Money Talk

“We have a gentleman that likes a very strong dollar at the Fed. I want a strong dollar, but I want a dollar that’s great for our country, not a dollar that is so strong that it is prohibitive for us to be dealing with other nations.”   — Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 2, 2019.

Donald Trump has no idea what a “strong dollar” means. Trump has always been a privileged bully, who gets to borrow money for nothing and then default, so what does he know about economics?

The US dollar has been diluted by a decade of money printing (QE) for speculators, which has now been made permanent. The Fed & big banks have injected over $500 billion into the stock markets since their swoon in December 2018, which happened as soon as the Fed tried to end QE & raise interest rates.

“Quantitative tightening” has been abandoned, and it’s back to money printing, with sustained near-zero interest rates for the banks. That doesn’t help anyone who works for a living, but it keeps this financial house of cards from collapsing– for a little longer.

The US dollar has been inflated (ie- weakened) by financial parasites, which is why foreign governments are now buying gold, to hedge against the collapse of the greenback. If you are the average person with a few thousand dollars (or less) in the bank, you take comfort in knowing that it isn’t much to lose, when the banks collapse. The US dollar’s purchasing power, in real terms, is less than ever as housing, education, and even food cost more– in term of percentage of wages spent on these essentials.

Things forever changed economically in the early 1970’s for many reasons. US President Richard Nixon & his most-trusted advisor Henry Kissinger took the US off the gold standard in August of 1971. The reason was that the US could no longer afford to be the world bank, reimbursing gold at $35 an ounce. From there the US dollar was floated, and fiat speculation was born. This unbalanced the foundations of the post-war order under Bretton-Woods.

The rise of computers & globalization, along with a loss of economic preeminence by the US, which was reeling from the costs of the Vietnam War, led to the US ruling class launching an offensive against the working class, which has only been escalated up to today. In other countries it’s called “austerity.”

The lessons for working people are that they need to organize for themselves, as government & union “leaders” have sold them out. Governments are committees of the ruling class, which are the bourgeoisie under capitalism. Political independence of organized workers is the only way to redistribute wealth against this fascist current of late-stage capitalism. Liberal reformism is dead, as it died with the hopes & dreams of Barrack Obama.

In America there is now a sociopathic President of the United States, who openly speaks against socialism with lies & threats of violence, and no voice of opposition from the Democrats or the mass media. This only proves that the Democrats, along with MSNBC & CNN, are as much fascist as Trump & his core supporters.

The Democrat version of fascism is identity politics domestically, and anti-Russia (anti-socialism) in foreign policy. Trump is a racist, so he prefers China & Latin America as the main targets of US foreign aggression– diplomatically, covertly, and/or militarily. That’s the actual difference in politics between Republicans & Democrats, which is a fake debate.

There are many financial elites who support Trump on foreign policy, because they see China, with it’s rise as a technological superpower, as the primary threat to US economic hegemony. Russia doesn’t have that technology edge, but is still seen as a threat because of its history.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was the most defining event of the 20th century, with enduring lessons for the workers of the world. It was led by Lenin & Trotsky, whose Bolshevik party captured the trust of the masses, and organized an insurrection that toppled the hated tsar & it’s feudalist regime.

Instead of moving into capitalism, Lenin & Trotsky galvanized the workers of Russia, who organized a socialist government of workers’ councils. These workers’ councils were called “soviets.” After the October (November) Revolution, Russia became a “government of soviets,” with the Bolsheviks as the majority among the workers.

The imperialists who started the “Great War” (1914-1918) recoiled at these events & reacted with horror. By 1918, “the war to end all wars” was over, but every country turned its military might onto the incipient Soviet government. Trotsky organized & led the Red Army, which ultimately defeated the traitorous “Whites,” and their imperialist backers. By 1923, all foreign troops had been defeated and the revolution was saved, but Russia had been bled white.

When Lenin finally succumbed to a series of strokes in January 1924, a factional political battle raged between Leon Trotsky, the recognized leader (along with Lenin) of the Russian Revolution, and Joseph Stalin. Stalin was better at laying traps, and making ever-shifting alliances behind-the-scenes. This talent at intrigue led Stalin’s bureaucracy to take power, and become the fascist version of socialized property relations.

Socialism never existed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), because workers never had control over production, and allocation of resources. A Stalinist bureaucracy attached itself to the Revolution, and consumed it from within. Trotsky was defeated politically by an ever-expanding bureaucracy led by Stalin. Trotsky was isolated, exiled, and ultimately murdered by a GPU agent in Mexico City in 1940.

In 1991, the USSR suddenly collapsed, and bourgeois intellectuals of the world were all speechless as to what happened. Trotsky wrote (above) in 1936, that the Soviet Union would either have a workers’ revolution and overthrow the bureaucracy, or it would fall back into capitalism. Trotsky was proven right in the negative. Today, Russians have a much lower standard of living than they did as citizens of the USSR. Bourgeois historians & economists never mention any of these historical facts or lessons.

Stalin advocated for “Socialism in one country,” as opposed to Trotsky’s “Theory of Permanent Revolution.” Trotsky was an internationalist, in the tradition of Karl Marx, who understood at this point of capitalist development (20th century), there could be only global socialism. Any genuine socialist revolution would be permanent in nature. National Socialist is what the Nazi’s called themselves, and Stalin was the communist equivalent to Adolf Hitler under capitalism.

Donald Trump is the US version of Hitler/Stalin, but notice there is no resistance coming from the so-called “left.” Bernie Sanders & Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have staked out the furthest left position under two-party US capitalism. It consists of unattainable reforms, green rhetoric, and a blind eye to militarism, the expanding police state, and a criminal detention policy for refugees & their children, etc.

The main “progressive” plank of the Democrats today is identity politics, which is #MeToo feminism, Black Lives Matter racialism, and LGBT rights. These identities are used as ideological weapons, to attack artists, socialists & workers who question this system of economic inequality.

The most foul of these has been the #MeToo campaign, which has a Hollywood face, but deep state roots. It’s ideology is to attack those who expose these political & economic terrorists for their crimes. Julian Assange was among the first victims of this internationally-coordinated campaign of sexual intimidation, in the name of imperialism.

Democrats, the deep state, and their supports will only continue to double down on the #MeToo campaign & racialism– as it’s all they’ve got. Each week the New York Times published another expose’ meant to take down an artist in entertainment, etc. Pretty soon there won’t be any good performers left, which means all the movies, television & music will be fake. We’re almost there already.

The Fed will print more fake money, while Trump and his fascist crowd will continue to provoke confrontations globally, exerting “maximum pressure,” in order to create flashpoints for war & crisis. This is the only way they can stay in power, which is what it’s all about.

None of this is in the interest of the workers who earn wages to live. A nuclear winter from a war between India & Pakistan is all it takes to wipe human civilization, and we’ve gotten far too close to that. The recklessness of our “leaders” must be checked with a mass intervention to avoid catastrophe for our planet.

There is no faction among the ruling elites which prefers socialism over world war, therefore they all must go. Revolutions happen in history, and we as a civilization are long overdue. The faster we learn these lessons & organize ourselves, the faster it will happen.

Fri 08 Mar 2019 09:50 AM EST : Keiser Report Update:

Max is correct in that the dollar is being inflated, not burned, by QE & 0% interest rates for big banks & financial speculators. His analogy of a Tomahawk missile for the US government burning money is more correct than Stacy’s. The US economy is war-based, as the military is now considered its primary strength, with the decline of the greenback. The Afghanistan War is now the longest running US war in history, and imperialism has lost again. But there is too much invested in the ideology of war for US elites to admit defeat, therefore the charade goes on for a bit longer…

War & police-state measures with mass censorship are seen as the only option for the ruling class in this late stage of capitalism. A Tomahawk missile built by Raytheon costs $1.4 million each. When it blows up, all its “value” is instantly exploded. By any reasonable measure, the cost of a Tomahawk missile exploding in a home, neighborhood, or business district would be recorded as a net loss for any nation’s economy.

No one ever discusses these actual costs in the “authorized” media. In America, elite Republicans & Democrats manipulate the numbers & facts through the corporate media, to turn reality on its head. Every “issue” & “debate” is fake because of how it’s framed, which is always in the interest of the richest class.

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Torching Porchfest

I’ve lived in Sanford, FL for nearly two years. Porchfest 2019 was promoted as its 2nd-annual event, all over downtown for over a month. I had never heard of Porchfest before this year, but I don’t know everything, I’ll admit. All the embedded local establishments had these posters (below) in their windows. Notice that the sponsors are downtown big wheels connected to the Chamber of Commerce.

My interest was seeing the Oak Hill Drifters, who are probably the best band in Orlando right now. My music and business partner plays drums in the Oak Hill Drifters, and I’ve featured a few other OHD-ers on Electrified! (2015). I always like to see them play, if I have time, which I did.

