Bankrupt crypto bank Silvergate gets $4.3B US taxpayer bailout

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Sat 21 Jan 2023 5:50 AM CST

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

…………..<><><><><><><>………….

Is Sam Bankman-Fried now an agent of US Intelligence?

The conspiracy theory that SBF is now an agent of US intelligence is supported by the facts and his actions since pleading “not guilty” in a Manhattan courtroom. The DOJ normally takes no prisoners in its prosecutions, unless a secret deal has been reached.

From a historical perspective, the DOJ investigations of Donald Trump have been as restrained a legal action as you will ever see, because he’s so connected to right-wing militias (which intelligence agencies view as an asset), but the DOJ still went after him to some extent for his malfeasance. SBF has the same criminal credentials, but with even more value to US intelligence, so he’s been treated with kid gloves by the DOJ & the corporate media because they’re all tied-in to the CIA Democrats.

The dictatorship of finance capital can be clearly observed in crypto. SBF & Co. have surely made secret deals, as they are being integrated into US intelligence to help move dark money to Ukraine, etc. Thus, none of the defrauded customers will see a penny of the $5B in assets the US government has claimed to have recovered (so far) in the FTX fallout.

Republicans have now setup a new committee to bail out this distressed “asset class” known as crypto, and as a result of this activity, bitcoin has moved up by ~$2K in the past few days.

………..<><><><><><>……….

Roger Goodell cancels Bill-Bengals MNF game: A true Hollywood story

After Roger Goodell conferred with the top Vegas bookies & ESPN fantasy leagues for three difficult days, it was decided by the owners of football to be in their best interest to cancel the Bills-Bengals game. According to NFL records & the Black Hand, it never happened.

The NFL had cancel this game, but they REALLY didn’t want to. League officials & executives needed to confer behind-the-scenes with bookmakers & the biggest fantasy leagues for council on what to do, which is why it took three long days for the NFL to make it’s final decision, when it really had no choice from the start.

The fantasy leagues are a particularly sticky situation, because those are hardcore football fans who invested 4+ months in drafting, building & cheering their teams. The Bills-Bengals game was to be the final MNF contest of the season, and it’s the Super Bowl in most fantasy leagues. If this event had happened during a typical Sunday afternoon game, it wouldn’t have been as harmful to NFL interests. But it happened on Monday night, when the entire sports world is tuned-in, and not just any Monday night, but the biggest MNF game of the season.

Instead of being a nationwide football festival, the plug was pulled & the excitement killed. Most sports fans understand the situation and don’t blame the players, or cry foul, but there are interests that want to make sure this NEVER happens again. Docking wages for leaving the field would probably be bad optics for the NFL, so look for the owners to get together after the post-season and establish a “protocol” to prevent players from mutually leaving the field before a game is finished. Owners consider what happened as an unauthorized work stoppage, and that is strictly prohibited by the powers-that-be. This could become a CBA grievance if the owners take too much of a hard-line stance.

So how did Roger Goodell arrive at his judgement, three days after an on-field medical event stopped the Bills-Bengals MNF game, with the players refusing to resume the contest? First, the NFL Commissioner had to take heavy flak from all the East coast dweebs screaming in his ear about sponsors, ratings, fantasy leagues, etc– imagine a scene from Network (1976) and apply it here. After absorbing all this abuse, Goodell then had to fly to Las Vegas and stay at the Flamingo to take a meeting with Ace Rothstein & Nicky Santoro. After that, he had to hustle over to the Tropicana to see Moe Greene, and you know what that means— Don Barzini. Roger Goodell had to earn his paycheck this week.

Nicky Santoro: Hey commish, what happened?! I got all these betting slips and I don’t know what to do with them. I’m thinkin’ I’ll keep all the money. What do you think, Sam?

Ace Rothstein: You’re the muscle end Nicky, I just tell you the point spread.

Nicky Santoro: So commish, a player feints on the field, he’s taken-off, and the game just ENDS?!! Since when do we do THAT?!! Are we gonna put pink dresses on them next? [Lots of expletives…] I’m feeling like a chump for holding all these markers. The game was two nights ago!! [Lots of expletives…] I’m just trying to run a respectable bookmaking business here, I gotta pay the winners & collect from the losers to get my vig, you understand? How can I pay when there’s no game?!! [More expletives…] Since I’ve been holding this money for so long, I’d almost feel like a chump to return it. I’m thinking I’ll keep the money. What do you think, Sam?

…………<><><><><><><><>…………….

 

Crypto mining report

Mining bitcoin became less profitable in 2022 as hashrate (the electrical cost of mining bitcoin) increased, while bitcoin tumbled from an all-time high of $69K in November 2021 to under $17K at present. Crypto is being propped-up with everything the US financial system has left. There are a lot of billionaires & multi-millionaires who are VERY upset at the prospect of losing a massive chunk of the portfolio invested in crypto.

In 2022, the stock prices of the five biggest public crypto miners by hashrate: Core Scientific ($CORZ), Riot Blockchain ($RIOT), Bitfarms ($BITF), Iris Energy ($IREN), and CleanSpark ($CLSK) traded down 99%, 85%, 91%, 92% and 79%, according to CoinDesk. What’s going on in the crypto industry is a massive restructuring, with a few big fish eating all the little fish. New rationalizations are needed to reassure venture capitalists in their support for the flagging crypto industry. If investors stop giving crypto money, then it’s lights out– literally.

Miners are hardcore crypto fanatics, so they tried to hold onto the bitcoin they mined, often electing to finance operations with low-interest debt, venture capital, blank check companies, etc. Perhaps pitch the idea on Shark Tank, which coincidentally appeared around the same time as bitcoin. The point is that bitcoin mining companies, who are in the business of mining bitcoin, weren’t making the BIG money in crypto.

Miners were contracted to make money for whales, who financed the mining of bitcoin. For instance, if Elon Musk contracted a massive amount of bitcoin to be mined from various bitcoin mining companies, the bitcoin would be delivered to him while he paid the consortium of miners for the service, presumably in bitcoin. This would support the industry as long as the price of crypto went up and money was cheap from the Federal Reserve.

Elon Musk’s financial Waterloo was his commitment to buy Twitter for $44B last spring. When his bitcoin empire crashed, soon after his takeover announcement, he began to back-off on buying Twitter. By summer, when Twitter shareholders threatened to sue & win in court, Musk was beaten. Elon Musk was heralded as the wealthiest man in the world by Forbes, with a value of $264B as of 2021. So here’s a modern economic question: Why couldn’t Elon Musk just buy Twitter for $44B, and be secure w/ $200+B remaining in personal wealth? Answer: Because his wealth was never real. It was mostly inflated crypto, and you can’t buy a publicly-traded company with bitcoin. Forbes is a central player in this fictitious accounting.

Elon Musk’s choices to finance his Twitter acquisition were to A) liquidate bitcoin; or B) liquidate Tesla. Tesla is WAY overvalued, and Musk knows this better than anyone, so him selling huge shares of his flagship electric car company tells the story there. If bitcoin recovers, Elon Musk is king again. If crypto goes to zero (which it must), then Musk is dust. When the stock value of Tesla collapses, as it must, Elon Musk won’t have any real money left. The more Tesla stock Musk sells, the sooner this will happen.

