Saturday, March 17, 2018

Notorious Cokehead Becomes Chief Economic Advisor to President of the U.S.

Larry Kudlow, a right-wing TV talking head who once had a $100,000 a month cocaine habit, which he funded by a grossly-overpaid Wall Street position, has been tapped by Donald "Jackass" Trump to be chief economic advisor, replacing Gary Cohn, who came from Goldman Sachs and left in a snit over Trump's imposition of import tariffs on steel and aluminum. Kudlow is known for making wrng predictions- a perfect fit for the fantasist regime of Trump.

Cohn and Kudlow both live charmed lives as made members of the capitalist nomenklatura. No long prison terms for consuming large amounts of cocaine for their ilk. No career ruination either. Kudlow still makes big bucks making bad predictions on television. Cohn will return to Goldman Sachs, which has salted the top level of the Federal government with its operatives going back several presidents.

We live under the corrupt rule of a rapacious class.

I'm sharp as a tack! On the ball! Yessir!

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Trump announced stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Aside from the fact that this is a terrible idea economically (but sounds good to the ignorant rubes who voted for him) it turns out that one of Trump's intentions is to use it to twist the arms of Canada and Mexico to stop being "so unfair" to the U.S. and knuckle under to a renegotiation of NAFTA on terms onerous to them. Trump announced his extortion demand via tweet and speaking to reporters.

“NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs,” Trump proclaimed in a tweet March 5th. “Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed.”

Later, Trump, told reporters that he had spoken by phone with U.S. negotiators at the NAFTA "renegotiation" talks in Mexico City with Canada and Mexico. “But if they are not going to make a NAFTA deal, we’re just going to leave it this way,” Trump said at a news conference in Washington, holding the tariffs over the heads of those two nations as a club to bludgeon them into submission.

[NAFTA stands for North American Free Trade Agreement. "Free trade" is euphemism for big corporate economic hegemony. The horrible president Bill Clinton created NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, two weak nations to the north and south of the U.S. that are under heavy U.S. domination.]

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Four Cops Cowered While Florida Gunman Slaughtered 17 in School- The Trump NRA Solution

Their solution? Give the teachers guns! Pistol-packin' Mamas will solve the problem!

The Sheriff's deputy assigned to "protect" the school, where he'd been posted for eight years, and was deemed a "Deputy of the Year," he didn't want to risk his skin by going inside. And three of his colleagues hid outside behind their car doors with their guns drawn.

If fucking COPS cower in fear outside while a single malcontent murders people, how is arming teachers going to produce a better result?

So useless sheriff's deputies let a gunman kill 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Trump and the NRA think armed teachers can do a better job.

I guess if the teacher is cornered, and has a gun, at least there's a chance of the gunman being shot. We sure can't count on police. That's been shown repeatedly.

It was shown in a previous Florida massacre, at a gay nightclub, when cops hung back for hours.

It happened at the high school in Columbine, Colorado, when the cops played it safe.

You see, the vast majority of cops are no "heroes." They fall into two categories: time fillers who are in it for the money and the fat pension and medical insurance benefits denied to other workers (and increasingly denied to teachers), and bullies, thugs and sadists who are on a power trip. (Many of these are also racists.)

Teachers have been under a multi-year attack by the rulers in this country. There is an ongoing, systematic attempt to destroy their unions, obviously to attack their standard of living. This happened in Wisconsin under the Koch Brothers' puppet Governor Scott Walker, and other places. At this very moment teachers in West Virginia are striking over their abysmal pay (48th in the nation) and being gouged on their health insurance. The "charter schools" movement is a plot by billionaire hedge fund managers and their political stooges (like Arne Duncan and Barack Obama) and profiteers to deunionize teachers.

Teachers are scapegoated for the social pathologies of racism and institutional poverty. It takes a lot of GALL for the same political bosses who have been waging war on teachers to now demand that they function as armed bodyguards for their pupils and lay their lives on the line- something the Sheriff's Deputies in Broward County just conspicuously refused to do, as have police in numerous other instances.

