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Knarfs Knewz / Olympic politics: North Korea's media charm offensive
« Last post by knarf on Today at 04:05:50 AM »
North Korea's media games and what's really behind the Olympic story of thawing tensions between North and South Korea.


North Korea sent more than 200 cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics


Not every picture tells a story and not every image is worth a thousand words.

But the right one - in the right place, at the right political time - can pack a bigger punch than a hundred soundbites or a million tweets.

An image like the one of athletes from two countries still officially at war - North and South Korea - taking the Olympic stage under one flag at the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

"It's a great photo op. It makes for some good pictures. It does sort of bring the sense of potential and the sense of optimism at least briefly for that sports event. But it doesn't necessarily mean unification is around the corner," says Jenny Town, managing editor of 38 North.

How about the sight of Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader's sister shaking hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in, right under the nose of US Vice President Mike Pence? If stealing the show was Pyongyang's intention, the media played right into its hands, offering extensive coverage of the delegation from the north.

Wherever they light the Olympic flame, there are going to be geopolitics in the mix. But these games, given where they are, and the governments involved, have taken Olympic politics to another level.

There is no denying the significance of Kim Yo-jong's presence at the Games, given that she is the first member of North Korea's ruling family to ever visit the south. But western news outlets should not forget that propaganda is Kim Yo-jong's day job.

"As the head of North Korea's Department of Propaganda and Agitation, she does run a very important department," explains Sung Yoon Lee, professor of Korean Studies at Tufts University.

"That department makes sure that North Koreans have few if any real access to outside information, that they remain in the dark.

That department also does its best to restrict the flow of information out of North Korea. None of that was broached in reporting on Kim Yo-jong, only the fact that she exuded the softer image, that she smiled for the cameras, that she looked modest and sincere."
In Pyeongchang, Kim Yo-jong became the temporary face of an authoritarian country that is politically dominated by men. Kim Jong-un represents the third generation in a family dynasty, a patriarchy, that has lasted for 70 years.

But when North Korea ventures onto the world stage and in front of the news media, women do a disproportionate amount of the PR work. In addition to Kim Yo-jong, the government sent more than 200 cheerleaders to the games. It's not the first time they have been sent out, but journalists can't seem to resist them.

"The media, again a male-dominated media, is just all over them, desperate to try to get a response from them. You see, it's sort of a game in the South Korean media. Can you get one of them to answer a question? Because they are really quite tight-lipped other than when they're cheering," says Andray Abrahamian, visiting fellow, Pacific Forum CSIS.

"In a way, it's almost a propaganda failure because of how regimented and organised they appear, it can look a little bit weird sometimes, a little bit stiff," he adds.

While the international news media treat North Korea as a potential geopolitical flashpoint, media in South Korea see the north differently - as an existential threat.

News outlets based in Seoul are typically split along liberal and conservative lines. Liberal outlets are more open to accommodating Pyongyang, conservative ones are usually much more hard line.

But on this story and the bilateral meeting between Kim Yo-jong and South Korean president Moon Jae-in, the ideological gap in the South seems to have shrunk. Because of the stakes, the arsenals and the players involved, not all of whom are Korean.

"The gap between left and right is relatively narrow, I think because South Koreans generally are very worried about the United States right now," says Abrahamian. "President Trump is way too willing to risk war on the Korean Peninsula. So, there's sort of a unity of opinion across the board, left and right, looking for a way to diffuse tensions and move on."

The wall to wall coverage of this story comes with significant gaps in understanding. The South Korean media know very little about what goes on in Pyongyang. The international media doesn't know its way around either country, either story. And the vast majority of journalists parachuted into the Olympics are sports reporters - unschooled in the world of geopolitics.

For the Kims of North Korea, this was more than a photo opportunity. It was a propaganda opportunity. And they took it.

12
Surly Newz / Re: The Daily Meme
« Last post by Surly1 on Today at 04:03:15 AM »
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PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) - Stunned by the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, students mobilized across the country on Sunday to organize rallies and a national walkout in support of stronger gun laws, challenging politicians they say have failed to protect them.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student is accused of murdering 17 people on Wednesday using an assault-style rifle, joined others on social media to plan the events, including a Washington march.

“I felt like it was our time to take a stand,” said Lane Murdock, 15, of Connecticut. “We’re the ones in these schools, we’re the ones who are having shooters come into our classrooms and our spaces.”

Murdock, who lives 20 miles (32 km) from Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children and six adults were shot to death five years ago, drew more than 50,000 signatures on an online petition on Sunday calling on students to walk out of their high schools on April 20.

