20180226

Some light at the end of the barrel?

Will this time be different, or will Parkland just be one more line in the endless list of mass shootings silenced by Amerika's almighty gun lobby?

What's most different so far, beyond the powerful voices of Millenials (from The Gunshine State*, of all places!) is the fact that heavyweight household names Delta Airlines and American Airlines stopped their NRA group travel discounts. We've entered #metoo-like, it-s-gonna-hurt-my-bottomline territory, and there's a momentum to sustain early enough before the mid-term elections to prevent the usual cover ups.

The NRA's role is not to defend Americans, but to sell more guns. And all their 'solutions' reach the same goal. If even trained cops cowers away from school shootings, tell me what would arming teachers with weapons achieve, beyond securing new streams of revenues for them, and funded by taxpayers?

History will look back at lawmakers who today broadcast NRA's corrupt narratives the way people look today at those who defended Big Tobacco and helped them cause hundreds of thousands of deaths that should have been prevented.

Change must also come within the NRA, which evolved into a dangerous caricature of itself, like Billy Graham's movement under his son's helm (now a fundamentalist program fueling hatred against other religions). That's possible because there will be more money to make in the pedagogy around guns than in their sales.


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* a.k.a. Florida, see "Red blogule to the Gunshine State - shootfirstlaw.org Hammered down by the NRA"

20180201

The nuclear option


Devin Nunes proves, once again with the help of Paul Ryan, that he would do anything to defend Donald Trump and torpedo the Russia Probe. And just like last year, his fellow GOP lawmakers seem ready to remain complicitly "speechless" (I seriously wonder how much kompromat Putin and his friends have on these guys).

This time, Nunes, who had to recuse himself from the case (a 'nothing burger' that already produced at least two guilty pleas from campaign members), wrote a dangerously misleading memo denounced by the very man Trump chose to replace James Comey: new FBI chief Christopher Wray warned the White House that this memo shouldn't be published. As if it weren't enough, Adam Schiff revealed that Nunes edited it without consulting the committee.

Like the POTUS he so desperately wants to protect, Devin Nunes acts guilty in a such blatant way it would be laughable if so much weren't at stake. US democracy is under attack, and Trump is seriously considering the mother of all diversions: preemptive strikes on North Korea

Victor Cha toyed with the concept (see "Alert!") before refusing to be the Ambassador in charge of evacuating tens of thousands of US citizens from the peninsula.

Let's be clear: there is no guarantee preemptive strikes would incapacitate Kim Jong-un's nuclear program, and there is no scenario where they wouldn't lead to mass destruction in Seoul and South Korea. We're talking hundreds of thousands if not millions of victims.

Normally, there shouldn't be any scenario where Nunes and Trump avoided impeachment. We know that Republicans won't lift a finger before mid-term elections, but the gimchi is expected to hit the fan long before that - White House hawks seem willing to strike after the Pyeongchang olympics.

Brace for a funeral March.


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20180117

No changes in Trump's cognitive abilities

White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, who tested Donald Trump for 4 hours on Friday, said that the POTUS should lose 10 to 15 pounds over the next year, but also that "there’s no indication whatsoever that he has any cognitive issue".

This exclusive shot from the visual acuity test confirms that DJT remains as comfortable with truth distortion as ever:
'No changes noted in the President's cognitive abilities' (200801)



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20180106

2017 blogules

Below, a list of blogules spilled over the year 2017. A far cry from the heyday, but I post way more often on Twitter (@stephanemot, @theseoulvillage...).

NB : for the comprehensive lists of blogules (2003 - to date), go to the bottom of this post or to the blogules transfusion center.


. "Happy New Year 2019
. "Politically Correct as in Post-Clinton 
. "Wall Street v. Wall Street 
. "We will build a firewall, or America will pay for it 
. "I will vote for France 
. "The Swamp Thing 
. "Speechless 
. "We Reject As False


Previous seasons: 

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20171217

Happy New Year 2019

It's that time of the year, and for the 21st time*, I have no choice but to wish you a happy next year, considering what's going to happen in 2018:

January 2018:
Full mailbox for Donald Trump on the morning of the 20th: 1 letter congratulating him for his first year in office (From Russia With Love, signed by The Former Spy Who Still Loves You), 457 letters of resignation from White House staffers who completed the full year required for their résumés, 3,580 letters of candidacy from child molesters with the required KKK kredentials.


