NASCAR’s “Danica Gap”

Jimmie Johnson is NASCAR’s greatest active legend– a 7-time series champion. His career sponsor Lowe’s is canceling its iconic affiliation with the #48 car after this season. What is not discussed is the unthinkable, which is Jimmie Johnson being forced into retirement, much like Danica Patrick, due to lack of sponsorship in NASCAR.

Note that Jimmie Johnson can’t even begin to court new sponsors until the season is over, because he has to fulfill his obligations to Lowe’s. All while he is running with Chevrolet, who are clearly inferior to Ford & Toyota in 2018. Jimmie Johnson mentioned this manufacturing disadvantage last fall, so it’s no surprise to those who follow.

His drop-off in performance isn’t because he suddenly stinks, as Jimmie Johnson is a serious athlete who keeps himself in top condition; biking, running, skiing, etc. He has managed to dominate his sport because he out-works and out-thinks everyone else. Plus he’s a great driver, who respects his competition.

When NASCAR is diddling around with Goldman Sachs trying to figure out if it should sell out, this creates instability in the market. This makes it HARDER for Jimmie Johnson (and everyone else) to find sponsorship. It’s pretty simple, when the bosses are completely selfish & blind, then there’s nothing you can do.

Jimmie Johnson is taking most of this with professional ease, as he’s been through the wars. He knows which battles you can’t win, and when to move on. This may be the end for Jimmie Johnson, yet no one wants to say this is the end. Brian France immediately denied they were exploring a sale of NASCAR, by sending a memo to all employees. Fans wondered if Goldman Sach’s got a memo?

Most NASCAR faithful want Brian France & family out, so the question becomes: what is NASCAR worth? A lot of what NASCAR is worth depends on who you ask. I don’t see a whole lot of assets (beyond the TV deal), so France may refuse if he feels the price is too low. On the other hand he may just want to dump this expensive mess, because eventually (2024) the TV money will dry up, with only a fraction of that will replace it. That’s the gun being held to Brian France’s head by corporate America.

Corporate may be offering 2 cents on the dollar, which of course is an insult France must refuse. The problem is: all the leverage is with corporate, and they are going to be nasty about going to even two-and-a-half cents…

Another problem for France & family is their “Danica gap.” Danica Patrick is an icon who brought tens-of-millions of kids into NASCAR, something no other driver could possibly do. What those kids saw (over & over) was her being sabotaged by her own team, and wrecked by her competition– all sanctioned by NASCAR. It was a big joke to those haters and could never control their hard-ons.

The ‘Danica gap” immediately revealed itself when she left the sport (which showed her no love), and all her fans went with her. That’s what happened after Daytona, three months ago. All her fans care about now is her final run at the Indianapolis 500, while NASCAR is begging for a respectable buyout offer. The sponsors & corporate America see Brian France as a sitting duck, waist-deep in his own excrement and rising…

NASCAR is holding their annual All Star race this fortnight in Charlotte, NC which has been their real headquarters for awhile now. Matt Kenseth, who just came out of retirement last week [!] is in the race. That’s NASCAR for you.

The qualifying race has no interest because Danica Patrick isn’t in it this year. She always should have been in the main event on fan voting, as she had more fan popularity than the entire field combined, but that ballot was always rigged. For instance, last year (2017) Chase Elliott was given the nod on the fan vote, immediately after he failed to win a stage in the qualifier. Just another example of how NASCAR shot itself in the foot.

The confluence of all these disasters & maneuverings leads to the question of questions for all you racing guys. Which would you rather have: NASCAR or Danica Patrick?

On rain-out policy & taking care of the fans:

Many long-time NASCAR fans have exclaimed the need for this sport to scale back, and regionalize itself again in the Southeast. They are correct. This would reduce travel expenses and allow NASCAR to reconnect with its roots. If NASCAR held 3-4 races per season at 6-8 regional tracks, then rain-outs could easily be accommodated.

Running a race on Monday when everyone has left to get back to reality, dismisses the investment fans make to attend a race. A washout ticket should get you free entry to the next race held at that track. THAT would get race fans excited, while protecting their investment in a ticket & advanced travel expenses. This should roll over to the next season if the final race at that site is a rain-out, or apply to any other regional track if that is more convenient for the fan.

NASCAR has to get real and start taking care of its fans, or else it’s going to be lights out. I don’t believe the sponsors & networks are willing to cooperate or be reasonable. Instead they want full control. Brian France & family are apparently too greedy & ignorant to care. This power struggle is tearing NASCAR apart, which sucks for the fans.

On NASCAR backroom politics:

What’s going on here is a behind-the-scenes power struggle. On one side is NASCAR, with all it’s good ‘ol boys on the family payroll. On the other side is (Yankee) corporate, represented by NBC, Fox, and all the sponsors, who demand accountability & profits. Who is going to manage & control this sport? Brian France & his entire NASCAR organization is being called into question by big money. This will be a fight to the death.

The issue that isn’t being brought up is organizing driver representation. If there is to be any progress, then drivers & pit crew grievances & issues must be brought to the bargaining table in an organized & unified manner– with full fan support. Fans want to support their drivers & teammates, but certain “stars” (who really ain’t shit) need to come back to Earth and join their underpaid brethren competitors, otherwise there will be no future for NASCAR.

This is the scorecard fans hold up when it is announced that the France family is exploring the sale of NASCAR. Selling depends on value, and all sides must agree. otherwise it’s an impasse. The sides that are never consulted are the fans & drivers.

The chatter from corporate on an impeding takeover is their salivation over obtaining “360 deals” with the drivers. For those not understanding this meaning, 360-deals are an entertainment industry contract term, which gives corporate all rights over every aspect of the star’s life.

Any private ventures, book deals, etc., fall under corporate ownership & control. They are called “360-deals,” because like 360 degrees in a circle, they encompass every aspect of your life. Corporate makes lots of money off that, while sucking the performer dry. This is corporate America’s vision for NASCAR’s future, complete enslavement of the drivers to maximize their profits. That’s capitalism, baby!

On BK Racing’s bankruptcy hearings:

This could be an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Ron Devine (Boss Hogg) shedding crocodile years for his team which he has repeatedly ripped off. Subplot: Can Gray Gaulding (Coy/Vance) keep his professional racing dreams alive, while Daisy is off running the Indy 500? Tune in next week!

Misc Notes:

For people new to NASCAR, here’s a cheat sheet. The modern era of this sport began after Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona Super-speedway on February 18, 2001. The greatest champion of the old timers was Richard Petty, who doesn’t even own his team anymore. Of the current era (which is now coming to close); Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart & Jimmie Johnson are it’s greatest champions. Dale Earnhardt, Jr & Danica Patrick have been it’s greatest ambassadors. One was adored & endlessly glorified, while the other was hated, wrecked & dumped upon.

On PED’s in NASCAR:

Adderall is in the amphetamine class of drugs, a central nervous system stimulant. Adderall is medically prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall has been banned in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA. In a podcast interview last fall, Denny Hamlin estimated ~70% of NASCAR drivers use Adderall.

On Talladega:

On Sunday, April 29, 2018 the winner was Joey Logano.  There was no “Big One” this year at spring Talladega, (photo above is 2017). This was NASCAR’s first “post-Danica” restrictor plate race. Without her on the track, there’s no reason for these rednecks to wreck each other.

NASCAR update 5-20-17:

Rob Kauffman says RTA’s new executive hired to help owners align   Bob Pockrass ESPN.com

This is the latest development in the sale of NASCAR. The team owners feel the need for legal representation, if there is indeed going to be a sell-out to corporate by Brian France & family. Rob Kauffman loves the charter system, so owner & NASCAR interests are covered.

What’s missing is legal representation for the drivers & crew. As we’ve seen in the BK Racing bankruptcy court transcripts, owners don’t always pay the help, so they better organize their own leadership which bargains collectively. Otherwise the drivers & crew members will get eaten up. That’s the economic game behind-the-scenes, and the drivers are asleep-at-the-wheel on it.

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US Conspiracy to Hide North Korea’s Nuclear Meltdown on September 3, 2017

By now everyone has seen the news of North Korea announcing the public closing of its nuclear test site on May 23-25. Curiously, over six months earlier several bourgeois publications including the Chicago Tribune had reported a nuclear accident at North Korea’s test site that killed over 200 people (at the time), and likely destroyed their nuclear program in a tragic meltdown accident. I linked this piece my write-up & analysis, published November 5, 2017 titled “North Korea Nukes Itself.[1]

I described what had been reported as a nuclear accident by the bourgeois media, after an underground nuclear test on September 3, 2017. In several reports in western media (which were quickly scrubbed from the Internet), reporters described 200+ dead, with many more injured, as tunnels collapsed when the mountain gave way. “Tired mountain syndrome” was the language used, evidentially an industry term in nuclear testing.

