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BREAKING: Two Catalan independence leaders arrested on SEDITION charges

The Catalonia crisis continues to deepen.

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Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural, two organisers of the 1st October independence referendum, have been arrested on the order of the Spanish National Court on sedition charges.

They are currently in jail with no condition of bail being offered.

This comes as Madrid has expressed confusion over the nature of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s intentions to form an independent Catalan Republic.

Last week, Puigdemont officially signed a deceleration of independence, but immediately thereafter delayed its ascension, thus practically making the document a statement of intent than a fully fledged declaration.

Puigdemont has called for dialogue over independence while Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy claims that Madrid will not discuss the matter in any way shape or form. Madrid has issued an ultimatum to Catalonia that unless Puigdemont  rebukes any intention of independence by the 19th of October, Spain may suspend Catalonia’s parliament and invoke direct rule.

Thus far, Spain has rejected all offers of mediation, including one from Switzerland.

The Duran has covered the Catalan crisis from all angles.

READ MORE FOR A POSITIVE VIEW OF CATALAN INDEPENDENCE: 

Catalonia’s long road to independence is the high road

READ MORE FOR A NEGATIVE VIEW ON CATALAN INDEPENDENCE: 

8 points about the crisis in Catalonia

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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Liberal Scorned: The Media Turns on Facebook and Google

Facebook and Google are profit-maximizing quasi-monopolies who will do anything to protect their monopolies.

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Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog:


Here’s the ugly truth: Facebook and Google are profit-maximizing quasi-monopolies who will do anything to protect their monopolies.

Of the many remarkable trend changes of the past year, few are more striking than the fawning embrace of Facebook et al. by Big Media turning to an enraged sense of betrayal. Facebook and Google–by their own self-definitions, shining beacons of liberalism and goodness (we’re not evil, we’re fantabulous!)– were viewed by the famously liberal Big Media as allies in the fight against Trump, illiberalism, populism, deglobalization, etc.

Now, to their horror, Big Media has discovered that not only did their Big Tech sweethearts betray their affection and trust, they’re just another bunch of predatory profit-maximizing monopolies who will stab anyone and everyone in the back who gets in their way to higher profits and more power.

It would be sad if it wasn’t so pathetic. Poor Big Media, so anxious to be hip and with it, so anxious to impress social media while trying to exploit its reach to prop up their own dying business model. Big Media, so easily seduced by Big Tech: we’re liberal, too, and together we’ll lead the world out of darkness into light, blah blah blah.

Then Big Media discovered its virtue-signaling liberal sweetheart, Big Tech, is just as threatened by liberals as by conservatives, and it turns its firepower on liberals with the same savage abandon as it does on independent and conservative media.

The bitter rage of the previously besotted and now betrayed suitor is evident in these recent articles in The Atlantic, New York Times and Washington Post, all bastions of virtue-signaling self-righteous defense of the state-cartel Empire, a.k.a. liberalism.

When the Tech Mythology Collapses (The Atlantic)
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (NY Times)
How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’ (NY Times)
It’s time to start regulating Facebook (Washington Post)

The high dudgeon of WaPo is especially amusing to those us blacklisted by the faux-liberal Washington Post’s witch-hunting promotion of a bogus list of “Russian propaganda” sites in 2016. As I noted recently, some observers suspect Facebook is using this same baseless, fact-free libelous list in its shadow banning of independent journalists and commentators.

That Facebook would stick a knife in neoliberal globalist George Soros (gasp!) to mask its calumny might have been an eye-opener for the enamored liberals who foolishly believed the facile PR of Facebook, Google et al. Nobody’s more offended that the chump who falls for the obvious scam, a scam that any streetwise person would have spotted a mile away.

Big Media so desperately wanted a partner in its faux-liberal virtue-signaling that it overlooked the abundant evidence that Facebook and Google are only interested in reaping billions of dollars in ever greater concentrations of wealth and power. These are corporations, after all, and just like the corporations that own Big Media, maximizing profits is their sole raison d’etre, self-congratulatory preening claims of public service wonderfulness aside.

Here’s the ugly truth: Facebook and Google are profit-maximizing quasi-monopolies who will do anything to protect their monopolies. Just like all the other monopolies that had to be busted up to protect the public from their predatory power.

