Oct 012020
 


Fred Stein Little Italy New York 1943

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Money to Biden

 

 

Sounds like a lot. But it’s annualized.

US Economy Plunged Over 31% In Q2 (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sean Davis Comey

Comey doesn’t remember anything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump white supremacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sean Davis Declassification

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

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

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

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

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

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Not everybody has the gold, though.

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

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

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

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

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The Fed studies the inequality it has created.

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

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

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

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

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Stoltenberg is evil, which makes him perfect for NATO.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sheldon Adelson is above the law.

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

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

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

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

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The world also appears to warm up more at night.

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

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


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

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


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

Read more …

 

 

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– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time.

 

Sep 302020
 


Henri Matisse Young Woman at the Window, Sunset 1921

 

Hillary Clinton Cooked Up Russiagate To Smear Trump (RT)
Flynn Lawyer Tells Judge To Recuse Self Over ‘Abject Bias’ (Fox)
The FBI And Special Counsel’s Horrible, Terrible, Miserable Week (Brock)
Trump’s Tax Filings Do Not Reveal What Democrats Had Hoped For (MoA)
China Still Fears 3 Things About America. The Dollar is One of Them (TM.ch)
Brooklyn Voters On Mislabeled Absentee Ballots: ‘It’s A Major Problem’ (NYP)
Less Than 50% Of Americans Would Take Covid-19 Vaccine, Even If Paid $100 (RT)
The Redistribution Games (Varoufakis)
Anonymous Witnesses to Detail Alleged CIA Plot to Kill Assange (Lauria)
Greece Moves Refugees To Mainland To Ease Crowding At Island Camps (AP)
40% Of World’s Plant Species At Risk Of Extinction (G.)

 

 

I did get up at 4am to watch the debate. Mostly very messy. Wallace looked nothing like a moderator. Biden seemed almost normal, though nowhere near a man to lead a country. Trump to me looked too agressive, many people won’t like that. But Dan Bongino may have a point: Trump did get Biden to say that he doesn’t support Dems’ health care plans, nor the Green New Deal. Which is odd given that his website says he does, and Kamala Harris was one of its main voices.

Bongino

Biden Green New Deal

 

 

Wonder how this is covered in the MSM.

Hillary Clinton Cooked Up Russiagate To Smear Trump (RT)

Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton OK’ed a plan to smear then-rival Donald Trump with accusations about Russian election-hacking to distract from her email scandal, newly-declassified papers appear to show. Clinton approved an advisor’s proposal to “vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services” in July 2016, according to information declassified on Tuesday by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. The bombshell revelation was made public in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham (R-S. Carolina), in response to a request for information related to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane (i.e. Russiagate) probe.


By the end of July 2016, US intelligence agencies had picked up chatter that their Russian counterparts not only knew of the scheme, but that Clinton was behind it – though the declassified material stresses that the American intelligence community “does not know the accuracy” of the claim that Clinton had green-lighted such a plan, or whether the Russians were exaggerating. However, then-CIA director John Brennan apparently followed up that assessment by briefing then-President Barack Obama on Clinton’s Russian smear scheme, according to his handwritten notes – suggesting the spy agencies were very much aware what was going on.

The news made a splash among the president’s supporters and other Russiagate skeptics, one of whom observed the timing of the events described in the declassified material dovetailed seamlessly with the timetable in which Russiagate was unveiled to the public. Clinton staffer Robby Mook appeared on CNN on July 24, 2016 to claim that “Russian state actors broke into the [Democratic National Committee]” and “stole” the campaign’s emails “for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.” Former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele filed his report around the same date, accusing the Trump campaign of colluding with Russian security services to hack the DNC and dump the emails via Wikileaks.


The false information that made up the infamous “peepee dossier” – collected under contract from opposition research firm Fusion GPS – was used to justify securing a FISA warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page. That warrant, and others that followed, have since been declared invalid, as it was discovered the Obama administration had “violated its duty of candor” on its application for every warrant. Just a month before the 2016 election, Obama’s intelligence agencies announced that they believed Russia was responsible for hacking the DNC – allegations it has since emerged were made without even examining the server on which the emails were stored. More than a year after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report shocked Russiagate true believers with the absence of the promised proof of collusion, the colossal conspiracy theory has all but unraveled.

Read more …

She asked Trump not to pardon Flynn. She wants to take everybody to court. Including Hillary and Obama.

Flynn Lawyer Tells Judge To Recuse Self Over ‘Abject Bias’ (Fox)

In a fiery exchange during Tuesday’s hearing, former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell claimed that U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had displayed “abject bias” in the case and should recuse himself. Powell’s remarks came during oral arguments before Sullivan over whether the judge should grant a request to dismiss Flynn’s criminal case. Sullivan responded to Powell by saying that she was free to submit an argument in writing and should have done so months ago. Powell also admitted on Tuesday that she has spoken to President Trump about Flynn’s criminal case, but that she requested that Trump not grant him a pardon.

“Have you had discussions with the president about this case?” Sullivan asked Powell. Powell at first tried to invoke executive privilege, but upon being reminded that she is not a federal employee, she acknowledged that she had. “I can tell you I spoke one time with the president, one time about this case to inform him of the general status of the case,” Powell said. When asked if she had made any requests, she said, no, “other than he not issue a pardon.” [..] “The scope of the court’s inquiry is going to be significantly limited,” Sullivan said upon kicking off Tuesday’s hearing. Sullivan explained that he would not look at whether he had the authority to appoint Gleeson (saying it was “crystal clear”), or whether Flynn should be held in contempt for perjury.

“So the issues the court will focus on this morning and hear from counsel are as follows,” Sullivan continued. “Whether the court has the discretion to review both opposed and unopposed 48(a)motions for prosecutorial abuse, and whether this court should deny the government leave to dismiss the pending charge against Mr. Flynn.” The Justice Department argued Tuesday that the case should be dismissed because there is no controversy between the parties. Gleeson’s amicus curiae brief in June insisted that not only does Sullivan have the authority to reject the government’s request but he should do so. He alleged that that prosecutors’ reasoning is “riddled with inexplicable and elementary errors of law and fact” and should not justify dismissal.

The DOJ in response asserted that Article II of the Constitution gives the court no power to review the executive branch’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion. In their reasoning for dismissing the case, prosecutors claimed that Flynn’s false statements could not be proven to be material in an FBI investigation, specifically the investigation of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to it.

Read more …

Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

The FBI And Special Counsel’s Horrible, Terrible, Miserable Week (Brock)

Albert Einstein had his theory of relativity validated by the atomic bomb. Like it or not, Donald Trump’s widely ridiculed “witch hunt” theory was bolstered by a couple more explosive revelations released last week that once again prove paranoia doesn’t mean they’re not actually out to get you. The first blast revealed that the FBI investigated the primary source of the Steele dossier years ago for being a Russian spy. Amazingly, we’re just learning this now. The second detonation comes from an FBI agent deeply embedded in the Crossfire Hurricane and special counsel investigations who lambasted the exercise as an effort to “get Trump” rather than follow actual evidence. Let’s start with the spy-crafted dossier. If it wasn’t clear before, it’s now nearly inescapable that those at the top of the FBI were not “never Trumpers,” they were “sever Trumpers.”

The more their actions come into corroborated focus, the more apparent was their desire to decapitate the new administration. The front office’s Stop Trump tone was set early on by former agent Peter Strzok’s infamous text to former FBI counsel Lisa Page on Aug. 15, 2016 — “I’m afraid we can’t take that risk” — regarding Trump’s chances of being elected president. The troika at the top — former FBI director James Comey, his deputy director Andrew McCabe, and Strzok — had a problem, though. They feared a Trump presidency but lacked any real evidence to stop him. We know from the communication crafted by Strzok opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation that he articulated no legal basis to initiate the case.

Not to be deterred, the trio decided to exploit the Steele dossier to continue their unprecedented investigation of a presidential campaign, even though they knew it was paid for by the Clinton campaign, even though Comey himself described it as “salacious and unverified,” even though the primary sub-source admitted he fabricated most of it, and — we now learn — even though the FBI investigated the sub-source years prior as a Russian spy. Any one of those factors would have been enough to prompt a high school civics student to disregard the dossier wholesale. Yet these FBI leaders trundled on, eventually relying on it to invade the privacy of a U.S. citizen — not once but four times, without cause. In essence, the three used the words of a suspected Russian spy to, in the words of the attorney general, “spy” on the Trump campaign. In short, they really, really wanted to believe the dossier.

There is an axiom in law enforcement that you should never concoct a theory and then search for evidence to fit the narrative. No, you follow the evidence and let it tell its own story. The dossier was not evidence, or even anything close to it, but it fit a narrative favored by the trio in the FBI’s front office. Despite its outlandishness, it supported their view that a Trump presidency was too risky. Will they be held accountable for their illicit investigative activities and the massive damage they have done to the reputation of the FBI? That part isn’t clear yet. In the meantime, they all endure the inside-the-Beltway hardship of writing a book apiece and collecting large sums of money; movie stars line up to play them in propaganda films. The FBI trio continues to be the gift that keeps on shivving, slicing up the bureau’s legacy even now.

Read more …

“Trump paid alternative minimum tax in seven years between 2000 and 2017 — a total of $24.3 million..”

Trump’s Tax Filings Do Not Reveal What Democrats Had Hoped For (MoA)

Lots of pages have been filled with rumors about President Trump’s income tax filings. The Democrats had hoped that they would reveal criminal behavior or at least prove that Russia had illegitimate influence over him: “Trump says his tax returns reveal nothing that is not already disclosed on his official candidate financial disclosure, called Form 278e. As ethics counsels to the past two presidents, we dealt with both their tax filings and their Form 278’s and so we know that Trump is wrong. His tax filings have an enormous amount of additional information which, in this case, could be critically important to determining whether his business overseas might affect his decision-making as president. That is because Trump’s 12,000-page tax return may tell us a great deal about his Russian and other foreign business ties that is not on his 104-page campaign financial disclosure. It’s now more vital than ever that we get that information in light of Trump’s embrace of Russian hacking, leaking and interference in our election.”

Now the New York Times has obtained Trump’s tax filings. It has made a huge splash out of them. The story starts with this: “Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.” However, down in paragraph 78(!) it reports: “Mr. Trump was periodically required to pay a parallel income tax called the alternative minimum tax, created as a tripwire to prevent wealthy people from using huge deductions, including business losses, to entirely wipe out their tax liabilities. Mr. Trump paid alternative minimum tax in seven years between 2000 and 2017 — a total of $24.3 million, excluding refunds he received after filing.” Reading the details of the 11,000(!) words story one finds that it is largely a bummer for the ‘resistance’, not so much for Trump.

It essentially says: • Trump is a quite rich international real estate investor. • U.S. tax laws allow investors to minimize their reported income by claiming various kinds of deprecations and other gimmicks. • Tax regulations that allows investors to carry forward leftover losses to reduce taxes in future years are especially helpful. • Trump has good accountants and tax lawyers and has used the laws to their full extent to minimize his tax payments. Is any of the above something we did not already knew? What the Times story does NOT say is: • Trump’s tax record reveal that he did something illegal.• The paper had surely hoped for more. It must have been especially bitter for its authors to write this paragraph:


By their very nature, the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled. They comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the I.R.S., not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia. This is a dud. It is certainly not the campaign ammunition the Democrats had hoped for.

Read more …

“We know from history that it is easy to start a conflict, but it is bloody hard to end it.”

China Still Fears 3 Things About America. The Dollar is One of Them (TM.ch)

Few Western observers know China better than The Honorable Kevin Rudd. As a young diplomat, the Australian, who speaks fluent Mandarin, was stationed in Beijing in the 1980s. As Australia’s Prime Minister and then Foreign Minister from 2007 to 2012, he led his country through the delicate tension between its most important alliance partner (the USA) and its largest trading partner (China). Today Mr. Rudd is President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. In an in-depth conversation via Zoom, he explains why a fundamental competition has begun between the two great powers. He would not rule out a hot war: «We know from history that it is easy to start a conflict, but it is bloody hard to end it», he warns.

The strategic competition between the two countries is the product of both structural and leadership factors. The structural factors are pretty plain, and that is the continuing change in the balance of power in military, economic, and technological terms. This has an impact on China’s perception of its ability to be more assertive in the region and the world against America. The second dynamic is Xi Jinping’s leadership style, which is more assertive and aggressive than any of his post-Mao predecessors, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. The third factor is Donald Trump, who obsesses about particular parts of the economy, namely trade and to a lesser degree technology.

Would America’s position be different if someone else than Trump was President? No. The structural factors about the changing balance of power, as well as Xi Jinping’s leadership style, have caused China to rub up against American interests and values very sharply. Indeed, China is rubbing up against the interests and values of most other Western countries and some Asian democracies as well. Had Hillary Clinton won in 2016, her response would have been very robust. Trump has for the most part been superficially robust, principally on trade and technology. He was only triggered into more comprehensive robustness by the Covid-19 crisis threatening his reelection. If the next President of the U.S. is a Democrat, my judgement would be that the new Administration will be equally but more systematically hard-line in their reaction to China.

Do you see a world divided into two technology spheres? This is the logical consequence. Assume you have Huawei 5G systems rolled out across the 75 countries that take part in the Belt and Road Initiative, then what follows from that is a series of industry standards that become accepted and compatible within those countries, as opposed to those that rely on American systems. But then another set of questions arises: Let’s say China is effectively banned from purchasing semiconductors based on American technology and is dependent on domestic supply. Chinese semiconductors are slower than their American counterparts, and likely to remain for the decade ahead. Do the BRI countries accept a slower microprocessor product standard for being part of the Chinese technological ecosystem? I don’t know the answer to that, but I think your prognosis of two technology spheres is correct. [..]

How probable is it that Washington would choose to weaponise the Dollar? We don’t know. The Democrats in my judgement do not have a policy on that at present. Perhaps the best way to respond to your question is to say this: There are three things that China still fears about America. The US military, its semiconductor industry, and the Dollar. If you are attentive to the internalities of the Chinese national economic self-sufficiency debate at present, it often is expressed in terms of «Let’s not allow to happen to us in financial markets what is happening in technology markets». But if the U.S. goes into hardline mode against China for general strategy purposes, then the only thing that would deter Washington is the amount of self-harm it would inflict on Wall Street, if it is forced to decouple from the Chinese market. If that would happen, it would place Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris or the City of London in a pretty interesting position.

Read more …

A story a day.

Brooklyn Voters On Mislabeled Absentee Ballots: ‘It’s A Major Problem’ (NYP)

Voters across Brooklyn are reporting widespread issues with mislabeled absentee ballots — a problem the city Board of Elections has blamed on an outside vendor. In numerous cases shared with The Post, residents across the borough received ballot return envelopes bearing the wrong name and address, sparking confusion over how to fix the error five weeks ahead of the election. “It’s a major problem. This is not stoking confidence in the election system,” said Brooklyn Heights resident, Jiong Wang, who received a return envelope for his ballot with the name and address of a voter who lives a half-mile away.


Meanwhile, Wang’s wife, Jill Wiehoff, received a ballot return envelope with her husband’s name on it. The same absentee ballot mislabeling issue was experienced by a Downtown Brooklyn voter whose return envelope bore the name of a resident living two blocks away. Because of the snafu, the voter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he now plans to vote in person. “I’m very disappointed,” the voter said, “and I hope the BOE fixes it very f—ing soon.” [..] The city Board of Elections on Monday night acknowledged the matter, attributing it to “an outside vendor error.” They encouraged voters experiencing the problem to reach out, leading to comments from more Brooklyn voters who said they were sent the wrong ballot envelopes.

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Thanks, Bill Gates. Well played.

Less Than 50% Of Americans Would Take Covid-19 Vaccine, Even If Paid $100 (RT)

Mounting skepticism around a Covid-19 vaccine in the US continues, with less than half of respondents saying they’d take one even if they were offered $100, according to a new poll. Of the 1,000-plus adults who participated in the Axios-Ipsos poll, only 44 percent said they’d take a vaccine if offered the incentive of $100. They would be even less likely to get the vaccine if they were the ones who had to pay $100, with only 26 percent saying they’d be willing to take on the cost. More than half, however, said they’d be more “likely” to get it if their health insurance covered the entire cost. The same poll found that people would most trust an endorsement of a vaccine if it came from their personal doctor (62 percent).


Approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would make 54 percent more likely to trust a vaccine, while approval from President Donald Trump would only help 19 percent of respondents. Even the majority of those who identify as Republicans (60 percent) said an endorsement from the president would not help their decision of whether or not to get vaccinated. Other recent polling about a potential vaccine has typically shown that less than half of Americans are willing to be first in line to get inoculated, with some showingconcern about the process being rushed amid President Trump’s numerous suggestions one will likely be available before the end of the year.

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“… the Roosevelts effected a redistribution of wealth and power that nothing short of a revolution could accomplish.”

The Redistribution Games (Varoufakis)

[..] the greatest proportion of the world’s wealth does not find its way to society’s innovators or maintainers. As wealth accumulates in few hands, the rest of the economy gradually becomes a desert. This is not news. We have always known that exorbitant market power underpins exorbitant wealth, which then feeds back into even greater market power. And this is the crux of the matter: Nothing retards productivity and depresses employment as efficiently as exorbitant market power. To invoke the conservative analogy, not even the fastest runners can win when the wealth commandeered by the ultra-rich turns the track into sand for everyone else. That’s why the most soul-destroying poverty and the largest number of “deaths of despair” are observed in countries where wealth concentration is soaring.

What should we do about highly concentrated wealth? How do we redistribute it fairly and efficiently? A wealth tax is much in vogue today. But no legally and politically feasible wealth tax can reduce substantially the current levels of crushing inequality. Moreover, it enables conservatives to cast doubt on wealth redistribution by asking pertinent questions: Should the state evict the poor heir of a good house if she can’t afford to pay the wealth tax? How do we price an asset, such as a stamp collection, without first auctioning it off? Fortunately, there are proven ways to redistribute wealth without violating anyone’s rights or crossing ethical lines. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt famously broke up Standard Oil and other cartels despite a chorus of opposition bemoaning his attack on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Following the 1929 Wall Street collapse, another Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, faced the same chorus when he put the financial genie in a bottle. With these two moves, the Roosevelts effected a redistribution of wealth and power that nothing short of a revolution could accomplish. Of course, the powerful find ways to shake off such shackles. After the Bretton Woods system collapsed in 1971, Wall Street and the cartels began to dominate again. Today, three megafirms, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, own at least 40% of all American public companies and nearly 90% of those listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Tacit collusion is rampant, because every CEO knows that the parent megafirm is likely to be talking to CEOs of rival companies that it also owns. The result is higher prices, less innovation, lower investment, and, naturally, stagnant wages.

Power was further concentrated after Wall Street imploded in 2008 and central banks began to pump rivers of money into the financial system. Levering up the central bank money, the gargantuan cartels used this liquidity to invent new forms of complex debt and to buy back their own shares, sending share prices (and, naturally, bonuses) into the stratosphere while starving the world of investment in quality jobs and green infrastructure. Megafirms also indulged in another favorite pastime: usurping markets, buying politicians, and capturing regulators – in short, poisoning liberal democracy.

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The judge dind’t dare object because the Spanish court had earlier permitted it. Now, “..there is the specter of damning testimony being read in Assange’s extradition case about the CIA planning to kidnap or poison Assange that will go unchallenged by the U.S.”

Anonymous Witnesses to Detail Alleged CIA Plot to Kill Assange (Lauria)

Judge Vanessa Baraitser has granted anonymity to two witness from the UC Global Spanish security firm to have their testimony read in court on Thursday regarding an alleged Central Intelligence Agency plot to either kidnap or poison Julian Assange. The two witnesses have already testified under protection in a Spanish court case against David Morales, founder and director of UC Global. The company was hired by the Ecuadorian government to provide security at its London embassy, where Assange lived for seven years until his arrest last year. According to press reports the witnesses testimony detailed how Morales was working with “American friends,” allegedly the CIA, to stream 24/7 video and audio from Assange’s chamber to the United States, including surveillance of Assange’s privileged conversations with his lawyers.

That would mean the government prosecuting Assange had eavesdropped on his defense preparations, an offense that would normally get its case thrown out of court. The Spanish witnesses sought the same protection from Baraitser’s court that they enjoy in the Spanish court because of fear of retaliation from Morales. Spanish police raided his home and found loaded arms with their serial numbers filed off. James Lewis QC, representing the U.S. government told the court he could not get instructions from the Department of Justice on whether to challenge the testimony on Thursday because of a “Chinese Wall” that is supposed to be between the DOJ and other federal agencies, such as the CIA, to prevent prosecutions from being politically motivated. (It is a a wall that has holes. We’ve heard testimony in this case about that).


So there is the specter of damning testimony being read in Assange’s extradition case about the Central Intelligence Agency planning to kidnap or poison Assange that will go unchallenged by the U.S. The prosecution will be informed of the witnesses’ identities and has 24 hours to vet the witnesses. Thursday should be the most explosive and perhaps most decisive day during this proceeding.

Read more …

Well, at least something’s moving.

Greece Moves Refugees To Mainland To Ease Crowding At Island Camps (AP)

Greek authorities moved nearly 1,000 refugees from eastern Aegean islands to the mainland Tuesday as part of efforts to improve conditions in overcrowded island refugee camps. Most of the 946 people on a ferry that docked at Lavrio, near Athens, had been at a temporary facility hastily built on the island of Lesvos to replace a camp that was burned down by angry residents three weeks ago. Others came from camps on Kos, Samos, Chios and Leros. The transfer from the Greek islands of people whose asylum bids have been accepted will continue over the coming weeks and months, the country’s Migration Ministry said Tuesday. Just over 26,000 refugees and migrants live in camps on islands, where they arrived after crossing from the nearby Turkish coast in smuggling boats. More than half are on Lesvos.


Greek officials have pledged to drastically reduce the islands’ migrant populations by moving people who have been granted refugee status to mainland accommodations, taking advantage of a drastic drop in arrivals from Turkey that resulted from stronger policing of the sea border. The government has also voiced hopes that all the migrants currently on the islands will have been moved to the mainland within six months. On Tuesday, officials said all unaccompanied teenagers and children living in camps on the islands or on Greece’s land border with Turkey had been moved to appropriate facilities on the mainland. After arriving at Lavrio, the migrants were taken in buses to hotels where they are expected to stay for the next two months. Nearly 13,000 people have entered Greece illegally so far this year, considerably fewer than in 2019.

Read more …

Do you think our behavior would change if we could live much longer?

40% Of World’s Plant Species At Risk Of Extinction (G.)

Two in five of the world’s plant species are at risk of extinction as a result of the destruction of the natural world, according to an international report. Plants and fungi underpin life on Earth, but the scientists said they were now in a race against time to find and identify species before they were lost. These unknown species, and many already recorded, were an untapped “treasure chest” of food, medicines and biofuels that could tackle many of humanity’s greatest challenges, they said, potentially including treatments for coronavirus and other pandemic microbes. More than 4,000 species of plants and fungi were discovered in 2019.

These included six species of Allium in Europe and China, the same group as onions and garlic, 10 relatives of spinach in California and two wild relatives of cassava, which could help future-proof the staple crop eaten by 800 million people against the climate crisis. New medical plants included a sea holly species in Texas, whose relatives can treat inflammation, a species of antimalarial Artemisa in Tibet and three varieties of evening primrose. “We would be able not survive without plants and fungi – all life depends on them – and it is really time to open the treasure chest,” said Prof Alexandre Antonelli, the director of science at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, in the UK. RBG Kew led the report, which involved 210 scientists from 42 countries.


