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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Padres 2018 Outlook in 3 Games

Padres start 0-3, and it’s how they’ve lost that tells their story. The season opener against the Milwaukee Brewers was played in San Diego, of course. Great start by Padres LHP Clayton Richard, but Brewers rotation ace Chase Anderson was better. Padres tied the game at 1-1 in the 9th with a single by new-addition SS Freddie Galvis, but the Brewers won in 12 innings. No run supports by the Friars, mostly due to poor AB’s with RISP, and good bullpen work by the Brewers.

The Padres bats show up in game two, but closer Brad Hand blows it, by giving up 5 runs in the 9th. The dagger was a two-out, 3-run shot by 1B Ryan Braun. Padres snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I’ve been speculating the Padres could use Ryan Braun for a long time, and I’ll keep at it.

The pressure was on for RHP Luis Perdomo to deliver in the series finale on Saturday, at the team let him know it. He had pitched poorly in spring training, and barely made the rotation. He laid another egg by getting bombed in his 4 innings of struggle, giving up 5 runs.

When I watch Luis Perdomo, I am reminded of when I was a Devil Rays fan watching a young Edwin Jackson. Edwin Jackson actually pitched with Perdomo in 2016. Then Edwin Jackson moved on, as he always does. Padres fans would love to see Luis Perdomo move on for the same reasons. He has tantalizing potential, but just isn’t interested in maximizing his abilities.

Those are the early returns on the 2018 SD Padres, and this is what they are, and once again it hurts for their fans. This will be yet another rebuilding (sub .500) season. The off-season moves made by GM AJ Preller were correct, but there are still too many holes to fill in the rotation, and in the OF. The additions of SS Freddie Galvis and 1B Eric Hosmer are huge pluses, and they will keep the Padres from being really bad in 2018.

Manager Andy Green is one of the best, and they have plenty of young talent with their farm system depth, so this will be a call-up year, which in fact has already begun. Expect 3B Chase Headley & RF Hunter Renfroe to be traded, along with Perdomo and a bunch of other AJP fungibles including: 2B/3B Cory Spangenberg, OF Travis Jankowski, OF Matt Szczur, etc…

Young LHP Joey Lucchesi has already been called up, taking injured RHP Dinelson Lamet’s spot in the rotation. Lucchesi pitched 4.2 innings, giving up 3 runs in game two against the Brewers. LHP Robbie Erlin, back from Tommy John surgery: 3.2 IP, 2 R. This is what these guys are, which isn’t much.

The best Padres pitching is at AA (San Antonio) & AAA (El Paso), or still recovering from TJ surgery (Anderson Espinoza & Chris Paddock). The object for manager Andy Green will be to get through yet another season without enough starting pitching. This is his 3rd season, and he’s used to this by now. Nothing will be as bad as 2016, when GM AJ Preller traded his entire rotation & closer by the deadline (James Shields, Drew Pomeranz, Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea & Fernando Rodney).

Andy Green has Daren Balsley, one of the best pitching coaches helping him, but their biggest issue is with injury prevention. Too many of their arms are getting hurt. That’s the biggest danger to their prospects, many of whom have high ceilings. Also of interest, RF Will Myers who put on 20 pounds of muscle in the off-season, has been having lingering back tightness for two weeks. [1]

Injury prevention can only be called medicine when it follows a rational & scientific method. In MLB, as in all other professional sports, injury prevention is poorly understood. There is too much old-school (lack of) ethics in its brain trust, and therefore it falls into all the old traps.

Pitchers don’t need to get hurt, but they almost always do. There’s no reason for this continuing to happen, outside of arrogance & contempt for the truth. People who are in charge simply can’t admit they are wrong. Once exposed, they will lose power, and that can’t be allowed to happen because sports is a business. It’s always been this way.

Fans can root for this stuff, but that doesn’t mean being naive. For me, it gets more painful to watch this carnage every year. I’ve become more of an analyst than a fan anymore. Already, every DL in MLB is piling up with arm injuries, because coaches & training staff don’t want to understand biomechanics & medical science.

They gotta keep pushing for that extra edge, using all the self-regimented, old-school ways (PED’s) that are proven to get you injured & shamed. It’s ignorance & arrogance that’s killing our pastime.