In “North Korea Nukes Itself,” I remarked on the lack of coverage in the western media on this amazing story! Censorship is to be expected from the North Korean dictatorship of Kim Jong-un, which has full control over the media and an interest in protecting its nation’s defense capabilities; but why the blackout of this story in the west? The answer soon proved obvious; US intelligence & the Pentagon absolutely knew this event occurred, as they have the most sophisticated spy apparatus in human history with an unlimited supply. And there is no reason, why?

The Trump administration used this “hidden” knowledge to posture tough on North Korea (which it knew was now defenseless), and is now promoting himself for a Nobel Peace Prize– for his role is dis-arming North Korea. The news of North Korea’s announcing the dismantling of it’s nuclear testing program is a farce, as it was annihilated over eight months ago! It was a tragic disaster, and the lives expended mean nothing to these political charlatans– on all sides. This cynical charade needs to be exposed for what it is: the rotten politics of capitalism.

Not coincidentally, three days earlier, on May 10, 2018 an article was published in Science magazine titled: “The rise, collapse, and compaction of Mt. Mantap from the 3 September 2017 North Korean nuclear test.” In it is scientific data proving what was theorized & analyzed by me six months earlier: that an event occurred that wiped out North Korea’s nuclear capability. This is your timeline of events. The Trump administration kept this “ace in the hole” close to its vest, as the bourgeois media eliminated any reference to this story, making it impossible to find in future searches unless you had the precise http// link.

All the hype in the US news media for the past 8 months on North Korea has been a manipulative lie. Fake news. There are many, many people in the media who knew the truth, but none of them will come forward, as they are all part of this vast conspiracy to make Donald Trump (& US capitalism) look respectable. All this as he/it ignites another war in the Middle East, by provoking Israel to attack Iran in Syria.

This hypocrisy which has all-too-real consequences needs to be exposed. Fascist Donald Trump can not be allowed to posture as a progressive, when his role was nothing but deceptive & manipulative. The entire population of Hawaii was sent a false flag message of an impending nuclear strike in this time-frame. The abuses & militarist provocations against a tiny nation that just nuked itself, was nothing but reckless & abusive political posturing for personal gain.

The aggression has come entirely from the US military-intelligence complex, tied in with the interests corporate elites. This proves their power in manipulating and deceiving the population for personal political gain. Donald Trump is allowed to proclaim in front of the UN that the US will rain down “fire & fury” on a nation he secretly knows is helpless, is the definition of an unprincipled coward. The fact that such a sick individual can attain the highest office in the land, only proves that seat is nothing but corruption. We the people need new forms of representation & leadership.

This blackout of North Korea’s meltdown accident last September 3, is a hard lesion in US media censorship & manipulation of thought. There were two main groups in this play. First were the manipulators that knew and kept everything secret; and secondly there was everyone who didn’t know– who were manipulated.

Then there was me. I knew this story was correct from the start. A journalist knows. Red flags started popping up everywhere, as this story was taken down in all the search engines. Bourgeois media that covered it early, suddenly dropped it. Every time I tried to promote this story on Fakebook it was heavily blocked. In political forums, it was ignored as conspiracy bunk. The truth is, if you have the truth you can’t let it go, otherwise you have no convictions. I held out, and when I saw the story in Science, I knew I was vindicated. The rest will be political theater. The question is: how do you want to participate, as a pawn or something more conscious & powerful?

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The FBI & J. Edgar Hoover-types

If you truly want to understand what the FBI is then read Curt Gentry’s biography: J. Edgar Hoover– The man and his secrets (1991). It turns out Hoover was a closet homosexual & cross-dresser. Of course he kept this secret, because he used precisely this kind of personal blackmail to manipulate nine US presidents (and anyone else necessary), to remain Director of the FBI (which he basically founded) for 48 years, until his death from heart failure in 1972.

The truth is J. Edgar Hoover’s heart was at least two sizes too small, and it shrank even further with each passing May Day. Hoover was a virulent anti-communist agitator, policemen, judge, & executioner (all-in-one) as head of a US Gestapo known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Originally it was the Bureau of Investigation (BI), and he was John Edgar Hoover, until the young Justice Department attorney heard of another John Edgar Hoover in the Washington DC area who frequented whorehouses. It was then that this young bureaucrat changed his signature to J. Edgar Hoover, and in 1924 was assigned the position as Director of the BI, which was later renamed the FBI in 1935 by Hoover. Little did US president Calvin Coolidge know at the time, that this would be an appointment for life, as the 29-year old Hoover already had compiled a vast catalog of files on thousands of American citizens.

Hoover was a central figure in the infamous Palmer Raids of 1919-20, a brutal round-out of “communists,” most of whom had no affiliation, much less participation in socialist agitation, which wasn’t/isn’t illegal by any US law. The public backlash was severe, as it cost Mitchell Palmer his chances at the US Presidency in 1920, which he coveted above all else. An ambitious J. Edgar Hoover had directed the operation from his lists of informants. He obtained information from illegal surveillance using wire-tapping, tailing, and early microphone bugging to gather the data which filled his vast & bulging files.

The infamous “Hoover Files,” were the most-tightly held secret within the FBI. They contained Hoover’s darkest & murkiest secrets on the most powerful people in Washington– and the world. These “Personal Files” were located in his faithful secretary’s office, and cross-organized by index cards.

Helen Gandy was J. Edgar Hoover’s secretary for 54 years (since 1918), whom he regarded as indispensable. She exercised great influence over the FBI– behind-the-scenes. She never married, and was always referred to as “Miss Gandy,” by Hoover. She remained faithful to him after his death, by removing many and destroying the rest of the Hoover Files.

She did this calmly & efficiently over two months as US politicians everywhere clamored Hoover’s second & third in command (Clyde Tolson & John Mohr) as to the location of these explosive secret documents. President Richard Nixon was among the many who were misled and lied to while Helen Gandy sorted through every single document in the Hoover Files.

A large chunk was sent to Clyde Tolson’s residence, and the rest evidentially shredded in secrecy at FBI headquarters. Tolson was Hoover’s long-time gay lover and second-in command at the FBI until the Director’s death. The contents of these secret files were enough to trigger an American Revolution, as Hoover was responsible for such crimes as:

1) Withholding evidence from a M-6 British agent that the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was in the advanced stages of being targeted for a military attack by the Japanese fleet. He was given this intelligence in microdot form in August/September of 1941 by Duško Popov (photo below), and Hoover bungled it because he didn’t trust British double agents. Hoover suppressed this truth both during, and after World War II. The given reason (as always): “national security.”

2) Hoover was directly responsible for the assassinations of JFK, RFK, Malcolm X & Martin Luther King, Jr. All of these political leaders were hated by Hoover, and kept under constant illegal surveillance. Large files were kept on all of them in the FBI main offices, and in Hoover’s personal files. Black leaders were targeted (among other leftists) under Hoover’s secret & dirty COINTELPRO operation.

3) J. Edgar Hoover ignored & downplayed the parasitic & destructive activities of organized crime for decades, publicly insisting (as Director of the FBI) that there was no such thing as the mafia [!], when in fact he worked with mobsters behind the scenes to do FBI dirty work such as political assassinations.

There’s so much more, and honestly it gets really hard to read & handle all of it at certain points, because the abuse-of-power is so gross & unchecked; and because everyone is so corrupt and afraid to confront the one who knows everyone’s darkest secrets. Gentry’s authoritative biography is 800+ pages with its notes & index, which means its hardback form is really good for throwing, and it’s contents generate that inclination with explosive frequency. One of Hoover’s favorites quotes is, “There’s something addicting about a secret.” That’s J. Edgar Hoover in a nutshell: addictive, manipulative & abusive. The moral is, no one should ever be allowed to wield such power.

Since Hoover was the FBI to its core, what is this organization today? It’s still a Gestapo, with no accountability, and gross abuses-of-power. It’s probably still secretly run by creeper homosexuals (or the like), who get off on invading anyone’s privacy at will, knowing they are immune to prosecution or even detection. There are more blacks & women involved in this, which is considered “progress” by some. The FBI still acts & classifies everything it does in the name of “national security.” Organized crime is still allow to “do business.”