I didn’t get to see them play, on a beautiful day, because no one knew where any of the bands were playing for Porchfest. Where the actual festival was held is also in question– even afterwards. “Housing district” was the best approximation.

There are homes directly east & south of downtown Sanford, with a few also to the west, and Lake Monroe to the north. That’s too broad of an area, and no one could hear any bands playing “Porchfest” from the downtown area.

The Oak Hill Drifters were to play the “Celery City stage,” which turned out to be some resident’s porch, in some residential area, somewhere (?) local. It was nowhere close to the Celery City bar, which had a live performer of its own and was promoting itself as part of Porchfest, with the logo projected on a screen behind the band. No mention of the OHD when I asked the drummer, “What’s up with Porchfest?,” after their performance. He just promoted the events of the day for the establishment, and shut me down on everything else. That’s how you get a gig when you suck.

So what happened? The Oak Hill Drifters were used as an attraction to pack a local establishment, while being shuffled off to a porch where few people could find them. Most of the locals & tourists never found “Porchfest,” and that was by design. Most soon gave up, and went for something to eat & drink.

No maps were ever provided as to the locations of the “stages” or the performers. No signs to indicate “Porchfest, this way,” on the day of the “event.” Porchfest was largely a scam by its sponsors to trap tourists in downtown Sanford and fill their establishments. That’s a shitty way to do business, and very disrespectful to the performers & fans.

For the record, I had my phone with me so I could have called the drummer of the Oak Hill Drifters for a venue address, but the point is I shouldn’t have to. For example, when you have a ticket to see U2, you don’t have to call Bono to ask where the show is, right? The sponsors make sure to tell you because they want you to be there. In Sanford, the downtown sponsors hyped something they didn’t care to deliver, so they could have a big day at the cash register.

I was in downtown Sanford for a large part of the “Porchfest” afternoon. There were mostly no bands to be seen or heard., which is unusual on a Saturday during the snowbird season. No directions on where/when anyone was playing. No one trying to help. Just organized confusion, on a record-heat February 23rd afternoon in central Florida. In other words, business as usual.

I’m glad the Oak Hill Drifters played (somewhere) & got paid, but the organizers of Porchfest get a fail on this. If Sanford business owners have any respect, then one of them will book the Oak Hill Drifters again soon, and actually deliver, so their local fans can see them as promoted. Otherwise these are just small-town scammers. Artists deserve better.

As for me, I’ll keep walking around Sanford, stretching my legs & reporting on what I see. Now whenever I’m confronted for money, my standard reply is, “I spent it all on Porchfest.” Bokeys understand & laugh. The rest don’t get it. It’s almost funny.

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Manny Machado Signs Record Free Agent Deal with the Padres

This didn’t seem possible a few weeks back, but in the end the San Diego Padres have signed the biggest MLB free-agent prize of this winter. Manny Machado is a SS, but will soon move to 3B when top prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr (acquired James Shields to White Sox) arrives sometime in 2019. Along with prospect hitting-machine 2B Luis Urias, the Padres have a good infield that will be under team control through at least 2022.

Their current outfield mix is young and has upside, with legit prospects in the minors. All their stud pitching is in the minors, and the first wave is set to arrive in 2019. RHP Chris Paddack (Fernando Rodney to the Marlins), & LHP Logan Allen (Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox) will get their first opportunities in 2019.

The Machado signing signals the Padres will be aggressive in bringing their young pitchers up. The Padres haven’t made any free-agent pitching acquisitions in the off season, starter or reliever, that will pitch for them in 2019. The signal is that they believe in their young talent and are ready to promote their top performers to Petco. Padres fans have never seen anything like this in franchise history: a fertile farm system, along with ownership that spends on free agent talent as needed. In the last two off seasons, the Padres have signed the 2 richest free agents: 1B Eric Hosmer $144M last winter, and now SS/3B Manny Machado for 10 years, $300M.

Note that all the arguments & protests made by veteran MLB players & know-nothing media pundits over “collusion,” have now fallen to the wayside. There is no collusion in modern MLB free agency. There is only MLBPA stupidity & blindness, by agreeing to a system that will only reward the biggest stars, and freeze out the rest. Outspoken players should re-direct their anger towards those who agreed to this rotten CBA deal. The word is RF Bryce Harper is about to sign a deal with the Phillies. Whether it is more or less than Machado’s deal is irrelevant, next to the bigger point, which is that no one else will get anything close to what these two get.

Lefty starter Dallas Keuchel & righty reliever Craig Kimbrel remain available, and can be had for a song. The reason they are still available is because they probably don’t have much left, and are high-risk signings that also cost a high draft pick. That’s the value killer. Impending free agents (who aren’t superstars) that are made qualifying offers, need to start taking them.

A player can only be offered a QO once, so by accepting, they become unrestricted free agents the next winter. Otherwise, they’re taking less money under this system. Both Keuchel & Kimbrel refused a $17.9M qualifying offer (QO) offer by their clubs last November. This isn’t collusion, it’s lack of understanding by the MLB players, MLBPA bureaucrats & their agents.

Keuchel won’t get a multi-year deal that matches the AAV of his QO, and Kimbrel probably won’t even get $10M on a 1-year deal at this point. The Red Sox have said they can’t afford him, as he puts them over the luxury tax threshold, which means his salary would cost ~50% more (in MLB penalty taxes) if the Red Sox re-sign him. That’s the only team that doesn’t lose a pick if they sign him, saying they won’t sign him. So who wants him? Answer: No one who spends big money on a closer.

Kimbrel & his agent should have seen this early, and lowered their demands. Now it’s too late, and Kimbrel is at the mercy of the market full of hungry vultures who missed out on the real prizes, and are now bargain shopping. The 6/$80M deal Craig Kimbrel was seeking has not materialized, and now he’ll have to take whatever he can get– just like the rest of the remaining free agents. Those non-superstar free agents who signed early (generally speaking) got the best deals. Those who held out, got left behind. So when the Twins, etc, come a-calling with their low-ball offers, remaining free-agents better be ready to sign.

Pitchers & catchers have been in camp for a week, and by now all the signed players have reported too. When Bryce Harper’s signing is soon announced, every other unsigned free agent officially moves into panic mode. They have to sign and get to camp, otherwise they risk losing the season to someone else who took their spot, simply because they said “Yes” to an offer as the available jobs ran out. That’s the way teams are with veteran free agents these days, and it’s called hardball moneyball.

Remember that Harper & Machado are both age 26, which means they are young and in their prime. They both have Hall-of-Fame arcs, so every franchise that wants to win is seeking to add them. This market fell to the Padres because so many teams have already maxed-out their payrolls. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs & Dodgers are big market heavyweights that weren’t in on either superstar this winter. Why? Because they all have high payrolls, and can’t afford either Harper or Machado.

I’m not saying 10 years, $300 million is a bargain (it’s actually crazy money), but I will say that not having any of those 4 aforementioned teams involved kept the cost down, if that seems possible. That’s the only way the Padres were able to get precisely the superstar they needed. Until this deal, it was Ty France at 3B for the Padres.

This adds 5-6 wins to the Padres in 2019, and makes the Fernando Tatis, Jr. transition to the majors a much easier process. Any time you can add a HoFer in his prime to your team, it’s a good move. Especially when you’ve planned so you can afford it. The was a brilliant campaign by Padres GM AJ Preller, who has done it again. What looked like a quiet (but dominant) winter for him, turned into his biggest coup yet. No one seriously thought the Padres would get Manny Machado– myself included. Ownership support is crucial, and anyone can see that management is leading, with ownership on the same page, which is what you want as a fan.

I am a Padres fan, so I’m now officially excited for 2019. I had heard the Machado rumors in the wind, and dreamed on it for a bit, but never took it too seriously– and neither did anyone else. Only a few weeks back, did the buzz start to become more focused on the Padres, who also met with Bryce Harper. The Padres did a great job of staying under-the-radar, and then striking when the time was right, getting exactly the player they needed.

Evidentially, Manny Machado didn’t like the White Sox or the Phillies as much, which says something, because both teams needed him. In the case of the White Sox, it’s the fact that they’re going to be bad for awhile which is the turn-off. For the Phillies, I see them as an organization that can’t make up their mind on what they really need, because you can’t sign both. The Phillies seemed to believe they could. Only the Yankees can do that, and they don’t anymore, as even they have limits.

