UBI Is Not Enough

Andrew Yang is getting attention for promoting an idea which has been gaining traction for some time. Universal Basic Income or UBI.

I have written about UBI on several occasions. I am very much in favor of it. More and more jobs are being eliminated thanks to automation, while centralization has eliminated millions of jobs over the past 25 years. Much of that is thanks to advances in technology making it more efficient and cost-saving for companies to condense business operations into much smaller remote locations with far fewer employees. None of those jobs will be coming back because they simply no longer exist.

UBI would definitely create jobs and boost the economy considerably by increasing consumer spending.

However, UBI would have to include other components to be effective.

First of all, it would be counterproductive to make it truly universal. There should be an income cap where a person is no longer eligible. For an arbitrary number, say $100,000 but research would be beneficial to determine the optimum average number. Beyond a certain income, an earner ceases spending and instead places money in savings and investments. Any calculations would have to consider not only wages but income from all sources, including capital gains. If a recipient used the funds for other than spending in the economy, the effect would be removing any UBI funds received by that person from the economy. Instead, it would be horded in banks and stocks.

Second and most crucial is that price caps would be necessary, especially such as rent controls and food price caps. This is not suggesting a simplistic approach. It would have to be calculated by city or region due to price fluctuations from one geographic location to another. Without price caps being imposed, capitalists would take advantage of the increased average income by increasing prices, leading to the fears many state of increased inflation, nullifying any benefit seen by UBI. Once again, the ultimate effect would be an increased flow of wealth to the top and the money would be removed from the economy.

I know some will claim that price caps are somehow un-American or anti-capitalist. Yet this country is no stranger to price caps. There were once price caps on many items in this country. The subsidies we still have on dairy products are a remnant of price controls which once existed. There would be nothing anti-capitalist about dynamic price controls based on market conditions and imposed as a profit percentage for producers and retailers. We definitely have the technological means today for such price controls to be implemented and merely doing so would create a fair number of jobs.

The fact is, the US uses price caps right this minute in a form. Of course, they are called any number of other names and are primarily for the benefit of corporations. I am talking about corporate subsidies. Some people will object to price caps when they benefit the people of this country but if their corporate masters benefit, it’s okay because “capitalism”. Some estimates say we subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of over $700 BILLION a year. The military contracting industry is not only subsidized but is wholly and completely dependent on federal funding. Ethanol is massively subsidized. It is possible that subsidies for some of these items help keep prices lower. However, without caps we can have no real idea. One thing is true, which is that subsidies do not come free of charge. They cost taxpayers and drive up the national debt, meaning the subsidies of today will cost taxpayers for entire generations.

I’d say if we can afford it for corporations, we should be able to afford it for the people of this country.

No matter what, UBI is not as simple a solution as it is promoted to be. It is well worth looking into and implementing. In fact, it is mandatory. Without it, the economy is likely to collapse over the next few years. Wait until autonomous vehicles are being used in mass numbers and millions of workers lose transportation jobs. By then a lot of damage will have been done, so it’s better we start acting on UBI now.

Federally Guaranteed Jobs Versus UBI

Certain presidential candidates are promoting the idea of a Federally Guaranteed Jobs program. This proposal is competing with the idea of UBI (Universal Basic Income) proposed by other candidates.

First of all, one has to take into consideration is the fact that a Federally Guaranteed Jobs program does not equate to guaranteed federal jobs.

Think of it in this way. For decades we have had a federally guaranteed student loan program and federally guaranteed home loans. In each of these cases, the services rendered are not provided by the federal government, they are farmed out to be provided by corporate entities. The corporations make the profits while the federal government acts as the collection agency for the corporations, ruining your life for years should you default on any “federal guarantee”. Simply put, they do not guarantee the loan or service, they only guarantee that they will put the screws to your thumbs to collect for the corporations.

Right now, while federally guaranteed jobs are being discussed, our government contracts out most of the work being done. Contracts out to corporate entities who do the work for corporate profit, that is. Road construction and repair, building design/construction/renovation, food production and delivery, weapons manufacturing and research. You name it, the government probably contracts for it.

So it most likely means that when we talk about federally guaranteed jobs, what we are really talking about is federally subsidizing corporate profits. Above and beyond the level to which we already subsidize corporate profits through government grants and subsidies. We subsidize corporations through welfare and food stamps, allowing them to continue to pay low wages while collecting inflated profits. We subsidize the current and past bailouts of corporate banks through quantitative easing and the repo market. We subsidize corporate profits through sanctions and tariffs and tax breaks. We subsidize profits for wealthy investors and executives through bankruptcy laws that allow for pre-bankruptcy dividends and post-bankruptcy bonuses for executives. All while writing off unpaid debts to other businesses and individuals who will be forced to also declare bankruptcy or increase prices for the debts they were unable to collect. We subsidize through slashed benefits and seized pension funds.

So, let’s expand on that further, right?

It is only a very small step between federally guaranteed jobs to federally mandated jobs.

A huge difference between UBI and federally guaranteed jobs is the chance for self advancement. UBI is suggested as an income for every person as a means of meeting their basic needs, hence the term “basic”. It should cover food, housing, shelter and ideally basic medical needs. Thus, if a person wishes to move beyond absolute basics in their existence, they can work part time or full time, even overtime as their needs or desires dictate. Their employment income serves as a means forward beyond mere existence.

