Sep 092020
 
 September 9, 2020  Posted by at 9:29 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The Dream 1932

 

Assange Legal Team Focuses On US Torture And War Crimes (Gosztola)
Politics and Violence Go Hand in Hand (Knapp)
Scott Adams: Trump Is The Most Successful Stand-Up Comic Ever (RCP)
Biden Loses His Florida Lead As Latino Voters Shift To Trump (Week)
Docs Show Former Officials “In Real Trouble” In Durham Probe – Meadows (ET)
Vindman, Not Whistleblower, Was Driving Force Behind Impeachment (Fed.)
On-the-Record Sources, Paper Trail Rebut Anonymous Atlantic Claims (JTN)
AstraZeneca COVID19 Vaccine Trial Put On Hold Due To Adverse Reaction (STAT)
England To Ban Gatherings Of More Than 6 People As Coronavirus Cases Spike (AP)
Britons Scrambling To Get Back Home From Greek Islands On UK Red List (K.)
Netherlands Puts All Greek Islands On Orange Travel List (K.)
35 Migrants In Moria Found Positive For Coronavirus (K.)
1,000s Flee Fire At Moria Migrant Camp On Virus Lockdown In Greece (K.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CNN’s Zucker wanted to give Trump a show

 

 

“Lewis insisted the U.S. government only charged Assange with documents that revealed the names of informants..”

Assange personally redacted out 10,000 names in one night after the journalists at the Guardian etc. refused to do it. He’s the only one who cared.

Assange Legal Team Focuses On US Torture And War Crimes (Gosztola)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team spent the second morning of a major extradition hearing focusing a magistrate court judge’s attention on United States torture and war crimes that Assange helped to expose. Defense attorney Mark Summers called Clive Stafford Smith, a human rights attorney who has represented prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, to the witness stand. He was asked about human rights cases he pursued, which were bolstered by revelations in documents WikiLeaks published. For example, Stafford Smith told Judge Vanessa Baraitser that U.S. State Department cables helped those impacted by U.S. drone killings in Pakistan. It contributed to “court findings that US drone strikes are criminal offenses and that criminal proceedings should be initiated against senior U.S. officials involved in such strikes.”

A high court in Pakistan ruled “drone strikes carried out by the CIA and U.S. authorities were a ‘blatant violation of basic human rights’ including ‘a blatant breach of the absolute right to life’ and ‘a war crime,’” Stafford Smith declared in a statement to the court. Due to the decision, drone strikes that caused many “innocent deaths” stopped “very rapidly.” None were reported in 2019. The defense had Stafford Smith testify in order to persuade the court that Assange “disclosed U.S. involvement in criminal activity.” Specifically, these were “public interest disclosures” of war crimes and torture. Some of the publications are currently the subject of a criminal investigation into the CIA that is before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In other words, the prosecution against Assange is retaliation for bringing increased scrutiny to U.S. actions throughout the world.

But James Lewis, the lawyer representing the Crown Prosecution Authority on behalf of the U.S. government, was irritated by the defense’s focus on documents that exposed torture and war crimes. Lewis insisted the U.S. government only charged Assange with documents that revealed the names of informants, and none of the materials Stafford Smith was asked about mattered in the extradition case. [..]

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Word. But not sure I would say Power Corrupts. I think the people seeking power are already mentally corrupted.

Politics and Violence Go Hand in Hand (Knapp)

“[W]e currently have an inferno of political violence to which the president of the United States adds fuel,” Jennifer Rubin thunders from her bully pulpit at the Washington Post. “[I]t is time for bipartisan voices, local and state leaders, police and other first responders, civic and religious leaders, and all responsible media outlets to try to quench the flames of violence.” Rubin is no lone voice in the wilderness. As America’s latest long hot summer drags into autumn, politicians and pundits are getting louder and more shrill in their denunciations of political violence. Considering the sources, those denunciations smack of hypocrisy. In another Post column published the very same day as her rant against political violence, Rubin tells us US Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) should be “revered and thanked for her courage and service to the country.”

Duckworth lost her legs co-piloting a helicopter during the US occupation of Iraq. That is, engaging in unambiguously political violence on behalf of the US government. Rubin denounces political violence out of one side of her mouth while lionizing it out of the other. Politics as we know it today is entirely based on violence and the threat of violence. That’s most obvious in the case of war, in which governments settle their political conflicts by sending forth their armed servants in large numbers to murder one another (and anyone else with the bad luck to get in the way), but don’t be fooled: Every government edict, at home and abroad, is backed by the credible threat of violence.

According to the Declaration of Independence, government exists to protect our rights. It may only legitimately use force to do so, and to bring to justice those who violate those rights. If government accomplished that mission and went no further, it might be an acceptable, even worthwhile institution. But it doesn’t accomplish that mission very well, and it inevitably turns the inch it’s given into miles. Why? Because the problem with power, as Lord Acton noted, is that it corrupts. Governments, and those who run and rely on them, always turn from the task of protecting our rights to increasing their power. At the far, not always visible, end of every government demand — a speed limit, a tax code, a drug prohibition, what have you — stand men and women with guns, waiting to cage or kill you for non-compliance or defiance.

As for democracy, as currently practiced it’s merely a contest to see who gives armed enforcers their marching orders. America’s two “major” political parties don’t want to end political violence; they merely want control of those they deem its “legitimate” combatants. The present conflagration — marches in the streets, clashes between protesters and police, cities on fire — shouldn’t surprise us. Sometimes the state’s victims fight back. And then the state pours on even more force, because that’s its nature. It’s a cycle that can only be broken by abolishing the state itself. Which means that only anarchists enjoy moral standing to denounce political violence.

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“We’ve decided to call all our rallies peaceful protests.”

 

 

Scott has his own way of looking at things. Is he that far off here?

Scott Adams: Trump Is The Most Successful Stand-Up Comic Ever (RCP)

During Monday morning’s “Coffee With Scott Adams” podcast, the comedian and ‘Dilbert’ creator again discussed Joe Biden’s repeated references to what Adams calls the “fine people in Charlottesville” race hoax. Last week, Adams extensively explained how a simple edited video has convinced tens of millions of people that President Trump ever praised members of hate groups after the deadly clash in Charlottesville 2017. This week, he compared the “fine people” hoax to the newest outrage about the president, The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg’s “anonymous source” alleging that the president insulted those buried in an American war cemetery during a visit to France in 2018.

According to Adams, the common thread between why so many people believe these claims to be true without any evidence (or even in the face of counterevidence) could be that they simply have no sense of humor. People hate the president so much because they literally can’t recognize the difference between an off-color joke and violent hate speech. Adams described a conversation he had on Twitter with an actress who said she believed the claims in Goldberg’s article because of the joke Trump made in 2015 about John McCain not being a war hero because he was “captured.” “This is typical Trump, he is a dumb, hate-filled liar and misogynist!” Scott’s Twitter correspondent said. “When I saw that I commented back [that] Trump told a Chris Rock joke about McCain because Chris Rock actually did that same joke before Trump did,” Adams replied.

“And then I said, you literally want to overthrow the government because you don’t recognize a joke. That’s actually what happened, this is someone who wants to get rid of Trump at any cost in part because she doesn’t recognize a joke. So, I said maybe the problem’s on your end.” She responded: “B.S. Circus with Trump’s trained Monkeys defending his stupidities. What’s wrong with you people? Who cares if Chris Rock made a joke?” “See where this is going?” Scott asked, holding back a laugh. “She has now acknowledged that the president told a joke. She did not know until I explained it that it was a joke. So now she has to change her objection from being a horrible thing he said, to ‘Yeah, it was a joke but it was still horrible, and here’s why.'” She responded: “A president must know better than to say something like that! There are better things to quote as president, how do you fall for this crap?”

“Now, she also said earlier that Trump had no sense of humor, therefore it couldn’t be a joke. To which I pointed out that he is the most successful stand-up comedian in the history of humanity. His rallies with gigantic audiences are literally stand-up comedy. He does it to entertain. He literally says funny things and his audience laughs. And they go because he will say funny things that will make them laugh. He’s literally the most successful stand-up comedian in the history of civilization if you look at the numbers of people who go in person,” Adams revealed. “You have to admit the reason the crowd is so big is because he brings entertainment and humor.”

Chris Rock

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Uh-oh.

Biden Loses His Florida Lead As Latino Voters Shift To Trump (Week)

The sun may be setting on Democrats’ hopes of picking up Florida. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has seemingly lost his advantage over President Trump in the crucial swing state of Florida, an NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday found. A lot of that shift seemingly stems from Florida’s Latino voters, who have gone from resoundingly supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 to actually tipping in Trump’s favor this time around, the poll showed. Less than two months before election day, Biden and Trump are tied in Florida with 48 percent support among likely Florida voters. Biden had previously pulled as much as a 13-point lead over Trump in Florida. That dip comes as a majority of Latino respondents say they’re voting for Trump over Biden, 50-46 percent; Latino voters went for Clinton 62-35 in 2016.


