Oct 012020
 October 1, 2020  Posted by at 9:09 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fred Stein Little Italy New York 1943


US Economy Plunged Over 31% In Q2 (RT)
This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic (Atl.)
James Comey’s ‘No Clue’ Routine On Russia Probe Exposes FBI In Distress (JTN)
Proud Boys & Antifa Are The Winners From The Presidential Debate (Turley)
Wall Street Responds To The “Shitshow” Debate (ZH)
Two Crucial Things Emerged From The First Presidential Debate (Widburg)
Charles Nenner – We Are in a Very Dangerous Period (USAW)
56 Million Americans Depended on Food Banks During the Pandemic (MPN)
Fed Study on Household Wealth Reveals Troubling Trends in American Inequality (MPN)
NATO Boss Stoltenberg Tells Georgia To ‘Prepare For Membership’ (RT)
New Details Of Sophisticated Spying Operation On Julian Assange Emerge (TH)
Trump Associate Ordered Huge Surveillance Of Assange Inside Embassy (Age)
The Arctic Hasn’t Been This Warm For 3 Million Years (PhysOrg)







Money to Biden



Sounds like a lot. But it’s annualized.

US Economy Plunged Over 31% In Q2 (RT)

US GDP fell by a 31.4 percent annualized rate last quarter, marking the steepest drop in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. The previous worst quarterly drop was observed in the first three months of 1958, when GDP fell 10 percent on an annualized basis. The new data reflects a slightly upward revision, with output previously reported to have contracted at a 31.7 percent pace during the period. “The decline in second quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as ‘stay-at-home’ orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses,” said the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending,” it added. The US economy fell at a five percent rate in the first quarter, signaling an end to a nearly 11-year-long economic expansion, which was the longest in the nation’s history. Economists expect growth to slow significantly in the final three months of this year, to a rate of around four percent. The economy could plunge back into a recession if Congress fails to pass another stimulus measure, or if there is a resurgence of the coronavirus, they say.

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Superspreaders appear real. But we don’t recognize them.

This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic (Atl.)

By now many people have heard about R0—the basic reproductive number of a pathogen, a measure of its contagiousness on average. But unless you’ve been reading scientific journals, you’re less likely to have encountered k, the measure of its dispersion. The definition of k is a mouthful, but it’s simply a way of asking whether a virus spreads in a steady manner or in big bursts, whereby one person infects many, all at once. After nine months of collecting epidemiological data, we know that this is an overdispersed pathogen, meaning that it tends to spread in clusters, but this knowledge has not yet fully entered our way of thinking about the pandemic—or our preventive practices.

The now-famed R0 (pronounced as “r-naught”) is an average measure of a pathogen’s contagiousness, or the mean number of susceptible people expected to become infected after being exposed to a person with the disease. If one ill person infects three others on average, the R0 is three. This parameter has been widely touted as a key factor in understanding how the pandemic operates. News media have produced multiple explainers and visualizations for it. Movies praised for their scientific accuracy on pandemics are lauded for having characters explain the “all-important” R0. Dashboards track its real-time evolution, often referred to as R or Rt, in response to our interventions. (If people are masking and isolating or immunity is rising, a disease can’t spread the same way anymore, hence the difference between R0 and R.)

Unfortunately, averages aren’t always useful for understanding the distribution of a phenomenon, especially if it has widely varying behavior. If Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, walks into a bar with 100 regular people in it, the average wealth in that bar suddenly exceeds $1 billion dollars. If I also walk into that bar, not much will change. Clearly, the average is not that useful a number to understand the distribution of wealth in that bar, or how to change it. Sometimes, the mean is not the message. Meanwhile, if the bar has a person infected with COVID-19, and if it is also poorly ventilated and loud, causing people to speak loudly at close range, almost everyone in the room could potentially be infected—a pattern that’s been observed many times since the pandemic begin, and that is similarly not captured by R. That’s where the dispersion comes in.

There are COVID-19 incidents in which a single person likely infected 80 percent or more of the people in the room in just a few hours. But, at other times, COVID-19 can be surprisingly much less contagious. Overdispersion and super-spreading of this virus is found in research across the globe. A growing number of studies estimate that a majority of infected people may not infect a single other person. A recent paper found that in Hong Kong, which had extensive testing and contact tracing, about 19 percent of cases were responsible for 80 percent of transmission, while 69 percent of cases did not infect another person. This finding is not rare: Multiple studies from the beginning have suggested that as few as 10 to 20 percent of infected people may be responsible for as much as 80 to 90 percent of transmission, and that many people barely transmit it.

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A very strange performance. A few years ago, Comey said he remembered everything from his conversations with Trump. He wrote a book about the very things he now can’t remember, and he’s writing a second one.

“‘I don’t recall’ is the last defense of someone who has been painted into a corner.”

“All he is doing is putting himself in jeopardy or proving he was an incompetent director with no leadership skills..”

James Comey’s ‘No Clue’ Routine On Russia Probe Exposes FBI In Distress (JTN)

Time and again on Wednesday under the intense glare of the political spotlight, Comey claimed he had been kept in the dark or did not remember anything about essential developments in the Russia collusion probe that implied President Trump’s innocence. “That doesn’t ring any bells with me,” Comey answered when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asked about a September 2016 referral to the FBI alleging Hillary Clinton and her campaign may have concocted the whole Russia collusion case against Trump to hide her own vulnerabilities. Similarly, Comey testified he either did not remember or was not told there were serious problems with the Christopher Steele dossier, that the dossier contained Russia disinformation, that Steele’s primary sub-source had disputed information in the explosive document or that the primary sub-source had previously been judged to be a possible Russian asset back between 2009 and 2011.