The Phillies are now the favorites to sign Bryce Harper, as they need him the most (which means they’ll spend the most) among the remaining suitors. They signed RHP Jake Arrieta late last spring to 3/$75M, and the first year was a disappointment, as his ERA was near 4.00, and he faded down the stretch. This team has good young pitchers, but have too many holes to fill. Harper will help them, of course, but he maxes them out on payroll, while still leaving too many positions at replacement level. That’s why the Phillies signing Harper, won’t mean as much as the Padres signing Machado. When you sign a free-agent for this much money, he has to fulfill all your needs, otherwise it will be an overpay and/or bust. Those are the hard lessons of MLB free agency.

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (above) announced this would be his last season the other day. He’s won 3 World Series managing the Giants. Bochy lost one (1998 to NYY) as the skipper of the Padres from 1995-2006. He never should have been fired, but the Friars had unstable ownership & constantly-changing management back then. He’s still one of the best, but his team is old. The Padres 2019 win projection before the Machado signing was 76, meaning the NL West is (again) the toughest division in the senior circuit.

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Gold vs. Bitcoin

Precious metals & crypto-currency are the two hottest investment markets right now. The stock markets are all being propped up with central bank money & interventions by Plunge Protection Teams, which indicates they are bubbles about to burst. Bonds are also high-risk for default, and mostly junk. The US dollar has no real backing anymore, as most of its manufacturing has been outsourced to China & the third world. This creates a demand for gold, which is considered a safe haven for investors.

What is gold? Gold is a precious metal that has high malleability, ductility, conductivity of electricity, and is resistant to corrosion. Gold has been used in jewelry, art & dental restorations for millennia. That is real world use-value for gold, which cryptocurrency doesn’t have. That is why gold is stable, and coveted in times of economic uncertainty. The earliest forms of money were gold coins.

All crypto-currency is “mined” by super-computers at a high cost of electricity. The most popular crypto is Bitcoin ($3,400) now trading at over $600 below average unit cost ($4,060), as reported by Bloomberg news a week ago. What other use-value does crypto have? There obviously is none, so therefore no one can honestly explain crypto-currency as anything but a giant financial swindle.

Gold survives the “acid test,” which is in fact where the term came from. Bitcoin is “mined” by supercomputers that use a massive amount of electricity to create just one unit. Theoretically the cap amount is 21,000,000 bitcoins, with ~ 4,000,000 still to be created. That’s a lot of electricity for a superfluous accounting tool. There are over 1,500 crypto-currencies currently being traded globally, to give you an idea of the scale of waste going on here.

Electricity is created by raw materials that are mined, such as coal, gas, oil & uranium. Thus electricity has a cost, and with global warming, it can only go up in the future under capitalism. What this means for all crypto-currencies, is that their production costs will only increase. The only way electricity will stabilize is when solar power becomes the norm, and this can only occur through a political revolution.

All crypto depends on electricity, which is a driver of cost & value in today’s world. The internet depends on electricity, and all crypto is developed & traded online. A huge spike in electrical prices will instantly kill all crypto-currency value, as it will skyrocket the production cost (and then price), while offering no extra use value.

It can be argued that crypto-currency inherently has no use value, in a global economic sense. It’s purpose is to hide transactions, avoid taxation, and allow anonymous usership. This is a political-economic problem that Libertarian computer programmers tried to solve through mathematics. They’ve failed because their equations break down in the face of class relations, which dictate that the ruling class control all levers of power- especially money.

Crypto-currency was innovated as a hack, to end-run the US & global banks. That won’t be happening, because the puppet-masters won’t allow it. The only way to gain true monetary freedom is to transform society with a socialist revolution in permanence. That’s why Trotskyist Marxism is stable, as compared to any Libertarian capitalist ideology.

A more practical method to gain financial security is for the masses to appropriate the banks & all government institutions– most importantly the media, military & police– then these here-to-fore instruments of class war can be brought under democratic control. Only a socialist revolution can bring a true “government of the people.” Currently we have a plutocracy, a government of the rich, and it’s always been that way.

The American Revolution of 1776 was bourgeois in character. America was then a British colony, striving for independent nation status. Today the United States is a failed nation-state (like all the rest), whose masses are striving (whether they know it or not) towards socialism.

The level of mass political conscious is the “great unknown,” but the youngest generation has surely given up on capitalism. Most see no future, just more Bitcoin-like gimmicks. The rest are learning the hard way that things won’t improve without facing reality, and dealing with it in a rational & scientific manner.

Accounting tricks like crypto-currency, and the fervent support they garner from like-minded intelligentsia, reveal their poverty of thinking. Most of these self-proclaimed “cypherpunks” have never considered the true cost of mining one ton of coal, etc; in terms of environmental degradation, or health impact on the laborers. These costs don’t show up in their spreadsheet analysis, so they can carry on in blissful ignorance of the facts, and create new algorithms to reflect their versions of “reality.” They’re so smart, and some of them– very rich.

I’m not “smart” like them, so I have to work for a living. As a professional dentist for 25 years, I’ve restored many teeth with gold restorations. Gold crowns on back teeth have the best wear & bio-compatible characteristics for oral health & longevity. Most patients prefer porcelain restorations these days, because of improved color-matching aesthetics, but gold still has its uses. Relieving pain while restoring health & looks has value, and it always will. I’m not seeing any market for crypto-restorations in dentistry. Do you?

Final Thoughts– February 7, 2019 ~3:45 PM ET : Who is going to recognize any form of crypto-currency during a world war? That’s the acid test for capitalist currency. Precious metals have monetary basis. Currency backed by a functional economy & government has value. Crypto is none of that. Marxists are materialists, and that means we see through the hype.

Sat 09 Feb 2019 11:00 AM EST

If bitcoin is going to “decouple” from all other alt-coins, then bitcoin is the leader, and all other crypto is dead. My reply to Jack Dorsey, “I only have Facebook, and so do many others. Does that mean Twitter is superfluous?”

Dorsey says the bitcoin community is a “global experiment in trust.” When it comes to the value of money, it takes a whole lot more than a small community of trust to back it– in the real world. If only the alt-coin programmers & CEO’s had some identifiable substance of value behind their products, then we would be impressed.

By “real world” I mean global acceptance of its value & stability. Bitcoin & cryptro have been around for only 10 years, and there is still too much uncertainty & volatility. Keep in mind, the crypto-currency market has had tens of billions of hot US dollars pumped into it, and it is still nothing close to stable, much less verifiable.

Why is bitcoin trading at $3,600? Answer: Because it costs a lot to produce. That’s an expensive accounting ledger. I recommend blockchaining anonymous Quickbooks accounts to any global currency. That would be a lot cheaper. The concept of a single global currency is progressive, but it will only happen through revolutionary socialism.

Comments originally posted here.

Tue 12 Feb 2019 06:30 PM EST

Censored comments on above: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not a socialist, she’s a Democrat. Trotskyists won’t let that line be blurred.

I’m a fan of this show because Max Keiser gives us the inside story & details. He & Stacy are capitalists, so revolutionary socialists can’t fundamentally agree on crypto due to politics. Everyone thinks they’re correct on politics, so debate is futile. World events will prove who is correct.

Marxists understand the revolutionary potential in crypto-currency, which is its threat to the international banking establishment. The political problem is: every nations’ banks are intimately connected with a government, military & deep state. They’ll take away your internet. Then what do you have?

Keep reporting the crypto story from the inside, Max & Stacy! Real socialists respect differences in politics, when learning expertise from others who know their field. Marxists understand that putting politics aside (once mastered), is a good way to learn– all around.

Below is a current list of the top-20 cryptocurriences. Anyone can see that Bitcoin (BTC) is in a class by itself, as far as asset price. Bitcoin is the only alt-coin that even approaches meeting its cost of production, which says something profound about the whole crypto market.

Asset Last Price

BTC $3,582.21
ETH $121.94
BCH $121.43
DASH $79.28
BSV $64.04
ZEC $53.49
XMR $49.46
LTC $42.23
BTG $9.98
NEO $8.22
ETC $4.05
EOS $2.85
QTUM $1.90
LSK $1.15
XRP $0.300242
IOTA $0.267499
XLM $0.075762
ADA $0.041011
XEM $0.037980
TRX $0.023885

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Fake Festivals & Everything Else

FYRE: The Greatest Festival That Never Happened (2019), is available for streaming on Netflix. This is one of two recently released documentaries on the epic fail of the Fyre Festival, which was scheduled to take place on a remote Bahamian island over two weekends in April/May 2017. The other is Fyre Fraud (2019), available on Hulu. The reason the Fyre Festival never actualized is because it was a scam from the start, and a metaphor for an entire “fake economy” that defines America & capitalism today.

The Fyre Festival, along with American politics is a hustle, led by sociopathic liars who throw money around, and hype themselves endlessly as the second coming, while delivering nothing. The resemblances between Fyre-brainchild Billy McFarland, and Donald Trump are remarkable. They look the similar physically– fat & stupid, with fake everything for everyone. They surround themselves with beautiful women, excess & celebrities, to boost their owns egos & images. And finally, they are both out-of-control, sociopathic liars, who never deliver on anything they promise.

