Prognosticating Collapse

What’s difficult for most ordinary people to realize is that if they have a few thousand dollars on hand, with no debt of any kind, then they are worth more than any major bank. JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, BOA, et al, are living off never-ending, cheap money from the Fed. Whatever their “stock market value” is, it’s dwarfed by at least 2-3 times that amount in debt– which they can never repay. Hence they are zombies. This situation applies to most household, corporate & all national debt. That is the crux of this impending financial crisis.

These banks, stock markets & hedge fund investors hold extravagant claims to assets that are 99+% worthless. These are all toxic assets that will all go to zero when the next crash hits. It’s called a Ponzi scheme. Central banks all around the world have this same policy, so no nation will be spared. The capitalist system is about to implode upon itself in every epicenter, in a mountain of bad debt fueled by rampant corruption condoned by the entire global establishment.

This isn’t going to be your regular periodic crash, like in 1987, 1998, 2000, or even 2007-08 which was the biggest shock wave since 1929. This next collapse of corruption is going to call into question the viability of the entire capitalist system on Facebook. It’s going to take riot police & military troops to keep hungry workers from their bank savings. The only way a government can stop people from posting on social media is to shut down the internet. That will anger people, for sure.

This show of force will be deemed necessary for “national security,” as the banks are insolvent, so a military-police state will be needed to maintain “law & order.” If you are not among the elite class, then this will be your fate. ATM’s will not give you cash. and the bank deposits will be inaccessible. “How am I supposed to live?” you may ask. The answer is that you aren’t.

This is class war in the death-throes of capitalism. Through the internet & social media, the youth & workers of the world have been exchanging ideas for over a decade, since the crash of 2007-08. These lessons have been learned & absorbed by a great many.

For the masses, it’s about leadership, in terms of having a vision for the future of humanity along with everything else on this planet. Leadership needs to be revolutionary, with a scientific program for equality & peace. Karl Marx gave civilization that program when he published The Communist Manifesto in 1848, a year of revolution in Europe.

Socialism is best expressed in our modern world in the writings of Leon Trotsky, who should be considered the last classical Marxist; and today through the International Committee of the Fourth International, which publishes the World Socialist Web Site. Trotsky founded the 4th International in 1938, two years before he was assassinated by an agent of Stalin, so this party has a long & impressive political history.

Political leadership is groomed by reading the WSWS, and adopting their line. Opportunities for polemics are plenty, but they are in areas of subjectivity such as opinions on art, and analysis of profound new ideas. Predicting future events by using Marxism & its dialectical method is an invaluable form of leadership that must be cultivated among the working masses.

The revolution of the future needs to be leaderless. When great & courageous individuals become elevated to supreme leader of a movement, they can easily be neutralized by any deep state conspiracy. Think Malcolm X, MLK or John Lennon, who were all assassinated. Great leaders of today don’t seek cult followings & celebrity status, they seek to be understood & influential.

Great leaders are the best listeners & observers. They see & hear things others miss, because they make it a point to be aware of their surroundings. This is sound leadership, because it compliments the survival instinct. We can’t continue to be at war with our planet, and expect to survive as a species. Leaders must understand & weigh all positions.

The root idea of socialism is that leadership is shared. This will allow the best in any field to rise to the top, since everyone will have access. This idea is abhorrent to every capitalist, who prefer monopoly, mass slavery, world war & annihilation– to socialism.

This is obviously sociopathic “thinking,” which is why Donald J. Trump is now the US President who has been given unlimited governmental authority to wage war on socialists. That’s what economic inequality, internet censorship, and war on immigrants while inciting neo-Nazi violence is all about– it’s the political strategy of fascists.

The objective of socialists since Trump was handed the US Presidency on November 8, 2016 is to discredit fascism & the deep state– in order to prevent a world war. It’s over three years, and humanity has now been perilously driven to the brink of world war by these madmen & madwomen.

But the truth is there is no mass support for any of these lunatic semi-corpses anymore. They are ready to crumble, and will, as soon as their supply of free money, media monopoly & military obedience finally fails them as a class.

If there is an election this November, Trump will get less votes this time, because he no longer fools so many people. The situation for most is getting worse, while Trump the conman keeps making speeches on how things are better than ever. That’s the way it is for billionaires.

For the Democrats  it’s their primary season, as Iowa is finally two weeks away, with billions already spent on 2020. Among young, left-leaning voters, Tulsi Gabbard was by far the most popular early candidate, especially after she embarrassed #MeToo & BLM party favorite Kamala Harris as shown here.

Gabbard has been a target of Hillary Clinton, who refers to the congresswoman from Hawaii as a “Russian asset” in the media. We’re talking about a left-leaning, CIA Democrat in Tulsi Gabbard. She has been neutralized at this point, fundraising-wise, but now Bernie Sanders has regained the top spot in many Democratic polls. This deeply concerns the Clinton’s, Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the rest of the deep state.

At this point, any expression of any impulse to the left is dealt with hysterically through the corporate media. Denunciations, censorship & blacklisting are the methods. Hence the term “fake news,” which didn’t exist ten years ago, but is understood by everyone with a functioning brain today.

Serious political discussions need to be ongoing for as long as possible, with the realization that the deep state may eventually block internet access to the masses. This coordinated shutdown of essential services has been rehearsed over & over during “natural disasters” such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods & fires.

The ruling establishment has its hands on all the levers of power, and a playbook from which it never veers. This makes them powerful, but predicable. When you know what the ultra-rich will do in every crisis, then you can be ready with a revolutionary strategy to defeat them. It’s up to the yearning masses to consider all this, and be ready to act when the time comes.

The #1 rule in bourgeois politics is: no socialism. Only Trump is allowed to say that, because he’s a fascist, which is acceptable. Democrats prefer to hide that primary motto, under the guise of pseudo-politics such as feminism & black racialism, which support elite members of those demographics, under the tired lies of class discrimination & social inequality.

Both parties double-down on their reactionary ideologies, because they have no other choice. As the absurdity of their policies became more apparent, their social support erodes even further. Kids don’t believe in politicians anymore, like they used to. There’s too much information, and access to it, which proves them liars. Millennials are smart like that.

Conclusion: These are the outlines of the coming social revolution. The wildfires in Australia and everywhere else will never be contained under capitalism, and that is now apparent on a mass scale. Humanity has reached it’s tipping point, where business-as-usual is about to come to an end. There is too much want & awareness, combined with too much excess & hypocrisy, for things to continue as before.

The deep state can’t behead 21st-century socialist leadership, because it’s now grown to a point where so many advanced workers & youth have become learned & class-conscious that leadership will be able to nurture & replenish itself from within. Socialized leadership for permanent revolution.

Julian Assange is an example of this process, as he sits in Belsmarsh prison outside of London, awaiting a rigged extradition trial. Assange is a courageous whistle-blowing journalist who has been kidnapped & tortured by the US & UK governments & deep states. But even if he dies in prison, WikiLeaks will live on. The point is to get Julian Assange out alive, which protects ALL journalists & whistle-blowers.

The coming Julian Assange trial portends this revolution. While the courts of law are rigged, the court of public opinion is squarely behind Assange & freedom of the press. This up-coming show trial could be the spark that ignites this coming socialist revolution. The ruling establishments fear this, while revolutionaries are preparing for it.

The reason capitalism must collapse and be revolutionized into socialism is because it’s an idea whose time has come. There is no amount of fake media, authoritative coercion & physical violence that can stop an idea whose time has come. That is a fundamental truth of socialism.

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Forecasting professional tennis

Preface– posted 12-24-2019 on my Facebook page: Australia needs to get their wildfires under control, otherwise there isn’t going to be an event in Sydney. Same for the Aussie Open which follows in Melbourne.

Defending Aussie Open champion & unofficial ATP spokesperson for the players, Novak Djokovic, has voiced concerns about the impact of these wildfires on the tennis season-opening major, saying organizers may have to consider delaying the tournament if conditions around Melbourne deteriorate further, as player health becomes the primary concern. The wildfires have increased the temperatures to well over 40 degrees Celsius in Sydney & Melbourne, creating an oven-like environment across the continent, choked with toxic fumes.

The reply by tournament organizers who are beholden to the sponsors & networks is, “We have three roofed-stadiums and eight indoor courts at Melbourne Park. In the unlikely [!] case of extreme smoke conditions, the roofs will be closed on the three stadium courts and play will continue in their air-conditioned and air-filtered environment. #AusOpen”

As if this omnipresent smoke doesn’t filter indoors where the rich & famous are. That’s how elites view global warming. What about when the players & fans leave the court & go outside? Where do they stay that isn’t unhealthy?

There are 128 men & 128 women competing in singles in this major, meaning there are 254 matches to be played in total, over two weeks. Then there are all the doubles & mixed doubles matches, so we can clearly see through all the smoke & mirrors from the media that the Australian Open is logistically impossible with only 11 courts available,

This assumes these 11 courts will be playable, which they probably won’t be, due to the poor air quality. This sports analogy is a microcosm of the problem, in the refusal of elites to see facts as they are, while trying to carry on with business as usual.

After the Australian Open, the men’s & women’s tennis tour moves to North America, with Indian Wells, CA, and to a lesser extent Miami, FL being the key events. Located approximately equidistant south of Los Angeles & north of San Diego, Indian Wells is a west coast rock star event, located on a resort between the San Bernadino National Forest & Joshua Tree National Park. It’s hard to say what the conditions for tennis will be at Indian Wells from Monday, March 9 to Sunday, March 22, but here’s the California wildfire fire map as of 10-30-19:

Springtime isn’t wildfire season in California (but then again is wasn’t wildfire season when Australia broke out in flames), so the focus of the BNP Paribas Open will be mostly on the silicon valley billionaires schmoozing with the celebrity athletes, making new connections, and learning to see eye-to-eye with each other. Very important off-the-court stuff.