Oh, and the "world's premiere law enforcement agency," the one the Democrats and the establishment propaganda system puts on a pedestal and insists everyone must genuflect before, and none dare speak an unkind word about- yes, that one, the secret police agency FBI. Their "tip line" blew off a specific warning that the killer, an emotionally disturbed 19-year-old, was dangerous and might ATTACK A SCHOOL. The FBI call center didn't bother passing that tip along. Because it wasn't about Islamic terrorism or some leftists making trouble for the system.

Okay, some police act like actual police. They are a minority.

But while teachers' wages and benefits are under relentless assault, cops are sitting pretty. The attack on public sector unions in Wisconsin exempted the police and fire unions. And cops generally are a labor aristocracy. In New York City, they make mid to high-five figure salaries, get a sweetheart deal on health insurance, and only have to work 20 years to get a full pension and lifetime health insurance. If they work fewer years, they still get partial benefits. And their pension is based on the last year of salary, so traditionally they pile on overtime to "earn" a six-figure salary that last year.

Some jurisdictions are even more lucrative for the enforcers of social order and protectors of the power structure, some less.

One teacher actually DID lay down his life in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that day,  taking a bullet to shield his students.

What should be the lesson for would-be revolutionaries in this? It is that cops won't risk their lives. If there is ever a serious armed uprising in the U.S., expect the cops to mostly run away. These incidents reveal a weakness under the surface of the repressive U.S. apparatus. (Of course there are that minority of killers and fanatics and SWAT team thugs, who have been armed with fully automatic weapons and sniper rifles and even silencers by the Obama regime.)

In the past, riots by unarmed blacks were violently suppressed by white police, sheriffs, National Guardsmen, and even U.S. Army units. The situation could be very different in the future, with these repressive formations frequently racially "integrated" now, and a general sense of cynicism among those who serve a system that is corrupt. As at the end of the Soviet Union, when no one believed the propaganda slogans anymore, naive belief in the empty bellowing about "freedom and democracy" is on the wane.

Of course any revolution is as likely to be from the hard right as from the left. The right has guns, after all, and is treated with kid gloves by the system. The left is unarmed and subject to vicious repression, as what happened to the oil pipeline protesters at Standing Rock, in North Dakota, illustrated, and the ongoing persecution of Trump inauguration protesters by the Federal government in Washington, D.C.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Biggest Flip-Flopper: Donald J(ackass) Trump

A common political epithet in the United States is "flip-flopper." This is considered a devastating characteristic, denoting indecisiveness and weakness. (And of course "weak" and "indecisive" leaders are assumed a priori to be BAD leaders.)

So here's a trick Trump's Establishment enemies have missed: tagging Trump with the "flip-flopper" label. He's certainly provided loads of soundbites they could use to devastating effect to "brand" him that way.

Just on the issue of DACA, how many times has Trump seemed to change his mind by saying different and contradictory things? [1]

But instead of pasting a Trump-style sobriquet to Trump's forehead, like "Flip-Flop Donald," the bourgeois yakkers of the Establishment media persist in trying to figure out what Trump "really means" or "really wants" or what his "actual position is." And the bourgeois politicians of the Democratic Party keep trying to "negotiate" with Trump and get him to "clarify his position."

What fools. Perfect foils for the inveterate con man Trump. A standard m.o. (modus operandi) of con men is confusing their marks, keeping them psychologically off-balance, the better to manipulate them, to buffalo them into the traps the con man sets.

Trump doesn't have positions. He's a fast-talking but very predictable con man who uses verbiage as a weapon, pure and simple. What he "wants" at any given moment is what he senses will produce an advantage for himself. If tomorrow the racists and xenophobes and fanatical nationalists of America lost interest in "the wall," so would Trump. His "positions" change from day to day, or even from sentence to sentence because he is winging it. He's a creature of almost pure instinct. So trying to figure out his calculations is a fool's errand because he does very little calculating.

Why would a person who calculates have the assistant Attorney General take credit for firing the FBI Director, have the story put out that it was because Comey was unfair to Hillary Clinton (!) and then go bragging to the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. how he fired Comey to get the "Russian meddling" investigation off his back, AND tell a TV interviewer the same? For that matter, why would a guy whom the Democratic Party and much of the Establishment media was branding a Russian stooge or colluder or puppet for months, even MEET with Russian officials if he was doing any kind of logical thinking that can be called "calculating"?

