Sep 042021
 


Gustave Caillebotte Young man by his window 1875

 

Gunshot Victims Wait as Horse Dewormer Overdoses Overwhelm Hospitals (RS)
India’s DNA COVID Vaccine Is A World First – More Are Coming (Nature)
Pfizer Develops Twice A Day ‘Covid Pills’ To Be Taken Alongside Vaccines (NP)
Why All The Fuss About Ivermectin? (Joondeph)
Ivermectin, Potential Anticancer Drug Derived From Antiparasitic Drug (NIH)
How (And Why) Israel Changed What “Fully Vaccinated” Means (OffG)
Covid Jabs For UK Children: A Very Tight Decision That Could Be Overruled (G.)
Almost 7,000 Unvaccinated Greek Healthcare Workers Remain Suspended (K.)
Unvaccinated MPs Won’t Be Barred From Greek Parliament (K.)
Indiana Health Care System Suspends 280 Employees For Refusing Vaccine (JTN)
EU Watchdog Reviews Reports Of Rare Body Inflammation After Vaccinations (RT)
The Covidian Cult Part III (CJ Hopkins)
It Ends When You End It (CWT)
Coiling and Rattling (Kunstler)
Joe Rogan Criticized As ‘Anti-Science’ For Surviving COVID (BBee)

 

 

 

 

WEF

 

 

 

 

Brilliant from Rolling Stone. More competition for Babylon Bee. They let this one slip away: “..prescriptions for ivermectin have increased 24-fold over pre-pandemic numbers. That amounts to more than 88,000 prescriptions for the drug issued between early July and mid-August of this year.” Those are prescriptions for human use. Safe, FDA approved. No horse to be seen.

Dave Collum says it best: “this story is total “horse shit”. Some hick in Oklahoma makes the claim that everybody is OD’ing on Ivermectin horse paste and every media picks up on the story. Horse shit. Complete horse shit. Good stock photo though: gun shot victims standing in line at the hospital while wearing winter coats in August. Total horse shit.”

Actually the photo used is: “People wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Oklahoma City.”

Gunshot Victims Wait as Horse Dewormer Overdoses Overwhelm Hospitals (RS)

The rise in people using ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug usually reserved for deworming horses or livestock, as a treatment or preventative for Covid-19 has emergency rooms “so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting” access to health facilities, an emergency room doctor in Oklahoma said. This week, Dr. Jason McElyea told KFOR the overdoses are causing backlogs in rural hospitals, leaving both beds and ambulance services scarce. “The ERs are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated,” McElyea said. “All of their ambulances are stuck at the hospital waiting for a bed to open so they can take the patient in and they don’t have any, that’s it,” said McElyea.

“If there’s no ambulance to take the call, there’s no ambulance to come to the call.” People getting sick from ivermectin — especially as some people take a formulation of the drug used in livestock — has become so frequent that this month the Food and Drug Administration released a statement imploring Americans to stay away from the drug that has not been approved to treat or prevent Covid-19. “You are not a horse. You are not a cow,” the agency said while linking to an explainer about the dangers of ingesting ivermectin designed for livestock.

“Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans,” the FDA cautioned. The agency went on to explain that although the medication is sometimes used in humans as a treatment for parasites or scabies, or in topical form to treat rosacea, the doses are much smaller than are given to livestock. Still, people have been going to feed stores and purchasing livestock doses of the drug, leading many stores to post warnings next to the ivermectin supply, cautioning it is not for use in humans. As people take the drug, McElyea said patients have arrived at hospitals with negative reactions like nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and cramping — or even loss of sight. “The scariest one that I’ve heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss,” the doctor said.

According to a health advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on August 26, prescriptions for ivermectin have increased 24-fold over pre-pandemic numbers. That amounts to more than 88,000 prescriptions for the drug issued between early July and mid-August of this year. Even podcaster and anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan bragged that he took ivermectin along with other experimental treatments after he tested positive for Covid-19. As a result of the drug’s increased publicity, calls to poison control centers nationwide regarding ivermectin have multiplied, as have hospital and emergency room visits, the CDC said.


People wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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Know how it works? Spike proteins.

India’s DNA COVID Vaccine Is A World First – More Are Coming (Nature)

India has approved a new COVID vaccine that uses circular strands of DNA to prime the immune system against the virus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers have welcomed news of the first DNA vaccine for people to receive approval anywhere in the world, and say many other DNA vaccines may soon be hot on its heels. ZyCoV-D, which is administered into the skin without an injection, has been found to be 67% protective against symptomatic COVID-19 in clinical trials, and will likely start to be administered in India this month. Although the efficacy is not particularly high compared to that of many other COVID-19 vaccines, the fact that it is a DNA vaccine is significant, say researchers.

It is proof of the principle that DNA vaccines work and can help in controlling the pandemic, says Peter Richmond, a paediatric immunologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth. “This is a really important step forward in the fight to defeat COVID-19 globally, because it demonstrates that we have another class of vaccines that we can use.” Close to a dozen DNA vaccines against COVID-19 are in clinical trials globally, and at least as many again are in earlier stages of development. DNA vaccines are also being developed for many other diseases. “If DNA vaccines prove to be successful, this is really the future of vaccinology” because they are easy to manufacture, says Shahid Jameel, a virologist at Ashoka University in Sonipat, India.

[..] ZyCoV-D contains circular strands of DNA known as plasmids, which encode the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, together with a promoter sequence for turning the gene on. Once the plasmids enter the nuclei of cells, they are converted into mRNA, which travels to the main body of the cell, the cytoplasm, and is translated into the spike protein itself. The body’s immune system then mounts a response against the protein, and produces tailored immune cells that can clear future infections. Plasmids typically degrade within weeks to months, but the immunity remains.

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Hmmm. More spike proteins, or ivermectin?

Pfizer Develops Twice A Day ‘Covid Pills’ To Be Taken Alongside Vaccines (NP)

Pfizer is now developing a Covid pill that is designed to be taken alongside the vaccines that have already made the company vast amounts of money. The big pharma giant is so confident that their pills will be approved, and likely mandated, that it has started production before the clinical trials have even ended. National File reports: The new pill is expected to be released by the end of the year and will be required to be taken twice per day “Success against #COVID19 will likely require both vaccines & treatments,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Wednesday. “We’re pleased to share we’ve started a Phase 2/3 study of our oral antiviral candidate-specifically designed to combat SARS-CoV-2-in non-hospitalized, low-risk adults.”


Pfizer also put out a press release the same week that proclaimed, “If successful, [the drug] has the potential to address a significant unmet medical need, providing patients with a novel oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring hospitalization.” The company described the drug as an “investigational orally administered protease inhibitor antiviral therapy designed specifically to combat COVID–19 – in non–hospitalized, symptomatic adult participants who have a confirmed diagnosis of SARS–CoV–2 infection and are not at increased risk of progressing to severe illness, which may lead to hospitalization or death.”

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“The FDA says ivermectin “can be dangerous and even lethal,” yet they approved it in 1998 and have not pulled it from the market despite it being “dangerous and lethal.”

Why All The Fuss About Ivermectin? (Joondeph)

What’s newsworthy about ivermectin? A simple Google search of most medications describes uses and side effects. A similar search of ivermectin provides headlines of why it shouldn’t be taken and how dangerous it is. The Guardian describes ivermectin as horse medicine reminding readers considering taking the drug, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow”, saying it’s a medicine meant for farm animals. The FDA echoed that sentiment in a recent tweet, adding “Seriously, y’all. Stop it”, their word choice making it obvious who the tweet was directed to. Perhaps the FDA didn’t realize that Barack and Michelle Obama often used the term “y’all” and that some might construe the FDA tweet as racist. The FDA says ivermectin “can be dangerous and even lethal,” yet they approved it in 1998 and have not pulled it from the market despite it being “dangerous and lethal.”

[..] Highly unvaccinated India had a surge in COVID cases earlier this year which abruptly ended following the widespread use of ivermectin, over the objections and criticism of the WHO. In the one state, Tamil Nadu, that did not use ivermectin, cases tripled instead of dropping by 97 percent as in the rest of the country. This is anecdotal and could have other explanations but the discovery of penicillin was also anecdotal and observational. Good science should investigate rather than ignore such observations. The Japanese Medical Association recently endorsed ivermectin for COVID. The US CDC cautioned against it. There is legal pushback as an Ohio judge ordered a hospital to treat a ventilated COVID patient with ivermectin. After a month on the ventilator, this patient is likely COVID free and ivermectin now will have no benefit, allowing the medical establishment to say “see I told you so” that it wouldn’t help.

By this point, active COVID infection is not the issue, instead it is weaning off and recovery from long term life support. The early hydroxychloroquine studies had the same flaw, treating patients too late in the disease course to provide or demonstrate benefit. These drugs have been proposed for early outpatient treatment, not when patients are seriously ill and near death. Looking for treatment benefit in the wrong patient population will yield expected negative results. Given how devastating COVID can be and how despite high levels of vaccination in countries like the US, UK, and Israel, we are seeing surging cases and hospitalizations among the vaccinated, we should be pulling out all the stops in treating this virus.

Medical treatment involves balancing risks and benefits. When FDA approved medications are used in appropriate doses for appropriate patients, prescribed by competent physicians, the risks tend to be low, and any benefit should be celebrated. Instead, the medical establishment, media, and regulatory authorities are taking the opposite approach. One has to wonder why.

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From Sep 2020.

Ivermectin, Potential Anticancer Drug Derived From Antiparasitic Drug (NIH)

IVM not only has strong effects on parasites but also has potential antiviral effects. IVM can inhibit the replication of flavivirus by targeting the NS3 helicase [17]; it also blocks the nuclear transport of viral proteins by acting on α/β -mediated nuclear transport and exerts antiviral activity against the HIV-1 and dengue viruses [18]. Recent studies have also pointed out that it has a promising inhibitory effect on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has caused a global outbreak in 2020 [19]. In addition, IVM shows potential for clinical application in asthma [20] and neurological diseases [21]. Recently scientists have discovered that IVM has a strong anticancer effect.

Since the first report that IVM could reverse tumor multidrug resistance (MDR) in 1996, a few relevant studies have emphasized the potential use of IVM as a new cancer treatment . Despite the large number of related studies, there are still some key issues that have not been resolved. First of all, the specific mechanism of IVM-mediated cytotoxicity in tumor cells is unclear; it may be related to the effect of IVM on various signaling pathways, but it is not very clear overall. Second, IVM seems to induce mixed cell death in tumor cells, which is also a controversial issue. Therefore, this review summarized the latest findings on the anticancer effect of IVM and discussed the mechanism of the inhibition of tumor proliferation and the way that IVM induces tumor programmed cell death to provide a theoretical basis for the use of IVM as a potential anticancer drug.

As the cost of the research and development of new anticancer drugs continues to increase, drug repositioning has become increasingly important. Drug repositioning refers to the development of new drug indications that have been approved for clinical use. For some older drugs that are widely used for their original indications and have clinical data and safety information, drug repositioning allows them to be developed via a cheaper and faster cycle and to be used more effectively in clinical use clinically. Here, we systematically summarized the anticancer effect and mechanism of IVM, which is of great significance for the repositioning of IVM for cancer treatment.

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“If you don’t want to take the jab, just take some of Pfizer’s new magic anti-Covid pills instead.”

No, no, you heretic! You need both!

How (And Why) Israel Changed What “Fully Vaccinated” Means (OffG)

Israel has been at the forefront of the vaccination push ever since November 2020, when they signed agreements with Pfizer to run what were essentially medical experiments on their civilian population. They were the first country to roll out the Pfizer vaccine. They were the first country to try out the (since abandoned) “Green passes” system of medical segregation. And now they’re the first country to change the terms of the “get vaccinated and get your freedom back” contract. That’s right. Just as “three weeks to flatten the curve” turned into around 18-months (and counting), “double jabbed” is now evolving into “triple jabbed”. To quote Dr Salman Zarka, Israel’s “coronavirus czar”: “We are updating what it means to be vaccinated,”

So, there you have it. In Israel, officially, those who have been injected with two doses of Pfizer’s so-called vaccine are no longer counted as vaccinated. What does this mean? Well, first of all, it means all those “vaccinated” people can kiss their recently acquired freedoms goodbye, unless they’re willing to get at least one more booster. According to the Wall Street Journal [paywalled article]: “Holders of Israel’s vaccine passports must get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine within six months of their second dose, or lose the so-called green pass that allows them more freedom.” It should also be noted that the third booster is not considered the last. The Israeli Ministry of Health “has not ruled out further boosters in the future” and the third shot will only extend the “vaccinated” status for six months, not permanently.

