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[Biden Administration] 17 Shocking, Hilarious, and Downright Disturbing Moments From the Anthony Fauci Documentary on PBS

Dr. Anthony Fauci let a camera crew follow him around for almost two years beginning in January 2021, because of course he did. Fauci's sense of self-importance is nearly equal to that of Barack Obama, the former president who still hasn't finished his post-White House memoir after breaking it up into multiple volumes. (The only other president to do that was Dwight Eisenhower.) The so-called expert's egomania is only surpassed by his ability to make brain-damaged #Resistance liberals feel good about themselves.

The post 17 Shocking, Hilarious, and Downright Disturbing Moments From the Anthony Fauci Documentary on PBS appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/28/2023 4:36:30 AM
[Markets] Earth Hit By "Strongest Geomagnetic Storm In Six Years" As Dazzling Auroras Spotted Across US Earth Hit By "Strongest Geomagnetic Storm In Six Years" As Dazzling Auroras Spotted Across US

The coronal mass ejection we warned readers about days ago just blasted the Earth with solar plasma from the sun, unleashing one of the most intense geomagnetic storms in years. 

According to the National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center, the CME pounded Earth's atmosphere last night with solar plasma in a G4 (Severe) geomagnetic storm. A G3 Warning was in effect until early Friday morning. 

"A severe disturbance in the Earth's magnetic field," an SWPC warned, calling the solar storm "severe." This caused stunning auroras in the US as far south as the Midwest. 

People shared stunning photos of the auroras on Twitter. 

Geomagnetic storm news blog Space Weather said the severe G4 storm was the "most intense in nearly six years." 

This solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, has already been active, exceeding the past cycle. 

Even though auroras look stunning, these CMEs have a tremendous impact on modern society

Recall the federal government started to prepare the nation for a space weather disaster in 2016 with the executive order signed by the Obama administration titled "Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events."  

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/24/2023 - 18:00
Published:3/24/2023 5:09:53 PM
[Markets] The World Economic Forum And The West's Next Act? The World Economic Forum And The West's Next Act?

Authored by J.B.Shurk via The Gatestone Institute,

If you are a consumer today, inflation is only one of the problems harming you.

As prices go up, quality continues to go down.

What most stores have to offer you might crassly be called "cheap crap." In fact, economic writer Charles Hugh Smith has repeatedly warned that the "crapification" of the U.S. economy is the natural result of a "neoliberal-hyper-financialization-hyper-globalization model," in which quasi-monopolist manufacturers mass-produce goods with the cheapest possible components, while customers with scant other buying options are forced to accept that few purchases will last.

"Planned obsolescence," combined with a free market "in name only," creates a rigged system in which downstream consumers are forced to pay more over time, while owning little that will maintain value for long. Appliances that used to work for decades now barely make it through legally required warranty periods. Metal tools that could be passed from one generation to the next now tend to rust before they can be used on more than a handful of jobs. When expensive electronic devices survive more than two years, cash-strapped households breathe a sigh of relief. Just about anybody who is old enough to remember the 9/11 terrorist attacks can tell a story about some product that was so much cheaper, yet so much more reliable, when it was purchased long ago.

Likewise, customer service is more pitiful than it has ever been. Try to speak with a real human on the phone. It is nearly impossible. Automated assistance has eliminated personal interaction from most buying experiences. Gas stations, fast-food restaurants, and convenience stores have replaced human cashiers with camera-equipped machines designed for self-service. Even a visit to a grocery or home goods store now routinely requires the use of a self-checkout kiosk when making a purchases. It has become entirely normal to witness people struggling through the routine of lifting everything out of their shopping carts, scanning each item, and placing the load into bags, before throwing everything back onto carts, paying, and shuffling away. It is somewhat perplexing to consider that not so long ago, helpful, smiling employees worked hard to take care of all those services as part of the ordinary relationship maintained between a business and its customers.

Cutting out the cost of extra employees whose hourly wages have been pushed higher and higher by minimum wage laws that try to keep workers aligned with the rising cost of everything might help prevent already inflated prices from rising even further, but it is difficult to watch shoppers performing jobs once done by paid workers without concluding that "progress" has taken the market experience to a place that feels closer to "regress."

Politicians seem to be heading in a similar direction.

Pictured: National leaders, including US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau strike a deep, contemplative pose at the G20 summit on November 16, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. (Photo by Hebestreit/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)

Politics, as a profession, has always been known to attract at least as many ambitious "empty suits" as it does leaders of substance.

Still, the great writers, orators, and thinkers that occasionally rose to political prominence in the past seem to have left the stage for good.

Winston Churchill not only led the United Kingdom to victory during WWII but also won the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan not only represented New York as a U.S. Senator but also drew on his own sociological expertise while serving in the Labor Department to produce a thorough report on the endemic causes of, and potential remedies for, systemic poverty in America.

President Abraham Lincoln not only was instrumental in preserving the Union but also a dedicated student all his life; he kept the works of William Shakespeare on his White House desk.

In contrast, few deep thinkers rise to high office today.

There are no great statesmen whom the broader public see as towering above the herd of self-centered and cynical political lemmings. Few professional politicians, especially those in the United States, are even capable of speaking extemporaneously before an audience for any stretch of time. Too many rely on the assistance of teleprompters or similar devices to provide an exact script for every publicly spoken utterance, no matter how trivial or informal — suggesting that either they or their staffs cannot trust just what might otherwise escape their lips.

Rather than pursuing political office after having accomplished great things in other fields, the vast majority of today's officeholders choose politics as a vocation for life. The end result is that Western governments are filled to the brim with people entirely lacking in real-world experience or specialized knowledge.

In recent decades, a noticeable trend in the West has been to elevate politicians, as young and inexperienced as possible, into offices as high as possible.

Many of the most famous politicians today no sooner secure a single election victory than their colleagues began pushing them into government roles at the top of the political hierarchy. Former U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and her successor Chris Hipkins all ascended to the zeniths of national power exceptionally early in their careers.

Looking around at the legislators, presidents, and prime ministers today who are leading Western nations on the world stage, you could be forgiven for extrapolating that the quickest path to political power is to accomplish little in the real world, while scrambling up the political pyramid before there is time to make or learn from mistakes. Such a system -- in which those who have proven themselves the least are given responsibilities that would test even those who have proven themselves time and again -- hardly looks ideal.

On the flip side is someone such as U.S. President Joe Biden, the oldest to have ever held the office. Whereas Biden's near half-century in national elected office has surely afforded him the chance to make and remedy many mistakes, he is now so "seasoned" that few weeks go by when some publication does not question either his mental competencyability to keep up with the rigors of such a demanding job, or the wear and tear on the "influence" possibly peddled.

Two stories, embodying the "crapification" of products, recently emerged, concerning the authenticity of a presidential speech. In the first, a fake video created through the use of artificial intelligence showed Biden announcing the implementation of the Selective Service Act and the imminent drafting of young Americans born on a certain date into military service. Amid heightening tensions with Russia and China, many Americans who came across the video mistakenly assumed that the United States had officially gone to war.

In the other video, Biden's quite real but somewhat confusing and meandering storytelling during a speech about health care was mistakenly labeled as "doctored" or "fake" by enough viewers that Twitter actually added a certification label attesting, "This is in fact unedited legitimate footage from a Joe Biden speech which took place on 2/28/23." Clearly, in a world where fake videos have become remarkably easy to construct, everyone's credibility and reputation are now at risk.

Chintzy products and tinpot politicians are nothing new. Whether spending money or casting votes, the same caveat emptor principle applies: Let the buyer beware. Still, it is worth considering whether the political and economic knockoffs flooding Western markets today have something in common.

A Nigerian proverb warns against small singing birds with loud voices, because they almost always have much stronger protectors hidden behind thicker leaves. What today's Western political leaders might lack in lengthy experience or trustworthy rhetoric, they certainly make up with bombastic pronouncement.

Ever since the dawn of COVID, "Build Back Better" has been repeated by "young global leaders" flocking to Klaus Schwab's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. When Schwab and his WEF companions turned COVID tragedy into an opportunity for unleashing a "Great Reset" that would transform global markets, governance and power, nearly every Western political leader agreed. The synchronicity is enough to make you wonder whether it is your nation or the World Economic Forum that actually leads. Perhaps as the Nigerian proverb warns, today's Western political leaders chirp about "Build Back Better" so loudly because Klaus Schwab's financial predators stand directly behind them in the bush.

If so, then the West has become an oligarchy of financial "elites," no matter how many times its political leaders extol the virtues of "democracy."

financial oligarchy over political power is like a manufacturing monopoly over economic power: In both markets, goods are mass-produced with the cheapest possible components. The end result is that things break easily, and systems do not last. If Western politicians seem just as second-rate these days as what customers all too often find in stores, there may be a simple reason why: International financial titans make, sell, and own both... and may be planning to own you, too.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/23/2023 - 05:00
Published:3/23/2023 4:24:17 AM
[Politics] Hillary Clinton's hashtag urging the Taliban to let girls go to school 'should do the trick' Published:3/22/2023 12:39:35 PM
[Markets] Obama-era Treasury official talks banking crisis and debt ceiling — live at noon Obama-era Treasury official talks banking crisis and debt ceiling — live at noon Published:3/22/2023 11:13:44 AM
[] RedSteeze OWNS Joe Walsh for clutching pearls over COVID public health officials truth-BOMB Published:3/20/2023 10:39:52 AM
[Opinion] Why Did This Red-State Rep Just Vote For Colonialism?

by Suzanne Downing at CDN -

  At the end of December, in a holiday news dump, the Biden Administration suddenly announced it would return to the old Obama-era interpretation of “Waters of the United States” — which determines which drops of water can be regulated by the federal government. The ruling, published in the Federal …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Why Did This Red-State Rep Just Vote For Colonialism? first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:3/12/2023 4:32:23 PM
[Markets] The Four Phases Of Hyperinflation, According To The IMF The Four Phases Of Hyperinflation, According To The IMF

Authored by Mark Jeftovic via,

Inflation is much more than a monetary phenomenon; it rips at the very core of social cohesion.

Secular high inflation is one of the worst possible experiences a population can face.

We are now heading for what looks like global high inflation across all currencies, with multiple episodes of hyperinflation. It will be unprecedented.

The Four Phases of Hyperinflation

Hyperinflations are generally defined as periods in which the monthly inflation rate exceeds 50%. In this 2018 paper, the IMF breaks hyperinflationary episodes out into four phases which comprise two stages:

Phase One: is “the rise”. The IMF also calls this “the extraordinary acceleration phase” which is the lead-up to the hyperinflation. IMF actually terms it “the path toward hyperinflation”, but given that they define that as an annual inflation rate of greater than 50% but under 500%, an uncredentialed, non-economist observer might describe that as already being hyperinflation.

“The average duration of the first phase is 8-9 years with an annual average inflation of 125 percent”

Phase Two: is the actual hyperinflation proper.

Wheelbarrows of money, burning banknotes in the oven (or more tragically, sticking your head in there).

In one well storied example from Weimar Germany, an emigre fighting to retrieve his savings from a German bank was finally paid out – via a cheque mailed to him in America. The stamp on the envelope cost more than the value on the cheque made out to him.

Over the eighteen 20th century hyperinflations covered in the IMF paper, the average inflation rate here, according to the IMF study was 2,912% and the median duration was four years – this “explosive” phase is usually over in about two years.

Venezuela, isn’t in the graph because their hyperinflation took place in the 2000’s. It is noted therein, that the inflation rate there hit 488,865%.

As we’ve covered in the premium letter, Venezuela has undergone three currency devaluations over the 14 years, knocking about half a dozen zeros off their banknotes each time (via the July 2021 issue of TCC):

Venezuela is launching their Digital Bolivar CBDC in tandem with a currency redenomination that took effect Oct 1st. They knocked six zeros off of their banknotes in an effort to get in front of the hyperinflation which has ravaged the economy for years. This is the third currency redenomination for Venezuela in 13 years. In 2018 they knocked five zeros off the currency and in 2008 they took away three zeroes. Maybe this is another indicator of hyperinflation? When the time between redenominations shrinks while the number of zeroes removed increases….

(The prior two devaluations also coincided with the launching of a Central Bank Digital Currency).

Phases Three and Four are the second stage of a hyper inflationary event: “disinflation” – where the annual inflation rate plummets to somewhere between 50% and 500% and lasts another six years on average – and finally the “stabilization” phase, where inflation remains under 50% per year for at least three years.

The case for a “Phase Zero” of Hyperinflation:

I would argue that there is a Phase Zero: where the future inflationary path becomes baked in by unsustainable debt. While policy makers are still able to talk with a straight face as if there is an alternative, the path to inflation is assured. 

We’ve been in Phase Zero for over 50 years, since the Nixon shock of 1971. We are at the edges of the Phase Zero to One transition now.

Phase zero could probably be defined as the moment a currency becomes fiat. We notice from Lyn Alden’s chart, of US debt-to-GDP above, that after the World War II spending binge, the ratio actually declined. Over the Leave-It-To-Beaver and Hippies era, it came down to below the level it was before the war. Then came the Nixon Shock in the early 70’s, when the last vestiges of gold convertibility were suspended (“temporarily”).

Since then, the global monetary system has been irrevocably committed to an inflationary path.  In this James Lavish Twitter thread, various participants look at how the interest due on America’s debt has entered the territory where it is cannibalizing the budget expenditures.

Seen in this light, it’s no surprise that central banks around the world are already backing off the interest rate hikes (Canada has already said they’re on hold, and the only thing the US is meaningfully tapering is the size of the rate hikes).

[ Insert: In previous editions of the letter it was always reiterated that the Fed will continue hiking “until something breaks” in the credit markets / banking system. Given the startling and rapid collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank over the past couple days, we may be getting there ]

If the Fed slows down hikes, they have to normalize higher inflation.

The folks over at Zerohedge once predicted that when it becomes clear that the Fed can’t control money supply, they would start dropping “leaks” that the hallowed “target inflation rate” would be raised. 

Right now that’s 2%, pretty well across all civilized nations. That’s the golden rate at which governments can embezzle wealth from the economy and the peasants will let them get away with it.

But to get inflation down to that level, according to this Obama-era advisor, that would mean in excess of 6% unemployment for two years. The Fed wants “demand destruction” (which means people lose their jobs or their business) – but not too much demand destruction. 

Apparently 6% for 2 years is too much, so the level of embezzlement will have to be raised. It’s not like we’re talking hyper-inflationary numbers, yet – right? 

But raising a target inflation rate from 2% to 3% is a 50% hike in the rate of theft. 

Fear not, the corporate press is always there with a solution. In this case it’s the Wall Street Journal suggesting you could skip breakfast

“Several breakfast staples saw sharp price increases due to a perfect storm of bad weather and disease outbreaks—and continued effects from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

This reminds me of the infamous Bloomberg piece on how to make ends meet on a measly $300,000 / year… advice included that you get rid of your car, switch from eating meat to lentils… and euthanizing your dog.

This all jives with our core premise that the ESG movement is so widely endorsed by “woke” capitalists because it provides cover for the reality that we are in an unsustainable debt bubble and monetary expansion – and that the rabble has to ratchet down their living standards to cope. 

We can look at weaker economies to see what the future looks like: Lebanon just did a currency devaluation – reducing the official exchange rate by 90%, overnight. This came after a spat of bank robberies, where citizens were sticking up banks to get their own money out.

Now they’re burning them down.

On January 31st, Lebanese citizens went to bed thinking the official exchange rate on the Lebanese pound was around 1500 to 1 USD, (whether or not they could actually get at their money, that was the rate). 

When they awoke the next morning, the official exchange rate had been set to 15,000 Lebanese pounds to 1 USD. The black market rate was even worse, coming in around 64,000. 

In Bitcoin terms, the collapse was even more pronounced:

The fiat system is collapsing, weaker currencies first – but anything not backed by something tangible is headed for the dumpster of history. 

In prior high inflation or hyperinflationary events, people could always seek refuge in other currencies or adopt some kind of “notgeld” (emergency money). But in this chapter, it’s every currency, across all political affiliations, and jeopardizing every incumbent power structure.

(Which is why it seems like the world is sleepwalking into another world war, if we’re not already in the early innings of one.)

It may seem like being on alert for hyperinflation here in the West is bonkers, but we’re already seeing massive fissures in the financial system opening up from normalizing interest rates to %4.57, well below even the official rate of inflation – and that hallowed “Fed Taper” still hasn’t even gotten going yet…

It probably never will.

Banking crises are here (we’ve had two in under a week, if you count the Elizabeth Warren-led rat-fucking of Silvergate), and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers went on Bloomberg to say this “won’t be a source of systemic risk”. It remains to be seen if that utterance gets filed next to “sub-prime is contained”. 

If we squeak through this crisis, we buy some time but only forestall the inevitable destruction the global financial system, which explains the incessant drive toward CBDCs, but that could all be too late, given the rate of collapse.

This morning I woke up to see USDC had de-pegged to as low as 0.82, and while it looks like it will probably re-peg in due course (I sent a note about that to my premium list earlier today), it reinforces my core tenet that volatility aside, the only thing I really trust to be around for the foreseeable future, (and that I can move in an instant during a financial collapse) …is Bitcoin.

*  *  *

Jump on the Bombthrower mailing list to get these posts as they come out. Today’s article was largely an excerpt from The Bitcoin Capitalist month end letter. Sign up today for our trial offer. Follow me on NostrTwitter, or Gettr.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/12/2023 - 13:00
Published:3/12/2023 12:28:26 PM
[Markets] Stop Making Trouble! Stop Making Trouble!

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

If you think about it at all, can you come up with any good reasons why our country has involved itself in the Ukraine war?

To defend democracy, many say?

An emptier platitude does not exist in the vast slippery lexicon of spin.

To thwart Russia’s imperial overreach?

You apparently have no clue about Ukraine’s history, ancient or modern.

To incite an overthrow of the wicked Putin by his own people?

The Russian president is more popular there now than even John F. Kennedy was here in 1962.

Oh, I know, I’m just parroting Russian propaganda by saying that. Isn’t that what they always say when you confront them with an uncomfortable truth about the war in Ukraine?

Meanwhile, Western “intelligence” sources and their mainstream media mouthpieces have been saying for about a year now that Russia was running out of ammunition. Well, they still have plenty of it, as the Ukrainians can painfully attest.

It’s actually the Ukrainians who are running out of ammo, which is why the U.S. and its NATO allies are looking under the couch cushions for any spare ammo they can find to send them.

Two Reasons, Both Bad

There actually are no good reasons for what we are doing in Ukraine, only bad reasons.

Mainly, stoking the war there diverts Americans’ attention from our own problems, which is to say the titanic failures of America’s political establishment.

The USA is falling apart from a combination of mismanagement, malice and negligence.

Our economy is a tottering scaffold of Ponzi schemes. Our institutions are wrecked. The government lies about everything it does. The news industry ratifies all the lying. Our schoolchildren can’t read or add up a column of numbers. Our food is slow-acting poison. Our medical-pharma matrix has just completed the systematic murder and maiming of millions. Our culture has been reduced to a drag queen twerk-fest. Our once-beautiful New World landscape is a demolition derby.

Name something that hasn’t been debauched, perverted, degenerated or flat-out destroyed.

And so the “Joe Biden” show is busy ginning up nuclear war hysteria because that’s all it has left for manipulating public emotion. The COVID-19 derangement lost its mojo in 2022 and the population has only just begun to grok the all-causes death disaster underway courtesy of Pfizer and Moderna (and the CDC with the FDA).

Do It for the Children

Did you notice, by the way, that the CDC just added those unapproved, still-experimental shots to the childhood vaccine schedule, considered official “guidance” that is followed by virtually every school system in America. Rochelle Walensky did that despite massive evidence that the “vaccines” damage children’s hearts, nervous systems, reproductive systems and immune systems.

Do you know why Ms. Walensky did that? Because adding the mRNA shots to the childhood schedule supposedly confers permanent immunity from legal liability for the drug companies, even after the current emergency use authorization (EUA) runs out.

The catch to that cozy arrangement is if there is any fraud committed on the public in the release and administration of those products, the companies lose their immunity and can be sued until there is nothing left of them but the paper clips. Plus, the executives may be liable for criminal prosecution. Hard time.

One Brook Jackson, a technician involved in the sketchy Pfizer drug trials, and who directly witnessed the procedural violations as they occurred, is currently suing Pfizer under the False Claims Act (31 U.S. Code § 3729) saying that the company defrauded the government.

Pfizer’s lawyers have asked the judge to dismiss the case on the grounds, they said in court, that “We did not defraud the government. We delivered the fraud that the government ordered.”  So now millions of schoolchildren in this land will be subject to compulsory harmful mRNA shots in order to cover the Pharma companies’ multibillion-dollar rear ends. Doesn’t that sum up our national predicament nicely? Way to go, Rochelle. Don’t think nobody noticed.

Something to Ponder

It’s also worth pondering whether we are neck-deep in the Ukraine morass because Volodymyr Zelensky is blackmailing “Joe Biden” over the mysterious Biden family business operations that took place there directly following the U.S.-orchestrated Maidan revolution that overthrew Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Remember “The Big Guy’s” earnest efforts to get rid of the Ukrainian state prosecutor who was looking into the affairs of the Burisma gas company that invited Hunter Biden and his associate Devon Archer onto the board of directors?

Of all people in Western Civ… these two Americans… with no knowledge of or experience in the natgas industry. Weird, a little bit. Do you suppose Mr. Zelenskyy still has the prosecutor’s files in his possession?

I’m just throwing that out there. I have no idea, but it’s good to think outside the proverbial box. The mainstream media certainly don’t.

Complete Media Silence

Then, of course, there is the bizarre matter of the Nord Stream pipelines caper, lately disclosed by the scrupulous reporter Seymour Hersh as a U.S. naval operation. We blew them up. Four EU member nations (also U.S. NATO allies) held a combined half-ownership in the pipelines (the other half held by Russia).

European industry and households depended on a steady supply of that reasonably priced gas to continue modern life there. Both President “Joe Biden” and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland promised the news media (and the American public) that the pipeline would “be no more” if a Russian military operation crossed into the Donbas.

Well, sonofagun, the pipelines were “no more” as of last September. Of course, the mainstream media have completely ignored this story. If that doesn’t tell you about the state of modern journalism, I don’t know what will.

Was that an injury to Russia? Well, yes, though Russia has found workarounds for selling its natgas elsewhere than northern Europe. Do you realize, though, that it was every bit as much an act of war against our supposed allies?

None of the NATO countries with a stake in the North Streams have made a peep so far about the shocking disclosure. Which may lead a casual observer to ask whether Western Civ has gone plumb insane. Maybe so, in which case perhaps it deserves to suffer.

After a while — not such a long while, either — modern life will be but a memory in northern Europe.

No More NATO?

Somehow the specter of unintended consequences looms over all this mischief. My guess is we just haven’t seen them yet… and when we do, they will be ferocious. For starters, NATO will be another thing that is no more.

And our country will have to go about our blustering war-hawkery without any back-up or convenient staging areas for fomenting more shenanigans in a faraway region where we have no real national interest, just a certain zeal for creating unnecessary trouble and hardship in a world that already has more than it requires.

Remember what his old boss, Barack Obama, said about the former veep: “You can never overstate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.” What a prophet that man is!

Under “Joe Biden,” the USA has been slip-sliding sideways and backwards into a realm of darkness unimaginable a few years ago. And he’s had plenty of help from establishment Republicans, so this isn’t an entirely partisan affair.

But now, something is heaving through the public sensibility, as spring marches north in America. It feels like a sharp change in attitude, a refusal to continue acting like a reality-optional society. It’s crackling through the air like a rumor of liberation in a hostage crisis.

Can you hear it?

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/12/2023 - 11:00
Published:3/12/2023 10:26:32 AM
[World] Biden is enacting a new 'Operation Choke Point' against crypto In the spring of 2013, the Obama Justice Department launched an initiative known as "Operation Choke Point," which pressured banks to close accounts with oil companies, payment processors, and gun manufacturers - businesses the Obama Administration saw as undesirable. Republicans and Democrats alike look back on this operation as a shameful example of what happens when regulators restrict banking due to the political whims of the White House. Published:3/10/2023 6:29:25 AM
[Politics] Gov DeSantis new book has already outsold books by Trump, Obama and Hillary in their first week Governor DeSantis apparently has a blockbuster on his hands. According to a report by Business Insider, his book sales in the first week have already eclipsed book sales by Trump, Obama and . . . Published:3/9/2023 7:38:12 PM
[] Biden Is as Giddy About Proposing $2 Trillion in New Taxes as He Is for Each Coming Tapioca Night A transformative vegetable. He's angry about Obama disrespecting and insulting him -- for the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of Obama -- and is getting his stupid vengeance by out-woking and out-leftwinging even Obama. He's an extremely... Published:3/9/2023 4:04:08 PM
[] Biden's Radical Pick for FCC Withdraws Her Name From Consideration Published:3/8/2023 10:13:44 AM
[World] Former Obama White House official dies from turbulence on private plane A White House official from Barack Obama's presidency died on Friday from serious turbulence while flying back to Maryland in a private plane, authorities confirmed Monday. Published:3/7/2023 4:38:41 PM
[Markets] Hedges: Lynching The Deplorables Hedges: Lynching The Deplorables

Authored by Chris Hedges via The Chris Hedges Report,

There is little that unites me with those who occupied the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Their vision for America, Christian nationalism, white supremacy, blind support for Trump and embrace of reactionary fact-free conspiracy theories leaves a very wide chasm between their beliefs and mine. But that does not mean I support the judicial lynching against many of those who participated in the Jan. 6 events, a lynching that is mandating years in pretrial detention and prison for misdemeanors. Once rights become privileges, none of us are safe. 

Image: Executing the Law - by Mr. Fish

The U.S. legal system has a very sordid history. It was used to enforce segregation and legitimize the reign of terror against Black people. It was the hammer that broke the back of militant union movements. It persecuted radicals and reformers in the name of anti-communism. After 9/11, it relentlessly went after Muslim leaders and activists with Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). SAMs, established by the Clinton administration, originally only applied to people who ordered murders from prison or were convicted of mass murder, but are now used to isolate all manner of detainees before and during trial. They severely restrict a prisoner’s communication with the outside world; prohibiting calls, letters and visits with anyone except attorneys and sharply limit contact with family members. The solitary confinement like conditions associated with SAMs undermine any meaningful right to a fair trial according to analysis by groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights and can amount to torture according to the United Nations. Julian Assange faces SAMs or similar conditions should he be extradited to the U.S. The Classified Information Procedures Act, or CIPA, begun under the Reagan administration, also allows evidence in a trial to be classified and withheld from defendants. The courts, throughout American history, have abjectly served the interests of big business and the billionaire class. The current Supreme Court is one of the most retrograde in decades, rolling back legal protections for vulnerable groups and denying workers protection from predatory corporate abuse.

At least 1,003 people have been arrested and charged so far for participation in events on Jan. 6, with 476 pleading guilty, in what has been the largest single criminal investigation in U.S. history, according to analysis by Business Insider. The charges and sentences vary, with many receiving misdemeanor sentences such as fines, probation, a few months in prison or a combination of the three. Of the 394 federal defendants who have had their cases adjudicated and sentenced as of Feb. 6, approximately 220 “have been sentenced to periods of incarceration” with a further 100 defendants “sentenced to a period of home detention, including approximately 15 who also were sentenced to a period of incarceration,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. There are six convictions and four guilty pleas on charges of “seditious conspiracy.” This offense is so widely defined that it includes conspiring to levy war against the government on the one hand and delaying the execution of any law on the other. Those charged and convicted of “seditious conspiracy” were accused of collaborating to oppose “the lawful transfer of presidential power by force” by preventing or delaying the Certification of the Electoral College vote. While a few of the organizers of the Jan. 6 protest such as Stewart Rhodes, who founded Oath Keepers, may conceivably be guilty of sedition, and even this is in doubt, the vast majority of those caught up in the incursion of the Capitol did not commit serious crimes, engage in violence or know what they would do in Washington other than protest the election results. 

Joseph D. McBride went to law school because his brother was serving a 15-year sentence for a crime he did not commit. He provided free legal advice as a law school student to those encamped in Zuccotti Park in New York City during the Occupy movement. Following law school, he worked as a public defender and in the Legal Aid Society. He represents several of those charged in the Jan. 6 incursion, including Richard Barnett. Barnett was photographed in Nancy Pelosi’s office with his leg propped up on her desk. Barnett was convicted by a federal jury, which deliberated for two hours, on eight counts, including disorderly conduct in the Capitol building. He faces up to 47 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3.

The post 9/11 model is being applied to American citizens,” McBride told me when I reached him by phone. “That model is the 19 hijackers. Everyone who is a religious Muslim is a suspect for the next 20 years. They should be waterboarded. They should be put in fucking jail and left in Guantanamo Bay. Lock them up. Throw away the key. Because they are psychopath extremists who believe in Allah and we don’t have time for that. They’re a threat based on who they are, what they look like, what they believe in. When the truth is, the vast majority of these guys don’t do drugs, don’t drink alcohol, they have five kids and they live pretty good lives. But because of the label of ‘terrorism’ and ‘Osama Bin Laden’ and ‘al-Qaeda’, everybody who is a Muslim is now a target. If we get on a plane next to one of these people, we get nervous about it because that’s how much it’s ingrained in us. The same thing is happening, except it’s being applied to a new group of people, primarily white Christians, Trump supporters, for now.” 

“Power is going to change hands,” he warned. “The Democrats are not going to be in power forever. When power changes hands, that precedent is going to travel with it. If somebody else from the other side gets in and starts to target the people who are in power now, their families, their businesses, their lives, their freedom, then it’s over. America goes from being a free democracy to a tribalist partisan state. Maybe there’s not ethnic-cleansing in the streets, but people are cleansing each other from the workplace, from social media, from the banking system and they’re putting people in jail. That’s where we’re headed. I don’t know why people can't see what’s on the horizon.”

