We associate the term “mass psychosis” with the reaction(s) to Covid, but I would argue it’s been around a lot longer, and broader. At least since 2015, and the media coverage (if you can even call it that) of Donald Trump, his campaign and his presidency. I have no special sympathy for Trump (though some people doubt that), but that episode, and the “coverage” of it, did wake me up -even more- to how the media -and US “intelligence”, and Trump’s various opponents- influenced the way they wanted people to think.
And perhaps the best way to illustrate this is the “heroes” they have been promoting ever since. It’s not just Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the “Trump days”, this model is still used to date. They make people like, and thereby trust, certain characters, and we’re off to the races. One thing that sticks out is how in the cases of Trump-Russia, Covid, and Ukraine-Russia, there are these personae that were getting adorned with celebratory candles and stuff like that.
The first person we saw that with was Robert Mueller. He did a 2-year “investigation”, which resulted in absolutely nothing -other than some vague allegations he had no proof of either-, and which he should have halted at least a year before he did, something nobody ever called him on. At his “closing” testimony he even claimed he had never heard of Fusion GPS, one of the key components in his own “investigation”, so we wondered if he ever had any control of this probe, or if it were perhaps Andrew Weizmann and the other 40-odd lawyers, paid god knows how many millions, and had god knows what other resources.
Robert Mueller turned out to be an utter disgrace to the whole nation, and he was never called on it. Nor was anyone else involved in the Steele Dossier, or any of the other false papers in the Trump persecution. This is a pattern. And you cannot and will not have a healthy country if these things do not happen, if the invented out of whole cloth falsehoods can be swept under the carpet. The complicity of US intelligence, moreover, means that nobody will ever know. They won’t investigate themselves. Or the Democratic party that ran the whole thing. Here is Mueller on July 24, 2019. Watch and weep.
Another main character in the Trump era was Adam Schiff, who repeated numerous times that he had “ample evidence” of collusion between Russia and Trump. But who, like Mueller, never showed one single shred of evidence for it. And now Schiff is back in the January 6 committee. Look, the guy lied in Congress and the Senate, so many times he would put Pinokkio to shame, but he’s still a Congressman, and he gets to do it all over again. You cannot have a functioning society, or political system, if people get away with lying incessantly, and there’s no penalty for that.
But still, here we go again. Legal expert Jonathan Turley noticed the exact same thing:
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) went on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” to tout the work of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6th riot. In that interview, Schiff declared that the Committee has enough evidence showing former President Donald Trump “engaged in likely multiple criminal acts.” While vague on the specific crimes, Schiff emphasized that the Justice Department did not have to wait any further to launch a criminal investigation based on what has already been disclosed.
While the Committee has disclosed new evidence in the form of videotapes and testimony, it has not presented new material evidence of criminal acts in my view. That could still come but the first two hearings largely focused on a “conspiracy” to challenge the election certification and allegations that Trump knew the there was no compelling evidence of widespread election fraud.
And from the Trump investigation disgrace for America, we moved on seamlessly to Covid. Another bizarre freak show, and another media-appointed hero for whom candles were dedicated and burned: Anthony Fauci. We’re two years and change after Fauci caught the limelight, and we now know nothing, absolutely nothing, he said was true. Face masks don’t work, they instead risk making people sicker, if anything; lockdowns: same thing, and the vaccine injuries have only just started. Saw the first study today that says unvaccinated people have less risk of severe Covid, which is the 180º opposite of the last alleged positive effect the jabs were supposed to bring. Game over.
What an insane story. But Fauci, and the FDA, and all these “experts”, are preparing to jab babies. Which puts them at great risk, who have no risk from Covid . Because it puts their immune systems in danger. For life. For Pfizer and Moderna profits. How many people were killed by lockdowns? How many by vaccines? We will never know. Your grandchildren are not going to believe you allowed it to happen. But yeah, go burn a candle for Tony. And for all his brethren in all other countries. They will try again this fall. Based on no other “proof” than that provided by Pfizer. Clown world. Latest EU vaccine deaths number is 44,348. That Eudra Vigilance number, like the US VAERS system, catches maybe 1 in 10 adverse effects. If that. But we saved so many lives! No, you did not. You were killing people, under coercion, all along. For money.
Today, then, we have the Russian Special Military Operation, totally unprovoked, unless you ask Pope Francis I. And again, the media present you with a hero for whom, again, celebratory candles are consecrated. And y’all fall for it again: Vlod Zelensky. Who’s doing the most elaborate PR campaign we’ve ever seen, dozens of media appearances per day, while hundreds of his people are dying daily in a “war” effort that has zero chance of succeeding.
Sending him more weapons will only mean killing more of his people, but that doesn’t appear to be his main concern, does it? How strange! Zelensky is the alleged -but not actual- leader of one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and certainly the no. 1 in the “west”. But he provides the western arms industries with a theater in which they can test their new weapons, while at the same time raking in huge profits for old and new systems. And as the only casualties are Ukrainians and Russians, but no Americans or Germans, Raytheon and Boeing couldn’t have asked for a better set-up.
And do remember that Zelensky has also claimed that the Russians want to eradicate the entire Ukrainian population, obliterate their whole culture, kill as many Ukrainians as they can, and that Russians kill Ukrainians just for fun. Among many other things. While the reality is that Russia has sacrificed the lives of many of its soldiers in order to prevent many more Ukrainian deaths. Russia could have taken Ukraine much faster than they have without that. That is, the consideration that they are brotherly people. But that reality does not fit the west’s picture.
We are a utterly sick culture, and we don’t have much time left to wake up from that and repair it. Our real heroes have been silenced, banned, imprisoned or murdered. We will not be able to live like this much longer.
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Eva K Bartlett: According to Western media, now copy-paste reporting the same claims, Russian forces apparently secretly buried *up to 9,000 Mariupol civilians* in “mass graves” in a town just west of the city.
“Not an inch of #NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”
—Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, Feb 9 1990
“..using unfortunate citizens as expendable material while posing unshaved before cameras and talk nonsense with eyes shining from stimulators.”
Gonzalo Lira: “Remember, Medvedev is considered dovish and pro-Western—so imagine what the hawkish anti-Westerners in Moscow are like.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky does not need any peaceful settlement, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev asserted. “Zelensky does not need any peace treaty. For him, peace is the end,” he said on his Telegram channel. According to him, this end would be “either a quick one – from the Nazis who will hang him for a deal with Russians, or a slower one, from his competition who will attain his dismissal as the president who lost a war.” He pointed out that Zelensky’s retinue confirms this saying that “there will be no peace treaty.” “That is why Zelensky in the future will keep begging the West for money and weapons, trying to prove he is still in the game, that he is the hope of the liberal world, that he is the last stronghold of European democracy which a bear in a cotton-padded jacket wants to tear apart,” Medvedev said.
He added that at the same time, Zelensky would “imitate concern for Ukrainians, periodically positioning them as a human shield against the Bandera followers.” Additionally, according to the deputy chairman, the Ukrainian president will continue “to send hired killers to Russian journalists, positioning himself as a tough exterminator, spawn criminal fake news about Russia’s military operation using unfortunate citizens as expendable material while posing unshaved before cameras and talk nonsense with eyes shining from stimulators.” “There is no other way for Zelensky to remain in office. That is, if the office itself remains,” Medvedev concluded.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat lawmakers arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit with President Volodymyr Zelensky and did just what the script said: they praised the comedian for his courage and promised more weapons to keep the killing going. It is not truly U.S. support unless it comes with a trigger. Pelosi, the highest-ranking U.S. official to make the journey to Kyiv for a photo-op, promised Zelensky that more weapons were coming and Washington would continue to fund its proxy war against Moscow. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., was part of the delegation that genuflected at the Altar of Zelensky, and told reporters afterwards that there were three areas of focus: “weapons, weapons, and weapons.” He also posted a photo on his Twitter page promising Kyiv that the U.S. “is in this to win in and we will stand with Ukraine until victory is won.”
He did not clarify exactly what the U.S. was “in,” but the Biden administration has not announced publicly that the country is at war with Russia. Pelosi’s freak-show – which included Rep. Adam Schiff – was there to send an “unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.” “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we are on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” she said. Schiff, who looked like a school boy meeting his hero when waiting to shake Zelensky’s hand, also got the memo and, after the visit, said one thing is clear: “We must continue to give military aid to Ukraine, and humanitarian assistance to those seeking refuge at home and in neighboring countries like Poland.”
Schiff said he was in “awe of the courage of President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people. In the face of extreme Russian brutality, Zelenskyy has inspired his people, and freedom-loving individuals across the world.” U.S. officials have been bolder in recent weeks because the propaganda campaign has been so effective. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who once sat on Raytheon’s board, said at the news conference last week that the U.S. wants to see Russia “weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” He continued, “So it has already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.” Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also told reporters that the U.S. wants “a free and independent Ukraine,” and “that is going to involve a weakened Russia, a strengthened NATO.”
Pope Francis has said that he’s ready to meet President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in hopes of brokering an end to the war in Ukraine, according to the Vatican news agencies. He said in an interview published Tuesday by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, “I am not going to Kyiv for now; I feel that I must not go. First I must go to Moscow. First I must meet Putin. But I am also a priest, what can I do? I do what I can. If Putin would only open the door…”. The Roman Catholic leader’s criticisms of Russia’s actions in Ukraine were made clear throughout the interview, but among the more interesting and surprising lines came when he addressed the roots of the invasion and war which started on Feb 24. He told the newspaper that “the barking of NATO at the gates of Russia” is likely what motivated Putin to attack Ukraine.
Below is the relevant section of the interview, according to a machine translation from the Italian: “Pope Francis’ concern is that Putin, for the moment, will not stop . He also tries to think about the roots of this behavior, about the reasons that push him to such a brutal war. Perhaps the “barking of NATO at Russia’s door” prompted the head of the Kremlin to react badly and unleash the conflict. “An anger that I don’t know if it was provoked – he wonders – but perhaps eased, yes”. Also interesting is that Francis came close to condemning the international weapons transfers now pouring into Ukraine, led by the US which has lately authorized an unprecedented billions in military aid to Ukraine’s government.
“And now those who care about peace are faced with the great question of the supply of weapons by Western nations to the Ukrainian resistance,” the Pope began with his thoughts on this question. He admitted the question is controversial even within the Catholic world. “I can’t answer, I’m too far away, to the question of whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians,” he said, before taking a swipe at the weapons industry. “The clear thing is that weapons are being tested in that land. The Russians now know that tanks are of little use and are thinking of other things. Wars are fought for this: to test the weapons we have produced.”
“This was the case in the Spanish Civil War before the Second World War. The arms trade is a scandal, few oppose it.” He then invoked the case of the years’-long Saudi-US war on Yemen, describing that “Two or three years ago a ship loaded with weapons arrived in Genoa which had to be transferred to a large freighter to transport them to Yemen. The port workers did not want to do it. They said: let’s think of the children of Yemen. It’s a small thing, but a nice gesture. There should be so many like that.”
Ukraine is one of the fronts of the battle of Good against Evil, it is not the battle of countries or even ideas. Today is May 3rd and today I want to talk about what we’re all fighting against. It’s not even about what happens in Ukraine, but about what happens in the world in general. A Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, told us about how he was brought back to Russia . He was being transferred in manacles and they were removed only after US representative made absolutely sure the US exchange prisoner was aboard the Russian plane. Before that, for almost 24 hours, Konstantin couldn’t even drink water properly because of the manacles – he physically couldn’t take a bottle of water, so he had to ask the guard to pour water into his mouth.
That’s how Americans treat the prisoner who was already pardoned and was to be exchanged. The American prisoner was treated entirely differently, in humane conditions. And here I remembered the first thing that amazes the Ukrainian prisoners when they are taken captive – they don’t expect the decent treatment they get. They know how the Russian prisoners are treated in Ukraine – they are beaten, tortured, sometimes even killed. Ukrainians are surprised that they are not even beaten. This is a huge difference that can’t be ignored. This goes for journalism as well – the Russian journalists, like me, get regular death threats and are in real danger. There is not a single case of someone threatening a Ukrainian journalist that takes official Kiev position.
If someone makes calls to do something about them, it is about lawful actions. On another level – social networks – the situation is similar. Take note at how hateful the messaging is from Kiev-aligned posters – they call to kill children and women etc, while there’s not a single call for such things from our side. There’s like a Satanist hatred coming from their side, with constant lies – how during the first couple of weeks they called on regular Ukrainian citizens to make phone calls to their friends in Russia and lie “for the sake of Ukrainian victory”. We can see this “lying for the greater good” on all levels.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been giving details to the European Parliament of a sixth package of sanctions targeting Russia’s economy, its military and propaganda. She said that Russia’s Vladimir Putin wanted to wipe Ukraine from the map and would not succeed and it was his own country that was sinking. “We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion,” she said. “So in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and at the same time be very careful that we minimise the impact on the global market.” Von der Leyen said crude oil imports would be phased out over six months and refined products by the end of 2022.
Although she made no mention of any exemptions, two countries that are most reliant on Russian oil, Slovakia and Hungary, are expected to be given longer to find alternative sources. “Thus we maximise pressure on Russia while at the same time we minimise the collateral damage on us and our partners around the globe. We have to ensure that our economy remains strong.” She went on to give details of a package of relief and reconstruction for Ukraine: “We want to Ukraine to win this war,” she said. Von der Leyen said Ukraine’s economic output was set to fall by 35%-50% in 2022 and it would need €5bn a month just to keep going. “We have to do our share too.”
German Minister Wolfgang Schmidt to Galina Yanchenko, a Ukrainian MP who blamed him for not cutting off Russian gas:
"Let's be blunt. Every day, Russian gas runs through Ukrainian pipelines. Every day, Russian gas is served to Ukraine. So Ukraine did also not switch off" pic.twitter.com/SVs78Lg3QK
General Trevor Cadieu (Trevor John Cadieu), captured by Russian troops while trying to escape from the cellars of Azovstal, was the commander of the Canadian Ground Forces, APA reports citing Mailbd. Seated in the catacombs under the Mariupol steel plant “Azovstal” nationalists staged a provocation, trying to hide the Canadian general’s attempt to escape. After the capture of a high-ranking foreign soldier by units of the RF Armed Forces, it became clear why so many efforts were made to save him.
A high-ranking mercenary tried to break out of the encirclement at Azovstal several times. It was for this that the West insisted on humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians: among them, foreign specialists had to leave the catacombs. According to media reports, the general’s name is Trevor Kadieu. Seven months ago, he was appointed to the post of commander of the Canadian Army, but before the inauguration, he was involved in a sex scandal. In the harassment that occurred back in 1994, he was accused by a former colleague. The general called the accusations false, but in April 2022 he retired from military service.
Hunter Biden flew to Moscow for a meeting with a now-sanctioned Russian oligarch with reportedly close ties to Vladimir Putin, laptop files reveal. Vladimir Yevtushenkov, 73, owned a company which reportedly supplied Putin’s forces with drones used for deadly bombing raids in Ukraine and until last year owned key Russian defense contractor RTI. But while he was added to the UK and Australian sanctions lists this month but remains one of a handful of oligarchs unsanctioned by the Biden administration. Hunter’s multiple meetings and apparent business deals with him are the latest in a troubling web of his connections to Putin-linked mega-rich individuals which has emerged from his abandoned laptop.
Emails show the president’s son and his business partners were courting Yevtushenkov for an investment in their real estate company in 2012 and 2013. Rosemont Realty was founded in 2008 by Hunter’s Yale schoolmates: Devon Archer and former secretary of state John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz. Hunter joined the firm’s advisory board in 2010 and was a part owner, earning him hundreds of thousands. Emails show that in 2011, his now-jailed business partner Archer was traveling to Russia, staying in luxury hotels and dining on bear meat, laying the foundations for future real estate deals that he believed could be lucrative for the firm. In November that year Archer wrote to an associate: ‘Moscow is going great… It does look like I will be back quite a bit based on our initial response to the real estate fund pitch.’
Three months later Hunter got involved, scheduling a trip to the Russian capital for a dinner with Yevtushenkov at the headquarters of his company Sistema on February 16, 2012, according to emails and calendar entries on his laptop. Documents published this week by journalist Vicky Ward on her blog suggest the Russian billionaire then took a trip to the US for meetings with Hunter and his Rosemont Realty business partners. A Sistema itinerary translated from Russian, which Ward reported was leaked to her from a source close to Yevtushenkov’s company, lists a March 14, 2012 ‘breakfast with Hunter Biden’ at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.
The Delaware computer repairman who blew the whistle on Hunter Biden’s laptop — filed a multi-million-dollar defamation suit Tuesday against Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, CNN, The Daily Beast and Politico, saying they falsely accused him of peddling Russian disinformation. The former shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, decided to fight back after losing his business and being harassed for 18 months by Big Tech, the media and Delaware locals in President Biden’s home state. “After fighting to reveal the truth, all I want now is for the rest of the country to know that there was a collective and orchestrated effort by social and mainstream media to block a real story with real consequences for the nation,” the 45-year-old Mac Isaac told The Post.
“This was collusion led by 51 former pillars in the intelligence community and backed by words and actions of a politically motivated DOJ and FBI,” he continued. “I want this lawsuit to reveal that collusion and more importantly, who gave the marching orders.” Mac Isaac came to legally own the laptop after Biden’s son Hunter dropped it off at his store for repairs in April 2019 and never came back. The material on the laptop has raised serious questions about what Biden knew of his son’s overseas business deals, during which he and the president’s brother, Jim Biden, often invoked his powerful name. After handing over a copy of the laptop’s hard drive to the FBI in December 2019, eight months later Mac Isaac alerted then-President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who provided a copy of the hard drive to The Post.
When The Post’s first story broke in October 2020 — just three weeks before the presidential election — Twitter and Facebook moved to censor it. Then Schiff and 51 former intelligence officials labeled the laptop Russian disinformation. In the aftermath, Mac Isaac says his business and reputation was ruined. “Twitter initially labeled my action hacking, so for the first day after my information was leaked, I was bombarded with hate mail and death threats revolving around the idea that I was a hacker, a thief and a criminal,” Mac Isaac said. Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, “has some explaining” to do, Mac Isaac insisted. “Without any intel, the head of the intel committee decided to share with CNN and its viewers a complete and utter lie,” Mac Isaac said. “A lie issued in the protection of a preferred presidential candidate.”
Mac Isaac said he’s since endured false accusations of being a Russian spy and a “stooge” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The fight to get to the bottom of who told everyone this was Russian disinformation is far more important for the nation than me clearing my name,” Mac Isaac said. In the suit, which was filed in Montgomery County, Md., Mac Isaac claims Schiff defamed him in an interview on CNN two days after The Post began publishing revelations from the laptop. In the interview with Wolf Blitzer, Schiff told the CNN host — without citing evidence — that he believed “the Kremlin” was behind a smear of Joe and Hunter Biden.
Mac Isaac tried unsuccessfully to sue Twitter for defamation last year and was lumbered with the tech giant’s legal bills — an amount he says is roughly $175,000. But Mac Isaac now has well-heeled backers at non-profit The America Project, which was founded by Trump loyalists retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, brother Joe Flynn and businessman Pat Byrne. “[We are] honored to sponsor John Paul Mac Isaac in his fight against the injustice that has been done to him when the political elite coordinated with the leftist news media claiming the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation – which was a blatant lie,” Flynn said.
No sooner was it that I wrote an article talking about how Russia was going to back the ruble with gold than “one of the Russia’s most powerful security/intelligence officers and a close ally of Putin” has admitted the country’s intentions to do just that. And I’m predicting that no sooner will the gravity of this decision finally sink in with the West that China will follow closely in Russia’s footsteps and do the same. Russia backing its currency with gold represents one of the most drastic changes to the foreign currency market in decades. As of 2022, precisely zero countries still adhere to a gold standard, though many countries still hold gold in reserve.
The new global monetary system is likely going to look like Russia, China, India, Saudi Arabia and other countries with commodity-backed, sound money on one side – and the west and our allies, with our “infinite” fiat, under the tutelage of rocket surgeon Neel Kashkari, on the other. Despite the enormity of the situation, the news hasn’t really been digested by global markets yet. The FX market has been relatively calm, but for the ruble strengthening, and gold prices have crashed so far this week, with front month futures falling nearly $50/oz. on Monday, back down to about $1,860/oz. Aside from the FX market, the news also hasn’t been digested by US politicians or financial “thought leaders” yet.
