Apr 082022
 
 April 8, 2022  Posted by at 8:55 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  60 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Femme nue couchée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) 1932

 

Ukraine Foreign Minister Demands More “Weapons, Weapons, Weapons” From NATO (ZH)
The True Importance Of The Bucha False Flag (Saker)
Israel, Russia Clash Over Ukraine (Lauria)
Azov Fighter Video Overshadows Zelenskyy’s Address To Greek Lawmakers (R.)
Ukraine War Frenzy Proves: It’s Still John McCain’s GOP (Tracey)
US Air Force Delays Hypersonic Missile Program Over “Flight Test Anomalies” (ZH)
The Dollar Devours the Euro (Michael Hudson)
Despite Sanctions The Ruble Is Stronger Than Before The War (OffG)
Sit Back And Watch Europe Commit Suicide (Escobar)
Two-Star General Warns Hunter Biden Laptop Witness About His Safety (CTH)
BLMs LA Mansion Bought For 3.1M Sold 6 Days Later For 5.8M (DM)
Peter Thiel Blasts Buffett, Dimon, & Fink As “Finance Gerontocracy” (ZH)
The Spike Protein Is The “Amyloid” Being Deposited (Chesnut)
Nearly $300 Million To Wokify The Canadian Military (CS)
Priti Patel Part Of CIA-linked Lobby Group With Husband Of Assange Judge (DUK)

 

 

 

 

Disinformation

 

 

Wow, this sounds stupid

 

 

“The more weapons we get and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved.”

Uh, no.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Demands More “Weapons, Weapons, Weapons” From NATO (ZH)

“Weapons, weapons, weapons” is what Ukraine’s government is still demanding of NATO countries, even after the Biden-approved $800 million package last month. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba issued the plea after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, stating on Twitter that the “three most important things” for Ukrainians are “weapons, weapons, weapons.” “Met with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO HQ in Brussels. I came here today to discuss three most important things: weapons, weapons, and weapons,” Kuleba wrote. “Ukraine’s urgent needs, the sustainability of supplies, and long-term solutions which will help Ukraine to prevail,” he added.

Already the Pentagon has agreed to send more Javelin anti-armor systems, also as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles are being supplied, which Moscow sees as a huge provocation, with the war entering its sixth week. During a press conference in Brussels, Kuleba said his agenda in meeting with NATO leaders remains “simple”… “We know how to fight. We know how to win. But without sustainable and sufficient supplies requested by Ukraine, these wins will be accompanied by enormous sacrifices,” Kuleba said. “The more weapons we get and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved.”

Previously, CNN had documented that Kiev is increasingly pushing Washington for more advanced battlefield weapons, especially to take out Russia’s superior tanks and aircraft: The Defense Department plans to accelerate production of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles so it can refill its own depleted stocks as it continues to send the vital systems to Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, according to defense officials. Ukraine wants 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles delivered from the US daily, according to a recent military assistance wish list. CNN viewed the document that details the items Ukraine believes it needs from the US.

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“Russia needs to flush the EU down her “mental toilet” and only deal with sovereign countries which have retained enough agency to defend their own interests.”

The True Importance Of The Bucha False Flag (Saker)

[..] the leaders of the Empire of Hate and Lies have fully opened the “Hate and Lies” valve and it appears that they are seriously “losing it”. Remember how in the Skripal and MH-17 cases EU countries joined in the sanctions out of “solidarity”? I personally would call that cowardice and submissiveness, but “solidarity” works too. Well, the Eurolemmings have solidarized themselves into their own grave and now there is no undoing what they did to themselves. From the Russian point of view, it is rather straightforward: Russia tried to encourage EU countries to use their own judgment and act in their own interests.

It is now quite clear that as long as they get to brown-nose Uncle Shmuel the Eurolemmings are quite content with their fate. Russia needs to flush the EU down her “mental toilet” and only deal with sovereign countries which have retained enough agency to defend their own interests. In the EU that means Hungary and, to a much lesser degree, Serbia (not the people, of course, but the government which remains subservient to the Eurolemmings). The Bucha massacre itself will go down Zone A’s collective memory hole, that’s where all the previous false flags of the Empire of Hate and Lies have gone. Once a demonization operation has served its use, it can be forgotten.

So what are the purposes of the Bucha false flag: • Change the narrative from the (non-existing) Ukronazi “victories” to “stop the Russian atrocities” • Obfuscate the DELUGE of evidence (witnesses and forensic) showing that it was the Ukronazis who engaged in mass atrocities in Mariupol. Remember – Ukrainian victims are sacred, Russian victims are simply irrelevant. In fact, a Russian CAN NOT be a victim unless he is anti-Putin, then it’s okay. • To condition (I mean that in the psychological sense) the TV watching serfs of the Empire of Lies and Hate to hate anything Russian with a searing, explosive, hated. • Declare that Putin is now the “New Hitler” (though Putin has been Hitler pretty much since 2000, it’s just that now he is even MORE Hitler than before) and Russia some kind of broken, poor, and otherwise horrible Mordor.

• Use this pretext to try to eject Russia and Russians from as many locations and organizations on the planet as possible. That means all of Zone A for sure, but also plenty of locations and organizations in Zone B where the comprador ruling set the tone and don’t give a damn about their own people and country. • Try to scare Putin with the same fate as Gaddafi, Milosevic, and Hussein who were all demonized and later murdered. • If you think about it, I think that it is fair to say that these are all clear signs that the Empire of Hate and Lies has now declared total war on Russia, just short of overtly actually attacking Russian forces or Russia, of course. In fact, Russia and the Empire of Hate and Lies have been at war since at least 2013..

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“Serious politicians, especially at such a high level as Minister Lapid, have no right to talk idly..”

Israel, Russia Clash Over Ukraine (Lauria)

From the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Israel has refused to join the West’s economic war against Moscow, maintaining a neutral stance that as positioned it as a possible broker to end the conflict. But all that appears to have changed with remarks by Israel’s foreign minister in a Twitter post on Sunday, the day the massacre at Bucha was revealed and before any investigation could be conducted. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote: “It is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the horrific images from the city of Bucha near Kyiv, from after the Russian army left. Intentionally harming a civilian population is a war crime and I strongly condemn it.” Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine also implied that Russia had committed a war crime. “Deeply shocked by the photos from #Bucha. Killing of civilians is a war crime and cannot be justified,” Ambassador Michael Brodsky tweeted on Sunday.

Earlier, on March 13, during a visit to Romania, Lapid had tweeted: “… like Romania, Israel condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s without justification, and we call on Russia to stop its firing and attacks, and to resolve this conflict around the negotiating table.” The Israeli foreign ministry tried to distance itself from the ambassador’s remarks. Haaretz reported: “Asked if the Foreign Ministry’s official position was that Russia had committed war crimes in Ukraine, a spokesman replied: ‘No. It’s a tweet by the ambassador regarding the photos. He didn’t blame Russia.’” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who flew to Moscow on March 5 to meet with President Vladimir Putin (and was condemned for it), has made no comment about the Bucha incident.

Israel is trying to maintain a balancing act between Moscow and Washington, which cannot be pleased with Israel not joining the economic war. Russia and Israel have long maintained good relations, with Moscow even allowing Israel to conduct bombing raids on Syria. But years of goodwill have now been put on the line with Foreign Minister Lapid’s remarks. And now Russia has struck back. Sergey Ivanov, head of the department of diplomacy and consular service at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, wrote a scathing critique of Israel on Wednesday, posted on the ministry’s Telegram page. It holds nothing back, openly condemning Israel for a variety of sins, including its treatment of the Palestinians.

Ivanov wrote that many Western journalists and political analysts have opportunistically become overnight “Ukraine experts” just as Western politicians, such as Lapid, are making rash statements to boost their popularity. “Serious politicians, especially at such a high level as Minister Lapid, have no right to talk idly,” Ivanov warned. “They should be aware of the possible consequences of what they say, including with regard to relations with Russia.”

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Bring your nazi to work. Just how stupid are these people?

“Ukraine’s Zelensky faces criticism in Greece after bringing a Neo Nazi member of the Azov battalion alongside him during his address to the Greek Parliament.”

Azov Fighter Video Overshadows Zelenskyy’s Address To Greek Lawmakers (R.)

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s address to the Greek parliament on Thursday caused an outrage from opposition parties after a man who identified himself as an ethnic Greek member of Ukraine’s ultranationalist Azov battalion appeared on a video. Zelenskyy spoke about the destruction of the Russian-besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol – home to thousands of ethnic Greeks – and appealed to Athens for help. During his speech he showed a video with a message by a man who identified himself as a member of the Azov battalion, a far-right militia now part of Ukraine’s National Guard. “I address you, as a Greek by origin. I am Mikhail, my grandfather fought against the Nazis… I participate in the defence of Ukraine through the Azov Battalion,” he said.

Zelenskyy, who was invited to address the Greek parliament by conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, received a standing ovation from lawmakers present in the room. But the video caused a backlash on social media and an angry reaction from leftist parties. Shortly after the speech, the head of the leftist SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras said the incident was a provocation. “Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is a given. But the Nazis can not have a say in parliament,” he tweeted. A Greek government spokesman responded that the message of a member of the Azov Battalion was “mistaken and inappropriate.”

Western countries say Moscow’s invasion, the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two, was entirely unprovoked. Russia says it is carrying out a “special operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbors. Ukraine’s embassy in Athens said the Azov regiment, set up as a far right group in 2014, has been reformed and integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine. “For many years Russia tried to ‘plant’ into Greek minds the myth that “Azov” Regiment is a paramilitary independent unit operating in Mariupol,” it said.

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Given the average age, no wonder that things move very slowly.

Ukraine War Frenzy Proves: It’s Still John McCain’s GOP (Tracey)

“The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin,” fumed John McCain back in March 2017. His target: Rand Paul, who had committed the unforgivable offense of momentarily delaying the latest round of NATO expansion. Montenegro, a tiny country in southeastern Europe that most Americans have never heard of, was about to join the sprawling military alliance — and McCain was determined to see the final ratification ritual proceed with as little debate as possible. So he hurled the time-honored “working for Putin” accusation, and sure enough, Paul quickly withdrew his minor procedural objection. The glorious ascension of Montenegro to NATO membership status was thereby assured.

Since that episode, a lot has transpired regarding the public perception of McCain. He delighted liberals by feuding regularly with Donald Trump — even going so far as to denounce Trump for engaging in “disgraceful” and “pathetic” flattery of Putin. “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” McCain raged. He undermined Congressional Republicans’ legislative agenda during the brief window in Trump’s presidency when the party had unified control of government — famously delivering a dramatic thumbs-down gesture to derail GOP hopes of repealing Obamacare, as a chagrined Mitch McConnell watched powerlessly on.

McCain had returned to his most natural state. After annoying Democrats by running against Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and being surly about his defeat for some time afterwards, he had once again resumed playing the “maverick” role he so relished — reviled by “his own side,” and loved by the “other side.” His death in 2018 brought forth the most effusive display of state-sanctioned grief that any US political figure had received since Ronald Reagan died in 2004, with all the universal media adulation that entails. Trump’s exclusion from the funeral proceedings, at McCain’s posthumous direction, was just the icing on the cake. But nowadays, if you bring up McCain in certain GOP circles, it will often be claimed that his influence has mercifully dissipated. The Republican Party experienced a bonafide ideological upheaval under Trump, they’ll say, and the McCain worldview — defined mainly by his unwavering commitment to a hyper-interventionist US foreign policy — has since fallen starkly out of favor.

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“Western countries have yet to field a hypersonic weapon while the old world order crumbles as a multipolar world emerges..”

US Air Force Delays Hypersonic Missile Program Over “Flight Test Anomalies” (ZH)

While Russia launched hypersonic air-to-ground missiles during the invasion of Ukraine and China flew a hypersonic weapon around the world late last year, the US continues to fall behind the hypersonic curve as a new round of delays were announced by the US Air Force (USAF), according to Bloomberg. The AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was expected to be declared “early operational capability” by Sept. 30. However, according to a USAF statement, those timelines have been pushed back to the next fiscal year. ARRW, expected to be the Pentagon’s first hypersonic weapon, suffered three consecutive failed tests last year. ARRW’s latest hurdle was two upcoming ground-based booster motor tests by June 30.

But, it appears “due to recent flight test anomalies,” the missile test would be shifted out to as late as December with additional tests planned next fiscal year, according to the USAF statement. “The ARRW production decision remains event-driven and will occur after operational utility is demonstrated through successful system end-to-end flight tests,” the service continued. Lockheed-Martin’s ability to manufacture and deliver the new weapon appears to be a 2023 story. Western countries have yet to field a hypersonic weapon while the old world order crumbles as a multipolar world emerges, pushing Russia and China closer together. Perhaps that’s why President Biden is set to unveil a new trilateral security hypersonic pact with the UK and Australia to advance the development of hypersonic weapons.

On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama sounded the alarm at the House Armed Services Committee hearing that China has “more troops, ships, and hypersonic missiles than the United States.” Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio said the US needs to increase its hypersonic development.

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“..why not simply throw in the financial towel and adopt the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador, Somalia and the Turks and Caicos Islands?”

The Dollar Devours the Euro (Michael Hudson)

European trade and investment prior to the War to Impose Sanctions had promised a rising mutual prosperity between Germany, France and other NATO countries vis-à-vis Russia and China. Russia was providing abundant energy at a competitive price, and this energy was to make a quantum leap with Nord Stream 2. Europe was to earn the foreign exchange to pay for this rising import trade by a combination of exporting more industrial manufactures to Russia and capital investment in developing the Russian economy, e.g. by German auto companies and financial investment. This bilateral trade and investment is now stopped – and will remain stopped for many, many years, given NATO’s confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves kept in euros and British sterling, and the European Russophobia being fanned by U.S. propaganda media.

In its place, NATO countries will purchase U.S. LNG – but they will need to spend billions of dollars building sufficient port capacity, which may take until perhaps 2024. (Good luck until then.) The energy shortage will sharply raise the world price of gas and oil. NATO countries also will step up their purchases of arms from the U.S. military-industrial complex. The near-panic buying will also raise the price for arms. And food prices also will rise as a result of the desperate grain shortfalls resulting from a cessation of imports from Russia and Ukraine on the one hand, and the shortage of ammonia fertilizer made from gas. All three of these trade dynamics will strengthen the dollar vis-à-vis the euro. The question is, how will Europe balance its international payments with the United States?

What does it have to export that the U.S. economy will accept as its own protectionist interests gain influence, now that global free trade is dying quickly? The answer is, not much. So what will Europe do? I could make a modest proposal. Now that Europe has pretty much ceased to be a politically independent state, it is beginning to look more like Panama and Liberia – “flag of convenience” offshore banking centers that are not real “states” because they don’t issue their own currency, but use the U.S. dollar. Since the eurozone has been created with monetary handcuffs limiting its ability to create money to spend into the economy beyond the limit of 3 percent of GDP, why not simply throw in the financial towel and adopt the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador, Somalia and the Turks and Caicos Islands? That would give foreign investors security against currency depreciation in their rising trade with Europe and its export financing.

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“The price of oil is going up and the ruble is worth just as much as it was before the war.”

Despite Sanctions The Ruble Is Stronger Than Before The War (OffG)

It’s official, as of right now the Russian ruble is worth more US dollars than before the invasion of Ukraine. On the 22nd of February this year, one US dollar would exchange for just over 79 rubles. As of the time of writing, it is now 78. The same is true of the British pound (around 108 rubles before, 102 now), and the Euro (88 rubles before, 84 now). Across the board, the ruble is stronger than before the war. So, how has this happened? Aren’t NATO, the EU and the rest of the “international community” meant to be crippling the Russian economy with biting sanctions? The media are claiming that the strength of the ruble “may be illusory” or that Russia has exploited a “loophole” in the sanctions and used “financial alchemy” to “rescue the ruble”.

