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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Econ 101: Servicing Debt

When rich people owe money to other rich people, say for instance corporate banks & hedge fund operators owing debt they can’t repay to the Fed & US government– a bailout eventually occurs. That’s because any bourgeois government is a committee of the ruling class.

So when rich people owe money to working people, say in the form of pension fund obligations, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid– financial theft & bankruptcy of those institutions eventually occurs. There simply is no money for a bailout. The “taxpayers” can’t afford it.

When working people owe money to rich people, in the forms of credit cards, student loans, mortgages, auto loans, medical bills, et al– every form of coercion known to man is used to extract full repayment with interest.

When nations go to war, all foreign debts are cancelled by the rich winners, and heaped upon the poor losers.

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Are you critically acclaimed?

“Critical acclaim” is a nebulous topic in entertainment, by design. Music, film, theater, etc is meant to entertain, and it’s a business first. Never forget that. Anything beyond this is considered a bonus for fans, but often a negative for the industry. When entertainment becomes art, it educates & electrifies the masses, which is something the establishment always seeks to contain. These are the ideological (political) issues which determine access to art.

Critical acclaim is used as an instrument to manipulate public opinion on art. When an artist is blacklisted, such as the Velvet Underground (Andy Warhol) were in the 1960’s, their records don’t sell. When their catalog becomes unavailable in the 1970’s, they become “critical darlings”– because no one else can hear their music, so critics get a monopoly of opinion. It’s about who controls the narrative. Censored artists also have a hard time touring in any era, due to few good opportunities & low pay. It’s a grind, and it’s the reason brilliant bands like the VU break-up the way they did.

Captain Beefheart is another example of an artist who was censored & undercut by the industry, because he was too far ahead of his time. Beefheart was branded “critically acclaimed” with Trout Mask Replica (1969), and that label unfortunately stuck. If revolutionary artists such as the VU, Beefheart, the Stooges, Graham Parker, Wire, the Minutemen, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill, et al, are never played on classic rock radio (or any other industry-defined format), then how are music fans supposed to find their music?

Where’s the critics’ support for getting these artists on FM radio, so we can randomly listen to them in our vehicles? This “critic support” doesn’t exist, because “critical acclaim” is a fraud. For decades, the music industry had a stranglehold: payola for radio promotion; distribution through record/CD stores & touring for sales; Rolling Stone magazine, et al for media publicity– meaning favorable critical opinion of established major-label performers.

If you weren’t “plugged in” to that network machinery, then you couldn’t exert much influence, or get paid. The significance of the grunge movement (late 1980’s/early 1990’s) was that college radio stations & indie record labels became an influential force outside of industry control. By the late 1990’s, reaction had set in, and nearly all the college stations & indie labels had been bought-up & corporatized.

This is why the internet rules today, because it democratized music availability– when Napster came along. YouTube & Facebook are social media platforms which exchange content & ideas, and despite the worst efforts of corporate ownership to manipulate users with AI & algorithms, it’s now impossible to keep revolutionary music from reaching listeners– young & old. If you want to find something you will, and that wasn’t always the case.

This is why these “critically acclaimed” (ie- suppressed) artists are now finding greater audiences. Being “critically acclaimed” has always been a fallacy, because it’s the critics who most fear & hate revolution, as it threatens their comfy & lazy pencil-pushing existence. When their “expertise” is called into question, there’s nothing left but blabber & smoke. If these phonies are exposed, they may be forced to get a real job, and they don’t want to do that.

A “critically acclaimed” artist has precisely half the weight of critical opinion in support, and the other half hating. This means everything washes out to a net zero in total impact. Who do you believe as a reader, the positive or negative critic? Comparing critical opinions often comes down to who is the better writer, or worse, who is more powerful in the industry. The problem, of course, is the better (or more powerful) author may be prejudiced. If this person becomes editor, he/she controls the flow of many opinions.

If fact, “critical acclaim” is given more generously to those with little-to-no talent, for the opposite effect, but same purpose. This is the hyped garbage which is elevated by the media, and is meant to replace art. Armies of establishment critics universally praise this gobbledygook when solicited by their paymasters. They must, it’s what pays the bills.

These days the industry prefers to produce its superstars, instead of letting them happen out-of-the-blue, which is why Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, et al dominate the teen music market. These mega-stars are created (and then re-created) by the industry machinery, and rely on it to sustain their success, which makes all of them easy to control. It’s a long way from John Lennon & Mick Jagger, for sure.

Critics pose as experts by using their learned knowledge of human experience, to consolidate bourgeois opinions on art & pop culture through the media. Take jazz music for example. You can’t be a respected critic in this field, unless you bow down to certain sacred cows– Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, et al. As a critic, you have lists of all sorts in your head; best songs, albums, players, genres, eras, and so forth. These critics are always ready to pounce on any heresy, with pre-formed sound-bites & arguments. These are the sort of fakers which real artists & serious listeners despise.

But to stick with this example in jazz, let’s say something fresh & revolutionary hits, from an unknown artist, which merits that level of reverence. Will that work be immediately recognized as genius by the critics, on the same level as these acknowledged masters? Not a chance. You see, these experienced critics “know” that no one can be that good anymore, so this can’t be a genius of that order.

That is every establishment critic’s “thought process.” The kids & music freaks LOVE this new prodigy, and share it with everybody. The critics will certainly notice this, because true critical opinion comes from the kids; but the critics will not acknowledge it, or at best be cold & demeaning towards it, because it replaces sacred idols. Their lists are set in stone.

If this new artist is indeed the real thing, then the work will hold up, which means more underground fans, but still no mainstream critical acknowledgement, much less praise. What happens over time is that critical opinion changes, as new critics join the field, as long-standing fans of that artist. At this point, the artist is now “critically acclaimed,” despite the fact that 99+% of their support comes from fans.

