MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Infrastructure Bill Stalled Until Someone Can Look Up What Number Comes After Trillion

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

https://babylonbee.com/news/infrastructure-bill-stalled-until-someone-can-look-up-what-number-comes-after-trillion

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Work on the bipartisan infrastructure bill in Congress has ground to a halt as nobody there is sure what number comes after trillion.

“I’m so glad we have been able to reach across the aisle on this bill,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “This should give us enough to dig a hole to the center of the earth and throw all the rest of our money in it, and then paint BLM murals on every road, and also fund the construction of 38 billion new Planned Parenthood locations. The most important part of this deal is that Mr. Potato Head will remain a male spud as God intended. Yay!”

“Now let’s see. We have 998 trillion, 999 trillion, um… hey guys? What comes next? Sextillion? Googlyoctillion? Novemdecillion? Does anyone know how to look things up on the internet?” 

The House floor was plunged into chaos as aides scrambled for calculators but they could find no calculators with big enough screens to hold all the zeros they were trying to put into the spending bill.

Eventually, Congress reached an agreement to just spend infinity money which pretty much covers any number without having to do the math. Republicans then bragged on social media about spending only one infinity instead of two infinity as the Democrats wanted. 

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For What Will We Go to War With China? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

“We also reaffirm,” said Blinken, “that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Is this an American war guarantee to fight the People’s Republic of China, if the Philippines engage a Chinese warship over one of a disputed half-dozen rocks and reefs in the South China Sea? So it would appear.

Is who controls Mischief Reef or Scarborough Shoal a matter of such vital U.S. interest as to justify war between us and China?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/patrick-j-buchanan/for-what-will-we-go-to-war-with-china/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In his final state of the nation speech Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his refusal to confront China over Beijing’s seizure and fortification of his country’s islets in the South China Sea.

“It will be a massacre if I go and fight a war now,” said Duterte. “We are not yet a competent and able enemy of the other side.”

Duterte is a realist. He will not challenge China to retrieve his lost territories, as his country would be crushed. But Duterte has a hole card: a U.S. guarantee to fight China, should he stumble into war with China.

Consider. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Manila we would invoke the U.S.-Philippines mutual security pact in the event of Chinese military action against Philippine assets.

“We also reaffirm,” said Blinken, “that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Is this an American war guarantee to fight the People’s Republic of China, if the Philippines engage a Chinese warship over one of a disputed half-dozen rocks and reefs in the South China Sea? So it would appear.

Why are we threatening this?

Is who controls Mischief Reef or Scarborough Shoal a matter of such vital U.S. interest as to justify war between us and China?

Tuesday, in Singapore, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the American commitment to go to war on behalf of the Philippines, should Manila attempt, militarily, to retrieve its stolen property.

Said Austin: “Beijing’s claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea has no basis in international law. … We remain committed to the treaty obligations that we have to Japan in the Senkaku Islands and to the Philippines in the South China Sea.”

Austin went on: “Beijing’s unwillingness to … respect the rule of law isn’t just occurring on the water. We have also seen aggression against India … destabilizing military activity and other forms of coercion against the people of Taiwan … and genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.”

The Defense secretary is publicly accusing China of crimes against its Uyghur population in Xinjiang comparable to those for which the Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg.

Austin has also informed Beijing, yet again, that the U.S. is obligated by a 70-year-old treaty to go to war to defend Japan’s claims to the Senkakus, half a dozen rocks Tokyo now occupies and Beijing claims historically belong to China.

The secretary also introduced the matter of Taiwan, with which President Jimmy Carter broke relations and let lapse our mutual security treaty in 1979.

There remains, however, ambiguity on what the U.S. is prepared to do if China moves on Taiwan. Would we fight China for Taiwan’s independence, an island President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger said in 1972 was “part of China”?

And if China ignores our protests of its “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” against the Uyghurs, and of its human rights violations in Tibet, and of its crushing of democracy in Hong Kong, what are we prepared to do?