Reminder: In 2014, when the west sanctioned Russia over the Crimean referendum, the ruble lost almost half its value. It recovered slightly in 2016, and has since stabilized, but has never come close to its pre-Crimean worth. So, presumably the earlier sanctions didn’t have a “loophole” in them, and/or the Russians either weren’t aware of this “financial alchemy” back then, or simply decided not to use it. Of course there is one key difference between 2014 and 2022 – the oil market. As we have written before, in 2014/15 the US and Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil and crashed the price. Russia (and Iran, and Venezuela) all suffered huge economic damage from this move.

But far from repeating this tactic, Saudi Arabia has increased their prices. The Western press claims that the US asked Saudi Arabia to increase oil production and they refused. They claim Saudi Arabia “sided with Russia”, and that they should be “punished”. Meanwhile, Turkey has just suspended the trial of the Saudi citizens alleged to have murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a move that should please the Saudi government no end. The West seems as bad at “punishing” their misbehaved allies as they are at tanking the value of the Russia’s currency. To sum up – The price of oil is going up and the ruble is worth just as much as it was before the war.

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“..next winter energy bills packing a mean punch; products disappearing from supermarkets; holiday bookings almost frozen; Le Petit Roi Macron in France – maybe up to a nasty electoral surprise – announcing “food stamps like in WWII are possible”.

Sit Back And Watch Europe Commit Suicide (Escobar)

The stunning spectacle of the EU committing slow motion hara-kiri is something for the ages. Like a cheap Kurosawa remake the movie is actually about the Empire of Lies-detonated demolition of the EU, complete with subsequent rerouting of some key Russian commodities exports to the US at the expense of the Europeans. It helps to have a 5th columnist actress strategically placed, in this case astonishingly incompetent European Commission head Ursula von der Lugen, with a brand new vociferous announcement of an extra sanctions package: Russian ships banned from EU ports; road transportation companies from Russia and Belarus prohibited from entering the EU; no more coal imports (over 4.4 billion euros a year).

That translates in practice into the Empire of Lies shaking down its wealthiest – Western – clients/puppets. Russia of course is too powerful militarily. The Empire badly needs some of its key exports – especially minerals. Mission Accomplished in this case amounts to nudging the EU into imposing more and more sanctions and willfully collapsing their national economies, allowing the US to scoop everything up. Cue to the coming catastrophic economic consequences felt by Europeans in their daily life (but not by the wealthiest 5%): inflation devouring salaries and savings; next winter energy bills packing a mean punch; products disappearing from supermarkets; holiday bookings almost frozen; Le Petit Roi Macron in France – maybe up to a nasty electoral surprise – announcing “food stamps like in WWII are possible”.

We have Germany facing the returning ghost of Weimar hyperinflation; BlackRock President Rob Kapito saying, in Texas, “for the first time, this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want”; farmers in Africa not able to afford fertilizer at all this year, reducing agricultural production by an amount capable of feeding 100 million people. Zoltan Poszar, former NY Fed and US Treasury guru, current Credit Suisse grand vizir, has been on a streak, stressing how commodity reserves – and here Russia is unrivaled – will be an essential feature of what he calls Bretton Woods III (yet, in fact, what’s being designed by Russia, China, Iran and the Eurasia Economic Union is a post-Bretton Woods). Poszar remarks that wars, historically, are won by those who have more food and energy supplies, in the past to power horses and soldiers, today to feed soldiers and fuel tanks and fighter jets. China, incidentally, has amassed large stocks of virtually everything.

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“..so that people can see the scale of depravity and Biden family corruption within the evidence..”

Two-Star General Warns Hunter Biden Laptop Witness About His Safety (CTH)

Emerald Robinson has a great interview with Jack Maxey from Switzerland. Maxey was the first person to receive a full hard drive copy of the Hunter Biden laptop from Rudy Guliani. After media, Senate and U.S. government officials refused to take action, Maxey went to Switzerland in order to complete a full forensic audit of the laptop content in a neutral jurisdiction. Previously, Maxey outlined his intent to share the full contents of the original files, and all of the retrieved deleted files, with the public so that people can see the scale of depravity and Biden family corruption within the evidence. In this interview with Emerald Robinson, Maxey states the full and searchable email archive will likely be completed early next week.


Additionally, in this interview Maxey goes into greater detail about the larger issues surrounding impediments to the release of information, including how the laptop contained access certificates to enter the Defense Department database. Maxey tried to get the DoD to address the issue without success, until he found a direct conduit to a two-star general who took the certificate codes, deactivated the access and thanked him for his diligence. Unfortunately, that same general then told Maxey he needed to focus on securing the safety of himself and his family, as the full weight of the U.S. interests, including the intelligence apparatus and defense apparatus, will likely target him. In my opinion, it is Maxey’s forensic review of the data and statements about making it all public, that triggered/pressured the collective western media to begin admitting the laptop issues were real and start covering the details.

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What an insane story.

BLMs LA Mansion Bought For 3.1M Sold 6 Days Later For 5.8M (DM)

A Los Angeles mansion frequented by Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart was bought by a real estate developer working for BLM founder Patrisse Cullors and her partner for $3.1 million, and then purchased by BLM’s foundation just six days later for $5.8 million in cash, it has emerged. The rapid price inflation ‘raises serious questions,’ ethics experts said. The purchase of the 6,500 square-foot, six-bedroom property in Studio City was first revealed on Monday by New York Magazine, amid growing questions about BLM’s finances. The organization in February 2021 said it had taken in more than $90 million in 2020 and still had $60 million on hand, but it remains unclear how that money is being managed or even where it is.

Cullors, the co-founder of the organization, resigned in May 2021 as director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), amid scrutiny of her property empire. She has written best-selling books, and has a contract with Warner Brothers to produce content. On Wednesday, Cullors, 38, angrily hit back at the questions over cash purchase of the Studio City mansion, describing the criticism as ‘racist and sexist’. She insisted that the expansive property was bought as a ‘safe space’ for black creatives, activists and thought leaders, and its purchase was never disclosed because it needed renovating. Cullors called the New York Magazine investigation ‘a despicable abuse of a platform that’s intended to provide truthful information to the public’, and said that the author had ‘a proven and very public bias against me and other Black leaders’. She did not address the discrepancy in the home’s cost.

The property was purchased on October 21, 2020 by Dyane Pascall, a real estate developer who worked for the firm run by Cullors and her partner, Janaya and Patrisse Consulting. Pascall is president of Conscious Capital Investment Enterprises, according to LinkedIn, which describes it as ‘Real Estate Investment company in South LA that provides affordable housing in low income communities in the face of rapid gentrification.’

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“today all the gold in the world is worth $12 trillion, while global equities are worth $115 trillion. In 1980, the ratio was one-to-one..”

Peter Thiel Blasts Buffett, Dimon, & Fink As “Finance Gerontocracy” (ZH)

At Bitcoin 2022, Thiel started his speech with a video from him in the past, talking about the future of digital infrastructure. His predictions regarding cell phone usage, which may have sounded odd at the time, were quite accurate. He also mentioned the dollar hegemony and even the potential for digitalization of the dollar, all of which we are seeing today. The speech that followed was, in the words of Bitcoin Mag, “quite incredible” – he started by pulling out a wad of $100 bills, and presenting them to the crowd. He said, “It’s a mysterious thing, what is money?” He followed by offering the money to a random person in the crowd, a gesture to which many people responded. “It’s kind of crazy that this still works,” Thiel said. While he is a billionaire, he had a point.

He went on about how PayPal began, bitcoin’s placement in terms of velocity and more — and then he began talking about enemies of Bitcoin. “If bitcoin is going to replace gold, the question is, why is it so undervalued?” he said. “Bitcoin is always the most honest market in the world, the most efficient market and it was the canary in the coal mine.” Thiel went on to point out that “today all the gold in the world is worth $12 trillion, while global equities are worth $115 trillion. In 1980, the ratio was one-to-one, with all the gold in the world and global equities having the same value of $2.5 trillion.” And so, while in the 1970s, equities were a bad investment, the great moderation that started in 1980 after Volcker killed galloping inflation, made equities the best investment of the past 40 years.

However, now that inflation is as high as it was in the late 1970s, equities are the enemy and bitcoin is the right investment, according to Thiel. Concluding his musing on valuation, Thiel says that the competitor for bitcoin is not ethereum which is a payment system, nor gold, but equities and asks why shouldn’t there be parity between the $115 trillion value of global equities and the ~$830BN value of bitcoin. “I am still hopeful that bitcoin goes up by a factor of 100x” he said. The Paypal founder then also makes a mockery of all those who say that bitcoin is not an inflation hedge with just one chart – the chart showing how anyone who had a sense of the inflationary tsunami that is coming, made a killing in early 2020 when the could have bought bitcoin at a far lower price.

Saying that it’s hard to know where Bitcoin goes from here, the billionaire said that Bitcoin is the most honest and most efficient market: “Bitcoin is the canary in the coalmine, it was telling us that inflation is coming; it is telling us that central banks are bankrupt; it is telling us that we are at the end of the fiat money regime.” [..] His conclusion: the Financial Gerontocracy has declared war on Bitcoin as a revolutionary youth movement for good reason. It is this time the revolutionary youth should understand their enemies and return fire.

Thiel

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It’s everywhere.

The Spike Protein Is The “Amyloid” Being Deposited (Chesnut)

The spike protein is the “amyloid” being deposited and inducing amyloidoses: a major finding missed severe covid may be due to the added deposition of complement with the spike. The paper “The histologic and molecular correlates of COVID-19 vaccine-induced changes in the skin” made a case for the immune response to the Spike Protein causing self-limited hypersensitivity reactions to the vaccine. However, if you study the paper carefully, you notice that the authors have missed a far more important finding.

The biopsy specimens of normal skin post vaccine and of skin affected by the post-vaccine eruption showed rare deep microvessels positive for spike glycoprotein with no complement deposition contrasting with greater vascular deposition of spike protein and complement in skin biopsies from patients experiencing severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The histology exactly recapitulated perniosis including COVID-19–associated perniosis, which provides evidence that the Spike Protein alone induces COVID-19 pathology. More importantly, the fact that IN NORMAL SKIN, the Spike Protein was found to be deposited in DEEP VESSELS, MICROVESSELS, BLOOD VESSELS AND DEEP ENDOTHELIAL CELLS. Why would one assume that this deposition is only occurring in NORMAL SKIN TISSUE? I believe it is most certainly occurring in NORMAL TISSUE. PERIOD.

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Think they’ll give their lives for him?

Nearly $300 Million To Wokify The Canadian Military (CS)

Nestled deep within the Liberal government’s new 2022 budget is a whopping $100.5 million in taxpayer funding for “gender identity” culture change and training in the Canadian Armed Forces. The sum is part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new $58 billion spending bonanza and nested in their $8 billion defence spending boost over the next five years. “Budget 2022 proposes to provide $100.5 million over six years, starting in 2021-22, with $1.7 million in remaining amortization, and $16.8 million ongoing,” the budget report reads. These funds will be put towards “undertaking engagement and consultations on culture change” as it relates to gender identity or sexual orientation discrimination. The Liberal budget also mentions “coaching services.”


Under Trudeau’s watch, Canada’s military has been hit with sex scandals and harassment controversies. Instead of addressing the root causes of the problem and removing bad apples, the Liberals have used the issue as an opportunity to make the military more woke. Another gender-related spending in the defence budget included $144.3 million over five years and an additional $31.6 million ongoing to expand health services and physical fitness programs to “be more responsive to women and gender-diverse military personnel.” “This builds on funding from Budget 2021 of $236.2 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $33.5 million ongoing for the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to support efforts to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and support survivors,” the budget claims.

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One big vicious circle.

Priti Patel Part Of CIA-linked Lobby Group With Husband Of Assange Judge (DUK)

Priti Patel sat on the Henry Jackson Society’s (HJS) advisory council from around 2013-16, although the exact dates are unclear as neither the HJS nor Patel responded to Declassified’s requests for clarification. She has also received funds from the HJS, and was paid £2,500 by the group to visit Washington in March 2013 to attend a “security” programme in the US Congress. Patel, who became an MP in 2010 and was appointed Home Secretary in 2019, also hosted an HJS event in parliament soon after she returned from Washington. After the UK Supreme Court said this month it was refusing to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision against him, the WikiLeaks founder’s fate now lies in Patel’s hands. He faces life in prison in the US.

The HJS, which was founded in 2005 and does not disclose its funders, has links to the CIA, the intelligence agency behind the prosecution of Assange and which reportedly developed plans to assassinate him. One of the HJS’s international patrons is James Woolsey, CIA director from 1993-95, who was in this role throughout the period Patel was advising the group. Woolsey’s affiliation to the HJS goes back to at least 2006, soon after it was founded. In 2014, the group hosted General David Petraeus, CIA director from 2011-12, at a UK parliament meeting from which all media were barred. Three years later, in 2017, the HJS organised another event at parliament with General Michael Hayden, CIA director from 2006-9, to “discuss the current state of the American Intelligence Community and its relationships with foreign partners.”

Hayden described “the relationship within the Five Eyes community as strong as ever, despite potential concerns over recent intelligence leaks between members.” Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. During a visit to the UK in July 2020, then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at a roundtable hosted by the HJS with what the Washington Post referred to as a group of “hawkish” members of the Conservative Party. As director of the CIA in 2017, Pompeo had launched a blistering attack on WikiLeaks calling the media organisation a “hostile intelligence service” that makes “common cause with dictators”. Pompeo did not provide evidence but added a threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

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Biden family

 

 

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Apr 062022
 


Pablo Picasso Standing nude 1928

 

Zelensky Tells Security Council that “Russians Killed for Pleasure” (GR)
Biden’s Folly In Ukraine (Gen. Douglas Macgregor)
…But It Rhymes. Russia, Ukraine and Nazi Europe Mark II (Leslie)
Gen. Milley Says Risk of Conflict ‘Between Great Powers’ Is Increasing (Antiwar)
Australia, US, UK Military Alliance to Develop Hypersonic Missiles (Antiwar)
What Would It Take for Military Spending in America to Go Down? (Astore)
Jen Psaki Should Resign (WE)
Pfizer Hired 600+ People to Process Vaccine Injury Reports (CHD)
President Xi Faces An Impossible Dilemma In Shanghai COVID Outbreak (ZH)
10,000 Health Workers Sent To Help Control Shanghai Outbreak (AP)
Durham Lowers the Boom on Former Clinton Counsel Michael Sussmann (Turley)
Sussmann Doesn’t Want Steele Dossier Brought Up During Durham Trial (WE)
‘If I Did 1/100 Of What Hunter Biden Did, I’d Be In Jail’ – Eric Trump (JTN)
When A Country Is Destroyed By Its Own Propaganda (Ugo Bardi)

 

 

The west: “Russia executed 410 people in Bucha!!!”

Russia: “No we didn’t, but we’d be more than happy to convene the security council and open up internationally recognized institutional channels for thorough investigation.”

The west: “No”

 

 

 

 

Gonzalo Lira “YouTube bans any open discussion about the Bucha false flag”

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live inside a cartoon.

