Jan 12

Today’s News 12th January 2018

  • Military Intelligence Has Weaponized Democracy Worldwide

    Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

    It doesn’t matter whether it’s the US’ brand of “democracy” for export or the national-specific model of government that strengthens non-Western states, the theoretical concept behind this system has been weaponized by military intelligence agencies worldwide in a back-and-forth competition to change or retain the “deep state” status quo.

    Most people are familiar with US’ clandestine and militant export of “democracy” across the globe in order to remove uncompliant leaders and promote its enduring geostrategic interest to retain its own unipolar hegemony, but comparatively fewer have ever thought about how this very same system is actually a method of control no matter what iteration it ultimately takes. This isn’t a judgement but a fact – democracy is really a tool that’s expertly wielded by its “deep state” practitioners in order to retain the status quo in their states.

    Whether this is “good” or “bad” depends on one’s perspective – most people in the Alternative-Media Community would argue that it’s the former so long as the country in question is protecting their independent policies from outside (US/Western/Gulf) interference and striving to construct the Multipolar World Order, while the Mainstream Media would of course see this as the latter by derogatorily framing it as a “managed democracy” or at worst a “dictatorship’. Along the same token, the Alternative-Media Community believes that the US is a fake democracy and practices an insincere iteration of this ideology, while the Mainstream Media extols it as the best model in the world.

    Nevertheless, this article isn’t about arguing whether democracy is a good or bad system, or even rendering judgement on the variation that certain countries have chosen to implement, but to describe how the ideology itself has come to constitute the core of military intelligence operations across the world in carrying out long-term offensive and defensive missions.

    The Four-Step Strategy

    Military intelligence is almost always directed against foreign targets and there are multiple ways to describe the practice of this art, but the most relevant one is to draw attention to a four-step process that interestingly begins and ends with democracy. The first step is to develop concepts that can serve to widen societal divisions (second step) that provoke a crisis (third step) and allow for the implementation of reverse-engineered end game solutions (final step). While there are many theories that can catalyze this sequence and conclude it, regardless of whether they’re the same for fulfilling both roles or are different, democracy is the most effective for ‘killing two birds with one stone’.

    Part of the universal appeal for democracy is that people believe that it’s the best way to hold decision makers accountable in ensuring that they fulfill their promises to increase the living standards for the general population and empower individuals to actualize their full potential. Democracy, however, is also the proverbial Pandora’s Box, and there’s no going back once the ideals of this theory have either been introduced or practiced in a society.

    The Secret Ingredient Of Hybrid War

    By its very nature, democracy is capable of widening societal divisions, especially in the identity-diverse and mostly post-colonial states of the “Global South” that are increasingly occupying a more significant geostrategic position in world affairs due to their location and economic potential, which satisfies the second step of military intelligence operations. Depending on the composition of the targeted country, which the US can become intimately aware of through big data social media analytics and a presumably de-facto covert revival of the brief Cold War-era “Project Camelot”, various Hybrid War scenarios can be hatched for bringing the state to crisis and weaponizing the consequent chaos in order to implement the reverse-engineered “solution” for normalizing the resultant systemic change.

    Put plainly and in the context of the US’ militant proselytization of “democracy”, the ideal or some relevant variation thereof becomes appealing to the targeted population and eventually encourages or serves as a front for destabilizing societal divisions that eventually disrupt the status quo by catalyzing a crisis and paving the way for a regime change against the government. To visualize the process in its most naked conceptual terms:

    THEORY/CONCEPT ⇒
    ⇒ SOCIETAL DIVISION/DISRUPTION ⇒
    ⇒ CRISIS ⇒
    ⇒ IMPLEMENTATION OF PREDETERMINED ‘SOLUTION’

    Democracy is the US’ ideological weapon of choice because it allows for the management of “creative destruction” within the system that periodically allows the public to peacefully vent their frustrations by electorally recycling their civilian elites without interfering with their country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (or “deep state”). This is advantageous from an external perspective of hegemony because it allows the US to indirectly retain control over its vassals, or when needed, manipulate the democratic process in order to “legally” install their public placeholder of preference.

    Managing Blowback

    There are times, however, when democracies fail to prevent the emergence of system-threatening elite, in which case the US instrumentalizes various “deep state” levers of pressure against the elected “revolutionary” in order to offset their planned changes just like it’s presently doing to Moldovan President Dodon. If the newly elected figure can’t be co-opted like Tsipras was or functionally neutralized like US-ally India is attempting to do to the newly elected Chinese-friendly communist government in Nepal prior to its official formation in what should be the next coming months, then it’ll either resort to carrying out a coup or launching a Hybrid War. Should that fail, then the direct military intervention of its “Lead From Behind” partners or even the US itself becomes possible per the Libyan model.