The Jan. 6 protestors were not the first to occupy Congressional offices, including Nancy Pelosi’s office. Young environmental activists from the Sunrise Movement, anti-war activists from Code Pink and even congressional staffers have engaged in numerous occupations of congressional offices and interrupted congressional hearings. What will happen to groups such as Code Pink if they occupy congressional offices with Republicans in control of the White House, the Congress and the courts? Will they be held for years in pretrial detention? Will they be given lengthy prison terms based on dubious interpretations of the law? Will they be considered domestic terrorists? Will protests and civil disobedience become impossible?

McBride said those who walked to the Capitol were not aware that the Department of Justice had created arbitrary markers, what McBride called an “imaginary red line that they draw around the Capitol grounds.” Anyone who crossed that invisible line was charged with violating Capitol grounds.

He railed against the negative portrayal of the protestors in the media, the White House and Democratic Party leadership, as well as a tainted jury pool in Washington composed of people who have close links to the federal government. He said Change of Venue motions filed by the defense lawyers have been denied.

The D.C. jury pool is poisoned beyond repair,” McBride said. “When you just look at what the January 6  Committee did alone, never mind President Biden’s speeches about ‘insurrectionists,’ ‘MAGA Republican extremists’ and all this stuff, and if you just consider the fact that D.C. is very small, that people who work in the Federal Government are all by definition, kind of victims of January 6 and what happened that day, their institutions and colleagues were ‘under attack.’ How can anybody from that town serve on a jury pool? They can’t. The bias is astounding.”

Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon shaman” who was adorned on Jan. 6 in red, white and blue face paint, carried an American flag on a spear-tipped pole and wore a coyote-fur and horned headdress, pleaded guilty to obstruction. He was sentenced to more than three years in prison. Chansley, who says he is a practitioner of ahimsa, an ancient Indian principle of non-violence toward all living beings, was not accused of assaulting anyone. He was diagnosed in prison with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. 

Guy Wesley Reffitt, who did not enter the Capitol building, nevertheless was sentenced after three hours of deliberations to seven years and three months in prison on five charges, including “two counts of civil disorder, and one count each of obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a firearm, and obstruction of justice.” His obstruction of justice charge came from “threatening” his two teenage children to prevent them from reporting him to law enforcement.

Daniel Ray Caldwell, a Marine Corps veteran, who sprayed a chemical irritant at a group of police officers outside the Capitol and entered through the Senate Wing doors where he remained inside for approximately two minutes, was sentenced to more than five years in prison. He spent, like many who have been charged, nearly two years in pretrial detention.

Even the charges against Rhodes, who faces 20 years in prison, and other militia leaders of groups such as the Proud Boys are problematic. The New York Times reported that, “despite the vast amount of evidence the government collected in the case — including more than 500,000 encrypted text messages — investigators never found a smoking gun that conclusively showed the Proud Boys plotted to help President Donald J. Trump remain in office.” The government has relied on the testimony of a former Proud Boy, Jeremy Bertino, who is cooperating with prosecutors to build an “inferential case” against Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola, the five defendants in the current Proud Boy case. Bertino, on cross-examination, admitted that in previous interviews with the government, he repeatedly told investigators that the Proud Boys did not have an explicit plan to halt the election certification and that he did not anticipate acts of violence on Jan. 6. The FBI had as many as eight informants in the Proud Boys that included its leader, Enrique Tarrio, during the storming of the Capitol, raising the very real possibility of entrapment.

They’re changing the laws,” McBride said. “Look at the 1512 charge, the obstruction charge. That was used for document shredding in Enron. It has no applicability to Jan. 6 whatsoever. They took it. They repurposed it. They weaponised it against these people and made it impossible for them to defend themselves. When you look at the civil disorder charge, they are saying that if January 6 was one big civil disorder, and if you had any type of interaction with a police officer that day that may or may not have caused the police officer to step away from his duties for a moment, you can go down with civil disorder and get five years in jail.”

Ryan Nichols, a Marine Corps veteran, is living under house arrest in Texas after nearly two years in pretrial detention, much of it in solitary confinement, in Washington, D.C and Virginia jails. He faces five felony and three misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors say Nichols assaulted officers and obstructed an official proceeding. He has been ordered to “stay away from Washington, D.C.” except for business related to his case, according to court documents. He has had to submit to “location monitoring technology” and is denied access to the internet and his phone except to perform functions related to his case. He cannot have contact with anyone involved in the Jan. 6 events, including co-defendants. Nichols must remain in his home 24 hours a day except for medical and court appointments. He is permitted to attend Sunday church services at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas. He is facing 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to go to trial on March 27.

I spoke with Bonnie Nichols, Ryan’s wife, by phone from their home in Longview, Texas. 

Ryan was arrested on Jan. 18, 2020. The FBI surrounded their house at 5:30 am in armored vehicles. They unscrewed the bulbs from flood lights and cut the wires to the couple’s security cameras before kicking in the front door. The couple and their two children, then aged 4 and 6, were at Bonnie’s parents house during the raid. The FBI confiscated their weapons, electronics and documents, including Social Security cards. 

“We wanted to cooperate,” she said. “We didn’t know anything was wrong. They asked Ryan to come in for questioning. Ryan went and turned himself in. They arrested him and I didn’t see him again for over a year and a half.”

Ryan, who had no criminal record, ran a nonprofit called Rescue the Universe where he carried out search-and-rescue operations after natural disasters. He was denied bail. He was sent to a holding facility in Grady County Oklahoma for two months before being flown to Washington, D.C. where he was met by some two dozen U.S. Marshals. His feet were shackled. His arms were shackled to a chain around his waist. He was placed in long term solitary confinement and denied video calls or visitation from his family, including his children. He was denied access to his trial documents for nearly a year and prohibited from attending religious services in the jail.

Ryan, whose most serious offense appears to be incendiary rhetoric calling for a “second American revolution,” spent nearly 22 months in solitary confinement. Depressed, struggling to cope with the physical and psychological strain of prolonged isolation, he was eventually placed on suicide watch. He was strapped to a bench in a room where a light was never turned off. Guards would periodically shout through a window “Do you feel like killing yourself?” Those on suicide watch who said  “yes” remained strapped to the bench. Those who said “no” were sent back to their cells. Ryan was often prohibited from having nail clippers — the guards told him he could chew his toenails down — or getting a haircut unless he agreed to be vaccinated for COVID-19. When Ryan appeared before Judge Thomas Hogan, who finally released him on Nov. 23, 2022, he told Ryan, with his long unkempt hair and fingernails, that he looked like Tom Hanks in the film Cast Away.

Every night, for the two years Ryan was held in solitary confinement, Bonnie and her two small boys would say prayers that Ryan would one day come home. She said she and her family have received numerous death threats.

“Ryan deals with insomnia,” Bonnie said of her husband. “He deals with extreme anxiety, depression and paranoia. He will not even go outside of his backyard because he’s scared that if he goes outside, that they’re going to take him back to jail. He has liver issues from the food that he ate because they fed him baloney sandwiches and trash while he was in D.C. He’s having a lot of medical issues. He also has lower testosterone than a 60-year-old man because he wasn’t able to have any sunlight. His vitamin D levels are low. The list goes on and on. This man does not sleep at night. He has nightmares. He whimpers at night in his sleep because he has dreams that he's back in D.C. I mean, he’s a mess. This is the result of what has happened to him. He has vision loss. He doesn’t see as good as he used to.”

Ryan’s family, like many families of those charged, are struggling financially. Bonnie said their savings are gone. She and Ryan are heavily in debt. She has set up a fundraising page here.

“We are God-loving patriots,” she said. “Who’s going to be next? It’s not about Republican or Democrat or white or Black, Christian, or Muslim. We are all children of God. We are all U.S. American citizens. We are all entitled to our constitutional rights and freedom of speech. We can all come together and agree on that, right?”

The cheerleading, or at best indifference, by Democratic Party supporters and much of the left to these show trials will come back to haunt them. We are exacerbating the growing tribalism and political antagonisms that will increasingly express themselves through violence. We are complicit, once again, of using the courts to carry out vendettas. We are corroding democratic institutions. We are hardening the ideology and rage of the far-right. We are turning those being hounded to prison into political prisoners and martyrs. We are moving ever closer towards tyranny.

The Chris Hedges Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/06/2023 - 22:20
Published:3/6/2023 9:31:10 PM
[Markets] NewsGuard Misinfo Watchdog: Contracts With DOD, WHO, Pfizer, Microsoft, & AFT NewsGuard Misinfo Watchdog: Contracts With DOD, WHO, Pfizer, Microsoft, & AFT

Authored by Wendi Strauch Mahoney via,

NewsGuard is a self-appointed misinformation watchdog. It seems to be just one more way Americans are not allowed to think for themselves...

Co-CEOs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz claim it is the librarian for the internet.” Set up specifically to rate online journalistic integrity, Brill states NewsGuard provides services that explain to people something about the reliability and trustworthiness and background of those who are feeding them the news.” Eric Effron is the organization’s Editorial Director.

Brill is a Yale graduate and lawyer who has authored multiple best-selling books and was, among other things, CEO of Verified Identity Pass, Inc., the first U.S. biometric Voluntary Credentialing Program that went bankrupt in 2009. It was the parent company of CLEAR which went back online in 2010 and then went public in 2021.

According to MintPressNews, “Crovitz held a number of positions at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, eventually becoming executive vice president of the former and the publisher of the latter before both were sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2007. He is also a board member of Business Insider, which has received over $30 million from Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos in recent years.”

Crovitz’s alliances might account for the organization’s favorable 100 ratings for WSJ and the Washington Post. He is also a contributor “to books published by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation,” which are also favorably rated by NewsGuard.

Crovitz and Brill/NewsGuard

Notable NewsGuard Partnerships

NewsGuard has partnered with MicrosoftPfizer, the Department of Defense with a 2021 $749,387 one-year contract, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the WHO using NewsGuard’s trademark “new Misinformation Fingerprints” analyst and AI cataloging tool. NewsGuard’s other products include NewsGuardHealthGuard, and BrandGuard—which help marketers concerned about their brand safety.

NewsGuard mentions its partnership with the WHO in August 2020 and discusses its Misinformation Fingerprints cataloging tool. The tool is essentially a database with a “unique identifier for each hoax that, when combined with the platforms’ machine learning tools, will allow platforms to identify each hoax across the entirety of their platforms.” NewsGuard describes Misinformation Fingerprints as an “extraction and cataloging” tool. It  provides “data seeds for existing AI/Social Listening tools to trace false claims across the internet and social media or can be used by human analysts to understand mis- and disinformation risks.”

NewsGuard was also a signatory in 2021 to the Code of Practice on Disinformation for the European Commission. Commissioner statements from the May 2021 announcement are below:

European Commission Statements/

Microsoft was the first signatory to “provide NewsGuard ratings and labels to its users as a “middleware solution” for empowering consumers.” Microsoft licensed NewsGuard ratings and labels. They are “free of charge” to users of the Edge browser.

NewsGuard Wins Contest Run by Pentagon and DoD in 2020

NewsGuard won a 2020 contest run by the “Pentagon and Department of State to offer solutions to hoaxes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The contest focused specifically on the “pre-bunking” of internet hoaxes. NewsGuard was also “a winner of the Countering Disinformation Challenge, a contest offered jointly by the State Department and the Department of Defense (DoD) as a part of the DoD’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN).” NSIN is a “government program office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OSD (R&E)) that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation.”

NewsGuard equips “defense and military personnel” with the tools to fight disinformation from foreign and domestic adversaries “in real-time.”


Per the NewsGuard press release:

“As a winner, NewsGuard will receive $25,000 to conduct a pilot and will work with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to scope and develop a test in support of the DoD’s Cyber National Mission Force. Two other companies, PeakMetrics, which offers a dashboard for tracking mentions of a topic across multiple media channels, and Omelas, which offers a product for visually mapping online information, were also named winners of the contest.”

Notably, the tech company Omelas focuses on the “actions of overt state and nonstate actors” who exert “malicious influence on the web.” Omelas regularly contributes with speeches and written submissions to influential global organizations and domestic institutions like UChicago’s Data and Democracy initiative and the UChicago Center for Effective Government, attended by the likes of Tiana Epps-Johnson with CTCL.

Teachers’ Union Signs Contract with NewsGuard in 2022

The American Federation of Teachers, with its 1.7 million members, announced its “pathbreaking” partnership with NewsGuard in January 2022 with the rollout of the “free, real-time traffic light news ratings,” a “crucial news literacy tool” for students nationwide. The announcement coincided with National News Literacy Week. They released this video on the dangers of misinformation at the time of the announcement:

Touted as a “game-changer for teachers and families drowning in an ocean of online dishonesty,” a “licensed copy of NewsGuard’s browser extension” would help students “separate fact from fiction, as we help them develop their critical-thinking and analytical skills.” AFT President Randi Weingarten gave NewsGuard glowing reviews:

“NewsGuard is a great tool in this regard. It is a beacon of clarity to expose the dark depths of the internet and uplift those outlets committed to truth and honesty rather than falsehoods and fabrications. This historic deal will not only help us steer clear of increasingly fetid waters—it will provide a valuable lesson in media literacy and a discussion point for teachers in class on what can and can’t be trusted.”

NewsGuard’s 2022 Social Impact Report

NewsGuard issued its first “social impact report” in 2022. The report championed NewsGuard’s provision of tools that would promote “online safety for readers, brands, and democracies.” Its CEOs proudly state a mission to fight false claims of “Nazis running Ukraine’s government and Americans running bioweapons labs in Ukraine,” COVID-19 misinformation, and misinformation surrounding the mid-term elections.

According to the report, “more than 938,200 people were exposed to COVID-19 vaccine myths between Oct. 2021-Feb. 2022 on social media.” The report also reveals NewsGuard’s exposure of “pink slime sites pushing Democratic propaganda in battleground states ahead of the midterm elections.”

NewsGuard 2022

What are NewsGuard’s Stated Standards and Procedures?

The NewsGuard Dashboard “helps clients access NewsGuard’s database of News Reliability Ratings and Misinformation Fingerprints through a powerful, searchable web interface purpose-built for use by businesses seeking to identify and mitigate risks from misinformation and disinformation. Users can browse NewsGuard’s ratings, get alerts about changes in the news and information environment, and stay on top of emerging false narratives and trends.”

The site issues “stoplight red/green journalistic ratings” for news sources. Influence watch describes NewsGuard as a “web browser extension that rates the trustworthiness of online news sites based on nine criteria, providing a trust score between 0 and 100.” Nine basic “apolitical criteria” for journalistic practice are outlined on the NewsGuard website. The criteria are listed in order of importance and weighted accordingly. Satire sites, platforms, and news aggregators “are given separate designations and are not scored using the nine criteria.” The nine criteria and standards for credibility are as follows:

  • Does not repeatedly publish false content (22 Points)

  • Gathers and presents information responsibly (18 Points)

  • Regularly corrects or clarifies errors (12.5 Points)

  • Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly (12.5 Points)

  • Avoids deceptive headlines (10 Points)

  • Website discloses ownership and financing (7.5 Points)

  • Clearly labels advertising (7.5 Points)

  • Reveals who’s in charge, including possible conflicts of interest (5 Points)

  • The site provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information (5 Points)

NewsGuard Ratings/0-100

According to the website, NewsGuard substantiates the basis for its ratings with “evidence and examples to back up its assessments, includ[ing] any relevant comments from the publisher, and indicat[ing] the history of the sites’ ratings.” NewsGuard employs “a team of journalists and experienced editors” who make an effort to contact publishers who might “fail” specific criteria before a rating or an updated rating is published, “ensuring a publisher[‘s] ability to reply.” NewsGuard has recently dropped its stoplight rating system and now uses its “nutrition label” exclusively.

Are Conservatives Being Targeted by NewsGuard?

According to a series of email exchanges made public by the Conservative organization PragerU, Newsguard targets conservative organizations unfairly. NewsMax, Dave Rubin, and Harmeet Dhillon also allege having been targeted by NewsGuard. Rubin says the service sums up “so much of what is wrong right now in American culture relative to big tech and government.”

NewsGuard claimed PragerU was spreading “misleading content” on its website. Sites with scores below 60 are labeled “unreliable.”

PragerU/NewsGuard Ratings

PragerU and NewsGuard Exchange Emails

The emails from 2021 between PragerU’s Chief of Staff Adrienne Johnson and the NewsGuard Co-CEOs seem to indicate PragerU was reputationally and financially damaged by a NewsGuard red rating of 57.

Notably, officials from PragerU clarified in its emails that it is not a news website, but a “nonprofit focused on producing and marketing well-researched, issue-driven educational content” featuring healthy debate from experts. As such, PragerU discloses its donations with the required IRS 990 form and does not disclose that information on its website as “required by NewsGuard.” NewsGuard disregarded the disclosure because of its standards, not because the information was unavailable.

NewsGuard penalized PragerU for never having “corrected one-sided claims related to COVID or hydroxy,” all of which were objectively and verifiably true. Specifically, NewsGuard challenged PragerU’s sharing of videos featuring America’s Frontline Doctors “that promoted false claims about the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine” as a “proven cure for COVID-19.” Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin have been well-known as effective early treatments for COVID-19 since early in the pandemic but were suppressed by the government and its overly helpful legacy media partners. NewsGuard challenged PragerU’s removal of the videos because PragerU failed to publish a correction once the videos were removed.

Sadly, PragerU had removed the videos not because they were incorrect but “due to overall social media censorship on the topic.” One of the emails shows CEO Marissa Streit writing that PragerU “created an ROI analysis on our end, and we removed it rather than face the penalties of censorship.”

NewsGuards also reprimanded PragerU influencer Will Witt who stated in a video that “children aren’t actually dying from the virus.” Witt allegedly cited without attribution a “study with the statistics of children ages 0-18 who had died from COVID-19, “none of whom died.”  Witt’s statement was not far from the mark because CDC data shows that almost no healthy children have died from COVID-19.

It appears that NewsGuard may have held Witt accountable for inexact wording, not for the spirit of the claim. It is not clear from the emails whether NewsGuard upheld its promise to “ensure” Witt or PragerU had a chance to be more exact in its language or supply “feedback” for the “failed” information on its website.

At one point in the exchange, Streit asks for confirmation from NewsGuard to certify that the “removal of certain content” will “remove any negative marks on our ratings and provide us with “Green” status—a stamp of approval that should be unnecessary in America as a prerequisite to the exchange of ideas.

Streit ultimately revealed that NewsGuard held PragerU to account for “less than 0.001% of its overall content.” Even though Streit made specific good-faith efforts to reply directly to the ratings and even removed truthful content to avoid censorship, NewsGuard doubled down and persisted with its bias. Streit wrote:

PragerU Email/NewsGuard/Streit

Directors, Advisors, and Investors

NewsGuard’s directorsadvisors, and investors are an interesting cast of characters. One of the investors, Publicis Groupe, is “the third largest communications group in the world.” Publicic allegedly has “shadowy ties to Saudi Arabia.” Pfizer and Bayer/Monsanto are two of its top clients. Ironically, many of the advisors/directors are former U.S. government officials, entertainment moguls, and journalists “associated with agencies known for producing false news.”

Among the advisors is Michael Hayden, former Director of the NSA and CIA, who was “the architect of George W. Bush’s secret domestic spying program.” Tom Ridge was the first Office of Homeland Security Director following 9/11. Richard Stengel “is a former senior official in Obama’s state department who once described his role as being that of ‘chief propagandist.‘”

Below are two videos with Stengel discussing his thoughts on free speech and NewsGuard’s role in the information landscape.

He says he used to be a “free-speech absolutist” but has changed his point of view as he has traveled the world. Stengel states that his travels have taught him that “Our notion of free speech is an outlier to people. The First Amendment is no longer working.

He shares he has become more sympathetic to legislation for hate speech. There is a design flaw in the First Amendment in the age of social media. We need to start thinking about hate speech laws.

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/25/2023 - 22:00
Published:2/25/2023 9:26:16 PM
[] Joe and Jill Went Up the Hill Published:2/25/2023 5:15:59 PM
[dc59a616-e8b6-5696-b926-d020c5eb4f87] Former Obama economist says 'little if any progress' made on inflation under Biden A former Obama economist is warning that the economy is "overheated" and ther has been little "if any" progress made on tackling inflation, after a tough January report. Published:2/24/2023 11:55:27 AM
[Biden Administration] GAFFE ALERT: Karine Jean-Pierre Calls Biden 'President Obama'

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred to President Joe Biden as "President Obama" during a Thursday press briefing, marking the latest gaffe for the struggling press secretary.

The post GAFFE ALERT: Karine Jean-Pierre Calls Biden 'President Obama' appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:2/24/2023 11:42:59 AM
[Markets] Let's Check In On President Obama's Promise To End Homelessness By 2023 Let's Check In On President Obama's Promise To End Homelessness By 2023

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Obama's "Housing First" plan to end homelessness worked so well that President Biden adopted the idea in December of 2022. We are now "ALL IN"...

Homeless Funding Opportunity for Housing First

Let's start with a HUD Funding Opportunity from 2013. 

The CoC Program is designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; to provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, States, and local governments to quickly re-house the homeless while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness; to promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by the homeless; and to optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness. 

Housing First is a model of housing assistance that is offered without preconditions (such as sobriety or a minimum income threshold) or service participation requirements, and rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing are primary goals. Research shows that it is effective for the chronically homeless with mental health and substance abuse disorders, resulting in fewer inpatient stays and less expensive interventions than other approaches. PSH projects should use a Housing First approach in the design of the program. 

Obama Promised to End Homelessness This Year

The Wall Street Journal comments on Obama's Promise to End Homelessness This Year

It may be hard to believe looking at the current state of major American cities, but 2023 was supposed to be the year that all types of homelessness would be eradicated. That’s what the Obama administration promised when in 2013 the Department of Housing and Urban Development formally changed the federal government’s homelessness policy to “housing first,” under which homeless people receive federally funded housing vouchers with no strings attached. Things haven’t panned out as the administration planned.

Team Obama ignored a harsh reality of homelessness: It is overwhelmingly a problem of untreated mental illness and substance-use disorder. California Policy Lab, a nonpartisan research institute at the University of California, found in 2019 that 78% of the homeless population in America reported having mental-health conditions, and 50% said mental illness contributed to their loss of housing. Additionally, 75% of the homeless said they struggled with substance abuse, and 51% said drug or alcohol use contributed to their loss of housing.

Before 2013, HUD strongly encouraged and often required that Continuum of Care organizations provide treatment and job training and that they make housing vouchers conditional on participation in those programs. In 2013 the Obama HUD told all funding recipients that they instead had to adopt “a Housing First approach” without “service participation requirements.”

That change precipitated a dramatic increase in homelessness. HUD data show that unsheltered homelessness rose 20.5% from 2014 to the beginning of 2020, before Covid hit.

Inexplicably, homelessness is treated differently. Policy makers act as if it’s simply an issue of people not having houses, rather than a complex problem often rooted in mental illness and substance-abuse disorders.

Research shows that "housing first works." 

What research was that? 

By any chance did the National Association of Realtors or National Association of Homebuilders sponsor the research? 

Spotlight California

CAL Matters reports California Accounts for 30% of Nation’s Homeless.

  • Country’s highest homelessness rate, with 44 people out of every 10,000 experiencing homelessness.

  • Largest increase in its homeless population of any other state from both 2020-22 (6.2%) and 2007-22 (23.4%), whereas Florida — a state often in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s crosshairs as he spars with its Republican governor Ron DeSantis — saw a 5.6% decrease from 2020-22 and notched the country’s biggest decrease from 2007-22 (46%).

  • California had nine times more unsheltered people than Washington, the state with the next highest number (115,491 people compared to 12,668 people).

Project RoomKey

  • Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is set today to launch a program to start moving the city’s estimated 40,000 homeless people into hotels and motels, the Associated Press reports. The plan appears to be modeled on Newsom’s Project Roomkey and Homekey.

  • Bass, who declared a homelessness state of emergency on her first day in office last week, also issued a sweeping executive order Friday that aims to significantly speed up the development of 100% affordable housing by requiring city agencies to finish reviewing applications within 60 days — instead of the typical six to nine months.

Biden to the Rescue

Please consider the Biden Administration's Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Every American deserves a safe and reliable place to call home. It’s a matter of security, stability, and well-being. It is also a matter of basic dignity and who we are as a Nation.

Yet many Americans live each day without safe or stable housing. Some are in emergency shelters. Others live on our streets, exposed to the threats of violence, adverse weather, disease, and so many other dangers exacerbated by homelessness. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the reckoning our Nation has faced on issues of racial justice have also exposed inequities that have been allowed to fester for far too long.

At the same time, we know we can do something about it. That is why I’m proud to present the Biden-Harris Administration’s Federal Strategic Plan to reduce homelessness by 25 percent by January 2025—an ambitious plan that will put us on the path to meeting my long-term vision of preventing and ending homelessness in America. We need partners at the State and local levels, in the private sector, and from philanthropies to all play a part in meeting this goal. 

Housing First Worked So Well That ....

We are proud and pleased to present this new plan, which restores the importance of Housing First. 

Seems like the new plan is the same as the old one that did not work. 

There is however a name change. The plan is no longer the Obama Housing First plan. It's now the Biden-Harris Housing First plan.

And the Data?

It means being guided by the data and evidence that some Americans who face ongoing discrimination are disproportionately overrepresented among those experiencing homelessness—especially people of color, LGBTQI+ people, and people with disabilities. It means recognizing that experiencing the crisis of homelessness is a form of significant trauma that can impact individuals and families for decades and generations. Solving homelessness means delivering help to the people who need it most and who are having the hardest time. It means putting housing first, along with the person-centered supports needed to succeed and thrive

Proud of the Work

While we acknowledge there is much work ahead, we are proud of the work this administration has done to address homelessness.

If we give everyone a house, free food, insurance, etc. what would it cost?

LA Spends Up to $837K Per Unit to House a Mere 5,600 of Over 40,000 Homeless

On March 24, 2022 I noted LA Spends Up to $837K Per Unit to House a Mere 5,600 of Over 40,000 Homeless

Key Points

  • California had 28,464 Homeless in 2016.

  • LA then passed proposition HHH, authorizing $1.2 billion to address the problem.

  • In early 2020, pre-Covid, the city had 41,250 homeless. There are no current homeless stats and due to Covid are undoubtedly much higher.

  • The city is building units to address the problem. 1,200 units have been completed.

  • 4,400 units are in construction. 

That's "housing first" in actual practice. It's certainly something to be proud of.

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Tyler Durden Thu, 02/23/2023 - 20:20
Published:2/23/2023 7:40:05 PM
[] Federal Court Slaps Down Out-of-Control CFPB After It Was Caught Trying to Expand the Law Published:2/22/2023 1:02:41 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: The Toxic Racialist Obsessions Of Joe Biden Victor Davis Hanson: The Toxic Racialist Obsessions Of Joe Biden

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via,

Joe Biden ran on “unity,” which is critical in a multiracial America. He vowed to heal the divisions supposedly sown by Donald Trump. Instead, he is proving to be the most polarizing president in modern memory. Often his racialist rhetoric and condescension have proven demeaning to both blacks and whites. In a volatile multiracial democracy that demands tolerance and restraint, a highly unpopular Biden, for cheap political advantage, continually proves incendiary and reckless. 

Last week Joe Biden snarked after watching a White House screening of Till:

Lynched for simply being black, nothing more. With white crowds, white families gathered to celebrate the spectacle, taking pictures of the bodies and mailing them as postcards. Hard to believe, but that’s what was done. And some people still want to do that. 

Exactly who are these “some people”? Who fits Biden’s innuendos of contemporary “some people” who, he alleges in 2023, still wish, as “white crowds, white families” of the past, to mail celebratory postcards after they lynch black people? The Ultra-MAGA villains of his recent Phantom of the Opera speech? Have his current targets ever echoed anything like Biden’s own racist past warning that busing would force people to “grow up in a racial jungle”?

What current data might support Biden’s absurd charges? Is Biden referring to federal interracial crime and hate crime statistics charting violent white propensities against blacks? None exist. In fact, they continually reveal that so-called whites are underrepresented as perpetrators in both categories, while overrepresented as victims in interracial crimes—dramatically so in the case of black-on-white violent crime.

In our sensationalist YouTube world, are we suffering an epidemic of Internet-fed, white-on-black incendiary crimes that might have prompted the president’s demagogic accusations? Not at all. Most of the most recent publicized interracial violence—a woman in a gym fighting off a would-be rapist, a bicyclist doctor stabbed to death in an intersection as his attacker spewed racial hatred, a 26-year-old mother lethally shot in the back in front of her children in a parking lot over a minor argument, a young boy violently choked on a bus, a small girl on a bus beaten repeatedly by two teenage boys—have involved black perpetrators and apparent white victims. So, what contemporary evidence or widely publicized anecdotes prompt Biden’s recent charges of “white rage”-fueled violence?

Yet simultaneously with Biden’s blanket and unsupported charges of racism, no president since Woodrow Wilson has offloaded more racialist verbiage than Joe Biden himself. In an eerie example of psychological projection, never has a president accused others of racism more, while freely revealing himself either to be a racist or non compos mentis, or both.

Stranger still, Biden’s latest accusation comes from a president who once eulogized the former racist, Exalted Cyclops, and segregationist Senator. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as “one of my mentors” and lamented that “the Senate is a lesser place for his going.” That was no isolated fluke.

During his campaign for the presidency, Biden in 2019 praised segregationist Senator James O. Eastland for not labeling a younger Biden with the derogatory term “boy”: “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’” 

How odd, then, that Biden, as president no less, has used just that derogatory insult “boy” for distinguished blacks. Indeed, the very day before Biden leveled his “some people” slur, he was back at it with his racist “boy” reference to the black governor of Maryland: “You got a hell of a new governor in Wes Moore, I tell ya,” Biden told an audience of union workers on Wednesday. “He’s the real deal, and the boy looked like he could still play. He got some guns on him.” 

Such condescension was consistent with Biden’s past usage of “Negro” and his earlier August 2021 similar “boy” trope of referring to one of own top aides: “I’m here with my senior adviser and boy who knows Louisiana very, very well and New Orleans, Cedric Richmond.” 