Zelensky Tells Security Council that “Russians Killed for Pleasure” (GR)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has shown the UN Security Council on Tuesday a harrowing video from Ukraine in an apparent attempt to embarrass Russia and rally world opinion. The clip lasted about a minute and showed image after image of dead Ukrainians – including some burned and disfigured bodies. Speaking to the Security Council for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, he said Russian troops have killed civilians and raped women. Zelensky’s comments follow his visit to the town of Bucha on Monday, where the bodies of dead Ukrainian civilians were seen. He claimed that in the town people were shot in the street, in their homes, thrown into wells, and crushed by tanks in the middle of the road “just for the pleasure” of the Russian soldiers.

“The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country,” he said, as Russia’s UN ambassador was looking on. Joe Biden called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes on Monday following the killings of civilians in the city of Bucha, Ukraine. Biden said the images coming from Bucha warranted calling Putin a “war criminal,” adding, “but we have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight and we have to get all the details so this can be an actual…war-crime trial.” “This guy (Putin) is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, the United States ambassador to the UN called for Russia’s expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council. “Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose very purpose is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is it the height of hypocrisy, it is dangerous,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said addressing the Security Council Tuesday. “Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights,” she added. “Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the Council’s credibility. It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong.”

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“Moscow can no more lose the war with Ukraine than Washington could lose a war with Mexico.”

Biden’s Folly In Ukraine (Gen. Douglas Macgregor)

Americans find it difficult to determine whether the Biden administration’s policy decisions regarding Ukraine are the product of a deliberate strategy, extraordinary incompetence, or some combination of both. Threatening Russia, a nuclear armed power, with regime change and then annunciating a nuclear weapons policy that allows for the United States’ first-strike use of nuclear weapons under “extreme circumstances”—responding to an invasion by conventional forces, or chemical or biological attacks—suggests President Biden and his administration really are out of touch with reality. American voters instinctively grasp the truth that Americans have nothing to gain from a war with Russia, declared or undeclared. A short trip to almost any supermarket or gas station in America explains why. Last week, inflation hit its highest point in nearly 40 years and gas prices have skyrocketed since the conflict in Ukraine began.

Thanks to the Western media’s non-stop dissemination of unfavorable images of Russia’s leaders and its military, it would appear that President Biden is able to espouse any narrative that suits his purpose. Obscuring the true origins of this tragic conflict, however—NATO’s eastward expansion to include Ukraine—cannot alter strategic reality. Moscow can no more lose the war with Ukraine than Washington could lose a war with Mexico. Ukraine’s proximity to Russia gives Moscow unconstrained and immediate access to Russia’s reserves of military manpower, equipment, and firepower. Notwithstanding Moscow’s determination to avoid unnecessary collateral damage to Ukraine’s population and infrastructure, Russian Air and Ground Forces are at liberty to methodically destroy Ukrainian resistance in detail.

Russia’s commodity-based economy, with its abundance of food, energy, minerals, and other resources, creates enormous strategic depth for Moscow on the Eurasian landmass. These resources make Moscow Beijing’s natural strategic partner, thus securing Moscow’s Asian border. Moscow’s role in stabilizing Central Asia also makes Russian strength indispensable for the success of China’s Belt and Road Initiative rooted as it is in the historical Silk Road, linking the economies of East Asia to Europe, Africa, and the Near East. At the same time, Washington’s frequent use of financial sanctions have severely weakened, if not wrecked trust in the U.S. led global financial system. It is far more likely that countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa will either bypass sanctions to buy discounted Russian and Belorussian commodities or simply refuse to enforce them.

To minimize the impact of financial sanctions imposed by Washington and the European Union, Russia began “de-dollarizing” its economy years ago. Unburdened by the kind of odious sovereign debt that plagues Washington, Moscow has been able to stabilize the ruble with interest rate increases, and links to gold reserves. Now, de-dollarization is spreading. China, India, and Saudi Arabia are introducing de-dollarization policies as an anti-sanction measure. Saudi Arabia’s offer to sell oil in Chinese yuan raises real questions about the future of the petrodollar. Despite Japan’s public display of solidarity with Washington, Tokyo really made its bed with Eurasia when Tokyo signed on to membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Program (RCEP), the world’s largest trade bloc. Predictably, Tokyo already declared it will not ban Russian oil and natural gas imports and Japan will continue to work with Russia on important joint economic projects.

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“Do you see the core and the rings? Do you see the suppression of everything Russian (Hitler never banned Russian music) and the weaponisation of the despicable ukro Nazi ideology? History might not repeat but it has just provided the rhyme of the century.”

…But It Rhymes. Russia, Ukraine and Nazi Europe Mark II (Leslie)

Before I set off on my brief journey through history, there is a general point I want to address: There is a lot of anxiety floating around. Well-meaning people (including yours truly) are riding the waves of war, experiencing exaltation and dejection with every Russian triumph and setback. This is completely understandable and I would be less than honest if I did not admit to being utterly exhausted by worry and seesawing emotions. At the same time, I’ve come to understand one thing. My willing Russia to win will not make one bit of difference – well, perhaps it might. Russia is what it is – a great, fascinating, freedom-loving land of endless steppes and kind people whose mission is to rid the world of evil, full stop. As such, Russia must prevail, and it will.

However, such a great accomplishment – that no other country or civilization is close to being able to emulate – must come at a cost. This means that Russia’s struggle will (as always) involve setbacks, errors, losses, treachery and perhaps even tragedies. This is not something the Russians or their supporters want to countenance but please, hear me out. I am trying to desensitise you to the maelstrom of emotionally-charged information that can be very harmful if digested uncritically. Be strong but be prepared – like Russia – to sustain emotional losses that this long and immensely dangerous undertaking must produce. In the end, all we have is the belief that good must prevail and we should let that belief carry us all the way to victory.

[..] It was only the heroic offensive by the Red army that broke the back of the Euro beast – at a very high cost. However, not even they could break the back of the fanatical Ukrainian Nazis who continued with open terror until about 1956 and then went underground to await a fresh opportunity. Ukrainian terror against Russians which started in the 1910s has never stopped. Funded and supported by the Vatican, Austria-Hungary, Imperial Germany, Hitler’s Germany and Poland, the UK, US and West and the current German state, the Ukrainian Nazi virus was released again as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed (note the similarities with Yugoslavia and Croatia). Many Russians refused to see the truth and continued to support the increasingly anti-Russian ukro regimes in the name of “brotherhood” inculcated during Soviet times.

This is a simple replay of 1918, 1939, 1945 and 2014 when the Soviets/Russians forgave their hangmen only to have to fight the same battle again and again. This fully explains President Putin’s demand for a full denazification of the Ukraine. I can only hope that he completes this historic task fully. Can you see it yet? Do you see the geopolitical pattern that is currently forming? A deeply Russophobic Euro Reich centred on Germany, France and the Vatican (with a wholehearted Anglo-American support) is rapidly being turned into an anti-Russian fortress. Do you see the core and the rings? Do you see the suppression of everything Russian (Hitler never banned Russian music) and the weaponisation of the despicable ukro Nazi ideology? History might not repeat but it has just provided the rhyme of the century.

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And he’s stoking it.

Gen. Milley Says Risk of Conflict ‘Between Great Powers’ Is Increasing (Antiwar)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley warned Congress on Tuesday that the chances of a “significant international conflict between great powers” are increasing. Milley warned that both China and Russia are threats to the so-called “rules-based” global order. “We are now facing two global powers: China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities both who intend to fundamentally change the rules-based current global order,” Milley told the House Armed Services Committee. “We are entering a world that is becoming more unstable. The potential for significant international conflict between great powers is increasing, not decreasing.” The hearing was focused on the Pentagon’s $773 billion budget request for 2023, part of the $813 billion in military spending President Biden has asked Congress for.


Milley said the budget is in alignment with the new National Defense Strategy (NDS) that was recently briefed to Congress but has yet to be declassified. In a fact sheet on the new NDS, the Pentagon named China as the top “threat” facing the US military, while Russia was second. The US military’s shift in focus towards “great power competition” was first outlined by the 2018 NDS, which put China and Russia as equal concerns. The Pentagon has plans to boost the US military’s presence in the Asia Pacific to counter China and in Eastern Europe to face Russia. While done in the name of deterrence, US military buildups in the regions will only make a conflict more likely. This is demonstrated by the fact that one of Russia’s main justifications for invading Ukraine was Kyiv’s alignment with NATO and the military alliance’s presence in the region.

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Miles behind China and Russia. But trillions more for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon.

Australia, US, UK Military Alliance to Develop Hypersonic Missiles (Antiwar)

The US, Britain, and Australia announced on Tuesday that they will work together to develop hypersonic missiles under the recently created AUKUS military alliance. President Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the plan in a joint statement. The leaders said they are “committed today to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen cooperation on defense innovation.” US military leaders have been calling for more investment in the development of hypersonics and other advanced weaponry, which they see as vital for competing with China and Russia.


The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said Tuesday that the US Air Force recently successfully tested a hypersonic cruise missile made by Lockheed Martin. The AUKUS military pact was signed by the three countries last September and is focused on increasing military technology ties to counter Beijing. Under the deal, Australia will get access to technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, which could be used to patrol waters near China. When asked about the AUKUS hypersonic plan, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang warned that such measures could lead to a crisis similar to what’s happening in Ukraine. “Anyone who do not want to see the Ukrainian crisis should refrain from doing things which may lead the other parts of the world into a crisis like this,” he said.

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Nothing that I can see.

What Would It Take for Military Spending in America to Go Down? (Astore)

I have a question for you: What would it take in today’s world for America’s military spending to go down? Here’s one admittedly farfetched scenario: Vladimir Putin loses his grip on power and Russia retrenches militarily while reaching out to normalize relations with the West. At the same time, China prudently decides to spend less on its military, pursuing economic power while abandoning any pretense to a militarized superpower status. Assuming such an unlikely scenario, with a “new cold war” nipped in the bud and the U.S. as the world’s unchallenged global hegemon, Pentagon spending would surely shrink, right? Well, I wouldn’t count on it. Based on developments after the Soviet Union’s collapse three decades ago, here’s what I suspect would be far more likely to happen.

The U.S. military, aided by various strap-hanging think tanks, intelligence agencies, and weapons manufacturers, would simply shift into overdrive. As its spokespeople would explain to anyone who’d listen (especially in Congress), the disappearance of the Russian and Chinese threats would carry its own awesome dangers, leaving this country prospectively even less safe than before. You’d hear things like: we’ve suddenly been plunged into a more complex multipolar world, significantly more chaotic now that our “near-peer” rivals are no longer challenging us, with even more asymmetrical threats to U.S. military dominance. The key word, of course, would be “more” — linked, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, to omnipresent Pentagon demands for yet more military spending.

When it comes to weapons, budgets, and war, the military-industrial complex’s philosophy is captured by an arch comment of the legendary actress Mae West: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Even without Russia and China as serious threats to American hegemony, you’d hear again about an “unbalanced” Kim Jong-un in North Korea and his deeply alarming ballistic missiles; you’d hear about Iran and its alleged urge to build nuclear weapons; and, if those two countries proved too little, perhaps the war on terror would be resuscitated. (Indeed, during the ongoing wall-to-wall coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea did test a ballistic missile, an event a distracted media greeted with a collective shrug.) My point is this: when you define the entire globe as your sphere of influence, as the U.S. government does, there will always be threats somewhere.

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But who still recognizes why?

Jen Psaki Should Resign (WE)

The career path of White House press secretary-turned-TV pundit isn’t new. Tony Snow worked for Fox News and then moved to the George W. Bush White House. Dana Perino did the reverse. But never before has a chief press secretary for the president of the United States leveraged the position to negotiate a career move to cable news. That’s exactly what Jen Psaki has done, according to Axios . Psaki will soon be heading off to what’s likely a very lucrative contract with MSNBC. The White House press secretary should have resigned last week when this news broke. Let’s be clear — this is an unprecedented breach of public ethics. Unfortunately, most of Psaki’s colleagues in the press briefing room seem to be OK with it. Psaki was only questioned briefly by CBS News reporter Ed O’Keefe on the possible ethical ramifications of these negotiations.

Then everyone simply moved on. Psaki’s move and the media’s nonchalant apathy about it explain so much about what is wrong with the incestuous nature of the Washington media’s relationship with the Biden White House. In turn, it helps explain why the public reputation of both institutions is hovering somewhere just above the popularity of bubbling street sewage. That media watchdogs such as CNN’s Brian Stelter see no conflict of interest here speaks more about corporate media’s agenda bias than it does about Psaki. It’s worth noting that Psaki is a former CNN contributor, serving the network after leaving the Obama administration’s State Department.

Psaki is not a free agent a la the world of sports. Her podium is not for sale to the highest media bidder. Any job in the executive branch is a job paid for by the people. But we know what comes next. Psaki will move from spinning for the Biden White House in the White House to spinning for the White House at MSNBC. And think about this: Psaki has been in her role as press secretary for just a little over a year. That means negotiations with MSNBC likely began not soon after she started! Consider something else: What’s the likelihood that NBC White House reporters Peter Alexander or Kristen Welker will aggressively challenge someone they know that they’ll soon share office space with? The very possibility of this concern is outrageous by itself. Equally absurd is the hypocrisy.

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They know much more about adverse events than they let on.

Pfizer Hired 600+ People to Process Vaccine Injury Reports (CHD)

Pfizer hired about 600 additional full-time employees to process adverse event reports during the three months following the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine, newly released documents reveal. According to the documents, Pfizer said, “More are joining each month with an expected total of more than 1,800 additional resources by the end of June 2021.” The information was contained in a 10,000-page document cache released April 1 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and made public as part of a court-ordered disclosure schedule stemming from an expedited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The latest revelations appeared in a document, “Cumulative analysis of post-authorization adverse event reports” of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, highlighting such adverse events identified through Feb. 28, 2021.

The document was previously released in November 2021, but was partially redacted. The redactions included the number of employees Pfizer hired and/or was planning to hire. According to the unredacted document released April 1: “Pfizer has also taken a multiple actions [sic] to help alleviate the large increase of adverse event reports. This includes significant technology enhancements, and process and workflow solutions, as well as increasing the number of data entry and case processing colleagues. “To date, Pfizer has onboarded approximately 600 additional full-time employees (FTEs). “More are joining each month with an expected total of more than 1,800 additional resources by the end of June 2021.”

The unredacted version also revealed the number of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses shipped worldwide between December 2020 and February 2021: “It is estimated that approximately 126,212,580 doses of BNT162b2 [the Pfizer EUA vaccine] were shipped worldwide from the receipt of the first temporary authorisation for emergency supply on 01 December 2020 through 28 February 2021.” The number of shipped doses previously was redacted.

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“..backing down from its lockdown in Shanghai would mean admitting that the “Zero COVID” approach has been an abject failure..”

President Xi Faces An Impossible Dilemma In Shanghai COVID Outbreak (ZH)

In the span of just over a week, CCP authorities have gone from denying plans for a citywide lockdown of Shanghai to announcing what was supposed to be a two-part staggered lockdown – to simply locking down the entire city and sending in the military and a contingent of medical workers as locals accuse the government of violating its social compact to put the people’s interests first. Now, as the entire city of roughly 26 million faces what’s already shaping up to be the most punishing lockdown in China since the original three-month Wuhan lockdown nightmare, Nikkei reports that Beijing has found itself in an incredibly difficult position. On Sunday, Shanghai counted 9,006 mainly asymptomatic infections, more than two-thirds of the national tally.

