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Activism Uncensored: The Freedom Convoy

Activism Uncensored: The Freedom Convoy

Fringe Minority, Eh? TK Partners News2Share take a balanced look at the Canadian protests

In the above video, TK Partners News2Share do a fantastic job of doing what the conventional press mostly hasn’t done with the “Freedom Convoy” story, asking the right questions about who’s participating, what their concerns are, and how the event is being received on the ground.

As Ford Fischer demonstrates in his narration, the protesters are a mix of people who see themselves as politically liberal, and politically conservative. There are some whose objections seem to be purely about mandates. “I’m double-vaccinated,” says one speaker. “To think… I will show my papers to buy a sandwich? Hell, no!”

For others, the issue is the vaccine itself:

“They said, ‘Get your booster…’ If it doesn’t work once, it doesn’t work twice, maybe it’ll work the third time. You know who does that? Gamblers. People who play blackjack!”

The scenes outside the Super Bowl, meanwhile, look quite different. Although trucker protests have gathered steam in too many countries around the world to count by now, the U.S. version has so far failed to produce the large numbers Canadians have seen. The News2Share footage also shows a crowd that looks and sounds different from the ones in Ottawa.

Stories like the Freedom Convoy are exactly why we like the idea of having Ford and his shooters just let the cameras run for a while at heavily covered events. The idea is to let audiences watch longer pieces of footage with minimal contextualization, so they may draw their own conclusions. Hopefully, News2Share’s pictures from Ottawa and L.A. shed some light.

An earlier version of this story contained an extraneous quote at the bottom of the page. TK apologizes to readers, and to News2Share, for the error.

Another All-Time Media Faceplant

Another All-Time Media Faceplant

After the Biden administration and the press wrongly predicted a Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 16th, they kept compounding the error in spectacular fashion

“It was a joke, you idiots.”

If cluelessness can be art, American journalists unveiled their Sistine Chapel this week, in a remarkable collection of misreports and hack stenography surrounding a predicted invasion of Ukraine.

The mess began last Friday, February 11th, when National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gave an address warning American citizens to evacuate Ukraine. “If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians without regard to their nationality,” he said. “I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information,” he added, before doing just that: “I do want to be clear: It could begin during the Olympics,” i.e. before the Beijing games end on February 20th.

Around the time of Sullivan’s comments, American reporters began telling audiences a curiously detailed story about upcoming Russian invasion plans. PBS NewsHour’s Nick Schifrin cited “three Western and defense sources” in saying Vladimir Putin had already made up his mind to invade. He then cited six sources — “US and Western officials” — who told him the U.S. expected an invasion of Ukraine the following week. These voices left little to the imagination, saying the invasion would be a “horrific, bloody campaign,” with two days of aerial bombardment, followed by electronic warfare and possible regime change:

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

The Great International Convoy Fiasco

The Great International Convoy Fiasco

As America puts the Canadian Prime Minister’s unmentionables in a vice over a truck protest, it’s clearer than ever: the world’s leaders have forgotten how to govern

The White House issued a statement Friday, after Joe Biden chatted with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

The two leaders agreed that the actions of the individuals who are obstructing travel and commerce between our two countries are having significant direct impacts on citizens’ lives and livelihoods… The Prime Minister promised quick action in enforcing the law, and the President thanked him for the steps he and other Canadian authorities are taking to restore the open passage of bridges to the United States.

Translation: Biden told Trudeau his testicles will be crushed under a Bradley Fighting Vehicle if this trucker thing is allowed to screw up the Super Bowl, or Biden’s State of the Union address. Trudeau’s own statement that day came off like the recorded video message of a downed pilot:

I’ve been absolutely clear that using military forces against civilian populations, in Canada, or in any other democracy, is something to avoid having to do at all costs.

An anxious Trudeau promised to deploy law enforcement in a “predictable, progressive approach” that would emphasize fines and other punishments. Because demonstrators will see that the “consequences” for those continuing to engage in “illegal protests” are “going to be more and more extensive,” he said, “we are very hopeful” that “people will choose to leave these protests peacefully.”

