Oct 312020
 


Alfred Buckham Edinburgh c1920

 

WHO Special Envoy On COVID Reiterates Caution Against Lockdowns (PFW)
Governments Closing Economies Worse Than Pandemic Itself – Jim Rogers (RT)
Swing States Face The Worst Postal Delays, Data Shows (F.)
Thousands Of Ballots In Pennsylvania May Be Missing (ET)
Polling Averages Show Trump Gaining On Biden In Most Swing States (USA Today)
Positive Trump Polls Spark Polling Circle Debate (Hill)
Trump Must Win Pa. By 4 Or 5 Points To Overcome Voter Fraud – Pollster (JTN)
Biden Advisers Sound Red Alert Over Black, Latino Turnout (ZH)
Michael Moore: Trump ‘Evil Genius,’ Biden’s Poll Lead Not Accurate Count (JTN)
Mueller Had Evidence DNC, Clinton Camp Made Up Russia Collusion Story (JTN)
Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept (Taibbi)
Intercept Abandoned Truth-Seeking Mission – And Lost Its Best Journalist (Q.)
Project Veritas To Sue New York Times Over Ballot Harvesting Story (JTN)
The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About (Wired)

 

Trunalimunumaprzure.

 

Who said Dems don’t know how to create memes?

BIDEN: “I’ll lead an effective strategy to mobilize trunalimunumaprzure.”

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said 1000 times that Lockdown 2.0 is the worst idea ever. But here they come. The politicians who failed at 1.0 should resign, not get a shot at failing again.

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer..”

WHO Special Envoy On COVID Reiterates Caution Against Lockdowns (PFW)

WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro, cautioned in a Thursday interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today that full national lockdowns should be used only as a “reserve” measure to control the coronavirus, describing such actions as very extreme. Nabarro, who was appointed in February as one of six special envoys tasked to deal with the coronavirus response, warned that national lockdowns are “a very extreme restriction on economic and social life” that temporarily “freezes the virus in place.” “You don’t want to use those as your primary, and I stress that, primary, means of containment. Because in the end living with the virus as a constant threat means maintaining the capacity to find people with the disease and isolating them,” Nabarro said.


The British doctor went on to recommend a robust test, trace and isolation system as the priority for government response with lockdown being “the reserve that you use to take the heat out of the system when things are really bad.” In early October, Nabarro also cautioned against lockdowns in an interview with the Spectator, saying, “we in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus.” Perhaps the most jarring part of his warning was when he described the economic impact of imposing strict lockdowns. “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

Read more …

“I would suggest to you that maybe next time when we have a serious bear market it’s going to be the worst in my lifetime..”

Governments Closing Economies Worse Than Pandemic Itself – Jim Rogers (RT)

While the coronavirus outbreak triggered the deepest crisis in decades, “overreacting” politicians have only exacerbated the situation, legendary investor Jim Rogers has told an international forum hosted by Russia. “This is probably the worst [crisis] that I have seen in my lifetime, because everything collapsed and you had politicians and media and everybody overreacting in my view, and everybody closed down,” he told the 12th annual ‘Russia Calling’ Investment Forum in Moscow, when asked if he sees any parallels with previous financial crises. The business event is being held online this year for the first time due to the pandemic.


“We’ve had many epidemics in history, but never before did they close McDonalds, never before did they close all the airlines,” Rogers noted, adding that this overreaction has ruined many economies and the lives of many people. The investor believes that the current crisis is markedly different to previous ones as never in history have governments spent, printed or borrowed so much money. While the current situation might be good for the markets, he noted that it cannot be good for the future due to skyrocketing debt. “I caution all of you, it’s been 11 years since we’ve had a serious bear market… and I would suggest to you that maybe next time when we have a serious bear market it’s going to be the worst in my lifetime,” Rogers told the participants of the forum.

Read more …

It’s going to be such a mess.

Swing States Face The Worst Postal Delays, Data Shows (F.)

Battleground states in the presidential election are suffering from some of the worst ballot delivery delays in the country, U.S. Postal Service data analyzed by the Washington Post shows, and with state laws or court rulings requiring mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day, several states face a particularly high risk of voters having their ballots arrive too late to count, potentially impacting close races.

Michigan: Data analyzed by the Post shows that only 72.8% of ballots in Detroit and 84.3% of ballots elsewhere in Michigan have been delivered on time over the past five days, and an appeals court ruled that mail-in ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Wisconsin: Less than 85% of ballots are being delivered on time in the Lakeland district covering much of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that ballots must be delivered by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Colorado: There’s a similar on-time rate in Colorado, which has been holding primarily mail-based elections since 2013 and has a number of established mail-in voting processes in place and requires ballots to be returned by Election Day.

Pennsylvania: While ballot delivery in Western Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area is above 93%, on-time delivery is less than 85% in Eastern Pennsylvania, and though ballots can be delivered for up to three days after Election Day, late-arriving ballots will be segregated and could potentially be invalidated by the Supreme Court.

Georgia: Parts of Northern Georgia are experiencing less than 85% of ballots being delivered on time—mail elsewhere in the state is being delivered between 90% and 93% on time—and an appeals court has ruled that ballots must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Only approximately 85% of North Carolina ballots were delivered on time, but mail-in ballots there can be delivered up to nine days after Election Day, and while not as bad as in other battleground states, ballot delivery is still below the USPS’s ideal service standard of 97% on time in parts of Florida, Ohio and Minnesota, where late ballots will also be segregated and potentially invalidated by the courts.

95.04%. That’s the average national rate of on-time delivery for completed ballots being sent from voters to election officials between October 24 and 29, according to USPS data filed in federal court Friday, while 98.2% of blank ballots were sent on average from election offices to voters on time. (On-time delivery for first class mail like election mail is classified as between one to three days.) The Justice Department, which is representing USPS in court, noted in the filing that the numbers aren’t a “representatively accurate measurement” of USPS service performance because they only include ballots sent using specific codes, and do not take “first mile” and “last mile” service into account, which could add time to delivery.

Read more …

“Butler County voted for President Donald Trump over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 about 66% to 29%.”

