Dec 282023
 
 December 28, 2023  Posted by at 9:11 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  56 Responses »


Claude Monet Boulevard des Capucines 1873

 

Jack Smith Files Motion to Stop Trump from Raising New J6 Evidence (PB)
Trump Can Remain On Michigan Primary Ballot, State Supreme Court Rules (Pol.)
US Police Bolster Patrols for Colorado Judges Amid Violent Threats (Sp.)
Ramaswamy’s Campaign Stops Spending Money On TV Ads (JTN)
The US Is Preparing For War With China (CP)
Scott Ritter: US Sustainability in Jeopardy as World Turns Against Hegemon (Sp.)
Righting A Wrong: Burying Decades of US-Led Wars (Sweidan)
Zelensky’s News Conference Exposed West’s Fatigue – Zakharova (TASS)
Kiev Cooking Up False Flag Involving Toxic Substances – Zakharova (TASS)
US-Israel Genocide In Gaza Is Bad For French Shipping And Ports (Helmer)
Erdogan Says Netanyahu Literally ‘Hitler’ (RT)
Some Western Countries Say Netanyahu’s ‘End’ Is Near – Erdogan Adviser (Sp.)
Milei Mulls Plan To Force Through Radical Reforms (RT)
The DOJ Took More than Two Years to Answer a FOIA (Martens)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petchesky

 

 

Torah

 

 

 

 

Ritter

 

 


The global population growth rate peaked 60 years ago and has been largely in sharp decline ever since.

 

 

Ritter

 

 

 

 

” Jack Smith does not want Trump to point out to the jury that a political and selective prosecution is political and selective.”

Jack Smith Files Motion to Stop Trump from Raising New J6 Evidence (PB)

Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a motion Wednesday morning seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from claiming in his federal case that he was targeted for political prosecution by President Joe Biden as a form of “election interference.” Donald Trump, unironically, stands accused of “election interference” in connection to his legal and constitutionally protected election challenges over the 2020 election. Smith said in his motion that Trump should be barred from “introducing evidence, making arguments, or framing questions to advance a theory of selective or vindictive prosecution.” Judge Chutkan, an anti-Trump jurist who has consistently sided with the state’s prosecution efforts, is expected to fulfill all of Smith’s demands, no matter how contrary to due process or deleterious to the cause of justice.

The excessively constrictive measures would further rein in the speech of the 2024 presidential candidate in the midst of a campaign that has thus far established him as the clear favorite. The absurdity of Smith’s court demands were further illuminated by legal analyst Julie Kelly. “Jack Smith, in likely vain attempt to keep March 4 trial date, filed another pretrial related to what the jury should be allowed to consider. (All pretrial deadlines now on hold),” Kelly wrote on X. “Smith wants to preclude the jury from hearing evidence about Jan 6 in his Jan 6 case; Smith wants to prevent jury from learning about presence of undercover agents; After warnings by govt officials in 2016 and 2020 that malign foreign influences were attempting to interfere in national elections, Smith wants any evidence related to 2020 warnings kept from the jury; Jack Smith does not want Trump to point out to the jury that a political and selective prosecution is political and selective.” Political commentator Alexander Muse reacted to the news.

According to court documents, at least twenty FBI and ATF agents were embedded around the capitol building on January 6. There are multiple videos, among the limited number that have been made public, of undercover police officers on January 6 — some of them even urging the protesters to ‘go to the Capitol.’ A Congressman recently stated there were “at least 200” undercover federal agents in the crowd on January 6; including official FBI agents and human assets. FBI Director Christopher Wray has refused to give the number of federal agents that were in the crowd on January 6 after repeatedly being questioned on the matter. The Biden administration’s Department of Justice will not only turn America’s election process upside-down in the name of ‘stopping Trump,’ but it will corrupt its justice system to the core in order to do so. Even if that means stripping the accused of due process rights. Needless to say, this has nothing to do with “democracy,” and has everything to do with a corrupt ends-justify-the-means mentality that has state actors like Jack Smith stopping at nothing in order to get the desired result: In this case, re-election of a Democratic president.

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“..a list of candidates “generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates.”

Trump Can Remain On Michigan Primary Ballot, State Supreme Court Rules (Pol.)

Michigan’s highest court said Wednesday that Donald Trump can appear on the state’s Republican primary ballot, but the court declined to weigh in for now on whether Trump is eligible to run in the general election and serve again as president. The court turned away an appeal from Michigan voters who argue that Trump should be barred from the ballot because of his efforts to subvert the 2020 election and stoke violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The voters cite a provision of the 14th Amendment that, in some circumstances, bars people from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court became the first court in the country to declare Trump ineligible to run. The Colorado ruling is almost certain to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court soon.

Meanwhile, similar challenges have proceeded in dozens of other states. On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court essentially punted on the question in the critical swing state, saying in a terse order that it would not take up the issue of Trump’s eligibility now. Earlier this month, a lower court ruled that Michigan’s secretary of state does not have the authority to remove Trump from the primary ballot. The voters challenging Trump’s eligibility — who were backed by the liberal advocacy group Free Speech for People, which has brought similar challenges across the country — tried to appeal that ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court. But the state Supreme Court, which consists of four Democrats and three Republicans, declined to hear the appeal, writing without elaboration that the court was “not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

The Michigan Supreme Court’s order does not prevent the voters from contesting Trump’s eligibility to appear on the general election ballot if he wins the Republican nomination. By then, the U.S. Supreme Court may have definitively resolved the issue. One member of the state supreme court dissented from the decision not to hear the appeal now. Justice Elizabeth Welch, a Democrat, said the court should have heard the appeal and formally affirmed the lower court’s conclusion that the Michigan secretary of state could not strip Trump from the primary ballot. Trump celebrated the Michigan Supreme Court’s order on Wednesday. In a post on his social media site, Trump said the case was a “Desperate Democrat attempt to take the leading Candidate” off the ballot.

Michigan has an unusual process to select candidates for the presidential primary ballot. The secretary of state creates a list of candidates “generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates.” Political parties may also submit additional candidates, and others can petition to get added.

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“..Other messages called for the justices to be dragged from their homes, hanged and shot..”

US Police Bolster Patrols for Colorado Judges Amid Violent Threats (Sp.)

Colorado’s Denver Police Department announced on Tuesday it was investigating reports of threats of harassment against justices on the Colorado Supreme Court, adding that as a result security detail had been bolstered for the judges. “The Denver Police Department is currently investigating incidents directed at Colorado Supreme Court justices and will continue working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to thoroughly investigate any reports of threats or harassment,” Denver police said in a statement Tuesday. “Due to the open investigations and safety and privacy considerations, we will not be providing details of these investigations. The Department is providing extra patrols around justice’s residences in Denver and will provide additional safety support if/as requested.”

On Friday, the FBI also said it was investigating threats against the justices, and was working alongside local law enforcement in order to address potential threats of violence. “The FBI is aware of the situation and working with local law enforcement,” said Vikki Migoya, a spokesperson for the FBI Denver Field Office. “We will vigorously pursue investigations of any threat or use of violence committed by someone who uses extremist views to justify their actions regardless of motivation.” The threats of violence follow a 4-3 ruling made last week by the Colorado Supreme Court in which they made the unprecedented ruling to disqualify Trump from the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“We conclude that because President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary to list President Trump as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot,” the court’s majority wrote in an unsigned opinion. Following their decision, a flood of violent rhetoric descended upon the justices across social media platforms, with many of the messages coming from Trump supporters. The messages included posts which pledged to either maim or even kill the justices. Other messages called for the justices to be dragged from their homes, hanged and shot, said the SITE Intelligence Group. Trump’s campaign has vowed to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court, which is dominantly conservative. The Trump camp has blasted the effort as yet another politically-motivated effort to block his chances at serving a second presidential term.

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Seems weird that they’re only finding this out now. We’ve all seen how many people watch Tucker Carlson on X vs on Fox.

Ramaswamy’s Campaign Stops Spending Money On TV Ads (JTN)

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign is no longer spending money on TV ads and doesn’t have any currently booked, according to an ad tracking firm and the campaign. For the first week of December, Ramaswamy’s campaign spent about $200,000 on TV ads and later on in the month, it dropped to only $6,000 on TV ads, according to NBC News. The campaign stated that money will still be spent on advertising, just not on television. “We are focused on bringing out the voters we’ve identified — best way to reach them is using addressable advertising, mail, text, live calls and doors to communicate with our voters on Vivek’s vision for America, making their plan to caucus and turning them out,” the campaign’s press secretary Tricia McLaughlin told the outlet in an interview.

This change comes less than a month before the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary and the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses. “As you know, this isn’t what most campaigns look like. We have intentionally structured this way so that we have the ability to be nimble and hyper targeted in our ad spending,” McLaughlin also said. Other GOP primary presidential candidates, including former President Donald Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, are still running advertisements on television.

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“It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other.”

The US Is Preparing For War With China (CP)

The Chinese view, based on what they call “Xi Jinping Thought,” is that the US-China association is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. As Chinese President Xi Jinping has explained: “How China and the US get along will determine the future of humanity.” This view is predicated on the acceptance of a high degree of integration between the two countries’ economies. They see this “entwining” as something to be promoted because both countries stand to benefit from each other’s development. Overarching the bilateral relationship from the Chinese perspective is a stance of friendly cooperative relations. A “common prosperity,” they believe, can be built on three principles. First is mutual respect. A critical aspect of that pillar of mutual relations is not crossing the red lines of either of the two global powers. Second is peaceful coexistence. This entails a commitment to manage disagreements through communications and dialogue. And third is win-win cooperation.

For example, increased trade with China boosted the annual purchasing power for US households. That the US and China occupy such dominant positions in the world entails concomitant responsibilities. According to the Chinese, major countries have major responsibilities to humanity. They point out that global problems, such as climate change, cannot be solved without US-China cooperation. Indeed, the US and China together contribute to 40% of the planet’s current greenhouse gas emissions. Beijing contrasts their posture with what they explicitly criticize as the Biden administration’s “zero-sum mentality.” In a zero-sum game, one player’s gain is equivalent to the other’s loss. This differs from the Chinese vision of “win-win” relations based on cooperation for mutual benefit. The Chinese take exception to the US definition of bilateral relations as one of antagonistic “strategic” competition.

The opposing paradigms were displayed at the APEC summit in San Francisco on November 15, where the two world leaders met face-to-face for the first time in two years. We do not know what was discussed in the closed-door meeting. But in a press conference afterward, US President Joe Biden said of the person he had just spent four hours: “Well, look, he’s a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours.” Even neo-con US Secretary of State Antony Blinken winced at the press conference. His grimace was captured in a video that went viral.

Later that day, Chinese President Xi calmly instructed, as if responding to Biden’s indiscretion, “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other.” Peaceful coexistence for the Chinese necessitates a tolerance and acceptance of different social systems and modes of being. Xi further commented, “the planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed.” Fortune acknowledged that Xi offered a vision different from what it characterized as Biden’s “winner-take-all” mentality. The business magazine noted that Biden has continued Trump’s tariffs on some Chinese products while tightening export controls and investments in high-tech areas such as advanced chips.

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“The drone technology of today has changed the modern battlefield in every way that the machine gun changed warfare during World War I or the tank changed warfare during World War II.”

Scott Ritter: US Sustainability in Jeopardy as World Turns Against Hegemon (Sp.)

As 2023 comes to a close, the Israel-Palestinian crisis and the Ukrainian conflict are dominating world news, prompting questions as to what next year holds in store for the international community. Sputnik’s Dimitri Simes, Jr. sat down with former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter to sum up the results of the year and discuss how things may pan out in 2024. The Ukrainian military will continue to sustain a strategic defeat in 2024 as it is exhausted in terms of manpower, ammo and arms, according to Sputnik’s interlocutor. It’s up to Moscow and the Russian Armed Forces’ operational tempo whether the conflict will drag on until 2025, as per Ritter. Russia’s special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine has never meant to be a blitzkrieg, the expert stressed, adding that the conflict will end when political and military objectives set by the Russian leadership are accomplished.

Presently, Russia is continuing to “grind” the Ukrainian military and steadily liberate its new territories, thus accomplishing the demilitarization task. When it comes to Moscow’s political goals, it’s important to stamp out the forces behind the 2014 coup d’etat that brought ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis, including the Azov Battalion, the Svoboda Party and other ideological heirs of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, to power. In the course of the special military operation, Russia has mastered modern warfare, per Sputnik’s interlocutor. “The Ukrainian-Russian conflict has opened up a new chapter in modern warfare,” Ritter stressed. “The drone technology of today has changed the modern battlefield in every way that the machine gun changed warfare during World War I or the tank changed warfare during World War II.

The drones have changed the face of modern warfare, and I think that armies all around the world are going to be studying or should be studying what’s taking place on the battlefield between Ukraine and Russia today.” Ritter rubbished the claims made by US President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that having won the Ukrainian conflict, Russia would proceed to take on NATO member states. Per Ritter, Washington’s rhetoric is “fear-mongering” aimed at justifying further military spending. After accomplishing its goals in Ukraine, Russia will focus on strengthening its military and stepping up the protection of its borders in the West, Arctic and the East, where they are threatened by the US and their NATO allies, according to the military expert.

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“..hegemonic stability theory” vs “balance of power theory..”

Righting A Wrong: Burying Decades of US-Led Wars (Sweidan)

As previously mentioned by The Cradle, “Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip is best understood to be a US-backed one,” one that is being fought to safeguard US influence and interests in West Asia. However, the maneuvering room for Washington’s allies is shrinking dramatically. Unlike the diverse strategic options West Asian countries explored during the Ukraine war, Gaza offers no such latitude. It is fundamentally Washington’s war, demanding collective mobilization to defend the US position. It is also telling that the US-led multination task force, Operation Guardian of Prosperity in the Red Sea, is already facing major set-backs since its recent inception, with some members pulling out and others choosing to remain unnamed.

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby had to awkwardly caveat the secrecy like this: “There are some countries that have agreed to participate and be part of the operation in the Red Sea, but they have to decide how much they want that to be public. And I’m going to leave it to them so that they can describe it somehow, because not everyone wants to be public.” For example, the role of NATO member Turkiye has transformed into that of an energy transmission station for Israel, while the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan serve as a transit bridge for goods bound for the occupation state that Yemen prevents from passing through the Red Sea. Notably, shipments from Turkiye to Israel surged to 355 after 7 October, with many linked to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and individuals close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including his son Buraq.

Even Egypt, restricted to allowing aid trucks through the Rafah crossing, could not facilitate aid to Palestinians without US approval. In international relations, there are two main theories that address the relationship between power and the spread of peace. The first is the hegemonic stability theory which posits that the international order is likely to remain stable when one country is the dominant global power. The proponents of this theory believe that the existence of a single hegemon deters all powers in the world and prevents them from spreading tension. However, given the reality that the United States has dominated a conflict-ridden global order for four decades, it can be argued that the presence of the hegemon did not lead to global stability. Rather, the dominant was the major source and catalyst for spreading tension around the world. It is sufficient to look at the distribution of US bases in the world and the proliferation of military agreements signed by Washington to understand how the US consistently provokes rivals and challengers, and creates strife.

The second is the balance of power theory, in which states seek to protect themselves by preventing any country from acquiring enough military power to control all other nations. If one power dominates – such as the United States – the theory predicts that weaker countries will unite in a defense alliance. According to this theory, a balance of power between competing states or alliances raises the cost of tension for everyone and ensures stability in the world. Thus, achieving peace today requires a rise in the level of power among Washington’s rivals, power which will provide the deterrence required to limit the spread of tensions around the world. Increasing the capabilities of Washington’s rivals is now a key requirement for all peaceful peoples and nations. And according to the balance of power theory, uniting against Israel is the most successful way to stabilize West Asia and its environs today.

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“The begging of their Ukrainian underlings is causing ever more irritation in Washington, London and Brussels.”

Zelensky’s News Conference Exposed West’s Fatigue – Zakharova (TASS)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s recent year-end news conference signaled that Kiev lacks confidence about its future and the West has grown tired of Ukraine’s political setbacks, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “Everyone has seen the Kiev regime’s lack of confidence about its own future amid growing Western fatigue with their failures,” she said at a news conference. “The begging of their Ukrainian underlings is causing ever more irritation in Washington, London and Brussels.” “There is a growing reluctance among ordinary people in Western society to nurture the corrupt regime from their own pockets,” the diplomat went on to say. “The sooner the collective West realizes that the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, which it provoked, is possible only through achieving the goals of the special military operation, the sooner peace will come.”

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“Zelensky and his entire gang do not care about the consequences that their own people will face..”

Kiev Cooking Up False Flag Involving Toxic Substances – Zakharova (TASS)

Kiev is plotting to carry out a false flag operation involving the use of Western-made toxic substances in order to accuse Russia of alleged use of chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing. “There is nothing [in terms of concrete information] about Bucha: no names, no dates of birth, no passport data, they simply don’t exist. There was nothing, because the entire thing was a false flag operation,” she emphasized. “The Kiev regime is plotting something similar this time. They may organize another anti-Russian provocation with the use of Western-made toxic substances in order to launch a new campaign within UN structures and the world media to accuse our country of the alleged deliberate use of chemical weapons,” the diplomat said.

Zakharova pointed out that, according to available information, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is actively involved in the preparation of such a false flag event, and has enlisted the cooperation of the Kiev-based Ukrainian company Realab. “It specializes in the import of chemical reagents and precursors. In October-November 2023, Ukraine purchased in Germany a so-called small batch of triethanolamine and nitrogen-containing sodium compound produced by the US company Honeywell. The company is American, [but is] located in the city of Seltz (Germany),” she added.

At the same time, the spokeswoman noted that triethanolamine is included in the Chemical Annex of the Chemical Weapons Convention and is subject to annual declaration. “This compound is a precursor for the synthesis of a toxic substance with a dermal explosive effect, such as nitrogen mustard gas. Nitrogenous sodium compounds are highly toxic and their striking effect is similar to that of cyanide,” Zakharova stressed. “According to Russian experts, these chemicals may be used by the SBU to produce a chemical agent to carry out a limited act of provocation on the territory controlled by the Kiev regime within the range of our troops,” she said.

According to the diplomat, amid growing world fatigue with the Kiev regime and reductions in financial and military aid from the West, Kiev is sufficiently desperate to take any steps that might put the Ukrainian conflict back in the headlines and at the top of the international agenda. “The regime of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky continues to eagerly carry out the instructions of its overseas masters to wage war to the last Ukrainian. They do not care at all about the consequences of this false flag operation, just as they did not care at all about the consequences of using the depleted uranium shells that were delivered to the Kiev regime by the UK. Zelensky and his entire gang do not care about the consequences that their own people will face if this very false flag operation [involving highly toxic chemicals] is actually carried out,” Zakharova concluded.

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“Macron shot the messenger..”