With the guaranteed jobs program, this does not happen. The income from the job serves as nothing more than spinning your wheels. That job becomes your basic income. If you want to move ahead, you would be exactly where millions of Americans are at this exact moment. You would have to forfeit family and leisure time, subject yourself to more physical and emotional stress, chasing a higher income while paying more taxes in the process.

Which one sounds more like a move forward for our society, for the individual?

I have already written that UBI in and of itself would require additional measures to counterbalance the responses from capitalists. If you missed that article, you can find it here.

Meditations On The New Year

Christmas is about to be over. New Years coming up soon and I’m not typically a procrastinator.

Fact is, I rarely make any New Years resolutions. If I see something I need to change in my life, I examine what changes need to be made, plan and implement the changes as needed, any time of year.

This year, I see changes needed which just happen to coincide with the coming new year. This is less a list of resolutions than a list of life lessons learned which I need to meditate on and more fully assimilate. With some resolutions maybe thrown in.

Focus on now. For years, I have had a saying, “Learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow, live for today.” Problem is, I’m not so good at living by the today part. I am really bad about deferring to later my own satisfaction. Even worse, I am bad about allowing others to defer my needs. Hence the next point-

Focus on me. I have a long history of focusing on things which benefit others too much and allowing myself to be denied too much for too long. I need to be more discerning and demanding for my own needs in the present. That doesn’t mean to not be empathetic but I seriously need to place more stringent limits.

Focus on present actions. This goes from the personal to the geosocial. Promises for the future mean nothing without actions in the present.

Focus on healthy emotions. People who insist on remaining driven by fear, anger and angst will remain driven by the same emotions and will prefer those emotions over motivation, happiness and hope above all else. On an emotional level, they will take more from others than they offer consistently until nothing is left. It is draining to deal with and it eventually leads to resentment and further division.

I have allowed myself to fall into ancient, unhealthy emotional patterns. I know the eventual effects. Not the first time I have been here but I intend to make it my last.

I am not an emotionally selfish or arrogant person by nature and won’t become that way. However, batteries run dry when drained and not recharged. I need to upgrade my recharging system.

I will say clearly much of this is rather personal but not all that uncommon, as these can be applied in many ways. Maybe others will take up similar resolutions and revelations.

Democrats Vote To Lose In 2020

Wednesday 18 Dec 2019, the House Democrats voted to lose the White House and the House majority. In other words, they voted almost unanimously to impeach Trump.

Don’t get me wrong. Trump sucks. His policies are damaging to this country at every level, no matter what his supporters want to believe. The damage of his policies may not be immediately evident yet to those not paying attention but the damage is present and easily identifiable. Though I have made clear many times that he is a continuation of previous administrations and policies.

I agree there are many things for which Trump could and should be impeached. However, none of those issues are what is being presently presented as a rationale for impeachment.

Syrian war crimes. He has bombed Syria with no investigation by the OPCW at the time. What investigation occurred subsequently is being revealed as a farce by members of the OPCW itself, with 20 investigators who were directly involved stating the facts do not match the report. The end report which was released was done so under political pressure by the US. Follow Caitlin Johnstone for excellent coverage of the OPCW scandal. He has maintained a military presence in Syria against international law with the literal stated purpose of seizing oil resources, which is also illegal.

Yemen war crimes. Yemen is currently the site of the worst humanitarian crisis since Cambodia. Yet the US continues to supply arms and US military personnel to Saudi Arabia. In addition, the US has bombed Yemen directly.

Palestine war crimes. Palestinians have been subjected to genocide by Israel. Yet no offer of political, economic or military force has been offered to support Palestine. In fact, all support from Palestine for humanitarian efforts has been withdrawn by the Trump administration, weak as it was in the first place. Yet the US sells weapons to Israel and gives nearly $4 billion per year to Israel.

Venezuela war crimes. I have explained numerous times that sanctions are considered acts of war by the UN Peace Council. Sanctions kill. The sanctions against Venezuela have no basis in any form of threat to the US or neighboring countries. There was no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela before the US began imposing sanctions in 2012 under Obama. Yet at this time the US has seized monetary assets of Venezuela, seized shipments of grain paid for by and destined for Venezuela and seized shipments of paid-for medical supplies and equipment, leading to tens of thousands of deaths in that country. Meanwhile the Trump administration backs a pretender to the presidential office who did not even run in the election.

Backing fascist regimes in Brazil, Honduras, Bolivia.

Lethal weapons sales. Banning the sale of non-lethal weapons to the Hong Kong government while still selling lethal weapons to that government for the purpose of crowd control.

Withdrawing from the International Criminal Court.

Withdrawing from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, sparking a multinational nuclear arms race.

Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council.

Treatment of asylum seekers at the southern US border. Keeping children in cages, separating them from their parents, in some cases permanently, which is nothing less than kidnapping.

Why none of these reasons? The Democrats are not using any of the above reasons to impeach Trump because each and every one of them are nothing more than continuations of policies of previous administrations. Including the Obama administration. They are also policies which the Democrats have not opposed in any meaningful way. In fact, they have generally fully supported these policies in action, in spite of weak rhetoric claiming opposition. One very big reason they will not use these reasons to impeach is because it would open the door to indict and prosecute Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton, GWB, Cheney and many more.