Furthermore, there are plenty of other examples of Trump's irrationality.

Trump is very easy to figure out. He is a narcissist, an egomaniac, a con man, a rip-off artist, a braggart, and a real estate hustler.

And lest the media make us forget, a racist.

    Trump reporting to his Russian handlers (as some would have it) 
Foreign Minister Lavrov, Ambassador to the U.S. Kislyak.

1]  DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is the program that Trump's predecessor, Barack "The Drone Assassin" Obama created by executive order in the last year of his eight year reign as part of his "legacy building" to be able to pose for the bourgeois version of history as a progressive. Under the program, "illegal" immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, who have "clean" records, are temporarily exempt from deportation ("deferred action," get it? meaning they are still subject to deportation at a later date) and must either be enrolled in school or have a job. They are forced to pay a steep $495.00 registration fee every two years. They also had to expose their location: residence, phone, email, thus making later round-up easy. 780,000 young people are enrolled int he program.

I fulminated against this program at the time Obama announced it, because I foresaw how the information the DACA-ites would be required to give up was the equivalent of Jews registering with the Nazi "authorities" and sewing Stars of David to their clothing. (And for a small percentage of deportees, death is indeed the fate they meet in their dangerous "home" countries of Mexico, Central America, Haiti, Colombia, and so on.)

DACA-ites are referred to as "the Dreamers," a reference to "the American Dream." You see, America is, in U.S. propaganda, this paradisical land which everyone in the world aspires to live in.

But America only looks good to the "Dreamers," with their "dream" (delusion, it is turning out) of being accepted as "Americans," in comparison to the hellish, lethal lands of their origins. Lands that are lethal in all cases in part or mostly because of the malign power of the U.S.

To take the most obvious examples, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are fascist death squad states where violent criminal gangs are also allowed to run rampant. This is because of a U.S. coup (Guatemala 1954), support for a coup (Honduras by Obama and his Secretary fo State, Hillary Clinton, who hadf the effrontery to boast of her crime in one of her autohagiographies) and support for fascist death squad governments (El Salvador).

Even in Mexico, the U.S. helps prop up corrupt regimes and validates a stolen presidential "election" every six years.

Then the U.S. has the nerve to persecute people fleeing the results of U.S. "foreign policy." And its border guards regularly murder people.

Evil Empire.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Donald Trump Treats Us To Another Dose of His Unadulterated Racism- But Not Everyone Will Acknowledge It

Trump in the presence of seven members of Congress, while "negotiating" changes in (anti-)immigration laws, erupted that the U.S. doesn't need people from the "shithole" nations of El Salvador, Haiti, and the entire African continent. Instead he querulously demanded why the U.S. can't get more people from "countries like Norway."

In other words, no more swarthy people, more blond-haired, blue-eyed, "white" people, similar to himself. (Although he is orange-haired, he's of German ancestry.)

For some reason, there is a dispute over whether this naked display of racism was racist. (As if, given Trump's decades-long record of evidence of racism, there is any room for doubt at this point.)

Rich Lowry, the editor of the neo-fascist "intellectual" rag National Review, founded by racist William F. Buckley, Jr. an opponent of civil rights laws, opined on the radio program "Left, Right and Center" that Trump merely meant the U.S. should take in people with skills, and he was just being "grumpy" when he called two nations plus an entire continent of another 54 countries shitholes. Apparently darkies have no skilled, unlike the Superior White Race.

This was doubly odd in that National Review, and Lowry, have been anti-Trump all through his presidential campaign and through his time in office, up until now.
And even though there is no doubt Trump said what he said, the fact that after a long delay, he issued an ambiguous kind-of denial, has led the media to use adjectives like "alleged" and "reported," creating doubt about whether he said it! Even the UK Government propaganda network the BBC is doing this.

Also instead of calling what he said "racist," the media is using the word "vulgar." (NPR for example, the U.S. government domestic radio propaganda network.)
What does the man have to do to convince the media weasels that Trump is a racist? March in a Klan rally in Klan robes?

A brief review of Trump's decades of racism:

Ordered his building agents not to rent to blacks.

