom and the U.S. became a campaign topic for Trump opposition. There was no shortage of Western judgment for the Kingdom, and it became an important point for critics to associate Trump with, but the deal and its steady flow of cash that made the U.S. way of life possible was never up for discussion. This was clearly a challenging time to keep the full nature of how much the U.S. needed the kingdom under control and away from the press and the U.S. public. A win from the Arab region was needed and it was needed fast to cool down growing negative sentiments from the U.S. towards the kingdom if the deal was to remain intact. 

In Q1 of 2020 the Abraham Accords campaign went into full force. With a renewed desire from both parties to refresh their relationship and get back on the “right foot” the idea of “Peace in the Middle East” was hatched as a new goal to focus on. The strategy was that such a grand goal could wipe clean the slate between the U.S. public opinion and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the two countries could find themselves looking at a new deal for new hope in the region. In short, the Abraham Accords aimed to reconcile centuries old tensions between Middle Eastern nations sharing Abrahamic religious ties. This deal had been discussed since the beginning of the Trump campaign, but its timing was needed and looked like it could possibly bring together the Arab world with Israel. For years the Arab world had not acknowledged Israel and Israel had not acknowledged Palestine. The deal was designed to slow tensions between the warring neighbors and to start to bring trade between Israel and all of the Middle East.

On August 13th, 2020, the Abraham Accords were signed and Israel was free to trade technology with the Arab world and “the greatest peace deal” of all time was signed. However, in order for this concession to be made, the KSA prince would have to show weakness on some level with the people of the Arab world because it is widely understood that the Palestinians have long suffered at the hands of the Israelis. As a fierce young leader this was not a concession that would easily be made, so the concession deal that was struck was a deal for access to restricted US defense technologies. The U.S. would have to agree to sell full capability F35’s to the K.S.A. and the U.A.E. militaries, something that had never been allowed.

On January 20th 2021, President Joe Biden took office and the “catch” to the deal was discovered. In this case the catch was that the deal was signed with the Trump administration, not the Biden administration, and after the administration change, no full capability F35’s would be allowed to be delivered to the K.S.A. or U.A.E. military. The Biden administration decided to not honor that part of the deal and then decided not to acknowledge MBS as the current leader of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The administration then decided to double down on declaring MBS personally to be a very unpleasant person and an enemy of human rights, despite the incredible changes taking place for women’s equality within his Kingdom at that very moment. As you may imagine this was not the prince’s G-20 membership welcome that he felt he was due, nor one that made much sense for what was at stake for the U.S. and its economy. Unfortunately, Biden’s political posturing also watered down the goodwill of the accords and prolonged the tensions in the relationship triangle between the Kingdom, Israel and Palestine, but Biden’s tone towards KSA was about to shift. 

On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. In the months following, Europe had to find a new energy supplier as Putin shifted Russia’s supplies East and the price of all energy climbed steeply. President Biden then made a plea to OPEC to increase its supply to help ease the price of oil that the U.S. was starting to experience because of the shortage, but as you can imagine, the plea fell on deaf ears and the execution of one of the fastest full Karma circles recorded in international history took place. 

On March 3rd, 2022, in an Atlantic Article, MBS suggests that President Biden should be concerned about the cares of the United States as it is not something that he himself is worried about any longer. MBS also clearly communicated that he was no longer concerned about the U.S.’s view of him or his kingdom’s actions. He stated that he will still do business with the US as well as many other countries, but that the US should probably pay more attention to their own country than to his. The article also mentions that MBS felt snubbed by the U.S. for assuming he was responsible for the death of the reporter and that that Biden refused to acknowledge his position as leader of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the clear text of this article, it can be read just how much damage had been done by the president to the relationship between the two countries in the 14-months since he took office. 

On March 15th, 2022, The Wall Street Journal announced in a headline, “Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales”, which proved that MBS was remaining true to his statements that he was exploring trade relationships outside of the US and the petro-dollar. The article explains that there are many difficulties in a move like this but that some of these difficulties can be mitigated and will likely be considered. This act seemed to suggest that the Kingdom was actually willing to make moves away from the petro-dollar deal and that the Biden administration’s political posturing had consequences beyond the OPEC request being denied.

On May 31st, 2022, the U.S. had imposed the final SWIFT sanctions on Russia and opened the door for Russia to negotiate oil deals with China – Also Not In Dollars. Had this been done at any time before the sanctions were initiated, this act would have been considered an act of aggression to the United States and a possible act of war against the United States of America and the “Petro-Dollar.” However, in this instance it became a basic chess move in response to the weaponization of the SWIFT system and the sanctions placed against Russia, a move that the US encouraged and opened the door for. As business dealings appeared to be moving more East, this weaponization of the SWIFT system forced the hands of OPEC members to also consider the possibility that the timing of a dollar exit may not be here, but an alternative may be wise to consider, and the news outlets started to report that many other countries were feeling the same.

In July of 2022 the Arab news media started to cover stories of talks of the Kingdom moving into the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). In May of 2023 the story had progressed to a Bloomberg article with the title, “The BRICS Bank Wants New Members as Saudi Arabia Looks to Join”. Besides Saudi Arabia, it was also reported that eight other OPEC member nations have been reported to have applied for membership to the BRICS alliance, including: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. When you include the existing BRICS countries, the OPEC countries that have applied and other oil producing countries that have applied to the BRICS alliance (such as Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Indonesia and Argentina) the list includes 19 of the top 25 oil producing countries in the world. These countries also represent up to 78% of the world’s oil reserves and possibly 36% of the global GDP, at a time when the US GDP only represents 25% of the Global GDP. I don’t suffer from the idea that these vastly different cultures will suddenly be able to get along and sing in harmony, but it should be understood that the US led weaponization of the SWIFT system clearly signaled something to these countries. That message intended, or not, might have been that the US is willing to default on their promise to accept dollars your country holds in reserve for trade if they do not like your politics. If that was the understood message, you can see how this may be very upsetting to countries who hold large sums of dollars in reserve.

On August 9th 2023 it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration had finally switched on to the gravity of the situation and was now working to repair relations with the kingdom, and that they had started trying to negotiate around the very topics that have been covered in this article. Ironically, 31-Months after the Abraham accords deal was damaged by the current administration; the administration is now trying to use this very deal as a vehicle to repair US KSA relations and move forward. On the cover of this updating of the Abraham Accords, it is being actioned to bring Palestine and Israel to more peaceful terms. However, the meat of this deal for the US may have more to do with Saudi Arabia’s growing Eastern relationships, possibly with the BRICS, and assurances that KSA will not include Chinese military bases within the kingdom or the pricing of Oil outside of the dollar. The Kingdom has clearly stated that they are not ready to fully agree to a deal with the US at this time, but that if they move forward, they will be requesting additional security guarantees and access to civilian nuclear technologies. The US has always refused sharing US nuclear technology with the region, but the Kingdom understands their current leverage with Biden’s prior actions towards the Kingdom.

On August 22, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, The Kingdom’s foreign minister and senior diplomat, announced that he would be attending the BRICS summit in South Africa on behalf of MBS. Now that this meeting has concluded, one can only wonder what was discussed in the hallways and side-venues…

*  *  *

Hopefully next time you are at the pumps you can reflect on our relationship with the Kingdom and how it has been part of a delicate balance that has helped facilitate the U.S. way of life for the last 50 years. Kings and presidents have come and gone but the support that these nations have had for each other have been part of the fabric that have made the existence and growth of both nations possible. However, it is under these very different times that these arrangements are changing, and these changes are not small changes. Many of you will read this and think that the U.S. needs to make itself more independent, and I would agree with you that there is great value in that; we just need to carefully consider the timing, the price of those actions, how this will shift the political landscape and where this will leave the US dollar.

What to do in the meantime?

In no way am I writing to say good or bad things about the United States or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am writing to say that part of the bedrock that the US dollar has been built on over the last 50 years may be changing. I suggest that readers keep a keen eye on the headlines that involve OPEC and Eastern powers, as subtle headlines buried far off the front page may be the headlines that harken the news of a new trajectory for the dollar over the coming decade.

As discussed in the last article, the US dollar has other pillars underneath it, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the bridge footings.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/07/2023 - 23:40
Published:9/7/2023 11:08:15 PM
[Markets] Gingrich On American Despotism: They Censored The Truth And Printed Lies About Biden Gingrich On American Despotism: They Censored The Truth And Printed Lies About Biden

Authored by Newt Gingrich via The American Spectator,

We are faced with a totalitarian cancer that will have to be confronted and defeated at every level.

Author’s Note: The complex patterns that have led to the greatest crisis of constitutional government and rule of law since the Civil War are far bigger, involve far more people, and are ultimately more dangerous to American freedom than the personal dishonesty and criminality of the Biden family. This “American Despotism” series in The American Spectator will provide a clear history of the weaponization of government, which has violated the Constitution and corrupted the rule of law. While each article will be complete and stand-alone, together they will combine to fully describe the patterns that now threaten to destroy the foundation of individual freedom — the hallmark of the American system.

America is now in the deepest, most dangerous constitutional crisis since the hostility in the 1850s that led to secession and civil war.

This constitutional crisis is so widespread and threatening that House Republicans must dramatically widen their investigations. Hunter Biden and President Joe Biden are only a tiny part of a spiderweb of corruption, dishonesty, criminal behavior, and state weaponization. The rule of law is steadily being replaced by a frightening new rule of power.

Of course, it is important to get to the bottom of the Biden corruption. It is critical that we understand how a drug-addicted, out-of-control drunk with no business experience attracted millions of dollars from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Romania, and Communist China. It is vital to learn what involvement the then–vice president and now-president had in the scheme. It seems clear President Biden was doing favors for foreign billionaires while publicly claiming he knew nothing of his son’s business dealings.

House Republicans must recognize, however, that they are currently focused on one tree in a forest of illegality and totalitarian behavior. A powerful and growing faction of the American Left would undermine the Constitution, turn the government into an instrument of coercing Americans to do what it wants, and use the law as a weapon to destroy its political opponents.

The Problem Is Much Bigger Than Hunter Biden

Most of modern American history can only be understood within this broader system of coercion and corruption. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden are major players — but they are supported by a cast of hundreds and possibly thousands of eager totalitarians ready to impose their views on the American people. These would-be coercers have been enriching themselves with impunity because they know their establishment allies will never question them or hold them to account.

If you think I am exaggerating the distance between normal Americans and the totalitarians of the left, consider the reality in which we are all living. 

A clear example of this split is the 84 percent who believe parents have the right to know what is being taught to their children in school. Meanwhile, teachers unions oppose parental rights, and the FBI investigates concerned parents as potential terrorists. This is a clear example of the left-wing minority’s effort to use government to force extreme cultural and societal change.

One of the great questions for our generation is whether a ruthless minority weaponizing government and destroying the American rule of law can use sheer force and threat of force to make Americans accept things in which they do not believe.

We established America’s New Majority Project to find and develop a set of issues on which most Americans agree. We were delighted to find a wide range of issues that have 70 percent to 90 percent support. 

For example: 

  • 83 percent prefer to identify themselves as Americans rather than by their racial or ethnic backgrounds.

  • 82 percent prefer free-market capitalism to big-government socialism.

  • 79 percent believe that people who believe in the values found in the Bible have the right to express them publicly.

  • 74 percent believe able-bodied adults should have to work to receive taxpayer-funded benefits such as food stamps, health care, or welfare.

If you go to our website, you will see a huge majority of Americans favor positions for which they would be canceled, ridiculed, fired, or even prosecuted by the current coercive left-wing dominated system.

Instead of having a government that serves the American people, we have degenerated into a government that wants the American people to serve and obey it. All of this has led to the rule of law being replaced by the rule of power.

The warnings in George Orwell’s 1984, Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and virtually all the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn seem to all be coming true. A startling movement of totalitarian thought and behavior control is growing. It is eager to use government and the threat of prosecution to coerce the rest of us.

The Corruption Goes Deeper Than We Think

While focusing on Hunter Biden’s laptop and the trails of foreign corruption leading to President Biden, we have missed the vastly bigger, more frightening, and far more complex story of illegal and anti-constitutional behavior undermining the American system of law.

The turning point for me was reading Andy McCarthy’s remarkable book Ball of Collusion. Published in 2019, it should have been required reading for every American before the 2020 election. McCarthy is a solid professional prosecutor with almost two decades of experience in the Justice Department. He was the lead prosecutor in the trials of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing terrorists.

He used his prosecutorial skills to take apart the entire effort to tie candidate- and then-President Donald Trump to Russia. The Russian hoax was a deliberate lie funded by the Clinton campaign and seized upon by the FBI and the CIA. It was an opportunity for the system in power to defeat a candidate it didn’t like. After the lie failed to defeat Trump as a candidate, it was used to hamstring his presidency.

Ball of Collusion was a stunning revelation to me. I knew a lot about the general story — and had lived through it — but I had never connected the dots in such a methodical way. McCarthy’s research convinced him that the conspiracy to destroy Trump involved much more of the government than I would have thought possible. It was like looking through a kaleidoscope that suddenly came into focus. 

Ball of Collusion opened a whole new line of thinking for me. Suddenly, many of the things I have lived through in American politics started to fit the pattern of corruption and coercion — Clinton’s cattle futures windfall, Lois Lerner’s weaponization of the IRS (on the advice of federal prosecutor Jack Smith), and the flagrant corruption of the Clinton Foundation. 

Some policy decisions made by then–Secretary of State Clinton — including permitting the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium to a Russian company that gave the Clinton Foundation a $2.3 million gift — made sense in this pattern. I then thought about Smith’s legal attack on Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (which was unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court because Smith lied to the jury about the law). Unsurprisingly, this is the same Smith the Biden administration picked to attack Trump ahead of the 2024 election. The list goes on and on.

Importantly, McCarthy focused on a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting in which then-President Barack Obama personally coordinated the joint FBI–CIA effort to cripple and derail the Trump administration. It became clear to me this was an absolute smoking gun of guilt. The incumbent president of the United States openly coordinated the law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a deliberate, methodical effort to hinder the next president of the United States. It was an act verging on treason. Once I understood that Obama was capable of this level of viciousness and dishonesty, a lot of other things began to fall in place.

The Obama administration’s treatment of the Benghazi attack that killed an American ambassador was one example. Susan Rice appeared on five national news shows the Sunday after the attack to repeat a narrative that was completely false and misleading. After all, Sept. 11, 2012, was close to the election. Obama did not want Americans to understand that an Islamist terrorist group had just killed an American ambassador and three other Americans. That would have deflated the Obama triumphalism that asserted killing Osama Bin Laden had ended the terrorist threat.

Given Obama’s willingness to corrupt the Justice Department and the intelligence community, it is little wonder that Clinton deleted 33,000 emails and had her staff destroy her hard drive with a hammer. She knew she was never going to be prosecuted. The fix was in. In the post-Obama world, Democrats do not get prosecuted, and Republicans do not get protected. The sickness has become more institutional than personal. There are entire networks of people willing to lie for the Left and against the rest of us.

An Example of Corruption: The Biden Laptop Story

Consider the remarkable story of the Hunter Biden laptop. On Oct. 14, 2020, the New York Post broke the story about the laptop and its amazing revelations about international business deals and corrupt personal behavior on a grand scale. Within hours, the social media giants — advised by the FBI that the story might be a Russian disinformation effort — blocked the nation’s oldest and fourth-largest newspaper from being seen on the internet.

With a presidential debate coming up, the collective advocates of the left went to work. Within five days of the Post story, on Oct. 19, 2020, Antony Blinken (now secretary of state) got 51 former intelligence officials to sign a letter saying — with no evidence — that the Hunter Biden laptop was probably Russian disinformation.

During the presidential debate three days later, Joe Biden smugly said:

Look, there are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what this, he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said that this has all the characteristics — four/five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except him and his good friend Rudy Giuliani.

What could have been a devastating disclosure about the Biden family’s corrupt behavior was turned into a non-event through censorship and lying. Even as president, how could Trump successfully discredit 51 intelligence officials in the middle of a debate — especially when most Americans did not know what he was talking about because the laptop story had been censored and suppressed?

And make no mistake: The laptop story would have made an impact. According to pollster John McLaughlin, “36% of Biden’s voters were not aware of Hunter’s laptop and if they had been, enough Biden voters would have left Biden so that Trump would have won AZ, GA, PA and WI.”

The Obama-created weaponized system had survived the Trump presidency. Within a few days, it could develop and validate a complete lie with professional legitimacy committed to defeating Trump and electing Biden.

On the Edge of the Totalitarian Takeover

The more you study these various events, the more you realize that there are entire systems and cultures of dedicated totalitarians who recognize that a Trump presidency could be a disaster for their worldview. 

Their hatred and fear of Donald Trump is not a function of his personality or his tweets. They would hate and fear any candidate who was serious about disrupting the patterns of institutional corruption, coercion, and power. They would be equally offended by anyone who stood for a color-blind America or recognized two definable sexes. They would despise anyone who thought America was a good country (which, coincidentally, includes 88 percent of Americans).

Once you accept that we are dealing with much more than a few corrupt people, you begin asking a lot of questions. Why is the hatred so intense? Why do they think they can get away with blatant corruption? Why do they have contempt for the rule of law and relish the rule of power? Why are they so willing to coerce their fellow Americans to change their deeply held beliefs?

If you simply Google “the totalitarian impulse,” you will be stunned at the number of sophisticated, intelligent people who have been writing about it. There is a clear and growing understanding among many smart people that we are on the edge of a totalitarian takeover of our culture, institutions, and lives. It really is the greatest crisis of our constitutional system, individual liberty, and the rule of law that we have faced in 160 years.

I am writing this series about the weaponization of government and American despotism because I realized that the story is so complex, has such a long development time, and involves so many people that a clear narrative must be developed. The more you study modern American government, the more you realize that totalitarian efforts are all around us — and they have been winning on many fronts.

The Alinskyian Roots of American Totalitarianism

Behind the movement is a powerful belief system that opposes the American system of constitutional law. It is hostile to American history and patriotic pride, contemptuous of the American people, and dedicated to seizing power through any means. 

The historic roots of this American despotism can be found in the French Revolution. That movement held a passion for uprooting and replacing everything (including the calendar). Its roots can also be found in Leninism and its effort to create a New Soviet Man to replace the failed types of personalities that it found occupying Russia before the revolution. The origins of rising totalitarianism can also be found in Maoism and its mass brainwashing, enforced conformity, groupthink, and the need to purge yourself of sins by confessing in front of the community.

However, there is also a powerful American source for this totalitarian drive to remake America. That drive can be found in the writings and teachings of Saul Alinsky. Obama and Clinton were both students of Alinsky or his disciples. 

Obama’s first job in Chicago was with an Alinsky institution. He learned how to be a neighborhood organizer from the Alinsky disciples. This was so alien to our way of thinking that, in 2008, only Sean Hannity understood how deeply radical Obama was. The rest of us translated neighborhood organizer into something like a Boys and Girls Club worker. I am embarrassed to admit that even though I had studied all the major modern revolutions — and had read Alinsky — the concept of an Alinsky disciple pretending to be a pleasant, harmless, normal politician was too wild for me to grasp at the time.

Clinton knew Alinsky. She met with him and wrote her senior thesis about him. She agreed with his aims but thought his strategies were impractical. She wanted to change America from within — not by agitating from without.

Biden was just a lucky local politician from a small state. He was only a moderate Democrat when he got elected to the Senate at 29 years old in 1972. He was not particularly intellectual, but he was a chameleon. As the Democratic Party moved to the left, so did he. He also understood from watching Clinton and others that you could be corrupt — the Obama-politicized Justice Department would never bother you. He saw his chance, and he took it.

The Biden investigation will inevitably grow until all the horrors of the corruption, government weaponization, and destruction of the rule of law become known to the American people.

However, it is vital we understand that the Biden family corruption is a small piece of the larger crisis of our constitutional system. We are faced with a totalitarian cancer that will have to be confronted and defeated at every level. The Bidens’ corruption is merely a symptom.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/07/2023 - 16:20
Published:9/7/2023 3:33:57 PM
[] The Morning Report — 9/7/23 Good morning, kids. You know, with everything going on in the world, does the completely unsurprising revelation that Barack Obama was, and perhaps still is, a homosexual drug abuser really that important? In a certain sense, what this Larry Sinclair... Published:9/7/2023 6:46:00 AM
[Markets] The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Extinction Itself The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Extinction Itself

Authored by James George Jatras

A version of this presentation was given to the Ron Paul Institute's Scholars Seminar on Sept. 1st in Washington, DC.

Today it’s hard for anyone under the age of 50 to appreciate how genuine and pervasive was fear of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War between the US- and Soviet-led blocs.

Books, movies, and TV both reflected and stoked popular anxiety about the possible “end of civilization as we know it.” The heyday for this was in the 1950s and 1960s, with books like The Long Tomorrow(1955) and On the Beach (1957, with a 1959 film adaptation), and films like Fail Safe, Seven Days in May, Dr. Strangelove (all in 1964, while the real-life scare of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was fresh in people’s minds).

There appeared to be a bit of a lull during the 1970s era of US-Soviet détente under Nixon, Ford, and Carter, perhaps also reflecting elite sympathy for socialism and an expected future convergence between the ideological groupings, which on a basic level shared the same globalist, materialist values. But nuclear terror returned with a vengeance in the 1980s – for example, The Day After (1983) and the animated When the Wind Blows (1986). And who can forget (certainly no male person!) the delightful Nena’s 1983 music video Neunundneunzig Luftballons.

The Left, both in the United States and worldwide, was unanimous that Ronald Reagan, a self-confessed anti-communist, was a reckless cowboy who wanted to blow up the planet. As that great philosopher, Sting, put it in his 1985 song, “The Russians”:

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the president?
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie we don't believe anymore
Mister Reagan says, "We will protect you"
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

The irony is that Reagan’s own views were hardly different from the ones the song sought to promote. As he stated jointly with Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that very same year, 1985: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” a view that prevailed until the USSR imploded just a few years later.

We live in a very different world now, where the prospect of nuclear annihilation barely registers with anyone.

Just as big earthquakes are often preceded by foreshocks, major wars are frequently heralded by smaller conflicts. Before World War One: the Franco-German Morocco crises (1906 and 1911), the Italo-Turkish War (1911-12), the two Balkan Wars (1912, 1913). Before World War Two: the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (1935-37) and, the most famous pre-conflagration rumble of them all, the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

Today, we are looking at a possible regional war in West Africa, centering on American and French demands that “democracy” be restored in Niger. (As one Indian publication put it, “Death follows Victoria Nuland”) Then, of course, there’s China/Taiwan.

But the obvious Spanish Civil War-rank conflict of the moment is Ukraine.

I don’t think we need to go into all the details of how we got here, but just in brief:

  • Relentless NATO expansion after 1991;
  • The 2014 US- and EU-backed coup that overthrew Victor Yanukovich, followed by the Russian annexation of Crimea and the new Kiev regime’s launch of a war to repress rebellions in the Russian-speaking east and south of the country;
  • The 2015 Minsk agreements, which provided for Ukraine’s neutrality and decentralization, and for reintegration of the rebellious areas with protections of their language and culture – agreements that both Ukrainian and European former officials have admitted they never intended to implement, seeing them only as a delaying ruse for building up a force capable of conquering the Donbas;
  • A relentless program of Ukraine’s NATO-ization in all but name under Obama, Trump, and Biden; and
  • Washington’s peremptory rejection of Moscow’s 2021 ultimata to the United States and NATO to resolve the conflict diplomatically, with the hope that Russia, baited into an incursion into Ukraine, would be bled white in an Afghanistan-style insurgency and by crushing sanctions that would “turn the ruble into rubble,” pancake Russia’s economy, and lead to regime change in Moscow.

Oops. Russia’s expected ruin didn’t happen. Even the mainstream media cheerleaders of only a fortnight ago now admit that Ukraine is losing, assigning the blame not to the geniuses that thought up this strategy (if it can be called that) but to Ukraine’s being too “casualty averse” – even as that country is turning into one vast graveyard. There’s speculation that some in Washington and other western capitals are seeking an “off-ramp” – if for no other reason than the need to focus on the really big show, a looming war with China. Some suggest that in the end, we’ll just walk away, consigning Ukraine to the Memory Hole along with Afghanistan. All that’s left then is for GOP neocons to whine that the Biden Administration was too stingy with their aid and “lost Ukraine” while they gear up for the main event in the western Pacific.

Personally, I don’t think that will happen. Nobody cares about Afghanistan but the Afghans, but if Washington walks away from Ukraine it’s effectively conceding that the US, through NATO, no longer is the security hegemon of Europe. That means the effective end of NATO, in fact if not in name; and where NATO goes, its concubine, the European Union, won’t be far behind.

More to the point, though, the notion that this will soon end with a whimper misses the whole point. None of this is really about Ukraine, which is just an expendable tool to hurt Russia. (Maybe the Poles or Lithuanians or Romanians are eager to volunteer for the job once we’re fresh out of Ukrainians.) Ukraine is just a variable; the constant is Ruthenia delenda est. Russia must be destroyed.

Gilbert Doctorow, a noted observer of Russian affairs, likens the current situation to that of Napoleon’s 1812 Russian campaign depicted by Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace. Today as then, what happens next will be less due to this or that policymaker making this or that bad decision. Rather, “the precondition for war is the near universal acceptance of the logic of the coming war.”

What is that logic today? It’s simple: the ruling circles in the United States (needless to add, with their sock puppets in western capitals) are utterly, unselfconsciously convinced that they are the living embodiment of all virtue, truth, and progress in what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described as the “replication of the experience of Bolshevism and Trotskyism” – to cite Reagan, morphing ourselves into a new Evil Empire in place of the old one. As neocon kingpins William Kristol and Robert Kagan put it in their 1996 manifesto, the policy of the United States in the coming era must be one of “benevolent global hegemony” intended to last – well, forever. Its moral content is exemplified, on the one hand, by US support for subjugation of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and, on the other, the spectacle of a transgender US serviceperson acting as a PR official for the Ukrainian military declaring that “we’re human,” and the Russians “most definitely aren’t.”

As I like to say: there’s no Transatlanticism without transgenderism.

Unsurprisingly, regarding their alleged lack of human-ness, the Russians disagree. But who cares what they think? Our leaders see not only Putin but Russians in general as an obstacle to the radiant future, where every knee will bow before the sacred rainbow flag.

Sun Tzu says “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” The Russians more or less know themselves. They kind of know us, but not as well as they think they do, with rather a tendency to project normalcy onto fundamentally abnormal people. On the other hand, our rulers – dangerous people whose levels of arrogance and ignorance defies description: monkeys with nuclear hand grenades – know neither themselves nor the Russians.

On top of that, as Doctorow further observes, the mechanisms that lent some stability and restraint to the US-Soviet standoff are now all but gone, rendering the once-“unthinkable” of the 1950s’ nuke horror films all-too-thinkable today:

‘… no one wants war, neither Washington nor Moscow. However, the step-by-step dismantling of the channels of communication, of the symbolic projects for cooperation across a wide array of domains, and now dismantling of all the arms limitation agreements that took decades to negotiate and ratify, plus the incoming new weapons systems that leave both sides with under 10 minutes to decide how to respond to alarms of incoming missiles—all of this prepares the way for the Accident to end all Accidents.  Such false alarms occurred in the Cold War but some slight measure of mutual trust prompted restraint. That is all gone now and if something goes awry, we are all dead ducks.’

“No one wants war.” A similar thought was expressed by Hermann Göring, when he was on trial at Nuremberg:

Of course the people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. … But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

So I guess Doctorow is a bit off the mark in suggesting that “no one wants war.” Clearly, somebody wants war. A lot of very important “somebodies” wanted this war in Ukraine. They wanted war in the Balkans in the 1990s. They wanted war in Afghanistan, Iraq (twice!), Libya, Yemen, Syria, and a dozen places in Africa where we have almost no idea what’s going on.

“All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked…” I can’t help but think of the meme with two blank-face NPCs, one wearing a pink knit hat mindlessly repeating “Russia! Russia! Russia!,” the other with a red MAGA hat chanting “China! China! China!” Between them is the seal of the CIA with the eagle saying, “Yes, yes, my pretties. That’s it. That’s it.”

Here we are, 60 years after the fact, with the growing recognition by even the most spoon-fed normies that the CIA had something to do with the assassination of Jack Kennedy. In fact, we have here today perhaps the foremost authority on the topic, Mr. Jacob Hornberger. Yet doubting our rulers’ truthiness still is treated as a thought crime. A little while ago, Vivek Ramaswamy was the target of a media hate fest for (in the words of The New Republic) “spout[ing] conspiracy theories about January 6 and 9/11.” Oh no! “Conspiracy theories”! (Or, as they are known when they turn out to be true, “spoiler alerts.”) The heretic Ramaswamy evidently believes – shocking as this sounds – that our government has not been entirely honest about these matters. He must be a dupe for the Russians! Or for the Chinese! – which The New Republic also implies.

You may have heard some people compare the “lawfare” being directed against Donald Trump, with the evident aim of eliminating the likely opponent next year of the desiccated-husk-of-Hunter-Biden’s-dad (assuming ol’ Joe will be the Democratic nominee, which I don’t), to the behavior of a banana republic. This is a gratuitous insult to the friendly spider-infested nations to our south!

I recently suggested to a sober observer of public affairs that the strategic goal is keeping Trump off the ballot in one or more must-win states for him, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, to which he responded: “That’s a recipe for civil war.” (I tried to imagine what Republicans taking to the streets would look like. A mob of decrepit Boomers rolling their motorized wheelchairs down to the corner and burning down the post office?) Anyway, taking him out via lawfare seems to be Plan A. If that fails – well, Plan B would get us into Mr. Hornberger’s area of expertise.

The term “cold” civil war, a war that might possibly turn “hot,” has become a commonplace in American discourse. So has the expression “national divorce.” In 1861 Americans both North and South worshipped the same God, read the same Bible, honored the same Founding Fathers, claimed fidelity to the same Constitution. In today’s America, we can’t even agree on our pronouns or on what a “woman” is, much less on what it means to be an American. We are moral aliens to one another, indeed enemies. What actually holds the former American republic together? “Muh Constitution”? “Muh democracy”?

Keep in mind, we’re not talking about a mere political crisis that will get solved in an election or two. Not even about political and constitutional collapse, or even a financial and economic calamity – that’s coming too, in part because of the impact of the Ukraine war on the dollar-denominated global system – but a fundamental challenge to the social fabric itself, and not just in the United States.

A watershed was passed with covid and the measures – the lockdowns, the masks, social distancing and monitoring, the clot shot, censorship of dissent, all combined with a pervasive, inescapable external and internal panopticon: as the troubadour of transhumanism Yuval Harari writes, “we are seeing a change in the nature of surveillance from over the skin surveillance to under the skin surveillance” – supposedly intended to deal with a virus, accomplishing within a few short months what decades of climate hysteria could not, summed up under the moniker “the Great Reset” and its ubiquitous slogan “Build Back Better.”’

Taken together what we’re experiencing has all the appearance of a controlled demolition of all established human interactions in anticipation of their replacement by something we are assured by our betters will be an improvement. The contours of the “new normal” in the post-American America hurtling in our direction have already become so familiar as to need little elaboration:

  • Infringement of traditional liberties based on “keeping us safe”;
  • “Cancel culture”;
  • Blurring of the lines between Big Government, Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Data, etc., amounting to corporate state capture; and, not directly based on supposed anti-virus measures but closely tracking with them,
  • Joint government and corporate promulgation of socially destructive, historically counterfeit ideologies (“intersectionality,” LGBTQI+++, feminism, multiculturalism, “critical race theory,”), with principal targeting of children subject to sexualization and predation by those expressing what were once quaintly known as abnormal appetites and identities.

These so-called “values” – which, remember, are effectively the official ideology of the West, which we seek “benevolently” to impose on the rest of the world, by force if necessary – in turn accelerate longstanding trends towards infertility and demographic collapse pointing to thinning the human herd and replacement via post-human society, transhumanism, and bio-engineering. This is not just “political” but a strike at the heart of human existence: the spiritual, moral, and even biological basis for marriage, family formation, and production of the next generation. In a word: depopulation.

A few years ago, His Royal Highness, the late Prince Philip of the United Kingdom, perhaps half in jest delivered this thigh-slapper: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.” Some of you may have heard of groups like Extinction Rebellion and BirthStrike: “Are you terrified about the future that lies ahead for contemporary and future youth? Do you want to maximize your positive impact on the Climate Change Crisis? You can protect children while fighting climate change and systematic corruption by refusing to procreate!” Makes perfect sense: preserve a better planet for future generations by eliminating future generations. It reminds me of Otto von Bismarck’s comparing the idea of preventive war to committing suicide out of fear of death. (That’s not as abstract as it might sound. Recently a young woman in Canada seeking help for depression and suicidal ideation was advised by hospital staff that she might be interested in their tried and Trudeau-ed “Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)” euthanasia program. Tempted to kill yourself? Let us help you!) 

But why stop at half measures? The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, VHEMT (pronounced “vehement,” according to their website): “We’re the only species evolved enough to consciously go extinct for the good of all life, or which needs to. Success would be humanity’s crowning achievement. May we live long and die out.”

Maybe they’re on to something! In his landmark work The Socialist Phenomenon, the late Russian mathematician and student of history Igor Shafarevich took note of what he believed is a collective human death impulse:

The idea of the death of mankind—not the death of specific people but literally the end of the human race—evokes a response in the human psyche. It arouses and attracts people, albeit with differing intensity in different epochs and in different individuals. The scope of influence of this idea causes us to suppose that every individual is affected by it to a greater or lesser degree and that it is a universal trait of the human psyche.

This idea is not only manifested in the individual experience of a great number of specific persons, but is also capable of uniting people (in contrast to delirium, for example) i.e., it is a social force. The impulse toward self-destruction may be regarded as an element in the psyche of mankind as a whole. [ … ]

In the Freudian view (first expressed in the article “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”), the human psyche can be reduced to a manifestation of two main instincts: the life instinct or Eros and the death instinct or Thanatos (or the Nirvana principle). Both are general biological categories, fundamental properties of living things in general. The death instinct is a manifestation of general “inertia” or a tendency of organic life to return to a more elementary state from which it had been aroused by an external disturbing force. [“Dust thou art, unto dust shalt thou return.”] The role of the life instinct is essentially to prevent a living organism from returning to the inorganic state by any path other than that which is immanent in it.

Marcuse [Shafarevich refers here to Herbert Marcuse, theorist of the Frankfurt School, known for his adaptation of the theory of class conflict in classical Marxism to other social divides, notably in the area of sex, setting the stage for “intersectionality”] introduces a greater social factor into this scheme, asserting that the death instinct expresses itself in the desire to be liberated from tension, as an attempt to rid oneself of the suffering and discontent which are specifically engendered by social factors.

With the failure of the Ukrainian offensive, Moscow now faces a dilemma. Do they move decisively to impose a military solution that ends the war, or do they continue to show restraint in the hopes that somebody, somewhere – Kiev, Washington, London, Brussels – decides it’s time to sue for peace? Keen not to take a precipitous step that might bring about a direct clash of NATO and Russian forces, so far they’ve opted for the latter – I repeat: so far.

The West faces its own dilemma. Do our rulers concede defeat, which effectively means the end of the Global American Empire (the GAE)? Or do they drag things out as long as possible, hoping Moscow will fall for another Minsk-type ceasefire, with the Kremlin playing the part of Charlie Brown taking another run at kicking the football, having been promised that this time we’ll keep our word? Or, mistaking Russian restraint for weakness, do they push the envelope by inserting a “coalition of the willing” into western Ukraine, challenging Russian naval forces in the Black Sea, encouraging and equipping the Ukrainians to step up attacks on Moscow and other Russian cities, staging some sort of false flag of the type that has proved so effective in other conflicts? In other words, do we double down? That’s in addition to opening up other asymmetrical theaters in the Balkans, Syria, Iran, the Taiwan Strait, and elsewhere.

In mistakenly projecting a rational actor mentality onto their opponents, the Russians seem to be acutely aware of the legitimate concern that decisive military action on the ground could panic NATO and trigger an uncontrolled escalation. They seem oblivious to the contrary concern, that, by holding back and waiting for a reasonable dialogue that will never take place, they are in effect encouraging their adversary to stage one reckless provocation after another – in the sustained belief that some deus ex machina can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – resulting in the very uncontrolled escalation that Moscow seeks to avoid.

Even these speculations assume that the miserable specimens of humanity calling the shots in Western capitals would only risk a direct conflict but would not deliberately choose it. But is that assumption correct? As Doctorow notes, the old Cold War restraints have broken down. Maybe demonstration of a teeny-tiny, low-yield nuke is just the thing to show that non-human Vladof Putler that the GAE is serious!

What could possibly go wrong?

Recently on his podcast Judge Andrew Napolitano showed part of a computer simulation of a US-Russia nuclear exchange in which the initial toll on the US population was only (“only”!) about nine percent, while on Russia it was around 62 percent. (Given that Russia has more warheads than we do, I don’t know how they came up with that, but I didn’t conduct the simulation.)  Is it so impossible that somewhere, somebody might look at those data and decide it’s a tolerable tradeoff? (Later on, the simulation has pretty much everyone on earth starving to death from nuclear winter, with agriculture in the northern hemisphere unviable for several years. Now there’s a way to resolve both global warming and supposed overpopulation with one stroke! Hey, VHEMT, have we got a concept for you!)

Whether or not these dolts manage to kill us all, either by deliberate action or through sheer incompetence, it’s hard to escape the notion that we are approaching the edge of some profound historical moment that will have far-reaching, literally life and death consequences, both domestically and internationally. In the period preceding World War I how many Europeans suspected that their lives would soon be forever changed—and, for millions of them, ended? Who in the years, say, 1910 to 1913, could have imagined that the decades of peace, progress, and civilization in which they had grown up, and which seemingly would continue indefinitely, instead would soon descend into a horror of industrial-scale slaughter, revolution, and brutal ideologies?

Which brings us to my parting admonitions to your predecessors in this seminar, which I see no need to change:

My young friends, the impact any one of us can expect to have in the face of world-historic trends before which the fates of nations and empires fly like leaves in the autumn winds is vanishingly small. Already baked into the cake will be, I believe, hardships for you that we’ve become accustomed to think only happen to “other people” in “other countries” far away, not seen here since the Revolution and the Civil War, or maybe in isolated instances during the Great Depression: financial and economic disruption and, in some places, especially in urban areas, collapse; supply chains, utilities, and other aspects of basic infrastructure ceasing to function (what happens in major cities when food deliveries stop for a week?), even widespread hunger; rising levels of violence, both criminality and civil strife. These will be combined, paradoxically, with the remaining organs of authority, however discredited, desperately cracking down on the enemy within – no, not on murderers, robbers, and rapists, but on “science deniers,” “religious fanatics,” “haters,” “conspiracy theorists,” “insurrectionists,” “gun nuts,” “purveyors of “medical misinformation,” Russian or Chinese “stooges,” and, of course, “racists,” “sexists,” “homophobes,” and so forth. It’s the late Samuel Francis’ “anarcho-tyranny” nightmare come to life with a vengeance.

Nevertheless, for what it is worth, I put before you three practical tasks for your consideration.

Firstly, be vigilant against deception, in a day when assuredly evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. Admittedly, this is a tough one, given the ever-present lying that surrounds us and the suppression of dissent. Try to sift truth from falsehood but don’t become obsessed because, in many cases, you won’t be able to be sure anyway. Focus most on what’s proximate to you and on the people most important to you. … Be skeptical – about everyone. … There may be a cost. As Solzhenitsyn said, “He who chooses the lie as his principle inevitably chooses violence as his method.”

Secondly, as stewards of every worldly charge placed on us by God and by other people—as fathers and mothers, as husbands and wives, as sons and daughters, as neighbors, as students, as workers, as citizens, as patriots—we must prudently care for those to whom we have a duty within the limited power and wisdom allotted to us. Start with yourselves. Be as self-sufficient as possible. Get involved in your community; that leftist slogan is actually a good one: think globally, act locally. Befriend your neighbors. Learn a real skill – electricity, plumbing, carpentry. Farm! Don’t go to law school, for goodness’ sake. Get in shape. Eat and sleep right. Have plenty of the essentials: food, fuel, gold, ammunition. Learn to shoot. Limit computer and phone time. Experience nature. Cultivate healthy personal relationships – real ones, not virtual ones. Marry young, have kids, lots of them – especially women, don’t get seduced by all that “career” nonsense. Nobody on his or her deathbed ever said, “Gosh, I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” Read old books. Cultivate virtue. Go to church.

Simply being what used to be considered normal and leading a productive life is becoming the most revolutionary act one can perform. With that in mind, find the strength to be revolutionaries indeed! In the face of the culture of death and extinction, choose to affirm life.

You’ve seen the meme: Hard times create strong men; Strong men create good times; Good times create weak men; Weak men create hard times. Well, take it from the weakling Boomer generation that brought them to you: the hard times, they is a-coming. But they won’t last forever. If you live through them – and some of you will not – we’ll see what possibilities, as of now literally unimaginable, might then exist. But you will need to be personally fit to take advantage of them. You will also need to be part of some kind of sustainable community of likeminded people.

Thirdly, for those of you who are believers, particularly Christians, we must pray without ceasing, firm in faith that, through whatever hardships may lie ahead, even the very hairs of our head are all numbered, and the final triumph of Truth is never in doubt.

Thank you, and good luck. You’re going to need it.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/06/2023 - 23:45
Published:9/6/2023 10:50:39 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Tucker Carlson releases interview with Larry Sinclair about his drug-filled sex with Barack Obama, who came back for more… Tucker Carlson just released his interview with Larry Sinclair, who explains his of drug-filled sex encounter with Barack Obama, who he says came back for more. Watch below: Ep. 22 Larry Sinclair . . . Published:9/6/2023 8:12:46 PM
[] Tucker on X, Episode 22: Did Obama have a drug-fueled, gay tryst? Published:9/6/2023 8:00:42 PM
[Markets] The Next Crisis Is Anyone's Guess, But The Government Is Ready To Lockdown The Nation The Next Crisis Is Anyone's Guess, But The Government Is Ready To Lockdown The Nation

Authored by John & 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, and allowing the FBI to operate as standing army.

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, you should expect more tyranny and less freedom.

Given the government’s past track record and its long-anticipated plans for using armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems in response to a future crisis, there’s every reason to worry about what comes next.

Mark my words: as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, if and when another crisis arises—if and when a nationwide lockdown finally hits—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 powers-that-be have fully succeeded in acclimating us to a state of affairs in which the government has all the power and “we the people” have none. 

In the meantime, if all we do to reclaim our freedoms and regain control over our runaway government is vote for yet another puppet of the Deep State, by the time the next crisis arises, it may well be too late.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/06/2023 - 18:25
Published:9/6/2023 5:33:02 PM
[Uncategorized] Seditious Conspiracy I took this picture of seditious conspiracy against Donald Trump on the last day of the Obama/Biden presidency, outside the office of the Attorney General. Published:9/5/2023 7:14:51 PM
[Politics] HOLEEE CRAP! This Tucker Carlson interview is going to be a DOOZY Tucker Carlson has a new interview he’s airing tomorrow night and it’s going to be a DOOZY. And I am not exaggerating even a little. Tucker actually tracked down the man who . . . Published:9/5/2023 5:45:18 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: What The Left Did To Our Country Victor Davis Hanson: What The Left Did To Our Country

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

In the last 20 years, the Left has boasted that it has gained control of most of America institutions of power and influence - the corporate boardroom, media, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the administrative state, academia, foundations, social media, entertainment, professional sports, and Hollywood.

With such support, between 2009-17, Barack Obama was empowered to transform the Democratic Party from its middle-class roots and class concerns into the party of the bicoastal rich and subsidized poor - obsessions with big money, race, a new intolerant green religion, and dividing the country into a binary of oppressors and oppressed.

The Obamas entered the presidency spouting the usual leftwing boilerplate (“spread the wealth,” “just downright mean country,” “get in their face,” “first time I’ve been proud of my country”) as upper-middle-class, former community activists, hurt that their genius and talents had not yet been sufficiently monetized.

After getting elected through temporarily pivoting to racial ecumenicalism and pseudo-calls for unity, they reverted to form and governed by dividing the country. And then the two left the White House as soon-to-be mansion living, mega-rich elites, cashing in on the fears they had inculcated over the prior eight years.

To push through the accompanying unpopular agendas of an open border, mandatory wind and solar energy, racial essentialism, and the weaponization of the state, Obama had begun demonizing his opponents and the country in general: America was an unexceptional place. Cops were racist. “Clingers” of the Midwest were hopelessly ignorant and prejudiced. Only fundamental socialist transformation could salvage a historically oppressive, immoral, and racist nation.

The people finally rebelled at such preposterousness. Obama lost his party some 1,400 local and state offices during his tenure, along with both houses of Congress. His presidency was characterized by his own polarizing mediocrity. His one legacy was Obamacare, the veritable destruction of the entire system of a once workable health insurance, of the hallowed doctor-patient relationship, and of former easy access to competent specialists.

Yet Obama’s unfufilled ambitions set the stage for the Biden administration—staffed heavily with Obama veterans—to complete the revolutionary transformation of the Democratic Party and country.

It was ironic that while Obama was acknowledged as young and charismatic, nonetheless a cognitively challenged, past plagiarist, fabulist, and utterly corrupt Joe Biden was far more effective in ramming through a socialist woke agenda and altering the very way Americans vote and conduct their legal system.

Stranger still, Biden accomplished this subversion of traditional America while debilitated and often mentally inert—along with being mired in a bribery and influence-peddling scandal that may ultimately confirm that he easily was the most corrupt president to hold office in U.S. history.

How was all this possible?

Covid had allowed the unwell Biden to run a surrogate campaign from his basement as he outsourced his politicking to a corrupt media.

Senility proved a godsend for Biden. His cognitive disabilities masked his newfound radicalism and long-accustomed incompetence. Unlike his past failed campaigns, the lockdowns allowed Biden to be rarely seen or heard—and thus as much liked in the abstract as he had previously been disliked in the concrete.

His handlers, the Obamas, and the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren radical Democrats, saw Biden’s half-century pretense as a gladhander—good ole Joe Biden from Scranton—as the perfect delivery system to funnel their own otherwise-unpopular leftwing agendas. In sum, via the listless Biden, they sought to change the very way America used to work.

And what a revolution Biden’s puppeteers have unleashed in less than three years.

They launched a base attack on the American legal system.

Supreme Court judges are libeled, their houses swarmed, and their lives threatened with impunity. The Left promised to pack the court or to ignore any decision it resents. The media runs hit pieces on any conservative justice deemed too influential. The prior Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer whipped up a mob outside the court’s doors, and threatened two justices by name. As Schumer presciently put it, they would soon “reap the whirlwind” of what they supposedly had sowed and thus would have no idea what was about to “hit” them.

Under the pretense of Covid fears, balloting went from 70 percent participation on election day in most states to a mere 30 percent.

Yet the rates of properly rejected illegal or improper ballots often dived by a magnitude of ten.

Assaults now followed on hallowed processes, laws, customs, and institutions - the Senate filibuster, the 50-state union, the Electoral College, the nine-justice Supreme Court, Election Day, and voter IDs.

Under Biden, the revolution had institutionalized first-term impeachment, the trial of an ex-president while a private citizen, and the indictment of a chief political rival and ex-president on trumped up charges by local and federal prosecutors—all to destroy a political rival and alter the 2024 election cycle.

Biden destroyed the southern border—literally.

Eight million entered illegally—no background checks, no green cards, no proof of vaccinations. America will be dealing with the consequences for decades. Mexico was delighted, receiving some $60 million in annual remittances, while the cartels were empowered to ship enough fentanyl to kill 100,000 Americans a year.

“Modern monetary theory,” the Leftist absurdity that printing money ensures prosperity, followed.

It has nearly bankrupted the country, unleashed wild inflation, and resulted in the highest interest rates in a quarter-century. Middle-class wages fell further behind as a doddering Biden praised his disastrous “Bidenomics.”

Biden warred on fossil fuels, cancelling federal leases and pipelines, jawboning lending agencies to defund fracking, demonizing state-of-the-art, clean-burning cars, and putting vast areas of oil- and gas-rich federals lands off-limits to drilling.

When gas prices predictably doubled under Biden and the 2022 midterms approached, he tried temporarily to lease out a few new fields, to drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and to beg the Saudis, and our enemies, the Iranians, the Venezuelans, and the Russians, to pump more oil and gas that Biden himself would not. All this was a pathetic ruse to temporarily lower gas prices before the mid-term elections.

Biden abandoned Afghanistan, leaving the largest trove of military equipment behind in U.S. military history, along with thousands of loyal Afghans and pro-American contractors.

Biden insulted the parents of the 13 Marines blown up in this worst U.S. military debacle since Pearl Harbor. He lied to the parents of the dead that he too lost a son in the Iraq war, and when among them later impatiently checked his watch as he seemed bored with the commemoration of the fallen—and made no effort to hide his sense that the ceremony was tedious to him.

Vladimir Putin summed up the Afghan debacle - and Biden’s nonchalant remark that he wouldn’t react strongly to a “minor” invasion of Ukraine if it were minor - as a green light to invade Ukraine.

When Biden did awaken, his first reaction was an offer to fly the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy out of the country as soon as possible. What has followed proved the greatest European killing ground since the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge, albeit one that has now fossilized into a Verdun-like quagmire that is draining American military supply stocks and killing a half-million Ukrainians and Russians.

Suddenly, there are three genders, not two.

Women’s sports have been wrecked by biological men competing as women, destroying a half-century of female athletic achievement. Young girls in locker rooms, co-eds in sororities, and women in prison must dress and shower with biological men transitioning to women by assertion.

There is no longer a commitment to free speech. The American Civil Liberties Union is a woke, intolerant group trying to ban free expression under the pretense of fighting “hate” speech and “disinformation.”

The Left has revived McCarthyite loyal oaths straight out of the 1950s, forcing professors, job applicants, and students applying for college to pledge their commitment to “diversity” as a requisite for hiring, admittance, or promotion. Diversity is our era’s version of the Jacobins’ “Cult of Reason.”

Race relations hit a 50-year nadir. Joe Biden has a long history of racist insults and putdowns. And now as apparent penance, he has reinvented himself as a reverse racial provocateur, spouting nonsense about white supremacy, exploiting shootings or hyping racial tensions to ensure that an increasingly disgusted black electorate does not leave the new Democratic Party.

The military has adopted wokeism, oblivious that it has eroded meritocracy in the ranks and slashed military recruitment. It is underfunded, wracked by internal suspicion, loss of morale and ginned up racial and gender animosity. Its supply stocks are drained. Arms productions is snail-like, and generalship is seen as a revolving door to corporate defense contractor board riches.

Big-city Democratic district attorneys subverted the criminal justice system, destroyed law enforcement deterrence, and unleashed a record crime wave.

Did they wish to create anarchy as protest against the normal, or were they Jokerist nihilists who delighted in sowing ruin for ruin’s sake?

Radical racial activists, with Democrat endorsement, demand polarizing racial reparations. The louder the demands, the quieter they remain about smash-and-grab looting, carjacking, and the swarming of malls by disproportionally black teens—even as black-on-black urban murders reach record proportions.

In response, Biden tried to exploit the growing tensions by spouting lies that “white supremacy” and “white privilege” fuel such racial unrest—even as his ill-gotten gains, past record of racist demagoguery and resulting lucre and mansions appear the epitome of his own so-called white privilege.

This litany of disasters could be vastly expanded, but more interesting is the why of it all?

What we are witnessing seems to be utter nihilism. The border is not porous but nonexistent. Mass looting and carjackings are not poorly punished, but simply exempt from all and any consequences. Our downtowns are reduced to a Hobbesian “war of all against all,” where the strong dictate to the weak and the latter adjust as they must. The streets of our major cities in just a few years have become precivilizational—there are more human feces on the sidewalks of San Francisco than were in the gutters of Medieval London.

The FBI and DOJ are not simply wayward and weaponized, but corrupt and renegade. Apparently the perquisite now for an FBI director is the ability either to lie while under oath or better to mask such lying by claiming amnesia or ignorance.

Immigration is akin to the vast unchecked influxes of the late Roman Empire across the Danube and Rhine that helped to finish off a millennium-old civilization that had lost all confidence in its culture and thus had no need for borders.

In other words, the revolution is not so much political as anarchist. Nothing escapes it—not ceiling fans, not natural gas cooktops, not parents at school board meetings, not Christian bakeries, not champion female swimmers, not dutiful policemen, not hard-working oil drillers, not privates and corporals in the armed forces, not teens applying on their merits to college, not anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The operating principle is either to allow or to engineer things to become so atrocious in everyday American life—the inability to afford food and fuel, the inability to walk safely in daylight in our major cities, the inability to afford to drive as one pleases, the inability to obtain or pay back a high interest loan—that the government can absorb the private sector and begin regimenting the masses along elite dictates. The more the people tire of the leftist agenda, the more its architects furiously seek to implement it, hoping that their institutional and cultural control can do what  ballots cannot.

We could variously characterize their efforts as destroying the nation to save it, or burning it down to start over, or fundamentally transforming America into something never envisioned by the Founders.

Will their upheaval  succeed? All the levers of the power and money are on the side of the revolutionaries. The people are not. And they are starting to wake to the notion if they do not stop the madness in their midst they very soon won’t have a country.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/04/2023 - 14:40
Published:9/4/2023 1:59:47 PM
[Markets] Republicans Last Chance: "A Dreadful Time Of Testing Whether The Country Can Endure Any More Of This" Republicans Last Chance: "A Dreadful Time Of Testing Whether The Country Can Endure Any More Of This"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

Party! Party!

“The word misinformation literally just means being wrong, and disinformation is lying. That’s all they mean. There’s no extra meaning to them. And so, misinformation is entirely subjective. It’s literally an opinion.”

- Michael Schellenberger

If you are shocked and bewildered that totalitarian tyranny creeps through our country without opposition, the reason is simple: there is no official opposition. The capture of government looks nearly complete by a party that lusts to punish its citizens for the pleasure of watching them suffer, while it steals everything they’ve worked for and forecloses their future. At least half the country objects to this. Where is a party that stands for them?

In the natural order of the American system, a Republican Party would have stepped up to check the wretched excesses of a Democratic Party bent on breaking everything that has allowed people to thrive in this land: property law, economic liberty, free speech, now even your physical health.

This Labor Day Monday is the last moment in this epic political psychodrama that the Republican Party has an excuse to kick back and do nothing about the parade of insults flung in the nation’s face by persons who believe in nothing, and who will stop at nothing.

These insults lately include especially the perversion of law to harass and hinder political opponents, the prosecution of a foreign war by proxy in a corner of the world where America has no explicable national interest, the deliberate failure to defend the country’s borders against hordes of invaders, the rigging of elections with ballot fraud and hackable machines, the censorship of information of all kinds, and the weaponization of public health authority against the people. These are all campaigns carried out by the Democratic Party.

This fall season will be a dreadful time of testing whether the country can endure any more of this. Congress is back in session this week. Congress is the only place in the federal government where an opposition party has the authority to direct events. Mr. Comer who chairs the House Oversight Committee has assembled enough evidence of bribery and treason for Speaker Kevin McCarthy to commence an impeachment inquiry right away into the conduct of President “Joe Biden.”

I’ve used quotation marks around Mr. Biden’s name since he ascended magically to this office in 2021 because it is obvious that he is only pretending to run the executive branch, and has been since day one on January 20, 2021. His March 5, 2020, Super Tuesday victories, after a drubbing in the Iowa Caucuses (4th place) and New Hampshire primary (5th place), had an odor of supernatural contrivance. His campaign from “the basement” was a joke, and it’s still entirely possible, despite three years of massive gaslighting, that his victory in the 2020 election was a fraud.

I believe the reason “Joe Biden” was installed in the White House was to allow Barack Obama to run the executive branch and all its agencies in secret from his headquarters across town in the DC Kalorama district, and the reason he is allowed to do this is because the Democratic Party has committed so many crimes against the country that a tremendous effort had to be made to cover them up, or else scores of figures in high places could have been subject to investigation and prosecution, including Mr. Obama.

It’s also possible that an impeachment inquiry in the House will lead to evidence of Mr. Obama’s role in the Biden family’s bribery adventures abroad, including the participation in one way or another of high diplomatic officials under Mr. Obama such as US Ambassadors to Ukraine Jeffrey Pyatt and Marie Yovanovitch — as well as their nefarious roles in the first impeachment of Donald Trump. Expect former Secretary of State John Kerry to surface in that mix, too. His stepson, Christopher Heinz was in business for a time with Hunter Biden and Devon Archer during the Burisma caper.

You might hear a lot about the coming debt ceiling crisis again starting this week. The debt ceiling has to be raised by the end of the month or the government supposedly runs out of money to pay for all the things that government wastes our money on, from underwriting drag-queen story hours to paying the pensions of retired Ukrainian government officials. Wouldn’t that actually be a fine opportunity for some vigorous de-funding of government activities, such as the DOJ’s special prosecutor operation, Homeland Security’s censorship office, every dollar apportioned to Ukraine, the FBI’s continuing Jan 6 witch-hunt, the Department of Health and Human Services Covid-19 hoodoo, and probably a hundred other trespasses against the public’s sense of decency and good faith?

Or else, isn’t the country ripe for a new party that actually represents the interests of the country?

More than a year remains before the 2024 election - if it is even allowed to happen.

We can’t go on with no party opposed to the degeneration and destruction of the thing known as the USA. Take this final day-off of the summer to think about that. And think about the emblematic frozen face of Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, a human deer-in-the-headlights waiting to collide with an implacable force. You are that force.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/04/2023 - 12:00
Published:9/4/2023 11:14:23 AM
[Markets] Turley: Biden's Use Of Fake Names In Email Could Cost Him Turley: Biden's Use Of Fake Names In Email Could Cost Him

Authored by Jonathan Turley, Op-Ed via The Hill,

Last year, at an event at the White House, former president Barack Obama jokingly referred to the current president as “Vice President Biden.”

At the time, it was described as the more popular politician “reminding Biden who’s boss.” Yet, this needling carried an added bite, given reports of Obama’s private doubts about Biden’s judgment.

In 2020, Obama had famously warned fellow Democrats“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.”

Obama is now being asked to bail Biden out from another debacle of his own making, going back to his time in Obama’s administration. Various committees and private groups are seeking more than 5,000 emails from Biden in which he used an array of aliases during the Obama administration.

Under the Presidential Records Act, Obama has 30 days to bar the release of the emails and to help shield his former vice president in a growing corruption scandal over the influence-peddling operation run by Biden’s son, Hunter.

Recently, it was learned that Joe Biden went by a variety of code names and false names, including Robin Ware. Robert L. Peters, JRB Ware, Celtic and “The Big Guy.” House investigators believe that may only be a partial list. For many Americans, it is understandably unnerving to learn that their president has more aliases than Anthony Weiner. However, while the number seems unusual, the practice is not unprecedented.