However, there are underground rumblings starting to catch the ears of those who are actively listening. Ronan Manly wrote for BullionStar.com last week: “On Tuesday 26 April in an interview with newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta (RG), the Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said that Russian experts are working on a project to back the Russian ruble with gold and other commodities.” Manly was kind enough to translate the interview with RG, which stated Russia’s intentions to back the ruble with gold in crystal clear fashion:
RG Question: And what do we need to do to ensure the ruble’s sovereignty? Nikolai Patrushev: “For any national financial system to be sovereignized, its means of payment must have intrinsic value and price stability, without being pegged to the dollar. Now experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be backed by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, and to put the ruble exchange rate in line with the real purchasing power parity.” Manly concludes, matter-of-factly: “So there you have it. The Russian Government is actively working on creating a gold and commodity backed Russian ruble with intrinsic value which is outside the orbit of the US dollar.”
The leaking of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has rocked the Court and Washington. The 98-page draft opinion is dated Feb. 10, 2022 and authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito. I have two columns (in USA Today and The Hill) today on the opinion and the disgraceful leak from within the Court. The opinion is joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. It declares that “Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The opinion can change but the damage done to the Court as an institution will likely be lasting. This shattered a long tradition of the Court of strict secrecy and integrity in the handling of drafts.
The leak is the greatest crisis faced by Chief Justice John Roberts and the greatest security breach in the history of the Court. While leaks have appeared periodically on internal strife or issues on the Court, I cannot recall anything of this scale. Roe itself was the subject of leaks. The Washington Post did run some leaks the court’s internal deliberations. Then there was a premature disclosure of information hours before the formal release of the opinions. A few hours before the release, word got out on the holding of the Court. However, that all pales in comparison to the release of a draft opinion months in advance of the expected release. Chief Justice Roberts has confirmed the legitimacy of the draft and the launching of an investigation. The question is how the Court will proceed in the investigation. Anyone taking this deeply unethical act is likely to have taken steps to hide their tracks.
I would be surprised if there were a paper trail or email record. However, anyone who would take such a reckless act may have been equally reckless in the means used to violate the Court’s rules. If the culprit is a lawyer, disbarment would seem a virtual certainty. This person may be a hero in the eyes of some, but will remain a pariah in the eyes of any ethical lawyer. Yet, disbarment could be the least of the problems. If a suspect lies to the FBI, there could be prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Thus, the culprit will have to make a decision today of whether to radically increase the potential costs of this act. There are a relatively small number of individuals with access to these drafts. It is likely that the culprit will be contacted quickly with others by investigators. That will prove a critical moment that could transform an unethical into a criminal act.
Alito’s draft is written as a majority opinion, suggesting that at least five of the Court’s justices — a majority — voted after oral argument in Dobbs to overrule Roe on the ground that it was “egregiously wrong from the start” and “deeply damaging.” In an extremely rare event for the Court, an unknown person with unknown motives leaked the draft opinion to Politico, which justifiably published it. A subsequent leak to CNN on Monday night claimed that the five justices in favor of overruling Roe were Bush 43 appointee Alito, Bush 41 appointee Clarence Thomas, and three Trump appointees (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett), while Chief Justice Roberts, appointed by Bush 43, is prepared to uphold the constitutionality of Mississippi’s abortion law without overruling Roe.
Draft rulings and even justices’ votes sometimes change in the period between the initial vote after oral argument and the issuance of the final decision. Depending on whom you choose to believe, this leak is either the work of a liberal justice or clerk designed to engender political pressure on the justices so that at least one abandons their intention to overrule Roe, or it came from a conservative justice or clerk, designed to make it very difficult for one of the justices in the majority to switch sides. Whatever the leaker’s motives, a decision to overrule this 49-year-old precedent, one of the most controversial in the Court’s history, would be one of the most significant judicial decisions issued in decades. The reaction to this leak — like the reaction to the initial ruling in Roe back in 1973 — was intense and strident, and will likely only escalate once the ruling is formally issued.
Every time there is a controversy regarding a Supreme Court ruling, the same set of radical fallacies emerges regarding the role of the Court, the Constitution and how the American republic is designed to function. Each time the Court invalidates a democratically elected law on the ground that it violates a constitutional guarantee — as happened in Roe — those who favor the invalidated law proclaim that something “undemocratic” has transpired, that it is a form of “judicial tyranny” for “five unelected judges” to overturn the will of the majority. Conversely, when the Court refuses to invalidate a democratically elected law, those who regard that law as pernicious, as an attack on fundamental rights, accuse the Court of failing to protect vulnerable individuals.
This by-now-reflexive discourse about the Supreme Court ignores its core function. Like the U.S. Constitution itself, the Court is designed to be an anti-majoritarian check against the excesses of majoritarian sentiment. The Founders wanted to establish a democracy that empowered majorities of citizens to choose their leaders, but also feared that majorities would be inclined to coalesce around unjust laws that would deprive basic rights, and thus sought to impose limits on the power of majorities as well.
Do the covid vaccines save lives? That is the question on many people’s minds, that has led to heated discussions across the world. A bombshell new study by a distinguished team of Danish researchers led by Prof. Christine Stabell-Benn suggests a surprisingly nuanced answer. In the randomized trials of the covid vaccines, the adenovector-based vaccines, including the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, reduced all-cause mortality of study participants relative to people randomly assigned a placebo. Indeed, the reduction in mortality is larger than expected from the Covid effect and may suggest additional beneficial “non-specific effects” from those vaccines against other health threats.
On the other hand, Stabell-Benn and her colleagues found no statistically meaningful evidence in the trial data that the mRNA vaccines reduced all-cause mortality. The numbers of deaths from other causes including cardiovascular deaths appear to be increased in this group, compensating for the beneficial effect of the vaccines on Covid. Stabell-Benn is keen to stress that the sample is relatively small and is calling for further investigation, and also that the study took place during very low levels of Covid, so the relative advantage of protection against Covid would have been smaller at that time compared to at other points in the pandemic.
However, these preliminary results stand in sharp contrast to the unambiguous message from public health agencies and governments worldwide, which granted emergency authorization to the vaccines based on evidence from the trials that the vaccines reduce the likelihood of getting symptomatic covid. From a purely scientific perspective, preventing symptomatic covid is an interesting outcome to study. From a public health perspective, prevention of covid symptoms is not as important as prevention of death or disease transmission, which the randomized trials did not study. Dr. Stabell Benn and her colleagues have now looked at overall mortality for the first time.
At the very least, the plain implication (since both sets of vaccines are available) is that public health authorities should have recommended the cheaper adenovector vaccines over the mRNA vaccines all along for most patients. In other words, the international move to de-authorise the AstraZeneca vaccine across Europe and elsewhere looks like it may have been a mistake, and that AZ was actually a better option than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. It offers a potential contributory explanation for the better overall mortality outcomes in the UK (which overwhelmingly used the AZ vaccine) than much of continental Europe (which phased out the AZ vaccine) after the vaccine programme in the second half of 2021.
A new peer-reviewed study entitled: “Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe” has demonstrated that use of face masks, even widespread, did not correlate with better outcomes during the COVID epidemic, based on data from 35 European countries with populations of over one million people each, encompassing a total of 602 million people. The study noted that the average proportion of mask usage in the period investigated (October 2020 until March 2021) was 60.9% ± 19.9%. Governments and advisory bodies have recommended and often mandated the wearing of face masks in public spaces and in many areas mandates or recommendations remain in place, despite the fact, the study notes, that randomized controlled trials from prior to and during the epidemic have failed to show a benefit to the wearing of such masks with regard to COVID transmission.
“Positive correlation between mask usage and cases was not statistically significant,” the study also found, “while the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant (rho = 0.351, p = 0.039).” That is to say, more mask usage correlated with a higher death rate. The study used a variety of statistical methods to study correlation but “none of these tests provided negative correlations between mask usage and cases/deaths … Surprisingly, weak positive correlations were observed when mask compliance was plotted against morbidity (cases/million) or mortality (deaths/million) in each country.”
The study also noted that the public may have gained the impression that masks could be helpful due to the fact that mandates were usually implemented after the first peak of COVID cases had passed. However, it became evident that masks were not in fact helpful later that same year, when widespread mask usage does not appear to have mitigated the severity of the COVID wave of winter 2020. “Moreover,” the study concludes, “the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.”
Some of the nation’s biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Disney and Kraft are facing calls to boycott Twitter if the company’s soon-to-be owner, billionaire Elon Musk, rolls back content moderation policies limiting hate speech and election misinformation. In a letter sent to brands Tuesday ahead of the 2022 NewFronts digital advertising conference, more than two dozen civil society groups said marketers should secure commitments from Twitter to retain its most critical policies, including on civic integrity and hateful conduct, and threaten to withdraw funding if Twitter does not comply. “As top advertisers on Twitter, your brand risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists,” the letter said, adding: “Your ad dollars can either fund Musk’s vanity project or hold him to account.”
In an investor filing Monday, Twitter told advertisers “we have no planned changes to our commitment to brand safety” but that the company “cannot speculate on changes Elon Musk may make post closing.” The letter, first reported by CNN, urges advertisers to make their next ad deals with Twitter contingent on changes to platform policy under Musk. It offers the latest example of how some advocacy groups have leaned on the immense power of corporate speech — and specifically digital advertising, the lifeblood of many tech platforms — in attempts to shape tech companies’ behavior. It leverages years of growing realizations by the ad industry that brands can face reputational damage if their ads appear next to white supremacist content or other harmful material.
Tuesday’s initiative bears echoes of a far-reaching advertising boycott in 2020 that saw companies ranging from Adidas to Starbucks pulling their ads from Facebook over what they said were its failures to keep hate speech from spreading. But unlike that campaign, the groups behind Tuesday’s letter said advertisers have a chance to be more proactive and strategic this time, because Musk has already telegraphed what he plans to do with Twitter. (The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder has pledged to restore “free speech” to the platform by, among other things, easing up on content removals and account bans. He also wants to “authenticate all real humans” on Twitter.)
As advertisers prepare to negotiate forward-looking contracts with Twitter this week during the NewFronts conference, they can preemptively protect themselves from any damage to their brands resulting from Musk’s eventual takeover, said Angelo Carusone, CEO of Media Matters for America, one of the organizations behind the letter. “If Elon Musk comes in and gets rid of all the brand safety protections, I think Coca-Cola should be able to cancel their contract,” Carusone said. “It would be very revealing if Twitter refuses to or does not sign or does not give those cancellation options.” Tuesday’s letter targeted other big-name advertisers, as well, including Apple, Best Buy and HBO — the last of which is owned by WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent.
Professor Sir John Bell, a member of the Vaccines Taskforce, has expressed his optimism that “the horrific scenes that we saw a year ago”, which he says involved the NHS being pushed to breaking point along with mass deaths from the virus, “is now history”. For this reason, Bell has supported Boris Johnson’s move not to tighten Covid restrictions in England. The Mail has more. “The message came as a leading vaccines expert backed Boris Johnson’s refusal to toughen England’s Covid restrictions to bring them into line with the other Home Nations, saying that mass deaths and hospitalisations from the deadly disease are “history”.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and a member of the Vaccines Taskforce, said the public had been “pretty responsible” in its response to the spread of the Omicron variant. Speaking to broadcasters about New Year celebrations this afternoon, Care Minister Gillian Keegan said: “We have always said ‘act cautiously’ since this new variant came among us. “It is highly infectious and many people will know people who have caught this over the Christmas period. “So do be cautious, take an Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before you go out. Go to well-ventilated areas; I have been to a couple of outdoor parties actually, people have moved things to outside. “So just be cautious, but do try to enjoy yourself as well but cautiously.” It came as new figures showed the number of people in hospital with Covid in England is less than half the same time last year – despite cases being three times higher…
Johnson, who is at his Chequers country retreat, left it to Health Secretary Sajid Javid to face the cameras to announce the decision, although he later tweeted advice to Brits to exercise caution at the new year. “The Health Minister has taken advice and looked at the data. I think his judgment where we should go in the next few days is probably fine,” Bell told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “There are a lot of people who are aware that we are in the face of this large wave of disease. The behaviour of people in the U.K., in England in particular, has been pretty responsible in terms of trying not to go out and spending a lot of time exposing yourself to the virus.” He added: “The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago – intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely – that is now history in my view and I think we should be reassured that that’s likely to continue.”
Guys, I don’t know how to say this any more clearly: it is OVER. The Omicold (pronounced Immacold) variant is about to bring this clown show to its inevitable conclusion. I know none of our supposedly non-racist public health authorities were willing to believe the South African numbers, but we now have almost a month of data out of Denmark. They are real. And they are spectacular. Between Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, Denmark reported approximately 50,000 confirmed Omicron cases. Given the approximately one-week lag between infection and hospitalization, those people should be flooding into hospitals. EXCEPT THE NUMBER OF OMICRON PATIENTS IN DANISH HOSPITALS HAS NOT RISEN IN THE LAST WEEK.
You read that right. 50,000 positive tests the week before, no change in hospitalizations. Admissions have risen slightly, but patients are being discharged as fast as they are being admitted. The result: as of Dec. 21, Danish hospitals had 47 Omicron patients, with under five (the report is not more specific) in intensive care. As of Dec. 27, the hospitals had 51 Omicron patients, again with under five in intensive care. The question is no longer whether Omicron is a cold. It’s whether it’s as dangerous as a cold. (And, again, this has nothing to do with Covid vaccines; most South Africans are not vaccinated, and the pattern there was the same.)
The only sane political move at this point is to drop ALL mandates – vaccine and otherwise – and ALL asymptomatic or quarantine testing (dropping all non-hospital testing would be even better) – and declare victory and go home. Even if the country weren’t burned out on scare stories and sick of being lied to, the reality of these figures is already obvious to most people. (Including LeBron James.) When your media water-carriers have to write articles explaining the difference between Covid and a cold… it’s over. So why won’t Uncle Joe just say so? Because the current strategy isn’t working – not politically, and not for the country. It’s time to surrender to the ro like you did to the Taliban and to inflation. At least this time admitting the problem will fix it.
Norman Fenton points out an interesting tidbit in the 21 December UK Office of National Statistics infection survey, on “Characteristics related to having an Omicron compatible result in those who test positive for COVID-19”. The data is for infections from 29 November to 12 December. First, this remarkable passage from the results sheet: Those who have received three doses of a vaccine and test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to be infected with infections compatible with the Omicron variant compared with those who are unvaccinated, though individuals who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine continued to be less likely to test positive for COVID-19, regardless of variant. It is too early to draw conclusions from our data on the effectiveness of vaccines against the Omicron variant.
Yes, the numbers are very small. Yes, the 95% confidence intervals are enormous. Nevertheless: According to these numbers, the triple vaccinated were 4.45 times more likely than the unvaccinated to have Omicron, among those who tested positive for Corona. For comparison, those with recent travel abroad were 4.6 times more likely than the unvaccinated to have Omicron, while the double vaccinated were 2.26 times more likely, and the single vaccinated 1.57 times more likely. This squares entirely with the preliminary data from Denmark, which has the double vaccinated sliding into negative efficacy against Omicron (but not Delta) after 90 days. The authors of that study tried to talk away this awkward result by claiming that it “was likely the result of Omicron spreading rapidly initially through single (super-spreading) events causing many infections among young, vaccinated individuals.” The more the same effect is viewed in other data sets, the less likely that explanation becomes.
I got an email recently from Mike Yeadon, former VP of Pfizer, who urged me to check out this video. He wrote me this email on 12/24/21: “Steve, This is about the worst 15min I’ve ever seen. Mass covid19 vaccination is leading to mass murder. Mike” The video references this paper, posted on December 10, 2021, On COVID vaccines: why they cannot work, and irrefutable evidence of their causative role in deaths after vaccination by Sucharit Bhakdi, MD and Arne Burkhardt, MD. It has been getting a lot of attention lately. The authors did an autopsy in 15 patients who died (from 7 days to 6 months) after receiving the COVID vaccine. These were all cases where the coroner ruled as NOT being caused by the vaccine. They discovered that in 14 of the 15 patients there was widespread evidence of the body attacking itself, something that is never seen before. The heart was attacked in all 14 cases.
A number of salient aspects dominated in all affected tissues of all cases: • inflammatory events in small blood vessels (endotheliitis), characterized by an abundance of T-lymphocytes and sequestered, dead endothelial cells within the vessel lumen; • the extensive perivascular accumulation of T-lymphocytes; • a massive lymphocytic infiltration of surrounding non-lymphatic organs or tissue with T-lymphocytes. Lymphocytic infiltration occasionally occurred in combination with intense lymphocytic activation and follicle formation. Where these were present, they were usually accompanied by tissue destruction. VAERS as well as other independent studies shows the vaccines are killing people and that cardiac events were highly elevated. This study is consistent with those results. This work independently validates the analysis of Peter Schimacher who showed a minimum of 30% to 40% of the deaths after vaccine were caused by the vaccine.
If you spend too much time observing the way politicians speak, you’ll pick up an almost perceptibly mechanical gear-shift in their heads when the brain-groove reminds them to reproduce an anecdote or talking point they have formulated so many times before. Occasionally the subconscious rebels against the alienating monotony with apologetic prefix clauses like, “That’s why I like to say,” or “I always tell the story that,” but the pre-sets mostly override such human twitches to deliver the desired political result. So it was for President Joe Biden’s counterproductive “pandemic of the unvaccinated” slogan, which the White House COVID-19 Response Team introduced in mid-July, and which the president was still regurgitating inaccurately as late as December 14.
In a local TV interview with News Center 7 in Dayton, Ohio, the president was asked about whether his administration would continue fighting his contested employer vaccine mandates in court. The politician-brain quickly whirred into gear. “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated. Not the vaccinated, the unvaccinated,” Biden emphasized, on the same day that the omicron variant produced a one-day positive-case increase of 16 percent in highly vaccinated New York City. “That’s the problem. And so everybody talks about ‘freedom,’ and not to have a shot or have a test. Well guess what? How about patriotism? How about making sure that you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anybody else? What about that?” What about that indeed.
New York City’s one-shot vaccination rate (of 92 percent for adults, 83 percent for kids between 13 and 17) “rivals any number in the free world,” Politico’s Jack Shafer observed last week, and yet somehow my vaccinated teen and boosted self spent Christmas under quarantine. The fact-checkers over at The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact generously rated Biden’s “vaccinated…do not spread the disease” claim as only “mostly” false, despite epidemiologist quotes like “[the] statement is not accurate,” and “vaccinated individuals can definitely infect other people.” But the problems with the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” message pre-date the variant that rendered it factually ludicrous.
On September 16, one week after Biden reversed serial administration promises by announcing an employer vaccine mandate (while using language such as “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us”), science writer Yasmin Tayag penned an Atlantic piece headlined “Stop Calling It a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.'” “Bullying the unvaccinated into getting their shots isn’t going to work in the long run,” Tayag predicted, in a piece surveying a field of study (behavioral science) to which the White House seems oblivious. “The way the mandates are being presented is driving a wedge between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. If the goal is to inoculate enough people to reach herd immunity, this approach may eventually backfire.”
The World Health Organization has warned that the Omicron coronavirus variant could lead to overwhelmed healthcare systems even though early studies suggest it sparks milder disease, as daily case records fell across Europe and the US while China, South Africa and Germany brought back tough restrictions to stamp out infections. Covid-19 surges have wreaked havoc around the world, forcing many nations to make tough choices between economically punishing restrictions and controlling the spread of the virus. The United States has halved the isolation period for asymptomatic cases to try and blunt the disruption, while France has ordered companies to have employees work from home at least three days a week.
Contact restrictions were in place in Germany for the second year in a row heading into the New Year, as Europe’s biggest economy shuttered nightclubs and forced sports competitions behind closed doors. Despite facing a much smaller outbreak compared with global virus hotspots, China has not relaxed its “zero Covid” strategy, imposing stay-at-home orders in many parts of the city of Yan’an. [..] Beyond social strife, the pandemic has been punishing economically, in particular for sectors like travel. Some 11,500 flights have been scrapped worldwide since Friday, and tens of thousands more delayed, during one of the year’s busiest travel periods. Multiple airlines have blamed staffing shortages caused by spikes of Omicron cases.
The surge in the US has been fuelled by the Omicron variant, as well as large pockets of unvaccinated residents and a lack of access to quick and easy testing. President Joe Biden said Monday some US hospitals could be “overrun” but that the country was generally well prepared. He stressed that Omicron would not have the same impact as the initial Covid outbreak or the Delta variant surge this year. “Omicron is a source of concern, but it should not be a source of panic,” Biden said.