I just received this email from the Wall Street Journal: the Big media war on Facebook just opened a new front, and it looks like a take-no-prisoners conflict now:

With Facebook Under Siege, Zuckerberg Adopts More Aggressive Style

Mark Zuckerberg gathered roughly 50 of his top lieutenants earlier this year and told them that Facebook was at war and he planned to lead the company accordingly.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s new approach is causing unprecedented turmoil atop Facebook, driving several key executives from the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

I’ve written a lot about these issues: here’s a selection of recent essays:

Are Facebook and Google the New Colonial Powers? September 18, 2017
The Demise of Dissent: Why the Web Is Becoming Homogenized November 17, 2017
Addictions: Social Media & Mobile Phones Fall From Grace November 24, 2017
Should Facebook, Google and Twitter Be Public Utilities? March 5, 2018
Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy? March 19, 2018
The Blowback Against Facebook, Google and Amazon Is Just Beginning April 27, 2018
Shadow Banning Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg: We’re All Digital Ghosts Now October 27, 2018


My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition.

Read the first section for free in PDF format.

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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The Only Regime Change that Is Needed Is in Washington

The only regime change that is needed is in Washington and it would include Jeffrey, Bolton, Haley, Pompeo, and Miller.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Ron Paul Institute:


Secretary Pompeo officiates the Swearing-In Ceremony for Ambassador James F. Jeffrey. Image credit: U.S. Department of State/ flickr)

One of the things to look forward to in the upcoming holiday season is the special treats that one is allowed to sample. Fruitcake and nuts are Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites. They usually come in tins or special packages but it seems that this season some of the nuts have escaped and have fled to obtain sanctuary from the Trump Administration.

Currently, there is certainly a wide range of nuts available on display in the West Wing. There is the delicate but hairy Bolton, which has recently received the coveted “Defender of Israel” award, and also the robust Pompeo, courageously bucking the trend to overeat during the holidays by telling the Iranian people that they should either surrender or starve to death. And then there is the always popular Haley, voting audaciously to give part of Syria to Israel as a holiday treat.

But my vote for the most magnificent nut in an Administration that is overflowing with such talent would be the esteemed United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey. The accolade is in part due to the fact that Jeffrey started out relatively sane as a career diplomat with the State Department, holding ambassadorships in Iraq, Turkey, and Albania. He had to work hard to become as demented as he now is but was helped along the way by signing on as a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Jeffrey set the tone for his term of office shortly after being appointed back in August when he argued that the Syrian terrorists were “. . . not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator.” Jeffrey, who must have somehow missed a lot of the head chopping and rape going on, subsequently traveled to the Middle East and stopped off in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been suggested that Jeffrey received his marching orders during the visit.

James Jeffrey has been particularly active during this past month.  On November 7th he declared that he would like to see Russia maintain a “permissive approach” to allowing the Israelis to attack Iranian targets inside Syria.  Regarding Iran’s possible future role in Syria, he observed that “Iranians are part of the problem not part of the solution.”

What Jeffrey meant was that because Israel had been “allowed” to carry out hundreds of air attacks in Syria ostensibly directed against Iran-linked targets, the practice should be permitted to continue. Israel had suspended nearly all of its airstrikes in the wake of the shoot-down of a Russian aircraft in September, an incident which Moscow has blamed on Israel even though the missile that brought down the plane was fired by Syria. Fifteen Russian servicemen were killed. Israel reportedly was deliberately using the Russian plane to mask the presence of its own aircraft.

Russia responded to the incident by deploying advanced S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Syria, which can cover most of the more heavily developed areas of the country. Jeffrey was unhappy with that decision, saying “We are concerned very much about the S-300 system being deployed to Syria. The issue is at the detail level. Who will control it? what role will it play?” And he defended his own patently absurd urging that Russia, Syria’s ally, permit Israel to continue its air attacks by saying “We understand the existential interest and we support Israel” because the Israeli government has an “existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems such as surface-to-surface missiles.”

