She Said That? 10/18/17

From Helen Keller (1880–1968), American author, political activist, and lecturer:

Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.

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Surprisingly, I’m Quite Optimistic About the Future, by Michael Krieger

It’s nice to hear some optimism once in a while. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

To summarize, in just the last few years the world has invented a way to create software services that have no central operator. These services are called decentralized applications and they are enabled with crypto assets that incentivize entities on the internet to contribute resources — processing, storage, computing — necessary for the service to function.

It’s worth pausing to acknowledge that this is kind of miraculous. With just the internet, an open protocol, and a new kind of asset, we can instantiate networks that dynamically assemble the resources necessary to provide many kinds of services.

– From Adam Ludwin’s: A Letter to Jamie Dimon

I’m actually pretty optimistic about the future. I know some of you might be surprised to hear that, but it’s true. This might not be the case if I had only five years left on the planet, but assuming I’m fortunate enough to stay healthy for another few decades, I think the world will be a much better place when I leave it than when I came in.

The simple fact of the matter is this. For things to get substantially better from any situation, it’s always easier to start from a pretty bad place. When I write articles describing the U.S. economy as a rent-seeking, oligarch controlled swindle, I don’t do this to fill you with a sense of insurmountable dread. Rather, the purpose of those posts is to shake as many people as possible out of their slumber. There’s simply no way we can come up with appropriate and conscious solutions to our problems unless we can identify the various scams that govern so much of life around us.

The most lucrative scams are simultaneously extremely bold and well hidden. As such, there’s no greater scam on earth than the scam of the monetary system. A system where a small group of unelected technocrats (central bankers) are given power to create and distribute money at their discretion. The power that these people wielded during the financial crisis was historic in nature and dastardly in its results. Essentially, the monetary system was used as a weapon to bailout and further enrich those already entrenched in positions of power and wealth at the expense of everyone else. There’s simply no way Donald Trump would be President today had it not been for the extraordinarily lopsided “recovery,” which was a direct result of government’s extremely unethical and arguably criminal response to the financial crisis.

To continue reading: Surprisingly, I’m Quite Optimistic About the Future

FBI – With Robert Mueller As Head – Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Benefiting Obama, the Clintons As Early As 2009, by Jon Hall

Robert Mueller, who’s investigating the fake Russian influence allegations, was head of the FBI when it investigated and sat on a real Russian influence story involving Obama and the Clintons. From Jon Hall at fmshooter.com:

According to government documents and interviews, before approving the controversial Uranium One deal with Russia, the Obama administration participated in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering with Russian officials – all with the aim to expand Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the U.S.

This, and more, comes from a bombshell report from The Hill that details the corruption via eyewitness accounts and internal documents. As early as 2009, emails showed that Moscow compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks – which is in direct violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices act.

Eyewitness account, also backed by documents, indicated Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. for former President Bill Clinton’s foundation during the time Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State.

Notably, while Bill Clinton was routed millions from Russia, Secretary of State Clinton served on a government body that provided favorable decision to Moscow – a clear conflict of interest. In an affidavit years after the scheme, an FBI agent claimed the racketeering was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia “who shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks. 

However, instead of bringing charges immediately after the scandal broke in 2010, Obama’s Department of Justice continued to investigate the matter for four years, enacting and performing a cover-up of massive proportions. On top of that, per The Hill, The DOJ:

…left the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The Uranium One deal was, of course, just one of those two decisions made to benefit Putin – giving control of more than 20 percent of American’s total uranium supply to Russian nuclear giant Rosatom. Trump, on the campaign trail last year, hit Hillary Clinton for being involved with the deal; however, her spokesman claimed Clinton wasn’t involved in the committee review and the State Department official who handled the transaction said Clinton “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

The second decision made by the Obama admin that favorably benefited Putin was another deal for Rosatom:

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium

Documents from the FBI, Energy Department, and U.S. courts show the FBI had gathered evidence long before any of the wrongdoing – extortion, bribery, kickbacks – started in 2009. Eric Holder, infamous Obama-era Attorney General, was among the administration officials who joined Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment at the time the Uranium One deal was approved.

