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Tesla Model 3 vs the Chevy Bolt – And What About the Volt!?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2018 by jtoddring

 

The GM Bolt is a great car – but boring and ugly, and utilitarian, in my view, with surprisingly limited cargo space for a hatchback.

The Tesla Model 3 is also a great car, and with surprisingly good cargo space for a mid-size car – and it’s gorgeous.

There’s no comparison between the two.

One is a Korean-styled, KIA imitation, utilitarian economy car with some minimal quirky econo-car/hatchback charm, with a joystick shifter and control panel buttons from the 1970’s.

The other looks like an Italian-Scandinavian design team came out with something super-cool and sleek, and absolutely leading edge.

Again, no comparison.

The GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3 are the only cars available at this time, apparently, that are fully electric, with a range over 200 miles or 300 km, and anything near approaching affordability.

And, just as it did in a match-up with the flagships of the full-size luxury car market – beating BMW and Mercedes in sales with the Model S – in the mid-size/compact market, Tesla wins again, unsurprisingly.

The Tesla Model 3 has 400,000 advance orders, and has just hit production levels of 30,000 vehicles this year, and is ramping up fast.

The Bolt started strong, with sales strong enough to justify a GM production ramp up, but it simply can’t compete with Tesla styling or mystique.

And while both are plug-in EVs that can be plugged into any home or office wall socket, GM has nothing remotely comparable to the Tesla-built electric charging infrastructure for North America, which is the Tesla Supercharger stations.

The Bolt is $37k USD, the base Tesla is $35k USD. It’s a no-brainer.

*

By the way, GM, where’s the Volt?! Now there is a car with some style, in my opinion, and charm, and cargo space! All it lacks is an optional bigger battery pack.

Can you say, “Duh!”?

You survived bankruptcy, though the US government had to bail you out and become the major shareholder; you pulled the mothballed electric car project out of the back shed, and kudos for that – now give it some style, please.

The easiest way to do that would be to simply put a big battery pack option onto the undercarriage of the very well-designed, stylish and attractive extended-range EV Volt, and make a long-range full EV option for it.

Simple. Don’t over-complicate things. Advance the Volt.

And hire some Italian designers. Or Tesla designers, if they’ll part with the company they love.

A larger battery pack as an option for the stellar Volt would cost $5k-10k, but it would make the Volt a major contender as a mid-size, mid-price car that is also a long range electric vehicle, with a price around $39-44k USD.

Now this should be a no-brainer. Come on GM. Think about it for just a second, and get it in gear!

Until then, I’ll keep my 2012 Volt, with its 60km electric range and micro gasoline-powered range extension, and wait for a used Tesla Model 3 to come into our price range.

Too bad for GM though. This is a big lost opportunity, so far. Bad management decisions, General Motors.

As for the Volt, it is worth more than a few words as an aside.

The Chevy Volt is a great car – the best car I’ve ever driven, by far, if the environment is any consideration, which of course it should be.

We have a 2012 model, and it’s still a great car. I wouldn’t trade it for any other car, other than a Tesla, or a newer Volt. Nothing else really compares – at all.

Unless you really need giant SUV-size cargo space, or a truck or van for trades work, the Volt is simply the best car available on the planet – after the Tesla Model 3, of course, which blows it out of the water, and at a lower price.

GM, you seem to have no present ability to compete with Tesla on styling, but at least with a long-range battery pack option for the Volt, you could compete with the Model 3 on cargo space, with a car that I think is quite attractive – not gorgeous, like the Teslas, but attractive.

But no, that would require something akin to common sense. And you didn’t go bankrupt for no reason.

But once again, kudos to Tesla, for breaking new ground, and bringing electric vehicles further and further into the mainstream.

(Guess who’s leading the industry, by the way. It’s not GM. And it’s not any of the auto giants. It’s Tesla – again, and still.)

*

Now that Model 3 production is ramping up fast, what qualms does Top Gear have with the new Tesla? None. It’s simply a great car.

The only problem is waiting for the back orders to be filled. Quite the problem for a company to have – we can’t keep up with demand, so you’ll just have to wait for the lovely.

But then again, the best things usually don’t come overnight.

That’s hard for an instant-gratification culture to accept. But this is, when both price and environment are considered, as they must be, the best car ever made, to date, bar none.

JTR,
June 20, 2018

A Royal Wedding, Or A Royal Life, And A Royal World?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by jtoddring
 
 
Some find a royal wedding moving and beautiful. But I disagree. Beautiful would be taking the vast fortune of the “royal” family of England and sharing it with the five billion people on Earth living in poverty, one billion of whom live in extreme poverty. Until that happens, the beautiful words and noble sentiments spoken are hollow, and not just a sham, and a farce, but an insult to our intelligence, and to humanity, and to all that is decent and good in the world. It is a lie. Maybe the young couple being married are too naive to understand these things, but their elders are not – they are simply callous: and that is despicable.
 
I do agree, however, and to put it plainly, that the celebration of royal privilege is bullshit, to quote a plain-spoken friend who has the aptitude and the common sense to get straight to the heart of the matter.
 
“Royalty” should not be celebrated or venerated, but pitied at best, for the hollowness it represents; and more often, shunned and chastised, for the corruption, vanity, egotism and greed it represents.
 
It always pains me to feel that my words may upset some people, but I always feel immediately, as well, that sometimes things must be said, even if they are unpleasant truths to hear. And I am reminded of the words of the most venerated monk and contemplative of the past 100 years in the West, Thomas Merton, whom I respect very much. He said, “If you’re afraid of writing something that might offend someone, why write anything at all?” And I heartily concur.
 
To read a fantasy novel is one thing; or to watch a fantasy movie. That may be a harmless, and even rejuvenating break from the stress and strain of daily life. But we know we are dealing with fantasy in that case. Things become problematic when the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred, as they are in the media’s fixation on spectacles and the worship of celebrities. Then fantasy becomes, not a healing break from stress and strain, but something pathological.
 
A royal wedding is broadcast on television world-wide? I couldn’t be less interested. Bread and circuses: keep the people entertained and distracted. And celebrity worship doesn’t do us any good either.
 
And weren’t we supposed to have left feudalism and the worship of monarchy behind some 250 years ago? Are we moderns, or are we, as John Lennon said, “still fucking peasants as far as I can see”? I think the answer is obvious.
 
I like a line from the film, Slaves of New York. We don’t have heroes anymore. We have people who are known for their knownness. Precisely.
 
If Martin Luther King Jr. was giving a speech, I wouldn’t miss it. But I wouldn’t cross the street to see a “royal wedding”.
 
Rather than listening to, reading, or watching drivel and pap – for example, royal galas, in an orgy of voyeurism and vicarious living, which only shows the hollowness of our souls – I think we would be better off listening to this: American Dream – one of the great speeches by the reverend (and that is not a title, but a quality of spirit) Martin Luther King Jr., or any of the words of the truly great souls of humanity.
 
The words of great leaders, thinkers, scholars and sages should be our focus, along with meaningful action based in love; not flights of fantasy into celebrity fixation, or some other trivia that the media is peddling, like opium laced with cyanide.
 
I have a dream, and it is not to be a princess or a prince, but to see the world live in peace, as brothers and sisters, in justice and freedom, in ecological sanity, under constitutional democracy, and with wisdom and love.
 
I think that is a dream worth having, worth holding dear, and worth working toward and fighting for. And I think dealing with reality is preferable to living in fantasy, for it is only by dealing with reality that such a dream can, and will, become manifest.
 
I think we should turn away from celebrity worship and vicarious living, and live our own lives, and make them regal and majestic, with dignity and humility in balance, and with an awareness of the equality of all men and women: and build a better world for all – not in the fantasy world of our imaginings, but in reality.
 
That is a dream worth celebrating. And television fantasies and princess fairy tales, or prince fixations, or other forms of celebrity worship and distraction, can never, and will never, accomplish that.
 
JTR,
 
May 19, 2018
 
 

 

 

What Do I Want? (Or, What is to be done, if we are to have any future worth living?)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2018 by jtoddring

What do I want? Well, I would like to see us move immediately to a libertarian socialist society, along the lines that Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, Rudolph Rocker, or Murray Bookchin have described. Or better: an anarchist communist society, such as Kropotkin described. But I don’t see that as something that is likely to happen in the near future. I don’t think the people are ready for that kind of radical change. Too many people are deeply indoctrinated and ensconced in dead and dying ideologies, consumerism, materialism, slave-mentality, scarcity-consciousness, illusions of powerlessness, voyeurism and escapism and vicarious living, TV culture, and a habitual, docile obedience to authority, conformity, and to the ruling dogmas (or delusions) of our time.