Top officials have used such aliases in the past for emails, including former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. During the Obama administration, the practice was defended by then-White House press secretary Jay Carney, who assured the public that any such emails would still be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and congressional inquiries. He added, “We do not use and should not use private email accounts for work.”

The problem is that there was “work” being discussed on some of these emails, including official foreign travel plans and the hiring of associates of Hunter for high-level positions. More importantly, some emails are relevant to the clients of Biden’s son. Biden has previously lied that he knew nothing of these dealings, but these emails could reveal even more about his knowledge and involvement.

Congress is investigating more than $20 million that was transferred to members of the Biden family from foreign sources through a labyrinth of shell companies and accounts. Even the Washington Post has been forced to admit that the president has lied in the past about aspects of Hunter’s dealings.  Devon Archer recently confirmed that Joe Biden’s long-standing denial of any knowledge of their business dealings is “categorically false.”

Most reporters now admit that Hunter was clearly engaging in influence-peddling, Washington’s favorite form of corruption. Yet in the face of this growing evidence, Democrats insist that Hunter and his associates were merely selling “the illusion of influence,” not actual access or influence over Joe Biden.

Obviously, these foreign clients believed that they were buying more than an illusion for the millions they spent. One corrupt Ukrainian figure said that Hunter Biden was dumber than his dog, but that he paid him anyway for access to his father.

There are indications that these clients did receive more than illusion. For example, Archer described how Burisma executives were worried about the anti-corruption investigation being conducted by Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin. Archer testified that Hunter immediately “called D.C.” in response to the plea. Shokin was later fired at Joe Biden’s demand.

The House Oversight Committee has hit a wall in trying to get material from the Bidens and the administration on these past dealings. It has also learned that the president communicated with this son through alias accounts. That led them to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which has resisted the release of the emails. It has been over a year since a group requested these documents, and the NARA review is expected to take years at this pace — until after the next election.

Both Biden and Obama could easily allow the release of these emails to Congress. After all, the use of aliases has been defended on the basis that these emails are trivial or personal matters. If so, transparency will put all the allegations to rest. If it is not true, it would mean that Biden was using false names to convey important information to third parties, and the question would be why.

In one email from Hunter’s laptop, Biden associate James Gilliar explained the rules to Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter. He was not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions. “Don’t mention Joe being involved,” he wrote, “it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”  Instead, they referred to the Big Guy or Celtic.

Likewise, a trusted FBI source said that a Ukrainian businessman had said that he paid a bribe to Joe Biden, but noted that they were told to avoid using his name and to transfer the money through a complex series of accounts.

Moreover, the request of Congress followed the discovery that staffers had used Biden’s fake government account,, to send a message about meeting then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with a cc to Hunter Biden.

Once again, there may be innocent explanations for such emails and the use of the alias. However, given the other evidence of corruption and influence peddling, it seems obvious that the information must be reviewed.

That brings us to the confrontation with NARA.

The agency could rely on the PRA statute to enforce the refusal of Biden and Obama to allow Congress to review the evidence. Biden actually is supposed to be consulted twice under the law: as the former vice president and as the current president. Both Joe Bidens are likely to have the same negative reaction to exposing his emails.

However, special access to presidential records is expressly allowed under the PRA “to…Congress” and “to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, to any committee…if such records contain information that is needed for the conduct of its business and that is not otherwise available.” A refusal would deny Congress critical evidence into a corruption scandal and also a possible impeachment inquiry.

The added resistance to the review of the emails only adds to an already strong case for an impeachment inquiry. Such an inquiry does not mean that impeachment is inevitable. Rather, there is enough evidence to warrant an investigation into whether the Bidens were selling the illusion or the reality of influence. By acting under its impeachment authority, the power of Congress would be at its apex in forcing these disclosures and finding answers on the alleged corrupt practices.

None of this should be necessary, of course. Biden could remove these obstacles instantly to assure the public that his aliases were innocent, even playful, pseudonyms. “JRB Ware” may be a pun, but it is not necessarily the next “Carlos Danger.” We simply do not know, but there should be no reason why the president would not want to clear the record, particularly in an election year.

Otherwise, the effort to withhold this evidence could itself prove damaging, if material evidence of corruption or false statements are found. As Obama would say, one should never underestimate that prospect when it comes to his former vice president.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/03/2023 - 15:30
Published:9/3/2023 2:44:39 PM
[Politics] How Obama can protect Biden amid ‘influence peddling scandal’ and how Congress may still win… It turns out that Obama has a say in whether Republicans in Congress get access to all the emails Biden used with his aliases when he was Vice President. According to Jonathan . . . Published:9/2/2023 3:03:19 PM
[Markets] Hoax-Funding LinkedIn Founder Introduced Jeffrey Epstein To Trump's Inner Circle To Meet 'Top Russian Diplomat' Hoax-Funding LinkedIn Founder Introduced Jeffrey Epstein To Trump's Inner Circle To Meet 'Top Russian Diplomat'

Was Jeffrey Epstein involved in a plot to tie the 2016 Trump campaign to Russia?

A disturbing new report in the Wall Street Journal reveals that LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman introduced Trump's inner circle to Jeffrey Epstein, who then introduced them to a 'top Russian diplomat.'

As a reminder, Hoffman;

  • Bankrolled an online disinformation hoax against Roy Moore, conducted by a former Obama administration official - who also created the "Hamilton 68" propaganda website purporting to track Russian bots. Hoffman later apologized when caught.
  • Bankrolled Trump rape accuser E. Jean Carroll.
  • Gave $600,000 to a legal defense fund for Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm which prepared documents for the infamous 'Trump Tower' setup meeting with Don. Jr. and facilitated the Hillary Clinton-funded Steele Dossier.
  • Was a major Hillary Clinton supporter during the 2016 US election.

According to the Journal, Hoffman emailed people in Trump's orbit to introduce them to Epstein, who then invited one of them - Peter Thiel - to meet with Russia's ambassador to the UN!

In March 2014, fellow billionaire and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, a major donor to Democrats, emailed Thiel to introduce Epstein and arrange a meeting at Thiel’s San Francisco home. 

“Meet one of the guys who invented derivatives, Jeffrey Epstein?” Hoffman wrote, echoing an inaccurate claim Epstein sometimes made. Hoffman wrote that Epstein was “mostly fun, very interesting guy, you may find him perverse, but very smart on biology, computation, macro econ.” 

Hoffman said he regrets all his interactions with Epstein and that he made the introduction to help fundraise for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Epstein scheduled lunches with venture capitalist Peter Thiel and real-estate investor Thomas Barrack in 2016, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. At the time, both were high-profile financial backers of Trump’s campaign. 

Epstein invited Thiel and Barrack to separate meetings with Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations. Churkin, who died of an apparent heart attack in early 2017, had at least eight meetings scheduled with Epstein between 2015 and Churkin’s death, the documents show. -WSJ

So, Epstein - pal to the Democrats and a prolific pedophile, had extensive dealings with a Russian diplomat that he tried to connect with Trump's inner circle?

The report also notes that "The documents, which include thousands of pages of emails and schedules from 2013 to 2017, don’t make reference to any meetings or conversations between Trump and Epstein," and "don’t specify Epstein’s purpose in scheduling meetings with Trump’s associates or the Russian ambassador."

Notably, these Epstein-Russia meetings happened when the Russiagate hoax was in full swing with the FBI's involvement.

Yet, according to Thiel, the October 2016 meeting with Epstein and Churkin featured "nothing memorable."

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel speaking at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

"I was rather naive," Thiel told the outlet, "and I didn’t think enough about what Epstein’s agenda might have been."

Meanwhile, a Trump campaign spokesman said: "None of these people were Trump campaign officials, and in fact President Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago."

As the Journal further notes:

Epstein met with and donated to Democrats more often than Republicans, according to the documents and campaign donation records. The Journal has reported that his schedules included meeting several people who had served in the Clinton and Obama administrations. In his townhouse, Epstein hung a painting that depicted Bill Clinton wearing a blue dress and red heels. 

In 2019, a spokesman for Bill Clinton said the former president had cut off ties more than a decade before and didn’t know about Epstein’s alleged crimes. The spokesman said then that Bill Clinton took four flights on Epstein’s plane and once visited the townhouse, each time with his Secret Service team and for reasons related to the Clinton Foundation’s work. The spokesman declined to comment for this article.

Public records show Epstein donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2000 campaign for the Senate, and tax records indicate he donated $25,000 in 2006 to what is now the Clinton family’s global philanthropic foundation. A spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton declined to comment.

After his conviction, Epstein maintained connections with some former members of Bill Clinton’s cabinet, including Lawrence Summers, who served as Treasury secretary, and Bill Richardson, who served as energy secretary. He also met with Clinton alumni leaving the Obama administration, including Ruemmler and the current head of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns.

Which begs the question, was Epstein just another prong in the Democrats' attempts to tie Trump to Russia in 2016?


Tyler Durden Sat, 09/02/2023 - 14:00
Published:9/2/2023 1:19:50 PM
[Disasters] WTAF did you think was going to happen?

.   You will recall that in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and Barack Obama couldn’t have cared less. You will recall that when asked how he’d react to Russia invading Ukraine Joe Biden said he wouldn’t mind a “minor incursion.” “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if […]

The post WTAF did you think was going to happen? appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:9/2/2023 11:21:04 AM
[Markets] While FTC's Khan Draws The Fire, DOJ's Kanter Advances Radical Agenda While FTC's Khan Draws The Fire, DOJ's Kanter Advances Radical Agenda

Authored by Robert H. Bork Jr. via RealClear Wire,

Mention progressive antitrust in Washington, and the discussion turns to Lina Khan – who rose in half a decade from Yale Law School student to become the most powerful, and controversial, Federal Trade Commission chair in history.

After courts tossed out four major FTC antitrust cases in a row, Rep. Kevin Kiley, a California Republican, asked Khan, “Why are you losing so much?” When the Biden administration rejected the standard that antitrust cases are about consumers, and instead reoriented enforcement along social justice lines, former FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson wrote that Khan was in the thrall of Marxism.

Almost wholly unnoticed amid these fireworks is Jonathan Kanter, head of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, which shares the antitrust portfolio with FTC. While Khan taunts and dodges like a rodeo clown, Kanter operates with low-key effectiveness. Where Khan fits Washington’s idea of “hipster antitrust,” Kanter tells podcast journalists that if they could see his hairline, they’d know he's no hipster. Where Khan was a star student at Yale Law, Kanter shined at the solid Washington University law school in St. Louis.

In large measure due to Kanter’s leadership, antitrust has become one of the five pillars of the president’s economic platform.

While Khan’s shop accuses companies of endangering future competition – a trope often ridiculed as a “precrime” approach to antitrust – Kanter’s shop speaks soberly of “risk assessment.” Kanter calmly describes why replacing the governing consumer welfare standard, in which mergers and acquisitions are judged by their impact on consumers, is necessary because that standard is a “cost-benefit analysis” that has failed to protect workers and competitors.

While Khan racked a string of losses in court, Kanter and his 800-person team have scored some victories, blocking a mega-merger in publishing, and stopping a partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue.

Kanter represents his antitrust philosophy in a winsome way, speaking in terms of keeping a modern economy competitive, and upholding democracy by using antitrust “and a whole of government of approach” to break up “choke points” in the economy. He wants to protect small businesses where so many get their start through “freedom of opportunity.”

Where Khan visibly struggles to restrain her inner ideologue, Kanter comes across as reasonable, pragmatic, and idealistic at the same time. In a word: reassuring. But Kanter’s policies are just as radical and economically destructive as Khan’s. While the bulls chase Khan around the arena, Kanter impresses the rodeo judges with his expert roping, delivering some of the most radical and unhinged economic policies in American history (and that’s saying a lot).

Consider the recent 13 draft antitrust guidelines that Kanter put out with Khan.

Two economists from the Obama administration, Jason Furman and Carl Shapiro, took to the Wall Street Journal to raise questions, diplomatically, about the new rules: “As we read this guideline, many nonhorizontal deals that enable the acquiring firm to become more efficient, and thus gain market share or compete more effectively in adjacent markets, would be considered illegal even if they benefit consumers and workers.” This is an important observation. Efficiency generates wealth in the form of lower prices and better wages. But this seems to matter not to Kanter and Khan.

Furman and Shapiro were also surprised that the Kanter-Khan merger guidelines rest on the long-discredited Brown Shoe decision. This 1962 Supreme Court opinion found a proposed merger to be illegal, even though the combined company would have controlled as little as 5% of the market. As my father, Judge Robert Bork, wrote about Brown Shoe, this opinion was predicated on the mistaken and ultimately disproven belief that Congress intended antitrust law to protect “small, locally owned businesses” over the interests of consumers. For this reason courts had long treated Brown Shoe as a piece in the museum of legal curiosities. Now it is revised by Kanter’s and Khan’s merger guidelines as a guiding precedent.

Worse, the Kanter-Khan guidelines are both expansive and vague, allowing the government to keelhaul any executive and any business at any time. That’s the point. It puts all business under the thumb of regulators.

Economist Dan Mitchell, after reviewing these guidelines, wrote: “Thanks to politicians, companies can be accused of improper behavior regardless of what they do. If they charge more than their competitors, they are guilty of monopolistic behavior. If they charge the same, then they are colluding with competitors. If they charge less, then they are using predatory pricing to drive out competition.”

Kanter’s and Khan’s rules will enhance the power of government over the market, making everything private subordinate to Washington. That is why Christine Wilson declared that progressive antitrust is Marxist at its roots. That is the agenda being driven by the Department of Justice under Jonathan Kanter – not a hipster, but decidedly a radical.

Robert H. Bork Jr. is president of the Antitrust Education Project.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/01/2023 - 17:40
Published:9/1/2023 5:04:09 PM
[03d462d7-87ff-537e-b93c-96612b22f7a8] Hunter Biden's firm exchanged more than 1,000 emails with Joe Biden's VP office, records show A new tranche of communications from the Obama White House show Hunter Biden's firm Rosemont Seneca was in regular communication with his father's White House office. Published:8/31/2023 3:55:10 PM
[] Tucker Carlson: It Was Clear Before 2008 That Barack Obama Enjoyed Crack of Both the Powdered and Male Keister Varities, but the Media Suppressed This Information It was obvious, Tucker says. Tucker Carlson has claimed Barack Obama was smoking crack and having sex with men - but the media failed to report it ahead of the 2008 presidential election. The former Fox News host repeated the... Published:8/31/2023 3:22:24 PM
[White House Watch] Biden Admin Resurrects Failed Obama Effort To Raise Salary Threshold For Overtime Pay

by Will Kessler at CDN -

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced Wednesday a proposal to extend overtime pay protections for salaried workers, reviving an effort by former President Barack Obama that was struck down in court. The new proposed rule would require employers to pay salaried workers exceeding 40 hours a week overtime pay …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Biden Admin Resurrects Failed Obama Effort To Raise Salary Threshold For Overtime Pay first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:8/31/2023 2:44:56 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden's Firm And Vice President Biden's Office Exchanged Over 1,000 Emails Hunter Biden's Firm And Vice President Biden's Office Exchanged Over 1,000 Emails

Authored by Eric Lendrum via American Greatness,

New records released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) reveal that Hunter Biden’s firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, exchanged over 1,000 emails with the office of then-Vice President Joe Biden during the Obama Administration.

As the New York Post reports, the records were released by NARA on Wednesday after a request from the conservative legal advocacy group America First Legal (AFL). At least 861 emails were sent or received by the Office of the Vice President during the period of time between January of 2011 and December of 2013, and over 200 more emails remain hidden due to the Biden White House citing executive privilege.

“Release would disclose confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors,” NARA claimed in its statement responding to AFL.

The emails that were released show that Rosemont Seneca was given direct lines of communication to Joe Biden’s office, and were often given crucial information regarding various White House social events in order to seek audiences with government officials. Among the information shared with Hunter’s business partners were White House guest lists, seating arrangements, and guest biographies for numerous official events, such as the 2012 United Kingdom State Dinner, the 2013 Turkey State Luncheon, and the 2014 France State Dinner.

In one such example, lobbyist Doug Davenport frantically begged for a last-minute ticket to the 2013 White House Christmas tour.

“Hey guys……I am in a bad spot. I have a guy from Apple who is dying to take his 4 colleagues on a REGULAR WH Tour…see the tree, etc…..this Friday,” Davenport’s email reads. “I know it is WAY short notice, but I would owe you my life if you could tell me any way possible to get my hands on some public tour tix for this Friday? Or am I just way out of line???”

Hunter’s business partner Eric Schwerin then forwards the email and asks a Rosemont Seneca employee to “check with our friends over there” and get Davenport and his colleagues to “the front of the line.”

This report comes after additional reporting confirmed that Joe Biden used at least three secret email addresses as vice president, using them to communicate with Hunter and his business partners to discuss Hunter’s foreign business dealings. Joe Biden has repeatedly, and sometimes aggressively, denied any involvement with or knowledge of his son’s overseas business deals, a claim which has been debunked with mounting evidence in recent months.

*  *  *

More via America First Legal:

The latest documents reveal a staggering number of emails between Rosemont Seneca and the Office of the Vice President, revealing further evidence that there was no separation between Hunter’s private business dealings and the official business of the Obama-Biden White House. Rosemont Seneca frequently used the Biden name to gain access to and favors from the White House.

The documents also reveal further evidence of Hunter’s influence in the official Office of the Vice President. Hunter had the ability to direct correspondence, plan guest lists for State dinners and receptions, and bring people into the White House at his discretion. This evidence further calls into question Joe Biden’s claims that he was never involved with, never discussed, and did not know about Hunter’s business dealings, and it raises questions as to the propriety of the massive payments Hunter was receiving while he was commanding such influence in the Office of the Vice President. 

  1. “Rosemont Seneca” was merely the private arm of Joe Biden’s Office of the Vice President: 

The sheer volume of emails exchanged between Hunter and his associates at Rosemont Seneca and the Office of the Vice President is telling in itself. Just since AFL’s last release, NARA has processed another 861 emails sent or received between January 2011 and December 2013 that contained the name of Hunter Biden’s company, “Rosemont Seneca.”

The vast majority of these emails consisted of direct communications between Rosemont Seneca employees, including Hunter Biden, and the Office of the Vice President. Contrary to Joe Biden’s claim that there is an “absolute wall between the personal and private, and the government,” the White House asserted executive privilege to withhold 200 emails in their entirety because “Release would disclose confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors.”

2. Hunter Biden used his family name to leverage access to the White House:

Emails obtained by AFL reveal the broad access Hunter Biden enjoyed to the official government channels while his father was Vice President. Below are just a few examples of how Hunter Biden had free reign in directing the use of official government resources. 

Hunter Biden played a role in planning high-profile White House events

Even though Hunter had no official role in the Obama-Biden Administration, he was intimately involved in planning for high-profile White House events, including the January 2011 China State Luncheon, the June 2011 State Arrival Ceremony for German Chancellor, the March 2012 United Kingdom State Dinner and Visit, the May 2013 Turkey State Luncheon, and the 2014 France State Dinner.

Read the rest here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 08/31/2023 - 13:40
Published:8/31/2023 12:59:49 PM
[Markets] What If Biden Backs Out Of The Race? What If Biden Backs Out Of The Race?

Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClear Wire,

President Biden has declared he’s running for a second term, but it’s far from certain he actually will. His infirmity and low poll numbers raise serious doubts. His physical decline shows when he walks or climbs the stairs of Air Force One. His cognitive decline shows when he refuses to hold press conferences or answer even the simplest questions, like how he feels about the devastating fires in Maui. His decline in the public’s estimation shows when pollsters ask Americans how they’re doing. Four out of five answer, “Not good. Not good at all.”

Voters also say they don’t want another general election choice like the last one. So many votes in 2020 were negative ones “against the worse candidate,” not in favor of the better one. They don’t want another grudge match between two unpopular candidates.

Biden’s dismal poll numbers form a somber backdrop for his reelection campaign. That backdrop is even darker now that his health problems are so visible. These mounting problems may not prevent him from running, but they do lessen the chances. True, he keeps saying he is running. But, like all politicians, he may be deceiving the public or himself. The biggest “tell” is that Biden is avoiding the very things active candidates do. He’s not campaigning. He’s not attending a lot of small events with big donors. He’s not running ads. He’s not using the White House’s bully pulpit to address the nation on our challenges and his response to them.

Still, those signs are not definitive. Biden might be lying low because the Republicans are fighting among themselves. Why get in their way? Better to wait until late autumn to ramp up his campaign.

He might be unsure if he really is running, uncertain if he is up to the arduous task, physically and mentally.

Or he might have already decided, privately, that he will not run but is delaying the announcement since it would immediately turn him into a powerless lame duck.

At this point, it’s impossible to know what he has decided. He might not know himself. But it is well worth considering the implications if Biden limits himself to one term and waits until late fall or early spring to make the announcement.

The first implication is that a late withdrawal favors some Democratic candidates over others. It favors those with high name recognition, existing campaign operations, and the ability to fund expensive national efforts, either from outside donations or their own pockets. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already established his campaign-in-waiting and can raise lots of money, especially from big donors in his home state. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is a billionaire who can fund his own run and has begun setting up a national team. Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, by contrast, would be several steps behind and would need to raise a lot of money quickly to become a viable candidate. So would Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, or others who might step into the wide-open race. One candidate who is already running, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., would stay in the race, trading on his family name rather than his conspiracy-fueled ideas.

Interestingly, no one in the Biden cabinet seems poised to make a run. That lackluster group is the faceless front of the administrative state. The only name even mentioned is Pete Buttigieg, and that very seldom. The one-time darling of the media has faded from consideration amid his troubled tenure at the Transportation Department. He’s the Beto O’Rourke of this round.

The second consequence of a Biden withdrawal would be a fight over the future of Kamala Harris. She is the least popular vice president in polling history, and for good reason. Voters think she’s incompetent, inauthentic, and inarticulate, an empty-calorie word salad without any policy achievements. She’s the living embodiment of the “Peter Principle,” where people keep getting promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. She has reached that lofty level, just as Dan Quayle did during George H.W. Bush’s presidency.

Kamala’s bleak showing in the polls is particularly striking because she took office with enthusiastic support from every legacy media outlet. They loved her, even though ordinary Democratic voters did not. In fact, those voters were so sour on Kamala that she withdrew before the first primary or caucus in 2020. She was polling near zero. She could raise money, at least initially, but she couldn’t raise enthusiasm or votes. She still can’t. With each failure, she tries to reintroduce herself to the public. It hasn’t worked.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Kamala’s presence as second-in-line poses a thorny problem, whether Biden runs or not. If he runs, she’s an albatross on the ticket because voters are worried Biden might not make it through a full second term. They really, really don’t want to see Harris step into the Oval Office by default.

If Biden decides not to run, Harris poses a different problem. She is the country’s highest-ranking African-American officeholder in a party built around identity politics and strong turnouts by blacks, especially black women. That dependence on black votes is why Biden picked her in the first place (remember, he promised to pick a black woman), and it’s why he cannot drop her from the ticket. If Biden doesn’t run and Harris sinks to the bottom in an open primary, the result could alienate a vital constituency and depress turnout in that crucial group.

The third implication concerns Hunter’s legal troubles, which touch on other family members and the patriarch himself. The president could solve the legal peril instantly by pardoning family members who face criminal exposure. Biden’s press secretary rejected the possibility. Asked if Hunter might receive a presidential pardon, Karine Jean-Pierre replied with a single word: “No.”

The White House knows the uproar – and political damage – a pardon would cause. It would imply guilt, impede a full disclosure of all criminal acts, gut the very notion of unbiased justice, and appear nakedly self-serving.

The Bidens’ political and legal problems are not merely that family members made a lot of money, but that they made it while Joe Biden was vice president and made it without any visible business skills. Equally important, the money came from foreign businesses in the very countries where he directed U.S. foreign policy, at President Obama’s behest. The family leveraged Biden’s official position for some $20-40 million, funneled through an opaque web of LLCs. They were selling political connections and access, not business expertise. The LLCs were formed when Joe Biden was vice president and had no legitimate business purpose.They were designed to hide to sources and distribution of income.

The president’s direct involvement in these schemes is still murky. Proving he knew, or worse, aided them, is the goal of Republican House investigations and a possible impeachment inquiry.

Whether or not any felonies can be proven, such as money laundering or Hunter’s failure to register as a foreign agent, is an open question. Not that the Department of Justice has pursued them vigorously. Quite the contrary. Their lax treatment of the president’s family and suppression of the IRS investigation is a scandal in its own right.

If President Biden does eventually pardon his family, the ensuing uproar would end his administration’s political life and lead inexorably to an impeachment vote. That’s why the president would be well advised to wait beyond the November election before giving his family a “get out of jail free” card. Even then, it would trash his legacy.

What about Republicans? What would Biden’s withdrawal mean for them? At this stage, it’s impossible to know. It’s too early to tell if it would hurt or help Trump, either in the primaries or the general election. One possibility is that a new face on the Democratic side would encourage Republicans to pick a new face themselves. But there are still too many unknowns to have any confidence in a prediction.

One thing we do know is that Biden’s promise to run for a second term does not guarantee he will stay in the race. He could still decide he’s too old, too infirm, or too unpopular to make the arduous uphill climb. And we know one more thing: If Joe Biden does pull out, his decision will send shockwaves across the American political landscape.

Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security. He can be reached at

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/30/2023 - 23:00
Published:8/30/2023 10:19:19 PM
[Celebrity] Game, Set, Match: All the Celebrities at the 2023 U.S. Open Including Barack and Michelle Obama, Anna Wintour and Lindsey Vonn. Published:8/29/2023 9:41:50 AM
[Markets] Save The Rule Of Law By Destroying It? Save The Rule Of Law By Destroying It?

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

Some truths are so staggering in their ramifications that Americans simply shrug and tune them out as if strangers in a strange land.

Is their current bewilderment because modernist America is unrecognizable —a nonexistent border, downtown homeless juxtaposed to hipster professional elites, DEI racial essentialism, cities reverting to precivilizational wastelands, millions exiting blue states to red, an FBI and DOJ gone rogue, the normalization of violent theft and assault, biologically born men sandbagging women’s sports and their locker room privacy?

We are reaching the point where the once unbelievable has become the banal, as a single generation has done its best to undo the work of a prior 12 generations.

Consider the following:

Three leftwing prosecutors are criminalizing politics with more than 90 simultaneous indictments of Donald Trump, the ex-president and currently the leading Republican primary candidate. While New York prosecutor Letitia James is hounding Trump with a $250 million state lawsuit against the Trump organization and family, on the pretense of supposedly Trump overvaluing his real estate and filing inaccurate financial statements.

Is there any Mafia don, mass murderer, or terrorist who has faced so many indictments or suits in so many jurisdictions at almost the same time?

The prosecutors’ immediate lawfare agendas seem transparent enough. They wish to bankrupt candidate Trump with endless legal costs, and humiliate him with his mugshot blasted over the Internet, and put endless Lilliputian legal ropes over a shackled candidate Gulliver, and inflate the ego and agendas of local prosecutors, and purportedly earn Trump empathy enough to win the nomination only to be hemorrhaged with still more indictments, gag orders, and court appearances to bleed him out in the general election.

Americans ask themselves questions whose answers are never given. Why are all these Trump prosecutors leftwing or with Democratic connections?

Would any of the 90 something indictments for “crimes” of years past have been lodged against a citizen Trump who had retired from politics?

Why are these indictments of alleged wrongdoing of years ago now in summer 2023 suddenly being synchronized in leftwing jurisdictions of New York, Washington, Miami, and Atlanta with the beginning of the 2024 election cycle?

Are any of the indictments against Trump also applicable to others?

Alvin Bragg’s charge of campaign finance violations (Hillary Clinton, 2016)?

Jack Smith’s allegations of encouraging mass civil unrest (Kamala Harris, 2020)?

Illegally removing and possessing classified federal documents (Joe Biden 2009-2022)?

Letitia James’s lawsuit alleging financial irregularities and fraud (Al Sharpton 2009-2014)?

Fani Willis’s claim that Trump was seeking to sabotage the constitutional duties of state electors (Martin Sheen, and an array of B-list Hollywood actors, 2016) and colluding to interfere with an election (Fani Willis 2023-4)?

Will any losing Republican candidate in a contested election any longer question the integrity of questionable balloting—in the manner of Vice President Al Gore in 2000, Sen. Barbara Boxer and 32 Democratic congressional representatives in 2004, candidate Jill Stein or Hillary Clinton in 2016, or Stacey Abrams 2018—and thereby risk financially and career-crimpling indictments?

Will conservative district attorneys in places like Wyoming, Alabama, or West Virginia now seek to indict a Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or Gavin Newsom to earn notoriety, to weaken the opposing party, and to leapfrog to higher office in the manner that we should expect a Fani Willis or Alvin Bragg to be currently planning?

When Republicans retake the Congress and White House, will they begin indicting all the weaponized prosecutors who colluded to exempt a grifting Hunter Biden for five years? Will they try Joe Biden as a private citizen for his prior corruption over the last 15 years?

Why would Donald Trump believe the 2020 election was “rigged?” Was he cribbing that belief from liberal journalist Molly Ball’s braggadocious 2021 Time essay? After all, she outlined what she called a leftwing “cabal” and “conspiracy” to change voting laws, turn on/turn off the 2020 Antifa/BLM street protests, absorb the work of registrars, and suppress unwelcome social media news.

Was it more morally suspect to question the ethics surrounding the election year 2020 or for Mark Zuckerberg to infuse $419 million to absorb in asymmetrical fashion the work of the registrars in key swing precincts?

A Cardboard Cutout President

We are witnessing the daily deterioration of President Biden to the point that caricature and jokes about his senility are no longer funny. He is not just an embarrassment but becoming an existential danger to the country. Does anyone believe that in a national crisis over Taiwan or nuclear escalation in Ukraine, Joe Biden would or could make the final decision?

Biden cannot finish a teleprompter sentence without slurring his words, losing his place, or screaming and whispering in incoherent fashion. If that is his public persona, what he is like in private sessions of governance?

He spontaneously both shouts angrily and creepily whispers for effect. Moving a lightweight aluminum beach chair becomes a Herculean task.

In almost every impromptu speech Biden flat-out lies or spins self-serving autobiographical fantasies—often in the midst of foreign dignitaries, grieving families, and refugees from devastating natural disasters.

Biden often does not know where he is on stage or where he is to enter or exit. He is one fall from oblivion.

Not since Woodrow Wilson’s final year in office, has any president simply been unable to fulfill his duties, both physically and cognitively.

Or perhaps the country is in the same position as when an ailing Franklin Roosevelt in late 1944 was deemed just hale enough to get elected and continue Democratic control of the White House, but deemed not healthy enough to finish his first year in office—necessitating the rapid removal from the ticket of the socialist Vice President—and an otherwise likely 1945 President—Henry Wallace.

Yet there has been almost no serious speculation in Congress or among the cabinet about invoking the 25th Amendment. This silence is doubly strange given the Left’s former fixation between 2017-21 with removing Trump by any means possible—including invoking the 25th Amendment.

That silly effort led to the surreal—the acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and the deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein scheming to wiretap Trump in private conversations to reveal his supposed craziness–or the Congress dragging in an incompetent Yale psychiatrist to testify that at a distance she had diagnosed Trump as demented.

Do we recall ex-Pentagon officials and officers talking openly about a military coup to remove the supposedly touched commander in chief?

Our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs contacted the head of the People’s Liberation Army to warn him that Trump might be unhinged. So is Gen. Mark Milley now making yet another call to Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to warn him that Joe Biden is dangerously disturbed?

It is precisely that entire cast of characters that now sit mum as Joe Biden believes we are fighting in Iraq against the Russians or that his late son Beau died in action in Iraq, or it is impossible to square the tens of millions of dollars that flowed from abroad to the Biden accounts with any concrete expertise rendered or income reported as taxable.

Is the tolerance of Biden’s senescence because his blank stares and mental confusion prove useful to the Left by exempting the president from offering any defense of his mostly defenseless policies or defending his absurd claims to know nothing of the Biden family grifting operations that were predicated on his own offices?

Or do the puppeteers, the Obamas, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the hard leftists of the party find a non-compos mentis Biden mannequin a useful veneer in pushing through their extreme agendas? Or does the media call the shots, especially after they propelled a basement bound Biden to the White House?

Mainstreaming Corruption

There have been a few corrupt presidents in our past, who (as in the case of Lyndon Johnson) left office far richer than when they entered or were surrounded by rogues (Grant and Harding) or were masters of leveraging and grifting long-term contracts and networks in their lame duck tenures to ensure their impending multimillionaire status the day they left office (the Clintons and Obamas).

But never in memory has an entire extended presidential family been involved in selling influence for millions of dollars in quid pro quo lucre—the vast majority of such ill-gotten gains likely untaxed, by being channeled through sham companies, foreign deposits, fake names and alias email accounts.

Never has a corrupt presidential family itself offered so much proof of its own guilt. Do the Democrats have any idea of the smelly Biden albatross hanging about their collective necks?

How much longer can they continue to dismiss the communications on the Hunter Biden laptop?

Or the testimonies of IRS whistleblowers?

Or the assertions of Biden family business associates?

Or the statements of relevant Ukrainian oligarchs?

Or the latest assertions of Viktor Shokin?

Or the extraordinary efforts of the Bidens to stonewall subpoenaed documents, use fake names and shadow email accounts, compromise federal prosecutors, appoint sham special counsels, and use media toadies to the point of embarrassment to hide the ugly truth?

In sum, what were the Bidens so afraid of that prompted them to corrupt the DOJ and FBI to stonewall any discussion of the huge cash infusions that came from abroad into their family coffers?

Americans have impeached or nearly impeached presidents before for abuse of power, lying under oath, or supposedly using government to pursue their own personal agendas or harass their enemies.

But never has a president been so clearly compromised by bribery from shady foreign government-related grandees in expectation of favorable treatment.

In other words, there is growing evidence that Joe and Hunter Biden, and likely Jim Biden as well, made millions of dollars on the hopes that then Vice President Biden, and perhaps one day a future president Biden, would alter or compromise U.S. foreign policy on the expectation of getting rich.

The State Department’s Ukraine team deemed Viktor Shokin making progress in rooting out corruption. So why did Joe Biden without consultation fire him? Did Biden put his own financial interests above the country’s—in a fashion that the Founders worried was impeachable “treason?”

If the current investigations are not halted or compromised, we may soon learn why the Constitution explicitly specified bribery and treason as an ironclad cause for impeachment.

Can Americans even comprehend that they have elected a dishonest man to the presidency who is protected by his own senility, his decades-long everyman construct of ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton, his usefulness as a prop to the radical leftwing agenda, and the defensive and offensive weaponization of the criminal justice system?

Can Americans digest that instead of campaigning against Donald Trump, outdebating him, outspending him, and outfoxing him, their government must unleash kindred prosecutors to destroy Trump by blowing up the entire tradition of blind American jurisprudence?

Are the media and left claiming that to save the rule of law from Trump, they must first destroy it?

Tyler Durden Mon, 08/28/2023 - 18:20
Published:8/28/2023 5:35:43 PM
[] Quick Hits Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, the citizen who dared ask a question of the Anointed Race-King Barack Obama (and got himself investigated by Democrat bureaucrats abusing their offices for having shown such scandalous temerity), has died... Published:8/28/2023 5:05:49 PM
[Politics] ‘Joe The Plumber,’ who rose to fame after confronting Obama on 2008 campaign trail, dead at 49 Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who became known as "Joe the Plumber" after garnering national media attention for confronting then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on the 2008 campaign trail, died Sunday, his wife Katie Wurzelbacher confirmed Monday in an email to Fox News Digital. He was 49. Published:8/28/2023 11:36:37 AM
[Markets] "Yes, They Were Being Bribed": Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption "Yes, They Were Being Bribed": Fired Ukraine Prosecutor Corroborates Biden Corruption

Victor Shokin, the fired Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Biden family corruption (that Donald Trump was impeached for asking about) has spoken out for the first time since 2019 - and says the Bidens did it.

To review - Shokin had an active and ongoing investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, according to a 2020 US Senate Committee report.

Zlochevsky, who hired Hunter Biden to sit on his board, granted his own company (Burisma) permits to drill for oil and gas in Ukraine while he was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. Shokin stated in a 2019 deposition that there were five criminal cases against Zlochevesky, including money laundering, corruption, illegal funds transfers, and profiteering through shell corporations while he was a sitting minister.

Now, Shokin tells Fox News that be believes the Bidens were taking bribes.

"I do not want to deal in unproven facts. But my firm personal conviction is that yes, this was the case. They were being bribed," Shokin told the outlet. "The fact that Joe Biden gave away $1 billion in U.S. money in exchange for my dismissal - my firing - isn't that alone a case of corruption?" he asks in another clip.

The full interview with Shokin will air Saturday evening at 8pm ET with Brian Kilmeade.

According to the White House, Fox News is giving a "platform to lies" by airing the interview.

Republicans, meanwhile, aren't letting this one go.

Earlier this week we noted that memos obtained by Just the News via FOIA request reveal that the Obama Administration was still actively communicating with Shokin after Biden's December 2015 threat to withhold $1 billion in US aid unless then-President Petro Poroshenko fired him.

The memos reveal:

  • Senior State Department officials sent a conflicting message to Shokin before he was fired, inviting his staff to Washington for a January 2016 strategy session and sent him a personal note saying they were “impressed” with his office's work.
  • U.S. officials faced pressure from Burisma emissaries in the United States to make the corruption allegations go away and feared the energy firm had made two bribery payments in Ukraine as part of an effort to get cases settled.
  • A top U.S. official in Kyiv blamed Hunter Biden for undercutting U.S. anticorruption policy in Ukraine through his dealings with Burisma.

Meanwhile, nobody else seems interested in what Shokin has to say.


Tyler Durden Sat, 08/26/2023 - 14:00
Published:8/26/2023 1:38:16 PM
[] Black Poverty Skyrockets Under Joe Biden Published:8/26/2023 10:49:44 AM
[Markets] "I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures": Sex Workers F**ked By Crypto "I Just Want To Sell Titty Pictures": Sex Workers F**ked By Crypto

Sex workers - who frequently face financial discrimination, losing access to payment apps and banking apps such as PayPal, Venmo and CashApp due to their profession - began using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as an alternative for payments, which bypass traditional banking systems and avoid service fees from platforms such as OnlyFans.

According to data by the Free Speech Coalition, 2/3 of sex workers have lost access to a bank account or financial service, with 40% having an account closed within the last year, Wired reports.

"I just want to sell titty pictures," said Allie Eve Knox, a professional dominatrix and fetish performer. "I never wanted to be an expert in financial discrimination."

After starting out in sex work in 2014, Knox, like others in the field, has become something of a financial pariah. The first to ban her were the payment apps—PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp—which prohibit the sale of adult content as policy. But then Knox lost her bank account too. It took a week to recover her money.

Nine years on and 30-plus bans later, Knox is jaded: “I don’t want to have to know how to run money to different places. I don’t want to deal with any of this bullshit.” -Wired

Another sex worker, Allie Rae, an ICU worker by training, began posting on OnlyFans when her husband was placed on work furlough. After a short period of time, she was making nearly $500,000 per month more than her day job - but she says she quickly ran into trouble.

After her OnlyFans account was discovered by her employer, she was fired. She also found that realtors shunned her, lenders refused to extend a mortgage and accountants ghosted her. Rae eventually established a corporation to run her business through, however no major bank would open a business account.

"Left and right, it’s been a struggle," she told the outlet. "I was very naive—I didn’t understand the magnitude of the discrimination."

In short, in a world that embraces the gig economy, where YouTubers and Instagram influencers can become millionaires, sex workers have found themselves in a peculiar form of exile.

Crypto: false hope

Given the systemic discrimination throughout the banking sector, many sex workers have turned to cryptocurrencies as a means of both storing wealth and accepting payment. For a while, things were great. Digital currencies allowed customers to pay discreetly without supplying personal information, while sex workers now had a way to bypass the banking system entirely.

Knox, for example, began accepting crypto in 2014 - holding up a QR code through which viewers could tip her in crypto.

Another sex worker, former escort-turned-porn star Lira Roux, told the outlet that she began to accept crypto in 2015 at the request of clients. Initially, she would exchange the crypto for dollars, however when new laws came into effect - after which many adult-friendly advertising sites were barred from accepting regular money - she began to pay for ads with crypto too.

"By and large, crypto is useful for people that aren’t being taken care of properly by the government," Roux said. "For sex workers, who aren’t well-served by banks, it becomes a useful option."

Now, thanks to regulatory scrutiny which has gone into overdrive since the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, sex workers are 'bumping up' against limitations - and are finding that 'decentralized' crypto is no more detached from the banking system than traditional currency - as sex workers are finding it increasingly difficult to convert crypto into dollars. Typically, this is done via an exchange, which then allows one to withdraw to a traditional bank account. Sex workers are now being banned from crypto exchanges.

"You get on an exchange for as long as you can, until they shut your ass down," said Knox. "You quickly [run out of exchanges], so you sit on a lot of useless money. The whole ‘crypto is permissionless and censorship-resistant’ thing is a bunch of bullshit."

In the US, full-service sex work (also known as prostitution) is illegal in every state but Nevada, but pornography and online sex work are legal under the First Amendment. Irrespective of this distinction, banking access has been a problem for the entire sex work community since at least the 1960s, says Mike Stabile, director of public affairs at the FSC, and has only become more acute.

The issue was exacerbated a decade ago by a program launched by the Obama administration, under which banks were warned that a collection of industries posed an “elevated risk” of fraud, including pornography. Now known as Operation Chokepoint, the initiative was found by investigators not to have constituted a deliberate attempt to disrupt disfavored businesses, but is nonetheless said to have led banks to sever ties with the adult sector.


(Knox suspects she has ended up on a blacklist at Plaid, a provider of technology plumbing to large crypto exchanges like Gemini, Kraken, and Robinhood, leading to the repeated bans. Freya Petersen, spokesperson for Plaid, says no such list exists, but that all firms that wish to use its services are subject to a standard risk assessment process, factoring in the industry in which they operate.) -Wired

When banks blacklist sex workers, they rarely justify their actions. In one case, porn star Alana Evans, president of the Adult Performance Artists Guild (APAG) was told by Wells Fargo that her account - opened in the mid-1990s, would be closed as part of "ongoing reviews" related to the bank's responsibility to "manage risks."

The industry lockout means that sex workers can't enjoy the convenience factors provided by Venmo or other payment platforms, and forces them to rely on OnlyFans and Fansly, which handle payouts but not before taking a sizable chunk of their income.

Given this environment, many sex workers turn to friends or spouses (or pimps) to act as a custodian of their finances, exposing them to potential abuse.

"One of the ways traffickers control victims is by controlling their finances," said Jessica Van Meir, founder of MintStars, an adult-friendly NFT subscription platform, and a PhD candidate at Harvard specializing in women's informal labor. "The irony is that banks exclude sex workers largely for fear of liability for sex trafficking, but by discriminating against sex workers, they put them at higher risk of sex trafficking."

How fucked is that?

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/25/2023 - 20:30
Published:8/25/2023 7:40:42 PM
[] The Week In Woke: Experts Abound Edition Sex-"change" surgeries nearly tripled in the US from 2016 to 2019 due to Obama-imposed policies. The number of gender surgeries in the US nearly tripled in the three years up until 2019 -- driven by insurance policy changes introduced by... Published:8/25/2023 5:47:01 PM
[Markets] Gingrich Says Biden Behavior In Maui 'Just Plain Frightening' As MSM Triggered Over 'Nodgate' Gingrich Says Biden Behavior In Maui 'Just Plain Frightening' As MSM Triggered Over 'Nodgate'

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News (emphasis ours),

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich encapsulated Joe Biden’s jaw droppingly disastrous fly by of Maui on Monday, calling it “beyond just being heartless.”

“I think this visit to Maui frankly is just plain frightening,” Gingrich said, adding “How can you have a commander-in-chief who is totally out of touch with reality, who makes up a story which is a lie, who has no understanding of the scale of the disaster which has occurred, who has literally has no empathy for the human beings around him. And I think, and of course as you point out, can’t even stay awake.”

“This guy is nuts,” Gingrich urged of Biden, adding “He is out of touch with reality. How can you stand in Lahaina surrounded by death and talk about your ’67 Corvette?”

As we highlighted, Biden visited the scenes of the horrific blaze and was cracking jokes and comparing it to a small kitchen fire that happened in his house in 2004, quipping “I nearly lost my Corvette and my cat.”

“Frankly as an American, I am ashamed,” Gingrich stated, adding “to realize almost like Pompeii in Italy, you have families, entire families who were burned to death. I saw one report that firefighters are having a very hard time psychologically going from house to house because the scenes of little children, the scenes of families who had gathered in the bathtub and the shower trying to find one last place where there was water.”

Gingrich continued, “I think that people need to look at this not as a political problem but as a national problem.”

“We have a commander-in-chief, makes you wonder who’s making the decisions in the White House. I personally have a hunch it’s Barack Obama. You have to wonder how is the system running in a real crisis? How could Joe Biden decide anything? It would all be delegated,” he further asserted.

“It really worries me that this is the guy who’s commander in chief for the most powerful military in the world and believe me every leader on the planet watches Joe Biden collapsing and knows that the U.S. Is beginning to be available as the victim,” Gingrich emphasised.

“I would say he’s closer to being a sleeper-in-chief than he is to being a commander-in-chief,” he further proclaimed.

*  *  *

[ZH]: And of course, the MSM - while completely ignoring Biden's tone-deaf lie about his wife, car and cat, is pouncing on Biden's apparent nodding off, insisting that he was 'bowing his head solemnly.'

Which were promptly mocked...

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/23/2023 - 14:05
Published:8/23/2023 1:23:28 PM
[World] Stop the nonsense: Impeachment as a political tool On December 18, 2019, Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. The impeachment was literally based on a third-hand conversation between an intelligence officer working in the White House as an Obama holdover and two men who, shortly after telling their story to the intel officer, took jobs with Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats' chief prosecutors in the impeachment hearings. Published:8/23/2023 1:08:56 PM
[Markets] Wake Up! Wake Up!

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via,

The last three and a half years have been times of enormous upheaval.

It has affected politics, economics, culture, media and technology. It’s not just about the spreading of economic, cultural and demographic decay. Millions and billions of lives have been wrecked, to be sure, but there is also a big impact on the way we see the world around us.

What we once trusted, we now doubt and even disbelieve as a matter of new habit. The simple categories of understanding that we once deployed to make sense of the world have been tested, challenged and even overthrown. Old forms of ideological commitments have opened their way to new.

This particularly pertains to intellectuals. Or should in any case.

If you have not shifted your thinking in some respect over these years, you are either a prophet, asleep or in denial.

The way social media works today, influencers are reluctant to admit it lest risk their followings built out of a prior cultural landscape. This is really too bad.

There is nothing wrong with changing, adapting, migrating and calling out truth even if that contradicts what you once said or how you used to believe.

There is no need to change your principles or ideals. What should change in light of evidence is your evaluation of the problems and threats, your outlook on the relative priorities of focus, your perceptions of the functionality of institutional structures, your awareness of issues and concerns about which you had limited prior knowledge, your political and cultural allegiances and so on.

These days, this intellectual migration seems mainly to have affected the left. Nearly daily I find myself having the same conversations with people in person, on the phone or online. It is from an Obama voter and someone with traditionally “liberal” allegiances.

The COVID era utterly shocked them in what they discovered about their own tribe. They aren’t liberal at all.

They supported universal quarantine, forced face coverings and then mandatory jabs pushed by a tax-funded corporate monopoly. Concerns about human rights, civil liberties and the common good suddenly evaporated. Then of course they turned to the most blunt instrument of all: censorship.

The trauma felt by principled people who imagined themselves to be “on the left” is palpable.

But the same is true of people “on the right” who were aghast to observe that it was Trump and his administration that greenlighted lockdowns, spent many trillions forcing COVID compliance and then threw public monies at Big Pharma to rush a shot by bypassing all standards of necessity, safety and effectiveness.

The promise to “make America great again” ended in wreckage coast-to-coast. For Trump partisans, this realization that it all happened under their hero is hard to take, a triangulating rope-a-dope.

Even more strangely, it was the “never Trumpers” on the right who most strongly supported lockdowns, masking and shot mandates.

The libertarians are another story entirely, one that nearly surpasses understanding. Among the higher echelons of this faction in academia and think tanks, the silence from the start and even years later was truly deafening.

Instead of standing up to totalitarianism, as the whole of the intellectual tradition had prepared them to do, they deployed their clever heuristics to justify outrages against core freedoms, even the freedom to associate.

So yes, observing one’s own tribe collapse into craven careerism and coercion is disorienting. But the problem goes even deeper. The most striking alliance of our time has been to observe the lockstep of the elites in government, media, tech and academia.

The reality blows apart the traditional binary of public vs. private that has dominated ideological discussion for centuries.

This binary is nicely represented by the sculpture in front of the Federal Trade Commission.

It shows a man holding back a horse. It’s man vs. beast, completely different species and totally different interests, one demanding to move forward and the other holding it back.

The point of the sculpture is to celebrate the role of government (man) in controlling trade (industry). The contrary position would condemn government for controlling industry.

But what if the sculpture is pure fantasy even at its very structure?

In reality, the horse is either carrying the man or pulling a cart that carries the man. Are they cooperating together in a partnership that is allied against consumers, stockholders, small businesses, the working classes and people more generally?

That realization — the very essence of what was revealed to us in the course of the COVID response — utterly shatters core presumptions behind the dominant ideologies of our times and going far back in time.

That realization requires a recalibration from honest thinkers.

I had to reevaluate my own cherished beliefs about markets and politics, which was painful in many ways. But it was necessary.

Below, I take you on that journey — and show you why we must adjust our thinking to adapt to new realities. Read on.

The Scales Fell From My Eyes

I was going through an archive of writings from the 2010s in search of some insight or possibly something to reprint. I found many hundreds of articles. None of them jumped out at me as necessarily wrong but I found myself rather bored with their superficiality. Yes, they are entertaining and fascinating in their way but what precisely did they reveal?

There was no consumer product unworthy of rhapsodic celebration, no pop tune or movie that didn’t reinforce my biases, no new technology or company undeserving of my highest praise, no trend in the land that was contrary to my conception of progress all around us.

It’s exceedingly difficult to recreate an older state of mind but let me try. I saw myself as a composer of hymns to material progress all around us, a cheerleader of the glories of all market forces. I lived with this public-private binary.

All that was good in the world came from the private sector and all that was evil came from the public sector. That easily became for me a simplistic, good vs. evil conception of the great struggle, and also blinded me to the ways that these two ideal types play together in real life.

Armed with this ideological weaponry, I was ready to take on the world.

And so Big Tech came in for massive celebration from me, even to the point that I completely ignored warnings of capture and surveillance. I had a model in mind — migration to the digital realm was emancipatory while attachment to the physical world was mired in stagnation — and nothing could shake me from it.

I had also implicitly adopted an “end-of-history” style of triumphalist thinking that befits the generation that saw freedom win the great Cold War struggle.

And so the final victory of liberty was always at hand, at least in my fevered imagination.

This is why the lockdowns came as such a shock to me. It flew in the face of the linear structure of historical narrative that I had constructed for myself in order to make sense of the world.

This is why the best comparison of the COVID years might be to the Great War, the global calamity that was simply not supposed to happen based on the wild optimism cultivated during the Gilded and Victorian epochs of decades earlier.

The very foundations of peace and progress had gradually eroded, and prepared the way for terrible war, but that generation of observers did not see it happening simply because they were not looking for it.

To be sure, and uniquely so far as I can tell, I had been writing about the prospect of pandemic lockdowns for the previous 15 years. I read their research, knew of their plans and followed their germ games. I drummed up awareness and called for hard limits on what the state could do during a pandemic.

At the same time, I had become accustomed to treating the academic and intellectual worlds as something external to the social order. In other words, I never once believed that these cockamamie ideas would ever leak into our own lived realities.

Like so many others, I had come to regard intellectual discussion and debate as a challenging and most enjoyable parlor game that had little impact on the world. I knew for sure that there were crazy people extant who dreamed of universal human separation and the conquering of the microbial planet by force.

But I had presumed that the structures of society and the trajectory of history embedded too much intelligence to actually implement such delusions. The foundations of civilization were too strong to be eroded by gibberish, or so I had believed.

What I had overlooked were several factors.

  • First, I didn’t understand the extent of the rise, independence and power of the administrative state and the impossibility of controlling its authority through elective representatives. I simply did not anticipate the fullness of its reach.

  • Second, I had not understood the extent to which private industry had developed a full working relationship with the structures of power in its own industrial interests.

  • Third, I had overlooked the way consolidation and cooperation had developed between pharmaceutical companies, public health, digital enterprises and media organs.

  • Fourth, I had failed to appreciate the tendency of the public mind to drop knowledge accumulated from past wisdom. For example, who would have believed that people would forget what they once knew, even from thousands of years of experience, about exposure and natural immunity?

  • Fifth, I did not anticipate the extent to which high-end professionals would give up all principles and curry favor with the new policy priorities of the government/media/tech/industry hegemon. Who knew that nothing about the main themes of patriotic songs and movies would have stuck when it most mattered?

  • Sixth, and this is perhaps my greatest intellectual failing, I had not seen how rigid class structures would feed conflicting interests between the professional class of laptop workers and the working classes who still need the physical world to accomplish their goals.

On March 16, 2020, the laptop class conspired in a forced digitalization of the world in the name of pathogenic control, and this came at the expense of some two-thirds of the population who depended on physical interactions for their livelihood and psychological well-being.

This aspect of class conflict — which I had always chalked up to be a Marxian delusion — became the defining feature of the whole of our political lives. Instead, the lack of empathy from the professional class was evident everywhere, from academic opinion to media reporting. It was a society of serfs and lords.

For those who are researchers, writers, academics or just curious people who want to understand the world better — even improve it — to have one’s intellectual operating system so profoundly disturbed is an occasion of profound disorientation. It is also a time to embrace the adventure, recalibrate and set about correcting and finding a new path.

When your ideological system and political allegiances fail to provide the explanatory power we are seeking, it is time to improve them or give them up entirely.

Not everyone is up to the task. Indeed, this is a major reason why so many want to forget about the past three and a half years. They would rather close their eyes to the new realities and default back to their intellectual comfort zones.

For any writer or thinker of integrity, this should not be an option. As painful as it might be, it is best just to admit where we went wrong and set out to discover a better path. This is why so many of us have adopted a paradigm called the “COVID test.” Few pass. Most fail. They failed in shockingly public and inexcusable ways: left, right and libertarian.

The influencers who flopped so badly in these years and have yet to own up to it deserve neither attention nor respect. Their attempt to pretend they were never wrong and then move on as if nothing much has happened is embarrassing and disreputable.

But those who come to terms with the wreckage all around us and seek to understand its causes and the way forward deserve a listen and appreciation. For it is these people who are doing their best to save the world from another round of disaster.

As for the rest, they are taking up air space and should, in a just world, be tutoring the children with learning losses and delivering meals to the vaccine-injured.

Tyler Durden Tue, 08/22/2023 - 23:25
Published:8/22/2023 10:36:50 PM
[] Quick Hits Update: Not only was the State Department pleased with the steps Ukraine was taking to fight corruption -- thus scotching the Obama/Biden defense of Biden holding up a $1 billion in aid unless the country fired the prosecutor investigating Burisma,... Published:8/22/2023 5:15:53 PM
[Markets] The 'Oliver Anthony' Gap The 'Oliver Anthony' Gap

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

Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again

–Tori Amos, “Little Earthquakes”

So, the story of Oliver Anthony and his song, “Rich Men North of Richmond” just keeps getting better and better.  

Oliver’s folk anthem for what Gary North used to call “The Remnant” and what Ron Paul deemed “The Silent Majority” has not just jumped containment it’s become a living, breathing thing.

And I can’t overstate how important this moment is.  It’s such a simple thing, his song.  And yet, simple truths speak volumes.

After making it to the top of the streaming charts at both Spotify and Apple Music, Oliver becomes a bona fide folk hero by turning down the music industry’s fundamentally dirty money $8 million of it.

He knows that money comes with an awful lot of strings; strings that would be the kind of temptations that led him to write the music he did in the first place.

Not only does he turn them down, he all but spits on their offer.  Because their offer was, in his words, “Bullshit Pay.”  Even if he doesn’t care about the money, he’s worth 10 times that now thanks to spitting in their face.  

It’s a moment where someone finally says, “It ain’t about the money.”  

It’s about “people like me and people like you.”

Ironically, when you turn down the big money, when you don’t sell out, that’s when the real money gets made, especially in this age of crowdfunding and the ability of content creators to bypass the corporate gatekeepers.

If you have any doubts about this, if your emotional armor goes up and you immediately start looking for the man behind the curtain laying AstroTurf, I’m going to do something I never do…  I’m linking to *shudder* a Facebook page, so you can read this man’s story yourself.

Here’s the link.  

Stop reading my pablum and read his tale, because it’s the kind of thing that speaks directly to why he turned the money down.

The pay comes from hearing the stories, feeling the pain and anguish of people moved by his music.

That’s real capital. People are happy to spend money on real things that give them value. They feel honored to support someone who speaks for them. And with that comes the responsibility to keep it as real as possible, because tomorrow is another struggle.

Ask me how I know this…

Authenticity Is the Real Coin of the Realm

One of the very first blog posts I published on Gold Goats ‘n Guns back in 2016 was called The Authenticity Gap.”  There I identified why the Millennials would be the generation that would betray the establishment and hand Trump the Presidency over Hillary Clinton.

This is a generation more aware of how screwed they are than mine was.  And while their political identity is in flux– reared on diet of Comedy Central snark as a coping mechanism for the lying — they have a near obsession with natural things – real fiber clothing, lumberjack fashion, farm-to-table food choices, etc.

They’ve turned their Masters of Social Justice into Ph.D’s in Cocktails, Cappuccinos and Craft Beers… and bless their hearts.  I can finally get a good whiskey sour when I visit my friends in South Florida.

At least now some of them are entrepreneurs.

Their cultural identity is one big cry for authenticity in a sea of smarm.  Hillary’s authenticity gap is simply too big for many millennials to square with that value system.

And that’s exactly what happened.  Many of them stayed home and some, guys like Oliver Anthony, voted for Trump.  No political analyst had guys like him modeled in 2016.

He was 23 working double-shifts in a paper mill.

Now let’s come back to the present.  Read that article again, sub out “Hillary” for the entire “Davos establishment post-COVID.”  And tell me the same issues are not about to play themselves out again.

The DNC is currently at war with itself over who should be their standard bearer. There are at least three factions I can identify by inference vying for control. Hillary is back trying to deal herself back into the club by crowing over Trump’s indictments while speaking for the Neocons desperate to keep the war in Ukraine going.

Obama is trying to hold onto his fourth term while simultaneously trying to figure out how to replace Biden and Harris before the primary season.

Someone else (Wall St.??) is taking aim at Obama now.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. playing the Bernie Sanders role but as a realist rather than a fake populist while Trump keeps doing his thing.  

