Dec 232020

Edward Hopper Automat 1927


Trump Kicks COVID Bill Back To Congress; Demands $2,000 Stimulus (ZH)
Force The Vote On Direct Aid (DP)
Biden’s Austerity Zealotry Helped Cut The Stimulus Bill In Half (DP)
COVID19 Catch-22: Regime-Change Policies Come With US Pandemic Relief (GZ)
White House Memo Details How ‘Pence Card’ Can Save Trump Presidency (NF)
Growing Number Of GOP Lawmakers Back Electoral College Challenge (Hill)
Trump Pardons George Papadopoulos (DC)
WHO: New UK COVID19 Strain No Deadlier, Only Slightly More Infectious (RT)
America Is Now Ruled By People Older Than Soviet Union ‘Gerontocracy’ (RT)
Stalemate (Paul Edwards)
China Has Infiltrated America (Rickards)
Financial Warfare Is Real (Rickards)
UN Expert Melzer Asks US President Donald Trump To Pardon Julian Assange (UN)



Trump kicks the relief bill back to Congress and says he wants $2,000 checks. Everyone scrambles to react. Bernie campaigner David Sirota writes: “The question now: Will Pelosi, Schumer and Biden do everything in their power to call Trump’s bluff..?”. But what bluff? Saying the same thing as the squad is a bluff? And they can “call the bluff” only by agreeing with the man they’ve demonized for 4 years?

Trump has been talking about bigger checks for a long time. Was this a bluff that whole time? Amy Klobuchar tries her own private angle, and calls raising the stimulus to $2,000 per person “an attack on every American”. What? Is that also a bluff? At the end of the day, Trump and the Squad both want the same thing. All the rest are stuck in the middle.

And AOC tries to save the day, and her face, by saying the Squad had the proposals for $2,000 checks already written up.

Okay, explain where they went. How hard did you fight Pelosi etc. in order to get the exact same thing Trump wants?

Who’s calling whose bluff around here?



“Send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package and maybe that administration will be me and we will get it done.”

Trump Kicks COVID Bill Back To Congress; Demands $2,000 Stimulus (ZH)

President Trump appeared to threaten to veto the COVID-19 stimulus package that Congress passed almost 24 hours earlier, telling lawmakers to boost checks for Americans to $2,000 as well as “get rid of wasteful and unnecessary items” in the spending bill. Trump said “throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left wing agenda and influence the election…” “it’s taken forever” to get a package and the bill passed “is much different than anticipated.” “It really is a disgrace,” he added. Then reeled off a list of disgusting ‘pork’ that has been piled into this record-breaking 5,593 page bill.

As Axios notes, many of the items Trump listed, such as foreign aid, which were not related to COVID-19 are not part of the coronavirus relief package. These form part of the government funding bill, which was passed alongside the coronavirus relief package. Then he took a shot at Biden and the election. “Send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package and maybe that administration will be me and we will get it done.”

Trump relief speech

Read more …

“Luckily for Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — and for millions of people who need help — Trump is giving them one last chance to do the right thing..”

Force The Vote On Direct Aid (DP)

Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to veto emergency stimulus legislation unless lawmakers increased direct payments to millions of families facing the prospect of eviction, loss of health insurance, unemployment and starvation. Lawmakers had settled on meager one-time $600 checks but the president demanded $2,000 payments — a proposal that was championed months ago by congressional progressives but that was ignored by both parties’ legislative leaders. The declaration from the GOP president follows his other recent statements in support of bigger checks. The entire situation shows that Joe Biden and Democratic congressional leaders either could have driven a much tougher bargain in their negotiations over new COVID-19 relief legislation with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — or they actually deliberately prioritized austerity and didn’t want a bigger spending package in the first place.

Luckily for Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — and for millions of people who need help — Trump is giving them one last chance to do the right thing and back a bolder version of the $1,200 direct payment proposal that Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have been pushing from the beginning of this most recent round of negotiations. In fact, seven months ago Sanders joined Sens. Kamala Harris, Ed Markey and Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing a bill to provide monthly $2,000 checks to individuals until the pandemic is over. (That’s not surprising, given that Sanders and the Congressional Progressive Caucus he led were the original authors of the first stimulus check of the modern era, way back in 2001.) The question now: Will Pelosi, Schumer and Biden do everything in their power to call Trump’s bluff and force a vote to increase the $600 checks to $2,000?

Pelosi clearly feels the heat — she is suddenly pretending she’s always been ready to take Trump up on his offer to support $2,000 survival checks, even though prior to about an hour ago, she had never tried to triangulate Trump against McConnell on the issue. Earlier this month, she supported a deal that did not include checks at all, and just yesterday she insisted that $600 checks were “significant.” Indeed, the $2,000 is a new ask for Democratic leaders — progressive lawmakers had been pushing it for months, but Pelosi’s much-touted HEROES Act only asked for $1,200 one-time, means-tested checks. Regardless, the Democratic House Speaker is now finally saying she wants a vote to amend the stimulus bill to increase the small $600 checks to $2,000 — and such an amendment has already been written by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

Read more …

“That last line of Biden’s statement is arguably the most disturbing foreshadow of all: He is depicting the process — which starved America for months and now skimps on benefits — as a terrific “model” for the future.”

Biden’s Austerity Zealotry Helped Cut The Stimulus Bill In Half (DP)

If there is any consistent throughline in Joe Biden’s long career, it is his commitment to the ideology of austerity. He has obsessively pushed for Social Security cuts for decades, and he is stocking his administration with deficit hawks — including today’s announcement that notorious Social Security cutterBruce Reed will be White House deputy chief of staff. Biden has even threatened to veto Medicare for All legislation on the grounds that it costs too much (even though Congress says it would actually save a lot of money). Now, in the whittling down of the stimulus legislation, we see the first concrete example of how Biden’s ideology can change policy in the here and now — and in deeply destructive ways.