US-Israel Genocide In Gaza Is Bad For French Shipping And Ports (Helmer)

The message delivered last week to French President Emanuel Macron was a dramatic one: Never mind Israel throttling the Palestinians, Macron was told, the Houthis and their Arab and Iranian allies are capable of throttling France. Macron shot the messenger. Bernard Émié was fired last Wednesday, December 20, and Nicolas Lerner put in his place. The announcement — the first time there’s been such a switch between the traditionally competing foreign and domestic intelligence chiefs — was made in a tweet by the French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu. Émié has been the head of France’s foreign intelligence agency, the DGSE (Directorate-General for External Security), since 2017. His replacement is Nicolas Lerner, head of France’s internal security agency, the DGSI (Directorate-General for Internal Security), since 2018. By coincidence on the very same day of Émié’s sacking, Lecornu took a telephone call from Washington.

US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin told Lecornu “the Red Sea is vital for global commerce, noting that the scale and increasing frequency of these attacks constitute a significant international problem that must be addressed. The United States and France are both making significant contributions to stability in the region and seek further collaboration on bilateral and multilateral solutions. Secretary Austin thanked France for its support to the 44-nation joint statement condemning the Houthis’ illegal attacks on international shipping.” This is the Pentagon “readout”. The meaning is the opposite. France is pulling its naval forces in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden out of Austin’s military operation and of targeting by the US and Israel of Houthi units on the Yemen shore, as well as of the Iranian intelligence vessels, MV Behshad at anchor in the Red Sea, and the MV Saviz in the eastern Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea).

In fact, the elimination of Émié, according to French intelligence sources, signals that US backing for Israel’s genocidal operation against the Gaza Palestinians, and the expansion of the war by the Houthis of Yemen and Hezbollah of Lebanon, are driving French national interest calculations in the opposite direction from the Americans and Israelis. Émié is a former French ambassador to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Algeria, and the French Foreign Ministry’s chief policymaker for the Arab world for several years before he was appointed to run the DGSE in 2017. Lerner, by contrast, has no direct Arab experience. A university classmate of President Macron’s, his career has been limited to police operations in the south of France, Corsica, and Paris, and then in the private office of the Interior Minister as Macron chopped the ministry’s head three times in eighteen months.

The French press are struggling to explain what has happened to the heads of their intelligence services. According to the state press agency AFP and Le Monde, “Emié launched reforms within the DGSE and saw the agency’s budget increase. He is said to have improved relations with the domestic security agency. But many have criticised the DGSE under him for failing to foresee the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and a string of military coups in former French colonies Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.” A rightwing, bank-owned regional newspaper, L’Est Républicain, claims: “Bernard Emié and his successor Nicolas Lerner contributed to improving the often tense relations between the DGSE and the DGSI, the replacement of the former by the latter confirming links described in the intelligence community as very regular and professional.”

Defense Minister Lecornu has been struggling with Macron’s pro-US, pro-Israel, anti-Russian line as the war in Gaza has been escalating. Towards Israel, Lecornu said the week after the Hamas operation began in October, “the bulk of the support we’re providing today is intelligence. The intelligence provided is provided as part of the regular partnership between our two countries. Unfortunately, we have a long history in the fight against terrorism, and our intelligence services have particularly powerful resources and sensors…Iran poses undeniable security challenges, both in its support for Russia in the war in Ukraine and on the issue of nuclear proliferation. Today, the priority is to avoid escalation. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people from these atrocities. However, this response must be proportionate and consistent with the laws of war. We emphasize that no other actor hostile to Israel should seek to take advantage of the situation…There is a very difficult situation in the Gaza Strip. France has nothing to be ashamed of, it has always been one of the most reliable countries in terms of aid and support.”

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“The Israeli military is the “most moral army in the world,” and it is currently battling “the most disgusting and cruel terrorist group in the world..”

Erdogan Says Netanyahu Literally ‘Hitler’ (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no different from Adolf Hitler, Türkiye’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said, condemning Israel’s campaign in Gaza. Erdogan fired the new diplomatic broadside at Netanyahu on Wednesday when he delivered an opening speech at an award ceremony in Ankara. West Jerusalem now has “Nazi camps” of its own to hold Palestinians in, the president stated, implying the campaign in Gaza was as bad – or even worse – than the Holocaust committed by Nazi Germany. “We’ve seen the Nazi camps of Israel. How does this happen? They used to speak ill about Hitler, but how are you any different than Hitler?” Erdogan stated. They are going to make us miss Hitler. Is what this Netanyahu is doing any less than what Hitler did? It is not.

The only real difference between the late Nazi fuhrer and the Israeli PM is the broad support from the West for Netanyahu and his campaign against Hamas, the Turkish leader claimed. “He is richer than Hitler; he gets the support from the West. All sorts of support comes from the United States. And what did they do with all this support? They killed more than 20,000 Gazans,” he stressed. Türkiye’s president has long sought to portray himself as a protector of Palestinians, repeatedly criticizing Israeli policies. Erdogan drastically ramped up his rhetoric amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which broke out in the aftermath of the attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on southern Israel on October 7.

The new remarks, arguably the most hostile ones produced by Erdogan to date, have prompted a response from Netanyahu. Israeli PM dismissed the criticism, pointing fingers at Erdogan’s questionable account and allegations of committing genocide in Türkiye and beyond. “Erdogan, who commits genocide against the Kurds, who holds a world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his rule, is the last person who can preach morality to us,” Netanyahu stated, falling short of accusing Erdogan of being the true Hitler himself. The Israeli military is the “most moral army in the world,” and it is currently battling “the most disgusting and cruel terrorist group in the world,” Netanyahu added, referring to Hamas.

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“How can you explain bombs being dropped on children being treated for cancer?”

Some Western Countries Say Netanyahu’s ‘End’ Is Near – Erdogan Adviser (Sp.)

Several Western countries say “the end” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is near since “the world has already seen” the Jewish state’s “brutality” in actions in the Gaza Strip, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Chief Adviser Akif Cagatay Kilic said Wednesday. Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan criticized Netanyahu and once again compared him with Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler. The Israeli prime minister, for his part, stated that Erdogan, who “is committing genocide against the Kurds and who holds the world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his regime, is the last person who can preach morality to us.”

“Netanyahu made a statement today about our president. You are ruthlessly and indiscriminately dropping bombs on people. Some circles do not want to understand the scale of the catastrophe when we talk about genocide. Our president spoke loudly about this in Germany and Greece. While many European capitals remained silent, our president demonstrated his position. Netanyahu is trying to wash the blood off his hands. But the world has already seen it. A permanent ceasefire and peace will only come when peace comes to Gaza. Israel is brutal, its policies are brutality. How can you explain bombs being dropped on children being treated for cancer? Many Western countries say this is the end of the road for Netanyahu,” Kilic stressed in an interview with Turkish broadcaster TRT Haber.

Additionally, the head of the communications department in the Turkish presidential administration, Fahrettin Altun, emphasized that the Israeli prime minister is “the last person to talk about anything related to genocide.” “The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is the last person to talk about anything related to genocide. He has mastered skills to sell the world, his war crimes against civilians as self-defense. Even though the world fails to stop him, the history will judge him as the war criminal he is… Netanyahu is the last person to talk about our struggle against terrorism,” Altun said on X. Altun also highlighted that Netanyahu is “the last person to talk about morality,” adding that he “cannot lecture anyone about how to conduct counter-terrorism operations because he has no experience in this arena!” The Turkish communications chief further said that the Israeli prime minister “has been on a mission to drive Palestinians out of their lands for the last four decades” and that he has now taken it “to a new level by using the Israeli army to kill civilians in their homes, hospitals and refugee camps.”

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Wonder where this will go.

Milei Mulls Plan To Force Through Radical Reforms (RT)

Newly inaugurated Argentine President Javier Milei is “on the warpath” against the National Congress and could put pressure on the legislature by holding public votes on policy proposals, La Nacion reported on Wednesday. Referring to a major economic reform that his cabinet presented earlier this month, Milei told La Nacion: “If they [the Congress] reject it, I would call for a plebiscite and have them explain to me why they are against the people.” The proposed legislation would impose a two-year state of emergency, deregulate the economy, privatize state property, and alter the national healthcare system, among other changes.

Argentine law allows for both binding and non-binding referendums, termed “public consultations”, although only the National Congress can initiate a binding one. If a non-binding proposal by the executive branch is approved in a plebiscite, the parliament is obliged to consider it. “They cannot accept that they lost, that the population chose something else,” Milei said of the opposition in the National Congress. He claimed some lawmakers were “seeking bribes,” but did not provide details to back up the allegation. One example of a non-binding referendum in Argentina was in 1984, when a vote was called on the government’s plan to resolve a border dispute with Chile. Overwhelming public support subsequently put pressure on the opposition in the Congress.

Milei, a libertarian economist and former MP, was considered a dark horse in Argentina’s presidential election last month. He was voted in on a promise to generate economic growth through radical public spending cuts and liberalization. Argentina is suffering high levels of inflation, which Milei has vowed to address through “shock therapy.” The new president has claimed that opponents of his plans are experiencing “Stockholm syndrome,” and has vowed a harsh crackdown under his government. In the same interview with La Nacion, Milei confirmed that he wants to introduce 20,000 and 50,000 peso bills. The largest note is currently 2,000 pesos, although inflation has wiped much of the value off the national currency over the years. Keeping wads of cash is “torture” for Argentines and “puts a label saying ‘steal here’” on those carrying larger sums, Milei argued.

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens run Wall Street On Parade. This is one crazy story.

The DOJ Took More than Two Years to Answer a FOIA (Martens)

On July 20, 2021 the U.S. Senate voted 56-44 to confirm Kenneth Polite (pronounced Po-leet) to head the most powerful criminal law enforcement office in the United States, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The vetting of this candidate immediately raised red flags at Wall Street On Parade. Despite Polite owing more than $1.5 million in debts according to his financial disclosure form and public mortgage records; paying over 18 percent interest on an outstanding balance on a credit card; 19.99 percent interest on a personal loan; and then accepting a job where his income was going to be slashed by approximately 77 percent – not one Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked a single question about Polite’s unusual financial obligations during his confirmation hearing on May 26, 2021.

In addition, Polite was coming from the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bochius, which had plenty of red flags itself. Polite was a partner there earning approximately $877,500 in 2020. His job at the Justice Department was to pay less than $200,000 annually. Morgan, Lewis has, for decades, provided legal representation to the Wall Street mega banks. Polite’s financial disclosure form revealed that JPMorgan Chase was one of his clients over the prior 12 months. JPMorgan Chase is a recidivist lawbreaker on Wall Street with an unprecedented five felony counts brought by the Justice Department and admitted to by the bank. Having a recidivist felon that is the largest bank in the United States as a recent client and then moving into the job as a potential prosecutor of that bank is not good optics, so Polite signed an Ethics Agreement (EA) that read in part:

“he will be required to recuse from particular matters involving specific parties involving his former employer or former clients for a period of two years after he is appointed….” During the time that Polite was ostensibly recusing himself from matters involving JPMorgan Chase, the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands brought a civil case in federal court in Manhattan against JPMorgan Chase for “actively participating” in Jeffrey Epstein’s international sex-trafficking ring where Epstein and his wealthy pals were sexually assaulting underage girls. According to documents released in the lawsuit, the bank was alleged to have laundered more than $5 million in hard cash for Epstein over the span of a decade without filing the legally-required Suspicious Activity Reports with law enforcement. In addition, various employees of the bank were making visits to Epstein’s Manhattan mansion where sexual assaults of minors were alleged to have occurred.

The Criminal Division of the Justice Department has yet to bring a criminal case against JPMorgan Chase for either willfully participating in and/or covering up Epstein’s crimes for more than a decade. [..] The number of red flags swirling about Polite’s vetting to become the top criminal cop in the United States and supervise a department of some 1400 prosecutors and staff, prompted Wall Street On Parade to file a Freedom of Information Act request for documents with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on July 26, 2021. We requested “all electronic correspondence from November 6, 2020 through July 20, 2021 that relates to the nomination or confirmation or vetting of Kenneth A. Polite for the position of Assistant Attorney General at the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.”

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Li river

 

 

Condor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1739960815313137904

 

 

Elk

 

 

Tortoise

 

 

Sleeping whales

 

 

 

 

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Dec 032021
 
 December 3, 2021  Posted by at 9:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Joseph Mallord William Turner The Sun Rising over Water 1825-30

 

Leaked Pfizer Post-Marketing Safety Report (Mathew Crawford)
First Batch Of Pfizer Documents: Over 1,200 Vaccine Deaths In First 90 Days (GP)
Fourth Dose May Be Required To Tackle Pandemic – Greek Expert (K.)
AstraZeneca Uncovers What’s Triggering Blood Clots After Its Jab (DM)
Vaccine Mandates: Unscientific, Divisive, and Enormously Costly (BI)
CMS Suspends Vaccine Mandate Enforcement (ET)
Germany: Mandatory Covid Jabs A Step Closer As Unvaccinated Face Lockdown (G.)
Researchers Shoot Holes In Study Touted For Confirming ‘Masks Work’ (JTN)
300,000 Brits Face Heart Problems Due To Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder (ES)
Russia Warns About Nightmare Scenario Of Military Confrontation In Europe (RT)
Assange Judge Is 40-Year ‘Good Friend’ Of Minister Who Set Up Arrest (DUK)

 

 

 

 

Horse dewormer is 438 times safer than the vaccines.

 

 

 

“..69 cases of confirmed (57) or probable (12) cases of acute kidney injury and renal failure, but that includes none at all in the U.S., strangely. A third of the cases (23) were fatal at the time of the report with only 10 of the cases resolved.”

Leaked Pfizer Post-Marketing Safety Report (Mathew Crawford)

Late yesterday, I received a purportedly leaked copy of a Pfizer post-marketing safety report, marked confidential and dated April 30, 2021 and tracks adverse events through February 28, 2021 of a cohort of 42,086 case reports of patients who suffered post-injection adverse events. The 38-page report, if validated, contains Pfizer’s internal knowledge of an extremely serious number of illnesses, injuries, and deaths associated with its injectable product recipients (call them “vaccines” if you like). Note: I cannot yet vouch for the authenticity of the document, but in my opinion, it looks legitimate. Before we dig into the details, let’s take the conservative approach and note that this purported internal study does not involve investigations of causal associations. I will discuss some basic computations along the way, but take them with an appropriate grain of salt. There are a lot of missing details from which to make important leaps. As such, consider my computations to be “envelope math”, if soberly performed. The crux of the report is the table on page 7:

It appears that roughly half of the reported AEs are serious AEs (SAEs).

Vaccine Associated Enhanced Disease (VAED). I am inclined for the moment to take as face-value the lack of detection of VAED as my opinion has veered further and further toward the belief that these injectable products simply don’t interact much with the virus in most individuals (perhaps in the immunocompromised who can carry the virus for months, we see evolutionary pressures that may lead to variants of interest).

In Table 7, there are 69 cases of confirmed (57) or probable (12) cases of acute kidney injury and renal failure, but that includes none at all in the U.S., strangely. A third of the cases (23) were fatal at the time of the report with only 10 of the cases resolved. The lack of cases for these SAEs is entirely unlike the rest of the report where U.S. cases are the most or second-most common. Are these cases being hidden in the U.S.? On the other hand, the U.S. topped the charts in medical errors, and by a wide margin [also unlike the rest of the report]. Huh.

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“Elon will make it to Mars way before the documents would be fully released ..”

First Batch Of Pfizer Documents: Over 1,200 Vaccine Deaths In First 90 Days (GP)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the first batch of documents related to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine after a federal judge ordered that they must comply with a massive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that was filed by a government accountability group called Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency. The esteemed group of more than 30 professors and scientists asked the federal government to share any and all data that factored into the agency’s hasty decision to grant Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine an emergency use authorization (EUA) – which amounts to a trove of over 329,000 documents.

In a shameless effort to bury the information, the FDA challenged the FOIA request in court. After the agency was told that it must turn over the documents, Justice Department lawyers representing the FDA asked a federal judge to allow them an unthinkable 55 years to process the request, saying that they would be able to release just 500 pages a month. In other words, Elon will make it to Mars way before the documents would be fully released – in the year 2076. A motion that was also filed by the same group of doctors and scientists is currently pending in federal court that would force the FDA to expedite processing and releasing these documents. Meanwhile, the FDA still has to comply with the original order to begin turning over documents. Lo and behold, the first release is a bombshell.

According to an official Pfizer document that is titled Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Records Reports, in just the first 90 days of the vaccine’s roll out under the FDA’s EUA – from December 1st. 2020 – February 28th, 2021 – there were TENS OF THOUSANDS of reported adverse reactions, including OVER 1200 DEATHS. The report only included adverse events to the vaccine that researchers considered “serious cases,” there were thousands more submissions that were left out of this data. Any cases deemed “non-serious” would be processed within 90 days, but this report was released before 90 days of Pfizer’s vaccine being available had even passed.

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More! Faster!

Fourth Dose May Be Required To Tackle Pandemic – Greek Expert (K.)

A fourth dose of vaccine against Covid-19 may be needed later on in the pandemic to protect the general public from the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, according to Athanasios Tsakris, professor of microbiology and member of the Health Ministry’s committee of experts on the pandemic. Tsakris said the issue is being discussed among pharmaceutical companies but much more data will be required to know how the variant will behave. “The specially formulated vaccine, if needed, can be prepared in a short time. However, clinical data is needed in order to give the green light in time for its administration.


“The information we have is that this whole process will take 2-3 months,” he told Skai. Asked about the third dose of the vaccine that has been rolled out in Greece, Tsakris said he is in favour of speeding up its administration to five months from the current six. Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced Thursday that health authorities had identified the first case of Covid-19 caused by the Omicron variant, in a Greek national who returned from South Africa to Crete.

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Please stop saying “extremely rare”, or we’re going to be extremely mad.

AstraZeneca Uncovers What’s Triggering Blood Clots After Its Jab (DM)

Scientists believe they have solved the mystery behind the extremely rare blood clots caused by the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. A team of international experts, involving researchers from AstraZeneca, say that in a very small number of cases — about one in 100,000 in the UK — the vaccine can set off a chain reaction which leads to the body confusing its own blood platelets for fragments of virus. The British-made vaccine is thought to have saved about a million lives from Covid and was the backbone of the UK’s initial rollout earlier in the year, helping it to become the most vaccinated country in the West.

But concerns about clots saw its restriction in under-40s in the UK in spring and led Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines being favoured for young adults and as boosters. It was outright banned in many European countries and the US decided not to purchase a single dose. The UK Government gave an emergency grant to a team of scientists led by Cardiff University to investigate the clotting phenomenon. They found that the shell of the vector vaccine — the weakened cold virus used to teach cells how to neutralise Covid — sometimes acts like a magnet and attracts platelets, a protein found in the blood.

