Dec 112020
 


Pierre Bonnard Nude in an Interior c1935

 

“We Hadn’t Really Thought Through the Economic Impacts” – Melinda Gates (AIER)
Coronavirus Fact-Check #9: Is The Vaccine Safe? (OffG)
Sidney Powell Plans to Appeal Dismissal of Arizona Election Lawsuit (ET)
Judge Gives Benson OK To Intervene Antrim County Election Case (DN)
AG Barr Concealed Hunter Biden Probes From Public During Election (ZH)
Sen. Grassley Blasts MSM Over Hunter Biden Hypocrisy (ZH)
Sen. Cotton: Circumstances Warrant Special Counsel To Probe Hunter Biden (JTN)
Biden Taps Susan Rice For Top White House Domestic Policy Job (Pol.)
Is the Media Burying The Swalwell Story? (Turley)
Investigators Delve Into Suspected Chinese Spy Ties With Swalwell Staff (JTN)
Dianne Feinstein ‘Seriously Struggling’ With Cognitive Decline (NYP)
Sexual Misconduct Shakes FBI’s Senior Ranks (AP)
The “Great Reset” and Plans for a Global War on Savings (Lacalle)
Greece Is Setting Itself Up For Another Financial Crisis (Mises)
US Hits Search & Destroy Against The New Silk Roads (Escobar)
Australia Sabotaged Its Own Interests in China Relations (CN)

 

 

 

 

Jim Jordan

 

 

“..communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”

“We Hadn’t Really Thought Through the Economic Impacts” ~ Melinda Gates (AIER)

In a wide-ranging interview in the New York Times, Melinda Gates made the following remarkable statement: “What did surprise us is we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts.” A cynic might observe that one is disinclined to think much about matters than do not affect one personally. It’s a maddening statement, to be sure, as if “economics” is somehow a peripheral concern to the rest of human life and public health. The larger context of the interview reveals the statement to be even more confused. She is somehow under the impression that it is the pandemic and not the lockdowns that are the cause of the economic devastation that includes perhaps 30% of restaurants going under, among many other terrible effects.

She doesn’t say that outright but, like many articles in the mainstream press over this year, she very carefully crafts her words to avoid the crucial subject of lockdowns as the primary cause of economic disaster. It’s possible that she actually believes this virus is what tanked the world economy on its own but that is a completely unsustainable proposition. Further, her comments provide a perfect illustration of the core problem all along: most of the people who have been advocating lockdowns in fact have no actual experience in managing pandemics. To many of these, Covid-19 became their new playground to try out an unprecedented experiment in social and economic management: shutting down travel, businesses, schools, churches, and issuing stay-at-home orders that smack of totalitarian impositions. Here is what she says:

“You can project out and think about what a pandemic might be like or look like, but until you live through it, it’s pretty hard to know what the reality will be like. So I think we predicted quite well that, depending on what the disease was, it could spread very, very, very quickly. The spread did not surprise us. What did surprise us is we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts. What happens when you have a pandemic that’s running rampant in populations all over the world? The fact that we would all be home, and working from home if we were lucky enough to do that. That was a piece that I think we hadn’t really prepared for.”

There are plenty of specialists who have lived through pandemics in the past and managed them by maintaining essential social and economic functioning. A major case in point is Donald A. Henderson, who as head of the World Health Organization is given primary credit for the eradication of smallpox. He wrote as follows in 2006: “Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.”

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Pfizer (and the producers of other vaccines), are immune from civil liability.

Coronavirus Fact-Check #9: Is The Vaccine Safe? (OffG)

There are dozens of articles all over the mainstream reassuring us that the brand new Sars-Cov-2 vaccine is safe. In the UK the vaccine rolled out is being hailed as “V Day”, in a shameless attempt to draw a parallel with World War II. Matt Hancock went on Good Morning Britain and attempted to “cry”. On the other side of that coin, many experts in the field have vociferously called for all vaccine trials to be put on halt, some medical researchers are questioning the data and others counsel people to refuse the vaccine under any and all circumstances. So – is the vaccine safe? The only rational answer is “we don’t know”. It’s certainly true some people who have received it have experienced unexpected side effects.

It was recently revealed that 4 people involved in the US-based trial suffered partial facial paralysis. In the UK, two NHS staff who have received the vaccine suffered allergic anaphylactoid reactions, as a result the NHS is now not recommending the vaccine for anyone who “suffers from allergies”. They don’t know what caused the reaction, and as far as we know so far, the people involved were not allergic to anything in the vaccine. It seems it’s not about being allergic to the vaccine, so much as the vaccine potentially causing problems for anyone with a sensitive or dysfunctional immune system. It’s essentially recommended that no one who is allergic to anything, ie. other food or medication, should have the jab. We’ve already had “explainers” appearing the media, saying vaccine allergic reactions are “rare and shortlived”.

To be clear, as of December 10th, the vaccine either has never been tested on, or is not recommended for:
• People under sixteen years of age.
• Pregnant women (or women intending to become pregnant in the near future).
• People with serious co-morbidities.
• People already taking other medications.
• People who have allergies.
So the official line already cedes that the vaccine may be harmful to some or all of those people.

Even on the fully-grown and totally healthy adults it was tested on, obviously, there has not been enough time to do any kind of long term studies on possible side-effects or complications It usually takes 5-10 years to fully develop and test a vaccine, where as this has been rushed out in less than 10 months. On top of that, of course, we have the fact all the vaccine producers have campaigned for – and won – total legal immunity in the UK, US and other nations around the world. In the event the vaccine does cause harm, Pfizer (and the producers of other vaccines), are immune from civil liability. Which means that, just like us, the producers themselves are well-aware the new vaccines might not be safe, and don’t want a repeat of 2009, when a rushed-out flu vaccine resulted in children suffering life-long complications and receiving millions in damages. In the final analysis, you have to ask yourself a simple question: Do you feel safer taking an untested vaccine, or risking getting a virus with a survival rate of over 99%?

Rob Swanda

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Let the dice roll. If they come up zero, so be it. But let them roll.

Sidney Powell Plans to Appeal Dismissal of Arizona Election Lawsuit (ET)

The legal team led by attorney Sidney Powell plans to appeal the dismissal of an Arizona election lawsuit by an Obama-appointed federal judge on Dec. 9. Powell’s Arizona co-counsel Alex Kolodin told The Epoch Times in an interview that his team plans to fast-track the case to the Supreme Court and will file a petition for appeal in the coming days. The Arizona case, filed on Dec. 2 by former federal prosecutor Powell on behalf of the state’s 11 Republican electors and others, alleged that manipulation of election software and other fraud in the state resulted in violations of the U.S. Constitution and state election laws. The lawsuit also claimed that more than 412,000 votes were cast illegally in the state’s 2020 general election.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Gov. Doug Ducey were named as defendants in the case, which highlighted what it said was an “especially egregious range of conduct” in Arizona’s Maricopa County, and other counties using Dominion Systems. The lawsuit alleges that Dominion Voting Systems violated election laws by having their machines connected to the internet. The case is supported by a redacted affidavit from a former electronic intelligence analyst, alleging that the voting system software was accessed by agents from China and Iran. Powell’s team also filed a temporary restraining order seeking to immediately block Ducey from delivering the certified election results to the Electoral College while the court hears the case. Arizona certified its presidential election results on Nov. 30.

Judge Diane Humetewa threw out the lawsuit on Dec. 9, saying that its allegations “are sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence” and that it sought extraordinary relief. “If granted, millions of Arizonans who exercised their individual right to vote in the 2020 General Election would be utterly disenfranchised,” Humetewa wrote. In dismissing Powell’s case, Humetewa said the lawsuit doesn’t contain a “plausible” allegation that Dominion Voting Systems voting machines were hacked in the state during the Nov. 3 election, however, she described the team’s allegations of fraud as “conceivable.” The proposed Trump electors “have not moved the needle for their fraud theory from conceivable to plausible,” the federal judge said. Kolodin told The Epoch Times that the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party granted his team approval to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, and that they plan to soon file a petition for a writ of certiorari asking for the case to be heard.

A petition for a writ of certiorari is a document that a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking it to review the lower court’s decision on its merits. The provision would request from the Supreme Court an emergency transfer and would allow the case to be heard without waiting for a decision from the U.S. Courts of Appeals. The Supreme Court is usually not under any obligation to hear such cases unless the case could have national significance, might harmonize conflicting decisions in the federal Circuit courts, or could have precedential value. “I thought she [Humetewa] took the case very seriously. She treated it very professionally, and she was very fair, but I disagree with her decision,” Kolodin said. “My clients disagree with her decision, and we’ve always known that this will ultimately be decided in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Greg Kelly

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From a local perspective.

Judge Gives Benson OK To Intervene Antrim County Election Case (DN)

A Northern Michigan judge granted Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson permission to intervene in a case questioning results in Antrim County and the security of tabulators used there on Nov. 3. Judge Kevin Elsenheimer ruled Thursday that Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office could intervene on behalf of Benson, who had argued she had supervisory control over the Antrim County clerk, had an interest in any audit discussions the case may raise and was party to the county’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems. The Secretary of State’s office is concerned particularly with forensic imaging performed on Antrim County’s 22 Dominion tabulators earlier this week by a Village of Central Lake resident and Allied Security Operations Group, said Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast.

“We’d like to know more about what was obtained, what the intent is for the use of the images obtained,” Meingast said, noting the disclosure of some elements of the tabulators could compromise their security in future elections. Elsenheimer, a Republican former lawmaker and member of former Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, granted Meingast’s request but warned the case would proceed in haste. “I intend to move this matter quickly, aggressively,” Elsenheimer said. Benson shouldn’t be allowed to intervene because she had missed the opportunity to do so earlier and did not have direct involvement in local elections, said Matthew DePerno, a lawyer for Antrim County resident William Bailey. In fact, a state Court of Claims judge earlier this month dismissed a case against Benson on those grounds, DePerno said.

“The court concluded there was no relief to be granted because elections are local and run by local officials,” he said. DePerno said the investigation is ongoing and data are being reviewed. But based on what had been reviewed so far, Bailey would move to decertify the Antrim County certification and push the issue to the GOP-led Legislature, he said. “We think there are serious issues, and we’re preparing right now a motion to seek relief from the court from the protective order,” DePerno said. Elsenheimer last week granted Bailey’s request to take take forensic images of 22 tabulators and review those along with flash drives, software and a “master tabulator” that the county said does not exist. Bailey and members of the Allied Securities Operation Group spent about eight hours on Sunday at county offices obtaining the material.

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Money laundering is a serious crime.

AG Barr Concealed Hunter Biden Probes From Public During Election (ZH)

Attorney General William Barr knew about several investigations into Hunter Biden since at least this spring – and “worked to avoid their public disclosure during the heated election campaign,” according to the Wall Street Journal. According to ‘a person familiar with the matter,’ Barr “staved off pressure from Republicans in Congress for information into the investigations,” while President Trump and his allies pressured Barr into pursuing Joe and Hunter Biden. This week, Hunter Biden revealed the existence of one of the investigations after federal investigators served him with a subpoena seeking detailed financial information in connection with a criminal tax investigation by the Delaware US attorney’s office. The next day, CNN and Politico confirmed that the probe was wider than that, and covered potential money laundering and bribery in probes that date back to 2018, according to ‘people familiar with the matter.’ According to the report, none of the investigations implicate Joe Biden.

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“It shouldn’t take subpoenas and confirmation from Hunter Biden himself to get the rest of the press to pay attention.”

Sen. Grassley Blasts MSM Over Hunter Biden Hypocrisy (ZH)

Chuck Grassley is one pissed off Senator. After the Iowa Republican and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) produced a long-awaited Senate report which concluded that Hunter Biden’s financial dealings with Ukrainian, Chinese and Russian businesses created “criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns” concerning everything from sex-trafficking to bribery – the MSM panned it as a partisan attack on a presidential candidate’s son. Now that Hunter has admitted he’s under investigation for tax fraud (and, as Politico and CNN have added, money laundering and accepting bribes), Grassley is having the last laugh. In Thursday remarks on the Senate Floor, Grassley blasted the media after months of covering for the Bidens.


“For over a year, Senator Johnson and I investigated the Biden financial family dealings,” said Grassley, adding “We found that they engaged in potential criminal financial deals across the globe, including China, which created counterintelligence concerns.” Grassley then turned his attention to the MSM, saying “Those same liberal outlets that disparaged our investigation now report that Hunter Biden’s financial deals in China raise counterintelligence concerns.” He went on to say that the media should have been covering concerns raised by Republicans instead of covering them up. “So you can understand why I think it’s very outrageous that the fourth estate would choose to ignore facts when they are uncovered by Republicans,” Grassley continued. “It shouldn’t take subpoenas and confirmation from Hunter Biden himself to get the rest of the press to pay attention.”

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Would have to happen within 5 weeks or so. Just like the Special Counsel for election irregularities. Not sure I can see Barr comply.

Sen. Cotton: Circumstances Warrant Special Counsel To Probe Hunter Biden (JTN)

Sen. Tom Cotton indicated during an interview Thursday on Fox News that he believes circumstances warrant a special counsel to investigate issues pertaining to Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Hunter Biden issued a statement Wednesday which noted that the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware is looking into his “tax affairs.” “I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” the statement said. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”

“I know the Biden campaign released details of a tax fraud investigation in Wilmington,” said Cotton during the Fox News interview. “I think that was just to show maybe the least damaging part of the investigation.” “There’s allegations of securities fraud and money laundering related to Hunter Biden’s Chinese businesses, a crooked hospital deal with Jim Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, out in western Pennsylvania. These investigations span multiple jurisdictions,” Cotton said, remarking that in the event that Joe Biden becomes the nation’s next president, “those prosecutors are in line to be fired next month. If there were ever circumstances that create a conflict of interest and called for a special counsel, I think those circumstances are present here.”

The Arkansas Republican said that the Biden family has leveraged Joe Biden’s government posts for their benefit in the past and would continue to do so if Biden serves as president. “Look, the Biden family has been trading on Joe Biden’s public office for 50 years. Valerie Biden Owens, his sister, and Jim Biden, his brother, and Hunter Biden his son,” he said. “Do we really think that that will change if Joe Biden becomes president, the highest office in the land?”

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Predictable and terrible. She should be under investigation for Russiagate, not occupy some top job.

Biden Taps Susan Rice For Top White House Domestic Policy Job (Pol.)

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Barack Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, according to people familiar with the decision.Rice, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was vetted to serve as Biden’s vice president and was a contender to be secretary of State, a position that went to Antony Blinken. Democrats had concerns about Rice’s ability to get confirmed in a Republican-controlled Senate, and the director of the Domestic Policy Council is not a Senate-confirmed position. The Biden team had been looking to find a high-profile role for Rice, but the top domestic policy job comes as a surprise given her expertise and experience in foreign policy.

[..] In her position, Rice, 56, will play a large role in implementing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, a wide-ranging set of policy proposals that would invest trillions of dollars in American infrastructure and manufacturing, clean energy, caregiving, education and racial equity.A person familiar with Biden’s thinking said he chose Rice for the role because of her deep experience in crisis management and interagency processes. The person said Biden does not see foreign, economic and diplomatic realms as separate and discrete and her deep knowledge of how the federal government works will be an asset to implementing his domestic policy agenda.

Biden officially announced Rice’s appointment Thursday morning, along with his nominations of Marcia Fudge to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Vilsack as Agriculture secretary, Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative and Denis McDonough as secretary of Veterans Affairs. “The roles they will take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Biden said in a statement. Rice’s decision to take the domestic policy job also signals that she still harbors political ambitions. She floated the possibility of running for Senate in Maine against Susan Collins and was a finalist to serve as Biden’s running mate.

The top domestic policy job will fill out her foreign policy-heavy resume. Though Rice’s job does not require Senate confirmation, the Biden administration will need the support of Republicans to implement its far-reaching domestic policy agenda. Rice, however, has long been the target of the GOP because of he comments after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi and unmasking requests related to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and foreign interference. Rice has never been charged with doing anything improper, but she has been the subject of withering criticism from Republicans, which could complicate the administration’s efforts to pass policies in Congress.

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The media has buried so many stories this year, who would notice another one?

Is the Media Burying The Swalwell Story? (Turley)

We often discuss media coverage and accuracy on developing legal and political controversies. Much of this discussion recently has focused on the bias shown by the media in the last four years. I have worked for the media as a legal analyst and columnist for years, but I have never before seen this raw and open bias in major media. At the same time, academics are rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. This morning, Fox News called out all of the networks for zero coverage of the bombshell story from Axios that Rep. Eric Swalwell may have had a close relationship with a suspected Chinese spy who fled to China a few years ago. Many of us were struck by the lack of coverage, particularly given the position of Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee and his former bid for the presidency.

It was particularly striking when the media is now reluctantly covering the Hunter Biden story after a long blackout before the election. Yet, the most stark comparison is with the exhaustive coverage given the highly analogous story involving an alleged spy, Maria Butina, who had an affair with a high-ranking figure in the National Rifle Association. Swalwell is alleged to have had a close relationship with Chinese national, Fang Fang or Christine Fang, who not only raised money for him but placed at least one intern in Swalwell’s congressional office, according to Axios. Bizarrely, Swalwell has refused to confirm or deny that he had an intimate relationship with his office claiming that such an answer could compromise classified information. Even that ridiculous comment did not prompt ABC, NBC, or CBS to cover the story.

Obviously, Fang and the Chinese already know if she had a sexual relationship with Swalwell. The only people in the dark are the voters. Swalwell himself explained why this is news. The congressman was one of the most vocal voices calling out a June 2016 meeting that President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., with Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was accused of being an asset for the Russian government. Swalwell declared on MSNBC in January 2019: “Stated plainly, the President’s son met with a Russian spy. We now have the best evidence of that in our minority report the Democrats put out that Ms. Veselnitskaya was going all over the world and bumping into Dana Rohrabacher, which is a sign of a spy, someone who tries to create a coincidence encounter, and now we know that she was working at the behest of the Russian government.”

Not even the utter hypocrisy of Swalwell’s position or the lunacy of his classification claim was enough to generate minimal coverage. There is also no interest in Swalwell remaining on the intelligence committee given his ill-considered relationship.

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He’s still on the House Intelligence Committee.

Investigators Delve Into Suspected Chinese Spy Ties With Swalwell Staff (JTN)

The investigation into suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang’s relationship with Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell included monitoring her activities with others in the California congressman’s office, according to security authorities. “There were concerns about who else in his office she was close to,” one intelligence official told Just the News. “Who could give her information or help her achieve her goals?” These concerns applied overall to people who worked for Fang’s suspected targets, the official said. “These were deeply cast nets,” the official said. The woman, also known as Fang Fang, reportedly infiltrated the inner circles of several U.S. politicians, mainly targeting those based in California. She is believed to have worked for years under a Communist Chinese spy boss in California, and also to have managed her own line of sub-agents, the official confirmed.


“There was considerable interest in learning who those agents were, and where they worked,” the official said. Swalwell would be a prime target for foreign spies because he sits on the House Intelligence Committee — where he remains so far — despite the recent revelations about his dealings with Fang. According to a report from Axios, Fang began her relationship with Swalwell early in his political career, while he was a city council member in Dublin, California. She helped raise funds for him, and came to know his family members in some capacity. In 2015, Fang fled the U.S. while the FBI was investigating her overall activities. Although Fang has not been charged with espionage, her behavior fits a suspicious pattern, according to one expert. “Christine Fang has left the U.S.,” said author Gordon Chang, who has studied China extensively. “She apparently left abruptly, which is an indication that she was working with Chinese intelligence.”

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Set term limit, set age-limit. Easy.

Dianne Feinstein ‘Seriously Struggling’ With Cognitive Decline (NYP)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate at age 87 and the most senior Democrat on its powerful Judiciary Committee, is “seriously struggling” with cognitive decline, a new report says. People familiar with the California lawmaker’s situation told the New Yorker on Wednesday that Feinstein’s short-term memory has grown so poor that she “often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has had several “painful” discussions with Feinstein about stepping aside, but the octogenarian reportedly soon forgets about their talks, forcing Schumer to confront her again, one source said. “It was like Groundhog Day, but with the pain fresh each time,” the source said.


Overtures were also reportedly made to Feinstein’s billionaire husband, Richard C. Blum. Grumblings over Feinstein’s performance have grown increasingly loud, leading to her decision to step down last month as ranking member of the elite Judiciary Committee. Pundits were unhappy with Feinstein’s handling of the confirmation of President Trump’s most recent Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. The lawmaker bungled several questions and then caused a furor when she concluded Barrett’s hearings by hugging Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and praising him for “one of the best set of hearings that I have participated in.” Schumer was reportedly so concerned about Feinstein’s performance that he “installed a trusted former aide, Max Young, to ’embed’ in the Judiciary Committee to make sure the hearings didn’t go off the rails,” the New Yorker reported.

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Inevitable when no-one can investigate the investigators.

Sexual Misconduct Shakes FBI’s Senior Ranks (AP)

An assistant FBI director retired after he was accused of drunkenly groping a female subordinate in a stairwell. Another senior FBI official left after he was found to have sexually harassed eight employees. Yet another high-ranking FBI agent retired after he was accused of blackmailing a young employee into sexual encounters. An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six sexual misconduct allegations involving senior FBI officials over the past five years, including two new claims brought this week by women who say they were sexually assaulted by ranking agents. Each of the accused FBI officials appears to have avoided discipline, the AP found, and several were quietly transferred or retired, keeping their full pensions and benefits even when probes substantiated the sexual misconduct claims against them.

Beyond that, federal law enforcement officials are afforded anonymity even after the disciplinary process runs its course, allowing them to land on their feet in the private sector or even remain in law enforcement. “They’re sweeping it under the rug,” said a former FBI analyst who alleges in a new federal lawsuit that a supervisory special agent licked her face and groped her at a colleague’s farewell party in 2017. She ended up leaving the FBI and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “As the premier law enforcement organization that the FBI holds itself out to be, it’s very disheartening when they allow people they know are criminals to retire and pursue careers in law enforcement-related fields,” said the woman, who asked to be identified in this story only by her first name, Becky.

The AP’s count does not include the growing number of high-level FBI supervisors who have failed to report romantic relationships with subordinates in recent years — a pattern that has alarmed investigators with the Office of Inspector General and raised questions about bureau policy. The recurring sexual misconduct has drawn the attention of Congress and advocacy groups, which have called for whistleblower protections for rank-and-file FBI employees and for an outside entity to review the bureau’s disciplinary cases. “They need a #MeToo moment,” said U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who has been critical of the treatment of women in the male-dominated FBI. “It’s repugnant, and it underscores the fact that the FBI and many of our institutions are still good ol’-boy networks,” Speier said. “It doesn’t surprise me that, in terms of sexual assault and sexual harassment, they are still in the Dark Ages.”

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“Only three words spoil the entire positive message: “directing the market.”

The “Great Reset” and Plans for a Global War on Savings (Lacalle)

Global debt is expected to soar to a record $277 trillion by the end of the year, according to the Institute of International Finance. Developed markets’ total debt—government, corporate, and households—jumped to 432 percent of GDP in the third quarter. Emerging market debt-to-GDP hit nearly 250 percent in the third quarter, with China reaching 335 percent, and for the year the ratio is expected to reach about 365 percent of global GDP. Most of this massive increase of $15 trillion in one year comes from government and corporates’ response to the pandemic. However, we must remember that the total debt figure had already reached record highs in 2019, before any pandemic and in a period of growth. The main problem is that most of this debt is unproductive debt.

Governments are using the unprecedented fiscal space to perpetuate bloated current spending, which generates no real economic return, so the likely outcome is that debt will continue to rise after the pandemic crisis is ended and that the level of growth and productivity achieved will not be enough to reduce the financial burden on public accounts. In this context, the World Economic Forum has presented a roadmap for what has been called “the Great Reset.” It is a plan that aims to take the current opportunity to “to shape an economic recovery and the future direction of global relations, economies, and priorities.” According to the World Economic Forum, the world must also adapt to the current reality by “directing the market to fairer results, ensur[ing] investments are aimed at mutual progress including accelerating ecologically friendly investments, and [starting] a fourth industrial revolution, creating digital economic and public infrastructure.”

These objectives are obviously shared by all of us, and the reality shows that the private sector is already implementing these ideas, as we see technology, renewable investments, and sustainability plans thriving all over the world. We are witnessing in real time the proof that businesses adapt rapidly and provide better goods and services at affordable prices for everyone achieving a level of progress in environmental targets and welfare that would be unthinkable if governments were in charge. This crisis shows that the world has escaped the risk of scarcity and hyperinflation thanks to a private sector that has surpassed all expectations in a seemingly unsurmountable crisis.

The overall message of the World Economic Forum sounds promising. Only three words spoil the entire positive message: “directing the market.” The risk of governments taking these ideas to promote massive interventionism is not small. The idea of the Great Reset has been quickly embraced by the most bureaucratic and government-intervened economies as a validation of rising government implication in the economy. However, this is incorrect.

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“The OECD has estimated that the unemployment rate will reach roughly 20 percent by the end of the year.”

Greece Is Setting Itself Up For Another Financial Crisis (Mises)

The Greek economy shrunk by a record 14 percent in the second quarter of 2020 while at the same time government efforts to ‘’cure’’ the economy have set the country on the road to cross the 200 percent debt-to-GDP ratio as the IMF forecasts. In the meantime, government budget deficits have reached new heights (around 7 percent). The Greek government tried to combat the economic downturn with a loose fiscal and monetary policy (through the European Central Bank). The initial aim was to support pretty much everyone from the public and private sector for the bad months of the covid-19 lockdown and hope for economic recovery when the summer arrived, with the tourist industry saving the day. It soon became evident, however, that this was wishful thinking.


People from the tourist industry admitted that it could take years for the industry to recover its past numbers. The situation looked even worse once people realized how dependent the whole economy is on tourism: it accounts for 20 percent of GDP and provides 22 percent of all employment in Greece. Furthermore, the Greek government’s solutions, like those of most of the other governments in Europe, were primarily demand-side policies. As I predicted in one of my past articles, these measures could only provide short-run relief, only postponing the pain until later. The unemployment rate saw a 1.2 percent increase from March to April, of 1.3 percent from April to May, and it saw a minor decrease during the summer tourist period. The OECD has estimated that the unemployment rate will reach roughly 20 percent by the end of the year.

The ECB’s balance sheet had a massive increase from 39 percent of the GDP to 54 percent during the summer. In comparison the Fed’s balance sheet is around 32 percent of GDP. The injections of liquidity via the ECB have effectively zombified a considerable number of companies in the EU, with corporate debts reaching new highs. In the case of Greece, the government has exploited its new, EU-sanctioned fiscal leeway, which has allowed it to perpetuate structural problems in its economy along with large deficits. During the tourist season, the costs were so high that a considerable segment of the tourist industry decided to not even work this summer since they would lose less money this way.


[..] People need to understand that when you have an economy with weak productivity that’s highly indebted, shutting down the economy two times in one year has repercussions that will be here to stay for years depending on the recovery policies. The economy needs major structural reforms. Labor laws need to be liberalized. Budget surpluses are indeed the correct goal, especially now, to avoid another debt crisis, but the surpluses need to come from cuts made in the public sector. Tax cuts need to become permanent and even bigger for the economy to grow and expand. Last but not least, making foreign and domestic investments easier, less expensive, and minimizing the potential risk is a matter of utmost urgency, since Greece is being outcompeted by neighboring countries.

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Isn’t China merely replacing predatory IMF behavior with predatory Beijing behavior?

US Hits Search & Destroy Against The New Silk Roads (Escobar)

Seven years after being launched by President Xi Jinping, first in Astana and then in Jakarta, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) increasingly drive the American plutocratic oligarchy completely nuts. The relentless paranoia about the Chinese “threat” has much to do with the exit ramp offered by Beijing to a Global South permanently indebted to IMF/World Bank exploitation. In the old order, politico-military elites were routinely bribed in exchange for unfettered corporate access to their nations’ resources, coupled with go-go privatization schemes and outright austerity (“structural adjustment”). This went on for decades until BRI became the new game in town in terms of infrastructure building – offering an alternative to the imperial footprint.

The Chinese model allows all manner of parallel taxes, sales, rents, leases – and profits. This means extra sources of income for host governments – with an important corollary: freedom from the hardcore neoliberal diktats of IMF/World Bank. This is what is at the heart of the notorious Chinese “win-win”. Moreover, BRI’s overall strategic focus on infrastructure development not only across Eurasia but also Africa encompasses a major geopolitical game-changer. BRI is positioning vast swathes of the Global South to become completely independent from the Western-imposed debt trap. For scores of nations, this is a matter of national interest. In this sense BRI should be regarded as the ultimate post-colonialist mechanism.

BRI in fact bristles with Sun Tzu simplicity applied to geoeconomics. Never interrupt the enemy when he’s making a mistake – in this case enslaving the Global South via perpetual debt. Then use his own weapons – in this case financial “help” – to destabilize his preeminence.

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Five Eyes only?

Australia Sabotaged Its Own Interests in China Relations (CN)

The address to Federal Parliament by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 17, 2014, marked a highwater mark in bilateral relations. Xi was in Australia for the G-20 summit in Brisbane hosted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His theme was that China was committed to peace but ready to protect its interests. Since then, the relationship has gone downhill — first slowly and haltingly, but over the past two years with sickening acceleration. Now the relationship seems irretrievable. For educated Chinese, Australia is now an object lesson in Western arrogance, hypocrisy and betrayal of friendship. The dinner party has ended in upended chairs, shouts and bitter accusations as both sides angrily walk away. After the high symbolism of the Xi speech, all seemed well. In 2015 the Darwin Port was leased to a Chinese company for 99 years.

Growing numbers of Chinese students and tourist visitors to Australia were becoming mainstays of Australia’s thriving higher education, tourism and property sectors. China as an Australian export market grew steadily in significance: last year it represented nearly 50 percent of Australian commodity export earnings. Victoria in 2018 signed a memorandum of understanding with China to work with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. From the beginning, there were signs that powerful forces were determined to cripple Australian-Chinese engagement: and they have now seemingly won. The present breakdown is tragic for Australian economic and political interests. Many innocent Australians’ livelihoods are being harmed by our own government’s and political class’ stupidity. It is hard to see now how the damage done to Australia-China relations may be healed anytime soon.