It’s the home run era again, in case you haven’t noticed. With Giancarlo Stanton in pinstripes, we’re gonna get blitzed with long ball hype this year. We’re talkin’ military parades down Pennsylvania Avenue, and maybe even another war…

I have reported here on the Padres since late- 2015, as they have been a fascinating case study in sports franchise management. This organization has been turned around by a brilliant young GM, who in the process has been sanctioned by MLB old guard (Red Sox, White Sox, ESPN, MLB commissioners office) for taking advantage of the rules and making dupes of their GM’s in trades & International free-agent spending.

That talent AJ Preller acquired in 2016 is about to hit the beach in San Diego. When Preller trades a veteran or young player this season, he will be replacing them from within, while looking for prospects in return. As for 2018, look for more rotation struggles, as their depth is thinning fast, due to lack of effectiveness and/or injury. Look for SS/3B Fernando Tatis & 2B Luis Urias sooner, rather than later. The same with their stud pitching prospects. Wil Myers may be hopeless, and if he is deemed so by the Padres, they will look to move him.

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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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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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What Happens to a Snowflake?

This article is satire, which forms ideas. See also: Snowflake– ice crystals (Wikipedia).

This is a snowflake.

A snowflake is a single ice crystal that falls through the Earth’s atmosphere as snow.

A snowflake doesn’t just form out of nothing, it must nucleate around something. In nature, a dust particle in a supersaturated air mass (clouds), freezes water vapor into crystal. In society, snowflakes form in a similar manner, around whatever is convenient.

In nature, the cohesive forces that form snowflakes are primarily electrostatic. ALL snowflakes are precipitated into formation by strong outside forces, then left to develop their own brand of uniqueness– in a supersaturated environment.

Snowflakes (evidentially) have eight broad classifications, and at least 80 individual variants. I did not know that.

The shape of a snowflake is determined primarily by the temperature & humidity (ie- the conditions) in which it is formed. These environmental factors absolutely & completely determine whether a snowflake will even form, its characteristics, and when it will fall.

No two snowflakes are perfectly identical, although they are difficult to differentiate upon casual inspection. You must look very closely (and very quickly) at a snowflake to notice everything that is unique about it. It’s the definition of an impossible task, if you know what I mean?

Snow appears white in color despite being made of clear ice. This is due to physics & diffraction of light. Some people try to assign unscientific reasons for snowflakes appearing white. These people are called reactionaries & political opportunists.

If snowflakes could speak, they would insist on everlasting reverence to their unique & fleeting beauty. Can you imagine EVERY snowflake screaming this?! That would be one helluva blizzard!! You would need more than a shovel and a good pair of boots to handle that snowstorm.

In nature, snowflakes are always silent, and once they hit the ground they coalesce into snowpack. At this point the snowflake no longer exists, as a dialectical change [!] has occurred. The snowflake’s uniqueness (that once was so fascinating), has now congealed into a more sustainable (albeit transitory) form. In order to prevent complete rapid melting, the snowflake must become part of the pack, to save itself.

With global warming kicking in big-time, the remaining snowpack doesn’t stand a chance for very long anymore. Spring springs earlier every year now, which quickly heats up into longer summers. Eventually the pristine imagery of snowflakes & white drifting snow, melt into muddy slush. The snowflake becomes reclaimed water, which drains into the ground for filtering & recycling.

That’s what happens to a snowflake.

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What is 1B Eric Hosmer Worth?

This article began as a commentary on the slow free-agent market in MLB, and soon metastasized into a serial edition. It’s still in-progress, as it has become a serious labor & political issue for players & fans. The latest updates are at the end.

In 2017, Hosmer had a career year, good for 4.0 WAR. I postulate that one win should cost $5-6M in today’s MLB free agency, and that you can never assume more than 4.0 WAR for any player. That means $20-24M/year is the free agency annual maximum, and this $1M/year ‘wiggle room’ is dependent on market size, competitive window, television deals, and other franchise considerations.

Keeping the free agent cost/win locked in at $5-6M makes sense, because it’s the fans who pay for the game, and too many can’t afford the current rate of star player salary escalation. MLB has reached it’s ceiling with many, many fans.

I believe even RF Bryce Harper & LHP Clayton Kershaw are in for rude surprises next winter, as any more $300M deals (Giancarlo Stanton) have been ruled out, and probably even $200M will be criticized as an overpay.

