The NCAA Tournament & NIL rights

The NCAA Tournament is more random than ever. This is because all the best high-school ballers either skip college, train in Europe, or are one-and-done. The game isn’t as good as it was from say 1979 through the mid 1990’s. When Shaq left LSU after his sophomore season, after he would have been the #1 overall pick after his freshman year, it seismically shifted the NBA draft standard for college kids.

Today, to win in the NCAA Tournament a team must grow through experience to play well TOGETHER when it matters most. Experienced teams with low seedings now make more Elite 8 & Final 4 runs. Miami was a good example in 2022. Virginia coached by Dick Bennett when they won it, etc. Please note that much of this pertains to women’s hoops too. It used to be a #1 or #2 seed was pretty-much guaranteed to make the Sweet 16. Not so anymore.

Smaller conferences have gotten more competitive, while the bigger conferences (blue bloods) suffered most from the talent drain. NIL rights changed everything too. If a state has laws passed for NIL rights, they ignore all NCAA rules.


Crypto contagion triggers global banking crisis

To those who say crypto was just a bystander in this now global banking collapse, they are lying. Crypto is entirely fake, and was the trigger for this banking meltdown. Crypto has been in meltdown mode since Terra/Luna last May, then FTX last November. Banks that were heavily involved in crypto are now the first to go under, which has set off an industry panic and crisis of confidence in big banking.

The greater issue of the insolvency of the big banks, who all hold devalued treasury bonds, has been caused by the same policy that crashed crypto– a decade of free money followed by a sharp interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve. There is a connection there.

The EU (and everyone else) follow from the US Fed, since dollars are the international exchange currency and have been since the end of WW2. But increasingly, dollar dominance is being called into question by many different interests, particularly the government of China, hence the constant US propaganda campaign to demonize China & embolden fascist racist filth.

What we are witnessing now is a complete breakdown of the post-war monetary system. The Bretton Woods system of US dominance was established in 1945, by the winners. Richard Nixon took the US off the gold standard in 1971, because Fort Knox was running out of gold to convert into dollars at $35/ounce. Since then, all currencies float against the US dollar. All international settlements, particularly oil, are done in dollars. This is what makes the US dollar almighty.

Stagflation of the 1970’s, then Fed chairman Paul Volcker’s interest rate hikes in the 1980’s, which reached nearly 20%, enriched banks. Big corporations even started their own lines of credit cards to cash in for themselves. It was the best of times to be rich, as Reagan/Bush are revered for their conservatism on issues like global warming, and their enthusiasm for corporate & banking deregulation, etc.

In 1987, the first stock market crash in America’s post-war era (which took every bourgeois economist by surprise) established the “Fed put”, which ensured a taxpayer bailout for any bank or corporation deemed “too big to fail.” Timeline ahead: Asian tiger crash in 1998, dot com crash in 2001, and then the big one– the sub-prime mortgage collapse in 2008. All caused by corporate criminality. All the big fish got bailed out.

By 2010, the Fed started printing money and gave it away to all its cronies for over a decade. Every other central bank in the world followed suit. By the end of 2021, after a few abortive attempts (Dec 2020 – March 2021, most notably) at quantitative tightening, the Fed has taken a hard line on raising interest rates to induce a recession and quell workers wage demands.

Inflation is caused by massively increasing the supply of money, without having the economic fundamentals to back it. By ‘economic fundamentals’ I mean, actual (real world) use value. The Fed, Wall Street, the White House & US Congress all believe that inflation is caused by workers’ wages going up. That’s the class war that’s always raging underneath the fake news.

With capitalism in its speculative death throes, crypto has emerged as the libertarian answer to the international currency question. As far a being real money, you can buy lots of black market things with bitcoin. Things you can’t do with crypto include: pay rent, pay credit card, pay taxes… pay for a Big Mac. It simply has no value to the vast majority, and therefore must be abolished.

Trotskyists are the only ones who have taken this intolerant policy towards crypto from the start. The SEC, DOJ, & White House have now pivoted to an anti-crypto policy since the Silvergate Bank collapse less than two weeks ago.

