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Op-Ed: Political criminality, January 6, RICO, and recognizing realities or bye-bye America



Op-Ed: Political criminality, January 6, RICO, and recognizing realities or bye-bye America

Fights over the country’s debt limit have become common in the US Congress – Copyright AFP Ben STANSALL

The first anniversary of January 6 2020 has brought up some very bad memories and a lot of angst about unsolved serious problems. The rapid decline of American democracy into a farcical patchwork of corrupt states and a politicized judiciary is making a truly hideous situation a lot worse.

Failure to recognize the driving forces is a major, potentially nationally fatal, issue. Read enough news, and you’d swear that Jan 6 and its obscene fallout was purely political, ideologically driven, and some sort of legitimate national dichotomy.

It’s nothing of the sort.

Ask yourself:

  • Since when do a herd of barely literate social non-entities suddenly have such rabid feelings about things they can’t even spell, let alone understand?
  • Where did all the sudden conveniently packaged targeted hate come from? Even the rhetoric is basically a macro, using exactly the same terminology and the same wrong capitalizations of words? All you need to do is insert names and the spam writes itself.
  • Where did all the money come from to fund this gigantic garbage collection of fake anything and everything?
  • Who’s paying for online hate? How many paid trolls does it take to look like a bona fide political campaign? To the extent that people who should know better think it’s legitimate?
  • Why can’t America recognize standard old-style McCarthyism when it sees it? It’s not like you haven’t had enough experience, is it?
  • Where’s the money coming from? Who’s paying for the Front Row Joes and anti-vaxxers to take time off to campaign for insanity?

If this is real politics, Mcdonald’s is a vegan global conspiracy. There’s no reality involved in any of it. Made up issues, solutions to problems that never existed, The Big Boring Endless Lie, it’s all there.

It’s all about money.

If there’s one thing every human being on Earth can agree with, it’s that politicians have far too much power. Most of the misery in this world is politically generated. If it wasn’t for whacko policies like inaccessible prices for health, housing, and education, the human race would be doing a lot better.

Policies cause misery. Ideologies simply justify policies. The economic policies, however, are always money-driven. The core issue is systemic political criminality, based on money. Getting access to money, preferably vast amounts of public money, isn’t exactly a new thing in politics.

In America the Super PACs pull in vast amounts of money. So do fundraisers. The sheer scale of money in US politics is almost unbelievable.

Where there’s money, there’s crime. Lots of it, and usually white-collar organized crime. These guys aren’t charities. They were involved in the sub-primes disaster in 2008 which practically wiped out the entire US middle class financially. They don’t steal jeans and on-sell them. They handle billions.

The US political system could well be the world’s biggest money laundry. (Although some political money might be more accurately described as dry-cleaned.) Where the money comes from, and where it goes, who knows? Someone obviously does. “So the country gets destroyed, so what? We’re making big money and have nice houses. We even get the occasional movie made about us. Whoopee.”

Here’s a rhetorical question and some equally rhetorical associations:

Are politicians immune to money?

  • How about two-bit nobody lobbyists?
  • Judges and other political sycophants?
  • Chicken-faeces sourced organizations like ALEC?
  • Folksy gerrymander and other anti-democracy political enablers?
  • Damn near anyone or anything anywhere near this sort of money?
  • What about quaint little multi-billion tax-free organizations?  

(I have a Ph.D. in subtle innuendo, in case you haven’t already guessed.)

This is the best-funded insanity in history. It’s just as much systemic fraud as any sort of politics. It’s a type of racketeering. This is real RICO laws stuff, just in a political context. Bona fide money should have an audit trail going back to Adam’s birth certificate; this sort of money doesn’t. If the political money is sourced illegally, and it’s far more than likely a lot of it is, the entire racket is effectively criminal in nature.

You don’t even need to get out of bed to make money in this environment. You can be an adorable influential little maggot with a phone. That is quite literally all it takes.

How NOT to solve the problems 101

What strikes me as very strange is that people who are in a position to know a lot better aren’t making these connections. Everyone knows how intrinsically corrupt the US political system is.