Many of the top ATP & WTA players skip the Miami Open, the final hardcourt event before the clay-court season begins in Europe. Women’s tennis star Serena Williams now literally owns this venue & event, with her financial stake. She’s from the Miami area, and has won this event more any any other player.

Serena Williams is a polarizing figure in professional sports, and many top players who have bypassed this event in the past, have even more reason to do so again, so don’t expect Maria Sharapova to attend.

By being black & female, Serena Williams automatically checks boxes for those with a political agenda, such as the Black Lives Matter or #MeToo campaigns. These were/are deep state Democrat concoctions, and Serena Williams has profited handsomely as a representative. Her TUE use, along with her sister Venus’, is never questioned, or even brought up in the official corporate media, who are in lockstep with all this.

There is SOOOO much money to be made by just obeying the rules of the puppet-masters. Top professional athletes are paid for two reasons: 1) they are the best, and 2) they obey the rules of the game. If you get out of line, you become Colin Kaepernick. In Hollywood, you become Kevin Spacey. In journalism, you become Julian Assange.

Looking ahead to conditions for the upcoming clay court season, I Google searched “European wildfire map,” but nothing recent came up– probably due to algorithms. Then I clicked under People also ask: How many wildfires in the world right now?

Most recent data is 2017: “In 2017, there were 71,499 wildfires, compared to 65,575 wildfires in the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. About 10 million acres were burned in the 2017 period, compared with 5.4 million in 2016.

And for comparison, “As of one day ago, about 12.35 million acres of land have burned across Australia, according to the Associated Press.”

The clay court tennis season culminates with the French Open in Paris, France, running from Sunday, May 24, 2020 – Sunday, June 7. By this time the movement des gilets jaunes (yellow vests) will be over 18 months in existence, and growing stronger. At this point, this story is virtually censored in all the western media outlets, who never wanted to report it in the first place. The is a leaderless movement of the working people, against the Ancien Régime of capitalism.

The French workers are demanding the overthrow of a despised representative of the elite, Emmanuel Macron. The government response has been media blacklisting & censorship, negative interest rates & money printing for the rich, and massive build-up of the intelligence & police state apparatus– to be used against the population. It’s very difficult to prognosticate what will be the precise conditions at Roland Garros 2020, but it promises to be a fevered environment for sure.

After clay, it’s grass and a quick turn-around to Wimbledon. The French Open lets the players flash their fashion style, especially the women. But Wimbledon is located in London, England, and is all white & always will be.

This traditionally reserved dress code will not be able to cover over political tensions in the UK, which is now being hurled into a hard Brexit by new conservative PM Boris Johnson, a strong Donald Trump ally. Brexit (UK leaving the EU) carries catastrophic & revolutionary consequences.

Fascists such as Trump & Boris will do anything to stay in power, such as keeping courageous whistle-blowing journalist Julian Assange (pic above) in Belsmarsh prison until he’s killed. The Julian Assange rendition hearing is scheduled for February 2020 in London, but the US State Department now seems hesitant to stick to their requested date.

Julian Assange is being slowly murdered in prison, through every means of torture devised by the CIA & MI6, so their play is now to stall for more time. As of this publication, Assange is being heavily sedated, without his consent, or that of his attorney and/or physician.

The deep state mafia dons prefer another Jeffery Epstein “suicide” event, versus facing an open trial, even when the defendant has been deprived of every right to a fair defense. If alive, Julian Assange will win in court, due to massive popular support.

Everyone knows how this sham goes, so it’s indefensible when out in the open. It’s the court of public opinion that matters most, and that’s the one domain the deep state always loses in. No one cheers the deep state, except fanatical patriots & paid representatives.

It’s hard to say if this trial will even be held, and what the status of Julian Assange will be when Wimbledon unfolds from Monday, June 29, – Sunday, July 12. By then, many of these questions will answered, and many new questions will be raised, demanding more answers. All this is literally clouding my ability to prognostic if Rafa will win a 13th French Open, or if Djoker will win another Wimbledon. It doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. I believe many of the players realize this too.

After Wimbledon it’s back the the US, for the remainder of the hard court season, culminating on Monday, August 24 – Sunday, September 13 with the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, NY. There will be a lot of things going on in the Big Apple around this time.

Election 2020 will be scheduled to kick into the homestretch, with a multi-billion dollar blitz campaign of advertising, like you ain’t never seen before, which will teach us nothing. This nauseating & never-ending spectacle can only be stopped by a workers revolution which expropriates the capitalists.

The monetary policy of printing free money for the rich goes on at the Federal Reserve, located in Manhattan. It’s hard to say exactly when the financial crash of 2020 will hit, because there is so much manipulation of the tens & hundreds of trillions of dollars in worthless assets, and it is completely opaque to outsiders. But it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the winds blows, and any Econ 101 student knows what a Ponzi scheme is, so it’s only a matter of when, not if, in 2020.

It’s politics in the US that is bringing this to a head. With 2020 being a presidential election year, campaigning already began over six months ago. The early returns look awful, with Joe Biden being the choice of deep sate Democrats. This makes it a nail-biter with Trump in November, in which case Trump wins again.

If they ran pseudo-socialist candidate Bernie Sanders as their nominee, the Democrats would sweep the White House, senate & congressional races– but they don’t want that. The Democrats have shifted so far to the right, as to be indistinguishable from conservative Republicans– meaning they are all fascists. The Dems prefer the Reps to do the uncomfortable dirty work of illegalizing immigration & inciting racial hatred.

The final tennis major of the 2020 season, the US Open, will be unusually difficult to prognosticate due to all this. Will Naomi Osaka put it all together and become the next dominant force in women’s tennis? Can Sloane Stephens regain her form? Does Angelique Kerber still have it? Can Petra Kvitova finally capture another major? I gaze at this photo below, and wonder.

Or will we be in the midst of an unprecedented global economic crash & political crisis which leaves humanity with two options: socialist revolution or World War? It’s really hard to know.

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David Stern: Master of Puppets

Post-publication preface: On Friday, January 3, it was announced that NBA players & referees will wear black bands on their uniforms for the rest of the season to honor David Stern. This symbolism keeps all the actors ethereally tethered to that great basketball commissioner in the sky.

The puppet master of the NBA just passed away yesterday from a brain hemorrhage at age 77. David Stern was the manipulator responsible for bring Patrick Ewing to the NY Knicks; allowing Shaquille O’Neal to travel & brutalize opponents at will for a decade; and always had Joey Crawford ready to fix a crucial game of a play-off series– to make sure the “right” team won. David Stern led the NBA to new financial heights with a leadership style comparable to a mafia don.

I’m the only one writing this in the media, but I’m not crazy. The near-universal praise for David Stern posthumously is from those players, coaches & sportswriters who were taken into his confidence, and always knew how to obey & get in line when “requested” it.

Let’s start with what you know about basketball. Here’s a quick quiz to prove. Who’s the greatest basketball player ever?  The correct answer is Wilt Chamberlain– the most dominant player ever: 30 points, 23 rebounds & 10+ blocks per game for his career. Blocks weren’t kept as a NBA stat until after Chamberlain retired, but 10-12 blocks per game is a fair estimate for his career. Those are silly numbers, and no one else is comparable. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is probably the second greatest basketball player ever (it’s all about the big man in hoops), and he was dominated by Wilt Chamberlain in their few match-ups in the 1970’s.

Wilt didn’t win championships like Bill Russell, because the Boston Celtics were an elite franchise with Red Auerbach as coach & GM, the best of his era, and basketball is a team game. The Big Dipper played on lesser teams, until he joined the LA Lakers for the final 5 seasons of his 14-year NBA career. Chamberlain never fouled out of a NBA game, which is impossible for anyone else.

Wilt Chamberlain still holds over 90 NBA records, 45 years after retiring. He was a Harlem Globetrotter before joining the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959, and he had handles. Wilt Chamberlain led the league in assists, while also leading in scoring & rebounding– another impossible feat accomplished only by The Record Book.

The rule for opponents was, “Don’t get him mad.” If you tried to disrespect, trash-talk, cheat or trip-up Wilt Chamberlain, then you unleashed the beast– which no one could handle. Chamberlain then goes for 60 points, 40 rebounds & 25 blocked shots; which means he totally dominates the game and his team wins 98-57. That happened a few times, and opponents afterwards humbly apologized & promised to never disrespect him again.

If they were sincere & Chamberlain believed them, then he would go back to 30 points, 23 boards & 10 blocks next game, and everybody was happy. Just let him do his thing and prove to everybody that he’s the best, and he’ll let you play too. That was Wilt Chamberlain. There’s never been another player like that, and there never will be. If you didn’t know this already, then you REALLY need to listen to me on what I’m saying about David Stern, because you don’t know hoops.

The rise of the NBA came about because of Magic Johnson & Larry Bird entering the league in 1979-80, and then Michael Jordan’s arrival in 1984. The original 1992 Dream Team was the NBA’s zenith era, as far as quality of play & level of competitiveness. When Shaq bolted from Orlando to LA to join Kobe, and Phil Jackson was brought in to manage them in the late-1990’s, the NBA became a different league.

In this “new school” era, high school players declared themselves eligible for the NBA draft after their senior year. The money had gotten so big, that you had to do this if you were Kevin Garnett, LeBron James or Dwight Howard. The “one & done” NCAA standout becomes commonplace after David Stern institutes an age requirement for the NBA, ending the era of high school players from entering the draft.