Conclusion: If you approach art with the goal of pleasing the critics, then you are on a path towards failure. Most critics don’t care, they only pretend to care using sophistry. There is very little passion for art with critics. But it’s that passion which keeps us young, which connects artists to the kids. Nowhere in this equation is the critic helpful, unless they approach art with historical experience & an open mind.

Music as art is all about the artists & the kids. Once the kids are hooked, they become fans for life. My goal as an artist is to reach everybody, but the kids are always first. Are the kids going to like this? Does this send the right message? These are the questions real artists grapple with during the creative process.

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Saudi Oil & Syriana (2005)

As they say in The Bible, “There are many, many ways to light Europe.” — Christopher Plummer as Dean Whiting in Syriana (2005)

After a devastating drone strike, for which Yemeni Houthi militias claimed responsibility, the Trump administration & entire US political establishment are lining-up behind the narrative that Iran is responsible for these attacks.

Saudi Arabia now spends ~$68 billion annually on its military, the 3rd largest budget after the US & China. Most of this comes in the form of sophisticated weaponry from American corporations.

But these expensive instruments-of-death were unable to stop a coordinated drone attack from Yemeni militias. This calls into question the usefulness of the Saudi Arabia-US alliance, and the sustainability of the global petrodollar market. A bunch of Yemeni militia techies, possibly (?) using equipment they purchased from Iran, just knocked out a vital choke-point in the global oil supply chain.

Productivity from Saudi Arabia is now halved or worse, and when repairs can be accomplished appears to be a matter of weeks or months. There is much censorship by the Saudi monarchy & its partners in the US. This includes corporate, intelligence & military alliances.

A scapegoat is needed, and quickly. Look for an all-out war drive in the media, against Iran, as a cover-up for this disaster. Expect gasoline prices to rise by at least a dollar a gallon within a month, which is another embarrassment for political leaders during an election cycle, and an added expense for everyone else.

The Trump administration is only the latest version of US imperialism which has laid the groundwork for this crisis, with its unilateral sanctions, embargoes & recklessness. This is about regime-change, and controlling the world’s oil market by force.

The problem for them is that US-Saudi vulnerabilities have just been exposed to the entire world. A US war against Iran looks increasingly unwinnable, based on what we have just seen in the Yemeni conflict.

Pile this disaster on top of the ongoing US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq & Syria, which have all been lost, and global consumers and businesses are about to feel repercussions which are all-too-real. The Houthi militia attack on September 14, 2019 is in many ways blowback from 9/11, which was an inside job.

Movie Time: If you really want to understand what’s going on in the Persian Gulf, with all the conflict & geo-politics, then watch Syriana. It runs 128 minutes, and has at least 15-20 characters of depth who add crucial elements to the film, which means it demands your attention.

That means you have to watch Syriana a few times to start getting the full idea. This film is a masterpiece because it reveals dark truths in its many hidden forms. That’s why it wasn’t a box-office hit. Syriana is the exact opposite of a blockbuster movie, a political film as a work of art.

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Anticipating Hurricane Dorian’s Gray Aftermath

When a hurricane is coming and you are in the swathe of uncertainty, you prepare. Then you wait & hope it doesn’t hit you directly, or that the storm surge doesn’t flood you out. It’s a mixed-emotional experience, because if your prayers are answered, then it’s someone else’s misery.

The problem of problems is that these storms are becoming stronger & more frequent, and we have no coordinated preparation or response. Too many people still deny global warming as its cause, so nothing is done about it. This is why the Amazon rainforest currently has wildfires burning out of control. It’s the hottest year on record, I’m told.

Turn on the local fake news, and it’s a bunch of media hype, telling you to stock up on more stuff you don’t need. That’s why these hurricanes turn into such catastrophes– most of it is man-made.

If you live in central Florida as of this publication (Friday, mid-afternoon), then you have a few more days to prepare for a hurricane. This is no joke, yet many people don’t really take it seriously. Plan A is to ride it out, and keep everybody safe, with everything intact & dry. That’s all anyone wants to think about.

What your home (and neighbor’s home) cost, goes a long way towards determining how hard you will be hit, your ability to withstand, and how long the response will be. If you live in a working class area, then you should always presume there’s going to be an extended power & water outage.

These “blackouts” tend to follow class lines, meaning richer residential areas will get power back sooner, or never lose it at all, while working class areas will suffer extended utility outages. These monopoly corporations have the power & technology to red line these outages, to appear to be the result of a natural disaster, when in fact it is exploitative class warfare.

Expect no FEMA response, as the Trump administration has raided that budget to build his wall at the Mexican border. This means that whatever inadequate responses you’ve seen in the past– including Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Irma, Maria & Michael– will be even less this time.

This basically means that Floridians are on their own. No evacuation order has yet been given, as no one is sure where landfall will be as of this time. Anywhere from the Keys to Jacksonville, with West Palm Beach being the current projection. That’s too big of a “cone of uncertainty” to be useful to most Floridians. When you don’t know, the best thing to do is stay put.

Meteorologists are estimating a Category 3 or 4 storm by landfall. I’ve noticed they typically underestimate the storm’s strength, which is crucial data. Less than a week ago they were predicting Cat 1 or 2 strength upon landfall.

You may live in a residence that can survive a Category 2, or weaker Cat 3 hurricane. But if it’s a Category 4, then you have to go. If you know that in advance, it really helps with evacuating. This is the margin that many Florida residents are living on right now.

Florida is a peninsula, and there’s only one way out by land– north. People in high-risk areas need as much warning as possible, and it usually comes too late, with people being trapped on the highways, running out of gas, or unable to get out of their homes.

If you aren’t hit directly by the hurricane eye, then it’s flooding that becomes the main concern. If you are flooded out, then you are homeless, and everything left in it is ruined. Do you own, or rent? I rent, and this is one reason why. The fact is, there is no safe permanent home in Florida anymore. I’ve been here long enough to figure that out.

Check out this sinkhole map above. Florida sits atop an underground shelf of limestone, which acts as a filter for the aquifers underneath. This supplies all the fresh water. When too many homes are built, and too much of the water is sucked out of the ground, the limestone begins to crumble & gives way, into what is called a sinkhole.