All those essential facts were kept from the FISA court, and Comey signed three FISA warrant applications approving surveillance targeting the Trump campaign and former adviser Carter Page without disclosing the flaws in the case. Senators reacted with incredulity. “Comey said he didnt kno abt problems w Page FISA b4 he approved again+again,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the chamber’s longest serving members, tweeted in shorthand. “If true wheres his outrage that agents made him look foolish by w/holding details? I often tell new agency heads either u run agency or agency runs u Who ran FBI during Russiagate+Where is accountability?” Grassley repeatedly slammed Comey’s “no clue” answers as outrageous. Similarly, Graham repeatedly challenged Comey’s account, calling one of his answers “far-fetched.”

“A bunch of crap to be used against an American citizen,” Graham said, referring to now-disproven information in the Page FISA. “You don’t recall this?” “It doesn’t sound familiar,” Comey answered. Lawmakers weren’t the only ones in disbelief. Former senior executives of the FBI told Just the News that Comey’s testimony laid bare an institution in deep distress that either was keeping its director in the dark about one of the most explosive political cases of all time or engaging in a coverup of epic investigative misconduct that deceived the FISA court and the Congress. “‘I don’t recall’ is the last defense of someone who has been painted into a corner. If Comey was truly this ignorant of arguably the most consequential case in FBI history, then he was pathetically inept,” said Kevin Brock, the former assistant director for intelligence under Comey’s predecessor as director, Robert Mueller.

“But it is far more likely that he was provided with detailed briefings of such a high-profile case on a daily basis, as is routine tradition with FBI directors. Comey knows what he is forgetting,” he added. In his testimony, Comey chose to embrace the first theory — incompetence — telling senators the pattern of mistakes and misconduct identified in the Russia probe “reflects entirely on me” in his role as top executive at the FBI. When Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called the problems identified in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigative report “really embarrassing,” Comey agreed while insisting none was intended to be criminal conduct.

Jeff Danik, a former supervisory FBI agent, said he fears Comey may have put himself in legal jeopardy with Wednesday’s testimony. “I do not understand him going on out there and putting himself in position where there are so many people who can claim you did know,” Danik said in an interview. “All he is doing is putting himself in jeopardy or proving he was an incompetent director with no leadership skills,” he added. “It’s like a general who says there was a battle plan and all these guys got killed, but it isn’t my fault, I’m just the general.”

Sean Davis Comey

Comey doesn’t remember anything

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The media make up accusations against Trump, that most people actually believe are true, and then they want to force him to deny them every single day, which keeps the attention on their made-up stories.

It worked miracles with the “very fine people” hoax, they still use that one. So why stop there?

Maybe Trump should have played it like Biden, and simply deny the Proud Boys exist.

Proud Boys & Antifa Are The Winners From The Presidential Debate (Turley)

Last night’s presidential debate left many of us in a deep depression over the state of our politics. Once again, the duopoly of power in this country has reduced a population of over 300 million to a two subpar choices. President Donald Trump’s conduct and comments have been rightfully denounced while Biden offered little beyond not being President Trump. There were however two clear and surprising winners last night: Proud Boys and Antifa. When pressed by moderator Chris Wallace on why he has not been more clear in calling for Democratic mayors and governors to crackdown on rioting (including the use of the National Guard), Biden simply said that he was not the president. However, not only is that irrelevant, Biden has been forceful in calling for other actions on these protests and other issues like the pandemic despite his private citizen status.

Yet, the most notable aspect of his exchange with Wallace was his reluctance to denounce Antifa. Instead, Biden referenced FBI Director Christopher Wray’s statement that Antifa was more of a movement than an organization. Biden simply dismissed the question with “Antifa is an idea, not an organization.” It was a telling and inaccurate statement. We previously discussed Wray statement. Wray was adamant: “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a fiction” and, while it is not a conventional organization as opposed to a movement, they have arrested people who admit that they are Antifa.” I testified in the Senate on Antifa and its history of violence on our campuses and streets. As I have written, Antifa is indeed more of a movement than a specific organization, but it has members and associated groups.

Indeed, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association. Wray stated “And we have quite a number — and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee — we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.” I have repeatedly emphasized that extreme right groups are also responsible for recent violence and Wray made clear that far right violence still dominates in terms of a threat profile. Moreover, I have opposed declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.

We have ample laws to deal with such extremist violence from the far left or far right. We do not need to rely on terrorism laws or most recently suggested sedition laws. Yet, Antifa is more than some “idea.” The Antifa Handbook discusses how it uses an association of groups, including self-identified Antifa groups, to carry out attacks on critics and those with opposing views. My greatest concern is that we need to take Antifa seriously as a virulent anti-free speech organization. There is a fair criticism of some politicians who have refused to denounce the group or even support it. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His own son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa in the heat of the protests this summer.

Trump white supremacy

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Check out those polling numbers and tell me how confident you are that what you think is correct.

Wall Street Responds To The “Shitshow” Debate (ZH)

While Tuesday’s chaotic “shitshow” of a presidential debate between Trump and Biden revealed absolutely anything about either candidate’s core policies for the 2020-2024 period, it succeeded in raising analysts’ concerns about a bitter election and reinforced the view of slim prospects for further stimulus. As noted earlier, S&P futures fell as the debate left investors concerned that the election would indeed be bitterly contested well into the end of 2020 and perhaps into early 2021, however they have since erased all losses. This view was confirmed by Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group, who said that “what we’ve seen from the debate is the reinforcement that if Biden wins, Trump is not going to accept that. People positioned for an ugly contest afterwards have been validated….I don’t think we were expecting anything else from Trump. He continues to put that contested (result) risk premium back into the market.”