Slivergate CEO Alan Lane, second from right, rings the New York Stock Exchange opening bell before his bank’s IPO begins trading, on Nov. 7, 2019.

There’s been lots of talk about making depositors whole, making sure small businesses can make payroll, etc, in the wake of these US bank collapses, triggered by crypto’s meltdown. Everyone knows the FDIC guarantees accounts up to $250,000. For businesses with more than that, there is the Deposit Insurance Fund, which is a privately-owned, industry-sponsored insurance program.

The DIF’s purpose is to 1) insure bank accounts over $250K, and 2) resolve failed banks. If crypto start-ups like Circle ($3.3B in SVB) didn’t hedge with DIF and can’t make their payroll, etc, then the CEOs of these companies need to pay out of their own pockets– or else go bankrupt. Poor risk-management is on the CEO/CFO, and NOT the responsibility of the US taxpayers.

Why didn’t these smart tech companies with million$ & billion$ in venture capital money have a DIF policy to protect against a bank collapse? Corporate Leadership 101– FAIL. NO bank bailouts!


Chairman Fed & the crypto put

Let’s be clear what this is. It’s a bailout of the entire corrupt banking system– up to $17T in essence. US finance capital burned through over 10 years of free money (unlimited 0% Fed loans) and there is NOTHING to show for it. That’s what so many big bank balance sheets reveal when it’s tax season.

Washington, D.C., U.S., June 22, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

The money all ended-up offshore (much through crypto) and into Swiss bank accounts, or into the Ukraine where it aids neo-Nazis at war, ISIS, etc. All this is to be paid for by increased exploitation of all wage workers & those who pay taxes– unless we organize under an international socialist banner and establish an international socialist banking system run by democratically-elected workers. It’s not a pipe dream, it’s economic & social science in revolutionary action.

Most people still fear socialism, but they can’t rationally say why? Money is so emotional & class is so fundamental. Anyway, the ‘Fed put’ is in effect for crypto (hence the latest bitcoin bounce) and all it’s financial partners. Working people must put an end to the Fed, otherwise we will be paying for crypto for the rest of our lives. The Federal Reserve & the bond market is the real power behind phony Democrat-Republican politics.

Update: Wed 15 Mar 2023 04:49 PM CDT

The US Federal Reserve’s Bank Term Finance Program will make US taxpayer-backed loans available to FDIC-banks. “These assets will be valued at par,” means these devalued treasury bonds all the banks are holding will be re-inflated to face value as collateral, instead of current market price. Convenient, huh? The Fed tells us these are one-year loans, which is a blatant lie, since it’s likely every bankrupt lender that gets a BTFP bailout will default. The “Powell put.”

FYI: As interest rates go up, bond prices go down– they move inversely. That means in 2022 when the Fed started raising interest rates above zero for the first time in ten years, it was predicable that bond yields would slide. Such rampant short-sighted greed & outright criminality (FTX, etc) has run the global banking system into the ground– again. The question of questions is: Are the working people & youth going to pay for ANOTHER bailout to the parasitic ruling elite?


Silicon Valley Bank collapses, crypto under intense price pressure

Two days ago Silvergate Bank was the largest US bank failure since 2008. That has now been surpassed by the shutdown of what was earlier-in-the-week the 16th-largest US bank, Silicon Valley Bank.

Sam Bankman-Fried on Silvergate’s website: “Life as a crypto firm can be divided up into before Silvergate and after Silvergate. It’s hard to overstate how much it revolutionized banking for blockchain companies.”

Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin was put online in 2009, and still today no one knows who this guy is, or where all that Mt Gox bitcoin went. But today there are now two distinct eras in the history of post-Mt Gox crypto– FTX and post-FTX. Silvergate was the key crypto bank for the entire US industry and it just died Wednesday evening, March 8, 2023. It died from a malignant case of FTX.