Consider sinkholes to be Florida’s version of miniature earthquakes. Entire buildings & homes can be dragged into the earth, never to be seen again. They have become endemic in the Sunshine State. Revolving cycles of intense drought, then flooding rains, makes even more sinkholes.

“Sinkhole alley” extends across much of central Florida, and everywhere swamps have been filled-in to build residential homes & gold courses, sinkholes pop up. The notorious & sprawling luxury retirement community known as the Villages, is a center for right-wing conservatism & is rabidly pro-Trump. Not coincidentally, the Villages daily newspaper, The Sun, is not allowed to mention sinkholes in any of their writings, even though they are a common local epidemic. Florida politics.

When a hurricane is coming, you must prepare for Plan B, which is evacuating your home. What are you going to take with you, if you have to quickly pack up & haul ass? Where are you going to go? Everyone’s situation is a bit different, but the same with a hurricane. Answering these hard questions BEFORE the storm hits, is how to prepare for real.

A hurricane is a serious natural phenomenon & force of nature, but the devastation it wreaks is fractional compared to that inflicted by the heavy-handed government, police & military response to come. This will be coupled with mass neglect & censorship for those stranded without power, water & internet during the aftermath– in the September heat & humidity.

The reality is that many people have to prepare themselves for a grim future, being made a refuge by this storm, knowing that every level of government will exploit this disaster to enrich themselves & inflict more hardship upon them.

The common response from the rest of the population will be relief that they were spared (this time), and a sense of sympathy & solidarity for those who suffer, knowing it could have been them instead. They key to solving this modern hurricane dilemma is uniting socially, for the benefit of all.

Update: Tue 03 Sep 2019 01:41 PM EDT

Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahama Islands unleashing sustained winds of 185 MPH– which is unheard of. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale measures a Category 5 beginning at sustained winds of 157 MPH. Winds at 185 breaks that scale, as this was a Category 6 hurricane which hit the Bahamas.

Storm surge of at least ten feet, meant the low-lying islands are entirely swamped by the rain & ocean. Hurricane Dorian still has the Bahamas in it’s outer bands, so relief efforts haven’t even really begun yet.

This is why Hurricane Dorian stalled, and I never saw this weather map on any network news– local, national or internet. The best data I received while tracking this super-hurricane, was from friends on Facebook. I have a few weather-freak, high school friends– so thank you (you know who you are) for posting these helpful & amazing images!

This map above is crucial data, as it’s the High pressure systems which squeezed this hurricane into stationary rotation at its maximum intensity.

Photo credit: Garrett Black, Air Force Hurricane Hunters

The eye of Hurricane Dorian is is still 100+ miles out at sea, and finally about to pass Florida’s eastern coastline as a weakening Category 3. It’s been over a week of fear-of-the-unknown, and non-stop media hype here in Florida. Kinda like an election… and then what comes after.

This map above is what’s going on in the Western hemisphere, right now– big picture. As anyone can see, we are still in the middle of hurricane season, so there will be more to come. What are we going to do about it?

The closest mainland to the Bahamas is of course– Florida. Donald Trump’s immigration war is about to meet a hurricane refugee crisis. This is why Trump cancelled his trip to Poland, so he could play golf in Virginia. Any time Florida is in play, everyone in politics gets excited.

This is a humanitarian crisis to-be-exploited by the Trump cabal, with ICE repression. This is the high-level, closed-door scheming that is going on, as Dorian’s eye passes northward to the Georgia & Carolina coastlines.

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Donald Trump: shyster gangster

It never ceases to amaze me, how many ignorant people support such a corrupt & ugly individual? But then again, money & fame are everything in today’s media. Having meaningful content & delivering results are not highly considered, and so we have the Bizarro world of bourgeois politics. This is a problem working people need to fix– and soon.

Pundits ask, “How could a 2020 Democrat attack Donald Trump on the economy?” Most “political expertise” in this field quickly disappears in the responses, as the entire establishment can’t seem to come up with anything of substance.

We’re talking about a US President who has called for repeated Fed rate cuts, while consumer interest rates & the cost-of-living have skyrocketed. Rent & mortgages cost more, food is more, and student loans are oppressive debt; but none of this registers with official talking heads.

That trade war the Trumpster & Co. have started with everybody– China, Iran, Venezuela, EU– isn’t helping any real American businesses or workers. Cuts to the EPA, education, Medicaid, et al. aren’t popular either. Neither is this ICE war on Hispanic immigrants, initiated by the Trumpster’s penchant for whipping up racial hate.

But the Democrats don’t really object, so they won’t bring it up– for as long as possible. That’s why the Blue Dog Democrats keep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the fringes– and a tight leash. It’s all anti-Russian & MeToo campaigning from their side of the aisle. They’ll stick with that weak stuff, even though it has been widely exposed as deep state lies & propaganda. Something about old dogs…

So now basically all federal discretionary spending is controlled by the Trumpster for the next year-and-a-half. Most of it will go towards the police-military-intelligence apparatus. How this helps regular folks & student youth, is never explained. Instead it’s the Russians, and/or racist/sexist white men as the root of all evil. All this to keep their fascist conman (and the public) in check.

This is tied-in with social media censorship. Search engines filter content on the internet through algorithms, artificial intelligence, & an army of human censors. Much of it is controlled by the anti-Trump element of the ruling establishment, but all of them act against the interests of democracy & the working classes.

The fact is the Trumpster lost the popular vote by ~3 million in 2016, but he won the Electoral College, critically by capturing three battleground states (PA, MI & WI) with razor-thin margins in each. He won’t get that support he needs again, with an economy in the toilet & about to collapse. For most workers, the cost of living is far out-pacing wages. Good jobs are too few and hard-to-find anymore.

