Sep 082022
 


Joan Miró The farmer’s wife 1923

 

Western Elites’ “Sanctions Fever” Will See European People Freeze – Putin (ZH)
EU Gas Price Cap Plan Is ‘Foolish’ – Putin (RT)
Czech Republic Weighs In On Russian Gas Price Cap (RT)
NATO Will Pay A Price But We Must Stay The Course On Ukraine (Stoltenberg)
“Counter-Offensive” – You Keep Using That Word (Schryver)
Putin Comments On IAEA Report (RT)
Charles Gave: Europeans Are “Mad With Anger And it Will Worsen” (SN)
Truss Becoming PM Signals ‘Crisis Of Democracy’ In UK – Moscow (RT)
‘One Freak After Another’ – Ex-Russian President On UK Leaders (RT)
Can China Transition to a Consumption Economy? (Balding)
Why Disney Didn’t Buy Twitter (Vox)
Judge Orders Fauci, Others to Produce Records For Censorship Lawsuit (ET)
Former FBI Boss Warns Trump Search Warrant Might Be Tossed Out Entirely (JTN)
The US Army Special Operations Command Weaponizes Social Media (Helmer)
Silencing the Lambs — How Propaganda Works (John Pilger)
The Rise of the Key Opinion Leaders: End of Politics as we Know it? (Ugo Bardi)
Vaccines Are Taking An Average Of 5 Months To Kill People (Kirsch)

 

 

The European division of Russia’s oldest tour operator Intourist started offering winter tour packages to Russia for EU citizens. Package includes: unlimited hot showers, daily visits to Sandunovskaya Banya, and a heated room with electricity.

 

 

Permanent deindustrialization

She has to go

 

 

 

 

A metaphor for life itself.

 

 

 

 

“It will be no surprise when the market shares of European businesses, both in the continent and globally, will be taken by their American patrons.”

Western Elites’ “Sanctions Fever” Will See European People Freeze – Putin (ZH)

Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the ongoing “sanctions fever” in the West in a wide-ranging speech before the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, in the country’s far east, where as we described earlier the Chinese delegation was the largest in attendance. Top Chinese legislator Li Zhanshu was in attendance when the Russian leader stressed, “no matter how much someone would like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do this.” Instead, he said the blowback from EU and US-led sanctions and attempts at decoupling from Russian fossil fuels is wrecking lives in the West. “Now we are seeing how production and jobs in Europe are closing one after another,” Putin said, stressing that this is happening as “Western elites, who would not, or even cannot acknowledge objective facts.”

His theme, like in a number of prior major speeches, was Western elites’ inability to recognize the inevitable shift from a unipolar to multipolar world (literally the name for this year’s forum is “On the Path to a Multipolar World.”), or away from “the world order that benefits only them, forcing everyone to live under the rules, which they invented and which they regularly break and constantly change depending on the situation,” he said according to a state media translation. That they “would not, or even cannot acknowledge objective facts” about global changes reveals their “growing detachment” from the common people they claim to represent. And yet now, European populations could “freeze” while being denied crucial Russian energy by leaders who shortsightedly want to lash out in emotional response to the Ukraine invasion:

“The [coronavirus] epidemic has been replaced by other global challenges that threaten the entire world,” Putin told the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok. “I’m referring to the West’s sanctions fever,” he said, criticizing “blatant and aggressive” attempts to “subjugate” countries that have not imposed economic restrictions on Russia. He dismissed as “nonsense” the widespread allegations that Russia using gas as an energy weapon, saying it’s as simple as releasing the necessary parts for the safe and proper functioning of pipelines operated by Gazprom. “Give us turbines and we’ll turn on Nord Stream tomorrow, but they won’t give us anything,” Putin told the audience, further addressing the latest global headlines of an EU-mulled price cap on Russian oil and gas, calling the proposal “another stupidity.”

He suggested the dilemma remains simple: “There are contractual obligations and if there are any political decisions that contradict them, then we simply won’t fulfill them. We won’t supply anything at all if it contradicts our economic interests, in this case. We won’t supply gas, oil, coal or heating oil.” Part of the aforementioned objective facts Western leaders refuse to acknowledge is that nations importing Russian energy “are in no position to dictate their will.” Putin said he’s still “confident we haven’t lost anything and won’t lose anything [after invading Ukraine]. Our main gain is strengthening sovereignty.” s

Putin Ukraine grain

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A former communist country teaches former capitalist countries lessons on markets.

EU Gas Price Cap Plan Is ‘Foolish’ – Putin (RT)

The proposal by the EU to place a price cap on Russian natural gas imports is a foolish, non-market-oriented plan that has no future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. “Faced with what is happening now, EU politicians are thinking how to get away with it [paying market prices for gas], and to limit the price by administrative decisions. Another foolish notion, nonsense that will lead to further price increases in the global markets, including Europe,” Putin said during a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). According to the president, it is impossible to solve anything to do with the economy and world trade with administrative decisions, which “only lead to distortions and higher prices.”

Putin stressed that the situation in the gas market is the result of sanctions and other actions taken by Brussels, including the switch to spot-market trading, while Russia has always preferred long-term contracts for gas exports. “We have always insisted that prices be formed on the basis of long-term contracts and be tied to such a market category as the price of oil and petroleum products… The EU forced us to link to spot prices. Now they’re trying to backtrack by setting price caps,” he said. According to Putin, accusing Russia of using energy as a weapon is “nonsense.” He stressed that Russia fulfills its contracts, while the current supply shortages are the result of decisions made by other countries – including Ukraine, which shut down one of its gas transit pipelines; Poland, which also shut down part of its section of the pipeline; and Canada, which delayed the maintenance of turbines for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

The president added that Russia is still willing to supply energy to those who need it, though Moscow no longer considers the EU to be its main export destination. “By receiving natural gas from Russia, the economies of the leading European countries have for decades enjoyed obvious competitive advantages,” Putin said, in reference to the lower gas costs paid under long-term contracts. “If they think that they don’t need these advantages, that does not bother us at all, because the need for energy resources in the world is huge.”

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“..a political tool, not a solution to the energy crisis..”

Czech Republic Weighs In On Russian Gas Price Cap (RT)

The Czech Republic will seek to take the issue of imposing a price cap on Russian gas off the agenda of an upcoming meeting of EU energy ministers, the nation’s minister of industry, Jozef Sikela, said on Wednesday. Speaking to the country’s Senate committee on the economy, Sikela indicated that he doesn’t want to discuss the issue at the meeting because it is “a political tool, not a solution to the energy crisis.” “It is not a constructive proposal, according to me. It is more another way to sanction Russia than an actual solution to the energy crisis in Europe,” he stressed.

On Friday, EU energy ministers are set to meet in Brussels to discuss how to rein in soaring energy prices. According to Sikela, among the issues he wants to raise is potentially separating electricity and gas prices. Doing so, he said, may lower electricity prices for the general public. The Czech minister said the recent shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline did not come as a surprise to him. “It’s part of the energy war we’re in… The decisive battle will be fought this winter,” he stated, adding that the country has done its best to prepare for it. “However, prices will go down only when Europe finds a way to break away from gas,” he reiterated.

On August 31, Gazprom completely shut down the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, later announcing that it would remain closed indefinitely due to an oil leak in the turbine. This malfunction can only be remedied in Canada, which has imposed sanctions against Moscow. The technical issues on the main gas supply route to the EU have resulted in skyrocketing gas prices, exacerbating the energy crunch on the continent. Sikela’s comments come on the heels of massive protests in Prague that erupted this past weekend. Demonstrators urged the government to resign over high energy prices and inflation, with demands also having been heard to drop anti-Russia sanctions.

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NATO won’t let go of its new-found reason to exist. Perpetual war it is. Ergo: Stoltenberg must go. And no, NATO pays no price: the people do.

NATO Will Pay A Price But We Must Stay The Course On Ukraine (Stoltenberg)

The war in Ukraine is entering a critical phase. Winter is coming and it will be hard. Hard for the Ukrainian people and armed forces who are fighting for their freedom, and hard for those of us who support them. Our unity and solidarity will be seriously tested, as families and businesses feel the crunch of soaring energy prices and costs of living caused by Russia’s brutal invasion. We face a difficult six months, with the threat of energy cuts, disruptions and perhaps even civil unrest. But we must stay the course and stand up to tyranny — for Ukraine’s sake and for ours. We do pay a price for our support to Ukraine. But the price we pay is counted in dollars, euros and pounds, while Ukrainians are paying with their lives. And all of us will pay a much higher price if Russia and other authoritarian regimes believe they can invade their neighbours and trample on international law with impunity.

If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent nation. We have a moral responsibility to support this independent democracy at the heart of Europe. The price we pay in supporting Ukraine also benefits our own security. Vladimir Putin has clearly stated that he wants to wipe the country from the map and rewrite the European security order. Russia is temporarily occupying about 20 per cent of Ukraine — four times the size of Belgium, or half of the UK. Emboldened by any success, Russia could risk further aggression against other neighbours, and even an attack on Nato allies.

So we have a choice to make about the world we want to live in. Nato allies are committed to each nation’s right to choose its own destiny. That is why we are providing unprecedented financial, humanitarian and military assistance to help Ukraine prevail as a sovereign independent nation. Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, allied countries have provided billions of dollars of support for Ukraine’s security sector and institutions, and trained tens of thousands of troops, including special forces. This helped to make the Ukrainian armed forces stronger, better led and better prepared for Russia’s renewed invasion.

Since February, allies have rallied to Ukraine’s side with unprecedented military, humanitarian and financial support. In June, Nato leaders agreed a strengthened package of assistance, with fuel, food, medical supplies, military gear, secure communications and equipment to counter mines and drones. We are preparing more than a dozen new projects to help Ukraine face the winter. And we will continue to help the country strengthen its defence and security sector for the longer term, and transition from Soviet-era weapons to Nato-standard capabilities.

Hillary

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“They’re just the ones not rich enough, clever enough, or fast enough to elude the conscription gangs..”

“Counter-Offensive” – You Keep Using That Word (Schryver)

One thing few seem to appreciate is that what Ukraine has done over the past several days near Kherson and Kharkov does not even come close to what constitutes a “counter-offensive”. They’ve done nothing but launch highly localized severely under-powered probes which, sooner than later, become nothing but cramped kill zones for massed Russian artillery and air strikes. The leaders of the Armed Forces of Ukraine now command: effectively zero air power, sparse artillery with acute ammo shortages, limited UAV capability – and, to add insult to injury, Russian “battlefield hackers” are now proving able to commandeer many of their precious quadcopter surveillance drones, thereby blinding them completely in the midst of a battle.

Worst of all, the overwhelming majority of the soldiers are battle-naïve conscripts. Their tanks are few and far between; their troop carriers are obsolete and highly vulnerable; many if not most are compelled to march into battle on foot – and these are not Seal Team 6 physical specimens who do 20k runs on their day off. They’re just the ones not rich enough, clever enough, or fast enough to elude the conscription gangs. The AFU’s sole apparent advantage is that there are substantially more of them that can be brought to bear on a narrow front than there are Russians defending it. And yet all of these attacks so far have been tentative affairs with relatively small concentrations of force and firepower.

In the lexicon of battle, a “counter-offensive” is an entirely different animal. The German Ardennes counter-offensive in December 1944 consisted of: ~400,000 troops ~500 tanks ~700 mobile artillery ~1300 troop carriers, 4000+ artillery pieces, 1000+ aircraft THAT was a counter-offensive. The Tet Offensive in Vietnam consisted of 300,000+ troops attacking more or less simultaneously. What we are witnessing in Ukraine is categorically NOT a “counter-offensive”. Ukrainian operations over the past several days are, to the contrary, strongly indicative of the extremely limited mobility and firepower capacity of a severely depleted army whose combat-effectiveness is a fraction of the Russian and allied defenders whom they face on the field.