Thousands Of Ballots In Pennsylvania May Be Missing (ET)

Thousands of voters in Butler County, Pennsylvania, said have they never received their ballots…Nearly 40,000 registered voters in the county requested mail-in ballots, but only about 24 percent of them have been returned back to the county so far, authorities said. “At first we thought that maybe it just was a delay in the postal system” due to the high number of requests, Leslie Osche, chair of the Butler County commissioners, was quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying. “And that could still be the case. But nonetheless, when we realized that, we changed our strategy and now have begun to tell folks that if they haven’t received a ballot, they still have multiple options.” “Our main focus—because it’s too late now to worry about this—we need to make sure we get these people their ballots,” Osche added.

A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) spokesperson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the agency is “unaware of any significant delays or issues and is in regular contact with the Board of Election as we work to locate and deliver ballots as they are presented to us.” As of Tuesday, voters in Pennsylvania cannot apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot. A local county official, Aaron Sheasley, told CNN Friday that the county has received more than 10,000 phone calls about information related to the ballots that were requested but not received. “Somewhere between the post office and the Pittsburgh sorting facility something happened,” Sheasley told the network. “We don’t know what.” He added: “We haven’t given out any numbers” about the number of missing ballots “because we simply don’t know.”

Speaking to CNN, Chuck Bugar, president of the American Postal Workers Union Pittsburgh chapter, said there is no record that suggests the missing ballots in Butler County made it to a Postal Service facility. “There’s no pile of ballots that have been taken from the Butler County election committee that are sitting around,” Bugar said. “There’s no record or indication that they entered the mail stream. There’s paperwork that goes along with it.” Butler County voted for President Donald Trump over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in 2016 about 66% to 29%. The county is located north of Pittsburgh and has approximately 150,000 registered voters. In 2020, both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have been holding events and rallies, vying to secure the key battleground state with 20 electoral votes.

Read more …

“Biden’s polling average advantage is greater than 5 points in just four of twelve swing states and the race will hinge on what happens in the races where Biden’s margin is thin enough to leave the candidates in a virtual dead heat.”

Polling Averages Show Trump Gaining On Biden In Most Swing States (USA Today)

Election Day is four days away, and more than half the number of Americans who voted in 2016 have already cast their ballots, as polls continue to show Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a large national lead over President Donald Trump, along with a smaller advantage in several key states. The deadline for early voting ends Friday in several states where the race is tight, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Texas – and on Saturday in the key states of Florida and North Carolina. Though early turnout appears to favor Democrats in many states, Republicans are gaining ground quickly in Florida and other early voting states. As the race enters the home stretch, the USA TODAY average of averages, which is based on data from RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight, finds Biden up 8.3 percentage points over Trump nationally. That is nearly a full point higher than Biden was at the end of September but 2 points lower than the 10.1-point edge he held in mid-October.


The polls were also shifting in Trump’s favor ahead of his upset win over Hillary Clinton in 2016, but that trend was more pronounced and her lead was not as big as Biden’s heading into the election. Four days before Election Day that year, Clinton’s average lead was about 2.1 percentage points. If the states end up breaking according to their current polling averages, and assuming the non-swing states go the way they did in 2016, Biden would win decisively in the Electoral College, even if he lost Ohio, which is tied. But Biden’s polling average advantage is greater than 5 points in just four of twelve swing states and the race will hinge on what happens in the races where Biden’s margin is thin enough to leave the candidates in a virtual dead heat.

Read more …

Trafalgar was right 4 years ago. The others, not so much.

Positive Trump Polls Spark Polling Circle Debate (Hill)

Most pollsters show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a sturdy and stable lead over President Trump at a time when tens of millions of people have already voted and there is almost no time to change the course of the race. But a handful of contrarian pollsters believe Trump’s support is underrepresented and that election analysts could be headed for another embarrassing miss on Election Day. The battles have spilled on to social media, where some well-known political analysts have dismissed polls that show Trump leading Biden. The Trafalgar Group, which was the only nonpartisan outlet in 2016 to find Trump leading in Michigan and Pennsylvania on Election Day, shows Trump with small leads in both states, which would be keys to another Trump win in the Electoral College. Nearly every other pollster shows Biden with a comfortable lead.

Trafalgar’s Robert Cahaly says there is a hidden Trump vote that is not being accounted for in polls that show Biden on a glide path to the White House. “There are more [shy Trump voters] than last time and it’s not even a contest,” Cahaly said, adding that it’s “quite possible” that the polling industry is headed for a catastrophic miss in 2020. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and Cook Political Report editor Dave Wasserman are among those deeply skeptical of Cahaly’s polling. Both have dug into the crosstabs of Trafalgar polls and pointed to questionable breakdowns as evidence Trafalgar doesn’t know what it’s doing. For instance, the crosstabs in a Michigan poll, which are no longer online, appeared to show Trump leading Biden by 8 points among young voters, a Democratic stronghold.

“[Trafalgar] doesn’t disclose their ‘proprietary digital methods’ so I can’t really evaluate what they’re doing,” said Jon McHenry, a Republican pollster with North Star Opinion Research. “They’re far enough out on a limb that a year from now, we’ll all remember if they were very right or very wrong.” FiveThirtyEight’s model gives Trump about an 11 percent chance of winning — roughly equal to pulling an inside straight in poker — after giving him about a 30 percent chance on Election Day in 2016. Biden appears to have a more comfortable lead in the polls than Hillary Clinton had at this point in 2016. Polls show Trump is underperforming — in some cases dramatically — among the key coalitions that powered his 2016 victory. Biden is also a more popular candidate than Clinton.

McHenry said he does not think there are many “shy” Trump supporters who would lie about their intentions. Rather, there is concern about a “skewed response rate pattern,” whereby Trump voters would be less likely to participate in a survey or answer the phone when a pollster calls.

Read more …

More Trafalgar.

Trump Must Win Pa. By 4 Or 5 Points To Overcome Voter Fraud – Pollster (JTN)

Robert Cahaly, one of the few pollsters who correctly had Donald Trump ahead in Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan the day before Election Day in 2016, said on “Hannity” Friday night that Trump is going to have to win Pennsylvania by four or five points to “overcome the voter fraud that’s going to happen there.” Cahaly, the chief pollster with the Georgia-based Trafalgar Group, is predicting a Trump victory against Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He says the other pollsters don’t understand the so-called “shy Trump voters.”