The US President typically takes the blame for that during an election year. It’s a slam dunk campaign for the Democrats, and that’s why their most conservative candidate, Joe Biden, has already been assured the nomination. The real race among the rest is for the VP nomination. Kamala Harris is a black woman in Congress, which check a lot of boxes. That’s why she’s been such a media darling of the early Democratic contenders. Look for someone like her to fill the 2020 ticket. It’s the Democrats’ version of Mike Pence.

We know this political fixing happens, like in 2016 when Hillary Clinton was handed the nomination, despite the over-powering popularity of Bernie Sanders, who ran as a “socialist” alternative within the Democratic party. It was WikiLeaks that revealed these facts & mechanisms to the world, through leaks from a DNC staffer– most likely Seth Rich. Certainly not the Russians– as even the Mueller Report proved, finding no criminal conspiracies, despite endless official “theories” on “Russian interference” from Democrats & their media boosters.

Trump supporters love to spin their leader as bulletproof, because that’s what he wants to hear. They are generally brain-dead when it comes to politics, just like the ego-maniacal Trumpster himself, so don’t expect clear answers from them. As far as the Trumpster’s “liberal” critics, they are a bit less deluded in mind, but more cowardly in heart. They hate Trump, but can’t muster the will to do anything more than post memes on social media & petition their congresswomen. Marxists label this phenomenon as lobotomizing oneself into political impotence.

After being mostly out of the news cycle for a week (necessarily so!) during the mysterious Jeffery Epstein death saga, the Trumpster has thrust himself back into the headlines by tweeting that he is working on a deal to buy the nation of Greenland! Here’s a good question. Does the Trumpster keep any of his promises?

Greenland has a population of ~60,000, and a government, which can be seen as an obstacle to acquisition. Importantly, Denmark provides economic & military aid to Greenland. The idea has been dismissed by world leaders as ludicrous, which it is. Greenland’s Foreign Minister, Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters flatly, “We’re not for sale.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also pointed out that Greenland is not Denmark’s property to sell, which throws another wrench in the Trumpster grand vision. In a tit-for tat diplomacy move, with the style of a crude gangster, US President Donald Trump then cancelled his meeting with the Danish PM, scheduled two weeks from now. The reason was either a tantrum, or “national security.”

The following in italics is a satirical rendition of the Trumpster attempting to acquire Antarctica, since this is the logical sequel to the Greenland affair.

It’s been a slow news week, censorship as usual, and we desperately need a media distraction so I’m announcing my intention to buy Antarctica. I’m not sure it’s for sale, but my team & I are seriously looking into purchasing this valuable piece of real estate for “national security” reasons. Global warming, which is a myth, has opened up new real estate opportunities.

The original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty are seven countries – Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom – each with overlapping territorial claims to parts of the continent. It must cost them all lots of money to maintain, so why not buy it? We’ll have the Federal Reserve print up more fake money to pay for it, and in return I’ll take Antarctica off everybody hands.

The art of the deal– brilliant huh? In the meantime, I’ll be canceling state visits & cutting diplomatic relations, while applying economic sanctions & “maximum pressure” to those governments who refuse to play ball.

Signed– your fearless leader

These are the methods of a gangster. This is a “businessman” who always lies, then defaults. The Trumpster occupies the White House because his methods are those of the ruling class. Savage & insatiable greed are its characteristics. Hate & fear are its motives.

The deep state, with all its control over the police-military-intelligence apparatus, is its weapon. The corporate media, Wall Street, Silicon Valley & Hollywood all work together to protect their privileged class status. Inequality is what they want: the best for themselves & scraps for the rest– if even that.

When the Trumpster goes into battle, he doesn’t say to his opponents, “I’ll see you in hell,” like conquerors of the past. Instead this modern & privileged sociopath tweets, “I’ll see you in court.” Then his lawyers and other “associates” come into the picture– to handle his dirty laundry. If anyone says one thing out-of-line about him (by his judgment), then “You’re fired!” The truth is the Trumpster is nothing but a chumpster without his legions of hired help, yes-men & go-fers.

These bourgeois leaders are sick in every sense. Deluded by their own egos, too afraid to face hard truths with meaningful words & action. This entire global ruling aristocracy, led by the US, is about to topple upon itself in insolvency. It will then loudly & brazenly declare that it must be saved, because what would working people & our future be without them?

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Hyping “hate crimes”

Introduction: “May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo, may god protect them.” — President Donald Trump, August 5, 2019 at the White House press conference he called for in the video below.

There were two tragic mass shootings over the weekend, approximately 12 hours apart. In Texas, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, drove hundreds of miles to a Walmart in El Paso to carry out his assault. As of this publication: 20 dead, and 26 injured. He targeted Hispanics, and the site of this shooting makes it political.

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.” These are Patrick Crusius words, which are part of his fascist four-page manifesto published on the internet. Crusius surrendered to the police. This brings the death penalty into play, if found guilty.

In Dayton, Ohio, Connor Betts, age 24, fired dozens of shots, killing 9, and wounding 16 others. He was killed by the Dayton police, in a brief shootout. No motive for this massacre has been established yet.

The video embedded above is Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday (Sunday), in which he begins by praising & thanking the police at length. This is his way of taking credit for a tragedy, while solidifying support for the police state, which contains much of his fascist base. Notice how the President of the United States can barely summon any sympathy for the victims, as he stumbles from one talking point to the next.

“It could have been so much worse… the people of these two great cities El Paso & Dayton (in the important electoral states of Texas & Ohio) are wonderful…” He’s spoken with many bureaucrats, etc… “I’ll be making a statement tomorrow at 10:00 AM (after my advisors brief me on what to say). Thank you very much, and I’ll see you there…”

First lady Melania Trump stands silently by his side on the runway in a bullet-proof corset with a forlorn face. Her eyes masked by dark sunglasses, as she stands uncomfortably. It seems a relief for her when they go the “Q&A,” as the camera pulls in tight on Donald Trump and stays there. There’s so much to understand here…

Both of these gunmen appear to have long histories of anti-social behavior, going back to high-school & before. Both were obviously filled with hate, during their rampages. So why is one labeled a “hate crime,” and the other isn’t?