“Every time we lose a species, we lose an opportunity for humankind,” Antonelli said. “We are losing a race against time as we are probably losing species faster than we can find and name them.” The UN revealed last week that the world’s governments failed to meet a single target to stem biodiversity losses in the last decade. The researchers based their assessment of the proportion of species under threat of extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. But only a small fraction of the 350,000 known plant species have been assessed, so the scientists used statistical techniques to adjust for biases in the data, such as the lack of fieldwork in some regions.

Read more …

 

 

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Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time.

 

Sep 292020
 


Fred Stein Times Square at Night 1947

 

Rapid-Testing Drive Unveiled As Virus Deaths Pass One Million (Y!)
Young People Are At Risk Of Severe COVID19 Illness (NBC)
Putin To Be Among First To Receive ‘Controversial’ Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)
Seeing Through Pea Soup (Kunstler)
Biden’s Texas Political Director Accused of Illegal Ballot Harvesting (NF)
Alleged Ilhan Omar Cash-For-Ballot Transaction Caught On Tape (ZH)
New York Times Trump Tax Story Disappoints (Reilly)
Airlines Demand New $25B Bailout after Burning $45B on Share Buybacks (WS)
Ai Weiwei: ‘Too Late’ To Curb China’s Global Influence (BBC)
The Surreal US Case Against Assange (Mercouris)
Julian Assange Faces ‘Torturous’ Months In Parking Space-Sized Cell In US (PA)
I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. (Samarajiva)

 

 

Ron Johnson

 

 

$5 a piece. Remember, Holland charges €225. But 270 million tests is nothing. You need 600 million a week just in the US.

WHO Unveils $600 Million Rapid-Testing Drive (Y!)

Coronavirus tests that deliver results in 15-30 minutes are to be rolled out across the United States and in scores of poorer countries, as health authorities worldwide try to get a handle on a disease that has now killed more than a million people. US President Donald Trump announced 150 million tests would be distributed in America, while the World Health Organization said 120 million more would be available for the developing world at $5 each as long as funding was secured. The testing push comes as the virus shows no sign of receding, with infection numbers climbing rapidly in Europe again and governments there clamping down on movement in an attempt to curb the surge.

Paris, London and Madrid have all been forced to introduce controls to slow infections, and on Monday Dutch authorities became the latest to tighten curbs, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia said they were preparing to declare a state of emergency. The WHO said its $600 million scheme to roll out the quick diagnosis kits across 133 countries in the next six months would enable low- and middle-income nations to close the gap in testing with the rich world. The kits are far faster, cheaper and easier to administer than regular standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests but are less sensitive and more likely to return false negatives.

“This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have lab facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out PCR tests,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference. Experts have for months been calling for widespread adoption of this low-cost technology so that people can test themselves several times a week. Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina said the testing drive “is terrific and is a great start”. But the amount being distributed by the US government was “simply not sufficient” and production should be multiplied ten- or twentyfold, he added.

The tests are part of a limited toolkit available to governments as they seek ways to get the wheels turning on economies that have been crippled in recent months by lockdowns and other restrictions on people’s lives. A million Madrid residents are under partial lockdown, with the city and the surrounding region at the centre of Spain’s second wave. The national government on Monday warned the local authorities of drastic measures if the region failed to move decisively to slow the uncontrolled spread.

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“Young people should not assume they are immune to the consequences of this disease, and they should do everything they can to avoid it.”

Young People Are At Risk Of Severe COVID19 Illness (NBC)

New findings published this month further reveal how severely Covid-19 can affect young adults. A research paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that among more than 3,200 adults ages 18 to 34 who were hospitalized with the disease, 21 percent required intensive care, 10 percent required mechanical ventilation and nearly 3 percent — 88 patients — died. Of those who survived, 3 percent — 99 patients — had to be discharged to another health care facility to continue their recoveries. “While the vast majority of young adults who get Covid are not going to require hospitalization, those who do have really high risk for these adverse outcomes,” said the study’s author, Dr. Scott Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It is not trivial.”

The research is worrisome because the incidence of Covid-19 in the United States is now highest among young adults ages 20 to 29, who from June to August accounted for more than 20 percent of all confirmed cases, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported Wednesday. Adults ages 30 to 39 made up the second-largest group of cases. As young adults return to college campuses — and parties — multiple outbreaks already have been reported across the nation. Doctors are concerned about the spreading infections and the serious cases that can result. “We’re seeing a really rising incidence of Covid-19 in young people, and that’s in part due to activity over the summer, and obviously we’re all very worried about this as they come back to colleges,” Solomon said.

“It’s unfortunate, but I think that we are likely to see an increased percentage of young people who experience these bad outcomes as the number of infections in this group goes up,” he said. Solomon and colleagues used a large health care database to look at serious Covid-19 illnesses in young adults hospitalized in April, May or June. Of the more than 1,000 U.S. hospitals in the database, which treated a total of 63,103 Covid-19 patients during the study period, 3,222 patients, or 5 percent, were young adults admitted to 419 hospitals. Overall, 58 percent of the young adult patients were men, and 57 percent were Black or Hispanic. More than a third were obese, including 25 percent who were morbidly obese (with body mass indexes of 40 or higher), 18 percent had diabetes, and 16 percent had hypertension. [..] Results also showed that the risks of dying or needing mechanical ventilation were more than double in young adult patients who were either morbidly obese or had hypertension.

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He should offer a free jab to Fauci. And Trump.

Putin To Be Among First To Receive ‘Controversial’ Sputnik Vaccine (ZH)

After previously touting that his own daughter was among the first to take the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, standing in as a prominent early ‘guinea pig’ of sorts vouching for its safety, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he plans to receive it soon, according to a story in Newsweek on Monday. Without specifying precisely when he would receive the vaccine, which was met with approval by government regulators in August, Putin reportedly indicated it would come before his next trip to South Korea. “Putin has not yet committed publicly to receiving the vaccine—the development of which has been financed by the state Russian Direct Investment Fund—but told South Korean President Moon Jae-in by phone Monday that he would have the shot before a planned visit to Seoul, Newsweek reports.


Moon personally invited Putin to come to South Korea during a call upon the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishment of the Russian-South Korean diplomatic relations. According to a summary of the call, Russian media sources indicate that Putin told Moon: “I will come to South Korea… I will personally take the Russian vaccine and go.” Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya research institute with help from the Russian defense ministry. It was tested at Moscow’s state medical university. Initially met with broad global skepticism, Russia’s health ministry last month announced it expects to begin mass anti-coronavirus vaccinations by October, with the first rounds to be administered to front line medical workers as well as teachers.

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“Then wait to see if he pulls the mask down under his chin as though he was acting the role of Abe Lincoln in a middle school history pageant.”

Seeing Through Pea Soup (Kunstler)

If Joe Biden does show up at Tuesday’s debate, it will be under at least one severe disadvantage: the contest happens at night. Through the preceding weeks, Mr. Biden’s handlers have “put a lid” on his campaign activities at ten o’clock in the morning more days than not, and sometimes at eight-thirty a.m., before the press pool has even digested its oat-milk honey lattes. “A lid” means the candidate makes no appearances nor is available to the media that day. You have to wonder whether Ol’ White Joe can even function after sundown. Senile dementia typically presents more vividly in the evening. The Biden team may seek to counter that with doses of Adderall, an amphetamine.


The side-effects are interesting: “mental / mood changes (such as agitation, aggression, mood swings, abnormal thoughts) uncontrolled movements, continuous chewing / teeth grinding, outbursts of words / sounds, prolonged erections (in males).” Watch for these. Also watch to see whether Mr. Biden steps onstage wearing his trademark black mask. (Mr. Trump, of course, will not mask himself.) The optic will be two-fold: 1) Mr. Biden has something to hide, and 2) Mr. Biden is a weakling for playing up Covid hysteria. Then wait to see if he pulls the mask down under his chin as though he was acting the role of Abe Lincoln in a middle school history pageant. That will be a visual-to-remember! Also, wait for Mr. Biden to deliver a self-knockout punch to himself when he attacks the President’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, for being a Catholic.

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Ballot harvesting was never NOT going to be a story. Let’s see where it goes.

Biden’s Texas Political Director Accused of Illegal Ballot Harvesting (NF)

The Joe Biden campaign’s Texas Political Director has been formally accused of helping to run an illegal ballot harvesting operation, according to two separate affidavits filed Monday at the Texas Supreme Court. Two private investigators, including a former FBI agent and former police officer, testify under oath that they have video evidence, documentation and witnesses to prove that Biden’s Texas Political Director Dallas Jones and his cohorts are currently hoarding mail-in and absentee ballots and ordering operatives to fill the ballots out for people illegally, including for dead people, homeless people, and nursing home residents in the 2020 presidential election. The affidavits were filed as part of the class-action lawsuit against Harris County and the state of Texas, filed by citizens, called Steven Hotze, M.D. et al. Journalist Patrick Howley of NATIONAL FILE has exclusively obtained this testimony and much more evidence will be coming out in the case. Dallas Jones was named the Biden campaign’s Texas Political Director in early September.

HERE IS THE AFFIDAVIT OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR AND RETIRED HOUSTON POLICE OFFICER MARK A. AGUIRRE, SUBMITTED UNDER OATH.: AFFIDAVIT OF MARK A. AGUIRRE “My name is Mark A. Aguirre. I am above the age of eighteen years and am fully competent to make this affidavit. The facts stated in this affidavit are within my personal knowledge and are true and correct. “I am a retired captain with the Houston Police Department I am now a private investigator. “I am currently involved in an investigation related to a wide-ranging and fraudulent ballot harvesting scheme in Harris County intended to rig the elections in the Houston/Harris County area. This scheme involves voter fraud on a massive scale.

“Based on interviews, review of documents, and other information, I have identified the individuals in charge of the ballot harvesting scheme. These individuals includes political consultant Dallas Jones who was recently hired by the Joe Biden for President campaign to oversee their Harris County initiative. District 13 Texas State Senator Borris Miles, who is the handler of Mr. Jones, political consultant Gerald Womack, and Precinct 1 Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis. One of the companies these individuals are using as a front for this operation is AB Canvassing, although there are others that have been identified that we are investigating.”

“I have in my possession video-taped interviews of witnesses attesting to the aforementioned people having groups of people completing thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots, including completing ballots for deceased individuals; illegally going into nursing homes, with the complicity of the nursing home staff, and filling out and forging the signatures of nursing home residents; signing up homeless individuals to vote using the ballot harvester’s address then completing the ballot and forging the homeless individual’s signature.

Tulsi Gabbard Ballot harvesting

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There’s also a police investigation into this case. Again, let’s see where that goes.

Alleged Ilhan Omar Cash-For-Ballot Transaction Caught On Tape (ZH)

Update (2338ET): Following an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity,” James O’Keefe released a second ballot-harvesting video featuring an apparent purchase of a ballot from a Somali resident of Minnesota. The video then features several allegations made by local Somalis regarding the alleged scheme – including Rep. Ilhan Omar’s direct involvement. “She’s [Ilhan Omar] the one who came up with all this [pay-for-vote],” said one source who added. “She’s [Ilhan Omar] the one, somehow. Nobody knew, but, yeah, this is something like new with Ilhan [Omar].” “Jamal Omar said cash for votes is an open secret in Minneapolis. “The techniques that he [Ali Isse] uses to exchange money for vote — that’s not a secret. It’s, it’s open, and everybody knows about it,” he said. “$200, $300 per ballot received!” -Project Veritas


“Nobody would say that Ilhan Omar isn’t part of this,” said Omar Jamal – a Somali community insider and chairman of the Somali Watchdog Group. “Unless you’re from a different planet, but if you live in this universe, I think everybody knows it.” According to Jamal, senior Ilhan Omar staffer Ali Isse Gainey is at the center of the vote-buying scheme. Jamal also said that Ilhan Omar operatives would accompany Somali residents to the voting booth and do the actual voting for the person. “They help us at the voting booth. They allow them to help us,” said one Minneapolis ballot harvester recorded on hidden camera. “They go inside with us and help us, and they actually do that inside there.”

Steve Drazkowski

Hannity Project Veritas

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I don’t have the impression that many people understand the details. And then it’s easy to shout: SCANDAL.

New York Times Trump Tax Story Disappoints (Reilly)

The main story, Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses And Years Of Tax Avoidance, is kind of disappointing. In some ways, the headline shows the problem with their perspective. “Long-Concealed”- As a CPA I am fanatical about protecting confidential client information. I have nightmares about inadvertently letting something out. But I don’t think of that as “concealing”. More to the point they are disclosing that it appears that President Trump has flat out been losing a lot of money – hemorrhaging cash-, which we are supposed to be shocked at. And he has not been paying much if anything in the way of taxes which if the previous is true is not that shocking. In a side highlight piece by David Leonhard, there is a sort of odd comparison.

“In 2017, the average federal income rate for the highest-earning .001 percent of tax filers — that is, the most affluent 1/100,000th slice of the population — was 24.1 percent, according to the I.R.S. Over the past two decades, Mr. Trump has paid about $400 million less in combined federal income taxes than a very wealthy person who paid the average for that group each year.” Presumably that .001 % group is not static. I really don’t see the point of the comparison. Maybe there are a few people who were in it every year for decades, but I doubt it is many. On the underpaying tax theme the reporters seem to be on something of an Easter egg hunt trying to find little tidbits that will excite us.

Even while declaring losses, he has managed to enjoy a lavish lifestyle by taking tax deductions on what most people would consider personal expenses, including residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television. Now they tell us that they have obtained “tax-return data extending over more than two decades”. The graphs show 2000 to 2018, which is odd because they say they did not get the 2018 return. Regardless, apparently somebody went to the trouble of digging the hairstyling for television out of that morass and toting it up to be $70,000. Is that a lot? Trump was in The Apprentice for 14 seasons and he is on television in a lot of other contexts. If the hairstyling is just for The Apprentice, that works out to about $400 per episode.

I reached out to my filmmaker friend Jonathan Schwartz of Audacious Media. He told me that if the styling was taking place on the set with union stylists, it is perfectly reasonable. The fundamental problem with the main story is that it is presenting two contradictory narratives. One is of a very successful person who is managing to not pay any income taxes. The other is of someone whose fortune is melting away.

$0 in taxes

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Fire the CEO. Easy.

Airlines Demand New $25B Bailout after Burning $45B on Share Buybacks (WS)

October 1 is the day US airlines that accepted their portion of the $25-billion bailout under the CARES Act can start involuntary layoffs of their employees. They’ve been shedding large numbers of employees since March but through voluntary buyouts, early retirements, and other programs that induced employees to temporarily or permanently leave. Now the airlines are engaged in a desperate lobbying effort to get legislation signed into law that would provide the next $25-billion bailout package. Threats have been flying, so to speak, to motivate Congress to get this done. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told CBS News on Sunday that if there isn’t a new bailout program, “there are going to be 100,000 aviation professionals who are out of work, who wouldn’t be otherwise.”

This would include the 18,000 employees American Airlines has threatened to lay off. So airlines have been lobbying hard. “You know, we have everyone putting us in every bill they have,” Parker said. “We just need the bills to be laws. We need laws not bills.” American Airlines was also the airline that blew, incinerated, wasted, and trashed more than any other airline on share buybacks. Buybacks ceased in the second quarter, but from 2013 through Q1 2020, American Airlines incinerated $13.1 billion in cash on share buybacks. That cash would now come in very handy. 2013 was also the year Mr. Parker became CEO of American Airlines.

Delta blew, wasted, and incinerated $11.7 billion in cash on share buybacks over the period; Southwest Airlines, $10.9 billion (starting in 2012); and United $8.9 billion. In total, the big four airlines blew, wasted, and incinerated $44.6 billion in cash on share buybacks from 2012 through Q1 2020, and now the airlines want an additional $25 billion bailout, for a total of $50 billion, much of it in forms of grants, from taxpayers (data via YCharts):

In terms of the numbers of passengers entering airports in the US, over six months into the Pandemic, the business is still down nearly 70% from last year, according to TSA airport screenings. The interesting thing is how the recovery is not happening, and how the strong seasonal patterns have disappeared. Normally, the passenger count drops sharply in the weeks before Labor Day from the summer peak in June, July, and early August. But after Labor Day, business travel picks up, and older folks with kids out of school start traveling, and the passenger count rises sharply in September. But none of that is happening this year. The chart below shows TSA checkpoint screenings per day, as a seven-day moving average through September 27, last year (black) versus this year (red):

The airline industry invented a new metric during the Pandemic: “daily cash burn.” The purpose is to give investors a feel for the progress in implementing the airlines’ survival strategies. Every airline now cites this metric. The idea is to make this number as small as possible by cutting capacity, shedding employees, and reducing costs wherever possible. Investors who’ve been coddled over the years through share-buybacks, have helped fund the airlines’ daily cash burn by buying the newly issued bonds and shares. They have done so because they counted on support from taxpayers and the Fed. Investors should continue to step up to the plate and fund that daily cash burn. But taxpayers – they’re already sitting on billions of dollars in tickets they can’t get refunds for though they can use the “credits” or whatever in the future – shouldn’t be shanghaied into funding airlines. That’s Wall Street’s job.

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“The official government slogan was: “Hide your light and bide your time”.

Ai Weiwei: ‘Too Late’ To Curb China’s Global Influence (BBC)

The leading Chinese dissident, the artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei, says China’s influence has become so great that it can’t now be effectively stopped. “The West should really have worried about China decades ago. Now it’s already a bit too late, because the West has built its strong system in China and to simply cut it off, it will hurt deeply. That’s why China is very arrogant.” Ai Weiwei has never minced his words about China. “It is a police state,” he says. The artist famously designed the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but ran into serious problems after he spoke out against the Chinese government. Eventually, in 2015, he left China to come to the West. He lived first in Berlin, and last year settled in Cambridge. Mr Ai believes that China today uses its immense economic power to impose its political influence.


It’s certainly true that China has become much more assertive in recent years. Until around a decade ago, China presented a modest face to the world. The official government slogan was: “Hide your light and bide your time”. Ministers insisted that China was still a developing country with a lot to learn from the West. Then Xi Jinping came to power. He became secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, and President the following year. He introduced a new tone. The old modesty faded, and there was a different slogan: “Strive for achievement”. In some ways China is still a developing country, with 250 million people below the poverty line. Yet it is already the world’s second-biggest economy, and is on course to overtake the US over the next decade or so. China’s influence in the world is becoming more and more obvious, at a time when America’s authority has visibly declined.

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Very good and long explanation of what is going on. We’re in the 4th and last week.

The Surreal US Case Against Assange (Mercouris)

Following the Julian Assange case as it has progressed through its various stages, from the original Swedish allegations right up to and including the extradition hearing which is currently underway in the Central Criminal Court in London, has been a troubling and very strange experience. The U.S. government has failed to present a coherent case. Conscious that the British authorities should in theory refuse to extradite Assange if the case against him were shown to be politically motivated and/or related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist, the U.S. government has struggled to present a case against Assange which is not too obviously politically motivated or related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist. This explains the strange succession of one original and two superseding indictments.

The U.S. government’s first indictment was based on what was a supposedly simple allegation of computer interference, supposedly coordinated in some sort of conspiracy between Assange and Chelsea Manning. This was obviously done in an attempt to dispel the idea that the request for Assange’s extradition was politically motivated or was related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist. However lawyers in the United States had no difficulty pointing out the “inchoate facts” of the alleged conspiracy between Assange and Manning, whilst both lawyers and journalists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that the facts in the indictment in fact bore all the hallmarks of action by a journalist to protect a source.

The result was that the U.S. government replaced its indictment with a first superseding indictment, which this time was founded largely on the 1917 Espionage Act, and was therefore closer to the real reasons why the case against Assange was being brought. However, that made the case look altogether too obviously politically motivated, so it has in turn been replaced by a second superseding indictment, presented to the court and the defence team virtually on the eve of the trial, which has sought to veer back towards strictly criminal allegations, this time of involvement in computer hacking. The allegations in the second superseding indictment have however faced major difficulties, in that they do not seem to concern the United States and may not even be actual crimes.

Also they rely heavily on the evidence of a known fraudster, whose “evidence” is inherently unreliable. The U.S. government has failed to make clear whether the additional allegations in the second superseding indictment are intended to constitute a separate standalone case. Initially they appeared to deny that they did; then they hinted that they might do; now however they seem to be acting as if they don’t. As if that were not confusing enough, the U.S. government and its British lawyers have floated confusing and contradictory theories about whether or not the British authorities can extradite Assange even if the case against him is politically motivated, and even if it is related to his journalistic activities.

Initially they seemed to be arguing that — contrary to all British precedent and the actual text of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Britain — Britain can in fact extradite Assange to the U.S. on a politically motivated charge, because the enabling Act which the British Parliament passed, which made the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Britain a part of British law, is silent on whether or not individuals can be extradited to the U.S. on a politically motivated charge. This argument of course came close to conceding that the case against Assange is politically motivated after all. This threadbare argument, at least for the moment, seems to have been abandoned. At least nothing has been heard of it throughout the current hearing. Instead the U.S. government and its British lawyers have argued, in the face of the incredulity of a string of expert and factual witnesses, that the case is not politically motivated after all.

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It’s criminal to inflict this on anyone.

Julian Assange Faces ‘Torturous’ Months In Parking Space-Sized Cell In US (PA)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be left “twiddling his thumbs” in a cell the size of a parking space if extradited to the US, a court has heard. The 49-year-old is fighting extradition to the US on charges related to leaks of classified documents allegedly exposing war crimes. Assange’s defence have claimed he is a “high” suicide risk, having already spent 16 months in top security Belmarsh jail in south London. On Monday, the Old Bailey heard from witnesses with experience of the Alexandria Detention Centre in Virginia, Assange’s likely pre-trial destination if he was extradited. The court heard that due to his high profile and his perceived national security risk, he could be placed in an administrative segregation (ad seg) unit.

Prisoner advocate Joel Sickler told the court there was a historical tendency of detainees with “some notoriety” or facing allegations involving national security to be placed in “ad seg”. Assange’s case involved “broad publicity internationally” and the US government allegation that he was a “national security concern, if not outright threat”, the witness said. Sickler added that there were issues over Assange’s safety from the “more sophisticated inmate population” and self harm. On conditions in an “ad seg” unit, he said: “It’s a very small confined space with a steel door and a small window, a little slot where meals are pushed through. “It’s a very small area – like a parking space.” Sickler said there would be limited contact with other inmates, saying the suggestion they could communicate between cells was “ridiculous”.

He said: “You have to scream. There’s a lot of noise and a lot of screaming because from a mental health standpoint, people are angry and confused and there’s a lot of yelling.” On the issue of sensory deprivation, he said: “First of all you have very limited social interaction with any others. “You have little access to the outside world except from a rare few monitored phone calls and meeting with counsel. “You are twiddling your thumbs. You have access to reading material but otherwise your whole world is the four corners of that room.” Defence barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC asked: “If someone wishes to commit suicide in pre-trial detention would it be possible to stop that?” Sickler said: “Based on decades of experience, I have probably had a dozen or so clients commit suicide. I can say if they are intent on committing suicide, it can be done.”

Suzie Dawson

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Well written. But are things as similar as suggested?

I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. (Samarajiva)

l Iived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens. This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down.

I was looking through some old photos for this article and the mix is shocking to me now. Almost offensive. There’s a burnt body in front of my office. Then I’m playing Scrabble with friends. There’s bomb smoke rising in front of the mall. Then I’m at a concert. There’s a long line for gas. Then I’m at a nightclub. This is all within two weeks. Today I’m like, “Did we live like this?” But we did. I mean, I did. Was I a rich Colombo fuckboi while poorer people died, especially minorities? Well, yes. I wrote about it, but who cares. The real question is, who are you? I mean, you’re reading this. You have the leisure to ponder American collapse like it’s even a question. The people really experiencing it already know.