Oh, to be sure, their numerical superiority in troops can achieve a temporary advance within a narrow salient, and inflict some serious harm on isolated groups of Russian defenders in the process. That should come as no surprise to anyone – particularly the abundant Russian “doomers’ on Telegram who descend into inexplicable despair whenever the Ukrainians achieve any tactical success, however meagre and strategically meaningless. However, if you zoom out the map to reveal the entire front line of this war, you can readily see that we’re talking about a handful of teeny-weeny pimples protruding into the Russian-held side: territory in which the Russians have numerous highly mobile operational reserve units – infantry and artillery – that can be dispatched with relative alacrity to any quadrant of the battle map, utilizing the always significant advantage of interior lines of communication.

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“..Putin noted that the agency is under pressure from the US and other Western nations, and therefore cannot directly accuse Kiev of attacking the nuclear plant. ..”

Putin Comments On IAEA Report (RT)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can’t openly state that the attacks on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) are being carried out by Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, the Russian leader praised the agency as being a responsible international organization with a very professional leader, and stated that he trusts the IAEA’s latest report on the ZNPP. However, Putin noted that the agency is under pressure from the US and other Western nations, and therefore cannot directly accuse Kiev of attacking the nuclear plant.

“But this is obvious. We control the station, our servicemen are stationed there. What, are we attacking ourselves?” Putin said, calling the notion completely absurd and adding that the area around the power plant is littered with the remains of HIMARS rockets and other Western munitions. Putin also addressed the IAEA’s request that Russia remove its military equipment from the premises of the ZNPP. He insisted that there is no such equipment at the plant and explained that the only forces stationed there are the Russian National Guard, which is protecting the perimeter and the premises of the station itself. “We can even call journalists there tomorrow, including European and American journalists, to see for themselves,” Putin said, noting that it is obvious the strikes on the power plant and the city of Energodar are coming from across the reservoir where Kiev’s forces are located.

Putin further explained that Russia’s military equipment, which is engaged in counter-battery combat, is not located anywhere near the station and has in fact been moved quite far beyond the perimeter of the facility. The Russian leader also expressed his bewilderment at Kiev’s attempts to create a nuclear catastrophe by attacking the power plant, stating that “the Ukrainian side is creating threats to undermine nuclear security.” “Why they do this, I honestly don’t really understand. Just to draw more attention to their situation and create an additional crisis?” He also revealed that Kiev’s operatives have attempted to carry out terrorist attacks on Russian territory, targeting high-voltage power lines connected to Russian nuclear power facilities.

“They purposefully work in this direction. What for? What is the point of creating a nuclear threat for the whole of Europe? I do not really understand, but they are doing this.” Putin’s comments come after the IAEA released a report on Tuesday regarding the state of the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The agency demanded that all attacks on the facility “be stopped immediately”and called for a cessation of any military activity within or in the vicinity of the plant. The report did not identify those responsible for shelling the plant.

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“They [Europeans] even believe that it is the bad Russians that have closed the tap of oil and gas, while it is our own leaders in Europe that have stupidly imposed these sanctions..”

Charles Gave: Europeans Are “Mad With Anger And it Will Worsen” (SN)

Predicting that cost of living protests in the Czech Republic and Germany will spread around the continent, a prominent economist warns that European citizens are “mad with anger and it will worsen.” On Saturday, over 70,000 people took to the streets of Prague to demand an end to weapons supplies and neutrality regarding the conflict in Ukraine. Numerous demonstrations are also set to take place in major German cities over the next month as energy bills and inflation soar as a result of sanctions on Russia and over dependence on green energy. “The demonstrations in Prague and Germany are only the beginning. The price of gas and consequently of electricity are driving the European citizens mad with anger and it will worsen,” French economist Charles Gave told Sputnik.

Gave went on to assert that many Europeans aren’t buying the narrative that the situation, which culminated in the shut down of gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, is all Vladimir Putin’s fault. “The European governments and the European Commission speak of a ‘manipulation’ by Russia, but people perceive very well that the decision to stop importing Russian gas and oil was a European decision, taken by Brussels without even thinking of the impact it will have on the European economy,” he said. The economist blasted European leaders for their obsession with net zero and climate change hysteria, which has left the continent totally lacking in self-sufficiency.

“For the last 15 years, our European leaders have gone into a climate craze, promoting magic mirrors and windmills as the solution. It does not work. These solutions demand the same capacity in gas power plants,” Gave said. The economist firmly blamed globalist technocrat leaders for sacrificing the interests of Europeans on the altar of prolonging a war that will cause economic devastation. “They [Europeans] even believe that it is the bad Russians that have closed the tap of oil and gas, while it is our own leaders in Europe that have stupidly imposed these sanctions that are destroying the European economy. We, Europeans, are bringing stagflation onto our head. Before the people realize it, it will be too late. Macron, [German Chancellor Olaf] Scholz, von der Leyen and the like will never admit they were wrong and present excuses,” he asserted.

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“Zakharova later mocked what she called the “mind-blowing stupidity” of Truss.”

Truss Becoming PM Signals ‘Crisis Of Democracy’ In UK – Moscow (RT)

The selection of Liz Truss as prime minister signals a “crisis of democracy” in the UK, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. Asked by TASS whether Truss will be a disaster for Britain, Zakharova replied that if “shop owners are decorating the window in this way, then they believe this is the best item they have in stock today.” Sometimes, the spokeswoman claimed, countries with large populations and long-standing democratic traditions make you wonder if they really do not have anyone that can “adequately, professionally, and intelligently represent the various branches of government.” Perhaps the problem is in the crisis of British democracy, because this ‘result’ has nothing to do with the direct choice of the British people, since the system of indirect elections dominates the Anglo-Saxon duo.

Truss, formerly the foreign secretary in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, officially became prime minister on Tuesday. The day before, she was revealed as the winner of the Tory leadership election. She received 81,326 voters, while her competitor, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, was backed by 60,399. A YouGov poll published on the same day showed that half of the people in the UK are ‘disappointed’ about Truss taking over as prime minister, with one-third ‘very disappointed.’ Even among members of the ruling party, 54% do not have much confidence in Truss’ ability to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, and around one-third are ‘disappointed’ that she will lead the government.

Truss’ visit to Russia in February – amid tensions in Ukraine in the run-up to the launch of Moscow’s military operation – was remembered by many for a gaffe made by the then-foreign secretary. Truss confused the Russian regions of Voronezh and Rostov with Ukrainian regions, and told her counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that London would never recognize Russia’s sovereignty over these areas. According to reports, she was then allegedly corrected by Deborah Bronnert, the UK ambassador. Lavrov described the meeting with the foreign secretary as talking “to a deaf person.” Zakharova later mocked what she called the “mind-blowing stupidity” of Truss.

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Ha ha! “It seems that in Britain, which is famous for its traditions, a new tradition has emerged..”

‘One Freak After Another’ – Ex-Russian President On UK Leaders (RT)

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said the new UK prime minister, Liz Truss, will continue the “tradition” started by her predecessor Boris Johnson by finishing her tenure “in disgrace.”Truss, formerly the foreign secretary in Johnson’s Conservative government, officially became prime minister on Tuesday. Taking to Telegram on Wednesday, Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, commented on the succession of governments in the UK: “Out goes the freak guy, in comes the freak lady.” He described the new PM as “an incompetent and mediocre thermonuclear Russophobe who has no elementary ideas about politics, history, geography, but wants to defeat Russia in everything.”


The former president added that Truss, the third female prime minister in British history, is trying to imitate the first, Margaret Thatcher, “without having even 5% of her abilities,” and hopes to address the energy crisis and rising food inflation, which are “the result of her own crazy sanctions exercises.” In her first statement at Downing Street, Truss claimed that the energy crisis was caused by “Putin’s war.” “She will quarrel with everyone, fail in everything, and leave in disgrace, like her predecessor, shaggy Boriska. It seems that in Britain, which is famous for its traditions, a new tradition has emerged,” Medvedev wrote.

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Still not. “Highly indebted—with a large percentage of their income being used to service debt—Chinese households simply do not have the financial flexibility to ramp up spending.”

Can China Transition to a Consumption Economy? (Balding)

The great economist Michael Pettis at Tsinghua University has noted for years the importance for the Chinese economy to shift its growth dependency away from investment and toward greater consumption. As China faces its weakest sustained economic period in modern history, it bears worth asking, can China shift toward a more consumer-focused economy? The Chinese economy is unique among major economies due to its low share of the household sector within the macroeconomy. Most economies typically have a household sector that accounts for 60-75 percent of activity. The United States, for example, hovers around 70 percent. In China, however, households account for only about 45 percent. This difference creates a wide variety of problems, from misunderstanding basic economic data to how to solve policy problems like shifting activity.

The first problem this creates is when analysts compare cross-country data on debt to GDP in various formats, such as household debt to GDP. Due to the starkly different shares of income between households in China and other countries, Chinese households have significantly less income to repay debts than households in other countries. In fact, if we adjust household debt levels for household income rather than GDP, Chinese households are some of the most indebted in the world, even more than the United States and most OECD countries paying a significantly higher share of their income toward debt servicing due to interest rate differentials.

This simple, often overlooked adjustment has significant implications for how we conceptualize a move away from the investment infrastructure-driven growth model toward a consumption-driven growth model. While the 45 percent household share gives the superficial appearance that Chinese consumption can increase significantly, the reality is very different. The Chinese consumer simply does not have the financial capability to increase consumption share. Real estate sales are down with nominal sales of retail goods and services flat, meaning that after accounting for surging inflation, Chinese consumers are purchasing less than they did a year ago. Highly indebted—with a large percentage of their income being used to service debt—Chinese households simply do not have the financial flexibility to ramp up spending.

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“I went home, contemplated it for a weekend, and thought, ‘I’m not looking at this as carefully as I need to look at it.’”

Why Disney Didn’t Buy Twitter (Vox)

Elon Musk wanted to buy Twitter. Then he decided he didn’t. Bob Iger can relate. In 2016, Iger, then the CEO of Disney, had convinced himself that his company should own Twitter because it would be an excellent way to distribute Disney’s content around the world. Then, shortly before the 2016 US presidential election, he bailed out. Iger has told parts of this story before, but it always seemed confusing to me: In his 2019 memoir, he said the boards of both Disney and Twitter had agreed to the deal, but then he had second thoughts because of the “nastiness” rampant at Twitter. Really? Wasn’t the nastiness readily apparent to anyone who’d ever used the service for a second, let alone to someone who was ready to spend billions on it?

But today we got a longer version of the story, relayed by Iger at the Code Conference, in response to a question from The Verge’s Alex Heath. In this one, Iger says that Twitter would have been a “phenomenal” distribution platform for Disney but that it would have come with too many headaches. Among them: bots. (Sound familiar?) Here’s Iger, in his own words: “We were intent on going into the streaming business. We needed a technology solution. We have all this great IP. We weren’t a technology company. How do we get that IP to consumers around the world? … And we were kicking tires left and right. We thought about developing ourselves. Five years, $500 million. It wasn’t the money, it was the time, because the world was changing fast. And at the same time, we heard that Twitter was contemplating a sale.

“We enter the process immediately, looking at Twitter as the solution: a global distribution platform. It was viewed as sort of a social network. We were viewing it as something completely different. We could put news, sports, entertainment, [and] reach the world. And frankly, it would have been a phenomenal solution, distribution-wise. “Then, after we sold the whole concept to the Disney board and the Twitter board, and we’re really ready to execute — the negotiation was just about done — I went home, contemplated it for a weekend, and thought, ‘I’m not looking at this as carefully as I need to look at it.’ Yes, it’s a great solution from a distribution perspective. But it would come with so many other challenges and complexities that as a manager of a great global brand, I was not prepared to take on a major distraction and having to manage circumstances that weren’t even close to anything that we had faced before.