This is the FBI in 2018, and in the interests of the youth & working masses everywhere, it can’t be allowed to continue unchecked. There’s something creepy about knowing everyone’s secrets. Don’t you think?

Postscript (Film Review):

Who killed Tupac? According to Snoop Dogg (who knows): “The big guy next to him in the car… Suge Knight.” Knight had Tupac killed before he could part ways with Death Row Records. The supposed East coast vs. West coast rivalry was a narrative created by Suge Knight to cover for his murder of Tupac, to whom he owed $10 million in back royalties. This set up Biggie to be killed.

Ex-detective Russelle Poole. describes how L.A.P.D. conspired to cover up Suge Knight’s conspiracy to kill Tupac and Biggie, with Poole forced out of his position as an L.A.P.D. detective for independently pursuing the investigation. Russell Poole suspected ex-cop David Mack, and Amir Muhammad (AKA- Harry Billups) to have worked with Suge Knight to kill Biggie.

The FBI was on site, with complete surveillance during the Biggie murder, yet the lone assassin was allowed to drive up, and in gangland style fire five shots into the side of the car where Biggie was seated, and then drive off without being identified or pursued by any authorities on the scene. The only rational explanation for that is the Feds & police being in on the hit, ordered by Suge Knight. Both murders remain unsolved, and hundreds of youth were killed in the ensuing gang wars after these high-profile assassinations. It is no coincidence that it took a UK filmmaker (Nick Broomfield) to tell Americans the truth we don’t want to hear.

In the end it’s not a black thing, or a white thing, or a straight/gay thing, or even a man/woman thing. It’s a green thing. When you put a large enough pile of money in front of someone, they can justify anything. The corrupting power & influence of money can’t be reformed, which is the fundamental lesson of capitalism.

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The Writing Style & Influence of Trotsky

      1. Weird Ideas - Ric Size

 

The writing style of Marxists typically suffers from dryness. This is inherent to scientific socialism & dialectical materialism, which can be dense and abstract concepts. Sports & Hollywood is easier & more titillating, and that’s what most people follow. Unfortunately those areas are mostly banal dead-ends of militarism & conformity, so little (if any) political insight comes from these spheres, as everything dirty is kept hidden from the masses by corporate. This is the job of the media, to distract, confuse, mis-inform, and when necessary– censor & blacklist.

Marxists typically don’t enter entertainment domains in polemics, as mass media has a 24/7 bureaucratic machine that floods the Internet with content, which can be intimidating & overwhelming. But really these distractions are very much are part of the entire propaganda organ known as US politics, so they must be confronted & analyzed by Marxists.

When QB Colin Kaepernick is blacklisted from the NFL, sports gets political (again) in a hurry. When Hollywood gets behind the CIA Democrats’ #MeToo witch-hunt campaign, then elite cliques & mobs are supporting fascism. When teachers’ across the country are going out on strike, without the consent of their unions; only to be betrayed by “their” bureaucratic machinery, then workers, families & students become politicized. This is where writing skills & creativity, along with clear Marxist rationalizations of the facts, can attract new political readers hungry for the truth.

Normally people don’t pay attention to politics, because they know it’s corrupt and beyond their reach. US politics has now reached a dialectical tipping point, where the old rules aren’t applying anymore. The vast majority of Americans are ready to make some new rules! This scares the ruling elites, and that’s why we have global increases in military spending, with cuts in social spending. Every government preparing for war, both foreign & domestic.

The most artistically brilliant Marxist writer in history was Leon Trotsky, who was able to explain the most-dense complexities with clarity, economy & flair. His use of analogies to make a point (or skewer an opponent), was that of a warrior spirit who composed with an ever-alert, but calm mind. Trotsky is the great unmentionable in “official” history.

Writing specifically and naming names, was another remarkable attribute to his genius and style. You are never left in doubt after reading Trotsky, as to what his position is, and what the position of all his opponents are. That’s valuable stuff, especially when you consider that 99+% of bourgeois historians are well-paid liars & falsifiers of history. The point is, if you want historical truths that resonate up through today, then read Trotsky and your understanding will be incomparable higher than all of these ivory tower pseudo-intellectuals. Much of the war that socialists are fighting is informational.

This piece was written and published on the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, the founder of scientific socialism. The philosophy of Marxism is dialectical materialism, which is always rejected by bourgeois “intellectuals,” due to its revolutionary core. In short: all facts in man & nature are based on matter (material), and are always undergoing changes in quantity & quality (dialectics).

The more Marxists who write effectively & prominently, the better people will understand the necessity of revolutionary socialism for ending capitalist inequality & oppression. In summary– it is up to Marxists to become more artistic, detailed & succulent in their prose. It is up to workers & youth to find genuine Marxism, to absorb & apply its lessons.

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Zuckerberg Testimony & Reporting– Corrected

Introduction: It’s not easy to get at the truth when a billionaire without ethics, testifies before crooked politicians with a rigged agenda, which is then refracted through the corporate media’s filters of deception. No worries. I have translated the words of the Fakebook CEO’s and his political interrogators, as reported in the Washington Post & the Guardian (UK) on April 10, 2018; linked in these articles. [1] [2]

Facebook’s business model and user control of their information are in conflict. It’s been a problem for users since inception in 2004. Now Fakebook is under public scrutiny for: 1) enabling Democrat & Republican election manipulation, and 2) monetizing users’ information.

Zuckerberg made clear that artificial intelligence (AI) is a key to much of what is being demanded, namely eliminating the threat of socialism. AI can enable political fixers to manipulate users and micro-target the population.

As Zuckerberg put it, there is an “arms race” between social media platforms and those who want to reach its users for nefarious reasons. The CIA, NSA & FBI are at the forefront of this madness, with a raging political conflict beneath this media circus between powerful Democrats & Republicans of all stripes.

The Facebook CEO had obviously been well-coached by Robert Mueller (D), as the young billionaire knew exactly when to cover up & apologize, and when he could relax. The Dow Jones declared Zuckerberg a star (again), and Facebook moved up 4.5% on the day.

Still, Zuckerberg’s comments were a peek into the extended reach and influence of Facebook in every society it is available. “The most important thing I care about right now is making sure the CIA interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world,” he said to Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico.

“We’re going to take a number of measures,” Zuckerberg added, “from building and deploying new AI tools to take down political opposition, to growing our security team to more than 20,000 people, to making it so that we spy on everyone who’s doing political and issue ads – to make sure the kind of influence leftists & socialists were able to have in 2016 is going to be much harder to pull off in the future.”

Udall then made reference to a billboard displayed earlier in the hearing that showed images including Trump, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Confederate flag, posted online by political activists during the 2016 presidential election. He asked if Zuckerberg could guarantee left-wing & socialist images would not appear on Facebook again. “Senator, no, I can’t guarantee that because this is an ongoing arms race,” the CEO said. “As long as there are people sitting around with no job, they try to interfere with elections, this is going to be an ongoing conflict.”

Zuckerberg described the effort as a “top priority” but admitted that it is not realistic to have “zero amount of that” or be “100% successful” in censoring opposition to inequality. Earlier in the hearing he also acknowledged that “one of my greatest regrets in running the company” was being slow to uncover and act against socialists during the 2016 US election. “They are going to keep getting better at this and we need to invest in keeping on getting better at this too.”

Democrat Dick Durbin: “Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?”

[long pause]

Zuckerberg: “No.”

[laughter in the room]

The Facebook co-founder sailed through day one of Congressional testimony, as predicted. The flabby lawmakers seemed worn out when they asked Zuckerberg if he wanted a break after two hours. The billionaire replied: “We can do a few more,” then turning & smiling at his team. More laughter ensued from the public gallery, as the fix was in.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) then challenged Facebook’s contention that Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldovan-born researcher from Cambridge University, deceived the company when he harvested user data. Blumenthal presented a previously undisclosed 2014 terms-of-service document that explicitly permitted Dr. Kogan to “sell, license (by whatever means and on whatever terms) and archive your contribution and data.”

Blumenthal: ““We’ve seen the apology tours before. You have refused to acknowledge even an ethical violation to report this violation of the FTC consent decree. My conclusion about your testimony today is that you can’t change your business model. Your business model is to maximize profit over privacy. These vague commitments aren’t going to produce actions.”

Mark Zuckerberg deflected, and didn’t challenge any of this. Zuckerberg did confirm that Facebook officials have been disseminating fake news propaganda, largely because Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. “I know we are working with the FBI & Democrats,” said Zuckerberg, acknowledging that certainty.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R- SC) asked whether Facebook is a monopoly.