Now Silicon Valley Bank has been shuttered by California state regulators due to mass discrepancies between what they can prove they have, and what they claim they have, etc. Stablecoin issuer Circle said late Friday that $3.3 billion in cash deposits remained at Silicon Valley Bank. According to Circle, this sum represents ~8% of the total reserves ($40 billion) backing Circle’s stablecoin USDC.

Stablecoins attempt to peg their market value to fiat currency 1:1. This means one US dollar (Euro, etc) ALWAYS equals one stablecoin. Tether is the top stablecoin, while Circle’s USDC is the second-largest stablecoin on the market. Stablecoins are now considered to be fundamental elements of the crypto ecosystem.

But the validity of stablecoins has been seriously called into question, especially since the Terra/Luna collapse in May 2022. Binance is also a big stablecoin issuer, and they have been forced to admit that their BUSD token hasn’t always maintained its 1:1 peg, like it’s supposed to be for people to trust. Where does the money go?

The Federal Reserve has sought to stifle worker wage increase demands by inducing a recession through its policy of raising interest rates. Note that this only increases inflation, which the ruling class is purportedly fighting. The Fed’s fight against “inflation” is actually a corporate-mandated attack on workers’ wages. It’s another example of Orwellian doublespeak in the fake media.

Unfortunately for the Federal Reserve Bank, this raising of interest rates has collapsed the crypto industry which relies on free money. Venture capitalists, hedge funds, blank check companies, and FDIC-banks have thrown trillions dollars into crypto which is now going bankrupt everywhere because it is expensive, wasteful & useless.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, a Canadian citizen living somewhere in the far East, has been avoiding & deflecting accusations contained in investigative reports from Forbes and The Wall Street Journal recently, claiming that Binance’s math is fuzzy and their books don’t balance. CZ’s Twitter responses were more rhetoric about FUD, fake media attacks, etc, providing no evidence to contradict investigator claims.

It’s comparable to when Seymour Hersh published his Nord Stream bombshell, and no one in the US political establishment (or fake media) could mount a serious response to refute his claims. Eventually, most thinking people took that to mean that Seymour Hersh was correct and that the terrorist US government is lying again.

Somehow, all these realities, facts & nuances get lost in translation through the filters of fake news. Big crypto is secretly negotiating their next bailout with US officials. That is how the White House has been “monitoring the situation” in crypto since the Silvergate Bank collapse.

Crypto is one big hustle & dodge that is running out of time & money. Bitcoin is now under intense pressure, as the latest CoinDesk headlines reads, “Bitcoin Regains $20K After $200M in Crypto Liquidations; Some Traders signaling strength for [Circle’s] USD Coin, citing its treasury backing in U.S.-issued bonds.”

These are clear signals to elite Traders to bet that US taxpayers will pay for any crypto-connected bank bailouts, etc. As far as market manipulators go, crypto whale Elon Musk is having to burn through a lot of bitcoin these days to keep its price inflated at $20K. Musk is running out of Tesla stock to sell and companies to destroy. If Elon Musk doesn’t get a big bailout soon, the richest person in the world will go bankrupt.


Silvergate Bank now defunct only weeks after getting $4.3B bailout

Silvergate Bank announced Wednesday evening (Mar 8) that it has collapsed, voluntarily entering bankruptcy liquidation after market concerns over its inability to file required tax documents last week. It will not survive. This is the biggest US bank failure since 2008-09. This is not even two months after it was reported that Silvergate Bank’s Q4 tax filings revealed a $4.3 billion bailout loan from the Federal Home Loans Bank (FHLB), a quasi-private consortium of banks & bondholders that are backed by US Congress– meaning the US taxpayers.

Silvergate was the biggest crypto-friendly bank in the US. Founded in 1988, Silvergate Bank got into crypto in 2014, and out of it in 2023. For as much as libertarian crypto fanatics scream about ‘de-fi’ & ‘independence from tradition finance’, these zealots are learning (the hard way) that even bitcoin can’t survive without access to banking services.