As poorly as Musk has run Tesla, his short reign as Twitter CEO has been qualitatively worse. Maybe Twitter was worth only a quarter of what Musk paid for it, say $10B. But that’s still an asset, and the second-largest social media platform on the internet. At least manage it decently for awhile, then take it public again, or sell it & eat the loss. That would be a rational business strategy after making a big mistake. But instead, Musk destroyed Twitter through a series of tirades, boneheaded ideas & tantrums. Now, Twitter isn’t worth $2B. These new-age millennial entrepreneurs have trouble producing value in the real world. They always need more money.

Turning to the unending crypto saga of Sam Bankman-Fried, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas has taken custody of FTX deposits valued at more than $3.5B as of November 12, according to a media release published last week. The November 12 date is significant, because the murky, murky $383M FTX hack, live-streamed in this video, happened during the evening of November 11, while SBF was in Bahamian custody. So where is the money?

The government of the Bahamas is in complete control of $3.5B in crypto, which the US government wants for itself. Bankruptcy trials take a long time, and this is largely a jurisdictional battle for the spoils which is to be hashed-out by lawyers, financial officials, opportunists, etc, on both sides until all the money is divvied-up to the right people. This is how governments steal for themselves in the name of their people & democracy.

The crypto community is facing an existential crisis. The vast majority, who have worked to build this industry, in mining, computer programming, sales & promotion, etc, have been shucked & jived by modern-day shysters. Calls in the fake media for regulation are a smokescreen, as crypto will never be regulated by US Congress. A few years back, during the Trump administration, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was compelled to testify before the US Senate for a regulatory hearing. The most memorable moment was when a crusty septuagenarian senator asked Zuckerberg how Facebook made money? The Facebook CEO smiled to himself & replied, removing as much condescension from his voice as possible, “We sell ads, sir.”

That’s typical of the level of fundamental cluelessness in elite politics. Crypto with its blockchains, decentralized finance, off-shore shell companies, etc, is much more complex than the nuts & bolts of social media. Not only is regulation unwanted by the industry (and Republicans), it’s unthinkable because no one in bourgeois politics has a clue how to deal with this mess. No politician wants to be seen as “impeding the free market,” and no politician wants to get dragged into these crypto scandals any further. You know it’s really bad when you see corrupt politicians insisting there are returning FTX money.

Calls for “regulation” in articles discussing crypto should be always interpreted as “bailout.” Eventually this crypto bubble will burst, and unlike the sub-prime crisis of 2007-08, there are no assets to recoup here. Millions of homes with defaulted mortgages were transferred into bank ownership in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. This was done to make bankers & hedge fund investors (who caused the meltdown) whole again. They were too big to fail. But the soon-to-come crypto crash will leave nothing to be recouped, because it’s been a fake asset from the start. US & Bahamian regulators are fighting over custody of $3.5B in fake money, and who winds up with it is beside the point because it’s worthless.

Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried is out on bond, living with his parents who are co-conspirators in the $32B FTX/Alameda swindle. The effectively altruistic boy genius came up with a better way to mine crypto. Instead of having a series of supercomputers mining the crypto by solving complex mathematical equations, SBF just made up his proprietary FTT tokens out of thin air. This saved energy costs, and the expense of contracting crypto miners. This way, SBF made super-profits! Crypto skeptics point to Binance’s native BNB token, and ask if Changpeng Zhao created them by the same process.

Sam Bankman-Fried has surely violated the terms of his bail by moving large amounts of crypto from hidden Alameda wallets after his release on bond last week. SBF denies this, of course, as his parents are there to punish him if he does anything wrong again. The problem with crypto isn’t SBF, per se, it’s capitalism & the flawed idea that you can create value from nothing.

Update: Wed Jan 4, ~8:45AM CST

SBF was allowed to be free on bond, and violate those terms by moving large amounts of crypto out of Alameda wallets to unknown accounts. Unknown to the public that is. The US government knows where the crypto is, because undoubtedly they have been monitoring his computer, but they aren’t revealing anything they know to the public which is normal. SBF is acting as a personal tutor for US intelligence agencies, etc, in how to move crypto. Notice how names are always redacted when his legal team requests it, etc. Since when has such a swindler been allowed such clout in a DOJ prosecution case? Normally, targets of the DOJ receive no mercy, unless they plead guilty– or cut a secret deal. SBF pled not guilty, yesterday, as expected. SBF should now be considered as an agent of the US state. It’s the only way he can save himself.

Final thoughts: Thu 05 Jan 2023 6:43 AM CST

The crypto community is learning the hard way, that BIGGER interests (such as the US-provoked war in Ukraine) override any claims of crypto theft. The most logical explanation for SBF’s ‘not guilty’ plea is that he made a secret deal with US intelligence to save himself. These demoralized libertarians are in WAY over their heads here.

Crypto believers have hyped bitcoin with an impressive amount of enthusiasm & bravado, but never answered any fundamental questions posed to them over the years. They display a staggering level of naivety & ignorance in the fields of economics & politics. And yet, in their collective moment of stunned disbelief over the reality of how quickly dreams can evaporate, they maintain they are correct. The Federal Reserve & US Intelligence are the primary forces keeping crypto alive. Crypto is a money-laundering tool, that’s it’s only use value.

Any talk of SBF being an asset of US intelligence will now be branded as “conspiracy theory” in the fake media.That’s the Big Lie playbook they run on the public. This conspiracy theory is backed by the facts and the events as they are unfolding, which strongly implies that it is correct. US Intelligence always lies & evades to minimize exposure of an asset, especially a big fish like SBF, who is teaching them new & better ways to move crypto. This helps Joe Biden work with Republicans in funneling funds to the neo-Nazis in Kiev in the name of fighting Russian aggression which keeps us safe from terrorism.

…………<><><><><><><>………..

Are you happy?

This is an irritating question I get asked, especially by family. Let me be clear: NOBODY can be truly happy right now. Humanity is facing existential threats on multiple fronts. This is the Coronavirus War, which is the revolutionary war to prevent WW3 & MAD. Trotskyists are on the side of rationality & science, while capitalism is about irrational greed & class dominance. The Coronavirus War must be won by Trotskyism, otherwise we all die. The only way someone can claim to be happy under these conditions is if they are smugly self-satisfied and/or deluded.

Happiness is a relative term. I’m happier than I was in the past, but I don’t claim to be completely happy & fulfilled. There’s still too much work to be done. Only trifling minds can believe in their deep happiness. We have a social system where there is a class of people who can check-out whenever they please because they are taken care of. It’s nice if you can get it, but it’s not for me. Historical materialists posit that eventually their bubbles & illusions will be shattered by reality.

Donald Trump is part of this parasitic elite, full of anger among other bad things. Every MAGA supporter is like him, so none of these people can be happy. Trump’s pathology is that he is a sociopath. Sociopaths have no empathy, they revel in meting out cruelty & abuse, always targeting the weak when they are most vulnerable. Soft targets are the lifeblood of sociopaths & fascists, which feeds their bottomless appetite for hate, violence & terrorism.

All this is constructed on a mountain of lies which include historical falsification, anti-Semitism, and the perpetual use of the Big Lie. Fascists have fully adopted the techniques of US intelligence agencies & military. Most of the shock troops from the 1/6/21 US Capitol assault were recruited from far-right sympathizers in the police, firefighters, military, etc.

US Secret Services agents subpoenaed to turn over their cell phone data from 1/6/21 deleted all their texts, messages, etc. Far-right sympathizers in US police, military & intelligence agencies were the organizers & foot soldiers in Donald Trump’s coup attempt on 1/6/21. The 1/6 Committee led by Republican Party war-hawk Liz Cheney sought to whitewash all this filth & criminality, by pinning the entire blame on the actions of a single individual– Donald Trump. The facts overwhelmingly prove otherwise. Facts are stubborn things.