As someone who’s already experienced societal breakdown, here’s the truth: America has already collapsed. What you’re feeling is exactly how it feels. It’s Saturday and you’re thinking about food while the world is on fire. This is normal. This is life during collapse. Collapse does not mean you’re personally dying right now. It means y’all are dying right now. Death is sometimes close, sometimes far away, but always there. I used to judge those herds of gazelle when the lion eats one of them alive and everyone keeps going — but no, humans are just the same. That’s the real meaning of herd immunity. We’re fundamentally immune to giving a shit.

It honestly becomes mundane (for the privileged). As Colombo kids we used to go out, worry about money, fall in love — life went on. We’d pop the trunk for a bomb check. Turn off our lights for the air raids. I’m not saying that we were untouched. My friend’s dad was killed, suddenly, by a landmine. RIP Uncle Nihal. I know people who were beaten, arrested, and went into exile. But that’s not what my photostream looks like. It was mostly food and parties and normal stuff for a dumb twentysomething. If you’re waiting for a moment where you’re like “this is it,” I’m telling you, it never comes. Nobody comes on TV and says “things are officially bad.” There’s no launch party for decay. It’s just a pileup of outrages and atrocities in between friendships and weddings and perhaps an unusual amount of alcohol.

Perhaps you’re waiting for some moment when the adrenaline kicks in and you’re fighting the virus or fascism all the time, but it’s not like that. Life is not a movie, and if it were, you’re certainly not the star. You’re just an extra. If something good or bad happens to you it’ll be random and no one will care. If you’re unlucky you’re a statistic. If you’re lucky, no one notices you at all. Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.

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Sep 282020
 
 September 28, 2020  Posted by at 5:33 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


Rene Magritte Memory 1948

 

 

Let me have another go at the shortest essay ever here. Explain the simplest thing ever in the universe. I see the governments of Greece, UK, Holland all declare they have to “fight” the increasing COVD19 numbers in their countries with measures such as closing all bars and restaurants at 10pm. Greece wants everyone to wear a facemask even outside. Try feeding the homeless, as we actively do here, with that kind of premise.

And it’s all pretty much nonsense, as yet another study, this one from Boston University, points out. You can cut your COVID risk by more than half, if you tell your people to take enough Vitamin D. That’s it. Not masks, but a supplement, No big conspiracies, no big anything. Vitamin D. 10,000 daily for the first week, 5,000 after that. Not much else matters. You sort of found your vaccine before it appeared.

For some obscure reason, your government doesn’t want you to know this. I can’t really figure out why. But I will tell all my friends here, and those that read me from other places. How could I do anything else? We’re literally saving lives here, but the topic, and the people, have become politicized. Shame on all of you who allowed that to happen. But make sure you take the Vitamin D. It at least cuts your risk in half.

COVID-19 Patients Who Get Enough Vitamin D Are 52% Less Likely To Die

People who get enough vitamin D are at a 52 percent lower risk of dying of COVID-19 than people who are deficient for the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ new research reveals. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune system and may combat inflammation. These features may make it a key player in the body’s fight against coronavirus. Rates of vitamin D deficiency are also higher in some of the same groups who have been hardest hit by coronavirus: people of color and elderly people. It’s by no means a causal link, but suggests that vitamin D could play a role in who gets COVI-19, who gets sickest from it, and who is spared altogether.

Boston University’s Dr Michael Holick found in his previous research that people who have enough vitamin D are 54 percent less likely to catch coronavirus in the first place. Following on that work, he and his team have found that people who don’t get enough of the vitamin are far more likely to become severely ill, develop sepsis or even die after contracting coronavirus. Because vitamin D deficiency is common in people with other disease that raise coronavirus risks, it’s impossible to say exactly how many lives would be spared if we all got our daily dose of the sunshine vitamin. But we know that about 42 percent of the US population is vitamin D deficient. If that rate held true for the more 203,000 Americans who died of coronavirus, perhaps some 85,000 would have fared better with improved vitamin D levels.

In Britain 20 per cent of the population suffer from the deficiency, according to the British Nutrition Foundation. When the rate is applied to the UK’s 41,936 deaths from coronavirus, it suggests 8,387 of them could have been helped with improved levels of Vitamin D. ‘This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from COVID-19,’ Dr Holick said. Dr Holick and his colleagues took blood samples from 235 patients admitted to hospitals in Tehran for COVID-19. Overall, 67 percent of the patients had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL.

There isn’t a clear marker for the ideal level of vitamin D, but 30 ng/mL is considered a sufficient. Anything below that is ‘insufficient,’ but won’t necessarily have broad-ranging health consequences, while levels below 20 ng/mL are considered ‘deficient.’ About 60 percent of elderly people living in nursing homes, for example, are thought to be vitamin D deficient. The most likely explanation is that they simply spend too much time indoors. Sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D. When we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in rays of sunshine, it reacts with cholesterol in our skin, triggering the production of vitamin D. In an increasingly indoor world, rates of vitamin D deficiency have climbed.

 

Imagine you can cut all these disruptive measures by simply supplying your people with Vitamin D. Nah, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? Sure there must be a more complicated path. Add some zinc. It prevents the virus from replicating. We’ve been saying this since February. We think it’s nuts that people haven’t latched on.

 

 

 

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

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, anytime, always.

 

Sep 282020
 


Dorothea Lange Abandoned cafe in Carey, Texas “Carey is fast becoming a ghost town of the Texas plains.” 1937

 

New York Times Mysteriously Obtains Trump Financial Records (RS)
New York Times Fails at Outlining President Trump’s Taxes Again (CT)
Project Veritas Uncovers ‘Ballot Harvesting Fraud’ In Minnesota (NYP)
Appellate Court Halts Wisconsin Ballot-Counting Extension (AP)
As Mueller Probe Fizzles, Anti-Trump Cabal Hatches New Collusion Tale (Smith)
COVID-19 Patients Who Get Enough Vitamin D Are 52% Less Likely To Die (DM)
New Covid Fines Of Up To £10,000 Come Into Force In England (G.)
Amy Coney Barrett: A New Feminist Icon (Pol.)
Federal Judge Gives Temporary Reprieve To TikTok (NBC)
Azerbaijan & Armenia Carry On Fighting Over Contested Nagorno-Karabakh (RT)

 

 

Will we ever find out who leaked Trump’s tax returns from Cyrus Vance’s offices? And does anyone still care that this is highly illegal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZeroHedge Nothing Illegal

Balding tax returns

 

 

The New York Times once upon a time had intelligent journalists with a lot of integrity working -hard- for it. Now they go an yet another fishing trip looking to catch something illegal, but they fail, and still try to dress it all up as something terrible. No pride, no integrity.

New York Times Mysteriously Obtains Trump Financial Records (RS)

The New York Times reports that it has obtained President Trump’s ‘tax information” going back “over two decades.” The leak is from New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., or one of his underlings. We know Vance has obtained all of the financial records Trump had on file with Deutsche Bank, his primary lender. We know Deutsche Bank complied with the subpoena. And, via the New York Times, we know that these records go back into the 1990s or, in the parlance of the day, “over two decades.” If the New York Times is correct, Trump’s finances being something of a hot mess is not a shocker. Trump has been on the edge of bankruptcy before and has employed mighty financial kung fu to stay solvent.

[..] From the tenor of the article, they think the revelation that Trump was getting a $72.9 million tax refund and only paying $750 in federal income taxes will be damaging. I really doubt that will be the case. There are things in this story that lead me to believe that either the people writing it are stupid or they think you are stupid. For instance: “In fact, those public filings offer a distorted picture of his financial state, since they simply report revenue, not profit. In 2018, for example, Mr. Trump announced in his disclosure that he had made at least $434.9 million. The tax records deliver a very different portrait of his bottom line: $47.4 million in losses.” These two things are not incompatible, and the fact that you declare earnings on a report that asks for earnings and not profit is not deceptive. The technical term is “compliance.”

By far, the most notable thing about this story is the willingness of the New York Times to engage in election interference by timing their release within 60 days of the election (that’s the standard, right? 60 days?). That and the role that seems to have been played by the Manhattan DA’s office in leaking records ostensibly demanded from Deutsche Bank as part of a criminal investigation to facilitate a political hit. The fact that a district attorney’s office is using such records as part of a political attack on the President within 60 days of an election is unprecedented (that’s the word, right? unprecedented?). The actions by Vance or his office virtually guarantee that any tax returns released to that office will find similar use as political ammunition.

There is a good chance that this story was intended to launch much closer to the election had the scope and extent of Hunter Biden’s financial shenanigans and the degree to which the ChiComs have their tentacles sunk into Sundown Joe not come to light…and will get even more light, I suspect, on Tuesday night. When the dust settles on this, I think the story is going to be “very rich guy with a fascination for high-risk business ventures pays lots of brilliant tax lawyers and accountants a crap-load of money to minimize and avoid (but not evade) income taxes and says he makes more money than he really does to golf partners.”

Read more …

Excellent question from sundance: “Now let’s figure out how DC politicians making $200k/yr are able to become multi-millionaires while holding office..”

New York Times Fails at Outlining President Trump’s Taxes Again (CT)

Once again the New York Times attempts to make an issue out of President Trump’s real estate holdings working as a tax shelter and reducing income taxes. In the article the Times completely obfuscates the way income taxes are strategically offset by depreciation, mortgage interest and the entire reason why real estate ownership is viewed as a business. John Carney writing for Breitbart gets it: […] So imagine our guy took out an $8 million mortgage at five percent, paying $2 million cash. Now he’s got to pay $400,000 in mortgage payments. He wants to make at least that much so he charges tenants an aggregate of $425,000, which after upkeep comes out to $410,000 of net income. (Remember, if the bank didn’t think he could make more in rent than the mortgage payment, it probably wouldn’t have lent him the money.)

“The interest payment on the loan–let’s call it $390,000–is deductible from his income, leaving him with $20,000 in net income. He gets to keep that and pay no taxes on it, however, because he still gets to apply the $370,000 depreciation charge. He tells the IRS he lost $350,000. Under our tax code, ordinary business expenses can be deducted in the year they are incurred. But when a business pays for a long-lasting item expected to produce income–like machinery, vehicles, or an apartment building–it is considered a capital investment. Instead of getting to write-off the cost all at once, the business is required to write it off over the course of decades. After the 1986 tax code, this was set at 27.5 years for residential real estate.” d

Anyone who has ever operated a business knows that offsetting income is one of the primary reasons to be self-employed. Additionally, the Times completely skips over the tens-of-millions in payroll taxes paid by the Trump organization and tens-of-millions in property and sales taxes paid by all of the various Trump properties. In the commercial real estate market it is common sense to offset income tax liabilities with a host of valid annual expenses, long-term capital depreciation and mortgage interest payments. With over 500 individual business entities within the Trump organization the ability to offset income in one asset with expenses in another is simply good accounting.

Additionally, President Trump donates his $400,000 government salary back to the U.S. government. So to accuse President Trump of only paying $750 in income taxes totally ignores all of the other donations and tax payments he makes. In practical terms no President before Trump has ever had his actual business portfolio so deeply connected to the success of the American economy. It doesn’t cost the American taxpayer a dime to have President Trump in office…. Now let’s figure out how DC politicians making $200k/yr are able to become multi-millionaires while holding office. Anyone?

Read more …

It’s getting serious. O’Keefe says they have been filming this for months.

Project Veritas Uncovers ‘Ballot Harvesting Fraud’ In Minnesota (NYP)

A ballot-harvesting racket in Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Minneapolis district — where paid workers illegally gather absentee ballots from elderly Somali immigrants — appears to have been busted by undercover news organization Project Veritas. One alleged ballot harvester, Liban Mohamed, the brother of Minneapolis city council member Jamal Osman, is shown in a bombshell Snapchat video rifling through piles of ballots strewn across his dashboard. “Just today we got 300 for Jamal Osman,” says Mohamed, aka KingLiban1, in the video. “I have 300 ballots in my car right now . . . “Numbers don’t lie. You can see my car is full. All these here are absentee ballots. . . . Look, all these are for Jamal Osman,” he says, displaying the white envelopes.

“Money is the king in this world . . . and a campaign is driven by money.” The video, posted on July 1, was obtained by Project Veritas and included in a 17-minute video expose released Sunday night. Under Minnesota law no individual can be the “designated agent” for more than three absentee voters. The allegations come just five weeks before a presidential election plagued with predictions of voter fraud. Both President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have warned that the increased use of mail-in ballots, due to COVID-19 concerns about in-person voting, are vulnerable to fraud, especially when unsolicited ballots are mailed to all voters in certain states.

Project Veritas’ investigation in Minneapolis will pour gasoline on the fire, only 48 hours before Trump debates Joe Biden in the first presidential debate Tuesday, addressing topics including election security. “Our investigation into this ballot harvesting ring demonstrates clearly how these unscrupulous operators exploit the elderly and immigrant communities” said James O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Project Veritas. The alleged involvement of Ilhan Omar, a controversial member of the Squad, and frequent Trump target, is claimed on camera by two people in Veritas’ investigation, including whistleblower Omar Jamal, a Minneapolis community leader and chair of the city’s Somali Watchdog Group.

Read more …

First of how many?

Appellate Court Halts Wisconsin Ballot-Counting Extension (AP)

A federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily halted a six-day extension for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s presidential election, a momentary victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump in the key presidential battleground state. As it stands, ballots will now be due by 8 p.m. on Election Day. A lower court judge had sided with Democrats and their allies to extend the deadline until Nov. 9. Democrats sought more time as a way to help deal with an expected historic high number of absentee ballots. The Democratic National Committee, the state Democratic Party and allied groups including the League of Women Voters sued to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots after the April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election.


U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled Sept. 21 that ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day will count as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. Sunday’s action puts Conley’s order on hold until the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court issues any further action. [..] State election officials anticipate as many as 2 million people will cast absentee ballots to avoid catching the coronavirus at the polls. That would be three times more absentee ballots than any other previous election and could overwhelm both election officials and the postal service, Conley wrote. If the decision had stood it could have delayed knowing the winner of Wisconsin for days. The Republican National Committee, the state GOP and Wisconsin’s Republican legislators argued that current absentee voting rules be left in place, saying people have plenty of time to obtain and return their ballots.

Read more …

Second installment of a two-part excerpt from Lee Smith’s book “The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President”.

“According to the story the CIA officer and his colleagues would tell, Trump was again in league with a foreign power to defeat a rival candidate. They rotated Ukraine in for Russia and Biden for Clinton.”

As Mueller Probe Fizzles, Anti-Trump Cabal Hatches New Collusion Tale (Smith)

Just two days after the curtain dropped on the Mueller investigation, Ciaramella was rebooting the collusion narrative. According to the story the CIA officer and his colleagues would tell, Trump was again in league with a foreign power to defeat a rival candidate. They rotated Ukraine in for Russia and Biden for Clinton. The operation’s personnel drew from the same sources as the Russia collusion operation — serving officials from powerful government bureaucracies, the CIA, Pentagon, and State Department, as well as elected officials, political operatives, and the press. Therefore, the process was also the same: The actors would work the operation through the intelligence bureaucracy and the media to start an official proceeding, in this case an impeachment process. The play was set to begin.

Ciaramella first expressed his concern to a CIA lawyer. Frustrated that his action wasn’t moving quickly enough, he turned to the intelligence community inspector general responsible for oversight of all 17 of the nation’s agencies. On August 12, he filed a whistleblower’s report with ICIG Michael Atkinson. It was a version of the dossier, allegations based on second- and thirdhand sources. Steele said that his information came from anonymous Russians; Ciaramella claimed his came from unnamed Americans. “In the course of my official duties,” wrote Ciaramella, “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. elections.”

He even replicated a key feature from Steele’s memos that helped the FBI obtain the FISA warrant. The dossier alleged that the Trump campaign had agreed to two Ukraine-related quid pro quos. One, in exchange for the hack and release of DNC emails, the Trump team would sideline Ukraine as campaign issue. Two, in exchange for dropping Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia, a Putin ally promised Trump advisers energy deals. Ciaramella also alleged a Ukraine-related quid pro quo. His August 12 report added a detail missing from the July 26 memo. He claimed in his document he’d learned earlier in July that Trump had “issued instructions to suspend all security assistance to Ukraine.” With this, the CIA official had planted the seed that would grow into the basis of the impeachment charges brought against Trump:

The president had withheld foreign aid in exchange for something that would benefit him personally — an investigation of his political rival. Ciaramella and his confederates had simply taken the boastful blunder Biden made in front of the Manhattan audience and hung it on Trump. Now he was the one using U.S. aid to secure a favor from a Ukrainian president. It was an audacious move, but the Ciaramella dossier was also a defensive maneuver. “It was born out of desperation,” says one of his former colleagues. “He wasn’t just trying to protect Biden,” says the source, a former senior Obama administration intelligence official. [..] When he finds out Trump may get the Burisma investigation restarted, he’s worried for himself, too.”

Read more …

And 54 percent less likely to catch coronavirus in the first place. And if you do anyway, zinc hinders virus (RNA) replication in your cells. Two simple and cheap ways to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

COVID-19 Patients Who Get Enough Vitamin D Are 52% Less Likely To Die (DM)

People who get enough vitamin D are at a 52 percent lower risk of dying of COVID-19 than people who are deficient for the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ new research reveals. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune system and may combat inflammation. These features may make it a key player in the body’s fight against coronavirus. Rates of vitamin D deficiency are also higher in some of the same groups who have been hardest hit by coronavirus: people of color and elderly people. It’s by no means a causal link, but suggests that vitamin D could play a role in who gets COVI-19, who gets sickest from it, and who is spared altogether.

Boston University’s Dr Michael Holick found in his previous research that people who have enough vitamin D are 54 percent less likely to catch coronavirus in the first place. Following on that work, he and his team have found that people who don’t get enough of the vitamin are far more likely to become severely ill, develop sepsis or even die after contracting coronavirus. Because vitamin D deficiency is common in people with other disease that raise coronavirus risks, it’s impossible to say exactly how many lives would be spared if we all got our daily dose of the sunshine vitamin. But we know that about 42 percent of the US population is vitamin D deficient. If that rate held true for the more 203,000 Americans who died of coronavirus, perhaps some 85,000 would have fared better with improved vitamin D levels.

In Britain 20 per cent of the population suffer from the deficiency, according to the British Nutrition Foundation. When the rate is applied to the UK’s 41,936 deaths from coronavirus, it suggests 8,387 of them could have been helped with improved levels of Vitamin D. ‘This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from COVID-19,’ Dr Holick said. Dr Holick and his colleagues took blood samples from 235 patients admitted to hospitals in Tehran for COVID-19. Overall, 67 percent of the patients had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL.

There isn’t a clear marker for the ideal level of vitamin D, but 30 ng/mL is considered a sufficient. Anything below that is ‘insufficient,’ but won’t necessarily have broad-ranging health consequences, while levels below 20 ng/mL are considered ‘deficient.’ About 60 percent of elderly people living in nursing homes, for example, are thought to be vitamin D deficient. The most likely explanation is that they simply spend too much time indoors. Sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D. When we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in rays of sunshine, it reacts with cholesterol in our skin, triggering the production of vitamin D. In an increasingly indoor world, rates of vitamin D deficiency have climbed.

Read more …

Behind a paywall, the Times reports pub curfew does not apply to bars in Parliament. Way to go.

New Covid Fines Of Up To £10,000 Come Into Force In England (G.)

A new, more robust chapter in English coronavirus regulations begins on Monday, with fines of up to £10,000 for people who refuse to self-isolate when asked, and enforcement including tip-offs from people who believe that others are breaching the rules. The changes come with the duty to self-isolate moving into law. It becomes a legal obligation if someone is told to do so by test-and-trace staff, but not for those simply using the Covid-19 phone app, which is anonymous. At the same time, the government is introducing a new system of payments of £500 for people on lower incomes who are unable to work because of the mandatory 14-day self-isolation, a system being implemented by councils.

The two-pronged approach, intended to create better compliance with self-isolation rules, was described by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, as “imperative” in helping keep down coronavirus infection rates. According to a health department statement setting out the new system, local authorities are expected to have their test-and-trace support schemes up and running within two weeks, with those self-isolating before then given backdated payments as needed. However, the Local Government Association, which represents councils, has warned it will be “challenging” for these to be set up at speed, adding that “urgent clarity is needed about how councils will be reimbursed for costs of setting up these schemes and the payments themselves”.

To be eligible for the payment, people must have been told to self-isolate by test and trace – having tested positive for coronavirus or being in close contact with someone who has – as well as having lost income as a result, and be recipients of one or more of a series of benefits, including universal credit, income support and housing benefit. Those who do not self-isolate when told to could face fines, which start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offences, or those who instigate breaches of the law, such as an employer who orders or permits people to come to work when they should not. Test-and-trace call handlers will check on those told to self-isolate, with police taking a role in areas or groups seen as high risk, as well as acting on tip-offs from neighbours or others who spot suspected breaches, the government announcement said.

Read more …

We need tolerance of people who do not think exactly like we do.

Amy Coney Barrett: A New Feminist Icon (Pol.)

Amy Coney Barrett has been praised for her topflight legal mind, even by those who disagree with her. At 48 years old, she is poised to help shape the court for a generation or more. But that’s not all her elevation to the high court has the potential to accomplish. Barrett’s expected confirmation should serve as a catalyst for rethinking the most powerful social movement in the last half century: feminism. Over the last week, as Justice Ginsburg’s body laid in repose outside the Supreme Court, the nation has rightly celebrated Ginsburg’s trailblazing 1970s legal advocacy, one which pushed both law and culture to reexamine the ways in which women had been pigeonholed as caregivers and men as providers. The late justice’s antidiscrimination wins opened up a new era in which both men and women could respectably and responsibly engage in both avenues of fulfillment, according to their personal talents and circumstances.

But Ginsburg also viewed abortion rights as central to sexual equality, and her leadership helped give rise to a movement that remains laser focused on abortion to this day. Yet rather than make women more equal to men, constitutionalizing the right to abortion as the court did in Roe has relieved men of the mutual responsibilities that accompany sex, and so has upended the duties of care for dependent children that fathers ought equally to share. Barrett embodies a new kind of feminism, a feminism that builds upon the praiseworthy antidiscrimination work of Ginsburg but then goes further. It insists not just on the equal rights of men and women, but also on their common responsibilities, particularly in the realm of family life. In this new feminism, sexual equality is found not in imitating men’s capacity to walk away from an unexpected pregnancy through abortion, but rather in asking men to meet women at a high standard of mutual responsibility, reciprocity and care.

At Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing in 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein tellingly remarked, “You are controversial because many of us that have lived lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems, and Roe entered into that, obviously.” Barrett’s life story puzzles older feminists like Feinstein because bearing and raising a bevy of children has long implied retaining a traditional life script — like staying home with the children — that Barrett has obviously not heeded. To be sure, few mothers of seven could become federal judges, never mind Supreme Court justices. Barrett – “generationally brilliant,” according to her Notre Dame colleague, O. Carter Snead — is likely alone in this set.

It all seems so unlikely: She has risen to the pinnacle of her profession while at once being “radically hospitable” to children, as Snead has described her. An enigma to many, she doesn’t easily fit into any ideological box. If we’re really intent as a country on seeing women flourish in their professions and serve in greater numbers of leadership positions too, it would be worthwhile to interrupt the abortion rights sloganeering for a beat and ask just how this mother of many has achieved so much.

Read more …

Much ado about an app. China’s worried about the source code.

Federal Judge Gives Temporary Reprieve To TikTok (NBC)

A federal judge granted a temporary reprieve Sunday to TikTok, the short-form video app that was facing a Trump administration-imposed midnight deadline that would have prevented users from downloading it. The order from U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols of Washington, D.C., allows U.S. app stores to continue offering downloads. Nichols did not rule on a second, more comprehensive ban that would halt U.S. companies from working with TikTok. In a statement, TikTok said that it was pleased with the ruling and that it “will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.”