Sanctions? A decoupling of our economies? Confrontation? War?

This is not an argument for threatening war, but for an avoidance of war by providing greater clarity and certitude as to what the U.S. response will be if China ignores our protests and remains on its present course.

Some of us can still recall how President Dwight Eisenhower refused to intervene when Nikita Khrushchev ordered Russian tanks into Budapest to drown the 1956 Hungarian revolution in blood. Instead, we welcomed Hungarian refugees.

When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, President John F. Kennedy called up the reserves and went to Berlin to make a famous speech, but did nothing.

“Less profile, more courage!” was the response of Cold War hawks.

But Kennedy was saying, as Eisenhower had said by his inaction in Hungary, that America does not go to war with a great nuclear power such as the Soviet Union over the right of East Germans to flee to West Berlin.

Which brings us back to Taiwan.

In the Shanghai Communique signed by Nixon, Taiwan was conceded to be a “part of China.” Are we now going to fight a war to prevent Beijing from bringing the island home to the “embrace of the motherland”?

And if we are prepared to fight, Beijing should not be left in the dark. China ought to know the risks it would be taking.

Cuba is an island, across the Florida Strait, with historic ties to the United States. Taiwan is an island 7,000 miles away, on the other side of the Pacific.

This month, Cubans rose up against the 62-year-old Communist regime fastened upon them by Fidel and Raul Castro.

By what yardstick would we threaten war for the independence of Taiwan but continue to tolerate 60 years of totalitarian repression in Cuba, 90 miles away?

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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The Idea of Kidnapping Governor Whitmer Came From the FBI – Anti-Empire

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

Indeed, the FBI has previously acknowledged that its own powers and budget depend on keeping Americans in fear of such attacks. Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes, in a documentary called “The Newberg Sting” about a 2009 FBI arrest of four men on terrorism charges, uttered this extremely candid admission:

If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive.

https://anti-empire.com/the-idea-of-kidnapping-governor-whitmer-came-from-the-fbi/

Glenn Greenwald

The narrative that domestic anti-government extremism is the greatest threat to U.S. national security — the official position of the U.S. security state and the Biden administration — received its most potent boost in October 2020, less than one month before the 2020 presidential election. That was when the F.B.I. and Michigan state officials announced the arrest of thirteen people on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges, with six of them accused of participating in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had been a particular target of criticism from President Trump for her advocacy for harsh COVID lockdown measures.

The headlines that followed were dramatic and fear-inducing: “F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” announced The New York Times. That same night, ABC News began its broadcast this way: “Tonight, we take you into a hidden world, a place authorities say gave birth to a violent domestic terror plot in Michigan — foiled by the FBI.”

Democrats and liberal journalists instantly seized on this storyline to spin a pre-election theme that was as extreme as it was predictable. Gov. Whitmer herself blamed Trump, claiming that the plotters “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed that “the president is a deranged lunatic and he’s inspired white supremacists to violence, the latest of which was a plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer,” adding: “these groups have attempted to KILL many of us in recent years. They are following Trump’s lead.” Vox’s paid television-watcher and video-manipulator, Aaron Rupar, drew this inference: “Trump hasn’t commended the FBI for breaking up Whitmer kidnapping/murder plot because as always he doesn’t want to denounce his base.” Michael Moore called for Trump’s arrest for having incited the kidnapping plot against Gov. Whitmer. One viral tweet from a popular Democratic Party activist similarly declared: “Trump should be arrested for this plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer. There’s no doubt he inspired this terrorism.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo instantly declared it to be a terrorist attack on America: “We must condemn and call out the cowardly plot against Governor Whitmer for what it is: Domestic terrorism.” MSNBC’s social media star Kyle Griffin cast it as a coup attempt: “The FBI thwarted what they described as a plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.” CNN’s Jim Sciutto pronounced it “deeply alarming.”

lengthy CNN article — dressed up as an investigative exposé that was little more than stenography of FBI messaging disseminated from behind a shield of anonymity — purported in the headline to take the reader “Inside the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer.” It claimed that it all began when angry discussions about COVID restrictions “spiraled into a terrorism plot, officials say, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the target of a kidnapping scheme.” CNN heralded the FBI’s use of informants and agents to break up the plot but depicted them as nothing more than passive bystanders reporting what the domestic terrorists were plotting:

The Watchmen had been flagged to the FBI in March, and one of its members was now an informant. That informant, others on the inside, as well as undercover operatives and recordings, allowed the bureau to monitor what was happening from then on.