I want you to notice something about all the valid reasons for impeachment listed above. They all have something in common. Human rights. The Democrats have made the conscious choice to NOT impeach for any of these reasons. In fact, they handed him powers of surveillance, Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) and another inflated military budget that threw out ANY protection of asylum seekers at the border. The reason they ARE impeaching has to do with political power of the elite. So you can stop treating Pelosi like a hero, stop acting like the Democrats are on your side. They’re not.

Non-stop witch hunt. It really doesn’t matter how you feel about Trump. That’s not the point. The obstruction charge is not going to stick because he handed over the only evidence in this particular case that matters- the transcript of the phone call. There is no other RELEVANT evidence. Was there a recording? There doesn’t appear to be and no opposing sources claim one exists. (Yes, I agree everything any and all elected officials do regarding official business should be documented. However, if that’s not a requirement it’s too late to change it for this issue.) Yet even the most rabid anti-Trump person has to admit is that there has been a non-stop witch hunt to impeach him since before he won the election. It cannot be denied this is true, not with a clear conscience. IF you have any level of sanity, that is. We have gone through 3 1/2 years of Russiagate. “Just wait for Mueller!” We waited. Nothing. Stormy Daniels. What even happened to that? I don’t even know. It just disappeared. Charity fraud. Tax statements. Business fraud. Every time we heard, “The walls are closing in.” Each time it amounted to nothing which was an impeachable offense.

Doomed to failure. The vote which occurred in the House really equates to nothing more than a “Survivor” style vote of elimination. They voted him off the island. What follows next in the GOP-majority Senate will be far different. Instead of a politically-biased popularity contest, what will happen in the Senate will be a TRIAL. In a Senate filled with Senators educated in law. A trial in which, rather than grandstanding and opining, hard evidence must be presented. A trial in which Trump and his legal representatives will be permitted to present a defense and their own witnesses, which may well include evidence regarding the subject of the phone call on which all of this is based. Thus far, this case has not relied on evidence. When viewed legally rather than politically, the case against Trump is doomed.

It doesn’t even matter if impeachment is successful. Let’s assume I am completely wrong and impeachment succeeds. I have asked before and repeat myself again: What then? None of that means we get to choose his successor. The replacement is something we have no say in. Chances are the replacement will be Pence, who is a theocrat and literally worse than Trump.

Impeachment will anger more than right-wing voters. There are many Independent, Libertarian and Democratic donors who do not agree with this impeachment for valid reasons. Many who have watched, appalled by Russiagate, Ukrainegate and on and on. Those who see the whole process as damaging to what little democracy we have remaining. Those people will vote in 2020 for anyone that does NOT represent the Deep State machine behind all of this. If impeachment fails, they will vote to reelect Trump. If it succeeds they will vote for Pence or anyone else that opposes the DNC elite. But they will NOT vote Democrat at ANY level of the ballot if they have a choice in the matter. I expect the House to revert to blood red.

And no, they will absolutely not vote for Sanders, who has promoted the DNC and pushed Russiagate. You can forget that idea. Nobody that opposes the DNC elite will vote for Sanders. Even hoping for that is self-defeating.

The one thing I do expect to happen is that this election will be far different from 2016. I expect to see more voters turn out in 2020 by virtue of the fact that they will see an actual choice to make. There was no significant difference between Hillary and Trump. Both elitists, both dishonest, both seen as threats to peace.

It doesn’t matter how much Trump is a slave to the rich. Millions feel resigned to the fact that we cannot escape that from elected officials. What will now drive the 2020 election will be opposing the Deep State, that are seen as negating the choices of Americans without our consent.

This impeachment process has made Trump a martyr for those who see the Deep State as being far too strong, too pervasive.

Pelosi has made the choice to hold back on presenting the impeachment over to the Senate until January. This is another major mistake. The goal from the start of this process has been to keep focus on the impeachment all the way through 2020. Before that, they had hoped to keep focus on Russiagate through 2020, hence 17 investigations announced into the Mueller investigation. Not only did Russiagate collapse but it has turned around to bite the initiators viciously, with an even larger investigation ongoing but not yet completed. Ukraine is going to have the same result. So, by Democrats focusing on Russia and Ukraine, they commit absolute suicide. They could be focusing on issues. They could have brought impeachment charges for valid reasons but refused. The long, slow, overly dramatic implosion of the DNC is all that remains.

It can’t come soon enough.

The Competitive/Spectator Mentality Reflects Shallowness

American society is hugely competitive and overly obsessed with spectacle or viewership. Some find this to be benign but the truth is far different. It reflects a shallowness of being which cannot be denied objectively. More than that, it reflects an emotional distance, a lack of empathy in each case, more so when competition and spectatorship are combined.

Americans to a high percentage are especially fond of violent competition. Football, MMA, etc. Being given to mindless attraction to violent competition, it is no coincidence that most of the same Americans view other forms of competition in terms of barbaric displays of dominance. To include political races, international affairs, etc. What should be understood and conducted as the highest forms of diplomacy and negotiation instead have become the most disgusting displays imaginable of Neanderthal chest beating, hand size comparison, insult-spewing, trailer trash, uneducated drivel one can conceive of.