For the record, where your Spidey sense should be tingling is over Vivek Ramaswamy, who looks for all the world like a stalking horse for Davos to take up the populist reins once he tests well enough to replace Trump when they put Trump in jail next year.

Fight me, bro!  But that’s what AstroTurf really looks like!

Today, the Millennials are even more shell-shocked than they were in 2016.  They now have three instances of their Boomer grandparents stealing what little is left of their future in their PTSD files.

They can see these things for what they are.

Little Heroes

Even their music has been inauthentic and they know it.  My daughter, a first-year ‘Zoomer’ by the Fourth Turning model, tells me all the time, “Dad, our music sucks.”

My reply is always pretty much, “Yup.”

Their music was purposefully vandalized just like everything else these ghoulish Davos pricks touch.

Promoting ugliness and garishness is their MO, folks.  Normalizing the absurd and the deviant is their obsession.

They lie all the time so they can blame it on the excesses of ‘capitalism’ or ‘greed.’

Then they scold us like children for our simply breathing in oxygen and out carbon dioxide while turning our children against us and into literal zombies.

Their sickness is so staggeringly vast that they have weaponized our very existence against us, taking Catholic Original Sin doctrine and turning it into yet another form of psychological torture over plant food.

There can be nothing beautiful in the world again until we submit to their truly inhuman schemes.  

They’ve stepped up their assault on us this summer; setting wild fires, terrorizing farmers, blowing up grain silos, killing dissidents and blaming all of it on Climate Change.

And now rumblings of another new deadly Canadian COVID variant is out there.  

Until we submit to them, they will parade an endless series of Skinner Box buttons to take our fear and anxiety out on each other in acts of impotent rage rather than turn our eyes North of Richmond and East of Calais.

So, yeah, if I’m Oliver Anthony and I’m genuinely pissed off at this world, I look at that $8 million and piss on it too.  Their dollars’ ain’t shit.  But ours can change everything, one or two at a time.

And that’s the thing that scares them more than anything else.  All of us looking at each other as victims of their abuse rather than rivals for a shrinking pile of cold comfort foods is the beginning of real empathy, of societal healing.

There is something so primal about music that cannot be quantified.  It’s effect on us can’t really be studied.  Properly executed the right song is a whole body experience.  It takes us out of our heads and puts us right with ourselves.  

Whenever I feel the most detached from the world it is when I realize I’m not listening to or making enough music.  

The music industry is an even bigger garden of ashes than the movie or social media industries with production that is flat and bombastic.  It screams insecurity and oppression.  They know that you know that it sucks just like a movie that gives you endless action to obscure the fact that there is no story.  

It’s audio porn.  And it’s as fake as the AI-generated thots on Instagram and the boobs on the chicks at Pornhub.

Norman Spinrad warned us about this in his insanely cool book Little Heroes back in 1987, envisioning a music industry with fake performers, glitz, sex, all the soul of a corporate boardroom having tofurky and sprouts catered in for lunch.

Recently I watched the sheer joy of a music producer like Rick Beato talking on YouTube about, the vast dynamic range of Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes.  He was nearly in tears at the mastery of the production, no less the songwriting.  It’s that ache for the authentic, the real, the connection that is now not only lacking in modern music production but purposefully kept from us.

That video alone tells you just how far the industry has fallen.

You don’t have to like Tori Amos to appreciate how a man like Rick can be so moved by that album.  

Everything is mid-heavy and in your face, compressed to hell with no soundscape. There’s no depth like in Dark Side of the Moon. There is zero chance to let the music breathe, worm its way in and bring you joy. 

Music production today is crap, cynically designed to trigger your brain into paying attention rather than stirring your soul.  

And this is why Oliver Anthony cut through the noise so easily.

Just a guy with a great voice, a couple of Go-Pros, a rented $2000 microphone, a $700 resonator and, most importantly, something to fucking say.  

Gorgeous in its simplicity.  Powerful in its honesty.  This is how you wake up the world.  Not by blaring an emergency siren at them all day, but by speaking the truth in their ear quietly. 

The media wing of the oligarchy were presented a valuable lesson last week.  And they probably didn’t hear a word of it.

Lies are expensive.  The Truth sells itself.  

Your days are numbered.  The cycle has turned.  

We don’t want your money.  We want our lives back that you stole from us one small toll at a time.

*  *  *

Join my Patreon if you have a soul.

Tyler Durden Tue, 08/22/2023 - 11:45
Published:8/22/2023 11:09:21 AM
[Markets] Rep. Gaetz Introduces Bill To Censure, Investigate Judge In Trump 2020 Election Case Rep. Gaetz Introduces Bill To Censure, Investigate Judge In Trump 2020 Election Case

Authored by Catherine Yang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is introducing a resolution to censure U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan and open an investigation into her "for showing open bias and partisanship in her official duties on the bench."

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) delivers remarks in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Judge Chutkan is overseeing a case against former President Donald Trump, brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for conspiracy in his challenge of the 2020 election results. She has already overseen many other cases related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol protest, which is being investigated by special counsel Jack Smith. About 1,000 people have already been sentenced for crimes related to the day's events, and Judge Chutkan has been known to hand down harsh prison sentences.

"Judge Tanya Chutkan’s extreme sentencing of January 6th defendants, while openly supporting the violent Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, showcases a complete disregard for her duty of impartiality and the rule of law," Mr. Gaetz said.

He appeared to be referring to remarks the judge made in one Jan. 6-related sentencing.

"People gathered all over the country last year to protest the violent murder by the police of an unarmed man," she said, referencing violent riots that erupted after the death of George Floyd. "To compare the actions of people protesting, mostly peacefully, for civil rights, to those of a violent mob seeking to overthrow the lawfully elected government is a false equivalency and ignores a very real danger that the January 6 riot posed to the foundation of our democracy."

Mr. Gaetz's resolution points to a few other cases of "open partisanship," including the fact that the Obama-appointed district judge had donated thousands of dollars to his presidential campaign, and that during another Jan. 6-related sentencing she "lamented" that President Trump "remains free to this day."

"Such partisan commentary by Judge Chutkan has been ongoing and calls into question her fitness as a judge and ... Chutkan's comments and activities on and off the bench violate all 5 canons of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges," the resolution reads (pdf).

The canons are that a judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary; avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities; perform the duties of the office fairly, impartially, and diligently; engage in extrajudicial activities that are consistent with the obligations of judicial office, and refrain from political activity.

"It is deeply concerning that a United States District Court judge would exhibit such blatant political bias from the bench," he said in a press release. "Justice may be blind, but the American people are not—we see Judge Chutkan for her actions, and we rebuke them in the greatest possible sense.”

Mr. Gaetz is proposing Judge Chutkan be censured and condemned via the resolution, and to have the House Committee on the Judiciary, on which he sits, launch an investigation seeking evidence showing that she should be removed from office on impeachment or other misdemeanors.

The Epoch Times reached out to Judge Chutkan's office for comment.

Trump on Chutkan

President Trump has been critical of Judge Chutkan in multiple social media posts given her earlier remarks.

"She obviously wants me behind bars," he wrote, describing her as "highly partisan" and "very biased and unfair."

A day after President Trump pleaded not guilty to the felony charges filed by Mr. Smith, he made a social media post: "If you go after me, I'm coming after you!" He later posted a campaign ad that claimed election interference on the part of the Biden administration.

In response, Mr. Smith's office filed a motion pointing to the initial social media post as evidence a protective order was needed. He requested the judge issue an order barring President Trump from sharing information about the case.

Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” Mr. Smith wrote in a filing (pdf).

President Trump responded on social media yet again. "No, I shouldn’t have a protective order placed on me because it would impinge upon my right to free speech," he wrote.

His legal team filed an opposing motion arguing public speech was not grounds for a gag order.

Judge Chutkan ended up issuing a limited protective order, which bars President Trump from releasing information the prosecutors label sensitive, not all information.

The prosecution has also requested a Jan. 2, 2024, trial date, with jury selection to begin as early as Dec. 11.

On Thursday, President Trump's legal team proposed a April 2026 trial date, arguing that the prosecution was rushing the case.

The government’s objective is clear: to deny President Trump and his counsel a fair ability to prepare for trial," the lawyers wrote. "The Court should deny the government’s request.”

They cited a number of reasons an extension was required, including the 11.5 million pages of discovery Mr. Smith's office has already provided.

“That is the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, cover to cover, 78 times a day, every day, from now until jury selection.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 08/20/2023 - 21:30
Published:8/20/2023 8:40:37 PM
[Markets] Trump Can Prove It Trump Can Prove It

Authored by Matt Kane via American Thinker,

Establishment politicians and mainstream media have fought harder than on any other issue to convince the public that voter fraud is a conspiracy theory.  But unconstitutional changes to state election laws, unsupervised ballot drop boxes, voting machine errors, mathematically improbable voter turnout, and other examples of outright voter fraud that were denied a chance to be presented in court between the 2020 election and Biden's inauguration can't simply be chalked up as coincidental.  All those things occurring simultaneously make the fraud seem coordinated.  

In response to the most recent indictments, Trump's attorneys indicated they finally have a platform to "fully re-litigate every single issue that occurred during the 2020 election," of which there were many.  The most important issue in America may finally get its due.  

Trump's 2016 victory was fueled by flipping the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania from blue to red.  Pennsylvania and Michigan had not voted for a Republican in a general election since 1988, while Wisconsin hadn't voted for one since 1984.  Those three states delivered Trump the necessary electoral votes to become president.  It also sent a signal that blue strongholds were no longer a "given" after the people of those states were fed up with delivering victories for politicians who never went on to deliver results for them.

In addition to "Hillary Clinton's blue wall," Arizona and Georgia were also viewed as potential swing states that Trump needed to retain as previous Republican nominees did to have any chance at victory.  Twenty sixteen made it clear that those states would again decide the 2020 election.  Suspiciously, after America was forced to anxiously await the results for days following election night, those five states all "flipped" to Biden despite Trump outpacing his record 2016 turnout by even greater margins.

Even as mathematically improbable-without-being-previously-counted percentages of ballots favoring Biden continued pouring in on November 4, Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger concluded that with voter turnout already exceeding the 2016 total by 400 thousand votes, and Trump leading by over 105 thousand votes with just 2% of the vote left to count, there simply were not enough outstanding votes for Biden to win the state.

Coincidentally, as Raffensperger began stating this on live television, his connection to the program was disconnected.  But when he returned, Raffensperger doubled down.  Questioned by NBC News panelists, he said, "Even if one of the candidates got the remaining 100%, it wouldn't be enough to change the result."

Despite this determinative revelation, Raffensperger later switched gears when he told the January 6 committee, "If you looked at all the numbers, it never added up to anywhere near what could throw the election in doubt," completely contradicting his previous claim in the process.

In Michigan, a recent report exposed the scheme that delivered Biden with unprecedented amounts of ballots in the early morning hours of November 4, which included an excess of 800 thousand ballots being sent to non-qualified voters.  Michigan was allegedly decided by 154,188 votes, making the results more than questionable.

In March of 2022, former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Michael Gabelman's investigation unearthed a nursing home exploitation scheme so egregious that his suggested remedy was decertifying Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes.  Even Assembly speaker Robin Vos, previously an election fraud denier, conceded that "widespread fraud" had occurred.  Later, the state Supreme Court determined that the absentee ballot drop boxes through which 2 million votes were submitted during the election were actually illegal.  The majority opinion described the outcome as "obtained by unlawful procedures," as Wisconsin was decided by just 20 thousand votes.

There were concerns regarding Pennsylvania's voting procedure long before any votes were even cast.  The Keystone State's Senate Republican Caucus and the Republican Party strongly argued that the state Supreme Court extending the deadline to count ballots violated the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause by taking away the Legislature's authority to "set the times, places and manner of federal elections."  This was ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court just prior to Justice Barrett's confirmation.  This led to a 4-4 decision, which results in a "stay."  Had this been heard after her confirmation, it is likely Barrett would have ruled against the extensions that led to Biden's constitutionally questionable "comeback."

But of all the suspected fraud in 2020, Arizona was the first state that raised suspicions in real time.  Despite not voting Democrat in a two-candidate presidential election since 1948, Fox News shockingly called the state for Biden after just 27% of the vote was reported.  This sparked a forensic audit that concluded that the number of illegal votes exceeded Biden's alleged 11-thousand-vote victory fivefold.

When vote-counting was inexplicably halted on Election Night, Trump led all these states by six figures.  A combination of any three of these states holding would have secured him a second term, which is why Democrats fought so hard to steal them.

But even putting state-specific statistics aside, a basic analysis of election history signals the improbability of Biden receiving the number of votes he allegedly did.

Every general election since 2004 has seen between 120–130 million total votes.  The 2020 election reportedly saw 155 million votes.  There were roughly 168 million registered voters in 2020, which means that voter turnout in 2020 was an astonishing 92%.  This is statistically improbable when you consider that countries such as Australia institute compulsory voting, which mandates that citizens vote or pay a fine.  Yet its most recent turnout rate was in the high 80s.  America voluntarily outpacing a nation that financially penalizes non-voters does not pass the smell test.

Though transformational candidates can generate an uptick in voter turnout, a previously failed, two-time-primary-losing candidate such as Joe Biden is not likely to be the one who does this.  He ran in 1988 and 2008 and never won the hearts of voters.  He dropped out of the 1988 race after he was caught plagiarizing, and twenty years later was rejected by the party base again before being plucked off the scrap heap by Obama.  After serving as vice president, his public image only worsened as it became clear he was the same old Joe Biden, except he now exhibited cognitive limitations.  He won just one bellwether county and fewer than 500 total counties compared to Trump and Obama, who won roughly 2,500 and 900, respectively.  Yet as it stands, it is said Joe Biden received the most votes in American history.

President Trump did not try to "subvert" the election, nor did he secretly know he lost.  Any beyond-surface-level inspection of the 2020 election reveals its fraudulency.  Trump was not only allowed to dispute an election he felt was fraudulent, but as president was constitutionally obligated to do so.  That is the opposite of criminal.  In fact, he is one of the only public officials willing to uphold the oath he swore.  Trying to imprison him for this not only is a tall task, but also puts them at risk of allowing him to publicly prove that "The Big Lie" is the real "Big Lie."

The evidence exists for Trump to finally prove that his over two-year-old claims are valid.  All he must do now is present it.

Tyler Durden Sat, 08/19/2023 - 11:30
Published:8/19/2023 10:56:04 AM
[Markets] What If There Had Been No COVID Coup? What If There Had Been No COVID Coup?

Authored by Debbie Lerman via The Brownstone Institute,

In discussions about the military and national security coup during the Covid pandemic, people often ask me:

Would it really have been so different if the NIH and CDC had remained in charge of the pandemic response?

What if the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Council had never taken over

Wouldn’t the public health agencies have done basically the same things?

It is absolutely essential that everyone understand the answers to these questions.

They impact not just our awareness of what happened during Covid, but also our assessment of how to handle all viral outbreaks in the future.

In this article, I will describe how the response to the pandemic would have proceeded if normal public health guidelines had been followed, not just in the US but around the world, without interference from national security authorities or covert biowarfare experts

Public health guidelines

Before Covid, the guidelines for dealing with a new outbreak of a flu-like virus were clear:

  • avoid panic, 

  • search for cheap, widely available early treatments that may reduce the risk of serious illness,

  • plan to increase healthcare capacity if necessary, 

  • help local and state medical personnel to identify and treat cases if and when the virus causes serious illness, 

  • and keep society functioning as normally as possible. 

This was the approach used in all previous epidemics and pandemics. The guidelines are detailed in the planning documents of the WHOHHS, and EU countries.

When the military and national security agencies took over the response, these guidelines were replaced by a biowarfare paradigm: Quarantine until vaccine. In other words, keep everyone locked down while rapidly developing medical countermeasures. This is a response intended to counter biowarfare and bioterrorism attacks. It is not a public health response and is, in fact, in direct conflict with the scientific and ethical underpinnings of established public health principles.

Had we adhered to the public health protocols that were initially followed in the early months of 2020, life in the United States and around the world would have looked like life in Sweden during the pandemic, with even less panic: no masks, no school closures, no lockdowns, very low excess deaths. 

No panic

The reasons not to panic were apparent in early 2020 from the data we had gathered from China: the virus was deadly mainly to elderly people with multiple serious health conditions, did not cause life-threatening illness in children or in most people under 65, and did not seem poised to cause more of an increase in hospitalizations or deaths than a very bad flu season. 

It can be difficult at this point – after years of unrelenting censorship and propaganda – to remember that, at the beginning of 2020, the new virus emerging in China was not front and center in most people’s minds. The US media was busy covering election campaigns and economic issues, and the general attitude was that what was happening in China would not happen elsewhere.

Here are some examples of what medical and public health experts were saying in January, February and early March 2020:

January 30, 2020, CNBCDr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama’s White House health advisor declared that “Americans are too worried about the new coronavirus that’s spreading rapidly across China.” He added: “Everyone in America should take a very big breath, slow down and stop panicking and being hysterical.” And he explained: “I think we need to put it into context, the death rate is much lower than for SARS.”

February 27, 2020, CNN: The CNN website reported that CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield “has a simple message for Americans: No, you shouldn’t be afraid.” The website also quoted NIH Director Dr. Alex Azar saying that “most people who get coronavirus will have mild to moderate symptoms and will be able to stay home, treating it like the severe flu or cold.” And it reported that the CDC “does not recommend Americans wear surgical masks in public. Surgical masks are effective against respiratory infections but not airborne infections.”

February 28, 2020, New England Journal of MedicineDrs. Anthony Fauci and Robert Redfield wrote that “the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%” and “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).” They cited Chinese data showing that “either children are less likely to become infected, or their symptoms were so mild that their infection escaped detection.”

March 4, 2020, Slate : Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, Harvard emergency physician reassured readers that all the evidence available at the time “suggests that COVID-19 is a relatively benign disease for most young people, and a potentially devastating one for the old and chronically ill, albeit not nearly as risky as reported.” He said the mortality rate was “zero in children 10 or younger among hundreds of cases in China” and that it was important to “divert our focus away from worrying about preventing systemic spread among healthy people—which is likely either inevitable, or out of our control.”

No censorship or propaganda

If we had continued down the road of a regular public health response, opinions like these from our national public health leaders would have continued to be published and discussed openly. There would have been open discussion of the virus’s potential harms, and expert debates about various response measures. There would have been no need to censor any particular opinion or disseminate propaganda supporting any other. 

If some experts thought we should shut down the entire country (or world), they would have debated this position with those experts who thought this was a gross and dangerous overreaction. The media would most likely have taken the side of the less draconian measures, because it would have been common knowledge that the virus was not lethal for most people, and that the case fatality rate (how many people died after getting sick) was, as Fauci and Redfield reported in February 2020, around 0.1 percent in the general population, and much lower for anyone under 65.

If anyone had published a model showing millions of potential deaths based on a 2 or 3 percent or higher estimated fatality rate, their assumptions would have been openly questioned and debated, and most likely easily debunked using available data and observed fatality rates from the real world.

Here are other important topics the media would have been able to report on (as they were doing without censorship before the middle of March), had there been no intentional suppression of traditional public health guidelines, and no panic-fomenting propaganda:


Scientific and medical data from China was never considered reliable before Covid, because in a totalitarian regime it is assumed that the data must always conform to the regime’s agenda. Without censorship or propaganda, this would have remained true for everything related to Covid. The videos of people falling dead in the streets, the draconian lockdowns of millions of people, and the obviously absurd claims that the lockdowns in one area of the country had eradicated the virus everywhere for years on end, would all be openly questioned and debunked in the media.

Testing and quarantines

Without censorship or propaganda, the media would be able to invite top epidemiologists to explain to the public that once an airborne virus is widely disseminated in a population, you cannot stop it from spreading. You can use tests to help guide treatment. You can also use tests to figure out who has been exposed to the virus and is likely to have acquired immunity so they can interact safely with vulnerable populations. It would be common knowledge that it is not necessary or useful to test the entire population repeatedly or to quarantine healthy people.

Early spread 

It would have been reassuring for people to know that the virus probably started spreading before December 2019. This would mean that more people had already been exposed without getting sick or dying, which would support the low fatality estimates. It would also mean that since the virus was already widely disseminated, containment (using testing and quarantines) was not a viable or desirable objective, as experts were already stating (see Dr. Faust above).


Without unnecessary testing, the definition of a “case” would have remained what it had always been before Covid: someone who seeks medical care because they have serious symptoms. Thus, the media would report only on clusters of actual cases, if and when they emerged in different locations. There would be no ticker tapes with running numbers of asymptomatic people who tested positive. Instead of millions of positive “cases” (i.e., positive PCR tests), we would hear about hundreds or thousands of people who were hospitalized with serious symptoms, as in all previous epidemics and pandemics. This would happen in different places at different times, as the virus spread geographically. The vast majority of the population would never be counted as cases.

Natural immunity and herd immunity

Virologists and epidemiologists would be featured in the news, explaining that if you have been exposed to a virus you develop natural immunity. So, for example, if there were nurses at a hospital who had been sick with Covid, they could go back to work and not worry about getting seriously ill or spreading the virus. The public would also learn that the more people developed natural immunity, the closer we would get to herd immunity, which would mean the virus would have nowhere else to spread. Nobody would consider either of those terms a reckless strategy or a sociopathic plot to let the virus “rip” and kill large swaths of the population.

Early treatment

Doctors in China had several months experience treating Covid before observable clusters of cases emerged in other countries. They had developed treatment protocols with available drugs that they could have shared with the international medical community. The media would have reported on the efforts of researchers and doctors all over the world to find available treatments that could lower the risk of patients’ hospitalization or death. 


Without the quarantine-until-vaccine agenda, investments in vaccine development in 2020 would have been modest, and might have led to some clinical trials, although by the time they got to Phase III trials (on large numbers of patients), most people would already have natural immunity. The media would have been able to report in January 2020, as Anthony Fauci did in January 2023, that “viruses that replicate in the human respiratory mucosa without infecting systemically, including influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, endemic coronaviruses, RSV, and many other ‘common cold’ viruses” have never been “effectively controlled by licensed or experimental vaccines.” 

With a focus on early treatments and keeping most people out of the hospital and in a normally functioning society, no one would have been holding their breath waiting for a “safe and effective” vaccine to emerge after only a few months’ trials. 


Nobody would have cared about – or even heard of – variants. The discussion would have centered around who was getting seriously ill and dying, and how they could be treated to lower the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. There would be no need to know whether someone was seriously ill with Alpha, Delta or Omicron XBB1.16, because the variant would have no impact on treatment. 

Long Covid

Every viral infection brings with it the potential for long-term symptoms, yet we’ve never talked about “long flu” or “long herpes.” There was no data back in 2020 suggesting that Covid was radically different and was more likely to result in troublesome symptoms once the initial infection was resolved. Thus, the topic probably would not even have come up. If it had, experts would have explained that feeling fatigued or depressed many months after a viral infection is probably not related, and that if you did not have a serious case of the illness you were very unlikely to have any serious long-term symptoms. 

Origins of the virus

If the biodefense experts had been honest with the public, they could have explained that the virus might have leaked from a lab, but that everything we knew about it – low fatality rate, steep fatality age gradient, no ill effects for children, etc. – was still true.

At this point, there could have been open and honest public debates about the most important topics relevant to the outbreak: What is gain-of-function research, why are we doing it, and should we continue?

There would have been no cover-ups or propaganda about the virus coming from an animal source. We would never know that pangolins or racoon dogs even existed.

Why this sounds like a fantasy

Once the biowarfare cartel took over the pandemic response, there was only one objective: scare everyone as much as possible to gain compliance with lockdowns and make everyone desperate for vaccines. Public health experts, including the leaders of the NIH, CDC, and NIAID, were no longer authorized to make their own pandemic policy decisions or public announcements. Everyone had to stick to the lockdown narrative.

The forces of panic and propaganda, in the service of enormous profits for pharmaceutical and media companies, once unleashed could not be contained.

It didn’t have to be that way.

The more people understand this, the less likely they are to go along with such devastating madness in the future.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/18/2023 - 19:00
Published:8/18/2023 6:09:10 PM
[Markets] Debunking Jack Smith's Latest Indictment Against President Trump Debunking Jack Smith's Latest Indictment Against President Trump

Authored by Paul and Olivia Ingrassia via,

Efforts to sow confusion and chaos in our election systems must be confronted...

When the Supreme Court denied the State of Texas’s lawsuit in December of 2020 to challenge the integrity of that year’s general election for lack of Article III standing, there already existed an overwhelming trove of evidence of procedural abnormalities and statistical anomalies that pointed to fundamental questions about the legitimacy of the election. Well over 155 million votes were allegedly cast in that year’s cycle - the most of any vote total in presidential history, surpassing 2016’s previous record-setting high by a whopping 28 million votes. Moreover, the 2020 election not only saw the highest percentage of votes cast either by mail or absentee ballot in modern American history, but it was the first time in which election day voting represented a minority of all methods of casting ballots: fewer than one third of voters who cast their ballots in the 2020 general election did so in person on election day.

Even if there was absolutely no evidence of election fraud, the fact that more votes were cast than in any other election in American history - the majority of the ballots having been cast prior to the official election day by mail, a method of voting historically recognized as being rife with fraud, not only in the United States but other Western democracies—meant that extreme diligence and precautionary care ought to have been taken to minimize the high probability of outcome determinative error in an election of such complexity.

The winner of the 2020 election was not declared by most mainstream networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, as well as mainstream cable networks like Fox News and CNN, until November 7, four days after polls closed. 

This was the longest gap in time to declare a winner since 2000, when the outcome in that year’s presidential election was eventually settled by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.

Other serious abnormalities arose that, in a normal political climate, would have been cause for concern about overall election integrity.

For example, despite Trump having won 18 of the 19 bellwether counties that have voted for the president in every election from 1980 to 2016, the mainstream media still called the race for Joe Biden.

Moreover, the three major swing states—Florida, Iowa, and Ohio—which voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1996, all voted for Donald Trump.

Biden won only 509 counties compared with the 2,500+ won by Trump, or just 16.7 percent of all the nation’s counties, the fewest of any presidential winner in history. On top of everything else, there were high-profile, newsworthy abnormalities that occurred on election night, or in the hours and days immediately following, that plainly did not make sense.

Obviously, there was the story of the water main break in Georgia, in critical Fulton County, which occurred as vote counters were still tabulating ballots on election night.

The pipe breakage conveniently bought officials time to delay the counting of nearly 40,000 outstanding, outcome-determinative absentee ballots.

Then there were the countless stories of “ballot trafficking,” as documented in the now infamous Dinesh D’Souza film, 2000 Mules, whereby thousands of nonprofit hires, or “mules,” dumped fraudulent absentee ballots in critical swing states like Georgia and Arizona overnight, which contaminated the process and likely changed the final result of the election in those states.

There was also a patent lack of transparency in the days following the election, particularly in Democratic strongholds such as Philadelphia, where major election sites were in some cases unlawfully closed off from the public, violating their fundamental right to transparent elections despite public assurances that ballots were counted consistent with state law and were executed impartially and without political bias. It was impossible to guarantee those assurances in Philadelphia or Fulton County or Maricopa County; indeed, the public’s constitutional rights in these procedures were fundamentally violated, itself sufficient grounds to demand recounts and reforms in at least those select battleground states.

Recounts, audits, and legal challenges commenced throughout the months of November and December, many extending well beyond the “first Tuesday after the second Wednesday in December”—in other words, the codified date on which the electors for president and vice president must meet.

However, a major caveat existed: not unlike the unprecedented (and, in many cases, unlawful) manner in which certain states’ elections were carried out, the recounts and audits were conducted sloppily at best.

So as not to belabor this point, here are just a few examples:

In Georgia, where Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win the state in nearly 30 years by a minuscule 11,779 votes (or by just 0.23 percent), several audits and recounts were conducted in the weeks after election day. Statewide, the “official” Georgia hand recount resulted in Biden’s lead slimming by 1,274 votes, over ten percent of the margin of victory. It should be noted, however, as a major source of controversy, each audit occurred without signature verification: after the signed envelope containing an absentee voter’s ballot was received, the ballot was removed with no way of reconnecting the two again. 

While some argued this falls under the Georgia Constitution’s requirement of a secret ballot (though it should be noted that other states with similar secrecy requirements enable the reconnection of ballots), Georgia failed to properly audit the 2020 election and mitigate the legitimate concerns raised. Given that a majority of voters cast their ballots by mail, which led to the heightened scrutiny in the first place, it appears likely that Georgia officials lacked the requisite means to ensure the orderly count, recount, and audit of those votes.

In fact, the secretary of state’s failure to properly implement a signature verification system led to a complete overhaul of the balloting process. As a result of Georgia’s 2021 election law changes, voters now verify their absentee ballots by providing a driver’s license number or identification card. To add insult to injury, on top of the already dubious “signature verification” scheme which experts agree is a notoriously subjective process to begin with (for instance, what accounted for the general election having only 32.5 percent of the invalid signatures cured, compared to over 60 percent in the 2021 runoff?), votes from Georgia’s 159 counties were audited multiple times, yielding staggering results: an audit of Fulton County on November 16, 2020 (more than a week after the media declared Joe Biden the President-elect) found 2,600 otherwise uncounted ballots as a result of a person “not executing their job properly”; Fayette County failed to count another 2,755 votes; and several other forgotten memory cards carrying hundreds of votes were discovered across the state. The fact that Trump is facing possible federal charges for having inquired about “finding” votes in a state which indeed lost thousands of votes is an indicator of the corruption of the system.

These challenges continued for weeks on end, such that another audit was announced in Cobb County on December 14, 2020, the day on which the electors were scheduled to meet. This is the backdrop that caused the meeting of the alternate electors in Georgia, which many legal scholars have pointed out that a similar scenario unfolded in Hawaii in 1960. Hawaii had officially certified the election and sent its own electors for Nixon accordingly, but because there was an ongoing legal challenge, an alternate slate of electors was sent by a group of Democrats for Kennedy. In the 1960 case, it was the alternate slate of electors that ultimately were counted and certified.

In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots constituted about 40 percent of the ballots cast statewide (up from 4 percent in 2016). The margin of victory was a narrow 1.17 percent, and legal challenges to the election procedures occurred well into December. Following an order by Justice Alito to separate the ballots arriving after election day, a deadline to challenge the state’s mail-in votes was set a day after the “safe harbor” deadline, or the day by which states were required to resolve their election controversies. A September 2020 decision from Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court clarified state law by requiring that ballots be placed in “secrecy envelopes” in order to be counted. “Naked ballots” lacking the envelope were not to be counted, which led to significant confusion during the primary. As a result, Pennsylvania implemented massive voter education efforts to prepare election workers specifically on how to manage these ballots, which were returned without having first been placed in a secrecy envelope. It remains unclear how many “naked ballots” were cast during the 2020 general election. Likely not wholly unrelated, it is noteworthy that the 2020 general election saw a significantly lower mail-in ballot rejection rate.

In Wisconsin, the hundreds of drop boxes installed during the 2020 election to collect absentee ballots were deemed “illegal under Wisconsin statutes” by the state’s supreme court in 2022. This is particularly troublesome, considering a whopping 40.8 percent of the ballots in the 2020 election were cast by mail, compared to just 4.8 percent in 2016. Because of these illegal election law changes, as explicitly referenced by John Eastman in his memoranda, the country may never know how many votes in Wisconsin were cast and counted in accordance with the state legislature’s procedures, a state that went for Biden by just around 20,000 votes, or a 0.63 percent margin of victory. Wisconsin also saw a record high turnout rate, so much so that many observers have questioned the definition of “turnout rate” itself: 89 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin cast their ballots in 2020.

Election law challenges were not limited to Wisconsin. Several states saw improper changes to election laws by bodies other than the state legislature, in violation of Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the Constitution. While some of the lawsuits were successful in the weeks leading up to the election, others after November 3 were dismissed not on the merits but instead due to lack of standing. Regardless, many lawsuits were ongoing at the appointed time at which the electors were scheduled to meet in December. 

The President of the United States was, in the weeks following the fraudulent election, outright censored, shadow banned, and blacklisted from every major social media platform, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—his influence and reach severely undercut and silenced by a partnership of hostile government agents and private actors in Silicon Valley who harbored well-known political and personal antipathies against him. Even while still on those platforms, however, there has come to light overwhelming evidence that pro-Trump stories, or at the very least, stories perceived as anti-Biden or anti-Democratic, were shadow banned, if not outright censored, by those very same platforms. The Twitter Files shed some light onto what had happened behind the scenes. FBI agents, in collusion with censors who worked at Twitter, conspired surreptitiously to find ways to shut down content-based political speech, which should be protected speech under the First Amendment. The most damning revelation to have come out of the Twitter Files was, of course, the concerted effort to silence the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, as originally reported by the New York Post in the days and weeks leading up to November 3.

The reports of thousands of emails exchanged between Hunter and business associates over a decade-long period strongly hinted at a money laundering scheme involving the Ukrainian company Burisma, for which Hunter Biden is currently facing criminal charges, and through which the son of Joe Biden profited from his father’s lucrative contacts in foreign governments and other connections afforded by his public office. The FBI granted expedited Top Secret security clearances, normally reserved exclusively to high-ranking government officials, to members of Twitter in order to create a special portal for Twitter staff to counteract “disinformation”—which really meant any reporting that might benefit the Trump campaign at the expense of the Biden campaign. When polled, nearly 4 in 5 Americans believed that but for the censorship of the Hunter Biden story, the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, rigged procedures put to one side, would have been different.

The greatest anomaly of the 2020 general election was the political context in which the election took place: COVID-19 reset the entire paradigm. One can easily forget that in December of 2019, prior to the first reported outbreak of the pandemic on American shores, the Trump economy was raging, unemployment was at historic lows across every demographic group, global terrorism was at decades lows, and America’s future looked quite bright. Then everything changed. The majority of states radically changed their election procedures—beyond anything previously seen in American history—using the justification of national emergency, which deeply complicated the process of counting votes. Such changes included switching to “universal mail voting”—which the Left sold to the public as a “civil rights issue,” adding a veneer of moral propriety to make it easier for them to affect the outcome of the election.

The fact that so many states, such as Nevada and Vermont, made these changes permanent proves that civil rights was never the driving issue; these changes were always about maintaining power. The result of these changes meant “that millions more Americans will receive mail ballots in future elections,” as reported by Politico. The influx of new ballots has deeply muddied the waters and sowed permanent doubts about the integrity of all future elections.

As it stood, prior to the pandemic, the integrity of our elections has been put into serious doubt over years by Democrats and Republicans alike. Before 2020, election integrity was mostly a Democratic boilerplate issue: the results of the 2000, 2004, and 2016 presidential elections, in particular, were seriously undermined by Democratic lawmakers and their media allies who in many cases outright denied the legitimacy of both elections. In 2016, many leading Democrats, incredulous over the thought of Donald Trump winning the 2016 election, also discussed the possibility of sending alternate electors or supporting so-called “faithless” electors, even going as far as signing onto an attempt to sully the electors’ fight on the grounds that the Electoral College is a “deliberative process.” Then, the Left had no shame in sowing doubts about the integrity of the election process and the legitimacy of the Trump presidency, having already conjured a false narrative about Russian influence in the 2016 election, to which the American people were subject nonstop for the entire first half of Trump’s term in office.

According to the Durham Report, “neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community Appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.” It was the Crossfire Hurricane investigation launched on July 31, 2016, in the middle of the presidential election, that established the legal imprimatur for the Obama FBI to wiretap the Trump campaign. The 2020 election was carried out in the most polarized political climate since 1860. Because of our deeply polarized state of affairs, the election results were bound to be close, either way. So the fact that Trump’s administration wanted to exercise its due diligence—in light of how close our presidential elections are, including in 2020, which was decided by a mere 50,000 votes spread across a handful of states—was reasonable

Indeed, it would have been an act of grave negligence had Trump not made inquiries into the integrity of the election. His phone calls, for example, to the Georgia governor, and his demands to the Georgia secretary of state, for which he is now being investigated, and state legislatures in critical battlegrounds, like Michigan and Wyoming, is not an impeachable or indictable offense: it is an act of precautionary care, the type of action one would expect a president to carry out to meet his constitutional oath.

The words President Trump chose to communicate to Brian Kemp are far, far less important constitutionally speaking than the act itself, which was motivated by sincere worries about the legalities of the 2020 election, and out of an abundance of concern to uphold his Article II, Section 3 duty: “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The first line of Article II stipulates that “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Donald Trump, as President of the United States, therefore had a constitutional prerogative to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. 

That dozens of states changed their election procedures during an extraordinarily precarious moment in American history would indeed necessitate the kinds of actions, at a bare minimum, that Trump undertook in the days following the 2020 election, in order to meet his oath. Here are just a handful of examples:

  • Florida’s voter registration deadline was extended.

  • Pennsylvania provided for prepaid postage for mail-in and absentee ballots. The state also extended the deadline for mail-in/absentee ballots, and authorized dropbox access for the collection of such ballots.

  • Arizona’s voter registration deadline was extended.

  • Michigan sent mail-in ballot applications “automatically” to all voters for the general election.

  • Maine extended its voter pre-registration deadline for the general election.

  • Wisconsin automatically sent mail-in ballots to most voters for the general election.

The above partial list, which names just a handful of prominent swing states, only reflects the tip of the iceberg of the monumental, historic, and unprecedented changes that were unlawfully implemented by state legislatures across the country to make ballot harvesting and voting generally easier (which is to say, more susceptible to corruption) in the lead-up to the 2020 election. And this list excludes deep blue states like California and New York, which made radical changes to its voting laws, including authorizing counties to “consolidate polling places”; extending the eligibility for mail-in ballots to any person deemed unable to personally appear at the polling place because of a risk of contracting COVID; and opening “online portals” to request absentee ballots, among other revolutionary changes that made voting easier and thus significantly more vulnerable to fraud. Indeed, one can reasonably argue that the procedures themselves, of highly dubious legality again, were prima facie fraudulent. And this neglects the hundreds if not thousands of other arbitrary rule changes made nationwide on a state-by-state basis, such as mask-wearing requirements and other unprecedented, last-minute rule changes implemented in numerous states with the  purpose of maximizing Biden voters and minimizing Trump voters. 

In a country of this size under normal conditions, the changes discussed above would typically require years to implement in order to guarantee their efficacy. But the goal of electioneering in this country is no longer one of minimizing corruption to ensure a fair, orderly, and competent process—producing outcomes that every American can confidently rally around. Instead, its purpose has been reverse engineered to now sow as much confusion in the process as humanly possible, making election procedures so complicated—and the thought of conducting proper discovery in a would-be lawsuit so time consuming and arduous—that it has tragically rendered irreparable damage to the legitimacy of the entire system. 

Free and fair elections, much like equitable justice, is a foreign concept in a banana republic. The expedited timeline by which the 2020 general election procedures were changed in the name of national security is the ultimate testimony of a society that does not care any longer for competence, or fairness, or democratic governance, or putting its own interests above the voters’. Instead, it is the mark of a regime that is sinking into unmanageable corruption.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/18/2023 - 17:40
Published:8/18/2023 4:46:35 PM
[7fb6e032-3114-5b3b-92dd-b23c46773c6e] Obama-Biden admin defended use of 'alternate email addresses' long before Biden's aliases were revealed The Obama-Biden White House said in 2013 it believed using “alternate email addresses" for high-ranking officials made “eminent sense." Published:8/18/2023 3:37:21 PM
[Markets] Russian General Suggests U.S. Helped Create COVID-19, May Be Plotting New Pandemic For 'Global Control' Russian General Suggests U.S. Helped Create COVID-19, May Be Plotting New Pandemic For 'Global Control'

Authored by Debra Heine via American Greatness,

The head of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Protection forces released a statement this week suggesting that nefarious officials in the United States developed and deployed COVID-19 for “offensive purposes” and may be plotting a new pandemic.

The United States government officially claims that its scientists study pathogens in biolabs around the world to develop preventative measures to potential viruses, but Moscow does not buy that.

Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov said that the United States may have played a role in inflicting the COVID-19 pathogen on the world and may be working to create another biological crisis.

We do not rule out the United States may use so-called defensive technologies for offensive purposes, as well as for global governance by creating crisis situations of biological nature,”  Kirillov warned.

According to the Russian State media outlet RT, Moscow believes there was collusion between Big Pharma and USAID through the EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based non-government organization run by Peter Daszak, to develop new strains of coronavirus.

“The intermediary organization EcoHealth Alliance has played a key role in implementing projects to study this pathogen. Since 2015, the organization’s researchers have been involved in studying a diverse population of bats, searching for new coronavirus strains and mechanisms for animal-to-human transmission. Over 2,500 bats have been studied,” Kirillov stated.

The general brought up the troubling fact that the World Health Organization, Gates Foundation, and Johns Hopkins University conducted the Event 201 drills in New York on October 18, 2019, just two months before the first COVID-19 cases were officially reported in China. The ostensive purpose of the exercise was to practice the steps that would be taken during a coronavirus outbreak, but many people believe it was a “practice run” for the pandemic.

The fact that the pandemic unfolded exactly according to this scenario, as well as the implementation of EcoHealth Alliance’s projects, gives rise to questions as to whether COVID-19 was in fact an intentionally man-made disease and whether the US may have had a hand in this incident,” Kirillov said.

Kirillov also expressed deep concern that the Biden regime’s new Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy is up to no good.

“The United States’ next step, aimed at pushing ahead with its strategic plans for establishing global control over the biological situation, was the creation of the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy. This new agency is expected to be responsible for charting a course and coordinating actions to combat known and unknown biological challenges, including pathogens that might trigger another global emergency,” Kirillov said.

The Biden regime announced the creation of the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy (OPPR) last month, saying it will “Coordinate the Administration’s domestic response to public health threats that have pandemic potential, or may cause significant disruption, and strengthen domestic pandemic preparedness. This includes ongoing work to address potential public health outbreaks and threats from COVID-19, Mpox, polio, avian and human influenza, and RSV.”

Biden tapped Major General (ret) Paul Friedrichs to serve as the Director of OPPR and Principal Advisor on Pandemic Preparedness and Response. The White House said “Friedrichs’ unparalleled experience makes him the right person to lead this office.”

He is currently Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council (NSC). Maj. Gen. (ret) Friedrichs previously served as Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon, where he coordinated all issues related to health services, provided medical advice to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served as medical adviser to the Department of Defense (DoD) Covid-19 Task Force.

Kirillov commented on shocking documents recently uncovered by Russian special forces that allegedly reveal the U.S. Army’s bioweapons research activities in Ukraine.

“The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases has been involved in U.S. medical programs in Ukraine,” the general said. “Representatives of the project actively led projects code-names UP-1 and UP-8. As part of these projects, the possibility of using arthropods to spread rickettsia, tick-born encephalitis virus, as well as causative agents of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever and also hantavirus was studied,” he said.

“Russia’s Defense Minister believes that Washington is preparing to establish biological control—using defensive technologies for offensive purposes to create biological crisis conditions and situations,” RT reported.

The list of diseases that have attracted the attention of US specialists includes anthrax, tularemia, and various coronaviruses, Kirillov told a media briefing. Some of these pathogens are listed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “high-priority” threats that can be used as “bioterrorism agents.”

There is a clear trend: pathogens that fall within the Pentagon’s area of interest, such as Covid-19, avian influenza, African swine fever, subsequently become a pandemic, and American pharmaceutical companies become the beneficiaries,” the general claimed.

The Russian news outlet reported there was added concern in Russia regarding former NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, especially after Democrat presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr.  told Tucker Carlson in a recent interview that Fauci shifted his risky experiments offshore to places like Wuhan China, and Ukraine to evade a 2014 moratorium on gain-of-function research in the U.S.

Moscow requested an international probe into the United States’ international biolabs at the UN last October, but their motion was turned down by the UN Security Council, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/18/2023 - 03:30
Published:8/18/2023 2:56:01 AM
[Markets] Hunter Biden CC'd On Call Between Then-VP Joe And Former Ukraine President Hunter Biden CC'd On Call Between Then-VP Joe And Former Ukraine President

House Republican investigators have asked the National Archives to hand over any unredacted records in which then-VP Joe Biden used a pseudonym.

Previously released emails retrieved from Hunter's abandoned laptop reveal that Biden used a "" email address while he was serving as Vice President of the United States. What's more, that Biden aide John Flynn cc'd Hunter on 10 emails which contained Joe's daily schedule between May 19 and June 15, 2016.

One of the emails details plans for a phone call with Ukraine's former president, Petro Poroshenko. Flynn copied Hunter at his email address at Rosemont Seneca Partners - while Hunter was serving on the board of Ukrainian energy giant, Burisma, which was deemed to be corrupt by the Obama-Biden State Department.

"Boss--8:45am prep for 9am phone call with Pres Poroshenko. Then we're off to Rhode Island for infrastructure event and then Wilmington for UDel commencement," Flynn wrote. "Nate will have your draft remarks delivered later tonight or with your press clips in the morning."

The House Oversight Committee request primarily is focused on Hunter’s $1 million per year position on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which hired the then-second son in early 2014 as his dad assumed control of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

But the broad request for records involving the president’s pseudonyms could turn up a variety of content, including about other Biden family ventures in countries such as China. -NY Post

According to a letter from House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, "The Committee’s need for these Vice-Presidential records is specific and well- documented," adding "The Committee seeks to craft legislative solutions aimed at deficiencies it has identified in the current legal framework regarding ethics laws and disclosure of financial interests related to the immediate family members of Vice Presidents and Presidents— deficiencies that may place American national security and interests at risk."

"The Committee seeks unrestricted special access/ ... These records have been redacted for public release pursuant to the PRA and FOIA. For example, an email bearing the subject “Friday Schedule Card,” is withheld in part under a “P6” and “b(6)” restrictions, denoting personal information regarding the subject under the PRA and FOIA respectively," Comer wrote.

"Attached to this email, and made available on the NARA website, is a document that indicates at 9:00 a.m. on May 27, 2016, Vice President Biden took a call with the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko," he added. "It is concerning to the Committee, however, that this document was sent to “Robert L. Peters”—a pseudonym the Committee has identified as then Vice- President Biden. Additionally, the Committee questions why the then-Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden—and only Hunter Biden—was copied on this email to then-Vice President Biden."

As Just the News further notes, The letter requested special access to specific documents, including any:

  • "Document or communication in which a pseudonym for Vice President Joe Biden was included either as a sender, recipient, copied or was included in the contents of the document or communication, including but not limited to Robert Peters, Robin Ware, and JRB Ware;
  • "Document or communication in which Hunter Biden, Eric Schwerin, or Devon Archer was included either as a sender, recipient, copied, or was included in the contents of the document or communication; and
  • "Drafts from November 1, 2015 to December 9, 2015 of then-Vice President Biden’s speech delivered to the Ukrainian Rada on December 9, 2015."

Democrats probably need another Trump indictment at this point. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 08/17/2023 - 10:35
Published:8/17/2023 9:49:36 AM
[Politics] Gonna CRY?! Adam Kinzinger bolts after Richard Grenell VICIOUSLY shuts him DOWN in 1 tweet Published:8/17/2023 9:43:37 AM
[Markets] How NewsGuard Became The Establishment Guard Against Independent Media How NewsGuard Became The Establishment Guard Against Independent Media

Authored by Petr Svab via The Epoch Times,

Company makes a profit - including from US government funds - through a business model that leads to defunding and censoring of independent media...

As di?cult as it is to run an independent media outlet, there’s a company making it substantially harder. Its name is NewsGuard. The company claims to rate online content, including from media outlets, for trustworthiness, but a closer look shows it does much more than that—its business model produces censorious pressure on news organizations. An investigation by The Epoch Times has revealed troubling questions regarding the quality of and the agenda behind NewsGuard's o?erings.

Founded in 2018, NewsGuard dispatches its “analysts” to prepare reviews of online content creators and to issue ratings “to help readers have more context for the news they read online.” The ratings display as small badges with scores next to search results.

That, however, represents only a small part of the picture. The bigger picture shows that NewsGuard's most potent function stems from its relationships with advertising agencies, which have steered their clients to cut off advertising dollars for content creators disfavored by the company's "analyst" reviews. As it so happens, corporate, establishment-friendly media tend to receive high scores while independent media skeptical of the establishment tend to receive low scores, even if they adhere to high journalistic standards.

The Epoch Times emailed NewsGuard questions regarding its products, activities, personnel, and funding, but received no response.

Subjective Criteria

NewsGuard presents itself as objective and nonpartisan. Its ratings, the company says, measure media quality on nine criteria, including transparency of authorship and ownership and adherence to standard editorial practice, such as issuing corrections and labeling opinion pieces. In practice, however, most of the score boils down to whether the media present content that, in NewsGuard’s opinion, is truthful.

The ?rst criterion speci?cally looks at whether the target repeatedly publishes false claims. Another examines whether it publishes news “responsibly.” But failing the ?rst one means failing the second one, NewsGuard explains on its website. Yet another criterion is whether the target uses accurate headlines.

Again, if the headline says something NewsGuard considers to be untrue, that counts as a failure. Another criterion looks for a policy of regularly correcting errors—or what NewsGuard considers to be errors. Together, these four criteria add up to more than 60 points of the 100-point score.

Even if NewsGuard can’t ?nd anything to dispute, it can still dock points if the target doesn’t su?ciently represent opinions the company would like to see.

Such content providers “egregiously cherry pick facts or stories to advance opinions,” it argues.

Meanwhile, at least 60 points are needed for NewsGuard to issue its “credible” rating.

This methodology becomes particularly problematic when NewsGuard itself is wrong on the facts. For example, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company considered false the notion that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. If a news outlet with a perfect score responsibly reported on the extensive circumstantial evidence indicating a lab leak, it ran the risk of NewsGuard decimating its score and falsely labelling it an “unreliable” source that “severely violates basic journalistic standards.”

The COVID-19 origins issue was a rare case in which NewsGuard eventually issued a correction, though it only went as far as saying that the lab leak hypothesis couldn’t be completely ruled out.

Workers inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on Feb. 23, 2017. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

While fact-checking others, NewsGuard apparently has its own opinions to advance. There have been many examples where media outlets found themselves in NewsGuard’s crosshairs for publishing views that question establishment orthodoxies on topics such as climate change, vaccine safety, COVID-19 restrictions, the Ukraine war, the World Economic Forum, and others. On these issues, NewsGuard seems to act as a guard of the establishment narrative, demanding that content creators toe the line.

“I’ve had interactions with them where it was very obvious that they were anything but objective,” said John Tillman, chairman of the nonpro?t Franklin Foundation, which runs newswire service The Center Square.

More often than not, outlets poorly rated by NewsGuard tend to be on the right side of the political spectrum.

The Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative media watchdog, reported that NewsGuard gave left-leaning outlets scores 22 points higher on average than right-leaning outlets. The 2021 report was based on a review of NewsGuard ratings for more than 50 major news outlets sorted for left or right bias by AllSides, a company that measures media bias based on blind studies of content and editorial reviews.

Newsguard criticized the MRC report, saying it cherrypicked the outlets for the study and that the sample was too small. MRC retorted that the list included all news outlets reviewed by AllSides.

When MRC repeated the study in late 2022, the disparity had increased to 25 points.

Journalists and media crew members during election night event in New York on Nov. 8, 2016. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

“Unlike the major fact-checking organizations, NewsGuard at least lives up to its name in that it’s a guard for the left’s news,” Matt Palumbo, researcher for conservative podcast “The Dan Bongino Show,” writes in his upcoming book “Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers.”

In November 2019, NewsGuard contacted the website RealClearInvestigations (RCI) and questioned its use of anonymous sources to reveal the alleged identity of the whistleblower who initiated the impeachment of President Donald Trump. RCI responded by asking NewsGuard if it was reaching out to The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, or BuzzFeed to question their use of anonymous sources. NewsGuard reportedly didn’t respond.

When conservative education platform PragerU was slapped with a red label by NewsGuard, PragerU CEO Marissa Streit attempted to rectify the situation in good faith, she said.

“We really believed it was a mistake,” she told PragerU founder Dennis Prager during an interview on his podcast.

In response, she received “basically a list of demands,” she said.

NewsGuard wanted PragerU to stop criticizing the COVID-19 lockdown policies, stop questioning the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, stop talking about any COVID-19 treatments not endorsed by the government, stop questioning the seriousness of climate change—and the list went on.

“Part of their demands were basically dictating to us what kind of content we’re allowed and not allowed to share,” she said.

NewsGuard also demanded a list of PragerU’s donors, which the nonpro?t refused to share out of concern that the donors would be targeted.

“They want to smear these people. That’s the only reason they want their names,” Mr. Prager said.

In PragerU founder Dennis Prager's view, NewsGuard lacks respect for the pursuit of truth through di?erences in opinion. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Ms. Streit did try to make changes to satisfy some of NewsGuard’s demands and to see how it would respond.

“The goalposts kept changing. Every time we would make a change, they would want more changes,” she said.

When PragerU commentator Amala Ekpunobi did a podcast questioning the motives of the World Economic Forum, NewsGuard demanded that the video be taken down, Ms. Streit said.

In Mr. Prager’s view, NewsGuard lacks respect for the pursuit of truth through di?erences in opinion.

“I still haven’t noted what did we say that’s misinformation, as opposed to [an opinion on which] honorable people can di?er,” he said.

The bad rating caused PragerU’s video-hosting provider, JW Player, to abandon it, Ms. Streit said.

PragerU has since launched an online petition against NewsGuard.

“They are powerful in a very bad, malevolent, malicious, destructive way,” Mr. Prager said.

NewsGuard has argued that its process is fair because it reaches out to the rated outlets for comment and includes the comments in the rating writeup.

Yet based on PragerU’s experience, it appears this practice may well be a mere formality and whatever arguments the outlets present don’t a?ect the ?nal rating. Sooner or later, it seems, the targeted outlets simply give up and write o? NewsGuard from that point on.

Anthony Watts founder and editor of and a fellow with the Heartland Institute. (

Anthony Watts and Charles Rotter run, a blog for content skeptical of catastrophic consequences of climate change.

In their view, NewsGuard is not acting in good faith.

“They are purposefully focused on destroying the credibility of websites they don’t like,” Mr. Watts, a fellow with the Heartland Institute, told The Epoch Times.

Earlier this year, NewsGuard sta?er Zack Fishman reached out to Mr. Watts about several articles. One mentioned that the arrest of climate activist Greta Thunberg was “staged.” Mr. Fishman took issue with that, saying it was a real arrest. But Mr. Watts explained that he was talking about the manner in which Ms. Thunberg was arrested. A video circulating online showed that the police o?cers arresting her were posing for pictures holding her while she was smiling and laughing before they led her away.

“It boils down to a disagreement with the reviewer,” Mr. Watts said.

“They apply these sort of credentialist straw man games,” Mr. Rotter said.

“It’s like, ‘We found this study that contradicts what this person said, therefore you’re wrong.’”

But even if what Mr. Fishman found were real errors, it seemed too minor to impeach or call into question the credibility of the entire blog, which NewsGuard did.

Newsguard attaches credibility ratings to news outlets and other content creators. (Petr Svab/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Fishman brought to Mr. Watts’s attention three or four articles with claims he was able to contradict. But the site has posted tens of thousands of articles. NewsGuard itself suggested its ratings shouldn’t be a re?ection of the factuality of a small number of speci?c pieces of content.

“Our ratings do not mean that a site with a poor rating will never get a story right, or that a site with a strong rating will never get a story wrong,” Matt Skibinski, general manager of NewsGuard, told Breitbart.

NewsGuard has argued that what it looks at is journalistic criteria—when it points out errors, are they corrected?

But Mr. Watts wasn’t refusing to correct errors. He believed those weren’t errors to begin with, but rather issues of legitimate disagreement and opinion.

“These people are like robots. It’s very di?cult to actually have a discussion with them,” Mr. Rotter said.

Establishment Guard

According to Mike Benz, former head of the digital desk at the State Department and now head of the Foundation for Freedom Online, NewsGuard is part of a broader censorship industry that emerged over the past six years or so. The industry players aren’t primarily partisan, he noted, but rather pro-establishment. Right-leaning outlets can receive high NewsGuard scores—as long as they follow the establishment’s narratives on speci?c topics.

The industry was born in response to the wave of populism that has swept the West since 2015, starting with Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump and continuing with major populist leaders in other countries, including Marine Le Pen in France and Matteo Salvini in Italy, Mr. Benz explained.

President Donald Trump takes the oath of office during his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The establishment blamed online media, including social media, for citizens voting the “wrong” people into power, he said.

“From the 1940s until the present, there has been this bipartisan conception of foreign policy," he said. "There is this uniparty axis that was being broken apart by the rise of free and unfettered news online that was growing to such popularity that the gatekeepers of national security state-aligned media, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the majors, like CBS, ABC, NBC, were now no longer the dispositive forces on elections around the world, particularly in the U.S. and across the EU.

“NewsGuard basically grew out of this soup in 2017 as the national security state and various opportunists on both sides of the political aisle, in particular the neoconservative wing of the GOP and pretty much all of the Democrat Party, except the anti-war left, joined together with various elements of the national security state, including the Pentagon, the State Department, and the intelligence services, to come up with basically a plan to end the popularity and availability of alternative news online.”

Mr. Tillman reached a somewhat similar conclusion.

“What they’re really trying to do is control information ?ow, because they don’t like the democratization of information,” he said.

NewsGuard’s Advisory Board is littered with pro-establishment ?gures. Its most notable member is Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and the NSA—an “apex predator of the national security state,” as Mr. Benz put it.

Mike Benz, executive director of the Foundation For Freedom Online and a former State Department official. (Jack Wang/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Hayden’s Twitter account shows blatant, even over-the-top disdain for Trump and his supporters. One tweet he shared likened Trump supporters to the Taliban terrorist group; another likened Trump supporters to Nazis; yet another called for the ouster of prominent Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green (R-Ga.).

Other NewsGuard advisers include Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former secretary-general of NATO; Arne Duncan, former education secretary under the Obama administration; Don Baer, former Clinton White House spokesman; and Tom Ridge, the ?rst head of the Department of Homeland Security, under President George W. Bush.

Last year, NewsGuard was promoted by the World Economic Forum.

Its reach extends beyond American borders to Canada, Australia, Europe, and increasingly other parts of the world, with an apparent goal of global, ubiquitous coverage.

Its ratings are also utilized by other parts of the censorship industry, such as researchers and operatives, including those funded by the U.S. government, who are developing tools to detect and challenge disfavored views online.

Talking about the dangers of misinformation in its 2022 white paper, NewsGuard said that “researchers using NewsGuard’s source reliability data found that anti-establishment networks disseminated content from a large number of NewsGuard Red-rated sites during the German Federal Election in 2021, proliferating anti-vaccination, anti-lockdown, and anti-climate protection content speci?cally.”

NewsGuard was launched in March 2018 and maintains a staff of about 100. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Pushed From the Top

NewsGuard was launched in March 2018 by Steven Brill, former founder and head of several media organizations including The American Lawyer magazine and Court TV, and Gordon Crovitz, former Dow Jones executive and a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

The company presents its product as giving more power to its users.