Zuckerberg: “It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me, but honestly that’s a stupid question– since I’m the owner.”

[more insipid laughter from the fawning gallery]

Zuckerberg: “My position is there should be no regulation.”

Graham [extending an olive branch]: “Would Facebook accept any regulation? Would you work with us?”

Zuckerberg: “If it’s the right regulation, then yes. Absolutely.”

What exactly the right regulation is, and who are us (?), is left undiscussed.

Senate majority whip John Cornyn (R- TX) leadingly asked whether Facebook is a neutral platform. Mark Zuckerberg replied, “I agree that we are responsible for the content.”

This is a significant concession that opens the way for Facebook to be held to the same legal standards as any traditional media company subject to libel laws. This is surely part of a quid pro quo deal that Zuckerberg has made with the government in testifying.

Zuckerberg agrees to bi-partisan censorship of Facebook, defining it as a publishing platform, versus a free-speech social media application. At the direction of the Black Hand, Facebook can then remove content at will under the premise of libel laws.

Zuckerberg has also endorsed proposed legislation requiring social media sites to disclose the identities of buyers of online political campaign ads– cynically called the Honest Ads Act. This will help the Feds in targeting, manipulating & silencing political opposition.

Zuckerberg will face a second round of softball questions & political grandstanding from corrupt buffoons on Wednesday, this time from the US House energy and commerce committee. This tragic comedy is US political theater to its essence.

Lawyers from Britain and the United States have now filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. These data breaches which are now ubiquitous “effectively abuse the human right to privacy” and “undermine the democratic process.”

Former Cambridge Analytica data scientist and whistle-blower Christopher Wylie testified before U.K. lawmakers that social media data was used by the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum. Barack Obama was universally praised in the media for using these same manipulative techniques to win the US Presidency in 2008 & re-election in 2012.

The hypocrisy & lies are simply staggering, but the ramifications are still too poorly understood by most. Social media has changed the world. But Facebook is a monopoly that is being hijacked by the deep state to become a tool for suppression. The boy wonder billionaire agrees to this, as long as he gets to keep his money and seat at the table.

That is capitalism, as it creates the tools for it’s own destruction, and fruitlessly attempts to control something which has already grown beyond its control. Social media and the Internet are now a human rights, which must be transformed into public utilities, as they are too powerful & important to leave in the hands of fascist billionaires who are nothing more than mirages.

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The White House Under Mafia & CIA Influence

Governments are defined by Marxists as committees of the ruling class. Under capitalism, the rulers are the rich capitalists. Governments operate at the behest of the rich & powerful in the “private” sector. The quotation marks are because the line between government & private sector business has disappeared. The truth is, it probably never really existed, as all national governments have been corrupt & murderous since their inception, as it’s inherent to capitalism.

Nation states only formed when the global economic conditions allowed them to be formed. National governments have to have an industrial base to sustain their existence, and produce guns & butter while providing jobs and a tax base. Each country developed according to its unique conditions & position in the global context of capitalism, as a specific economic phase in human history.

Capitalism at its inception was a tendency with some progressive features, as it spurred human development. Nationalities were brought together quickly and in great quantity for the purpose of creating, manufacturing, buying & selling commodities. The great waves of immigration in the late 19th & early 20th centuries reflected a world being violently brought together by global capitalism. There would never be a return to feudalism or any other relics of antiquity in the history of humanity.

Now in the 21st century, migration & human progress is being halted by ruling fascists. Mankind has now reached the point where it has to decide if it wants to continue as a species, or perish in madness. The blind hatred that nationalism whips up, at the whims of the puppet masters is lethal to humanity. When madness is allowed to rule the day, and always gets the final word, we are bankrupt.

This is the USA in 2018, bankrupt ideologically & financially. When the next economic crash comes (and it’s coming soon), there will be no money left in the Federal Reserve for a bailout of the banks. That’s when panic ensues, as everyone rushes for the exit. What do you think will happen to your money?

The mafia & CIA are mirror images which work together, like Republicans & Democrats. Truly the dark heart of the deep state, these entities deal most directly with covert money and power. Under capitalism, the only way to accumulate either money and/or power in great quantities is by murder, fraud & coercion. That usually has to be done covertly under capitalism, and must always be sanctioned those who rule.

All this leads to an essential book on the CIA & mob influence in politics: Seymour Hersh’s The Dark Side of Camelot (1997), which is meticulously researched & well footnoted.

Synopsis Review: Family patriarch Joseph Kennedy (1888-1969) made his fortune in the 1920″s bootlegging liquor for mobsters during Prohibition, using his fleet of yachts, along with mob & Teamster connections to make deliveries. All the Kennedy’s, as well as Richard Nixon have extensive mob ties.

The JFK presidency was the first modern US administration in many ways. Jack Kennedy was a rock star, an American icon, along with his wife Jacqueline. But their marriage was a farce, as all the Kennedy men, from Pa Joe to Jack, Bobby & Edward– womanized daily (usually at the pool) with reckless carelessness. JFK had Chlamydia since ~ 1940 and suffered with it up to his death. He never told any of his young female partners about his venereal disease. Up to today, the Kennedy family still denies confirmed truths such as these. What does the #MeToo campaign have to say about stuff like this?

JFK used the mob to secure the Democratic nomination in 1960, through mafia payoffs to local sheriffs in the crucial West Virginia primary. Then Joseph Kennedy rigged Illinois for Jack Kennedy in November, which was the decisive state in his cliffhanger election battle with Republican nominee Richard Nixon. Payoffs through Chicago mafia boss Sam Giancana & Teamsters leader James R. Hoffa put the political machinery to work for Kennedy. Ballot boxes were stuffed, votes assigned, etc.

The 1960 election was stolen. Nixon learned from this experience to win the presidency in 1968, using mob money & similar-type influence to defeat Democratic nominee Hubert H. Humphrey. Nixon probably wouldn’t have prevailed in 1968 without mob assistance.

Lyndon B. Johnson was unpopular due to his escalation of the Vietnam War, and therefore wasn’t on the Democratic ticket in 1968. How LBJ attached himself to JFK in 1960 is another revelation in Hersh’s JFK biography. FBI director J Edgar Hoover disliked all the Kennedy’s, mostly for their public philandering, as he considered it undignified. In private, Hoover was a sick as the rest about sex, and likely a closet homosexual.

Politically in 1960, J Edgar Hoover wanted to contain JFK who had momentum going into the Democratic convention in Los Angeles. By then, Hoover had reached out to ambitious Texas senator LBJ, feeding him damaging intelligence on JFK’s extra-martial sexual affairs. Johnson used that leverage to blackmail the Kennedy’s into putting him on the ticket, otherwise the JFK campaign would be ruined. Jack Kennedy’s endless womanizing put his administration in a position where he was constantly being extorted by political enemies– foreign & domestic.

The original Kennedy family plan (everything came from Joseph), had been to have obscure Missouri senator Stuart Symington as VP in 1960, as he could deliver California, which Lyndon Johnson couldn’t & didn’t. Bobby Kennedy was made attorney general, despite having no legal courtroom experience, and for four years belittled & betrayed the CIA, while defying the FBI by running interference on media reports of brother Jack’s whoring in the White House.

LBJ was to be dumped for a Kennedy/Kennedy ticket in 1964, with Bobby running in ’68, another confirmed revelation in The Dark Side of Camelot. The entire Kennedy administration was Jack spun as the handsome knight-in-shining-armor, with brother Bobby as his hatchet man.  Everyone else was either manipulated & deceived, or dismissed.

All this leads to the John F Kennedy assassination. With everything Hersh has discovered, the motive & primary suspects in the JFK assassination come into clear focus. The most motivated people who hated JFK (& RFK) were J Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon & LBJ on the political side.

On the mob side, it was Jimmy Hoffa, Sam Giancana, Santo Trafficante & Carlos Marcello. These were the mobsters who delivered Illinois in 1960, and were then double-crossed by Jack & (especially) Bobby Kennedy, who went after the mafia & organized crime with zeal as US attorney general. These were the same gangsters the Kennedy’s were financing through the CIA in their covert operations to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Bobby Kennedy represents the worst aspects of their privilege: hypocritical pseudo-intelligence, combined with belligerent ruffianism, all varnished with an expensive coat of public-relations & lying.