I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I don’t think it’s likely that we would see a near-term shift to a libertarian socialist or anarchist communist society — at least, not en masse. It will be our future, if we choose it; and it is not only completely viable, but would be a vastly better society than what we have now: but I just don’t think that is something we are going to see in the short term.

So, we keep our ideals high and our dreams alive, and work toward smaller, more immediate goals, while never forgetting our values or our dreams, and never losing sight of the long-term perspective.

For example, I think we should immediately depose and dethrone the currently ruling global power elite. That would not simply be a good thing to do — it is, by now, a matter of survival.

In the short term, as in, right now, I would be happy to see the robber barons removed from power. And I think that is a clear and obvious, undeniable necessity. What does that mean? It means removing the banking elite and other corporate elites — the billionaire class — from their current position as de facto rulers of the Earth.

That, in turn, requires a renewal, a revitalization, and a rebirth of democracy. And that, in turn, requires nothing short of revolution. We are now left with no other choice.

The choices facing us now, in early 21st century society, are either revolution, or slow death. The current order, the latest in a series of empires, is one of global neo-feudal, crypto-fascist corporate rule: and it is devouring the poor, the middle class, and the Earth — and with increasing speed. If we do not find the courage for revolution, then slow death it is.

We had best be serious about this, and honest with ourselves. Our choices have narrowed to two. What will it be, world? The choice is ours. And the hour is late.

JTR,
February 14, 2018

 

 

Crytpo-Realities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 15, 2018 by jtoddring

The dodos run hither and thither, depending on which way the wind blows, and what the media tells them (99% of which is confusion, illusion, propaganda or lies — aka, bullshit). But as I’ve said, cryptocurrencies are not going away.

Here is the world’s leading trend analyst, Gerald Celente, on the subject:

“Indeed, even after the onslaught of government and banking warnings and restrictions, as we go to press, even though many of the currencies are well off their highs, the overall market has stabilized and many of the popular cryptos are significantly up year to date.

[Bitcoin is up over 800%, and Etherium is up nearly 7,000%, over the past year. But people panic easily, and are easily misled — and generally short-sighted, as well as blinkered. See James Altucher for further intelligent analysis on crypto-currencies. And buy $10 each of Bitcoin, Etherium and Lumens now, or $100 — something small, but a definite presence — if you haven’t yet.]

In our Trends Journal, we have steadfastly forecast that while some digital currencies will crash, long term the crypto market will grow. One reason is, as the world goes cashless, a sizeable market segment, particularly among millennials are no longer tied to their coin of the realm. They consider cryptos, many of which have production caps, as more valuable than their nation’s fiat currencies which are being printed infinitum.

[Fiat currencies, or paper money, are going to crash, and for a number of structural or macro-economic reasons: the principle one being that the Federal Reserve, the ECB, and central banks around the world, keep printing trillions of dollars out of thin air. Look at the Wiemar Republic. Such policies cannot be used to prop up economies, or to further line the pockets of the super-rich, which is their real purpose, indefinitely. Sooner or later, and more likely sooner than later, the currencies will collapse. Move your money into gold, silver, land, tools, seeds, and cryptos, now, before your money is worthless.]

Secondly, a series of coins that have a blockchain product and/or service function that drives revenue are considered New Age investment opportunities.

Indeed, even inside the hallowed halls of prestigious universities, those with international reputations for higher business-education acumen, courses on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are being taught. At Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke and other prominent business universities, graduate-level courses on digital currencies are being integrated into the curriculum.

Moreover, the Arizona State Senate recently passed a bill allowing property owners to pay their taxes with Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies. While the bill needs to pass the Arizona State House before becoming law, the progress so far reflects the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency has become legitimate.

TREND FORECAST: Unlike many governments that are opposed to the crypto’s and are regulating them without understanding the scope of the market, Switzerland, the world banking capital is on-trend, to become, in the word’s of its Economic Minister the world’s “Crypto-Nation.”

….

And while UBS and Credit Suisse said they would not handle crypto-assets for clients, two Swiss banks, Vontobel and Falcon Bank, agreed to handle cryptocuurency-based investments on behalf of their clients. So, too, have Germany’s Fidor Bank and Liechtenstein’s Bank Frick.”

The trend is clear: cryptocurrencies will continue to grow as mass adoption begins to accelerate.

And further: when — not if — paper currencies implode and collapse, the few cryptos which have legs, will skyrocket in value, and take over all or part of the role of paper money — in turn, making their value rise 1,000-fold, and higher.

Long term vision is crucial: or you are lost, and simply part of the bleating herd.

Here’s what Twitter, Facebook, and other “news feeds” should read — on a daily basis:

Now Trending:

Idiocy, vacancy, herd mentality, propaganda and mass deception — and a growing minority of people around the world who are waking up, and beginning to think for themselves (hallelujah — and none too soon)

Interesting times indeed.

JTR,
February 14, 2018

Bitcoin, Crypto-Currencies and Global Trends — Tipping Points Approaching Fast

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 29, 2018 by jtoddring

Question: Cryptos — Which ones, and when?

Answer: Two, and right now

Waiting for the (painfully slow) transfer of funds from one Bitcoin wallet to another — both my own, in order to be able to buy Stellar Lumens with Bitcoins (since you can’t buy Lumens directly with fiat paper currencies, it being too new) I have the painfully clear demonstration of exactly why Lumens are superior to Bitcoin: because nobody wants to wait for hours for a transaction via Bitcoin when they can have it done and complete via Lumens in seconds. Case proven — and I have not yet even purchased my first Lumen.

Recommend to buy in modest amounts: Bitcoins (BTC, on Coinbase) (still, because they are still going to be valuable for quite some time, and will almost certainly rise much higher in value yet, especially if Amazon announces it is going to accept Bitcoins, as it now seems probable they will); and more importantly perhaps, Lumens (XLM, on Binance, using Bitcoins transferred from Coinbase). I would do both before Monday, if I were you. Think small investments, for long-term hold.

Note that while Bitcoin is down 30% over the past month from a peak in December — which makes it a good time to buy — it is up 1,000% over the past year. And the big money has yet to pour in, and is about to pour in.

As to Stellar Lumens, it is a new generation of crypto-currency, which will likely do as well or better than Bitcoin, for a number of reasons. Among them: it is faster, processing exchanges in seconds rather than hours; it is specifically designed to be a platform for global currency exchange; and it has the backing of more than one corporate giant. And Lumens are trading today for $0.62 — and will probably rise to the December highs of Bitcoin, of over $20,000, and then go higher.

There are over 800 crypto-currencies in existence now. According to the best analysts in the field, most of them are worthless, or simply scams. Bitcoin and Lumen stand out as probable candidates to survive the long term, and not only hold their value, despite the inevitable fluctuations of new currencies, but greatly increase their value over the long term. Long term investment in wisely chosen crypto-currencies should be the focus. And these are the two I would recommend.

Two important tipping point events are highly probable this year, with regards to crypto-currencies and their widespread adoption. Both of them could happen by Monday; the other by Tuesday. Investment after these tipping points will still show good returns, but the biggest returns will quite possibly be over be over. You decide how to handle that information.

Sorry for the short notice, but while I’ve been following crypto-currencies for over three years, I just learned about these two potential tipping points, or triggers for mass adoption, over the past 36 hours.

But, in any case, I would recommend that you either risk a small amount based on my word — a very small amount — or better, dig into some research for yourself, and then invest, and maybe with a slightly larger, but still modest amount. (If you go above $100, be sure to do your own research — naturally.)

*

I won’t repeat the reasons here, again, why crypto-currencies are not going away, and why, like the internet, they are not a fad. If that is not yet understood, then you should dig deeper, and do your own homework. But do note this: Bill Gates has recently said that crypto-currencies are, “the future of money” — as did James Altucher, the leading crypto-investment analyst, before that.

I will only address here two points: what crypto-currencies to invest in, if you are going to invest in any; and whether you can afford to invest at all. The first question I just answered.

