Contaminated Fukushima Water Storage Tanks "Close To Capacity", TEPCO Admits

The Tokyo Electric Power Company is running out of container space to store water contaminated by tritium outside the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and it’s also running out of room for building more tanks, according to Yomiuri Shimbum, a Japanese newspaper, which is creating an intractable problem for the utility, which has been tasked with supervising the cleanup of Fukushima.

The Japanese government has been desperately trying to accelerate the cleanup ahead of the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo – and it’s a miracle it hasn’t run into this issue sooner. TEPCO is still struggling with how to dispose of the tritium-tainted water. Options discussed have included dumping it into the ocean, but that proposal has angered local fishing communities.

At some point, TEPCO and the government will need to make a difficult decision. Until then, ground water will continue to seep into the ruined reactor, where it becomes contaminated. Afterward, TEPCO can treat the contaminated water to purify it, but they can’t remove the tritium, which is why the supply of water contaminated with tritium continues to grow.

As one government official pointed out, Japan can’t simply store the radioactive water forever. As of now, the company should be able to store water until 2020.

Efforts have been made to increase storage capacity by constructing bigger tanks when the time comes for replacing the current ones. But a senior official of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said, “Operation of tanks is close to its capacity.”

TEPCO plans to secure 1.37 million tons of storage capacity by the end of 2020, but it has not yet decided on a plan for after 2021. Akira Ono, chief decommissioning officer of TEPCO, said, “It is impossible to continue to store [treated water] forever.”

But after that, Tepco is either going to need to start releasing the tritium water into the ocean (something that has been done by many power plants, but is politically popular in Japan) or find another solution. In fact, an average of 380 trillion becquerels had been annually released into the sea across Japan during the five years before the accident. If the water from Fukushima is diluted to the point that tritium content is only 1 million becquerels per liter, which is more than 10 times higher than the national average for sea release. But if it’s diluted, it can eventually be released. However, an industry report has determined that sea release would be the safest and most efficient option.

Regarding disposal methods for the treated water, the industry ministry’s working group compiled a report in June 2016 that said that the method of release into the sea is the cheapest and quickest among five ideas it examined. The ideas were (1) release into the sea, (2) release by evaporation, (3) release after electrolysis, (4) burial underground and (5) injection into geological layers.

After that, the industry ministry also established an expert committee to look into measures against harmful misinformation. Although a year and a half has passed since the first meeting of the committee, it has not yet reached a conclusion.

At the eighth meeting of the committee held on Friday, various opinions were expressed. One expert said, “While the fishery industry [in Fukushima and other prefectures] is in the process of revival, should we dispose of [the treated water] now?” The other said, “In order to advance the decommissioning, the number of tanks should be decreased at an early date.”

The working group is planning to hold a public hearing to consider other methods of disposal. But if none can be found, Japan will have no choice but to dump the contaminated water into the ocean.

Source: Zerohedge – Contaminated Fukushima Water Storage Tanks "Close To Capacity", TEPCO Admits

How The FBI And CIA Restarted The Cold War To Protect Themselves

Authored by Thomas Farnan via Townhall.com,

On December 29, 2016, the Obama Administration – with three weeks remaining in its term – issued harsh sanctions against Russia over supposed election interference.  Two compounds in the United States were closed and 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the country.  

Russia responded by calling the actions “Cold War déjà vu.”

In the two years that have elapsed since, it has been learned that the “intelligence” that formed the basis for the sanctions was beyond dubious.   

A single unverified “dossier” compiled by an ex-British spy with no discernable connections to Russia was shopped to FISA judges and the media as something real.

The dossier was opposition research by the Hillary Clinton campaign, a fact that was not disclosed and actively hidden by off-the-book transactions through the law firm Perkins Coie.

As a dog that chases its tail, the fake dossier was being used to cause the investigation which itself lent credibility to the notion of Russian interference.

The FBI and CIA thumbed the eye of an armed nuclear state based on false intelligence.  Why?  

The answer is now obvious: to cover up their own election year shenanigans they thought would remain forever hidden in the inevitable Hillary Clinton victory.

Russian collusion had first come to the electorate’s attention in July.  The DNC had lost a cache of its emails either to a phishing scheme or to a hacker.  The emails showed the Clinton campaign and the DNC conspiring to fix primaries against Bernie Sanders. 

The outcry among Sanders supporters was sufficiently loud that DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned on the eve of the democratic convention.   

It was a huge scandal.  To squelch it for their expected future boss Hillary Clinton, the FBI and CIA constructed a Rube Goldberg machine of “Russian collusion” to blame Trump.

The FBI never bothered to test the computers for a hack.  That task was left to CrowdStrike, a private contractor whose CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian ex-patriot and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with an anti-Russian agenda.

The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, a $10 million donor to the Clinton Foundation.  The fix was in.  CrowdStrike dutifully reported that the Russians were behind the hack.

Lat year The Nation, a progressive publication, got a group of unaffiliated computer experts to test CrowdStrike’s hypothesis and they concluded that the email files were removed from the computer at a speed that makes an off-site download from Russia impossible.  

Incredibly, Trump was placed on the defensive for email leaks that showed his opponent fixing the primaries.  His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, resigned because of past dealings with Russia.

Trump protested by stating the obvious: the federal government has “no idea” who was behind the hacks.

The FBI and CIA called him a liar, issuing a “Joint Statement” that suggested 17 intelligence agencies agree that it was the Russians.  Hillary Clinton took advantage of this “intelligence assessment” in the October debate to portray Trump as Putin’s stooge.  

She said, “We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber-attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin.  And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.”

The media’s fact checkers excoriated Trump for lying.  It was the ultimate campaign dirty trick: a joint operation by the intelligence agencies and the media against a political candidate.

Trump won anyway against this level of cheating.  It has since been learned that the “17 intelligence agencies” claptrap was always false.  Powerful insiders at the FBI and CIA authored the intelligence assessment and deceptively packaged it as a consensus.

By December 2016, the FBI and CIA needed something to justify their illegal wiretaps and spying.  If not the quid, they at least needed the pro quo: an event that could be portrayed through a hard squint as collusion.

They were not without means.  They had members of Trump’s transition improperly wiretapped.  If they could catch one making a concession to the Russians, they could say “gotcha” – this proves you were always in bed with them.

That is when the CIA and FBI shopped their phony intelligence assessments to President Obama and he sanctioned Russia.  Then they listened in on the Trump transition’s conversation with the Russian ambassador the next day.  

Surely General Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security advisor, would scoff at the sanctions and promise to lift them.  That would be the pro quo that proved the quid.   They would finally have anecdotal evidence that showed Trump delivering for Putin.

General Flynn, though, was uncharacteristically noncommittal.   It didn’t work.  

The machinations that followed, the secret memos and special counsel, the prosecution of Flynn anyway for what happened in his conversation, the whole sordid mess, is a cover-up.

In the inverse logic of Russian collusion, the investigation itself supplies credibility to the collusion narrative.  Any attempt to end the investigation is obstruction of justice.   

One person has the constitutional responsibility end this nonsense.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who himself was duped into recusing himself by since discredited intelligence, should bow to recent disclosures of impropriety and say enough is enough.  

His Inspector General will be issuing a report to him sometime soon.   Maybe then he will lift his recusal and start the prosecutions.  People should go to jail for this.

Source: Zerohedge – How The FBI And CIA Restarted The Cold War To Protect Themselves

"The Outlook Is Not Good": Goldman Sees U.S. In Dire Straits As Deficit Hits $2 Trillion In 10 Years

Three months ago, Goldman first among the big banks warned that the US fiscal trajectory was dire, warning that “US fiscal policy is on an unusual course” with the budget deficit expected to widen over the next few years, as a result of prior imbalances and recently enacted policies – namely Trump’s dramatic fiscal stimulus – which should lead to a federal debt/GDP ratio of around 85% of GDP by 2021.