Instead of going to classes, she urged her fellow students to stage protests on the 19th anniversary of an earlier mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Students from the Florida high school are planning a “March for Our Lives” in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.

They also plan to rally for gun control, mental health issues and school safety on Wednesday in Tallahassee, the state capital. The students were expected to meet with a lawmaker who is seeking to ban the sale of assault-style weapons like the AR-15 allegedly used in the school shooting.

The demands for change by many still too young to vote has inflamed the country’s long-simmering debate between advocates for gun control and gun ownership.

Students from the Florida school have lashed out at political leaders, including Republican President Donald Trump, for inaction on the issue. Many criticized Trump for insensitivity after he said in a weekend Twitter post that the FBI may have been too distracted with a Russia probe to follow leads that could have prevented the massacre.

“You can’t blame the bureaucracy for this when it’s you, Mr. President, who’s overall responsible,” David Hogg, an 18-year-old Douglas senior, said in a phone interview.

‘LISTENING SESSION’

The White House said Trump planned to host “a listening session” with high school students and teachers on Wednesday, but did not specify which students or school would be involved.

Democratic leaders vowed to redouble efforts to fight the nation’s powerful gun lobby to reduce violence from firearms.

“We’re the adults. We’re the leaders in this country who are supposed to keep our children safe - and again and again, our country has let them down,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said on Twitter.

The suspect in the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces multiple murder charges in the deaths of 14 students and three staff members, and the wounding of more than a dozen others in a rampage that eclipsed Columbine as the country’s worst mass shooting at a high school.

Cruz was reported to have been investigated by police and state officials as far back as 2016 after slashing his arm in a social media video, and saying he wanted to buy a gun. Authorities determined, however, he was receiving sufficient support, newspapers said on Saturday.

In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted on Friday that it failed to investigate a warning that Cruz possessed a gun and the desire to kill.

A couple who opened their home to Cruz after his mother’s recent death saw no signs he was planning a rampage, according to the Sun Sentinel in south Florida.

Kimberly and James Snead told the newspaper they knew Cruz had guns, and that they made him lock them in a safe. They thought they had the only key, they said.

Cruz faces charges that could bring the death penalty. Prosecutors have not yet said if they will seek capital punishment.

Four people still hospitalized with wounds from the shooting were in fair condition on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Broward Health system said.

School officials in Broward County said on Sunday they were aiming to have staff return to the high school campus by the end of the week. They did not say when classes would resume.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-florida-shooting-students/students-plan-protests-washington-march-to-demand-gun-control-after-mass-shooting-idUSKCN1G20S8?il=0
14
Surly Newz / Doomstead Diner Daily 2/19
« Last post by Surly1 on Today at 03:14:06 AM »


Doomstead Diner Daily 2/19


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Editor's note

The Doomstead Diner is a hub for discussion and information pertaining to the ongoing Economic Collapse of the Industrial Economy. The Diner is the result of many years of discussion and debate on many other forums. At Doomstead Diner, our goal is to collate much of the information we can to assist in planning for the world to come.
 

 

15
Geopolitics / 🕵️ The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
« Last post by RE on Today at 01:22:45 AM »
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/02/18/the-war-on-dissent-the-specter-of-divisiveness/

The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness (with Video)
February 18, 2018


HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

by CJ Hopkins
A spectre is haunting Western democracy — the spectre of “divisiveness.” After eight blessed years of peace and prosperity under the glorious reign of Obama the Benevolent, suddenly, we find ourselves besieged on all sides by Russian-sponsored sowers of “discord,” disseminators of “disinformation,” inculcators of “confusion” and “chaos,” and other enemies of our “democratic values.” These devilish instigators of “disunion” and “distrust” are determined to deceive us into doubting “the truth” by exposing us to “divisive ideas” and seducing us with their cynical skepticism into questioning the integrity of our political leaders, our intelligence agencies, and the corporate media, who would never, ever dream of lying to us … or so goes the new official narrative being rolled out by the corporatocracy.