    Having explained the external manipulation of democracy for offensive geostrategic and regime change ends by the US, it’s now time to discuss how it’s been used by countries for defensive purposes as well.

    The Defensive Weaponization Of Democracy

    Democracy is a means, not an end, and it’s become a tool for perpetuating the “deep state” status quo in keeping the permanent bureaucracy in power (and sometimes even the public one as well) while superficially or sincerely giving the citizenry a chance to hold certain decision makers to account in the hopes that they’ll eventually bend to the majority’s political will in carrying out policies that will ultimately benefit the people. As such, democracy becomes nothing more than a pressure valve in the most cynical sense for distracting the masses by indoctrinating them with the belief that this is the most effective means for actualizing real change while staving off any real systemic threat to the “deep state”.

    Democracy or some variation thereof almost always remains the first and final step of this process, while the natural divisions that it creates (second step) are handled through the controlled “crisis” of elections (third step).

    Like was mentioned at the beginning of the analysis, this could be interpreted as “good” if it prevents a violent and possibly externally supported minority from overthrowing an elected multipolar government or “bad” if it enables an unpopular public leader or “grey cardinal” (“dictator”) to remain in power contrary to the genuine will of the majority of the population, though it must be qualified that the latter state of affairs could be manipulated through foreign infowars in order to manage the masses’ perception to this end. Either way, the “creative destruction” inherent in democratic systems gives the “deep state” the best chance for controlling the citizenry in the most cost-effective manner, controversially limiting the pace of actual change in contravention of democracy’s original conceptual mission to let this process flow freely and according to the public’s will.

    Offense vs. Defense

    When the US supports groups relying on “democratic” slogans to overthrow the leadership of other democracies (whether Western like in Poland or national-specific such as in Syria), it’s counting on them to introduce another variant of democracy to “justify” their usurpation of power and create a smokescreen for carrying out a “deep state” purge afterwards to replace the prior decision makers with their own. Conversely, the defensive application of democracy is used to cycle out unpopular leaders and “safely” introduce new ideas into the governing apparatus that aren’t “revolutionary” enough to “rock the boat” and threaten the “deep state”, thus giving the public a means through which they can periodically provide constructive feedback and channel their frustrations by pointing the authorities in the direction that they need to go in order to retain the masses’ support.

    The above-mentioned two examples represent the conclusion of military intelligence’s weaponization of democracy according to the offensive and defensive manifestations of the four-step sequence because it begins and ends with democracy itself, albeit sometimes “re-normalizing” the concept in the final phase depending on whether there is a visible (electoral) shift in the public elite. Like it was earlier remarked, the controlled nature of “deep state” elites managing “creative destruction” within their systems is contrary to the pure theoretical definition of democracy in allowing this process to freely unfold based on the public’s will. One should be careful to avoid attaching any judgement to this observation, however, because the proliferation of mass & social media, as well as the ease with which foreign forces can manipulate targeted citizenry abroad through these means, suggests that having certain “safeguards” might actually be a responsible move, though provided that it’s not abused.

    The Trump Anomaly

    With all of this in mind, Trump’s election was a real revolution because the same system-threatening development that occasionally occurs abroad in endangering the “deep state” actually took place within the US itself, and without any external meddling to boot. “The Kraken” is now trying to carry out changes within the same “democracy” that had hitherto assumed that it was immune from anything of the sort ever happening, which is why hostile “liberal-globalist” members of the “deep state” are activating levers of institutional pressure to counteract his changes just like what Trump’s Administration is ironically doing against Moldova’s Dodon. Even so, Trump is pragmatic enough not counterproductively inhibit the democratic execution of his desired vision by Congressional means and has thus worked with certain “deep state” figures when necessary, hence why his former Trotskyite ally Bannon backstabbed him in an unsuccessful bid to break what he truly believe was Trump’s “counterrevolutionary” Presidency.

    Concluding Thoughts

    There is nothing inherently “good” or “bad” about democracy, as such judgement calls are subjective, but one can objectively argue that the model itself is the most effective one for fulfilling military intelligence’s four-step mission, whether operationalized for offensive use abroad like the US does or defensive reasons at home such as how it’s employed by Iran. This, too, isn’t a “good” or “bad” thing, but is simply a fact of life that few people have become aware of because the existence of some sort of democratic motions is now taken for granted almost all across the world and has, to channel the fourth and final step of the military intelligence process, become “normalized”. This isn’t to say that the “solution” is to dilute democracy, or even that a “solution” is necessary at all, but just to draw attention to a little-known aspect of modern-day life that often eludes the notice of most political analysts and encourage readers to think outside the box in reconceptualizing the world around them.