McFarland’s partners in crime for the Fyre Festival were rap mogul Ja Rule & Jerry Media. They struck gold when they gathered the world’s top supermodels in the Bahamas in late 2016, for a promotional video shoot– shown above. In the Netflix documentary, someone aptly points out that there were actually two Fyre Festivals; the promo shoot with the models– which was great, and the actual event five months later– which was a disaster. The fact that the first is (and will always be) more celebrated, says a lot about this fake world we live in.

This is a Bizarro universe where supermodels & online “influencers” are all-important, as facts & reality don’t matter. What these manipulators actually produce is nothing of value. But their importance remains paramount– we’re told. That’s why Kendall Jenner was paid $250,000, for one social media post promoting the Fyre Festival (without disclosure).

Supermodels & other top social media influencers that were paid to promote this catastrophe included: Alessandra Ambrosio, Hailey Baldwin, Rose Bertram, Hannah Ferguson, Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk, Chanel Iman, Giizele Oliveira, Emily Ratajkowski, Lais Ribeiro, Amanda Riley, Shanina Shaik & Paulina Vega. Afterwards, all of them have quietly deleted their posts relating to the Fyre Festival, most without comment.

The reality is, that it’s impossible to deliver a “luxury music festival,” on a remote tropical island with no infrastructure, running water, or electricity. When supermodels are paid to hype this garbage, and it reaches the level of media buzz it attained, then we as a society have a serious issue with controlling our sexual urges. That’s what drove Fyre, and it led to disaster. The millennials who bought into this fantasy, really need to look at their own culpability. You can only be lied to, if you want to believe the lie.

Videos with supermodels, selling people their dreams, is as old as MTV at least– yet the scam still works when updated. Why? Because people are blind to what they desire the most. People want (more than anything) to be part of the “in” crowd, and hang out with beautiful people & celebrities. This is a sickness many people have, in which they are telling themselves they can only be “somebody” if they are at a certain event with “cool” people.

This is a pathological & elitist outlook, which denies oneself its own potential to be beautiful & important. That mentality has been beaten into Generations’ X, Y & Z; as image is promoted as everything– especially on social media.

When reality finally bites, insanity & barbarism ensues, because no one is fact-checking. Both documentaries reveal how negative social media comments & whistle-blower websites were censored, as part of the Fyre promotional campaign. That’s because the truth will collapse this fake economy, exposing these “elites” as con artists. This mirrors the US government’s ongoing campaign to censor the internet, in the name of neo-McCarthyism.

America’s fake government is now personified by President Trump– the quintessential sociopathic conman. This isn’t sustainable, and it can’t be reformed, as the Democrats allowed this to be. Both Democrat (DSA, Greens, etc) & Republican (Libertarian, Tax Reform, Tea, etc) parties, along with their staunchest supporters always work together behind closed doors, to sell out the working masses. It’s fake “events” like the annual Super Bowl & Fyre Festival that keep people distracted & mollified.

As of this publication, there are still 800,000 federal workers, who aren’t being paid, and it’s been over a month. Over half of them are being required to work, most notably (so far) the TSA workers, who screen all passengers & baggage in our airports. TSA screeners are fake jobs too, meant to keep us safe from the terrorists who masterminded 9/11.

Those who fly (at all), despise the post-9/11 screening process, as it’s simply an edifice for a police state. It doesn’t make us safer, it just concentrates power into the hands of unaccountable madmen & fascists. One can’t attempt to bring a bottle of water on board, without a TSA screener tripping every alarm, as they confiscate your beverage. The “suspect” then gets a warning, and a canned statement, “You can purchase another one on-board.” Can you see how all this ties in? It’s not hard, if you look.

The reason many of the TSA screeners are working for free, is to keep their bullshit jobs. Most of these airport rent-a-police aren’t qualified to deal with a serious terrorist threat. But that’s not why they are there. The TSA was created and vastly expanded after 9/11, as cheap government labor to secure an objective for the ruling apparatus, which is to be able to lockdown any airport at any time. That’s concentrated power, and the deep state is a “who’s who” of mass murderers & fascist sociopaths, who take this as their divine right.

The mainstream answer to the government shutdown (and everything else) will ultimately be to allow Trump to declare an “executive emergency,” which doesn’t exist in reality, in order to get funding for “border security,” which both Democrats & Republicans support. This will further concentrate dictatorial authority into the hands of the US President, which Trump likes. Impeaching Donald Trump for his destructive recklessness & lack of compassion is off-the-table in this world of fake politics.

Since Donald Trump has boxed himself in with his government shutdown crisis, he goes ahead using (abusing) his Presidential power to create more chaos as a diversion. That’s the deal with this Venezuelan coup attempt Mike Pompeo & company are trying to pull off at the moment. This is the most brazen and unlawful example of election interference that anyone has ever witnessed, yet it’s framed a legitimate diplomacy in the US corporate media.

Government Shutdown Update: Friday 25 Jan 2019 03:30 PM EST

Reuters: Trump announces deal with lawmakers to end government shutdown

The deal is described as “a tentative agreement with U.S. lawmakers for three weeks in stop-gap funding that would end a partial U.S. government shutdown now in its 35th day.” News opinion polls now show public disapproval of Trump near 60%. with a majority of Americans holding him most responsible for the shutdown. Trump still reserves the right for himself to exercise “emergency powers” to get his wall, and powerful Democrats support him on that.

February 15, 2019 is now the next government shutdown date, and (most likely) we’ll be right back here again. This “deal” is a band-aid to stop the hemorrhaging. The only thing furloughed & compelled-to-work government employees care about is when do they get paid again? Back pay & lost wages are also a big issue for them. Trump’s presidency is on-the-ropes, as he & his advisors are stalling for time, until they can assume control with fascist methods.

“The workers of Matamoros will never go back to paying 4 percent union dues. You can’t have a rich union and poor workers.”

Here’s some more real news, you never hear on CNN or Fox. There are currently over 70,000 striking auto workers at the Matamoros plants in Mexico, at the US border. These strikers have defied their sellout unions, and are already affecting US production plants, but it has received zero mass media coverage in the US, for all these reasons. The reality & issues are too great for the elites to admit to, so they instead bury their heads in the sand, and hype more fake news & phony events.

Fact checking for a music festival starts with the band lineup. Fyre touted second-rate & nobody acts. Major Lazer is a DJ/producer with just two albums to his credit. Disclosure is an electronica act, also with only two records. Blink 182, the “headliner,” is a dinosaur B-list alternative rock band. Hip-hop pretenders Migos, and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music crew, aren’t the kind of acts that one travels thousand of miles (and pays thousands of dollars) to see perform. Have you even heard of any of the rest?

The screenshot above is a damning exposure of the music industry. The biggest act, Blink 182, didn’t pull out until the last minute, as shown in their infamous tweet. Note their complicity in this fraud, by not telling their own fans that the Fyre festival was now known to be a humanitarian Super-fund site. Instead, Blink 182 apologized in couched language to mask the truth. What were they paid, I wonder? Bullshit act, like all the rest that were “booked.”

What’s most disturbing about these documentaries is the lack of awareness & remorse from everyone involved at the planning, promotional & management level. Billy McFarland & Jeffery Atkins (AKA– Ja Rule) are conman & street hustler. They deserve no legitimacy, just like the rest of this fake economy. They should be sent to prison for a long time, just like the rest of these fascist elites, who produce nothing, and only take for themselves.

The rest deserve some other form of comeuppance, which hasn’t arrived yet. That will only happen when younger people start becoming more socially & politically conscious. It has to happen, otherwise history will continue to repeat itself with this kind of ugliness. That is the deeper message in these two timely documentaries.

Australian Open (Women’s) Update: Sat 26 Jan 2019 ~ Noon EST

Does chemical enhancement count as fakery? I think so.

Serena Williams looked beastly hideous (again) during the 2019 Australian Open, where she cracked in the quarterfinals. She foot-faulted on her 1st serve at match point, and the replay shows it. She has a history of being called for that, only this time she quietly accepted it, like you’re supposed to, instead of blowing it up and using it as an excuse for losing. Naomi Osaka, the 2018 US Open winner, was shamed by Serena’s meltdown.

Serena Williams wasn’t cheated here, she cracked. That is a term tennis players use for what happened to Serena, leading 5-1 in the 3rd set, serving at 40-30. The lines-person called “foot-fault” immediately & loudly, meaning Karolina Pliskova heard it & ignored the serve, so that wasn’t an “ace,” as some have insisted. Pliskova cracked Serena by upping her game and making Williams move, until she rolled an ankle because she’s carrying too much weight. That’s one way to crack an opponent who has that vulnerability.