The article never once hinted at let alone described the highly active role of these informants and agents themselves in encouraging and designing the plot. Instead, it depicted these anti-government activists as leading one another — on their own — to commit what CNN called “treason in a quaint town.” The more honest headline for this CNN article would have been: “Inside the FBI’s tale of the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer.” But since CNN never questions the FBI — they employ their top agents and operatives once they leave the bureau in order to disseminate their propaganda — this is what the country got from The Most Trusted Name in News:

See the rest here

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Caution Regarding Red Cross Blood Donation – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

I have had a mild curiosity about what else happens to my blood samples at the local lab.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/no_author/caution-regarding-red-cross-blood-donation/

Writes my friend:

Hi Lew,

I donated blood to the Red Cross a few weeks ago.  Today I got an email from someone at the Red Cross inviting me to take a survey on Covid-19.  When I followed the link for the survey I was shocked to see the following:

We are contacting you because you tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (i.e. we did not detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in your blood). Antibodies generally are detectable if one has been infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the past or received a COVID-19 vaccine.

This bothers me on several points.  First, is this an initial step towards using the Red Cross to persuade me to take the vaccine?  Second, this seems to be an invasion of privacy.  Third, it makes me wonder who else they have shared this information with.

I didn’t go any further with the survey.  I will no longer donate blood to the Red Cross.

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Private Investment Is the Answer to Declining Postindustrial Towns | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/private-investment-answer-declining-postindustrial-towns

Daniella Bassi

My town, Tallassee, Alabama, is an old mill town. It straddles the Tallapoosa River, which is dammed at that point by the Thurlow Dam to generate electricity. On both sides of the river are the ruins of a massive complex of textile mills which employed a significant portion of the town’s population until 2005. In fact, the current mayor, Johnny Hammock, worked in the mills as a young man, and his father and grandfather also worked there. Today, the town is somewhat stagnant: some of the mills, which were burned in a massive fire in 2016, are in shambles; the bridge connecting the two sides of the town is rusty and the paint flakes off in the wind; and there are many empty storefronts and houses. Many people think that the way to restore the town is for the government to take an aggressive role, and one of the mayor’s main strategies has been to apply for grants to undertake the projects that he thinks would benefit the town most. In light of this approach, it is important to take a look at how Tallassee developed into the bustling little city it once was. Private industry had a strong hand in the town’s development.

Tallassee is one of many examples of towns that were developed by private industry. Although large landholders and small-scale businesses contributed to the town’s development, arguably the most significant changes were spurred by the cotton mills. The Tallassee Manufacturing Company built the first mill on the west side of the river in 1844.1 It constructed a larger, four-story mill nearby in 1852. In this early period, the company also built “grist and flour mills, a gin, a sawmill, a foundry, and a blacksmith shop” to serve its employees (many part-time farmers) and local people.2 These mills were powered by electricity generated by a dam that the company had built partway across the river.3

See the rest here

Author:

Contact Daniella Bassi

Daniella Bassi is assistant editor at the Mises Institute and copyedits the Mises Wire, the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and the Journal of Libertarian Studies. She holds master’s degrees in early American history from the University of Vermont and the College of William and Mary and an undergraduate degree from Amherst College.