The FBI monitored the entire planning & unfolding of 1/6, with agents planted & active at all levels, and they did nothing to prevent an armed assault on the US Capitol building when Congress was in session, going through the ceremony of certifying a presidential election. After the 1/6 insurrection fizzled-out, the coup-plotter-in-chief began his next campaign to deal with the consequences & political fallout. First, Donald Trump intimidated Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell into not impeaching him during his swift (second) impeachment trial in the weeks after January 6, 2021.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican whip who was initially shocked & outraged over being a target of enraged MAGA vigilantes, checked with his grassroots supporters, (who both said don’t cross Trump) and thus jelly-spine Mitch caved-in to the Godfather of the Republican Party. Mitch McConnell swallowed his indignation, as well as his sworn duty to protect the US Constitution, uniting his party colleagues in voting “No” to impeachment, when no clearer case of criminality against American law could be imagined.

It was the best chance the Republicans ever had to handle Trump once and for all, and possibly redeem themselves (somewhat) in the eyes of the vast majority of Americans who STRONGLY disapproved of Trump’s coup attempt. The Republicans couldn’t do it because the political fallout would have been too devastating for the far right, whom they must protect at all costs. It would have killed the Republican Party, because Trump the Nazi became the Republican Party in 2016. Republicans, more than anyone else, can’t endure short-term pain & long-term sacrifice.

For historical reference, Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial was part of the Democrat attack campaign on him for beating Hillary Clinton in Election 2016. If there is one thing Donald Trump is genuinely good at, it’s a legal battle. If you’re going to beat Trump in court, you had better have the goods on him– and the resources to outlast all his dirty-tricks. Trump is a maestro at appealing verdicts, delaying, deflecting, denying, counter-suing, buying judges, ignoring rulings, etc.

The ruling establishment grievance for his first impeachment trial was that President Trump held up covert military aid to Ukrainian neo-Nazis for a few months. That’s it. For a long, long time in top-level US military planning circles, Ukraine has been considered the leading front in the war against “Russian interference,” whose goal is regime change in Moscow. These olden cold warriors lead humanity recklessly into the 21st-century with their nuclear brinkmanship & empty bluster. All of them are hard-headed & senile, along with being sore losers. These qualities are widely considered red flags for serious leadership positions, but under elite capitalism being stupid, heartless & greedy makes you most qualified for leadership.

Of course, as the true reasons for the first impeachment campaign against Donald Trump became apparent, and with strong Republican Party support, he was acquitted in the Senate. The whole matter was considered bogus by rational observers, with the real issue of arming Ukrainian neo-Nazis stricken from discussion, thus feeding into President Trump’s hand.

The Democrats do that very well, and Bush v Gore is perhaps the best example. Conservative Democrats (always claiming to be vaguely liberal) never mention how Election 2000 was stolen by Bush/Cheney. In the end it was Democratic Party leadership, bowing not to the will of the voters, but to a right-wing US Supreme Court which ruled that since the Electoral College decides the election for US President, there is no need to count all the votes in Florida.

The final counting of all Florida ballots, particularly the Miami area which leaned ~85% Democrat, was stopped by Republican lawyers. Governor Jeb Bush organized his machinery, while mobs of angered right-wing supporters stormed voting precincts where tens of thousands of uncounted ballots remained in storage. They were never to be counted, as the Supreme Court ruled 5-4, in favor of not counting all the ballots. Antonin Scalia authored the majority opinion, which was a legal & democratic travesty– the ‘justice’ of a mafia don.

Having lived in Central Florida for over 25 years I can say that most people oppose the right-wing politics of Florida, but that will never be allowed to express itself at the ballot box. Republicans took over the governorship of Florida in 1998, and they will never give it back without it being taken from them. In 2022, the Florida political machinery is solid Nazi with Trump hunkered down in exile at his Mar-a-Lago luxury compound, and Ron DeSantis in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee.

The Villages, FL is a key financial & political base for the far right, to counter the liberalism of Sanford/Orlando in Central Florida. Massive right wing capital went into building the sprawling retirement community known as the Villages out of swampland in the late-1990’s. Politically the Villages first came to prominence as the right-wing Tea Party in 2009, which was their reaction to Barack Obama winning the presidency, and then later as rabid MAGA Trump supporters. For instance, much of the racist ‘birther campaign’ against Barack Obama was incubated in the Villages, which brands itself as “America’s Friendliest Hometown”. Between fits of hysterical anger towards Democrats & anything vaguely left-wing, Villagers like to think of themselves as happy & enlightened.

For the Democrats, the ideological front lines of mainstream propaganda (since ~1972, and then Barack Obama for sure) has been identity politics as a tool to divide workers & youth. The Nazis have white supremacy, anti-Semitism, vigilante militias, etc, and that ugliness largely speaks for itself. Most working people are repulsed, and you don’t have to convince too many educated people that the KKK is horrible, and that the Holocaust was a massive war crime. The lunatic fringe of Holocaust deniers, Q-Anon nuts, right-wing militia groups, etc, are now all that’s left of Donald Trump’s political base. The political establishment is trying to put the Republican Party back together again, after Humpty Trumpty forever shattered it on 1/6/21.

The MeToo campaign under the banner of liberal feminism is also fascism, but of a different stripe. MeToo has the power of illusion (feminine beauty), claiming to be a force for progress, but in fact it’s a nefarious tool for political reaction. The MeToo campaign is a McCarthyist witch-hunt, organized & led by the CIA Democrats, targeting leftist artists & top talent. Artistically speaking, this has a chilling affect on those who remain. MeToo is not a movement, but a cynical campaign whose core message is vote Democrat.

Both major parties like nothing more than a well-framed debate in the corporate media. For instance, what always gets mentioned in every spectrum of the fake media are Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Here we have a madman completely turning facts, science & history on its head, which gives the Democrats ammunition. The Democrats then use that ammunition to attack Trump (and everyone else) from the right. Trump may still command an audience of supporters, but they are ever-dwindling. The window of opportunity for fascism to regain power is closing fast, but this is not due to the efforts of the Democrats.

As Joe Biden said after 1/6, “We need a strong Republican Party… We need unity with the Republicans [fascists].” Indeed he does. People are now starting to realize that the Democrats are just as fascist as the Republicans, maybe even worse because of how they lie about it.

Their fascism is perhaps most apparent in their dictatorial control over the trade unions, bloated with corporate bureaucrats assigned to sell out the rank-and-file in all industries. The Democratic Party is the party of the CIA, the leading purveyor of misinformation on the planet. Their covert deceptions provide fuel for the big lies of Nazis everywhere. It’s a self-perpetuating system of hate & inequality called capitalism, dictated & financed on Wall Street, and then veneered-over with debased politics & vapid pop culture.

International socialism is how to overcome all this ignorance, hatred & inequality foisted upon us by the madmen & madwomen who own capitalism. To all oppressed workers, youth & socialists: Keep organizing rank-and-file workplace committees, along with school & neighborhood safety committees– everywhere!! That coalesces international labor power politically under the banner of Trotskyism. That’s how to win. It’s also how to be happy.

………<><><><><><><><>……….

Manufacturing Music in 2022

Country music artist Miranda Lambert did it again with Palomino, which has plenty of crossover appeal. It’s my choice for the best mainstream album of 2022, in any genre. Conspicuously absent from most ‘2022 best-of’ lists, I’ve noticed.

