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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Making America Gape again

Paradoxed,

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a “normal” president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire … the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.
I’m referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven’t been “regime changed” yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan “opposition,” but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country...
Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. “America” is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling … themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela. 


Kyle Bass is a capitalist warrior of great acumen. He says Trump should press the attack hard in the trade war with China.
Reducing tariff rates and adjusting foreign ownership rules would be a good thing, but this would not end China’s long-standing policy of bulk economic espionage and theft, which annually costs America’s economy at least $300 billion, according to U.S. government estimates. Multiple U.S. administrations have sought to engage China on these issues for more than two decades, and the commitments made to the U.S. have rarely been fulfilled. America needs a commitment from China’s government that it will put an end to espionage and theft and agree to legal and financial repercussions for their theft. Trump’s administration should continue to push for this and not end talks until there is permanent change in China’s behavior.
For China to be a constructive member of the multilateral world trading system it must grant foreign companies, operating either inside China or outside, the same rights and privileges as Party-affiliated national champions. The current mercantilist system, based on subsidies and preferences, needs to be dismantled, but the concessions offered to date lack commitment.
The Trump administration needs to fully understand the leverage it has today — and the increased leverage that it will have after March 1, the end of the 90-day reprieve from the imposition of additional tariffs — is the most the U.S. will ever have. To squander this opportunity would be a catastrophe not only for Trump’s administration but for the West.

Two weeks after President Trump sent a spasm of enthusiasm through US markets by meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington during the last round of trade negotiations, President Xi is reportedly set to return the favor this week by meeting with a delegation led by Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to South China Morning Post.  (Feeling some urgency​?​)

​Charles Hugh Smith on 3 themes to watch in 2019:
Final Stages of Debt Supercycle:
The basic idea of the debt supercycle is simple: resolving every crisis of over-leveraged speculative excess, evaporation of collateral and over-indebtedness by radically increasing debt eventually leads to an implosion of the entire credit-based financial system...  
Decay of Social Order/Social Contract​
Look no further than Brexit in Britain, the yellow vests in France and the Deplorables in the U.S. for manifestations of a broken social contract and decaying social order. The politically invisible / financially vulnerable have declared we're still here to their globalized elite aristocrats, and this rebellion against elite domination and profiteering is being demonized by the corporate-state media as populism rather than what it really is: a full-blown revolt of the working class.
Social controls: Surveillance capitalism  
In response, the ruling elites have instituted social controls via ramped up official propaganda, Social Credit Scoring in China and private-sector Surveillance Capitalism in the U.S.
All these forms of social control seek to marginalize, suppress and censor dissent, alternative sources of information, alternative narratives and financial independence: hence the sudden eltist interest in Universal Basic Income (UBI) and similar central-state dependency programs: nothing suppresses a working class revolt quite like free money for keeping quiet, passive and obedient.
But some sectors of the working class are not willing to accept the bribes; they're holding out for actual political power, and this is why the ruling elites of France have responded to the yellow vest movement with such savagery.

​Battle Stations!​
Russian authorities and major internet providers are planning to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment, Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) reported last week...
 A first draft of the law mandated that Russian internet providers should ensure the independence of the Russian internet space (Runet) in the case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet...
A date for the test has not been revealed, but it's supposed to take place before April 1.


The autonomous system would ensure that Russia doesn’t face a total internet shutdown if relations with the West completely collapse and the US goes as far as cutting off Russian IP addresses from the World Wide Web.
Back in 2012, then-US President Barack Obama signed an executive order allowing him to take control of all communications on American soil, including those crucial for the normal operation of the internet.
The US National Security Agency actually caused a three-day internet blackout in Syria in November 2012, whistleblower Edward Snowden told Wired magazine. NSA hackers accidently ‘bricked’ one of the core routers while trying to install spyware on it.


​IMF and World Bank are used militarily as "Unconventional Weapons" by US 
In a leaked military manual on “unconventional warfare” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, the U.S. Army states that major global financial institutions — such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — are used as unconventional, financial “weapons in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war,” as well as in leveraging “the policies and cooperation of state governments.”
The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. 