After the Federal government forced the Trumps (his Dad, a known Klansman, was involved in this) into a settlement agreement not to discriminate, he violated the agreement and kept on discriminating.
Removed "non-white" casino employees from the floor of his casino.

Took out full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, five non-white teenagers framed up by the New York City Police and Manhattan District Attorney for raping and nearly killing a white female investment banker jogger.

Years later, after the actual culprit was definitively identified by DNA and the rapist's confession, Trump refused to accept it and fulminated against money paid by the city to settle a civil suit by the now adult men.

His entire presidential campaign, which included branding millions of Mexican immigrants as rapists, drug dealers, and only "some, I suppose, are good people."

His bigoted attempts to exclude virtually all Muslims from the U.S.

And much more.

What's even odder about the media's soft-peddling is that they seemingly want to be rid of Trump. Apparently they're reluctant to offend the millions of white racists in America.

Fortunately there was one Democrat in the room, Senator Dick Durbin. The Republicans have been tongue-tied. Tom Cotton actually claims amnesia, saying he "doesn't remember" hearing it. You can bet Trump's remark went off like a bomb in the room. Cotton is a loathsome Senator from Arkansas, a former Army officer, rabid reactionary, and militant imperialist. And a dishonest creep who hates whistleblowers.

"We need more people who look like ME!"


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Steve Bannon's Delusions of Power Smashed Against Hard Rock of Reality

Bannon has been banished from the Land of Trump. Good King Donald is said to be mightily vexed that Sir Stephen did blaspheme against the Good Names of King Trump's Son, Donald the True, and on the husband of the King's Daughter, Princess Ivanka, who is married to Jared the Valiant, even uttering the vile vituperation that Prince Donald did commit Treason against the Nation. By such base effrontery did Sir Stephen author his own Fate and cause himself to be cast out from the charmed circle of The Elect(ed).

The indiscreet Bannon was too frank with a sneaky infiltrator of the Court, one Michael Wolff, known to be an inveterate peddler of rumor and inaccuracies, who took advantage of the King's good graces and, hidden behind a benign mask of faux friendship, came with mal-intent. Wolff is gleefully profiting from his treachery, peddling all over the Land with the help of sundry town criers a tome, whose title cheekily appropriates a quote from the King Himself, Who in defense of the Realm, righteously threatened a pipsqueak upstart Kingdom on the far side of the globe with "Fire and Fury." The underhanded Wolff has gone so far as to question the King's soundness of mind.

Our Noble King did immediately put to good use the rapier-like wit for which He is justly renowned, christening the fallen Bannon "Sloppy Steve," a mirthful jape not even the cleverest adolescents of the Land could best.

The Luckless Bannon, having fallen out of favor with His Majesty, is being ostracized by Respectable Society. His patron and benefactress, Rebekah of Mercer, has cut off the generous emoluments with which She favored him. The Accursed Bannon is no longer welcome even in his old haunt, the Breitbart Inn.

His political nemesis, Lord McConnell of the Senate, is understood to be experiencing a pleasurable feeling that in the lands of the Germanic tribes is dubbed "schadenfreude," said to refer to satisfaction occasioned by the misfortune of another.....

The King Points Out That He Is Sound Of Mind
Meanwhile, in the 21st Century...
Bannon's high-speed plunge from a lofty, privileged  peak of influence and power into the gutter of public opprobrium has been as rapid as that of Harvey "Come Up To My Hotel Room So I Can Show You My Script" Weinstein. It turns out that  Bannon's power was always wholly derivative, not organic to himself. Outside of TrumpWorld, he is merely another extreme reactionary crank, bigot, white supremacist, anti-Semite, sexist, militaristic hypernationalist who likes to run his mouth. In other words, a guy who is a dime a dozen.  

Bannon was encouraged in his delusions of political potency by the U.S. media, which obsessively treated him as if he were powerful. They did this in part due to his proximity to Trump, and in part because they took him at his word that he really was the representative of millions of racist reactionaries, his self-anointed role. There was much excited speculation about whether candidates running in GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) primary elections, which he endorsed, would unseat candidates of Bannon's sworn enemies, the Republican "establishment," which he publicly reviled.