This, Goldman’s economists warned, stands in contrast to the typical relationship between the economic cycle and the budget balance, as shown in Exhibit 2, which shows that the US deficit should be small and shrinking, not large and growing at this stage in the business cycle when the unemployment rate is near its cyclical lows.

But the biggest risk by far, according to Goldman, was the rising interest expense on the Federal Debt, which all else equal, would send the US into banana republic “uncharted territory.” This is what Goldman warned back in February:

… we project that, if Congress continues to extend existing policies, including the recently enacted tax and spending legislation, federal debt will slightly exceed 100% of GDP and interest expense will rise to around 3.5% of GDP, putting the US in a worse fiscal position than the experience of the 1940s or 1990s.

The bank’s conclusion in February was just as dire: “the continued growth of public debt raises eventual sustainability questions if left unchecked.”  Of course, “sustainability questions” is a polite bank euphemism for economic and financial catastrophe.

* * *

Fast forward to today when, three months after its original dire assessment, Goldman doubles down and in a note assessing “what’s the worst that could happen” with the US budget deficit, writes that “the US fiscal outlook is not good” and among other things, predicts that the US fiscal deficit will double from $1 trillion over the next 12 months to $2 trillion by 2028, pr a near record 7% of GDP:

We project the federal deficit will increase from $825bn (4.1% of GDP) to $1,250bn (5.5% of GDP) by 2021. By 2028, we expect it to rise to $2.05 trillion (7.0% of GDP) in our baseline scenario, which assumes that expiring tax provisions will be extended and that discretionary spending, which was recently increased, will increase only slightly further in
nominal terms.

All else equal, Goldman’s distressing forecast sees US federal debt rising to 105% of GDP in ten years, a whopping 9% higher than CBO’s latest projections.

Making matters worse, that is the baseline forecast, or as analysts on the sellside call it, the optimistic outlook. As a result, as Goldman warns, while surprises are clearly possible in both directions, the bank believes “the risks are tilted in the direction of larger deficits than projected” and presents four possible alternative, and adverse, scenarios:

Congress keeps revenue and discretionary spending in line with historical averages;
the interest rate-growth differential worsens due to slower than expected growth;
a recession; and
Congress agrees on a deficit reduction package similar to the major deals of the early 1990s.
Of course, while nobody wants to say it, the recession scenario is a guaranteed on as otherwise the US would have been in an expansion for nearly 20 years, or 234 consecutive months by December 31, 2018, as we calculated one month ago, with the laughable pro forma result shown below.

A recession, as Goldman points out, would obviously widen the deficit and boost the debt/GDP ratio more than any of our other scenarios over the next few years. However, as report author Alec Phillips warns, “over the next ten years the outlook is worse under a low-growth scenario or continued fiscal laxity.”

And while a recession is a given, if nobody wants to admit it, Goldman points out that the “most striking scenario” would be the most optimistic one, where Congress enacts a deficit reduction package as large (as a share of GDP) as the largest two deficit reduction packages of the early 1990s.

What is especially concerning, is that even under this best case scenario, with a budget-friendly assumption, “the deficit and debt level would still reach around 5% and 95% of GDP respectively, very close to CBO’s baseline forecast for 2028.”

What does all this mean in practical terms? Adding soaring deficits to rising rates, and an exponential debt issuance calendar, and you get a very troubling outcome: much higher rates, at least in the beginning, as eventually the stock market will crash, and trillions in capital flows will once again flee stocks for the “safety” of US bonds, fiscal crisis be damned. Goldman, focuses on “the beginning” part, and notes that “An expanding deficit and debt level is likely to put upward pressure on interest rates, expanding the deficit further.”

This also changes the sensitivity analysis between deficit and yields as follows:

Building on our recent work on deficits and interest rates, our baseline scenario suggests that the widening of the deficit from 3.5% to 5% of GDP should boost 10-year yields by 30bp, other things equal, while our forecast of a chronic deficit in the range of 6-7% of GDP in the next decade would imply a cumulative boost of around 70bp over time.

Of course, before everyone panic sells their duration exposure, Goldman has one big caveat: “whether such an interest rate move occurs depends in part on if market participants believe lawmakers would allow such a fiscal outcome.” The problem, as Phillips conclude, “while Congress will eventually address the widening budget gap, it also seems quite likely to take longer than most market participants might expect.”

Here is the full assessment of what happens next from a political standpoint:

Little Chance of Near-Term Fiscal Reforms

Eventually, lawmakers are likely to become more sensitive to the fiscal situation and will take action to reduce the budget deficit. However, this doesn’t seem likely in the near-term, for at least two reasons.

First, we will soon enter the period in the political cycle where deficit reduction measures are less common. Deficit reduction legislation is more common at the start of the four-year political cycle (1990, 1993, and 1997 marked the major deficit reduction packages of the 1990s for example) than just before a presidential election. Admittedly, the 2011 Budget Control Act that introduced the current spending caps stands as at least one exception to this pattern. Nevertheless, the odds of meaningful deficit reduction policies seem likely to decline further as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
Second, there is less political consensus than usual regarding the need for reform. Only 2-3% of the public in recent polling cite the deficit as one of the most important problems facing the government, compared with levels of 15-20% during the fiscal battles of the mid-1990s or the 2011-2013 period. This could change if political leaders increase their focus on the issue, as they did during those earlier periods. However, it seems unlikely that Congress will reverse any of the recently enacted tax cuts or discretionary spending increases, which leaves entitlement spending as the only  area of the budget where fiscal consolidation seems plausible over the next few years. However, the Trump Administration has not made this a priority—the President opposed cutting Medicare and Social Security spending in the 2016 campaign, though the most recent White House budget proposed modest savings in these areas—and one of the chief proponents of entitlement reform in Congress, Speaker Paul Ryan, is retiring from Congress at year end.
Deficit reduction proposals do not seem likely to figure prominently in 2018 midterm election campaigns and, at least at this early stage, do not seem likely to become an important issue in the 2020 election either. This suggests  that the fiscal outlook is unlikely to change substantially due to policy actions until at least 2021, leaving it dependent largely on the path of the economy until then.

Said otherwise: with the 10Y now well north of 3.00%, Goldman newly reconstituted prop trading desk is buying all the paper its clients wish to sell. Trade accordingly.

Source: Zerohedge – "The Outlook Is Not Good": Goldman Sees U.S. In Dire Straits As Deficit Hits Trillion In 10 Years

TFH 5/20/2018 | Foreclosure Workshop #59: Spadaro vs. Moore (Part Two) — A Two-Hour Special Concluding Our Examination of Foreclosure Deficiency Judgment Procedures and How and Why Most Courts Are Abandoning Traditional Judge-Made Equity Forfeitures

COMING TO YOU LIVE DIRECTLY FROM THE DUBIN LAW OFFICES AT HARBOR COURT, DOWNTOWN HONOLULU, HAWAII LISTEN TO KHVH-AM (830 ON THE AM RADIO DIAL) ALSO AVAILABLE ON KHVH-AM ON THE iHEART APP ON THE INTERNET . Sunday – May 20, 2018 .  ——————— Foreclosure Workshop #59: Spadaro vs. Moore (Part Two) — A Two-Hour […]

Source: Stopforeclosurefraud – TFH 5/20/2018 | Foreclosure Workshop #59: Spadaro vs. Moore (Part Two) — A Two-Hour Special Concluding Our Examination of Foreclosure Deficiency Judgment Procedures and How and Why Most Courts Are Abandoning Traditional Judge-Made Equity Forfeitures

Why The Soaring Dollar Will Lead To An "Explosive" Market Repricing: A Flow Chart

Something curious took place one month ago when the PBOC announced on April 17 that it would cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 1% to ease financial conditions: it broke what until then had been a rangebound market for both the US Dollar and the US 10Y Treasury, sending both the dollar index and 10Y yields soaring…

… which led to an immediate tightening in financial conditions both domestically and around the globe, and which has – at least initially – manifested itself in a sharp repricing of emerging market risk, resulting in a plunge EM currencies, bonds and stocks.