I cannot recall a time in American history where the medical boards would go after you for prescribing an approved drug off-label for a condition that is supported by over 60 positive studies and multiple peer-reviewed systematic reviews and meta-analyses which is the highest level of evidence-based medicine. Can you? Is there a cost-benefit analysis somewhere that I missed showing that ivermectin causes harm? If the cost-benefit analysis is clearly negative, how could those positive meta-analyses been published? Why is the FDA to be on the warpath against ivermectin? Check out this article: TrialSiteNews entitled “Feds Coming After Doctors & Pharmacies that Market Ivermectin as Effective & Safe for COVID-19.” Perhaps they don’t want you to take it because if people found out it works, the pandemic would be over? Wow. That would be really evil.
Let’s look at a country that is allowed to use ivermectin: Japan . Here’s an article describing how Japan is using ivermectin to combat COVID. Here’s an excerpt: “Ivermectin was discarded unceremoniously till now, but Japan has demonstrated that the drug can be used as a more effective cure and a permanent substitute for the Coronavirus vaccines produced by big pharmaceutical companies. The Pandemic in Japan was going out of control, yet the Japanese government was smart enough to look beyond vaccines in its COVID-19 containment efforts. In September, Japan deployed Ivermectin and legalising the use of the anti-parasitic drug has helped people recover from COVID-19 with more durable and long-lasting immunity.
Caseloads have come down rapidly without the need for booster vaccination doses. In Tokyo, there were around 6,000 cases in the middle of August, but the number has now dropped down to below one hundred. Japan is now overcoming the Coronavirus, with the number of COVID tests dropping from 25% in the fag end of August to just 1% mid-October. Ivermectin use is thus helping Japan permanently beat the COVID-19 Pandemic. If and when vaccine efficacy wanes, Japan will have a choice- using an anti-parasitic medicine as a permanent cure to ensure speedy recovery of infected patients with durable immunity. Japan has thus crushed Big Pharma with a small move- deploying the use of Ivermectin.”
Let’s look at death rates in Japan vs. the US. See a difference? On a per capita basis, Japan is beating the US by a factor of 17. As soon as Japan rolled out ivermectin, their death rates dropped rapidly to 0. I wonder if it could be caused by the ivermectin? What do you think?
While most countries imposed lockdowns, Sweden resisted. The Swedish government recommended social distancing and banned gatherings of more than 50 people, but it did not require businesses to close. Because of differences in population mobility, density, size, and the environment, a comparison of Sweden to the United States isn’t possible. What is possible is a comparison of Sweden to Sweden. The Imperial College of London (ICL) produced the early forecasts of Covid deaths. These were the forecasts on which politicians based their policy decisions. Applying the ICL forecast model to Sweden, Swedish epidemiologists predicted that, by July 1 2020, Sweden would have suffered 96,000 deaths if it had done nothing, and 81,600 deaths with the few policies that it did employ. In fact, by July 1, Sweden had suffered only 5,500 deaths.
The ICL model overestimated Sweden’s Covid deaths by a factor of nearly fifteen. Early ICL forecasts indicated that, unchecked, Covid would kill 40 million worldwide in 2020, and that the number could be cut in half by social distancing and isolating the elderly. According to the World Health Organization, worldwide Covid deaths for 2020 totaled 1.8 million. The ICL model overestimated world Covid deaths by a factor of ten. For 2020, the same ICL forecasting model also predicted that, if the countries did nothing in response to Covid, up to 2.2 million people in the US and another 550,000 in the UK would directly die from Covid.
Suppose that ICL predictions of US and UK Covid deaths were overstated only by a factor of three. Then, in the absence of lockdowns and mandatory masks, the United States could have expected around 730,000 Covid deaths and the UK 180,000 in 2020. How many people actually died? In 2020, the number of direct deaths due to Covid were approximately 360,000 in the US and 77,000 in the UK. Thus, even assuming that the ICL model had a significantly smaller bias than it demonstrated elsewhere, the lockdowns appear to have only saved around 370,000 lives in the US and 103,000 in the UK. To further skew these estimates, the ICL model assumes nonpharmaceutical interventions only. The widespread availability in the US of a vaccine, beginning in mid-2020, further reduces the number of lives the lockdowns saved.
In short, however many lives the lockdowns did save, they were far fewer than what the ICL models predicted they would save. As with all things, lockdowns do not come without tradeoffs. Some people died of cancer, kidney disease, and other non-Covid causes because they were afraid to go to hospitals out of fear of contracting Covid. In Canada, cancer screening was suspended so that hospital resources could be devoted to Covid care. Early estimates show up to a 10 percent increase in cancer deaths as a consequence. In the US in the early days of Covid, there was a 30 percent decline in the number of people seeking initial treatment for kidney disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised down its estimates for US infection by the Omicron variant, stating it accounts for approximately 59% of all Covid cases in the US, not 73% as it previously said. Nevertheless, the figures issued Tuesday indicates that Omicron is spreading rapidly in the US, growing from a revised estimate of 23% of cases as of 18 December. The correction shows that until the week before Christmas, the Delta variant remained dominant. “Setting aside the question of how the initial estimate was so inaccurate, if CDC’s new estimate of #Omicron prevalence is precise then it suggests that a good portion of the current hospitalizations we’re seeing from Covid may still be driven by Delta infections,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, posted on Twitter.
The disparity in estimates, while confirming the rapid spread of Omicron, also speaks to relative lack of precision in detecting a new variant that can only be confirmed by genetic analysis. The news comes as the US surpassed its all-time total for new cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins, with the daily total soaring above 512,000. However, the numbers come with the caveat that many testing centers were closed over the holiday weekend, and a CDC spokesperson told Politico that the number was likely an “overestimate” due to a delay in state reporting. Separately, the former US surgeon general Jerome Adams criticized the CDC for its revision Monday to cut Covid isolation periods from ten days to five.
“I love the CDC. Grew up wanting to work there and have been one of their most ardent defenders. I never dreamed the day would come when I would advise people NOT to follow their guidance,” Adams said in a tweet on Tuesday. “They wouldn’t even follow it for their own family.” The CDC also announced Tuesday that the United States has administered 505,013,980 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines. The figures show that US health authorities have administered 1,533,313 doses from a day earlier. The agency also estimated that more than 67 million people have received an additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine since 13 August, when the United States authorized a third dose of the vaccines for people with compromised immune systems.
“This whole disaster would finally come to an end (or at least the end would begin) when it became obvious that the great strategy of class division and demarcation would fail to protect the Zoom class from infection.”
For nearly two years, we’ve wondered how this will end. In retrospect, the clue is in how it began. The initial lockdowns had a strong class-based component. The working classes were assigned the job of delivering groceries, tending to the sick, driving the trucks filled with goods, keeping the lights on, and keeping the fuel running. The professional class, among whom were the people who pushed lockdowns in the name of disease avoidance/suppression, were assigned the job of staying home in their pajamas and staying safe. It all happened seemingly in an instant. We all had to figure out whether our job qualified and what we should do. More striking at the time was the very notion that government bureaucrats could slice and dice the population this way, deciding what can open and what cannot, who must work and who must not, what we can and cannot do based on our station in life.
So it now seems obvious to me. This whole disaster would finally come to an end (or at least the end would begin) when it became obvious that the great strategy of class division and demarcation would fail to protect the Zoom class from infection. That day has finally arrived, with cases soaring in many parts of the country and hitting everyone of every class, whether they are being “careful” and adhering to the “mitigation measures” or not. What’s even more striking is how even the vaccines, which were supposed to codify the wisdom of class segregation, have not protected against infection. All of this seems to have taken place over the course of December 2021, with the arrival of the seemingly mild Omicron variant. Still the other variants circulate widely, causing various degrees of severity with or without hospitalization much less death.
In other words, millions from among all classes of people are finally getting sick. At this point, we seem to be seeing a big shift in attitudes. A lot of this comes from casual conversation. A person comes down with Covid, perhaps confirmed by the newly fashionable at-home tests. “Did you get vaccinated?” the person is invariably asked. The answer comes back: yes and boosted. That’s when the chill happens. It appears that nothing can ultimately protect people from this. In which case, it is time we change our tune. “Thousands who ‘followed the rules’ are about to get covid. They shouldn’t be ashamed,” headlines the Washington Post.
Feeling ashamed about getting covid-19 isn’t healthy or helpful, experts agree…. Remember: You’re not a failure. “Millions of other people have gotten sick,” (Seema) Varma says. “Unfortunately, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one. You’re not the first one to get covid, and you won’t be the last.” And that positive test, she reiterates, “doesn’t make you an irresponsible person.” So on the piece goes, with a complete flip of the narrative they have long preached: anyone who gets Covid has failed to comply, disregards of Fauci’s advice, probably lives in a Red state, rejects the science, and otherwise bears the mark of selfishness and the desire to put freedom ahead of public health.
President Biden’s approval rating has plummeted, and Democrats wonder why. The United States is facing hardships, but hardships alone don’t make a president unpopular. Leaders who are honest about the problems we face and forthright about the solutions they offer tend to do well (think, say, of Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan). Unfortunately, that is not the leadership Americans are getting from this president. Instead, the Biden administration has tried to convince the public of things that are not just untrue but implausible. To note a few, Biden did not (and does not) have a “national strategy” to defeat COVID; our southern border is not “secure;” the Afghan withdrawal was not an “extraordinary success”; the current bout of inflation is neither “temporary” nor “a good thing”; and government spending never takes “the pressure off of inflation.”
Of course, politicians often overstate things and sometimes outright lie. Nothing new there. It’s the in-your-face nature of the administration’s falsehoods that is stunning. For a recent example, take Biden’s efforts to promote his Build Back Better bill. The administration often claims that the legislation really “costs zero dollars” because it is “paid for.” Most Americans realize that paying for something doesn’t make it free. Otherwise, literally everything would be free. Seriously, people get this. In fairness, Biden was attempting to state that BBB wouldn’t add to the deficit because taxing the rich would pay for it. But even that claim didn’t pass the smell test. Just about everybody outside of Washington, D.C., knows that government programs are never actually “paid for.” We are already borrowing from our great-grandkids just to cover our current profligate spending.
[..] The supply-and-demand dynamic and its impact on inflation seem to be mysteries to the administration – but not to most Americans. According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, the average American family will incur an additional $3,500 in expenses this year solely because of already-surging inflation. It’s the kind of thing people notice. Of course, the administration made this implausible claim only because the bill needed West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s support to pass. Manchin, however, made it clear that, with inflation already at a 40-year high, he wouldn’t support legislation that added to the deficit or further swelled prices.
Like most Americans (including Larry Summers), Manchin refused to be fooled. He announced that he won’t support the bill – effectively killing it in its present shape. Rarely deterred by reality, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then announced that the Senate would move forward with a vote on the bill nonetheless.
Unfortunately for the promoters of Scientism, there are enormous problems with their idea. One is that it can be defined as a “granfalloon,” to use Kurt Vonnegut’s term for “a proud and meaningless collection of human beings.” Even though many people see the new liturgy as a service for others, Scientism’s rituals need to be imposed by the government by means of stiff penalties. It is the same as when the Roman Government imposed sacrifices to the Emperor on pain of death. We haven’t arrived at that for the disbelievers of Scientism, so far, but we are clearly sliding in that direction.
A religion that needs to be imposed by force is doomed from the beginning. It means that it cannot create a stable kind of horizontal empathy” natural for human beings. You cannot create it on the basis of the idea that humans are filthy, germ-carrying bags, that need to be kept at a distance from each other or locked in cages. And masked people cannot really speak to each other, they are only expected to receive orders from above. It is a brutish form of “vertical” empathy, based on the powerful giving orders to the powerless. As it happened at the time of the Roman persecutions of Christians, people may lapse into formally surrendering in order to survive, but they remain ready to toss away the veneer of political correctness on the first occasion. Scientism may be already starting an irreversible decline, pushed down by its own supporters who bombard people from TV screens with sentences such as “trust science.”
Another enormous problem with Scientism is that it requires years of training for the adepts (“researchers”) to make them able to perform the complex liturgy required (“scientific experiments”), also because they need expensive liturgic equipment (“instrumentation”). The whole contraption is simply impossible to keep together in a society that’s rapidly sliding down to economic collapse. The Catholic Church lasted for nearly two thousand years, Communism (that the Italian Catholic writer Lorenzo Milani termed “a page torn out of the Christian books”) lasted less than a century. Will scientism last more than a decade? And if not, what will come afterward?
Urban areas dominated by progressive leadership have dedicated green initiatives to banning single-use plastic like straws or utensils, and many bureaucracies now treat climate change as another public health crisis. Simultaneously, they mandate wearing masks in public places for the supposed safety of the general public, and are silent on the irrevocable damage masks are doing to our environment. Forget the straws – over 1.5 billion masks now pollute the ocean, but even the most publicly vocal on climate change are notably silent. Banning single-use plastic, like straws and utensils in restaurants and other businesses, is now the virtue signal du jour as far as communicating how climate-conscious a city is. But many – namely the public and the business owners who will be affected firsthand by these types of legislation – are understandably concerned about the realistic efficacy of such measures.
[..] Plastic straws and utensils aside, we’re now on the precipice of a genuine environmental crisis, one that was regrettably preventable. Even as lockdown proponents touted the benefits that stay-at-home measures had on traffic and air pollution, we were quickly learning that our “life-saving” disposable masks and other personal protective equipment were having the exact opposite effect. One report in Italy breaks down just how quickly this crisis took hold and became our newest environmental threat. During the country’s Phase II period, when lockdowns were beginning to lessen and public spaces were beginning to open back up, half a billion disposable gloves and one billion masks were needed – per month.
These statistics are frightening on their own when you begin to calculate how long masks and PPE have been needed, but they’re even more terrifying on a global scale. Marine and environmental researchers have estimated that in 2020, 1.56 billion face masks were released into oceans. By August 2021, 8.4 million tons of plastic trash were generated by 193 countries, including – but not limited to – Covid test kits, face masks, gloves, and plastic face shields, as well as the waste generated by unprecedented numbers of online shopping and e-commerce sites. Additionally, disposable masks are estimated to take 450 years to biodegrade. Mask waste from the year 2020 alone now makes up 7% of the Great Pacific garbage patch, an 80,000 ton mass of waste that resides in the Pacific Ocean.
[..] In July 2020, we learned that 85% of individuals who contracted Covid wore masks “always” or “often,” as reported by the CDC. A “systematic review” of 1,453 patients found “no difference in infection rates” between masked and unmasked patients. A study of healthcare workers in Japan conducted nearly 13 years ago discovered that “face mask use in healthcare workers has not been demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of [common] cold symptoms.” We’ve also recently learned that cloth masks are “useless” against the Omicron variant, even though two months ago, we were told that “a well-fitting cloth mask could be better than or equivalent to a surgical mask that’s poorly fitting.”
At upcoming talks with Washington, Moscow will not only obstruct but will put a complete stop to any eastwards expansion of the US-led NATO military bloc, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said on Tuesday. Speaking to news agency Interfax, Sergey Ryabkov said his country would go into the negotiations with a clear agenda and reject any attempts by US diplomats to dilute the proposed agreement between the two parties. “Our leadership has repeatedly said we can no longer tolerate the situation that is developing in the immediate vicinity of our borders. We cannot tolerate NATO expansion. We will not just prevent it. We will put a stop to it,” Ryabkov said.
The talks, due to be held on January 10, will focus on two publicly released draft treaties that include a list of promises Russia wants to obtain from the US and NATO. As well as pledges that the bloc won’t expand eastwards, the proposals also include the end of Western cooperation with post-Soviet countries, the removal of US nuclear weapons from Europe, and the withdrawal of NATO troops and missiles away from the Russian border. However, according to Ryabkov, the US wants to ignore Russia’s firm demands, instead proposing a less structured form of negotiations. “We should not come up with some kind of dimensionless agenda when it is in our interest to include topics that have long been sorted out through other channels. We have to focus exclusively on the two draft documents that we have presented,” he said.
The World Health Organization issued a notice on Wednesday warning medical professionals to follow instructions of PCR tests for coronavirus to avoid getting false positive results. The notice was released only one hour after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, leading some observers to question the timing of the release. If the PCR tests are resulting in false-positives, and that information is now used to mitigate the large positivity numbers, the number of case counts will begin to drop. The optics of a decreasing COVID-case count would be a boon for the launch of the Biden administration. The new guidance states that the “WHO reminds IVD users that disease prevalence alters the predictive value of test results; as disease prevalence decreases, the risk of false positive increases (2).”
The notice reads: “This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity.” Former President Donald Trump has been heavily criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with the United States leading the world in both total cases and total deaths, although not per capita, according to official statistics. A big problem for Trump had been the continuous increase in COVID-case counts. If many of those cases were established as extant with the help of PCR tests that were resulting in false-positives, that would mean that the case count for which Trump was criticized was not a factual number.
The spread of coronavirus did not decline during the first week of England’s third lockdown, a study has shown. The latest React study, from Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, states that during the initial 10 days of the third Covid-19 lockdown in England, “prevalence of coronavirus was very high with no evidence of decline”. Researchers also found that the prevalence of Covid-19 across England increased by 50% between early December and the second week of January. After testing more than 142,900 volunteers in England between January 6 and 15, they found that one in 63 people were infected. The report, which researchers said does not yet reflect the impact of the national lockdown, also showed there were “worrying suggestions of a recent uptick in infections”.
National prevalence of the virus increased by half, from 0.91% in early December to 1.58%, the latest React study showed. While there was a rise in prevalence across all adult age groups, it was highest in 18- to 24-year-olds, and more than doubled in the over 65s age group. London saw the highest regional prevalence, jumping from 1.21% to 2.8%, while there were also rises in the south east, east of England, West Midlands, south west and north west. The only region to see a decrease was Yorkshire and the Humber, and prevalence remained stable in the East Midlands and north east, but the researchers warned infection numbers are still high even in these areas. Additionally, they found large household sizes, living in a deprived neighbourhood, and areas with higher numbers of black and Asian individuals were associated with increased prevalence.
French health officials have advised people against wearing home-made fabric masks as they offer less protection against highly contagious new Covid-19 variants. The scientific committee, which reports back to the French government, says category 2 masks are unlikely to halt the spread of the “English variant” or new coronavirus strains from Brazil and South Africa. The experts’ advice, presented to ministers on Monday but not published, also suggested France double its social distancing rule from 1m to 2m. France’s Haut Conseil de Santé Publique (high council for public health – HCSP) decided over the weekend that many cloth masks, often preferred because they can be washed and reused, did not guarantee protection against the new variants. “Category 2 or material masks only filter 70%, while category 1 masks, like surgical masks, can go as high as 95% if worn properly.
As the variant is more easily transmitted, it is logical to use masks with the highest filtering power,” Daniel Camus, of the Pasteur Institute in Lille and a HCSP member told France Info. “We are not questioning the masks used up to now … but as we have no new weapons against them (new strains) the only thing we can do is to improve the weapons we already have,” Camus added. Home-made barrier masks made under Europe-wide established specifications are consider category 1. However, even though they are subject to making them more efficient filters, the HSPC said they may not guarantee the correct level of protection. Didier Lepelletier, the co-president of the committee’s Covid-19 working group, said everyone should now choose category 1 masks adding that home-made masks “have not been tested in terms of their performance”.
President Biden is poised to take action on 53 executive items over the next 10 days as he seeks to rapidly reverse some Trump administration policies and implement his own, according to a document outlining the schedule for Biden’s first two weeks in office. The document, which was circulated to individuals close to the administration and obtained by The Hill, shows that Biden will take executive action each weekday through the end of January, with each day centered around specific themes such as climate, economic relief, health care and immigration. The timetable lays out which days Biden is expected to act on anticipated items such as reversing the Mexico City policy, creating a task force to reunite separated migrant families and establishing a policing commission.
The schedule notes that the specifics of certain executive actions are to be determined, reflecting how the Biden team is still hashing out details as it takes office following delays in the transition after the November election. The themes are expected to extend into February, which has been designated around the idea of “Restoring America’s Place in the World,” according to the document. This week, Wednesday’s theme is focused on the inauguration and addressing “four crises” — the coronavirus pandemic, climate, the economy and equity. Among the items Biden will sign are an order mandating masks be worn on federal lands, an extension of eviction moratoriums, a repeal of Trump’s travel ban and a proclamation halting border wall construction.