The confusion over the debate also meant confusion over who won. As Rabobank’s Michael Every writes, a CBS flash poll had Biden winning 48 – 41, and the CNN poll was 60 – 28. Yet a WGN poll, which is less partisan, saw Trump win 60 – 40, and Telemundo (US Spanish TV) viewers showed Trump winning 66 – 34 , all underlining that people see these things in very different ways. Rabo also quoted veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz who tweeted that his sample group saw some undecided voters now convinced not to vote at all, with the most common refrain being “I’m so sad for our country.” Every also addressed the last question of the evening on the legitimacy of the upcoming election process, where Trump said “This will not end well,” talking of no winner for months, which “concluded the evening under the darkest cloud, suggesting political risk will linger on in the market’s mind.”

Cowen, Chris Krueger: Krueger wrote that he disagrees with the “notion that debate was a dumpster fire: by definition, dumpster fires are contained.” Biden cleared the low hurdle Trump set with “Sleepy Joe,” he said; “was it Romney vs. Obama in the first 2012 debate? No. But he didn’t fall off the stage like Bob Dole in the 1996 race either. So that — in 2020 — is a win.” He doesn’t see the election’s trajectory changing, as each side’s bases were appeased, and called another stimulus deal “very unlikely.”

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“My guess is that this October, the Trump administration is going to release one piece of evidence after another showing that the Democrat party, from Hillary to Obama, and from the FBI to the CIA to the DOJ, and everywhere in between, engaged in a massive, seditious conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2016 election”

Two Crucial Things Emerged From The First Presidential Debate (Widburg)

The short version of the debate is that Biden did well if one ignored that almost every other statement he made was a lie or fantasy; Trump dominated him, almost too aggressively; and Chris Wallace may have been the worst and most obviously biased moderator since Candy Crowley. Most significantly, though, Biden and Trump each made a critical point. Biden’s was a tacit admission that, if he is elected president, he will preside over the end of the filibuster, allowing Democrats to pack the courts and add two new Democrat-majority states. Trump’s point was that he’s holding damning evidence about the Democrats’ coup attempt.

[..][ You can see that Biden made a nonsense statement to avoid answering whether he will preserve the filibuster and the Supreme Court’s current system of nine justices. Shamefully, Wallace let him get away with not answering. Wallace surely understands that Biden’s handlers plan to end the filibuster so that they can pack the court and add D.C. and Puerto Rico as states. Packing the court ends the American experiment as we know it. It means that the Supreme Court will be a political body that will exist solely to put its imprimatur on Democrat policies. And for those who say, “Well, if they pack the Court, then Republicans will pack it more when they’re in power,” that’s sadly foolish.

If Democrats pack the Court, there are no more Republicans. The whole democratic republic will be over. Once Democrats pack the Court, they never again need to persuade American voters to support their policies. One of their first policies in that new era will be to add hard-left Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico as the 51st and 52nd American states. That means four more Democrat Senate votes and a permanent Democrat party majority. You see, the hard-left Democrat party views our American political system the same way Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan viewed democracy before becoming a dictator for life: “Democracy is like a train. We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want.” This time around, once the Democrats win, they will change the rules so they can never lose again.

Heed this warning: If Biden wins, our constitutional America is gone. We will be a socialist country. If you don’t believe me, just read the Democrat platform. They’re not hiding their goals. Trump, though, might have some aces up his sleeve. When the subject of a “transition” came up (based on Biden’s assumption that he will win), Trump stated that he’d been denied a transition period. Instead, there was a coup attempt: ” There was no transition because they came after me trying to do a coup. They came after me spying on my campaign. They started from the day I won and even before I won. From the day I came down the escalator with our First Lady. They were a disaster. They were a disgrace to our country. And we’ve caught ‘em. We’ve caught ‘em all. We’ve got it all on tape. We’ve caught ‘em all”.

Maybe Trump’s exaggerating, but I don’t think so. And maybe he’s going to keep that evidence secret, but I don’t think that either. My guess is that this October, the Trump administration is going to release one piece of evidence after another showing that the Democrat party, from Hillary to Obama, and from the FBI to the CIA to the DOJ, and everywhere in between, engaged in a massive, seditious conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2016 election. Indeed, the information cascade has already begun with the release of DNI John Ratcliffe’s letter about Hillary’s conceiving of the Russia hoax.

Sean Davis Declassification

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” People go into gold and store it away for the worst case scenario. If banks don’t survive, they have the gold.”

Charles Nenner – We Are in a Very Dangerous Period (USAW)

Renowned geopolitical and financial cycle expert Charles Nenner called this market just 2% from the top in January. What does he think now? He likes gold and says he “made more money in gold than in stocks” in the past few months. Nenner says, “We are playing the long term gold market. We went out at $2,100 (per ounce), and the price target was $1,850 (on the downside). We hit $1,850 a couple of days ago, so we bought back in. We get in and out for a couple of hundred points, and it’s worthwhile. So, the gold cycle is up for much longer. $2,500 is the first target, and it could be we get higher targets. I do not believe in the stock market, most of the markets we do nicely in are the gold market, silver market, crude oil market, bond market and the dollar. It’s all very simple and normal, and the stock market is not going to end very well.”

Nenner is long the stock market now until close to the end of November. Nenner says the rising market may be signaling a coming Trump win in November. Nenner is not sure, but what he is very sure about is the stock market is way overvalued just like it was earlier this year. Nenner explains, “As you know, the stock market is still very much overvalued. One of the reasons is the ‘Buffett Indicator,’ and that is the value of the stock market compared to the value of the entire GDP, and it’s extreme. I think it’s more extreme than the 2000 bubble. If you want to buy low and sell high, you have to have indicators of what is low and what is high, and, for me, this is high. This is based on the fundamentals, but on the cycles, we can try to test the highs one more time. This is not going to end well because everybody will try to get into the market, and then the whole thing is over.”