Shooting percentages, offensive efficiency, and ratings have all declined since Micheal Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls after winning their 6th NBA title in 1998. The great players of his era had all retired, or were about to, and the new school game was here to stay. New school means a different attitude, which allows young players who haven’t earned the respect of their peers to act like prima donnas, because they are paid like superstars and have endorsements on television. The term “coach killer” enters NBA lexicon.

In this new era, players are now paid on potential, because all the existing talent has been scooped up. Anything young with basketball potential attracts everyone’s attention, and that’s when the bidding war starts. The latest incarnation of this phenomenon is Zion Williamson, the “one-and-done” Duke Blue Devil, who became the #1 pick last June. He hurt himself early, and still hasn’t made his NBA debut with the New Orleans Pelicans. His contract pays him $9,757,440 for this season, and it’s considered a bargain in the industry. This is the progress David Stern brought.

So the questions are: Is the NBA better because of David Stern? Was Stern the “smartest man in the room,” or a manipulative master of puppets? How much damage did he do to the game from an integrity standpoint? These questions were never seriously raised when he was commissioner, as he squelched all NBA dissent with a wry smile to the media & an iron fist behind closed doors.

This was a powerful, well-connected individual, who acted the role of mafia don, because that’s what he was. The NBA was under his commissionership from 1984 to 2014, and he ruled absolutely. He was there for the greatest explosion in popularity in league history, which was due to its great stars– primarily Michael Jordan, and the advances in technology such as cable & satellite TV– and then the internet. That’s the real reason for the massive increases in revenue for the NBA.

David Stern was the tough-minded businessman who always took the considerations of the owners, sponsors & networks as primary. The players, coaches, & fans came to be treated as tools for manipulation to extract more money.

Many new arenas were built (& re-built) in the David Stern era. Each time the seats became more costly. For those who couldn’t afford front row on the floor, they became more distant & cramped. The games got noisier during time-outs, at halftime, and even during the game. The David Stern approach was the classic business theory of catering to the “casual fan,” which always diminishes the game.

Either you like basketball, and want to see a NBA game, or you aren’t interested. Today, there are enough fans to fill any arena, but if the product has been diluted & degraded by NBA greed & malfeasance, then fans will turn elsewhere– as they have choices. Appealing to the “casual fan” who is more interested in his/her cell phone, than the action on the floor, while delivering an inferior & boring product doesn’t help grow the game.

This is what happened at the end of David Stern’s reign, and it defines many of the NBA franchises today. There are only 4-5 teams that can win a championship in any given season. Since the break-up of Shaq & Kobe in LA, stars group together to form super-teams which can make a run at multiple titles. It was LeBron James going to Miami, then Kevin Durant to Golden State. Everyone else is fodder.

In all of the official sportswriters obituaries, there is no mention of NBA betting scandals & rigged officiating in the playoffs. The Kings/Lakers series in 2002 was the most blatant fix in NBA history– the point where many “old school” basketball fans quit watching. Ridiculous.

The LA Lakers winning titles means better ratings, and this is a large part of how league revenue grew so much under David Stern’s watch. NBA players & coaches can’t criticize the officiating without getting huge fines. This is the ugly, unreported legacy of David Stern as NBA commissioner. The money got bigger than ever, while the game became unwatchable due to this corruption. ESPN and all the rest looked the other way, and took their cut.

When it comes to true power, it’s the one pulling the strings that matters. Despite the greatness of every NBA superstar from Bird, Magic & Michael to Shaq, Kobe & LeBron; all of them were/are puppets compared to David Stern. It’s the one manipulating the action, deciding which match-ups you will see, and ultimately who wins– that has the the power.

As a society we are fascinated by powerful people, but that doesn’t mean they deserve blind admiration. The fake corporate media censors what you read & hear about the ugly underbelly of the NBA, because its “caretakers” know the depth of this cynicism & corruption. It’s considered “bad for the game” to discuss any of this openly & honestly, because ratings may go down even further. Little-to-no consideration is given to open admission of guilt & sin, allowing the game to heal itself and restore its integrity. These ideas were always an anathema to David Stern & his sycophants.

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Defining Terms

Bourgeois politics can be confusing, for sure. So here’s a handy Marxist working dictionary of what you need to know when everything crashes.

“Modern Monetary Theory” is unlimited money for the rich, dressed up in post-modernist gobble-de-gook. In short, it’s monopoly capitalism. Capitalism is how a billionaire class can develop, by extracting all the wealth of labor from the workers, and congealing it into money. Marxism is a scientific approach to political economy, with the intent of educating & uniting the global working class in revolution, to overthrow capitalism & establish socialism. Socialism is defined as social equality for all– globally & permanently.

When philistine haters attempt to slander socialism, they usually equate it with Stalinism, which is bureaucratic rule over a state-planned economy. Russian workers & peasants in the army, led by the Bolsheviks of Lenin & Trotsky, overthrew the Tsar & reformists in 1917, and state planning was then implemented. When Lenin eventually died from ill health, due to gunshot wounds he received in an assassination attempt by a liberal party loyalist, there was an ideological struggle for power between Trotsky & Stalin.

Stalin was an unexceptional old Bolshevik bureaucrat, who was kept in the background during the October Revolution because of his centrist tendencies which were correctly considered counter-revolutionary by Lenin & Trotsky. After Lenin’s debilitating strokes, and then final death in January 1924, Stalin stepped forward and defined his theory of “socialism in one country” to attack Trotsky and usurp power for himself, which he eventually did as Trotsky was exiled by 1929.

Stalin played the political game well, and laid many traps for his friends & enemies, eventually liquidating them all. Trotsky himself was one of the last old Bolsheviks to be murdered by Stalin’s agents, in August, 1940 in Mexico City, just as World War II broke out. Trotsky fought mostly with his pen, which is why he remains so powerful a figure in modern politics. Trotskyism is the only genuine expression of revolutionary socialism in the world today, represented by the ICFI and their publishing organ, the World Socialist Web Site.

Stalinism and all of its crimes are directly comparable to Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist party, better known as the Nazis. Nationalism & socialism are diametric opposites in politics. That’s because genuine socialism (Trotskyism) is international in perspective. Nationalism is about racism, religious chauvinism & patriotism, which define they worst instincts of humanity in their ignorance, selfishness & lack of democratic input.

Diametric & dialectic are similar words. The latter is the philosophy of Marxism, which replaces religion and all other forms of mysticism, with the science of opposites & revolution known as dialectics. When water freezes or turns to steam, there are qualitative shifts in the properties of water. What happens to water at 0 & 100 Celsius, is unlike anything in-between or beyond those temperatures. That’s a clear metaphor for dialectics, in that you have to stop thinking linearly and more dialectically, in times of revolutionary flux in order to understand what is happening.

When an army of millions of peasants led by a political opportunist, overthrows an ancient regime after a Second World War, and takes state power into it’s hands, that is called Maoism. When a band of peasants & guerrillas take state power into their hands in a banana republic, because it falls to them, that is called Castroism. When an anarchist leader proclaims, “Power comes from a gun barrel,” and then dies isolated in a third-world jungle, that is called Guevaraism.

The collapse of the Soviet Union from 1989-91 profoundly influenced US militarists, who saw it as an opportunity to reconquer the world. These are the bureaucrats, profiteers & warheads who planned 9/11, and engineered the bank bailouts after the financial crash of 2007-08. This is what is known as the deep state.

Our biggest political problem is the deep state, which is not acknowledged. “Thank God for the deep state” said ex-CIA Director John McLaughlin, to resounding audience approval on October 31, 2019. Up until then, “deep state” was another nutty conspiracy theory, pushed by kooks online such as yours truly. Now it’s vindicated, but still not discussed, except in the most general & glowingly patriotic terms.

The deep state is defined as any powerful institution which no one elects and holds power over US political economy. Every nation has a deep state these days. This institution acts independently of public oversight & democratic input. The Federal Reserve banking system is part of the deep state. So is the CIA, and the rest of the military-police apparatus. They will always lie & slander to hide their own guilt, and will never give up power peacefully. The deep state is the root of all evil under capitalism, and it must be dealt with decisively.

“Quantitative easing,” negative interest rates for big banks, and now the “repo market” intervention by the Fed & Treasury, are injections of newly printed money which has no backing, but is desperately needed to keep this “zombie economy” going. Zombie companies are defined as publicly traded corporations that can’t even pay the interest on their debt– which is massive & unpayable. At least 20% of DJIA & NASDAQ listings are zombies. This endless supply of free money keeps the stock market going up & up to new all-time highs, from which it will eventually crash.

Government is defined as a committee of the ruling class, so if you want social justice, then don’t look towards the two-party system bureaucrats for solutions. They put us in this mess in the first place. The solution in politics is so far beyond reform, that it makes Bernie Sanders look so much like the old windbag he actually is. Liberalism is dead, as it died with Barack Obama and all his vague promises of hope & change back in 2008. Then Hillary Clinton came out stillborn 2016, and the working masses got Russiagate & the #MeToo campaign in retribution for Donald Trump winning the Electoral College.

Journalists are defined as people who report the events of the world. The best ones do it honestly & with deep insight. Julian Assange is a journalist. People who persecute journalists for revealing the truth are fascists. Fascism comes in many forms, through the thuggish brutality personified by Donald Trump, or from the deep state, hidden spook, censorship version– agreed to by all the rest in the US two-party set-up. These are the “adults in the room” we are told by authoritative fake news sources.

Fake news is defined as CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Breitbart, ABC, CBS, NBC, et al. They are all owned by multi-national corporations, who push a pro-capitalist agenda in their interest. Social media including Facebook, Twitter, Google & YouTube is revolutionary in that everyone can now participate, but realize that it has also been tied into the deep state, which manipulates what you see, while selling your content to others without your knowledge. That’s called stealing, creeping, and abusing power. These entities will all become public utilities under socialism, with democratic control by users, which allows for maximum participation & innovation.