“These [voters] aren’t straightforward when it comes to these polls,” Cahaly told host Sean Hannity. “[The other pollsters] don’t understand it, they refuse to understand it, and it seems actually logical. I think that the states that we had before for Trump — Florida, Arizona and North Carolina — are still there. I feel like Michigan is a win right now. Pennsylvania, he’s going to need to get further along than he is. I think he’s going to need to win Pennsylvania by four or five to overcome the voter fraud that’s going to happen there.”

Read more …

“..half of White voters have cast ballots [..] In Pennsylvania, nearly 75% of registered Black voters have not yet voted..”

Biden Advisers Sound Red Alert Over Black, Latino Turnout (ZH)

Senior Biden campaign officials are ‘becoming increasingly worried’ over low turnout among black and latino voters in key states such as Pennsylvania and Florida, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. “Despite record early-vote turnout around the country, there are warning signs for Biden. In Arizona, two-thirds of Latino registered voters have not yet cast a ballot. In Florida, half of Latino and Black registered voters have not yet voted but more than half of White voters have cast ballots, according to data from Catalist, a Democratic data firm. In Pennsylvania, nearly 75% of registered Black voters have not yet voted, the data shows.” -Bloomberg. “I would like to see turnout increase – and yes, we need improvement,” said Biden super PAC president, Steve Schale in a Tuesday blog post.

According to the report, top campaign leaders are confident that blacks and latinos will show up on election day, however some Biden advisers have expressed concerns about a lack of participation – and are urging the campaign to spend more money to target minority voters in the final stretch. Perhaps minorities found out that Biden didn’t want to raise his children in a racial jungle when he opposed desegregation? Or that he drafted the 1994 crime bill, which sent tens of thousands of black men to prison for minor crimes, something Biden was proud of as recently as four years ago. Or that his ‘guide and mentor’ was an ‘Exalted Cyclops’ in the KKK (who renounced his racist ways when it became a political liability he saw the light.)


Or that he equates being poor to being black. Or that rapper 20 cent endorsed Trump (until his ex-girlfriend Chelsea Handler yanked his leash), while Lil’ Wayne, Kanye and Ice Cube have thrown their support behind Trump, or at least a new ‘platinum plan’ intended to help the black community.

Lil Wayne

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“He thinks he’s going to win, and I know he’s an evil genius and he’s smarter than all of us. And I know people hate to hear that, but I’m sorry.”

Michael Moore: Trump ‘Evil Genius,’ Biden’s Poll Lead Not Accurate Count (JTN)

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore is warning that Joe Biden’s hefty leads in nearly every national poll is not accurate and is calling President Trump an “evil genius” who could well figure out a way to win reelection. The left-wing director told The Hill that 2020 is beginning to look a lot like 2016, when pollsters predicted Hillary Clinton would win in a landslide, prompting the Democratic candidate to stop campaigning in Wisconsin and Michigan — two states she went on to lose. “Biden is pretty much doing what Hillary did,” Moore said Thursday. “He’s come to Michigan a couple of times, but he hasn’t for the last 10 days. I’ve been, like, putting out there on social media and saying that ‘Where’s Joe Biden? Why isn’t Biden coming to Michigan?’

“Remember Hillary not coming to Michigan, not going to Wisconsin? Why is Pence here in Flint the other day? Why is Trump in Lansing, Trump in Muskegon? Trump everywhere!” Moore, known for films like “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Roger and Me,” said there are most definitely hidden Trump voters out there. “The Trump vote is always being undercounted, the pollsters, when they actually call a real Trump voter, the Trump voter’s very suspicious of the ‘Deep State’ calling them and asking them who they’re voting for,” Moore said. Of Biden’s lead, Moore said: “It’s all fake news to them, remember. It’s not an accurate count.”

“I think the safe thing to do, this is not scientific … whatever they’re saying the Biden lead is, cut it in half, right now, in your head. Cut it in half, and now you’re within the four-point margin of error.” Trump, Moore said, is “smarter than all of us.” “I wake up every morning with the assumption that Trump believes he’s going to win and that’s good enough for me,” the director said. “He thinks he’s going to win, and I know he’s an evil genius and he’s smarter than all of us. And I know people hate to hear that, but I’m sorry.”

Michael Moore

Read more …

“Tony Podesta, Manafort and Gates worked together on lobbying and political consulting projects..”

Mueller Had Evidence DNC, Clinton Camp Made Up Russia Collusion Story (JTN)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office gathered evidence suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee launched a political “smear job” in spring 2016 tying Donald Trump to Russia collusion through the lobbying work of his campaign chairman Paul Manafort in Ukraine, according to memos that were excluded from the prosecutor’s final report. The evidence, reviewed by Just the News, includes information obtained by State Department officials from a trusted Ukrainian source, a private investigator’s report, and an email exchange suggesting Tony Podesta — a Manafort business associate and brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — tried at one point to slow down the opposition research project.

The evidence — which is additional to records showing the law firm for the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the infamous “Steele dossier” given to the FBI — was never mentioned in last year’s vast, two-volume Mueller Report, which concluded that no Americans colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The newly surfaced evidence bolsters separate intelligence reporting that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe made public recently showing the Obama CIA also believed Clinton’s campaign had launched a political dirty trick to “vilify” Trump on Russia in an effort to distract from her own controversies.

“We did have evidence to show that early collusion allegations against Trump and Manafort were created or propagated by people who either worked for the DNC or the Clinton campaign, including some efforts that went beyond the Steele dossier,” a person with direct knowledge of the Mueller probe told Just the News. Asked why the Mueller report did not mention the Clinton campaign tactics, the source answered: “Our job was to report on and prosecute crimes, not write an essay on how political opposition research was conducted by the two parties.”

Unredacted emails and other documents gathered by Mueller’s team suggest the earliest hint of the Democrats’ Russia collusion smear campaign emerged in a May 2016 email exchange between Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta and Manafort’s lead business manager in Ukraine, Rick Gates, who also worked as a deputy campaign manager for the Trump campaign. The thread appeared under the subject line: “DNC and Paul Manafort.” Though on opposite sides of the political spectrum, Tony Podesta, Manafort and Gates worked together on lobbying and political consulting projects related to Ukraine’s Party of Regions and former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted from power in 2014.