It’s the length over 4 years that kills organizations, and their fans recognize this & don’t like it. That’s why you have so much antipathy towards Scott Boras & the rest of these “super agents.” Fans can now do their own research, and often form better arguments than these high-powered lawyers. This tells you what Boras & Co. are really worth, and also that their influence (at this point) is entirely dependent on connections, instead of brains.

With all this said, Eric Hosmer is worth 3/$48M to the SD Padres, with an option year and $1M buyout, as he’s probably worth ~3 WAR/season over that deal. This also would keep the Friars under the $50M cap for forfeiting their second round draft pick, next June. These draft picks are EXTREMELY valuable to franchises today, and GM AJ Preller would prefer to draft another young arm, versus giving that selection to Kansas City in compensation for signing Hosmer.

If the Padres have to go over $50M & 4 years for Hosmer (most likely), then the average annual value (AAV) of the deal is lessened to say 5/$65M. Why? To make up for the cost of losing that draft pick. Otherwise, it’s an overpay.

Ideally the Padres would move Wil Myers to LF for 3-4 years, after which he will (most likely) need to move back to 1B. Anything <$100M for Eric Hosmer doesn’t cripple this franchise in 2019, or beyond. It would add a great defender with good OBP to a line-up that desperately needs it. In other words, from age 28-30 he’s a winning piece, but not the entire answer. From age 32 on, he’s a liability at anything over $10M/season.

There are new rules now in MLB free agency, since the current deal was ratified over a year ago. Signing qualified free agents can now force teams to forfeit international bonus allotments. The hard cap on international spending is new to the 2017-21 CBA. Also, exceeding the luxury tax by a wide enough margin will eventually cause teams to see their top pick pushed back 10 slots. The new CBA also added surcharges of 12% & 42.5% for exceeding the CBT by $20M & $40M, making $197M a hard team payroll cap for all intents & purposes [1].

With all this, the MLB owners have effectively found a way to de-incentivize signing top-dollar free agents. It can’t be properly labeled collusion, because the MLBPA agreed to these rules. This only proves that MLBPA executive director Tony Clark and the rest of his cohorts are incompetent puppets in the hands of ownership and its MLB commissioner’s office.

The vast majority of MLB players (at any time) are arbitration or pre-arb, and are unaffected (for now) by this slow FA signing season. Therefore their unity & readinesses to strike is virtually nil. Until something is proposed to increase pay for the majority of the players at the bottom of the MLB pay scale, then the players will remain divided & helpless. The problem for most professional baseball players are their sellout ‘representatives’ occupying the union leadership, working in collusion with ruthless ownership negotiators.

Update 2-7-18  Wednesday ~2:00 PM:

The MLBPA did nothing in the last round of CBA to help the players. Recall this was a historic negotiating session, as new rules for the international draft & free agency (as always) were on the table. Ownership set the framework for all the negotiations, as everything pertained to caps on spending.

For instance, in 2016 AJ Preller & the SD Padres broke the bank in international free agency, spending ~$75M and reaping an unprecedented talent haul. Now that can’t be done, as the cap is <$15M. The owners rigged MLB free agency the same way, essentially capping spending with it’s agreed-upon collectively bargained rules.

The union leaders & all the players’ agents did NOTHING to significantly raise the salaries of young players, who are the most-exploited & vast majority. That’s why free agents demand overpay contracts, as they’ve been underpaid for so long. I’m okay with the players striking, as long as it leads to more equal pay among ALL players. It’s a team game, and that means actual unity to win. This requires real leadership, which is something you can’t fake [2].

Update 2-8-18   Thursday ~Noon

Yesterday JD Martinez was reportedly (per Ken Rosenthal) “frustrated with the pace of negotiations,” but today Scott Boras is “serene and patient” in an ESPN interview. Do you believe any of this?

The free agent players are under pressure, as they have to play to get paid. The teams already have players, so they can hold out for the right price. That’s what’s going on. There is no mass player sentiment for a strike, as that trial balloon was shot down with violent reaction from the fans on social media when an agent brought it up a few days ago. How can there be player unity when each player retains their own agent? A handful of super agents control all the MLB players, with in the framework of a sellout bureaucratically-run union– the MLBPA.

When either Hosmer or Martinez first capitulate (as they must), that will signal the collapse of the free agent bubble, and you will then see a flurry of bargain free agent signings. Look for numbers in this range: JDM 4/60, Hosmer 3/50, with only 2-3 year deals for any pitcher. Pitchers & catchers report next week, so it’s about to get busy. This has actually been an amazing off-season to follow, due to it’s uniqueness.