“Interestingly enough, because I read the news these days, we did look very carefully at all of the Twitter users — I guess they’re called users? — and we at that point estimated with some of Twitter’s help that a substantial portion — not a majority — were not real. “I don’t remember the number but we discounted the value heavily. But that was built into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was pretty cheap. “Then you have to look, of course, at all the hate speech and potential to do as much harm as good. We’re in the business of manufacturing fun at Disney — of doing nothing but good, even though there are others today that criticize Disney for the opposite, which is wrong. This was just something that we were not ready to take on and I was not ready to take on as the CEO of a company and I thought it would have been irresponsible.”

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“Doughty ordered Fauci and Jean-Pierre to comply within 21 days.”

Judge Orders Fauci, Others to Produce Records For Censorship Lawsuit (ET)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and other top Biden administration officials who were resisting efforts to obtain their communications with Big Tech companies must hand over the records, a federal judge ruled on Sept. 6. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee, ordered the government to quickly produce documents after it was sued by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri over alleged collusion with Big Tech firms such as Facebook. The initial tranche of discovery, released on Aug. 31, revealed that more than 50 government officials across a dozen agencies were involved in applying pressure to social media companies to censor users.

But some of the officials refused to provide any answers or answer all questions posed by the plaintiffs. Among them: Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. The government claimed that Fauci shouldn’t be required to answer all questions or provide records in his capacity as NIAID director or in his capacity as Biden’s chief medical adviser. It also attempted to withhold records and responses from Jean-Pierre. In the new ruling on Sept. 6 breaking the stalemate, Doughty said both Fauci and Jean-Pierre needed to comply with the interrogatories and record requests.

“First, the requested information is obviously very relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims. Dr. Fauci’s communications would be relevant to Plaintiffs’ allegations in reference to alleged suppression of speech relating to the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origin, and to alleged suppression of speech about the efficiency of masks and COVID-19 lockdowns. Jean-Pierre’s communications as White House Press Secretary could be relevant to all of Plaintiffs’ examples,” Doughty said, referring to examples such as the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 presidential election and censorship of claims COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory. Doughty ordered Fauci and Jean-Pierre to comply within 21 days.

Fauci, additionally, must provide complete answers to questions regarding his role as NIAID director. “We know from the previous round of discovery that efforts to censor the speech of those who disagree with the government on covid policy have come from the top. Americans deserve to know Anthony Fauci’s participation in this enterprise, especially since he has publicly demanded that specific individuals, including two of our clients, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, be censored on social media,” Jenin Younes, litigation counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance and a lawyer for some of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “It is time for Dr. Fauci to answer for his flagrant disregard for Americans’ constitutional rights and civil liberties.”

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A pattern of judges fighting back?!

Former FBI Boss Warns Trump Search Warrant Might Be Tossed Out Entirely (JTN)

The FBI warrant to search former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago may be thrown out entirely in court, according to former FBI boss Kevin Brock. News broke over Labor Day weekend that Trump had been granted a legal win when a federal judge ordered a special master to review the documents seized from Trump’s home. “I think the government would be concerned as well, because there’s concern that the the search warrant itself was overly broad from the get-go,” Kevin Brock said on “Just the News, Not Noise” Tuesday evening. “Because the scope that they were looking for was every single document generated during the Trump administration — that just seems too inexcusably overbroad.

Now there’s indications that they (the FBI) collected much more than they were authorized to collect.” Brock said that he believes that the search warrant could be suppressed entirely. “If I’m a prosecutor, I am concerned going forward that this search warrant could be suppressed and for those types of reasons, and they would lose access to anything that was collected throughout the search as a fruit of the poisonous tree,” Brock continued. “So I think that’s got to be in the back of their minds.” Brock also criticized how the FBI raided Trump’s home and how usually when the FBI does investigations, they try to take the least intrusive route possible at first.


“You go into a home, you set up a system where those things that you seize are assiduously documented,” said Brock, explaining how FBI searches typically work. “They’re given a specific tracking number, a barcode and each piece is gone through meticulously before you leave the premises to make sure that it’s within the scope of the document.” “And that’s only part one,” he continued. “Part two is the warrant is not to be overly broad as to what parts of the residence can be searched. You can only search those things where it’s reasonably expected you would find the type of evidence that you are looking for.”

Webb – Peter Strzok

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Well, they try: “..several hundred million dollars’ worth of cyber warheads..” “The average tweet received 0.49 likes and 0.02 retweets.”

The US Army Special Operations Command Weaponizes Social Media (Helmer)

The US Army’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been firing several hundred million dollars’ worth of cyber warheads at Russian targets from its headquarters at MacDill Airforce Base in Florida. They have all been duds. The weapons, the source, and their failure to strike effectively have been exposed in a new report, published on August 24, by the Cyber Policy Center of the Stanford Internet Observatory. The title of the 54-page study is “Unheard Voice: Evaluating Five Years of Pro-Western Covert Influence Operations”.

“We believe”, the report concludes, “this activity represents the most extensive case of covert pro-Western IO [influence operations] on social media to be reviewed and analyzed by open-source researchers to date… the data also shows the limitations of using inauthentic tactics to generate engagement and build influence online. The vast majority of posts and tweets we reviewed received no more than a handful of likes or retweets, and only 19% of the covert assets we identified had more than 1,000 followers. The average tweet received 0.49 likes and 0.02 retweets.” “Tellingly,” according to the Stanford report, “the two most followed assets in the data provided by Twitter were overt accounts that publicly declared a connection to the U.S. military.”

The report comes from a branch of Stanford University, and is funded by the Stanford Law School and the Spogli Institute for Institutional Studies, headed by Michael McFaul (lead image). McFaul, once a US ambassador to Moscow, has been a career advocate of war against Russia. The new report exposes many of McFaul’s allegations to be crude fabrications and propaganda which the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been paying contractors to fire at Russia for a decade. Strangely, there is no mention in the report of the US Army, Pentagon, the Special Operations Command, or its principal cyberwar contractor, the Rendon Group.

It is unclear who paid for the new investigation which was co-authored by Graphika. This is a New York consultancy without an office address, staffed by US, French and British intelligence analysts, and financed in part by the US Senate Intelligence Committee and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Graphika advertises its Russia war-making credentials in the mainstream and IT media, as well as on its Twitter account. Notwithstanding, the new report explicitly targets news faking and other information warfare tactics by the US Army forces aimed primarily at audiences in Central Asia, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.

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“..to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

Silencing the Lambs — How Propaganda Works (John Pilger)

At its summit in Madrid in June, NATO, which is controlled by the United States, adopted a strategy document that militarises the European continent, and escalates the prospect of war with Russia and China. It proposes “multi domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitor.” In other words, nuclear war. It says: “NATO’s enlargement has been an historic success.” I read that in disbelief. The news from the war in Ukraine is mostly not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion, omission. I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda.

In February, Russia invaded Ukraine as a response to almost eight years of killing and criminal destruction in the Russian-speaking region of Donbass on their border. In 2014, the United States had sponsored a coup in Kiev that got rid of Ukraine’s democratically elected, Russian-friendly president and installed a successor whom the Americans made clear was their man. In recent years, American “defender” missiles have been installed in eastern Europe, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, almost certainly aimed at Russia, accompanied by false assurances all the way back to James Baker’s “promise” to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990 that NATO would never expand beyond Germany.

Ukraine is the frontline. NATO has effectively reached the very borderland through which Hitler’s army stormed in 1941, leaving more than 23 million dead in the Soviet Union. Last December, Russia proposed a far-reaching security plan for Europe. This was dismissed, derided or suppressed in the Western media. Who read its step-by-step proposals? On Feb. 24, President Volodymyr Zelensky threatened to develop nuclear weapons unless America armed and protected Ukraine. On the same day, Russia invaded — an unprovoked act of congenital infamy, according to the Western media. The history, the lies, the peace proposals, the solemn agreements on Donbass at Minsk counted for nothing.

On April 25, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin flew into Kiev and confirmed that America’s aim was to destroy the Russian Federation — the word he used was “weaken.” America had got the war it wanted, waged by an American bankrolled and armed proxy and expendable pawn. Almost none of this was explained to Western audiences. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is wanton and inexcusable. It is a crime to invade a sovereign country. There are no “buts” — except one. When did the present war in Ukraine begin and who started it? According to the United Nations, between 2014 and this year, some 14,000 people have been killed in the Kiev regime’s civil war on the Donbass. Many of the attacks were carried out by neo-Nazis.

In the same month, dozens of Russian-speaking people were burned alive or suffocated in a trade union building in Odessa besieged by fascist thugs, the followers of the Nazi collaborator and anti-Semitic fanatic Stepan Bandera. The New York Times called the thugs “nationalists.” “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment,” said Andreiy Biletsky, founder of the Azov Battaltion, “is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

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“I have the impression that Zelensky took Salvini as a model; the same beard, the same style of dressing in sweatshirts, the same populist rhetoric. Not the Nutella, though.”

The Rise of the Key Opinion Leaders: End of Politics as we Know it? (Ugo Bardi)

In ancient Japan, a “kagemusha” (shadow warrior) was an impersonator who took the aspect and the role of the actual leader. It was simply a decoy to be used in battle but, in our times, the problem for leaders is not so much to avoid bullets but to avoid the much more powerful propaganda techniques that may destroy them. The result is the rise of a new kind of kagemusha, the KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). The KOLs do not impersonate the true leaders, but express their ideas and plans in public, taking the blame for the failures and the mistakes that may result. The real leaders, instead, remain in the shadows. The KOLs operate in many fields, not just in politics. For instance, they are popular in science. But, their presence in politics is becoming more and more evident.

[..] The KOLs may now be spilling into politics. The first actor to become a high-rank politician was Ronald Reagan, but he was far from being a “puppet president”, although he profited from his experience as an actor to manage his public image. In recent times, though, we are seeing actors becoming frontmen for figures who remain backstage. A good example is Vladimir Zelensky, president of Ukraine. Independently of what you think of what’s happening in Ukraine, Zelensky is clearly a modern kagemusha: an actor playing the role of the president. The way he dresses, the short beard, the posture, all are part of a character that could have starred in a movie, except that the war in Ukraine is all too real. Because of the dangers involved in the current situation, it is understandable that the Ukrainian powers that be much prefer a kagemusha as president rather than to appear themselves on stage.

So far, Zelensky remains a relatively isolated case. But it is possible that the KOL fashion will spread to other countries and other leaders. As an example, I can cite Mr. Matteo Salvini in Italy. As the leader of the League, he became deputy prime minister in 2018, and he is still a member of parliament. Salvini is popularly known in Italy as “Captain Nutella,” owing to his penchant to present a public image of himself while eating junk food. He was never an actor, but he started his career as a participant in a TV game show, and he does not have much more than that in his professional CV (**). Incidentally, I have the impression that Zelensky took Salvini as a model; the same beard, the same style of dressing in sweatshirts, the same populist rhetoric. Not the Nutella, though.

I would not be surprised if Salvini, or some other equally shallow kagemusha-style character, will soon take the job of the prime minister of Italy. This winter we are going to see a serious crisis in which many Italians will find themselves without heating at home and with no fuel, no electric power, and no jobs. At that point, the Nutella will hit the fan, as they say. I don’t envy the person who will find him or herself in the role of the prime minister at that moment. The job could become as dangerous in Italy as it is in Ukraine now and, as you know, in Italy we already had a case of a prime minister hanged upside-down. Surely, during the coming hard times, the really powerful people will prefer to take a low-profile role.

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Steve has tons of graphs. Of course.

Vaccines Are Taking An Average Of 5 Months To Kill People (Kirsch)

The key point is this: The UK data shows statistical proof of causality of deaths (p<.001): the vaccine doses track with the excess deaths 23 weeks later. Dose dependency is key to showing causality. If no one can explain this, the precautionary principle of medicine requires any ethical society to halt the vaccines now. Executive Summary: Many people assumed the vaccine kills you quickly (in the first two weeks) because that’s when people notice the association and report it to VAERS. This is still true; it does kill some people quickly: half of the deaths reported in VAERS are in the first few weeks. But the key words are “reported in VAERS.” It turns out that if we don’t have that restriction but are just wondering when most of the deaths after COVID vaccination happen, the answer is different.

