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Marc's Musings

Testifying before Congress yesterday, Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer informed the committee that the FBI is investigating the possibility of a criminal enterprise being involved in the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

No major news outlet is running this story on the front page.

With Epstein memes overtaking social media, one would think that the BoP director admitting a criminal investigation was underway would be front-page news.

A federal judge has ruled that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must have probable cause before searching a person's devices. This may seem like a Pyrrhic victory because it only requires cause (we know inventing 'cause' is not a stretch) and not a warrant, but it nullifies a concept asserted and enforced by the CBP for some time: that a customs zone is not yet "America" and therefore the Constitution does not apply.

Massachusetts District Judge Denise Casper's ruling on Fourth Amendment grounds establishes that the Constitution does apply to federal agents and American citizens / legal residents regardless of where the stormtroopers think they are.

Reuters report

The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 tied currencies from forty-four countries to the dollar and set the value of the dollar at 1/35 of an ounce of gold ($35/ounce). The Federal Reserve Bank, a private organization not bound by U.S. treaties, proceeded to print paper notes ad infinitum, exceeding fourteen billion dollars by 1966 – more than four times the amount of gold held by the U.S. Treasury (not a bad arrangement I must say, a private bank printing notes that must be redeemed by gold held by the United States government).

When Nixon suspended the gold standard in 1971, he was simply acknowledging reality; the gold standard was meaningless. If countries could not redeem their FRS notes (dollars) for gold, then the U.S. dollar would crash, and by extension, the entire global economy (which had already started to drift from the Bretton Woods agreement because of the excessive number of FRS notes in circulation).

Having nothing to backstop the billions of pictures of dead presidents floating around the world, the United States could only hope to preserve the dollar as a reserve currency through oil trading. All OPEC oil is traded in dollars. OPEC nations’ only impetus for trading in dollars is the implicit protection of the global oil industry by the United States. President Trump has learned this the hard way, having been forced to retain troops in Syria – against his preferred judgment – to protect oil production.

The system is as despicable as it gets and there are other better ways of doing things, but until then we are the world’s police force.

*Except the Afghan War, that protects the opium trade.

While the self-styled foreign policy experts have decried the withdrawal of American forces from Syria, I have been looking for the Congressional resolution that authorized the invasion of Syria, without much luck.

Oh, didn't you know? Occupying a foreign country without invitation or consent is an act of war and violates about 6,000 treaties and international laws to which the U.S. is a signatory.

(And this "we can't abandon our allies" gibberish – which we do all the time – is the same trope used to justify nonsense wars since 1951).

“Fake” News: A story that is embellished or even fabricated to draw headlines (at best) or drive the publisher’s agenda (at worst). This is the definition many people think of when asked about fake news.

Fake “News”: A story that is reported accurately, but it is not newsworthy; it is presented to draw headlines or drive the publisher’s agenda (are you seeing a pattern here?). This is the lesser known and consequently more insidious form of Fake News. It is a simple distractive or inflammatory device and has no meaningful public interest.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in Madison, Wisconsin today that “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. … I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”

More government or more government money is seldom the answer to any problem and in this case, one would propose less government: perhaps removing some of the obstacles (paperwork, onerous regulations, etc.) to allow small farms and businesses to flourish should be considered.

(Should I read anything into the fact that the SecAg's name is "Perdue"?)

A new study by Dalhousie University in Halifax has concluded that consuming red meat does not correlate to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, or heat disease. The World Health Organization (part of the UN) lists red meat as a carcinogen.

Experts agree that the studies concluding the dangers of red meat have been weak and unconvincing, but rather than follow the science, they are merely dismissing the new findings as "irresponsible".

“I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” – Richard Feynman

 

Every time a pit bull murders its owner, the pit bull crowd shouts "They must not have raised it right!"

Funny, I don't hear about Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Labradoodles murdering their owners.