Brian Eno & PJ Harvey are continually intriguing artists I follow. They endure & gracefully evolve by becoming multi-media artists. Thus they don’t fit so nicely on the limited ‘best-of’ lists published by most critics.

Beyonce, Megan Thee Stallion, Harry Styles, Wet Leg, BlackPink, etc, are production-heavy industry creations. These performers dominate most of the corporate media’s best-of-2022 music lists. These fans & boosters should credit the producers more, and realize what that means– particularly its limitations.

Mediocre & dull music is now precisely MIDI-ed, EQ-ed & compressed, which allows for better dynamics– yielding a cleaner & louder sound. Bass is boomier than ever, and distortion is crunchier in all ranges. Beats are mostly electronic, or at least enhanced by digital effects. That’s the sound of today, from pop & rap to punk & heavy metal. Much of this ‘excitement’ is achieved by computerized digital processing. It’s the same process in film, television & crypto.

Hillary Clinton w/ Pussy Riot_2014

The nefarious #MeToo campaign bears much of the current responsibility for this lack of excitement & innovation in popular culture. Many talented performers (in all fields) have been cancelled by a Democratic Party-led identity politics campaign in its feminist (Me Too), racialist (Black Lives Matter), and LGBTQ-activist incarnations. All are corporate funded, anti-science & pro-war. The “punk” spearhead for this CIA campaign has been Pussy Riot (pic above), who have been hyped in the Western media as a “protest art collective,” while being officially designated as foreign agents by the Russian government.

The list of performers who have been cancelled in music, as well as film, television & theater is staggering in terms of top talent, and irreplaceable in terms of art. You simply can’t replace a Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, or Bill Murray in film. In music, you can’t replace a Michael Jackson, Ryan Adams, or Roger Waters. If they can be attacked and taken down by cynical politics, resting on a mountain of lies & baseless allegations, then who is safe from this?

It’s nearly impossible to be an artist under these conditions. The industry hype machine allows nothing subversive (left-wing) to enter into popular consciousness. In fact, they censor it harshly. We are nearing the end of the ‘American Idol era’ in popular music, when a handful of industry big-shots & gatekeepers were allowed to control everything the public saw & heard– on the radio, television & online.

In 2022, most music fans are bored with Justin Bieber, Brittany Spears, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Adele, etc. No one expects any of them to age well. There’s not enough talent there. None of them come close to matching Prince, Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Chuck D, or Tupac in their primes. Anyone inspired by that is driven underground these days. I believe the best music of 2022, in every any genre, was underground. This means most people, myself included, never heard it.

…………<><><><><><><>………..

Coronavirus War update: crypto collapse

Effective altruism has melted away and it’s been replaced by the slogan– make investors whole again! Especially the small ones, because they can least afford the losses, blah, blah, blah…

As a socialist, I feel very little sympathy for anyone in the crypto market. It’s been a scam from the start, and if you didn’t recognize that, then you deluded yourself. These fanatics are capitalists to the core, who do no productive work, and only got into crypto to make money for themselves. They look at all the odds stacked against them, while ignoring simple logic (AKA– FUD), to make themselves believe they can get something for nothing. People have to learn at some point, and while cases like Elon Musk (bitcoin whale) are beyond hopeless, those who can’t afford big financial losses in crypto are just as much part of the problem. Their fundamentalism blinds them.

These wanna-be’s envy criminals like Elon Musk, the fascist billionaire. Taking a look at his CV for just the past few weeks, Elon Musk has drained his core company Tesla, selling it’s stock at a premium before it goes bust, to finance his takeover of Twitter which has cost him tens of billions of dollars to date. He had to do this because all his bitcoin busted before he’d done any due diligence on Twitter, but after he’d committed to buying it. Some genius huh? So now, advertisers & users have abandoned what was once the 2nd-most popular social media platform, as Musk took it over and turned it into a toxic wasteland. Twitter has gone the way of MySpace, via Mein Kampf.

Even Donald Trump, who has 88 million followers on Twitter, won’t return to the platform after Elon Musk re-instated his account with much fanfare. Trump started Truth Social, his proprietary platform, on which he posts exclusively– to his 2 million followers. Donald Trump wants to be president again, yet he accepts 1/44th the social media reach, because more importantly he wants to make money for himself. Trump does this by pumping his brand. Every other industry he’s ever branded himself in has gone bankrupt, or if it’s still in existence, is under federal investigation for tax fraud or some other form of criminality.

So of course, Donald Trump has now launched his own crypto, a $99 NFT of trading cards in his image. It will be worthless in the near future, but you can still own those images & digits in cyberspace. Of course, if you keep them in a cold wallet with responsibility for your own keys, you will lose 99% of your crypto, according to Changpeng Zhao, the Binance CEO & crypto whale.

It’s tough to pass on crypto when you die because 1) the keys are hidden and hard to get to, because if they aren’t, you’ll get hacked and lose everything instantly; and 2) inheritors often aren’t familiar with the crypto world, and thus getting through all the online steps needed to liquidate can be an insurmountable task. Even with crypto exchanges such as Binance, this is an issue, but Changpeng Zhao didn’t mention that.

Some crypto industry leaders who got burned in the FTX collapse, are now calling for regulation. Crypto is deregulated finance by definition, hence the industry term “de-fi.” According to the libertarian economic model, de-fi opposes centralized finance, breaking the bounds of national banking by creating an international currency on the foundations of freedom & privacy– [* until it all collapses and they need a bailout]. What libertarians never strictly define are these emotionally-charged terms: freedom & privacy, which means they can mean anything. To SBF & Co., it means the freedom to embezzle everyone’s crypto on his exchange in the privacy of his luxury villa in the Bahamas.

That’s life in a post-modernist world, and it’s what happens when you are too lazy to strictly define important core values within the community. The ‘crypto community’ was built on vague altruistic ideals which could be changed or discarded at any time, by any actor, because those were the rules everyone allowed from the beginning. The crypto community isn’t the cooperative idealistic paradise it markets itself to be. Just about any crypto investor would steal a kajillion dollars of crypto if they thought the could get away with it. How can anyone regulate with these industry-wide ethics? Crypto has been around for only thirteen years or so, and yet its demise is imminent.

Crypto lacked a credible core philosophy to justify its existence. Ask any crypto believer, and none of them will take you any further than what I’ve just spelled out. It’s all about making money by doing no real work. These are lazy & privileged kids along with mathematical whizzes who learned computers, but got on the wrong track from the start. None of them understand the fundamental nature of money and what it represents. They just want to create an algorithm that makes money for themselves. Crypto-currency is anti-productive & anti-social to its core.

No more cheap money from the Fed, along with rising costs for electricity to mine crypto, means this fake industry is about to go tits-up. Only massive infusions of liquidity on a daily basis (from a central source) are keeping this crypto boondoggle afloat. The big hedge fund investors & venture capitalists are already lining themselves up for another bailout. Congress will have bi-partisan support for this, but the rub is the crypto industry has been so discredited in the eyes of so many people that another such corporate bailout is a tough sell politically.

The crypto industry is a joke because everyone in politics has taken money from these criminals, but none of them can clearly explain why crypto has value. The same applies to economists, industry experts, talking heads, etc. Tens of millions of dollars a day (minimum) is what is going into the crypto market to keep it “legitimate.” Cold wallets won’t save any investors because it is the crypto itself (bitcoin, ether, etc) that is worthless. Blockchains are becoming too costly to maintain due to rising energy prices. This inflation crisis has been caused by unlimited QE for over a decade, and accelerated by the disastrous official response to COVID-19, and the US-provoked war in the Ukraine.

