More to ignore, Book 31....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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U.S. pulls more diplomatic staff from Ukraine, Biden and Putin expected to speak
Mark Sumner

On Friday evening, the United States withdrew most of its remaining diplomatic staff from Ukraine expressing concerns that a large-scale Russian invasion could come at any time. A phone call between President Biden and Russian ruler Vladimir Putin that Russia had proposed for Monday, has been moved to Saturday at the request of the United States. European nations have issued warnings for their citizens to leave Ukraine in anticipation of war.

As CNN reports, one of the most sobering statements was issued by the U.K. where the armed forces minister warned that, “British nationals should leave Ukraine immediately by any means possible, and they should not expect as they saw in the summer with Afghanistan that there'll be any possibility of a military evacuation.”

What will happen should Russia decide to invade still appears to be completely unclear. The same minister who warned U.K. citizens to get out, promised in a televised interview that, “There will be no British troops in Ukraine if there is conflict with Russia.” On Saturday morning, officials from the E.U. and U.S. were again discussing a “robust package of sanctions.”

Meanwhile, a meeting between Putin and Chinese Party Leader Xi Jinping has only served to increase concerns that China will back Russia’s play in Ukraine in return for future support in an invasion of Taiwan.
........
Coming out of their meeting in Beijing, Putin and Xi called for an end to NATO expansion as part of what The New Yorker describes as “a pact against America.”

“The world’s two most powerful autocrats unveiled a sweeping long-term agreement that also challenges the United States as a global power, NATO as a cornerstone of international security, and liberal democracy as a model for the world.”

Exactly what action China might take in a Ukraine conflict isn’t clear, but just as economic and trade sanctions are the biggest non-military lever available the U.S. and Europe, an alliance with China provides Russia the possibility of retaliatory sanctions in a tit-for-tat series that could make the supply chain issues during the pandemic seem quaint.

The agreement between Moscow and Beijing is more detailed and definitive than past statements, most of which have been heavy on rhetoric, but light on action. Robert Daly, the director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, described the statement as something that, “might be looked back on as the beginning of Cold War Two.”

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the U.S. has explicitly not taken the idea of sending American forces into Ukraine off the table. That includes sending forces recently positioned in Poland across the border to assist in any evacuation. They are also setting up tent camps in Poland in anticipation of those fleeing conflict in Ukraine.

Both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the nation’s defense minister continue to call for calm and insist that Ukrainian armed forces are, “ready to repel any attack.” Weapons and supplies from the U.S. and other allies continue to arrive in Kyiv. That includes new shipments of U.S. anti-tank weapons.


The conversation between President Biden and Putin is expected to take place at 11AM ET. Later on Saturday, Putin is also expected to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron.
..........

bluedogsd
Feb 12, 2022 at 10:45:43 AM

I lived in Ukraine with my born and raised Kiev partner from 2017-2018. We moved to Spain, her family is all in Kiev.


They are fleeing today because my brother in law (effectively) is of draftable age.

In other words I know a lot about how things are there on the ground.

This will be Putins deep error if he does this and I simply can't believe he is that tactically stupid.

The Ukrainians outside of Donbast are deeply anti Putin and many of them are hard core nationalists. Maidan was a real thing. The national Ukrainiains have been increasing their position and identification in a way similar to nationalists all over the world. I can't say l think this is a "good thing" at all but there are militia-like organizations of deeply committed and trained civilians who will fight for their lives in the event Putin installs an occupation government. They will be the resistance and it will be fierce.

It's mind boggling to think he is not aware of this presence. Whatever government he puts in place will be constantly attacked even though they may have the overwhelming force they will have zero support. Ukraine is a large country with 40 million people. It will be an economic and power drain on him with very little benefit.

Putin does know history. I don't believe he is delusional like TFG. I watch Putin in his press conferences (I speak Russian) and I a student of his history.

All of that said it's getting harder to see him doing anything else but it's still hard to understand him doing it.