It is utterly stupefying to watch as millions of Americans conform their beliefs and behavior to this official narrative like Inner Party Members in 1984. Apart from the fact that its storyline is simplistic and childish to the point of absurdity, it has only been roughly sixteen years since the corporatocracy introduced the beta version of this same official narrative, to which millions of Americans obediently conformed … which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the destabilization of the entire Middle East, and the transformation of most Western societies into militarized surveillance states.
“You might naturally assume that these Good Americans would give us the benefit of the doubt this time, i.e., those of us who are challenging the narrative the corporate media has been ramming down our throats since Hillary Clinton lost the election. But, no … nothing of the sort. No, this time, we’re not “terrorist sympathizers.” We’re “Putin sympathizers,” “Russian operatives,” or at the very least we’re “useful idiots” who are helping Russia destroy democracy by “sowing discord,” “disunity,” “division,” and other forms of dissent throughout the West…”

As I outlined at length in part one of this essay, the War on Dissent being rolled out currently is an expansion of the “War on Terror” narrative, the storyline of which was equally childish, and simplistic, and blatantly fabricated. Though it is fashionable these days for the politicians and corporate media propagandists who sold the “Saddam has WMDs” story, and the “Iraq is linked to al Qaeda” lie, and the “we’re fighting terrorism in Afghanistan” fairy tale, to regret how they “misinterpreted the intelligence” that led to the “unfortunate blunder” that launched the global corporatocracy’s occupation and restructuring of the Middle East (which continues unabated to date), anyone with half a brain could see what was really going on at the time. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the “War on Terror” was not a war on terrorism (the concept is nonsensical on its face), but rather, was just the official narrative that would allow the global capitalist ruling classes to (a) employ the United States military to pursue their aims throughout the world with more or less complete impunity, and (b) designate anyone opposing the hegemony of global capitalism a “terrorist.”

Several million of us figured that one out … or at least figured out that the US government, the “intelligence community,” and the corporate media were using Americans’ emotional response to the September 11 terrorist attacks to con us into supporting the invasion and destabilization of the Middle East for reasons that had nothing to do with terrorism. So we did what Americans are taught to do. We peaceably assembled to petition our government, as did millions of people across the world, and otherwise raised as much ruckus as we could about how folks were being manipulated, and were denounced as “traitors,” “terrorist sympathizers,” and “conspiracy theory nuts” for our efforts … and not just by the corporatocracy, also by regular Good Americans.

All these years later, knowing what we know, you might assume that all those Good Americans who rushed out to buy American flags to wave as our troops destroyed a country that posed no threat to us whatsoever (and had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) because the corporate media and the “intelligence community” told them Saddam was going to nuke Kansas City … you might assume that all these Good Americans, ashamed at having been made fools of by a bunch of television talking heads and “papers of record” like The New York Times … you might think these folks, who, after all, are not complete idiots the corporatocracy can just hoodwink over and over again using more or less the same bag of tricks … you might naturally assume that these Good Americans would give us the benefit of the doubt this time, i.e., those of us who are challenging the narrative the corporate media has been ramming down our throats since Hillary Clinton lost the election. But, no … nothing of the sort. No, this time, we’re not “terrorist sympathizers.” We’re “Putin sympathizers,” “Russian operatives,” or at the very least we’re “useful idiots” who are helping Russia destroy democracy by “sowing discord,” “disunity,” “division,” and other forms of dissent throughout the West.

This is the essential feature of our new and improved official narrative. The basic storyline has not changed. It’s still “Democracy versus The Terrorists.” The global capitalist ruling classes are simply expanding the already arbitrary and meaningless definition of “terrorism” (or rather, and more broadly, “extremism”). This is a natural, predictable progression, which the ruling classes have been preparing us for. After sixteen years of living in fear of “the terrorists” who “hate us for our freedom,” we are being introduced to a new official enemy. A new, yet familiar official enemy. An official enemy all Good Americans are pre-programmed to hate and fear.

Yes, that’s right, folks, the Rooskies are back, only this time without the Communism. No, this time, their diabolical goal is the destruction of “democracy” itself! Why, exactly, the Rooskies want to destroy democracy is not entirely clear, especially as it would collapse their economy, not to mention precipitate a nuclear war that would wipe out most forms of life on the planet. But, you know, they’re inscrutable, those Rooskies.

According to experts in the corporate media, and our corporate-sponsored representatives in government (and, it goes without saying, the “intelligence community”), the primary weapon the Rooskies are using to destroy democracy, and life on Earth, is this sowing of “divisiveness” and “discord,” and “distrust” of our government and corporate elites, who love us as they love their own children, and who would never try to manipulate us, or treat us like interchangeable commodities, or bankrupt us with their Ponzi schemes, or debt-enslave our families for profit, or any other horrible things like that.