Bitcoin’s value to the ruling classes is that it’s a tool for laundering large amounts of cash. Imperialist governments & their intelligence agencies have many uses for this, all nefarious & undemocratic. So the question of questions for SBF & Co. in the wake of the FTX/Alameda Research scandal is: Where is the money?

Where did all that crypto go? What about FTX’s ‘Aid for Ukraine’ campaign launched last spring? Where did all the aid money go? Who was/is connected to all this? Both the Democrats & Republicans have prominent figures in their upper circles who participated in this criminality. The first step in damage control is to silence SBF. His arrest in the Bahamas on Tuesday (Dec 13), after weeks of delaying, was timed to prevent his sworn testimony, via Zoom, to US Congress. Tens of millions of people would have watched that, waiting for bigmouth SBF to spill the beans on everybody. As mentioned in my last piece on FTX, this case has Jeffery Epstein-type implications, and must be handled very carefully by the ruling elite, otherwise the truth will get out and the establishment will be publicly discredited.

The crisis of capitalism has become an existential issue, so what is at stake is the ruling class’ right to rule. If politicians and their media apologists can’t convince the working people to bail out the crypto industry to avert an “economic collapse,” then the game is over. This is their greatest fear being realized, and their only answer is more lies, more attacks on living standards, and more hate & violence. That’s what happens when you start with no ethics and then become financially bankrupt.

For the ruling classes, any major wildcat strike or other form of labor shutdown can only be met with media hysteria & demonization, followed by physical attacks from right-wing goon squads aided by the police, intelligence agencies & the military. Workers & youth must organize into workplace & neighborhood committees with the goal of taking control over worker production & neighborhood safety. Uvalde proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that the cops have no interest in protecting teachers & children, etc. Productive workers & youth must organize & unite to protect each other from the propaganda & violence of all the world’s ruling classes.

The Coronavirus War concludes it’s third year with an increase in fascist propaganda & policy by every nation. In China, the origin of COVID-19 from human-animal crossover in a Wuhan wet market, the ruling bureaucracy has just ended its Zero-COVID policy which had been successful for its duration, but only within its borders. COVID-19 is a global virus that mutates constantly, and is increasingly evading vaccine immunity. US President Joe Biden has declared the pandemic over, when clearly it isn’t. Trump denied the pandemic was real, so Biden is merely following the fascist policy of his predecessor. That’s what Democrats do, as anti-science reigns supreme in the pseudo-academic, liberal, middle-class milieu that is obsessed with race, gender & sexual orientation.

This crypto collapse marks a turning point in the Coronavirus War, which up to this point the fascists (of all stripes) have been winning. Fascist ideology has long-since been rejected by the working masses of the world, while right-wing corruption rules over them. Now, fascist money is becoming increasingly worthless, which makes it harder for them to buy people. This weakness is being exposed daily, in the collapses of crypto exchanges & lenders. Crypto auditors (who love their big fee$) won’t even stand by their “all good” asset ratings anymore, deleting them from their sites, etc.

The leading industry site is Coin Desk, which is tangled-up in the FTX collapse in a myriad of ways. Fundamentally there is no honesty in their “journalism” because there are deep dark truths about crypto which they can never reveal– not even to themselves. When yet another exchange halts withdrawals, and Coin Desk reaches out to that company for a comment, it’s either 1`) No comment, unavailable, no response; or 2) public relations BS such as, “we’re working to make investors whole again… our fundamentals are sound,” etc.

So… where’s the money?

………….<><><><><><><><>………….

Sun Ra and his Arkestra: an appreciation

The most unfindable musical artist of the 20th-century was Sun Ra. As someone with a rock perspective who has purchased records & music since childhood, there is no artist as confounding as Sun Ra and his Arkestra. His classic Saturn records were pressed in limited quantities, usually 75-100 at a time, and were only available through the mail, at live performances, and in select neighborhood record stores in Chicago & New York.

It wasn’t until his Philadelphia period (1972-1992) when his music began to become available to consumers in big-chain & indie record stores. Sun Ra signed to ABC/Impulse in 1973 for a huge multi-record deal, and delivered them in amazing speed, but was quickly deleted when new management took over ABC in 1975– and was never paid. That’s how it goes in the music business, and few knew it better than Sun Ra.

Sun Ra knew how to survive & sustain and he did it in an ever-creative way. He lasted because he retained the joy of music which is what keeps us young. It’s the kids who always decide what’s hip & cool in music, and to maintain the leading edge in avant-garde jazz for 40 years, Sun Ra made it a point to stay in tune with new music of all genres. This is an artist who completely absorbed all the classic songbooks & jazz standards of pre-WW2 popular music, and was more musically advanced than Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, etc, the pioneers of be-bop.

Sun Ra’s Supersonic Jazz (1956) through Jazz in Silhouette (1958) are indisputable jazz masterpieces. Early Sun Ra and his Arkestra compares favorably to Miles Davis during his classic John Coltrane Quintet era. That’s where Sun Ra starts. From there, he launched a vessel known as his Arkestra, which was meant to take your mind into outer space. In doing this, Sun Ra left the rest of the jazz world in his space dust.

There was too much corruption & evil on planet Earth, so Sun Ra sought an outward trajectory for his music & live act. And Sun Ra had possibly the greatest act ever. It was an assault on the audience’s senses, in musical & visual terms. The crazy costumes & all his theatrics kept people at a distance and off-balance. This created a safe space for Sun Ra & his band to perform.

This is revolutionary music which still resonates, and thus Sun Ra had to be careful with politics during his lifetime. As a black man from the Deep South, he learned that he would never be taken seriously by white intellectuals in the 1950’s and beyond, so he was better off creating a myth of himself and then used that myth as a vehicle to drive his music.

Sun Ra maximized his influence by minimizing his political risk. Sun Ra was never a socialist politically, but it is in his music and how he lived. Sun Ra and his Arkestra lived communally so they could rehearse & play whenever Sun Ra needed them, which was all the time. There was never any money, so things were shared. Sun Ra lived by many socialist principles without identifying himself as a socialist. Ultimately, this carries more artistic weight than his Afro-futurist act, no matter how much he believed it.

Sun Ra was very much a black man, meaning he was proud of his race and wanted to help others like him. While he had dalliances with the Black Panthers & other such organizations, he never fully subscribed to any of their programs of black nationalism or militancy. Sun Ra and his Arkestra were thrown out of the Black Panther house in Oakland in 1972 because of this. It was Eldridge Cleaver & COINTELPRO that forced the split. Sun Ra was a black universalist, as opposed to a black nationalist– a man of the Omniverse (1979).

One of the great ironies (and there are many) of Sun Ra’s music is that it was often more accepted by white audiences (particularly European), than by black listeners of his day. As an avant-garde artist in NYC, Sun Ra  co-mingled with the Velvet Underground & MC5, and were very influential on acts such as Funkadelic & Pink Floyd.

It’s important to understand that when someone mentions “Sun Ra,” they are also talking about an Arkestra of virtuoso musicians. John Gilmore was at least the equivalent of John Coltrane on tenor sax. Marshall Allen & Danny Davis were virtuoso multi-instrumentalists in the alto range on sax & woodwinds. Pat Patrick had one of the fattest baritone sax sounds ever. Ronnie Boykins could coax sounds out of his stand-up bass that brings you to tears & makes you shiver. Everyone played percussion at some point, as Sun Ra used polyrhythms & percussion-as-texture better than the rest.