In Biden world, blacks seem to be a collective to whom he can pander in stereotypical terms, as opposed to Latinos, whom Biden feels can think for themselves. Or so he said on the campaign trail in 2020, “Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”

These were “gaffes” only if one believes Biden’s frequent racialist smears and slurs are more the symptoms of senility than bias. Again, as a 2020 candidate, Biden gave us his absurd racist “Corn Pop” fables. In these concocted, He-Man sagas, Biden stood down purported ghetto gangster with his own custom-cut chain, while often showing his tanned legs’ golden hairs to curious inner-city black youth.

Biden also smeared two black journalists who had the temerity to ask him a few tough questions, one with the now infamous slang ad hominem, “You ain’t black” and the other with the personal dismissal “junkie.”

A consistent trope in these insults is his lifelong condescension of accomplished black Americans, such as his long-ago infamous talk-down to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during Biden’s travesty of conducting his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings. In that context we also remember Biden’s idiotic warning, replete with his accustomed affected black patois, to black professionals in 2012 that Mitt Romney would “put y’all back in chains.”

Like Bill Clinton, who reportedly uttered of supposed 2008 upstart Barack Obama, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee,” Biden was especially bewildered by Barack Obama. He apparently seemed, in Biden’s racialist view, an aberration from Biden’s own usual stereotyped views of blacks of limited ability: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” That assessment came from a candidate, who, even predementia, could never string together more than a few coherent sentences. 

Biden, remember, explained top-performing states in education as attributable to fewer minorities: “There’s less than 1 percent of the population in Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So, look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with.”

In a world of law schools turning out record numbers of black lawyers, and billionaire entrepreneurs like Bob Johnson, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, or Michael Jordan, Biden opines, “The data shows young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are. But they don’t have lawyers. They don’t have, they don’t have accountants, but they have great ideas.”   

The reason we do not associate Biden with characteristic racist stereotyping and tropes, other than with raw political demagoguery, is the same reason we give passes to liberals who say overtly racist things, which might otherwise suggest that their loud progressive rhetoric serves as some sort of psychological mechanism to square the circle of their own discomfort with the proverbial other.

Do we remember the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s quickly hushed up and contextualized confession that abortion was targeting the proper people.

(“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”)? 

Do we recall liberal icon and former Senate Majority Harry Reid, who eerily dovetailed Biden with similarly racist assessment of Obama (“a ‘light-skinned’ African American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”)? 

Somehow Biden has transferred his own checkered history of racial disparagement onto the white working class. Fact checkers assure us that when Joe Biden libeled Trump supporters as “chumps” and “dregs” he really meant the Ku Klux Klan or white nationalists who gravitate to Trump. But most took his blanket smears as they were intended. And they fit the larger patterns of his more recent “semi-fascism” smears, and indeed, the genre of tired leftwing demagoguery that earlier gave us Obama’s “clingers,” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” or the smelly who stink up Walmart in the Peter Strzok-Lisa Page joint text trove: “Just went to a Southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support.”

In occasional opportunistic moments, Biden transforms into “ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton” to accentuate his middle-class roots. But he has a repugnant propensity for using racial terms of condescension and disparagement and for projecting his own unease onto a supposedly racist white middle class and poor even as he seeks to win support from the very minority communities he has so often crudely characterized. 

What is the concrete result of this now common Bidenesque schizophrenia?

Consider the toxic plume that has polluted the skies over East Palestine, Ohio, a working-class small town that is 98 percent white, with a median income of $26,000, and sits amid the Pennsylvania borderland. That very region once rejected in its 2008 primary Barack Obama—and in turn was blasted in stereotyped fashion by him: “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” 

Ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton resonates that same contempt for the convenient target of the white poor and lower middle class. Rather than send in FEMA on day one of the toxic release with tents, mobile kitchens, and supplies and medical personnel to care for the evacuated, the federal government waited two weeks and then acted only when even the liberal media was confused by Biden’s deliberate neglect. 

Amid the disaster, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in his now tired boilerplate, was on record instead railing against supposed white hardhats who supposedly do not look like the communities in which they work. For a Biden or Buttigieg, the fish and animals dying from toxic air or water were insignificant artifacts, as were the complaints of burning lungs and allergic reactions to the black chemical cloud.

One wonders what would have been the immediate reaction of Biden and the federal government had a corporation decided to vent the contents of wrecked rail cars full of vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate and then to light up the escaping gas, birthing a toxic black plume over Martha’s Vineyard or Malibu, as opposed to East Palestine or, say,  South-Central L.A. or Ferguson, Missouri. 

Biden would have sent legions of aid workers in to ensure social justice for the marginalized and performance-art reassurance to his donor class.

Whether Biden spouts racial bombast to curry favor with his Democratic base or to project onto others his own habitual racist put downs is not quite clear. But Biden’s utter contempt for white poor and lower middle classes, who are were deemed not worthy of the prompt federal attention customarily accorded to others in times of disaster, is self-evident.

Otherwise, Biden would have sent help immediately rather than smear “some people” as 21st-century lynchers.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/21/2023 - 00:00
Published:2/20/2023 11:34:02 PM
[Markets] Watch: 2023 Don Lemon Would Accuse 2013 Don Lemon Of Being A White Supremacist Watch: 2023 Don Lemon Would Accuse 2013 Don Lemon Of Being A White Supremacist

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

In the wake of CNN’s last remaining woke host being sidelined for making a ‘sexist’ and ‘ageist’ remark about Nikki Haley, a video of Don Lemon from 2013 in which he surprisingly speaks sense has gone viral.

The video shows Lemon talking about what the black community should do to fix its problems, including stop littering, and encouraging kids to try harder in school.

The host also extols the virtues of marriage, and warns about the problem of absent fathers, asserting “just because you can have a baby doesn’t mean you should.”

Lemon even tells young black men to stop using the N word and to pull up their pants and stop walking around with their asses hanging out looking like prison bitches.

Imagine the meltdown that would occur if Lemon spoke like this today, just 10 years later:

Some pointed out how frightening it is that things changed so monumentally because of the woke mid virus:

What happened to that guy?

Video: CNN’s Lemon Blames Anti-Mask Conservatives For Rise in TRAFFIC ACCIDENT DEATHS

Video: CNN’s Lemon Says Unvaccinated “Idiots” Like Novak Djokovic Shouldn’t Be Part Of “Polite Society”

CNN’s Don Lemon Claims Black on Black Violence Has Nothing to do With Black Lives Matter

After Pro-Mask, Anti-Florida Rants, Don Lemon Takes a Maskless Vacation in Florida

Video: CNN’s Lemon Says Trump Supporters Are Like Drug Addicts

Photos, Maskless Fauci Hangs Out With Leftist Media Puppets At Crowded Dinner Party

Video: Pathetic CNN Scrambles To Sweep Rogan/Gupta Exchange Under The Carpet

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Tyler Durden Mon, 02/20/2023 - 20:00
Published:2/20/2023 7:09:32 PM
[Markets] Former White House Doctor: Biden's Medical Was A "Cover Up" Former White House Doctor: Biden's Medical Was A "Cover Up"

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Former White House physician Ronny Jackson has accused the Biden administration of ‘covering up’ Joe Biden’s cognitive decline, asserting that his “ability to think and reason is GONE!”

Following a physical exam last week, which the White House says found that Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male,” and is “fit for duty,” Jackson stated that Americans “learned nothing” from the announcement.

“Is he on ANY drugs to treat his mental decline? This exam was a JOKE. COVER UP!!” Jackson tweeted, noting that no cognitive test was undertaken.

“Trump had one, why not him? Biden’s ability to think and reason is GONE! He SHOULD NOT be President!!” Jackson, now a Republican Representative added.

In comments to Fox News, Jackson further stated “the majority of Americans can see that Biden’s mental health is in total decline,” adding that this “further confirms that this administration is still adamant about concealing the truth.”

“Everyone can see something is wrong – the cover-up needs to end,” Jackson urged.

Last week when Biden struggled to read a teleprompter and again appeared lost, Jackson called for him to be subjected to an immediate cognitive examination.

Prominent Democrats also continue to raise concerns about Biden’s age in advance of his decision on whether or not to run again for president in 2024, but are afraid to say so publicly, according to a report by Politico.

Top Dems Still Privately Opposing Biden Running For Re-Election in 2024

In addition, a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll found on Friday that 57% of Americans have doubts about Biden’s mental fitness, with 67% saying Biden is too old to lead the country.

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Tyler Durden Mon, 02/20/2023 - 08:05
Published:2/20/2023 7:50:43 AM
[World] Column: Biden's 2024 presidential campaign harks back to past Democratic triumphs

At the dawn of the 2024 presidential campaign, history isn't repeating itself precisely, but it's rhyming, as Biden borrows strategies that worked for Clinton and Obama.

Published:2/19/2023 6:25:32 AM
[] Lee Smith: Seymour Hersh's Alleged Scoop on Biden's Demolition of the Nord Stream Pipeline Is a Big Miss Smith doubts Sy Hersh's purported exposee -- doubting that Biden has the competence or the balls to attack a nuclear-armed nation. He reminds us that this is the guy who urged Obama not to take out Bin Ladin. Maybe the... Published:2/17/2023 3:55:08 PM
[Markets] El-Erian Says Fed Needs To Raise 2% Inflation Target Or It Will "Crush The Economy" El-Erian Says Fed Needs To Raise 2% Inflation Target Or It Will "Crush The Economy"

Recall back in September, when we wrote that "The "Scariest Paper Of 2022" Reveals The Terrifying Fate Of Biden's Economy: Millions Are About To Lose Their Job" we reminded readers of what we wrote last June, when we said that "at some point Fed will concede it has no control over supply. That's when we will start getting leaks of raising the inflation target"...

... and just a few months later that's precisely what happened because according to a growing number of economists, such as Obama's own top economic adviser from 2013-2017 and currently economic policy professor at Harvard, Jason Furman, "To bring price increases down to 2%, we may need to tolerate unemployment of 6.5% for two years" who added that to avoid a social crisis, "stabilizing at a 3% inflation rate is probably healthier for the economy than stabilizing at 2%—so while fighting inflation should be the central bank’s only focus today, at some point the Fed should reassess the meaning of victory in that struggle."

The point Furman - a lifelong democrat - was making was simple: if the Fed's inflation target does not rise from 2%, it would lead to (at least) a 6.5% unemployment rate in 2024 which would translate into no less than 10.8 million unemployed workers, an 80% increase from the 6 million today. Needless to say, this would be political suicide for any Democratic administration .

To be sure, there are huge implications to raising the inflation target, not least of which is - well - higher inflation, as well as sharply higher asset prices, and a catastrophic loss of credibility in the Fed. And yet, when the trade off is social unrest - which is inevitable if the Fed plans to keep rates at 5% or higher for several years - then the alternative is palatable. So palatable, in fact, that as we reported in November, Goldman and TS Lombard also got on board, with the former writing that "given that most would agree that a fast reduction in inflation to 2% is unlikely we can now have a debate whether raising the G10 inflation target to the 3-4% range is more optimal for reasons of maintaining employment levels or public debt sustainability than the 2% goal which would not be possible if inflation was sticky in the 6-10% range" while TS Lombard chief strategist Steven Blitz chimed in with the following:

In the end, a recession is pretty much baked in by what the Fed has done, signalled, and will do. The overall imbalance between the supply and demand for labor is too much of a driver of inflation, through wages and, in turn, services ex shelter, for the Fed to stop now and say they have done enough. Powell, in fact, was very clear there is much more to do. This does not negate the  fact that the coming downcycle will greatly impact those that AIT [average inflation targeting] was seeking to protect and are only just getting closer to even in terms of employment. None of this changes the Fed’s coming actions, what this coming hit to employment does mean is that the political cycle for the Fed is about to get a lot hotter – from all sides. This is one reason why I have long believed, as have many others, that the Fed ultimately bails and raises the inflation target to 3%. Powell does not have the same license to keep unemployment high and real growth low for an extended period as did Volcker (more so in retrospect than at the time). My guess is, Powell knows that.

Fast forward to today when yet another financial icon has joined the "raise the inflation target" bandwagon, after Mohamed El-Erian told Bloomberg TV that the Fed won’t be able to get US inflation down to its 2% target without “crushing the economy,” even though he too conceded that the central bank is unlikely to officially change that goal post, instead the Fed will have to simply pretend it has a 2% inflation target even as it resets higher.

"You need a higher stable inflation rate. Call it 3 to 4%," El-Erian, the chairman of Gramercy Funds told Bloomberg Television. “I don’t think they can get CPI to 2% without crushing the economy, but that’s because 2% is not the right target.”

Calling the Fed “too data dependent,” El-Erian said supply-side developments, including an energy transition, the change in supply chains during the pandemic, a tight labor market and shifting geopolitical issues, necessitate the higher target inflation rate.

“It’s right to take data into account but you’ve got to have a view of where you’re going,” he said.

The problem now, El-Erian said, is that the Fed is stuck chasing an elusive 2% goal.

“You can’t change an inflation target when you’ve missed it in such a big way,” he said. He’s previously cautioned that changing the target would be a hit to the Fed’s credibility.

When asked on Friday if the Fed could “tolerate” higher inflation, El-Erian said that is “where I hope to go.”

El-Erian's appearance follows an op-ed he wrote for Project Syndicate last week in which he said that inflation has a 75% chance of rebounding, and the Fed could end up crushing the economy as it struggles to rein in soaring prices.

"Nearly two years into the current bout of inflation, the concept of 'transitory inflation' is making a comeback as the COVID-related supply shocks dissipate," Prices would then skyrocket to a 41-year-high, forcing Fed officials to walk back their words and aggressively hike interest rates in 2022 to cool off the economy.

He added the most likely scenario was inflation remaining sticky at 3%-4%, which El-Erian estimates has a 50% probability. 

"This would force the Fed to choose between crushing the economy to get inflation down to its 2% target … or waiting to see whether the US can live with stable 3% to 4% inflation," he said, suggesting the Fed would need to keep interest rates high.

Of course, if Powell were to even hint at a soft inflation target rise, everything - from stocks, to cryptos, to kitchen sinks - would go limit up instantly.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/17/2023 - 14:45
Published:2/17/2023 2:08:42 PM
[Markets] Norfolk Southern Eliminated Key Maintenance Role In Derailment Region, Union Says Norfolk Southern Eliminated Key Maintenance Role In Derailment Region, Union Says

By Rachel Premack of Freightwaves,

One union of rail workers has questioned declining maintenance standards following the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which forced the evacuation of the 5,000-person town earlier this month

A device that can play a role in preventing derailments is the wayside hot-box detector. It uses infrared sensors to detect bearings, axles or other components of a rail car that are overheating, then uses radio signals to flag rail crews of any overheated components. 

The rail car that initiated the derailment had an overheated wheel bearing, according to a Tuesday report from the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the derailment and will publish a preliminary report in two weeks. 

Wayside hot-box detectors — also called “hot boxes” — are typically placed every 25 miles along a railroad, according to a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) report. Their use has contributed to a 59% decrease in train accidents caused by axle- and bearing-related factors since 1990, according to a 2017 Association of American Railroads study.

Declining head counts have led to these mechanisms receiving less preventative maintenance, according to an official from the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen union. 

The FRA has no regulations requiring the use or maintenance of hot boxes. 

A hot box in East Palestine notified the crew moments before the train derailed, according to the NTSB’s report. 

It’s unclear if any hot box prior to East Palestine notified crews. A surveillance video shared on Facebook from an industrial facility in Salem, Ohio, about 20 miles from East Palestine, suggests the train’s axle was already on fire

Norfolk Southern did not respond to a request for comment, and the FRA declined to comment on the record.

From 5 ‘electronic leaders’ to zero in derailment region

Specialized signalmen called “electronic leaders” specialize in maintaining devices like hot boxes.

As recently as three years ago, Norfolk Southern employed five electronic leaders in the area of its rail network that includes East Palestine. Today, it employs zero, according to Christopher Hand, director of research at the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.

The area in question is Eastern Region North – Division B, shown in red on the map. It runs east to west from Mansfield, Ohio, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and north to south from Morgantown, West Virginia, to Astabula, Ohio. It also includes rail track in Pittsburgh, as well as Youngstown, Ohio.

Eastern Region North – Division B, shown in red, no longer employs electronic leaders, according to the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. This role maintains devices that can prevent equipment failures and derailments. (Source: BRS)

Hand said electronic leaders know hot-box detectors “inside out.” But the position, which typically requires years of experience and higher pay, has become less common at railroads across the country. Electronic leaders also taught newer signalmen how to operate devices like the hot boxes.

After that position was eliminated in Norfolk Southern’s Division B, Hand said its responsibilities were likely transferred to a signal maintainer. Their main role is to keep up with government-mandated tests of equipment — and hot boxes aren’t under federal regulations.  

“Once they eliminated that position, it fell to the signal maintainers who had no knowledge, no training or very, very little training on these hot-box detectors,” Hand said in an interview with FreightWaves.

Across the rail industry, Hand said most signalmen are exclusively spending time on these government-mandated tests, rather than doing preventive maintenance, like cleaning and greasing. 

“There used to be something called ‘maintenance’ and it was routinely maintaining your apparatus — not just strictly going there when you have a regulated test,” Hand said.

It’s the responsibility of the railroad to maintain the track and locomotives by which railcars move. However, these derailed cars were possibly owned by a leasing company or the actual shipper of the chemicals inside the railcar.

Lobbying efforts to scale back maintenance saved railroads hundreds of millions

Federal regulators have rolled back other rail safety rules. 

For years, the federal government required railroads to conduct a type of brake test on rail cars that had not been operated for four or more hours. As of 2020, rail operators may wait up to 24 hours to conduct this test.

The Association of American Railroads, an industry association that includes Norfolk Southern, lobbied for this change starting in 2017, according to the Federal Register. The FRA estimated that changing this rule would save the rail industry nearly $600 million over a 10-year period.

The Association of American Railroads was also key in rolling back Obama-era legislation that would have required railroad companies to update their braking systems from a 19th-century design to an electronic one, as the Huffington Post reported on Wednesday.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/16/2023 - 11:40
Published:2/16/2023 10:49:06 AM
[Markets] Russian Diplomats Issue Dire Warnings That War With US Is Close Russian Diplomats Issue Dire Warnings That War With US Is Close

Authored by Kyle Anzalone & Will Porter,

The Kremlin’s top diplomat has warned that Western involvement in Ukraine is nearing "the point of no return," accusing the United States and the NATO bloc of attempting to transform the country into a "Russophobic military stronghold." Meanwhile, Moscow’s UN envoy declared that all of Russia’s "red lines" have already been crossed. 

Addressing lawmakers at Russia’s State Duma on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov outlined the causes of the current conflict in Ukraine and the deterioration of US-Russia relations, saying Washington has a "maniacal desire to revive the neo-colonial unipolar world order."

File image: AP

"An integral part of this policy is the long-term containment of Russia, including through the expansion of NATO towards our borders, as well as the transformation of fraternal Ukraine into a Russophobic military stronghold," he said. "In recent years, this line of Washington and its European satellites has reached the point of no return."

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Washington and several other Western states gave assurances to Moscow that the NATO alliance would not expand beyond Germany. However, in the years since, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have each allowed new members to join the alliance, all of them inching closer to Russia’s borders.

Starting in 2008, NATO has repeatedly declared its intention to someday allow Ukraine to become a member, again reiterating that pledge at a recent alliance summit. The move would cross the "brightest of all red lines" for Moscow, as was previously noted by then-State Department official and current CIA Director William Burns, who penned a 2008 memo warning of the geopolitical perils of extending membership to Kiev.

Still, President Joe Biden has refused to change course, insisting it is up to Ukraine whether it would like to join the US-led military bloc while effectively making Kiev a de facto member in the meantime. In an interview with Newsweek on Tuesday, Russia’s UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy argued that the West has not respected Moscow’s core security concerns, and has become directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.

"All the red lines have already been crossed by Western countries. There is already semi-direct involvement of NATO in the conflict because it’s not only weaponry but it’s intelligence," he said. "It’s the situation when the targets of certain artillery systems, in particular HIMARS, these targets can be hit only with the coordination with Washington."

Last week, the Washington Post reported that Ukraine relies on American intelligence for selecting targets. Since the start of the year, the White House has authorized the shipment of main battle tanks and long-range rockets to Kiev. Additionally, NATO appears to be preparing to send Western-made warplanes to Ukraine. 

"It means that NATO is not only providing weapons but also are choosing the targets for Ukrainian strikes," Polyanskiy continued. 

He went on to allege that citizens from NATO countries are already fighting – as well as getting captured and killed – in Ukraine. "We know this from the people that we capture and from the bodies that we see on the battlefield." The ambassador said Western weapons would only escalate the conflict, even warning that foreign intervention could eventually trigger a nuclear war. 

"It’s absolutely clear that any deliveries of weapons to the zone of conflict, of course, is like pouring oil into the fire," he said, adding "If you are dealing with a nuclear power and if you are citing the goal of inflicting defeat to this nuclear power, you should have all the options in mind of our possible response."

In their remarks, both diplomats also pointed to potential American involvement in the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines. Last week, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a bombshell report claiming that Washington planned to bomb the pipelines. The White House has denied that it had any part sabotaging the line, though Senator Mike Lee later acknowledged that it was possible. 

On Wednesday, Polyanskiy said that Moscow requested a UN meeting next week to address Hersh’s reporting. Lavrov rejected denials from the Biden administration, saying the West is "lying, hiding the truth about the terrorist attacks on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines, just as they lied about the Minsk agreements."

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed the Minsk agreement, which ostensibly was meant to end the civil war in Ukraine, was really intended to give Kiev time to build up its military. In a December 1 interview with Der Spiegel, Merkel said that she believes that during the Minsk talks, she was able to buy the time Ukraine needed to better fend off a Russian attack.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/16/2023 - 10:11
Published:2/16/2023 9:22:59 AM
[Markets] Chris Hedges: Woke Imperialism Chris Hedges: Woke Imperialism

Authored by Chris Hedges via,

Woke culture, devoid of class consciousness and a commitment to stand with the oppressed, is another tool in the arsenal of the imperial state...

The brutal murder of Tyre Nichols by five Black Memphis police officers should be enough to implode the fantasy that identity politics and diversity will solve the social, economic and political decay that besets the United States. Not only are the former officers Black, but the city’s police department is headed by Cerelyn Davisa Black woman. None of this helped Nichols, another victim of a modern-day police lynching.

The militarists, corporatists, oligarchs, politicians, academics and media conglomerates champion identity politics and diversity because it does nothing to address the systemic injustices or the scourge of permanent war that plague the U.S. It is an advertising gimmick, a brand, used to mask mounting social inequality and imperial folly. It busies liberals and the educated with a boutique activism, which is not only ineffectual but exacerbates the divide between the privileged and a working class in deep economic distress. The haves scold the have-nots for their bad manners, racism, linguistic insensitivity and garishness, while ignoring the root causes of their economic distress. The oligarchs could not be happier.

Did the lives of Native Americans improve as a result of the legislation mandating assimilation and the revoking of tribal land titles pushed through by Charles Curtis, the first Native American Vice President? Are we better off with Clarence Thomas, who opposes affirmative action, on the Supreme Court, or Victoria Nuland, a war hawk in the State Department? Is our perpetuation of permanent war more palatable because Lloyd Austin, an African American, is the Secretary of Defense? Is the military more humane because it accepts transgender soldiers? Is social inequality, and the surveillance state that controls it, ameliorated because Sundar Pichai — who was born in India — is the CEO of Google and Alphabet? Has the weapons industry improved because Kathy J. Warden, a woman, is the CEO of Northop Grumman, and another woman, Phebe Novakovic, is the CEO of General Dynamics? Are working families better off with Janet Yellen, who promotes increasing unemployment and “job insecurity” to lower inflation, as Secretary of the Treasury? Is the movie industry enhanced when a female director, Kathryn Bigelow, makes “Zero Dark Thirty,” which is agitprop for the CIA? Take a look at this recruitment ad put out by the CIA. It sums up the absurdity of where we have ended up.

Colonial regimes find compliant indigenous leaders — “Papa Doc” François Duvalier in HaitiAnastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, Mobutu Sese Seko in the Congo, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in Iran — willing to do their dirty work while they exploit and loot the countries they control. To thwart popular aspirations for justice, colonial police forces routinely carried out atrocities on behalf of the oppressors. The indigenous freedom fighters who fight in support of the poor and the marginalized are usually forced out of power or assassinated, as was the case with Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba and Chilean president Salvador Allende. Lakota chief Sitting Bull was gunned down by members of his own tribe, who served in the reservation’s police force at Standing Rock. If you stand with the oppressed, you will almost always end up being treated like the oppressed. This is why the FBI, along with Chicago police, murdered Fred Hampton and was almost certainly involved in the murder of Malcolm X, who referred to impoverished urban neighborhoods as “internal colonies.” Militarized police forces in the U.S. function as armies of occupation. The police officers who killed Tyre Nichols are no different from those in reservation and colonial police forces.

We live under a species of corporate colonialism. The engines of white supremacy, which constructed the forms of institutional and economic racism that keep the poor poor, are obscured behind attractive political personalities such as Barack Obama, whom Cornel West called “a Black mascot for Wall Street.” These faces of diversity are vetted and selected by the ruling class. Obama was groomed and promoted by the Chicago political machine, one of the dirtiest and most corrupt in the country.

“It’s an insult to the organized movements of people these institutions claim to want to include,” Glen Ford, the late editor of The Black Agenda Report told me in 2018.

“These institutions write the script. It’s their drama. They choose the actors, whatever black, brown, yellow, red faces they want.”

Ford called those who promote identity politics “representationalists” who “want to see some Black people represented in all sectors of leadership, in all sectors of society. They want Black scientists. They want Black movie stars. They want Black scholars at Harvard. They want Blacks on Wall Street. But it’s just representation. That’s it.”

The toll taken by corporate capitalism on the people these “representationalists” claim to represent exposes the con. African-Americans have lost 40 percent of their wealth since the financial collapse of 2008 from the disproportionate impact of the drop in home equity, predatory loans, foreclosures and job loss. They have the second highest rate of poverty at 21.7 percent, after Native Americans at 25.9 percent, followed by Hispanics at 17.6 percent and whites at 9.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department for Health and Human Services. As of 2021, Black and Native American children lived in poverty at 28 and 25 percent respectively, followed by Hispanic children at 25 percent and white children at 10 percent. Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s homeless are African-Americans although Black people make up about 14 percent of our population. This figure does not include people living in dilapidated, overcrowded dwellings or with family or friends due to financial difficulties.  African-Americans are incarcerated at nearly five times the rate of white people.

Identity politics and diversity allow liberals to wallow in a cloying moral superiority as they castigate, censor and deplatform those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech. They are the new Jacobins. This game disguises their passivity in the face of corporate abuse, neoliberalism, permanent war and the curtailment of civil liberties. They do not confront the institutions that orchestrate social and economic injustice. They seek to make the ruling class more palatable. With the support of the Democratic Party, the liberal media, academia and social media platforms in Silicon Valley, demonize the victims of the corporate coup d’etat and deindustrialization. They make their primary political alliances with those who embrace identity politics, whether they are on Wall Street or in the Pentagon. They are the useful idiots of the billionaire class, moral crusaders who widen the divisions within society that the ruling oligarchs foster to maintain control. 

Diversity is important. But diversity, when devoid of a political agenda that fights the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed, is window dressing. It is about  incorporating a tiny segment of those marginalized by society into unjust structures to perpetuate them. 

A class I taught in a maximum security prison in New Jersey wrote “Caged,” a play about their lives. The play ran for nearly a month at The Passage Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, where it was sold out nearly every night. It was subsequently published by Haymarket Books. The 28 students in the class insisted that the corrections officer in the story not be white. That was too easy, they said. That was a feint that allows people to simplify and mask the oppressive apparatus of banks, corporations, police, courts and the prison system, all of which make diversity hires. These systems of internal exploitation and oppression must be targeted and dismantled, no matter whom they employ. 

My book, “Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison,” uses the experience of writing the play to tell the stories of my students and impart their profound understanding of the repressive forces and institutions arrayed against them, their families and their communities. You can see my two-part interview with Hugh Hamilton about “Our Class” here and here.

August Wilson’s last play, “Radio Golf,” foretold where diversity and identity politics devoid of class consciousness were headed. In the play, Harmond Wilks, an Ivy League-educated real estate developer, is about to launch his campaign to become Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor. His wife, Mame, is angling to become the governor’s press secretary. Wilks, navigating the white man’s universe of privilege, business deals, status seeking and the country club game of golf, must sanitize and deny his identity. Roosevelt Hicks, who had been Wilk’s college roommate at Cornell and is a vice president at Mellon Bank, is his business partner. Sterling Johnson, whose neighborhood Wilks and Hicks are lobbying to get the city to declare blighted so they can raze it for their multimillion dollar development project, tells Hicks: 

You know what you are? It took me a while to figure it out. You a Negro. White people will get confused and call you a nigger but they don’t know like I know. I know the truth of it. I’m a nigger. Negroes are the worst thing in God’s creation. Niggers got style. Negroes got blindyitis. A dog knows it’s a dog. A cat knows it’s a cat. But a Negro don’t know he’s a Negro. He thinks he’s a white man.

Terrible predatory forces are eating away at the country. The corporatists, militarists and political mandarins that serve them are the enemy. It is not our job to make them more appealing, but to destroy them. There are amongst us genuine freedom fighters of all ethnicities and backgrounds whose integrity does not permit them to serve the system of inverted totalitarianism that has destroyed our democracy, impoverished the nation and perpetuated endless wars. Diversity when it serves the oppressed is an asset, but a con when it serves the oppressors.

*  *  *

NOTE TO READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/15/2023 - 23:05
Published:2/15/2023 10:20:24 PM
[World] Obama's former doctor says to expect White House to 'sugarcoat' Biden physical EXCLUSIVE — Ex-President Barack Obama’s longtime former doctor warned that President Joe Biden’s weeks-delayed physical evaluation is likely to pitch the president’s health in the rosiest terms as he barrels toward an expected reelection announcement. Published:2/15/2023 4:12:12 AM
[Markets] The Sudden Dominance Of The Diversity Industrial Complex The Sudden Dominance Of The Diversity Industrial Complex

Authored by Thomas Hackett via RealClear Wire,

Little more than a decade ago, DEI was just another arcane acronym, a clustering of three ideas, each to be weighed and evaluated against other societal values. The terms diversity, equity, and inclusion weren’t yet being used in the singular, as one all-inclusive, non-negotiable moral imperative. Nor had they coalesced into a bureaucratic juggernaut running roughshod over every aspect of national life. 