There is no dishonor in cracking, as compared to her malicious outburst towards a respected chair umpire during & after the 2018 US Open finals. Serena Williams never even apologized for that, or issued any kind of public explanation, outside of wanting to “put it in her rear-view mirror.”

She’s won 23 Grand Slams, and probably won’t win anymore. People need to accept that, as supporting her brand of racialist & feminist hate isn’t healthy. There’s a lot to like & dislike about her career. In this social media age, there’s nothing fans despise more than liars & their apologists

The only chance Serena Williams has at another major is 2019 Wimbledon, where her serve is dominant. Her Achilles’ Heel is her reduced mobility, which shows up against top opponents who can handle her serve. She has no chance of winning another French Open, and Naomi Osaka is now the “Queen of the Hardcourts.”

Naomi Osaka defeated Petra Kvitova (above) in a thrilling 3-set finals match, to win the 2019 Australian Open. This is what everyone wanted to see & remember. It feels a lot more REAL. No losers here, just huge kudos to both!!

Here’s some nefarious advertising for you. Naomi Osaka & Kei Nishikori are featured in this Japanimation cartoon titled ‘The Prince of Tennis,” sponsored by Nissin instant noodles. It’s received a lot of flak over “whitewashing” their caricatures, which led to the ad being taken down. People aren’t tolerating this fakery anymore, and they are better than ever at spotting it.

Osaka who is Japanese-Haitian replied, “I’ve talked to them. They’ve apologized. I’m tan. It’s pretty obvious. I don’t think they did it on purpose to be whitewashing or anything, but I definitely think that the next time they try to portray me or something, I feel like they should talk to me about it.”

Sat 26 Jan 2019 03:05 PM EST

Fake Money-Bitcoin Update: As reported by Bloomberg news, the production-weighted cash cost to create one Bitcoin averaged ~ $4,060 globally in the fourth quarter, according to analysts with JP Morgan Chase. Chinese miners pay ~ $2,400 per Bitcoin, by leveraging direct power purchasing agreements with dirty electricity generators.

All that leads to this question: With Bitcoin trading ~ $3,600 as of this publication, how is the cryptocurrency market sustainable in light of these realities?

I’ve heard way too many interviews with the cool, smart guys in crypto-currency who point to how Bitcoin “solved the double-spend problem.” Most of these Gen-Y & Z wanna-bees have been insulated from reality their entire lives, especially with their expensive bourgeois education in economics, which isn’t worth one read of Karl Marx’s Capital (1867).

These trendy young entrepreneurs live in cocoons, and understand nothing beyond their limited realm. The environmental cost of the Bitcoin/crypto-currency bubble impacts everyone. On the hard economics side, Bitcoin is trading at $500 below unit cost. The only way that happens (and is sustained), is through massive market fraud.

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Boxing in MLB Free Agents

The Major League Baseball free-agent market has barely moved since I last updated it here. Qualifying offer (QO) free agents are the key to understanding what’s going on. First, let’s review what I wrote over two months ago:

Update Sunday November 4, 2018: A total of seven QO’s were made on Friday, November 2 in MLB. Beyond the expected offers to Bryce Harper & Patrick Corbin, were Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and catcher Yasmani Grandal. These players have 10 days to accept a $17.9 million salary for 2019, or become free agents with draft pick compensation. The five players I listed after Harper & Corbin should all accept their qualifying offers, as they won’t get better deals on the free agent market. Especially Grandal & Ryu.

What’s happened since? Ryu accepted, and kicked back knowing he has $17.9M for next season, with no off-season headaches. Hyun-Jin Ryu (below) will go into free agency in 2020 with no QO tag, as that can only be offered once to a player by their team. That’s what you want as a player– unrestricted free agency.

As I keep repeating here, it’s the draft pick compensation that is deterring the QO free-agents from getting more substantial offers. At least two-thirds of MLB teams have GM’s that value draft picks above veterans– generally speaking. That is a shift towards correct valuation of winning talent, and the MLBPA with the agents, are way behind on this. Their base constituency (veteran MLB players), are getting low-balled due to the new CBA their union “representatives” signed. Virtually every player before free agency is exploited, and now even free agents can’t get a good deal.

For example, ex-Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel (above) began the off-season claiming he was seeking a deal worth ~ 6/$85M. The problem is, he’s in decline, and he comes with draft pick compensation for everyone except Boston, which is probably where he’ll have to go back to, for less that the QO-deal he rejected in November. Time is not on his side, that’s for sure.

Former Diamondbacks center fielder AJ Pollock (above) is in even worse shape, as Arizona just inked utility man Wilmer Flores, so a reunion is becoming less likely. Pollock is worth (maybe) 2/$12M in this market– without a QO-tag on him. With the QO-tag, he’s negative value (losing a draft pick) to most teams, and therefore unsignable at even league minimum. How messed up is that?

One free-agent player decided to fire his agent, and negotiated his own deal this winter. Reliever David Robertson (above) signed a 2/$23M (plus 3rd-year option) with the Phillies. He’ll do much better than Craig Kimbrel, when all is said & done, and plus he doesn’t have to pay an incompetent agent a 5-10% fee for screwing things up.

Robertson said it was a great experience for him, and that he learned a lot about the market and how to negotiate. More players should follow his example. They’ll get paid better if they do. No one cares about your interest more than you, so if you leave it to someone else, expect to get burned.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal (above) is now an example of this. His over-estimation of his value apparently led him to reject a 4/$60M offer from the Mets a few weeks back. This is another lesson of the free-agency season: don’t overplay your hand. Afterwards the Mets moved on and signed catcher Wilson Ramos (2/$19M), and then the market for Grandal nearly evaporated.

Grandal settled for 1/$18.25 with the Brewers. The Brew Crew only give up their #104 pick, because the deal was for <$50M. The Dodgers would have preferred Grandal to have taken the Mets offer, as they would have received a better compensation pick on a $60M deal. That’s what’s going on, and the vultures are picking this market to pieces, while many players’ heads are spinning, as their salaries are falling.

Every off-season there are 2-3 teams that are spending “stupid money.” The Phillies already declared this intention, and the Yankees are always in, but neither are in the market for a catcher. The Mets have been stupid too, and this was the offer you jump on– if you’re Yasmani Grandal. His agent should be fired, for not counseling his client competently, because there were no other big suitors for Grandal, as most AL teams prefer Marlins catcher JT Realmuto, who is on the trade block.

Realmuto is better & younger, with two years of team control remaining, which could net his new team a QO compensation pick, if he’s dealt before the 2020 season. How much you get paid is not about past performance anymore. It’s what do you bring to the organization, and what they project you can do going forward.

Of the remaining QO free-agents, LHP Dallas Keuchel has the best chance of getting a deal north of $50M, but it’s not assured. The lessons of RHP’s Hu Darvish & Jake Arrieta (both busts) from last winter, remain in every GM’s mind. Everyone needs pitching, but overpaying for mediocre & injured/bad starters doesn’t make sense. That’s called wish-casting, and there aren’t many Jim Bowden’s left as GM’s who do that stupid stuff anymore.

That’s why the trade market for RHP’s Noah Syndergaard, Cory Kluber & Sonny Gray has received more interest than free-agent starting pitchers. The Mets, Indians & Yankees are all looking for young talent in return, but most teams won’t give that up anymore. Therefore not much moves.

We wait until SS/3B Manny Machado & RF Bryce Harper sign, and then the remaining position players will get scooped up at a song. Most of the MLB free-agent activity has been in the reliever market. In October, bullpens matter more than ever, and you can’t have too many arms. Position players are a-dime-a-dozen, and (often) youngsters are the best value in that market.

I don’t know how long MLB players are going to accept a system that never rewards anyone, except the most-elite superstars. This MLB CBA runs 2017-2021, and anyone with eyes can see a labor war on the horizon, as two more years of this will lead to revolt and (likely) a work stoppage. The money is too big, and the disparity is too wide. This process mirrors every other sector of our global economy. What’s not sustainable, must be revolutionized, otherwise it goes into the ashcan of human history. That will be the legacy of MLB’s “qualifying offer free agency.”

Update: Sunday 20 Jan 2019 ~3:40 PM EST

An alternate title for this piece could be, “Padres GM AJ Preller Whips MLB Free Agency.” The San Diego Padres have been the most speculated & media-buzzed team of this Hot Stove season. The reason is simple, they have the best minor-league system (by far), along with an interesting collection of young (cost-controlled) MLB talent.

Their Achilles heel is big-league starting pitching, which dooms them to the 2nd division, until their minor-league talent arrives. The Padres have been prominently linked to every big-name starter made available via trade over the winter, including: Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays), Sonny Gray (Yankees), Cory Kluber (Indians), and Noah Syndergaard (Mets).