As pain and suffering is crescendoing across the country, Biden refrained from aggressively pushing the bipartisan initiative for $1,200 survival checks. Indeed, at a time when there was a legitimate chance to flip some Republicans — including Donald Trump! — against McConnell and push for a more robust stimulus, he demurred. However, the New York Times reminds us today that Biden was “not an idle bystander in the negotiations.” On the contrary, the paper of record tells us that the president-elect played a decisive role in making sure the legislation was cut in half. Here is the key excerpt:

“With Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate far apart on how much they were willing to accept in new pandemic spending, Mr. Biden on Dec. 2 threw his support behind the $900 billion plan being pushed by the centrist group. The total was less than half of the $2 trillion that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, had been insisting on. Mr. Biden’s move was not without risks. If it had failed to affect the discussions, the president-elect risked looking powerless to move Congress before he had taken the oath of office. But members of both parties said his intervention was constructive and gave Democrats confidence to pull back on their demands.”

Read that again, just so it sinks in: Biden endorsing an initiative to slash the stimulus bill in half “gave Democrats confidence to pull back on their demands” for a much more robust rescue package at a time when America faces rising food insecurity and poverty. His enthusiastic lauding of the final bill underscores the role he played. “In November, the American people spoke clearly that now is a time for action and compromise,” Biden said in a statement. “I am heartened to see members of Congress heed that message, reach across the aisle, and work together. This is a model for the challenging work ahead for our nation.” That last line of Biden’s statement is arguably the most disturbing foreshadow of all: He is depicting the process — which starved America for months and now skimps on benefits — as a terrific “model” for the future.

Read more …

But it’s 2 different bills, says everyone. Yeah, big difference that makes.

COVID19 Catch-22: Regime-Change Policies Come With US Pandemic Relief (GZ)

The longest piece of legislation in United States history, containing both a coronavirus relief package and the annual omnibus spending package, quickly passed through Congress on December 22, with little opposition. While technically separate bills, the omnibus and stimulus were debated and passed together, at the same time.The massive piece of legislation — a staggering 5,593 pages in length — lays bare the priorities of the US government, prioritizing regime change in foreign nations and the imperatives of empire over the basic needs of Americans. In just a few hours, it passed through the House of Representatives by 359-53, and through the Senate by 92-6.

While the US public was forced to grovel for months for a $600 direct payment, the same piece of legislation pumps billions of dollars into “democracy programs” — US government code for regime-change operations via civil society NGOs — and foreign military assistance. The measly $600 survival checks pale in comparison to the massive foreign spending on regime change and titanic allocations to prop up US-friendly authoritarian militaries. On so-called “Democracy Programs” alone, the legislation appropriates $2.417 billion, and $6.175 billion on the “Foreign Military Financing Program.” Another $112.9 million is appropriated for “International Military Education and Training.”

$6 billion more is allocated toward the domestic procurement of US Air Force missiles and US Navy weapons of war. This is in addition to the $740 billion defense bill passed earlier in December. By contrast, the stimulus package comes at a value of $900 billion, with the largest portion devoted to business bailouts. The Federal News Network reports that the $1.4 trillion omnibus includes $671.5 billion allocated to “base defense spending,” with another $77 billion going to “overseas contingency operations.”

Read more …

“Pence has the sole power determine whether to reject impermissible states of electors.”

White House Memo Details How ‘Pence Card’ Can Save Trump Presidency (NF)

Sources in the Trump administration confirmed to National File that President Donald Trump’s most vocal advocates within the White House have determined that both U.S. Code and the Constitution contain language that requires Vice President Mike Pence to reject unlawful Electoral College certificates, but Pence must act by no later than Wednesday, December 23. The drafters of this White House memo believe that the federal check to the states’ elections resides with Vice President Mike Pence in his role as President of the Senate. Additionally, Pence has the sole power determine whether to reject impermissible states of electors. However, Pence is legally required to do this on the fourth Wednesday in December, which this year falls on December 23.

National File’s sources in the White House indicated that the memo was requested by those in the President’s circle who are most keen to see the 2020 election, and the ensuing fallout, administered in as transparent of a manner as possible. They also indicate that the push to find a path to verify the 2020 election’s integrity is not coming solely from the White House, but also comes from across numerous agencies in the administration. FROM THE MEMO: Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution requires that “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” Therefore, the papers (or “slates”) the states attempted to submit to the President of the Senate and Archivist of the United States are not legal, permissible certificates of votes and lists by Electors as recited in Title 3, U.S.C., sections 9 and 11. Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin violated the U.S. Constitution’s Art. 2, S.1, Cl.2 and 14th Amendment, Section 1, Equal Protection Clause in administering their elections, therefore rendering their slates impermissible.

On Dec. 14, the States consummated a fraudulent and Constitutionally deficient certification of their electors as required by 3 USC 7. State and federal authorities have discovered Overwhelming evidence of election fraud and irregularities since Nov. 4, likely rising to the level of criminal election fraud and public corruption. Civil courts dismissed these claims procedurally, rather than on substance.

Read more …

And the Hill doesn’t like it.