To continue reading: FBI – With Robert Mueller As Head – Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Benefiting Obama, the Clintons As Early As 2009

Ray Dalio’s Shorting The Entire EU, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

The head of the world’s biggest hedge fund complex is bearish on Europe. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

A point BOE Governor Mark Carney made recently may be the biggest cog in the European Union’s wheel (or is it second biggest? Read on). That is, derivatives clearing. It’s one of the few areas where Brussels stands to lose much more than London, but it’s a big one. And Carney puts a giant question mark behind the EU’s preparedness.

Carney Reveals Europe’s Potential Achilles Heel in Brexit Talks

Carney explained why Europe’s financial sector is more at risk than the UK from a “hard” or “no-deal” Brexit. [..] When asked does the European Council “get it” in terms of potential shocks to financial stability, Carney diplomatically commented that “a learning process is underway.” Having sounded alarm bells about clearing in his last Mansion House speech, he noted “These costs of fragmenting clearing, particularly clearing of interest rate swaps, would be born principally by the European real economy and they are considerable.”

Calling into question the continuity of tens of thousands of derivative contracts , he stated that it was “pretty clear they will no longer be valid”, that this “could only be solved by both sides” and has been “underappreciated” by Europe . Carney had a snipe at Europe for its lack of preparation “We are prepared as we should be for the possibility of a hard exit without any transition…there has been much less of that done in the European Union.”

In Carneys view “It’s in the interest of the EU 27 to have a transition agreement. Also, in my judgement given the scale of the issues as they affect the EU 27, that there will ultimately be a transition agreement. There is a very limited amount of time between now and the end of March 2019 to transition large, complex institutions and activities…

If one thinks about the implementation of Basel III, we are alone in the current members of the EU in having extensive experience of managing the transition for individual firms of various derivative and risk activities from one jurisdiction back into the UK. That tends to take 2-4 years. Depending on the agreement, we are talking about a substantial amount of activity.” [..] “I wouldn’t want to use financial stability issues as leverage. I wouldn’t want them to be addressed in a bloodless technocratic way in the interests of all the citizens.”

To continue reading: Ray Dalio’s Shorting The Entire EU

A CNN Smear, by John Stossel

In case there was any doubt, more proof that CNN is one scuzzball of a TV network. From John Stossel at theburningplatform.com:

Did you happen to catch CNN’s latest smear?

Anderson Cooper’s show recently featured a “two-part exclusive” that claims Donald Trump’s EPA director had conspired with the CEO of a mining company to “withdraw environmental restrictions” so the company could dig “the largest open pit mine in the world in an extremely sensitive watershed in wild Alaska.”

The report was enough to horrify any caring person. CNN showed beautiful pictures of colorful salmon swimming in Bristol Bay, and the reporter intoned dramatically, “EPA staffers were shocked to receive this email obtained exclusively by CNN which says ‘we have been directed by the administrator to withdraw restrictions’ … (P)rotection of that pristine area was being removed.”

No! A “pristine” area and gorgeous salmon were about to be obliterated by a mine!

I would have believed it, except I happened to report on that mine a couple of years ago.

I knew that the real scandal was not EPA director Scott Pruitt’s decision to “withdraw the restrictions”; it was what President Obama’s EPA did to the company’s mining proposal in the first place.

Zealots at the EPA had conspired with rich environmental activists to kill the mine before its environmental impact statement could even be submitted. This was unprecedented.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform later concluded: “EPA employees had inappropriate contact with outside groups and failed to conduct an impartial, fact-based review.”

Now, appropriately, Pruitt undid that censorship of science.

But CNN, implying devious secrecy said, “according to multiple sources, he made that decision without a briefing from any of EPA’s scientists.”

Shocking!