  • Mexicans Work More Hours Every Year Than Any Other Nation

    Across the globe, people are firmly back in the working groove after all the fun, relaxation and overindulgence of the holiday season.

    This year, as Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, some workers are going to have a far longer shift than others.

    According to the OECD, Mexicans work the most hours out of any country with 2,246 on average. That’s 467 more than an average American worker and for less than a fifth of the pay. 

    Infographic: Who Works The Most Hours Every Year?  | Statista

    You will find more statistics at Statista

    In recent years, the South Korean government has attempted to reduce the long working hours in the country but its workers are still averaging 2,113 hours annually.

    Greek workers were sometimes labeled as over-paid, lazy and eager to retire early after the financial crisis struck but those accusations were certainly unfounded. People in Greece work the most hours of any European country with 2,042 every year on average.

    U.S. workers put in a 1,779 hour shift every year while across the border in Canada, the annual total adds up to 1,691. French workers get a much better deal with 1,482 hours while in Germany, the total only comes to 1,371.

  • Paul Craig Roberts Fears "Another Step Towards Armageddon"

    Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

    The US military/security complex has taken another step toward Armageddon.

     

    https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180111_pch.png?w=750&ssl=1

    The Pentagon has prepared a nuclear posture review (NPR) that gives the OK to development of smaller “useable” nuclear weapons and permits their use in response to a non-nuclear attack.

    As Reagan and Gorbachev understood, but the warmongers who have taken over America do not, there are far too many nuclear weapons already. Some scientists have concluded that even the use of 10 percent of either the US or Russian arsenal would suffice to destroy life on earth.

    It is reckless and irresponsible for Washington to make such a decision in the wake of years of aggressive actions taken against Russia. The Clinton criminal regime broke Washington’s promise that NATO would not move one inch to the East. The George W. Bush criminal regime pulled out of the ABM Treaty and changed US war doctrine to elevate the use of nuclear weapons from retaliation to first strike. The Obama criminal regime launched a frontal propaganda attack on Russia with crazed Hillary’s denunciation of President Putin as “the new Hitler.” In an effort to evict Russia from its naval base in Crimea, the criminal Obama regime overthrew the Ukrainian government during the Sochi Olympics and installed a Washington puppet. US missile bases have been established on Russia’s border, and NATO conducts war games against Russia on Russian borders.

    This is insanity. These and other gratuitous provocations have convinced the Russian military’s Operation Command that Washington is planning a surprise nuclear attack on Russia. The Russian government has replied to these provocations with the statement that Russia will never again fight a war on its own territory.

    Those such as myself and Stephen Cohen, who point out that Washington’s reckless and irresponsible behavior has created an enemy out of a country that very much wanted to be friends, do not get much attention from the presstitute media. The US military/security complex needs an enemy sufficient to justify its vast budget and power, and the Western media has accommodated that selfish and dangerous need.

    Russia today is far stronger and better armed than the Soviet Union ever was. Russia also has an alliance with China, an economic and military power. This alliance was created by Washington’s threats against both countries.

    Europe and Japan need to understand that they have responsibility for the resurrection of the Cold War in a far more dangerous form than existed in the 20th century. Europe and Japan, whose political leaders are owned by Washington, have taken money from Washington and sold out their peoples along with the rest of humanity.

    The entirety of the Western World is devoid of intelligent political leadership. This leaves countries such as Russia, China and Iran with the challenge of preserving life on earth as the Western World pushes humanity toward Armageddon.

  • Henry Ford, Dot.com & Bitcoins

    Submitted by Viktor Shvets of Macquarie

    Why history matters

    Is ‘history more or less bunk?’ It provides valuable lessons

    • Henry Ford once said that “history is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history that we make today”. And yet, Ford was aware that he was making history, and his remarks were aimed at the orthodoxy.
    • What has Henry Ford to do with bitcoins? In 1900 when he was experimenting with cars, there were around 2,000 car makers globally that were producing 10,000 vehicles (some powered by steam). However by 1920, the number of car makers shrunk to around 200, and the industry was manufacturing 2.5m cars and by the 1930s in most DMs, horses were dead and buggy makers were out of business. By the 1980s, the number of car makers dropped below 50 and the industry was making over 30m vehicles. Today, there are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies and their combined value (depending on time of day) is ~US$600-800bn, or ~1% of global money in circulation. Will cryptos follow the same trajectory as their early 20th century cousin and within a decade or so become the dominant force in transactions and store of value?
    • The key that links cryptos with Henry Ford and the main difference between (say) bitcoin and tulips is that cryptocurrencies are based on sustainable and evolving technological foundations (just as cars were in the early 20th century). To argue that the blockchain is good but cryptos bad is to forget that without various forms of ledger balances (or cryptocurrencies), blockchain is an empty vessel. As in the case of the 17th century Dutch Tulip Mania, the growth of cryptocurrencies is also turbocharged by creeping monetary debasement. It is the marriage of technology and the perceived need for insurance that is likely to guarantee cryptos’ LT role, irrespective what the governments think.