For reasons the scientists are still probing, the body then mistakes these platelets as a threat and produces antibodies to fight them. The combination of the platelets and the antibodies clumping together leads to the formation of dangerous blood clots. But they stress this is extremely rare, with only 426 cases in the UK recorded the cases so far out of about 50million doses of the vaccine, equivalent to less than one in 100,000. The side effect has been linked to 73 deaths in the UK. Researchers are now doing further work to learn more about the process that causes these clots and if the vaccine can be tweaked to reduce this risk.

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“Unscientific” would have been enough.

Vaccine Mandates: Unscientific, Divisive, and Enormously Costly (BI)

[..] the most relevant study endpoint is not death from COVID-19 but all-cause mortality, which counts every death that occurred during the study period. All-cause mortality is the key outcome of interest not simply because it circumvents the oftentimes subjective decision as to why someone died but also because it balances all the possible effects of a COVID-19 vaccine, both good and bad, that could influence risk of death. In other words, it allows us to quantify lives saved by the COVID-19 vaccine while taking into account potential lives lost from vaccine-related heart disease, blood clots, severe allergic reactions, and perhaps other causes.

Because results from the two trials were so similar regardless of the type of vaccine used it is helpful to merge the results. Following a combined total of 74,580 individuals, half given the COVID-19 vaccination and half given a placebo shot, over six to seven months, the two studies reported that thirty-seven people who were vaccinated died as compared to thirty-three people who received placebo. Simply put, the very best scientific evidence currently available to mankind does not support the widely held contention that COVID-19 vaccination using the Pfizer or Moderna brands lowers risk of death, at least over the first half-year after vaccination. Interestingly, these striking findings were not reported in the main body of the papers but in supplemental sections. There are several additional points to consider.

First, the studies’ findings were limited by the fact that their design did not take into consideration previous infection leading to subsequent immunity from COVID-19 infection, which could very well have lowered risk of death in one or both study groups. Second, there are serious concerns over falsification of data and other data integrity issues in the Pfizer trial so this could also have influenced results. Importantly, because both trials mostly excluded groups at highest risk of dying from COVID-19 such as the frail elderly, the very obese, or those with serious chronic illnesses, we cannot assume that the vaccines do not protect against death in these populations. Based on my clinical judgment and lesser quality supportive evidence, I generally assume when treating such patients that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks and so advocate for their use, though I cannot be absolutely certain they offer protection against death because of the lack of randomized controlled evidence.

Finally, the very low rates of death from COVID-19 observed in both studies should serve to remind us of how minimal this risk is in the general population.the most relevant study endpoint is not death from COVID-19 but all-cause mortality, which counts every death that occurred during the study period. All-cause mortality is the key outcome of interest not simply because it circumvents the oftentimes subjective decision as to why someone died but also because it balances all the possible effects of a COVID-19 vaccine, both good and bad, that could influence risk of death. In other words, it allows us to quantify lives saved by the COVID-19 vaccine while taking into account potential lives lost from vaccine-related heart disease, blood clots, severe allergic reactions, and perhaps other causes.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The federal mandates are dead. They’re feeding you the info a little every day, so Biden doesn’t look so bad.

CMS Suspends Vaccine Mandate Enforcement (ET)

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) suspended enforcement of its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers after two court orders earlier this week. A memo issued by the agency, posted by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Twitter Thursday, said that CMS “remains confident” it will prevail in court but is “suspending activities related to the implementation and enforcement of this rule pending future development in the litigation.” “While these preliminary injunctions are in effect,” it continues to say, “CMS surveyors must not survey providers for compliance with the requirements” with the rule. The memo is referring to federal government officials conducting checks of whether Medicare- or Medicaid-funded facilities are complying with the Biden administration’s mandate that healthcare staff gets fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Jan. 4.

The CMS rule allows for religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine. Schmitt, a Republican who is running for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat, hailed CMS’s memo as a victory in a Twitter post. This week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions against the CMS vaccine rule, which was unveiled on Nov. 4 alongside federal rules that mandate either testing or vaccines for employers with 100 or more workers. “Between the two of them, these injunctions cover all states” as well as Washington, D.C. and U.S. territories, the memo said. CMS has appealed the two federal court decisions.

The rule for private businesses, which is being enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was dealt a blow last month when a U.S. Fifth Court of Appeals issued an injunction that blocked its enforcement. The same court affirmed its previous decision several days later, which is currently being challenged by the Biden administration.

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I don’t believe Merkel doesn’t know the Nuremberg Code.

Germany: Mandatory Covid Jabs A Step Closer As Unvaccinated Face Lockdown (G.)

Vaccination could become mandatory in Germany from February, Angela Merkel has said, as she announced what her successor as chancellor, Olaf Scholz, described as “a lockdown of the unvaccinated”. As more EU countries confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, which the bloc’s health agency said could make up more than half of all infections on the continent within months, Merkel described the situation as “very serious”. Meeting with Scholz and Germany’s 16 state leaders for emergency talks on Thursday on tougher measures to stem rocketing Covid cases, the outgoing chancellor said an “act of national solidarity” was required.

“We have understood that the situation is very serious and that we want to take further measures in addition to those already taken,” she said. “To do this, the fourth wave must be broken, and this has not yet been achieved.” Daily new infections in Germany have broken records in recent weeks, with many hospitals operating at or over capacity. Authorities said 73,209 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours. Deaths have surged from a rolling seven-day average of just over 10 a day in August to nearly 300 this week. Merkel said Germany’s ethics council would issue formal guidance on a vaccine mandate, and the Bundestag would vote on the legislation by the end of the year. If passed, the rule would come into force from February.

“Given the situation, I think it is appropriate to adopt compulsory vaccination,” said Merkel, who is due hand over to Scholz next week. The move would follow the example of neighbouring Austria, which is planning mandatory vaccinations from February. Greece also announced mandatory jabs for the over-60s, with unvaccinated people facing fines if they fail to comply. Merkel also announced a blanket ban on people who have not been vaccinated or recovered from Covid entering bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and other leisure venues, as well as non-essential shops and Christmas markets. In areas where the incidence rate exceeds 350 per 100,000 people, discos and nightclubs will close.

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The one study cited everywhere, gone. Masks gone, too?!

Researchers Shoot Holes In Study Touted For Confirming ‘Masks Work’ (JTN)

An acclaimed study on the effectiveness of masks in reducing symptomatic COVID-19 is facing new scrutiny after a researcher highlighted the minuscule infection differences between “treatment” and control groups randomized across 600 Bangladeshi villages. Accused of design flaws and overstating its findings when it was released in late August, the study’s newly released data show only 20 more symptomatic COVID cases in the villages that didn’t receive masks and related education, reminders and “role modeling by community leaders.” In a total study population of 342,126 adults, 1,106 people in the control group tested positive, compared to 1,086 in the treatment group. The latter group represented 52% of the study population.

“I have a hard time going from these numbers to the assured conclusions that ‘masks work’ that was promulgated by the media or the authors after this preprint [not yet peer reviewed] appeared,” University of California Berkeley professor Ben Recht, who studies machine learning, wrote in an essay last week. He said he was frustrated that the “raw number of seropositive cases” was left out of the preprint by researchers led by Yale University economists Jason Abaluck and Ahmed Mobarak, preventing him from “computing standard statistical analyses of their results.” The researchers posted the replication code and data in early November, long after media coverage touting “the largest randomized trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of surgical masks, in particular, to curb transmission of the coronavirus.”

In light of the full release, “a complex intervention including an educational program, free masks, encouraged mask wearing, and surveillance in a poor country with low population immunity and no vaccination showed at best modest reduction in infection,” Recht said. The newly provided raw numbers exacerbate other weaknesses of the study, according to Recht, who was also initially skeptical of the research because of its “statistical ambiguity.” The study was not blinded, did not exclude pre-intervention infections, and was “highly complex” because of the mixed interventions, he said.

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Ha ha ha. You sure it’s not the vaccines?

300,000 Brits Face Heart Problems Due To Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder (ES)

Up to 300,000 people in the UK are facing heart-related illnesses due to post-pandemic stress disorder (PPSD), two London physicians have warned. This could result in a 4.5 per cent rise in cardiovascular cases nationally because of the effects of PPSD, with those aged between 30 to 45 most at-risk, they claim. Mark Rayner, a former senior NHS psychological therapist and founder of EASE Wellbeing CIC, said that as many as three million people in Britain are already suffering from PPSD, thanks to stress and anxiety caused by the effects of Covid-19. He fears this could result in a dramatic rise in physical health issues, such as coronary heart failure, if cases are not detected or treated early.

Mr Rayner said: “PPSD is a very real problem on a massive scale. As well as the condition itself with all its immediate problems, one of the biggest collateral issues is the affect it can have on heart health. “It is widely recognised that reducing stress and mental health problems is crucial to the prevention and recovery of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. “We are talking about as many as 300,000 new patients with heart issues.” Mr Rayner warned that without at least doubling the current funding, the NHS will not be able to tackle the “trauma timebomb”, which could have potentially fatal consequences for those suffering with long-term PPSD.

Meanwhile, Tahir Hussain, a senior vascular surgeon at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, said he has seen a significant rise in cases where he works. He said: “I’ve seen a big increase in thrombotic-related vascular conditions in my practice. Far younger patients are being admitted and requiring surgical and medical intervention than prior to the pandemic. “I believe many of these cases are a direct result of the increased stress and anxiety levels caused from the effects of PPSD. “We also have evidence that some patients have died at home from conditions such as pulmonary embolism and myocardial infarction. I believe this is related to many people self-isolating at home with no contact with the outside world and dying without getting the help they needed.”

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NATO faking relevance.

Russia Warns About Nightmare Scenario Of Military Confrontation In Europe (RT)

Europe may be returning to a situation of military confrontation, and NATO is completely refusing to listen to all Russian proposals to de-escalate tensions, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed on Thursday. Speaking in Stockholm, which is currently hosting a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Lavrov emphasized that Moscow wants to improve “strategic stability” on the continent, which he said is “rapidly eroding.” “NATO refuses to consider our proposals on de-escalation of tensions and prevention of dangerous incidents,” Lavrov said, accusing the US-led bloc of rejecting constructive discussion. “On the contrary, the alliance’s military infrastructure is moving closer to Russia’s borders… The nightmarish scenario of military confrontation is returning.”


Lavrov’s comments come amid increasing fears over an alleged military buildup on the Russian border with Ukraine. Since the start of November, some Western media outlets have claimed that Moscow is planning an “invasion” of its neighbor, an allegation strongly denied by the Kremlin. Last month, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asked Russia to be transparent about its military activities, calling the purported troop buildup “large” and “unusual.” “We have to be clear-eyed, we need to be realistic about the challenges we face,” he said. “We know that Russia has been willing to use these types of military capabilities before to conduct aggressive actions against Ukraine.”

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“Duncan reported he gave Moreno “a beautiful porcelain plate from the Buckingham Palace gift shop.” “Job done,” he added.”

Assange Judge Is 40-Year ‘Good Friend’ Of Minister Who Set Up Arrest (DUK)

Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett, the judge that will soon decide Julian Assange’s fate, is a close personal friend of Sir Alan Duncan, who as foreign minister arranged Assange’s eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy. The two have known each other since their student days at Oxford in the 1970s, when Duncan called Burnett “the Judge”. Burnett and his wife attended Duncan’s birthday dinner at a members-only London club in 2017, when Burnett was a judge at the court of appeal. Now the most powerful judge in England and Wales, Burnett will soon rule on Assange’s extradition case. The founder of WikiLeaks faces life imprisonment in the US. In his recently published diaries, In The Thick of It, Duncan wrote in July 2017: “My good friend and Oxford contemporary Ian Burnett is announced as the next Lord Chief Justice.”

He continued: “At Oxford we always called him ‘the Judge’ and they always called me ‘Prime Minister’, but Ian’s the one who’s got there.” In an emailed response to Declassified, Lord Chief Justice Burnett confirmed he and Duncan have been “friends since university days”. Duncan studied politics and economics at St John’s College, Oxford from 1976-79, while Burnett studied jurisprudence at Pembroke College in the same period. “At Oxford we always called him ‘the Judge’ and they always called me ‘Prime Minister’” Duncan’s diaries also show that as foreign minister he spoke privately to Lord Chief Justice Burnett in May 2019, a conversation that was not logged in government records. Burnett briefed him on a dinner he’d had with then prime minister Theresa May two days before.

But Duncan told Declassified: “There was nothing that was required to be ‘logged in government records’.” He and Burnett both said nothing related to their roles as a minister or judge was discussed. Duncan served as foreign minister for Europe and the Americas from 2016-19. He was the key official in the UK government campaign to force Assange from the embassy. As minister, Duncan did not hide his opposition to Julian Assange, calling him a “miserable little worm” in parliament in March 2018. In his diaries, Duncan refers to the “supposed human rights of Julian Assange”. He admits to arranging a Daily Mail hit piece on Assange that was published the day after the journalist’s arrest in April 2019.

Duncan watched UK police pulling the WikiLeaks publisher from the Ecuadorian embassy via a live-feed in the Operations Room at the top of the Foreign Office. He later admitted he was “trying to keep the smirk off [his] face”, and hosted drinks at his parliamentary office for the team involved in the eviction. Duncan then flew to Ecuador to meet President Lenín Moreno in order to “say thank you” for handing over Assange. Duncan reported he gave Moreno “a beautiful porcelain plate from the Buckingham Palace gift shop.” “Job done,” he added.

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Oz haircuts

 

 

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Jun 032021
 


Vincent van Gogh Avenue of Poplars at Sunset 1884

 

Tucker Carlson Levels Fauci After FOIA Emails Connect The Dots (ZH)
Fauci’s Upcoming Book Scrubbed On Amazon, Barnes & Noble Amid Backlash (JTN)
Wuhan Lab Chief To NIH Conference: ‘No Regulation’ On Virus Manipulation (NP)
Israel: Likely Link Between Pfizer Vaccine And Myocarditis In Young Males (RT)
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett To Build New Kind Of Nuclear Reactor In Wyoming (R.)
Why The US Isn’t Going To Nuke Anyone From Orbit Anytime Soon (RT)
The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun (Greenwald)
Daniel Ellsberg Wants The US To Prosecute Him Under The Espionage Act (IC)
‘Dying for an iPhone’ (Chris Hedges)
China Rushes To Pull Back The Yuan From A Three-Year High (CNBC)
Olympics Will Go Ahead, Says Tokyo Games Chief (G.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker Berenson

 

 

An anagram for Dr Anthony Fauci is China Fraud Tony

 

 

“Fauci supported the grotesque and dangerous experiments that appeared to have made COVID possible.”

Tucker Carlson Levels Fauci After FOIA Emails Connect The Dots (ZH)

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson ripped “the utter fraudulence of Tony Fauci” Wednesday night, after BuzzFeed and the Washington Post obtained thousands of pages of emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, revealing that the nation’s top virologist was telling the public one thing, while furiously working on damage control and narrative-shaping as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. According to Carlson, Americans assumed “that the man in charge of protecting the US from COVID must be rational and impressive,” adding “We also assumed he must be honest. But we were wrong.

“It soon became clear that Tony Fauci was just another sleazy federal bureaucrat – deeply political and often dishonest. More shocking than that we then learned that Fauci himself was implicated in the very pandemic he’d been charged with fighting.” “Fauci supported the grotesque and dangerous experiments that appeared to have made COVID possible.” -Tucker Carlson. Fauci’s emails collectively show that “from the beginning, Tony Fauci was worried that the public might conclude COVID had originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” “Why would he be concerned that Americans would conclude that?” Tucker asked. “Possibly because Tony Fauci knew that he had funded gain-of-function experiments at that very same laboratory.”

“The emails prove that Fauci lied about this under oath,” said Tucker, who highlighted an email from scientist Christian G. Anderson to Fauci, saying that he and his fellow scientists felt the virus looked ‘potentially’ engineered, and that members of his team “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.” Fauci then sent an urgent email to his deputy – Hugh Auchincloss – with the subject “IMPORTANT,” and which read “Hugh, it is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on … You will have tasks today that must be done.”

Tucker Fauci

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Wonder why. Can’t be the negative publicity, there hasn’t been enough of that.

Fauci’s Upcoming Book Scrubbed On Amazon, Barnes & Noble Amid Backlash (JTN)

White House coronavirus adviser and long-time U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s upcoming book has been scrubbed from and altered on online listings, amid criticism that he is profiting from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The book, “Expect the Unexpected,” was earlier pegged for a November release, according to its Amazon listing. As of Wednesday morning, the book’s listing had been entirely scrubbed from Amazon. However, a cached version of the listing, still displayed the book’s promotional description and preorder status. A cached website also shows the book’s listing on Barnes & Noble’s website, though by Wednesday morning that listing was no longer live anymore. The book appeared to still be available for preorder on some lesser known vendors such as Booktopia.


The scrubbing of the book comes after backlash from critics who accused Fauci of profiting off of the deadly pandemic the U.S. response to which he has overseen. Among those criticizing Fauci is Fox News Channel contributor Joe Concha, who compared him to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing a seven-figure book deal about his efforts during the pandemic, which resulted in a high number of death among assisted-living residents. “If you look at the numbers again, you had Cuomo profiting off a pandemic, a government official,” said Concha, also a media reporter for The Hill newspaper. “Now we have Fauci doing it as well. I think this is appalling.”

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Why go to Wuhan? Well…

Wuhan Lab Chief To NIH Conference: ‘No Regulation’ On Virus Manipulation (NP)

The National Institutes of Health hosted Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers at a 2011 conference focusing on scientific research that could pose a “significant threat” to human health – including manipulation of bat coronaviruses. At the event, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Deputy Director repeatedly asserted that his controversial lab had “no regulation” on this form of risky research, The National Pulse can exclusively reveal. The 2011 event – Continuing the Global Dialogue with the Scientific and Science Policy Community with a Focus on Asia and the Western Pacific – was sponsored by the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and sought to provide participants with a “greater understanding” of Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).

Defined by the NIH as research “that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety,” DURC encompasses gain-of-function studies, which have come under increased scrutiny due to their role in potentially spawning COVID-19. Among the event participants were Wuhan Institute of Virology Deputy Director Yuan Zhiming, NIH Associate Director for Science Policy Amy Patterson, and top American researchers and scientific advisory board members. The NIH’s unearthed role in hosting the event follows National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci denying his agency’s relationship to the Wuhan lab.

While speaking at the event via telephone, Yuan Zhiming repeatedly emphasized that his lab and China lacked any meaningful regulation of dual-use research. “There’s no regulation in China, there’s no regulation on the identification of some dual-use research, and there’s no regulation on the classification of research or the classification of information,” he explained. “Even China, the biosafety and biosecurity philosophy is regulated by Chinese scientific community, but the dual-use research is not totally regulated. So we need to have some measure or some special program to raise the concern of principal investigators through training.”

Yuan reiterated the sentiment in his closing remarks to the conference, commenting “there’s no regulation on the dual-use identification and classification of some sensitive information, and I think maybe later the Chinese government and the Chinese scientific community will focus on the discussion in this matter.” Since the outbreak of COVID-19, however, Yuan has made rounds on American and Chinese state-run media outlets to discredit the possibility of the virus leaking from his lab.

