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Charles Hugh Smith: Preventing The Final Fall Of Our Democratic Republic

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Authored by Adam Taggart via,

There's mounting evidence that the Age of American Exceptionalism is grinding to an end...

Demographically, in the U.S. (as well as many other developed nations), the prospects of the younger generations are substantially less than those of the Baby Boomers. The same is true socioeconomically as well; the wealth gap between the 1% and everyone else continues to accelerate.

What's been the root cause of this slide towards greater and greater inequity? And can anything be done to reverse it?

Economist analyst and author Charles Hugh Smith addresses these core questions in his new book Pathfinding Our Destiny: Preventing The Final Fall Of Our Democratic Republic. Charles concludes that we are the terminal end of a multi-century process of centralization that is no longer working for society's benefit:

We have a political system which is becoming increasingly tied into money. Now, people have always said, like from 100 years ago, "money is the mother's milk of politics". Money and power have always coalesced around political power. But in the last, say, 70 years, post-World War II, the central governments and central banks of the world have grown immensely in their centralized power.

And one of the theses I'm proposing in my book is that centralization itself in now the problem. We've been told for 400 years that it's been the solution. Just centralize power and wealth into tighter and tighter control and then that will somehow solve whatever problems we have.

The intense concentration of power is becoming blatantly visible these days. Six media companies control most of the media in the U.S. It used to be six banks, but now I think it's down to only three or four, who control most of the financial system. And we see this in one sector after another. Facebook dominates social media. Google dominates search and ads and so on. And this makes perfect sense is the system we have now.

In other words, it's really efficient, and it's very profitable. If you can establish a cartel or a monopoly or a quasi-monopoly, then you can just raise your prices, and people have to pay it and it's profitable. Everybody wins, right? The shareholders win. The managers win. The public? Well... eh, they don’t have a choice.

My book's conclusion at the higher, systemic level is that it's critical for people today to understand that we're not going to be able to reform the current system as its structured and that we're going to have to radically de-centralize power, wealth and capital. And we're going to have to open the doors, so to speak, to a bunch of experimentation to find out what works best.

I think the best path is actually just asking people to develop those values. And I think those values are going to be the ones that are adaptive and flexible and most likely to bring personal success, community success, to those people that hold those values and understand that that's the future.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Charles Hugh Smith (45m:49s).

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11 days ago
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At least, I don't think there's evidence. My claim that there's no evidence hasn't been falsified. At least, not that I know of.
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17 days ago
No one has proven I didn't like this item!
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Melania Trump’s White House Christmas decorations have become a horror meme yet again

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Your new holiday tradition: A Very Scary White House Christmas!

The White House has decked its halls for the holidays. And just like last year, its trimmings look more frightening than festive at first glance.

If you were one of many people who thought last year’s White House Christmas display was bizarrely ominous, moody lighting and barren tree skeletons looking like the backdrop of a horror movie — well, then, I can’t wait to hear what you think of the 2018 holiday look.

Melania Trump reportedly spent months working on this year’s decorations, which she unveiled in a series of Monday morning tweets.

And to be fair to the first lady, this year’s holiday designs are considerably more inviting than last year’s, with lots of color and warmth.

But they haven’t been able to ward off the revival of last year’s Evil White House Christmas meme — mainly thanks to one specific decorating choice on Melania’s part.

Perhaps determined to continue signaling disregard for her critics, Trump has repeated the idea of horror-tinged White-House decor in at least one corner of the place, lining an entire hallway with blood-red Christmas trees that immediately reminded gawkers on social media of fun holiday movies. Like Stanley Kubrick’s Christmas classic The Shining!

... to say nothing of other tales of merriment and delight:

Horror movies and Handmaid’s Tale references reigned, but even the more whimsical takes on the return of the Evil White House meme tended toward darkness.

The horror meme response illustrates just how embedded the divide between the Trump administration and the public has become

As it did last year, the Evil White House Christmas meme speaks to the broader polarization between the public and the presidency, and the sense that the White House itself has become a visual representation of what many people view as the real-life horror being carried out by the Trump administration.

Since Donald Trump took office, it’s become commonplace to comment on his administration through horror memes — remember the creepy pope photo, or the Orb? — and now it looks as though turning the White House Christmas display into an annual grimoire is slowly becoming an unexpected tradition.