Scott Boras sounds delusional in his analogies, don’t you think [3]?

It was Ken Rosenthal who yesterday reported ‘allegations’ of JD Martinez’s “frustrations” in these negotiations, which is really a non-story. Everyone gets emotional when money is on the table, so that’s only natural. Why didn’t Rosenthal report any MLB front-office frustrations? ESPN bias is against the free agent players, in an attempt to vilify ALL players (even the underpaid younger ones) as greedy & selfish. If no one wanted JD Martinez or Eric Hosmer, then there wouldn’t be all this cyber ink being spilled.

Miami Marlins news: An apologist & anonymous [!] AP writer assumes outfielder Lewis Brinson and the young prospects they received in their dump deals will pan out, only questioning whether the Marlins will be able to retain them in arbitration or beyond. But what if they don’t pan out? If that’s the case, then Derek Jeter & GM Mike Hill got nothing in return for four All-Stars. That leads Jeter to say stuff like, “I didn’t answer [the question], but we are listening.” [4]

Update: 2-9-18  Friday ~ Noon:

The shoddy & biased journalism continues. This free-agent hotstove piece is another buffer to blow smoke between the fans who want to know and the people who want to stay hidden. Just read these “updates” from MLB.com, which are entirely innuendo (whose?), as no one is on record:

“Brewers and Twins could be among the teams who have offered Darvish a nine-figure contract, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Thursday….”

“A source told Heyman that Milwaukee is one of the clubs that has made Darvish a $100 million-plus offer.”

“Also per Heyman’s report, the Twins are believed to have been willing to offer Darvish a deal of five years or more…” [5]

Who are these “sources,” and what’s their credibility? I’ve seen online comments that say these things– is that a “source” here? This is speculation and nothing more. Until any of these “sources” can be confirmed with specifics, then there is nothing going on but manipulation. The question becomes: who’s behind this?

What’s going on is a factional war, much similar politically to the Trump military fascists (hard-line MLB owners), going off against the Democratic deep state Wall Street-intelligence apparatus (MLBPA & the agents). The minor leaguers & arbitration & pre-arbitration players are the working class, underpaid, exploited, and the vast majority.

The sell-out union bureaucracy signed off on this rotten CBA, which now even prevents free-agents from maximizing their value, due to the structure of the deal. No one feels sorry for guys who turn down 7/$140M or 5/$125M deals, but experience told Scott Boras (and all the rest), that was the play. Up until this year, the agents had always been right, and have profited handsomely. Remember, most of these player end up broke, five years after retirement. It’s the agents & networks who stick around to become rich & powerful.

So here we are, with pitcher’s & catcher’s reporting in less than a week, with RHP’s Hu Darvish & Jake Arrieta still unsigned. I believe the reports that claim the Brewers & Twins have made offers for Darvish, as he’s more desirable (< risky) than Arrieta. It’s a crapshoot with either, and that’s why so many have stayed away. Most don’t believe either pitcher can hold up, for the money they’re demanding.

The point is, it’s apparently two small-market teams making the strongest offers. That tells you the price has gone down dramatically. It’s the Yankees, Red Sox & Dodgers that drive up the free-agent market, and they aren’t interested. The Cubs are luke warm. That’s the dynamic in play, but never reported or analyzed in any meaningful way. That too is by design, and is in line with the “fake news,” Internet censorship & witch-hunting campaigns that are going on daily in what is called “news & politics.”

A small market team looking to boost their rotation would love to have Hu Darvish, but the terms need to be fair for the club and their fans. An overpay will cripple either of these franchises. A fair contract, followed by an arm blow-out is another deadly risk. I don’t see anything more than $60M and 3-4 years for either. It could even be less. If these pitchers get more, then someone overpaid, and it will hurt– sooner or later.

Updated 2-10-18   Saturday ~ Noon:

Here’s a look at the current MLB free-agent headlines, along with my comments…

Teams eyeing shorter-term deal with Arrieta [6]

“CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine reported in November that the starting point for negotiations between clubs and Boras were in the six-year, $160 million range.”

Last year was RHP Jake Arrieta’s age-31 season, where he produced 1.9 WAR while being paid $15.6M by the Cubs. In 2015, he was the best pitcher in MLB, winning the NL Cy Young Award; he made $3.6M that year while being worth 8.4 WAR.