I can't tell this to my partners family (that I still find it hard to imagine an invasion) and they honestly are making the same decision I would make.

I will say this, if Putin does this he's going to have a situation like Russia had in Afghanistan, like we had in Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam, like anywhere that an occupier is confronted with deeply dedicated people against his mission.

I really hope that this is some form of deep depth psyops with a goal that only Putin knows because it's not going to go well for the entire world and even he won't get out of it whatever he apparently thinks he will.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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The United States has obtained new intelligence that suggests Russia is planning to stage an attack that it would falsely blame on Ukraine to justify invading the country, possibly as early as next week, according to multiple U.S. and European officials who have reviewed the intelligence or been briefed on it.

The intelligence about a “false flag” operation was discussed in a quickly convened meeting in the White House Situation Room on Thursday evening and helped prompt renewed calls from the Biden administration for all Americans to leave Ukraine immediately, according to officials familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

The precise timing and nature of the Russian operation was unclear. The United States had already accused Russia of planning to film a fake attack against Russian territory or Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine. The new intelligence is distinct from that alleged operation, the officials said........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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TTM note: This past July, Putin published this essay, which outlines exactly what he is thinking......


The following article from today takes a closer look....

Putin uses fabrications about Russians and Ukrainians being ‘one people’ to justify aggression
Ian Reifowitz

Vladimir Putin has been bullying Ukraine for many years. But that’s not all. Now, in addition to massing Russian military forces along the border—surrounding his neighbor in what can only be seen as preparation for invading that country—he’s lying about Ukrainians’ very identity in order to snuff out their independence.

Americans know a little something about breaking away from a country with whom we share much in terms of cultural roots. Thanks to history, we also know that once-powerful countries start remaking the borders of Europe by force, it opens the door to massive bloodshed.

The lies Putin’s telling these days have a very specific purpose, designed to buttress his bullying. The primary lie is that there are no Ukrainians. He denies their existence as a people, as a community that possesses a national consciousness. They’re really just Russians, you see. That’s why it’s not wrong for Vlad to remake or even erase a border that his country agreed to respect in 1994. He openly violated that treaty in 2014 with his military incursion into the Donbas region of southeastern Ukraine—where he both provided material support for pro-Russian separatists and sent some of his own troops as well—not to mention his outright forced annexation of Crimea. Russia has been violating the agreement consistently ever since.....
 

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If Russia doped a 15-year-old skater, it's time to throw Russia out of the Olympic movement
Darrell Lucus

Back in 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from all major international sporting events for four years due to the discovery of a major state-sponsored doping operation. However, as a concession to those athletes who weren’t ensnared in the scheme, WADA allowed individual athletes to take part in international events—but not under Russia’s tricolor flag.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport subsequently reduced the ban to two years. That’s the reason that we’re seeing Russian athletes compete under the banner of the “Russian Olympic Committee” (ROC). It follows on from the International Olympic Committee banning Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics, but allowing individual Russian athletes to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

At the time, this was justified as a way to avoid punishing clean Russian athletes for the sins of those involved in the doping. But that was before we learned of evidence that suggests Russian interests found it acceptable to dope a minor. Namely, Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old figure skater whose electrifying performance in the team figure skating competition now has a giant asterisk next to it. She tested positive for a banned heart medication that could potentially cost the ROC its gold medal. Given that an innocent explanation for this is highly unlikely, it’s time to throw Russia out of the Olympic movement, and international sport—even if it means clean athletes get caught in the crossfire.
.........
Inevitably, certain Olympic athletes become international darlings. It initially appeared that Valieva had joined the likes of Olga Korbut, Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Michelle Kwan, Simone Biles, and many others during the team figure skating competition. She became the first woman to land two quadruple jumps in Olympic history—which was enough to get the ROC a gold medal, with the United States getting silver and Japan getting bronze. Watch Valieva’s quadruple jumps here (sorry, NBC has disabled embedding).