    Does it mean that cryptos are a reliable store of value?

    • If one indiscriminately invested in hundreds of car makers in 1900, the chances are that one would have sustained significant losses. It was still a time for venture capitalists rather than conventional investors. However, by the 1920s, investment in the surviving automakers would have yielded considerable returns while buying buggies (even at low PERs) would have led to losses. It was a similar process in the dot.com bubble. Although there were hundreds of new companies and the shape of the future was becoming clear, neither hardware, networks nor software were ready. As in the case of cars in 1900, it was a time for venture capitalists. But by 2010-15, most elements for technological progression were in place. Hence, investment in tech today is akin to buying car makers in 1920s, not speculating on start-ups in 1900.

    Currencies are not like other assets. Perception = value

    • Money is anything that is commonly recognized as a medium of exchange and store of value. Most societies used seashells, rocks, severed skulls or metals. China invented paper money during Tang dynasty and with fits and starts, it gradually became the standard. Fiat money can’t be consumed and neither can it be used in production. Hence currencies do not have intrinsic value but rather trade on perception of value. As discussed (here), unlike fiat currencies, cryptos are more difficult to inflate, cost money & time to produce and are built around mathematics rather than fraud or politics. Hence, they already reflect the essence of money better than existing money. However, we are still closer to the 1900s than 1920s. There are serious challenges (e.g. depth, acceptance, custody etc). But cryptos & blockchain are the future

  • Forget The North's Nukes, South Korea's Other Big Problem Is Inevitable

    Via GEFIRA,

    In the coming ten years eighty percent of the G20 countries will be facing an unprecedented population decline that will change the global economy profoundly. Economists and financial planners had better be aware of the coming demographic collapse in the so called developed world.

    Successful economies are literally on a path to extinction while those doing terribly are growing like weeds. The UN population projections are far too optimistic and have little to do with reality. The extreme low fertility rates in industrialized nation contradict the UN rosy-coloured forecasts. The South Korean government’s prognosis shows that within seven years the country’s population will start to shrink and, if the trend holds, the nation will go extinct in the far future. South Korea’s demographic collapse coincides with that of China; Japan is already shrinking at an incredible paste. The world’s second, third and eleventh economies will see their working force and consuming base becoming smaller and smaller, and somehow renowned analysts see no problem. As a rule of thumb, the working-age population, the group that produces and consumes the most, started to shrink ten years earlier.

    https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180111_sk1.png?w=750&ssl=1

    The world’s most homogeneous population and Asia’s 4th largest economy will soon start declining. South Korea is the lowest fertility level country (for 16 years in a row), as a result of which its society is ageing. In 2016 there was the lowest number of births ever and the lowest level of fertility rate (1,17) in 7 years.

    The number of people had grown rapidly since the republic’s establishment in 1948, but since 1966 it has started to decline because of the birth control programme.Also urbanization, accessibility of higher education, and a greater participation of women in the labour force have begun affecting the population size. Like in many cultures, in South Korean culture male descendants were very important for the continuity of the family, as they provided financial support and took care of their parents in old age, so people tried to have a son. If the first-born child was not a male, then they had as many children as was needed to eventually have a son. In 1973 a selective abortion law, limited to special cases, was passed, but it turned out to be abused in that predominantly female offspring were aborted.In general, the population number has increased in most provinces (exceptions are big cities like Seoul, Daejeon, Gwangju). Then the government stepped in by discouraging married couples from having more offspring with the slogan “have a single child and raise it well”.In 2016 total population in South Korea was over 51 mln including about 1 mln foreigns. Each demographic forecast predicts dramatic decline in the population. In 2050 probably will be 40-48 mln Koreans and in 2100 even only about 20 mln.

    All these social phenomena and governmental measures have been contributing to the decrease in the nation’s birth rate and its resultant aging. Though Korea’s population growth is likely to continue for a few years yet, it will start declining rapidly, so that by 2750 South Koreans will have gone extinct. Already by 2045 Korea could be the world’s oldest country with an average age of 50. The population pyramid has begun to expand upwards which means that the number of elderly people is increasing and the number of the young and children is decreasing. The years 2016-2017 showed for the first time a decline in the working-age population aged 15-64, which means that Korea’s consumption base started shrinking. Just now people aged 65+ are 14,12% of the society and these aged 0-14 only 13,21%. Probably in less than 50 years seniors will make up over 40% of South Korea’s inhabitants.