The reason the situation in Shanghai presents such a difficult conundrum is that backing down from its lockdown in Shanghai would mean admitting that the “Zero COVID” approach has been an abject failure. But continuing with the heavy-handed lockdown risks spurring even more unrest – something the CCP has bent over backwards to avoid. For the CCP, it’s an impossible dilemma. Already, social media has been flooded with reports of locals dying from neglect as hospital resources have been stretched thin (and not from COVID; it’s other ailments that are killing people now). While the entire city has been locked down for less than a week, many individual residential compounds have been locked down for much longer – some since mid-March.


“It is so uncharacteristic of Shanghai to have to go through this,” said Zhong Lei, a teacher in the city, whose residential compound was locked down even earlier, in mid-March. On Tuesday, authorities reiterated that they must try to keep the city’s port and its factories running at full capacity. But accomplishing this – as we have already reported – will require even more draconian measures like forcing workers to essentially live inside the city’s factories.

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10,000 health workers for a city of 25 million.

10,000 Health Workers Sent To Help Control Shanghai Outbreak (AP)

China has sent more than 10,000 health workers from around the country to Shanghai, including 2,000 from the military, as it struggles to stamp out a rapidly spreading outbreak in its largest city under its zero-COVID strategy. Shanghai was conducting a mass testing of its 25 million residents Monday as what was announced as a two-phase lockdown entered its second week. Most of eastern Shanghai, which was supposed to re-open last Friday, remained locked down along with the western half of the city. While many factories and financial companies have been allowed to keep operating if they isolate their employees, concern was growing about the potential economic impact of an extended lockdown in China’s financial capital, a major shipping and manufacturing center.


The highly contagious omicron BA.2 form of the virus is testing China’s ability to maintain its zero-COVID approach, which aims to stop outbreaks from spreading by isolating everyone who tests positive, whether they have symptoms or not. Shanghai has converted an exhibition hall and other facilities into massive isolation centers where people with mild or no symptoms are housed in a sea of beds separated by temporary partitions. China on Monday reported more than 13,000 new cases nationwide in the previous 24 hours, of which nearly 12,000 were asymptomatic. About 9,000 of the cases were in Shanghai. The other large outbreak is in northeastern China’s Jilin province, where new cases topped 3,500. The Shanghai lockdown has sparked numerous complaints, from food shortages to limited staff and facilities at hastily constructed isolation sites. Some people who tested positive have remained at home for extended periods because of a shortage of isolation beds or transportation to take them to a center, the business news publication Caixin said.

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Lying to the FBI…which was busy propagating its own lies.

Durham Lowers the Boom on Former Clinton Counsel Michael Sussmann (Turley)

In a Monday night filing, Durham revealed that he has an incriminating statement by Sussmann that dramatically undermined his defense. In the text message, Sussmann denied that he was representing anyone before his critical meeting with the FBI. He then repeated the false statement in that meeting as he pushed a false Russian collusion claim against Donald Trump. Sussmann has been seeking the dismissal on the single charge under 18 U.S.C. 1001 for lying to the FBI in a meeting with the then-FBI General Counsel James Baker. In the indictment, Sussmann is accused of “mak[ing] a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement or representation” in conversations with Baker. Durham argued that “the defendant provided the FBI General Counsel with purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank.”

That institution was Alfa Bank and Sussmann’s effort paralleled the work of his partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, Marc Elias, in pushing the Steele Dossier in a separate debunked collusion claim. The FEC recently fined the Clinton Campaign and the DNC for hiding the funding of the dossier as a legal cost by Elias at Perkins Coie. The Clinton Campaign’s Alfa Bank conspiracy was found to be baseless but the FBI did not know that it was being offered by someone being paid by the campaign to spread the claim. Had they known, Durham alleges the department might have been able to avoid the investigation costs and effort spent on the Alfa matter.

Sussmann has sounded a lot like Michael Flynn in court as he argued that this was trivial and inconsequential comment. On Monday night, Durham lowered the boom. He revealed that, before the meeting, Sussmann sent “the same lie in writing” that his effort was “not on behalf of a client or company.” Durham is seeking the introduction of a text message to Baker that said: “Jim—it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own—not on behalf of a client or company—want to help the Bureau. Thanks.” Thus, Durham writes that “on September 18, 2016 at 7:24 p.m., i.e., the night before the defendant met with the General Counsel, the defendant conveyed the same lie in writing and sent the following text message to the General Counsel’s personal cellphone.”

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He was actively pushing the dossier. The campaign paid for it.

Sussmann Doesn’t Want Steele Dossier Brought Up During Durham Trial (WE)

The Democratic cybersecurity lawyer charged by special counsel John Durham with lying to the FBI about working for the Clinton campaign doesn’t want British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier brought up at the trial following indications from the special counsel that it will be. Michael Sussmann was indicted last year on charges of concealing his clients, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “tech executive” Rodney Joffe, from FBI general counsel James Baker when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank. He has pleaded not guilty. Steele created his now-discredited dossier after being hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was itself hired by Perkins Coie and Marc Elias, the general counsel for Clinton’s campaign.

Durham appears to be building a case that many collusion claims can be sourced back to Democratic operatives or linked to the Clinton campaign. Sussmann’s lawyers asked a federal judge on Monday to preclude three categories of evidence: the gathering of domain name system data by Joffe and others; the accuracy of that data and conclusions based on it; and “Christopher Steele and information he separately provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (including the so-called ‘Steele Dossier’).” The defense team argued: “The single false statement charge brought against Mr. Sussmann surely does not flow from the gathering of data, the accuracy of that data, the accuracy of the conclusions based on that data, or any information Mr. Steele may have provided to the FBI.”

The lawyers argued Sussmann did not have “any awareness” that Steele was “separately providing information to the FBI.” “The Special Counsel has not charged a substantive scheme to defraud the government, nor has he charged a conspiracy to defraud the government,” Sussmann’s lawyers argued. “The manner in which the data was gathered, the objective strength and reliability of that data and/or conclusions drawn from the data, and the information that Christopher Steele separately provided to the FBI all have no bearing on the only crime the Special Counsel chose to charge.” Sussmann’s lawyers said that during a phone conference last month, Durham indicated that “he intends to introduce evidence and argument pertaining to reports and information” that Steele provided to the FBI, adding that Durham “presumably” intends to call Steele as a witness.

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Anyone want to question this?

‘If I Did 1/100 Of What Hunter Biden Did, I’d Be In Jail’ – Eric Trump (JTN)

Eric Trump, son of former President Donald Trump, called out what he sees as a double standard between him and President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. “If I did 1/100 of what Hunter Biden did, I’d be in jail for the rest of my life,” Eric Trump told NTD’s “Capitol Report.” Records Just the News obtained Wednesday show Hunter Biden and his business partners attempted to make millions off of the first Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014. A report surfaced Monday that the Secret Service is paying more than $30,000 per month to rent a mansion in Malibu to provide security for Hunter. A retired intelligence officer told Just the News that the U.S. government was concerned the contents from Hunter Biden’s laptop could compromise the first family. “The mainstream media hasn’t mentioned Hunter Biden’s name in 258 days. There’s a serious problem with that. They let him skirt by. They carry Joe Biden’s water,” Eric Trump told NTD over the weekend.


“Based on their approval rating, [the mainstream media] is really damaged because they’ve got 7 percent approval rating in this country. It’s horrible,” he said. “People don’t trust them anymore.” He also said that the establishment media has been covering up for Hunter Biden’s father. He told NTD that if Donald Trump had said 1/100 of the “stupid things” that President Joe Biden has, the media would call for him to be removed from office under Article 25. “But again, they’re on that side, and they’ll do anything to cover up for him and let him get away with just about anything under the sun,” Eric Trump said. “You don’t have equal scales of justice in this country. You don’t have equal media coverage,” he said. “The media is the propaganda wing of the left-wing party. And I think that [has] become very clear to all Americans.”

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“..their destiny was in the “place in the sun,” the way Ethiopia started to be described (as if Italy didn’t have enough sun)..”

When A Country Is Destroyed By Its Own Propaganda (Ugo Bardi)

let’s put ourselves in the shoes of British admiralty in the 1920s. We have this problem. This British-created creature, Italy, that was supposed to be just a counterweight against France, now has started to behave like a golem. And to disobey her creators. It needs to be controlled before it is too late. Fine, but how? We already said that at, the time of the unification of Italy, the French ruler, Louis Napoleon, had been controlled by using a beautiful woman. But Mussolini didn’t seem to be the kind of man who would easily fall under a woman’s spell. He was closer to the prototypical “mad dictator,” more interested in power than in sex. So, to influence him, one needed to use his craving for power. As we enter this line of thought, we find an interesting event.

In 1925, there was an “exchange of notes” between Britain and Italy regarding Ethiopia. Known as the “Anglo-Italian Agreement” it essentially said that Ethiopia was part of the Italian sphere of influence. This agreement had a deep strategic significance. Essentially, the British were telling Italians, “go ahead, you can do whatever you want in Ethiopia. We won’t stop you” Perfidious Albion? I think so. VERY perfidious. We cannot know what went on inside Mussolini’s mind but, by 1932, he had taken the fateful decision of accepting Britain’s offer and invade Ethiopia. A major propaganda campaign started with the idea of convincing the public that Italy had a manifest destiny that consisted in re-creating the Roman Empire, and that this could be done by conquering Ethiopia and getting rid of the inferior races who lived there.

It involved slander campaigns against Ethiopia, scientific studies showing the inferiority of the black races in comparison to the white ones, and how modern Italians were the true heirs of the noble Roman warriors who had created and defended the greatest empire in history. That kind of thing. The slander campaign implied painting Ethiopians as insects to be exterminated with insecticides (it was done for real, using chemical weapons). After three years of campaign, the Italian public was completely bamboozled into believing that, yes, their destiny was in the “place in the sun,” the way Ethiopia started to be described (as if Italy didn’t have enough sun). You have to read the documents of the time to understand how well it worked. People were completely hypnotized. Just imagine yourself in 1934 asking the question, “you know, folks, before we attack Ethiopia, wouldn’t it be a good idea to carry out a cost-benefit analysis?” And you would have discovered that propaganda reduces the level of the discussion to that of the most stupid person involved in it.

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Dec 012021
 
 December 1, 2021  Posted by at 9:27 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  75 Responses »


Floris van Schooten Still-Life with Glass, Cheese, Butter and Cake 1st half 17th century

 

Omicron Could Spell End For Covid-19 Pandemic – Top Russian Scientist (RT)
Federal Judge Blocks Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers Nationwide (Fox)
Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Suffer Back-to-Back Blows (RT)
Three Jabs And…. (Denninger)
Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Fail the Jacobson Test (BI)
Greece Mandates Vaccines for Adults Over 60 (BA)
Two Triple-Jabbed Israeli Doctors Test Positive For Omicron (JPost)
The Omicron Absurdities Continue (Gato Malo)
Fresh Doubts Over Data Integrity In Pfizer mRNA Trial (Demasi)
Large UK Supermarket Chains Refuse to Police “Divisive” Face Mask Mandates (SN)
Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars (Escobar)
There Isn’t One Plan, There Are Fifty Thousand (eugyp)
Russia Set To Unveil New Hypersonic Weapons – Putin (RT)
Finnish Electricity Prices 5 Times Higher This Year (RT)

 

 

Molnupiravir works only in Brazil.

 

 

 

 

Obesity kills 2.8 million people a year. Heart disease kills 17.9 million a year. Diabetes kills 1.5 million people a year. If the government actually cared about your health, they would have banned fast food, processed sugars, & refined oils a long time ago. But they didn’t.

 

 

“More than 30,000 [mutations] in a single gene of its spike protein. This is too many, and it means the virus has an unstable genome.”

Omicron Could Spell End For Covid-19 Pandemic – Top Russian Scientist (RT)

A new mutant strain of Covid-19 that has sparked fears for vaccine resistance, caused flight cancellations, and sent the stock market plummeting could actually help bring the pandemic to an end, a Russian virologist has claimed. In an interview published on Monday in Moscow tabloid KP, Anatoly Altshtein, a virologist at the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which pioneered Russia’s Sputnik V jab, said that there it is still not clear how deadly or infectious the new Omicron variant might be. According to him, even if it does spread faster than its predecessor, known as Delta, it could take months to become the predominant form of the virus.

Even if that happens, he said, it’s not clear that Omicron means higher death tolls than at present. “Right now there are reasons to think that the Omicron variant could be less pathogenic,” he went on, meaning less able to cause harmful infection.Explaining the science behind the hypothesis, Altshtein said that “we already see Omicron has many mutations, more than Delta. More than thirty-thousand in a single gene of its spike protein. This is too many, and it means the virus has an unstable genome. As a rule, this sort of infectious agent becomes less dangerous, because evolutionarily, an overwhelming number of mutations leads to a weakening of the virus’s ability to cause disease.”

According to the professor, if this rule holds true, then Omicron would be fatal in only a small fraction of cases, and would become like other common seasonal infections. He stressed that we still understand little about the new variant, discovered by South African scientists last week, and that it was best to be cautious while its characteristics are researched. Some nations, including Japan and Israel, have announced they are banning all foreign travelers. “We shouldn’t be afraid that the Omicron variant is spreading widely,” said Professor Altshtein, “but that it could turn out to be the most pathogenic variant, making infection worse.”

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This is so important. But it still doesn’t supersede or invalidate state mandates.

Still, all mandate calls in the US are now de facto gone. Not in Europe, though, which doesn’t have this kind of court system.

Federal Judge Blocks Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers Nationwide (Fox)

A federal judge in Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Tuesday against President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers. Judge Terry A. Doughty in the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana ruled in favor of a request from Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to block an emergency regulation issued Nov. 4 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that required vaccines for nearly every full-time employee, part-time employee, volunteer, and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicaid funding. Louisiana was joined in the lawsuit by attorneys general in 13 other states. Doughty argued in his ruling that the Biden administration does not have the constitutional authority to go around Congress by issuing such a mandate.

“If the executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the legislative branch to make laws, two of the three powers conferred by our Constitution would be in the same hands,” he wrote. “If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency. “During a pandemic such as this one, it is even more important to safeguard the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution to avoid erosion of our liberties,” he added. Noting that the case “will ultimately be decided by a higher court than this one,” Doughty wrote, “However, it is important to preserve the status quo in this case. The liberty interests of the unvaccinated requires nothing less.”

Landry praised the ruling, saying in a statement: “I applaud Judge Doughty for recognizing that Louisiana is likely to succeed on the merits and for delivering yet another victory for the medical freedom of Americans. While Joe Biden villainizes our healthcare heroes with his ‘jab or job’ edicts, I will continue to stand up to the President’s bully tactics and fight for liberty.”

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“If the mandate can be invoked in the name of economy and efficiency in federal procurement, then such powers can be exploited by the president “to enact virtually any measure… under the guise of economy and efficiency..”

Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Suffer Back-to-Back Blows (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s plans for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations have been blocked by two federal judges. One order blocked the federal healthcare mandate nationwide, while another blocked it for contractors in three states.Federal Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana issued a nationwide injunction against the mandate for employees and contractors of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday evening, saying Biden’s mandate violated the constitutional separation of powers. “If human nature and history teach anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency,” Doughty wrote in his ruling. “During a pandemic such as this one, it is even more important to safeguard the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution to avoid erosion of our liberties.”