Five of the seven twentieth century presidents who were Freemasons were among the forgettable presidents. That does not bode well for the rumors of Freemasonry's influence in American politics.

McKinley, Roosevelt T., Taft, Harding, Roosevelt F., Truman, Ford.

During a Twitter spat originating in New York, a journalist made fun of a politician and the politician became unhinged.

The politician was then diagnosed with blunt farce trauma.

Can someone 'splain me why we're dropping forty tons of bombs on an enemy we have already 'defeated'?

"Tuesday's attack is part of operations carried out by Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition against IS, which was defeated in Iraq in 2017."

The presidential candidates are catching flack for the cost of their proposed social programs.

But …

What would we have to show for the $5,900,000,000,000 we spent on the Global War on Terror if we had spent it on infrastructure and social programs instead of killing people and blowing holes in the dirt?

There are four times the number of militant Sunnis ("terrorists") in the world today than on 9/11/2001, clustered in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (60k -> 230k).

Afghanistan is selling record amounts of opium (9,000 metric tons annually) and the Taliban have reclaimed 50% of Afghanistan and 70% of their pre-war territory.

After ( 18 ) years and an unconscionable $5,900,000,000,000 we have not just lost the Global War on Terror, we have been defeated in a way that our language lacks the verbiage to describe.

Biotech has been telling us for years that GMO are safe; apparently they have never checked their work.

The FDA has discovered foreign DNA in the genome of hornless Holstein's; a consequence of the gene editing process – DNA that just happens to convey antibiotic resistance.

The snake oil salesmen never went away; they just found investors.

It has long been known in some circles that the CIA appropriated the term Conspiracy Theory (if it did not, in fact, invent it) to disparage and marginalize the critics of the Warren Commission Report.

The document 'educated' CIA employees on the 'correct' responses to criticisms of the Warren Commission Report and was an unabashed attempt to manipulate public opinion via the press (the CIA doesn't hold 'pressers', thus their information channels are usually through front companies and anonymous sources).

Regardless of the veracity of the Warren Commission Report, the document is emblematic of the culture of presumed superiority present in the government and intelligence communities during that era – after all, this is the same CIA that was conducting uncontrolled experiments on unsuspecting human subjects at the same they were touting their infallibility (is there any reason to believe things have changed?) The language of the CIA Dispatch dated 1 April 1967 (FOIA Document #1035-960) is clinical and dispassionate, but that has the inverse effect of contributing to the smugness of its message.

Skepticism is a vital tenet of a republican government and the inability to question a government's actions, motives, and processes is the hallmark of monarchies and dictatorships.

As it did with Instagram, Facebook is planning to remove the number of Likes on a post. (The Like function will remain in place, but it won't count them for you).

There's an old saying in marketing, "If you take something away, you must replace it with something." Facebook doesn't seem to be doing that, so how will people get their validation and quantify their self–worth?

Some people are all aflutter (aTwitter?) because Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez called the detention centers at the southern border "concentration camps" and they automatically jumped from concentration camp to "Nazi Death Camp".

Brittanica's definition of concentration camp: "… internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order."

America has a well-documented history of concentration camps, including the detention of Natives, Chinese, Germans, Japanese, and Mohammad Ali.

But that is not to say that Ocasio-Cortez's statement is correct: "[Concentration camps] are … to be distinguished from refugee camps or detention and relocation centres for the temporary accommodation of large numbers of displaced persons." – Brittanica

Summarily, Ocasio-Cortez is guilty of hyperbole, but her detractors are guilty of hyping her hyperbole thus creating a vortex of vitribolic nonsense from which there is no escape.

Gallup reports that 43% of Americans have a favorable view of socialism, with 58% affirmative for respondents aged eighteen to thirty-four.

Considering the outstanding models for socialism are human rights-challenged Saudi Arabia and civilization-challenged Venezuela, I would be curious to see the plans for a new and improved socialist model after centuries of failures.

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