February 2018:
As announced, the US wait until the end of the Pyeongchang Olympics to launch preemptive strikes against North Korea. The new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, 'apologizes' for not including the Paralympics: 'Our bad, but thanks to us, people with disabilities will have even more airtime'. If all targets are destroyed, they only represented a fraction of Kim Jong-un's arsenal, and Seoul is destroyed minutes after the first strike. By the end of the day, the whole peninsula is flattened. Hundreds of millions of Americans will only learn months later that, in retaliation, they've been poisoned by chemicals spread in their water systems by sleeping cells.


March 2018:

Science: the Russia Probe is successfully sent to Mars by the GOP Congress.

April 2018:
As asset bubbles keep popping, World Leaders convene in Moscow around a freshly reelected Vladimir Putin. Xi, Erdogan, Abe, Duterte, Modi, Trump, and their friends agree to focus on the reforms that should have remained their only priority: undermining their respective democracies. 


May 2018:
Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle dressed as a Minion, the mildest set she could find in his collection of Nazi uniforms, Stormtrooper gears, and Britain First Party costumes.


June 2018:
Saudi women are allowed to drive, but only driverless cars that are fully covered with an opaque burqa.

July 2018:
Not a single goal scored during the whole FIFA World Cup in Russia... an unexpected consequence of net neutrality.


August 2018:
From al Qaeda to ISIS to Idiotheocracy: the latest terror franchise to rise from the ashes of the precedent one has further dumbed down the message of fundamentalism to the most basic grunts, facilitating the merger with extremists from other religions. Their propaganda videos soon go viral among hardcore Teletubbies fans.


September 2018:
The POTUS realizes that trying to cast away investigations against him didn't work: Robert Mueller (from Mars), and Trump's victims of sexual harassment (from Venus) manage to revive the threats of impeachment. Looking for new diversions, DJT reveals the plans of the future US Embassy in East Jerusalem, inaugurates statues of the Klan Founders in the Rose Garden, and starts WWIV against Iran.


October 2018:
As soon as Theresa May resigns, the British Pound spikes to 312,788 Bitcoin, that's to say one millionth of a zimbabwean dollar, or the equivalent of half a second of work in North Korean slave wages.


November 2018:
Landslide victory for Mainstream Republicans at the mid-term elections: 'Our top donors kindly rewarded us for the generous tax cuts we offered them', triumphes Mitch McConnell. 'We're also glad that the GOP managed to end in the third position - we need all the votes of the Gropers Offshore Party'. The former Democratic Party also failed to reunite,  Progressives finishing a distant second, and the RNC fifth, far behind the Green Party, even after Hillary Clinton raised record funds for her Rhodam National Convention.


December 2018:
And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to... AlphaGo. The World's most powerful A.I. platform solved all conflicts, all famines, and all environmental and refugee crises by removing mankind.



blogules 2017
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* see "Happy New Year 2010" (Jan 2009), "Happy New Year 2011" (Dec 2009), "Happy New Year 2012" (Dec 2010), "Happy New Year 2013" (Dec 2011), "Happy New Year 2014" (Dec 2012), "Happy New Year 2015" (Dec 2013), "Happy New Year 2016" (Dec 2014), "Happy New Year 2017" (Dec 2015), "Happy New Year 2018" (Dec 2016), "Happy New Year 2019" (Dec 2017)... and in French: "Bonne Année 2009" (Jan 2008), "Bonne Année 2010" (Dec 2008), "Bonne Année 2011" (Dec 2009), "Bonne Année 2012" (Dec 2010), "Bonne Année 2013" (Dec 2011), "Bonne Année 2014" (Dec 2012), "Bonne Année 2015" (Dec 2013), "Bonne Année 2016" (Dec 2014), "Bonne année 2017" (Dec 2015), "Bonne année 2018" (Dec 2016), "Bonne année 2019" (Dec 2017).