Controversially, I contend that Australia has over the past six years lived through a textbook experiment of covert foreign policy interference by powerful Anglo-American influences, subtly working through local sympathizers in public life here. Australian political elites — already culturally predisposed to trust Anglo-American friends, and naive as to their power and guile — have been persuaded to adopt increasingly adversarial positions against China across a broad front. This essay can only hint at the breadth and skill of this classic Five Eyes information warfare operation: it would take a book to expose it fully.


“Five Eyes” intelligence network including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand. (@GDJ, Openclipart)

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Dec 102020
 
 December 10, 2020  Posted by at 9:58 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »


August Strindberg Alpine Landscape I 1894

 

No Drinking Alcohol For Two Months After COVID19 Vaccine – Russia (NYP)
Uni Of Pittsburgh Medical Center Won’t Require Staff To Take Vaccine (ZH)
‘95% Effective’ May Not Mean What You Think It Means (Neuburger)
Trump Campaign, 16 Other States Join Texas Motion To Supreme Court (JTN)
Trump To Meet With Ten State Attorneys General Backing Case To Overturn Election (F.)
Sen. Ron Johnson Does Not Rule Out Challenging Electoral College Results (JTN)
Hunter Biden Under Federal Investigation For Possible Tax Fraud (NYP)
Hunter Biden Criminal Probe Bolsters Claim About Beijing’s Influence In US (GG)
House Intel GOP Not Told About Eric Swalwell Relationship With Chinese Spy (NYP)
Secret Deal Gave Chinese Spies Free Rein In Switzerland (G.)
Clinton Associate 2016 Anti-Trump Dossier Claimed Russian FSB Source (JTN)
ECB To Unveil Yet Another Stimulus Package (R.)
Federal Trade Commission Calls For Breakup Of Facebook (NBC)

 

 

 

 

People with (auto-)immune issues were already not getting a vaccine. Now they add everyone with severe allergies; must be 25% of people?! Re: peanuts, asthma, hay fever. And you can’t travel etc., without proof of being vaccinated. While the CEO for Pfizer says they have no idea if even with the vaccine, you will not infect other people. Where’s the logic? Also, 4 people got facial paralysis after taking the Pfizer vaccine.

No drinkie, no problem!

No Drinking Alcohol For Two Months After COVID19 Vaccine – Russia (NYP)

Russian officials are warning citizens to avoid alcohol for two months after receiving the country’s COVID-19 vaccine — tough-to-swallow news for one of the world’s heaviest-drinking countries. The warning came from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who said in an interview that Russians will have to observe extra precautions during the 42 days it takes for the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to become effective. “[Russians] will have to refrain from visiting crowded places, wear face masks, use sanitizers, minimize contacts and refrain from drinking alcohol or taking immunosuppressant drugs,” Golikova told TASS News Agency. Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, echoed the sentiments in an interview with Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, as reported in the Moscow Times.


“It’s a strain on the body. If we want to stay healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol,” she said. According to the World Health Organization, Russia is the fourth-largest consumer of alcohol per person in the world. The average Russian consumes 15.1 liters (almost 4 gallons) of alcohol a year, according to the agency. Russia’s efforts to vaccinate its population began in earnest over the weekend in Moscow. Health authorities in the country estimate that 100,000 people have already been inoculated. “By the end of the week, all regions of the country will join this campaign,” Golikova said. Russian health officials say the Sputnik V vaccine is over 90 percent effective, but reports say medical workers who have taken the shot have come down with COVID-19. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly refused to take it.

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Common sense.

Uni Of Pittsburgh Medical Center Won’t Require Staff To Take Vaccine (ZH)

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) won’t require its health care employees to take the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine, which the medical provider expects to begin offering as soon as this month, according to PennLive. The reason are several-fold, according to UPMC medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology, Dr. Graham Snyder. For starters, general uncertainty over the vaccine. And while the $21 billion nonprofit organization (which employs 89,000 people) has a mandatory flu vaccination policy, it’s “based on decades of experience with the influenza vaccine,” according to Snyder. “But there’s no comparable data for a COVID-19 vaccine, or on whether a mandate is the best way to get large numbers of people to become vaccinated, Snyder said on Tuesday.

The first COVID-19 vaccine, from Pfizer, is expected to soon receive emergency approval. A second vaccine, from Moderna, is also expected to soon receive emergency approval. Distribution of at least one vaccine is expected to begin this month. Snyder said UPMC is “very excited about the preliminary information we have about how safe the vaccine is and how it will work.” Still, he said UPMC will conduct its own review of the vaccines before injecting any of its employees.” -PennLive. “Until we learn more and build our own experience with this vaccine, plus, until we see the uptake of vaccine in our communities, and have an understanding about the role that vaccination has in ending this pandemic, it’s not the right thing to make it mandatory,” said Snyder – who added that UPMC’s independent review won’t slow down their plans to distribute the vaxx.

On Tuesday, UPMC outlined their plans for receiving and distributing shots of the vaccine – while planning to launch an information campaign ‘to persuade the public to get vaccinated’ – despite their own hesitance over the jab. Perhaps it has something to do with several UPMC employees having participated in vaccine trials, only to report fever, fatigue or arm pain, with some needing to take a day or two off from work. According to Snyder, this is “a normal and healthy immune response.”

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See my article Sunday: 95% Vaccine Efficacy? Not So Fast.

‘95% Effective’ May Not Mean What You Think It Means (Neuburger)

To a lay person, a phrase like “95% effective” means one of two things: either that she or he, upon exposure to the virus, is protected 95% of the time, or that 95% of the people who take the vaccine are protected 100% of the time. And this is where the mutual eagerness of the two highly motivated groups — the public; the profiteers — intersect. The public wants to hear “95% effectiveness” and think it knows what those words means. The drug companies want the same thing as the public; it wants the public to think it knows what those words mean. But in the world of drug advertising, the word “effective” does not mean what you think it means. The other way to look at effectiveness is this: Based on the numbers released from phase 3 trials, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective, but 1% of the time. In the same way, the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective, but 2% of the time.

To sort this out, let’s look at real numbers, thanks to Twitter friend David Windt. For the Moderna product, the phase 3 trial contained 30,000 individuals divided between those given the vaccine and those given a placebo. Let’s assume that individuals in each group were allowed to roam freely “in the wild” — that is, told to live their regular lives among the general population, including going out infrequently, staying masked, and practicing social distance — as opposed being proactively and aggressively exposed to the virus by the researchers, which would be highly immoral, to say the least. In the Moderna vaccinated group, 11 people out of 15,000 got the virus (by Moderna’s definition of what “got the virus means”) for an overall infection rate of 0.07%. (There’s disagreement about whether the drug company’s “got the virus” measurements are well chosen [..] But we’ll ignore that point for now.)

In the Moderna placebo group, 185 people of 15,000 got the virus, for an overall infection rate of 1.23%. Do you see where this is headed? If you divide 0.07% by 1.23%, you get a 5.7% infection rate — or inversely, a 94% protection rate, which is what’s claimed. But that’s a percentage of a percentage, a ratio of a ratio, something called the “relative rate” in the medical profession. What this really means is that, of the 1.23% of people who would have gotten the virus in the vaccinated group, 94% of them didn’t. But Moderna isn’t testing 30,000 people who are infected with the virus, or even 15,000 people. Only 185 people “got the virus” (by their definition) in the placebo group. That population was reduced to 11 people with vaccination. These are very small numbers. As stated above, the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective — but only 1.23% of the time.

[..] For comparison, let’s look at the absolute numbers from the Moderna test. In the unprotected population, 1.23% of the people who could have been exposed to the virus, got it. In the vaccinated population exposed to the same conditions, a little less than 0.07% got the virus. Subtracting the two, the absolute gain in protection was 1.16% — that is, taking the vaccine bought you a little over 1% in absolute protection. The numbers for the Pfizer vaccine are similar. According to Windt, “the infection rate was reduced slightly, from 0.75% to 0.04% – that’s “95% efficacy” [but] these results do NOT mean that 95% of those vaccinated are protected.” In absolute terms, taking the Pfizer vaccine reduced the risk of getting the virus by just 0.71%.

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No matter how much people dump on this, it was always going to go this route.

Trump Campaign, 16 Other States Join Texas Motion To Supreme Court (JTN)

The Trump campaign and seventeen states have now joined a motion filed in Texas asking the Supreme Court to delay the conclusion of the election in four key states based on concerns of potentially unconstitutional voting systems and procedures. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton late Monday asked the country’s highest court to invalidate the Nov. 3 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, arguing officials in those four battleground states violated the Constitution by making changes to how ballots were cast and counted without legislative approval. Paxton’s suit asks the justices to issue a temporary restraining order preventing the states “from taking action to certify presidential electors or to have such electors take any official action including without limitation participating in the Electoral College.”

The Supreme Court as of Wednesday afternoon had yet to publicly say whether it will hear the case. In the meantime, 17 other states have signed on as amici curiae, signaling their support of the suit’s efforts. Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska and others announced that they mutually hold “several important interests in this case.” On Wednesday, the Trump campaign also announced that it was intervening in the suit on the side of Texas. The campaign said in an announcement that President Trump’s “rights as a candidate are affected by the Defendant States’ failure to follow and enforce state election laws during the 2020 election.” “After reviewing the motion filed by Texas in the U.S. Supreme Court, I have determined that I will support the motion in all legally appropriate manners,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, tweeted late Tuesday.

“The integrity of our elections is a critical part of our nation and it must be upheld.” Also late Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on Twitter that his state is “in the fight” after Texas announced its election challenge. The court deciding to hear the case would be a huge victory for President Trump’s lawyers and others trying to get the courts to investigate voter fraud, states’ last-minute changes to voting laws and numerous other issues, all in hope of having the certification of the 2020 presidential race delayed and potentially overturned.

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17 now. That’s a sizeable chunk of America.

Trump To Meet With Ten State Attorneys General Backing Case To Overturn Election (F.)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with a group of Republican state attorneys general at the White House on Wednesday – most of whom are engaged in or supporting an effort to overturn the results of the presidential election – as he still refuses to concede just days before the electoral college is set to vote. Trump is scheduled to have lunch with the attorneys general in the cabinet room of the White House at 12:45pm EST, according to a public schedule released by the White House Wednesday evening. The list of attendees, provided to Forbes by White House spokesperson Judd Deere, includes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is spearheading the lawsuit, which is aimed at overturning the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Also on the list are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Utah, all of whom signed an amicus brief released Wednesday supporting the Texas case.


Also expected to attend is Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich – who represents a state Biden won and who filed a separate amicus brief “respecting” the Texas lawsuit – and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who did not join either brief. The case – which Trump called “the big one” and said he would be “intervening” in – seeks to invalidate electors in the four key states based on allegations the states expansions of mail-in voting due to Covid-19 resulted in substantial fraud. The fraud claims pushed by the lawsuit have continuously been rejected by courts, with one election law expert deriding the case as, “utter garbage. Dangerous garbage, but garbage.”

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“The only way to resolve suspicions is with full transparency and public awareness. That will be the goal of the hearing.”

Sen. Ron Johnson Does Not Rule Out Challenging Electoral College Results (JTN)

Sen. Ron Johnson is not ruling out the possibility of challenging the Electoral College results in January when Congress is slated to certify the vote. “I would say it depends on what we found out,” the Wisconsin Republican said to reporters when he was asked about whether he plans on challenging election results, according to The Hill. “The American people need more information. I’m not ready to just close and slam the book on this thing and go ‘OK, let’s walk away from it.'” Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama has indicated that he intends to object to some states’ Electoral College votes. Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced Wednesday that the committee will hold a hearing next week about election irregularities.


“Today I gave notice for a hearing for next Wednesday titled ‘Examining Irregularities in the 2020 election,'” the senator said in a statement. “I am mindful that many of the issues that have been raised have been, and will continue to be, appropriately resolved in the courts. But the fact remains that a large percentage of the American public does not view the 2020 election result as legitimate because of apparent irregularities that have not been fully examined. That is not a sustainable state of affairs for our country. The only way to resolve suspicions is with full transparency and public awareness. That will be the goal of the hearing.”

Ron Johnson

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I wonder about the timing here. The probe started in 2018, and he says he only learned about it yesterday? He had zero idea for over 2 years?

Hunter Biden Under Federal Investigation For Possible Tax Fraud (NYP)

President-elect Joe Biden’s son revealed Wednesday that he’s under federal investigation for possible tax fraud, with a report saying the Justice Department is examining his overseas business dealings. The probe also reportedly involves a laptop that belonged to Hunter Biden, the existence of which was first reported by The Post, and which contains communciations and documents detailing some of his business dealings in China and Ukraine. Hunter Biden, 50, disclosed the probe in a statement released by his father’s presidential transition office. “I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” Hunter Biden said in the statement.

“I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.” A statement attributed to “the Biden-Harris Transition” said, “President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.” The probe began in 2018, sources told Fox News and CNN. Investigators are looking into whether Hunter and his business associates violated various tax and money laundering laws, CNN said. The probe is focused on Hunter’s business dealings in China and other countries and invovles transactions with people who posed counterintelligence concerns, CNN said.

The investigation was put on hold during the run-up to the November election due to Justice Department guidelines that prohibit activity that could influence a political race, CNN said. But it’s since resumed and is entering a new phase, with the FBI and IRS issuing subpoenas and seeking interviews, CNN said. Fox News reported that the probe includes examining the Hunter Biden laptop exposed by The Post, citing two sources familiar with the investigation. The probe is before a grand jury, and involves so-called “Suspicious Activity Reports” from banks flagging transfers of funds from China and other nations, Fox News also said.

In September, Republican senators released a report on Hunter’s business affairs that said he “and his family were involved in a vast financial network that connected them to foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe.” Some of those ties “raise criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns,” the report said. Wednesday’s surprise disclosure of the federal probe came exactly one year after FBI agents seized a laptop from a Delaware computer shop whose owner claims it was left there by Hunter and never retrieved.

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Greenwald. “We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.”

Hunter Biden Criminal Probe Bolsters Claim About Beijing’s Influence In US (GG)

Hunter Biden acknowledged today that he has been notified of an active criminal investigation into his tax affairs by the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. Among the numerous prongs of the inquiry, CNN reports, investigators are examining “whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China.” Documents relating to Hunter Biden’s exploitation of his father’s name to enrich himself and other relatives through deals with China were among the cache published in the week before the election by The New York Post — revelations censored by Twitter and Facebook and steadfastly ignored by most mainstream news outlets. That concerted repression effort by media outlets and Silicon Valley left it to right-wing outlet such as Fox News and The Daily Caller to report, which in turn meant that millions of Americans were kept in the dark before voting.

But the just-revealed federal criminal investigation in Delaware is focused on exactly the questions which corporate media outlets refused to examine for fear that doing so would help Trump: namely, whether Hunter Biden engaged in illicit behavior in China and what impact that might have on his father’s presidency. The allegations at the heart of this investigation compel an examination of a fascinating and at-times disturbing speech at a major financial event held last week in Shanghai. In that speech, a Chinese scholar of political science and international finance, Di Donghseng, insisted that Beijing will have far more influence in Washington under a Biden administration than it did with the Trump administration.

The reason, Di said, is that China’s ability to get its way in Washington has long depended upon its numerous powerful Wall Street allies. But those allies, he said, had difficulty controlling Trump, but will exert virtually unfettered power over Biden. That China cultivated extensive financial ties to Hunter Biden, Di explained, will be crucial for bolstering Beijing’s influence even further. Di, who in addition to his teaching positions is also Vice Dean of Beijing’s Renmin University’s School of International Relations, delivered his remarks alongside three other Chinese banking and development experts. [..] The centerpiece of Di’s speech was the history he set forth of how Beijing has long successfully managed to protect its interests in the halls of American power: namely, by relying on “friends” in Wall Street and other U.S. ruling class sectors — which worked efficiently until the Trump presidency.

Referring to the Trump-era trade war between the two countries, Di posed this question: “Why did China and the U.S. use to be able to settle all kinds of issues between 1992 [when Clinton became President] and 2016 [when Obama’s left office]?” He then provided this answer: “No matter what kind of crises we encountered — be it the Yinhe incident [when the U.S. interdicted a Chinese ship in the mistaken belief it carried chemical weapons for Iran], the bombing of the embassy [the 1992 bombing by the U.S. of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade], or the crashing of the plane [the 2001 crashing of a U.S. military spy plane into a Chinese fighter jet] — things were all solved in no time, like a couple do with their quarrels starting at the bedhead but ending at the bed end. We fixed everything in two months. What is the reason? I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here. It’s just because we have people at the top. We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.”

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Swalwell needs to be investigated for real.

House Intel GOP Not Told About Eric Swalwell Relationship With Chinese Spy (NYP)

House Intelligence Committee Republicans were surprised to learn this week that a member of their panel, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy who slept with US politicians as a tactic to elicit information. Swalwell, who represents a California district south of Oakland, received an FBI “defensive briefing” in 2015 on operative Fang Fang, but most if not all Republicans on the elite committee weren’t told that a colleague had been targeted by China. Fang, also known as Christine Fang, returned to China in mid-2015 as US officials heightened their scrutiny of her string of honey-trap seductions. She reportedly fundraised for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign before he joined the Intelligence Committee in 2015.

A congressional Republican source told The Post that Intelligence Committee Republicans had not been informed of the relationship. The committee is supposed to have access to some of the nation’s most sensitive information to fulfill its oversight role of shadowy government programs. If the Chinese operation occurred as described in a bombshell Tuesday article in Axios, it’s unclear why lawmakers aside from Swalwell were kept in the dark, especially since Fang may have targeted Swalwell due to his proximity to sensitive information. The Post asked Swalwell’s 12 Democratic colleagues on the Intelligence Committee, including Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), about when they learned of Swalwell’s association with Fang, but they did not immediately reply.

Swalwell has not said if he had a romantic relationship with Fang, who allegedly seduced two Midwest mayors as part of her operation from 2011 to 2015. He claimed in a Wednesday CNN appearance that he “can’t talk too much about the details of the case” because the information should be kept secret. The issue is likely to dog Swalwell as Republicans demand more information. “Did Schiff and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi know? Why did no one take any steps to keep sensitive intel, at least as it relates to China, far away from a member who is at best potentially compromised?” a Republican close to the White House told The Post.

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Lots of China stories all of a sudden.

Secret Deal Gave Chinese Spies Free Rein In Switzerland (G.)

The full text of a secret deal between Switzerland and China that allowed Chinese security officials access to the country at Swiss taxpayers’ expense has been revealed for the first time as the government pushes to renew it. The five-year “readmission agreement”, which was signed in 2015 and expired on Monday, lay out terms for Chinese agents to travel to Switzerland and interview suspected Chinese nationals that Swiss authorities wished to deport. Unlike more than 50 similar deals Switzerland has signed with other countries, it was never published by the government and was not even publicly acknowledged until August. The official English translation of the agreement has been obtained by Safeguard Defenders, an Asia-focused human rights campaign group.

It reveals an extraordinary commitment to secrecy within an agreement that had itself been concealed from the public, the group says. The “experts” from the ministry of public security (MPS) had to be invited on the two-week “missions”, but once the invitation had been issued China could choose its agents without Swiss approval. They could enter the country without official status, and Switzerland committed to keeping their identity confidential. The reports they produced for Swiss authorities were also kept secret. Readmission deals are a regular part of international law, but Safeguard Defenders said the 2015 arrangement with Beijing, which was not reciprocal, was of “an entirely different character” from others signed by Switzerland.

The secrecy surrounding both the agreement itself and the work of Chinese agents, the choice of partner – a security super-ministry with extensive remit including police and intelligence services – and even the presence of agents were unusual. “In only a minority of cases [do other readmission] deals allow for the other party to send representatives to accompany the individual to be returned, and in those cases [the representatives] are limited to that specific activity, and it is a public, official duty being carried out,” Safeguard Defenders said. The deal was extremely favourable to the Chinese and went above and beyond normal migration information-sharing arrangements, said Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University in the US.

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If Crossfire Hurricans is not thoroughly and indepenndently investigated, how will the FBI ever recover?

Clinton Associate 2016 Anti-Trump Dossier Claimed Russian FSB Source (JTN)

Evidence released by the Senate this month reveals that longtime Hillary Clinton associate Cody Shearer received anti-Trump dirt in 2016 from a Russian intelligence source and got it into the hands of the FBI through the ex-British spy Christopher Steele. Shearer’s claim that his information came from a Russian FSB source, experts say, should have alerted senior US officials that the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties Russia was compromised by its sources, Clinton surrogates and alleged Russian spies. The documents also indicate the State Department played a much larger role than previously reported in shaping the media narrative, and eventually the official Obama administration intelligence assessment that Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to win in 2016, lawmakers said.

“Clinton confidantes and campaign surrogates repeatedly sought information from individuals with links to known or suspected Russian intelligence officers and assets,” Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis, told Just the News. “This demonstrates the double standard and bias of the FBI’s investigation of only Trump campaign officials for their contacts with Russian agents. Americans deserve equal justice, and the FBI has a long way to go before its integrity and credibility is restored.” The new documents released jointly by Johnson’s committee and the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Chuck Grassley sheds significant new light on the extensive network of Clinton associates who participated and exerted influence on the 2016-17 effort to falsely portray Trump as the agent of a hostile power.

One of Shearer’s reports, alleging that Trump was compromised by Russian intelligence, made its way to the FBI shortly before the 2016 election through a series of Clinton allies. It included Steele, the British ex-spy who authored a now-debunked dossier tying the Trump campaign and associates to Kremlin officials. Steele submitted the Shearer memo, titled “FSB Interview,” to the FBI as a supplement to his own Trump-Russia reporting funded by the Clinton campaign. In a prefatory note to the Shearer memo, Steele wrote to his FBI handlers that “some of the reporting is remarkably similar” to his own, especially regarding “TRUMP’s compromise by the FSB,” and the “funding of the TRUMP campaign.” Steele dated Shearer’s memo Oct. 19, 2016. Two days later, the FBI obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on Trump adviser Carter Page based on some of the information from Steele’s dossier.

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For the banks.

ECB To Unveil Yet Another Stimulus Package (R.)

The European Central Bank will unveil fresh stimulus measures on Thursday to prop up the recession-hit currency bloc long enough for a coronavirus vaccine to be deployed and its devastated economy to start to heal. With fresh support measures already promised, only the details of the package remain up in the air. But the bottom line is clear: borrowing costs will be kept close to zero for years so that governments and firms can spend their way out of the biggest recession in living memory. The ECB’s challenge will be to balance a growing range of short-term risks against improving long term prospects, indicating that its move will be big but lack the “shock and awe” impact of previous crisis-fighting measures.

“With the positive news in terms of vaccine development, Europe is now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Oxford Economics said in a note. “However, the short-term outlook remains extremely challenging, with euro zone GDP likely to contract in the fourth quarter.” For now, the 19-country euro zone is facing a triple shock: a lingering second wave of the pandemic, the prospect of a hard Brexit and political stalemate over the European Union’s 750 billion euro ($908 billion) recovery fund. But all three are seen as temporary shocks, with the political strife likely to be resolved and the pandemic easing by the spring, leaving the ECB with the task of getting the bloc through a difficult winter.

The economy also recovered surprisingly quickly after the first wave of coronavirus lockdowns, suggesting more resilience than is built into economic models. Fresh projections could thus point to lower growth in 2021 but better prospects in 2022, leaving the overall growth path little changed.

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This is supposed to happen under Biden?

Federal Trade Commission Calls For Breakup Of Facebook (NBC)

The Federal Trade Commission sued to break up Facebook on Wednesday, asking a federal court to force the sell-off of assets such as Instagram and WhatsApp as independent businesses. “Facebook has maintained its monopoly position by buying up companies that present competitive threats and by imposing restrictive policies that unjustifiably hinder actual or potential rivals that Facebook does not or cannot acquire,” the commission said in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit asks the court to order the “divestiture of assets, divestiture or reconstruction of businesses (including, but not limited to, Instagram and/or WhatsApp),” as well as other possible relief the court might want to add.

The announcement is a major step that has been years in the making, with Facebook and several other major U.S. technology companies having grown quickly in the past 10 years with little government oversight. But the lack of scrutiny has changed recently, with a series of lawsuits that now threaten to rein in the dominance of big American tech firms that have grown to be among the world’s most valuable companies. Attorneys general from 48 states and territories said they were filing their own lawsuit against Facebook, reflecting the broad and bipartisan concern about how much power Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have accumulated on the internet. Facebook’s share price fell by as much as 4 percent after the news, before paring its losses.

“Breakup Facebook” has become a rally cry for the company’s critics — from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to one of Facebook’s wealthy founders, Chris Hughes, who last year wrote a 6,000-word case for a break-up. But the idea has never been truly attempted in court. Facebook said it was reviewing the two lawsuits, and pointed out that the FTC approved the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions at the time. “Years after the FTC cleared our acquisitions, the government now wants a do-over with no regard for the impact that precedent would have on the broader business community or the people who choose our products every day,” Facebook said in a statement, adding that it would have more to say soon.

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Oct 302020
 


Minor White Windowsill Daydreaming Rochester NY 1958

 

A Fake Persona Laid The Groundwork For A Hunter Biden Conspiracy Deluge (NBC)
NY Post’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Hunter Biden Email 100% Authentic (DC)
Joe Biden’s Biggest Problem Is That There Is No Vaccine For Trumpism
‘We’ve Got To Stop The Bleeding’: Democrats Sound Alarm In Miami (Pol.)
Glenn Greenwald Leaves The Intercept After Editors Refuse Biden Criticism (ZH)
The ‘Censored’ Biden Story That Made Glenn Greenwald Quit The Intercept (ZH)
FBI Initially Turned Down Purported Hunter Biden Laptop (JTN)
UPS Suddenly Locates “Lost” Biden Evidence, Returns Docs To Tucker Carlson (ZH)
Western Rewriting History Of WW2 Has Incensed Russians (Robinson)
US GDP Booms At 33.1% Rate In Q3 (CNBC)
COVID Measures ‘Monument Of Collective Hysteria And Folly’: Ex-Judge (G.)

 

 

 

 

Someone said on Twitter yesterday: “You two are creating a world characterized by illogic, distrust and uncertainty. It’s a world no one wants our kids to grow up in. It’s sad that you do this. Here’s the absurdity behind the false Christopher Balding story:”

I am one of the two this person talks about, don’t know who the other is. (S)he is referring to an NBC article yesterday, “How A Fake Persona Laid The Groundwork For A Hunter Biden Conspiracy Deluge”.

It is about the report Christopher Balding published on Oct 22, (see here), but NBC’s criticism of the “Balding report” does not address its contents, only its shape, and calls it “FAKE”. That is, Balding and others invented a person who was cited as the author of it. And yes, that is a peculiar way to publish something, but Balding has always said the real author needs protection.

Then the NBC piece attempts to mix the report with other stories, the ones derived from the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. But there is hardly any overlap. It appears to be a intentional confusion, so people will believe everything regarding Hunter Biden accusations is fake. But at the same moment, the Daily Caller reports that forensic analysis proves “NY Post’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Hunter Biden Email 100% Authentic”. And that in turn comes one day after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said all Bobulinski material has been verified.

Christopher Balding has reacted on Twitter, his entire reaction thread is here.

Balding reacts

 

 

A Fake Persona Laid The Groundwork For A Hunter Biden Conspiracy Deluge (NBC)

One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden’s laptop, a fake “intelligence” document about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and business in China. The document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake “intelligence firm” called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents. The author of the document, a self-identified Swiss security analyst named Martin Aspen, is a fabricated identity, according to analysis by disinformation researchers, who also concluded that Aspen’s profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator.

The intelligence firm that Aspen lists as his previous employer said that no one by that name had ever worked for the company and that no one by that name lives in Switzerland, according to public records and social media searches. One of the original posters of the document, a blogger and professor named Christopher Balding, took credit for writing parts of it when asked about it and said Aspen does not exist. Despite the document’s questionable authorship and anonymous sourcing, its claims that Hunter Biden has a problematic connection to the Communist Party of China have been used by people who oppose the Chinese government, as well as by far-right influencers, to baselessly accuse candidate Joe Biden of being beholden to the Chinese government.

The document and its spread have become part of a wider effort to smear Hunter Biden and weaken Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, which moved from the fringes of the internet to more mainstream conservative news outlets. An unverified leak of documents — including salacious pictures from what President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and a Delaware Apple repair store owner claimed to be Hunter Biden’s hard drive — were published in the New York Post on Oct. 14. Associates close to Trump, including Giuliani and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, have promised more blockbuster leaks and secrets, which have yet to materialize. The fake intelligence document, however, preceded the leak by months, and it helped lay the groundwork among right-wing media for what would become a failed October surprise: a viral pile-on of conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.

The Typhoon Investigations document was first posted in September to Intelligence Quarterly, an anonymous blog “dedicated to collecting important daily news,” according to its “about” section. Historical domain records show the blog was registered to Albert Marko, a self-described political and economic adviser, who also lists the blog on his Twitter bio. When asked about the provenance of the document, Marko said he received it from Balding. Balding, previously an associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam who studied the Chinese economy and financial markets, posted the document on his blog on Oct. 22, seven weeks after it was initially published.

Logan Hall NBC

Read more …

“Graham said the only way the email could have been faked is if someone hacked into Google’s servers, found the private key and used it to reverse engineer the email’s DKIM signature.”

NY Post’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Hunter Biden Email 100% Authentic (DC)

An email Hunter Biden received in April 2015 from a Burisma executive discussing an introduction to then-Vice President Joe Biden, which lies at the heart of a New York Post investigation, is unquestionably authentic, a cybersecurity expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday. The DCNF obtained a full copy of Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday. The DCNF provided Robert Graham, the founder of the cybersecurity firm Errata Security, with a copy of the email and its metadata for forensic analysis. Graham, who has been cited as a cybersecurity expert in The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Wired, Engadget and other news and technology outlets, told the DCNF that he used a cryptographic signature found in the email’s metadata to validate that Vadym Pozharsky, an advisor to Burisma’s board of directors, emailed Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015.

In the email, Pozharsky thanked Hunter Biden for “inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.” The New York Post first reported the email in October, describing it as a “smoking-gun” showing that Hunter Biden had introduced his father to the Burisma executive in 2015. The email was sent less than a year before Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor who was reportedly investigating the gas company in return for a $1 billion loan guarantee. Graham previously told the DCNF that emails sent from Gmail, such as Pozharski’s message to Hunter Biden, can be “absolutely verified beyond a shadow of a doubt” by testing its contents against the unique DKIM signature found in its metadata.