Thanks to a helper who works at HHS, we can now clearly see that most of the deaths from the vaccine are happening an average of 5 months from the last dose. That is for the second dose; it may be getting shorter the more shots you get but there are arguments both ways (since there can be survivor bias). Using data from the UK, we can see more clearly that the delay time is around 23 weeks (so a bit more than 5 weeks). We’ll dive into that shortly. This delay explains why the life insurance companies got off-the-charts all-cause mortality peaks for people under 60 in Q3 and Q4 rather than right after the shots rolled out.

The five month delay is also consistent with death reports where people are developing new aggressive cancers that are killing them over a 4 to 6 month period. The 5 month death delay was also confirmed using only European data. That analysis was posted Aug 11, but I learned about it after I wrote this post. So when you hear of a death from stroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, cancer, and suicide that is happening around 5 months after vaccination, it could very well be a vaccine-related death.

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Malone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Webb test kits

 

 

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May 052022
 


René Magritte Personal values 1952

 

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)
Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)
Return of the King (Streeck)
The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)
Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)
Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)
Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)
John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)
FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)
The Government Plays God (Whitehead)
The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)
Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

 

 

 

 

Ze 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azovstal

 

 

 

 

Well, well. The Guardian is now the bullhorn for the nazis. But Russia has denied invading the plant.

Also funny: the evacuation of citizens from the plant is being presented as another heroic act by Zelensky. But they could have left at any moment over the past 2 months. Why didn’t they? Often because the same nazis used them as human shields.

Fierce Fighting Under Way In Azovstal Plant, Says Azov Commander (G.)

Fierce fighting has continued inside Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, the commander of Ukrainian forces in the plant said, as more civilians fled the city on evacuation buses following weeks of brutal bombardment that have reduced much of it to rubble. Ukrainian forces were fighting “difficult bloody battles” against Russian troops for a second day, Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment, said in a brief video released on Telegram late on Wednesday. “I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the pressure of the enemy … the situation is extremely difficult,” commander Denis Prokopenko said.

Earlier on Wednesday, David Arakhamia, the head of Ukraine’s ruling party in parliament, told RFE/RL that Russian forces had entered the plant, but he said that the country’s government remained in contact with the Ukrainian troops staging a last stand. The Kremlin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, denied reports that Moscow’s forces were trying to storm the plant. “The order was publicly given by [Vladimir Putin] to cancel the storming,” Peskov said. “There is no storming.” Russia said its forces would cease firing at the factory on Thursday morning, and open a three-day humanitarian corridor for any civilians.


“The Russian armed forces will from 8am to 6pm (Moscow time, 0500 GMT to 1500 GMT) on May 5, 6 and 7 open a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant to evacuate civilians,” the defence ministry said. “During this period, the Russian armed forces and formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic will unilaterally cease any hostilities.”

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“The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

Brazil’s Ex-president Lula Claims Zelenskiy Equally To Blame For War (G.)

Brazilian presidential frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, bear equal responsibility for the war in Ukraine, putting the leftist icon at odds with western powers. In an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday, the former president said it was irresponsible for western leaders to celebrate Zelenskiy because they are encouraging war instead of focusing on closed-door negotiations to stop the fighting. “I see the president of Ukraine, speaking on television, being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the [European] parliamentarians,” Lula told the magazine. “This guy [Zelenskiy] is as responsible as Putin for the war,” he added.

Lula, who is on Time’s cover this week, is frontrunner for the October elections when he hopes to deny far-right President Jair Bolsonaro re-election and return to office after the annulment last year of corruption convictions that had put him in jail. The remarks will probably raise eyebrows in the US and Europe, which are supplying military support to Ukraine and have hit Russia with punishing sanctions over an invasion widely seen in the west as an act of unprovoked Russian aggression. Lula, 76, said Zelenskiy should have yielded to Russian opposition to Ukraine’s moves to join Nato and held negotiations with Putin to avoid a conflict.


Refering to Zelenskiy’s rise to fame as an actor and comedian, he added: “We should be having a serious conversation. OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.” The veteran leftist said Biden and European Union leaders failed to do enough to negotiate with Russia in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine in February. “The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided war, not incited it,” he said. “Biden could have taken a plane to Moscow to talk to Putin. This is the kind of attitude you expect from a leader.”

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King NATO

Return of the King (Streeck)

When kings return, they initiate a purge, to rectify the anomalies that have accumulated during their absence. Old bills are presented anew and collected, lack of loyalty revealed during the King’s absence is punished, disobedient ideas and improper memories are extirpated, and the nooks and crannies of the body politic are cleansed of the political deviants that have in the meantime populated them. Symbolic action of the McCarthy type is helpful as it spreads fear among potential dissenters. Throughout the West today, players of piano or tennis or relativity theory who happen to be from Russia and want to continue playing whatever they play are pressed to make public statements that would make their lives and those of their families back home difficult at best.

Investigative journalists discover an abyss of philanthropic donations by Russian oligarchs to music and other festivals, donations that have been welcome in the past but are now found to subvert artistic freedom, unlike of course the philanthropic donations of their Western fellow-oligarchs. Etc. Against the background of proliferating loyalty oaths, public discourse is reduced to spreading the King’s truth, and nothing but. Putin verstehen – trying to find out about motives and reasons, searching for a clue as to how one might, perhaps, negotiate an end to the bloodshed – is equated with Putin verzeihen, or forgiving; it ‘relativizes’, as the Germans put it, the atrocities of the Russian army by trying to end them with other than military means.


According to newly received wisdom, there is only one way of dealing with a madman; thinking about other ways advances his interests and therefore amounts to treason. (I remember teachers in the 1950s who let it be known to the young generation that ‘the only language the Russian understands is the language of the fist’.) Memory management is central: never mention the Minsk Accords (2014 and 2015) between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, don’t ask what became of them and why, never mind the platform of negotiated conflict settlement on which Zelensky was elected in 2019 by almost three quarters of Ukrainian voters, and forget the American response by megaphone diplomacy to Russian proposals as late as 2022 for a joint European security system. Above all, never bring up the various American ‘special operations’ of the recent past, like for example in Iraq, and in Fallujah inside Iraq (800 civilian casualties alone in a few days); doing so commits the crime of ‘whataboutism’, which in view of ‘the pictures from Bucha and Mariupol’ is morally out of bounds.

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“..the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.”

The “Disinformation Board” Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems (Greenwald)

The most egregious and blatant official disinformation campaign in the U.S. took place three weeks before the 2020 presidential election. That was when dozens of former intelligence officials purported to believe that authentic emails regarding Joe Biden’s activities in China and Ukraine, reported by The New York Post, were “Russian disinformation.” That quasi-official proclamation enabled liberal corporate media outlets to uncritically mock and then ignore those emails as “Russian disinformation,” and pressured Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor the reporting at exactly the time Americans were preparing to decide who would be the next U.S. president.

The letter from these former intelligence officials was orchestrated by trained career liars — disinformation agents — such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet that letter was nonetheless crucial to discredit and ultimately suppress the New York Post’s incriminating reporting on Biden. It provided a quasi-official imprimatur — something that could be depicted as an authoritative decree — that these authentic emails were, in fact, fraudulent. After all, if all of these noble and heroic intelligence operatives who spent their lives studying Russian disinformation were insisting that the Biden emails had all of the “hallmarks” of Kremlin treachery, who possessed the credibility to dispute their expert assessment?


This same strategic motive — to vest accusations of “disinformation” with the veneer of expertise — is what has fostered a new, very well-financed industry heralding itself as composed of “anti-disinformation” scholars. Knowing that Americans are inculcated from childhood to believe that censorship is nefarious — that it is the hallmark of tyranny — those who wish to censor need to find some ennobling rationale to justify it and disguise what it is. They have thus created a litany of neutral-sounding groups with benign names — The Atlantic Council, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, various “fact-checking” outfits controlled by corporate media outlets — that claim to employ “anti-disinformation experts” to identify and combat fake news. Just as media corporations re-branded their partisan pundits as “fact-checkers” — to masquerade their opinions as elevated, apolitical authoritative, decrees of expertise — the term “disinformation expert” is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth.

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Elon! Help!

Twitter Launches New Purge Of Covid Contrarians (JTN)

Several Twitter users known for questioning U.S. government COVID-19 messaging have found themselves locked out of their accounts or suspended, even as the social media company reckons with a takeover by pro-free-speech billionaire Elon Musk and advancing litigation by journalist Alex Berenson. It’s not clear whether the timing is coincidental or the last gasp of an old guard targeting so-called Team Reality before a new owner or courts force it to change direction. Twitter has ignored the vast majority of Just the News requests to explain how various sanctioned users violated its terms. The notices from Twitter, often posted by allies of the silenced users, cite violation of its policy against sharing “misleading and potentially harmful information” about COVID.

A federal judge greenlit breach-of-contract claims in Berenson’s lawsuit challenging his permanent suspension, which followed a tweet that said COVID vaccines neither stop infection nor transmission, both of which the CDC has acknowledged for several months. The former New York Times reporter said in February Twitter had quietly removed the “misleading” label from the tweet, which only he can see. The company didn’t respond to Just the News queries at the time. Berenson plausibly alleged Twitter “fail[ed] to abide by its own five-strike policy and its specific commitments” made by a PR executive directly to Berenson before his first strike, U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote April 29.


The same day Twitter permanently booted Daniel Kotzin, one of three sanctioned users jointly suing federal officials for coercing Twitter to censor purported COVID misinformation. It flagged his tweet citing “known potential side effects” of COVID vaccines, including myocarditis, “blood clots, and strokes.”

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‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized..’

Soros, Clinton and Obama Staffers, EU Governments Behind Anti-Musk Campaign (DM)

Some of the most high-profile liberal figures have joined together to encourage advertisers to boycott Twitter if Elon Musk brings in his promised policy of unfettered ‘free speech.’ Twenty six NGOs and advocacy groups signed a letter expressing concern about the world’s richest man’s plan. Musk himself responded to the letter asking who funded them: the answer being an assortment of ‘dark money groups’ like George Soros’s Open Society Foundation; NGOs founded by former Clinton and Obama administration staffers; wealthy Democrat donors and their family foundations; labor unions; and the governments of European nations.

‘Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized,’ they wrote. They warned that advertising on Twitter would see their company ‘risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists.’ The authors continued: ‘Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.


‘Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account. We call on you to demand Musk uphold these basic standards of community trust and safety, and to pull your advertising spending from Twitter if they are not.’ Musk, in response to the letter, tweeted: ‘Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …’ Piqued by the critique, he added: ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ The letter signed by the 26 groups was sent on headed paper bearing the logos of Accountable Tech, Media Matters for America, and Ultraviolet.

Anti-Elon campaign

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They’re afraid of cancel culture.

Elon Musk Turns To Old Financial Backers For $44b Twitter Buyout (NYP)

Elon Musk is turning to an old, reliable group of financial backers to fund his $44 billion buyout of Twitter — even as talks to team up with a deep-pocketed private equity firm have stalled, The Post has learned. Sources close to the situation say Musk may be closing in on raising $10 billion in cash from equity co-investors — mostly venture capital firms who have backed his other companies including Space X. One source close to the talks declined to name the firms, but Musk’s past investors have included Sequoia Capital, D1 Capital Partners and Valor Equity Partners. Musk has also turned to so-called family offices that control large pools of private money to back his Twitter bid. “He has more than $10 billion of committed equity,” one source close to the situation told The Post.

Musk is plowing ahead even as top executives at Thoma Bravo — a tech-focused buyout firm whose investments include nuts-and-bolts software firms like McAfee and Barracuda — are divided over partnering with Musk in the deal, with some fearing the bet would be too big and too risky, three sources close to the situation said. “Orlando Bravo was pushing for it,” one source close to the talks said, referring to the firm’s co-founder, a 52-year-old, Puerto Rican-born billionaire with a formidable track record among tech investors. “He spent hours talking to Elon.” On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk has been telling investors he aims to take the company public again within three years of the buyout.