As to the second: If you go out for meals, eat take-out food, fast food, junk food, donuts, buy new clothes, beer, wine, or even coffee at a coffee shop — ever — then you can afford to invest $50 each in Bitcoins and Lumens.

It’s an investment, which means it involves risk. Only death is certain. Nothing else is guaranteed. But, as the saying goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. And if you’re going to blow 50 bucks on frivolous superfluities anyway, why not take a chance with a tiny investment on something that could potentially pay off big? As Virgil said, “Fortune favours the bold.”

*

Let me make it perfectly clear. I’m not interested in get rich quick schemes. I’m not interested in getting rich at all. If I was interested in getting rich, I would have been a stock broker — I certainly wouldn’t have devoted three decades to philosophy, social and political analysis, and writing. I’m interested in helping people. Period.

Certainly I’m not motivated by power, riches or fame — clearly, or I wouldn’t have become a philosopher and a writer of philosophy: which is a virtual guarantee for poverty and obscurity, in this society, if there ever was one. I may as well have chosen to be a floor sweeper, for all the riches, power and fame that writing philosophy and social commentary would bring.

So no, I’m not in it for dreams of riches. I’m interested in cryptos and invested in cryptos, to some small degree, with my extremely modest means, for the same reason that I write philosophy and political/social analysis and commentary: because I am interested in helping others, and in sowing the seeds for a better world for all.

I’m interested in crypto-currencies (an unfortunate moniker that is, but it has stuck) for three reasons only. And they all boil down to that same one thing: helping people.

Firstly, a very small investment in select, well-chosen crypto-currencies early on — and it is still early on, because the public is not yet involved, and only one person in ten thousand has any investment in Bitcoin, for example, which is the leading crypto at this time — can provide my family with some small degree of security in an increasingly volatile and unstable, insecure world.

Actually, to be more precise, there is no such thing as security: so let’s talk about resilience — the ability to weather a storm, or hard times. Anyone who talks about security doesn’t understand life or the world. Security doesn’t exist. Security is an illusion. Nothing is secure in this world. And chasing after security is a sure way to destroy your quality of life, hollow out your soul, and possibly destroy your health and your relationships in the process. But resilience is something to strive for. Resilience is simply a matter of being hardy and adaptable — and those are two qualities which will always do us well. And certain things, or certain actions, can bring us greater resilience.

What then, brings resilience?

Investing in yourself, your health, your mind, your spirit, your learning, your personal development, your relationships, your community, your social bonds of love and reciprocity, and your skills: these things will increase your resilience in very real and important ways.

On a much lower level of priority, come things like investing in land for a simple home and garden, open-pollinated seeds, tools, off-grid solar and wind power, and other material investments such as these which will enhance and increase our ecological resilience, and also our economic and psychological or spiritual resilience.

And on a third and lowest tier, we have money and financial assets — which are the least important and least reliable of all, in terms of things that can protect and provide for us and our family, in good times and bad, and increase or enhance our resilience. But nobody scoffs at putting money away in the form of savings. It’s still a good idea, despite its limitations, of course.

Fiat money, or paper currency, “isn’t worth the paper it’s not printed on”, as the world’s leading trend analyst, Gerald Celente has said. And money in the bank is no longer money in the bank, because neither banks nor paper money, fiat currency, have any reliability anymore. But financial savings in smarter forms, can be very useful, and are very wise.

In terms of money as a form of security, I would advise first and foremost, not to rely on it. That would be a recipe for disaster. I’m talking about paper money, or fiat currencies. Canadian dollars, US dollars especially, Euros, Yuan, Yen, Rubbles, Pesos….or any other paper money or fiat currency: if your savings, investments, pension plan or family’s security rests upon fiat paper money, then you have no security. Dump it while you can, before it becomes worthless, which it will.

But investment in terms of money of other forms, such as gold, which is one of the oldest and most secure forms of money, or silver — or select, well-chosen crypto-currencies, which are soon going to replace some or all fiat paper money — are extremely shrewd, and wise investments, which can provide, if not real security, since there is no such thing in the world, then at least, some very real, and considerable degree of resilience, which will help you in good times, and can be literally life-saving, or at least life-changing, in bad times.

So, firstly, as a start — not an ending point, but a beginning point — I’m interested in taking care of my family, and in increasing my families resilience, or ability to weather hard times. And that is the number one reason why I am interested in crypto-currencies: because a small, smart investment in select, well-chosen crypto-currencies can provide that, and be a very real “game-changer” for my family. I don’t care if I am rich, or if my family is rich — it’s irrelevant to me. But I do care, and care deeply, that they are well. And therefore, I care about their resilience. And for that reason, I care about intelligent, well-thought-out, strategic investments. And certain, select crypto-currencies are, at this time, among the best and most intelligent investments anyone can make.

Secondly, I’m interested in crypto-currencies because of their power to potentially be socially disruptive in positive ways: that is, I’m interested in crypto-currencies because they have the potential to aid in the urgently necessary task of unseating the banking elite from power, and to drive positive social change by reshaping and redistributing power — economic power, which always translates into political and social power — in more democratic and equitable, free and equal ways.

Like the internet, crytpo-currencies are not going to produce paradise on Earth. But do they have the power to be socially disruptive in positive ways — which is to say, to change long-established patterns of power, and to redistribute power in more democratic, equitable, and broadly empowering ways? Certainly. Absolutely. And for that reason, I am very interested in them, as potential catalysts for very urgently needed social change.

Thirdly, I’m interested in the potential of crypto-currencies to ease the financial and economic burdens, and the life burdens, of the struggling middle class and poor, who are the great majority. As I say, I believe that every indication is that crypto-currencies will in whole (probably eventually, and not too long from now), or at least in part (and very, very soon), replace fiat paper money. When that happens, and that mass adoption will reach a tipping point sometime very soon, over the next few years, and quite possibly over the next few months, or even days, the widespread adoption and use of crypto-currencies as simply another valid form of exchange or payment — like debit cards or credit cards, gold, silver, Euros or Yen — then billions, and trillions, of dollars (and other currencies, of course, the world over) will pour into the select crypto-currencies that have proven their worth by their usefulness, and they will soar in value, a thousand-fold, ten-thousand-fold, and beyond.

That means, that a very small investment in select, well-chosen crypto-currencies now, before the tidal wave of mass public adoption hits, could bring a small fortune — certainly enough to retire on — in just a few short years, or less.

This could help at least some among the vast majority of people on Earth who are in the lower 80–90% of the income scale, and who are struggling, to finally find some small degree of security, or better put, resilience, and some much-needed and much-deserved peace of mind. And that will help people to free up their time from mere survival and money concerns, to focus on higher, more useful things — like music, art, literature, history, spirituality, philosophy, nature, family, friendship, community, creativity, personal exploration, the life of the mind, and action for the healing of our very troubled world — and something beyond mere treading water, which is what most people are doing now. And most are sinking, by the way, make no mistake, or barely hanging on.

So, I am interested in my family’s resilience and well-being. I am interested in anything, short of violence, which I abhor and strongly oppose, which has the potential to be a catalyst for positive social change in the direction of greater freedom, openness, transparency, accountability, democracy, social justice, peace, and/or ecological sanity and stewardship. And I am interested in helping the more than 80% of the world’s population who are the poor or middle class, and who are struggling, to have more security or resilience, to have more peace of mind, and to be a little more free from mere material concerns, so that they can focus on the things that make life truly meaningful and rewarding.

I believe that there are a few crypto-currencies out of the more than 800 that are now in existence which have the potential to fulfill all three goals: to increase my own family’s resiliency and well-being, to catalyze positive social change, and to turn struggling middle class and poor people into millionaires, through a very small, timely investment that is wisely chosen, or at least to ease their burden, and free up some space for something beyond running on a treadmill, like a rodent in a giant cage.

*

So that is my advice: buy small amounts of Bitcoin and Lumens now, immediately, and hold the investment for the long term. If their value goes up 10,000-fold, as I think it will, with what I would estimate to be a very high probability, then take 50% of the gains as profit, and leave the rest for future growth, while diversifying your investments. Until then, leave it alone, and forget about it.

But, in anything and everything, I must say again, remember Virgil:

“Fortune favours the bold.”

Not the mousy. Not the fence-sitters. Not the ever-gloomy cynics, who perpetually paint themselves, and everyone around them, into a corner. Not the spectators — and most people are now spectators in life. But the bold.