Graham used the DKIM signature within the email to verify with a private key on Google’s servers that the sender, recipient, subject, date and body of the message that the DCNF obtained from Giuliani were unchanged from when the email was originally sent in April 2015. Graham said the only way the email could have been faked is if someone hacked into Google’s servers, found the private key and used it to reverse engineer the email’s DKIM signature.

Daily Caller vs NBC

Read more …

“America is past the “I have a plan” phase. A sizable contingent of regular citizens have decided either that the disease is a “hoax,” or that it’s not worth altering their everyday lives for in any major way.”

Joe Biden’s Biggest Problem Is That There Is No Vaccine For Trumpism

As the 2020 presidential election hurls itself at us, there is one thing upon which the far right and far left agree: The COVID-19 pandemic should be over within days after Nov. 4. The right says the “deep state” is holding on to a secret vaccine that it will introduce to the world once Donald Trump is thrown out of office. The left says that Trump is the primary cause of the virus’ spread, and that with the biological weapon in chief out of office, people will soon be out safely ingesting each other’s disgusting germs.Alas, despite these extremes being so far out there that they meet again in the back, neither is right. Trump is not entirely to blame for the virus’ spread, and Joe Biden’s election will not be a panacea in stopping it.

Sure, Biden has a “plan” to solve COVID-19, and it contains all the commonsense proposals: vaccine funding, paid leave, more protective equipment and more funding for testing. But America is past the “I have a plan” phase. A sizable contingent of regular citizens have decided either that the disease is a “hoax,” or that it’s not worth altering their everyday lives for in any major way. In other words, COVID-19 is a cultural problem, not a governmental one. It is the cultural component in which Trump has failed America the most. Over the summer, it appeared the virus was waning — businesses had quickly ramped up production of masks and ventilators needed in hospitals and emergency rooms and limited state shutdowns were being enforced. Infection rates were dropping around the country.

Then, in the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd’s at the hands of police, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest, effectively signaling the end of lockdowns. Science professionals who urged staying home were silent on the protests, leading those on the right to throw up their hands and say, “Well, I guess lockdown is over.” That is where Trump’s mismanagement has cost America. In the early days of the virus, Trump said all the wrong things, telling Americans it was just “one person coming in from China” and it would “disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.” And speaking of miracles, he vowed to have churches open for Easter.

Say we were to give Trump some benefit of the doubt — in the early months of the spread, everyone was still figuring out what was happening, and rapid spread would have occurred under any president. [..] Unless Biden can legislate trust in the media and politicians, the pandemic will stretch well into his presidency. The reality is a sizable portion of America is carrying on, waiting for a vaccine — which, ironically, many of them won’t take because it will probably be Joe Biden at the helm of the country when it is released. And sadly, there is no vaccine for Trumpism.

Read more …

“To date, Republicans have turned out 59 percent of their voters in Miami-Dade and Democrats have turned out 53 percent, a 6-point margin. That’s twice the margin Republicans had at this point in 2016..“

‘We’ve Got To Stop The Bleeding’: Democrats Sound Alarm In Miami (Pol.)

Democrats are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican showing is endangering Joe Biden’s chances in the nation’s biggest swing state. No Democrat can win Florida without a huge turnout and big winning margins here to offset losses elsewhere in the state. But Democrats are turning out at lower rates than Republicans and at lower rates than at this point in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by 29 percentage points here and still lost the state to Donald Trump. One particular area of concern is the relative share of ballots cast by young voters of color and less-reliable Democratic voters.

Part of the problem, according to interviews with a dozen Democratic elected officials and operatives, is the Biden campaign‘s decision to discourage field staff from knocking on doors during the pandemic and its subsequent delay in greenlighting — and funding — a return to door-to-door canvassing. “We did not get the kind of funding for different vendors who would do that type of work until late in the campaign,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, a party institution who represents Miami’s heavily Black congressional district. Wilson said the good news is that Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is working with her on a turnout event for this weekend geared toward young Black men.


But the veteran congresswoman said there are still skilled operatives in her district who excel at turnout work who have yet to get approved by the campaign, a puzzling delay for an operation that raised a record $363 million the month before. “I screamed. Hollered. I called. I lobbied from the top to the bottom,” Wilson said of her efforts to get turnout operations started in the community, including sending written proposals to Biden’s campaign and having virtual Zoom meetings with his advisers.

Read more …

The election, actually the entire Trump presidency, has brought out the best and the worst in US journalism. It will never be the same.

Glenn Greenwald Leaves The Intercept After Editors Refuse Biden Criticism (ZH)

The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald resigned from the outlet on Thursday, after ‘editors censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.’ Greenwald writes at his new home (greenwald.substack.com):”The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.


I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.”Apparently he’s also blocked from publishing the article elsewhere, though he’s “asked my lawyer to get in touch with FLM to discuss how best to terminate my contract.”

People who quit
https://twitter.com/APompliano/status/1321915427522576384

Read more …

“Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.”

The ‘Censored’ Biden Story That Made Glenn Greenwald Quit The Intercept (ZH)

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family’s pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories. One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.

After the Post’s first article, both that newspaper and other news outlets have published numerous other emails and texts purportedly written to and from Hunter reflecting his efforts to induce his father to take actions as Vice President beneficial to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board of directors Hunter sat for a monthly payment of $50,000, as well as proposals for lucrative business deals in China that traded on his influence with his father. Individuals included in some of the email chains have confirmed the contents’ authenticity. One of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bubolinski, has stepped forward on the record to confirm the authenticity of many of the emails and to insist that Hunter along with Joe Biden’s brother Jim were planning on including the former Vice President in at least one deal in China.

And GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who appeared in one of the published email chains, appeared to confirm the authenticity as well, though he refused to answer follow-up questions about it. Thus far, no proof has been offered by Bubolinski that Biden ever consummated his participation in any of those discussed deals. The Wall Street Journal says that it found no corporate records reflecting that a deal was finalized and that “text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture.”

But nobody claimed that any such deals had been consummated — so the conclusion that one had not been does not negate the story. Moreover, some texts and emails whose authenticity has not been disputed state that Hunter was adamant that any discussions about the involvement of the Vice President be held only verbally and never put in writing.

Read more …

And then sat on it for a year.

FBI Initially Turned Down Purported Hunter Biden Laptop (JTN)

The family of the Delaware shop owner who says he came into possession of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden first tried to turn over the computer to the FBI in summer 2019 but was rebuffed, only to have agents return months later during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, his lawyer said Thursday night. In a lengthy statement to Just the News, attorney Brian Della Rocca provided a detailed timeline of the actions his client, John Paul Mac Isaac, says he took in trying to get authorities to investigate the laptop. The lawyer also decried public figures on both sides of the aisle for politicizing the episode and for attacking the Delaware computer repairman without having the facts.

Mac Isaac “unwittingly became the target of a smear campaign by doing what he thought was right,” Della Rocca said. “John Paul is not a right-wing fanatic, nor is he a Russian hacker.” In the statement that was originally drafted to be an op-ed, Della Rocca made several new revelations about the laptop that has stirred worldwide political intrigue on the eve of the American presidential election, an FBI investigation, and a news media and social media censorship campaign. Among the revelations: • A man claiming to be Hunter Biden dropped off three laptops on April 12, 2019 to Mac Isaac’s shop to be repaired, and returned two days later with an external hard drive. The man believed to be Hunter Biden eventually abandoned one of the laptops and the external hard drive without paying for them. • Mac Isaac’s father, a retired Air Force colonel, first tried to provide a copy of the laptop to an FBI office in Albuquerque, N.M., in summer 2019, but the bureau turned him away.


• FBI agents from Albuquerque, N.M., contacted the father in October 2019, as impeachment proceedings were ongoing in Washington, to discuss the laptop and then to interview the younger Mac Isaac in Delaware. A few weeks later, FBI agents in Delaware seized the original laptop from Mac Isaac. • On Oct. 13 of this year, Hunter Biden’s attorney contacted Mac Isaac to discuss the hard drive and followed up with an email but no further action. Three people familiar with the matter told Just the News on Thursday that the FBI has an ongoing investigation into business transactions involving firms associated with Hunter Biden and other business associates. The investigation began in 2019 around the time the FBI followed up on Mac Isaac’s concerns and has since expanded to issues raised by an IRS whistleblower complaint filed a year ago. The probe got new evidence in recent days when Hunter Biden’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski turned over documents and other materials during an FBI interview, one person with knowledge of the case said.

Read more …

This story just gets crazier.

UPS Suddenly Locates “Lost” Biden Evidence, Returns Docs To Tucker Carlson (ZH)

Delivery giant UPS confirmed Thursday it found a lost trove of documents that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said would provide revelations in the ever-growing scandal involving Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his overseas business dealings. UPS Senior Public Relations Manager Matthew O’Connor told Business Insider on Thursday afternoon that the documents are located and are being sent to Carlson. “After an extensive search, we have found the contents of the package and are arranging for its return,” he said in a statement. “UPS will always focus first on our customers, and will never stop working to solve issues and make things right. We work hard to ensure every package is delivered, including essential goods, precious family belongings and critical healthcare.”

It came after Glenn Zaccara, UPS’s corporate media relations director, confirmed Carlson used the company to ship the materials before they were lost. “The package was reported with missing contents as it moved within our network,” Zaccara said before they were located. “UPS is conducting an urgent investigation.” During his Wednesday night broadcast, Carlson said that a UPS employee notified them that their package “was open and empty … apparently, it had been opened.” “The Biden documents never arrived in Los Angeles. Tuesday morning we received word from our shipping company that our package had been opened and the contents were missing,” Carlson also remarked. “The documents had disappeared.”


On Tuesday night, Carlson interviewed former Hunter Biden associate Tony Bobulinski, who claimed that the former Democratic vice president could be compromised by the Chinese Communist Party due to Hunter and brother James Biden’s business dealings in the country. Joe Biden has not responded to Bobulinski’s allegations. Last week during his debate with President Donald Trump, he said he had “not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.”

Read more …

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics.

Western Rewriting History Of WW2 Has Incensed Russians (Robinson)

It used to be simple: The Nazis and their allies were the bad guys, and the Americans, British, and Soviets were the good guys. Then contemporary politics took over and the narrative around WW2 became a modern battleground. The conflict ended 75 years ago. But the struggle over its history has perhaps never been as intense as it is today. In the first few decades after the war, the interpretation of it was fairly clear, and almost universally accepted: The war was a product of German aggression and the extreme ideology of the Nazis. The Germans were the criminals; and the peoples of the Allied powers were the victims. Quantitatively, the largest group of these victims was in Eastern Europe – Jews and citizens of the Soviet Union, who the Nazis killed in the millions.

From the mid-1980s, a new narrative began to creep into public discourse in the West. This maintained that Nazism was not uniquely evil nor solely responsible for the war. Rather Nazism and communism were equally morally repugnant, and Germany and the Soviet Union were mutually responsible for the tragedy. The USSR, rather than being a victim of aggression, was itself one of the prime aggressors of the era. At first, this revisionist view was restricted to a narrow group of academics. Most notable was the German historian Ernst Nolte, who in 1986 provoked the Historikerstreit (‘Historians’ Dispute’) in what was then West Germany, by suggesting that the genocidal campaign of the Nazis was just one of many such campaigns by other states, most notably the Soviet Union, in an overall ‘age of genocide’.

This theme was then popularized by certain other historians of an anti-Soviet, and later anti-Russian, bent. But what really gave it legs was the collapse of communism and the rise of nationalism among states of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. In countries such as Poland, Latvia, and post-2014 Ukraine, nationalist leaders have sought to promote their own legitimacy by adopting a strong anti-Russian line, and historical revisionism has proven to be an essential part of their toolkit. As part of this process, history has been rewritten to portray the Soviet Union as having occupied and oppressed the nations of Eastern Europe during World War II, to suggest a moral equivalence between the Nazis and the communists, and in extreme cases to portray locals who fought alongside the Germans as heroes rather than collaborators. For instance, in Ukraine.

[..] It was in this context that Russian President Vladimir Putin this week denounced any attempt to equate the USSR and Nazi Germany. This followed a complaint by Elena Yampolskaya, a member of the Russian parliament, who noted that two books had recently been published in Russia which suggested similarities between Nazism and communism, and in one case argued that “the Soviets were worse than the Nazis.” Putin agreed with Yampolskaya’s complaint that this was “absolutely unacceptable.” The Russian Federation should pass legislation similar to that of other countries which criminalizes denial of the Armenian genocide, Putin said, adding that, “We will not allow this heroic page in history to be crossed out.”

Read more …

Good for Trump in the election?

US GDP Booms At 33.1% Rate In Q3 (CNBC)

Coming off the worst quarter in history, the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace ever in the third quarter as a nation battered by an unprecedented pandemic started to put itself back together, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Third-quarter gross domestic product, a measure of the total goods and services produced in the July-to-September period, expanded at a 33.1% annualized pace, according to the department’s initial estimate for the period. The gain came after a 31.4% plunge in the second quarter and was better than the 32% estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The previous post-World War II record was the 16.7% burst in the first quarter of 1950.

Markets reacted positively to the news, with Wall Street erasing a loss at the open and turning mostly positive. “It’s obviously good news that the economy bounced back in the third quarter,” said Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein. “There’s still a lot of work to do here and the pace of improvement … is going to slow. The stimulus programs that provided much of the economic lift last quarter have expired or are expiring. Fiscal support is diminishing. That is part of the reason that the pace of growth is going to slow from here.” Increased consumption along with sold gains in business and residential investment as well as exports fueled the third-quarter rebound. Decreases in government spending following the expiration of the CARES Act rescue funding subtracted from GDP.

The powerful growth pace came after states across the country shut down large swaths of activity in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11. [..] While the news on Q3 was good for the $21.2 trillion economy, the U.S. faces a tougher road ahead as coronavirus cases increase and worries grow over the health and economic impacts. Nearly half the 22 million jobs lost in March and April remain unfilled and the unemployment rate remains at 7.9%, more than double its pre-pandemic level as 12.6 million Americans are still out of work.


“This is going to be seized upon by both ends of the political spectrum as either evidence of the strength of the post-lockdown economic rebound or a cursory warning that the gains could be short-lived,” said James McCann, senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The reality is that the GDP numbers demonstrate that the U.S. economy did indeed rebound strongly as lockdown measures were lifted.”

Read more …

Jonathan Sumption, former British supreme court justice, slams ‘cavalier use of coercive powers’ and ‘loss of freedom’.

COVID Measures ‘Monument Of Collective Hysteria And Folly’: Ex-Judge (G.)

The government has deliberately stoked fear over coronavirus while behaving like an authoritarian regime relying on police state tactics, according to the former supreme court justice Jonathan Sumption. In his most forceful critique to date of the government’s handling of the pandemic, the outspoken lawyer condemned the way “the British state exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted”. Delivering the Cambridge Freshfields annual law lecture, Lord Sumption said: “The ease with which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence … came as a shock to me in March 2020.”

He is not the only former judge recently to lament the loss of effective parliamentary scrutiny of emergency Covid powers. Last month Lady Hale, former president of the supreme court, alleged that MPs and peers had surrendered their role during the coronavirus pandemic.In his address Sumption said the emergency measures were “the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country”. He stated: “I do not doubt the seriousness of the epidemic, but I believe that history will look back on the measures taken to contain it as a monument of collective hysteria and governmental folly.”

The government, he noted, had already tried to avoid parliamentary scrutiny during Brexit by proroguing parliament, a procedure subsequently ruled unlawful by the supreme court last year. “Governments hold power in Britain on the sufferance of the elected chamber of the legislature,” Sumption argued. “Without that we are no democracy. The present government has a different approach. It seeks to derive its legitimacy directly from the people, bypassing their elected representatives.” Sage, the government’s panel of expert scientific advisers, he said, had this year noted: “Citizens should be treated as rational actors, capable of taking decisions for themselves and managing personal risk.” That warning, Sumption said, had been ignored.

[..] The police had repeatedly exceeded their powers, he suggested. “When I ventured to criticise them in a BBC interview for acting beyond their powers I received a letter from the Derbyshire police commissioner objecting to my remarks on the ground that in a crisis such things were necessary. The implication was that in a crisis the police were entitled to do whatever they thought fit, without being unduly concerned about their legal powers. That is my definition of a police state.” By using “propaganda”, he said, the government had “to some extent been able to create its own public opinion – fear was deliberately stoked up by the government”.

Read more …

 

 

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Taiwan COVID
https://twitter.com/i/status/1310613292293984256

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Oct 282020
 


Gustav Klimt Pine forest I 1901

 

Last Round-up at the Wokester Corral (Jim Kunstler)
Multi-Organ Impairment In Low-Risk Individuals With Long COVID (medrxiv)
UK Study Finds Evidence Of Waning Antibody Immunity To COVID19 Over Time (R.)
Spanish Doctors In First Walkout In 25 Years To Protest New COVID19 Order (ZH)
White House Watch: Biden 49%, Trump 47% (Rasmussen)
Don’t Believe The Polls – Trump Is Winning (Hill)
Bobulinski Says He Met Joe Biden Twice In Connection With Chinese Venture (JTN)
How The Authenticity of Hunter’s Laptop Became Immaterial (Turley)
Biden Calls Russia #1 Threat But Slammed Romney For Saying It In 2012 (JTN)
Senate Investigates Hunter Biden’s Failure to Register as Foreign Agent (RCI)
The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich (CJ Hopkins)
‘Covid First’ China Is Trumping ‘America First’ In Economic Recovery (Roach)
Banksy’s Foolproof Plan for Dealing With Anyone Who Steals His Art (Y!)
Newly Sworn-In ACB Immediately Orders All Women To Wear Handmaid Outfit (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Kim Dotcom Joe Biden

 

 

“…a free society is obliged to tolerate the expression of disagreeable ideas up to the limit, as the Supreme Court put it, of “crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”

Last Round-up at the Wokester Corral (Jim Kunstler)

I have some questions for former friends who have dumped me on account of my support for Mr. Trump’s re-election — which is mostly a vote to prevent the Democratic Party and its fellow travelers from running the government. On the whole, these former friends are college-educated, mature in experience, and cultured. Some of them are well-acquainted with history, which is to say, they ought to know better than to support the obviously illiberal motives of the political Left. Are you against the principle of free speech? The Democratic Party is. They used to be champions of the First Amendment; now they want to make it conditional on ideas and sentiments they support. Contrary ideas are to be labeled “hate speech,” and suppressed, along with anything that might hurt somebody’s feelings.

How did you come to such a complete misunderstanding of what free speech means? Namely, that a free society is obliged to tolerate the expression of disagreeable ideas up to the limit, as the Supreme Court put it, of “crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” I will answer my own question partially by saying: you have been programmed against free speech by what used to be the very vehicles of it, the newspapers and TV News channels, which have, amazingly, come out against freedom of the press and turned into propaganda outlets for Woke Progressivism and its illiberal agenda — thereby inadvertently committing suicide of the entire profession. We’ve seen this acted-out most vividly just the past week in the social media companies’ efforts to suppress all news of the Biden family’s global business operations, along with The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and other leading news organizations that Americans used to depend on to know what was happening in the nation.

This is especially unforgivable during a national election. Did you support the movement on campus in recent years to shut down events featuring speakers such as Charles Murray (The Bell Curve), Heather Mac Donald of City Journal, Dinesh D’Souza, and many others who represented not-so-Woke ideas that “offended” you? Since when are your feelings so special that they negate the open exchange of ideas in the places that used to be dedicated to it, the universities? Should higher education only entertain ideas that you and your cohorts approve of? What if, in some future, a different cohort gains control of higher education and seeks to exclude your ideas on the grounds that they’re “offensive” (i.e. they just don’t like them)?

Are you in favor of a politicized Department of Justice and CIA? That is what the Democratic Party’s Resistance League deliberately brought about during the 2016 election, and they continue to promote it. Is it okay for bureaucrats to break the law to disable their political adversaries? That was the essence of the RussiaGate ruse. Former employees of those agencies, such as ex-CIA chief John Brennan and Andrew Weissmann, who ran the Mueller investigation, to this day still hype “Russian collusion” falsehoods to deflect attention from their own misdeeds. You let them get away with that.

Read more …

201 participants, median age 44, 70% women, large majority not high risk. Only 18% hospitalized. Median time 140 days from first symptom: 99% suffered at least four symptoms. 42% suffered at least ten. In 66%, injuries in at least one organ, in 25% in at least two organs.

Multi-Organ Impairment In Low-Risk Individuals With Long COVID (medrxiv)

Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has disproportionately affected older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions. Research has focused on short-term outcomes in hospital, and single organ involvement. Consequently, impact of long COVID (persistent symptoms three months post-infection) across multiple organs in low-risk individuals is yet to be assessed.

Methods An ongoing prospective, longitudinal, two-centre, observational study was performed in individuals symptomatic after recovery from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. Symptoms and organ function (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen) were assessed by standardised questionnaires (EQ-5D-5L, Dyspnoea-12), blood investigations and quantitative magnetic resonance imaging, defining single and multi-organ impairment by consensus definitions.

Findings Between April and September 2020, 201 individuals (mean age 44 (SD 11.0) years, 70% female, 87% white, 31% healthcare workers) completed assessments following SARS-CoV-2 infection (median 140, IQR 105-160 days after initial symptoms). The prevalence of pre-existing conditions (obesity: 20%, hypertension: 6%; diabetes: 2%; heart disease: 4%) was low, and only 18% of individuals had been hospitalised with COVID-19. Fatigue (98%), muscle aches (88%), breathlessness (87%), and headaches (83%) were the most frequently reported symptoms. Ongoing cardiorespiratory (92%) and gastrointestinal (73%) symptoms were common, and 42% of individuals had ten or more symptoms.

There was evidence of mild organ impairment in heart (32%), lungs (33%), kidneys (12%), liver (10%), pancreas (17%), and spleen (6%). Single (66%) and multi-organ (25%) impairment was observed, and was significantly associated with risk of prior COVID-19 hospitalisation (p<0.05).

Interpretation In a young, low-risk population with ongoing symptoms, almost 70% of individuals have impairment in one or more organs four months after initial symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There are implications not only for burden of long COVID but also public health approaches which have assumed low risk in young people with no comorbidities.

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It’s the combination of the article above, and this one, that has me thinking. Both talk about what happens in a 6 month period or longer.

UK Study Finds Evidence Of Waning Antibody Immunity To COVID19 Over Time (R.)

Antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer, a study found on Tuesday, suggesting protection after infection may not be long lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community. Scientists at Imperial College London have tracked antibody levels in the British population following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April. Their study found that antibody prevalence fell by a quarter, from 6% of the population around the end of June to just 4.4% in September. That raises the prospect of decreasing population immunity ahead of a second wave of infections in recent weeks that has forced local lockdowns and restrictions.

Although immunity to the novel coronavirus is a complex and murky area, and may be assisted by T cells, as well as B cells that can stimulate the quick production of antibodies following re-exposure to the virus, the researchers said the experience of other coronaviruses suggested immunity might not be enduring. “We can see the antibodies and we can see them declining and we know that antibodies on their own are quite protective,” Wendy Barclay, head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London told reporters. “On the balance of evidence I would say, with what we know for other coronaviruses, it would look as if immunity declines away at the same rate as antibodies decline away, and that this is an indication of waning immunity at the population level.”

Those for whom COVID-19 was confirmed with a gold standard PCR test had a less pronounced decline in antibodies, compared to people who had been asymptomatic and unaware of their original infection. There was no change in the levels of antibodies seen in healthcare workers, possibly due to repeated exposure to the virus. The study backs up findings from similar surveys in Germany which found the vast majority of people didn’t have COVID-19 antibodies, even in hotspots for the disease, and that antibodies might fade in those who do.

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“The order requires doctors and nurses to report to any of a range of assignments that could be handed to them by the government during the state of emergency..”

Spanish Doctors In First Walkout In 25 Years To Protest New COVID19 Order (ZH)

Doctors across Spain have walked out on Tuesday in what media outlets have called the first medical strike to rock the country in 25 years. As the coronavirus pandemic rages across Spain, where the Health Ministry reported another 18,418 new daily cases on Tuesday, doctors are beginning the strike, which was called in defiance of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s latest emergency order, which was implemented on Sunday. The order requires doctors and nurses to report to any of a range of assignments that could be handed to them by the government during the state of emergency, which could be in place for months. Doctors complained that the new law violated their rights, and compromised the standard of care for patients, as doctors would end up working in an area they weren’t specialized in.


The strike will continue indefinitely, with doctors set to continue striking on the last Tuesday of every month until a deal has been reached. For the first time, 200,000 new cases were confirmed in Spain over the previous two weeks, and cases on Tuesday were up 33% compared with the prior week. And over the last 24 hours, another 267 people have died. “The Health Ministry hasn’t even dignified us with a meeting to try and get us to call off the strike,” he told Spanish health journal iSanidad. Spain’s hospitals harbor nearly 16,700 active COVID-19 patients – up more than 600 compared to Monday, with one quarter of all the country’s ICU units used to treat those with an infectious disease.

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The day before, Trump was ahead.

White House Watch: Biden 49%, Trump 47% (Rasmussen)

Democrat Joe Biden has edged back ahead in Rasmussen Reports’ daily White House Watch survey. The latest national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Biden earning 49% support to President Trump’s 47%. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, while two percent (2%) are still undecided. Yesterday, Trump was ahead for the first time since mid-September – by a minimal 48% to 47%. The race has been tightening since early in the month.


Rasmussen Reports has been releasing White House Watch weekly on Wednesdays since the beginning of July. But starting this week, White House Watch will be posted daily at 10:30 am Eastern. Trump earns 82% support among Republicans. Biden has 78% of the Democrat vote and leads by three among voters not affiliated with either major party. The survey of 1,500 Likely Voters was conducted October 22 and 25-26, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

Trump: VOTE

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FYI.

Don’t Believe The Polls – Trump Is Winning (Hill)

We predict that President Trump is going to win the 2020 presidential election — and win big. While the majority of the polls suggest that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading, or at best that it’s close, those polls suffer from at least three problems. First, the tone of the questions. There is significant evidence from behavioral psychology that suggests that the way a question is framed predetermines the range of potential answers. In fact, Gallup has found that respondents can answer very differently to questions with the same topic even in the same survey based on the language that’s used. And the use of metaphors can even dwarf the importance of pre-existing differences between Republicans and Democrats.

One of the reasons respondents do that is because of a tendency to give socially desirable answers, which was the case especially during the 2016 election. Most people don’t like confrontation, so the easiest, albeit not necessarily the best, solution is to avoid it. Right now, saying that you’re voting for Trump/Pence is often not the socially desirable answer. In fact, a recent poll by the Cato Institute suggests that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the political climate is sufficiently harsh that they don’t want to give their genuine opinion about politics.

Second, the sample of respondents. Who responds depends on many factors, including the medium (e.g., landline versus cellphone), the location, the sample size and demographic factors. Moreover, the pool of respondents is not necessarily the same as the pool of likely voters. Even though election polls all contain a margin of error, that margin of error is unreliable if the underlying sample does not reflect the population. Researchers have also identified self-screening as the major contributing factor to the polling failures during the 2016 election cycle. For example, distrust of pollsters also leads to lower response rates for Trump supporters. Rasmussen finds that 17 percent of likely U.S. voters who “strongly approve” of the job President Trump is doing say they are less likely to let others know how they intend to vote in the upcoming election.

By comparison, only 8 percent of those who “strongly disapprove” of the president’s performance say the same. While proper sampling methodology matters more than the size, having a representative sample with enough people still helps considerably. Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group notes how their work to create minimum samples sizes of 1,000 voters, added to their work to doggedly pursue the “quiet Trump voter,” led to Trafalgar being one of the most successful battleground polling firms in the country in 2016. Cahaly explains that “we don’t do a state with less than a thousand. You see these polls, 400, 500, 600 people for a state. I don’t buy that. Your margin of error is far too high.”

Third, the content of the current news cycle. What’s going on in a particular moment in time can influence voter attitudes, particularly in swing states. For example, the recent revelation of Hunter Biden’s hidden emails on his laptop, coupled with the link to his father, has come at an opportune time for the president. Moreover, if the economic recovery continues, the good news may continue putting wind in Trump’s sails.

Leaflet left on reporters’ chairs in Airforce One.

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Crickets in the MSM.

Bobulinski Says He Met Joe Biden Twice In Connection With Chinese Venture (JTN)

In a lengthy interview with Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night, former Biden family business associate Tony Bobulinski accused Joe Biden of a “blatant lie” in denying any familiarity with his son Hunter’s business undertakings, claiming he himself met with Biden on two separate occasions to discuss prospective ventures into Chinese markets. Bobulinski painted a picture of the Democratic presidential nominee as actively aware in broad strokes of plans for the Biden family to enter into a business partnership with Chinese nationals closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army — yet with Biden himself maintaining enough distance from the operational details in face-to-face encounters to preserve what his brother Jim Biden would characterize as “plausible deniability.”


Biden’s family members, Bobuilnski claimed, were “putting their entire family legacy on the line” in their dealings with the Chinese. “They knew exactly what they were doing,” he said. They were dealing with a Chinese owned enterprise … that had strong financial support and political support from the Chinese Communist Party. That’s how it was presented to me. That’s not my own words. That’s how they presented it to me and read me in on it.” Bobulinski made headlines last week when he claimed to have firsthand evidence of Biden’s involvement in those deals. “I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business,” Bobulinski said in a statement. “I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true.”

Tucker Bobulinkski

In a largely unbroken 45-minute interview with Carlson on Tuesday, Bobulinski further went on the record, telling the Fox host that he was approached by the Biden family and several associates in 2017 in order to help manage a business venture in China. Bobulinski said he met with Biden at the Milken Institute’s 2017 Global Conference in Los Angeles. “They were wining and dining me to get me more engaged,” he told Carlson. “I didn’t request to meet with Joe,” Bobulinski said. “They requested I meet with Joe.” Bobulinski, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant, said he met with Biden twice in the course of his association with the family. Biden reportedly told Bobulinski to “keep an eye on Hunter and [Biden’s brother] James” during their dealings.


Chinese officials, Bobulinski said, looked at him as “irrelevant,” seeing “the Biden family” as the main focus of their dealings. He claimed that the Bidens received a $5 million no-collateral, no-interest loan from Chinese officials. Bobulinski was motivated to come forward, he told Carlson, after California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff denounced recently leaked emails involving Hunter Biden as “Russian disinformation.” That allegation, Bobulinski told Carlson, also smeared his own family’s name. “I was at the end of the rope,” he said. “I called [Biden associate] Rob Walker. I told him if that statement wasn’t retracted by midnight on Sunday then I was going on record.”