While the case will ultimately be decided in a higher court, “it is important to preserve the status quo in this case. The liberty interest of the unvaccinated requires nothing less,” the judge wrote. The case was brought by attorneys-general of Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia – all Republicans. Judge Doughty’s injunction applies to all states except 10, where it was already enjoined by another federal judge. US District Judge Matthew Schelp blocked the CMS mandate in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota on Monday. Meanwhile, US District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove in the Eastern District of Kentucky blocked the attempt to mandate vaccinations for federal contractors in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

In his opinion, Van Tatenhove said the challenge was not “about whether vaccines are effective. They are.” However, the case brought by Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron asked if Biden can “use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors.” “In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no. “If the mandate can be invoked in the name of economy and efficiency in federal procurement, then such powers can be exploited by the president “to enact virtually any measure… under the guise of economy and efficiency,” wrote Van Tatenhove, granting the injunction. The Biden administration previously set a November 22 deadline for federal workers and January 4 for federal contractors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with those who did not receive an exemption facing penalties or loss of jobs.

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“..the option to sue for peace and make penance may well have a time limit beyond which your apology and offer of restitution will not be accepted.”

Three Jabs And…. (Denninger)

The narrative is collapsing and so is the willingness to put up with the bull****. Notice the hospitals who have been forced to close ERs due to firing jab-refusing nurses? What happens when you have a heart attack and the ER is closed? The chorus of medical folks who have had enough with the lies is also becoming louder by the day and that which was previously unknown when it comes to the risk of these jabs has without exception come up on the wrong side of the ledger. We now have formal published medical studies showing durable harm from the jabs and the number of physicians and others speaking out on this is rising.

In addition both the 6th Circuit (which is hearing the OSHA mandate case and has not, thus far, dissolved the 5th Circuit’s stay) and now the CMS Mandate, which hit health care workers, has been hit with a preliminary injunction — which puts any medical center that fired people up to now for refusing in a very difficult spot with potential civil and, if discovery proves collusive action between medical centers then extortion is on the table which is a predicate to civil and criminal racketeering. If you think the Biden administration doesn’t at least suspect they’re ****ed at this point you’re dumber than you look. This, by the way, means those who “implemented” such things ahead of the government are utterly and completely ****ed. As in “you have a purdy house and it will soon be mine” level ****ed — or worse.

What’s even better is that by delaying the mandate dates to after the New Year Biden’s Administration has admitted that there is no “emergency.” You don’t let half the town burn to the ground by sitting on your ass for yet another month, right into the maw of cold and flu season, if there is an emergency with a respiratory virus. Never mind CMS, OSHA and all the other organs of government who sat on the issue for months. If you think the 6th Circuit won’t take note of all that — oh yes they will, and there goes the government claims. And your employer’s, by the way. As I predicted I fully expect this pattern to continue and indeed accelerate as we go through the next few months and once it reaches critical mass there will be no stopping it.

If you are and have been on the wrong side of this debate with regard to mandates and screaming as I have predicted for more than a year your time is about to expire and when it does all that will remain is whether you are ignored as lunatics for the rest of your life or whether the people decide that those 500,000 extra dead bodies that occurred solely due to your actions, along with all the mandated jab-related injuries, demand accountability and it will be you that sates said fury, like it or not. Choose wisely Karen as its quite clear you are going to lose; the option to sue for peace and make penance may well have a time limit beyond which your apology and offer of restitution will not be accepted. I for one look forward to that day for you deserve it.

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“By 1905, smallpox vaccination had been in common use for almost a century, and populations, legislatures and courts had been essentially unanimous in accepting it as appropriate and effective..”

Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Fail the Jacobson Test (BI)

It is time to bring our legal thinking about Covid-19 vaccine mandates down to earth. At times of national emergency, government’s overriding goal must be to protect the population while removing the cause of the state of emergency. This means that certain laws, regulations, and policies may be temporarily suspended to accomplish these tasks. For example, if the army needs your car to transport soldiers to the front line, so be it. In particular, during the 1902 smallpox epidemic, the U.S. Supreme Court in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905) ruled that the State of Massachusetts could compel residents to obtain free vaccination or revaccination against the infection, or suffer a penalty of $5 (about $150 today) for noncompliance.

In authoring the majority opinion in Jacobson, Justice John Marshall Harlan argued (1) that individual liberty does not allow people to act regardless of harm that could be caused to others; (2) that the vaccination mandate was not shown to be arbitrary or oppressive; (3) that vaccination was reasonably required for public safety; and (4) that the defendant’s view that the smallpox vaccine was not safe or effective constituted a tiny minority medical opinion. By 1905, smallpox vaccination had been in common use for almost a century, and populations, legislatures and courts had been essentially unanimous in accepting it as appropriate and effective to prevent smallpox both in individuals and in outbreaks. In the Cleveland smallpox epidemic of 1902-4, there were 1,394 recorded cases and 252 deaths, a case fatality risk of 18%; thus a clear public safety rationale for preventing the infection.

The Court in Jacobson used a host of expressions to describe its four-part scrutiny of the Cambridge, Massachusetts vaccine mandate in that case. Among these expressions are: whether the requirement was “arbitrary and not justified by the necessity of the case”; whether the mandate went “far beyond what was reasonable required for the safety of public”; whether it was a ”reasonable regulation, as the safety of the general public may demand;” and whether it has a “real and substantial relation” to the public health. The Jacobson Court never said that it used a “rational basis” test; indeed, that lowest-level of judicial scrutiny was not then a term of art that courts used. And that test surely does not describe in substance what the Court in 1905 did.

Courts during the Covid-19 pandemic have nonetheless regularly applied “rational basis” review to vaccine mandates, citing Jacobson as authority for doing so! To cite just one of several possible examples, Judge Frank Easterbrook, writing for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in throwing out a lawsuit by Indiana University students against that institution’s vaccine mandate, said: “[g]iven Jacobson v. Massachusetts,… there can’t be a constitutional problem with vaccination against SARS-CoV-2.” The main reason for that conclusion was his claim that the Jacobson court used the weakest standard of judicial analysis of government action. Easterbrook invoked the “rational-basis standard used in Jacobson.” But the Jacobson Court carefully scrutinized the medico-scientific understanding of the smallpox epidemic and the vaccines then in use, much more so than has occurred in Covid-19 vaccine mandate litigation today.

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€100 in monthly fines. Average pension is €730. To work, enter a store or sit outside a restaurant (forget inside), you need a €10 rapid test valid for 48 hrs.

If you’re over 60 and working, that’s €100 + 12x €10 every month. And they’re still going to fail.

Greece Mandates Vaccines for Adults Over 60 (BA)

Today, Greece declared that all citizens over the age of 60 will be required to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 to mitigate the spread of the disease following the emergence of the omicron variant. Hellenes over 60 who do not provide proof of vaccination by January 16th, 2022 will face monthly fines of 100 euros. Greece has already created a parallel society for the unvaccinated by barring them from indoor spaces including restaurants, gyms, and concert venues. With the average Greek pension being 730 euros, the fine represents a significant cost to a nation whose economy has floundered for the better part of 2 decades. 63% of Greece’s population of 11 million fully vaccinated and data shows that there are approximately 520,000 people in Greece over 60 who remain unvaccinated who would be subject to the punitive measure supported by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Though Greece’s January 16th deadline marks the earliest vaccine mandate that will take effect in Europe, it was not the first to be announced. Austria gained the distinction of legislating Europe’s first national vaccine mandate earlier this month. In the wake of implementing a nation-wide lockdown of its unvaccinated population, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that his government would require all adults in the nation to be vaccinated by February 1st, 2022. Like Greece, Austria will impose fines on its unvaccinated population. Unlike Greece, the fines imposed in Austria are untenable with failure to establish full vaccination status resulting in a fine of up to 7,200 euros according to initial drafts of the law. An initial fine of 3,600 euros would be levied against Austrians, with district administrative authorities reserving the right to double the fine to 7,200 euros.

Even those Austrians who are fully vaccinated will not be able to escape punishment. Schallenberg’s mandate includes compulsory booster shots with a fine of up to 1,500 euros for those failing to maintain their “fully vaccinated” status. What would an authoritarian political movement originating in Austria be without Germany following close behind? Despite the 2021 German elections marking a sea change in the nation’s political climate by marking the end of the Angela Merkel era, the change in leadership represents no change in the country’s tactics to fight COVID-19. Merkel’s successor, Olaf Sholz, has yet to officially take office but has nevertheless voiced his support of a national vaccine mandates. Sholz plans to put forward a plan which will require all Germans to be vaccinated against the virus by the end of February, 2022 along with requiring proof of vaccination to be confirmed by non-essential stores nationwide.

In France, a proposal for mandatory vaccines against COVID-19 was introduced by Bernard Jomier, Chair of the Social Affairs Commitee, in October. However, the proposal was rejected by the French senate following its first reading at a public session on October 13th. No new proposal has been introduced to the French parliament just yet. However, with neighboring Germany taking steps to mandate vaccinations, it may just be a matter of time before France rolls over and follows in Germany’s foot steps.

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Is this a Big Pharma ad for an Omicron vaccine?

Two Triple-Jabbed Israeli Doctors Test Positive For Omicron (JPost)

Two Israeli doctors, both from Sheba Medical Center, have been confirmed as infected with the Omicron variant, a spokesperson for the hospital confirmed. Both are cardiologists. One of the doctors, in his 50s, brought the variant into Israel on return from a medical conference in London. He tested negative when he boarded the airplane from the United Kingdom to Israel and on arrival, but a few days later began experiencing symptoms. Once he tested positive, his results were sequenced and he was confirmed positive for the variant on Tuesday.


Before entering isolation, the doctor had performed several catheterizations and attended at least two other large events. He was also in contact with the second cardiologist, in his 70s, who is now infected with the variant. Both doctors were fully vaccinated with three shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. To date, there are four confirmed cases of the variant in Israel, and more than 10 suspicious cases. The hospital spokesperson said that anyone the doctors were in contact with have been informed but there are no additional suspicious cases at the medical center at this time nor news of any related outbreaks.

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“This narrative is devolving into a scaffolding so thin and fragile that all but the most dogmatic and determined can see right through it.”

The Omicron Absurdities Continue (Gato Malo)

Cases in MA, CT, RI, NY are now rising rapidly as the warm fall comes to an end and winter begins. watch for them to follow the northern neighbors. This is NOT omicron. This is delta. The vaccines are already falling apart in terms of efficacy because mRNA vaccines against a spike protein were and remain a BAD idea. It’s a bad design and was never going to plausibly provide durable sterilizing immunity.Tthis leakiness has almost certainly made the virus itself worse. My take is that this omiron vaccine evasion is not new, it’s just an excuse to hide what was already happening. Unless omi is going to lead to worse outcomes than “double the risk of contracting covid” it’s hard to see what the fuss is about, and if that IS the claim, then it’s awfully hard to see why “take more vaxx” is the answer.

And yet the “solutions” are the same tired zero data talking points. Or even a literal doubling down on that nonsense. So, now we are to believe that because this variant is vaccine evading, the solution is to take twice as much of a vaccine already known to have the worst side effect profile of any vax ever approved for US use and that this variant has already evaded? Because that sounds like pouring more water on a lithium ion battery fire… “Let’s just swing WAY outside the already deeply questionable dose ranging?” Is there even any data on this? I mean, just how “one note” can a flute be? Is there literally any eventuality that would NOT result in US officialdom demanding more vaccine use? Is there literally any outcome on efficacy or side effects that would result in their recall from the market?

Many EU countries already pulled Moderna (and sometimes Pfizer as well) for anyone under 30. But the US wants to mandate them for 5 year old school kids (and already has in many places, including Puerto Rico). The UK is suddenly once more interested in vaccines made from whole virus. But the US is still all about mRNA. To describe these health officials as “floundering” is an insult to many fine paralichthys lethostigma. This narrative is devolving into a scaffolding so thin and fragile that all but the most dogmatic and determined can see right through it. Unfortunately, many of that most devoted and pot committed cultist crew work in media and government. Expect a big surge in oppression and hectoring therefrom.

But expect (and participate in) a bigger surge of pushback from the middle who have had it with these tinhat biotyrants and pseudoscientific patricians. This has jumped the shark on absurdity and is well into shrill, self aggrandizing posterior covering and emotional melt down. It all falls apart for them from here. They’re cornered. Do NOT let them out.

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It’s not Pfizer, but a third party they hired. Still, why do we give credence to anything that’s not independent research?

Fresh Doubts Over Data Integrity In Pfizer mRNA Trial (Demasi)

Leaked documents have cast fresh doubts over the integrity of data arising from Pfizer’s pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial and suggest problems at Ventavia are ongoing. Earlier this month, whistle-blower Brook Jackson, raised serious concerns about ‘falsified data’ in Pfizer’s mRNA trial (Comirnaty) to The BMJ. The concerns were corroborated by two former Ventavia employees. Authorities were quick to allay public anxiety. Drug regulators in Australia (TGA) and the US (FDA) released statements assuring the public they had full confidence in the data. Further, the benefits of the Pfizer vaccine outweighed the risks. High profile researchers were sceptical. “It’s all this sort of vague kind of hand waving ….that The BMJ published it doesn’t make it any more true,” said vaccine expert Dr Paul Offit.

Ventavia, the Texas-based company at the centre of the controversy, released a statement claiming that, in respect of Ms Jackson, “no part of her job responsibilities concerned the clinical trials at issue.” Undeterred, Ms Jackson fired back. Ventavia and its spokesperson Lauren Foreman, were served with a cease-and-desist letter, by attorney Robert Barnes, acting on behalf of whistle-blower, Ms Jackson.Of Ventavia’s claims, the demand letter says: “This statement is false. This statement impugns the reputation of my client, Brook Jackson, and falsely implies she publicly misrepresented her work on the clinical trials.” Attorney Barnes is calling for Ventavia to immediately issue a public retraction and to “formally and publicly apologise” to Ms Jackson.

Her letter of offer for employment indicates Ms Jackson was hired as a “regional director” by Ventavia on 7 Sept 2020. She has almost two decades of experience in clinical trial co-ordination and management behind her. Her duties included overseeing the operations, recruitment, and quality assurance of trial sites belonging to Ventavia. [..] There were multiple examples of “laboratory processing logs” filled in by staff which contained glaring inconsistencies and anomalies in specimen handling. Ventavia appeared to be aware of the need to make improvements and Ms Jackson was recruited for the very purpose of improving their quality control.

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I don’t understand why people working in stores or bars agree to check people’s vaccine status. That’s not your job.

Large UK Supermarket Chains Refuse to Police “Divisive” Face Mask Mandates (SN)

Two large supermarket chains in the UK have refused to make their staff police mandatory face mask rules, with one boss asserting that the issue is too “divisive.” New face mask rules were imposed in England from today, meaning people who use public transport, enter shops and innumerable other venues have to wear a compulsory face covering. England dropped mandatory face mask rules back in July, but they remained in place in neighboring countries like Scotland, where official data shows infection rates remained the same or higher. According to Oxford Professor Jim Naismith, re-imposing face mask rules is “unlikely to have much of an impact” on the spread of the Omicron variant.


Wary of how contentious the issue has become, Iceland and Co-op, two large supermarket chains in the UK, have publicly said they will tell staff not to enforce such rules. Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said the company would instead be concentrating its efforts on the “long-term recovering of the high street.” “We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops, however, we won’t be asking our store colleagues to police it,” said Walker. Co-op’s Paul Gerrard went further, telling GMB, “”What we won’t do is we won’t refuse to serve people who aren’t wearing a mask and we won’t refuse entry to the shop to people who aren’t wearing a mask.”

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“..mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent and use of force to prevent protest.”

Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars (Escobar)

Robert F Kennedy Jr’s The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health should be front-page news in all the news media in the US. Instead, it has been met with the proverbial thundering silence. Critics seeking to have Kennedy dismissed as a kook trading on a famous name had scored a hit in February, when Instagram permanently deleted his account, allegedly for making false claims about coronavirus and vaccines. Nevertheless, the book, published only a few days ago, is already a certified pop hit on Amazon. RFK Jr., chairman of the board of and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense, sets out to deconstruct a New Normal, encroaching upon all of us since early 2020. In my early 2021 book Raging Twenties I have termed this force techno-feudalism.