This is the type of mindless hogwash Americans are being pressured to swallow, and in fact are swallowing, millions of them. But then, this is how propaganda works. It doesn’t have to make any sense. In fact, it’s usually more effective if it doesn’t. In profoundly authoritarian cultures like the contemporary USA, people tend to believe the authorities, particularly when they’re all repeating the same simple message over and over. People want to believe the authorities. They want to because they’ve been conditioned to want to from the time they were children by their parents, teachers, political leaders, the corporate media, television, Hollywood, cultural icons, and more or less every other ideological organ of “normal society.”
Will Hurd, Texas Democrat, part of his party’s shameless Russiagate witch-hunt, spreading lies courtesy of an obliging media. The threat to Americans is however bipartisan.
This is why, when it’s time to whip up popular support for a war of aggression (or a war against anyone expressing dissent), all the ruling classes have to do is make up an emotionally-loaded narrative with a halfway-believable official enemy and have their “authoritative media sources” repeat it, over and over and over, in a thousand different iterations, each repetition reifying the others, until the narrative becomes the axiomatic “truth,” which no respectable, normal person would ever even think of wanting to question. In fact, once an official narrative has become the axiomatic “truth,” it can be rather dangerous psychologically if these “respectable persons” are confronted with evidence that demonstrates that the official narrative (or, in other words, their “reality”) is based on … well, a load of horseshit, as by this time they’ve forgotten it is fiction, and thus genuinely believe the lies they’re telling.

If you’d like to see an example of this in action, take a few minutes and watch what happens to Luke Harding, author of the book Collusion, when he is interviewed by Aaron Mate. (See appendix below.) What you will witness is Harding melting down as his “collusion” narrative (i.e., the premise of his book) falls to pieces under Mate’s questioning, which remains collegial and calm throughout. Clearly, it had never occurred to Harding that anyone would question the “RussiaGate” narrative, and especially not someone else in “the business,” as mainstream journalists are trained to accept and parrot whatever the ruling classes tell them. When he finally realizes what is happening, (i.e., that his “reality” is melting away like your face in the mirror on a bad acid trip), he calls Mate a “collusion rejectionist,” and abruptly ends the interview.

This is just the kind of thing the corporatocracy wants to eliminate, or relegate to the margins of the Internet. They can’t have journalists like Aaron Mate running around punching holes in their narrative, or at least not where normal Americans can see it. It’s all fine and good to have folks like Hannity and Alex Jones jabbering about deep state conspiracies, as normal Americans don’t take them seriously, but rational journalists like Mate, if they’re not going to cooperate with the official narrative, well, then they need to be censored, or algorithmically deranked, or otherwise marginalized, and the sooner the better. Which is exactly what the corporatocracy is doing, and what they intend to continue doing until “unity,” “harmony,” and “trust” is restored.

And this is just the beginning, folks. If you want to get a glimpse of our dystopian future, read this recent piece in The Atlantic. It’s by Representative Will Hurd, of Texas (a Democrat, and black at that!—Eds.) but it conveys the sentiments of the corporate ruling classes and their loyal servants in government, generally. I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s one quote:

“To address continued Russian disinformation campaigns, we need to develop a national counter-disinformation strategy. The strategy needs to span the entirety of government and civil society, to enable a coordinated effort to counter the threat that influence operations pose to our democracy. It should implement similar principles to those in the Department of Homeland Security’s Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism, with a focus on truly understanding the threat and developing ways to shut it down.”

The emphasis is mine. The Orwellianism is Hurd’s. The message couldn’t possibly be clearer.

If you’ve enjoyed the Department of Homeland Security over the course of these last sixteen years, the constant low-level paranoia, the invasive searches, the body scans, the TSA agents groping your kids, the cops and soldiers standing around in public places in body armor with their assault rifles in the “sling-ready” position, the NSA listening in on your phone calls, and all the other features of The War on Terror … you’re going to love The War on Dissent.

APPENDIX
December 23, 2017

Where’s the ‘Collusion’?
Amid news the Mueller probe could extend through 2018, Guardian reporter Luke Harding and TRNN’s Aaron Mate discuss Russiagate and Harding’s new book “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win”

Click on the orange button below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or  consentfactory.org.
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https://www.snopes.com/trump-sign-bill-revoking-obama-era-gun-checks-people-mental-illnesses/

Fact Check
Did President Trump Revoke Gun Background Checks for Mentally Ill People?


In February 2017, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.
56K
CLAIM

President Trump signed a bill blocking Obama-era background checks on guns for people with mental illnesses.
RATING
MOSTLY TRUE
ORIGIN

In the wake of a horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead in February 2018, media renewed focus on an Obama-era regulation repealed in the early months of the Trump administration. That rule would have given the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used for gun sales, access to Social Security Administration data including the names of individuals receiving certain federal mental health benefits.