“The objective is not to preclude access to any news content—an approach that would con?ict with our nation’s free speech principles—but rather to empower readers with additional information on the source and reliability of that content as they consume and/or share it,” read a 2018 release announcing Microsoft's partnership with NewsGuard.

NewsGuard landed its partnership with Microsoft before it even launched its product. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The company often describes its rating as a “nutritional label”—merely providing the public with useful data.

But the opt-in model, where customers have to pay to subscribe and download an app or an internet browser extension, seems to have hit a popularity wall.

Its Chrome browser extension has less than 40,000 users, according to Chrome Web Store, and its iOS app sports a less than 3-star rating from fewer than 80 reviews. About half the reviews are 1-star from people complaining about the app's functionality and bias.

Yet NewsGuard maintains a staff of about 100 and, according to its website, is hiring continually.

It’s “analysts” get paid $70,000 to $80,000 annually, according to Glassdoor.

Based on these financial figures, individual user subscriptions would appear to only cover a portion of the company’s running expenses.

Mr. Crovitz acknowledged in a 2021 op-ed that while people can subscribe to NewsGuard on their own, they “more commonly get access through companies and other entities that license the ratings and labels, and provide them to people in their network.”

That indeed appears to be its business model; more than catering to the public, the company seeks corporate and government clients. By all accounts, it’s managed quite well on that front.

NewsGuard reached pro?tability in 2021 “thanks to licensing deals with advertisers and other ?rms that use its ratings,” CNN Business reported.

The company landed its partnership with Microsoft by August 2018—before it even launched its product. It’s not clear how much the deal is worth. Microsoft made the NewsGuard plug-in available for free to all users of its web browser, Edge. The mobile version of the browser even included the ratings functionality by default, though it was left up to users to turn it on. It appears that the mobile version was scrapped sometime in 2021.

In addition, Microsoft also sponsors NewsGuard licensing for libraries.

“We’ve been able to get our news reliability ratings tool into more than 800 public libraries, where 7 million public library patrons use NewsGuard when they go to the library for their broadband access. And we’re already being used in dozens of public schools and universities, as well as independent schools,” Mr. Brill said in a January 2022 press release.

The release announced NewsGuard’s partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest U.S. teachers union, which licensed NewsGuard subscriptions for all of its 1.7 million members.

The AFT is a major political lobby for various progressive causes and a large source of campaign funding for the Democratic Party.

In 2021, NewsGuard received a nearly $750,000 Pentagon contract for a project called “Misinformation Fingerprints.”

NewsGuard also applied for funding from DARPA, the Pentagon’s military technology investment arm, according to information on the LinkedIn pro?le of NewsGuard’s former project manager. It’s not clear whether the funding materialized.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in April that lawmakers will examine NewsGuard, including its Pentagon funding. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

In addition, the company at its launch secured $6 million from about 20 investors, FinSMEs reported.

According to its website, its top investor is Eyk van Otterloo, co-founder of a $1.3 billion investment fund and former owner of Chemonics International, a development consultancy that has derived almost all its revenue from U.S. foreign aid grants and contracts—worth more than $14 billion—since 2008.

Government monies to Chemonics increased from about $400 million in 2015 to more than $900 million in 2016, $1.6 billion in 2017, and peaking above $2.2 billion in 2022, according to

Chemonics employs consultants to travel the world to set up development programs for “diversity, equity, and inclusion," ?ghting climate change, managing “sustainable development,” and “strengthening systems of democratic governance to ensure accountability, justice, and inclusion.”

Populist political movements commonly propose reducing or even abolishing foreign aid, which, given the company's historic revenue sources, would likely devastate Chemonics.

The company transformed to employee ownership in 2011, but Mr. Van Otterloo remained on its board until 2019.

It’s not clear how much Mr. Van Otterloo invested in NewsGuard.

‘Political Shakedown’

NewsGuard’s top corporate investor is Publicis Groupe, the third-largest ad agency in the world.

Publicis’s involvement appears central to NewsGuard’s modus operandi. In fact, Publicis Chief Technical O?cer Steve King sits on NewsGuard’s board of directors.

Corporation giants including Disney, Verizon, Bank of America, and P?zer are among Publicis's clients. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Publicis has counted among its clients giant corporations including Disney, Verizon, Bank of America, and P?zer.

Moreover, a major part of the retail industry uses its products to manage advertising.

“Four out of every 10 dollars in retail goes through platforms we manage,” said Nigel Vaz, chief executive of Publicis Sapient, the company’s “digital transformation” subsidiary, according to Adage.

NewsGuard has also cultivated a?liations, partnerships, or licensing agreements with other top advertising houses in the world, including Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group (speci?cally its digital arm IPG Mediabrands).

By enmeshing itself in the advertising industry, NewsGuard has positioned itself to steer advertising spending—a major source of income for the media industry.

Corporations commonly hire ad agencies to place their ads. NewsGuard, in turn, through its rating system, tells the agencies which media outlets are “safe” and which are “unsafe” to advertise on.

This leverage weighs heavily on smaller, independent outlets that often depend on “programmatic” or automated advertising. They o?er ad space on platforms that sell it in bulk. Ad agencies or individual advertisers then pick which ad spaces to buy based on audience data. Usually, the process is automated. And when ad agencies insert the NewsGuard ?lter in the middle of the selection process, small, independent outlets disfavored by NewsGuard’s ratings won’t sell their space.

Large, corporate media, on the other hand, can be virtually immune to poor NewsGuard scores, even if they receive them. They are themselves immensely valuable clients to the ad agencies and can negotiate with them directly.

MSNBC, for example, had its Newsguard score slashed to 52 last year (it stood at 57 as of July 25). That would land the Comcast-owned cable network in the “misinformation” bucket. But there’s no sign that it has been blacklisted among advertisers. Its ad revenue dropped more than 8 percent in 2022, but that seemed to have more to do with its ratings cratering by 21 percent.

Corporate media such as MSNBC can be virtually immune to poor NewsGuard scores. Even if they receive them, there's no sign that they have been blacklisted among advertisers. (Shaun Heasley/Getty Images)

Mr. Brill and Mr. Crovitz suggested that they didn’t start NewsGuard with the idea of partnering with advertisers, according to a January 2019 New York Times report.

“For them, it’s the whole problem of fake news being an issue for ‘brand safety,’” Mr. Brill told the paper. “I hadn’t even heard that term until we looked out for investors.”

But NewsGuard has been aggressively pitching its advertiser product, BrandGuard, to the point of issuing reports that shame “top brands” for advertising on supposed “misinformation websites.”

Meanwhile, services like Newsguard are pushed by the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, through its Code of Practice on Disinformation, a voluntary set of guidelines for advertisers and tech platforms meant to reduce "disinformation" online. Last year, the code was updated with rules for companies “participating in ad placements” to “commit to defund the dissemination of Disinformation” by improving “the policies and systems which determine the eligibility of content to be monetised, the controls for monetisation and ad placement, and the data to report on the accuracy and effectiveness of controls and services around ad placements.”

A week later, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), an initiative launched by the giant industry group World Federation of Advertisers, added “misinformation” to the list of online harmful content that shouldn't be advertised on.

Shortly after, Newsguard issued a release advertising BrandGuard as the most suitable way to ensure compliance with the European Commission and GARM rules, offering companies several months of free compliance consultations.

“These new standards are only the beginning,” Mr. Brill said in the release. “As policymakers continue to learn of the extent and impact of the monetization of misinformation online, the enactment of further regulations on this topic is all but inevitable.”

NewsGuard’s role in having advertisers defund outlets it disfavors “gives away the actual game,” Mr. Tillman said.

“If all they wanted was transparency, they would simply do their rating, put it out there, and let the public make their own decision whether it likes that rating or not. But that’s not good enough," he said. "They want to demonetize people. And that tells you they have an agenda besides judging the news by their own standards.”

NewsGuard’s advertiser defunding e?orts have caught at least some negative attention from the government.

In March, Mr. Gaetz called for an investigation into the company. In April, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Breitbart that lawmakers will examine the company, including its Pentagon funding.

NewsGuard is funded by liberal groups who are trying to discredit conservative information, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in April. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

“This is a liberal organization, funded by liberal groups trying to do this— trying to discredit conservative information,” he said. “The one thing I ?rmly believe in, the freedom of the press. You have a right to deliver the news and people have a right to decide one way or another. But we cannot allow them to continue doing what they’re doing and you’re going to see within hearings we’re going to bring light to this.”

A few months later, Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Burgess Owens (R-Utah), and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) questioned NewsGuard’s AFT partnership, in a letter.

At the state level, Florida Chief Financial O?cer Jimmy Patronis sent a letter to NewsGuard in March, threatening to “use the full force” of his o?ce “to shed light on the organization.”

“My concern is, we have a third-party group that shows up and says, ‘We’re going to start grading you,’ and issues demands on the way you present content. I see that as an attack on Florida businesses,” he told The Epoch Times.

He called it “a political shakedown.”

“They’re telegraphing, ‘You need to act more like The New York Times or NPR, and if you’re not, then you’ll receive a poor grade and then your advertising will dry up,’” he said, later adding that it’s “literally trying to discredit somebody through a scoring system in order to hurt them ?nancially.”

On the ?ipside, NewsGuard's issuing of perfect scores to legacy outlets creates false credibility, he suggested.

“Honestly, I think the mainstream media’s record has not been good,” Mr. Patronis said, pointing to a number of instances where such media, according to critics, continually misinformed the public on major issues, including facts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election.

“I just don’t think you can rely on The New York Times or the NPRs of the world for our most important news information,” he said.

If you don’t act like The New York Times, you’ll receive a low NewsGuard score and then your advertising will dry up, Florida Chief Financial O?cer Jimmy Patronis said in March. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Mr. Patronis suspects that NewsGuard serves to shore up ad revenue for these legacy media.

“It’s a way to handcu? businesses to certain media outlets that probably have lost their viewership or lost their following,” he said.

Empty Credentials

NewsGuard claims its reviews are conducted by “trained journalists.” That’s not always the case, or may be a long stretch, based on information its current and former workers shared on online professional platforms, such as LinkedIn.

It appears many of its reviews have been done by interns with no background in professional journalism. A typical review, it seems, would be conducted by a young journalism graduate with limited work experience. Some only list previous jobs reporting on lifestyle topics, such as food and art. Others boast as their experience producing progressive social commentary pieces, such as “Deconstructing TikTok.”

Mr. Fishman got his master's degree in journalism at Northwestern University in 2020 and then spent about a year at Fastinform, a small New York media startup, before joining NewsGuard. He’s since progressed to the role of “senior analyst.”

NewsGuard has about a dozen “senior” and “sta? analysts” and about two dozen part-time “contributing analysts.” Their job is to churn out up to two media outlet reviews a day. Thousands of such writeups are then funneled to one of about 15 editors for an additional check, and Mr. Brill and Mr. Crovitz allegedly take a look, too.

Given that NewsGuard claims to continually rate more than 8,000 content producers, it’s not clear how such reviews could faithfully gauge the quality of entire media organizations, including the accuracy of their reporting on complex, controversial topics.

As for the political views of the sta? members, they lean progressive. The online footprint of a typical worker demonstrates a commitment to progressive causes, from climate change and social justice to preferred pronouns in social media bios. Some seem to have used their NewsGuard stint as a springboard to employment at progressive and pro-establishment outlets, including NPR, The Atlantic, Hu?Post, and CNN.

“I knew it wasn’t my end goal, but it was something that would help me get to New York,” Cambria Roth said about her “fact-checker” gig at NewsGuard, to Nevada Today.

“I knew I wanted to do audience engagement, and I wanted to ?nd a role that was more focused on that eventually.”

During her six months at NewsGuard in 2019, she “created an editorial process for factchecking,” says her LinkedIn profile.

In 2020, she landed a job at Hu?Post as an audience editor, mainly browsing social media for article topics. She also writes on occasion, including a recent piece titled “Taylor Swift Is Apparently Dating An Alleged Racist—And Is Now Using A Black Woman To Cover Her [Expletive].”

NewsGuard was launched in March 2018 by Steven Brill (L), former founder and head of several media organizations, and Gordon Crovitz (R), former Dow Jones executive and a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for TIME, Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Ironic Founders

Mr. Brill and Mr. Crovitz both spent decades in the news business and, given their past comments and endeavors, their running NewsGuard could be seen as ironic.

Mr. Crovitz spent much of his career at Dow Jones & Co., which runs The Wall Street Journal and several other publications. He made it to vice president in 1998, and he was named the Journal’s publisher in 2006. But he left the following year when the company was taken over by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Mr. Murdoch’s takeover was controversial. Some sta? left the Journal over concerns that the new owner would in?uence the paper’s editorial line.

Such concerns appear just as valid today. The Washington Post is now owned by Amazon’s Je? Bezos; CNN is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery; NBC is owned by Comcast; and NPR is partly funded by the U.S. government.

Yet the NewsGuard of today doesn’t even attempt to question the ownership status of legacy media. It would only go as far as noting state ownership or funding of foreign outlets, like Russia Today or those run by the Chinese Communist Party.

Mr. Brill, meanwhile, knows intimately how di?cult it is to start a media company from scratch.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he founded The American Lawyer magazine and Court TV. He exited both companies in 1997 after he couldn’t convince Time Warner to sell him its share of the companies.

In 1998, he founded a media watchdog called Brill’s Content. His focus at the time seemed quite di?erent from NewsGuard’s. It was the corporate establishment media he was concerned about back then, warning that corporations that own media outlets could a?ect their coverage. He was affected by this personally at Court TV when Time Warner pressured him to spike a pro?le of a Federal Trade Commission o?cial because it could a?ect the company’s pending merger.

He complained about media’s lack of accountability, promising, “We can make it actually cost something for the NBCs of the world to mess up.”

He lauded the arrival of online media as players capable of getting around the legacy gatekeepers.

“The best thing about, not only the Web, but about the advances in the technology of printing that make it cheaper to design good stu?, is that the barriers to entry for alternative media aren’t as bad as they used to be,” he told Mother Jones back then.

He also warned about government in?uence on media.

“The only thing worse than lack of accountability is making the press accountable to the government,” he said.

But Brill’s Content closed its doors after three years.

The NewsGuard office in New York City on July 26, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Today, NewsGuard hands out perfect scores to corporate outlets but penalizes independent media for not toeing official narratives closely enough.

In 2009, Mr. Brill partnered with Mr. Crovitz to found a venture that was to help newspapers set up paywalls. They sold the business in 2011 for about $35 million.

Mr. Brill then went on to author several non?ction books, most recently in 2018 “Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall—and Those Fighting to Reverse It.” The book details a litany of American ills, from poorly maintained infrastructure to high health care bills, and it places the blame largely on lawyers and bankers, casting the government as a victim that has been tricked and co-opted.

His perhaps greatest claim to literary fame stemmed from his 2015 book “America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System.”

The book shed light on the questionable practices in the health care and pharmaceutical industries.

Ironically, today’s NewsGuard has relentlessly pursued critics of Big Pharma who have pointed out ?aws in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr. Brill now sits on his board with a top executive of Publicis, the same company that’s being sued by the state of Massachusetts for helping Purdue Pharma boost sales of opioid drugs that have been blamed for an overdose epidemic that has killed more than half a million Americans. Publicis collected more than $50 million from Purdue before the pharma giant was sued into bankruptcy in 2019.

Mr. Brill seems to have di?erent concerns now.

In a CNBC interview shortly before the 2020 presidential election, he shared his seasoned journalistic view of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

“My personal opinion is, there’s a high likelihood this story is a hoax, maybe even a hoax perpetrated by the Russians again,” he said.

He then criticized social media for blocking the story, arguing that they don’t have the relevant expertise to do so.

Instead, he suggested, social media platforms should partner with NewsGuard—let his company sort out what is true and what is not.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/16/2023 - 17:00
Published:8/16/2023 4:11:30 PM
[World] White House compares public's slow embrace of Inflation Reduction Act to Obamacare The White House is confident the public will come to appreciate the Inflation Reduction Act as it did with Obamacare as President Joe Biden dispatches John Podesta and Neera Tanden, aides to former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, to promote the measure. Published:8/16/2023 2:52:45 PM
[Politics] Obama Makes It OK to Offer ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Again

After the horrific wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui last week that took the lives of at least 99 and left more than 1,000... Read More

The post Obama Makes It OK to Offer ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Again appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:8/15/2023 5:33:11 PM
[Markets] Tucker And RFK Jr. Talk Ukraine, Biolabs, And Who Killed His Uncle Tucker And RFK Jr. Talk Ukraine, Biolabs, And Who Killed His Uncle

RFK Jr. and Tucker Carlson sat down for a lengthy interview published on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, in which the two discuss Ukraine, bio-labs, and who killed his uncle, JFK. Carlson made clear that he wasn't going to badger Kennedy with questions about his stance on vaccines, which the MSM has made a central focus for obvious reasons.

The interview begins by discussing the Biden administration denying RFK Jr. Secret Service protection despite the fact that his uncle and his father were both assassinated.

"We applied for Secret Service protection in May," said Kennedy, adding "The President has discretion to give Secret Service protection to any candidate, for any reason."

Kennedy noted that former President Barack Obama was given Secret Service protection more than 500 days before the election, and that his uncle Ted Kennedy received protection more than 450 days before an election.

"I think the DNC is playing hardball," Kennedy added.

On the topic of Ukraine (12 minutes in), Kennedy says Americans are being lied to, and were sold on a "comic book pitch, which we see in every war. There's a bad guy who's like, you know, unspeakably evil, who's planning world conquest or a terrorist attack on America. And we have to be the good guys and go in and stop it."

Kennedy then explained that "a group of people who are known as Neocons, since 2001, have been talking about putting NATO in Ukraine. Now, I'll give you some background. In 1992 the walls came down and the Soviet Union collapsed. Gorbichev went to Tony Blair and President Bush and said 'I'm going to withdraw 400,000 Soviet troops from East Germany. I'm going to allow you to reunify Germany under NATO troops - so you're gonna move NATO troops, a hostile force, into our barracks and our bases - and the only commitment I want from you, is that once I allow Germany top become part of NATO, that you will never move NATO further to the East.'"

"James Baker, who was the Secretary of State at that time, famously said: 'we promise that we will not move NATO one inch to the East.'"

"Then, in 1996, 1997, five years later, Zbigniew Brzezinski ... says 'ok, we should start moving NATO to all the former (USSR) satellite states.'"


Kennedy also says that the corporate media has been publishing "outright lies" about him.

"Right now, what it seems to me is that there’s been this alignment, this political alignment that I think really started with Fox News back, you know, when Roger was running things there where he overtly made it a political network. He ended it with the Republican Party and said we’re gonna push their agenda. And up until then, that has been considered a journalistic ethical breach. The networks were supposed to at least pretend neutrality and the newspapers as well," he said.

"But now I think that business model works so well for Fox and again, I think MSNBC and CNN adopted the same business model and there’s been this big consolidation in the media where really there’s no independent media."


Tyler Durden Mon, 08/14/2023 - 20:00
Published:8/14/2023 7:15:55 PM
[Markets] COVID Victims' Families Sue EcoHealth Alliance For 'Funding, Releasing' Virus COVID Victims' Families Sue EcoHealth Alliance For 'Funding, Releasing' Virus

The families of four people who died from COVID-19 are suing EcoHealth alliance, the New York-based nonprofit that was conducting gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China, before COVID-19 broke out across town.

According to the Aug. 2 lawsuit filed before the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, knew the virus was "capable of causing a worldwide pandemic."

Not only did EcoHealth help to create a 'genetically manipulated virus,' the lawsuit claims, it worked to cover up the origins of the outbreak.

"If we had known the source or origin of this virus and had not been misled that it was from a pangolin in a wet market, and rather we knew that it was a genetically manipulated virus, and that the scientists involved were concealing that from our clients, the outcome could have been very different," victims' attorney Patricia Finn told the NY Post.

The families of Mary Conroy, of Pennsylvania; Emma D. Holley, of Rochester, NY; Larry Carr, of Crossville, Tennessee; and Raul Osuna, of Bennington, Nebraska, are seeking unspecified damages.

“[The families of the deceased] are definitely in mourning, but moreover they’re enraged because the truth of what really happened appears to be coming forward,” Finn added.

Paul Rinker, of Pennsylvania, is also suing Midtown-based EcoHealth and Daszak over the “serious injuries” he suffered from his bout with the bug.

Finn is also suing EcoHealth and Daszak in Nassau and Rockland Counties on behalf of the families of other victims killed by the virus, as well as two who survived.

"This particular case is highly offensive because it appears they knew and concealed the origin of the virus," said Finn, adding "The treatment or approach taken in dealing with the virus could have been radically different than it was."

EcoHealth notably received a re-activated grant from the NIH for over $576,000 in May to study how outbreaks of deadly viruses like SARS, MERS, and now COVID-19 originate from wildlife and transfers to humans, despite failing to meet the NIH's conditions for reinstatement.

As the Epoch Times noted;

The grant, titled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence,” was originally awarded in 2014 by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Under the terms of the grant, EcoHealth Alliance, a government-funded nonprofit that purportedly engages in research to prevent pandemics, was awarded $3.8 million over five years to assess the spillover potential of bat viruses “using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments in cell culture and humanized mice.” Put in simple terms, NIAID was paying EcoHealth to genetically engineer and manipulate bat viruses in labs.

In May 2016, the grant was suspended after Erik Stemmy, a NIAID program officer, noticed that federal government funds may have been used for prohibited gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. At the time, the Obama administration had put in place a moratorium on gain-of-function experiments. However, for reasons that remain unclear, the suspension was lifted in July 2016. At the time, EcoHealth’s president, Peter Daszak, thanked NIAID in an email for lifting the gain-of-function funding pause.

As part of the conditions of the grant, EcoHealth had to file regular activity reports. However, starting in 2018, EcoHealth stopped submitting these reports. EcoHealth would later blame technical difficulties for their failure to submit. The missing reports comprised the critical 2018–2019 timeframe right before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan.

*  *  *


In 2014, the Obama administration temporarily suspended federal funding for gain-of-function research into manipulating bat COVID to be more transmissible to humans. Four months prior to that decision, the NIH effectively shifted this research to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to EcoHealth, headed by Peter Daszak.

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.

Yet, after Sars-CoV-2 broke out in the same town where Daszak was manipulating Bat Covid, The Lancet published a screed by Daszak (signed by over two-dozen scientists), which insisted the virus could have only come from a natural spillover event, likely from a wet market, and that the scientists "stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin." The Lancet only later noted Daszak's conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, as we noted late last year, a Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions interim report from October 27, 2022 titled “An Analysis of the Origins of the COVID19 Pandemic” concluded that the origins of Covid were more likely based in a lab as part of a “research related incident” and not zoonotic.

The report was the result of a “bipartisan Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee oversight effort into the origins of SARS-CoV-2”. It provides a lengthy analysis that reviews “publicly available, open-source information to examine the two prevailing theories of origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus”.


Tyler Durden Sun, 08/13/2023 - 19:15
Published:8/13/2023 6:32:55 PM
[In The News] ‘I Make Love To Men Daily’: NY Post Reveals Contents Of Salacious Obama Letter To Ex-Girlfriend

by Katelynn Richardson at CDN -

Former President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to his ex-girlfriend, saying over 40 years ago that he “make[s] love to men daily, but in the imagination,” according to the New York Post. Obama, 21 at the time, wrote to ex-girlfriend Alex McNear in November 1982 that his “mind is …

Click to read the rest HERE-> ‘I Make Love To Men Daily’: NY Post Reveals Contents Of Salacious Obama Letter To Ex-Girlfriend first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:8/12/2023 3:53:32 PM
[Politics] WOAH! The 'New York Post' just EXPOSED Barack Obama's secret ... 'musings' Published:8/12/2023 3:02:58 PM
[Politics] “You see, I make love to men daily, but in the imagination…” It turns out Obama was gay, at least in his imagination. This, according to a letter he wrote to an ex-girlfriend when he was 21-years-old: Barack Obama told ex, ‘I make love . . . Published:8/12/2023 1:42:25 PM
[Markets] From Scandal To Nothingburger From Scandal To Nothingburger

Authored by J. Peder Zane via,

The New York Times is incredible. Most journalists find it hard enough just to communicate what they know and how they know it in plain English.

But Times reporters and editors go above and beyond. Who, what, when, where, how, and why are just the starting point. They take on the added challenge of shaping and shifting their language with remarkable skill to create articles that are somehow simultaneously honest and deceitful. That extra layer of attention allows them to claim they report truths that are inconvenient to their progressive causes, while defusing their impact. This is so hard to do that the Times often ignores political stories because spin is even beyond their talents – which achieves the same dampening effect. Because for millions of Americans, it didn’t happen if the Times didn’t report it.

Luke Broadwater and his editors delivered a master class in the art of devious reporting last week in an article that put the lie to President Biden’s repeated claims that he has never even discussed his son Hunter’s foreign business deals.

Broadwater’s Aug. 4 article reported that Hunter’s former business partner, Devon Archer, had told Congress that Joe Biden had “repeatedly allowed himself to be in the presence ? either physically or by phone ? of business associates of his son’s who were apparently seeking connections and influence inside the United States government” – while Joe served as Barack Obama’s vice president.

The article noted that Archer told Congress “the elder Mr. Biden never actually got involved” in business details, but it also explained that was unnecessary. In a follow-up interview with Tucker Carlson, Broadwater reported, Archer had said that while “there was not business content in these conversations” the purpose was “the idea of signals and influence.” The prize,” Archer explained, “is enough in speaking or hearing or knowing you have that proximity to power.”

I am the vice president of the United States. I’m here. I hear you. Keep paying my son.

Archer directly contradicted Joe Biden’s claims of ignorance regarding his son’s shady dealings, Broadwater reported, saying “he believed it was false for defenders of President Biden to say that he had no knowledge of his son’s business activities. ‘He was aware of Hunter’s business,’ said Mr. Archer, who played golf with both Bidens. ‘He met with Hunter’s business partners.’”

Mr. Archer went further, the Times reported, echoing Hunter’s sales pitch to clients that they were not just getting in business with him but the Biden family. This paid real dividends for at least one entity, the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which paid Hunter $83,000 a month to serve on its board. Archer “believed Burisma as a company stayed in business through tough times through its associations with influential figures in Washington, and the ‘brand’ that Hunter Biden brought to the board.”

Of course, none of this was news to those who read outside the left’s echo chamber. But given the Times’ position as the ultimate arbiter of truth for the liberal elite, these were startling admissions. Game, set, and match, right? When the Times acknowledges that the president has been lying to the public for years about his direct involvement in an influence peddling scheme based on his high office, talk should turn to impeachment and resignation.

And yet, Broadwater and his editors expertly declawed those damning revelations by casting the evidence of Joe’s corruption as proof of GOP perfidy. This effort hinges on the expectation that most people will not read news stories very closely. Their understanding of an article is largely shaped by the headline and the opening paragraphs, which frame the way readers interpret all that follows. An immensely consequential example of this was the headline on the Politico article published just days before the 2020 election regarding Hunter’s laptop: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” It did not matter that the article itself was filled with significant caveats, reporting that the officials had not seen the laptop and possessed no proof of Russian involvement. The headline defined the narrative.

 Similarly, the headline on Broadwater’s article dismissed Archer’s testimony as a partisan nothingburger: “Key Witness Doesn’t Back Up G.O.P.’s Biggest Allegations on Bidens.”

The first five paragraphs of the article ignore the evidence of the president’s lies and corruption to frame Archer’s testimony as proof of GOP overreach – a common journalistic maneuver known as “Republicans pounce.”

“Republicans who for months have accused President Biden without proof of crime and corruption thought that a former business partner of his son’s could be the key to finally substantiating their most serious allegations...

But the testimony this week of Mr. Archer, a former Yale lacrosse player who has been convicted of federal tax charges, fell well short of that, shooting down a bribery allegation Republicans have long promoted and generally rejecting the idea that the elder Mr. Biden had any material involvement in his son’s business dealings. It was the latest instance of House Republicans promising far more than they could produce in terms of proof of their allegations against the president.”

Thus, the Times sets readers up to believe the key issue is what Archer could not substantiate – reports of bribes, which he may not have been privy to – rather than his eyewitness testimony of the president’s malfeasance. This creates a context in which Archer’s damning revelations are simply part of an epic fail.

While the headline and opening of an article have the most impact on reader perception – psychologists calls this the “primacy effect” – the end of an article is also crucial in constructing a lasting impression of the facts. In his kicker, Broadwater once again works to diminish the facts he has reported by repeating Democrat Rep. Dan Goldman’s question to Archer of whether it was “fair to say that Hunter Biden was selling the illusion of access to his father.” Mr. Archer responded, “Yes.”

While Broadwater ends his piece there, Archer, in fact, equivocated slightly, describing Goldman’s characterization as “almost fair” because Hunter did, in fact, provide direct access to his father through dinners, meet and greets, and phone calls. “Because there ? there is ? there are touch points and contact points that I can't deny that happened,” Archer explained, “but nothing of material was discussed. But I can't go on record saying that there was ? there was communications” between Joe and Hunter’s business partners.

The illusion, of course, is that Archer’s testimony vindicated Biden. The evidence shows that nothing could be further from the truth – except, incredibly, in the pages of the New York Times.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/11/2023 - 19:00
Published:8/11/2023 6:16:24 PM
[Biden] Republicans blast ‘coverup’ of Hunter Biden special counsel appointment: ‘Something’s not right’

Republicans blast ‘coverup’ of Hunter Biden special counsel appointment: ‘Something’s not right.’ As we see this, it can be two things.  1) Garland got the go-ahead from Obama to force Biden out as he’s no use to them anymore or 2) This is a way to hide things from Congress by claiming it’s “under investigation.” … Continue reading "Republicans blast ‘coverup’ of Hunter Biden special counsel appointment: ‘Something’s not right’"

The post Republicans blast ‘coverup’ of Hunter Biden special counsel appointment: ‘Something’s not right’ appeared first on I HATE THE MEDIA ™.
Published:8/11/2023 4:27:37 PM
[6efb6830-67c9-57ee-9af3-004d007588b5] Liberal media still ignores Barack Obama's multiple myths all these years later President Barack Obama left office in 2017 but the liberal media has never stopped putting him on a pedestal. Now a new interview with Tablet magazine is creating controversy. Published:8/10/2023 3:33:45 PM
[Markets] For Washington Post's Feared 'Pinocchio' Fact Checker, Forthrightness Dies In 'Updates' To Biden-Burisma Story For Washington Post's Feared 'Pinocchio' Fact Checker, Forthrightness Dies In 'Updates' To Biden-Burisma Story

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClear Investigations,

For the second time in three years, the Washington Post has quietly “updated” one of the most consequential fact checks in the history of American politics – its October 2020 article undercutting reports that Hunter Biden arranged a dinner meeting between one of his foreign business clients and his father, who was then vice president of the United States.

The original article by the Washington Post’s chief fact checker, Glenn Kessler, was published the same day as the New York Post’s pre-election scoop revealing?that Joe Biden had attended a 2015 dinner with a top executive of a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma, which was paying his son $83,000 per month. Kessler’s fact-check involved interviews with a host of Biden aides who vehemently disputed the vice president’s attendance at the dinner and advanced the theory that the source of the information – a laptop Hunter had abandoned at a Delaware repair shop – was untrustworthy and possibly a Russian plant. 

“The Washington Post and other media have tried to squelch the scandal of Joe Biden potentially using his high?office to enrich himself and his family,” said a congressional investigator for a GOP-led committee. “Almost?nobody is fact-checking these biased fact checkers, and they carry a lot of weight and authority." 

Original article: “Officials who worked for Biden ... told The Fact Checker that no such meeting took place.”

In his?original article, “Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop: An explainer,” Kessler took the Biden camp’s word that the then-vice president never met senior Burisma official Vadym Pozharskyi on April 16, 2015, and didn’t even attend the dinner in question at a Georgetown restaurant. Kessler also expressed open doubts about the?authenticity of the laptop. Kessler wrote that the New York Post stories “purportedly” came from a Hunter Biden laptop “supposedly” left at a repair shop. Quoting an author of a book on disinformation, Kessler also questioned the authenticity of the emails on the laptop. The specific email in question – the New York Post called it a “smoking gun” – was an April 17 message from Pozharskyi?thanking Hunter Biden for the “opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.”?  
“Officials who worked for Biden at the time told The Fact Checker that no such meeting took place,” Kessler?asserted, noting that it was not listed on the former vice president's schedule and that it was unlikely Biden even went to the restaurant. 

The revised June 2021 version: "Alleged" is no longer in the headline. At the top of the piece is now a note: "This article, first published in 2021, has been updated." But not corrected.

After the election, with Biden in office, and as more details about the dinner trickled in over the next?several months, the Washington Post?on June 7, 2021,?appended Kessler's story with a note that the article had?been ”updated.” It linked to a?revised version, which carried the headline, “Hunter Biden’s laptop: The April 16,?2015, dinner.”  

In the new article, Kessler acknowledged Biden did, in fact, go to the 2015 dinner, which was held at the Cafe?Milano in Georgetown. But he insisted “there was less to the story than one might imagine.” 

Kessler quoted Biden allies who said the vice president had “only dropped by briefly,” and only to say hello to a?personal friend tied to a Biden family charity, adding that Biden “didn’t even sit down” at the table with his son.?He cast doubt that Vadym Pozharskyi, the Burisma executive, was part of the group ? even though New York?Post reporter Miranda Devine pointed out to Kessler through Twitter that a “Vadym” was on the guest list?Hunter sent to Archer before the event. Devine called Kessler’s reporting?“sloppy.” 
However, Kessler stopped short of conceding he’d been burned by Team Biden. For the next two years, he and?the Washington Post stubbornly hewed to his original story, albeit with some alterations, that the dinner was?much ado about nothing and that Republicans were falsely trying to tie Biden to his son’s corrupt Ukrainian?benefactor. 

But?transcripts?released last week reveal that Archer, who sat on the Burisma board with Hunter and?attended the Cafe Milano dinner, confirmed the New York Post's reporting about the event. 
In a recent deposition before the House Oversight Committee, Archer testified that not only did Pozharskyi?attend the dinner, but so did Biden ? and not just for a brief “drop-by,” as Kessler claimed in the revised, 2021 version of his story. Archer recalled the?vice president sat down and stayed for the dinner, which was held in a private room in the back of the?restaurant. 
After Democratic lawmakers and lawyers quizzed him about the Washington Post story, Archer said “that’s not correct reporting." 
Asked last Thursday if the paper still stands behind Kessler’s story, Washington Post spokeswoman Kathy?Baird told RealClearInvestigations that the paper was addressing Archer’s revelations. “Following up on your?earlier inquiry,” she said, "this piece has now been updated.” 

An "update" to an "update." But no correction.

In the latest?version,?published Aug. 3, Kessler added a parenthetical “update" several paragraphs into the piece that Archer in his deposition?“disputed” the recollections of Kessler’s Biden sources about the dinner. In another update inserted later in the?story, Kessler acknowledged that “Archer told investigators [Burisma official] Pozharskyi attended the dinner.”?(This was an update of a previous update.) Finally, at the end of the story, Kessler again cited Archer’s?interview to correct his earlier reporting about a dinner attendee who did not in fact attend the function. But?he referred to it as an “update,” instead of a correction. 
In its related 2020 story, the Post appended another correction masquerading as an "update" at the bottom of?Kessler's piece, which noted that the laptop Kessler implied was “disinformation” had in fact been?authenticated. 

All told, the Post has run six corrections across its original and revised Kessler stories about the laptop?emails and the Biden-Burisma dinner. 

Another "update" acknowledges partial data authentication. All told, across two versions, six "updates." But no forthright corrections.

Baird declined to answer whether the Post’s designated fact-checker was too trusting of his Biden sources. Though documented evidence was available at the time, Kessler took the word of Biden’s aides over contemporaneous emails and texts contradicting what they told him. Most facts were always there. It was only when the facts were amplified by government hearings, reports and depositions, as well as other news sites and Twitter, that Kessler revised his analysis – while still resisting calling his revisions “corrections.” 

Despite the rolling disclosures reaching a critical mass, the Post has not published a separate?news story examining its own errors, which misinformed voters ahead of the November 2020 presidential election?and continued to mislead the public deep into the Biden presidency. 
Republican lawmakers say the Post’s inaccurate and misleading "fact-checking" is a microcosm of how the?Washington press corps has been ignoring evidence of Biden family influence-peddling and corruption, which they say?has had a chilling effect on criminal investigations. Media?coverage often drives investigations into public corruption as well the appointment of independent prosecutors when there is a political conflict, as in the?case of the Biden-controlled Justice Department looking into the Biden family. But not during this administration. 
The Post’s influential Fact Checker staff brands stories or public statements it deems false or misleading with “Pinocchios.” A fact-check that earns one Pinocchio “shades the facts,” according to the newspaper’s criteria, while one garnering four Pinocchios is condemned as a “whopper.” Democrats and political commentators routinely cite Kessler's findings to  
bolster – or impugn – politicians or points of view.  

By his own measure, Kessler’s Biden-Burisma dinner story containing significant factual errors would have earned four Pinocchios. 

Award-winning journalist Kessler co-authored the book “Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth." 

The Washington Post began running Kessler’s The Fact Checker as a permanent feature?in 2011. Now with its?own team, including researchers and videographers (working with a?$250,000 grant from Google News?Initiative/YouTube?to expand production of video fact checks), the award-winning feature is?part of the Post’s national-news section led by Matea Gold, who last year had to recuse herself from DOJ and FBI coverage over a?personal conflict, as RCI first?reported. Gold is married to FBI chief of staff Jonathan Lenzner. 
In 2023, Kessler was awarded the?Sigma Delta Chi award?for a series of fact checks in 2022 concerning claims?about Hunter Biden. In its?announcement, the Society of Professional Journalists remarked that Kessler had?provided “a very detailed, balanced analysis of a complicated and horrifically convoluted story that spawned a?thousand rumors and falsehoods.” 
Kessler, who co-authored the book, “Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth: The President’s Falsehoods, Misleading Claims and?Flat-Out Lies,” portrays himself as a neutral arbiter of truth in journalism. He promises his Fact Checker readers that he "will strive to?be dispassionate and non-partisan, drawing attention to inaccurate statements on both left and right." 
"Consistent with?Washington Post policy,” Kessler added, "no one working on The Fact Checker may engage in partisan political?activity or make contributions to candidates or advocacy organizations.” 
A search of the Federal Election Commission database does not turn up political contributions made by Kessler. However, FEC?records reveal that his wife, Cynthia J. “Cindy” Rich, has donated more than $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee and?Democratic candidates, including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. She gave a total of $5,700 to Biden for President and the Biden Victory Fund in 2020. Rich, who gives exclusively to Democrats, previously worked in Bill Clinton’s administration as a policy adviser on commerce and trade. 

Kessler was raised in a liberal Democrat household. Kessler’s late mother, Else Bolotin, was a “committed Democrat,” according to a family friend, who started an “Institute for Social Change” in Lexington, Ky., when Kessler lived there in the 1970s. Records show she founded the institute with ‘70s radical Allie Hendricks, a “socialist feminist” who supported a “collective” of fellow travelers dubbed the “Lexington Six” after the FBI investigated them for allegedly harboring left-wing terrorists wanted by the FBI for helping kill a cop during a bank robbery.

Tyler Durden Thu, 08/10/2023 - 11:00
Published:8/10/2023 10:16:46 AM
[Markets] Obama 'Repeatedly Fantasizes About Making Love To Men': Biographer Obama 'Repeatedly Fantasizes About Making Love To Men': Biographer

Was Barack Obama the first gay US president?

According to an interview with Tablet magazine, Obama biographer David Garrow discussed a letter Obama wrote to a former college girlfriend in which he "repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men."

"So when Alex showed me the letters from Barack, she redacted one paragraph in one of them and just said, 'It's about homosexuality," Garrow told the outlet, discussing the 1,472-page biography of the former president titled "Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama."

The letters made their way to Emory University, where Garrow associate Harvey Klehr manually transcribed the salacious details.

"So I emailed Harvey, said, 'Go to the Emory archives.' He's spent his whole life at Emory, but they won't let him take pictures," said Garrow. "So Harvey has to sit there with a pencil and copy out the graph where Barack writes to Alex about how he repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men."

Meanwhile, rumors abound that Michelle may satisfy Barry's alleged proclivities.

RIP Joan Rivers.

As for the rest of the interview, American Greatness's Lloyd Billingsley has the following;

"Whatever you do. Don’t ask him about his father.”

That was Bob Bauer, lawyer for President Obama, to biographer David Garrow as he prepared to interview the president for the Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, released in 2017.

Barack Obama devoted dozens of hours to reading the first ten chapters of this manuscript,” Garrow says on page 1084, and had “remaining disagreements – some strong indeed – with multiple characterizations and interpretations” in the book. Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has some rather strong disagreements with Obama.

“I’ve always thought that the whole Obamacare thing was, in large part, a fraud.” And as for Obama, “he’s not normal—as in not a normal politician or a normal human being.”

That was Garrow to David Samuels in a rambling August 2 Tablet interview headlined “The Obama Factor.”  Barack Obama is the author of Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, published in 1995. Here is what Garrow said about it in Rising Star:

Dreams from My Father was not a memoir or an autobiography; it was instead, in multitudinous ways, without any question a work of historical fiction. It featured many true-to-life figures and a bevy of accurately described events that indeed had occurred, but it employed the techniques and literary license of a novel, and its most important composite character was the narrator himself.”

“He wants people to believe his story,” Garrow told Samuels. “For me to conclude that Dreams from My Father was historical fiction—oh God, did that infuriate him.” Samuels, who also writes for Harpers, the Atlantic and New York Times Magazine,  countered that “the pose of being a writer is actually one that he prefers in many ways to being a politician.”

“Oh God, yes. Yes, yes, yes,” said Garrow, “He doesn’t want the writerliness challenged. It’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The book [Dreams] is so fictionalized.”

In the Dreams novel, the father is the Kenyan Barack Obama, a student at the University of Hawaii. The Kenyan “bequeaths his name” to the American, and by the end of the novel, he becomes a nameless “old man.”

In all his written communications from 1958-1964, housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, the Kenyan Barack Obama makes not a single mention of an American wife and son. Perhaps that is why President Obama never accessed the archive.

The Dreams author, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, devotes more than 2,000 words to a happy-drunk black poet known only as “Frank.” In Rising Star, Garrow identifies “Frank” as Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist pornographer.

Paul Kengor’s The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis – The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, revealed “remarkable similarities” between the politics of the Dreams author and Davis, a Stalinist who dedicated most of his life to the all-white dictatorship of the Soviet Union. Davis also bears strong physical resemblance to the Dreams author, who at Occidental College penned a poem to a black poet he calls “Pop.”

The rising star would “forcefully reject the Davis hypothesis,” Garrow wrote, and “Davis’ Communist background plus his kinky exploits made him politically radioactive.” That is why Barry needed the “historical fiction” of Dreams from My Father, the story about the Kenyan foreign student. Garrow called out the book as fictional, but came up a bit short on the author’s plagiarism.

In Dreams, the author visits Kenya and the account bears remarkable similarities to I Dreamed of Africa, published in 1991, and the 1994  African Nights. Both books are the work of Italian writer Kuki Gallmann, a longtime resident of Kenya.

In African Nights, Gallmann and company “camped in the area of Narok, one of the main centers of the proud Maasai tribe.” In Dreams from My Father, the American travels to Narok, “a small trading town where we stopped for gas and lunch.”

In I Dreamed of Africa and African Nights, the reader finds “the ink-black of Arap Langat” and “the ink-black darkness” where fish are approaching. Under a slate sky lies the “ink-black turmoil of the ocean.” Dreams of My Father speaks of “ink-black stairwells” and “tall ink-black Luos and short brown Kikuyus.” In Kenya, men “dive into inky-black waters.” And so on, with many other passages too similar to be accidental.

Back in 2008, David Samuels re-read Dreams from My Father and came upon the passage where Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro, takes Barry into the back yard and teaches him to fight.

“Wait a minute, I know this scene,” Samuels told Garrow. “And then I went back and found the battle royal scene in The Invisible Man.

Each of us was issued a pair of boxing gloves and ushered out into the big mirrored hall,” Ralph Ellison wrote. “A glove smacked against my head. . . Blows pounded me from all sides while I struck out as best I could.

In Dreams, Barry has a tussle with a boy down the road. The next day, Lolo “had two pairs of boxing gloves,” and they lace them up. “Keep your hands up,” Lolo tells Barry. “You want to keep moving but always stay low. Don’t give them a target.” And so forth.

“Right, right, right,” says Garrow, who also noted that Dreams “completely omits women. I’ve always thought that there’d eventually be a feminist critique of Obama because his mother and all the girlfriends—they’re not there. They don’t exist.”

As Garrow reveals, the Dreams author wrote to Alex McNear, his girlfriend at Occidental College, “about how he repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men.” Samuels is more curious about the composite character’s actions in office, for example, the Iran deal.

“I do find the Iran deal offensive and puzzling,” Garrow said. “I mean, it’s an explicitly antisemitic state.” As Samuels notes, Obama is “fixated on Iran after the Iran deal failed.” The easy explanation is that “Joe Biden is not running that part of his administration. Obama is. He doesn’t even have to pick up the phone because all of his people are already inside the White House.”

True to form, as Fred Fleitz explains, Biden is planning to evade Congress with a “secret nuclear deal with Iran.”  The composite character president was also fixated on normalizing relations with Cuba, a Communist state.

“I also found the Cuba thing deeply puzzling and offensive,” Garrow said. “It’s a fucking dictatorship that imprisons all sorts of truly progressive, creative people.” Many of the regime’s political prisoners are black but in the style of Frank, Obama is basically uncritical of the regime’s all-white Stalinist dictatorship.  But then, as David Garrow says, the composite character is not a normal politician or human being.

In one of his first actions, Obama  canceled missile defense for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic, and Garrow laments his “failure to object to Russia taking Crimea and the Donbas.”

For Barack, everything has to be a success,” Garrow explained. “Everything has to be a victory.” And on his own terms, Obama may be the most successful president ever. He transformed the nation into a place where the outgoing president picks his successor and deploys the FBI and DOJ to help Hillary Clinton and harm candidate and President Donald Trump.

“From the first time I saw it,” Garrow said, “I realized that Christopher Steele’s shit was just complete crap. It was bad corporate intelligence, even. It was nonsensical.” Samuels is also concerned.

A new milieu had been created consisting of party operatives, the people in the FBI and the CIA who are carrying out White House policy, and the press,” Samuels explains. “That’s something people still seem loathe to admit, even to themselves, in part because it puts them in a state of dissonance with this new kind of controlled consensus that the press maintains, which is obviously garbage. But if you question it, you’re some kind of nut.” 

The interview keeps returning to Dreams from My Father, which biographer David Garrow exposed as a novel, infuriating the president. 

“There was something about this fictional character that he created actually becoming president,” contends Samuels, “that helped precipitate the disaster that we are living through now.” The nation has been transformed into a “Gilded Age oligarchy” by Obama, the “Magic Negro of the billionaire industrial complex.”

See the full interview for more insight on the man David Garrow says is not a normal politician or normal human being.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/09/2023 - 22:00
Published:8/9/2023 9:07:52 PM
[] Rep. Cori Bush marks the ninth anniversary of Michael Brown's death Published:8/9/2023 8:18:37 PM
[] Moody's Dowgrades the Credit Ratings of Several "Small to Mid-Sized Banks," and Announces That Others Are Under Review for a Possible Downgrade We used to call Obama the Shit-Fingered Midas for his anti-golden touch. (That was before we found out he had fantasies of putting his fingers in men's poopers.) But apparently Obama was the economic standout of the egregious pair. Moody's... Published:8/9/2023 2:07:00 PM
[Markets] States Stop Credit Card Companies From Tracking Gun Purchases, Though It May Not Last States Stop Credit Card Companies From Tracking Gun Purchases, Though It May Not Last

Authored by Patricia Tolson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Credit card companies were preparing to track the purchase of firearms and ammunition of every American citizen. While a flurry of bills lobbed by state legislators caused all of them to reconsider those plans, it may only be a temporary victory.

Almost one year ago, an effort was launched to create a new Merchant Category Code (MCC) to track the purchases of firearms and ammunition. However, inspired by the uproar of Second Amendment constituents, Republicans in the United States Senate, as well as lawmakers in several states, have launched legislative efforts that have successfully shut them down—for now.

On March 21, United States Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced SB 898. This bill prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from auditing a taxpayer based on the MCCs.

So far, seven states have joined the resistance.

On March 29, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice approved House Bill 2004. In summary, the measure will "prevent the use of payment card processing systems for surveillance of Second Amendment activity and discriminatory conduct." The bill would also preclude financial institutions that violate this law from qualification in bidding on state contracts.

On April 6, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed House Bill 295 into law, also prohibiting financial institutions from using MCCs to identify or track firearms purchases.

On April 16, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves approved HB1110. In addition to prohibiting the use of MCCs to identify or track firearms purchases in Mississippi, the measure prohibits state governmental agencies as well as public or private individuals from keeping any record or list of privately owned firearms or their owners. The legislation also warns that data collected from this MCC would almost inevitably end up in some federal government databases.

On April 29, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed HB1487 (pdf).

On May 12, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved CS/SB 214.

On May 19, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed SB359 into law.

On June 10, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB2837, which will become effective on Sept. 1. The measure will prohibit financial institutions operating in Texas from requiring or assigning a firearms code, defined as “any merchant category code approved by the International Organization for Standardization for a firearms retailer, including Merchant Category Code 5723.”

On July 13, California's legislators introduced a gutted and amended version of Assembly Bill 1587, originally introduced on Feb. 17 as a measure about the state's Health and Safety Code regarding multifamily housing, which now requires credit card issuers to use the MCC unique to retailers of firearms and ammunition.

'They're Not Finished'

West Virginia Delegate Chris Phillips (R) called the legislative effort in his state "a caucus priority."

West Virginia Delegate Chris Phillips. (Perry Bennet/West Virginia House of Delegates)

"I think it's vitally important that we protect citizen's Constitutional rights from intrusion by government and big business," Mr. Phillips explained.

He also believes that such an MCC "would have a chilling effect" on an individual's willingness to risk purchasing a firearm and a retailer's willingness to sell them.

"We've seen a lot of gun dealers being targeted by credit card companies that refuse to process transactions for them," he said. "This opens that door far wider for that, I'm afraid."

Mr. Phillips also suggests the MCC effort has more to do with restricting gun rights than preventing any shootings.

"Unfortunately, I'm afraid the aim of gun control advocates isn't stopping mass shootings, it's gun control, and they will piecemeal it and take every inch they get until they take a mile," he said.

Idaho Rep. Ted Hill (R) said, "The whole idea was clearly a back door surveillance mechanism for lawful gun owners," that "isn't going to solve anything else but that."

While the bill got "a lot of pushback from the banks," Mr. Hill said it was "overwhelmingly passed," with 62 of Idaho's 70 delegates voting in support of the measure.

While those pushing the MCC appear to have backed down, Mr. Hill firmly believes "they're not finished."

"The Credit Card companies have been backing out on this initiative to track these codes as the penalties are significant and the risk is high," said Mr. Hill. "It's a short-term victory for now. We suspect that they will try again. They will try to figure out another way to do it."

The Background

On September 9, the Switzerland-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced that it would create a new MCC specific to merchants who sell firearms and ammunition.

As explained by Merchant Maverick, an MCC is a four-digit number that identifies a type of business and the sort of goods or services they provide. MCCs are assigned by credit card companies and can affect the fees a card user is charged for credit card purchases. While the ISO determines MCC codes and their meanings, it is the credit card companies that assign the codes to individual merchants.

Those codes are then used by banks and payment service providers to assess risk and establish fees.

According to its website, the ISO is "an independent, non-governmental international organization" comprised of 168 members. The ISO has a history of promoting guidance (pdf) for "social responsibility" and advocating the idea that "respect for society and environment" is the “right thing” to do.

Representing the United States in the ISO is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). According to ANSI's 2023 Roster (pdf), Kristina Breen of Visa International Service Association is on the Board of Directors.

'Our Duty to Report Suspicious Activity'

The new code was in response to a petition by Amalgamated Bank, self-described as a conglomerate of "political animals" who support "hundreds of progressive political organizations, campaigns and candidates" like "Biden/Harris," "Warren Democrats," and "Nancy Pelosi."

Announcing the ISO's approval of the petition on Sept. 9, 2022, Priscilla Sims Brown, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, said, "We all have to do our part to stop gun violence, and it sometimes starts with illegal purchases of guns and ammunition."

Without explaining how the new MCC would "stop gun violence," Ms. Sims said, "The new code will allow us to fully comply with our duty to report suspicious activity and illegal gun sales to authorities without blocking or impeding legal gun sales."

"This action answers the call of millions of Americans who want safety from gun violence and we are proud to have led the broad coalition of advocates, shareholders, and elected officials that achieved this historic outcome,” she said.

Second Amendment advocates say these codes will be used to intimidate gun owners and dealers will be used by banks to deny financial services to gun merchants. Those concerns are not unfounded.

In 2019, gun dealers testified before Congress alleging that banks denied their loan applications because the gun industry had been blacklisted through an inter-agency initiative called Operation Choke Point, a secret program created under the administration of Barack Obama. The program—which involved the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Justice, and additional government agencies—served to cut off banking and financial services for any business or industry the administration deemed to be political adversaries. The program ended when Mr. Obama left office.

On Sept. 20, 2022, a total of 24 attorneys general sent a letter (pdf) to the heads of credit card companies, banks, Congress, and President Joe Biden advising, "We will marshal the full scope of our lawful authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to undermine their constitutional rights."

"Please keep that in mind as you consider whether to proceed with adopting and implementing this Merchant Category Code," the letter concluded.

The Credit Card Companies

On Sept. 13, 2022, Visa shared its perspective of the proposed MCC.

"We do not believe private companies should serve as moral arbiters," reads the statement in part. "Asking private companies to decide what legal products or services can or cannot be bought and from what store sets a dangerous precedent. Further, it would be an invasion of consumers’ privacy for banks and payment networks to know each of our most personal purchasing habits. Visa is firmly against this."

According to its 2023 Roster (pdf), Kristina Breen of Visa International Service Association is on the Board of Directors.

In response to the litany of bills drafted in opposition to the new MCC, Visa announced in a March 9 update that "These legislative actions disrupt the intent of global standards and create significant confusion and legal uncertainty in the payments ecosystem regarding this code and its use, including with acquirers, issuers, merchants and payment networks. We have therefore decided to pause implementation of the MCC at this time."

Discover told Reason by email that it was also eliminating the new code, MCC 5723, from its April 1 Network Release.

American Express announced in a March Special Bulletin, "The pause of the enablement of the Merchant Category Code for Gun and Ammunition Shops, which was to be effective on April 14, 2023."

Citing the same reason, Mastercard also "decided to pause work on the implementation of the firearms-specific MCC."

'This Is Getting Overblown'

Amy Swearer, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, understands "the concerns." But she believes "this is getting overblown on both sides both in terms of what gun control advocates claim the MCC is for and in terms of the actual threat that they pose."

"It won't accomplish any of the gun violence prevention strategies that gun control advocates claim," Ms. Swearer told The Epoch Times. "At the same time, it's limited in what it enables the government to do in terms of more restrictive gun controls or tracking gun sales than it already has the capacity to do."

She also noted the "variety of ways people can circumvent this."

"They can use a debit card. They can use cash," she said.

"Gun control advocates think that this would somehow allow credit card companies to flag what they call 'suspicious purchases," Ms. Swearer said. "But they never define what that means, what the next steps would be, or how that would actually lead to gun violence prevention in a way that's practical and effective without being completely insane and tyrannical and involve thousands of investigations into perfectly legitimate gun sales."

"That's part of the problem," Ms. Swearer asserted, saying that an MCC "can't tell you what was purchased."

"If you are trying to flag suspicious purchases, what constitutes a suspicious purchase when you don't know what the purchase was?" She asked rhetorically. "Was it a gun and ammo? Was it five guns on sale, or was it $600 worth of beef jerky and camping supplies? You just have no idea."

'Veiled Gun Control'

In a statement issued to The Epoch Times, the National Rifle Association (NRA) condemned the MCC effort.

"The NRA vehemently denounces the use of a firearm-specific Merchant Category Code (MCC), a clear infringement on the sacred Second Amendment rights of every American," said Billy McLaughlin, Digital Director and Spokesman for the Office of Executive Vice President Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. "Orchestrated by left-wing institutions and anti-gun lobbyists, this underhanded maneuver aims to bypass federal laws, effectively implementing a de facto national firearms registry and trampling the Constitution. Amid an environment where lawful gun sales already undergo rigorous scrutiny, this scheme represents an unprecedented assault on the privacy of law-abiding gun owners."

The NRA also commended the states of West Virginia, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Florida, Montana, and Texas "for their proactive legislation against the MCC intrusion," saying "their commitment to safeguarding liberties is inspiring and crucial in upholding our nation's values.

Katie Pointer Baney, the Managing Director of Government Affairs for the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), reiterated the NRA's opinion, calling the MCC effort "veiled gun control."

"The new coding approved by the non-governmental agency called the ISO effectively takes firearms and ammunition purchases and codes them into a specific MCC in order to track those sales and to flag so-called suspicious or potential criminal activity," she explained, echoing Ms. Swearer's point of the measure's ambiguity.

"What are the criteria for suspicious activity, and how will flagging this prevent gun violence?"

"The USCCA is staunchly opposed to this effort," she asserted, adding that, while the credit card companies have backed down, "the conversation doesn't stop here."

"It's an important reminder to Americans why you need to continue to be involved in the legislative process and to ensure that your representatives are fighting to protect your Constitutional rights," Ms. Pointer Baney admonished. "This pause came because Americans across the country stood up and complained to their representatives and their state AGs. There was outrage over this proposal and it worked."

The Epoch Times reached out to Mastercard, Discover, Visa, American Express, the ISO, and the ANSI for comment.

Tyler Durden Tue, 08/08/2023 - 20:45
Published:8/8/2023 8:02:02 PM
[Markets] When Even The New York Times Asks "Are We The Bad Guys Here" When Even The New York Times Asks "Are We The Bad Guys Here"

By Michael Every of Rabobank

The Pause That Didn't Refresh

Eagle-eyed readers may notice I haven’t written the Global Daily since May 23. That’s quite the pause, but with Covid pneumonia responsible, it wasn’t one that refreshed. Ironically, ‘The Pause That Doesn’t Refresh’ was my 2023 outlook title, which mocked the market view that early rate cuts loomed, and spoke about the risks of sticky services spending and core inflation, supply destruction in commodities, escalating geopolitical shocks, low unemployment and lingering Covid effects for some (Amen!); larger fiscal deficits; a drive for reindustrialisation; and that when we were expected to have rate cuts (i.e., now, as some said in January) we would still be looking at the risk of further rate hikes – just alongside central-bank policy acronyms to keep things stable. Not a bad take, I think one can say.