So, essentially, the precedent has been set that your freedoms are the state’s to take away on a whim. And, if you comply, they will simply use your compliance as an excuse to take even greater liberties (pun very much intended). Israel has been the Petri dish for this since the beginning. If it works there, expect the “booster shot requirement” to be instituted in other countries all over the world fairly quickly. To all the people who have taken the vaccine, and are now realising they may have done something foolish. Sorry, but we did try to warn you this would happen. Financially speaking, this is yet another boon in a golden year for Pfizer, who can now ship even more doses of their experimental and unnecessary gene therapy to people who are literally legally obliged to use it. If you don’t want to take the jab, just take some of Pfizer’s new magic anti-Covid pills instead.

So don’t worry about the death of freedom and democracy in the name of an almost-completely-harmless disease. At least the Pfizer shareholders can afford that second private island and golden costumes for their human chess sets.

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“..the impact of the symptoms may be no worse than those seen in children who have not actually had Covid..”

The Guardian is confident they will be jabbed anyway.

Covid Jabs For UK Children: A Very Tight Decision That Could Be Overruled (G.)

It was, the scientists said, a very finely balanced decision. On the one hand, Covid vaccines undoubtedly help to reduce infection and illness. On the other, Covid vaccines – like every other vaccine in medical history – are not without their risks. In children aged 12 to 15, the threat of serious Covid is tiny, but so is the risk of serious side-effects from the vaccine. After much deliberation, the government’s independent vaccine advisers concluded that, on the strength of evidence so far, there was a marginal benefit to vaccinating healthy children aged 12 to 15 years old. But that benefit was deemed so very marginal the advisers would not give the green light to mass vaccination of healthy children in the age group.

Instead, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) broadened out the existing group of 12- to 15-year-olds eligible for Covid vaccination. Beyond the extremely vulnerable who have already been called forward for shots, the JCVI drew on research from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to include children with major, chronic heart, lung, kidney and neurological conditions. Children with sickle cell disease and type I diabetes will also be eligible. Under the new guidance, about 200,000 of the 4 million or so UK children aged 12 to 15 will now be eligible for Covid jabs. To support its case, the JCVI released data on the risks the children faced. While healthy children aged 12 to 15 are admitted to intensive care with Covid at a rate of about two per million, among those in the vulnerable group the risk is more than 100 per million.

The JCVI discussed the potential risk of long Covid in children – the fatigue and other debilitating symptoms that can persist for months – but concluded that while some children did have continuing symptoms, the issue was less common than in adults. Moreover, it believes the impact of the symptoms may be no worse than those seen in children who have not actually had Covid, but experience the same ailments. Another factor that acted against a decision to vaccinate all 12- to 15-year-olds is that the jabs are not spectacularly effective at preventing transmission now the Delta variant is dominant.

But the JCVI’s recommendation is not the final word. Throughout the pandemic, the government has happily followed the committee’s advice. The expert group is considered to have made sound judgments on delaying second doses and the order in which people should be called forward for immunisation. This time, the government may break with that tradition. The four chief medical officers (CMOs) of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have been asked to hold their own expert meeting next week on the question of Covid vaccines for secondary school pupils. There is a strong possibility they will reach a different conclusion.

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I bet you cannot take 500 ambulance workers out of the system for very long.

Almost 7,000 Unvaccinated Greek Healthcare Workers Remain Suspended (K.)

Almost 6,500 health care workers and 500 ambulance service members have been suspended from their jobs over their failure to meet a deadline to vaccinate themselves against Covid-19, the health minister said on Friday. Thanos Plevris told MPs that of the 6,412 healthcare workers who are suspended for not getting vaccinated, 5,594 work in hospitals and 818 in primary health care. Of the 500 suspended ambulance service staff, 400 belong to the crews. The minister said that the fact that 400 health care workers received the vaccine on Monday, a few days before the deadline, showed that the government’s decision to make vaccinations compulsory for hospital workers was having an effect. One hospital went from having a 35% vaccination rate among staff to 87%, he said. He added that next week an amendment would be tabled to would allow health workers who have given the first dose of the vaccine to return to work.

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Us and them.

Unvaccinated MPs Won’t Be Barred From Greek Parliament (K.)

Parliament Speaker Konstantinos Tasoulas said on Friday there are five or six deputies who are still unvaccinated. According to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, Tasoulas told reporters that the unvaccinated MPs are from two parties. He also stressed that unvaccinated MPs will not be barred from entering Parliament, but will have to submit the results of two coronavirus tests each week. As for parliamentary staff, he said that about 90% of them have been vaccinated.

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“I think later on, it got to the point where they realized people were going to fight back..”

Indiana Health Care System Suspends 280 Employees For Refusing Vaccine (JTN)

IU Health, the largest health care provider in Indiana, has announced it suspended close to 300 employees who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have not gotten an exemption. The provider specified Friday it was “approximately 280” individuals who were suspended on Wednesday. The suspension is to last two weeks, during which those employees can either get the vaccine or request an exemption. Those who have not complied with the company’s vaccine mandate after the two-week suspension are to be fired. IU Health is a private, not-for-profit company. It owns and operates 16 hospitals in the state, including its flagship hospital, IU Health Methodist Hospital, in Indianapolis. The company also has hospitals in Carmel, Fishers, Muncie, Lafayette and Bloomington.

It’s unclear whether the suspension of close to 300 employees will affect patient care at IU Health. The company has more than 35,000 employees statewide. “Many of the team members who are non-compliant are not clinical or front-line healthcare workers,” a spokesperson for IU Health said Friday in an email, declining to say exactly how many of the suspended employees are front-line health care workers. The news of the suspensions came the same day IU Health announced it was temporarily halting all elective surgeries and procedures, effective Monday, citing an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients because of the delta variant. IU Health was the first major health care organization in the state to announce it was mandating employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 500 employees held a protest and rally in downtown Indianapolis on June 12.

Traci Staley, the organizer of the protest and founder of the group United Against Mandates, said Friday many people rallied together over the past three months to help IU Health employees who didn’t want to get the vaccine to obtain an exemption. A lot of them, she said, didn’t know an exemption was even an option. “We just really pushed in the group, ‘Hey, this is your constitutional right,’ ” Staley said. Initially, Staley said, IU Health was giving people a hard time when they asked for a religious exemption, asking them to explain their religious beliefs. “They denied tons of exemptions,” Staley said. “I think later on, it got to the point where they realized people were going to fight back,” Staley said, explaining many employees emailed the company’s human resources department, citing their religious freedom under the First Amendment.

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Rare. Does the word have any meaning left?

EU Watchdog Reviews Reports Of Rare Body Inflammation After Vaccinations (RT)

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has announced it is reviewing a possible link to a rare inflammatory condition following the administration of coronavirus vaccines after a case was reported post Pfizer shot. In a statement on Friday, the agency announced that an investigation is underway by its Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) to determine whether there is a risk of “multisystem inflammatory syndrome” (MIS) following inoculation against Covid-19. The assessment follows after a 17-year-old boy in Denmark received a shot of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine and subsequently complained of the condition. The EMA describes the syndrome as “a serious inflammatory condition affecting many parts of the body and symptoms can include tiredness, persistent severe fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, headache, chest pain and difficulty breathing.”


MIS has been reported among people who contracted the coronavirus. The young patient in question, however, had not suffered with Covid-19 before and has fully recovered after his bout of the rare condition. According to the EMA, the pre-pandemic incidence rate of the syndrome was around two to six cases per 100,000 per year in young people below 20 years of age, based on estimates from five European countries. The number was even lower in adults aged 20 and over, registering less than two cases. A small handful of other incidences of the syndrome have been reported in the European Economic Area, after Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot jab. The medical watchdog, however, has not changed its recommendations for Covid-19 vaccinations.

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“..we need to make GloboCap (and its minions) go openly totalitarian … because it can’t.”

The Covidian Cult Part III (CJ Hopkins)

Seriously, think about where we are currently, 18 months into our new “reality,” then go back and review how GloboCap blatantly rolled out the New Normal in the Spring of 2020 … and the majority of the masses didn’t even blink. They seamlessly transitioned to the new “reality” in which a virus, rather than “white supremacists,” or “Russian agents,” or “Islamic terrorists,” had become the new official enemy. They put away the scripts they had been reciting verbatim from for the previous four years, and the scripts they had been reciting from for the previous 15 years before that, and started frantically jabbering Covid cult-speak like they were auditioning for an over-the-top Orwell parody.

Which brings us to the problem of the Covidian cult … how to get through to them, which, make no mistake, we have to do, one way or another, or the New Normal will become our permanent “reality.” I called the New Normals a “Covidian Cult,” not to gratuitously insult or mock them, but because that is what totalitarianism is … a cult writ large, on a societal scale. Anyone who has tried to get through to them can confirm the accuracy of that analogy. You can show them the facts until you’re blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. You think you are having a debate over facts, but you are not. You are threatening their new “reality.” You think you are struggling to get them to think rationally. You are not. What you are is a heretic, an agent of demonic forces, an enemy of all that is “real” and “true.”

The Scientologists would label you a “suppressive person.” The New Normals call you a “conspiracy theorist,” an “anti-vaxxer,” or a “virus denier.” The specific epithets don’t really matter. They are just labels that cult members and totalitarians use to demonize those they perceive as “enemies” … anyone challenging the “reality” of the cult, or the “reality” of the totalitarian system. The simple fact of the matter is, you can’t talk people out of a cult, and you can’t talk them out of totalitarianism. Usually, what you do, in the case of a cult, is, you get the person out of the cult. You kidnap them, take them to a safehouse or wherever, surround them with a lot of non-cult members, and deprogram them gradually over the course of several days. You do this because, while they are still inside the cult, you cannot get through to them. They cannot hear you.

[..] We need to make Jim Jones drop the peace-and-love crap, move into the jungle, and break out the Kool-Aid. We need to make Charles Manson put down his guitar, cancel orgy-time, and go homicidal hippie. This is how you take down a cult from within. You do not try to thwart its progress; you push it toward its logical conclusion. You make it manifest its full expression, because that it when it implodes, and dies. You do not do that by being polite, conciliatory, or avoiding conflict. You do that by generating as much internal conflict within the cult as you can. In other words, we need to make GloboCap (and its minions) go openly totalitarian … because it can’t. If it could, it would have done so already. Global capitalism cannot function that way. Going openly totalitarian will cause it to implode … no, not global capitalism itself, but this totalitarian version of it.

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“It ends when you go back outside.”

It Ends When You End It (CWT)

There is a universal feeling among people that the world has gone mad. People in supposedly “Free, Western” countries are being locked in their houses for months, have their fundamental human rights stripped from them, and treated like criminals with no trial, no due process, and no charges. The sacred principle our society has been built upon – “Innocent until proven guilty” – has now been reversed. You are no longer free to act at your own will, because your will is now said to pose a risk to others. It is not enough anymore to respect others’ rights; you are now also obliged to subjugate yourself to their fears.

So welcome to what is known as “clown world,” the world where most people are living today. A world where conspiracy theories are just spoilers. A world where “science” is based on unquestionable blind faith. A world where the TV is the sole arbiter of truth. A world where going outside is equated with murder. A world where wishing to live your life is selfish but desiring to control the lives of others is benevolence. In short, a world where logic has been replaced by emotions and common sense is no longer common.

Madness has been rapidly spreading around the world, and we now must face the question of how to end it? How do we exit clown world? How do we get our lives back? My answer to that is this: it ends when you end it. What I mean by that is quite simple, if you want to get back to normal, you cannot wait for permission to do so but must start living normally. It ends when you go back outside. It ends when you go and meet other people. It ends when you start traveling again. It ends when you refuse to “show your papers.” It ends when you smile at people instead of hiding from them in fear. It ends when you start to think for yourself instead of letting the TV think for you. It ends when you end it.

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“The pharmaceutical lobbying group known as the American Medical Association called this week for an “immediate end” to the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19. They forbid member doctors to prescribe it.”

Coiling and Rattling (Kunstler)

I prefer to label it the long emergency, simply the endgame of the techno-industrial hypertrophic phase of history. You could see it coming from a hundred months away, but now that it’s here, Western Civ has turned from tragedy to farce to psychosis. The pharmaceutical lobbying group known as the American Medical Association called this week for an “immediate end” to the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19. They forbid member doctors to prescribe it. They follow the CDC and the FDA in condemning the drug, sentencing it to the ducking stool… burning it at the stake! “Use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be harmful to patients,” they say.