As previously reported by The Post, Thoma Bravo sees an opportunity to slash costs at Twitter and was hoping to land a high-profile deal. Nevertheless, other top partners at Thoma Bravo fret that jumping into bed with Musk — who has posted a slew of sometimes bizarre tweets about his plans for Twitter, including that he plans to turn its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter — could be a disaster. “My sense is Orlando Bravo wanted to do it but one or two of his top partners don’t want to,” a second source said. Other major buyout firms including Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone and billionaire Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners also have turned Musk down altogether, a source said. Apollo Global Management, meanwhile, is only interested in providing debt financing, according to sources close to the talks.

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No go for attorney-client privilege.

John Durham Scores Two Major Court Wins Ahead Of Clinton Lawyer’s Trial (JTN)

Special Counsel John Durham scored two major wins on Wednesday ahead of the criminal trial for ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, as the judge ordered a key witness to testify and agreed to review memos the defense is trying to conceal with a claim of attorney-client privilege. During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper expressed skepticism that memos detailing the Fusion GPS firm’s opposition research on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia – some of which were shared with the news media and the FBI — were covered by attorney-client privilege and agreed to Durham’s request to review 38 of the documents that prosecutors want to introduce at trial later this month.

Cooper said he wasn’t convinced the Clinton campaign, Sussmann and his law firm and Fusion GPS should have blanket privilege over the documents, at one point citing a memo of Fusion’s contacts with a reporter as evidence of “assisting a media strategy” rather than legal advice. Cooper also unsealed his order to compel that granted Fusion GPS computer researcher Laura Seago limited immunity and ordered her to testify at trial as Durham sought. Seago’s lawyer informed prosecutors she planned to “invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination absent a court order of immunity compelling her to testify at trial,” according to the unsealed records.


Cooper signed an order mandating Seago “give testimony or provide other information which she refuses to give or to provide on the basis of her privilege against self-incrimination as to all matters about which she might be interrogated at trial and any proceedings ancillary thereto.” The judge also ruled that “no testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against Laura Seago in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order.” Durham had argued that Seago’s testimony was “necessary to the public interest.” It did not specify what prosecutors believed her testimony would focus on.

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“..some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information..”

FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit’ (Sperry)

The FBI decision to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser hinged on an unsubstantiated rumor from a Clinton campaign-paid dossier that the Washington Post’s Moscow sources had quickly shot down as “bullshit” and “impossible,” according to emails disclosed last week to a D.C. court hearing the criminal case of a Clinton lawyer accused of lying to the FBI. Though the FBI presumably had access to better sources than the newspaper, agents did little to verify the rumor that Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had secretly met with sanctioned Kremlin officials in Moscow. Instead, the bureau pounced on the dossier report the day it received it, immediately plugging the rumor into an application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to wiretap Page as a suspected Russian agent.

The allegation, peddled to both the press and FBI in the summer of 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to dig up dirt on Trump during the presidential race, proved to be the linchpin in winning approval for the 2016 warrant, which was renewed three times in 2017 – even though the FBI learned there were serious holes in the story and had failed to independently corroborate it. The revelations of early media skepticism about the Trump-Russia narrative before journalists embraced it are included in a 62-page batch of emails between Fusion and prominent Beltway reporters released by Special Counsel John Durham, who is scouring the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign for evidence of abuse and criminal wrongdoing.


The documents suggest that some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information served up by Clinton agents. (The FBI declined comment.) The new material also offers a look at the lengths to which those working on Clinton’s behalf went in order to seed the government with unverified rumors about Trump and Russia that amounted to a disinformation campaign. Among those targeted were powerful Democratic members of Congress, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who proved to be a willing collaborator.

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This is the fundamental point: the rights of the unborn child. That video is scary.

The Government Plays God (Whitehead)

“Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the ‘right’ of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the ‘property rights’ of slave masters in their slaves.”
– Ron Paul

The government wants to play god. It wants the power to decide who lives or dies and whose rights are worthy of protection. Delve beneath the rhetoric and spin that have turned abortion into a politicized, polarized and propagandized frontline in the culture wars, and you will find a greater menace at work. Abortion may be front and center in the power struggle between the Left and the Right over who has the right to decide—the government or the individual—when it comes to bodily autonomy, the right to privacy, sexual freedom, the rights of the unborn, and property interests in one’s body, but there’s so much more going on here.

The Left would suggest that unborn babies do not have constitutional rights and the only right that matters is a woman’s right to privacy in choosing whether or not to abort a pregnancy. The Right, while fixated on saving the lives of unborn babies, seems less concerned about what happens to those lives from birth to death. What few seem willing to address is that in the 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, the government has come to believe that it not only has the power to determine who is deserving of constitutional rights in the eyes of the law but it also has the authority to deny those rights to an American citizen.

This is how the abortion debate—a politicized tug-of-war over when an unborn child is considered a human being with rights—plays into the police state’s hands by laying the groundwork for discussions about who else may or may not be deserving of rights. Even if (as a leaked draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization suggests) the Supreme Court overturns its earlier rulings recognizing abortion as a constitutional right under the Fourteenth Amendment, that will not resolve the larger problem that plagues us today: namely, that all along the spectrum of life—from the unborn child to the aged—the government continues to play fast and loose with the lives of the citizenry.

40 weeks

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“..a complete embargo of all Russian oil..”

The Great Currency Reset and Why Europe is Trapped (Luongo)

There’s a lot of news flying around about the changes happening in global currency trading. From “Gas for Rubles” to “What the Hell is Going on With the Yen?” there are a lot of questions and very few answers as to what it all means and whose on which side of the divide. The Fed just hiked 50 basis points for the first time since 2000 and will be running off its balance sheet forcing the Treasury to stop issuing new debt at stupid rates. The European Union unveiled a sixth sanctions package against Russia which calls for a complete embargo of all Russian oil. Further to this the EU is now aping what the Trump Administration tried to do to Iran in 2018, sanctioning all services, including insurance, to all shippers of oil from doing any business with Russia and sanctioned Russian banks.

These sanctions, effectively politicizing every aspect of international business and trade, are ultimately nothing more than short-term annoyances for Russia or anyone else. It betrays a mindset that cares nothing for the downstream effects of these actions and, if anything, betray the desperation felt in Brussels today about its position in the global market. I’ve spilled hundreds of column inches trying to explain to the world that it is the EU’s totalitarian mindset based on their psychological imbalance and ideological need to be seen as the champions of humanity, that drives all of their decisions. The US is not so driven. We’re far easier to understand. We like power but only so long as it nets us a profit.


This sanctions package is prima facie evidence of their insanity and what happens when, like a cornered animal, they are faced with an existential choice. The EU is built on a foundation of insulating its leadership from the vicissitudes of public opinion. Populism is a four-letter word in the Eurocrat’s vocabulary. The consequences of this policy which was conceived of by the fart-sniffing buffoons at the World Economic Forum, The Davos Crowd, are irrelevant to them in the short-term. Yes, Europeans will suffer tremendously high inflation because, if successful at taking a majority of Russian oil off the global markets, will only ensure that prices go ballistic. Do you think the same people who have a stated depopulation agenda who mandated a 12% effective Pfizer vaccine and wasn’t tested at all on pregnant women lest they be barred from partaking of European society care one whit about the people they govern?

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Woke.

Disney’s Market Freefall (PJM)

There’s a saying, and I don’t know who coined it, but it goes something like, “Go woke; go broke.” I do know that former president Donald Trump said that “everything woke turns to s**t.” One company that’s learning this lesson the hard way — even though nobody there will admit it publicly — is Disney. David Ng at Breitbart is reporting that The Walt Disney Company has lost a whopping $63 billion in market capitalization over the past two months. “Shares of Disney have plummeted 23.5 percent since the start of March, falling from $145.70,” Ng writes. “Market cap is down $62.6 billion, from $265.3 to $202.7 billion.” (For the uninitiated, Investopedia defines market capitalization as “the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. Commonly referred to as ‘market cap,’ it’s calculated by multiplying the total number of a company’s outstanding shares by the current market price of one share.”)

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to wrap my head around losing that kind of money. I freak out if I lose a $20 bill, so losing tens of billions because I took a political position that appeases a percentage of my workforce and a smaller percentage of the world at large at the expense of everybody else would be disastrous. That amount of money may be chump change to Disney, but it’s still nearly a quarter of its market cap. Disney’s stock has performed poorly over the past several months, dropping 30% over the past year. Much, though not all, of this stems directly from Disney’s decision to speak out on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which the legislature passed into law and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed at the end of March.


The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media falsely dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which triggered the LGBTQ lobby among Disney cast members to pressure CEO Bob Chapek to stick the company’s nose into the state’s business. DeSantis and the Florida legislature decided to fight fire with fire, and they voted to end the 1967 special improvement act that allowed Disney to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District and essentially act as its own government over the Walt Disney World property.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

TexasLindsay Global by income
https://twitter.com/i/status/1522055712653910017

 

 

 

 

Hodkinson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1521239021992792067

 

 

 

 

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Feb 222021
 
 February 22, 2021  Posted by at 10:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »


Thomas Abercrombie Beirut 1957

 

Biden’s $1.9-Trillion Big Spend Is A Big Bet On MMT (LAT)
Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Rise To Federal Level Of Criminal Offense (Fox)
Scalise Requests Data On NY Nursing Home COVID Deaths (SAC)
More New York Politicians Accuse Cuomo Of Threatening Behavior (F.)
Why Do Democrats Pretend Andrew Cuomo Did a Good Job With COVID? (Slate)
Psaki Declines To Say Whether Biden Still Views Cuomo As ‘Gold Standard’ (JTN)
The Battery of American Power Is Running Flat (SCF)
Boeing 777s Grounded Around World After Denver Engine Failure (R.)
Garland Expected To Become Biden’s AG (Hill)
Vitamin D: Doctors Will Further Erode Trust In Experts (Cook)
Canada To Follow Australia, Take On Facebook, Seek Payment For Content (NYP)
Disney Labels ‘The Muppet Show’ As ‘Offensive Content’ (RT)

 

 

It’s Andrew Cuomo day! Why is he still in office? Well, the Dems want the GOP to go after him, so they don’t have to. Biden won’t have anything to do with this hot potato, until and unless he can squeeze political capital out of it. Among lower level Dems, there are too many that Cuomo has collected dirt on – or that are afraid he did.

This may take a while therefore, everyone’s playing a waiting game. And the press drip-drip new stories about Cuomo every day, without condemning him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’ll be the first to deny it.

Biden’s $1.9-Trillion Big Spend Is A Big Bet On MMT (LAT)

As Stephanie Kelton, former chief economist on the Senate Budget Committee, argues in her bestseller “The Deficit Myth,” the country’s real deficits are in healthcare, jobs, infrastructure, education and the climate. But rather than address those things by spending, writes Kelton, the government proceeds in terror of not “balancing the budget,” falsely believing that an unbalanced budget is the source of inflation. “We run around like a six-foot-tall guy who wanders around perpetually hunched over in a house with eight-foot ceilings because someone convinced him that if he tries to stand up tall he’ll suffer a massive head trauma,” she writes. Jason Furman, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama, concurs. “Given low interest rates, the United States actually has even more fiscal room to respond to the crisis today than it did in the financial crisis,” he told me. “We should use that room.”

If the Biden stimulus goes through, and inflation doesn’t skyrocket, the experiment may bear out a new monetary theory. It could be time at last for the nation to stand tall, and unfurl its economy to its full height. Of course, an experiment on such a big scale is unnerving, and Biden is facing substantial criticism for the $1.9-trillion plan. Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist at the IMF, tweeted earlier this month that such a stimulus would not just overheat the economy; it would incinerate it. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers issued a less hyperbolic warning but he brought up the fear: The policy would need to come with an aggressive fiscal policy to keep “inflationary pressures” at bay.