The medal ceremony was slated for Tuesday night. However, on Tuesday morning, the IOC announced that the ceremony would be delayed due to an unspecified issue that required “legal consultation” with the International Skating Union. The following day, Olympic news site Inside the Games detonated a bombshell—the issue involved potential doping by a Russian athlete. Later on Wednesday, Inside the Games detonated an even bigger bombshell—the issue was a drug test taken by Valieva before the Olympics.

By Friday morning, it had been confirmed—Valieva had indeed tested positive for a banned substance. Specifically, trimetazidine, a heart medication that has been on WADA’s list of banned substances since 2014 in competition and since 2015 outside of competition.

The only way Valieva could have been allowed to have it in her system is if she had a prescription for it. But Sadiya Khan, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine, told NBC’s “Today” that it’s highly unlikely anyone that young would ever get a prescription for that drug.

As the story unfolded, it emerged that this failed test was based on a sample taken—wait for it—two months before the Olympics. More details from
The New York Times:

In December, Valieva, 15, had submitted a routine doping sample that a laboratory later determined included a banned drug. The results of the test were not returned for more than six weeks, though, and delivered only after Valieva had competed at the Beijing Olympics. This created an embarrassing spectacle in which a skater from a nation serving a multiyear doping ban for running a huge, state-sponsored doping scheme at a previous Olympics was allowed to compete on her sport’s biggest stage, only to be suspended the next day.

According to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, the sample was collected on Christmas Day during the Russian skating championships and sent to Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. RUSADA is suspended from WADA as a result of the state-sponsored doping scandal, and all Russian doping samples have to be sent to WADA-accredited labs outside the country.

However, due to what RUSADA blames on a COVID-19 outbreak at Karolinska University Hospital, it took over a month for Valieva’s results to be returned. This was a flagrant breach of antidoping protocols, which call for results to be returned within 20 calendar days. Most countries press for expedited results within 48 to 72 hours.

All of this led United States Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart—whom most of us know as the man who brought down Lance Armstrong—to call BS on his Russian counterparts.

“It’s either an intentional delay to allow her to compete or gross incompetence and has resulted in mayhem and Russia again tainting a major competition,” Tygart said in a phone interview.
(...)
Tygart, the U.S. antidoping chief, said the crisis would have been easily avoided if Russia’s antidoping agency acted with the urgency required. “Our staff stays up night and day checking to see what’s been reported,” Tygart said. “We call the lab if we need to.”

Valieva’s profile, and the looming Olympics, should only have increased that sense of urgency for Russia, he said. “If it’s a Wheaties box athlete like she is, you’re going to make sure everything is buttoned up before they go,” Tygart added.

When the best-case scenario is “gross incompetence,” to put it mildly that’s a bad sign.

As if it had a choice, RUSADA suspended Valieva soon after the results were announced, but reinstated her the next day. That didn’t sit well with WADA, the IOC, or the International Skating Union, who have announced they want Valieva booted out of the Games. Read WADA’s statement here.



CAS is due to hold an expedited hearing on the matter on Sunday, with a decision to be issued on Monday. It would come just before the women’s short program, where Valieva would be the prohibitive favorite for gold if she is allowed to compete.

Complicating matters, however, is that since Valieva is younger than 16, she is considered a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Code. Since it is possible that she is too young
(to understand?) anti-doping rules, it’s possible she could get off with as little as a reprimand, and at worst a two-year ban. Normally, a doping violation carries up to a four-year ban.

The focus would then rightly turn to Valieva’s entourage. Indeed, there have already been calls for the adults in Valieva’s circle to face lengthy bans, most notably from retired figure skaters Katarina Witt and Adam Rippon.

Sorry, but banning Valieva’s entourage isn’t nearly enough. Given that there is almost no good-faith reason for that drug to be in her system, the fact this happened is evidence that the culture of the Russian sporting community is incompatible with that of the international sporting community. Doping a minor, in my book, is no different morally from sexually exploiting a minor. If there was an environment in Russia where this was even remotely acceptable, then the only way to make this right is to ban Russia from all international competition indefinitely. Even if it means clean athletes get ensnared, the prospect that anyone would find it acceptable to dope a 15-year-old girl is something that cannot be tolerated.