They lie, of course. And they want all the doctors to lie. How many of them will go along to get along? Do they care if this psychotic nonsense destroys what remains of medical practice just as race-and-gender studies have destroyed higher ed? One not-so-distant day the docs will show up for work, but the overgrown hospitals will be out of business, doors shuttered, and the docs will be back to making house-calls with a little black bag… no more German cars for you… and maybe a chicken in exchange for a little bootleg Ivermectin, if you’re lucky! As it happens, I take the veterinary-grade Ivermectin myself as a prophylactic, because that’s all you can get easily around here. I haven’t felt better in years. Perhaps I had pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis). Anyway, I don’t have Covid. I also take Vitamin D3 and zinc. Anathemize that, you chiseling bastards!

Everybody I consort with has had enough of the whole nauseating game — the lying politicians, the lying media, the lying medical bureaucrats, the lying generals, the lying teachers, the lying celebrities, the lying tech moguls, the entire armature of counter-reality you want to impose on a once-fair land. We will never do your bidding. We will never peel your grapes. There are more of us than you. Go ahead, push just a little bit harder.

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“He has been called “anti-science” and “a purveyor of misinformation” for not dropping dead..”

Joe Rogan Criticized As ‘Anti-Science’ For Surviving COVID (BBee)

Progressives have expressed their anger across the country as another person, Joe Rogan, recovered from COVID and did not die, harming their preferred narrative about the deadliness of the virus and what kind of treatments should be used. He has been called “anti-science” and “a purveyor of misinformation” for not dropping dead. Despite not agreeing 100% with everything the left believes about the pandemic, lockdowns, vaccines, mandates, and masks, Rogan survived and is reportedly feeling great, doing incredible damage to all the progress we have made getting people to believe the science. “It’s straight-up anti-science is what it is,” said Huxley Burnsides of Portland, Oregon. “We should outlaw people surviving from COVID, especially those who disagree with me.” At publishing time, the author of this article was praying he does not regress and die because that’d be really embarrassing and also people dying is bad.

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Apr 222021
 
 April 22, 2021  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Giotto Lamentation 1306

 

Unvaccinated Worker Starts Outbreak In Mostly Vaccinated Nursing Home (NYT)
Mass Vaccination Sites Are Shutting Down Over ‘Decreased Demand’ (F.)
COVID Vaccine Blood Clot Risk Was Known, Ignored & Buried (Hudak)
Boris Johnson Says UK Will Have To ‘Learn To Live With Virus’ (RT)
The Covidian Cult – Part II (CJ Hopkins)
The Unraveling of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)
US Sanctions Only Make Russia’s Economy Even More Self-Sufficient (RT)
Putin Says Russia Developing High-Tech Nuclear & Laser Weapons (RT)
Prague Gives Moscow Ultimatum To Let Czech Diplomats Return (Y!)
Ukraine Encourages Western Allies To Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT (EurActiv)
Georgia & Ukraine Launch ‘Remarkable’ Attack On Academic Freedom (RT)
USPS ‘Covert Operations Program’ Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts (Y!)
In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite (AT)

 

 

 

 

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi on blood clotting (full video below)

 

 

Sweden’s continuing success story.

 

 

If you can set off an outbreak where 90% is vaccinated, how can the answer be more vaccination and masks? Obviously, the vaccine doesn’t work as advertized.

And didn’t Pfizer-BioNTech say their contraption was 95% effective? Why then only 66% for these residents?

Note: The New York Times used the term “immunized” for the residents, but that doesn’t seem to be the same as “vaccinated”. Not anymore, at least.

Unvaccinated Worker Starts Outbreak In Mostly Vaccinated Nursing Home (NYT)

An unvaccinated health care worker set off a Covid-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Kentucky where the vast majority of residents had been vaccinated, leading to dozens of infections, including 22 cases among residents and employees who were already fully vaccinated, a new study reported Wednesday. Most of those who were infected with the coronavirus despite being vaccinated did not develop symptoms or require hospitalization, but one vaccinated individual, who was a resident of the nursing home, died, according to the study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Altogether, 26 facility residents were infected, including 18 who had been vaccinated, and 20 health care personnel were infected, including four who had been vaccinated. Two unvaccinated residents also died.

The report underscores the importance of vaccinating both nursing home residents and health care workers who go in and out of the sites, the authors said. While 90 percent of the 83 residents at the Kentucky nursing home had been vaccinated, only half of the 116 employees had been vaccinated when the outbreak was identified in March of this year. The study, released in tandem with one involving Chicago nursing homes, underscored the importance of maintaining measures like use of protective gear, infection control protocols and routine testing, no matter the level of vaccination rates. The rise of virus variants also has increased concerns. Resistance to vaccines has been steep among nursing home staffs nationwide, and the low acceptance rates of vaccination increase the likelihood of outbreaks in facilities, according to the authors, a team of investigators from the C.D.C. and Kentucky’s public health department.

“To protect skilled nursing facility residents, it is imperative that health care providers, as well as skilled nursing facility residents, be vaccinated,” the authors of the Kentucky study wrote. The outbreak involved a variant of the virus that has multiple mutations in the spike protein, of the kind that make the vaccines less effective. Vaccinated residents and health care workers at the Kentucky facility were less likely to be infected than those who had not been vaccinated, and they were far less likely to develop symptoms. The study estimated that the vaccine, identified as Pfizer-BioNTech, showed effectiveness of 66 percent for residents and 75.9 percent for employees, and were 86 percent to 87 percent effective at protecting against symptomatic disease.

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The video is hilarious. Fauci claims that Texas is doing so well without lockdown because Texans behave so much better than locked down Michiganians.

Other than that, he doesn’t answer Jordan’s question, but the chairman says he did anyway. “Your time is up.” It’s like comedy hour.

Mass Vaccination Sites Are Shutting Down Over ‘Decreased Demand’ (F.)

Mass vaccination sites across the U.S. have announced plans to shut down in recent days due to insufficient demand, even though all U.S. adults are now eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines. Palm Beach County, Florida, is shutting down three mass vaccination sites in favor of new mobile vaccination efforts, the Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday, after the sites were operating at only 50% capacity this week. Mass vaccination sites in Clarkesville, Georgia, and North Carolina will shut down by the end of May, officials announced this week, and Summit County, Ohio, canceled a planned mass vaccination clinic on April 27 citing “decreased demand.”

Several Texas mass vaccination sites in Williamson and Galveston counties are shutting down, and Galveston officials asked the state not to send the county any vaccine next week as the number of residents making vaccine appointments declines. Waukesha County, Wisconsin, will likely shut down its mass vaccine site to new first doses by the end of the week, as the county hits its target of 60% of eligible residents being vaccinated. Some vaccination locations have made plans to close before this week: Sites in Las Vegas and Cascade County, Montana, were announced to be shutting down last week, for instance, while Mercer County, Ohio, shuttered their drive-through mass vaccine clinic earlier in April.

Officials are reporting noticeable decreases in the number of people getting inoculated in areas where sites are not closing, including in Texas, Idaho, Missouri, Alabama, Maine and Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan predicted Wednesday the state would be shutting down mass vaccination sites “at some point soon.” 3.02 million. That’s the seven-day average of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. each day as of Wednesday, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data analyzed by the New York Times. That average has been steadily declining in recent days after peaking at approximately 3.3 million shots per day last week.

Jim Jordan Fauci

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Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: all of its symptoms seem to be identical to what we are told COVID-19 symptoms are.

COVID Vaccine Blood Clot Risk Was Known, Ignored & Buried (Hudak)

Joining us today is Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, here to discuss the ‘dangerous mRNA vaccines’ and how he and his organization warned about the blood clots (and much else now coming to pass) that we are now seeing from the COVID-19 injections, months before they began. He stresses that it is important that we come to understand what Cerebral Venous Thrombosis is, and why all of its symptoms seem to be identical to what we are told COVID-19 symptoms are.

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So much for the vaccine success.

All of a sudden dexamethasone pops up again. Ivermectin next?!

Boris Johnson Says UK Will Have To ‘Learn To Live With Virus’ (RT)

The UK will be hit by yet another wave of Covid infections later this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said as he revealed that the government was looking into treating people with tablets against the disease. “The majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid at some stage this year and so we must as far as possible learn to live with this disease,” he told a news briefing on Tuesday. The PM added that with record infection levels around the world, “we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away.” He also said he saw nothing in the data to suggest the UK would have to deviate from its “cautious but irreversible” roadmap out of lockdown.


Johnson also announced the creation of a new antivirals taskforce to help with the search for new medicines and support their development in clinical trials in order to make them available by the autumn. He said the treatments could include a tablet that would stop people with Covid-19 becoming severely ill, or a pill to prevent someone contracting the virus from close contacts who are infected. The PM did not say if such treatments were currently being trialled. The UK was the first country to repurpose dexamethasone to treat Covid-19, Johnson said. The drug is usually used to treat severe allergies, skin conditions and inflammation.

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“..society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape.”

The Covidian Cult – Part II (CJ Hopkins)

How did we ever get to this point … to the point where, as I put it in The Covidian Cult, “instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?” To understand this, one needs to understand how cults control the minds of their members, because totalitarian ideological movements operate more or less the same way, just on a much larger, societal scale. There is a wealth of research and knowledge on this subject (I mentioned Robert J. Lifton in my earlier essay), but, to keep things simple, I’ll just use Margaret Singer’s “Six Conditions of Mind Control” from her 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst, as a lens to view the Covidian Cult through.

Six Conditions of Mind Control

1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. Looking back, it is easy to see how people were conditioned, step by step, to accept the “New Normal” ideology. They were bombarded with terrifying propaganda, locked down, stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear medical-looking masks in public, to act out absurd “social-distancing” rituals, submit to constant “testing,” and all the rest of it. Anyone not complying with this behavioral-change program or challenging the veracity and rationality of the new ideology was demonized as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “Covid denier,” an “anti-vaxxer,” in essence, an enemy of the cult, like a “suppresive person” in the Church of Scientology.

2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time. For over a year now, the “New Normal” authorities have controlled the social/physical environment, and how New Normals spend their time, with lockdowns, social-distancing rituals, closure of “non-essential” businesses, omnipresent propaganda, isolation of the elderly, travel restrictions, mandatory mask-rules, protest bans, and now the segregation of the “Unvaccinated.” Basically, society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape. You’ve seen the photos of the happy New Normals dining out at restaurants, relaxing at the beach, jogging, attending school, and so on, going about their “normal” lives with their medical-looking masks and prophylactic face shields. What you’re looking at is the pathologization of society, the pathologization of everyday life, the physical (social) manifestation of a morbid obsession with disease and death.

3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. What kind of person could feel more powerless than an obedient New Normal sitting at home, obsessively logging the “Covid death” count, sharing photos of his medical-looking mask and post-“vaccination” bandage on Facebook, as he waits for permission from the authorities to go outdoors, visit his family, kiss his lover, or shake hands with a colleague? The fact that in the Covidian Cult the traditional charismatic cult leader has been replaced by a menagerie of medical experts and government officials does not change the utter dependency and abject powerlessness of its members, who have been reduced to a state approaching infancy. This abject powerlessness is not experienced as a negative; on the contrary, it is proudly celebrated. Thus the mantra-like repetition of the “New Normal” platitude “Trust the Science!” by people who, if you try to show them the science, melt down completely and start jabbering aggressive nonsense at you to shut you up.

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“War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities [..] descends into a quagmire.”

“All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it.”

The Unraveling of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)

America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American empire. With the exception of the first Gulf War, fought largely by mechanized units in the open desert that did not — wisely — attempt to occupy Iraq, the United States political and military leadership has stumbled from one military debacle to another. Korea. Vietnam. Lebanon. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Libya. The trajectory of military fiascos mirrors the sad finales of the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian, French, British, Dutch, Portuguese and Soviet empires. While each of these empires decayed with their own peculiarities, they all exhibited patterns of dissolution that characterize the American experiment.

Imperial ineptitude is matched by domestic ineptitude. The collapse of good government at home, with legislative, executive and judicial systems all seized by corporate power, ensures that the incompetent and the corrupt, those dedicated not to the national interest but to swelling the profits of the oligarchic elite, lead the country into a cul-de-sac. Rulers and military leaders, driven by venal self-interest, are often buffoonish characters in a grand comic operetta. How else to think of Allen Dulles, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Trump or the hapless Joe Biden? While their intellectual and moral vacuity is often darkly amusing, it is murderous and savage when directed towards their victims.

There is not a single case since 1941 when the coups, political assassinations, election fraud, black propaganda, blackmail, kidnapping, brutal counter-insurgency campaigns, U.S. sanctioned massacres, torture in global black sites, proxy wars or military interventions carried out by the United States resulted in the establishment of a democratic government. The two-decade-long wars in the Middle East, the greatest strategic blunder in American history, have only left in their wake one failed state after another. Yet, no one in the ruling class is held accountable.