They are now. 

Seemingly in unison, and with almost no debate, nearly every major American institution – including federal, state, and local governments, universities and public schools, hospitals, insurance, media and technology companies and major retail brands – has agreed that the DEI infrastructure is essential to the nation’s proper functioning. From Amazon to Walmart, most major corporations have created and staffed DEI offices within their human resources bureaucracy. So have sanitation departments, police departments, physics departments, and the departments of agriculture, commerce, defense, education and energy. Organizations that once argued against DEI now feel compelled to institute DEI training and hire DEI officers. So have organizations that are already richly diverse, such as the National Basketball Association and the National Football League.  

Many of these offices in turn work with a sprawling network of DEI consulting firms, training outfits, trade organizations and accrediting associations that support their efforts. 

“Five years ago, if you said ‘DEI,’ people would’ve thought you were talking about the Digital Education Initiative,” Robert Sellers, University of Michigan’s first chief diversity officer, said in 2020. “Five years ago, if you said DEI was a core value of this institution, you would have an argument.”   

Diversity, equity and inclusion is an intentionally vague term used to describe sanctioned favoritism in the name of social justice. Its Wikipedia entry indicates a lack of agreement on the definition, while and the Associated Press online style guide have no entry (the AP offers guidance on related terms). 

Yet however defined, it's clear DEI is now much more than an academic craze or corporate affectation.

“It’s an industry in every sense of the word,” says Peter Schuck, professor emeritus of law at Yale. “My suspicion is that many of the offices don’t do what they say. But they’re hiring people, giving them titles and pretty good money. I don’t think they do nothing.”  

It’s difficult to know how large the DEI Industrial Complex has become. The Bureau of Labor Statistics hasn’t assessed its size. Two decades ago, MIT professor Thomas Kochan estimated that diversity was already an $8 billion-a-year industry. Yet along with the addition of equity, inclusion, and like terms, the industry has surely grown an order of magnitude larger. Six years ago, McKinsey and Company estimated that American companies were spending $8 billion a year on diversity training alone. DEI hiring and training have only accelerated in the years since.  

“In the scope and rapidity of institutional embrace,” writes Marti Gurri, a former CIA analyst who studies media and politics, “nothing like it has transpired since the conversion of Constantine.”  

Yet in our time, no Roman Emperor has demanded a complete cultural transformation. No law was passed mandating DEI enactment. No federal court ruling has required its implementation. There was no clarion call on the order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex” warning. No genuine public crisis matched the scale of the response.  

The sources of this transformation are both deep and fairly recent. On one level, they can be traced back to the egalitarian movements that have long shaped American history – from the nation’s founding, through the Civil War and Reconstruction to the battles for women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, and same-sex marriage. In other ways, the rapid transformation can seem no more explicable than an eccentric fashion trend, like men of the late 18th century wearing periwigs. However, a few pivot points of recent history bent its arc in DEI’s direction.  

The push for affirmative action is the most obvious influence, a program first conceived during the Reconstruction era but then abandoned for nearly a century. Although triumphs for social justice, the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights acts of the late 1950s and 1960s didn’t stop discrimination; the country would need to take more affirmative steps toward assisting minority groups and achieving more equitable outcomes, proponents argued. A controversial policy from the start (with the Supreme Court expected to curb its use in college admissions this term), affirmative action was further complicated by immigration reforms that allowed for more non-European immigrants, setting off a seismic demographic shift that continues to reverberate.  

The diversity movement of the early 1990s was in part an attempt to capitalize on the new multicultural reality. Stressing individual and institutional benefits rather than moral failings, early corporate diversity training programs hewed to traditional values of equality and meritocracy. Creating a diverse workplace, R. Roosevelt Thomas wrote in the Harvard Business Review, in 1990, “should always be a question of pure competence and character unmuddled by birth.”  

And in many ways it appears to have worked. Just look at the tech industry, where immigrants from East and South Asia have flourished. Nigerian immigrants are perhaps the most successful group in America, with nearly two-thirds holding college degrees. Doors have opened wide to the once-closeted LGBT community.  

But in other ways, the recent explosion of DEI initiatives reflects shortcomings of earlier efforts, as suggested by the headline of 2016 article in the Harvard Business Review, “Why Diversity Fails.” Even as high-achieving first- and second-generation immigrants have thrived in certain industries, particularly STEM fields, people of color remain scarce in senior institutional positions. There is also the deeper issue of what many in the post-George Floyd era have taken to calling systemic or structural racism, citing major disparities for black Americans in education, healthcare, homeownership, arrests, incarceration, and household wealth. 

More recently, a spate of widely publicized police killings of unarmed African Americans has galvanized a growing belief, especially among progressives and especially since Donald Trump’s election, that America is an irredeemably racist nation. In 2020, in the wake of the Floyd murder and in advance of a fraught election, a moral panic set in. Having increased their ranks, social justice entrepreneurs and bureaucrats were poised to implement an ideological agenda and compound their institutional power. 

Although no hard numbers exist on the exact size of the industry, the “DEIfication” of America” is clear. From Rochester, New York, to San Diego, Calif., cash-strapped municipalities have found the funds to staff DEI offices. Startups and small companies that once relied on their own employees to promote an inclusive culture now feel compelled to hire diversity consultants and sensitivity trainers to set them straight. The field is so vast it has born a sub-field: recruiting agencies for DEI consultants. So-called “authenticity readers” tell publishing companies what are acceptable depictions of marginalized groups and who is entitled to tell their stories. Master’s degree and certificate programs in DEI leadership at schools like Cornell, Georgetown, and Yale offer new and lucrative bureaucratic careers. 

At Ohio State University, for example, the average DEI staff salary is $78,000, according to public information gathered by economist Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute – about $103,000 with fringe benefits. Not to be outdone by its Big Ten conference rival, the University of Michigan pays its diversity officers $94,000 on average – about $124,000 with benefits. Until he retired from the position last summer, Michigan’s chief diversity officer, Robert Sellers, was paid over $431,000 a year. His wife, Tabbye Chavous, now has the job, at the vice provost rank and a salary of $380,000.  

For smaller organizations that cannot afford a full-time equity officer, there are other options for shoring up social justice bona fides – namely, working with any of the hundreds of DEI consulting agencies that have risen like mushrooms after a night’s rain, most of them led by “BIPOC” millennials. With some firms, the social justice goals are unmistakable. The Racial Equity Institute is “committed to the work of anti-racist transformation” and challenging “patterns of power” on behalf of big-name clients like the Harvard Business School, Ben & Jerry’s, and the American Civil Liberties Union. With others, the appeal has less to do with social change than exploring marketing opportunities and creating a “"with-it” company culture, where progressive politics complement the office foosball tables and kombucha on tap.  

“Diversity wins!” declares the management consultancy McKinsey & Company. Certainly diversity officers have been winning, although opposition is building in Florida and elsewhere, where the wider woke agenda that includes DEI has advanced. Even minimally trained practitioners are in high demand, and signs of their influence abound.   

Wells Fargo offers cheaper loans to companies that meet racial and gender quotas. Private equity and venture capital firms like BlackRock and KKR declare their commitment to racial “equity.” Bank of America tells its employees they are implicated in a white supremacist system. Lockheed Martin asks its executives to “deconstruct their white male privilege.” Major tech companies like Google publicly chart the “Black+ and Latinx+” people they’ve hired, and assure the public that Artificial Intelligence will prioritize the DEI political agenda. ChapGPT, an AI model that can generate remarkably cogent writing, is been designed with a liberal bias, summarily rejecting requests that don’t conform to the algorithm’s notions of “positivity, equality and inclusivity.” Disney instructs employees to question colorblind beliefs espoused by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others. Fire departments are told to lower their physical fitness requirements for women. Similarly, universities are dropping standardized tests to yield more admissions of certain minorities (typically not Asians). And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, hoping to award more “films of color,” inspects Oscar-nominated films for cast and crew diversity. (Netflix has been a notable exception, last May laying off dozens of employees working on such issues. Under Elon Musk, Twitter is also flouting woke orthodoxies.) 

In education, college students are required to take DEI-prescribed courses. Community college employees in California are evaluated on their DEI competencies. Loyalty oaths to the DEI dogma are demanded of professors. Applicants to tenure-track positions, including those in math and physics, are rejected out of hand if their mandatory DEI statements are found wanting. Increasingly, DEI administrators are involved in hiring, promotion, and course content decisions.  

“Academic departments are always thinking, ‘We need to run this by Diversity,’” says Glenn Ricketts, public affairs officer for the National Association of Scholars.  

The industry’s reach can also be seen in the many Orwellian examples of exclusion in the name of inclusion, of reprisals in the name of tolerance. Invariably, they feature an agitated clutch of activists browbeating administrators and executives into apologizing for an alleged trespass against an ostensibly vulnerable constituency. When that has been deemed insufficient or when senior executives have sensed a threat to their own legitimacy, they’ve offered up scapegoats on false or flimsy pretexts. That might be a decades-long New York Times reporter, a head curator at a major art museum, an adjunct art history professor, a second-year law student, or a janitor at a pricey New England college. (The list is long.) 

Often enough, the inquisitions have turned into public relations debacles for major institutions. But despite the intense criticism and public chagrin, the movement marches on. 

The expansion “happened gradually at first, and people didn’t recognize the tremendous growth,” Perry says. “But after George Floyd, it really accelerated. It became supercharged. And nobody wanted to criticize it because they would been seen as racists.”  

Not playing along with the DEI protocols can end an academic career. For example, when Gordon Klein, a UCLA accounting lecturer, dismissed a request to grade black students more leniently in 2020, the school’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion office intervened to have him put on leave and banned from campus. A counter-protest soon reversed that. However, when Klein also declined to write a DEI statement explaining how his work helped “underrepresented and underserved populations,” he was denied a standard merit raise, despite excellent teaching evaluations. (He is suing for  defamation and other alleged harms.)  

Scores of professors and students have also been subject to capricious, secretive, and career-destroying investigations by Title IX officers, who work hand-in-glove with DEI administrators, focusing on gender discrimination and sexual harassment. As writer and former Northwestern University film professor Laura Kipnis recounts in “Unwanted Advances,” individuals can be brought up on charges without any semblance of due process, as she was, simply for “wrongthink” – that is, for having expressed thoughts that someone found objectionable. With activist-administrators assuming the role of grand inquisitors, “the traditional ideal of the university – as a refuge for complexity, a setting for free exchange of ideas – is getting buried under an avalanche of platitudes and fear,” she writes. And it would appear that students and professors would have it no other way. By and large, they want more bureaucratic intervention and regulations, not less. 

As more institutions create DEI offices and hire ever more managers to run them, the enterprise inevitably becomes self-justifying. According to Parkinson’s Law, bureaucracy needs to create more work, however unnecessary or unproductive, to keep growing. Growth itself becomes the overriding imperative. The DEI movement needs the pretext of inequities, real or contrived, to maintain and expand its bureaucratic presence. As Malcolm Kyeyume, a Swedish commentator and self-described Marxist, writes: “Managerialism requires intermediation and intermediation requires a justifying ideology.”  

Ten years ago, Johns Hopkins University political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg found that the ratio of administrators to students had doubled since 1975. With the expansion of DEI, there are more administrators than ever, most of whom have no academic background. On average, according to a Heritage Foundation study, major universities across the country currently employ 45 “diversicrats,” as Perry calls them. With few exceptions, they outnumber the faculty in history departments, often two or three to one. 

At Michigan, Perry wasn’t able to find anyone with the words “diversity,” “equity,” or “inclusion” in his job title until 2004; and for the next decade, such positions generally remained centralized at the provost level, working for the university as a whole. But in 2016, Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced that the university would invest $85 million in DEI programs. Soon after, equity offices began to “metastasize like a cancer,” Perry says, across every college, department, and division, from the college of pharmacy to the school’s botanical garden and arboretum, where a full-time DEI manager is now “institutionalizing co-liberatory futures.” All the while, black enrollment at Michigan has dropped by nearly 50% since 1996.  

Despite the titles and the handsome salaries, most DEI administrative positions are support staff jobs, not teaching or research positions. In contrast with the provisions of Title IX, DEI is not mandated by law; it is entirely optional. DEI officers nevertheless exert enormous influence, in part because so few people oppose them. The thinking seems to be that if you’re against the expanding and intrusive diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda, you must be for the opposite – discrimination, inequality, and exclusion.  

“By telling themselves that they’re making the world a better place, they get to throw their weight around,” says Ricketts. “They have a lot of money, a lot of leverage, and a lot of people who just don’t want to butt heads with them – people who just want to go along to get along. People who are thinking, ‘If we embrace DEI, nobody can accuse us of being racist or whatever.’ They’re trying to cover their backsides.” 

Some organizations, it seems, are merely trying to keep up with cultural trends.  

Consider Tucson, Ariz., where diversity is not a buzzy talking point but an everyday reality. With a population that is 44% Hispanic, 43% white and only 4.6% black, the city has had no major racial incidents in decades. Yet like hundreds of others communities, Tucson suddenly decided in direct response to the George Floyd murder 1,600 miles away that it needed an office of equity. To many observers, it seemed that the city was just “getting jiggy with it,”  pretending to solve a problem that didn’t exist. After a two-year search, it hired Laurice Walker, the youngest chief equity officer in the country, at age 28, with a salary of $145,000 – nearly three and a half times what Tucson’s mayor, Regina Romero, earns. 

Not that the mayor is complaining. “I think this position is about putting an equity lens into all that we do,” Romero said in May, by which she means – well, nobody is quite sure what “equity” means, particularly with respect to federal legislation clearly prohibiting positive and negative discrimination alike.  

But trying to get out in front of the DEI train can also result in getting run over by it.  

When the city council of Asheville, N.C., hired Kimberlee Archie as its first equity and inclusion manager, its members probably didn’t anticipate being accused of having a “white supremacy culture.” After all, city manager Debra Campbell is black, as are three of the seven women making up the city council. The council had cut police funding and unanimously approved a reparations resolution. Archie nevertheless complained that her colleagues still weren’t doing enough to advance racial equity. “What I describe it as is kind of like the bobblehead effect,” she said in 2020. “We'd be in meetings … and people's heads are nodding as if they are in agreement. However, their actions didn't back that up.”  

The drama in western North Carolina illustrates a dilemma that organizations face going forward. They can pursue an aggressive political agenda in which white supremacy is considered the country’s defining ethos (per The New York Times’ "1619 Project") and present discrimination as the only remedy to past discrimination (see Ibram X. Kendi). Or they take the path of least resistance, paying rhetorical tribute to DEI enforcers as the “bobbleheads” that Archie disparages but doing little more than that. After all, they still have universities, businesses, and sanitation departments to run, alumni and investors to satisfy, students to teach, research to pursue, roads to be paved, sewage to be treated, costs to be minimized, and profits to be maximized.  

Perhaps, too, senior administrators and executives are beginning to realize that, despite the moral panic of 2020, the most culturally diverse country in the world might not be irredeemably racist, even if it’s no longer acceptable to say so. The United States twice elected an African American man named Barack Hussein Obama as president. His first attorney general was a black man, who would be replaced by a black woman. His vice president would pick a woman of mixed race as his running mate. The mayors of 12 of the 20 largest U.S. cities are black, including the four largest cities. Likewise, many of the people whom Americans most admire – artists, athletes, musicians, scientists, writers – are black. Lately most winners of MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants are people of color. Gay marriage is legal, and enjoys wide public support, even among conservatives. The disabled, neurodivergent, and gender-divergent are applauded for their courage and resilience. And nonwhite groups, particularly Asians, Latinos, and African immigrants, have been remarkably upwardly mobile (often without official favoritism). 

Clearly, troubling disparities persist for African Americans. What’s much less clear is that racism, systemic or not, remains the principal cause of these disparities or that a caste of equity commissars will reverse them. And now, it would seem that narrowing these disparities runs counter to their self-interest. 

“I don’t want to deny that there’s genuine goodwill on the part of some of these programs,” says Prof. Schuck, stressing that he hasn’t examined their inner workings. “But some of these conflicts are not capable of being solved by these gestures. They have to justify their own jobs, their own budgets, however. And that creates the potential for a lot of mischief. They end up trafficking in controversy and righteousness, which produces the deformities we’ve been seeing in policies and conduct.” 

Still, to hear DEI officers, it’s they who are beleaguered and overwhelmed. Yes, they have important-sounding jobs and rather vague responsibilities. They are accountable to nobody, really. Rather than fighting “the man,” they now are the man, or at least the gender-neutral term for man in this context. But this also means that they are starting to catch flak, particularly as the evidence mounts that the institutions they advise and admonish aren’t actually becoming more fair, open, and welcoming. They’re not even becoming more ethnically diverse.  

Like other DEI advocates, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education has declined to answer questions for this article. Its officers are too busy traveling to conferences to do so, a spokeswoman said.  

But at a recent association meeting, Anneliese Singh of Tulane University invoked Rosa Parks’ refusal to take a back seat to discrimination. Although Parks was a housekeeper and diversicrats have comfortable university sinecures, their struggles are analogously distressing, Singh suggested. The latter, too, are on the “front lines” in a harrowing war. However, she said, her colleagues needed to remember what mattered most: Looking out for themselves.  

It is not self-indulgence,” she said, now quoting the feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lord. “It is self-preservation. And that is an act of political warfare.”  

For the moment, it’s a war Singh and her DEI colleagues are clearly winning.  

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/14/2023 - 20:45
Published:2/14/2023 8:08:55 PM
[c09268c0-900d-5e5f-aa12-bb6c86ff6af3] Hunter Biden, an Obama ambassador and Chinese businessmen: A 'very good relationship' Hunter Biden touted having a "very good relationship" with President Obama's ambassador to China, Max Baucus, and told his business associates he "can ask" Baucus for "anything we need." Published:2/14/2023 5:29:34 AM
[Markets] US Conducts Aircraft Carrier Drills In South China Sea Amid Balloon Tensions US Conducts Aircraft Carrier Drills In South China Sea Amid Balloon Tensions

Authored by Dave DeCamp via,

The US Navy and Marines Corps are conducting drills in the South China Sea amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over the Chinese balloon incident.

The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said in a statement that the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and its strike group conducted the drills on February 11 with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Seventh Fleet did not say when the drills started or when they would end.

Nimitz Carrier, source: US Navy

The US has stepped up its military activity in the South China Sea in recent years and has formally rejected most of Beijing’s claims to the waters. China, the Philippines, and several other Southeast Asian nations all have overlapping claims to the South China Sea.

The US has involved itself in the dispute, and starting under the Obama administration, the US began sailing warships near Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea.

The Biden administration is looking to expand the US presence in the region and recently signed a deal with the Philippines that will give the US access to four more military sites in the country.

The current exercises come after China declined a call from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin following the US downing of the Chinese balloon. Washington claimed the balloon was a spy device, while Beijing insisted it was a weather balloon only used for civilian purposes.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned trip to China when the balloon was first announced by the Pentagon. Since the incident, the US military has shot down at least two unidentified objects, but the White House says they didn’t look like Chinese balloons.

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/13/2023 - 17:55
Published:2/13/2023 5:12:45 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: FBI at Mike Pence’s home to search for classified documents Yesterday Mike Pence was subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating Trump for trying to ‘overturn’ the 2020 election. As Mark Levin put it yesterday, this ‘rogue Obama-Democrat supporting prosecutor’ subpoenaed Pence after . . . Published:2/10/2023 11:19:09 AM
[World] Obama Cabinet secretary reveals process of choosing designated survivor The labor secretary under President Barack Obama, Chris Lu, shared details of how the designated survivor for the State of the Union is selected. Published:2/7/2023 8:27:28 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: Ukrainian Paradoxes Victor Davis Hanson: Ukrainian Paradoxes

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via,

Are the borders of country 5,000 miles away more sacrosanct and more worth taking existential risks than our own airspace and southern border?

One of the strangest things about the American response to Ukraine has been the willingness of the Left and the establishment Right to discount completely that the war is heading toward a rendezvous with ever-deadlier weapons and staggering fatalities—even as we witness increasing nuclear threats from a weakened and adrift Vladimir Putin. They insist that Putin is merely saber-rattling. And he might be. Supposedly, in his diminished and discredited state, Putin would not dare to set off a tactical nuclear weapon (as if diminished and discredited leaders are not more likely to do so).

Proxies Versus Balloons 

But while we discount the nuclear dangers of a paranoid Putin reacting to the arming of our proxy Ukraine, the brazen Chinese, in violation of American airspace and international law, sent their recent “weather “ surveillance balloon across the continental United States with impunity. Only after public pressure, media coverage, and the Republican opposition did the Biden Administration, in the 11th hour, finally drop its increasingly incoherent and disingenuous excuses, and agree to shoot the balloon down as it reached the Atlantic shore—its mission completed. 

Given the balloon may have more, not less, surveillance capability than satellites, may have itself been designed eventually to adopt offensive capability, and may have been intended to gauge the American reaction to incursions, the Biden hesitation and fear to defend U.S. airspace and confront China makes no sense. 

Contrast Ukraine: Why discount the dangers of strategic escalation in a third-party proxy war, but exaggerate them to the point of stasis when a belligerent’s spy balloon crosses the U.S. heartland with impunity? Are the borders of Ukraine more sacrosanct and more worthy of our taking existential risks than our own airspace and southern border. 

When and How Did Russia Enter Ukraine?

 Russia did not just enter Ukraine on February 24, 2022. So where were the voices of outrage in 2014‚ from Joe Biden and others in the highest positions of the Obama Administration when Putin first absorbed Crimea and eastern Ukraine?  

Why do the most fervent supporters of blank-check aid to the Zelenskyy government grow indifferent when we ask how Russia in 2014 managed so easily to reclaim vast swaths of Ukraine? Is it because of the 2012 hot-mic conversation between Barack Obama and then Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea, in which Obama promised: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space. . . . This is my last election . . . After my election, I have more flexibility.” 

Obama’s “ flexibility ” on missile defense in eastern Europe was an understatement—given he completely canceled a long-planned major U.S. commitment to Poland and the Czech Republic, a system that might have been of some value during the present conflict with Putin. And certainly, Putin did give Obama the requested reelection “space” by not invading Crimea and eastern Ukraine until 16 months after Obama was reelected in his “last election.” Once he did so, the bargain was apparently sealed, and each party got what it wanted: both space (i.e., temporary good Russian behavior) and flexibility (i.e., canceling an air defense system).

So it was almost surreal how the bipartisan establishment forgot why and how Putin entered and annexed thousands of square miles of Ukraine so easily, and apparently on the correct assumption of an anemic American response. Did James Clapper in 2014 smear Obama as a “Russian asset” as he did Donald Trump in 2017?

In the “Russian collusion” and “Russian disinformation” hoaxes, the purveyors of those hysterias forgot the role of “reset” appeasement in empowering Putin to attack Ukraine in 2014—in the same manner as the Biden Administration’s ignominious retreat from Kabul was the context for Putin’s 2022 attempt on Kyiv. The common denominator in both cases was Moscow’s apparent conclusion that foreign policy under the Obama-Biden continuum was viewed as indifference to Russian aggression. 

Who Did Not Arm the Ukrainians?

Why, after 2014, didn’t the Obama Administration arm the Ukrainians to the teeth? The surreal element of the first Trump impeachment was the reality that Trump was impeached for delaying offensive arms shipments (on the understandable and later proven assumption that the Biden family and elements of the Ukraine government were both utterly corrupt). 

If Trump was impeached for delaying the offensive arms he approved and eventually sent, what was the proper reaction to Obama-Biden, who vetoed them altogether? And if the fallback argument is that Trump’s delay targeted his 2020 presidential opponent, then we arrive again at the same absurdity. For Joe Biden, by staging the Mar-a-Lago raid to charge Trump with the same “crimes” he knowingly at the time had committed, should then likewise be impeached for targeting his possible future political opponent.

But be clear: there is far more demonstrable evidence that the Biden family was corrupt and leveraging the Ukrainian and Chinese governments than there is of Donald Trump pilfering “nuclear codes” and “nuclear secrets.” 

Part of the American people’s bewilderment over the left-wing zeal to send $100 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine and to damn anyone who asks for clarification of our long-term strategy in ending the war is precisely the contrast between Putin’s lethargy between 2017-2021 and his restless aggression in 2014 and again in 2022, the bookend years to the hated Trump Administration. 

Putin moved on all these occasions because Obama’s refusal to arm Ukraine, his quid pro quos with Putin on missile defense, his rhetorical “red line” in Syria, and his abrupt withdrawal from Iraq that birthed ISIS—in the same manner that Biden scrambled from Afghanistan—promised that America’s response would be muted if Putin’s invasion was “minor,” and offered a safe exit for Zelenskyy.

If we truly seek to navigate an end to Russian aggression, by one means or another, the beginning of our wisdom would entail how exactly we got here in the first place—and require us to learn from our disasters.

Why Are Our Arms Depots Depleted? 

If we wish to wonder why Vladimir Putin believed that the Biden Administration’s response to his aggression would be like the Obama-Biden reaction in 2014, then we need only look to the August 2021 American collapse in Afghanistan. That summer, Joe Biden made the decision to yank precipitously all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, abandoning a $1 billion embassy, a multimillion-dollar refitted airbase, and hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment, including 22,174 Humvee vehicles, nearly 1,000 armored vehicles, 64,363 machine guns, and 42,000 pick-up trucks and SUVs 358,530 assault rifles, 126,295 pistols, and nearly 200 artillery units.

Recent reports, denied by the United States, allege that Putin is negotiating with the Taliban to buy some of the abandoned American arsenal to help replenish Russia’s enormous materiel losses in Ukraine. What helped the Soviets win World War II were the American gifts of 400,000 trucks and Jeeps. Over 60,000 American armored vehicles, Humvees, and trucks, now in the hands of the Taliban would be a valuable addition to Putin’s arsenal. The media assures us that poorly equipped Russian soldiers struggle with obsolete guns dating back to the early postwar period, while assuring us that either the Taliban would not sell, or Russians could not use, over a half-million late-model American automatic pistols, assault rifles, and machine guns.

Americans are quite critical of the supposed anemic European response and lack of aid matching the American largess. But, in fact, Biden likely reversed course from his initial remarks about minor incursions and a safe ride out for Zelenskyy, and a prior aversion to sending offensive arms, because the frontline Europeans were terrified of Putin on the move and demanded an American-led NATO joint effort to supply Ukraine. 

The belated but increasingly muscular response of the United States to pour aid into Ukraine may stall the Russian advance and even its anticipated spring offensive. But the growing involvement of the United States has raised the issue of deterrence, as China closely watches both the response of Europe and the United States and the ability of revanchist Russia to invade. If Russia were to mobilize and use all its resources—10 times the GDP of Ukraine, 30 times the territory, 3.5 times the population—it would likely require a far greater sacrifice of Ukrainian blood and Western treasure. And the war that may have already cost over 200,000 dead and 300,000 wounded will likely prove the most lethal since the Vietnam War, in which over 3 million soldiers and civilians died on both sides of the conflict. 

More importantly, will the zealots, who demand that we empty our arsenals to supply Ukraine, vote in Congress for massive increases in the defense budget to ratchet up arms production to ensure that our depleted stocks of weapons are restored rapidly?

In sum, there would be broader support for Ukraine’s military aid if advocates were transparent on the following 10 issues: 

1) The United States will be as firm and deterrent vis à vis China as it is now belatedly with Russia.

2) We will acknowledge that Ukraine is a mess because Vladimir Putin between 2009 and 2016, and again in 2021, concluded that the United States either would not or could not deter his aggression.

3) Just as we attempt to help to protect the sovereign borders of Ukraine, so too must we consider just as sacrosanct our own airspace and our southern border.

4) All those in government and the media who demand more weapons for Ukraine, after the war ends, with the same zeal must demand immediate increased arms production to ensure their own country is as well protected as Ukraine.

5) Just as we deplore Russia interfering in our elections, so too we must cite Ukrainian interference in 2016, as evidenced by the pro-Clinton skullduggery of Alexandra Chalupa, Valeriy Chaly, Serhiy Leshchenko, Oksana Shulyar, and Andrii Telizhenko, along with the Biden family’s financial relations with Burisma and top Ukrainian officials. We expect and prepare for enemies to tamper with our elections, but Ukraine is a supposed friend that nonetheless likely was more involved in 2016 than were the Russians—and yet was never held to account.

6) Unfortunately, we cannot believe any of the predictions emanating from our top intelligence and military leaders about the course of the Ukrainian war, given they were simply wrong about the Afghanistan collapse, wrong both about the initial resiliency of the Ukrainians and later the supposed imminent collapse of the Russians, both biased and wrong about Hunter Biden’s laptop, implicated in the Russian collusion hoax, and once again misled the American people about the time of arrival, the nature, and the purpose of the Chinese balloon, and the various garbled reasons why it was not immediately shot down. 

7) Those who feel international negotiations about the status of Crimea and the Ukrainian borderlands are tantamount to surrender, and therefore taboo, must prepare the American people for their envisioned victory of ejecting every Russian from pre-2014 Ukraine, by assessing the dangers of a nuclear exchange, the eventual cost in arms and weapons of $200-500 billion, and a price tag of economic aid to rebuild a ruined Ukraine that will vastly exceed our military aid. 

8) Those who advocate Ukraine’s entry into NATO, must remind the American people that should Putin then mount a second offensive into Ukraine, American troops, along those of 29 other NATO nations, would be sent to Ukraine to fight nuclear Russia and its allies.

9) We should apparently accept as regrettable, but tolerable that the war in Ukraine has united China and Russia, ensured they are both patrons for nuclear North Korea and soon-to-be nuclear Iran, and are near to drawing Turkey and India into their orbit—or nearly half the world’s population.