Tucker Bobulinkski 8 Minutes
https://twitter.com/i/status/1321285423793131527

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“It simply does not matter. It is disinformation because it is simply inconvenient to treat it as real information.”

How The Authenticity of Hunter’s Laptop Became Immaterial (Turley)

Yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden was again insisting that the scandal involving Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation despite the direct refutation of that claim by the FBI. No mainstream reporter bothered to ask the simple question of whether this was his son’s laptop and emails, including emails clearly engaging in an influence peddling scheme and referring to Joe Biden’s knowledge. Instead, media has maintained a consistent and narrow focus. Indeed, in her interview, Leslie Stahl immediately dismissed any “scandal” involving Hunter in an interview with the President on 60 Minutes. It was an open example of what I previously noted in a column: “After all, an allegation is a scandal only if it is damaging. No coverage, no damage, no scandal.”

In her interview with Joe Biden, CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell did not push Biden to simply confirm that the emails were fake or whether he did in fact meet with Hunter’s associates (despite his prior denials). Instead O’Donnell asked: “Do you believe the recent leak of material allegedly from Hunter’s computer is part of a Russian disinformation campaign?” Biden responded with the same answer that has gone unchallenged dozens of times: “From what I’ve read and know the intelligence community warned the president that Giuliani was being fed disinformation from the Russians. And we also know that Putin is trying very hard to spread disinformation about Joe Biden. And so when you put the combination of Russia, Giuliani– the president, together– it’s just what it is. It’s a smear campaign because he has nothing he wants to talk about. What is he running on? What is he running on?”

It did not matter that the answer omitted the key assertion that this was not Hunter’s laptop or emails or that he did not leave the computer with this store. Recently, Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid wrote said the quiet part out loud by telling the media: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.” Let that sink in for a second. It does not matter if these are real emails and not Russian disinformation. They probably are real but should be treated as disinformation even though American intelligence has repeatedly rebutted that claim. It does not even matter that the FBI has seized the computer as evidence in a criminal fraud investigation or that a Biden confidant is now giving his allegations to the FBI under threat of criminal charges if he lies to investigators. It simply does not matter. It is disinformation because it is simply inconvenient to treat it as real information.

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Times change. RussiaRussia has become indispensible.

Biden Calls Russia #1 Threat But Slammed Romney For Saying It In 2012 (JTN)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden recently identified Russia as the number one threat to America but in 2012, when he was vice president, Biden called then-GOP presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney “out of touch” for taking the same position. Biden said Romney views the “world through a Cold War prism that is totally out of touch with the realities of the 21st century.” Biden slammed Romney for referring to Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe,” which was greeted with laughter from members of the audience watching Biden’s address in April 2012. “Governor Romney is mired in a Cold War mindset,” Biden said in a foreign policy speech at New York University in 2012.

Biden referred to Romney’s criticism of Obama’s handling of the New START treaty, which was a nuclear arms control treaty reached with Russia in 2010. “Governor Romney was part of a very small group of Cold War holdovers who never met an arms control treaty that he likes,” he said. “He was way out of the mainstream on this issue, unless you think that’s just political hyperbole.” “He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on, Russia is still our major adversary,” Biden said in an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in 2012. “I don’t know where he has been. We have disagreements with Russia, but they’re united with us on Iran. One of only two ways we’re getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia … if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they’ll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. This is not 1956.”

In October 2012, Obama mocked Romney’s position on Russia as the top threat to the U.S. during a presidential debate. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama said. In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday evening, Biden said Russia is the greatest threat to the U.S. “The biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our security and our alliances is Russia,” he said.

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“The email indicates Hunter was familiar with the requirements of the law. It is a crime to knowingly violate FARA. Violations carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison.”

Senate Investigates Hunter Biden’s Failure to Register as Foreign Agent (RCI)

A search of Justice Department databases reveals that Hunter Biden failed to register as a foreign agent while promoting the interests of foreign business partners in Washington, including brokering meetings with his father and other government officials, and RealClear Investigations has learned at least one Senate committee is investigating whether Joe Biden’s son violated federal laws requiring disclosure of such foreign contacts. The Obama administration did not prosecute Hunter Biden for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, despite its much more aggressive pursuit of FARA cases relative to other administrations — including its opening of criminal investigations on no fewer than six Trump campaign advisers in 2016.

One of them, Paul Manafort, ended up in prison in part for failing to publicly disclose his lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian clients and partners. Newly discovered April 2015 emails show Hunter Biden appeared to be helping a Ukrainian energy executive meet with and lobby his father, who was vice president at the time. Hunter, who held a lucrative seat on the board of Ukrainian gas giant Burisma at the time, also sought meetings with State Department officials. None of these contacts was publicly disclosed in government filings, according to a search of both FARA and Lobbying Disclosure Act records, which show Hunter registered as a federal lobbyist in 2001 and stopped filing disclosures in 2008. In contrast, Hunter’s former law partner and fellow lobbyist, William Oldaker, has registered as a foreign agent under FARA. Oldaker is Joe Biden’s longtime campaign lawyer and fundraiser.

At least one Senate committee is actively investigating Hunter’s compliance with the FARA law. Though it has not sent a criminal referral to Justice, RCI has also learned that a public-interest law firm is preparing a complaint to Justice regarding Hunter Biden’s arranging meetings between his foreign contacts and his father when he was vice president. Former investigators and prosecutors say the uneven enforcement of the federal statute smacks of politics. “It’s a double standard, 100%,” said former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker, who led public corruption cases out of Washington. Added Swecker, who also served as a prosecutor: “It’s strange how in this election there is no curiosity whatsoever about foreign influence on a potential president of the United States, especially from this country’s greatest threat — China.”

[..] In a May 2017 email, their mutual business partner, James Biden, sent his nephew Hunter, Bobulinski and other partners a list of friendly American political contacts whom they could exploit to advance the proposed joint venture with their Chinese partners. Among the “key domestic contacts” were: Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is now Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. (FARA records show James Biden has not registered as a foreign agent, either.) In an earlier email that same month, Hunter sought to avoid registering as a foreign agent as part of the venture. “We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents,” he told Bobulinski on May 1, 2017, and suggested setting up a U.S. shell company to work around it. The email indicates Hunter was familiar with the requirements of the law. It is a crime to knowingly violate FARA. Violations carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

@RobertPLewis: “I didn’t think the audio from Hunter Biden’s laptop could be worse than the child endangerment pics, but it is. Verbal admission from Hunter that he knew he and his dad were in bed & business with Chinese intelligence. Bruh. That’s treason”

Hunter: F*cking spy chief of China

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“Trump will face some sort of Nuremberg trial, where he will have to answer for mass-murdering six million people with the Coronavirus by taking off his mask on the White House balcony. Hillary Clinton will be appointed … something.”

The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich (CJ Hopkins)

So, according to the corporate media, this is it for Russian-backed Hitler. Game over. The walls are closing in. It’s the last days of the Trumpian Reich. Get those vuvuzelas ready! Yes, apparently, the American people, who were all a bunch of Putin-worshipping, white-supremacist neo-Nazis when they elected Trump in 2016, have come to their senses and are going to deliver a landslide victory to “Slappy” Joe Biden and bring down the curtain on this “Age of Darkness,” or save the world from “racial Orwellianism” or the “bottomless pit of facsism,” or whatever. White supremacy will be defeated and globalization will rise from the ashes! Decency will be restored! Love will trump hate! Black lives will matter!

Slappy and Kamala will immediately fly down and liberate the concentration camps. Trump will face some sort of Nuremberg trial, where he will have to answer for mass-murdering six million people with the Coronavirus by taking off his mask on the White House balcony. Hillary Clinton will be appointed … something. Exuberant liberals will pour into the streets, chanting unintelligible slogans through their designer masks and plastic head bubbles. OK, sure, the global economy will be ruined, and millions of people will be unemployed, and homeless, or will have needlessly died, so that GloboCap could simulate an apocalyptic global plague, and foment racialized civil unrest, and just generally create an atmosphere of confusion, depression, and paranoia, but the War on Populism will finally be over … and GloboCap will start to “Build Back Better!”

OK, it won’t be “better” right away. As our friends at the World Economic Forum note: “Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the world is off-balance – and it will remain so for years to come. Far from settling into a ‘new normal’, we should expect a Covid19 domino effect, triggering further disruptions – positive as well as negative – over the decade ahead. The wave of civil unrest that spread across America and beyond recently may be one example …” So, all right, maybe not quite the end of the War on Populism, but at least a new stage of it. A chaotic, destructive, violent stage of it, which will require a lot of “emergency measures” and will end up radically transforming the planet into one big pathologized-totalitarian marketplace.

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Stephen Roach knows a thing or two.

‘Covid First’ China Is Trumping ‘America First’ In Economic Recovery (Roach)

Just as China led the world in economic recovery in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, it is playing a similar role today. Its post-Covid rebound is gathering momentum amid a developed world that remains on shaky ground. Unfortunately, this is a bitter pill for many to swallow – especially in the United States, where demonisation of China has reached epic proportions. The two crises are, of course, different. Wall Street was ground zero for the 2008 crisis, while the Covid-19 pandemic was spawned in the wet markets of Wuhan. But in both cases, China’s crisis-response strategy was far more effective than that deployed by the US. In the five years following the onset of the 2008 crisis, annual real GDP growth in China averaged 8.6 per cent (on a purchasing power parity basis).

While that was slower than the blistering (and unsustainable) 11.6 per cent average pace of the five previous years, it was four times the US economy’s anaemic 2.1 per cent average annual growth over the post-crisis 2010-14 period. China’s pandemic response hints at a comparable outcome in the years ahead. The GDP report for the third quarter of 2020 suggests a rapid return to the pre-Covid trend. The 4.9 per cent year-on-year figure for real GDP growth does not convey a full sense of the self-sustaining recovery that is now emerging in China. Measuring economic growth on a sequential quarterly basis and converting those comparisons to annual rates – the preferred construct of US statisticians and policymakers – provides a much cleaner sense of real-time shifts in the underlying momentum of any economy.

On that basis, China’s real GDP rose at an 11 per cent sequential annual rate in the third quarter, following a 55 per cent post-lockdown surge in the second quarter. The comparison with the US is noteworthy. Both economies experienced comparable contractions during their respective lockdowns, which came one quarter later for the US. China’s 33.8 per cent sequential (annualised) plunge in the first quarter was almost identical to the 31.2 per cent US contraction in the second quarter. Based on incoming high-frequency (monthly) data, the so-called GDPNow estimate of the Atlanta Federal Reserve puts third-quarter sequential real GDP growth in the US at around 35 per cent. While that is a welcome and marked turnaround from the record decline during the lockdown, it is about 20 percentage points short of China’s post-lockdown rebound and still leaves the US economy about 3 per cent below its peak of late 2019.

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“The big problem I had with people removing my street work wasn’t that it was exploiting and stealing from the community — it was because the stolen stuff looked so much better than what I was making in the studio..”

Banksy’s Foolproof Plan for Dealing With Anyone Who Steals His Art (Y!)

Contemporary art is a tricky business. If you’ve collected a painting or sculpture by a modern artist, odds are good that you’ll have some record of the transaction, and some method of verifying that the work you have is both genuine and genuinely obtained. That becomes a bit more complicated when the artist in question — though world-famous — has a penchant for anonymously leaving their work in urban spaces to create impromptu public art. Yes, we’re talking about Banksy, and one of his lesser-known practices which has recently come into sharp relief. Last week, a clip from Antiques Roadshow went viral. It features a man looking to get a small painting by Banksy evaluated. When asked how he’d come by it, the man admit he’d seen it while walking down a street in Brighton one night.

Recognizing it as Banksy’s handiwork, he then removed it from where it had been screwed into place. What follows is a brief and memorable lesson in morality. Pro tip: it’s generally considered poor form to admit to stealing something while being recorded for television. As the show’s host reveals, Banksy has established a virtual portal to authenticate whether specific works of his are both genuine and genuinely obtained — and, as the guy trying to get a painting valued admits, he’d visited the site and been told that the painting could not be validated because it was not obtained legally. Dubbed Pest Control, the service offers an easy-to-use interface to determine a particular work’s validity.

Elsewhere on Pest Control’s site, they offer a more extensive explanation of what they do — namely, issue certificates of authenticity. As for what that means, well — here’s what Pest Control themselves have to say: “The certificate of authenticity (COA) means you can buy, sell or insure a piece of art knowing it’s legitimate and the wheels won’t fall off,” they write. “Pest Control is the only source of COA’s for Banksy. We issue them for paintings, prints, sculptures and other attempts at creativity. We don’t issue them for things like stickers, posters, defaced currency or anything which wasn’t originally intended as a ‘work of art’.” Pest Control also offers a “Keeping It Real” service, which lets prospective buyers of a work by Banksy confirm that the work is, in fact, legitimate.

[..] “The big problem I had with people removing my street work wasn’t that it was exploiting and stealing from the community — it was because the stolen stuff looked so much better than what I was making in the studio,” he told artnet news.

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“All women are now required to bear at least seventeen babies.”

Newly Sworn-In ACB Immediately Orders All Women To Wear Handmaid Outfit (BBee)

After being sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett immediately issued a decree that all women are to wear red handmaid’s outfits for the rest of their lives. “Execute papal order 66,” she said, her eyes glowing red. “Implement the theocratic state.” Barrett sent out squads of soldiers to round up women and make sure they wear the garment at all times. All women are now required to bear at least seventeen babies. Attendance at Catholic Mass is also mandatory. Those who violate the order will be executed, “no exceptions,” said Barrett. “She can’t do this! This is unconstitutional!” screamed Rachel Maddow as enforcement squads kicked in the doors at MSNBC’s studios and grabbed her for reconditioning as a subservient handmaid. “I warned you! I WARNED ALL OF YOU!” The whole country turning into a Christofascist state seems to be a negative to many, but the nation is quite a bit more peaceful now.

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 262020
 


Henri Matisse Nu Blue IV 1952

 

America’s Class War Disguised As Race War May Cause A Civil War (Feierstein)
Will Anyone From The Left Realize Why Trump Won — Again? (MacKinnon)
Suppression Is A Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Hunter Biden Story (Taibbi)
Trump’s Post-Election Execution List (Axios)
Yes, Virginia, the Trump Administration Does Have a China Strategy (Paskal)
The Mother of All Stock Market Bubbles (Lendman)
NYC Hotel Occupancy Rate Crashes Toward 10% As Permanent Closures Loom (ZH)
Greece Insists On Turkish Arms Embargo (K.)
Soil Fungi Act Like A Support Network For Trees (Folio)

 

 

“The US just had its worst day of COVID cases ever—83k—and we’re somehow still lower than the trailing European average.

Adjusted for population, Belgium and the Czech Republic are averaging 300,000 cases/day for the last week.”

 

 

Biden stops campaigning 9 days before election

 

 

Leaflet left on chair of every member of the press boarding Airforce One yesterday.

 

 

“This is the biggest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.”

America’s Class War Disguised As Race War May Cause A Civil War (Feierstein)

In the United States, a class war has been amplified by a biased media and social media. Silicon Valley uses algorithms to move forward politically driven narratives and financial interests designed to polarize and sow seeds of discord that increase tribalism across the nation. US intelligence operatives and the media have joined forces with the Democratic Party to deploy psychological operations, disinformation, and propaganda campaigns, the likes of which have never been used before against the American people, in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November presidential election.

Facebook and Twitter censored a factual New York Post article based on evidence that was legally obtained from the laptop of his son, Hunter Biden, about a decades-long corruption and influence-peddling scandal that then Vice President Joe Biden perpetrated. The Biden family made tens of millions of dollars from Hunter Biden’s corrupt business deals in Ukraine and China. US VP Joe Biden threatened to withhold one billion dollars in aid from Ukraine until they fired a prosecutor named Victor Shokin. Shokin was investigating Burisma holdings. Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian energy firm that hired Hunter Biden. Hunter had no experience in energy markets or Ukraine, and Burisma paid Hunter $50,000 per month. Joe Biden’s threat worked, Shokin was fired, the Burisma holdings investigation ended, Ukraine received its billion dollars, and Hunter pocketed the cash.

Joe Biden disappears for days at a time, refuses to answer reporters’ questions or discuss if, as President, Biden intends to end the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court with liberal judges, add four US Senators (DC and Puerto Rico), and end the electoral college. The people and the media must demand that Joe Biden immediately: outline his policy intentions and address every issue and allegation found within the emails, photos, and videos found on his son’s computer—well, over a week of silence is unacceptable. Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of this blatant corruption and the media’s journalistic malpractice are crimes against democracy. This is the biggest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.

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“The sense of devastation and despair this has created is like nothing I have ever experienced. They have stripped us of everything that gave us joy. Every social outlet, every relief, has been made illegal.”

Will Anyone From The Left Realize Why Trump Won — Again? (MacKinnon)

Weeks before the 2016 election, I sent an email to several media and political personalities predicting that Donald Trump would win Pennsylvania and get 306 electoral votes. I’m not a professional pollster, but I did work on three winning presidential campaigns, and I simply tried to block out the noise from supporters of both the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns. I pulled up the 2012 electoral map to see which states Mitt Romney won and then, factoring in the latest data and political miscalculations, made an educated guess for 2016. Using that same system, I have come up with a prediction for 2020: an absolute floor of 278 electoral votes for Trump, with a real chance that he’ll win more than 310 electoral votes.

That may upset Joe Biden’s supporters and the Trump haters, but hopefully some of those who oppose Trump will ask themselves if this is a possibility and, if so, why it would happen — again. It is not an exaggeration to state that much of the mainstream media, academia, entertainment, medicine and science, Big Tech, the “deep state,” the Never Trumpers, the Democratic Party, and other entrenched establishment elites have joined forces to defeat Trump. Of course, they have a right to oppose the president on any grounds. But they should stop to consider what they themselves might represent to many Americans who struggle to pay bills, feed their children and, in some cases, simply survive.

To those Americans, those who adamantly oppose the president — Democrats or Republicans — look like the power center that has ruled over them for decades and made their lives miserable. These elites typically preach, “Do as I say, not as I do.” They’re rarely subject to the rules and dictates that they hand down. They have an “inside track” because they hold the keys to a club that’s off limits to the average American. For anyone who can do the math, the main answer to why Trump won in 2016 — and why I believe he will win again on Nov. 3 — should be blindingly obvious: Trump went out of his way to expose those elites to the American people as the very problem making their lives exponentially worse. He convinced enough voters that he is not one of those “ivory tower elites” and can’t be bought by their special interests.

[..] With the coronavirus pandemic, this year has been surreal — and painful — in so many ways for most Americans. There’s no question those issues will play a key role in the election. The virus has touched everyone, and its economic effects have been especially devastating to the working class. Trump, now a COVID-19 survivor, has made it clear that, in general, he opposes perpetual lockdowns to deal with the virus. After the government of Ireland issued a truly punishing new lockdown in that country, one person summed up the collective hopelessness in a tweet: “The sense of devastation and despair this has created is like nothing I have ever experienced. They have stripped us of everything that gave us joy. Every social outlet, every relief, has been made illegal.”

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“The suppression story is almost certainly a bigger scandal than the Hunter Biden affair itself, but it’s all become part of the same picture.”

Suppression Is A Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Hunter Biden Story (Taibbi)

As has been hinted at by several prominent journalists, controversies erupted within newsrooms across New York and Washington in the last week. Editors have been telling charges that any effort to determine whether or not the Biden laptop material is true, or to ask the Biden campaign to confirm or deny the story, will either not be allowed or put through heightened fact-checking procedures. On the other hand, if you want to assert without any evidence at all that the New York Post story is Russian interference, you can essentially go straight into print.

Many people on the liberal side of the political aisle don’t have a problem with this, focused as they are on the upcoming Trump-Biden election. But this same press corps might be weeks away from assuming responsibility for challenging a Biden administration. If they’ve already calculated once that a true story may be buried for political reasons because the other “side” is worse, they will surely make that same calculation again. What happens a month from now when an ambitious Republican like Tom Cotton leaks a document damaging to a President-Elect Biden? Or two years from now, if in the weeks before midterm elections, we get bad economic news, or a Biden/Harris administration foreign policy initiative takes a turn for the worse? Are we sure those stories will be run?

The Republican version of Burisma story – essentially, that former General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin was Elliott Ness, and Joe Biden intervened to fire him specifically to aid his son’s company – is also not supported by evidence. What Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts have done to date is take a few unreported or under-reported facts and leap straight to a maximalist interpretation of corruption on Joe Biden’s part. This isn’t right, but the room to make that argument has been created by the ongoing squelching of information coming from Ukraine. The suppression story is almost certainly a bigger scandal than the Hunter Biden affair itself, but it’s all become part of the same picture.

Bobulinski mail to Jim Biden:

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Nice headline, Axios! Execution. Big word.

Trump’s Post-Election Execution List (Axios)

If President Trump wins re-election, he’ll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two people who’ve discussed these officials’ fates with the president tell Axios. The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump’s priorities, starting with Wray. Wray and Haspel are despised and distrusted almost universally in Trump’s inner circle. He would have fired both already, one official said, if not for the political headaches of acting before Nov. 3. A win, no matter the margin, will embolden Trump to ax anyone he sees as constraining him from enacting desired policies or going after perceived enemies.

Trump last week signed an executive order that set off alarm bells as a means to politicize the civil service. An administration official said the order “is a really big deal” that would make it easier for presidents to get rid of career government officials. There could be shake-ups across other departments. The president has never been impressed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, for example. But that doesn’t carry the urgency of replacing Wray or Haspel. The nature of top intelligence and law enforcement posts has traditionally carried an expectation for a higher degree of independence and separation from politics. While Trump has also privately vented about Attorney General Bill Barr, he hasn’t made any formal plans to replace him, an official said.

Trump is furious that Barr isn’t releasing before the election what Trump hoped would be a bombshell report by U.S. Attorney John Durham on the Obama administration’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Durham’s investigation has yet to produce any high-profile indictments of Obama-era officials as Trump had hoped. “The attorney general wants to finish the work that he’s been involved in since day one,” a senior administration official told Axios. “The view of Haspel in the West Wing is that she still sees her job as manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field,” one source with direct knowledge of the internal conversations told Axios. “It’s bred a lot of suspicion of her motives.”

Trump is also increasingly frustrated with Haspel for opposing the declassification of documents that would help the Justice Department’s Durham report. A source familiar with conversations at the CIA says, “Since the beginning of DNI’s push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election.” As for Wray,[..] Trump is angry his second FBI chief didn’t launch a formal investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business connections — and didn’t purge more officials Trump believes abused power to investigate his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia.

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Comprehensive National Power (CNP).

Yes, Virginia, the Trump Administration Does Have a China Strategy (Paskal)

On October 26, a week before the U.S. presidential election, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will begin two days of high-level talks in Delhi. In person. That shouldn’t be a surprise. If one puts politics aside, and connects the many and varied dots, one can see that the U.S. administration has a clear China strategy that is well thought out, multifaceted, and based on a deep understanding of China. It even has a name. But before getting to the administration’s strategy, we need to understand what it is designed to counter — China’s concept of Comprehensive National Power (CNP). Comprehensive National Power is a dominant framework in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) view of the world. CCP think tanks and organizations use it to shape policies and gauge success.

The premise is that a nation’s Comprehensive National Power can be given a numerical value based on a specific but exceptionally wide range of factors, from military strength, to soft power, to access to natural resources, to advances in research and development, and much more. Retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain Bernard Moreland — whose last posting was as U.S. Coast Guard liaison to Beijing — explains: “One of the important things to understand about CNP is that it is an objective metric. Beijing constantly calculates and recalculates China’s CNP relative to other nations the same way many of us watch our 401(k) grow. For us in the West, concepts like ‘national power’ are subjective vague concepts. The [Chinese Communist Party is] obsessed with engineering and calculating everything and believe that all issues can be reduced to numbers and algorithms. This is what they mean when they euphemistically refer to ‘scientific approaches.’”

The result is that any possible tactic – legal or otherwise – is considered fair game in serving the CCP’s goal of increasing China’s Comprehensive National Power. That includes using proxies and diversions to make counteractions more difficult. In an October 21 article for Foreign Affairs, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien detailed some of the many ways Beijing is trying to advance its CNP. They include intellectual property theft, co-opting international organization, using fishing boats for military action, hostage diplomacy, coercive economic policies, use and intimidation of Chinese nationals overseas to advance China’s interests, infiltrating and corrupting foreign education systems, debt traps, bribery, blurring the lines between state, commercial and military activities, and more. Much, much more.

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“Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google—four companies—have a combined market cap (over $6 trillion) that is greater than the GDP of every country in the world, minus the US and China.”

The Mother of All Stock Market Bubbles (Lendman)

Never before in US equity market history was there as great a disconnect between economic reality and equity prices as now. At a time of economic collapse and likely protracted US Depression, market valuations are at or near all-time highs. David Stockman explained some of the extremes in a period he called “outright fiscal insanity.” Count the ways: “Amazon, a company that didn’t exist pre-1994 is “43% of the S&P 500 consumer discretionary index.” “Nearly two-thirds of the market is underperforming so far this year.” “Year-to-date, only one in three stocks is actually in the green.” “One in five stocks is down 50% or more from its all-time high.” “The five largest stocks in the S&P 500 have a combined market cap that equals that of the ‘smallest’ 389 stocks.”

“Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google—four companies—have a combined market cap (over $6 trillion) that is greater than the GDP of every country in the world, minus the US and China.” “Tesla, having surpassed Walmart (with one-twentieth of the revenue!), has become the ninth-largest stock in the US.” All of the above give new meaning to the term surreal. If a Hollywood script writer presented the above scenario to a producer for filming, it would either be accepted as science fiction or rejected outright as too unrealistic. Who’d believe it? Under these conditions, it’s impossible to invest wisely because markets are dominated by speculative excess — riverboat gambling replacing what sound investing used to be.

No matter which right wing of the US one-party state wins control of the White House and/or Congress, nothing will change — things more likely to worsen until an inevitable day of reckoning arrives. Stockman asked: “How could the S&P 500 be trading at its highest multiple in 70 years when the growth rate of corporate earnings has been sinking for more than two decades?” “The recent S&P index value implies a PE multiple of 36.8X—a place the S&P 500 has never been before.” “The forward PE is now above the record high reached during the dot-com madness at the” end of the 1990s. In calendar year 2020, corporate earnings crashed. They’re “23% (below) their 2019 peak.” Yet market valuations are at levels that suggest double-digit earnings growth ahead — despite evidence indicating protracted economic Depression, mass unemployment, along with reduced business and consumer spending.

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Everyone’s still waiting for tourism to rise again.

NYC Hotel Occupancy Rate Crashes Toward 10% As Permanent Closures Loom (ZH)

Prices at New York City hotels have plunged as the hospitality industry continues to try and grapple with the effects of the global pandemic. Some hotels, like the Midtown Hilton, have remained closed since March. Others, like the Pierre, are operating in limited capacity. Those that are open for business have slashed prices by more than 60%, according to a new writeup by AlJazeera. Despite October usually being a fruitful month for tourism in NYC, coronavirus has forced the cancellation of staple events like the NYC Marathon and Fashion Week. And while the industry has definitely recovered since March, it still has a long way to go. 200 of New York’s roughly 700 hotels remain closed, the article notes.

Lukas Hartwich, an analyst at real estate research firm Green Street, said: “Next year is going to be far worse than any year we’ve ever had except this one. It’s going to be 2022 before we get back to where we were during the worst part of the last recession.” Occupancy rates in NYC stand under 40% right now, with the average daily room price at $135. Those figures, last October, stood at 92% and $336. Industry locals say the 2020 figure may even be inflated, as many hotels stopped reporting data for the time being. Vijay Dandapani, chief executive officer of the Hotel Association of New York City, said: “The true hotel occupancy is less than 10%. Hotels have theoretically been able to be open, but in many cases it’s pointless.”

In addition to risk-adverse travelers, corporate travel has also diminished, acting as a major headwind for the industry. Executives in the industry predict that up to 20% of the city’s hotels could wind up permanently closed. Those that have stayed open, like the Pierre, are offering limited services. For example, at the Pierre, room service stops after breakfast and the concierge clocks out at 5PM now.

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Good luck taking on the arms industry.

Greece Insists On Turkish Arms Embargo (K.)

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan making clear his plans to continue exploratory activities within Greece’s continental shelf over the next two months, Athens is pressing its case for an arms embargo against Turkey. Reacting to Ankara’s operational escalation in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Athens is determined to stress that it is unacceptable for European Union countries to continue exporting arms to Turkey while it threatens a member-state. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has insisted already on the need for an arms embargo on Turkey by Greece’s EU partners, and also raised the issue in person with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The case was also made by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in a letter to his counterparts in Germany, Italy and Spain.


The most serious aspect of the assistance provided by many of Greece’s European partners to Turkey is not only the equipment but, more importantly, the know-how that has enabled Ankara to rapidly develop and expand its domestic defense industry, including in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. Mitsotakis has made special reference to the know-how provided by Berlin to Ankara for the German-designed Type 214 submarine and for the anaerobic propulsion (AIP) systems. There is similar cooperation between Berlin and Ankara in the production of the integrated program of Leopard tank (2A4). Berlin also provides significant technological assistance in the production of the Korkut medium-range anti-aircraft system (Rheinmetall type), as well as PorSav missiles.

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One day, when it’s too late, we’ll acknowledge that it’s all one system of interconnected and co-dependent entities.

Soil Fungi Act Like A Support Network For Trees (Folio)

Being highly connected to a strong social network has its benefits. Now a new University of Alberta study is showing the same goes for trees, thanks to their underground neighbours. The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, is the first to show that the growth of adult trees is linked to their participation in fungal networks living in the forest soil.Though past research has focused on seedlings, these findings give new insight into the value of fungal networks to older trees—which are more environmentally beneficial for functions like capturing carbon and stabilizing soil erosion. “Large trees make up the bulk of the forest, so they drive what the forest is doing,” said researcher Joseph Birch, who led the study for his PhD thesis in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.