Adding to the market response, this violent move took place at the same time as geopolitical fears about Iran oil exports amid concerns about a new war in the middle east and Trump’s nuclear deal pullout, sent oil soaring – with Brent rising above $80 this week for the first time since 2014 – a move which is counterintuitive in the context of the sharply stronger dollar, and which has resulted in even tighter financial conditions across the globe, but espetially for emerging market importers of oil.

Meanwhile, all this is playing out in the context of a world where the Fed continues to shrink its balance sheet – a public sector “public Quantitative Tightening (QT)” – further tightening monetary conditions (i.e., shrinking the global dollar supply amid growing demand), even as high grade US corporate bond issuance has dropped off a cliff for cash-rich companies which now opt to repatriate cash instead of issuing domestic bonds, with the resulting private sector deleveraging, or “private sector QT”, further exacerbating tighter monetary conditions and the growing dollar shortage (resulting in an even higher dollar).

And while the latest incarnation of the dollar’s “impossible trilemma” – rising dollar, rising oil, rising yields (not to be confused with its more conventional Chinese variant) makes a short, if perplexing appearance, ultimately it’s all about the value of the dollar, and its impact on downstream assets and volatility.

This is the point made by Deutsche Bank’s derivatives expert Aleksandar Kocic, who in his latest report writes that in the context to the Fed’s normalization and monetary policy fine tuning, the “USD is emerging as the key variable — it presents a compact summary of the underlying macro risks that could destabilize the current Fed path.” In other words, the last thing the Fed wants right now as it accelerates its balance sheet normalization, is a sharp spike in the dollar. And yet, that’s precisely what is happening. Kocic explains:

A strong USD corresponds to generally hawkish Fed in an environment where the US is recovering fast while the rest of the globe is still too slow or recessionary, or that the Fed is pushing rates above the neutral and causing excessive tightening of financial conditions and potentially triggering recession. A weak USD path, on the other hand, can materialize either as an inflation or credit (twin deficits) risk, a troubling possibility to which there is no adequate policy response.

For Kocic, the relative strength of the dollar is the exogenous event that could awake markets from their peaceful slumber, resulting in a violent reassessment of monetary conditions as the Fed quietly undoes the biggest monetary experiment in history, or as he puts it, “although unwind of stimulus and Fed exit continue without disrupting the markets, the underlying stability remains local, threatened potentially by the tail risk.”

For now, the DB strategist notes, “the current market configuration appears to be cooperating with the Fed’s efforts in either scenario” and “market positioning and flows are likely to cause offsetting pressure to each macro risk and therefore help stability of the system.”

In particular, strong USD, which is bullish for bonds, in terms of global sponsorship, is also bearish for EM currencies and reserve managers there are likely to defend local currencies by selling US assets, which goes against macro. Similarly, their response to weaker USD would stabilize bear steepeners on the back of defending their exports through stabilization of EM currencies and support for the US long end.

The bigger problem, one discussed by Kocic previously, and which also takes the shape of the yield curve in consideration, is that with every passing day of normalization manifesting itself in bear flatteners, the market gets closer to the tipping point of duration decrease in which a rotation from risk assets into the short-end of the curve threatens a forced “price discovery” of the new “Fed put” (which Kocic recently calculated was in the 2,300-2,400 range).

So in this context of a creeping bear flattener, Kocic observes that together with the stronger USD, these two discrete trends have a potential to create more volatility and discomfort across all market sectors than bear steepeners if they both remain localized and do not trigger tail risk.

How does this look schematically? Luckily, the Deutsche Banker has come up with a handy flowchart showing the next steps in how the stronger dollar could lead to an “explosive” move in not only the front end of the curve, but across all markets:

Causality chain of strong USD and its potential knock-on effect is shown in the chart. We start at the lower left corner. Fed hikes and strong USD open up the EM dilemma: Facing the outflows or defending the currency at expense of stifling the growth. This implies both, more volatility and potential sell off in EM, and bearish pressure on the long end of the UST that would offset the underlying bid for US bonds (strong USD is bullish). Turbulence in EM could have a knock-on effect on risk assets in the US.

Why is the above critical? Because if the cycle were to play out, it would result in the same set of conditions which led to a global bear market back in 2015 in the aftermath of China’s devaluation (odd, there’s China again precipitating a global market crisis):

An example is the 2015 episode where asset managers faced redemptions due to EM losses and had to sell the best performing assets (US equities) to cover those costs. This means more turbulence in developed markets and possible tightening of financial conditions, which could question the strength of the USD and possibly push Fed to take a pause.

But the real punchline is just how trapped the Fed now is, because should Powell “relent” and hint that the Fed may take a break in order to spare EMs and stocks, well the result would be an avalanche of short covering in the Eurodollar market, one which would lead to an even more dramatic, or as Deutsche calls it “explosive” move in the short end:

Given record shorts on the Eurodollar curve (Figure), Fed pause is likely to trigger unwind of these position which could be explosive and the front end of the curve could rally hard.

The punchline: the dollar surge, catalyzed by the April 17 PBOC RRR cut, has launched a feedback loop which, very much like the Chinese 2015 devaluation, culminates in one of two possible unpleasant – for the Fed – outcomes: a collapse in EMs should dollar strength not be arrested, which then morphs into a broad-based liquidation of all risk assets (the most likely result of this is Fed intervention, in the form of sharp rate cuts and/or more QE) or if the Fed verbally relents again, as it did in 2016 with the Shanghai Accord, and suggests that financial conditions are now too tight, it threatens to crush the biggest ED spec short position ever, leading to trillions in paper losses, and an unprecedented collapse in the short end:

The EPFR data reflecting the ETF and Mutual Funds Flows show continued outflows from the emerging markets and inflows into the short end of the UST curve, which is only increasing the stress in this sector. So, although we should see continued stability at the long end of the curve due to offsetting pressures between macro and flows, a slow grind of the front end, if persists, could morph into a volatile whipsaw. Further strength in the USD and the front end sell off on the back of more hawkish Fed could be potentially bearish for risk assets and act as a trigger for rates reversal.

In short, while the Fed has found itself trapped before, it was only the recent spike in the dollar (thanks China) that has forced the Fed to act, with either decision – either further hawkishness or a dovish relent – leading to major market pain. And the longer the Fed delays making the key decision, the more painful the outcome will eventually be.

Source: Zerohedge – Why The Soaring Dollar Will Lead To An "Explosive" Market Repricing: A Flow Chart

"May The Better Liar Win" – How Democracy Ended

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

What killed democracy was constant lying to the public, by politicians whose only way to win national public office is to represent the interests of the super-rich at the same time as the given politician publicly promises to represent the interests of the public — “and may the better liar win!” — it’s a lying-contest.

When democracy degenerates into that, it becomes dictatorship by the richest, the people who can fund the most lying. Such a government is an aristocracy, no democracy at all, because the aristocracy rule, the public don’t. It’s the type of government that the French Revolution was against and overthrew; and it’s the type of government that the American Revolution was against and overthrew; but it has been restored in both countries.