And the fact that the White House kicked off the annual post-Thanksgiving celebration of its holiday look while children were being tear-gassed at the US-Mexico border made the situation even grimmer for many.

Additionally, the inclusion of Christmas ornaments reminding the viewer to “Be Best” — in support of the first lady’s initiative to focus on “the major issues facing children today” — struck many as particularly insulting.

One thing that’s strikingly different between this year’s Evil White House Christmas meme and last year’s is that this time around, no one’s making jokes about Melania being “trapped” or imprisoned in the White House. The notion that the first lady was somehow a victim of her husband’s tyranny may have reigned for much of the first year of Trump’s presidency, but her controversial choice of jacket over the summer, as well as her dubiously chosen African safari gear, seems to have established her as a villain in her own right.

Consequently, it makes perfect sense that meme culture — which tends to reflect our collective social and political anxieties — has jumped at the chance to revive the Evil White House Christmas meme, but in a darker and more pointed fashion. To many, the jokes feel almost perfunctory now, and the overlay of references between the Trumps’ real-life actions and the stuff of horror films feels less ironic and more like a form of obligatory commentary.

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18 days ago
The Handmaid's Tale. Other than that, I got nothing.
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Calendars From 1982 Show Kavanaugh Was "Out Of Town" When Ford Assault Allegedly Took Place

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In his latest attempt to clear his name following allegations from Palo Alto University Professor Christine Blasey Ford claiming that he had had attempted to sexually assault her more than 35 years ago when they were seniors in high school, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will hand over calendars from the summer of 1982 which supposedly show that he was out of town when the party described by Ford allegedly took place.


According to the New York Times, the calendars do not disprove Ford’s allegations, as he could have attended a party that he did not list on his calendar. Instead, his team intends to argue that Kavanaugh's calendars don't confirm Ford's account of how an inebriated Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothing. Ford has said she does not recall the specific date of the party.

The calendar pages from June, July and August 1982, which were examined by The New York Times, show that Judge Kavanaugh was out of town much of the summer at the beach or away with his parents. When he was at home, the calendars list his basketball games, movie outings, football workouts and college interviews. A few parties are mentioned but include names of friends other than those identified by Dr. Blasey.

The challenge for senators trying to confirm or refute the accusation against Judge Kavanaugh is that Dr. Blasey has said she does not recall the specific date or location of the house where the alleged incident occurred. She has said she believes it was during the summer of 1982, and she remembers wearing a bathing suit with other clothing on top of it, suggesting the party might have taken place after a swim outing at a local country club.

While three other people whom Ford said were also in attendance at the party have said they did not remember the incident, Ford's lawyer Debra Katz explained that this is hardly surprising.

"It’s not surprising that Ms. Keyser has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it," Ms. Katz said. "It’s also unremarkable that Ms. Keyser does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there."

Kavanaugh doesn't intend to argue that Ford wasn't assaulted at the party; instead, his lawyers are expected to claim that the assailant wasn't Kavanaugh, but a friend of Kavanaugh's with whom he bore a striking resemblance. 

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh's calendars appeared to offer an unusually detailed accounting of his teenage life.

The calendar pages are one-month pages with each day in a small box. Unusual for a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh seemed to keep track of his days even during summer vacation. The pages show typical teenage activities from the era, including "beach week" after the end of the school year and nights at the theater to see "Grease II," "Rocky III" and "Poltergeist" with friends.

Judge Kavanaugh was gone many weekends with his parents in St. Michaels, Md., and one weekend in Connecticut with his grandmother, according to the calendars. He listed an interview for Yale University, where he would eventually enroll, and the start of football camp in August, when he stayed in the dorms at Georgetown Prep. He also played summer league basketball.

Of course, given Sunday night's bombshell report that a second accuser is coming forward, Kavanaugh's defense team will need to come up with another strategy to defend against both of these accounts. But they were handed a reprieve Monday morning when reports surfaced that NBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post passed on Ronan Farrow's Kavanaugh accuser story because reporters felt uneasy about the facts.

The allegations were leveled by Kavanaugh's former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh "pulled his penis out and tried to press it into her face" at a dorm-room party their freshman year. The stakes for this allegation are higher given that Kavanaugh was a legal adult at the time, and he swore during his previous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had never committed a sexual assault as an adult.