In the 11 weeks since May 23, the US S&P is +9.0%, the broad US dollar index is lower, and the Hamburg World Commodity Index +5.7% and +4.5% in July alone. US 2-year yields were 4.26% and are now 4.76% (+50bps), 10s were 3.70% and are now 4.09% (+39bps); in German Bunds, it’s 2.81% vs. 2.96% (+15bps) and 2.46% vs. 2.59% (+13bps); in Australia, 3.52% vs. 3.96% (2s +44bps) and 3.66% vs. 4.19% (10s +53bps); in the UK 4.14% vs. 4.95% (2s +81bps) and 4.14% vs. 4.53% (10s +39bps); and in Japan -0.07% vs 0.02% (2s +9bps) and 0.38% vs. 0.63% (10s +15bps). The focus is now on curve steepening, and whether this will be of the bull (deflation/rate cuts) or bear (no cuts or more hikes/stagflation) variety. As in January and May, most are taking the optimistic view, which is buoying other assets.

However, the only place where that bad is good view is ‘justified’ right now is China, so if you want a pre-2020 lower-for-longer economy, look there. Its 2-year yield has dropped from 2.23% to 2.14% and its 10-year from 2.69% to 2.65%; the Financial Times quotes an auto analyst saying it now produces 40m cars a year, but can only consume 20-25m; trade data today are expected to show imports declining by 5.6% y-o-y, so China ‘boosting global growth’ is factually incorrect, and export growth is seen -13.2%; and tomorrow’s CPI and PPI are both set to print more deeply negative y-o-y. In theory, Western analysts baying for deflation and rate cuts should like this, but they don’t. Talk of a ‘Zombie Economy’ isn’t welcome because said author notes, “a web of Wall Street bankers and corporate executives had reason to suppress more sceptical analyses, as they continued to profit off luring investors into China. The illusion of limitless high-speed growth thus ruled the day at the very moment when the economy entered its most serious crisis since the outset of the market reform era." Beijing has more understandably also banned negative commentary in its economic, financial media, including the word "deflation".

Meanwhile, Western central banks are pausing to assess contradictory data, but it remains to be seen if they can truly halt or, more importantly, reverse to previous rate lows. After all, we see:

It’s no surprise then that a market-implied inflation expectation measure, the US 5-year 5-year forward breakeven inflation rate, has again surged to its highest level in over a year at 2.53%, and isn’t far off its mid-2022 peak of 2.57%. More short term, US inflation is going to rise again y-o-y on a headline basis as soon as this Thursday, where CPI is already seen up from 3.0% to 3.3% with only a 0.2% m-o-m print; the base effects then get even less helpful even before higher energy and food prices hit again.

Yes, central banks can then opt to look at core CPI and ignore all of the above – but that is exactly the error they made in the 1970s, and how you move the market dial towards stagflation fears.

Of course, not cutting rates also comes with real risks. The Fed no longer sees a recession ahead, though our US team does, but Bloomberg argues ‘The Euro-Zone Economy Is Set for a Painful Reckoning: ECB rate hikes will trim 4% from economic output, research shows, a hit that will coincide with a return of restraints on public spending’. The German press also reports specialty chemicals group Lanxess plans to close two production plants by 2026 due to high electricity price, adding German industry has enormous disadvantages domestically, so companies are migrating: “De-industrialization begins,” said the Lanxess CEO. “This seriously jeopardizes German prosperity and social security for people in the medium and long term. The federal government had to wake up. We need an economic policy that deserves this name.“ For anyone thinking deindustrialisation is bullish Bunds, because lower growth, think again. Back in February we already conclusively showed what bad, stagflationary outcomes deindustrialization means for Germany. Berlin will no doubt be hoping that today sees Taiwan’s TSMC decide to proceed with a German chip plant, even if this creates frictions with China.

Yet our real problem is that this not just about inflation or rates, which are just painful symptoms, but rather a paradigmatic failure across the political-economy - which we are trying to resolve without addressing political-economy. The more we only write about inflation and rates, the deeper the hole we dig.

Likewise, appointing the Deputy Governor of the RBA, with an A$6m property portfolio, as Governor and holding fewer rate meetings per year is not going to shake the tree; neither is the BOE hiring Ben Bernanke to analyze why it made such large forecast errors – except in that it takes one to know one. These (in)decisions betray not so much a pause as a freeze: they show an establishment frozen like deer in a car’s headlights; or stuck like pigs in a large trough; or as just deeply unimaginative, overpaid civil servants unable to think outside the box.

On the missing political-economy note, the New York Times’ David Brooks just asked ‘What if We’re the Bad Guys Here?’, belatedly grasping the view that the Clinton and Obama Spamalot administrations allowed a new ‘technocratic’ elite to enjoy old Cantillon nest-feathering as others lost their nest-eggs, while still feeling morally superior about their gains because ‘they were the smart ones’; and then the backlash was the Sir-Mix-A-Lot Trump administration; and now Biden’s, which the Financial Times’s Gideon Rachman just called ‘the heir to Trump’. I’m not sure if Brooks knew he was echoing the British comedy duo Mitchell & Webb, who years ago played SS officers asking, “Are we the baddies?Yet with real-life fears of the Far Right rising, what is Brooks suggesting *we do* specifically? We will be waiting a long time for that punchline, I suspect. However, if you think the answer is to cut rates and or taxes, let assets rip, and ‘allow nature to heal’, then when that punch does finally land, it will hurt all the more.

To make that point, consider ‘Last call for neoliberalism: What I saw at the party at the end of the world order’ from the Canada’s Globe and Mail, whose author notes of a recent glittering New York encounter:

“[The] end of neoliberalism – and the subsequent decay of democracy – were on my mind as Justin Trudeau entered the room at the consul-general’s soirée…. But even as this party was just beginning, everyone seemed to understand that the way things had been done for so long – that party was over.

The outlines of the new order that Mr. Biden’s national security adviser sketched out earlier that afternoon have since come into focus: protections for sensitive industries; de-risking from China; building up domestic capabilities. We need a new industrial strategy for the next century, Washington has made clear – one that recognized that a society was more than its economy, that workers were the lifeblood of democracy, and that foreign policy must ultimately improve the lives of ordinary citizens at home…

Later, I managed to speak with Mr. Trudeau; I gave him a copy of my book, in which he is featured. I also asked him: What could we thinkers and intellectuals do to reinforce democratic principles from outside the system?

Mr. Trudeau stepped back. I saw his eyes darting as he thought of how to respond. It was an honest question, asked in good faith.

Finally, he leaned in and said: “I think you shouldn’t be so cynical about people working on the inside.” Before I could reply, Mr. Trudeau glided away to another group of people.

All my life, I have repudiated cynicism: I had seen elite systems from within, and witnessed the kind of liberal-elite behaviour that had given people so much reason for pessimism. Yet I still retained my ability to hope. I did not think there was anything cynical about expecting leaders to live up to their own stated principles, or about acknowledging the reasons that others – including many young people – were becoming despondent about the state of the world. Indeed, it would be up to citizens on the inside and outside of government to ensure democracy was upheld and progress was shared. If the Prime Minister really thought my question was cynical, in this pivotal moment of transition – these dying days of neoliberalism – I am deeply worried about what comes next.”

And now I need a pause to recharge my fading battery, and I suspect many of you are feeling far from refreshed.

Tyler Durden Tue, 08/08/2023 - 11:05
Published:8/8/2023 10:24:07 AM
[Uncategorized] Hunter’s Former Associate Visited Obama White House, Then-VP Biden Residence at Least 36 Times

It could be nothing or it could be something. With the Biden family I tend to lean towards the latter.

The post Hunter’s Former Associate Visited Obama White House, Then-VP Biden Residence at Least 36 Times first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:8/7/2023 3:12:05 PM
[7d1344ad-d271-5c23-9e52-d255e2855e6e] Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner visited the Obama WH, VP residence more than previously known Eric Schwerin's cozy relationship with the Obama White House will likely make him the next target of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings. Published:8/7/2023 11:31:33 AM
[] BOOMITY: RedSteeze DROPS David Axelrod with 1 tweet for claiming Biden ISN'T behind Trump prosecutions Published:8/7/2023 9:53:24 AM
[Markets] Press Freedom Under Fire: Federal Judge Orders Former Fox Reporter To Reveal Sources In Controversial FBI Case Press Freedom Under Fire: Federal Judge Orders Former Fox Reporter To Reveal Sources In Controversial FBI Case

A federal judge recently ruled that investigative reporter Catherine Herridge must reveal her sources for an investigative series involving an FBI investigation into a Chinese scientist named Yanping Chen.

Herridge, currently with CBS News - but was was employed by Fox News at the time of the reports - must sit for a deposition and answer questions under oath about the identity and intent of her sources, per US District Judge Christopher Cooper.

"The Court recognizes both the vital importance of a free press and the critical role that confidential sources play in the work of investigative journalists like Herridge," wrote Cooper, and Obama appointee, in a 28-page ruling. "But applying the binding case law of this Circuit, the Court concludes that Chen’s need for the requested evidence overcomes Herridge’s qualified First Amendment privilege in this case."

Cooper's ruling has raised alarms with press freedom advocates, who argue that the ruling threatens the fundamental principle of journalists protecting their sources.

"Investigative journalism cannot function without credible assurances of confidentiality to sources," said Gabe Rottman, a director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, in a statement to CNN. "While the Privacy Act provides essential protections for the public, using it to breach reporter-source confidentiality poses significant risks to a free press."

Legal representatives for Herridge and Fox News argued that the First Amendment shields journalists from such demands, and say that Chen's case didn't meet the criteria to violate this constitutional protection. They asserted that the public interest in safeguarding sources far outweighed the plaintiff's demand for information, which carried no broader societal significance.

While the U.S. Constitution protects journalists' right to shield their sources, the courts have acknowledged that certain circumstances, such as a critical need for information and exhaustive exploration of alternatives, can justify compelling a reporter to reveal sources.

"The balance of interests overwhelmingly favors protecting sources," said Herridge's legal team. "Plaintiff’s private interest in Privacy Act damages carries no broader public interest. Moreover, given the infirmities in the merits of her case, it is unlikely that Plaintiff can ever establish significant damages at all."

Since filing the lawsuit against the FBI and other federal agencies, Ms. Chen has been able to take 18 depositions of current and former government employees and obtained declarations from others but has still been unable to confirm Ms. Herridge's sources. She believes an FBI agent, an alleged FBI informant, or other government agents leaked an internal FBI presentation created by the agent to Ms. Herridge. -Epoch Times

"The identity of Herridge’s source is central to Chen’s claim, and despite exhaustive discovery, Chen has been unable to ferret out his or her identity. The only reasonable option left is for Chen to ask Herridge herself," wrote the judge.

A Hunt for the Truth

Chen, a naturalized U.S. citizen and founder of the University of Management and Technology, found herself at the center of an FBI investigation that triggered Herridge's investigative reporting. The stories delved into Chen's alleged ties to the Chinese military and the controversy surrounding the FBI's handling of the case. Chen has pursued legal action, alleging that the leak of information violated the Privacy Act.

Despite multiple depositions and a search for information, Chen has been unable to confirm the identity of Herridge's sources. This impasse led Judge Cooper to rule in favor of compelling Herridge's testimony.

The FBI, starting in 2010, investigated Ms. Chen. Agents searched Ms. Chen's home and the university's main office. In 2016, prosecutors told Ms. Chen's attorney she would not be charged.

Reporting by Ms. Herridge had focused on Ms. Chen's alleged ties to the Chinese military, but Ms. Chen had said on immigration documents that she had never been affiliated with the military of the Chinese Communist Party. The stories also detailed the FBI investigation and said that agents and prosecutors disagreed over how the case was handled. -Epoch Times

In 2018, the DoD ceased helping pay the tuition of military members to attend Chen's university. She then sued the FBI, alleging that the leak of information was illegal, which violated the Privacy Act.

"Soon after ... Chen was informed that no charges would be brought against her, and in violation of federal law," reads the lawsuit. "one or more agents of the Defendants, who possessed or had access to confidential FBI records pertaining to the investigation, caused the Leaked Records to be disclosed to one or more employees or agents of Fox News."

Tyler Durden Sun, 08/06/2023 - 15:30
Published:8/6/2023 2:53:19 PM
[Markets] WorldCoin: AI Requires Proof That You Are Human WorldCoin: AI Requires Proof That You Are Human

Authored by Karen Hunt via,

In the opening scene of the original Blade Runner film, Leon, a Nexus-6 replicant is given a “Voight-Kampff Test” to determine whether or not he is human.

The test is designed to provoke an emotional response. Emotions are read by scanning the iris, the colored part of your eye. The color of your iris is like your fingerprint; it’s unique to you, and nobody else in the world has the exact same colored eye.

As the questions go on, Leon becomes increasingly agitated. When he is asked to “describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother”, he’s had enough. “My mother?” Leon says. “Let me tell you about my mother.” And he pulls out a gun and kills his tormentor.

Replicants have a termination date because if they live too long, they begin to develop emotions and the fear is that they will no longer be distinguishable from humans. Leon and a few other advanced replicants are on a mission to confront their creator, Dr. Eldon Tyrell, and find a way to extend their lives.

Phillip K. Dick, author of the novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? upon which the movie is based, would flip out at what’s happening today. Not because it’s what he foretold but because it’s the exact opposite.

It isn’t AI that needs to prove it isn’t human. It’s humans that need to prove they aren’t AI.

I warned about this in Digital ID and Our Obsession with “Identity”.

It is nearly impossible to escape the Vast Machine that is absorbing us into it. It insists that we prove who we are, over and over, and the more we do, the less satisfied it seems to be.

The more ways we must prove our identity, the more ways AI will find to fake it. The more information we give AI, the more that information can be used against us.

As an example, Amazon uses surveillance to tally the seconds of each worker’s bathroom break or time each step of their work. And in fact, workers are being trained to do this to themselves with their Fitbit devices recording their steps in a day. In some work locations, AI listens into every conversation, cataloging every word, who said it and how, and then scoring each agent.

“In low wage work we’re seeing a lot more decisions that were made by a middle manager being outsourced to an algorithm,” says Aiha Nguyen of the research organization Data & Society.

More and more companies are gathering data to boost production and to train machines to mimic humans. In the U.S., cameras have been installed over each worker’s head in assembly lines as they put together car parts or electronics.

The result is that humans are being required to behave more like robots, no spontaneity of thought or action, no excuse for mistakes, while machines are learning to behave more like humans.

As one Amazon employee recently told the Guardian: “To them, we are like robots rather than people. The little things that make us human, you can feel them being ground out of you.”

Ordinary humans are being relegated to a lower class than the machine. And do not imagine that because you are middle class you are exempt. Middle class is fast disappearing. Yes, plenty of new jobs are being created in technology and in the health industries, but those jobs will also be surveilled by AI.

In a 2014 interview during an MIT symposium, Elon Musk warned:

“With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he’s like… yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon, [but] it doesn’t work out.”

And yet, he is in the forefront of creating and building AI and infiltrating it into our minds. He is far from alone in this endeavor. Sam Altman, who helped found OpenAI along with Elon Musk, has launched one of the most ambitious “proof of humanity” enterprises:


Worldcoin invites you to step up to the Orb and look into its depths. It promises to have the answer for proof of personhood—for every single human on the planet.

According to its website,

The Worldcoin protocol aspires to become the largest identity and financial public network worldwide, accessible to everyone, irrespective of their nationality, background, or economic status.

The Orb is about the size of a bowling ball“It uses a system of infrared cameras, sensors and AI-powered neural networks to scan your iris and verify that you are a human being”.

These Orbs are being set up in cities all over the world. People are being offered $30 to stare into the Orb and give up their irises to the Vast Machine. So far, over two million humans have done it in more than 30 countries, across five continents.

Worldcoin promoters explain that since AI will soon evolve into AGI, or advanced general intelligence, making the machine smarter than humans, it is imperative that we catalogue every single real human on the planet so that no one is left behind in the coming opportunities for prosperity.

There are a lot of problems with AGI, that deserves further exploration. For example, as AI is fed more and more synthetic data instead of “pure human data”, Monash University data researcher Jathan Sadowski warns it turns into what he describes as “Habsburg AI,” or “a system that is so heavily trained on the outputs of other generative AI’s that it becomes an inbred mutant, likely with exaggerated, grotesque features.”

Richard G. Baraniuk, in collaboration with researchers at Stanford, published a fascinating paper about this problem, titled Self-Consuming Generative Models Go MAD.”

Yes, AGI can literally go MAD, sort of like Leon. But all this means is that in the future, pure gold data, or real human data, will grow more valuable until AI reaches a point where it is no longer needed.

Naturally, ordinary humans aren’t being told any of this. We are being promised that AI’s leap in intelligence will create massive wealth for us. As Vitalik Buterin says, people don’t really understand what they are being sold. Instead, we latch onto concepts we’ve been fed, like Worldcoin’s creators virtuously claiming that “nobody wants all that wealth only profiting the billionaires, it should be distributed equally to—literally—every single human on the planet, in the form of UBI, or universal basic income. The UBI will be in the form of a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin (WLD)”.

Apparently, this will empower all humans. So say the billionaires who have used the last few years of Covid hysteria and now the war in Ukraine—not to benefit humanity—but to increase their own wealth and power so that they are now in a position to catalogue and control every single person on the planet.

UBI is interesting to me even without talking about AI,” Altman says in a recent Zoom interview. “It’s an idea that appeals to a lot of people. If we have a society rich enough to end poverty, then we have a moral obligation to find out how to do that.”

What’s really interesting is how when they want to enslave you, they talk about a moral obligation to do so. Don’t we already have enough wealth to end poverty? Hasn’t there always been enough wealth to end poverty?

History has shown us that once a person gets a taste of power, they don’t share it, they just want more. And more. And more.

Altman wants to share the wealth, but for your own good, it can’t be shared just quite yet:

I do think we’re going to need some sort of cushion through the transition and part of the whole reason of being excited about AI is it’s a more materially abundant world.”

The cushion will be a universal basic income, just to help them through this transition phase. Notice that Worldcoin is being sold as offering humans a “more materially abundant world”.

How much more material can we get? How much more stuff can we accumulate? This is the lie we have been conditioned to believe since around the 1950s when companies realized they could psychologically manipulate people, even children, on a massive scale (through television) into buying more and more “stuff” with the promise it would make them happy. Of course, it never made anyone happy, all it did was create an addiction to wanting more. Along the way, ordinary people became hopelessly indebted to an ever more powerful, select set, of billionaires.

The average American has roughly $90,000 worth of debt. Most people live paycheck to paycheck and are one paycheck away from catastrophe. In Digital ID and Our Obsession with “Identity”, I write about the history of living on credit and how this happened to us.

If you live in a first-world country but are in worrisome debt, imagine if that great weight keeping you awake at night, making you feel as if you are continually drowning with no relief from the struggle, is taken away. Poof! Your debt is erased. All you have to do is give your biometric data to the Vast Machine. What’s the big deal with that? You’ve already given so much of it away to the government, to Amazon, to Google, to every website you browse, what’s it going to matter if at last you give it all away. What a relief it will be.

Now, imagine if you are from a third world country and somebody comes to your village offering you connection to the outside world and the possibility that you can be rich, too, and participate in the world economy. All you have to do is stare into the Orb and they will give you money for doing it.

Before long, everyone from that third-world villager to that first-world Gen Zer will find themselves moved into an apartment in a 5-minute city. It will look nice, with green areas, shops, a gym, bikes and no cars. They will all be relegated to the same level and given a certain number of tokens to spend on things, mostly in a virtual world where they live vicariously in ways, they cannot live in the real world that has become so constricted. Slowly but surely, the real-world fades into a dream while the virtual world becomes reality.

We are already being conditioned to accept this transition away from reality. We believe we experience “freedom” online in places like “x”. We verify our humanity, thinking it is a good thing, or even if we don’t, we do it anyway, justifying it because it means we can speak “freely”. Online, we can boldly say things to millions of disembodied people that we would never say in the real world. For example, you wouldn’t yell out your political views in the market to a bunch of strangers. But you’ll do it online.

Remember “reality shows?” They weren’t real. Nobody tried to pretend they were. But they served an important purpose, blurring the line between reality and illusion.

This is leading us further into the boxes that I have often talked about. Virtual prisons that actually feel comfortable and familiar, where we have already built-up communities of people who think exactly the same as we do. That mentality is being continually reenforced to the point where we are not in control of our own minds anymore, we are just being fed a continual loop of the same propaganda with the occasional “glitch” to make us feel as if we are “fighting” against “something” when we are really just living inside a dream.

Imagine voting for a candidate, for example. Just like the cereal in the supermarket, there might be two or three different ones, but they will all come from the same source—the Vast Machine. Perhaps they won’t even be real people at some point. They will be virtual representations of people.

Depending on everything the machine knows about you, you will be led to vote for a certain candidate. Oh, you say, this already happens. But that is why this case against Donald Trump is so important. Whatever you think about him, he threatened the system. Or at least we think so. Because the last few years has messed so badly with our minds, we can’t be sure of anything anymore. Perhaps his coming trials are the ultimate reality show.

If he is put in prison, will his millions of supporters actually take up arms and fight for what they believe? Or will they continue to scream online where they have learned to feel safe and comfortable, thereby acknowledging that the Vast Machine is in control and they already submitted to it a long time ago, they just never realized it. This could nail the lid on the coffin of accepting complete submission to the Vast Machine.

Entertaining races will be plotted between candidates in the future, but they will have a hard time matching up to the one between Biden and Trump. Can Trump delay the trials long enough so that he can be elected president? Can he be elected?

People will know that future races are fake but that is what will make them safe, just like watching a movie is safe. Voters will be able to play out scenarios online, offering loyalty to one candidate or the other, making bets, arguing their loyalty like they do for celebrities or sports figures.

Of course, no one is talking about any of this. Instead, you are being promised freedom in exchange for stepping up to the Orb and letting it look into your soul.

Alex Blania is the tall, athletic, baby-faced 29-year-old CEO of Tools for Humanity, an extension of Worldcoin. He is apologetic about having to take all that data and feed it to AI. “For a number of reasons, we didn’t want to go down that path,” he says. “We know it’s going to be painful. It’s going to be expensive. People think it’s weird. But it really was the only solution.”

An MIT Technology Review article published in April 2022 titled Deception, exploited workers, and cash handouts: How Worldcoin recruited its first half a million test users revealed “wide gaps between Worldcoin’s public messaging, which focused on protecting privacy, and what users experienced. We found that the company’s representatives used deceptive marketing practices, collected more personal data than it acknowledged, and failed to obtain meaningful informed consent”.

Ethereum creator, Vitalik Buterin recently weighed in on the Worldcoin phenomena.

As Buterin describes malicious ways such data could be used:

  1. 3D-printed fake people: one could use AI to generate photographs or even 3D prints of fake people that are convincing enough to get accepted by the Orb software. If even one group does this, they can generate an unlimited number of identities.

  2. Possibility of selling IDs: someone can provide someone else’s public key instead of their own when registering, giving that person control of their registered ID, in exchange for money. This seems to be happening already. In addition to selling, there’s also the possibility of renting IDs to use for a short time in one application.

  3. Phone hacking: if a person’s phone gets hacked, the hacker can steal the key that controls their World ID.

  4. Government coercion to steal IDs: a government could force their citizens to get verified while showing a QR code belonging to the government. In this way, a malicious government could gain access to millions of IDs. In a biometric system, this could even be done covertly: governments could use obfuscated Orbs to extract World IDs from everyone entering their country at the passport control booth.

What a big, hot mess.

Like Worldcoin’s Alex Blania, Buterin is all of 29 years old. His view of the utopian future is similar to Altman’s and Blania’s. In my essay SoulBOUND, I relate how Buterin actually calls his Ethereum tokens Soulbound. It’s a new religion where members police each other, answerable to the new God, the Vast Machine.

His inspiration for his soulbound world is the video games he played as a kid.

To be SoulBOUND is to have your soul bound with others with a blood contract, drawing on each other’s essence to protect against the servants of Nagash, the God of Death.”
WARHAMMER, one of Buterin’s favorite games

In his white paper, written in 2022, Buterin describes a world where the word “soul” replaces the word “wallet” and if you are “real” you can buy and sell with your very soul. Your soul contains proof of your identity. To be Soulbound is to be legitimized within your community. Within your community are Soul Guardians, who attest to the good character of members.

Buterin answers questions like how not to lose your Soul. A user curates a set of “guardians” and gives them the power, by majority, to change the keys of their wallet. Guardians could be a mix of individuals, institutions, or other wallets.

If you’ve lost your soul, maybe by doing something the community doesn’t agree with—and that could be literally anything—recovering a Soul’s private keys would require a member from a qualified majority to Soul’s community to consent.

“Souldrops” are tokens that can be rewarded to good citizens.

And naturally, in a SoulBOUND world, citizens can either go to heaven or hell, depending on how they behave.

Just as the downside of having a heart is that a heart can be broken, the downside of having a Soul is it can go to hell and the downside of having a society is that societies are often animated by hatred, prejudice, violence and fear. Humanity is a great and often tragic experiment.”

Buterin talks about how large stakeholders such as Blackrock and Vanguard have taken over the banks and the largest companies. He talks about giving the power back to the people. And who knows, maybe in his worldview, influenced by the video games he played as a child, he thinks this is possible. I’m not holding my breath.

Here are some of the companies Buterin lists as jostling to be top dog in proof of humanity. Th first one is Worldcoin’s:

Proof of Humanity

Proof of Humanity, a system combining webs of trust, with reverse Turing tests, and dispute resolution to create a sybil-proof list of humans.

BrightID—Proof of Uniqueness

Identity is a human right.

Everyone deserves the baseline rights of access to public goods.





Circles is a system that contributes to a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for its users.

Circles promises it’s all about community and trusting one another within that community. To understand this vital concept of trust, we only have to read what it says on the Circles website.

Circles provides basic income in the sense that every trusted member of our community can issue Circles tokens (CRC) regularly and equally through their smart contracts, without any further conditions. The value of this basic income is up to the community, which offers goods, products, and services in exchange for our complementary currency.

Circles is all about community agreements and negotiations.

What are Circles’ Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are inherent to blockchain technologies. They are like trained dogs, who do things when certain things they’ve been trained for, happen. For example, they sniff out drugs, or bark when there’s a stranger at the door…etc.

With smart contracts, if certain conditions are being met, these programs execute a certain action.

In the case of Circles, the smart contracts define for example how many Circles you get when you sign up and your daily UBI amount.

In the future, there is no more individuality. There is only the will of the “circle” who is answerable to the Vast Machine. There are only contracts made with AI and rules with no deviation.

Demurrage in Circles—pay attention to this!

The more people who join your circle, the more tokens you will have, right? Not really.

Circles is a unique type of basic income because it’s not necessarily for saving but for spending, giving everyone the equal power to issue money.

To counter the constant increase in the money supply as more people join, we use something called demurrage. Demurrage means that money has a life-span and it decays over time, acting as a type of parking fee or tax on the money supply.

It results in your net balance decreasing and not increasing relative to the UBI.

The goal of this is to increase the velocity of spending, so that you and your network are motivated to spend and redeem CRC for things of value, instead of sitting on them. This supports a flowing, vital economic system instead of a stagnant one. That’s why it’s called Circles. It’s built for circulating. Just like a healthy body needs healthy blood circulation.

You will forever be on a treadmill getting nowhere. You cannot “sit” on tokens, meaning you cannot save. You must spend them on “things of value”. Yes, there will be innovative, creative people with more freedom doing interesting things, but it won’t be you. Once you are firmly implanted in your “circle” you will never get out.

All that matters is spending your tokens and maintaining trust within your circle:

By issuing your own, personal basic income, your tokens will be different from other people’s tokens. It’s the very heart of our concept: the system will know and will always know the routes and the original sources of the tokens, even after many exchanges. This helps you to only use your Circles tokens (CRC) through your trust connections and through the transitive trust connections. If you receive CRC without meaningful, quality trust connections, or you’ve trusted fake accounts, then your CRC tokens won’t have any value. But if you are part of a living community, where real economical values are available, and you didn’t trust fake accounts, your CRC tokens will be pretty valuable.

How do you know who to trust?

When you choose to trust someone, it means you are willing to accept their currency as valid. eg. “I trust you, therefore I accept your tokens” or “You trust me, therefore I can send you my tokens”. If someone doesn’t trust you in the Circles system, they may not be able to accept your Circles tokens.


Imagine if your neighborhood becomes a circle like this, where your every movement is tracked, and it isn’t the government per se doing it. This would have been East Germany’s dream come true. No iron fist is needed. It is your neighbor. It is your own child. And it is layer upon layer of constant tracking and surveillance by the Vast Machine. There is no escape.

If you do not follow the rule of the circle, your ability to survive within the community will be taken from you. Your UBI will be limited or removed. You will be denied food, clothing, shelter. With the eye of Sauron everywhere, even inside people’s homes, even in the forest or the middle of the desert, thanks to Starlink satellites and others, no one will want to shelter you, even if they feel sorry for your circumstances. They will not want to suffer the same fate as you have.

Are you human? If you want to survive you will have to prove it.

The more humans train AI to be like humans, the harder it will be to tell the difference. Add to that how humans and AI are being melded together and you have a real identity crisis on your hands.

How human are you?

At what point does the human stop and the machine begins?

If you end up in a circles’ community, how long will it be before you aren’t sure your neighbor is even human anymore? Or that you are?

Perhaps tech gods like Altman, Blania and Buterin should take a lesson from what happened to Dr. Tyrell in Blade Runner.

Roy Batty, a Nexus-6 combat model, manages to get into Tyrell’s home by using the iris of one of his employees to get past security. Roy confronts his maker, Dr. Tyrell; looks him in the eyes and begs for an extension of his life. When he doesn’t get it, he digs out Tyrell’s eyes and kills him.

Dr. Tyrell is not comparable to the God of the universe. He is a mere human, like Sam Altman or Vitalik Buterin, playing at being God. In the process of these tech giants wanting to become gods, they could well be destroyed by AI; the very creations that they hope will lead them to that seat of ultimate power.

Like Blade Runner, there is no happy ending to this movie.

For those of us who believe in the one and only God of the universe, it’s good to remember that this world is not our home. We have no reason to be bound by material possessions, or tokens, the way these tech gods want us to be. We are just passing through.

Tyler Durden Sat, 08/05/2023 - 22:30
Published:8/5/2023 10:03:12 PM
[Markets] The Orchestrated Cases Against Trump Explained The Orchestrated Cases Against Trump Explained

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

President Trump has broken no laws.

The charges against Trump brought by corrupt Democrat appointees are for propaganda purposes and for sidelining the candidate who the Democrats know will win the next election.

If the Democrats did not regard Trump as the winning candidate, they would not have shown their corrupt colors with four false indictments.

Many of the charges are based on interpretations or assertions of law never before seen in any court other than Stalin’s purge trials in the 1930s.

Start with the realization that the three charges and a pending fourth are charges against Trump while he was in office as President of the United States. The Democrat’s charge that a President of the United States committed numerous felonies amounting to four separate felony trials. Ask yourself how likely is this.

Remember, also, that the Vietnam War, Gulf of Tonkin, bombings of Cambodia and Laos, Manning’s revelation of war crimes, etc., etc., real crimes all, never resulted in indictments of responsible administration figures, except for Manning who was indicted for blowing the whistle on crimes. In Washington’s justice, it is not those who commit crimes who are indicted. It is those who expose crimes.

Let’s start with the fake case of Trump’s retention of some national security documents. Presidents and presidential appointees are allowed copies of their work in office. Among the many boxes of documents packed up for Trump there were allegedly 31 classified documents. On the basis of these few pages a nonentity named Jack Smith, a total failure as head of the Justice Department’s “Integrity Unit,” managed to create out of thin air 37 felony counts against Trump. Not a single one of these charges has any basis in law. No one has ever been charged under these phony charges. Moreover, President Trump had the authority to declassify documents, which he says he did.

But the Democrats know they own the media, and the law schools, and the governing class that defines what is acceptable. For these corrupt people, getting rid of Trump is all that matters. Every lie that serves the cause of removing a threat to the corrupt establishment is permissible.

The 37 felony charges contain no evidence that Trump knew what was in the boxes, assuming anything was. It is just an assertion. After the boxes were seized, anything could have been put into them.  Why would anyone believe the FBI after so many FBI lies and scandals have been revealed?

In 2012 Judicial Watch sued to force President Bill Clinton to turn over records in his possession, but Obama appointee judge Amy Berman Jackson said the court had no ability to second-guess a president’s assertion of documents to which he was entitled.  The judge said that “since the President is completely entrusted with the management and even the disposal of Presidential records during his time in office, it would be difficult for this Court to conclude that Congress intended that he would have less authority to do what he pleases with what he considers to be his personal records.”

But Jack Smith has brought a felony case based on nothing but Jack Smith’s assertion that he, not President Trump or a federal judge, knows what documents the President has a right to retain. As for integrity, Jack Smith scores zero.  From a headline story this morning:

 “Special counsel Jack Smith’s team made a startling admission in its case against former President Donald Trump, acknowledging in a new court filing that it failed to turn over all evidence to Mr. Trump’s legal team as required by law and falsely claimed that it had.”  

In other words, Jack Smith lies, so why believe his case?

If I understand the nonsensical case, one of Jack Smith charges is that Trump violated the law by letting a lawyer lacking the security clearances search the document boxes for the alleged “contraband.”

So much for the charge of national security breaches.  It is total nonsense.

Jack Smith’s other fake case is that by challenging the stolen election, President Trump while still President of the United States Trump was involved in a conspiracy to “impair, object, and defeat the counting of votes.”

Think about this charge. The charge is not that Trump defeated the vote count, which he obviously didn’t as he was replaced by Biden but that he challenged the vote count. Do you see what this means? If a candidate challenges vote irregularities, and there were many in the stolen election, he is guilty of “conspiracy to overturn the election.”

The alleged January 6 “insurrection” was the work of federal agents at the capital while Trump and his supporters were more than a mile away at the Washington Monument where Trump was speaking. Only a thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice (sic) could configure an insurrection out of police escorting a few unarmed people around the Capitol. The evidence is clear that the federal agents and the police provoked the few protesters present in an effort to create a violent scene for the presstitute media to turn into an “insurrection.”

A black Atlanta prosecutor, Fanni Willis, has turned President Trump’s request to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to investigate the widespread evidence of electoral fraud that cost Trump the state’s electoral votes by a mere 11,000 votes. Only an ignorant quota hire could possibly confuse a crime with a request for an honest vote count.

Some people think that Raffensperger and the Governor took bribes to use the Dominion voting machines that experts say are easily hackable and easily programed to count votes differently from how they are cast. The suspicion is that the Georgia Republican authorities could not investigate without risk that their bribe would surface.

Alvin Bragg, another quota hire serving as a New York prosecutor, has charged Trump with 34 felonies for paying extortion money to porn actress Stormy Daniels. The charge is that Trump’s lawyers reported the payment as a legal expense when it should have been reported as a campaign expense.  The charge is not that Trump paid the porn star but that the payment was incorrectly reported, which is merely the opinion of the prosecutor.

Ask yourself, how can 34 felony charges come out of a dispute over how a payment is reported?

The reason the Democrat hatchet men turn  single charges into 34 charges and 37 charges, is to create in the public’s mind that Trump has committed a massive number of crimes. He must be guilty of something, because “where there is smoke, there is fire.”  In the American system in which the media are totally biased against Trump, it is easy for Democrat prosecutors to create smoke.

These indictments of Trump consist entirely of smoke.  That such spurious charges can go forward constitutes proof that in the US law has been weaponized.  Just like the dollar.  Just like the news.

Many people dislike Trump for personal reasons or because the media has succeeded in indoctrinating them against Trump, but once innocence or guilt depends on personal emotions, the rule of law is dead.  And that is precisely what the Trump indictments indicate.

Tyler Durden Sat, 08/05/2023 - 19:30
Published:8/5/2023 6:56:16 PM
[Markets] DOJ Asks Judge For Protective Order In Trump Election Case After Social Media Post DOJ Asks Judge For Protective Order In Trump Election Case After Social Media Post

Authored by Naveen Anthrapully via The Epoch Times,

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith on Aug. 4 requested the federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s case to issue a “protective order” in light of a social media post made by the former president.

The Aug. 4 Truth Social post by Mr. Trump said, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”

Following this, Mr. Smith urged U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to “enter a protective order governing or restricting discovery or inspection” of case details, essentially restricting Mr. Trump from sharing case and evidence details publicly.

“Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” argued Mr. Smith in a filing (pdf), citing the Truth Social post.

“If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details—or, for example, grand jury transcripts—obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case,” he said, adding that such posts may influence jurors.

A spokesperson for Mr. Trump responded immediately to the filing implying that the post was not a retaliation against Mr. Smith’s charges.

“The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech, and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth,” said the brief statement.

[ZH: Judge Chutkan has asked for Trump to respond to the special counsel’s protective order request by 5pm Monday.]

Trump Indictments

The social media incident took place a day after Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him by Mr. Smith related to the 2020 presidential election.

He has been charged with four counts—Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, Obstruction of an Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, and Conspiracy Against Rights.

Former President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he arrives at Reagan National Airport following an arraignment in a Washington court in Arlington, Va., on Aug. 3, 2023. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Political and legal pundits have voiced their opinion against the latest indictment calling it a political persecution of a former president.

"The corrupt federal police just won’t stop until they’ve achieved their mission: eliminate Trump. This is un-American & I commit to pardoning Trump for this indictment," said 2024 presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy in a statement to The Epoch Times.

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said in a Fox News interview that the indictments do not carry merit, but added that Mr. Trump will likely get a conviction in Washington because of the region’s political leanings. “I've read the indictment very carefully," he said. "There is no smoking gun.”

“I think he may lose in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but I think he will probably win in the United States Supreme Court, if they grant review, and they should grant review. When you have the president of the United States and his people going after his opponent in a political election, it has to be beyond reproach. It has to be without any problem. It has to be the strongest case in history," Mr. Dershowitz said.

"This doesn't meet that standard,” he said.

Mr. Trump has also raised concerns about not getting a fair trial in Washington.

The latest case “will hopefully be moved to an impartial Venue, such as the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia!” he said in a Truth Social post on Thursday.

In addition to concerns about the trial venue, Trump supporters are apprehensive about the Obama-appointed Judge Chutkan who worked at a firm previously in her career that also employed Hunter Biden.

Judge Chutkan also has dealt with cases involving Mr. Trump. In November 2021, she rejected the former president’s attempt to block the Jan. 6 House select committee from accessing hundreds of documents from the White House despite Mr. Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

The Latest Protective Order

Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who was turned against her former employer, said that Mr. Trump’s Truth Social post saying he will retaliate is similar to witness intimidation.

“I think it’s chilling,” Ms. Grisham said Friday in a CNN interview. 

“Legally it doesn’t seem like it’s very smart, but how is that not intimidation? What other people are going to take a message from that?”

In the latest filing, Mr. Smith states that the government is ready to share with Trump attorneys case details provided the court issues a “protective order.”

“The Government seeks to provide the defendant with discovery as soon as possible, including certain discovery to which the defendant is not entitled at this stage of the proceedings. The attached order would allow the Government to do so, while also protecting a large amount of sensitive and confidential material contained within the first production that the Government has prepared and will send as soon as the Court issues an order,” he argued in the court filing.

Mr. Smith argues that the proposal is not “overly restrictive” given the “sensitive” nature of the documents.

Tyler Durden Sat, 08/05/2023 - 16:30
Published:8/5/2023 3:54:20 PM
[Culture] First Gay President? Obama Repeatedly Fantasized About 'Making Love to Men'

What happened: In an interview with Tablet magazine, Barack Obama biographer David Garrow discussed a letter the former president wrote to a college girlfriend in which he "repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men."

The post First Gay President? Obama Repeatedly Fantasized About 'Making Love to Men' appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/4/2023 2:02:44 PM
[Politics] Sooo ... about those rumors? HOLY CRAP! Tablet Magazine takes NO PRISONERS in straight-fire Obama exposé Published:8/4/2023 9:18:34 AM
[Politics] [Josh Blackman] Today in Supreme Court History: August 4, 1961 8/4/1961: President Barack Obama's birthday. He would appoint two Justices to the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Published:8/4/2023 6:18:34 AM
[Markets] British Arms Industry Giant Reaps Huge Windfall Amid Russia, China Tensions British Arms Industry Giant Reaps Huge Windfall Amid Russia, China Tensions

Authored by Connor Freeman via The Libertarian Institute, 

Amid the surge in NATO members’ military spending as a result of the war in Ukraine, BAE Systems announced that – during the first half of this year – its net profits soared with a 57 percent increase. The British arms industry giant reported its huge windfall on Wednesday.

BAE Systems stated its revenue swelled to 11 billion pounds, an increase of 13 percent, while profits after taxes increased to 965 million pounds ($1.2 billion) during the first six months of 2023. This is compared with 615 million pounds in the same period last year.

Chief Executive Charles Woodburn declared “Our global footprint… and leading technologies enable us to effectively support the national security requirements and multi-domain ambitions of our government customers in an increasingly uncertain world.”

In a separate video that accompanies the company’s earnings statement, he acknowledges the profits are directly related to global destabilization and Western foreign policies, particularly those of London and Washington, aimed at Russia and China. Woodburn says “I’m particularly proud of our support to Ukraine… We’ve delivered an excellent set of results.”

In November, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that Ukrainian forces had already suffered over 100,000 casualties, killed or wounded, so far in the proxy war with Russia, along with thousands more civilians killed.

Woodburn’s euphoria regarding the “excellent results” notwithstanding, Ukraine has lost approximately 20 percent of its territory since the Russian invasion began last February. Moreover, Kiev’s long awaited counteroffensive has seen massive losses in military equipment and armor, as well as personnel no doubt, while no significant gains have been made.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported “When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring, Western military officials knew [Kiev] didn’t have all the training or weapons?—?from shells to warplanes?—?that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day. They haven’t. Deep and deadly minefields, extensive fortifications and Russian air power have combined to largely block significant advances by Ukrainian troops. Instead, the campaign risks descending into a stalemate with the potential to burn through lives and equipment.”

The video continues with Woodburn boasting of further profits which will be reaped as a result of BAE’s role in the major military buildup in the Asia-Pacific targeting Beijing. “We’ve secured significant orders for combat vehicles… and the selection of the UK’s design for AUKUS.”

AUKUS is a trilateral military pact formed in 2021 between Washington, London, and Canberra which will see Canberra acquiring nuclear-powered attack submarines which will be used to patrol waters near China’s shores. The three countries are currently carrying out the largest iteration of the US-Australia Talisman Sabre war games, again eyeing Beijing. AUKUS will seriously undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty as these submarines run on 90 percent or more enriched uranium, weapons-grade levels.

The most profitable policies for the arms industry are often the most destructive for civilians, such was the case in Saudia Arabia’s genocidal war against the Yemeni people, strongly supported by Washington and LondonAccording to the UN, at least 377,000 people have been killed in this war, including mostly children and infants, as a result of the full blockade imposed by Riyadh on northern Yemen and its devastating bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure.

In 2020, The Guardian reported “Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems sold £15bn worth of arms and services to the Saudi military during the last five years, the period covered by Riyadh’s involvement in the deadly bombing campaign in the war in Yemen.” By the following year, BAE’s sales to Riyadh, since the Gulf kingdom launched its invasion, had increased by 2.5 billion pounds.

According to The Defense Post, subsequent to the company’s announcement on Wednesday, shares in BAE rallied 4.5 percent in early London trading. Andy Chambers, a director at the research group Edison, affirmed “Leading [defense] contractor BAE Systems posted a very strong set of results… benefiting from a general rearmament among NATO countries as the war in Ukraine grinds on.”

In January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists admonished that the risk of nuclear annihilation has never been higher.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/04/2023 - 06:30
Published:8/4/2023 5:53:03 AM
[Markets] Trump Lawyer: 3rd Indictment "Opens Door" To More Scrutiny Of 2020 Election Trump Lawyer: 3rd Indictment "Opens Door" To More Scrutiny Of 2020 Election

Authored by Janice Hisle and Jan Jikielek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The third indictment of former President Donald Trump could produce unintended consequences for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), one of his lawyers says.

Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors national summit at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, Pa., on June 30, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Legal experts disagree about the strength of the Aug. 1 indictment itself. But in interviews with The Epoch Times, they concurred with Mr. Trump's legal spokeswoman, New Jersey attorney Alina Habba, on one point: DOJ prosecutors may have difficulty proving their case.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to appear in a Washington federal court today, Aug. 3, on a four-count indictment. It alleges that the former president willfully made untrue claims that the 2020 election of Democrat President Joe Biden was fraudulent.

The election dispute culminated in a protest in Washington; a number of agitators breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, against Mr. Trump's expressed wishes as Congress was preparing to certify Mr. Biden's victory. More than 1,000 people, including some who committed no violence, were charged.

The DOJ is alleging that Mr. Trump orchestrated a conspiracy against the U.S. government during the two months leading to Jan. 6, 2021, the indictment says.

Media tents and television satellite trucks sit parked outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. District Court House in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)


Under presidential immunity and free speech rights, Mr. Trump is allowed to dispute the election, Ms. Habba said. She also questions how the government can show that Mr. Trump knew he was making false assertions.

"The thing that makes this case the most weak is:  How are you going to prove what he actually believed?" Ms. Habba said in an interview with The Epoch Times on Aug. 2, a day after the new indictment was filed.

Mr. Trump has never conceded defeat and has continued to assert that the election was "rigged" or "stolen" ever since Mr. Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president in January 2021.

Ms. Habba and many other lawyers are denouncing the latest indictment of Mr. Trump as an attempt to criminalize political disagreements.

Attorney Mike Allen, a legal analyst based in Cincinnati, Ohio, told The Epoch Times: "Even if what Trump said was not accurate, he's allowed to do that; the First Amendment protects lies. It's not a pretty thing. But that's the way it is."

Accused of Going Too Far

Mr. Trump and his supporters say the latest indictment is another example of a "weaponized" justice system's disparate treatment of him.

They point out that no one was charged for the false statements that fueled the years-long and costly "Russian collusion" investigations of Mr. Trump. The FBI would never have launched that probe if it had followed its own rules, Special Counsel John Durham concluded in a May report.

Further, Mr. Trump and his allies point out that Democrats faced no repercussions for their strenuously objecting to the results of several elections and alleging that Mr. Trump "stole" the 2016 election.

A New York lawyer and former federal prosecutor, Kevin O'Brien, says that, while disputing election results "goes way back in American history," Mr. Trump allegedly forged new territory with his alleged actions.

Despite even trusted advisers telling Mr. Trump that he lost the election, he allegedly took "steps to try to overturn that, including using force and intimidation and high-pressure tactics," Mr. O'Brien told The Epoch Times.

"This is absolutely unique in the history of this country. And I think one of the things that's most impressive about the indictment is it makes that point."

Stickers that read "I Voted By Mail" sit on a table waiting to be stuffed into envelopes by absentee ballot election workers at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 4, 2020. (Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images)

'A Dangerous Proposition'

But Ms. Habba says that, by bringing the latest charges against Mr. Trump, the government is taking a number of risks.

"These cases are tough to prove on a good day, but they [the DOJ prosecutors] also forget that they've exposed themselves," she said.

"When you bring a lawsuit, you now open the door to subpoenas. You now open the door to us being able to ask you questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, for us being able to look at things like that."

"So, you know, it's a dangerous proposition, and I'm not sure it was well-thought-through, to be honest," she said.

Ms. Habba called the indictment "sloppy" and said the repeated prosecutions of Mr. Trump have made federal prosecutors' political motivations very clear. "It's for the headline, not for the win," Ms. Habba said.

DOJ spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment.

Alina Habba, a spokeswoman for Donald Trump, walks toward a media scrum outside the federal courthouse in Miami, Fla., on June 13, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/Epoch Times)

Obstacles Loom

But Mr. O'Brien praised the 45-page indictment of Mr. Trump as "a remarkable piece of work." It is clear, well-written, and rather concisely lays out "a very, very complex fact pattern" in easily-understood language, Mr. O'Brien said.

Clear communication from prosecutors is key, he said, because criminal defendants are entitled to trials by jurors—ordinary citizens tasked with digesting complex legal circumstances.

Even with a well-explained indictment, the case against Mr. Trump poses considerable hurdles, Mr. O'Brien said.

Some aspects of the case are "vague," he said. Also, it will be challenging to prevent jurors from getting distracted by the politics of the case, he said.

"It's not about 'a bad actor in the White House,' however you define that; it's about specific crimes as alleged, and the focus has to be on those things," Mr. O'Brien said.

Prosecution Seems 'Political'

Polls show Mr. Trump is the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination to challenge the Democrats' nominee, presumably Mr. Biden, in the 2024 election.

Mr. Allen said that, to him, the prosecution seems to be "political."

He also observed that, when Special Counsel Jack Smith announced the charges during a short news conference on Aug. 1, "he was visibly nervous."

Mr. Allen detected that Mr. Smith's voice was "quivering somewhat," and "he just did not seem sure of himself."

"I think he knows he's out on a legal limb on this thing," Mr. Allen said.

"You know, this is an indictment of the former president of the United States and the leading Republican candidate for the election in 2024—pretty important stuff to the American people," Mr. Allen said. "Why wouldn't he take questions? Again, I think it speaks volumes."

Mr. Trump's allies allege that his political rival's administration prosecuting him constitutes a type of election interference. But Mr. Biden has denied influencing Mr. Smith's pursuit of charges against the former president.

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the Department of Justice building in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Both Major Candidates Embroiled

Mr. Smith has secured grand jury indictments of Mr. Trump in two separate cases.

Besides the Washington case alleging a post-election conspiracy in 2020-21, Mr. Trump is also facing 40 charges in a Florida case alleging mishandling of government records after he left the White House.

In addition, he is facing state business records charges in New York and is widely expected to be indicted for his challenge of the 2020 election results in Georgia.

Altogether, if Mr. Trump were to be convicted of all the charges, he would face a maximum of more than 600 years in prison.

Many of Mr. Trump's allies, including Ms. Habba, say the timing of the indictments seems to be intended to deflect attention from the emerging scandal swirling around Mr. Biden.

House Republicans are making allegations of corruption. They say they found bank records showing millions of dollars from foreigners were paid to members of Mr. Biden's family while he served as vice president under Barack Obama. They say the payments appear to have been made for access to Mr. Biden's political influence.

Ms. Habba alleges the DOJ's indictments have followed a pattern: "One day after a bad news cycle for the Biden family, every single indictment, exactly 24 hours later, hit Trump with an indictment. I mean, that says it all."

For example, on July 31, lawmakers grilled Devon Archer, a friend and business associate of the current president's son, Hunter Biden. The topic: of the closed-door session: Mr. Joe Biden's possible involvement with his son's foreign business dealings. The next day, Mr. Trump was indicted on the 2020 election charges.

Mr. O'Brien, however, sees those purported bombshells as duds thus far.

Devon Archer (center), Hunter Biden's former business partner, leaves the O'Neill House Office Building after testifying to the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 31, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Questions of Timing

He acknowledges that the criticism of the DOJ's timing of the indictments could have been avoided if the probe had been launched sooner. But he thinks that Mr. Biden had no desire to "be bothered with it" after he was inaugurated in January 2021.

"So, far from being a pet project of Joe Biden, it was exactly the opposite," Mr. O'Brien said. "He didn't want to have anything to do with it."

But televised congressional hearings about the events of Jan. 6 aired in mid-2022. Revelations from those hearings apparently forced Mr. Biden's administration to act, Mr. O'Brien said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Mr. Smith to look into Mr. Trump's past activities in November, just a few days after the former president announced his 2024 presidential run.

At the time, Mr. Garland said Mr. Trump's candidacy played a role in launching the investigation.

“Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Mr. Garland stated when he appointed Mr. Smith.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice’s Robert F. Kennedy building in Washington on June 23, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Expected Charges Excluded

While many legal experts had predicted that Mr. Smith might pursue charges of seditious conspiracy against Mr. Trump, that charge is notably absent from his Aug. 1 indictment. His foes were salivating over the notion that a conviction on that charge would forbid Mr. Trump from holding elected office in the United States.

The seditious conspiracy charge can be used to prosecute people for conspiring "to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States."

More broadly, the law also can be applied to two or more people who work together to "prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States."

Some analysts believed that a string of convictions against Jan. 6 defendants on that charge earlier this year could buttress such a prosecution of Mr. Trump.

But others said Mr. Trump's own words, which had been held against him, could also help him defend against such a charge.

Even though Mr. Trump said people have to "fight like hell" for what they believe in, he encouraged protesters who had gathered at The Ellipse to march "peacefully and patriotically" to the Capitol, about a mile away.

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

More Action Possible

It was wise for Mr. Smith to avoid unnecessarily complicating the case against Mr. Trump with seditious conspiracy charges, Mr. O'Brien said.

Instead, Mr. Smith relied on "bread-and-butter statutes" often used to prosecute conspiracies, Mr. O'Brien said. However, "obstruction of an official proceeding" is a less-commonly-used charge, he said.

Mr. Allen, the Ohio attorney, said the government might be planning to unleash the seditious conspiracy charge on Mr. Trump later in an updated indictment.

Such a superseding indictment also could be used to charge any or all of the six unnamed "co-conspirators" described in the original Aug. 1 indictment.

Just last week, Mr. Smith used a superseding indictment to add charges and a third defendant to the Florida classified-documents case against Mr. Trump.

In the 2020 election-dispute case, Mr. Allen noted that four of the six alleged co-conspirators are identified as attorneys.

That poses another obstacle for prosecutors: attorney-client privilege, which prevents lawyers from divulging information from clients.

Giuliani: Trump Had 'Good-Faith' Basis

Based on descriptions in the indictment, it appears that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Trump ally, is among the four attorneys. Mr. Giuliani made a number of public statements on behalf of Mr. Trump's crusade to challenge the 2020 election results.

Mr. Giuliani's spokesman, Ted Goodman, would neither confirm nor deny media reports identifying Mr. Guiliani as "Co-Conspirator 1."

But, in a text message to The Epoch Times, Mr. Goodman said: "Every fact Mayor Rudy Giuliani possesses about this case establishes the good-faith basis President Donald Trump had for the action he took during the two-month period charged in the indictment."

"This indictment eviscerates the First Amendment and criminalizes the ruling regime's number-one political opponent for daring to ask questions about the 2020 election results," Mr. Goodman wrote.

The prosecution of Mr. Trump also "underscores the tragic reality of our two-tiered justice system," he said. There is one system "for the regime in power" and another for "anyone who dares to oppose the ruling regime."

"This indictment is particularly egregious in light of the growing evidence proving that Joe Biden and his family made millions of dollars in bribes from America's most intransigent adversaries," Mr. Goodman said.

Jackson Richman contributed to this story.

Tyler Durden Thu, 08/03/2023 - 18:40
Published:8/3/2023 5:52:25 PM
[Law] 4 Things to Know About Obama-Appointed Judge Presiding Over New Trump Case

The federal judge who will oversee former President Donald Trump’s case in Washington related to challenging the 2020 election outcome has a reputation for being... Read More

The post 4 Things to Know About Obama-Appointed Judge Presiding Over New Trump Case appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:8/3/2023 3:27:17 PM
[Obama] Tafari Campbell’s drowning death is deemed an accident but Massachusetts police are STILL withholding basic information about Barack Obama’s personal chef under the guise of an ‘ongoing investigation’

Tafari Campbell’s drowning death is deemed an accident but Massachusetts police are STILL withholding basic information about Barack Obama’s personal chef under the guise of an ‘ongoing investigation.’ We have read claims that the chef was bruised up, that Obama was on the phone with his wife trying to talk her out of an autopsy … Continue reading "Tafari Campbell’s drowning death is deemed an accident but Massachusetts police are STILL withholding basic information about Barack Obama’s personal chef under the guise of an ‘ongoing investigation’"

The post Tafari Campbell’s drowning death is deemed an accident but Massachusetts police are STILL withholding basic information about Barack Obama’s personal chef under the guise of an ‘ongoing investigation’ appeared first on I HATE THE MEDIA ™.
Published:8/3/2023 3:07:34 PM
[] The Morning Report — 8/2/23 Good morning, kids. And so what amounts to perhaps the most serious indictment against Trump, claiming he incited an insurrection, was handed down yesterday. By a prosecutor whose wife directed a propaganda film about Michelle Obama. With a judge who... Published:8/2/2023 6:30:13 AM
[Energy] Liberal Billionaire Who Made a Killing on Chinese Solar Panels Wants Biden To Dump Chinese Solar Tariffs

The liberal billionaire and former Enron executive John Arnold has made a tidy profit selling solar energy farms in the United States in part by importing solar panels from China. Now, in an effort to keep the gravy train rolling, Arnold is suggesting that the Biden administration remove Obama-era tariffs that boosted the prices of those panels.

The post Liberal Billionaire Who Made a Killing on Chinese Solar Panels Wants Biden To Dump Chinese Solar Tariffs appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/2/2023 4:48:48 AM
[Markets] More Warmongers Elevated In The Biden Administration More Warmongers Elevated In The Biden Administration

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone,

The Biden administration looks set to become even more warlike than it already was if you can imagine, with virulent Russia hawk Victoria Nuland and virulent China hawk Charles Q Brown now being elevated to lofty positions by the White House.

Nuland, the wife of alpha neocon Robert Kagan, has been named acting deputy secretary of state by President Biden, at least until a new deputy secretary has been named. This places her at second in command within the State Department, second only to Tony Blinken.

In an article about Nuland’s unique role in souring relations between the US and Russia during her previous tenure in the State Department under Obama, Responsible Statecraft’s Connor Echols writes the following of the latest news:

Nuland’s appointment will be a boon for Russia hawks who want to turn up the heat on the Kremlin. But, for those who favor a negotiated end to the conflict in Ukraine, a promotion for the notoriously “undiplomatic diplomat” will be a bitter pill.

A few quick reminders are in order. When Nuland was serving in the Obama administration, she had a now-infamous leaked call with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. As the Maidan Uprising roiled the country, the pair of American diplomats discussed conversations with opposition leaders, and Nuland expressed support for putting Arseniy Yatseniuk into power. (Yatseniuk would become prime minister later that month, after Russia-friendly former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country.) At one memorable point in the call, Nuland said “Fu–k the EU” in response to Europe’s softer stance on the protests.

The controversy surrounding the call — and larger implications of U.S. involvement in the ouster of Yanukovych — kicked up tensions with Russia and contributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to seize Crimea and support an insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Her handing out  food to demonstrators on the ground in Kyiv probably didn’t help either. Nuland, along with State Department sanctions czar Daniel Fried, then led the effort to punish Putin through sanctions. Another official at State reportedly asked Fried if “the Russians realize that the two hardest-line people in the entire U.S. government are now in a position to go after them?”

In a 2015 Consortium News article titled “The Mess That Nuland Made,” the late Robert Parry singled out Nuland as the primary architect of the 2014 regime change operation in Ukraine, which, as Aaron Maté explained last year, paved the way to the war we’re seeing there today. Hopefully her position winds up being temporary.