I haven't heard any retractions or admissions of error by the establishment media for getting Bannon's true position so wrong, or for promoting him, nor by the media of that U.S.-toady nation, "Great" Britain, which aped the line of the American media.

Bannon's very energetic ego met the immovable mountain that is reality, and the ego wilted. All his life, Bannon has been a pushy, arrogant, abusive bastard (and violent towards women- brave man!). He made a mint from his ownership stake in the Seinfeld TV hit, and was paid the big bucks as an "investment banker." His reactionary ideology no doubt opened many doors for him, as the U.S. establishment is reactionary to its core, notwithstanding the masks it wears to dupe the rest of us. But the reality of power is that Trump is president, and Trump is a major celebrity with millions of enthusiastic fans. Bannon is not. And Bannon openly declared himself an enemy of the Republican Party, which is squarely aligned behind Trump. When crunch time came, Bannon had no friends or allies with any clout on his side. Indeed, his avowed aim to "overthrow the establishment" made enemies of every Republican politician, even "insurgents" who would rather nail their flag to Trump's mast than to that of Bannon's rapidly sinking ship.

  A Bummed-Out Bannon Mulls His Future
As for Wolff, he's long been a man on the make. A habitue of New York City media circles, during one period he kept trying to promote himself as a would-be media mogul. (Bannon and Trump aren't the only people in this saga with delusions.) He now boasts that his book will lead to Trump's downfall. Of course it won't. It's just more anti-Trump noise in the relentless anti-Trump campaign that most of the media, the Democratic Party, and the secret police agencies of the Deep State have been waging since Trump's election and with increased intensity after he was sworn into office. (The FBI has taken the lead in the covert side of this campaign to oust Trump or at a minimum tie him up and force him to carry out policies to the liking of the power structure as a whole, such as the new Cold War against Russia, but it is also no accident that top former secret police apparatchiks like Obama's CIA chieftain John Brennan, former NSA and CIA chieftain General Michael V. Hayden, and Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have all publicly denounced Trump at various times.)
Wolff praised Bannon as a great strategist and "a man who can see two steps ahead." Maybe those are baby steps. Bannon couldn't see that badmouthing Trump's son and son-in-law wasn't a brilliant political chess move? [1]
Wolff's book contains numerous factual errors, errors readily apparent. Wolff's publisher, like all major U.S. publishers, disavows any responsibility for the accuracy of what they sell as non-fiction, even though they commission the books, edit the books, print the books, publish the books, market the books, and sell the books. Wolff's book taps into a ravenous appetite for dirt on Trump. Since everyone involved is making boatloads of money, all is forgiven. And since most of the media is determined to Get Trump, they've pretended that Wolff's credibility isn't an issue, despite all the obvious factual errors. His portrait of everyone in Trump's orbit being horrified by him is surely nonsense. But Wolff cleverly wrote his story to conform to the contours of the negative image of Trump which has already been established. I largely agree that the image is true, except that calling Trump "unstable" is ridiculous. Trump's personality has been firmly fixed since adolescent. We have decades of a public record of his behavior. He's a narcissist, egomaniac, con man, rip-off artist, hustler, and inveterate liar. His personality is extremely stable. His character as an amoral charlatan is unchanging. He has robbed workers, contractors, banks, and "students" of his sham "university." Oh, and he's a confirmed racist.
The inexplicable thing about the Trump phenomenon is that this loathsome character has admirers, indeed millions of them. Or rather, it's only explicable if we grant that there are millions of dumb asses out there who are ethically defective, as is their idol- not an unreasonable assumption based on much evidence besides the popularity of Trump. This is a truth leftists are unable to face, as "the people" is their idol. But it is a fact that demagogues and despots, as well as run-of-the-mill politicians, have long exploited, in many times and places. It is a huge barrier to the evolution of a rational, humane, normal human civilization.
Janet Malcolm (named Jana Wienerova at birth) is a very privileged writer with a sinecure at The New Yorker magazine (hence very privileged) who wrote a two-part article for that magazine in March 1989, which she also peddled as a book, The Journalist and the Murderer. It's basic message is conveniently conveyed in the first sentence: "Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible." What she meant, in part, was that journalists trick people into trusting them, and then frequently betray that trust. Michael Wolff perhaps would meet with her disapproval- except that The New Yorker is a main cannon lobbing shells into TrumpWorld in the ongoing campaign to oust him from office. So Malcolm perhaps is in line with The New Yorker consensus. That would make Wolff an ally.