So, to effectively solve none of the problems:

  • Don’t ask where the money comes from.
  • Make no attempt to find out where it comes from.
  • Don’t question motives for lunatic policies, statements, or anything else.
  • Put the interests of criminals above the interests of over 300 million people.
  • Cram the Supreme Court with very malleable very small souls.
  • Pretend to be a Christian and evangelize the money.
  • Grovel convincingly and pretend to be a real commentator.
  • Don’t even mention The Emperor’s New Toilet Paper.

Cute, huh? I don’t buy any of this crap at any price, discount, or otherwise. How can so many actual, hyper-stressed-for-decades bill-paying, bullet-dodging Americans pretend not to know all this?  The criticism is way too superficial. The critics are routinely missing unmissable targets.

That’s your problem. Either solve it, or it will permanently solve you. Remember what Lincoln said about “some of the people”. Point being – They really are fools, rich, dumb, or otherwise.

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: Born or made great?



The Big 3 have won a total of 56 Grand Slams in their career.

Ecogastronomy, puppet arts, viticulture and enology, influencer marketing, or bakery science. In 2022, you can become anything you want and there are even specialized undergraduate degrees to help you gain all the relevant skills at university. Essentially, you can now be academically trained in any subject and learn practically everything you need to excel at your job.

In the context of sports, and particularly tennis, this is no different. There are plenty of degrees you can pursue to complement your career as an athlete, physiotherapist, or coach with useful knowledge about the human body, anatomy, and health.

This basically means that professional tennis players of the 21st century can complement their extraordinary talent and training routine with a relevant education and an elite team of professional and eminent physiotherapists, coaches, PR, and strategists. Ultimately, players have countless tools that can help them win matches, stay healthy, and be well-liked by the press and the fans.

You can find these ‘A teams’ all around the tour nowadays: players of the former next gen have taken advantage of their early success to incorporate experts on every specialty into their team and others like Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune have come directly in the tour alongside first-class teams headed by former World No. 1 and Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou respectively.

Understandably, tennis legends who have been on tour for almost two decades have progressively adapted to the quest for perfection too. You must remember Novak Djokovic’s radical diet change mid-career or Rafael Nadal’s loyal sports doctor for most of his injury-prone career.

21st-century professional tennis players have learned it all as far as tennis skills are concerned. In fact, objectively any top-100 player can produce Djokovesque cross-court backhands or Nadalese down-the-line forehands any time – we have seen rallies of the highest level in practices, Challengers and junior tournaments.

So, one must think that if every player on the tour can produce top-level tennis and is surrounded by the perfect team, what is stopping them from winning 20+ Grand Slam titles like Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic?

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic — the Big 3

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.

The Big 3 — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — are living proof that in life there are things you just can’t learn, despite our self-help books saying otherwise. Tennis is different from other mainstream sports in that it remains an individual and extremely mental sport.

These three players belong at a higher level than anyone else, and it is not only the 63 combined Slam titles that separate them from their opponents. It is clearly not their physical form either, quite the opposite currently. It is the ability to remain serene, focused, confident, and indifferent to the crowd, pressure, and expectations, to play one point at a time, whether it is a break or a championship point, and to extract it from the surrounding context.

Being the best of all time does, however, not imply being the better player in all matches. We don’t have to go far back to find an example of a time when Nadal and Djokovic were the clear underdogs in a match. For instance, in Wimbledon 2022 we saw Nadal win a match with an abdominal tear and an average 80-mph serve speed (on a grasscourt!) against Taylor Fritz, a top American player in his best-ever season.

In essence, the three GOATs have had the ability to know how to win even when they are the worst players on the court, and if that greatness is something we all could learn or train for, it would stop being called so and we would see it more often.

Whether it is the experience, intelligence or just intrinsic and unique talent that has led to Big 3’s unprecedented achievements we won’t ever exactly know and, I am afraid, they are giving no opportunity to the so-called Next Gen to even dream of replicating their record book and help us make sense of what it takes to become a tennis master.

In any case, we can only feel extremely fortunate to have lived on the same timeline as the greatest trivalry in sports history. All of us, but the Next Gen, can only hope Nadal and Djokovic do not follow Federer’s retirement path anytime soon. And one only needs to watch their last matches against each other to (rightfully) assume that might not happen anytime soon.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Poll : Who will end up with most Grand Slam titles?

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram



Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023



YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …

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