This is the problem with MLB contracts. The don’t pay the player what he’s worth, when he’s young & valuable. Now the players can’t get paid to make up for it, even in free-agency! Most players never reach free agency. This is the problem with the new CBA, negotiated by the sell-out MLBPA and the influential agents.

Rangers won’t rule out major free-agent grab
Stagnant market leaves things up in air for many, including Darvish, Rangers [7]

“Stagnant free-agent market” means no Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers or Dodgers blowing up the bidding. That’s either good or bad, depending on your perspective.

With eye to future, 5 clubs primed to pounce
Expiring contracts after ’18 has these teams in position to make a splash now [8]

Everyone of these listed FA players could help the assigned team in the article above. No question. The rub is: How much do they pay and for how long?  On that there is nothing.

IMG Academy, MLBPA join forces to host free-agent camp in Florida [9]

It will be the camp that no one wants to attend. Will they be selling tickets?

==== Saturday  ~10:00 PM ====

How Darvish deal impacts FA market
Dodgers could pursue available right-handers Arrieta, Lynn and Cobb [10]

Hu Darvish has reportedly agreed to a 6-yr/$126M deal with the Cubs, pending a physical. Darvish was the best pitcher available, but it’s still an overpay, because it’s the Cubs. That’s what top pitching costs, even in a depressed market. Darvish was traded from the Rangers to the Dodgers in 2017, so he doesn’t have a compensation pick tied to his signing.

Therefore, this free agent market is now capped at $21/year, as no remaining player is more valuable than Hu Darvish. One can now infer that the reported offers for OF/DH J.D. Martinez (5/125– Boston) and 1B Eric Hosmer (7/140– San Diego) are fictional at this point, and not-to-be-believed in media reports. Teams don’t need these bats like they need pitching. The big free-agent crash is still yet to come…

 

Monday 2-12-18 ~5:30 PM

Even as spring training begins, baseball’s endless offseason lingers [11]

The SD Padres under GM AJ Preller are the most-current example of why we have these new CBA rules. The Padres went into rebuild mode after their 2015 disaster campaign, where they had loaded up on free agents & contract veterans– James Shields, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, BJ (Melvin) Upton, Craig Kimbrel & Ian Kennedy– and then crashed spectacularly.

Preller got busy after that season by trading Kimbrel to Boston for a huge prospect haul. AJP also collected compensation (QO) picks for J Upton & Ian Kennedy. Preller dumped the rest (and ate contract as needed) for whatever he could get in 2016, including SS prospect Fernando Tatis Jr from the White Sox for Shields. AJP even dumped his best organizational players, in sending RHP Andrew Cashner to Miami, and LHP Drew Pomeranz to Boston.

The Padres finished 4th in the NL West in 2015, and last 2016– netting high picks in all the drafts (Amateur, Rule 5 & Intl), and used them to their advantage. Example: carrying five Rule 5 players in 2016 & 2017 combined! AJP then broke the bank on the International draft in summer of 2016, spending ~$75M in acquiring a once-in-a-lifetime bounty of young talent. That provoked all the CBA rules changes, to which the players, MLBPA, and agents have yet to figure out.

Arrieta market may be down to Brewers, Twins [12]

The fan comments to yet-another ‘rumor piece’ on MLB.com are brutal & enlightening in their clarity & honesty. The fans know, and are now talking back to Scott Boras & the media… 120+ people listening…

It has been this author’s contention that a handful of super agents led by Scott Boras have been able to control the players’ union and manipulate MLB GM’s, to inflate the value of free agency– for decades. Now the market has come down to Boras, as he holds the top remaining pitcher– Jake Arrieta; along with the top remaining position players in: OF/DH JD Martinez, 1B Eric Hosmer & 3B Mike Moustakas (age 29, career: .251/.305/.425)– whom the Yankees would like at the right price. This is where the market will set, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whom among them will sign first? It will be a shocker to many (I can assure you), and a bloodbath from there on… Stay tuned!

Tuesday 2-13-18  ~ 9:00 AM

MLBPA bars media from covering free-agent training camp [13]

Tony Clark and the agents need to make a statement on this. What if a player gets seriously hurt in this free -gent camp? Who will pay for that player’s treatment and rehab? Why are they here in the first place? Why all the secrecy from the MLBPA? Is it because these are tough questions they can’t answer?