“Hate crime” has no legal meaning, and therefore no place in law. But this is precisely what is being introduced by politicians through the media for propaganda reasons. The same with only labeling the El Paso shooting as a case of “domestic terrorism.” The cold hard truth is that any time someone fires a fully-loaded assault rifle into a civilian crowd, it terrorizes the domestic population. It is all motivated by hate.

Those in Dayton mostly feel the same way the people in El Paso do right now– shocked & disgusted. These vague, legally undefined terms such as “hate crime” & “domestic terrorism” have no real meaning, as they could apply to virtually any of these cases one cares to look at. Yet these terms are hyped as legitimate talking points by the corporate media fake news. The question is: why?

The “domestic terrorism” label evokes 9/11, and the official need for a stronger military-police-intelligence apparatus. We’ve seen & heard this before, and it’s mostly beating a dead horse by now. Most rational people who follow politics understand that 9/11 was an inside job– all the way to the top. The “war on terror” is a Big Lie, from before the start. These ideas, arguments, facts & evidence have been widely exposed & discussed among the population through the internet– despite blanket censorship in the mainstream media. A new arrow is needed in the US propaganda quiver, and thus “hate crimes” are our latest national crisis, from which we require our elected leaders to save us.

Applying the extra emphasis of “hate crime,” amplifies its racial aspect– by design. This works for both Republicans & Democrats, but against the people. For conservative Democrats, the deep state represents the interests of Wall Street, Hollywood & the intelligence apparatus. The “liberal” plank of the Democratic party is now entirely identity politics; which are the reactionary racialism of Black Lives Matter, the hysterical witch-hunting feminism of the #MeToo campaign, and impotent LGBT activism. These snowflakes, ex-radicals & social justice warriors of the upper middle-class, all favor harsher penalties for “hate crimes.”

Donald Trump’s tweets & speeches always reflect the ideology of his consigliere, Stephen Bannon (above) who correctly states, “As long as the Democrats play racial politics, we win.” That’s because the fascists on the far right are much more passionate & militant, than these limp-noodle liberals on the “left.” Trump held his press conference this morning, and besides already forgetting the victims in Dayton, he proposed a two-pronged “solution” to gun violence.

He advocated for the Democrats to sponsor some new anti-gun legislation, and see how it goes in Congress. He urged Republicans to support this initiative (a sure loser), and hand a political victory to Trump when it fails in the end. We’ll see if the Democrats bite on it. It depends on how much Donald Trump needs Blue Dog Democrats to hand him a political victory. The more the Don needs it, the more likely he’ll get conservative Democrat support– even if it costs them the 2020 election. No one cares that much about Joe Biden. Permanent interests.

Trump’s second proposal was to enhance funding for law enforcement & military integration, along with internet censorship. We knew that was coming, right? He’s already been handed a blank check from the Democrats, and can now spend US taxpayer money any way he wants for the next year-and-a-half. There are no more threats of a government shutdown, which made Trump deeply unpopular, and he can build his promised boondoggle wall at the Mexican border. The threat of impeachment, which began in earnest with Trump’s government shutdown, is now gone due to Democratic party capitulation.

Even rising-star liberal (oxymoron) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez played her part in making it all happen. As you can see in her staged immigration camp “protest” at the fence of an empty parking lot, she’s a pretty good actress for a politician. But house majority whip Nancy Pelosi sat her down privately, and explained the rules-of-the-game. AOC clearly got the message, and last month supplied a crucial vote in getting the initiative to come to the floor. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez then tried to covered her political tracks, by voting “No” on a bill she knew would easily pass both houses. It did, and it couldn’t have happened without her help.

Donald Trump and a tiny cabal of fascists now control much of the allocation of the US federal budget, measured in trillions of dollars. This used to be the primary function of Congress, so what’s left for them? A US President hasn’t needed Congress to declare war for a long time now, and they won’t impeach– so seriously, what’s left?

Trump & top Republicans are sociopathic criminals who control much of the military & police apparatus. They have encouraged & enabled countless lone-wolf sociopaths & armed militia goon squads, which they consider to hold in reserve as “shock troops.” This is the Nazi stormtrooper mentality, and it’s no joke when tacitly unleashed upon society.

The flaccid resistance of liberalism has no chance against this fascist machinery & its tools of violence. Unlike fascists, “peaceniks” are paralyzed with fear when it comes to real guns & serious events. The only social force that can resist & defeat this toxic ideology of bankrupt capitalism is an internationally united working class.

The truth is that everything Donald Trump says & does as President is a “hate crime” and “terrorism.” The same applies to the rest of the Republicans, Democrats & ultra-rich. These people are all haters & criminals. The fake media lies for them on all sides, from CNN & MSNBC to Fox & Breitbart. The propaganda they broadcast, poisons the public mind with lies & hate. These are “specialist hate criminals.” They come in all varieties, and always proclaim their innocence. This is the Black Hand, the true master of the Big Lie.

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MLB Trade Deadline Notes

Postscript: Thu 01 Aug 2019 01:16 PM EDT

The only blockbusters of this year’s MLB Trade Deadline were the Zack Greinke & Jake Bauer deals. Both were for controllable, elite starting pitchers, which is what wins the World Series. Houston won this Deadline as a buyer, by getting Greinke for 2+ years which means 3 play-off runs. Jake Bauer is only signed through 2020, and the Reds aren’t a play-off team, so they lose. The San Diego Padres won that 3-way deal, by acquiring the best prospect dealt this trade season, while only giving up a young, cost-controlled slugger– of which they had a surplus. Taylor Trammell is in AA, and has star make-up & tools in CF.

Besides me, only AJ Cassavell, the beat writer for the Padres on MLB.com has reported these facts & goings-on accurately. Only prospect guru Keith Law correctly called this as a big win for the Padres. As outlined below, most ESPN & MLB head writers are too biased to provide any objectivity or clarity on what occurred. They represent fake news in sports.