War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities, such as implanting a client government in Baghdad that will flip the region, including Iran, into U.S. protectorates, or when, as in Afghanistan, there is no vision at all, descends into a quagmire. The massive allocation of money and resources to the U.S. military, which includes Biden’s request for $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022, a $11.3 billion, or 1.6 percent increase, over 2021, is not in the end about national defense. The bloated military budget is designed, as Seymour Melman explained in his book, The Permanent War Economy, primarily to keep the American economy from collapsing. All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it.

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For decades now.

US Sanctions Only Make Russia’s Economy Even More Self-Sufficient (RT)

As Washington threatens to impose more sanctions on Russia, analysts expect Moscow’s response to be the same as usual – speeding up the drive to make the nation’s economy more self-sufficient. “The Americans are saying: be careful or we could do more, but Russia is just going to continue down the path toward economic autarky,” the deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington, Elina Ribakova, told Bloomberg. The administration of US President Joe Biden on Sunday warned of “consequences” if opposition activist Alexey Navalny were to die in prison. The warning followed the introduction by Washington of new economic penalties over claims of Russian hacking and election interference. The measures include a ban on purchases of bonds on Russia’s primary market.

However, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday that the fundamentals of the Russian economy were unaffected by the move. “Macroeconomic stability is fully ensured,” Peskov said, “and the efficiency of our economic bloc is recognized internationally. We have no reason to doubt this state of affairs.” International rating agencies confirm that Russia is well positioned for a near-term market disruption because it has a high cash buffer and demand from local banks is robust, according to Fitch. Moody’s said on Monday that Russia’s financial reserves will allow the country to cope with the negative effects of the sanctions. Ratings agency S&P also noted that the sanctions will not have a significant impact on the replenishment of the Russian budget and will not undermine the stability of the country’s financial markets.

Experts point out that during the seven years of Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, the Russian government and central bank reduced the country’s exposure to dollars, shifted assets out of the US, and sold a smaller share of its debt to foreigners. Russia has been reshaping its international holdings, cutting the share of the US dollar in favor of other currencies and gold. The country’s foreign reserve holdings have been steadily growing in recent years, and amounted to $580.5 billion as of April 9. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the reserves surged by over $40 billion last year. The share of gold in Russia’s forex reserves jumped above dollars for the first time on record in 2020. The precious metal made up 24% of the central bank’s stockpile as of the end of September. The share of dollar assets was 22%, down from more than 40% in 2018.

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“I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

Putin Says Russia Developing High-Tech Nuclear & Laser Weapons (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the vast majority of the country’s Soviet-era atomic stockpile will soon be replaced by modern weapons, warning that Moscow is intent on defending itself against foreign aggression. Speaking as part of his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said that his government “wants to have positive relationships with everyone on the international stage, including those with whom relations have broken down recently. We really don’t want to burn bridges.” At the same time, however, he cautioned that “those who mistake this stance for weakness need to know that Russia’s response [to any aggression] will be asymmetrical, swift and harsh.”

Those planning provocations, he said, “will regret their deeds in a way they have not regretted anything else for a long time.” As part of the country’s plans to defend itself, he said, its stockpile of strategic weapons is currently being overhauled, updating older Soviet-era equipment in favor of next-generation technology, such as “hypersonic and laser” armaments. Among the overhaul, he revealed that the advanced RS-28 Sarmat missile will be delivered to troops in the field from 2022. A heavy intercontinental ballistic rocket, it boasts up to 15 nuclear warheads which can be directed against individual targets and each deliver 350 kilotons of atomic hellfire. Ship-mounted missiles and other, “next-generation” projectiles are also slated for deployment in the near future.

According to the president, more than two-thirds of Russia’s military equipment will be “modern” at the end of the next three years, while more than 88% of nuclear weapons will be this year as well. Putin also referenced the Peresvet, a secretive laser cannon that is said to have the potential to shoot down both enemy aircraft and incoming missiles. The weapon has reportedly already been deployed to installations across the country. “We have patience, self-confidence and righteousness on our side,” Putin added. “I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

The US is currently reportedly developing a $100 billion ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile system to replace its Cold War-era Minuteman-III rockets. However, it has come under criticism from experts, with the Federation of American Scientists arguing that the program has been driven by industry lobbying rather than a genuine need for the launch complex “in a post-Cold War security environment.”

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“We suggest Prague leave ultimatums for communication within NATO,” said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “With Russia such a tone is unacceptable.”

Prague Gives Moscow Ultimatum To Let Czech Diplomats Return (Y!)

The Czech government on Wednesday warned Moscow it might expel more Russian diplomats unless the 20 Czech nationals ejected from Russia were allowed to return to work within a day. Moscow responded by saying the ultimatum was “unacceptable”. On Saturday, Prague expelled 18 Russian embassy staff in a row over Russia’s alleged role in an explosion that killed two people in the Czech Republic in 2014. Moscow sent back the Czech diplomats in retaliation on Monday. “The Russian Federation has until 1200 tomorrow (1000 GMT) to allow the return of all expelled diplomats back to the Czech embassy in Moscow,” Jakub Kulhanek, the new Czech foreign minister, told reporters. “If they cannot return, I will cut the number of Russian embassy staff in Prague so it would correspond to the current situation at the Czech embassy in Moscow,” he added.

After summoning Russian ambassador Alexander Zmeyevski, Kulhanek said Moscow’s retaliation had been “disproportionate and it in fact paralysed the embassy”. The Russian foreign ministry condemned the Czech position. “We suggest Prague leave ultimatums for communication within NATO,” said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “With Russia such a tone is unacceptable.” The Czech ambassador would be summoned on Thursday, she added. Prague currently has five diplomats and 19 technical staff at the embassy in Moscow, far fewer than the Russian workforce in Prague. “The expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats in turn did not jeopardise the functioning of the Russian embassy,” said Kulhanek, who was only appointed as minister on Wednesday.

The EU backed the Czech Republic as its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc stood “ready to support its further efforts to bring those responsible to justice”. “The EU condemns the disproportionate reaction and subsequent threats of Russian Federation towards the Czech Republic,” Borrell said in a statement, vowing “the staunchest resolve” in addressing disruptive acts by Russian intelligence on EU soil. Czech officials, including Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, who was standing in as foreign minister until Kulhanek’s appointment, said Tuesday that they might aim to reset relations with Russia — and that this could involve the expulsion of all Russian diplomats in Prague. [..] Hamacek also said that Prague would no longer consider buying Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19.

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Creating chaos through proxies.

Ukraine Encourages Western Allies To Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT (EurActiv)

Ukraine on Wednesday (21 April) urged Western allies to show they were prepared to punish Moscow with new sanctions, including kicking Russia out of the global SWIFT payments system, to deter the Kremlin from resorting to more military force against Ukraine. In an interview with Reuters, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said while Kyiv had no new information indicating that Russia had decided to take new military action against Ukraine, it was important for the West to act now to prevent that happening.Ukraine is trying to shore up international support in its standoff with Moscow over a build-up of Russian troops on its eastern border and in Crimea. “I have no information to state that the decision to launch a military operation against Ukraine has already been taken. So it can go in either direction now,” Kuleba said.

“And this is why the reaction of the West, the consolidated reaction of the West, is so important now, to prevent Putin … from making that decision.” Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame for a collapse in the ceasefire in the eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a conflict Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014. Kuleba said he asked Washington to supply “powerful means of electronic warfare” to counter Russia’s capacity to jam Ukrainian communications when he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week. He also revealed he had urged a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday to consider “banning Russia from SWIFT” as part of a package of new economic sanctions if Russia escalated the situation.

[..] Putin on Wednesday warned the West not to cross Russia’s “red lines”, saying Moscow would respond swiftly and harshly to any provocations. “I read the message of President Putin the following way: ‘we will be crossing your red lines, but you are not allowed to cross our red lines, and we will be defining where our red lines are,’” Kuleba said.

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The University’s riposte is great.

Georgia & Ukraine Launch ‘Remarkable’ Attack On Academic Freedom (RT)

A professor from Ireland’s Dublin City University has lambasted a “remarkable attempt to undermine academic freedom” from the embassies of Georgia and Ukraine after they complained about a course he teaches at the institution. Donnacha Ó Beacháin is an internationally-respected professor with extensive experience teaching students about politics in the countries that once formed the Soviet Union. He was targeted by two diplomats who claimed that his program, named ‘Russia and the post-Soviet space’, was spreading “disinformation and Russian propaganda narratives.” Georgia and Ukraine, who both have strained relationships with Moscow, are covered in the course.

In particular, Ó Beacháin was accused of inviting a “well-known Russian propagandist” to speak. In fact, the person in question was Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow at the Washington-based think tank CSIS, which receives funding from the US government. Ó Beacháin described him as “probably the leading authority in Russia on conflicts in the Caucasus.” As well as inviting Markedonov, the professor also pointed out that the course has had a guest speaker from Ukraine, and he even asked the current Georgian ambassador to address the students. “The module is called ‘Russia and the Former Soviet Space,’ but if the Georgia/Ukraine diplomats had their way, the only view we wouldn’t get is from Russia,” Ó Beacháin wrote on Twitter.

In a letter to the embassies, the university’s president, Dáire Keogh, stressed the importance of “academic freedom” and noted that the professor had “invited guests from different backgrounds to expose students to their points of view.” “Those invited to contribute to the module include speakers from Georgian and Ukrainian backgrounds, including former officials,” the letter said. Speaking to Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTE, Ó Beacháin’s colleague John Doyle blasted the complaints as “absolutely unprecedented,” noting that there has never been another issue when an embassy not only complained to a university professor, but also contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs – presumably attempting to create a diplomatic incident.

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The Postal Service? What’s next, the supermarket?

USPS ‘Covert Operations Program’ Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts (Y!)

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News. The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies. “Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. “Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”


A number of groups were expected to gather in cities around the globe on March 20 as part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, to protest everything from lockdown measures to 5G. “Parler users have commented about their intent to use the rallies to engage in violence. Image 3 on the right is a screenshot from Parler indicating two users discussing the event as an opportunity to engage in a ‘fight’ and to ‘do serious damage,’” says the bulletin.

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Hacking the hackers turns out to be easy.

In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite (AT)

For years, Israeli digital forensics firm Cellebrite has helped governments and police around the world break into confiscated mobile phones, mostly by exploiting vulnerabilities that went overlooked by device manufacturers. Now, Moxie Marlinspike—creator of the Signal messaging app—has turned the tables on Cellebrite. On Wednesday, Marlinspike published a post that reported vulnerabilities in Cellebrite software that allowed him to execute malicious code on the Windows computer used to analyze devices. The researcher and software engineer exploited the vulnerabilities by loading specially formatted files that can be embedded into any app installed on the device. “There are virtually no limits on the code that can be executed,” Marlinspike wrote.

He continued: “For example, by including a specially formatted but otherwise innocuous file in an app on a device that is then scanned by Cellebrite, it’s possible to execute code that modifies not just the Cellebrite report being created in that scan, but also all previous and future generated Cellebrite reports from all previously scanned devices and all future scanned devices in any arbitrary way (inserting or removing text, email, photos, contacts, files, or any other data), with no detectable timestamp changes or checksum failures. This could even be done at random, and would seriously call the data integrity of Cellebrite’s reports into question.”

Cellebrite provides two software packages: The UFED breaks through locks and encryption protections to collect deleted or hidden data, and a separate Physical Analyzer uncovers digital evidence (“trace events”). To do their job, both pieces of Cellebrite software must parse all kinds of untrusted data stored on the device being analyzed. Typically, software that is this promiscuous undergoes all kinds of security hardening to detect and fix any memory-corruption or parsing vulnerabilities that might allow hackers to execute malicious code. “Looking at both UFED and Physical Analyzer, though, we were surprised to find that very little care seems to have been given to Cellebrite’s own software security,” Marlinspike wrote. “Industry-standard exploit mitigation defenses are missing, and many opportunities for exploitation are present.”