Thursday’s theme will focus on the pandemic, according to the document. Biden is expected to sign off on executive orders to review the supply chain ahead of any use of the Defense Production Act and to implement public health measures on public transportation, airplanes and trains. Friday’s theme is economic relief, with two executive orders expected to be signed, according to the document. One will direct agencies to take action on Medicaid, Pell grants and unemployment insurance, while the other will restore collective bargaining rights to federal employees and initiate a rollback of a Trump administration rule on Schedule F. The theme for Monday is “Buy American,” and Biden will sign one executive order seeking to ensure agencies use U.S. suppliers.
President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration decor touting 56 U.S. states and territories provokes new questions about whether Biden will push for new statehood for six U.S. territories, which could aid the Democratic Party in the Electoral College. Under the U.S. Constitution, statehood requires only a simple majority in Congress, which could be achieved if Democrats decide to remove the 60-vote filibuster threshold currently in place in the Senate. As part of the “Field of Flags” display at the National Mall ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee planted nearly 200,000 state and territory flags on Monday night, meant to represent the American people unable to travel to Washington, D.C., for Inauguration Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security threats.
Fifty-six pillars of neon blue light, representing the U.S. states and territories, were also lit up for 46 seconds to mark the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden. The prominent light beams were reminiscent of the grounds of the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Biden has said he supports statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Other U.S. territories with permanent civilian populations include Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
[..] Historian Jason Steinhauer told Just the News on Tuesday that the National World War II Memorial “serves as a useful reference point for the Field of Flags display” because it contains 56 pillars representing each state and territory from its period, including the District of Columbia. Those 56 pillars represented a different assortment of states and territories from that time period: 48 states, plus the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Steinhauer noted that memorial opened in 2004, during the George W. Bush administration.
Proponents of the QAnon “conspiracy theory,” which the NYT can’t seem to stop writing about, are going to love seeing this. A memo that has reportedly been circulating among policymakers on both sides of the aisle for weeks was finally released to the press on Tuesday when Dealbook editor and CNBC “Squawk Box” host Andrew Ross Sorkin got the scoop: a memo penned by a group of senior-level bureaucrats, including – who else? – Henry Kissinger and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has provided a kind of “blueprint” for the Biden Administration to undo all of President Trump’s trade-war tactics and other policies that didn’t exactly help promote free trade.
As Trump recounted in his farewell video published earlier Tuesday afternoon, his administration dramatically altered the American trade landscape, pulling the US out of the TPP, renegotiating Nafta into the USMCA, and – most consequentially, at things would turn out – the trade war with China, which inspired waves of hysterical lobbying by the Chamber of Commerce and special-interest groups from Big Tech to Wal-Mart and other major retailers, and others. So, as Biden prepares his first 100-day blitz of policy directives, many of the architects of the globalist system created by groups like the Trilateral Commission are joining with a gaggle of former cabinet-level officials (both Dems and GOP) along with the CEO of one of America’s largest banks, former British Labour Party Prime Minister Tony Blair and – who else? – Henry Kissinger, have essentially penned a manifesto that is being circulated among lawmakers, along with top-level officials in the cabinet and the West Wing, to help restore the globalist system that Trump helped to disrupt.
Who better to leak the story to than Andrew Sorkin, who first brought up the existence of the memo during an interview during Tuesday morning’s episode of “Squawk Box” on CNBC during a conversation with Harvard economist Austan Goolsbee. According to Sorkin’s column, “the memo comes from an under-the-radar group of global boldfaced names that act as a private advisory committee to JPMorgan Chase. They include Tony Blair, the former British prime minister; Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger, two former secretaries of state; Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense; Alex Gorsky, chief executive of Johnson & Johnson; Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH; and Joseph C. Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba, among others.” The group, which even Sorkin concedes is exclusively staffed with members of the “globalist part of the globalist establishment that fell out of favor during the Trump years, typically meets once a year in a far-flung location with JPMorgan’s chief, Jamie Dimon.”
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will continue to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country’s president, Anthony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, said on Tuesday. Blinken told members of the U.S. Senate that Biden would seek to “more effectively target” sanctions on the country, which aim to oust President Nicolas Maduro – who retains control of the country. Blinken said the new administration would look at more humanitarian assistance to the country. The United States, along with dozens of other countries, recognized Guaido – the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-held National Assembly – as the country’s president in January 2019, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was rigged.
“We need an effective policy that can restore Venezuela to democracy, starting with free and fair elections,” Blinken said. Guaido’s push to oust Maduro – who has overseen a collapse in the once-prosperous OPEC nation’s economy and stands accused of corruption and human rights violations – has stalled. Maduro calls Guaido a U.S.-puppet seeking to oust him in a coup. His allies have expressed a desire to engage in negotiations with the Biden administration after years of tensions and escalating U.S. sanctions.
The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will keep the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, his nominee for secretary of state affirmed at his Senate confirmation hearing. “Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?” asked Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “Yes and Yes,” said Antony Blinken in testimony on Tuesday. Outgoing President Donald Trump announced the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. The US moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May of the following year.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East conflict, with the Palestinian Authority (PA) insisting that East Jerusalem – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 – should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. “The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” Blinken said. “I think realistically, it’s hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that. What would be important is to make sure that neither party takes steps that make the already difficult process even more challenging,” he added.
Well this is alarming and ominous to say the least… Former CIA Director John Brennan told MSNBC in an interview on inauguration day that the intelligence community under newly sworn in President Biden is “moving in laser-like fashion” to try and uncover dangerous plots against the country. Naturally, there’s been much of this worrisome commentary about what political ideologies should be targeted and monitored coming out of NatSec hawks in the wake of the Capitol Hill mayhem of January 6. But this is the first time such a broad array of groups have been so bluntly lumped into a Pro-Trump “insurgency” by an influential media pundit and former spook. Brennan expressly said they are “violent” and remain a domestic threat.
He said in the MSNBC interview without the least concern for violation of Americans’ rights that intelligence agencies should look into “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians…”. He said these belief systems have come together under the umbrella of a supposed pro-Trump movement capable of committing violence. Ah yes, “even libertarians”… “I had white knuckles because of the nature of the threats,” he began by recalling his days as CIA Director. We’ve seen “the growth of this polarization in the United States and domestic violence and White supremacist groups,” he continued. Comparing this “threat” to a foreign insurgency which the US has lately battled overseas, he said it— “brings together an unholy alliance of religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.”
Perhaps channeling the spirit of the Soviet NKVD, leftists are now literally calling for a new “secret police” unit to be created at the federal level to spy on Trump supporters. In an article published by the Daily Beast, Jeff Stein argues that existing federal agencies like the FBI are ill-equipped to stop “white terror” because they missed signs of the the pre-planning of the Capitol building siege. The solution is to create a new “secret police” (yes, he literally uses those words) in order to “infiltrate and neutralize armed domestic extremists,” which according to the media’s latest narrative potentially includes 70 million Trump voters.
Stein even compares the Capitol breach to 9/11, an attack that killed nearly 3,000 people, and argues that a similar response to that should be directly inwardly against American citizens directed by a new “domestic spy agency.” “One response to the 9/11 tragedy may well get renewed attention after the Capitol assault—especially if armed white nationalists are successful in carrying out more attacks in the coming days and weeks: The call for a secret police,” he writes. The existence of a “secret police” force that subverts constitutional norms to repress the population is of course a hallmark of all dictatorial regimes, but that doesn’t appear to bother self-proclaimed “progressives.”
“Hundreds of Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots, some of which entailed firing mortars at, firebombing, or burning down police stations, did not qualify as domestic terrorism. But the Capitol Riot was terrorism, due to the usual double standard,” points out Dave Blount. He also hits the nail on the head about the real reason why the creation of a new secret police unit would be necessary. “Neither the FBI nor the NSA has the culture of brutal hostility toward their own country’s population needed to efficiently repress dissidents in the unfolding police state.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has sent a message to US tech companies ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, warning that Silicon Valley CEOs can’t decide their own laws and rules.
During a speech delivered in the European Parliament, von der Leyen laid out a series of areas in which the European Union (EU) is hoping to work with the incoming Biden administration, including climate change and the regulation of American-based tech companies that have an international reach. The EU has been working to introduce global standards for digital companies that provide a clear set of rules and responsibilities for the way they operate and the content that is distributed via their sites. However, rebuffing suggestions from tech giants to allow them to moderate themselves, von der Leyen was clear that governments must now intervene.
“This kind of decision must be taken in accordance with laws and rules…not by an arbitrary decision in the power of Silicon Valley CEOs.” Citing the recent attack on the US Capitol and linking the behavior of those President Donald Trump supporters to division and disinformation that appeared online, von der Leyen said in a tweet that regulation must be imposed on social media sites to “ensure that hate & fake news can no longer spread unchecked.” This is not the first time that the EU has sought to control the power of social media companies and tech giants. Google has been a target of the EU’s antitrust body in recent years, with the search engine having been hit with over $9 billion of fines, and further investigations are underway.
On January 18, 2021, the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into force. The so-called “ARC Digitization Act,” designed to modernize German competition law enforcement for the era of big-data, i) creates sweeping new powers for the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) to regulate digital platform companies; ii) expands prohibitions on abuses of market power by firms with “relative market power” and firms that refuse access to data, networks, or infrastructure; and iii) raises the thresholds for German merger control. Because of the potential that large technology companies could be required to make dramatic changes to their current business practices, the FCO is poised to become one of the most consequential competition agencies for large technology companies.
Indeed, FCO President Mundt has repeatedly emphasized the willingness and readiness of his authority “not to squander the head start” and to apply the new rules soon after their entry into force. Under the new Section 19a of the ARC, the FCO gains novel powers to designate certain companies as having “paramount significance for competition across markets.” Upon making such a designation, the FCO can then order such companies to cease engaging in prohibited types of conduct, such as self-preferencing. The ARC Digitization Act also introduces changes to the burden of proof and the appeals process, designed to enhance the FCO’s ability to take swift action. The FCO may issue a decision declaring an undertaking to be of paramount significance for competition across markets.
The factors the FCO may consider in making this determination include:
• its dominant position in one or more markets;
• its financial strength or its access to other resources;
• its vertical integration and its activities on otherwise related markets;
• its access to data relevant for competition; and
• the importance of its activities for third parties’ access to supply and sales markets and its related influence on third parties’ business activities.
The qualitative nature of these factors provides the FCO with considerable discretion in making Section 19a declarations. As clarified by the German legislators’ explanatory memo, only a small number of (digital) “ecosystems” is likely to fulfill the threshold of having such “paramount significance.”2 The intended targets of the new rules are large and “often dominant” digital platform companies “with the resources and strategic position to significantly influence the commercial activities of third parties or expand their own activities to new markets and sectors.”3 We expect that the FCO will initially target “GAFA” and a few other (mostly U.S.-based) digital platforms.
“The amount of money in the US economy is 25% higher than it was at the start of 2020, eclipsing any pace of money growth seen since the Federal Reserve was established (1913)” RB Advisors Deputy CIO Dan Suzuki. In recent weeks we have seen a non-stop flow of ominous statements like the one above. The author is 100% factual and it should be a cause for deep concern. Historically, such surges in the money supply were often met with significant inflation. While the sharp increase in the money supply provides context to the depth of our economic problems, our inflation warning bells are not ringing, at least not yet. Here is why.
Inflation, or aggregate price increases, results from economic activity, along with the amount of money and its velocity. A famous economic formula called the Monetary Exchange Equation uses those factors to create a mathematical identity that precisely determines the inflation rate. We co-authored an article with Brett Freeze entitled Stoking The Embers of Inflation. The article went into great detail about the monetary exchange equation. We summarize a few key points here: Per the inflation identity, the rate of inflation or deflation (%P) is equal to the rate of money growth (%M), plus the change in velocity (%V), less the rate of output growth (%Q).
• %M – As noted earlier, the change in the monetary base is a direct function of the Fed’s monetary policy actions. To increase or decrease the monetary base, the Fed buys and sells securities, typically U.S. Treasuries and more recently Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). • %V – Velocity is nominal GDP divided by the monetary base (Q/M). Velocity measures people’s willingness to hold cash or how often cash turns over. Lower velocity means that people are hoarding cash, which usually happens during periods of economic weakness, credit stress, and fear for banking institutions’ going-concern.
So if we exclude GDP, inflation is dependent on money supply and velocity changes. Money supply data is published weekly and easily forecastable with the Fed’s QE schedule. Velocity, on the other hand, is posted once a quarter and much more challenging to forecast. As such, let’s dive into velocity. Velocity is a measure of how fast cash circulates in an economy. We consider two extreme examples of money printing and monetary velocity to appreciate the interaction of money supply and velocity. • The Fed prints $10 trillion and buries it in a hole. • The Fed prints $10 trillion, sends each American a $30,000 check, and tells them they have five days to spend it or lose it The two examples have polar opposite effects on prices, despite the same massive increase in the money supply.
In example 1, the Fed does not affect inflation. The $10 trillion is not fungible as long as it stays buried. In example 2, hyperinflation would result as the new money rapidly circulates through the economy and dwarfs the economic system’s production capacity. Essentially, the demand for goods and services outstrips the supply. The amount of money greatly matters, but equally important is how it moves through the economy. The graph below compares the money supply chart above with the velocity of money and inflation.
Diabetics are 10.3 times more likely to develop Covid-19, and their symptoms are more severe and life-threatening, with over a quarter of all infected patients already suffering from the illness as a pre-existing condition. That’s according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who told officials that coronavirus is especially dangerous for those suffering with the common metabolic disorder. “In patients with diabetes, Covid-19 infection is 10.3 times more common,” Golikova explained. “Patients with diabetes experience the disease more severely, and more frequently develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as respiratory failure, [requiring] artificial ventilation and, unfortunately, [experiencing] higher mortality.”
According to Golikova, 27 percent of all infected patients have diabetes among their comorbidities, and this is often complicated by increased glycemia. As of the start of 2020, 5.1 million people in Russia had a diabetes diagnosis. She noted that the risk is even higher in patients with high blood pressure. Curiously, earlier this week, American Covid-19 patient Mario Buelna experienced exactly the opposite situation – he developed diabetes for the first time, having contracted coronavirus. According to his doctors in Mesa, Arizona, Buelna’s diabetes was triggered by Covid-19. Speaking to London-based news agency Reuters, Dr. Robert Eckel, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, thinks that coronavirus could be causing “an entirely new form of diabetes.”
This week’s perhaps overly dramatic announcement Wednesday night by the heads of multiple federal agencies – foremost among them Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe – alleging new major efforts by Russia and Iran to interfere in the US presidential election formed a key question and talking point by debate moderator Kristen Welker Thursday night. Welker even referenced as somehow undisputed and settled “truth” the now debunked “Russian bounties” story. Over a month ago the Pentagon and other intelligence heads concluded after an exhaustive investigation that there’s simply no evidence to suggest Russian military intelligence paid Afghan fighters to target Americans.
Russia was certainly paying attention to the debate and was not amused. The Kremlin on Friday blasted what it said was “Russophobia” at the center of the debate. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Friday that “competition in Russophobia has become a constant in all US electoral processes, regrettably.” “We are fully aware of this and can only express regret,” he added as quoted in TASS. “After all, probably, it is the American electorate who is the target audience of these debates, that is, common Americans. It is up to them to decide who won the debate, not us,” the spokesman said. Indeed the American public is by and large likely growing tired of the endless Russia scapegoating too.
Corporate droid Kristin Welker says the laughable claim that Iran emailed threats to US lawmakers was “confirmed” by the same intel officials who made it up. Biden then spouts the discredited tale about Russian bounties, leading Trump to brag of arming Ukraine. National dementia.
It’s not the media’s job to cover for Joe Biden. Yet the New York Times and its ilk have fallen over themselves to call the damaging leaks “Russian disinformation,” while also awkwardly publishing the FBI’s denial of the claim. As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden geared up to debate on Thursday night, the cable TV commentariat wondered how Trump would bring up the “laptop from hell.” Recovered from a Delaware repair shop last year and handed to Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, the laptop – which allegedly belonged to Joe’s son, Hunter – contained a tranche of emails that implicated the Biden family in numerous foreign graft schemes, all while Joe was in the White House.
Before the debate kicked off, the New York Times quoted the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as saying: “No concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation,” and the FBI as seconding this claim. For the Times, it was a dramatic turnaround. Just days earlier, before the FBI and DNI could weigh in, a headline in the nation’s paper of record read, “Is the Trump campaign colluding with Russia again?” Quoting only a Senate Democrat, the Times alleged that Giuliani had been cultivated as an “asset” by the Kremlin, and “any information proffered by Rudy Giuliani is likely compromised.” The Washington Post sang from the same hymn sheet, using the usual anonymous “former officials” to tie Giuliani to Russia.
Even before the media settled on Russia as the culprit, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called the scandal “made up” and a “hokey story,” while NBC’s Hallie Jackson described it as “dubious” and “questionably sourced.” As the Times and Post rang the Russia alarm last week, neither the FBI nor DNI had commented on the laptop. DNI John Ratcliffe would do so on Monday, and the FBI followed suit a day later. In fact, as these articles hit the presses, the only people who had fingered Russia for the stunt were a collection of Biden’s aides and advisors, who gave no evidence to support their claims. The Biden campaign itself didn’t embrace the Russia excuse until several days later. It’s one thing to cover a candidate sympathetically. It’s another to work as his preemptive press corps. Joe Biden is supposed to deny and deflect attention from damaging information. He’s a politician, after all – it’s his job. The press is supposed to do the exact opposite.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during Thursday night’s debate that nobody lost their health insurance plans when Obamacare was fully implemented, but millions of individuals had their insurance policies cancelled at the time. A RAND Corporation study estimated that 5.9 million people lost their insurance plans due to Obamacare’s rules and regulations. Obamacare is the 2010 health care law crafted by former President Obama, for whom Biden served as vice president for both of his terms. Obama was heavily criticized at the time for telling Americans that if “you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” which turned out not to be the case. Politifact rated Obama’s promise the “lie of the year” in 2013.
Trump and Biden each were asked Thursday night how they would handle health care policy if the Supreme Court invalidates Obamacare’s individual mandate in the upcoming California v. Texas case. “What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option. It will become Bidencare. The public option says in fact if you do not have the wherewithal, if you qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you’re automatically enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies,” Biden said. Biden rejected the idea that he wants to eliminate private insurance. “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else,” he said.
In response, Trump said Biden’s health care plan would amount to socialized medicine, given that the federal government would run the public option.
For years, Joe Biden fought to cut your Social Security and Medicare—a fact which Joe falsely denied last night. This video (Joe Biden’s own words) was created by Bernie Sanders earlier this year to expose Joe Biden’s atrocious record and egregious lies! pic.twitter.com/womMTc70RP
A Senate report released today claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the General Services Administration undermined the Trump transition team in 2016 by sharing private Trump team records in violation of an agreement between that team and the GSA. The majority staff report from both the Senate Committee on Finance and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs claims that officials from both the FBI and Mueller’s office “secretly sought and received access to the private records of Donald J. Trump’s presidential transition team, Trump for America, Inc.”
“They did so,” the report continues, “despite the terms of a memorandum of understanding between the Trump transition team and the General Services Administration…—the executive agency responsible for providing services to both candidates’ transition teams—that those records were the transition team’s private property that would not be retained at the conclusion of the transition.” The report states that officials at the GSA proactively called the FBI and offered to retain Trump transition team records following the controversy surrounding Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser in early 2017. The agency informed neither the White House nor Trump for America of that decision. Those records would eventually make their way to Mueller’s office, the report says.
“At bottom,” the report continues, “the GSA and the FBI undermined the transition process by preserving Trump transition team records contrary to the terms of the memorandum of understanding, hiding that fact from the Trump transition team, and refusing to provide the team with copies of its own records.” “These actions have called into question the GSA’s role as a neutral service provider, and those doubts have consequences,” the report adds. “Future presidential transition teams must have confidence that their use of government resources and facilities for internal communications and deliberations—including key decisions such as nominations, staffing, and significant policy changes—will not expose them to exploitation by third parties, including political opponents.”
Most U.S. adults on Twitter post only rarely. But a small share of highly active users, most of whom are Democrats, produce the vast majority of tweets. The Center’s analysis finds that just 10% of users produced 92% of all tweets from U.S. adults since last November, and that 69% of these highly prolific users identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents. A number of factors contribute to this phenomenon. Previous Twitter analyses by the Center have found that the platform contains a larger share of Democrats than Republicans. And in addition to being more prevalent on the site in general, the 10% most active Democrats typically produce roughly twice as many tweets in a month (157) as the 10% most active Republicans (79).