On November 15th James Jeffrey was at it again, declaring that U.S. troops will not leave Syria before guaranteeing the “enduring defeated” of ISIS, but he perversely put the onus on Syria and Iran, saying that “We also think that you cannot have an enduring defeat of ISIS until you have fundamental change in the Syrian regime and fundamental change in Iran’s role in Syria, which contributed greatly to the rise of ISIS in the first place in 2013, 2014.”

As virtually no one but Jeffrey and the Israeli government actually believes that Damascus and Tehran were responsible for creating ISIS, the ambassador elaborated, blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the cycle of violence in Syria that, he claimed, allowed the development of the terrorist group in both Syria and neighboring Iraq.

He said “The Syrian regime produced ISIS. The elements of ISIS in the hundreds, probably, saw an opportunity in the total breakdown of civil society and of the upsurge of violence as the population rose up against the Assad regime, and the Assad regime, rather than try to negotiate or try to find any kind of solution, unleashed massive violence against its own population.”

Jeffrey’s formula is just another recycling of the myth that the Syrian opposition consisted of good folks who wanted to establish democracy in the country. In reality, it incorporated terrorist elements right from the beginning and groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliates rapidly assumed control of the violence. That Jeffrey should be so ignorant or blinded by his own presumptions to be unaware of that is astonishing. It is also interesting to note that he makes no mention of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, knee-jerk support for Israel and the unrelenting pressure on Syria starting with the Syrian Accountability Act of 2003 and continuing with the embrace of the so-called Arab Spring. Most observers believe that those actions were major contributors to the rise of ISIS.

Jeffrey’s unflinching embrace of the Israeli and hardline Washington assessment of the Syrian crisis comes as no surprise given his pedigree, but in the same interview where he pounded Iran and Syria, he asserted oddly that “We’re not about regime change. We’re about a change in the behavior of a government and of a state.”

Actually, the only regime change that is needed is in Washington and it would include Jeffrey, Bolton, Haley, Pompeo, and Miller. And while we’re at it, get rid of son-in-law Jared Kushner and his claque of Orthodox Jews, Jason Greenblatt the “peace negotiator” and David Friedman the U.S. Ambassador in Israel. None of them are capable of acting to advance any American national interest, which they wouldn’t recognize even if it hit them in the butt. Once they are gone the U.S. can bid the Middle East goodbye and leave its constituent nations to sort out their own problems. Jeffrey’s ridiculous prescriptions for the Syrians and Russians are symptomatic of what one gets from a team of yes-men who have latched onto some dystopic ideas and pursued them relentlessly, blinded by what they believe to be American power. Someone should tell them that their antics have made that power a commodity that is dramatically depreciating in value, but it is clear that they are not listening.

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‘Iron’ Mike Pence Stares-Down Putin In APEC Showdown

Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton were seen shaking hands and chatting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Singapore.

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Via Zerohedge


Forget the All-Blacks ‘Haka’, ignore Foreman-Frasier, Drago-Balboa, and Ortiz-Liddell, the honor of the greatest (or perhaps most awkward) staredown in history now goes to US Vice President Mike Pence…

Having been blamed for everything from Trump’s election victory to USA soccer team’s loss to England last week, Russia faced accusations all weekend and was reportedly confronted by the US contingent over “meddling.”

As The Sun reports, Pence and Putin “discussed the upcoming G20 Summit and touched on the issues that will be discussed when President Trump and President Putin are both in Argentina for the summit,” according to the vice president’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah.

An NBC reporter tweeted: “New per the @VP’s Office—> The VP’s office says Vice President Pence directly addressed Russian meddling in the 2016 election in a conversation with Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Singapore.

“The conversation took place following the plenary session this afternoon at ASEAN.”

But, it was the following clash of the titans that caught most people’s attention.

As the Russian president joined the that Pence shook Putin’s ‘deadly’ hand, met his ‘steely KGB-trained’ gaze, and desperately tried not to smile or blink for 20 seconds as Putin appeared to chat amicably with the US VP…

While Putin has (if his accusers are to be believed) grappled his opponents to death with his bare hands (remember he is a sinister KGB agent and jiu-jitsu expert); we suspect the only thing VP Pence has gripped tightly in his hands is his bible.

Sadly, John Bolton then blew the tough guy act (or is he Mike Pence’s ‘good cop’) as he does his best impression of a teenage girl meeting their popstar idol for the first time…

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