Read more …

 

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Jun 102016
 
 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 8:24 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Lewis Wickes Hine Workers in Maryland packing company 1909

Marc Faber: Brexit Would Be Best Thing To Happen in Britain’s History (CNBC)
Brexit Might Trigger Run On Britain’s Record Financial Debts, S&P Warns (AEP)
Heavy Cost Of UK’s Access To The Single Market In Europe (Connolly)
Germans Get Richer While Southern Europe Lags (R.)
Bill Gross Says Negative Rates Are Like ‘Supernova’ That Will Explode (BBG)
It Took The US $10 In New Debt To Create $1 Of Growth In Q1 (ZH)
Global Investors Are Fleeing US Stocks at a Record Pace (BBG)
US Tax Receipts Signaling Recession? (Mish)
Ready, Set, Crash – Could New Zealand Be Next To Fall? (NZ Herland)
Pity Poor China: There’s No Easy Fix to the S-Curve (CH Smith)
China’s Propaganda Department Not Good Enough At Propaganda (AFP)
How Mishandling Classified Info Affects People Not Named Clinton (USA T.)
They Died of Progress (Greer)
The Money Cult (Dmitry Orlov)
In Greek Refugee Camps, Wait For Asylum Fuels Unrest (R.)
3,000 Migrants Rescued Off Italian Coast; Two Bodies Found (R.)

Not a fan of the Union.

Marc Faber: Brexit Would Be Best Thing To Happen in Britain’s History (CNBC)

As investors wring their hands over the impact of Britain’s potential withdrawal from the European Union, otherwise known as “Brexit,” one of the market’s biggest bears delivered a surprising message. “I happen to think that a Brexit would be bullish for global economic growth,” Marc Faber told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. “It would give other countries incentive to leave the badly organized EU.” The editor and publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report emphasized that a vote on June 23 by Britain to leave the EU would be an ideal course of action for the country. Additionally, Faber expressed the belief that small countries like Croatia, Estonia and Malta would also prosper as independent nations versus being a part of a larger system.

Currently, the EU has 28 members that operate within a single market with the goal of encouraging the free movement of goods and services. British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed disdain for leaving the bloc, explaining in a piece for The Telegraph that doing so would “be the gamble of the century.” However, that’s a risk that Faber says Britain should be willing to take and noted that the EU is an “empire that is hugely bureaucratic.” Faber further reasoned that a Brexit would not be a disaster. “On the contrary, it would be the best thing for Britain that would ever happen!” Faber defended his case by citing Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU nor the European Economic Area, but instead operates in the “single” market. That enables the Swiss to have rights in the U.K., but theoretically allows them to operate independently of both groups.

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“The level of debt coming due over the next 12 months is 755pc of the country’s external receipts..”

Brexit Might Trigger Run On Britain’s Record Financial Debts, S&P Warns (AEP)

Britain is the world’s most vulnerable state on a key measure of short-term debt and credit markets might suddenly seize up if voters opt for Brexit, Standard & Poor’s has warned. The US credit rating agency is crystal clear that Britain will be stripped of its coveted AAA status immediately and may face a double-barrelled downgrade if the country takes a leap in dark, jeopardizing its trading and financial ties to its biggest market. “We are categorical about this,” said Moritz Kraemer, the agency’s head of sovereign ratings. “There is no clear ‘Plan B’ in the UK and we are not going to wait until we find out what the British position actually is. We could potentially see a two-notch downgrade,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Kraemer said the British financial system is extremely dependent on external financing. This is the Achilles Heel for an economy that relies so heavily on the City of London, and has a current account deficit above 5pc of GDP – the highest in Britain’s peace-time history. The level of debt coming due over the next 12 months is 755pc of the country’s external receipts, the highest for all 131 sovereign states rated by S&P. This compares to 318pc for the US and 316pc for France, the next two states most exposed. Much of this short-term debt is owed by banks operating in the City, some of them American, Japanese, European, or Mid-East institutions.

In theory, the liabilities are matched by assets and therefore simply ‘net out’ if stress forces banks to shrink their operations, but crises have a nasty habit of revealing skeletons in the cupboard. “If there is no currency and maturity mismatch, then there is no big issue. But we don’t know that for sure,” Mr Kraemer said. “These sums are very large and have to be rolled over constantly. Nobody has ever hesitated in the past because it was always assumed that Britain is a safe haven and there is no risk,” he said.

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Bernard Connolly was never a fan of the EU. He sees Germany take over if Britain remains in the Union.

Heavy Cost Of UK’s Access To The Single Market In Europe (Connolly)

We are told that Britain’s net contribution to the EU budget, about 0.5pc of our GDP after the rebate (our gross contribution is much bigger; what we “get back” is EU payments to universities and interest groups as part of the EU’s subversion strategy) is the entry fee we must pay for “access” to the EU single market. Why do numerous other countries, with equal access to the single market, receive substantial net payments from the EU – that is, from us and a few other countries? Jean-Claude Juncker has said that France gets away with breaking the budgetary rules “because it’s France”. Britain is gleefully given the rough end of the stick by our partners “because it’s Britain”.

What access brings to Britain is the enormous cost of single market regulations imposed on all firms, not just the very small minority of exporters to the EU. It also brings higher prices in the shops because we are forced to apply the EU’s common external tariff to imports from third countries. Importantly, it brings a massive deficit with the EU on trade in goods and services – reducing the amount we can spend without borrowing from abroad by close to a massive 4pc of our GDP. But we do borrow. The trade deficit with the EU is the biggest single contributor to Britain’s unsustainable current-account position.

We do not yet have much net debt to the rest of the world. But if the current account deficit continues at anything like its present rate it will not be long before we build up foreign debt that leaves us with four choices: default; an economic depression like that in Greece; substantial sterling depreciation; and total political submission to Germany in the hope of getting permanent transfers from that country. The last option is far-fetched beyond science fiction. The first and second are obviously unthinkable for a country such as Britain, at least if we restore control over our own affairs by leaving the EU. That leaves just sterling depreciation, and the sooner it happens the less disruptive it will be. The more Leave thrives in the opinion polls, the better it is for the prospect of avoiding default and depression.

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Why the eurozone should fall. Everything moves towards the center. Design flaw, intentional or not, can’t be fixed.

Germans Get Richer While Southern Europe Lags (R.)

The wealth disparity in the euro zone is increasing, with rising property prices helping Germans get richer while southern European countries lag behind, a study has found. While the gap between northern countries, such as the Netherlands, and southern states like Portugal has long been a feature of the euro bloc, the study by an arm of German fund manager Flossbach von Storch shows it is getting ever wider. Taking a basket of items including property, stocks, art and expensive wine, the research concluded that wealth in Germany and Austria jumped more than 7% at the end of 2015 compared to a year earlier.

That was roughly twice the growth rate of Italy and Spain, while Greeks saw their wealth drop by more than 4%. Property prices, which, for example, jumped by more than 6% in Germany, are the biggest driver of wealth. This difference leads to political tension in the 19-member euro zone, while weak property prices in southern countries hit their banks, which hold homes and commercial property as security for loans. “Until 2006 when the bubble burst, countries in the south were really taking off. Now they are in a Japan-like situation,” said Thomas Mayer, founder of the research institute that carried out the study.

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Inevitable.

Bill Gross Says Negative Rates Are Like ‘Supernova’ That Will Explode (BBG)

Bill Gross, the manager of the $1.4 billion Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, warned central bank policies that pushed trillions of dollars into bonds with negative interest rates will eventually backfire violently. “Global yields lowest in 500 years of recorded history,” Gross, 72, wrote Thursday on the Janus Twitter site. “$10 trillion of neg. rate bonds. This is a supernova that will explode one day.” A supernova is a star at the end of its life that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass. Gross has argued for some time that the economy is at the end of a decades-long cycle of expanding credit that has culminated in negative interest rates, a situation he said is unsustainable.

Rather than spurring economic growth, low rates are promoting asset bubbles as investors reach for higher yields while punishing individual savers and industries that rely on interest rates, such as bank and insurance companies, according to Gross. He said in a June 2 note that the era of 7.5% annualized investment gains is history and that investors should eventually take positions to protect principal or profit from market declines. Returns will be low, risk will be high and at some point the ‘Intelligent Investor’ must decide that we are in a new era with conditions that demand a different approach,” he wrote. “Negative durations? Voiding or shorting corporate credit? Buying instead of selling volatility? Staying liquid with large amounts of cash? These are all potential ‘negative’ carry positions that at some point may capture capital gains or at a minimum preserve principal.”

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You can neither purchase nor borrow growth. When China reaches this phase, watch out.

It Took The US $10 In New Debt To Create $1 Of Growth In Q1 (ZH)

today we had a chance to update the total US credit following the release of the Fed’s Flow of Funds (Z.1) statement, which is usually parsed for its tracking of changes to household wealth. And while it showed that in  the first quarter the net worth of US residents, mostly the wealthy ones as the bulk of financial assets is held by a small fraction of the total population, rose by $837 billion to $88 trillion mostly as a result of a change in real estate holdings, we were more interest in the aggregate picture. It wasn’t pretty.

As a reminder, according to the latest BEA revision, nominal Q1 GDP was $18.23 trillion, an increase of just $65 billion from the previous quarter or an annualized 0.7% rate, the question is how much credit had to be created to generate this growth. Well, according to the Z.1, total credit rose to a new record high $64.1 trillion. This was an increase of $645 billion from the previos quarter. It means that in the first quarter, it “cost” $10 in new debt to generate just $1 in new economic growth!

 

And here are the two other key charts: the first, showing total credit (debt and loans) vs GDP growth since 1950. The trend is hardly anyone’s friend, except for those who create the debt out of thin air to pocket the ever lower cash flows associated with it (and await the next inevitable bailout):

 

More importantly, on a leverage ratio basis, the US economy is now at a level of 352% total credit/GDP, the highest since Q1 2013, and a level which has been relatively flat since it peaked at 380% just before the crash. One way to read this chart perhaps is that the “carrying debt capacity” of the US economy is roughly 380% at which point something “unexpected” happens. At the current rate of surging credit relative to slowing GDP, the US economy should be there in the not too distant future.

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This supposes people merely switch their money somewhere else, but some may simply need it fr other purposes.

Global Investors Are Fleeing US Stocks at a Record Pace (BBG)

The most determined seller of U.S. stocks may not be in the U.S. at all. Investors outside the country dumped $128 billion in American shares over the past year, data from the U.S. Treasury International Capital System show. Despite the higher quality of companies in the U.S., long-term investors may be drawn to the faster pace of growth in other economies, said Stewart Warther, an equity strategist at BNP Paribas.

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There’s those nasty pesky withholding taxes again.

US Tax Receipts Signaling Recession? (Mish)

US federal personal tax receipts receipts are falling fast. So is the Evercore ISI State Tax Survey. The last two times the survey plunged this much, the US was already in recession. Is it different this time?

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Boy oh boy.

Ready, Set, Crash – Could New Zealand Be Next To Fall? (NZ Herland)

“We’ve almost got the perfect storm,” says veteran fund manager Brian Gaynor as he reels off the many reasons New Zealand house prices and debt levels are soaring to precipitous heights. There are many ingredients. But right now, New Zealand seems to have them all: not enough building, restrictions on development, surging migration, baby boomer savings, low interest rates and banks that are all too happy to lend for property investment. “When you get the perfect storm like we did in the 1980s with the sharemarket, you see things just go up and up. People start to believe they will never fall,” he says.

“People didn’t believe the sharemarket would fall in the 80s. I’d come in from a trip to Australia and the guy at customs wouldn’t let me in unless I gave him sharemarket tips. It was just euphoria. Everyone was talking about the sharemarket. Now everyone is talking about the property market.” New Zealand’s gross debt is a whopping half trillion dollars; housing now accounts for $218 billion of that. As of April that housing debt was growing at an annualised rate of 8.3% – and that rate is accelerating. The median price of an Auckland house has almost doubled since the bottom of the last cycle in 2009, in the depths of the global financial crisis. The boom has now spilt over into the regions, with places like Hamilton and Tauranga surging 26 and 23% respectively in the past 12 months.

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We should think about how scary this is.

Pity Poor China: There’s No Easy Fix to the S-Curve (CH Smith)

The fundamental context of China’s economy is that it has traced out an S-Curve – as did previous fast-developing nations such as Japan and South Korea. The S-Curve can be likened to a rocket’s trajectory: first, there’s an ignition phase, as the fuel of financialization, cheap labor and untapped productive capacity is ignited. The boost phase lasts as long as credit-fueled production and consumption expand rapidly. In the boost phase, investors and financial authorities can do no wrong. The high growth rate of credit and production overwhelms all other factors, as the virtuous cycle of expanding profits and production increases wages which then support further expansion of credit and consumption which then supports more production, and so on.

A vast tide of foreign investment fuels an equally vast expansion of fixed capital assets such as factories and new homes. But then the fuel of financialization is consumed, and the previously fast-growing economy slows to stall speed. Depending on how much leverage, corruption and wealth has piled up in the boost phase, this phase may last a few years. This is the top of the S-Curve. As the economy weakens, everything that worked in the boost phase no longer works: expanding credit no longer boosts growth, inflating yet another real estate bubble no longer generates a widespread wealth effect, and every effort to shift from being an export-dependent economy to a self-supporting consumer economy fails to achieve liftoff.