    Some of the reasons for Korea’s low birth rate are similar to those in Japan in the early 90’s. Couples do not want to have a large family because of rising costs of living, including housing and education. South Koreans have the world’s longest working hours, so they do not have time for a family or private life. At the same time there is also a high unemployment rate among young people. Women do not want to have children early in their lives because of the career, unavailability of maternity-leave and little participation of men in child raising and housework.On average, women have their first child at the age of 31. Many Koreans think that marriage is just an option. Half of the singles are under 40 and they do not feel the need to start a family. This phenomenon could also be explained with a large share of atheists and believers of no formal religion.

    The low birth rate is not the only problem in South Korea: mortality is another one. South Korea is one of the countries with the highest suicide rate in the world. 40 Koreans commit suicide every day which is also the effect of decreasing numbers of believers.

    This issue very often concerns elderly people. Half of those aged 65+ live in relative poverty and ¼ of them live alone. They did not put aside capital for their retirement. They are unable to find work and the level of isolation and depression has increased in an aging society. Among young people the most frequent cause of suicide is intensified stress at the workplace and educational system. 40% of suicide cases are committed under the influence of alcohol and South Korea is the world’s largest consumer of hard liquor. The average is 14 shots a week (as compared to US 3). Koreans are ashamed of psychological problems and they hardly ever are willing to undergo relevant treatment. Alcohol abuse is more acceptable than psychiatric visits. Surely, it contributes to a large number of suicides.


    The demographic situation will adversely affect South Korea’s economic growth. Seoul, whose inhabitants make up 20% of the whole nation, will feel the shift in the population structure the most: its labour force will shrink. It is expected that Seoul’s population will have dropped at least by 1 million by 2040. Already in the whole country health care expenditure has increased (from 3,8% to 7,2% of GDP).

    Business Insider, a New York based financial website, said that economists have suggested that the best approach in Japan and Korea could be to abandon gender roles and get more women into the labor force. Of course the Wall Street based economists know that this policy resulted in lower birthrates in Europe. Still, the New York based financial analysts are desperate looking for ways to boost the workforce in the world’s most productive countries.

    Korean president Moon Jae-In also attaches importance to elderly people who are now a big part of the society and there is a need to create the living conditions suitable for such a large group. Since life expectancy has increased, it is worthwhile to create jobs for that age cohort especially when the labor force is shrinking. The president’s plan is to raise pensions, double the number of jobs for older workers with an increase in the monthly wage, finance Alzheimer and dementia treatment, and increase accessibility of social housing to elderly people.

    South Korea’s government is also looking for help in having more robots in households.A good solution to South Korea’s demographic crisis would be a reunification with North Korea where the population situation appears to be more stable. The homogeneity of race would be maintained, while this seems unrealistic for now it can be an answer to the North-South crisis.

    The situation of South Korea, the world’s 11th economy and 5th exporter, will affect many countries. It is a global producer of telephones, integrated circuits, cars, vehicle parts, ships, LCDs, and refined petroleum and it specializes in technology and design. In the context of trade, the circumstances in South Korea will have the biggest impact on China, US, Japan, Germany, Australia and Saudi Arabia.10)The demographic crisis will also impact the country’s security. It will change the geo-political balance as both Japan and South Korea are an extension of the US military power in East Asia.

    The future of South Korea is very uncertain. There is a little time left to avoid the worst. Even so, some predict that a declining trend cannot be reversed.

  • Google Earth Spots Mysterious "Hypersonic Aircraft" In Florida

    As the world seemingly marches closer to global conflict, hypersonic aircraft and missiles are being developed and tested by the United States, Russia and China at an accelerating pace. Other, less belligerent nations are developing hypersonic technologies to a lesser degree. According to Rand Corporation, “France and India are the most committed, and both draw to some extent on cooperation with Russia.” Nevertheless, “Australia, Japan, and European entities” have hypersonic programs in early stages.

    In any case, the race for hypersonic technologies is in full swing among global superpowers, who realize that the first to possess these technologies will revolutionize their civilian aerospace and military programs. However, as of January 2018, hypersonic technologies are still in development and or the testing phase, so it remains anyone’s game at this point.

    As reported previously, Lockheed Martin is understood to be working on a state-of-the-art hypersonic spy plane for the US Air Force, which could reach over 4,600mph. Which leads us an unidentified airport and testing grounds hidden in the swamplands of South Florida, some 24-miles inland on Bee-Line Highway, outside West Palm Beach or President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, where Google Earth images have surfaced of an object bearing  a startling similarity to artist’s impressions of the plane.

     

    asd

    While zooming into the facility, Google Earth reveals perhaps more than the public should see; a mysterious aircraft which resembles public renderings of a hypersonic aircraft.