J. Todd Ring,
January 28, 2018

PS:

I’ve recommended Bitcoin and Lumens as smart investments. And they also have the potential to disrupt the banking system and the banking elite — which is a very good thing, and is much-needed. But I’d like to note that a small investment in PressCoin, as well, for reasons of supporting something virtuous with great potential for social change, as well as for rewards, would also be a good and wise thing to do.

Can you risk a total of $150 for the sake of catalyzing and empowering social change, helping to dethrone the banking elite, and potentially raising a fortune, or at least, a good little nest-egg and handsome return on investment for your family? Can you afford not to?

One last final note:

When the internet was first introduced publicly, many people thought it was a fad. It wasn’t. They simply didn’t understand. Now it’s ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. Cyrpto-currencies are the same.

When the internet quickly became widely adopted, and the public accepted it, then came the period when people were scared to use their credit cards on the internet. They didn’t understand that it’s just as easy, and in fact easier, for someone to take the paper receipt of your credit card transaction out of the cash register till, or the carbon copy (remember those?) out of the garbage bin, and use your credit card number to steal your money, than it is to hack into a computer network to steal your credit card information. But very quickly, again, that changed. Mass adoption of online payments occurred, just as mass adoption of the internet occurred, within less than a decade. The same is about to happen with crypto-currencies. Mass adoption is near at hand.

What exactly are crypto-currencies? Crypto-currencies are two things, above all: as Jim Rickards has said, they are just another form of payment or exchange — like debit cards, which are relatively new, and credit cards, which are also relatively new; and they are forms of currency which can be used as payment or exchange, and also as an asset class, as a means to store wealth — exactly like paper money (except that they are more secure, not less), and or like gold and silver, land, art, stocks, bonds or commodities. When the people begin to realize these two simple facts, as the (slow-learning) financial elite and investment class is now coming to realize (and they are now just beginning to pour in their billions and trillions of dollars into cryptos as a result), there will be mass adoption of crypto-currencies as simply one more form of payment and exchange, and one more form of assets, or wealth storage and investment.

The key thing, from an investment point of view, as always, is to be smart, and to be early. Being stupid or foolish is never good, of course — you need to to your due diligence. But being too slow is almost as bad as being reckless or making foolish choices. Again: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Those with keen eyes and brave hearts always make the greatest gains. Those who are glossy-eyed or slow to respond, always lose out.

Over the next five to ten years, at least one crypto-currency, and probably more than one, probably a few, will have proven their worth in terms of their usefulness, sufficiently enough to become widely accepted and widely adopted. A tiny investment in the right crypto-currency now, before the tidal wave of mass public involvement begins, could yield truly massive, historic returns, because when mass adoption hits, and mass public involvement begins, the value of the surviving crypto-currencies will skyrocket, 1,000-fold, 10,000-fold, and higher.

With regard to some things, a “wait and see” approach is best. In terms of climate change, the war on nature, and the rapidly growing and escalating environmental crisis that we now face, a wait and see approach means certain death — slow death, painful death: the death, if not of the human species, then of our civilization, certainly, and the great catastrophe that would entail. Action is required, and now.

On a much lower level of priority, the emerging shift from fiat paper money to digital crypto-currencies (meaning, simply, that they are encrypted, and also, that they are open-source and transparent, and therefore more secure and democratic than state fiat paper currencies), is almost certain to happen, and to happen soon. Waiting to see what happens means losing historic investment opportunities. Playing it safe, frankly, is sometimes, quite simply, playing it stupid.

Invest a small amount now, I would recommend, in well-chosen crypto-currencies — certainly not your mortgage money, or your children’s college fund, but something small, that you can feel at peace with risking. If you lose a small investment, you can consider it a worthwhile risk taken, that didn’t pay off. But if you invest a small amount in the right way at the right time, the results could truly be massive and life-changing. As with action for environmental and social change, which is vastly more important, that time is now. The window of opening for enormous returns on investment in crypto-currencies will soon close. Mass adoption will come in five to ten years or less — but probably much sooner, and potentially this year, in a matter of months, with major tipping points coming any time, and literally, any day.

Rule #1: Don’t rely on the media.

The major media is filled with propaganda, half-truths, distortions, and outright lies — and when it’s not promulgating propaganda and distortions, it’s riddled with illusions and ignorance, and is supremely slow on the up-take. Smart money, and smart people, move faster. Don’t rely on the major media for anything. Nine times out of ten, they will steer you wrong.

Rule #2: Don’t believe the banks.

The banking elite are very threatened by the sudden emergence of crypto-currencies, starting with Bitcoin, in 2009. They see them as a threat to their power and their wealth — and rightly so, because Bitcoin and most other crypto-currencies cut out the banks. So, when you hear Jamie Diamond, as CEO of Goldman Sachs, say that crypto-currencies are a scam, it’s because his extremely fat salary is threatened.

Don’t believe the banks. That point should be obvious. The big banks are trying to find a way to not be completely shut out of a global shift in currency systems which they may no longer control. They would prefer to stay with the current global currency system, because they effectively control it. An even better choice, from their perspective, would be to demolish all currencies world-wide, and force a single global digital currency on the world, created and controlled by the IMF — which of course, in turn, they control .What they don’t want is to be left out completely. So, they are trying to find a way to stay in the game, and not lose all power and all profits, as the global nature of money changes radically, potentially leaving them out in the cold. But they don’t like this new currency set, because it’s not their baby — it’s a threat, and far from their ideal scenario.

So don’t trust the banks, or the major media. They will both fill your head with lies, falsehoods, distortions and illusions.

Who do you trust? Trust yourself. Above all, and in every regard, on everything: think for yourself. The whole question of crypto-currencies and whether to invest or where, is tiny by comparison. Above all, question everything, and think for yourself. Wealth will come, if that is important to you, and more importantly, good health and quality of life, if you do. Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of fate, and God help you.

Think for yourself, in this, and every instance, always.

*

The Bottom Line:

James Altucher, who seems to me to be the best analyst in North America when it comes to crypto-currencies, who has been a computer coder for 35 years, and involved in investment, entrepreneurship, and Wall Street for more than 20 years — the person who said on CNBC, when Google offered a billion dollars to buy Facebook, and Facebook refused the offer, that Facebook was worth 100 billion, and was laughed at, but since proven right — rightly said that every new disruptive technology or disruptive trend follows the same pattern, and goes through the same three phases. If we want to understand what’s going on with crypto-currencies, then we need to understand this.

I’ll stick with examples from the tech sector, though we could just as easily list examples from other areas of society, including activism and social change. For example, we could point to Thoreau and the movement to abolish slavery, the Suffragette Movement, Gandhi and the movement for an independent India, or Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Whether it is disruptive technology or it is a disruptive social trend — meaning, a technology or social trend which disrupts existing, established patterns, and creates new patterns — the same three phases apply, and seem to be universal.

In phase one, only the pioneers are involved. For example, in the early days of the internet, some of the pioneers were Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. Some early pioneers didn’t last, but these giants clearly did. And yes, there is a crypto-bubble, and yes, like the dot com bubble, many crypto-currencies will collapse, and vanish — and their investors will hold nothing but dust. But there will be early pioneers and early runners who, as with Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon, will survive, and will become global phenomena. I don’t have a crystal ball, but Bitcoin and Lumen are two of the best bets at this time.

In the early days of the internet, even the “smart money” didn’t understand what was coming. Few people saw the trends that were emerging. The same is true now. And of course, early investors in Microsoft, Apple, Google or Amazon, have become millionaires, if not billionaires. Most people did not not. Pioneers, whether they are the innovators or they are among the very first to embrace the new (or newly rediscovered, in some cases) technology or trend, or way of doing things, are somewhere around 2% of the population. 98% of people are not pioneers. They follow the crowd.

Second comes the early adopters. They represent maybe 18% of the populace. We are now, with regard to crypto-currencies, just at the very beginning of phase two.

The early adopters include the minority of people from the general public who are open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, and who do not wait for the crowd to lead them.

Also among the early adopters are the minority of those people among the investment class — the millionaires and billionaires, and the institutional investors, such as the hedge funds which move hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars around — who are quicker in seeing and responding to new opportunities.