Much of the time the rhetoric passed about sports and competition is that it builds teamwork. I contend very much the opposite. All one need do is look at the mentality of the stereotypical “jock” and you find what can only be described as narcissistic, even sadistic personality traits. Sports are riddled with competition not only as team against team but player against player. MVP being an example. I’m not a sports fan, so I’m not sure- can a player be an MVP for their own team yet still be on a losing team? I have seen many activities which build teamwork yet do not include attacking other teams or your own teammates. I’ve worked in restaurants where the staff had flawless teamwork. I’ve been on teams of mechanics who could almost read one another’s minds. I have been on medical teams where we saved lives with barely a word spoken yet had more precision and camaraderie than any sports team in existence. No testosterone needed.

The competitive mindset has the tendency to cause a disconnect, an apathy regarding the suffering of opposing teams or competing players. Possibly even taking joy in that suffering or hardship. Being a spectator also leads to a distancing from those being observed. Major injury, maybe a wince for a moment, then the attention is back on the game. Cheering for “our team”. In each case, the opposition is dehumanized, turned into an object, “less than”, a focus of animosity and hate.

People convince themselves that it is about community. However, if a player is not up to top standards, you hear the calls to evict them from the team. “Victory” is more important than the player. If a team is losing, it can be perfectly fine to replace the entire team and keep the name. Just a logo, a franchise, a corporate entity. The team is not a group of human beings, a part of the community, they are seen as property. You may see a short moment of human interest here and there but only for the top players. It’s PR, advertising, marketing, a means to sell more tickets, give a false sense of connection. When they stop winning, they will be replaced. People use phrases like, “We won!” Really? What did YOU win? As a member of the audience, do you get to take home a trophy? Will you get a pay raise? What do the members and audience of the losing team get? If all players, all audience members are not winning in some way, how is it about “community”?

As indicated earlier, too many people transfer the competitive and spectator mindset to other aspects of human relationships, from the personal to the global. In politics, the players are players. They play for the “team”, who profits. You don’t. You get to cheer when “your team WINS”. You won nothing. The ones who profit are the logos, the franchises, the corporate entities. You are probably not part of the “team”. Just another spectator in the stands, watching TV or reading the scorecard.

In sports, taxpayers pay taxes which fund sports programs in schools, so parents can pay money for uniforms and equipment. Tax and consumer dollars build stadiums, so corporate entities can play games, so spectators can pay for tickets to the spectacle. You go home with nothing but a spectacle and less money in your pocket.

In politics, consumers pay increased prices so corporations can “donate” large sums to campaigns. Tax dollars go to political campaigns, so candidates can ask for money, so parties (franchises) can win. You go home with nothing but a spectacle and less money in your pocket.

I fail to see where all this mindless competition benefits our society in any meaningful way. Cooperation is far more valuable than competition, whether domestic or global. Our society has completely lost any sense of cooperation. Most people have been desensitized to the consequences of our decisions, even to ourselves, conditioned to the IDEA of “winning”. Not thinking of what we “win”, what we lose or who pays the cost, who gets trampled in the turnstiles, who cleans up the mess after the game, whose homes get leveled for the stadium. For decades, this country has had a “win at any cost” mentality. What we are seeing now is the “cost” side of that equation because all the cost has been run on credit.

I’d say it’s time to stop thinking in terms of competition, step down from the bleachers, pick up our own garbage, walk out of the stadium and into the real community. There’s a lot to see and a lot more cooperation to be found when you realize the game has been played on YOU. If you want a sense of community, walk down the street, talk to your neighbors. Try building an actual COMMUNITY. Because that is what winning is really about.

While You Are Paying Attention To Impeachment..

In recent weeks, while you were paying attention and cheering for impeachment, praising Pelosi and screaming at the top of your mental lungs how great the “Resistance” is..

BOTH parties voted overwhelmingly to renew the Patriot Act, giving Trump AND the “intelligence” agencies the power to monitor every single letter, digit and byte of your communications.

BOTH parties cheered for Trump’s new trade deal, USMCA, which replaces NAFTA. Which contains significant portions lifted directly from the TPP, which Trump vetoed and raged so much against.

BOTH parties approved extension of the AUMF which gives Trump the power to use military force anywhere in the world without Congressional approval and with no time limit. Remember that US forces are still in Afghanistan (18 years) and Iraq (16 years) under AUMF, while bombing a total of at least 7 countries and threatening 5 more with military force. We still have forces in Syria against international law. Plus we have military forces in 50 of 54 African nations.

BOTH parties approved the new $738 BILLION “defense” (sic) budget, which includes funding for a Space Force (which is still against international law), creates a new cabinet position for the commander of said Space Force and increases funding for nuclear weapons . Meanwhile the “compromise” (meaning absolute complicity) bill removes provisions banning military funding being used for a border wall, banning US military assistance to Saudi Arabia in the genocide in Yemen, protecting transgender military members, requiring limitations on PFAS (Forever Chemicals) on and around military bases, which would have required them to be placed on the Superfund list, mandating Congressional approval for military conflict with Iran and withdrawing approval for authorization for the Iraq conflict.

The Washington Post published The Afghanistan Papers, which detail how the American people have been misled about the war in Afghanistan for the entire 18 years we have been there. How our forces had no idea who are allies versus enemies. Guess what? If you fire on your allies they do not remain allies. How the Taliban now holds power over MORE of the country today than in 2001. This has remained true and covered up for three administrations, from GWB/Cheney to Obama/Biden to Trump/Pence. It took 3 lawsuits to obtain this information.