“At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement,” it said. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, struck a deal with Oracle this month to move the company’s headquarters to the United States. The software giant would oversee its operations. Walmart is also involved in the deal. TikTok has been under scrutiny from the Trump administration for nearly a year over concerns that the Chinese government could gain access to American users’ data. President Donald Trump said in July that he would ban the app. Trump said this month that he had given his “blessing” to the deal and that he had approved it in concept.

Read more …

This is real war. Stop it.

Azerbaijan & Armenia Carry On Fighting Over Contested Nagorno-Karabakh (RT)

Intense hostilities between Armenian and Azeri forces continued overnight along the border of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Both sides claimed local victories and reported inflicting heavy casualties on one another. Azerbaijan and Armenia, two historical rivals, kept on fighting throughout Sunday night and Monday morning despite mounting calls from international leaders to hold fire and disengage troops. There have been skirmishes “of different intensity” overnight on the Nagorno-Karabakh border, a spokesperson for the Armenian Defense Ministry reported earlier on Monday. “The adversary resumed offensive using artillery and armor, including the heavy flamethrower system TOS,” the official revealed.

The Armenian military are deterring the attack, “inflicting significant losses on the enemy in manpower and equipment.” Baku, meanwhile, blamed its arch-nemesis for targeting civilian-populated areas. On Monday morning, Armenian forces have been shelling Terter, a border town of roughly 19,000 people, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry told the media. “Proper measures” will be taken if the bombardment doesn’t stop, the ministry warned. Previously, Baku suggested at least 550 Armenian soldiers were killed or injured in the Azeri “counteroffensive,” along with dozens of tanks, howitzers, and air defense systems lost in action. Yerevan promptly rebuked the claim as “unfounded.” Nagorno-Karabakh itself reported a loss of 31 Armenian soldiers in the fighting.

The lingering hostilities broke out previously on Sunday morning. Yerevan accused Baku of using combat aircraft and heavy artillery to bomb targets within Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region administered and populated by ethnic Armenians but claimed by Azerbaijan as part of its territory. Baku, in turn, said it had counter-attacked in response to Armenian “provocations.” Both sides – which have fought on numerous occasions since the Soviet Union’s demise – sent reinforcements to the frontline and blamed one another for targeting civilians.

Read more …

 

 

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“We are victims of the post-Enlightenment view that the world functions like a sophisticated machine, to be understood like a textbook engineering problem and run by wonks. In other words, like a home appliance, not like the human body.”
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

 

 

 

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Sep 272020
 


Claude Monet The pond at Montgeron 1876

 

Amy Coney Barrett Senate Confirmation Hearing Set To Start Oct. 12 (NBC)
Supreme Court Nomination Is A Testament To The Values Of Feminism (Turley)
If Democrats Attack Her Over ‘People Of Praise’, They’ll Regret It (USAT)
Amy Coney Barrett’s Intellect And Heart Are Unrivaled (USAT)
Betrayal, Infuriating Betrayal (Whitney)
In Which We Debunk A Coividiot Pamphlet (MoA)
‘A One-Off Test Is A Folly’: The Truth Behind False Negative Covid Tests (HuPo)
DeSantis Drops All Florida COVID Restrictions, Promises No More Closures (JTN)
Guardian’s Deceit-Riddled New Statement Betrays Assange And Journalism (Cook)
Avoiding a Climate Lockdown (Mariana Mazzucato)

 

 

Tick tick tick…

 

 

 

 

Cruz on Warren

 

 

A lot of Amy Coney Barrett of course today.

Amy Coney Barrett Senate Confirmation Hearing Set To Start Oct. 12 (NBC)

While President Donald Trump officially announced his nominee for the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon, an expeditious timeline had already started to take shape that could kick off confirmation hearings as early as mid-October. Senate hearings, which for the last three Supreme Court justices began nearly two months after they were nominated, could start as soon as Oct. 12, a Republican aide familiar with the matter told NBC News before Judge Amy Coney Barrett was officially announced as the nominee. Hours after Trump nominated Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the aggressive timeline was made official by Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, who said on Fox News that confirmation hearings will start on Oct. 12, less than one month before the Nov. 3 election.

Graham said hearings will start with an introduction to Barrett, opening statements, and a statement by the nominee. Tuesday and Wednesday of that week will be dedicated to questions and answers and then the markup process would start on Thursday. Per committee rules, the nomination can be held by Democrats for one week because it is the first time the nomination is on the agenda, said Graham, who hopes to have the nominee out of committee by Oct. 26 and then it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, to set the floor schedule. “If they treat her as bad as they treated [Justice Brett Kavanaugh], it’s going to blow up in their face,” Graham said of Democrats on Fox News.

“If they continue this pattern of trying to demean this nominee, I think the American people will push back and push back hard.” Both Barrett and Trump acknowledged that her confirmation hearings could get ugly as Democrats attempt to block a vote until after the election. One Judiciary Committee member, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he would not meet with Barrett, which is customary for committee members, in protest of Trump’s decision to rush ahead with the nomination with the election only 38 days away. “I refuse to treat this process as legitimate and will not meet with Judge Barrett,” Blumenthal said in a statement. Barrett said on Saturday that she has “no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy, either for the short term or the long haul.”

Balding

Read more …

As seen through the eyes of a man?!

Supreme Court Nomination Is A Testament To The Values Of Feminism (Turley)

In her book, “In My Own Words,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote how feminism is a concept best captured in the song “Free to Be You and Me” by Marlo Thomas. That definition defined feminism as allowing women to decide their values without societal dictates or limits. This view sharply contrasts with some who think feminism is adhering to liberal orthodoxy. Ginsburg never believed feminism meant removing the “feet off our necks” by her brothers just to have them replaced by the feet of her sisters. Indeed, true feminism meant allowing women the freedom of choice to find their own voices and values in society. That is why this nomination of a Supreme Court justice is a testament not just to feminism but to Ginsburg.

The women on the short list of President Trump bear striking resemblance to her in their independence and clarity of thought. Most of them, like Ginsburg, balanced family obligations with their career ascensions. The difference is these women reached different conclusions on how the law is read and applied. Many do have legitimate objections for issues like abortion as inimical to the rights of women, but these women are part of the legacy of Ginsburg and her generation in an empowerment of women to reach their own conclusions. The nominee most like Ginsburg is Judge Amy Coney Barrett. They both finished law school at the top of their classes. Both went on to teach at leading law schools and both started their careers with an emphasis on procreational rights and constitutional interpretation. Deeply religious, both cited the role of faith in their careers and convictions.

Like Ginsburg, Barrett refused to yield to the choice of family over career. Barrett has raised seven children, including two adopted from Haiti, while rising to national recognition as a brilliant lawyer and jurist. Both women earned a reputation for civility and what Ginsburg described as showing us that “you can disagree without being disagreeable.”

Read more …

Two pieces from USA Today.

If Democrats Attack Her Over ‘People Of Praise’, They’ll Regret It (USAT)

All faiths are at least a little bit weird to those outside of them. Imagine telling someone unfamiliar with Catholicism, “Every chance I get, I eat some bread that I believe is the body of God’s only son, who was executed in Jerusalem under Tiberius.” Totally normal, right? So to all of my friends who think that the religious practice of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who is a member of a charismatic ecumenical community called the People of Praise, ought to bring out the bulldog in Kamala Harris and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, I say dear God, no. First, you cannot fight bigotry with bigotry; religious intolerance is just as wrong as any other kind of othering. Indulging it won’t get us a more tolerant America.

And Senators, treating her like the kook that she is not is just what the president is counting on you to do. Unless you want to star in Trump campaign commercials that he’ll say prove Joe Biden is “against God,” don’t even think about it. Yes, women leaders in the People of Praise were until recently referred to as ‘handmaids’ — a biblical reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, when the angel tells her, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus,” she responds, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” But the group was not the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ “What the people in that book are going through is horrible,” says Joannah Clark, who runs a People of Praise school in Portland, Oregon and has known Barrett since college.

The group does not require a “loyalty oath” or arrange marriages or force women to keep having children. It puts a premium on intellectual life and values education for men, women and children. Its well regarded schools are attended by many non-members. It does have a view of marriage that I don’t share and you might not, either, but that St. Paul certainly did. (As the Church is subordinate to Christ,” says his letter to the Ephesians, “so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.”) You know that favorite pro-choice rejoinder, ‘If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one?’ If deferring to your husband at home and speaking in tongues in prayer is not your brand of theological vodka, then don’t join the People of Praise, or any Pentecostal church in the world.

But don’t be the kind of hypocrite who embraces only those differences that line up with your own cultural views. Just as Biden is not coming for your guns or your suburbs, neither is he coming for your religious liberty. But could we please make sure Dianne Feinstein is aware, so she doesn’t repeat the folly of her 2017 “dogma lives loudly within you” gift to Republicans at Barrett’s confirmation hearing for her appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit?

Kellyanne Conway on Barrett 7th CIrcuit vote

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Nicole Garnett is the John P. Murphy Foundation professor of law at University of Notre Dame.

“Yes, she is brilliant. And, yes, she is a principled, careful judge. But she also is one of the most generous people whom I have ever met.”

Amy Coney Barrett’s Intellect And Heart Are Unrivaled (USAT)

I first met Amy Coney at a Washington, D.C., coffee shop in the spring of 1998. A mutual friend had connected us because we were about to begin clerking together on the Supreme Court (me for Justice Clarence Thomas, her for Justice Antonin Scalia). I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that I walked away thinking I had just met a remarkable woman. We could not have known then that over the next 22 years, our lives would become completely intertwined: That, three years later, she would become my colleague at Notre Dame Law School, that she and her husband would move around the corner from us in South Bend, Indiana, and that we would raise our children together. We could not have known that, in a sense, we would grow up together — as lawyers, teachers, scholars, mothers, friends.

And we certainly could not have imagined that, 22 years later, she would be nominated to serve on the United States Supreme Court. But looking back, everything has changed, except Amy Coney Barrett. The very same qualities that struck me as remarkable on that spring afternoon are the qualities that make her an exceptional judge, award-winning teacher, generous colleague, loyal friend and loving mother. And the obvious pick to serve on the Supreme Court. She is brilliant, to be sure, but also humble, generous, loving, kind. She accepts each new challenge with grace and gives all she has to give (and sometimes it seems more) to all she is called to do. She will bring all those qualities to the Supreme Court, and our nation will be blessed by her years of service as Justice Barrett.

As Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, who clerked with us and disagrees with much of her judicial philosophy, recently observed, she stood out as one of the two finest legal minds among the almost 40 clerks. He concludes, “I’m going to be confident that Barrett is going to be a good justice, maybe even a great one — even if I disagree with her all the way.” [..] Yes, she is brilliant. And, yes, she is a principled, careful judge, admired legal scholar and amazing teacher. Her respect among her colleagues and students is reflected in the fact that she has been elected professor of the year three times by the law school’s graduating class and in letters of support for her nomination to the 7th Circuit, including ones signed by all of her full-time faculty colleagues at Notre Dame, all of her fellow Supreme Court clerks, hundreds of former students and dozens of prominent law professors from around the country.

But she also is one of the most generous people I have ever met. The Barrett home is a wellspring of hospitality. It is the kind of place where families gather to share life, where the kids are served hot dogs on a backyard picnic table while the parents are treated to Judge Barrett’s amazing crawfish etouffee. It is where she has prepared countless meals for families welcoming new babies or recovering from surgeries, comforted friends who know that they can always turn to her for support in times of crisis, and served as a sounding board for personal challenges both large (career advice) and small (potty-training advice).

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“..there has never been a more serious crime in American history…”

Betrayal, Infuriating Betrayal (Whitney)

Here’s your political puzzler for the day: Which of these two things poses a greater threat to the country:

1) An incompetent and boastful president who has no previous government experience and who is rash and impulsive in his dealings with the media, foreign leaders and his critics?

2) Or a political party that collaborates with senior-level officials in the Intel agencies, the FBI, the DOJ, the media, and former members of the White House to spy on the new administration with the intention of gathering damaging information that can be used to overthrow the elected government?

The answer is “2”, the greater threat to the country is a political party that engages in subversive activity aimed at toppling the government and seizing power. In fact, that’s the greatest danger that any country can face, an enemy from within. Foreign adversaries can be countered by diplomatic engagement and shoring up the nation’s military defenses, but traitors–who conduct their activities below the radar using a secret network of contacts and connections to inflict maximum damage on the government– are nearly unstoppable. What the Russiagate investigation shows, is that high-ranking members of the Democrat party participated in the type of activities that are described above, they were part of an illicit coup d’etat aimed at removing Donald Trump from office and rolling back the results of the 2016 elections.

It is a vast understatement to say that the operation was merely an attack on Donald Trump when, in fact, it was an attack on the system itself, a full-blown assault on the right of ordinary people to choose their own leaders. That’s what Russiagate is really all about; it was an attempt to torpedo democracy by invoking the flimsy and unverifiable claim that Trump was an agent of the Kremlin. None of this, of course, has been discussed in a public forum because those platforms are all privately-owned media that are linked to the people who executed the junta. But for those who followed events closely, and who know what actually happened, there has never been a more serious crime in American history.

Obama pressure

More text messages

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Moon of Alabama rips an Off Guardain piece to shreds. Good.

In Which We Debunk A Coividiot Pamphlet (MoA)

The next claim in the Off-Guardian nonsense: 3. An immense majority (95%) of fatal evolutions happen in old and frail individuals with premorbidities, with an average age of death at or above 80 years old. That claim is again an outright lie:Of the roughly 1.2 million American deaths that occurred between February 1 and June 17, almost 9% were due to coronavirus. The proportion of deaths due to coronavirus were about the same for each age group above 45 years. Below that, the proportion of deaths due to coronavirus fell dramatically.

The numbers in the second column of the table show that only about half of the total Covid-19 fatalities, not 95%, were “at or above 80 years old”. As for “premorbidities” (being alive is btw one). Hypertension and obesity are named as co-morbidities for Covid-19 cases. The CDC says that 42% of all U.S. inhabitants are obese while some 45% have hypertension. But today these people are alive and reasonably well. Most of them have still several decades of life before them. Would they get infected with SARS-CoV-2 and die, the virus, not their co-morbidities, would have caused their death. On to the next Off-Guardian blooper:

4. Antibody studies, cross immunization with other corona strains and the completion of the death toll curve in many countries are strong evidence that the human population is developing herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2. In this context, a severe “second wave” for SARS-CoV-2 is improbable. We may rather expect a new cold episode from it just like every year, but of regular or even weak intensity thanks to the gained herd immunity.

Antibody prevalence even in hard hit place like New York City is way below the 80% or so that would be needed for some kind of “herd immunity”. In the U.S. and Europe antibody prevalence is in total way less than 10%. The bay area for example has only some 2%. Is the U.S. ready to give 10 times more lives than the 266,000 who have already died of Covid-19 to achieve a potentially only temporary herd immunity?

Cross immunization with other corona viruses is a conjecture. We have so far no data that shows that there is cross immunity from other viruses that works against SARS-CoV-2. (Recent data points in the other direction. Children have an innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and it protects them well. Every adult has been infected with dozens of different viruses while growing up. We adults have developed and show an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2. This seems to work less well than the children’s response. Instead of developing cross immunity through other infections our bodies seem to have learned something from previous infections that makes it more difficult to counter SARS-CoV-2.) The “improbable” second wave of Covid 19 is already developing in several European countries. Just take a look at France. And don’t worry. The rise in the still low death toll WILL follow the infection curve with a four weeks lag.

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Everything about testing is in question.

‘A One-Off Test Is A Folly’: The Truth Behind False Negative Covid Tests (HuPo)

When Sarah found herself suffering sudden bouts of breathlessness in May, she took herself to hospital. But after her Covid-19 swab test came back negative, doctors said she was probably anxious, and sent her home. Despite this, Sarah’s symptoms continued to worsen. A week later, she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Paramedics told her that based on her clinic observations, she should be in a coma. Then came more surprising news: She had tested positive for coronavirus. A doctor explained her first test had been a false negative – a result that comes up despite the patient having the virus, and possibly being contagious.

As a clinically vulnerable Covid-19 patient with a chronic illness, I have had frequent contact with hospitals and healthcare systems during this pandemic. I have also been told by doctors that the potential for false negative results is high, so I decided to find out if this was true. The answer, according to the experts I spoke to for this article, is a resounding yes. Sarah’s story – given to a patient safety charity under a pseudonym – is one that resonates with Dr Claudia Paoloni. Paoloni, president of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, detailed another case in which a patient tested negative twice: once when she was first admitted to hospital and once later in her hospital stay. She finally tested positive on her third test – by which time she was on a ventilator in intensive care.

Paolini believes Covid-19 swab tests produce a troublingly high rate of false negative results, and the problem lies in the reliance on a single test. “To use as a one-off test in any capacity to exclude someone from having Covid-19 is a folly.” If you want to exclude someone from having the virus, Paoloni said, you must do multiple tests and collect multiple negative results. “If the test and tracing system is not working, which is the case here, transmission will continue unabated in the community.” Paoloni also warns this could get worse as the government tries to introduce rapid testing.

A study from Imperial College London published earlier in September put the sensitivity rate of rapid testing between 94% and 100%. That’s one in 20 people with Covid-19 who will almost definitely get a negative result. The current rate of false negatives in the UK was originally estimated at 30%, she explained. Things have improved since then, but it’s still around 8%, she said, which is almost two in 20. The most recent data published by the Office for National Statistics says the test’s sensitivity – which it says can tell us how likely it is to return a false-negative result, may be somewhere between 85% and 98%.

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Experiment.

DeSantis Drops All Florida COVID Restrictions, Promises No More Closures (JTN)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week formally lifted all statewide COVID-19 restrictions in the Sunshine State, promising residents that his office would pursue no lockdowns as it moves forward in managing the coronavirus pandemic there. DeSantis’s announcement ended all restrictions on restaurants and bars; it also forbids local governments from closing businesses. Local authorities are further forbidden from imposing restaurant capacity limits below 50%. “We’re … saying in the state of Florida everybody has a right to work,” DeSantis said at a Friday press conference. Local authorities, he said, “can do reasonable regulations, but they can’t just say no.”


Additionally, local governments may not collect fines on pandemic-related regulations such as mask mandates. Private businesses will still be permitted to set their own capacity limits and mask rules under the state’s reopening. Democratic state Senator Linda Stewart criticized the move on Friday, saying she was “not terribly convinced that we’re ready for this right now” and claiming that the state “will find out in three weeks if we’re ready.” Coronavirus cases in Florida peaked in mid-July and have been declining ever since; daily deaths, meanwhile, have declined more slowly, though they appear to have peaked in early August.

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The Guardian produces smear and slander. FIle a complaint against them.

Guardian’s Deceit-Riddled New Statement Betrays Assange And Journalism (Cook)

A decade ago, remember, the newspaper worked closely in collaboration with Assange and Wikileaks to publish the Iraq and Afghan war diaries, which are now the grounds on which the US is basing its case to lock Assange behind bars in a super-max jail. My first criticism was that the paper had barely bothered to cover the hearing, even though it is the most concerted attack on press freedom in living memory. That position is unconscionably irresponsible, given its own role in publishing the war diaries. But sadly it is not inexplicable. In fact, it is all too easily explained by my second criticism. That criticism was chiefly levelled at two leading journalists at the Guardian, former investigations editor David Leigh and reporter Luke Harding, who together wrote a book in 2011 that was the earliest example of what would rapidly become a genre among a section of the liberal media elite, most especially at the Guardian, of vilifying Assange.

In my earlier post I set out Leigh and Harding’s well-known animosity towards Assange – the reason why one senior investigative journalist, Nicky Hager, told the Old Bailey courtroom the pair’s 2011 book was “not a reliable source”. That was, in part, because Assange had refused to let them write his official biography, a likely big moneymaker. The hostility had intensified and grown mutual when Assange discovered that behind his back they were writing an unauthorised biography while working alongside him. But the bad blood extended more generally to the Guardian, which, like Leigh and Harding, repeatedly betrayed confidences and manoeuvred against Wikileaks rather the cooperating with it. Assange was particularly incensed to discover that the paper had broken the terms of its written contract with Wikileaks by secretly sharing confidential documents with outsiders, including the New York Times.

Leigh and Harding’s book now lies at the heart of the US case for Assange’s extradition to the US on so-called “espionage” charges. The charges are based on Wikileaks’ publication of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning, then an army private, that revealed systematic war crimes committed by the US military. Lawyers for the US have mined from the Guardian book claims by Leigh that Assange was recklessly indifferent to the safety of US informants named in leaked files published by Wikileaks. Assange’s defence team have produced a raft of renowned journalists, and others who worked with Wikileaks, to counter Leigh’s claim and argue that this is actually an inversion of the truth. Assange was meticulous about redacting names in the documents. It was they – the journalists, including Leigh – who were pressuring Assange to publish without taking full precautions.

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Making a connection between COVID and climate change is contentious. And unnecessary.

Avoiding a Climate Lockdown (Mariana Mazzucato)

As COVID-19 spread earlier this year, governments introduced lockdowns in order to prevent a public-health emergency from spinning out of control. In the near future, the world may need to resort to lockdowns again – this time to tackle a climate emergency. Shifting Arctic ice, raging wildfires in western US states and elsewhere, and methane leaks in the North Sea are all warning signs that we are approaching a tipping point on climate change, when protecting the future of civilization will require dramatic interventions. Under a “climate lockdown,” governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently.

Many think of the climate crisis as distinct from the health and economic crises caused by the pandemic. But the three crises – and their solutions – are interconnected. COVID-19 is itself a consequence of environmental degradation: one recent study dubbed it “the disease of the Anthropocene.” Moreover, climate change will exacerbate the social and economic problems highlighted by the pandemic. These include governments’ diminishing capacity to address public-health crises, the private sector’s limited ability to withstand sustained economic disruption, and pervasive social inequality. These shortcomings reflect the distorted values underlying our priorities. For example, we demand the most from “essential workers” (including nurses, supermarket workers, and delivery drivers) while paying them the least. Without fundamental change, climate change will worsen such problems.

The climate crisis is also a public-health crisis. Global warming will cause drinking water to degrade and enable pollution-linked respiratory diseases to thrive. According to some projections, 3.5 billion people globally will live in unbearable heat by 2070. Addressing this triple crisis requires reorienting corporate governance, finance, policy, and energy systems toward a green economic transformation. To achieve this, three obstacles must be removed: business that is shareholder-driven instead of stakeholder-driven, finance that is used in inadequate and inappropriate ways, and government that is based on outdated economic thinking and faulty assumptions.

Read more …

 

 

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Sep 262020
 


Botticelli Renaissance man (aka Medallion, Young man holding a medallion) 1480-85

 

Trump To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court (ZH)
‘Rank Religious Bigotry’: Black Church Leaders Defend Amy Coney Barrett (DC)
Trump $500B Black America Plan Names KKK, Antifa Terrorist Organizations (Fox)
Likely Voters: In-Person Presidential Debates Important This Year (JTN)
FBI Agent: Never Russia Collusion But Mueller Team Had ‘Get Trump’ Goal (JTN)
How Joe Biden Pushed To Quash Investigation Of Burisma (Smith)
Female Problems (Kunstler)
Scientists Urge UK Not To Follow Sweden’s Approach To Pandemic (Ind.)
Cantillon Effect 101 (Bloom)
Queen To Receive Government ‘Bailout’ To Top Up Income (Ind.)
The Difference Between ‘Villain’ Assange & ‘Intrepid’ Woodward (Camp)
Trump Will Only Leave Office If A Challenger Beats Him In Ritual Combat (BBee)

 

 

We’re going to hit 1 million global deaths tomorrow. No matter how twisted the numbers may be, that’s still a milestone.

 

 

 

 

Matt Taibbi has it exactly right: attacking Barrett for her faith is a very slippery slope. No matter how you feel about Roe vs. Wade. Which would appear to be just about impossible to denounce anyway.