And the millionaires and billionaires and hedge funds are just now taking notice — ever slow on the up-take, they tend to be — and are just beginning to pour in: and to pour in hundreds of billions, and possibly trillions of dollars. This alone will push the price of select crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Lumens up 1,000-fold, and higher. And this is just the beginning of phase two.

Phase three is when mass adoption hits. And that tends to come quickly, at an exponential curve, after the human flock — pardon my bluntness, but most people behave more as sheep than as human beings, because they conform too much and think too little — begin to pour in, in a tidal wave. This is when the price of select crypto-currencies skyrockets. And this could begin as early as 2018 — possibly early 2018, and quite possibly after a single tipping point event, which could happen this Monday or Tuesday, January 29 or 30.

(Note: If a tipping point event does happen then, and you miss it, don’t panic. It’s still early on. Just stick your toe in the water, at least, and soon — I would highly recommend.)

Almost definitely, mass adoption of certain select crypto-currencies will happen within five to ten years, and probably much sooner than that. You decide what you want to do with that knowledge.

These are the trends and opportunities as I see them. But again, above all, think for yourself — in everything, always.

JTR

Brexit Madness: Propaganda and Hyperbole

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2016 by jtoddring

 

The media is screaming that the world will end if Britain really does leave the EU. The absurdity of this now-standard narrative should be clear from the outset to anyone of sound mind. But in case it is not, let us say this.

The EU has been taken over by the European Central Bank and the Western banking elite. The EU has proven it is not only an undemocratic organization, but a positively, and rabidly, anti-democratic organization.

To repeat what should be obvious and known to all, but which has been glossed over and completely ignored, the actions of the EU against Greece, and especially Italy, have proved beyond any trace of doubt that the EU is rabidly anti-democratic.

The troika, as they are called, which is the de facto government of the EU — the European Council, the European Central Bank and the IMF — were not satisfied with a right wing billionaire as prime minister of Italy. He was not right wing enough, and not compliant enough with the banking elite who now rule over Europe and most of the world. So they overthrew the democratically elected government of Italy, and installed a government appointed by the troika, composed, not surprisingly, of unelected banking elites, loyal to the EC, the ECB and the IMF, and in complete contempt for both democracy and the people of Italy.

Given these undeniable facts, and given that the EU has proven itself to be fiercely anti-democratic, and the enemy of democracy, the EU must be opposed, and all other considerations are flatly irrelevant.

Putting the question of Brexit, or a British exit from the EU, into this context, and in light of these most central facts, we should be able to see that whatever the risks of leaving the EU, in terms of possible negative economic effects, for example — which, by the way, are all hyper-inflated, and vastly exaggerated, and largely a lot of hot air and hyperbole — the risks cannot outweigh the value of democracy: if, that is, we value democracy at all.

If you value democracy, you must oppose the EU. If you value democracy and support the EU, then I would say you are living in a dream world.

So the question is, what is the bigger danger: an exit from the EU, with potential, though far from certain, negative effects; or effective rule by the ECB and the banking elite, and the effective nullification and destruction of sovereignty, democracy and freedom? I think any sane person can answer that question instantly, and without hesitation.

Leaving the EU presents a far lesser risk than remaining subservient to and subjugated by the ECB and the banking elite. Leaving the EU will not immediately grant freedom or independence from the banking elite, but it is one step closer to it; while remaining in the EU guarantees that the troika will continue to rule, the ECB, the IMF and the banking elite will continue to rule, and sovereignty, democracy and freedom will all continue to be eviscerated and crushed.

As Public Enemy said, “Don’t believe the hype.”

As an aside, and as a secondary consideration, we can say this about the economic prospects for Britain, either in or out of the EU.

Membership in the EU has not proven to be the holy grail of economic miracles, as it was proclaimed to be. In fact, entrance into the EU has brought nothing but economic stagnation for many nations. Italy, for example, is about to follow the path of Greece, and is in serious trouble economically — Italy, a once-great economic power. For the past decade Italy’s economy has been almost completely stagnant — in fact, it now ranks in the bottom three nations for economic stagnation globally. All sing the praises of the EU now. The central, and fundamental questions of democracy, sovereignty and freedom aside, any perceived or imagined economic benefits that might be derived from membership in the EU are dubious at best — and purely fictional at worst, and in most cases.

Secondly, if any negative economic fallout does happen in a serious or major way as a result of Britain leaving the EU — beyond the market correction for the ill-advised speculation and wide-spread gambling on the part of investors that Britain would vote to remain in — it will most likely be the result of the Western elite punishing the people of Britain for their defiance of the troika and the ruling cabal, and seeking a path to greater independence.

Thirdly, and most important, in terms of economic considerations at least, Britain’s economic woes are exactly the same as those shared by virtually every other Western nation: namely, they are the result of neoliberal policies of corporate globalization. Remaining in or leaving the EU has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is neoliberalism and corporate globalization which are the roots of the problem, both in terms of democracy, and also in terms of simple economics.

Look at the numbers.

Since the economic crash of 2007–2008 — which I predicted, by the way, while virtually everyone was saying that things are just rosy, and would continue to be rosy — 95% of the new wealth created has gone to the richest 1%.

The trillions of dollars in “stimulus” programs and bail-outs, which in reality represent a mass theft, and one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the people to the elite in history, has done nothing but line the pockets of the already astronomically rich — mainly the banking elite and their cronies.

A recent systems analysis from Switzerland confirmed the obvious: a small group of large corporations, roughly 40, mainly banks, effectively control the global economy.

A recent study from Princeton also confirms the obvious: the US is no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy, and the bottom 99% of the population have little to no influence on public policy — exactly as with Britain, the EU, and most nations of the world, where transnational corporate powers have effectively taken over the nation-states.

And a report released by Oxfam this year confirms that neoliberalism and corporate globalization has failed utterly in its stated aims of lifting all boats, benefiting all people, and reducing poverty: the poorest half of humanity lost nearly half its wealth in the past few years alone — to the richest 1%, who now control 99% of the wealth of the planet, while the richest 68 people on earth now have as much wealth as the poorest half.

We are being driven at break neck speed, by corporate globalization and neoliberalism, or class warfare enacted by the super-rich upon the rest, to put it more directly, into a global neo-feudal order and a new dark age. And of course, in that context, it is the merger of business and the state which is central — which, as Mussolini said, is corporatism, or what he called, the proper term for fascism. This is the central context, and anyone who does not see it yet must be living under a rock.

If Britain had someone like Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, or Tony Benn, then some serious economic stimulus and economic recovery could become a real possibility, and a reality, along with a recovery of sovereignty, democracy, and freedom from virtual serfdom under the neo-feudal banking cartel. But instead, Britain has had forty years of the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum of neoconservatism and neoliberalism, which are two sides of the same coin of corporate rule, and that is why the economy, like the democratic process, is shattered, and in dust and ruin.

Britain, like the US and Canada, has for the past 40 years gone head-long into a corporate-style globalization, where manufacturing, production, and profits, are off-shored, and shipped to China and other low-wage nations, for the sake of higher corporate margins and yields, and greater wealth for the elite who control them. The results have been predictable: de-industrialization, massive unemployment, the destruction of the middle class, soaring poverty and inequality, and the general “third-worldization” of the formerly wealthy Western nations, as Noam Chomsky has called it.

In other words, it is the feeding frenzy of the elite and the policies enacted by their political prostitutes which have wreaked economic devastation on Britain and the rest of the world. Blaming Brexit for such structural and systemic problems is utterly foolish, or else utterly deceitful.

The greatest danger facing the world today is the Western power elite — namely, the banking elite, the other corporate elites, and the Western political elite in the US, the EU and Canada, among other nations, who loyally serve their corporate masters. They are at war with democracy, civil liberties, freedom, constitutional rule, international law, the overwhelming majority of the people, and the earth itself. Not only that, but the war on democracy, the people and the earth, which is escalating daily to ever greater levels, and which is global, not only threatens to destroy and eliminate all remnants of democracy, sovereignty, civil liberties and freedom, along with justice and equality, and not only is it racing towards a dark age of neo-feudalism, and to the total destruction of any decent future for humankind on earth, due to severe and growing ecological malfeasance and environmental pillaging; but furthermore, the same rabidly anti-democratic elite are pushing us ever closer to world war, and to nuclear holocaust.