The closest parallel I can draw is to the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. You may recall that after the discovery that Penn State officials had covered up a pattern of child molestation by Jerry Sandusky that went back to at least 1994, the NCAA initially banned Penn State from postseason play for four years—a penalty reduced to only two years in 2014. Even though it had the effect of punishing current players for something that happened when they were in middle school, the prospect that Penn State put winning football games above the safety of children was such that it would have been derelict for the NCAA not to act.


This is no different. Any concern about punishing clean Russian athletes is more than outweighed by the need to come down hard on a country that finds it acceptable to dope minors. Now that we know this is apparently the case, Russia must be kicked out of the Olympic movement, and international sport, until it shows that it has cleaned house.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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If you think race is a minor part of, or even a distraction from, the broader debate about the future of our democracy, let me introduce you to the last couple of weeks in American politics.

When President Joe Biden announced his intention to follow through on a campaign pledge to nominate a black woman to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a chorus of voices on the right grabbed every mic in sight to decry the president for eschewing meritocracy in favor of identity politics. And a few days later, when Donald Trump suggested during a campaign rally that he would pardon the convicted Jan. 6th insurrectionists (many of whom openly displayed their racism), folks on the left we-told-you-so’d over how in-step the former president’s move was with the right-wing politics of white grievance.

There is a real sense that the parties are further apart on questions of race today than they have been for some time—each side being pulled to the poles. But the truth is more complicated. The yawning gap between the parties is not, as is often suggested, because Republicans have become more racist and Democrats have become more woke; it is because the left has become more progressive on racial inequality while the right has fortified its pre-existing position......
 

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A former Air Force sergeant and member of the extremist "boogaloo" movement has pleaded guilty to killing a federal security officer in Oakland during racial injustice protests in 2020.

The ex-military officer, Steven Carrillo, 33, changed his plea Friday after federal prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty. Instead, as part of a plea agreement, prosecutors are asking that Carrillo be sentenced to 41 years in prison and a lifetime term of supervised release, according to the Department of Justice.

District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers still has to decide whether to accept the plea agreement. Carrillo is expected to be sentenced on June 3.

According to prosecutors, Carrillo and an alleged accomplice, Robert Alvin Justus Jr., were looking to use the cover of protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd when they traveled to Oakland on May 29, 2020, to target police.


Carrillo was charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder after prosecutors said he opened fire outside the Ronald V. Dellums federal courthouse, killing Protective Security Officer David Patrick Underwood and injuring a second officer........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FLUnH2UXsAEEUr_
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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I sometimes think about what the, oh, 1997 version of me would find most surprising about the news industry of today. For all that’s happened in the worlds of newspapers and TV news, I think it might be magazines that would throw me for the biggest loop.

“You know Newsweek — the Cracked to Time’s Mad? The third-best option in your typical doctor’s waiting room? Now it’s pretty much a place to run alt-right conspiracy theories — especially since that big raid of their office. You pretty much only hear about it when someone says, ‘Oh, Newsweek isn’t really Newsweek any more.’ Oh, and they might be run by some fringe Christian sect out of Korea or something?”

“Sports Illustrated? Yeah, it’s still around, sorta — still some good writers there. It’s owned by the people who — you ever think, ‘I wanna make a mug, and I really want to put Marilyn Monroe’s face on it, but I don’t know who to call about the rights”? They’re the people you call! On the plus side, you can now get an SI-branded sports bra at JC Penney. (Yeah, they’re still around somehow too.) I miss the football phone.”

Nintendo Power? They killed Nintendo Power. They’re monsters, Past Me, monsters. Also, I know these words don’t all make sense right now, but: Buy Bitcoin.”
........
But right up there in the Confusing Magazine Transition Dept. would have to be Forbes, the magazine David Carr once called “a synonym for riches, success and a belief that business, left to its own devices, will create a better world.” (Of course, he wrote that a year and a half into the Great Recession, so the shine was already coming off.)