Switching gears just a bit, he then added, “We are a long way from ever having to call in the military.”

Such a move, he said, would only be a “last resort.”

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

The Folly of Pandemic Censorship

The Folly of Pandemic Censorship

As the latest anti-Substack campaign shows, more and more people are forgetting why free speech works

Earlier this week, in the latest in a series of scolding campaigns, a Britain-based group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate gave a sneak peek at a research report on Substack to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Both outlets came out with their scare pieces this morning. From The Guardian:

A group of vaccine-skeptic writers are generating revenues of at least $2.5m (£1.85m) a year from publishing newsletters for tens of thousands of followers on the online publishing platform Substack, according to new research…

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH, said companies like Substack were under “no obligation” to amplify vaccine skepticism and make money from it. “They could just say no…”

The Post, citing “some misinformation experts say” — the pandemic version of “people familiar with the matter” — added:

These newer platforms cater to subscribers who seek out specific content that accommodates their viewpoints — potentially making the services less responsible for spreading harmful views, some misinformation experts say.

If these stories sound familiar, it’s because this same Center for Countering Digital Hate two years ago tried to pull the same stunt with The Federalist, using NBC to ask Google to crack down on them. Humorously, and typically — this happens a lot with these stories — that effort ended in fiasco. The piece NBC ended up writing boasting of the success of its “Verification Unit” in getting the site demonetized, entitled, “Google bans two websites from its ad platform over protest articles,” turned out to itself be misinformation. The Federalist was never banned, only warned, and the issue was its comments section, not its articles. Google had to issue a statement:

Twitter avatar for @Google_CommsGoogle Communications @Google_Comms

The Federalist was never demonetized.

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

2021 Year in Review: Crisis of Authority and the Age of Narratives

Every year, friend-of-the-site David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year is no exception. Poignant and delightfully acerbic when necessary, considering the troubling times. As with past years, he selected Peak Prosperity as the site where it is published in full. It is longer than our usual posts, but worth the time to read in full. This is Part 1.

Introduction

Dave: You do lack self control, but I learned and laughed making my way thru this.

~ Larry Summers (@LHSummers), former Secretary of the Treasury

I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. What began more than a dozen years ago as a synopsis of the year’s events in markets and finance for a few friends morphed beyond my control into a Year in Review (YIR)—an attempt to chronicle human folly and world events for the entire year. It captures key moments before they slip into the brain fog. The process of trying to write a coherent narrative helps me better understand WTF just happened and seminal moments that catch my eye.

By far my favorite end-of-year recap for the last ten years. Finished it yesterday. Once again David hasn’t disappointed. He’s on my I want to go to dinner with list.

~ Jim Pallotta (@jimpallotta13), money manager and former owner of Boston Celtics

I’m game, Jim, even if it’s just a pretzel, nachos, and a brewski. The title, “Crisis of Authority,” is a double entendre. On the one hand, previously trusted authorities that we relied on to better understand the world are long gone. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Tim Russert have been replaced with Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Oops. Scratch Chris Cuomo..

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

Meet Jed Rakoff, the Judge Who Exposed the “Rigged Game”

Meet Jed Rakoff, the Judge Who Exposed the “Rigged Game”

“We have mass incarceration for the poor, and it’s totally hands-off for the rich, and that’s pretty hard to stomach.” Justice Jed Rakoff on his new book, and his famous challenge to the system

Jed Rakoff

On November 27, 2011, a federal judge named Jed Rakoff threw out a $285 million regulatory settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission, blasting it as “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.” The S.E.C. and Citigroup were stunned. Expecting to see their malodorous deal wrapped up, the parties were instead directed “to be ready to try this case” the following summer.

Try a case? Was the judge kidding? A pattern had long ago been established in which mega-companies like Citigroup that were implicated in serious offenses would be let off with slaps on the wrist, by soft-touch regulators who expected judges to play ball. These officials in many cases were private sector hotshots doing temporary tours as regulators, denizens of the revolving door biding time before parachuting back into lucrative corporate defense jobs. A judge who refused to sign the settlements such folks engineered was derailing everyone’s gravy train.