Unfortunately, Malcolm's piece was an extended attack on and denunciation of journalist Joe McGinniss, for what she viewed as his reprehensible act of gaining the trust of the Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald, and then accurately portraying him as the murderer he is. MacDonald had murdered his entire family, and claimed that LSD-crazed hippies had done the deed (sparing MacDonald himself for some odd reason). This blood libel against hippies by a trained killer was sickening. One of the main attributes of hippies was pacifism and non-violence. (No, Charles Manson wasn't a hippie, he was a psychopathic career criminal, and his cult followers were just a criminal gang.) Malcolm finds McGinniss morally despicable. MacDonald apparently not so much. There was great controversy over the MacDonald case because reactionaries preferred to believe the imaginary hippies did it.

Interestingly, Malcolm is completely blind to her own moral hypocrisy. She did exactly the thing she condemned McGinniss for. Her victim was a psychoanalyst named Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. This project also started out as New Yorker articles and became a book,  In The Freud Archives. This was also back in the 1980s. I remember the articles well even today. They read as objective, descriptive accounts of Masson and doing at the Freud Archives, then suddenly near the end became a savage attack on Masson. I thought at the time, Gee, sure didn't see THAT hatchet coming! It was so over-the-top, and apparently unprovoked. Masson sued Malcolm for libel, but after a ten year legal battle, he lost, even though Malcolm was unable to offer written or recorded evidence for various "quotes" she put in Masson's mouth that made him sound like a sexual swinger who wanted to turn the Archives into something like the New York City sex swingers club Plato's Retreat. [2]

So Malcolm actually is what she reviled in McGinniss, someone who gains a subject's trust only to betray it. Well, journalism is a dirty business, but a gal does what a gal's gotta do, I guess. The rest of us should only care if the result is truthful and accurate. And that is why Russia deserves a salute for providing us all with accurate information about Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, and the DNC in 2016, making the American electorate better-informed voters. Thus the Russians strengthened American democracy!! 
A Wolff In Sheep's Clothes

1] Wolff in radio interview, WNYC-New York City, January 10, 2018, noon program. "Midday On WNYC."

2] Some of this is summarized in the Wikipedia entry for Janet Malcolm.


Friday, December 29, 2017

Israeli Parliament Passes Netanyahu Criminal Protection Law

The Knesset has passed a law designed specifically to protect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from corruption charges. A member of his own party, Likud, put it forward.

 The new law blocks the Israeli police from revealing incriminating information about politicians prior to a formal indictment by the prosecutor's office. Over the years, the police have had to pressure the prosecutor to indict criminal politicians by publicizing the evidence they assembled. Israeli prosecutors are as much politicians as law enforcers, a situation one finds in many nations (including the U.S.). Netanyahu has greater sway over the prosecution office than over the police.

Typical of rightwing fanatics, Netanyahu (and his son) is corrupt as well as repressive. He is the subject of two criminal investigation, involving taking gifts from wealthy businessmen, and his interference in the media business.

Of course, while Israeli politicians move to increase their own rights and protections under Israeli law, Palestinians have no rights. Subject to arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, torture, and fake "trials" in kangaroo military "courts" (with a zero acquittal rate), this highlights the dual nature of Israeli "law" and "justice." Even Palestinian children are subject to vicious abuse by the Israeli "authorities."

Enough of this exposure of my corruption. Let's put an end to busybody police. Instead of busting my chops, they should be cracking Palestinian heads!


Friday, December 22, 2017

See? I told you the Bitcoin Bubble Would Burst

Five days ago the make-believe currency Bitcoin hit $20,000. Today it crashed to $10,000, a plunge of 50%, before recovering to $12,000 (that's a 20% rise). Bitcoin has gone through repeated bouts of bubbles and bursting bubbles over its existence. A chart of its history looks like a roller-coaster.
Bitcoin is fetishized by Libertarian types who are into digital technology. They have fantasies of liberation from government control through technology and a neo-laissez-faire capitalism. This is magical thinking.