JD reunion with D-backs seems unlikely [14]

Did anyone notice the price tag on JD Martinez has just been dropped?!

“Reports have the Red Sox offering Martinez five years at over $100 million…”

That’s down from 5/$125M, which has been the number MLB has “reported” all off-season.

Wednesday 2-14-18  ~ 8:00 AM

Padres have Myers focused on first base
Club confident slugger could make quick adjustment back to outfield if Hosmer signs [15]

There is no other team interested in Eric Hosmer, as the Royals don’t want him back. He not going to sit the season out. Eric Hosmer has to play somewhere, and San Diego is the only fit. AJ Preller will wait as long as he has to, for Boras & Hosmer to give in.

This article is a message to them, the Padres have a contingency plan they can go with if they don’t sign him, which give them extra leverage. I put the chances of the Padres getting Hosmer at over 80% at this point. The contract length will be 4 years max, and no more than $75M.

D-backs exploring ‘creative’ ways to sign J.D. [16]

It’s now officially 5/$100M from Boston for Martinez, with no other bidders. The D-Backs can’t afford JD Martinez, with RHP Zack Greinke & 1B Paul Goldschmidt on the payroll already, as they are not a top-10 revenue club. The price for these remaining free-agents will continue to drop, unless other teams get serious, which doesn’t appear will be the case. That’s how this free-agent market is not working.

Yu’s a Cub, so Cards must make a FA splash

Closer Holland and third baseman Moustakas would both fill voids in St. Louis [17]

This is a shamefully obvious Scott Boras propaganda piece for 3B Mike Moustakas by Richard Justice. No mention that the Cardinals already acquired a major bat this off-season in CF Marcell Ozuna. What the Cards need is young starting pitching– like everyone else, not an aging & expensive closer in Greg Holland. Lazy & deceitful sports journalism from ESPN & MLB– all down the line.

Sunday 2-18-18 ~10:00 AM

Sources: Padres, Hosmer agree to 8-year deal [18]

The best free-agent position player signed with the Padres (8 yrs/$144M). When have you ever read that? This team is going to be competitive much sooner than people believe. I’ve seen prognostications for the Padres getting a few as 67 wins this season, which is silly & lazy analysis. This team will approach 80 wins in 2018, and be ready to compete for a WC in 2019.

Hosmer’s arrival will reshape outfield, lineup [19]

The Padres got the player they needed. As far as the contract numbers go, it’s hard to tell how it will all shake down with the opt-out (after the 5th year) and limited no-trade protection (after 3 years). Hosmer gets $20M for the first 5 seasons, the $13M for the last three. There is a $5M signing bonus, all totaling $144M. This deal doesn’t break the Padres, and gets them the OBP and improved defense they desperately needed. I can see AJP dealing Hosmer after the 3rd or 4th year. The Padres can hold on to Hosmer (if he’s aging well), and still trade him later if necessary, because his contract doesn’t balloon at the end. That’s the problem with albatrosses. Injury is the most significant risk for the Padres here.

Good day for Padres fans, as this was a bit of an overpay, but not a franchise back-breaker. They lose their third pick in the upcoming June amateur draft, which goes to the KC Royals as compensation. If the Padres had been picking outside the top-10, this contract would have been for less money, as the Padres would have been forced to forfeit their 1st-round pick– which is much more valuable.

You KNOW there was tough negotiating on all sides, as a whole lot of issues are in play, These are highly-intelligent & competitive people involved. Now the Padres have their 2018 lineup, and their fans are happy because it’s a whole lot better!

Tuesday 2-20-18   ~4:00 PM

JD Martinez has reportedly agreed to a 5/$110M with Boston Red Sox, with opt-out clauses after the second and third year. Martinez will be paid $25 million in 2018 and ’19 before the first opt out, Then $22 million in 2020 before the second opt out, and $19 million in the last two years, if he remains with the club. [20]

Everyone loves baseball again, how nice! Look for the top pitchers: Arrieta, Cobb & Lynn to go next… Then it’s one-year and even minor-league deals for most of the rest. Owners and GM’s have gone with youth over expensive veteran players, so many won’t even get a guaranteed contract offer it appears. Major CBA disaster for the players, that’s the off-season lesson in MLB.