“Two-party strait-jacket” means Democrats & Republicans are two sides of the same coin– domestically & in foreign policy. They can’t exist without the other, and therefore are all in it together. Their mission in Washington is to enslave the working class, and rule the world through intimidation & military supremacy. This is pathological madness personified in capitalist politics.

Madness is defined as repeating the same mistakes over & over again, and expecting better results. This is the conundrum which no Ivory Tower, ideological apologist can solve or hide, no matter how eloquent they are in post-modernist sophistry. Capitalism is bankrupt, and must be overthrow dialectically, through the international working masses uniting under the banner of socialist revolution in permanence.

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MLB 2019 Winter Meetings Round-up

Here’s the latest analysis on what’s going on in major league baseball this hot stove season.

MLB is pushing the new Red Sox GM to trade ace lefty David Price to the Angels, only they don’t have the prospects to make it happen. No way the Red Sox deal him to the Yankees. The only teams left with the prospects & payroll flexibility are in the NL– namely the Dodgers & Padres. One of these two teams will end up with David Price, if he’s dealt, which could happen this winter.

David Price is owed $32M/year for the final three seasons of his 7-year deal. The Red Sox need to get under the Luxury Tax threshold of $208M by dealing one of their high-payroll stars. Price is the pitcher everyone covets, and thus the easiest asset to deal. This is where having payroll flexibility and a good farm system pays off for contenders.

The Astros are also interested & able, but the Red Sox view them the same as the Yankees, a team in their league who is ahead of them. You can’t help them get better. Thus, David Price needs to be traded to the NL.

The Nationals just resigned ace RHP Stephen Strasburg, so they are done on starters. The Braves need a true ace to move beyond the Divisional round of the post-season, but do they have they the prospects & ownership approval for such a payroll increase? LHP Cole Hamels is probably not enough.

The Chicago Cubs maxed themselves on payroll with RHP Hu Darvish, and busted. The Milwaukee Brewers don’t have the budget for David Price. Neither have the prospects. The Cardinals are similar to the Giants: old, expensive & mediocre, so no one who is great & wants to win goes there.

In the NL West, the rebuilding Diamondbacks just dealt their ace Zack Greinke to the Astros last July, and aren’t in the market, even though they have the prospects. They may yet deal their best lefty starter Robbie Ray this winter. The Rockies are bloated with payroll, and still too many needs, with few prospects. Besides, pitchers never want to go there. I don’t know if David Price has a no-trade clause.

So it comes down to the Dodgers, who are looking for another ace to keep them ahead of the rest of the NL West; and the Padres who are looking to crash their party by establishing themselves as contenders in 2020. If AJ Preller & the Padres land David Price, they will have done that.

Remember that Dave Dombrowski was fired as Red Sox GM last summer. He was the one who made the Craig Kimbrel deal with Preller, for what turned out to be CF Manny Margot, and three other prospects who washed out, in what was hyped as a steal for the Padres at the time. Kimbrel gave the Red Sox everything he had, until his arm went dead in late 2018. Craig Kimbrel helped them win the World Series that year, which deserves respect & gratitude from every Red Sox fan. It was a fair trade in the end.

The other Dombrowski-Preller deal was the now infamous Drew Pomeranz-Anderson Espinoza deal. Many in the Red Sox Nation howled that Dombrowski had been “ripped off again by the Padres” when this deal was announced in summer 2016. A MLB/ESPN media lynch mob was formed to sanction AJ Preller, for “undisclosed anti-inflammatories” in Drew Pomeranz’s medical history with the Padres, as retribution.

AJ Preller even offered to rescind the deal, and take Drew Pomeranz back, but Dave Dombrowski refused, while the east coast media went into overdrive. This is why AJ Preller was suspended by MLB for a month in 2016. RHP prospect Anderson Espinoza never made it out of the minors, and is currently recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox won that trade too, yet many within the organization still complain.

The fact is, you can’t do business with liars & haters. That’s the Padres perspective. The final irony here is the Padres signing Drew Pomeranz to a 4-year $34M deal this winter, to be an ace set-up man. The only thing that makes David Price to the Padres a possibility now, was the removal of Dave Dombrowski as GM. There are still many in the Red Sox organization who harbor hate for the Padres, for making them look bad in how they have abused their clout with MLB.

The lowest point in the Padres-Red Sox relationship was the “Shohei Ohtani Affair” in which the Boston Red Sox used ESPN/MLB hatchet-man Buster Olney to openly tamper, in order to stop AJ Preller from getting Shohei Ohtani in free agency when he was posted from Japan. That’s how the most coveted Japanese two-way player ever ended up as an Los Angeles Angel.

These are the undercurrents of what’s going on in the David Price trade market. Ace lefties are rare birds, and it’s a better value to get them for 3 years, versus paying for 7-9 years in free agency. It cost teams about the same in average annual value, while limiting the long-term payroll commitment & risk. The Dodgers & Padres are all over this, you can be sure.

What’s going on this hot stove season is remarkable, which is why I’m commenting so extensively. It’s clear that teams are trending more towards being open & honest about their off-season plans. Unsurprisingly, honesty makes it easier for teams to accurately judge the market and make deals, whether it’s trades, free agency, or Rule 5 Draft selections. The 26-man roster creates new possibilities for all 30 teams.

As explained earlier, the good teams with strong farm systems are now making their moves at the Winter Meetings, because they are now clear of Rule 5 Draft considerations. The Nationals re-upped with Stephen Strasburg, and then the Yankee inked Gerrit Cole to a new record-breaking MLB 9/$324M deal a day later.

When each team better understands the other’s interests & position, then teams can reach a comfort level in dealing with each other. Conversely, when one is a arrogant, with more money than brains, then one doesn’t think about the other side when dealing SS Fernando Tatis, Jr for a cooked RHP James Shields. Or RHP Chris Paddack for closer Fernando Rodney.

In the past, many teams took a Red Auerbach (deceptive misdirection) approach to their off-season plans, which doesn’t work in a competitive & balanced league like MLB. That only insults the intelligence of the people you need to do business with in today’s world.

The Padres have been open about their intentions, and have followed through on them. They said they were going to trade players they felt had under-performed; and 2B Luis Urias, LHP Eric Lauer, RF Hunter Renfroe, and a few prospects are now gone.

The players they received in return are better, but more expensive & for shorter team control. Preller is winning deals, but he’s not ripping anyone off. Most of these deals look win-win to me, with teams lining up different needs. Preller is dealing from strength, which is his supply of young controllable MLB talent & interesting prospects.

Unloading OF/1B Wil Myers will be his final order of business before Spring Training. Wil Myers has gone from franchise player to clubhouse problem, and needs a change of scenery. The organization is frustrated with his lack of growth & make-up. He has tantalizing hot streaks, where you see the potential come through, then he falls into a funk for two months or gets hurt.

A rebuilding team may target Wil Myers as a buy-low candidate. The Padres will eat salary (3/$61M remaining) to move him. If they can’t deal him, he’ll likely be a utility player. That has value to the Padres, but is very expensive for their needs. That’s their situation, and AJ Preller hasn’t locked himself into anything. That’s how you fix a mistake, without making the bigger situation worse. Hard work, due diligence & patience.

Wil Myers turned 29 on December 10, and hit .239/.321/.418 in 155 games in 2019. His manager Andy Green was fired near season’s end, in a move meant to shake up the organization. It was the performance of Wil Myers and a few others that cost Andy Green his job. Andy Green was an excellent manager in his nearly 4 seasons with the Padres.

Green was put in impossible situations every year, with a weak roster & no depth. He held the Padres together in 2016, and again in 2017, when Preller traded everything he could to rebuild the system. It paid off for the organization, so it seems unfair that Andy Green isn’t a part of what is already a much better Padres roster. Andy Green certainly deserves another shot in MLB as a manager, with a roster that can win or an organization that requires patience.

Jayce Tingler is the new San Diego Padres skipper, following an established trend of young manager hires, which AJ Preller started when he hired Andy Green, after Bud Black was fired in mid-2015. Tingler is bilingual in Spanish, which is another trend you see in new MLB dugout skippers.

As mentioned, the organizations that are masking their intentions, are being left behind. I see the NY Mets as an example of this. They’ve spent so much time waffling back-and-forth on trading RHP Noah Syndergaard, finally stating after the World Series that he’s “off the market,” that they clearly had no “Plan B.” The Mets get a compensation pick from the Philadelphia Phillies for signing free agent RHP Zack Wheeler.

The Mets took forever to hire Carlos Beltran as their new manager, whom everyone loves, but he can only do so much with this roster. They aren’t making big splashes like they did last winter, after it blew up in their face. But they don’t seem to be hunting for mid-level free agent upgrades, or looking to make any serious trades either. They’re hoping for rebound years & better health from what they have.

A wish isn’t a plan. That’s my favorite Herman Edwards (NFL player/head coach/analyst) saying. The Mets have acquired platoon CF Jake Marsnick from the Astros for two prospects. Neither were on their Top 30 list, but they keep making these deals, and are running out of organizational depth. With all the holes they have on their roster, and no ownership commitment for a significant payroll increase, no MLB team is more caught in “no man’s land” than the New York Mets.

I’ve read more than a few articles on MLB’s site (& elsewhere) which cite an “un-named AL executive” and “un-named NL executive” in their analysis. I take this as Yankees GM Brian Cashman & Padres GM AJ Preller. Those are the two sharks running the MLB talent acquisition market this winter. These two teams made their intentions clear, and have followed through, and that sets the market.