First here will be discussed France:

On 7 May 2017, Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France with 66.1% of the vote, compared to Marine Le Pen’s 33.9%. That was the second round of voting; the first round had been: Macron 24.0%, Le Pen 21.3% Fillon 20.0%, Melenchon 19.6%, and others 15%; so, the only clear dominator in that 11-candidate contest was Macron, who, in the second round, turned out to have been the second choice of most of the voters for the other candidates. Thus, whereas Le Pen rose from 21.3% to 33.9% in the second round (a 59% increase in her percentage of the vote), Macron rose from 24.0% to 66.1% in the second round (a 275% increase in his percentage of the vote). In other words: Macron didn’t just barely win the Presidency, but he clearly dominated both rounds; it was never at all close.

But once in office he very quickly disappointed the French public:

On 11 August 2017, Le Figaro bannered (as autotranslated by Google Chrome) “A hundred days later, Macron confronted with the skepticism of the French”, and reported that 36% were “satisfied” and 64% were “dissatisfied” with the new President. 

On 23 March 2018, Politico bannered “Macron’s approval ratings hit record low: poll” and reported that, “Only 40 percent of the French population said they have a favorable opinion of Macron, a drop of 3 percentage points from last month and 12 percentage points from December, while 57 percent said they hold a negative opinion of the president.” 

On 22 April 2018, Europe 1 reported that 44% were “satisfied” with Macron, and 55% were “dissatisfied” with him; and that — even worse — while 23% were “very dissatisfied” with him, only 5% were “very satisfied” with him.

So, clearly — and this had happened very quickly — the French public didn’t think that they were getting policies that Macron had promised to them during his campaign. He was very different from what they had expected — even though he had won the Presidency in a landslide and clearly dominated both rounds. That plunge in support after being elected President required a lot of deceit during his campaign.

Second, is US:

The situation in the US was very different in its means, but similar in its outcome: it was a close election between two candidates, each of whom had far more of the electorate despising him or her than admiring him or her. Neither of the two candidates in the second round was viewed net-favorably by the public.

The key round of elimination of the more-attractive candidates, was in the primaries; and, after that, it became merely a choice between uglies in the general election. Any decent (or even nearly decent) person had already been eliminated, by that time. Consequently, the ultimate winner never had the high net-favorable rating from the US public, that Macron did from the French public.

America’s system of ‘democracy’ is very different than France’s:

Throughout the primaries-season — America’s first round — the most-preferred of all candidates in the race was Bernie Sanders, who, in the numerous one-on-one polled hypothetical choices versus any of the opposite Party’s contending candidates, crushed each one of them except John Kasich, who, throughout the primaries, was the second-most preferred of all of the candidates (and who performed far better than did Trump did in the hypothetical match-ups against Clinton). In the hypothetical match-ups, Sanders beat Kasich by 3.3%, whereas Kasich beat Clinton by 7.4% — that spread between +3.3% and -7.4% is 10.8%, and gives a pretty reliable indication of what the Democratic National Committee threw away when rigging the primaries and vote-counts for Hillary Clinton to win the Party’s nomination. Sanders beat Trump by 10.4%, whereas Clinton beat Trump by 3.2%. That spread was only 7.2% in favor of Sanders over Clinton; but, in any case, the DNC cared lots more about satisfying its mega-donors than about winning, when they picked Clinton to be the Party’s nominee.

(Ms. Clinton’s actual victory over Mr. Trump in the final election between those two nominees turned out to be by only 2.1% — close enough a spread so as to enable Trump to win in the Electoral College (which is all that counts), which counts not individual voters but a formula that represents both the states and the voters. Sanders would have beaten Trump in a landslide — far too big a margin for the Electoral College to have been able to go the opposite way, such as did happen with Clinton. This fact was also shown here and here. That’s what the DNC threw away.) 

Hillary Clinton received by far the biggest support from billionaires, of all of the candidates; Sanders received by far the least; and this is why the Democratic Party, which Clinton and Barack Obama (two thoroughly billionaire-controlled politicians) effectively controlled, handed its nomination to Clinton. On 7 June 2016, the great investigative journalist Greg Palast headlined and documented “How California is being stolen from Sanders right now”, and four days later a retired statistician’s review of other statisticians’ statistical analysis of data from all of the primaries and caucuses, reaffirmed their findings, that the Democratic nomination had been stolen by the Democratic National Committee, and he concluded that “the whole process has been rigged against Bernie at every level and that is devastating even though I don’t agree [politically] with him.” A more detailed study was published on 1 August 2016, titled “Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries”.

Basically, what had happened is that the most-preferred of all the candidates got deep-sixed by Democratic Party billionaires, who ultimately control the DNC, just as Republican billionaires control the RNC. The US Government is squabbles between billionaires, and that’s all. That’s what’s left of American ‘democracy’, now.

On 12 August 2016, Julian Assange noted: “MSNBC on its most influential morning program, Morning Joe, was defending Bernie Sanders. Then Debbie Wasserman Schultz [head of the DNC] called up the president of MSNBC. Amazingly, this is not reported in the US media. It is reported in the US media that they called up Chuck Todd who’s the host of Meet The Press. Something much more serious is not reported — that Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself personally called up the president of MSNBC to apply pressure in relation to positive coverage about Bernie Sanders on Morning Joe.” That was typical of what went on.

Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating, by Election Day, was 40.3%, her unfavorable was 55.3%. Donald Trump’s favorable was 39.8%, unfavorable was 53.4%. Bernie Sanders, as of the end of the primaries on 29 June 2016, was 50.8% favorable, 39.6% unfavorable, and it has been getting steadily better afterward. But the suckered Democratic Party voters (the ones who were counted, at any rate) voted slightly more for Hillary than for Bernie. Even despite Sanders’s having had support from few if any billionaires, he almost won the Democratic nomination, and that’s remarkable. He might actually have received more votes during the primaries than Hillary did, but we’ll never know.

So: America is a dictatorship by the billionaires. And this means that it operates by fooling the public. France is similar, though it achieves this via a different way. And, in both countries, deceit is essential, in order to achieve its dictatorship. Fooling the public is now what it’s all about, in either case. Democracy can never be won by fooling the public; because fooling the public means removing the public’s ability to control the government. So, calling such a nation a ‘democracy’, is, itself, deceiving the public — it’s part of the dictatorship, or else support of the dictatorship.

In former times, this system was rationalized as ‘the divine right of kings’. Now it’s rationalized as ‘the divine right of capital’. But it’s also become covered-over by yet another lie: ‘democracy’. This is a ‘democratic’ aristocracy; it is an ‘equal opportunity’ aristocracy. In it, each citizen has ‘equal rights’ as every other citizen, no matter how wealthy. It’s just a castle of lies. And its doors are actually open only to the few richest-and-well-connected.

Here, a former CIA official tries to describe how the American dictatorship works – the enforcement-part of the system, and he does (even if only by implication) also touch upon the financial sources of it.

He discusses his personal case: why he could no longer tolerate working for the CIA. But his description of how he, as an Agency official, saw the system to function, starts at 3:45 in the video. Key passages start at 12:45, and at 20:15.

Maybe any American who would email this article to friends who don’t understand how the system functions, will come under increased US surveillance, but that CIA official’s career and family were destroyed by what the system did to him, which was lots worse than just surveillance.

Remarkably, he nonetheless had the courage to persist (and thus did that video). However, when one sees how politically partisan (and so obtuse) the viewer-comments to that video are, one might be even more depressed than by the account this former CIA official presents. But, even if the situation is hopeless, everyone should at least have the opportunity to understand it. Because, if the aristocracy are the only people who understand it, there can’t be any hope for democracy, at all.

Source: Zerohedge – "May The Better Liar Win" – How Democracy Ended

Did Putin Just Ask For Iran's Exit From Syria In Meeting With Assad?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid an unannounced visit to Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening at the Russian president’s summer home in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi where the two leaders discussed the process for winding down the war in Syria, and notably the reduction of foreign troop presence in the country.