Nenner thinks with all the unemployment and businesses going under permanently, it is not an inflationary environment, at least not yet. Nenner says, “I still think we are going into a deflationary environment, and that still makes sense. That is also why gold is up. Most people don’t understand that because they always look for inflation for gold to go up. I show them that most of the bull markets in gold are deflationary periods and not inflationary periods. When you have deflation, there is nowhere to hide, and it’s very cheap to hold gold. You are afraid for the financial system, and that’s why gold goes up. . . . Look what happened in real estate. You thought you were safe in real estate. Companies are not buying malls, and companies are not paying rent anymore, or they negotiate and they are not going to pay anymore. So, that’s also not a safe place. So, there is not much left. People go into gold and store it away for the worst case scenario. If banks don’t survive, they have the gold.”

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Not everybody has the gold, though.

56 Million Americans Depended on Food Banks During the Pandemic (MPN)

Amid a pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 209,000 Americans and caused widespread economic dislocation, tens of millions have been forced to rely on food banks to survive. A new report from the Pew Research Center found that 17 percent of the 13,200 people they surveyed said they had received food from a food bank or similar organization during the pandemic. Nationwide, that figure would amount to 56 million Americans. Unsurprisingly, those who identified themselves as “lower income” (35 percent) were far more likely to turn to food banks for help than those in the “upper income” bracket (1 percent). However, even 12 percent of “middle income” Americans admitted they needed outside help to put food on the table.

Black and Hispanic Americans were around three times more likely to need these services than white Americans. Pew’s research also sheds light on a number of other ways in which COVID-19 has harmed American society. 15 percent of respondents said that they had been made unemployed as a result of the fallout, with 25 percent of households having a member lose their job. One third of Americans have been forced to take a pay cut, 16 percent said they had had problems paying rent or mortgages, while a quarter could not pay other bills. As with food bank usage, these other problems were far more common among poorer households and people of color.

[..] Once only associated with enemy nations or with the Great Depression, bread lines have returned to the United States, although they often do not resemble classic images of lines of disheveled people. Today’s bread lines are as likely to be miles-long traffic jams or car parks filled with hungry drivers, sometimes waiting overnight for their turn at the drive through distribution centers. Overwhelmed charities work day and night, but have had to ration out deliveries. Even as food banks were cleaned out, fresh produce rotted on America’s farms. Many American farmers do not sell to a mass market. Instead, their produce is bought up by networks supplying universities, stadiums, or restaurants. But with many of those businesses shuttered, supply distribution networks broke down, leading to feast and famine.

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The Fed studies the inequality it has created.

Fed Study on Household Wealth Reveals Troubling Trends in American Inequality (MPN)

Millionaires and billionaires hold a remarkable 79.2 percent of the United States’ household wealth. That is according to a newly released triennial study into consumer and household finances from the Federal Reserve. The report paints a picture of an unequal America, where a small minority of the rich control the vast majority of household wealth. 11.9 percent of American households have at least $1 million in wealth. Overall, mean family wealth declined by three percent across the country between 2016 and 2019. However, the study notes, wealthy and highly educated families saw their fortunes rise, but households where the main breadwinner had not achieved a high school diploma saw their wealth fall.

In some parts of the country, one million dollars might not seem like an unusual price for a home. However, nationwide, the median home value dropped to $247,000 in 2020, with much more expensive properties rarer. Those merely having a mortgage on a million-dollar home do not qualify as owning $1 million in household wealth. At the same time, much of the country is living in serious poverty. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 40 percent of Americans reported that they would be unable to cover a small $400 emergency such as a leaking roof or a car repair. In 2018, 14.3 million U.S. households were food insecure, meaning they had problems finding enough to eat. The coronavirus and the economic dislocation that it has caused has greatly exacerbated both poverty and inequality, meaning that the Federal Reserve’s study, based on data collected before the pandemic, is likely out of date and an underestimate of the problem’s severity.

In 2017, just three men — Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Jeff Bezos — held more wealth than the bottom half of America (164 million people). Since the pandemic began, all three have greatly increased their fortunes. Bezos, for example, has added over $73 billion to his since March alone. This is in stark contrast to tens of millions of people who lost their jobs, leading to a massive wave of de facto rent strikes across the country and a boom in demand for food banks.

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Stoltenberg is evil, which makes him perfect for NATO.

NATO Boss Stoltenberg Tells Georgia To ‘Prepare For Membership’ (RT)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged Georgia to prepare to become a member of the US-led military bloc. On Tuesday, the premier of the former Soviet state Giorgi Gakharia was in Brussels to discuss closer cooperation. Georgia’s effort to join NATO began in 2005, just six years after it left the Russian-dominated CSTO. The integration of the Caucasus nation is seen by NATO leaders as having substantial strategic benefits, including extra Black Sea ports close to Russia. Earlier this year, an agreement between Tblisi and the bloc included joint exercises in the Black Sea and the sharing of more traffic radar data. “I urge [Georgia] to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to NATO and to prepare for membership,” Stoltenberg said, in a press conference.

“This is important for Georgia, and for NATO.”The secretary-general also noted that the bloc “supports Georgia’s territorial integrity,” calling on northern neighbor Russia to “end its recognition of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two de-facto states, recognized by most of the world as part of Georgia. According to Tbilisi, the two regions are actually occupied by Moscow.Speaking to RT, veteran Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov said that the potential induction of Georgia as a member means that NATO sees Russia as its main opponent. Pushkov, a member of the pro-Putin United Russia party, is the former chairman of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee and is widely considered to be close to the Kremlin.

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“U.S. intelligence agencies were reportedly pleased with the level communication that was illicitly intercepted, but encouraged UC Global staff to acquire more – pointing to Assange’s team of lawyers as a “top priority.”