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83 days ago
Ya know? Only people I know who kept such calendars in their teens were either despondent loners or are now in Witness Protection.
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"Trump@War": A Peek Inside Steve Bannon's New Film

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Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has got all hands on deck for the upcoming midterms; launching Citizens for the American Republic (COAR) - an outside political group which will advise surrogates, generate talking points and assist with media campaigns for candidates. 

As part of his new campaign, Bannon - a former Hollywood producer with several films under his belt - will release a new documentary on September 9, "Trump@War," the two year anniversary of then-candidate Hillary Clinton calling Trump voters "deplorables." 

Bannon calls the November midterm election a referendum on Trump, one which could have disastrous consequences for the President should Democrats regain control of Congress. 

"It’s very simple to me. This is a referendum on Trump, up-or-down vote on impeachment," he said. "This other side, they’re very motivated — and they’re motivated for one thing: They want to impeach Donald Trump."

"It’s all on the table Nov. 6," Bannon added. "This is the re-elect. How do you use this to trigger the civil war in the Democratic party? You must win. [The midterms] have more value than the typical, ‘We‘re holding the House." 

Bannon spoke with Axios about the new film, which they describe as designed "to portray Trump supporters as being under siege — complete with clips of CNN’s Don Lemon, and footage of a "Make America Great Again" hat being burned."

Bannon, describing the film, told me: "How jacked do we think Trump will be when he sees this?"

  • Bannon added: "If you’re a deplorable, you’ll literally standing on your chair with your pitchfork saying: 'I’ve got to get people out to vote.'"
  • Bannon said the film — from his longtime production company, Victory Films — will last about 75 minutes, and will include interviews with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski; Dr. Seb Gorka, an alumnus of Trump’s White House; and about 18 others. -Axios

Axios' take is that "Everything is a war to Steve," and that "Bannon’s caricatured framing of the election — as one pitting hooded Antifa members and Dems screaming about impeachment and burning MAGA hats, against the hero Donald Trump — will almost certainly appeal to Donald Trump."

That said, they would be surprised if Trump can get over his hatred of Bannon after he let author Michael Wolff into the White House to gather material for his largely discredited book: Fire and Fury. 

  • Whenever I mention Bannon’s name to a White House official or Republican leadership sources, they still roll their eyes.
  • And when it comes to midterm politics, they like to mention, derisively, his scorched earth campaign on behalf of an accused pedophile, Roy Moore. I’ll be surprised if Bannon becomes a magnet for serious donor money for the fall. But this is a country full of quixotic billionaires, so who the heck knows. 
  • Trump still hates "Sloppy Steve" and thinks he tries to steal his limelight. So Bannon was smart to recruit some of Trump’s favorite diehards. -Axios

Bannon says that his new group is designed to stoke the "populist-nationalist movement" which Trump rode into office on, which includes booking, messaging and rapid-response operations which will regularly brief "friendly cable-news pundits." 

  • "The war room is up and running," Bannon bragged, saying Citizens of the American Republican will focus on the triumvirate of ideas, communication and action.
  • "When I got involved [with the Trump presidential campaign] in August 2016, Trump was down 12, 14, 16 points. Democrats thought I was a clown. They never took him seriously. We caught them napping. We can do it again." -Axios 

Bannon contends that the effort to hold the House for the GOP is "more winnable" than Trump's campaign was three months before Election Day. "I think we can hold this to a net loss [for Republicans] of under 15 seats," said Bannon, adding "All the whining I hear among establishment Republicans, all the whining I hear in the official corridors of the Republican Party, has got to stop."

That said, Politico notes that "many Republicans, however, have been making the argument that it is normal for the president‘s party to lose House seats in the midterms of his first term. And the White House and the Republican National Committee still have no working relationships with Bannon, who is running his own outsider show."

Bannon notably told the Politico in July that the powerful Koch brothers need to "Shut up and get with the program." 

 “And here’s the program: Ground game to support Trump’s presidency and program, [and] victory on Nov. 6.


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120 days ago
Bis vincit qui se vincit meaning “He conquers twice who conquers himself when he is victorious” is the slogan used for Bannon's film production company
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Penis Pics And Abusive Behavior: Kimberly Guilfoyle Left Fox News After Accusations Against Her

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The story behind longtime Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle's unexpected announcement last week that she would be leaving her top-paying spot at the network to move to a pro-Donald Trump super PAC just took a surprising twist.