But Pruitt didn’t require opinions from scientists. He didn’t approve the mine. He didn’t make a science decision. He simply followed the law and allowed a company to submit a proposal.

Also, despite CNN’s repeated depictions of salmon on Bristol Bay, it turns out that the proposed mine would not even be on the Bay. It would not even be 10 miles away, or 20 miles away, or even 50 miles. The proposed mine would be about 100 miles away.

Did CNN mention that? No. Never. We asked CNN why. And why not point out that the mining company is just being allowed to start the EPA’s long and arduous environmental review? They didn’t get back to us.

To continue reading: A CNN Smear

The “Experimenter”: Understanding Why Shit Happens and How Conformity Kills, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Doug “Uncola” Lynn always seems to come up with some off-the-beaten-track thinking that makes for scintillating reading. From Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

During inclement weather days, late nights, lazy weekends, and when one’s eyes tire of small print or words and images levitating in digital ether, Netflix offers a video library of sorts allowing the viewer to recline, and imbibe knowledge in a relatively easy way.  Many of Netflix’s films consist of documentaries, nonfiction stories originating from books, historical retellings, or fictionalized narratives derived from actual circumstances and people. Two such films, recently viewed by the author of this post, are historical accounts, originated from books, and retold from the perspective of the actual persons who lived the events recounted therein. These two films, currently showing on Netflix, include: “First They Killed My Father” (2017) and “Experimenter” (2015).

The former film is a Netflix Original and based upon the 2000 book, “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers”, written by Loung Ung.  Loung was a five-year-old Cambodian girl living in Phnom Penh when Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge subjugated the city forcing the Ung family to flee into what later became known as the Cambodian Killing Fields.  The latter film retells the story behind the Stanley Milgram obedience experimentswhich took place at Yale University in 1961.

Loung Ung’s father was a Captain in the military police for the Lon Nol government.  He correctly believed it was wrong for Cambodians to have placed their faith in the resolve of the lying and politically schizophrenic United States Government during the Vietnam War.  Yet, at the same time, he feared the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot and the unification of Cambodia under the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

The Ung family lived a comfortable upper-middle-class existence right up until the Khmer Rouge defeated the Khmer Republic of Lon Nol; and everything changed terribly when the rebels marched into the city of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975.

To continue reading: The “Experimenter”: Understanding Why Shit Happens and How Conformity Kills

The Decertification of Iran Speech: Refuting Trump, by Ted Snider

It’s far easier to find the lies in President Trump’s recent decertification of Iranian Nuclear Agreement compliance than it is to find any nuggets of truth. Ted Snider exposes and refutes most of the lies. From Snider at antiwar.com:

Iran’s hardliners were right. They recited a long history of agreements in which Iranian compliance was repaid with American betrayal. Like a Persian chorus of Cassandras, they called their warnings into the wind, and the world called them crazy. Well, the mad mullahs were right. Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring each time it has reported – most recently in August 2017 – that Iran is in total compliance with its agreements in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Donald Trump has now carried through on his threat to decertify Iran.

And the United Nations body is not alone. Trump’s own military and intelligence community has clearly told him the same thing. US Strategic Command Chief General John Hyten has recently insisted that Iran is in full compliance and that any concerns the US may have with Iran are independent of the nuclear agreement. General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs, has also recently told a senate hearing that Iran is complying with the JCPOA.

Contrary to Trump’s claim that the JCPOA is no longer beneficial to the safety and security of the American people, that it does not “contribute to ‘regional and international peace and security,’” that too is sharply inconsistent with the message of both the American and the international military and intelligence communities. Secretary of Defense James Mattis told the senate armed services committee recently that the JCPOA is in the national security interest. European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherinis said that “We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working.”

Trump’s speech was not only disconnected with the reality of Iran’s compliance with the agreement and with the effectiveness of the agreement, it also contained an unbelievably long list of false charges against Iran and of historical falsehoods, prompting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to suggest that Trump read his history books.

To continue reading: The Decertification of Iran Speech: Refuting Trump