Everyone Wants America’s Title Belt | Reassessing Bill Gates the Monopolist | Predicting Punches


“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson

“In boxing, yesterday’s nobody can become tomorrow’s somebody. The man who wants it the most is going to come home with it. He had the will to win.” – Don King on Buster Douglas’s upset of Mike Tyson

“You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Charley.” – Terry Malloy (Marlon Brandon) in On the Waterfront


Global Punch-Out!!: The directors of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies appeared before the Senate Intelligence committee Tuesday to give testimony on their worldwide threat assessments to the US from foreign enemies. They described an array of highly organized economic, military and intelligence efforts by superpowers, to various disruptions by terrorists, hacktivists and transnational criminals. North Korea, Iran and Syria are certainly concerning, but Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats made clear America’s biggest threats are coming from China and Russia. Those two powers are more aligned than ever, and they’re determined to target the 2020 presidential election and American institutions in order to expand their global reach, 

Coats told the committee: “China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea increasingly use cyber operations to threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways – to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure,” adding “Moscow’s relationship with Beijing is closer than it’s been in many decades.” He said renewed and likely more sophisticated attacks on the 2020 presidential contest are expected. He also testified that some American allies are pulling away from Washington in reaction to changing US policies on security and trade.

The intelligence chiefs’ assessments broke with some past assertions by President Trump. Coats said North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons and that the Islamic State would continue to pursue attacks from Syria, as well as Iraq, against regional and Western adversaries, including the US. Trump has claimed North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, and that the Islamic State has been defeated. Senators expressed deep concern about current threats. Particularly worrying was FBI Director Christopher Wray warning: “The Chinese counterintelligence threat is more deep, more diverse, more vexing, more challenging, more comprehensive and more concerning than any counterintelligence threat I can think of.” 

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A Left And A Right Punch to Current Title Holder Bibi: Retired Israeli military general and political newcomer Benny Gantz officially launched his campaign Tuesday to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the April 2019 elections. Gantz spoke to an enthusiastic crowd with thousands of people, presenting himself as the most viable moderate alternative to the long-serving Netanyahu. Gantz’ message was one of unity at home, a search for peace and a tough line against the country’s many enemies; he included gestures to Israel’s many interest groups — religious and secular, right wing and left wing, Arab and Jew. Netanyahu immediately took to Twitter, branding Gantz as weak and taunting: “Whoever says they are not right and not left — is left.” (WaPo) 

Additional read: “Netanyahu’s toughest ballot rival, ex-general Gantz, breaks silence.” (Reuters)

Trump Officials Help Enemies By Revealing What Punch Will Be Thrown: National Security Adviser John Bolton appeared at a news briefing Monday, conspicuously holding a yellow pad displaying the words: “5,000 troops to Colombia.” He was there to unveil sweeping sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, Washington’s latest attempt to pressure Caracas’ socialist President Nicolas Maduro to leave office. Bolton’s notepad sparked questions about President Trump’s intentions regarding possible military intervention in Venezuela, which borders Colombia. When asked whether the administration was seriously considering sending US troops to Colombia, which would certainly escalate tensions with Venezuela, a White House spokesman replied: “As the President has said, all options are on the table.” (Reuters)

Additional read: “Venezuelan Opposition Leader Guaidó Controls U.S. Bank Accounts, State Dept. Says.” (NYT)

And…3…2…1…Okay MBS, You Can Come Out Of The Corner Now: Despite initial international condemnation of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, events at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week made it clear everyone including Western politicians and business executives have moved on. Swiss president Ueli Maurer summed it up, saying “We have long since dealt with the Khashoggi case. We have agreed to continue the financial dialogue and normalize relations again.” (WaPo)

Additional Read: “Saudi seeks to attract $427 billion with industrial program.” (Reuters)


Divided We Legislate: Republicans hold the majorities in most of US state capitals. But after the 2018 midterms, Democrats now control six new legislative chambers, including the Minnesota House of Representatives. With that election Minnesota became the only remaining state in the nation to have a divided legislature in over 100 years. At least 12 states have governors of a different party than their single-party legislatures. Alaska could eventually be the 13th, but a current battle over leadership has muddied the waters. (NYT)

Additional read: Freshman in College, Freshman in the Capitol: West Virginia’s 19-Year-Old Lawmaker (NYT, $)

A Political Royal Rumble: Former Starbucks CEO and lifelong Democrat Howard Schultz is considering running for president — as an independent. Schultz wants nothing more than for Donald Trump to be defeated in 2020, but he fears Democrats will nominate someone too far to the left. Democrats warned that running as an independent would siphon off votes from the Democratic candidate and help Trump win reelection. A professor who studies independents weighed in with this: “The misconception around his campaign is there’s this big proportion [of voters] looking for a third candidate.” She adds that only about 7 percent of people who identify as independents truly don’t like either party. Political scientists have found that party identification remains one of the strongest indicators of how someone will vote. (NPR)

Additional read: Chris Christie: There Is No One With More Influence Over Trump Than Jared Kushner (NPR)

– As a deep freeze grips the US, Chicago will be colder than parts of Antarctica (CNN)

– U.S. consumer morale at one-and-a-half year-low; house price gains slow (Reuters)

– How Every Member Got to Congress (NYT, $)


A Billion Dollars for a Legacy: Today Bill Gates is (wrongly revered) and thought of benevolently. But in the early 2000s, Gates and Microsoft were the evil monopoly bundling bad browsers into operating systems. Microsoft’s browsers are so bad that people still don’t want to use them even if it is no longer called internet explorer. Gates is a cutthroat businessman who was born and raised into incredible privilege. One of the largest law firms in the world (K&L Gates) is named after Bill Gates’s father.

Bill Gates in the early 2000s is what Mark Zuckerberg is in 2019. Besides both dropping out of Harvard the two are connected in that Microsoft invested $240 million dollars in Facebook in 2007. This investment proved to be one of Microsoft’s best moves. Daily Pnut is very confident that another similarity between the two is that one day Zuckerberg will be like Gates and spend his billions accumulated through his monopoly to salvage his legacy. Zuckerberg is taking notes from Gates’s visage of being respected as incredibly wise, kind, and benevolent. But don’t let that guise fool anyone as both Gates and Zuckerberg are ruthless competitors and monopolists.

In the meantime, Zuckerberg will unscrupulously seek to accumulate as much personal data as possible and take advantage of nonexistent privacy laws. And continue to act as the modern robber baron he is: “Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them.” (TechCrunch) Which makes us wonder whether it is better for Facebook to spy on Americans or for the Chinese and Russians to do so? Or it ultimately the same thing as undoubtedly Facebook has and will be hacked?

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