Kelton doesn’t completely disagree. On Twitter, she pointed out that the modern monetary theory she advocates requires Congress to stop talking about budgets and start talking entirely about mitigating inflation, if it comes, by other monetary policy means. You’re going to hear a lot more kvetching about government spending and, geez, $1.9 trillion. But remember, no one pushing Biden’s plan is trying to pave the way for a big, fat inflationary decade, filled with 1970s malaise, austerity measures and agony at the pump. They’re just willing to bet that a nearly $2-trillion stimulus, if the economy is monitored closely enough, will improve infrastructure, education, climate and healthcare, while making employers eager to find workers, which will push up wages and benefits. Which all sounds great. Especially when the checks show up.

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“New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—..”

Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal May Rise To Federal Level Of Criminal Offense (Fox)

Legal experts are warning that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s alleged undercounting of nursing-home deaths amid the COVID-19 pandemic may rise to the level of a criminal offense. Cuomo has found himself at the center of a federal investigation into whether his administration sought to hide the true toll of the pandemic. The New York Post reported earlier this month that Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, told lawmakers the administration had withheld the numbers for fear of them being “used against us.” In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, John B. Daukas, who served as acting U.S. attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, wrote that DeRosa’s reported admissions weren’t “merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal.”


Daukas said numerous federal statutes could apply, noting that Cuomo’s administration is accusing of both making false statements to the federal government and trying to thwart an investigation. “Even if it cannot be proved that the Cuomo administration knowingly provided false information to Justice and the (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—which, after all, is exactly what Ms. DeRosa reportedly said the administration did,” Daukas wrote. And on Saturday, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett said DeRosa’s admission to lawmakers – if true – constitutes a potential obstruction of justice charge. Per the federal statute, Jarrett noted, if a government official falsifies or hides evidence to avoid triggering an investigation (or acts out of fear that such a probe may occur) that official is still culpable under the law of obstruction.”

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There’s a shredder working overtime somewhere…

Scalise Requests Data On NY Nursing Home COVID Deaths (SAC)

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) faces increasing criticism over reports that his administration underreported coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes and a preliminary federal investigation underway, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) renewed his call Friday for Cuomo to provide all data on such deaths, describing his administration’s alleged conduct as an “apparent obstruction of justice”. Scalise, the ranking member of Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, reiterated his call in a press release emailed Friday afternoon by the House Oversight Republicans. The press release cites the February 11 New York Post exposé reporting that Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, had privately admitted to Democratic lawmakers that the administration withheld nursing home death data out of fear that it would be “used against us” by federal prosecutors.

On top of that, the release mentioned the report that Cuomo had allegedly threatened a Democratic assemblyman if he didn’t help cover up the nursing home deaths. “This apparent obstruction of justice necessitates an immediate and thorough investigation by Congress especially in light of the recent revelation that you and your Administration engaged in a cover-up aimed at concealing your culpability in New York State’s COVID-19 nursing home crisis,” Scalise wrote. “Recent reporting suggests that your attempts to cover-up the truth and conceal your culpability extend beyond obstruction to threats of retaliation toward anyone who might cross you. This behavior appears to be your modus operandi when anyone attempts to question your ‘leadership.’”

The press release goes on to mention that the subcommittee’s Republicans have repeatedly called for Cuomo to provide information regarding his since-rescinded directive ordering nursing homes and long-term care facilities to admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals. According to the press release, they first asked the governor in June 2020, and subsequent times in July 2020 and last month. [..] In a letter from Scalise to Cuomo attached to the press release, the Louisiana Republican touched on the aforementioned points but also requested transcribed interviews from DeRosa and New York Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker.

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Some are just too pissed off.

More New York Politicians Accuse Cuomo Of Threatening Behavior (F.)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a growing number of allegations he and his subordinates routinely threaten critics, with two New York politicians – a former Democratic congressional candidate and a Republican ex-rival of Cuomo’s – recounting to Forbes their hostile experiences with the governor’s staff. Nate McMurray, a two-time House candidate in Western New York, told Forbes that after criticizing Cuomo for plans to attend a Buffalo Bills game, he received a call from a Cuomo aide on New Years Eve that began “you motherf***er,” before devolving into threats like “you’re done in politics.” McMurray said he took down his tweet after the call because he was “scared” and looking for a job after his run, adding that he’s heard from people in both Cuomo’s staff and the New York legislature about a “pervasive culture of fear that has trickled down from his office.”

“We’ve all been yelled at by someone in that administration,” Marc Molinaro, a Republican county executive in upstate New York who ran against Cuomo in 2018, told Forbes, adding, “It’s unacceptable but how they operate.” Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, tweeted that she was “flooded” with stories from people who said they were “bullied, mistreated, or intimidated” by Cuomo, a statement echoed by former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan, who has previously accused him of harassment. Alessandra Biaggi, a Democratic state senator, told the New Yorker Cuomo once asked her to “tell me again how your grandfather’s career ended,” which she perceived as a threat given that her grandfather, Mario Biaggi, resigned over a corruption scandal – though a Cuomo spokesperson told the New Yorker it was about the “importance of integrity in government.”

Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean tweeted that she was told by someone close to the Cuomo family to “‘Watch my back,’” when she began speaking out against him prolifically over the coronavirus-related deaths of her parents, who were both nursing home residents.

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“..a serially underachieving chief executive playing three-card monte with dead bodies. At this point, Andrew Cuomo could probably shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.”

Why Do Democrats Pretend Andrew Cuomo Did a Good Job With COVID? (Slate)

Most concerningly, Cuomo’s administration admitted this month that it had been excluding nursing home residents who died of COVID but didn’t technically die on the grounds of their facilities from its official count of COVID-related nursing home deaths. Since many such residents died only after being hospitalized, this had the effect of making the state’s nursing home outbreak look thousands of deaths smaller than it actually was. Cuomo’s office appears to have compiled the more comprehensive, accurate data months ago but didn’t release it until the state’s attorney general—who is elected independently of the governor—issued a Jan. 28 report alleging that nursing home deaths had been undercounted.

(It does not look like the discrepancy could have resulted from innocent semantic misunderstandings: A representative of the data team that manages the AARP Public Policy Institute’s Nursing Home COVID-19 dashboard noted to Slate that “CDC guidance for the data we use in our dashboard specifically states that resident deaths are supposed to be counted regardless of the place of death,” while the managing editor of the COVID Tracking Project said its staff is “not currently aware of any other US state or territory that reports deaths associated with nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities in the way that New York did for most of the pandemic.”)

[..] His press conference performances notwithstanding, the facts and evidence show that Cuomo is not someone who cares much about facts and evidence. But his liberal supporters don’t care: A Siena College poll taken after the nursing home scandal broke found that 83 percent of New York Democrats still approve of Cuomo’s handling of COVID, with more than 80 percent also saying specifically that they approve of his work “communicating with the people of New York” and “providing accurate information.”

To hammer home the cognitive dissonance, only 54 percent said he’d done a good job “making public all data about COVID-related deaths of nursing home patients,” which suggests both that 54 percent of New York Democrats are full of it and that a significant portion of the rest of them know Cuomo is full of it but don’t care. To many voters, celebrating the idea of the competent blue-state governor is more important than reckoning with the reality of a serially underachieving chief executive playing three-card monte with dead bodies. At this point, Andrew Cuomo could probably shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

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Hot potato.

Psaki Declines To Say Whether Biden Still Views Cuomo As ‘Gold Standard’ (JTN)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during an interview on ABC’s This Week would not provide a direct answer about whether President Biden still considers New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the “gold standard” on dealing with the coronavirus crisis. Journalist Jonathan Karl posed the question after playing a clip of Biden last year stating that Cuomo has performed “one hell of a job” and describing the governor as “sorta the gold standard.” Cuomo, who has come under fire for his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic, has faced heightened scrutiny since his top aide Melissa DeRosa revealed the administration held back on answering questions from lawmakers due to concerns about a potential Justice Department investigation.


“Well John, we work with Governor Cuomo just like we work with governors across the country,” Psaki said, noting that Cuomo chairs the National Governors Association and has “an important role in ensuring that we’re coordinating closely in getting assistance out to people of his state and to states across the country.” She said that any matter of investigations would be in the hands of “the appropriate law enforcement authorities to determine how that path is going to move as we look forward. ”But we are going to continue to work with a range of governors, including of course Governor Cuomo because we think the people of New York, the people of states across the country need assistance, not just to get through the pandemic, but to get through this difficult economic time.”

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NATO and Pentagon are Siamese twins.

The Battery of American Power Is Running Flat (SCF)

Historically, the United States relies on NATO as a conduit to project its power and influence over Europe. This was its fundamental objective when NATO was first set up in 1949 at the start of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. In recent decades, NATO has assumed an ever-expanding purpose for American imperial power projection, encompassing not just Western Europe but all of Europe right up to Russia’s borders. NATO has become a vehicle for American hegemonic ambitions holding sway over the Balkans, Caucasia, North Africa and the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. For an organization that nominally originated for maintaining security in the North Atlantic, it sounds rather odd indeed to hear its spokesmen talk now about the need for NATO to confront China.

That oddly expanded global mission reflects the real but unspoken fact that NATO is all about serving American global ambitions. Former President Trump was too ignorant or obsessed with money-grubbing financial costs – “we’re being ripped off” he would repeatedly complain with regard to NATO – to realize the strategic bigger picture of what the alliance is really purposed to serve. Under a new man in the White House – an old-time establishment operative – there is seemingly a more consensual approach with allies. Nevertheless, underlying the liberal lexicon there is the same old mantra of hostility towards Russia and China. Lloyd Austin, the Pentagon chief, told European allies this week that there would have to be “more burden sharing” in order to confront the “threats” allegedly posed by Russia and China.

Biden continued the same theme of confronting Russia and China during his G7 and Munich conferences over the weekend. American hegemonic ambitions required to satisfy its corporate capitalism are dependent on a zero-sum geopolitics. The globe must divided into spheres of influence as in the earlier Cold War decades. There must be antagonism to thwart genuine cooperation which is anathema to American capitalism. Indeed, it can be said that the Cold War never actually ended when the Soviet Union dissolved more three decades ago. America’s imperialist ideology continued under new guises of “fighting terrorism”, “democracy promotion and nation building”, or more recently “great power competition” with Russia and China.

The bottom line is that NATO is more important than ever for enabling Washington’s global power ambitions given the demise of American capitalism and the rise of China and Eurasia. NATO provides a crucial political cover for what would otherwise be seen as naked American imperialism.

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Ha ha ha: “Boeing has recommended grounding..”

Yeah, Boeing’s a very responible corporate citizen…

Boeing 777s Grounded Around World After Denver Engine Failure (R.)

Boeing has recommended grounding more than 120 of its 777 jets worldwide following a catastrophic engine failure on a United Airlines plane in Denver. The company said on Sunday night that airlines using the same type of engine that scattered debris across Denver before making an emergency landing should suspend operations until inspections could be carried out. Flight 328 was flying from Denver International Airport to Honolulu with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board on Saturday when one engine failed shortly after take-off. Police in Broomfield, Colorado posted photos of pieces of debris from the plane near houses and other buildings. There were no reports of any injuries on the ground or among the passengers.

United Airlines said it was temporarily grounding all 24 of its Boeing 777s on active duty, and Japan’s aviation regulator swiftly followed suit, ordering Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) to cease flying 777s that use the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines while it considered whether to take additional measures. Japan said ANA operated 19 of that kind and JAL operated 13. The planes are also used by carriers in South Korea. A spokeswoman for South Korea’s transport ministry, speaking before Boeing’s statement, said it was monitoring the situation but had not yet taken any action. Korean Air Lines said it had 12 of the planes, half of them stored, and it would consult with the manufacturer and regulators and stop flying them to Japan for now.

