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Israel Resumes Practicing Military Attacks On Iran After 2-Year Pause

Israel Resumes Practicing Military Attacks On Iran After 2-Year Pause

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

The Israeli Air Force has resumed, after a two-year pause, what is being described as “intense” drills to practice attacking Iran’s nuclear sites, a move that likely would start a major war.

This comes just days after a report that the Israeli government approved a $1.5 billion budget increase for the military explicitly to pay for preparations to attack Iran. Defense Minister Benny Gantz defended the spending, saying it is necessary to prepare for the planned attack on Iran. This is expected to include acquiring new planes to participate in the attack.

An Israeli Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and F-16 fighter jets, via AFP

Underpinning Israel’s on-again, off-again planning to attack are decades of efforts to get the United States to attack Iran instead. Usually Israel’s scaling up its own unilateral options is theater to try to pressure the US.

This time, it comes not long after Israeli officials were crowing about Secretary of State Antony Blinken giving lip service to a US military option. This was reported to be exactly what Israel wanted, but now Israel is back to spending on its own war option.

In the grand scheme of things, the Israeli war narrative fuels itself more than anything, trying to feed US policy with alarmist claims and false statements about the months until Iran has a bomb they aren’t even working on.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is in Moscow discussing Syria and Iran with President Putin…

Though decades of this has made US decision-makers at least a little resistant, Israel’s own politicians, more than a few of whom have made a career on targeting Iran, may blunder themselves into an ugly war by falsely presenting themselves with no alternative.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 23:00

Chicago Pizzeria Forced To Close Due To Labor Shortage

Chicago Pizzeria Forced To Close Due To Labor Shortage

The country’s labor shortage is hitting home a little bit more for one Chicago-based pizzeria. 

This past weekend, the restaurant couldn’t open because it didn’t have enough staff, according to a new report from Insider. It cost the owner about $5,000 in revenue, the report says. 

Dave Bonomi, the owner of Coalfire Pizza in West Town, wrote on Twitter this past Sunday: “We are closed today. I simply do not have enough people to open.”

“In nearly 15 years of selling pizza, this has never happened,” he continued. 

In addition to not having enough staff, Bonomi said that applicants for jobs weren’t showing up to scheduled interviews. He attributes the no-shows to restaurants having a toxic reputation as places to work due to harassment from customers and low pay. 

Some of Coalfire’s staff had already left for higher paying jobs at larger restaurant chains. Coalfire increased its starting salary for cooks to $18 per hour from $15 per hour in response. 

Coalfire had already been “running on fumes” with a skeleton staff, Bonomi said. These problems got worse during the pandemic, he said, noting that the pandemic and the ensuing shortage was like “nothing I’ve ever seen”. 

Coalfire is a microcosm of a shortage taking place all over the country, where independent businesses find themselves shorthanded and unable to staff themselves. Restaurants and businesses that were just getting back to operating “normally” after the pandemic have still had to close their doors and shutter operations as a result. 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 22:40

The Frightened Class

The Frightened Class

Authored by Thomas Harrington via The Browstone Institute,

They’re all around us, especially those of us who live in relatively prosperous metropolitan neighborhoods in the US or Western Europe. Despite being—at least in material terms—among the most fortunate people who have ever walked the earth, they are very scared. And they want you to be very frightened too.

Indeed, many of them see your refusal to be as frightened as they are about life’s inevitable risks as a grave problem which entitles them and their often powerful and influential fellow travelers to recur to all manner of authoritarian practices to insure that you adhere to their increasingly neurotic view of reality.

This tendency has been in full bloom lately as the people who have sat safely behind their laptops during the last 20 months have harangued and threatened those who have been out on job sites and meatpacking plants mixing freely with others and the virus, to internalize their own obsessions. 

And when these supposedly ignorant others—whose storehouse of empirical evidence about the dangers of the virus easily outstrips that of the laptoppers—refuse to buckle to the demand to be scared, they are met with all sorts of opprobrium. 

Viewed in historical terms, it’s an odd phenomenon. 

For most of recorded time prosperity and education have been the gateway to a life of relative freedom from worry. But now, the people who most enjoy these benefits are, it seems, wracked with anxiety and, in the not infrequent way of many people suffering that plague, and hellbent on sharing their misery with others.