When they colonize the roots of a tree, fungal networks act as a sort of highway, allowing water, nutrients and even the compounds that send defence signals against insect attacks to flow back and forth among the trees. The network also helps nutrients flow to resource-limited trees “like family units that support one another in times of stress,” Birch noted. Cores taken from 350 Douglas firs in British Columbia showed that annual tree ring growth was related to the extent of fungal connections a tree had with other trees. “They had much higher growth than trees that had only a few connections.” The research also showed that trees with more connections to many unique fungi had much greater growth than those with only one or two connections.

“We found that the more connected an adult tree is, the more it has significant growth advantages, which means the network could really influence large-scale important interactions in the forest, like carbon storage. If you have this network that is helping trees grow faster, that helps sequester more carbon year after year.”

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Oct 252020
 


Henri Matisse Sorrow of the King 1952

 

Politics Can Never Really ‘Follow The Science’ (G.)
Costco Sells Coronavirus Saliva Test Kits Online — Here’s What They Cost (Fox)
Long-Standing Claims Of Biden Corruption All But Confirmed (Schweizer/Bruner)
Chinese Hunter Biden Leaker: Over 10,000 Pictures Coming, More Videos (GP)
CNN’s Van Jones: Trump ‘Has Done Good Stuff For The Black Community’ (JTN)
Make America Jeffersonian Again (Escobar)
After 224 Years, Virginia To Let Judges Decide Sentences (DM)
Global Wealth Shrugs Off Pandemic To Hit $400 Trillion For First Time Ever (F.)
Capitalism Double-Bills: We Pay For Our Future To Be Stolen From Us (Cook)
France Recalls Turkey Envoy After Erdogan Says Macron Needs Mental Check (BBC)
BBC White Helmets ‘Documentary’ Targets Syria War Narratives Challengers (RT)
Amy Coney Barrett Adopts Local Troubled Youngster Named Hunter (BBee)

 

 

“Now he speaks for almost no one. He is making his own decisions, which is what we pay him to do.”

“In the end, political decision-making has to rest on personal judgment – there is no scientific manual to tell leaders what to do.”

Politics Can Never Really ‘Follow The Science’ (G.)

What happened to following the science? In the spring, when Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers were proceeding in lockstep, there was no disagreement about the necessity of shutting the country down. Now the government is coming to its own conclusions about what is needed, and the scientists on the Sage advisory group have started distancing themselves from No 10’s decisions. Critics complain that the politicians are chancing it rather than being led by the evidence. But as the German sociologist Max Weber argued a century ago, politics can never really follow the science. Pretending that it can is where the trouble starts. Weber believed that politics and science do not mix. In the end, political decision-making has to rest on personal judgment – there is no scientific manual to tell leaders what to do.

More to the point, scientists are not well suited to making those decisions. They want the facts to speak for themselves. That is wishful thinking: facts alone cannot tell us what to do. In politics, expecting the evidence to point the way does not reduce the arbitrariness of the outcome. All political choices are arbitrary to a degree. Using statistics to justify difficult decisions just makes them appear more arbitrary for anyone who happens to disagree. The widespread consensus in March that a national lockdown was needed – shared not just by national politicians and their expert advisers, but by the public too – was not primarily driven by the science. It came from a joint conviction that things were getting out of control. Something had to be done. Most people began social distancing well before the government mandated it, and many stopped before the government told them it was safe.

In the spring, Johnson could plausibly claim to speak for the country as a whole when he took drastic action. Now he speaks for almost no one. He is making his own decisions, which is what we pay him to do. His problem is that he can’t admit it. He has to pretend that nakedly political judgments – about who gets what, and who pays the price – are being calibrated to a more nuanced understanding of the evidence. He is weighing up a virus whose health impacts are concentrated locally against economic consequences where the effects are national. Manchester v London is not a problem that can be solved by an algorithm or better stats.

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What happens when politics does follow science. The last thing you want is for the cost to keep people from being tested.

Costco Sells Coronavirus Saliva Test Kits Online — Here’s What They Cost (Fox)

A saliva PCR test kit alone costs $129.99, but the kit with a video observation costs $139.99 It turns out, you really can get everything at Costco. The wholesale retailer is now selling at-home coronavirus test kits on its website. The saliva PCR tests are administered by telemedicine platform AZOVA and cost $129.99 for just the test kit or $139.99 for the test kit with a “video observation,” according to the product descriptions. People who buy the $129.99 test kit are expected to get their results within 24-72 hours after the lab receives their kit. Those who buy the more expensive test can expect their results within 24-48 hours from when the kit gets to the lab.


A PCR test, according to the AZOVA website, is “a type of ‘molecular diagnostic test’” that is “much more sensitive than most antigen tests.” On the Costco website, the PCR tests are described as “the gold standard testing method with the most accurate sensitivity and specificity currently on the market.” And unlike many other coronavirus tests, the AZOVA saliva test doesn’t involve “a painful nasal swab,” the product description says. According to the product pages, the tests are FSA eligible and have been authorized by the FDA under the Emergency Use Act. The tests are “highly accurate, with a sensitivity of 98% (meaning 98% of positive tests are correct) and a specificity of 99% (meaning 99% of negative tests are correct),” the description says.

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What we know so far.

Long-Standing Claims Of Biden Corruption All But Confirmed (Schweizer/Bruner)

In response to [our 2018 book]“Secret Empires,” one of Joe Biden’s aides said “we aren’t going to engage on a politically motivated hit pieces …” Team Biden did not bother to respond to specific allegations that the Biden family vacuumed up millions, in the exact locales where Biden was Obama’s policy “point man.” When the issue reemerged during the campaign, Team Biden continued to call it a “conspiracy theory” but this time, Joe Biden firmly put himself on record. “I have never discussed with my son or my brother or anyone else anything having to do with their businesses — period,” he told reporters in August 2019. “I never talk with my son or my brother or anyone else in the distant family about their business interests, period.” He repeated similar blanket denials on numerous occasions. These denials all proved to be untruthful. Period.

We now know that Joe Biden met directly with his son’s Chinese business partner, Jonathan Li, in a Chinese hotel lobby on a fateful trip in 2013 (a trip that allowed Hunter to spend hours with his father, the vice president, on a transoceanic flight to Beijing aboard Air Force Two). Ten days later, Hunter landed an unprecedented $1 billion private equity deal, bankrolled by the Chinese government. But this was not the only meeting Joe Biden had with Biden family business partners. As the New York Post reported, e-mails on Hunter Biden’s hard drive reveal that on April 16, 2015, Joe Biden met with a high-level official of a controversial Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, which had put Hunter on its board. And a recently unearthed photo shows that Vice President Biden met with Hunter’s Kazakh business associate in Washington D.C.

After first dismissing the gathering scandal as a “conspiracy theory,” the Biden team shifted to the position that Joe had never talked with his family about their business dealings, then shifted again to the position that he’d never met with his family’s business partners. Now, with the latest document revelations, Joe Biden unveiled his latest defense in the recent debate: “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever, ever.” Team Biden points to Joe and Jill Biden’s tax returns as evidence that Joe did nothing improper. It is worth noting that the family members upon whom foreign entities showered money are not required to disclose their finances.

We now know the Biden paydays were anything but conspiracy theories. Hunter was getting roughly $1 million per year from Burisma. Treasury Department alerts reveal that Russian oligarch Elena Baturina wired $3.5 million to Biden’s interests. New text messages reveal that China Energy Company Ltd (CEFC) apparently paid $5 million to the Biden family. Another e-mail indicates Hunter demanded a $10 million per year “fee” from one of his Chinese business partners. There is no more doubt.

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Where did this guy come from? Where did he get the material?

Chinese Hunter Biden Leaker: Over 10,000 Pictures Coming, More Videos (GP)

The Chinese billionaire behind the website where explicit photographs and videos of Hunter Biden were leaked on Saturday night has warned that “there will be more than 10,000 pictures” and “more and more videos.” Lude (Wang DingGang), founder of Lude Media and part of the Whistle-Blower Movement that is aimed at exposing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was banned on Twitter soon after the leaks started. Undeterred, Lude began posting about the leaks on Parler, a freer speech alternative to Twitter, where he quickly gained thousands of followers. “There will more and more than 10000 pictures coming,” Lude wrote on the social network. “There will be more and more videos coming!” The explicit leaks are riddled with drugs and what appear to be prostitutes. They have called into question whether or not a Biden presidency would be a national security threat with the amount of blackmail material on his son.

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You heretic!

CNN’s Van Jones: Trump ‘Has Done Good Stuff For The Black Community’ (JTN)

CNN commentator Van Jones on Friday gave unexpected praise of President Trump during a roundtable, arguing that the president should be recognized more for what Jones said are the beneficial things his administration has done for black Americans. “… I get beat up by liberals every time I say it but I keep saying it, he has done good stuff for the Black community,” Jones, who is black himself, said during the panel discussion. “Opportunity Zone stuff, black college stuff, I worked with him on criminal stuff, I saw Donald Trump have African-American people, [formerly] incarcerated, in the White House, embraced them, treated them well.”


“There is a side to Donald Trump that I think he does not get enough credit for,” added Jones, who once served as an adviser for Barack Obama. The commentator during his remarks did express disappointment at Trump’s recent comparison of himself to Abraham Lincoln. He also said that Trump’s alleged “playing footsie on Twitter with … white nationalists organizations” turns off many black voters to Trump’s overall message. “[T]hat’s the tragedy of these mixed messages from the Trump White House,” he argued.

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“Self-evident truths” were back with a bang. One can’t make this stuff up.”

Make America Jeffersonian Again (Escobar)

The whole planet has every reason to be terminally puzzled at how all those lofty Enlightenment ideals Thomas Jefferson embedded in the 1776 Declaration of Independence ended up with… Trump vs. Biden. Jefferson borrowed freely from Locke, Rousseau, Hume to come up with an eminently quotable Greatest Hits, featuring “self-evident” truths such as “all men are created equal”, “unalienable rights”, and that searing “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Well, Baudrillard would have dubbed the exercise a mere simulacrum, because in real life none of this uplifting rhetoric applied to Native Americans and enslaved Africans. Still, there’s something endlessly fascinating about these “self-evident truths”.


They actually radiated like Spinoza axioms, spawning abstract truths that can be extrapolated at will. Jefferson’s “self-evident truths” ended up creating the whole, massive structure of what we define as “Western liberal democracy”. So it’s no wonder that America – perennially self-described as “leader of the free world” – consider these “self-evident truths” as the basis of an ideal society. And it’s this messianic river of fervent truth flowing out of a Himalaya of Morality that leads Americans to dismiss as “malign actors” every nation or society that is judged to be “deviating” from such obvious evidence. Cut to a mini-remix of the last Trump-Biden presidential debate. In foreign policy terms, it went something like this.

The moderator is desperate to move on as she’s very much aware of time constraints and looming, incandescent clashes: “Now I want to move on to Defense. It’s established Russia and China are interfering in our election process…” Here’s classic “self-evident truth” material, delivered according to strict Council on Foreign Relations guidelines. Cut to Biden: any country that interferes with the American elections “will pay a price”. Russia’s “been involved, China has been involved to some degree, and Iran’s been involved.” They are interfering with “American sovereignty”. Rudy Giuliani was used “as a Russian pawn”. Trump is “unwilling” to confront Putin. Russia has “destabilized NATO” and is “paying bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan.” And China “has to play by the rules” – or else.

Cut to Trump: “You mean the laptop from hell is another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?” For the record: Joe Biden did blame the contents of son Hunter’s laptop from hell on Russia. And discussing North Korea, when Trump said he got along fine with Kim Jong-Un, Biden stated, “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded Europe.” Incidentally, Germany is and remains in Europe. And it’s quite something to see Biden acknowledging in public proven US industrial and political support to Nazism. So, inevitably, the laptop from hell had to show up. The FBI had Hunter Biden’s laptop since December 2019 – as it had issued a subpoena for it in the first place. And yet the FBI sat on the laptop for 11 months doing nothing.

That must have given plenty of time for those pesky Russians to steal the laptop and plant incriminating evidence. Well, not really. The FBI was busy mulling how to conduct an investigation on “money laundering”. And not on child porn – which, according to Giuliani, is the piece de resistance in the laptop. No one knows if these alleged “investigations” are ongoing. Now, the FBI and the Department of Justice have finally “concurred”: Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails were not part of a Russian disinformation campaign – directly contradicting what Joe Biden said in the debate. But then, right before the debate, a bombshell presser – including the FBI and Homeland Security – had announced those pesky Russians and Iranians were in fact “trying to influence opinion” on the US elections. “Self-evident truths” were back with a bang. One can’t make this stuff up.

Read more …

‘Jurors have no idea what a normal sentence is..’

After 224 Years, Virginia To Let Judges Decide Sentences (DM)

Virginia juries have been allowed to decide punishments for criminals for more than 200 years, but a new state bill could put that sentencing power in the hands of judges. Defense attorneys call it ‘the jury penalty’ – a centuries-old sentencing system in Virginia that calls for juries to decide punishment for criminal defendants, which often leads to stiffer sentences than what judges give or prosecutors offer in plea deals. This sentencing structure has been in place for 224 years, but under a bill recently approved by the state legislature, Virginia is expected to turn sentencing over to judges, joining the vast majority of states around the country. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a strong supporter of criminal justice reform, is expected to sign the bill into law.

The proposal sparked fierce debate during a special legislative session focused on criminal justice and police reform. Supporters of the change said giving judges the sentencing responsibility will result in fairer sentences, but prosecutors predicted it will result in more jury trials and therefore require additional judges, court clerks and public defenders. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Joe Morrissey from Richmond, said that under the current system, many people charged with crimes in Virginia are so fearful of getting a severe sentence from a jury that they often accept a plea deal from prosecutors that includes a longer sentence than they would typically get from a judge. Unlike judges, juries in Virginia are not given state sentencing guidelines that would tell them what a typical sentence would be for a particular crime, and they tend to hand out stiffer sentences.

In fiscal year 2019, sentences handed down by juries went above sentencing guidelines 37 per cent of the time, and in 2018, juries exceeded sentencing guidelines nearly 50 per cent of the time, according to annual reports by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. ‘Jurors have no idea what a normal sentence is,’ Morrissey said. ‘That’s why it is important to have a judge sentencing who has the guidelines and can put it into context.’

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Unparalelled wealth transfer.

Global Wealth Shrugs Off Pandemic To Hit $400 Trillion For First Time Ever (F.)

Despite the pandemic plunging economies worldwide into their deepest slumps on record and tens of millions being made unemployed, global wealth has risen to its highest level ever. Since the start of the year, total household wealth has grown by $1 trillion, or 0.25%, to top $400 trillion for the first time, according to Credit Suisse’s annual global wealth report. Most of this increase has been due to the rapid rebound of stock markets from their March lows. This was driven by governments pumping billions into their economies to stave off collapse as the pandemic gathered pace. On the face of it, the average global household’s wealth is little changed in 2020, despite the economic turmoil. But drilling deeper into the numbers reveals huge disparities, with the headline figures masking a vast gulf between the economic winners and losers this year.


Average household wealth rose by 0.25% between the start of the year and the end of June. However, average wealth per adult actually fell slightly, by 0.4% to $76,984 because the number of adults rose quicker during the six months. Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse’s economist and the report author, said: “Given the damage inflicted by Covid-19 on the global economy, it seems remarkable that household wealth has emerged relatively unscathed.”The volatility this year has been a marked contrast to the upward trajectory of wealth growth seen in 2019. Last year, total global wealth rose by $36.3 trillion, or 8.5%, a record pace as global stock markets surged. In the first three months of this year, $17.5 trillion was wiped off household wealth worldwide as the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a savage equity crash. The subsequent recovery meant that total household wealth is slightly up on the year.

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“..externalities – and capitalism – are inherently violent…”

Capitalism Double-Bills: We Pay For Our Future To Be Stolen From Us (Cook)

Here is a word that risks deterring you from reading on much further, even though it may hold the key to understanding why we are in such a terrible political, economic and social mess. That word is “externalities”. It sounds like a piece of economic jargon. It is a piece of economic jargon. But it is also the foundation stone on which the west’s current economic and ideological system has been built. Focusing on how externalities work and how they have come to dominate every sphere of our lives is to understand how we are destroying our planet – and offer at the same time the waypost to a better future. In economics, “externalities” are usually defined indifferently as the effects of a commercial or industrial process on a third party that are not costed into that process.

Here is what should be a familiar example. For decades, cigarette manufacturers made enormous profits by concealing scientific evidence that over time their product could prove lethal to customers. The firms profited by externalising the costs associated with cigarettes – of death and disease – on to those buying their cigarettes and wider society. People gave Philip Morris and British American Tobacco their money as these companies made those smoking Marlboros and Lucky Strikes progressively unhealthier. The externalised cost was paid – is still paid – by the customers themselves, by grieving families, by local and national health services, and by the taxpayer. Had the firms been required to pick up these various tabs, it would have proved entirely unprofitable to manufacture cigarettes.

Externalities are not incidental to the way capitalist economies run. They are integral to them. After all, it is a legal obligation on private companies to maximise profits for their shareholders – in addition, of course, to the personal incentive bosses have to enrich themselves, and each company’s need to avoid making themselves vulnerable to more profitable and predatory competitors in the marketplace. Companies are therefore motivated to offload as many costs as possible on to others. As we shall see, externalities mean someone other than the company itself pays the true cost behind its profits, either because those others are too weak or ignorant to fight back or because the bill comes due further down the line. And for that reason, externalities – and capitalism – are inherently violent.

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The lira plunged again this week. Everytime that happens, Erdogan plays more to his hardcore supporters to blame outsiders.

France Recalls Turkey Envoy After Erdogan Says Macron Needs Mental Check (BBC)

France has recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insulted his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. He said Mr Macron needed a mental health check for pledging to defend secular values and fight radical Islam. Mr Macron has spoken out forcefully on these issues after a French teacher was murdered for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class. France “will not give up our cartoons”, he said earlier this week. Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad can cause serious offence to Muslims because Islamic tradition explicitly forbids images of Muhammad and Allah (God). But state secularism – or laïcité – is central to France’s national identity.


Curbing freedom of expression to protect the feelings of one particular community, the state says, undermines the country’s unity. Responding to Mr Macron’s campaign to defend such values – which began before the teacher was murdered – Mr Erdogan asked in a speech: “What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?” He added: “Macron needs treatment on a mental level. “What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?” In the wake of the remarks, a French presidential official told AFP news agency that France’s ambassador to Turkey was being recalled for consultations, and would be meeting Mr Macron.

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The UK gov’t needs this, to maintain the Skripal and Navalny narratives.

BBC White Helmets ‘Documentary’ Targets Syria War Narratives Challengers (RT)

The BBC is preparing an attack against journalists, former diplomats, academics and scientists who challenge the dominant pro-war narratives against Syria underpinned by the pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets. The British public broadcaster has sent out requests for comments to those who have dared to expose the role the UK government and its intelligence agencies have played in the destabilization of Syria, which look more like neo-McCarthyist charge sheets. The producer of an upcoming Radio 4 documentary series had been in email and telephone conversation with the author of this article, as well as Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria, and members of the Working Group on Syria, Media and Propaganda (WGSMP) since June 2020. The result of those conversations, during which the evidence emanating from serious scientific research and on-the-ground testimony was presented to the producer, was a familiar list of accusations of “conspiracy theorism” and suggestions of “incentivized” Russian or Syrian bias.

Fellow independent journalist Eva Bartlett has spent long periods of time inside Syria, reporting from many of the most high-risk areas during the Syrian Arab Army allied campaigns to liberate swathes of Syrian territory from the US coalition-proxy occupation. She had this to say about the email she received a few days ago: “The questions emailed to me by the BBC evidence a predetermined intent to character assassination. This approach shows an utter lack of journalistic integrity on the part of the BBC. The BBC’s hostile insinuations against me arrogantly infer that neither I nor the Syrians I interview think for ourselves, but are puppets of the Syrian and Russian governments. My journalism dates back to 2007 and is quite extensive, with 13 years of on the ground experience, from Palestine and Syria, to Venezuela and eastern Ukraine, and elsewhere.

[..] The former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, also received the BBC bill of indictment and he issued this statement in response: “The BBC have systematically tried to suppress views on Syria which run counter to the standard one-sided narrative. This programme’s efforts to smear dissenters takes BBC conduct to a new low. By alleging conspiracy theorising where there is only evidence-based reporting and analysis, the BBC is showing its frustration at being unable to stifle truth-telling. The only conspiracy here is whatever coordination has taken place between the BBC and British authorities responsible for failing to achieve regime change in Syria despite throwing many millions of taxpayer money at the effort. Why is the BBC not drawing attention to the biggest failure of British foreign policy since Suez, as judged by its self-proclaimed objective of removing Assad, rather than busying itself with trying to take down unsupported individual dissenters who have ranged against them the vast wealth and resources of the establishment?

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“He has also renounced his old ways and paid back a Ukrainian gas company fourfold.”

Amy Coney Barrett Adopts Local Troubled Youngster Named Hunter (BBee)

According to sources, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has adopted her 8th child, a troubled local youngster named Hunter. In a touching story of love triumphing over all odds, the Barrett family fought for custody of Hunter and welcomed him into their family for the first time this week. “This family has love to spare,” said Judge Barrett. “We just knew we had another child out there somewhere. We were told by the agency that young Hunter had his fair share of issues, but we knew we would be up to the challenge.” According to friends of the family, Hunter is slowly adjusting to his new home and family. He has kicked an old drug habit and is now attending church with the rest of the family.

He has also renounced his old ways and paid back a Ukrainian gas company fourfold. “We love having Hunter with us!” said the leader of the small church group Hunter attends every week. “Whenever we share testimonies, he puts our testimonies to shame with stories of drugs, corruption, and horrific scandal, unlike anything we’ve heard. Awesome!” Judge Barrett is still struggling to teach Hunter the value of hard work. He is being paid a few dollars to do chores around the house when he’s used to being paid $50,000 per month for nothing. “We’re still working on it,” she said.

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Oct 232020
 


Pablo Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust 1932

 

Senate Demands Hunter Biden Turn Over A Mountain Of Evidence (ZH)
Biden Campaign Implies Hunter’s Ex-Biz Partners Are Russian Assets (ZH)
Bobulinski’s Statement In Full (DM)
Report on Biden Activities with China (Balding)
Fourth Turning Election Year Crisis (Jim Quinn)
Iran Diplomatic Protest Over ‘Absurd’ Accusation Of US Election Meddling (RT)
Asia Suffering ‘Worst Recession In Living Memory’ (BBC)
The Women Who Brought Down Greece’s Golden Dawn (G.)
What Evil Lurks (John Michael Greer)
Mask-Wearing Study Rejected By Journals Not ‘Brave’ Enough To Publish (RT)
Climate Scientists Fly “Significantly” More Than Other Researchers (BNE)
Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Residency In Russia (RT)

 

 

Inevitably, everyone thinks their side won the debate. Here’s a few Twitter polls, but it would be no problem finding some that point in the opposite direction. Because journalism has died in America.

 

 

 

The real winner:

 

 

 

12 days. Where is Hunter?

Senate Demands Hunter Biden Turn Over A Mountain Of Evidence (ZH)

Senate investigators have demanded that Hunter Biden turn over a mountain of evidence following bombshell emails and text messages which appear to show he and his business partners engaging in an international influence-peddling scheme while his father was Vice President of the United States, according to CBS News’ Catherine Herridge – who brought receipts as usual. “According to recent reports that published emails allegedly from your client’s laptop, the Committees have identified your client as an individual involved in one or more of these business arrangements or financial transactions,” reads a Wednesday letter from Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley.

“As part of the ongoing efforts to validate and verify the information in those emails, the Committees request that your client provide all records related to any of your client’s business dealings—including, but not limited, to bank records, wire transfers, account balances, gifts, business transactions, travel records—with Joe Biden, James Biden, Ye Jianming, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, Zang Jian Jun, Gongwen Dong, Mervyn Yan, Gabriel Popoviciu, or any other associates regarding CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd or any other transactions related to business in Romania, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Czech Republic, or any other countries.” Biden’s lawyers have until Friday to comply.

Over the last week, alleged emails, text messages and compromising photographs from Hunter Biden’s laptop and his former business partners reveal that Joe Biden was directly involved in Hunter’s business dealings, and appears to have directly profited from them. The deals span several countries, from Ukraine – where Joe was ‘introduced’ to a representative from energy giant Burisma before strong-arming the Ukrainian government into firing their chief prosecutor who was investigating the company, to China, where a top Chinese official offered the Biden family a $5 million “interest-free” loan, to Russia, where Hunter took $3.5 million from the former mayor of Moscow’s ex-wife.

Tucker Hunter

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“..if the Biden campaign says that the Hunter scandal is “Russian misinformation,” then his ex-business partners must be Russian operatives..”

Biden Campaign Implies Hunter’s Ex-Biz Partners Are Russian Assets (ZH)

Ahead of tonight’s presidential debate, the Biden campaign has drawn a red line in the sand on the Hunter Biden pay-for-play scandal, insisting that “If we see tonight from Donald Trump these attacks on Vice President Biden’s family, I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation.” To review – the undisputed contents of a laptop alleged to be Hunter Biden’s were published by the New York Post last week – after a Delaware computer repair shop owner saw troubling content on at least one laptop dropped off by Biden (who signed a work order). In addition to photos of Hunter with a crack pipe in his mouth and what Rudy Giuliani said are numerous pictures of young girls in compromising situations and one which is “out-and-out pornography,” Hunter’s alleged laptop, which the Biden camp hasn’t disputed the authenticity of, contains evidence that Joe Biden was deeply involved in Hunter’s international business dealings, contrary to past claims of non-involvement.


And while pundits and ‘former intelligence officials’ say this smells like a Russian disinformation operation – there is exactly zero evidence that it is. Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, explicitly stated that the laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” while the FBI – which sat on the laptop evidence for a year (which would have exonerated Trump and immediately ended the impeachment proceedings) also said it’s not a Russian op. But wait, there’s much more… Forget the laptop for a second. Two ex-business partners of Hunter Biden’s have released text and email evidence, along with formal statements, attesting to Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s business dealings. Ergo, if the Biden campaign says that the Hunter scandal is “Russian misinformation,” then his ex-business partners must be Russian operatives, no?

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Tony Bobulinski will hand over a ton of evidence to the Senate Committee(s) today.

Bobulinski’s Statement In Full (DM)

My name is Tony Bobulinski. The facts set forth below are true and accurate; they are not any form of domestic or foreign disinformation. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and offensive. I am the recipient of the email published seven days ago by the New York Post which showed a copy to Hunter Biden and Rob Walker. That email is genuine. This afternoon I received a request from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Senate Committee on Finance requesting all documents relating to my business affairs with the Biden family as well as various foreign entities and individuals. I have extensive relevant records and communications and I intend to produce those items to both Committees in the immediate future.


I am the grandson of a 37 year Army Intelligence officer, the son of a 20+ year career Naval Officer and the brother of a 28 year career Naval Flight Officer. I myself served our country for 4 years and left the Navy as LT Bobulinski. I held a high level security clearance and was an instructor and then CTO for Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. I take great pride in the time my family and I served this country. I am also not a political person. What few campaign contributions I have made in my life were to Democrats. If the media and big tech companies had done their jobs over the past several weeks I would be irrelevant in this story. Given my long standing service and devotion to this great country, I could no longer allow my family’s name to be associated or tied to Russian disinformation or implied lies and false narratives dominating the media right now.

After leaving the military I became an institutional investor investing extensively around the world and on every continent. I have traveled to over 50 countries. I believe, hands down, we live in the greatest country in the world. What I am outlining is fact. I know it is fact because I lived it. I am the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings which was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family. I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden. The reference to ‘the Big Guy’ in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden. The other ‘JB’ referenced in that email is Jim Biden, Joe’s brother.

Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my Chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing. I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business. I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true, because it wasn’t just Hunter’s business, they said they were putting the Biden family name and its legacy on the line. I realized the Chinese were not really focused on a healthy financial ROI. They were looking at this as a political or influence investment. Once I realized that Hunter wanted to use the company as his personal piggy bank by just taking money out of it as soon as it came from the Chinese, I took steps to prevent that from happening.

The Johnson Report connected some dots in a way that shocked me — it made me realize the Bidens had gone behind my back and gotten paid millions of dollars by the Chinese, even though they told me they hadn’t and wouldn’t do that to their partners. I would ask the Biden family to address the American people and outline the facts so I can go back to being irrelevant — and so I am not put in a position to have to answer those questions for them. I don’t have a political ax to grind; I just saw behind the Biden curtain and I grew concerned with what I saw. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist controlled China. God Bless America!!!!

Bobulinski

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Can’t do this justice in the Debt Rattle format. Christopher Balding -certainly not a Trump supporter- has received a report from his Chinese connections (not the gov’t). Zero Hedge has a good write-up.

Report on Biden Activities with China (Balding)

Lost among the salacious revelations about laptop provenance is the more mundane reality of influence and money of major United States political figures. Ill informed accusations of Russian hacking and disinformation face the documented reality of a major Chinese state financial partnership with the children of major political figures. A report by an Asian research firm raises worrying questions about the financial links between China and Hunter Biden. Beginning just before Joe Bidens ascendancy to the Vice Presidency, Hunter Biden was travelling to Beijing meeting with Chinese financial institutions and political figures would ultimately become his investors. Finalized in 2013, the investment partnership included money from the Chinese government, social security, and major state-owned banks a veritable who’s who of Chinese state finance.


It is not simply the state money that should cause concern but the structures and deals that took place. Most investment in specific projects came from state owned entities and flowed into state backed projects or enterprises. Even the deals speak to the worst of cronyism. The Hunter Biden investment firm share of a copper mine in the Congo was guaranteed with assets put at risk by the larger copper company to ensure deal flow to Hunter’s firm. In another instance, Bank of China working on an IPO in Hong Kong gave its share allocation to the BHR investment partnership. They were able to do this because even though the Hunter Biden firm completed no notable work on the IPO, it is counted as a subsidiary of the Bank of China. The Hunter Biden Chinese investment partnership is literally invested in by the Chinese state and a subsidiary of the Bank of China owned by the Chinese Ministry of Finance.