In other news, the Senate Arms Services Committee has voted to confirm Biden’s selection of General Charles Q Brown Jr as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing Mark Milley. A full senate vote will now take place on whether to confirm Brown — currently the Air Force Chief of Staff — for the nation’s highest military office.

Brown is unambiguous about his belief that the US must hasten to militarize against China in the so-called Indo-Pacific to prepare for confrontation between the two powers, calling for more US bases in the region and increased efforts to arm Taiwan during his hearing before the Senate Arms Services Committee earlier this month.

Back in May, Moon of Alabama flagged Brown’s nomination in an article which also noted that several advocates of military restraint had been resigning from their positions within the administration, including Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state who Nuland has taken over for.

It’s too soon to draw any firm conclusions, but to see voices of restraint stepping down and proponents of escalation stepping up could be a bad portent of things to come

* * *

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, throwing some money into my tip jar on PatreonPaypal, or Substack, buying an issue of my monthly zine, and following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley. 

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Tyler Durden Mon, 07/31/2023 - 23:40
Published:7/31/2023 11:25:41 PM
[2bcac157-457f-5487-a270-a3bb7fc93fd1] Devon Archer: Hunter Biden, Burisma execs ‘called DC’ to get Ukrainian prosecutor fired Devon Archer testified Monday that Hunter Biden and Burisma executives “called D.C." in 2015 to get help from the Obama administration to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor. Published:7/31/2023 4:35:46 PM
[] New Details in Drowning of Obama’s Chef Leave Unanswered Questions Published:7/29/2023 4:37:40 PM
[Markets] 'No Way Out' - This Week Saw The End Of The Pretense That Joe Biden Is A Re-Election Candidate 'No Way Out' - This Week Saw The End Of The Pretense That Joe Biden Is A Re-Election Candidate

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

No Way Out

“…you put me right smack in the middle of the Diversion Agreement that I should have no role in… and you say Your Honor, don’t pay any attention to that provision not to prosecute?”

- Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika

Of course, Hunter Biden’s fur-lined, gold-plated plea deal on firearm and tax charges got torn up this week by Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika, who discovered a sneakily hidden bit of legerdemain in it that would have left the First Son off-the-hook for any possible future charges such as a FARA rap for peddling his father’s influence to Ukraine, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, and who knows how many other foreign governments for zillions of dollars.

One thing the legal fireworks on Wednesday seemed to indicate is that the weaponization of the DOJ does not extend to every last court in America, not even the one in the Biden family fiefdom known as Delaware. The hearing left the lead US attorney in the case, David Weiss, looking like a chump hung out to dry - trying to pretend that there were “ongoing investigations” in the case when he was actually working overtime to shut them down.

It’s rumored that the rascally, discarded plea deal was cooked up by alpha blobette, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco herself, the Blob’s consiglieri. Nice try, Sugar, but no cigar.

Lisa Monaco is in place, you see, as AG Merrick Garland’s puppeteer.

For more than a decade Ms. Monaco has chiefly served as Barack Obama’s “fixer,” the clean-up gal who makes problems magically go away.

The problem here is that sooner or later news will enter some legal channel that Mr. Obama was not unaware of all the grifting going on around his vice-president’s family, and might himself be inculpated as an accessory to acts of treason.

The former president suddenly has another new problem: the family’s onetime personal chef, Tafari Campbell, 43, was found dead around 10:00 o’clock Monday morning in the Edgartown Great Pond off the Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate after a paddle-board accident. Mr. Tafari allegedly fell off the board and… thrashed a bit… then just disappeared… a hundred feet off-shore in eight feet of water, according to another paddle-boarder as yet unidentified who was either with Mr. Tafari or who happened to witness the accident around 7:45 Sunday evening July 23. Somebody, also unnamed, then made a 911 from the Obama house. Who was that? Early reports said that the Obamas were not home at the time.

A later report said that Mr. Obama might have been present at the estate that evening without Michelle. Was he Mr. Tafari’s paddle-board companion? Did he make the 911 call? Mr. Tafari was reportedly no longer in the Obama’s employ and was writing a book about his experiences as the first family’s cook. One reported morsel attributed to the book is that Barack and Michele Obama almost never had meals together. What else was in it?  Possibly Mr. Tafari had a book deal. Has anyone located the editor and asked to see the manuscript or interviewed him/her/they about what’s in it? Mr. Tafari, who had videotaped his lap-swimming abilities previously, and was considered an able swimmer, was supposedly just visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend. How did he get through the Obama’s Secret Service security to go paddle-boarding if the Obamas were out for the evening? Did he lug his own paddle-board to the scene, or borrow one from the Obama’s equipment shed? Who let him in there? My goodness, what a busy gal Lisa Monaco must be these days. So much that needs a good fixing!

Anyway, after the Delaware courtroom fracas Wednesday, Hunter had to fall back on pleading not guilty as a place-holder while his lawyers and the Feds go back to square one negotiating something Judge Noreika might accept, which, conceivably, might be no plea deal at all, considering the insults already proffered to her by both sides in the case. In the meantime, would it amuse you to learn that part of Hunter Biden’s pretrial release agreement stipulates that the First Son must make an earnest effort to search for employment? Do you know of some position in the real world (assuming there is a real world) where a person can show up for work with six secret service agents in tow? I didn’t think so. He’ll also be subject to periodic drug tests and is forbidden to indulge in alcohol. Good luck with that!

The chance that Hunter would actually go to trial, even on these rinky-dink tax and firearm charges, is about equal to the chance that Xi Jinping will serve a dim sum breakfast to the Biden family at Rehobeth Beach on Labor Day morning. But its looking like Judge Noreika will not let Hunter off-the-hook on the gargantuan hairball of potential influence peddling matters, which are the actual meat of the Biden family’s legal problems — and that means “Joe Biden” is not off-the-hook either. Which means he might have to resort to pardoning Hunter and possibly himself for as-yet-unfiled charges of bribery, money-laundering and other extremely serious violations. If that happens, it is the end of the pretense that “Joe Biden” is a reelection candidate.

But, while all this melodrama unspools, there is also the creeping hazard of impeachment ahead. The Speaker of the House himself suggested it days ago. Rep. James Comer’s House Oversight Committee has already assembled an impressive stack of bank records tracing the journeys of various multi-million-dollar payments - for no particular services rendered — through an unholy host of shell companies and is now rumored to be compiling records of previously hidden Biden family offshore bank accounts in places such as the Cayman Islands and Panama.

Biden Family foot-soldier Devon Archer is scheduled for a deposition this coming Monday, and since he was thrown under the bus by Hunter on a federal bond fraud rap a few years back, there is every expectation that he will unload a dumpster of ripe trouble on his former intimates. However, Monday is also the last day before the legislature’s summer recess, which means not much of anything may happen to advance any of these matters until early September - and then it is possible that all hell busts loose for the republic as we enter the traditional season of hurricanes and financial fiascos, not to mention what looks like a mounting acknowledgement that our Ukraine proxy war project has utterly failed… and this overhanging threat of impeachment hearings.

Podcaster Scott Adams spun out an elegantly macabre possible scenario about how this works out which is worth repeating here:

The House moves to impeach...

Joe Biden retaliates by threatening the entire Deep State Blob with revealing a whole lot of dark info on their dastardly secrets, their sexual proclivities and adventures (think: the Epstein client list), and other incriminating deets-and-receipts that would, theoretically, bring ruin to scores of political celebrities.

In which case, the Blob just up and offs dumb-ass “Joe Biden,” using their cunning ways of arranging for him to die in his sleep...

...because, he was old… and it was his time...

Salutes to you, Scott, for that one! (And then, of course, there is all that follows that).

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/29/2023 - 13:30
Published:7/29/2023 12:56:12 PM
[World] : Even confident swimmers can drown — here’s how to enjoy the water safely this summer Following the drowning of Obama chef Tafari Campbell in Martha's Vineyard, safety experts spoke to MarketWatch about what can go wrong in the water Published:7/29/2023 12:50:27 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: The Wild 2024 Race Victor Davis Hanson: The Wild 2024 Race

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

Current polls, pundits, and politicos insist that the 2024 race is a sure rematch between former President Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden.

It may well turn out that way.

But in past election cycles, summer polls 15 months before the general election usually did not mean much.

In December 2003, the CBS poll headline blared, “Dean Pulls Away in Dem Race.” Howard Dean would eventually be clobbered by nominee John Kerry.

In the Gallup Poll of late June 2007, Hillary Clinton still continued to enjoy her wide lead in the Democratic primary over eventual nominee and elected president Barack Obama.

On the Republican side, Gallup noted of its summer 2007 polls that, “There has been little serious threat to the frontrunner, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani”—who bombed out early in the race.

About this time in 2015, Jeb Bush was leading Donald Trump in the Republican primary. Or as CNN characterized their summer poll, “He [Bush] holds a significant lead over the second-place candidate Trump.”

By January 2016, the favorite, can-do Wisconsin governor Scott Walker was leading all candidates by a substantial margin as they headed for the Iowa caucuses.

There are lots of reasons to believe that 2024 may prove to be the most volatile race in recent memory.

Not since 1912 - when third-party ex-president Theodore Roosevelt challenged incumbent President William Howard Taft in a three-way race with Woodrow Wilson - have two presidents run against each other.

Both, remember, lost that year to the far less experienced Wilson.

Second, Donald Trump is currently the target of at least four state and federal prosecutors.

Millions of Americans feel that current and likely future indictments are patently political. The Trump prosecutions would never have gone ahead had he not run for the presidency a third time.

Leftwing strategists believe that these partisan indictments will earn Trump Republican empathy.

The legal persecutions supposedly will ensure him the nomination, but then intensify during the 2024 general campaign to bleed him out—ensuring a Democratic victory.


But the Left’s weaponization of the legal system is playing with fire.

They have no real idea whether their hounding will result in an indicted, inert Trump at election time, or fuel more empathy to empower him over his eventual Democratic rival, regardless of his legal status.

Or will the nonending legal morass eventually wear out Republican primary voters, resulting in their rage at such unfairness helping another Republican candidate?

Third, despite Democratic denials, there is mounting evidence—from emails, laptop communications, IRS whistleblowers, testimony from Biden family business associates, and likely bank records—that Joe Biden was directly involved in his son’s illegal activities.

Yet daily new details elicit only incoherent fury from Biden—especially since he clearly has serially lied that he had no knowledge of his son Hunter’s business misadventures.

Fourth, not since Woodrow Wilson’s incapacity rendered him bedridden and all but incommunicado for the last 17 months of his presidency, has a president appeared so enfeebled.

The 80-year-old Biden has fallen repeatedly. He often slurs his words to the point of inaudibility.

His halting gait radiates frailty.

Often aides must remind Biden where he is.

Biden appears frustrated and angry at his increasing cognitive decline—forgetting the names of foreign leaders and close associates.

To be blunt, Joe Biden is one more serious fall from physical incapacity—and a Vice President Kamala Harris stewardship of his presidency.

Increasing leftwing leaks and rumors spread alarm about Biden’s legal problems. Liberal writers chart his mental confusion. Progressive columnists decry his treatment of his illegitimate granddaughter.

Apparently Democratic insiders hope Biden does not run for reelection—but by all accounts must finish his term to prevent a Kamala Harris presidency in either 2023-4 or thereafter.

So, the leaks of Biden’s impropriety and incapacity are aimed at ensuring Biden does not run in 2024.

Yet they apparently must not prove actionable enough to abort his current presidency.

Fifth, the first Republican primary debate is still almost a month away. And debates often have proven the graveyard of sure-thing front-runners.

Donald Trump has understandably indicated it would be foolish to debate while enjoying a sizable lead in the polls.

Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine that Trump, a proven and skilled debater, would pass up the stage of a multi-million-person televised audience only to be ritually trashed in absentia on it.

It is even more difficult to envision a frail Joe Biden holding his own against either Democratic rivals or a Republican contender in the general election.

Add it all up, and the presidential race is unpredictable with an array of known “unknowns.”

The only certain fact is that anyone who currently declares the outcomes of the primary races or general election a foregone conclusion is utterly delusional.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/28/2023 - 17:00
Published:7/28/2023 4:04:53 PM
[Markets] No Joke: Ursula Von der Leyen's EU Commission Just Received "World Prize For Peace And Freedom" No Joke: Ursula Von der Leyen's EU Commission Just Received "World Prize For Peace And Freedom"

Authored by Nick Corbishley via,

Few political figures have done more to keep Ukrainians fighting - and dying in huge numbers - in a bloody, futile proxy war of attrition than Von der Leyen.

Last Friday (July 21), droves of high-profile international lawyers, NGO execs and politicians converged on the UN headquarters in New York to attend the closing ceremony of the 28th World Congress on Law, the flagship biennial event of the US-based World Jurists Association (WJA). During the event the King of Spain Felipe VI and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau* presented EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (whom I shall henceforth refer to as VdL) with the “World Prize for Peace and Freedom,” which she received on behalf of the institution she fronts.

VdL began her acceptance speech by outlining the EU’s long, storied history of supporting peace in Europe:

When World War II ended, Europe was in ruin and ashes, and European countries mortal enemies. Five of them decided to forgive. Not to forget, but to forgive. They stretched out their hand to Germany and others, and over time invited them back into the circle of democracies. Under one condition: to do everything necessary for a just and lasting peace, grounded on the rule of law…

The story of our Union is one of democracies, young and old, getting stronger together. It is the story of Germany’s and Italy’s rebirth after the war. It is the story of Spain’s, Portugal’s and Greece’s path from dictatorship to democracy. It is the story of democratic renaissance after the fall of the Iron Curtain. And the next chapter in this story is being written today – in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as well as in the Western Balkans.

A Bizarre Choice

While the EU may have played an important role in fostering peace in Europe during its formative years, today’s EU Commission makes for a bizarre choice for a peace and freedom award, given:

  1. It is a participant in the proxy war taking place in Ukraine and has been directly arming the Ukrainian forces through its Orwellian-dubbed European Peace Facility (more on that later);

  2. It has imposed eleven rounds of largely self-maiming sanctions on Russia that have crippled German and Italian industry and are undermining the economic health of the entire EU bloc;

  3. It has also not exactly been a staunch defender of freedom in recent years. For a start, in June 2021 it implemented the “Green Pass” vaccine passport, which was used by EU Member governments to deprive millions of unvaccinated EU citizens of their basic rights and freedoms on the basis of a vaccine that did not prevent transmission of COVID-19 and which the World Health Organization would now like to turn into a global standard. It is also about to declare all-out war on freedom of speech on the Internet.

The World Congress on Law is sometimes referred to as the “Davos of Law”. Its World Prize for Peace and Freedom is the WJA’s highest honour, given to individuals or institutions that have apparently distinguished themselves in promoting “peace through the rule of law.” It is sometimes described as the Nobel Prize of international law.

That is probably less of a complement than intended. After all, the real Nobel Peace Prize has  been awarded both to peacemakers and serial warmongers alike, including, most notoriously, Henry Kissinger, for his contribution to “ending the war and restoring the peace in Vietnam.” Barack Obama also picked up a Nobel for doing literally nothing during his first nine months in office. He would then go on to sow mayhem in at least seven countries, in the process authorising ten times more drone strikes than his predecessor, George W Bush, including against US citizens.[2]

Likewise, few political figures have done more to keep Ukrainians fighting in a bloody proxy war they have zero chance of winning than VdL. As Responsible Statecraft reported last week, Kyiv simply doesn’t have the human resources or physical infrastructure to achieve its goals:

As unpalatable as it is for all supporters of Ukraine, the most prudent course for Zelensky may now be to seek a negotiated settlement that preserves as much freedom and territory as possible for Kyiv. Ending the war now would end the deaths and injuries for tens of thousands of Ukraine’s brave and heroic fighters — men and women whom Kyiv will need to rebuild their country once the war ends.

But Europe and the US are holding firm, even as the leaders of more and more non-aligned countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and China, call for an immediate ceasefire. While NATO may have no viable exit strategy, VdL fears that a ceasefire would consolidate the territorial gains made by Russia since February 2022, as if that fate were somehow avoidable at this stage. As the piece in RS notes, “Ukraine is unlikely to militarily evict Russia out of its territory, no matter how many men they feed into battle.”

VdL has other concerns too, including the threat a negotiated settlement could pose to US-EU’s grandiose reconstruction plans for Ukraine, in which, to paraphrase Julian Assange, potentially trillions of dollars of taxpayer funds will get washed through Ukraine and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. Here’s VdL from late May:

A ceasefire would be inherently unstable and destabilise the region along the contact line. Nobody would invest or rebuild, and the conflict could flare up again at any time. No. A just peace must result in the withdrawal of the Russian forces and their equipment from the territory of Ukraine.

Since VdL said those words, Ukraine’s long-awaited counter-offensive has come and almost completely gone while achieving next to nothing, apart from massively escalating the Ukrainian body count. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, “When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring Western military officials knew Kyiv didn’t have all the training or weapons, that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day. They haven’t.” And yet the meat grinder grinds on.

Funding War Through the European Peace Facility (EPF)

Interestingly, the Commission’s peace and freedom prize has garnered next to no attention in Western media. Maybe the MSM thought it too farcical a story to cover. But it has been covered elsewhere, including in an op-ed by British journalist and lecturer Mark Blacklock in China’s English-language government house organ Global Times. Blacklock describes the WJA’s latest choice of recipient for the award as “peculiar”:

In her acceptance speech, [VdL] spoke of the war between Ukraine and Russia, quoting from the UN Charter to declare countries should refrain from “the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

Why then has the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, deliberately concocted a method of evading its own internal checks and balances — designed to prevent the EU from distributing military aid to countries outside the bloc — in order to enable it to send billions of euros worth of weapons and ammunition from its member countries?

The disingenuously-named European Peace Facility (EPF) was created by the EU in 2021 to finance initiatives designed to avoid wars and encourage peace in other countries and strengthen international security. It was necessary because the EU is not allowed to finance military actions itself. The EPF’s original budget of 5.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) was meant to partly reimburse its 27 member countries for the cost of lethal weapons, ammunition, and other military hardware supplied to other nations for those purposes. Now the budget stands at 12 billion euros ($13.5 billion) and has been repurposed so it can now be used to help Ukraine. Already, 4.6 billion euros ($5.1 billion) has been allocated to Kiev, and last week the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, outlined plans to send 20 billion euros ($22.3 billion) to Ukraine over the next four years. This war marks the first time the EU has supplied lethal weapons this way to a third country.

The Commission is in the process of setting up a procurement platform for EU nations to jointly purchase weapons, arguing that pooling demand will allow EU Members to secure better terms from suppliers — just as happened with the Commission’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement platform. You know, the one in which the terms and conditions — at least those that seeped out into the public sphere despite Pfizer, BioNtech and the Commission’s best efforts — got progressively worse as time went on, even as the Commission’s orders ballooned in size. That’s right: the more vaccines the Commission bought, the more it paid per unit.

Now, EU Member States are inundated with hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines that nobody wants. Germany alone has binned 83 million doses of coronavirus vaccines at an estimated cost of €1.6 billion, and has 120 million further doses sitting idle in warehouses around the country. Yet Germany, like all other EU Member States, must continue buying more vaccines until 2028. At the same time, its Health Ministry recently announced that it was dramatically scaling back a €100 million programme for research into long Covid and post-vaccination injuries, as well as support for those afflicted, as part of Berlin’s new austerity drive.

The VdL Commission’s vaccine procurement practices are now the subject of two investigations by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). As the Belgian news weekly Le Vif recently reported, in late June the EPPO took up a criminal complaint filed by Frédéric Baldan, a Belgian lobbyist, in Liège, against VdL for, among other things, “destruction of public documents” (the infamous text messages between VdL and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla) and “corruption”. For all his troubles, Baldan’s lobbying firm, CEBiz, was suspended from the European register of lobbyists, even though its accreditation had been renewed in April.

But I digress. Back to the WJA’s award, which, as its title suggests, is meant not just to honour the recipient’s commitment to peace but also to freedom. And this is something else the VdL Commission has little apparent regard for. As I reported a couple of weeks ago, in exactly one month’s time (August 25) the European Union’s Digital Services Act, or DSA, is set to go fully live. From that date, all “Very Large Online Platforms” (VLOPs) and “Very Large Online Search Engines” (VLOSEs) will be obliged  to speedily remove illegal content, hate speech and so-called disinformation from their platforms. If not, they risk fines of up to 6% of their annual global revenue:

So, who in the EU will get to define what actually constitutes mis- or disinformation?

Surely it will be the job of an independent regulator or a judicial authority with at least clear procedural parameters and no or few conflicts of interest. At least that is what one would hope.

But no.

The ultimate decider of what constitutes mis- or dis-information, possibly not just in the EU but across multiple jurisdictions around the world, will be the European Commission. That’s right, the EU’s power-hungry, conflict-of-interest-riddled, Von der Leyen-led executive branch. The same institution that is in the process of dynamiting the EU’s economic future through its endless backfiring sanctions on Russia and which is mired in Pfizergate, one of the biggest corruption scandals of its 64-year existence. Now the Commission wants to take mass censorship to levels not seen in Europe since at least the dying days of the Cold War.

Late last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that the DSA, in its current form, could have “a significant negative impact on the rights of users, in particular that of privacy and free speech.” And as American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notes, free speech and a free press are the foundation stones of any genuine liberal democracy. And the European Commission is about to enshrine a censorship regime that threatens to put paid to freedom of speech in Europe and could even end up going global. Yet the same Commission just won the World Prize for Peace and Freedom. Once again, Orwell will be turning in his grave.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/27/2023 - 05:00
Published:7/27/2023 4:07:43 AM
[Markets] Federal Judge Deals Blow To Biden's Immigration Plans Federal Judge Deals Blow To Biden's Immigration Plans

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

Tijuana, Mexico seen through the U.S. border wall near San Diego, Calif., on May 31, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A federal judge has blocked the White House’s new rules for people seeking asylum at the U.S.–Mexico border, handing a win to left-wing immigration groups.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar—an Obama appointee—in Northern California found the rules unlawful because the mandate imposes conditions that Congress did not intend. Judge Tigar stayed his own ruling for 14 days, allowing the Biden administration to appeal before his order takes effect.

“The Court concludes that the Rule is contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who enter between ports of entry, using a manner of entry that Congress expressly intended should not affect access to asylum,” the judge wrote on Tuesday.

“The Rule is also contrary to law because it presumes ineligible for asylum noncitizens who fail to apply for protection in a transit country, despite Congress’s clear intent that such a factor should only limit access to asylum where the transit country actually presents a safe option.”

In recent months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a series of measures that attempt to stem the flow of illegal immigration and better manage the influx of illegal aliens along the U.S.–Mexico border. It came after the Trump-era Title 42 pandemic rule that was used to expel people from the country expired earlier this year.

But Judge Tigar concluded that the new programs that provide illegal aliens an avenue to apply for asylum in the United States are specific to certain nationalities. He added that the rules aren’t meaningful for all people who seek asylum.

“The Rule therefore assumes that these exceptions will, at the very least, present meaningful options to noncitizens subject to the Rule. Parole programs are not meaningfully available to many noncitizens subject to the Rule,” he wrote.

“Though other parole programs exist, the Rule generally relies on the parole programs for Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan, and Ukrainian nationals. These programs are country-specific and ‘are not universally available, even to the covered populations.'”

Lawyers for the Department of Justice argued that the administration’s policy is different than a Trump administration version, with a lawyer for the DOJ arguing last week that the new policy includes legal pathways for people seeking asylum protection.

The Biden administration added that the asylum rule was a key part of its strategy to strike a balance between strict border enforcement and ensuring several avenues for migrants to pursue valid asylum claims. The rule was a response to political and economic instability fueling an exodus of migrants from countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela.

The Rule Is ‘Arbitrary and Capricious’

The judge wrote the government violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which sets guidelines on how agencies implement rules when it rolled out the latest asylum rule.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/26/2023 - 17:40
Published:7/26/2023 4:55:08 PM
[Energy] Hot Weather Does Not Mean Climate Change

As Ambassador Rahm Emanuel once said as chief of staff to President Barack Obama, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Hillary... Read More

The post Hot Weather Does Not Mean Climate Change appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/25/2023 6:10:19 PM
[Democrats] Axis of Evil? Obamas, Clintons Linked by Suspicious Deaths

Barack Obama's personal chef drowned earlier this week near the former president's $18 million estate on Martha's Vineyard, roughly eight years after Hillary Clinton's chef drowned while hiking in New Mexico.

The post Axis of Evil? Obamas, Clintons Linked by Suspicious Deaths appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/25/2023 5:51:39 PM
[] Obama's Personal Chef Drowns in a Pond on Obama's Luxurious Estate; Based on Footprints to and From the Pond, Police Are Looking Into Two Suspects, Or One Suspect With Four Feet Okay that last part wasn't true. The rest of it was, though. Former President Barack Obama's personal chef has drowned near the family's home on Martha's Vineyard. Massachusetts State Police confirmed that the paddleboarder whose body was recovered from Edgartown... Published:7/25/2023 3:24:00 PM
[Customs, Border and Immigration News] Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Biden’s Rule Limiting Asylum For Migrants

by Katelynn Richardson at CDN -

A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s new asylum rule for migrants Tuesday. The policy, implemented in May following the expiration of Title 42, denies asylum to migrants who pass through a safe country on the way to the United States and do not seek protection there. The ACLU, along …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Biden’s Rule Limiting Asylum For Migrants first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:7/25/2023 1:40:16 PM
[Latest News] Body of Obamas’ Personal Chef Found in Lake Near Ex-President’s Mansion

A missing paddle boarder whose body was recovered from a lake in the Massachusetts resort community of Martha's Vineyard was the personal chef to former president Barack Obama, authorities said.

The post Body of Obamas’ Personal Chef Found in Lake Near Ex-President’s Mansion appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/25/2023 10:24:14 AM
[Alarmism] James Hansen on Fire

Big Green consists of several ‘environmental’ organizations, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), each with $100+M budgets, each springing from high-minded useful beginnings, each with more high-priced lawyers than you can shake a stick at. EDF …was chief architect of the disastrous Kyoto lemon. NRDC proudly claims credit for Obama’s EPA strategy and foolishly allows it to migrate to Paris.”

The post James Hansen on Fire first appeared on Watts Up With That?.

Published:7/25/2023 4:12:57 AM
[Markets] The US Government's New 'Ministry Of Truth': The Cybersecurity And Infrastructure Security Agency The US Government's New 'Ministry Of Truth': The Cybersecurity And Infrastructure Security Agency

Authored by Peter Schweizer via The Gatestone Institute,

Mission creep is a serious problem in the federal government, and the ongoing investigations by House Republicans into "weaponization" of government misdeeds have shown how pervasive and deep the problem can be.

A new report by the House Judiciary Committee documents how the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency "has facilitated the censorship of Americans directly and through third-party intermediaries." The agency, under the administration of President Joe Biden and under the leadership of Jen Easterly (pictured), ramped up efforts to flag "misinformation and disinformation" on social media. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The FBI, Justice Department, CIA and even the Internal Revenue Service all look as we have seen, like tempting operatives for use against political opponents or to run interference for allies. But what about an agency that is supposed to protect us against cyber threats? A new interim report from the House Judiciary Committee highlights politically motivated mission creep where we might least have expected it: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

CISA, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, was created in 2018 with a simple, non-political mission statement: "To prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the impact of cyberattacks." As reported here previously, CISA works to prevent state-sanctioned hackers from attacking and compromising America's digital infrastructure. The agency exists to warn companies and government entities of pending computer vulnerabilities. It also works to stop ransomware attacks on American companies and their computer networks, and to minimize damage from cyber exploits by foreign and domestic sources. In short, CISA's mission brief was to watch out for attacks on our digital "boxes and wires."

Instead, as the House Judiciary Committee report documents, CISA "has facilitated the censorship of Americans directly and through third-party intermediaries." The agency, under the administration of President Joe Biden and under the leadership of Jen Easterly, ramped up efforts to flag "misinformation and disinformation" on social media. According to documents the committee obtained only through subpoena, CISA considered the creation of an anti-misinformation "rapid response team" capable of physically deploying across the United States to stamp out what it would decide constituted such "misinformation." The agency went, for example, from ensuring the digital security of American voting systems to censoring criticism of those systems.

The internal communications of agency staff and members of its outside advisory group show they knew they were on thin legal ground. Members of CISA's advisory committee agonized that it was "only a matter of time before someone realizes we exist and starts asking about our work, " the report said.

After the Biden administration was sued in federal court, CISA outsourced its censorship operation to a non-profit group funded by CISA itself. The Judiciary Committee report charges that the outsourcing was an implicit admission that CISA knew that its censorship activities were unconstitutional. CISA, meanwhile, said that it outsourced material to another agency to "avoid the appearance of government propaganda."

Today, a look at the agency's website and Twitter accounts shows only its statutory activity – issuing warnings about ransomware attacks and "zero-day" exploits, warning about hardware vulnerabilities, and some educational advice for ordinary Americans on staying safe during their online activities. This is important work, as the US is under constant cyberattack from state-sanctioned, or state-tolerated, hackers operating from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. These hackers extort millions of dollars from companies and institutions through overt attacks that can cripple their networks and computers. Cyber criminals go in hard, looking for cash, while cyber espionage attacks attempt to go in quietly, harvesting secrets without detection. Stopping them at the firewall is a matter of national security.

So, to dilute that mission with a politically motivated dive into censorship is unconscionable and dangerous. The Judiciary Committee is right to pursue this inquiry to prevent CISA from going off the rails again, as their own mission pledges.

There is more to see here, however, and more to root out than just a thwarted attempt by a government bureaucracy to police the political speech of the American people in violation of the First Amendment. It is the use of funded or politically affiliated non-profit groups to do the government's dirty work for it. Note that when pressed by a pending lawsuit over its actions, CISA offloaded its "election misinformation" activity to a non-profit organization called the Center for Internet Security (CIS). It was this group, CIS, that served as a singular conduit for election officials to report what they alone determined were false or misleading claims about elections to the large social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter, according to the report.

This parallels the behavior of the Justice Department under then Attorney General Eric Holder during the Barack Obama administration. The Government Accountability Institute did research into the DoJ's pattern of using "consent decrees" to force private companies with threats of anti-discrimination lawsuits to donate funds to one or more designated non-profit organizations on a list helpfully provided by the Justice Department. These groups were largely "social justice warriors" who would then use the money to exert political pressure. This practice was immediately banned by the Trump administration when it took office in 2017, but that ban was quietly reversed by Biden four years later.

CIS enjoyed government funds for its work, much of which is focused on anti-cyberattack activity, as it should be. But its actions in enforcing censorship of "election misinformation" were revealed in the now-famous dump of internal chatter known as "the Twitter files."

Not only that, but the woman who in October 2020 made the fateful decision for Twitter to censor the New York Post's 2020 scoop about Hunter Biden's laptop, Vijaya Gadde, became a member of CISA's "Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation" subcommittee after the Biden administration took office. Gadde, you may recall, was unceremoniously fired by Elon Musk on his first day of owning Twitter.

Gadde was a member of this subcommittee, known as the "MDM Subcommittee," which also counted Dr. Kate Starbird of the University of Washington, and Suzanne Spaulding, a former legal adviser for the CIA. According to a report in The Intercept, this committee in 2022 recommended that CISA closely monitor "social media platforms of all sizes, mainstream media, cable news, hyper partisan media, talk radio and other online resources."

The MDM committee's report urged the agency to take steps to halt the "spread of false and misleading information" and recommended that CISA stay up to date with the ongoing research on "debunking vs. pre-bunking" information that the committee tars as either unknowingly false (misinformation), deliberately planted by hostile foreign actors (disinformation), or what it termed "malinformation," defined in its report as "information that may be based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate."

What the Judiciary Committee's work so far has highlighted is the creation of "feedback loops": that an agency of the government can create and use advisory boards to go well beyond its statutory mission, giving it cover for exercising power Congress never meant it to have.

How many more federal agencies are doing similar things?

Peter Schweizer, President of the Governmental Accountability Institute, is a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow and author of the new book, Red Handed: How American Elites are Helping China Win.

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/24/2023 - 23:40
Published:7/25/2023 12:55:08 AM
[Markets] "Another Pay-To-Play?" Hunter Art Buyer Revealed As "Friend" Who Received Favor From Biden White House "Another Pay-To-Play?" Hunter Art Buyer Revealed As "Friend" Who Received Favor From Biden White House

While the DOJ continues to run cover for the Bidens, a new report from Insider reveals yet another shady looking transaction involving the first family.

While President Joe Biden promised on the 2020 campaign trail that there would be an "absolute wall" between his family's private business and his official duties, it appears that was yet another lie - as the identities of several buyers of Hunter Biden's art turned out to be "friends." One buyer, whose ideitity remains unknown, spent $875,000 on 11 Hunter Biden artworks, while another received a direct benefit from the Biden White House.

The buyer has been revealed as Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, a Los Angeles real estate investor and philanthropist who is extremely influential in California Democratic circles, and has given extensively to the Biden administration ($13,414) and the Democratic National Campaign Committee ($29,700). In 2022, Nirsh Naftali hosted a fundraiser headlined by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Hirsh Naftali was appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad - a position Hunter had previously suggested he could arrange to have friends seated on. As Insider notes, it's unknown whether Hirsh's purchases were before or after the appointment.

In July 2022, eight months after Hunter Biden's first art opening, Joe Biden announced Hirsh Naftali's appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. It is unclear whether Hirsh's purchase of Hunter Biden's artwork occurred before or after that appointment. Membership on the commission is an unpaid position that is often filled by campaign donors, family members, and political allies — the same crowd that often winds up with US ambassadorial appointments.


In the past, Hunter Biden has privately suggested that he could arrange to have friends seated on the commission. Eric Schwerin, Hunter Biden's longtime business associate, was appointed to the same post by President Barack Obama in 2015. -Insider

"If it was done after her appointment, and she likes the painting, it's less of an issue," said Bruce Weinstein, a professional ethicist and ethics trainer. "It's more of an issue if she's deciding to buy it beforehand. Then it might be perceived as a quid pro quo."

Regardless, "if you really wanted to choose the most ethically appropriate course of action, that would not involve any conflict of interest, real or perceived, then you don't buy the painting," he concluded.

According to House Oversight Republicans, the report reveals "potentially another pay-to-play scheme" involving the Biden family.

According to an administration official, Hirsh Naftali's appointment was made following a recommendation by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and that there's no connection to the art purchases. They added that she's deeply involved in Jewish causes in Los Angeles and Israel, which qualifies her for the role - along with her service on a policy board at the RAND Corporation.

"Hunter Biden is a private citizen who is entitled to have his own career as an artist," said White House spokesperson Ian Sams. "We are not involved in his art sales, and any buyers of his art are not disclosed to the White House."

Hunter's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said that Hunter only learned the identities of Hirsh Haftali and a second buyer after they had purchased his art through the gallery.

Hunter Biden doing something with a straw

"The gallery sets the pricing and handles all sales based on the highest ethical standards of the industry, and does not disclose the names of any purchasers to Mr. Biden," wrote Lowell.

Hunter Biden's gallerist, Georges Bergès, told Insider: "Names of buyers are strictly confidential," adding "Any attempt to get them is illegal and will be reported to the proper authorities."

$875,000 mystery buyer

According to internal documents from Georges Bergès Gallery, a single buyer snagged 11 Hunter Biden artworks for $875,000.

The identity of the $875,000 buyer is unclear. That one buyer represents the majority of the $1,379,000 in receipts that Hunter Biden's gallery received for his work, the documents show, with the gallery receiving a 40 to 45 percent commission. The $875,000 art buyer resides outside New York and purchased some of Hunter Biden's largest format works, including a 12-foot-long red-white-and-blue piece painted on sheet metal and entitled "Pandemonium." -Insider

Insider also reports that the only other art buyer known to Hunter Biden is Kevin Morris, a wealthy LA attorney known as Hunter's 'sugar brother' who was recently spotted smoking a bong on the balcony of his Malubu, California home while Hunter was visiting.

What a small world!

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/24/2023 - 21:00
Published:7/24/2023 8:40:06 PM
[Markets] Luongo: The DNC Soap Opera Gets A New Villain – RFK Jr. Luongo: The DNC Soap Opera Gets A New Villain – RFK Jr.

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

Last week was a big one for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  His testimony in front of a House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government created quite the row.

It should not be a shock to anyone that the DNC is committed to killing RFK Jr’s candidacy.  The performance by Democratic members of the committee was just that; performance.

They had their statements prepared, not for the general public but to generate the sound bites the rest of the Davos-controlled media complex will use to cut together propaganda pieces against RFK Jr., regardless of what was said, what data was presented, or anything else.

This is how the game is actually played.  People like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are there to play their part, hog the microphone when appropriate and ‘get the shot.’

And that shot was to try and censor RFK Jr.’s testimony in a hearing about government censorship because he gave an opinion on research about COVID-19’s seeming ethnic bias.

Efforts by Democrats to prevent Kennedy from testifying began earlier this week. On Monday, Reps. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) sent a letter signed by 102 House Democrats to House Republican leadership, requesting they “rescind Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s invitation to testify.”

According to the letter:

‘Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly attacked two groups that have long been subject to deadly discrimination. His own credibility as a witness is nonexistent. Allowing Mr. Kennedy to serve as a witness before the Select Subcommittee only services [sic] to legitimize his antisemitic and anti-Asian views.’

I guess the DNC still thinks they can shame us into not submission at this level of histrionics.

Then they gave Economic Monologue to the voteless rep from the Virgin Islands to reinforce the NPC’s view of the evil GOP playing politics while the economy burns and jobs are being lost.

If it wasn’t all so badly written it would actually be hilariously funny.  But it’s not.

It’s all a big livestreamed soap opera, folks, with bad actors, worse direction, ad hoc script pages coming from the caffeine-addled third stringers in the writer’s room.

They are the only ones left because, like in all things right now, there’s a skills deficit in all sectors of the economy.

If you think the scripts coming out of Hollywood are bad, and most of them are, then you have to realize it’s the same people with the same functional deficits.

It’s tightly scripted on their end to make sure certain phrases are said, captured on film and repeated ad nauseum through the 30 minute news cycle and seeded by bots into the social media cesspit.

However, like Trump, RFK Jr. understands this process all too well.  He’s using it to seed ideas into the zeitgeist from alternative media sources which forces them to play whack-a-mole on an issue-by-issue basis.

This isn’t to say that some of the issues he embraces aren’t good cannon fodder for the DNC because they are.

*cough* Chemtrails *cough*

But then that also begs the question why aren’t they making hay about those things.

Because if you want to censor RFK Jr. for lacking “credibility” then this seems like fertile ground, rather than peer-reviewed research, which we are all supposed to unquestionably accept as fact.

Or don’t we “trust the science” anymore?

And he’s doing this months before the primary season begins for real while the DNC is trying to figure out how to replace Joe Biden with California Governor Gavin Gruesome while sidelining Vice-President Kamala Harris.

RFK told the world what his strategy was when he was on with Joe Rogan and he’s following through on those statements.  He’s running the Trump Playbook from 2016 but this time using podcasts and alternative media voices rather than just Twitter to seed the zeitgeist.

As I noted last week when I was on a podcast with Alex Mercouris of The Duran, RFK’s retweeting one of their videos on Ukraine and NATO was a massive signal that his staff is plugged into the alternative media at a level I think very few were suspecting.

That tweet knocked me for a loop. Then this observation was further reinforced when RFK introduced the concept of gold/bitcoin redeemable US Treasuries is the real body blow to Davos.  

This is a concept that I’ve been talking about for more than a year, advancing ideas put forth by Judy Shelton who was rejected by the Senate during the Trump administration joining the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

High-fiving with Kamala Harris after blocking Shelton was one of the last things John McCain did before his brain tumor gave its life for our country and humanity.

We know the idea of the US repairing its balance sheet is Davos’ biggest Achilles’ heel.

A US with a corrupt globalist-tethered president is the fulcrum on which all of their evil rests, folks.  And “Joe Biden” is the perfect guy for that job. Like McCain, he wakes up every morning trying to figure out (if he’s figuring anything anymore) whose bread he needs to butter that day.

I can’t put it more succinctly than that.  So, 2024 is all about ensuring no sovereigntist-minded person gets into the White House.

And, unlike Trump, RFK is not the same kind of thin-skinned bully looking for payback. He’s a lawyer and the closest thing we have to the inheritor of American royalty. To think he won’t unmake most of what Obama has built over the past 14 years just out of spite is naïve in the extreme.

In fact, I’d expect he already has a well-ordered To-Do List for his first 100 days in office.

For that reason he’s more of a threat than Trump.  He’s got the pedigree.  He’s got the right strategy.  And he’s got, in political terms, the cleanest balance sheet of anyone on the campaign trail, Chemtrails notwithstanding.

This makes him, by far, the most dangerous insurgent candidate they’ve seen in this Fourth Turning yet. Not Trump, not Ron Paul.  Certainly not captured Bernie Sanders.

This is why as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was trying desperately to keep him from speaking in front of Congress. It’s why Gavin Newsom all but declared his candidacy for president the same day.

Newsom is being positioned to replace Biden on the campaign trail.  Time was running out with the primaries only a few months away. So, they got got crackin’.

Newsom will inherit all of Biden’s money when Joe is forced out of the race.  There will be a negotiation between the GOPe and the DNC allowing Joe a way out of this with what’s left of his dignity intact.

The big tell will be them doing to Harris what Obama did to Biden in 2016, sidelining the two-term Vice President to allow Hillary Clinton to run.

It should also be no surprise that Mitt Romney threatened to switch his party affiliation to Democrat officially.  He knows he won’t be re-elected in Utah.  His work is done, now he gets to vandalize as much as he can before he’s out the door.

Someone is positioning themselves for a either a Vice-Presidency vacancy or a split-party scenario once Joe’s been put out of our misery.

RFK’s rise in stature through the grassroots of alternative media is a big deal.  He has his faults.  He may be yet another ‘looks good on paper’ candidate.  His environmental background is still very problematic for me.

But his championing the Judy Shelton program of gold redeemable US Treasuries is such a huge tell that he’s for real.  This is a six-sigma event.  It means he understands what Powell are doing on Wall St. and at the Marriner-Eccles building.

It means they are likely in consultation at the strategic level.

Strategy matters.  What information you give your enemies matters.  How you go on the offensive while shoring up your flanks matters. I wish someone would tell this to the Ukrainian Military so they stop wasting thousands of men running headlong into Russian target practice.

The Ukraine Middle Finger Trap

The events in Ukraine trace a political throughline right back to Trump’s second impeachment and the 2020 election.

While the DNC was persecuting Trump over the phone call to Zelensky. Back then, like many others I fell for the whole, “they’re impeaching Trump for Joe Biden’s crimes” narrative that was the low-hanging fruit.

But I also made sure to always go one step further reminding everyone that all of the major players on Capitol Hill — Pelosi, Romney, Graham, McCain, the Clintons, Obama, etc. — were guilty as hell in Ukraine. They were all in over their hip-waders in the mud there.

And the reality is… what this impeachment is really about is distracting and covering up the multiple layers of corruption in U.S. foreign and domestic policy stretching back decades. Many of the tendrils emanating from the events surrounding the FISA warrants improperly granted connect directly to the Clintons, Jeffrey Epstein, William Browder and the rape of Russia in the post-Soviet 90’s.

We’re talking an entire generation or more of U.S. officials and politicians implicated in some of the worst crimes of the past thirty years.

The stakes for these people are existential. This is why they are willing to risk a full-blown constitutional crisis and civil war to remove Trump from office.

And it was the easiest thing to see unfold in real time.

Ukraine and corruption there became the new third rail of US politics.  

To Trump’s credit he not only touched that rail he lubed himself up in high conduction flux and rolled around on it until the rail exploded.

The result was predictable.  They impeached him for it, for pity’s sake!  For what? Nothing.  It wasn’t what he said but what he signaled he was threatening by trying to broker a deal over Ukraine.

For that alone, I have to give him immense credit.  Whether he’s the guy this time to exit us from this mess is an open question.

But what’s important is that Davos’ plans as we have seen them play out since then have all been in the service of bringing us to February 2022 and Russia’s reluctant military operation against Ukraine.

These globalists and Neocon freaks really did think they were going to win this thing.  They tore apart the US political system, rewrote whole swaths of the legal code, called in all the markers, activated every shadow operative — Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill, John Bolton, etc.  They even got Mike Pompeo to tear himself away from the Swedish meatballs on the buffet table from time to time.

Now they’ve recalled Nikki Haley from the Waffle House outside of Greenville to run interference on the debate stage this winter. She’s the only one Tucker Carlson didn’t completely eviscerate recently.

The War in Ukraine has been a project close to 30 years in the making.  It’s accelerated since Putin’s speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference.  There isn’t any one issue that brings out the fangs of the Uniparty more than it.

This is where RFK Jr. can really move the ball forward in a way that Trump can’t.

Their corruption is so endemic it’s not just appalling, it is the thing they have to protect more than anything for their own personal empires.

But now the whole thing is collapsing.  The GOPe is seeing the shift in the political winds on Capitol Hill. Blood is in the water not just over Joe Biden, but the entire rotten edifice. Is it possible they’ll finally get to Obama here?

And they are beginning to press their advantage.  This is why we have Speaker McCarthy openly going after Biden.  Why there are IRS whistleblowers testifying.

Lots of rats are beginning to run out of sinking political ships.  It’s a slow process and then it’s an avalanche.  Whatever finally takes down Biden will take down so many on the Hill.  

Screaming “Anti-Semitism and Racism” at RFK Jr. by Broward’s Queen Debbie of old Queens, NY is so 2016 it’s not funny.

While Elizabeth Warren is nearly ready for her close-up, Mr. DeVille.

You’d think with the writer’s strike going on in Hollywood that some of those guys would be doing under the table work for their paymasters on the Hill.  Here’s the scary thought. What if they are? Then this thing is going to get more pathetic than Ilhan Omar stating with a straight face the recent heat wave brought the hottest seven days in the last 120,000 years.

Maybe we really are in hell, and it’s not just other people.

*   *  *

Join my Patreon if you like air conditioning

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/24/2023 - 19:40
Published:7/24/2023 6:47:21 PM
[344c388f-bb92-5d6d-8998-c88f320206ce] Obama’s chef ID’d as paddleboarder who drowned near former president’s Martha's Vineyard estate Former President Barack Obama's personal chef, Tafari Campbell, has been identified as the paddle boarder who drowned near the Obamas' Martha's Vineyard estate. Published:7/24/2023 5:55:22 PM
[Uncategorized] Former Obama Adviser Sounds Alarm for Biden on Third Party Candidate Cornel West

"I don’t know why alarm bells aren’t going off now, and they should be at a steady drumbeat from now until the election."

The post Former Obama Adviser Sounds Alarm for Biden on Third Party Candidate Cornel West first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/23/2023 10:11:49 AM
[Uncategorized] Obama Comes Out Against Parent Attempts To Keep Highly Sexualized “LGBTQ+” Books Out Schools, Calls It “Banning”

Libs of TikTok, retweeting content from some challenged LGBTQ+ books, asked, 'Why does Obama want your kids to read porn like this in school?'

The post Obama Comes Out Against Parent Attempts To Keep Highly Sexualized “LGBTQ+” Books Out Schools, Calls It “Banning” first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/22/2023 4:12:02 PM
[Markets] Kunstler: The Downfall Of 'Blobism' Kunstler: The Downfall Of 'Blobism'

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

“If it weren’t for double standards, the Democrats would have no standards at all.”

- Jeff Childers of the Coffee and Covid blog

You might not know it these lazy, hazy, muggy days of midsummer, but things are getting pretty wildly out-of-hand in our republic. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. blew up the Democratic Party yesterday in the House Subcommittee on Weaponization of Government hearing, acting like a normal human while being set upon by a flock of harpies desperately screeching “Russia, Russia, Russia,” as if that means anything anymore.

He branded them as worse than the McCarthyites of the 1950s, rebuked their insane scurrilities supporting censorship, and left them in a state of exhausted disgrace.

It happens that he is running for the nomination of that very party knocking itself out to destroy him. To win that prize he would have to put a thousand top Democrats through some grueling act of repentance and contrition — and then you’ve got to ask yourself: who would even want to win the support of such vile creatures as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jerrold Nadler, and Adam Schiff, let alone be associated with them in the same club?

Elsewhere around the scene this week, we have the ever more degenerate antics of the FBI on view as whistleblowers pour out of the woodwork disclosing the rot behind Director Chris Wray and his boss AG Merrick Garland. This Deep State Blob of turpitude has been growing and festering with so many overlapping cover-ups that they’ve run out of rugs to sweep their crimes under. The massive moneygrubbing misdeeds of Hillary Clinton from Skolkovo and Uranium One beat a direct path through the Ukraine coup of 2014, to RussiaGate, to the Biden Family’s global influence-peddling operation and every mendacious act in-between including the FISA falsehoods, the J-6 entrapment caper, hundreds of malicious and deceitful prosecutions, the Covid-19 fraud, the censorship and medical tyranny, and God-knows how many ensuing deaths from a poisonous vaccine… and now, a brain-dead government trifling with nuclear war.

And whose brilliant idea was it, anyway, to install this disgusting and incompetent grifter, “Joe Biden,” as our head-of-state? They surely knew well before 2019 that his bag-man son was rooting out bribes in Ukraine, China, and elsewhere, at the same time he was consorting with whores and trafficked children while destroying his brain with crack and downing a fifth of vodka a day. And you’re telling me that the CIA and FBI did not know about any of this, even before October 2019 when Hunter’s laptop stuffed with graphic evidence fell into their hands? If they didn’t know any of this, then what’s the point of having an intel community?

My guess is that it was Barack Obama’s idea to stick “Joe Biden” in the White House in the vain effort to use this captive criminal to stave off any accounting for the aforesaid villainies that occurred during Mr. Obama’s two terms. The mission was originally Hillary Clinton’s — she had plenty at stake herself — but she botched the job in 2016 and allowed the Golden Golem of Greatness to slip into power. It is amazing to look back and see how the mighty Blob congealed after that election — like a giant rogue macrophage — to surround and eliminate Mr. Trump, who apparently did not know for many months what he was up against: the entire permanent bureaucracy. Obviously, the Blob only partly succeeded in deactivating Mr. Trump, who has worked sedulously since 2021 to marshal about half the country militantly against the Blob and Blobism, while he still suffers one rear-guard legal affront after another.

Trouble is, the Blob itself has become an immune disorder for the polity known as the USA, and now threatens to destroy everything the country stands for and all the stuff deployed on the landscape from sea to shining sea, if the hypersonic nukes fly. These are dangerous weeks ahead. The pedal’s on the metal… the rubber’s meeting the road, and we seem to be watching a Thelma and Louise type denouement writ large.

The Blob itself, with the Democratic Party at its nucleus, and evil organelles Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and their like floating in the endoplasmic reticulum, has gone insane trying to protect its Precious, liberalism’s sacred bowling trophy, Barack Obama, from scrutiny. To call Mr. Obama to account, of course, would be viewed as the ultimate act of American “racism,” a place too many will not go. So, he may evade responsibility until he (and the rest of us) are gone and history catches up with him.

But is there any doubt now that “Joe Biden” must go, and as soon as possible? Surely there is enough evidence to mount an impeachment in the House, and rev it up as expeditiously as the Democrats revved up their two Trump impeachments. An impeachment would, of course, force a trial in the Senate. It is probably the one news event that The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and CNN can’t run and hide from — as they have been hiding from this week’s whistleblower hearings and Mr. Kennedy’s sturdy performance against the House censorship activists. In a Senate trial, the rot will finally be laid out before the people to judge, whether the Senate can bring itself to convict “JB” or not. Anyway, it will end this president’s pretense of running for reelection, and on the off-chance he’s convicted, his pardon powers do not extend to that particular extraordinary Senate proceeding. And then we can see about Ms. Harris.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/21/2023 - 16:20
Published:7/21/2023 3:38:32 PM
[] Obama Supports Giving Gay Porn to Elemenatary School Kids;His Biological Brother Says That Obama Is "Definitely Gay" America's First Gay President defended flooding public school libraries with gay pornography for children: Barack Obama @BarackObama Today, some of the books that shaped my life--and the lives of so many others--are being challenged by people who disagree with certain... Published:7/19/2023 1:32:05 PM
[Education] Obama Comes Out in Favor of Porn in School Libraries

Former President Barack Obama just came out in favor of porn in schools. Sure, the former president didn’t say that outright. He released a letter... Read More

The post Obama Comes Out in Favor of Porn in School Libraries appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/18/2023 5:57:19 PM
[Opinion] Democrats Heap Misery On Minority Kids While Crying About The End Of Racist Admissions

by Deroy Murdock at CDN -

The Left has panicked since America’s top tribunal decided last month, 6-3, that racial preferences in college admissions are unconstitutional. “The Supreme Court ruling has put a giant roadblock in our country’s march toward racial justice,” complained Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York. Michelle Obama moaned: “Today, my heart …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Democrats Heap Misery On Minority Kids While Crying About The End Of Racist Admissions first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:7/17/2023 11:59:06 PM
[Markets] "Dangerous Rhetoric": Hunter Biden Lawyers Tell Trump Cease And Desist Social Media Attacks "Dangerous Rhetoric": Hunter Biden Lawyers Tell Trump Cease And Desist Social Media Attacks

Authored by Catherine Yang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Hunter Biden’s lawyers have issued a cease and desist to Donald Trump’s legal team, demanding he not post about Mr. Biden anymore for fear of “physical and violent action” on the part of Mr. Trump’s followers against Mr. Biden or his family.

“I am a little surprised to have to send this because it would seem that Mr. Trump is currently facing enough legal problems that he would not want to create any more liability for saying and doing things that could result in harm and injury, and because it appears you have enough to do in defending your client in various arenas now and yet to come than to have to deal with one more legal issue and case,” wrote attorney Abbe David Lowell, who represents Mr. Biden. The letter, sent Thursday, was first obtained by ABC News.

(L) Hunter Biden at a state dinner at the White House on June 22, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) / Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Philadelphia, Pa., on June 30, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Mr. Lowell wrote that Mr. Trump’s followers are “easy-to-trigger” and citing Jan. 6, 2021, events and their “tragic, even fatal, consequences” as a reason why something that would normally be a figure of speech cannot be considered so in Mr. Trump’s case.

We have seen that what might pass as such a phrase when uttered by rationale people is heard by too many in this country as some terrible injustice for which they must take physical and violent action,” Mr. Lowell wrote.

He compared Mr. Biden’s situation with that of Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was attacked in his home last October. Federal officials alleged the attacker, David DePape, was a Canadian citizen who was in the country illegally after overstaying his visa and said he wanted to kidnap the Speaker.

Mr. Biden was also on that attacker’s hit list,” Mr. Lowell wrote. “This is not a false alarm.”

He did not link the attacker to Mr. Trump’s social media activity, but referenced another case where Taylor Taranto was arrested in the vicinity of former President Barack Obama’s residence after reposting a post of Mr. Trump’s, which contained what he claimed was Mr. Obama’s address.

“We are just one such social media message away from another incident, and you should make clear to Mr. Trump—if you have not done so already—that Mr. Trump’s words have caused harm in the past and threaten to do so again if he does not stop,” Mr. Lowell said.

Mr. Trump has invoked my client’s name on his social media accounts to harass and incite his followers on a near daily basis since Mr. Trump himself was indicted (e.g., mentioning my client more than 20 times in posts in July alone),” he wrote.

Texts to China

Mr. Lowell cited multiple times when Mr. Trump posted about or reposted and commented on news events that involved the Biden family.

On June 22, two days after Mr. Biden pleaded guilty to federal crimes, the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the testimonies of two whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who had been part of the investigation into Mr. Biden’s taxes.

The investigators had validated text messages Mr. Biden sent to a Chinese business partner demanding payment and threatening to use his father’s power and influence in retaliation.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” the younger Biden wrote, according to Shapley’s testimony.

Now means tonight,” Biden said, warning that if anyone other than Zhao, “Zhang, or the chairman” tried to reach out about the matter, “I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.

On June 24, Mr. Trump took to Truth Social to post: “When Hunter Biden harshly threatened the Chinese businessman, he and his father, Joe, were together in Joe’s house (even the ownership of the house, and rent paid, are questionable and now forgotten about by the Fake News Media!) where classified documents having to do with CHINA were stored . . . They took in millions of dollars from China – How much information was given. BIG STUFF! Joe is totally corrupt!!!”

Two days later Mr. Trump reposted “AMERICAN JUSTICE: 69-Year-Old Grandma with Cancer Given More Prison Time for Walking Inside US Capitol than Hunter Biden for Sharing Classified Documents with Foreign Regimes and Multi-Million Dollar Bribery Scheme” with the comment “HORRIBLE!” and commented on the news of the U.S. Secret Service discovering cocaine in the White House, writing it “was for use by Hunter, & probably Crooked Joe, in order to give this total disaster of a President a little life and energy!”

Mr. Lowell wrote that Mr. Trump multiple times misled followers and was “writing to demand a stop to this.”

“You know, if Mr. Trump does not, that Mr. Biden has neither committed nor been accused of the charges that your client is claiming (e.g., mishandling or even having access to classified information) and that the Biden family was not at the White House (let alone in the vestibule) in the period when the cocaine was found,” he wrote. “And, let’s be clear: it was Mr. Trump, not Mr. Biden, who allegedly illegally shared classified documents with others and it is Mr. Trump who is accused of paying hush money (e.g., a bribe) to prevent publicity about his personal actions.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/16/2023 - 12:30
Published:7/16/2023 11:36:05 AM
[Markets] Supreme Court Justice Responds To Claims That High Court Is Getting Political Supreme Court Justice Responds To Claims That High Court Is Getting Political

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Justice Brett Kavanaugh pushed back this week against claims that Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices are engaged in a partisan war against justices who were appointed by Democrats.

In comments to an audience in Minnesota, Mr. Kavanaugh said that the nine justices often find common ground on a range of issues in their rulings. He delivered those remarks several weeks after the court’s session ended in late June.

“We have lived up, in my estimation, to deciding cases based on law, not based on partisan affiliation or partisanship,” Mr. Kavanaugh, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, told a crowd.

“We don’t caucus in separate rooms. We don’t meet separately. We’re not sitting on different sides of the aisle at oral argument, so to speak, on the bench. We work as a group of nine—as I’ve said before, as a team of nine.”

The justice added that the Supreme Court is “an institution of law” and is not “of partisanship, not of politics.”

“You might hear a lot about one, two, three, four cases a term, but we’re doing 60–70 cases a term,” Mr. Kavanaugh added.

“A lot of them are 9–0, but then there might be a lot of 7–2, 6–3s with all sorts of different lineups. … The relationships withstand that, I think, because we are working together on so many different cases.”

Mr. Kavanaugh also estimated that the nine justices eat lunch together dozens of times per year, saying that there is a “rule at lunch [that] you can’t talk about work.”

“It’s a good rule,” he continued.

“It builds relationships and friendships and then when we have tough cases—and we only really have tough cases—you have a reservoir of good will toward each of the other people.”