Growing Number Of GOP Lawmakers Back Electoral College Challenge (Hill)

A growing number of House Republicans say they will challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College results on Jan. 6. The latest Republican to say he will do so is Rep.-elect Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), who will be a part of the House when it convenes in early January. He implored other Republicans to also challenge the results in a video message. “I have a message for all other Republicans across the country,” Cawthorn said. “If you are not on the record calling for fair, free and just elections now and in the future, I will come to your district and I will fund a primary opponent against you.” Not doing this to help my career in Washington, in fact this will most likely harm it. But no one should go to Washington as a career. Go there to serve the people. And on behalf of the people I am contesting this election based on constitutional violations by key states. — Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) December 21, 2020

There is no evidence the results of the last election showing President-elect Joe Biden defeating President Trump by more than 70 electoral votes and more than 7 million votes overall was unfair, and efforts by Trump and his allies to reverse the outcome have gone nowhere in the courts. The effort in the House is also doomed to failure, as it will not be possible for supporters to secure a majority vote given Democratic control of the lower chamber, and the fact that a number of Republicans also object to the effort first launched by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). But Trump has encouraged the effort, and a number of House Republicans, likely with an eye on getting attention from the most powerful Republican in the country, have said they will join Brooks.

Read more …

“Today’s pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people.”

Trump Pardons George Papadopoulos (DC)

President Donald Trump granted a full pardon on Tuesday to George Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide at the center of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election. “Mr. Papadopoulos was charged with a process-related crime, one count of making false statements, in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the White House said in a statement about the pardon. “Today’s pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people.” Trump also pardoned Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch national convicted in the Mueller probe. Last month, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to false statements charges on Dec. 1, 2017.

Papadopoulos was the first Trump associate to plead guilty in the Mueller probe. He served 12 days in prison on charges that he made false statements to the FBI in January 2017 regarding his interactions with a Maltese professor who claimed to have learned that the Russian government had Hillary Clinton’s emails. The FBI opened Crossfire Hurricane, its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, on July 31, 2016, based on an Australian diplomat’s tip regarding a meeting he had on May 10, 2016 with Papadopoulos. Alexander Downer, the diplomat, claimed that Papadopoulos told him that Russia might help the Trump campaign by releasing material close to the election.

Investigators initially thought that Papadopoulos took part in a collusion scheme with Russia or knew of Trump associates who might have been. But the FBI probe, and the Mueller investigation that followed, ultimately turned up no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump associates and the Russian government. Papadopoulos has denied telling anyone on the Trump campaign about his conversations with the Maltese diplomat, Joseph Mifsud. “Notably, Mueller stated in his report that he found no evidence of collusion in connection with Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election. Nonetheless, the Special Counsel’s team still charged Mr. Papadopoulos with this process-related crime,” the White House said in its pardon statement.

Read more …

The borders already re-opened.

WHO: New UK COVID19 Strain No Deadlier, Only Slightly More Infectious (RT)

The World Health Organization has come forward to calm things down amid the anxiety over a new potentially ‘highly infectious’ Covid-19 strain found in the UK, saying it is not that different from other coronavirus strains. “There is zero evidence that the new coronavirus variant increases severity of the disease,” the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program Chief Mike Ryan told at a press conference on Monday, citing data received from British scientists. The risks faced by the people that catch this particular strain of the virus are pretty much the same as odds faced by other people suffering from Covid-19. According to the WHO, it is neither more aggressive, nor any deadlier than the other strains.= It does seem to be spreading somewhat easier, the health watchdog admitted. Still, its contagiousness appears to be nothing out of the ordinary and it is still much less infectious than diseases such as mumps.

The new strain would also hardly affect the efficacy of drugs and vaccines developed against Covid-19, the WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said. “So far, even though we have seen a number of changes, a number of mutations, none has made a significant impact on … the susceptibility of the virus to any of the currently used therapeutics, drugs or the vaccines under development,” she said. WHO officials also described a flurry of travel bans to and from the UK imposed by some two dozen of nations across the world as a move taken out of abundance of caution. “We have to find a balance. It’s very important to have transparency, it’s very important to tell the public the way it is, but it’s also important to get across that this is a normal part of virus evolution,” Ryan said, while still calling this decision “prudent.”

Read more …

”.. prompting then-US president Ronald Reagan to say “How am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?” Yet Reagan was 74 at the time, older than all three.”

America Is Now Ruled By People Older Than Soviet Union ‘Gerontocracy’ (RT)

Joe Biden, set to be the oldest-ever US president, is actually on the younger side of people currently running the American political establishment, who show no sign of wanting to ever step aside for another generation. It is often overlooked that Donald Trump currently holds the distinction of being the oldest-ever US president, being 70 at the time of his inauguration. Biden will take that trophy as well if he’s inaugurated in January 2021, having turned 78 last month. Even so, he is actually younger than the current leaders of the House and the Senate! Though all major power brokers in Washington are older than the “gerontocracy” that ruled the Soviet Union in the 1970s and the 1980s, you won’t hear the US mainstream media make the comparison, as it wouldn’t fit their Narrative.

Sure, there has been some carefully calibrated talk about the “cognitive decline” of Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is 87. But Feinstein is from an overwhelmingly Democrat state and she can be easily replaced at the same time as Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate who still hasn’t resigned her Senate seat. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is 80, and has raised eyebrows herself with the whole “Good Morning. Sunday Morning” glitch-in-the-Matrix behavior during a TV appearance in September. Way back in 2018, Pelosi insisted that any talk about wanting someone younger in the leadership position was “sexist,” and went on to ruthlessly crush any opposition to her getting the gavel – and the power that went with it – inside the party. In the same interview, Pelosi blanked out on the name of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), calling him “whatshisname.”

Born several months ahead of Biden in 1942, McConnell is 78 himself. He had a bout with polio when very young, and though successfully treated, he’s had difficulty climbing stairs all his life. While he hasn’t shown any signs of cognitive decline, his political choices as of late have certainly caused some Republicans to wonder if he’s truly the legislative genius his supporters make him out to be. [..] the young activist House members who came in with 2018’s “Blue Wave,” such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), are being kept in check by the old guard. Just last week, AOC was denied a spot on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, thwarting her plans to push for her “Green New Deal” proposal. Compare this state of US politics with the notorious “gerontocracy” of the Soviet Union. Three aging Soviet leaders died in quick succession between 1982 and 1985, prompting then-US president Ronald Reagan to say “How am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?” Yet Reagan was 74 at the time, older than all three.