June Tyson added the dimension of a woman’s voice to what up to that point was an entirely black male ensemble. June Tyson joined the Arkestra in 1968 (or so), and would stay with Sun Ra until her death from breast cancer in November, 1992 at age 56. June Tyson never recorded with another artist. Sonny died 6 months later, and John Gilmore, who was in deteriorating health for years, died in August, 1995 at age 63.

Other significant members of the Sun Ra Arkestra over the decades included: Tommy “Bugs” Hunter, Clifford Jarvis, Robert Cummings, Ali Hassan, Roger Blank, Teddy Nance, Jimhmi Johnson, Chris Capers, Pharoah Sanders (whom Sonny named), Danny Ray Thompson (who also doubled as Sonny’s de facto manager), Akh Tal Ehah, Eloe Omoe, James Jacson, Dale Williams, Hayes Burnett, Samarai Celestial, and many, many more.

Perhaps the most confusing & challenging part of Sun Ra’s music is the space chord, which is when members of the Arkestra all wailed different tones on their instruments as loudly as they could at the same time. This is Sun Ra calling for a space chord, which creates a LOUD combination of sounds– full of tones, harmonics & rhythms that will change the flow of the music. Sun Ra developed this disciplined/undisciplined avant-garde compositional technique to allow free improvisation to move forward, finding new forms & creative directions.

Sun Ra was a master talent collector. If you’re going to build something that lasts 40 years, and then beyond your Earthly death, you constantly need fresh talent. This infuses the artist and provides what is needed to innovate with new ideas. Musical talent means you can play well and have a passion to be part of something remarkable. Sun Ra’s reputation as a master made it easier to find the talent he needed, and he was always receptive to it, where most old-guard musicians (in any genre) feel threatened by young talent.

As an artist you have to learn to go with the flow, when the general direction is forward. You can influence more effectively if you stay young in the mind, and that’s the revolutionary concept behind the music of Sun Ra. By orienting towards youth & new ideas, Sun Ra transcended much of mainstream jazz, as well as capitalist politics.

Sun Ra was the pioneer of Afro-futurism which can be defined as a black astrological myth. As mentioned, it was a great act. Sun Ra read a lot of books, but mostly obscure ones, it appears. John Szwed’s biography Space is the Place (1997) lists a lot of them as books on numerology, Egyptian mythology, etc, along with sci-fi space travel and NASA/UFO stuff.

I don’t criticize Sun Ra for his taste in books, but I will say this limited him intellectually when it came to dealing with the Frankfurt school of post-modernism (Paris pseudo-intellectuals praising him with babble), and the powers of the state. Sun Ra didn’t dare approach Marxism, because the era of HUAC and red-baiting anti-communism made it impossible for him to do so.

Sun Ra would tell people he came to this Earth from Saturn (the planet of disciple & sacrifice) to make his music which humanity needed, and nothing was going to interfere with that. Marxism would have blacklisted Sonny forever, and then no one would have heard of Sun Ra. Sonny was smart enough to know the circumstances that limited him, and then adapt.

There are so many sides to his genius, and it takes a long time and a lot of listening to even begin to get your head around Sun Ra. Ask any fan. The best place to start is anywhere you can. But if you are reading this with serious interest, then you really owe it to yourself to get a few Saturn records. In total, all his eras are filled with amazing titles, and what you like often depends on individual taste & preference.  By 1986, his releases are compact disc format. Mayan Temples (1990) is his last release before he was debilitated by a series of strokes in November 1990. He still went on stage, but could no longer perform the Sun Ra magic. By the end of 1992, Sonny had to return to his family in Birmingham, Alabama due to terminal illness. Sun Ra died of complications from pneumonia on May 30, 1993 at age 79.

Leadership of the Sun Ra Arkestra has since been assumed by Marshall Allen (above), the only original member remaining. In 2020, at age 96, Marshall Allen recorded & released Swirling, perhaps the final Sun Ra Arkestra studio recording. Marshall Allen still lives in the House of Ra, which he owns in Germantown, Philadelphia. I hope that place becomes a registered national landmark at some point. It should be already.

What Sun Ra did was impossible. There was no money. This avant-garde keyboardist, composer & bandleader was an outcast of the jazz world because he broke too many rules and never apologized for it. The gatekeepers never forget that, and up to today their wrath towards Sun Ra still applies. In this era of vinyl re-issues for everyone, too many Sun Ra titles are still hard-to-find or ridiculously overpriced in the re-sale market. No one deserves a contemporary & comprehensive catalog re-issue more than Sun Ra.

Sun Ra is still being suppressed because his music is revolution. If people widely discover Sun Ra, then all of a sudden all those lame mainstream records will never sell again. “The Network” can’t have that, and neither can the artificial & overpriced re-sale market. That’s why there aren’t very many Sun Ra records available when you first look for them.

By the 1970’s Saturn Record releases became more infrequent, as Sonny was suspicious that his business partner Alton Abraham wasn’t giving him all the money he deserved, so he began making deals with any label he could. Sun Ra also formed a new label with a NYC partner and called it Enterplanetary Koncepts, which pressed & distributed his records. Today, many classic Saturn titles have been re-issued on Enterplanetary Koncepts, and other labels including Cosmic Myth and Evidence. As a starving artist the motto is: Anywhere you can find the money. Thus, there were a lot of record labels that issued Sun Ra recordings.

Modern Harmonic is a great record label that is active in re-releasing classic Sun Ra titles, as well as unreleased stuff. Artyard is a UK indie label that is also keeping the faith in Sun Ra. Artyard was a distributor of a few key Ra titles including Horizon (1971) Antique Blacks (1974), Sleeping Beauty (1979), and On Jupiter (1979). Many of Sun Ra’s 1970’s live albums from Europe & beyond were off-label releases. In the 1980’s, more of his studio projects fell to such labels too.

  • BTW, in parenthesis after the title, is listed the recording date, not the release date. Sun Ra makes you do this, otherwise his catalog is a mess, because many early Saturn records were recorded in Chicago (1954-60), but not released until many years later when he was based in NYC (1961-70). When sequencing Sun Ra titles, do it by recording date and they will make more sense when listening.

Sun Ra creates difficulties that you never face with any other artist. His catalog is well over 200 albums, plus singles & EP’s. Since his death, there has been a plethora of new releases, new-found tapes, live concerts, compilations, etc. The hardest part is figuring out what you need, and what you can pass on. A lot of that depends on your taste and (of course) your budget.

About a dozen Saturn albums from Chicago, and 20+ NYC-era albums are essential, with the later being more space music. By summer 1970, Sun Ra finally began to tour Europe & the world. There are a lot of live concert recordings from this period up until his death. This is where you have to be picky, and identify titles in eras of interest.

For me with live Sun Ra, it’s the early mini-Moog stuff from 1970-71 that excites me the most. It’s a historical fact that Sun Ra was the first to perform live with a mini-Moog. See the liner notes in the 2012 re-issue of My Brother the Wind, Vol 1 (1970) for details on this. There are now at least 100 titles of live Sun Ra, so listen first on YouTube, etc, and decide on what you like. I estimate there are, at minimum, about 75 titles (65 studio, 10 live) that you need to understand Sun Ra’s music.