The remarks he made in Minnesota are the first public comments that a Supreme Court justice since the court recessed over the summer after making a handful of major decisions. In a 6–3 ruling, for example, the court struck down affirmative action rules for college admissions and also rejected President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

A number of corporate news outlets, pundits, and Democratic Party politicians assailed the Republican-appointed justices for their decisions in those cases. But Mr. Kavanaugh said that he understands these cases are contentious and that the Supreme Court faces intense scrutiny.

Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Feb. 5, 2019. (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

“You shouldn’t be in this line of work if you don’t like criticism,” he said, according to multiple reports. “Because you’re going to get it. And you’re going to get a lot of it.”

He added: 

“I just think the tone of how we do things in the profession has a kind of cascading effect. We live in a very polarized society of course, with a lot of tension, and I think we need as judges and lawyers to be the calm in that storm as best we can.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kavanaugh only briefly mentioned ethics issues surrounding some of the justices, including Democrat-appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Republican-appointed justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito in recent months. Instead, he deferred to a prior statement that was made by Chief Justice John Roberts, who in May said that the justices are continuing to work on the matter.

“That’s accurate,” he said. “I’m not going to add anything to what the chief justice has said on that topic.”

It comes a few days after the Supreme Court issued a rare public statement that defended Mrs. Sotomayor against allegations that her staffers prodded various colleges to purchase her books. Reports, including one from The Associated Press, that cited records claimed that the Obama-appointed justice amassed a net worth of millions of dollars since she took the bench more than a decade ago.

“Judges, including Justices, routinely travel and speak to university, college and law school audiences and affiliated individuals and entities. Judicial staff play an important role in assisting on issues of ethics, travel, and security,” the Supreme Court’s statement said.

“Chambers staff assist the Justices in complying with judicial ethics guidance for such visits, including guidance relating to judges’ publications.”

“For example, judicial ethics guidance suggests that a judge may sign copies of his or her work, which may also be available for sale, but there should be no requirement or suggestion that attendees are required to purchase books in order to attend,” the statement added.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/15/2023 - 12:30
Published:7/15/2023 11:45:54 AM
[Markets] Why Are Republicans Greenhorns At Rounding Up Them Absentee Votes? Why Are Republicans Greenhorns At Rounding Up Them Absentee Votes?

Authored by Steve Miller via RealClear Wire,

“I can’t begin to understand what ballot harvesting is,” Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the former Republican House Speaker, said in an interview in the wake of a 2018 political upset in Orange County, California. Democrats had swept the congressional seats in one of California’s few Republican strongholds, largely due to a well-executed strategy of harvesting, or the collection and submission of ballots by someone other than the voter.    

Three election cycles later, Republicans are still on the backfoot when it comes to the nation's recent embrace of absentee, mail, and early voting. But what critics call “election month” looks likely to endure indefinitely after taking hold in pandemic-prompted voting procedures widely adopted in 2020, ostensibly as a health precaution to promote social distancing.   

After President Trump’s defeat in 2020, Republican-led legislatures worked to turn back the emergency voting measures in many states, to mixed success, and – after an expected GOP wave fizzled in 2022 – the Republican Party has turned away from Trump’s vilification of absentee voting to essentially say, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”   

"We don't want to wait till the fourth quarter to start scoring touchdowns when you have four quarters to put points on the board," Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said last month in promoting the new strategy. “We have to change the culture among Republican voters.”   

But a range of factors suggest that Republicans are a long way from implementing that change. This impression emerges from interviews with election veterans from both parties in a number of pivotal states; disclosures about the left’s prodigious fundraising for private assistance to local election offices; and Democrats’ reinvigorated focus on community organizing in dense urban areas. The latter is a tradition reaching back more than a century but exploited in recent cycles to overwhelm the GOP’s onetime edge in collecting absentee ballots from the elderly and members of the armed forces.  

The left is about 20 years ahead on getting these votes,” said Michael Bars, executive director of the conservative Election Transparency Initiative. “You can say it’s an absentee, get-out-the-vote model, an absentee ballot chase or ballot harvesting. But they’re ahead.”  

And catching up isn’t easy, an RNC official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in giving a grim assessment of a ground game still unfamiliar to the GOP.  

“Strangers going door-to-door met with a ton of resistance from Republican voters,” the official said. He was referring to a strategy shift in 2016 when “the RNC changed its field structure to resemble the work that the Obama campaign did in 2008 and 2012 by focusing on training people to be organizers, to put together teams that were part of the community.” It turned out that, with Republicans tending to live in suburban developments, soliciting was frowned upon, and even prohibited, while the Democrats were, as ever, more welcome in urban settings, visiting apartment buildings, public libraries, and residential centers.  

With even McDaniel still saying she doesn’t like absentee voting, not every Republican official is embracing the message.   

We promote in-person voting and we promote a message around in-person voting,” said Marci McCarthy, chairman of the DeKalb County (Georgia) Republican Party, in a jurisdiction that contains part of Atlanta and where President Biden won 83% of the vote in 2020. Nationally, 65% of the roughly 65 million absentee and mail-in voters said they voted for Biden in 2020.  

The Golden State Lesson  

After enacting new voting rules in 2016 that allowed harvesting, California Democrats in the 2018 midterms dispatched volunteers and paid staffers to neighborhoods rich in registered Democrats who had received an absentee ballot but had not returned it. Some of the agents collected up to 200 ballots at a time and turned them in for counting.   

Results were delayed as the ballots trickled in – a harbinger of today’s prolonged ballot counts as more states rely on mail voting. But the result was eventually clear: a GOP drubbing in Orange County.  

We got our asses handed to us,” said Jessica Millan Patterson, chair of California’s Republican Party, whose 2019 election to office was in part based on her vow to embrace harvesting for the party and avenge the Orange County defeat. “Democrats in California have normalized what would be considered voter fraud in the rest of the country. If I had my way, harvesting would be illegal, but we have to win more elections if we want to change laws.”  

After taking over the party’s ground game, she coordinated each county party’s street teams, assembling paid staffers and volunteers to knock on doors of registered Republicans or those who have not registered but may be open to voting.   

By 2020, local Republicans were holding “ballot parties” as part of campaign events, where people could hand over their ballots, specified in social media invitations as a “secure location, “ to be delivered to the election office.    

The Opposition  

Progressives defended their advantage. They followed their California triumph in 2018 with widespread ballot collection efforts in 2020’s presidential election and the 2022 midterms, where they largely thumped Republicans nationally, including holding the Senate despite widespread predictions that Republicans would sweep both houses of Congress.   

Conservative critics contend that illegal harvesting was behind Democrat wins in Georgia and Arizona in 2020, although investigations failed to find illicit activity.   

What they did find, though, was a well-oiled progressive machine with roots in community organizing, working with like-minded state administrations on ballot design, drop-box placement, and deploying lobbyists to push progressive voting strategies.  

These are funded in part by $1 billion from nonprofits and individuals, the most influential of which is the Center for Technology and Civic Life, led by Tiana Epps-Johnson, a former fellow at the Obama Foundation who is joined at the center by staffers who learned their politics in progressive advocacy groups.  

The voting strategy network is complemented by an impressive cadre of social media influencers. What was termed a “block by block street fight” by former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in a 2020 book became a crusade for urban votes. Private funding distributed by the CTCL helped get-out-the-vote efforts in those areas by disproportionately allocating per-vote money to Democratic areas.   

Ballot collectors go door-to-door in their targeted areas, working from a daily roadmap of “match backs,” or a list of voters who have received a mail ballot but have not yet cast it.  

In Washington, Republicans start each election at zero and Democrats at 90,” said Don Skillman, co-founder of Voter Science, a voter data group based in Bellevue, Washington. “Democrats know who donors and voters are and where they are. They have an eco-system with this non-profit outreach and know who they are talking to.”  

Washington’s state Republican party did not respond to an interview request. 

The New Order  

The evolving hybrid voting procedures vary widely from state to state and, depending on the ways they came about, may or may not reflect the state autonomy envisioned in the U.S. Constitution’s stipulation that “the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”  

Ballot harvesting is explicitly illegal in Mississippi,  while 11 other states have no law addressing the practice. Some states permit designated people, such as a relative or housemate, to turn in ballots, while 19 states allow a broader form of collection where voters can choose the person they want to act as their agent.  

Republican lawmakers around the country have enacted numerous state and local laws since the pandemic-panicked 2020 national election in efforts to curb mail ballots and undo rules that allowed unpoliced mail ballot drop boxes, mass mailing of ballots and applications, and private grants to elections offices that helped progressives get out the vote.   

Recent GOP forays into ballot collection include public embarrassments, such as 2018’s debacle in North Carolina, where Republican U.S. house candidate Mark Harris enlisted a Democratic operative with ballot harvesting skills. The caper ended up in voter fraud convictions against the harvester and the election results being tossed out.   

Last year, a Republican ward leader in Philadelphia was ousted after it was alleged his campaign went door-to-door signing up mail-in voters, then having their ballots sent to the campaign headquarters.  

Colorado and Wisconsin  

Other states are just starting to embrace the collection strategy. In Colorado, where lawmakers last year sought to return the all-mail voting state to traditional, voting day elections, Republicans are trying to incorporate ballot collection into their ground game.    

The 2024 election will be our first foray into ballot harvesting,” Colorado GOP party chairman Dave Williams told RealClearInvestigations. Williams is one of several state GOP leaders to confirm that voting mechanisms Republican voters were told just four years ago would ruin the integrity of voting will be embraced by conservative parties and candidates in 2024.  

“It’s going to come down to getting enough money to ensure we can implement a [ballot collection] operation,” he said, adding that it will take “thousands” of volunteers to match the Democrats.  

In Wisconsin, the Republican Party now sends mail ballot applications to its base voters as soon as early voting begins, encouraging them to cast their ballots from home. Harvesting in Wisconsin has been part of a legal back-and-forth and the courts will eventually determine its legality in the state, which has moved from swing state to reliably Democratic since 2018.  

“If it is permitted, we will incorporate that into our ground game,” said Wisconsin state Republican Party executive director Mark Jefferson. “As much as we may not like the expansion of absentee and early voting, we have to use it.”  

In a test for 2024, Jefferson said, the party used harvesting in the 2022 state Supreme Court race.  

We turned out our base effectively,” he said. But the party lost both the race and its majority on the court in a progressive voter backlash to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which had asserted a constitutional right to abortion.  

“Over the course of several cycles, I think we can get there,” Jefferson said, optimistic that the party can use collection and other progressive tactics to win elections. “In the meantime, I think we have to push it, but we also need to look for any opportunity to ensure that ballot integrity is still protected.”   

The Costly ‘Match Back’ Game  

A well-funded harvesting operation has the money to obtain updated “match back” files almost daily during a voting period. These updated voter lists are available to anyone, although a connection or relationship with the election administration office helps pry them loose. The money to pay for them comes from parties and candidates, or in some cases the activist nonprofits deploying ballot collectors.  

“Some groups can afford to buy that file every day, especially in the urban areas,” said Michael Der Manouel Jr., former vice chairman of the California Republican Party. “And they can do it from election administrators who care about the outcome of the election, and most of them are Democrats.”  

Obtaining the files is eased by a good relationship with the local election administrator, he added. In Wisconsin in 2020, the quest by progressive agents to retrieve the voter file daily was chronicled in a report generated during the state’s legislative inquiry into the November election.  

Progressive groups have gained influence over election administrations through private grants, conferences and the designing of election materials including ballot applications and election department websites, all with an emphasis on voter recruitment and repeating Democratic talking points, such as purported “misinformation” and alleged “threats to democracy.”  

Speakers at the conferences include representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and representatives from the progressive group Democracy Now.   

Most recently, four progressive nonprofit foundations have pledged to distribute $125 million in grants as The Election Trust Initiative, a subsidiary of the Pew Charitable Trusts, to provide private funding to elections offices over the next five years.   

Their mission is to “strengthen the nonpartisan evidence, organizations, and systems that help local and state officials operate secure, transparent, accurate and convenient elections,” according to a press release.   

The Biden Administration Wades In  

The federal government is bolstering its newly created Election Community Liaison office, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, offering a salary of up to $183,000 for hires to, in part, pursue “election offenses.”    

A member of President Biden’s cabinet also has connections to the move to change voting. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in 2020 was on the board of the National Vote at Home Institute, a progressive nonprofit that has successfully pressured states through lobbying and funding to adopt more permissive mail voting. The group has also privately funded public elections departments through its grant program. Her one year on the board coincided with an increase in the institute’s revenue from $1.1 million in 2019 to $8 million during Granholm’s tenure.   

Several other Biden administration appointees worked for progressive elections operations including Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote and the Voter Registration Project.  

These groups have been part of a push toward mail voting and looser rules regarding ballot collection, combating Republican efforts to limit or regulate those practices.   

“Republicans used to own absentee voting,” said Paul Bentz, a political consultant in Arizona, referring to traditional GOP efforts to collect the ballots of the elderly and military service members. “But they’ve given up that advantage.”  

Critics of the GOP’s newfound strategy of ballot collection contend that it may be too late, at least to win in 2024.   

“The nature of the left is to never stop fighting and usually their fight is smart,” said Scott Walter, president of the conservative Capital Research Center, which studies the influence of nonprofits on politics. “They have multiple think tanks dedicated to nothing but winning elections. And there are no Republican counterparts.”  

While Republicans will engage in the same practices as their foes, “harvesting for Republicans won’t work,” said Der Manouel, the former vice chair of the California GOP.   

“Republican voters don’t need to have their vote harvested. The only reason it works for Democrats is because they could never turn out their voters. What’s going to happen is Republicans are going to start doing this and find that they don’t have nearly enough ballots to harvest to make a difference.”   

Contact Steve Miller at  

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/14/2023 - 19:40
Published:7/14/2023 7:06:36 PM
[Markets] Watch: Climate Czar John Kerry Exposed As Bald Faced Liar Over Use Of Private Jet Watch: Climate Czar John Kerry Exposed As Bald Faced Liar Over Use Of Private Jet

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Biden Climate czar John Kerry threw a tantrum Thursday during a House subcommittee hearing when a Republican lawmaker brought up his repeated use of private jets.

Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) told Kerry “I hope it wasn’t too problematic for your operational team and your private jet to get here.”

Kerry couldn’t let the comment go without a response.

“I just don’t agree with your facts, which began with the presentation of one of the most outrageously persistent lies that I hear, which is this private jet,” he shot back.

He then claimed “We don’t own a private jet. I don’t own a private jet. I personally have never owned a private jet. And obviously it’s pretty stupid to talk about coming in a private jet from the State Department up here. Honestly, if that’s where you want to go, go there.”

Kerry has previously tried to wriggle out of questions over his private jet use:

Earlier this year, Kerry also defended Davos elites who fly in on private jets, claiming they “offset” their emissions and further asserting that “they are working harder than most people I know to be able to try to effect this transition.”

During Thursday’s hearing, another Republican, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), then followed up by reminding Kerry he was under oath and entering into the record a Fox News report from February that documented how Kerry’s family sold their private jet, a Gulfstream GIV-SP, to a New York based-hedge fund.

Kerry then admitted that “Yes, my wife owned a plane and she sold the plane, I have flown on it,” but maintained that he does not fly on a private jet.

When asked if he has ever done so since being in his current position for the past two and a half years, Kerry replied “possibly once.”

Waltz then lectured Kerry that “When we are asking Americans to make serious sacrifices for the common good … that smacks of hypocrisy [and] it actually hurts your cause.”

Subcommittee Chairman Brian Mast, R-Fla., then told Kerry that in his current role there has been no oversight or accountability of his work, noting “Every time you travel to a climate summit or King Charles’ coronation, or the wedding of the crown prince of Jordan, you’re supposed to document the carbon emissions generated by your trip, your office has failed to do so.”

Kerry then threw another fit and refused to name his senior staff, asserting “I’m not going to go through them by name because that is not the required process of the State Department.”

In recent days, Kerry has been traveling in Europe with Joe Biden as apart of a massive motorcade convoy that was brought on huge cargo planes, as well as flying around in helicopters from place to place to have meetings about the climate crisis with foreign leaders.


*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Fri, 07/14/2023 - 09:50
Published:7/14/2023 9:03:59 AM
[Markets] Democrats Baseless Lies Are Responsible For Today's Divisiveness Democrats Baseless Lies Are Responsible For Today's Divisiveness

Authored by 'Carpe Diem' via American Greatness,

For as long as I can remember, the Democratic Party has claimed to be a champion for all Americans, particularly for the working class, minorities and for those who are considered marginalized, oppressed or downtrodden.

But somewhere between fighting to keep slavery alive (Andrew Johnson); deliberately reducing the number of black civilian employees from the federal workforce and airing a film that glorified the Ku Klux Klan at the White House (Woodrow Wilson); throwing Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II (Franklin Delano Roosevelt); promoting a culture of government dependence, poverty and fatherlessness (Lyndon Johnson);  creating racial tension by declaring cops racist—leading to further destruction of our inner cities, while mocking legitimate concerns of disgruntled blue collar midwesterners frustrated by decreasing wages, lack of employment opportunities—and an opioid epidemic hollowing out their communities (Barack Obama); the intentional failure to enforce our country’s immigration laws, contributing to a four decade high of inflation by spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on Democrat pet projects that mostly help special interest groups, referring to roughly half the country as violent extremists and weaponizing the Department of Justice—to throw his leading political rival in prison (Joe Biden); it seems fair to say the Democratic Party has fallen well short of being a champion for anyone, except for its own desperate attempt to stay in power at any and all costs.

For a party that abhors the Founding Fathers and seeks to delegitimize their contributions, rejects and regards the principles of the Constitution as meaningless, and regularly criticizes the country for failing to live up to its stated goal of forming a more perfect union, perhaps it might be time for the Democratic Party to look itself in the mirror.

The entirety of the Democratic Party platform in 2023 is predicated on fear mongering and based on easily verifiable lies about the Republican Party.

It typically sounds something like this: Republicans want to make it harder for minorities to vote, they only want to give tax breaks to the wealthy, they’re banning books and ignoring inconvenient aspects of American history, they don’t want poor kids to be able to go to college, they’re anti-immigration, they want to deprive Americans from receiving healthcare, they don’t believe trans people exist, they don’t think women have a right to make their own medical decisions, and police are writ large racist and randomly hunting down black people, etc.

Not a single one of those absurd claims, which are promulgated regularly in the pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other leftist propaganda outlets has one iota of credibility. But that hasn’t prevented Democrat politicians, Hollywood, academia and the legacy media from repeating these erroneous charges into ad nauseum.

Take, for instance, the ridiculous claim that Republican led states like Georgia want to make it harder for minorities to vote. Considering that the Peach State just set a record for voter turnout in the Midterms—in which over one million people voted—Republican leaders did a pretty poor job of discouraging citizens from casting their ballots.

It is hardly discriminatory to require every single American to present a valid form of ID that clearly verifies who the individual is. Nothing about that is inherently racist, but it certainly is racist to imply that black people for some reason either do not have an ID, or do not possess the means to obtain a driver’s license. If the DMV is suddenly denying licenses to black people—one would imagine the Biden DOJ would have started an investigation.

But I digress.

What about the Democrats’ fallacious charge that Republicans only want to give tax breaks to the wealthy? Once again, that is simply not borne out by any shred of evidence.

An analysis of IRS tax data showed that the Trump tax cuts disproportionately benefited those earning less than $50,000 per year. Those with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $15,000 to $50,000 saw an average tax cut of 16 percent to 26 percent in 2018, while those who earned $50,000 to $100,000 received a tax break between 15 percent to 17 percent.

Those earning between $100,000 to $500,000 in AGI saw their personal income taxes decrease by around 11 percent to 13 percent and no one with an AGI of at least $500,000 received an average tax cut above 9 percent. The average tax cut for those in income brackets starting at $1 million was less than 6 percent.

In other words, under Trump’s tax plan, the more money an individual earned, the higher their income was effectively taxed. But don’t let the facts get in the way of the Democrats narrative.

How about the Biden White House’s specious claim that Republicans are banning books and refusing to teach about slavery? In reality, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis removed books from libraries and classrooms in 23 school districts across the state that contained pornographic content and other types of violent and inappropriate material. One would think the Democrats would be fine with keeping pornography away from elementary schools, but apparently not.

Furthermore, under statute, s. 1003.42(2)(f), F.S. It is a requirement for Florida schools to teach African American history. But teaching students about slavery is different from segregating a classroom along racial lines into groups of evil white “oppressors” and “oppressed,” groups, while pontificating to seven year olds that America remains an irredeemably racist country. Sadly that remains the Democrats preferred view of this country.

What about the now irrelevant Bernie Sanders and his ilk who claim Republicans don’t want poor kids to be able to go to college. For starters those from upper income families would have likely benefited more than lower income households if Biden’s failed attempt to unconstitutionally cancel billions of dollars of student loan debt had passed—so it would not have even helped those who it was intended to benefit.

Second, not everyone wants to go to college, but for those who do wish to go, the taxpayers should not be subsidizing those who obtain useless degrees in topics like feminist, gender and sexuality studies, which will almost certainly lead to graduates becoming dumber, while remaining unemployed without any tangible skills.

How about the Democrats’ sophist charge that Republicans are anti-immigration? In reality they’re not against immigration, they’re against illegal immigration! It is not compassionate to let millions of unvetted migrants pour across our country, while they suppress our wages, overwhelm public resources, commit violent crimes, and traffic in drugs and humans. It is not a serious argument to justify support for illegal immigration by proclaiming that migrants are more willing to do jobs other Americans are less likely to want to do. There is nothing humane about failing to secure our southern border or treating citizens from other countries better than we treat our own.

What about the Democrats who foolishly claim Republicans want to deprive Americans from receiving healthcare? The reality is, socialized healthcare is a disaster that will cause millions of Americans to lose their healthcare plans, while lowering the quality of care. It will almost certainly raise the cost of coverage and increase wait times. Just ask all the Canadians who would rather spend money and travel to the U.S. so they can be treated for cancer or surgery sooner.

How about the Democrats who claim that Republicans don’t believe trans people exist? For starters, anyone can identify as whatever they want, but that does not make it reality. I can go around telling people I’m a giraffe, but I do not have the right to compel people to believe me. Second, when the delusions of a small group of people threaten the competitive nature of women’s sports, and can lead to inappropriate locker room interactions, that is when the charade should immediately end. The Democratic Party has long claimed to care about empowering women, but lately they seem to be more interested in empowering men who say they are women.

What about the Democrats who claim Republicans don’t think women have a right to make their own medical decisions? Most of the American public supports a 15 week ban on abortion—which means most people are in favor of protecting the innocent life of an unborn child—while also ensuring the safety of the mother. Unfortunately, the Democrats do not view an unborn child as a human, even if it has a heartbeat. The party that supposedly cares about human beings supports abortion on demand, up until and including the birth of a child. That does not seem too charitable.

How about the Democrats false claim that police are writ large racist and randomly hunting down black people? This is simply not borne out by the data. There is zero evidence that black people are killed by police at a higher rate than white people are. In fact the evidence shows that a police officer is 18 ½ more likely to be killed by a black male, than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer. but that hasn’t stopped Democrat demagogues from repeating the lie anyway to further divide the country for political gain.

So which groups benefit from Democratic policies?

Outside of Democrat special interest groups, the president’s corrupt son, and our chief adversaries around the world, I can’t think of anyone. But it’s clearly not me or you.

Do children living in inner cities who attend failing public schools controlled by Democrat teachers unions who wanted to keep them home during COVID? How about those living in high crime areas where the police are nowhere to be found after Democrat politicians spent years defaming and defunding them? How about Jewish communities, who have faced a rise in antisemitic attacks, while Democrat politicians consistently side with Israel hating terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah? What about the Asian community that the Democratic Party now penalizes for scoring too high on standardized exams in order to achieve a more “equitable” racial quota. How about those who support pro-life groups? How about everyday Americans who have been crushed by Bidenflation and the Left’s war on American energy production? What about those who did not want to lose their job or business—due to their refusal to take a COVID vaccine that does not appear to work the way the “health experts” told us it would.

The Republican Party is far from perfect, but the Democratic Party is plain evil.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/13/2023 - 23:40
Published:7/13/2023 11:16:05 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: Ten Reasons Why Affirmative Action Died Victor Davis Hanson: Ten Reasons Why Affirmative Action Died

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

The end of affirmative action was inevitable.

The only surprise was that such intentions gone terribly wrong lasted so long.

First, supporters of racial preferences always pushed back the goal posts for the program’s success.

Was institutionalized reverse bias to last 20 years, 60 years, or ad infinitum? Parity became defined as an absolute equality of result. If “equity” was not obtained, then only institutionalized “racism” explained disparities. And only reverse racism was deemed the cure.

Second, affirmative action was imposed on the back end in adult hiring and college admissions.

However, to achieve parity, remediation early at the K-12 school level would have been the only solution. Yet such intervention was made impossible by teachers’ unions, the rise of identity politics and government entitlements. All were opposed to school choice, self-help programs, critiques of cultural impediments, or restrictions on those blanket entitlements,

Third, class, the true barometer of privilege, was rendered meaningless. Surrealism followed.

The truly privileged Barack and Michelle Obama and Meghan Markel lectured the country on its unfairness—as if they had it far rougher than the impoverished “deplorables” of East Palestine, Ohio.

Fourth, affirmative action supporters could never square the circle of proving that racial prejudices didn’t violate the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the text of the Constitution.

What they were left with was the lame argument that because long ago the 90% white majority had violated their own foundational documents, then such past bad unconstitutional bias could legitimately be rectified by present-day “good” unconstitutional bias.

Fifth, supporters never adequately explained why the sins of prior generations fell on their descendants who grew up in the post-Civil Rights era.

Nor could they account for why those who had never experienced institutionalized racism, much less Jim Crow apartheid or slavery, were to be compensated collectively for the suffering of long-dead individuals. No wonder 70% of the American people in many polls favored ending affirmative action including a half of African-Americans.

Sixth, there never was a “rainbow” coalition of shared non-white victimhood—a concept necessary to perpetuate the premise of white privilege, supremacy, and rage, so integral to race-based reverse discrimination. More than a dozen ethnicities earn more per capita than do whites.

Asians have been subject to coerced internment, immigration restrictions and zoning exclusions. Yet on average they do better than whites economically and enjoy lower suicide rates and longer life expectancies. The arguments for affirmative action never explained why Asians and other minorities who faced discrimination outperformed the majority white population. As a result, affirmative action ended up discriminating against Asians on the premise they were too successful!

Seventh, no one ever explained when affirmative action was to apply. Blacks, for example, were vastly “overrepresented” in merit-based professional football and basketball. Yet no one demanded “proportional representation” to address such “disparate impact,” despite underrepresentation of all other demographics.

Yet if blacks were “underrepresented” in baseball, then reparatory measures were supposed to address that fact—even if Latino players were “overrepresented” and whites “underrepresented as well. No one in our race-obsessed culture, of course, objected that white males died at twice their demographics in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Eighth, in our increasingly intermarried mass-immigration society, few could adjudicate who was what, or much less what standard gave one racial preference.

In lunatic fashion, pink, blond Senator Elizabeth Warren became Harvard’s first “Native American” law professor due to her “high cheekbones.” Light-skinned Latinos were considered marginalized while some darker Italians or Greeks were not.

Ninth, an odious wokism absorbed affirmative action and changed it into something even more abhorrent—as the original spirit of the Civil Rights movement was trashed.

So Americans were asked to stomach a return to distasteful segregated dorms, “separate but equal” graduation ceremonies and racially exclusive workshops.

Tenth, and finally, affirmative action was insidiously destroying meritocracy.

That hallmark American value of tribally-blind inclusivity had once explained why the nation outshone the world by discarding the old class prejudices of Europe. But increasingly this value seemed to have been abandoned.

When Stockton Rush, the late captain and inventor of the ill-fated Titan deep-sea explorer was quoted postmortem bragging that his company had no need of “old white guys” with long military expertise in submarining, Americans realized that woke racial discrimination was not just repulsive but could get you killed.

A nation whose pilot training, medical-school admissions, and military high command promotions were increasingly adopting racial, gender, or sexual-orientation essentialism was a country headed for the sort of Third World tribalism characteristic of failed states abroad.

In the end, the court finally stepped in to end this unconstitutional aberration, more like the old Soviet commissariat than our ideals of equality under the law.

The American people concurred. And the only regret seemed to be why not sooner?

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/13/2023 - 16:20
Published:7/13/2023 3:34:11 PM
[Markets] Supreme Court Independence Jeopardized by Leftist Fanatics Supreme Court Independence Jeopardized by Leftist Fanatics

Authored by Christopher Roach via American Greatness,

Last week was a big week for the Supreme Court.

The Court disposed of its rather muddled affirmative action precedents by declaring the entire practice anathema. It enforced constitutionally required separation of powers by rejecting Joe Biden’s executive order creating a $430B student loan forgiveness program. And finally, in keeping with the earlier Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, it reaffirmed the right for people in business to avoid compulsory expressive speech (in this case, web design) contrary to their religious beliefs.

This line of decisions comes on the heels of last year’s ruling in Dobbsthrough which the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wadereturning the question of abortion to the political process within the states.

The Court has been doing a lot of work and, in the process, overturning a range of anti-democratic, activist precedents that have accrued since the 1960s. In the process, a number of decades-long conservative goals have reached fruition.

Recent Decisions Restore Principles of Self-Government

The recent decisions affirm the principles of majority rule, as limited by the plain language of the Constitution. In spite of the Left’s attempted ownership of the concept of democracy, this principle is not advanced by selectively and randomly vetoing legislative enactments and torturing constitutional language to reach favored conclusions.

Instead, self-government requires adherence to a fairly prosaic set of ideas: we elect men to make laws; the words that constitute laws mean what they say; this principle applies to the supreme law that is the Constitution; and, judges are supposed to interpret those words naturally according to their original meaning and neutrally as between the litigants.

This means that “equal protection” does not permit policies of collective punishment towards the white race because of certain past evils. Even under the Fourteenth Amendment, the law deals with individuals as individuals, not as avatars of preferred or disfavored groups.

Similarly, the separation of powers principles and the plain language of Article I of the Constitution require spending—including a massive loan forgiveness program—to originate in the Congress. Biden’s student loan decision may very well be a good policy or a terrible one. But the Court was rightly agnostic on the question of merits, instead asking whether the enactment is within the President’s power.

The decision touching on free speech and gay rights reflects an unavoidable tension, which the Court’s precedents have never fully resolved. Namely, antidiscrimination laws, particularly as applied to private businesses, represent an equal and opposite set of principles as those of the First Amendment. The former turn everyone de facto into a common carrier, a quasi-public institution, which must serve all paying customers equally. By contrast, the First Amendment permits expressive conduct by businesses, even offensive conduct, as well as the right of refusal under the principle of voluntary association.

The Left’s Unprincipled Approach to the Constitution

This week’s decisions present a real problem to the Left. They’re a reminder that courts, properly functioning, impose limits on the state. But leftist political principles are not easily reconciled with constitutional limits. We saw this in the original court-packing scheme under FDR. Today, the Left’s unhappiness is amplified because it believed history was on its side, and it also had no particular commitment to procedures or process. The Left wants results and wants them now.

The Left’s approach to politics is versatile and, procedurally speaking, unprincipled. Earlier victories arising from the Supreme Court, each far more aggressive and hostile to the limits of the constitutional text than those being pilloried at the moment, were applauded when they circumvented a stalled political process. This includes rulings ranging from abortion to gay marriage, where there was substantial public dissensus and, in some cases, conservative majorities opposing left-wing change.

One heard few concerns for Our Democracy™ back in those days.

Both sides’ partisans do this to some extent. But conservatives, independents, and moderates are understandably wary about messing with rules of game in mid-game through an extreme measure like packing the court. By contrast, the Left is truly indifferent about procedures, process, and the constitutional principle of precommitment. Rather, the Left is bold in the pursuit of its goals.

This kind of power move only makes sense if one concludes that their side will win all future elections and retain political power indefinitely. Otherwise, overreach means they pack the Court this time, and we re-pack it the next time, and pretty soon the court is as big as the U.S. Congress.

The Left has mostly captured the legal profession, and the capture is even more complete in the elite institutions that feed the ranks of the federal judiciary, Department of Justice, and related national institutions. Until recently, this meant the Left felt a great deal of comfort with court-led social change and activism. After all, judges were “our kind of people.”

But, as Barack Obama said, elections have consequences, and since 2000, a little over half of the time the country had a Republican president. Republican presidents mean Republican judicial nominees.

Just as the Church often became stronger under persecution, the small number of conservatives in elite legal circles have become more focused, rigorous, and purposeful since the creation of the Federalist Society in 1982. And that has meant, under Trump in particular, the availability of talented individuals to appoint to the high court who shared a philosophical commitment to originalism.

Trump’s appointees—Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett—are undeniably smart, and each of them had a golden resume before appointment to the Court. They are joined by their stalwart predecessors, Justices Alito and Thomas. Each of these justices deviates greatly from the profession’s leftward tilt. They are able to explain their rulings with a vigor and precision that resists attack.

Thus, the extreme hostility directed at them has the intensity reserved for class traitors.

Whose Country?

The reality of self-government has been under stress for many decades from a variety of sources. Mass immigration, deficient civic education, and an overbearing and out-of-control administrative state all combine to discourage optimism and participation. The “fortification” of the 2020 election and the daily spectacle of the senile Joe Biden only increases collective cynicism.

As if recent revelations of government-coordinated censorship and the indictment of a former president were not enough, packing the Court would be the final nail in the coffin, confirmation that self-government, representation and limited government are all dead.

After all, even when they disagreed strongly with the Court’s Warren-era precedents, activists on the right spent many years honing the arguments, supporting candidates, pressuring elected officials and otherwise slowly pursuing relief within the process. Doing so again after court-packing would be pointless and humiliating; if somehow we obtained a future court that made a ruling that was worthwhile, the Court could simply be packed again.

Changing the size and composition of the Court to vouchsafe a particular, ideologically preferred outcome is the opposite of “blind justice” and completely incompatible with the rule of law. Yet one should not be surprised that people who rig elections also now aim to rig the courts.

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/11/2023 - 20:05
Published:7/11/2023 7:15:04 PM
[] Wisconsin Governor Doctors a Bill as a ‘Partial Veto’ to Fund Schools for 400 Years Published:7/11/2023 4:42:27 PM
[Argument] The Long, Destructive Shadow of Obama’s Russia Doctrine A series of bad decisions during the Obama years prepared the ground for Vladimir Putin’s war. Published:7/11/2023 3:26:08 AM
[Politics] Key White House officials had strong ties to Hunter Biden, emails show Several high-ranking Biden White House officials had longstanding professional and personal links to Hunter Biden before his father ascended to the presidency, emails from the first son’s abandoned laptop show. Top staffers with whom Hunter Biden, 53, had corresponded during the Barack Obama presidency included at least two Cabinet members, four top aides, and a... Published:7/10/2023 5:41:49 PM
[Markets] Kunstler: Summer 2023 Is The "Fulcrum For A Great Public Attitude Adjustment" Kunstler: Summer 2023 Is The "Fulcrum For A Great Public Attitude Adjustment"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

The Blob Begins To Quiver

“…the Permanent State lacks the courage to take hard decisions – to say to Moscow, ‘Let us put this unfortunate episode (Ukraine) behind us. Dig out those draft treaties you wrote in December 2021, and let’s see how we can work together, to restore some functionality again to Europe’.”

- Alasdair Crooke

When you deny what is self-evident, you are at war with reality, and that never ends well.

This is the ultimate disposition of our country’s years-long misadventure in maximum dishonesty. The American administrative Blob has not just lied about everything it does, but used the government machinery at hand to destroy everything it touches in a terminal-hysterical effort to cover up its misdeeds - including especially its crimes against its own people.

Get this: there is no way that Ukraine can avoid defeat in its US-provoked struggle with Russia. Russia has every advantage. It is next door to Ukraine. It has robust arms production capacity. The terrain of the war is its own historic “borderland,” which it has controlled since the 18th century, except for the past thirty years when Ukraine functioned as Grift Central for US military contractors and their political enablers. Despite massive arms assistance from the US and grudging contributions from the NATO contingent in Europe, there is almost nothing left of the Ukrainian military in troops, equipment, and munitions. Ukraine will return eventually to demilitarized “borderland” status.

What are NATO’s alternatives now?

It can try to return to negotiation. Russia has no reason to trust that process, given how the Minsk 1 and 2 accords worked out (NATO and the US willfully and dishonestly voided them).

The US and NATO could send their own troops into Ukraine, but that would be suicide, considering the alliance’s arms and munitions drawdown and America’s feminized army.

The US could go a little further and provoke a nuclear exchange (suicide by other means) — and given the level of terminal-hysterical insanity in the US Blob, that’s not out of the question.

One likely, reality-based alternative is to stand by and let Russia complete its Special Military Operation to pacify and neutralize Ukraine. The prevailing theory is that this would be the end of America’s world dominance militarily, and effectively the end of NATO, but also the end financially for the US, as the non-West abandons the dollar. In that scenario, the BRICs dump their trillions in US bond holdings, sending all that putative “money” back to America, stoking a king-hell inflation, effectively bankrupting us. It would be the final fruit of the disastrous “Joe Biden” regime imposed on us via election fraud by the Blob: the US reduced in a few short years to a broke, socially disordered, marginalized power susceptible to its own political breakup — not a tantalizing outcome, but perhaps better than turning the planet Earth into a smoldering ashtray.

That outcome would force our country to turn inward and face its own stupendous failures of honor, decency, and integrity. It would be the end of the Blob’s hegemony inside the USA. The question is whether the Blob sets America’s house on fire in the attempt to save itself and escape a legal accounting for its crimes. One kindling stack already burning is the pile-up of jive prosecutions aimed at Mr. Trump. You know that the attempt to kick him off the game-board using Special Counsel Jack Smith may easily lead to severe civil disorder, and possibly a counter-coup, a US first!

The current Mar-a-Lago “Doc Box” case is as much a complete fabrication as were RussiaGate and Impeachment Number One — Mr. Trump’s telephone inquiry to Ukraine about the Biden family grifting operations there, now firmly documented to be true. An upright judge would summarily dismiss the Mar-a-Lago case and slam sanctions on the US attorneys involved, including disbarment and criminal investigation for mounting a maliciously fraudulent prosecution. AG Merrick Garland and his deputy, Lisa Monaco, obviously would have some ‘splainin’ to do, possibly before juries.

A long list of public figures populating the Blob await a reckoning: Hillary and Bill Clinton and their retainers, Barack Obama and retinue, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Christopher Wray (plus Rosenstein, Strzok, McCabe, Carlin, Ohr, Mueller, Weissmann, Horowitz, Atkinson, Ciaramella, Vindman), Rep. Adam Schiff, Senator Mark Warner, William Barr, Avril Haines, Marie Yovanovitch, William Burns, James Boasberg, Marc Elias, Michael Bromwich, David Laufman, Alejandro Mayorkas, Xavier Baccera, Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky, Francis Collins, Lloyd Austin. Mark Milley, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Ron Klain, Nancy Pelosi, Liz Cheney… the list goes way on, but there’s a start.

The weeks of summer 2023 are the fulcrum for a great public attitude adjustment. The Blob’s psy-ops are finally failing among just enough of the formerly mind-fucked to tip the national consensus against the gang behind all this treasonous political depravity. Even the so-called mainstream media is running scared. If they happened to turn in a desperate act of self-preservation, it will be all over for the Blob.

*  *  *

Support Jim's blog by visiting his Patreon Page

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/10/2023 - 11:45
Published:7/10/2023 10:57:15 AM
[Uncategorized] The Dunes Sagebrush Lizard “is back and Biden is about to shut down the Permian Basin with this Obama era grift!”

Alert from reader Danelle: The Biden administration dropped a Friday-before-a-holiday-weekend regulatory bomb on the Texas Oil industry in the form of a proposed regulation listing the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, which populates the Permean Basin, as "endangered," casting aside an Obama-era conservation agreement that was working.

The post The Dunes Sagebrush Lizard “is back and Biden is about to shut down the Permian Basin with this Obama era grift!” first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/8/2023 9:16:03 PM
[Markets] Hudson On The United States' Financial Quandary: ZIRP's Only Exit Path Is A Crash Hudson On The United States' Financial Quandary: ZIRP's Only Exit Path Is A Crash

Authored by Michael Hudson via

Originally published in the Investigación Económica (Economic Research), produced by UNAM (Autonomous National University of Mexico)


Interest-bearing debt grows exponentially, in an upsweep. The non-financial economy of production and consumption grows more slowly as income is diverted to carry the debt overhead. A crash occurs when a large part of the economy cannot pay its scheduled debt service. That point arrived for the U.S. economy in 2008, but was minimized by a bank bailout, followed by a 14-year boom as the Federal Reserve increased bank liquidity by its Zero Interest-Rate Policy (ZIRP). Flooding the capital markets with easy credit quintupled stock prices and engendered the largest bond market boom in U.S. history, but did not revive tangible capital investment, real wages or prosperity for the non-financial economy at large.

Reversing the ZIRP in 2022 caused bond prices to fall and ended the runup of stock market and real estate prices. The great 14-year debt increase faced sharply rising interest charges, and by spring 2023 a number of banks failed, but all their depositors were bailed out by the FDIC and Federal Reserve. The open question is now whether the U.S. economy will face the financial crash that was postponed from 2009 onwards by the vast expansion of debt under ZIRP that has added to the economy’s debt burden.


Throughout history the buildup of debt has tended to outstrip the ability of debtors to pay. Any rate of interest will double what is owed over time (e.g., at 3% the doubling time is almost 25 years, but 14 years at 5%). Paying carrying charges on the rising debt overhead slows the economy and hence its ability to pay. That is the dynamic of debt deflation: rising debt service as a proportion of income. Carrying charges may rise to reflect the growing risk of non-payment as arrears and defaults rise. The non-financial economy of production and consumption grows more slowly, tapering off in an S-curve as income is diverted away from new tangible investment to carry the debt (see graph 1). The crash usually occurs quickly.

Graph 1. Financial Crisis Pattern vs. Business Cycle

Governments may try to inflate their societies out of debt by creating yet more credit to postpone the inevitable crash, by bailing out lenders or debtors – mainly lenders, who have captured control of government policy. But the debt crisis ultimately must be resolved either by transferring property from debtors to creditors or by writing down debts.

The National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) count the financial sector as producing a product, and adds its interest income and other financial charges to the economy as “earnings,” not subtracting them as rentieroverhead. The rise in financial wealth, “capital gains,” interest and related creditor claims on the economy are held to reflect a productive contribution, not an extractive charge leaving the economy with less to spend on new consumption and investment.

The problem gets worse as this financial extraction grows larger. As credit and debt expanded in the decade leading up to the 2008 junk mortgage crisis, banks found fewer credit-worthy projects available, and turned to less viable loan markets. Banks wrote mortgage loans with rising debt/income and debt/asset ratios. Racial and ethnic minorities were the most overstretched borrowers, falling into payment arrears and defaulting. Real estate prices crashed, causing the market value of bad mortgage loans to fall below what many banks owed their depositors.

There is nothing “natural” or inevitable about how such bank insolvency and negative equity will be resolved. The solution always is political. At issue is who will absorb the loss: depositors, indebted borrowers, bank bondholders and stockholders, or the government via the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Federal Reserve bailouts?

Less often asked is who will be the winners. Since 2009 it has been America’s biggest banks and the wealthiest One Percent – the very parties whose greed and short-sighted policies caused the crash. Having been deemed “systemically important,” meaning Too Big To Jail (TBTJ, sometimes cleaned up to read Too Big To Fail, TBTF), they were rescued. And today (2023), that special status is making them the beneficiaries of a flight to safety in the wake of the FDIC’s decision following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank that even large depositors should not lose a penny, no matter how poorly their banks have coped with the Fed’s policy of rising interest rates that have reduced the market value of their banks’ assets, aggravated by falling post-Covid demand for office space lowering commercial rents and leading to mortgage defaults.  Once again, this time by protecting depositors, the Federal Reserve and Treasury are trying to save the economy’s debt overhead from crashing and wiping out the nominal bank loans and other financial assets that cannot be paid.

The usual result of a crash is a wave of foreclosures transferring property from debtors to creditors, but leading banks also may become insolvent as their debtors default. That means that their bondholders lose and counterparties cannot be paid.

The 2008 crash saw an estimated eight to ten million over-mortgaged home buyers lose their homes, but the banks were bailed out by the Federal Reserve and Treasury. Instead of the economy’s long buildup of debt being written down, the Federal Reserve increased bank liquidity by its Zero Interest-Rate Policy (ZIRP). This provided banks with enough liquidity to help the economy “borrow its way out of debt” by using low-interest credit to buy real estate, stocks and bonds yielding higher rates of return.

The 14-year boom resulting from this debt leveraging featured an innovation in the economy’s ability to sustain growth in its debt overhead: Debt service was paid not only out of current income but largely out of asset-price gains – “capital” gains, meaning finance-capital gains engineered by fintech, financial technology. Lowering interest rates created opportunities to borrow to buy real estate, stocks and bonds yielding a higher return. This arbitrage quintupled stock prices and created the largest bond market boom in U.S. history, as well as fueling a real-estate boom marked especially by private capital firms as absentee owners of rental properties. But tangible capital investment did not recover, nor did real wages and prosperity for the non-financial economy at large.

Ending the ZIRP in 2022 reversed this arbitrage dynamic. Rising interest rates caused bond prices to fall and ended the runup of stock market and real estate prices – in an economy whose debt overhead had risen sharply instead of being wiped out in the aftermath of 2008. In that sense, today’s debt deflation and its associated financial fragility that has already seen a number of banks fail are still part of the aftermath of trying to solve the debt crisis by creating a flood of debt to lend the economy enough credit to inflate asset prices and enable debts to be paid.

That poses a basic question: can a debt crisis really be resolved by creating yet more debt? That is how Ponzi schemes are kept going. But when does the “long run” arrive in which, as Keynes once remarked, “we are all dead”? The remainder of the article is structured as follows. Section 2 discusses President Obama’s choice to bail out Wall Street, section 3 examines the inflation of asset prices brought about by the Fed’s ZIRP and section 4 analyzes the negative impact of the Fed ending its ZIRP. Section 5 delves into the future of the financialized U.S. economy.

The Obama Administration’s decision to bail out Wall Street, not the economy

The 2008-2009 crash was caused by U.S. banks writing fraudulent loans, packaging them and selling them to gullible pension funds, German state banks and other institutional buyers. The mainstream press popularized the term “junk mortgage,” meaning a loan far in excess of the reasonable ability to be paid by NINJA borrowers – those with No Income, No Jobs and no Assets. Stories spread of crooked mortgage brokers hiring appraisers to report fictitiously high property assessments to justify loans to buyers whom they coached to report fictitiously high income to make it appear that these junk mortgages could be carried.

There was widespread awareness that an unsustainable debt overhead was building up. Even at the Federal Reserve Board, Ed Gramlich (1997-2005) warned about these fictitious valuations. But Chairman Alan Greenspan (1987-2006) announced his faith that banks would not find it good business to mislead people, so that was unthinkable. Embracing the libertarian anti-regulatory philosophy that led to his being appointed Fed Chairman in the first place, he refused to see that bank managers live in the short run, not caring about long-term relationships or how their financial operations may adversely affect the economy at large.

This blind spot seems to be a requirement to rise in academia and the government’s regulatory club. The idea that a debt pyramid may be unsustainable makes no appearance in the models taught in today’s neoliberal economics departments and followed in government circles staffed by their graduates. So nothing was done to deter the financial pyramid of speculative packaged mortgage loans.

Running up to the November 2008 election, President Obama promised voters to write down mortgage debts to realistic market price levels so that bank victims could keep their homes. But honoring that promise would have resulted in heavy bank losses, and the Democratic Party’s major campaign contributors were Wall Street giants. The largest banks where mortgage fraud was largely concentrated were the most insolvent, headed by Citigroup and Wells Fargo, followed by JP Morgan Chase. Yet these largest banks were classified as being “systemically important,” along with brokerage houses such as Goldman Sachs and other major financial institutions that the Obama Administration redefined as “banks” so that they could receive Federal Reserve largesse, in contrast to the hapless victims of predatory junk mortgages.

FDIC Chair Sheila Bair wanted to take Citibank, the most reported offender, into government hands. But bank lobbyists claimed that the economy’s health and even survival required protecting the financial sector and keeping its most notorious failures from being taken over. Parroting the usual junk-economic logic given credentials by Nobel Prize awards and TV media appearances, bankers pointed out that making them bear the cost of writing down their fictitiously high mortgages to realistic market levels and the ability of debtors to pay would leave much of the financial sector insolvent, going on to claim that they needed to be rescued to save the economy. This remains the same logic used today in saving banks from the negative equity resulting from ending the Federal Reserve’s Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP).

Not acknowledged in 2009 was that failure to write down bad loans would lead millions of families to lose their homes. Today’s economic model-builders call such considerations “externalities.” The social and environmental dimensions, the widening of income and wealth inequality and the rising debt overhead, are dismissed as “external” to the financial sector’s tunnel vision and the NIPA and GDP accounting concepts that it sponsors.

That willful blindness by economists, regulators and financial institutions, selfishly concerned with avoiding their own loss without caring for the rest of the economy, enabled the TBTJ/F excuse for not prosecuting bankers and writing down their fraudulent mortgage loans. Instead, the Fed provided banks with enough money to prevent their bondholders from absorbing the loss, and the FDIC’s deposit-insurance limit of $100,000 was raised to $250,000 in July 2010.

Banks had great political leverage in the threat to cause widespread economic collapse if they did not get their way and were required to take responsibility for their financial mismanagement. So instead of being obliged to write down bad mortgage loans, these debts were kept on the books and an estimated eight to ten million U.S. families were evicted. The “real” economy was left to absorb the bad-loan loss.

Homes under foreclosure were bought largely by private capital firms and turned into rental properties. The U.S. homeownership rate – the badge of membership in the middle class, enabling it to think of itself as property owners with a harmony of interest with rentiers instead of as wage-earners – fell from 69% in 2005 to 63.7% by 2015 (see Graph 2).  

Home debt/equity rates soared from just 37% in 2000 to 55% in 2014 (see Graph 3). In other words, the equity of homeowners peaked at 63 percent in 2000 but then fell steadily to just 45% in 2014 – meaning that banks held most of the value of U.S. owner-occupied homes.

On the broadest level we can see that the 19th century’s long fight by classical economists to free industrial capitalism from the landlord class and economic rent has given way to a resurgent rentier economy. The financial sector is the new rentier class, and it is turning economies back into rentier capitalism – with rent being paid as interest while absentee real estate companies seek their major returns in the form of “capital” gains, that is, financialized asset-price inflation.

Inflating asset prices by flooding the financial markets with credit

From the Federal Reserve’s vantage point, the economic problem after the 2008 crash was how to restore and even enhance the solvency of its member banks, not how to protect the “real” economy or its home ownership rate. The Fed orchestrated a vast “easing of credit” to raise prices for real estate, stocks and bonds. That not only revived the valuation of assets pledged as collateral against mortgages and other bank loans but has fueled a 15-year asset-price inflation. The Fed did this by raising its backing for bank reserves from $2 trillion in 2008 to $9 trillion today. This $7 trillion easy-credit policy lowered interest rates to 0.2 percent for short-term Treasury bills and what banks paid their savings depositors.

The basic principle behind ZIRP was simple. The price of any asset is theoretically determined by dividing its income by the discount rate: Price = income/interest (P = Y/i ). As interest rates plunged to near-zero, the capitalized value of real estate, corporations, stocks and bonds rose inversely. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (2006-2014) was celebrated as the savior of Wall Street, which the popular media depicted as synonymous with the economy at large.

 The result was the largest bond-market boom in history. Real estate prices recovered, enabling banks to avoid losses on mortgages as they auctioned off foreclosed homes in a “recovering” market, whose character was changing from owner-occupied housing to rental housing. Stock prices, which had fallen to 6,594 in March 2009, far surpassed their pre-crash high of 14,165 in October 2007 to more than quintuple to over 35,000 by 2020. The lion’s share of gains accrued to the economy’s wealthiest ten percent, mostly to the One Percent who own most bonds and stocks.

Artificially low interest rates enabled private finance capital and corporations to borrow low-cost bank credit to bid up prices for real estate, stocks and bonds whose rents, profits and fixed interest yields exceeded the lowered borrowing costs. The ZIRP’s higher debt ratios inflated real estate and stock prices to bail out the banks and other creditors by creating a bonanza of financial gains. But only asset prices were inflated, not wages or disposable personal income after paying debt service. Housing prices soared, but so did the economy’s debt overhead. The ZIRP thus planted a financial depth charge: what to do if and when interest rates were allowed to return to more normal levels.

A recent report by McKinsey (2023) calculates that asset price inflation over the two decades from 2000 to 2021 “created about $160 trillion in ‘paper wealth,’” despite the fact that “economic growth was sluggish and inequality rose,” so that “Valuations of assets like equity and real estate grew faster than real economic output. … In aggregate, the global balance sheet grew 1.3 times faster than GDP. It quadrupled to reach $1.6 quintillion in assets, consisting of $610 trillion in real assets, $520 trillion in financial assets outside the financial sector, and $500 trillion within the financial sector.”

This enormous “capital gain” or “paper wealth” was debt-financed. “Globally, for every $1.00 of net investment, $1.90 of additional debt was created. Much of this debt financed new purchases of existing assets. Rising real estate values and low interest rates meant that households could borrow more against existing homes. Rising equity values meant that corporates could use leverage to reduce their cost of capital, finance mergers and acquisitions, conduct share buybacks, or increase cash buffers. Governments also added debt, particularly in response to the global financial crisis and the pandemic.”

The Fed reverses ZIRP to cause a recession and prevent wages from rising

In March 2022 the Fed announced that it intended to cope with rising wage levels (“inflation”) by raising interest rates. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell (2018-present) explained that it was necessary to slow the economy to create enough unemployment to hold down wages. His right-wing illusion was that the inflation was caused by rising wages (or by government spending too much money into the economy, increasing the demand for labor and thereby raising wage and price levels).

In reality, of course, the inflation was caused largely by U.S.-NATO sanctions against Russian exports in 2022, causing a spike in world energy and food prices, while corporate “greedflation” raised prices where there was enough monopoly power to do so. Rents also increased sharply, following the rise in housing prices encouraged by the flood of mortgage credit to absentee owners.

Ending ZIRP reversed the Fed’s asset-price inflation policy

The Fed’s announcement of its intention to raise interest rates warned investors that this would reverse the asset-price inflation that ZIRP had fueled. Rising interest rates lower the capitalization rate for bonds, stocks and real estate. To avoid taking a price loss for these assets, “smart money” (meaning wealthy investors) sold long-term bonds and other securities and replaced them with short-term Treasury bills and high-liquidity money-market funds. Their aim was simply to conserve the remarkable runup in financial wealth subsidized during the 2009-2022 ZIRP.

The Fed’s aim in rising interest rates was to hurt labor by bringing on a recession, not to hurt its bank clients. But ending ZIRP caused a systemic problem for banks: Collectively they were too large to have the maneuverability that private investors enjoyed. If banks tried en masse to move out of long-term bonds and mortgages by selling their portfolios of 30-year mortgages and government bonds, prices for these securities would plunge – to a level reflecting the Fed’s targeted 4 percent interest rate.

There was little by way of an escape route for banks to buy hedge contracts to protect themselves against the prospective price decline of the assets backing their loans and deposits. Any reasonable hedge seller would have calculated how much to charge for guaranteeing securities in the face of rising interest rates causing securities with a face value of, say, $1,000 to fall to, say, $700. A hedge contract promising to pay the bank $1,000 would have had to be priced at least at $300 to cover the expected price decline.

So the banking system as a whole was locked into holding loans and securities whose market price would fall as the Federal Reserve tightened credit. Rising interest rates threatened to push many banks into negative equity – the problem that banks had faced in 2008-2009.

Federal and state regulators ignored this interest-rate threat to bank solvency. They focused narrowly on whether the banking system’s debtors and bond issuers could pay what they owed. It was obvious that the Treasury could keep paying interest on government bonds, because it can always simply print the money to do so. And housing mortgages were secure, given the housing-price boom. Outright fraud thus was no longer a major worry. The new problem, seemingly unanticipated by regulators, was that capitalization rates would fall as interest rates rose, causing asset prices to decline, leaving banks with insufficient reserves to cover their deposit liabilities.

Bank reporting rules do not require them to report the actual market value of their assets. They are allowed to keep them on their books at their original acquisition price, even when that initial “book value” no longer is realistic. If banks were obliged to report the evolving market reality, it would have been obvious that the financial system had been turned into an unsustainable Ponzi scheme, kept afloat only by the Fed flooding the market with liquidity.

Such bubble economies have been blamed on “popular delusions” ever since the Mississippi and South Sea bubbles of the 1710s in France and England. But all financial bubbles have been sponsored by governments. To escape from their public debt burden, France and England engineered debt-for-equity swaps of shares in companies with a monopoly in the slave trade and plantation agriculture – the growth sectors of the early 18th century – with payment made in government bonds. But the 2009-2023 stock market bubble has been engineered to rescue the private sector, largely at government expense instead of it being the beneficiary. That is a major characteristic of today’s finance capitalism.

The essence of “wealth creation” under finance capitalism is to create asset-price “capital” gains. But the economic reality that such financialized gains cannot be sustained led to the term “fictitious capital” being used already in the 19th century. The idea that inflating asset prices can enable economies to pay their debts out of finance-capital gains for more than just a short period has been promoted by an unrealistic economic theory that depicts any asset price as reflecting intrinsic value, not puffery or financial manipulation of stock, bond and real estate prices.

Today’s bank assets are estimated to be $2 trillion less than their nominal book value. But banks were able to ignore this reality as long as they did not have to start selling off their real-estate mortgages and government bonds. All that they had to fear was that depositors would start withdrawing their money when they saw the widening disparity between the typical 0.2 percent interest that banks were paying on savings deposits and what the government was paying on safe U.S. Treasury securities.

That interest-rate disparity is what led to the eruption of bank failures in spring 2023. At first that seemed to be an isolated problem unique to each local bank failure. When Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX fraud showed the problems of cryptocurrency as an investment, holders began to sell. What was said to be “peer to peer” lending turned out to be mutual funds in which cryptocurrency buyers withdrew money from banks and turned them over to the cryptofund managers, with no regulation. The “peers” at the other end turned out to be the managers behind an opaque balance sheet. That realization led customers to withdraw, and crypto sites met these withdrawals by drawing down their own bank deposits. Many bankruptcies ensued from what turned out to be Ponzi schemes. Two banks failed as a result of heavy loans to the cryptocurrency sector and reliance on deposits from it: Silvergate Bank on March 8 and Signature Bank in New York on March 12.

The other set of failed banks were those with a high proportion of large depositors: Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on March 10 and neighboring First Republic Bank in San Francisco on May 1. Their major customers were private capital backers of local information-technology startups. These large financially savvy depositors were substantially above the $250,000 FDIC-insured limit and also were the most willing to move their money into government bonds and notes that paid higher interest than the 0.2 percent that SVB and other banks were paying.