The DOJ released the first part of the IG report regarding the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia. The report shows illicit bias, falsified and omitted information in FISA warrant requests so badly that at least one criminal charge may be forthcoming while the FBI has announced over FORTY procedural changes as a result. Let’s not forget that Russiagate already resulted in at least two terminations of top level personnel and one of those was previously fired by Mueller. Let’s not forget that the Mueller investigation did not result in even a single charge against any US person regarding anything to do with Russia. None. Not one.

Julian Assange is still in prison, still being tortured. Chelsea Manning is still in prison for the second time. For charges that have NOTHING to do with Russia or the 2016 election. They revealed the truth. That was their crime.

Ukraine testimony. I have talked with people who claimed to have listened to the testimony in full. Yet somehow completely missed former EU ambassador Sondland stating that he never heard any requirement from any party regarding a quid pro quo and that was his own impression. Sondland was the star witness from which most other testimony originated. Meanwhile, the alleged whistleblower only heard information third hand and will not testify or allow their name to be revealed.

Yay, “Resistance”. These are all events which have taken place in only the past 2–3 weeks. In the past we have seen a drug price reduction bill voted down by 12 Democrats, while 15 Republicans voted in favor of it. We have seen (lame) attempts at peace with Russia, North Korea and Syria raged against by the “resistance”. Meanwhile they have either remained silent or been totally complicit in murderous sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. They have not offered any opposition to Trump’s trade war. They have increased “defense” spending every single year. We have watched them cave on DACA and instead approve border wall funding and tax breaks for the elite.

If this is what you call “resistance” and “ethics”, you really need to take another look at yourself, your priorities and your level of consciousness.

The CIA Never Defended Their Own Asset

In the recent IG report, it is clearly detailed that Carter Page was a CIA asset. Yet the FBI “investigation” did not identify him as such in their applications for FISA warrants for surveillance. The Mueller report did not identify him as such. This is one of the major facts identified as a “misstep” by the Inspector General regarding FBI performance on the Russiagate investigation.

Keep in mind that the CIA signed off on the “Intelligence Report” in January 2017. Keep in mind that the CIA never defended Carter Page, their own asset, when the Mueller report was released.

Keep in mind that the FBI has announced they will be implementing over 40 changes to procedure AFTER the IG report. These are only taking place because of the visibility of this case and because the IG report has been released publicly. There is absolutely no reason to believe they would be making these changes had the IG report been considered classified. There is no reason to believe that the FBI’s use of the methods now being altered have not been used many times against many people.

Keep in mind that Habeas Corpus no longer exists in this country. If they declare YOU a terrorist sympathizer, the “Intelligence” (sic) agencies can detain you indefinitely with no charges, with no trial, no lawyer, not even notifying your family of your location or status. Don’t bother blaming Trump exclusively for this. Once again, he is a symptom, not the disease. Habeas Corpus was suspended first by GWB, reinstated and then suspended again by Obama in 2012 and has remained suspended since then. Trump has not reinstated it.

Keep in mind that there is still no criteria for defining exactly what a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer is. They make the standards up as they see fit. I could be declared a terrorist for writing this. You could be declared a terrorist sympathizer for reading this.

Keep in mind that claims regarding terrorism are not necessary to be a target. Assange is not accused of being a terrorist. Nor are Snowden or Manning. Yet all are targets of the “intelligence” agencies for revealing information regarding those agencies’ abuse of power. Abuses which have resulted in deterioration of your basic rights and taken no small number of lives.

Keep in mind that the “intelligence” agencies have flaunted their power right in front of our faces for over a decade. Clapper lying about domestic surveillance in front of Congress until revealed by Edward Snowden. CIA spying on a Senate panel looking into their torture program. James Comey naming the offenses regarding Hillary Clinton’s private server for 14 minutes straight, then stating he found no intent for one minute before walking off stage and taking no questions. One intelligence director stating on national TV that if Trump did not basically bow down to the intelligence agencies that they would attack him. Strzok raging against a Congressional panel as though he were above questioning, even after text messages showing bias and his cheating on his wife with another married agent, Page. McCabe fired by Mueller, then forced into retirement by the FBI. These are small examples of their publicly flaunting their belief that they are immune from scrutiny because they rarely face such scrutiny.

Keep in mind that none of this is new. Go back over decades and consider all the offenses against the American and the global population inflicted by the “intelligence” agencies. The 2017 “Intelligence Report”, most of which was an attack on RT, NONE of which contained verifiable information. The Mueller Report. Mass surveillance. Tapping Angela Merkel’s communications. Dealing weapons to drug cartels in “Fast and Furious”. WMD’s in Iraq. Claims of Iraqi soldiers using Viagra. Claims of Iraqi soldiers throwing infants from incubators. Iran-Contra and the CIA selling cocaine on our own streets. Bay of Tonkin. FBI investigations into MLK Jr and Black Panthers. JFK stated 10 days before his death that he planned on dismantling the CIA. McCarthyism. These are only a few of the things we know about.

So, is it any kind of surprise that the CIA would throw their own informant under the bus and abandon him? Is it any surprise that the FBI would use false information to keep their hold on power?