     

    asd

    According to Tyler Glockner, the area belongs to an aerospace company that has a “main foothold in designing aircraft engines that are widely used in civilian and military aviation”.

    In the picture below, a truck is towing the mysterious aircraft from a large rectangular white building to the white concrete pad. One of two things are possible: Prepping for an engine test on the concrete pad; Prepping for a flight using the runway

     

    sdf

    Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation are located just a stone’s throw away from the airbase housing the mysterious aircraft. Interesting to note, Pratt & Whitney manufactures the scramjet engine for the X-51A WaveRider hypersonic vehicle.

    asdf

    Below are the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) family of Falcon-Hypersonic aircraft that are comparable in shape to the mysterious aircraft noted above.

    sdf

  • Elon Musk Attended Infamous Silicon Valley Sex Party

    Bloomberg reporter Emily Chang’s “Brootopia” – a scathing examination of White Male Privilege in Silicon Valley – was one of the most talked-about tech books of last year, thanks in part to a memorable scene that has come to represent Silicon Valley’s “bro-centric” culture, which is reportedly dominated by men who didn’t lose their virginity until they were 25.

    Earlier today, the infamous party – which reportedly took place in June 2017 – was reported to have taken place at the home of disgraced VC Steve Jurvetson of DCF.

    And just a few minutes ago, Business Insider  reported that, as it happens, Tesla CEO Elon Musk attended the party in question, but said he thought it was a “corporate costume party”. He apparently left at 1 am after standing around and talking about technology and entrepreneurship with a few other attendees.

     

    Elon Musk

    Musk didn’t witness any drug use, or sex, for that matter.

    In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for the Tesla and SpaceX founder confirmed he was there, but that he believed it was a “corporate” costume-themed party and spent his time there talking about technology and business before leaving at 1 am.

    They said: “Elon was at the party for a couple hours and left around 1am after talking with several DFJ-funded entrepreneurs about technology and building companies. His impression was that it was a corporate party with a costume theme, not a ‘sex party’, and there was no indication that it would become one after he left.”

    Another attendee who spoke with BI also wrote that he didn’t see any sex. “I don’t want this to be anti-climactic, but I didn’t see any sex or drugs,” he wrote.

    “I went home at 12:30 am, and I guess sex parties don’t really kick off until the boring f–kers go home. I didn’t exactly know it was a sex party, and I got bored at some point and went home.”

    We imagine Musk probably had to leave early to work on the Tesla Model 3 – which was  memorably mired in “production hell” at the time.

  • “Trump Isn't Another Hitler. He's Another Obama“

    Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

    Not a lot of people remember this, but George W Bush actually campaigned in 2000 against the interventionist foreign policy that the United States had been increasingly espousing. Far from advocating the full-scale regime change ground invasions that his administration is now infamous for, Bush frequently used the word “humble” when discussing the type of foreign policy he favored, condemning nation-building, an over-extended military, and the notion that America should be the world’s police force.

    Eight years later, after hundreds of thousands of human lives had been snuffed out in Iraq and Afghanistan and an entire region horrifically destabilized, Obama campaigned against Bush’s interventionist foreign policy, edging out Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries partly because she had supported the Iraq invasion while he had condemned it. The Democrats, decrying the warmongering tendencies of the Republicans, elected a President of the United States who would see Bush’s Afghanistan and Iraq and raise him Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, along with a tenfold increase in drone strikes. Libya collapsed into a failed state where a slave trade now runs rampant, and half a million people died in the Syrian war that Obama and US allies exponentially escalated.

    Eight years later, a reality TV star and WWE Hall-of-Famer was elected President of the United States by the other half of the crowd who was sick to death of those warmongering Democrats. Trump campaigned on a non-interventionist foreign policy, saying America should fight terrorists but not enter into regime change wars with other governments. He thrashed his primary opponents as the only one willing to unequivocally condemn Bush and his actions, then won the general election partly by attacking the interventionist foreign policy of his predecessor and his opponent, and criticizing Hillary Clinton’s hawkish no-fly zone agenda in Syria.

     

    https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180111_obama.png?w=750&ssl=1

    Now he’s approved the selling of arms to Ukraine to use against Russia, a dangerously hawkish move that even Obama refused to make for fear of increasing tensions with Moscow. His administration has escalated troop presence in Afghanistan and made it abundantly clear that the Pentagon has no intention of leaving Syria anytime soon despite the absence of any reasonable justification for US presence there. The CIA had ratcheted up operations in Iran six months into Trump’s presidency, shortly before the administration began running the exact same script against that country that the Obama administration ran on Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

    Maybe US presidents are limited to eight years because that’s how long it takes the public to forget everything.