Kennedy describes it as “rising totalitarianism,” complete with “mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent and use of force to prevent protest.” Focusing on Dr Anthony Fauci as the fulcrum of the biggest story of the 21st century allows RFK Jr to paint a complex canvas of planned militarization and, especially, monetization of medicine, a toxic process managed by Big Pharma, Big Tech and the military/intel complex – and dutifully promoted by mainstream media. By now everyone knows that the big winners have been Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Data, with a special niche for Silicon Valley behemoths. Why Fauci?

RFK Jr. argues that for five decades, he has been essentially a Big Pharma agent, nurturing “a complex web of financial entanglements among pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its employees that has transformed NIAID into a seamless subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. Fauci unabashedly promotes his sweetheart relationship with Pharma as a ‘public-private partnership.’” Arguably the full contours of this very convoluted story have never before been examined along these lines, extensively documented and with a wealth of links. Fauci may not be a household name outside of the US and especially across the Global South. And yet it’s this global audience that should be particularly interested in his story.

RFK Jr accuses Fauci of having pursued nefarious strategies since the onset of Covid-19 – from falsifying science to suppressing and sabotaging competitive products that bring lower profit margins. Kennedy’s verdict is stark: “Tony Fauci does not do public health; he is a businessman, who has used his office to enrich his pharmaceutical partners and expand the reach of influence that has made him the most powerful – and despotic – doctor in human history.”

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“Even when a single person manages to sell a policy to the bureaucratic machine, he cannot predict how it will be implemented and he will have no control over what actually happens.”

There Isn’t One Plan, There Are Fifty Thousand (eugyp)

[..] American universities aren’t just eager sponsors of racial hysteria. They have also emerged as some of the most radical centres of Corona containment in the world. Their students endure all manner of unreasonable hygiene measures. Constant testing, quarantining, mask rules, enforced isolation, officially encouraged snitching, movement restrictions, vaccine mandates — all of this and more are routine for millions of students. Klaus Schwab is not making them do this. The culprit is a broad, distributed adherence to the dictates of containment ideology, probably driven in no small part by emotional and ideological exhaustion with the prior tyranny of Wokeness. Now that everybody agrees, the self-directed, self-radicalising elements are in place.

Administrators and committee chairs that are perceived not to be taking Corona seriously enough will be removed or sidelined in favour of more radical people who take things more seriously than you could possibly imagine. All of these schools now operate with a wealth of Corona Committees, peopled by all the most lunatic germophobic faculty. Like wokeness, containment is destructive to the institutions that embarce it. American universities in particular depend on attracting students with over-provisioned campuses and entertaining student-life programs. They are basically massive amusement parks for young adults. Sooner or later, people will begin to think twice about paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to live in a prison camp. The destruction will start at less selective schools and proceed upwards. How high it will go, nobody knows.

Also like Wokeness, containment is probably bad even for many of its truest believers and most committed enforcers, who now live lives of fear, desperation and isolation, and see now way out. It is very easy to confuse cause and effect when examining the emergence of ideological systems. People raised up as leaders and heroes of emerging movements are almost never its directors, but merely expressions of all the separate beliefs and aspirations of those involved. As I’ve said before, It is extremely difficult for any confined group of people, no matter how wealthy or powerful, to implement any kind of coherent agenda in heavily bureaucratised modern states. Policies can only be implemented via a bureaucratic machinery involving thousands and thousands of people, all of whom have different incentives and answer to different bosses. Even when a single person manages to sell a policy to the bureaucratic machine, he cannot predict how it will be implemented and he will have no control over what actually happens. The agency of any single person is illusory here.

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NATO is of no use. Their threats are empty.

Russia Set To Unveil New Hypersonic Weapons – Putin (RT)

Russia has developed hypersonic weapons with a maximum speed of Mach 9, President Vladimir Putin revealed on Tuesday at the “Russia Calling!” VTB Investment Forum. Speaking to gathered experts, Putin called the development of high-speed missiles as a “necessary” response to “Western actions.” “We have already successfully conducted tests, and from the beginning of the year we will have in service a sea-based hypersonic missile of Mach 9,” Putin said. Although he didn’t name the weapon, the president is most likely talking about Zircon, the world’s first hypersonic cruise missile capable of continuous aerodynamic flight while maneuvering in the atmosphere using the thrust of its own engine. Earlier this month, Putin revealed, following successful testing, the missiles would be supplied to the Navy from 2022.


“Now, it is especially important to develop and implement the technologies necessary to create new hypersonic weapons systems, high-powered lasers and robotic systems that will be able to effectively counter potential military threats, which means they will further strengthen the security of our country,” he said in televised remarks. This year the Zircon missile has been tested multiple times and has been fired from both frigates and submarines. It is designed to help Russia achieve superiority at sea and can hit enemy surface ships, such as frigates and aircraft carriers, as well as ground targets located within its range. Its high speed makes it difficult for it to be stopped by any anti-aircraft systems and it has a declared range of a thousand kilometers.

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“The cost of electricity in Finland exceeded €400 per megawatt-hour..”

“The average price of Russian electricity was €57.98 per MWh.”

Finnish Electricity Prices 5 Times Higher This Year (RT)

The cost of electricity in Finland exceeded €400 per megawatt-hour during peak consumption hours this week, according to data from the Nord Pool electricity exchange. The highest price was recorded on November 29, at €422 per MWh (including taxes). That’s about five times higher than a year ago. Finland is energy-dependent, with about 10% of its electricity supplied by Russia. Experts attribute the increased price to high energy costs in Central Europe, where a large amount of electricity is generated from natural gas, the price of which has increased significantly. They say electricity in Finland is likely to remain expensive until next summer, when the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant is expected to become operational. Natural gas costs have been rising for European consumers with the winter season approaching.


On Tuesday, the price of January futures on the TTF exchange in the Netherlands exceeded $1,170 per thousand cubic meters, or €100 per MWh in household terms. “According to our forecast, the price of electricity will remain high in winter but will start to decline in spring. It is likely that it will not be as high as it is today, but the overall level remains elevated,” a spokesman for Finnish electricity company Fingrid, Mikko Heikkila, told journalists. He added that “Finland is very dependent on imports. In winter we need energy from neighboring countries but if the electricity market and domestic electricity production work normally, then next winter there will be enough electricity.” According to Fingrid, the share of electricity imports from Russia amounted to 10% of consumption in Finland in the first nine months of 2021. The average price of Russian electricity was €57.98 per MWh. Russian energy company Inter RAO said last week that most of its electricity export volume goes to Finland (37%), the Baltic countries (23%), and China (18%).

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Words Canada’s CBC network warns you about using.

 

 

 

 

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May 232021
 
 May 23, 2021  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  66 Responses »


Edvard Munch Separation 1894

 

160+ Experts Slam Covid Vaccines As ‘Unnecessary, Ineffective And Unsafe’ (LSN)
Second And Last Reply To M. Yeadon (Van Den Bossche)
The Danger Of Claimed ‘Statistics’ (Denninger)
Daily US Covid Cases Lowest In A Year, Pandemic Worsens In Latin America (F.)
No 10 ‘Tried To Block’ Data On Spread Of New Covid Variant In UK Schools (O.)
Fauci Faces Drop In Confidence From 40% Of Americans Over Past Year (RT)
The Disintegrated States Of America (Escobar)
The New “Rush Hour” (ZH)
Lithuania Pulls Out Of China’s 17+1 Bloc In Eastern Europe (Pol.eu)

 

 

Yeadon

 

 

Michael Yeadon’s group.

160+ Experts Slam Covid Vaccines As ‘Unnecessary, Ineffective And Unsafe’ (LSN)

In their letter earlier this month, Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics emphasized serious health implications of the vaccines for both the healthy and ill, saying that the shots “are not safe, either for recipients or for those who use them or authorize their use.” They pointed to risks of “lethal and non-lethal disruptions of blood clotting including bleeding disorders, thrombosis in the brain, stroke and heart attack,” “antibody-dependent enhancement of disease,” autoimmune reactions, and potential effects of “vaccine impurities due to rushed manufacturing and unregulated production standards.”

“Contrary to claims that blood disorders post-vaccination are ‘rare’, many common vaccine side effects (headaches, nausea, vomiting and hematoma-like ‘rashes’ over the body) may indicate thrombosis and other severe abnormalities,” the experts said. “Clotting events currently receiving media attention are likely just the ‘tip of a huge iceberg.’” “Due to immunological priming, risks of clotting, bleeding and other adverse events can be expected to increase with each re-vaccination and each intervening coronavirus exposure,” Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics added. “Over time, whether months or years, this renders both vaccination and coronaviruses dangerous to young and healthy age groups, for whom without vaccination COVID-19 poses no substantive risk,” they argued.

“Just as smoking could be and was predicted to cause lung cancer based on first principles, all gene-based vaccines can be expected to cause blood clotting and bleeding disorders, based on their molecular mechanisms of action,” they said. “Consistent with this, diseases of this kind have been observed across age groups, leading to temporary vaccine suspensions around the world.” “Since vaccine roll-out, COVID-19 incidence has risen in numerous areas with high vaccination rates. Furthermore, multiple series of COVID-19 fatalities have occurred shortly after the onset vaccinations in senior homes,” the doctors said. “These cases may have been due not only to antibody-dependent enhancement but also to a general immunosuppressive effect of the vaccines, which is suggested by the increased occurrence of Herpes zoster in certain patients.”

“Regardless of the exact mechanism responsible for these reported deaths, we must expect that the vaccines will increase rather than decrease lethality of COVID-19,” they continued. The group stressed that the jabs remain technically experimental – a fact that legally precludes mandatory vaccination in many cases: “The vaccines are experimental by definition. They will remain in Phase 3 trials until 2023. Recipients are human subjects entitled to free informed consent under Nuremberg and other protections, including the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s resolution 2361 and the FDA’s terms of emergency use authorization.”

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Van Den Bossche has problems with Yeadon. I’m not going to pretend I understand his every word here. But I’d like to know what everybody thinks.

Second And Last Reply To M. Yeadon (Van Den Bossche)

Michael Yeadon’s rhetoric that mass vaccination campaigns do not have the potential to promote circulation of more infectious immune escape variants and that more infectious variants are not problematic are not based on sound immunological grounds at all. This will be my second but last reply to his erroneous and misleading interpretations. I hate to do this since this may leave the public with the opinion that people like me have nothing else to do than to focus on their own ego, although nothing is less true. However, when the most compelling arguments for my warning about the potentially disastrous consequences of mass vaccination are wiped from the table with scientifically hollow and invalid arguments, one has no choice but to react.

Now, more than ever before, criticism is indispensable to build and consolidate a consensus on why mass vaccination campaigns (using the current vaccines in the heat of a pandemic caused by a highly mutable virus) are highly problematic. However, it doesn’t help when people bring to the table arguments that are scientifically incorrect. Yeadon is basically not understanding the difference between viral escape from protection-blocking immunity and viral escape from infection-/ transmission-blocking immunity. His rhetoric about conserved T cell epitopes and long-lived cross-reactive MHC cl I-restricted responses to those, relate to protection against clinical disease but not against infection!

Yeadon doesn’t seem to understand the mechanism of S-directed immune selection, let alone adaptation of variants to conditions of suboptimal, S-directed immune pressure, which become increasingly prevalent upon mass vaccination. I can barely believe that someone who claims to be a skilled expert in immunology doesn’t see the parallel to serial in vitro cell culture passage of a mutable virus in the presence of suboptimal antibody (Ab) concentrations. In case of CoV inoculated on permissive cells, one would incubate the inoculated cell culture in the presence of suboptimal S-specific Abs to place infectious pressure on viral infectiousness. Provided you harvest the viral progeny and use it to repeat this procedure a number of times, you’ll manage to progressively enrich the viral progeny with naturally occurring S variants that have been selected to overcome the immune pressure placed on the S protein and which are, therefore, more infectious in nature.

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“If you’re offered some type of lottery-style prize to do a potentially dangerous thing — run.”

The Danger Of Claimed ‘Statistics’ (Denninger)

Let’s say that a “bad thing” is likely to happen to 50 in 100,000 people, that is, 0.05%. This is quite rare. Let’s say you do something with 30,000 people. You’d expect to see 15 bad things to happen. Well, let’s say you see three bad events. How confident are you that you just reduced the risk by 80%? If your answer is “not very” you’re wise. If you go cheering in the streets you’re stupid. Now might you try that thing that appears to be 80% effective? Sure, provided the risk of it doing something else that’s bad (which you don’t want to have happen) is also vanishingly small. But it’s one thing to try, and other to rely or make public policy based on those numbers. Remember that for any individual you are a trial of one; you’re not a trial of 100,000 or 330,000,000.

That is the roulette-wheel statistical fallacy and every single casino on the planet uses it to entice you to place a bet that in fact has no better or worse odds than the next table down the row! Assuming that there is no cheating going on and the wheel and ball are in fact “fair” (that is, the ball is round and balanced, and all of the spaces on the wheel have the same characteristics) each roll of the ball has exactly the same odds of landing on a given number on the wheel as every other roll of the ball. The distribution of former outcomes on that board is pure random chance and so is the next throw of the ball. So if the odds are in fact 0.05% of the bad thing then whether 10, 100 or 10,000 people all didn’t have it happen — or some did have it happen — prior to you doing it makes no difference whatsoever.

That five blacks all came up in sequence does not make either black or red (or green for that matter) more or less likely on the next throw of the ball. Your throw is a trial of one and so if the true odds are 0.05% then they are irrespective of all the other trials before. In addition be very careful that risks you think are not related are truly unrelated. For example the risk of being killed in a car accident is approximately 1 in 8,000 per year for a person in the United States. But that’s across everyone; your personal risk, if you drive while intoxicated, is likely quite a bit higher. How much higher? Don’t know, but I bet it’s higher. At the same time if you never take your vehicle outside of city limits where the speed limit is 25mph I bet it’s quite a bit lower. Not your risk of smashing the car, mind you, but your risk of dying due to a car smash.

This becomes quite important when we start talking about actions that have inherent risk to try to reduce a related risk. For example let’s say you take a drug for a given condition. The condition is dangerous and could kill you. The drug could kill you too; all drugs have some risk of doing bad things. Be careful assuming the risk of the drug is the same in everyone because it probably isn’t, just as the risk of the condition is probably not the same in everyone too. If the condition is more-dangerous in certain people for some reason and you know it’s more dangerous in you then you need to be extremely careful to find out whether the risks from the drug scale and, if they do, is their scaling more, equal or less than the factors for the condition. The best situation of course is that whatever makes the condition more-dangerous makes the drug less-so, but this is rare. That the two correlate is common, and that the two are uncorrelated is less-common, but certainly possible.

By the same token the reasonable risk from the drug depends greatly on the hazard from not using it, and instead employing all other known and available countermeasures that may exist. This is why companies look for cancer drugs, incidentally — it’s not just the money to be made but also the degree of risk that is acceptable. If you are searching for a drug that treats ordinary headaches it has to be extremely safe because headaches don’t kill people. Therefore the risk of not using the drug is zero and as a result the risk of using the drug has to be extremely small. But if you’re attempting to find a drug that cures pancreatic cancer then a risk of 1 in 100 or even 1 in 50 of the drug killing you outright looks very reasonable since at present pancreatic cancer is almost-always fatal even with the best of existing treatment.