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“The number of cases reported after the second shot was four times greater than those recorded after the first..”

Israel: Likely Link Between Pfizer Vaccine And Myocarditis In Young Males (RT)

A specially appointed epidemiological team has found “a likelihood of a link” between receiving the second dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine and the onset of myocarditis in young men, Israel’s Health Ministry said in a statement. The ministry says the team was set up following reports of cases of heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, among males aged 16 to 30 shortly after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered. The link was found to be stronger in people aged 16-19 relative to other age groups, and weakens as the age of the recipients increases. Most patients who experienced the problem spent up to four days in the hospital, and 95% of the cases were classified as mild, according to the ministry.

The Health Ministry commissioned the study after 275 cases of myocarditis were reported in Israel between December 2020 and May 2021. Nearly 150 cases were recorded after the vaccine was administered. The number of cases reported after the second shot was four times greater than those recorded after the first, the ministry said. Myocarditis is a condition characterized by chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, and can be caused by Covid-19, according to the ministry. While the type of vaccine in question is not directly mentioned in the statement, Israel relies almost exclusively on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it’s the only product mentioned on the vaccination information page of the Health Ministry website.

Pfizer said in a statement cited by Reuters that it has not recorded a higher rate of myocarditis than would normally be expected in the general population. The pharma giant added that it was aware of the Israeli observations of myocarditis but has not established a causal link to its vaccine. The Israeli Health Ministry says that given the findings, it will review the 12-15-year-old population’s eligibility for the vaccine. The shot was recently approved in the EU for people aged 12 and older.

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Oh, just lovely.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett To Build New Kind Of Nuclear Reactor In Wyoming (R.)

Power companies run by billionaire friends Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have chosen Wyoming to launch the first Natrium nuclear reactor project on the site of a retiring coal plant. TerraPower, founded by Gates about 15 years ago, and power company PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said on Wednesday that the exact site of the Natrium reactor demonstration plant was expected to be announced by the end of the year. Small advanced reactors, which run on different fuels to traditional reactors, are regarded by some as a critical carbon-free technology than can supplement intermittent power sources like wind and solar as states strive to cut emissions that cause climate change. “We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry,” Gates told a media conference to launch the project in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“This is our fastest and clearest course to becoming carbon negative,” Wyoming’s governor, Mark Gordon, said. “Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy” in Wyoming, the country’s top coal-producing state. The project features a 345 megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with molten salt-based energy storage that could boost the system’s power output to 500MW during peak power demand. TerraPower said last year that the plants would cost about $1bn. Late last year the US energy department awarded TerraPower $80m in initial funding to demonstrate Natrium technology, and the department has committed additional funding in coming years subject to congressional appropriations.

Chris Levesque, TerraPower’s president and chief executive, said the demonstration plant would take about seven years to build. “We need this kind of clean energy on the grid in the 2030s,” he told reporters. Nuclear power experts have warned that advanced reactors could have higher risks than conventional ones. Fuel for many advanced reactors would have to be enriched at a much higher rate than conventional fuel, meaning the fuel supply chain could be an attractive target for militants looking to create a crude nuclear weapon, a recent report said. Levesque said that the plants would reduce proliferation risks because they reduce overall nuclear waste.

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Not even the US is that crazy.

Why The US Isn’t Going To Nuke Anyone From Orbit Anytime Soon (RT)

Low-orbit space planes have been named as a possible carrier of American nuclear warheads. While theoretically possible, at current technology levels such weapons would be significantly more trouble than they are worth.
According to the director-general of Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey, Yan Novikov, the US has orbital bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Variants of the Boeing X-37 orbital test vehicle, launched in 2010 and officially used for scientific purposes, can theoretically carry up to six warheads, Novikov claimed during a virtual educational forum in Russia in May. In the words of Kyle Mizokami, who wrote an article on this for Popular Mechanics, “this isn’t even a good idea”.

While Mizokami’s take is titled “Don’t believe Russia”, and its main thrust is apparently that Mr. Novikov is hyping up the US orbital nukes threat to boost the sales of Almaz-Antey’s surface-to-space missiles, he does have some good points that explain why the dangers of orbital bombing are more than a little exaggerated. First off, putting nukes on an X-37 to then launch them from orbit will require extensive modification to the weapons, which will only allow two or, at best, three, to be taken on board – not nearly enough for an effective surprise attack. And to carry an element of surprise, it would have to approach Russia from a very specific direction to avoid the radars of early-warning systems – and even so, it won’t be able to hide from visual detection.

Aside from the lack of surprise, there is a long list of problems associated with space planes carrying nuclear payloads. “The idea of placing strategic nuclear weapons in low Earth orbit isn’t new. It emerged with the first successful launches of the Earth’s artificial satellites,” ex-chief of the General Staff of the Air Defense Forces, Honored Military Pilot, Colonel-General of Aviation Igor Maltsev says. According to him, for a number of reasons, space projects like this never went beyond concept or, at best, preliminary design. Why was that the case? Technically, the goal of putting these weapons in space is achievable, says Igor Maltsev. Anything can be launched to space. But when the idea is to create a strategic weapons system in orbit, there are a number of challenges that have, so far, prevented any significant progress along these lines.

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“..ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized.”

The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun (Greenwald)

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a new warning bulletin, alerting Americans that domestic extremists may well use violence on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. This was at least the fourth such bulletin issued this year by Homeland Security (DHS) warning of the same danger and, thus far, none of the fears it is trying to instill into the American population has materialized. The first was a January 14 warning, from numerous federal agencies including DHS, about violence in Washington, DC and all fifty state capitols that was likely to explode in protest of Inauguration Day (a threat which did not materialize). Then came a January 27 bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks” from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority” (that warning also was not realized).

Then there was a May 14 bulletin warning of right-wing violence “to attack higher-capacity targets,” exacerbated by the lifting of COVID lockdowns (which also never happened). And now we are treated to this new DHS warning about domestic extremists preparing violent attacks over Tulsa (it remains to be seen if a DHS fear is finally realized). Just like the first War on Terror, these threats are issued with virtually no specificity. They are just generalized warnings designed to put people in fear about their fellow citizens and to justify aggressive deployment of military and law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. A CNN article which wildly hyped the latest danger bulletin about domestic extremists at Tulsa had to be edited with what the cable network, in an “update,” called “the additional information from the Department of Homeland Security that there is no specific or credible threats at this time.”

And the supposed dangers from domestic extremists on Inauguration Day was such a flop that even The Washington Post — one of the outlets most vocal about lurking national security dangers in general and this one in particular — had to explicitly acknowledge the failure: Thousands [of National Guard troops] had been deployed to capitals across the country late last week, ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized. Once again on Wednesday, security officials’ worst fears weren’t borne out: In some states, it was close to business as usual. In others, demonstrations were small and peaceful, with only occasional tense moments.

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“The study shows American generals enthusiastically planning for the use of nuclear weapons against China.”

Daniel Ellsberg Wants The US To Prosecute Him Under The Espionage Act (IC)

“The whole idea is to kill the bastards,” Gen. Thomas Power, commander of America’s nuclear forces from 1957 to 1963, once said about the use of atomic weapons. “At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win.” The hold this nuclear lunacy had on the top of the U.S. government is terrifyingly illuminated in a top-secret study of U.S. war plans newly publicized by famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. The document, produced by the RAND Corporation and copied by Ellsberg at the same time he exfiltrated the Pentagon Papers from RAND, examines the U.S. response to the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis. The study’s contents were first reported on May 22 by the New York Times.

The crisis, now completely forgotten, began when China attempted to seize several small islands off its coast from Taiwan. The study shows American generals enthusiastically planning for the use of nuclear weapons against China. It is not simply that the officials looked with equanimity on the possibility of killing millions; rather, many seemed frustrated that there were any delays forced upon them by the rest of the government. If China had not changed course, civilization could have ended then and there. Ellsberg is now speaking out about the study, he said in a phone interview, for a straightforward reason: “I got scared.” The issues that led to the 1958 crisis between the U.S. and China have never been resolved; both countries are now ramping up confrontational rhetoric; and most importantly, the strategic rationale that led the U.S. to consider nuclear war then remains exactly the same today.

“You shouldn’t be confident that the current calculations are any less crazy,” Ellsberg said. His apprehension about the potential use of nuclear weapons is intimately linked to another of his key concerns: the Justice Department’s accelerating use of the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute leakers. Its chilling effect on potential whistleblowers makes it less and less likely that Americans will even know what their government is doing, much less be able to do anything about it. Ellsberg hopes his latest revelation will prompt a cultural and perhaps legal reckoning for the Act.

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“Workers are abused, underpaid and sickened from exposure to chemicals and toxins such as aluminum dust.”

‘Dying for an iPhone’ (Chris Hedges)

Global capitalists have turned back the clock to the early days of the Industrial Revolution. The working class is increasingly bereft of rights, blocked from forming unions, paid starvation wages, subject to wage theft, under constant surveillance, fired for minor infractions, exposed to dangerous carcinogens, forced to work overtime, given punishing quotas and abandoned when they are sick and old. Workers have become, here and abroad, disposable cogs to corporate oligarchs, who wallow in obscene personal wealth that dwarfs the worst excesses of the Robber Barons. In fashionable liberal circles there are, as Noam Chomsky notes, worthy and unworthy victims. Nancy Pelosi has called on global leaders not to attend the Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in Beijing in February, because of what she called a “genocide” being carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur minority.

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof in a column rattled off a list of human rights violations overseen by China’s leader Xi Jinping, writing “[Xi] eviscerates Hong Kong freedoms, jails lawyers and journalists, seizes Canadian hostages, threatens Taiwan and, most horrifying, presides over crimes against humanity in the far western region of Xinjiang that is home to several Muslim minorities.” Not a word about the millions of workers in China who are treated little better than serfs. They live separated from their families, including their children, and housed in overcrowded company dormitories, which sees rent deducted from their paychecks, next to factories that have round-the-clock production, often making products for U.S. corporations. Workers are abused, underpaid and sickened from exposure to chemicals and toxins such as aluminum dust.

The suffering of the working class, within and outside the United States, is as ignored by our corporatized media as the suffering of the Palestinians. And yet, I would argue, it is one of the most important human rights issues of our era, since once workers are empowered, they can fend off other human rights violations. Unless workers can organize, here and in countries such as China, and achieve basic rights and living wages, it will cement into place a global serfdom that will leave workers trapped in the appalling conditions described by Friedrich Engels in his 1845 book “The Conditions of the Working Class in England” or Émile Zola‘s 1885 masterpiece “Germinal.”

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Small moves so far, more like virtue signalling.

China Rushes To Pull Back The Yuan From A Three-Year High (CNBC)

China is trying to rein in the yuan as it surges to three-year highs against the U.S. dollar. A stronger yuan makes Chinese goods relatively more expensive to buyers overseas, and has spurred concerns about the competitiveness of Chinese exports — a major contributor to national economic growth. The Chinese yuan traded little changed against the U.S. dollar Thursday after the People’s Bank of China set the yuan’s daily midpoint at 6.3811 versus the greenback. That marked the second-straight day of weaker fixings, reversing six straight trading days of stronger fixings since May 24, according to data from Wind Information.

The PBOC has tried to allow the market to play a greater role in deter mining the yuan’s exchange rate. But the central bank retains some control through daily midpoint fixings against the dollar, allowing the yuan to move 2% higher or lower from that level. The weaker fix followed the central bank’s announcement late Monday that beginning June 15, financial institutions must increase the ratio of their foreign exchange deposits by 2 percentage points — to 7% from 5% currently. The hike forces banks to retain more of their foreign currency holdings, reducing the amount that could be used to influence foreign exchange rates.

It is the first such hike in 14 years since the previous change in May 2007 — before the financial crisis — economists pointed out. They estimate the move will reduce the amount of foreign currency available for long-term trading by $20 billion. Analysts said the exact dollar amount is less significant than the central bank’s message that the yuan will not move in a single direction of continued strengthening against the U.S. dollar.

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With 80% of Japanese against.

Olympics Will Go Ahead, Says Tokyo Games Chief (G.)

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, has said the Games will go ahead as planned, soon after the Japan’s most senior medical adviser said holding the event under current coronavirus conditions was “not normal”. “We cannot postpone again,” Hashimoto said an interview published on Thursday in the Nikkan Sports newspaper. Shigeru Omi, head of a panel of experts that has been advising the Japanese government on its Covid-19 response since the start of the pandemic, issued his strongest warning yet of the potential risks of holding the Games. “It’s not normal to have the Olympics in a situation like this,” Omi told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, adding that organisers should explain to a sceptical public why it was pushing ahead with preparations.

Most Japanese people do not want Tokyo 2020 to be held this summer, according to recent opinion polls. Medical journals have questioned the wisdom of allowing 90,000 athletes, media, sponsors, officials and support staff to enter the country in July, while medical unions say the Games will place additional pressure on health services. The public broadcaster NHK reported that about 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers who signed up to help during the Games have quit, but organisers said the lower numbers would not be “particularly problematic” since the decision had already been taken to ban spectators from overseas. “There’s no mistake that concerns over the coronavirus could have been a factor,” as well as scheduling conflicts due to last year’s postponement, the Nikkei business paper quoted Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto as saying.

[..] Tokyo and several other regions are under a state of emergency that is due to end on 20 June. While the rate of infections is falling in the capital, there is concern about the risks posed by new variants and Japan’s slow vaccine rollout. The vaccination programme has gathered pace in recent days, but only 2.7% of Japan’s 126 million population has been fully vaccinated. In an attempt to speed up the process with just 50 days to go before the opening ceremony, the government has said large companies and universities will be able to start inoculating staff and students from 21 June. Japan has avoided the large-scale infections suffered by many other countries, but serious cases have risen during the latest outbreak. It has reported more than 750,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and about 13,200 deaths, a relatively high number among Asian countries.

Read more …

 

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Oct 072020
 
 October 7, 2020  Posted by at 9:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  22 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci Head of a Woman 1475-80

 

President Trump Reauthorizes Declassification of all Documents (sundance)
There are Trillions at Stake (sundance)
Declassified CIA Docs Show Alleged Clinton Plan To Link Trump To Russia (DC)
Spy Chief Releases Docs On Claim Hillary Clinton Cooked Up Russia Scandal (NYP)
CIA Director Gina Haspel and the British Role in the Anti-Trump Plot (Farrell)
Grand Jury Indicts St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home Amid Demonstrations (JTN)
Jay Powell Wants More Help From Congress: Low Risk Of ‘Overdoing It’ (CNBC)
Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries (Pew)
Court To Rule On UK Freedom Of Information Bids From Overseas (G.)
The Unprecedented And Illegal Campaign To Eliminate Julian Assange (Glass)
Top US Food Bank Warns Of Nationwide “Meal Shortages” In Next 12 Months (ZH)
Media Criticizes Trump For Downplaying Virus Threat By Not Dying (BBee)

 

 

Trump disavows

 

 

Trump declassification

 

 

Lawyer “sundance” explains that we’ve been here before, and nothing happened. We’re still where we were in May 2019.

Interesting that he includes Julian Assange. I did say a few weeks ago that Assange may need the right-wing press. And they need him.

President Trump Reauthorizes Declassification of all Documents (sundance)

President Donald Trump has transmitted an epic tweet-storm seemingly targeted toward all officials within the executive branch; and the intelligence apparatus writ large:

One important note of caution: there is a big difference between “authorized” and “ordered”. On May 23rd, 2019, President Trump authorized AG Bill Barr to declassify all documents and despite much optimism nothing happened {Go DEEP}. However, President Trump references that lack of inaction in the next series of tweets:

Presumably “people” who “acted very slowly” would pertain to AG Bill Barr, FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, State Dept Secretary Mike Pompeo and former ODNI Dan Coats. President Trump asks those agencies now to “Act!!!” President Trump also expressed the same frustration many of us feel about how these agencies and institutions have operated only to protect their own interests. He even re-tweeted the meme of Bill Barr to drive home the point. [..] Whether anything comes of this latest, seemingly stronger, emphasis and request from President trump is an unknown. However, again, this is an authorization for release of documents and not a direct order.


There are likely legal reasons for this approach, and no doubt there are advisors around the office of the president who would want him to take a more cautious approach. Several people are pointing toward an announcement of a press conference by the DOJ tomorrow and attempting to connect the tweet-storm to the presser. However, my gut tells me they are two distinctly different topics; but we can keep our fingers crossed. We will know if the two events are connected less than 12 hours from now. Interestingly, albeit likely unrelated, the specific participants in the presser hold offices that are directly connected to the previous 2019 indictment of Julian Assange.

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Also “sundance”, with an excellent review of how Washington operates.

There are Trillions at Stake (sundance)

With 30-days left before the election perhaps it’s worthwhile remembering what all of this opposition is about… Something 99% of American voters do not quite understand. Congress doesn’t actually write legislation. The last item of legislation written by congress was sometime around the mid 1990’s. Modern legislation is sub-contracted to a segment of DC operations known as K-Street. That’s where the lobbyists reside. Lobbyists write the laws; congress sells the laws; lobbyists then pay congress lucrative commissions for passing their laws. That’s the modern legislative business in DC. When we talk about paying-off politicians in third-world countries we call it bribery. However, when we undertake the same process in the U.S. we call it “lobbying”.

CTH often describes the system with the phrase: “There are Trillions at Stake.” The process of creating legislation is behind that phrase. DC politics is not quite based on the ideas that frame most voter’s reference points. With people taking notice of DC politics for the first time; and with people not as familiar with the purpose of DC politics; perhaps it is valuable to provide clarity. Most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a House or Senate representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past. There is not a single person in congress writing legislation or laws.

In modern politics not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct. This simply doesn’t happen. Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body. Outside groups, often called “special interest groups”, are entities that represent their interests in legislative constructs. These groups are often representing foreign governments, Wall Street multinational corporations, banks, financial groups or businesses; or smaller groups of people with a similar connection who come together and form a larger group under an umbrella of interest specific to their affiliation.

Sometimes the groups are social interest groups; activists, climate groups, environmental interests etc. The social interest groups are usually non-profit constructs who depend on the expenditures of government to sustain their cause or need. The for-profit groups (mostly business) have a purpose in Washington DC to shape policy, legislation and laws favorable to their interests. They have fully staffed offices just like any business would – only their ‘business‘ is getting legislation for their unique interests. These groups are filled with highly-paid lawyers who represent the interests of the entity and actually write laws and legislation briefs. In the modern era this is actually the origination of the laws that we eventually see passed by congress. Within the walls of these buildings within Washington DC is where the ‘sausage’ is actually made. Again, no elected official is usually part of this law origination process.

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I’ve read many comments on the declassification, and I find all the references to Russia disconcerting. Why not leave Russia out, and then look at what happened? Russia is not the story.