This marks the third such known meeting inside Russia between Assad and President Putin since 2015, and the first since two major instances of external airstrikes on the Syrian government dramatically escalated the prospect for broader war. The first was the April 13th US-led coalition attack involving over one hundred missiles on sites in and around Damascus; and the second was the May 10 Israeli attack on dozens of targets inside Syria in what was the biggest military escalation between the two countries in decades.

May 17th meeting in Sochi. Image source: SANANo doubt the two leaders, both long branded international pariahs by the West, had a lot to discuss after the uptick of external military action in Syria, but likely looming larger was the Iran and Israel question, and Israel’s continued threats of attack should its “Iranian red line” go unenforced.

Recall that a mere week ago Netanyahu concluded a 10-hour visit with Putin in Moscow just as Israeli jets were in the air beginning strikes against Syrian bases said to house Iranian troops.

And crucially, Syria’s state-run SANA has confirmed that Putin told Assad during the meeting that “foreign armed forces” would leave Syria.

The official readout of the meeting quotes President Putin as saying, “We affirm that with the achievement of the big victories and the remarkable successes by the Syrian Arab army in the fight against terrorism and with the activation of the political process, it is necessary for all foreign forces to withdraw from the Syrian Arab Republic territories.”

This is a reference to the still ongoing but thorny Astana, Kazakhstan centered talks involving Russia, Turkey, and Iran which has been by and large rejected by the vast majority of anti-Assad fighters, especially due to Iran’s contentious role as a main guarantor of the deal. 

For this reason most media outlets commenting on Putin’s reference to “foreign forces” interpret this as a jab at key Syrian ally Iran; however, a number of Middle East based journalists and analysts point to US occupying forces in Syria’s northeast, as well as Turkey’s military and armed proxy groups in the formerly Syrian Kurdish Afrin canton near Aleppo, and the tens of thousands for foreign jihadists that continue to fight in Syria — many of them state sponsored by Saudi Arabia and other external actors. 

The Washington Post and CNN, for example, focused on Iran and Hezbollah as key foreign forces that have “helped to prop up the embattled President [Assad].” The Post’s Liz Sly said, “In the context of current debates for a [political] settlement, that’s code for Iran. No indication whether Assad agreed.”

Putin to Assad in Sochi tonight: “Foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.” In the context of current debates for a settlement, that’s code for Iran. No indication whether Assad agreed. The Kremlin readout: https://t.co/7n0lhQkYJV
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) May 17, 2018
However former Sunday Times journalist Hala Jaber countered that Putin did not refer to Iran or other Syrian allied forces: “Iran‘s presence is not viewed in the same league as that of the U.S. and as such is not negotiable nor will be used by Syria as an exchange commodity… U.S. presence is viewed as totally illegal…[there’s] no comparison” she wrote.

Notably, Assad’s statement while meeting with Putin named “illegal foreign forces” compared with Putin’s mention of “foreign forces.” Jaber further argued that “the reference by both Putin and Assad relates to both Turkish and U.S. forces and not Iran, which has a defense agreement with Syria… its current presence is not part of any such deals to be made.”

Incorrect.. the reference by both Putin & Assad, relates to both Turkish & U.S forces and not Iran, which has a defence agreement with Syria.. it’s current presence is not part of any such deals to be made.
— Hala Jaber (@HalaJaber) May 18, 2018
As we noted in the aftermath of Israel’s latest massive attack on multiple locations inside Syria, Russia has appeared content to stay on the sidelines while Syria and Israel lobbed missiles at each other; however, Russia is carefully balancing its interests in Syria, eager to avoid an uncontrolled escalation leading to a direct great power confrontation. 

Though a number of Western analysts have interpreted Russia’s relative silence on the latest Israeli strikes (as well as apparent U-turn on prior indications that it would supply Syria with with S-300 missiles) as signs of a weakening Moscow-Damascus alliance, it is more likely that Russia is pleased with Syria’s current air defense systems, and sees the battlefield as increasingly stabilizing in spite of limited Israeli incursions, hence Putin’s desire of “stepping up the political process” as he confirmed Thursday. 

As we reported, Syria’s current missile defense seems to have performed well. SANA indicated that the army’s air defenses had “shot down dozens of Israeli missiles, preventing most of them from reaching their targets,” however, some of the rockets managed to hit radars and an ammunition depot. But beyond this, the multiple videos purporting to show direct intercepts by Syrian defenses make for a convincing case that Syria still possesses robust deterrent capabilities. 

Yet in typical fashion the mainstream media can only interpret all recent events as signs of Syrian-Russian weakness and increased internal tensions. Time will tell.

Source: Zerohedge – Did Putin Just Ask For Iran's Exit From Syria In Meeting With Assad?

The "Fake News" Story Is Fake News

Authored by Philip Weiss via MondoWeiss.net,

Almost every day on public radio or public television, I hear reports about how fake news is undermining our democracy.

These high-minded reporters and anchors seem truly to believe that a feverish menace is overwhelming the minds of once-sensible people.

This story is itself fake news for several obvious reasons.

We’ve never had more good information than we have now; people are as well-informed as they want to be. There will always be outlets purveying lies; that is the nature of communication. And the insistence on the “fake news” issue is an effort to assign Trump’s victory not to those who brought it to us (the electorate, and the incompetence of the Clinton campaign) but on some nefarious agents.

The fact that we have more and better information today than ever almost goes without saying. When I started in the news business more than 40 years ago, few reporters carried tape recorders, largely because they worked for a guild and were never subject to correction. Today there are countless outlets, thanks to the internet, and important events are almost always recorded. The amount of data we have on public figures is vast compared to even ten years ago.

We can all argue about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; but we are today awash in information. That information is more reliable than it has ever been before. My own work on Palestine and the Israel lobby has shown me that global consumers can get more accurate information about that conflict than they’ve ever had. Yes, as we assert here all the time, the mainstream US media is in the tank for Israel; but it’s not as if better information is not available at your fingertips, much of it from Europe and Palestine, often citizen video.

Before the internet, alternative sources were much harder to obtain. You had to subscribe to journals, or go to Hotaling’s newsstand in Times Square for out-of-town papers. The best example is  sports. I had to hope the newsstand had the late edition of the Times, or that the Times carried the box score for my hometown team. Today I can find out any score and see videos of my team’s performance in an instant. And the destruction of the guilds by the internet has brought us sharp commentators who would never had access to the media traditionally (like this tweeter I turn to every morning to get the score).

“Do you trust everything you read on social media?” an ad for WNYC radio asks. They used to say the same thing about newspapers when I was a kid! The idea that information used to be a clean pool before all the clever internet liars arrived is a delusion on the part of entitled reporters of the fake news storyline. Storytelling is a primordial human experience. It is rooted in the need for knowledge to enhance our survival. We tell stories in an effort to make our lives better, more fulfilling, more understandable. And from the beginning of the story, there were lies. Some say that human beings have tongues in their mouths to deceive others, while some fiction writers will tell you that artifice is the soul of story. We all learn to sort out sincere and truthful from exaggerated and bogus. No, we don’t always succeed as readers and listeners at that job, but we try. Just as reporters seek to convey accurate versions of events despite their limitations; and artificers seek to construct more perfect tales to relate social and psychological quandaries.

There are surely hundreds of thousands of news sites today (millions?) where there used to be thousands of news outlets. The great preponderance of these sites do as we do here, try and present the most genuine version of events they are able to. As Ezra Pound once said, there is only one standard for writing: accuracy of statement. It’s not rocket science, but it is a struggle.