 

 

“Senator Diane Feinstein generated considerable controversy when she said to Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly in you.”

One big problem with attacking her religious beliefs is that Joe Biden labels himself a devout Catholic, too.

Trump To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court (ZH)

Trump’s likely nominees to replace RBG on The US Supreme Court – 7th Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 11th Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa, and 4th Circuit Judge Allison Jones Rushing – have, according to sources who have leaked their information to The New York Times, been narrowed down to Judge Amy Coney Barrett: President Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the favorite candidate of conservatives, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and will try to force Senate confirmation before Election Day in a move that would significantly alter the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court for years. Mr. Trump plans to announce on Saturday that she is his choice, according to people close to the process who asked not to be identified disclosing the decision in advance.

The president met with Judge Barrett at the White House this week and came away impressed with a jurist that leading conservatives told him would be a female Antonin Scalia, referring to the justice who died in 2016 and for whom Judge Barrett clerked. Barrett is the most feared by liberals, some of whom concede that she has “a topnotch legal mind.” Many have focused on Judge Barrett’s devout catholicism – and therefore the abortion debate… “She is the perfect combination of brilliant jurist and a woman who brings the argument to the court that is potentially the contrary to the views of the sitting women justices,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group, who has praised Mr. Trump’s entire shortlist.

Additionally, as NYT noted earlier in the week, liberal groups have been sounding the alarm over Judge Barrett for two years because of concerns over how she might rule on abortion and the Affordable Care Act. “Amy Coney Barrett meets Donald Trump’s two main litmus tests: She has made clear she would invalidate the A.C.A. and take health care away from millions of people and undermine a woman’s reproductive freedom,” said Nan Aron, the president of Alliance for Justice, a liberal group. In a 2017 law review article written before she joined the appeals court, Judge Barrett was critical of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s 2012 opinion sustaining a central provision of the Affordable Care Act, saying he had betrayed the commands of textualism. “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” she wrote.

The court will again hear arguments on the fate of the law in November, and Judge Barrett’s article suggested that she would give its challengers a sympathetic hearing. However, in one of her most revealing opinions, Barrett took an expansive view of the Second Amendment – dissenting to the right of two colleagues who were appointed by President Ronald Reagan. In the world of conservative judges, she has particularly strong credentials. Judge Barrett began clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia 22 years ago, and her fellow clerks are quick to say she was his favorite. She graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School and joined the faculty in 2002, earning praise from colleagues as an astute scholar and jurist even if they did not always agree on her jurisprudential premises.

But, as a reminder, Alan Dershowitz notes that when Judge Barrett came before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for her nomination to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Senator Diane Feinstein generated considerable controversy when she said to Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly in you.” This was a reference to Barrett’s deep Catholic faith. Under our Constitution, Senator Feinstein’s statement crossed the line. Ours was the first Constitution in history to provide that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Although Feinstein did not explicitly impose a religious test, she suggested that personal religious views — which she called dogma — might disqualify a nominee from being confirmed.

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Attacking someone for their religion doesn’t sound overly American to begin with.

‘Rank Religious Bigotry’: Black Church Leaders Defend Amy Coney Barrett (DC)

Black religious leaders rallied Friday to defend reported Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett against criticisms of her Catholic faith. “We do not know whether she will be nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States, for which she is by all reports under consideration,” said the letter, which was signed by Charismatic Christian and Black Pentecostal leaders including clergy, scholars and pastors. “But we do know that attacks on her Christian beliefs and her membership in a charismatic Christian community reflect rank religious bigotry that has no legitimate place in our political debates or public life,” the letter said. President Donald Trump reportedly has selected Barrett as the Supreme Court nominee, multiple outlets reported Friday.


The letter continued: “We condemn these vile attacks—which began three years ago during the process of her confirmation for the judicial post she currently holds. As the descendants of slaves we are particularly sensitive to acts of discrimination and we demand an end to this reprehensible conduct.” The letter, titled “A Black Defense of Freedom of Conscience and Amy Coney Barrett,” was published by the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, an institution dedicated to educating and training black church leaders. The defense comes after Democrats suggested at Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearings that her Catholicism made her unfit to serve as a judge. Barrett’s Catholic faith has also been called “extreme,” and media has attempted to link a Catholic group associated with Barrett to the fictional dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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“.. they abandoned you and sold you out..”

Trump $500B Black America Plan Names KKK, Antifa Terrorist Organizations (Fox)

President Trump’s plan for Black America designates the KKK and Antifa as terrorist organizations and calls for making lynching a national hate crime, while pledging to increase access to capital in Black communities by nearly $500 billion, Fox News has learned. The president on Friday is expected to roll out details of what the campaign is calling the “Platinum Plan,” which details “opportunity,” “security,” “prosperity,” and “fairness” for the Black Community. “For decades, Democrat politicians like Joe Biden have taken Black voters for granted. They made you big promises before every election—and then the moment they got to Washington, they abandoned you and sold you out,” the president is expected to say Friday, according to remarks exclusively obtained by Fox News.

“The Democrats will always take Black voters for granted until large numbers of Black Americans vote Republican.” The president is expected to tout the plan as “a bold vision that we can and will achieve over the next four years.” The president’s plan, according to the campaign, will increase access to capital in Black communities by almost $500 billion, help to create 500,000 new Black-owned businesses, and help to create 3 million new jobs for the Black community. Fox News obtained a copy of the “Platinum Plan.” It states that it will “prosecute the KKK and ANTIFA as terrorist organizations and make lynching a national hate crime.” The president’s plan also vows to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Meanwhile, the president is also expected to commit to working on a “Second Step Act,” and provide access to better jobs and training opportunities for those in Black communities. The Platinum Plan also pledges to give Black churches the ability to compete for federal resources for their communities; bring better and tailored healthcare to address what the campaign called “historic disparities,” and advance home ownership opportunities and enhance financial literacy in Black communities.

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Better show up, Joe.

Likely Voters: In-Person Presidential Debates Important This Year (JTN)

A strong majority of likely U.S. voters say in-person, face-to-face presidential debates between President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are important in terms of their expected vote, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Among the likely voters surveyed, 75% said the debates were important. Just 24% said they were not, while 1% were unsure. Notably, Republicans were significantly more likely than Democrats (69% – 42%) to say the debates were “very important.” Independents were closer to Democrats on the question, with 46% attaching major importance to the debates. Rasmussen pointed out that, historically speaking, debates “are built up as a significant event, like a prize fight.”


“Political junkies and pundits thoroughly enjoy them,” he said, but overall the debates “rarely move the needle in terms of voting intentions.” “It is possible that this year could be different because voters have seen so little of Joe Biden,” he also said. Holding the 2020 presidential debates on a live stage was somewhat in doubt earlier in the year, with speculation that the coronavirus pandemic might lead to the event being held virtually. Over the summer, there were also indications that Democrats might be shying away from letting Biden participate, with Nancy Pelosi in August suggesting that no debates should be held at all.

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38 days left?!

FBI Agent: Never Russia Collusion But Mueller Team Had ‘Get Trump’ Goal (JTN)

An FBI agent who played a lead role investigating Michael Flynn told the Justice Department there was never evidence of wrongdoing by the retired general or Russian collusion by President Trump, but the probe was kept open by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because his team had a “get Trump” goal, according to an explosive interview released Friday. Agent William Barnett’s interview with Justice Department prosecutors earlier this month provided a bombshell claim that both FBI superiors under agency Director James Comey and Mueller’s team exhibited bias in their pursuit of Trump that upended the normal investigative decisions, tactics and commitment to pursue evidence neutrally.

The interview emerged just one day after the Justice Department released text messages showing FBI analysts bought liability insurance in January 2017 because they feared they could be sued for misconduct committed during the Russia probe. “BARNETT thought that the TRUMP campaign may have been aware the Russians were attempting to impact the election but that was far different from the TRUMP campaign and the Russians having a deal and/or working together quid pro quo,” the report of his Sept. 17 interview reads. “BARNETT” and others joked about how the investigation into collusion could be made into a game, which they referred to as “Collusion Clue.”

In the hypothetical game, investigators were able to choose any character conducting any activity in any location and pair this individual with another character and interpret it as evidence of collusion. Barnett added: “With respect to Flynn’s [phone call] with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 BARNETT did not believe Flynn was being directed by TRUMP. BARNETT did not believe FLYNN had any additional information to provide SCO. Barnett believed the prosecution of Flynn by SCO was used as a means to ‘get TRUMP.’ ”

Barnett described how the top levels of the FBI, including now-fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, suddenly took over the investigation after Trump won the November 2016 election and continued to keep the case going even though there was “little detail concerning specific evidence of criminal events.” “BARNETT still did not see any evidence of collusion between the TRUMP campaign and the Russian government,” the interview report stated. “Barnett was willing to follow any instructions being given by the deputy director as long as it was not a violation of the law.”

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Excerpt of the book “Permanent Coup”. Not new, but good to point out that the story came from the NYT.

How Joe Biden Pushed To Quash Investigation Of Burisma (Smith)

“Well, son of a bitch,” said Joe Biden. “He got fired.” The audience laughed. Biden always knew how to make people laugh. He had the common touch. But these weren’t common people — it was an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, and Biden was trying to impress them with a story about himself as a man who got things done. It is easier to get things done using the resources of the U.S. government. Biden was talking about a trip he made to Kiev to speak with Ukrainian officials. “I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee,” Biden said. He said that he had a commitment from the Ukrainian president and prime minister to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company that paid his son more than $80,000 a month. Unlike his father, who made many business trips to Kiev, Hunter never visited.

The Ukrainian heads of state and government tried to deflect Biden’s demands. “We’re not going to give you the billion dollars,” Biden told the Ukrainians. “They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president.'” Biden dared them to call Obama. “I said, call him.” The Manhattan audience laughed again. “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.” Biden had implicated the former president in an extortion scheme, in front of an audience. His statements were on videotape for anyone to view online. Of course no one was going to prosecute Obama or Biden. The making of foreign policy requires the use of various instruments to advance the national interest. Whether leveraging U.S. taxpayer money to get the vice president’s son out of trouble served the national interest is another question.

Biden said he never asked Hunter about his business, but he should have warned him that doing business in Kiev was a bad idea, for him and for U.S. national security. Hunter’s problems with money, women, and substance abuse would have flagged the attention of foreign intelligence services looking to influence the United States through the troubled son of the vice president. His job on the board of a company under investigation for corruption in a country known for corruption also would have made him and U.S. national security vulnerable. It was the duty of the chief executive to find out what, if anything, had happened. Donald Trump was impeached, in part, to punish him for asking what Joe and Hunter Biden had been up to in Ukraine. Democrats and the media knew the Bidens were involved in questionable practices.

In December 2015, the New York Times had reported that Hunter’s work for a corrupt Ukrainian energy company called Burisma compromised the vice president. But four years later, the context in which those facts had appeared changed. Hillary Clinton and Biden were no longer vying with each other for the 2016 nomination. Clinton was no longer the establishment pick, and her campaign had no reason to dump dirt on Biden to hurt his candidacy. In 2019, the story was nakedly about Democratic party corruption. So according to the left, facts describing Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine became components of a right-wing conspiracy theory, even though those facts appeared in the Times.

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“The Democrats are not just having a tantrum, now they’re chewing up the furniture, ululating, beating their flanks, discharging gobs of snot, peeing their panties, and foaming at the mouth..”

Female Problems (Kunstler)

History-the-trickster has paradoxically anointed the Great Disrupter, Mr. Trump, as the agent of order while the Democrats seek to bring chaos into every quarter of American life, a party of shrieking “Karens” and men acting like women. Such as: Tom Friedman of The New York Times mewling like a little girl to Anderson Cooper on CNN Thursday night that he was “living in terror,” that “everybody should be terrified,” because Mr. Trump “refuses to commit to accepting the election results.” Is that so? I think it was Hillary Clinton who declared just a few weeks ago that “Joe Biden should not concede the election under any circumstances” — for instance, the circumstance that he loses the election.

Of course, Mr. Trump, troll supremo, is simply punking his adversaries by proposing to play fair, that is, to play by the same rules they play by. And this only causes the Democrats to retreat into the chaos that is their comfort zone, where they hop up and down like fourteen-year-old girls in a tantrum. They are provoked, you understand, because Mr. Trump actually represents the thing they hate most: Daddy! Daddy’s in da house, the White House, as a matter of fact, and this baleful symbolic circumstance has driven the Democrats out of their gourds for four years, turning them into a party of hysterical women and men acting like hysterical women. Would you want to get on an airplane in bad weather piloted by a crew of hysterical women? That’s kind of the Big Question going into this national election 2020.

Tantrums, tantrums everywhere! The hysterical women (including men) of the Democratic Party have enlisted Black Lives Matter as their official agents of chaos. It must be so, because every time chaos erupts in an American city, and buildings catch on fire, and businesses are looted and burnt down, and police are bushwhacked, the local Democrats in charge where these things happen do not offer a peep of objection. And neither Kamala Harris nor her sidekick Joe Biden send any message aimed at quelling the violent hysteria. One must conclude that they’re on-board with rioting, arson, looting, and bushwhacking. Like I said: chaos = their comfort zone.

[..] The death of Justice RBG has amplified the hysteria. The Democrats are not just having a tantrum, now they’re chewing up the furniture, ululating, beating their flanks, discharging gobs of snot, peeing their panties, and foaming at the mouth. If he was anyone else but Daddy, Mr. Trump might have to take them out and have them shot. Instead, the President is going to nominate a sane and reasonable Mommy to the Supreme Court, and Uncle Cocaine Mitch is going to see that she is confirmed, and there is an excellent chance that together they will bring order back to this deranged household — and then perhaps we can turn our attention to the real existential problems of financial crisis and economic collapse.

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Why not make Finland our ideal instead?

Scientists Urge UK Not To Follow Sweden’s Approach To Pandemic (Ind.)

Sweden’s handling of coronavirus has been “ineffective” and its controversial approach to the pandemic should not be given credence in the UK, a group of scientists have warned. Independent Sage – a collection of experts mirroring the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – said the success of the country’s light-touch approach had been overstated in some quarters. In a briefing on Friday, Dr Gabriel Scally, a member of the group and president of epidemiology at the Royal Society of Medicine, said that compared to its neighbouring countries, Sweden had been unsuccessful in preventing fatalities related to Covid-19.

His remarks came after it emerged Boris Johnson and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had received advice from scientists outside the official Sage group on Sunday, including Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who devised the controversial approach to the pandemic. Unlike many other European nations, the country did not enter lockdown at the outset of the pandemic, keeping bars, restaurants and pubs open while most children remained at school. The country instead placed emphasis on personal responsibility to socially distance. However, some restrictions were introduced, including workers being advised to work from home if possible, a ban on gatherings of more than 50, and travel was restricted from outside the European Union.

Dr Scally said there had been a great deal of discussion about the Swedish model as a way of approaching the pandemic, but warned: “We’ve been concerned about this because we have noted the very different performance of Nordic countries: Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. We are extremely concerned that that model may be given some credence.” He added: “We believe it is ineffective. Sweden has had an enormous number of deaths per head of population: 5,880 deaths, representing 580 deaths per million population. Compared to its neighbours it has been unsuccessful in preventing deaths. Finland, for example, has had exactly 343 deaths, which equals 62 deaths per million population.

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Forget about Trickle Down. This guy knew that 300 years ago.

Cantillon Effect 101 (Bloom)

With the recent money printing activity and an expanding wealth inequality problem, talk of the “Cantillon Effect” has taken center stage. But what is the Cantillon Effect and how does it work? Richard Cantillon was an Irish-French banker, philosopher, and economist born in the 1680s. His “Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General” is considered a foundational work in the study of the political economy, though it was not published until 1755, well after his death. While published 265 years ago, the essay has many insights that remain relevant today. He posited that the early recipients of new money entering an economy will enjoy a much higher standard of living than those it trickles down to. The “flow path” of new money matters! Let’s use a simple story to illustrate his point.

Imagine you live in a small, simple island society. One morning, you find a package has been delivered to your doorstep from your long lost Uncle FEDerico (who lives in a far away land). The package has $1 million in it. No one else knows you have received this package. You now secretly have $1 million. So naturally, you start spending it and investing it very quickly. Prices are still low, because no one knows these new dollars exist yet! Your standard of living improves rapidly. You buy yourself the nicest house, the most beautiful clothes, tons of land, and still have some money left over. But now, people are aware that new money is flowing through the system. Prices begin to rise as supply has yet to “catch up” to the new demand.


So while the money allowed you to invest, spend, and dramatically improve your lifestyle, it did not benefit others in the society in the same way. The sellers of the goods, who received your cash, now face rising prices when they want to consume.The flow path mattered! This is an ultra-simplified example, but gets at the essence of what the Cantillon Effect describes. Those receiving the new money injected in an economy first are generally much better off than those receiving it via the trickle down. This may lead to inequality.The Cantillon Effect is often discussed when examining the impact of “money printing” of Central Banks globally. With an injection point of the “new money” at the top, asset owners benefit while the working class may experiencing rising prices for everyday goods like food.

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Cantillon in present-day life.

Queen To Receive Government ‘Bailout’ To Top Up Income (Ind.)

Boris Johnson’s government has confirmed it will top up the Queen’s income following a significant slump in the Crown Estate’s revenue during the coronavirus crisis. The royal family takes in rental receipts from shops in London’s Regent Street, alongside malls and retail parks around the country – but the value of its portfolio has fallen by more than £500m since the pandemic hit. The Treasury said it would provide the estate with extra money to meet any shortfall in profits and make sure the Queen’s sovereign grant remains at its current level. “In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate’s profits, the sovereign grant is set at the same level as the previous year,” a spokesperson said told The Independent.

“The revenue from the Crown Estate helps pay for our vital public services – over the last 10 years it has returned a total of £2.8bn to the Exchequer. The sovereign grant funds the official business of the monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family.” More details on the next sovereign grant are expected to be set out on Friday – but legislation governing the formula prevents the overall amount given to the Queen from ever being allowed to fall. Graham Smith, of the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic, described it as a “golden ratchet”, adding: “Once the grant goes up it can never come down, and the taxpayer loses out.”

Robert Palmer, the head of Tax Justice UK, added: “This royal bailout will be tough to stomach for people who love the Queen but have lost their jobs and businesses during the pandemic.” Any profits made by the Crown Estate are passed to the Treasury which, in turn, hands 25 per cent of the profits back to the Queen through the sovereign grant.

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Where would we be without hypocrisy?

The Difference Between ‘Villain’ Assange & ‘Intrepid’ Woodward (Camp)

Right now, one journalist, Julian Assange, is on trial while being held in a maximum security prison in London. Another journalist, Bob Woodward, is in a very different situation. The liberal Establishment is preparing to chisel his likeness out of a small boulder and display it next to the Lincoln Memorial. They love him because he got President Donald Trump to do interviews wherein Trump, as always, sounds like a lying buffoon. Among other things the president admits he knew Covid-19 was “deadly stuff” back in at least February, but played it down anyway. But this is nothing new. Every time Bob Woodward puts out a book, the mainstream media fan-girls all over him. Myriad kings and queens of televised logorrhea describe him as a “veteran reporter,” a “famed reporter,” or “synonymous with investigative journalism!”

So what’s the difference between liberal-hero journalist Bob Woodward and dastardly evil villain cannibal-pedophile Julian Assange (who Hillary Clinton famously said we should drone bomb)? Well, Julian is on trial for obtaining and disclosing classified information from the U.S. government. Liberal superhero Bob Woodward would never do such a thing like that! …Oh, that’s right. He actually said in his own online journalism class — “I have rarely found a significant story where there isn’t a document. …Often you can’t get it because it’s classified but… it’s there, and if you can get somebody to assist you, it will indeed help you with your story. …The hardest documents [to get] are intelligence documents. …And I’ve had them and printed them.”

Hmm, so the icon of investigative journalism actually brags about printing classified information. Well, maybe the difference between Assange (currently being fed to the lions) and Woodward (currently being lionized) is that Assange supposedly pressured people into giving him classified information whereas Woodward would never do that. For Bob the information just arrives at his door unsolicited.…Oh, wait a second. On video Woodward recently said, “Documents rarely just arrive in the mail out of the blue. …You have to go to human beings and say, ‘Will you give it to me?’ You say, ‘Come on, let’s talk. Let’s, uh, not be chickenshit about this.’” Soooo, the guy that has the entire mainstream media licking his shoes has been involved in obtaining and publishing classified information, and in fact pressuring sources into supplying him those documents?

Wow. Bob Woodward and Julian Assange are exactly the same except Assange has actually not been proven to have pressured sources into giving him documents. And there’s one other difference between the Almighty Bob Woodward and the so-called servant of Lucifer, Julian Assange. Nothing WikiLeaks has ever published has been proven false. Not one sentence. Whereas, the outlets Woodward works with like The Washington Post and The New York Times publish false information all the time.

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Simple question: who of you amongst our US readers would vote for Pelosi if she were the Democrat candidate?

Trump Will Only Leave Office If A Challenger Beats Him In Ritual Combat (BBee)

Clad in tribal furs and leather, President Trump shouted this morning that he will only transfer power if a challenger beats him in a one-on-one spear fight. Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, saying the only way to dethrone him would be for a challenger to beat him in ritual combat, per Wakandan tradition. The winner of the fight will receive the presidency and a cool suit that grants him super strength to go around the world and punch commies and stuff.


“It will not be a peaceful transfer of power,” Trump said. “It will instead be a fun, entertaining transfer of power, and that’s much more important. We can gather together all the tribal people and they can chant and bang their spears down and stuff. Totally tremendous and remarkable event. Really spectacular.” Biden then wandered up to Trump and said he’d challenge the president to a push-up contest. “I don’t even know who you are,” Trump growled. “Yeah, me neither,” Biden replied, wandering away again. “This is the way,” Trump concluded. He was then informed that was the wrong franchise.

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Sep 252020
 


Louis Anquetin Avenue de Clichy 1887

 

Durham, Barr, Jensen and DOJ Production to Sidney Powell (CT)
FBI Analysts Bought Insurance Fearing They’d Be Sued For Flynn Case (JTN)
Brennan Overruled Dissenting Analysts Who Said Russia Favored Hillary (RCI)
FBI Investigated Steele Dossier Source As A Possible Russian Spy In 2010 (DC)
McCabe At Center Of Durham’s Probe, Source A Suspected Russian Agent (SAC)
House Dems Prep Bill To Limit Supreme Court Justice Terms To 18 Years (F.)
Hunger In America, Especially For Children, Has “Skyrocketed” (Int.)
UK, France Break Daily COVID Case Record As Europe Braces For 2nd Wave (F.)
Territorial Reach—The 1961 Amendment That Imperils Assange (Lauria)
Assange a ‘Resilient Man’ Not at Risk of Suicide If Extradited – “Expert” (Sp.)
Assange Hearing Day 17 (Craig Murray)
This Is Lake Trump And It Is In Kosovo (GE)

 

 

40 days before the election, US Attorney Jeff Jensen handed over a pile of documents to Michael Flynn attorney Sidney Powell yesterday. They are damning for a lot of people at the FBI, CIA and Obama White House. And this can no longer be labeled a politcal move. Powell published the documents right away, something Jensen and Bill Barr couldn’t have done at this point in time. The docs also show that FBI agents even took out insurance in case they would be sued. It may come in handy. Powell will no longer settle for a full exoneration of Flynn, she will go after the people who set him up, and that includes Obama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Rogan interviews Edward Snowden. Long but recommended.

 

 

Taibbi Putin

 

 

An option I wrote down months ago, but I don’t think I ever finished my piece on Sidney Powell: that Bill Barr knew any of his moves would be labeled “(party) political”, but if he handed over files to Sidney Powell, that would not be possible. Or, rather, he even had Jeff Jensen hand them over.