Sun Ra made so many live albums because 1) he invested in the technology early and learned how to use it; and 2) it made him money. Sonny learned how to record himself early, so when his Arkestra finally launched in the mid-1950’s, he completely understood micing, acoustics & recording principles so well that he would always get the best recording the available technology would allow. Sun Ra was his own sound engineer & producer [!] for most of his career. When he was finally recognized as an artist in Europe in the summer of 1970, Sun Ra started recording every concert he could, and would do so until he couldn’t physically go on stage anymore. If the tapes didn’t get lost, damaged, destroyed, etc, it almost always turned into a record release, sooner or later. It’s still happening.

Philadelphia-era has some of the hardest-to-find Sun Ra albums. For instance, in January 1978, Sun Ra went to Rome with John Gilmore, trumpeter Micheal Ray, and drummer Luqman Ali to record as the ‘Sun Ra Quartet.’ Those are hard-to-find and expensive when you do. A few other off-label/European releases such as Cosmos (1976), etc, are coveted Sun Ra oddities.

It’s a crazy market for Sun Ra, and it will test all of your skills as a music connoisseur & consumer. It’s a great unknown world, with mind-blowing rewards, but all kinds of snares & pitfalls to discourage you. For example, many Sun Ra titles have more than one cover image. Some titles are different names for another already-existing record, such as Jazz by Sun Ra, Vol 1 (1956), which is also titled Sun Song (1956) on a different record label. Cosmo-Earth-Fantasy (1974)  and Sub-Underground #1 (1974) is another example of this. Live in Egypt, Vol 1 (1971) and Dark Myth Equation Visitation (1971) is yet another. It’s easy to buy duplicates of what you already have because things are so confusing.

AllMusic normally has a reliable artist discography, but for Sun Ra it’s a mess. AllMusic still lists The Sound of Joy (1956) as Sun Ra’s first album, when it’s actually his third. It gets worse from there, with bad dates and disorganized titles up & down his regular album & compilation discographies. This makes everything tougher for someone trying to research Sun Ra, and is part of the subtle censorship he still receives. AllMusic would never let this happen to Count Basie or Wynton Marsalis.

The John Szwed biography is essential, and the 2020 edition has a correct discography for his albums & singles which lists by recording date. Sun Ra records make a lot more sense when you can play them in order, as there is a logical progression to his catalog. But you need to know the correct sequence. Most artists don’t present this problem, but with Sun Ra it’s a different world, as he created much of this confusion by design.

It’s difficult to make comparisons to Sun Ra because he was such a unique figure in jazz music. Only Duke Ellington & Miles Davis have his longevity of relevance, but they both fit squarely within the mainstream and were critically accepted in their day. Sun Ra’s acoustic piano playing is comparable to Thelonious Monk, but Ra was also the master of all electric keyboards, which Monk wasn’t. Sonny was the first to record with electronic keyboards– in 1956. He could play the clavioline (precursor to the analog [Moog] synthesizer), all types of electric organs, rocksicord (electrified harpsichord), and finally Moog synthesizer & mini-Moog. Sun Ra was arguably the most prolific & aggressively experimental synthesizer artist ever.

Sun Ra was avant-garde, which doesn’t get the respect it deserves, particularly with the critics who are supposed to be fair & unbiased, but really are not. Influential critics from Nat Hentoff to Scott Yanow clearly have their favorites & pariahs, and Sun Ra is the latter for them. Outside of jazz, Fela Kuti, the multi-instrumentalist Afro-beat artist from Lagos, Nigeria; Brian Eno; and Sonic Youth, an art-rock band from NYC, are probably Sun Ra’s best comparables.

What makes Sun Ra an artist of special interest is that he’s a 20th-century figure who will be more appreciated in the 21st-century & beyond. There’s a lot to learn from Sun Ra. He started his Saturn label as a way of taking control of his music. He did it in the 1950’s when no other artist comprehended doing such a thing. He created an inimitable persona to protect & promote himself. He lasted & was prolific, building an Arkestra that continued on after his death. Sun Ra humbles you because an as artist you know you will never come close to matching his output, and he inspires you by opening your mind to new creative possibilities. That’s the dialectical rub which makes Sun Ra so magical & revolutionary.

…………<><><><><><><><><>………..

FTX CrApp

It’s hard to know where to start with all this. For disclosure, I’m a cryptocurrency skeptic because I’m a Trotskyist, which means I’ve read Capital (1867), so I understand where money comes from. In short, money in any currency is the congealed value of human labor. Labor that produces any use value commodity is the source of money’s value. Gold has historically been a store of currency value because it is coveted & useful. The key to this Marxist idea in terms of crypto-currency is “use value.” Bitcoin & any other non-fungible token (NFT), which I will refer to generically as “crypto,” has no use value.

Money is now globalized to the point where Ponzi schemes like crypto-currency can gain a following with libertarian ideologists, followed by a massive boost of liquidity injection from venture capital (VC) in the early days of quantitative easing (QE). After the 2007-08 sub-prime mortgage collapse, venture capital was looking for new industries to invest in (loot), with billion$ in hot money from the US Federal Reserve being handed to them at near-zero percent interest. And if it fails, there’s always another US taxpayer bailout approved by Congress with strong bi-partisan support…

This 2008 economic crash spread to all the big banks, who were all insolvent with massive amounts of bankrupt home loans that were essentially worthless. The housing boom had ended, and industries were wiped-out. These job losses meant that tens of millions of Americans lost their homes because they couldn’t pay the mortgage.

There were no bail-outs for the working people. In the wake of this economic tsunami, BlackRock, etc, scooped-up all the apartment rentals, which today means rising rents for workers & families, due to corporate’s never-ending lust for profits. It was this post-2008 era of hedge fund/bank bailouts & QE that spawned bitcoin.

As discussed, federally-backed bailouts went 99+% to the rich, and their ideological inclination was to invest in nothing productive, because that always leads to increased labor costs which the ruling class abhors as a rule. Crypto promised massive returns with very little labor cost, everything is “mined” by offshore computers, this will free mankind financially, etc… That was the pitch and VC went for it.

Crypto-currency became a scam whose time had come. It’s complex math & computer programming on the internet, so old people (politicians) are at a loss. It’s been heavily promoted on all social media platforms since its inception, and it rules the dark web. It technically slants towards the millennials, and thus has created an ideology around such vague concepts as youth & freedom. It needed this to justify it’s existence. All scams do. SBF has now acknowledged that FTX’s “effective altruism” is woke capitalist BS.

To those who never believed and were highly critical early on, the Mt Gox theft (February 2014) was all the proof anyone ever needed to see what crypto is. Mt Gox was the original crypto exchange, set-up & controlled by its creator(s). It collapsed & vanished overnight with everyone’s bitcoin. It was a major bummer for the crypto fanatics, but no worries as an industry, VC was still with them. The stolen crypto from the 2014 Mt Gox theft still remains unsolved & unexplained.

Crypto fanatics claim blockchain protects them by keeping a perpetually untampered digital record of every crypto transaction. The lesson of Mt Gox is that if you don’t have the keys & access to the core code, with extensive knowledge of computer coding, then it’s not really your crypto. It’s only your crypto until the master key-holder vanishes it forever. Blockchain technology can be digitally shredded with a few key strokes if it’s written into the core code. Do you get to see all the core computer code (and know how to read it?) before you click ‘buy’ on bitcoin or any other NFT? If no, then how do you know?

These questions will instill fear, uncertainty & doubt (FUD) which the crypto community ideologically opposes. Anyone who asks questions which instill FUD are queried with hostility, first as to their industry & technical knowledge, and if/when that fails, these libertarian fanatics commence with personal attacks & calls for censorship. The crypto fanatics have basically invested their lives in this worthless industry that is 100% fake. There are many parallels here to MAGA Trump supporters, and also to CIA/woke Democrats in their fanaticism to false & unjust causes.