“Last Friday APAC had a meeting at DNC organized by their ethnic outreach office, presenting Democratic Party strategies for presidential elections,” Gates emailed Tony Podesta on May 17, 2016. “One of the subjects was a smear campaign against Paul Manafort, which will be launched in a couple of days. The head of the ethnic outreach is of Ukrainian descent and has connections in Ukraine. “She was able to produce documents linking Manafort to Moscow during his time as adviser to Victor Yanukowych (cq), ousted former Ukrainian president. They will try to link Donald Trump to Putin through Manafort’s engagement and money trail of over [a] billion dollars. This was a formal presentation on the part of DNC — I am trying to obtain an audio tape from the meeting. I just wanted to share this with you to make you aware before they start.”

Read more …

Taibbi and Greenwald would seem to be a good team.

The Tucker video is excellent. And a strong sign of what US media has become, that Greenwald needs to go to Fox to be able to tell his story.

Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept (Taibbi)

Greenwald, after commenting pointedly about the reaction by press and Democratic Party officials to the New York Post story, reached out to Intercept editor Betsy Reed to float the idea of writing on the subject. The first hint of trouble came when Reed suggested that yes, it might be a story, if proven correct, but “even if it did represent something untoward about Biden,” that would “represent a tiny fraction of the sleaze and lies Trump and his cronies are oozing in every day.” When Greenwald retorted that deciding not to report on one politician’s scandals because those of another politician are deemed worse is a “corrupt calculus” for reporters, Reed expressed concern. Based on this, on his comments on Twitter, and other factors, she worried that “we are headed for a conflict over the editing of this piece.”

Greenwald insisted he wasn’t planning an overwhelming amount of coverage but wanted to do a single article, reviewing the available facts and perhaps asking the Biden campaign to comment on the veracity of the Post story. Reed agreed that he should write a draft, then they could “see where we are.” An aside: when reporters and editors interact, they speak between the lines. If an editor only ever suggests or assigns stories from a certain angle, you’re being told they don’t particularly want the other angle. If your editor has lots of hypothetical concerns at the start, he or she probably won’t be upset if you choose a different topic. Finally, when an editor lays out “suggestions” about things that might “help” a piece “be even stronger,” it’s a signal both parties understand about what elements have to be put in before the editor will send the thing through.

Reed explained that any piece Greenwald wrote on the Biden/Burisma subject would have to go through “the editorial process and fact-checking that we do with any story with this kind of high profile.” Peter Maass would edit, but Reed also noted that there was a lot of “in-house knowledge” they could all “tap into.” By “in-house knowledge,” she meant the work of Robert Mackey and Jim Risen, two Intercept reporters with whom Greenwald clashed in the past. Risen had already loudly denounced the Post story not only as conspiracy theory, but foreign disinformation. Essentially, Reed was telling Greenwald his piece would be quasi-edited by people with whom he’d had major public disagreements about Russia-related issues going back years.

To this, Greenwald responded that this was a double-standard: when Risen wrote an article credulously quoting intelligence officials like James Clapper, John Brennan, and Michael Hayden (more on the extreme irony of this later) describing the Post story as having “the classic earmarks of Russian misinformation,” he could do so willy-nilly. But when Greenwald wanted to write an op-ed piece questioning the “prevailing wisdom on Biden and Burisma,” a team of people would would be summoned. “The only reason people are getting interested in and ready to scrutinize what I write is because everyone is afraid of being accused of having published something harmful to Biden,” Greenwald told them. “That’s the reality.”

Tucker Greenwald
https://twitter.com/i/status/1322003267182682113

Read more …

From a colleague at the Intercept.

The Intercept Abandoned Truth-Seeking Mission, Lost Its Best Journalist (Q.)

Unfortunately, not everyone at the Intercept felt that we should be “aggressively anti-partisan.” As the election approached, many colleagues began to complain about my articles about Clinton. At the time, I should stress, I was a politics reporter. I didn’t write columns or offer my opinion in these articles. My reporting was fact-based and in the public interest, and at no point did my colleagues (or other credible critics) question the facts I presented. Rather, they simply didn’t like seeing Democrats facing bad press at a time when they were going up against Trump in the general election. These internal pressures grew by an order of magnitude after Trump went on to win the presidency. It was ruefully communicated to me, in various ways, that I had helped betray our unwritten mandate to help Clinton defeat Trump.

Over time, these discussions became more explicit, with the editorial line becoming increasingly partisan and ideologically skewed. It no longer felt like we were an independent outlet dedicated to telling the truth and investigating those in power. Our goal was to undermine the Trump administration. Yes, we occasionally criticized Democrats, but almost invariably for not being sufficiently progressive or militantly anti-Trump. Greenwald is a controversial figure, but my sense of him is that he’s extremely principled. Although he’s unabashedly a man of the liberal-Left—having spent years advocating for left-wing causes from animal rights to anti-war activism—he has developed an impressive (some would call it inflexible) commitment to what he sees as basic fairness.

He doesn’t care about the letter next to a politician’s name: Greenwald believes everyone in power should be held accountable at all times. For someone who’s so outspoken about his progressive politics, he’s remarkably consistent about refusing to do favors (including favors of omission) for any politician or party. In the current climate, this marks him as an exception. And no matter what others’ views on Greenwald might be, it would be hard for any informed media observer to deny that his newly published observations about the Intercept apply equally to numerous other journalistic outlets around the world [..]

Read more …

“The Times is being sued for defamation for calling the videos “deceptive,” “coordinated disinformation,” using solely “unidentified sources,” and for having “no verifiable evidence.”

Project Veritas To Sue New York Times Over Ballot Harvesting Story (JTN)

James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, announced Friday his organization intends to sue The New York Times and two of its reporters, Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu, for defamation. The announcement came after negotiations for an apology and a retraction failed. The lawsuit is based on a story that Project Veritas broke regarding the practice of paying cash for ballots, tied to Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar. As they often do, Project Veritas used undercover video and published footage of two people who state that it was Omar who “came up with” the scheme to purchase ballots.


[..] The Times is being sued for defamation for calling the videos “deceptive,” “coordinated disinformation,” using solely “unidentified sources,” and for having “no verifiable evidence.” The Times claims that the term “deceptive” is an opinion, and thus not defamatory. But Project Veritas points out that it was in the news, not opinion section of the paper, and that the Times violated its own standards by not contacting Project Veritas for a comment before publishing the story. The parties appeared close to resolving the matter to avoid a lawsuit. O’Keefe said Project Veritas worked in good faith to achieve that outcome, but in the end, negotiations failed.

Read more …

Third world.