Boeing said in total 69 of the planes were in service and 59 were in storage, at a time when airlines have grounded planes due to a plunge in demand associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency directive late on Sunday that required immediate or stepped-up inspections of planes similar to the one involved in the Denver incident. “We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident,” the FAA said in a statement from its administrator, Steve Dickson . “Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes. “This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service”.

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What will happen to Durham and the Hunter files?

Garland Expected To Become Biden’s AG (Hill)

Nearly five years after Senate Republicans refused to grant Merrick Garland a hearing to be confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court, the appeals court judge is getting his chance to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, this time as President Biden’s choice to be attorney general. In 2016, former President Obama nominated Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not allow a hearing on the nomination, citing the presidential election eight months later. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the seat on the high court the following year, just more than two months after he was nominated by former President Trump.

Garland is one of the last major Cabinet appointments by Biden, and he is likely to secure confirmation with bipartisan support despite the former Republican blockade on his last nomination. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has said Garland’s experience “makes him well-suited to lead the Department of Justice, and I appreciated his commitment to keep politics out of the Justice Department.” “Unless I hear something new, I expect to support his nomination before the full Senate,” Cornyn added, according to The Associated Press. In opening remarks released Sunday, Garland pledged to address the threat of domestic extremism as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, specifically invoking the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“From 1995 to 1997, I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government,” Garland’s remarks read. “If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.” Biden has pledged that the Justice Department during his tenure will be free of political influence or interference.

The Justice Department has asked for the resignations of all Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys, a somewhat typical move for incoming administrations. But Biden left in place the U.S. attorney in Delaware in charge of investigating the tax affairs of his son Hunter Biden. He is also allowing U.S. Attorney John Durham to continue in his role as a special prosecutor probing the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, a position appointed by former Attorney General William Barr. [..] Garland currently serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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Jonnathan Cook picks the wrong angle. Vitamin D given to severely ill people is not the story.

Vitamin D: Doctors Will Further Erode Trust In Experts (Cook)

The role of Vitamin D on our general wellbeing and health has come under increasing scrutiny over the past two decades after it was discovered that it is the only vitamin for which there is a receptor in every cell in our body. Long before Covid, researchers had begun to understand that Vitamin D’s role in regulating our immune systems was chronically under-appreciated by most doctors. The medical profession was stuck in a paradigm from the 1950s in which Vitamin D’s use related chiefly to bone health. As a consequence, today’s recommended daily allowances – usually between 400IU and 800IU – were established long ago in accordance with the minimum needed for healthy bones rather than the maximum needed for a healthy immune system.

Today we know that many people in northern latitudes, especially the elderly, are deficient or severely deficient in Vitamin D, even those taking these low-level supplements. In fact, it would be true to say there is a global plague of Vitamin D deficiency, even in many sunny countries where people have lost the habit of spending time outdoors or shield themselves from the sun. The doctors and researchers who have been gradually piecing together the critically important role of Vitamin D are the medical equivalent of the dissident journalists who try to present a realistic picture of what goes on in Israel-Palestine.

Because Big Pharma can make no serious money from Vitamin D, researchers into the sun hormone have struggled to raise funds for their work and have mostly been denied corporate platforms from which to publicise the stunning findings they have made. Until recently, corporate medicine simply ignored most Vitamin D research, relegating it to the supposedly fringe science of “nutrition”, which is why most doctors know little or nothing about it. With the outbreak of Covid, when these Vitamin D studies should finally have come into their own, researchers found themselves shunted further into the margins. Just as journalists, politicians and human rights groups trying to tell you real things about Israel get labelled antisemites, anyone trying to tell you real things about Vitamin D gets labelled a crank, conspiracy theorist or Covid denier.

The desperate need for Covid treatments has not led to intensified interest in Vitamin D among most doctors, even though it is very cheap, almost completely safe even in large doses, and has been shown to help in damping down immune over-reaction of exactly the kind killing Covid patients. Rather, the opportunity for Big Pharma to develop a magic bullet to treat Covid has led to an intensified campaign to discredit Vitamin D research.

Read more …

When you threaten sovereign nations, others will notice.

Canada To Follow Australia, Take On Facebook, Seek Payment For Content (NYP)

Canada is poised to take on Facebook, following the example set by Australia, which began a war with the tech giant when the country’s publishers backed proposed legislation demanding payment for their content. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault condemned Facebook’s actions as “highly irresponsible” last week when the social media giant removed all Australian news content from its sites in retaliation. Guilbeault warned that Canada would be next in making sure Facebook paid for news content from Canadian publishers. Guilbeault is charged with drafting legislation in the next few months that would require Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay up. “Canada is at the forefront of this battle … we are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this,” Guilbeault told reporters.


Guilbeault said he recently met with government ministers from Australia, Finland, France and Germany to hammer out a common front with respect to Google and Facebook, the Globe and Mail reported.“It was the first ministerial meeting where we jointly started talking about what we want to do together regarding web giants, including fair compensation for media. We believe that there’s real strength in unity on that,” he said, adding that the growing coalition of countries opposed to Facebook and Google could soon reach 15. “I’m a bit curious to see what Facebook’s response will be. Is Facebook going to cut ties with Germany, with France, with Canada, with Australia and other countries that will join? At a certain point, Facebook’s position will be completely untenable.”

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But not for animal cruelty?!

Disney Labels ‘The Muppet Show’ As ‘Offensive Content’ (RT)

Five seasons of ‘The Muppet Show’ appeared on the Disney+ streaming service on Friday night but many viewers were shocked to discover that one of their childhood favorites is now considered “offensive content.” According to a warning from Disney, the show features “stereotypes” and “mistreatment of people or cultures.” “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the roughly 300 billion-dollar corporate giant declared. “Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”


No references are made to what specifically Disney considers to be offensive about the show’s content, though it does depict minorities including Asians and people from the Middle East, as well as featuring a homeless character named “Oscar the grouch” who lives in a trash can. In season five, singer Johnny Cash also performs in front of a confederate flag. “Even the Muppets are now ‘offensive.’ Anyone watching ‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney+ will first see a warning against ‘offensive content.’ It’s time to pack up, seriously,”wrote one baffled Twitter user.

Read more …

 

 

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Jul 242020
 


Vincent van Gogh Branches Of An Almond Tree In Blossom in Red 1890

 

Coronavirus Traveled Nearly 30 Feet At German Slaughterhouse (ZH)
US Clears Way For Drugmakers To Share COVID Antibody Capacity (R.)
Over 30 Million Americans About to Lose $600 in Unemployment Benefits (Mish)
More Than 1,000 People At Twitter Had Ability To Aid Hack Of Accounts (R.)
How the Child Care Crisis Will Distort the Economy for a Generation (Pol.)
Georgia’s Governor And Atlanta’s Mayor Ordered To Mediate Face Mask Fight (R.)
Pompeo Urges More Assertive Approach To ‘Frankenstein’ China (R.)
China’s Three Gorges Dam At The Brink (AC)
Congress Blocks Defunding the Pentagon: What We Could Do With The Money (MPN)
Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Opens As A Mosque For Muslim Prayers (AP)
Disney Postpones ‘Mulan’ Indefinitely, Delays ‘Avatar’ And ‘Star Wars’ (R.)

 

 

No records, nothing terribly spectacular, but the numbers remain elevated. When you look at the daily new cases in the US since mid-June, that’s quite the graph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maté
https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1286504352203644930

 

 

 

 

Slaughterhouses and care homes. What do they have in common?

Coronavirus Traveled Nearly 30 Feet At German Slaughterhouse (ZH)

COVID-19 particles traveled 26 feet across a German slaughterhouse where approximtely 1,500 workers contracted the virus, according to researchers who reconstructed the likely cause of the outbreak at the Toennies Groups slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck. According to Bloomberg, a combination of cold, stale air allowed the virus to spread over such a long distance, raising concerns that the same might happen at meat plants worldwide. And while the virus is significantly less deadly than originally thought, it can lead to significant disruptions, as it takes between two weeks and several months to recover. Some patients still report symptoms, though how contagious they are is yet to be seen.

“Similar conditions at plants globally are a reason they’ve become virus epicenters, according to the report from groups including the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research. Meat plants from the U.S. to the U.K. and South America have seen the rapid spread of the virus, infecting thousands of employees who often work in close proximity on processing lines. Dozens of workers have died, and labor advocates have said that a lack of social distancing could continue to put people at risk. Outbreaks also forced American meat plants to close earlier this year, sparking some protein shortages”. -Bloomberg

The Tonnies outbreak is believed to have been caused in May by a single employee who infected the rest of their co-workers in the plant’s dismantling area, where temperatures hover around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Adam Grundhoff, co-author of the study, chilly air circulated without frequent changes, combined with a strenuous work environment, helped move virus particles long distances. “It is very likely that these factors generally play a crucial role in the global outbreaks in meat or fish processing plants,” said Grundhoff, a research group leader at the Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology. He added that distances of 1.5 to 3 meters (5 to 10 feet) is insufficient to prevent transmission.

“The Toennies plant — Germany’s largest pork abattoir — reopened last week after a month-long closure and plans to gradually ramp up output. The company, which posted a link to the research report on Twitter, also recently released a 25-point plan detailing measures it’s making to prevent further outbreaks. They include testing employees twice a week, hiring workers directly and overhauling ventilation. The report’s findings show that no factory worldwide was built for such a crisis, and the company has invested in air filters and other mechanisms to protect employees, a Toennies spokesman said by email. -Bloomberg The workers’ housing conditions were not found to play a significant role in the outbreaks.

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Keep the profit making out of it.

US Clears Way For Drugmakers To Share COVID Antibody Capacity (R.)

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday said it will not stand in the way of efforts by companies, including Eli Lilly and Co and Amgen Inc, to share information to help scale up capacity to manufacture antibody treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In a letter to Lilly, Amgen, AbCellera Biologics, AstraZeneca Plc, Roche Holding’s Genentech unit and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the DOJ said demand for monoclonal antibodies targeting COVID-19 is likely to exceed what one firm could produce on its own. The drugmakers are in various stages of developing experimental monoclonal antibodies – manufactured proteins designed to bind to a targeted cell, neutralize it and mark it for destruction by the immune system – for treatment, or even prevention, of COVID-19.


Monoclonal antibodies are among the most common type of biotech medicines, used for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and many other conditions. The DOJ did not include Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, which expects to have definitive trial results for its dual-antibody treatment by late summer or early fall. The Department of Health and Human Services in June awarded Regeneron a $450 million contract and the company has cleared the way for U.S. manufacturing of its antibody cocktail by moving production of its other products to a plant in Ireland. “Waiting until regulators approve specific treatments before scaling up manufacturing might delay access to these potentially life-saving medicines by many months,” the agency said in its letter.

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I don’t think they’ll let it happen. But only at the very last minute, or even a step beyond that. It’s not about people, it’s about power.

Over 30 Million Americans About to Lose $600 in Unemployment Benefits (Mish)

How Many Set to Lose $600 Checks? CNBC says More than 25 million Americans are set to lose the $600 unemployment boost next week. The Century Foundation says More than 25 Million Americans Are About to Lose an Essential $600-a-Week Unemployment Insurance Benefit. Forbes says “some 25 million unemployed workers are finishing the last week of the expanded federal unemployment benefits and will soon only receive state unemployment benefits, which average $378 per week.” To determine a better number, let’s review the Department of Labor Guidelines.

Programs which entitle an individual to receive FPUC. This program provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular UC (including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)), as well as the following unemployment compensation programs: • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) • Extended Benefits (EB) • Short-Time Compensation (STC) • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) • Payments under the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program

[..] Republicans, especially Trump, do not want to extend the $600 benefit because many make more being unemployed than they did working. This is what the bickering is all about. The last full week in July ends Saturday July 25 for most state UI programs. And that is when the benefits expire, not July 31. Rubio proposes taking up the lapse in insurance “by the first week in August.” That would be too late.

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Don’t use Twitter for anything confidential. Easy.