A poll from the Miami Herald and Bendixen & Amandi International backed up NBC News’ findings, at least in Miami-Dade County. Biden still has a strong advantage, 55-38 percent, in the heavily Democratic part of the state, the Tuesday poll found. But it’s not the best news considering Clinton won that county by 30 points in 2016 and still lost the state by 1.2 points. In addition, the Miami Herald poll found Trump and Biden are splitting Hispanic voters, 47-46, though there’s a larger margin of error among that smaller subset. NBC News/Marist surveyed 766 likely Florida voters from Aug. 31–Sept. 6, with a 4.5 percentage point margin of error. The Miami Herald poll surveyed 500 likely Miami-Dade voters from Sept. 1–4, with a margin of error of 4.4 points.

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Wonder if the Durham report will ever come out.

Docs Show Former Officials “In Real Trouble” In Durham Probe – Meadows (ET)

Newly reviewed documents show that former FBI agent Peter Strzok and other officials involved in the counter-intelligence probe against Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign are in trouble, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said. U.S. Attorney John Durham is reviewing the origins of that investigation and landed his first guilty plea last month. While he doesn’t have visibility into the timeline of Durham’s probe, Meadows said he’s reviewed additional documents that “say that a number of the players, the Peter Strzoks, the Andy McCabes, the James Comeys – and even others in the administration previously – are in real trouble because of their willingness to participate in an unlawful act.”

“And I use the word unlawful at best, it broke all kinds of protocols and at worst people should go to jail as I mentioned previously,” Meadows said during a virtual appearance on Fox Business’ “Mornings With Maria” on Monday. Strzok, McCabe, and Comey are former high-level FBI officials. Strzok, best known for exchanging biased text messages about Trump with an FBI lawyer he was having an affair with, was fired by FBI officials in 2018. The former agent sat down for an interview with CBS that ran over the weekend. He insisted that the counter-intelligence probe, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, was opened on a legitimate basis. Meadows said it was easy for Strzok to make claims when not under oath.

“In all of his interview, I can tell you this: It’s not backed up by the facts. It’s not backed up by documents that I’ve seen. And ultimately his house of cards will come falling down,” Meadows said. The facts that have come out show that officials treated Trump “very differently, in an inappropriate way, and they must be held accountable,” he added. Durham’s criminal investigation is being kept under tight wraps, prompting much speculation about when another development will come, or even if any other people will be charged. Trey Gowdy, a Fox News contributor who used to serve in the House of Representatives, said over the weekend that there’s concern that Durham “is dragging his feet.” Durham, he said, “is going to access documents that the FBI never shared with Congress and he’ll write the definitive accounting of what happened.”

“Whether or not there’ll be more indictments or not, I don’t know and I like to assume that there will not be,” he said, adding: “That puts me in a small minority, but I’m assuming that the Clinesmith indictment will be the only one.” Kevin Clinesmith recently pleaded guilty to altering an email to say Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was not a CIA asset when the CIA had said the exact opposite. The altered email was used to obtain spy warrants against Page, enabling the FBI to conduct surveillance against Page and people he was linked to in the future and past. Meadows, meanwhile, said Trump supports the declassification of all documents, along with full transparency. “He has nothing to hide,” he said.

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New book. Vindman was the whistleblower, but nobody knew it. That allowed him to be a witness – twice.

Vindman, Not Whistleblower, Was Driving Force Behind Impeachment (Fed.)

The most interesting thing about Byron York’s exhaustively reported and richly detailed new impeachment book, “Obsession: Inside the Washington Establishment’s Never-Ending War on Trump,” is that the whistleblower who filed the official complaint that got impeachment rolling isn’t ever identified. It turns out that the heated discussion over the whistleblower, who was previously identified by Real Clear Investigations as the CIA’s Eric Ciaramella, was a diversion from allowing the American people to understand who was the actual instigator of the failed effort to oust President Donald Trump from office.

Rather than being a witness who independently supported the claims of the whistleblower, the National Security Council’s Lt. Col Alex Vindman was the driving force behind the entire operation, according to the book’s interviews with key figures in the impeachment probe and other evidence. The whistleblower’s information came directly from Vindman, investigators determined. “Vindman was the person on the call who went to the whistleblower after the call, to give the whistleblower the information he needed to file his complaint,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y. “For all intents and purposes, Vindman is the whistleblower here, but he was able to get somebody else to do his dirty work for him,” explained one senior congressional aide.

[..] In his complaint, the whistleblower claimed “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call” described to him the contents of the conversation. It is unclear if he was sourcing his knowledge just to multiple Vindmans or any other White House officials. The description of the call appeared to come from the White House’s rough transcript, which Vindman helped prepare. It repeated Vindman’s unique interpretation of the call as seeking foreign interference in a campaign. It mentioned that lawyers had been informed, and Vindman had done just that. The complaint also included information from public news reports.

At first Schiff publicly promised that the whistleblower would testify and that any attempt by the White House to thwart that would be fought vigorously. But then news broke that Schiff’s office had worked with the whistleblower prior to him filing his complaint. Schiff switched his stance to refusing to allow the whistleblower to testify. What’s more, he refused to allow any investigation into how the Ukraine investigation began. [..] Vindman repeatedly said that he viewed Trump’s phone call with Zelensky as “wrong,” but he was unable to articulate precisely why. He expressed frustration that the elected president was pushing a foreign policy at odds from the “interagency consensus” of the bureaucracy that he felt should control foreign policy.

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I count 15. That does not include Bolton. But it doesn’t matter, the story is out there, it’s doing its damage, and who cares if it’s true? Because what are the odds the Atlantic will be sued over it?

On-the-Record Sources, Paper Trail Rebut Anonymous Atlantic Claims (JTN)

Trump advisor Derek Lyons: “I was with the President the morning after the scheduled visit. He was extremely disappointed that arrangements could not be made to get him to the site and that the trip had been canceled. I have worked for the President for his entire administration. One of my responsibilities is working with him on the many letters he signs to the families of our nation’s fallen heroes. In all my time at the White House, I have never heard him utter a disparaging remark, of any kind, about our troops. In my view, he holds the brave men and women of our armed forces in the highest regard.”

U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco Jamie McCourt: “In my presence, POTUS has NEVER denigrated any member of the U.S. military or anyone in service to our country. And he certainly did not that day, either. Let me add, he was devastated to not be able to go to the cemetery at Belleau Wood. In fact, the next day, he attended and spoke at the ceremony in Suresnes in the pouring rain.” Trump Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino: “I was with POTUS in France, with Sarah, and have been at his side throughout it all. Complete lies by ‘anonymous sources’…” Trump Senior Advisor Stephen Miller: “The President deeply wanted to attend the memorial event in question and was deeply displeased by the bad weather call.” Former presidential advisor Johnny DeStefano: “I was on this trip. The Atlantic bit is not true. Period.”

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Walsh: “I can attest to the fact that there was a bad weather call in France and that the helicopters were unable to safely make the flight. Overall, the President’s support and respect for our American troops, past and present, is unquestionable.” Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: “I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion — this never happened.” Former Deputy Chief of Staff Zach Fuentes: “I did not hear POTUS call anyone losers when I told him about the weather.” Maj. General (Ret.) William Matz: “No one has done more for our veterans than President Trump, and he enjoys a relationship of mutual affection and honor with those who wear and have worn the uniform of the United States military and their families. Those who know President Trump know that the anonymous smears peddled by The Atlantic have no basis in fact or reality, and do a terrible disservice to journalism and to our veterans, living and deceased.”

Secretary Of Defense Mark Esper: “President Trump has the highest respect and admiration for our nation’s military members, veterans and families. That is why he has fought for greater pay and more funding for our armed forces.” Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo: “I’ve been with this president now for coming on four years. I’ve never heard the president use the language that assertively is said in that article.” Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie: Denied ever hearing President Trump make such remarks: “Absolutely not.” Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato: Denied the Atlantic’s story.

Lt. General and National Security Advisor to Vice President Pence Keith Kellogg: “The Atlantic story is completely false. Absolutely lacks merit. I’ve been by the President’s side. He has always shown the highest respect to our active duty troops and veterans with utmost respect paid to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and those wounded in battle.” Former Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney: “I never heard the President disparage our war dead or wounded. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I was with him at the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. As we flew over the beaches by helicopter he was outwardly in awe of the accomplishments of the Allied Forces, and the sacrifices they paid.”