Across both parties, those who use Twitter differ in several ways compared with non-users. For instance, Twitter-using Democrats and Republicans alike tend to be younger and have higher levels of educational attainment compared with members of each party who do not use the platform. Although nearly identical shares of Republican Twitter users (60%) and non-users (62%) describe themselves as very or somewhat conservative, Democrats who use Twitter tend to be more liberal than non-users. Some 60% of Democrats on Twitter describe their political leanings as liberal (with 24% saying they are “very” liberal), compared with 43% among those who are not Twitter users (only 12% of whom say they are very liberal).
Beyond posting volume, Democrats and Republicans also differ from each other in their actual behaviors on the platform. For instance, the two accounts followed by the largest share of U.S. adults are much more likely to be followed by users from one party than the other. Former President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) is followed by 42% of Democrats but just 12% of Republicans, while President Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) is followed by 35% of Republicans and just 13% of Democrats. Many other popular accounts are followed primarily by those who identify as either Democrat or Republican. However, a small number of the most-followed accounts on Twitter (mostly popular celebrities or entertainers) are followed by similar shares of U.S. adults belonging to each party.
Polling guru Frank Luntz has admitted that if Donald Trump wins re-election, his “profession is done.” Though polls show Joe Biden in the lead, Luntz and his colleagues are hedging their bets and preparing to be shocked… again Democratic candidate Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by up to 10 points nationwide. Yet polls can be wrong, and for all the talk of a Biden “landslide” in the media, Trump’s supporters likely remember 2016, when their candidate pulled off a shock victory against Hillary Clinton, despite being given only a seven percent chance of winning by the New York Times two weeks before election day. Should Trump once again dispatch his Democratic challenger, the polling industry is finished, Republican pollster Frank Luntz told Fox News on Thursday.
“Well, I hate to acknowledge it, because that’s my industry,” he told Fox anchor Bret Baier. “But the public will have no faith. No confidence. If Donald Trump surprises people… my profession is done.” Luntz insists that his polling is accurate this time, and that Biden will win. However, undecided voters may be leaning toward Trump. As the two men faced off in the final presidential debate in Tennessee on Thursday night, Luntz organized a focus group of undecided voters. After the showdown, a majority of these voters were leaning toward backing Trump. They described him as “controlled,” “poised,” and “surprisingly presidential,” while Biden was thought of as “vague,” “elusive,” and “defensive.”
Luntz is a longtime critic of Trump, and a recently released email – found on Hunter Biden’s now-infamous laptop – apparently showed him massaging his predictions in favor of Biden back in 2012, when the then-VP was debating Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan. Luntz appeared to confirm the email’s authenticity in a tweet, but denied it was any kind of bombshell, saying he’s known the Biden family since the 1990s. However, if a Biden-friendly pollster, backed by his latest focus group, is publicly opening the door to a potential Trump victory, the election gurus may not be as confident in their figures as they let on.
“The difference between you and me,” Mr. Trump said to the ever more ghostly Joe Biden, fading mentally late in the action on the debate stage, “is that I’m not a politician and you are, and you’re a crooked politician.” Millions watching this spectacle might not have noticed, due to the media’s near-complete blackout of news detailing the Biden family’s adventures in systematic global moneygrubbing, but the Democratic candidate for president has political Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever of credibility, now gushing out of every pore and orifice.
Twitter and Facebook may try to squelch the story, but the evidence is all over the Internet now, like blood on a crime scene, in verifiable emails, texts, Snapchats, memoranda, and bank records that Ol’ White Joe Biden is at the center of a decades-long influence-peddling spree, selling his personal services to China, Russia, Ukraine, and any other country seeking favors in US government policy, and that this slime-trail of grift disqualifies him from holding high office as much as the irreversible rot of his cognitive abilities.
The “Laptop from Hell” affair has twelve more days to play out before the November 3 vote and the Democratic Party is in a terrible jam. Do they ask Mr. Biden to step aside, or do they keep running with him while the barrage of allegations and hard evidence pours down on them like so many mortar rounds on a besieged bunker? It’s obvious now that one way or another, voters are actually being asked to elect Kamala Harris president — but who asked for her? Only the disgraced and disabled head of the ticket, Joe Biden, desperate for a non-white running mate. Elsewise, she was so disliked by voters that she skulked out of the Iowa caucuses, ending her own run. Is Hillary ironing her purple pantsuit up in Chappaqua, awaiting the emergency call from her DNC?
The early 2020 impeachment gambit has finally blown up in the Democrats’ faces, too, as it’s now obvious the phony furor over Mr. Trump’s phone call to Ukraine President Zelensky was ginned up to smother any inquiry into Hunter Biden’s $83,000-a-month services to the Burisma gas company and its crooked chief, Mykola Zlochevsky, with help from then US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and several of her staff, as well as then Secretary of State John Kerry.
Her name is a mouthful, so Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became AOC. In fact, she calls herself AOC. “Team AOC is hiring!” she wrote on Twitter in August, for instance. But the first-term Democratic Socialist from New York bristles when Republicans call her AOC, as President Trump did during Thursday night’s debate with Joe Biden. “I wonder if Republicans understand how much they advertise their disrespect of women in debates when they consistently call women members of Congress by nicknames or first names while using titles & last names when referring to men of = stature. Women notice. It conveys a lot,” she wrote on Twitter.
“AOC is a name given to me by community & the people. Y’all can call me AOC. Government colleagues referring to each other in a public or professional context (aka who don’t know me like that) should refer to their peers as ‘Congresswoman,’ ‘Representative,’ etc. Basic respect 101,” she added. Twitterers pointed out that President Trump calls nearly all of his opponents, regardless of gender, by nicknames — some not so nice. Trump calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas” for her false claims that’s she’s Native American. He calls Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who falsely claimed to have fought in the Vietnam War, “Da Nang Dick.” Jeb Bush was, of course, “Low Energy Jeb.” Then there’s “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Leakin’James Comey,” “Jeff Flakey,” “Head Clown Chuck Schumer,” and “Mad Maxine Waters.”
So AOC isn’t all that bad, is it? “You do this all the time, referring to ‘Trump’ or ‘Pence,'” Fee Online contributor Brad Polumbo wrote on Twitter. “Just *stop* with the endless self-victimization. It’s pathetic and tiring.” “Yes, names like Crying Chuck Schumer and Crazy Bernie are super sexist,” wrote another. In fact, AOC has another nickname for her and three colleagues — “The Squad,” which includes Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar, (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). That’s who Trump referred to in Thursday’s debate. “They know nothing about the climate,” Trump said, referring to AOC’s “New Green Deal” environmental plan. “I mean, she’s got a good line of stuff, but she knows nothing about the climate. And they’re all hopping through hoops for AOC plus three. Look, their real plan costs $100 trillion.”
And one Twitterer pointed out that AOC isn’t even a nickname: “AOC is not a nickname, they’re your initials. JFK is also not a nickname. The FBI, again, is not a nickname. You can maybe say that Trump should’ve still used your official title, but Obama was also referenced sans title, and you don’t see him whining about it on Twitter …”
While social media makes its best attempt at trying to get Joe Biden elected by censoring stories about his son, YouTube is facing another dilemma: the platform is so inundated with political ads it has nowhere to put them. As advertising campaigns flood the platform, YouTube has “struggled” to place the ads in front of the desired audience for each, according to Bloomberg. Interestingly enough, YouTube is experiencing the shortage most in “critical swing states”, where ad prices have doubled as a result. This, obviously, makes political advertising far more lucrative for Google, who saw ad revenue fall this year and will announcing its earnings next week.
Cat Stern, media director for Lockwood Strategy Lab, a digital campaign agency focused on Democratic candidates and progressive advocacy organizations, told Bloomberg: “There’s a crunch. All political advertisers are buying in the same states, to similar audiences.” YouTube viewers have risen during the pandemic and while commercial ads have been “anemic”, political ads have spiked heading into November 3. In highest demand are the ads that users aren’t allowed to skip through. There are also ad “reservations” for YouTube’s most popular videos that are in high demand. Reid Vineis, vice president of digital at Majority Strategies, a Republican political ad firm, said: “The reserves tend to be gobbled up by well-funded campaigns.”
While this occurs, other less-well-funded campaigns have turned to platforms like Hulu and Roku to run their ads. Some states, like Iowa, are usually entirely sold out on YouTube. Tim Cameron, co-founder of FlexPoint Media, said: “A lot of late money that’s coming on board — it’s difficult to find anywhere to put it.” At some points, YouTube has been unable to place up to 75% of the amounts that people are willing to spend. YouTube didn’t comment for Bloomberg’s article, but the article notes that a “code yellow” was assigned to Google’s staff regarding the inability to place ads, meaning Google was increasing the resources it was deploying to try and solve the issue.
According to data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Friday, much of Greece is at a “low” or “medium” risk level for Covid-19. The ECDC records the epidemiological burden across Europe, and classifies either entire countries or regions, depending on their coronavirus risk level. Unlike much of Europe, excluding areas of Central and Northern Europe, which is considered high-risk, much of Greece is at low or medium risk. The regions of Attica, Central Greece, Macedonia, Epirus, are at medium risk, and areas of Central Macedonia belong to the high-risk category. Southern Greece, Eastern Macedonia, and Thrace are all considered very low risk areas.
All European countries, except for Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Estonia, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are considered “stable” by the ECDC, are in a situation of “great epidemiological concern” in terms of the virus. Although the stable countries may report an increase in cases, like Greece, they are still considered to have a relatively low risk level for young and healthy citizens. Older people and those who belong to vulnerable groups in these stable countries are still considered to be of high risk, however. Despite their stable designations, the situation regarding Covid-19 in the six countries should be carefully monitored, as the virus can spread quickly, increasing the countries’ risk level, according to the authorities.
Tesla Model S and Model X owners have complained about potentially dangerous flaws with suspension systems at least since 2015. On Friday, the Chinese government took action — and the company responded by blaming the country’s drivers. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation ordered a recall for about 30,000 Model S and Model X vehicles manufactured at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., plant and exported to China. The affected cars were built from 2013 to 2017. Model S and Model X vehicles sold in the U.S. and Europe were built at the same factory using the same suspension systems. More than 250,000 were sold worldwide. The traffic safety regulator for the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Friday afternoon it is “aware of the Tesla recall due to suspension problems in China.
At this time, the agency has not received significant complaints related to these issues in the United States. The agency is in contact with Tesla and monitoring the situation closely, and will not hesitate to take action to protect the public against unreasonable risks to safety.” A spokesman declined to say what marks a complaint as significant. [..] in a letter sent by a Tesla attorney to NHTSA on Sept. 4, the company blamed Chinese drivers for the problem, said there was no safety issue, and said it didn’t plan to issue a recall outside China.Tesla owners at the Tesla Motors Club forum have been complaining about suspension issues since at least 2015, complaints that continue to this day. Many report that a ball joint connected to a control arm comes loose.
Senate investigators have demanded that Hunter Biden turn over a mountain of evidence following bombshell emails and text messages which appear to show he and his business partners engaging in an international influence-peddling scheme while his father was Vice President of the United States, according to CBS News’ Catherine Herridge – who brought receipts as usual. “According to recent reports that published emails allegedly from your client’s laptop, the Committees have identified your client as an individual involved in one or more of these business arrangements or financial transactions,” reads a Wednesday letter from Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley.
“As part of the ongoing efforts to validate and verify the information in those emails, the Committees request that your client provide all records related to any of your client’s business dealings—including, but not limited, to bank records, wire transfers, account balances, gifts, business transactions, travel records—with Joe Biden, James Biden, Ye Jianming, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, Zang Jian Jun, Gongwen Dong, Mervyn Yan, Gabriel Popoviciu, or any other associates regarding CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd or any other transactions related to business in Romania, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Czech Republic, or any other countries.” Biden’s lawyers have until Friday to comply.
Over the last week, alleged emails, text messages and compromising photographs from Hunter Biden’s laptop and his former business partners reveal that Joe Biden was directly involved in Hunter’s business dealings, and appears to have directly profited from them. The deals span several countries, from Ukraine – where Joe was ‘introduced’ to a representative from energy giant Burisma before strong-arming the Ukrainian government into firing their chief prosecutor who was investigating the company, to China, where a top Chinese official offered the Biden family a $5 million “interest-free” loan, to Russia, where Hunter took $3.5 million from the former mayor of Moscow’s ex-wife.
Ahead of tonight’s presidential debate, the Biden campaign has drawn a red line in the sand on the Hunter Biden pay-for-play scandal, insisting that “If we see tonight from Donald Trump these attacks on Vice President Biden’s family, I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation.” To review – the undisputed contents of a laptop alleged to be Hunter Biden’s were published by the New York Post last week – after a Delaware computer repair shop owner saw troubling content on at least one laptop dropped off by Biden (who signed a work order). In addition to photos of Hunter with a crack pipe in his mouth and what Rudy Giuliani said are numerous pictures of young girls in compromising situations and one which is “out-and-out pornography,” Hunter’s alleged laptop, which the Biden camp hasn’t disputed the authenticity of, contains evidence that Joe Biden was deeply involved in Hunter’s international business dealings, contrary to past claims of non-involvement.
And while pundits and ‘former intelligence officials’ say this smells like a Russian disinformation operation – there is exactly zero evidence that it is. Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, explicitly stated that the laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” while the FBI – which sat on the laptop evidence for a year (which would have exonerated Trump and immediately ended the impeachment proceedings) also said it’s not a Russian op. But wait, there’s much more… Forget the laptop for a second. Two ex-business partners of Hunter Biden’s have released text and email evidence, along with formal statements, attesting to Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s business dealings. Ergo, if the Biden campaign says that the Hunter scandal is “Russian misinformation,” then his ex-business partners must be Russian operatives, no?
My name is Tony Bobulinski. The facts set forth below are true and accurate; they are not any form of domestic or foreign disinformation. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and offensive. I am the recipient of the email published seven days ago by the New York Post which showed a copy to Hunter Biden and Rob Walker. That email is genuine. This afternoon I received a request from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Senate Committee on Finance requesting all documents relating to my business affairs with the Biden family as well as various foreign entities and individuals. I have extensive relevant records and communications and I intend to produce those items to both Committees in the immediate future.
I am the grandson of a 37 year Army Intelligence officer, the son of a 20+ year career Naval Officer and the brother of a 28 year career Naval Flight Officer. I myself served our country for 4 years and left the Navy as LT Bobulinski. I held a high level security clearance and was an instructor and then CTO for Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. I take great pride in the time my family and I served this country. I am also not a political person. What few campaign contributions I have made in my life were to Democrats. If the media and big tech companies had done their jobs over the past several weeks I would be irrelevant in this story. Given my long standing service and devotion to this great country, I could no longer allow my family’s name to be associated or tied to Russian disinformation or implied lies and false narratives dominating the media right now.
After leaving the military I became an institutional investor investing extensively around the world and on every continent. I have traveled to over 50 countries. I believe, hands down, we live in the greatest country in the world. What I am outlining is fact. I know it is fact because I lived it. I am the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings which was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family. I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden. The reference to ‘the Big Guy’ in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden. The other ‘JB’ referenced in that email is Jim Biden, Joe’s brother.
Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my Chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing. I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business. I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true, because it wasn’t just Hunter’s business, they said they were putting the Biden family name and its legacy on the line. I realized the Chinese were not really focused on a healthy financial ROI. They were looking at this as a political or influence investment. Once I realized that Hunter wanted to use the company as his personal piggy bank by just taking money out of it as soon as it came from the Chinese, I took steps to prevent that from happening.
The Johnson Report connected some dots in a way that shocked me — it made me realize the Bidens had gone behind my back and gotten paid millions of dollars by the Chinese, even though they told me they hadn’t and wouldn’t do that to their partners. I would ask the Biden family to address the American people and outline the facts so I can go back to being irrelevant — and so I am not put in a position to have to answer those questions for them. I don’t have a political ax to grind; I just saw behind the Biden curtain and I grew concerned with what I saw. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist controlled China. God Bless America!!!!
Tony Bobulinski: “I have heard Joe Biden say that he has never discussed business with Hunter. That is false… At my approximately hour-long meeting with Joe that night, we discussed… the Biden family’s business plans with the Chinese, with which he was plainly familiar." pic.twitter.com/JBk0jx0f38
Can’t do this justice in the Debt Rattle format. Christopher Balding -certainly not a Trump supporter- has received a report from his Chinese connections (not the gov’t). Zero Hedge has a good write-up.
Lost among the salacious revelations about laptop provenance is the more mundane reality of influence and money of major United States political figures. Ill informed accusations of Russian hacking and disinformation face the documented reality of a major Chinese state financial partnership with the children of major political figures. A report by an Asian research firm raises worrying questions about the financial links between China and Hunter Biden. Beginning just before Joe Bidens ascendancy to the Vice Presidency, Hunter Biden was travelling to Beijing meeting with Chinese financial institutions and political figures would ultimately become his investors. Finalized in 2013, the investment partnership included money from the Chinese government, social security, and major state-owned banks a veritable who’s who of Chinese state finance.
It is not simply the state money that should cause concern but the structures and deals that took place. Most investment in specific projects came from state owned entities and flowed into state backed projects or enterprises. Even the deals speak to the worst of cronyism. The Hunter Biden investment firm share of a copper mine in the Congo was guaranteed with assets put at risk by the larger copper company to ensure deal flow to Hunter’s firm. In another instance, Bank of China working on an IPO in Hong Kong gave its share allocation to the BHR investment partnership. They were able to do this because even though the Hunter Biden firm completed no notable work on the IPO, it is counted as a subsidiary of the Bank of China. The Hunter Biden Chinese investment partnership is literally invested in by the Chinese state and a subsidiary of the Bank of China owned by the Chinese Ministry of Finance.
The entire arrangement speaks to Chinese state interests. Meetings were held at locations that in China speak to the welcoming of foreign dignitaries or state to state relations. The Chinese organizations surrounding Hunter Biden are known intelligence and influence operatives to the United States government. The innocuous names like Chinese People’s Institute for Foreign Affairs exist to “…carry out government-directed policies and cooperative initiatives with influential foreigners without being perceived as a formal part of the Chinese government.” Interestingly the CPIFA is under the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the investment partnership was struck in 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was Yang Jiechi. Yang would have been very familiar with Hunter Biden from his days in Washington as the Chinese Ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2005 during which he met regularly with Joe Biden chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Today the same individual who oversaw institutions helping shepherd Hunter’s investment partnership as the Minister of Foreign Affairs is Xi Jinping’s right hand man on foreign affairs and member of the powerful Politburo. Most worrying is the financial leverage this gives the Chinese state over a direct member of the Biden family. Despite the widely reported $1-1.5 billion of investment the reality is likely much higher. A co-founder of the investment firm reports the total assets under management as $6.5 billion. While this number cannot be completely replicated, given that two deal alone were worth in excess of $1.6 billion this number is not unrealistic at all. A 2% annual fee on assets under management would generate $130 million annually. Add in the 20% fee on capital gains the firm would recognize and it is not difficult to see Hunter’s stake being worth in excess of $50 million.
“The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
[..] The dystopian use of disinformation, false narratives, blatant lies and propaganda by the totalitarians constituting the Deep State, as their never-ending coup attempt against a duly elected president attests, will be the catalyst for the next vicious phase of this Fourth Turning. For the last four years the Russiagate coup has dogged Trump, as Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Mueller and a myriad of lesser co-conspirators have propagated the Big Lie to cover-up their traitorous actions of trying to overthrow Trump.
An honest truth-seeking press with unbiased journalists would have uncovered this conspiracy and revealed the truthful facts to a concerned public. Instead, a completely captured corporate media has turned a blind eye to the truth as they have acted as accomplices of the coup culprits. Just as evil is the suppression of truth through censorship and keeping silent regarding the truth. Huxley understood how totalitarian propagandists operated decades before the current batch of Silicon Valley authoritarians initiated their national truth repression scheme.
“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.” – Aldous Huxley
A perfect example of this is my local ABC news affiliate doing an hour long broadcast last night with absolutely no mention of the Hunter Biden – Joe Biden pay for play scandal. The truth dies in silence. The left-wing media dominated by six mega-corporations and social media billionaire titans (Bezos, Zuckerberg, Dorsey) have colluded with other left wing billionaires (Soros, Bloomberg) and the traitorous Deep Staters (Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Clinton) to bring down a sitting president and now to memory hole proof of Joe Biden corruption and his son’s illegal dealings with foreign enemies.
“Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections. The world has been witnessing US’ own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level..”