Lots of people, from venture capitalists to young kids, have put their money into crypto, but it’s much harder to get their money out. That’s the most valuable service Silvergate Bank provided to it’s crypto customers & clients, until it couldn’t anymore. Silvergate even ran their own crypto exchange (SEN) which has now been turned-off forever.

It’s been known since mid-January that Signature Bank received an $11.3 billion loan from the FHLB. Signature is now facing US regulator scrutiny as it inherits the mantle of crypto industry leader in banking. Signature’s stock is down 10% or so with the news of Silvergate’s collapse. Anyone who has been following developments in crypto knows, there’s trouble in the entire crypto banking sector, with banks facing massive liquidity issues as customers rush to cash out & put their money somewhere safer.

How is US Congress or the SEC going to help with all this? The Fed is raising interest rates, and crypto simply can’t afford that. Crypto needs free money from the Fed & venture capitalists for ‘innovative’ start-ups, and then taxpayer bailouts for when they crash.

Ally Financial bank (founded 1919, HQ Detroit) received $7.2 billion from the FHLB in Q4 2022, so they can been seen as the next disaster after Signature Bank. Provident Bancorp received $80 million from the FHLB in Q4 2022. These were massive (& secret) bailouts to crypto-friendly banks that didn’t help for more than a few months. Now the entire crypto industry needs another bailout to prevent bitcoin from free-falling.

Bitcoin & tether (‘stable coin’) are the top name brands in crypto. Their price must be maintained with massive injections of liquidity to re-inflate the bubble, or else it risks total collapse. This is the existential crisis the crypto industry (& capitalism) is facing now. Since the traditional financial sector is deeply implicated in the crypto mess, none of these pertinent facts are being reported in the corporate media.

Instead we get misinformation on the subjective price of bitcoin, as there is much stupidity posing as intellectualism. For example, Coindesk, the self-proclaimed industry leader in crypto reporting, just published a piece titled, “Price, Not Intrinsic Value, Is the True Measure of Bitcoin’s Success”, a fairly typical example of their muddle-headed libertarian thinking. It pontificates:

“My question is, what is intrinsic value? There is no such thing – value has and will always be subjective based on an individual’s need at the time. Demand drives everything and always has. The idea of intrinsic value is a fool’s errand. The question of whether a Rolls Royce is worth more than a bottle of water is subjective based on where you are and what you need. The demand for water in the desert is certainly going to be higher than that of a Rolls Royce. I exaggerate to make my point, but demand drives value. That’s unchanging over time.”

To clarify & correct the nonsense you just read in the paragraph above, the question of which is worth more, a Rolls Royce or a bottle of water, is NOT subjective. The Rolls is ALWAYS worth MUCH more than the bottle of water, no matter the conditions, because MUCH MORE human labor goes into making a luxury car. In a desert the Rolls can provide shade & shelter, If the RR is gassed-up, it can drive you out of the desert. That has much more value than a bottle of water, Only fools & liars would argue otherwise. There is nothing subjective about this, and there hasn’t been since Karl Marx explained it in Capital (1867).

Of course, libertarians don’t read Marx, they are only concerned with making money for themselves. So they make up stupid stuff, anything to justify their ends. Crypto needs another massive US taxpayer bailout, and it’s getting harder to hide them. That’s the panic in the crypto markets right now, the elephant in the room that no one is mentioning in the fake media.


The people aren’t fooled

Yesterday, The New York Times published its account on who bombed the Nord Stream pipelines last September. Recall that at first they blamed Putin.  A summary on Yahoo! titled, “US intelligence sees ‘pro-Ukraine group’ behind Nord Stream sabotage: report” received many comments from readers. Here is my Top 10 list from that piece:

1) I’ll take “Things the CIA says to cover their tracks” for $100, Alex.
2) I don’t know who did it, but they found Joe Biden’s passport a few meters from the blast site.
3) It was the Palestinian Navy.
4) It was Chinese attack balloons.
5) Per the CIA, it wasn’t Joe Biden. Of course, if he did it, he wouldn’t remember ordering it.
6) Gaslight much? It’s already been exposed by a real journalist that the US did it.
7) The fake news is strong with this one.
8) I stopped reading after, “US officials…”
9) America has a propaganda epidemic.
10) US intelligence must have the best magic mushrooms.