One final point: If you’re offered some type of lottery-style prize to do a potentially dangerous thing — run.

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“In Russia, confirmed cases have fallen to 8,000 from almost 24,000 in early January. In Africa, daily confirmed cases have fallen to under 10,000 from 38,000 in early January.”

Daily US Covid Cases Lowest In A Year, Pandemic Worsens In Latin America (F.)

The seven-day average of new Covid cases in the U.S. fell to 27,815 on Friday, the lowest level since last June, but the pandemic is gathering strength in Latin America, where the number of virus-related deaths has passed 1 million, with almost half of them in Brazil, while the virus is spreading to rural parts of India from urban centers. A report from the Biden Administration released Friday showed that the number of U.S. counties with “high” levels of Covid transmission has been cut in half since mid-April to 694 But the Covid pandemic is worsening in some of the most heavily populated countries in Latin America, which accounted for 31% of global Covid deaths in May, while representing only 8.4% of the global population.

The seven-day moving average of confirmed Covid cases has risen in Brazil to more than 78,000 from about 57,000 in early May, and in Argentina to almost 37,000 from 5,760 in early February, according to Johns Hopkins. In India, the seven-day moving average of confirmed cases has fallen to about 265,000 from 382,000 a week ago, but health officials warn the pandemic has spread to rural areas amid a second wave. The U.S. is currently averaging about 552 Covid-related deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins data, the lowest level since last July. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects that the number of daily deaths will fall to under 120 by early September, down sharply from 5,500 in early January.

In South America, only 15% of people have received at least one vaccination dose, versus 28% in Europe, while Asia and Africa have even lower rates of 5% and 1%, respectively, according to the website Our World in Data through May 19. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world reported infection rates are generally declining. Daily new infections in Europe have dropped to about 86,000 from 116,000 in early April, according to the Reuters tracker, while newly reported deaths have plunged to under 2,000 from almost 7,000 in late January. In Russia, confirmed cases have fallen to 8,000 from almost 24,000 in early January. In Africa, daily confirmed cases have fallen to under 10,000 from 38,000 in early January. In East Asia, Japan’s daily confirmed cases have jumped to about 5,250 from 1,530 in mid-March, while in South Korea, confirmed new cases have dropped to about 650 from 840 in early January.

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What a bunch of amateurs.

No 10 ‘Tried To Block’ Data On Spread Of New Covid Variant In UK Schools (O.)

Downing Street leaned on Public Health England not to publish crucial data on the spread of the new Covid variant in schools, documents seen by the Observer have suggested. Scientists, union officials and teachers said that the lack of transparency was “deeply worrying”. The focus of their anger concerns the pre-print of a PHE report that included a page of data on the spread of the India Covid-19 variant in schools. But when the report was published on Thursday 13 May, the page had been removed. It was the only one that had been removed from the pre-print. Days later, the government went ahead with its decision to remove the mandate on face coverings in English schools. Evidence seen by the Observer suggests No 10 was directly involved in the decision not to publish it.


The prime minister’s office acknowledged it was in correspondence with PHE officials about presentation of the data but vigorously denied this constituted “interference” or “pressure”. Data on the spread of the new variant in schools has still not been published, despite calls from union officials and scientists who say teachers and families are being put at risk. In hotspots such as Bolton, cases involving the variant are rising fastest among school-age children. Information seen by the Observer reveals that 164 cases of the new variant were linked to schools up to 12 May, or 13% of a total of 2,111 cases. Since then, the number of total cases of the new variant has risen to 3,424 cases, a rise of 160%. The number of cases now linked to schools is unknown.

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He’s just another politician.

Fauci Faces Drop In Confidence From 40% Of Americans Over Past Year (RT)

A new poll has found that over 40% of Americans have lost confidence in White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci in the past year. When asked whether their confidence in Dr. Fauci has gone up or down over the past year, 42% of respondents said their confidence had either “decreased significantly” or just “decreased.” The past year thrust the infectious disease expert into the national spotlight as he became a leader in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Fauci’s support of lockdown measures and seeming flip-flops on issues like the safety of masking have earned him plenty of critics, however, especially among conservatives, which shows in the poll from Trafalgar Group. Among Republicans, 66% said their confidence in Fauci has waned.


Only 20% of Democrats said they were less confident in the health expert, and 34% even said they now have more confidence in the man. A YouGov and Yahoo News poll released last week reflected similar party-line results, as nearly 80% of Democrat respondents said Fauci was doing an excellent or good job, while less than 20% of Republicans described his job performance as either good or excellent. Over half of Republican respondents (55%) believed Fauci was doing a poor job. In the same poll, over 60% of Republicans said Fauci had actually “hurt” the US during the pandemic. Overall, 46% of participants said the doctor has “helped.”

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Changes. Greatly underappreciated in the West.

The Disintegrated States Of America (Escobar)

Here, Martyanov, in meticulous detail, analyzes the imperial decline thematically – with chapters on Consumption, Geoeconomics, Energy, Losing the Arms Race, among others, composing a devastating indictment especially of toxic D.C. lobbies and the prevailing political mediocrity across the Beltway. What is laid bare for the reader is the complex interplay of forces that are driving the political, ideological, economic, cultural and military American chaos. Chapter 3, on Geoeconomics, is a joy ride. Martyanov shows how geoeconomics as a field separate from warfare and geopolitics is nothing but an obfuscation racket: good old conflict “wrapped in the thin shroud of political sciences’ shallow intellectualism” – the stuff Huntington, Fukuyama and Brzezinski’s dreams are made of.

That is fully developed on Chapter 6, on Western Elites – complete with a scathing debunking of the “myth of Henry Kissinger”: “just another American exceptionalist, mislabeled a ‘realist’”, part of a gang that “is not conditioned to think multi-dimensionally”. After all they’re still not capable of understanding the rationale and the implications of Putin’s 2007 Munich speech that declared the unipolar moment – a crude euphemism for Hegemony – dead and buried. One of Martyanov’s key assessments is that having lost the arms race and every single war it unleashed in the 21st century – as the record shows – geoeconomics is essentially a “euphemism for America’s non-stop sanctions and attempts to sabotage the economies of any nation capable of competing with the United States” (see, for instance, the ongoing Nord Stream 2 saga). This is “the only tool” the US is using trying to halt its decline.

On a chapter on Energy, Martyanov demonstrates how the US shale oil adventure is financially non-viable, and how a rise in oil exports was essentially due to the US “pickin up’ quotas freed chiefly as a result of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s earlier cuts within OPEC + in an attempt to balance the world’s oil market”. In Chapter 7, Losing the Arms Race, Martyanov expands on the key theme he’s the undisputed superstar: the United States cannot win wars. Inflicting Hybrid War is another matter entirely, as in creating “a lot of misery around the world, from effectively starving people to killing them outright”. A glaring example has been “maximum pressure” economic sanctions on Iran.

But the point is these tools – which also included the assassination of Gen Soleimani – that are part of the arsenal of “spreading democracy” have nothing to do with “geoeconomics”, but have “everything to do with the raw power plays designed to achieve the main Clausewitzian object of war – ‘to compel our enemy to do our will’”. And “for America, most of the world is the enemy”. Martyanov also feels compelled to update what he’s been excelling at for years: the fact that the arrival of hypersonic missiles “has changed warfare forever”. The Khinzal, deployed way back in 2017, has a range of 2,000 km and “is not interceptable by existing US anti-missile systems”. The 3M22 Zircon “changes the calculus of both naval and ground warfare completely”. The US lag behind Russia in air-defense systems is “massive, and both quantitative and qualitative”.

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More changes.

The New “Rush Hour” (ZH)

With everybody moving out of cities and into the suburbs to work from home during the pandemic, there’s officially a “new rush hour”. Gone are the days of waiting on the interstate to get in and out of your local metro area around the edges of the nine to five workday. Here now are the days of a different kind of rush hour: one where running errands in the afternoon, while working from home, has suburban streets filling up. Afternoon traffic has “come roaring back” while traditional rush hour times across the U.S. still show traffic below pre-pandemic levels. Marjorie Crosbie, profiled in a new Wall Street Journal article, experienced this change firsthand. The 10 mile trip to pick up her daughter at an after-school program recently took her 45 minutes instead of the usual 22-23 minutes.


Crosbie works as a senior finance manager for PwC and has been working from home full time since the pandemic. In her area, Tampa, afternoon vehicle trips are at 105% of levels they were at pre-pandemic. “In more than 40 of the 100 biggest U.S. metros, roads are more congested on weekday afternoons than they were pre-pandemic,” the report notes. Tim Rivers, Florida market director for commercial real-estate firm JLL, told the Journal: “People are working from home, so the suburbs have tremendous traffic. They’re going out for a morning coffee at Starbucks to take their Teams or Zoom call, or going for a workout midday.” Traffic in the afternoon has come back quicker in metro areas that have reopened earlier, the report notes. 7 of the top 10 trafficked areas have been in Florida, with notable upticks in areas like Fort Myers and Sarasota. In places like San Francisco, New York and Detroit, afternoon weekday trips are still below 80% of pre-pandemic levels, the report notes.

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Why would China care about Lithuania? Eurovision?

Lithuania Pulls Out Of China’s 17+1 Bloc In Eastern Europe (Pol.eu)

Lithuania has dropped out of China’s “17+1” group and urged other EU countries to follow suit, the Baltic state’s foreign minister told POLITICO. “There is no such thing as 17+1 anymore, as for practical purposes Lithuania is out,” Gabrielius Landsbergis said in an email, referring to Beijing’s decade-old initiative to engage Central and Eastern European countries, most of which are from the ex-Soviet bloc. The Lithuanian foreign minister called on other EU countries to also abandon the initiative. “From our perspective, it is high time for the EU to move from a dividing 16+1 format to a more uniting and therefore much more efficient 27+1,” Landsbergis said. “The EU is strongest when all 27 member states act together along with EU institutions.”

“Vaccination rollout, tackling pandemics are just [a] few recent examples of the EU27 united in solidarity and purpose. Unity of [the] 27 is key to success in EU’s relations with external partners. Relations with China should be no exception,” he added. A spokesman for the Chinese Mission to the EU said China was “not aware” of Lithuania’s move, adding: “China-CEEC [Central and Eastern European countries] cooperation mechanism is a cross-regional cooperation mechanism jointly initiated by China and Central and Eastern European countries. It meets the desire of all parties to seek development together. “Rather than being dominated by China, the mechanism involves all parties in cooperation based on voluntarism, extensive consultation, joint contribution, openness and inclusiveness.

“China-CEEC cooperation has been very fruitful in the past nine years since its inception. It has brought tangible benefits to the nations involved and added a new dimension to China-EU relations,” he said. Lithuania’s move is the latest indication of an increasingly shaky relationship between China and the European Union. On Thursday, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to freeze the legislative process for ratifying the EU’s investment pact with China, unless Beijing lifts sanctions against EU lawmakers that were imposed after the 27 EU countries slapped Xinjiang officials with sanctions over mass internment of the Uyghur minorities.

Read more …

 

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Apr 212021
 


Mark Chagall I and the village 1911

 

 

Joe Biden declares a “national emergency”, calls Putin a killer, slaps more sanctions on Russia, for which he has his Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken declare that “Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” … and then “invites” Putin for a summit.

For the SolarWinds “intrusion”, the US has never provided any evidence at all, the Russian bounties story was -finally- fully debunked well before Blinken made his statement -which makes him look very incompetent-, and the election interference narrative is by now just too dumb to even get into. No evidence for it whatsoever after 2 years of the Mueller investigation, but now Putin’s at it again? Who did he want to win, then? Trump again, after apparently not even trying in 2016?

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states that his country should urgently be made a full member of both NATO and the EU, and has his own proxy, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, solemnly claim that not just “The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member”, but also that “Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again”.… And then Zelensky invites Putin for a summit. In the Donbass, no less.

These people are all as insincere as they possibly could be, but they trust that this doesn’t matter anymore. The western media have been planting the “Putin is a monster” seeds in their readers and viewers for many years now, and critical thought has long since left the building. Yes, that is the ultimate effect of what’s called propaganda, and as long as the sheeple “victims” don’t recognize it as such, it works like a charm.

 

I’ve been wondering for a long time why Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as his successor in 1999, and I can’t find much information on it. Yeltsin was a US asset, and sold out his country to the CIA and a bunch of CIA-asset homegrown oligarchs. I’ve always suspected that when Yeltsin left, he felt a lot of regret for what he had done to Russia, and that maybe appointing Putin was his way to try and make up for that. I see people saying that Yeltsin thought Putin was pliable, but I think perhaps he knew exactly how Putin thought.

A “detail”: remember that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, male life expectancy for a period of time feel from a very steep cliff. And nothing Yeltsin did provided a solution to that crisis. Then, in August 1999, he appointed Putin as his prime minister, and didn’t leave a year later as planned, but 4 months later, in December. His chief of staff, Valentin Yumashev , who had hired Putin as his deputy in 1997, wrote his resignation speech:

Mr Yumashev was entrusted with writing Yeltsin’s resignation speech. “It was a hard speech to write. It was clear the text would go down in history. The message was important. That’s why I wrote the famous line ‘Forgive me’. “Russians had suffered such shock and stress during the 1990s. Yeltsin had to speak about this.”

Back to today. All economic -and other- sanctions against Russia since Putin first became president have led to one thing only: the country has dramatically increased its self-sufficiency. And in the process has upgraded its weapons arsenal to a level that no western country even comes close to, including the US, for maybe 10% of what the same US has spent on its own arsenal.

Russia’s latest generation of hypersonic missiles, against which no country has any defense, are far superior to what anybody else possesses. When they said recently they could take out a specific building in Kyiv if they wanted, they were not exaggerating. So yeah, look for Biden and Blinken and NATO et al to soon start using that superiority as a reason to incite more war vs Moscow.

A war they could never win, but that’s not the point any longer. One might argue of course that it never was after the advent of nuclear weapons. The whole point of NATO today, its raison d’être, is that it can create chaos wherever it goes and looks. It’s no longer capable of defending anyone from the Russian threat, but then that threat hasn’t been there for many years.

 

And NATO wants to continue existing, as does the Pentagon, and Boeing and Raytheon, it’s all about money, so they have to make up a threat, aided by their media brethren. That‘s why you see, from time to time, reports about Putin having yet another person “poisoned”, why governments in countries like the UK and Germany go along with the narrative, and why media in all other vassal states parrot these stories.

In that vein, the story this week out of Czechia, which expelled 18 Russian diplomats, kind of sets a new standard in absolute nonsense.

The Czech organised crime squad (NCOZ) said it was looking for two men using Russian passports in relation to the explosions. The passports bear the names of Alexander Petrov, born in 1979, and Ruslan Boshirov, born in 1978, and their holders are also wanted in Britain in connection with Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury.

Mark Ames’ reaction to this on Twitter is so good, I’m not going to try to beat him to it: : “If I understand this right, apparently GRU thought it’d be smart to use the same 2 spies to carry out 2 separate deadly operations in NATOland – 2014 bombing in Czech Rep, 2018 Skripal poisoning – using exact same aliases & fake passports in both operations.”

Now that the west has lost its military superiority, all that’s left for it to claim is some sort of “intelligence superiority”, so it portrays Russians as really dumb people. Putin tries to poison one person after another, invariably people who are no threat to him at all, with the deadliest poisons on the planet, and fails time and again. Navalny is a US asset who gets 2% max of votes in a poll, Skripal is a former military intel officer who was allowed to go to the UK after being exposed as a double-agent (!), but they fit the 20+ year old narrative of Putin as Pol Pot. Stories. They are all that counts. Reality, not so much. Bernays and Goebbels are having a ton of fun in their own private hells.