As we explained in a 17 February 2017 post, this rule — which never went into effect before being rescinded — did not change any existing laws regulating who is allowed to purchase guns. It merely would have provided a new way to enforce existing restrictions on gun sales by allowing a transfer of information from one agency to another. There are now, and have been for some time, laws that seek to limit gun sales to anyone “who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution” per Title 18 section 922(g) of the United States Code. However, according to the Associated Press:

    The Obama rule would have prevented an estimated 75,000 people with mental disorders from being able to purchase a firearm. It was crafted as part of Obama’s efforts to strengthen the federal background check system in the wake of the 2012 massacre of 20 young students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The rule was rescinded using a legal procedure called the the Congressional Review Act, which, prior to the Trump Administration, was obscure and little-used. It allows regulations passed in the final days of one administration to be rescinded with a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress during the first 60 days of a new administration. The Senate sent their repeal of the Obama-era measure for Trump’s signature on 15 February 2017 — a year and a day before the Parkland shooting — and Trump signed it into law the next week, on 28 February 2017.

While the law did not change who is required to be the subject of background checks, it is true that Trump signed into law the repeal of a measure that would have plausibly prevented certain classes of mentally ill people from purchasing firearms by allowing a new data source to be included the system that runs those background checks. As such we rank the claim mostly true.
17
Doom Psychology & Philosophy / 🔫 Guns, Violence and the United States
« Last post by RE on Today at 12:52:16 AM »
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/02/18/guns-violence-and-the-united-states/

Guns, Violence and the United States
February 18, 2018 avenger27


HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

by ROBERT FANTINA
Let us all take a quick look at the news:

        The White House is in chaos.
        The investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia drags on.
        The U.S. won some Olympic medals.

Is there anything else? Oh yes:

    + Seventeen people were killed in a school shooting, the eighth such shooting in the U.S. this year (and it is only mid-February), making it hardly newsworthy.

One might think that politicians in the U.S. would take note of this last item. This is not a ‘one-of’, but an ongoing pattern in schools across the country. This latest shooting happened in Parkland, Florida, named ‘Florida’s Safest City’ in 2017.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio offered his thoughts and prayers for the victims; very nice, indeed, but he is one of 50 people who could make changes that might have prevented this, and the seven other such shootings that have occurred this year. Yet he has consistently opposed any kind of gun control. Perhaps the fact that he’s accepted over $3,000,000.00 in campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA) over the course of his career may have something to do with his opposition to sensible gun laws. Following this latest tragedy, he said that it was too early to discuss gun control, “…because people don’t know how this happened.”

This writer is puzzled by Rubio’s pearls of wisdom. ‘How this happened’ seems quite clear; he will explicate it for the good senator: A man with a semi-automatic weapon, designed to shoot many bullets quickly, thus enabling the person operating it to kill many people quickly if he so chooses, walked into a school, activated the fire alarm so students would come running out of their classrooms, and began doing with his gun exactly what it was built do to. As a result, seventeen people are dead, and dozens more are injured. Seventeen families now must bear unimaginable grief. Thousands of students are now at risk of post -traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); whether or not they will return to that school, or if they will need to be relocated is yet to be determined. School administrators now face a situation they should never have had to experience. But Rubio doesn’t know how this happened.

A year and a half earlier, in June of 2016, Florida had another massacre, this one at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Fifty people, including the assailant, were killed and 58 wounded by an assassin using the same kind of gun that was used in Parkland. Republican Governor Rick Scott, another darling of the NRA, said at that time that “…the Second Amendment didn’t kill anybody.” He implied that that shooting was somehow related to ISIS and terrorism, although the perpetrator was U.S. born. And in Florida, it’s easier to purchase an AR-15 than it is to buy a pistol. But the governor, like Rubio, sees no point in doing anything more than offering ‘thoughts and prayers.’

Just this year, there have been at least 31 mass shootings, causing 58 deaths and 124 injuries. These have occurred in high-crime areas and well-to-do neighborhoods. No one is exempt, even people living in the ‘safest city’ in the country.

Also this year, 123 people have been killed by the police, another group for whom guns and gun violence are a way of life.

As of this writing, we are 46 days into the new year. That means that there is a mass shooting in the U.S. every day and a half. It means that more than one person per day dies as a result of a mass shooting. It means that the police in the U.S. kill nearly 3 people every day.