Once again, San Diego Padres GM AJ Preller pulled off the biggest deal of the MLB Trade Deadline. Cleveland’s RHP Jake Bauer was the best value pitcher who moved this trade season, and San Diego landing center-fielder Taylor Trammell from Cincinnati was the best prospect. That’s the name of the game when you are a seller– get the best prospect(s).

AJ Preller did it again, as the Padres receive lefty-hitting CF prospect (#30 MLB pipeline) Taylor Trammell (below) from Cincinnati. The Reds get Trevor Bauer from Cleveland. The Indians get OF Yasiel Puig & LHP Scott Moss from Cincinnati; OF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen & A-level 3B prospect Victor Nova from San Diego.

It only cost the Padres slugger Franmil Reyes, who slots better as a DH in the AL. Padres have depth in the corner outfield with Hunter Renfroe having a similar profile and being better defensively. Wil Myers has been benched due to poor performance, with a near-40% strikeout rate. He will now get more starts again, which is needed, but Myers is an expensive problem. The San Diego Padres will have to eat contract to move him, and I imagine he was brought up in proposed trade discussions by Preller. The Padres are again stuck with Wil Myers, and expect him to perform better, otherwise he’ll be benched again. They still have CF’s Franchy Cordero & Travis Jankowski as in-house outfield options.

At this point, I will admit that I was wrong about the famous Wil Myers–Steven Souza Jr–Trea Turner deal. AJ Preller gave up the best player, but it was justifiable. He was looking for a franchise player, and Wil Myers had that potential as a former minor league player-of-the-year. Turner has a more limited upside and is an injury risk due to his style. Trea Turner was the best Padres prospect Preller inherited when he took over as GM in August 2014. The Padres farm system was ranked dead last in MLB. Five years later it is #1, by far. This is one of his few mistakes, but it wasn’t too costly.

Trea Turner currently has 11.0 WAR to Wil Myers 9.7 according the baseball reference, so it wasn’t a huge loss, but still the Padres would be better with SS/2B Trea Turner than OF/1B Will Myers. Turner is two years younger. It’s a gamble AJ Preller lost, and that will happen when you have to turn everything over as the new GM of a sad-sack franchise that has never won anything.

General managers in MLB are judged by their colleagues not in terms of straight “wins & losses” on each deal, but in the aggregate. Actions need to coordinate with overall objectives that improve the organization’s chances of winning a World Series– either this year or in the near future. In these terms with the Padres it’s always the future, but now the future is closer than ever. Each year that AJ Preller can continue to acquire the best prospects, the longer and more open the Padres “window of contention” becomes.

AJ Preller played this deadline beautifully– AGAIN. By that I mean for the 4th year running. Since his legendary performance in 2016, when he acquired SS Fernando Tatis, Jr & RHP Chris Paddack for stale beans to the White Sox & Marlins, AJ Preller has been the leading GM in MLB. He locks up the trade market these days, because he has what every other team covets– top prospects in numbers at all levels.

AJ Preller has that blend of “scout’s eye” for baseball, along with analytic understanding of what it takes to win. He has an owner with deep pockets, who will spend on whatever AJ Preller needs. Every trade deadline, or hot stove season now seems to begin with, “Who can make a deal with AJ Preller for some of his top prospects?” But it never happens. Preller and Padres beat writer AJ Cassavell played this Trade Deadline beautifully, by downplaying & stringing the Mets along on Noah Syndergaard (below) trade rumors, all of which came straight from New York.

For the record, the Padres have acknowledged they would love to add Noah Syndergaard to their rotation, but not at the price the Mets ask. Keep in mind it’s the Mets & the east coast media who have been pushing a Thor deal to the Padres for at least 18 months now. Last year I recall it was SS Fernando Tatis, Jr and a few pitching prospects, Chris Paddack, Cal Quantrill, etc. for the mighty Mets hurler. That was the Mets proposal, or something like that…

Unfortunately Thor contracted Hand Foot & Mouth disease around the 2018 deadline, which killed any idea of that deal. The Mets & company tried again this past winter, but Preller decided to go with his young arms, until it’s time to get a real ace. A good GM goes into that acquisition mode when his team is a threat to win the World Series, which the Padres aren’t in 2019.

Nevertheless, the Mets went hard after the Padres farm system again this Trade Deadline, demanding MLB players & prospects this time around for their superhero pitcher with an 2019 ERA over 4.00. Top hitting prospect 2B Luis Urias & CF Manny Margot were floated in the NY/ESPN media, but there was no way AJ Preller was dealing either of them for 2+ years of Syndergaard. How about ace pitching prospects Mackenzie Gore or Luis Patino? These wishful speculations reflecting extreme east coast bias hooked the NY sports media. Preller & his media team fed them enough to remain hopeful, in order to keep them occupied, while he consummated his three-team deal with Cleveland & Cincinnati.

The Amazin’ Mess

So what are the Mets doing? Acquiring RHP Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays for their top pitching prospects three days earlier was a head-scratcher. Was it to flip him? Why did the Mets keep Stroman from the NY media until after the trade deadline? How can the Mets expect to flip a pitcher they just acquired, for more than they paid, with only three days with which to do it? Doesn’t make any sense, but these are the Mets, so anything is possible.

Of course the industry responded by collectively sitting on their hands, while the clock expired on the Mets. So much for that idea. Stroman now can’t be traded until after the season, making him less valuable. The people running this Amazin’ Mess, behave similarly to those at the Federal Reserve who believe they can will things to happen– through hype & fiat.

The Mets still have too many expensive starting pitchers, for a team that sits in 4th place in the lackluster (over-rated) NL East. Their bullpen is a disaster, offense inconsistent, and defense one of the worst in MLB. Being in the same division as the Miami Marlins keeps them out of last place, while inflating their deluded expectations. This team has no chance of winning in the post-season, yet they are trying to spin their inability to deal Noah Syndergaard (and the rest) for a boatload of top prospects, as a commitment to “winning in 2019.” And people wonder where fake news comes from, and why it exists.