Are there sites that try to hoodwink readers? Of course. There have always been sensational papers, yellow journalism, scandal sheets, rumors, disinformation, boys crying wolf, and unreliable sources. Readers have always had a duty to sort this out. How many of us feel that we can size up the accuracy of an unknown site in a few seconds, from one sign or another? Readers are way more sophisticated than the fake-news reporters believe them to be. More than that, we know that some of the biggest lies originate from authorities. Which gives rise to conspiracy stories, going back to Shakespeare…

The claim that liars and fake-news sites handed the election to Donald Trump is fiction. A democracy gives the franchise to a lot of stupid people, on all sides. People believe what they want to believe. No doubt the internet has served to socialize information, tailoring it to tribal audiences (I seek out that baseball tweeter because we are likeminded, still our team can’t win), but it’s not as if information was objective before. The belief that people were manipulated into voting for Trump may be comforting to those who love the neoliberal elitism and interventionism of the post-9/11 world, but it doesn’t answer the complex reality that is American society.

The smartest reporting on the 2016 election was the study showing that Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all had high casualty rates from America’s wars; and that these voters regarded Clinton as pro-war. And Clinton failed to campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan, even as her surrogates advocated for regime change in Syria on the cables. Those factors would seem to be as determinative as anything else that the big papers have told us about the debacle November 8. It would be a lot better if they would actually interview Trump voters, rather than lecturing us about fake news.

The claim that the Russians are behind fake news and they threw the election is just more fiction from a Democratic Party determined to have a new cold war in order to excuse itself from its failures to reach the white Obama voters who voted for Trump. Do people really think that the ads Russians placed on Facebook, or the data that Trump allies had access to through Cambridge Analytica, swayed people to vote for Trump? Is that how you made up your mind? Maybe a few fools changed their vote because of lies; but again that does not go to the real dynamics of the 2016 race. People disliked Clinton for good reasons. People sought a disrupter for good reasons.

If Russians were behind the Wikileaks hack of the Democratic National Committee emails, maybe we should be thanking them. The hack exposed real corruption: on my issue, the Clinton team’s active efforts to sell Clinton’s stance on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to big pro-Israel donors as a way to salve them for her support for the Iran deal. No one has disputed the accuracy of these emails, and they are a disturbing window on how politics works. It would be nice if the media would spend a little time on the substance of those emails. But no, the fake news story has a life of its own.

P.S. Judy Woodruff’s picture is atop this post because she and the PBS News Hour have taken the fake news story way too seriously. In fairness, I urge readers to watch her interview of two Boko Haram survivors, some of the best journalism you will ever see. 

Source: Zerohedge – The "Fake News" Story Is Fake News

All 34 Bishops In Chile Suddenly Resign Over "Absolutely Deplorable" Pedophile Priest Scandal

All 34 bishops in Chile have tendered their resignations in the wake of yet another pedophile priest scandal in which high level officials covered up the institutionalized sexual abuse of minors – even threatening officials tasked with investigating sex crimes and the destruction of evidence.

Thirty-one active bishops and three who are signed a document with their offers to resign following an emergency meeting this week with Pope Francis. Francis can accept the resignations one by one, reject them outright or delay a decision. 

Calls had mounted for the resignations after details emerged of the contents of a 2,300-page Vatican report into the Chilean scandal leaked early Friday. 

Francis had accused the bishops of destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring investigators to minimize abuse accusations and showing ‘grave negligence’ in protecting children from paedophile priests.

In one of the most damning documents from the Vatican on the issue, Francis said the entire Chilean church hierarchy was collectively responsible for ‘grave defects’ in handling cases and the resulting loss of credibility that the Catholic Church has suffered. -Daily Mail

“No one can exempt himself and place the problem on the shoulders of the others,” Francis wrote in the document published by Chile’s T13 television and confirmed as accurate Friday by the Vatican.

Responding to the 2,300-page report, Chilean bishops called the contents of the document “absolutely deplorable,” and showed an “unacceptable abuse of power and conscience,” along with sexual abuse. 

The bishops asked for forgiveness from the victims, the Pope and all Catholics worldwide. 

Pope Francis summoned the entire bishops conference to Rome after he said he made “grave errors in judgement” in the case of Chilean priest Juan Barros – who stands accused of victims of pedophile Rev. Fernando Karadima of witnessing and ignoring their abuse. 

But the scandal grew beyond the Barros case after Francis received the report written by two Vatican sex crimes experts sent to Chile to get a handle on the scope of the problem. 

Their report hasn’t been made public, but Francis cited its core findings in the footnotes of the document that he handed over to the bishops at the start of their summit this week.

And those findings are damning. -Daily Mail

While some of the pedophile priests and brothers were expelled from their congregations following the discovery of “immoral conduct,” many had their cases “minimized of the absolute gravity of their criminal acts, attributing them to mere weakness or moral lapses,” wrote Francis. 

Those same offenders “were then welcomed into other dioceses, in an obviously imprudent way, and given dicoesan or parish jobs that gave them daily contact with minors,” wrote the pope.

The harsh assessment of the quality of seminaries suggests that a possible next step might be a full-on Vatican investigation of Chilean schools of priestly training. 

Pope Benedict XVI ordered such an investigation into Irish seminaries after he convened the entire Irish bishops’ conference for a similar dressing-down in 2010 over their dismal handling of abuse cases. -Daily Mail

“The problems inside the church community can’t be solved just by dealing with individual cases and reducing them to the removal of people, though this – and I say so clearly – has to be done,” Francis wrote. 

“But it’s not enough, we have to go beyond that. It would be irresponsible on our part to not look deeply into the roots and the structures that allowed these concrete events to occur and perpetuate.” 

Francis Knew

For all of the “holier-than-thou” admonishments in his letter, Pope Francis is not without blame. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that Francis drew scorn over his appointment of Barros bishop of Osnoro, Chile, in 2015. 

The Associated Press reported earlier this year that Francis did so over the objections of other Chilean bishops who knew Barros’ past was problematic and had recommended he and other Karadima-trained bishops resign and take a sabbatical.

The AP subsequently reported that Francis had received a letter in 2015 from one of Karadima’s most vocal accusers, Juan Carlos Cruz, detailing Barros’ misdeeds. That letter undercut Francis’ claim to have never heard from victims about Barros.

Francis further enraged Chileans and drew sharp rebuke from his top abuse adviser when, during a January trip to Chile, he said the accusations against Barros were ‘calumny’ and said he was ‘certain’ he was innocent.

Not so certain now, are we Pope? 

Source: Zerohedge – All 34 Bishops In Chile Suddenly Resign Over "Absolutely Deplorable" Pedophile Priest Scandal

One Angry, Disillusioned Philly Resident Reflects On "30 Blocks Of Slavery"

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“Trump is my brother. You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” – Kanye West

The last few weeks has seen far too much honesty for the Democrat Party slave owners in Washington D.C. and the other liberal urban ghetto strongholds, as a couple uppity blacks have dared to question the liberal narrative. It all started when Kim Kardashian’s better half – Kanye West – dared to go off the plantation and speak his mind about Donald Trump, Candace Owens and black people in general. His tweet about Candace Owens started the shitstorm.

“I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”

It seems innocent enough, but Candace Owens happens to be a young black woman who has become a social media Twitter sensation because she promotes conservative values and criticizes the black victim-hood narrative promoted by liberal politicians and their mainstream media mouthpieces. Twitter exploded with outrage from the left and accolades from the right. Never to let an opportunity pass, Trump promptly tweeted:

“Thank you Kanye, very cool!”

The outrage and vitriol only grew more intense as Twitter exploded over the next few days. Trump, who Democrats and the left wing media constantly portray as a racist, again received props from another well known black rap artist – Chance the Rapper—who tweeted:

“Black people don’t have to be democrats.”

You could practically see the heads of Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Chuckie Schumer, Rachel Maddow, and Chris Cuomo exploding simultaneously as their black victim-hood narrative began to unravel. How dare these rogue black men and woman question the standard orthodoxy of the left, used to elect Democrats for decades in the deteriorating urban shitholes in which blacks overwhelmingly inhabit.