Read more …

“On top of that, there is now—I won’t call it news—official yammer that those pesky Russkies are at it again…”

Stalemate (Paul Edwards)

In chess, stalemate describes the endgame situation in which one party has no possible legal moves. It is the point at which we are arrived in our Presidential fiasco. There has been great angst and gnashing of teeth over it, and ebullient, if tentative, rejoicing on the part of giddy enthusiasts for whom Trump’s electoral defeat represents the Jubilee, the Dawn of Glory, and re-establishment of righteousness on earth. This view, deluded and infantile as it is, is nevertheless sincere and widely held. Stalemate, though, is not victory, in chess or otherwise. In a stalemate the game ends in a draw. That said, it seems likely Trump will depart—in spite of the hysteria peddled by so many in media and cyber-flackery—without anything faintly resembling the Reichstag Fire, or even a Proud Boys version of the shootout at the OK Corral. He’ll go with a whimper, not a bang.

So the crisis ends in victory? Or has it indeed been a sort of draw? We’ve been assured from authoritative quarters, in the most decisive terms, that, in his mulish, petulant refusal to take no for an answer to his grandiose ambitions, Trump has done irreparable damage to the Great Institution of our Electoral Democracy; that his dogged denial of his loss, and utter rejection of the protocols of cordial transition have sorely undermined, and perhaps even fatally shaken, our collective faith in the purity and justice of our Constitutional process and its benign functioning. On top of that, there is now—I won’t call it news—official yammer that those pesky Russkies are at it again. Yes, by golly, they’ve diabolically infiltrated our Official Secrets Crypt, no doubt goaded into it by that fiend, Putin, who, according to what we’ve been schooled for four years to believe, ought to have been spending all his energies backing Trump, but somehow overlooked that.

It appears that after doing so much to elect him in ‘16, they didn’t bother this time and let him lose. Just no fathoming their deviltry. Anyhow, our noble protectors and defenders, those fab Security Services—FBI, NSA, CIA and the other sixteen or twenty-three sister spook units who’ve done so much to keep us from harm—all have their knickers in a twist, one hand clutching their pearls and the other making a bold fist at the Kremlin, over Vlad & Co. attacking the dead meat of our sanctified secrets catacombs. What a dogpile! What a gang-bang! Trump and the Russians, allied again, bringing all their satanic powers to bear on the frail, vulnerable vessel of our fate, the very motor and mainspring of Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean: our hallowed electoral system. Come on, somebody has to call bullshit on this nonsense.

Read more …

Two pieces from Jim Rickards at Daily Reckoning.

China Has Infiltrated America (Rickards)

Spying is as old as civilization. As long as there have been leaders with secrets and armies on the march, opponents have wanted to know what they’re thinking and where they’re going. Hence the need for spies. And it comes as no surprise that the Chinese are as good as anyone when it comes to spying and that their main target is the United States. What may come as a surprise is the scope of their success and the enormous number of operatives, influencers, sleepers and other varieties of spies who have already infiltrated critical U.S. institutions. Of course, a lot of spying today involves surveillance of phone calls, digital message traffic, online financial transactions, facial recognition software, satellite surveillance and other electronic tradecraft.

But the old fashioned methods of the human spy penetrating organizations, gaining trust and stealing secrets have never gone away. In fact, that type of human intelligence (HUMINT) seems to be having a renaissance. Members of the Chinese Communist Party who pledge to “fight for communism throughout my life … and… be loyal to the party” are hard at work inside companies like Boeing, Pfizer and Qualcomm, political strongholds like the U.S. State Department, and on Capitol Hill. Other spies operate clandestinely, including a woman named Fang Fang, a young attractive Chinese spy who worked her way into an intimate relationship with Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who routinely receives classified briefings.

This is a classic intelligence technique known as a Honey Trap. Swalwell fell for it. Somehow Fang got a heads up and fled back to China before she could be turned into a double-agent or simply arrested by the FBI. No word yet on who gave her the heads-up, but Swalwell is suspected. The Chinese intelligence services have also penetrated academia using so-called Confucius Institutes (cultural exchange facilities that are really nests of spies) and lavish research grants. Too often, Americans are ensnared in Chinese spying efforts either because they are naive or just greedy for the money the Chinese spread around. U.S. targets simply turn a blind eye to the damage to America. Until things change, America’s technological and strategic edge will be blunted by Chinese theft of secrets and compromise of elite decision-makers.

Let’s hope this changes, but don’t hold your breath. Will the U.S. intelligence community get a grip on the Chinese threat? There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the U.S. The Intelligence Community, particularly the CIA, seem to have woken up to the fact that the world has changed. The bad news is that it still seems to be riddled with the same hidebound bureaucrats, the same ‘go along to get along’ guys I saw during my years at the Agency. A big problem is the “culture of secrecy.” Forty years ago, secrets were valuable, and open-source information was not particularly useful beyond just keeping up with the news. Information used to be a scarce resource. But that world has changed. Today, information flow is like a fire hose; there’s almost more than you can process. The scarce resource today is not information; it’s analytic ability.

Read more …

War simulations. Better than board games.

Financial Warfare Is Real (Rickards)

In my 2011 book, Currency Wars, I gave a detailed description of the first-ever financial war game sponsored by the Department of Defense. This financial war game took place in 2009 at the top-secret Applied Physics Laboratory located about twenty miles north of Washington, D.C., in the Maryland countryside. Unlike typical war games, the “rules of engagement” for this financial exercise did not permit the use of any kinetic weapons such as bombs, missiles or drones. The only weapons allowed were financial instruments including stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives. The game was played out over two days in the main War Room of the laboratory using six teams divided into the U.S., China, Russia, Europe, East Asia, and Banks & Hedge Funds.