With every sharp rise in the price (NOT the value- it has no value) of Bitcoin, speculators pile in, driving the price up more. As in every market mania, there are shills who confidently assert the price will go much higher. (Some jackass insisted a few days ago that Bitcoin would go to $300,000.)

It's the same in other markets. A capitalist polemicist and a pseudo-economist came out with a book in 1999, "Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market." That would have been a fourfold increase, and they predicted it would be by 2002 or 2004. Guess what? Shortly thereafter stocks went into a major decline. And that was followed by the 2008 financial crisis, which caused the stock market to collapse.

Another fool, a "certified financial advisor," pushed a book, "Dow, 30,000 by 2008- Why It's Different This Time."

Yet another shill came out with a tome in 1999, "Dow 40,000: Strategies for Profiting from the Greatest Bull Market in History."

You can still buy this crap on Amazon, amazingly enough. Why anyone would want to buy very wrong, very bad predictions from the past is a puzzle.

For an explanation of what is genuinely destructive about Bitcoin, see "The Great Bitcoin Con Game and How It's Harming Everyone On Earth." (It contributes to global warming.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How The Media Acted As Accomplices to the Sex Crimes of Harvey Weinstein (and of many others)

The American Media is Like the Germans: Either At Your Feet or At Your Throat.

One aspect of American (and not only American) media is starkly illustrated [1] by the Harvey Weinstein affair, and that is its tendency to either be fawning sycophants or a lynch mob. That is, a former darling can be turned on suddenly and ferociously. The target can be the same person previously adored, or a foreign nation or ruler when the "interests" of the attacking media's nation warrant a reversal of attitude. Examples of this are the reversal of political polarity from positive to negative when the Shah of Iran was toppled and the Shiite theocrats took over; when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait; and the Soviet Union, which went from enemy from 1917 to 1942, when it became friend, then back to enemy from 1945 until 1989 when Gorbachev surrendered the client states of Eastern Europe. (The S.U. ultimately shattered into pieces in 1991.)

This is not to say Weinstein doesn't deserve strong condemnation. It SHOULD raise questions about the media's former sycophancy towards him. Indeed, it aided and abetted his abuses of and attacks on women. And even though that is obvious, the media has managed to totally ignore that aspect of the issue. Here's just some of the proof of media complicity in Weinstein's crimes:

Buried in a long New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow about Weinstein's sexual assaults and coercive behavior was evidence of media complicity in aiding and abetting his crimes. How witting or clueless his media enablers were has not been revealed by the media.  Here are excerpts with key words highlighted by me in bold:

Virtually all of the people I spoke with told me that they were frightened of retaliation. “If Harvey were to discover my identity, I’m worried that he could ruin my life,” one former employee told me. Many said that they had seen Weinstein’s associates confront and intimidate those who crossed him, and feared that they would be similarly targeted. Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein’s advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them. Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him; these sources feared that they might be similarly targeted. Several pointed to Gutierrez’s case, in 2015: after she went to the police, negative items discussing her sexual history and impugning her credibility began rapidly appearing in New York gossip pages.

“This wasn’t a one-off. This wasn’t a period of time,” an executive who worked for Weinstein for many years told me. “This was ongoing predatory behavior towards women—whether they consented or not.


“Textbook sexual harassment” was how Nestor [a young female employee] described Weinstein’s behavior to me. “It’s a pretty clear case of sexual harassment when your superior, the C.E.O., asks one of their inferiors, a temp, to have sex with them, essentially in exchange for mentorship.” She recalled refusing his advances at least a dozen times. “ ‘No’ did not mean ‘no’ to him,” she said. “I was very aware of how inappropriate it was. But I felt trapped.”

Throughout the breakfast, she said, Weinstein interrupted their conversation to yell into his cell phone, enraged over a spat that Amy Adams, a star in the Weinstein movie “Big Eyes,” was having in the press. Afterward, Weinstein told Nestor to keep an eye on the news cycle, which he promised would be spun in his favor. Later in the day, there were indeed negative news items about his opponents, and Weinstein stopped by Nestor’s desk to be sure that she’d seen them.