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CDC Credibility Implosion: New Mask Mandate Makes No Sense

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2021

Even much of the mainstream media is confused and frustrated by yesterday’s sudden flip-flop by the CDC, advising that everyone once again begin wearing masks indoors. They claimed it was because the “delta” variant was eluding the vaccine, while at the same time continuing to claim that the vaccine was very effective and that everyone should take it. Both of these things cannot be true…and most Americans understand that. Will the push-back on this incomprehensible policy-shift gain momentum?

CDC head Rochelle P. Walensky says the variant is eluding the vaccine so the answer to take more of the vaccine. Walenski is the Yellen (ie a simpleton) of the CDC.

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Who’s Afraid of Fort Detrick Probe? – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2021

In 2001, when a disgruntled researcher is believed to have killed five people by mailing deadly anthrax spores it was Fort Detrick that was the origin of the lethal material. 

However, the network of secretive US biowarfare laboratories is also infamous for safety violations and accidents. In August 2019, Fort Detrick was shut down abruptly for several months when its wastewater decontamination process failed. 

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202107261083464841-whos-afraid-of-fort-detrick-probe/

by Finian Cunningham

An international online petition calling for an investigation into a US military laboratory and the possible origin of Covid-19 was hacked at the weekend. The hackers were reportedly based in the US.

Fort Detrick in Maryland is the center of American biowarfare research. It is just one of the hundreds of such infectious disease laboratories located across the United States. During the Cold War, Fort Detrick was the main site for experimenting with lethal pathogens, including viruses causing deadly influenza.

In 2001, when a disgruntled researcher is believed to have killed five people by mailing deadly anthrax spores it was Fort Detrick that was the origin of the lethal material. 

A sign on the door of a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011.

© AP Photo / Patrick SemanskySuspect No.1: Why Fort Detrick Lab Should be Investigated for Global COVID-19 Origins Tracing

However, the network of secretive US biowarfare laboratories is also infamous for safety violations and accidents. In August 2019, Fort Detrick was shut down abruptly for several months when its wastewater decontamination process failed. 

It is not unreasonable to call for an investigation into the practices and records at the Maryland center to ascertain if it had any connection to the Covid-19 pandemic which has so far killed over four million people worldwide and more than 600,000 in the United States alone.

Of course, American politicians and media dismiss the appeal as “disinformation” put out by Russia and China. Americans have accused China of being the origin of the pandemic after the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in the city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. More sinisterly, the Wuhan virology institute has been fingered as the source of the virus even though an international survey by the World Health Organization concluded such a release was “extremely unlikely”. 

Scientific consensus contends that the virus evolved naturally and was most likely transmitted to humans from animals. 

US President Joe Biden has given credibility to the conspiracy theory unleashed by his predecessor Donald Trump that the Wuhan laboratory was the origin of the Covid-19 virus. Biden has tasked his intelligence agencies to look into the claims. They are due to report back on their findings next month. Washington berates China for not being transparent about its laboratory and is demanding that Beijing open up its facility for inspection. The Americans claim China was not fully open with WHO investigators who cleared the lab as not being the origin of the virus. 

But two can play that game. If the Americans accuse China and demand an investigation into secret laboratories then why can’t China level the same at the US?

It is still not known where the Covid-19 pandemic originated. It may take years to determine that. But what is certainly hindering an answer is the politicization of the disease. Washington is using it to smear China while hypocritically suppressing any questions about its own conduct. 

FILE - In this March 19, 2020, file photo laboratory scientist Andrea Luquette cultures coronavirus to prepare for testing at U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., where scientists are working to help develop solutions to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus

© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikFILE – In this March 19, 2020, file photo laboratory scientist Andrea Luquette cultures coronavirus to prepare for testing at U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., where scientists are working to help develop solutions to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus

The early cases of Covid-19 were detected in Wuhan. But who is to say that cases may have existed elsewhere but were simply not detected and reported in other countries? The US had an unprecedented surge in influenza deaths in 2019 before the Wuhan cases. Were some of these misdiagnosed as flu instead of Covid-19?