The contestants included about 40 players on the six teams and another 60 participants including: uniformed military, civilian defense officials, observers from the Treasury, Federal Reserve, CIA and other government agencies, think tanks, universities, and financial industry professionals. In that original financial war game, a scenario involving Russia, China, gold and the destruction of the U.S. dollar was played out against a backdrop of geopolitical events, including the collapse of North Korea and a threatened Chinese invasion of Taiwan. In May 2015, the Pentagon sponsored a new financial warfare session, which I was also invited to attend. This time the financial war took place inside a secure meeting facility at the Pentagon itself.

This new financial war game exercise was smaller and more focused than the one in 2009. We had about 20 participants. Our group included representatives from the diplomatic corps, military, think tanks, universities, CIA and the National Security Council. I was one of three individuals from the investment management community. Our scenario this time was not global but was instead limited to a confrontation between China and the U.S. involving disputed jurisdiction in the South China Sea. Six nations have claims in the South China Sea – China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. These claims overlap to a great extent, setting the stage for disputes and possible war.

The South China Sea is rich in oil, natural gas reserves, fishing rights and other natural resources. The surrounding nations dispute with certain island groups – the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands – and are also using reefs, sunken vessels and landfill to create artificial islands, which they are populating with bases and military garrisons. The U.S. has treaty obligations to the Philippines and Taiwan, which could result in the U.S. becoming engaged militarily in the event of a dispute with China. This volatile mix of disputed claims, natural resources and complex treaty networks has the ingredients needed to escalate into a Third World War. All it would take to start a war is some spark, such as a collision at sea or an attack based on mistaken identity or misunderstood intentions. The occurrence of such a war is likely inevitable.

Read more …

Stating the obvious.

UN Expert Melzer Asks US President Donald Trump To Pardon Julian Assange (UN)

“Mr. President, Today, I respectfully request that you pardon Mr. Julian Assange. Mr. Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for the past ten years. This is a high price to pay for the courage to publish true information about government misconduct throughout the world. I visited Mr. Assange in Belmarsh High Security Prison in London, with two independent medical doctors, and I can attest to the fact that his health has seriously deteriorated, to the point where his life is now in danger. Critically, Mr. Assange suffers from a documented respiratory condition which renders him extremely vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic that has recently broken out in the prison where he is being held.

I ask you to pardon Mr. Assange, because he is not, and has never been, an enemy of the American people. His organization, WikiLeaks, fights secrecy and corruption throughout the world and, therefore, acts in the public interest both of the American people and of humanity as a whole. I ask because Mr. Assange has never published false information. The cause for any reputational harm that may have resulted from his publications is not to be found in any misconduct on his part, but in the very misconduct which he exposed. I ask because Mr. Assange has not hacked or stolen any of the information he published. He has obtained it from authentic documents and sources in the same way as any other serious and independent investigative journalists conduct their work. While we may personally agree or disagree with their publications, they clearly cannot be regarded as crimes.

I ask because prosecuting Mr. Assange for publishing true information about serious official misconduct, whether in America or elsewhere, would amount to “shooting the messenger” rather than correcting the problem he exposed. This would be incompatible with the core values of justice, rule of law and press freedom, as reflected in the American Constitution and international human rights instruments ratified by the United States. I ask because you have vowed, Mr. President, to pursue an agenda of fighting government corruption and misconduct; and because allowing the prosecution of Mr. Assange to continue would mean that, under your legacy, telling the truth about such corruption and misconduct has become a crime.

In pardoning Mr Assange, Mr. President, you would send a clear message of justice, truth and humanity to the American people and to the world. You would rehabilitate a courageous man who has suffered injustice, persecution and humiliation for more than a decade, simply for telling the truth.

Read more …



We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site.

Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.



A common mistake when trying to design something completely fool-proof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
– Douglas Adams



Alexandros Maragos Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn over #Athens



Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.


Home Forums Debt Rattle December 23 2020

Viewing 28 posts - 1 through 28 (of 28 total)
  • Author
  • #67220

    Edward Hopper Automat 1927   • Trump Kicks COVID Bill Back To Congress; Demands $2,000 Stimulus (ZH) • Force The Vote On Direct Aid (DP) • Biden’
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle December 23 2020]

    Mr. House

    If you don’t want the vaccine you are now an anti vaxxer, that didn’t take long. Love the grade school name calling.

    Real or more fear porn?

    New Video Shows COVID-19 Patients Lined Up In SoCal Hospital Hallways As Surge Continues

    Glad they learned their lesson from the first time and asked us if this is the proper course of action for the next go round

    We also have one of the largest populations of elderly people we’ve had in our history and only six percent of covid deaths died strictly from covid, more fear porn

    On a different note, have you ever read this gentleman Raul? I came across him over a year ago and find his writing to be fun, and his ideas to be different and interesting

    Mr. House
    Mr. House

    The great reset is just a conspiracy

    You’ve received a coronavirus vaccination — but can you prove it? The answer to that question will help determine how the global economy functions for the next few years.

    Why it matters: The federal government will probably neither mandate nor encourage digital immunity passports or other proofs of vaccination. But privately-operated digital certificates are already being developed — and U.S. law means that anybody who gets vaccinated here should be able to obtain the proof they need.

    The big picture: Your employer has a clear interest in knowing whether you’ve been vaccinated, as do the immigration staff in any foreign country you want to visit. Many workers, from nursing-home aides to opera singers, have a clear desire and even need to be vaccinated before doing their jobs. Which means they’ll need some kind of proof of vaccination.

