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Marc's Musings

No fewer than 119 billionaires and their private jets converge on Davos, Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum where they will bandy topics such as “Balancing Domestic and Global Inequality” and “Breaking Legal Barriers to Equality.”

It's just as well they're rich, otherwise they could not afford the $43 hot dogs.

How will Iowans award their delegates for the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee?

By spending the evening sitting in school gymnasium bleachers being – not counted – estimated. Then, each time a candidate is eliminated, they have to move around to indicate their preferences for the remaining candidates.

Personally, I think Red Rover would be more effective.

People are upset that Jeff Bezos pledged only $1M AU to the Australian wildfire crisis. The reality is that Jeff Bezos pledged zero dollars.

"Amazon is donating 1 million AU dollars in needed provisions and services. Find more about it and learn how customers can help as well." - Instagram Post by Bezos

Idjits.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has linked Iran to 9/11 and this - of course - has spawned a bunch of Twin Towers and other memes about Iran's involvement in 9/11. After perusing my autographed copy of The 9/11 Report, I can relay the following:

"We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack." — 9/11 Report, p.258

How many other lies are they telling to make the public support aggressive actions toward Iran?

Remember when Hillary was running for president and she was being out-polled by someone who wasn't? (Biden).

Now Biden is running for president and he's being out-polled by someone who isn't. (Hillary).

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.

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