By that point, Nestor recalled, “I was very afraid of him. And I knew how well connected he was."

Notice that Farrow and The New Yorker protect the identities of the media organs that willingly, probably eagerly, ran whatever malicious propaganda Weinstein chose to plant with them. Media people stick together. They are a tightknit fraternity (except when it came to Michael Hastings, for one, who was ostracized for reporting the contemptuous attitude of General Stanley McCrystal, and the horrible example he set for his staff, towards his commander-in-chief, the president of the United States, and the rest of the civilian leadership, the alleged superiors to the military, and who have been accessories after the fact in Hastings assassination by refusing to report the obvious facts, much less investigate it), who in general have an all-around non-aggression pact with each other (excepting Murdoch's minions, who gleefully attack other major media organs, because like all fascists, they consider themselves the only legitimate pretenders to power). There is also the desire not to close the doors to potential future employers on the part of the reporters and commentators. They are all careerists who rely on friendly relations to gain exposure for themselves. So both institutional and personal factors create a system of media self-protection. Once in awhile these media actors put on a show of self-reflection, self-analysis, self-pseudo-criticism, which are invariably acts of self-protection, justification, exoneration, sprinkled with what the CIA dubs limited hang-outs, that ism, dribbling out seeming "revelations" while keeping the most damaging facts and truths well-hidden.

Despite the efforts of The New Yorker to protect the guilty, we know from other sources (in this case the WNYC radio program On The Media, October 13, 2017) that in the most egregious case, the attack on    the woman who instigated the New York City police criminal investigation of Weinstein, to discredit her, Weinstein's media accomplices were Murdoch's minions at his reactionary rag New York Post "news"paper, specifically Page Six, a tawdry "gossip" and political attack column. Fitting that it should be so. Murdoch has long been an employer of sexual predators, including but not limited to Roger Ailes, the evil, Mephistophelian founder of Murdoch's vile agitpropaganda pseudo-news channel, Fox "News," and the former top on-air propagandist on that network, Bill "SHUT UP!" O'Reilly. Among his numerous major crimes, Ailes organized the rehabilitation of the image of the loathsome Richard Nixon in 1968, helping elect Nixon president, from which position Nixon rained bombs down on Vietnam and destroyed democracy in Chile with a CIA-Pentagon coup, among numerous other crimes against humanity, domestic and foreign. To be sure, the CIA played the crucial role in electing Nixon, first by assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr., in April 1968, prompting justified rioting by blacks which played straight into Nixon's racist "law and order" campaign theme (code for "repress the blacks") but especially in June by murdering Robert Kennedy, who would have defeated Nixon in the November election had the CIA not eliminated him. (As it was, Nixon barely edged the ultimate Democratic candidate by less than a percentage point, the loathsome Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson's vice president, who discredited himself with liberal voters by his sycophantic support for Johnson's Vietnam war.)

Just to return to the relatively trivial matter of a disgusting movie industry poohbah abusing his power, and the major corporate media protecting him: NBC refused to run Ronan Farrow's story about Weinstein, so he took it to The New Yorker.

1] Illustrated, but ignored by that same media, of course.

Sex criminals Weinstein, O'Reilly, Roger Ailes- beneath their politics, birds of a feather.

"HEY! Who's molesting who!" Hillary Clinton just can't keep her hands off Harvey Weinstein. (Hint: She loves his money. I mean, his "donations" because he "supports what she stands for" and "the values of the Democratic Party." Yeah, right.)

"Stupid bitch, here's how you give a blowjob!" Victim of multiple misunderstandings Bill O'Reilly was merely conducting one-on-one sex ed lessons.

Who could resist sexy Roger Ailes! We sure do miss Rupert Murdoch's propaganda master, the man who invented the "new Nixon" of 1968. (Meet the New Nixon, same as the Old Nixon.)

And give credit where credit is due: The Man who empowered the sex fiends and spreaders of socially destructive reactionary agitprop Ailes and O'Reilly, the Global Master Propagandist himself, Rupert Murdoch, the Ageless One.