Citigroup had replicated a scheme employed by numerous big banks of the era, helping construct a “born to lose” portfolio of rotten mortgage securities to be unloaded on customer-dupes, who were unaware the bank intended to bet against them. A similar case involving a Goldman, Sachs deal called “Abacus” had concluded the previous year with a hefty fine, but, infamously, no admission of wrongdoing.

In the Citigroup version, the bank earned $160 million in profits, customers lost $700 million, and the S.E.C. wanted to impose a $285 million fine…

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

“Fact-Checking” Takes Another Beating

“Fact-Checking” Takes Another Beating

Fact-checkers are great, but the media business keeps trying to solve its credibility problem by misrepresenting what they do

The soul of rectitude testifies in the Senate

The news business just can’t stop clowning itself. The latest indignity is an international fact-checking debacle originating, of all places, at a “festival of fact-checking.”

The Poynter Institute is perhaps the most respected think tank in our business, an organization seeking to “fortify journalism’s role in a free society,” among other things through its sponsorship of the fact-checking outlet PolitiFact. A few weeks back, it held a virtual convention called the “United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking.”

The three-day event featured special guests Christiane Amanpour, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Brian Stelter, and Senator Mark Warner — a lineup of fact “stars” whose ironic energy recalled the USO’s telethon-execution of Terrance and Phillip before the invasion of Canada in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Tickets were $50, but if you wanted a “private virtual happy hour” with Stelter, you needed to pay $100 for the “VIP Experience.”

During the confab, PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders asked Fauci, “Are you still confident that [Covid-19] developed naturally?” To which the convivial doctor answered, “No, I’m not convinced of that,” going on to say “we” should continue to investigate all hypotheses about how the pandemic began:

Conservatives in particular were quick to point out that Fauci last year said, “Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.” At that time last May, of course, the issue of the pandemic’s origin had already long since been politicized, with Donald Trump’s administration anxious to point a finger at China for causing the disaster…

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

Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It

Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It

News companies are pioneering a new brand of vigilante reporting, partnering with spy agencies they once oversaw

Former CIA director John Brennan was a media villain, now he’s media himself.

What a difference a decade makes.

Just over ten years ago, on July 25, 2010, Wikileaks released 75,000 secret U.S. military reports involving the war in AfghanistanThe New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel helped release the documents, which were devastating to America’s intelligence community and military, revealing systemic abuses that included civilian massacres and an assassination squad, TF 373, whose existence the United States kept “protected” even from its allies.

The Afghan War logs came out at the beginning of a historic stretch of true oppositional journalism, when outlets like Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others partnered with sites like Wikileaks. Official secrets were exposed on a scale not seen since the Church Committee hearings of the seventies, as reporters pored through 250,000 American diplomatic cables, secret files about every detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds of thousands of additional documents about everything from the Iraq war to coverups of environmental catastrophes, among other things helping trigger the “Arab Spring.”

There was an attempt at a response — companies like Amazon, Master Card, Visa, and Paypal shut Wikileaks off, and the Pentagon flooded the site with a “denial of service” attack — but leaks continued. One person inspired by the revelations was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who came forward to unveil an illegal domestic surveillance program, a story that won an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize for documentarian Laura Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. By 2014, members of Congress in both parties were calling for the resignations of CIA chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom had been caught lying to congress.

The culmination of this period came when billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launched The Intercept in February 2014. The outlet was devoted to sifting through Snowden’s archive of leaked secrets, and its first story described how the NSA and CIA frequently made errors using geolocation to identify and assassinate drone targets. A few months later, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted, “We kill people based on metadata.”

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

People against Politicians Who Always Want War

QUESTION: Are you saying that the people left alone do not hate each other, it is the politicians?

FK

ANSWER: Yes. They do not teach hatred in school in Israel or the Arab world directly. They will teach biased history but that is in all countries. There are families who have lost people and that is why the old adage was you kill your enemy and his family for the son will only grow up to avenge their father’s death. The hostility is fostered at the political level.