In this context, to pander to paranoia on lesser issues, almost trivial issues by comparison, or at least, comparatively minor issues, such as whether or not Britain leaves or remains in the EU, is not only foolish in the extreme, but positively insane — that, or it is simple propaganda. On these facts we should be perfectly clear.

J. Todd Ring,
July 13, 2016

 

 

Feeling the Bern-Out? Feel the Movement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2016 by jtoddring

To put it briefly, it’s the movement that matters. The office of the President is secondary to the movement, and almost, but not quite, peripheral. Winning the presidency is significant. It can be a rallying point which inspires the people to further action, and to greater goals and greater victories. But it is secondary to the movement itself — significant, but secondary. The movement is what is essential. And what’s more, if the Bernie Sanders supporters stay strong, there can be victory in both regards.

It looks like it is going to be a contested convention. That means the pundits are irrelevant, because anything can happen. Remember that. And here are a few other important points we should remember, and bear in mind, as the battle just begins.

*

To put things into perspective, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent extreme right wing political trends and policies. Hillary is a neocon, carrying forward the legacy of Ronald Reagan, Bush Senior, her husband, the Bush-Cheney regime, and Obama, who together, successfully rolled back the greater part of the social gains made by the New Deal, and even, quite literally, since the Magna Carta, further consolidating the powers of the ruling corporate elite, unleashing corporate globalization, and deregulating Wall Street, beginning the construction of a police state and the demolition of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and democracy and freedom in America, and intensifying and expanding the already raging imperial wars abroad — all for the sake of elite interests and corporate profits, of course.

So Hillary comes from that tradition, that legacy, and that ideology, and is a proven neocon, like her husband, Bill Clinton, like Bush I and Bush II, like Obama, and very much like Reagan and Thatcher. She presents herself as a liberal progressive, and a populist democrat, exactly as Obama did. But brand Obama turned out to be a disguise and a PR cover for a continuation of further neocon policies, exactly as I warned in 2007, before he was first elected as president, and Shillery Clinton is no different. She works for Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. That explains it all, and that summarizes it all.

As Ron Paul said of Hillary, “She’s a neocon. She could run as a Republican.” And now she’s courted the Bush family, and is seeking, and gaining, the support of the establishment Republicans — meaning, the necon Republicans — just as she has the backing of the establishment Democrats, who are the other wing of the US corporate party, as Chomsky has said.

Hillary is a psychopath, frankly, with a maniacal lust for war and a proven track record of habitual lying, hawkish militarism and empire fetish, and loyal service to Wall Street — she can be supported by no one of sound mind or sound conscience, under any circumstances. Period.

Trump is even further to the right than Hillary in some ways. And we should remember that the Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower would have considered Hillary a lunatic, and an extreme right-wing fanatic.

So we have, once again, exactly as in 2012, two major candidates in the US presidential election who are on the far right — Hillary and Trump. They don’t present themselves that way of course, because the great majority of the people of the US hold centre-left views, and so, they try to play the role of centrist or center-left populists, which they decidedly are not. They are slight variations on Dick Cheney, and nothing other.

Bernie is the one candidate in the 2016 US presidential election who is resisting the ominous slide to the far right and the on-going corporate take-over of the nation and the world. He is neck and neck with Hillary in the polls now — pretty much even; but the fact that Hillary commands the most powerful political machine in the United States — at the present moment at least, though it is rapidly crumbling — and is overwhelmingly favoured by the Democratic party establishment, is deeply worrisome. Remember, however, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over. And as Thoreau said, there is more day yet to dawn.

*

“I think Clinton supporters have done a huge disservice to America by turning their backs on Bernie in favor of a war hawk neocon establishment shill like Hillary. All they have done is help the establishment continue screwing us all. It’s beyond my comprehension that we could have had an indomitable coalition of moderate independents and conservatives along with progressives and liberals that make up Bernie’s supporters, except for a bunch of moderates that were either fixated on electing the first female President, lack the vision and courage required to stand up to the establishment, or are blind to the problems this country faces, choosing to support the candidate of choice for the very establishment that’s screwing us all. We could have stopped worrying about Trump or any other Republican long ago had Clinton supporters joined our political revolution. We could have been focused on the Congressional and Senate races and getting the progressive candidates elected. Instead we are on the verge of losing this once in a lifetime opportunity to make America by the people, for the people, and possibly losing the general election as the result. How sad is that?

We are keenly aware of the problems facing this nation and we are aware that neocon Dems and neoliberal Republicans are cut from the same cloth. They just pander to different base voters so neocon Dems like Hillary pay lip service to progressive and liberal ideals and Republicans pay lip service to conservative and evangelical “Christian” ideals. Both ultimately serve the same master: the oligarchy and the plutocrats. Those that have come to this realization have no allegiance to either party.”

– Patrick Steele

Well said. I absolutely agree. But I still hope that Bernie can win, in one way or another — if not through the primaries, then as a third party candidate — and I think that he still can. At this point, anything is still possible, and the game is far from over. But regardless, Bernie is not the revolution, but only one of its many leading figures. With or without capturing the White House, we go on. And that is the most critical thing to remember.

We should remember also, for context, something that Chomsky has pointed out, and which should be obvious, and that is: the entire political landscape in the US, and both major parties, have slid so far to the right over the past fifty years, that what was once a moderate Republican stance, under Eisenhower, which is a New Deal democratic policy framework, is now viewed as the radical left. The Democratic party establishment is now a right wing neocon/neoliberal party, firmly ruled by Wall Street and big business, and entirely subservient to the ruling corporate powers; while the Republican party has become a party of the extreme right. These simple facts must be understood and born in mind if we are to have any sense of perspective on the current US presidential campaign at all. If we fail to realize this, we are completely and utterly lost.

Chomsky gives a lucid overview of the state of US politics in 2016, and which Common Dreams writer Jake Johnson elaborates upon, and it is worth quoting at length, and contemplating in depth:

“”It is very similar to late Wiemar Germany,” Chomsky said. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Wiemar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

For decades, Chomsky has warned of the right turn of the Democratic Party, which has, in an effort to win elections, adopted large swaths of the Republican platform and abandoned the form of liberalism that gave us the New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

Trump has been viewed with bewilderment by politicians who have divorced themselves from the needs of the people and who have sold them false goods to get ahead. But Trump, as Chomsky’s prescient interview demonstrates, was inevitable.

This new approach was canonized by Bill Clinton, who triumphantly declared that the “era of big government is over.”

With this declaration, Clinton ushered in a new era of the Democratic Party (the so-called New Democrats), which left behind the working class and cultivated amiable relationships with corporate executives and Wall Street financiers; many of them would eventually occupy key positions in Clinton’s government, and many of them emerged once more during the presidency of Barack Obama….

Democrats, in short, have left the working class in the dust, often using “the excuse,” as a recent New York Times editorial put it, “that they need big-money backers to succeed.”

Republicans, meanwhile, as Chomsky has observed, are “dedicated with utter servility” to the interests of the wealthy, and their party, with its longing for war and denial of climate science, “is a danger to the human species.”

So we are faced with a political system largely devoted to the needs of organized wealth, which leaves working people anxious, worried about the future, and, as we have seen, very angry. In essence, political elites — on both sides — have created a vacuum into which a charismatic and loudmouthed demagogue can emerge.”

– Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

*

It is a very positive development that the subject of fascism has now re-entered the public discourse, because, as I have been saying for a long time, that is the direction we are being led — or driven, like cattle down a cattle chute — as the corporate elite and their political minions continue to wage a war on democracy and constitutional law, and to build a police state to protect and consolidate their power in the face of a deep and ever-growing crisis of legitimacy and rising populist movements world-wide. This is the underlying context which we must bear in mind, or else be completely lost and bewildered.

The people are beginning to awaken to the real threats and dangers at hand — and they are at home, not abroad. But the hour is very late.

However, the story continues to unfold. And we should remember, history is not just for reading: it is also for writing — meaning, we do not need to content ourselves with watching history unfold, but should instead, ourselves engage in the making of it.

Whatever happens with Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, he has already accomplished at least four extremely important things. He will be the next president, against the apparent odds, I do believe; but whatever the outcome of this election, much has been accomplished already, much more needs to be done — and much more is at hand, and will be done.