Much of the top talent is now off the board, and that helps the free agent market move along. The lessons to players & agents is: when it’s your turn, don’t dick around. The market will make its best offer, and if you don’t take it, they will move on and leave you behind. Draft pick compensation matters, as free agents Mike Moustakis, Dallas Keuchel & Craig Kimbrel all learned the hard way.

The Rule 5 Draft will happen tomorrow morning, and there will be an update here. The Yankees were one team that needed to add 6-8 prospects to its 40 man roster to avoid them being taken in the Rule 5 Draft. That’s why they waited until the Winter Meetings to sign Gerrit Cole.

Among the Padres prospects left unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft were: Esteury Ruiz, Buddy Reed, Trevor Megill, Dauris Valdez and Michael Gettys. None are anything close to MLB ready, and are more like organizational depth, so selecting any one of these players means sacrificing a MLB roster spot for a season, for a long-shot.

With analytics and obsession over young talent, it’s harder to hit on this Rule 5 lottery than in the past. The point is that the San Diego Padres have the best farm system, and the New York Yankees are they deepest organization– and both left very little available.

The final storyline leaving the Winter Meetings is that if you haven’t helped yourself by now, it’s probably too late, as most of the top talent is already gone, as bargains are few in that market. After 3B Anthony Rendon signs, what’s left is second-tier talent– starting with LHP Madison Bumgarner. He’ll be the top QO free agent left, followed by 3B Josh Donaldson who declined Atlanta’s QO. Everyone needs pitching, and Josh Donaldson still puts up numbers, so they’ll both probably sign soon.

It’s OF Marcell Ozuna who may be the one frozen out this winter. The age-29 slugging outfielder declined his qualifying offer from the Cardinals. The Cards still want him back, but at less money. No one else seems to be interested. He’s too similar to Wil Myers, and thus not worth losing the draft pick to every other team outside of St. Louis. Padres GM AJ Preller’s desire to move Wil Myers dramatically affects the market for Marcell Ozuna and all other free agent sluggers.

The hottest markets are starting pitching, relief pitching, and then catching. Organizations now understand catching as a tandem, meaning there needs to be depth at that position. That’s why all the best catchers were quickly signed (or acquired in trade) as free agency opened. More importantly, catching is now understood to be an extension of the pitching staff, so defense really matters. Twenty-six man rosters in 2020 means some teams will go with three catchers.

Teams in need are looking for players that will give them 2+ WAR at a position in free agency. According to MLB’s 2019 metrics among position players: only LF Marcell Ozuna (age 29, 2.6 WAR); CF Brett Gardner (age 36, 3.5 WAR); RF’s Nicholas Castellanos (age 28, 2.8 WAR) & Kole Calhoun (age 32, 2.5 WAR); DH Edwin Encarnación (age 37, 2.5 WAR); 2B Eric Sogard (age 34, 2.6 WAR); and catcher Robinson Chirinos (age 36, 2.3 WAR) meet those qualifications. Note that most of them are old, so none of them will get lucrative long-term deal. Look for the younger players, with better futures to get the better free agent deals.

RHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (age 33, 4.8 WAR), LHP Madison Bumgarner (age 30, 3.2 WAR), and RHP Homer Bailey (age 34, 2.9 WAR) are the only free agent starting pitchers with a 2+ WAR in 2019. Lots of age & mileage on these arms, which is what makes them second-tier. Still, it’s pitching so it should move along, as long as egos don’t get out of control.

It’s when a Craig Kimbrel type of talent brings unrealistic expectations to the market, that things get messed up. Remember Kimbrel wanted 5/$85M or something crazy like that last year, when he was QO-tagged by the Red Sox, who didn’t want him back. After sitting out until the June Draft, and then signing with the Cubs, he was a disaster.

The Cubs re-upped with him at 3/$43M this winter, which doesn’t sound like a winning move for the Northsiders, but now we at least know what Craig Kimbrel is worth in free agency. The few known relievers who could help contenders were snatched up early, and what’s left is a crapshoot. That’s the second-tier reliever market.

No one in MLB wanted a repeat of last winter (or the winter before), where star players & their agents were holding up the market. It appears teams & free agent players/agents have come to an understanding on how the market is to work. This is the primary reason star players have moved much more quickly this hot stove season. It has been largely fan analysis & player push back on this, which has fueled this step forward.

Final Update: Wed 11 Dec 2019 11:35 PM EST

My timing is uncanny, as just after publishing on Wednesday ~6 PM EST, a flood of lower-tier free agent signings occurred as the Winter Meetings wrapped up in San Diego.

Dodgers have deal with righty reliever Blake Treinen (report): 1/$10M
Mets, Wacha agree to deal (source): MLB Network insider Joel Sherman reports Wacha will receive $3 million guaranteed with $7 million possible in incentives
Roark, Blue Jays agree to deal (source): 2/$24M
Crew has deal with KBO MVP Lindblom (source): 3/$9.125M for an age-32 starting RHP

Analysis: This is bullpen desperation for the Dodgers, and back-of-the-rotation rotation filler for the rest, with age-33 RHP Tanner Roark being the most obvious overpay by the Toronto Blue Jays– who are going nowhere. This is an example of the difference between trying to compete, and giving fans the illusion of trying to compete.

Later in the evening, it was reported by MLB that 3B Anthony Rendon agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels.

Analysis: The LA Angels needed to make a splash and improve themselves, and this helps. Unfortunately, they still have no pitching past Shohei Ohtani, who is coming off Tommy John surgery and will surely have innings limits. A six-man rotation is their plan, so they need at least two more quality starting pitchers after acquiring RHP Dylan Bundy from the Orioles.

Even better if they get three, because Dylan Bundy stinks. The problem is quality starters don’t exist in free agency anymore, as the Yanks & Nats ate them up. Look for the Halos to throw desperate money at big-name free agent pitchers, after they fail to land David Price. CF Mike Trout is still the best player in baseball, and he is worth the extension; but 1B/DH Albert Pujols is their franchise albatross since Josh Hamilton’s contract expired in 2017. OF Justin Upton ain’t no bargain either.

Final NL Winter Meeting Wrap-up: There have been a few head-scratchers already, none more than the Miami Marlins, who lost 105 games in 2019, acquiring 2B Jonathan Villar on December 2 from the Baltimore Orioles, after he was non-tendered due to his cost in arbitration, which will be ~$10M in 2020. This replaces 2B Starlin Castro who departs as a free agent, after being the lone MLB return in the Giancarlo Stanton salary dump to the Yankees.

Jonathan Villar is set to be a free agent after 2021, so he is an expensive rental which cost the last place Marlins a lefty pitching prospect. It won’t move them out of last place, and Villar can’t be flipped for more value, so I don’t understand what the Marlins are doing here and I’m not alone.

Righty rotation filler Jordan Yamamoto is the best player the Marlins received for MVP LF Christian Yelich to the Brewers. Top prospect in the deal CF Lewis Brinson is a bust. Twenty-four year old CF prospect Monte Harrison is a bust too. It’s also how quickly (& predictably) they busted which is very alarming to Fish fans. A bunch of nothing for Christian Yelich and his long, team friendly contract.

RHP Sandy Alcantra LHP & Zac Gallen are nice rotation pieces, as the Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis deal was by far their best trade of this teardown, their third or fourth firesale in franchise history going all the way back to 1993. Second baseman Dee Gordon was a salary dump to Seattle, and nothing materialized from the fringy prospects they acquired.

Catcher JT Realmuto was the last All-Star Derek Jeter & Mike Hill dealt, and he apparently netted a decent return from the Phillies. Catcher Jorge Alfaro is adequate and cost controllable, while prized young righty starter Sixto Sanchez is now a top-20 MLB pipeline prospect. The Phillies got an All-star catcher for a lot of years, so they already “won” this deal on their end. How Sixto Sanchez develops determines if the Marlins “win” their end of the deal, as everything else is now knowable. In summary, the Marlins gave away two MVP’s for nothing, and only acquired quality players in the Marcell Ozuna deal, and possibly the JT Realmuto deal.

The Cincinnati Reds keep making noise like they are players, when all they really have to be excited about is 3B Eugenio Suárez & young RHP Luis Castillo, whom they received from the Marlins for meatball pitcher Dan Strally in January 2017. Luis Castillo had previously been traded to the Padres for RHP Colin Rea in the Andrew Cashner deal on July 29, and then back on August 1, 2016, and this is perhaps the most infamous deal in AJ Preller trade lore.

The Reds were the beneficiary of all that foolishness as the traumatized & confused Marlins front office dealt Luis Castillo again a few months later. The tragic end of Colin Rea’s MLB career was the Marlins’ ugly unspoken organizational shame. When ace RHP Jose Fernandez was tragically killed in a boating accident a few weeks later, the Marlins fate was doomed. Soon after, longtime owner & new stadium swindler Jeffery Loria sold the Marlins for a billion dollars in profit, and Project Wolverine was implemented by new ownership.

Getting back to the Reds who have a history of never developing enough quality starters, they have gone the trade route to acquire a respectable rotation, maybe their best ever and this franchise has been in existence since 1869. Ex-Yankee RHP Sonny Gray has been extended through 2023 at an affordable cost, but RHP Trevor Bauer will be a free agent after 2020. The Reds are still a frontline pitched or two short, with big holes in their line-up. The Joey Votto extension ($25M per year 2020-2023, plus a $7M buyout) is their albatross.

The Philadelphia Phillies have been forced into the second-tier of free agency in 2020, after splashing with RHP Jake Arrieta & RF Bryce Harper the past two winters. Those signings already look bad, and it’s still early, which is scary if you are a Phillies fanatic. RHP Zack Wheeler (5/$118M) is their last plunge, and it better pay off, otherwise the Phils are sunk.