New Details Of Sophisticated Spying Operation On Julian Assange Emerge (TH)

The whistleblowers, henceforth referred to as Witness 1 and Witness 2, detailed the intricate workings of the sophisticated sting referred to by UC Global staff as “Operation Hotel” – they came forward with their testimonies after growing increasingly uneasy about its worsening criminality. Witness 2, an IT expert with the security firm, detailed how Morales had tasked him with replacing the CCTV cameras in the Knightsbridge-located embassy in May of 2017, instructing him to source cameras that allowed for clandestine audio-recording capabilities. His statement, which was produced at the Old Bailey in the fourth and final week of Assange’s U.S. extradition proceedings, reads: “In early December 2017, I was instructed by David Morales to travel with a colleague to install the new security cameras. I carried out the new installation over the course of several days.

“I was instructed by Morales not to share information about the specifications of the recording system, and if asked to deny that the cameras were recording audio. I was told that it was imperative that these instructions be carried out as they came, supposedly, from the highest spheres. “In fact, I was asked on several occasions by Mr. Assange and the Political Counsellor Maria Eugenia whether the new cameras recorded sound, to which I replied that they did not, as my boss had instructed me to do. Thus, from that moment on the cameras began to record sound regularly, so every meeting that the asylee held was captured. At our offices in UC Global it was mentioned that the cameras had been paid for twice, by Ecuador and the United States, although I have no documentary evidence to corroborate this assertion.”

Witness 2 also detailed how Morales had asked for him to arrange for the cameras to contemporaneously transmit the recordings so that UC Global’s “American friends” could have instant access. The whistleblower invented a number of excuses however, stating: “I did this because I did not want to collaborate in an illegal act of this magnitude.” Instead, the UC Global employee was instructed to travel to London every 15 days in order to collect the hard-drives, passing them to Morales who travelled to the U.S. just as frequently – often with his wife – in order to pass the recordings to contacts within the CIA. Morales was rumoured among staff to have been paid €200,000 EUR a month for carrying out the eavesdropping – colleagues noted how his spending had become lavish and noticeable, buying himself a new house and a number of flashy sports cars during the span of two years.

[..] U.S. intelligence agencies were reportedly pleased with the level communication that was illicitly intercepted, but encouraged UC Global staff to acquire more – pointing to Assange’s team of lawyers as a “top priority”. That was in addition to the airport-like screening equipment that was put in place, where every visitor into the Ecuadorean embassy had a photo of their passport taken, their belongings taken off them and sophisticated devices swiped data contained on their digital devices – all forwarded to a secure server somewhere in the United States.

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Sheldon Adelson is above the law.

Trump Associate Ordered Huge Surveillance Of Assange Inside Embassy (Age)

Witness One told the court that Morales exhibited a “real obsession” in monitoring Assange’s lawyers because “our American friends were requesting it”. Witness One terminated the relationship with Morales and sold all shares after realising the full scale of the operation. Witness Two, an IT expert who joined UC Global in 2015, said in a statement that once Trump had won the presidency, Morales won a contract to provide personal security to Adelson and personally provided services for the tycoon and his children when they visited Europe.Witness Two said in mid-2017, Morales asked him to establish a taskforce that would solely look after the technical aspects of the video surveillance network of the Ecuadorian embassy.

By the end of that year, Witness Two said he had installed new cameras in the embassy capable of recording sound and lied to Assange when he was asked if the new cameras picked up audio. The witness testified that orders were given to steal the nappy used on Assange’s son Gabriel because the Americans wanted to establish the baby’s paternity, correctly suspecting that it was Assange’s secret love-child. Witness Two refused and instead tipped off Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancee, to stop bringing the child to the embassy. Witness Two said in December 2017 Morales said that “the Americans were desperate” and had even suggested “that more extreme measures should be employed against the ‘guest’ to put an end to the situation of Assange’s permanence in the embassy”.

“Specifically, the suggestion that the door of the embassy could be left open, which would allow the argument that this had been an accidental mistake, which would allow persons to enter from outside the embassy and kidnap the asylee. “Even the possibility of poisoning Mr Assange was discussed, all of these suggestions Morales said were under consideration during his dealing with his contacts in the United States,” Witness Two said in the affidavit.

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The world also appears to warm up more at night.

The Arctic Hasn’t Been This Warm For 3 Million Years (PhysOrg)

Every year, sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean shrinks to a low point in mid-September. This year it measures just 1.44 million square miles (3.74 million square kilometers) – the second-lowest value in the 42 years since satellites began taking measurements. The ice today covers only 50% of the area it covered 40 years ago in late summer. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in human history. The last time that atmospheric CO2 concentrations reached today’s level – about 412 parts per million – was 3 million years ago, during the Pliocene Epoch.

As geoscientists who study the evolution of Earth’s climate and how it creates conditions for life, we see evolving conditions in the Arctic as an indicator of how climate change could transform the planet. If global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, they could return the Earth to Pliocene conditions, with higher sea levels, shifted weather patterns and altered conditions in both the natural world and human societies. We are part of a team of scientists who analyzed sediment cores from Lake El’gygytgyn in northeast Russia in 2013 to understand the Arctic’s climate under higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Fossil pollen preserved in these cores shows that the Pliocene Arctic was very different from its current state.

Today the Arctic is a treeless plain with only sparse tundra vegetation, such as grasses, sedges and a few flowering plants. In contrast, the Russian sediment cores contained pollen from trees such as larch, spruce, fir and hemlock. This shows that boreal forests, which today end hundreds of miles farther south and west in Russia and at the Arctic Circle in Alaska, once reached all the way to the Arctic Ocean across much of Arctic Russia and North America.

Because the Arctic was much warmer in the Pliocene, the Greenland Ice Sheet did not exist. Small glaciers along Greenland’s mountainous eastern coast were among the few places with year-round ice in the Arctic. The Pliocene Earth had ice only at one end—in Antarctica—and that ice was less extensive and more susceptible to melting. Because the oceans were warmer and there were no large ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere, sea levels were 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meters) higher around the globe than they are today. Coastlines were far inland from their current locations. The areas that are now California’s Central Valley, the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf Coast all were underwater. So was the land where major coastal cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston and Seattle stand.