The point here is not to belittle the very real costs of anxiety in the lives of many people, nor to dismiss it as a real public health concern. Rather, it is to ask how and why it is proliferating so rapidly among those who, at least on the surface, have less reason than the vast majority of their fellow human beings to suffer from it.

There are, I think, a number of possible explanations. 

One way of explaining the phenomenon is in the context of income inequality and its devastating effects on the shape and size of the upper middle class, and those who still believe they have a realistic chance of joining its ranks. Those who have “made it” into that sub-group are deeply cognizant of the unstable nature of their status in a world of corporate buyouts and rampant layoffs. And they worry that they may not be able to provide their children with the ability to retain what they see, rightly or wrongly, as the only real version of the good life. 

Thus, when the people way up on top made the decision following September 11th to make the inducement of fear the cornerstone of political mobilization in an increasingly post-political and post-communal society, they found a ready reserve of support in this anxious if also relatively prosperous cohort of the population.

And after two decades of having their already anxious inner selves massaged daily by an a steady drumbeat of fear (and a diet of Trump as Hitler for dessert) both they and their children fell like ripe fruit into the hands of those that wanted to sell them on the “unprecedented” threat posed by a disease that leaves 99.75% of its victims wonderfully alive.

Adding another layer to this general phenomenon is the increasing isolation of our educated classes from “physicality” in both their work and communal lives.

Until the 1990s it was virtually impossible for anyone other than the richest of the rich not to have any active or passive acquaintance with the world of physical work. Indeed, for the first three or four decades after World War II many of those who could financially afford to relieve their children of this acquaintance with physical work often did not do so, as they believed that knowing what it meant to sweat, ache, be crushingly bored and, not infrequently, humiliated during the course of the day was essential to gaining a more rounded and empathetic understanding of the human condition. 

All that ended when the financialization of the economy and the rise of the internet made what Christopher Lasch presciently termed the “rebellion of the elites a much more palpable possibility.”

For example, very few of my students have ever worked during their summers in anything other than office jobs, often procured through family connections. They thus have little understanding, and hence little empathy, of just how brutal and demeaning daily work can be for so many people. 

This alienation from the physical can also be seen in family life. The predominant and seldom challenged edict of “go where the money is”—a virtual religion for those seeking upward advancement in US culture—has meant that large numbers of children now grow up far away from their extended families. However, we seldom talk about the built-in costs of subscribing to this ethos. 

To talk with and listen to grandparents, uncles and aunts on a regular basis and in person is very different from seeing these people in occasional choreographed holiday rituals, or from time-to-time on Zoom. In the first instance, the child is inserted into a milieu that, for better or worse, structures his understanding of how the world works and forces him to recognize his relationship to both the past, other people and their individual stories. 

Might they decide later, for very good reasons, to break for this particular network of narratives? Of course. But when they do so they will at least carry within the idea of a stable and rooted identity as a life goal, something that my discussions with students over the last decade have led me to believe many of them no longer see as a possibility, or even a need.

The increasing distance between those working within the antiseptic confines of the information economy and those still earning their keep with their bodies has, moreover, led many of the former group into a state of enormous confusion regarding the distinction between words and deeds.

To work in academia, as I have for the last three decades, is to be surrounded by people who truly believe that the words one exchanges with others are as existentially weighty and consequential as physical assaults upon the body. This not only shows how few of them have ever been in a real brawl, but how blind they are to the fundamental role that physical violence and/or the looming threat of its use has always played in the game of coercing the many to bend to the will of the few.

And this is why so many of them, parroting the moralizing, if factually tenuous, talking points supplied to them by a deeply corrupt media establishment, are so nonplussed about the physical assaults upon people’s bodies now taking place in the name of “fighting Covid.” It is also why a disturbing number of those whom they teach truly believe that hearing someone utter a critique against an ideological construct that another person told them was good and correct is much more problematic than forcing someone to be injected with an experimental drug under the threat of losing their livelihood. 

But perhaps the most significant reason for the rise of the Frightened Class is modern consumer culture’s assault upon the millenary practice of providing the young with what Joseph Campbell called “adequate mythic instruction.” For Campbell myths are, above all, a means of inoculating the young against the angst of knowing we are all destined for decrepitude and death, as well as much inflicted cruelty during that march toward oblivion.

