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Blain’s Morning Porridge – 11th February 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge  – 11th February  2019

“A little bit of an altercation in the scrum, they’ll be laughing at that in Hawick.”

What a fascinating world we live in.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos exposing himself, and exposes the National Inquirer for attempted blackmail. A young senator, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, snaring the headlines and proposing a preposterous New Green Deal – while further splitting the Democrats. Europe plunging back into recession. The UK no closer to a Brexit Deal (hang-on, that’s not a headline… that’s just… normal..) Deutsche Bank paying up to demonstrate it can borrow in markets. Santander facing a Euro 50 bln breach of promise lawsuit from Andreas Orcel (proving the Spanish banking adage: At Santander – you are either a Botin or a.. servant..) So much out there…

Are all these things linked? Yes – the world we live in determines the functionality of global markets. You might believe Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was the victim of an Inquirer effort to “catch and kill” a story the paper has on Mr Trump’s activities in Moscow, or you might believe Deutsche Bank’s problems are part of a deeper malaise across European banking. Whatever… the news changes our perceptions. 

The trick is too separate the chaos of new flow from the tau of markets. Markets are linear functions of buy/sell – they are not necessarily about common sense. To illustrate: last week I wrote about Italy, pointing out just how hopelessly its ensnared and entrapped within the straight-jacket of the Euro, with little prospect of growth, employment or upside.

Yet Italian bonds are one of the top performing assets – AND WILL REMAIN SO – because the ECB can’t afford to let Italy go, and Europe sliding back into downturn pretty much ensures they’ll continue to bailout Italy and likely resurrect QE in some form – watch out for something like long-term repos.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of His Privacy, as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State for Everyone Else

Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of His Privacy, as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State for Everyone Else

THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER HAS engaged in behavior so lowly and unscrupulous that it created a seemingly impossible storyline: the world’s richest billionaire and a notorious labor abuser, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as a sympathetic victim.

On Thursday, Bezos published emails in which the Enquirer’s parent company explicitly threatened to publish intimate photographs of Bezos and his mistress, which were apparently exchanged between the two through their iPhones, unless Bezos agreed to a series of demands involving silence about the company’s conduct.

In a perfect world, none of the sexually salacious material the Enquirer was threatening to release would be incriminating or embarrassing to Bezos: it involves consensual sex between adults that is the business of nobody other than those involved and their spouses. But that’s not the world in which we live: few news events generate moralizing interest like sex scandals, especially among the media.

The prospect of naked selfies of Bezos would obviously generate intense media coverage and all sorts of adolescent giggling and sanctimonious judgments. The Enquirer’s reports of Bezos’ adulterous affair seemed to have already played at least a significant role, if not the primary one, in the recent announcement of Bezos’ divorce from his wife of 25 years.

Beyond the prurient interest in sex scandals, this case entails genuinely newsworthy questions because of its political context. The National Enquirer was so actively devoted to Donald Trump’s election that the chairman of its parent company admitted to helping make hush payments to kill stories of Trump’s affairs, and received immunity for his cooperation in the criminal case of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, while Bezos, as the owner of the steadfastly anti-Trump Washington Post, is viewed by Trump as a political enemy.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“It’s A Reunion For People Who Broke The World”: Author Explains Why Davos Should Be Cancelled

Paris is burning, a large chunk of the US federal government is shut down and Britain is careening toward a delay of Article 50 – or possibly a second referendum – as the Brexit process descends into chaos, calls for the World Economic Forum to cancel its annual conference in Davos, a notorious rendezvous for the world’s financial and political elite, are growing louder. Particularly after Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and now Theresa May have all decided to skip the conference this year to attend to their respective crises.

While these demands from a frustrated public might seem baffling to the global elites who see Davos as an opportunity for less-fortunate emerging economies to “pitch” themselves in an effort to attract more FDI, one former New York Times columnist and the author of a new book that explores the causes of the surge in populism sweeping the Western world offered a surprisingly articulate and trenchant explanation for why people across the west are “mad as hell”, and, furthermore, what role the average Davos attendee played in bringing our society to this point.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Anand Giridharadas placed the blame on plutocrats like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for helping to “break the world” with ruthless corporate agendas that helped monopolize political power in the hands of the elite…leaving the rest of the population with deep-seated feelings of frustration as the usual avenues of social mobility have been closed, and people feel more powerless to change their future.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Amazon is Far More Dangerous and Powerful Than You Want to Admit

Amazon is Far More Dangerous and Powerful Than You Want to Admit

The sneaky thing about Amazon’s increased dominance in so many key aspects of our lives is that much of the perniciousness is hidden. No one’s going to tell you about all the retailers who have gotten pressured or destroyed via its tactics while you’re happily clicking “add to cart” and smiling about 2-day free shipping. In this sense, it can be best compared to the evils of factory farming. Most people just simply have no idea about the immense damage going on behind the scenes as they indulge in incredible convenience and what looks like a good deal.