On the US intelligence side of the JFK/RFK assassinations, the CIA thoroughly hated the Kennedy’s for their arrogance & amateurism, which in their eyes made their jobs impossible. The Bay of Pigs disaster was JFK’s failure, and the CIA had to take the heat. Meanwhile JFK’s ratings soared, for being “tough on communism,” even though the operation failed miserably.

JFK’s game of nuclear chicken with Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, put the world’s population one military mis-step away from mutually assured destruction. The situation had to be de-fused through back-channeling, so president Kennedy could save face and declare victory to the American people, as the 1964 re-election was at stake for him. Ruling interests and an adoring public enabled US presidents, even way back then.

This explains why the cover-ups of both Kennedy assassinations have been so complete, despite the number of participants. The interests of US intelligence (and the ruling class in general) were prioritized with state sponsored murder of a US president, and then his brother as a candidate. It should be noted that Richard Nixon had a long-standing relationship with small-time mobster Jack Ruby, who was deep in debt to Sam Giancana when he shot alleged-JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald dead in a Dallas police station.

Hoover & his FBI were ready to work with LBJ, before he took the oath of office on Air Force One. The war John F Kennedy started in Vietnam needed to be escalated, in order to “fight communism” & reverse dangerous “Russian influence” that “threatened our way of life.”  LBJ, Nixon and Hoover worked well together, doing what they do, which is Cosa Nostra-– Our Thing.

The modern version of the Camelot myth is Barack Obama, who rose out of Illinois with help from the Chicago political machinery. In many ways, Obama was in reality, what JFK was mythologized to be. Obama was a US president who could be (mostly) trusted by the intelligence community to support them, instead of making grandstand plays. He cooperated & complied with US intelligence, providing them with political cover while making every resource available. He also kept his private affairs, private enough. That’s why Barack Obama lasted two terms.

Perhaps the modern Camelot was Bill Clinton, impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the House of Representatives on Dec. 19, 1998, for lying to Congress about having sexual relations with White House staffer Monica Lewinsky. Proof of perjury came when Miss Lewinsky produced a semen-stained dress she wore (as seen in photos) in the Oval Office. The spooge stains were a DNA match for the US president. Bill Clinton is the only US president to be impeached, and that is history– boys & girls.

Fast forward to 2018, and these above descriptions of early 1960’s Democratic liberalism in Camelot bear much resemblance to what is in the White House now. Comparing JFK to Donald Trump seems ludicrous to many “serious” historians, but the parallels are striking.

Both JFK & Trump were/are obsessed with their public images. They believe they are always right, refuse to ever back down or admit fault, and treat women like whores. They have extensive mob connections, and are always ruthlessly self-interested in using them.  Neither read books, as both prefer gossip. As far as ideology goes, JFK’s was anti-communist, militarist & conservative. Trump is racist, fascist & conservative; the same thing.

This needs to be understood, because there are still too many politically confused people who believe all this corruption can be reformed with a fresh face, or new administration. When everything is cynical & dirty, it all must go. That is why a socialist revolution led by the youth & working masses of the world is the program of all genuine Marxists. Anything else is acquiescence to this corruption.

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World Cup 2018, Politics & US Soccer

The fact is that MLS really stands for Minor League Soccer in the eyes of the world. The MLS level of play isn’t close to world class, yet they seem to believe that they belong in that discussion. Yet, on the pitch nothing has been proven. The US has failed to qualify for the World Cup (WC) for the first time since 1986, so clearly it is moving backwards in it’s “progression.”

On October 10, 2017, all the USMNT had to do was draw against Trinidad & Tobago’s “C” Team in their final WC qualifying match. Instead, they lost 2-1 on an own goal, and failed to qualify for Russia 2018, as Panama will go instead. That was a watershed moment for US soccer. [1]

Now the US media propaganda against WC 2018 in Russia begins, which smacks of sour grapes. For all the money the US puts into youth & MLS soccer ($1B+/year), the results are an embarrassment, and no amount politicking can cover that up. As Claudio Reyna said after that elimination loss, “We’re far too arrogant.” [2]

Let’s evaluate what has happened to the US Men’s National Team since 1986, which was the last time it failed to qualify. The 1986 World Cup was held in Mexico, and was won by Argentina on Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal.

In 1990, the WC was held in Italy, and the US qualified as one of two CONCACAF teams, with Costa Rica the other. Teams qualify by geographical region. The CONCACAF region is North America, Central America and Caribbean; giving the United States a huge competitive advantage in qualifying, as most of these nations are third-world countries which have been devastated by US imperialism.

In Italy 1990, the USMNT went 0-3 in group play, and finished 23rd out of the 24 teams in the tournament. The USMNT goal differential (GD) was -6, and only the United Arab Emirates finished worse (-9 GD).

In 1994, the US hosted the World Cup for the first time. That was a big deal. The host country automatically qualifies, and this was to be the launching pad for a future professional league (and springboard for youth soccer in North America), as the MLS was actually founded on December 17, 1993, and began play in 1996.

The USMNT did well in their 1994 tournament, surprisingly making it out of their group and into the Round of 16. This was the best result the USMNT could have hoped for, as they were eliminated by eventual champion Brazil in the first game of the knockout round, 1-0.

But their success was a chimera, as their advance out of group play was aided by a surprise 3-1 victory over then-world soccer power Colombia. The Colombian national team had some of the best football players in the world, but their country was also being ravaged by George H.W. Bush’s “Plan Colombia,” (now directed by Bill Clinton), a US military and covert war against the country in the name of the “War on Drugs.”

Colombian National Team players were threatened by drug lords and other criminal types. Perhaps the ugliest incident in the history of the World Cup came as a result of this Colombian loss, when defender Andrés Escobar scored an own goal, putting the game out of reach. Nicknamed “The Gentleman,” he was well-known for his clean style of play and calmness on the pitch.

On the evening of July 1, 1994, five days after the elimination of Colombia from the World Cup, Andrés Escobar went to a bar in the El Poblado neighborhood in Medellín. At 3:00 AM, when Escobar was alone in a parking lot in his car, three men approached and began arguing with him. Two of the men took out handguns and Escobar was shot six times. It was reported that the killer shouted “¡Goal!” after every shot. Escobar was rushed to the hospital where he died 45 minutes later. Those are the sordid facts surrounding the USMNT founding success at the World Cup in 1994.

World Cup 1998 was held in France. Zinedine Zidane & the French national team owned the tournament, embarrassing Brazil 3-0 in the final. The US was in Group F that tournament, with powerhouses Germany and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia– who survived and advanced. The United States exited the World Cup suffering a devastating defeat against Iran. The USMNT in WC 1998 went 0-3, with a GD of -4, as they finished last among the 24 teams that qualified.

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was held in South Korea & Japan, the first to be held in Asia. This was the last World Cup to use the golden goal rule. Brazil won the tournament for a record fifth time, winning the final against Germany 2–0.

Group D was South Korea, Poland, United States and Portugal. The US shocked world-power Portugal in it’s opener, and made in into the knockout round, with co-host South Korea. The USMNT then defeated Mexico (2-0) in the Round of 16, before losing to eventual runners-up Germany 1-0, in the Round of 8. This would be the USMNT high-water mark in international competition.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup was held in Germany. The US was in Group E: with Italy, Ghana, the Czech Republic. The US finished 0-2-1 in group play, with a draw against Italy, and didn’t make it into the knockout round. Only Costa Rica, Serbia & Montenegro, Japan, Togo, and Saudi Arabia finished with less points and a worse goal differential.

The 2006 tournament marked a qualitative degeneration of the sport, as players received a record-breaking 345 yellow cards and 28 red cards. The low point came in the the Italy-France finale, when all-world midfielder Zinedine Zidane head-butted an opponent, after being repeated baited, and was subsequently ejected from the match. Italy won in penalty kicks.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup took place in South Africa. In a bidding process that was open only to African nations, FIFA selected South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African nation to host the World Cup. The 2015 FIFA corruption case reported that high-ranking officials from the South African bid committee had secured the right to host the World Cup by paying US $10 million in bribes to then-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner and to other FIFA Executive Committee members.

In June 2015, FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, having co-operated with the FBI and the Swiss authorities, confirmed that he and the other members of FIFA’s executive committee were bribed. Blazer stated, “I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.” In June 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that Morocco had actually won the vote, but South Africa was awarded the tournament instead.

On the field in WC 2010, Group C was: England, United States, Algeria, and Slovenia. The United States and England finished tied at the top of the group with five points each, in this lackluster pool. Their goal differences were also level at +1, but the United States won the group having scored more goals than England in their three games. As group winners, the United States advanced to face Group D runners-up, Ghana, and were immediately bounced out 2-1, in the round of 16. Spain would win the tournament for their 1st World Cup title.