Note that I am absolutely NOT saying anything against the rank and file agents who perform their daily duties of real investigations and place their lives on the line. This is very specifically aimed at those unelected elite in high positions who use those positions to control those in elected office, the population itself, no matter the risk or the price paid by millions, even billions of people globally.

The amazing thing is that so many Americans are so naive, so indoctrinated, so blinded by watching too many movies and TV shows that they believe the “intelligence” agencies are there to protect us. Stop and ask yourself if you would trust ANY other organization which had been revealed in so many intentional falsehoods, so many illegal and unethical power plays. Would you?

You may have some fear of Trump so badly you are willing to do ANYTHING to appease that fear. Yet thus far the vast majority of Americans have seen no change in their daily lives since he took office. That is, aside from the frantic mindless rant from neoliberal media and repeating endlessly in their own minds. The thing you need to fear most is your reaction. Stop being willing to hand these agencies so much power because once they have it, they will NOT relinquish that power. The tactics they use against Trump can be used against future presidents, against other elected officials, against the media, against other world leaders, against YOU.

We have seen the erosion of our civil liberties and rights at an ever-increasing pace and it is coming to a crescendo. Loss of Habeas Corpus, fabricated evidence and falsified testimony in federal courts, control of the media, suppression of protests, fraudulent reports by international organizations like the OPCW, US withdrawal from nuclear treaties and the international criminal court, drone surveillance, loss of privacy.. Where does this end?

With any organization that uses deceptions and tactics as these organizations have been clearly revealed they are willing to use, you truly have to question what their ultimate goal is. You also have to question with whom their allegiance truly resides. Because it has nothing to do with who is ELECTED to office, nothing to do with world peace, nothing to do with honesty, nothing to do with any sense of honor we are privy to. These organizations have been around longer than most of us have been alive. They have had a lot of time to learn the skills of manipulation of all forms of power. That is their entire reason for existence. They have access to more resources than we can imagine. They wield enormous power in ways we cannot fathom while generally remaining in the shadows. In this particular case, they are claiming they made mistakes. In more than forty different aspects of their very areas of expertise.

These organizations do not make mistakes. Stop believing that anything they do is mere error. There is an absolute purpose to everything they do. Get that in your head and don’t forget it.

IG Report Contradicts Itself

The Inspector General released a report on the findings of an examination into the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia “collusion”. The report is over 400 pages long and I will admit that in this case I have no plans to read the whole thing. Just what I have seen thus far tells me what I need to know.

This report states that the beginning of this investigation was not biased. This is one key point to pay attention to. The stress is being placed on the beginning of the investigation. It actually does not state that the investigation was not biased, only that the beginning was not biased.

No matter what, this alone contradicts the findings of the report. If only one candidate in an election is being investigated, that is the definition of bias. Throughout Russiagate, I have written many times that what illustrates clear bias is the fact that Clinton was not investigated regarding Russia. Keep in mind that Clinton signed off on Uranium One, where Russia gained processing rights to 20% of uranium mined in the US. In addition, Bill Clinton gave a speech in Russia, promoting investments in Uranium One, for which he was paid $500,000. This occurred while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, yet was never included in the Russia “investigation”. In addition, Robert Mueller signed off on the intelligence regarding Uranium One. Later on, Uranium One resulted in widespread charges of bribery, coercion and corruption, along with unaccounted for uranium shipments. All those charges were for events which took place right here in the US. So, Clinton was never investigated regarding Uranium One and Mueller went on to be named special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election.

Serious performance failures. The report goes on to state that there were “serious performance failures” conducted in the course of the examination. This is basically the same as Comey’s statement where he talked for 14 minutes detailing all the things Hillary Clinton did wrong, even criminally so, with her private email server which placed national security at risk. Then talking for one minute exonerating her by saying he found no intent. Kind of like saying, “She knew she was breaking the law and had the entire State Department to advise her but she didn’t mean to do it.”

Legality versus ethics. What this report attempts to do is state that the FBI did not break the law. It does not actually prove in any way that there was no bias. Even regarding the law, the report details that one FBI lawyer claimed that Carter Page was not a CIA asset, while Page was indeed a CIA asset during the time he was being investigated. That FBI lawyer may well be charged with a federal crime as a result. The US federal attorney in Connecticut is currently looking into that possibility. In addition, relevant information was omitted and some information was not corroborated during the repeated applications for FISA warrants. There was one person who was not being investigated at all, yet was monitored by the FBI during the investigation.

Major changes. Christopher Wray, FBI Director, has said that the report will result in over 40 changes being made to procedures. I accept the fact that changes in procedure happen all the time for many reasons. However, one has to question why it takes such a public and high level examination to force changes in procedures for one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, a massive percentage of an organization which is comprised of legal professionals. I have my suspicions that if these changes were applied retroactively, the entire Russia investigation would be declared invalid. I also have to question how many other investigations these processes have affected over how long. Yet in those less visible cases no changes were made because the processes did not gain widespread public attention.

Ultimately, the claims that there was no bias in the entire process fall flat. Anyone who has a sense of justice or respect of legality understands this.