Tehran has denied that it is trying to interfere in the US presidential contest, arguing that unlike Washington, it doesn’t involve itself in foreign elections. Curiously, the US says Iran is both trying to damage and help Trump. Iran summoned the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who serves as a diplomatic go-between for the two rivals, to file a formal complaint against Washington’s “baseless” claim that the Islamic Republic has been meddling in the upcoming election. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced on Wednesday that Iran and Russia have allegedly obtained US voter data as part of a purported plot to “communicate false information to registered voters” in hopes of “causing confusion” ahead of the American electoral contest. He went on to claim that Iran was behind a series of threatening emails that were sent to Democratic voters, apparently in an attempt to “intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
A spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations dismissed the allegations as completely unfounded and quipped that Tehran would never mirror Washington’s own tactics. “Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections. The world has been witnessing US’ own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level,” Alireza Miryousefi said. He described the claims as “absurd” and said Tehran has no interest in trying to influence the outcome of the contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. “The US must end its malign and dangerous accusations against Iran,” the spokesman added.
The 2020 election has been fraught with allegations of foreign meddling, following debunked claims of Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign in 2016. US intelligence agencies have accused Tehran, Moscow and Beijing of trying to tip the scales for their purportedly preferred candidates. Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia has not taken any concrete actions to interfere in the election, but instead has only secured access to some voter information “just as they had in 2016.”
Asia Pacific is set to recover from its worst recession in living memory, the IMF says. Growth forecasts for the region have been downgraded again, this time from -1.6% to -2.2% for this year. However, the glimmer of hope is for a bounceback of almost 7% next year, according to the IMF. China will play a big part in the region’s growth next year, with its latest data showing continued recovery from the downturn caused by the virus. But there are still many black clouds on the horizon as countries, including India, the Philippines and Malaysia, continue to battle with Covid-19 infections. “The scars will be deep,” said the IMF, pointing to lower investment which will have a knock-on effect by the middle of the decade.
Not only are economies in the region dealing with the fallout from the pandemic, but they are also affected by the US-China trade war, and the growing hostilities between the two economic superpowers. Speaking to BBC’s Asia Business Report on Thursday, Jonathan Ostry, the IMF’s acting director for Asia and Pacific, said: “This is something, for a very export-orientated region, that is going to be a big risk going forward. “We worry about decoupling of major technology hubs – not just in China and the US but more broadly, which would have the affect of diminishing hi-tech trade leading to inefficient production.” Earlier this week, China released its data for the July to September quarter which showed economic growth of 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. China is seen as “a rare positive figure in a sea of negatives” by the IMF.
Behind the bench, before her mostly male audience, as the marathon trial of Golden Dawn entered its last act, supreme court justice Maria Lepenioti did what she has done every week: she kept the peace. It has not been easy. Emotions have often run high. Even as the curtain was about to come down on proceedings with a ruling on whether those convicted should be jailed pending appeal, the Greek judge, both laconic and low-key, has had to pull off an extraordinary balancing act presiding over a case that has put more Nazi leaders and sympathisers in the dock than at any time since Nuremberg. In her court every word has counted. There has been no tolerance for the extreme rhetoric that fuelled the neo-fascist group’s spectacular rise. Nor for jibes from the other side.
“Day after day, session after session, she has managed to keep the harmony,” says Giota Tessi, a reporter with the centre left Syntaktwn paper who has observed the proceedings almost since they began in April 2015. “Her knowledge of the case file is incredible. She has been a model of restraint but she has also been very aware of the weight of the moment.” Historians will look back at the women who played a seminal role in Golden Dawn’s downfall. Under Lepenioti’s seemingly expressionless gaze, the three-member tribunal has gone where many in Greece had formerly feared to tread. After its landmark verdict that the far-right, ultra-nationalist party was a criminal organisation bent on extinguishing enemies real or perceived, sentences have been delivered that will almost certainly ensure its leadership remain behind bars for years to come.
The party’s founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and the tattooed macho militants who comprised his inner circle, all received 13-year prison terms. With the last chapter in the story of Europe’s most violent political force finally written, it will not be lost on the protagonists that punishment, in the end, was meted out by a woman. “It’s undeniable that in this case justice was female,” said Maria Stratigaki, professor of gender studies at Panteion University, noting the number of female prosecutors and investigators who also participated in drawing up the dossier against Golden Dawn. “For a party whose ideology is based on male supremacy, whose worldview is so militaristic, it’s humiliating and will hurt.” [..] “Justice stepped in where others should have stepped before,” Stratigaki told the Guardian. “And our justice system is full of female judges because it is they who do better at exams and rise to the top.”
First we need to encounter Shadow #3, the one that Swiss psychologist Carl Jung anatomized in so troubling a fashion. Jung, as I hope most of my readers are aware, started out as a disciple of Sigmund Freud but broke with him in 1913 over basic disagreements over the nature and meaning of the unconscious mind. To sum those up very briefly, Freud insisted that the unconscious was simply the instinctual, animal mind—the id, in Freudian terms—which was mostly interested in sex, and had to be disciplined and controlled by the ego in obedience to the conscience, the voice of the superego.
Jung found in his own work with himself and his patients that the unconscious mind could not be summed up so simply, and at first saw the unconscious as containing two layers. One of them consisted of those things the ego didn’t want to recognize in itself, and so was entirely personal in nature: the personal unconscious, as Jung called it. The second layer consisted of contents that were not personal, had never been conscious in the first place, and formed the deep structure of the human psyche. This layer he termed the collective unconscious.
Until the start of the 1930s—that decade again—that was Jung’s basic theory. What happened then was that he traced the roots of the conscious self and the personal unconscious right down into the collective unconscious. The basic structures of the collective unconscious, he came to see, were the archetypes: a set of roles or functions that were hardwired into the human mind at a deep level, and served as expressions in consciousness of the basic biological instincts we inherit from our animal ancestors. Once you reach a certain stage of sexual maturity, for example, your mind is hardwired to look for a lover: that’s one of the most obvious archetypes, the one Jung called the anima or animus (depending on your gender and sexual orientation).
For all practical purposes, once it’s triggered by some complex set of psychological stimuli, the anima or animus functions as a prolonged case of beer goggles, projecting itself onto the other person and making them look just like the woman or man of your dreams, no matter how faint the resemblance might be in the eyes of your friends. That’s how all archetypes work: they scoop up the relevant contents of your mind, constellate them (that is, fit them into the archetypal pattern), and project that onto the nearest available target. What Jung came to realize as he pursued his investigations into archetypes is that what he’d been calling the conscious self and the personal unconscious were also archetypes. Who you think you are is a construct made up of all the things you think you ought to be, constellated around the archetype Jung called the ego.
A large-scale study in Denmark that sought to determine if masks help stop the spread of Covid-19 has been rejected by several prestigious journals. The authors hinted that their findings were inconvenient to the status quo. The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Medical Association Journal all turned down the paper, Danish media reported on Thursday. The study, which began in late April, involved 6,000 Danes, half of whom were asked to wear masks at all times in public places. The other half were selected as a control group and were instructed not to cover their faces. After a month, participants were tested for Covid-19 as well as for antibodies against the virus. The study’s researchers have remained tight-lipped about their findings, but they’ve dropped plenty of clues that suggest it was the paper’s conclusion, not its methodology, that led to the journals’ rejections.
“We can’t start discussing what they are dissatisfied with. For if so, we must also explain what the study showed. And we do not want to discuss this until it has been published,” Christian Torp-Pedersen, professor and chief physician at the research department at North Zealand Hospital, told Denmark’s Berlingske daily. [..] Denmark currently requires masks to be worn on public transport, as well as in bars and restaurants when patrons leave their table. There is a raging debate worldwide over mask mandates that purport to halt the transmission of coronavirus. Japanese researchers recently published a study that found that masks can offer some degree of protection from airborne Covid-19 particles, but noted that even professional-grade face coverings can’t completely eliminate the risk of contagion.
Curiously, at the start of the pandemic, many health officials and organizations urged against widespread mask use in the general public, describing such policies as ineffective. For example, in a March interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Covid-19 task force, insisted there was no reason for seemingly healthy people to be “walking around in a mask.” At the time, his views reflected a wide consensus among medical institutions and professionals, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US surgeon general. Fauci, the WHO, and the CDC later reversed their recommendations and supported mask mandates. However, many have argued that there is still inadequate data to support mandatory mask-wearing. Deborah Cohen, the medically qualified UK correspondent of BBC2’s Newsnight, reported in July that the WHO committee reviewing the organization’s mask recommendation was motivated by political lobbying, not new scientific evidence.
The large, international survey of more than 1,400 university researchers was carried out by the UK Centre for Climate and Social Transformation (CAST), which is coordinated by Cardiff University. A follow-up experiment with more than 350 researchers found that providing information about the impacts of aviation and support for workplace policies increases intentions to fly less. The large-scale study—the first of its kind to survey climate academics about their travel for conferences, fieldwork and meetings—is published in the journal Global Environmental Change. Director of CAST Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, who led the study, said the findings were “unexpected” but said it also suggested “knowledge alone is not enough” to tackle global warming.
“Our findings highlight that climate scientists, like many other professionals, can struggle to square their environmental commitments with competing professional and personal demands, and academia itself is not doing enough to change this culture,” she said. “Crucially, our research demonstrates the need for policies and ways of working to encourage and enable low-carbon travel and use of virtual alternatives—something which is already happening in light of COVID-19. “Travel restrictions have required businesses, including universities, to replace a lot of physical travel with virtual interaction, such as online conferencing. These virtual options can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings, but at a fraction of the cost, as well as being more accessible for those with caring commitments.”
Flying is one of the most carbon-emitting actions and there have been growing calls from both within and outside the research community for scientists, and in particular climate researchers, to do more to curb their flying so their crucial message on the need to reduce aviation emissions is not undermined. This study found “significantly” higher levels of flying among climate change researchers for work than researchers from other disciplines. The data indicated climate experts take about five flights per year, while non-climate researchers took four. Climate and sustainability experts conduct more fieldwork, but even accounting for this, their international travel was still higher. It also found that levels of flying rose with job seniority.
Seven years after he landed in Moscow and received sanctuary from Washington’s attempts to silence him, US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted a Russian permanent residency permit. Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since 2013 when he blew the lid off unprecedented mass surveillance operations conducted by US Intelligence. The Americans have demanded his extradition to face charges for violating the Espionage Act ever since. “Snowden was granted an open-ended residence permit earlier today,” his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday.
The 37 year-old former CIA and NSA contractor faces the prospect of up to 30 years in prison if convicted but his extradition is unlikely any time soon, especially given his newly-minted residency status. Lately, the whistleblower has been engaged in a battle over royalties from his memoir ‘Permanent Record,’ published last September. Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the US government may seize the $5.2 million in book royalties Snowden garnered from sales of the book.
Add John Zogby to the growing number of Democratic pollsters questioning major media surveys showing a double-digit lead by Joe Biden over President Trump. “It’s closer than you think,” according to Zogby, who’s own John Zogby Strategies survey puts Biden’s lead at two points, 49%-47%. In his latest podcast with son and pollster Jeremy Zogby, John Zogby said that polls showing a bigger Biden lead are using a bad model, one that includes far too many Democrats. His model follows the partisan turnout in 2016 that was about 34% Republicans and about 38% Democrats. “We believe that is a more accurate reflection of the turnout model,” he said. But others showing a big Biden lead over-weigh Democrats. “Now some of the polls that have come out, I find troubling,” he said, citing CNN, Fox, and YouGov.
They give an average 15-point advantage to Democrats. CNN had it a 16-point lead. “I’m a Democrat,” he said, but “I just don’t don’t think the sampling is accurate.” While the elder Zogby didn’t cite a reason other pollsters are showing a bigger Biden lead, his son Jeremy did — Biden bias. “To me, it’s only two things. It’s deliberate, or it’s a projection of bias, and I would go with the latter,” he said in their weekly conversation, The Zogby Report. “If you live in an area, and you live in an echo chamber, and most of your friends think a certain way, a lot of times the echo chamber effect is that you tend to project, ‘How could people think such a certain way, clearly, for example, the president is out of mind, and he’s bad for this country, he’s bad for the world, so of course people are going to turn out in droves for Biden.’ I’m afraid that that’s what’s happening, a projection of bias in the data,” he said.
John McLaughlin, of McLaughlin & Associates, recently sent a memo to the president titled “Skewed media polls,” and said the media is trying to rig the election and suppress the GOP vote by making it look like a Biden runaway. In it, he wrote, “The latest skewed media polls must be intentional. It’s clear that NBC, ABC and CNN who have Democrat operatives like Chuck Todd, George Stephanopoulos and other Democrats in their news operations are consistently under-polling Republicans and therefore, reporting biased polls. They continue to poll adults or registered voters that skew away from likely voters. So instead of the 33% Republican turnout which actually happened in 2016, they are reporting polls on only 26%, 25% or even 24% Republicans.
During a trip to Las Vegas, a reporter confronted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on if he would pack the court, in which he replied that voters don’t deserve to know. A KTNV reporter told Biden the number one thing viewers have asked in the past couple days is if he would choose to pack the court. “Well you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans who don’t want me continuing to talk about what they’re doing to the court right now,” Biden responded Friday. “Well, sir don’t the voters deserve to know…?” reporter Ross DiMattei asked.
“No they don’t…. I’m not gonna play his game, he’d love me to talk about, and I’ve already said something on court packing, he’d love that to be the discussion instead of what he’s doing now,” Biden said. Last year during the Democratic primary, Biden claimed to oppose packing the court, something some of the other candidates supported. “You’ll know my position on court-packing the day after the election,” Biden said in Phoenix on Thursday, explaining that the moment he answers that question all headlines will be about his stance.
Asked if voters deserve to know if he would pack the Supreme Court, Biden says “No, they don’t deserve” to. pic.twitter.com/uig5d14tsH
While it might seem frustrating to see republicans and conservatives demanding that President Trump stop talking about the greatest act of sedition and usurpation, within our Constitutional Republic in the history of our nation, this espousal by Andrew McCarthy is factually a very wide-spread opinion within the DC beltway:
Take the intents in their best possible light, and the basic premise is that no-one cares about the abuses of power that took place. National Review article by Rich Lowry is here. I have shared by own thoughts on this matter several times; and despite knowing this issue may not/will not drive the 2020 election; in my own contemplation I keep coming back to this central question: How can this be ignored? “… How does the office of a U.S. president; and more importantly the republic itself; survive a coordinated coup effort involving all three branches of government; while simultaneously those in charge of exposing the corruption fear the scale is too damaging for them to reveal?” What are your thoughts?
Bartiromo, Oct: 8: And you said it was a blessing in disguise. Trump: A blessing in disguise. I’m — I’m glad because I’m the leader. And I can’t be like Biden where I hang out in a basement every day. Sure, he — if I wanted to hang out in a basement, I wouldn’t catch it, but I meet a lot of people and I have to. I’m the president of the country. I can’t hang around in a basement. So, I figured there would be a chance that I would catch it. Sometimes I’d be with — in groups of — for instance Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that. But they all came in and they all talked about their son and daughter and father.
And, you know, they all came up to me and they tell me a story, Maria. It was really amazing actually, beautiful but sad. And they come up and they tell me a story about my son, sir, was in Iraq or he was in Afghanistan. And sir, he did this and he did that and then he charged in order to save his friends. And yes, sir, he was killed but he saved his friends. He’s so brave, sir. And they tell me these stories and I can’t say, “Back up, stand 10 feet.” I just can’t do it. And I went through like 35 people and everyone had a different story. I could also say don’t tell stories. They’re telling the story of their son who just died or daughter — Bartiromo: Right.
Trump: — or husband who just died in a war or recently died, you know, mostly over the last 10, 12 years but some very recent. And I can’t back up, Maria, and say, “Give me room, I want room. Give me 12 feet, stay 12 feet away when you talk.” They come, they come, within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it. But I did say it’s like, you know — it’s obviously dangerous. It’s a dangerous thing I guess if you go by the COVID thing. But I’m thinking — Bartiromo: Yes. Trump: Look, I look at the numbers. I figured that you probably — that probably at some point I’d catch it and I’ll get better. That’s what happened. I’ve caught it.
If readers want more evidence that the current economic system is rigged towards the working poor, well, look no further: New Federal Reserve data shows how these monetary wizards exacerbated the wealth gap during the virus pandemic via unprecedented quantitative easing programs. Never before has the Fed unleashed so much monetary stimulus in a given quarter (2Q20) to shield the economy from the virus-induced downturn. The result is a “K-shaped” recovery, disproportionately affecting low-wage service workers and households of color, while billionaires, cent millionaires, and millionaires added record wealth. The Fed’s monetary interventions resulted in surging stock and other asset prices, while those who owned no assets did not participate in the “V” recovery.
Earlier this week, Swiss bank UBS and accounting firm PwC published a new report that showed the wealth of the world’s 2,189 billionaires jumped to a new record high of $10.2 trillion in July, surpassing the $8.9 trillion record at the end of 2017. It was only when the world’s central banks aggressively expanded their balance sheets, beginning in March, that the rich got richer… Bloomberg notes that the Fed data shows the top 1% of Americans are worth $34.2 trillion, while the poorest 50%, around 165 million people, control about $2.08 trillion, or less than 2% of all household wealth. Meanwhile, the 50 wealthiest people in the country are worth almost $2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, up $339 billion from the start of 2020. Tesla’s Elon Musk is a prime example of a billionaire who saw his wealth rapidly increase this year, up $75.6 billion year-to-date, to $103 billion.
Covid-19 has exacerbated the already worsening inequality issues in the U.S. If it’s monetary or fiscal, the transmission of stimulus has primarily flowed to society’s wealthiest. The rich got richer, and the working-poor got poorer. Tens of millions of working poor households were handed lousy $1,200 checks, with many folks still without jobs, depleted emergency savings, food insecurity issues, and millions at risk of eviction. The wealthiest 1% saw their wealth erupt earlier this year as they own about 50% of all stocks and mutual funds. The top 9% own about a third of stocks, which means the top 10% of Americans own about 88% of stocks.
Read more …
The takeaway from this is how few people know they lied to a FISA court.
A near-majority of voters say FBI agents and leaders should be prosecuted for their role in the Russian collusion conspiracy theory, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen. Among the voters, 46% said FBI officials should be criminally charged over the scandal, while only half that number — 23% — said they shouldn’t. Thirty percent were unsure. The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Rasmussen using a mixed mode approach from October 1-3, 2020.
In a related Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen, just one-third of voters were aware that the FBI lied to a judge to obtain wiretaps against 2016 Trump campaign associates. When asked, 33% of voters said it was “true” that FBI agents lied to a judge to obtain warrants against Trump campaign affiliates. A fifth of all voters — 21% — found the allegation to be “false,” while 46% were unsure. The results indicate that relatively few voters are aware that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith earlier this year admitted to falsifying an email used to obtain a wiretap against 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
European Union countries agreed on Friday to a common “traffic light” system to guide them on COVID-19 testing or quarantines on EU tourists and other non-essential travellers during the pandemic.It aims to end a confusing patchwork of restrictions across Europe and to bring back free movement of people, one of the key principles of the EU, within the 27-nation bloc when conditions allow. The system would lead to more “predictability and transparency” when travelling under COVID conditions in the EU, a spokesman for the German EU Council presidency said, calling it an important step forward.
The guidelines, which were backed by a majority of EU governments and will be formally adopted next week, advise that restrictions should be non-discriminatory, proportionate and limited to what is necessary. Under the plan, regions across the European Union will be designated green, orange or red, based on the degree to which the virus is under control, and grey if data is insufficient. The idea is that all countries will grant access to visitors from green zones. The European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control will provide weekly updates to assign the colours.
Based on its current assessment, with COVID-19 cases spiking across Europe, few areas would qualify as green – most of eastern Germany, parts of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Cyprus, certain regions of Bulgaria and Greece and one zone in Italy. While individual EU countries are free to determine their own measures, they will be encouraged to be consistent, for example setting the same measures for all red zones. A green status will apply to regions with fewer than 25 infections per 100,000 people in 14 days and where the percentage of positive tests is below 4%. Red means infection rates of 50 or more and positive tests of 4% or higher or infection rates of over 150 even with a low positive test rate.
Protesters gathered in Rome on Saturday to show their anger over the country’s mask mandates among other continuous COVID-19 rules as infections across Italy and Europe are on the rise. Demonstrators expressed their frustration over harsh virus mandates that have not stopped since the beginning of the pandemic, including a new order that calls for all Italians to wear face masks while outside or else they could face a fine up to 1,000 euros ($1,200). “From now on, masks and protective gear have to be brought with us when we leave our house and worn. We have to wear them all the time unless we are in a situation of continuous isolation,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.