    What they’re saying: “Those who get vaccinated deserve more freedom,” wrote the FT’s John Gapper last month. Private companies “should be allowed, even encouraged, to protect customers and employees from harm.”
    There’s also an “urgent need to restore confidence in travel and mobility,” says Paul Meyer, CEO of the Commons Project, a group attempting to build a global platform for proof-of-vaccination apps.
    The other side: The federal government “should discourage the use of vaccination cards or apps for virtually any purpose other than guiding individual medical care,” argued Duke University professor Nita Farahany in the Washington Post. “Vaccine cards (and immunization apps) could turn into powerful weapons of exclusion and discrimination,” she wrote.

    The catch: The official documentation that Americans receive upon being vaccinated is little more than a flimsy, easily-forged paper card. As Gavi, the global vaccination alliance, notes, that in turn creates “concerns that documentation could be fraudulently reproduced”.

    It’s a real concern: A recent flight from Russia to China was canceled after more than 190 of the passengers attempted to board with “completely identical” serology tests.

    Between the lines: Trustworthy and reliable digital proof of vaccination is not only possible, Meyer tells Axios, it’s also quite easy and will almost certainly happen.

    That’s because the government doesn’t need to be involved.
    Individual Americans have the right, under HIPAA, to access digital copies of their health information. Once they’ve done that, they can upload that information to any app or service that requests it.
    “People shouldn’t be happy walking out of getting their jab with just a piece of paper,” says Meyer — they should be sure to demand digital access to their vaccination records as well. Rather than relying on the government to centralize vaccination records, he says, “the human being is the only central organizing point in the healthcare system.”

    The bottom line: Paper “yellow cards” were generally accepted as proof of vaccination against yellow fever. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, by contrast, is going to be digital — and it’s going to be on individual Americans to get it.


    Any evidence there is of the mRNA vaccines actually working is scarce at best. The Moderna one was said to last just two months. But you MUST have it if you want freedom. What if I get a Sputnik V jab, or a Chinese one? Will that count? I find it all propagandistic so far.

    Doc Robinson

    Misplaced priorities?
    Overdose deaths outnumber COVID-19 deaths more than 3 to 1 in San Francisco

    Lockdowns in California considered too restrictive.

    As COVID-19 explodes, was California too strict for its own good?

    “A significant number of people have lost faith in the public health guidance and don’t know what to believe anymore,” said Daniel Kotzin, a member of two advocacy groups hoping to reopen schools and businesses in San Francisco. “One part of it is when our leaders say one thing and do another, and another part is it’s just been so strict with no escape valve and people can’t do it anymore. For over nine months we’ve been locked up with constantly shifting goalposts…”

    “California is unique because this particular lockdown came off as arbitrary and not data driven,” she said. “That’s why the opposition to it is not just from those who believe COVID is a hoax; there’s also opposition from medical professionals, lawmakers, parents and those with nuanced thinking who believe it’s too restrictive, and didn’t incorporate the biology of virus.


    Published 9 months ago on March 30, 2020
    The Anatomy of the $2 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

    The Anatomy of the $2 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

    Pelosi And Schumer Agree To Trump’s Demand For $2,000 Stimulus Checks
    “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests,” the president said, “while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it.”

    Zooming In: Visualizing the Relative Size of Particles

    John Day

    Negotiating Christmas

    Trump is still in play, as is populism, and the severity of the hierarchical response, keeping everybody locked-down, controlled, restricted-from-travel unless documented compliant, is actually desperate, an overshoot, and bound to crate backlash against the global power elite.

    Pelosi And Schumer Agree To Trump’s Demand For $2,000 Stimulus Checks​ (so another $129 billion or so. No cutting pork allowed.)

    Bureaucratic ‘black hole’ awaits injury claims from coronavirus vaccine
    Experts are concerned that with 200 million people expected to get vaccines, even a rollout with few ill effects could swamp the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.

    Black Pastors Refuse To Push COVID Vaccine, Turn Congregants Into ‘Guinea Pigs’ (Tuskegee)
    ​ ​High-ranking Catholics aren’t the only members of the clergy sounding the alarm over COVID-19.
    A dozen black pastors interviewed by Reuters say they won’t push new vaccines for the virus, citing concerns over its rapid development and lack of evidence for or against potential long-term effects.

    ​ I declined to get the Pfizer vaccine yesterday at our clinic.
    My immune system is good. I take vitamin-D. I have access to testing and to antiviral treatment with ivermectin, zinc and doxycycline.
    Pushing the vaccine through emergency approval requires that there be no safe, effective alternative. There is safe, effective treatment..​
    Hospital Workers Turn Down COVID Vaccine: “There’s Too Much Mistrust”
    Less than a week after we reported on widespread resistance among healthcare workers in one Chicago hospital,’s Ayla Ellison reports that the virus of vaccine mistrust is spreading…

    Doc Robinson

    John Day: “Pushing the vaccine through emergency approval requires that there be no safe, effective alternative. There is safe, effective treatment..​”

    Moreover, the emergency authorization (not approved yet ) of the mRNA vaccines undermines the ongoing trials looking at safety and efficacy. Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) were intended to be counterterrorism measures against chemical, biological, and nuclear hazards. “Expanded Access” should have been used instead of the EUA.

    It’s widely reported that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “prevent COVID.” Many reporters, and even experts, claim that means they prevent infections, and suggest the pandemic will start to come under control as soon as we can administer the vaccine. But preventing infection was not a key measure of efficacy the trials were designed to study. Nor were the trials designed to see whether the vaccines can reduce hospital and intensive care admissions, nor death. There is also no assurance of how well the vaccines work in the most important high-risk groups, like the elderly who reside in nursing homes, where nearly half of all deaths have occurred.