This was a magazine positioned for captains of industry, the sort of outlet that would proudly brand itself as “Forbes: Capitalist Tool” without ever thinking those words might mean something other than intended. Owner Malcolm Forbes “seemed to exemplify a kind of gleeful capitalism that relished the things that money could buy, from macho symbols like the 68 motorcycles he owned to an extensive collection of Faberge eggs.”

Of all the ways Forbes magazine might have evolved from there, Past Me would never have guessed “under-edited group blog that’s a soft mark for grifters.” Call it “Forbes: Scammer Tool.”

The latest example comes from the police blotter. Here’s Sarah Emerson of BuzzFeed News:

A husband and wife were arrested in Manhattan on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to launder $4.5 billion in stolen cryptocurrency. In an announcement, the Department of Justice called its confiscation of 94,000 bitcoins, which amounts to $3.6 billion, the agency’s “largest financial seize ever.”

The department named Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan as the individuals responsible for allegedly attempting to launder 119,754 bitcoin stolen from the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Bitfinex was targeted by hackers in August 2016 who “initiated more than 2,000 unauthorized transactions,” the DOJ said.

Yeesh, sounds bad. (I’m starting to think there might be something a little hinky about this crypto stuff!)

So who are these people, anyway?

The announcement shared little about the identities of Liechtenstein and Morgan except that they are in their early 30s. But court documentsalso identified the duo by their aliases, “Dutch” and “Razzlekhan.” Twitter users and journalists have already found what appear to be numerous profiles belonging to Morgan, who, before her arrest, was seemingly pursuing a career as an influencer.

On Twitter, Morgan allegedly identified herself as a “serial entrepreneur,” “surreal artist,” “rapper,” and “also Forbes writer.” Indeed, a Forbes contributor page for Heather R Morgan lists numerous posts, including a story titled “Experts Share Tips to Protect Your Business From Cybercriminals.”

Screen-Shot-2022-02-09-at-10.46.31-AM.png

Wowzers. Morgan wrote 47 articles for Forbes.1 (Forbes reported late this afternoon that she had been “removed [as] a [Forbes] contributor in September 2021 during a routine semiannual review.”)

Morgan also, naturally, raps under the name Razzlekhan, the “Versace Bedouin,” “like Genghis Khan, but with more pizzazz.”

razzlekhan-700x915.jpg


I should note, of course, that neither she nor Liechtenstein has been found guilty of any crimes; perhaps they have a good explanation for the $3.6 billion the feds allegedly found in their digital seat cushions. But her aesthetic crimes are many and they are severe.



Her current pinned tweet:



(Not a Churchill quote.)
.........
It would be one thing if this was the first time something like this happened at Forbes — for it to have matched author to subject so poorly as to have cybercrime-prevention advice coming from someone now under indictment for cybercrime. (It’s like finding out Smokey the Bear’s behind all the wildfires in California.)

But this is only the latest in a series of bonkers abuses of its “contributor” system. Actually, check that: These are less abuses than straight-up uses, because they’re baked into the very premise of letting anyone take your brand equity out for a spin.

If you need a refresher: The Gordon Gecko 1980s and NASDAQ-boom 1990s were both very good to Forbes, but things started to drift downward in the 2000s, both in print and in the new world online. When the financial crisis hit, there were cuts and layoffs and, for the first time, a non-Forbes hired to run the place, Mike Perlis. He and chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin came up with a revival strategy that just screams early 2010s digital media: It’s all about scale, baby, scale.

Forbes’ staff of journalists could produce great work, sure. But there were only so many of them, and they cost a lot of money. Why not open the doors to Forbes.com to a swarm of outside “contributors” — barely vetted, unedited, expected to produce at quantity, and only occasionally paid? (Some contributors received a monthly flat fee — a few hundred bucks — if they wrote a minimum number of pieces per month, with money above that possible for exceeding traffic targets. Others received nothing but the glory.)