Declassified CIA Docs Show Alleged Clinton Plan To Link Trump To Russia (DC)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday declassified portions of two documents that show the CIA picked up intelligence regarding Hillary Clinton’s alleged approval of a campaign to link Donald Trump to Russia’s hacking efforts. Ratcliffe declassified notes taken in 2016 by then-CIA Director John Brennan during a meeting with President Obama and his national security advisers regarding Russia’s election meddling efforts. The intelligence chief also declassified sections of a Counterintelligence Operation Lead (CIOL) memo that the CIA sent on Sept. 7, 2016 to then-FBI Director James Comey and Peter Strzok, the top counterintelligence investigator on Crossfire Hurricane. “Per FBI verbal request, CIA provided the below examples of information the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell has gleaned to date,” reads an unredacted portion of the CIOL.

The memo referred to information related to “US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” Brennan has testified that he created a so-called “fusion cell” in July 2016 that consisted of officials from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency to investigate Russia’s election interference. The CIA documents, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, were cited last week in a letter that Ratcliffe sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. That letter said that U.S. intelligence “gained insight” in late July 2016 into “Russian intelligence analysis” that asserted that Clinton had approved a plan to link Trump to Russia’s hacking efforts in order to distract from her use of a private email server.

The documents released Tuesday do not provide much clarification about the underlying CIA intelligence. They do confirm that the CIA obtained the intelligence Ratcliffe referred to in his letter. Republicans asserted that the documents raise questions about whether Clinton personally approved the dissemination of a false allegation linking Trump to Russia. Clinton campaign advisers publicly accused Donald Trump of aiding Russia’s hacking efforts following the July 22, 2016 release of DNC emails through WikiLeaks. A report from the special counsel’s office released last year said there was no evidence that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia to hack and release Democrats’ emails. According to Brennan’s undated notes, he told President Obama that the intelligence community had picked up evidence that Russians had learned that Clinton personally approved a plan on July 28, 2016 to link Trump to Russia’s hacking of the Democrat National Committee.

Brennan’s notes refer to intelligence related to Clinton’s approval “of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.” Brennan appeared on CNN shortly after Ratcliffe declassified the documents, but denied that they showed any wrongdoing on Clinton’s part. He said during the briefing for Obama, he provided examples of “the type of access that the U.S. intelligence community to Russian information and what the Russians were talking about and alleging.” “If in fact what the Russians were alleging, that Hillary was trying to highlight the reported connections between Trump and the Russians — and that’s a big ‘if’ — there is nothing at all illegal about that.”

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The docs do seem to move us forward at least a bit.

Spy Chief Releases Docs On Claim Hillary Clinton Cooked Up Russia Scandal (NYP)

National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe on Tuesday declassified documents that claim Hillary Clinton ordered “a campaign plan to stir up a scandal” by linking President Trump to Russia in 2016 — and that then-President Barack Obama knew about her possible role. Ratcliffe provided to Fox News an undated set of notes from then-CIA director John Brennan about a briefing for Obama that touched on the allegation, and an investigative referral from the CIA to the FBI describing the claim. “Today, at the direction of President Trump, I declassified additional documents relevant to ongoing Congressional oversight and investigative activities,” Ratcliffe told Fox News Tuesday.

Most of the unredacted content in the documents was released by Ratcliffe last week, though minor new details cast doubt on former FBI Director James Comey’s declaration last week that he could not recall the claim, which Clinton allies deny as baseless potential Russian disinformation. The newly released notes from Brennan, who now is a fiery anti-Trump commentator, indicate that Brennan briefed Obama on “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 28 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.” Ratcliffe’s initial disclosure said that, according to Brennan’s notes, Clinton allegedly approved the scheme on July 26.

The minor inaccuracy shortens the window of time between Clinton’s alleged approval of the plot and the FBI opening its investigation of possible Trump-Russia collusion on July 31, 2016. A previously undisclosed annotation in Brennan’s notes appears to attribute to Obama an interest in “any evidence of collaboration between Trump campaign + Russia.” The initials “JC” also are on the briefing notes, implying that that then-FBI Director James Comey attended the meeting where Brennan discussed the theory with Obama.

[..] The investigative referral from the CIA to the FBI, meanwhile, contains the previously disclosed passage noting an allegation about “Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning US Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server.” The actual referral is mostly redacted, but additionally states that the document was sent “per FBI verbal request.” It was addressed to Comey, but to the attention of then-FBI Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, who notoriously traded anti-Trump text message on work phones with his mistress FBI lawyer Lisa Page. In his initial disclosure last week, Ratcliffe said the claim against Clinton was unproven and could be an “exaggeration or fabrication.”

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The same Gina Haspel is now apparently hampering efforts to declassify documents. Who foisted her on Trump? And what role did she play in the Assange case while she ran the CIA in London?

CIA Director Gina Haspel and the British Role in the Anti-Trump Plot (Farrell)

We have raised and discussed serious matters of fact and questions about the role of CIA Director Gina Haspel in the Anti-Trump conspiracy. It appears Haspel (while serving as London Chief of Station from 2014 to early 2017) was an active, knowledgeable party to the efforts to target candidate Trump with an FBI-instigated foreign counterintelligence operation. That seditious conspiracy carried forward to a more sophisticated and aggressive plan to carry out a soft coup against President Donald J. Trump. Looking back on news reporting concerning Haspel, we turn (with caution) to a Washington Post article from July 2019 by Shane Harris, titled: “The quiet director: How Gina Haspel manages the CIA’s volatile relationship with Trump”.

We are supposed to believe that Haspel and her office did not cooperate with the reporter for the article. Harris disclaims Haspel involvement by writing: “This report is based on interviews with 26 current and former officials who have worked with Haspel in the United States, particularly when she served in senior management roles at headquarters, and in London, where Haspel served two tours as the CIA’s top representative — chief of station — a plum post that is usually the steppingstone to the agency’s highest ranks.” No Washington Post article in the last decade has contained such a scrupulous sourcing statement. Of course, Haspel had nothing to do with the article. Remember that, won’t you?

Haspel, twice-over Chief of Station in London, had close connections with the British intelligence and security services. Given the nature of the “special relationship” between the two countries, that is hardly surprising. Harris’s interviews of British intelligence officers take things a step further, however: “… what she lacked in after-hours sociability she made up for with deep professional ties to the upper echelon of the British security establishment. ‘She had access to anyone in our service,’ the former British intelligence official said.” Harris goes on to explain: “Haspel has become the CIA’s linchpin to the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, its most important foreign partner. Her British colleagues say that she knows them so well — warts and all — that they call her the ‘honorary U.K. desk officer.'”

In the next paragraph, Harris notes breathlessly: “… Trump has accused the United Kingdom of conspiring with American intelligence to spy on his presidential campaign.” President Trump certainly has made that claim, and one believes for very good reasons that seem to compound weekly. Reasons that make the “intelligence community” and 95% of “official Washington” extremely nervous. It is the sort of statement that presidential aides and counsels look nervous about, wring their hands and respectfully, earnestly plead: “But Mr. President, you just can’t say that sort of thing!” Truth be damned.

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Hard to see how this is not political.

Grand Jury Indicts St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home Amid Demonstrations (JTN)

St. Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey, have been indicted by a Grand Jury seated by St. Louis Circuit Prosecutor Kim Gardner’s office, in connection with them defending their home this summer amid Black Lives Matter protests. Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple, confirmed to the Associated Press the indictments against Mark McCloskey, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61. Joel Schwartz, a McCloskey attorney, told Just the News on Tuesday night that the indictment is called a “suppressed” indictment and that he’s unaware of what it states. “I am told by sources that this is a suppressed indictment, which makes no sense to me. We had a hearing this morning in court. The hearing was cancelled. Then I was contacted by sources, who learned my clients were indicted. I reached out to the Circuit Attorney’s office. I have yet to received a response,” said Joel Schwartz to Just the News.


Schwartz represents the couple in the criminal case, and Watkins represents the couple in a related civil case. Gardner, a Democrat, charged the McCloskeys with “flourishing” a weapon in connection with the June 28 incident in which social justice protesters entered the couple’s private, gated community during a demonstration and marched past their home. The McCloskeys have said they each went outside with a gun because they feared for the safety of themselves and their home. Missouri GOP Gov. Mike Parson said in July that he was prepared to exercise his pardon powers if prosecutors bring criminal charges in the case. As previously reported by Just the News, Gardner’s campaigns have received tens of thousands of dollars from a political action committee financed by billionaire political philanthropist George Soros.

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He’s going to bankrupt untold numbers of Americans.

Jay Powell Wants More Help From Congress: Low Risk Of ‘Overdoing It’ (CNBC)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called Tuesday for continued aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus for an economic recovery that he said still has “a long way to go.” Noting progress made in job creation, goods consumption and business formation, among other areas, Powell said that now would be the wrong time for policymakers to take their foot off the gas. Doing so, he said, could “lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses” and thwart a rebound that thus far has progressed more quickly than expected. “By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller,” Powell added in remarks to the National Association for Business Economics.

“Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste. The recovery will be stronger and move faster if monetary policy and fiscal policy continue to work side by side to provide support to the economy until it is clearly out of the woods.” The remarks come amid conflicting signs for an economy trying to shake off the unprecedented impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. While 11.4 million jobs lost during the associated economic shutdown have been recovered, nearly half of displaced workers remain sidelined. GDP is expected to show a sharp rebound from the 31% second-quarter plunge and housing has been a strong point as well.

However, Powell cautioned that backing off now with fiscal and monetary help runs the risk of losing momentum and bringing about an added downturn that would look not like the government-induced one that began in February, but rather a more traditional downturn that would be harder to recover from and worsen the U.S. wealth gap. That would be one where “weakness feeds on weakness,” he said. “The recovery will be stronger and move faster if monetary policy and fiscal policy continue to work side by side to provide support to the economy until it is clearly out of the woods,” Powell added.

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Don’t worry, they hate Trump more.

Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries (Pew)

Views of China have grown more negative in recent years across many advanced economies, and unfavorable opinion has soared over the past year, a new 14-country Pew Research Center survey shows. Today, a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China. And in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States, South Korea, Spain and Canada, negative views have reached their highest points since the Center began polling on this topic more than a decade ago. Negative views of China increased most in Australia, where 81% now say see the country unfavorably, up 24 percentage points since last year. In the UK, around three-quarters now see the country in a negative light – up 19 points.

And, in the U.S., negative views of China have increased nearly 20 percentage points since President Donald Trump took office, rising 13 points since just last year. The rise in unfavorable views comes amid widespread criticism over how China has handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 14 nations surveyed, a median of 61% say China has done a bad job dealing with the outbreak. This is many more than say the same of the way the COVID-19 pandemic was handled by their own country or by international organizations like the World Health Organization or the European Union. Only the U.S. receives more negative evaluations from the surveyed publics, with a median of 84% saying the U.S. has handled the coronavirus outbreak poorly.

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“5 year search for the truth by @SMaurizi continually blocked by UK/US govt.”

Hard to swallow the irony of the Guardian printing this.

Court To Rule On UK Freedom Of Information Bids From Overseas (G.)

The rights of those living abroad to submit freedom of information requests are to be tested in court after more than a dozen cases – including one relating to Julian Assange’s extradition – were blocked. A combined hearing involving the Home Office, Metropolitan police, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and 13 separate cases is to be held at an information tribunal in London. At issue is whether applicants overseas are entitled to a response when submitting freedom of information requests to UK government departments and agencies. It is not clear who triggered the “stay” imposed on the 13 requests. The ICO has declined to comment. No date has been set for the case.

The Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for FOI policy, says it complies with ICO guidance, which states: “Anyone can make a freedom of information request – they do not have to be UK citizens, or resident in the UK.” The tribunal, however, has told parties in the suspended cases that it has “decided to deal with the territorial scope” of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of the stayed FOI requests are from applicants not resident in Britain. The hearing will also examine whether there is a requirement that those who make FOI requests have a connection to the UK. “The main principle behind freedom of information legislation,” the ICO has said, “is that people have a right to know about the activities of public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to.”

One of the blocked cases is an appeal by the Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who works for daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano and writes about WikiLeaks. She has been pursuing information about how the Crown Prosecution Service dealt with its Swedish counterpart during initial attempts to extradite Assange to Sweden. Her work has been covered by the Guardian. Maurizi has also studied at Imperial College in London. Barristers Jennifer Robinson, who represents Assange, and Estelle Dehon, who specialises in freedom of information, are representing Maurizi. They have asked the tribunal to lift the stay and allow their appeals for the release of further information to proceed. They argue that Maurizi has worked on UK publications and has carried out investigations relating to the UK and UK citizens. She has also taken several other cases to information tribunal hearings.

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Let’s declassify the docs behind this.

The Unprecedented And Illegal Campaign To Eliminate Julian Assange (Glass)

Over the 17 days of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, prosecutors succeeded in proving both crimes and conspiracy. The culprit, however, was not Assange. Instead, the lawbreakers and conspirators turned out to be the British and American governments. Witness after witness detailed illegal measures to violate Assange’s right to a fair trial, destroy his health, assassinate his character, and imprison him in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. Courtroom evidence exposed illegality on an unprecedented scale by America’s and Britain’s intelligence, military, police, and judicial agencies to eliminate Assange. The governments had the edge, like the white man of whom Malcolm X wrote, “He’s a professional gambler; he has all the cards and the odds stacked on his side, and he has always dealt to our people from the bottom of the deck.”

The deck was clearly stacked. Assange’s antagonists were marking the cards as early as February 2008, when the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center set out, in its words, to “damage or destroy this center of gravity” that was WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, from the time Assange and his friends created it in 2006, was attracting sources around the world to entrust them, securely and anonymously, with documents exposing state crimes. The audience for the documents was not a foreign intelligence service, but the public. In the governments’ view, the public needed protection from knowledge of what they were doing behind closed doors and in the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq. To plug the leaks, the governments had to stop Assange. The Pentagon, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the State Department soon followed the Counterintelligence Center’s lead by establishing their own anti-Assange task forces and enlisting the aid of Britain, Sweden, and Ecuador.

What a ride it’s been. The first recorded “black op” against Assange occurred on September 27, 2010, when a suitcase containing three laptops, hard drives, and clothing vanished from the aircraft carrying him from Sweden to Germany. Efforts to retrieve his belongings, which included privileged communications with his legal counsel, elicited vague excuses from the airline that it knew nothing. The fate of the purloined items became public knowledge in 2013 when information from his laptops appeared in prosecution briefs against U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. In 2011, FBI agents went to Iceland to employ an 18-year-old informant, Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, to spy on WikiLeaks. When Iceland’s authorities discovered the FBI’s illegal activities, it deported the FBI agents. Thodarson, whom the FBI had paid $5,000 and flown around the world, later confessed to stealing money from WikiLeaks and was convicted for sexually abusing underage boys.

Tulsi for Julian

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And not just in the US.

Top US Food Bank Warns Of Nationwide “Meal Shortages” In Next 12 Months (ZH)

The virus pandemic and resulting recession, crushing millions of households, has produced a new era of hunger nationwide. After seven months of the coronavirus chaos, triggering widespread unemployment and the collapse of small businesses, millions of Americans are going hungry for the first time in their lives ahead of the holiday season. Tens of millions of Americans have turned to their local food banks as food insecurity spirals out of control. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey from late August, about 10% of adults, 22.3 million, reported they didn’t have enough to eat or lacked food. This figure is up from 18 million in early March.

Now, Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, serving more than 46 million people, is warning it may experience a massive food shortage within the next twelve months, reported WaPo. Feeding America said it could face a deficit of “10 billion pound shortfall between now and June of 2021 – the equivalent of 8 billion meals.” In July, the nonprofit organization “estimated the total need for charitable food over the next year would be an unprecedented 17 billion pounds, more than three times the food bank network’s last annual distribution of 5 billion pounds.”

Rising food insecurity comes as the economy faces a tidal wave of long-term unemployment as millions of people who lost jobs early in the pandemic and remain out of work, unable to find a job, as job losses increasingly become permanent. At the moment, nearly 4 million jobs have vanished forever. Two problems are developed: rising long-term unemployment and permanent job losses, the combination of the two create deep economic scarring and immense financial pain for households. The Salvation Army recently launched its annual holiday fundraising campaign early this year, for the first time in 130 years, in a bid to “rescue Christmas” to support those households financially ruined by the economic downturn.

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Brilliant Babylon Bee.

Media Criticizes Trump For Downplaying Virus Threat By Not Dying (BBee)

President Donald Trump is once again under fire from the media for recklessly downplaying the danger of COVID by refusing to die. As the president begins to show signs of recovery, many worry that this sends the wrong message about the seriousness of the global pandemic. “Every hour that he lives is another hour that the severity of this virus is undermined!” said reporter Sara Grace Major for CNN. “Why won’t he just DIE and show the American people how deadly this virus truly is?” “Mr. President, are you sure you don’t need to lie down indefinitely or go on a ventilator?” asked another distraught journalist. “Maybe even say goodbye to your loved ones?!”


“Honestly, I feel terrific. Tremendous, really. I was never afraid of this virus before, but now I am even more not afraid. It’s sad, really. I was told this virus would be one tough cookie,“ Trump said to the press. “In fact, I’ve never felt better.” “His defiance is going to get people killed. Dying like he’s supposed to would be the most patriotic thing he could do,” complained CNN correspondent Adam Pelot. “If he lives, how will the people be able to trust science?” At publishing time, members of the press had begun pulling their own hair out as they watched the “incredibly strong and healthy” president go for a jog around the White House grounds.

Read more …

 

 

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Apr 072020
 


Edward Hopper Office in a Small City 1953

 

PM’s Move To ICU Shows He’s Likely To Have Severe COVID19 (G.)
To Use Ventilators You Need Sedatives. The US Is Running Out Of Both (Vox)
UK Testing Chief Admits None Of 3.5 Million Antibody Kits Work (Ind.)
Spain To Extend Coronavirus Testing To People Without Symptoms (RT)
Dem Lawmaker Says Trump Saved Her Life By Recommending Hydroxychloroquine (NW)
Untested COVID19 Treatment Trump Talks Up Can Have Fatal Side Effect (IC)
Doctors Embrace Drug Touted By Trump Without Hard Evidence It Works (R.)
Trump, 3M Deal Allows N95 Face Masks To Be Exported To Canada (G.)
CDC Director Says Death Toll Will Be ‘Much Lower’ Than Projected (ABC)
Missouri GOP Senator Sets Up Potential Clash With Own Party (Pol.)
Almost a Third of Young Americans Have Lost Their Jobs So Far (Vice)
Nobody Asks Why Our Economy Is So Rigged, Brittle and Exploitive (CHS)
US Army Temporarily Stops Sending New Recruits To Basic Training (JTN)
Turkey Sets Strict Measures As Cases Soar (BBC)
Wall Street Wins – Again (Nomi Prins)
Money Minus Value, No Limit (Kunstler)
State Dep’t Refuses To Back Hillary Clinton Attempt To Avoid Deposition (JTN)
OPCW Report Set To Blame Syria Chemical Attacks On Assad (G.)