Every rival GM wants at that talent, but AJ Preller has resisted all trade offers, and held his top prospects close to his vest. They are HIGHLY valued by the entire organization, including ownership. Therefore, they won’t be foolishly dealt for expensive rentals, bounce-back potential, decline years, or injury risks.

AJ Preller’s influence has also been a factor in holding up MLB free agency signings, as GM’s will exhaust their options to obtain young talent, before settling for a bargain in free agency. The “JT Realmuto effect” on the catching market has already been discussed above.

It’s a young man’s game, and it’s always been that way. Those who know the game recognize that much better now, due to advanced metrics & the sharing power of the internet. Many young players & MLB fans now know these issues better than the people running/ruining the game.

Here’s Evan Longoria on Instagram & ESPN.com:

evan.longoria3
We are less then a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest starts remain unsigned. Such a shame. It’s seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.

I respect Giants (Rays) 3B Evan Longoria, but his complaints to the media about Manny Machado & Bryce Harper not being signed yet, show that he really doesn’t understand what’s going on. Those two elite players have only one top offer apiece, and are waiting around for no good reason, as nothing better will materialize– for either of them. It is their agents who are (mis)advising them, as they are in denial. These “super-agents” (Boras & Lozano) keep trying to inflate the MLB superstar contract bubble, at the expense of younger, underpaid players who generally provide more winning value to franchises.

As of this publication, the Chicago White Sox have reportedly made Machado a seven-year, $175 million offer. Manny Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, disputes this– which is seen in the industry as bluffing. The Phillies aren’t going to go that high (in years or money), and the Yankees appear to be out. No one else is (or was) serious. Machado should sign, and let the market move again, but he & his agent are being egotistical & greedy. This is what knowledgeable baseball fans REALLY don’t like.

The Nationals reportedly offered Bryce Harper a 10-year, $300 million deal, a while back. There’s no reason to not believe it. No other franchise will go higher, especially with draft-pick compensation added to the signing cost. Bryce Harper & agent Scott Boras are also grandstanding & flexing for everyone, and it’s really disrespectful to the other position players who are waiting for a decision, so they can then find a job.

For example, 3B Mike Moustakas can help a lot of teams in need. But everyone is waiting for SS/3B Manny Machado to make a decision first. Until then no one knows what the 3B market is. The best at any specific position can hold up that entire market, because they are always coveted by teams that want to win. No one goes to their fall-back plan, until Option A pans out.

Evan Longoria asks on social media, “As fans, why should ‘value’ for your team even be a consideration?” The obvious fan answer is, “Because ‘overpays’ drive up ticket prices, and kills any team’s chances at winning.” When a MLB GM makes a bad deal of this magnitude, it has a HUGE ripple effect. It’s like trading LHP David Price, for LHP Drew Smily & prospects. The Rays never recovered, and their fans deserted them.

If MLB players want to stop their salaries from going down, then they better get smarter, and start organizing for themselves. Those who deny metrics & remain clueless as to how players are valued, will sign dumb long-term deals– like Evan Longoria did. It sucks to be taken advantage of, but when it’s your own doing, you can only be mad at yourself. I say, “Educate yourself,” or else you’re just blowing-off hot air, like so many others.

Update: Fri 25 Jan 2019 6:15 PM EST

The LA Dodgers have made some moves this off-season, and none of them are going to help them get back to a third consecutive World Series. Jettisoning contracts Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig & Alex Wood to the Reds gets them under the luxury tax threshold, and that was the only purpose of that deal from LA’s perspective. Dodgers eat $28M from RHP Homer Bailey’s contract in return, whom they released.

In 2019, the final year of the Matt Kemp contract, he’ll be paid $21.75M. The Dodgers pay $3.5M & the Padres $2.5M, from the original deal that sent Kemp to San Diego. The Braves have also taken a bite of this deal, as this is Matt Kemp’s fourth trade during this contract, which is commonly regarded as one of the biggest albatrosses in MLB history.

Dodgers also inked premium righty reliever Joe Kelly to a 3/$25M deal, and replaced Yasmani Grandal at catcher with Russel Martin at 1/$20M. Now they’ve reportedly added center-fielder AJ Pollock at either 4/$55M or 5/$60M, pending a physical. Dodgers also give up a compensation pick to the Diamondbacks by signing Pollock- who is a significant injury & crash risk. This is an overpay.

It all adds up in LA to a core roster that is year older, with less outfield power, while losing lefty starter Alex Wood. The Reds got a huge upgrade in this Dodgers salary dump. The Dodgers compounded that mistake with this AJ Pollock deal.

Finally, soon-to-be age-31 LHP Clayton Kershaw wisely declined his “opt-out,” and stayed with the Dodgers for 3/$93M. He’s pitched 149.0, 175.0 & 161.1 innings in the last three seasons. He’s still great, but he’s breaking down, like all pitchers in their 30’s.

The Dodgers are still the best in the NL West, but their window is closing, as this roster will soon resemble the SF Giants’ current situation. Hot Stove activity like this accelerates that process in LA. At least the Giants won 3 World Series in their 5-year run. The Dodgers have squandered their golden opportunity to challenge that feat, with severe over-spending & some highly-questionable deals over the past several years.

Update: Sun 10 Feb 2019 10:30 AM EST

I mentioned a few weeks back that the Padres are the key team this off-season, and since then, they’ve been in the MLB rumor mill– a lot. Their involvement in the JT Realmuto deal (finally dealt to the Phillies) was probably an effort to define the market and move things along, instead of any real interest in the All-Star catcher.

The Marlins were being unrealistic for too long, about Realmuto’s value, with only 2 years remaining on his contract. Everyone wants the Padres prospects, and AJ Preller held firm on what his top young talent is worth, which is a lot more than two years of JT Realmuto. Especially since the Padres aren’t expected to compete for the post-season in 2019 or 2020.

So what have the San Diego Padres been doing in the Bryce Harper & Manny Machado free agency sweepstakes? For a long while the Padres were the “mystery team” in this ordeal, which tells you what that’s worth. When the Padres finally came out, and declared their interest, it was (again) tepid at best, as neither player fits their competitive window, for the costs involved. Yes, the Padres can afford to sign either one, but it wouldn’t move the needle on their becoming a winning team enough to justify the contract. So what are they doing!?

Padres GM AJ Preller is trying to move this market along, by engaging these two free agents. Since no one was making an offer, Preller requested a meeting with both superstars. Harper complied, and met with them in Las Vegas, while evidently Machado refused. In both cases the true intention was to let these players and their agents know that whatever offers they’ve already received, the Padres (and everyone else) won’t go higher.

Since neither is interested in signing for a bargain, they may as well take their best offer. That’s the message. MLB.com & ESPN are calling it “due diligence” by the Padres. I believe Preller prefers signing free agent 3B Mike Moustakas, as a low-cost alternative. He’s just waiting for Machado & Harper to sign somewhere.

Over the last few days rumors have been reported as fact, that the Yankees have offered SS/3B Manny Machado a $220 million deal, and now the White Sox have raised their offer to $250 million over 8 years. No one will confirm any of this, so serious fans take it as bluffing. I still stand behind my prediction that Machado will sign with the pale hose for $175M, as that’s the top offer that has been reported, and verified by the White Sox.

Whether Harper’s $300M offer from the Nationals is still on the table is unknown, but he should have taken it when he had the chance, if he wanted max money. If Bryce Harper wants out of Washington, then he’s taking a pay cut from that.

Pitchers & catchers report this week, so it’s time for these two to make a decision. They’ll both be taking less than what they had hoped for, and will possibly be going to teams they don’t prefer, just to get paid. That’s MLB free agency in 2019, and it’s a catastrophe for the players & fans.

The fundamental issue that keeps getting swept under-the-rug is the MLBPA’s role in all this. These union bureaucrats & officials, counseled by the heavy-clout super-agents that advise them, are all complicit in the lowering of MLB-player salaries. This is the root of the impasse between free agents & the organizations these past two off-seasons.

The GM’s that run these franchises for their owners are all smarter now. Thus, they aren’t handing out any more Albert Pujols contracts, like the Angels regret. Their splurges are now more measured & contained. The presumed job of these union functionaries is to follow these trends, and understand its importance when collectively bargaining for the players.

In this task, they have completely whiffed. The MLBPA’s allegiance to veteran players, as measured by free-agent contracts, no longer fits the MLB organizational spending model. Today, GM’s understand its cheap, young players that provide winning value. That’s the core which organizations build around, and when they mature (and ONLY then), is when free-agency (or dealing prospects for valuable veterans) makes sense.

Just because a team has money to spend, doesn’t mean they should spend it. Unexpected good fortune, or rainy days, could be just around the corner, and teams need to retain flexibility with their payroll. After all, this is baseball, and no one can predict it.