Today, we have a very serious problem. As Matt Taibbi has reported, journalists once challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It. If we look at the polls on Russia, the media in pushing Hillary’s agenda have turned Russia into an evil empire. The press in the United States REFUSED to ever investigate the fact that the bankers were blackmailing Yeltsin in 2000 which is why he withdrew in 2000 and handed it to Putin. That is why Hillary blamed the Russians because she was behind trying to take over Russia for the bankers. The media has ensured there will be World War III because they have promoted the propaganda and never investigated anything.

The people are not the problem. If the politicians were removed, things would be different. Take the famous Treaty of Versailles of 1919 when Germany surrendered at World War I. The French politicians insisted that is where it would take place because the previous Treaty of Versailles of 1871 is where the French surrendered and the German Empire was born. Politicians have long memories. When I had meetings in Yugoslavia, I heard about the justification for genocide against Muslims because of their Jihad against the Serbs during the 14th century when the Ottoman Empire was expanding…

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

In Defense Of Substack

In Defense Of Substack

UCLA professor Sarah T. Roberts mourns the good old days of gatekeeping and credential-worship

UCLA professor Sarah Roberts, co-leader of something called the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry — media critics whose stated goal is “strengthening democracy through culture-making” — went on a lengthy Twitter tirade against Substack last night, one that gained a lot of attention. I should probably respond since, as one prominent reporter put it to Glenn Greenwald and me this morning, “Shit, it’s like she wrote this for the two of you.”

The main thread:

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

 

We Need a New Media System

We Need a New Media System

If you sell culture war all day, don’t be surprised by the real-world consequences

The moment a group of people stormed the Capitol building last Wednesday, news companies began the process of sorting and commoditizing information that long ago became standard in American media.

Media firms work backward. They first ask, “How does our target demographic want to understand what’s just unfolded?” Then they pick both the words and the facts they want to emphasize.

It’s why Fox News uses the term, “Pro-Trump protesters,” while New York and The Atlantic use “Insurrectionists.” It’s why conservative media today is stressing how Apple, Google, and Amazon shut down the “Free Speech” platform Parler over the weekend, while mainstream outlets are emphasizing a new round of potentially armed protests reportedly planned for January 19th or 20th.

What happened last Wednesday was the apotheosis of the Hate Incera, when this audience-first model became the primary means of communicating facts to the population. For a hundred reasons dating back to the mid-eighties, from the advent of the Internet to the development of the 24-hour news cycle to the end of the Fairness Doctrine and the Fox-led discovery that news can be sold as character-driven, episodic TV in the manner of soap operas, the concept of a “Just the facts” newscast designed to be consumed by everyone died out.

News companies now clean world events like whalers, using every part of the animal, funneling different facts to different consumers based upon calculations about what will bring back the biggest engagement kick. The Migrant Caravan? Fox slices off comments from a Homeland Security official describing most of the border-crossers as single adults coming for “economic reasons.” The New York Times counters by running a story about how the caravan was deployed as a political issue by a Trump White House staring at poor results in midterm elections.

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

 

The YouTube Ban Is Un-American, Wrong, and Will Backfire

The YouTube Ban Is Un-American, Wrong, and Will Backfire

Silicon Valley couldn’t have designed a better way to further radicalize Trump voters

Start with the headline: Supporting the 2020 U.S. Election. YouTube in its company blog can’t even say, “Banning Election Conspiracy Theories.” They have to employ the Orwellian language of politicians — Healthy Forests, Clear Skies, “Supported” Elections — because Google and YouTube are now political actors, who can’t speak plainly any more than a drunk can walk in a straight line.

The company wrote Wednesday:

Yesterday was the safe-harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election… For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors.

This announcement came down at roughly the same time Hunter Biden was announcing that his “tax affairs” were under investigation by the U.S. Attorney in Delaware. Part of that investigation concerned whether or not he had violated tax and money laundering laws in, as CNN put it, “foreign countries, principally China.” Information suggestive of money-laundering and tax issues in China and other countries was in the cache of emails reported in the New York Post story blocked by Twitter and Facebook.

That news was denounced as Russian disinformation by virtually everyone in “reputable” media, who often dismissed the story with an aristocratic snort, a la Christiane Amanpour:

That tale was not Russian disinformation, however, and Biden’s announcement this week strongly suggests Twitter and Facebook suppressed a real story of legitimate public interest just before a presidential election.