 

 

• US records 1,150 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins tracker

• Reported US coronavirus cases via @ryanstruyk @CNN:

5 weeks ago: 91 cases
4 weeks ago: 678 cases
3 weeks ago: 4,459 cases
2 weeks ago: 42,663 cases
1 week ago: 160,698 cases
Right now: 367,650 cases

• Reported US coronavirus deaths via @ryanstruyk @CNN:

Feb. 6: 0
Mar. 6: 17
April 6: 10,908

 

 

Cases 1,359,010 (+ 76,627 from yesterday’s 1,282,383)

Deaths 75,900 (+ 5,717 from yesterday’s 70,183)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close- Note: US had over 30,000 new cases in 24 hours.

 

 

From Worldometer -NOTE: mortality rate for closed cases is at 21% !

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID2019Info.live:

 

 

 

 

“The British people were shocked” when they heard Boris went to the ICU, says a BBC Breakfast presenter. Well, of course, because you’ve all been lying about his condition the whole time, you and the government. The next thing they talk about now is how competent the medical staff is, as are the politicians taking over from the PM. La la land.

Boris is in real danger. Andrew Cuomo last week said that in New York only 20% of patients survive a ventilator. Numbers in Europe appear a bit better. But the reason Boris will be put on one is very likely that his own immune system has started to attack him in a cytokine storm. This would typically happen after the 7-10-day period since he got infected.

At the same time, because there is no vaccine, the immune system is the only thing that can save a patient’s life. There are various machines that can take over various’ organs’ functions, and there are medications that may help some, but in the end it’s the immune system.

Here’s wondering if Boris has taken any chloroquine, and if so, at what stage.

 

This is a good overview of -potential- proceedings.

PM’s Move To ICU Shows He’s Likely To Have Severe COVID19 (G.)

Boris Johnson’s move to the intensive care unit (ICU) of St Thomas’ hospital signals that he has severe Covid-19. Oxygen was available through a mask on the ward he was admitted to on Sunday, but the move to intensive care on Monday strongly suggests that was not enough to help him with the breathing problems caused by the viral pneumonia that the virus triggers. Most people in intensive care, according to the World Health Organization, require ventilation. Around 15% of people with Covid-19 become seriously ill and need oxygen therapy in hospital. A further 5% are moved into intensive care, so that their breathing can be taken over by mechanical ventilation. Some will also need support for other organs.

Anyone who is put on a ventilator will need to be sedated, although they are not unconscious. A tube must be inserted into the patient’s windpipe, so that air and oxygen from the machine can be blown into the lungs. That takes the strain off the lungs while they recover. [..] Ventilation is vital in most severe Covid-19 cases, which is why there has been a huge effort to obtain more machines and even encourage engineering businesses to switch production lines to make them. In the severest cases, patients are put on an ECMO machine (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which can support both the heart and lungs where somebody is in a life-threatening condition. Johnson’s admission to intensive care comes shortly after the 10th day of the illness, which has been identified as a real danger point.

During the first week, most people’s immune systems rally and manage to fight off the virus. Those who do not recover and continue to struggle for breath and have a fever often need help around the middle of the second week. In that second week, the immune system can sometimes go into overdrive. In its attempt to fight the virus, it creates what is called a cytokine storm, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own organs. The heart, the liver and kidneys are most likely to be affected and all of them can need to be supported by machines that can take over their function. The latest report into patients admitted into critical care so far from the intensive care national audit and research centre (IANARC), showed 2,621 admissions up to 3 April, most of whom are still there. The mean age was 60 and 73% of them were men. More than 35% of them were overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30, and 37% were obese.

Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging at University College London, said: “It seems clear that the prime minister went to hospital because he had difficulty breathing. It seems he was initially put on oxygen, and was conscious. “But as often happens with Covid-19, his condition has now deteriorated so he has been admitted to intensive care. “We understand the PM is on a type of breathing support called Continuous positive airway pressure (Cpap), which is commonly used in treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea. Experience in Italy and other European countries has shown that Cpap can be effective in Covid-19 patients, at least initially. Many Covid-19 patients progress to invasive ventilation. Invasive ventilation involves a tube being put down the patient’s airway.”

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Insult and injury. Entire industries will be forced back from China to the US and Europe.

To Use Ventilators You Need Sedatives. The US Is Running Out Of Both (Vox)

New York City may be the first city in the country to run out of ventilators, other cities are expected to follow. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently tweeted, “Ventilators are our #1 need right now. I won’t stop fighting to get us the equipment we need to save every life we can.” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards predicted that his state would run out of ventilators by April 6. But to save a Covid-19 patient’s life with a ventilator, you also need an ample supply of medications, both to be able to use the machine and to prevent agonizing pain. Experts say there’s a worrisome shortage of those, too — one that’s only expected to grow worse. “The minute you talk about ventilators you need to talk about medications,” says Esther Choo, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

Choo says hospitals are already running out of medications like fentanyl, versed, propofol, and even neuromuscular blockades, what she calls “everyday bread and butter medications,” the drugs needed to induce and maintain sedation while on a ventilator. “Ventilators can’t really be used without these medications.” In severe cases of Covid-19, the patient’s’ own immune system can cause their lungs to fill with fluid. At this point, ventilators are a critical tool for keeping people alive. Medical staff insert a tube deep into the lungs in a process called intubation, in order to deliver more oxygen from a ventilator than the patient can inhale on their own.

“You can imagine if I tried to shove a plastic tube down your throat, it’s a very human reflex not to let someone do that,” Choo says. “So we place people in deep sedation.” After the tube is placed in the trachea, patients have to stay sedated — in the case of some Covid-19 patients, that can last for several weeks. [..] It’s alarming that hospitals are already experiencing shortages of these drugs, knowing what’s coming. Although President Trump has invoked the wartime Defense Production Act to start producing the additional 40,000 ventilators New York alone has requested, these won’t help stem the crisis for long without the drugs needed to use them — to say nothing of the freewheeling chaos of inter-state bidding wars for scarce supplies.

https://twitter.com/ColumbiaBugle/status/1247335654423322625

Read more …

Meanwhile in Borisland (Q: how much did you pay for those things?):

UK Testing Chief Admits None Of 3.5 Million Antibody Kits Work (Ind.)

The UK government’s new testing chief has admitted that none of the 3.5 million antibody tests ordered from China are fit for widespread use. Professor John Newton, who was appointed by health secretary Matt Hancock to oversee testing, reportedly said the tests were only able to identify immunity in people who had been severely sick with coronavirus. The tests did not pass the evaluation stage, and he was quoted by The Times as saying they were “not good enough to be worth rolling out in very large scale”. Prof Newton, director of public health improvement for Public Health England (PHE) said three “mega labs” for testing NHS staff was his top priority and did not expect university and commercial labs to be able to help.


He said: “We are not relying on lots of people coming forward to help us to achieve what’s required and we shouldn’t get too distracted by that. “There’s a big, big ask at the moment which is quite specific [on testing NHS staff]. So a lot of these companies who are offering their capacity may not be directly related to that ask and therefore they might not be as helpful at the moment.” Mr Hancock has also acknowledged that early analysis of the tests showed “some of them have not performed well”. He added, speaking on Thursday, that: “We’re hopeful that they [the tests] will improve and that the later tests that we’ve got our hands on will be able to be reliable enough for people to use them with confidence.”

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Does that mean everyone without symptoms? Every country needs to focus on this, but nobody does. They failed to secure the kits.

Spain To Extend Coronavirus Testing To People Without Symptoms (RT)

Hopes are growing that lockdown measures in Spain may be relaxed after figures suggested the country has “passed the peak” as tentative optimism moves across Europe. Spain will extend coronavirus testing to people showing no symptoms as new infection rates slow in the country, the country’s foreign minister announced. On Sunday, 647 deaths were reported over 24 hours – half the rate recorded during the previous week. Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez told TV station Antena 3:”We are preparing ourselves for de-escalation, for which it is important to know who is contaminated to be able to gradually lift Spanish citizens’ lockdown.” He added that Spanish companies were manufacturing 240,000 test kits a week and were still ramping up capacity.


Gonzalez’s colleague, Health Minister Salvador Illa said that Spain wanted to strengthen the coronavirus contagion slowdown as the country entered its fourth week of confinement. Elsewhere, Italy recorded its lowest daily death toll for over two weeks, as 525 people succumbed to the virus on Sunday. Germany recorded its lowest number of deaths in a week with 92 dying yesterday. Berlin announced plans to end the lockdown on April 19. France’s mortality rate also slowed for the second day running. Austria’s government revealed that it plans to start reopening shops from next week as a further indication of a tentative wave of optimism beginning to move across Europe.

Read more …

The war on chloroquine is on.

Dem Lawmaker Says Trump Saved Her Life By Recommending Hydroxychloroquine (NW)

Michigan Democratic State Representative Karen Whitsett told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine stopped her coronavirus symptoms “within a couple hours.” Whitsett represents parts of Detroit, a city that has been labeled a coronavirus “hot spot.” Recent data indicated 5,032 positive cases in Detroit with 196 deaths attributable to the virus reported in the city. Used primarily to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine has been praised by President Donald Trump as a potential therapeutic for the virus. Sunday, Trump suggested taking the drug to prevent contracting the virus. “I’m not looking at it one way or the other,” Trump said, “but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early. But we have some very good signs.”


While the FDA has not yet approved hydroxychloroquine for treatment of the coronavirus, Whitsett claims it worked for her. “I really want to say that you have to give this an opportunity,” Whitsett said Monday. “For me, it saved my life.” Whitsett did not receive hydroxychloroquine until the day of her coronavirus test. She was able to have her husband pick up the medication after her symptoms reached a critical phase. Hospitals in her area were full. “I honestly believed that once I got into something like that, I may not actually come out and that was my biggest fear,” Whitsett said. “And I knew that this medication would possibly save me.” Whitsett credited Trump’s mention of hydroxychloroquine during news briefings for giving her the idea of trying the drug. “If President Trump had not talked about this, it would not be something that’s accessible for anyone to get, not right now,” Whitsett said.

Read more …

Et tu, the Intercept? Chloroquine is not “untested”, just not officially as a COVID19 treatment. That’s a different thing. It’s precisely used less for malaria these days because after decades of use, the parasite that causes is suspected to have developed immunity. Plenty testing for side-effects etc. in those decades.

And do you really need to follow the New York Times in suggesting Trump touts the drug only for his own profit? Is nothing safe from the drive for clickbait and paper sales?

Untested COVID19 Treatment Trump Talks Up Can Have Fatal Side Effect (IC)

An experimental treatment for Covid-19 championed by President Donald Trump — in which patients are given doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria and lupus, along with the antibiotic azithromycin — raises the risk for some patients of dangerous irregular heartbeats that could be fatal, cardiologists warn in new guidance published by the American College of Cardiology. According to the lead author of the paper, Dr. Eric Stecker, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, any patients treated with the combination therapy should be monitored for ventricular arrhythmia, the irregular beating of the heart’s lower chambers, which can lead to cardiac arrest.

“We don’t know the magnitude of the risk,” Stecker said in an interview on Sunday, but both drugs can raise the odds of irregular heartbeats for some patients, and the risk is greater when they are taken together. The president has repeatedly dismissed warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, that the drugs might not be as safe or effective for people infected with the new coronavirus as they are for other illnesses. On Saturday, at a White House briefing on the global pandemic, Trump urged Americans to try hydroxychloroquine and suggested that people infected with the virus had nothing to lose by taking it, as long as their doctors agree.

[..] “One of the problems with knowing very little about the Trump family’s finances,” the New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote, “is when the president gets fixated on something like hydroxychloroquine, we don’t know if it reflects his obsession with quick fixes and miracle cures or if he’s trying to juice an investment.” The New York Times reported on Monday that Trump does have “a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.” In a financial disclosure released last year, the president listed among his assets three family trusts that invested in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, which had shares of Sanofi as its largest holding.

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Because there’s no time to collect the evidence, and there’s nothing else that works. The reported numbers of doctors who take it themselves might give you a hint about its dangers.

Doctors Embrace Drug Touted By Trump Without Hard Evidence It Works (R.)

The decades-old drug that President Donald Trump has persistently promoted as a potential weapon against COVID-19 has within a matter of weeks become a standard of care in areas of the United States hit hard by the pandemic — though doctors prescribing it have no idea whether it works. Doctors and pharmacists from more than half a dozen large healthcare systems in New York, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington and California told Reuters they are routinely using hydroxychloroquine on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. At the same time, several said they have seen no evidence that the drug, used for years to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders, has any effect on the virus.

Use of hydroxychloroquine has soared as the United States has quickly become the epicenter of the pandemic. More than 355,000 people in the United States have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and more than 10,000 have died. The federal government estimates that as many as 240,000 people in the country may die from the disease before the outbreak is over. Facing those numbers, and in the absence of any known effective treatments, doctors on the frontlines said they began using hydroxychloroquine and the related chloroquine on patients who are deteriorating based on a few small studies suggesting a possible benefit. Some said they had come under pressure from patients to use the therapies widely touted by Trump and other supporters.

“I may take it,” Trump said on Saturday, referring to hydroxychloroquine, though he has twice tested negative for coronavirus, according to the White House. “We’re just hearing really positive stories, and we’re continuing to collect the data.” Potential side effects of hydroxychloroquine include vision loss and heart problems. But doctors interviewed by Reuters say they are comfortable prescribing the drug for a short course of several days for coronavirus patients because the risks are relatively low and the therapies are inexpensive and generally available.

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3M will move much of its operations back to the US.

Trump, 3M Deal Allows N95 Face Masks To Be Exported To Canada (G.)

The Trump administration has agreed a deal with the US manufacturer 3M to import more than 166 million respirators from China over the next three months and allow 3M to continue exporting its US-made respirators. The agreement breaks a deadlock which resulted in Washington stopping nearly three million of the specialized masks from being exported to Ontario, stirring fears that Canada’s most populous province would run out of supplies for medical staff battling coronavirus by the end of the week. Donald Trump, who had lambasted 3M over the weekend, had warm words for the company on Tuesday, following the agreement, and its chairman and CEO, Mike Roman offered praise for the president.


“I want to thank President Trump and the administration for their leadership and collaboration,” Roman said in a written statement. “These imports will supplement the 35 million N95 respirators we currently produce per month in the United States.” Under the plan, 3M will import 166.5 million respirators (masks which form a seal over the mouth and nose and offer much greater protection than surgical masks) from its factories in China, over the coming three months. Meanwhile, the 3M statement said: “The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending US produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”

Read more …

I would fire him on the spot. Is he just seeking attention? Redfield was quite prominent when the US started its nightmare, but he’s pretty much gone now.

CDC Director Says Death Toll Will Be ‘Much Lower’ Than Projected (ABC)

One of the nation’s top public health officials suggested Monday that because Americans are taking social distancing recommendations “to heart,” the death toll from the novel coronavirus will be “much, much, much lower” than models have projected. “If we just social distance, we will see this virus and this outbreak basically decline, decline, decline. And I think that’s what you’re seeing,” said Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. “I think you’re going to see the numbers are, in fact, going to be much less than what would have been predicted by the models,” he said. Redfield’s remarks on Monday to AM 1030 KVOI Radio in Tucson, Arizona, struck a rosier tone than some other recent predictions.

On Monday morning, for example, the U.S. Surgeon General equated the coming week’s fallout to the attacks on Pearl Harbor. But officials on the White House task force have said they believe that even with a tough week ahead, the numbers in some places suggest that social distancing is working and could provide a reprieve eventually. National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci said he was very interested in data in New York that the number of admissions to intensive care and intubations in the last three days had started to level off. “We just got to realize that this is an indication despite all the suffering and the death that has occurred that what we have been doing has been working,” he told reporters.

At the same time, Dr. John Brownstein, a Harvard epidemiologist and ABC News contributor, said that Redfield’s comments could mislead Americans into feeling a sense that the disease’s spread is under control. “Projections and models across the board are accounting for a reduction in mobility because of social distancing, so it’s way too soon to declare any kind of victory,” he said. “This is not a moment for people to relax because they feel the models are wrong.”

Read more …

But he’s still focusing on businesses, not people.

Missouri GOP Senator Sets Up Potential Clash With Own Party (Pol.)

Most Senate Republicans are taking a cautious approach to the next step of Congress’ coronavirus response. Not Josh Hawley. The freshman Missouri GOP senator is pitching far-reaching proposals, including the federal government directly financing businesses to keep millions of workers on their payrolls — part of what he calls a “survival then surge” strategy in the face of a sputtering economy and dozens of state stay-at-home orders. It’s not exactly GOP orthodoxy to push for even greater intervention in the economy after providing new unemployment benefits, direct cash payments and more than a quarter trillion dollars in loans and grants to small businesses.

But Hawley argued in a telephone interview Monday that the economic severity in the country is “much bigger and much more severe than many other people anticipated,” and Congress needs to act accordingly. “We seem to be on a roller coaster that is currently plunging down,” Hawley said. “I personally do not want to ride that roller coaster and find where the bottom is. And I don’t think American workers should be forced to.” Hawley is one of the first Republicans to push a major add-on to Congress’ already extraordinary relief effort, and he’s fighting an uphill battle with his guarded colleagues. But the early maneuvering is a hint of the debate to come in what was once a budget-slashing party that must now weigh just how big to go in the face of a terrifying crisis.

After preaching a go-slow approach early last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has acknowledged a fourth bill will be needed, likely concentrating on health care. And action is almost certain to be necessary in the coming weeks in other areas: The bill’s signature $377 billion Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses is expected to run out of funding well before its June 30 end date, aides tracking the program say. Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen forecast potential 13 percent unemployment; Hawley fears 20 percent or worse. [..] Hawley’s proposal would provide businesses with refundable payroll tax rebates that reimburse 80 percent of payroll costs and give a rehiring bonus for businesses for the duration of the crisis. He says that will prevent unemployment offices from being overwhelmed, keep Americans from going into debt and give families a sense of confidence that a job is waiting for them when the crisis is over.

Read more …

Included for the headline. People should know that.

Almost a Third of Young Americans Have Lost Their Jobs So Far (Vice)

An Axios-Harris survey conducted through March 30 showed that 31 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 had either been laid off or put on temporary leave because of the outbreak, compared with 22 percent of those 35 to 49 and 15 percent of those 50 to 64. John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, said it was important to note that the latest survey data do not factor in the doubling of U.S. jobless claims to over 6.6 million in the past week. That number “would suggest further pain and dislocation to 18-34 year olds,” he said. But the economic fears of many young people, even ones with uncomplicated medical histories, are increasingly counterbalanced by health worries as they grow more aware of the risks of COVID-19.


After hearing for months that it threatens primarily seniors and people with chronic diseases, they are now seeing how it imperils their own age group, with consequences such as lung failure. “It’s natural that as we learn more, it’ll become clear that there are substantial costs for young people, even if the risks are, in fact, much greater for the elderly,” said Jeffrey Clemens, a health and labor economist at the University of California-San Diego. “Whether people want to work depends in part on other qualities of the job, one of which is whether it comes with serious health, physical or other risks.”