Most might know Guilfoyle as the busty, long-legged no-nonsense brunette co-host of The Five. Only days ago Guilfoyle said she was voluntarily leaving her role at the network to hit the campaign trail with Donald Trump Jr., who she has been dating since the spring.

However, a new bombshell report alleges based on dozens of interviews with multiple inside sources at Fox that she left while facing a hail of sexual misconduct allegations, which spurred a formal investigation by the network.

Among the multiple allegations are that the well-known anchor "showed colleagues personal photos of male genitalia" and engaged in "emotionally abusive behavior".

Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr. Recent photo via WT News/Donald Trump Jr. Instagram page

The Huffington Post cites first-hand accounts from Fox insiders, who say "Guilfoyle was informed her time at Fox News was up following a human resources investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior including sexual misconduct, and that her lawyers had been involved since the spring."

This reportedly includes an investigation into her showing lewd penis pics in her possession and identifying the men featured in the photos to distressed onlookers, according to the report:

Six sources said Guilfoyle’s behavior included showing personal photographs of male genitalia to colleagues (and identifying whose genitals they were), regularly discussing sexual matters at work and engaging in emotionally abusive behavior toward hair and makeup artists and support staff.

Guilfoyle announced Tuesday that she's left the network, however HuffPost sources say she was warned she must resign by July, but delayed her exit while having personal allies appeal directly to head of parent company 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch — appeals that were apparently unsuccessful.

It is also likely that as several journalists began to uncover the misconduct allegations, she's made a quick exit in order to avoid embarrassment and a possible lengthy internal fight and investigation with the network. 

HuffPost sources, said to include up to "21 sources inside and outside Fox News and 21st Century Fox," remain unnamed because "they aren’t authorized to speak to the press, did not want to raise Guilfoyle’s ire or have signed nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from speaking to others about their experiences."

No doubt when some of the specific stories do come out it'll reveal some pretty interesting water cooler conversation and photo sharing going on at Fox. 

Guilfoyle’s attorney John Singer issued the following statement in response questions by the HuffPost investigation:

"Any accusations of Kimberly engaging in inappropriate work-place conduct are unequivocally baseless and have been viciously made by disgruntled and self-interested employees. During her lengthy and decorated tenure with the company, Kimberly was beloved, well-respected, and supportive of anyone she ever met. It’s utterly preposterous that there are those who are nefariously and greedily twisting innocent conversations amongst close friends into much more than what it actually was for financial gain. Kimberly has happily moved onto the next chapter of her life and hopes others will do the same."

Previously The Daily Beast reported that Fox News staff was allegedly engaged in a "hostile whisper campaign” against Guilfoyle, accusing her of misusing company resources including the use of network makeup artists to prep for personal outings; however Friday's revelations are the most serious to date. 

It appears that some of the allegations that were subject to internal investigation centered in part around Guilfoyle's close colleague Eric Bolling, himself pressured out for sexual misconduct in September 2017. 

The Huffington Post describes:

For many years, Guilfoyle was close to her Fox News colleague Eric Bolling, who was pushed out of the network after HuffPost reported that he sent unsolicited lewd photos to female colleagues.

They shared a young female assistant who, according to three sources, was deeply unhappy at work and was desperate to get out from under what she described to sources as Guilfoyle’s emotionally abusive behavior and attempts to involve her in her personal sexual matters by regularly sharing details about her sex life."

[Guilfoyle’s assistant] was desperate to get away from Kimberly, she kept on trying to find a way to get a new job or get reassigned within the network," a source who had spoken to the assistant told HuffPost.

The report noted that according to employees parent company 21st Century Fox encourages problematic employees or persons inviting scandal to retire or resign rather than be fired. Thus Guilfoyle was not formally terminated.

Fox News has of late faced multiple scandals involving allegations of sexism and harassment on the part of powerful executives and media personalities, for example the headline grabbing events surrounding the famously bellicose host Bill O'Reilly; however, accusations of dick pic sharing have rarely gone the other way in terms of gender, as in Guilfoyle case. 

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142 days ago
This article seems to have been recalled by Zero Hedge. We don't know why.
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