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Study western media to see how it’s done?!

China’s Propaganda Department Not Good Enough At Propaganda (AFP)

hina’s propaganda department, tasked with controlling the media and arts, has been given a slap on the wrist for not being good enough at shaping public opinion, according to a report on a government website. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) posted an article on its website Wednesday that described findings from its two-month-long probe of the ruling Communist party’s propaganda department, which began in February. Leaders in the department did not feel a sufficient sense of responsibility for undertaking ideological work, the piece cited CCDI member and investigation spokesman Wang Huaichen as saying. Art was not directed clearly enough towards socialist aims and political thought not emphasised enough in universities, he was quoted as saying.

News propaganda was not targeted or effective enough, especially in the field of new media, where the department had failed to fully implement the principle of “the party controlling the media”, the post cited him as saying. Wang called upon the department to make propaganda appear more valid by enhancing its attractiveness and appeal, it said. The Communist party tolerates no opposition to its rule and newspapers, websites, and broadcast media are strictly controlled. An army of censors patrols social media and many Western news websites are blocked. President Xi Jinping reminded top state media outlets to “strictly adhere to the orders of the Chinese Communist Party” during a series of high-profile visits to their headquarters in February.

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How Hillary stands out against the US Marine Corps. Click the link to read a young man’s sense of duty and honor. Perhaps a bit overcharged, but what Clinton tries to get away with drags down the entire nation. She’s not the only one to flaunt the rules, but if the commander-in-chief -supposing she’s elected- does this, what does that tell everyone else? I can’t see the military and the FBI accepting it. Maybe the higher-ups would, but you don’t want widespread unrest in the ranks.

How Mishandling Classified Info Affects People Not Named Clinton (USA T.)

Clinton is the antithesis of that young captain, someone with no honor, little courage and commitment only to her endless ambition. This has nothing to do with gender, party affiliation, ideology or policy. It is a question of character — not just hers, but ours. Electing Clinton would mean abandoning holding people accountable for grievous errors of integrity and responsibility. What we already know about her security infractions should disqualify her for any government position that deals in information critical to mission success, domestic or foreign. But beyond that, her responses to being found out — dismissing its importance, claiming ignorance, blaming others — indict her beyond anything the investigation can reveal. Those elements reveal her character. And the saddest thing is that so many in America seem not to care.

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The downfall of the tech religion?!

They Died of Progress (Greer)

[..] the unspeakable has become the inescapable in today’s world. It’s become a running joke on the internet that the word “upgrade” inevitably means poorer service, fewer benefits, and more annoyances for those who have to deal with the new and allegedly improved product. The same logic can be applied equally well across the entire landscape of modern technology.  What’s new, innovative, revolutionary, game-changing, and so on through the usual litany of overheated adjectives, isn’t necessarily an improvement. It can be, and very often is, a disaster. Examples could be drawn from an astonishingly broad range of contemporary sources, but I have a particular set of examples in mind. 

To make sense of those examples, it’s going to be necessary to talk about military affairs. As with most things in today’s America, the collective conversation of our time provides two and only two acceptable ways to discuss those, and neither of them have anything actually useful to say. The first of them, common among the current crop of American pseudoconservatives, consists of mindless cheerleading; the second, common among the current crop of pseudoliberals all over the industrial world, consists of moralizing platitudes. I don’t particularly want to address the moralizing platitudes just now, other than to say that yes, war is ghastly; no, it’s not going away; and it’s not particularly edifying to watch members of the privileged classes in the countries currently on top of the international order insist piously that war ought to be abandoned forever, just in time to keep their own nations from being displaced from positions they won and kept at gunpoint not that many decades ago. 

The cheerleading is another matter, and requires a more detailed analysis. It’s common among the pseudoconservative right these days to insist that the United States is by definition the world’s most powerful nation, with so overwhelming a preponderance of military might that every other nation will inevitably have to bow to our will or get steamrollered. That sort of thinking backstops the mania for foreign intervention that guides neoconservatives such as Hillary Clinton on their merry way, overthrowing governments and destabilizing nations under the fond delusion that the blowback from these little adventures can never actually touch the United States. 

In America these days, a great deal of this sort of cheerleading focuses on high-tech weapons systems—inevitably, since so much of contemporary American pop culture has become gizmocentric to the point of self-parody. Visit a website that deals with public affairs from a right-of-center viewpoint, and odds are you’ll find a flurry of articles praising the glories of this or that military technology with the sort of moist-palmed rapture that teenage boys used to direct to girlie-mag centerfolds. The identical attitude can be found in a dizzying array of venues these days, very much including Pentagon press releases and the bombastic speeches of politicians who are safely insulated from the realities of war. There’s only one small difficulty here, which is that much of the hardware in question doesn’t work. 

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Lovely from Dmitry.

The Money Cult (Dmitry Orlov)

are there any unintended consequences of negative interest rates? Unintended consequences are hard to think about, and most people get a headache even trying. How can it be that clean, plentiful nuclear energy will eventually pollute the whole planet with long-lived radionuclides, resulting sky-high cancer rates? How can it be that wonderful genetically modified seeds will render us sickly and infertile in just a few generations? And how can it be that ingenious mobile computing technology has turned our children into zombies who are constantly twiddling their smartphones as they sleepwalk through life? It s hard to think about any of this without taking some happy pills; and how can it be that taking those happy pills has… you get the idea.

The unintended consequence of negative interest rates is that they destroy money. This is true in an entirely trivial sense: if you deposit x dollars at -p% annual, then a year later you will only have x(1-p) dollars because xp dollars has been destroyed. (In case you prefer to count on your fingers and toes, if you deposit $10 at -10% annual, then a year later you will only have $9 because $1 has been destroyed.) But what I mean is something slightly more profound: negative interest rates erode the very concept of money. To get at the reason for this, we have to ask a slightly more profound question: What is money? I think that money is the cult of the god Mammon.

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“Despite its intention to process all cases, Greece lacks the manpower to deal with the volume of applications. It says it needs more help from EU institutions. As many as 6,656 people applied for asylum in March and April this year, up from 1,899 in those months last year. Even if it could hire more people, they would need to be highly qualified legal experts, government officials say.”

In Greek Refugee Camps, Wait For Asylum Fuels Unrest (R.)

Tents were set on fire, punches were thrown, children cried through the night and families were forced to flee the burning detention camp and sleep in open fields. The tension is palpable on Greece’s islands, where about 8,000 asylum seekers feel stranded by a European Union deal with Turkey to stem the arrival of refugees and other migrants on European shores from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. The deal, hailed a success by its European architects, prevents migrants from going beyond Greece – or even its islands – in their search for a new home in Europe, until their asylum claims are processed and those rejected are sent back to Turkey, from where they arrived. But some European officials say the assessment has been slow, and the wait long for those confined to often overcrowded camps.

In June, the most violent month yet, dozens were injured in clashes on three islands, police said. Videos in Greek media showed clouds of smoke rising over the centers on three occasions. In clashes on Lesvos the night of June 1-2, families with young children had to flee and spend the night in nearby fields or Mytilene town, several kilometers away, Amnesty International said. Many returned to burned down tents and destroyed belongings. Women told Amnesty they “live in constant fear” in camps where fights break out in food queues. Journalists are barred from entering the camps on the islands. But humanitarian organizations and police officials on the ground speak of people on edge. “They’re reacting. They want to leave the islands,” said a police official for the northern Aegean region which includes the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios where rival migrant groups brawled. “We’re bracing for all eventualities.”

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We will never know how many people drown unnoticed. If a tree falls in a forest…

3,000 Migrants Rescued Off Italian Coast; Two Bodies Found (R.)

More than 3,000 boat migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean over the past two days and two bodies have been recovered, Italy’s coastguard said on Thursday. The coastguard coordinated rescues of migrants from 15 different boats on Thursday, bringing 1,950 people to safety. Two bodies were recovered from a rubber boat. Some 1,100 migrants were rescued at sea on Wednesday. The coastguard had no details about the nationalities of the migrants, nor about the two deaths.

All the rescues took place between Italy and Libya, where people-smugglers operate with impunity amid the chaos of civil war. Britain’s HMS Enterprise and Germany’s FGS Frankfurt, patrolling the area as part of the European Union’s anti-people-smuggling operation, together rescued migrants from seven boats, a coastguard spokesman said. A Doctors without Borders vessel, the Dignity 1, rescued almost 500 from four boats, while the Phoenix, run by humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station, took 243 people from two boats.

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May 012016
 
 May 1, 2016  Posted by at 9:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


George N. Barnard Nashville, Tennessee. Rail yard and depot 1864

This is The Biggest Fraud In The History Of The World (SHTF)
China’s Debt Reckoning Cannot Be Deferred Indefinitely (Magnus)
The Cult Of Central Banking Is Dead In The Water (Stockman)
The Real Story Behind The US New Home Sales Collapse (Adler)
Recent Rise In Yen ‘Extremely Worrying’: Japan Finance Minister (AFP)
UK ‘Is In The Throes Of A Housing Crisis’ (G.)
No, Russia Is Not In Decline – At Least Not Any More And Not Yet (FT)
Germany Should Stop Whining About Negative Rates (Economist)
Could Italy Be The Unlikely Saviour Of Project Europe? (PS)
Future Of Scandal-Hit Mitsubishi Motors In Doubt – Again (AFP)
Trump Saves American TV (Brown)
Greece Concludes Agreement With Creditors On Sale Of NPLs (Kath.)
EU Has Made A Mess Of Refugee Reception System In Greece: Oxfam (Kath.)
84 Migrants Missing After Boat Sinks Off Libya’s Coast (AFP)

“..We now exist in an environment where the financial system as a whole has been flipped upside down just to make it function…”

This is The Biggest Fraud In The History Of The World (SHTF)

The stock market may be hovering near all-time highs, but according to Greg Mannarino of Traders Choice that doesn’t mean the valuations are actually real: We exist, beyond any shadow of any doubt, in an environment of absolute fakery where nothing is real… from the prices of assets to what’s occurring here with regard to the big Wall Street banks, the Federal Reserve, interest rates and everything in between. …All of this is being played in a way to keep people believing, once again, that the system is working and will continue to work:

President Obama has suggested that people like Greg Mannarino who are exposing the fraud for what it is are just peddling fiction. And just this week the President argued that he saved the world from a great depression and that the closing credits of the 2008 crash movie “The Big Short” were inaccurate when they claimed that nothing has been done to fundamentally curb the fraud and fix the system under his administration. But as Mannarino notes, the President and his central bank cohorts are making these statements because the system is so fragile that if the public senses even the smallest problem it could derail the entire thing:

“Let’s just look at the stock market… there’s no possible way at this time that these multiples can be justified with regard to what’s occurring here with the price action of the overall market… meanwhile, the market continues to rise. … Nothing is real. I can’t stress this enough… and we’re going to continue to see more fakery… and manipulation and twisting of this entire system… We now exist in an environment where the financial system as a whole has been flipped upside down just to make it function… and that’s very scary. … We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of the world… The Federal Reserve has never been in a situation like this… we are completely in uncharted territory where the world’s central banks have gone negative interest rates… it’s all an illusion to keep the stock market booming.

… Every single asset now… I don’t care what asset… you want to look at currency, debt, housing, metals, the stock market… pick an asset… there’s no price discovery mechanism behind it whatsoever… it’s all fake… it’s all being distorted. … The system is built upon on one premise and that is confidence that it will work… if that confidence is rattled the whole thing will implode… our policy makers are well aware of this… there is collusion between central banks and their respective governments… and it will not stop until it implodes… and what I mean by implode is, correct to fair value.”

And when that confidence is finally lost and the fraud exposed – and it will be as has always been the case throughout history – the destruction to follow will be one for the history books. In a previous interview Mannarino warned that things could get so serious after the bursting of such a massive bubble that millions of people will die on a world-wide scale:

“It’s created a population boom… a population boom has risen in tandem with the debt. It’s incredible. So, when the debt bubble bursts we’re going to get a correction in population. It’s a mathematical certainty. Millions upon millions of people are going to die on a world-wide scale when the debt bubble bursts. And I’m saying when not if… … When resources become more and more scarce we’re going to see countries at war with each other. People will be scrambling… in a worst case scenario… doing everything that they can to survive… to provide for their family and for themselves. There’s no way out of it.”

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“..credit growth is probably running at about 25-30%, or about twice as fast as official data suggest, and roughly four times the growth in money GDP..”