Read more …

I think the answer is the Fed. Only the most crooked survive.

Nobody Asks Why Our Economy Is So Rigged, Brittle and Exploitive (CHS)

What’s remarkable about the lockdown isn’t the hue and cry about the economic damage–it’s the absence of any critical curiosity as to how our economy became so fragile that only the wealthiest contingent can survive a few weeks on savings or rainy-day funds. A healthy, resilient economy would be able to survive a few weeks of lockdown without a multi-trillion dollar bailout of every racket in the land. A society that wasn’t threadbare financially and socially would be able to function and accept individual sacrifices for the common good.

Rather than being organized to serve the common good, our economy and social order is little more than overlapping rackets: rigged “markets” operated by quasi-monopolies to enrich the few at the expense of the many; brittle bureaucracies bound by thousands of pages of mindless “compliance” and exploitive neofeudal structures in which debt-serfs are paid just enough to service their debt but not enough to afford skyrocketing costs for housing, healthcare, higher education, childcare, junk fees and taxes. While everyone is busy screaming about the damage done by the lockdown, nobody’s asking why costs are so high that few can survive a few weeks on their own means.

Nobody dares look at the soaring costs imposed by cartels and monopolies (including government and government-funded rackets such as healthcare and higher education) because it might shine a light on the money-trough they’re feeding from. (Crush every racket but mine…)

Read more …

But Russia!

US Army Temporarily Stops Sending New Recruits To Basic Training (JTN)

The Army has temporarily stopped sending new recruits to basic training, the U.S. military service announced Monday. The hiatus is an effort to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and is effective immediately. The measure will remain in place for two weeks. “This tactical pause will allow commands to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place and are operating effectively at training installations,” the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) wrote in a release to Just the News. The pause will protect the current and future force, the organization’s leader said in a statement. “One of TRADOC’s main focuses is to develop leaders by accessing, training and educating soldiers,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk, II, who leads the command.


“We have to do so responsibly, and we’ve already begun protecting those currently in our ranks with social-distanced-enabled training, reduced movement of our soldiers and trainees, and increased screening of those moving across our commands.” Soldiers now in the training pipeline will finish their schools and upon graduation proceed to their next assignment, the Army said. Under new guidelines, the graduates will be medically screened before shipping out, then travel aboard sterilized buses while maintaining spaced-apart intervals. “The decision to pause the shipment of trainees to BCT [Basic Combat Training] for two weeks will allow leaders to focus on setting conditions so movement can be conducted in a safer manner in the future,” Funk said.

Read more …

One of the countries I singled out recently. Turkey’s soccer league continued playing to crowds until 10 days ago IIRC.

Turkey Sets Strict Measures As Cases Soar (BBC)

Turkish authorities have imposed new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, as the number of infections continues to rise sharply. The country has reported 30,217 confirmed cases and 649 deaths. Face masks are mandatory on public transport, in markets and other communal spaces, and 31 cities are now closed to all but essential traffic. Turkey now has the ninth-highest number of cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Some 1.3 million people have fallen ill globally and more than 70,000 have died. On Twitter, Turkey’s Health Minister Dr Fahrettin Koca urged people to “stay at home”, saying the virus “draws its power from contact”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked people to practice social distancing and stay “three paces” from one another. Schools are closed, many international and domestic flights are suspended, and mass prayers and public gatherings have been banned. But critics – including doctors and opposition politicians – say more needs to be done. The government still has not imposed a full lockdown like those in place in European countries. Data suggests Turkey now has the fastest rising number of confirmed cases in the world. Mr Erdogan imposed a nationwide confinement order on Friday, for those under 20 years old and anyone over 65 or with a chronic medical condition.

[..] “When we counted there were about 1.1 million people using public transport on a work day, and we’ve seen a lot of private cars on the streets,” key opposition figure and Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu told the BBC. Asked if it was crazy how many people continue to move around, he replied: “It is, absolutely.”

Read more …

Time for a revolution.

Wall Street Wins – Again (Nomi Prins)

As in 2008, the most beneficial policies and funding will be heading for Wall Street banks and behemoth corporations. Far less will be going directly to American workers through tangible grants, cheaper loans, or any form of debt forgiveness. Even the six months of student-loan payment relief (only for federal loans, not private ones) just pushes those payments down the road. The historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package is heavily corporate-focused. For starters, a quarter of it, $500 billion, goes to large corporations. At least $454 billion of that will back funding for up to $4.5 trillion in corporate loans from the Fed and the remainder will be for direct Treasury loans to big companies. Who gets what will be largely Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s choice. And mind you, we may never know the details since President Trump is committed to making this selection process as non-transparent as possible.

There’s an additional $50 billion that’s to be dedicated to the airline industry, $25 billion of which will be in direct grants to airlines that don’t place employees on involuntary furlough or discontinue flight service at airports through September. Right after the bill passed, the airline industry announced that more workforce cuts are ahead (once it gets the money). Another $17 billion is meant for “businesses critical to maintaining national security,” one of which could eventually be White House darling Boeing. There’s also a corporate tax credit worth about $290 billion to corporations that keep people on their payrolls and can prove losses of 50% of their pre-coronavirus revenue. More than $370 billion of that congressional relief package will go into Small Business Administration loans meant to cover existing loans and operating and payroll costs as well.

Yet receiving such loans will involve a byzantine process for desperate small outfits. Meanwhile, the big banks will get a cut for administering them. About $150 billion is pegged for the healthcare industry, including $100 billion in grants to hospitals working on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis and other funds to jumpstart the production of desperately needed (and long overdue) medical products for doctors, nurses, and pandemic patients. Another $27 billion is being allocated for vaccines and stockpiles of medical supplies. An extra $150 billion will go to cities and states to prop up budgets already over-stretched and in trouble. Those on unemployment benefits will get an increase of $600 per week for four months in a $260 billion unemployment expansion.

Ultimately, however, the relief promised will not cover the basic needs of the majority of bereft Americans. With Main Street’s economy sinking right now, it won’t arrive fast enough either.

Read more …

The overwhelming need for crazy theories…

Money Minus Value, No Limit (Kunstler)

[..] an interesting debate rages internationally as to whether the Covid-19 virus was some kind of engineered event designed to bring about various political outcomes. One thread declares that the Democratic Party, its media handmaidens, and a helpful Chinese leadership used the virus to blow up the US economy and finally, after several botched attempts, get rid of the vexing Mr. Trump. It’s a tidy story, but I don’t buy it, for the simple reason that the entire global economy has blown up, including China’s, so you can file that meme in the Wile E. Coyote folder. A gloss on that one is the idea that NIAID director Anthony Fauci and other medical experts are wicked conspirators bent on destroying American morale by overstating the threat of Covid-19.

This includes the phrase that the novel corona virus is “just another seasonal flu,” and so ordering people to stay away from work and business was unnecessary. Again, you’d have to ask yourself why medical experts and other plausibly intelligent people in so many other countries would do exactly the same thing. They can’t all be orcs. Then there’s the one that has Bill Gates so worked up about climate change that he’s using his foundation’s deep resources to reduce the world’s population by sowing maximum disorder onto the scene with Covid-19 hysteria. This one casts Mr. Gates as something like a villain from a James Bond movie, deep in his Seattle mega-fortress petting a Persian cat as millions perish. Sounds like another case of Americans confusing movies with real life.

Another story has a shadowy gang of “globalists” using the disorder spawned by the virus to impose a centralized global uber-government run by international financiers. First of all, that one smacks of the hoary conspiracy theory that Bilderberger bankers (Jews especially) are scheming to take over the world – yet these supposedly hyper-clever “puppet-masters” are proving that they can’t even run the banks and their own financial ops, which are now crashing down around their ears along with everybody else’s. Thirdly, if there is trend anywhere in this collapse scenario, it is for the devolution of power downward, away from floundering centralized power structures and institutions. As they flounder, the faith of their subject peoples ebbs away and the trust horizon shrinks so that the people are no longer willing to depend on distant authorities for anything.

Read more …

Judicial Watch FOIA.

State Dep’t Refuses To Back Hillary Clinton Attempt To Avoid Deposition (JTN)

The State Department on Monday rejected Hillary Clinton’s effort to avoid depositions for herself and her former chief of staff in a lawsuit brought by the government watchdog organization Judicial Watch. The former Secretary of State and her former top aide Cheryl Mills are seeking a writ of mandamus to avoid a judge’s order requiring their testimony in an open records case involving Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business. “The government did not seek and thus does not support the extraordinary relief of mandamus due to the unique circumstances of this case,” reads the State Department’s response signed by multiple members of the Justice Department.


“One aspect of the district court’s rulings, although not central to the pending petition, is of particular concern to the government: assertions that the government acted in bad faith in litigating this FOIA request are wholly without basis,” the Department’s response says. U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth in early March granted the request to depose Clinton about why she utilized a private email server, her grasp of “State’s records management obligations,” and any information she has about materials pertaining to the 2012 Benghazi attack.

Read more …

Can you report on the OPCW without citing the multiple whistleblowers from within its own organization? If you’re the Guardian, you can. You just call it a “supposed whistleblower controversy” and blame it all on RussiaRussia and conspiracy theories:

“… the supposed whistleblower controversy at the OPCW last year, which the organisation comprehensively rejected with an official inquiry. Even though the criticism was found to be baseless it does not stop the conspiracy theorists.”

There was nothing “supposed” about the people who came forward to prove the attacks had been staged.

The OPCW, like the WHO, has turned into a political instrument. As of course the Guardian has.

OPCW Report Set To Blame Syria Chemical Attacks On Assad (G.)

The UN’s chemical weapons watchdog is expected to release its first report explicitly blaming Bashar al-Assad for sarin and chlorine gas attacks on civilians in Syria as efforts to establish accountability for the use of chemical agents in the nine-year-old conflict gain momentum. Observers anticipate that public and classified versions of a report by a new unit at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be published on Wednesday, close to the anniversaries of a major chlorine attack on the then rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma that killed at least 85 people in 2018 as well as a deadly sarin attack on Khan Sheikhun in 2017 which killed at least 89. The report is believed to focus on 2017 attacks on the village of al-Lataminah.


The investigation is the outcome of new powers granted to the OPCW by a 2018 UN resolution specifically calling for the watchdog to “put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons”. Previously, OPCW fact-finding missions did not have the mandate to apportion blame in chemical weapons attacks. The resulting newly created investigation and identification team (IIT) at the OPCW was designed as a work-around to counter Russia, Syria’s closest political ally. Moscow has repeatedly used international forums – and its veto as a permanent member of the UN security council – to block independent investigations into chemical weapons attacks allegedly launched by the Assad regime.

Read more …

 

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A bit of relief in Italy:

 

 

 

While Greece appears to be doing very well compared to Holland, Belgium, Portugal.

 

 

 

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Nov 232019
 
 November 23, 2019  Posted by at 2:14 pm Finance, Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  15 Responses »


Salvador Dali Back the girl 1926

 

It wouldn’t be the first time we ask ourselves what American journalism has come to, but that question sure appears relevant today. There are again new accusations floating around about Trump. And of course we are all weary by now, after the Russiagate bomb and the Ukraine fizzle, but okay, let’s take a look.

There is a newfangled poetically named “ethics watchdog” named American Oversight, which has received some documents after a FOIA request. And everybody’s talking about it! So it must be real interesting, right? The word bombshell comes to mind. Or at least, the minds of much of the press. There’s the BBC:

The US State Department has released records relating to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. Documents were released to the ethics watchdog American Oversight after a freedom of information request. The records show repeated contacts between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. US ties with Ukraine are at the centre of an impeachment investigation against Mr Trump.

The president is accused of withholding aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress to pressure the country into investigating his political rival Joe Biden. Mr Giuliani has been accused of trying to discredit former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while running a shadow US foreign policy on Ukraine. There have been questions over what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knew.

The records show Mr Pompeo and Mr Giuliani repeatedly spoke to one another – although the topics of those conversations remain unknown. Emails among the documents suggest the pair spoke on the phone on 27 and 29 March.

And the Guardian:

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with secretary of state Mike Pompeo in the months before the US ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled, according to a cache of documents released on Friday. The state department released the documents to the group American Oversight in response to a freedom of information lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on 26 March and 29 March.


Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents reveal a clear paper trail from Giuliani to Trump to Pompeo in order to enable the smear campaign against the now ousted envoy in Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch. “We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this information to Congress. It reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a US ambassador,” he said.

As well as NBC:

The allegations of a pressure campaign by Trump to get the Ukrainians to announce investigations into a conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election and the Bidens are central to the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused the power of his office for personal political gain.

The documents released Friday appear to confirm that Pompeo and Giuliani spoke on the phone on March 26, and that another call was scheduled between the two men for March 29 and that it took place. One email appears to show Trump’s former personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, helping to connect Giuliani to Pompeo after there was trouble establishing a connection.

The documents do not say what Giuliani and Pompeo discussed. The March 29 call was scheduled for 20 minutes but lasted just four minutes, according to the documents, and the March 26 call was also just minutes long, the emails show.

When I first saw this all this morning I thought: let it go, and I’m thinking just that again right now. Look, Pompeo and Giuliani talking to each other for just minutes (and to their boss!) is hardly a crime. Unless they talk about committing crimes, but you don’t even know what was discussed! That a group which calls itself nonpartisan connects these calls to Giuliani’s alleged smear campaign against Yovanovich is a bit more puzzling.

Because a president doesn’t need any reason to fire an ambassador. He gets the permission to do that the moment he’s first elected and then inaugurated. He doesn’t have to explain. Getting Giuliani in there doesn’t look like Trump’s best moment, but it’s inconsequential from a legal point of view.

Another allegation that’s being repeated is that Giuliani et al were looking to dig up dirt against Joe Biden and his family, with an eye to the 2020 election. But, again, is that so? Wasn’t perhaps finding out what the most corrupt company in the world’s third-most corrupt country, which receives billions in US aid, was up to in 2016, or today for that matter, the real intention?

Why should we believe it was about 2020, and not 2016? Are there perhaps American interests who don’t want Burisma investigated? And are they perhaps behind the accusation that links that investigation to 2020, so there won’t be an investigation? Shouldn’t we all want to find out what went on?

 

Another story connected to this is that Minority House Leader David Nunes in Vienna met with Victor Shokin, the former Ukraine prosecutor who was fired mere hours after Joe Biden demanded he be. Moon of Alabama asked earlier today on Twitter if anyone has ever seen evidence that Shokin was corrupt, as Biden and others have claimed. I come up empty on that one. Here’s NBC on Nunes’s trip:

The attorney for an indicted associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer says his client is willing to tell Congress that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, met with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor about investigating the activities of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

An impeachment inquiry is being conducted over allegations Trump held up aid to Ukraine to encourage its leaders to launch an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked as an energy executive in that country. As vice president, Joe Biden joined a chorus of global pressure for Ukraine to fire then-state prosecutor Victor Shokin.

Trump and Nunes, his chief defender as a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee that has taken a lead role in the impeachment inquiry, say Joe Biden wanted Shokin out to protect his son when Hunter Biden’s employer, Burisma, was under suspicion. Shokin himself claims he was fired at the behest of the former vice president to ease pressure on Burisma and Hunter Biden.

Joseph A. Bondy, an attorney for Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed that his client was willing to testify before Congress that Nunes met with Shokin. “I can confirm that Victor Shokin told Lev Parnas that he had met with Nunes in Vienna in late 2018, and that Derek Harvey informed that they were investigating the activities of Joe and Hunter Biden related to Burisma,” Bondy told NBC News. Derek Harvey is Nunes’ investigator.

There are a lot of people out there who don’t like Devin Nunes. Which is fine. But claiming that he committed a crime or something in that vein just by talking, with his investigator, to Shokin about Burisma, that’s a whole other thing.

This entire topic appears to be founded on an idea that many people have convinced themselves and others of, that the Trump administration doesn’t have the right to investigate what happened in the past, because it might affect the future. It would seem they DO have that right, though.

It would also seem that they couldn’t rely on existing diplomatic staff in Ukraine and Europe to investigate Burisma. Schiff’s impeachment witnesses made that abundantly clear. So if they do investigate on their own, are they breaking laws, or are they merely breaking a protocol that suits some people just fine?

American Oversight has promised much more: “The evidence is only going to get worse for the administration as its stonewall strategy collapses in the face of court orders..”. Alright, fine, let’s see it. But it had better be better than this. You have to come with facts. Certainly after two failed investigations.

“Giuliani talked to Pompeo” may be a fact, but if you have no idea what they talked about, it’s a useless fact, that at most you can use to whip up more empty frenzy. And we know, it’s clickbait, and it sells papers and TV ads, but really, what are we watching, what has American journalism come to? What happened to finding evidence first, and reporting on it after?

 

 

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Jul 182016
 
 July 18, 2016  Posted by at 8:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  4 Responses »


Arthur Rothstein General store and railroad crossing, Atlanta, Ohio 1938

Ireland Hits Brexit Alarm in Biggest Foreign Crisis in 50 Years (BBG)
Yuan Declines to 2010 Low as Property Prices Slow, Dollar Rises (BBG)
Goodbye Lenin, Hello Bernanke (ABC.au)
Stocks and Bonds Are on a Collision Course (DR)
Bubbles in Bond Land (David Stockman)
Chinese Cities’ Expansion Plans Could House 3.4 Billion People (BBG)
Slowing China Home Price Rises Add To Doubts About Economy (R.)
Under-35s Could Be The First Generation To Earn Less Than Their Parents (DM)
Boom to Bust (Salt)
Justice Department ‘Uses Aged Computer System To Frustrate FOIA Requests’ (G.)
MH-17: Russia Convicted By Propaganda (PCR)
Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All (New Yorker)
Six Wealthiest Countries Host Less Than 9% Of World’s Refugees (G.)
20 Migrants Dead, 366 Saved From Boats In Mediterranean (NW)

 

 

Huh? Didn’t Ireland grow 26% just last week?

Ireland Hits Brexit Alarm in Biggest Foreign Crisis in 50 Years (BBG)

The prime minister is under pressure, economists are slashing growth forecasts and companies are warning of Brexit’s dire consequences. London? No, Dublin. The intertwining of trade and finance means no other country is feeling the fallout from the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union more than Ireland. In the year the Irish marked the centenary of their uprising against British rule, the country remains at the mercy of the unfolding drama in its closest neighbor. “It’s the most serious, difficult issue facing the country for 50 years,” said John Bruton, 69, who was Irish prime minister between 1994 and 1997 and later served as the EU’s ambassador to the U.S.

Exporters have warned the plummeting pound will erode earnings and economic growth, just as a recovery had taken hold after the 2010 international bailout that followed the banking meltdown. Irish shares have declined, not least because the U.K. is the top destination for the country’s exports after the U.S. and the biggest for its services. Meantime, Prime Minister Enda Kenny is fending off demands by Northern Irish nationalists for a reunification poll as he comes to terms with the loss of a key EU ally and plotters from his own party try to topple him. Then there’s the future of the U.K.’s only land border with the EU. “The consequences are mind-boggling,” said Eoin Fahy, chief economist at Kleinwort Benson Investors in the Irish capital.