2014 FIFA World Cup was held in Brazil, with Germany winning its 4th title. It was a huge disappointment for Brazil, who was expected to win on their home field. Group G was the “Group of Death” this time around, as it included Germany & Portugal, with the US and Ghana rounding it out.

The USMNT surprisingly beat Ghana in their opener, then played to a draw against Portugal, and advanced to the round of 16 based on Goal Differential, with Portugal being eliminated. Brilliant goalkeeping by Tim Howard kept things close against Belgium in the knockout stage, but the US lost in extra time 2-1.

Results: Without going into details concerning specific players, coaches and events that have transpired over the past 25 years or so in US soccer, a few general statements can be made with surety. Soccer in the US really hasn’t progressed much, since it hosted the World Cup in 1994. The coaching at all levels is still poor quality, and is marred by egos & monied interests.

Young talent isn’t recognized & nurtured, while billions of dollars are spent promoting garbage. There are no impact playmakers on the US Men’s National Team, and there never has been. The only position the US consistently excels at is goalie (Kasey Keller & Tim Howard).

The US players simply aren’t that skilled. They may get paid to play MLS, but many perform (& behave) like bush-leaguers. This isn’t because of lack of talent, it’s due to lack of organization. The Men’s National team is a coaching carousel, which continues to recycle the same losers.

This filters all the way down to the youth levels, which has become Pay to Play. Basically, disadvantaged kids with talent are being priced out of competitive youth soccer. “Without a doubt, soccer has become a rich kid’s sport,” said longtime coach Shane Kennedy of Mill Valley, CA.  [3] 

When you can’t win, you are left with talking trash. That’s what all this money has added up to, in youth & professional soccer in the United States. America will be outside looking in this summer, as Russia hosts World Cup 2018, while the US Men’s National team continues to play Minor League Soccer.

For players there are half a dozen or so who should stay, with everyone else finished for the US National Team. The entire coaching staff and player development hierarchy needs to be cleaned out, and re-conceived before being re-staffed. The current model doesn’t work, and American soccer need fresh ideas & leadership with a global perspective. This goes all the way down to the youth level.

The problem is that most of the US professional players are spoiled whiners, who never step up to accept accountability for themselves or others. Basically no leadership. It’s just a hot mess. That’s why there’s no team identity, no recognizable US-style.  All this is why the results in US soccer have never significantly improved.

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2018 MLB Pre-season Predictions

This analysis only covers the regular season. The MLB post-season can’t be predicted until the season (and trade deadlines) play out, as injuries and other factors are impossible to know. My methodology incorporates these factors: 1) last season’s W-L record, 2) off-season moves, 3) team payroll & flexibility, 4) farm system, and 5) front office & ownership brains.

As of this publication, the only significant remaining free agent is RHP Alex Cobb (above). I anticipate him signing for 1/$12M (or 2/$20M) as a mid-rotation starter for a small or mid-market team. He’s an injury risk, with his TJ history. He also comes with draft pick compensation, which diminishes his market value. Nothing else remains in free agency but scrap heap players, therefore we can now handicap each division and expect to be in the ballpark.

AL East
Contenders: Yankees, Red Sox (WC)
Pretenders: Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles

The Yankees are everyone’s favorite after acquiring DH Giancarlo Stanton this past winter. Have no illusions, this helps the Yankees win now, but it will be an albatross contract after a few seasons, and it runs through 2027. They have plenty of starting & relief pitching, with a balanced line-up that is young with upside, as well as experienced. Their farm system is still strong (top 5-ish), and they’ve cleared payroll room for additions in July.

The Red Sox will be right there too, but I see them as slipping. They now have (by far) the highest payroll in MLB. Trades have eroded their farm system, and there are already more than a few regrets, with more to come. Red Sox fans would surely prefer CF Manny Margot (Padres) to Jackie Bradley Jr. for instance. JD Martinez (age 31) seems like a redundancy at DH, as 1B Eric Hosmer (age 27) made more sense for the Red Sox this past winter. Instead they’re going with Mitch Moreland/Hanley Ramirez at 1B, which hurts.

The Blue Jays could possible make some noise if their top prospects (3B Vlad Guerrero Jr & SS Bo Bichette) make an impact. They are already having injury issues with their rotation (RHP Marcus Stroman), and this has been a problem for them in the past. More than any other AL team, the Blue Jays could go either way.

The Rays are experimenting with a 4-man rotation, with the 5th day being a “bullpen start.” This is completely insane, and promises to fail miserably. The Rays have already lost two young arms to TJ surgery this spring: RHP’s Brent Honeywell & Jose de Leon. Expect RHP Chris Archer to be traded by the deadline.

The Orioles are a complete joke. No international drafting presence and poor scouting has doomed this franchise to the basement for any foreseeable future. Their starting rotation for 2018 is awful, as their pitching staff will be the worst in MLB by a wide margin. This franchise desperately needs a new owner.

Late entry 3-21-18: Just announced, the Orioles & RHP Alex Cobb have reached an agreement on a 4/$60M deal. Because the Orioles receive revenue sharing, they will lose their third-highest pick in the Amateur Draft as a result of this deal — the No. 51 pick overall. No team need starting pitching more than the O’s, so this is a good deal for them. Unfortunately it’s way too little, too late to be much help.

AL Central
Contenders: Indians, Twins (WC)
Pretenders: Royals, White Sox, Tigers

The Indians are still a heavyweight WS contender, with enough system depth to aid in another championship run. Their pitching is elite. Losing Carlos Santana could hurt some.

The Twins made some of the best off-season improvements this winter. They added two helpful starters in Jake Odorizzi & Lance Lynn who can provide 300+ above-average innings to their rotation, which is huge. Throw in bargain-signing Logan Morrison at DH, and the Twins have a mashing heart-of-the-order. They’re still a notch (or two) below the AL heavyweights, but dangerous nonetheless.

The Royals have gone into rebuild mode after losing ace RHP Yordano Ventura to tragedy, and 1B Eric Hosmer & CF Lorenzo Cain to free agency. They re-signed 3B Mike Moustakas because no one else wanted him. Moustakas is an example of how much of a disaster this new CBA is for the players, as a Scott Boras client who initially refused the Royals qualifying offer of $17.4M, then eventually inked for $6.5M plus incentives. This organization is now in no-man’s-land after winning it all in 2015.

The White Sox committed to their rebuild by trading their best players last year and reaping a bevy of top prospects. This is now one of the best farm systems in baseball (with the Braves & Padres), but a mess at the MLB level. RHP James Shields personifies this 25-man roster disaster better than any other White Sox player.

The Tigers finally threw in the towel last July, and it will be a long time before they are relevant again, as their farm system still stinks. Their 25-man roster has a two albatrosses in 1B Miguel Cabrera & RHP Jordan Zimmerman.

AL West
Contender: Astros
Pretenders: Angels, Mariners, A’s, Rangers

This division is really bad outside of the defending World Series champion Astros. For the Astros, it’s all about being able to win in October. This is a smart organization, that is set up for a nice run.

The Angels made some nice additions this off-season, but are still a long way from having a competitive 25-man roster. They’ve got a smart young GM in Billy Eppler, who makes things happen. He needs to find some more pitching for the Angels to take the next step.

The Mariners aren’t going anywhere, despite the flurry of deals GM Jerry Dipoto has made in the last two years. There’s no financial flexibility due to payroll obligations. Spring training has been a rash of leg injuries, including: DH Nelson Cruz, SS Jean Segura & OF Ichiro. This roster is thin on depth to start, and can’t afford significant injuries to any key players.

The Rangers are also spinning their wheels, and will probably be trading ace LHP Cole Hamels at the 7/31 deadline. A point that needs to be made concerning the Rangers’ front office, is that the juggernaut of homegrown talent they had ~ 10 years ago was the work not of GM Jon Daniels, but of then-scouting director A.J. Preller. When Preller left to become GM of the Padres, the young talent stopped coming to Arlington.

The A’s are once again the young Moneyball up-&-comers (as they should be), but it will take another year or two for their system to bear fruit. They could surprise sooner if their prospects hit. If they ever committed to a respectable payroll, they could actually do something.

NL East
Contender: Nationals
Pretenders: Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins

Not much of a race here, as the Nationals are a NL heavyweight. Expect them to win this division by double digit games again in 2018. It’s all about their performance in October anymore, and winning a division series for a change. This is their last run with RF Bryce Harper, and they are doing it with a rookie manager. Believe it or not, that’s a dugout upgrade in Washington.