These stories, he suggests, show the young how others have confronted their fears in the past and have learned to find meaning and coherence in the apparent absurdity of their situations. They drive home the message that there is nothing approaching vital plenitude and significant psychological growth without the repeated assumption of risk and a constant engagement with fear. In short, they instill in the young the idea that they are by no means alone in their existential dilemmas. 

From the point of view of consumer culture, however, a mythically-anchored person; that is, someone able to place their present struggles in a broad, coherent and historically-informed perspective, is a very troubling thing.

Why? 

Because such people are much less amenable to the mostly fear-based pitches that drive the production and consumption of the often nonessential goods upon which the system depends for its continued growth and expansion. If an adolescent has heard stories that underscore the ubiquity of awkward feelings among people of his age, and how so many before them passed through these difficulties and became stronger and wiser, then he is much less likely to pine for the purchase of the “solution” to the problem proffered to him by commercial entities. 

It has been said that, over time, we tend to “become what we do.” It seems that after orchestrating campaign after campaign of fear on behalf of the truly powerful, the “literate” comfortable classes have come to believe their own schtick to the point where they have trouble understanding, or even tolerating, those who have always consumed their mercenarily-produced fear porn with a large helping of salt. 

Worse yet, these self-frightened elites seem to think they can now remedy their lack of credibility with those living outside their grim prison of angst by simply amping up the volume on the scare machine. I suspect they might be in for a bigger and much more “physical” set of responses than they ever imagined could come their way. 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 22:20

CFTC Awards Almost $200 Million To Deutsche Bank Whistleblower

CFTC Awards Almost $200 Million To Deutsche Bank Whistleblower

In a release out Thursday, the CFTC said it had issued a monstrous $200 million whistleblower award to someone whose “specific, credible, and timely original information significantly contributed to an already open investigation and led to a successful enforcement action, as well as to the success of two related actions, by a U.S. federal regulator and a foreign regulator.”

It marks the largest payout ever by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Information provided by the whistleblower “led the CFTC to important, direct evidence of wrongdoing,” the release stated. It continued: 

In order to qualify for an award, a whistleblower who significantly contributed to the success of an enforcement action must demonstrate that there is a “meaningful nexus” between the information provided and the CFTC’s ability to successfully complete its investigation, and to either obtain a settlement or prevail in a litigated proceeding. The Commission determined here that the whistleblower met this standard. 

The whistleblower’s claim in connection with a third related action by a state regulator was denied because the whistleblower’s information was never shared with the state regulator. 

While the CFTC’s release didn’t name the whistleblower or the case the award was related to, follow on reporting by the Wall Street Journal identified the whistleblower as someone who helped regulators investigate manipulation of global interest-rate benchmarks by Deutsche Bank.

David Kovel, a managing partner at law firm Kirby McInerney LLP who represents the whistleblower, said: “We’re very happy that the CFTC was able to reverse an earlier decision and turn around their thinking. It says a lot about the people there that they don’t feel forced to stick with the wrong decision given the amount that’s at stake.”

The whistleblower had offered information that helped lead to $2.5 billion in settlements with Deutsche Bank in 2015. 

“The kind of information he provided was of the sort that was very hard to get if you don’t know where to look in a big financial organization,” Kovel added. 

Dawn Stump, a Republican commissioner on the CFTC, was against tailoring the award to fines levied by foreign regulators. “I believe we need to take an especially close look at cases where a whistleblower asks the commission to tap its limited Customer Protection Fund for an award relating to an action by a foreign futures authority to address harm outside the United States,”  she told the Journal. 

Mary Inman, an attorney representing whistleblowers at law firm Constantine Cannon LLP, concluded: “It’s showing that the CFTC program, like the SEC program, over the past 10 years, has really reached its maturity.” 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 22:00

Taibbi: Cancel Culture Takes A Big “L”

Taibbi: Cancel Culture Takes A Big “L”

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News,

First, there were the numbers. Over the course of the last week, news commentators predicted a huge demonstration of Netflix employees in protest of comedian Dave Chappelle’s The Closer special, with Yahoo! typifying coverage. “Reports say that one thousand Netflix employees — nearly 10% of the company’s workforce,” they wrote, “are planning an October 20 walkout to protest the Chappelle special.”

The Hollywood Reporter did say “at least one thousand” were planning on participating in a “virtual walkout,” whatever that is, but noted the story first came out in The Verge, which talked about a “company-wide” demonstration. Others followed, mostly without any hint that any of the reporters involved talked to anyone at Netflix but the demonstration’s organizers.