This does not occur in any other nation on the planet. Rich or poor, democratic, socialist, or any other form of government, the U.S. leads in gun deaths.

It is simplistic to say that the availability of guns is the cause; that is merely one of many, and reasonable, sensible gun laws would certainly reduce this tragic number of deaths. But there is an acceptance of violence that permeates U.S. society, and is glorified within it.

In the media and through the words and actions of government officials, soldiers, who are trained to kill, are revered. The more they kill, the greater their respect. A soldier named Chris Kyle, the most deadly sniper in U.S. history, was the subject of a movie showing his ‘heroics’ in killing people. It is ironic that, in 2013, he was shot to death by a fellow soldier suffering from PTSD, who used a gun Kyle owned.

This attitude of reverence for killers is nothing new in the U.S. After Lieutenant William Calley was convicted of murdering hundreds of people in My Lai, Vietnam, he was sentenced to life in prison. Surveys in the U.S. indicated that 79% of the U.S. public thought the verdict was too harsh. He wound up serving for less than four years under house arrest.

Parents, when speaking of their grown children in the military, speak proudly of their ‘service’. Veterans, those who do not regret their time in the military, talk about how they helped ‘keep America free’. Police officers appear to have little concern about their countless victims, or the suffering and grief of the loved ones of those victims. That they act as judge, jury and executioner cannot be denied. Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed the unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014 described his victim as a demon. He testified thusly: “I looked at his face. It was just, like, intense; was very aggravated, aggressive, hostile.” This is a significant amount of information to be gleaned from a look on a person’s face. He further stated: “You could tell he was looking through you. There was nothing he was seeing.” What this means is anyone’s guess, but it was sufficient for Wilson to determine that Brown had sufficiently bad intentions to warrant his immediate death.

The U.S. movie industry differs from that of many European nations in how it rates films. In the U.S., movies with explicit sex scenes receive R and X ratings, but explicit violence tends to garner a PG-13 or R rating. In many other nations, the reverse is true; younger audience are permitted to see movies with some sex, but are prevented, at least according to the ratings systems, from seeing those with excessive violence.

For these nearly constant acts of violence to end, the U.S. must recognize that killing is not beneficial; U.S. wars only increase hatred towards the U.S., glorifying soldiers only begets violence, and granting impunity to the police for their murders only intensifies hostility towards all police officers.

This mindset will not be easy to change, and will be impossible under the current government. Republicans and Democrats alike share the blame, and as long as it is legal for them to be bribed by ‘campaign contributions’, nothing will change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).
18
Economics / 💰 “Blockchain” Stocks Completely Disintegrate
« Last post by RE on Today at 12:46:01 AM »
https://wolfstreet.com/2018/02/18/blockchain-stocks-completely-disintegrate/

“Blockchain” Stocks Completely Disintegrate
by Wolf Richter • Feb 18, 2018 • 10 Comments   
Black Friday for them. Meet the OTC’s “skull and crossbones.”


I’ve never seen a sector skyrocket and totally collapse this fast – in four months – as these newfangled “blockchain stocks.” Now they’re surrounded by debris and revelations of scams. These fly-by-night or near-failure outfits used the hype of “blockchain” and the whole media razzmatazz about cryptocurrencies to manipulate up their stocks, sometimes by several thousand percent in a matter of days.

I vivisected some of these outfits and their stock manipulation schemes on the way up. And on January 25, I documented Phase One of the collapse. This is now Phase Two of the collapse. And dip buyers are still not through getting crushed.

UBI Blockchain International got totally mangled. When I last wrote about UBIA on January 25, it was down 93% from the peak six weeks earlier. Since then, all heck has broken loose. On Friday, OTC Market, where the shares had been demoted to, slapped a “skull-and-crossbones” icon next to the ticker and no longer displays a quote.

It started out so promising: Over the course of a few days in mid-December, UBIA skyrocketed 1,500% to $115 a share intraday.


    December 28, I tarred and feathered the company, its executives, their shenanigans, and their Chinese connection [for details, read, I’m in Awe of How Far the Scams & Stupidities around “Blockchain Stocks” are Going].
    January 9, the SEC halted trading in UBIA, for two reasons: lacking “accuracy” in disclosures and funny trading activity. The trading halt froze the share price at $22.
    January 23, when trading resumed, shares plunged further.
    January 25, when I last wrote about it, they were at $8.25, down 93% from the peak.
    February 9, the company disclosed in its quarterly SEC filing that it had zero revenues and a quarterly loss of $1.24 million. It repeated that its ability to go on as a “going concern” depended on getting new financing and its “ability to achieve and maintain profitable operations.” Fat chance.
    February 15, shares closed at $6, down 95% from the peak.