Bonus comment:

11) I’m running out of conspiracy theories to mock– they’re all coming true!!



Marilyn Manson vs. the abusive MeToo campaign

Who anointed the MeToo campaign as the morality police, judge, jury & executioner? Whether you like Marilyn Manson or not isn’t the issue. The guy worked hard to make millions of fans, and his relationships with those people has been poisoned by cynical politics & a dirty-tricks campaign. I know fans of Marilyn Manson (men & women) who say his music helped them get through a tough period in their lives, etc. Who is MeToo to judge all this with absolute authority?

In the case of Marilyn Mansion & Ashley Morgan Smithline, it’s Evan Rachel Wood who is the abuser. Evan Rachel Wood is a perjurer who (among other criminal activities) submitted a fraudulent letter from the FBI as evidence under oath in court. Commenters online are now calling Evan Rachel Wood “Amber Heard 2.0”, which is accurate. Evan Rachel Wood has the full backing of the CIA Democrats as Marilyn Manson has been the victim of a coordinated MeToo-style hit job because he’s an easy target.

The MeToo campaign and its fanatic adherents have no compassion & understanding for a man’s career ruined with lies. Just as they have no compassion for women who are teaching in classrooms with COVID, or female healthcare workers, retail employees, etc.

The MeToo campaign supports the criminal US/NATO-led proxy war in the Ukraine against Russia, nevermind all the women & children who have become casualties. The MeToo campaign still supports sanctions on Syria, even after a series of devastating earthquakes hit the region. Women & children buried under rubble doesn’t register on the MeToo campaign’s radar.

MeToo doesn’t care one whit about women autoworkers who have been unfairly fired for reporting sexual harassment & wage theft to the UAW bureaucracy. When a woman working on the line in an Ohio auto plant had a miscarriage last year, because she was doing work she shouldn’t have been doing, the UAW helped deny her insurance claim. And so on, etc…

MeToo doesn’t care about working class women, it is only concerned with gaining privileges for a thin layer of women in the upper-middle class. That’s the focus of all the identity politics campaigns (Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, etc) which come directly from the CIA Democrats. This cynical attempt to divide workers & the poor only strengthens the hand of the far right.

Ashley Morgan Smithline has declared that Evan Rachel Wood manipulated & abused her. So why wouldn’t you believe her? MeToo (who claims women should ALWAYS be believed) is silent on this question.

The MeToo campaign, like capitalism, is exploitative & abusive to its core. The only way to end this nefarious, dirty-tricks MeToo campaign is by organized mass resistance to the capitalist system itself.

Music is such an important form of communication, perhaps the most influential as its primality touches & stirs our deepest emotions. The question of questions becomes: Who controls the music? Consider all music of the past in its historical materialist context, with a philosophical understanding of dialectics in revolution. These days, if the music doesn’t also stimulate the intellect, it’s crap.


Seymour Hersh reports Joe Biden took out Nord Stream pipelines

Seymour Hersh is an investigative journalist of the highest caliber. He is one of my inspirations along with the writers of the WSWS. When you read “discredited journalist” next to his name in the fake media, that refers to the right-wing attack campaign from the CIA Democrats to silence all leftists.

(Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

In short, Hersh reports that Joe Biden blew up the Nord Stream pipelines last September, with help from US Navy/CIA deep sea divers who planted C4 charges on the pipelines which were remotely activated by a sound buoy dropped later by US military/CIA aircraft. This allowed Joe Biden to pick his time to execute this act of international terrorism.

This is now a January 6th moment for the Democrats, as there is a noticeable silence here in the US corporate media– on all sides. This is an international war crime by US President Joe Biden and it hardly gets a mention next to “spy balloons” and the Super Bowl.