The entire arrangement speaks to Chinese state interests. Meetings were held at locations that in China speak to the welcoming of foreign dignitaries or state to state relations. The Chinese organizations surrounding Hunter Biden are known intelligence and influence operatives to the United States government. The innocuous names like Chinese People’s Institute for Foreign Affairs exist to “…carry out government-directed policies and cooperative initiatives with influential foreigners without being perceived as a formal part of the Chinese government.” Interestingly the CPIFA is under the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the investment partnership was struck in 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was Yang Jiechi. Yang would have been very familiar with Hunter Biden from his days in Washington as the Chinese Ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2005 during which he met regularly with Joe Biden chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Today the same individual who oversaw institutions helping shepherd Hunter’s investment partnership as the Minister of Foreign Affairs is Xi Jinping’s right hand man on foreign affairs and member of the powerful Politburo. Most worrying is the financial leverage this gives the Chinese state over a direct member of the Biden family. Despite the widely reported $1-1.5 billion of investment the reality is likely much higher. A co-founder of the investment firm reports the total assets under management as $6.5 billion. While this number cannot be completely replicated, given that two deal alone were worth in excess of $1.6 billion this number is not unrealistic at all. A 2% annual fee on assets under management would generate $130 million annually. Add in the 20% fee on capital gains the firm would recognize and it is not difficult to see Hunter’s stake being worth in excess of $50 million.

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“..a completely captured corporate media has turned a blind eye to the truth as they have acted as accomplices of the coup culprits..”

Fourth Turning Election Year Crisis (Jim Quinn)

“The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

[..] The dystopian use of disinformation, false narratives, blatant lies and propaganda by the totalitarians constituting the Deep State, as their never-ending coup attempt against a duly elected president attests, will be the catalyst for the next vicious phase of this Fourth Turning. For the last four years the Russiagate coup has dogged Trump, as Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Mueller and a myriad of lesser co-conspirators have propagated the Big Lie to cover-up their traitorous actions of trying to overthrow Trump.

An honest truth-seeking press with unbiased journalists would have uncovered this conspiracy and revealed the truthful facts to a concerned public. Instead, a completely captured corporate media has turned a blind eye to the truth as they have acted as accomplices of the coup culprits. Just as evil is the suppression of truth through censorship and keeping silent regarding the truth. Huxley understood how totalitarian propagandists operated decades before the current batch of Silicon Valley authoritarians initiated their national truth repression scheme.

“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.” – Aldous Huxley

A perfect example of this is my local ABC news affiliate doing an hour long broadcast last night with absolutely no mention of the Hunter Biden – Joe Biden pay for play scandal. The truth dies in silence. The left-wing media dominated by six mega-corporations and social media billionaire titans (Bezos, Zuckerberg, Dorsey) have colluded with other left wing billionaires (Soros, Bloomberg) and the traitorous Deep Staters (Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Clinton) to bring down a sitting president and now to memory hole proof of Joe Biden corruption and his son’s illegal dealings with foreign enemies.

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“Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections. The world has been witnessing US’ own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level..”

Iran Diplomatic Protest Over ‘Absurd’ Accusation Of US Election Meddling (RT)

Tehran has denied that it is trying to interfere in the US presidential contest, arguing that unlike Washington, it doesn’t involve itself in foreign elections. Curiously, the US says Iran is both trying to damage and help Trump. Iran summoned the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who serves as a diplomatic go-between for the two rivals, to file a formal complaint against Washington’s “baseless” claim that the Islamic Republic has been meddling in the upcoming election. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced on Wednesday that Iran and Russia have allegedly obtained US voter data as part of a purported plot to “communicate false information to registered voters” in hopes of “causing confusion” ahead of the American electoral contest. He went on to claim that Iran was behind a series of threatening emails that were sent to Democratic voters, apparently in an attempt to “intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”

A spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations dismissed the allegations as completely unfounded and quipped that Tehran would never mirror Washington’s own tactics. “Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections. The world has been witnessing US’ own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level,” Alireza Miryousefi said. He described the claims as “absurd” and said Tehran has no interest in trying to influence the outcome of the contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. “The US must end its malign and dangerous accusations against Iran,” the spokesman added.

The 2020 election has been fraught with allegations of foreign meddling, following debunked claims of Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign in 2016. US intelligence agencies have accused Tehran, Moscow and Beijing of trying to tip the scales for their purportedly preferred candidates. Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia has not taken any concrete actions to interfere in the election, but instead has only secured access to some voter information “just as they had in 2016.”

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Anywhere but China.

Asia Suffering ‘Worst Recession In Living Memory’ (BBC)

Asia Pacific is set to recover from its worst recession in living memory, the IMF says. Growth forecasts for the region have been downgraded again, this time from -1.6% to -2.2% for this year. However, the glimmer of hope is for a bounceback of almost 7% next year, according to the IMF. China will play a big part in the region’s growth next year, with its latest data showing continued recovery from the downturn caused by the virus. But there are still many black clouds on the horizon as countries, including India, the Philippines and Malaysia, continue to battle with Covid-19 infections. “The scars will be deep,” said the IMF, pointing to lower investment which will have a knock-on effect by the middle of the decade.


Not only are economies in the region dealing with the fallout from the pandemic, but they are also affected by the US-China trade war, and the growing hostilities between the two economic superpowers. Speaking to BBC’s Asia Business Report on Thursday, Jonathan Ostry, the IMF’s acting director for Asia and Pacific, said: “This is something, for a very export-orientated region, that is going to be a big risk going forward. “We worry about decoupling of major technology hubs – not just in China and the US but more broadly, which would have the affect of diminishing hi-tech trade leading to inefficient production.” Earlier this week, China released its data for the July to September quarter which showed economic growth of 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. China is seen as “a rare positive figure in a sea of negatives” by the IMF.

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Real girl power. Love it.

The Women Who Brought Down Greece’s Golden Dawn (G.)

Behind the bench, before her mostly male audience, as the marathon trial of Golden Dawn entered its last act, supreme court justice Maria Lepenioti did what she has done every week: she kept the peace. It has not been easy. Emotions have often run high. Even as the curtain was about to come down on proceedings with a ruling on whether those convicted should be jailed pending appeal, the Greek judge, both laconic and low-key, has had to pull off an extraordinary balancing act presiding over a case that has put more Nazi leaders and sympathisers in the dock than at any time since Nuremberg. In her court every word has counted. There has been no tolerance for the extreme rhetoric that fuelled the neo-fascist group’s spectacular rise. Nor for jibes from the other side.

“Day after day, session after session, she has managed to keep the harmony,” says Giota Tessi, a reporter with the centre left Syntaktwn paper who has observed the proceedings almost since they began in April 2015. “Her knowledge of the case file is incredible. She has been a model of restraint but she has also been very aware of the weight of the moment.” Historians will look back at the women who played a seminal role in Golden Dawn’s downfall. Under Lepenioti’s seemingly expressionless gaze, the three-member tribunal has gone where many in Greece had formerly feared to tread. After its landmark verdict that the far-right, ultra-nationalist party was a criminal organisation bent on extinguishing enemies real or perceived, sentences have been delivered that will almost certainly ensure its leadership remain behind bars for years to come.

The party’s founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and the tattooed macho militants who comprised his inner circle, all received 13-year prison terms. With the last chapter in the story of Europe’s most violent political force finally written, it will not be lost on the protagonists that punishment, in the end, was meted out by a woman. “It’s undeniable that in this case justice was female,” said Maria Stratigaki, professor of gender studies at Panteion University, noting the number of female prosecutors and investigators who also participated in drawing up the dossier against Golden Dawn. “For a party whose ideology is based on male supremacy, whose worldview is so militaristic, it’s humiliating and will hurt.” [..] “Justice stepped in where others should have stepped before,” Stratigaki told the Guardian. “And our justice system is full of female judges because it is they who do better at exams and rise to the top.”

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Haven’t posted any Archdruid in quite a while.

What Evil Lurks (John Michael Greer)

First we need to encounter Shadow #3, the one that Swiss psychologist Carl Jung anatomized in so troubling a fashion. Jung, as I hope most of my readers are aware, started out as a disciple of Sigmund Freud but broke with him in 1913 over basic disagreements over the nature and meaning of the unconscious mind. To sum those up very briefly, Freud insisted that the unconscious was simply the instinctual, animal mind—the id, in Freudian terms—which was mostly interested in sex, and had to be disciplined and controlled by the ego in obedience to the conscience, the voice of the superego.

Jung found in his own work with himself and his patients that the unconscious mind could not be summed up so simply, and at first saw the unconscious as containing two layers. One of them consisted of those things the ego didn’t want to recognize in itself, and so was entirely personal in nature: the personal unconscious, as Jung called it. The second layer consisted of contents that were not personal, had never been conscious in the first place, and formed the deep structure of the human psyche. This layer he termed the collective unconscious.

Until the start of the 1930s—that decade again—that was Jung’s basic theory. What happened then was that he traced the roots of the conscious self and the personal unconscious right down into the collective unconscious. The basic structures of the collective unconscious, he came to see, were the archetypes: a set of roles or functions that were hardwired into the human mind at a deep level, and served as expressions in consciousness of the basic biological instincts we inherit from our animal ancestors. Once you reach a certain stage of sexual maturity, for example, your mind is hardwired to look for a lover: that’s one of the most obvious archetypes, the one Jung called the anima or animus (depending on your gender and sexual orientation).

For all practical purposes, once it’s triggered by some complex set of psychological stimuli, the anima or animus functions as a prolonged case of beer goggles, projecting itself onto the other person and making them look just like the woman or man of your dreams, no matter how faint the resemblance might be in the eyes of your friends. That’s how all archetypes work: they scoop up the relevant contents of your mind, constellate them (that is, fit them into the archetypal pattern), and project that onto the nearest available target. What Jung came to realize as he pursued his investigations into archetypes is that what he’d been calling the conscious self and the personal unconscious were also archetypes. Who you think you are is a construct made up of all the things you think you ought to be, constellated around the archetype Jung called the ego.

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Mask mandates will come forward everywhere as a big issue.

Mask-Wearing Study Rejected By Journals Not ‘Brave’ Enough To Publish (RT)

A large-scale study in Denmark that sought to determine if masks help stop the spread of Covid-19 has been rejected by several prestigious journals. The authors hinted that their findings were inconvenient to the status quo. The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Medical Association Journal all turned down the paper, Danish media reported on Thursday. The study, which began in late April, involved 6,000 Danes, half of whom were asked to wear masks at all times in public places. The other half were selected as a control group and were instructed not to cover their faces. After a month, participants were tested for Covid-19 as well as for antibodies against the virus. The study’s researchers have remained tight-lipped about their findings, but they’ve dropped plenty of clues that suggest it was the paper’s conclusion, not its methodology, that led to the journals’ rejections.

“We can’t start discussing what they are dissatisfied with. For if so, we must also explain what the study showed. And we do not want to discuss this until it has been published,” Christian Torp-Pedersen, professor and chief physician at the research department at North Zealand Hospital, told Denmark’s Berlingske daily. [..] Denmark currently requires masks to be worn on public transport, as well as in bars and restaurants when patrons leave their table. There is a raging debate worldwide over mask mandates that purport to halt the transmission of coronavirus. Japanese researchers recently published a study that found that masks can offer some degree of protection from airborne Covid-19 particles, but noted that even professional-grade face coverings can’t completely eliminate the risk of contagion.

Curiously, at the start of the pandemic, many health officials and organizations urged against widespread mask use in the general public, describing such policies as ineffective. For example, in a March interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Covid-19 task force, insisted there was no reason for seemingly healthy people to be “walking around in a mask.” At the time, his views reflected a wide consensus among medical institutions and professionals, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US surgeon general. Fauci, the WHO, and the CDC later reversed their recommendations and supported mask mandates. However, many have argued that there is still inadequate data to support mandatory mask-wearing. Deborah Cohen, the medically qualified UK correspondent of BBC2’s Newsnight, reported in July that the WHO committee reviewing the organization’s mask recommendation was motivated by political lobbying, not new scientific evidence.

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Got to love it.

Climate Scientists Fly “Significantly” More Than Other Researchers (BNE)

The large, international survey of more than 1,400 university researchers was carried out by the UK Centre for Climate and Social Transformation (CAST), which is coordinated by Cardiff University. A follow-up experiment with more than 350 researchers found that providing information about the impacts of aviation and support for workplace policies increases intentions to fly less. The large-scale study—the first of its kind to survey climate academics about their travel for conferences, fieldwork and meetings—is published in the journal Global Environmental Change. Director of CAST Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, who led the study, said the findings were “unexpected” but said it also suggested “knowledge alone is not enough” to tackle global warming.

“Our findings highlight that climate scientists, like many other professionals, can struggle to square their environmental commitments with competing professional and personal demands, and academia itself is not doing enough to change this culture,” she said. “Crucially, our research demonstrates the need for policies and ways of working to encourage and enable low-carbon travel and use of virtual alternatives—something which is already happening in light of COVID-19. “Travel restrictions have required businesses, including universities, to replace a lot of physical travel with virtual interaction, such as online conferencing. These virtual options can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings, but at a fraction of the cost, as well as being more accessible for those with caring commitments.”

Flying is one of the most carbon-emitting actions and there have been growing calls from both within and outside the research community for scientists, and in particular climate researchers, to do more to curb their flying so their crucial message on the need to reduce aviation emissions is not undermined. This study found “significantly” higher levels of flying among climate change researchers for work than researchers from other disciplines. The data indicated climate experts take about five flights per year, while non-climate researchers took four. Climate and sustainability experts conduct more fieldwork, but even accounting for this, their international travel was still higher. It also found that levels of flying rose with job seniority.

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More good news from Moscow.

Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Residency In Russia (RT)

Seven years after he landed in Moscow and received sanctuary from Washington’s attempts to silence him, US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted a Russian permanent residency permit. Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since 2013 when he blew the lid off unprecedented mass surveillance operations conducted by US Intelligence. The Americans have demanded his extradition to face charges for violating the Espionage Act ever since. “Snowden was granted an open-ended residence permit earlier today,” his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday.


The 37 year-old former CIA and NSA contractor faces the prospect of up to 30 years in prison if convicted but his extradition is unlikely any time soon, especially given his newly-minted residency status. Lately, the whistleblower has been engaged in a battle over royalties from his memoir ‘Permanent Record,’ published last September. Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the US government may seize the $5.2 million in book royalties Snowden garnered from sales of the book.

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Oct 222020
 


Banksy Show me the Monet 2005 (sold yesterday for $8 million)

 

Laptop Connected To Hunter Biden Linked To FBI Money Laundering Probe (Fox)
Giuliani Responds To Borat Photo (ZH)
Glenn Greenwald Calls Out Hypocrites Covering For Biden On Hunter Stories (NYP)
Time To Mute The President (Turley)
Biden’s Lead Down to Three (Rasmussen)
Poll Shows Trump Support At New High In Tight Race (IBD)
Will Adam Schiff Now Be Banned From Twitter? (Turley)
Republicans To Push Ahead With Supreme Court Pick Despite Dems’ Boycott (R.)
OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma To Plead To 3 Criminal Charges (AP)
Guardian’s Silence Let UK Trample On Assange’s Rights In Darkness (Cook)
Donald Trump Paid Nearly $200,000 In Taxes To China, Report Claims (G.)
Over Half Europe’s Small Firms Fear For Survival (R.)
Million New Yorkers Can’t Afford Food As Hunger Crisis Worsens (ZH)
Experts Recommend Maximizing Social Distance By Attending A Biden Rally (BBee)

 

 

 

 

We don’t know if it’s Hunter doing the laundering, and the FBI won’t tell.

Laptop Connected To Hunter Biden Linked To FBI Money Laundering Probe (Fox)

The FBI’s subpoena of a laptop and hard drive purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden came in connection with a money laundering investigation in late 2019, according to documents obtained by Fox News and verified by multiple federal law enforcement officials who reviewed them. It is unclear, at this point, whether the investigation is ongoing or if it was directly related to Hunter Biden. Multiple federal law enforcement officials, as well as two separate government officials, confirmed the authenticity of these documents, which were signed by FBI Special Agent Joshua Wilson. Wilson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

One of the documents, obtained by Fox News, was designated as an FBI “Receipt for Property” form, which details the bureau’s interactions with John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of “The Mac Shop” who reported the laptop’s contents to authorities. The document has a “Case ID” section, which is filled in with a hand-written number: 272D-BA-3065729. According to multiple officials, and the FBI’s website, “272” is the bureau’s classification for money laundering, while “272D” refers to “Money Laundering, Unknown SUA [Specified Unlawful Activity]—White Collar Crime Program,” according to FBI documents. One government official described “272D” as “transnational or blanket.” “BA” indicates the case was opened in the FBI’s Baltimore field office, sources said.

The documents state that the subpoena was carried out in Wilmington, Del., which falls under the jurisdiction of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office. “The FBI cannot open a case without predication, so they believed there was predication for criminal activity,” a government official told Fox News. “This means there was sufficient evidence to believe that there was criminal conduct.” Another document, obtained by Fox News, was a subpoena sent to Isaac to testify before U.S. District Court in Delaware on Dec. 9, 2019. One page of the subpoena shows what appears to be serial numbers for a laptop and hard drive taken into possession. Based on the date of the subpoena, an official told Fox News that the case would have been opened prior to Isaac’s subpoena.

“If a criminal case was opened and subpoenas were issued, that means there is a high likelihood that both the laptop and hard drive contain fruits of criminal activity,” the official said. Fox News first reported on Tuesday evening that the FBI is in possession of the laptop in question. The FBI has declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the laptop or the emails, as is standard practice.

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Giuliani called New York City police to report the incident on July 7. It was no big story then, but it is now.

Giuliani Responds To Borat Photo (ZH)

Following The Guardian’s full-court-press effort to distract from the disturbing details being exposed about Hunter Biden (and his father), the rest of the activist media jumped on the Giuliani-hand-down-his-pants/Borat story. As the embarrassing story took on a mind of its own among social media and mainstream media types, the former New York Mayor has taken to Twitter to respond and clarify what exactly happened…


“The Borat video is a complete fabrication. I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar. In fact, the NY Post today reports “it looks to me like an exaggeration through editing.” As soon as I realized it was a set up I called the police, which has been noted in THR article on July 8th. This is an effort to blunt my relentless exposure of the criminality and depravity of Joe Biden and his entire family. Deadline Hollywood reports CAA had a distribution screening in September where there was no mention of the scene holding any importance. We are preparing much bigger dumps off of the hard drive from hell, of which Joe Biden will be unable to defend or hide from. I have the receipts.

If this is all the Deep State has to try and distract from HunterGate, they have a problem (and so far have not denied any of the details that have been exposed). And on the bright side, no Russians were blamed and at least he wasn’t masturbating on a work Zoom call. As TheMindUnleashed’s John Vibes detailed earlier, Rudy Giuliani is among the high profile figures who were pranked for Sasha Baron Cohen’s new Borat sequel, and so far his encounter is the most embarrassing. Cohen and Maria Bakalova, the actress who portrays Borat’s daughter in the film, brought Giuliani into their prank by posing as conservative TV journalists. They conducted an interview with Giuliani where they were extremely agreeable and after the interview, Bakalova went back to a nearby hotel room with him for a drink.


The room was rigged with hidden cameras, which recorded Giuliani apparently untucking his shirt and reaching into his pants. Once he began to reach into his pants, Borat runs into the room and shouts, “She’s 15. She’s too old for you.” Just after the incident, Giuliani called New York City police to report the incident, claiming that he was the victim of a scam or a set up. Giuliani described the encounter to the New York Post, saying that: “This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit. It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive. This person comes in yelling and screaming, and I thought this must be a scam or a shakedown, so I reported it to the police. He then ran away.”

Cernovich

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“The huge scandal to me is the blatant rank-closing and cone of silence — a prohibition — erected *by journalists* around this story to defend Biden.”

Glenn Greenwald Calls Out Hypocrites Covering For Biden On Hunter Stories (NYP)

Glenn Greenwald is an independent-minded man of the left — a Pulitzer-winning journalist who was the main conduit for Edward Snowden’s leaks of US government secrets. He’s faced down government harassment in Brazil, where he now lives and reports. So his thoughts on The Post’s Hunter Biden scoops, and the reaction by other media outlets, are well worth considering. And they’re damning. Tuesday evening, he made these points on Twitter: “Is there a single journalist willing to say with a straight face they believe the emails relating to the Bidens are either fabricated or otherwise fraudulently altered, but the Bidens just aren’t saying so? There has to be some limits to your willingness to go to bat for them.”

“When you report a huge archive, there’s no way to prove the negative that none of it is altered. You investigate & confirm as much as you can, then use your journalistic judgment. The only way you get confirmation is when the subjects of the reporting don’t deny the authenticity.” “When we reported the Snowden archive, we knew it was genuine, but breathed a huge sigh of relief when NSA didn’t claim the docs were fake. The same was true with our Brazil reporting over the last year: publishing private messages from corrupt Bolsonaro officials & prosecutors.” “As a journalist publishing private communications & docs that are incriminating, you know the subjects of the reporting will immediately claim they’re fake *if the[y] are*. Of course they will: that would kill the reporting! There’s a reason the Bidens aren’t claiming they’re fake.”

“I don’t think that the emails — so far — reveal a huge scandal. They so far just establish standard sleaze and DC corruption. The huge scandal to me is the blatant rank-closing and cone of silence — a prohibition — erected *by journalists* around this story to defend Biden.” On Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show that night, he elaborated: “What makes it so much worse is that the reason the Bidens aren’t answering basic questions about this story — basic questions like: Did Hunter Biden drop that laptop off at that repair shop? Are the emails authentic? Do you deny that they are? Do you claim any have been altered or any of them fabricated? Did you in fact meet with Burisma executives as these emails suggest? . . . The reason that they don’t answer any questions is because the media has signaled that they don’t have to. That journalists will be attacked and vilified simply for asking.”

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Hard to believe this guy is serious. What a bizarre new normal we have reached.

Time To Mute The President (Turley)

Peter Greenberger, a former Twitter and Google executive, is calling for the social media accounts of President Donald Trump to be shutdown for the remainder of the election. For those of us who have criticized calls for censorship from Democratic leaders for years, the demand is yet another example of the slippery slope of censorship that awaits this country with increasing regulation of speech on social media. Congressional leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have called for labeling and removal of material with some members directly threatening a legislative crackdown. Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for resisting speech monitoring and censorship as a matter of free speech.

Pelosi lashed out that those who want to preserve a free speech zone are “all about making money,” ignoring free speech advocates who have no financial interest in these companies. Joe Biden has demanded that prior Trump criticism of mail-in voting be stripped from the Internet and social media. This is an effort to enlist companies like Twitter and Facebook to regulate political speech. And it is increasing succeeding. The recent move against the Hunter Biden story is an example of how these companies have been used to inhibit access to stories that are harmful to Joe Biden or beneficial to Donald Trump. Yesterday, the FBI reportedly confirmed that it has the Biden laptop and that it does not believe that the material on the laptop is Russian disinformation.

Previously, the Director of National Intelligence criticized Schiff for declaring that the laptop was clearly Russian disinformation and said that Congress has received no such intelligence. Despite the recent abusive act by Twitter, Greenberger is demanding that these companies go even further to ban all access of Trump to social media. Presumably, Greenberger would eventually ban surrogates who convey Trump’s views or comments.CNN considered Greenberger’s proposal credible enough to give him an entire segment with Jake Tapper who observed that the suggestion is pretty “extreme.”

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Deja Vu?

Biden’s Lead Down to Three (Rasmussen)

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, it’s a three-point race. Democrat Joe Biden now leads President Trump 49% to 46% among Likely U.S. Voters, according to Rasmussen Reports’ weekly White House Watch survey. The latest national telephone and online survey finds that two percent (2%) still prefer some other candidate, while another two percent (2%) remain undecided. Two weeks ago, Biden had a 12-point lead. A week ago, he was ahead by eight. This is the first time in a month that Biden’s support has fallen below 50%.


Trump earns 82% support among Republicans. Biden has 79% of the Democrat vote and leads by seven among voters not affiliated with either major party. The Democrat had a double-digit lead among unaffiliateds for the two weeks prior to this. The survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted October 14-15 and 18-20, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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This show ain’t done.

Poll Shows Trump Support At New High In Tight Race (IBD)

Today’s Biden vs. Trump poll finds support for President Donald Trump hitting a new high, just a hair below his 2016 vote share. The race against former Vice President Joe Biden appears to have gotten much tighter since the Oct. 12 launch of IBD/TIPP’s daily presidential poll. Republican voters have come home, while Democrats have strayed, but Biden retains an edge among independent voters, IBD/TIPP shows. The latest Biden vs. Trump poll update shows the Democratic challenger leading the Republican incumbent by 2.5 points, 48.5%-46%, in a four-way presidential poll of likely voters. Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen has the support of 2.6%, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins 0.7%.

Since the IBD/TIPP 2020 Presidential Election Tracking Poll launched Oct. 12, Biden’s support has slipped 3.4 points, from 51.9%. Trump poll numbers have gone the other way, rising 2.6 points to his new high-water mark of 46%. That’s just one-tenth of a point below his 46.1% 2016 vote share. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.1 points. Biden’s lead peaked at 8.6 points in IBD/TIPP’s Oct. 13 presidential poll. The race’s tightest point came on Tuesday, Oct. 20, when Biden led by 2.3 points. Biden’s narrower support reflects Trump’s gain, along with more voters who are undecided or decline to say whom they support.

In a head-to-head Biden vs. Trump poll, the Democratic nominee leads by 1.8 points, 48.7%-46.9%, his smallest lead to date. Biden’s support has slipped 4 points since Oct. 12 in the one-on-one matchup, while Trump’s support is up 4.6 points. Biden’s head-to-head lead is slightly narrower because Trump sheds a bit more support to the Libertarian candidate in a four-way race.

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The New York Post Twitter account is still locked, one week after the publication on Hunter’s laptop. The New York Times account is not.

Will Adam Schiff Now Be Banned From Twitter? (Turley)

Just a day after more than 50 former senior intelligence officials signed on to a letter declaring that the recent disclosure of emails from the Hunter Biden laptop is likely Russian disinformation, the FBI reportedly confirmed that the material does not appear to be Russian disinformation. While former officials like John Brennan insisted that the story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” the FBI appears to have found no such evidence thus far. This followed a similar conclusion from the Director of National Intelligence in response to House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff saying that the story was pure Russian disinformation. The question is whether Twitter and Facebook will now bar access to Schiff’s statements pending further review since the actual intelligence agencies are suggesting that this could be democratic disinformation.

After all, a former Twitter executive is calling for President Trump to be barred from all social media until after the election to prevent “misinformation.” The burden of being a free speech advocate is the the answer is clearly no. Those, like Schiff, who have called for censoring material on the Internet still should benefit from the protections of free speech. From a free speech perspective, it does not matter if the Schiff statement and the letter have “all the classic earmarks of a [Democratic] information operation,” we all benefit from a free and robust discussion of such issues. We do not need these companies to censor or inhibit stories to protect us from misinformation. The letter itself is striking not only in its sweeping conclusion (without actually reviewing the laptop or the emails), but its signatories.

This includes some of those who have been associated with the Russian investigation of the Trump campaign, which was based in part on the Steele dossier. That dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign, was recently found to have been based on information supplied by a known Russian agent. Throughout the campaign, and for many weeks after, the Clinton campaign denied any involvement in the creation of the dossier that was later used to secure a secret surveillance warrant against Trump associates during the Obama administration. Journalists later discovered that the Clinton campaign hid the payments to Fusion as a “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to the law firm.

New York Times reporter Ken Vogel at the time said that Clinton lawyer Marc Elias had “vigorously” denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman likewise wrote: “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.” Even when Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was questioned by Congress on the matter, he denied any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who helped devise contract.

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Still trying to make this news?!

Republicans To Push Ahead With Supreme Court Pick Despite Dems’ Boycott (R.)

U.S. Senate Republicans pledged to go ahead with a vote on Thursday on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, despite Judiciary Committee Democrats pledging to boycott a proceeding that they called “a sham.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said in a statement on Wednesday that “Judge Barrett deserves a vote and she will receive a vote.” Just hours earlier, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Judiciary Committee Democrats said they would not show up for the vote. They have been urging Republicans to await the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election before advancing a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the September death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


“Amidst a global pandemic and ongoing election, Republicans are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court Justice to take away health care from millions and execute the extreme and deeply unpopular agenda that they’ve been unable to get through Congress,” the Democrats said. “This has been a sham process from the beginning,” they said, noting that U.S. elections were only 12 days away and that early ballots already were being cast. Graham, who is in a tough re-election campaign in South Carolina, countered, saying in his statement that Barrett “has a judicial disposition that should be the gold standard for all future nominees” to the high court.

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Take all their wealth, and throw them in the slammer.

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma To Plead To 3 Criminal Charges (AP)

Drugmaker Purdue Pharma, the company behind the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin that experts say helped touch off an opioid epidemic, will plead guilty to federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. The deal does not release any of the company’s executives or owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — from criminal liability, and a criminal investigation is ongoing. Family members said they acted “ethically and lawfully,” but some state attorneys general said the agreement fails to hold the Sacklers accountable. The company will plead guilty to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said, and the agreement will be detailed in a bankruptcy court filing in federal court.


The Sacklers will lose all control over their company, a move already in the works, and Purdue will become a public benefit company, meaning it will be governed by a trust that has to balance the trust’s interests against those of the American public and public health, officials said. The settlement is the highest-profile display yet of the federal government seeking to hold a major drugmaker responsible for an opioid addiction and overdose crisis linked to more than 470,000 deaths in the country since 2000.

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Today is the tenth anniversary of the Guardian’s publication of the Iraq war logs, leaked by Manning to Assange.

Guardian’s Silence Let UK Trample On Assange’s Rights In Darkness (Cook)

Julian Assange has been hounded out of public life and public view by the UK and US governments for the best part of a decade. Now he languishes in a small, airless cell in Belmarsh high-security prison in London – a victim of arbitrary detention, according to a UN working group, and a victim of psychological torture, according to Nils Melzer, the UN’s expert on torture. If Judge Vanessa Baraitser, presiding in the Central Criminal Court in London, agrees, as she gives every appearance of preparing to do, Assange will be the first journalist to face a terrifying new ordeal – a form of extraordinary rendition to the United States for “espionage” – for having the courage to publish documents that exposed US war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Guardian worked with Assange and Wikileaks on vitally important documents – now at the heart of the US case against Assange – known as the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs. The latter were published exactly a decade ago today. They were a journalistic coup of global significance, and the paper ought to be profoundly proud of its role in bringing them to public attention. During Assange’s extradition hearing, however, the Guardian treated the logs and its past association with Assange and Wikileaks more like a dirty secret it hoped to keep out of sight. Those scoops furnished by Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning enriched the paper financially, and bolstered its standing internationally. They also helped to pave its path into the lucrative US market.