More Than 1,000 People At Twitter Had Ability To Aid Hack Of Accounts (R.)

More than a thousand Twitter employees and contractors as of earlier this year had access to internal tools that could change user account settings and hand control to others, two former employees said, making it hard to defend against the hacking that occurred last week. Twitter Inc and the FBI are investigating the breach that allowed hackers to repeatedly tweet from verified accounts of the likes of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Twitter said on Saturday that the perpetrators “manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials” to log into tools and turn over access to 45 accounts.


On Wednesday, it said that the hackers could have read direct messages to and from 36 accounts but did not identify the affected users. The former employees familiar with Twitter security practices said that too many people could have done the same thing, more than 1,000 as of earlier in 2020, including some at contractors like Cognizant. “That sounds like there are too many people with access,” said Edward Amoroso, former chief security officer at AT&T. Responsibilities among the staff should have been split up, with access rights limited to those responsibilities and more than one person required to agree to make the most sensitive account changes. “In order to do cyber security right, you can’t forget the boring stuff.”

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Another matter, like the pandemic preparedness, that has festered for decades, waiting to see the light. Communities should be able to solve this, but not if you make it profit-based.

How the Child Care Crisis Will Distort the Economy for a Generation (Pol.)

Schools across the U.S. are closed because of the coronavirus, and unlikely to reopen safely anytime soon. Parents are exhausted from constant, round-the-clock care while trying to work from home; some have chosen to leave their jobs, or switch to part-time work, just to take care of their kids. And kids themselves are slipping behind academically. Now comes the bad news: We haven’t seen the worst of it yet. When the economist Betsey Stevenson looks at the pandemic-era economic crisis, she sees a long-simmering child care crisis that has suddenly surged to the foreground of people’s lives—and whose true scope we’ve barely begun to reckon with. Its potential to inflict lasting damage to the economy is enormous, and it’s getting short shrift in the recovery plans coming out of Washington.

“The work of recovering from it will not end just because we have a vaccine,” says Stevenson, a labor economist at the University of Michigan and former member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “We are making choices right now about where we will be as an economy in 20 years, in 30 years, based on what we do with these kids.” Among those most likely to be affected are working mothers, who shoulder an outsize share of child care responsibilities, and have suddenly had far more work dropped in their laps. Women already need to make difficult choices between work advancement and their family roles, which can bring down their incomes over time; Stevenson expects the crisis to make that conflict sharply worse: “The impact of the child care crisis on women’s outcomes is going to be felt over the next decade.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that both parents work in two-thirds of families in which married parents have children — as do the majority of America’s 13.6 million single parents. For all of them, there are major long-term financial repercussions of dropping out of the labor market, even temporarily. “When you talk about upward mobility,” she says, “this puts families on just a completely different trajectory that’s not about losing two or three years of income; it’s about being on a lower earnings trajectory for the rest of your life.”

And for anyone hoping a vaccine will allow a quick, healthy reopening sometime next year, she says: Don’t count on it. “We are letting the whole child care system erode in such a way that it’s not going to be there for us when we are fully ready to go back. You’re seeing child care centers that can’t stay in business. They can’t figure out how to reopen. They can’t keep their employees on staff. They’re letting people go,” Stevenson says. “Once we are ready to have all the jobs come back and we’re really ready to recover, even though we’ll have opened the schools, opened the child care centers, the workers aren’t going to be there, the slots aren’t going to be there.”

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Apparently nobody is clear on what the law says, or what the plans are, who’s responsible for what.

Georgia’s Governor And Atlanta’s Mayor Ordered To Mediate Face Mask Fight (R.)

A Georgia judge on Thursday ordered the governor and Atlanta’s mayor to enter mediation over the governor’s lawsuit aimed at stopping the city from enforcing its requirement that people wear masks in public during the coronavirus pandemic. Fulton Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick ordered Governor Brian Kemp and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to attend mediation with another judge and try to resolve the dispute before an emergency hearing scheduled in the case for Tuesday. Earlier this month, Kemp, a Republican, barred local leaders from requiring people to wear masks. Even so, several Georgia cities, including Democratic-led Atlanta, Savannah and Athens, defied the governor’s order and kept local mandates in place in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.


Bottoms told reporters that she and Kemp spoke by phone on the matter. “We are both in agreement that masks saves lives,” she said. “Hopefully we can move past this.” The governor’s office filed a lawsuit on July 16 against Bottoms and the Atlanta city council, arguing that local officials lack the legal authority to override Kemp’s orders. “Kemp must be allowed, as the chief executive of this state, to manage a public health emergency without Mayor Bottoms issuing void and unenforceable orders which only serve to confuse the public,” the 16-page complaint read. More than 4 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with the virus, including more than 150,000 cases in Georgia with more than 3,000 fatalities in the state. Kemp has stood apart even from his Republican counterparts on the mask issue. More than half of all states have statewide mask mandates.

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There are no “freedom-loving nations of the world”. There are only power-lovong politicians. And they’re everywhere.

Pompeo Urges More Assertive Approach To ‘Frankenstein’ China (R.)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at China on Thursday and said Washington and its allies must use “more creative and assertive ways” to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its ways, calling it the “mission of our time.” Speaking at the Nixon Library in President Richard Nixon’s birthplace in Yorba Linda, California, Pompeo said the former U.S. leader’s worry about what he had done by opening the world to China’s Communist Party in the 1970s had been prophetic. “President Nixon once said he feared he had created a ‘Frankenstein’ by opening the world to the CCP,” Pompeo said. “And here we are.” Nixon, who died in 1994 and was president from 1969-74, opened the way for the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with Communist China in 1979 through a series of contacts, including a visit to Beijing in 1972.

In a major speech delivered after Washington’s surprise order this week for China to close its Houston consulate, Pompeo called for an end to “blind engagement” with China and repeated frequently leveled U.S. charges about its unfair trade practices, human rights abuses and efforts to infiltrate American society. He said China’s military had became “stronger and more menacing” and the approach to Beijing should be “distrust and verify,” adapting President Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” mantra about the Soviet Union in the 1980s. “The truth is that our policies – and those of other free nations – resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it,” Pompeo said.

“The freedom-loving nations of the world must induce China to change … in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.” Recalling remarks he made after meeting British leaders in London this week, Pompeo said “maybe it’s time for a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies,” while adding: “If the free world doesn’t change, Communist China will surely change us.” Pompeo said “securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time,” and America was perfectly positioned to lead it.

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“..the flood has already raised the water dammed behind the Three Gorges to 50 — fifty — feet higher than the maximum flood level.”

China’s Three Gorges Dam At The Brink (AC)

China’s massive Three Gorges Dam project on the upper Yangtze River is at risk. If that dam breaks, the resulting flooding would be a catastrophe of world-historical proportions. Hundreds of millions of people live along the lower Yangtze River. And the catastrophe wouldn’t simply be confined to China. The lower Yangtze is China’s commercial and industrial heartland — which means it is perhaps the world’s most important economic region. If it is swept away by a torrent, it could easily crater the already weak world economy. The Wall Street Journal‘s Jonathan Cheng [..] says that the flood has already raised the water dammed behind the Three Gorges to 50 — fifty — feet higher than the maximum flood level.


Rain is still falling this week in central China. I am told by a Chinese media follower that the government has just raised the emergency level in five affected provinces — Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu — to the highest level below martial law, as part of last-ditch efforts to protect the Three Gorges Dam. The state is releasing water from tributary dams, flooding those provinces even worse than they already have been, because the alternative — a Three Gorges Dam collapse — is unthinkable. The WSJ’s Cheng said that China has had its worst economic year in four decades because of Covid, but if that dam goes, the damage to China’s economy will “dwarf” what Covid has done to it.

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Thank a war party of your preference.

Congress Blocks Defunding the Pentagon: What We Could Do With The Money (MPN)

The majority of House Democrats joined with the Republican colleagues yesterday in voting down progressive legislation that would have cut the Pentagon budget by 10 percent ($74 billion) and used the money to fund healthcare, housing, and education for the poorest Americans. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, sponsored by Barbara Lee (D–CA) and Mark Pocan (D–WI) was soundly defeated 93-324, with 139 Democrats joining all 185 voting Republicans in rejecting the idea. Despite the defeat, Pocan vowed to continue pushing an anti-war agenda. “We will keep fighting for pro-peace, pro-people budgets until it becomes a reality,” he said.


Democrats who voted against the military budget cuts received over three times the contributions from the defense industry as those who voted for the reduction. Earlier today, the Senate also voted down the proposal. The result will no doubt disappoint the majority of Americans as well. A poll conducted last week by Data for Progress found that 56 percent of the country supported the idea to defund the military and use the money to fight COVID-19 alleviate the growing housing crisis. Democrat-voters supported the plan by 69 to 19 percent, with Republicans also backing it, by 50 to 37 percent. The proposal is hardly a radical shift; the military’s budget has increased by around 20 percent under President Trump alone, reaching near-historic highs.

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Erdogan is not done by a long shot. The talk of the day in Greece is all about war. BILD in Germany says Merkel called Erdogan two days ago and narrowly prevented Greece firing on Turkish vessels in the Med.

Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Opens As A Mosque For Muslim Prayers (AP)

Hundreds of Muslim faithfuls were making their way to Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia on Friday to take part in the first prayers in 86 years at the structure that once was one of Christendom’s most significant cathedrals, then a mosque and museum before its reconversion into a Muslim place of worship. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to attend the inaugural prayers inside the sixth-century monument along with around 500 dignitaries, as he fulfills what he has described as the “dream of our youth” anchored in Turkey’s Islamic movement. Thousands of men and women, including many who traveled from across Turkey, are set to perform prayers in segregated areas outside Hagia Sophia. Several camped near the structure overnight.

Orthodox church leaders in Greece and the United States, meanwhile, were scheduled to observe “a day of mourning” over the inaugural prayers. Brushing aside international criticism, Erdogan issued a decree restoring the iconic building as a mosque earlier this month, shortly after a Turkish high court ruled that the Hagia Sophia had been illegally made into a museum more than eight decades ago. The structure has since been renamed “The Grand Hagia Sophia Mosque.” The move sparked dismay in Greece, the United States and among Christian churches who had called on Erdogan to maintain it as a museum as a nod to Istanbul’s multi-religious heritage and the structure’s status as a symbol of Christian and Muslim unity. Pope Francis expressed his sadness.

Built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque with the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding leader of the secular Turkish republic converted the structure into a museum in 1934. Although an annex to the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan’s pavilion, has been open to prayers since the 1990s, religious and nationalists group in Turkey have long yearned for the nearly 1,500-year-old edifice, which they regard as the legacy of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the conquerer, to be reverted into a mosque.

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What happened to streaming?

Disney Postpones ‘Mulan’ Indefinitely, Delays ‘Avatar’ And ‘Star Wars’ (R.)

Walt Disney Co on Thursday postponed the debut of its movie “Mulan” indefinitely, dealing a new blow to theater operators that were counting on the live-action epic to help attract audiences during a pandemic. ViacomCBS Inc’s Paramount Pictures also said “Top Gun: Maverick”, the much-awaited sequel to the Tom Cruise-starring “Top Gun”, has been delayed to July 2, 2021 from December 23, 2020. “Mulan” was scheduled to reach theaters in March but its release has been postponed several times as many cinemas remain closed. The film had most recently been set to debut on Aug. 21 and theater operators had hoped it would help spark a late-summer rebound for movie-going.


Disney also said it had delayed the next film installments from two of its biggest franchises, “Avatar” and “Star Wars,” by one year as the novel coronavirus has disrupted production. The “Avatar” sequel is now set to debut in theaters in December 2022, and the next “Star Wars” movie in December 2023. “It’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis,” a Disney representative said. “Today that means pausing our release plans for ‘Mulan’ as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world.” The “Mulan” delay follows Warner Bros decision to postpone the August release of Christopher Nolan thriller “Tenet.” The two films were seen as theaters’ best chance to salvage part of the lucrative summer season.

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