After the Marcus Stroman acquisition, the Mets traded starter Jason Vargas to the Phillies for 26-yo AA catcher Austin Bossart, to compensate for dealing away their two best pitching prospects. I have no idea what the Mets are doing, but what ever it is, it’s going to fail badly. These deals have no chance of turning out well in the short term, or long term.

By mid-day Wednesday, July 31, 2019, the MLB “Trade Talk” headlines led with “Mets pull Thor off trade market (source).” Noah Syndergaard pitched 7 innings last night against the White Sox in Chicago giving up one run, unearned, in a no-decision the Mets won. Syndergaard in 2019: 7-5, 4.10 ERA in 134.0 IP. That’s not an ace, but his stuff is good enough to be priced as a #2 starter with two years of team-control remaining.

The problem is the Mets publicly value Thor as an ace, when in 5 years he’s never pitched 200 innings in a season. Noah Syndergaard is a huge injury risk, and the Mets have a reputation for mishandling pitching. You can not get the NY media/Mets management to admit to any of these facts, nor rationally discuss what they mean.

An analogy that personifies Mets management in this situation is the high school boy who boasts he will only take the prettiest girl to prom. He arrogantly claims he is the stud on the market, and any girl should be honored to be his date. Of course, it’s human nature to reject such chutzpah. So when prom day arrives, and our self-acclaimed Don Juan still has no date, he proclaims to take himself off the market, because he didn’t receive an acceptable offer. All his loser buddies (ESPN, etc) prop him up, as group-think rules in this crowd.

The Mets think they are stockpiling pitching, for when it becomes a “seller’s market.” The problem is that markets move on, and the Mets are stuck with devaluing assets they don’t need, can’t afford, and can’t get return value in trade– due to their own incompetence & intransigence.

Trade Deadline Conclusions

The second Wild Card has changed the MLB Trade Deadline significantly, to the point where 1) there is just one deadline, July 31; and 2) the fact that so many teams remain in contention that it’s hard to determine who is (and who should be) buying or selling. The San Francisco Giants were out of contention a month ago, but have become hot since. Therefore they aren’t trading their ace LHP Madison Bumgarner. The second wild card is within reach.

It’s the right move to hold on, because the Giants wouldn’t get fair value for him anyways. The ace pitching market values prospects above rentals. Expect the Giants to offer Bumgarner a qualifying offer (QO) in November, and it will be interesting to see if he accepts. It will be ~$18M for one year. If MadBum declines, he could end up like Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel, who had to wait until the following June amateur draft for the draft pick compensation to expire for him to sign a fair “free agent” deal.

I haven’t published on MLB since relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel & starter Dallas Keuchel signed with the Cubs & Braves in June. Here’s the bottom line. Kimbrel is toast, and the Red Sox knew it. Kimbrel still got a 3/$43 from the Cubs, which is another disaster free agent overpay for the northsiders. So far in 2019 Kimbrel is: 0-2, 6.75 ERA in 10.2 IP.

LHP Dallas Keuchel signed with the Braves on June 7 for 1/$13, and is 3-4, 3.86 ERA in 49 IP so far. As you can see, the Braves did better here, but still Dallas Keuchel isn’t anything that moves the needle significantly towards them winning a World Series. That’s why teams didn’t want to give up the draft pick to sign either of these pitchers. That’s the risk a free agent takes these days when he declines a QO. The rule is: you need to be worth MUCH more than that pick to decline, otherwise accept, and become a unrestricted free agent next year. Otherwise the QO-tagged player will get squeezed in free agency. A player can only be made a QO once.

RHP Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers is an example of someone who understood this situation correctly and is now set for his payday, because he was patient and willing to play one more year at $18 million, in order to become a true free agent next year. Ryu didn’t have to wait out suitors that weren’t calling this past winter like Keuchel, Kimbrel and so many others. Maybe that’s why Hyun-Jin Ryu is having a career year, just when he needs one. It’s like he planned it.

Frontline starters Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, etc were all rumored to be available, and they all stayed put. The fact is all these pitchers have more value to their teams than what they would net in trade return, due to their contracts and/or 2019 performance.

In a last-minute Trade Deadline blockbuster, the Astros acquired Diamondbacks ace RHP Zack Greinke for 1B/OF Seth Beer (Astros’ No. 3 prospect, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander J.B. Bukauskas (No. 4), righty Corbin Martin (No. 5) and infielder Josh Rojas (No. 22). Houston receives $24 million as part of the deal. Greinke has two more years at $35M/year on his contract. The Houston Astros are a smart organization trying to win it again, and this is how you do it. Notice that they held on to their top prospect OF Kyle Tucker. The best GM’s are the ones who can declare certain players & prospects untouchable, and still make deals.

Outside of Stroman, Bauer & Greinke it was the likes of innings-eaters such as Tanner Roark, Daniel Hudson Aaron Sanchez & Drew Pomeranz that led the list of pitchers moved at the deadline. The market had already been set by the Jake Bauer-Taylor Trammell trade, and few teams were willing to or capable of making that kind of deal. That’s why movement in the trade market was so limited.

The truth is that the Mets & Reds had no business obtaining these starters, for what they gave up. These are two 4th-place teams, giving up valuable prospects for one-year pitcher rentals. The Mets decided to make a splash & crapped out, while the Indians & Padres needed a third team to take on Jake Bauer to make their deal. The Reds were there, and they’ll probably be in 4th place next July, shopping Jake Bauer before he leaves as a free agent. That isn’t planning, it’s impulsive buying.

Relievers were also capped by AJ Preller in the form of Kirby Yates (above), the best closer available. For the past two seasons it was Brad Hand. This time, no one made an acceptable offer, so there was no deal for the Padres ace closer. The market followed by going after lower-end relievers at the finish. Lots of middle relievers, bench players, PTBNL & international slot money was exchanged, but few impact players or pitchers. That was the story of this MLB trade season.