The left’s powerful hold on black voters is dependent upon them believing the welfare state benefits the black community. Any discussion of personal responsibility, jobs, marriage, and real education would loosen the chains enslaving blacks in Democrat controlled districts across the country. Smelling liberal bloodletting, Trump immediately poured gasoline on the growing fire with this tweet:

“Kanye West has performed a great service to the Black Community – Big things are happening and eyes are being opened for the first time in Decades – Legacy Stuff! Thank you also to Chance and Dr. Darrell Scott, they really get it (lowest Black & Hispanic unemployment in history).”

Trump conveniently ignores the fact the number of blacks not in the labor force is also at a record high. It’s amazing how low you can drive the unemployment rate if you pretend tens of millions are not really in the labor force. But why let some facts get in the way of a feel good story about black people. As liberals condemned Kanye and inferred he had lost his mind again, he managed to take the outrage to level 11 with this doozy of a tweet:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”

It was priceless watching left wing nutjob rage, anger and wrath against such an outrageous traitorous statement by this presumptuous black man with 28 million Twitter followers. The faux outrage on MSNBC and CNN revealed them to be as vacuous and weak minded as all critical thinking people know them to be. West was not saying slavery was not a terrible scourge and negative era in our history. He was telling black people slavery was abolished over 150 years ago, so stop blaming your problems on something that hasn’t impacted them in generations. The liberal race baiter politicians use the slavery narrative to keep blacks downtrodden on their urban ghetto plantations.

This is the same Kanye West who shocked the world by declaring Bush didn’t care about black people on national TV during a telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims. Along with his no talent fat assed reality TV star wife Kim Kardashian, Kanye West is an attention whore. It’s good for business. His tweets have elevated his name recognition and will generate more CD sales and concert sellouts. The conservative twitterphere has gone bonkers over Kanye, especially after a minuscule Reuters poll of 200 black men showed a doubling in Trump support from 11% to 22% after Kanye’s tweets.

The slavery and plantation analogy used by Kanye strikes me as appropriate, since I’ve been trekking through the urban ghetto plantation of West Philly for the last twelve years observing the slaves in their natural habitat. With the recent acquisition of a basic cheap smart phone a few months ago, I’ve been unleashed to document the 30 Blocks of Squalor with my camera. Mistimed stop lights and gaping potholes along the route make progress very slow, offering plenty of opportunity to take pictures. I believe the observable reality of West Philly confirms the points of view offered by Kanye West and Candace Owens.

In 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia, mostly in North and West Philadelphia, Mitt Romney received ZERO votes in the 2012 presidential election. The communities I pass through in West Philly are 95% occupied by black folks. In Philadelphia, Obama beat Romney by 486,000 votes in 2012 and Clinton beat Trump by 455,000 in 2016. Every urban ghetto shithole across the land, controlled by the Democrat plantation owners, sees the same result in every election. The black slaves vote overwhelmingly for their continued poverty and enslavement. The welfare mentality has been ingrained in their psyches after 50 years of Great Society programs  worked their magic.

Democrats have had complete control of Philadelphia for the last six decades. The downward spiral has been accelerating as the Democrat solutions are always higher taxes, more welfare payments, bowing down to unions, corruption, and awful government run schools. The result has been white flight, business flight, dependency mentality, poverty, unpayable government union pension liabilities, politicians in prison, crime, gaping potholes, exploding water pipes, houses that collapse during a heavy rainstorm, and ever expanding squalor. The implementation of the welfare state has strengthened the chains of black slavery, insuring their subjugation in squalor.

When viewing the dilapidated hovels I’ve photographed on my daily commute through the 30 Blocks of Squalor, remember these were once well built sturdy housing occupied by people who worked for a living and took care of their homes and neighborhood. Of course, that was prior to LBJ’s Great Society promises in 1965. This despicable excuse for a human being is still revered by Democrats and black leaders despite his true thoughts about his Great Society legislation that has destroyed the black community. But, so far, his prediction has been accurate through the first 53 years:

“I’ll have those niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

This lovely duplex is located on Girard Avenue in West Philly. The city’s response to abandoned properties is to board up the windows and let nature eat away at the structure until it collapses during a heavy rainstorm (I’ve seen it happen). Notice the multiple Direct TV dishes on the building, including the boarded up side. It is baffling to me that in neighborhoods where the average household income is $15,000 (mostly welfare payments) and the average house is worth $25,000, every house has a satellite dish, every person shuffling along the streets has a smartphone, and there are a multitude of $40,000 vehicles parked on the garbage strewn streets.

The hand written sign on the side of this dilapidated crumbling fleapit says “Everything Must Go”. Everything went a long time ago. The orange sticker from the city says it’s condemned, but it looks to be in the same shape as 50% of the occupied buildings along Market Street in West Philly. It’s shocking that an Obama inspired black entrepreneur hasn’t snatched up this prime retail location and started a thriving business.

This picture captures so much of the ambiance of West Philly. You’ve got a couple ramshackle boarded up houses, the required roll down steel security shutters for every business, graffiti applied by some fine upstanding scholars, an abandoned vehicle, and garbage and trash littering the entire scene. The degradation, apathy and descent into societal abyss of this black community all wrapped up in one photograph.

I wonder if the houses in Baghdad require bars across both the downstairs and upstairs windows. It appears the two best businesses to be in along the 30 Blocks of Squalor is selling security gates and plywood. I guess if you feel it is OK to throw your trash on the street, shoveling your sidewalk is probably out of the question.

I can honestly say there are absolutely no retail establishments in my slice of suburbia that feel the need to install roll down steel security shutters or security gates when they close up shop for the evening. This requirement along the 30 Blocks of Squalor reveals an uncivilized, lawless, dangerous community, inhabited by people lacking comprehension of right and wrong. They have no sense of community or morality, as stealing, killing and throwing garbage on their streets is deemed acceptable. The local news, every evening, details the murders, robberies, rapes and assaults in this urban kill zone.

I’ve determined a perfect test for how dangerous and run down a section of West Philly is with my mural index. Democrat politicians and black community leaders seem to believe having white artists painting glorious murals portraying the black people of that community as fearless leaders, academics and heroes will actually inspire the downtrodden, ignorant, welfare dependent residents to rise up in the world. Instead, the irony is lost on these bozos, as the mural index shows – the more murals per square block, the more likely you are to be murdered on that block. With two murals side by side, you should be ducking while driving by. Interpreting the meaning of the murals must require a PhD in ebonics.

I’ve always found this biker bar to be amusing in a warped sort of way. The sign on their entrance says “Death to the KKK”. That’s an interesting message, considering the KKK is not and never has been an organization prominent in any way in Philadelphia or the Northeast United States. I’m guessing they aren’t too welcoming towards white people in that bar. I picture the black bar scene in Animal House with Otis Day singing Shama lama ding dong.

You know you are in a bad neighborhood when the Pest Control business (probably the most profitable business in West Philly) is completely encased in bars to keep the feral neighborhood dogs at bey. They are peerless in exterminating rats, roaches, mice and any other varmints frequenting your dilapidated dump.

Just before reaching the West Philly border in Upper Darby (the nice Darby – lower Darby might be worse than West Philly) a large building filled with crappy furniture pretends to be a retail store. When your main marketing message is OPEN, the quality of your merchandise is probably iffy. The little blue sign says NO CREDIT needed. They know their clientele.