But let’s start with what has already been accomplished so far, and in a very short time, in less than a year. Firstly, Bernie Sanders has excited and engaged millions of people, not just in the US, but across the Western world, many of whom were previously cynical, quietly despairing, apathetic and disengaged. Second, he has injected the rhetoric, the language, and more importantly, the reality of populist politics into the political culture in the US and across the Western world. Third, he has injected the question of class, which is not the sole question, but is the central question, into the political culture in the US and across the Western world. And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, he has successfully injected a very considerable and growing class consciousness into the political culture of the US and the entire Western world. These are tremendous accomplishments, and accomplishments of great and profound, far-reaching significance, and also, tremendous potential.

Having said that, this is not the time for backing off, much less for giving up. This is not the time to bow out, concede defeat, and quietly return to our arm chairs to collectively congratulate ourselves and pat ourselves on the back, or to mourn and lick our wounds. This is the time to press forward, and to carry this new wave of populism to its furthest potential.

*

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent the establishment. They represent Wall Street and the corporate elite. We should be perfectly clear about that. The corporate elite have backed Hillary as their anointed, chosen candidate, and the corporate media is doing everything it can to present her in the best possible light, and to present her as the inevitable winner. But she is quite literally guilty of war crimes, her record in terms of loyalty to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex is clear, and it is damning, and beyond that, in every match-up poll that has been conducted it has been made clear that she would lose to Donald Trump, whereas Bernie Sanders would win against him by a wide margin. So if we want power restored to the people, and the power of Wall Street and big money removed from politics, as most people now want, and realize is vitally essential, we cannot support either Clinton or Trump. Or, even if we simply want to ensure that Trump loses, we cannot support Hillary, but must instead support Bernie, because that is the best way to ensure that Trump does not become the next president.

As has been said, and should be perfectly clear, Hillary is basically a neocon in drag as a populist progressive — Bernie is an actual populist progressive: that is the central difference. 64% of the American people do not trust Hillary Clinton — about the same percentage, almost exactly, as those who do not trust Trump — and with good reason; and the more that people find out about Hillary, the less they trust her. Remember also, she has a negative approval rating, and is under investigation by the FBI.

No US presidential candidate in history has won the election with a negative approval rating, or while under investigation by the FBI. Hillary has both going against her, and could be indicted by the FBI any day. Does the Democratic party really want to endorse a presidential candidate that is under investigation by the FBI? She may be the darling of the establishment, but that would still seem to be a very reckless and ill-considered move, to say the least.

Hillary has proven herself to be a staunch racist, classist, loyal servant of the elite, and a right-winger who pushed for more prisons, harsher sentences, cuts to welfare and the end of federal support for the poor, the deregulation of Wall Street, wars and coups abroad. And she now presents herself as a populist progressive. Ahis is slithery Shillery Clinton, the arch-deacon of the establishment and elite rule.

The corporate media are portraying Hillary, not only as the inevitable winner — which is anything but assured; but the media are also portraying Hillary as the candidate with experience. Well, let’s look at that experience.

Hillary in the 1990’s argued for more prisons, tougher prison sentences, and “bringing to heel” the urban black youth, who she called “super-predators.” Hillary supported her husband’s deregulation of Wall Street in the 1990’s. Hillary supported the massive bailouts to the “too big to fail” banks. Hillary voted for the Patriot Act, which shredded the Constitution, civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. Hillary has supported illegal wiretapping and the surveillance state. Hillary has been a civil liberties catastrophe. Hillary has received millions of dollars for speaking engagements to the big banks, the transcripts of which she refuses to released; and has received many millions more from Wall Street for her election campaign: and in return, she has defended Wall Street and the banking elite from any proposals to seriously reign them in, or to break up the “too big to fails”. And to repeat an essential point, Hillary is guilty, furthermore, of war crimes.

In an interview with Bill Maher, a well-meaning and good-natured, but clearly naive MSNBC journalist asked Bill Maher, rhetorically, “Would you really want Bernie Sanders stepping off Air Force One?” Bill Maher, after a moment of dumbfounded shock and incredulity on his face, replied, “Fuck yes. Anyone who got it right on Iraq, I want that person in the Oval Office.”

What Bill Maher should have added was this.

Look at Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record, and her “experience” with foreign policy. She was head of the State Department during a State Department / CIA coup in Kieve, a very botched as well as illegal regime change, which sent the country into civil war and chaos, and put literal neo-Nazis into power in Ukraine. She was instrumental in a coup in Honduras. And she was also instrumental in the regime change in Libya, which destroyed that country, and left it in the hands of Al Queda, and in the process, spawning ISIS and the bloodbath that has spilled over into Syria.

Hillary has been a walking disaster in terms of both foreign and domestic policy. This person should be kept as far away from the levers of power as possible. She should be tried for war crimes, and in a just society, she would be. She should maybe be given a rubber room, considering her maniacal and sadistic laughter at the public murder of Gaddafi by sodomy with a knife, but she should most definitely be kept as far from the levers of power as is humanly possible. Bernie Sanders, who had the foresight to recognize that an invasion of Iraq would be a disaster, could scarcely do worse than Hillary has done, and would in all likelihood do infinitely better.

In short, there are no honest, or sane, candidates in the 2016 US presidential election, other than Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. Jill Stein does not have a chance in 2016, though possibly in 2020, or 2024. Bernie, although still a long shot, could still win in this election. Let’s hope he does. Hillary, Trump and the rest of the hawkish, crazed clown posse of the Democratic and Republican establishment would be nothing but a continuation of the on-going, ever-escalating disaster, both foreign and domestic.

*

As far as electability, we should remember that Bernie Sanders has risen, in less than a year, from being a complete unknown to being a super-star and hero to millions of people — precisely because they agree with his policies: of reigning in Wall Street, getting big money out of politics, bringing health care and affordable higher education to all, seriously tackling the truly ominous environmental issues we face, and creating a more just and equal society.

Hillary has resisted the populist onslaught as well as she has so far, for three simple reasons, and three reasons only: because she is a brand name; because she has the backing of the elite — the backing of the Democratic party establishment and Wall Street; and because the corporate media support her overwhelmingly. But time is on Bernie’s side. The more people learn about Bernie Sanders, his record, and his views and policies, the more they like him and trust him. The opposite is true with Hillary. The more people find out about Hillary, the less they support her. And it is still early. Bernie can still crash her party, and overturn the corporate bandwagon, and he may well do just that.

Again, the mainstream media have been trying to paint Hillary as the inevitable winner and Bernie as the inevitable loser from the very beginning. That is because the mainstream media is controlled by corporate interests — the same corporate interests which have lavishly “donated” to (read, bribed) Hillary and her election campaign, and who have chosen Hillary as their favoured candidate. But Bernie has won in many states, and has won in many states by a landslide, with over 60, 70 or 80% of the vote, and it is Bernie who gets the powerfully energized rallies with 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 people coming out, and Bernie who has raised over six million individual donations — a record in US history — not Hillary.

So, as Public Enemy said, don’t believe the hype. And in any event, as Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

*

A presidential candidate who is under investigation by the FBI, and still taken seriously? Now that is a sign of the times. But then again, she’s only taken seriously by the ruling class and their political and media prostitutes, and by the 36% of Americans who trust her — and even that is a rapidly shrinking minority.

Clinton should be facing war crimes trials — she has received a “get out of jail free” card and a white wash by the corporate media and the political establishment, and it is heinous in the extreme, and a sign of the severe corruption and decay of the United States.

Clinton and Trump, both, now have a 20 point net negative favorability. The overwhelming majority of people don’t trust either of them. And, moreover, they are both less favourable to the people, according to recent polls, than root canal, used car salesmen, or head lice. To their credit, they both beat cockroaches, by a small margin, in terms of favorability in polling across the US.

Meanwhile, when people are asked whether they trust Bernie Sanders, the overwhelming majority say yes, they do trust him. The people overwhelmingly do not trust either Clinton or Trump.

And again, in every single poll — over 88 polls so far — Sanders is the far stronger candidate against Trump than Clinton.

Bernie would in all likelihood beat Trump, and beat him by a wide margin. Hillary would likely lose to Trump. That should be an important consideration, and one dealt with soberly, with a clear head and without bias. Democrats who are Hillary supporters should think deeply about this before the party convention, and the final decision as to who will be the presidential candidate: someone who the polls indicate could very well lose to Trump, and likely would; or someone who would almost certainly beat Trump?