I know some people are going to claim that in some way I support Trump. There is absolutely no truth in this and is highly evidenced in past articles I have written. I have written a multiple part series on why universal healthcare is the best system. I have written articles raging against racism. I detailed how immigrants benefit the economy on more than one occasion, even running numbers on the subject to back up my statements. I am an avid defender of Venezuela. Have demonstrated clearly that the economy is not doing well and a crash is coming soon. Called the claim of low unemployment into question using facts and published numbers which detail just how false those numbers are.

One does not have to support Trump to still support actual justice. One does not have to have TDS to call him out on lies, lies which are too frequently echoed in neoliberal media as fact. One does not have to support Trump to oppose an impeachment process which sets a precedent which is literally more dangerous than Trump himself. One does not have to be a Russian asset to realize that the intelligence agencies have demonstrated an absolute bias and have gone absolutely rogue in their duties, loyal only to their own agenda.

This is not justice. This is not legality. This is not democracy. This is not right. This is not anything close to what this nation is supposed to be about. Right now, what we need to be aware of is not the danger Trump poses but the much greater dangers posed by the “resistance”. We have seen the rise of censorship and return of McCarthyism. We have seen the “resistance” oppose recall of the military while silent on increased militarization. We have seen the military budget explode beyond all belief. We have watched evidence fabricated or told something was evidence as millions claim to see something which is not there in extended mass schizophrenic episodes. We are seeing huge numbers of people denying the risk or even cheering on the risk of war with nuclear powers.

I hate Trump but even more I hate what this country has become and am terrified of what it is becoming.

Gabbard Would Outperform Sanders In Debate With Trump

Tulsi Gabbard would have a considerable edge in debate against Trump which Sanders would not have. The ONLY exception would be voters rabidly pro-Sanders or ANYONE-but-Trump. For all other voters, in debate with Trump, Sanders would struggle with certain topics which most Americans find highly important.

Russiagate and Sanders. The first example of this came this week. Hillary Clinton went on a talk show and tied Sanders to the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, most of us have little interest in what Clinton has to say on any subject, so this should be a non-issue. However, it was picked up by the Russiagate media and talked about widely.

Now the biggest problem with this subject is the fact that Sanders has not opposed Russiagate. He has propagated it. He has stated publicly that Russia helped his campaign in 2016 without his knowledge. He has previously accused his own supporters in 2016 of being influenced by Russian propaganda if they did so much as question Hillary Clinton.

What this means is that Sanders has bound his own hands regarding Russiagate. So far the media on this subject has gone easy on Sanders. You may think not but trust me, it will absolutely get worse. Sanders has not faced any accusations regarding Russiagate in DNC debates. Trump will absolutely bring up the subject, even if only in an attempt to deflect accusations against him by the media. This will place Sanders on the defensive because the questions will come not only from Trump but also neoliberal AND conservative media. Trump has denied any political ties to Russia and can point to how hawkish he has been against Russia. Sanders has no effective defense, since he has promoted the Russiagate narrative and claims that Russia helped him in 2016.

Russiagate and Gabbard. Gabbard would not have this problem. She makes her foreign policy stance very clear. She will work toward diplomacy and easing tensions with other countries, including Russia. The risk of maintaining those tensions is too great to allow them to increase further. Aside from wild-eyed schizophrenic talking heads who see Russians in their closets and refrigerators, there has been no accusation of Gabbard having any ties to Russia and those claims cannot be in any way quantified rationally. I’m sure Rachel Maddow will try, though.

Election integrity. Another issue on which Gabbard has the upper hand is her defense of election integrity. It has been absolutely proven that the DNC committed election fraud in 2016, with Hillary Clinton at the helm. Trump will absolutely bring that subject up. Sanders will have no defense on the subject at all. Not only did he campaign for Clinton in 2016 but he has been completely silent regarding election fraud in the primary up to this very day.

Gabbard, on the other hand, stepped down from the DNC vice chair position to protest election fraud, did NOT campaign for Clinton, has been publicly critical regarding the DNC and openly opposed Clinton only weeks ago. She also has announced that she will not be running for her Congressional seat again, so the DNC holds absolutely no power over her political future, as far as we know at this time.

Foreign policy. On foreign policy, Trump would likely not even challenge Gabbard. While he has failed at his campaign promises of ending wars and easing tensions with allegedly hostile leaders, he can point to efforts he has made. Gabbard also shows she will meet with those leaders and states the absolute goal of ending wars. Trump can absolutely challenge Sanders on foreign policy because Sanders has only offered platitudes on foreign policy. He has not offered any specific policies, goals or methods for his foreign policies.

Healthcare. Trump’s healthcare policies have been an absolute tragedy, leaving millions without medical insurance coverage of any kind while insurance and medical costs have continued to rise drastically. The one thing he can point to is that he eliminated mandatory private coverage and the penalty for not being insured. He will use the last part as a weapon against both Sanders and Gabbard, who both support universal healthcare.

With Gabbard, she openly states she supports universal healthcare with no private insurance involved for basic care. She does support the availability of supplemental care through private insurance, which is consistent with most countries that have universal healthcare. Much of her proposed healthcare plan would be paid for by reducing military spending. That reduction would be constant, not affected by stock market performance.

With Sanders, his plan also has the same components. However, he has been less prone to discuss the supplemental insurance aspect, which can be construed as an attempt to hide that fact. His plan is largely financed through a tax on stock market trades. Problem is, the amount available would decline if and when the stock market declines. Which the stock market is poised to do precipitously. He states he would decrease defense spending but without a plan in place for reducing conflicts, that would be difficult to justify and accomplish.