Durham, Barr, Jensen and DOJ Production to Sidney Powell (CT)

The document production by USAO Jeff Jensen to Michael Flynn attorney, Sidney Powell, provides an opportunity for me to share a detached research opinion from my ongoing time outside the wire in the center of the swamp. No matter what open source information is collected; and no matter what evidence congress can assemble; the toxic political environment in DC is the primary driver of DOJ investigative events. It shouldn’t be, but the reality of action reflects an uncomfortable truth. Here’s my opinion on what is happening.

Attorney General Bill Barr is trying to split the baby against two competing narratives. On one hand there is enough evidence to indict former officials for gross abuses of power, falsifying information to a FISA court (violating fourth amendment protections); manipulating investigative effort for political purposes; weaponizing the intelligence apparatus of the U.S. to target political opposition, and then using their positions to cover-up their corrupt and unlawful conduct. On the other hand there is a current highly toxic political environment; consisting of elected politicians and a fully vested branch of government; attempting to cloud the reality that corrupt former government officials worked hand-in-glove with deceitful media, which includes agents of Lawfare, who collaborated in the effort.

This leads to current DC officials and people within those remaining institutions saying: there are delicate balances. In my opinion, in an effort to thread this needle -and considering the timing of the 2020 election- Bill Barr is using the document production from Missouri USAO Jeff Jensen as a backdoor method to provide the information he will not/cannot put forth in a press conference, report or series of indictments. This is why Jensen is providing new information to Michael Flynn s defense attorney Sidney Powell. The U.S. Attorney General knows Powell will make this information public; therefore Powell becomes a conduit to receive significant amounts of evidence previously hidden by the Special Counsel (Weissmann/Mueller) cover-up operation; the “insurance policy” of sorts.


Barr is essentially funneling information through Powell in lieu of a report which would include much of the same evidence. This is just how all indications align. Occam’s razor. Much of the released information has no direct bearing on Flynn *IF* there was going to be an alternate use of the evidence. Bill Barr is splitting the baby.

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“The new AG might have some questions….then yada yada yada…we all get screwed..”

FBI Analysts Bought Insurance Fearing They’d Be Sued For Misconduct in Flynn Case

FBI analysts working on the Michael Flynn Russia investigation originally planned to end the inquiry in fall 2016 and eventually bought liability insurance fearing they could be sued after their bosses continued to keep the investigation open based on “conspiracy theories,” explosive new text messages showed Thursday. “We all went and purchased professional liability insurance,” one analyst texted on Jan. 10, 2017, just 10 days before Trump took office. “Holy crap,” a colleague responded. “All the analysts too?” “Yep,” the first analyst said. “All the folks at the Agency as well.” “Can I ask who are the most likely litigators?” a colleague responded. “As far as potentially suing y’all.”

“Haha, who knows….I think the concern when we got it was that there was a big leak at DOJ and the NYT among others was going to do a piece,” the original analyst texted back. The explosive messages were attached to a new filing by Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, who argued to the court that is considering dismissing her client’s guilty plea that the emails show “stunning government misconduct” and “wrongful prosecution.” A hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday. “There was no case against General Flynn,” Powell wrote in the new motion. “There was no crime. The FBI and the prosecutors knew that. This American hero and his entire family have suffered for four years from public abuse, slander, libel, and all means of defamation at the hands of the very government he pledged his life to defend.”


The new FBI evidence was turned over late Wednesday and included a stunning revelation that FBI agents originally planned to close Flynn’s probe, known as Crossfire Razor, on Nov. 8, 2016, nearly a year before he was charged with lying to the FBI. “He said shut down Razor” and “so glad they’re closing Razor,” an FBI official texted that day. “However [redacted] was silent though, so who knows what he will want.” By January, the FBI analysts were alarmed that their agency was engaged in misconduct that could be discovered by President Trump’s new attorney general. “The new AG might have some questions….then yada yada yada…we all get screwed,” one official wrote.

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But how do you prosecute him? Also a job for Sidney Powell?

Brennan Overruled Dissenting Analysts Who Said Russia Favored Hillary (RCI)

Former CIA Director John Brennan personally edited a crucial section of the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and assigned a political ally to take a lead role in writing it after career analysts disputed Brennan’s take that Russian leader Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump clinch the White House, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials who have seen classified materials detailing Brennan’s role in drafting the document. The explosive conclusion Brennan inserted into the report was used to help justify continuing the Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation, which had been launched by the FBI in 2016. It was picked up after the election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who in the end found no proof that Trump or his campaign conspired with Moscow.

The Obama administration publicly released a declassified version of the report — known as the “Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections (ICA)” — just two weeks before Trump took office, casting a cloud of suspicion over his presidency. Democrats and national media have cited the report to suggest Russia influenced the 2016 outcome and warn that Putin is likely meddling again to reelect Trump. The ICA is a key focus of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the “collusion” probe. He wants to know if the intelligence findings were juiced for political purposes.


[..] The two officials said Brennan, who openly supported Clinton during the campaign, excluded conflicting evidence about Putin’s motives from the report, despite objections from some intelligence analysts who argued Putin counted on Clinton winning the election and viewed Trump as a “wild card.” The dissenting analysts found that Moscow preferred Clinton because it judged she would work with its leaders, whereas it worried Trump would be too unpredictable. As secretary of state, Clinton tried to “reset” relations with Moscow to move them to a more positive and cooperative stage, while Trump campaigned on expanding the U.S. military, which Moscow perceived as a threat.

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So you have the CIA involved -Brennan- and cooperating with the FBI. They had Danchenko in their sights as early as 2005. Did they introduce him to Steele?

FBI Investigated Steele Dossier Source As A Possible Russian Spy In 2010 (DC)

The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation on the primary source for dossier author Christopher Steele, and considered obtaining a warrant to wiretap him in 2010, according to a document released Thursday. The FBI was also aware of the information about the source, identified elsewhere as Igor Danchenko, by December 2016, according to the document. “This is the most stunning and damning revelation the committee has uncovered,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said in a statement after releasing an FBI memo about the dossier source. The document shows that the FBI considered a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant of Danchenko years before the bureau relied heavily on information that he had provided Steele, a former British spy, to obtain FISAs against Carter Page.

Danchenko is not named in the memo, though is attorney has confirmed to reporters that the Russian national was Steele’s source. The information also could increase concerns that Russian disinformation was fed to Steele, a former MI6 officer who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC. A Justice Department inspector general’s report released Dec. 9 said that the FBI received evidence in January and February 2017 that Russian intelligence officers may have fed false information into Steele’s network of sources. Footnotes from the IG report say that two Russian intelligence officers knew in July 2016 that Steele was investigating the Trump campaign.


According to the FBI document, Danchenko had contact with suspected Russian intelligence officers in Washington, D.C. in 2005 and 2006. The document says that the FBI had an investigation into Danchenko open from May 2009 to March 2011, based on an interaction he allegedly had with three employees of an American think tank. Danchenko worked at the time as a Russia analyst for the Brookings Institution, a prominent liberal foreign policy think tank. An employee of the think tank said that another employee, seemingly Danchenko, told others that if they got jobs in the government and obtained classified security clearances, they might be put them in touch with people so they could “make a little extra money.” “The coworker did express suspicion of the employee and had questioned the possibility that the employee might actually be a Russian spy,” the FBI memo says.

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“…were contacted last week by the DOJ and were warned that a “shit storm was heading their way.”..”

McCabe At Center Of Durham’s Probe, Source A Suspected Russian Agent (SAC)

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham hinted more than a week ago that more bombshell information regarding the FBI’s handling of its probe into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia was about to be public. He was right because it was Graham’s committee that discovered the information. A letter released Thursday night by Graham’s committee from Justice Department Attorney General William Barr revealed a declassified summary from the bureau indicating that former British spy Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source in his debunked dossier was believed to be a Russian spy. Not only was the sub source believed to be a spy but the FBI knew about it and had conducted a counterintelligence investigation on the individual.

“In light of this newly declassified information, I will be sending the FISA Court the information provided to inform them how wide and deep the effort to conceal exculpatory information regarding the Carter Page warrant application was in 2016 and 2017,” said Graham. “A small group of individuals in the Department of Justice and FBI should be held accountable for this fraud against the court. I do not believe they represent the overwhelming majority of patriotic men and women who work at the Department of Justice and FBI.” One of those individuals being investigated by Connecticut Prosecutor John Durham is former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired from the FBI by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for lying to the Inspector General on multiple occasions.

He is now in Durham’s crosshairs, along with multiple other former senior FBI officials that were involved in the investigation, according to a source with direct knowledge. McCabe, along with other FBI officials, withheld that information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as well as some of the FBI special agents investigating Trump’s campaign and its alleged ties to Russia, according to the source. “McCabe and others were suppressing information, misrepresenting it or lying about the information that they had in order to purposefully undermine the Trump candidacy and that turned into the predication for undermining the Trump presidency,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation.


The source, who is familiar with the ongoings of the senior brass at the FBI, told this reporter the FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with Deputy Director David Bowdich, were contacted last week by the DOJ and were warned that a “shit storm was heading their way.” The source alleged that McCabe is now a central figure in Durham’s investigation, along with several other senior FBI officials who were aware of the information but failed to disclose it.

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Everyone’s first reaction: They should limit their own terms.

House Dems Prep Bill To Limit Supreme Court Justice Terms To 18 Years (F.)

Democrats in the House of Representatives will reportedly introduce a bill next week to limit the tenure of U.S. Supreme Court justices to 18 years as Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death puts a spotlight on the partisan fight over vacancies. Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Ca.), Joe Kennedy III (D-Ma.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) said they plan to introduce the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act on Tuesday, Khanna told Reuters. “It would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues and is one of the primary things tearing at our social fabric,” said Khanna. The bill would limit each president to nominating two justices per four-year term, per Reuters which said it obtained a copy.

It would be the first legislation to set Supreme Court term limits by statute, according to Gabe Roth, the executive director of the judicial advocacy group Fix the Court, who notes Ginsburg’s death has brought more attention to the idea of term limits for the justices, who currently have lifetime appointments, with legal scholars and politicians from both sides of the aisle weighing in with potential proposals. [..] A 77% majority of Americans favor restrictions on the tenure of Supreme Court justices while 23% are against it, according to a recent PBS survey commissioned by Fix the Court.


The survey found that 70% of Republicans, 72% of Democrats and 68% of Independents found the statement, “No one with a position as powerful as Supreme Court justice should serve for life,” either “somewhat” or “very” persuasive. It also found that 70% of Republicans, 73% of Democrats and 68% of Independents were somewhat or very persuaded by the argument that, “Vacancies on the Supreme Court often occur unexpectedly and sporadically; term limits will make it so that vacancies are routine, which will reduce the political gamesmanship around them.”

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But bankers and “investors” are fine.

Hunger In America, Especially For Children, Has “Skyrocketed” (Int.)

The level of hunger in U.S. households almost tripled between 2019 and August of this year, according to an analysis of new data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture. Even more alarming, the proportion of American children who sometimes do not have enough to eat is now as much as 14 times higher than it was last year. The Agriculture Department conducts yearly studies on food insecurity in the U.S., with its report on 2019 released this month. The Census Bureau began frequent household surveys in April in response to Covid-19 that include questions about hunger.

The analysis, by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found that 3.7 percent of U.S. households reported they sometimes or often had “not enough to eat” during 2019. Meanwhile, the most recent Census data from the end of August of this year showed that 10 percent of households said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat within the past seven days. Levels of food insecurity in Black and Latino households are significantly higher, at 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, compared to 7 percent in white households. Even worse, while about 1 percent of adults with children said their children sometimes or often went hungry in 2019, between 9 and 14 percent of such adults said the same about their kids in August 2020.


CBPP estimates that this adds up to about 5 million school-aged children in such households. “What I see every day from the pandemic is amazingly-increased numbers of severely underweight children coming to our clinic, and parents really panicked about how they’re going to find enough food,” says Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. [..] The increase in hunger among children is particularly disturbing, for several reasons. Generally, explains Dottie Rosenbaum, another CBPP expert, “parents shield their children.” Sandel says that “parents are reporting to me sometimes at mealtime going back into the kitchen so the kids don’t notice that they are not eating themselves.” So when children are going hungry, there is little food for anyone.

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Greece is preparing military and private hospitals for a patient influx. But tourists from countries like France and Holland, which have huge increases in cases, are still welcome.

UK, France Break Daily COVID Case Record As Europe Braces For 2nd Wave (F.)

Both the United Kingdom and France counted record-breaking new daily coronavirus infections Thursday, and while officials partly credit an increased testing capacity, the numbers point toward a possible second coronavirus wave sweeping across Europe. The U.K. reported a record of 6,634 new coronavirus cases Thursday, the highest number recorded by the country, even before its nationwide lockdown. However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News the situation is not as dire as during the peak of the pandemic, when the government estimates that as many as 100,000 people were being infected with the virus per day, though lower testing rates at the time mean the daily infection figures from that period don’t reflect the virus’ true spread.

“Now we estimate that it’s under 10,000 people a day getting the disease,” Hancock said. “That’s too high, but it’s still much lower than in the peak.” Just across the English Channel, France also counted a record-breaking 16,096 new daily cases Thursday, the fourth time the record has been broken in just the past week or so. The news comes just after new coronavirus crackdowns were placed on cities like Paris, Marseilles, Bordeaux and Lyon to help damper a resurgence of new cases after the nationwide lockdown was scaled back. Like in the U.K., French officials say improved testing has meant more infections are being detected and recorded, though the country has seen a worrying trend of increased hospitalizations—the number of coronavirus patients in Paris’ hospitals has doubled over the past few weeks and will likely increase nearly twofold again before October, a Parisian hospital system official told Agence France-Presse.

“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,“ the European director of the World Health Organization Hans Kluge said last week according to the BBC, when daily new cases began to rival the pandemic’s peak in spring. Kluge added that those numbers “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.” European countries, some of the hardest hit early on in the coronavirus pandemic, were hailed as a model for the rest of the world after their governments enacted strict, nationwide lockdowns that drastically decreased the number of new coronavirus cases. However, many of those successful countries have reported a resurgence of cases in recent months after emerging from lockdown and gradually returning to a more normal life.


Countries like Spain, France, the U.K., The Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, France and the Netherlands have all counted jumps in cases. The surges of new infections—though not considered as serious as the situation in spring, the peak of the pandemic in Europe—has led to new, often localized crackdowns in a bid to keep new cases at bay. The spikes across the continent have been blamed on young people shunning social distancing guidelines and attending parties after long months of isolation and people going on holiday despite travel warnings. While the European resurgence of the virus is concerning, it is still nowhere near the devastation seen in countries like the United States, which counted its 200,000th coronavirus death this week.

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Should have been banned right there and then.

Territorial Reach—The 1961 Amendment That Imperils Assange (Lauria)

If the original 1917 Espionage Act were still in force, the U.S. government could not have charged WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange under it. The 1917 language of the Act restricted the territory where it could be applied to the United States, its possessions and international waters: “The provisions of this title shall extend to all Territories, possessions, and places subject to the jurisdiction of the United States whether or not continguous thereto, and offenses under this title when committed upon the high seas or elsewhere within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States …” WikiLeaks publishing operations have never occurred in any of these places. But in 1961 Congressman Richard Poff, after several tries, was able to get the Senate t0 repeal Section 791 that restricted the Act to “within the jurisdiction of the United States, on the high seas, and within the United States.”

Poff was motivated by the case of Irvin Chambers Scarbeck, a State Department official who was convicted under a different statute, the controversial 1950 Subversive Activities Control Act, or McCarran Act, of passing classified information to the Polish government during the Cold War. (Congress overrode a veto by President Harry Truman of the McCarran Act. He called the Act “the greatest danger to freedom of speech, press, and assembly since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798,” a “mockery of the Bill of Rights” and a “long step toward totalitarianism.” Most of its provisions have been repealed.) Polish security agents had burst into a bedroom in 1959 to photograph Scarbeck in bed with a woman who was not his wife. Showing him the photos, the Polish agents blackmailed Scarbeck: turn over classified documents from the U.S. embassy or the photos would be published and his life ruined. Adultery was seen differently in that era.


Scarbeck then removed the documents from the embassy, which is U.S. territory covered by Espionage Act, and turned them over to the agents on Polish territory, which at the time was not. Scarbeck was found out, fired, and convicted, but he could not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act because of its then territorial limitations. That set Congressman Poff off on a one-man campaign to extend the reach of the Espionage Act to the entire globe. After three votes the amendment was passed. The Espionage Act thus became global, ensnaring anyone anywhere in the world into the web of U.S. jurisdiction. After the precedent being set by the Assange prosecution, it means that any journalist, anywhere in the world, who publishes national defense information is not safe from an Espionage Act prosecution.

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He had not even evaluated Julian.

Assange a ‘Resilient Man’ Not at Risk of Suicide If Extradited – “Expert” (Sp.)

A psychiatrist testifying for the government says that whilst the WikiLeaks publisher is suffering from mild clinical depression he does not think he is a suicide risk if he is extradited to the United States to face espionage charges. A psychiatrist testifying for the US government in the extradition case of Julian Assange told the Old Bailey on 24 September 2020 that in his assessment the WikiLeaks publisher “would be able to resist any suicidal impulse” were he to be sent to the United States. During the examination-in-chief conducted by James Lewis QC, for the prosecution, Dr Nigel Blackwood, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist with the NHS, explained that he saw Mr Assange in April 2020, in Belmarsh maximum-security prison. The doctor thought Mr Assange was “moderately depressed”, in the clinical sense, though a review of his most recent medical records from Belmarsh leads him to believe that there is some improvement of his state of mind.

Dr Blackwood did not think Mr Assange suffered from a “severe depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms” in November 2019, though he had not himself evaluated Mr Assange at that time and relied in his assessment on other observations made by the prison staff. The doctor, who consults with inmates at Wandsworth prison, notes some risk of suicide but that risk has been very carefully managed in Belmarsh, and the publisher engages closely with treatments to manage that risk. He believes Mr Assange retains the capacity to resist suicide, the court heard. Dr Blackwood says that he disputes that Mr Assange “was at the very severest end of the spectrum” and complains that Professor Michael Kopelman, a defence expert, “did not recognise” that if the treating physician at Belmarsh would have been bound to refer Mr Assange to a secure unit and that that did not occur.


Defence experts told the court earlier in the week that that they believed the risk that Mr Assange may commit suicide if extradited is “high” or even “very high”. Dr Blackwood explained that a person’s description of their own mood and mental state “will definitely be coloured” by their personality and own perspective. He thinks Mr Assange may have had a self-dramatising or hyperbolic approach to describing the symptoms and insisted that one must look very clearly at the psychological records Dr Blackwood also told the court that he has “anxieties” about making an autism diagnosis in a 49-year-old man where there has been no such diagnosis historically, despite Mr Assange’s contact with the medical community earlier in his life.

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“..three psychiatrists and a physician with extensive experience of treating trauma have all testified in court that Assange’s mental and physical condition deteriorated while he was in “healthcare” for several months. ..”

Assange Hearing Day 17 (Craig Murray)

During the hearing of medical evidence the last three days, the British government has been caught twice directly telling important lies about events in Belmarsh prison, each lie proven by documentary evidence. The common factor has been the medical records kept by Dr Daly, head of the jail’s medical services. There has also been, to put it at its very lightest, one apparent misrepresentation by Dr Daly. [..] This is Mr Kemp’s description of the medical wing at Belmarsh: “Security is on another level here with six times more staff per inmate than the rest of the jail.” While in the medical wing or “healthcare”, Julian Assange was in effect in solitary confinement, and three psychiatrists and a physician with extensive experience of treating trauma have all testified in court that Assange’s mental and physical condition deteriorated while he was in “healthcare” for several months.

They also said he improved after he left “healthcare”. That says something profound about the “healthcare” being provided. The same doctors testified that Assange has a poor relationship with Dr Daly and will not confide his symptoms or feelings to her, and this has also been asserted by defence council. That is all essential background to the lies. Now let me come to the lies. Unfortunately to do so I must reveal details of Julian’s medical condition which I had withheld, but I think the situation is so serious I must now do that. I did not report that Professor Michael Kopelman gave evidence that, among other preparations for suicide, Julian Assange had hidden a razor blade in his folded underwear, but this had been discovered in a search of his cell.

As I did report, Kopelman was subjected to an extremely aggressive cross-examination by James Lewis, which in the morning had focused on the notion that Julian Assange’s mental illness was simply malingering, and that Kopelman had failed to detect this. The razor blade was a key factor in Lewis’s browbeating of Kopelman, and he attacked him on it again and again and again. [..] In an attempt to humiliate Kopelman, Lewis said “You say you do not rely on the razor blade for your diagnosis. But you do rely on it. Let us then look at your report. You rely on the razor blade at paragraph 8. You mention it again at paragraph 11a. Then 11c. Then paragraph 14, paragraph 16, 17b, 18a. Then we come to the next section and the razor blade is there at paragraph 27 and 28. Then again in the summary it is at paragraphs 36 and again at paragraph 38. So tell me Professor, how can you say that you do not rely on the razor blade?” [I do not give the actual paragraph numbers; these are illustrative].


Lewis then went on to invite Kopelman to change his diagnosis. He asked him more than once if his diagnosis would be different if there was no razor blade and it were an invention by Assange. Kopelman was plainly unnerved by this attack. He agreed it was “very odd indeed” it was not mentioned in the medical notes if it were true. The plain attack that he had naively believed an obvious lie disconcerted Kopelman. Except it was Lewis who was not telling the truth. There really was a concealed razor blade, and what Assange had told Kopelman, and what Kopelman had believed, was true in every single detail. In a scene straight out of a TV legal drama, during Kopelman’s testimony, the defence had managed to obtain the charge sheet from Belmarsh Prison – Assange had been charged with the offence of the razor blade. The charge sheet is dated 09.00 on 7 May 2019

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Ha ha! In gold letters please!

This Is Lake Trump And It Is In Kosovo (GE)

It all started as an idea to relax negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia delegations, but the idea to name the Gazivoda/Ujman Lake “Lake Trump” as seen in the photo seems more serious than initially thought. An idea that started as a joke for the Ujman Lake, which Serbs refer to as Gazivoda, to find a compromise name seems to be taking shape. During the negotiations at the White House, the US Presidential envoy for the dialogue, Richard Grenell, gave the idea to name the lake after Trump. Initially everybody laughed with the idea. But not today. Gazeta Express has learned that Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti expressed his readiness to support Grenell’s idea at a meeting with him.


The same idea was endorsed also by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at another meeting. The debate, and later the Agreement, about Ujman Lake have triggered a wave of reactions in Kosovo. Kosovo has reached an agreement with the US for the State Department to carry out a feasibility study on how to share the lake’s resources. The Ujman/Gazivoda Lake is mostly located in Kosovo’s territory but almost 20 percent of it is part of Serbia’s territory. This artificial lake was accumulated decades ago by the “Iber Lepenci” company, back when Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia. After the end of the war in 1999, there was a lot of tension caused about the lake as Kosovo considers it as its own property, while Serbia claims its ownership since part of it is in Serbia.

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Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Sep 242020
 


Ramón Casas A young decadent 1899

 

Senate Report Slams Bidens For Conflicts Of Interest, Possible Criminal Activity (JTN)
Ron Johnson Requests Documents From Biden, Archer’s Attorneys (JTN)
Hunter Biden Received $3.5m Wire Transfer From Russian Billionaire (NYP)
Judge Orders Eric Trump To Testify Before Election In New York AG Probe (CNBC)
Swamp Thang (Kunstler)
Trump Says Supreme Court Will Decide The Election, Needs A Ninth Justice (ZH)
Fed Prepares To Deposit “Digital Dollars” Directly To “Each American” (ZH)
46% of Americans Struggle To Pay Rent, Bills (NPR)
UK New Covid Restrictions Unscientific Mumbo Jumbo, Exercise In Futility (RT)
Feared Coronavirus Outbreaks In Schools Yet To Arrive (WaPo)
DARPA-Funded Biochip Implant to Detect COVID-19 Could Hit Market by 2021 (MPN)
Assange Could Crochet And Play Bingo In Supermax Prison, US Prosecutor (SMH)
‘Clear’ Julian Assange Is On Autistic Spectrum, Doctor Tells Court (PG)
Doctor Diagnosed Julian Assange With Asperger’s Syndrome (Gosztola)

 

 

How bad are the riots and shootings in the US going to get?