10) Given that China is a more existential threat than Russia, and given that the Chinese danger to the whole of Taiwan is far greater than is the Russian threat to all of Ukraine, we would expect those advocating blank-check support for Ukraine, would of course be as adamantly protective of Taiwan, even if the two wars were to become simultaneous. We expect those who demand no limits in weakening Putin’s dictatorship, harbor even more animus for the far more dangerous totalitarianism of China.

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/06/2023 - 23:40
Published:2/7/2023 12:29:08 AM
[Markets] Trump: Truth About "Fake News" Reporting On "Russia Hoax" Is Finally Coming Out Trump: Truth About "Fake News" Reporting On "Russia Hoax" Is Finally Coming Out

Authored by Janice Hisle via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former U.S. President Donald Trump says he finally sees some truth emerging about “the fake news.”

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after participating in a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the U.S. military, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 26, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

More than six years after the media began covering the former president’s alleged collusion with Russia–which Trump calls “the Russia, Russia, Russia” hoax–has been dissected from within journalism.

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), which calls itself “the most respected voice on press criticism,” recently published findings from an 18-month investigation: a 24,000-word expose’ entitled, “The Press Versus The President.”

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on his way to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on May 14, 2020 (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Days later, Trump reacted with righteous indignation to the tactics of the press, as revealed in the CJR article.

It is a STAGGERING, detailed account of the lies, disinformation, and complete lack of journalistic integrity,” Trump wrote Feb. 2 on Truth Social, singling out “the purveyors of Fake News at the Washington Compost (sometimes known as the Washington Post), the Failing New York Times, and many others.”

Trump also decried the incalculable damage that dishonest coverage caused to his 2020 reelection bid.

“This Fake News, with all of its disinformation, had a huge impact on the 2020 Presidential Election, just one of the many ways that the Election was Rigged and Stolen,” he wrote in another Truth Social message. “This proves, once again, that the Corrupt, Woke, Radical Democrats stole the 2020 Election, making it impossible for that fact to be called ‘the Big Lie,’ as the Marxists and Communists in our Country attempt to portray it.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s allies cried out for media outlets to correct the record as his campaign to win back the White House gains momentum. Detractors, however, fault CJR for failing to put Trump himself far enough under the microscope.

Important but Too Long

CJR, in an introduction to its piece, wrote that the investigation’s findings “aren’t always flattering, either for the press or for Trump and his team.” CJR predicted that the article’s revelations would be “debated and maybe even used as ammunition in the ongoing media war being waged in the country.”

American computer analyst turned Russian citizen Edward Snowden, best known for leaking information about the National Security Administration’s spying on Americans, weighed in with a brief analysis on Twitter for people who may think the piece was “TL/DR,” an abbreviation for “too long, didn’t read.”

His summary of the CJR’s findings: Corporate media “knowingly suppressed facts that cut against popular narratives, ignored denials, eagerly laundered partisan attacks via ‘anonymous sources,’ and refuses to reflect on mistakes.”

CJR said its article raises issues that are “important, and worthy of deep reflection as the campaign for the presidency is about, once again, to begin.”

The publication also wrote: “No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate.”

That term refers to the FBI’s investigation of Trump, which began while President Barack Obama was in office and Trump was then running his first presidential campaign. Information later surfaced revealing that the federal government relied in large part on a “Trump-Russia dossier” to justify its investigation.

But that dossier was found to be of dubious origin. A former British spy, hired by people with connections to Trump’s political opponent, Hillary Clinton, used unverified information from people with ties to Russia.

Despite a 22-month investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller, none of the 103 allegations in the dossier was declared valid.

Special counsel Robert Mueller speaks on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington on May 29, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Big Impact

Reporting on the allegations “resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers,” CJR noted. “For Trump, the press’s pursuit of the Russia story convinced him that any sort of normal relationship with the press was impossible.”

When Trump first announced his run for president in 2016, the real estate magnate/media personality was laughed off as a joke. But then he morphed into somewhat of a media darling. Everything Trump-related became clickbait. Before long, however, the media put Trump in its crosshairs; reporters were “going all in on efforts to catalogue Trump as a threat to the country,” CJR wrote.

The publication said journalist Jeff Gerth took an “encyclopedic look at one of the most consequential moments in American media history.” Gerth is an investigative reporter who worked for almost three decades at The New York Times. His investigation for CJR required interviews with dozens of insiders connected to Trump and media organizations.

Gerth wrote that the U.S. news media’s coverage of Trump helped sink the American people’s trust in journalists.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/04/2023 - 12:00
Published:2/4/2023 11:13:05 AM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: 'Race' Everywhere Victor Davis Hanson: 'Race' Everywhere

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via,

Recently an unarmed 29-year-old African American, Tyre Nichols, was brutally beaten to death by five black Memphis police officers. They were charged with murder. All belonged to a special crime unit known as the Scorpions. 

Both the victimizers and victim were black. The Memphis police chief is black. The assistant police chief is black. 

Nearly 60 percent of the police force is black. The white population of Memphis is about 25 percent. 

The now-disbanded Scorpion unit of mostly black officers was created as a response to grassroots appeals to stop spiraling crime in mostly black neighborhoods. 

The death of Tyre Nichols could be attributed to many things: a basic lack of humanity on the part of the officers, poor police training, lax administrative supervision, and lowered hiring standards.  

Instead, no sooner was the beating death announced than accusations of “systemic racism” surfaced. 

Van Jones, the former Obama Administration green czar and recent recipient of Jeff Bezos’ $100 million “courage and civility award,” pronounced on CNN that the black police oppressors were acting out white racism. 

Some claimed that charging the five black officers with murder was itself racist. Others alleged that creating the unit in the first place to reduce black-on-black crime was racist.  

Yet, when everything becomes racist, then nothing in particular can be racist.

About the same time, the city of San Francisco, along with the state of California, was exploring paying out huge cash reparations to its African-American residents for the ancestral sin of slavery. 

That evil institution was abolished some 158 years ago through a Civil War that killed some 700,000 Americans. 

Yet California was always a free state with no history of slavery. 

No resident of America in six generations has been either a slave or slave owner. 

Such multibillion-dollar payouts apparently are to be funded by a nearly bankrupt state facing a $25 billion budget shortfall. 

How do we quantify either current eligibility or culpability in multiracial California where 27 percent of the residents were not born in the United States? Whites make up only 35 percent of the state’s population. 

College campuses increasingly greenlight racially segregated resident housing. 

These reactionaries seem eager to return to “separate but equal” apartheid, supposedly outlawed nearly 60 years ago by the 1964 Civil Right Act. 

A recent National Association of Scholars study found that of some 173 schools surveyed, 42 percent provided racially segregated residences. Some 46 percent offered racially segregated orientation programs. An overwhelming 72 percent  hosted racially segregated graduation ceremonies.

So-called “safe spaces” on campus exclude students on the basis of race, especially whites who are reduced to stereotyped members of a toxic collective.

Race-based admissions have transmogrified from proportional representation—the entering class should reflect roughly the racial make-up of the nation—to reparatory or compensatory admittance. 

So, for example, Stanford University’s incoming class of 2026 lists white students at 22 percent of the enrolled, roughly one-third of their percentage of the nation’s general population. 

Ironically, current racial engineering resurrects the old quota systems used in the past to discriminate against Jews. 

“Whites”—to the extent we can determine any race in an intermarried, multiracial society—do not fit the now ossified definition of an exploitive majority. 

They no longer even compose a majority in most major American cities and in some states. 

They rank well behind many nonwhite ethnic groups in terms of per capita income and millions of working-class Americans certainly don’t fit the tired stereotype of “privileged.”  

In racist fashion, white males are often smeared as exhibiting collective “white rage.” 

Yet they commit suicide at double their demographics—and more than twice as frequently as blacks and Latinos. 

They were also killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq at twice their numbers in the general population. 

In terms of hate-crime offenders, whites are demographically underrepresented. The most overrepresented victims of hate crimes are whites of Jewish background.

Whites commit violent crimes against those of different races at rates below their percentages in the general population.

In sum, class, not race, remains the best litmus test of being underprivileged in America. It is no longer synonymous with race.

No wonder the identity politics industry now strains to attach prefixes such as “systemic” or “implicit” to “racism,” or “micro” to “aggression,” purportedly to ferret out bias that otherwise is not apparent. 

Pause to reflect that America is the only successful multiracial constitutional republic in history.

To survive in an increasingly dysfunctional and hostile world abroad, the unique idea of the United States requires concord. 

But national cohesion is only possible through citizens subordinating their tribal interests to a common culture. Only then do they cease being automatons of warring tribes and collectives. 

As the world becomes ever scarier, Americans must—as Benjamin Franklin once warned—hang together, or most certainly they will soon all hang separately.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 23:40
Published:2/3/2023 11:14:59 PM
[] Great, Michelle Obama Now Rolling Her Book Grift Into a Podcast Grift Trillion dollar corporations controlled by leftists just can't stop throwing money at these two deranged leftists. Michelle Obama's recent celebrity-filled book tour is becoming a podcast. Audible announced Wednesday that the former first lady will launch the "Michelle Obama: The... Published:2/1/2023 1:26:29 PM
[e35c5fab-d8c7-544d-9c83-4beee08a834a] TUCKER CARLSON: Will we see a whole lot more of Michelle Obama in the next two years? Fox News host Tucker Carlson discuss President Biden's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether Michelle Obama could run for President in 2024 on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.' Published:1/31/2023 10:06:07 PM
[Markets] Obama Border Chief Says Immigration Crisis 'Much Bigger' Now As 77 Democratic Lawmakers Slam Biden Obama Border Chief Says Immigration Crisis 'Much Bigger' Now As 77 Democratic Lawmakers Slam Biden

Former Obama secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, admitted last week that the immigration crisis is 'much bigger' than it was when he was running things.

"Well, the job, first of all, is different than it was when I was in office seven, eight years ago," Johnson told David Lat on the Original Jurisdiction podcast. "The current secretary was my deputy secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. The job is different. The immigration problem is much bigger than it was."

When asked if he had any advice for Mayorkas - who is facing calls for impeachment over the Biden administration's mishandling (stoking of) the border crisis, Johnson said he just needs to stick to the script.

"So, sometimes, the essence of the job is repeating over and over again one simple, straightforward message that you want people to hear," he said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday 77 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reverse plans to limit asylum access and eligibility on the US-Mexico border - which follows plans announced in January to significantly decrease illegal border crossings by proclaiming that illegal immigrants from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela will be returned to Mexico under Title 42 if they enter the United States illegally. The plan, under which up to 30,000 migrants from the four countries can apply for asylum protection from their home countries, also provides asylum seekers and migrants with US sponsors.

"We believe that your administration can and must continue to expand legal pathways for migrants and refugees into the United States—without further dismantling the right to seek asylum at our border. This right is a pillar of the post-war international order to which the United States has committed itself," wrote the Democratic lawmakers in their push to encourage illegal immigration. "Instead of issuing a new asylum transit ban and expanding Title 42, we encourage your administration to stand by your commitment to restore and protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees."

As the Epoch Times notes,

Created as part of the Public Health Service Act under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Title 42 was designed to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases in the United States.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Trump administration invoked the order to restrict entry into the United States.

In late December 2022, the Supreme Court blocked the termination of Title 42.

In its decision, the court agreed to hear arguments in February about whether a coalition of Republican-led states can challenge a lower court’s ruling that ordered the Biden administration to end Title 42, which remains in place.

The letter’s authors praised the Biden administration’s program that allows American citizens and people with legal status in the United States to sponsor migrants from the four countries. They criticized the strategy because of its reliance on policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.

Migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua weren’t previously included in Title 42, the lawmakers noted. The Biden administration should also decide to not move forward on a proposal that will prevent migrants from asylum if they’re unable to find refuge in third countries before arriving in the United States, which is a measure the Trump administration attempted to enact.

In a press conference on Jan. 26, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), flanked by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), said, “No matter how many Trump policies the Biden administration resurrects, Republicans will continue to obstruct any effort to actually reform our border processing and modernize our immigration system.

“We recognize that the United States is experiencing a difficult migration challenge at the southern border. But as elected officials, we are duty-bound to propose legal solutions, one that protects asylum seekers while also securing the safe removal of migrants who have no legal claim to stay in the United States.”

The letter to Biden wasn’t signed by Democratic leaders in the House or Senate.

“I haven’t seen the letter but we look forward to, as Democrats and as members of Congress, having a healthy discussion about how we deal with the complexity of issues connected to comprehensive immigration reform and making sure we have a safe, secure, and strong border,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said on Jan. 26.

On Jan. 24, citing that the program violates U.S. immigration law, 20 Republican-led states asked a federal judge to end the sponsorship policy for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection stated on Jan. 25 that border officials have seen an average of 115 daily encounters with illegal immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela this month. That’s 97 percent less than in early December 2022 when numbers rose to a record high of 3,367 encounters each day.

Illegal immigrants gather outside a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, on Jan. 6, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

These expanded border enforcement measures are working,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Jan. 25. “It is incomprehensible that some states who stand to benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are seeking to block them and cause more irregular migration at our southern border.”

During an address at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington on Jan. 20, Biden said Republicans were trying to score “political points” on the border crisis and criticized them for not supporting his immigration policy proposal.

“The first bill I introduced was a comprehensive reform legislation on immigration. But because of some in the Congress, they refused to consider it. They found it a better issue to campaign on than an issue to solve,” Biden said.

“So, we have a choice. They can keep using immigration to try to score political points, or we can help solve the problem. Immigration reform used to be a bipartisan issue. And we can make it that again, in my view.”

While Biden is dealing with pushback from lawmakers in his own party, Republicans continue to fight against his border strategy.

On Jan. 24, 20 Republican-led states filed a lawsuit in a Texas-based federal court challenging the Biden administration’s recently announced program to accept 30,000 illegal immigrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

The lawsuit contends that the program has no legal authority and that states will suffer from the flood of illegal immigration from the four countries.

“The Biden open borders agenda has created a humanitarian crisis that is increasing crime and violence in our streets, overwhelming local communities, and worsening the opioid crisis,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement about the lawsuit. “This unlawful amnesty program, which will invite hundreds of thousands of aliens into the U.S. every year, will only make this immigration crisis drastically worse.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/29/2023 - 09:55
Published:1/29/2023 9:10:24 AM
[World] Biden dusts off Clinton and Obama playbook for battling House Republicans Republicans risk being caricatured by the White House as President Joe Biden and his aides deploy strategies from former Presidents Bill Clinton's and Barack Obama's post-midterm election playbook. Published:1/29/2023 6:11:49 AM
[e1b79e7e-a090-57f8-ae10-0c1f45ed8bbd] Obama responds to Tyre Nichols video: 'Vicious, unjustified beating' Barack Obama said that Tyre Nichols death was an "vicious, unjustified beating" one day after Memphis officials released body camera video relating to the incident. Published:1/28/2023 3:00:37 PM
[Markets] Democrats Hate Being Held To Their Own Standards: Committee Assignments Edition Democrats Hate Being Held To Their Own Standards: Committee Assignments Edition

Authored by Guy Benson, op-ed via,

Back in 2016, with a presidential election underway, I made the case that Senate Republicans should force Democrats to live under their own power-hungry rules.  They should do so, I said, by applying the Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer standards to the newly-created Supreme Court vacancy, following the death of the late great Justice Antonin Scalia.  Then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did precisely that, holding the seat open until after the election, paving the way for President Trump's trio of superb SCOTUS nominations.  The Democrats got red in the face and stomped their feet, but after decades of hyper-partisan, unilateral escalations in the judicial confirmation wars, they were merely getting a taste of their own medicine.  

When Democrats attempted to filibuster Neil Gorsuch's nomination to fill that seat, I urged Republicans to enact the Harry Reid standard and change the Senate rules to confirm Gorsuch.  They did so, thus fulfilling McConnell's famous prophesy that his colleagues across the aisle would come to rue the day they'd nuked the filibuster on executive and judicial nominations, for short-term partisan gain (eliminating a tool of the minority they'd abused for years while it benefited them).  In Washington, no one squeals louder than a Democrat held to his or her own standards.  A few Democrats mumbled about 'regrets' after their GOP colleagues pressed the Reid Rule button, but nearly all Senate Democrats now favor doubling down even further by jettisoning the legislative filibuster, which they've called a racist vestige, even as they've repeatedly used it themselves.  Expect some of them to change their tune if and when they lose the Senate majority in 2024.  They never fully learn, which is why the teachable moments need to be clear and painful for them.

Which brings us to the current contretemps over committee assignments in the House of Representatives.  

Democrats are hopping mad that Speaker Kevin McCarthy is moving to boot Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee, and that Ilhan Omar may be stripped of her slot on the Foreign Affairs Committee.  We'll see if he has the votes to do so. [ZH: he did and they were stripped of their positions]

In the last Congress, Democrats -- then in the majority -- stripped two Republicans of their committee assignments, due to offensive statements they'd made.  Dozens of House Democrats, led by the Squad, agitated for another GOP member to lose her committees, as well.  At the time, nearly every Republican in Washington, including many of those not inclined to defend their sanctioned colleagues, warned that if Pelosi and her party went down this path, the shoe would end up on the other foot.  If Democrats wanted break with tradition and wrest certain committee assignment decisions from the minority party, they would be answered in kind at the earliest opportunity.  And here we are.  In case you missed it, McCarthy was badgered about his decisions on this front by a journalist this week, using George Santos as the hook for her objections.  Conservatives quickly started circulating his response, which Julio wrote up yesterday:

As I said on Fox Business, some of this is the 'play stupid games, win stupid prizes' effect.  If Democrats didn't want Republican leaders to pick and choose which of their members could serve on certain committees, they should have left those decisions to the GOP in the last Congress.  Once the die was cast on the other side, it became inevitable that reprisals would follow:

And because politicians will always find justifications for their moves beyond "they asked for it," there are substantive reasons behind each of these decisions.  

Omar is an unrepentant bigot.  

Swalwell is a smarmy mud-flinger who 'became close' with, and was allegedly compromised by, a Chinese spy.  He cites news 'fact checks' in his defense, but McCarthy says the FBI briefing he received on the underlying intelligence vindicate his call to keep the California Democrat away from sensitive national secrets.  

And Adam Schiff used his top perch on the Intelligence Committee to wage partisan war, including repeatedly lying about Trump-Russia "collusion," even after that explosive claim had been debunked by the Mueller investigation.  Schiff is angry.  Maybe he should have lied less, and maybe he should have told his party not to travel down this path, given the guaranteed tit-for-tat that would ensue  

If Democrats hadn't meddled in the House GOP's affairs last Congress, McCarthy would probably have let things lie, despite the case against all three (would-be) booted members.  But Pelosi and company pried open this Pandora's box, and now they may have to live with the results.  Enjoy.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/27/2023 - 19:05
Published:1/27/2023 6:11:37 PM
[Opinion] Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar Get Detention Instead of Committee Seats

by Ray Cardello at CDN -

  It was the smartest thing ever spoken by Barack Obama: “Elections have consequences.” The Democrats realize the significance of those words this week. Kevin McCarthy is coming out strongly in his position as Speaker of the House, and three Democrats, in particular, are feeling the pain of losing control …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar Get Detention Instead of Committee Seats first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:1/27/2023 8:08:51 AM
[Markets] Georgia's Mikheil Saakashvili - "America’s Guy" - Is Racing The Clock Georgia's Mikheil Saakashvili - "America’s Guy" - Is Racing The Clock

Authored by James Durso via,

Timing is everything, and it may determine the fate of Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili. Saakashvili was president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013, and governor of Ukraine’s Odesa Oblast in 2015 and 2016. He returned to Georgia on October 1, 2021 and promptly started a hunger strike to protest previous convictions and new charges against him, including battery, misappropriation, abuse of power, and embezzlement.

Recently, there has been a groundswell of protest to force the Georgian government, led by the Georgian Dream party, to free Saakashvili so he can seek medical attention in the U.S. or Europe for his deteriorating health. His dire condition may be caused by neglect and heavy metal poisoning, and a council of physicians convened by Georgia’s state ombudsperson Nino Lomjaria declared the prison clinic (Vivamedi Clinic) “fails to meet his medical needs.” His condition is likely worsened by petty harassment by the government, including turning off the electricity to the clinic.

Saakashvili demonstrated bad judgement in the past, by starting a war with Russia in 2008, and returning to Georgia despite earlier convictions and with new charges pending against him, despite an earlier pledge to not return. And he made it easy for the Georgian authorities by entering the country illegally, inside a cargo container. (Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 after he accepted Ukrainian citizenship.)

Despite all, he is viewed as “America’s guy” for being feted by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and receiving significant support from Washington that “enabled his reckless behavior” and insulated him from domestic criticism.

In another time, Washington might have been able to get away with distancing itself from Saakashvili, but it is too soon after America’s retreat from Afghanistan for the U.S. to freely abandon an old friend.

The optimal solution is for Georgia to deport this Ukrainian back to Ukraine where he can get medical treatment and no longer be a burden to Tbilisi, which can avoid possible  sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union.

All well and good, but what will Washington do if the price for Saakashvili’s freedom is a prisoner swap?

The U.S. recently secured the freedom of professional basketball player, Britney Griner, by releasing the jailed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the “Merchant of Death.” The Biden administration was criticized for not making a like-for-like swap, and for leaving behind a former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage.

The Griner affair alerted the public to the fate of other wrongfully detained and kidnapped Americans, such as Siamak Namazi (7 years in Iran) and Zack Shahin (15 years in the United Arab Emirates). The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation reports “65 innocent fellow Americans are suffering in prolonged unjust detentions, on an average of four long years” and “more state actors are wrongfully detaining Americans, and fewer Americans are returning home.”

In the past, the U.S. government moved quickly when a soldierspyjournalist, or diplomat was abducted, but ordinary citizens with no connection to the apparat may have to wait their turn. It won’t be a good look if Washington pulls out the stops for a foreign politician but moves at a leisurely pace for Average Joe.

Aside from bureaucrats who only move at government speed, another obstacle to prisoner trade is the structure of the U.S. prison system. In the U.S., the federal prison system holds a small share of the over 1.2 million incarcerated persons, most of whom are held at the state level and typically for more violent offenses.

So, if the price of Saakashvili’s freedom is a prisoner in the U.S., what can Washington offer a governor to spring a convict? 

That governor may be in office because of a tough-on-crime campaign and will not want to face the police, prosecutors, local media, and victims’ families, all of whom are invisible to Washington but who know the address of the governor’s mansion.

The “local factor” also applies in Georgia, where numerous private citizens are named as victims of Saakashvili’s alleged crimes, and the country’s president will be as reluctant to spring him as any U.S. governor. Irakli Kobakhidze, leader of the Georgian Dream party, who answers to Putin’s local ally, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, says releasing Saakashvili will “destabilize the country” and he may right given Moscow’s interest in keeping Saakashvili in prison until he expires.

There will be few domestic plaudits for the Biden administration if it succeeds, other than from some think tanks and cable TV hosts, so the best approach for the Americans is to urge Georgia to deport Saakashvili to Ukraine or quietly support efforts by European leaders to free their fellow European.

If the Europeans founder, the Americans can attempt to negotiate Saakashvili’s freedom using tools such as Magnitsky sanctions, visa cancellations, or suspension of military sales. If the U.S. has to spring a federal prisoner, it won’t be the first time an inmate vanished from the Bureau of Prisons inmate locator, but if the Georgians demand a prisoner in state custody, Biden himself will have to publicly take the heat (and deliver compensation to the aggrieved state).

Washington and Tbilisi are fenced in by domestic concerns, with Tbilisi also looking over its shoulder at Moscow.

The U.S. is suffering a post-Afghanistan trust deficit as the world saw all that Shohna-ba-Shohna (“Shoulder-to-Shoulder”) stuff for what it really was and, if Washington defaults to its usual behavior and sanctions Georgian Dream party leaders it is betting they will capitulate before Saakashvili dies.

Is the administration ready to gamble?

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/27/2023 - 02:00
Published:1/27/2023 1:22:32 AM
[Politics] Obama Warns About the ‘Raw Sewage’ of Disinformation—Ignores Democrats’ Own Garbage

In the wake of the “Twitter Files,” let’s revisit former President Barack Obama’s warning last April about the spread of misinformation: “You just have to... Read More

The post Obama Warns About the ‘Raw Sewage’ of Disinformation—Ignores Democrats’ Own Garbage appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:1/26/2023 3:28:09 PM
[World] Obama-era debt ceiling negotiation advisers say spending fight worst since 2011 Onetime advisers to former President Barack Obama and former House Speaker John Boehner say negotiations to raise the debt ceiling look bleaker than they did under similar circumstances in 2011. Published:1/26/2023 9:34:56 AM
[016203f6-42a5-5ac3-8af2-588b5b2e758c] Obama, Clinton offices say all classified documents went to National Archives The offices of former Presidents Obama and Clinton say they turned over all classified materials to the National Archives at the end of their presidencies. Published:1/25/2023 3:53:31 PM
[World] Biden's top spokeswoman takes the most heat in classified documents controversy Since the story of President Joe Biden and his possession of classified documents from the Obama administration first broke, the most scrutinized job has been that of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Published:1/24/2023 2:48:21 PM
[] Mike Pence Says He's Got Classified Documents At His Home, Too Donald Trump gets grief for a lot of his personnel picks. And one of the bad ones was Mike Pence. The insult that Obama directed at Biden applies to Pence: There is nothing that Pence can't f*ck up. He'd get... Published:1/24/2023 1:21:43 PM
[Politics] Archives Silent on Biden Docs After Public Complaints of ‘Torn-Up’ Trump Docs and ‘False’ Reports on Obama-era Documents

The federal agency responsible for making government records available to the public has gone dark with both Congress and the media when it comes to... Read More

The post Archives Silent on Biden Docs After Public Complaints of ‘Torn-Up’ Trump Docs and ‘False’ Reports on Obama-era Documents appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:1/23/2023 12:10:15 PM
[Opinion] Some Questions About Biden’s Secret Documents That Have Not Been Asked of Our Lying President

by Dave King at CDN -

When Joe Biden was Vice President in the Obama administration, was he given a Top Secret security clearance? Given the embarrassing and derogatory comments Obama has made against Biden, top clearance may not have been given to him, VP or not. It’s interesting that with the Trump secret documents situation, …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Some Questions About Biden’s Secret Documents That Have Not Been Asked of Our Lying President first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:1/19/2023 6:57:33 PM
[Democrats] Top Obama Fundraiser Confesses To Misusing $600,000 in Federal Grants Meant for Poor Youth

A top fundraiser for former president Barack Obama confessed to misusing more than $600,000 in federal grant money and embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a nonprofit dedicated to helping impoverished youth, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The post Top Obama Fundraiser Confesses To Misusing $600,000 in Federal Grants Meant for Poor Youth appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:1/19/2023 3:14:29 PM
[Markets] The Elite's Obsession With Achieving Total Financial Control The Elite's Obsession With Achieving Total Financial Control

Authored by Clint Siegner via Money Metals,

Federal bureaucrats use proxies to stifle all kinds of activities they don’t like. The “Twitter Files” are revealing this tactic to a new wave of Americans, but it has been around a long time.

The bureaucratic assault on the First Amendment is part of a larger movement to end personal liberty. The ultimate goal may be to assume financial control over the populace through implementation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

If officials can replace the existing currencies with digital, programmable money, they will claim the power to dictate if, when, and where individuals can spend money as well as what they can spend it on.

Those who question whether forces inside the federal government are actually pursuing such power may wish to review recent history around the Federal Reserve note "dollar."

The effort to control people by targeting their money escalated in 1970 with the Bank Secrecy Act. It targeted cash specifically by requiring banks to report transactions involving more than $10,000.

Shortly afterward came the end of sound money. Nixon slammed shut the gold window in 1971, severing the last link between the Federal Reserve note and physical gold. That maneuver launched an era of perpetual government deficits, unlimited borrowing, and interventionist central banking.

Officials seized the opportunity to demand even more reporting in the aftermath of 9/11. The misnamed “Patriot Act” required all merchants (not just banks) to file a Form 8300 on transactions of $10,000 or more. They also required merchants to file an Orwellian “Suspicious Activity Report” on any transaction the merchant judged to be “suspicious.”

Then the Obama Department of Justice launched Operation Choke Point in 2013.

Regulators threatened banks with increased scrutiny, controls, and penalties if they did business with certain companies deemed by the Department to be at higher risk for money laundering and fraud.

Banks responded by closing accounts and/or reducing services to firearms dealers, payday lenders, coin dealers, and businesses in other targeted industries.

Frank Keating, CEO of the American Bankers Association, didn’t think regulators should be hassling banks about clients "simply doing something government officials don't like.”

In 2017, the FDIC settled a series of lawsuits by promising to cease making informal and unwritten “suggestions” about who banks should be doing business with.

However, banks and financial services providers continue to cancel clients with the audacity to operate disfavored businesses or voice unapproved views.

JP Morgan Chase sent a letter to Trump supporter and election fraud activist general Michael Flynn in August 2021.

Chase said, "We decided to close your credit cards on September 18, 2021 because continuing the relationship creates possible reputational risk to our company."

The bank later reversed the decision amidst a backlash from conservatives.

PayPal recently went so far as to insert a provision in their terms of service which allowed the company to charge clients up to $2,500 if, at PayPal’s sole discretion, they were spreading “misinformation.” The company also reversed course after the story went viral and many clients decided to dump the woke company.

Couple these sorts of stories with the release of the Twitter files, and one should expect to find that bureaucrats are using backchannel communications with banks to push their anti-liberty agenda.

Stopping “misinformation” and controlling the narrative certainly isn’t all the administrative state hopes to achieve. It is one means to an even more ominous end.

The Federal Reserve is openly developing a digital currency. It’s part of a long-running globalist agenda to curtail financial privacy and increase control over people.