– From my November 15, 2017 post: Amazon Poses a Serious Threat to Freedom and Free Markets

Today’s post should be seen as an update to last year’s article referenced above. In the months that have followed, I’ve been consistently frustrated by the lack of interest when it comes to the dangers presented by Amazon and its richest man in the world ($165 billion as of last count) CEO Jeff Bezos. The following Twitter exchange is a good example of what I mean:


There are far worse companies- all the defense companies, all the banks, most of the oil companies. They all support endless war and profit from endless war. Amazon does not.

Sure it does. Bezos is on a board advising the Pentagon and Amazon has a $600million contract with the CIA. You’re a smart guy, I’m sure you know this. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-joins-pentagon-defense-advisory-board-2016-8 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos joins a group led by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt to advise the Pentagon

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now part of an advisory board for the Pentagon led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

businessinsider.com


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Congressional Democrats Demand Answers About Amazon’s Facial Recognition Technology

DIGITIZED FACIAL RECOGNITION USING GRID WITH SPECIFIC FEMALE POINTS. (M)
Photo illustration: Getty Images

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS DEMAND ANSWERS ABOUT AMAZON’S FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY

REPS. KEITH ELLISON, D-Minn., and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Friday morning, demanding answers about how the tech giant’s facial recognition technology is being used by law enforcement agencies around the country.

The letter, provided to The Intercept ahead of its public release, lists a total of 12 requests for information regarding Amazon’s facial recognition service, branded as “Rekognition,” including the names of any law enforcement or government agencies that use the system and data on how the service could enable, or itself engage in, discrimination, including racial and gender bias.

“The disproportionally high arrest rates for members of the black community make the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement problematic,” the letter reads, “because it could serve to reinforce this trend.”

According to an Ellison aide, the letter is an attempt to enact at least a baseline level of congressional oversight for the tech giant — an attempt that comes less than two months after congressional hearings that tried to do the same for Facebook.

Ellison Cleaver Letter to Jeff Bezos 3 pages

Amazon came under fire earlier this week after the American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates, as well as 35 other civil liberties organizations, released a public letter expressing concerns about how Amazon markets its technology to law enforcement agencies. The ACLU letter coincided with the release of a trove of documents, which the organization obtained through public records requests and after a six-month investigation, that shed light on the company’s relationship and correspondence with law enforcement agencies in Oregon and Florida.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pecking Order

Out of all the animals we keep on our “farm”, chickens are the only ones that bring me no joy. Chickens are, by nature, brutal and cruel. They will torture the weak to death with their pecks, not because they have to, but because they can. It’s the way their brains are hard-wired, and it works for them, as a species. So I pretend that chickens aren’t evil and I’m not complicit. Because I really like the eggs.

We are trained and told that the pecking order is not a real and brutal thing in the human species. This is a lie. It is an intentional lie, one that we pretend isn’t evil and where we are not complicit.

Because we really like the eggs.

And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

― Garrison Keillor

We can’t all be rich.

We can’t all be famous.

We can’t all be Someone Who Matters to the World.

[Team Elite Narrator: OR CAN WE?]

 

Blake: Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee’s for closers only. You think I’m f**king with you? I am not f**king with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levine? You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?
Moss: I don’t gotta sit here and listen to this s**t.
Blake: You certainly don’t, pal, ’cause the good news is — you’re fired. The bad news is — you’ve got, all of you’ve got just one week to regain your jobs starting with tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit. Oh? Have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. Get the picture? You laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money for their names. You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close s**t. You ARE s**t! Hit the bricks, pal, and beat it ’cause you are going OUT!
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

The truth is that unless you are really rich, you work for Mitch & Murray. Yes, that includes you, Vox writer changing the world one smarter-than-thou opinion at a time. Yes, that includes you, tech start-up developer kicking back in your flair-bedecked WeWork cubicle.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

CIA-Funded Washington Post Smears Indie Media For Covering DNC Fraud Lawsuit

CIA-Funded Washington Post Smears Indie Media For Covering DNC Fraud Lawsuit

The Washington Post, whose sole owner is both a CIA contractor and one of the wealthiest plutocrats of all time, has sent its Bezos-paid Ringwraiths after small independent reporters for having the temerity to talk about a lawsuit that had severe implications for the future of democracy in America.

Back in May, comedian and Youtuber Jimmy Dore released a video titled “Washington Post Caught Blatantly Lying To Their Readers Yet Again” about one of the many, many deceptions that WaPo has been caught inflicting upon their unsuspecting audience. Dore pointed out that while corporate media reporters have long served as guard dogs for the establishment, in today’s environment where plutocratic CIA contractors can openly buy up media to advance blatant propaganda, those reporters have now become attack dogs for the establishment. As an example of this new breed of establishment attack dogs who go out of their way to smear and discredit all dissenting voices, Dore named amoral Bezos android Dave Weigel, who then spent months attacking both Dore and his writers.


I caught @daveweigel publicly lying & repeating DNC talking points, & now he’s so bent he’s trolling my writers! Ha!!@washingtonpost


In a new article titled “In one corner of the Internet, the 2016 Democratic primary never ended”, big brave truth warrior Weigel used his massive platform to tear down writers and Youtubers who earn a fraction of his income because they reported on the DNC fraud lawsuit, which was dismissed last week.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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