The CIA Democrats have no plausible alternative to offer on who done it, only attacks on Seymour Hersh. This CIA playbook is run on all leftists through political & economic channels. This big lie technique activates all Nazis to join in the savagery, as they will take delight in trying to discredit this heroic work of investigative journalism.


Wanted: bassists

If you are a bass player and you don’t sing or help with songwriting, then you need to shut up & play bass. If you want to handle management, booking duties, etc, that’s fine– but since you don’t write songs, you are NOT qualified to be the bandleader and therefore you are NOT allowed to dictate every creative decision by leveraging your position of advantage. That fucks up a band every time. There are a million guitar players out there & a zillion singers too, with a more limited pool of good drummers, but quality bass players are very hard to find. Many of the best bassists let this instrumental scarcity go to their heads, by taking the attitude that if they don’t get their way, they’ll simply take their bass & go home– leaving the band stranded. One of the biggest problems in rock music today is there aren’t enough bassists who are team players.

I’ve learned over the years that many of the top bassists do corporate gigs for a living, including tribute acts & such that play six nights a week and twice on Sundays. Any left-handed bassist is wanted for Beatles tribute bands, etc. That’s where the steady money is, as compared to forming a band and trying to be something new. My biggest criticism of professional bass players is that they are too rigid as a rule, which limits them. You can’t be a great band without a solid bass player, and you can’t be a serious bassist if you don’t work well with others.


Bankrupt crypto bank Silvergate gets $4.3B US taxpayer bailout

It was reported last week that Silvergate Bank, the bankrupt crypto lender with FDIC affiliation (a rarity in the industry), received a $4.3B bailout from the San Francisco-based Federal Home Loan Bank, following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, according to the firm’s Q4, 2022 filings.

US taxpayers, without their consent, have just bailed out this bankrupt crypto bank– and it barely made the news. Silvergate was the first, of what is to be many bailouts for crypto. As much as the crypto community howls about “de-fi, privacy & freedom”; it needs a bailout even more. Industry players have been angling for this since the FTX collapse.

To review, Silvergate provided banking services to crypto exchanges & investors, with ~90% of its deposits from crypto. Silvergate’s 10 biggest depositors, include bankrupt firms such as: Coinbase, Paxos,, Gemini, Kraken, Bitstamp & Circle. As a result of the FTX collapse in November, Silvergate was bankrupt, as it held worthless deposits for both FTX & Alameda Research.

Market manipulation is what is driving the current bitcoin bounce. This, along with venture capital, is what is sustaining the crypto industry on life support. Market manipulation through wash trading, and other pump & dump tactics are the rule in crypto. Wash trading is when a firm trades with itself to artificially boost prices, to give the illusion of liquidity & generate interest from investors. A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that wash trades accounted for 50-70% of all crypto transactions, suggesting most trades on these platforms are fraudulent.

For example: bitcoin’s price had been languishing at ~$17K for weeks, but as of last week it has slowly been going up. Bitcoin currently sits at over $21K, and no one can explain why, as investors are leaving the industry in droves, lay-offs are everywhere, and hardly a day goes by without some news of another crypto firm, exchange, bank, etc, having liquidity issues. So where is all this money coming from? As it turns out, it’s now coming from the taxpayers.

Update: Sat 21 Jan 2023 5:50 AM CST

Silvergate Bank ($4.3B), Signature Bank ($11.3B), Provident Bancorp ($80M), and Ally Financial ($7.2B) have been bailed out by the Federal Home Loan Banks program, which is ostensibly meant to fund home loans. This is surely the tip of the iceberg as there are many others we don’t know about– yet. US taxpayers support FHLB financing, as their bonds are implicitly backed by Congress, which would not allow a default, hence their AAA rating from Moody. Should one of these crypto-friendly banks fail, FDIC accounts would be second in line, after the FHLB, in claims resolution. Banks always get bailed out first. Bloggers are the only ones reporting this story, as the corporate media is maintaining silence on this massive & secret crypto bailout scheme.