​How The Media Manufactures Consent for regime Change in Venezuela, Alan MacLeod
The latest extraordinary chapter in the bizarre world of Venezuelan politics is playing out before our eyes. After winning the 2018 presidential elections, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated in January, only for the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó -- a man whom, at the time, less than 20 percent of the country had even heard of -- to declare himself President.
Guaidó was immediately backed by the governments of the U.S. and U.K., with Vice President Mike Pence stating, "Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him."...
In a recent study, I analyzed how the media presented the 2018 elections in Colombia and Venezuela. Looking at how these two elections were covered can help us understand why there's so little nuance in the media coverage of U.S.-Venezuela relations.
To study the 2018 elections, I used the propaganda model media scholars Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky outlined in their book Manufacturing Consent. Their propaganda model contends that mainstream, corporate media is not a neutral venue for truth. Instead, it is a vehicle that advances the interests of media owners and their advertisers.
The authors argue that, in contrast to the top-down censorship of authoritarian states, these outlets achieve uniform opinions through the pre-selection of "right-thinking" editors and reporters who have been trained at the "right" schools. They then disseminate information – or, at the very least, self-censor – in a way that protects or advances the ideology of ownership, advertisers and official sources.
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14314

​Ellen Brown, Killing the Public Banking Revolution in Venezuela
The banking crisis of 2009-10 exposed the corruption and systemic weakness of Venezuelan banks. Some banks were engaged in questionable business practices.  Others were seriously undercapitalized.  Others were apparently lending top executives large sums of money.  At least one financier could not prove where he got the money to buy the banks he owned.
Rather than bailing out the culprits, as was done in the US, in 2009 the government nationalized seven Venezuelan banks, accounting for around 12% of the nation’s bank deposits.  In 2010, more were taken over.  The government arrested at least 16 bankers and issued more than 40 corruption-related arrest warrants for others who had fled the country. By the end of March 2011, only 37 banks were left, down from 59 at the end of November 2009.  State-owned institutions took a larger role, holding 35% of assets as of March 2011, while foreign institutions held just 13.2% of assets.
Over the howls of the media, in 2010 Chavez took the bold step of passing legislation defining the banking industry as one of “public service.” The legislation specified that 5% of the banks’ net profits must go towards funding community council projects, designed and implemented by communities for the benefit of communities. The Venezuelan government directed the allocation of bank credit to preferred sectors of the economy, and it increasingly became involved in the operations of private financial institutions.  By law, nearly half the lending portfolios of Venezuelan banks had to be directed to particular mandated sectors of the economy, including small business and agriculture.

​10 Reasons the Gilets Jeunes are The Real Deal (yeah, missed a few...)
1. They don’t speak in Abstractions/idealisms: abstraction is the language of power, hierarchy and representation. Abstraction and its use in a political context are what unite all regimes be they communist, Nazi or neo-liberal.
2. The mainstream media blackout: It is only necessary to go onto Gilets websites to witness the violence being metered out to the yellow vests. Does any of this appear in the mainstream media?
4. The lack of celebrities or leaders. Even after 12 demonstrations and 3 months of agitation, there are still no spokesmen or leaders or celebrities, ‘speaking’ for the people. This by itself tells you it’s a genuine grassroots movement.
5. The manner in which the globalisers have no response but violence.
8. The presence of many poor baby boomers and retirees: these sorts of people don’t usually attend demonstrations partially because they’re too busy, too old, don’t care or are driven away by the orchestrated police violence created expressly for that purpose. Yet they constitute the majority of people at the roundabouts, particularly outside Paris. Their presence tells you everything about the veracity of this movement.
  

​Caitlin Johnstone,
Well, now we all know what happens when a public official criticizes AIPAC. And of course, that was the whole idea.
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has published an apology for making self-evident observations about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an immensely influential lobbying firm which, like all lobbying firms, works to influence government policy toward a specific agenda, in this case the interests of the Israeli government. She issued the apology after hours upon hours of shrill, hysterical shrieking accusations of antisemitism from the entire establishment political-media class...
This wasn’t a random outburst, it was a political means toward political ends. This fact-free smear will be used to try and kill Omar’s re-election bid, and the damage that has been done to her reputation will serve as a head on a spike to deter any other would-be AIPAC critics on Capitol Hill in the future.​..
 For the last two years the mainstream liberal establishment has been endlessly bleating about the need to elevate women of color to positions of leadership; then the first Black Muslim and first Somali American ever to get elected to Congress begins taking the leadership for which she was elected, and it turns out they actually meant they just wanted women with dark skin who will advance the status quo of the white imperialist patriarchy.

IN 2005, STEVEN Rosen, then a senior official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, sat down for dinner with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, then of the New Yorker. “You see this napkin?” Rosen asked Goldberg. “In twenty-four hours, [AIPAC] could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”  

​Kunstler on "Mistaken Futures"​
Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.
The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.
The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism.  We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.

​Sharing Poverty​

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