As of 2019, almost 3,000 people were “contributors” — or as they told people at parties, “I’m a columnist for Forbes.”


Let’s think about incentives for a moment. Only a very small number of these contributors can make a living at it — so it’s a side gig for most. The two things that determine your pay are how many articles you write and how many clicks you can harvest — a model that encourages a lot of low-grade clickbait, hot takes, and deceptive headlines. And many of these contributors are writing about the subject of their main job — that’s where their expertise is, after all — which raises all sorts of conflict-of-interest questions. And their work was published completely unedited — unless a piece went viral, in which case a web producer might “check it more carefully.”

All of that meant that Forbes suddenly became the easiest way for a marketer to get their message onto a brand-name site.

And since this strategy did build up a ton of new traffic for Forbes — publishing an extra 8,000 pieces a month will do that! — lots of other publications followed suit in various ways.........

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US and its allies will respond "decisively and impose swift and severe consequences" on Russia should Putin decide to invade Ukraine.

In a roughly hour-long phone call, the White House said Biden made clear to Putin what he would be risking with an invasion. A senior administration official told reporters following the call that the discussions was substantive but the US fears Russia may still launch a military attack anyway.

"President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia. President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia's standing," the White House said in a statement, adding Biden "was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios."

The call between the two leaders comes hours after the US moved some of its forces out of Ukraine and ordered the evacuation of most of its embassy staff on Saturday as fears mount that a Russian invasion of the country could take place in the next few days. The moves were yet another sign that the US fears Putin could order an invasion at any time, just one day after Biden's national security adviser warned Americans in Ukraine to leave and that military action could begin with an aerial bombardment that could kill civilians.

A senior administration official told reporters Saturday afternoon that the call between the two presidents was "professional and substantive," but "there was no fundamental change in the dynamic that has been unfolding now for several weeks."

"The two Presidents agreed that our teams will stay engaged in the days ahead," the official told reporters after the call. "Russia may decide to proceed with military action anyway. Indeed, that is a distinct possibility."

The official said that Biden reiterated the US' ideas on how to enhance European security while also addressing some of Russia's security concerns, but noted that it "remains unclear whether Russia is interested in pursuing its goals diplomatically."

Asked whether Russia has made a decision to invade, the official said, "I think the honest answer to that question is we don't have full visibility into President Putin's decision making."

"But you know, we are not basing our assessment of this on what the Russians say publicly," the official continued. "We are basing his assessment on what we are seeing on the ground ... which is a continued Russian buildup on the border with Ukraine, and no meaningful evidence of de-escalation, or really of any interest in de-escalation.".....
 

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The MAGA-themed “Let’s Go BrandonEthereum cryptocurrency has fallen on tough times.

So much so that the value of all 330 trillion coins totals just a few thousand dollars combined, according to the trading sites CoinMarketCap and Crypto, a far cry from the days of pro-Trump investors believing they could strike it rich in the ever-complex world of crypto.

That represents a 99.5 percent decline over the last 30 days, leaving a singular LGB coin effectively worthless.

At the end of last year, the coin, which carries the saying “Let’s Go, Brandon,” spiked in value after it received a boost from D-list TrumpWorld acolytes and found itself being promoted on the hood of NASCAR driver Brandon Brown’s race car.

A month prior, the slogan had found its legs when Brown gave a post-victory interview with NBC reporter Kelli Stavast. The crowd could be heard loudly chanting “F*ck Joe Biden,” but the sports reporter mistook the crowd’s words for “Let’s Go Brandon.”

From that point forward, it became a pro-Trump rallying cry. From the likes of Florida Republican Governor Ron Desantis, who began using the term “Brandon administration,” to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) touting the secretly crude anti-Biden phrase, Trumpworld quickly got hooked on saying it in public.

A group of enterprising crypto enthusiasts seized on the viral moment by creating their own cryptocurrency and attempting to sponsor the driver’s racing team.