Those who accumulate, tangible non-government money like gold and silver are sidestepping the elite’s growing obsession with achieving total financial control.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/18/2023 - 23:35
Published:1/18/2023 10:41:19 PM
[World] [Josh Blackman] Does the New York Constitution Require A Senate Vote For A Judicial Nominee? Barack Obama, Merrick Garland, Kathy Hochul, and Hector LaSalle walk into a bar. Published:1/18/2023 1:02:02 PM
[Markets] Not A Coup, But A Cover-Up Not A Coup, But A Cover-Up

Authored by Lee Smith via The Epoch Times,

Speculation is growing in Republican media circles that the recent scandal over President Joe Biden’s improper possession of classified information from his time as vice president represents an internal coup. The theory holds that Democratic Party insiders, particularly Obama-era officials situated within the Biden administration, are using the revelations of Biden’s carelessness to push him aside or at least prevent him from running for reelection in 2024.

Capitol Hill sources say it’s true that the Biden administration is a hornet’s nest with several factions vying for control, including one led by domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, both Obama loyalists. However, a careful look at the evidence shows that senior Biden aides, Democratic officials, and the party’s media apparatus are circling the wagons to protect Biden. What we’re watching isn’t a coup but a coverup.

Press reports show that at the beginning of November 2022, Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in his office at a Washington think tank affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania that bears his name: the Penn Biden Center. This account is improbable. If Biden’s legal team, rather than his administrative staff, typically sorted through his papers, it’s likely they would have previously identified the classified records in question.

There were at least two other opportunities for Biden’s aides to find the papers among his belongings. The first came when his staff packed his boxes as he left the Office of the Vice President in January 2017. It isn’t yet known where the documents were kept between then and when they were moved to the Penn Biden Center when it opened in 2018. The move would have given his staff another chance to find the classified documents. Hence, it seems likely that it was an outside source that alerted either the Biden team, the National Archives, or the Department of Justice to the fact that the president was improperly holding classified documents.

In a press conference on Jan. 12, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that on Nov. 9, 2022, he asked the FBI to assess whether those records had been mishandled. On Nov. 14, 2022, he asked the U.S. attorney in Chicago, John Lausch, to conduct an initial investigation.

Administration officials and Biden loyalists in federal law enforcement knew they had a problem. Mishandling classified documents was the basis of a broad Democratic Party campaign against Biden’s possible 2024 rival, former President Donald Trump.

The FBI raided Trump’s Florida home in August 2022 to seize classified documents, and rumors circulated that indictments were in the offing. Eventually, the Department of Justice appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump. Biden even chastised his predecessor for mishandling classified documents in a September 2022 media interview. And now, here was Biden as culpable as the man they hoped to destroy with the same instrument—classified documents.

The Biden team moved to attenuate the potential fallout with a leak to the press. A Nov. 14, 2022, Washington Post article citing “people familiar with the matter” explained that “FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property.”

That is, contrary to the public outcry that Trump had taken the documents for illicit purposes—he was selling U.S. nuclear secrets to Saudi Arabia, one journalist claimed without evidence or reason—there was nothing sinister at play. Rather, he was simply motivated by ego.

The Nov. 14, 2022, article was evidence that the Biden circle was walking back its scorched-earth campaign against Trump on classified papers. Nearly three months later, it’s clear why—to reframe the context for when news of Biden’s own problems with classified documents went public.

When the story broke last week in administration-friendly media outlets, Democratic lawmakers not only rallied around the president but also compared his response favorably to Trump’s. Unlike Trump’s team that argued with the institution tasked to keep U.S. records, Biden’s lawyers, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) intimated, “appear to have taken immediate and proper action to notify the National Archives.”

Dozens of media publications, from The New York Times to Vox, have published explainers showing why what Trump did is much worse than what Biden did.

Trump had more documents, the argument runs; Biden’s lawyers were more forthright; and so forth. The fact is that no one on the Democratic side has broken with the president or even so much as hinted that he did something wrong. This isn’t what an internal coup looks like.

The special counsel appointed to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents identifies as a Republican but he appears to be a Never Trump Republican. Robert Hur is a protégé of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general under Trump who reportedly offered to wear a wire to spy on the previous president.

Rosenstein furthered the anti-Trump cause by withholding documents from the investigation led by former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) into alleged FBI crimes and abuses committed during the bureau’s Trump–Russia probe. He also allegedly threatened to subpoena Nunes’s staffers, including Kash Patel. A winter 2018 chain of emails (pdf) between Department of Justice officials shows that Hur was part of the law enforcement team tasked to stonewall Nunes’s investigation.

Former congressional investigators say that Hur’s appointment as special counsel is intended not to uncover potential crimes committed by the president but rather to give the appearance of a genuine investigation and thereby bury the issue once and for all. And thus, actions taken by the Biden administration and the responses of Democratic officials and the media show that what’s unfolding at present isn’t a coup, but a coverup.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/17/2023 - 23:40
Published:1/17/2023 11:17:20 PM
[Markets] Mapping Out All The Key Revelations From The 'Twitter Files' So Far... Mapping Out All The Key Revelations From The 'Twitter Files' So Far...

Authored by Petr Svab via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Documents revealed by Twitter’s new owner, tech billionaire Elon Musk, show the social media company intertwined with a government-private censorship apparatus.

Twitter suppressed or removed content on various subjects, including irregularities in the 2020 elections, mail-in voting issues, and various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company was under government pressure to purge such content and its purveyors from the platform, though most of the time it was cooperating with the censorship requests willingly, the documents indicate.

INFOGRAPHIC (Click on image to enlarge or Click Here to download)

Click on infographic to enlarge.

Musk took over Twitter in October, taking the company private. He then fired around half of the staff and much of the upper management, vowing to take Twitter in a new direction. The “#TwitterFiles” releases have been part of his promised focus on transparency for the company.

He allowed several independent journalists to submit search queries that were then used by Twitter staff to search through the company’s internal documents, sometimes under the condition that the resulting stories would be first published on the platform itself.

The two journalists primarily responsible for the releases have been journalists Matt Taibbi, a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, and Bari Weiss, a former editor at both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Both are liberals who have expressed disillusionment with the more extreme currents of progressivism and neoliberalism.

Others involved in the releases have been independent journalists Lee Fang and David Zweig, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, as well as author and environmentalist Michael Shellenberger.

The journalists have only released a fraction of the documents they reviewed. They’ve also redacted the names of employees involved, other than some high-level executives.

The documents show that the FBI and other state, local, and federal agencies have been scrutinizing the political speech of Americans on a significant scale, and trying to get lawful speech suppressed or removed online. Many conservative and traditionally liberal commentators have deemed that a violation of the First Amendment.

Twitter, a major hub of political speech, has been among the main targets of censorship. Many news stories have broken on Twitter in recent years and a significant portion of the nation’s political debate takes place on the platform, as it allows an efficient way for direct and public interaction between all on the platform, from the most prominent to the least.

Twitter resisted some censorship requests, but there was little sign the company did so as a matter of principle. Rather, executives sometimes couldn’t find a policy they could use as a justification. Prior Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was under pressure from his lieutenants to expand the policies to allow more thorough censorship, the documents show.

“The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that (by just reducing prevalence overall),” said Yoel Roth, then Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, which governs content policy, in a 2021 internal message published by Weiss.

“We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we’re going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations—especially for other policy domains.”

Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder, and Chairman of Twitter and co-founder & CEO of Square in Miami, Fla., on June 04, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In many cases, Twitter leaders de facto allowed the government to silence its critics on the platform.

Many censorship requests came in with an imperious attitude, particularly those from the Biden White House, but also some from the office of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who at the time headed the powerful House Intelligence Committee.

Around November 2020, Schiff’s office sent a list of dema to Twitter, including for the removal of “any and all content” about the committee’s staff and suspend “many” accounts including that of Paul Sperry, a journalist with RealClearInvestigations.

Schiff’s office accused Sperry of harassment and promoting “false QAnon conspiracies.”

Sperry rejected the allegation, asking Schiff to show evidence for his claims and announced he was considering legal action.

Schiff’s demands were apparently a response to Sperry’s articles that speculated on the identity of the White House whistleblower that alleged a “quid pro quo” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Sperry reported, using anonymous sources, that the whistleblower was likely then-CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, who was overheard talking in the White House with Sean Misko, a holdover staffer from the Obama administration. Misko later joined Schiff’s committee.

Twitter rejected Schiff’s demands, save for reviewing “again” Sperry’s account activity. Sperry’s account was suspended months later. Taibbi said he wasn’t able to find out why.

Under Pressure

The many censorship requests Twitter received via the FBI were phrased as merely bringing information to its attention, leaving it up to the company to decide what to do with them. But Twitter executives clearly felt compelled to accommodate these requests, even in cases where they internally struggled to justify doing so, the documents show.

The government pressure took several forms. The FBI would follow up on its requests and if they weren’t fulfilled, Twitter had to explain itself to the bureau. If Twitter’s position on an issue differed from the one expected by the government, company executives would be questioned and made aware that the bureau, and even the broader intelligence community, wasn’t happy. That would send the executives into triage mode, rushing to salvage the relationship, which it apparently considered essential.

Corporate media served as another pressure point. If Twitter wouldn’t do what it was told fast enough, the media would be provided with information portraying Twitter as ignoring some problem of paramount importance, such as possible foreign influence operations on its platform.

One censorship request, for instance, targeted an account allegedly run by Russian intelligence, though Twitter wasn’t given any evidence of it.

“Due to a lack of technical evidence on our end, I’ve generally left it be, waiting for more evidence,” said one Twitter executive that previously worked for the CIA, according to Taibbi.

“Our window on that is closing, given that government partners are becoming more aggressive on attribution and reporting on it.”

The internal email suggests that Twitter, despite having no concrete evidence to back it, wouldn’t dare to disobey the request because of the media fallout of the government publicly labeling the account as run by Russian intelligence.

Congress was perhaps the heaviest sword of Damocles hanging over Twitter’s head. Lawmakers could not only spur negative media coverage, but also tie up the company in hearings and investigations, or even introduce legislation that could hurt Twitter’s bottom line.

For instance, just as Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was pushing Twitter to produce more evidence of Russian influence operations on its platform in 2017, he also teamed up with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to propose a bill that would have required extensive disclosures of online political advertising.

In the meantime, Twitter managers were convinced that lawmakers were leaking information Twitter provided them and seeding negative news stories, even as the company was trying to placate them with increasingly stringent actions toward actual and alleged Russia-linked accounts.

Even though the FBI was officially only alerting Twitter to activities of malign foreign actors, many of the censorship requests were simply lists of accounts with little to no evidence of malign foreign links. At times, Twitter tried to ask for more information, noting that it couldn’t find any evidence on its end, but often it simply complied. It was impossible for Twitter to do its due diligence on each request—there were simply too many, according to Taibbi.

One request revealed by Taibbi claimed that “the attached email accounts” were created “possibly for use in influence operations, social media collection, or social engineering.”

Without further explanation, Twitter would be forwarded an excel doc,” Taibbi said.

Censorship requests were lopsided against the political right. Some researchers said that the right was much more involved in spreading misinformation, but the documents indicate that the censorship wasn’t so much a matter of a right-left dichotomy, but rather a pro- and anti-establishment one. Even some left-leaning accounts were targeted if they strayed too far from the official government narrative.

Moreover, the right didn’t appear too keen on demanding censorship to begin with. Taibbi couldn’t find a single censorship request from the Trump campaign, Trump White House, or even any Republican, though he was told there were some.

On the other hand, there seemed to be no appetite across the board for targeting misinformation coming from the establishment itself

An exterior view of “The Mac Shop”, where Hunter Biden allegedly brought his laptop for repair but never picked it up, in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 21, 2020. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Hunter Biden’s Laptop

Twitter’s suppression of the 2020 New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden, son of then-candidate Joe Biden, was dissected in the Twitter release in particular detail. Apparently, some Twitter executives, particularly Roth, head of Trust and Safety, were regularly invited to meetings with the FBI and other intelligence agencies to receive briefings on the online activities of foreign regimes. In the several months prior to the 2020 election, Roth had been conditioned to expect a “hack-and-leak” Russian operation, possibly in October and involving Hunter Biden.

The FBI alleged there was some evidence of Russian influence operation related to Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. But the bureau was also aware that Hunter Biden left his laptop with a trove of explosive information in a New York repair shop and that a copy of it was handed to Trump’s then-lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The FBI picked up the laptop from the repair shop in December 2019 and had Giuliani under surveillance in August 2020, when the repairman gave him the copy. As the FBI knew, the laptop information was neither hacked, nor a figment of a Russian plot.

When the Post broke the story, Twitter executives were left with no doubt it was exactly what the FBI had been warning about.

This feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation,” Roth commented in an internal email, despite acknowledging he had no evidence for such a claim, save for “questionable origins” of the laptop, which was apparently abandoned by Hunter Biden at a computer repair shop.

Roth noted that the story didn’t actually violate any Twitter rules. Nevertheless, it was marked “unsafe” and blocked on Twitter under its policy against hacked materials, despite there being no evidence the materials were hacked.

Twitter’s then-Deputy General Counsel James Baker backed the censorship move, saying it was “reasonable” to “assume” the Hunter Biden information was hacked.

Baker was FBI General Counsel until May 2018. He joined Twitter in June 2020. At the FBI, Baker was closely involved in the Russia investigation scandal where the FBI embroiled the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration in exhaustive investigations based on paper-thin and fabricated allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election. The allegations were produced by operatives funded by the campaign of Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The FBI was in fact aware of no intelligence suggesting a “hack-and-leak” operation ahead of the 2020 election, as testified in November 2022 by Elvis Chan, head of the cyber branch at the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, which was responsible for communications with Twitter and other tech companies with headquarters in its jurisdiction.

Twitter itself found very little Russian activity ahead of the 2020 election, Shellenberger reported, citing internal communications.


Twitter has long denied the practice of shadowbanning—suppressing the reach of an account without informing the user. The denial, however, specifically defined shadowbanning as making the person’s content invisible to others. What people have been complaining about is that Twitter would suppress how many people see their content without making it invisible altogether—Twitter has been doing that a lot, the internal materials show.

One Twitter engineer told Weiss: “We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do.”

Among those whose accounts were surreptitiously throttled was Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University professor of medicine and one of the early critics of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Others included Dan Bongino, conservative podcaster and former Secret Service agent, and Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, the country’s largest conservative youth group.


Twitter has extensively suppressed information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Anything about the origin of the virus, its treatment, the vaccines developed for it, and public policies to mitigate its spread had to align with the official position of the federal government, as promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Zweig said he “found countless instances of tweets labeled as ‘misleading’ or taken down entirely, sometimes triggering account suspensions, simply because they veered from CDC guidance or differed from establishment views.”

Twitter user @KelleyKga, a self-described fact-checker, criticized a tweet that falsely claimed that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death by disease in children. @KelleyKga pointed out that such a claim would require cherry-picking data, backing his argument with data from the CDC. His criticism, however, was labeled as “misleading” and suppressed. On the other hand, the tweet that contained the false claim was not suppressed.

All physician Euzebiusz Jamrozik did was write on Twitter an accurate summarization of study results on COVID-19 vaccine side effects. The tweet was labeled “misleading” and suppressed.

Sometimes, it appears, Twitter suppressed the information on its own, but many of the COVID-19-related requests came from the government and even directly from the Biden White House, internal files show.

In one email, White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty accused Twitter of “bending over backwards” to resist one of his censorship requests, calling it “total Calvinball”—a game where rules are made up along the way. The email wasn’t part of the Twitter files. It came out during an ongoing lawsuit against the Biden administration filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana.

Another White House staffer wanted Twitter to censor a tweet by Robert Kennedy, Jr., a long-time critic of vaccination. The staffer mused whether Twitter could “get moving on the process for having it removed ASAP.”

“And then if we can keep an eye out for tweets that fall in this same genre that would be great,” he said in the Jan. 23, 2021, email.

The administration wasn’t always trying to get such content removed. People who merely expressed “hesitancy” about the vaccines were supposed to only have their content suppressed from reaching any significant audience, the documents indicate.

The Biden administration had a lot at stake as the vaccine rollout was one of its first and most high-profile tasks. There were other stakeholders as well.

Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Covid-19 response and the vaccination program at the White House in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2021. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Several censorship requests came from Scott Gottlieb, board member and head of the regulatory and compliance committee at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that made the most popular COVID-19 vaccine and raked in tens of billions of dollars on sales of it over the past two years.

Gottlieb sent Twitter at least three requests. One targeted a doctor who argued on the platform that naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 is superior to vaccination. Twitter suppressed the tweet, even though the doctor was correct.

Another request targeted author Justin Hart, who argued on Twitter against school closures, pointing out that COVID-19 fatalities among children are extremely rare. Gottlieb sent the request shortly before Pfizer received approval for the use of its vaccine on children. Twitter didn’t comply with the request.

Yet another request targeted former NY Times reporter Berenson. Gottlieb claimed that Berenson’s criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of COVID-19 response in the Biden administration, was causing threats of physical violence toward Fauci. Twitter suspended Berenson’s account shortly after.

Gottlieb sent his requests to the same Twitter official who served as a contact person for censorship requests coming from the White House.

Trump Deplatforming

Trump was particularly effective on Twitter. His soundbites, honed over decades of dealing with the New York press, played well on the brevity-oriented Twitter, earning the president some 90 million followers and lending him the power to bypass media filters and instantly grab national attention. Trump’s Twitter presidency, however, brewed scorn in the beltway, especially among the foreign policy crowd that was used to diplomatic subtlety.

Twitter’s removal of Trump a few days after the Jan. 6, 2021, protest and riot at the U.S. Capitol appears to be one of those instances where Twitter executives acted on their own, breaking the platform’s content policies in suppressing the voice of a sitting American president, internal documents indicate.

Twitter suspended Trump’s account on Jan. 8, 2021, after the president made two posts.

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” said one of Trump’s tweets.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” read the other.

Twitter moderators and supervisors agreed that the Tweets didn’t violate any rules.

“I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer. “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?) from Wednesday.”

Higher executives, under pressure from their many anti-Trump employees, wouldn’t accept that conclusion and continued to push for construing Trump’s comments as malicious.

“The biggest question is whether a tweet line the one this morning from Trump, which isn’t a rule violation on its face, is being used as coded incitement to further violence,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust, argued in an internal message.

Another Twitter moderation team quickly furnished Gadde’s argument with a narrative. Trump was a “leader of a violent extremist group who is glorifying the group and its recent actions,” the team concluded, according to internal messages.

Undermining the Nunes Memo

In January 2018, then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) submitted his memo detailing FBI surveillance abuses in pursuit of the Trump-Russia investigation. The memo was correct on virtually all points of substance, as later confirmed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The memo was dismissed by the corporate media as a “joke,” but gained significant traction on social media nonetheless. Legacy media and several lawmakers then came out claiming the memo was boosted online by accounts linked to Russian influence operations.

However, Twitter found no evidence of Russian influence behind the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag.

The claims were all sourced to the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), a group set up in 2017 under the German Marshall Fund, a think tank funded by the American, German, and Swedish governments.

The ASD is closely linked to the U.S. foreign policy and national security establishment. It was headed at the time by Laura Rosenberger, a former Clinton campaign adviser who held various roles at the State Department and the National Security Council. Its Advisory Council includes former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, former CIA head Michael Morell, and former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Mike Chertoff.

Twitter officials were at a loss as to how the ASD came to its conclusions.

“We investigated, found that engagement was overwhelmingly organic and driven by strong VIT [Very Important Tweeters] engagement (including Wikileaks, [Donald Trump, Jr., Rep. Steve King, and others),” Trust and Safety head Roth wrote in an internal message.

In fact, the “dashboard” ASD used to make its claims had already been reverse-engineered by Twitter—a fact Roth didn’t want to disclose to the media.

Twitter tried debunking the story behind the scenes without giving out such details, but to no avail. Initially, reporters ran with the story without even reaching out to Twitter, Roth wrote.

The initial letter on the matter from Schiff and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee at the time, also came out before giving Twitter a chance to respond, internal messages say.

Twitter tried to stop Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) from piling on with his own letter, but again failed.

“Blumenthal isn’t always looking for real and nuanced solutions. He wants to get credit for pushing us further. And he may move on only when the press moves on,” commented Carlos Monje, Twitter’s then-Public Policy director, in an internal message. Formerly a Department of Transportation official, Monje returned to the department under the Biden administration.

In the end, Twitter never publicly challenged the Russia narrative.

Aiding Pentagon Psyops

In 2017, a Pentagon official asked Twitter to “whitelist” several accounts the Defense Department was using to spread its message in the Middle East. Twitter obliged, giving the accounts similar privileges it was reserving for verified accounts.

Later, however, the Pentagon removed any apparent connections between the accounts and the U.S. government, making them de facto surreptitious. Even though the accounts should have been removed under Twitter’s inauthentic activity policy, the company left them up for several years, independent journalist Fang reported.

Federal ‘Belly button’ of Investigation

The FBI served as a conduit for other government agencies to pass information to Twitter and ask for favors, according to Taibbi.

In one exchange, FBI cyber head Chan explained that the bureau would funnel to Twitter communications from the U.S. intelligence community (USIC), but other election-related communications would come from the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

“We can give you everything we’re seeing from the FBI and USIC agencies,” Chan said. “CISA will know what’s going on in each state.”

He then asked if Twitter would like to communicate with CISA separately or if it would prefer to “rely on the FBI to be the belly button of the [U.S. government].”

Twitter executives were surprised to learn that the FBI had agents specifically dedicated to searching Twitter and flagging content policy violations.

Since 2017, Twitter has employed at least 15 former FBI agents, further entangling the agency with the platform. The practice is so common, there was an internal discussion group at Twitter for former agents.

The FBI responded to the Twitter files disclosures in a statement that labeled the reporting “misinformation” spread by “conspiracy theorists and others … with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”

Department of Homeland Censorship

The DHS has managed to shoehorn speech policing into its mandate to protect critical infrastructure. In January 2017, shortly before leaving the White House, President Barack Obama designated elections as critical infrastructure. The DHS’s CISA then made it its job not only to protect elections from hackers, but also from misinformation and disinformation.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/17/2023 - 23:00
Published:1/17/2023 10:17:15 PM
[California] California’s Senate Primary Is Going To Be A Doozy Over the weekend, the White House announced that five more classified documents from the Obama administration were found at President Biden’s Delaware home. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew asks whether comparisons to former President Donald Trump’s own classified document scandal are apt. They discuss why gas stoves became such a […] Published:1/17/2023 6:43:42 PM
[California Politics] Politics Podcast: Why Gas Stoves Became A Casualty In The Culture War Over the weekend, the White House announced that five more classified documents from the Obama administration were found at President Biden’s Delaware home. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew asks whether comparisons to former President Donald Trump’s own classified document scandal are apt. They discuss why gas stoves became such a […] Published:1/17/2023 5:02:54 PM
[Markets] Trump Reacts To Lack Of Visitor Logs For Biden's House Where Classified Documents Were Found Trump Reacts To Lack Of Visitor Logs For Biden's House Where Classified Documents Were Found

Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump spoke out after the White House said there are no visitor logs for President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, where multiple classified documents were discovered.

“The White House just announced that there are no LOGS or information of any kind on visitors to the Wilmington house and flimsy, unlocked, and unsecured, but now very famous, garage. Maybe they are smarter than we think!” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social on Jan. 16.

This is one of seemingly many places where HIGHLY CLASSIFIED documents are stored (in a big pile on the damp floor).

Former President Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)

A “small number” of classified materials were discovered on three separate occasions in Biden’s Wilmington house in December and January, in the garage and a room adjacent to it, White House lawyer Richard Sauber said last week.

Another stash of documents, which Sauber also described as a “small number,” was found in early November at the Penn Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania, which once served as Biden’s office. The documents date back to the Obama administration when Biden was the vice president. The total number of documents uncovered from both sites remains unclear.

Sauber has said the documents were “inadvertently placed” at the locations.

The White House spokesman Ian Sams on Monday said that it wasn’t standard practice to keep visitor logs of the president’s personal residence, after Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, demanded the information over the weekend, citing national security concerns.

“Like every president across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal,” said Ian Sams, spokesperson for the White House counsel, in a statement to the media. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them.”

Trump on Monday sought to draw a distinction between Biden’s handling of the files with his case regarding classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago resort, which was subject to an unprecedented FBI raid last August. Agents at the time took about 100 documents marked as classified or top secret and 11,000 others marked as non-classified. Both cases are currently being investigated by separate special counsels. Trump has maintained that he declassified all the materials before he left office.

Unlike Biden’s garage, Trump claimed, “Mar-a-Lago is a highly secured facility, with Security Cameras all over the place, and watched over by staff & our great Secret Service.”

“I have INFO on everyone!” Trump said.

The White House has faced scrutiny for not disclosing the initial discovery of the documents on Nov. 2, with critics saying it was a deliberate attempt to cover up news that would have negatively affected the Democrats during the midterms that took place a few days later. The White House confirmed the initial discovery on Jan. 9, only after the development was first reported by media outlets.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/17/2023 - 17:00
Published:1/17/2023 4:45:16 PM
[4b8f02d1-a16c-53fd-bf34-0d2671e11f1e] Karine Jean-Pierre dodges question about whether all classified documents have been recovered White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wouldn't say Tuesday whether the search for Obama-era classified documents had concluded. Published:1/17/2023 3:28:32 PM
[Politics] National Archives caught with egg on their face after classified documents found at Biden’s think tank, home Last year the National Archives tried to squash discussions about Obama mishandling classified documents by taking them with him when he left the White House. In doing so, they claimed that all . . . Published:1/17/2023 11:03:16 AM
[] MSNBC legal analyst explains why it's OK that Biden took classified docs but not Trump Published:1/16/2023 2:12:50 PM
[Markets] Republicans Call Out 'Double Standard' Over Biden Classified Docs Hypocrisy Republicans Call Out 'Double Standard' Over Biden Classified Docs Hypocrisy

Congressional Republicans are crying foul over the double standard applied to President Biden's mishandling of classified materials vs. the treatment former President Trump received.

To review, President Biden's lawyers - who didn't have clearance to view classified documents, allegedly stumbled upon a cache of them at his old office at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2, 2022, the day before midterm elections. After waiting nearly two months, more documents were found on December 20, January 9 and January 12 - the date on which AG Merrick Garland finally appointed a special counsel to investigate.

Trump, on the other hand, who has a potential constitutional argument that he could have declassified the documents recovered from his locked safe at his highly surveilled Mar-a-Lago residence, was treated to a raid by Biden's DOJ

"Where’s the raid of Biden’s garage?" asked House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA).

"Now, we learn that Biden kept additional classified materials at his home in Delaware in his GARAGE. Yet there was no raid. No ransacking of Biden’s home. Nothing,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted, trying to get back in MAGA's good graces.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the situation "another faux pas by the Biden administration," by "treating law differently based upon your political beliefs."

"That’s why we had to provide a new entity from our Church-style [committee] to look after the weaponization of what’s gone on that you want an equal playing of the law to all Americans."

McCarthy also pointed out the fact that officials have not released any photos of the documents recovered from Biden’s office and home. The Justice Department included a photo of materials retrieved from Trump’s residence in a court filing that was made public. -The Hill

"More classified documents Biden took from the Obama White House have been found at Biden’s Delaware house next to his Corvette. Biden assures the public it’s OK because his garage is locked… So, when’s the FBI raid?" said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) in a Thursday tweet.

Trump was also 'raided' by the media, so to speak.

And crickets over Biden aside from scant cardboard reporting on the matter.

In fact, CNN's Jake Tapper is earning his paycheck carrying water for the regime:

Meanwhile, House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) has sent letters to the National Archives and the White House Counsel's office requesting documents and communications pertaining to the classified materials, along with a request for information about the documents themselves and who may have been able to access them.

And Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), the top GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent AG Garland and DNI Avril Haines a request for a classified briefing about the documents.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/16/2023 - 12:45
Published:1/16/2023 12:19:25 PM
[] Sunny Hostin suggests classified docs stayed hidden because Biden was distracted by holiday season Published:1/13/2023 12:04:35 PM
[Markets] GOP Congressman Introduces Resolution To Place A "Permanent" Bust Of Zelensky In US Capitol GOP Congressman Introduces Resolution To Place A "Permanent" Bust Of Zelensky In US Capitol

Authored by Chris Menahan via,

Republican Rep Joe Wilson of South Carolina wants the US capitol to have a bust of Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky on permanent display.

From The Washington Times, "House Republican proposes putting a bust of Ukraine leader in U.S. Capitol":

Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina filed a resolution earlier this week directing the Fine Arts Board of the U.S. House of Representatives to obtain a bust of Mr. Zelenskyy for display.

The board has authority over all works of art and historical objects displayed on the House wing of the U.S. Capitol and the associated office buildings.


A staunch conservative, who came under fire for shouting "you lie" at former President Obama during a 2009 address to Congress, Mr. Wilson has emerged as a strong supporter of Ukraine.

In December, he told the Charleston Post and Courier that Ukraine's fight against Russian aggression reminded him of the American Revolution.

Here's the full text of his resolution:

Truly embarrassing.