China’s Debt Reckoning Cannot Be Deferred Indefinitely (Magnus)

[..] there is a bit of folklore about the topping out of skyscrapers: the builders’ ceremonial placing of the final beam often heralds the onset of grim economic news, coinciding with the end of a credit cycle that has funded a frenzy of lending for ever-bigger projects. And indeed, as the economy slows markedly, China is increasingly dependent on credit creation. The share of total credit in the economy is approaching 260% and, on current trends, could surpass 300% by 2020 – exceptional for a middle-income country with China’s income per head. The debt build-up must sooner or later end — and when it does it will have a significant impact on the global economy.

Back in 2008, as the western financial crisis spread, China tried to insulate itself with a big credit stimulus programme to counter factory closures and an accompanying return of millions of migrants to the countryside. By 2011 the growth rate had peaked. Its decline was led by a fall in investment in property, then manufacturing. Subsequent stimulus measures have not altered the trend for long but one constant is a relentless build-up in the indebtedness of property companies, state enterprises and local governments. Conventional measures of credit, however, do not fully reflect the growth of total banking assets. Local and provincial governments have been allowed to issue new bonds on yields a bit below bank loans, bought by banks — but they have not paid down more expensive earlier debts to banks as planned.

Banks, moreover, have also increased their lending, often through instruments such as securitised loans, to non-banking financial intermediaries, such as insurance companies, asset managers and security trading firms. When this is taken into account, credit growth is probably running at about 25-30%, or about twice as fast as official data suggest, and roughly four times the growth in money GDP, the cash value of national output. For now, China’s credit surge seems to have stabilised the economy after a sharp slowdown around the turn of the year. The property market has picked up, attracting funds from a stock market that has fallen out of favour with investors after pronounced instability in the middle of last year and early in 2016. The volume of property transactions has risen and prices have rebounded, especially in the biggest cities.

Timing the end of a credit boom is more luck than judgment. There is no question that lenders own bad loans, reckoned unofficially by some banks and credit rating agencies to amount to about 20% of total assets, the equivalent of around 60% of GDP. These will have to be written off or restructured, and the costs allocated to the state, banks, companies or households. Yet in a state-run banking system, where loans can be extended and there are institutional obstacles to realising bad debts, the day of reckoning can be postponed for some time. More likely, the other side of the lenders’ balance sheets, or their liabilities, is where the limits to the credit cycle will appear sooner.

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“..Uncle Sam has gotten $4 trillion of “something for nothing” during the last 16 years, while the Washington politicians and policy apparatchiks were happy to pretend that the “independent” Fed was doing god’s work..”

The Cult Of Central Banking Is Dead In The Water (Stockman)

The Fed has been sitting on the funds rate like some monetary mother hen since December 2008. Once it punts again at the June meeting owing to Brexit worries it will have effectively pegged money market rates at the zero bound for 90 straight months. There has never been a time in financial history when anything close to this happened, including the 1930s. Nor was interest-free money for eight years running ever even imagined in the entire history of monetary thought. So where’s the fire? What monumental emergency justifies this resort to radical monetary intrusion and repression? Alas, there is none. And that’s as in nichts, nada, nope, nothing! There is a structural growth problem, of course. But it has absolutely nothing to do with monetary policy; and it can’t be fixed with cheap money and more debt, anyway.

By contrast, there is no inflation deficiency – even by the Fed’s preferred measure. Indeed, the very idea of a central bank pumping furiously to generate more inflation comes straight from the archives of crank economics. The following two graphs dramatize the cargo cult essence of today’s Keynesian central banking regime. Since the year 2000 when monetary repression began in earnest, the balance sheet of the Fed has risen by 800%, while the amount of labor hours used in the US economy has increased by 2%. At a ratio of 400:1 you can’t even try to argue the counterfactual. That is, there is no amount of money printing that could have ameliorated the “no growth” economy symbolized by flat-lining labor hours.

 

Owing to the recency bias that dominates mainstream news and commentary, the massive expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet depicted above goes unnoted and unremarked, as if it were always part of the financial landscape. In fact, however, it is something radically new under the sun; it’s the footprint of a monetary fraud breathtaking in its magnitude. In essence, during the last 15 years the Fed has gifted the US economy with a $4 trillion free lunch. Uncle Sam bought $4 trillion worth of weapons, highways, government salaries and contractual services but did not pay for them by extracting an equal amount of financing from taxes or tapping the private savings pool, and thereby “crowding out” other investments.

Instead, Uncle Sam “bridge financed” these expenditures on real goods and services by issuing US treasury bonds on a interim basis to clear his checking account. But these expenses were then permanently funded by fiat credits conjured from thin air by the Fed when it did the “takeout” financing. Central bank purchase of government bonds in this manner is otherwise and cosmetically known as “quantitative easing” (QE), but it’s fraud all the same. In essence, Uncle Sam has gotten $4 trillion of “something for nothing” during the last 16 years, while the Washington politicians and policy apparatchiks were happy to pretend that the “independent” Fed was doing god’s work of catalyzing, coaxing and stimulating more jobs and growth out of the US economy. No it wasn’t! What it was actually doing was not stimulating the main street economy, but falsifying and inflating the price of financial assets.

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“ZIRP has enabled corporate CEOs to game the stock market to massively increase their own pay while encouraging them to cut worker salaries and shift higher paying jobs overseas.”

The Real Story Behind US New Home Sales Collapse (Adler)

Comparing the growth in the number of full time jobs versus the growth in new home sales starkly illustrates both the horrible quality of the new jobs, and how badly ZIRP has served the US economy. Growth in new home sales has always been dependent on growth in full time jobs. For 38 years until the housing bubble peaked in 2006, home sales and full time jobs always trended together, subject to normal cyclical swings. With the exception of 1981-83 when Paul Volcker pushed rates into the stratosphere, new home sales always fluctuated between 550 and 1,100 sales per million full time workers in the month of March. But in the housing crash in 2007-09 sales fell to a low of 276 per million full time workers. Since then the number of full time jobs has recovered to greater than the peak reached in 2007. In spite of that, new home sales per million workers remain at depression levels.

With 30 year mortgage rates now at 3.6% sales are lower today than they were when mortgage rates were above 17% in 1982. Sales have never reached 400 sales per million workers in spite of the recovery in the number of jobs, in spite of ZIRP, in spite of mortgage rates often under 4%. ZIRP has actually made the problem worse. It has caused raging housing inflation which has caused median monthly mortgage payments for new homes to rise by 20% since 2009. ZIRP has enabled corporate CEOs to game the stock market to massively increase their own pay while encouraging them to cut worker salaries and shift higher paying jobs overseas. That leaves the US economy to create only low skill, low pay jobs that do not pay enough for workers to be able to purchase new homes. The perverse incentives of ZIRP are why the housing industry languishes at depression levels.

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At WHAT point does WHO become a currency manipulator? The US issued a warning, also to Japan, this week. But Tokyo is being taken to task by the markets. The question becomes: what will seal the fate of Abenomics? A high yen or a low one?

Recent Rise In Yen ‘Extremely Worrying’: Japan Finance Minister (AFP)

Japan’s finance minister said late Saturday the recent sharp rise in the yen is “extremely worrying”, adding Tokyo will take action when necessary. The remarks, which suggest Tokyo’s possible market intervention, came after the Japanese unit surged to an 18-month high against the dollar in New York Friday. It extended the previous day’s rally, which was boosted by a surprising monetary decision made by the BoJ. On Thursday, the central bank shocked markets by failing to provide more stimulus, confounding expectations it would act after a double earthquake and a string of weak readings on the world’s number three economy. The dollar tumbled to 106.31 yen in New York Friday, its lowest level since October 2014, from 108.11 yen. The greenback had bought 111.78 yen in Tokyo before the BoJ announcement on Thursday.

“The yen strengthened by five yen in two days. Obviously one-sided and biased, so-called speculative moves are seen behind it,” Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters. “It is extremely worrying,” he said. The finance minister left on a trip, which will also take him to an annual Asian Development Bank meeting in Germany. “Tokyo will continue watching the market trends carefully and take actions when necessary,” he added. A strong currency is damaging for Japan’s exporting giants, such as Toyota and Sony, as it makes their goods more expensive overseas and shrinks the value of repatriated profits. Aso has reiterated that Japan could intervene in forex markets to stem the unit’s steep rise, saying moves to halt the currency’s “one-sided, speculative” rally would not breach a G20 agreement to avoid competitive currency devaluations.

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You don’t say… Who figured that out?

UK ‘Is In The Throes Of A Housing Crisis’ (G.)

David Cameron’s pledge to build a property-owning democracy is called into serious question by a landmark survey revealing that almost four in 10 of those who do not own a home believe they will never be able to do so. According to an exclusive poll for the Observer on attitudes to British housing, 69% of people think the country is “in the throes of a housing crisis”. A staggering 71% of aspiring property owners doubt their ability to buy a home without financial help from family members. More than two-thirds (67%) would like to buy their own home “one day”, while 37% believe buying will remain out of their reach for good. A further 26% think it will take them up to five years. With affordable homes in short supply and demand for social housing rising, more than half of Britons cite immigration and a glut of foreign investment in UK property as factors driving prices beyond reach.

The findings cast doubt on the prime minister’s claim before last year’s general election that Tory housing policies would transform “generation rent” into “generation buy”. In April last year, as he launched plans to force local authorities to sell valuable properties to fund new “affordable homes”, Cameron said: “The dream of a property-owning democracy is alive and well and we will help you fulfil it.” The poll – which found that 58% of people want more, not less, social housing as a way to ease the crisis – comes as the government’s highly controversial housing and planning bill returns to the Commons on Tuesday. The bill will force councils to sell much of their social housing and curb lifelong council tenancies, introducing “pay to stay” rules that will force better-off council tenants to pay rents closer to market levels.

Described by housing experts as the beginning of the end of social housing, the bill has been savaged by cross-party groups in the Lords. They have inflicted a string of defeats on ministers and forced numerous concessions. The government’s flagship plan for “starter homes” has also been widely attacked on the grounds that the properties – which in London will cost up to £450,000 – will not be affordable. With local elections and the London mayoral election on Thursday, ministers now face the dilemma of whether to back down and accept many of the Lords’ amendments to the bill or face legislative deadlock.

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There is no credible news about Russia left in the west.

No, Russia Is Not In Decline – At Least Not Any More And Not Yet (FT)

A survey of recent writings on Russia by western scholars reveals a widely-held view that the largest of the 15 post-Soviet republics has continued to decline in the 21st century. Yet an examination of the data suggests that Russia has actually risen in comparison with some of its western competitors. Neil Ferguson, the British, Harvard-based historian, wrote in 2011 that Vladimir Putin’s Russia was in decline and “on its way to global irrelevance.” His Harvard colleagues Joseph Nye and Stephen Walt hold similar views. “Russia is in long-term decline,” Nye wrote in April 2015; also last year, Walt wrote of Russia’s decline at least twice. Other western thinkers who have pronounced Russia’s decline in the 21st century include John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, Ian Bremmer of Eurasia Group, Nicholas Burns of Harvard University and Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council.

Others go further. Alexander Motyl of Rutgers University recently wrote of a “coming Russian collapse”. Lilia Shevtsova, a Russian scholar affiliated with the Brookings Institution, believes the collapse has already begun. But is Russia really in decline, as western scholars claim? A comparison of its performance with the world as a whole or with the west’s leading economies suggests that the claim that post-Communist Russia has continued its decline into the 21st century is highly contestable at the very least. I have compared Russia with the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy – the west’s biggest economy, western Europe’s four biggest and all of the west’s nuclear powers – in the period 1999 to 2015 (with some exceptions when data is not available). I relied on data supplied by the World Bank, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the World Steel Association, turning to data from national governments only in the absence of data from the three organisations.

One traditional way of measuring nations’ power relative to each other is to compare their GDP. By this measure, Russia gained economically on all of its competitors as well as on the world as a whole in 1999-2015. Russian GDP was equal to less than 5% of US GDP in 1999. That share grew to 6% in 2015, a 36% increase. Over the same period, Russia’s share of global GDP increased by 23%, from 1.32% in 1999 to 1.6% in 2015. Meanwhile, the US, UK, French, German and Italian shares in global GDP declined by 10%, 11%, 19%, 20% and 32%, respectively. It is well known that the Russian economy has been declining since 2014. According to the World Bank, it is poised to contract by 1% yet again in 2016 before it resumes growth. However, this projected decline will not erase the cumulative gains that the Russian economy has made since 1999 against those of the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy and against the world as a whole.

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Germany doesn’t want a union, it wants a sales market.