Those dreams vaporized in January, when NASCAR abruptly intervened, declaring that it would not allow the sponsorship deal to go through, despite prior approval from a company employee.

The coin’s demise followed in short order, even as LGB signed a “two-year, eight-figure” sponsorship agreement with the driver.

To some observers, the collapse was a foregone conclusion. “They tried to monetize on a viral outbreak. Did it surprise me when something without value shot up and immediately shot down upon release? No,” said David Silver, an attorney who has represented aggrieved crypto investors since 2014.

And though the crypto markets are riddled with scams, according to Tim Swanson—who blogs about crypto and works as head of market intelligence at the blockchain company Clearmatics—the danger to investors is always higher with niche “meme coins.”

Larger coins have higher trading volumes, so when a company insider sells a huge amount of their stake, it generally won’t significantly dilute prices for everyone else, he said. With meme coins, however, average investors are at the mercy of insiders “who know exactly when they’re going to sell.” Once they do, he added, the coin’s value effectively “drops to zero.”

At the LGB coin’s peak in early January 2022, the coin had a liquidity pool worth north of $6.5 million. (One not familiar with crypto might think of a liquidity “pool” as just that, a large pool of liquid cash flow that the exchange can use if investors want out of their positions, even if there isn’t a buyer on the other side of the table.) That pot of money has since dried up, leaving a liquidity pool of less than $10,000.

On Twitter, the organizing group behind LGB pledged to “airdrop” investors a new and improved coin, ostensibly swapping out something worthless for something with an artificially designated value.

David Silver, the crypto lawyer, was skeptical. “The free market has already said this is a coin that has no value,” he said. “Simply rebranding and trying again is merely trying to take a second shot at convincing someone to give you value where no value exists.”

Some apparent investors seem skeptical as well. One commenter complained in the comment section of LGB’s Twitter page in January that their $15,000 investment had plummeted to just “a couple [of] hundred dollars.” Another expressed alarm that their 73 million coins were worth a measly $1.66 altogether.

As of several weeks ago, the team behind LGB was still urging their acolytes to remain patient and loyal. Tweeting from their stated location—“Merica”—they offered up a “Don’t Panic!” meme accompanied by some dubious counsel: “Sometimes you just need to have faith and [hold on for dear life].”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Carla in Sequim
Feb 12, 2022 at 08:26:05 PM

Here are some 🎶 suggestions from Twitter to get people to leave

1 "Tip toe thru the tulips" by Tiny Tim
2 "They're coming to take me away, ha ha" by Napoleon XIV
3 "Dead Skunk in the middle of the road" by Louden Wainwright III
4 "Does your chewing gum lose it's flavor on the bedpost overnight?" by Lonnie Donegan
5 "Muskrat Love" by Captain & Tennille
and finally for me...
6 "Camp Grenada (hello Muddah, hello Faddah)
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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TTM note: The RWNJs are neglecting to mention that Durham also noted that the program awas applied to the Obama White House as well. I wonder why they are neglecting to mention that. Also, Durham's first name is John. Just like Trump's middle name.

OTOH, Mueller's first name is Robert.

LULZ








 
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Rudolph W. Giuliani, who as former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyer helped lead the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is in discussions with the House Jan. 6 committee about responding to its questions, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The extent of any assistance that Mr. Giuliani might provide remains unclear and the negotiations could easily fall apart, especially as Mr. Trump continues to publicly rail against the investigation.

But Mr. Giuliani, through his lawyer, has signaled to the committee that he plans to take a less confrontational stance toward its requests than some other members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle who are fighting the committee’s subpoenas or have otherwise refused to cooperate.

Mr. Giuliani’s discussions with committee officials suggest that he may be seeking to avoid a potentially costly legal fight over a subpoena that was issued to him last month. By engaging with the committee, Mr. Giuliani could also make it more difficult for the House to issue a criminal referral of him to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress if he in the end does not comply with the subpoena.