They may be sunk even if Wheeler pitches well, as their roster has too many holes in their line-up, rotation & bullpen. Didi Gregorius (1/$11.75M) at SS is risky & an overpay, which is hard to accomplish with a one-year deal, yet the Phils managed to do it. Very poor planning & money management in Philadelphia already has them near the $208M Luxury Tax threshold. They went for it before they were actually ready, and now they are stuck in the middle. Bryce Harper is their albatross.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are the last NL team to discuss. Once again, they are trading their top veteran player, this time it’s CF Starling Marte, who is age-31 and has two years of team control remaining at $24M. The last place Pirates won’t get much for him, and would do best to keep him, but recall this is the organization that traded ace RHP Gerrit Cole to Houston two years ago. Historically, this is the organization that let Barry Bonds walk. The Marlins are the worst team in the NL, with the Pirates not far ahead of them. With the fall of the Cubs, the NL Central is now the weakest division in the senior circuit.

After coveted 3B Josh Donaldson signs, there will be very few impact players left in free agency who can move the needle on any of this. It’s pitching that everyone needs. The challenge, especially for AL teams like the Rays & A’s, is to identify & sign this year’s Charlie Morton. The AL is tougher on pitchers because of the DH. Therefore the AL’s best & brightest GM’s take the top pitchers first, and leave the leftovers for the NL.

Since LHP Madison Bumgarner garners no interest from the Yankees, Astros or Rays, he has diminished value to their competitors. Notice how they weren’t interested in Zack Wheeler either. A mid-level NL team, or desperate AL team will make Madison Bumgarner (and his like) the best offers in the coming weeks of free agency. But it’s actual performance which drives wins in MLB, and it’s mostly diminishing futures for old starters. This much we know, and the rest will play out and reveal itself next season.

Many top teams don’t stick around for the Rule 5 Draft, as they aren’t making selections. Therefore this writer is also signing off on the 2019 Winter Meetings, because there is no Josh Hamilton available. Here’s a MLB preview of the Rule 5 Draft, and I’ll let readers figure the results out for themselves.

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The Russians aren’t coming!! The Russians aren’t coming!!

In case you haven’t heard the news, Russia has been banned from international sports for the next 4 years by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This history of this action goes back many years, and is a de facto extension of the 2016 Rio Olympics which excluded Russian athletes.

This ban will include the next two Olympics and next FIFA World Cup’s– men & women, if they qualify. Systemic doping of athletes, along with falsifying records turned over to WADA, were the stated reasons for the Russian ban.

The real reasons are political, of course, since everyone cheats. The US deep state understands the importance of sports as propaganda, and denying this glory to Vladimir Putin is the aim, as WADA is subservient to these puppet-masters. WADA’s lead hatchet-man is Travis Tygart.

It’s not a blanket ban for Russian athletes, meaning “clean athletes” will be allowed to compete. Who determines what a “clean athlete” is, and isn’t, is entirely up to WADA. But no Russian flag will fly, and no Russian national anthem will be played for victorious Bolsheviks at the Olympics and/or World Cup.

Howls from Moscow about “denying an athlete their glorious moment,” reeks of hypocrisy. Athletes dedicate their lives to be able to compete in a short window of Olympic games. Under capitalism, they all do it for themselves.

That patriotic hogwash you see on TV may pull the heartstrings of the dullards, and there are more than a few athletes who will go on & on about god & country in their post-game press conferences, but that’s just good business. When they calm down, they get back to taking care of themselves.

Here’s a question no one asks: Why is it presumed that every victorious Russian athlete will feel a deep sense of loss at not hearing their national anthem played? This is actually progress, and there are those who recognize it.

Also, how exactly do we define “clean athlete?” I ask, because they basically don’t exist in professional sports. And what about TUE’s? And finally, who monitors WADA, RUSADA, et al, in the public’s interest? When everything is so crooked, nothing good can come out of it.

Only internationalism can overcome these contradictions.

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The Business of Winter MLB

The Major League Baseball (MLB) hot stove season, which starts after the last out of the World Series, begins with rumors. So let’s deal with them directly, as these are the narratives the movers & shakers will be pushing this winter.

Cleveland Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti has been shopping star SS Francisco Lindor, who has two years left until free agency. Lindor is age 26, and in 5 MLB seasons has hit .288/.347/.493. He earned $10.85M in 2019, as will get another nice raise this winter in his final year of arbitration. That’s considered a bargain in MLB for that level of production.

Cleveland won 93 games in 2019, but missed the post-season finishing 8 games behind the Minnesota Twins. Antonetti already dumped RHP Trevor Bauer at the trade deadline for what he could get. More on that below, but of greater relevance here is the Yankees letting SS Didi Gregorious (2019: 82 games, .238/.276/.441) become a free agent, so look for GM Brian Cashman to make a deal. He’s interested for sure. The Yankees won 103 games, but lost in six games to the Houston Astros in the ALCS. With a Lindor type of upgrade at SS, the Yankees are better, especially with the Astros losing ace RHP Gerrit Cole to free agency.

San Francisco Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner rejected his $17.8M qualifying offer (QO), and is now a restricted free agent. He will likely become this year’s Dallas Keuchel, as both are pitchers with excellent pasts, but diminishing futures. No GM pays for past performance anymore. I speculated months ago that Bumgarner was one of these players who would do better to take his QO at season’s end.

That mid-season prediction appears to be vindicated already, as the market for him is lukewarm (at best), with draft pick compensation tied to his signing. Too many mediocre teams would rather have the draft pick, and the really good teams don’t even want him. That’s how an old, but good, player gets “middled” in free agency with a QO.

Madison Bumgarner in 2019: 9-9, 207.2 IP, 3.90 ERA. He’s age 30, with a lot of mileage, and the injuries are starting to accrue. You can’t go long-term on that. Hypothetically: what’s he worth in a 3-year deal? In this market: around 3/$45M if he was unrestricted. But with draft pick compensation tied to him, only a few teams will be interested, and at lower numbers. One year $10M. Two $18M.

Madison Bumgarner believes he’s worth more, and he’s correct; except it’s the owners & GM’s who set the market. Players have to start looking at their contracts (and CBA) in the framework of management interests vs. player interests as a united whole, instead of individually. The MLBPA (players’ union) sold them out with another bad deal that still underpays players in their primes (young stars), then only pays super-elite players in free agency, while short-changing all the rest.

That’s what the qualifying offer has done to MLB free agency, maintaining an illusion of fairness, while serving the interests of ownership & management. The MLBPA agreed to this, and sold it to the players as a good deal. They should have to answer to all the players, but instead they make excuses and deflect.

RHP Zach Wheeler will be age 30 next season, and is another interesting case. For the New York Mets he pitched 195.1 innings, went 11-8 with a 3.95 ERA. His WHIP was 1.259. It was a career year for Wheeler, and the Mets QO’ed him, but he refused it. So now what is Zack Wheeler worth? He is speculation in potential, for sure, and if some silly team (Angels) loves him with their scouting & analytics, they may make a crazy bid.

Everyone needs pitching, but once again it’s the draft pick compensation that bites. Teams like the Phillies have already publicly declared they value their draft picks. Philadelphia has been a huge buyer the last few winters. They won 81 games last year, and 80 in 2018. The Phillies need young talent to give them a shot in the arm, not more expensive veterans that cost them draft picks & young talent. That’s one less team for Wheeler & Bumgarner to go to, so I question the advice these players are getting from their agents.

Twins RHP Jake Odorizzi did the smart thing, and accepted his QO. He’ll be paid $17.8M in 2020 as a reward for his season in 2019 where he went 15-7, in 159 IP, with a 3.59 ERA for a team that won 101 games & their division. He’ll be age 30 next year, and an unrestricted free agent afterwards, which means he’ll be able to get a decent deal at age 31 because he’ll have no draft pick compensation. That’s how to beat the system, and maximize career earnings. You have to set aside your ego, and be patient.

Longtime LA Dodgers RHP Hyun-Jin Ryu accepted his $17.9M QO last November, and had a great 2019 as he went 14-5, with a 2.32 ERA, in 182.2 IP which led the staff. He’ll turn age 33 next March, but he has no restrictions, so anyone can make him an offer and all it costs is money. Any team that is spending in free agency this winter will be interested in signing him. Ryu was (and is) the test case that proves this QO market effect theory, because starting pitching is what has the most value to GM’s.

Of course I must discuss the San Diego Padres. Besides being a fan, why do I discuss them so much? 1) Because there is so much east coast bias, Padres reporting becomes necessary, as a part of comprehensive MLB coverage & fair balance. 2) They have a most-interesting front office; a GM with ambition & brains, along with ownership that is willing to spend, while being relatively “hands off.” I’ve written this since 2016, the San Diego Padres represent the newest Moneyball darling. They are a lot closer to competing for a World Series title than most people think.

Padres GM AJ Preller has declared that RHP Chris Paddack, and top prospect LHP MacKenzie Gore are ‘virtually untouchable’ in trade talks. Last winter it was the same deal with SS Fernando Tatis, Jr., whom everyone “checked in” on. I’ve pointed out repeatedly that AJ Preller controls much of the MLB trade market through his holding tight to his top-ranked farm system.

The Padres won 70 games in 2019, finished last in the NL West again, and fired their dugout manager Andy Green with less than ten games to go. Ownership wants to win & is willing to spend, and AJ Preller is not happy with his 40-man roster. His entire staff had a long season to look at their young players at all levels, as the Padres were aggressive about pushing players forward. It paid off with Tatis & Paddack, who are studs. It also gave management and scouting a chance to get a large sample size for the rest, to decide who is a keeper, and who can be traded. So look for the Padres to be MAJOR players this winter, especially in the trade market.