Debate style. One has to look at debate styles and behavior. On his own, Trump goes on tangents, we all know this. However, if you recall the RNC debates in 2016, he tends to remain rather composed and on the offensive at all times.

Sanders can be put on the defensive easily. He does try and keep a strong focus on the issues but can become visibly shaken. Trump has the tendency to change subjects and use more personal attacks, which tends to put Sanders on the defensive and he is rather consistent about it. When faced with subjects for which he actually has to defend himself, he stutters a lot.

Gabbard is a lot harder to shake. She can go on the offensive very easily. She goes into debate well prepared regarding her opponent. That is, in addition to being well versed on the issues. On top of that, she thinks on her feet and can transition without blinking an eye. She can face an aggressive opponent down with a smile on her face, never show fear and not stutter a single time.

Between Sanders and Gabbard in debate against Trump or any aggressive opponent, I would definitely say Gabbard would fare much better. Sanders fosters the image of the grandfather figure focused on domestic policy. Gabbard projects the image of a warrior, ready to fight the Establishment while working to ease international tensions. In a world currently at war, with raging international tensions, highly aggressive characters and forces in our political parties and a blatantly dishonest, adversarial corporate media, at this time the warrior/diplomat is what this country sorely needs and the one who will fare far better in debate in this environment.

Don’t Be Impressed By Black Friday Sales Numbers

The media has been making a huge deal out of the large consumer spending numbers on Black Friday this year, touted as the most ever spent on Black Friday and a considerable increase over last year.

However, all of this is being viewed through a laser-focused lens. Absolute tunnel vision is in effect, giving a distorted image of the truth. There is a lot more which has to be taken into consideration than the numbers of a single day or weekend.

Timing is everything. The first thing to take into consideration is when Black Friday occurs during a given year. This year it occurred on 11/29/19. What does that mean? It means that 12/1 occurred on a weekend. The result is that Social Security, government and many other paychecks typically paid on the 1st of the month were deposited instead on.. Black Friday. If you have ever been shopping, especially grocery shopping, you know that the first weekend of the month is generally much busier than other weekends because of those consumers forced to live paycheck to paycheck. The last time that Black Friday and December 1st occurred on the same weekend was in 2013. (7 year cycle.) Guess what the media was reporting at the time? They reported how consumer sales had increased over the previous year for Black Friday. Not to the same degree, of course. We were allegedly coming out of the Great Recession and one has to take inflation into account, which affects absolute numbers AND percentages reported.

Changing shopping habits. Another thing to take into consideration is that remote orders for store pickup increased considerably this year. While part of this is technology-driven, it also indicates consumers are planning their purchases in advance. They know what they are going to buy and that is what they order. This has the effect of reducing impulse purchases made while shoppers wander through stores and buy more than they originally planned. If shoppers only buy what they have planned for, this indicates that spending will most likely taper off very quickly before mid-December, which will negate the gains reported right now.

A wider view. When we take all the above into account, the obvious becomes clear. We cannot look at a single day or weekend to judge consumer spending or confidence. Instead, we have to take a wider view and look at consumer spending both before and after Black Friday weekend. Not meaning an isolated view of one week before and after but at least 1 month before and after. This gives us a much more accurate view. Obviously we cannot really predict what the coming month will bring but we can look back at previous months. In October, retail sales increased by 0.3%. Statistically this is negligible to begin with. However, go back one more month and we find that sales in September had declined by 0.3%, which brings even the October increase to a flat even number.

Consumer sales do not equal consumer spending. Something else to look at is how these sales are funded. Consumer credit spending has increased and that is likely how much of the current spending was funded. Many consumers are still paying credit card debt from 2018. This is debt spending, which is not truly consumer spending. Rather than indicating consumer confidence or any improvement in the economy, it tends to indicate the reverse, that consumers are not in the position to spend actual income at this time. Even if they have the liquid assets to spend, they are not willing to part with those assets, which demonstrates a lack of confidence in the ability to recuperate those assets in the near future.

The Trump irony. It is extremely ironic that the neoliberal media is reporting how well sales are doing, which amounts to a claim that the economy is doing extremely well. In effect, they are stating that Trump is having a positive effect on the economy. This, even as they make concurrent claims that he is destroying the economy and the country. The numbers they are reporting literally increase support for Trump, even as the neoliberal media is pushing for his impeachment. Meanwhile the same corporate media on both sides report falsified employment numbers and simply do not report comprehensive numbers of layoffs and retail or manufacturing closures which have taken place this year. What they are doing is trying to play both sides in an attempt to force the illusion that capitalism is successful while trying to bring down the most capitalistic president to ever hold US office.

The rebound effect. Consumer debt is already at a level higher than any time in history, while labor income is the lowest it has been in decades in terms of real wages. Now consumers appear to be taking on new debt. If jobs which offer living wages are not created in mass numbers in the very near future, meaning the next few months, as debts come due we will see consumer spending plummet drastically as consumers are forced to reduce immediate spending to pay the debts. This will cause more layoffs in an increasing spiral downward for the economy. This is likely to concur with the end of the Federal Reserve bailout of unstable banks, resulting in the perfect storm for an economic crash the likes of which few people have imagined.