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Censored Comments on Russia Today’s “Keiser Report”

These comments were deleted by Russia Today’s moderators (censors). They pertained to the latest Keiser Report, “Should individuals campaign to get corporate rights?” (E1331).

I’ve learned that you can’t post any Trotskyist analysis on Russia Today. They are very sensitive about that.

Posted (& deleted on) Saturday evening, 1-12-19: I appreciate this show because I’m not a Wall Street insider, and Max Keiser has real world experience. Stacy Herbert is more scripted & cooler-headed, which balances things nicely.

But when it comes to politics they are both lost. There is 0% chance that Alexandra Ocasio Cortez will be US President in 2024. America will either have: A) fascism, which is where we are almost at now; or B) a global socialist revolution in permanence (Trotsky), which is what humanity needs to survive.

Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’s brand of liberalism died with Obama, and then Bernie 2016. Get control of your dick, Max, as that’s what’s driving her ratings, and you’re just feeding the machine. The rest of Washington is too ugly to look at, much less talk about, so Alexandra Ocasio Cortez is the much-needed D.C. poster-girl, who distracts the masses with her physical beauty & perceived innocence. It won’t last, trust me.

Posted (& NOT deleted on) Sunday morning, 1-13-19: Those who claim that cryptocurrency will lead to a transformation of society though a “peaceful revolution” have a poor understanding of history, politics, and the nature of money. The global banks which control the levers of power, will not give it up nicely. [Added here] No devil ever cut off his own claws, to quote Trotsky.

Posted (& deleted on) Sunday morning, 1-13-19: The basis of value for money is in commodities produced by human labor. Money represents an amount of congealed labor which produces a necessary commodity. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is produced by supercomputers, and is useless in the big picture. Its only value is for people who want to hide illicit transactions, avoid taxes, etc– which exposes its fraudulent nature. Cryptocurrency, and the “freedom” its proponents are selling, is a Ponzi scheme.

Update Finale: Mon 14 Jan 2019 05:30 PM EST : A US President takes an oath “to defend the Constitution.” This founding document of our republic authorizes spending to be mandated & approved by Congress, and also contains a 13th Amendment, which criminalizes slave labor. When half of the 800,000 shut down government workers are told to work for no pay, because they are “essential,” then that’s slave labor.

Donald Trump should have be impeached by now for this attack on the US working class, its government agencies & the Constitution, but bilateral collaboration between Vichy Democrats & Nazi Republicans has saved his seat in the Oval Office– for now.

How much more of this will unpaid government workers take? The power of the working class is never seriously discussed in the bourgeois media, but it is now being fiercely debated behind closed doors (always!) in ruling circles across the globe.

Workers globally need to unite, raise their political consciousness, and speak & act in their own interests. The US two-party system is dead, and needs to be overturned. Only a socialist revolution led by the most advanced elements of the working class can achieve this.

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Merry New Year!!

The New Year has arrived and one can sense a mood of revolution in the air. Being out on New Year’s Eve in Orlando, in a working-class area, gave me a sense that most people were glad 2018 was ending, and hopeful for a much better 2019. How this will happen is still-to-be-determined, but that is what’s on the minds of people who work & struggle.

The level of fakeness in everything: from our food, to our jobs, to news & entertainment has become too obvious. People are no longer accepting mainstream “experts” at their word. This includes all mass media in sports, politics & business. None of these platforms have much helpful content anymore, as it’s been discredited as “fake news.”

Facebook threw in its lot with the NSA/CIA a few years back, and now it’s come home to roost, as Fakebook has been exposed for its manipulations. “Fake news” was the epithet these fakesters threw at whistle-blowers & socialists, before & since Trump 2016, but their Big Lie has blown back onto themselves.

People now recognize their false flag operations almost instantly, as “conspiracy theorists” on the left have more credibility than anyone on the internet now.  The World Socialist Website (wsws.org) is the most feared online publication, from a bourgeois perspective, and therefore it is the most-censored.

Mainstream media always tries to smear leftists & Marxists, together with right-wing “conspiracy theorists.” When a neo-fascist such as Alex Jones goes too far with his hate, he’s stifled by the CIA Democrats/deep state; for the purpose of setting a precedence of censorship, which is then ALWAYS used with redoubled vigor against leftists.

This is why the media is working so hard at this moment to confuse the population on the issues of left wing vs. right wing politics. Left wingers are what used to be called “liberals,” when that term still meant something (back in the 1970’s, maybe). Right wing is nationalism & racism. The dirty secret is that BOTH lead to fascism, as that’s capitalism. The political “right” wing leads with brute force, while the political “left” wing cowers & enables by deceiving a constituency that cares.

The two-party system is best described as a political straitjacket. In it, there is very little room to maneuver, and nothing is tolerated to get out. Once this harness is removed, the possibilities are endless, and this is what excites people who have been struggling for a long time, meaning 80-90% of the world’s population.

This phenomenon is happening globally. The “yellow vests” in France are an international symbol of working class unity, in defiance of an authority which has only mistreated them. It’s the arrogance on display, which assumes workers are dull & ignorant masses, that has caught up with them. This has alarmed (frightened) the ruling elites. That’s why the stock markets are crashing, and that’s why there’s political unrest in every country, as social inequality & living conditions have become intolerable.

On top of that, no nation state is doing nearly enough to curtail global warming, which only gets worse every year. I wrote this straight-forward song over 20 years ago, during the wildfires of 1998 in Florida, and it’s more true that ever– which really bothers me. No progress, only denialism and more “free market” giveaways to the richest 10%. That’s not sustainable.

We just had a completely ridiculous midterm “election” in the US, and already now, Democrat Elizabeth Warren has announced her intention to run for US President in 2020. We’re now caught up in a permanent cycle of politicians campaigning for office, which involves setting real issuers aside, and attacking opponents on whatever is allowed– sex scandals, etc…

I’m with those that maintain we need to cancel “Election 2020” in 2019. Do you want to go through another “election” like 2016, only worse? Most thinking people recoil at the thought, yet that is exactly where we are heading, unless there is revolutionary intervention from the masses.

It needs to be coordinated, international, and under complete worker control. The trade unions and their ideological appendages (ISO, etc) need to be cast into the dustbin of history. Workers need to elect their own leaders, and develop their own independent political perspective, outside of the straitjacket system.

Political consciousness needs to be raised on a mass scale, with a clear understanding of what genuine socialism is. It is: 1) worker control over production; 2) social equality in that everyone has what they need; and 3) the end of nationalism & secret diplomacy, which are root causes of global conflict. Everyone is truthfully informed on everything, and is allowed to voice their thoughts publicly.

Notice how there is nothing irrational or evil in that correct definition of socialism, as defined by Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels. Yet mainstream (bourgeois) pundits & “intellectuals” always insist that socialism is a Russian plot meant to destroy all human joy, and turn us into automatons. Ironically, that’s what’s happening under capitalism; so once again, this should be recognized as another application of the “Big Lie” technique by the elites.

Donald Trump made a HUGE blunder when he shutdown the US government over the holidays, insisting on full funding for his wall at the US-Mexico border. It’s just like this overgrown child, to dig in on something that is so doomed to fail. Over 800,000 federal workers aren’t getting paid, and some are even being required to stay on-the-job without pay. What are these workers supposed to say to their bill collectors?

Trump impresses stupid & racist people because he appeals to their emotions– fear, hate & anger. He forced this government shutdown to whip up support from his constituent base, which has largely evaporated. Sure, there are still small minorities of hardcore fascists, who will defend & fight for Trump until the bitter end; but many of his 2016 supporters have jumped ship, and now view him as a liability.

This political stand-off which puts government workers at risk of losing their homes, is really be an impeachable crime. Trump claims he wants jobs in the US, to “Make America Great Again,” while trash piles up in our national parks & monuments, because workers have been furloughed.

It’s time for the US workers to take back their land, by uniting in numbers and across all industries, to reject these hucksters & stick-figurines who are leading humanity into an abyss. The crisis is one of leadership. There are no leaders on Capitol Hill, just corporate criminals– playing with tanks. It’s time to come together and elect new leaders, with real world experience. We need them everywhere, more than ever.

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Christmas Card

The holiday season came with a bear, as stock markets around the world are simultaneously crashing. Trade wars, led by the US, have constipated global trade. Nothing is moving, and the US Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates, which had been kept near zero for years.

These 0.25% interest rates were for the banks, not for small businesses or working people. No college graduate with massive student loan debt was allowed to refinance at near-zero either. For working people it’s 6.9%. Or 13.9%. Or 29.9%. That’s how banks made their money during this “longest bull market in history.”