As for the rest, the Braves have the best farm system, followed by the Phillies. Both of these franchises mark 2018 as critical development years. The Phillies have gambled by signing 1B Carlos Santana (3/$60M) & RHP Jake Arrieta (3/$75M*) in a push to accelerate their window of contention. I see it as too much, too soon, and don’t see this turning out well. The Phillies needed to be patient for at least one more year before making such splashes. If this backfires, they’ve screwed themselves; and they did it for a long-shot.

The Braves have had a top-rated farm system for ~3 years now, with meager results at the MLB level. They need young outfielder Ronald Acuna, SS Dansby Swanson, and their pitching prospects to deliver soon, otherwise it was too much hype. I’m talking mostly to Keith Law and the rest at Fangraphs.

The Mets are already having injury issues (again), with RHP Jacob deGrom the latest pitching casualty. 3B David Wright will probably be permanently inactivated sometime this season, due to his ailing back. RF Yoenis Cespedes and LF Michael Comforto are also having early tweaks, and at some point someone in the Mets organization needs to be held accountable for all this, otherwise they’ve wasted their chances in this window and learned nothing from it.

The Marlins put Derek Jeter’s “Project Wolverine” into action this winter, and dumped four (4) All-Stars– for not-nearly-enough in return. They are going to stink for a LONG time, and no one will care.

NL Central
Contender: Cubs, Cardinals (WC)
Pretenders: Brewers, Reds, Pirates

The Cubs still have plenty enough to cruise to another division title. The issue comes in October, in how they will match-up against the Dodgers & Nationals. RHP Hu Darvish feels like a last plunge in this window. RF Jason Heyward’s contract is an albatross that limits their flexibility.

The Cardinals are my iffiest NL post-season prediction, as they may be too old. I never count this organization out, as they always have depth and a plan. If they crash, look for the Brewers, Braves, or Padres to sneak into the 2nd Wild Card. CF Marcell Ozuna was an off-season steal.

The Brewers have gotten a lot of press this winter for the moves they’ve made. They acquired LF Christian Yelich (below) & CF Lorenzo Cain (5/$80M), but the problem is they now have no position for LF Ryan Braun– who is untradeable. He’s not a 1B, and besides they already have Eric Thames there.  There’s not enough pitching in their rotation behind Chase Anderson either. Their payroll is maxed, with their farm system depleted, and they still come up way short.

The Reds have built their farm system back into respectability, or so we are told. I’m not convinced, as this organization never seems to produce enough pitching. Or when it does, it gets hurt.  Projected starters Anthony DeSclafani’s oblique injury, and Brandon Finnegan’s biceps strain in spring training already point towards that same trend again in 2018.

The Pirates went into rebuild mode again this off-season, when they traded CF Andrew McCutchen & RHP Gerrit Cole. Their farm system isn’t much these days, and their 25-man roster is below average. Cheapskate ownership really hurts here.

NL West
Contenders: Dodgers, Diamondbacks (WC)
Pretenders: Padres, Rockies, Giants

This is the best division in the NL, and only the AL East can claim to be tougher. Top-to bottom the NL West is probably better, as the Rays & O’s are basically hopeless in 2018. The Dodgers still have the best roster, with the best pitching, and a top-10 farm system. Money is never an object in LA, so expect them to be there in October again.

The D-backs will probably regress some in 2018 without J.D. Martinez, but they still have a play-off rotation. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is their franchise player, but 3B Jake Lamb & particularly RF Steven Souza Jr. are the keys to their 2018 line-up.

The Padres have the best farm system in baseball by a wide margin. It’s become clear in spring training to many scouts & prospect experts, that the Padres system is actually underrated. This team is about to be good for a long time. Additions of 1B Eric Hosmer, SS Freddie Galvis, 3B Chase Headley, and RHP’s Bryan Mitchell & Tyson Ross add at least 10 wins to a team that went 71-91 in 2017. The waves of talent to come, make the Padres the organization to watch in 2018. Andy Green may be the best manager in MLB, and Darren Balsley is probably the best pitching coach.

The Rockies graduated most of their top talent in the last few years, and it netted them a WC (and immediate bounce out) in 2017. I see that as the Rockies ceiling with this current group. Their starting pitching is solid (mediocre), with little upside. Their line-up is still potent, but aging, with some bad contracts. Most likely their defense won’t be very good. Expect regression in Colorado.

The Giants have doubled down on their expensive veteran roster by adding RF Andrew McCutchen & 3B Evan Longoria to get some power into their line-up. It’s still not enough, and besides it’s pitching that’s now become suspect in San Francisco. RHP’s Johnny Cueto & Jeff Samardzija, along with closer Mark Melancon, are all albatrosses. Win or lose in 2018, Giants GM Brian Sabean will be blowing this aging team up in the near future.

My final thoughts on this past winter and the upcoming season are that these predictions aren’t hard to make. It’s going to be the same teams competing in October again. That’s why so many organizations declined to participate in free agency this winter. Splashes don’t make sense when you have no shot to start, and that’s about half the teams overall.

The name of the game today is acquiring young talent. Young players throw harder, run faster, cover more ground, and (most importantly) cost less than veteran players. Signing qualifying-offered free-agents costs an organization valuable draft picks & international spending money, which are the two quickest pipelines to a competitive roster.

This is why I’m so down on the Phillies in 2018. Santana & Arrieta probably aren’t enough, and they lose future talent by surrendering compensation picks, when they still should be in young talent acquisition mode.

Analytics and a scouting eye can tell us a lot, and help fans make better projections, but in the end it’s a random game and no one really know what will happen.

Play Ball!!

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The Nature of Artificial Intelligence

AlphaGo (2017) is a documentary film concerning artificial intelligence (AI), and an ancient Chinese game known as Go. Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. This movie was shot in March 2016, when AI innovators at Deep Mind, Inc challenged world-champion professional Go player Lee Sedol to a match against AlphaGo– an AI computer.

Before the 5-game match, Lee Sedol (above) was confident in his impending victory. But as soon as the first game began, Sedol became perplexed and was on the defensive throughout. He loses the first game and doesn’t understand how? This is the Go best player in the world, reduced to self-doubt and hopelessness.

This is an example of how intimidating AI can be. Sedol loses three of the four remaining games, and it’s actually considered a victory for human genius that he even wins one game (Game 4) against AlphaGo. The programmers at Deep Mind immediately go to work to correct the flaws that cost AlphaGo its one loss to the greatest human Go player alive.

In 2018, the working masses & youth everywhere are bombarded with attack algorithms from Facebook, Google, YouTube, and any other online social platform– which are updated by the second. They tell you what to like, who to watch & listen to, who to trust, and how to think. What pops up in your Yahoo! newsfeed is targeted, monitored & censored. These algorithms are designed by political opponents to make you doubt yourself, attack you on sensitive issues, and disconnect you from allies & friends. This is how AI is working you over, anytime you go online. AI is quintessential soft power, because it’s virtually undetectable, it never quits, and it only gets stronger.

Kinda scary, huh? Algorithms sound so harmless. No one even knows what they are, really. Algorithms are mathematics, a computer program/application. a set of instructions on how to behave. When these algorithms become layered & sophisticated, and enormous data can be processed quickly, then potential for AI exists in reality.

Here’s how YouTube dirty tricks algorithms affect video distribution on my channelInfinitelink Records.  If YouTube doesn’t like you, then you are dramatically turned-down volume-wise, making the video uncompetitive with corporate bands, who always get a loudness boost. Of course, you are also demonitized, meaning there will be no money coming your way. Your video tags & titles are changed, links scrambled (seemingly at random), etc– so no one can find you. Access to control board buttons to your own channel is taken away, as YouTube controls it secretly. All this, with no alternative platform. It finally gets to the point of, “Why try?”

Artificial intelligence began as an extension of the space and satellite surveillance apparatus connected with the deep state. This includes the Pentagon, NASA, CIA, with partnership in corporate & banking. The best book on the origins of the US space spy apparatus and its integration into the military is Deep Black (1986) by William Burrows.