Read more …



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We humans lack imagination, to the point of not even knowing what tomorrow’s important things will look like.
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb



The opposite of education is not ignorance; it is education in social science.
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb





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Home Forums Debt Rattle October 1 2020

Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)
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    Fred Stein Little Italy New York 1943   • US Economy Plunged Over 31% In Q2 (RT) • This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic (Atl.) • J
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle October 1 2020]


    Education in a social science is ignorance? So David Graeber’s book ” Debt the first 5000 Years”, which relies on anthropological (social science) research, should be tossed in the garbage according to Taleb? And I guess we should stop listening to Steve Keen because, as an Economist (social scientist) he is ignorant! Honestly, sometimes Taleb seems to say things just to grab attention.


    Taleb also seems to have an inflated idea of the robustness of the hard sciences. Remember all science, even the stuff that uses fancy measurement equipment, is conducted by flawed imperfect humans prone to seeing what they want to see. “Progress” in scientific understanding is sometimes described as a process in which holders of outdated, inaccurate ideas die off….


    Taleb on Graeber’s passing:

    David Graeber

    He was a real intellectual; very real: not one fake cell in his brain, not one fake bone in his body.

    He thought independently.

    He was monstrously original.

    He had intellectual courage.

    The world seems much much smaller today than before Sep 2.

    David, RIP

    Mr. House

    “Federalist co-founder Sean Davis reports that CIA Director Gina Haspel is blocking releasing and declassifying critical documents related to Obama’s FBI surveilling the Trump campaign in 2016”

    Well don’t that beat all. Why does the CIA have documents with regards to an FBI investigation anyways?

    John Day

    Masks, mechanically, would be expected to have the most effect on super-spreaders, perhaps reducing them to mundane-spreaders.

    John Day

    Sciences are all OK, as long as they are practiced with honest intent by the scientists. Honest intent holds in mind that models are models, not absolute truth. That does not diminish the usefulness of a model, but defines it with some boundaries. Expectations should be bounded by the inherent limitations of the model. The more complex the issue, such as human political economy, the more limited the utility of the model will be. The real problem is when “SCIENCE” is used as a means to a political (Power-stealing) end.
    That’s pretty much the rule these days.
    I can tell. I’m an actual scientist… 🙂
    You don’t have to listen to me at all, though.

    madamski cafone

    I like Taleb but his remark on imagination is wrong. Perhaps in fuller context surrounding the original quote, it makes sense. But, as stated, it’s one of the dumbest remarks on human nature and cognition that I’ve read. But Taleb, as I’ve read him, tends to get high on his own fumes.


    ” …. the UC Global employee was instructed to travel to London every 15 days in order to collect the hard-drives, passing them to Morales who travelled to the U.S. just as frequently – often with his wife – in order to pass the recordings to contacts within the CIA. ”

    “…. to contacts within the CIA.”
    WHO are they?
    Who has that much power to bury someone in a dungeon for so many years?

    madamski cafone

    Trump is fascinating. The lunatic-in-charge accomplishes amazing things despite or because of himself. He has the nation focusing skeptically on how votes are counted. Very unlikely this will produce an honest election but it is a change from the past few decades. Maybe Musk will invent robovoters so we can avoid the contagious polls.


    Money kept the nightmare away.
    Reality will be a nightmare for untold number of people who are not receiving money.

    Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are anxious to return to the campaign trail and want to get their messages to voters straight in the home stretch before Election Day on Nov. 3.

    Despite progress, insiders caution it’s a long shot to expect any important bipartisan compromise so close to a presidential vote.

    Underlining the stakes for the American people, airlines went ahead with furloughs of tens of thousands of workers after a provision in a previous stimulus measure expired.

    A new measure would likely include a new round of $1,200 checks to taxpayers and some version of the federal weekly emergency unemployment assistance, which was pegged at $600. It would also extend aid to small businesses and airlines.

    The two sides are still far apart on how much aid to give state and local governments like New York City and state that are facing catastrophic budget crunches after being slammed by the pandemic.


    human nature
    Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental dispositions and characteristics—including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—that humans are said to have naturally.
    Arguments about human nature have been a central focus of philosophy for centuries and the concept continues to provoke lively philosophical debate

    (What you believe, Trump or Biden or ???, will not change reality.)


    The phrases “global warming” or “global climate change” are misdirective. They narrow the focus to a specific problem (CO2)- called out by a species which is currently cutting down mountains to harvest coal, and using farmland to produce ethanol.
    The issue is much bigger than climate. Planetary degradation is a better term. The oceans aren’t just warming- they are dying. The biosphere is crashing, not because of climate changes, but because of poisons and habitat destruction. Soil throughout the world is becoming depleted, salted, and lacking in nutrients.
    Not addressing these issues will cut our CO2 emissions right quick, I suspect.

    We will burn the last tree.
    We will eat the last fish.
    We will kill the last insect.
    To get what we wish.

    And what do we wish?
    Well, more humans, of course.
    But what is their purpose?
    To feel no remorse.

    Dr. D

    World’s most useless debate, showing neither should be anywhere near the Presidency, and changed nobody’s minds.

    …Except for this one thing: apparently the only group that changed was Hispanic voters, who thought Trump won at 80% rate. Why, I have no idea, why ask? It’s polling. If so, that’s 8 points or something. It’s not impossible he knew this, but to my mind he was attempting a Biden lash-out mental breakdown and failed. We did essentially prove Biden was a puppet, with earpiece orders, first, we saw it on camera, second, first thing he said on stage was “good luck”. That only makes sense as the handler’s last words to him as he took his podium. Whatever. As if we didn’t know we have no individual President Biden, and that he’s a placeholder that will cease to exist 2 minutes into the Hillary/Harris Presidency. I mean Wallace was really debating Trump, and even then they still want to change the rules. Not like Cheeto is a single guy either, just moreso. He’s a team headed by a narrow group of Military Intel.