There were two different anti-mask protests on Saturday in the city, according to AP News. The ‘march for freedom’ event rallied Italians together to show their government disapproval and concerns for the democracy and economy. There have been 350,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy and 36,140 deaths. Most of the recent cases in the country are asymptomatic, and are detected through increased testing.
In early august, the first kids in America went back to school during the pandemic. Many of these openings happened in areas where cases were high or growing: in Georgia, Indiana, Florida. Parents, teachers, and scientists feared what might happen next. The New York Times reported that, in parts of Georgia, a school of 1,000 kids could expect to see 20 or 30 people arrive with COVID-19 during week one. Many assumed that school infections would balloon and spread outward to the broader community, triggering new waves. On social media, people shared pictures of high schools with crowded hallways and no masking as if to say I told you so.
Fear and bad press slowed down or canceled school reopenings elsewhere. Many large urban school districts chose not to open for in-person instruction, even in places with relatively low positivity rates. Chicago, L.A., Houston—all remote, at least so far. It’s now October. We are starting to get an evidence-based picture of how school reopenings and remote learning are going (those photos of hallways don’t count), and the evidence is pointing in one direction. Schools do not, in fact, appear to be a major spreader of COVID-19. Since early last month, I’ve been working with a group of data scientists at the technology company Qualtrics, as well as with school-principal and superintendent associations, to collect data on COVID-19 in schools.
Our data on almost 200,000 kids in 47 states from the last two weeks of September revealed an infection rate of 0.13 percent among students and 0.24 percent among staff. That’s about 1.3 infections over two weeks in a school of 1,000 kids, or 2.2 infections over two weeks in a group of 1,000 staff. Even in high-risk areas of the country, the student rates were well under half a percent. School-based data from other sources show similarly low rates. Texas reported 1,490 cases among students for the week ending on September 27, with 1,080,317 students estimated at school—a rate of about 0.14 percent. The staff rate was lower, about 0.10 percent. These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough.
But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small—smaller than what many had forecasted. Predictions about school openings hurting the broader community seem to have been overblown as well. In places such as Florida, preliminary data haven’t shown big community spikes as a result of school openings. Rates in Georgia have continued to decline over the past month. And although absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, I’ve read many stories about outbreaks at universities, and vanishingly few about outbreaks at the K–12 level.
I’ll try one more time, if only to show you that me heart’s in the right place. Yes, lockdowns work, and so do facemasks. But that doesn’t mean all lockdowns or facemasks or requirements for either work all the time. The UK was very late with its first lockdown, and let in a million people through their airports without testing them. After they did lock down, another 100,000 came in, no testing.
And now people there say lockdowns don’t work. Have you seen this report, or that report? Sorry, but I don’t have to. A virus spreads by jumping from host to potential host. Keep them apart and it can’t spread. I don’t need a “scientific” probe to figure that one out. The principle of a lockdown works, but that’s still only half the story.
The facemask thing is a little more complex perhaps. But it’s complicated only because various governments have neglected to do the one thing they should have: make sure they have the best facemask ready for everyone, the one mask that is proven to be effective, preferably mass-produced in their country/state/territory. But have you seen N95 facilities being erected where you are?
Now the entire world is walking around with masks that they all can see offer little protection, and mostly where they have little effect. Moreover, I see lots of people here in Athens who washed them with their underwear and wear them again the next day, because they’ve been told they have to cover their face with something anything. But that’s not how this works. What little protection those blueish masks that are everywhere offer, is gone once you wash them. What’s left is merely symbolic.
And as for the well-meaning crowd that make their own masks, stop trying, those things don’t do a thing and they make you look stupid. There are actually norms and data and whatnot for this, and putting your panties on your face does not comply with any science whatsoever. It’s just scaring people, and we have enough of that, thank you. Non-woven masks work best, that mean anything to you?
The droplets that the virus hitchhikes on to get from one host to another are way too small to be stopped by granny getting creative with her bathroom curtains. But it’s not you, it’s your government which should have had an N95 mask production facility in place months ago.
They should also have mass-produced vitamin D, and zinc, because these cheap elements would have decreased the new cases, and the severity of them, by probably half. But no western government that I know of has even mentioned the role of these cheap supplements in the COVID story.
How odd is that? It appears to be in line with the hydroxychloroquine story, which went from “It will kill you!” when Trump first mentioned it in public, to “It’s not effective” in Fauci’s terminology. But medical doctors I’m talking to still maintain it works, and perhaps more importantly, continue to treat their infected patients with it.
Sort of the same thing goes for the western Big Pharma attempts to get a vaccine, there were 239 of those trials last time I counted. But there’s never been a vaccine for any of the many coronaviruses, and not for lack of trying. Unless you count the Russian Sputnik V, developed in a fundamentally different way from the western ones, but that wouldn’t make Big Pharma any profits, so we all choose to just ignore and discard it.
It’s “funny” to see how all those politicians like the power to tell people what to do, lock them down etc., but when their measures don’t work, and that’s the case all over Europe, they blame their people and never themselves. I haven’t seen even one say, I’m sorry, I failed, I step down. Instead they all talk about doing more of what didn’t work. More lockdowns. Hey, you failed, move over!
In countries like Britain and Holland, they’re so busy trying not to explain how and why they still didn’t have enough PCR testing capacity 9 months into the pandemic, that they completely fail to see that PCR is the wrong testing method to use on a grand scale. Holland has “identified” 5 rapid testing options and needs until November for their “experts” to find the best one.
Meanwhile they have a “rapid test test” facility where doctors and nurses apply the tests, which should cost perhaps €1 a piece max, but which set you back a very reasonable €225. Good lord. The incompetence is not going to stop here and now, it’s engrained in the political and societal brains and structures.
And it’s not just the politicians, the “experts” also refuse to see and acknowledge that they are utter failures. They, too, blame the people. But just like they should have all secured access to 100 N95 masks for every individual, and Vit. D and zinc, and HCQ if people still get sick, they should have made rapid tests available for everyone to use at home, twice a week or so, if only just to ease the pressure. But health care has been institutionalized, so that will only happen when things get terribly out of hand.
All these failures have cost a lot of lives, and will continue to do so, and do a huge amount of damage economically and mentally. The idea of second lockdowns is insane, given that no N95 masks, no Vit. D, no zinc, no HCQ were ever made available. But the lockdowns will come regardless. Because the politicians and experts can and will blame it all on you.
In an event like this, people’s worlds get much smaller, and they only know what their “local” media tell them, and those media are in line with the respective political systems. In crisis times, you as a journalist don’t attack the leading party, no matter how badly they fail, because they will deflect any criticism right back onto you, and say it’s your critical reports that made people behave badly.
It’s circular logic at its finest. And since all these fine people in all these fine countries got it all wrong in the same way, they can use each other for cover. France can point their finger at Spain, and they at Italy, and all hail the King of Sweden. BTW, has anyone ever seen an explanation for why so many countries and states sent infected elderly people back into care homes? That one puzzles me.
The next threat is hidden right in that finger-pointing. Because they all want to keep their borders open, and that has consequences. Should have gotten it right the first time, guys, because Lockdown 2.0 was always going to be much harder. What you will see now is groups of people in various countries saying they will not do 2.0. While borders are open.
And what then? You’re going to lock them all up (instead of down), in virus-infected prison cells? You guys have no idea what’s coming at you. There is even talk in several places of engaging the army to make people obey. But it’s the politicians and experts who have failed, not the people who have lost faith in them. And those people have had 6 months now to educate themselves on COVID19, so they’re not so easily fooled anymore.
I still don’t believe in the big conspiracy themes. I see a sea of incompetence, of people not up to their jobs who insist on hanging on to those jobs anyway. That’s true, too, for the blunt refusal to even consider N95, Vit.D, zinc and HCQ. They’re just not smart enough. They were not selected for being smart, but for fitting into, and being servants to, the existing system. And then something unexpected happens. And they have no idea what to do.
Many people will not accept Lockdown 2.0. Not because they’re stupid, or suicidal, or they want to kill their neighbors and friends, but because they understand that what they’ve given up over the past 9 months has been of no benefit to them, or their neighbors and friends. And then on top of that they themselves get blamed for things getting worse. That’s the breaking point, right there.
Our “leaders” simply have no clothes on.
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We’re full speed ahead into absolute election mayhem, and nobody’s even thinking of pulling the brakes. Throw in a second and third corona wave, more lockdowns, more riots.
Today’s numbers gain in importance because of a model (see below) that predicts that before January 1, US total deaths will more than double to 410,000, and the world’s will triple to 2.8 million. A bold prediction.
I suggest you read this well. You’ll understand how this really works, and come away thinking you don’t understand a thing.
The Constitution requires the winner of the presidential election to garner a majority of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton won about 3 million more popular votes than Trump four years ago, but Trump won a clear Electoral College majority of 306-232. But if the election is close this year — as many prognosticators predict — and a few battleground states fail to report their votes on time, then neither President Trump nor former Vice President Biden might be able to assemble the required 270 electoral votes needed to become president. If such a stalemate occurs, a constitutional fail-safe would throw the election into the House of Representatives. Our nation barely avoided that outcome 20 years ago and has only used it twice in our history.
But even though the House will likely remain under Democratic control after the election, the Constitution’s process for resolving disputed elections should still bode well for Trump’s reelection. How could control of the White House end up in the domain of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.? It depends on the decisions made 230 years ago. America’s founders rejected the idea that Congress should pick the president, which they believed would rob the chief executive of independence, responsibility and energy. They wanted the American people to have the primary hand in choosing the president. But the founders wanted the choice mediated through the states, because they also feared direct democracy.
In a compromise that binds us still, the founders allowed state legislatures to pick electors for the president, based on their number of senators and members of the House combined. The state-based organization of the Electoral College and its slight advantage for states with small populations (which receive two extra Electoral College votes no matter their population, since every state has two senators) underscore the founders’ desire to give federalism a say in the choice of the president. The founders went further in designing their constitutional backup. They realized that the Electoral College might yield no majority winner. They expected that regions might support their favorite sons instead.
In Article II of the Constitution, as modified by the 12th Amendment, the framers established that if no one won a majority of Electoral College votes, the House would pick the president from the top three vote-getters. But Pelosi and the Democrats — assuming that they hold onto their majority in the House — still won’t pick the president. Rather than allowing a simple majority vote in the House to select the president, the Constitution requires that the House choose the president by voting as state delegations. That means that California (represented by 53 House members) and Delaware (represented by 1 House member) would each get a single vote to pick the president. Once again, the founders decided to amplify the voice of the states in the presidential selection process, rather than defaulting to pure democracy.
And that is how Trump could win the presidency again. If the Electoral College votes yield no majority winner Dec. 14, the Constitution sends the vote to the House. Thanks to Republican advantages among the states, rather than the cities, the current balance of state delegations in the House favors Republicans, with 26 delegations controlled by Republicans and 23 controlled by Democrats (Pennsylvania is tied). If today’s House chose the president by voting by state delegations, Trump would win. But there is one more twist. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution seats a new Congress on Jan. 3, but does not begin the term of a new president until noon on Jan. 20. That means the new House chosen in the November election, rather than the current House, would choose the president if neither Trump nor Biden wins an Electoral College majority.
Even though Republicans currently have a majority of House delegations, Democrats have narrowed the gap. After the 2016 elections, Republicans had held a 32-17 advantage in House delegations. If Democrats can win one more congressional seat in Pennsylvania and then flip one more delegation, they could achieve a 25-25 tie in the House in January. Under this scenario, the election would require political bargaining of the most extreme kind for the House to resolve a disputed presidential election. But suppose the House can’t agree, which could well be likely given the polarization of our politics. The Constitution even provides for this. If the House splits 25-25 between Trump and Biden, then the 20th Amendment elevates the vice president-elect to the presidency. Under the 20th Amendment, when the Electoral College fails, the Senate chooses the vice president.
But unlike the House procedure, the senators each have an individual vote, meaning that under the current balance in the upper chamber, 53 Republicans would choose Mike Pence to effectively become the next president. But one-third of the seats in the Senate will be filled in the November election, meaning control of the chamber could flip to the Democrats. Under this scenario, Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., could wind up as our next president and make history as the first woman to hold the office in American history. All of this is as complicated as it sounds. Election Day could be just the start of a new phase in a prolonged fight for control of the White House, rather than the conclusion of a long campaign.
The leader of the team behind Sputnik V said on Friday that the immune response documented among volunteers taking the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine is sufficient to fight any level of Covid-19 infection. Alexander Gintsburg, head of Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, was speaking on the same day that The Lancet reported on trials confirming that every patient who received the vaccine had developed antibodies without any significant side-effects. The British publication, one of the oldest and best-respected medical journals in the world, confirmed that the Sputnik V vaccine had successfully produced antibodies in all 76 participants in early-stage trials.
“The vaccine’s immune response documented currently among volunteers is enough to counter any dose of Covid-19 that you could imagine,” Gintsburg said. Meanwhile, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has revealed that post-registration clinical trials of Sputnik V in the capital could last from two to six months. He also confirmed that mass vaccination is likely to start in late 2020 or early 2021. “Some batches will arrive as early as this year,” he told Russia’s Channel One TV in an interview shown on Saturday. “There’s every likelihood that they will be used to vaccinate risk groups. These are healthcare, education, trade, the housing and utilities sectors, law enforcement agencies and some others – perhaps journalists.”
U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said. The U.S. death rate projected by the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would more than triple the current death rate of some 850 per day.
“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts. “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said. It previously projected 317,697 deaths by Dec. 1. The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by Jan. 1, 2021.
The main test used to diagnose coronavirus is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from old infections, scientists say. Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards. Researchers say this could be leading to an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic. But some experts say it is uncertain how a reliable test can be produced that doesn’t risk missing cases. Prof Carl Heneghan, one of the study’s authors, said instead of giving a “yes/no” result based on whether any virus is detected, tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not trigger a positive result. He believes the detection of traces of old virus could partly explain why the number of cases is rising while hospital admissions remain stable.
[..] The PCR swab test – the standard diagnostic method – uses chemicals to amplify the virus’s genetic material so that it can be studied. Your test sample has to go through a number of “cycles” in the lab before enough virus is recovered. Just how many can indicate how much of the virus is there – whether it’s tiny fragments or lots of whole virus. This in turn appears to be linked to how likely the virus is to be infectious – tests that have to go through more cycles are less likely to reproduce when cultured in the lab. But when you take a coronavirus test, you get a “yes” or “no” answer. There is no indication of how much virus was in the sample, or how likely it is to be an active infection.
A person shedding a large amount of active virus, and a person with leftover fragments from an infection that’s already been cleared, would receive the same – positive – test result. But Prof Heneghan, the academic who spotted a quirk in how deaths were being recorded, which led Public Health England to reform its system, says evidence suggests coronavirus “infectivity appears to decline after about a week”. He added that while it would not be possible to check every test to see whether there was active virus, the likelihood of false positive results could be reduced if scientists could work out where the cut-off point should be. This could prevent people being given a positive result based on an old infection.
And Prof Heneghan said that would stop people quarantining or being contact-traced unnecessarily, and give a better understanding of the current scale of the pandemic. Public Health England agreed viral cultures were a useful way of assessing the results of coronavirus tests and said it had recently undertaken analysis along these lines. It said it was working with labs to reduce the risk of false positives, including looking at where the “cycle threshold”, or cut-off point, should be set. But it said there were many different test kits in use, with different thresholds and ways of being read, which made providing a range of cut-off points difficult.
These days, going out without wearing a face mask is considered poor form – and, in some places, an offense. But the mayor of an Italian town says fines should be slapped on those wearing a mask in an “inappropriate” situation. In the same way global health authorities insist masks contain the spread of coronavirus, Vittorio Sgarbi, the mayor of Sutri, is confident his unorthodox initiative will help stem the spread of “pandemic-related hysteria,” as he put it, according to the TASS news agency. The lingering Covid-19 pandemic has so far infected close to 275,000 people in Italy and killed more than 35,500 – almost seven times the entire population of Sutri. Yet, for Sgarbi, mandatory mask-wearing should have its limits, particularly when public safety is at stake.
Sgarbi, who is also a renowned art historian, cultural commentator, and television personality, told TASS he had issued a decree – yet to be approved by the Italian government – calling for imposition of a fine for wearing a mask in a situation when it’s not needed. “My decree has been issued under the current terrorism prevention laws,” he told the Russian media outlet. The legislation in question says people shouldn’t have their faces covered in a public place. Breaching this law can result in a one or two-year prison sentence or a fine of up to €2,000 (around $2,365). Sgarbi made it clear that anyone breaking his ban wouldn’t incur such a harsh penalty, but that people should wear a mask only when the occasion requires. “Wearing a mask at dinner is absurd,” he clarified. The mayor is no stranger to going against the mainstream. Ahead of the pandemic, he reportedly dismissed coronavirus as “a flu” and ridiculed those raising concerns about the looming crisis. He later made a formal apology when the death toll surged.
It seems the same misleading tactic is now driving the supremely dumb but all-consuming news cycle centered on whether President Trump, as first reported by the Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, made disparaging comments about The Troops. Goldberg claims that “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day” — whom the magazine refuses to name because they fear “angry tweets” — told him that Trump made these comments. Trump, as well as former aides who were present that day (including Sarah Huckabee Sanders and John Bolton), deny that the report is accurate. So we have anonymous sources making claims on one side, and Trump and former aides (including Bolton, now a harsh Trump critic) insisting that the story is inaccurate.
Beyond deciding whether or not to believe Goldberg’s story based on what best advances one’s political interests, how can one resolve the factual dispute? If other media outlets could confirm the original claims from Goldberg, that would obviously be a significant advancement of the story. Other media outlets — including Associated Press and Fox News — now claim that they did exactly that: “confirmed” the Atlantic story. But if one looks at what they actually did, at what this “confirmation” consists of, it is the opposite of what that word would mean, or should mean, in any minimally responsible sense. AP, for instance, merely claims that “a senior Defense Department official with firsthand knowledge of events and a senior U.S. Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump’s comments confirmed some of the remarks to The Associated Press,” while Fox merely said “a former senior Trump administration official who was in France traveling with the president in November 2018 did confirm other details surrounding that trip.”
In other words, all that likely happened is that the same sources who claimed to Jeffrey Goldberg, with no evidence, that Trump said this went to other outlets and repeated the same claims — the same tactic that enabled MSNBC and CBS to claim they had “confirmed” the fundamentally false CNN story about Trump Jr. receiving advanced access to the WikiLeaks archive. Or perhaps it was different sources aligned with those original sources and sharing their agenda who repeated these claims. Given that none of the sources making these claims have the courage to identify themselves, due to their fear of mean tweets, it is impossible to know. But whatever happened, neither AP nor Fox obtained anything resembling “confirmation.”
They just heard the same assertions that Goldberg heard, likely from the same circles if not the same people, and are now abusing the term “confirmation” to mean “unproven assertions” or “unverifiable claims” (indeed, Fox now says that “two sources who were on the trip in question with Trump refuted the main thesis of The Atlantic’s reporting”). It should go without saying that none of this means that Trump did not utter these remarks or ones similar to them. He has made public statements in the past that are at least in the same universe as the ones reported by the Atlantic, and it is quite believable that he would have said something like this (though the absolute last person who should be trusted with anything, particularly interpreting claims from anonymous sources, is Jeffrey Goldberg, who has risen to one of the most important perches in journalism despite (or, more accurately because of) one of the most disgraceful and damaging records of spreading disinformation in service of the Pentagon and intelligence community’s agenda).
The Atlantic published a story Thursday evening that claimed President Donald Trump called the fallen American soldiers in a World War I cemetery “suckers” and “losers” in 2018. The author, Jeffrey Goldberg, cited four anonymous sources. Nearly a dozen current and former Trump administration officials disputed the story. One, notably, was John Bolton, the former national security adviser who says he will not vote for Trump. “I was there,” he said, and “I didn’t hear that.” Other claims in The Atlantic story are refuted by documentary evidence. The article claims, for instance, that Trump refused to visit the cemetery because the rain would ruin his hair. Bolton’s tell-all book said otherwise; so do official documents.
What is more interesting than the details of the story is how it was produced, and how it was rolled out. It has the appearance of a well-coordinated, well-executed campaign of disinformation, utilizing the full toolbox available to the Democratic Party. The article was published Thursday evening. By Friday morning, a left-wing group called Vote Vets had not only produced an ad based on the article, but had aired it on Morning Joe — MSNBC’s early-morning flagship news and opinion show. Meanwhile, the article spread across social media like a brush fire in a derecho. It trended at the top of Twitter; it was shared widely on Facebook, all without any of the “fact checks” that typically accompany disputed news reports on such platforms.