Unlike Assange and Manning, the Guardian has suffered no consequences for publishing the logs. Unlike Assange and Manning, the paper has faced no retribution. While it profited, Assange continues to be made an example of – to deter other journalists from contemplating following in his footsteps.

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More bullshit from the Guardian. More on this later.

This is a bank account from Trump International Hotels Management, not Trump himself. Moreover, this played in 2013-15. Hasn’t been used since 2015, when the project it was opened for failed.

And Trump did pay a lot more taxes than $750, just not “regular” income tax.

Donald Trump Paid Nearly $200,000 In Taxes To China, Report Claims (G.)

Donald Trump maintains a bank account in China where he pursued licensing deals for years, according to a report that could undermine the president’s election campaign claim that he is tough on Beijing. Tax records reviewed by the New York Times showed a previously unreported bank account in China controlled by Trump International Hotels Management. The account paid $188,561 in taxes in China between 2013 and 2015 in connection to potential licensing deals, according the newspaper. Earlier reporting by the Times showed he paid just $750 in US taxes in 2016 and 2017. The recent tax records also showed Trump invested at least $192,000 in five companies charged with pursuing business deals in China. Those companies claimed $97,400 in business expenses, including payments as recently as 2018, the Times reported.

Trump has waged his re-election campaign on his ability to stand up to China on issues from trade to human rights abuses in Xinjiang and political repression in Hong Kong as well as accountability for the spread of Covid-19. Under Trump, ties between China and the US have reached their lowest point in decades. The disclosures also come after Trump accused his opponent, Joe Biden, of being “weak on China” and described the Biden family as “selling out our country” to China. The Trump campaign has run attack ads against Biden’s son for having “inked a billion-dollar deal” with the government-owned Bank of China, allegations that have been not been substantiated.

[..] Trump has previously pursued an office tower project in Guangzhou in southern China that did not come to fruition. AFP reported in 2016 that the Trump Hotel Collection negotiated with the government owned electricity company, State Grid Corporation of China, to brand and manage a major development in Beijing, resulting in a deal worth up to $150 million over 15 years. Negotiations were put on hold after the state-owned enterprise became the focus of a corruption probe. A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten told the Times that the company had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes”. “No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive,” he said.

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“In Spain, for example, 83% of the 85,000 businesses that have collapsed since February employ fewer than five workers.”

Over Half Europe’s Small Firms Fear For Survival (R.)

Over half the small and medium-sized companies which together provide jobs for two-thirds of European workers fear for their survival in the coming 12 months, according to a survey released by management consultancy McKinsey on Thursday. The survey was conducted in August, before the current acceleration in new coronavirus cases across Europe that is forcing governments to impose new restrictions on activity and prompting speculation of fresh national lockdowns. The finding comes as warnings multiply of an impending wave of business insolvencies and as the IMF and others urge the region’s governments to double down on state support to help companies weather the coronavirus pandemic.


The McKinsey survey of more than 2,200 companies in five countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain – found that 55% expected to shut down by September next year if their revenues remained at current levels. At the current trajectory, one in 10 small and medium-sized companies were expected to file bankruptcy within six months. “This is a substantial burden on the financial sector,” report co-author Zdravko Mladenov said of just one of the knock-on impacts of such a development, which would also send jobless totals surging and stymie wider investment in the economy. [..] Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as those with 250 or fewer employees. In Europe, they employ over 90 million people but their small size makes them vulnerable to cash flow crises. In Spain, for example, 83% of the 85,000 businesses that have collapsed since February employ fewer than five workers.

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It won’t just be New York. I’m talking in Athens about how to prepare.

Million New Yorkers Can’t Afford Food As Hunger Crisis Worsens (ZH)

In the seventh month of the virus pandemic, New York City is still in shambles, with more than half a million residents unemployed as the small business collapse continues. Broadway is closed, Manhattan offices are empty as remote work dominates, violent crime is surging, and an exodus of people from the city has created a perfect storm of economic chaos that will hunt many New Yorkers for years. A byproduct of the virus-induced economic downturn is food and housing insecurity for millions of people in the Tri-state area. Deep economic scarring produced by permanent job loss has left many people in a bind; some working-poor may never recover while others could take years.

Food and housing insecurity will be, or should be, a hot subject as millions in the Tri-state area are suffering ahead of the holidays. Readers may recall in early October, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey warned that more than one million New Jerseyans were expected to suffer food insecurity by the end of the year. Now the problem is becoming more widespread. At least one million New Yorkers are expected, or will soon, experience food insecurity, according to FOX 5 NY. Alexander Rapaport, the executive director of Masbia soup kitchen network, said, “We have done disasters before, but nothing is even close to what we are doing now,” referring to the long lines at food banks across the city is all too common.

Masbia is a nonprofit soup kitchen network and food pantry, with Borough Park and Flatbush locations in Brooklyn and Forest Hills in Queens. Rapaport said there had been a 500% increase in demand. In a separate report, NYT estimates the number of New Yorkers who are going hungry could be upwards of 1.5 million. Denise Allen, a mother who visits one of Masbia’s food banks, said: “I’m on a limited income. I visit every two to three weeks,” said Allen. Rapaport said, “there is so much need. So much so that for the last three days, Rapaport, his staff, and volunteers have been operating around the clock. All three locations are now open 24/7, feeding 1,500 families a day, but it is still not enough.” With demand high for food banks in the city, he said long lines have developed, which forced him to create an entirely new system in what he calls digital food bank lines. “You now have to make an appointment to pick up your box of food,” Rapaport said.

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“We’ve found that Trump rallies are super-spreader events since there’s a ton of people. Biden rallies are great for stopping the virus.”

Experts Recommend Maximizing Social Distance By Attending A Biden Rally (BBee)

Health experts across the globe are recommending a new strategy for maximizing your social distance: attending a Joe Biden rally. Officials say there’s no better place to be miles away from most other humans. “When you attend a Joe Biden rally, you’re very unlikely to get infected, since, you know, there’s no one else there,” said one CDC official. “We’ve found that Trump rallies are super-spreader events since there’s a ton of people. Biden rallies are great for stopping the virus. You just stand in the middle of a field while an old guy shouts from a podium hundreds of feet far away from you.”

“Plus, you can rest and relax. Get away from the busyness of modern life: attend a Biden rally. BIDEN-HARRIS 2020!” The health experts named several alternatives that are also acceptable for maximal social distancing, including attending a Biden boat parade, a Biden car parade, and a Nickelback concert.

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Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1972

 

‘Nonpublic Information’ Debunks Letter From ’50 Former Intel Officials’ (ZH)
Rudy Giuliani Files Police Report On Hunter Biden For Child Endangerment (JTN)
Hunter Biden’s Laptop Probe Referred to FBI, Delaware State Police Say (NW)
10 Tea Leaves Pointing To ‘Surprise’ Trump Victory (Del Beccaro)
Trump: Hunter Emails No Russian Plot, Tulsi Gabbard No ‘Russian Asset’ (RT)
Secret Service Travel Logs Match Details in Alleged Hunter Biden Emails (ET)
Hunter Biden Arranged White House Meeting for Elite Chinese Group (NR)
US Schools Report $6.5 Billion in Undisclosed Foreign Gifts and Contracts (ET)
No, Our Democracy And Freedom Are Not On The Line This Election (Rasmussen)
DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Draws Bipartisan Praise (ET)
Senate Panel Delays Vote To Subpoena Twitter, Facebook CEOs (Pol.)
Facebook Workers ‘Ashamed’ By Censorship Of Hunter Files Reporting (NYP)
Meet Your -Chinese- Facebook Censors (Ahmari)
Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates (NPR)
Moscow Will Begin Mass Vaccination Against COVID19 In December (RT)
Nassim Taleb On Capitalism, Entrepreneurs, And The Pandemic (BI)

 

 

It’s Hunter season.

 

 

 

 

I think Tyler has the timeline a bit wrong. Tucker didn’t say this “Hours before Politico reported the existence of a letter signed by ’50 former senior intelligence officials'”, he said it on October 16 (maybe even 15?!) , and the letter was published the 19th.

‘Nonpublic Information’ Debunks Letter From ’50 Former Intel Officials’ (ZH)

Hours before Politico reported the existence of a letter signed by ’50 former senior intelligence officials’ who say the Hunter Biden laptop scandal “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation” – providing “no new evidence,” while they remain “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case,” Tucker Carlson obliterated their (literal) conspiracy theory. According to the Fox News host, he’s seen ‘nonpublic information that proves it was Hunter’s laptop,’ adding “No one but Hunter could’ve known about or replicated this information.” “This is not a Russian hoax. We are not speculating.”

Meanwhile, the Delaware computer repair shop owner who believes Hunter dropped off three MacBook Pros for data recovery has a signed work order bearing Hunter’s signature. When compared to the signature on a document in his paternity suit, while one looks more formal than the other, they are a match. Going back to the ’50 former senior intelligence officials’ and their latest Russia fixation, one has to wonder – do they think Putin was able to compromise Biden’s former business associate, Bevan Cooney, who gave investigative journalist Peter Schweizer his gmail password – revealing that Hunter and his partners were engaged in an influence-peddling operation for rich Chinese who wanted access to the Obama administration?


Did Putin further hack Joe Biden in 2011 to make him take a meeting with a Chinese delegation with ties to the CCP – arranged by Hunter’s group, two years they secured a massive investment of Chinese money? The implications boggle the mind. Here’s the clarifying sentences from the ’50 former senior intelligence officials’ that exposes the utter farce of it all: “While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work. “If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

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A 14-year old relative. Most damning is that Joe knew about it.

Rudy Giuliani Files Police Report On Hunter Biden For Child Endangerment (JTN)

Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump’s private attorneys, has reported to Delaware police concerns that materials on a laptop purportedly tied to Hunter Biden contained evidence of possible child endangerment. Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney and New York City mayor, confirmed Tuesday night he went Monday to a local police department in Wilmington to report his concerns of children endangerment and sexual exploitation. Giuliani told Just the News that former New York Police Department commissioner Bernard Kerik joined him when he delivered photographs and text messages to the New Castle County Police Department. “I told them other details about what appears to be an inappropriate sexual relationship,” he said in an interview. “They told me it would be investigated.”

Law enforcement officials in Delaware told Just the News that Giuliani’s concerns have been forwarded to the state Department of Justice. A spokesman for New Castle County police referred reporters to the state Justice Department. A spokesman for the state agency did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment. A senior federal law enforcement official told Just the News on Tuesday night that the FBI is in possession of the laptop and that the bureau concurs with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s assessment that the laptop is not part of Russian intelligence operation, as some Democrats have alleged. That official declined to discuss the contents of the laptop.

[..] Giuliani said the materials he gleaned from the controversial laptop — which a Delaware computer shop owner alleges was left with him by Hunter Biden — gave him concern for the welfare of a minor girl. Giuliani declined to identify the alleged minor victim or who was in the photos. “There are many texts which I gave to them that point out that family was concerned about the safety of the child,” Giuliani said. “I will tell you the evidence I gave them states it was reported to Joe Biden. What did he do about it?“Giuliani dismissed suggestions that filing a police report as Trump’s private attorney two weeks before Election Day should be deemed political. “The conduct falls under the mandatory reporting requirements for child endangerment,” Giuliani said. “If I was the U.S. attorney or the mayor or Bernie was still the commissioner, it would have been a crime for us not to report what we had.”

Giuliani

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After they’ve had it for a year?! Yeah, that should work…

What the FBI is investigating is not the contents of the emails, but the RussiaRussia claims the Dems launched.

Is Giuliani’s report now also with the FBI?

Hunter Biden’s Laptop Probe Referred to FBI, Delaware State Police Say (NW)

The Delaware state police have passed on an inquiry concerning the laptop purportedly belonging to Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to the FBI.On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani told Newsmax that he handed over the laptop that he claims belongs to Hunter Biden to the Delaware state police on Monday. “In light of ongoing questions about the credibility of these claims and multiple reports that the FBI is investigating their veracity, law enforcement is referring this matter to the FBI,” a Delaware State Police spokesperson told Newsweek. The Delaware State Police also confirmed that they are not in possession of the laptop.


Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff accused each other of politicizing intelligence on Monday over emails allegedly found on the laptop. More than 50 former senior intelligence officials signed a letter on Monday detailing their belief that the laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” After Schiff called revelations stemming from the laptop a Kremlin “smear” campaign, Ratcliffe on Monday insisted that the laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”

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Some good points.

10 Tea Leaves Pointing To ‘Surprise’ Trump Victory (Del Beccaro)

1. Pennsylvania Voter Registration. American presidential elections are decided by the Electoral College as President Trump and Joe Biden both know. In 2016, Pennsylvania and its 20 Electoral College votes were key to President Trump’s victory. He won Pennsylvania by a slim 44,292 votes out of nearly 6 million. That November, the Democrats had nearly a 900,000 voter registration advantage over the Republicans. That number is now down to a 700,000 registration advantage and has narrowed to 100,000 in the last year.

2. Florida, too. In 2008, Democrats held nearly a 700,000 thousand voter registration advantage and Barack Obama carried the state by 236,148 votes. By 2012 that advantage slipped to 558,272 registrations and Obama won there by 74,309 votes. In 2016, Democrats had a 327,483 registration advantage and Trump carried the state by 112,991 votes. Now the Democrats’ voter registration advantage is down nearly 200,000 to just a 134,242 thousand lead, which Politico called a “historic low.”

3. Latinos for Trump. Trump could well receive a historic level of support from Latino Voters in 2020. In Florida, a NBC/Marist poll had Trump leading among Latinos 50% to 46% over Biden, whereas, in 2016, Hillary won among Latinos in Florida 62% to 35%. That would be a 15% swing toward Trump if it held up on Election Day. After the first debate between Biden and Trump, a Telemundo poll showed Trump winning the debate overwhelmingly 66% to 34%. Snap media polls tend to reflect the sentiment of their viewers. Thus, it is no surprise that CNN viewers said Biden won the debate. The fact that Telemundo viewers decisively picked Trump as the winner, along with polls like those cited above in Florida, portend Trump getting the highest ever Latino support of any Republican presidential candidate.

4. African Americans For Trump. In September, according to polling done by Rasmussen, Trump’s approval rating among African Americans reached 45%. Keep in mind that President Trump only received 8% of the Black vote in 2016. If Trump received just 16% of the Black vote this November, let alone an even higher number, that would all but secure states like Michigan for Trump.

5. Biden the Tax Increaser. Candidates who promise tax increases, or have a history of supporting tax increases, tend to lose versus those pushing for tax cuts. President Jimmy Carter lost to challenger Ronald Reagan, Walter Mondale lost to President Reagan, Michael Dukakis lost to George H.W. Bush 41 and then 41 lost his reelection after his tax increase became a reality. George W. Bush beat Al Gore and then John Kerry. Barack Obama promised to reduce taxes and he beat John McCain who was not a tax cutter. Obviously, President Trump offered tax cuts while running against, and beating, Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden, on the other hand, is pushing for the largest tax increase in history.

6. Enthusiasm Matters. As the New York Post has reported, “just 46 percent of Biden voters in a recent Pew poll said that they strongly support him, compared to 66 percent of Trump’s base.” That is a 20 gap. In 2016, Trump had only a 13 point gap over Hillary. That increase of 7% bodes well for Trump, not Biden.

7. Early Voting in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio. National polling from Pew Research indicates that “55% of voters who plan to cast their ballot in person before Election Day support Biden, compared to 40% who support President Trump.” However, in the key battleground states of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin the early voting indicates that “registered Republicans are returning ballots at about the same rate as registered Democrats.” The parties are even in Michigan, Democrats up 2% in Wisconsin and the Republicans up 2% in Ohio.

8. American Voters Are More Satisfied in 2020 than they were in 2016. A new Gallup poll shows that 56% of Americans say they are better off now than they were four years ago. That could well be the telling in this case given that just four years ago marked the end of the Biden vice presidency. Why would voters return to Biden if they are happier now than when he was in office?

9. Party Identification. According to Gallup, by the end of September, when the polling firm asked voters this question, “In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?” the answer came back as follows: 28% said Republican, 27% said Democrat and 42% said independent. That is meaningful because many of the polls giving Biden the lead appear to be sampling more Democrats than Republicans – sometimes by a wide margin. Also, in 2016, Gallup had Democrats up 32% to 27% but, as we know, Trump still won.

10. Voters Think Trump Will Win. In the Trump era, there has been a lot of talk about whether Trump supporters feel free to tell pollsters that they are supporting the president’s reelection. Some experts point to polls asking voters who they believe will win the election to be a truer indication of candidate support. Once again this bodes well for President Trump as a “Gallup poll shows only 40% of Americans think Biden will win the election; 56% predict a Trump victory.”

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Good comparison.

Trump: Hunter Emails No Russian Plot, Tulsi Gabbard No ‘Russian Asset’ (RT)

Donald Trump has compared Rep. Adam Schiff’s claim that Hunter Biden’s alleged leaked emails are part of a Russian disinformation plot to Hillary Clinton calling Democrat Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian asset” similarly without evidence.During a Tuesday Fox News interview, Trump addressed Schiff’s evidence-free claim that the Hunter Biden email leaks, which detail his alleged dealings in Ukraine and China, were coming “from the Kremlin.” The leaks were published by the New York Post last week. “It’s just crazy,” Trump said of the theory, referring to the Democratic congressman as “Shifty Schiff” and a “sick” man, who was purposefully obfuscating the issue.


“Thank god we have John Ratcliffe,” Trump added, pointing out that the director of national intelligence refuted the speculation on Monday. During his own sit down with Fox, DNI Ratcliffe said that there was “no intelligence” to support Schiff’s position, and accused the politician of “politicizing” intelligence. The president recalled similar accusations made by his failed 2016 rival Hillary Clinton, who previously implied that the Green Party’s former nominee Jill Stein and Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard were “Russian assets.” “This was like Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein, when Hillary Clinton said it about them… that they were agents of Russia,” Trump noted, adding, “They were not agents of Russia, they never spoke to anybody from Russia.”

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13 days left to go.

Secret Service Travel Logs Match Details in Alleged Hunter Biden Emails (ET)

Secret Service logs obtained earlier this year by Senate investigators include dates and locations matching those discussed in the emails allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.The alignment of the dates in the emails and the Secret Service protective detail logs is significant because the authenticity of the emails, first published by the New York Post last week, is the subject of heated debate. The FBI, which purportedly obtained Hunter Biden’s laptop in December last year, has not yet officially confirmed that it is in possession of the device and whether the emails are genuine.

In one alleged email, written after midnight on April 13, 2014, Hunter Biden wrote to Devon Archer, his business partner, that he will be traveling to Houston the next day. Secret Service logs obtained by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs show a trip by Biden on April 13-14, 2014. In another alleged email, Vadim Pozharskyi, a top executive from Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, wrote to Biden and Archer on May 12, 2014: “Following our talks during the visit to the Como Lake and our further discussions, I would like to bring the following situation to your attention.” While the email doesn’t cite a date for the trip, Secret Service logs include a travel entry for Biden on April 3-6, 2014.

In another alleged email, Archer wrote on May 12, 2014, that he is with Biden in Doha, Qatar. Secret Service records include a trip by Biden to Doha, Qatar, on May 11-14, 2014. The alignment in dates and location was first spotted by the staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance committees. Notably, some of the alleged Hunter Biden emails included discussions of Biden’s travel after he allegedly declined a Secret Service detail. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) penned a letter to the director of the Secret Service on Oct. 20 asking for records after the date when Biden purportedly stopped receiving a Secret Service detail.

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And associates.

Hunter Biden Arranged White House Meeting for Elite Chinese Group (NR)

In November 2011, an elite group of Chinese Communist Party members and billionaire cronies of the repressive regime in Beijing secured a meeting in the White House, said to be with Vice President Biden and other Obama administration officials, through Hunter Biden’s associates. News of the meeting has been broken by Peter Schweizer and Seamus Bruner. Schweizer, who has spent years tracking Washington’s web of money, influence and access, is the author most recently of Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, which focuses on the Biden family — among other intriguing money trails on both sides of the political aisle. Schweizer and Bruner have obtained the cooperation of Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Bevan Cooney, who is serving a federal prison sentence for a fraud scheme.

Another Hunter Biden business partner, Devon Archer, was also convicted (and has had his conviction reinstated by the Second Circuit federal appeals court after a trial judge in the Southern District of New York set it aside). Hunter Biden was featured in the evidence but not charged. Cooney has given the investigative journalists access to his email account, which contains years of correspondence with Biden, Archer, and others. The authors have begun writing reports published at Breitbart, and Schweizer has also been interviewed about it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Obviously, those are very pro-Trump venues, so it is worth noting that solid reporting Schweizer did on the Clinton Foundation (the subject of his book Clinton Cash) was closely examined and relied on by the New York Times.

[..] Based on Cooney’s emails, the authors report that in November 2011, Hunter Biden’s business associates arranged meetings at the Obama White House for a delegation of the “China Entrepreneur Club.” Established in 2006, the CEC is led by high officials of the Chinese Communist Party, some government officials (including diplomats), and billionaire business executives with close ties to the regime. This visit to the White House is said to have included a meeting with then–Vice President Biden. In discussions among themselves, Hunter Biden’s associates reportedly made it clear that they anticipated cashing in on business prospects that were expected to arise from providing the Chinese contingent with high-level access to the Obama administration.

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Balding

US Schools Report $6.5 Billion in Undisclosed Foreign Gifts and Contracts (ET)

American Universities failed to report $6.5 billion in foreign gifts and contracts, an investigation by the Department of Education found. Federal law requires schools to disclose substantial foreign gifts and contracts to the Department of Education (DOE) twice a year. Many have for years failed to do so, while others severely underreported the income. The deluge of the financial disclosures poured in as the department opened investigations into 12 elite universities. Universities reported receiving a total of more than $19.6 billion in foreign gifts and contracts from 2014 to 2020, including nearly $1.5 billion from China, almost $3.1 billion from Qatar, and more than $1.1 billion from Saudi Arabia, according to historical DOE data and most recent figures posted on its new online reporting portal.

Carnegie Mellon University reported receiving almost $1.61 billion in foreign gifts and contracts, the most of any university. Harvard tops the list in terms of total funds received from China, reporting nearly $116 million. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled the findings of the investigation at an event on Oct. 20, alongside officials from the Justice Department and the State Department. “The threat is real, so we took action to make sure the public is afforded the transparency the law requires,” DeVos said. “We found pervasive noncompliance by higher-ed institutions and significant foreign entanglement with America’s colleges and universities.”

The vast majority of the foreign funds went to America’s largest and most prestigious universities, which have received billions of dollars through a bevy of intermediaries, according to a report released by the DOE on Oct. 20. All of the institutions involved are in the meantime dependent on tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer subsidies while operating largely “divorced from any sense of obligation to our taxpayers or concern for our American national interests, security, or values,” the DOE report states. For the first half of 2020 alone, U.S. universities retroactively reported $2 billion in foreign gifts and contracts. One school, which isn’t identified in the report, failed to report $760 million in foreign funding. University officials told the DOE they were “dumbfounded” by the reporting error. Another unnamed school failed to report $1.2 billion in foreign gifts and contracts.

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“82% of senior citizens think that this is the most important presidential election of their lifetime. Think about that.”

No, Our Democracy And Freedom Are Not On The Line This Election (Rasmussen)

One of the things that never fails to amaze me as a pollster is the absolute intensity that accompanies the final weeks of a presidential campaign. A poll I conducted recently for HealthInsurance.com found that 82% of senior citizens think that this is the most important presidential election of their lifetime. Think about that. That’s what senior citizens are saying. These are voters who were around when the Berlin Wall went up and the Cold War was being fought in a space race. The civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, Woodstock and Watergate were part of their life experience. And yet, now, they say this year — 2020 — is the most important presidential election of their lifetime.

Of course, you don’t need a poll to sense the intensity that some activists and voters bring to the election season. Supporters of both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden regularly assert that the nation will never recover if the other side wins. Our democracy or our freedom will be lost. This shouldn’t surprise me. It happens every four years. But it catches me off guard because I don’t agree with the assessment. America will survive another four years of Donald Trump as president or the first four years of Joe Biden as president. There will be differences, of course, because elections matter. They have consequences. But it’s important to remember that politicians aren’t nearly as important as they think they are. They don’t determine the nation’s agenda or decide the fate of the nation.

The culture leads and the politicians lag behind. It’s also important to remember that American society isn’t nearly as polarized as American politics. That’s the good news. Still, it seems like a good time to review the data and assess where we are as Election 2020 draws to a close. The place to start is with a number that partisan activists find impossible to believe. My polling shows that 14% of voters — 1 out of 7 — are not fully certain how they will vote. That number includes some who currently support Trump or Biden but could change their mind. It also includes some who are currently leaning towards a third-party candidate. Historically, many such voters end up deciding at the last minute to reluctantly vote for one of the major party candidates. And, there are a few who just don’t like the choice before them.

In a sense, this group of uncommitted voters might best be described as voters who want both Trump and Biden to lose. While most are unlikely to change their mind, the possibility remains that something might happen to cause a late break in either direction. As a result, with two weeks to go, it’s best to consider a range of possibilities. Biden and the Democrats are ahead at the moment, but victory is not assured. I’ll start with the best-case scenario for the Republicans. If the race gets a bit tighter, Election 2020 will be a toss-up with the presidency determined by a few key states — places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. It will seem like four years ago with one big exception: This time around, extensive mail-in voting means we wouldn’t know the winner for weeks. And, we also wouldn’t know who controls the Senate, the results in a couple dozen House races, and who has control of a few state legislatures.

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I thought they would only agree on going to war.

DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Draws Bipartisan Praise (ET)

Lawmakers in the House and Senate praised a Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit against Google over allegations that the tech giant used its power to preserve its monopoly. “Today’s lawsuit is the most important antitrust case in a generation,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement after the filing. “Google and its fellow Big Tech monopolists exercise unprecedented power over the lives of ordinary Americans, controlling everything from the news we read to the security of our most personal information. And Google in particular has gathered and maintained that power through illegal means.” The lawsuit drew bipartisan support. House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said in a statement that the lawsuit was “long overdue.”

“The Subcommittee’s investigation uncovered extensive evidence showing that Google maintained and extended its monopoly to harm competition,” he said in a statement. “It is critical that the Justice Department’s lawsuit focuses on Google’s monopolization of search and search advertising, while also targeting the anti-competitive business practices Google is using to leverage this monopoly into other areas, such as maps, browsers, video, and voice assistants.” Cicilline said in early October in a House antitrust subcommittee that Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple all wield monopoly power. “It’s Google’s business model that is the problem,” he said. “Google evolved from a turnstile to the rest of the web to a walled garden that increasingly keeps users within its sights.”

The suit, filed in a Washington federal court, asserts that Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., has tried to maintain its status as a gatekeeper to the Internet by using a number of interlocking businesses to shut out competitors, thereby securing itself as a monopoly. The DOJ claimed the Silicon Valley firm uses billions of dollars from its own advertisements to pay carriers, browsers, phone companies, and other entities to maintain Google as a default search engine. “Absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anticompetitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice, and stifling innovation. Google is now the unchallenged gateway to the internet for billions of users worldwide,” the DOJ lawsuit alleged, resulting in negative consequences for advertisers, consumers, and upstart companies that “cannot emerge from Google’s long shadow.”

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“One way or another, either voluntarily or pursuant to subpoena, they will testify and they will testify before the election,” Cruz said.”

Senate Panel Delays Vote To Subpoena Twitter, Facebook CEOs (Pol.)

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday postponed plans to vote on subpoenas to compel the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook to testify on allegations of anti-conservative bias after some panel Republicans expressed reservation about the maneuver. President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have scorched the two social media companies in recent days over their handling of disputed New York Post reports alleging ties between Joe Biden and his son’s business interests. GOP Judiciary leaders had announced plans to hold a markup Tuesday on whether to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify on allegations the company’s decisions on user posts stifle conservative viewpoints, which Twitter denies. Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) later said the planned vote would also target Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The panel announced Monday it will now consider whether to authorize the subpoenas at a high-profile executive session Thursday where it is separately expected to approve Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The committee said in a statement it will continue to negotiate with the companies “to allow for voluntary testimony” by the CEOs, but that if an agreement is not reached the panel will move ahead with a vote on the subpoenas “at a date to be determined.” The subpoenas would require the tech moguls to testify on the alleged “suppression and/or censorship” of the New York Post reporting and on “any other content moderation policies, practices, or actions that may interfere with or influence elections for federal office,” according to a document released by the committee Monday.

Judiciary staff has indicated internally that plans for the vote were delayed in part due to some GOP panel members wavering on whether to support the action, according to one Senate GOP aide, who spoke anonymously to discuss private negotiations. Republican officials have also expressed trepidation about how quickly the committee has moved to vote on the subpoenas, the aide said. A committee spokesperson did not immediately offer comment on the matter. But they’re not off the hook yet: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who chairs Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, told reporters he’s expecting the committee to hear testimony from both Dorsey and Zuckerberg “shortly” whether they come willingly or not. “One way or another, either voluntarily or pursuant to subpoena, they will testify and they will testify before the election,” Cruz said.

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“But we didn’t have problems circulating leaked Trump tax or any other s–t surrounding Trump or COVID.”

Facebook Workers ‘Ashamed’ By Censorship Of Hunter Files Reporting (NYP)

“Facebook is almost an arm of the Democratic Party — an arm of the far-left wing of the Democratic Party.” So said the former Facebook insider as we sat down for an interview at a Midtown restaurant Friday afternoon.A gloomy rain had left the joint deserted, yet the man across the table from me spoke in hushed tones and looked over his shoulder in between remarks for fear of retaliation. Yet he felt he had to speak out, because staffers are “intentionally trying to swing people further to the left,” as he had put it in an e-mail requesting the meeting. I already knew that, of course. It was a Facebook communications manager, Andy Stone, who on Thursday announced the firm was reducing circulation of The Post’s still-undisputed reporting on the Hunter Files — an employee who happened to work for Democratic lawmakers before joining the tech giant.

What the Facebook insider wanted to impress upon me, however, was how Facebook’s partisan tilt is common knowledge inside the firm.He had the secret chats to prove it. Facebook employees who wish to speak freely take to Blind, an anonymous social network for the tech industry, where workers at major firms like Uber, Google, Twitter and the like trade gossip and occasionally blow the whistle on malfeasance. To gain access to the Facebook network on Blind, a user must sign up using his or her Facebook work e-mail address. The posters, in other words, are verified Facebook employees (and ex-employees in a few cases). So what do Facebook workers think about the company’s handling of our story? The comments speak for themselves: “[Facebook] employees want Trump to lose,” wrote one user. “If that means rigging [the platform] against him, they don’t care.”