    Anyway, if no one changed their minds but some slice of this subgroup of Hispanics changed, then…? Doubled in popularity among Hispanics, nearly tripled with Blacks. …Some ‘racist’. But they say Hispanics like the head of the Proud boys, Blacks like Candice Owens, and orthodox Jews like Shapiro are “White Supremacists” and “Nazis” so clearly we’ve long since crossed into reality-optional. Those 6M new black Trump supporters are all racists and supremacists, who need the Great White Karen to teach them better. Ugh.

    “the Trump administration is going to release one piece of evidence after another showing that the Democrat party, from Hillary to Obama, and from the FBI to the CIA to the DOJ, and everywhere in between, engaged in a massive, seditious conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”

    We all know. Nobody cares. They think illegal seditious conspiracy = good, so long as it’s my side right or wrong. They say this openly, every where, every day. “By any means necessary.” i.e. illegally, including love-arson and love-murder. It’s all the side of the angels because the world is ending. We have 7 years left (25 years after they started saying that), we’re all going to die, and all that.

    “… And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you–where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? … Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.” — Thomas More

    However, they will not give such benefit. There is no law but power. Both as part of their social and race theory, and because it’s “too important” to follow any laws/not murder people/not destroy all (black) people, businesses, things right now. You know: belief in witches and devils you can’t see, but are everywhere. Under every bed, tapping every phone, in every word, thought and deed, controlling everyone you meet. Denying it is just proof you’re compromised and must also be beaten, burned, purified. How often do you deny beating your wife, sir? Have you done it in a boat with a goat?

    56 Million Americans Depended on Food Banks During the Pandemic (MPN)”

    What was it, 30 million before then? Georgia showed a bunch never needed it. They said to get assistance, you need to show up and you know, pick up garbage, sign a form or something. 80% refused to do something that simple. They shut them off. Nothing happened; nothing changed. It was immediately not reported in any paper and has never been spoken of again.

    But the story brings to mind the 40,000 who die prematurely for every 1% increase in unemployment. And whaddyakowd? That’s with the 30k dead of opioids each year since all jobs in non-blessed insider cities were sent to China. “You don’t have a magic wand” “Those jobs ain’t coming back” – Obama, just before his party lost to the worst candidate in decades.

    “just three men — Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Jeff Bezos — held more wealth than the bottom half of America”

    Uh-huh. Their wealth is also fake. The Dow should be 1/3 of what it is — maybe 1/10th in value — and cyclically it will be. Bezos also can’t liquidate a billion in AMZN stock without cutting its price 90% — what the “wealth tax” dummies don’t get. He takes a (mere) million dollar salary instead/because. So if you (i.e. government) stop actively interfering in the market to mis-price things like unprofitable stocks and houses, the whole problem rights itself. Just as it did in 1929. That was the day income disparity moderated: when all the rich guys lost a fortune. Not under a WPA used to prevent the rest of the market mis-pricing from clearing.

    Whatever. They do “own” it, even if they can’t access it, and they use the illusion of that wealth to wield undue power, so same thing.

    It’s your belief in their fake wealth that gives them power, so why don’t you stop?

    madamski cafone

    WWII War Bonds 1

    WWII War Bonds 2

    US War Bonds 3

    US War Bonds 4

    US War Bonds 5

    In case they didn’t make their point:

    US War Bonds 6

    A misleading if useful chart:

    Bond Chart

    The US spent about $350 billion dollars on WWII ($4.1 trillion in modern currency). $185 billion of that was US bonds bought by US citizens. One way or another, American citizens invested heavily in their governmental future. WWII being won in our favor, they got to receive the financial benefit of their investments.

    The War on Terror has “only” cost $1.6 trillion, but that has been almost entirely financed by debt to foreign nations. I don’t see war bonds in our future. Not any time soon, at least. But rationing is inevitable, and we are a nation that defines almost any struggle we face as a “war”. The rationing may be overt like it was in WWII, or covert as we experience now via inflation.

    That $1.6 trillion figure doesn’t include the many trillions of dollars the Pentagon has “lost”. $21 trillion dollars and counting…

    John Day

    The presidential election season is upon us again, and my grouped bcc sends of the news-blog are curtailed again.
    This is why I began the blog in spring 2016. I was just not able to send emails out to the usual recipients in the weeks leading up to the Democratic convention.
    I was violating hidden algorithms by tarring the DNC and Clinton Mafia with vote rigging. I was de-formatted until a couple of days after the November elections. Then everything worked fine again until Fall 2018, when my sends got blocked again, until a couple of days after the voting, again…
    Yesterday, (the morning after the Trump-Biden debate) after sending to about 190 people on the bcc list, I replied to an email from some friends.
    Promptly, the mail-server replied that “You have reached a limit for sending mail. Your message was not sent.”
    That same reply keeps coming back. I tested again this morning. Gmail says I get 100 sends to individuals, no more. I get frozen out for 24 hours after I exceed that.
    I’ll send this out at the 24 hour mark, noon today, and see if it gets through, but that will be it until after the election, and probably until after it is agreed, which may be never. I expect something to go wrong with the blog ( http://www.johndayblog.com ) too, some day, maybe soon.
    Maybe the blog will keep working fine, but just not coming up on Google searches. We’ll see.
    Do things in your local human world with friends, neighbors, family, vegetables, spiritual community and bicycles.
    The communication formats we have become accustomed to are not inherently stable, and are subject to cancellation at any time,
    without recourse.