    The FDA, which works closely with the vaccine companies and is paid by them for assessing vaccine candidates, set a low bar for certifying them as effective: to at least halve the risk of mild COVID, which has symptoms like a sore throat or cough. Pfizer, the first company to receive an EUA, says it aced this test, declaring 95 percent efficacy in a journal article. But many unanswered questions remain. Out of 44,000 people, Pfizer’s results are based on just 170 confirmed cases. We still know nothing about the vaccine’s effectiveness at three, six or 12 months. Despite this, the FDA and its advisory panel—under intense pressure to quickly grant emergency use—announced on December 11 the authorization of Pfizer’s application for emergency use for everybody 16 years and older. (Four advisory committee members voted no—but 17 voted yes and 1 abstained.)

    But there was another way to make an unapproved vaccine available to those who need it without undermining a trial. It’s called “expanded access.” Expanded access enables any clinician to apply on behalf of their patient to the FDA for a drug or vaccine not yet approved. The FDA almost always approves it quickly.

    If the FDA and the companies joined together to pursue an expanded access program rather than emergency use, they would “uphold the integrity of the scientific process” built into the full trial design, rather than undermining it with an EUA. Expanded access would keep the trial going intact while still allowing physicians to administer the vaccine candidate outside the trial to anyone with serious conditions when there is no comparable alternative.

    An emergency use authorization would potentially open the floodgates to deploy an unapproved and unlicensed vaccine to millions (or tens of millions) of individuals before gathering the proof of safety and efficacy that licensing a new vaccine typically demands.

    This was never the intent of emergency use authorization, which was actually designed for counterterrorism measures to address chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards — not necessarily a pandemic. (The first use of EUA authority was in 2005 through the Project Bioshield Act to authorize military vaccinations against anthrax).


    John Day, Doc R., as you well know we’ve been talking about this extensively; the lack of research, evidence etc. for the mRNA jabs. It’s scary that they are rolled out en masse anyway because politicians and Big Pharma want them to be, using the fact that everyone is so tired of the lockdowns etc. It’s science turned upside down. Pretty soon we’ll hear that a negative test won’t do anymore, you need proof that you’ve had a jab of a vaccine that has never properly been tested. Or else.

    Doc Robinson

    Authorization for the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine in the UK is expected for December 28 or 29. At least this vaccine is not the mRNA type (and it’s not-for-profit, as well). It can be stored in a refrigerator, which makes for easier rollout to care home residents.

    Politics here, too:
    “Boris Johnson’s future as Prime Minister rests on the Oxford vaccine being approved”


    Well, it looks like other people already beat me in the business of selling fake vaccine IDs!



    Raul, Ontario health authorities have already said get the vaccine or else!


    Just received this ‘carrot’ in my in-box:

    PayPal crypto ad - a carrot?

    Dr. D

    Hopper was deaf. You see that in the immense silence in his paintings.

    Masks? They don’t even keep out f’n dust. I wouldn’t wear those blue masks to sand a railing; you’d be choked with a noseful in 30 minutes. But they stop the ‘Rona! ‘Cause it knows! It’s the Tooth Fairy that’s going house to house spreading it in all the lockdown states, cause masks definitely work!

    Vaccines? It’s going where it’s going. Apparently they’re running the Darwin effect, although that may be too strong for me to say. I’m not your mommy, I’m not going to make you not take it until it’s tested – a little – or works – a little (at least over 0.54%) — however, I will give you my opinion, and be fired, arrested, and banned. ‘Cause, Land of the Free, ‘natch.

    PayPal? Don’t know what they’re up to, but at the moment it’s a scam. PayPal neither lets you transmit, nor remove Crypto from their platform. Translation: They’re lying, they don’t have any. You know, like the gold ETF, it takes the pressure off when total idiots who read nothing buy this at 10,000:1 hypothecation, instead of Coinbase with 300:1 hypothecation. ‘Cause honesty matters to Coinbase, they never shut their servers off on every drop, and they’re not anything like:

    Vault of Satoshi
    Bitcoin Brasil
    The Bitcoin Market

    All of whom no longer exist, mostly because they were mysteriously “hacked”. No news if the owners then retired to a private island to think long and hard about what they’ve done.

    Don’t hand your money to unregulated criminals like Wells Fargo. Or major DNC fundraisers, licensed on Wall Street and protected by SEC insurance, like MF Global. Or the State of California, which has broken into and emptied out all the safe deposit boxes. No, no, no, those things are safe, and crypto is risky.

    Get a Trezor or a paper wallet, and don’t leave $100 bills lying around, or hand them to people you don’t know “for safekeeping.” Even it they’re honest, trustworthy, sober fellows like PayPal founder Elon Musk who has never had any issues with constant, uncontrollable fires. And explosions. And SEC investigations, and…


    Found over at Off-G:

    George Mc

    “Many on the left chose to ignore the Biblical scale of the destruction that economic stoppages would cause, arguing that the covid crisis was an opportunity. … Lockdowns were not bungled by incompetent leaders. They were in fact executed perfectly, because their purpose was not public health but rather the rapid installment of a regressive neoliberal agenda designed by the nonprofit industrial complex.”
    And so it goes and will continue to go. The “incompetence” meme has been the great calling card of the Left and of the “radical satirical writers” every step of the way. The Spitting Image sketch with its schoolboy fart humour is a marginally more moronic version of this Leftist “subversion”. These self-congratulating “rebels” launch their “incisive” attacks on the establishment without ever showing any awareness at all that they are simply puppets playing a role in a theatre that has been set up for them..”

    Hear, hear! Ye Olde “incompetence” excuse is wearing a little thin, since the so-called incompetence always
    benefits the same tiny group..