A billboard further down the road for another furniture store also touts NO CREDIT NEEDED. This is the ghetto. The real unemployment rate is north of 50%. The other 50% are working at low paying shit service jobs. Only a fool would lend them money to buy furniture. Unless it’s just the plantation owners keeping the slaves subservient and subdued. The Wall Street cabal has a monopoly on credit through their control of the Federal Reserve. If the Fed provides free money to Wall Street and they charge 29% interest to poverty stricken black people who don’t understand math, they can afford high default rates. Great business plan. And if it all goes to shit, the American taxpayer will bail them out.

There is no way for poor black people in West Philly to escape their chains of debt enslavement when their only options are subprime debt to finance furniture, appliance and auto purchases. They are dependent upon the state for their welfare subsistence and eternally dependent upon the Wall Street cabal to finance their living at loan shark level interest rates and terms. The Great Society programs were supposed to lift minorities up, but they have created generations of bitter, dismayed, ignorant, dependent, poor, Democratic voters. And it all revolves around the engineered destruction of the family unit and purposeful failure to educate the children.

Government programs promoting the destruction of the black family unit have created havoc in West Philly and in urban ghettos across the land. In 1960 22% of black children lived with single parents. By 2006, the 1960 percentage had more than doubled to 56%. Less than 20% of black children were born out of wedlock in 1960. Today, 73% of black children are born out of wedlock. Amazingly, government will always get more of what it incentivizes. When welfare programs pay people more money to have children out of wedlock and not marry, this is the result. The destruction of the black family unit by Democrat policies has wrought destruction, poverty and generations of helpless slaves.

“If you want to see the poor remain poor, generation after generation, just keep the standards low in their schools and make excuses for their academic shortcomings and personal misbehavior. But please don’t congratulate yourself on your compassion.” – Thomas Sowell

Education was the only way for black people to cast off their chains, obtain jobs paying middle class wages, and rising out of poverty. Faux liberal compassion, government run schools with dumbed down standards, unionized teachers matriculating unmotivated, fatherless, ignorant kids through a demented socialization program disguised as education for an average cost of $12,000 per student has destroyed any chance for generations of black children to succeed in life and elevate their community. It’s almost as if corrupt politicians and feckless government bureaucrats want to keep their black constituents ignorant, dependent and helpless.

Despite billions spent on welfare programs to supposedly elevate poor blacks, virtually all businesses along the 30 Blocks of Squalor are owned and operated by whites and Asians. The old building on Market Street that formerly housed Dick Clark’s American Bandstand now houses the government funded Enterprise  Center, an organization that counsels minority-owned businesses and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. The counseling hasn’t worked. Without strong two parent households and a good education, black entrepreneurs are more scarce in West Philly than a woman with a wedding ring. It is a wonder the white and Asian owners of steak shops and delis stay. They are robbed and shot on a regular basis.

Another fascinating observation on the 30 Blocks is the presence of H&R Block, among other national tax preparation firms. Why would this be? With average household incomes below $20,000, most of the people in West Philly pay no Federal Income taxes. Chalk it up to another welfare scam designed to help the poor and downtrodden. The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to people who don’t work and earn no income. You, the taxpayer, pay your taxes so they can be handed as tax refunds to people who pay no income taxes. The fine folks at H&R Block fill out all the forms, charge the poor people outrageous fees and then lure them into borrowing against their refunds at Shylock level interest rates.

This is how corporate America extracts their crops from the plantation. H&R Block utilizes the rampant ignorance in West Philly to generate profits. They capitalize on their lack of impulse control and delayed gratification abilities to offer them their refunds before the IRS sends the check. Meanwhile, H&R Block extracts a “fee” that equates to north of 50% interest. It’s the same story with the $70 billion food stamp program. JP Morgan administers the program and extracts hundreds of millions in fees. Wal-Mart and the other corporate mega-retailers reap the windfall of the spending. Corporate America loves the welfare state.

I have far more respect for the Muslim dude selling baby turtles next to the Phila Zoo at 34th and Girard than I do for Wall Street bankers and mega-corporations raping the poor. On hot days you will find young black guys selling cold water bottles in the stopped traffic. Given some skills and opportunity, these guys might succeed in this world. But on most days they are usually outnumbered by the lazy beggars.

As you motor around these days you might notice most of the newly constructed buildings are either banks or government offices. That should tell you everything you need to know about the winners and losers in the economy today. The newest building on the 30 Blocks of Squalor is a Social Security Administration Building. Why in the ghetto of West Philly? My guess is that after the Obama extended unemployment scam ended, deadbeats needed to fake disabilities in order to get onto the SSDI gravy train. So they made it easy for the “not in the labor force” West Philly patrons to shuffle on over to the Social Security office and pretend they have a soft tissue disability or depression or diabetes because they weigh 350 pounds. The victim-hood mentality is ingrained in this community.

I found it amusing a couple weeks ago when liberals screamed in outrage at Ben Carson’s proposal to increase the amount residents must pay towards their public housing rent from 30% to 35% of their household income. Carson, who grew up in extreme poverty in Detroit and became a neurosurgeon, captured the essence of what these welfare programs should do:

“Government should not keep people in a dependent state. It should be used as a springboard, and not as a hammock.”

The formula for public housing subsidies is warped. Just like all these programs, they encourage people not to work and not to generate “too much” income. The history of public housing has been a disaster. The picture below represents the old and the new of public housing. Both buildings are located at 45th and Market. The rat and drug infested tenement  on the left is a 20 story crime scene built in the 1970s. Cops are afraid to enter this building. It will eventually be imploded, like many before it.

The new and improved public housing is of the townhouse variety. Some even have gated parking and retail storefronts built within them. Democrat politicians are sure if they build retail storefronts, retailers will come. The 8 storefront shops in the Mantua Square low income housing mecca are 100% unoccupied four years after being built with your tax dollars. Notice the gate around the low income housing townhouses. There are deadly spikes on the top of the gate. Seems like a great neighborhood where you can safely raise your fatherless children. These townhouses will deteriorate and crumble, as the residents feel entitled to free housing and will not take care of them. The spiked gate should remind them, they are still on the government plantation.

In 2014 Obama designated the 2 square miles of Mantua, in West Philly, as one of his Promise Zones, promising to redevelop the neighborhood, create jobs, and make it safe again. I drive through this neighborhood every day. Absolutely nothing has changed since 2014. A few dilapidated buildings have been bulldozed, but nothing replaced them. No new businesses. No jobs. The schools are as pathetic as ever. The murders and robberies haven’t ceased. And drug dealing is still the top job in the community. Thomas Sowell had Obama pegged:

“One of the reasons it has taken so long for some people to finally see through Barack Obama is that people do not like to admit, even to themselves, that they have been played for fools by a slick-talking politician.”

Black people have been played by Obama and other race baiting liberal politicians for decades. After spending over $10 trillion on welfare programs since 1965, the poverty rate has barely budged. The dependency mentality has been passed down though multiple generations. Liberal politicians, in conspiracy with Wall Street, the liberal media, and corporate America, have enslaved urban blacks in chains of ignorance, welfare addiction, blaming white people, immorality, and criminal mentality.

Highly educated conservative minded black men like Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, and Ben Carson are scorned and ridiculed by the left. But when a rapper like Kanye, hero to millions of young black people, breaks with the plantation owners and speaks the truth, panic ensues. The liberals will circle the wagons to protect their black voting block. They will likely succeed, as it will be tough to break 50 years of trained dependency. If Trump can pull off convincing 20% of black people to vote for him and the Republican party, he will become a legend.

George Carlin’s American Dream tirade captures the essence of our predicament, and it particularly applies to the inhabitants of West Philly and all the other urban ghettos in Democrat strongholds around the country.

“There’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never, ever,  ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners, the owners of this country don’t want that.

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, and the reduced benefits.” –George Carlin

Source: Zerohedge – One Angry, Disillusioned Philly Resident Reflects On "30 Blocks Of Slavery"