 

 

The biggest problems right now are undoubtedly in Europe. The Netherlands is just one example. Mismanagement at its finest. They’ll just blame the people. None of these people have quit over their own failings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

 

 

Rand Paul and Fauci Long version

 

Rand Paul and Fauci Short version

 

 

 

 

NYT headline: “Republican Inquiry Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by Biden” -The report delivered on Wednesday appeared to be little more than a rehashing of unproven allegations that echoed a Russian disinformation campaign.

Sorry, that not what I read.

Senate Report Slams Bidens For Conflicts Of Interest, Possible Criminal Activity (JTN)

A year-long Senate investigation concluded Wednesday that Hunter Biden’s efforts to cash in on foreign business deals during his father’s vice presidency raised alarm among U.S. government officials, who perceived an ethical conflict of interest and flagged concerns about possible criminal activity ranging from bribery to sex trafficking. The long-awaited joint report by the GOP-led Senate Homeland and Government Affairs and Senate Finance Committees delivered several blockbuster revelations less than two months before Election Day, suggesting Obama administration officials ignored clear warning signs about ethical conflicts and possible extortion risks involving Joe Biden’s family. Perhaps the most explosive revelation was that the U.S. Treasury Department flagged payments collected overseas by Hunter Biden and business partner Devon Archer for possible illicit activities.

The so-called Suspicious Activity Reports flagged millions of dollars in transactions from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings, a Russian oligarch named Yelena Baturina, and Chinese businessmen with ties to Beijing’s communist government, the report said. Senate investigators have yet to determine if the FBI or others investigated the concerns. “The Treasury records acquired by the Chairmen show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals,” the 87-page report disclosed, confirming an earlier report in Just the News. The report, citing U.S. government records, also raised concerns about possible ties to sex and human trafficking rings.


“Hunter Biden paid nonresident women who were nationals of Russia or other Eastern European countries and who appear to be linked to an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring,” the report said. [..] Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson told Just the News Wednesday morning that the sheer volume of suspicious activity in Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings left the Vice President vulnerable to illicit influence or extortion. “The report raises serious questions that former Vice President Biden needs to answer. There are simply too many potential conflict of interest, counterintelligence and extortion threats to ignore,” he said.

Biden Ukraine

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Of course you want the info. How can you not?

Ron Johnson Requests Documents From Biden, Archer’s Attorneys (JTN)

Senator Ron Johnson has requested information from the attorneys of Hunter Biden and Devon Archer after a bombshell Congressional report on Wednesday revealed that the duo had received millions in cash transfers from foreign nationals. A years-long investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Senate Finance Committees revealed on Wednesday that, among other arrangements that raised red flags among government officials, Biden had received a $3.5 million wire transfer from a Moscow politician’s wife and Archer had received over $140,000 from a Kazakhstan businessman.


Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, told Just the News Editor-in-Chief John Solomon on Wednesday that Senate officials had reached out to attorneys representing the pair for further information regarding the revelations in the Senate report. “We have sent an email to both Devon Archer and Hunter Biden’s attorneys requesting information,” Johnson said on the podcast John Solomon Reports. The senator said that officials have also extended the two men “an opportunity to come in for a transcribed interview.” “From my standpoint, I think it’s important for us to gather this information, you know, validate it, publish it,” Johnson continued.

Sidney Powell

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Call him in, let him explain. Or do you want to give the Trump campaign free ammo? Or as Kunstler says: “If Mr. Biden actually shows up at next week’s debate, do you suppose that Mr. Trump will fail to bring up the subject?”

Hunter Biden Received $3.5m Wire Transfer From Russian Billionaire (NYP)

Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the richest woman in Russia and the widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow, Senate Republicans revealed in their report on the younger Biden’s work in Ukraine. Baturina is referenced in the 87-page report, which was released Wednesday, addressing her payment to Biden’s investment firm in early 2014. “Baturina became Russia’s only female billionaire when her plastics company, Inteko, received a series of Moscow municipal contracts while her husband was mayor,” it said in providing background on the businesswoman.

The report described her involvement with Biden as “a financial relationship,” but declined to delve deeper into why the wire transfer was made. The probe also found that Baturina sent 11 wires transfers between May and December 2015 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA, a tech startup that filed for bankruptcy in March 2019. Nine of those 11 wire transfers were first sent to Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment firm founded by Biden and Chris Heinz, stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, before being transferred to BAK USA. All 11 transactions described the payments as “Loan Agreement” in the details section.

The report reads, “[B]etween May 6, 2015 and Dec. 8, 2015, Baturina sent 11 wires in the amount of $391,968.21 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA LLC (BAK USA). Nine of the 11 transactions, totaling $241,797.14 were sent from Baturina’s accounts to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton bank account, which then transferred to the money to BAK USA. The 11 transactions all listed ‘Loan Agreement’ in the payment details section. “BAK USA was a startup technology company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., that produced tablet computers in cooperation with unnamed Chinese business partners. BAK USA filed for bankruptcy on March 29, 2019, with a reported loss of $39 million. These transactions were identified because of Baturina’s reported criminal activity,” it continues.

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Paving the way for Hunter?!

Judge Orders Eric Trump To Testify Before Election In New York AG Probe (CNBC)

Eric Trump must testify in response to a subpoena from the New York Attorney General’s office before the presidential election as part of an investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s company improperly valued real estate assets in official statements, a judge ordered Wednesday. Eric Trump, who is the president’s middle son and a top executive in the Trump Organization, must testify no later than Oct. 7, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled after a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court, where Trump’s lawyers had asked to delay his deposition until after the election. Engoron noted that, “Mr. Trump cites no authority in support of his request, and at any event, neither petitioner nor this court is bound by timelines of the national election.”


Attorney General Letitia James’s office called the ruling a “major victory.” “The court’s order today makes clear that no one is above the law, not even an organization or an individual with the name Trump,” James said in a prepared statement. The attorney general is investigating whether the New York-based Trump Organization improperly inflated the values of several real estate assets on annual financial statements that were used to obtain loans, as well as to get economic and tax benefits related to those properties. James last month had filed an action with the court seeking Eric Trump’s compliance with the subpoena after she said that he had reneged on an agreement to testify this summer.

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“If Mr. Biden actually shows up at next week’s debate, do you suppose that Mr. Trump will fail to bring up the subject?”

Swamp Thang (Kunstler)

The climate is changing, all right, but not in the way that some think it is. The political climate is changing, and what has been a pestilential subtropical sink on the Potomac is overdue for that cleansing we’ve heard about. Weeks from now, as the fetid water subsides, the protective miasma above will dissipate and the people from sea to shining sea will finally get a good look at the landscape revealed and the pitiful, wriggling, dying life-forms of the order Democratica stranded on it.

Case in point: Joe Biden. Many will wonder in the days to come whether the sole and otherwise inexplicable reason for his elevation to candidate-for-president was a ruse to avoid prosecution — his own and others. The matter was neatly laid out a year ago during the impeachment ploy: After the color revolution in Ukraine, 2014, Mr. Biden was designated not just “point man” overseeing American interests in that sad-sack country, but specifically as a watchdog against the notorious deep corruption of Ukraine’s entire political ecosystem — as if, you understand, the internal workings of Ukraine’s politics was any of our business in the first place.

The evidence aired publicly last year suggests that Mr. Biden jumped head-first and whole-heartedly into the hog-trough of loose money there, netting his son Hunter and cohorts millions of dollars for no-show jobs on the board of natgas company, Burisma. And then, of course, Mr. Biden stupidly bragged on a recorded panel session at the Council on Foreign Relations about threatening to withhold US aid money as a lever to induce Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor looking into Burisma’s sketchy affairs. Naturally, the Democratic Party impeachment crew accused Mr. Trump of doing exactly what Mr. Biden accomplished a few years earlier.

The impeachment fizzled, but the charges and the odor of the Biden-Burisma scandal lingered without resolution — all the while that Mr. Biden posed as a presidential candidate in the primaries. This week, two Senate committees (Finance and Homeland) are expected to release a joint report detailing findings of their investigation into the Biden family’s exploits abroad. It is expected to not look good. Also implicated are the State Department officers in the Kiev embassy who pretended not to notice any of this, pointing also to their engagement in further shenanigans around the Trump-Clinton election of 2016 — a lot of that entwined in the Clinton-sponsored RussiaGate scheme. Will the committees be so bold as to issue criminal referrals to the Justice Department? If Mr. Biden actually shows up at next week’s debate, do you suppose that Mr. Trump will fail to bring up the subject? Does this finally force Mr. Biden’s withdrawal from what has been the most hollow, illusory, and dispirited campaign ever seen at this level in US political history?

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4-4 really is dangerous.

Trump Says Supreme Court Will Decide The Election, Needs A Ninth Justice (ZH)

Over the weekend, in the aftermath of Ruth Bader GInsburg’s death, we said that the “worst case scenario” for markets – a contested election – had become even more complicated as it now appeared that the US was heading into the most controversial election since Gore vs Bush with a SCOTUS that could end up deadlocked with a 4-4 vote should the election outcome escalate to the Supreme Court. It appears that the president agrees, because moments ago President Trump also predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the outcome of the November election and argued the Senate should confirm his nominee – who we already know will be a conservative woman – to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to break any tie. Trump said that “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it’s very important to have nine justices.”


Speaking before reporters at the White House, he continued, claiming that “this scam that the Democrats are pulling, it’s a scam, this scam will be before the United States Supreme Court,” Trump plans on Saturday to announce a nominee to replace Ginsburg, a liberal icon who died Friday at 87. Lawyers representing Trump’s campaign are challenging mail-in voting rules in a host of states, as a result of Trump’s claims that mail-in voting is more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting on Election Day. As reported yesterday, there is a growing probability that the first major test of the new post-RBG iteration of the Supreme Court, which will soon have a 6-3 conservative majority, the GOP is planning to ask SCOTUS to review a major PA state court decision that extended the due date for mail-in ballots in a critical battleground state.

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They must have found a way to let bankers profit even from this.

Fed Prepares To Deposit “Digital Dollars” Directly To “Each American” (ZH)

Over the past decade, the one common theme despite the political upheaval and growing social and geopolitical instability, was that the market would keep marching higher and the Fed would continue injecting liquidity into the system. The second common theme is that despite sparking unprecedented asset price inflation, prices as measured across the broader economy – using the flawed CPI metric and certainly stagnant worker wages – would remain subdued (as a reminder, the Fed is desperate to ignite broad inflation as that is the only way the countless trillions of excess debt can be eliminated and has so far failed to do so).

The Fed’s failure to reach its inflation target – which prompted the US central bank to radically overhaul its monetary dogma last month and unveil Flexible Average Inflation Targeting (or FAIT) whereby the Fed will allow inflation to run hot without hiking rates – has sparked broad criticism from the economic establishment, even though as we showed in June, deflation is now a direct function of the Fed’s unconventional monetary policies as the lower yields slide, the lower the propensity to spend. In other words, the harder the Fed fights to stimulate inflation, the more deflation and more saving it spurs as a result.

In short, ever since the Fed launched QE and NIRP, it has been making the situation it has been trying to “fix” even worse while blowing the biggest asset price bubble in history. And having recently accepted that its preferred stimulus pathway has failed to boost the broader economy, the blame has fallen on how monetary policy is intermediated, specifically the way the Fed creates excess reserves which end up at commercial banks instead of “tricking down” all the way to the consumer level.

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The Fed will have you covered.

46% of Americans Struggle To Pay Rent, Bills (NPR)

Jean was one of more than 3,000 people who took part in a new poll released Wednesday from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her story is an especially stark example of how pandemic financial stress is playing out. But the poll found many people reported problems with housing, health care and unsafe workplaces, and a high percentage of Americans — 46% — said they’re having “serious financial problems.” Nearly one out of three respondents had used up all or most of their savings. “Our surprise is how large the numbers are,” says Robert Blendon, a Harvard University public health professor who worked on the poll.


He notes that the poll was conducted during July, months after Congress approved an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits that were still supposed to be flowing to people. Stimulus checks had gone out, too. And yet so many said they’re struggling. One in six households even reported missing or delaying paying major bills just so they could buy food. Blendon says it’s like the government sent 100 Federal Emergency Management Agency trucks into a disaster zone, but a lot of people never saw them or got help. “It’s just like interviewing people in a hurricane area and the people are telling you there’s no relief,” he says, when “it should be there.”

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EU governments all committed the same mistakes. And brute force is not the answer.

UK New Covid Restrictions Unscientific Mumbo Jumbo, Exercise In Futility (RT)

I accept my dissenting voice may not be heeded by the UK government, but when a former Supreme Court judge delivers a damning verdict that the rules are ‘pointless, arbitrary and unnecessary’, shouldn’t they be listening? The UK has announced a fresh suite of draconian Covid restrictions, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning they could be in place for six months. But, like all previous attempts, the new rules are worse than useless. You’ve all heard the new rules by now, so I won’t analyse the details of what the individual implications will be. Just as poring over a government white paper based on astrology would be pointless, tepid nit-picking within the nascent pseudoscience of ‘Covidology’ is an exercise in futility. It’s also an immediate acceptance of the quacks’ terms of the argument.

‘The rule of six’ could be ‘the rule of seven’, the pubs could close at midnight or 10pm, level 4, 5 or 75 could be enforced – none of this would make any difference. Nor is it acceptable. The fiddled numbers, the fake compromises, the newspeak – all of it is misdirection. In a nutshell, this doubling down means nothing less than the acceleration of an end to the free, decent life to which all human beings are born entitled. Only a total return to normality should be demanded, and it’s non-negotiable. Just ask former Supreme Court justice Lord Jonathan Sumption, who has been making waves this week with his scathing analysis of the government’s madcap plot. He’s dubbed Johnson’s ‘rule of six’ “pointless, arbitrary and unnecessary”.

It’s pointless, he says, because, without a Stasi-like secret army of citizen spies, it cannot be enforced. He is correct, of course (although I don’t consider the likelihood of an army of snitchers quite as unlikely as he seems to). It’s arbitrary because it’s far from universal – people mix in much larger numbers in schools and workplaces, on public transport and in the streets, all of which is essential. And it’s unnecessary because the increase in positive tests is being driven – as Health Secretary Matt Hancock is so fond of reminding us – by the young, to whom the disease poses relatively little threat.

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Rapid test them 2x a week. What are you waiting for?

Feared Coronavirus Outbreaks In Schools Yet To Arrive (WaPo)

Thousands of students and teachers have become sick with the coronavirus since schools began opening last month, but public health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities. This early evidence, experts say, suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared and could guide administrators as they chart the rest of what is already an unprecedented school year. “Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools. In colleges, there have been. We have to say that, to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids, and that is a really important observation,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

This does not mean the risk of contracting the coronavirus is zero. Poor and inconsistent reporting in many parts of the country means that experts do not yet have a full view of the situation, and most schools have been open for only a few weeks. It’s also unclear how closely the incidence of the coronavirus in schools is tied to policies in schools such as mandatory mask-wearing. Most of the nation’s largest districts opened with fully remote teaching, so the data are largely from smaller communities. And the pandemic may grow worse as flu season and winter approaches. But the fact that large swaths of the country opened for in-person school while others did not offers the more cautious districts a chance to observe how things have gone elsewhere in charting their next steps.

On Wednesday, researchers at Brown University, working with school administrators, released their first set of data from a new National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard, created to track coronavirus cases. It found low levels of infection among students and teachers. Tracking infections over a two-week period beginning Aug. 31, it found that 0.23 percent of students had a confirmed or suspected case of the coronavirus. Among teachers, it was 0.49 percent. Looking only at confirmed cases, the rates were even lower: 0.078 percent for students and 0.15 percent for teachers.

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I know a few people who will refuse any such implant.

DARPA-Funded Biochip Implant to Detect COVID-19 Could Hit Market by 2021 (MPN)

The most significant scientific discovery since gravity has been hiding in plain sight for nearly a decade and its destructive potential to humanity is so enormous that the biggest war machine on the planet immediately deployed its vast resources to possess and control it, financing its research and development through agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and HHS’ BARDA. The revolutionary breakthrough came to a Canadian scientist named Derek Rossi in 2010 purely by accident. The now-retired Harvard professor claimed in an interview with the National Post that he found a way to “reprogram” the molecules that carry the genetic instructions for cell development in the human body, not to mention all biological lifeforms.

These molecules are called ‘messenger ribonucleic acid’ or mRNA and the newfound ability to rewrite those instructions to produce any kind of cell within a biological organism has radically changed the course of Western medicine and science, even if no one has really noticed yet. As Rossi, himself, puts it: “The real important discovery here was you could now use mRNA, and if you got it into the cells, then you could get the mRNA to express any protein in the cells, and this was the big thing.” [..] As early as 2006, DARPA was already researching how to identify viral, upper respiratory pathogens through its Predicting Health and Disease (PHD) program, which led to the creation of the agency’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO) [..]. In 2014, DARPA’s BTO launched its “In Vivo Nanoplatforms” (IVN) program, which researches implantable nanotechnologies, leading to the development of ‘hydrogel’.

Hydrogel is a nanotechnology whose inventor early on boasted that “If [it] pans out, with approval from FDA, then consumers could get the sensors implanted in their core to measure their levels of glucose, oxygen, and lactate.” This contact lens-like material requires a special injector to be introduced under the skin where it can transmit light-based digital signals through a wireless network like 5G. Once firmly implanted inside the body, human cells are at the mercy of any mRNA program delivered via this substrate, unleashing a nightmare of possibilities. It is, perhaps, the first true step towards full-on transhumanism; a “philosophy” that is in vogue with many powerful and influential people, such as Google’s Ray Kurzweil and Eric Schmidt and whose proponents see the fusion of technology and biology as an inevitable consequence of human progress.

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It’s getting beyond depravity.

Assange Could Crochet And Play Bingo In Supermax Prison, US Prosecutor (SMH)

The US government has suggested that Julian Assange would not be held in solitary confinement and would be able to crochet and play bingo if he is extradited and jailed on spying charges. The revelation emerged at Assange’s extradition hearing underway at London’s Old Bailey which has this week been focussed on Assange’s mental health. His defence team has called witnesses to testify that he has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s, anxiety, hears voices, is depressed and would take his own life if he loses his legal battle. The court has heard that Assange has withheld telling doctors his true mental state while detained in Belmarsh Prison because he fears being placed in solitary confinement.

Assange remains in custody while he fights his extradition arguing that his human rights would be violated. Psychiatrist, Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, has previously told the court that if Assange is extradited there is a “very high” risk the father of four would take his own life rather than serve out any sentence in a US supermax prison. But Seena Fazel, a professor in forensic psychiatry at Oxford University, who interviewed Assange earlier this year said that he found the prisoner to be “moderately depressed,” an improvement on the severely depressed state he accepted Assange was in as recently as December last year.

Fazel appeared for the prosecution. He disagreed with a psychiatrist called by the defence on Tuesday about the likelihood of Assange committing suicide. He said the 49-year old had shown himself capable of managing his own suicide risk, by taking medication, undergoing counselling and accessing support from the Samaritans – a British mental health charity. On Tuesday the court was told that Assange has made preparations for death, including writing farewell letters, receiving absolution from a Catholic priest and preparing a will.

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Imagine having your medical record laid out like this in public, for reasons that have nothing to do with what you are -falsely- accused of. That, too, is a form of torture.

‘Clear’ Julian Assange Is On Autistic Spectrum, Doctor Tells Court (PG)

A psychiatrist has told the extradition hearing of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange it is “clear” he is on the autistic spectrum. Dr Quinton Deeley, a consultant neuropsychiatrist, diagnosed Assange with Asperger’s syndrome after witnessing a two-hour autism assessment and conducting six hours of phone calls with the 49-year-old in Belmarsh prison. Assange is fighting extradition to the US, where he is facing an 18-count indictment alleging a plot to hack computers and conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information. Giving evidence on Wednesday, Dr Deeley, who also spoke to Assange’s parents during his assessment, said: “To my mind, it’s clear Mr Assange presents as a person with an autistic spectrum condition. “He’s an intelligent person, he’s learnt to adapt to some of those characteristics.”

The Old Bailey heard Assange refused to complete two components of the autism test, including a task to act out brushing his teeth and answering questions about his daily “self-management” or “self-care” routine because he found them “demeaning”. James Lewis QC, for the US government, suggested: “It’s highly unusual for people to refuse these tests?” Dr Deeley, who said he has assessed hundreds of people to determine if they are autistic, replied: “Correct.” He described Assange as “an intelligent person” who shares the characteristics of “many high-functioning people on the autistic spectrum”, including engineers and computer scientists.

Dr Deeley said he has “difficulty discussing his own emotions”, with a “primary focus on his own thoughts and interests” and noted a “failure to initiate or sustain” conversations. Assange’s mother, Christine, told the doctor her son as a child “had a preference for solitary play” but made a small number of friendships in his teens with “geeky” boys who shared his interest in computers, the court heard. The court also heard Assange’s close friend Suelette Dreyfus referred to his “Edwardian style of speaking”, such as talking about Coca-Cola as mead, “like he’s been reading Jane Austen novels”.

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There are two precedents that did not get extradited for this reason.

Doctor Diagnosed Julian Assange With Asperger’s Syndrome (Gosztola)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, while detained in the Belmarsh high-security prison in London. This likely increases Assange’s risk of suicide if confined in restrictive prison conditions in the United States, according to a psychiatrist who testified at his extradition trial. Dr. Quinton Deeley, who works for the National Health Service (NHS), conducted an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) test on Assange and produced a report. He interviewed Assange for six hours in July. Assange told Deeley he feared he would be held in isolation in a U.S. prison. He was afraid of the fresh indictment. He was also concerned about the fate of Joshua Schulte, who was held in harsh confinement conditions prior to his trial for allegedly disclosing the “Vault 7” materials to WikiLeaks. (Schulte’s case resulted in a mistrial in March.)

The U.S. Justice Department charged Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime that, as alleged in the indictment, is written like an Espionage Act offense. The charges criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets from the U.S. government. It targets common practices in newsgathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world. In the cases of Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon, the U.S. government was blocked from extraditing them because the United Kingdom High Court of Justice (Love) and the British Home Secretary (McKinnon) recognized their Asperger’s syndrome would result in degrading or inhuman treatment that violated human rights.

Love was accused of hacking into systems controlled by the Federal Reserve, U.S. Army, and a number of other government agencies. McKinnon was accused by the U.S. government of the “biggest military computer hack of all time.” Edward Fitzgerald represented Love, and he is part of Assange’s legal team, and the arguments against extradition that Fitizgerald put forward in Love’s case are nearly identical to the arguments in this case. Particularly: (1) The mere fact of extradition and detention in the United States would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in the mental health of Mr. Love (2) To the extent that suicide was prevented by Mr. Love being placed on suicide watch, the conditions in which he would be held on suicide watch, or in segregation, would lead to a serious and permanent deterioration in his mental health, which was also related to his physical health.

James Lewis, the lead prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Authority, which represents the U.S. government in this case, went after Deeley and attempted to discredit his diagnosis. He said Assange has written books, given speeches, and hosted a “chat show” for RT. Plus, no other psychiatrist who saw Assange diagnosed him with Asperger’s syndrome. “It’s possible to both have a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome and to demonstrate expertise and be authoritative and knowledgeable when talking about certain topics,” Deeley replied.