Final Padres Notes:

Padres 2018 Opening Day line-up: CF Margot (R), 3B Headley (S), 1B Hosmer (L), RF Myers (R), LF Renfroe (R), 2B Asuaje (L), SS Galvis (S), C Hedges (R), LHP Richard. That’s a measurable improvement in OBP & L/R balance. The power is there too. If Myers & Renfroe can put it together, this lineup will be a monster for years to come.

Padres starting pitching is still too mediocre (and right-handed) to be competitive. When it comes to making the post-season and winning, it’s all about pitching. Clayton Richard & Robbie Erlin are the only lefty starter options for the Padres. This team can’t contend without better frontline starters, especially lefties. Their bullpen is solid, with LHP Brad Hand signed for the next 4 years, instead of traded away like all the ‘experts’ predicted. I predict 81-81 for the Padres in 2018.

Consider that AJP filled (or upgraded) every positional hole this off-season, and almost pulled off landing ace RHP Shohei Ohtani! Since Ohtani went to the Angels, Padres fans will have to wait another year for their top young pitching to arrive.

Every GM wanted to get at AJP’s prospects, and the only thing he dealt was RHP Enyel De Los Santos (minors) in the Freddy Galvis trade. AJ Preller also picked up a back-up catcher (AJ Ellis) and possibly a #2 starter (RHP Tyson Ross) on minor league deals. That wins the off-season for efficiency & brains, and only the Angels can rightly claim they did better than the Friars.

The market for free agent starters: Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb & Lance Lynn will now take shape and consummate. All are probably too expensive for the Padres– and the rest is junk. There is nothing among this trio better than a #2 starter, and it’s high risk– especially with Arrieta. Lynn & Cobb are solid but more like #3 starters on championship teams. Luckily, AJP did a nice job stockpiling cheap arms over the winter, among his other activities, so he won’t be tempted to overpay for mediocrity.

The simplest rules in free agency are: 1) don’t over spend, 2) and sign the right guy for your needs. The Padres did both here, so it’s a successful off-season for them. The Padres needed a stabilizer in the middle of their line-up, as well as a team leader. Eric Hosmer provides that, as Wil Myers wasn’t the guy for that role. That’s a wrap. Over & Out on this free agency season.

Play ball!!

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Art: Explained by an Artist

What is art? How does it happen? What’s it’s role in human society? These questions are now more important than ever. They demand immediate & correct answers. Here they are.

Art is how we express our inner essence. It’s the best we have in us, as art applies to any profession, passion, or endeavor you choose. It has traditionally been achieved through paint, music, film & pen. Art moves minds. True art is revolution, embodied in its form.

Oscar Wilde was correct when he said the public needs to become more artistic. Most people still try to tell you it’s the other way around, for whatever reason they may have. Everyone has it in them to be artistic. Applying this instinct is a primary tool in defeating fascism. Conversely, ignoring & desecrating art, leads directly to fascism.

Attempts to wipe out art are futile & hypocritical. Recall the Nazi’s of Germany who ruled Europe from 1933-1945, they were infamous art thieves & hoarders. Much of their booty is still maintained in private collections around the world, stolen from persecuted Jews in WWII.

Science, technology & ideology always impact & define art. When revolutionary ideas become embodied in art, it becomes very powerful. Art impacts society as soft power, enveloping an era in its influence & vision. The ruling class always fears this, as art unites the oppressed workers with the youth, who see no future in the current set-up.

Art can jump outside that box, as Pablo Picasso, the Surrealists & Andy Warhol are 20th-century examples of artistic geniuses transforming society. Once their ideas exploded into mass consciousness, society was forever changed. It’s often waxed in social terms as, “no longer being innocent.”

The Beatles were revolutionary artists, who abandoned their teeny-bopper beginnings, and became 1960’s counter-culture. Psychedelic rock & transcendental meditation side-trips became cultural oddities, that eventually transitioned into an anti-Vietnam War movement. Rock music had been sanctioned art, by the creation of Rolling Stone magazine in 1967, with John Lennon featured in its inaugural issue.

That watershed moment was the birth of rock music criticism. Art spawns criticism, which seeks to influence art. Generally speaking, critics are a bureaucracy meant to represent the ruling class in art. Often lawyers, guns & money aren’t enough, so controlling the narrative becomes the purpose of criticism.

For eons, humans have been creating art, and others have been judging it. What’s different today, is the level of expertise & authority these self-sanctioned critics reserve for themselves. Today Rolling Stone magazine remains a powerful force in American popular music, with sterilizing everything as its corporation mission.