The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About (Wired)

After years of building political pressure for antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies, this month Congress and the US government delivered. The House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report accusing Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook of monopolistic behavior. The Department of Justice filed a complaint against Google alleging the company prevents consumers from sampling other search engines. The new fervor for tech antitrust has so far overlooked an equally obvious target: US broadband providers. “If you want to talk about a history of using gatekeeper power to harm competitors, there are few better examples,” says Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

Sohn and other critics of the four companies that dominate US broadband—Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications, and AT&T—argue that antitrust intervention has been needed for years to lower prices and widen internet access. A Microsoft study estimated last year that as many as 162.8 million Americans lack meaningful broadband, and New America’s Open Technology Institute recently found that US consumers pay, on average, more than those in Europe, Asia, or elsewhere in North America. The coronavirus pandemic has given America’s gaping digital divide more bite. Children without reliable internet have been forced to scavenge bandwidth outside libraries and Taco Bells to complete virtual school assignments. In April, a Pew Research Center survey found that one in five parents with children whose schools had been closed by coronavirus believed it likely they would not be able to complete schoolwork at home because of an inadequate internet connection.

Such problems are arguably more material than some of the antitrust issues that have recently won attention in Washington. The Department of Justice complaint against Google argues that the company’s payments to Apple to set its search engine as the default on the iPhone make it too onerous for consumers to choose a competing search provider. For tens of millions of Americans, changing broadband providers is even more difficult—it requires moving. The Institute for Local Self Reliance, which promotes community broadband projects, recently estimated from Federal Communications Commission data that some 80 million Americans can only get high-speed broadband service from one provider.

Read more …

 

 

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Apr 112019
 


Marion Post Wolcott Signboard along highway in Alabama 1939

 

EU Leaders Agree Brexit Delay Until Halloween (Ind.)
Macron Enrages Other EU Leaders After Opposing Long Brexit Extension (G.)
UK Car Production Could Halve In No-Deal Brexit Scenario (G.)
Peter Strzok Could Face ‘Serious’ Charges (Sara Carter)
William Barr on 2016 Elections: ‘I Think Spying Did Occur’ (CNS)
The Next Phase of Deep State-Gate (Ray McGovern)
WikiLeaks Says Julian Assange Is Being Spied On In Ecuadorean Embassy (R.)
Spanish Police ‘Recover Julian Assange Surveillance Footage’ (G.)
Spain Police Probe Extortion Scheme Involving Surveillance on Assange (Lauria)
Short-Term Growth Policies Risk New Financial Crisis – IMF (G.)
Fed Hawk-o-Meter Jumps 18% (WS)
The Family That Took On Monsanto (G.)
Chinese Scientists Put Human Brain Genes In Monkeys (TR)
The Gates Of Hell At The End Of Space And Time (Nature)

 

 

Between Halloween Brexit, EU leaders having a Macadamia Nut Parfait, and the black hole pictures described as “The Gates Of Hell At The End Of Space And Time”, what can I say? Can’t compete with that.

EU Leaders Agree Brexit Delay Until Halloween (Ind.)

Theresa May is set to enrage her critics within the Conservative party after setting herself up to stay on as prime minister until the winter while presiding over a long delay to Brexit. She told MPs just weeks ago that she was “not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June” as prime minister and said she would resign once this stage of talks was complete – prompting her rivals to gear up for a summer leadership contest. But as EU leaders met on Wednesday night to decide on another lengthy Article 50 extension, a Conservative source said the prime minister’s promised departure was tied to passing the withdrawal agreement rather than a specific date.


After six hours of talks late into the night leaders agreed to extend the new Brexit deadline until 31 October, with a potential summit in June to review the situation. Ms May tried to play down the consequences of the expected long extension as she arrived at the meeting on Wednesday evening, telling reporters that “what is important is that any extension enables us to leave at the point we ratify the withdrawal agreement” rather than the length. Asked whether the 30 June date was still a red line for the prime minister, the Tory source said: “She understands that the Conservative Party feels a sense that new leadership is required for the second phase of negotiations. That was the commitment she gave to her parliamentary colleagues and that’s one she stands by.”

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Macadamia Nut Parfait

Macron Enrages Other EU Leaders After Opposing Long Brexit Extension (G.)

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, enraged fellow leaders after standing alone against a long extension to Britain’s membership of the EU. Macron insisted on speaking last during a working dinner in Brussels on Wednesday night during which he set his stall against a longer extension up to 31 December backed by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Over a dinner of scallop salad, cod loin and macadamia nut parfait, it soon emerged that France was nearly isolated, with only a handful of member states, such as Belgium, sounding sympathetic to his arguments. The French president angered some EU leaders with his attempt to block a long extension of nine to 12 months that was favoured by the majority.

The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, told the room that Macron’s opposition meant that “we are now only solving French domestic problems”. German officials were said to be “very irritated” with Macron. France argued that a long delay risked serious damage to the EU, an outcome Paris said was worse than no-deal. “We do not want to import Britain’s political crisis into the EU,” said an Élysée official. Theresa May’s talks with Jeremy Corbyn were not a justification “that we have a long extension without guarantees for the functioning of the European Union”. The French source said no-deal could not be ruled out, arguing that damaging the running of the EU was the worst possible outcome. “The default position is no deal. Endangering the functioning of the EU is not preferable to no-deal.”

After the new deadline was announced, Macron said leaders had found “the best possible compromise” because the 31 October date preserved EU unity, allowed the British more time and preserved “the good functioning of the European Union”.

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Well, that’s a good thing, no?!

UK Car Production Could Halve In No-Deal Brexit Scenario (G.)

Car production in Britain could collapse by almost half by the mid-2020s in a no-deal Brexit scenario, with plant closures triggering job losses across the country, according to an Oxford University study. Matthias Holweg, an automotive expert at Oxford, said Britain leaving the EU without a deal and trading on World Trade Organization terms would trigger a big fall in output. According to the study, car production has already slipped by about 9% since the EU referendum in 2016. Production volumes have fallen from more than 1.7m cars per year to less than 1.5m, but could drop further to about 900,000 a year in 2026 if Britain leaves without a deal.


Holweg said the UK’s current volumes of production could not be sustained under a WTO trading regime with the EU, as higher levels of border friction and tariffs would render UK car manufacturing less competitive. Car plants across the country would at first be starved of investment before their owners eventually closed them. The study found that investment has already dropped by about 80% over the past three years. “This would invariably lead to a hollowing-out of the UK’s component supply chain, effectively condemning the automotive industry to a slow ‘death by a thousand cuts’,” said Holweg, professor of operations management at Oxford University’s Saïd business school. “The great and present danger is that the decisions on where to produce new models will continue to go against the UK.”

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Michael Horowitz’s report is more interesting than the Mueller report.

Peter Strzok Could Face ‘Serious’ Charges (Sara Carter)

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok could face ‘serious’ charges for his involvement and actions in the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send classified emails, as well as the FBI’s investigation into President Trump’s campaign, multiple sources with knowledge of Strzok’s actions told SaraACarter.com. Further, sources contend that the nearly year long investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, will reveal explosive information and shed light on alleged malfeasance by FBI and DOJ officials directly involved in the Russia investigation. The Inspector General’s report may be completed as early as May or June, according to testimony provided this week by Attorney General William Barr.

Strzok who has already been investigated by Horowitz for his role in the FBI’s Clinton investigation is also expected to be named in the IG’s upcoming report on how the Russia investigation was handled by the FBI. He was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in 2017 and then fired from the FBI in August, 2018. He was fired by the FBI after an extensive review by Horowitz’s office into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation and was removed from Mueller’s team after the IG discovered his anti-Trump text messages to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page.

“There are a number of individuals who are looking at Peter Strzok’s actions and inactions and how those actions affected both of the investigations he was involved in,” said a U.S. official, with knowledge. “Further evaluation of what Peter Strzok did or did not do needs to be evaluated thoroughly.” The official did not reveal what Strzok’s “actions or inactions” may have been but said “obstruction, is a serious concern.” Strzok “is in hot water,” said another government official, with knowledge. “I’m certain he’s not the only one.”

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Between Horowitz and Barr, we’re going to have us some fun.

William Barr on 2016 Elections: ‘I Think Spying Did Occur’ (CNS)

Attorney General William Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday that spying did occur during the 2016 presidential election, but he needs to “explore” whether or not it was “predicated.” “News just broke today that you have a special team looking into why the FBI opened an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections? I wonder if you can share with this committee who’s on that team, why you felt the need to form that kind of a team and what you intend to be the scope of their investigation,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Barr. “As I said in my confirmation hearing, I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016.”


“A lot of this has already been investigated, and a substantial portion of it has been investigated and is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General at the department, but one of the things I want to do is pull together all the information from the various investigations that have gone on, including on the Hill and in the department and see if there are any remaining questions to be addressed,” Barr said. Shaheen asked Barr why he felt “a need to do that.” “For the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence in elections,” Barr said.

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MICIMATT

The Next Phase of Deep State-Gate (Ray McGovern)

Readers of The Washington Post on Monday were treated to more of the same from editorial page chief Fred Hiatt. Hiatt, who won his spurs by promoting misleading “intelligence” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and suffered no consequences, is at it again. This time he is trying to adjust to the fading prospect of a Deus ex Mueller to lessen Hiatt’s disgrace for being among the most shameless in promoting the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. He is not giving up. When you are confident you will not lose your job so long as you adhere to the agenda of the growing Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT if you will), you need not worry about being a vanguard for the corporate media. It is almost as though Hiatt is a tenured professor in an endowed chair honoring Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who perhaps did most to bring us Iraqi WMD.


In his Monday column Hiatt warned: “Trump was elected with the assistance of Russian spies and trolls, which he openly sought and celebrated. But he did not (or so we are told) secretly conspire with them.” In effect, Hiatt is saying, soto voce: “Fie on former (now-de-canonized) Saint Robert of Mueller; we at the Post and our colleagues at The New York Times, CNN et al. know better, just because we’ve been saying so for more than two years.” Times executive editor Dean Baquet said, about the backlash to the Times‘ “collusion” coverage: “I have no regrets. It’s not our job to determine whether or not there was illegality.” CNN President Jeff Zucker said: “We are not investigators. We are journalists.” (One wonders what investigative journalist Bob Parry, who uncovered much of Iran-Contra and founded this site, would have thought of that last one.)

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Take Lenin Moreno to The Hague.

WikiLeaks Says Julian Assange Is Being Spied On In Ecuadorean Embassy (R.)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been the subject of a sophisticated spying operation in the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up since 2012, the group said on Wednesday. “Wikileaks has uncovered an extensive spying operation against Julian Assange within the Ecuadorean embassy,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief said, adding that Assange’s “eviction” from the embassy could happen at any time. Hrafnsson did not immediately give evidence for his claims. Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegations. Assange’s relations with his hosts have chilled since Ecuador accused him of leaking information about President Lenin Moreno’s personal life. Moreno has said Assange has violated the terms of his asylum.


To some, Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined the security of the United States. “We know that there was a request to hand over visitors’ logs from the embassy and video recordings from within the security cameras in the embassy,” Hrafnsson told reporters, adding that he assumed the information had been handed over to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Criminal behavior: “.. included recordings of Assange’s meetings with his lawyers and doctor.”

Spanish Police ‘Recover Julian Assange Surveillance Footage’ (G.)

WikiLeaks has said it has uncovered a surveillance operation against Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy and that images, documents and videos gathered have been offered for sale. Spanish police were said to have mounted a sting operation against unnamed individuals in Madrid who offered the material for sale in what lawyers and colleagues of Assange said on Wednesday was an attempt at extortion. Some of the material came from video cameras with a capacity to record audio and which had been installed last year, a press conference organised by WikiLeaks was told. WikiLeaks said material including video, audio, copies of private legal documents and a medical report had turned up in Spain, where a group was said to have threatened to start publishing unless they were paid €3m.

The Guardian reported last year that Ecuador had bankrolled a multimillion-dollar surveillance operation to protect and support Assange at the embassy, employing an international security company and undercover agents to monitor his visitors, embassy staff and even the British police. Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said he had met four individuals, one of whom he was told was a ringleader and who had prior convictions. There was a possibility that at least one was not a Spanish national, he added. The matter is now in the hands of an investigating Spanish magistrate, according to the whistleblowing website.

Hrafnsson said the surveillance at the embassy – which had led to Assange living a “Truman Show existence” – was part of an escalation designed to result in Assange being extradited to the US. “If you connect the dots it’s easy to draw that picture,” said Hrafnsson, who was appearing with the barrister Jennifer Robinson and Fidel Narváez, a former consul of Ecuador in London. It remained unclear whether Assange was planning to leave the embassy of his own accord at any point soon. His legal team said they would still need assurances from the UK government that Assange would not face onward extradition to the US. WikiLeaks said the surveillance had constituted a total invasion of privacy, which had included recordings of Assange’s meetings with his lawyers and doctor.

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WikiLeaks:
Ecuador caught in espionage operation against its refugee Julian Assange which:
1. Spied on his legal, medical visits
2. Stole legal notes during the middle of a court hearing against them
3. Secretly cooperated with US
4. Tried to extort him for 3M Euro

Spain Police Probe Extortion Scheme Involving Surveillance on Assange (Lauria)

A Spanish judge is investigating an alleged extortion scheme in which suspects in Madrid offered video and audio surveillance to the editor of WikiLeaks in exchange for €3 million, WikiLeaks said on Wednesday. The surveillance was taken over the past year inside the Ecuador embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has legally been granted political asylum since 2012, said Kristinn Hrafnsson, the WikiLeaks editor, at a press conference in the British capital. Included in the “trove” of material was a copy of a legal document regarding Assange’s defense strategy that was briefly left behind in a conference room in the embassy, Hrafnsson said. “It is a grave and serious concern when legal meetings are being spied upon and legal documents are stolen,” he said. “That is something that not even prisoners have to endure.”

Assange was also filmed being examined by his doctor in the embassy, Hrafnsson said. “Nobody expected that this was recorded and stored and found its way to some dubious individuals in Spain,” he said. Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s lawyer, called it a breach of attorney-client privilege. “The documents you have seen [presented at the press conference] demonstrates just how much surveillance he has been under and it is a breach of confidence for us, his lawyers, and his doctors to provide medical care in the embassy,” Robinson said. “This is a severe breach of attorney-client privilege and fundamentally undermines our ability to defend and provide defense to Julian Assange.”

Hrafnsson communicated with the alleged extortioners and was given samples of what they possessed, the WikiLeaks editor said. He then traveled to Spain and secretly videotaped a meeting with “four individuals” in which Hrafnsson learned the extent of the material that they possessed. They told them him that €3 million was “a good deal” as they had had offers of €9 million for the material. Hrafnsson then went to the Spanish police who opened an investigation. He said he knew the identity of one of the four who had a prior conviction on similar charges and was seen as the “ringleader.”

Aitor Martinez, the Assange lawyer who said he’d briefly left the legal document in the embassy conference room that was copied, then took part in a sting operation with the police. He wore a wire as he met with the alleged extortioners in Madrid, Hrafnsson said. A full investigation by a special extortion team was then opened and the case is now in the hands of an investigative judge, he said. “Extortion is a serious matter,” Hrafnsson said, “but of greater concern to me is that this is material gathered by spying by the government of Lenin Moreno and officials who work on his behalf against an individual who was granted diplomatic protection by the Ecuadorian government.”

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There are clever people at the IMF, they’re just mostly silenced.

Short-Term Growth Policies Risk New Financial Crisis – IMF (G.)

Central banks are running the risk of a severe financial crisis through policies aimed at boosting short-term economic growth, the International Monetary Fund has warned. In its half-yearly global financial stability report, the IMF said the removal of the threat of higher interest rates had prompted a rapid recovery in financial markets after last autumn’s turbulence but would lead to a fresh buildup in already high levels of debt. The report expressed concern about a sharp increase in lower quality corporate bonds, the vulnerability of European banks to falling government bond prices, debt levels in China, flows of hot money in and out of developing countries, and the risk of house price crashes.

The report said the tightening in financial conditions during the final three months of 2018 – when markets were unnerved by the possibility of the US Federal Reserve tightening policy throughout 2019 – had been too short-lived to have a material impact on the buildup of vulnerabilities. Tobias Adrian and Fabio Natalucci, two IMF officials, said in a blogpost released alongside the report that policymakers faced a dilemma as they sought to counter a slowdown in the global economy that has seen the IMF cut its growth forecast to 3.3% this year.

“In the United States, the ratio of corporate debt to GDP is at record-high levels. In several European countries, banks are overloaded with government bonds. In China, bank profitability is declining, and capital levels remain low at small and medium-size lenders,” Adrian and Natalucci said. “By taking a patient approach to monetary policy, central banks can accommodate growing downside risks to the economy. But if financial conditions remain easy for too long, vulnerabilities will continue to build, and the odds of a sharp drop in economic growth at some later point will be higher.”

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“The average frequency per meeting minutes of “strong,” “strongly,” and “stronger” between January 2013 and December 2017..”

Fed Hawk-o-Meter Jumps 18% (WS)

My fancy-schmancy Fed Hawk-o-Meter jumped 18% from 22 to 26, after having been on a downtrend for four Fed meetings in a row. Something’s up. The Fed Hawk-o-Meter checks the minutes of the FOMC meetings for signs that the Fed sees the economy as strong and that rates should rise; or that the economy is OK but not strong enough to raise rates further; or that the economy is spiraling down to where rates need to be cut. It quantifies and visualizes what the Fed wishes to communicate to the markets by counting how often “strong,” “strongly,” and “stronger” appear in the minutes to describe the economy. In the minutes of the March 19-20 meeting, released this afternoon, those words appear 26 times, up 18% from 22 times in the prior minutes:

The average frequency per meeting minutes of “strong,” “strongly,” and “stronger” between January 2013 and December 2017 was 8.7 times. The 26 mentions in the March-meeting minutes were 226% the pre-redline average. The 18% jump in the March minutes from the January minutes is particularly striking because the Fed had spent the prior four meetings backing off ever so gingerly its bullish assessment of the economy. But in March, the direction changed. Yet the reading still hasn’t jumped back to the peak levels of last August, when the Fed, with the economy running red hot, was telling the markets that it would raise rates four times in the year.
The current reading of 26 is just above the average over the past 11 meetings minutes of 25.2, starting with the December 2017 meeting, when the Hawk-o-Meter started redlining.

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Stop killing weeds. Because you’re killing life itself.

The Family That Took On Monsanto (G.)

Edwin Hardeman and his wife, Mary, never expected that they would become de facto leaders of the federal court fight against the world’s most widely used weedkiller. They just wanted Monsanto to acknowledge the dangers – and potentially save other families from the horror they endured. “This is something that was egregious to me. It was my personal battle and I wanted to take it full circle,” said Edwin, whose cancer is now in remission. “It’s been a long journey.” Mary bristled when she thought about Monsanto’s continued defense of its chemical: “They should have been with us when we were in the chemo ward … not knowing what to do to relieve the pain.“ I get angry,” she added. “Very angry.”


Monsanto first put Roundup on the market in 1974, presenting the herbicide, which uses a chemical called glyphosate, as a breakthrough that was effective at killing weeds and safe. The product has earned the corporation billions in revenue a year, and glyphosate is now ubiquitous in the environment – with traces in water, food and farmers’ urine. But research has repeatedly challenged Monsanto’s assertions that Roundup is safe, culminating in a key 2015 ruling by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (Iarc), which said glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”. The Iarc classification opened the floodgates to litigation alleging that Roundup exposure caused their NHL, a cancer that affects the immune system.

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Let’s call it Progress, shall we?

Chinese Scientists Put Human Brain Genes In Monkeys (TR)

Human intelligence is one of evolution’s most consequential inventions. It is the result of a sprint that started millions of years ago, leading to ever bigger brains and new abilities. Eventually, humans stood upright, took up the plow, and created civilization, while our primate cousins stayed in the trees. Now scientists in southern China report that they’ve tried to narrow the evolutionary gap, creating several transgenic macaque monkeys with extra copies of a human gene suspected of playing a role in shaping human intelligence. “This was the first attempt to understand the evolution of human cognition using a transgenic monkey model,” says Bing Su, the geneticist at the Kunming Institute of Zoology who led the effort.


According to their findings, the modified monkeys did better on a memory test involving colors and block pictures, and their brains also took longer to develop—as those of human children do. There wasn’t a difference in brain size. The experiments, described on March 27 in a Beijing journal, National Science Review, and first reported by Chinese media, remain far from pinpointing the secrets of the human mind or leading to an uprising of brainy primates. Instead, several Western scientists, including one who collaborated on the effort, called the experiments reckless and said they questioned the ethics of genetically modifying primates, an area where China has seized a technological edge. “The use of transgenic monkeys to study human genes linked to brain evolution is a very risky road to take,” says James Sikela, a geneticist who carries out comparative studies among primates at the University of Colorado.

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The object in that photo no longer exists. What you see is what it looked like 55 million years ago.

The Gates Of Hell At The End Of Space And Time (Nature)

Astronomers have finally glimpsed the blackness of a black hole. By stringing together a global network of radio telescopes, they have for the first time produced a picture of an event horizon — a black hole’s perilous edge — against a backdrop of swirling light. “We have seen the gates of hell at the end of space and time,” said astrophysicist Heino Falcke of Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, at a press conference in Brussels. “What you’re looking at is a ring of fire created by the deformation of space-time. Light goes around, and looks like a circle.” The images — of a glowing, ring-like structure — show the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy M87, which is around 16 megaparsecs (55 million light years) away and 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun.

They reveal, in greater detail than ever before, the event horizon — the surface beyond which gravity is so strong that nothing that crosses it, even light, can ever climb back out. The highly anticipated results, comparable to recognizing a doughnut on the Moon’s surface, were unveiled today by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration in six simultaneous press conferences on four continents. The findings were also published in a suite of papers in Astrophysical Journal Letters on 10 April. [..] Nearly a century ago, physicists first deduced that black holes should exist from Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, but most of the evidence so far has been indirect. The EHT has now made a new, spectacular confirmation of those predictions.

The team observed two supermassive black holes — M87’s and Sagittarius A*, the void at the Milky Way’s centre — over five nights in April 2017. They mustered enough resolution to capture the distant objects by linking up eight radio observatories across the globe — from Hawaii to the South Pole — and each collected more data than the Large Hadron Collider does in a year. It took two years of work to piece the pictures together.

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 October 31, 2014  Posted by at 10:56 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Marion Post Wolcott Works Progress Administration worker’s children, South Charleston, West Virginia Sep 1938

You can jot down Halloween 2014 in your calendar, and it’s unfortunately too tragic to make proper use of the irony involved, as the day Japan committed suicide. The sun is no longer rising. Not that the vital signs weren’t bad before, indeed it might not have survived regardless, but this lethal blow announced today is still quite the statement.

That financial markets interpret it as a reason to cheer and party and make lots of dough is yet one more proof of how shallow and single-minded the people operating in these markets are, lacking all insight in historical context, longer term consequences, wars and politics, and the human mind.

Because the ‘QE as morphine’ concept introduced today by the megalomaniac Shinzo Abe and his central bank raving mad puppets will change the world in ways that make financial gain less than even an afterthought, except perhaps for those of us who cannot see beyond today, or beyond the one single lonely dimension money is of any use in.

If and when a country resorts to having it central bank buy up – the equivalent of – all sovereign bonds it issues, the snake truly eats its tail, and not in a metaphorical sense. Japan eats it children, most of them as yet unborn, to keep its rapidly ageing population contented and in relative wealth, because the alternative would cost Tokyo’s financial-political power cabal their jobs and heads.

Japan’s problem is, and has been for many years, twofold: first, the Japanese people lost the spending power to keep the domestic real economy growing some 20 years ago and never got it back, and second, a whole slew of successive governments refused to restructure the debts in the financial sector, and instead put those debts on the public tally.

The negative growth announced today in US consumer spending should be a warning sign, as should similar numbers that have come from across Europe for a while now, a sign that we need to think about how to run our societies and economies without everlasting growth, and without the ever more failing and ever more costly policies aimed at constructing and maintaining that growth.

However, the worse the policies are for the real economy and the people who depend on it for survival, the more money the financial markets, and the banks, make. It truly is QE as morphine, and Japan has shown us today that morphine can alleviate pain, but it is also in the end the ultimate killer.

It may already be too late, but we can still make the effort to not fall into the same trap Japan has fallen in. Which in essence is simply trying to recreate a past world that is long gone, by applying measures that ‘wise men’ say are sure to bring back the past, and then more.

We must look at ourselves and wonder why we want more. And realize that if we don’t take that look, and we continue on our present path, we will all end up like Japan, guaranteeing that our quest for more will leave us with less, much less. We cannot build our world with credit, we need to work in order to build it. And we cannot borrow our way into growth, nor do we need to grow.

Halloween 2014. A day we could have learned something.