If Congress insists that a bust of Zelensky go in the Capitol, it should be placed in a bathroom.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/13/2023 - 11:10
Published:1/13/2023 10:31:50 AM
[World] White House deflects national security concerns of Biden's classified documents disclosure The White House downplayed national security concerns arising from the discovery of classified documents from President Joe Biden's tenure in former President Barack Obama's administration. Published:1/12/2023 3:10:32 PM
[World] White House deflects national security concerns of Biden's classified documents disclosure The White House downplayed national security concerns arising from the discovery of classified documents from President Joe Biden's tenure in former President Barack Obama's administration. Published:1/12/2023 2:51:03 PM
[World] WATCH LIVE: Garland issues statement after second Biden document location revealed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is making a statement Thursday afternoon after the location of the second trove of classified documents found in President Joe Biden's possession from the Obama-Biden administration was revealed. Published:1/12/2023 11:44:24 AM
[] Eric Swalwell holding SIGN in a selfie goes SO WRONG yet SO RIGHT in hilarious meme thread Published:1/12/2023 8:20:43 AM
[] The Morning Report — 1/12/23 Good morning, kids. When we first learned that as VP and Head Fucker-Upper for Barack Obama, Joe Biden had stashed a cache of top secret documents at his eponymous think tank (LOL) at the U of P, the propagandists and... Published:1/12/2023 6:48:06 AM
[World] 332 Costliest Rules in the Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations

Every year, federal agencies issue thousands of rules, regulations, and guidance documents, compared to a relative handful of laws passed by Congress. After a partial regulatory reprieve during the Trump era of 2017 to 2020, the Biden administration is sending rulemaking back to Obama-era heights and beyond.   The Biden White House’s new Fall 2022 Regulatory Plan and […]

The post 332 Costliest Rules in the Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations appeared first on Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Published:1/11/2023 11:52:33 AM
[World] Discovery Biden held classified documents could muddy attack against Trump An investigation into classified records from the Obama administration that President Joe Biden held for years at his private Washington office could temper attacks against former President Donald Trump as federal authorities weigh criminal charges over the former president’s handling of secret files. Published:1/10/2023 5:41:46 PM
[674b77bd-9bd6-546e-95dd-b2a273cda5ce] 10 unanswered questions about Biden's classified documents The White House acknowledged Monday the discovery of classified documents at President Biden's affiliated think-tank that "appear to be" from the Obama administration. Published:1/10/2023 10:37:22 AM
[World] Biden documents controversy follows him to Mexico President Joe Biden declined to respond to shouted questions about why classified documents from former President Barack Obama's administration were found in one of his private offices last year. Published:1/10/2023 9:44:48 AM
[Markets] Classified Documents Found At President Biden's Think Tank Classified Documents Found At President Biden's Think Tank

Classified documents from Joe Biden's tenure as Vice President were found in early November at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, CBS News reports, citing two sources with knowledge of an inquiry launched by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The investigation into the roughly 10 documents will be conducted by the US Attorney in Chicago (shocking!), according to the sources.

The classified material was identified by personal attorneys for Mr. Biden on Nov. 2, the day before the midterm elections, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president confirmed. The documents were discovered when Mr. Biden's personal attorneys "were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.," Sauber said in a statement to CBS News. The documents were contained in a folder that was in a box with other unclassified papers, the sources said. The sources revealed neither what the classified documents contain nor their level of classification. A source familiar told CBS News the documents did not contain nuclear secrets. -CBS News

Remember when the DOJ raided former President Trump and made a huge deal about classified documents having been commingled with not-classified documents? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

According to Sauber, the White House counsel's office notified the National Archives on the same day the material was discovered, after which the Archives took possession the next morning.

"The discovery of these documents was made by the President's attorneys," said Sauber. "The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President's personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives."

In charge of the investigation is John Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who will seek to determine how the classified material ended up at the Penn Biden Center (which received $54.6 million in Chinese donations after the Biden Center was announced in 2016).


Tyler Durden Mon, 01/09/2023 - 19:00
Published:1/9/2023 6:21:28 PM
[Markets] An Age Of Decay An Age Of Decay

Authored by Chris Buskirk via,

This essay is adapted from "America and the Art of the Possible: Restoring National Vitality in an Age of Decay," by Chris Buskirk (Encounter, 192 pages, $28.99)

The fact that American living standards have broadly stagnated, and for some segments of the population have declined, should be cause for real concern to the ruling class...

America ran out of frontier when we hit the Pacific Ocean. And that changed things. Alaska and Hawaii were too far away to figure in most people’s aspirations, so for decades, it was the West Coast states and especially California that represented dreams and possibilities in the national imagination. The American dream reached its apotheosis in California. After World War II, the state became our collective tomorrow. But today, it looks more like a future that the rest of the country should avoid—a place where a few coastal enclaves have grown fabulously wealthy while everyone else falls further and further behind.

After World War II, California led the way on every front. The population was growing quickly as people moved to the state in search of opportunity and young families had children. The economy was vibrant and diverse. Southern California benefited from the presence of defense contractors. San Diego was a Navy town, and demobilized GIs returning from the Pacific Front decided to stay and put down roots. Between 1950 and 1960, the population of the Los Angeles metropolitan area swelled from 4,046,000 to 6,530,000. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory was inaugurated in the 1930s by researchers at the California Institute of Technology. One of the founders, Jack Parsons, became a prominent member of an occult sect in the late 1940s based in Pasadena that practiced “Thelemic Magick” in ceremonies called the “Babalon Working.” L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology (1950), was an associate of Parsons and rented rooms in his home. The counterculture, or rather, countercultures, had deep roots in the state.

Youth culture was born in California, arising out of a combination of rapid growth, the Baby Boom, the general absence of extended families, plentiful sunshine, the car culture, and the space afforded by newly built suburbs where teenagers could be relatively free from adult supervision. Tom Wolfe memorably described this era in his 1963 essay “The Kandy-Colored Tangerine Flake Streamline, Baby.” The student protest movement began in California too. In 1960, hundreds of protesters, many from the University of California at Berkeley, sought to disrupt a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee at the San Francisco City Hall. The police turned fire hoses on the crowd and arrested over thirty students. The Baby Boomers may have inherited the protest movement, but they didn’t create it. Its founders were part of the Silent Generation. Clark Kerr, the president of the UC system who earned a reputation for giving student protesters what they wanted, was from the Greatest Generation. Something in California, and in America, had already changed.

California was a sea of ferment during the 1960s—a turbulent brew of contrasting trends, as Tom O’Neill described it

The state was the epicenter of the summer of love, but it had also seen the ascent of Reagan and Nixon. It had seen the Watts riots, the birth of the antiwar movement, and the Altamont concert disaster, the Free Speech movement and the Hells Angels. Here, defense contractors, Cold Warriors, and nascent tech companies lived just down the road from hippie communes, love-ins, and surf shops.

Hollywood was the entertainment capital of the world, producing a vision of peace and prosperity that it sold to interior America—and to the world as the beau ideal of the American experiment. It was a prosperous life centered around the nuclear family living in a single-family home in the burgeoning suburbs. Doris Day became America’s sweetheart through a series of romantic comedies, but the turbulence in her own life foreshadowed America’s turn from vitality to decay. She was married three times, and her first husband either embezzled or mismanaged her substantial fortune. Her son, Terry Melcher, was closely associated with Charles Manson and the Family, along with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys—avatars of the California lifestyle that epitomized the American dream. 

The Manson Family spent the summer of 1968 living and partying with Wilson in his Malibu mansion. The Cielo Drive home in the Hollywood Hills where Sharon Tate and four others were murdered in August 1969 had been Melcher’s home and the site of parties that Manson attended. The connections between Doris Day’s son, the Beach Boys, and the Manson Family have a darkly prophetic valence in retrospect. They were young, good-looking, and carefree. But behind the clean-cut image of wholesome American youth was a desperate decadence fueled by titanic drug abuse, sexual outrages that were absurd even by the standards of Hollywood in the 60s, and self-destructiveness clothed in the language of pseudo-spirituality.

The California culture of the 1960s now looks like a fin-de-siècle blow-off top. The promise, fulfillment, and destruction of the American dream appears distilled in the Golden State, like an epic tragedy played out against a sunny landscape where the frontier ended. Around 1970, America entered into an age of decay, and California was in the vanguard.


H. Abernathy/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Up, Up, and Away

The expectation of constant progress is deeply ingrained in our understanding of the world, and of America in particular. Some metrics do generally keep rising: gross domestic product mostly goes up, and so does the stock market. According to those barometers, things must be headed mostly in the right direction. Sure there are temporary setbacks—the economy has recessions, the stock market has corrections—but the long-term trajectory is upward. Are those metrics telling us that the country is growing more prosperous? Are they signals, or noise?

There is much that GDP and the stock market don’t tell us about, such as public and private debt levels, wage trends, and wealth concentration. In fact, during a half-century in which reported GDP grew consistently and the stock market reached the stratosphere, real wages have crept up very slowly, and living standards have flatlined or even declined for the middle and working classes. Many Americans have a feeling that things aren’t going in the right direction or that the country has lost its societal health and vigor, but aren’t sure how to describe or measure the problem. We need broader metrics of national prosperity and vitality, including measures of noneconomic values like family stability or social trust.

There are many different criteria for national vitality. First, is the country guarded against foreign aggression and at peace with itself? Are people secure in their homes, free from government harassment, and safe from violent crime? Is prosperity broadly shared? Can the average person get a good job, buy a house, and support a family without doing anything extraordinary? Are families growing? Are people generally healthy, and is life span increasing or at least not decreasing? Is social trust high? Do people have a sense of unity in a common destiny and purpose? Is there a high capacity for collective action? Are people happy?

We can sort quantifiable metrics of vitality into three main categories: social, economic, and political. There is a spiritual element too, which for my purposes falls under the social category. The social factors that can readily be measured include things like age at first marriage (an indicator of optimism about the future), median adult stature (is it rising or declining?), life expectancy, and prevalence of disease. Economic measures include real wage trends, wealth concentration, and social mobility. Political metrics relate to polarization and acts of political violence. 

Many of these tend to move together over long periods of time. It’s easy to look at an individual metric and miss the forest for the trees, not seeing how it’s one manifestation of a larger problem in a dynamic system. Solutions proposed to deal with one concern may cause unexpected new problems in another part of the system. It’s a society-wide game of whack-a-mole. What’s needed is a more comprehensive understanding of structural trends and what lies behind them. From the founding period in America until about 1830, those factors were generally improving. Life expectancy and median height were increasing, both indicating a society that was mostly at peace and had plentiful food. Real wages roughly tripled during this period as labor supply growth was slow. There was some political violence. But for decades after independence, the country was largely at peace and citizens were secure in their homes. There was an overarching sense of shared purpose in building a new nation. 

Those indicators of vitality are no longer trending upward. Let’s start with life expectancy. There is a general impression that up until the last century, people died very young. There’s an element of truth to this: we are now less susceptible to death from infectious disease, especially in early childhood, than were our ancestors before the 20th century. Childhood mortality rates were appalling in the past, but burying a young child is now a rare tragedy. This is a very real form of progress, resulting from more reliable food supplies as a result of improvements in agriculture, better sanitation in cities, and medical advances, particularly the antibiotics and certain vaccines introduced in the first half of the 20th century. A period of rapid progress was then followed by a long period of slow, expensive improvement at the margins.

When you factor out childhood mortality, life spans have not grown by much in the past century or two. A study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine says that in mid-Victorian England, life expectancy at age five was 75 for men and 73 for women. In 2016, according to the Social Security Administration, the American male life expectancy at age five was 71.53 (which means living to age 76.53). Once you’ve made it to five years, your life expectancy is not much different from your great-grandfather’s. Moreover, Pliny tells us that Cicero’s wife, Terentia, lived to 103. Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of both France and England at different times in the 12th century, died a week shy of her 82nd birthday. A study of 298 famous men born before 100 B.C. who were not murdered, killed in battle, or died by suicide found that their average age at death was 71.

More striking is that people who live completely outside of modern civilization without Western medicine today have life expectancies roughly comparable to our own. Daniel Lieberman, a biological anthropologist at Harvard, notes that “foragers who survive the precarious first few years of infancy are most likely to live to be 68 to 78 years old.”  In some ways, they are healthier in old age than the average American, with lower incidences of inflammatory diseases like diabetes and atherosclerosis. It should be no surprise that an active life spent outside in the sun, eating wild game and foraged plants, produces good health.

Recent research shows that not only are we not living longer, we are less healthy and less mobile during the last decades of our lives than our great-grandfathers were. This points to a decline in overall health. We have new drugs to treat Type I diabetes, but there is more Type I diabetes than in the past. We have new treatments for cancer, but there is more cancer. Something has gone very wrong. What’s more, between 2014 and 2017, median American life expectancy declined every year. In 2017 it was 78.6 years, then it decreased again between 2018 and 2020 to 76.87. The figure for 2020 includes COVID deaths, of course, but the trend was already heading downward for several years, mostly from deaths of despair: diseases associated with chronic alcoholism, drug overdoses, and suicide. The reasons for the increase in deaths of despair are complex, but a major contributing factor is economic: people without good prospects over an extended period of time are more prone to self-destructive behavior. This decline is in contrast to the experience of peer countries.

In addition to life expectancy, other upward trends have stalled or reversed in the past few decades. Family formation has slowed. The total fertility rate has dropped to well below replacement level. Real wages have stagnated. Debt levels have soared. Social mobility has stalled and income inequality has grown. Material conditions for most people have improved little except in narrow parts of life such as entertainment.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trends, Aggregate, and Individuals 

The last several decades have been a story of losing ground for much of middle America, away from a handful of wealthy cities on the coasts. The optimistic story that’s been told is that both income and wealth have been rising. That’s true in the aggregate, but when those numbers are broken down the picture is one of a rising gap between a small group of winners and a larger group of losers. Real wages have remained essentially flat over the past 50 years, and the growth in national wealth has been heavily concentrated at the top. The chart below represents the share of national income that went to the top 10 percent of earners in the United States. In 1970 it was 33.3 percent; in 2019 the figure was 45.4 percent.

Disparities in wealth have become more closely tied to educational attainment. Between 1989 and 2019, household wealth grew the most for those with the highest level of education. For households with a graduate degree, the increase was 31 percent; with a college degree, it was 17 percent; with a high school degree, about 4 percent. Meanwhile, household wealth declined by a precipitous 60 percent for high school dropouts, including those with a GED. In 1989, households with a college degree had 2.74 times the wealth of those with only a high school diploma; in 2012 it was 3.08 times as much. In 1989, households with a graduate degree had 4.85 times the wealth of the high school group; in 2019, it was 6.12 times as much. The gap between the graduate degree group and the college group increased by 12 percent. The high school group’s wealth grew about 4 percent from 1989 to 2019, the college group’s wealth grew about 17 percent, and the wealth of the graduate degree group increased 31 percent. The gaps between the groups are growing in real dollars. It’s true that people have some control over the level of education they attain, but college has become costlier, and it’s fundamentally unnecessary for many jobs, so the growing wealth disparity by education is a worrying trend.

Wealth is relative: if your wealth grew by 4 percent while that of another group increased by 17 percent, then you are poorer. What’s more crucial, however, is purchasing power. If the costs of middle-class staples like healthcare, housing, and college tuition are climbing sharply while wages stagnate, then living standards will decline.

More problematic than growing wealth disparity in itself is diminishing economic mobility. A big part of the American story from the beginning has been that children tend to end up better off than their parents were. By most measures, that hasn’t been true for decades.

The chart below compares the birth cohorts of 1940 and 1980 in terms of earning more than parents did. The horizontal axis indicates the relative income level of the parents. Among the older generation, over 90 percent earned more than their parents, except for those whose parents were at the very high end of the income scale. Among the younger generation, the percentages were much lower, and also more variable. For those whose parents had a median income, only about 40 percent would do better. In this analysis, low growth and high inequality both suppress mobility.

Over time, declining economic mobility becomes an intergenerational problem, as younger people fall behind the preceding generation in wealth accumulation. The graph below illustrates the proportion of the national wealth held by successive generations at the same stage of life, with the horizontal axis indicating the median age for the group. Baby Boomers (birth years 1946–1964) owned a much larger percentage of the national wealth than the two succeeding generations at every point.

At a median age of 45, for example, the Boomers owned approximately 40 percent of the national wealth. At the same median age, Generation X (1965–1980) owned about 15 percent. The Boomer generation was 15–18 percent larger than Gen X and it had 2.67 times as much of the national wealth. The Millennial generation (1981–1996) is bigger than Gen X though a little smaller than the Boomers, and it has owned about half of what Gen X did at the same median age.

Those are some measurable indicators of the nation’s vitality, and they tell us that something is going wrong. A key reason for stagnant wages, declining mobility, and growing disparities of wealth is that economic growth overall has been sluggish since around 1970. And the main reason for slower growth is that the long-term growth in productivity that created so much wealth for America and the world over the prior two centuries slowed down.

Wealth and the New Frontier

There are other ways to increase the overall national wealth. One is by acquiring new resources, which has been done in various ways: through territorial conquest, or the incorporation of unsettled frontier lands, or the discovery of valuable resources already in a nation’s territory, such as petroleum reserves in recent history. Getting an advantageous trade agreement can also be a way of increasing resources. 

Through much of American history, the frontier was a great source of new wealth. The vast supply of mostly free land, along with the other resources it held, was not just an economic boon; it also shaped American culture and politics in ways that were distinct from the long-settled countries of Europe where the frontier had been closed for centuries and all the land was owned space. 

But there can be a downside to becoming overly dependent on any one resource. Aside from gaining new resources, real economic growth comes from either population growth or productivity growth. Population growth can add to the national wealth, but it can also put strain on supplies of essential resources. What elevates living standards broadly is productivity growth, making more out of available resources. A farmer who tills his fields with a steel plough pulled by a horse can cultivate more land than a farmer doing it by hand. It allows him to produce more food that can be consumed by a bigger family, or the surplus can be sold or traded for other goods. A farmer driving a plough with an engine and reaping with a mechanical combine can produce even more. 

But productivity growth is driven by innovation. In the example above, there is a progression from farming by hand with a simple tool, to the use of metal tools and animal power, to the use of complicated machinery, each of which greatly increases the amount of food produced per farmer. This illustrates the basic truth that technology is a means of reducing scarcity and generating surpluses of essential goods, so labor and resources can be put toward other purposes, and the whole population will be better off.

Total factor productivity (TFP) refers to economic output relative to the size of all primary inputs, namely labor and capital. Over time, a nation’s economic output tends to grow faster than its labor force and capital stock. This might owe to better labor skills or capital management, but it is primarily the result of new technology. In economics, productivity growth is used as a proxy for the application of innovation. If productivity is rising, it is understood to mean that applied science is working to reduce scarcity. The countries that lead in technological innovation naturally reap the benefits first and most broadly, and therefore have the highest living standards. Developing countries eventually get the technology too, and then enjoy the benefits in what is called catch-up growth. For example, China first began its national electrification program in the 1950s, when electricity was nearly ubiquitous in the United States. The project took a few decades to complete, and China saw rapid growth as wide access to electric power increased productivity.

The United States still leads the way in innovation—though now with more competition than at any time since World War II. But the development of productivity-enhancing new technologies has been slower over the past few decades than in any comparable span of time since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 18th century. The obvious advances in a few specific areas, particularly digital technology, are exceptions that prove the rule. The social technologies of recent years facilitate consumption rather than production.As a result, growth in total factor productivity has been slow for a long time. According to a report from Rabobank, “TFP growth deteriorated from an average annual growth of 1.1% over the period 1969–2010 to 0.4% in 2010 to 2018.” 

In The Great Stagnation, Tyler Cowen suggested that the conventional productivity measures may be misleading. For example, he noted that productivity growth through 2000–2004 averaged 3.8 percent, a very high figure and an outlier relative to most of the last half-century. Surely some of that growth was real owing to the growth of the internet at the time, but it also coincided with robust growth in the financial sector, which ended very badly in 2008. 

“What we measured as value creation actually may have been value destruction, namely too many homes and too much financial innovation of the wrong kind.” Then, productivity shot up by over 5 percent in 2009–2010, but Cohen found that it was mostly the result of firms firing the least productive people. That may have been good business, but it’s not the same as productivity rising because innovation is reducing scarcity and thus leading to better living standards. Over the long term, when productivity growth slows or stalls, overall economic growth is sluggish. Median real wage growth is slow. For most people, living standards don’t just stagnate but decline.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

You Owe Me Money

As productivity growth has slowed, the economy has become more financialized, which means that resources are increasingly channeled into means of extracting wealth from the productive economy instead of producing goods and services. Peter Thiel said that a simple way to understand financialization is that it represents the increasing influence of companies whose main business or source of value is producing little pieces of paper that essentially say, you owe me money. Wall Street and the companies that make up the financial sector have never been larger or more powerful. Since the early 1970s, financial firms’ share of all corporate earnings has roughly doubled to nearly 25 percent. As a share of real GDP, it grew from 13–15 percent in the early 1970s to nearly 22 percent in 2020. 

The profits of financial firms have grown faster than their share of the economy over the past half-century. The examples are everywhere. Many companies that were built to produce real-world, nondigital goods and services have become stealth finance companies, too. General Electric, the manufacturing giant founded by Thomas Edison, transformed itself into a black box of finance businesses, dragging itself down as a result. The total market value of major airlines like American, United, and Delta is less than the value of their loyalty programs, in which people get miles by flying and by spending with airline-branded credit cards. In 2020, American Airlines’ loyalty program was valued at $18–$30 billion while the market capitalization of the entire company was $14 billion. This suggests that the actual airline business—flying people from one place to another—is valuable only insofar as it gets people to participate in a loyalty program.

The main result of financialization is best explained by the “Cantillon effect,” which means that money creation, over a long period of time, redistributes wealth upward to the already rich. This effect was first described in the 18th century by Richard Cantillon after he observed the results of introducing a paper money system. He noted that the first people to receive the new money saw their incomes rise, while the last to receive it saw a decline in their purchasing power because of consumer price inflation. The first to receive newly created money are banks and other financial institutions. They are called “Cantillon insiders,” a term coined by Nick Szabo, and they get the most benefit. But all owners of assets—including stocks, real estate, even a home—are enriched to some extent by the Cantillon effect. Those who own a lot of assets benefit the most, and financial assets tend to increase in value faster than other types, but all gain value. This is a version of the Matthew Principle, taken from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower: to those who have, more will be given. The more assets you own, the faster your wealth will increase.

Meanwhile, the people without assets fall behind as asset prices rise faster than incomes. Inflation hawks have long worried that America’s decades-long policy of running large government deficits combined with easy money from the Fed will lead to runaway inflation that beggars average Americans. This was seen clearly in 2022 after the massive increase in dollars created by the Fed in 2020 and 2021. 

Even so, they’ve mostly been looking for inflation in the wrong place. It’s true that the prices of many raw materials, such as lumber and corn, have soared recently, followed by much more broad-based inflation in everything from food to rent, but inflation in the form of asset price bubbles has been with us for much longer. Those bubbles pop and prices drop, but the next bubble raises them even higher. Asset price inflation benefits asset owners, but not the people with few or no assets, like young people just starting out and finding themselves unable to afford to buy a home.

The Cantillon effect has been one of the main vectors of increased wealth concentration over the last 40 years. One way that the large banks use their insider status is by getting short-term loans from the Federal Reserve and lending the money back to the government by buying longer-term treasuries at a slightly higher interest rate and locking in a profit. 

Their position in the economy essentially guarantees them profits, and their size and political influence protect them from losses. We’ve seen the pattern of private profits and public losses clearly in the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, and in the financial crisis of 2008. Banks and speculators made a lot of money in the years leading up to the crisis, and when the losses on their bad loans came due, they got bailouts.

Moral Hazard

The Cantillon economy creates moral hazard in that large companies, especially financial institutions, can privatize profits and socialize losses. Insiders, and shareholders more broadly, can reap massive gains when the bets they make with the company’s capital pay off. When the bets go bad, the company gets bailed out. Alan Krueger, the chief economist at theTreasury Department in the Obama Administration, explained years later why banks and not homeowners were rescued from the fallout of the mortgage crisis: “It would have been extremely unfair, and created problems down the road to bail out homeowners who were irresponsible and took on homes they couldn’t afford.” Krueger glossed over the fact that the banks had used predatory and deceptive practices to initiate risky loans, and when they lost hundreds of billions of dollars—or trillions by some estimates—they were bailed out while homeowners were kicked out. That callous indifference alienates and radicalizes the forgotten men and women who have been losing ground.

Most people know about the big bailouts in 2008, but the system that joins private profit with socialized losses regularly creates incentives for sloppiness and corruption. The greed sometimes takes ridiculous forms. But once that culture takes over, it poisons everything it touches. Starting in 2002, for example, Wells Fargo began a scam in which it paid employees to open more than 3.5 million unauthorized checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards for retail customers. By exaggerating growth in the number of active retail accounts, the bank could give investors a false picture of the health of its retail business. It also charged those customers monthly service fees, which contributed to the bottom line and bolstered the numbers in quarterly earnings reports to Wall Street. Bigger profits led to higher stock prices, enriching senior executives whose compensation packages included large options grants. 

John Stumpf, the company’s CEO from 2007 to 2016, was forced to resign and disgorge around $40 million in repayments to Wells Fargo and fines to the federal government. Bloomberg estimates that he retained more than $100 million. Wells Fargo paid a $3 billion fine, which amounted to less than two months’ profit, as the bank’s annual profits averaged around $19.7 billion from 2017 to 2019. And this was for a scam that lasted nearly 15 years.

What is perhaps most absurd and despicable about this scheme is that Wells Fargo was conducting it during and even after the credit bubble, when the bank received billions of dollars in bailouts from the government. The alliance between the largest corporations and the state leads to corrupt and abusive practices. This is one of the second-order effects of the Cantillon economy.

Another effect is that managers respond to short-term financial incentives in a way that undermines the long-term vitality of their own company. An excessive focus on quarterly earnings is sometimes referred to as short-termism. Senior managers, especially at the C-suite level of public companies, are largely compensated with stock options, so they have a strong incentive to see the stock rise. In principle, a rising stock price should reflect a healthy, growing, profitable company. But managers figured out how to game the system: with the Fed keeping long-term rates low, corporations can borrow money at a much lower rate than the expected return in the stock market. Many companies have taken on long-term debt to finance stock repurchases, which helps inflate the stock price. This practice is one reason that corporate debt has soared since 1980.

The Cantillon effect distorts resource allocation, incentivizing rent-seeking in the financial industry and rewarding nonfinancial companies for becoming stealth financial firms. Profits are quicker and easier in finance than in other industries. As a result, many smart, ambitious people go to Wall Street instead of trying to invent useful products or seeking a new source of abundant power—endeavors that don’t have as much assurance of a payoff. How different might America be if the incentives were structured to reward the people who put their brain power and energy into those sorts of projects rather than into quantitative trading algorithms and financial derivatives of home mortgages.

While the financial industry does well, the manufacturing sector lags. Because of COVID-19, Americans discovered that the United States has very limited capacity to make the personal protective equipment that was in such urgent demand in 2020. We do not manufacture any of the most widely prescribed antibiotics, or drugs for heart disease or diabetes, nor any of the chemical precursors required to make them. A close look at other vital industries reveals the same penury. The rare earth minerals necessary for batteries and electronic screens mostly come from China because we have intentionally shuttered domestic sources or failed to develop them. We’re dependent on Taiwan for the computer chips that go into everything from phones to cars to appliances, and broken supply chains in 2021 led to widespread shortages. The list of necessities we import because we have exported our manufacturing base goes on.

Financialization of the economy amplifies the resource curse that has come with dollar supremacy. Richard Cantillon described a similar effect when he observed what happened to Spain and Portugal when they acquired large amounts of silver and gold from the New World. The new wealth raised prices, but it went largely into purchasing imported goods, which ruined the manufactures of the state and led to general impoverishment. In America today, a fiat currency that serves as the world’s reserve is the resource curse that erodes the manufacturing base while the financial sector flourishes. Since the dollar’s value was formally dissociated from gold in 1976, it now rests on American economic prosperity, political stability, and military supremacy. If these advantages diminish relative to competitors, so will the value of the dollar.

Dollar supremacy has also encouraged a debt-based economy. Federal debt as a share of GDP has risen from around 38 percent in 1970 to nearly 140 percent in 2020. Corporate debt has had peaks and troughs over those decades, but each new peak is higher than the last. In the 1970s, total nonfinancial corporate debt in the United States ranged between 30 and 35 percent of GDP. It peaked at about 43 percent in 1990, then at 45 percent with the dot-com bubble in 2001, then at slightly higher with the housing bubble in 2008, and now it’s approximately 47 percent. As asset prices have climbed faster than wages, consumer debt has soared from 43.2 percent of GDP in 1970 to over 75 percent in 2020. 

Student loan debt has soared even faster in recent years: in 2003, it totaled $240 billion—basically a rounding error—but by 2020, the sum had ballooned to six times as large, at $1.68 trillion, which amounts to around 8 percent of GDP. Increases in aggregate debt throughout society are a predictable result of the Cantillon effect in a financialized economy.

The Rise of the Two-Income Family

The Cantillon effect generates big gains for those closest to the money spigot, and especially those at the top of the financial industry, while the people furthest away fall behind. Average families find it more difficult to buy a home and maintain a middle-class life. In 90 percent of U.S. counties today, the median-priced single-family home is unaffordable on the median wage. One of the ways that families try to make ends meet is with the promiscuous use of credit. It’s one of the reasons that personal and household debt levels have risen across the board. People borrow money to cover the gap between expectations and reality, hoping that economic growth will soon pull them out of debt. But for many, it’s a trap they can never escape.

Another way that families have tried to keep up is by adding a second income. In 2018, over 60 percent of families were two-income households, up from about 30 percent in 1970. This change is not a result of a simple desire to do wage work outside the home or of “increased opportunities,” as we are often told. The reason is that it now takes two incomes to support the needs of a middle-class family, whereas 50 years ago, it required only one. As more people entered the labor market, the value of labor declined, setting up a vicious cycle in which a second income came to be more necessary. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 put more downward pressure on the value of labor.

When people laud the fact that we have so many more two-income families—generally meaning more women working outside the home—as evidence that there are so many great opportunities, what they’re really doing is retconning something usually done out of economic necessity. Needing twice as much labor to get the same result is the opposite of what happens when productivity growth is robust. It also means that the raising of children is increasingly outsourced. That’s not an improvement.

Another response to stagnant wages is to delay family formation and have fewer children. In 1960, the median age of a first marriage was about 20.5 years. In 2010, it was approximately 27, and in 2020 it was an all-time high of over 29.18  At the same time, the total fertility rate of American women was dropping: from 3.65 in 1960 down to 2.1, a little below replacement level, in the early 1970s. Currently, it hovers around 1.8. Some people may look on this approvingly, worried as they are about overpopulation and the impact of humans on the environment. But when people choose to have few or no children, it is usually not a political choice. That doesn’t mean it is simply a “revealed preference,” a lower desire for a family and children, rather than a reflection of personal challenges or how people view their prospects for the future. Surely it’s no coincidence that the shrinking of families has happened at the same time that real wages have stagnated or grown very slowly, while the costs of housing, health care, and higher education have soared.