Fort Detrick has a notorious history of safety failures. It works on a wide range of biowarfare pathogens with little public oversight. And it was shut down in mid-2019 for reasons that are not clear to the public. 

It is therefore reasonable for China to demand a probe into the American facility. This is not just a matter of “counter-propaganda” to turn the tables over American speculation about the Wuhan institute. There are empirical grounds for suspecting Fort Detrick as possibly having a role in the origin of the pandemic. 

An online petition was started in China earlier this month demanding the WHO launch an investigation into Fort Detrick. It had gathered over 10 million signatures when the online site was hacked into at the weekend. Apparently, the petition was defended by its cybersecurity system and continues to operate. 

According to Chinese reports the hackers were identified as having computer server addresses located in the US. If that is confirmed then the suspicions around the murky practices of Fort Detrick become more acute. It looks like the Americans are afraid to permit a probe into the site, even though they make high-handed accusations and demands on China over tenuous claims about Wuhan. 

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Biden’s deal to end the US combat mission in Iraq is just window dressing to give the illusion of an end to that ‘forever war’ — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2021

Anyone pretending that America’s lingering and unwanted presence in Iraq is an act of altruism and benevolence dedicated solely to counter-terrorism is deluded. The 30-year history of its contemporary role in the country which involved two outright wars, the latter an illegal invasion, glaringly suggests otherwise. The existing façade that they are there to “defeat ISIS” is a painfully out-of-date distraction, not least when the rise of ISIS was a consequence of America’s intervention in the country in the first place.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/530376-us-combat-mission-iraq/

Tom Fowdy

Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

Washington’s agreement to cease ‘direct fighting’ is a long way from a troop withdrawal. The reality is, America has no intention of pulling out of Iraq anytime soon as it is far too important to their real aim of containing Iran.

Iraq is a nation steeped in American controversy, epitomising the country’s catastrophic 21st century obsession with ‘regime change’. One wonders when America will cut its losses and leave the Middle East nation alone. Recently, there’s been some hope they might withdraw, with the Biden administration appearing to sympathise with the growing political sentiment against ‘forever wars’. Following a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to DC, Washington and Baghdad on Monday signed a deal to “end” the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year. But, as ever with American military intervention, many questions still remain.

The devil, of course, is in the details. The headline sounds great, but actually US forces won’t leave the country and don’t commit to either. They simply cease directly “fighting” ISIS and “remain” in an advisory capacity. The White House refused to comment on any potential “troop withdrawals” accordingly. If it wasn’t obvious, the Iraqi government have been wanting America out for a long time and its parliament even passed a motion to do so following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last year, but Washington refused to budge, with Trump pushing threats of sanctions. But it’s not like they were ever invited in the first place. One must question accordingly, does this deal actually mean anything at all? Are we going to keep pretending ISIS is the real reason America is there? And given the US happily uses its own capabilities within Iraq to attack Iranian targets at will, what is changing here?

Anyone pretending that America’s lingering and unwanted presence in Iraq is an act of altruism and benevolence dedicated solely to counter-terrorism is deluded. The 30-year history of its contemporary role in the country which involved two outright wars, the latter an illegal invasion, glaringly suggests otherwise. The existing façade that they are there to “defeat ISIS” is a painfully out-of-date distraction, not least when the rise of ISIS was a consequence of America’s intervention in the country in the first place. The real reason the US is there is simply to contain Iran. Also on rt.com Biden says US ‘combat mission’ in Iraq will be over by year’s end, but won’t say how many troops to remain deployed

The mainstream media have largely reacted to this deal claiming that a US withdrawal could expand “Iranian influence” in the country and over Iraq’s government, as if it is just Tehran that wants the “Americans out” as opposed to it being an authentic sentiment within the country. Yet this is a dishonest interpretation of events. Anyone who knows Middle East politics in detail will see that Iran is not exercising “malign influence” over Iraq, but the two countries have a natural affinity for each other on the fact they are both majority Shi’ia Muslim nations and are linked by history. It is ironic on behalf of the US that when Saddam Hussein was in Baghdad, he led a Sunni minority dictatorship who sought to play down sectarianism through wielding secular Arabist nationalism. He even went to the desperate length of going to war against Iran to thwart the Islamic revolution’s influence on his country after 1979.