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So surprised.

AstraZeneca Covid19 Vaccine Trial Put On Hold Due To Adverse Reaction (STAT)

A large, Phase 3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford at dozens of sites across the U.S. has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom. A spokesperson for AstraZeneca, a frontrunner in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, said in a statement that the company’s “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.” In a follow-up statement, AstraZeneca said it initiated the study hold. The nature of the adverse reaction and when it happened were not immediately known, though the participant is expected to recover, according to an individual familiar with the matter.


The spokesperson described the pause as “a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.” The spokesperson also said that the company is “working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline.” An individual familiar with the development said researchers had been told the hold was placed on the trial out of “an abundance of caution.” A second individual familiar with the matter, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the finding is having an impact on other AstraZeneca vaccine trials underway — as well as on the clinical trials being conducted by other vaccine manufacturers.

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Boy, what a mess that country is. I can see the experts brainstorming for hours: 5, no 7, how about 8? Raise your hand for 6!

England To Ban Gatherings Of More Than 6 People As Coronavirus Cases Spike (AP)

Britain’s government is banning gatherings of more than six people in England, as officials try to keep a lid on daily new coronavirus infections after a sharp spike across the U.K. that has been largely blamed on party-going young adults disregarding social distancing rules. Downing Street said urgent action was needed after the number of daily laboratory-confirmed positive cases hit nearly 3,000 on Sunday. The figure dipped Tuesday to 2,460. Officials said that starting Monday, the legal limit on all social gatherings in England will be reduced from the current 30 people to six. The new law applies both indoors and outdoors, including private homes, restaurants and parks. Failure to comply could result in a 100-pound ($130) fine.

Weddings, school, funerals and organized team sports are exempt, and larger gatherings will also be allowed if the household or “support bubble” is larger than six. Government ministers and scientists took to the airways to urge Britons not to let down their guard. “We’ve been able to relax a bit over the summer … but these latest figures really show us that much as people might like to say ‘Oh well, it’s gone away’ — this hasn’t gone away,” said Dr. Jonathan Van-Tam, the government’s deputy chief medical officer. He said while the rise in infections is “much more marked” among people between 17 and 21, he was concerned about a “more general and creeping geographic trend” across the U.K. “People have relaxed too much,” he said. “Now is the time for us to re-engage and realize that this is a continuing threat.”

[..] Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has faced strong criticism for its mixed messages since it started easing the coronavirus lockdown in late spring. It spent much of the summer encouraging people to eat out to help the hard-pressed hospitality sector and is now urging workers to return to their offices to help hard-hit businesses in city centers. John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said cases are rising, though “not spectacularly,” but he’s worried about what will happen following the reopening of schools and universities. “There are big movements afoot in the country and these will inevitably accelerate transmission,” he told Sky News. “I’m not sure we have to go back to work when we can work from home.”

The government has also been criticized for testing problems, prompting an apology from Sarah-Jane Marsh, director for the National Health Service’s Test and Trace program. “All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded. It’s our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch point,” she said. “We are doing all we can to expand quickly.” “The testing team work on this 18 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said.

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60,000 people told from one day to the next that they must quarantine when they return home. Good for the airlines: ticket prices triple. Bad for the airlines: tons of cancellations.

Britons Scrambling To Get Back Home From Greek Islands On UK Red List (K.)

Some 60,000 Britons are scrambling to get back home from seven Greek islands that were recently added to the UK’s quarantine list, before restrictions take effect at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday. According to the British newspaper, holidaymakers were blindsided by the announcement on Monday by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that the Greek islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos have been put on the government’s red list of destinations from which arrivals would have to spend 14 days in quarantine once returning to the UK.


The measure was announced in response to a spike in coronavirus infections, particularly in Crete, Mykonos and Zakynthos. “I don’t understand it because if anything it seems safer here than in the UK. It’s been very quiet, there’s barely anyone on the beaches, all the staff wear masks and there are hand-sanitizers on every table,” Julie Frew, who is holidaying on Crete, told the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail also said that holidaymakers have seen ticket prices for return flights almost treble since the measure was announced.

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The Brits do 7 islands, the Dutch do them all, including many that have never had one case.

But what’s even funnier: it’s the UK and Holland that have large outbreaks, Greece is nothing compared to that. And now they want to claim that their outbreaks come from Greece?

Netherlands Puts All Greek Islands On Orange Travel List (K.)

The Dutch government has placed Greece’s islands on its orange list of destinations approved for essential travel only, just a day after Britain said that people returning from seven Greek holiday islands would be quarantined for two weeks after arrival to check for symptoms of coronavirus. According to the directive, citizens of The Netherlands are “strongly discouraged” from traveling to the Greek islands and those who do will be subjected to 10 days of self-isolation on their return. The Foreign Ministry directive also advises that while citizens planning to travel to mainland Greece and the Peloponnese recreationally should not cancel their plans, they should exercise caution and abide by health safety regulations.

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Well, they don’t have to worry about infections in the camp anymore, because it burned down. See below

35 Migrants In Moria Found Positive For Coronavirus (K.)

A total of 35 migrants and refugees living in the Moria identification and registration centre on the island of Lesvos have been infected with the novel coronavirus, the Migration Ministry said in a press release on Tuesday, announcing the completion of the checks. The ministry said health teams from the National Organization of Public Health (EODY) conducted a total of 2,000 tests, of which 100 were done on employees and 1,900 on residents. Those infected have been transferred to a separate section of the camp, according to official procedure. Only one of the 35 patients has so far shown any symptoms of the illness, the ministry said. The overcrowded identification and registration centre has been placed on lockdown since last Wednesday (Sept. 2) after a 40-year-old Somalian national tested positive for the virus. During this time, residents are not allowed to enter of exit the camp.

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It’s all gone, the entire camp.

I know there are fires in California., but this is such a human tragedy, visited upon people who already were at the bottom of every ladder you can imagine.

What the EU going to do? Finance a new extra-secure camp? Moria was emant for 3,000 people But still in 2020 there were 15,000 or so living there.

“Some 12,500 people were living at the Moria camp” [..] now “more than 12,000 migrants being guarded by police on a highway..”

1,000s Flee Fire At Moria Migrant Camp On Virus Lockdown In Greece (K.)

Thousands of migrants fled a camp under COVID-19 lockdown after multiple fires gutted much of the site on the Greek island of Lesvos, authorities said early Wednesday. Some 12,500 people were living at the Moria camp and the surrounding area, where additional restrictions have been imposed over the past week after a Somali resident tested positive for the coronavirus. “The fire spread inside and outside of the camp and has destroyed it … There are more than 12,000 migrants being guarded by police on a highway,” Stratos Kytelis, mayor of the island’s main town, Mylinene, told private Skai radio. “It is a very difficult situation because some of those who are outside will include people who are positive (for the coronavirus).” There were no reports of injuries.


The fires broke out overnight, police and fire officials on the island told The Associated Press, adding the cause of the blazes, as well as the full extent of the damage, remained unclear. They did not confirm local reports that the fires had been set deliberately in protest at the lockdown measures but said firefighters had “met resistance” from some camp residents. Health authorities on Tuesday said 35 people had been confirmed infected with the virus so far after a major testing drive was ordered at the overcrowded facility. They were being kept in isolation at a separate site that was not affected by the fire, officials said. Early Wednesday, riot police were deployed along the highway that connects the camp to Mytilene, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) to the south.

Moria fire

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We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

 

 

A comprehensive list from Professor Mark Feldstein, witness who testified on Day 1 of Assange hearing about frequency of published leaks in journalism. The list includes over 20 examples from 1844-2018.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Sep 082020
 


Todd Webb Rue des Plantes, Paris 1950

 

Vitamin D Reduces risk of ICU Admission 97% – Study (Covid.US.org)
Rubberhose Cryptography And The Idea Behind WikiKeaks (Niraj Lal)
Julian Assange Re-Arrested Over 18 New Allegations (Sky)
Julian Assange Lays Out His Case Against US Extradition
Media Freedom? Which MSM Journalist Opposes the Torture of Assange? (Murray)
Tommy Robinson Appeals to President Donald Trump: “Free Julian Assange!“ (GP)
Trump and The Press Destroyed The Public’s Ability To Judge Scandals (Turley)
The Ghost in the Machine (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

Lots of Assange stories today, can’t be helped. Read them and you will understand much more much better of what’s happening.

I thought Trump’s remarks vs military brass were interesting, but couldn’t find a decent write-up of them. There’s video though.

 

 

Global new cases below 200,000. Lowest since July 13. US new cases lowest since June 14. But much of Europe appears to have a genuine second wave.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump on MIC
https://twitter.com/i/status/1303026442435993603

Trump press conference 2

 

 

Hope you got yours. And zinc. Note: you can take your vitamin D supplement in a once-a-week dosage, instead of daily.