The fact that American living standards have broadly stagnated, and for some segments of the population have declined, should be cause for real concern to the ruling class. Americans expect economic mobility and a chance for prosperity. Without it, many will believe that the government has failed to deliver on its promises. The Chinese Communist Party is regarded as legitimate by the Chinese people because it has presided over a large, broad, multigenerational rise in living standards. If stagnation or decline in the United States is not addressed effectively, it will threaten the legitimacy of the governing institutions. 

But instead of meeting the challenge head-on, America’s political and business leaders have pursued policies and strategies that exacerbate the problem. Woke policies in academia, government, and big business have created a stultifying environment that is openly hostile to heterodox views. Witness the response to views on COVID that contradicted official opinion. And all this happens against a backdrop of destructive fiscal and monetary policies.

Low growth and low mobility tend to increase political instability when the legitimacy of the political order is predicated upon opportunity and egalitarianism. One source of national unity has been the understanding that every individual has an equal right to pursue happiness, that a dignified life is well within reach of the average person, and that the possibility of rising higher is open to all. When too many people feel they cannot rise, and when even the basics of a middle-class life are difficult to secure, disappointment can breed a sense of injustice that leads to social and political conflict. At first, that conflict acts as a drag on what American society can accomplish. Left unchecked, it will consume energy and resources that could otherwise be put into more productive activities. Thwarted personal aspirations are often channeled into politics and zero-sum factional conflict. The rise of identity politics represents a redirection of the frustrations born of broken dreams. But identity politics further divides us into hostile camps.

We’ve already seen increased social unrest lately, and more is likely to follow. High levels of social and political conflict are dangerous for a country that hopes to maintain a popular form of government. Not so long ago, we could find unity in civic rituals and were encouraged to be proud of our country. Now our history is denigrated in schools and by other sensemaking institutions, leading to cultural dysphoria, social atomization, and alienation. In exchange, you can choose your pronouns, which doesn’t seem like such a great trade. Just as important as regaining broad-based material prosperity and rising standards of living—perhaps more important—is unifying the nation around a common understanding of who we Americans are and why we’re here.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/07/2023 - 23:30
Published:1/7/2023 10:57:33 PM
[Markets] "We Don't Do This": Adam Schiff & The Underbelly Of American Censorship "We Don't Do This": Adam Schiff & The Underbelly Of American Censorship

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in the Hill on the recent disclosure of efforts by Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Cal.) to pressure Twitter to censor critics, including a columnist. This effort occurred shortly after Schiff’s office objected to one of my columns accusing him of pressuring social media companies to censor those with opposing views. While publicly denying that he supports censorship, Schiff was secretly pressuring Twitter to censor an array of critics.

Here is the column:

“We don’t do this.”

That response from Twitter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is a singular indictment, coming at the height of Twitter’s censorship operations. Apparently, there were some things that even Twitter’s censors refused to do.

One of those things was silencing critics of Schiff and his House committee.

In the latest tranche of “Twitter Files,” journalist Matt Taibbi revealed that Twitter balked at Schiff’s demand that Twitter suspend an array of posters or label their content as “misinformation” and “reduce the visibility” of them. Among those who Schiff secretly tried to censor was New York Post columnist Paul Sperry.

Sperry drew Schiff’s ire by writing about a conversation allegedly overheard by one of his sources. Sperry’s article, which appeared in RealClearInvestigations, cited two sources as overhearing two White House staffers discussing how to remove newly-elected President Trump from office. The article raised the possibility of bias on the part of an alleged key player in launching the first Trump impeachment, CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella. The sources reportedly said that Ciaramella was in a conversation with Sean Misko, a holdover from the Obama administration who later joined Schiff’s staff. The conversation — in Sperry’s words — showed that “just days after [Trump] was sworn in they were already trying to get rid of him.”

Rather than simply refute the allegation, Schiff wanted Sperry and other critics silenced. His office reportedly laid out steps to cleanse Twitter of their criticism, including an instruction to “remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service — to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content.”

The date of Schiff’s non-public letter in November 2020 is notable: Earlier that year, I wrote a column for The Hill criticizing Schiff for pushing for censorship of misinformation in a letter that he sent to social media companies. His office promptly objected to the very suggestion that Schiff supported censorship.

We now know Schiff was actively seeking to censor specific critics on social media. These likely were viewed as more than “requests” since Schiff was sending public letters threatening possible legislative action against these same companies. He wanted his critics silenced on social media. After all, criticizing his investigations or staff must, by definition, be misinformation — right?

His office seems to have indicated they knew Twitter was using shadow-banning or other techniques to suppress certain disfavored writers. In the letter, his staff asked Twitter to “label and reduce the visibility of any content.”

Twitter, however, drew the line with Schiff; one of its employees simply wrote, “no, this isn’t feasible/we don’t do this.”

The “this” referred to in this case was raw political censorship. And even a company that maintained one of the largest censorship programs in history could not bring itself to do what Schiff was demanding — but the demand itself is telling.

Not only does it show how dishonest some politicians have been in denying censorship while secretly demanding it, it also shows the insatiable appetite created by censorship. The article in question, written by Sperry, is a good example. Sperry has denied ever supporting QAnon conspiracy theories, as Schiff’s office charged. Yet even if Sperry’s account about Schiff’s staffer was wildly untrue, that should make it easier to rebut publicly.

The move by Schiff to ban Sperry and others on Twitter — and to remove content — is highly ironic. Schiff has been criticized repeatedly for promoting “misinformation” and for relying on unidentified “sources” for his claims of Trump’s criminality. For example, Schiff pushed the false claim that the infamous Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation; he also was criticized for pushing false narratives of Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election.

Nevertheless, I would equally oppose any effort to ban Schiff from social media, although that is hardly likely given the demonstrated political bias of past censorship efforts.

As for Sperry, he was later permanently suspended by Twitter, which I also criticized.

Schiff is unlikely to be deterred by the release of these communications. He recently sent a letter to Facebook, warning it not to relax its censorship efforts. His letter, written with Reps. André Carson (D-Ind.), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), reminded Facebook that some lawmakers are watching the company “as part of our ongoing oversight efforts” — and suggested they may be forced to exercise that oversight into any move by Facebook to “alter or rollback certain misinformation policies.”

Schiff’s actions embody the slippery slope of censorship. By labeling his critics as QAnon supporters or purveyors of “misinformation,” he sought to have allies in social media “disappear” critics like Sperry — yet he found that even those allies could not stomach his demands. Given Twitter’s censorship of even satirical sites, it was akin to being turned down by a Kanye West podcast as being too extreme.

With the disclosure of apparent FBI involvement in Twitter’s censorship program, the release of the Schiff files is another rare insight into how government officials attempted to enlist social media companies for censorship by surrogate or proxy. That is precisely why many in the media, political and business establishments have mobilized against Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter who has released these compromising files.

In a recent tweet, Schiff chastised Musk and demanded more answers from the Twitter CEO. While insisting that “I don’t support censorship,” Schiff asked Musk if he would “commit to providing the public with actual answers and data, not just tweets?” Well, Musk just did precisely that.

The “actual answer” is that Schiff has long sought to silence his critics, and Musk has exposed the underbelly of censorship — which is where we found Adam Schiff.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/07/2023 - 17:30
Published:1/7/2023 4:40:24 PM
[Courts] Fifth Circuit blocks ATF ban on bump stocks

It’s amazing what can happen when you don’t get a bunch of sissified leftist Obama judges ruling on things. This is a trend that needs to continue. LINK TO ARTICLE In this particular case, known as Cargill v. Garland, an en banc panel on the Fifth Circuit agreed 13-3 with the argument that the ATF’s sudden declaration that … Continue reading "Fifth Circuit blocks ATF ban on bump stocks"

The post Fifth Circuit blocks ATF ban on bump stocks appeared first on I HATE THE MEDIA ™.
Published:1/7/2023 12:46:48 PM
[Opinion] Why Doesn’t The Warming/Change Crowd Just Stick Out Their Chests, Say They Won, And Take Credit For Saving The Earth?

by Dave King at CDN -

Back in 2011 when Barack Obama won the Democratic primary, he claimed that his presidency would stop the rise of the oceans. So why don’t leftists simply claim that their solutions and schemes have won the battle with carbon, take credit for saving the earth and move on with pride? …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Why Doesn’t The Warming/Change Crowd Just Stick Out Their Chests, Say They Won, And Take Credit For Saving The Earth? first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:1/6/2023 1:53:37 AM
[Markets] EU Is Erecting Russian War Crimes Tribunal: "Russia Must Pay" EU Is Erecting Russian War Crimes Tribunal: "Russia Must Pay"

Authored by Kurt Nimmo via The Ron Paul Institute For Peace & Prosperity, 

On November 30, the European Commission, the executive of the European Union, proposed "options to Member States to make sure that Russia is held accountable for the atrocities and crimes committed during the war in Ukraine."

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, in selective condemnation, tweeted "Russia must pay for its horrific crimes." The hypocrisy displayed by von der Leyen and the EU is nothing short of remarkable.

It would seem the EU collective of unelected bureaucrats suffers from amnesia. Twenty-four years ago, Bill Clinton and NATO mercilessly bombed Yugoslavia, targeting civilian infrastructureRick Rozoff enumerates the war crimes:

A passenger train, a religious procession, a refugee column, Radio Television of Serbia headquarters, a vacuum cleaner factory, bridges, marketplaces, apartment courtyards, the Swiss embassy in Belgrade and the Chinese embassy as well, with three journalists killed and 27 other Chinese injured. Cluster bombs, graphite bombs and depleted uranium ordnance were used widely. No one, not a single individual, has been held accountable for those war crimes. Nor for what should be a war crime and one of the most grave at that: intentionally fabricating and exaggerating atrocity stories to agitate for and escalate a war. Few Western politicians and journalists would have escaped that charge over their roles in 1999.

"There were aspects of the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia that were in breach of accepted norms of warfare, the greatest example being the bombing of the TV station. NATO deliberately targeted unarmed civilian non-combatants, that's the bottom line," Duncan Bullivant, author of a report on Kosovo for London's Centre for European Reform, told the Irish Times in 2000.

No tribunal was organized for the psychopaths responsible for terrorizing and murdering Serbs. Bill Clinton, also responsible for attacking Iraq and killing civilians, in addition to making sure Iraqi children starved to death under a medieval sanctions regime, was not held responsible. In fact, he was described in "Churchillian tones" by aides and the corporate media. Clinton’s illegal and immoral bombing of the former Yugoslavia made George W. Bush’s criminal invasion of Iraq easier.

Because politicians and most of the media portrayed the war against Serbia as a moral triumph, it was easier for the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq, for the Obama administration to bomb Libya, and for the Trump administration to repeatedly bomb Syria. All of those interventions sowed chaos that continues cursing the purported beneficiaries.

Ursula von der Leyen and the EU have blood on their hands. European countries inserted Eurofighters, Tornados, MK 80 series bombs, and other munitions and death machines into the Yemen conflict. "Are European arms companies therefore aiding and abetting alleged war crimes committed by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen?" asks the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

Despite documented attacks on civilian homes, markets, hospitals and schools – conducted by the Saudi/UAE-led military coalition – transnational companies based in Europe continue to supply Saudi Arabia and the UAE with weapons, ammunition and logistical support. European government officials authorized the exports by granting licenses.

Despite ample evidence of war crimes, NATO and the USG received a free pass. "The United Nations' chief war crimes prosecutor said today that there was no basis for a formal investigation into whether NATO committed war crimes during the bombing of Yugoslavia," the New York Times reported on June 3, 2000.

NATO is the preferred executioner. Amnesty International, in 2014, criticized the USG and NATO for ignoring its numerous war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan. NATO was also accused of committing war crimes in Libya. A report issued in 2012 by the Arab Organization for Human Rights, together with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the International Legal Assistance Consortium, detailed wanton violation of human rights by NATO.

"Among civilian sites visited by the mission that had been struck by NATO bombs and missiles were schools and colleges, a Zliten regional food warehouse, the Office of the Administrative Controller in Tripoli, and private homes," the report notes.

In November of 2011, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, stated that "there are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces (and) these allegations will be examined impartially and independently." The crimes include the "lynching" of Moammar Gaddafi, a brutal act that prompted a chortle from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

No special commission was empaneled to look into these war crimes, although the ICC did order the arrest of Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, and other supporters. NATO refused to admit civilians were killed after 7,642 air-to-surface weapons were used.

"Shock and awe" in Iraq

"Although the prosecutor of the ICC said that he would investigate war crimes by both sides, the eagerness with which he seized on allegations of a policy by Gaddafi to encourage rape, with hundreds of victims, and the provision of ‘viagra-type medicaments’ to his forces, did nothing to enhance a perception of objectivity when they went unsubstantiated," writes Ian Martin, the director of the UN’s support mission in Libya from 2011-12 and the former head of Amnesty International.

The war crimes of the EU and NATO cannot compare to those of the United States Government, an aggressive and repeat offender of international law. Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1977 states quite explicitly:

It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away or for any other motive.

Russia is indeed in violation of this specific protocol. However, here in the "West," we are only given half of the story. In fact, we are given less than half and are expected to believe a passel of lies, daily cranked out by the corporate war propaganda media. No mention of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine dedicated to abducting, torturing, and killing ethnic Russians in Lugansk, Donetsk, and elsewhere in eastern and southern Ukraine. For an example of the brutal punishment these ultranationalists inflict on their enemies, look no further than the arson of the labor building in Odesa.

Corporate media mention of war crimes is highly selective and biased. No mention of the USG-orchestrated illegal coup overthrowing the elected leader of Ukraine for his crime of seeking a better deal with Russia than the neoliberal-espousing EU.

No mention of Neo-Nazi thugs setting fire to a labor building in Odesa, killing around 50 or more anti-Maidan activists (this largely ignored news item is buried beneath stories depicting alleged Russian crimes). No mention of the ignored Minsk I and II agreements hammered out in 2014 and 2015 to end the "civil war" between the Neo-Nazi brigades embedded in the Ukrainian military and "separatists" in Donbas.

NATO bombing of Belgrade

The USG and its European "partners" (in crime) count on the amnesiac perception of a perpetually lied to and manipulated public to support or remain disconnected and apathetic to its bloody neoliberal wars and resource-grabbing predations. Iraq serves as the primary example, although what the USG did there is largely forgotten and not considered relevant to the conflict in Ukraine.

"The intention and effort of the bombing of civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq's infrastructure leaving it in a preindustrial condition," the 1992 Report to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal charged.

  • Iraq's civilian population was dependent on industrial capacities. The US assault left Iraq in a near apocalyptic condition as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war. Among the facilities targeted and destroyed were:
  • electric power generation, relay and transmission;
  • water treatment, pumping and distribution systems and reservoirs;
  • telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations, towers and transmission facilities;
  • food processing, storage and distribution facilities and markets, infant milk formula and beverage plants, animal vaccination facilities and irrigation sites;
  • railroad transportation facilities, bus depots, bridges, highway overpasses, highways, highway repair stations, trains, buses and other public transportation vehicles, commercial and private vehicles;
  • oil wells and pumps, pipelines, refineries, oil storage tanks, gasoline filling stations and fuel delivery tank cars and trucks, and kerosene storage tanks;
  • sewage treatment and disposal systems; factories engaged in civilian production, e.g., textile and automobile assembly; and
  • historical markers and ancient sites.

However, there is a difference between Putin’s SMO and Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Russia faces an antagonistic enemy on its border, installing missile systems and conducting military exercises while supporting rabid ultranationalist neo-Nazis busy bombing ethnic Russian civilians in Donbas.

Iraq, on the other hand, did not have troops and missiles on the border of the United States, and it did not pose a threat to USG "interests" in the Middle East. It was a neoliberal hit job to take down an Arab nation that was at the time the most advanced in the Middle East (Libya, the most advanced nation in Africa, with the possible exception of South Africa, was also taken out under false "humanitarian" pretense). The neocons lied about weapons of mass destruction, the same as they are now lying about Russia wanting to reclaim its lost Soviet territory.

Ursula von der Leyen presides over a criminal organization responsible for the death and destruction of manufactured "enemies" that do not threaten Europe. She is, in essence, calling for the freezing of Europeans dependent on natural gas from Russia at bargain basement prices and war without end or a perceivable exit.

Read more at the Ron Paul Institute For Peace & Prosperity...

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 02:00
Published:12/5/2022 2:12:20 AM
[Markets] Snowden Receives Russian Passport After Taking Citizenship Pledge Snowden Receives Russian Passport After Taking Citizenship Pledge

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who exposed the U.S. government's unconstitutional mass surveillance programs, received a Russian passport on Thursday after taking the country's citizenship oath. 

"Edward received a Russian passport yesterday and took the oath in accordance with the law," his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to Russian media. "He is, of course, happy, thanking the Russian Federation for the fact that he received citizenship."

That citizenship comes with an enormously valuable feature: "Under the Constitution of Russia, he can no longer be extradited to a foreign state,” said Kucherena. 

Snowden faces prosecution on espionage charges for giving journalists an enormous volume of classified documents about NSA surveillance programs.

In 2013, Snowden famously traveled from Hawaii, where he worked for the NSA, to Hong Kong, where he arranged to meet journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. 

To obtain a Russian passport, one must pledge to: 

“...observe the constitution and legislation of the Russian Federation, the rights and freedoms of its citizens; perform the duties of a citizen of the Russian Federation for the benefit of the state and society; defend the freedom and independence of the Russian Federation; be loyal to Russia, respect its culture, history and traditions.”

Snowden's citizenship and accompanying oath are prompting reiterations of the false claim that he "fled to Russia" after leaving Hong Kong. The truth, however, is that the Obama administration trapped Snowden in Russia.  

Snowden was merely using Moscow as a flight connection as he tried to make it to Ecuador and seek political asylum. Upon arriving in Russia, he learned Obama had revoked his passport. After spending 40 days at Sheremetyevo airport -- and applied to 27 countries for asylum -- he was granted asylum by Russian President Putin.  

Despite all the contrary facts that have been in plain view for nine years, a chorus of deep state useful idiots unleashed a new round of social media smears against the NSA whistleblower. "Edward Snowden, Russian asset and now citizen," tweeted Washington Post columnist and Bulwark culture editor Sonny Bunch.  

Meanwhile, headlines at many outlets emphasized that Snowden "swore allegiance to Russia," implying he'd abandoned his American citizenship. 

Snowden's wife, Lindsay Mills, is also seeking Russian citizenship. The couple lives in Moscow with their two sons, who were born in Russia. 

Pleas for then-President Donald Trump to pardon Snowden -- along with Julian Assange-- fell on deaf ears.  

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/03/2022 - 20:00
Published:12/3/2022 7:25:00 PM
[Elon Musk] Elon Is Catching On (John Hinderaker) I was initially skeptical of Elon Musk. After all, he has never been, or claimed to be, a conservative, and he voted not only for Barack Obama but for Slow Joe Biden. But give the man credit: he is catching on fast. Thus his apt characterization of the utterly dishonest New York Times: That is because The New York Times has become, for all intents and purposes, an unregistered lobbying Published:12/3/2022 6:09:21 PM
[Markets] Something Is Rigged: Unexplained, Record 2.7 Million Jobs Gap Emerges In Broken Payrolls Report Something Is Rigged: Unexplained, Record 2.7 Million Jobs Gap Emerges In Broken Payrolls Report

A superficial take of today's jobs report would note that both jobs and earnings "blew past expectations, flying in the face of Fed rate hikes", and while that is accurate at the headline level, it couldn't be further from the truth if one actually digs a little deeper in today's jobs numbers.

Recall that back in August, September, and October we showed that a stark divergence had opened between the Household and Establishment surveys that comprise the monthly jobs report, and since March the former has been stagnant while the latter has been rising every single month. In addition to that, full-time jobs were plunging while part-time jobs were surging and the number of multiple-jobholders soared.

Fast forward to today when the inconsistencies not only continue to grow, but have become  downright grotesque.

Consider the following: the closely followed Establishment survey came in above expectations at 263K, above the 200K expected - a record 7th consecutive beat vs expectations -  and down modestly from last month's upward revised 284K...

... numbers which confirm that at a time when virtually every major tech company is announcing mass layoffs...

... the BLS has a single, laser-focused political agenda - not to spoil the political climate at a time when Democrats just lost control of the House as somehow both construction (+20K) and manufacturing (+14K) added jobs according to the BLS, when even ADP now reports that these two sectors combined shed more than 100,000 workers in November.

Alas, there is only so much the Department of Labor can hide under the rug because when looking at the abovementioned gap between the Household and Establishment surveys which we have been pounding the table on since the summer, it just blew out by a whopping 401K as a result of the 263K increase in the number of nonfarm payrolls (tracked by the Household survey) offset by a perplexing plunge in the number of people actually employed which tumbled by 138K (tracked by Household survey). Furthermore, as shown in the next chart, since March the number of employed workers has declined on 4 of the past 8 months, while the much more gamed nonfarm payrolls (goalseeked by the Establishment survey) have been up every single month.

What is even more perplexing, is that despite the continued rise in nonfarm payrolls, the Household survey continues to telegraph growing weakness, and as of Nov 30, the gap that opened in March has since grown to a whopping 2.7 million "workers" which may or may not exist anywhere besides the spreadsheet model of some BLS (or is that BLM) political activist. In fact, one look at the chart below confirms all one needs to know about BLS "data integrity."

Showing this another way, there were 158.458 million employed workers in March 2022... and 158.470 million in November 2022 an increase of just 12,000 over 8 months, a period in which the number of payrolls (which as a reminder is the number the market follows) reportedly increased by 2.7 million!

As an aside, it appears this is not the first time the "apolitical" Bureau of Labor Statistics has pulled such a bizarre divergence off: it happened right before Obama's reelection:

And then again: right before Hillary's "100% guaranteed election (because one wouldn't want a soft economy to adversely impact her re-election odds).

It gets better: digging in even deeper into the far more accurate and nuanced Household Survey, we find that the November drop in Employment was the result of a plunge in part-time workers, more than offsetting the modest increase in part-time workers which had declined in 3 of the past 4 months heading into November.

Further to this point, as shown below, since March, the US has lost 398K full-time employees offset by amodest gain of 190K part-time employees, while a whopping 291k workers were forced to get more than one job over the same period.

And while none of the above is really new - we have documented the record divergence between payrolls and employment for half a year now - there were two new developments: first, to facilitate its rigging of the data, the BLS has resorted to the oldest trick in the book, boosting the core goal-seek factor, the business "birth death" adjustments, which in October hit a record high 455K, and although it has since dipped to 14K in November, the trend in speculative BLS assumptions about the viability of the US economy (more businesses are created than are shut down only when there is economic solid growth) is clearly visible in the chart below.

One final point: a former Fed staffer Julia Coronado points out, we have reached the absurd part of the business cycle when average hours are declining in certain sectors even as hourly earnings are rising, prompting her to wonder if we are not in fact seeing a spike in hourly income courtesy of lump-sump severance payments.

So what's going on here?

The simple answer: as shocking as this may sound, there has been no change in the number of people actually employed in the past 8 months, but due to deterioration in the economy, more people are losing their higher-paying, full-time jobs, and switching into much lower- paying, benefits-free part-time jobs, which also forces many to work more than one job, a rotation which picked up in earnest some time in March and which has only been captured by the Household survey. Meanwhile the Establishment survey plows on ahead with its politically-motivated approximations, seasonal adjustments, and other labor market goalseeking meant to make the Biden admin look good and provide the Fed with ammo to keep rates high (thus forcing even more real layoffs, which unfortunately the BLS is incapable of capturing due to political reasons).

And since the Establishment survey is far slower to pick up on the nuances in employment composition, while the Household Survey has gone nowhere since March, the BLS data engineers have been busy goalseeking the Establishment Survey (with the occasional nudge from the White House especially now that the Biden admin needs something to hang its hat on after the GOP recaptured the House) to make it appear as if the economy is growing strongly, when in reality all they are doing is applying the same erroneous seasonal adjustment factor that gave such a wrong perspective of the labor market in the aftermath of the covid pandemic (until it was all adjusted away a year ago). In other words, while the labor market is already cracking, it will take the BLS several months of veering away from reality before the government bureaucrats accept and admit what is truly taking place.

As an aside, here we admit we were wrong: back in August we said that "we expect that "realization" to take place just after the midterms, because the last thing the Biden administration can afford is admit the labor market is crashing in addition to the continued surge in inflation." Little did we know just how stubborn and intent the White House is to stick to the broken narrative that all is well in the US.

Or, putting it otherwise as BofA's Michael Hartnett did earlier today (and as we will discuss in a subsequent post) - "unemployment in ’23 will be as shocking to Main St consumer sentiment as inflation in ’22."

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/02/2022 - 10:49
Published:12/2/2022 9:56:00 AM
[Markets] 'Woke Warfighters': GOP Report Says Leftist Ideology, Gender "Insanity" Weakening America's Military 'Woke Warfighters': GOP Report Says Leftist Ideology, Gender "Insanity" Weakening America's Military

Authored by Naveen Anthrapully via The Epoch Times,

Republican lawmakers have decried the Biden administration for policies that they say are weakening America’s military through leftist indoctrination and “woke” ideological posturing to appease “Ivy League faculty lounges or progressive pundits.”

“Unfortunately, President Joe Biden and his administration are weakening America’s warfighters through a sustained assault fueled by woke virtue signaling,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) in a report titled “Woke Warfighters,” according to Fox News.

“Our military’s singular purpose is to ‘provide for the common defense’ of our nation. It cannot be turned into a left-wing social experiment. It cannot be used as a cudgel against America itself.”

The report cites several examples of the administration’s stance. One example was Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s first action after being confirmed by the Senate, which included signing a “racism” memorandum. The message directed all service members and Department of Defense civilian employees to conduct a “one-day stand-down” to discuss extremism within their ranks.

This was despite the fact that in a force of more than 2.1 million active and reserve members, there were only 100 such cases of alleged “extremism,” according to data collected by the Biden administration.

“The world is a dangerous place, and the Biden Administration’s insanity is eroding our greatest source of security in it,” said the report, citing the military’s promotion of Marxist critical race theory, sex reassignment procedures, and transgender ideology, as well as the punishment of those who oppose such things.

Another example was that of Bishop Garrison, who currently serves as Austin’s senior adviser on human capital and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. The report said that Garrison promoted the “1619 Project,” which is based on a falsified history of the United States and part of a revisionist education being taught in some schools across the country.

Another case cited in the report was that of Kelisa Wing, the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at the Department of Defense Education Agency.

“Wing also wrote a book to teach white children that they have white privilege and that ‘white privilege hurts a lot of people.’ The book comes with an exercise to help kids understand ‘what parts of my identity have provided me with privilege.’”

Sex Reassignment Procedures

Rubio and Roy pointed out that the U.S. military has historically not accepted candidates who do not meet certain physical and mental criteria, and some of the disqualifying conditions include allergies to peanuts or gluten, learning disorders, acute depression or anxiety, and skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.

“People cannot even enlist with Invisalign or braces until they are removed,” the report states. However, recent developments have the military forces “proudly promoting and celebrating sex reassignment procedures, which can have months-long recovery periods, with complete recovery taking ‘up to one year’ for some procedures.”

Former President Barack Obama’s Defense Department in 2016 allowed unrestricted access to military service by transgender people. The GOP report argues that people with gender dysphoria suffer from mental health issues and are more likely to experience severe anxiety and poor mental health encounters, and “are eight times more likely to commit suicide.”

The report cites Thomas Spoehr of The Heritage Foundation, who said that because people with gender dysphoria are more prone to mental health issues, other service personnel “will be reluctant to rely on them” because of these issues, which would result in a section of “non-deployable service members.” This could also lead to resentment within the ranks as some members will never be “called upon to deploy,” the report states.

The Biden administration allows members to “transition” while on active duty, and allows individuals to use shower and bathroom facilities of their choosing. Military members are now being trained in the use of appropriate pronouns and “when to recommend their subordinates consider gender reassignment surgery,” said the report.

Punishing Dissenters of Woke Ideology

The report concluded with the Afghanistan withdrawal, which resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members. The United States also left behind billions of dollars’ worth of equipment, including 2,000 armored vehicles and up to 40 aircraft, which the Taliban seized and paraded.

“No one faced consequences. Rather, the Biden Administration continued undermining the military with woke ideology and ignored its failure. The only service member who received a reprimand from the Afghanistan debacle was a lieutenant colonel who criticized the way the withdrawal was executed,” the report stated.

The GOP report accused the administration of hypocrisy for the lieutenant colonel’s treatment when compared to a junior medic in uniform who used the Chinese messaging app TikTok to criticize the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The medic asks in the video, “How am I supposed to swear to support and defend the Constitution and a country that treats its women like second-class citizens,” adding “I will not rest, and I will not be silent, because this is an attack on women in this country.”

The report states that the medic has not received any disciplinary action for her remarks.

Chiefs Push Back on Criticism

In 2021, the service chiefs for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard rejected the assertion that the armed services are getting progressively “woke.”

“I think it’s an assertion that isn’t really grounded on facts,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said at a naval conference in 2021.

“We know that there’s strength in diversity; that is a scientifically proven fact.’’

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Department of Defense and its education agency.

U.S. Army officials confirmed on Sept. 30 that the Army failed to meet its recruitment goal of 60,000 personnel as the service branch only recruited about 45,000 soldiers during the 2022 fiscal year.

“In the Army’s most challenging recruiting year since the start of the all-volunteer force, we will only achieve 75 percent of our fiscal year 22 recruiting goal,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 23:30
Published:11/27/2022 12:46:43 AM
[Barack Obama] The Week in Radical Leftism, 11/25/2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It All Begins with ‘Aid for Ukraine’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bankman-Fried’s Donations to Democrats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musk replied, “A question worth asking.

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

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

Corruption or Incompetence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here...

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

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

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

by Tom Stiglich at CDN -

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

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

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

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

“Democracy” is the new “revolutionary.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Senate:

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

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

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


In the House:


Watch live:

What time do polls close?

*  *  *

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

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

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

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

You will find more infographics at Statista

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

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

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

Remember this chart...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Rare Democratic bright spot: Kansas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authored by Daniel Greenfield via the Gatestone Institute,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enrollment for the new VMI class fell by 25%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/31/2022 - 00:00
Published:10/31/2022 12:13:58 AM
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