Germany Should Stop Whining About Negative Rates (Economist)

Germany and the Netherlands are usually great supporters of central-bank independence. In the 1990s Germany blocked France’s push for a political say over monetary policy in the new ECB. The Dutchman who first headed that bank, Wim Duisenberg, said that it might be normal for politicians to express views on monetary policy, but it would be abnormal for central bankers to listen to them. That was then. Now German and Dutch politicians are trying to browbeat Mario Draghi, the ECB’s current president, into ending the bank’s policy of negative interest rates. The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, accused Mr Draghi of causing “extraordinary problems” for his country’s financial sector; wilder yet, he also pinned on the ECB half of the blame for the rise of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Both countries’ politicians attack low rates as a conspiracy to punish northern European savers and let southern European borrowers off the hook. ECB autonomy was sacred when rates suited Germany; now that rates do not fit the bill, and are imposed by an Italian to boot, it is another matter. The critics are not just hypocritical. They are partly responsible—let’s say 50% to blame—for the mess. As Mr Draghi has pointed out, his mandate is to raise the euro zone’s inflation rate back towards 2%. It is currently at zero, and periodically dips into negative territory. There is a legitimate debate to be had about how far a negative-interest-rate policy can go. The banks are unwilling to pass on negative rates to depositors, which means their own earnings are dented. And yes, savers are undoubtedly suffering at the moment. But raising rates would squash the recovery, and with it any chance of a normalisation of monetary policy.

The ECB’s policies of ultra-low rates and quantitative easing (printing money to buy bonds) are the same as those used by other central banks in the rich world since the onset of the financial crisis. Even the Bundesbank, whose allergy to inflation largely explains why the ECB was slower to embrace unconventional monetary policy than its peers, has felt compelled to defend Mr Draghi from attacks in Germany. The fundamental reason for Europe’s low interest rates and bond yields is the fragility of its economy. Its unemployment rate is stuck at 10%. While the ECB has been doing what it can to press down the accelerator, however, the austerity preached by the likes of the German and Dutch governments has slammed on the brakes. For years, Mr Draghi has been saying that monetary policy alone cannot speed up the economy, and that creditworthy governments must use fiscal policy as well, ideally by raising public investment.

If Mr Schäuble wants higher yields for German savers, he should be spending more money. Instead, his government is running a budget surplus. A hesitation to spend might be understandable if it were difficult for the German government to find good investment opportunities. But Germany has suffered from low infrastructure spending for decades. Investment by municipalities has fallen by about half since 1991, according to a 2015 report by the German Institute for Economic Research; since 2003 it has failed even to keep pace with the deterioration of infrastructure.

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Kaletsky’s dreaming in technicolor: “..The enormous programme of quantitative easing that Draghi pushed through, against German opposition, has saved the euro…”

Could Italy Be The Unlikely Saviour Of Project Europe? (PS)

As the EU begins to disintegrate, who can provide the leadership to save it? German chancellor Angela Merkel is widely credited with finally answering Henry Kissinger’s famous question about the Western alliance: “What is the phone number for Europe?” But if Europe’s phone number has a German dialling code, it goes through to an automated answer: “Nein zu Allem.” This phrase –“No to everything” –is how Mario Draghi, the ECB president, recently described the standard German response to all economic initiatives aimed at strengthening Europe. A classic case was Merkel’s veto of a proposal by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi to fund refugee programmes in Europe, North Africa, and Turkey through an issue of EU bonds, an efficient and low-cost idea also advanced by leading financiers such as George Soros.

Merkel’s high-handed refusal even to consider broader European interests if these threaten her domestic popularity has become a recurring nightmare for other EU leaders. This refusal underpins not only her economic and immigration policies, but also her bullying of Greece, her support for coal subsidies, her backing of German carmakers over diesel emissions, her kowtowing to Turkey on press freedom, and her mismanagement of the Minsk agreement in Ukraine. In short, Merkel has done more to damage the EU than any living politician, while constantly proclaiming her passion for “the European project”. But where can a Europe disillusioned with German leadership now turn? The obvious candidates will not or cannot take on the role: Britain has excluded itself; France is paralysed until next year’s presidential election and possibly beyond; and Spain cannot even form a government.

That leaves Italy, a country that, having dominated Europe’s politics and culture for most of its history, is now treated as “peripheral”. But Italy is resuming its historic role as a source of Europe’s best ideas and leadership in politics, and also, most surprisingly, in economics. Draghi’s transformation of the ECB into the world’s most creative and proactive central bank is the clearest example of this. The enormous programme of quantitative easing that Draghi pushed through, against German opposition, has saved the euro by circumventing the Maastricht Treaty’s rules against monetising or mutualising government debts. Last month, Draghi became the first central banker to take seriously the idea of helicopter money – the direct distribution of newly created money from the central bank to eurozone residents.

Germany’s leaders have reacted furiously and are now subjecting Draghi to nationalistic personal attacks. Less visibly, Italy has also led a quiet rebellion against the pre-Keynesian economics of the German government and the European commission. In EU councils and again at this month’s IMF meeting in Washington, DC, Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s finance minister, presented the case for fiscal stimulus more strongly and coherently than any other EU leader. More important, Padoan has started to implement fiscal stimulus by cutting taxes and maintaining public spending plans, in defiance of German and EU commission demands to tighten his budget. As a result, consumer and business confidence in Italy have rebounded to the highest level in 15 years, credit conditions have improved, and Italy is the only G7 country expected by the IMF to grow faster in 2016 than 2015 (albeit still at an inadequate 1% rate).

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“It would be silly to buy a Mitsubishi car after this..”

Future Of Scandal-Hit Mitsubishi Motors In Doubt – Again (AFP)

Sales are falling off a cliff. Its reputation is in tatters. And even its top executive is talking about whether the automaker will survive. Mitsubishi Motors’ future is hanging in the balance for the second time in a decade after a bombshell admission that it has been cheating on fuel-economy tests for years. The crisis is threatening to put the company into the ditch permanently, but some analysts think the vast web of shareholdings among Japanese firms may just save it from the scrap yard. “I really think the future of Mitsubishi Motors is grim,” said Hideyuki Kobayashi, a business professor at Hitotsubashi University, who authored a book about the company’s struggles with an earlier cover-up. “It would be silly to buy a Mitsubishi car after this (scandal). This isn’t the first time this has happened.”

In 2005, the maker of the Outlander SUV and Lancer cars was pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy after it was discovered that it covered up vehicle defects that caused fatal accidents. The vast Mitsubishi group of companies stepped in with a series of bailouts, saving the embattled firm. But it is not clear if they would be so willing to help this time around as the automaker faces possibly huge fines, lawsuits and customer compensation costs. The scandal has shone a light on the cozy relationships between Japanese firms – including the big equity stakes they hold in each other – which have come under renewed scrutiny in recent years.

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Lowest common denominator.

Trump Saves American TV (Brown)

My friends in the TV news business are in a state of despair about Donald Trump, even as their bosses in the boardroom are giddy over what he’s doing for their once sagging ratings. “It feels like it’s over,” one old friend from my television days told me recently. Any hope of practicing real journalism on TV is really, finally finished. “Look, we’ve always done a lot of stupid shit to get ratings. But now it’s like we’ve just given up and literally handed over control hoping he’ll save us. It’s pathetic, and I feel like hell.” Said another friend covering the presidential campaign for cable news, “I am swilling antidepressants trying to figure out what to do with my life when this is over.” I’ve been there, and I sure am sympathetic.

When I left cable news in 2010 after 14 years as a correspondent and anchor for NBC News and CNN, this kind of ratings pressure was a big reason why (and I don’t take for granted that I had the luxury of being able to walk away). I was not so interested in night-after-night coverage of Michael Jackson’s death or Britney Spears’ latest breakdown—topics that were “breaking news” at the time. And yes, as my friend reminded me, we did “stupid shit” to get the numbers up when it came to political coverage then, too. (Anyone remember the correspondent’s hologram that appeared on set during CNN’s 2008 election coverage?) But it was nothing like what we’re seeing today. I really would like to blame Trump. But everything he is doing is with TV news’ full acquiescence. Trump doesn’t force the networks to show his rallies live rather than do real reporting.

Nor does he force anyone to accept his phone calls rather than demand that he do a face-to-face interview that would be a greater risk for him. TV news has largely given Trump editorial control. It is driven by a hunger for ratings—and the people who run the networks and the news channels are only too happy to make that Faustian bargain. Which is why you’ll see endless variations of this banner, one I saw all three cable networks put up in a single day: “Breaking news: Trump speaks for first time since Wisconsin loss.” In all these scenes, the TV reporter just stands there, off camera, essentially useless. The order doesn’t need to be stated. It’s understood in the newsroom: Air the Trump rallies live and uninterrupted. He may say something crazy; he often does, and it’s always great television.

This must be such a relief for the TV executives managing a business in decline, suffering from a thousand cuts from social media and other new platforms. Trump arrived on the scene as a kind of manna from hell. I admit I have been surprised by the public candor about this bounty. A “beaming” Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, told New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg, “These numbers are crazy—crazy.” But if their bosses are frank about the great ratings, some of my friends left at the cable networks are in various degrees of denial. “Give me a break,” one told me. “You can’t put this on us. Reality has changed because of technology. Look at the White House. They’re basically running their own news organization. They bypass us every day. We’re just trying to keep up.” And then there’s this attempt to put the best face on things, which is the most universal comment I hear: “At least this shows how much we still matter.”

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Anything the EU agrees to can be seen as inconsequential.

Greece Concludes Agreement With Creditors On Sale Of NPLs (Kath.)

An agreement between Greece and its lenders will lead to the vast majority of non-performing loans (NPLs) linked to primary residences with a taxable value under 140,000 euros being protected from sale until 2018, Economy Ministry sources have said. The government said on Saturday that the framework for the sale to distressed debt fund of overdue bank loans had been agreed, a necessary condition for the current bailout review to be concluded. According to the Economy Ministry, income criteria will not apply to the primary residence-backed NPLs that will be excluded from sale.

When coupled with the 140,000-euro “objective value” ceiling, this means that 94% of mortgages linked to main homes will be exempt from sale, the government says. The ministry added that the homeowners whose loans will be sold by banks will not experience any major change. The organizations that buy the loans will be required to use debt collection agencies that are registered in Greece and which have been licensed by the Bank of Greece.

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And on purpose too.

EU Has Made A Mess Of Refugee Reception System In Greece: Oxfam (Kath.)

The EU is failing to deliver a fair and safe system for receiving people in Greece, according to charity group Oxfam. The Greek government’s limited capacity and the pressure to meet the terms of the EU-Turkey agreement has led to refugees and migrants being kept in poor conditions, stressed the humanitarian organization in a statement on Friday. “Europe has created this mess and it needs to fix it in a way that respects people’s rights and dignity,” said Giovanni Riccardi Candiani, Oxfam’s representative in Greece. “The EU says it champions the rights of asylum-seekers beyond its borders but these rights are not being respected within EU countries.” Oxfam highlighted problems at the hotspots on Lesvos, where there have been riots in the past few days.

“Moria center is now very overcrowded, holding more than 3,000 people. Non-Syrians are unable to access asylum processes and about 80 unaccompanied children are among those being held,” said the humanitarian organization. “Nearby Kara Tepe camp, which has freedom of movement and provides care for vulnerable people such as unaccompanied children, pregnant women and the elderly, is almost full, leaving people in need of special care and support stranded at Moria center,” added Oxfam. The organization said it is working at six sites across Greece: Kara Tepe on Lesbos island, and in Katsika, Doliana, Filipiada, Tsepelovo and Konista camps in North-West Greece. Oxfam suspended its presence at Moria after the EU-Turkey deal was agreed and the site was converted into a closed facility.

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Europe’s shame continues.

84 Migrants Missing After Boat Sinks Off Libya’s Coast (AFP)

84 migrants are still missing after an inflatable craft sank off the coast of Libya, according to survivors cited by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Saturday. Twenty-six people were rescued from the boat which sank on Friday and were questioned overnight. “According to testimonies gathered by IOM in Lampedusa 84 people went missing,” IOM spokesperson in Italy Flavio Di Giacomo wrote on his Twitter feed. Di Giacomo told AFP that the survivors indicated 110 people, all from assorted west African states, had embarked in Libya. In an email, he added that the vessel “was in a very bad state, was taking on water and many people fell into the water and drowned”.

“Ten fell very rapidly and several others just minutes later.” Earlier Saturday, Italy’s coastguard said an Italian cargo ship had rescued 26 migrants from a flimsy boat sinking off the coast of Libya but voiced fears that tens more could be missing. The coastguard received a call from a satellite phone late Friday that helped locate the stricken inflatable and called on the merchant ship to make a detour to the area about four miles (seven kilometres) off the Libyan coast near Sabratha. Rough seas and waves topping two metres (seven feet) hampered attempts to find any other survivors.

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