Vitamin D Reduces risk of ICU Admission 97% – Study (Covid.US.org)

This is a peer-reviewed, randomized, controlled study of hospitalized Covid-19 patients. So it is an “RCT”. [Correction: no placebo was used. The intervention group received calcifediol and the control group did not. Both groups received BAT, best available treatment.] This is the type of study that the press and various online critics demand. Some persons unwisely reject all other types of studies, which is not reasonable or scientific. But this is the type of study we’ve been waiting for, to confirm the other 20 studies here. The study took place in a university hospital setting: Reina Sofia University Hospital, in Cordoba, Spain. The 76 patients were all hospitalized for confirmed cases of Covid-19. So these are not the mild to moderate, stay-at-home types of patients. The intervention group was 50 patients and the control group was 26 patients.

The intervention group received calcifediol, which is a type of vitamin D found in the blood. It is not the usual type of vitamin D found in supplements. Calcifediol is also known as 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The reason for giving this type of vitamin D is that the usual supplement type takes about 7 days to turn into calcifediol, so by giving patients calcifediol itself, you get the good effects without having to wait 7 or so days [per Wikipedia]. The dosage of calcifediol converts to IU (international units at a ratio of 200 to 1). So 10 micrograms of calcifediol is 2000 IU of vitamin D, whereas 10 micrograms of vitamin D3 is 400 IU (a 40:1 ratio).

The dosage given to the patients, in IUs, was:
Day one: 106,400 IU of vitamin D
Day three: 53,200 IU
Day seven: 53,200 IU
Once-a-week thereafter: 53,200 IU

This is equivalent to about 30,000 IU per day for the first week, and 7,600 IU per day thereafter. Yes, you can take your vitamin D supplement in a once-a-week dosage, instead of daily. The results were astounding (and highly statistically significant). “Of 50 patients treated with calcifediol, one required admission to the ICU (2%), while of 26 untreated patients, 13 required admission (50%)”. Would you rather have a 50% risk of needing ICU care, or a 2% risk? Almost all hospitalized Covid-19 patients who die, die in the ICU. That is where the most severe cases are sent. So this study shows that vitamin D reduces the severity of Covid-19.

In the statistically adjusted results, vitamin D reduced the odds of ICU admission by 97%. The RR (risk reduction) for ICU admission in hospitalized Covid-19 patients was 0.03 as compared to the control, which is given the value of 1.00. The odds of Covid-19 patients in general, as compared to hospitalized Covid-19 patients, needing ICU care would be even lower, as you would first need to be hospitalized to enter that risk ratio, and vitamin D has been shown by other studies to reduce risk of hospitalization. So taking a vitamin D supplement has tremendous benefits.

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Great piece -long- on the origins of what became WikiLeaks.

Rubberhose Cryptography And The Idea Behind WikiKeaks (Niraj Lal)

“There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy.” — Joseph Pulitzer

The last dinner that Julian Assange had in relative freedom, 18 June 2012, was takeaway pizza and cheap red wine with a couple of the Wikileaks team and myself in a small flat in London, discussing possible trajectories of American politics for the coming decade. The next morning he walked into the Ecuadorian Embassy to claim political asylum; he hasn’t seen sunlight unguarded since. I first met Julian in the Redmond Barry Physics Lecture Theatre ten years earlier, in 2002, on our first day at the University of Melbourne. The lecturer, the affable Professor Geoff Opat with curly hair and thick-rimmed glasses, in that first hour transformed the topic of ‘units’ — of length, time, and mass — into the powerful concept of ‘dimensional analysis’, a method of answering physics problems simply by determining the underlying units involved. It was a technique later applied to understanding structural opposition to government transparency.


The Melbourne University 1st year Advanced Physics Class, 2002. Photo: Niraj Lal

Julian took two other subjects in addition to physics that first semester of 2002 — Advanced Maths and a first-year philosophy course titled “Critical Thinking — the Art of Reasoning”. We shared all three classes, but it was during a lunchtime discussion after the philosophy course, sitting on the sandstone steps of Melbourne Uni’s Old Quad, that I first heard him speak about the application of critical thinking to political questions. He was working on a project he called ‘Rubberhose Cryptography’ — a method to allow anyone with valuable digital information to have “plausible deniability” of not having it if someone was standing behind them with a length of thick rubber hose. Julian asked the question: if a journalist with leaked information stored on a USB thumb drive was being interrogated about its contents by a foreign intelligence agency, is there a way that cryptography could enable the journalist to not surrender it?

Even if the intelligence agency were using a thick rubber hose to beat it out of them? The answer, of course, is that agencies have varied means of extracting information that are almost always successful given enough time; rubber hoses are only a crude initial measure before more persuasive techniques can be employed. But Julian found that cryptography can have a role in supporting resistance. Rubberhose Cryptography formed the kernel of TrueCrypt — a program where folders on a drive can be protected by a password, but where the folders are themselves able to contain hidden folders which are only revealed by another password — but where (and here’s the kicker) there isn’t a way of determining whether all folders have been uncovered.

Such a program allows the possibility of “plausible deniability” — where a journalist could reveal one password to a small portion of sensitive information with it being plausible (and unverifiable) that that was all she had to reveal (even if the folder were hiding much larger amounts of sensitive information). Rubberhose and subsequently Truecrypt formed the basis of On-The-Fly-Encryption programs that are used by intelligence communities around the world to this day.

[..] In 2004 Julian competed in the inaugural Australian National Physics Competition held at the ANU, where I was now studying. He stayed with me with his girlfriend at the time, a mathematics PhD student at the ANU, and he mentioned that in addition to physics and maths, he was learning neuroscience and the emerging empirical analytical tools being applied to explore the physiological underpinnings of consciousness, as well as exploring practical examples of cryptography for journalism. In 2005 I received a broadcast email from him outlining the idea behind Wikileaks. It was clear even then that a revolutionary idea had been born.


Julian Assange on the Woomera Missile Test Area, South Australia, 2002. Photo: Niraj Lal

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The old charges weren’t going anywhere, so he’s presented with new ones right as he enters the court. That means neither he nor his lawyers, whom he’s not talked to for 6 months, can prepare any defense.

Julian Assange Re-Arrested Over 18 New Allegations (Sky)

Julian Assange has failed to get new allegations against him thrown out as he battles extradition to the US. The WikiLeaks founder, 49, appeared at the Old Bailey in London after being held for months on remand at high-security Belmarsh Prison. He was re-arrested in the court’s cells on Monday over new charges contained in a US indictment. It details a further 18 charges, lodged in June, which accuse him of plotting to hack computers and obtain and disclose national defence information. They allege that he conspired with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a scrambled password, known as “hash”, to a classified US defence department computer. The charges also offer further details of alleged hacking plotters that Assange and his WikiLeaks colleagues are said to have recruited. The 49-year-old spoke only to state he “does not consent to extradition” and confirm his name. [..]


His lawyer, Mark Summers QC, said the “fresh allegations at the 11th hour” were brought without warning or explanation, which meant they had no time to prepare a response. He highlighted the difficulties Assange faced in speaking to his lawyers in the midst of ongoing restrictions. “It would be an impossible task for the defence to deal with these fresh allegations in any meaningful way in the time that has been afforded to them, and that time is a matter of weeks in respect of which we are provided absolutely no explanation for the late arrival of these matters.” He added: “What is happening is abnormal, unfair and liable to create injustice if allowed to continue.” But District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the defence’s bid to “excise” the allegations, saying: “These are issues which must take place in the context of considering the extradition request and not before it.”

Jennifer Robinson

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The risk of suicide is palpable.

Julian Assange Lays Out His Case Against US Extradition

Fifteen long months have passed since Julian Assange was physically pulled out of London’s Ecuadorean embassy and taken to the United Kingdom’s Belmarsh prison. There, he’s since awaited an even grimmer prospect: Extradition to the US to face charges of a criminal hacking conspiracy and violations of the Espionage Act. Now his lawyers have laid out a preview of their full case against that extradition—from the argument that the charges pose an unprecedented threat to press freedom to what his doctors describe as evidence that Assange is at high risk of self-harm if he ends up incarcerated in America.

Ahead of Assange’s extradition hearing, which began in London today and is expected to last for several weeks, both prosecutors and the WikiLeaks founder’s defense lawyers submitted “skeleton arguments” to the court that lay out in new detail the central arguments they plan to make in Assange’s extradition case. The defense document in particular reveals Assange’s most complete response yet to the US indictments against him, expanding on an opening statement his attorneys released in February and including snippets of still-unpublished written testimony from a long list of witnesses, from free speech advocates and media scholars to four doctors who have assessed Assange’s mental health.

Assange’s lawyers point to what they describe as flaws in the US indictment against their client and the political nature of the prosecution. The document also includes the warnings of psychiatrists who have diagnosed Assange with Asperger’s, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which they say could lead him to harm himself if he’s extradited into the American judicial system. “I think they have a lot of ammunition,” says Tor Ekeland, a well-known hacker defense attorney who has followed Assange’s case and helped to successfully defend British hacker Lauri Love from extradition in 2018. “The most salient things for me are the freedom of speech and the right to publish information that is critical to the public’s ability to understand and evaluate what the government is doing in their name.”

On top of those free speech arguments, the newest details in the defense’s argument serve as evidence of Assange’s declining mental health. Michael Kopelman, a psychiatrist who interviewed Assange several times last year, testified that he observed in Assange signs of suicidal risk including “loss of sleep, loss of weight, a sense of pre-occupation and helplessness as a result of threats to his life, the concealment of a razor blade as a means to self-harm and obsessive ruminations on ways of killing himself.” He writes at one point that Assange expressed having suicidal thoughts “hundreds” of times a day, and that multiple potential suicide implements were confiscated from Assange in prison.

The defense goes on to quote Kopelman pointing out that the WikiLeaks founder has shown signs of preparing for the end of his life, such as seeking Catholic absolution and creating a will. “I reiterate again that I am as certain as a psychiatrist ever can be that, in the event of imminent extradition, Mr. Assange would indeed find a way to commit suicide,” Kopelman writes. Sondra Crosby, another psychiatrist who saw Assange during his time in the Ecuadorean embassy adds, “It is my strong medical opinion that extradition of Mr. Assange to the United States will further damage his current fragile state of health and very likely cause his death. This opinion is not given lightly.”

A third psychiatrist diagnosed Assange with Asperger’s syndrome, noting that the condition would make it more difficult for him to manage life in a US prison. But the prosecutors counter that yet another doctor who interviewed Assange twice while in prison came to the conclusion that he was not a significant suicide risk. The prosecution writes that “neither mental health problems, nor Asperger syndrome prevented Assange’s solicitation of, and orchestration of, the leaking of materials from the highest levels of government and state agencies, apparently on a global scale.”

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Craig Murray somehow made it into the courtroom. Scores of others couldn’t even follow proceedings on a TV screen. 40 observers, invited just days before, were told the invitations were a “mistake”. The UK does NOT have a justice system.

Media Freedom? Which MSM Journalist Opposes the Torture of Assange? (Murray)

Julian Assange has been a light in this darkness. Wikileaks have opened a window into the secret world of war crime, murder and corruption that underlies so much of the governance we live under throughout the “free” world. Coming in the wake of the public realisation that we had been blatantly lied into the destruction of Iraq, there was a time when it seemed Assange would lead us into a new age where whistleblowers, citizen journalists and a democratic internet would revolutionise public information, with the billionaire stranglehold shattered. That seems less hopeful today, as the internet world itself corporatised. Julian is in jail and continuing today is an extradition hearing that has been one long abuse of process.

The appalling conditions of solitary confinement in which he has been kept in the high security Belmarsh Prison, with no access to his legal team or a working computer, to his papers or to his mail, have taken a huge toll on his physical and mental health. The UN Special Representative has declared he is subject to torture. A media which is up in arms about the very dubious attack on Navalny, has no emotion for state torture victim Assange other than contempt. It is constantly asked by Julian’s supporters why the media do not see the assault on a publisher and journalist as a threat to themselves. The answer is that the state and corporate media are confident in their firm alliance with the powers that be. They have no intention of challenging the status quo; their protection from those kicking Assange lies in joining in with the kicking.

I hope to be in court today, and throughout the extradition hearing. The public gallery of 80 has been reduced to 9 “due to Covid”. 5 seats are reserved for Julian’s family and friends, and I have one of these today, but not guaranteed beyond that. There are just 4 seats for the general public. Journalists and NGO’s will be following the hearing online – but only “approved” journalists and NGO’s, selected by the Orwelian Ministry of Justice. I had dinner last night with Assange supporters from a number of registered NGO’s, not one of which had been “approved”. I had applied myself as a representative of Hope Over Fear, and was turned down. It is the same story for those who applied for online access as journalists. Only the officially “approved” will be allowed to watch.

This is supposed to be a public hearing, to which in normal times anybody should be able to walk in off the street into the large public gallery, and anyone with a press card into the press gallery. What is the justification for the political selection of those permitted to watch? An extraordinary online system has been set up, with the state favoured observers given online “rooms” in which only the identified individual will be allowed. Even with approved organisations, it is not the case that an organisation will have a login anyone can use, not even one at a time. Only specifically nominated individuals have to login before proceedings start, and if their connection breaks at any point they will not be readmitted that day.

Given these restrictions, I was very conscious I may need to queue from 5am tomorrow, to get one of the 4 public places, if I drop off the family list. So I went this morning at 6am to the Old Bailey to check out the queue and work out the system. The first six people in the queue were all people who, entirely off their own bat, without my knowledge and with no coordination between them, had arrived while London slept just to reserve a place for me. I was swept up by their goodness, their trust in me and by their sheer humanitarian concern about Julian and the whole miscarriage of justice. I chatted cheerily with them for a while, then came back to write this, but just got round the corner when I burst into floods of tears, overwhelmed by all this kindness.

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Tommy Robinson -yeah, that one- is of the few people Assange has had contact with while in Belmarsh.

Tommy Robinson Appeals to President Donald Trump: “Free Julian Assange!“ (GP)

British patriotic activist Tommy Robinson has issued a dramatic appeal to President Donald Trump on the eve of Julian Assange‘s extradition hearing, which begins on Monday in Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London. German politician and frequent Gateway Pundit interview partner Petr Bystron (AfD foreign policy speaker) traveled to the UK Friday ahead of the Assange hearing and interviewed Tommy Robinson outside Belmarsh prison, the same maximum security prison where Robinson was held last year on trumped-up charges of “disturbing the peace” for reporting on a “Grooming Gang” mass rape trial. “Between when I was brought into this prison and left this prison I only saw one other person: Julian Assange”, Robinson said.

“I spent three months in total isolation, seeing no one. I know the damaging effect that had on me for just three months. Julian Assange has been here over a year.” Belmarsh is the UK’s top Maximum Security Prison, where only the highest level of murderers and terrorists are usually held. Islam critic Robinson, who has survived several attempts on his life by Muslims while in prison on various trumped-up misdemeanors such as mortgage fraud or immigration violations, was kept in solitary confinement for his own safety: “I was totally separated. I had my own wing. I had an exercise yard, where I could walk around for 30 minutes a day. And Julian Assange’s window was there, so we could talk.” Assange was on the health care wing at the time, where he wasn’t allowed to exercise, or to do the things other prisoners are, Robinson said.

His mental state had suffered, according to Robinson: “We had good discussions, but after speaking to staff and shouting, I saw how his mental health has deteriorated. He was a mess. A total mess. Breakdown, crying. But that’s totally to be expected. I only spent three months in total isolation. Isolation may sound easy, but they know it’s not. It’s a medical fact that solitary confinement is mental torture.” Robinson pointed out Julian Assange is being held without charges, on extradition to the US only: “This man’s committed no violence. He’s not in here for a violent crime. He’s not even proven to have committed a crime. He spent over a year. I hate to think of the long-lasting effect his sentence would have had on that man. He wouldn’t be a human if he hadn’t already been broken.”

Tommy Robinson and Petr Bystron directed a dramatic appeal to President Donald Trump: “I watched what happened to his case and I expected Donald Trump to pardon him,” Robinson said. “I think a lot of people expected it. Free Julian Assange!” Bystron agreed: “This is an appeal to Donald Trump. Free Julian Assange!” Tommy called Assange “a political prisoner” in a UK jail: “What has happened to him in that prison is not right. It’s mental torture. And he’s been forgotten.” [..] “I know the amount of mail he must receive – the prison guards told me he has his own room for the support he gets,” Robinson said. “But it’s no good getting support when you’re locked in a cell. He saw no way out. That’s what he was saying. They don’t ever want him to see daylight again.”

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I like Turley, it’s good to see the law laid out, but he overextends himself hugely here. Like he’s afraid to criticize the Atlantic’s story. There are now 10 named(!) sources who were present and say Trump never made those remarks.

Trump and The Press Destroyed The Public’s Ability To Judge Scandals (Turley)

Trump has reached a point where there is nothing that most of us would rule out in terms of shocking or offensive statements. He often refers to people as “losers” and allegedly once said that of those who fought in Vietnam instead of getting a deferment or medical exclusion, as he did. If an article included such an alleged statement by either President Bush, it would have been dismissed instantly as ridiculous. Over the past three years Trump has made himself vulnerable to such allegations, due to his history of outrageous remarks. Yet the same is true of the media. Three years ago, a story of this kind would have been devastating for any president — but the media has rendered itself as unbelievable as the subject of its current ire.

While denouncing Trump as a pathological liar, the media has been pathologically biased. Polls consistently show the media racing Trump to the bottom on trustworthiness. Most of the media now feeds a steady diet of unrelentingly negative stories to a shrinking audience of true believers. As a result, the media has hit a historic low, with less than half of the populace finding it credible. Some polls show that the only group deemed less trustworthy than Trump is the media. The Knight Foundation has found that three-fourths of the public believe the media is too biased; some 54 percent believe reporters regularly misrepresent facts, and 28 percent believe reporters make things up entirely. There is a reason for this view of bias: It’s true. Many journalists do not attempt to hide their anti-Trump agendas.

In the age of “echo-journalism,” it is even viewed as an essential commitment on some networks. False stories about Trump or Trump aides have been published regularly, only to be quietly withdrawn or “corrected” after the news cycle has run. Indeed, as reporters pummeled the White House with angry questions over the Atlantic story, a press conference held by Democratic nominee Joe Biden was the very image of deference and decorum. Reporters seemed to go out of their way to confirm months of criticism over the softball treatment given to Biden. Atlantic staff writer Edward Isaac Dovere asked Biden: “When you hear these remarks — ‘suckers,’ ‘losers,’ recoiling from amputees — what does it tell you about President Trump’s soul and the life he leads?”

There was a time when a statement in a major publication was taken as true. My children, however, have no such presumption about any news source. Even more disturbing, neither do I these days. The Atlantic article embodies the discomfort with movement journalism. It has been the repository of all things anti-Trump, with such articles as “Donald Trump, the Most Unmanly President” and “Donald Trump is a Broken Man.” Past claims in the Atlantic on the Trump campaign, like former Attorney General Jeff Sessions colluding with Russians, were debunked by the special counsel investigation. In an age of echo chamber journalism, The Atlantic is deafening.

[..] The real story this week is not whether Trump or The Atlantic are lying but why either possibility is viewed as equally plausible. The public is left with an incredible tale told by two equally noncredible sources. That is the real story — and a truly sad one.

WH campaign director on Atlantic story

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“..it will bring on a years’ long quasi civil war sure to finish off the institutions of a federal republic and also whatever remains of the US economy.”

The Ghost in the Machine (Jim Kunstler)

The abiding mystery of the 2020 election is how come the Democratic Party, wishing so zealously to win back power, took pains to nominate a candidate weaker than the ghost of Millard Fillmore. Resorting to Occam’s Razor, one might have to conclude that Joe Biden was simply the best they had — a surefire case for the party’s necessary extinction. The Labor Day starting-gun kicks off the high campaign season and Ol’ White Joe wobbles forth from his lair under a rock somewhere to dazzle audiences of six or eight sympathetic journos posed in “social distancing” formation while the party’s Antifa and BLM shock troops soften up voters elsewhere across the land with vote-winning riots, arson, and looting. There’s a recipe for political success!

You have to wonder how the claque of DC deep state players behind this fiasco could come up with a game-plan so stupidly inept… but there it is! Apparently, they’re laying further plans now to bum-rush Ol’ Joe into the White House by main force with a “color revolution” — that is, an orchestrated fake popular revolt as in the Ukraine Maidan regime change operation of 2014. In fact, as Revolver News reports, the same wrecking crew of US State Department officials, intel spooks, contract insurrectionists, and George Soros-sponsored NGO intriguers is behind the US 2020 “Transition Integrity Project” aimed at launching a US post-election coup against Mr. Trump, no matter how the election actually goes.

The plan was all over the web wires this holiday weekend. Everybody knows exactly what to expect now: a November 3 Trump election victory followed by a king-tide of post-election write-in votes for Ol’ Joe… a long, drawn-out, and surely inconclusive battle trying to validate scores of millions of postmarks and signatures… and a skein of Lawfare-managed shenanigans conducted in battleground state legislatures to change-out electoral college slates. And any objections by Mr. Trump and his party will be labeled as Putin-backed fascist treason. Will that result in Mr. Biden actually gliding into the oval office? No, it will bring on a years’ long quasi civil war sure to finish off the institutions of a federal republic and also whatever remains of the US economy.

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We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, your support is now an integral part of the process.

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Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Sep 062020
 


Vincenzo Camuccini La Morte Di Cesare 1804

 

Trump and Biden Could Face Dramatic Post-Election Battle (Yoo)
Russia COVID19 Vaccine Effective Against Any Dose Of Virus (RT)
Total COVID19 Deaths Projected To Double In US, Triple in World By Jan. 1 (R.)
PCR Tests ‘Could Be Picking Up Dead Coronavirus’ (BBC)
Italian Mayor Wants Penalties For Wearing A Face Mask When Unnecessary (RT)
New Media Propaganda Tool: Use “Confirmed” to Mean its Opposite (Greenwald)
The Stunning Synergy of The Atlantic’s Anonymous Attack on Trump (Pollak)
Strzok Joins Weissmann, Doubts NYT story on FBI’s Trump-Russia Inquiry (WE)
The Fed’s New Policy Won’t Get Inflation (Roberts)
Majority Of US Young Adults Live With Parents For The 1st Time In 80 Years (Pew)

 

 

We’re full speed ahead into absolute election mayhem, and nobody’s even thinking of pulling the brakes. Throw in a second and third corona wave, more lockdowns, more riots.

 

 

Today’s numbers gain in importance because of a model (see below) that predicts that before January 1, US total deaths will more than double to 410,000, and the world’s will triple to 2.8 million. A bold prediction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suggest you read this well. You’ll understand how this really works, and come away thinking you don’t understand a thing.

Trump and Biden Could Face Dramatic Post-Election Battle (Yoo)

The Constitution requires the winner of the presidential election to garner a majority of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton won about 3 million more popular votes than Trump four years ago, but Trump won a clear Electoral College majority of 306-232. But if the election is close this year — as many prognosticators predict — and a few battleground states fail to report their votes on time, then neither President Trump nor former Vice President Biden might be able to assemble the required 270 electoral votes needed to become president. If such a stalemate occurs, a constitutional fail-safe would throw the election into the House of Representatives. Our nation barely avoided that outcome 20 years ago and has only used it twice in our history.

But even though the House will likely remain under Democratic control after the election, the Constitution’s process for resolving disputed elections should still bode well for Trump’s reelection. How could control of the White House end up in the domain of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.? It depends on the decisions made 230 years ago. America’s founders rejected the idea that Congress should pick the president, which they believed would rob the chief executive of independence, responsibility and energy. They wanted the American people to have the primary hand in choosing the president. But the founders wanted the choice mediated through the states, because they also feared direct democracy.

In a compromise that binds us still, the founders allowed state legislatures to pick electors for the president, based on their number of senators and members of the House combined. The state-based organization of the Electoral College and its slight advantage for states with small populations (which receive two extra Electoral College votes no matter their population, since every state has two senators) underscore the founders’ desire to give federalism a say in the choice of the president. The founders went further in designing their constitutional backup. They realized that the Electoral College might yield no majority winner. They expected that regions might support their favorite sons instead.

In Article II of the Constitution, as modified by the 12th Amendment, the framers established that if no one won a majority of Electoral College votes, the House would pick the president from the top three vote-getters. But Pelosi and the Democrats — assuming that they hold onto their majority in the House — still won’t pick the president. Rather than allowing a simple majority vote in the House to select the president, the Constitution requires that the House choose the president by voting as state delegations. That means that California (represented by 53 House members) and Delaware (represented by 1 House member) would each get a single vote to pick the president. Once again, the founders decided to amplify the voice of the states in the presidential selection process, rather than defaulting to pure democracy.

And that is how Trump could win the presidency again. If the Electoral College votes yield no majority winner Dec. 14, the Constitution sends the vote to the House. Thanks to Republican advantages among the states, rather than the cities, the current balance of state delegations in the House favors Republicans, with 26 delegations controlled by Republicans and 23 controlled by Democrats (Pennsylvania is tied). If today’s House chose the president by voting by state delegations, Trump would win. But there is one more twist. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution seats a new Congress on Jan. 3, but does not begin the term of a new president until noon on Jan. 20. That means the new House chosen in the November election, rather than the current House, would choose the president if neither Trump nor Biden wins an Electoral College majority.

Even though Republicans currently have a majority of House delegations, Democrats have narrowed the gap. After the 2016 elections, Republicans had held a 32-17 advantage in House delegations. If Democrats can win one more congressional seat in Pennsylvania and then flip one more delegation, they could achieve a 25-25 tie in the House in January. Under this scenario, the election would require political bargaining of the most extreme kind for the House to resolve a disputed presidential election. But suppose the House can’t agree, which could well be likely given the polarization of our politics. The Constitution even provides for this. If the House splits 25-25 between Trump and Biden, then the 20th Amendment elevates the vice president-elect to the presidency. Under the 20th Amendment, when the Electoral College fails, the Senate chooses the vice president.

But unlike the House procedure, the senators each have an individual vote, meaning that under the current balance in the upper chamber, 53 Republicans would choose Mike Pence to effectively become the next president. But one-third of the seats in the Senate will be filled in the November election, meaning control of the chamber could flip to the Democrats. Under this scenario, Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., could wind up as our next president and make history as the first woman to hold the office in American history. All of this is as complicated as it sounds. Election Day could be just the start of a new phase in a prolonged fight for control of the White House, rather than the conclusion of a long campaign.

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Vaccination to start as early as October. What if it is a huge success, what will the west do?

Russia COVID19 Vaccine Effective Against Any Dose Of Virus (RT)

The leader of the team behind Sputnik V said on Friday that the immune response documented among volunteers taking the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine is sufficient to fight any level of Covid-19 infection. Alexander Gintsburg, head of Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, was speaking on the same day that The Lancet reported on trials confirming that every patient who received the vaccine had developed antibodies without any significant side-effects. The British publication, one of the oldest and best-respected medical journals in the world, confirmed that the Sputnik V vaccine had successfully produced antibodies in all 76 participants in early-stage trials.


“The vaccine’s immune response documented currently among volunteers is enough to counter any dose of Covid-19 that you could imagine,” Gintsburg said. Meanwhile, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has revealed that post-registration clinical trials of Sputnik V in the capital could last from two to six months. He also confirmed that mass vaccination is likely to start in late 2020 or early 2021. “Some batches will arrive as early as this year,” he told Russia’s Channel One TV in an interview shown on Saturday. “There’s every likelihood that they will be used to vaccinate risk groups. These are healthcare, education, trade, the housing and utilities sectors, law enforcement agencies and some others – perhaps journalists.”

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We need more models than just this one. But scary it is.

Total COVID19 Deaths Projected To Double In US, Triple in World By Jan. 1 (R.)

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.


“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021.

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Why have we been focusing on PCR as much as we have? It is so far from perfect it’s not funny anymore.

PCR Tests ‘Could Be Picking Up Dead Coronavirus’ (BBC)

The main test used to diagnose coronavirus is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from old infections, scientists say. Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards. Researchers say this could be leading to an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic. But some experts say it is uncertain how a reliable test can be produced that doesn’t risk missing cases. Prof Carl Heneghan, one of the study’s authors, said instead of giving a “yes/no” result based on whether any virus is detected, tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not trigger a positive result. He believes the detection of traces of old virus could partly explain why the number of cases is rising while hospital admissions remain stable.

[..] The PCR swab test – the standard diagnostic method – uses chemicals to amplify the virus’s genetic material so that it can be studied. Your test sample has to go through a number of “cycles” in the lab before enough virus is recovered. Just how many can indicate how much of the virus is there – whether it’s tiny fragments or lots of whole virus. This in turn appears to be linked to how likely the virus is to be infectious – tests that have to go through more cycles are less likely to reproduce when cultured in the lab. But when you take a coronavirus test, you get a “yes” or “no” answer. There is no indication of how much virus was in the sample, or how likely it is to be an active infection.

A person shedding a large amount of active virus, and a person with leftover fragments from an infection that’s already been cleared, would receive the same – positive – test result. But Prof Heneghan, the academic who spotted a quirk in how deaths were being recorded, which led Public Health England to reform its system, says evidence suggests coronavirus “infectivity appears to decline after about a week”. He added that while it would not be possible to check every test to see whether there was active virus, the likelihood of false positive results could be reduced if scientists could work out where the cut-off point should be. This could prevent people being given a positive result based on an old infection.

And Prof Heneghan said that would stop people quarantining or being contact-traced unnecessarily, and give a better understanding of the current scale of the pandemic. Public Health England agreed viral cultures were a useful way of assessing the results of coronavirus tests and said it had recently undertaken analysis along these lines. It said it was working with labs to reduce the risk of false positives, including looking at where the “cycle threshold”, or cut-off point, should be set. But it said there were many different test kits in use, with different thresholds and ways of being read, which made providing a range of cut-off points difficult.

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Hear hear. It’s important to avoid unneeded pressure. Already, renewed lockdowns lead to a lot of protest. As predicted: you need to get the first one right, or trouble’s on the way.

Italian Mayor Wants Penalties For Wearing A Face Mask When Unnecessary (RT)

These days, going out without wearing a face mask is considered poor form – and, in some places, an offense. But the mayor of an Italian town says fines should be slapped on those wearing a mask in an “inappropriate” situation. In the same way global health authorities insist masks contain the spread of coronavirus, Vittorio Sgarbi, the mayor of Sutri, is confident his unorthodox initiative will help stem the spread of “pandemic-related hysteria,” as he put it, according to the TASS news agency. The lingering Covid-19 pandemic has so far infected close to 275,000 people in Italy and killed more than 35,500 – almost seven times the entire population of Sutri. Yet, for Sgarbi, mandatory mask-wearing should have its limits, particularly when public safety is at stake.


Sgarbi, who is also a renowned art historian, cultural commentator, and television personality, told TASS he had issued a decree – yet to be approved by the Italian government – calling for imposition of a fine for wearing a mask in a situation when it’s not needed. “My decree has been issued under the current terrorism prevention laws,” he told the Russian media outlet. The legislation in question says people shouldn’t have their faces covered in a public place. Breaching this law can result in a one or two-year prison sentence or a fine of up to €2,000 (around $2,365). Sgarbi made it clear that anyone breaking his ban wouldn’t incur such a harsh penalty, but that people should wear a mask only when the occasion requires. “Wearing a mask at dinner is absurd,” he clarified. The mayor is no stranger to going against the mainstream. Ahead of the pandemic, he reportedly dismissed coronavirus as “a flu” and ridiculed those raising concerns about the looming crisis. He later made a formal apology when the death toll surged.

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The story stinks.

New Media Propaganda Tool: Use “Confirmed” to Mean its Opposite (Greenwald)

It seems the same misleading tactic is now driving the supremely dumb but all-consuming news cycle centered on whether President Trump, as first reported by the Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, made disparaging comments about The Troops. Goldberg claims that “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day” — whom the magazine refuses to name because they fear “angry tweets” — told him that Trump made these comments. Trump, as well as former aides who were present that day (including Sarah Huckabee Sanders and John Bolton), deny that the report is accurate. So we have anonymous sources making claims on one side, and Trump and former aides (including Bolton, now a harsh Trump critic) insisting that the story is inaccurate.

Beyond deciding whether or not to believe Goldberg’s story based on what best advances one’s political interests, how can one resolve the factual dispute? If other media outlets could confirm the original claims from Goldberg, that would obviously be a significant advancement of the story. Other media outlets — including Associated Press and Fox News — now claim that they did exactly that: “confirmed” the Atlantic story. But if one looks at what they actually did, at what this “confirmation” consists of, it is the opposite of what that word would mean, or should mean, in any minimally responsible sense. AP, for instance, merely claims that “a senior Defense Department official with firsthand knowledge of events and a senior U.S. Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump’s comments confirmed some of the remarks to The Associated Press,” while Fox merely said “a former senior Trump administration official who was in France traveling with the president in November 2018 did confirm other details surrounding that trip.”

In other words, all that likely happened is that the same sources who claimed to Jeffrey Goldberg, with no evidence, that Trump said this went to other outlets and repeated the same claims — the same tactic that enabled MSNBC and CBS to claim they had “confirmed” the fundamentally false CNN story about Trump Jr. receiving advanced access to the WikiLeaks archive. Or perhaps it was different sources aligned with those original sources and sharing their agenda who repeated these claims. Given that none of the sources making these claims have the courage to identify themselves, due to their fear of mean tweets, it is impossible to know. But whatever happened, neither AP nor Fox obtained anything resembling “confirmation.”