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Cocaine Cartels & Immigration

The JP Morgan-owned cargo ship MSC Gayane, which left port in Peru with stops in Panama & the Bahamas, was boarded on June 17, 2019 by U.S. Justice Department agents after it arrived at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia. Approximately 20 tons of cocaine were found on board, with an estimated street value of $1.3 billion. The cocaine was hidden in shipping containers carrying legitimate goods, such as wine, Chilean dried nuts, and scrap metal from the United Arab Emirates.

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management vessel Gayane was being operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which is Switzerland-based, and flew under the flag of Liberia. The Mediterranean Shipping Company is the second-largest container shipping line in the world in terms of vessel capacity, just behind global leader AP Møller Maersk. The Mediterranean Shipping Company is owned by one of the world’s richest couples, Gianluigi & Rafaela Aponte. This is what “respectable” or “high-class” drug dealers look like.

Clearly, both JP Morgan & the Mediterranean Shipping Company are partners in a global drug smuggling cartel. JPM provides finance capital & assets such as container ships, which it leases to the middleman in transportation– the Mediterranean Shipping Company, which blew this drug run– bigtime.

The grand design by JP Morgan & MSC is for the Colombian cocaine kingpins to have a protected route to market for their illicit goods, which they distribute & consume. So certainly this sting hurts JPM interests & their image, which U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement was the largest bust & vessel seizure in the agency’s 230-year history.

But this will probably be the limit for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Twenty tons of coke seized is a HUGE hit for JP Morgan, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already made a murky deal to get it back. Over $1.3B is a lot of money, which make the world go round.

Here’s more confirmation of that line. The MSC Gayane was released on July 12, after being seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on July 4. The message: JP Morgan’s assets are inviolable, no matter what crimes they are involved in. The release of JP Morgan’s drug-running vessel was only reported in the media yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal.

Several crew members on the ship have been charged with knowingly & intentionally conspiring to possess cocaine. Of course, a federal criminal investigation is ongoing, but it appears neither JP Morgan, nor MSC will be a target. The U.S. cocaine market, fueled by the addictions of Washington, Wall Street, Silicon Valley & Hollywood, would never tolerate breaking up these drug cartels, much less attacking one of their own.

Cocaine in the Western hemisphere comes from South America, high up in the Andes, which range from Colombia to Tierra del Fuego. It is at these altitudes in the spine of South America that the coca leaf is grown. Therefore there has to be a secure transportation route near the coca source, to meet the never-ending demand of the U.S. cocaine market.

The 21st century “War on Drugs” has been called Plan Colombia, which was conceived in 1999 as a recycled name for a U.S. foreign aid, military and CIA initiative aimed at partnering with the corrupt Colombian government & drug cartels to eradicate left-wing insurgent & worker groups in Colombia.

As an aside, a slice of the cocaine money is siphoned off by U.S. intelligence services for black ops, untraceable pay-offs, bribes, etc.  Plan Colombia’s official objectives to the American public were to end the Colombian civil war by increasing funding & training of its military & para-military forces, while creating an anti-cocaine strategy to eradicate coca cultivation.

Coca eradication is a mainstay U.S. government strategy in the never-ending “War on Drugs,” in place of education & rehabilitation campaigns. This mirrors harsh prison sentencing for illicit drug possession in the US.

With Monsanto, the U.S. military-intelligence complex has a reliable corporate partner in its multibillion-dollar aerial coca eradication campaign, dumping unknown tons of glyphosate throughout the Andes. Glyphosate, known commercially as the weed-killer Roundup, is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide, crop desiccant & carcinogen.

Herbicidal eradication is being pursued in all the coca-growing regions of the Andes mountain range, where its environmental, health & socioeconomic impact remain mostly unreported in official US news outlets. It should also be noted that coca production for traditional use is legal in Peru, Bolivia & Chile, which makes chemical spraying an act of war against its inhabitants.

This never-ending, US-sponsored violence is the root cause of America’s immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border, where Latin Americans fleeing poverty & violence are being rounded-up by an American Gestapo (ICE), and held in concentration camps like POW’s. For some unexplained reason, this Republican-led march towards fascism is never objected to by leading Democrats, or in the mainstream “liberal” media.

Today, herbicidal-resistant varieties of coca have been developed, either in Monsanto’s labs or by coca farmer ingenuity– or in collaboration. Boliviana negra, also known as supercoca or la millionaria, is a relatively new form of coca that is resistant to glyphosate.

In 1996, Monsanto marketed a patented glyphosate-resistant soybean, making the agribusiness behemoth the most-likely culprit for any glyphosate resistance in coca. So now when a CIA drone sprays glyphosate on a crop of Boliviana negra, it poisons the competitors (everything else) to help the genetically-modified coca grow faster. This gets really messed up when you think it through.

Back to JP Morgan, and their fleet of drug-smuggling vessels, these babies run over $100 million apiece, and the MSC Gayane was built in 2018. JPM & MSC put up $50 million in cash & bond to have it released from US Customs. It should be noted that of the $50M “release fee,” only $10M was in cash, with the rest in bonds.

Forty million dollars is what JP Morgan claims those bonds are worth, and the U.S. government bought it, but it was never proven to the public. Does anyone actually know what those bonds are worth? Does this sound like another scheme to bailout the rich? Until someone proves the worth of those junk bonds, JP Morgan got its $100M ship back for $10M in cash.

That tidy sum bought JPM & MSC a three-days jump before the most conservative of U.S. newspaper’s reported the vessel had been released and was at sea. Just a month earlier the MSC Gayane was busted with 20 tons of cocaine in Philadelphia’s port. and now it was last reported to be steaming across the Atlantic Ocean towards the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

This is where the money goes, and what it is used for. Billionaire capitalists are free to move about at will, with no consequences, while the rest of us are to be restrained & kept to cages. This is a snapshot of the fake economy of the super-rich: wasteful, criminal, and in complete conflict with itself & everything else.

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