    To Mr House (I think): thanks for the link to CJ Hopkins’ recentest column, which hit closest to home of anything
    I’ve seen so far.


    Dr. D:

    In the good olde days of yore, a man would bite a silver dollar with his eye teeth to see if it was really made of silver!

    Can you bite bitcoin to see if it is real?


    Link to which the “George Mc” comment above was responding:

    The Great Covid Class War

    Top to bottom, “Left” to “Right” (heh!), it’s *all* rigged, folks; as rigged as rigged can be..



    Hopkins, from that column:

    > The name of the lesson is “Look What We Can Do to You Any Time We Fucking Want.” The point of the lesson is self-explanatory. The USA taught the world this lesson when it nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. GloboCap (and the US military) taught it again when they invaded Iraq and destabilized the entire Greater Middle East. It is regularly taught in penitentiaries when the prisoners start to get a little too unruly and remember that they outnumber the guards. That’s where the “lockdown” concept originated. It isn’t medical terminology. It is penal institution terminology.

    As we have been experiencing throughout 2020, the global capitalist ruling classes have no qualms about teaching us this lesson. It’s just that they would rather not to have to unless it’s absolutely necessary. They would prefer that we believe we are living in “democracies,” governed by the “rule of law,” where everyone is “free,” and so on. It’s much more efficient and much less dangerous than having to repeatedly remind us that they can take away our “democratic rights” in a heartbeat, unleash armed goon squads to enforce their edicts, and otherwise control us with sheer brute force..”

    Didn’t someone say here recently – echoing a current, mainstream narrative, of course- that we need to
    have a response more like China’s? “Sorry! you-the-very-many now have no rights™ whatsoever, but the important
    thing is: the virus™ magically disappeared!!!”

    A Class Analysis might be apposite


    I read somewhere that since March of 2020, 11 million people have entered Canada, mostly by airplane.

    If you fly into Canada, you are not required to quarantine for 2 weeks.

    However, if you try to cross the border by car, you must quarantine for 2 weeks!

    This is Sparkle Socks’s way of keeping Canadians safe from the virus!

    The MSM in Canada naturally spout how great a job Sparkle Socks is doing, completely ignoring the fact that there is a giant backdoor loophole in Canada’s border closing plan!

    No wonder Canada’s 3 largest provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and BC have seen nothing but rising virus cases! They each have the 3 largest international airports!

    This is one of the things I like about Sparkle Socks! He virtually signals one thing but actually does the opposite! He is so reliable that way!

    For example, he just raised the carbon tax on everyone in Canada so as to be seen actively fighting climate change, but just not in his own province of Quebec.

    Canadian sheep are a special group of exceptionally stupid sheep!



    The only reason we don’t hear about the virus in China is because the Chinese media aren’t talking about it anymore! That is how you make the virus disappear!

    After Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20th, the US MSM will suddenly stop reporting the virus! The virus will suddenly disappear in the US too!

    The virus has done its intended job for both China and the Uniparty!


    WES: I think The mcVirus™ will be trotted out from time to time as needed, under our new, saviour-of-normalcy™ Biden [sure, sure] Administration. Their job is to kill off most of us, while making it not
    *too* obvious to the very many, at least at the beginning..

    “oops, you’re all dead! and we tried™ so hard..”


    As for Da Covid “exploding” (what does that term mean, BTW? Going up, down, sideways, or..?)
    in Califonia: I live in California, mostly always have on the central coast, and see *no evidence at all* of said “explosion”. The now-prevalent maskies make me a little nervous, though, with their frightened countenances..


    Notice that since the virus and face masks appeared, we haven’t been hearing anything about big brother’s facial recognition?

    Maybe that is why Dr. Farce from the CDC, first said to everyone, “masks don’t work”!oo


    > Hopper was deaf. You see that in the immense silence in his paintings.

    Did not know that! Good fit.


    > Notice that since the virus and face masks appeared, we haven’t been hearing anything about big brother’s facial recognition?

    I’m thinking that they’re thinking they don’t need that particular frightening/frightful apparatus:
    Da Cobid has worked *superlatively well* as a tool of fear on the great majority of the citizenry [-ies in the West], and the tool you mention can always be saved for later.. hope to hear from Russell Bangs
    again soon on all this.


    Here’s my update on getting covid tested. I have noted that different test sites use different tests
    The local hospital uses the VERY uncomfortable test that tickles your brain via your nostril. The seniors residence (where my mother lives) uses a much less invasive test (touches the inside of the nose and throat). In discussion with the test administrator at the hospital I learned that the less invasive test is a lot less accurate. But even more interesting, apparently hospital workers are not systematically and regularly tested because they would lose workers! The administrator had never taken the test! If they don’t have to be tested, why do the rest of us have to? The test administrator noted that the more times people take the invasive test, the more painful it becomes, and she speculated that perhaps some injury is occuring. Incredible


    By next year to travel by air, get on Amtrak, get a driver’s license, any public function that has guarded gateways, you’ll have to show a digital certificate. If you don’t have a smart phone, you’ll have to go to the slow lane. The only thing that may stop this is if there are significant allergic responses to the second shot or if reinfection kicks off a cytokine storm.

    I am still shocked that, despite the evidence, the media does not point out that coronavirus pandemic in high inequality states without functioning public health systems overwhelms the for-profit hospital systems. To date, the lockdowns only address this problem. If the nation was united on restoring the public health system and doing what is necessary to defeat the virus, it could be done. It is just that the oligarchs and the paid politicians don’t care and will block any attempt to use upper-class wealth to fund a public health system. But the wealthy do support spending billions of dollars on for-profit corporate vaccines since they get a cut of it.

Viewing 28 posts - 1 through 28 (of 28 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.