This reveals the biggest problem with what America has done to Iraq, underscoring its brainless approach to the rejection and an obsession with getting the best of both worlds. By illegally invading Iraq, dumping Saddam’s Ba’athist regime and striving to build a utopian democratic project in its own image, Washington gifted the Shi’ia majority control of the country. They then naturally choose to pursue a closer sectarian and economic relationship with Iran. This brought about religious conflict, triggering the rise of ISIS out of Al-Qaeda, as disgruntled Sunni resistance forces found traction in the country’s poorer north. Iraq remains a chronically unstable country and America is part of the problem.

Yet despite the sectarian strife and the instability that continues to place Iraq in turmoil, both Sunnis and Shi’ias are united in their wish to simply see the US leave. It is only the Kurds in the North, who see the US presence as a route to securing their autonomy, who want the Americans to remain. The United States has already long overstayed its ‘welcome’. Its presence in Iraq is an occupation, one which the sovereign government has no leverage to reverse. It lingers there not because there is a mission to defeat terrorism, but because the US wants to maintain an unlimited right to bomb Iranian targets and militias as part of its regional proxy conflict against Tehran. Also on rt.com Washington denies its top envoy discussed withdrawal of troops from Iraq with Prime Minister Kadhimi

This is an unjust arrangement, with Washington believing it has more of a right to be an intruding presence in Baghdad than Tehran itself does. What we see here is a face-saving deal to supplement an Iraqi prime minister who is suffering under widespread anti-American pressure and frequent social unrest. But there is no substance to the deal, the US doesn’t really commit to anything, only saying it will stop fighting a terrorist force long since defeated. It’s not an exit, it’s simply window dressing and doesn’t alter the reality that the United States maintains an unwanted presence in Iraq and will continue to use it how it sees fit.

Biden talks the talk on withdrawing from various Middle East conflicts, but there are serious questions concerning whether he will ever actually live up to it in practice.

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What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2021

What they will never acknowledge is that these schemes are concocted to make the FBI look like heroes who swooped in to save the public at the last minute.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/andrew-p-napolitano/what-happens-when-the-government-breaks-its-own-laws/

By Andrew P. Napolitano

In October of 2020, 14 people were arrested in Michigan and accused of being participants in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The governor had imposed draconian restrictions on religious, travel and commercial activities as a means, she claimed, to stem the spread of COVID-19. All of her restrictions were eventually found by courts to be unconstitutional under both the Michigan and the U.S. Constitutions.

Sixteen plotters were supposedly planning to try the governor in a makeshift court and, if convicted, to impose some sort of punishment. Before the plotters could spring into action, the FBI arrested 14 of them. Two plotters were not arrested since one of them was a paid FBI informant and the other was an undercover FBI agent.

In pleadings filed in federal court last week, the defendants revealed that the FBI enticed, cajoled and manipulated them into this plot, and even trained them and paid their expenses.

Can the government get away with planting the seeds of a crime in the minds of innocent folks, providing them with the means for the crime, arresting them before the crime takes place and then charging them with a crime that never occurred?

Here is the backstory.

The FBI has perfected the art of the sting. In the years immediately following the attacks on 9/11, FBI agents regularly found young Arab American males in the U.S. who were essentially loners, disenchanted with life, and talked them into fantastic plots. The FBI supplied what the loners thought were explosives — for the New York City subway system and the Brooklyn Bridge, for example — and then heroically arrested them before the inert explosives could be detonated.

See the rest here

Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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The Moment Wall Street Has Been Waiting For: Retail Is All In | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2021

Old hands on Wall Street have been wary of being bearish for one reason, and no, it’s not the Federal Reserve: the old hands have been waiting for retail–the individual investor– to go all-in stocks. After 13 long years, this moment has finally arrived: retail is all in.