The post garnered 29 “likes” from other employees. “I was shocked that Facebook did this,” said another. “We kinda called [brought] this on ourselves. So much for ‘we are not the arbiters of truth.’ ” That comment garnered 15 “likes.” Still other comments: “Facebook bets that Biden wins the election. So an effort to jump on the bandwagon.” “Yeah this one is unconscionable. I’m ashamed.” “Imagine if we censored some leaked Trump stuff. It would be the #1 upvoted question tomorrow for Mark [Zuckerberg company-wide]’s Q&A.” Another employee wrote a detailed critique: “Why do people hate Facebook everywhere? Here’s one reason. Freaking one-sided decision. The comms Twitter account [Andy Stone’s] was definitely left-leaning, and it’s a talking point, as well. No proper response to comms feedback. Don’t want to be the what-if person. But we didn’t have problems circulating leaked Trump tax or any other s–t surrounding Trump or COVID.”

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AI.

Meet Your -Chinese- Facebook Censors (Ahmari)

China is one of the most censorious societies on earth. So what better place for ≠Facebook to recruit social-media censors? There are at least half a dozen “Chinese nationals who are working on censorship,” a former Facebook insider told me last week. “So at some point, they [Facebook bosses] thought, ‘Hey, we’re going to get them H-1B visas so they can do this work.’ ”The insider shared an internal directory of the team that does much of this work. It’s called Hate-Speech Engineering (George Orwell, call your office), and most of its members are based at Facebook’s offices in Seattle. Many have Ph.D.s, and their work is extremely complex, involving machine learning — teaching “computers how to learn and act without being explicitly programmed,” as the techy Web site DeepAI.org puts it.

When it comes to censorship on social media, that means “teaching” the Facebook code so certain content ends up at the top of your newsfeed, a feat that earns the firm’s software wizards discretionary bonuses, per the ex-insider. It also means making sure other content “shows up dead-last.”Like, say, a New York Post report on the Biden dynasty’s dealings with Chinese companies.To illustrate the mechanics, the insider took me as his typical Facebook user: “They take what Sohrab sees, and then they throw the newsfeed list into a machine-learning algorithm and neural networks that determine the ranking of the items.” Facebook engineers test hundreds of different iterations of the rankings to shape an optimal outcome — and root out what bosses call “borderline content.”

It all makes for perhaps the most chillingly sophisticated censorship mechanism in human history. “What they don’t do is ban a specific pro-Trump hashtag,” says the ex-insider. Instead, “content that is a little too conservative, they will down-rank. You can’t tell it’s censored.”

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They don’t appear to know why.

Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates (NPR)

Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness. “We find that the death rate has gone down substantially,” says Leora Horwitz, a doctor who studies population health at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and an author on one of the studies, which looked at thousands of patients from March to August. The study, which was of a single health system, finds that mortality has dropped among hospitalized patients by 18 percentage points since the pandemic began. Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance.

That’s a big improvement, but 7.6% is still a high risk compared with other diseases, and Horwitz and other researchers caution that COVID-19 remains dangerous. The death rate “is still higher than many infectious diseases, including the flu,” Horwitz says. And those who recover can suffer complications for months or even longer. “It still has the potential to be very harmful in terms of long-term consequences for many people.” Studying changes in death rate is tricky because although the overall U.S. death rate for COVID-19 seems to be dropping, the drop coincides with a change in whom the disease is sickening. “The people who are getting hospitalized now tend to be much younger, tend to have fewer other diseases and tend to be less frail than people who were hospitalized in the early days of the epidemic,” Horwitz says.

So have death rates dropped because of improvements in treatments? Or is it because of the change in who’s getting sick? To find out, Horwitz and her colleagues looked at more than 5,000 hospitalizations in the NYU Langone Health system between March and August. They adjusted for factors including age and other diseases, such as diabetes, to rule out the possibility that the numbers had dropped only because younger, healthier people were getting diagnosed. They found that death rates dropped for all groups, even older patients by 18 percentage points on average.

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How embarrassing for the West if this works.

Moscow Will Begin Mass Vaccination Against COVID19 In December (RT)

Moscow will receive its first large batches of the coronavirus vaccine in November, and mass vaccination in the Russian capital will begin in December and January, according to its Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Sobyanin, who has run Europe’s largest city since 2010, believes that mass vaccination will be “the final victory over the pandemic.” Writing on his blog, the mayor explained that the high number of infections in Moscow is due to the city’s huge population and the significant number of tests being conducted. On Monday, confirmed cases in the capital hit 367,629, a quarter of the country’s overall number (1,415,316), despite officially having around only eight percent of the population.

In the same blog post, Sobyanin highlighted that he does not yet see a necessity to introduce “extreme” measures in the city, such as a curfew and a ban on movement, but did not rule out other less stringent measures. The main aim is to interrupt the spread of the infection, while not affecting the economy or depriving people of work, he wrote. “Ultimately, we are not making a choice between good and bad,” the mayor said. “All decisions are bad. We have to choose the lesser of two evils. But if we do nothing today, then tomorrow we will have to take tougher, more radical, and more unpleasant measures.” Last week, the capital introduced extra restrictions regarding nightlife, with those attending bars and clubs after midnight being forced to scan a QR code for the purpose of track-and-trace.

Moscow is currently hosting the third phase trial of the country’s homegrown Covid-19 vaccine, called Sputnik V. The mass post-registration testing of the vaccine, which was produced by the city’s Gamaleya Institute, involves 40,000 volunteers – a quarter of whom will receive a placebo.

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“I’m quite pessimistic in the days ahead” – on the likelihood of a spike in coronavirus infections as people spend more time indoors this winter, exacerbated by a lack of systematic testing.”

Nassim Taleb On Capitalism, Entrepreneurs, And The Pandemic (BI)

1. “There are two kinds of people. People who when they hear that there’s a problem, they go into their basement, start crying, have an emotional support group, do some praying, and wait for the government to save them. Others who take their fate in their own hands and try to say, ‘Hey, life gave me a lemon, let me make lemonade out of it'” – on the best way to react to a crisis. 2. “There are ways you can be ahead. You just have to fight” – on the subject of adapting to the pandemic. Taleb gave the example of a gym owner pivoting to installing home gyms, and a waiter making more money as a delivery driver.

3. “Capitalism is a wonderful mechanism to convert individual human greed into collective virtue.” 4. “Governments are good at doing things that look important but are not necessarily effective.” 5. “We’re spending $1 trillion on fighting illusory enemies with very complex nuclear stuff, but you can’t do something as basic as test people when they want to board a plane” – criticizing the government response to the pandemic. 6. “I’m quite pessimistic in the days ahead” – on the likelihood of a spike in coronavirus infections as people spend more time indoors this winter, exacerbated by a lack of systematic testing.

7. “Millennials think that joining an NGO is a great way to save the world. I say no. Start a company, that’s how you improve mankind. We did not pull 2 billion people out of poverty thanks to NGOs and bureaucrats, we pulled them out thanks to capitalism, by generating economic growth.” 8. “A soldier can fail without any shame to the country. We should interpret the failure of entrepreneurs as something that is helping the planet” – on the need to encourage entrepreneurs and remove the stigma of failure.

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Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1965

 

Hunter Biden Story Is Russian Disinfo: Over 50 Former Intel Officials (Pol.)
The Damage Russiagate Has Done (Patrick Lawrence)
DNI: Hunter Biden Laptop Not Part Of Russian Disinformation Campaign (Turley)
MIT: Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story (DW)
Wikipedia Says Hunter Biden Scandal ‘Debunked’ (RT)
American Gothic Horror (Jim Kunstler)
The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead (NR)
Presidential Debate Commission Will Mute Mics During Final Debate (sundance)
The Politics of Restraint (RCW)
DC Lobbyists See Dollar Signs Under Potential Biden Win (ZH)
“Health Is About More Than Controlling The Virus” (Sky)
Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition About Sex Life Will Be Made Public (NYP)

 

 

Scott Adams

 

 

The damage these people are doing to their country is no longer measurable.

If it was the Russians, Biden could simply deny this is true. He hasn’t.

“Former intel officials sharing their “belief” that factual, embarrassing info about a Democrat candidate — which that candidate does not even deny — is all Russia’s fault has all the classic earmarks of a Russiagate disinformation operation.”


“They say they “want to emphasize…that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement” but that are “just…deeply suspicious” that Russia played a “significant role in this case.”

Hunter Biden Story Is Russian Disinfo: Over 50 Former Intel Officials (Pol.)

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings. Under the banner headline “Biden Secret E-mails,” the Post reported it was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said he got it from a Mac shop owner in Delaware who also alerted the FBI.

While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work. “If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.” Nick Shapiro, a former top aide under CIA director John Brennan, provided POLITICO with the letter on Monday. He noted that “the IC leaders who have signed this letter worked for the past four presidents, including Trump. The real power here however is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering.”

The former Trump administration officials who signed the letter include Russ Travers, who served as National Counterterrorism Center acting director; Glenn Gerstell, the former NSA general counsel; Rick Ledgett, the former deputy NSA director; Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA senior operations officer; and Cynthia Strand, who served as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for global issues. Former CIA directors or acting directors Brennan, Leon Panetta, Gen. Michael Hayden, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell also signed the letter, along with more than three dozen other intelligence veterans. Several of the former officials on the list have endorsed Biden. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Monday that the information on Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” though the FBI is reportedly conducting an ongoing investigation into whether Russia was involved.

[..] “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” the letter reads. But, it continues, “there are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.” “Such an operation would be consistent with Russian objectives, as outlined publicly and recently by the Intelligence Community, to create political chaos in the United States and to deepen political divisions here but also to undermine the candidacy of former Vice President Biden and thereby help the candidacy of President Trump,” the letter reads.

Trump calls media criminal for not reporting on Joe Biden

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Excellent takedown.

The Damage Russiagate Has Done (Patrick Lawrence)

An inhabitant of Twitterland named “Willow Inski” took to the keyboard on Oct. 11, asking why anyone still accepts official accounts of the crucial theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta in the spring of 2016.

Excellently observed, Willow. And at just the right moment. At this point we are amid a frenzy of what Hannah Arendt called “defactualization” in a 1971 essay she titled “Lying in Politics.” Facts are fragile, Arendt astutely observed, because they can so easily be manipulated to produce a desired image. “It is this fragility,” she wrote, “that makes deception so very easy up to a point, and so tempting.”The latest example of this phenom concerns the emails of Hunter Biden, candidate Joe’s errant son, which persuasively incriminate both in very profitable influence-peddling schemes when Papa was Barack Obama’s veep. Nobody denies the facts as published last week in The New York Post, not even Biden père et fils, but the facts are once again mutilated with assertions that it is another case of the Rrrrrrussians spreading disinformation.

This is what we get after four years of the Russia collusion b.s., otherwise known as Russiagate. Anything goes if implicating Russia solves a political problem for the Democrats and keeps the war machine going for the Pentagon and the national security state. It defers the moment — at some point it will come — when the press is exposed for its radically stupid overinvestment in the Russiagate nonsense. The price America has already begun to pay is very high. Willow’s expression of perplexity comes after an especially lively season of revelations as regards what must count as the largest disinformation op in U.S. history. It is now six months since the Russiagate hoax — and I am fine with President Donald Trump’s term for it — began its final crash into a pile of piffle.

While it remains to be seen whether more evidence of political chicanery is coming, what evidence we already have is more than sufficient to identify Russiagate as the probable criminal fraud it was from the start. I am refreshed that Willow Inski, who describes herself as an “attorney, wife, mother, proud American,” sees through this extravagant ruse. And yet, as she notes, a lot of people don’t. A lot of people are “still taking at face value” all the misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies our newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters have purveyed incessantly for the past four years.

Why is a very large question. All possible answers are disturbing. But here is another big one we get to before that: When we consider together all its many consequences, has Russiagate destroyed what remained of American democracy before illiberal liberals, spooks, law enforcement, and the press colluded to erect the dreadful edifice? Your columnist’s answer rests on the most scrupulously precise definition of Russiagate one can manage: What we have witnessed these past four years is an attempted palace coup against a sitting president. Cold comfort it is that the gang that couldn’t shoot straight bungled the job. It has also created a Democratic default position: When wrongdoing by Democrats is credibly exposed, automatically blame Russia. Among much else, that has led to unnecessary tension with a nuclear power. This damage will long stay with us.

[..] In 1787, when he was our new nation’s minister in Paris, Jefferson wrote home to a friend that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” We are stuck with a government without newspapers now, given the ties our press has consolidated its ties with political and bureaucratic power in the course of imposing the Russiagate ruse upon us. They only look like newspapers now.


Joe Biden, foreground, and son Hunter during inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jan. 20, 2009. (acaben, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

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Ratcliffe calls Schiff a liar.

DNI: Hunter Biden Laptop Not Part Of Russian Disinformation Campaign (Turley)

Recently, we discussed how House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff stated publicly that the recently disclosed laptop information from Hunter Biden was clearly part of a Russian intelligence operation. This morning, John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, stated categorically that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. What is most notable is that Ratcliffe has stated that Schiff and his Committee were given that conclusion by the intelligence community. The incident has raised lingering criticism of Schiff who previously told the public that he had clear evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after that allegation was rejected in repeated investigations, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Schiff never produced the incriminating evidence and later it was shown that the widely cited Steele dossier was based on a source who was considered to be a Russian agent. There is ample reason to suspicious about the timing of this disclosure. However, I have written that this serious concern is separate from the question of whether the emails are fabricated. The Biden campaign has not given the most obvious responses to such a scandal. It is important to keep in mind that Hillary Clinton and the DNC were actually hacked by Russian intelligence but the underlying emails were true. Schiff now finds himself, again, in the position of supporting a claim of evidence of Russian collusion. He will have to show that this laptop discovery was engineered by Russian intelligence. If the owner is speaking the truth, the computer was dropped off in April 2019 with the intent to be used in the 2020 campaign.

Ratcliffe stated in an interview that “it’s funny that some of the people that complained the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing intelligence and unfortunately in this case, it is Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who as you pointed out on Friday said that the intelligence community believes that Hunter Biden’s laptop and e-mails on it are part of some Russian disinformation campaign. Let me be clear, the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports and we shared no intelligence with chairman Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign. It’s simply not true.”

Ratcliffe accused Schiff of politicizing intelligence and stated “Don’t drag the intelligence community into this. Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign and I think it’s clear the American people know that.” Schiff should explain the basis for his conclusion that this is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Someone is clearly misrepresenting the intelligence and the public should know the basis for these irreconcilable statements.

Trump dumb bastards

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Streisand.

MIT: Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story (DW)

Twitter’s crackdown on a controversial New York Post story that “purported to show new emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, about his business dealings while Joe Biden was the vice president in the Obama administration,” “nearly doubled” the story’s visibility and triggered the so-called “Streisand Effect,” amplifying the Post’s claims, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a high-profile media intelligence firm. “When Twitter banned, and then unbanned, links to a questionably sourced New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, its stated intention was to prevent people from spreading harmful false material as America heads into the final stretch of the election campaign,” MIT’s Technology Review reported Monday.

“But thanks to the cycle of misinformation—and claims from conservatives that social-media platforms are deliberately censoring their views—Twitter managed to do the opposite of what it intended.” In fact, Twitter’s efforts triggered a massive spike in interest in the story. “According to Zignal Labs, a media intelligence firm, shares of the Post article ‘nearly doubled’ after Twitter started suppressing it,” MIT noted. The incident was a real-time example of what Zignal Lab’s calls the “Streisand Effect” — a “social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information, often via the Internet,” according to Wikipedia. The name comes from singer Barbra Streisand’s efforts, in 2003, to suppress a photo of her Malibu, California, residence over security concerns.

According to Zignal Labs, the effect was immediate and significant. “Zignal found a surge of shares immediately after Twitter instituted the block, jumping from about 5.5 thousand shares every 15 minutes to about 10 thousand. This doesn’t necessarily mean the block caused the explosion in interest, but the surge corresponds with a series of widely shared tweets from Trump supporters and conservatives accusing the platform of political censorship,” MIT noted Monday. “The New York Post story, which was blocked on Twitter for about a day, was shared 352,200 times on the platform,” they added.

Dobbs, Powell, Fitton, Solomon

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How you get your information.

Wikipedia Says Hunter Biden Scandal ‘Debunked’ (RT)

Allegations of corruption against ex-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter have apparently been “debunked” and are merely a “conspiracy theory” according to Wikipedia, where editors are battling over the terms.
Hunter Biden was the subject of an explosive report last week as the New York Post published emails alleging that he involved his father in dodgy business dealings in Ukraine and China. While the story is still unfolding, the Wikipedia page for Hunter Biden simply states that “he and his father have been the subjects of debunked right-wing conspiracy theories pushed by [President] Donald Trump and his allies.” The curious framing was highlighted by conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong on Twitter on Tuesday.

Eight sources are listed for this one sentence, intending to support the view that any accusations of corruption against the Democratic presidential candidate and his son have already been proven false. In recent days, Wikipedia editors have been engaged in regular spats about the inclusion of the word “debunked.” The eighth source was added on Sunday by a frequent contributor to Biden’s son’s page, whose username is ‘Soibangla’. A regular editor of American political topics on Wikipedia, Soibangla was previously found tweaking pedophile sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s page, specifically to note that there is “no evidence” that he and former President Bill Clinton were “friends” – despite the ex-commander-in-chief traveling on the disgraced financier’s plane 26 times, according to flight logs.

Curiously, the same Soibangla is one of the top authors on a new Wikipedia page titled, ‘Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory’. The page was created on October 15, the day after the Post published Hunter’s alleged email history. The article calls the controversy “a series of false allegations” and references an almost identical list of eight sources to back it up. A war over Hunter Biden’s page has been raging since December 2019, when the word ‘debunked’ was initially added in reference to the scandal involving the former VP’s role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who said he was investigating the Burisma gas company where Hunter sat on the board.

It kicked off again on September 30, when user ‘Php2000’ removed ‘debunked’, noting that “Sources state [Hunter Biden] was making 50,000 USD a month as a board member in Ukraine gas company. Hardly ‘debunked.’” Just two minutes later, according to the website’s timeline, editor ‘Billmckern’ reverted the change, adding, “it’s been debunked and we have consensus language here.” Php2000 once again deleted the word, explaining that Hunter Biden making a lot of money in Ukraine was a well-documented fact. “What exactly has been debunked?” they asked. “Read the references,” wrote Billmckern a mere four minutes later, once again restoring the controversial phrasing.

Veritas Big Tech

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“..trailing rather pathetically in the primary elections after being dubbed an old racist by his opponents, and drubbed in Iowa and New Hampshire, Joe somehow managed to sweep the table on Super Tuesday..”

American Gothic Horror (Jim Kunstler)

Now we know why Nancy Pelosi has been running around in a fright mask with her hair on fire, and it’s not just a ghoulish anticipation of Halloween. Her Democratic Party is in extremis. It is shot through with the cancer of falsehood and the wormholes of crime, acquired through decades of playing fast and loose with the machinery of government. Nancy has been informed and she remains stuck in the rage stage of the grief cycle. Somebody sent her a copy of that hard-drive. The thing she feared would not end well is actually turning out worse than she thought. I have a theory about Joe Biden: He didn’t want to run for president. Not one eensy-weensy bit.

He wanted a nice, quiet retirement with his fat government pension plus sundry millions that had somehow found its way into his bank account over the years. He had a fabulous $16-million gentleman’s estate to gambol upon with his beloved grandchildren. The developing brain-fog was actually a comfort, allowing him to forget the rigors of public service and all the tedious gathering of… honoraria, shall we say. But then they came for him…! The Party called. Rather specifically, his old Kemosabe, Barack Obama, called him in for that ominous sit-down and gave him the bad news: Joe, you’ve gotta run. Bernie, Liz, and the rest of those bozos, they won’t keep a lid on it. You’re in this thing as deep as we are and it’s getting a little hairy. You’ve got to do it for the sake of the party, and all our… friends….

And so, Joe Biden was shanghaied into running for president. He was given a bodyguard of news media, including those crucial new additions, the social media, Twitter and Facebook, where, increasingly, information was hubbed for transmission among the voters. They would protect him infallibly from any damaging narratives. In fact, they would generate powerful counter-narratives to keep their adversaries off-balance. If Joe could just roll with it until November 3rd, they could lay all their… problems… to rest, bury all that annoying insinuendo about the hobgoblin Deep State (ha!), and finally breathe easy.

And so, trailing rather pathetically in the primary elections after being dubbed an old racist by his opponents, and drubbed in Iowa and New Hampshire, Joe somehow managed to sweep the table on Super Tuesday — apparently due to the single, magical endorsement of one congressman James Clyburn (SC, 6th District), a narrative that was swallowed like a May River oyster by the credulous all over the land. And thus anointed, Joe retreated to his fabled basement for the whole election season, venturing intermittently into empty parking lots and airplane hangars to offer proof-of-life while a polling disinfo campaign by his media bodyguard vouchsafed his inevitable victory. Looked like a sure thing in September… pack up all my cares and woe… and so forth….

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The pic is on Wisconsin only.

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead (NR)

Much of Trafalgar’s approach focuses on accounting for the so-called social-desirability bias. As Cahaly puts it, that’s when a respondent gives you “an answer that is designed to make the person asking the question be less judgmental of the person who answers it.” Cahaly notes that this phenomenon showed up as long ago as the 1980s, in the so-called Bradley effect, when the African-American mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, underperformed his polling in a gubernatorial race. It has been a hallmark of the Trump era and is one reason other pollsters missed the impending victory of Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race. “I’ve got to get past what you want to say in public and get to what you really feel,” Cahaly says. “Because what’s in your heart is going to be what’s on that ballot.”

There are a number of methodological differences in how Trafalgar goes about its work. One is the number of questions on its surveys. “I don’t believe in long questionnaires,” Cahaly says. “I think when you’re calling up Mom or Dad on a school night, and they’re trying to get the kids dinner and get them to bed, and that phone rings at seven o’clock — and they’re supposed to stop what they’re doing and take a 25- to 30-question poll? No way.” Why does that matter? “You end up disproportionately representing the people who will like to talk about politics, which is going to skew toward the very, very conservative and the very, very liberal and the very, very bored, “Cahaly explains. “And the kind of people that win elections are the people in the middle. So I think they miss people in the middle when they do things that way.”

According to Cahaly, most polls are more than 25 questions. He keeps it between seven and nine, so respondents can answer in a matter of minutes. Then there is how the questions are asked. “We do not like to do all live calls,” Cahaly says. This goes back to the social-desirability bias. People with opinions that are unpopular “don’t want to be judged by somebody on the phone that they don’t know.” If this was always true, it’s particularly so now: “They’ve seen all this stuff of people being shamed for their opinion, people losing their jobs.” So Trafalgar mixes up how it contacts people, and especially wants respondents to feel safe in responding.

“We use collection methods of live calls, auto calls, texts, emails, and a couple that we call our proprietary digital technology that we don’t explain, but it’s also digital,” Cahaly says. The point, he continues, is to “really push the anonymous part — this is your anonymous say-so.” Another factor, is that “conservatives are less likely to participate in polls in general,” he says. “We see a five-to-one refusal rate among conservatives.” That means “you’ve got to work very hard to get a fair representation of conservatives, when you do any kind of a survey.”

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So Joe can read his teleprompter and listen to his wires in peace.

Presidential Debate Commission Will Mute Mics During Final Debate (sundance)

In yet another transparent effort to support Joe Biden, the presidential debate commission has announced they will mute microphones during the two minute answer sessions as part of a strategy to assist the promotion of disinformation. (Via New York Post) “The Commission on Presidential Debates has decided to mute microphones to allow each candidate the opportunity for uninterrupted remarks during this week’s final forum. The mute button will be featured at the start of each 15-minute segment during opening comments, according to the commission. After that time, both mics will be turned on without a mute option to enable debate.” The Trump campaign responds:

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Feels like wishful thinking.

The Politics of Restraint (RCW)

During this election season, there is much discussion around the increasing polarization of the American electorate. While these conversations can seem overwrought, there is clear data showing an increasing divide on issues like race relations and the economy. However, on foreign policy, the American people are more united. There is an increasingly shared belief across party lines that the United States needs to end its endless wars and adventurism abroad. Based on a bevy of recent polls and research, American voters will likely reward candidates who support foreign policy restraint, while punishing those who advocate for the maintenance of a failed status quo.

For most of the post-9/11 era, the conventional wisdom reinforced by the political pundits and the consultant class was that foreign policy hawkishness was a political strength. Even politicians such as President Barack Obama, who owed part of his political success to opposing the Iraq War, still felt the need to show hawkishness regarding other military conflicts. The perceived political incentives contributed to Obama ignoring the lessons of the Iraq War and initiating the disastrous intervention in Libya in 2011, along with the failed surge of American forces in Afghanistan from 2009-2012. A lack of significant political accountability by Republicans — who only seemed to try to “out-hawk” Obama — in the 2012 election for these failures reinforced the notion that support for primacy abroad was the politically safe position.

That conventional wisdom reigned into the early days of the 2016 election, but was shattered by two candidates, one during each major party’s primaries. In the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave the presumptive nominee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an unexpectedly strong challenge. Sanders has been a consistent critic of American foreign policy in the Middle East, while Clinton supported the Iraq War and the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. While Sanders did not make foreign policy the centerpiece of his campaign in 2016, his record on those issues further strengthened his appeal with the progressive left, which is traditionally wary of military intervention.

More so than Sanders, Donald Trump completely upended the conventional wisdom around what a candidate needed to say on foreign policy to win. During the 2016 Republican primary, Trump frequently and aggressively criticized America’s wars in the Middle East. During a primary debate in South Carolina, Trump excoriated former President George W. Bush for invading Iraq, and for his administration’s lies about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Prominent Republican pundits criticized Trump’s remarks and claimed that his comments would hurt his chances in South Carolina, a state heavily populated by military service members and veterans who were thought to be more hawkish.

Yet Trump easily won the South Carolina primary and the Republican nomination. During the general election, while by no means portraying himself as a dove, Trump would continue his criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while tying Clinton to America’s broader failures in the Middle East. This messaging likely played a key role in Trump’s 2016 general election victory. According to research conducted by two political scientists following the 2016 election, Trump’s perception as the less interventionist candidate among voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin likely drove his victory in those critical states.

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They’ll win either way.

DC Lobbyists See Dollar Signs Under Potential Biden Win (ZH)

DC lobbyists are licking their chops at the prospect of a Biden win in November, as a flood of new regulations means they’ll have their work cut out for them. “There is a huge amount of planning going on in our client base for what this could look like,” according to Holland & Knight LLP lobbyist, Rich Gold. “It’s highly likely the first six months of 2021 are some of the biggest legislative months I will have in my career in terms of things moving.” Gold represents the American Chemistry Council, education technology provider Zovio, Inc., agriculture giant Corteva and several local governments. According to Bloomberg, K Street lobbyists began planning for major changes when polling began to show former Vice President Biden leading President Trump, as well as the possibility that Democrats would regain control of the Senate.

“Not since 2008, when President George W. Bush was leaving the White House, have lobbyists planned for the possibility of so sweeping a change in Washington’s corridors of power,” writes Bloomberg’s Jennifer Dlouhy and Ben Brody. “The presidential race remains tight in key states and the firms remain vigilant for another Trump victory like the one that caught many by surprise in 2016. But they are hedging their bets and increasingly planning around Biden’s polling lead. One firm is developing dossiers on potential appointees, selling them to clients under the maxim “people are policy.” Another has created flow charts outlining possible committee leadership changes on Capitol Hill. And at least one group has established a war room to brainstorm strategies for countering policy proposals. -Bloomberg

One oil lobbyist told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that the election would be a “rack-and-stack” exercise when it comes to the multitude of actions the Biden administration could undertake, while a Democratic sweep of the Senate has caused many lobbyists to begin cultivating relationships with moderate Democrats, including Jon Tester of Montana, Kyrsten Sinema of Zrizona, and Joe Machin of West Virginia.

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Headline was about hospitals running out of beds, but the numbers cast doubt on that. The headline I gave is from the mayor of Manchester.

“It’s not unusual for 80% to 85% of ICU beds to be in use at this time of year..” “.. the NHS usually say they’re “at capacity” when they hit 85%, not 100% of beds filled.”

“Health Is About More Than Controlling The Virus” (Sky)

Stalemate seems to remain in negotiations about tougher restrictions for Greater Manchester, as hospitals in the region run low on beds to treat coronavirus patients. [..] data from the Greater Manchester Critical Care Network (GMCCN) suggested some of the region’s 12 hospitals were running out of space on Friday. It also showed the Royal Bolton Hospital was running at 94% capacity .The figures show hospitals across Greater Manchester are operating at an average of 82% capacity. The NHS said in a statement: “We are monitoring the situation with our hospital admissions, overall beds and ITU beds very, very closely.


The figures showed the Stepping Hill Hospital and the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust were operating at full capacity.”It’s not unusual for 80% to 85% of ICU beds to be in use at this time of year and our hospitals work together if there are particular pressures in any one area, to ensure the best care for patients who need the high level of support ICU provides, both for COVID and for other reasons.” A source at the GMCCN told Sky News the NHS usually say they’re “at capacity” when they hit 85%, not 100% of beds filled.

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Will they still label her a “socialite” after reading this, or will she get a new label?

Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition About Sex Life Will Be Made Public (NYP)

A federal appeals court Monday ordered the unsealing of a deposition related to Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex life — after the defense fought tooth and nail to keep it secret. A three-judge panel from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals issued the brief, two-page ruling after hearing arguments on the matter last week. “We cannot conclude that the District Court abused its discretion in ordering the unsealing of the deposition materials,” the panel wrote. It’s unclear when the documents will be released. The seven-hour, 418-page deposition is from testimony Maxwell gave in April 2016 in a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit filed against her by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre. In the interview, Maxwell made statements about “consensual, and intimate conduct with other adults,” according to court papers. US District Judge Loretta Preska, who is overseeing the litigation over the release of the materials, had ordered the documents unsealed in July, but Maxwell’s lawyers had appealed the decision.

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Ted Cruz

 

 

 

 

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