    Where can this honest politician find work in the future? (Warning: Russian news!)
    Tulsi Gabbard believes Project Veritas’ ballot-harvesting claims against fellow dem Ilhan Omar, causing left-wing backlash

    ​Here is the Project Veritas video, with covert video recordings of Somali-American vote-harvesting champions bragging about their vote-harvesting prowess and techniques to a Somali-American from their community. He was working undercover (now blown) for the local police and Project Veritas:​

    ​Minneapolis police open a case against vote-harvesting ring, exposed above. (Warning: Russian news again!)
    ​ ​Jeremy Slevin, senior communications director for Omar, weighed in on the debate claiming “the amount of truth to this story is equal to the amount Donald Trump paid in taxes of ten out of the last fifteen years: zero”.
    ​ ​He slammed the Project Veritas investigation, saying that “amplifying a coordinated right-wing campaign to delegitimise a free and fair election this fall undermines our democracy”.

    The Empire of Uncertainty​, Charles Hugh Smith​
    ​ ​Anyone claiming they can project the trajectory of the U.S. and global economy is deluding themselves.
    ​ ​Normalcy depends entirely on everyday life being predictable. To be predictable, life must be stable, which means that there is a high level of certainty in every aspect of life.
    ​ ​The world has entered an era of profound uncertainty, an uncertainty that will only increase as self-reinforcing feedbacks strengthen disrupting dynamics and perverse incentives drive unintended consequences.

    ​How did this happen? Should I be more or less worried?

    Dr. Anthony Fauci says Americans should trust credibility of COVID-19 vaccine process


    “…the Pentagon has “lost”.
    I better go check my sofa.

    We will burn the last tree.
    We will eat the last fish.
    We will kill the last insect.
    To get what we wish.

    And what do we wish?
    Well, more humans, of course.
    But how will we function?
    We’ll feel no remorse.


    Maxwell Quest

    @ madamski

    I posted this a few hours ago, but it must have fallen behind the filing cabinet, so this is try two.

    Yes, Trump IS fascinating. In his own inept way, he is knocking down, institution by institution, the Potemkin Village of American exceptionalism. He yells “Fake news!” and there goes the media as a reliable source of news. He says “We’re taking the oil!” and there goes a key pretext for their endless war on terror. Or my personal favorite:

    “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me, the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

    And the holiest sacred cow, the we have ‘free and fair elections’, the underpinning of our so-called democracy, is now being called into question. No wonder they hate him so much. He’s a one-man wrecking crew, tearing down their carefully crafted illusion of American supremacy and leadership. Our total incompetence in handling the Covid pandemic is only the icing on the cake.

    madamski cafone

    @ Maxwell Quest

    Was a time it seemed meaningful for me or someone like Raul to remind people we’re not Trump fans or supporters. That was when there was at least a hypothetical chance the system would allow the DNC to produce a slightly viable alternative.

    Now that it’s been reduced to two mentally unstable old goats butting what’s left of their heads, it’s hard not to be a fan if not a supporter. He’s a lousy son of a bitch, Mr. Don-Don, and he’d sell his sister into white slavery if he thought it necessary for him to “win”, but he’s a consistently inconsistent loose cannon, and that does tend to clean the deck.

    Tasmanian Devil


    Money kept the nightmare away.
    Reality will be a nightmare for untold number of people who are not receiving money.

    Over 830,000 Americans Filed For First-Time Jobless Benefits Last Week

    American Airlines and United are calling on the US Government for an additional $25bn or else layoff 32,000


    Disney to lay off about 28,000 parks employees due to COVID-19 hit

    Mr. House

    I still think all of this is just about a need to print money.


    The bottom line is that unless Senate Republicans agree to state and local bailouts, and they won’t even if Trump demands they do, this likely marks the end of any hopes for a fifth and much needed fiscal stimulus, even as American savings generously built up in the aftermath of the covid lockdowns thanks to trillions in government handouts, are rapidly dwindling.
    Here’s the bottom line: unless we have another real crash – we are talking down more than 20% from here – nothing will change, and no bill will be passed in the immediate and not so immediate future.


    The Washington Post though the CDC published a graph of predicted and observed deaths in the USA from January 2017 through September 2020.

    Deaths peak in each New Year at around 60,000 a week except higher in 2017 and 2018 and a noticeable surge this year in the second quarter due to COVID-19 when it peaked near 82,000. The swamping of NY State hospitals and 20,000 excess deaths a week was real although declining since then and almost back to predicted. There likely will be a third peak with schools reopening and winter coming. But this is a guess. Universal testing and public health bubbles have not been mandated for schools or work in the USA. As long as work at home continues for 61 million Americans, hospitals likely will not be overwhelmed. But the US economy will remain depressed, the virus will become endemic, and the unrest will continue. Super-spreader events need to be outlawed, universal daily antigen testing implemented, and public health personnel hired to maintain the bubbles and to contact trace and isolate spreaders.

    The future is very uncertain. Donald Trump will remain in the White House because he knows he won the November election. The Western Global Oligarchs have not given up on retaking Russia. NATO conducts war exercises in Poland. Globalist control of the White House will never permanently be given up. Corporate Oligarchs will also never voluntarily fund public health for Deplorables. Profit outweighs human life.

    Today reminds me of “The Deer Hunter”. A movie about war and the lost industrial America. Russian Roulette is the film’s metaphor for combat.

    This is what Americans are facing without a public health system and a functional national government. Losers do not need to become ill for the long haul or die.



    Off topic perhaps but you should read this Plain English explanation (by an MD) of why the SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test is worse than worthless.

    “The PCR test is best utilized as a diagnostic test to confirm the diagnosis of an infection based on clinical signs and symptoms. It certainly should not be used as a screening test when there is low prevalence of disease and should NEVER be used as the sole determinant in the diagnosis of a case.”

    The only thing the test is good at is keeping a clueless population dependent on the “experts.


    Trump just tweeted he and Melania tested positive for COVID19. The election is 31 days away.

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