They just heard the same assertions that Goldberg heard, likely from the same circles if not the same people, and are now abusing the term “confirmation” to mean “unproven assertions” or “unverifiable claims” (indeed, Fox now says that “two sources who were on the trip in question with Trump refuted the main thesis of The Atlantic’s reporting”). It should go without saying that none of this means that Trump did not utter these remarks or ones similar to them. He has made public statements in the past that are at least in the same universe as the ones reported by the Atlantic, and it is quite believable that he would have said something like this (though the absolute last person who should be trusted with anything, particularly interpreting claims from anonymous sources, is Jeffrey Goldberg, who has risen to one of the most important perches in journalism despite (or, more accurately because of) one of the most disgraceful and damaging records of spreading disinformation in service of the Pentagon and intelligence community’s agenda).

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An across the board set-up. And yes, there will be more.

The Stunning Synergy of The Atlantic’s Anonymous Attack on Trump (Pollak)

The Atlantic published a story Thursday evening that claimed President Donald Trump called the fallen American soldiers in a World War I cemetery “suckers” and “losers” in 2018. The author, Jeffrey Goldberg, cited four anonymous sources. Nearly a dozen current and former Trump administration officials disputed the story. One, notably, was John Bolton, the former national security adviser who says he will not vote for Trump. “I was there,” he said, and “I didn’t hear that.” Other claims in The Atlantic story are refuted by documentary evidence. The article claims, for instance, that Trump refused to visit the cemetery because the rain would ruin his hair. Bolton’s tell-all book said otherwise; so do official documents.

What is more interesting than the details of the story is how it was produced, and how it was rolled out. It has the appearance of a well-coordinated, well-executed campaign of disinformation, utilizing the full toolbox available to the Democratic Party. The article was published Thursday evening. By Friday morning, a left-wing group called Vote Vets had not only produced an ad based on the article, but had aired it on Morning Joe — MSNBC’s early-morning flagship news and opinion show. Meanwhile, the article spread across social media like a brush fire in a derecho. It trended at the top of Twitter; it was shared widely on Facebook, all without any of the “fact checks” that typically accompany disputed news reports on such platforms.

The Biden campaign issued a statement Thursday night — “If the revelations in today’s Atlantic article are true” — and held a press call Friday morning. The call featured, among others, Khizr Khan — the Gold Star father who attacked Trump in 2016. A short time later, Biden himself held a press briefing on the U.S. economy. Though he was expected to discuss the August jobs report — which came in better than expected, at 1.4 million jobs added — he led with an angry tirade about the article. At the end of his presentation, Biden turned to his campaign staff, who chose which reporters would be allowed to ask questions, and in what order. The first question went to Edward-Isaac Dovere, who writes for — surprise! — The Atlantic.

Dovere asked, “When you hear these remarks — ‘suckers,’ ‘losers,’ recoiling from amputees — what does it tell you about President Trump’s soul, and the life he leads?” It was a setup for Biden to attack Trump over The Atlantic allegations again. None of the other questions asked were challenging in any way; all appeared to be setup questions for Biden to attack Trump or to clarify some lingering problem — whether he had been tested for coronavirus (yes), where his running mate was (busy). No one asked Biden whether it was appropriate to attack Trump based on an unconfirmed report. No one even asked Biden about his economic policies.

What we witnessed Thursday night into Friday morning was the deployment of the Death Star — the full Democrat-media complex on display, coordinating journalists, outside political organizations, tech platforms, and unnamed military sources. It may be no coincidence that retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal — who was fired, ironically, because he had disparaged President Barack Obama and Biden — now advises a firm using military technology to help Democrats produce propaganda. It took weapons-grade skill to produce a story that, while unprovable, had the ring of truth to those eager to believe it (it “resonates,” said NBC’s Peter Alexander, whether it was true or not) and to make it the dominant story of the news cycle — on a day when the jobs market rebounded and Trump brokered a historic deal between Israel and Muslim-majority Kosovo.

Goldberg — the unofficial stenographer of the Obama White House — was just a vehicle. The real story is much bigger. The same machine that created and promoted The Atlantic piece will be sure to produce others.

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He doubts Rosenstein frustrated the inquiry. Strzok has a book out, you’ll hear a lot about it soon. It argues there were tons of reasons for the inquiry.

Strzok Joins Weissmann, Doubts NYT story on FBI’s Trump-Russia Inquiry (WE)

Controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok cast further doubt on a New York Times story that claimed the Justice Department secretly blocked special counsel Robert Mueller’s team from conducting a Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation without informing the FBI. Strzok, who was a key member in the FBI’s investigation into both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s improper private email server and Crossfire Hurricane’s Trump-Russia inquiry, said he “didn’t feel such a limitation” during his time on Mueller’s team when asked about a piece by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, whose article was adapted from his new book, Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President.

Mueller’s “pitbull,” Andrew Weissmann, also cast doubt on the story a few days ago, and Mueller’s report and testimony also seem to contradict some claims made by the New York Times. “The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia,” the New York Times reported on Sunday, adding the FBI opened the counterintelligence investigation in May 2017, but “within days,” former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.”

Anne Applebaum of the Atlantic asked Strzok during an interview published Friday about the report, which she said, “suggests that the Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation, precisely so that it would not touch on the president’s long-standing relationship with Russia.” Strzok cast doubt on that. “During the time I worked at the Special Counsel’s Office, I didn’t feel such a limitation,” Strzok replied. “When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel’s Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president. But that’s an extraordinarily complex task, one of the most difficult counterintelligence investigations in the FBI’s history.”

Strzok added that “perhaps the FBI is somehow carrying out a comprehensive survey, with the full involvement of the CIA and NSA and the entire U.S. intelligence community” but said he worried that the inquiry “largely died on the vine.” Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team when numerous anti-Trump texts he’d exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, were unearthed, and he was fired in 2018. Strzok is currently suing the Justice Department. Weissmann also said the New York Times was wrong about its FBI counterintelligence story, tweeting, “NYT story today is wrong re: alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, ‘without telling the bureau.’ Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel’s Office and we were never told to keep anything from them.”

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Lance Roberts lists 5 reasons why, I picked my per peeve: monetary velocity. That alone does the trick.

5 Reasons The Fed’s New Policy Won’t Get Inflation (Roberts)

What the Federal Reserve has failed to grasp is that monetary policy is “deflationary” when “debt” is required to fund it. How do we know this? Monetary velocity tells the story. What is “monetary velocity?” “The velocity of money is important for measuring the rate at which money in circulation is used for purchasing goods and services. Velocity is useful in gauging the health and vitality of the economy. High money velocity is usually associated with a healthy, expanding economy. Low money velocity is usually associated with recessions and contractions.” – Investopedia. With each monetary policy intervention, the velocity of money has slowed along with the breadth and strength of economic activity.

However, it isn’t just the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet which is undermining the strength of the economy. It is also the ongoing suppression of interest rates to try and stimulate economic activity. In 2000, the Fed “crossed the Rubicon,” whereby lowering interest rates did not stimulate economic activity. Instead, the “debt burden” detracted from it.

To illustrate the last point, we can compare monetary velocity to the deficit. To no surprise, monetary velocity increases when the deficit reverses to a surplus. Such allows revenues to move into productive investments rather than debt service. The problem for the Fed is the misunderstanding of the derivation of organic economic inflation.

[..] in order to generate “real inflation,” economic growth must be strong enough to support employment that exceeds the rate of population growth. That employment must ALSO be productive (manufacturing based) employment which leads to higher wages. (Service jobs are deflationary as they go to the lower cost of labor.) Higher wages lead to increased consumption which allows producers to increase prices (inflation) over time. This has not been the case for nearly 40-years as technology continues to reduce the demand for labor by increasing productivity. This is the “dark side” of technology that no one wants to talk about. However, this cannot be achieved in an economy saddled by $75 Trillion in debt which diverts income from consumption to debt service. This is why “monetary velocity” began to decline as total debt passed the point of being “productive” to become “destructive.”

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Virus, income and a few shut dorms.

Majority Of US Young Adults Live With Parents For The 1st Time In 80 Years (Pew)

In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults. The share of young adults living with their parents is higher than in any previous measurement (based on current surveys and decennial censuses).

Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48% of young adults lived with their parents. The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period. The share of young adults living with parents declined in the 1950 and 1960 censuses before rising again. The monthly share in the Current Population Survey has been above 50% since April of this year, reaching and maintaining this level for the first time since CPS data on young adults’ living arrangements became available in 1976.


Young adults have been particularly hard hit by this year’s pandemic and economic downturn, and have been more likely to move than other age groups, according to a Pew Research Center survey. About one-in-ten young adults (9%) say they relocated temporarily or permanently due to the coronavirus outbreak, and about the same share (10%) had somebody move into their household. Among all adults who moved due to the pandemic, 23% said the most important reason was because their college campus had closed, and 18% said it was due to job loss or other financial reasons.

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Gettysburg Address. All of 272 words.

 

 

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