Friday, February 16, OTC Markets Group stopped displaying quotes of UBIA, labeled the shares “Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware),” and placed the skull-and-crossbones icon next to the stock symbol. It told investors to “exercise additional caution and perform thorough due diligence before making an investment decision in that security.”

In other words, the normal ways of obtaining a quote – on otcmarkets.com, MarketWatch, Yahoo, Bloomberg, WSJ, etc. – have disappeared. These shares are essentially goners.

Riot Blockchain down 75% from the peak. The vultures are circling. This was a failing biotech outfit called Biotix with annual revenues of less than $200,000 over the past four years, generating a total of $34 million in losses. Shares were trading at around $4.50. But on October 4, it announced that it would change its name and start investing in cryptocurrency and blockchain startups. BAM went the shares – up nearly 1,000% to $46.20 by December 19. But by January 25, they’d plunged 61% to $17.92.

On Friday, shares plunged 33.4% to $11.46 after CNBC published the results of its investigation into the shenanigans of the executives, a major investor, and the company.

Later that day, I received an email from U.S. Market Advisors Law Group PLLC. The law firm “represents investors in antitrust, securities and shareholder litigation.” It announced “the completion of an initial investigation on behalf of investors” into “whether Riot Blockchain and certain of its officers and directors violated federal securities laws”:

    As a result of its findings, the firm has prepared, but not yet filed, a proposed class action complaint to recover losses suffered by Riot Blockchain investors.

The law firm explained how the biotech company changed its name and used the hype around blockchain announcements to manipulate up its shares. Then…

    On December 29, 2017, after the market closed and heading into a three-day holiday weekend, John O’Rourke, the Company’s new Chief Executive Officer, made an SEC filing revealing he had sold over 30,000 Riot Blockchain shares. On this news, Riot Blockchain’s stock price declined more than 14% over two trading days.

    On January 31, 2018, before the market opened, the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing investor Barry Honig’s involvement with Riot Blockchain and his trading of the company’s shares. On the same day, Riot Blockchain announced that its annual shareholder meeting would be postponed for a second time. On this news, Riot Blockchain’s stock price declined more than 14% over two trading days.

    On February 16, 2018, CNBC reported that Riot Blockchain’s operations raise a number of “red flags,” including: (i) insider selling; (ii) making no apparent effort to timely hold annual shareholder meetings; and (iii) diluting the common stock. On this news, Riot Blockchain’s stock price fell more than 30% during intraday trading.

Not that dip buyers won’t plow in and drive up the shares for a little while. But RIOT is likely a goner too.

Long Blockchain Corp down 66% from the peak. LBCC is a failing beverage-maker that was called Long Island Iced Tea until December 18. With the name-change announcement, it manipulated its shares up by 360% from $2.06 on December 18 to $9.49 a few days later.

This scheme was hatched as the company had received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq, which it disclosed on October 13, 2017 in an SEC filing. The reason was that its market capitalization had dropped below the minimum of $35 million for 30 consecutive trading days.

It averted a delisting with the scheme of changing its name to “Long Blockchain” and peppering the announcement with gobbledygook about its new “blockchain” business model. Its market cap surged along with the shares. But…

    January 5, when it announced that it would sell 1.6 million shares in a secondary offering, shares crashed 21%.
    January 9, under intense scrutiny, it canceled the stock offering.
    January 25, when I last wrote about it, shares had plunged 61% from the peak to $3.72 and continued to drop until they hit $2.82 on January 30. Then dip buyers piled in and pushed shares back to $3.63.

On Friday, February 16, shares plunged 11% to $3.23. This leaves them down 66% from the peak. What caused the plunge?

On Thursday, the company had disclosed in an SEC filing that it had received another delisting notice from the Nasdaq. The company can appeal the delisting. But even if it wins the appeal, it will have to keep its market cap above $35 million for a minimum of 10 trading days in a row by April 9. As of Friday’s close, its market cap was $33 million.

Longfin down 76% from the peak. LFIN went public in November. On December 15, the company announced a mix of gobbledygook, hype, and silliness about having acquired a “Blockchain-empowered solutions provider,” namely some website that belonged to a Singapore corporation that is 95% owned by Longfin’s CEO. It didn’t pass the smell test.