It was actually the longest bullshit market in history, fueled by free money electronically “printed” by the Fed, and given to banks to prop up their worthless “assets.” We’re talking everything: from stocks & bonds, to currency & cryptocurrency, as being a massive speculative bubble.

There has been no real-world basis for new money creation, since the Fed began “quantitative easing.”  QE is where the Fed prints new money (even though there is no economic basis for it), so it can give it to itself & it’s cronies. That’s crony capitalism in a plutocracy. Works great for the 1%.

These elites have no concept of reality, and believe all their bullshit to the end. It’s the working people, who have been getting shafted for the longest time, who need to rise up with political awareness & revolutionary intentions. Otherwise the cost of this financial crisis, which the ruling class created & is entirely responsible for, will be shifted onto their backs– again.

This is THE BIG ONE. In 2007-08, the US Federal Reserve still had the capacity to absorb Wall Street’s losses, by shifting them onto the books of the federal government, meaning US taxpayers are now responsible for the ~$21,000,000,000,000 federal deficit.

The level of debt for the 3 major US stock indexes (S&P 500, DJIA & NASDAQ) is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars, meaning it is unpayable. That’s the magic of compound interest, as once the level of principle owed gets so high, the interest payments become unservicable.

The gross world product in 2018 is projected at $87.5 trillion, and the Fed can’t print enough “new” money to sustain this financial house of cards, without making the dollar worthless. Under-performers that used to allowed to go bankrupt in an earlier stage of capitalism, are now deemed “too big to fail” in a bullshit market.

The industry term for this phenomenon is zombie company. Over 15% of US corporations are zombies by definition, and globally it’s 12%. Tesla is an example of a zombie corporation, in that it manufactures very little that is useful, at an extremely high cost. The debt level for Tesla is unpayable, yet CEO Elon Musk is allowed to parade around as a patriarch boy genius, when he’s really a neo-fascist Ponzi-scheme swindler– like all the rest. The world’s biggest banks & hedge fund managers are all tied into this shell game, and they have no answers, except more austerity, inequality & war.

The #MeToo campaign severely wrecked itself with it’s cringe-worthy performance at the infamous Kavanaugh Hearings this past October. They appear to have gathered all their strength for one last volley. For the #MeToo campaign, this could be the proverbial “dead cat bounce,” which happens when something crashes from a great height, and then for an instant appears to rise, only to collapse dead in a heap.

It was sensationally announced on Christmas Eve (yesterday) that actor/artist Kevin Spacey is to be charged with sexual assault on January 7, 2019. This comes from former Boston news anchor Heather Unruh, who accuses that Spacey had assaulted her adult son in July 2016.

Since her son was age-18 at the time, he should speak for himself, don’t you think? Readers aren’t even given the boy’s name in the mainstream press, it’s just his mother who speaks, and here’s the video– which published Nov 7, 2018 has <2,000 views. It’s beyond weak, but hey– that’s #MeToo.

Kudos to Kevin Spacey for his video retort, which published on December 24, 2018, already has over 4 million views, before noon (EST) on December 25, 2018. If Kevin Spacey & his legal team can handle this nonsense, then it’s lights out for #MeToo. Artists everywhere wish Spacey & his team well, and offer all our support– in the name of artistic freedom & democratic rights. Consider it a FU to #MeToo.

Q: You know what we’re going to get these #MeToo witch-hunters for Christmas next year?

A: A big wooden cross, so whenever they feel unappreciated for all their sacrifices, they can climb up on it and nail themselves to it.

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The MLB Free Agency Market: 2018-19

Padres signed 2B Ian Kinsler 2/$8M after the Winter Meetings. The timing here is significant, as Padres GM AJ Preller had to wait out the Rule 5 Draft to make any FA acquisitions with their full foster. As a result, the Padres lost zero players to the Rule 5 Draft, even though they have the top-rated farm system in baseball. Excellent roster management by AJP, who is now seeking a 3B. Currently, the best free agent option at third base is age-30 Mike Moustakas.

The Padres have no interest in Marlins catcher JT Realmuto, despite any “rumors” you are reading from industry hacks attempting to stoke the hot stove. I believe most teams have been put-off by Derek Jeter & Mike Hill’s unrealistic demands. Their problem is they have made so many bad deals in the past year, trading All-stars (& MVP’s) for junk prospects. The Marlins front office keeps thinking they are going to finally hit the motherlode, and it never happens. The other GM’s are all smarter, and that’s a huge problem in Miami. Their only hope at this point is if the Dodgers overpay for Realmuto, which isn’t likely, although although could happen.

Everyone in baseball keeps talking about RF Bryce Harper & SS Manny Machado, but it’s the other end of the free agent market that is the real story. Closer Craig Kimbrel declined a $17.9M qualifying offer (QO) from the Red Sox in November, as he’s reportedly seeking a 6-year deal. When the Dodgers signed hard-throwing ex-Red Sox set-up man Joe Kelly for 3/$25M last week, that sent a sobering message to the Kimbrel camp.

Carrying QO draft-pick compensation doesn’t help Kimbrel’s cause, as really he’s not worth 2/$15M at this point. Plus, who wants to give a valuable draft pick to the Red Sox? Kimbrel will be age-31 next season, with declining efficacy, and everyone saw his dismal performances in the post-season. The Mets & Dodgers are done spending stupid money on relievers, so there goes the market for overpays. Reality is going to bite him hard in January/February, when he will have to accept a concession contract, and it will be his fault. He should have accepted the QO. What kind of idiot on the backside of his career turns down $18M for one year?

Speaking of more stupid, the Mets (77-85 in 2018) have announced their intentions to be competitive in the near-future, by making a flurry of trades and free-agent signings this winter; acquiring 2B Robinson Cano & closer Edwin Diaz from the Mariners, while bringing back shaky reliever Jeurys Familia for 3/$30M. They just signed age-31 FA catcher Wilson Ramos for 2/$19M, which is another overpay.

A Mets “rumor” that has been circulated all winter has them trading RHP Noah Syndergaard to the Padres for all their top prospects. This will not happen, and is another wishful-thinking media-driven narrative. The Padres are probably more interested in acquiring RHP Sonny Gray from the Yankees.

Syndergaard is now arbitration eligible, after making $3M in 2018. His effectiveness is unquestionable, but his leadership & durability aren’t. The question this baseball fan has is: If the Mets are planning to compete in the near future, then why are they so desperate to trade a young Noah Syndergaard? He’s been on the trade block for the last 6 months or so, and no one is biting; so what do all the GM’s know about Noah Syndergaard, that we fans aren’t being told?

As mentioned above the Dodgers are looking for a catcher, after Yasmani Grandal declined his QO. Grandal turned 30 last month, and had a career season in 2018, (.241/.349/.466) in 140 games. The problem is that is defense is very suspect, as shown in the post-season. That’s why the Dodgers let him go. If the Mets preferred Ramos at 2/$19M, then what is Grandal worth? The answer is: A lot less than the $17.9M QO he rejected. Plus, what NL team wants to give the Dodgers their draft pick?

That’s the major bug-a-boo with QO’s, the draft pick compensation. That draft choice could be the next Mike Trout, so teams value it very highly– to the detriment of the FA who rejects the QO. Player arrogance & greed is clouding their better judgment, and their legal council stinks.

Another MLB free agent who rejected his QO is ex-Astros RHP Dallas Keuchel, who isn’t expected to sign until late January– at the earliest. Once again, it’s because the player & his agent have misjudged the market. The draft-pick compensation removes a significant amount of value from a free agent signing, and players have been slow to realize this phenomenon.

The owners & GM’s understand this well, and since they are the ones who hand out the contracts, they control the market. FA pitchers are high-risk, and after the results of signing Hu Darvish (Cubs) & Jake Arrieta (Phillies) last winter, no team wants to get burned like that again.

If a player accepts his qualifying offer, he gets $17.9M for one season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent next year, as a player can only be offered a QO once. Seven MLB players were offered QO’s in November of 2018. Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was the only one to (smartly) accept his $17.9 million qualifying offer.

Only LHP Patrick Corbin, who signed 6/$140M with the Nationals; and RF Bryce Harper were correct in rejecting their QO’s. The four others: Dallas Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal, Craig Kimbrel & A.J. Pollock all remain on the market, and will eventually have to sign a deal for a much lower average annual value than $18M. In light of this, what do you think of their agents?

The story of this winter in MLB will (again) be the falling free-agent salaries among the 2nd & 3rd-tier groups of players. The paydays they were promised by their agents & union leaders aren’t going to materialize. Younger & more valuable players are starting to realize their worth, and will soon be demanding a bigger piece of the pie. This is setting up to be a major league labor war down the road, as MLB ownership is intransigent about raising minimum salaries, and the MLBPA is a corrupt bureaucracy.

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