The Biden campaign issued a statement Thursday night — “If the revelations in today’s Atlantic article are true” — and held a press call Friday morning. The call featured, among others, Khizr Khan — the Gold Star father who attacked Trump in 2016. A short time later, Biden himself held a press briefing on the U.S. economy. Though he was expected to discuss the August jobs report — which came in better than expected, at 1.4 million jobs added — he led with an angry tirade about the article. At the end of his presentation, Biden turned to his campaign staff, who chose which reporters would be allowed to ask questions, and in what order. The first question went to Edward-Isaac Dovere, who writes for — surprise! — The Atlantic.
Dovere asked, “When you hear these remarks — ‘suckers,’ ‘losers,’ recoiling from amputees — what does it tell you about President Trump’s soul, and the life he leads?” It was a setup for Biden to attack Trump over The Atlantic allegations again. None of the other questions asked were challenging in any way; all appeared to be setup questions for Biden to attack Trump or to clarify some lingering problem — whether he had been tested for coronavirus (yes), where his running mate was (busy). No one asked Biden whether it was appropriate to attack Trump based on an unconfirmed report. No one even asked Biden about his economic policies.
What we witnessed Thursday night into Friday morning was the deployment of the Death Star — the full Democrat-media complex on display, coordinating journalists, outside political organizations, tech platforms, and unnamed military sources. It may be no coincidence that retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal — who was fired, ironically, because he had disparaged President Barack Obama and Biden — now advises a firm using military technology to help Democrats produce propaganda. It took weapons-grade skill to produce a story that, while unprovable, had the ring of truth to those eager to believe it (it “resonates,” said NBC’s Peter Alexander, whether it was true or not) and to make it the dominant story of the news cycle — on a day when the jobs market rebounded and Trump brokered a historic deal between Israel and Muslim-majority Kosovo.
Goldberg — the unofficial stenographer of the Obama White House — was just a vehicle. The real story is much bigger. The same machine that created and promoted The Atlantic piece will be sure to produce others.
Controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok cast further doubt on a New York Times story that claimed the Justice Department secretly blocked special counsel Robert Mueller’s team from conducting a Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation without informing the FBI. Strzok, who was a key member in the FBI’s investigation into both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s improper private email server and Crossfire Hurricane’s Trump-Russia inquiry, said he “didn’t feel such a limitation” during his time on Mueller’s team when asked about a piece by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, whose article was adapted from his new book, Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President.
Mueller’s “pitbull,” Andrew Weissmann, also cast doubt on the story a few days ago, and Mueller’s report and testimony also seem to contradict some claims made by the New York Times. “The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia,” the New York Times reported on Sunday, adding the FBI opened the counterintelligence investigation in May 2017, but “within days,” former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.”
Anne Applebaum of the Atlantic asked Strzok during an interview published Friday about the report, which she said, “suggests that the Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation, precisely so that it would not touch on the president’s long-standing relationship with Russia.” Strzok cast doubt on that. “During the time I worked at the Special Counsel’s Office, I didn’t feel such a limitation,” Strzok replied. “When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel’s Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president. But that’s an extraordinarily complex task, one of the most difficult counterintelligence investigations in the FBI’s history.”
Strzok added that “perhaps the FBI is somehow carrying out a comprehensive survey, with the full involvement of the CIA and NSA and the entire U.S. intelligence community” but said he worried that the inquiry “largely died on the vine.” Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team when numerous anti-Trump texts he’d exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, were unearthed, and he was fired in 2018. Strzok is currently suing the Justice Department. Weissmann also said the New York Times was wrong about its FBI counterintelligence story, tweeting, “NYT story today is wrong re: alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, ‘without telling the bureau.’ Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel’s Office and we were never told to keep anything from them.”
What the Federal Reserve has failed to grasp is that monetary policy is “deflationary” when “debt” is required to fund it. How do we know this? Monetary velocity tells the story. What is “monetary velocity?” “The velocity of money is important for measuring the rate at which money in circulation is used for purchasing goods and services. Velocity is useful in gauging the health and vitality of the economy. High money velocity is usually associated with a healthy, expanding economy. Low money velocity is usually associated with recessions and contractions.” – Investopedia. With each monetary policy intervention, the velocity of money has slowed along with the breadth and strength of economic activity.
However, it isn’t just the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet which is undermining the strength of the economy. It is also the ongoing suppression of interest rates to try and stimulate economic activity. In 2000, the Fed “crossed the Rubicon,” whereby lowering interest rates did not stimulate economic activity. Instead, the “debt burden” detracted from it.
To illustrate the last point, we can compare monetary velocity to the deficit. To no surprise, monetary velocity increases when the deficit reverses to a surplus. Such allows revenues to move into productive investments rather than debt service. The problem for the Fed is the misunderstanding of the derivation of organic economic inflation.
[..] in order to generate “real inflation,” economic growth must be strong enough to support employment that exceeds the rate of population growth. That employment must ALSO be productive (manufacturing based) employment which leads to higher wages. (Service jobs are deflationary as they go to the lower cost of labor.) Higher wages lead to increased consumption which allows producers to increase prices (inflation) over time. This has not been the case for nearly 40-years as technology continues to reduce the demand for labor by increasing productivity. This is the “dark side” of technology that no one wants to talk about. However, this cannot be achieved in an economy saddled by $75 Trillion in debt which diverts income from consumption to debt service. This is why “monetary velocity” began to decline as total debt passed the point of being “productive” to become “destructive.”
In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults. The share of young adults living with their parents is higher than in any previous measurement (based on current surveys and decennial censuses).
Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48% of young adults lived with their parents. The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period. The share of young adults living with parents declined in the 1950 and 1960 censuses before rising again. The monthly share in the Current Population Survey has been above 50% since April of this year, reaching and maintaining this level for the first time since CPS data on young adults’ living arrangements became available in 1976.
Young adults have been particularly hard hit by this year’s pandemic and economic downturn, and have been more likely to move than other age groups, according to a Pew Research Center survey. About one-in-ten young adults (9%) say they relocated temporarily or permanently due to the coronavirus outbreak, and about the same share (10%) had somebody move into their household. Among all adults who moved due to the pandemic, 23% said the most important reason was because their college campus had closed, and 18% said it was due to job loss or other financial reasons.
Japanese people have taken to wearing face masks during the pandemic, but the main reason for doing so has more to do with going along with others than preventing the coronavirus from spreading, a new study says. Peer pressure emerged as the dominant factor for wearing face masks amid the health crisis in Japan, according to the results of a survey administered by academics. A research group headed by Kazuya Nakayachi, a professor at Doshisha University’s Faculty of Psychology, published its findings in the Swiss scientific journal Frontiers in Psychology on Aug. 4. “Wearing masks is recommended to stop the virus from spreading to others, but our research suggests wearers rarely use masks for that purpose,” Nakayachi said.
“Most of them simply want to don masks just because others do.” The researchers surveyed 1,000 Japanese citizens online in March about how often and why they wear face coverings. The survey found that most people wear the protective gear, even though masks offer the wearers themselves limited protection. The results show a majority of respondents, or 51.2 percent, said they “usually” wear masks amid the pandemic, followed by 31.4 percent who said they “sometimes” wear them. Only 17.4 percent said they do “not at all” wear masks.
The head of the US Food and Drug Administration raised the possibility in an interview published on Sunday (Aug 30) that a future vaccine against the coronavirus might be given emergency approval before the end of trials designed to ensure its safety and effectiveness. A request for such extraordinary approval would have to come from the vaccine developer, Stephen Hahn told the Financial Times. “If they do that before the end of Phase Three,” which involves large-scale human testing, “we may find that appropriate. We may find that inappropriate, we will make a determination.” But Hahn insisted he was not acting under pressure from President Donald Trump, who has been pushing hard for a vaccine, saying one might be ready before the Nov 3 elections.
“This is going to be a science, medicine, data decision,” Hahn said. “This is not going to be a political decision.” Three Western drugs makers are well along with their Phase 3 clinical trials, involving tens of thousands of participants. The three are AstraZeneca, which is partnering with Oxford University in England; Moderna, collaborating with the US National Institutes of Health, and the Pfizer/BioNTech alliance. By the nature of the trials it is difficult to predict when reliable results will emerge.
Before the mainstream media transfigures Moderna founder and CEO Stephane Bancel into a corporate savior on par with Bill Gates, we’d like to remind investors (and the public) that Moderna and its insiders have demonstrated an eyebrow-raising affinity for pumping the stock with over-hyped press releases then cashing in shares or warrants (all insider stock sales were pre-scheduled divestitures, the insiders’ lawyers have argued). Despite receiving nearly $1 billion in taxpayer money via “Operation Warp Speed”, the drugmaker is planning to charge as much as $37 for a single dose, or up to $60 for two courses, of its experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. That’s far and away the highest price point disclosed yet.
And while we wait for more detailed data from the vaccine’s Phase 3 clinical trials, patent advocacy group KEI is taking Moderna and its executives to task for neglecting to disclose government funding received by the company during its early stages, before the coronavirus pandemic. Despite receiving $25 million from the Department of Defense’s “Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency” – or “Darpa” – Moderna has never disclosed this, or any other, government funding in its applications for 126 patents and 154 patent applications. KEI has lodged a request with the DoD and Darpa to remedy this in patents.
As KEI points out, Moderna’s “failure” to disclose its government funding could have serious consequences for Americans hoping to get their hands on an affordable vaccine. The disclosures could affect everything from the US government’s worldwide royalty free license, to the public’s march-in rights, to obligations to make inventions available to the public on reasonable terms. When approached by the FT, Darpa confirmed that Moderna was required in its contracts to disclose the funding in any patent applications that stemmed from research that the US government helped fund.
Now, Darpa is actively looking into which Moderna patents may have been produced with Darpa support, so the US government can take credit where credit is due. “It appears that all past and present Darpa awards to Moderna include the requirement to report the role of government-funding for related inventions,” Darpa spokesman Jared Adams said in an emailed response to the Financial Times. “Further, Darpa is actively researching agency awards to Moderna to identify which patents and pending patents, if any at all, may be associated with Darpa support,” he said. Mr Adams declined to comment further, saying the investigation was continuing. US federal law required government funding to be disclosed in these circumstances, he noted.
An NBC/WSJ Poll on expected mail-in votes might cause some very misleading if not totally inaccurate reporting on who is in the lead depending on when mail-in votes get counted: “Supporters of Democratic candidate Joe Biden are significantly more likely than Trump backers to say they plan to vote by mail. Nearly half – 47 percent – say they plan to mail in their ballot, with an additional 21 percent saying they will cast a vote before Election Day at an early in-person voting site. Only about a quarter of Biden voters, 26 percent, plan to vote on Election Day at a polling place. In contrast, two-thirds of Trump’s voters — 66 percent — say they will vote in person on Election Day. Just 11 percent say they plan to vote by mail, and 20 percent say they will vote early in person”.
Due to the above, FiveThirtyEight notes the Consequences Might Be Weird: “If this holds, it would mean votes cast on Election Day would skew heavily toward Trump, and votes cast by mail would skew heavily toward Biden. This has serious implications for … well, democracy. First, Trump could argue the mail ballots (which, remember, could account for most of Biden’s votes) were fraudulent and thus should not be counted. Although it’s unlikely they’d actually be thrown out, this would damage the credibility of the election in the eyes of many Trump supporters. Second, it could mean the first votes counted on election night will be disproportionately good for Trump, who might claim victory based on incomplete returns. It might not be until days later, after a good chunk of the Democratic-leaning mail vote is counted, that Biden pulls ahead.
Let’s do a quick-and-dirty exercise to show what I mean. In the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll overall, Biden led Trump by 9 percentage points among registered voters. But Biden led Trump by 63 points (!) among voters who planned to vote by mail, and Trump led Biden by 33 points among voters who planned to vote in person on Election Day. If this kind of partisan split occurred in every state, Biden would win the mail vote in all 50 states — from Alabama to Wyoming — and Trump would win the Election Day vote in all 50.”
The above scenario in all 50 states isn’t likely, but it is likely in some states. The election day results could easily swing Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan and that could swing the election night apparent winner. Trump will howl and his supporters will believe him. Some of my friends believe Trump will refuse to stand down, but I am sure it would not come to that. A bluff in that direction, however, is another matter. Chaos could last for days or even weeks in such a scenario with severe consequences on the stock market as well as potential riots which Trump would then try to pin on Biden.
President Trump’s support among black voters rose 9 percentage points amid the Republican National Convention, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds. Twenty-four percent of registered black voters in the Aug. 22-25 survey, which included the first two days of the convention, said they approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 76 percent said they disapprove. That is up 9 points from the previous survey conducted Aug. 8-11, where the President received 15 percent support among this group. The survey found support among Hispanic voters also grew by 2 percentage points, from 30 percent in the last poll to 32 percent in this most recent survey. Forty-four percent of overall registered voters in the Aug. 22-25 survey approved of Trump’s job as president, a 1 percentage point dip from the last poll.
Eighty-two percent of Republican voters approve of Trump, a 1 point increase from the last poll, while 18 percent disapprove. Eighty-seven percent of Democratic voters disapprove of Trump along with 64 percent of independent voters. The survey found the president remains underwater with suburban voters and urban voters, at 42 percent support each. His support remains steady among rural voters, at 53 percent. Thursday, Trump officially accepted the 2020 Republican presidential nomination during the last night of the RNC. The Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted online among 2,861 registered voters between Aug. 22-25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.83 percentage points.
John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, told Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that he has been coordinating with US Attorney John Durham and plans to soon declassify more documents related to the Trump-Russia probe. “I pledged to a bipartisan group of senators that I would look at all of the underlying intelligence surrounding the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s interference and this idea of Trump-Russia collusion, but I’m not going to prejudice John Durham’s work in connection with that, so we’ve had to coordinate with his office about the timing of that. But I’m optimistic that I’ll be declassifying additional documents soon.”
As a reminder, Durham, the US attorney for Connecticut, is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into several aspects of the Obama administration’s surveillance activities against Trump associates. Ratcliffe went on, referring to Durham’s review of the investigation: “He’s looking at the same documents that I am,” “He’s not sharing his findings or the work that he’s doing. But I’m coordinating with him to make sure that he has the intelligence documents that he needs to do his work. And what I don’t want to do is declassify something that might prejudice his work. So we’re going to have to coordinate as we go forward with the completion of his work with my ability to declassify documents.”
Additionally, Ratcliffe, said Sunday he has filed multiple “crimes reports” regarding alleged leaks of classified information to the media. “When I become aware of intelligence community information that is disclosed unlawfully, I do what’s called a crimes report. I’ve done that now on a number of occasions, and so those investigations are moving forward.” He said that the leaks were “for political purposes” to create what he said is a false narrative “that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
China’s five largest banks reported their biggest profit declines in at least a decade as they brace for further increases in bad loans in an economy weakened by the coronavirus pandemic. The five lenders — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications — released their latest financial report cards last week. All five posted at least 10% year-on-year declines in profit for the first half of 2020 as they set aside more funds for potential loan losses in the coming months — much like many banks around the world. “The banks have been asked to … perform ‘national service.’
They’ve been asked to support the economy at the expense of their own operational strength,” said Jason Tan, research analyst at CreditSights, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday. Chinese banks, among the world’s largest by assets, have been placed at the front line of the government’s effort to soften the economic blow on households and businesses. Authorities in Beijing reportedly asked financial institutions to sacrifice 1.5 trillion yuan ($219 billion) in profits this year to help companies by lowering lending rates and deferring repayments on loans. The Chinese economy — the world’s second largest — is expected to grow just 1% this year as measures to contain the coronavirus hit global economic activity, according to the IMF.
That would be China’s weakest growth in at least 40 years, according to data by the fund. China, the first country to be hit by the fast-spreading coronavirus, has shown some signs of economic recovery. But the effect of the economic slowdown on banks have not materialized fully, said Tan. “The brunt of the asset quality pressures might not have come through yet because of the still existing moratorium on the repayment of loans as well as its interest payments,” he explained. “So, these will probably come in the second half, if not in the first half of 2021 when the moratorium lifts in March 2021,” he added.
Turkey marked the 98th anniversary of the decisive War of Independence battle against Greek forces Sunday as the threat of a new conflict with Athens looms in the eastern Mediterranean. “Turkey’s struggle for independence and future continues today as well,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a message to commemorate Victory Day. “It is absolutely not a coincidence that those who seek to exclude us from the eastern Mediterranean are the same invaders as the ones who attempted to invade our homeland a century ago.” In recent weeks, Turkish and Greek forces have engaged in a series of cat-and-mouse military exercises in the seas between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.
The confrontation was sparked when Turkey sent a research vessel accompanied by warships to search for gas and oil reserves. Greece, a member of the European Union, claims the waters are part of its continental shelf and has enlisted the support of the 27-nation bloc, which has condemned Turkey’s “illegal activities” and warned of potential sanctions against Ankara. Turkey says Greece and others are denying its rights to explore for energy resources in the Mediterranean. Greece and Cyprus have recently been joined by France, Italy and the United Arab Emirates in carrying out naval and aerial war games in the region. On Saturday, Turkey began its own military maneuvers until Sept. 11 off its southern coast.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry also released cockpit footage of what it said were Turkish jets in mock dogfights with Greek F-16s between Crete and Cyprus. “No one should have any doubts about our resolve in this matter and our unshakeable belief in victory,” Erdogan said. In an interview with broadcaster AHaber on Saturday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Greece extending its territorial waters from six to 12 nautical miles would be a “cause for war.” Earlier this week, Athens announced plans to extend its maritime border with Italy to 12 nautical miles. Erdogan laid a wreath at the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara later Sunday. Ataturk led the Turkish troops in the independence struggle following World War I and went on to establish modern Turkey.
The travesty that is Julian Assange’s extradition hearing resumes fully on 7 September at the Old Bailey. I shall be abandoning my own legal team and going down to London to cover it again in full, for an expected three weeks. How this is going to work at the Old Bailey, I do not know. Covid restrictions presumably mean that the numbers in the public gallery will be tiny. As of now, there is no arrangement for Julian’s friends and family in place. It looks like 4am queuing is in prospect. By 7 September it will be six months since I applied to resume my membership of the National Union of Journalists. I STILL have not the slightest idea who objected, or what the grounds were for objection. I have not heard from the NUJ for months.
A senior official of an international journalists’ organisation has told us that he inquired, and learnt that the NUJ national executive has considered my application and set up a sub-committee to report. But if so, why is this secret, why have I not been informed, and why am I not allowed to know what the objection is? I find this all very sinister. At this stage it is not paranoid to wonder whose hand is behind this. The practical effect of this is that without NUJ membership I cannot access a Press card, and avail myself of whatever media arrangements are in place for the Assange hearing (just as I was kept out of most of the Salmond trial). I have now reached the stage where I would like to take legal action against the NUJ, but the finances are beyond me.
I am not going to ask you to donate because we are going to need all our resources for the contempt case against me, which the Crown drags out. I shall be writing next week about my own case and that hearing earlier this week. I would just note now that the “virtual hearing” is entirely unsatisfactory and unfair on defendants. There was at least one occasion when my QC agreed with a suggestion of the judge when I would have instructed them not to had I been, as I should normally have been, seated near them in court and able to instruct.
Scientists are to warn world leaders that increasing numbers of deadly new pandemics will afflict the planet if levels of deforestation and biodiversity loss continue at their current catastrophic rates. A UN summit on biodiversity, scheduled to be held in New York next month, will be told by conservationists and biologists there is now clear evidence of a strong link between environmental destruction and the increased emergence of deadly new diseases such as Covid-19. Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of farming and the building of mines in remote regions – as well as the exploitation of wild animals as sources of food, traditional medicines and exotic pets – are creating a “perfect storm” for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people, delegates will be told.
Almost a third of all emerging diseases have originated through the process of land use change, it is claimed. As a result, five or six new epidemics a year could soon affect Earth’s population. “There are now a whole raft of activities – illegal logging, clearing and mining – with associated international trades in bushmeat and exotic pets that have created this crisis,” said Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation at Duke University. “In the case of Covid-19, it has cost the world trillions of dollars and already killed almost a million people, so clearly urgent action is needed.” It is estimated that tens of millions of hectares of rainforest and other wild environments are being bulldozed every year to cultivate palm trees, farm cattle, extract oil and provide access to mines and mineral deposits. This leads to the widespread destruction of vegetation and wildlife that are hosts to countless species of viruses and bacteria, most unknown to science. Those microbes can then accidentally infect new hosts, such as humans and domestic livestock.