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

The American Press Is Destroying Itself

The American Press Is Destroying Itself

A flurry of newsroom revolts has transformed the American press

Sometimes it seems life can’t get any worse in this country. Already in terror of a pandemic, Americans have lately been bombarded with images of grotesque state-sponsored violence, from the murder of George Floyd to countless scenes of police clubbing and brutalizing protesters.

Our president, Donald Trump, is a clown who makes a great reality-show villain but is uniquely toolless as the leader of a superpower nation. Watching him try to think through two society-imperiling crises is like waiting for a gerbil to solve Fermat’s theorem. Calls to “dominate” marchers and ad-libbed speculations about Floyd’s “great day” looking down from heaven at Trump’s crisis management and new unemployment numbers (“only” 21 million out of work!) were pure gasoline at a tinderbox moment. The man seems determined to talk us into civil war.

But police violence, and Trump’s daily assaults on the presidential competence standard, are only part of the disaster. On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

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

How the COVID-19 Bailout Gave Wall Street a No-Lose Casino

How the COVID-19 Bailout Gave Wall Street a No-Lose Casino

While ordinary Americans face record unemployment and loss, the COVID-19 bailout has saved the very rich

taibbi, covid-19 bailout, Illustration by Victor Juhasz

This story appears in the June 2020 print edition of Rolling Stone.

In late April Marko Kolanovic, a financial analyst for JPMorgan Chase, wrote to clients with good news. Pandemic aside, investors should expect stock prices in S&P 500 companies to return to record numbers some time early next year!

“The S&P 500 should attain previous all-time highs,” Kolanovic wrote, “if the monetary measures are sustained.”

The key part of this phrase was the last bit, “if the monetary measures are sustained.” In countries that did not have a Federal Reserve Bank shooting a bazooka of cash daily at Wall Street, Kolanovic suggested the coronavirus would result in a 30 percent decline in the present value of earnings.

In other words, without intervention by the Federal Reserve, the United States in the coronavirus era would be looking at a Depression-level contraction.

Assuming the Fed bazooka keeps firing, however, a large portion of the investor class is already on a road leading back to champagne and confetti. And that, as Robert Frost would say, has made all the difference.

On the road more traveled, on the real side of the coronavirus economy, the pain has been historic. As of this writing, 30 million people have filed jobless claims during the COVID-19 crisis, and millions have lost their employer-based insurance.

At least one in three can’t make their rent, millions more can’t afford groceries, and workers in supermarkets, medical clinics, warehouses, and other professions are now in a macabre race to see if they’ll turn blue and die before corporate employers decide to slash their salaries or retirement benefits — which has already happened to front-line caregivers in some cities.

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

The UNFAIRNESS Economy

The UNFAIRNESS Economy

Bailouts for the rich. Barely anything for you.

Award-winning investigative journalist Matt Taibbi penned perhaps the most iconic condemnation of the bankers who created (and subsequently got bailed out during) the Great Financial Crisis:

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Tens years later, we find ourselves facing another crisis which, while triggered by the coronavirus instead of housing loans, has similar roots in a financial system made vulnerable by the unfair plunder of big banks and hedge funds — who are now being bailed out at vastly higher expense than in 2008.

Sadly, it seems we’ve learned very little over the past decade.

And as $trillions and $trillions in “rescue” stimulus are starting to be deployed by Congress and the Federal Reserve, it’s once again the financial power elite and corporate boardroom bigwigs who are receiving immediate and complete relief from the consequences of their actions.

But what will regular folks like you and me get? Crumbs, if anything.

And as taxpayers, we’re ultimately footing the bill (once again).

Given his intensive knowledge of the inner workings of Wall Street and its entanglement with the DC political machine, Taibbi explains how the inequity, abuse and fraud in today’s “Unfairness Economy” has become standard operating procedure — and will remain so until a serious enough social uprising takes place.

First, watch this 2-minute trailer:

And then click here to enjoy Peak Prosperity’s full interview with Matt Taibbi:

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

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