 Another set of high-risk banks are community banks with a high proportion of long-term mortgage loans against commercial real estate. Office prices are plunging as occupancy rates decline now that employers have found that they need much less space for their on-site work force since Covid has led many workers to work from home. As a recent Wall Street Journal report explains: “Around one-third of all commercial real-estate lending in the U.S. is floating rate … Most lenders of variable-rate debt require borrowers to buy an interest-rate cap that limits their exposure to rising rates. … Replacing these hedges once they expire is now very expensive. A three-year cap at 3% for a $100 million loan cost $23,000 in 2020. A one-year extension now costs $2.3 million.”

It is cheaper to default on heavily debt-leveraged properties. Large real estate companies, such as Brookfield Asset Management (with assets of $825 billion) which saw its mortgage payments rise by 47 percent in the past year, are walking away as commercial rents fall short of the carrying charges on their floating-rate mortgages. Blackstone and other firms are also bailing out. Stock-market prices for real-estate investment trusts (REITs) have fallen by more than half since the Covid pandemic began in 2020, reflecting office-building price declines by about a third so far, and still plunging.

Many banks are now offering depositors interest in the 5 percent range to deter a deposit drain, especially as a “flight to safety” is concentrating deposits in the large “systemically critical banks” blessed with FDIC guarantees that customers will not lose their money even when their deposits exceed the nominal FDIC limit. These are precisely the banks whose behavior has been the most outright reckless. As Pam Martens has documented on her e-site “Wall Street on Parade,” JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are serial offenders, the most responsible for the reckless lending that contributed to the financial system’s negative equity in the first place. Yet they have been made the winners, the new havens in today’s debt-ridden economy.

It turns out that being “systematically important” means that one belongs to the group of banks that control government policy of the financial sector in their own favor. It means being important enough to oppose the appointment of any Federal Reserve officials, bank regulators and Treasury officers who would not protect these banks from regulation, from prosecution for fraud, and from being taken over by the FDIC and government when their asset-price losses exceed their equity and leave them as zombie banks.

Where will the financialized U.S. economy go from here?

Rising interest rates are winding the clock back to the same negative-equity condition that the banking system faced in 2008-2009. When Silicon Valley Bank’s “unrealized loss” of $163 billion on falling prices for its government bondholdings and mortgages exceeded its equity base, that was merely a scale model of the condition of many big U.S. banks in late 2008.

The problem this time is not bank-mortgage fraud but falling asset-prices resulting from the Fed raising interest rates. And behind that is the most basic underlying problem: The banking system’s product is debt, which is extracting a rising share of national income. The economics profession, the Federal Reserve, bank regulators and the Treasury share a blind spot when it comes to confronting the degree to which debt is a burden draining income from the “real” economy of production and consumption.

The trillions of dollars in nominal financial wealth registered by the bond, stock and real estate markets since ZIRP was initiated has been plowed back with yet more credit into more asset purchases to keep the price-rise going with rising debt leverage, bidding up financial claims on property rights, especially rent-yielding claims. All this financialization was given tax advantages over ‘real” capital investment.

The $7 trillion of Fed support for the banking system to lend out and bid up prices for real estate, stocks and bonds could have been used to reduce carrying charges on homes and other real estate. That could have helped the economy lower its housing, living and employment costs and become more competitive. Instead, the role of the Federal Reserve and privatized banking system has been to create yet more credit to keep bidding up asset prices.

The beneficiaries have been mainly the wealthiest One Percent, not the economy at large. Inflation-adjusted wages have remained in the doldrums, enabling corporate profits and cash flow to increase – but over 90 percent of this corporate revenue has been paid out as dividends or spent on corporate stock buyback programs, not invested in tangible new means of production or employment. Many corporate managers have even borrowed to raise their stock prices by buying back their own shares.

Today’s financial system has not managed its credit creation and wealth to help the economy grow. Debt-inflated housing prices have increased the economy’s cost structure, and debt deflation is blocking recovery. The household sector, corporate sector, and state and local budgets are fully loaned up, and default rates are rising for auto loans, student loans, credit-card loans, and mortgage loans, especially for commercial office buildings as noted above.

Looking back over recent decades, the Federal Reserve and Treasury have created a banking crisis of immense proportions by protecting commercial banks and now even brokerage houses and the shadow banking system as clients to be served instead of shaping financial markets to promote overall economic growth. Behind this financial crisis is a crisis in economic theory that is largely a product of academic and media lobbying by the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector to depict rentier income and property claims as being part of the production-and-consumption economy, not external to it as an extractive layer.

And behind this neoliberal theory that has replaced classical political economy is the rentier dynamic of finance capitalism. Its essence has been to financialize industry, not to industrialize finance. The monetary and credit system has been increasingly privatized and financial regulatory agencies have been captured by the sectors that they are supposed to regulate in the economy’s long-term interest. The financial sector notoriously has lived in the short run, and tried to free itself from any constraint on its extractive and outright predatory behavior that burdens the non-financial economy.

The exponentially rising debt overhead is the financial equivalent of environmental pollution causing global warming, disabling the economy’s health much as long Covid incapacitates humans. The result today is an economic quandary – something more serious than just a “problem.” A problem can be solved, but a quandary has no solution. Any move will make the situation even worse. Mathematicians express this as being in an “optimum position”: one from which any move will make matters worse.

 That is the kind of optimum position in which the U.S. economy finds itself today. If the Fed and other central banks keep interest rates high to bring about a recession to lower wages, the economy will shrink and its ability to carry its debt overhead – and to make further stock-market and real-estate price gains – will be eroded. The debt arrears that already are mounting up will lead to defaults, which already are occurring in the commercial real estate sector.

Trying to return to a ZIRP to sustain asset prices is much harder in the face of today’s legacy of post-2009 debt – not to mention the pre-2009 debt that crashed. Bank reserves have shrunk, and in any case the economy is largely “loaned up” and can hardly take on any more debt. So one path or another, the end-result of ZIRP – and the Obama Administration’s failure to write down the economy’s bad-debt overhead – must be a crash.

 But a crash would not mean that the economy’s debt problem will be “solved.” As long as the guiding policy principle remains “Big fish eats little fish,” the economy will polarize and the concentration of financial wealth will accelerate as debt-burdened assets will pass into the hands of creditors whose wealth has been so vastly increased since 2009.

*  *  *

Michael Hudson, is a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is The Destiny of Civilization. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/08/2023 - 21:10
Published:7/8/2023 8:24:56 PM
[Security] EXCLUSIVE: 217 Pages Reveal Obama Admin’s Building of Trump-Russia Narrative

Heavily redacted documents from the National Security Agency tell at least part of a story of a final-month rush by the outgoing Obama administration to... Read More

The post EXCLUSIVE: 217 Pages Reveal Obama Admin’s Building of Trump-Russia Narrative appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/7/2023 9:21:38 PM
[Markets] Biden Says Assad Must Go Biden Says Assad Must Go

Authored by Connor Freeman via The Libertarian Institute,

While on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden spoke with some “Syrian American activists” who favor increased sanctions on the country as well as regime change in Damascus, during a private fundraiser in Maryland last month. According to neoconservative columnist Josh Rogin – one of Bill Kristol’s protégés –  Biden told these regime change advocates that, among other things, Assad must go. Rogin says these activists “took advantage of their audience with Biden… to implore him to do more to oppose” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Alla Tello, a Syrian American from Massachusetts, said she declared to Biden that “Assad must go,” to which the president responded “I agree.” That rallying cry was first uttered in 2011, when the Barack Obama administration began launching its dirty war against Damascus, an ultimately failed but extremely bloody regime change effort.

Al-Qaeda affiliated militants and Islamic State fighters waged a war against the people of Syria and its government that is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 people. The terrorist forces that carried out the failed regime change attempt were supported often by the CIA and its allies, including the British, the FrenchIsraelSaudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar.

Consequently, Russia maintains a significant military presence in Syria, having intervened at the request of Assad in 2015 to help beat back ISIS and al Qaeda elements wreaking havoc. Iran and Hezbollah also came to the aid of Damascus. Tello demanded that that Washington do more to “help the Syrian people free themselves from the grip” of Assad, Tehran, and Moscow. “[Biden] said, ‘I can’t promise you, but I will do the best I can,’” she told Rogin.

“Encouragingly, these activists told me, Biden not only seemed to care deeply about the plight of Syrians but also seemed to want to do more about it,” Rogin writes. This rings hollow as for years, on a near-weekly basis, Tel Aviv has dropped bombs on Syria. Last year, the Wall Steet Journal reported that a large portion of these air raids are carried out with the US military’s coordination. The Israelis claim their constant airstrikes are meant to counter Iranian forces in the country, though they routinely target and kill Syrian soldiers as well as civilians, along with airports, and other civilian infrastructure. This year, following a devastating earthquake which killed thousands of Syrians, the Aleppo airport – which was a vital channel for aid – was bombed on three separate occasions and rendered inoperable by the Israeli Air Force.

During the last several decades, Biden has been known as apartheid “Israel’s man in Washington.” Since becoming president, including in the wake of the Israeli military’s murder of Shireen Abu Akleh, an American journalist, he has said emphatically that US ties with Tel Aviv are “bone-deep.” In May, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant boasted that since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power last December, the airstrikes in Syria have doubled. Reportedly, Israel has bombed Syria at least 19 times this year alone.

Muhammad Bakr Ghbeis, Tello’s husband, told Biden “We have to save Idlib.” This northwestern province has been controlled by al Qaeda affiliates for years as a result of Washington’s policy. Even the hawkish Brett McGurk, the former anti-ISIS envoy under Obama and Trump, admitted in 2017 that “Idlib Province is the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.” McGurk is now Biden’s top Middle East official on the National Security Council.

“Please save Idlib, Mr. President,” Ghbeis pleaded, to which Biden replied “I hear you, but I can’t send U.S. soldiers to Syria.” Washington currently has about 900 troops illegally deployed to eastern Syria, backing the Kurdish-led SDF, and occupying about a third of the country, where US forces control most of Syria’s oil and wheat resources. This is not the first time Biden has forgotten he has US forces engaged in combat in Syria and dropping bombs.

As Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the commander of CENTCOM, has conceded, the American troops’ unwanted presence is becoming increasingly dangerous as there have been numerous close calls with Russian forces as well as aircraft and dozens of attacks by ostensibly Iranian backed groups. Nevertheless, Biden is not reducing troop levels, instead another base is being built in the northern province of Raqqa.

Ultimately, these so-called activists at the Maryland fundraiser were agitating for a more bellicose sanctions policy aimed at thwarting the regional realignment which has taken place this year, namely with Riyadh normalizing relations with Damascus and Syria being welcomed back into the Arab League. Syria’s neighbors including former adversaries have largely accepted that Assad is not going anywhere. However, Biden’s administration opposes these moves toward bringing Assad in from the cold and, following the Arab League’s decision, imposed more sanctions on Syria.

Rogin said these activists insisted “[the White House] publicly support a bipartisan bill called the Assad Regime AntiNormalization Act that would stiffen penalties on any entity that aids the Assad regime.”

After more than a decade of brutal war, rebuilding Syria will cost an estimated $250-400 billion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, America’s top diplomat, has made clear that the administration is absolutely committed “to oppose the reconstruction of Syria” absent regime change. To that end, Washington has for years implemented a harsh sanctions regime on Syria using the bipartisan Caesar Act, a law which can target any person or entity of any nationality that attempts to do business with the war-torn country. These sanctions deliberately target the country’s engineering and construction sectors.

As a result, the civilian population has been devastated. According to Alena Douhan, a UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures who visited Syria for twelve days last year, the sanctions “severely harm human rights and prevent any efforts for early recovery, rebuilding and reconstruction.” She added that “12 million Syrians grapple with food insecurity” and “90% of Syria’s population currently lives in poverty,” with limited access to food, shelter, water, electricity, healthcare, heating, cooking, fuel, and transportation.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/07/2023 - 15:40
Published:7/7/2023 2:47:59 PM
[Markets] The Supreme Court Could Stop The SEC's War On Crypto The Supreme Court Could Stop The SEC's War On Crypto

Authored by J.W. Verret via,

Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are among a group on the Supreme Court who may not smile upon the SEC’s interpretation of the law...

When the leaders of the American Revolution signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, they had no guarantee of victory. The battle for independence was underway, and their prospects were uncertain. Despite occasional victories, these audacious freedom fighters were grossly outnumbered and had difficulty retaining volunteer soldiers. Their commitment to the cause of freedom was their only fighting chance.

Cryptocurrency as an open-source software industry is in a similar predicament. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission and banking regulators are trying to dismantle this budding industry, brandishing lawsuits and an intimidating array of regulatory measures designed to make compliance impossible.

Crypto’s fighting chance is embedded within the very words and legal principles put forth by America’s founders in the Constitution.

They designed the Constitution on the principle of the separation of powers inspired by the Enlightenment.

Their vision was of a system with three separate but coequal branches of government, each acting as a safeguard against the potential abuse of power by the others.

Coinbase stands at the vanguard in the modern battlefield of cryptocurrency as it stares down a lawsuit brought by the SEC. In June, the company delivered a declaration in response to the lawsuit that leans on the “major questions doctrine.” This essential legal principle holds agencies like the SEC accountable when they circumvent Congress’ role in our constitutional structure and manipulate vague and antiquated statutes for their own ends.

In recent landmark cases that curbed executive overreach in both the Obama and Biden administrations, the Supreme Court has underscored the importance of the major questions doctrine.

This doctrine underlines the crucial point that when agencies attempt to regulate questions of significant national or political importance, they must have explicit authorization from Congress.

This doctrine is not new nor untested.

When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to regulate cigarettes, justifying action by defining them under the FDA’s authority over drugs, the Supreme Court struck down the agency’s overreach. The court pointed out that nicotine, while technically a drug, did not fall under the palliative class of drugs Congress had intended when creating the FDA.

A similar verdict was reached regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to regulate carbon emissions. The EPA was prevented from broadening its mandate over power plant pollution to set a national policy on carbon emissions, which was beyond its remit and would usurp the role of the legislature.

The Supreme Court’s decision striking down Biden’s student loan forgiveness program is the most recent invocation of the major questions doctrine. Coinbase general counsel Paul Grewal astutely observed that one could substitute crypto for student loans in the court’s ruling and envision a similar outcome.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s apologists argue that the securities laws from the 1930s have successfully adapted to the internet era, hence they can adapt to crypto as well. This argument would carry weight if the SEC made similar adaptations to crypto as they did to the internet.

Over the years, the SEC has proven its capacity to evolve, allowing prospectus delivery over the internet and sanctioning executive communications through social media. But when it comes to crypto, the SEC stubbornly insists that developers must comply with laws that, without nuanced adaptation, are impossible to adhere to.

This grudging approach of “just come in and register” while blatantly ignoring the numerous questions raised in Coinbase’s 2022 request for rulemaking is exactly why the major questions doctrine — as interpreted by Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — is so relevant to the SEC’s approach to crypto regulation. The doctrine acts as a constitutional compass, guiding the direction of authority, and restraining overreach by various agencies.

The framers of the Constitution left us an arsenal of tools to wage a revolution for freedom within the design of the U.S. Constitution. Legal scholars and constitutionalists, including Gorsuch, are reviving the founders’ vision of a delicate balance of power among the three branches with the major questions doctrine.

Crypto defendants, such as Coinbase, Ripple and Binance, are pioneering a revolution of their own. They are at the forefront of a movement aiming to decentralize power, shifting it from centralized institutions to the hands of individuals. In their struggle, they are armed with the very same tools our founders used to shape this nation.

There’s a striking parallel between our founders’ fight for political freedom and the current struggle for financial freedom in the digital realm. The underpinnings of both these movements are deeply rooted in a quest for autonomy and liberty.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/07/2023 - 06:30
Published:7/7/2023 6:03:19 AM
[World] My blueprint could get Black voters back to the polls New polling data shows Black voter turnout dipped below pre-Obama levels in the 2022 midterm elections. Published:7/6/2023 2:39:00 PM
[Entertainment] Inside Malia Obama's ''Normal'' Life After the White House Malia Obama, Barack Obama Malia Obama was ready to strike out on her own after high school, let alone once she finished college. After committing to Harvard, the first daughter spent a gap year traveling and interning in...
Published:7/4/2023 6:33:14 PM
[Politics] Barack and Michelle 'all this over a damn flag' Obama wishing everyone a 'Happy 4th' BOMBS gloriously Published:7/4/2023 9:31:54 AM
[Markets] Washington's Resurgent Military Presence In The Philippines Provokes China Washington's Resurgent Military Presence In The Philippines Provokes China

Authored by Ted Galen Carpenter via The Ron Paul Institute,

When the last US troops left the Philippines in the early 1990s, the prevailing assumption was that an extremely close military relationship between Washington and Manila would be just another relic of the Cold War. The decision by the Philippines Senate not to renew the US leases on Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base was quite emphatic. A thick layer of ash from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo made Clark unusable in any case, and public opinion in the country tended to both installations as a lingering, painful reminder of Washington’s colonial rule.

The mutual defense treaty remained intact, however, and US military and political officials soon sought to exploit Manila’s worries about the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to orchestrate a return of US forces. In particular, the Philippines’ government was deeply concerned about Beijing’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea – a stance that directly challenged Manila’s own claims. There were no longer any official US bases in the Philippines, but following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, George W. Bush’s administration responded favorably to Manila’s request to send a small contingent of troops – ostensibly to aid efforts to suppress militant Islamic rebels in the country’s southern islands. During Barack Obama’s administration, additional US military personnel began to return as part of Washington’s policy pivot to East Asia. They were given expanded access to bases that Manila controlled.

new bilateral agreement now accelerates that process and substantially expands the scope of the US military presence. In April, the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced that American forces would be stationed at four new locations. The official cover story is that the units would be available for disaster relief, but the underlying purpose is a more robust presence directed against the PRC. That point became quite clear later in April when US and Philippines forces conducted a military exercise involving more than 12,000 US troops.

The gradual return of Washington’s forces has coincided with a marked increase in US naval patrols of the South China Sea. That move was designed in part to show strong support for Manila’s territorial claims in that body of water, much to Beijing’s growing anger. Washington’s supportive stance took place, even though the government of Rodrigo Duterte seemed to take special pleasure in antagonizing US leaders, including by periodically threatening to end the alliance with the United States and adopt a pro-PRC stance.

Duterte’s loose cannon behavior did not diminish Washington’s military backing for the Philippines, and his threat ultimately proved to be hollow. Indeed, bilateral defense cooperation actually increased in July 2021 under a renewed visiting forces agreement. Military collaboration now appears to be on an especially fast track under Marcos’s friendlier administration.

Even during the tense days dealing with Duterte, Washington’s armed support for Manila regarding its territorial disputes with China did not falter. The United States ostentatiously backed Manila’s territorial claims when a confrontation between the Philippines and China broke out in March 2021 over the growing presence of PRC "fishing vessels" near the disputed Whitson Reef. The Biden administration promptly injected itself into the dispute. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphatically took Manila’s side in a statement on Twitter. "The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of the PRC’s maritime militia amassing at Whitson Reef," he stated.

US leaders increasingly seem to regard the Philippines as another component in an overall containment policy directed against China. Using Manila as a pawn in that strategy, though, has multiple undesirable features. It is extremely confrontational toward the PRC at a time when there is a surplus of dangerous issues, especially Taiwan, already riling Washington’s relations with Beijing. China’s government has expressed pointed warnings about enhanced US military access to bases in the Philippines. Washington’s stance threatens to entangle the United States in parochial territorial spats that have little intrinsic relevance to America’s security and well-being. No rational American should want to risk a war with the PRC over Whitson Reef or similar meager stakes.

Instead of continuing to boost US military cooperation with Manila, US leaders need to reverse the growing troop presence. Indeed, they need to reassess the wisdom of the mutual defense treaty itself. The current situation is a classic case of an unwise, unnecessary, and potentially very dangerous entanglement on behalf of a minor foreign client. There are more than enough tripwires for the United States around the world without maintaining this one.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/02/2023 - 12:30
Published:7/2/2023 11:38:34 AM
[Markets] US Bid To Rejoin UN Education Agency Could Be Derailed By House GOP US Bid To Rejoin UN Education Agency Could Be Derailed By House GOP

Authored by Alex Newman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Despite an ongoing scandal involving the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) leadership and the agency’s decision to flout U.S. law by admitting the “State of Palestine” as a member state, the United States is now formally seeking to rejoin.

The logo of UNESCO in Paris on Nov. 12, 2021. (Julien de Rosa/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

However, lawmakers may scuttle the effort by refusing to provide necessary funding.

If it moves forward, rejoining the U.N. education and culture agency is expected to cost U.S. taxpayers more than half a billion dollars just to rejoin, with additional funding expected each year going forward.

There has been some criticism in Congress already. And congressional appropriators dealing with foreign operations and State Department funding have vowed to terminate funding for UNESCO in the 2024 budget.

The Biden administration and defenders of the move argue that rejoining the agency would help counter the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department told The Epoch Times that the move would advance U.S. interests and restore American leadership.

The podium at the State Department in Washington on April 11, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

In a June 8 letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay obtained by The Epoch Times, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma also argued that the international agency had made progress in addressing the concerns that caused the U.S. government to withdraw in 2018.

But critics contend that, among other concerns, rejoining the U.N. agency would actually be a boon to the CCP, which has members serving in senior positions.

It would also benefit other forces hostile to U.S. interests and allies such as Israel, according to experts, lawmakers, and former officials.

Opponents of the move who spoke to The Epoch Times, including senior officials behind the 2017 decision to leave UNESCO, slammed the Biden administration’s move to rejoin.

“They ought to be paying us to be involved,” argued former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs of State Kevin Moley, who, along with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, shepherded the withdrawal through to completion.

Speaking to The Epoch Times in a phone interview, Ambassador Moley said the decision would not serve U.S. interests. Instead, he argued, it will benefit U.S. adversaries such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Citing a variety of issues including anti-Semitism, waste, corruption, and extremism within the U.N. education agency, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. government would withdraw from the organization in 2017.

Pointing to murderous dictatorships on the agency’s “human rights” committee and other policies, then-U.N. Ambassador Haley at the time said the “extreme politicization” of UNESCO had “become a chronic embarrassment.”

“Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, U.S. taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense,” Haley said.

The logo of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is seen in Paris on Nov. 12, 2013. (Jacques Brinon/AP Photo)

Even before that, federal laws barring U.S. support for international organizations that accept the “State of Palestine” as a member forced the Obama administration to stop U.S. taxpayer funding to UNESCO over a decade ago. The laws were aimed at forcing Arabs to negotiate a settlement with Israel rather than unilaterally seeking statehood via international organizations.

The Reagan administration pointed to similar problems as those cited by the Trump administration decades later.

As previously reported in November of 2021, the Biden administration was hoping to rejoin the organization after having rejoined various other U.N. entities and agreements. At the time, U.S. law made that impossible due to the membership of the Palestinians.

But in December, with Democrats getting ready to hand over power in the House of Representatives, Congress approved the omnibus bill with a waiver purporting to allow the administration to rejoin and fund UNESCO if it believed the move would serve U.S. interests. The bill also authorized more than $500 million of taxpayer money in arrears for the agency.

However, sources on Capitol Hill tell The Epoch Times that Republicans intend to terminate funding for UNESCO and numerous other international agencies and programs.

A document outlining the priorities of Republicans on the House Appropriations subcommittee dealing with international organizations confirmed that UNESCO funding is on the chopping block, along with funding for the U.N. general budget.

Impact on US Classrooms

Even without being involved in UNESCO, its influence was still felt in American classrooms, explained former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

“While I most certainly do not agree with the U.S. rejoining it, nonetheless I can’t help but wonder how truly removed we are from UNESCO policy and influence,” she told The Epoch Times, adding that U.S. officials continued working on international education initiatives involving UNESCO even after withdrawal.

She also warned that U.S. involvement with UNESCO was a way of “allowing foreign governments—including dictatorships—a voice in the education of American children.”

“As if the nationalization of education through Common Core Standards wasn’t bad enough, in returning to UNESCO we will once again allow international ideology to be part of the indoctrination of our children,” she warned, pointing to biblical admonitions on child rearing and warning about the danger of allowing U.N. or even federal agencies to be involved in educating children.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/29/2023 - 15:20
Published:6/29/2023 2:42:43 PM
[] We know Michelle Obama didn't MEAN to come out against Affirmative Action BUT she kinda sorta totally did Published:6/29/2023 1:00:56 PM
[Culture] Donald Trump Is Least Racist Living President, Historical Analysis Finds

What happened: Reuters investigated the family backgrounds of U.S. political leaders and found that many of them are descended from slave owners. • Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren made the list, but Donald Trump did not. What it means: Trump is the least racist, most anti-slavery president of the United States, according to the […]

The post Donald Trump Is Least Racist Living President, Historical Analysis Finds appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/27/2023 5:01:53 PM
[] Barack Obama Suffers From an Obvious Lack of Self-Awareness Published:6/27/2023 12:34:19 PM
[World] Biden and Obama lunch at the White House President Joe Biden is hosting his one-time boss, former President Barack Obama, for lunch at the White House. Published:6/27/2023 11:28:43 AM
[Markets] Politicians Meet The Polygraph Politicians Meet The Polygraph

Authored by Lloyd Billingsley via American Greatness,

Back in 1986, members of the Reagan cabinet said they were willing to take drug tests to set an example for federal workers and the public. That caught the attention of Jay Leno, who recommended IQ tests instead. Better still, Wayne Allyn Root now contends, would be lie detector tests, an idea that “threatens the power structure of the entire American political system and U.S. government.” 

Politicians have sold us out, Root believes, and to save the nation we must demand that politicians and government officials face off with the polygraph. Root’s questions include:

  • Are you now, or have you ever been on China’s payroll? Or the CCP payroll?

  • Are you now, or have you ever been on the payroll of the Mexican drug cartels?

  • Are any of your family members or friends on any of these foreign payrolls?

  • Do you have an offshore bank account? Does anyone in your family accept payoffs in an offshore account?

  • Do you accept illegal campaign contributions from any foreign interests?

  • Are you on the payroll of any Big Pharma company or vaccine manufacturer? Do you have family members or friends on the Big Pharma payroll or receiving stock or stock options from Big Pharma?

  • Are you being blackmailed, or have you ever been blackmailed?

  • Have you given government contracts to spouses, family members or friends?

  • Have you passed inside information on public companies to family or friends, and shared in the profits?

  • Are you 100 percent loyal to the interests of America and your constituents?

Examiners could also ask:

  • Have you ever employed a Chinese spy on your staff for 20 years?

  • Have you ever demanded that Facebook or Twitter take down a post?

  • Did you ever falsely claim to have served in Vietnam?

And so on.

Root believes “we’d have to replace virtually the entire House, Senate, every federal judge and every government bureaucrat.” That may be a stretch but the test itself is on solid ground.  

Candidates for the Border Patrol are required to undergo polygraph tests. The FBI has used polygraph tests since 1935 and ramped them up in the wake of FBI spy Robert Hanssen, who eluded the agency for at least 15 years. The CIA uses polygraph tests in the hiring process and for security clearances. A polygraph examiner for the CIA conducts two sessions per day in an “unrelenting job” that can require duty abroad.

Politicians make laws, spend the people’s money, deal with foreign adversaries and swear to uphold the Constitution. So it’s entirely reasonable that politicians face the polygraph, and current conditions also make a case for DNA tests, which don’t lie. Consider, for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Her claim to be a Cherokee was the basis for her career, from law school to Harvard—which proclaimed Warren a “woman of color”—to the U.S. Senate. As a DNA test before her first run for office would have shown, Warren is not a Cherokee. Despite the blatant falsehood, Warren failed to resign, remained in the Senate, and ran for president.

San Diego Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a two-time candidate for Congress, is the grandson of Muhammad Abu Youssef al-Najjar, mastermind of the terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes. Ammar’s father, Yaser al-Najjar, was also a fugitive but Ammar claims he moved to the United States and married a Mexican woman.

Candidate Ammar, who also lived in Gaza, has billed himself as a “Palestinian Mexican” and “Latino Arab American.” A DNA test would clear it up but the candidate has not volunteered.  Ammar recently lost a race for mayor of Chula Vista and former California Senate boss Kevin de Leon recently survived a recall effort on the Los Angeles city council.

Back in 2017, de Leon suddenly claimed his father Andres was a Chinese cook born in Guatemala, where his mother Carmen Osorio was also born. A DNA test would have revealed the truth, but no such test took place.

Questions about origins must also include the president David Garrow chronicled in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Back around 2008, the Hillary Clinton campaign floated a rumor that the former Barry Soetoro had been born abroad, and was therefore not eligible to be president. That turned out to be false, and the “birthers” were wrong. The real question was the identity of the father.

The poet “Frank” in Dreams from My Father turns out to be Frank Marshall Davis, an African American Communist who dedicated most of his life to an all-white Soviet dictatorship. Garrow raised the issue and revealed that Dreams from My Father was a work of “historical fiction” and the author a “composite character.”

The Kenya section borrows heavily from I Dreamed of Africa and African Nights, by Italian writer Kuki Gallmann. The written materials of the Kenyan Barack Obama, housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and covering the years 1958-1964, make not a single mention of a white American wife and Hawaiian-born son.

Malik Obama, son of the Kenyan, wondered if the president could be “a fraud and a con,” and in 2015 Malik said he was willing to take a DNA test. So far no response from the composite character, the most powerful man in the world for eight years, aiming to fundamentally transform the United States of America.

“If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan,” said the composite character president in 2009, and on many other occasions.

Read my lips, no new taxes,” said George H. W. Bush in 1988. No need for a polygraph to detect those lies. And as some folks might remember: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford Administration,” said the president of the United States in 1976.

That one is hard to top. Maybe Jay Leno was on to something.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/26/2023 - 21:40
Published:6/26/2023 8:59:37 PM
[Markets] John Kerry Skewered By French TV Host After Condemning Putin Invasion: "Why Isn't Bush Judged In The Same Way?" John Kerry Skewered By French TV Host After Condemning Putin Invasion: "Why Isn't Bush Judged In The Same Way?"

John Kerry, who is Biden's special presidential envoy for climate, came up against rare pushback when he tried to issue the usual invective and talking points on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Putin's aggression while speaking on French television in Paris. 

But a French TV anchor wasn't having it, and confronted Kerry over US hypocrisy, given Washington has mounted multiple invasions of sovereign countries in recent decades, especially since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Well-known French journalist Darius Rochebin during the Sunday night interview on news channel LCI posed the following: "We have to judge Putin for crimes of aggression, of course. But you, the Americans, you committed the crime of aggression in Iraq." Rochebin then asked Kerry: "These countries of the Global South say, should we judge George Bush? Why isn’t Bush judged in the same way?

Kerry simply tried to reject the comparison, without explanation, shooting back "no". Rochebin quickly interjected, "Why?"

"Because there’s never even been a direct process or accusation or anything with respect to President Bush himself," Kerry deflected. "Have there been abuses in the course of that war, yes."

Rochebin didn't let go after this nonsensical attempt to appeal to a legal "process" and mere "abuses" (in a war that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians). The journalist pressed: "Was it not a crime of aggression to enter into Iraq on the basis of a lie?"

"No, no, no," Kerry said. "Well, we didn’t know it was a lie at the time. You know the evidence that was produced, people didn’t know that it was a lie. So no, again, I think, you’re stretching something. That’s not a constructive way —"

"But he lied," Rochebin said of Bush. "He lied. He lied."

A flustered Kerry, who had also served as Secretary of State under the Obama administration, then said, "Sir, I’m not going to re-debate the Iraq war with you here right now. We spent a lot of time doing that previously. I was opposed to going in, I thought it was the wrong thing to do. But we gave the president the power, regrettably, in the Congress, based on the lie. And when we knew it was a lie, people stood up and did the right thing."

Rochebin came back with: "I get that. But you understand that for the countries of the South, of course, justice, equality, principles, it’s their impression that there is a double standard. And that weighs today, including on the debate of the climate," Rochebin said.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald later observed of the interview, in which a humiliated Kerry was clearly unprepared to be challenged and called out so directly, "The complete lack of self-awareness on the part of the US establishment sometimes shocks me, despite the contempt I harbor for them."

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/26/2023 - 17:20
Published:6/26/2023 4:22:34 PM
[Markets] A Century Of Impotency: Conservative Failure And The Administrative State A Century Of Impotency: Conservative Failure And The Administrative State

Authored by Theo Wold via American Greatness,

Conservatives have failed to restrain the administrative state because they have accepted that it is a necessary governmental innovation required by the complexity of modern society...

James Landis is widely credited with crafting the theoretical architecture supporting President Roosevelt’s radical reconstruction—and expansion—of the federal government. Landis shrewdly both established and legitimized the regulatory state, including Roosevelt’s creation of new federal administrative agencies, by offering the regulatory state as the solution to the problem of modern governance: the administrative state “is, in essence, our generation’s answer to the inadequacy of the judicial and legislative process.” The Landis premise took concrete shape through Roosevelt’s expansion of the regulatory state, and in doing so, it brought to fruition Woodrow Wilson’s progressive intellectual project: rule by experts, insulated from the popular will

Landis believed the “the administrative process” for which he advocated would “spring from the inadequacy of a simply tripartite form of government to deal with modern problems” because modern problems were simply too large and complex to be entrusted to the system based on the separation of powers instituted by our nation’s founders. Landis framed this innovation as consistent with separation of powers principles because he believed the separation of powers called both for separation but also coordination among the branches, and he saw the administrative state as essential to creating that coordination:

If the doctrine of separation of power implies division, it also implies balance, and balance calls for equality. The creation of administrative power may be the means for the preservation of that balance, so that paradoxically enough, though it may seem in theoretic violation of the doctrine of the separation of powers, it may in matter of fact be the means for the preservation of the content of that doctrine.

What the tripartite branches could not coordinate among themselves directly, Landis believed administrative agencies could coordinate as a substitute. Landis then aimed to create administrative agencies that themselves combined the three aspects of government. Years later, the Administrative Procedure Act codified this three-branches-in-one-agency approach to administrative power, defining not only rulemaking authority for federal agencies (a quasi-legislative power), but also adjudicative authority (a quasi-judicial power).

In reality, Landis’s three-branches-in-one-agency theory never comported with the separation of powers principles that the founders embedded in our Constitution. But even if it could have been reconciled with those principles as a theoretical matter, the past 100 years have demonstrated that the administrative state is the single biggest threat that faces the Constitution and the republic it establishes. What began as a type of separation-of-powers “innovation” beyond the Constitution has persisted as nothing less than tyranny. The vast majority of our governance today is created, maintained, and enforced by unelected bureaucrats who are almost entirely insulated from accountability to any branch of government, let alone the people.

This reality was never on fuller display than during the Trump Administration, as I witnessed firsthand. From President Trump’s inauguration forward, the recalcitrant federal bureaucracy slow- walked his policies, including policy promises that were central to his victorious 2016 campaign (and that therefore commanded significant support from the American people). The Army Corps of Engineers dragged its feet in finalizing plans for the construction of a border wall. The Department of Education refused to withdraw Obama-era memoranda on Title IV and disparate impact. Bureaucrats at the Department of State ultimately blocked efforts to require “extreme vetting” for foreign nationals entering the United States. The idea that the federal bureaucracy is accountable to the president is a mirage.

And yet, for decades now, conservatives have failed to mount any fundamental challenge to the central Landis claim undergirding the administrative state: the inadequacy of the self-governing tripartite branches. There lies the problem for conservative reforms of the administrative state as they have been proposed for the last 40 years. Landis believed the complexity of modern problems demanded the administrative state as a solution, and by and large, even conservatives have agreed.

In fact, when conservatives have dared to oppose the administrative state, they have framed their opposition through an economic lens: the administrative state is a vehicle for regulation and government control of the market. As such, conservatives’ tools for combatting it have focused almost exclusively on curtailing the authority of the administrative state to promulgate new regulations and affixing costs to its enactments. In this view, the administrative state as seen through green eyeshades is a problem only because it is profligate and burdens the marketplace, not because “coordination” may now work in conflict with the policy preferences and reanimated desires for political control of a free people. The tyranny of the administrative state is not merely an economic tyranny: it is a tyranny over all purposes of government, a capturing of the people’s power over all political questions, not merely pocketbook questions.

Perhaps it has been easy for conservatives to adopt the Landis premise because before FDR’s remaking of the federal government, conservatives were already committed to the idea that some modern problems were so complex they could not be resolved through the basic instruments of self-governance and instead required the intervention of experts.

When Landis was previewing his ideas publicly prior to working in the executive branch, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Act, creating a new, government-sponsored financial institution that would fit right in with the “independent agencies” of today. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was a quasi-public corporation that borrowed its funds over its lifetime almost entirely from the federal government for the purpose of lending directly to banks and other financial institutions. The RFC was composed of professionals hired outside the civil service system, and the federal government appointed its executive officers and board of directors. 

Even the leading conservative of the time, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, favored the RFC and would later back New Deal agency programs, including subsidized loans for farmers and homeowners and accelerated public works spending. In retrospect, the RFC was a template for the New Deal federal agencies FDR later created, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, a quasi-governmental corporation, the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. More importantly, it was a harbinger of decades of conservative capitulation: In creating the RFC, conservatives like Taft had essentially adopted the Progressive view that modern problems required credentialed experts and technocratic governance. As Taft would posit, laissez-faire individualism was a political-philosophical perspective that required mediation from governmental authorities.

The solution to the administrative state, however, depends on resisting the Landis premise and accepting instead that even modern problems can be solved without administrative agencies, or that the price of solving those problems is too high if administrative agencies are the only means of doing so.

Four Past Attempts to Restrain the Administrative State

The Administrative Procedure Act of 1946

The Administrative Procedure Act might be considered the first attempt at restraining the administrative state. Passed in 1946, the APA followed FDR’s Second New Deal by about a decade and came at a time of concern in the United States for the rapid rise of the administrative state. Conservatives publicly worried that its growth impaired individual liberties (by allowing federal agencies to impose regulations that burdened individuals’ freedom to work and contract, even without explicit authorization from Congress) and the free market (by allowing federal agencies to establish burdensome regulations or effectively pick “winners” and “losers” and interfere with otherwise-free markets). Liberals advocated for the administrative state based on the Landis premise—namely, that unelected experts were needed to create policies and regulations capable of meeting the demands of “modern society.”

The APA attempted to assuage concerns about the administrative state’s power by grafting onto the administrative state the same types of due process protections that applied to other branches of government. It created formal and informal rulemaking processes to regularize the administrative state’s quasi-legislative activities, and it created formal and informal adjudicative processes to regularize the administrative state’s quasi-judicial activities. It also specified conditions for review of agency action by the judicial branch.

But although the APA was seen at the time as a bipartisan compromise, it was in retrospect a compromise that leaned heavily leftward because it endorsed—and even advanced—the Landis premise. The essential compromise of the APA was biased in favor of a large administrative state: the administrative state was a necessary governmental innovation demanded by the complexity of modern society, and the only restraints Congress could place on its activities were marginal procedural protections intended to mimic the due process protections that applied to the constitutional branches of government. These protections increased public participation in rulemaking by requiring pre-rulemaking notice to and comment from the public, and they increased regularity in agency decision-making by standardizing agency processes. But they did little, if anything, to curtail the reach of federal agency power or to protect the primacy of the constitutional branches of government as set against the unelected and essentially insulated activities of the administrative state.

Chevron Deference 

Many prominent conservative jurists, including Justice Antonin Scalia and D.C. Circuit Judge Kenneth Starr, spent a generation advocating for Chevron deference, which was intended to prevent liberal courts from imposing their policy preferences on the executive branch by preserving a deferentially drawn sphere of decision-making in which executive agencies were free to operate. But in protecting this deferential sphere of decision-making power, Chevron deference has ultimately proved to be incapable of checking the administrative state’s power and growth. 

Chevron deference originated with the 1984 decision Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which created a two-part test for judicial review of the agency’s construction of a statute passed by Congress. First, a court must determine “whether Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue”; and if it has, and “the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter,” for both the court and the agency “must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress.” Second, “if the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the question for the court is whether the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute”; if it is, it is entitled to the court’s deference.

Chevron itself embraced the Landis premise that difficult policy questions required experts to resolve. It posited that where a statute is ambiguous, Congress might have “consciously desired . . . that those with great expertise and charged with responsibility for administering the provision would be in a better position to do so” than Congress. But even if Congress had not so determined, the opinion advocated deference to experts: “Judges are not experts in the field, and are not part of either political branch of the Government,” so it should not be for judges to resolve complex policy issues. The Chevron Court assured itself that the deference it instituted presented no separation-of-powers problem because “while agencies are not directly accountable to the people, the Chief Executive is, and it is entirely appropriate for this political branch of the Government to make such policy choice.” Today, such an argument is untenable, in light of the entrenched nature of the administrative state and the little (or, more often, utter lack) of executive control over its machinations.

Chevron deference is a legal doctrine incompatible with substantial self-governance because it translates statutory ambiguity into complete deference to the least accountable arm of modern government—the administrative state.

While conservative jurists today are more skeptical of the doctrine (and, indeed, may even be willing to replace it), the conservative jurists of yesterday embraced it. None other than Justice Scalia himself argued for a relatively expansive definition of Chevron deference. In discussing Chevron’s “step one,” Justice Scalia explained that “congressional intent must be regarded as ‘ambiguous’ not just when no interpretation is even marginally better than any other, but rather when two or more reasonable, though not necessarily equally valid, interpretations exist.” In other words, Chevron requires courts to defer to federal agencies even when those agencies adopt clearly inferior interpretations of the statutory text passed and signed by the politically accountable branches. It is no wonder, then, that the doctrine of Chevron deference has done little to check the power and proliferation of the administrative state.


More recently, conservative legislators in Congress have introduced and advocated for the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act). Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) first introduced the REINS Act in 2013. The act creates categories of “major” and “nonmajor” rules and requires congressional approval by both houses of Congress before “major” rules can take effect.

The REINS Act, however, begins from the Landis premise as well—namely, that the authority to craft policy properly belongs to experts in the federal agencies. Rather than remove that power from agencies or shift lawmaking authority back to Congress in the first instance, the REINS Act leaves regulatory power with federal agencies in the very same size and scope in which it exists today and merely imposes a requirement of congressional approval on some regulatory actions. But even the definition of which regulatory actions require such approval is both ambiguous and inadequate. The REINS Act defines a “major rule” to be a rule with “an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more,” or one that causes “major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions,” or one that has “significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.” These definitions are unsatisfactory as a drafting exercise, since they are open to interpretation and admit of ambiguities. Who will determine which rules satisfy these definitions? Who knows?

Worse, these definitions are completely inadequate because they emphasize economic impact alone, as if the administrative state poses only pocketbook harms. Edicts from the Department of Education about the treatment of trans students in the classroom; Department of Commerce regulations about the classification (and therefore, legal availability) of certain firearms and accessories; Department of Defense allowances for same-sex spouse benefits or sex-change surgeries—all of these are culturally transformative regulations that fall short of the economic impacts that trigger greater congressional oversight in the REINS Act.

The REINS Act clearly demonstrates the view of its conservative sponsors and supporters that federal agencies have too much authority to take actions with too great significance; yet rather than remove such authority from those agencies and require Congress to exercise it, these legislators are content merely to give themselves an up-or-down vote after the fact—and even then, only for regulations with considerable economic impact, not those that answer transformative cultural questions about which ordinary people and their legislators expect to express views and direct policy. Thus, even in the REINS Act, the premise that expertise, after all, lies with the agencies still reigns.

The REINS Act is notable—and rightfully criticized—for another reason, too. It provides that all other rules outside the definitions stated above are “nonmajor” rules, which Congress may disapprove under the REINS Act. But surely this is a fact that need not be stated. Of course Congress can negate an action of a regulatory agency if it chooses. The fact that legislators see the REINS Act as a vehicle to state that power is alarming, but it is also illustrative of Congress’ impotence in the face of the size and scope of the modern administrative state.

Regulatory Oversight and Deregulation 

Republicans have long pursued a deregulation strategy as another antidote to the proliferation of the administrative state, although with no more success than any other strategy discussed here. Deregulation and regulatory oversight strategies are executive efforts to exert more control over agency rulemaking, but these strategies fail because the executive lacks fundamental control over the administrative state.

The Reagan Administration’s regulatory oversight required agencies to prepare cost-benefit analyses for major rules and required that agencies only issue regulations that maximize net benefits (defined as social benefits minus social costs). Similar to the REINS Act, this approach focuses not on the substance of federal regulations but only on their potential costs (and estimating costs depends on accurate forecasting—a dubious proposition). The error of this approach is on display in immigration policy. Federal regulations that grant visas to hundreds of thousands of immigrants might be economically “scored” as beneficial to the country’s gross domestic product, but that cost analysis, even if accurate, speaks to only one aspect of immigration policy and neglects the transformational effect of immigration on culture, the allocation of labor, the displacement of American workers, and domestic wages. The Reagan Administration’s regulatory policy focused myopically on the economic impact of regulation, as if regulations could only pose harm by undertaking economic decisions without the people’s participation through their elected representatives, not social, cultural, or political decisions, despite their obviously transformative nature.

Besides, the Reagan Administration’s regulatory oversight program can be judged by its fruits. By the final two years of that administration, the pace of new regulations had increased, and that increase continued into the Bush Administration. The power of the administrative state to dictate the lives of Americans, divorced from political oversight, did not shrink; it grew.

For its part, the Trump Administration attempted a new regulatory strategy targeted more precisely at deregulation. The Trump Administration pledged to remove two regulations for every one enacted, and even made the promise official by promulgating it in an executive order. The policy sounded good but faced legal and procedural hurdles. For one, deregulation requires federal agencies to go through the same notice-and-comment process that applies when affirmatively regulating, so the policy could, at most, require agencies to initiate the withdrawal of two regulations for every one proposed. From that point forward, the deregulatory and regulatory efforts had to follow different trajectories, leaving no guarantee that two regulations would actually be withdrawn for every one imposed. Nor was there any guarantee that the regulations targeted for withdrawal would be equal in significance to any new regulation being proposed.

Ultimately, the Trump Administration’s deregulatory initiatives resulted in the enactment of fewer new regulations compared to its predecessor administrations, and the Trump Administration did try to remove many regulations as well, but many of these efforts foundered on legal grounds.

Most of the Trump Administration’s important deregulatory actions, like barring asylum eligibility for certain individuals entering the United States at the southern border or rolling back the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, were litigated immediately and enjoined. Overall, the Trump Administration’s track record in litigation was dismal. By one assessment carried out by the Institute for Policy Integrity, the Trump Administration succeeded in defending its regulatory actions in court 58 times but was unsuccessful 200 times. That means a mere 22 percent of the Trump Administration’s regulatory actions survived judicial review.

The Trump Administration’s deregulatory efforts come the closest of any conservative strategy to resisting the Landis premise itself: at least under President Trump, the executive branch attempted not merely to layer procedural requirements onto the regulatory process or create greater oversight for economically significant laws, but to actually reduce regulation directly. But the Landis premise is so deeply embedded in the modern regulatory state that executive action alone cannot unseat it. 

Deregulation requires the same procedures as regulation, and it is subject to judicial review, which places it ultimately beyond the executive’s sole control. The administrative state results in tyranny because it operates without political oversight. Presidential oversight is an illusion. The president sits atop the bureaucracy but can have precious little effect on its conduct. The president cannot order agencies to act without following the burdensome and time-consuming notice-and-comment procedures; nor can the president rescind past agency action without undertaking the same burdens—to say nothing of the general unresponsiveness of the bureaucracy to pursuing any policy with haste or diligence.

A Proper Diagnosis

Conservatives have failed to restrain the administrative state because they have accepted the Landis premise—that the administrative state is a necessary governmental innovation required by the complexity of modern society. This intellectual capitulation is what ensures that the balance of power in this country will remain not only in Washington, D.C., but specifically with the largely unaccountable administrative state. The federal bureaucracy is the home of the most prestigious jobs in public service, the best salaries and benefits, the greatest esteem, and the most power. Educated and well-qualified individuals who aspire to power and influence want to join the administrative apparatus. These are the experts, after all, and we have entrusted to them the power to rule us.

Never before has the fallacy of expert governance been so exposed as it is today, following the emergence of COVID-19 in the United States. The problem of COVID-19 placed federal public health officials on the national stage, demanding that their expertise direct and save the nation. And they failed. They opposed masking before demanding it universally; they advocated destructive lockdowns that uncannily reflected liberal biases (like shuttering churches on account of public singing while permitting in-person alcohol sales); they ignored the science of child infection in favor of virtual schooling that has disadvantaged (or worse) a generation of children; and they opposed a vaccine as “rushed” when it was President Trump’s accomplishment, only to mandate the same vaccine at the expense of one’s livelihood once President Trump was no longer in office. These are the experts. Their training prepared them for this moment, and when the nation needed them, they proved themselves to be credentialed political hacks.

That is why any conservative response to the administrative state must begin with the counter-Landis premise: that rule by experts and technocrats is not the self-evident and necessary solution to the problem of modernity, and that in fact, rule by experts and technocrats is just as likely to harm the nation, by impeding individual freedom and restraining economic prosperity. The so-called “expertise” of the administrative state is not expertise at all but simply politics unbridled: it is liberal hegemony divorced from democratic accountability.

The only prescription for the administrative state is deconstruction. Dismantling. Eliminating at least some of the nearly 2 million civilian federal employees (let alone the legions of federal contractors) who comprise the unaccountable and uncontrolled administrative state.

A future Republican president cannot deconstruct even a portion of the federal bureaucracy without significant preplanning that begins well before assuming office. Any Republican presidential candidate must catalog a list of obsolete federal agencies and programs and articulate to the American people the waste and excess required to maintain these frivolous bureaucratic outlets.

At the same time, a future Republican president must be willing to articulate a broader vision for deconstructing significant portions of all federal agencies, including recruiting cabinet officials who are committed to downsizing their agencies. 

Realistically, as the experience of the Trump Administration shows, a project to deconstruct the administrative state will depend on the participation of Congress in order to be successful. Taking down even a single regulation requires considerable effort and carries little guarantee of success, as shown by the Trump Administration’s track record in legal challenges to deregulatory efforts. Taking down entire swaths of the federal bureaucracy will face even greater obstacles, including in the form of legal challenges from career federal employees, many of whom are unionized and enjoy special employment protections. Significant policy reforms can proceed only from possession of significant political power. The greatest inroads will be made against the administrative state when the coordinated power of two branches can be brought to bear against it.

A tangible deconstruction along these lines will only be possible if conservatives begin by deconstructing the mindset of the administrative state. Rule by experts is foreign to our constitutional separation of powers; it is incompatible with democratic accountability and legitimacy; and it has proved itself a failure in our own lifetimes. The political branches and the states must be returned to their lawmaking power, and conservatives must relearn to express confidence in that power. 

Conservatives must accept that some things simply will not be done by a smaller administrative state, and that is the point. Policies that can be achieved only through tyranny are too costly. To the extent that they deserve to be pursued, they must be housed in branches or levels of government sufficiently responsive to the people and their elected representatives so that tyranny is averted.

How does this translate into actionable policies for a new Republican administration?

With difficulty, of course, but some measures come to mind, particularly where a Republican-led executive branch can work cooperatively with a Republican-led Congress.

  • First, draft and pass legislation to require a universal sunset for all agency regulations. As it stands, agencies enact regulations frequently but rarely take any down (and, as the experience of the Trump Administration shows, taking down regulations is fraught with legal challenges and is not guaranteed to succeed). Yet many good reasons exist for revisiting regulations at some point after their enactment. When regulations are enacted, predictions about their costs, benefits, and effectiveness are speculative at best. Fifteen years on, more can be said about whether a particular regulation has been justified. Mandatory sunsets also require Congress to act if a regulation is to be retained, which restores at least some measure of democratic accountability to a bureaucracy that has been allowed to otherwise run amok.

  • Second, repeal and reverse large portions of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, with the imposition of term limits for bureaucrats. These acts standardized federal government hiring and required that bureaucrats be primarily hired as nonpolitical positions of expertise. This has had the effect of stultifying the bureaucracy, turning hiring into a quota system and exacerbating the problem of unaccountable bureaucrats remaining in their posts for a lifetime. These reforms could have the advantage of surprise, an advantage already squandered for the Schedule F reforms, which the Trump Administration pursued by executive order and the Biden Administration immediately rescinded. Much attention has been paid to Schedule F reforms, allowing the Left to mount a public relations counterattack. But finding new ways to control the bureaucracy could allow for the element of surprise once again.

  • Third, Republicans should ban or restrict public-private partnerships in governance. The idea is a radical one because, at present, both the Left and the Right support these kinds of arrangements. Because government is perpetually behind the private sector in terms of technology, sophistication, innovation, and general capabilities—so the thinking goes—partnering with the private sector to provide government services allows the government to compensate for its inadequacies. But this compensation means that government remains able to grow its mandate despite its ineptitude, fanning into an ever-more-expansive oversight of Americans’ lives, and it does so at the cost of sharing data with private sector businesses that desperately seek to own and profit from it. 

Consider the Obamacare exchanges, for example, which are run by private entities and host the personal health, financial, employment, and other data of millions of Americans—data that private entities are happy to contract with the federal government to control. These kinds of partnerships present increasing threats to the American people (including the threat of a growing and unaccountable federal bureaucracy) even as they decrease in visibility (think “government” websites owned and operated by private entities, with consumers none the wiser). Congress can and should exercise oversight over whether and how the federal government outsources its work to the private sector because private sector innovation and nimbleness allow the administrative state to do things that are beyond its capabilities. Obviously, some nuance is required, because the Department of Defense cannot help but contract with private entities to build military aircraft, and no one would suggest otherwise. Yet the proliferation of public-private partnerships for the purpose of growing government and ceding Americans’ data to the private sector is a real problem and one that deserves the attention of any future Republican administration.

These reforms require Congressional cooperation and significant preparation in advance of a Republican presidential administration. But if accomplished, they promise durable change to the administrative state. To be clear: their success depends on the wholesale rejection of the Landis premise and a complete commitment to the urgent necessity of dismantling the administrative state. Upending the belief that only rule by experts can accomplish the aims of modern governance must be the goal of any future Republican administration.

*  *  *

This essay is adapted from, “A Century of Impotency: Conservative Failure and the Administrative State,” by Theo Wold in Up from Conservatism: Revitalizing the Right after a Generation of Decay, edited by Arthur Milikh (Encounter Books, 328 pages, $32.99).

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/24/2023 - 23:30
Published:6/24/2023 10:56:30 PM
[Markets] 8 Signs That The Futuristic Control Freak Agenda Of The Globalists Is Rapidly Moving Forward 8 Signs That The Futuristic Control Freak Agenda Of The Globalists Is Rapidly Moving Forward

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

The future is here, and if you enjoy being dominated by control freaks you are going to love it. 

“Digital identification” is one of the primary areas the globalists are focusing on right now, and as you will see below, the radical changes that are now being proposed are extremely scary.  But most Americans have no idea that any of this is happening.  Instead, many of them are obsessing over the relatively meaningless dramas that our corporate news outlets are constantly pushing.  Meanwhile, the globalists are achieving their goals at lightning speed, and there is hardly any resistance at all. 

The following are 8 signs that the futuristic control freak agenda of the globalists is rapidly moving forward…

#1 Starting in September, the EU will “mandate” that all member states offer a “digital identity wallet” to all of their citizens and businesses…

The European Union will mandate digital identity under eIDAS 2.0, which will go into effect in September 2023 and ensure all Member States offer a digital identity wallet (DIW) to citizens and businesses. According to the European Commission, “At least 80% of citizens should be able to use a digital ID solution to access key public services by 2030.”

#2 A system of “digital fingerprints” for Americans has suddenly become Barack Obama’s biggest issue

Former President Barack Obama suggested in a new interview the development of “digital fingerprints” to combat misinformation and distinguish between true and misleading news for consumers.

Obama sat down with his former White House senior adviser David Axelrod for a conversation on the latter’s podcast, “The Axe Files,” on CNN Audio. During the interview, Axelrod noted he’s seen “misinformation, disinformation, [and] deepfakes” targeting Obama.

#3 A UN policy brief that you can find right here is proposing a global system of digital identification that is linked to our bank accounts

Digital IDs linked with bank or mobile money accounts can improve the delivery of social protection coverage and serve to better reach eligible beneficiaries. Digital technologies may help to reduce leakage, errors and costs in the design of social protection programmes.

#4 The World Health Organization has adopted “the European Union (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification” and plans to transform it into a “global system”

In June 2023, WHO will take up the European Union (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification to establish a global system that will help facilitate global mobility and protect citizens across the world from on-going and future health threats, including pandemics. This is the first building block of the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN) that will develop a wide range of digital products to deliver better health for all.

“Building on the EU’s highly successful digital certification network, WHO aims to offer all WHO Member States access to an open-source digital health tool, which is based on the principles of equity, innovation, transparency and data protection and privacy,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “New digital health products in development aim to help people everywhere receive quality health services quickly and more effectively”.

#5 Federal agencies in the United States have been purchasing massive amounts of information about U.S. citizens from data brokers, and we are being warned that such information could potentially be used for “blackmail, stalking, harassment and public shaming”

Federal agencies are secretly accumulating mountains of data that could be used for “blackmail, stalking, harassment and public shaming” of American citizens.

That allegation doesn’t come from a pink-haired civil-liberties fanatic — it’s in a new report for the nation’s chief spymaster, Avril Haines.

#6 It has been revealed that the Pentagon has been using very creepy online tools in order to “covertly track, locate and identify anyone expressing dissent or even dissatisfaction with the actions of the U.S. military and its leadership”…

In a shocking report published by The Intercept on June 17, details have emerged of a U.S. national security surveillance strategy to covertly track, locate and identify anyone expressing dissent or even dissatisfaction with the actions of the U.S. military and its leadership.

The measures, undertaken by the Army Protective Services Battalion, fall under their remit of safeguarding top generals from “assassination, kidnapping, injury or embarrassment.”

#7 As I discussed yesterday, the UN has developed a global fact-checking system known as “iVerify” in conjunction with big tech companies and Soros-funded organizations.  The goal is to be able to police “disinformation” and “hate speech” all over the planet

The United Nations has unveiled an “automated” fact-checking service to counter so-called disinformation and hate speech on the internet in a project partnered with Big-Tech and Soros-funded organisations.

In response to what they brand as “online information pollution”, which they claim is a “global challenge”, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched its iVerify platform to counter alleged disinformation and hate speech online.

#8 The IMF is publicly admitting that it is constructing “a global CBDC platform” for all of the national central bank digital currencies that will soon be rolled out…

During a presentation at a conference in Morocco, Kristalina Georgievahe the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that the global body is “working hard on the concept of a global CBDC platform.”

Georgieva declared that Central Bank Digital Currencies need to be interoperable between countries, noting “If we are to be successful, CBDCs could not be fr