Britain and Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973. Ireland was drawn in part to escape what one politician called “our gate-lodge attitude towards England.” More than four decades later, the two countries remain woven together economically as well as culturally and linguistically. Ireland uses the euro, yet does about $45 billion of trade with the U.K. About 380,000 Irish citizens living in Britain were eligible to vote in the Brexit referendum. Britain also chipped in for Ireland’s bailout six years ago, despite not being part of the euro region. When Theresa May took over as British prime minister last Wednesday, Kenny was among three leaders she spoke to, along with Germany’s Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande of France.

Read more …

Bloomberg should simply say: “The yuan fell, and we have no idea why”.

Yuan Declines to 2010 Low as Property Prices Slow, Dollar Rises (BBG)

China’s yuan fell to the weakest level since 2010, pulled down by cooling property prices, a dollar rebounding on haven demand and a weaker central bank fixing. New home prices rose in fewer cities in June compared with a month earlier, according to official data released Monday, blunting optimism prompted by last week’s figures showing forecast-beating economic growth. The monetary authority weakened the yuan’s daily fixing to the lowest since 2010 after the dollar strengthened Friday following a coup attempt in Turkey.

The greenback was supported on Monday also as China said it would hold military exercises in the South China Sea. “The dollar strengthened as orders to buy the currency jumped, pressuring the yuan and the rest of Asian currencies lower,” said Andy Ji, a Singapore-based foreign-exchange strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “There’s news that China will hold military exercises in the South China Sea later this month,” which could spur some haven-demand for the greenback.

Read more …

Lookalike contest.

Goodbye Lenin, Hello Bernanke (ABC.au)

Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed the striking similarity between Vladimir Lenin and Ben Bernanke lately? Superficially, there’s the obvious physical resemblance; whippet build, glabrous pate, facial hair and a penchant for stylish, if somewhat conservative, garb. More significantly, both appear to harbour the same ideological distrust of free markets or, at the very least, a burning desire to control them as much as possible. Separated by almost a century, both men have made it a lifelong ambition to impose state control over the economy. And it has to be said, while Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin achieved significant success in spreading the word from Russia through developing nations, he and his successors never quite got across the line when it came to the so-called free world.

Maybe it was his reputation as a firebrand, an over-reliance on bloody revolution by force and the frightening prospect – for the ruling elite at least – that wealth would be redistributed to the poor. Enter Ben Bernanke. In the space of a mere eight years, the former Federal Reserve chief has managed to achieve what Vladimir could barely conceive. He’s convinced the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Japan and Europe to embark on a revolutionary journey to completely subvert free market instincts. Unlike his Russian predecessor, Ben has opted for the calm, congenial exterior of Central Banker from Central Casting, complete with a mogadon monotone designed to lull his audience into a state of torpor.

He’s also wisely decided to modify the wealth distribution bit. As western governments have raided the kitty, plunging themselves into an ocean of debt, much of the proceeds have flowed directly into asset markets – stocks, bonds and property – which has helped maintain the flow of wealth towards the wealthy. Brilliant! Last week, Ben was in Japan. And that got twitchy fingered traders across the globe all hot under the collar. Ben, after all, is the man who pioneered the implementation of “unorthodox monetary policy”.

Read more …

“Bond markets are signaling something very nasty coming down the road at us — an all-encompassing, worldwide deflation.”

Stocks and Bonds Are on a Collision Course (DR)

One of the following is correct: A) The stock market is lying. B) The bond market is lying. They both can’t be true. Consider: The stock market has sprung to record highs this week. Shocking, given the world was coming to an end after Brexit. But it’s true. Both the S&P and the Dow eclipsed previous records this week. What does that normally indicate? A rollicking economy in high gear, stability, investor belief in the future. Maybe some “healthy” inflation into the bargain. Now consider: Bonds are also trading at record highs. Meaning yields are at historic lows (prices and yields move in opposite directions – the higher the price, the lower the yield, and vice versa). Yields on 10-year Treasuries plunged to all-time lows this month. Same with 30-year Treasuries.

That would normally signal an economy on the brink of ruin and investors panicking into government bonds. It also means deflation of the hide-the-women-and-children variety. TheTelegraph: “Bond markets are signaling something very nasty coming down the road at us — an all-encompassing, worldwide deflation.” Two completely different narratives. One wrong, one right. Someone’s in for a nasty shock – and probably soon. Says analyst William Koldus, founder of The Contrarian: The tug of war between inflationary and deflationary assets is likely to be resolved in 2016. Either U.S. stock prices, which have been an outlier to the upside, are wrong, and a significant correction awaits stock investors, or U.S. bond prices, and global sovereign bond yields, which have priced in a significant deflationary head wind, are wrong, and safe-haven bondholders are set for losses.

Who’s the jury to believe? Generally, the bond market. As Neil Irwin of The New York Times explains, “Savvy economic analysts have always known the bond market is the place to look for a real sense of where the economy is going, or at least where the smart money thinks it is going.” Here he dumps more rain on the parade: “And right now, if the bond market is correctly predicting the economic path ahead, we should all be terrified.”

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“Surely, BOJ Governor Kuroda will go down in history as the stupidest central banker of all-time.”

Bubbles in Bond Land (David Stockman)

Last year Japan lost another 272,000 of its population as it marches steadily toward its destiny as the world’s first bankrupt old age colony. At the same time, the return on Japan’s 40-year bond during the last six months has been an astonishing 48%. That’s right! We aren’t talking Tesla, the biotech index or the FANGs. To the contrary, like the rest of the Japanese Government Bond (JGB) yield curve, this bond has no yield and no prospect of repayment. But that doesn’t matter because it’s not really a sovereign bond, anyway. It has actually morphed into a risk free gambling chip. Leveraged front-runners are scooping up whatever odds and sots of JGBs that remain on the market and are selling them to the Bank of Japan (BOJ) at higher, and higher and higher prices.

At the same time, these punters face virtually no risk. That’s because the BOJ already owns 426 trillion yen of JGBs, which is nearly half of the bonds outstanding. And it is buying up the rest at a rate of 80 trillion yen per year under current policy, while giving every indication of sharply stepping up its purchase rate as it segues to outright helicopter money. It can therefore be well and truly said that the BOJ is the ultimate roach motel. Virtually every scrap of Japan’s gargantuan public debt will go marching into its vaults never to return, and at “whatever it takes” bond prices to meet the BOJ’s lunatic purchase quotas. Surely, BOJ Governor Kuroda will go down in history as the stupidest central banker of all-time.

But in the interim the man is contributing — along with Draghi, Yellen and the rest of the central bankers guild — to absolute mayhem in the global fixed income market. That’s because these fools have succeeded in unleashing a pincer movement among market participants that is flat-out suicidal. That is, the leveraged fast money gamblers are chasing prices ever higher as sovereign bonds become increasingly scarce. At the same time, desperate bond fund managers, who will lose their jobs for just sitting on cash, are chasing yields rapidly lower on any bond that still has a positive current return. This is the reason the 30-year U.S. treasury bond has produced a 22% return during the last six months. To say the least, that’s not shabby at all considering that its current yield is just 2.25%.

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Want to see a real housing crisis?

Chinese Cities’ Expansion Plans Could House 3.4 Billion People (BBG)

New areas planned by China’s small cities could accommodate 3.4 billion people by 2030 – or almost half the world’s current population – a target that even Chinese state media calls problematic. A report by the National Development & Reform Commission, China’s central planning agency, found that small- and medium-sized cities were planning more than 3,500 new areas that could accommodate more than twice the country’s current population of 1.4 billion. The entire world has a population of 7.4 billion, according to U.S. Census estimates. The findings were detailed in an analysis by the official Xinhua News Agency, which criticized the planned new areas as unworkable: “Who’s going to live in them? That’s a problem,” the piece said.

The expansion comes amid urbanization calls by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang as China prepares for another 100 million people to move from the countryside to urban metropolises by the end of the decade. People tend favor bigger markets with more opportunities and fewer than 1-in-10 migrant workers moved to small cities last year, according to an NDRC report published in April. Even without the new areas, China already has more housing than it needs and “ghost cities” have proliferated. China has been building more than 10 million new units annually for the past five years, outstripping an estimated of demand of less than 8 million, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence Economists Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen.

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Look, Reuters, there comes a point where things like “..a construction-led rebound in the economy may not be sustainable..” become meaningless. We reached that point quite a while ago.

Slowing China Home Price Rises Add To Doubts About Economy (R.)

Home price rises in China slowed in June for a second straight month, adding to fears that a construction-led rebound in the economy may not be sustainable. The property market is a key driver of the world’s second-largest economy and a robust recovery in home prices and sales gave a stronger-than-expected boost to activity in the first half of the year. But slowing price growth in smaller cities and cooling property investment show the bounce may already be fading, raising the risk of weaker economic growth in coming months. Home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 7.3% in June from a year earlier, an official survey showed on Monday, accelerating from a 6.9% rise in May.

To be sure, some of the biggest cities showed eye-popping gains on a yearly basis, with prices in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen up 46.7% and Shanghai up 27.7%. Gains on a monthly basis continued to slow, however, as cities tightened policies amid fears of a housing price bubble. The monthly rise slowed slightly to 0.8% in June, easing from 0.9% in May, according to a Reuters calculation based on data issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). “We continue to expect the property rebound to subside and property investment growth to fall in the second half of the year,” economists at Nomura said in a note, predicting sales would stabilize and a large glut of unsold homes would keep pressure on prices in some areas.

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Stupidest term in a long time: “generational pay progress”.

Under-35s Could Be The First Generation To Earn Less Than Their Parents (DM)

Millennials could become the first generation to earn less than their predecessors, analysis by a think-tank has found. The Research Foundation found that under-35s have been hit hardest by the recent pay squeeze and earned £8,000 less during their 20s than a typical person in the previous generation – known as generation X. The finding comes just days after new Prime Minister Theresa May warned of a ‘growing divide between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation’. The report, which comes as the thank-tank launches its Intergenerational Commission, warns that a post-Brexit downturn could depress millennials’ wages further.

The Intergenerational Commission report states that while some of the pay squeeze is down to millennials entering the job market as the recession hit, it also found generational pay progress had actually stopped before the 2007/08 financial crash. If the future pay of millennials follows the path of generation X, that would reduce their lifetime earnings to around £825,000 – making them the first ever generation to earn less than their predecessors over the course of their working lives. The comparable figure for Generation X is around £832,000. Even if their wages followed a more optimistic path and improved rapidly like their baby boomer parents, their lifetime earnings would be around £890,000. This would be just 7% more than generation X and a third of the size of the pay progress that generation X are set to enjoy over the baby boomers.

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“Boomers got the Pill, free love, free education and easy jobs. Gen X got AIDS, HECS and the GFC.”

Boom to Bust (Salt)

I feel sorry for Generation X, those of you born between 1965 and 1983 and who are now straddling the load-bearing years of the late 30s and 40s. There is no escaping the big responsibilities at this time in the life cycle. At this very moment, Xers are raising families and paying taxes and working flat out… and yet nary a peep from this lot does anyone hear. It’s all about the baby boomers, and if it’s not about the baby boomers and their interminable retirement woes then it’s all about their gifted Generation-Y children. Are we paying you enough, Gen Y? Is anyone being mean to you? Can I get you a pillow? You do realise that I am a Generation Xer, trapped inside a baby boomer body. The reason I feel sorry for the Xers is that they’re always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Xers are the pissed-off generation. They are heartily sick of baby boomers and their cultural chest-beating. Yes, boomers, we know it was you who saved humanity from the Vietnam War. Yes, we know you discovered free love in the 1960s. No one had thought of sex prior to that, had they? This is what I mean about being pissed off. Baby boomers got the Pill and free love when they were coming of age. But what did older Xers get when they passed through their teens and 20s? The 1980s. Out went the concept of free love; in came the mortal threat of HIV-AIDS. Kind of puts a dampener on the sex thing, don’t you think?

Boomers got fee-free university education courtesy of Gough Whitlam. When did most Xers go to uni? Oh, that’d be after 1989, when we decided fee-free tertiary education was unsustainable and in came HECS. When did many Xers enter the workforce? Oh, that’d be in the early 1990s, when unemployment peaked at nearly 12 per cent. And then they worked for baby boomer managers, biding their time, pacing, scheming, forever waiting for the boomers to let go of the reins. And when was it that baby boomer management let go of the reins? Oh, that’d be around the time of the global financial crisis. “Here you go Xers, it’s your turn now. We’re off on a Rhine River cruise. Make sure you pay your taxes. Bye.”

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If the Department of Justice won’t obey the law, what do you get?

Justice Department ‘Uses Aged Computer System To Frustrate FOIA Requests’ (G.)

A new lawsuit alleges that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) intentionally conducts inadequate searches of its records using a decades-old computer system when queried by citizens looking for records that should be available to the public. Freedom of Information Act (Foia) researcher Ryan Shapiro alleges “failure by design” in the DoJ’s protocols for responding to public requests. The Foia law states that agencies must “make reasonable efforts to search for the records in electronic form or format”. In an effort to demonstrate that the DoJ does not comply with this provision, Shapiro requested records of his own requests and ran up against the same roadblocks that stymied his progress in previous inquiries.

A judge ruled in January that the FBI had acted in a manner “fundamentally at odds with the statute”. Now, armed with that ruling, Shapiro hopes to change policy across the entire department. Shapiro filed his suit on the 50th anniversary of Foia’s passage this month. Foia requests to the FBI are processed by searching the Automated Case Support system (ACS), a software program that celebrates its 21st birthday this year. Not only are the records indexed by ACS allegedly inadequate, Shapiro told the Guardian, but the FBI refuses to search the full text of those records as a matter of policy. When few or no records are returned, Shapiro said, the FBI effectively responds “sorry, we tried” without making use of the much more sophisticated search tools at the disposal of internal requestors.

“The FBI’s assertion is akin to suggesting that a search of a limited and arbitrarily produced card catalogue at a vast library is as likely to locate book pages containing a specified search term as a full text search of database containing digitized versions of all the books in that library,” Shapiro said.

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Will be a big story again when Holland produces its ‘objective’ report. Which has lost all credibility way before publication.

MH-17: Russia Convicted By Propaganda (PCR)

Today is the second anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and we still do not know the explanation. Washington and its European vassal politicians and media instantly politicized the event: The Russians did it. End of story. After 15 months of heavy anti-Russian propaganda had imprinted the message on peoples’ minds, the Dutch Safety Board issued its inconclusive report. By then, it was irrelevant what the report said. Everyone already knew that “the Russians did it.” I remember when pre-trial media accusations resulted in dismissed cases. Anyone declared guilty prior to presentation of evidence and conviction was considered to have been convicted in advance and unable to receive a fair trail. Such cases were dismissed by judges.

Washington’s story never made any sense. Neither Russia nor the separatists in the Donetsk region had any reason to shoot down a Malaysian airliner. In contrast Washington had enormous incentives as Washington’s propaganda machine could place the blame on Russia and use the incident to compel European governments to accept Washington’s sanctions placed on Russia. It worked for Washington. Washington successfully used the incident to wreck Europe’s political and economic relationships with Russia. Four months into the anti-Russian propaganda campaign, a website called Bellingcat, claiming to be an open source site for citizen journalists, but which could be a MI-5, MI-6, or CIA front, issued a report that the Buk missile was fired by a Russian unit, the 53rd Buk Brigade, based in the Russian city of Kursk.

This allegation exposed the propaganda for what it is. Whereas it is possible that separatists unfamiliar with the Buk weapon system could accidentally shoot down a civilian airliner, it is not possible for a Russian military unit to make such a mistake. Moreover, it is unclear why separatists or the Ukrainian government would have any reason to use Buk missiles in their conflict. The separatists have no air force. The Ukrainians attack the separatists at ground level with ground attack aircraft and helicopters, not with high altitude bombing. The Buk missile is a high altitude missile. The only way the separatists could have acquired Buk missiles is by overrunning and capturing Ukrainian positions that for unfathomed reasons had deployed Buk missiles.

It seems to me that if a Buk missile was present in the conflict area, it was moved there for a reason unrelated to the conflict. A European air traffic controller said that MH-17 and the airliner carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin were initially on the same course. Possibly Washington and its vassal in Kiev thought MH-17 was Putin’s plane and destroyed the Malaysian flight by mistake.

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Brought to you by the Clinton Foundation: “I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All (New Yorker)

Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated. Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ”

Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

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While being responsible for 91% of them fleeing in the first place.

Six Wealthiest Countries Host Less Than 9% Of World’s Refugees (G.)

The six wealthiest countries in the world, which between them account for almost 60% of the global economy, host less than 9% of the world’s refugees, while poorer countries shoulder most of the burden, Oxfam has said. According to a report released by the charity on Monday, the US, China, Japan, Germany, France and the UK, which together make up 56.6% of global GDP, between them host just 2.1 million refugees: 8.9% of the world’s total. Of these 2.1 million people, roughly a third are hosted by Germany (736,740), while the remaining 1.4 million are split between the other five countries. The UK hosts 168,937 refugees, a figure Oxfam GB chief executive, Mark Goldring, has called shameful.

In contrast, more than half of the world’s refugees – almost 12 million people – live in Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon and South Africa, despite the fact these places make up less than 2% of the world’s economy. Oxfam is calling on governments to host more refugees and to do more to help poorer countries which provide shelter to the majority of the world’s refugees. “This is one of the greatest challenges of our time yet poorer countries, and poorer people, are left to shoulder the responsibility,” said Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB. “It is a complex crisis that requires a coordinated, global response with the richest countries doing their fair share by welcoming more refugees and doing more to help and protect them wherever they are.

“Now more than ever, the UK needs to show that it is an open, tolerant society that is prepared to play its part in solving this crisis. It is shameful that as one of the richest economies the UK has provided shelter for less than 1% of refugees.”

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Look away.

20 Migrants Dead, 366 Saved From Boats In Mediterranean (NW)

Rescuers saved 366 migrants from rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy but at least 20 people were reported to have drowned, Italian police said on Saturday. The survivors, who were rescued in four separate operations, were crammed onto three rubber dinghies and a wooden fishing boat. They were all taken to the Sicilian port of Augusta, where they were questioned on Friday evening by the Italian police unit Interforce, which combats illegal immigration.

The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot went to the aid of one dinghy that sank in the Sicilian Channel, but many migrants were already in the sea when it arrived, Antonio Panzanaro, an Interforce official, told Reuters. One corpse was recovered but survivors said that at least 20 people had drowned before the ship arrived, he said. There were 82 women and 25 children among the 366 people rescued, he said. The survivors were mainly from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Bangladesh. Seven people were arrested from the four boats, including their drivers, on suspicion of people-trafficking, he said.

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