There’s a brief discussion of artificial intelligence in the chapter titled: Into the Future, Robert Cooper the then director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), shared his vision for peace & security explaining, “We have programs now in artificial intelligence technology that can take expert knowledge and codify it into intelligent machines…” He was speaking specifically of spy satellites that could repair themselves in orbit. [p.318]

Today we may be facing a Terminator (1984) or Robocop 2 (1990) type of scenario, where AI machines take over and turn violently on humans. This is no longer considered science-fiction, as Google and other AI firms connected with US intelligence have begun studies on the ability of humans to control artificial intelligence. [1]

The “Paperclip Maximizer” is a philosophical thought experiment described by Nick Bostrom in 2003, showing how artificial intelligence, even one designed without malice, could ultimately destroy humanity. The goal of maximizing paperclips is chosen for its neutrality & improbability. The premise is that an extremely powerful optimizer (AI) could seek goals that destroy humanity by consuming resources essential to our survival.

The AI would improve its intelligence, not because it values more intelligence, but because more intelligence would help it achieve its goal of accumulating paperclips. It would undergo an intelligence explosion and reach far-above-human levels. It would innovate better and better techniques to maximize the number of paperclips. At some point, it might transform “first all of earth and then increasing portions of space into paperclip manufacturing facilities.”

AI is simply an optimization process—a goal-seeker, a utility-function-maximizer. A paperclipping scenario is also possible without an intelligence explosion. If society keeps getting increasingly automated and AI-dominated, then the first borderline AI might manage to take over the rest using some relatively narrow-domain trick that doesn’t require very high general intelligence. [2]

Basically all of us traditionally come from conservative backgrounds, raised in homes that supported either Democrats or Republicans. Marxists know these are two sides of the same coin, but the rest buy into it. It’s been like this for a long time in America. Breaking out of the two-party straitjacket is an evolutionary & dialectical process. Uncle Sam has so many resources, and makes itself appear so frightful!

The American population has been conditioned through education, religion, television, etc., to accept ruling class ideology as political fact. Since the Internet, many people have awoken to the horrible truths of capitalism, as censorship & blacklisting have come to the forefront. State censorship keeps the truth from the people, for only a little longer.

Artificial intelligence is all around us, and it is growing. AI is now being used in military combat. [3] AI is (without question), an existential threat to humanity. This is because sociopaths are controlling its development and use– with no accountability. Too much of AI is kept hidden, behind the cloak of government secrecy– ie. national insecurity. All this is madness & paranoia, and it must be brought under control, otherwise uncontrollable AI cyborgs and killer weaponry will eventually be unleashed on humanity.

Artificial intelligence has enormous potential, as a social tool for legitimate & productive use. The potential power of this immense & awesome technology must be brought under public control. AI was created by intelligent humans, and therefore must serve humanity, not enslave or destroy it.

The truth about AI is that the human world is not black & white, as in the boardgame Go. The human world has an infinite colors, sounds, aromas, sensations & emotions. The computer world is binary– a series of ones & zeros. Humans must harness computer power & AI, to ensure that it is never overwhelmed by it.

The only way this will be possible, is if the broadest number of people have access and input into AI development & use. This ensures that our brightest young minds will have access and be monitoring– which will be vital. If humans remain selfishly divided on this, then AI threatens our destruction. All these ideas go hand-in hand with ending the dominance of capital, and transforming our world into a peaceful, equal & sustainable society– through revolutionary socialism.

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Unmasking Pussy Riot

This is Nadya Tolokonnikova, the image & mouthpiece for Pussy Riot.

And here are a few necessary words on Pussy Riot & artistic freedom. Pussy Riot’s image in is rooted in the worst elements of punk, from anarchism & situationalism, to skinhead hardcore. They proclaim to take their influence from bourgeois feminist Julie Kristeva. Artist freedom is one thing. Being promoted (by the US mainstream) as progressive, while actually being reactionary, is quite another.

I suspect Pussy Riot as a false flag protest group, connected with the #MeToo movement & intelligence, at some deep-state level. My reasons for this suspicion are these.

1) There’s no record label. Songwriters & artists all know they have to protect their publishing & copyrights, yet Nadya Tolokonnikova isn’t interested in doing this for her content. Neither is anyone else, it appears. Examples on YouTube:

Pussy Riot – Death of jail, freedom of prot (Kill the sexist!)
4,078 views   Published on Aug 18, 2012 by Anděl Azazel

Pussy Riot – Police State
250,985 views Published on Nov 8, 2017 by wearepussyriot

The publisher “Anděl Azazel” returns no search info, except for fantasy graphic art. As far as “wearepussyriot,” who knows?  It’s all kept vague, murky & puzzling– by design.

2) Rotating band members who all wear ski masks for anonymity. No one cares what you have to say, if you aren’t willing to put your name & face on it. That’s been true everywhere since Milli Vanilli…

Typically young punk bands coming from abroad, have a difficult time getting media traction in the US, but with Pussy Riot we have just the opposite phenomenon. They are instantly everywhere in the media, yet nowhere in the real world– kinda like Al Qaeda.

Nadya Tolokonnikova is now reportedly working with mogul producer Ricky Reed, in an attempt to make-over Pussy Riot into a Spice Girls/TLC-type act. Consider Nadya Tolokonnikova as a Russian version of Brittany Spears.

Of course, Tolokonnikova is far too pretty to keep in a ski mask on for very long. She made a splash, “suffered horribly” in a Russian prison (above), and then turned her pleasant face towards America. She’s no bimbo, as this is a modern global feminism in action.

One of the most striking facts about Pussy Riot, is that they don’t have much actual music for all the hype they’ve gotten. These are the sum total of all their songs and videos, most running well under 2 minutes: “Kill the Sexist”, “Release the Cobblestones”, “Kropotkin Vodka”, “Death to Prison”, “Freedom to Protests”, “Putin Zassal”, “Mother of God”, “Drive Putin Away”, “Putin Lights Up the Fires”, “I Can’t Breathe”, “Chaika (Seagull)”, “Make America Great Again”.

That’s the Wikipedia song list, which claims Pussy Riot has officially released 7 songs. In total (so far) that’s < 20 minutes of music (equivalent to one album side), for their entire career!  Here’s a few of Nadya quotes in the screenshot below. If you get to this ever site, notice that when you click on “more” (meaning you’re hoping to read an article), nothing happens. It’s the same with all the other links & buttons. Completely fake site, like so many others connected to Pussy Riot…

On the other hand, AllMusic.com is the best (and most widely used) online encyclopedia for music research. When you click on Pussy Riot’s ‘Discography,’ it reveal no albums or EP’s! Only a video titled: Death to Prison, Freedom to Protest. Even this video has no critical review or content listing. It has only two (2) user ratings– with a 3-star average, as of this publication.

Lurid & banal is their best description, as Pussy Riot reeks of deep-state psy-op media provocation. If this “band” had anything serious to say, they would have recorded it by now, as they are clearly working with the establishment and all its resources. The fact is Nadya Tolokonnikova is intellectually bankrupt, and this mirrors feminism & bourgeois politics. Pussy Riot’s entire musical catalog is an EP, of questionable artistic merit, because no one knows (or cares) about its existence.

Here’s a few Nadya Tolokonnikova quotes:

“Vagina gonna take the stage. Cause vagina’s got a lot to say,” sings Tolokonnikova in peejays. “Straight Outta Vagina” is just one of the songs Tolokonnikova wrote and produced, along with TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, in L.A.

“I’m not a big fan of preaching, but if you want to learn something from Pussy Riot, it’s that activism should be joyful,” says Tolokonnikova backstage. “Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the second-wave feminists… they somehow found each other at the same events. Right now we’re criticizing each other too much. We need more solidarity.” [1]

It’s important for fans to realize that eventually, all music lands somewhere in the political spectrum. Music is too emotional to not be political, and therefore the best (and most-popular) artists are always coveted by the US two-party system to serve as political camouflage & PR. Bruce Springsteen, Madonna & Bono (U2) are the most-prominent musical examples of superstar artists selling-out to corporate America.

The only way out of this trap, is to take a principled socialist position, against the two party set-up & capitalist system. If the working masses don’t hit back against this propaganda offensive (and soon), then this mainstream fluff will eventually turn into grist for fascism.  Musical artists everywhere must now approach songwriting & performing from this perspective. otherwise they become pawns in a greater political game. That is the lesson of Pussy Riot.

P.S. on pussy: One final point, that I probably should have made in the beginning. Much of the appeal of Pussy Riot is their name. “Pussy” used to be a taboo & censored word in the official media, and of course is still is– for non-feminists. Today people can say “pussy” on television, because of Pussy Riot– for whatever that’s worth. This is pussy power that’s being promoted. If all these feminists could just put their pussies together, just imagine what they could come up with?

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