    In the lead-up to the November elections those of us on the left who backed third parties were promised over and over and over again by Democratic party loyalists that if Hillary Clinton failed to secure the election there’d be goose-stepping stormtroopers patrolling the streets and murdering non-whites with impunity, concentration camps for Muslims, and white supremacist extermination programs. Comparisons to Hitler went on nonstop, and anyone who failed to fall in line with the mainstream liberal narrative can attest that they were accused of aiding actual, literal Nazism on a regular basis.

    A year into Trump’s presidency, and not only did the apocalyptic predictions of national genocide fail to come true, he’s not even deporting as many immigrants as Obama. He is, however, out-bombing him.

    We were promised another Hitler. Instead, we got another Obama, who was himself another Bush. The march into corporatist Orwellian police state at home and globalist oligarchic hegemony abroad continues unhindered for the United States of America.

    And of course that march would have continued had Hillary won as well, it just would have looked a bit different. Fewer environmental deregulations, likely catastrophic escalations against the Syrian government and possibly Russia, the exact same approaches to Iran, just as much hawkishness toward North Korea but minus the tweets about button sizes, no attempts at dismantling Obama’s corporatist healthcare plan. Not much more than that.

    Nobody wants to hear this. The Democrats still want to believe that the sitting president is simultaneously a Nazi, a Kremlin secret agent, an idiot, and a lunatic, and Trump supporters want to believe that he’s a populist savior fighting to liberate the nation from the claws of the deep state. Because of their partisan blinders they will both find reasons to believe they’ve got either a savior or a traitor in the White House despite the fact that their country’s actual policy and behavior remains more or less the same.

    still sometimes get Democrats telling me that Trump is about to flip into Hitler 2.0 any minute now and start throwing non-whites into extermination camps. Whenever I point out that they were wrong about their “your choices are Hillary or Hitler” alarmism I get a bunch of them telling me “give him time”. Well he’s had time. They were wrong. They didn’t get a Nazi, they got another shitty neocon. And since the Dems have been paced into alignment with the neocons there’s no one left to oppose their agendas, which is why we’re seeing so little pushback on Trump’s Iran saber rattling.

    I get Trump supporters telling me that he’s fighting the deep state, but the only way you can believe that at this point is to redefine “deep state” to mean “Democrats and their supporters,” which would actually just be more partisan bickering, which is all we’re actually seeing at this point. The only people you see pushing the collusion narrative and working for impeachment at this point are Democrats and Never-Trumpers; now that Trump has proven himself a good, compliant little boy the intelligence community has been putting its energy into the anti-detente propaganda effort to manufacture support for its new cold war escalations instead.

    The MAGA crowd tells me their guy has de-escalated the Syrian situation in an attempt to paint him as less pro-war than his predecessor, but that’s not even true either. Until US troops actually leave Syria, all this administration has done is kill a bunch of people (many of them civilians), occupy parts of a sovereign nation, and refuse to leave. Why are those troops still there when Syria and its allies are perfectly capable of handling any remaining traces of ISIS as they have been? No good reason, that’s for sure.

    This is not the fault of the American people. The American people consistently vote against interventionist wars (as evidenced by the fact that winning presidential candidates have to campaign against them), and while they may be guilted by the tribe into flag-waving once the troops are there, they consistently say no to every request for consent for more empire-building wars. In my recent article about how the CNN/CIA narrative is running the same script for Iran as they did for Libya and Syria, most of the pushback I received was from good people who wanted to make sure I knew that they didn’t consent to military intervention, they were simply offering their support for the people of Iran.

    Which is about as naive and sweet as a kid wanting to help the nice old man find his puppy. I understand you wanting to help find the puppy America, but for God’s sake please don’t get in that man’s van.

    So the will of the American people has been heard loud and clear. They do not consent to more regime change wars and more military interventions. They do not want that.

    Through the trickery of the mainstream media though, they are paced by fear-mongering and guilting into a reluctant, bargaining, “Well okay then…” consent which is quickly turned over into flag-waving enthusiasm because you have to support your troops, don’tchaknow? And I get that! Everyone knows a serviceman or woman; you don’t want to make them feel sad or like their life is being wasted. That’s such a tragedy! Who wants to make that conscious?

    Let’s be clear, too: the troops are often from some of the finest of working and middle-class families across the States, families whose strong sense of morality about right and wrong led their young sons and daughters to make the courageous decision to enter the armed forces. These young men and women were born with the most exemplary of desires. They want to make the world a better place and they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to do so. People love these families and they love their children.

    These young people really are our best new humans. They are so committed to the highest interest that they would put aside their self-interest to do so. Do you know how rare that quality is in a human? And these young people are being taken from us young, whether that be by death or by destroying their beautiful minds as they are warped by the war machine into thinking that evil is good. Taken and used to pump up the egos of a selfish few.