Read more …

 

 

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Sep 222020
 
 September 22, 2020  Posted by at 9:09 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »


Ray K. Metzker Marseille 1961

 

Assange’s Removal From Embassy Was on ‘Direct Orders From US President’ (Sp.)
160 Officials From Across The World Call For Assange’s Release (NBC)
A Second UK COVID19 Lockdown Is Doomed To Fail: Brits Won’t Comply (RT)
CDC Stumbles Again, Says COVID19 Guidance Posted ‘In Error’ (NBC)
China, WHO Could Have Helped Prevent Pandemic: Congressional Report (NYP)
Lancet Changes Editorial Policy After HCQ Study Retraction (G.)
Ballot Harvesting Party Will Be Over if Tulsi Gabbard Gets Her Way (NM)
Trump Says Aides Rejected His Request To Adjust Value Of Dollar (R.)
European Bank Stocks Swoon to 1988 Low (WS)
Virgin Islands AG Subpoenas Entirety Of Epstein Flight Logs (RT)
Kennedy’s US-Russia Joint Space Vision Must Be Revived (Ehret)
Activist Warns Left: Trump Might Pick First Black Female Justice (JTN)
Trump Fires Giant Pink Glitter Cannon To Reveal SCOTUS Nominee Gender (BBee)

 

 

1 million global deaths is not far off. Expect a ton of publicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cassandra is a Trump supporter – but an even stronger Assange supporter- who just proved that the trial is political. Which means Julian cannot under British law be extradited. Or at least that’s what the law says.

Assange’s Removal From Embassy Was on ‘Direct Orders From US President’ (Sp.)

Journalist Cassandra Fairbanks has informed the court in Julian Assange’s extradition hearing that Arthur Schwartz, who is known as Donald Trump Jr’s “fixer”, had advance warning of the US indictment against the WikiLeaks publisher. Julian Assange’s removal from the Ecuadorian Embassy was done so “on direct orders from the [US] president”, according to information provided to American journalist Cassandra Fairbanks. Ms Fairbanks’ explosive testimony would appear to support to position that Mr Assange’s prosecution has a political dimension and reflected a shift in the government’s attitude with a change in administration from that of former president Barack Obama.

According to Ms Fairbanks’ witness statement, which was read into the court by the defence in Mr Assange’s extradition hearing on 21 September 2020, she was contacted by Arthur Schwartz, “a wealthy GOP donor who does communications for [former Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell] and works as an informal adviser to Donald Trump Jr”. During this phone call, which Ms Fairbanks recorded, Mr Schwartz was panicking because he believed a Tweet that she published revealed “classified information”. Ms Fairbanks attempted to calm down Mr Schwartz saying that she didn’t publish classified information and that she merely shared a link to a report from ABC news which described the role that Mr Grenell played in coordinating Mr Assange’s release.

Mr Schwartz was not put at ease by Ms Fairbanks’ assurances and asked her to delete the Tweet. “I don’t want to go to prison” Mr Schwartz told Ms Fairbanks, adding that people are aware of the fact that the two have been communicating with each other and have been seen with each other. Mr Grenell was acting “on the orders from the president” Mr Schwartz can be heard saying during the recorded conversation. “So, you’re going to punish me because he took orders from the president?” he asked Ms Fairbanks who responded that she wasn’t punishing him she was merely retweeting a report by ABC. Mr Schwartz begged Ms Fairbanks to delete the Tweet which she ultimately agreed to do. Ms Fairbanks is a contributor to the Pro-Trump Gateway Pundit news outlet and she notes that she herself “endorsed [Mr Trump’s] presidency over a number of years”.

Her witness statement says that she “believed Schwartz’s statement [that Mr Grenell coordinated Mr Assange’s removal from the embassy] to be correct because his close personal ties to both President Trump and Grenell are well-known”. The statement also says that her interactions with Mr Schwartz, on the subject of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks, first began after she dropped a link to an interview with Mr Assange’s mother, Christine Assange, into “a direct message group [in October 2018] containing multiple people who either worked for President Trump or were close to him in other ways – along with several other reporters and political commentators”. Among those in the group were then US Ambassador to Germany Mr Grenell as well as Mr Schwartz.

After she put the link to the interview into the group chat, Ms Fairbanks’ statement says that she received a phone call from Mr Schwartz who was “very angry”: “[Mr Schwartz] repeatedly insisted that I stop advocating for WikiLeaks and Assange, telling me that ‘a pardon isn’t going to f**king happen.’ He knew very specific details about a future prosecution against Assange that were later made public and that only those very close to the situation then would have been aware of. He told me that it would be the ‘Manning’ case that he would be charged with and that it would not involve the Vault 7 publication or anything to do with the DNC. He also told me that they would be going after Chelsea Manning. I also recollect being told, I believe, that it would not be before Christmas. Both of these predictions came true just months later.”

“Kidnapping a political refugee” from the Ecuadorian Embassy would be “an act of war”, Ms Fairbanks said to Mr Schwartz, to which he apparently responded “not if they let us”.

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Is the mainstream press getting involved now?

160 Officials From Across The World Call For Assange’s Release (NBC)

More than 160 current and former world leaders, lawmakers and diplomats have endorsed a call for the U.K. to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and stop his extradition to the U.S. The signatories of the open letter, addressed to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several government ministers, included the president of Argentina and two former presidents of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. [..] The letter was first written by the group Lawyers for Assange in August, and then received the support of the international signatories whose names were released on Monday. It laid out several legal reasons why Assange shouldn’t be extradited, including the claim that he wouldn’t face a fair trial in the U.S., and that he would “be exposed to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

His extradition “would gravely endanger freedom of the press,” the letter said. “This demonstrates the growing opposition around the world to U.S. efforts to extradite and prosecute Assange, and the political nature of this case,” Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told NBC News. Many of the letter’s signatories, which also include Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and former Ecuadoran leader Rafael Correa, are fierce critics of the U.S. and have previously spoken out against American foreign policy. Last week, Robinson told a London court that Assange was offered a presidential pardon in 2017 by then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Trump associate Charles Johnson if he helped to resolve the “ongoing speculation about Russian involvement” in the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails leaked during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

At the hearing in London on Friday, James Lewis, prosecutor for the U.S. government, said: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said. We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.”

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What you gonna do? Arrest them all and throw them into virus-infected prisons?

A Second UK COVID19 Lockdown Is Doomed To Fail: Brits Won’t Comply (RT)

Now armed with statistics and expert advice, the British public are much better informed about Covid than in March and won’t countenance another lockdown imposed by politicians who have mishandled the pandemic at every turn. A looming second lockdown in the UK, as part of the Government’s haphazard approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, is destined to fail for one reason: the revered ‘Blitz spirit’ that we’re all in this together has vanished. Now it’s everyone for themselves. For several days now, there has been talk of another imminent imposition of harsh restrictions on our movement. While the first national lockdown was universally accepted, any follow-up – call it ‘a circuit breaker’ or whatever clever name you like – is going to be a little trickier.

Look at what’s happened in Madrid over the weekend, where a wave of protests hit the Spanish capital with people taking offence at the regional president’s efforts to reduce an infection rate in some areas of more than 1,000 per 100,000 by restricting the movements of 850,000 people. And when Isabel Dìaz Ayuso bluntly suggested it was the “way of life” of the immigrants living in those neighbourhoods that was contributing to the problems, the mob insisted she resign. What for? Trying to keep them safe? Remember, Spain had a draconian three-month lockdown that saw kids shut up indoors over summer, but they recognised they were all in it together and stuck to their guns. Now that spirit has dissolved, as people claim the government is spreading fear and hatred among already marginalised communities. Attention has turned away from battling the pandemic to fighting among themselves.

That easygoing compliance has hardened in the UK as well. We’re not so accepting of the words coming from the familiar Downing Street podium these days. Because we’ve now had months of expert home tutoring by the impressive duo of government scientists Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, whose careful, measured explanations and predictions have driven the real narrative behind the boosterism of the government’s “moonshots” and “world-beating” boasts. Last week it was Boris Johnson telling us it would all be over by Christmas. Now Health Secretary Matt Hancock says maybe not. That kind of ‘he said, she said’ nonsense is a test to anyone’s patience, but you can see where the desperate-to-be-loved PM is coming from. People want a return to normal, even if that ‘normal’ is different to what we are used to, and BoJo is keen to be the one to deliver the good news.

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And Americans won’t comply either, thanks to BS like this.

It is really only yesterday that I said: “Do they still have any credibility left? You know, after Redfield’s “Act for one Man and one Mask”?”

CDC Stumbles Again, Says COVID19 Guidance Posted ‘In Error’ (NBC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday walked back information posted on its website just three days ago, which stated the coronavirus can spread through aerosolized droplets. The CDC now says that Friday’s guidance was posted “in error,” and that new information will be issued shortly. The move is yet another misstep for the nation’s leading public health agency, which recently reversed its guidance for the second time on testing asymptomatic people for the coronavirus. On Friday, an update posted to the CDC’s website stated the virus can be transmitted through tiny, aerosolized droplets that are “produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.”

That information was already well known, according to infectious disease experts. It was “not surprising or jarring,” Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said. “The scientific community has been raising the alarm about this since February, that airborne spread can happen,” said Joseph Allen, an associate professor in the department of environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. So infectious disease experts were perplexed Monday, when the CDC scrubbed that section of the website of any mention of airborne transmission, writing that “a draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website.”

[..] “This is so destructive to this incredibly wonderful agency that we have loved and admired our entire careers,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the school of public health at Brown University, said. “This is amateur hour.” Science evolves and is guided by what doctors and researchers learn over time, but clear messaging is critical to a proper public health response to the virus. “The CDC is like a North Star in terms of guiding this pandemic,” Weatherhead said. “It’s important that there is clear and concise communication so that everybody is on the same page.” “Hopefully we will get communication from the CDC to better understand why they’re walking back on what we already know to be factual,” she added.

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An overly polite headline. It doesn’t include “criminally negligent”.

China, WHO Could Have Helped Prevent Pandemic: Congressional Report (NYP)

The coronavirus pandemic might have been prevented if not for Chinese cover-ups in the early days of the outbreak and the World Health Organization “parroting” Beijing propaganda, according to a damning audit from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The 96-page report — obtained by The Post ahead of its planned Monday release — says the Chinese Communist Party destroyed evidence and buried troubling data, while nationalizing the supply chains and limiting exports of US companies 3M and General Motors, keeping key goods in the country.

“It is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,” reads the report, authored by Republican members of the Democrat-held committee. Had China been more transparent and proactive when the first signs of the burgeoning health crisis emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, the outbreak could have been largely contained — potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, the pols wrote.

“Research shows the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95 percent had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a manner consistent with best practices,” the report said, citing a study on Medrxiv, a Yale University-linked online clearinghouse for medical manuscripts. “It is highly likely the ongoing pandemic could have been prevented,” the report said. Instead, on Jan. 1, CCP officials ordered that the Wuhan wet market from which the contagion is believed to have sprung “be closed and sanitized, destroying forensic evidence that may have provided insight into the origins of the outbreak,” the report said.

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It was a classis hit job from the start. And the Lancet bought and swallowed it whole. But HCQ remains banned in many places, so it worked.

Lancet Changes Editorial Policy After HCQ Study Retraction (G.)

One of the world’s leading medical journals, the Lancet, has reformed its editorial policies following a shocking case of apparent research misconduct involving the study of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. In May, the Lancet published a peer-reviewed study about the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine, which concluded Covid-19 patients who received the drug were dying at higher rates and experiencing more heart-related complications than other virus patients. The large observational study analysed data purported to be from nearly 15,000 patients with Covid-19 who received the drug alone or in combination with antibiotics, comparing this data with 81,000 controls who did not receive the drug.

This data was recorded by hospitals around the world in a database by a US data analytics company known as “Surgisphere”, the Lancet paper said. The findings prompted the World Health Organization to halt its clinical trials of the drug, given the paper’s findings that it was linked with deaths and complications. But days after the paper was published, Guardian Australia revealed issues with the Australian data in the study. Figures on the number of Covid-19 deaths and patients in hospital cited by the authors did not match up with official government and health department data. Senior clinicians involved in Covid-19 research told Guardian Australia they had never heard of the Surgisphere database.

Researchers from other countries identified similar issues with the data from their hospitals, and a further Guardian Australia investigation revealed doubts that the database used by the study authors likely did not even existed. Sapan Desai was a co-author of the paper and founder of the Surgisphere database. Following the revelations, information about Surgisphere was deleted from the internet. It was also revealed that none of the co-authors of the paper had seen the Surgisphere data for themselves, and they said that Desai did not give them access to it even after questions about the paper were raised by Guardian Australia and the research community. The paper’s co-authors, which included a highly respected vascular surgeon, supported the retraction of the paper and distanced themselves from the data.

Read more …

Go Tulsi!

Ballot Harvesting Party Will Be Over if Tulsi Gabbard Gets Her Way (NM)

Ballot-harvesting is a voting related practice allowing paid political operatives to collect an unlimited number of ballots, subsequently delivering them into the hands of election officials. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, recently introduced legislation, The Election Fraud Prevention Act, which if passed would effectively slow down or even put a halt to the practice. The legislation could potentially be in effect in time for November’s all-important 2020 presidential election. When Rep. Gabbard made her run for the Oval Office during the Democratic presidential primaries, the public learned that she was a proud member of the Army National Guard, having served in two Mideast deployments. Currently, she is a major in the Army Reserves.


Rep. Gabbard’s proposed legislation, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL, would amend a 2002 act, and if passed would deny certain federal payments to states that permit ballot harvesting. This type of reform could go a long way in helping to prevent a particularly heinous kind of corruption of the electoral process. If ballot-harvesting remains in place, or worse, if its use becomes widespread nationally, special interest groups aligned with a particular candidate or political party may be able to manipulate the results of legitimate elections. As Rep. Gabbard noted, “While some states have prohibited vote harvesting, many states lack any regulations that would stop third-parties from fraudulently collecting and mishandling ballots as has occurred in recent elections.”

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‘Sir, we can’t do that. It has to float naturally.’

There are actually people who react to this by saying Trump didn’t know the dollar floats.

Trump Says Aides Rejected His Request To Adjust Value Of Dollar (R.)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he was rebuffed when he asked officials to adjust the exchange rate of the dollar to counteract what he described as repeated currency manipulation by China of its yuan. Trump told thousands of supporters at a political rally in Dayton, Ohio, that his policies were saving jobs in the political battleground state after years of inaction to confront China’s aggressive behavior in global markets. “I go to my guys, ‘What about doing a little movement on the dollar?’” he said, but they countered that was not possible. “‘Sir, we can’t do that. It has to float naturally.’”

The Republican president, who is seeking reelection to a second term in the Nov. 3 national poll, repeated his claim – which China denies – that Beijing deliberately changes the value of its currency to gain competitive advantage in global markets. China’s central bank has denied intervening to weaken the yuan and lower the cost of its exports to the United States. The yuan has firmed for eight weeks straight against a softening dollar. Trump gave no details on his conversation about tweaking the dollar’s value, and no comment was immediately available from the U.S. Treasury Department, which is expected to release its long-delayed semi-annual currency report in coming weeks.

[..] Trump in May reversed course and backed a “strong dollar” after years of railing against the dollar’s relative strength as a factor harming U.S. competitiveness. The Treasury Department in January dropped its designation of China as a “currency manipulator”, days before U.S. and Chinese officials signed the Phase 1 trade deal, saying Beijing had agreed to refrain from competitive devaluation.

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How many arrests so far?

European Bank Stocks Swoon to 1988 Low (WS)

The Stoxx 600 Banks index, which covers major European banks, slumped 5.7% on Monday, to close at 81.1, just a smidgen above the multi-decade low, of 79, set in March. The last time before March that the index was below today’s level was in February 1988, during the sell-off that followed Black Monday in October 1987, when it also slumped as low as 79. The index has collapsed by 85% since its peak in May 2007, after having quadrupled over the preceding 12 years. Here are the wondrous European bank stocks going back to 2007:

Not even the promise of more industry consolidation, facilitated by shotgun mergers of big, struggling banks with smaller struggling banks, has stemmed the slide of Europe’s banking shares. Three weeks ago, Spain’s third largest lender, CaixaBank, announced plans to buy majority state-owned Bankia, with money largely provided by the State, to form what will be Spain’s largest domestic bank. Spain’s MSCI rose only slightly in response and is now lower than it was. Today, it wasn’t just banking stocks that had a rough day. European stocks overall were down by 3.9%, as concerns grow over a second wave of the coronavirus. But banks were particularly hard hit.


One reason for the rout was the release of a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on lenders that had facilitated $2 trillion in suspicious transactions. HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of New York Mellon, were implicated. Over almost two decades, the five banks had “enrich[ed] themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins,” the report said.

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I wouldn’t put any money on her actually getting them. Unredacted. National security, don’t you know.

Virgin Islands AG Subpoenas Entirety Of Epstein Flight Logs (RT)

The US Virgin Islands Attorney General has subpoenaed 21 years’ worth of deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs, reportedly striking fear in the hearts of high-profile passengers not yet exposed as Lolita Express riders. Passenger logs for Epstein’s four helicopters and three planes have been subpoenaed by Virgin Islands AG Denise George, who recently sued the disgraced financier’s estate for 22 counts including human trafficking, child abuse, neglect, prostitution, aggravated rape, and forced labor, according to a Sunday report by the UK Mirror. In addition to the passenger lists, George has requisitioned “complaints or reports of potentially suspicious conduct” and any “personal notes” the pilots made while flying Epstein’s alleged harem of underage girls around the world.

She also wants the names and contact information of anyone who worked for the pilots – or who “integrated with or observed” Epstein and his passengers. Epstein pilot David Rodgers previously provided a passenger log in 2009 tying dozens of politicians, actors, and other celebrities to the infamous sex offender – including former US President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and model Naomi Campbell. However, lawyers for Epstein’s alleged victims have argued that list did not include flights by Epstein’s chief pilot, Larry Visoski, who allegedly worked for him for over 25 years. “The records that have been subpoenaed will make the ones Rodgers provided look like a Post-It note,” a source told the Mirror over the weekend, claiming that George’s subpoena had triggered a “panic among many of the rich and famous.”

Epstein’s private plane, nicknamed the Lolita Express, counted among its passengers such luminaries as the UK’s Prince Andrew, celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, actor Chris Tucker, Harvard economist Larry Summers, Hyatt hotel mogul Tom Pritzker, and model agency manager Jean-Luc Brunel along with Campbell, Spacey, and Clinton (who the logs show flew with Epstein over two dozen times). However, the passengers who enjoyed his other aircraft have not been made public – yet. George has also subpoenaed more than 10 banks – including JPMorgan, Citibank, and Deutsche Bank – in her quest to get to the bottom of the financial edifice Epstein built up before he died. The financial institutions have been ordered to submit documents related to some 30 corporations, trusts, and nonprofit entities tied to the predatory playboy.

Read more …

How did we ever get from Kennedy to Russiagate?

Kennedy’s US-Russia Joint Space Vision Must Be Revived (Ehret)

September 20th marked the anniversary of the last speech John F Kennedy delivered to the United Nations’ General Assembly. This event bears more relevance upon our present crisis than most people could possibly imagine. This is true not only because it is wise to pay homage to great ideas of the past which lesser souls allowed to slip away and get buried under the sands of time, but also because history provides many of the solutions to seemingly impossible problems in our own time. During his short speech, Kennedy outlined the very same fundamental obstacles to survival faced by our own world 57 years later: “The spectre of nuclear annihilation looming overhead, poverty and the evils of colonialism staining humanity on earth, and the dominance of destructive modes of thinking which have prevented honest dialogue between the west and east who have so many common interests and yet have been blocked from acting upon them for want of creativity, understanding and faith.”

Although it is far too rarely displayed in history, great leaders (those who are beholden to their consciences) recognize that there are solutions to every problem. From Plato to Cicero to Confucius and Christ in ancient times or Thomas More, Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln, and Kennedy in our modern age, these rare but vitally important individuals demonstrate through their words and deeds that when the dominant social rules of the game prevent those necessary and possible solutions from manifesting, then only one course of action becomes possible: Change the rules of the game. The martyred Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin eloquently touched on this truth in 1992 shaking the hands with Yasser Arafat and advancing a two-state solution saying: “The future belongs to those who have the courage to change their axioms.”

Such was the case of John F. Kennedy who recognized early on in his short-lived presidency that the geopolitical “closed system” thinking dominant among the military and foreign policy experts of the west held only the seeds for humanity’s destruction. In his speech of September 20, 1963, Kennedy revisited a theme which he first unveiled on the day of his inaugural address in 1961: A joint U.S.-USSR space program to transform the rules of the Cold War and usher in a new creative age of reason, win-win cooperation and boundless discoveries. In his 1961 inaugural speech, Kennedy ushered in the theme that would animate his next three years saying:

“Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce. Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah–to “undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free.” Ten days later, Kennedy re-iterated this idea during his first state of the Union inviting Russia “to join with U.S. in developing… a new communication satellite program in preparation for probing the distant planets of Mars and Venus, probes which may someday unlock the deepest secrets of the universe”.

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Wait a minute. That was my line.

Activist Warns Left: Trump Might Pick First Black Female Justice (JTN)

An activist group formally launched the “She Will Rise” campaign Monday to call for an African American female judge to be nominated to the Supreme Court. A supporter of the group, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who authored The New York Times’ 1619 Project, warned that President Trump might be the president who picks the first black female justice following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I think this is a case of be careful what you wish for because it’s certainly possible that Trump could appoint a black women but it’s also very possible it could be just as cynical as it was when the second black Supreme Court justice became Clearance Thomas,” she said during a discussion organized by the nonprofit advocacy group Demand Justice.


“You can certainly find a black woman who is extremely conservative; who is a strict constructionist; who is going to align with the most conservative people on the court and that again will be a hollow victory. In some ways, again, that is a very cynical choice because it puts black people in the position of having to argue against the first black woman to go on the bench because the first black woman is not someone who we feel will actually serve our communities well so yeah, that’s possible,” she also said. Trump said this past weekend that he would nominate a female to fill Ginsburg’s seat. Some African American male judges appear on Trump’s public shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominee, but there are currently no African American female judges included. A hispanic female and male judge are on his list.

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And then finally there’s the good news, courtesy of the Babylon Bee.

Trump Fires Giant Pink Glitter Cannon To Reveal SCOTUS Nominee Gender (BBee)

It was a festive occasion, as gender reveals often are, and a crowd brimming with excitement gathered outside the White House to find out from President Trump what gender the nominee for Supreme Court Justice would be. “Oh I sure hope it’s a boy!” yelled one man. “No way! It has to be a girl!” yelled a nearby woman. However, some unhappy citizens gathered in the crowd only to protest how primitive and cis-heteronormative a gender reveal party for a Supreme Court Justice is. “This is so backwards,” yelled local non-binary furry queen-king Yoox Bellavix. “The nominee hasn’t even been questioned by the Senate to determine what gender they identify with! Gender is not the same as biological sex! We need hearings now!”


Trump suddenly appeared on the White House lawn and greeted all the gathered crowd with a wide beaming smile like that of an expectant father. “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen and Democrats and Fake News media! I am very happy, so very happy, I don’t even remember the last time I was this happy, to announce the gender of our nominee to fill the seat!” he said. The crowd erupted in joyous applause as the Secret Service rolled out a giant wheeled cannon similar to a civil war artillery piece and pulled the trigger to send an enormous cloud of pink glitter into the air. “Of course it’s a girl! It’s a girl!” Trump said as he made an hourglass curve gesture with his hands. “Tremendous. Thank you very much!”

At publishing time, all the assembled media figures stood completely covered in pink glitter. The White House lawn is also entirely covered. The EPA estimates it could take up to 12 years for the pristine swamp environment of the White House lawn to return to normal.

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