Should Mr. Giuliani ultimately provide the committee with substantive cooperation, it would be a major breakthrough for the investigation and a breach in the relationship between Mr. Trump and one of his closest if most problematic advisers. Mr. Giuliani was instrumental not only in the post-Election Day effort to keep Mr. Trump in power but also in the pressure campaign on Ukraine that led to Mr. Trump’s first impeachment.

One person familiar with the matter said that Mr. Giuliani was still negotiating over whether to give investigators an informal interview or a formal deposition, and that he had not yet determined how much information he might seek to shield from the committee by invoking executive privilege or attorney-client privilege with Mr. Trump.


A committee aide said that the panel would not comment on negotiations with its witnesses. But the aide said that the committee had allowed Mr. Giuliani, who was scheduled to appear for a deposition before the panel last Tuesday, to reschedule it at “his request.” The aide said the committee was pressing Mr. Giuliani to “cooperate fully.”

However preliminary, the conversations suggest that Mr. Giuliani is considering taking a vastly different approach than those taken by other close Trump allies.

Mr. Trump’s onetime chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges after refusing an interview with the committee. Another former aide, Stephen K. Bannon, was indicted in November after refusing to provide information to congressional investigators.

As a key figure in some of Mr. Trump’s attempts to stave off electoral defeat, Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, would be in a position to tell investigators how much the former president knew about a series of extraordinary measures that were proposed to him last fall and winter in a bid to maintain his grip on power.

Among those efforts was a scheme to disrupt the normal workings of the Electoral College by persuading lawmakers in contested swing states to draw up alternate slates of electors showing Mr. Trump was victorious in states that were actually won by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Giuliani was also instrumental in vetting a plan to use the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines in order to examine the data housed inside them for supposed evidence of fraud. At Mr. Trump’s direction, Mr. Giuliani asked a top homeland security official if the department could legally take control of the machines — a notion that the official shot down. Mr. Giuliani later opposed an even more explosive proposal to have the military seize the machines.

Mr. Giuliani was subpoenaed with other members of a legal team that billed itself as “an elite strike force” and pursued a set of conspiracy-filled lawsuits on behalf of Mr. Trump in which they made unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the election. They were initially scheduled to testify this week, but were granted delays through discussions with their lawyers.

The subpoena sought all documents that Mr. Giuliani had detailing the pressure campaign that he and other Trump allies initiated targeting state officials; the seizure of voting machines; contact with members of Congress; any evidence to support the bizarre conspiracy theories he pushed; and any arrangements for his fees.

On Jan. 6, speaking to a crowd of Trump supporters before the attack on the Capitol, Mr. Giuliani called for “trial by combat.” Later, after the building was under siege, both he and Mr. Trump called lawmakers in an attempt to delay the certification of Mr. Biden’s victory.

Fighting subpoenas in court can be expensive, and Mr. Giuliani has already suffered a series of difficult — and potentially costly — legal setbacks.

He is facing a defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, accusing him of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign” made up of “demonstrably false” claims that the company helped flip votes away from Mr. Trump. And in June, his law license was suspended after a New York court ruled he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while fighting the results of the 2020 election.

While the committee continues to face stonewalling from top Trump aides and advisers, it has won various degrees of cooperation from a number of senior White House officials, including top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Giuliani’s own aide, Bernard B. Kerik, who once served as police commissioner in New York City.

Mr. Kerik, who worked with Mr. Giuliani to investigate purported claims of election fraud, provided testimony to the committee and a trove of documents, but also kept some key documents secret, citing Mr. Trump’s invocation of executive privilege.

The committee has interviewed around 500 witnesses and issued more than 100 subpoenas, including broad ones to banks as well as telecommunications and social media companies.


Faced with at least 18 Trump allies who have signaled they will not fully cooperate, investigators for the committee have adopted techniques more typically used in organized crime prosecutions than in congressional inquiries and quietly turned at least six lower-level Trump staff members into witnesses who have provided information about their bosses’ activities.

The committee is also considering granting immunity to crucial members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle who have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as a way of pressuring them to testify.