Preller & Antonetti have made two major deals in the past two years, the most recent a three-way deal that sent Bauer to the Reds. The Padres got a top CF prospect, and the Indians acquired LF/DH Franmil Reyes. Since the Indians are now shopping Lindor, Preller may get involved in another 3-way deal, since he has the prospects.

The Padres are also shopping OF/1B Wil Myers, who is still owed $68.5M over the next 3 seasons. The Padres will eat most of that to move him, as he’s become a liability on their roster. Wil Myers has already been involved in two of the most analyzed trades in the Moneyball era. We’ll see what his third trade brings this winter.The biggest mistake Preller made here was giving Wil Myers the big contract he hadn’t earned yet. That compounded the original error of trading SS Trea Turner.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal was another QO saga last winter. He eventually signed a $1/18M deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. After being eliminated by the Washington Nationals in the Wild Card play-in game, Grandal finally became an unrestricted free agent. A player can only be offered a QO once in his career.

Yasmani Grandal is now age 31, he hit .246/.380/.468 in 2019 which is outstanding for his demanding position. But teams look at his age, and will probably say he’s too old for an expensive long-term deal. Grandal reportedly reject a 4/$60M offer from the Mets last winter, before scrambling to get his deal with the Brewers, and the wisdom & implications of that have already been discussed. Making a mistake in the QO free agent process can set a player back by tens of millions of dollars in career earnings. 3B Mike Moustakis is another example of this.

The Boston Red Sox are shopping star RF Mookie Betts, who made $20M in 2019, and is due a raise in arbitration. Betts is age 27, and has two seasons left until free agency. The Red Sox won 84 games in 2019, after winning it all in 2018. Flags fly forever, but GM Dave Dombrowski was canned by mid-season, and it looks like a re-build may be coming– sooner rather than later– in Beantown. The Red Sox are maxed out on payroll, so signing free agents isn’t a reality. This is an old pitching staff with serious payroll commitments. Good thing they just won it, because it looks like their championship window has closed. The Yankees are younger, better, and more flexible with their payroll– plus they have a much better farm system.

RHP’s Gerrit Cole & Stephen Strasburg are the top free agent prizes available this winter. 3B Anthony Rendon is great, but it’s ace starting pitching that wins a World Series. Both rejected their QO’s, but their greatness makes draft pick compensation an afterthought for teams bidding for their services. You’re either too good for the QO, or the QO is too good for you, in which case that player should accept it. There is virtually no middle ground on this anymore. That’s the QO conundrum summarized.

Update: Thursday 21 Nov 2019 09:06 PM EST

The first big free agent signing happened soon after this publication, and it merits comment. Yasmani Grandal signed a 4/$73M deal with the Chicago White Sox today. I’m always for the player, so I’m happy he finally got his payday. He’s been underpaid up until now. The White Sox won 72 games in a bad division in 2019. They needed a catcher so this does it. Is it an overpay? We’ll see.

To add some context, all 30 MLB teams had to freeze their 40-man rosters by 8 PM ET on Wednesday, November 20. Any unprotected players are now eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft at the end of the Winter Meetings, which happen from December 8-12 in San Diego. The Rule 5 draft is the last day, and many teams punt on selecting, so they will have already gone home. It is considered an opportunity for weaker teams to make a talent grab. It usually busts, but when down, creative GM’s take chances like this. It’s a smart move for the bottom half-dozen-or-so teams every year.

The significance the Rule 5 draft now has on free agency is that elite teams with deep farm systems won’t be making any free agent signings (big or small), or major trades until the winter meetings are over, because they don’t want to have to add a player to their 40-man roster, and thus expose a prospect to the Rule 5 draft, to get their roster back to trim.

Most will wait until after the Rule 5 draft, then players will start to move– in free agency especially. Most free agent signings and trade deals take a few days to clear the MLB office, so deals can be announced during the Winter Meetings, before the Rule 5 draft, with no impact on the rosters.

Note that the White Sox no longer have a deep farm system, so they aren’t concerned with losing a prospect in the Rule 5 draft. Here’s an analysis piece titled “30 intriguing Rule 5 prospects — 1 for each team,” by Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum. According to the top MLB prospect writers, here’s the best available White Sox prospect in the Rule 5 draft.

“Alec Hansen, RHP (No. 27) – He looked like a steal when he went from the second round in 2016 to leading the Minors with 191 strikeouts in 2017, when he showcased a mid-90s fastball, 12-6 curveball and hard slider. He since has had trouble duplicating that stuff or throwing strikes (103 walks in 103 2/3 innings), and he posted a 5.45 ERA in Double-A when relegated to the bullpen this year.”

That’s obviously a pitcher no one will select and keep on their 26-man MLB roster for all of 2020. Note that MLB rosters expand to 26 players starting next season. Keep in mind these are the #41 guys on each MLB roster according to the prospect geeks, but the point is whomever the White Sox have as #40 and now have to expose is probably just as bad, so he will attract little interest from Rule 5 selecting teams.

Thus the Chicago White Sox got a jump on free agency by striking early, but I’m pretty sure the Reds, Rockies or anyone else wouldn’t have gone that high for that length on a 31-year old catcher.

What this means is that Yasmani Grandal will have little-to-no trade value if the White Sox should decide to change course. The White Sox usually decide to stick with what they’ve got instead of admitting errors & eating contract, as this is still very much a family run team by longtime owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Everything goes through him, as he is the don of the White Sox.

They signed the player they needed early, but at a premium price. You can’t fill every positional hole through free agency, and there are still a lot of holes on the southside: CF, RF, DH and the entire pitching staff behind young righty Lucas Giolitto, and closer Alex Colomé who is getting expensive in arbitration.

Finally for the White Sox, International draft signing from Cuba 1B Jose Abreu was the other player (along with Jake Odorizzi), who accepted his QO in 2019. He hit .284/.330/.503 in 159 games. His $17.8M salary for his age 33 season is a win-win deal– IMO. Have another nice season, and then you’ll get a fair deal, because you’ll be unrestricted. That’s the QO-accepting player’s mindset.

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“Millennial Whoop”

Promo tagline: Stick this new single in your vaporizer & inhale it

Intro: Tom Pearce & I have a deal. When it’s either of our turns to go to work, that person has full control. Tom Pearce has attracted attention within the music industry as a respected producer & electronica artist. Through his new affiliation we have a new distro deal that offers us great penetration into the music business.

We have set an official release date for “Millennial Whoop” at 11/26. This song is a monster crossover single, so we’re doing everything we can to get it as much distribution as possible. “Millennial Whoop” is the first single from the 4-song mini-album: Extended Play 2019.

Note, November 27, 2019 is when this song will be available on all the major streaming services including: Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, etc… “Millennial Whoop” can be downloaded here & now for FREE, because we’re about the fans. Share it if you love it, and let the new-release, underground buzz begin!!

      1. Millennial Whoop - Ric Size

 

I’ve never done a rap/pop song to this extreme, so this was fun. A year ago, Tom sent me a YouTube link on this phenomenon in modern pop music production. Patrick Metzger coined the phrase a few years earlier in a study he published, which is now well-known & cited. Months later after learning about this, I was out and recognized it on someone’s cranked-up car speakers as they drove by, and starting singing my own improvised chorus back to them on the spot.

Millennial Whoop official video (YouTube): Coming soon!

I consider this song to be partly a public service announcement, as well as a punk cross-over single. References include: Woody Guthrie, The Sound of Music (1965), Kelly Clarkson, Coca-Cola, square dancing call-outs, Donald Trump’s aversion to people coughing, The Birdcage (1996) & Basic Instinct (1992). I ‘baby’ it up a lot, which is my hybrid of Barry White & Justin Bieber. We had a real good time together.

Rachel Decker: vocals

Tom Pearce: beats & tones

Bill Pelick: bass

Written, published, & copyrighted by Ric Size; No Cliché Songs / Infinitelink Records 2019

Produced by Tom Pearce / Last Minute Production

We are currently about two decades into the “noise wars,” which is defined as excessive compression to make songs louder for cheap mobile headphones. Car commercials which blast non-stop, louder than the rest, is the comparative to the “noise wars” in television audio production. The only way an independent artist can compete against this degradation of music is by having better songs, and knowing how to record & produce them.

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Trophy Hunting

All-in-all it’s just Another Brick in the Wall — Roger Waters, Pink Floyd

President Trump needed a political win to enforce his order to remove US troops from northwestern Syria. So killing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a US military raid in northwest Syria last night is a victory, if it indeed happened. Trump tweeted intimations last evening & “confirmed” it this morning in a press conference. He said that after being chased by US troops, air support & dogs, al-Baghdadi blew himself up, along with his three children, using a vest bomb.

Killing the leader of ISIS, with Russian, Syrian, Iraqi, Kurdish & Turkish cooperation gets Trump a win, and an exit plan for Syria. Trump can now declare victory & leave Syria, if that is indeed his plan. Between 200 and 300 U.S. troops remain at the southern Syrian outpost of Al-Tanf, and no one is saying much about that– yet. Either way, there will still be CIA & US special forces involvement with Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria.

Donald Trump is impulsive & unpredictable, as he zig-zags on issues of global importance over a whim, but his overall foreign policy strategy appears to be open cooperation with Moscow in Syria, in order to make the Democrats look like the fanatical McCarthyists they are.