This 3-hour video is my favorite new movie. The best part is the hosts didn’t even realize they were making a crypto industry classic until about 40 minutes in! The drama strikes and it’s a fascinating portrait of disbelief & denialism. The guest star, then-FTX employee Zane Tackett, spends the first 40 minutes introducing himself as a computer engineer for FTX who has little-to-no inside access.

Zane has just lost an estimated 60-80% of his life savings, which he had invested in FTX. He had been flying back from Portugal as the news of FTX crashing hit the internet. Upon getting back to America, he invested another $750,000 on the FTX exchange in support of the company he worked for & believed in. Zane’s been trying to help angry customers recover their funds, out of altruism, but also to possibly recover his funds. No luck yet, but Zane remains committed to his work. He’s most frustrated about no information from Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) & the rest of FTX’s elite inner circle. Nothing on Twitter or Slack…

Then, around 40 minutes into the podcast which up to this point is nothing more than self-grieving industry babble, one of the hosts jumps in with an industry tweet that $383M in crypto has just been liquidated from FTX’s exchanges, of which there are many around the world, when they are supposedly ‘frozen’ in bankruptcy court!

For background, the Biden administration and the puppet government in the Bahamas, where FTX’s headquarters was located, have been fighting a legal battle for jurisdiction. This disagreement apparently went some ways towards resolution during this live-streamed movie. My guess is Bahamian government officials “persuaded” SBF & Co. to pay them off, presently, or else they risked getting shot in the head and hacked up with machetes and left in a ditch, which is known to happen to those who double-cross these people in that part of the world. This murky, murky online theft while in Bahamian police custody was the beginning of what is known in US legal terms as the “extradition process.”

SBF & Co. prefer being tried in Delaware, where they have powerful allies in the Democratic Party, whom he has paid-off repeatedly. This has the potential to be a Jeffery Epstein type scandal, in that everyone with money is implicated and the ruling class needs to do everything they can to maintain silence and not inform the public. That explains why the list of over one million FTX creditors hasn’t been released.

Most small investors usually pay brokers to invest for them. It’s these brokers who invested heavily in crypto who have a liquidity crunch. This is going to require another massive taxpayer bailout, in order to maintain this fictional economy. We are at a point politically where that’s no longer becoming such a feasible option. There simply isn’t enough money available to cover all these big investor losses, and with inflation the way it is, electronically printing more money only makes things worse. It’s actually the root of the problem. On top of this, people are starting to ask uncomfortable questions…

Back to the movie, it took a few minutes for the hosts to piece together what was happening, and how this was happening, and who (most-likely) was doing it. Watch this segment completely and you will understand what happened. Of course, this event has been described in the fake media as a “hack,” but as the hosts point out, it’s much more likely to have been an inside job as you need to be in control of the keys & core code to do this type of theft. Also, multi-signature technology was used to drain the FTX accounts, which points to an inside job. Apparently, outside hackers never use multi-sig. I did not know that.

During this period of piecing together what’s going on, our guest hero Zane Tackett repeatedly excuses himself to “hop on a call,” none of which are answered or returned. As recently as a few days prior, Zane Tackett had been to SBF’s resort compound in the Bahamas, needing special email permission to gain entry, due to heightened security in the wake of the FTX bankruptcy scandal breaking. A siege mentality had ensued at corporate HQ.

Zane Tackett describes a meeting with SBF that clearly indicated him being blown-off by the boss, even though Zane has trouble admitting it to himself. Clearly SBF was planning something else with his inner circle, and Zane Tackett was told nothing at their meeting. That’s an objective account of Zane Tackett’s last meeting with SBF before this podcast movie was made, which coincides with what we know as of this publication.

Before signing-off the podcast, after almost half-an-hour of apocalyptic bad news, Zane Tackett re-calculates his total losses at 85%. From a Marxist perspective, he lost all his money the moment he invested in crypto, and he still has what he paid for. He paid real money for digits and he still owns those digits.

………<><><><><><><>………

Hurricane Ian floods Sanford, FL

The very beginning of this video is Sanford Landing, where I lived for about four years. I kept telling my neighbors during my daily wild bird feedings, “The mallards & muscovies will eventually take their habitat back. Irma taught us that.” People would look at me funny for that, among other things I said & did.

Here it is now, over a week after Ian roared through Florida. Lake Monroe has crested and the water ain’t goin’ nowhere soon, especially with all that concrete & asphalt the City laid down. Sure hope it don’t rain again soon… Sanford Landing is paradise, until it becomes a flood zone. I’ve told people that before too.

There are very few apartment rentals in Sanford, FL that aren’t near Lake Monroe, so Ian qualifies as a city planning disaster. These “planners” make very little sense from an environmental standpoint. They’re mostly Republicans, so they’re proud of that. Everything the ruling bureaucracy does only makes things worse, especially when there’s a superstorm event, which is now happening every 5 years or so.

I recollect, and then ask, “How are those steel gates around the Sanford City Hall building working for you now? What about all those cyprus tress, sagos, and other natural habitat you ripped out, so you could pour concrete/asphalt, sod, and plant palm trees & oak saplings that die along the Riverwalk?”

Insecurity & irrationality drives capitalist bureaucracy spending. Sanford posts their itemized city spending outside the doors to City Hall regularly, and I’ve read it out loud to passers-by, many times. It’s always the same contractors getting paid. Maybe that’s why they felt they needed the steel gates.

Central Florida is traditionally considered the ‘safe’ part of the state from hurricanes. South Florida & the Panhandle historically get the most severe hurricane hits. Global warming has changed all that. We need to take coordinated action globally, and soon, otherwise Florida will be uninhabitable by mid-century.

Lake Monroe finally crested late Sunday (October 9), at just under 9 feet– above sea level. Lake Monroe is the source of the St John’s waterway which winds its way north until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. This “Nile of the West” has been an integral part of commerce, agriculture, fishing, transportation, etc, since Florida became inhabited by humans. It’s management is of vital concern to everyone in the area & beyond.

Hurricane Ian proves that this gross mismanagement of the St. John’s Riverway system can no longer be tolerated, as it is too precious & delicate a resource. Working people in these disaster zones need to take a good look around, and understand the bigger picture and how it’s affecting them. These can no longer be called “natural disasters.” These are human-made disasters.

For instance, blowing-up the Nord Stream pipeline (image above) in the US/NATO infested Baltic Sea, most likely by underwater military drone(s), initiated the single largest global warming emission event in human history. The world knows that Joe Biden is responsible for this crime against humanity & our planet, and he must be held accountable to prevent a nuclear apocalypse.

These are the thoughts I think to myself when I’m on a concrete slab surrounded water. Maybe you have electricity, maybe you don’t. I hope the lift station doesn’t fail. Being surrounded by gators, moccasins, etc, is bad enough, but sewage backing-up means move out now. We’re next to the Regional Hospital & treatment plant, so I don’t think the elites would let that happen, but you can never be sure….

There are parts of Seminole County that are dealing with this now. Residents can’t get back to their homes as these are currently toxic environmental sites. By the time they get back, nothing will be left. It’s just one of those things no one can explain…

At Sanford Landing, the surrounding moisture wicks through the concrete, into the floor & walls. Bugs, spiders, etc, get active, looking for dry ground in your walls & beyond. “Who thought it was a good idea to build apartments here? Who are they…?” These are my deep thoughts in such a spot. I feel for those who remain.

…………………..<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>………………