But shares skyrocketed 2,700% over the three-day period to an intraday high of $142.82 on December 18, pushing the company’s market cap to a fabulous $7 billion and making it the role model of every “blockchain” scammer out there. By January 25, LFIN had plunged 71% to $41.61. On Friday shares plunged 18%. At $34.40, shares are now down 76% from the peak.

DPW Holdings down 70% from the peak. This was a penny stock before it came up with its blockchain scam. The company makes power supplies for computers. But when it announced that it would market its power supplies to cryptocurrency miners, shares skyrocketed 880% from $0.56 on November 21 to an intraday high of $5.95 on December 18. On Friday, the stock fell 6.4%. At $1.76, shares have plunged 70% from the peak.

On-line Blockchain [OBC] down 44% from the peak. This is another name-change scam. The company was called On-line Plc, a thinly traded penny stock in London. After it changed its name, its shares spiked nearly 1,000%, from 14 pence to 152 pence by January 9. By January 25, shares had plunged 35% from the peak to 97 pence. On Friday, shares dropped 7% and closed at 84.55 pence, down 44% from the peak.

Eastman Kodak [KODK] down 47% from the peak. Kodak’s blockchain-and-crypto manipulation scheme wasn’t a name change but an announcement on January 9 of a “blockchain initiative,” including its own cryptocurrency, KodakCoin. Shares soared 300% in two days, from $3.10 to $12.40. Interestingly, on January 8, the day before the announcement, seven independent directors awarded themselves big-fat stock grants. By January 25, shares had dropped 23% from the peak to $9.50. On Friday, shares dropped 7.8% to $6.55, and are down 47% from the peak.

Seven Stars Cloud Group [SSC] down 55% from the peak. The Chinese video-on-demand outfit, which is traded on the Nasdaq, manipulated its shares up by 200% from $2.33 on December 8 to $7.00 intraday on December 26, by claiming that it had taken a 27% stake in The Delaware Board of Trade Holdings, a private company. By January 25, shares had plunged 40% to $4.13. On Friday, they dropped 4.5% to $3.17 and are down 55% from the peak.

Siebert Financial Corp [SIEB] down 63% from the peak. Its shares had jumped nearly 400%, from $4.40 to $21.64 by December 21 after the 50-year-old New York brokerage announced on December 14 that it would venture into cryptocurrency trading. By January 25, they’d plunged 54% from the peak to $9.65. On Friday, they dropped 4% to $8.10, down 63% from the peak.

This amazing spectacle – these scams that caused stocks to soar and plunge over a period of four months – was brought to you by the greatest central-bank-fueled market ebullience and speculative fever mankind may have ever seen. And it may be a sign that the fever has broken.
19
The Diner Pantry / 🦌 Doomstead Diner Dinner Special: 2/18/2018
« Last post by RE on February 18, 2018, 07:52:45 PM »
For our final Dinner in our week long Doomer Food series, we move to the TOP of the food chain possible for Doomers after SHTF Day arrives.  Well not QUITE the top, since Cannibalism is possible, but we won't go there.  Accordin to Hannibal the Cannibal, Homo Saps are good with Fava Beans and a little Chianti, but I can't verify that or get any pics on Google.   I can't find good recipes and pics for cooking people. lol.

The top possible here excluding other humans is Big Game of the Mammal kind.  This stuff will be relatively difficult to come by, at least until a good portion of humanity goes to the Great Beyond.  So if you can eat it with the rest of your tribe once a week you will be doing pretty good.  What is actually available to hunt down also depends a lot on your neighborhood.  Up here in Alaska, we have a good selection from Moose, Caribou and Bear.  In Texas I read, feral pigs are multiplying fairly rapidly.  Across the Northeast, Deer multiply pretty rapidly since about all their natural predators have been killed off.

For this meal, we will go with Bambi for Dinner, because there are lots of good recipes and pics for Venison!  :icon_sunny:

RE

Smoked Rack of Venison
20
Surly Newz / Re: IS DONALD TRUMP A TRAITOR?
« Last post by RE on February 18, 2018, 06:47:49 PM »
Still, I ask you RE, what is BAU a traitor of?  If BAU=Traitor, then what is BAU, because "traitor" has a clear definition.

BAU is counter to making Amerika a continuing and going concern.  So if you are a person who supports and promotes BAU, you're a TRAITOR.

That doesn't mean you are a traitor if you work to SURVIVE inside BAU, you have little to no choice there.  However, if you are a BILLIONAIRE PRESIDENT with the POWER to make make some real changes but don't do that and in fact make things WORSE, then you definitely fit the traitor category.

RE
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