For the record, Russia’s Minister of Defense has rejected Trump’s boasts of killing al-Baghdadi along with Russian cooperation, so this could very likely be another Trump publicity stunt to win popularity among his supporters. if that’s the case, then Trump just shot himself in the foot again. Like everything involved with Al-Qaeda & US politics, the truth is hard to get at.

One thing is for sure, Trump is no peacemaker, as these troops are being re-deployed somewhere else in the Middle East war zone. Remember, President Trump has a record $750 billion military budget to play with. Overtures by diplomats about leaving some US troops to “keep the oil from Al-Qaeda & others” [?] have been rejected by all the nations involved, along with maintaining these 1,000 soldiers in Iraq.

Reading the deep state’s intent, it appears the “plan” is for the US military is to blow-up Syria’s oilfields before abandoning them to Damascus, creating another disaster on every level. All forces are now pushing in on the Al-Qaeda terrorists, including their former friends.

Syria & Iraq are no-win wars, debacles unfolding in front of the world’s eyes. It appears Trump wants out of Syria, and is letting US intelligence agencies & establishment politicos take the heat for their Al-Qaeda affiliations. Commenters all over the internet now understand this murky situation much better, and are venting their anger towards the fake media & its puppet-masters.

Trump has already been forced to back-pedal several times on withdrawal, as new Defense Secretary Mark Esper seems to be the deep state’s point man for channeling the Don towards the establishment way of thinking, which is keeping US troops in Syria. Mark Esper has been in the media a LOT lately, I’ve noticed. He’s the new kid on the block. One thing about the NKOTB: I don’t have a favorite.

Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari, center right, and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, center left, stand for their country’s national anthems during a welcome ceremony at the Ministry of Defense, Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

The Syrian pullout is feeding protests & insurgencies– globally. Trump & his planners know he needs to appear to get out of at least one of these “endless wars,” to have any hope of getting re-elected in 2020. But deep state Democrats & Republicans want all these wars to continue, and for Trump to be defeated. That’s the conflict in NYC, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Washington & Langley right now.

Once again, there’s a ton of fake media propaganda flying around on all sides, with every new development. This Syrian situation could start World War III, so it is up up to Trotskyists/socialists everywhere to take class-conscious action. This is the only way fascism & barbarism can be pushed back & defeated.

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Squeezing out Uncle Sam & Al-Qaeda

There is a furious ongoing diplomacy war being waged internationally through the media. These Reuters headlines (all from today) tell much of the story. On the US deep state side of the propaganda war, the headlines read like this:

U.S aim is for troops pulling out of Syria to leave Iraq eventually: Pentagon chief [1]

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is in Afghanistan acting as a representative of the US deep state. As Trump’s lieutenant, he’s in a tight spot, as he clearly supports troops remaining in Syria & Iraq, but what he doesn’t realize or admit is that it’s already a lost cause.

Syria wants its sovereignty back, and Turkey wants the US-sponsored Al-Qaeda terrorists gone from its border. Russia is the new sheriff in town, and if you are a supporter of the US deep state, that really burns your ass.

Kurdish families stuck in crowded schools after fleeing north Syria conflict [2]

This is a human interest piece on innocent civilians & families of Al-Qaeda terrorists who are all impacted by this. They need our help! We must act!! This is a humanitarian crisis, and we can’t abandon our allies!!!

Syrian Kurdish [Al-Qaeda] forces tell U.S. they met truce obligations: U.S. official [3]

“The commander of YPG Kurdish forces in northeast Syria told the United States he had met all obligations set out in a U.S.-brokered truce, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday, as Washington warned it would punish Turkey if it resumes hostilities… blah blah blah.” Erdogan obviously isn’t impressed…

Turkey replaces four more pro-Kurdish mayors as crackdown widens [4]

The Kurdish separatists are being persecuted, politically & militarily, for their ties to terrorism (PKK). Who will protect them?

For Syrian Kurds, a leader’s killing deepens sense of U.S. betrayal [5]

This entire CIA/Al-Qaeda alliance is murky-murky, all the way back to its inception with the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. One of the more-recent sordid chapters in this relationship occurred on October 3, 2019, when U.S. State Department representatives visited the Future Syria Party’s headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa to meet Hevrin Khalaf and party president Ibrahim al-Kaftan.

“Yes, there was encouragement from the Americans to set up a party,” Kaftan said. Apparently there was much discussion that the Kurdish YPG militia had become too powerful in the region, as Washington was moving towards mediation in Syria. Hevrin Khalaf was killed a few days later during the Turkish offensive into Syria. Murky, murky.

Calling Erdogan a ‘thief’, Syria’s Assad tours Idlib frontline near rebels [6]
This can be read as a western propaganda attempt to inflame Erdogan, and split him from Assad & Russia, but it’s too late.

Iraq says U.S. forces withdrawing from Syria have no approval to stay [7]
The problem for Washington are the 1,000 US troops that Iraq doesn’t want, as this exceeds their already maxed limit of 5,000. What’s become apparent is that treaties signed & agreed to by the US are worthless, as it’s the ever-changing conditions on the ground that determine their interests & insatiable demands.

This is creating a revolutionary upsurge globally, as US imperialism has been exposed as weak & corrupt to its core. There are over 60,000 US troops stationed across the Middle East, and only the Arab absolutist monarchies want them there.

There are US troops in: Saudi Arabia, Turkey (hard to believe, but still a NATO ally), Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar & Afghanistan. Of course Israel is a “special friend” of Washington, and both deep states have infiltrated, and work closely with, Al-Qaeda proxies. These “endless wars” ever end, they just get shifted around to keep people confused. This began in earnest with 9/11.

Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after it was hit by two hijacjked passenger planes September 11, 2001 in New York City in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

The five-day truce in Turkey’s cross-border offensive to allow the withdrawal of Kurdish YPG fighters from the border area ends at 10 pm locally– 1900 GMT; 3:00 PM EDT– today. Or 2200 GMT, depending on whom you read. President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly stated that Turkey will press on with fighting if the YPG remains in that region.

As he flew to Russia for talks on Syria, Erdogan said hundreds of Kurdish fighters remained near to Syria’s northeast border despite the truce demanding their withdrawal. Erdogan has stated that 700-800 YPG terrorists have been evacuated from the “safe zone” but that 1,200-1,300 more remain as of Tuesday morning.

Right now Erdogan is talking with Putin & Assad on how to crush the remnants of Al-Qaeda in Syria, since the US military “cut & ran” from their allies in the northeast. Washington wants another “timeout” to gain time in hiding & redeploying what’s left of its Al-Qaeda proxies.

But this isn’t so easy, because these YPG “allies” now feel betrayed by the US, and are throwing rocks & potatoes at them as they leave. Erdogan is insisting on sticking to the negotiated agreement, and has already stated he’s turned a “new page” in US-Turkey relations.


US imperialism doesn’t need that oil in Syria, it just wants to keep it away from it’s designated enemies– and Russia & Syria are on top of that list. The US war machine need theaters & markets for its existence, but the greater loss here is the exposure of all this imperialist murkiness to a global audience.

Al-Qaeda has nowhere to go, and the US (which created them) doesn’t want to own up to its own responsibility in Syria. The CIA & US imperialism created this Frankenstein, and watching this mess disintegrate so quickly, one gets a sense that blowback is in the future. There are too many hard feelings & double-crosses here, which means there will be repercussions– sooner or later.

Russia Today has been pumping out articles too. Here’s their latest headlines, which again tell much of the story:

Russian & Syrian forces to deploy to northeastern Syria outside Turkey operation zone – Putin-Erdogan agreement [8]

Trump approves $4.5 million in aid to ‘White Helmets’ in Syria [9]

Quoting RT, “Washington pledged $5 million in aid to the group at a conference back in March. Last May, the Trump administration had announced it would stop funding the White Helmets, only to backtrack a month later and send the group $6.8 million… Trump authorized the latest package on Tuesday, calling their work “important and highly valued.”

In reality, the White Helmets are mercenary scum, as this terrorist organization is funded by MI6 & the CIA. You need to keep your head on a swivel to keep up with Trump’s zig-zags.

This $4,5 million can be seen as a rapprochement for Uncle Sam bailing on them in Syria. “Here, forgive us for abandoning you.” This money will forge a closer alliance between Al-Qaeda & Washington until the money runs out, then these terrorists will need & demand more– and get it. This is what the deep state is for. You don’t think these fanatical idiots could exist on their own, do you?

According to RT, “Currently the White Helmets operate solely in the parts of Idlib province controlled by Al-Qaeda militants. Photographs of armed militants with “White Helmets” insignia, participating in the Turkish-backed ‘Operation Peace Spring’ against the Kurds in northern Syria, have appeared on social networks over the past two weeks.”

There is nothing but hypocrisy here, as Erdogan is claiming to be “cleansing terrorists” in his Syrian offensive, but is actually employing the same mercenaries he’s asserted to the world that he’s fighting.

When it gets this murky-murky in real-world covert ops & terrorism, I put on The Octagon (1980), a ninja classic for relaxation. With a LOT of help from his supporting cast, director, and many others, Chuck Norris kicks ass while not being too concerned about the facts, which wear thin on him.

The martial arts are amazing, particularly Richard Norton as Kyo the killer (and also Longlegs the henchman). But the REAL star is Art Hindle as A.J.– the wanna-be sidekick who goes fanatical in his inimitable American kamikaze stupid style– straight into hari kari. There are three leading ladies in this flick, and two of them get killed. Delicious.

The Octagon is a confused mess, with a lot of dangerous & misleading cliches. For instance, the fat Jew fur dealer as the “underbelly of terrorism” according to US intelligence. But it is still an action classic, just as re-watchable as The Terminator (1984) or Robocop 2 (1990). If you agree, then check out my comments on the linked movie for more STUFF!

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