Bernie can win the Democratic primary race through a contested convention, when the question is put to the people of who will lead them to the presidential office. He can win, and he most definitely should win, if there is any shred of sanity left in the country. And he has made major strides towards doing just that.

“With the goal of 2026 pledged delegates to achieve as a majority in each primary in mind, the FiveThirtyEight tracking shows that Clinton is indeed ahead, with 108% of her target achieved as opposed to Sanders, who is at 92%. But what the media fails to factor in, is the fact that Sanders has either met or exceeded his targets in seven out of the last eight contests, whilst Clinton has actually lost six out of eight: Sanders has been catching up and there is nothing that suggests that he is about to stop fighting.”

Else Feikje van der Berg, Hillary The Inevitable, May 9, 2012, Medium

*

It may seem like a tangent or an aside, at first glance, but I will say this, in brief. East and West have met — and sparks are flying as a result. The West can learn a great deal from the East, just as the East can learn from the West. We can all learn from one another. This may seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious is only obvious after it is pointed out. More commonly, what should be obvious is routinely overlooked until it is pointed out. Then everyone says, well yes, that makes perfect sense. And there are at least a couple of points from Eastern thought which bear on our subject and have immediate relevance to our discussion.

There is a Tibetan saying, “Don’t sprint to win the race.” And this is very wise. A closely related saying from Tibet is, “Don’t be sporadic.” And I would add to that a central piece of wisdom from Taoism, which says, basically, don’t rush, and don’t hesitate.

What does this have to do with contemporary politics or the Bernie Sanders campaign? Everything.

If Bernie Sanders does win, and does become the next president of the United States — which may seem unlikely at present, but is still entirely possible — then that will be just one further step towards real, positive social change. The movement will go on. The revolution will go on. And the central task of restoring and renewing democracy, civil liberties and the rule of constitutional law, and the returning of power to the people, will have only just begun. We need more than a fleeting burst of energy or enthusiasm if we are going to win the kinds of changes which are urgently needed. Whether we have short term success or short term failure, the movement must go on.

If Bernie Sanders does not win, and does not become the next president of the United States, then the movement will also go on, the revolution will go on, and the central task, the central challenge of our time, which is the renewal of democracy, the reclaiming of power by the people, and the removal from power of the corporate oligarchy and the Wall Street business elite, will continue to move forward, and must continue to move forward.

The changes that are needed will not occur overnight. We must, as the Dalai Lama said, keep a long term perspective. With or without a Sanders presidency, major changes must happen soon, and essentially immediately, or we will simply terminate ourselves as a species. So we cannot hesitate. At the same time, we must remember that this will take longer than a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, to complete the process of transformation that must occur for human beings to survive the 21st century.

We can and must be bold. And we must also keep the longer term perspective in mind. No matter what happens, we must not stop. The future of the world, and all living beings who live on it, including nearly seven billion human beings, depends on what we do, or fail to do, over the course of the next few years.

We cannot give up, we cannot surrender, and we cannot give in. Whatever happens over the next few months and beyond, we must move forward, and we must carry on with the urgent work of creating a better, more just, more equitable, more peaceful society, and a truly sustainable world.

We will not go out with either a bang or a whimper — if we are determined enough to persevere, and to be bold when boldness is required. There is a popular revolution which is emerging now: a non-violent, peaceful revolution, a grassroots movement of the people to take their power back, and to reclaim their power, and in so doing, to create a more just society, and a better world. In this task we must not falter, and we must go on. The rising tide is with us. Now, we must ride that tide to victory, in whatever way that history, boldness and ingenuity make that possible.

*

Whether Bernie Sanders wins of loses in the 2016 US presidential race is not the central question, nor should it be the central goal. The central question is whether the populist uprising and the grassroots political revolution which is emerging, continues after the election, or sputters and fizzles out. The central question is whether the people have been aroused and engaged sufficiently to carry the revolution forward, no matter what happens in the up-coming US election. And the central goal is, and must be, nothing short of a revolution. On this point, we must be absolutely clear, and absolutely steadfast.

Remember, Bernie is not the movement. Bernie is not the revolution. Bernie is one leading figure among many in a rapidly emerging populist movement which aims to restore power to the people. And that movement will carry on, whatever happens in this election.

I hope the election will end in a Bernie Sanders presidency. That may be a long shot, but he has come a tremendous way, against overwhelming odds, and it’s still early. But whatever happens, the movement of the people to restore democracy and reclaim their power, and to create a more just and equal society, must continue.

We should, I think, at this point once again, crystallize our goals, so that we will remain focused and strong, and keep building momentum. I am not speaking for the Bernie Sanders campaign here. I am simply stating what I think needs to be done, as a minimum, to begin to restore power to the people, and to begin to dethrone Wall Street and the corporate elite, who have acquired and usurped far too much power — over the economy, the financial system, the media, the culture, and also the political process and the government. Without these two central tasks accomplished, or at least begun in a serious and vigorous way — which is, the restoring of power to the people and the dethroning of the corporate elite — nothing is possible, or at least nothing positive or significant, and the downward slide will only continue.

1. We must remove big money from politics. And that means overturning Citizen’s United, and banning private “donations” (more honestly called bribes) to political candidates, politicians and political parties, and making elections publicly funded.

2. We must make the banks and the financial system accountable to the people, and regulated and controlled by the people, rather than leaving the people accountable to the banks, and effectively ruled and controlled by the banks, and the banking elite who own them. To do this, we must break up the big banks, make the Federal Reserve a public bank controlled by Congress, as the Constitution explicitly stipulates and requires, and regulate and reign in Wall Street.

3. We must reject the TPP, and reject any other “trade deal” which in reality is a corporate rights deal, and which grants sweeping powers to large corporations and the business elite who control them, at the expense of the other 99.9% of the people, along with the planet, democracy, and constitutional law.

4. We must take bold and unhesitating action on climate change and the environment, and tax pollution; and reduce taxes on the middle class and the poor, along with small business, while increasing them for the rich and the large, profitable corporations — thus addressing our grave and rapidly escalating environmental crisis, while seriously addressing the deep and growing problem of increasing and extreme inequality in our society.

5. We must end the disastrous, murderous, illegal, supremely unethical, and bankrupting wars abroad, and redirect the personnel, and the hundreds of billions of dollars a year in savings, to human needs, and to the rebuilding of a crumbling infrastructure, economy and society; and put the people, not corporate profits or wars for oil and other resources, first.

If we want to fight terrorism, we should start with the greatest terrorists — the economic and financial terrorists on Wall Street, who are wreaking havoc and destruction globally, and are eating the people and the planet alive.

6. We must overturn the Patriot Act, and any and all legislation which is unconstitutional or which undermines democracy, freedom, civil liberties or constitutional law; and, at this point, considering how far things have progressed, or degenerated, towards a police state, we must formally re-instate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which have been trampled and very nearly destroyed.

If we do not do these six things, as a start, then we can forget about having a democracy, or a republic, we can forget about freedom or civil liberties, we can forget about social justice or the environment, or even the survival of the human species, and we can welcome in a brave new world of neo-feudal, crypto-fascist, global corporate rule, leading rapidly to a new dark age, and the death of humankind.

Our choice should be clear. And our actions must be swift. The time is now. Truly, it is a renaissance or a dark age ahead — and the choice is ours.

J. Todd Ring,

May 2016

Democrats Can Still Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
http://www.nationofchange.org/news/2016/04/24/democrats-snatch-defeat-jaws-victory/

The Establishment Is WRONG About Hillary’s Chances
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_eSLOM3eo

Polls: Trump Closing In On Hillary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8NQ7jUDbSI

Why the Superdelegates Need To Switch To Bernie Sanders Immediately
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_FqAJ8k7oY

“She’s Baldly Lying”:
Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defence of Her Role in Honduras Coup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS-tDVwSHlA

Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/05/noam-chomsky-predicted-rise-trump-six-years-ago

Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders Is Not A Radical
https://www.facebook.com/democracynow/videos/10154098568373279/

Hillary The Inevitable
https://medium.com/@ElsevanderBerg/hillary-the-inevitable-4268fd333a46#.32ppckrib

Bernie Sanders Calls For Contested Caucus — National Press Club
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=035I6c3PuGI

The Death of the Democratic Party, J. Todd Ring, Medium
https://medium.com/@jtoddring/the-death-of-the-democratic-party-4ade2df36ecf?source=user_profile———1-

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