    In a healthy culture, the highest interest would dictate the desires of these young men and women. Unfortunately, the “highest interest” which should be assessed by the will of the people, is not being heard. It is not being enacted. The will of the people has repeatedly said that it does not want to send these young people off to kill another country’s young people to shore up the share portfolios of a few cancerous beings. The will of the people consistently says no to that, but it has been corralled by a small group of bloodthirsty vampires, parasites who will happily lay any amount of young bodies to waste to win their tiny dick battles until they are finally satisfied with the amount of zeroes on their bank statements.

    Spoiler alert: they never will be.

    Americans talk about “seeing through the partisan bullshit” of US politics like it’s some kind of magical superpower, but it’s not. Both parties act in slightly different ways toward the exact same ends, working together like the jab-cross combination of a boxer to advance the same warmongering, corporatist oligarchic agendas, and there’s no reason to believe any of them about anything. America has two corporatist war parties who serve a plutocratic class of elites; one of them wears a cowboy hat, the other has pink hair. That’s it. That’s all you need to see to free yourself from the illusion.

    Please stop attacking one another for the evils that have been inflicted on you by this small group of sociopaths, America. Stop buying into the two-party good cop/bad cop schtick that the elites use to turn urban Americans against rural Americans and turn your anger toward your real enemies.

  • Army Finds $830 Million In "Missing" Helicopters As First Ever Audit Begins

    After several decades of nation-building and trillions of dollars missing or improperly recorded, the long-awaited audit of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has finally begun. On Wednesday, the Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist told lawmakers in Washington that the DoD’s first-ever department wide audit will cost about $367 million in 2018 and an additional $551 million to fix the problems.

    Norquist, who testified before the House Armed Services Committee, said Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan are in full support of the audit. Back in May 2017, President Trump appointed Norquist to finally put the military’s financial house back in order after many years of delays.

    What is surprising, if only in retrospect, is that according to the World Economic Forum, U.S. Department of Defense has been named the largest employer in the world with some 3.2 million members on its payroll and $2.4 trillion in assets but has never administered a full audit. .

    “This is the first time the department will undergo a full financial statement audit,”he said. “A financial statement audit is comprehensive and occurs annually and it covers more than financial management,” Norquist explained to Lawmakers.

    The purpose of the audit will document military equipment and real property along with condition and location. “It tests the vulnerability of our security systems and it validates the accuracy of personnel records and actions,” Norquist said.

    DoD News says that 1,200 auditors are currently working on the project to assess the books.

    The department will have 1,200 financial statement auditors assessing the books and records to develop a true account of the state of the department, the comptroller said. It will take time to pass all the process and system changes necessary to pass the audit and get a so-called “clean opinion,” he said. He noted that it took the Department of Homeland Security — a much smaller and newer agency — 10 years to get a clean audit.

    “But we don’t have to wait to see the benefits of a clean opinion,” Norquist said. “The financial statement audit helps drive enterprise improvements to standardize our business practices and improve the quality of our data.”

    DoD News made an interesting observation how the audit will provide “information and accountability to the American people.” Why now? How come all of a sudden the DoD wants to become transparent to the American people? Perhaps, it is due to Washington’s two-decades of failed nation-building throughout the rest of the world, although it is unlikely.

    Norquist said, “the taxpayers deserve the same level of confidence as a shareholder that DoD’s financial statement presents a true and accurate picture of its financial condition and operations. Transparency, accountability and business process reform are some of the benefits of a financial statement audit.”

    And in a preview of what is to come, Norquist told the House Armed Services Committee that an initial Army audit found 39 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter ($830,700,000) were not adequately recorded in the property system. “The Air Force identified 478 structures and buildings at 12 installations that were not in its real property system,” he added. In other words these helicopters were simply “missing” on the books.

     

    asd

    Alas, the mismanagement within the DoD doesn’t stop there: in a recent report, the U.S. military lost some 44,000 troops across the globe in a country location labeled as “Unknown.”

    Going even deeper into the rabbit hole, Mark Skidmore, a Professor of Economics at MSU specializing in public finance, found the Department of Defense and Housing & Urban Development may have spent as much as $21 trillion on mysterious items between 1998 and 2015.

    “This is incomplete, but we have found $21 trillion in adjustments over that period. The biggest chunk is for the Army. We were able to find 13 of the 17 years and we found about $11.5 trillion just for the Army,” Skidmore said.

    Considering that today’s already known accounting blunders at the Department of Defense are no small matter, we wonder what the 1,200 auditors will find when they perform the first ever dive down the rabbit hole of decades of failed proxy wars, regime changes and dictator slush funds in history?

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: