Sep 202021
 
 September 20, 2021  Posted by at 9:01 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Claude Monet The sheltered path 1888

 

YouTube Is Always Right (Steve Kirsch)
Covid-19 Vaccines Are Killing At Least 2 People For Every 1 Life They Save (TE)
Counting Covid (Attkisson)
A Plausible Hypothesis, Based On Fact (Denninger)
Indian Bar Association Issues A Legal Notice To WHO (IF)
The Weaponisation of Vaccination (NoF)
Gaming Measurement of Vaccine Efficacy (Crawford)
Now The Lancet U-turns Over Covid Lab Leak Theory (DM)
This Week in the New Normal |(OffG)
Evergrande: Why Most Analysis Is Dead In The Water (Erba)
France Accuses Britain Of ‘Retreating To America’s Lap’ (Inews)
BlackRock and Citi Get on Board the Climate Nazi Train (IMan)

 

 

Fullmilch

 

 

Singapore stats. Completely out of hand. Vaccines, is there still any doubt about this? 82% fully vaccinated. Yet Eric Topol, who calls himself a physician-scientist, says:
“Delta can be daunting to contain. The situation in Singapore with over 1,000 new cases today and yesterday, 80% of total population fully vaccinated, 1 of top 3 countries in the world, is an important indicator of the challenge.”

How blind can one be?

And here’s the health minister. The vaccines saved us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Us. Hear Us. Believe Us. Heal Us.

 

 

Vaccine Truth tweets: “Steve Kirsch’s last video on YouTube where he admits “Ivermectin doesn’t work” in order to satisfy YouTube policies. It’s hilarious. Let’s see how long it takes before YouTube removes it.”

Note: Kirsch was suspended by Twitter too.

YouTube Is Always Right (Steve Kirsch)

STOP listening to the science! Whatever YouTube says is what you should believe. The science says that Ivermectin works. The science is wrong. What matters is what YouTube says, not science. Stop thinking for yourself and do whatever YouTube says. Otherwise, you will be banned, block, and demonitized.


Watch all my future content on Rumble.

Read more …

More Kirsch.

Covid-19 Vaccines Are Killing At Least 2 People For Every 1 Life They Save (TE)

FDA experts have unexpectedly voted against approving Covid-19 vaccination boosters for anyone over the age of 16 in the USA, citing a lack of long term data and stating that the risks do not outweigh any benefits because the Covid-19 vaccines are killing at least 2 people for every 1 life saved. In a live broadcast conducted on the 17th September the Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee met to debate and vote on Pfizer and BioNTech’s application to offer booster shots to the general public. The meeting lasted over 8 hours and contained some shocking revelations. Dr Joseph Fraiman, an emergency medicine physician in New Orleans, spoke for several minutes during the meeting and revealed that no clinical evidence exists to disprove claims that the Covid-109 vaccines are harming more people than they save.


“We need your help on the front lines, to stop vaccine hesitancy. Demand the booster trials are large enough to find a reduction in hospitalisations. “Without this data we the medical establishment cannot confidently call out anti-Covid-vaccine activists who publicly claim the vaccines harm more than they save especially in the young and healthy. “The fact we do not have the clinical evidence to say these activists are wrong should terrify us all”. Dr Joseph Fraiman was then followed by Steve Kirsch, Executive Director of the Covid-19 Early Treatment Fund, who revealed that the Covid-19 vaccines more people than they are saving. “I’m going to focus my remarks today on the elephant in the room that nobody likes to talk about, that the vaccines kill more than they save.

“We were led to believe that the vaccines were perfectly safe but this is simply not true, for example there are four times as many heart attacks in the treatment group in the Pfizer 6 month file report, that wasn’t just bad luck.VAERS shows heart attacks happen 71 times more often following these vaccines compared to any other vaccine,” Steve Kirsch then continued his presentation by showing a slide titled ‘Excess Death: Life ratio is UNACCEPTABLE’. The slide shows how many excess deaths were required following vaccination to save one life due to Covid-19. “Only the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) are statistically significant, but the other numbers are troubling.” said Steve Kirsch.


“Even if the vaccines have 100% protection, it still means we kill 2 people to save 1 life. “Four experts did analysis using completely different non US data sources and all of them came up with approximately the same number of excess vaccine related deaths, about 411 deaths per million doses. That translates into 115,000 people have died (due to the Covid-19 vaccines).”

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“Oh, well that was a typo. They just got put in there by accident.”

Counting Covid (Attkisson)

As hindsight comes into clearer focus, we’re learning a lot about mistaken advice and policies amid the Covid-19 pandemic. One still murky and disputed area involves the death toll, now upwards of 640,000 in the U.S., according to CDC. Some insist the true count is much higher; others claim it’s lower. Today, we begin with the startling results of our investigation that found in some documented cases, news that Covid was the cause of death was greatly exaggerated. Grand County, Colorado, rural country a hundred miles outside of Denver. Thanksgiving 2020, Lucais Reilly shoots his wife Kristin in the head, then turns the gun on himself, committing suicide. They have alcohol and drugs in their system and a history of domestic troubles. Grand County coroner Brenda Bock explains how the small town tragedy is exposing serious questions about the way Covid deaths are counted.

Brenda Bock: I had a homicide-suicide the end of November, and the very next day it showed up on the state website as Covid deaths. And they were gunshot wounds. And I questioned that immediately because I had not even signed off the death certificates yet, and the state was already reporting them as Covid deaths. Bock says somebody, somewhere had apparently run the couple’s names through a database showing they’d tested positive for Covid within 28 days of their death. Then recorded them as Covid deaths even though they died of gunshots. Sharyl: If we look at the death certificates for the murder-suicide case, what will it say about Covid? Bock: Nothing, absolutely nothing. I paid a forensic pathologist to do the autopsies on those two cases. And nowhere is COVID mentioned on those death certificates. Nowhere.

Bock: This is a copy of the death certificate, and nowhere does it say COVID. So we have a homicide, suicide, nothing to do with COVID. Because there had been no Covid deaths within the geographic boundaries of Grand County in 2020, Bock was in a unique position to challenge the state’s accounting. In many cities and counties, the numbers are too big and the coroners would never know about discrepancies. Within a week of the murder-suicide, two more Grand County deaths popped up on the state’s Covid count. Bock investigated and found out why she had no record of them. Bock: Two of them were actually still alive, and yet they were counting them. Had I not called them on it and asked them who those were, where were they from, all the information about it and it’s like, “Oh, well that was a typo. They just got put in there by accident.”

Attkisson

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“Despite the presence of antibodies sufficient to suppress a virus with an R0 of nearly 6, twice that of the original strain [..] we had a wild outbreak of disease anyway”

A Plausible Hypothesis, Based On Fact (Denninger)

The recent JAMA article makes clear several things. First, likely as many as half of those who got a positive PCR test never had Covid-19 at all. The antibody counts they documented in that study do not square with the claimed infection rate nor the low-symptom prevalence where the person in question never sees a doctor and is never tested. Back in the fall of 2020 the folly of the so-called “tests” was laid bare on the table when Elon Musk took four in sequence on the same day and got two positive and two negative results — nothing better than a coin-toss. How many more people were labeled as “diseased” when they either had the flu, some other virus, or nothing? The data from JAMA strongly suggests the answer is “a huge percentage, likely roughly half of so-called positive tests, were in fact not from actual positive Covid-19 individuals.”

The danger of telling someone they had something when they didn’t is they have every reason to think they’re safe when they’re not and thus they are likely to put themselves at severe risk of getting hammered. That’s stupid and contrary to every principle of medicine, say much less ethical behavior. But antibody presence is dispositive. Pre-existing immunity is very, very hard to determine the presence of, since cross-reaction requires you know what you’re looking for — and we don’t. We didn’t do the work, beyond SARS. We didn’t want to do the work because discovering what it was (1) made possible a potential easy infection that would confer actual immunity (e.g. if it’s OC48 which usually causes colds, well, go get inoculated with it on purpose!) and (2) instantly deflates the fear porn, drive for vaccines and every single screaming idiot in the government, social media and on TV.

But then this summer something odd happened. Despite the presence of antibodies sufficient to suppress a virus with an R0 of nearly 6, twice that of the original strain and equal to that claimed for Delta, which I remind you is unsubstantiated and the data from the UK in fact suggests Delta is not materially more-infective than the original wild strain (it only has to be a bit more-so to out-compete, of course), we had a wild outbreak of disease anyway. Much worse is that in Britain it is impossible for there to be widespread communicable disease even for a a virus with an R0 worse than measles: “Based on antibody testing of blood donors, 97.7% of the adult population now have antibodies to COVID-19 from either infection or vaccination compared to 18.1% that have antibodies from infection alone.”

It is impossible for Britain to have any material Covid-19 infectious activity among adults given this level of prevalence unless the jabs are largely or entirely worthless, or much worse, enhance infection. It’s a hypothesis that fits the facts and you can bet not one single penny of government money will go toward proving or disproving it as if it was to be proved then what do you do with all the vaccine companies and every involved government at all levels, local, state and federal, who literally slaughtered their populations with their advocacy and even in some cases attempted mandates for these jabs. Do we have any independent medical science folks remaining, anywhere in the world, who will take this challenge on and prove it up? We’ll see.

But whether they do or not you can’t change facts and the facts are that either the jabs destroyed existing immunity, creating susceptible people out of resistant ones, or the virus has evolved to largely-evade the protection the jabs provided. Which it is doesn’t matter to the person who believed they were safe, and now learns — especially the hard way — that they are not.

Read more …

You go girl.

Indian Bar Association Issues A Legal Notice To WHO (IF)

Advocate Dipali Ojha of the Indian bar association and a team of young indian lawyers have issued a legal notice to the world health organization over their blatant campaign against any alternative treatments. Her legal action against WHO comes after the tweet from Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, who issued tweet against Ivermectin backing it with a link, that was declaration from a private company. The team of indian lawyers seeks to make available all possible affordable options to the masses and hold the highest authorities accountable for their directives, and suspected submission to big pharma lobbying.

Timestamp :

00:00 Intro
01:14 Interview Start
02:03 Dipali Ojha background
03:58 Why did Indian Bar association sue WHO ?
11:08 WHO Scientist Twitter statement against treatments
13:04 History of Iver-mectin & Big Pharma profit motive
16:30 Can 8 billion people get vaccine ? options for poor countries
20:19 Dipali Ohja explains indian Protocol & Lawsuit
23:44 Media blackout on Iver-mectin
24:20 role of fact checkers
25:20 AI bias in social media
26:40 Where was the lawsuit filed?
27:10 Dipahli ojha explains cause of 2nd legal notice
32:38 Effects of legal notice
34:50 Many solutions to the crisis
37:14 Diplai ojha explains the Public Interest Litigation
38:52 Rajiv explains the two lawsuits in one
40:54 Challenging Compulsory Vaccine & civil rights
42:28 Role of Gates Foundation , Fauci & Wuhan lab funding
46:50 Dipali Ohja explains WHO’s compromised investigations
48:40 Vaccine and complementary treatments
50:24 Role of AI in information bias
51:19 Closing statement of Diplai Ojha

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“The vaccination pass is a mobilisation of state power, an extension of discipline and policing over the free life of civil society.”

The Weaponisation of Vaccination (NoF)

The vital public health measure of vaccination is being transformed into a project of the extension of state control, with measures such as covid passports and mandatory vaccination. The Israeli minister of health was caught confiding to the minister of the interior that ‘there is no medical or epidemiological justification for the Covid passport, it is only intended to pressure the unvaccinated to vaccinate’. France – the European country with the harshest covid pass laws – shows how this ‘pressure to vaccinate’ is driven by a political rather than a medical impulse. The vaccination pass is a mobilisation of state power, an extension of discipline and policing over the free life of civil society. This rides roughshod over individual liberty, unions, scientific committees and medical logic alike.

Currently, all over-12s in France must present a vaccine passport (‘pass sanitaire’) in order to access restaurants, museums, long-distance trains, and outdoor and indoor sports facilities. All civil society bodies take on a policing function. Covid pass checks are installed at the entrance of open-air horse riding facilities, in bars, at the entrance of swimming pools. The sports instructor checks your covid pass at the start of every class or term. The riding school asks you to ‘prepare your health certificate’ before you are allowed to walk into the open field where the horses are held. The cafe asks you to scan your QR code before sitting down at a table.

The vaccinated person is treated as safe, and the unvaccinated person as risky. This distinction is made not on public health grounds, since vaccinated and unvaccinated transmit the delta variant at similar rates, but because the unvaccinated person stands as the figure that has resisted state authority. The unvaccinated becomes the dissident, the person who refused to roll over. A young French woman who tried to enter a shopping centre without a covid pass was set upon and beaten by a group of armed police. She was beaten not because she is a public health risk, but because she represents a threat to public order. The push for 100% vaccination has become a project of incorporating the whole population, whether it is in their interests to be vaccinated or not.

It is this political impulse that lies behind the hasty extension of vaccination to younger age groups, who stand to benefit little from the vaccine and could suffer from short-term or future side effects. Macron apparently made the decision to extend vaccines to 12-15 year olds suddenly one morning, when he was told by his scientific advisory committee that he had ‘free rein’ to decide whether to vaccinate the young, partly in order to ‘avoid the slowing down of vaccination’. A more reflective scientific ethics advisory committee complained that it has not been given time to make its recommendations, and criticised the ‘hasty’ decision; it judged that the benefits of the vaccine to adolescents were ‘very limited’ and the existing safety data to be too slim to judge its suitability for this age group. Yet now, this age group is forced to take the vaccine.

Read more …

Statistician Mathew Crawford on the problem with the first 14 days after vaccination.

Gaming Measurement of Vaccine Efficacy (Crawford)

Suppose that tomorrow it is announced that in a Wuhan laboratory—located somewhere between the French-designed Wuhan Institute of Virology and the fabled wet market—that an NIH funded project results in highly valuable intellectual property in the form of the Morris Therapy. After rigorous mandatory testing of the Morris Therapy on Uyghurs, including the high risk elderly, pregnant women, and also children, the Morris Therapy demonstrates 100% efficacy in preventing COVID-19…after day 13. NIAID Princeling, Dr. Anthony Fauci quackly announces an EUA both for the Morris Therapy, and also swift approval of the as of yet unavailable COMorrisY Therapy. Nobody was reached at any governmental organization who could explain which of these has indemnity, and whether citizens pay for those liabilities by giving up their children as they drop them off at school where they are to be treated by swiftly trained gym teachers.

During the first two weeks, 80 million Americans jump at the opportunity to receive Morris Therapy. However, 79.2 million of those Americans seem to be…well…missing. With doctors and morgue owners tight lipped, the CDC reports that indeed, the Morris Therapy has resulted in 100% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 after the first 13 days. Scientists and other people who pay attention to things rush to post videos on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pointing out that there are nearly a million reports of death in the Highly Profitable Therapy Adverse Events Reporting System (HPTAERS). Fact checkers [just doing their job] point out that causality of those deaths HPTAERS hasn’t been proved, and censor all those reports. University faculty petitioned to silence, reprimand, or simply harass their colleagues who participated in those reports, labeling them with the pejorative “anti-Morrisers”. No autopsies are performed on the 79.2 million Americans who died during the first 13 days after a dose of Morris Therapy.

What happened is that 99% of the people who received the Morris Therapy dropped dead during the first few days. Even worse, many were taken to the hospital, entered into a database as non-Morrised, and as hospital beds filled up, media outlets declared a “pandemic of the un-Morrised”. All the social pressure makes it hard to talk about the problem. Meanwhile, nobody does autopsies on the bodies that might reveal clues to the deaths, such as the presence of spike-Morris protein in organs all over the body. All the 79.2 million deaths are presumed to be COVID-19 deaths, and the media dedicates itself to a 48 hour marathon of fear porn, lamenting that poorer nations are not receiving their equitable share of limited supplies of Morris Therapy.

Meanwhile, health officials and all those devoted to the success of the Morris Therapy as the final solution to the COVID-19 pandemic…”correctly” point out none of the 800,000 survivors of the Morris Therapy have COVID-19 (though nobody really wants to talk about disease etiology as it might link Morris Therapy as a Type II COVID-19). In the end, the entire population of the SARS-CoV-2 virus decided as a “species” (if we can call a virus a species), that invading the U.S. just wasn’t worth it at all, deciding instead to go live amongst the flies, minks, bats, and pangolins.

Read more …

Have they apologized yet?

Now The Lancet U-turns Over Covid Lab Leak Theory (DM)

The Lancet medical journal has bowed to pressure over its heavily-criticised coverage of the disputed origins of the Covid pandemic by publishing an ‘alternative view’ from 16 scientists – calling for an ‘objective, open and transparent debate’ about whether the virus leaked from a Chinese laboratory. It was revealed earlier this year that Peter Daszak – a British scientist with long-standing links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology – had secretly orchestrated a landmark statement in The Lancet in February 2020 which attacked ‘conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin’. The now-infamous letter, signed by 27 leading public health experts, said they stood together to ‘strongly condemn’ the theories which they said ‘do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice’.

They also lavished praise on Chinese scientists who they said had ‘worked diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak… and share their results transparently with the global health community’. Now, The Lancet has agreed to publish an alternative commentary which discusses the possibility that laboratory research might have played a role in the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It also directly confronts the efforts of science journals to stifle debate by labelling such theories as ‘misinformation’. In the article, the authors argue that ‘there is no direct support for the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2, and a laboratory-related accident is plausible’. They add that the February 2020 statement ‘imparted a silencing effect on the wider scientific debate’.

[..] The new commentary, published in The Lancet on Friday, said: ‘The world will remain mired in dispute without the full engagement of China, including open access to primary data, documents, and relevant stored material to enable a thorough, transparent and objective search for all relevant evidence.’ One of the signatories, Professor Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It might seem small, but after 18 months of complete denial, the very act of [The] Lancet agreeing to publish this letter acknowledging the origins of Covid-19 remains an open verdict, is a very big deal. ‘For a leading medical journal like Lancet to agree to finally open its doors to a letter from scientists highlighting the ongoing uncertain origins of Covid-19, indicates how far we have come in 18 months in requesting an open scientific debate on the topic, but also indicates just how far we still have to go’.

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“..once we’ve established “anti-vaxxers” don’t deserve healthcare, those other people she’s so careful to mention – smokers and drunk drivers – they’re next. Along with the obese, or the clumsy, or the religious, or the politically inconvenient.”

This Week in the New Normal |(OffG)

Ruth Marcus, a deputy editor at the Washington Post, has had enough of people pussy-footing around this issue and is going “come right out and say it” – unvaccinated people deserve healthcare less than vaccinated people. She at least admits this “conflicts radically with accepted medical ethics”, which is completely true but for some reason that doesn’t seem to change her mind: “..under ordinary circumstances, I agree with those rules. The lung cancer patient who’s been smoking two packs a day for decades is entitled to the same treatment as the one who never took a puff. The drunk driver who kills a family gets a team doing its utmost to save him..”

To be clear then – Ruth considers the unvaccinated as morally inferior to a drunk driver who ran over some kids. Which says a lot more about her, than the unvaccinated. This is one of this feeler pieces. An antennae article, gently feeling the ground to see if can bear the weight of the agenda coming behind it. It’s setting up the conversation. Because once we’ve established “anti-vaxxers” don’t deserve healthcare, those other people she’s so careful to mention – smokers and drunk drivers – they’re next. Along with the obese, or the clumsy, or the religious, or the politically inconvenient.

If you don’t believe me, just check the comments under the article. The WaPo has one of the most scripted comments sections on the internet, whose usual job is to play the “bad cop” to the author’s “good cop”. And, sure enough, BTL is full of hundreds of supposedly real humans saying the author doesn’t go far enough, and we should ration all kinds of healthcare based on personal choices. This particular talking point is already being aired on CNN and by late-night talkshow hosts too. Expect it to spread quickly, especially when the flu season starts.

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Twitter thread by Girolamo Pandolfi da Casio ditto Carlo Dossi Erba.

Evergrande: Why Most Analysis Is Dead In The Water (Erba)

Evergrande: why most analysis is dead in water and how best to understand and navigate what’s happening? Both denialists and alarmists are getting it wrong. Let’s start by understanding this: what is happening is the result of a CCP-initiated policy change to curb leverage. It started a while back and has seen other defaults, including SOEs. What are the specific policy changes? Most important is the introduction of the 3 red lines a year ago: – L/A < 70% – net leverage < 100% – cash to ST debt > 1. What’s the point of the 3 red lines? First and foremost to forestall a systemic crisis that could have brought down the whole financial sector if left unchecked. Real estate amounts to a significant chunk of China GDP with strong linkages upstream and downstream.


And believe it or not, the sector was levered to the gills. The 3 red lines are hardly draconian, yet all the CCC, a large chunk of the B and a good 1/3 of the BB did not pass them a year ago. Needless to say, it was really not too early. But there is more to it than leverage. One common practice of these construction companies,a game Evergrande excelled at, was to bid land at prices significantly higher than market. It didn’t matter to them, coz the risk got transferred to flat buyers and banks that financed the purchase. That model worked well for local governments, banks and households because house prices were going up. So much so over the last 15 years, that a serious affordability crisis emerged in major cities AND HH debt soared way above disposable inc – below HH debt as % GDP.

So it wasn’t hard to figure out the economic disaster in the making: exponential price rises with explosive HH and Construction leverage. But that’s not all. There is another problem that escapes most China analysts. As a result of years of seeking easy growth through construction and leverage, the misallocation of capital was : 1- capital starving more innovative and high tech sectors (see chart) and 2- creating a headwind for a re-balancing towards a more consumption driven growth. At some point, reigning in lending to the RE sector became vital in order to address the structural issue of capital misallocation. That also explains the curbs on VC investments in RE and most importantly, a curb on all the irregularities that characterized RE.


The issue of irregularities is at the core of what is happening with Evergrande. More on that later. It’s a long introduction, but it seemed important to explain these issues to understand the long term nature of this problem and why its resolution will be tedious. So there is a new paradigm dictated by a set of economic realities that CCP could no longer ignore and most importantly, they can relax the rules a bit, but can’t reverse course. They can’t allow consumers to be bust nor a rogue unproductive sector to balloon further.

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“It shows our readiness to be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices and malign acts.”

France Accuses Britain Of ‘Retreating To America’s Lap’ (Inews)

France has continued its war of words in the increasingly bitter diplomatic row over the UK’s new defence pact with the US and Australia. Europe Minister Clement Beaune said Britain had returned into the “American lap” after Australia announced it was scrapping its £30 billion French submarine deal in favour of more powerful nuclear-powered vessels acquired with the help of the UK and US. The announcement prompted President Emmanuel Macron to order the recall of the French ambassadors from Washington and Canberra – a move virtually unheard of among such close allies. However, there was no similar order for the French envoy to London to return to Paris for consultations.

But in a series of interviews with French television, Mr Beaune suggested it was because the UK was the “junior partner” which had accepted its “vassalisation” by the US. “Our British friends explained to us they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. We can see that this is a return into the American lap and a form of accepted vassalisation,” he said. “The UK is clearly trying to find its feet, perhaps there was a lack of thought about the strategic future. Today they are hiding in the American fold. I hope that will not be their policy for the decades to come.” He later added: “We see through this partnership, this strategic alliance and after the Kabul crisis, that Global Britain seems to be more about a US junior partner than working with different allies.”

New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has defended the pact, saying it showed Britain would be “hard-headed” in defending its interests. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss said the UK was a “fierce champion” of freedom and democracy around the world. “It shows our readiness to be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices and malign acts. It also shows our commitment to security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” she wrote.

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Wait. China takes it all over, and that’s supposed to benefit Citi?

BlackRock and Citi Get on Board the Climate Nazi Train (IMan)

There are some things that bring joy to my soul. My pleasures are simple ones. Peanut butter on toast (the food of gods), witnessing Macron getting a slap, and this…

The awesome thing here is that what is taking place is that our competition on bidding for coal assets has disappeared in a cloud of woke smoke. This will quickly become geopolitical, and the question is this: can BlackRock, Citi, Prudential, HSBC, and their other woke mates decide the fate of nations? They are already affecting the fate of nations. Witness Canada and all of Western Europe. But will they do the same to China? Will they do the same to Russia? The answer to that will only be fully revealed in the due course of time, but we don’t really need any crystal balls here as we just watch actions, not words.

“China put 38.4 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity into operation in 2020, according to new international research, more than three times the amount built elsewhere around the world and potentially undermining its short-term climate goals.” Nearly all of the 60 new coal plants planned across Eurasia, South America and Africa — 70 gigawatts of coal power in all — are financed almost exclusively by Chinese banks” We see all of this on the ground, and while it is taking place, formerly reputable media outlets such as the FT, Reuters, and Bloomberg tell us that: “China’s belt and road initiative creates a problem for China with respect to their climate goals.”

Really? There is no conflict or problem. Let me explain. Here is what is transpiring. They will keep paying lip service to the woke ideology while capturing the bulk of the energy market, and by the time we all wake up, they’ll control the world’s energy and logistics chains. And once they’ve done that, they’ll be able to control the reserve currency and once they’ve done that… well, they will be the dominant power. Game over. At this rate they’ll get there in a frighteningly rapid period of time. No more than a couple of decades.

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Before machines the only form of entertainment people really had was relationships.”
~ Douglas Coupland

 

 

 

 

Chris Rock: “there’s no money in the cure. The money’s in the medicine. That’s how a drug dealer makes his money… that’s all the government is, a bunch of drug dealers.”
https://twitter.com/i/status/1439792949404045314

 

 

 

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Apr 232021
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb 1638

 

Biden Vows To Cut Nearly Half Of Greenhouse Emissions By 2030 (SAC)
GOP Sen. Ron Johson Criticizes ‘Big Push’ To Get Everyone Vaccinated (F.)
Greek Gov’t Legislates “Legal Impunity” For Epidemiologists’ Committee (KTG)
Greece to Recognize Validity of Sputnik V Vaccine for Travelers (GR)
One Dose Of Pfizer Or Oxford Jab Reduces Covid Infection Rate By 65% (G.)
Japan Rolls Out Vaccine Slowly, Despite Looming Olympics (Y!)
Russia To Withdraw Troops From Deployment On Border With Ukraine (RT)
Russia To Make Areas Of Airspace Inaccessible To Foreign Missiles, Drones (RT)
Russia Behind ‘Directed Energy’ Attacks On US Troops In Syria – Pentagon (ZH)
Who Runs The World? Blackrock and Vanguard (Sardi)
Why The ‘Magic Money Tree’ Suddenly Appeared When Covid-19 Hit (RP)

 

 

Flooding at a coal mine in one of the smallest of 61 counties in #Xinjiang #China shut down 35% of #Bitcoin’s global mining power this weekend.

 

 

Not the Onion. But way over the top.

 

 

Big differences.

 

 

If you find yourself hopeful when seeing this, snap out of it. This is just a way to spend trillions of your money on greenwashing. Here is the pattern that will continue, again:

“..the Obama administration aimed to reduce emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Currently, the U.S. has not yet reached the halfway point in achieving that goal.”

Replacing one source of energy with another one is useless, only using -a whole lot- less energy works. For that, we will need to redesign our cities and homes. Not our cars. And that will cost a lot of money, which won’t be available anymore, because it’s been spent on grandiose plans for windmills and solar panels to one-on-one replace all present sources. And that’s just the first problem.

Biden Vows To Cut Nearly Half Of Greenhouse Emissions By 2030 (SAC)

President Joe Biden on Earth Day vowed to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52%—compared to 2005 levels—by 2030, as part of a broader goal of achieving net-zero emissions in the country by 2050. “These steps will set America on a path of a net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050,” Biden told a virtual climate summit, attended by 40 leaders from around the world, Thursday morning as he announced the new emissions goal. “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade, this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis,” Biden said.


“This is a moral imperative. An economic imperative. A moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities,” the president added. The new greenhouse target more than doubles the United States’ previous target under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, when the Obama administration aimed to reduce emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Currently, the U.S. has not yet reached the halfway point in achieving that goal.

Biden energy boom

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Heretic.

GOP Sen. Ron Johson Criticizes ‘Big Push’ To Get Everyone Vaccinated (F.)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) on Thursday questioned the “big push” to ensure everyone is vaccinated against coronavirus, putting him at odds with many of his Senate Republican colleagues who have attempted to close the partisan gap in vaccination rates. In an interview with conservative Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna, herself a vocal coronavirus vaccine skeptic, Johnson launched into a condemnation of “vaccine passports,” a credential that would allow businesses to verify vaccination status. But Johnson also went a step further, declaring he sees “no reason to be pushing vaccines on people,” arguing their distribution should be “limited” to those most vulnerable to coronavirus, and asking, “if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?”

Johnson said he is “getting highly suspicious” of the “big push to make sure everybody gets the vaccine,” stating it’s “not a fully approved vaccine” but also arguing that the fact it is 95% effective means only a limited number of people need to be vaccinated. The comments put Johnson at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spent much of the last Senate recess urging Republican men to get vaccinated amid public opinion polling that shows they are the least likely to do so. Johnson is one of the Senate’s most prolific promoters of coronavirus pseudoscience, holding hearings last year as the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to promote unproven treatments like Hydroxychloroquine.

[..] Johnson has drawn outrage from lawmakers in both parties for some of his recent comments, particularly on the Jan. 6 attack, which he has routinely sought to downplay. He said the attack “didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me” in February, and last month he said the attackers “truly respect law enforcement” and claimed he wasn’t concerned for his safety during the incident – but might have been if the attackers were affiliated with Black Lives Matter.

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First time I’ve seen this. Many countries will follow. No investigation allowed.

Greek Gov’t Legislates “Legal Impunity” For Epidemiologists’ Committee (KTG)

The Greek government has tabled a amendment to the Parliament to secure legal impunity for the committee of the epidemiologists advising the government on pandemic issues. The regulation comes amid pressure from the opposition to make the minutes of the meetings public. The introduction to provide impunity to infectious disease committee members in charge of the pandemic measures is for sure a unique worldwide. The amendment introduces impunity for the epidemiologists’ committee members from any form of prosecution or even questioning and protects them from having to testify if they were in “conflict of interest.”

The amendment was submitted by the Health Ministry in a legislation of Code of Judicial Officers of the Justice Ministry. It reportedly bears the signatures of the Health and Justice Ministers and other members of the government. It will be voted in the parliament later on Thursday. According to news website news247.gr, Article 4 of the amendment stipulates that members of the National Committee for the Protection of Public Health against the coronavirus disease Covid 19, the Committee for the Management of Public Health Emergencies by Infectious Diseases and the National Vaccination Committee are not liable, not prosecuted and are not examined for opinion they formulated or vote they gave in the exercise of their duties in the context of the operation of the above committees. Prosecution is allowed only for defamation or insult.

Particularly troubling, notes the website, is the provision that committee members are not prosecuted but can not even be questioned. It raises questions about what this means in the event that either a public prosecutor’s investigation or a possible pre-investigation committee of the Parliament is conducted in the future. In this case, it is possible that the members of the committee may not even be called as witnesses. It should be noted that this regulation comes after the intense pressure from the opposition to make public the minutes of the infectious disease committees and also in a period of the pandemic where the decisions of the committee are extremely important. At the same time, it comes in the middle of the vaccination process and also concerns the vaccination committee.

It is worth recalling that there have already been complaints from the opposition about conflicts of interest between members of the committee and their professional activities, notes news247. It should also be recalled that there has been recently a debate about the committee decisions and how much the members obey the government s plans to open or close activities than the scientific dictates. The gradual lifting of the lockdown and the opening of tourism in mid-May (unofficially on April 19) with daily infections are over 3000 and an average of 75 deaths per day while had many Greeks wonder why there was a 5.5 months lockdown anyway. [..] The government, ministers and lawmakers have immunity anyway.

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Also: “Germany to buy 30 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine”. EU Covid management is crumbling.

Greece to Recognize Validity of Sputnik V Vaccine for Travelers (GR)

Greece is taking all possible necessary precautions to ensure a successful launch of the 2021 tourism season on May 14 to avoid last year’s losses — including accepting the validity of Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccine in allowing Russians to visit the country. The vaccine, dubbed the “traveling companion,” has a 97.6% efficacy rate under trial conditions, according to its makers. This was based on data analysis on the infection rate among people receiving both shots of the vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine was registered in 60 countries worldwide as of April 19, 2021 from Argentina and Mexico to Israel and the Philippines. Russian officials say they have signed deals to produce it in South Korea and India. Via a post on Twitter on April 6, 2021, the distributor confirmed that it could supply Greece with the vaccine for 500,000 people in May.


A soft opening of the tourism sector in Greece commenced on Monday, April 20, by lifting its seven-day quarantine requirements for international travelers arriving from the EU, the Schengen Area, the US, the UK, Israel, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates upon proof of vaccination, immunity, or a negative PCR test on arrival. Expected in this is group is hundreds of thousands of tourists from Russia as a result of joint efforts to resume tourism activity between the two countries. However, the Sputnik V is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). There are not enough doses of other vaccines available in the EU to satisfy demand, so the desire for new options is substantial. The EU Green Passport regulation, due to be adopted soon, does not recognize vaccines that have not yet been approved by the EMA. However, it is flexible enough to allow EU member states to accept the validity of certain vaccines, such as Russia’s Sputnik V, on what it calls a “bilateral level.”

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That’s less effective than ivermectin. Good thing they didn’t research that, so they can keep saying: well, there’s no research! The only way to keep the EUA.

One Dose Of Pfizer Or Oxford Jab Reduces Covid Infection Rate By 65% (G.)

One shot of the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reduces coronavirus infections by nearly two-thirds and protects older and more vulnerable people as much as younger, healthy individuals, a study has found. The results from Oxford University and the Office for National Statistics are a welcome boost to the vaccination programme and the first to show the impact on new infections and immune responses in a large group of adults in the general population. By driving down rates of infection the vaccines will not only prevent hospitalisations and deaths but help break chains of transmission and so reduce the risk of a damaging resurgence of disease as the UK reopens.

The researchers analysed Covid test results from more than 350,000 people in the UK between December and April. They found that 21 days after a first jab – the time it takes the immune system to mount a decent response – new Covid infections dropped by 65%. The vaccines were more effective against symptomatic than asymptomatic infections, reducing rates by 72% and 57% respectively, compared with those seen in the unvaccinated population. A second shot of the Pfizer vaccine boosted protection further, causing symptomatic infections to fall by 90% and asymptomatic infections by 70%. Because the Oxford vaccine was approved and rolled out later, it is too early to assess the impact of those second doses.

Scientists on the team said the findings supported the UK’s decision to prioritise giving first shots to elderly and more vulnerable people by delaying second doses. “There was no evidence that the vaccines were less effective among older adults or those with long-term health conditions,” said Dr Koen Pouwels, a researcher on the team.

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“A majority of Japanese already oppose holding the Games this summer..”

Japan Rolls Out Vaccine Slowly, Despite Looming Olympics (Y!)

Three months before it hosts the Olympics – the biggest international event since the pandemic began – Japan has fully vaccinated less than one percent of its population in a cautious, slow-moving programme. Olympic organisers and local officials stress vaccines are not a prerequisite for the Games. Participants will not have to be inoculated before arrival and there are no plans to prioritise vaccination of Japanese athletes or volunteers. But the slow rollout in the world’s third-largest economy, which experts say is driven by a mixture of caution and entrenched bureaucratic hurdles, is starting to weigh on public opinion. The government has emphasised caution to build trust in the vaccine, said Takakazu Yamagishi, director of the Center for International Affairs at Nanzan University, who researches health policy.

But, seeing speedy vaccinations elsewhere, “more and more people are realising that the delayed vaccination process has put Japan in a difficult position to hold the Olympics,” he told AFP. This could “weaken their support for the Games”. A majority of Japanese already oppose holding the Games this summer, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who faces a general election this year, has been under pressure for months over his coronavirus response. The country’s outbreak has been comparatively small so far, with fewer than 10,000 deaths. But several regions, including Tokyo, requested new virus states of emergency this week over a fresh wave of cases that has already overwhelmed some local healthcare systems.

Writing in the British Medical Journal this month, four health experts cited Japan’s “sluggish vaccine rollout” among other factors in urging plans to hold the Games “be reconsidered as a matter of urgency”. Polls show three-quarters of Japan’s public consider the rollout slow, with 60 percent saying they are dissatisfied with the programme. Olympic organisers insist the rollout’s pace will not impact the Games. “We’ll be able to deliver the Games even without vaccination,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters on Wednesday.

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A big nothing. But a warning at the same time.

Russia To Withdraw Troops From Deployment On Border With Ukraine (RT)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced that troops deployed in the west and south of the country in recent days will soon begin returning to base, saying they have now passed tests of their combat readiness. The chief of the country’s military revealed on Thursday that a number of units of the regular army and airborne divisions had been transferred to the area, near the shared border with Ukraine, as part of surprise military exercises. The buildup had caused alarm in Kiev, and been cited by Western nations as a potential precursor to an invasion, which the Kremlin repeatedly denied.


According to Shoigu, “the goals of the sudden inspection have been fully achieved. The troops demonstrated their ability to ensure reliable defense of the country.” As a result, he has now ordered commanders to “plan and begin the return of troops to their places of regular deployment, beginning from April 23.” By the end of the month, the minister said, “the personnel of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District, the 41st Army of the Central Military District, the 7th, 76th Air Assault and 98th Airborne Divisions of the Airborne Forces” will return to their normal bases. However, he warned that the army would “react and respond adequately to all changes in the situation near Russian borders.”

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“.. render foreign satellite navigation systems completely useless, disabling an enemy’s high-precision weapons.”

Russia To Make Areas Of Airspace Inaccessible To Foreign Missiles, Drones (RT)

Russia’s electronic warfare specialists will practice creating ‘protection areas’ in the country’s airspace that could render foreign satellite navigation systems completely useless, disabling an enemy’s high-precision weapons. According to Moscow daily Izvestia, citing a source in the Defense Ministry, radio-electronic warfare troops will practice using the technology during exercises this year, with the practice to be held nationwide in 2022. The system, known as Field-21, creates interference that disorients foreign satellite navigation systems, including the American GPS NAVSTAR. According to experts, the creation of special zones could be used to protect military facilities, as well as industrial areas, making the airspace virtually impenetrable. They believe the new approach will radically increase national security.


With satellite navigation foiled, enemy high-precision weapons and drones will not be able to direct themselves towards their target. “Electronic warfare systems hit several cruise missile systems at once,” military historian Dmitry Boltenkov told Izvestia. “Satellite navigation interference causes them to get ‘lost’ in space and dramatically reduces their accuracy. If the radio altimeter signal is suppressed, the ammunition will also not be able to perform its combat mission as expected.” Radio-electronic troops have already been deployed in Syria, where an electronic warfare protection dome has been created over the areas of Tartus and Khmeimim, protecting the military from attacks by militant drones. Russia has been involved in the Syrian Civil War since 2015, when it was invited by the Damascus government, led by President Bashar Assad, to help fight against a terrorist insurgency in the country.

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One thing about flimsy nonsensical narratives is you must keep feeding them. Then when someone asks for proof, you can point to all the other “cases” and say: see?! it fits a pattern.

Russia Behind ‘Directed Energy’ Attacks On US Troops In Syria – Pentagon (ZH)

In the newest dramatic allegations against suspected Russian malfeasance, the Department of Defense (DoD) on Thursday revealed that it believes the Russian military targeted US troops in Syria with ‘directed energy attacks’ in order to make them ill and unable to conduct normal operations. Apparently some US troops occupying the country began reporting “flu-like symptoms” which caused the DoD to investigate possible linkage to microwave or directed energy weapons on the battlefield of Syria. Politico reports that “officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.” DoD officials said they briefed top lawmakers on intelligence which they say points to Russia being behind a series of these suspected high tech attacks.

This follows a major investigation being conducted since last year of similar mysterious attacks against US personnel across the globe. Controversy has raged since late 2016 into 2017 and the “Havana syndrome” story, which involved some 50 diplomatic officials working at the US Embassy in Cuba coming down with strange illnesses and symptoms which many blamed on high tech ‘sonic attacks’ of some sort. Personnel reported experiencing everything from vomiting to concussions to chronic headaches to minor brain injuries. But analysts and scientists have been deeply divided on the issue, with speculation ranging from high pitched sounds from crickets or even mass hysteria causing the illness.

But Politico reports of these newest allegations of the potential targeting of Americans in northeast Syria as follows: “The briefings included information about injuries sustained by U.S. troops in Syria, the people said. The investigation includes one incident in Syria in the fall of 2020 in which several troops developed flu-like symptoms, two people familiar with the Pentagon probe said.” The CIA is said to also be looking into these suspected attacks via its own task force. Strangely, the Politico report also included a denial that troops in Syria were ever found to be victims of such weapons by the Pentagon press spokesperson, strongly suggesting this is a continuation of the current, highly politicized “just blame Russia” climate in Washington…

A Pentagon spokesperson, however, said the department is not aware of directed-energy attacks against U.S. troops in Syria. The spokesperson declined further comment on the Pentagon’s interactions with Capitol Hill or any internal investigation. “The incidents of suspected directed-energy attacks by Russia on Americans abroad became so concerning that the Pentagon’s office of special operations and low-intensity conflict began investigating last year, according to two former national security officials involved in the effort. It’s unclear exactly how many troops were injured, or the extent of their injuries.”

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Pretty brilliant exposé. By someone calling herself Covid Lie.

Who Runs The World? Blackrock and Vanguard (Sardi)

If you’ve been wondering how the world economy has been hijacked and humanity has been kidnapped by a completely bogus narrative, look no further than this video by Dutch creator, Covid Lie. What she uncovers is that the stock of the world’s largest corporations are owned by the same institutional investors. They all own each other. This means that “competing” brands, like Coke and Pepsi aren’t really competitors, at all, since their stock is owned by exactly the same investment companies, investment funds, insurance companies, banks and in some cases, governments. This is the case, across all industries. As she says:

“The smaller investors are owned by larger investors. Those are owned by even bigger investors. The visible top of this pyramid shows only two companies whose names we have often seen…They are Vanguard and BlackRock. The power of these two companies is beyond your imagination. Not only do they own a large part of the stocks of nearly all big companies but also the stocks of the investors in those companies. This gives them a complete monopoly. A Bloomberg report states that both these companies in the year 2028, together will have investments in the amount of 20 trillion dollars. That means that they will own almost everything. Bloomberg calls BlackRock “The fourth branch of government”, because it’s the only private agency that closely works with the central banks.

BlackRock lends money to the central bank but it’s also the advisor. It also develops the software the central bank uses. Many BlackRock employees were in the White House with Bush and Obama. Its CEO. Larry Fink can count on a warm welcome from leaders and politicians. Not so strange, if you know that he is the front man of the ruling company but Larry Fink does not pull the strings himself. BlackRock, itself is also owned by shareholders. Who are those shareholders? We come to a strange conclusion. The biggest shareholder is Vanguard. But now he gets murky. Vanguard is a private company and we cannot see who the shareholders are.

The elite who own Vanguard apparently do not like being in the spotlight but of course they cannot hide from who is willing to dig. Reports from Oxfam and Bloomberg say that 1% of the world, together owns more money than the other 99%. Even worse, Oxfam says that 82% of all earned money in 2017 went to this 1%. In other words, these two investment companies, Vanguard and BlackRock hold a monopoly in all industries in the world and they, in turn are owned by the richest families in the world, some of whom are royalty and who have been very rich since before the Industrial Revolution. Why doesn’t everybody know this? Why aren’t there movies and documentaries about this? Why isn’t it in the news? Because 90% of the international media is owned by nine media conglomerates.

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How did we get from austerity to spending trillions?

Why The ‘Magic Money Tree’ Suddenly Appeared When Covid-19 Hit (RP)

Coronavirus has proven that austerity was a political choice and that the ‘Magic Money Tree’ really does exist, progressive economists have said. Whether it be Joe Biden’s $1.9trillion relief bill or Rishi Sunak’s £50billion furlough scheme, centrist and conservative governments have suddenly found a way to spend in the public’s interest. All it took was a pandemic. In an event for Let’s Talk It Over entitled ‘The Austerity Doctrine in the Time of Coronavirus’, Yanis Varoufakis, Stephanie Kelton, Naomi Klein and Brian Eno discussed whether the “pandemic has ended the reign of austerity as policy and mindset”. Stephanie Kelton, a former economic adviser to Bernie Sanders, said: “Everything was in a budgeting framework and then Covid happened.

“Governments started committing huge sums of money. So where does it come from? The CARE act, for example, was Congress’ way of ordering up $2.2billion from the Federal Reserve. “They can commit to spending money that they do not have. If the votes are there, then the money follows. “Almost no-one believes any longer that the ‘coffers’ can be empty. “Everyone can now see that the government no longer needs to keep its powder dry. As Kelton explains in her now famous tome, countries that print their own money can easily spend their way towards economic prosperity without any notion of paying it back – as long as the economic potential of the nation is not reached. In the US, the total federal debt is nearing $30trillion – but does it really matter? To enact austerity to ‘pay for’ a year of generous public spending would not achieve anything except for a downward economic spiral, Varoufakis said.

The former Greek Finance Minister added: “I’m calling in from the epicentre of austerity. If there was a New Deal in 2011, after we had lost 25 percent of our GDP (in the crisis), it would have been a majestic success. “But instead, we continued and had a downward spiral. “We need to have major debt restructuring at the public and private level for countries that don’t have the same privilege as the United States in printing their own money. “The nightmare of the powerful is that the weak have alternatives. So when they hear about Universal Basic Income and job creation schemes they think it will become a nightmare for them. “As oligarchs, they are following the right instincts. Using the ‘magic money tree’ to empower the power is seriously circumscribing their own power.”

In essence, the powerful adore austerity and malign public debt because anything close to Modern Monetary Theory would give working people too many alternatives, Varoufakis said. Naomi Klein claimed that tax rises after the pandemic are a necessity – but only on the rich. Modern Monetary Theory dictates that one of the roles of taxation, in addition to curbing inflation, is to reduce inequality. She explained: “In theory, we need to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy not because we need to do it, but because of the levels of inequality. “It’s also a moral hazard for the wealthy to not have to live in the mess that they made. We’ve seen the wealthy retreat into their castles, as it were, and the pandemic has made this even more apparent. “Austerity is about disciplining a workforce.”

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Ford Madox Brown King Lear and Cordelia c1851

 

UK Becomes First Country To Approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 Vaccine (NBC)
With Tanden Choice, Democrats Stick it to Sanders Voters (Taibbi)
We Know Joe (Jacobs)
Putting a BlackRock Alum in Charge of Greening the Economy (TNR)
Trump Raises At Least $150 Million Since Election Day (JTN)
Whistleblowers Allege Ballots Crossed State Lines, Disappear, Backdating (JTN)
Why the Fed Needs Public Banks (Ellen Brown)
The Rich Cheer Wall Street’s Latest Records. The Rest Drain 401(k)s (CP)
Ray Dalio’s Chart Hints At What Beijing Is Really Up To (Xie)
Debenhams ‘Never Recovered From Private Equity Ownership’ (G.)
One Of Biology’s Biggest Mysteries ‘Largely Solved’ By AI (BBC)

 

 

 

 

The rest of us should be happy they will be the guinea pigs. I’ve seen one too many doctors and scientists say they’ll sit this one out.

UK Becomes First Country To Approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 Vaccine (NBC)

The U.K. has become the first country to approve the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and will begin inoculations next week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said early Wednesday. “For so long we’ve been saying that if a vaccine is developed, then things will get better in 2021, and now we can say when this vaccine is rolled out things will get better,” Hancock told the BBC. The U.K. has ordered 40 million vaccine doses from Pfizer — enough for up to a third of the population. The vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, the drugmaker said after clinical trials.


The pharmaceutical giant submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 20 for an emergency use authorization in the U.S. A vaccine committee will now decide which groups will first get the vaccine, such as care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically vulnerable. “This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in a news release. The Pfizer shots must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit — far colder than standard cooling systems. To help accommodate the extra refrigeration requirement, Pfizer has developed a supercool storage unit packed with dry ice.

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She looks like a no-go. But many of the other neocons will be in.

With Tanden Choice, Democrats Stick it to Sanders Voters (Taibbi)

The Democratic Party is not known for its sense of humor, but news that Joe Biden will appoint longtime Center for American Progress chief Neera Tanden to his government qualifies as a rare, well-earned laugh line. Tanden is famous for two things: having a puddle of DNC talking points in place of a cerebrum, and despising Bernie Sanders. She was #Resistance’s most visible anti-Sanders foil, spending awe-inspiring amounts of time on Twitter bludgeoning Sanders and his supporters as a deviant mob of Russian tools and covert “horseshoe theory” Trump-lovers. She has, to put it gently, an ardent social media following. Every prominent media figure with even a vague connection to Sanders learned in recent years to expect mud-drenched pushback from waves of “Neera trolls” after any public comment crossing DNC narratives.

No name in blue politics is more associated with seething opposition to Sanders than Tanden. Biden is making this person Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Sanders is the ranking member (and, perhaps, future chair) of the Senate Budget Committee. Every time Bernie even thinks about doing Committee business, he’ll be looking up at Neera Tanden. For a party whose normal idea of humor is ten thousand consecutive jokes about Trump being gay with Putin, that’s quite a creative “fuck you.” The Democrats still have to reckon with Trumpism in both the short and long term, but the Sanders movement on their other flank has at least temporarily been routed as a serious oppositional force. The Democrats know this, which is part of the joke of the Tanden appointment. While the party’s labors to oppose Trump have been incoherent at best, the campaign to kneecap Sanders has been, let’s admit it, brilliant.


The Blue Apparat has always despised Bernie and his various precursor movements far more than it hated Republicans, and for good reason. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Clintonite hacks in cushy Washington sinecures who would have retained their spots in the event of a loss to Trump. A Sanders win would have put them all out of the politics business for a while. It was unsurprising to see the party mainstream marshaling all of what passes for its brainpower to devise a long game to crate-train Sanders, who in less than a year went from oppositional favorite to seize the Democratic nomination to obedient afterthought.

Tucker Greenwald on Tanden

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And Joe knows everyone who counts. Except perhaps himself.

We Know Joe (Jacobs)

We know this man Joe Biden. We know the politics he champions. We know his corporate and financial backers. We know what we’re up against. Barack Obama and the Clintons operated in the same neoliberal and essentially reactionary sphere. The faces in power may be female, Black, Latino and gay, but the policies are designed to keep the power from the people, the money from the vast numbers of working people, and the war machine’s troops around the globe. We cannot afford to get fooled again. Inauguration Day is the opening of a new front in the battle for the planet and those creatures who live on it. The Trump years were, more than anything, a forced retreat. The fascist and other reactionary forces unleashed by his occupation of the White House made major gains and they are determined to hang on to those gains.

The eight years that preceded him were, in essence, not a forced retreat but part of a decades long retreat, nonetheless. It’s good that Biden is a conventional establishment politician. It is also bad. The history of the last four decades (with the exception of the Trump years) is the history of a nation ruled by conventional establishment politicians. It is good because we know their strategies and tricks. It is bad because those strategies and tricks can lull people into a political sleep. Without the personal outrage a Trump can cause, elected officials, their appointees, and the monetary forces they serve can do a lot of damage under the guise of doing good. Whether it is Reagan’s privatization of the government, Clinton’s destruction of the social welfare system, the Bush’s bloody wars on the people of the Mideast, or Obama’s continuation of all those policies, the reality is these actions took place with most US residents’ assent.

Liberals fell for Reagan’s folksy lies, letting themselves be led by their investments into a world where the poor were once again blamed for their circumstances. When their man Clinton was in office, they supported his intensification of the war on the poor, all the while pointing to their 401Ks as proof the American Dream still worked. And the wars just went on. There was opposition, but never to the point that the troops would not be sent to fight or completely withdrawn once they got there. Indeed, too much of the antiwar leadership abandoned its constituents and joined up with the Obama campaign in 2007, just as the war on Iraq was escalating. That war, and the war on the Afghans continues to this moment. In addition, there are tens of thousands of US forces—military and mercenary—wreaking death and destruction around the globe.

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Predictable.

Putting a BlackRock Alum in Charge of Greening the Economy (TNR)

This week, the Biden campaign is expected to announce officially that it’s tapped former Obama adviser and current BlackRock executive Brian Deese to head the National Economic Council. The appointment will make Deese the president’s top economic adviser. And in addition to worrying climate activists, the news has again raised concerns about BlackRock’s outsize influence in U.S. politics. Deese has long been on the no-go lists of progressives tracking Biden appointments, thanks to his BlackRock background. New York Communities for Change and the Sunrise Movement protested the rumors of Deese’s appointment outside the company’s Manhattan headquarters last week.

His advocates and defenders, including climate wonks and Obama alums, have praised his character, record on conservation, role in helping negotiate the Paris Agreement, as well as the fact that he joined BlackRock to head the investment management giant’s sustainable investment strategy after his brief stint working on climate issues for Obama. Many are excited by the prospect of having an NEC head who spends time thinking about climate change. By all accounts, Deese is indeed a nice guy. But to suggest his record makes him a good fit for a position steering and greening the U.S. economy rests on fundamental misunderstandings of Deese’s climate credentials, BlackRock’s ambitions, and the crisis at hand.

Deese has now spent more time advising BlackRock on climate than the White House. But his governmental record deserves scrutiny, too. Before taking over the climate portfolio from John Podesta, he worked for the NEC and as deputy and then acting director of the Office of Management. He described his role as “showing the American people how we can do more effectively with less” and preached “fiscal discipline”—a troubling inclination given how desperately the current economy and climate crisis need government spending. He also championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have doubled U.S. exposure to pernicious investor-state dispute settlements, allowing companies to sue governments that infringe on their profits (for example, through robust climate policy). During his two years as Obama’s climate adviser, Deese defended Arctic drilling and boasted about increases in “both renewable and traditional” energy production, though he did also work to withdraw certain portions of the Arctic Ocean from mineral leasing.

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Dind’t Trump just yesterday say: See you in 2024?

Trump Raises At Least $150 Million Since Election Day (JTN)

President Trump has raised at least $150 million since Election Day nearly one month ago, according to multiple news reports. The donations have poured in, as the Trump campaign continues to solicit donations to fuel its legal efforts in several key states to uncover voter fraud and overturn the results of the election. The campaign has raised as much as $170 million, according to The New York Times, while other news outlets have reported an amount closer to $150 million. Either amount is approximately equivalent to the numbers coming in to the campaign coffers at the height of the president’s reelection bid.


The Times also reports that 75% of each donation will go to a new political action committee established by Trump and his staff called “Save America.” The other 25% will go to the Republican National Committee. The donations will allow the campaign to pay off outstanding, post-election debt. It will also allow the president to fund post-presidency political activities. Trump has not publicly stated his political intentions should his election challenges fail.

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Everyone deserves to be heard.

Whistleblowers Allege Ballots Crossed State Lines, Disappear, Backdating (JTN)

Sworn testimony of several whistleblowers on Tuesday alleged what one election integrity activist is calling “potential ballot fraud on a massive scale,” with multiple eyewitnesses testifying to alleged suspicious behavior in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In a press conference in Arlington, Va., the Amistad Project — a civil liberties initiative of the Thomas More Society — presented the testimony of three individuals who claim to have witnessed apparent voting malfeasance during the 2020 election. One, Jesse Morgan, a truck driver for a subcontractor with the United States Postal Service, claimed that a trailer he was driving, one full of potentially upwards of 288,000 ballots, disappeared from its parked location at a Lancaster, Pa. USPS depot after Morgan dropped it off there. Morgan had transported those ballots from Bethpage, N.Y.

The subcontractor also reportedly experienced “odd behaviors” from USPS personnel, behaviors which postal experts have said in sworn statements “grossly deviate[d] from normal procedure and behavior,” according to a press release from the Amistad Project. Another whistleblower, Nathan Pease of Madison, Wisc. — himself also a subcontractor for USPS — alleged that he was told the postal service was planning to backdate tens of thousands of ballots in the days after the Nov. 3 election in order to circumvent the ballot submission deadline. A third witness, Gregory Stenstrom — who testified at a Pennsylvania legislature hearing in Gettysburg last week — claimed to have witnessed a Dominion Voting Systems vendor inserting jump drives into voting aggregation machines in Delaware County, Pa.

Election officials also reportedly commingled various jump drives from aggregation machines, potentially frustrating the ability of auditors to properly certify the election results. In its press release, Amistad Project Director Phill Kline said the testimonies are “compelling” and that they provide “powerful eyewitness accounts of potential ballot fraud on a massive scale.” “This evidence joins with unlawful conduct by state and local election officials, including accepting millions of dollars of private funds, to undermine the integrity of this election,” Kline said. In the press release, the Amistad Project says it has collected sworn expert testimony alleging that “over 300,000 ballots are at issue in Arizona, 548,000 in Michigan, 204,000 in Georgia, and over 121,000 in Pennsylvania.”

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Bernie’s ideas.

Why the Fed Needs Public Banks (Ellen Brown)

The Fed’s policy tools – interest rate manipulation, quantitative easing, and “Special Purpose Vehicles” – have all failed to revive local economies suffering from government-mandated shutdowns. . The Fed must rely on private banks to inject credit into Main Street, and private banks are currently unable or unwilling to do it. The tools the Fed actually needs are public banks, which could and would do the job. [..] Private banks are not following through on the Fed’s attempted money injections, but publicly-owned banks would. In countries with strong government-owned banking systems, public banks have historically increased their lending when private banks pulled back. Public banks have a mandate to stimulate their local economies; and unlike private banks, they can do it and still turn a profit, because they have lower costs.

They have eliminated the parasitic profit-extracting middlemen, and they do not have to focus on short-term profits to please their shareholders. They can pour their resources into improving the long-term prospects of the economy and its infrastructure, stimulating local productivity and strengthening the tax base. Three promising new bills are before Congress that would facilitate the establishment of a public banking system in the US. HR 8721, ”The Public Banking Act”, was introduced on Oct. 30, 2020. As described on Vox, the Act would “foster the creation of public [state and local government-owned] banks across the country by providing them a pathway to getting started, establishing an infrastructure for liquidity and credit facilities for them via the Federal Reserve, and setting up federal guidelines for them to be regulated. Essentially, it would make it easier for public banks to exist, and it would give some of them grant money to get started.”

In September, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand also introduced The Postal Banking Act, which they said would • Create $9 billion in revenue for the postal service, saving it from privatization; • Protect low-income or rural families and communities from predatory lending; and • Reestablish postal banking to provide basic, low-cost financial services to those who cannot access banks. The third bill, HR 6422, “The National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2020,” is modeled on Franklin Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which funded the rebuilding of the US economy in the Great Depression of the 1930s. According to its advocates, HR 6422 will build or restore over $4 trillion in infrastructure and create up to 25 million union jobs, while being “revenue neutral” (not burdening the federal government’s budget).

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Trickling up.

The Rich Cheer Wall Street’s Latest Records. The Rest Drain 401(k)s (CP)

The all-time record highs that Wall Street has registered this week have given some Americans — the nation’s already rich — considerable cause for celebration. And the rest of the nation? Tens of millions of Americans are paying precious little attention to the chirpy tale of Wall Street’s ticker. The simple reason: They own no stocks at all. Millions of other Americans who do own stocks don’t see any reason to celebrate either. They’re finding themselves forced, amid pandemic economic collapse, to start selling the stocks that make up the bulk of their retirement savings. How best to start understanding this story? The best place to begin: The latest numbers on stock ownership from the Federal Reserve. Fed researchers have been tracking who exactly owns the stocks that trade every business day on Wall Street ever since 1989.

Back nearly 30 years ago, in 1992, the share of stock nationally that belongs to America’s poorest half of households hit an all-time high. That “high” amounted to all of a miniscule 1.6 percent. How much of America’s stock wealth does the bottom 50 percent hold these days? At the end of this past June, the most recent Federal Reserve data point available, the nation’s poorest half held less than 1 percent of the nation’s stock holdings, just 0.6 percent. The nation’s poorest 90 percent, all combined, now hold just 11.8 percent of the nation’s stocks. Numbers like these help explain why massive numbers of Americans didn’t rush out onto the streets to cheer earlier this week when two top Wall Street benchmarks, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500, hit their own all-time record summits.

Shares of stock — either held directly or through mutual funds — make up just 2.3 percent of the total assets of households in the bottom 50 percent and a mere 7.6 percent of the assets the rest of the bottom 90 percent hold. America’s richest 1 percent, on the other hand, have plenty of reason to celebrate Wall Street records. Stock holdings make up over 40 percent of top 1 percent household wealth. These 1 percenters, overall, hold 52.4 percent of the nation’s stock, a share almost five times greater than all the stock that households in the bottom 90 percent hold. This top 1 percent share has been steadily increasing. Since 1989, the year the Fed started keeping track, the top 1 percent share of the nation’s stock holdings has jumped 22 percent. The bottom 90 percent share has dropped 33 percent.

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“..the buzz in Beijing is that the financial industry should serve the real economy and people..”

Ray Dalio’s Chart Hints At What Beijing Is Really Up To (Xie)

Another day, another stock record. The S&P 500 soared to a fresh all-time high on Tuesday, while the yield curve steepened on optimism about more fiscal stimulus and the imminent deployment of vaccines. The seeming disconnect between financial markets and the economy is kind of surreal, considering that 11 million people remain unemployed and the virus is spiraling out of control. The fact that U.S. policy makers are still pedal-to-the-metal with monetary stimulus stands in sharp contrast to China, where officials have set their sights on an exit from loose policy. Consider recent events: Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, described China’s property market as the biggest “gray rhino” – an obvious yet ignored financial risk.


Guo also pledged to impose “special and innovative regulatory measures” on financial technology behemoths such as Jack Ma’s Ant Group. The recent regulation changes have essentially put these fin-tech companies under the similar supervision umbrella as traditional banks to avoid excessive leverage. Beijing has allowed a number of SOEs to default, breaking the implicit government guarantee. PBOC Governor Yi Gang vowed to avoid monetizing government debt. In addition, officials have said low interest rates contributed to social inequality. Clearly, there’s a sense of urgency to address financial risks and close the gap between markets and the economy. In the meantime, the buzz in Beijing is that the financial industry should serve the real economy and people.

What China is doing makes perfect sense in the context of the big economic cycle described by Ray Dalio. In his latest essay published Tuesday, Bridgewater’s founder showed that China is in the midst of a debt bubble and the beginning of widening wealth gap. Apparently, China wants to tackle both before it’s too late. In contrast, the U.S. has passed the peak of its economic power, settling into the stage of money printing after the burst of the debt bubble, according to Dalio. “It is in this stage when there are bad financial conditions and intensifying conflict,” wrote Dalio. “Classically this stage comes after periods of great excesses in spending and debt and the widening of wealth and political gaps and before there are revolutions and civil wars. United States is at a tipping point in which it could go from manageable internal tension to revolution and/or civil war.”

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Vultures all around.

Debenhams ‘Never Recovered From Private Equity Ownership’ (G.)

Coronavirus store closures may have been the final nail in the coffin for Debenhams but retail experts argue the department store chain never recovered from a brutal period in the hands of priv ate equity. The retailer was taken over in 2003 by a private equity consortium. The trio of funds, TPG, CVC Capital and Merrill Lynch, made huge returns from their £600m investment, collecting £1.2bn in dividends despite owning the company for less than three years. Debenhams owed around £100m when it was taken private but, by the time it returned to the stock market in 2006, that debt had swollen to more than £1bn. After the retailer’s subsequent poor performance, the deal came to epitomise the worst excesses of the private equity model – the “quick flip” whereby investors buy a listed business cheaply, load it with debt and then refloat it at a big profit.


The private equity consortium installed Rob Templeman, fresh from lucrative private equity revamps of Homebase and Halfords, to overhaul Debenhams. His plan was to cut costs at the same time as increasing sales and profit margins. He also used price cuts to clear products that weren’t selling, but regular discounting was blamed for dragging the brand downmarket. The consortium had used £1.1bn of debt to acquire the business and Templeman cut borrowing costs by remortgaging some of the stores. In 2005, 23 shops were sold for £495m. Debenhams leased the stores back, on expensive rent deals up to 35 years in length. Blaming private equity for Debenhams’ demise is “100% justified”, said veteran retail analyst Richard Hyman. “At the very time when the sort of massive changes we’re seeing today were embryonic, Debenhams’ wherewithal to react, ie money, was removed. It was removed into the bank accounts of private equity investors. That is the truth of it.”

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AI and complexity.

One Of Biology’s Biggest Mysteries ‘Largely Solved’ By AI (BBC)

One of biology’s biggest mysteries has been solved using artificial intelligence, experts have announced. Predicting how a protein folds into a unique three-dimensional shape has puzzled scientists for half a century. London-based AI lab, DeepMind, has largely cracked the problem, said the organisers of a scientific challenge. A better understanding of protein shapes could play a pivotal role in the development of novel drugs to treat disease. The advance by Google-owned DeepMind is expected to accelerate research into a host of illnesses, including Covid-19. Their program determined the shape of proteins at a level of accuracy comparable to expensive and time-consuming lab methods, said independent scientists.

Dr Andriy Kryshtafovych, from University of California (UC), Davis in the US, one of the panel of scientific adjudicators, described the achievement as “truly remarkable”. “Being able to investigate the shape of proteins quickly and accurately has the potential to revolutionise life sciences,” he said. Proteins are present in all living things where they play a central role in the chemical processes essential for life. Made up of strings of amino acids, they fold up in an infinite number of ways into elaborate shapes that hold the key to how they carry out their vital functions.Many diseases are linked to the roles of proteins in catalysing chemical reactions (enzymes), fighting disease (antibodies) or acting as chemical messengers (hormones such as insulin).

“Even tiny rearrangements of these vital molecules can have catastrophic effects on our health, so one of the most efficient ways to understand disease and find new treatments is to study the proteins involved,” said Dr John Moult of the University of Maryland, US, the chair of the panel of scientific adjudicators. “There are tens of thousands of human proteins and many billions in other species, including bacteria and viruses, but working out the shape of just one requires expensive equipment and can take years.”


A DeepMind model of a protein from the Legionnaire’s disease bacteria (Casp-14)

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Prisons are built with stones of law; brothels with bricks of religion

– William Blake

 

 

 

 

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Jun 232020
 


G. G. Bain Katherine Stinson, “the flying schoolgirl,” Sheepshead Bay Speedway, Brooklyn 1918

 

Protesters Fail To Bring Down Andrew Jackson Statue Near White House (R.)
To Kill A Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn Banned From Minnesota Syllabuses (SOTT)
WHO Reports Largest Single-Day Increase In COVID19 Cases (SCMP)
Mexico Reports 5,343 New Coronavirus Infections And 1,044 Deaths (R.)
Surge In Coronavirus Cases Linked To More Texans In Their 20s (TT)
Complete Shutdown Could Be Only Way To Stop Coronavirus in Utah (SacBee)
Judge’s Ruling Opens Door For Bolton To Be Sued Or Prosecuted (JTN)
Jerry Nadler Preparing To Subpoena Bill Barr (NBC)
Fired NY Prosecutor Given Biden-Ukraine Info In 2018, Didn’t Follow Up (JTN)
Ghislaine Maxwell Hiding Behind French Extradition Laws (ZH)
Bayer Wins Court Ruling Restricting California’s Roundup Warning (R.)
BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid (Ellen Brown)

 

 

I have a hard time getting back to the daily grind. Also think maybe I should adapt the format somewhat. It’s clear that the virus will be with us for a long time. Deaths are increasing again:

 

 

 

Worldometer reports new cases for June 22 (midnight to midnight GMT+0) at + 138,975 .

 

 

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-:

 

 

From Worldometer:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1274940547824783360

 

 

 

 

I told you guys: you’re going to have to rename the capital AND the country.

Protesters Fail To Bring Down Andrew Jackson Statue Near White House (R.)

Protesters tried tearing down a statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, in a park near the White House on Monday, scrawling “killer scum” on its pedestal and pulling on the monument with ropes before police intervened. The confrontation unfolded in Lafayette Square, where crowds peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer were forcibly displaced three weeks ago to make way for staged photos of President Trump holding up a bible in front of a nearby church. The thwarted effort to topple the famed bronze likeness of Jackson astride a rearing horse was the latest bid, in protests fuelled by Floyd’s death, to destroy monuments of historical figures considered racist or divisive.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter here saying that many people were arrested for the “disgraceful vandalism” in Lafayette Park and also for defacing the exterior of St. John’s Church. “Ten years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!” he warned. Monday’s incident began around dusk with scores of protesters, most wearing masks against coronavirus infection, breaking through a 6-foot-tall fence erected in recent days around the statute at the center of the park.

Protesters then climbed onto the monument, fastening ropes and cords around the sculpted heads of both Jackson and his horse and dousing the marble pedestal with yellow paint before the crowd began trying to yank the statute from its base. Dozens of law enforcement officers, led by U.S. Park Police, stormed into the square, swinging batons and firing chemical agents to scatter protesters. By dark, police had taken control and outnumbered demonstrators in the immediate area. Jackson, a former U.S. Army general nicknamed “Old Hickory,” served two terms in the White House, from 1829 to 1837, espousing a populist political style that has sometimes been compared with that of Trump.

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This is a story that has no beginning and no end. There are some pretty offensive stories in the Bible. Go for it.

To Kill A Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn Banned From Minnesota Syllabuses (SOTT)

Two classic American novels have been banned from syllabuses at schools in Minnesota, USA. The reason being a concern that racial slurs used in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, could make pupils feel “humiliated or marginalised”. According to The Telegraph, The Duluth school district, which includes over 20 schools, is removing the books from the curriculum for ninth and 11th grade English classes. However, copies of Lee and Twain’s classics will remain in the school libraries. While Duluth district’s curriculum director Michael Cary has said To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn will be replaced by books that “teach the same lessons” without using racial slurs.

The American Library Association have listed the two novels as among the most banned books from 2001-2009, mainly due to the offensive language used by some characters. To Kill a Mockingbird deals with racial injustice in segregated 1930s Alabama. While Huckleberry Finn is set in the 19th century before slavery was abolished. The American Library Association stated that most of the complaints were from black parents concerned about books on the curriculum containing racial slurs. Both books were temporarily removed from Virginia schools in 2016 after a parental complaint. While just this October Mississippi schools banned To Kill a Mockingbird from their syllabuses. However, students with parental permission can take part in a study of Lee’s novel.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author died in 2016 after publishing just two books. The second was Go Set a Watchman, her first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, written decades ago and published in 2015. Amazon said it was their most pre-ordered book ever since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007. Last year, Harry Potter books were banned from a school in Nashville, Tennessee. According to The Tennessean, pupils at St Edward Catholic School will no longer be able to borrow JK Rowling’s fantasy books to read from its library. The magical adventures have been censored from the school library because of their content, after Reverend Dan Reehil, a pastor of the Roman Catholic school wrote an email voicing his concerns. The email said: “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception.”

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They did it only 3 days after I signaled this. Keep your eye on India, Mexico.

WHO Reports Largest Single-Day Increase In COVID19 Cases (SCMP)

The World Health Organisation on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases by its count, at more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours. The UN health agency said Brazil led the way with 54,771 cases tallied. The Brazilian government has since announced that the country’s death toll has passed 50,000. The US was next at 36,617 infections, while over 15,400 were in India. Experts said rising case counts can reflect multiple factors including more widespread testing as well as broader infection. Testing continues to be a contentious issue in the US, with a White House aide defending President Donald Trump’s latest remarks on the issue.

Trump had drawn criticism after saying at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday that the US has tested 25 million people, but the “bad part” is that it found more cases. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please’.” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on CNN that Trump was being “tongue-in-cheek” and made the comment in a “light mood.” Democratic rival Joe Biden’s campaign accused Trump of “putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people”.

The US has the world’s highest number of reported infections, over 2.2 million, and the highest death toll, at about 120,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Health officials say robust testing is vital for tracking outbreaks and keeping the virus in check. Overall in the pandemic, WHO reported 8,708,008 cases – 183,020 in the last 24 hours – with 461,715 deaths worldwide, with a daily increase of 4,743. More than two-thirds of those new deaths were reported in the Americas. Brazil’s Health Ministry said on Monday that the country had a total of 1,085,038 confirmed cases and 50,617 deaths.

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This was on Sunday. Yesterday they had “only” 758 deaths.

Mexico Reports 5,343 New Coronavirus Infections And 1,044 Deaths (R.)

Mexico on Sunday reported 5,343 new infections and 1,044 additional deaths from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the health ministry said, bringing the totals for the country to 180,545 cases and 21,825 deaths. The government has said the actual number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

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Party!

Surge In Coronavirus Cases Linked To More Texans In Their 20s (TT)

Texans under the age of 30 are testing positive for the new coronavirus at a higher rate than previously seen since the pandemic began, contributing to a recent surge in the number of cases in the state, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a press conference Tuesday. Data from several counties and health experts confirms the trend in younger people testing positive across Texas. “There are certain counties where a majority of the people who are tested positive in that county are under the age of 30, and this typically results from people going to bars,” Abbott said during the conference. “That is the case in Lubbock County, Bexar County, Cameron County.” mAbbott said that it’s unclear why more young people are contracting the virus, but he speculated that it could be from increased activity over Memorial Day weekend, visits to bars or other types of social gatherings.


This comes as Texas businesses have begun to reopen with relaxed restrictions under Abbott’s executive orders. As of last Friday, restaurants can operate at 75% capacity, while almost all other businesses can operate at 50%. Texas water parks and amusement parks have been allowed to reopen as well. In recent weeks, thousands of Texans have also flooded the streets of some of the largest cities to protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. One of the areas of concern Abbott mentioned was Hays County, where 476 of the 938 confirmed cases are people ages 20 to 29. People in their 20s accounted for 50.7% of all the cases in Hays County as of Monday, an increase from Friday, when the age group made up 42% of total cases.

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Not just in Utah, I would venture.

Complete Shutdown Could Be Only Way To Stop Coronavirus in Utah (SacBee)

With coronavirus cases climbing fast in Utah, the state’s top health official is warning that if something doesn’t change soon, a full-scale shutdown will be the only way to control the virus’ spread, outlets report. “We are quickly getting to a point where the only viable option to manage spread and deaths will be a complete shutdown,” a memo state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn shared with state and local health officials, said, according to KUTV Dunn went on to say that Utah must achieve an average daily case count of 200, for seven consecutive days, by July 1, KUTV reported, or else raise the threat level to orange.


Doing so “will send the message to Utahns that this outbreak continues to be a serious problem, and state leadership is committed to saving lives and preventing a complete economic shutdown.” Gov. Gary Herbert downgraded the alert status to yellow on May 15, and 12 days later, coronavirus spread began to accelerate, Dunn said, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The memo, released on Friday, came the same day Gov. Herbert downgraded most of rural Utah’s status to green, the lowest alert level, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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“These guys shouldn’t be joining administrations to write books and enrich themselves..”

Judge’s Ruling Opens Door For Bolton To Be Sued Or Prosecuted (JTN)

John Bolton’s legal troubles may be far from over. The former National Security Advisor won a limited but notable victory in court Saturday when a federal judge ruled that he would not prevent his tell-all book, “The Room Where It Happened,” from being published. The Trump administration had sued to stop the book’s publication, claiming it contained classified information that would endanger national security if it were to be released to the general public. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in favor of Bolton, stating that since the book has already been circulated among numerous journalists and media outlets the question of injunction was mostly moot. Yet he acknowledged in his ruling that Bolton may still have “expose[d] himself to criminal liability” in publishing the exposé.

Alan Dershowitz agreed. Dershowitz, the storied Harvard law professor and noted proponent of civil liberties, told Just the News on Saturday that there “may be a basis for a lawsuit against Bolton by the government.” Dershowitz pointed to the 1980 Supreme Court case Snepp v. United States as the controlling precedent. In that case, Frank Snepp — a CIA intelligence analyst in Saigon during the Vietnam War —published the book “Decent Interval” following his departure from the agency. The government sued Snepp over the book, which was drawn from an after-action report he had written for the CIA following his service in Saigon. The government argued that Snepp had broken his contractual obligation to submit his book to the CIA prior to publication.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled against Snepp, forcing him to surrender his monetary earnings to the federal government and enjoining him from future publication without prepublication review from the government. Dershowitz represented Snepp in the controlling case. “We argued the rule was unconstitutional. We lost,” he told Just the News. “I don’t approve of that decision,” he said. “I think it’s wrong on the law, and I think it’s wrong on the Constitution. But it may be a basis for a lawsuit against Bolton by the government.”

Kevin Brock, meanwhile — the former FBI assistant director for intelligence — suggested that it appeared Bolton had worked for the Trump administration just to line his own pockets. “Everybody who’s at the SCS level in government has to sign documentation that they’re not going to disclose information that they collect while they’re performing their duties without first getting approval,” Brock said. “It seems like more and more executives are ignoring that, and the courts haven’t really tested it or enforced it that I’m aware of.” “These guys shouldn’t be joining administrations to write books and enrich themselves,” he said. “It’s like they’re accepting jobs with an eye to enriching themselves after serving.”

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Sure, subpoena people who are willing to come voluntarily, and then talk about it on the Rachel Maddow show. Prediction: Barr will come when he wants, not Nadler.

Jerry Nadler Preparing To Subpoena Bill Barr (NBC)

The Democrat who leads the House Judiciary Committee is set to subpoena Attorney General William Barr for testimony early next month, NBC News has confirmed. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is preparing to subpoena testimony on July 2, a committee spokesperson confirmed Monday night. “We have begun the process to issue that subpoena,” Nadler said Monday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” News of the planned subpoena was reported earlier Monday by Axios. Barr has been criticized in recent days for the abrupt removal of the top prosecutor for the influential Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, over the weekend.

Nadler said Sunday on CNN that Barr deserves to be impeached but that doing so would be a waste of time because the majority-Republican Senate would never convict him. Barr had been scheduled to testify before the Judiciary Committee in March, but his testimony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, acknowledged that Nadler intends to subpoena Barr, but he objected to it. “Attorney General Barr remains willing to testify voluntarily once the pandemic concludes,” wrote Jordan, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump’s. “Accordingly, there is no legitimate basis for you to compel his testimony at this time.”

Jordan also wrote that circumstances had not changed enough since March to warrant a subpoena. When Barr and House Democrats reached an agreement on testimony this spring, Democrats wrote that they planned to ask him about the Justice Department’s decision to overrule career prosecutors and propose a reduction in the prison sentence for Trump confidant Roger Stone.

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To be continued.

Fired NY Prosecutor Given Biden-Ukraine Info In 2018, Didn’t Follow Up (JTN)

Could the impeachment scandal have been prevented if the now-fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had followed up on Ukrainian allegations about Joe Biden and his family in 2018? That’s the tantalizing question raised by emails from fall 2018 between an American lawyer and the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan that were obtained by Just the News. The memos show that well before Ukrainian prosecutors reached out to Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, in 2019 to talk about the Bidens and alleged 2016 election interference they first approached Berman’s office in New York in October 2018 via another American lawyer.

The memos show Little Rock, Ark., lawyer Bud Cummins, a former U.S. attorney himself, reached out at least five times in October 2018 to Berman seeking to arrange a meeting with then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.Lutsenko, who emerged as a key figure in the impeachment scandal, wanted to confidentially share with federal prosecutors in New York evidence he claimed to possess that raised concerns about the Bidens’ behavior as well as alleged wrongdoing in the Paul Manafort corruption case. “Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko is offering to come to U.S. meet with high-level law enforcement to share the fruits of investigations within Ukraine which have produced evidence of two basic alleged crimes,” Cummins wrote Berman on Oct. 4, 2018, one day after the two had talked on the phone about the allegations.

The allegations included that Joe Biden had “exercised influence to protect Burisma Holdings” after his son Hunter and his son’s business partner Devon Archer had joined the Ukrainian gas company’s board of directors and “substantial sums of money were paid to them,” Cummins wrote. At the time Hunter Biden and Archer joined Burisma in 2014, the company was under criminal investigation in both England and Ukraine for alleged corruption. The British case was dropped in 2015, and the Ukraine cases were eventually settled in the final days of the Obama administration.

Joe Biden boasted during a 2018 public appearance that he forced the firing on Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, back in 2016by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine. At the time, Shokin was leading the investigation into Burisma. Biden denies the investigation factored into his decision. Biden’s and Archer’s firm received more than $3 million in payments from Burisma between 2014 and 2016, bank records obtained by the FBI show.

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“Under French law anyone born on French soil is safe from extradition to another country, regardless of the alleged crime.”

Ghislaine Maxwell Hiding Behind French Extradition Laws (ZH)

Jeffrey Epstein’s accused ‘madam’ is reportedly holed up in a luxury apartment on Paris’s Avenue Matignon – just a five minute drive from the dead pedophile’s $8.6 million flat, according to the Daily Mail. Maxwell “is moving locations every month to keep private investigators off her tail and is staying at the residences of trusted colleagues and contacts,” according to a source. “She wants to remain in France for as long as she can to take advantage of extradition laws and has a huge network of contacts willing to keep her hidden,” they added. “Under French law anyone born on French soil is safe from extradition to another country, regardless of the alleged crime.”

It doesn’t mean she won’t be prosecuted for her links to Epstein but if she does end up facing charges it will be in France and not the US. The French apartment is linked to a Normandy-based business contact, according to the report. Epstein and Maxwell began dating in the early 1990s, after which she became his ‘madam’ and helicopter pilot – allegedly ferrying underage girls to his multiple properties around the world. In 2003, Epstein told a reporter with Vanity Fair that Maxwell was his “best friend.”

Maxwell comes from money. Her father was publisher Robert Maxwell – who himself faced accusations of being a Mossad double (and possibly triple) agent and a “bad character” who was “almost certainly financed by Russia,” according to the British Foreign Office. Robert Maxwell died in 1991 when he fell from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine – however the circumstances surrounding his demise have been rife with speculation (including that it was a Mossad assassination – a theory which attorney and longtime Epstein associate Alan Dershowitz slammed in a 2003 op-ed). Ghislaine has been accused by three women of procuring and training young girls to perform massage and sexual acts on Epstein and his associates.

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Whenever Bayer wins, everyone else loses..

Bayer Wins Court Ruling Restricting California’s Roundup Warning (R.)

Bayer AG won a court ruling blocking California from requiring the German-based company to tell consumers that a chemical in its Roundup herbicide is known to cause cancer, Bloomberg News reported on Monday. A federal judge in Sacramento on Monday granted Bayer’s request to block the state from requiring the company or any businesses from providing a “clear and reasonable warning before exposing any individual to glyphosate,” the report said. Bayer, which acquired Roundup manufacturer Monsanto in a $63 billion deal in 2018, to date has faced three juries over claims that Roundup causes cancer. The company has denied the allegations made by more than 42,700 plaintiffs in the United States, saying decades of studies have shown Roundup and glyphosate are safe for human use.

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“It is the world’s largest asset manager and “shadow bank,” larger than the world’s largest bank (which is in China)..”

BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid (Ellen Brown)

To most people, if they are familiar with it at all, BlackRock is an asset manager that helps pension funds and retirees manage their savings through “passive” investments that track the stock market. But working behind the scenes, it is much more than that. BlackRock has been called “the most powerful institution in the financial system,” “the most powerful company in the world” and the “secret power.” It is the world’s largest asset manager and “shadow bank,” larger than the world’s largest bank (which is in China), with over $7 trillion in assets under direct management and another $20 trillion managed through its Aladdin risk-monitoring software. BlackRock has also been called “the fourth branch of government” and “almost a shadow government”, but no part of it actually belongs to the government.

Despite its size and global power, BlackRock is not even regulated as a “Systemically Important Financial Institution” under the Dodd-Frank Act, thanks to pressure from its CEO Larry Fink, who has long had “cozy” relationships with government officials. BlackRock’s strategic importance and political weight were evident when four BlackRock executives, led by former Swiss National Bank head Philipp Hildebrand, presented a proposal at the annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in August 2019 for an economic reset that was actually put into effect in March 2020. Acknowledging that central bankers were running out of ammunition for controlling the money supply and the economy, the BlackRock group argued that it was time for the central bank to abandon its long-vaunted independence and join monetary policy (the usual province of the central bank) with fiscal policy (the usual province of the legislature).

They proposed that the central bank maintain a “Standing Emergency Fiscal Facility” that would be activated when interest rate manipulation was no longer working to avoid deflation. The Facility would be deployed by an “independent expert” appointed by the central bank. The COVID-19 crisis presented the perfect opportunity to execute this proposal in the US, with BlackRock itself appointed to administer it. In March 2020, it was awarded a no-bid contract under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to deploy a $454 billion slush fund established by the Treasury in partnership with the Federal Reserve. This fund in turn could be leveraged to provide over $4 trillion in Federal Reserve credit. While the public was distracted with protests, riots and lockdowns, BlackRock suddenly emerged from the shadows to become the “fourth branch of government,” managing the controls to the central bank’s print-on-demand fiat money.

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Jan 172020
 
 January 17, 2020  Posted by at 10:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Jack Delano Mrs. Marcella Hart, mother of three, employed as a wiper at the roundhouse. Chicago & North Western R.R. 1943

 

BlackRock Will Start Moving Away from Fossil Fuels (NewYorker)
Microsoft Pledges To Eliminate Carbon Footprint By 2050 (Ind.)
With Rivals Stuck In Impeachment Trial, Biden, Buttigieg To Barnstorm Iowa (R.)
Parnas Now Denies Speaking With Trump (WE)
Putin Purged the West from the Kremlin (Luongo)
China’s Economic Growth Hits 29-Year Low (BBC)
Manhattan’s Homeless Shelters Are Full, Luxury Skyscrapers Are Empty (Atl.)
The Loss of Truth In the Media Is a Threat to Our Democracy (Ray Dalio)
Bayer Close To Roundup Settlement – Mediator (R.)
Chemicals In Tap Water Cause Thousands Of Cancer Deaths Across Europe (RT)

 

 

Next week brings not only the Capitol Hill Bizarro circus, there’s also Davos. So we have BlackRock and Microsoft making their solid pledges. Because they see profit in playing nice.

“..there’s about eighty trillion dollars of money on the planet. If that’s correct, then BlackRock’s holding of seven trillion dollars means that nearly a dime of every dollar rests in its digital files”

BlackRock Will Start Moving Away from Fossil Fuels (NewYorker)

If you felt the earth tremble a little bit in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, it was likely caused by the sheer heft of vast amounts of money starting to shift. “Seismic” is the only word to describe the recent decision of the asset-management firm BlackRock to acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis and begin (emphasis on begin) to start redirecting its investments. By one estimate, there’s about eighty trillion dollars of money on the planet. If that’s correct, then BlackRock’s holding of seven trillion dollars means that nearly a dime of every dollar rests in its digital files, mostly in the form of stocks it invests in for pension funds and the like. So when BlackRock’s C.E.O., Larry Fink, devoted his annual letter to investors to explaining that climate change has now put us “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” it marked a watershed moment in climate history.

He’s right about the financial future, of course—one can’t look at the clouds of smoke now obscuring the Australian continent and come away thinking that we can maintain our present course. But anyone paying attention—which includes investment-fund C.E.O.s—has known the score for years. What’s changed now are a couple of factors. For one, fossil-fuel stocks have begun to drag down portfolios. As the Times observed, “Had Mr. Fink moved a decade ago to pull BlackRock’s funds out of companies that contribute to climate change, his clients would have been well served. In the past 10 years, through Friday, companies in the S&P 500 energy sector had gained just 2 percent in total. In the same period, the broader S&P 500 nearly tripled.”

But, at least as important, public pressure just keeps mounting. Activist campaigns have been working to make the financial industry start to pay attention. (I’m involved with one, and was among those arrested, on Friday, after a sojourn in the lobby of a Chase branch.) In the past few months, Goldman Sachs, Liberty Mutual, and the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., have all put forth new climate policies, and the European Investment Bank—the largest international public bank in the world—announced that it would stop lending to fossil-fuel projects altogether.

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CEO Satya Nadella said on the BBC this morning that the world needs much more energy by 2040. Grow the world cleaner! Disregard these lying fools.

Microsoft Pledges To Eliminate Carbon Footprint By 2050 (Ind.)

Microsoft has promised to remove as much carbon as it has put into the atmosphere by 2050 – a goal critics say is undermined by the tech-giant’s ongoing contracts with some of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The pledge – one of the most ambitious to be undertaken by a Fortune 500 company – includes the creation of a “Climate Innovation Fund”, which will invest $1bn (£760m) over the next four years to speed up the development of carbon removal technology. Speaking from Washington, chief executive Satya Nadella said the company would seek to be carbon-negative – taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than it puts in – by 2030. “If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that technology built without these principles can do more harm than good,” he said.

“We must begin to offset the damaging effects of climate change,” Mr Nadella added, commenting that if global temperatures continue to rise unabated “the results will be devastating”. The move was lauded by politicians with the US – with Democratic senator Chris Coons and Republican Mike Braun, both chairs of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, describing the mood as “exactly the kind of bold action we need from the business community”. However, it is unclear how the pledge will run alongside Microsoft’s work with giants in the oil industry including Chevron and Exxon Mobil – both of which were identified among the globe’s top companies for greenhouse gas emissions from 1988 to 2015, placing in 12th and 5th respectively according to environmental non-profit CDP.

Last February the firm announced it had the potential to expand Exxonmobil’s production by up to 50,000 barrels of oil a day by 2025 from the Permian Basin in the southwest US – and in 2017 it announced a multi-year deal to sell cloud services to US energy giant Chevron Corp. Bill Weihl, former director of sustainability at Facebook Inc, said Microsoft does not take into account that its work with oil companies could outweigh the gains Microsoft makes on its own carbon reduction. “There is good stuff here,” Mr Weihl said of the carbon capture plan. “But the topline message, that this is urgent, is not matched by what they’re focusing on.”

[..] The announcement follows a December lawsuit in which Microsoft was named alongside the likes of Tesla and Google parent firm Alphabet – with the companies accusing the company of being complicit in the deaths of children from the Democratic Republic of Congo who were mining a metal integral to their devices. The children cited in the landmark lawsuit had been put to work to find cobalt – a precious metal vital to the production of modern batteries that has been intensively mined since the dawn of smartphones.

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Unless Biden is called as a witness?!

With Rivals Stuck In Impeachment Trial, Biden, Buttigieg To Barnstorm Iowa (R.)

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg will blitz Iowa before the state kicks off the party’s nominating contest on Feb. 3, while their key rivals will be largely unable to campaign because they must sit as Senate jurors in Republican President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Aides to Biden and Buttigieg, locked in a tight four-way battle with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, would not comment on the unprecedented advantage next week’s Senate trial presents them. Yet newly released schedules reveal an intense on-the-ground push by both candidates in the final stretch in Iowa, while Sanders, Warren and another senator, Amy Klobuchar, will miss most remaining campaign days to participate in the impeachment trial.

“I would rather be in Iowa today,” Sanders told reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday after the trial formally kicked off. “I would rather be in New Hampshire and in Nevada and so forth. But I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job, and I’m here to do my job.” A senior aide to former Vice President Biden, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the campaign has not recalibrated its Iowa strategy because of the Senate trial. But their No. 1 priority is getting Biden talking to as many voters as possible in Iowa in the final days of what polls suggest is a virtual tie among the four.

Biden heads to Iowa on Friday and will spend nearly every day between then and the Feb. 3 caucuses in the state, the aide said. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, who has been campaigning heavily on behalf of her husband in Iowa and other early-voting states, will also spend much of the final 18 days in the state. [..] To be sure, Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar are not ceding Iowa. They plan to campaign there during the final three weekends and will rely on representatives traveling the state for them on weekdays when the Senate trial is in session. Warren’s campaign has said they are considering remote appearances and events hosted by key supporters or family members.

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Parnas is a natural born liar, as the MSM said until now. But not anymore? Now his words “change the entire impeachment trial”? He’s just a guy who’s been indicted and seeks relief.

Parnas Now Denies Speaking With Trump (WE)

Indicted businessman Lev Parnas said he did not speak directly with President Trump about a pressure campaign against Ukraine that sought to benefit Trump politically, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Last November, CNN reported that Parnas told close associates he had spoken to Trump. “At one point during the party that night, Parnas and Fruman slipped out of a large reception room packed with hundreds of Trump donors to have a private meeting with the President and Giuliani, according to two acquaintances in whom Parnas confided right after the meeting,” CNN wrote. “Eventually, according to what Parnas told his confidants, the topic turned to Ukraine that night,” the article continued.


“According to those two confidants, Parnas said that ‘the big guy,’ as he sometimes referred to the President in conversation, talked about tasking him and Fruman with what Parnas described as ‘a secret mission’ to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.” The New York Times told a different story Wednesday, reporting: “Mr. Parnas said that although he did not speak with Mr. Trump about the efforts, he met with the president on several occasions and was told by Mr. Giuliani that Mr. Trump was kept in the loop.” Parnas’s decision to go public has led to congressional Democrats demanding that he and other key players in the pressure campaign be called to testify in next week’s Senate impeachment trial.

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A success story like none other these days.

Putin Purged the West from the Kremlin (Luongo)

[..] the next thing to do was to reform an economy rightly criticized for being too heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues. And that is a much tougher task. It meant getting control over the Russian central bank and the financial sector. Putin was given that opportunity during the downturn in oil prices in 2014. Using the crisis as an opportunity Putin began the decoupling of Russia’s economy from the West. During the early boom years of his Presidency oil revenue strengthened both the Russian state coffers and the so-called oligarchs who Putin was actively fighting for control. He warned the CEO’s of Gazprom, Rosneft and Sberbank that they were too heavily exposed to the U.S. dollar this way in the years leading up to the crash in oil prices in 2014-16.

And when the U.S. sanctioned Russia in 2014 over the reunification with Crimea these firms all had to come to Putin for a bailout. Their dollar-denominated debt was swapped out for euro and ruble debt through the Bank of Russia and he instructed the central bank to allow the ruble to fall, to stop defending it. Taking the inflationary hit was dangerous but necessary if Russia was to become a truly independent economic force. Since then it’s been a tug of war with the IMF-trained bureaucracy within the Bank of Russia to set monetary policy in accordance with Russia’s needs not what the international community demanded. That strong Presidency was a huge boon. But, now that the job is mostly done, it can be an albatross.

Putin understands that a Russia flush with too much oil money is a Russia ruled by that money and becomes lazy because of that money. Contrary to popular opinion, Putin doesn’t want to see oil prices back near $100 per barrel. Because Russia’s comparative advantage in oil and gas is so high relative to everyone else on the world stage and to other domestic industries that money retards innovation and investment in new technologies and a broadening of the Russian domestic economy. And this has been Putin’s focus for a while now. Oil and gas are geostrategic assets used to shore up Russia’s position as a regional power, building connections with its new partners while opening up new markets for Russian businesses. But it isn’t the end of the Russian story of the future, rather the beginning.

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There’s still not enough salt to take the numbers with. But at least at 6.1%, Xi can claim he meant to do this.

China’s Economic Growth Hits 29-Year Low (BBC)

China’s economy grew last year at the slowest pace in almost three decades. Official figures show that the world’s second largest economy expanded by 6.1% in 2019 from the year before – the worst figure in 29 years. The country has faced weak domestic demand and the impact of the bitter trade war with the US. The government has been rolling out measures over the past two years in an attempt to boost growth. It comes after almost two years of trade tensions with the US – although hopes of a better relationship with America have seen improvements in manufacturing and business confidence data. This week Washington and Beijing signed a “phase one” trade deal. However, analysts remain unsure whether those recent gains will continue.

In response to the lower growth rate, Beijing is now widely expected to roll out yet more stimulus measures. The government has used a combination of measures aimed at easing the slowdown, including tax cuts and allowing local governments to sell large amounts of bonds to fund their infrastructure programmes. The country’s banks have also been encouraged to lend more, especially to small firms. New loans in the local currency hit a record high of $2.44 trillion (£1.86tn) last year. So far the economy has been slow to pick up, with investment growth falling to record low levels. Historically, China has seen much stronger economic expansion, with the first decade of the 21st Century seeing double-digit percentage growth.

But – although that 6.1% growth rate is China’s weakest expansion in almost three decades – it is much higher than other leading economies. The US central bank, for example, has forecast that the American economy will grow by around 2.2% this year. As part of the phase one deal, China pledged to boost US imports by $200bn above 2017 levels and strengthen intellectual property rules. In exchange, the US agreed to halve some of the new tariffs it has imposed on Chinese products. Speaking in Washington, US President Donald Trump said the pact would be “transformative” for the American economy.

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The long term effects of the Fed’s bubbles are disastrous. That’s why they should be taken out of the equation.

Manhattan’s Homeless Shelters Are Full, Luxury Skyscrapers Are Empty (Atl.)

In Manhattan, the homeless shelters are full, and the luxury skyscrapers are vacant. Such is the tale of two cities within America’s largest metro. Even as 80,000 people sleep in New York City’s shelters or on its streets, Manhattan residents have watched skinny condominium skyscrapers rise across the island. These colossal stalagmites initially transformed not only the city’s skyline but also the real-estate market for new homes. From 2011 to 2019, the average price of a newly listed condo in New York soared from $1.15 million to $3.77 million. But the bust is upon us. Today, nearly half of the Manhattan luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold, according to The New York Times.

What happened? While real estate might seem like the world’s most local industry, these luxury condos weren’t exclusively built for locals. They were also made for foreigners with tens of millions of dollars to spare. Developers bet huge on foreign plutocrats—Russian oligarchs, Chinese moguls, Saudi royalty—looking to buy second (or seventh) homes. But the Chinese economy slowed, while declining oil prices dampened the demand for pieds-à-terre among Russian and Middle Eastern zillionaires. It didn’t help that the Treasury Department cracked down on attempts to launder money through fancy real estate. Despite pressure from nervous lenders, developers have been reluctant to slash prices too suddenly or dramatically, lest the market suddenly clear and they leave millions on the table.

[..] In the past decade, New York City real-estate prices have gone from merely obscene to downright macabre. From 2010 to 2019, the average sale price of homes doubled in many Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Prospect Heights and Williamsburg, according to the Times. Buyers there could consider themselves lucky: In Cobble Hill, the typical sales price tripled to $2.5 million in nine years. This is not normal. And for middle-class families, particularly for the immigrants who give New York City so much of its dynamism, it has made living in Manhattan or gentrified Brooklyn practically impossible. No wonder, then, that the New York City area is losing about 300 residents every day.

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Look, if you quote the Washington Post’s Executive Editor to make this point, you’ve already lost.

The Loss of Truth In the Media Is a Threat to Our Democracy (Ray Dalio)

While I have reflected on the corrosive effects that fake and distorted media are having on our society’s well-being for the past few years, I am now more concerned about it than ever. To me media distortions + great polarity + the upcoming elections = a significant risk to quality democracy. It is no longer controversial to say that media distortions are a serious problem. Even most of the media folks I speak with share my concern. As Martin Baron, the Washington Post’s Executive Editor, said in reflecting on the problem, “If you have a society where people can’t agree on the basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?” This is not just a fringe media problem; it is a mainstream media problem. A 2019 Gallup study said that only 13 percent of Americans surveyed have “a great deal” of trust in the media.


Only 41 percent of those surveyed said that they have either a “fair” or “great deal” of trust in media. That compares with 55 percent having such confidence in 1999 and 72 percent in 1976. The dramatically decreased trustworthiness has even plagued icons of journalistic trust such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as sensationalism and commercialism have superseded accuracy and journalistic integrity as primary objectives. A number of media writers have in private told me that their editors have specifically hired them to write negative, sensationalistic stories because they sell best. They explained that the financial decline of print media and the public’s short attention span have required them to produce such attention-grabbing headlines and stories or face financial decline.

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This doesn’t smell right at all.

Bayer Close To Roundup Settlement – Mediator (R.)

Bayer is close to settling more than 75,000 cancer claims related to its Roundup herbicide, mediator Ken Feinberg told Bloomberg in an interview, saying he was “cautiously optimistic” a deal could be reached in about a month. Feinberg was quoted as saying that the number of cases had grown to between 75,000 and 85,000 and “maybe more”. Bayer in October said it was now facing 42,700 U.S. plaintiffs blaming its glyphosate-based weedkillers for their cancer. Bayer has ruled out withdrawing from the market in the U.S., saying regulators and extensive research have found glyphosate to be safe.


A spokesman for Bayer said: “The number reported by Bloomberg includes potential plaintiffs with unserved cases and is a speculative estimate about the numbers of plaintiffs who might be included in a potential settlement.” He added: “The number of served cases as reported on a quarterly basis remains significantly below 50,000. Bayer does not report or speculate about potential plaintiffs with unserved cases.”

Read more …

Mass suicide continues. We cannot help ourselves, it’s a force that’s bigger than us.

Chemicals In Tap Water Cause Thousands Of Cancer Deaths Across Europe (RT)

Each year, more than 6,500 cases of bladder cancer, roughly five percent of all cases in Europe, are found to be attributable to exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water – and it’s all perfectly legal. For a study of countries’ water quality, the EU28 became the EU26, as adequate data for Bulgaria and Romania could not be obtained. Nevertheless, the project covered 75% of the total EU population, and a reading of its findings is ominous.

What the hell are THMs?THMs are a class of molecule that appear as a by-product of the disinfectants used to clean drinking water. When chlorine, the main chemical used to clean drinking water, comes into contact with organic matter, it breaks down into THMs. And despite being legal up to certain levels, long-term exposure to them has been consistently associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The EU has set that legal limit at 100 lg=L, but anything over 50 lg=L causes a 51 percent increase in the probability of bladder cancer, in men at least. This study was undertaken at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, in a city which has THM levels above the present regulatory maximum limit of 100 lg=L. Astonishingly, there is no provision for the lowering of this maximum in the latest European Council directive.

How common is bladder cancer?Bladder cancer is only the tenth most common form of cancer in the UK; 135,000 people in the EU were diagnosed with it in 2016. It is usually quite treatable with a simple surgical procedure as long as it is caught before spreading to other body parts. Some evidence suggests it affects men more than women (although this could be down to lifestyle differences, such as higher rates of smoking).

The countries with the highest percentages of bladder cancer cases attributable to THM exposure were Cyprus (23 percent), Malta (18 percent) and Ireland (17 percent). In other words, 23 out of 100 Cypriot people who are diagnosed with cancer in a given year are likely to have contracted it from their drinking water. Meanwhile, the greatest number of attributable cases actually occurred in Spain (1,482 attributable cases) and the United Kingdom (1,356) although this is a function of population as well as THM contamination.

Read more …

 

 

 

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