If you doubt this, just look at record highs in investor sentiment, margin debt and the Buffett Indicator (see chart below). Current valuations are so extreme that the previous extreme in the 2000 dot-com bubble now looks modest in comparison.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/moment-wall-street-has-been-waiting-retail-all

by Tyler DurdenThursday, Jul 29, 2021 – 06:54 AM

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The ideal bagholder is one who adds more on every downturn (buy the dip) and who refuses to sell (diamond hands), holding on for the inevitable Fed-fueled rally to new highs.

Old hands on Wall Street have been wary of being bearish for one reason, and no, it’s not the Federal Reserve: the old hands have been waiting for retail–the individual investor– to go all-in stocks. After 13 long years, this moment has finally arrived: retail is all in.

If you doubt this, just look at record highs in investor sentiment, margin debt and the Buffett Indicator (see chart below). Current valuations are so extreme that the previous extreme in the 2000 dot-com bubble now looks modest in comparison.

I have my own sure-fire indicators for when retail is all-in. One is my Mom’s financial advisor recommends shifting her modest nest-egg out of safe bonds into the go-go stocks that are topping out. Back in late 1999, it was Cisco Systems and the other dot-com leaders, today it’s the FANGMAN stocks. Sure enough, my Mom just informed me her advisor recommended moving money from bonds into a FANG-dominated stock fund. Bingo, we have a winner.

Second indicator: average people who have never traded stocks are all-in and supremely confident they can’t lose. When 20-year college students are trading based on a “genius” 22-year old friend’s advice, retail is all-in. When a worker cleaning a wooden deck pauses to put $100,000 in a company he knows nothing about (yes, true story), retail is all-in.

Much is made of meme stocks, but the real driver of retail going all-in is the complete collapse of risk / moral hazard: the Fed will never let the market go down is not a meme, it is an article of secular faith, supported by 13 long years of ceaseless Fed intervention / stimulus, all in service of elevating the stock market.

Since all evidence supports this secular religion–stocks never go down because the Fed will never let them go down–the trick is to rotate into the next blow-out winner or buy the dip in Big Tech or a meme stock. And since something is always shooting up like a rocket, the way to become a millionaire is to simply buy what’s hot and buy the dip.

In this secular religion, nothing else matters, all the old stuff is just a distraction: price-earnings ratios, valuation, cash flow, future earnings–none of that old stuff matters. Technical analysis is also a waste of time: just buy the dip and rotate into what’s hot, and the millions just pile up on their own.

Every generation that experiences a speculative mania feels it’s unique. This is the pattern that repeats. The confluence of forces driving the mania to unprecedented heights is so obviously unique and uniquely powerful that it is literally crazy not to grab a board and ride the wave to riches.

What the newly minted millionaires don’t understand is they’re the marks and bagholders. Wall Street has been patiently waiting for retail to go all-in so the pros can sell all the over-valued stocks to the euphoric, trusting retail traders, who will continue to buy the dip and rotate into the next hot meme-stock until their fortunes have dwindled to spare change.

The con requires euphoric confidence that stocks only go up forever, and every retail trader is confident in their ability to ride the wave to riches. We’re finally at that summit of euphoric confidence, where faith in the Federal Reserve is literally a religious experience.

Robbing Hoods going public is a scriptwriter’s touch. (Forgive me if I got the name wrong, I’m working from memory.) Stocks never go down is absolutely true, take it to the bank, until they do. Every share of stock ends up in somebody’s account, and the ideal bagholder is one who adds more on every downturn (buy the dip) and who refuses to sell (diamond hands), holding on for the inevitable Fed-fueled rally to new highs.

That’s how accounts are destroyed, and the wreckage isn’t just financial. The scars of being a bagholder can last a long time. But Wall Street is patient, and a new crop of bagholders eventually catches Fed Fever, and the transfer of over-valued equities to a new generation of bagholders will play out according to the same script.

Be seeing you

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