Nobody checked, because everyone liked the narrative as was. As a result, “at least one thousand” became gospel, via headlines like Gizmodo’s 1,000 Netflix Employees Are Reportedly Planning Walkout to Protest New Chappelle Special,” or The Independent inviting us to “watch live” as “more than one thousand Netflix employees are set to walk out of their jobs on Wednesday.”

By this Wednesday, October 20th, the day of the planned walkout, the story became “hundreds of Netflix employees and supporters are expected” to show up (CNN). Then, as the event started, it became “hundreds of protesters stood in solidarity with” Netflix’s employees, per The Daily Beast, for instance. Then NBC told us “Hundreds rally outside Netflix,” where protesting employees who lined up outside were “met with roaring applause.”

How many employees walked out? Not one news organization put the real number in a headline, and only a few had the guts to even tweet that the actual protest was reduced in the end to the famed Arrested Development meme:

Even the op-ed wrapups couldn’t avoid sounding like parodies, with the Washington Post talking about the “crowd of dozens” gathered outside the company’s West Hollywood offices being evidence that the popularity of a comedian whose show already gained over 10 million views was colliding with a “growing movement to protect the rights of transgender people” (how a comedy set could be a violation of “the rights of transgender people” was not explained, of course).

Coverage across the board was ridiculously one-sided, with story after story quoting nothing but activists and woke Twitter personalities denouncing Chappelle’s “alleged jokes.” Journalists not only felt no responsibility to accurately gauge how many protesters might turn up, or balance out the outraged tweets with any of the millions of commenters who felt differently (or indifferently, as it were), they routinely mischaracterized the show’s content. For instance, Chappelle was regularly accused of having “defended” the rapper DaBaby in the special, an example being New York Times guest columnist Roxane Gay writing:

One of the strangest but most telling moments in ‘The Closer’ is when Mr. Chappelle defends DaBaby, a rapper in the news for making pretty egregious homophobic remarks.

You have to be high, or having a psychotic episode, to hear “defending DaBaby” in The Closer. For those who don’t know the story — I didn’t — DaBaby, described by Chappelle as “the number one streaming artist until about a couple of weeks ago,” went onstage in a concert in Florida in July and went on a half-coherent rant. He told “fellas” in the crowd: “If you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cell phones up!” Some in the crowd went along.

“Now you know, I go hard in the paint, but even I saw that shit and was like, ‘God damn, DaBaby,’ was Chappelle’s first comment. Then he went on:

Can’t do that. Can’t do that. But I do believe and I’ll make this point later that the kid made a very egregious mistake. I will acknowledge that. But, you know a lot of the LBGTQ community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history, he’s a wild guy. He once shot a n*gga… and killed him, in Walmart. Oh, this is true, Google it. DaBaby shot and killed a n*gga in Walmart in North Carolina. Nothing bad happened to his career.

Do you see where I am going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a n*gga, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.

You can definitely infer from that bit that Dave Chappelle does, in fact, think it’s worse to shoot and kill a person than to make homophobic remarks. That regularly came out translated in op-ed pages as “defending DaBaby.” Such blithely insane, proudly dishonest mischaracterizations have become a regular feature of national media commentary, and Chappelle mocks the habit repeatedly in The Closer (to the delight of audiences around the world, it might behoove press people to notice). However, that’s not where he was going with the DaBaby bit.

White audiences couldn’t get enough of laughing at institutional racism as described in Chappelle’s Show, but The Closer is something different. Here we’re not talking about meathead cops who shoot your dog, or fat-cat white collar lawyers, congressmen, and federal investigators who kiss the asses of corporate thieves, i.e. the type of character he roasted in bits like “Tron Carter’s Law and Order.” Everyone hates those people, so you can beat on them all you want. They long ago stopped being taboo targets. The Closer goes after racism we’re not yet allowed to discuss.

Fifteen-plus years ago, when Chappelle’s Show was taking the entertainment world by storm, we didn’t yet live in a world where upper-class white people had completed their Apollo 11 mission to enlightenment and planted a flag in racism and discrimination as their exclusive properties.

This is an excerpt from today’s subscriber-only post. To read the entire article and get full access to the archives, you can subscribe for $5 a month or $50 a year.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/22/2021 – 21:40