20171103

Politically Correct as in Post-Clinton

Donna Brazile's revelations* didn't come as a surprise. Everybody knew that the Clintons sank the party they helped reform a quarter of a century earlier. Well we knew for the political part, but the financial dimension is so much engrained in their fabric that this latest scandal makes perfect sense.

I don't feel sorry for Bernie Sanders, who would have lost anyway, but for a country that should never have lost its most vital institutions to its worst enemies.

I'm glad this comes out now. Not as a distraction to the Russia probe, but to silence Hillary, who hijacked the conversation thanks to her book tour, poisoning minds with the notion that the DNC remains totally under her spell. 

We badly need different voices. Obama yes, but only on rare occasions, and on essential issues. We don't need grandparents in the Pelosi - Biden - Sanders variety (if they're over 65, make them fun listening to, like Liz Warren or Al Franken - what a 2020 ticket!). We need fresh, new voices, like Kamala Harris, Chris Murphy, or better Deval Patrick, should he return to politics. And the Democratic Party must totally reform itself. Otherwise, the Barry Sanderses, Oprah Winfreys, or Mark Zuckerbergs will dance on its grave.

Can Al Franken draw the US electoral map as well?


Of course, same goes for Republicans, who must step into the post-Trump era before DJT destroys what's left of it. For the moment, the GOP's soul relies on a 81 year-old with brain cancer (John McCain), two senators on the way out (Jeff Flake with a better potential than filpflop Bob Corker), and the one cool guy who could change it all, Ben Sasse.


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* "Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC" - Politico 20171102 exceprts from her book

20171030

Wall Street v. Wall Street

Here we are again, on the eve of massive asset bubbles purges. And as always (see for instance "Mondialisation : du "free market" au "fair market" - 20070726, "This is not a financial crisis" - 20080711*):
  • This is not a financial crisis, but a crisis of finance
  • This is not an economic crisis, but a crisis of economics
  • This is not a political crisis, but a crisis of politics. 
Which means, as always, that:
  • we will not solve anything by rejecting finance, economy, and politics - that's exactly what brought us the rise of extremism and populism, Brexit, or of course Trump.
  • we must to the contrary embrace finance, economy, and politics - at their core, starting from  their definitions, exposing smokescreens and impostures, demanding transparency and accountability.
So what happened after Lehman? Further desertion by people with basic notions of economics, or at least traces of common sense (I won't even mention 'moral compasses'). If it weren't for the A.I. algorythms and high-frequency trading that amplify and perpetuate the illusion, the most blatant bubbles would have probably alreaday burst years ago.
DJI chart (2nd biggest component after Boeing, Goldman Sachs weighs 11.6 times more than GE)

Nasdaq - better real/virtual ratio than before the dotcom crisis, but Apple (14.6% of the index, 4.9% of the DJI) and co will eventually meet reality.

Politicians? They totally surrendered. Back in 2009, they still had the power to change things by injecting tens of billions of dollars, and by passing a few legal safeguards - but now governments are weaker than ever, and they let their agenda be set by the very firms they bailed out without actually purging the system. 

Exhibit A: Goldman Sachs, who were instrumental in frauds leading to major crises (e.g. betting against toxic assets they helped create, or forging figures with the Greek government), are now stronger than ever, and still runnig the show (Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, Mario Draghi, Robert Zoellick, Jose Manuel Barroso...). They aim at becoming the alpha and omega, or rather the Alphabet of finance since, like google, they're investing massively in A.I. to comfort their leadership.

Beyond this caricature, our financial systems rejected finance as an enabler for the economy. Not just Wall Street against Main Street, but ultimately Wall Street against Wall Street*. Emboldened by impunity (except maybe in Iceland, that lone country where The People put corrupt politicians and banksters in jail), these guys prolonged the bailouts with a wonderful invention, Quantitative Easings: after emptying governmental chests, they simply decided to print money for themselves - officially to fuel the economy, but actually to improve already indecent balance sheets, and to widen wealth (and reality) gaps in abyssal proportions. They brought back derivatives, fantasy league ratings, or gambling, and they're gutting Dodd-Frank like they gutted Glass-Stiegel.

What happened after Lehman was Lehman on steroids.