In contrast the leader and revolutionary genius of the Beatles, has been dead for nearly four decades. He was murdered by a reactionary psychopath, with full approval of the ruling elite. John Lennon had been a target of the FBI since Nixon was president, as later revealed in declassified CO-INTEL-PRO and other documents.

Everyone appreciates some form of art. The problem is when too many people become too narrow in their tastes & definitions of art. There’s a whole lot out there, that you aren’t even aware of, and it’s criminal to short-change yourself in not appreciating as much of it as you can. Art depends on an audience, otherwise society is condoning cultural vandalism.

Great art doesn’t just happen. It is deeply thought-out, planned, and worked through in great detail. What the public sees as the final work, is often years of hard work. Creating new material and staying ahead is the most challenging task. It often involves going to very dark places in your mind. This is emotionally exhausting, and involves personal sacrifices in health & happiness, which is why so many artists burn out.

It is necessary for artists who truly love, to understand how these ruling sociopaths think & act. They are manipulating the levers of power, which affects the ability for art to be shared, and therefore they have very rational reasons for their psychotic behavior.

The most obvious example today is media & Internet censorship & blacklisting. This reaction is sweeping through sports, entertainment, and politics like a swarm of locusts. The only force that can resist witch-hunts & fascist goon squads, are a united youth & working class, armed with revolutionary socialism.

Marxism, and more specifically Trotskyism, is the most reviled political tendency in bourgeois politics. Any mention of Leon Trotsky is proscribed in the mass media. If his name comes up, there is an immediate hysterical reaction from fixers & political heavyweights– who are always monitoring. This is because Leon Trotsky was the most artistic & influential political figure of the 20th century.

Today this repressive apparatus which involves the corporate-intelligence deep state, has launched an all-out, multi-pronged attack campaign on art. When Hollywood actors are witch-hunted, and their careers destroyed by a #MeToo campaign of right-wing feminism, then artists know the official political spectrum has tipped completely to fascism.

As much as art is universal to the human experience, we all sense it uniquely. Example: Stevie Wonder! That is the mystery & magic of art, which is challenges & seduces all of us. Understanding & embracing art is how we avoid being manipulated by hidden interests with evil intentions.

Art in the hands of a united working class, with revolutionary consciousness, can internationally transform society into a global community with socialist foundations. My music & albums are on all the major streaming services, and those songs are meant to be anthems for revolution. The more that ideas such as these are expressed, distributed & absorbed, the closer we get to a revolutionary scenario, where the working people of the world can come together & win.

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Stoned Again: Portrait of a Political Fixer

A largely unmentioned neo-Nazi contributer to the alt-right is Roger Stone (pictured below), a master at dirty tricks operations & behind-the-scenes media manipulations, going back to Nixon & Reagan. Whatever Stone’s political position is, it quickly becomes Trump’s position, as he (as much as anyone) created president Trump.

Alt-right is defined as racism, nationalism & greed, dashed with a pro-choice & pro-marijuana agenda, for public consumption & working class appeal. Alt-right is the Libertarian & Tea Party congealed. Alex Jones (Infowars) is Roger Stone’s favorite attack dog & political media mouthpiece.

Get Me Roger Stone (2017) is an informative film, which reminds everyone that Donald J. Trump (the political candidate), was created in 1988. Trump is the exact opposite of a political outsider, despite the claims.

Trump also dallied with the Reform party ticket in 2000, to help George W. Bush, by splitting the Reform party votes for Pat Buchanan, the official nominee.

Background: Ross Perot’s Reform party campaign in 1992 had broad popular appeal, and in the minds of many Republican insiders (Stone included), the Texas technology billionaire cost the Republicans the 1992 & 1996 presidential elections with his meddling.

Never one to be discouraged by what people think, Roger Stone engineered the halting of the Florida recount in November 2000, by organizing the “Brooks Brothers” protests, which turned into a right-wing media frenzy.

In short, these fixers need more exposure, because when they are allowed to operate in the shadows, they produce fascism. As much as the mass hatred for Hillary Clinton (and the Democratic establishment) played a role in her 2016 defeat, the other half of the equation for installing Trump in the White House was this nefarious brand of political manipulation. Get Me Roger Stone (2017), is available for streaming on Netflix, and should be seen by all who need to know their true enemy.

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