What happens next is for history books. 

And if by 'miracle' these guys manage to prevent the fall until after the Mid-term elections, all bets are off.

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* also 'the ultimate stage of free market is the negation of the market' ("Le stade ultime du libéralisme, c'est la négation du marché (le déni d'économie continue") - 20110302) 

20170802

We will build a firewall, or America will pay for it

Everybody knows that Donald Trump, obstructing justice in plain sight and tweets, tries to get rid of Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation he brought upon himself.

Everybody knows that Trump could fire the special counsel, but would then face a backlash tenfold more damaging than the one following James Comey's eviction. He tried to sic his lawyers on Mueller, and to have AG Rod Rosenstein recuse himself, but can't wait to have a friendly, unrecusable, and unbeleaguered successor to Jeff Sessions to stop, torpedo, or at least hack into the investigation. 

Everybody knows that Trump doesn't want to own Session's departure, and bullies him into resigning. So far, he only succeeded in drawing more support for his AG, even from his fiercest enemies.

So here's Trump's latest not-so-subtle attempt: reviving Session's sulfurous past to make him despicable enough to everyone that counts, except of course to their common white supremacist base. Asking Jeff Sessions to solve racial discrimination is like asking Scott Pruitt to solve climate change - recipe for disaster of biblical proportions (BTW tighten your Bible belt on that one).

"Obviously, tries to use ' past to put him on an even hotter seat and discard him" (CNN: "NYT: Trump administration prepares to investigate 'race-based discrimination')" (20170802 - twitter.com/stephanemot/status/892624598654701568)
In the same nauseating breath, and as usual, Trump sparks outrage in a new direction to out-do the outrage surrounding his own persona. Huffington Post's Chris York went as far as to suggest that the Anthony Scaramucci comedia del arte was part of a plot to divert attention from Bill Browder's key testimony*.

ICYMI during his hearing at the Senate, Browder exposed the Putin system that killed Sergei Magnitsky, connecting many dots in the Russiagate: Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort attended a meeting that not only aimed at helping a foreign power influence the US elections, but also at serving the wealthiest man on Earth, the capo di tutti capi, and ultimate corruptor, Vladimir Putin. Repealing and replacing the Magnitsky act is not about improving adoption, but about saving Putin's business. And we're not talking about superrich emirates bribing their way into the West to gain influence, but about an autocrat determined to destroy Western democracies.

Everybody knows that Trump, his family, and friends, are almost openly corrupting the US democracy in ways that reach far beyond money (even if, right on cue, Mueller team announced that Greg Andres, an expert in foreign bribery**, would join the investigation).

Everybody knows that the GOP sold its soul to the devil, and can't kick the can down the road endlessly. 

At least, not all GOP lawmakers remain "Speechless": Jeff Flake delivered a courageous mea culpa for his party's - and his own - shameless denials and betrayals. 

I must digress here, because Flake waited until after the failed Trumpcare vote to take a stand, and I have to say something about someone who played a pivotal role in this vote. I was sad to learn about John McCain's health, and even sadder to see this old lion disgrace himself once more by voting for the House's s..t of paper (he sank much deeper in 2008 by pledging allegiance to the Discovery Institute, and later by picking Sarah Palin). McCain's (final?) thumb down showed that he cared, and not just about his legacy. 

McCain also happens to be the strongest voice around against Putin.

If the sanctions against Russia put some important issues on paper, they're just indirect measures against enemies of the State Trump and Putin. They cowardly expose how much trust GOP lawmakers have in Trump, who reluctantly signed it while declaring it unconstitutional (ironically, by signing, he was precisely, and for a change, preserving the constitution). Impicitely, the GOP recognized a man who doesn't want the buck to stop here, but in Moscow.

These sanctions are a timid start, but America must build a much stronger wall to save itself from Trump and Putin. Indeed, we must build a firewall, or America will pay for it.

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* "Bill Browder’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Could Explain Anthony Scaramucci’s Bizarre Behaviour" (Huffington Post UK - 20170731) 
** "Greg Andres: Latest lawyer appointed to join Robert Mueller's Russia investigation team has background in foreign bribery" (Independent - 20170802)
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