So how will the Ukraine episode be resolved? Not easy. Making the world’s 2nd-most corrupt country a full member of NATO is out of the question, Russia will never accept that. Which is why the west is pushing it. Ukraine with nukes is even more preposterous, if that is possible (hard call). Dmitry Orlov suggested a “solution” the other day about which I have major question marks, but he’s Russian and I’m not, so take a look:

Putin’s Ukrainian Judo

The answer, I believe, is obvious: evacuation. There are around 3.2 million residents in Donetsk People’s Republic and 1.4 million in Lugansk People’s Republic, for a total of some 4.6 million residents. This may seem like a huge number, but it’s moderate by the scale of World War II evacuations. Keep in mind that Russia has already absorbed over a million Ukrainian migrants and refugees without much of a problem.

Also, Russia is currently experiencing a major labor shortage, and an infusion of able-bodied Russians would be most welcome. Domestically, the evacuation would likely be quite popular: Russia is doing right by its own people by pulling them out of harm’s way. The patriotic base would be energized and the already very active Russian volunteer movement would swing into action to assist the Emergencies Ministry in helping move and resettle the evacuees.

The elections that are to take place later this year would turn into a nationwide welcoming party for several million new voters. The Donbass evacuation could pave the way for other waves of repatriation that are likely to follow. There are some 20 million Russians scattered throughout the world, and as the world outside Russia plunges deeper and deeper into resource scarcity they too will want to come home.

While they may presently be reluctant to do so, seeing the positive example of how the Donbass evacuees are treated could help change their minds. The negative optics of surrendering territory can be countered by not surrendering any territory. As a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, Russia must refuse to surrender the Donbass to the Ukrainian government until it fulfills the terms of these agreements, which it has shown no intention of doing for seven years now and which it has recently repudiated altogether.

[..] The West would be left with the following status quo. The Donbass is empty of residents but off-limits to them or to the Ukrainians. The evacuation would in no sense change the standing or the negotiating position of the evacuees and their representatives vis-à-vis the Minsk agreements, locking this situation in place until Kiev undertakes constitutional reform, becomes a federation and grants full autonomy to Donbass, or until the Ukrainian state ceases to exist and is partitioned. The Ukraine would be unable to join NATO (a pipe dream which it has stupidly voted into its constitution) since this would violate the NATO charter, given that it does not control its own territory.

Further sanctions against Russia would become even more difficult to justify, since it would be untenable to accuse it of aggression for undertaking a humanitarian mission to protect its own citizens or for carrying out its responsibilities as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. The Donbass would remain as a stalker zone roamed by Russian battlefield robots sniping Ukrainian marauders, with the odd busload of schoolchildren there on a field trip to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. Its ruined Soviet-era buildings, not made any newer by three decades of Ukrainian abuse and neglect, will bear silent witness to the perpetual ignominy of the failed Ukrainian state.

Dmitry suggests 4.6 million people leave the Donbass so peace may be restored. But most of those people grew up there, and so did their families. And largely peacefully so, until the US and NATO, John McCain and Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, tried to take over Ukraine. Why should Russia, instead of protecting these people where they live, migrate them and protect them in Russia? Anyone ask for their own opinion?

There would be a giant empty piece of land where they once lived, in a kind of demilitarized zone? And what then? Nobody in Ukraine would come up with the idea to move into the empty land? And if they did, Russia would have to shoot them from Russian territory? I sort of see the reasoning of course, but not all of it. It only seems to work if you see Russia, and the Russians in the Donbass, as the aggressors.

Were they? Are they? Russia only sprung into action when the west tried to take away their sole warm water port, Sevastopol in Crimea. An election was held, and 97% of mostly Russians voted to be part of Russia. Yeah, that upset NATO and the other usual suspects, but that doesn’t make Russia an aggressor.

Russia has no reason to “invade” Ukraine. They don’t need even more territory, they’re already by far the largest nation on earth. Moreover, they don’t have the military to occupy large swaths of land. They only have the capacity to protect their own.

Thing is, they really got that down. So the only thing NATO can do, in its quest to prove it has reason to exist, is to create chaos, as I said before. But there is a problem with consciously creating chaos between nuclear powers, instead of maintaining communication channels, as the US and USSR always did during the Cold War. Do we all understand this means we are in a worse situation today than back then? That all those expulsions of diplomats only make the situation worse?

And that some fool could actually fire a nuclear missile because of that? Me, I’m not so sure anymore. Between the Covid virus and the US cancel culture, there are not that many western people paying attention to warmongers and NATO aka warheads. Not a good idea.

 

 

 

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Jun 152020
 


Gustave Dore Dante before the wall of flames which burn the lustful 1868

 

The Masks Masquerade (Nassim Taleb)
Millions of US Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent (BBG)
Powell Is Now Helpless (Eric Peters)
US Labor Department Throws 401k Investors To The Wolves (F.)
UK Lawmakers Urge FM Sunak To Add 1 Million Workers To Income Schemes (R.)
Beijing Lockdown Spreads In Race To Control Outbreak (SCMP)
Sudden Jump In China Virus Cases Causes Futures To Tumble (ZH)
Second Wave Has Begun in US, Medical System May Be Stressed – Doctor (CNBC)
Greeks Against Second Lockdown – Survey (K.)
Macron Says France Must Seek Greater Economic Independence After Virus (R.)
Putin: Russia Soon Able To Counter “Indefensible” Hypersonic Weapons (ZH)
To Celebrate Obama Day, Here Are Barack’s Greatest Hits (Ben Norton)
Julian Assange Indictment Fails To Mention ‘Collateral Murder’ Video (G.)

 

 

Good thing I’m not into astrology:

• Trump’s birthday: June 14 (a.k.a Obama Day)

• Xi Jinping’s birthday: June 15

 

 

Worldometer reports new cases (midnight to midnight GMT+0) at + 123,645.

My count from about 6 am EDT to 6 am EDT is + 121,464 cases.

But the graph says cases always come down in the weekend, and I’m early today.

 

 

 

 

New cases past 24 hours in:

• US + 20,004
• Brazil + 17,086
• Russia + 8,246
• India + 13,722
• Pakistan + 5,248
• Chile + 6,938

 

 

Cases 8,017,241 (+ 121,464 from yesterday’s 7,895,777)

Deaths 436,124(+ 3,242 from yesterday’s 432,882)

 

 

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-:

 

 

From Worldometer:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 


 

 

Taleb goes into much more detail in the article, please read. The inane “doubts” about mask efficacy cost lives. Wear a Mask in Public!

The Masks Masquerade (Nassim Taleb)

Incompetence and Errors in Reasoning Around Face Covering

SIX ERRORS:

1) missing the compounding effects of masks,

2) missing the nonlinearity of the probability of infection to viral exposures,

3) missing absence of evidence (of benefits of mask wearing) for evidence of absence (of benefits of mask wearing),

4) missing the point that people do not need governments to produce facial covering: they can make their own,

5) missing the compounding effects of statistical signals,

6) ignoring the Non-Aggression Principle by pseudolibertarians (masks are also to protect others from you; it’s a multiplicative process: every person you infect will infect others).

In fact masks (and faceshields) supplemented with constraints of superspreader events can save us trillions of dollars in future lockdowns (and lawsuits) and be potentially sufficient (under adequate compliance) to stem the pandemic. Bureaucrats do not like simple solutions. [..] Note that by infecting another person you are not infecting just another person. You are infecting many many more and causing systemic risk.
Wear a mask. For the Sake of Others.

Read more …

This won’t sink in for a long time yet.

Millions of US Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent (BBG)

Twenty-year-old William Lovely used to work at Jason’s Deli in Virginia Beach, delivering catering orders to surrounding businesses. Now, thanks to the coronavirus, he’s struggling to pay his bills. Laid off in March, he’s gone from regular hours and pay to gigging for UberEats or Instacart, earning up to $100 on some days but often coming home with almost nothing. While the restaurant is trying to slowly reopen, Lovely reckons the best he can hope for is a part-time position, requiring him to keep his second job if he’s going to meet his expenses. “My job stopped, but the bills don’t,” he said. Lovely’s experience goes to the heart of the dilemma facing the world economy as it gradually emerges from the virus-enforced lockdown and unprecedented recession: How many of the millions of lost jobs are gone for good?

The hope is the waves of stimulus doled out by governments and central banks should eventually buoy economies and spark a revival in hiring. Furloughed or redundant workers would then return to their employers. The risk though is that the pandemic is inflicting a “reallocation shock” in which firms and even entire sectors suffer lasting damage. Lost jobs don’t come back and unemployment stays elevated. That would force workers to retrain or relocate, both of which are hard, and governments to do more than just try to spend their way out of trouble. It was a theme hit upon last week by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as U.S. central bankers forecast leaving interest rates near zero until 2022 in part because of a surge in unemployment to the highest level since the Great Depression.


There will be “well into the millions of people who don’t get to go back to their old job,” said Powell, who will testify to Congress on the economic outlook this week. “In fact, there may not be a job in that industry for them for some time.” Unfortunately, new research by Bloomberg Economics reckons 30% of U.S. job losses from February to May are the result of a reallocation shock. The analysis — based on the relationship between hiring, firing, openings and unemployment — suggests the labor market will initially recover swiftly, but then level off with millions still unemployed.

Read more …

The louder you say that the bigger the next bank bailout is going to be.

Powell Is Now Helpless (Eric Peters)

“We’re not even thinking about thinking of raising rates,” declared America’s Fed Chairman, all but eliminating uncertainty about the Fed policy path through 2022. The S&P 500 had completed a historic recovery from the pandemic lows to trade higher on the year, its price utterly disconnected from today’s economic devastation. But markets never discount today, they discount tomorrow. And no sooner had they taken a little peek at what prices looked like back on January 1st then they began to plunge. Some blamed signs of a viral resurgence, though that had swirled for days. Others blamed Millennials whose day-trading resembles the dot.com mania. And a few blamed General Milley, America’s top-ranking general, who apologized for joining the President on his ill-fated march to St. John’s Church.

You see, the generals have turned their backs on Trump over his response to demonstrators. The NFL has too; its commissioner apologized for having opposed taking a knee. Even NASCAR banned the Confederate Flag. And as Trump’s re-election prospects tanked, expectations for a dramatic restructuring of America’s economy soared. Efforts to rebalance the division of profits between capital and labor is demanded by a riotous Main Street. But this terrifies Wall Street, which has worked for years with Republicans, Democrats, CEOs and the Fed to extract an ever-increasing share of national prosperity for those who control capital.

This imbalance is central to today’s tumult. “If we held back because we think asset prices are too high – what would happen to those people who we are legally supposed to be serving?” asked Powell rhetorically, unsuccessfully defending himself from a rising chorus of critics who see the Federal Reserve as amplifying inequality. For decades, the central bank accommodated the financialization of the world’s largest economy. Now that the process is largely complete, even a modest market wobble threatens to devastate the real economy. And Powell is now helpless, caught in a trap of the Fed’s making.

Read more …

The Forbes headline says: “Trump DOL Throws…”, but the watering down of asset quality started a long time ago (Greenspan?!). We can pretend that stocks represent real value, but if that were true the Fed would get out of the way in a split second. As I always say: Remember AAA?

US Labor Department Throws 401k Investors To The Wolves (F.)

Trump U. S. Department of Labor watchdogs just opened the door for private equity wolves to sell the highest cost, highest risk, most secretive investments ever devised by Wall Street to 401k plan sponsors. 401k investors will be devoured like lambs to the slaughter. Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor opened the door for plan sponsors to add private equity funds to their 401(k) plans. That’s a huge win for the private equity industry since 401ks hold nearly $9 trillion in assets and a monstrous setback to American workers who invest in 401ks for retirement security.

After over three decades of egregious retail price gouging by mutual fund companies—as to which the DOL turned a blind eye—401k costs have in recent years been trending downward thanks primarily to widespread excessive-fee private class action litigation. Now, if private equity is embraced, 401k costs will skyrocket, risk will dramatically increase and transparency will plummet. Bad enough that DOL—the federal agency which is supposed to protect employer-sponsored retirement benefit plans—welcomed the wolves of Wall Street to feast on workers’ hard-earned savings, but the explanation the agency provided for its reckless action is perverse.

Ramping up the fees and risks to 401k savers will “overcome the effects the coronavirus had had on our economy” and “level the playing field for ordinary investors” by allowing workers to gamble their limited retirement savings like millionaires who can afford to lose lots. [..] Warren Buffett, arguably the world’s most respected investor, recently escalated his criticism of private equity firms. At last year’s Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B annual meeting Buffett stated, “We have seen a number of proposals from private equity firms where the returns are not calculated in a manner that I would regard as honest… If I were running a pension fund, I would be very careful about what was being offered to me.”

Read more …

Until he has a substantial part of the population on these schemes, and a UBI would likely be both cheaper and more efficient. But UBI is a blasphemy.

UK Lawmakers Urge FM Sunak To Add 1 Million Workers To Income Schemes (R.)

British finance minister Rishi Sunak must extend the government’s already huge coronavirus income support measures to include over 1 million more workers who have missed out, lawmakers said on Monday. People who started jobs after a cut-off date in March for the state’s wage subsidy scheme or who set up a company in the last year should not be excluded, the lawmakers from parliament’s influential Treasury Committee said.Self-employed people who earn more than a threshold set by the government, freelancers in industries such as theatre and television and directors of companies who pay themselves in dividends should also be covered, they said. Mel Stride, who chairs the committee, said Sunak had acted quickly to slow an expected surge in unemployment as the crisis escalated in March.


“If it is to be fair and completely fulfil its promise of doing whatever it takes, the government should urgently enact our recommendations to help those who have fallen through the gaps,” he said. Sunak has recognised that some people are not protected by his support plans but has shown no sign of expanding them again. Nearly 9 million jobs are covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which pays temporarily laid-off workers 80% of their salary, capped at 2,500 pounds a month. A separate scheme for self-employed people has received 2.6 million claims. Britain’s budget forecasters have estimated that the two programmes will cost nearly 70 billion pounds ($88 billion) this year, more than the entire government borrowing in the last financial year.

Read more …

This has birthday boy Xi really scared. 11 neigborhoods in Beijing have been shut down.

Beijing Lockdown Spreads In Race To Control Outbreak (SCMP)

Chinese vice-premier Sun Chunlan has prescribed “firm and decisive measures” to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Beijing, which reported another 36 new cases in a single day following an outbreak at a food market in the capital. Sun, who has been overseeing China’s Covid-19 control measures since January, told a meeting of the State Council late on Sunday that the risk of the latest outbreak spreading was “very high” because of the market’s large, densely packed and highly mobile population, according to state news agency Xinhua. The new cases bring the number of people affected in the capital by the latest outbreak to 79 – all of them linked to the Xinfadi wholesale market, a food distribution centre in southern Beijing which occupies 107 hectares and supplies food to northern provinces like Shandong, Shanxi, Hebei and Liaoning.


[..] Residential areas near Xinfadi market are once again under strict lockdown, with controlled access pending centralised testing for Covid-19. Beijing Health Commission spokesman Xia Xiaojun said 76,499 samples had been tested on Sunday, with 59 positive. Xia said some of those cases had already been included in the count of confirmed infections, while others were still waiting for diagnosis.

Read more …

Close to 100 new cases.

Sudden Jump In China Virus Cases Causes Futures To Tumble (ZH)

On a day when more than 20 US states are seeing a pick-up in cases, Tokyo reported a jump over the weekend and a fresh outbreak in Beijing prompted officials to close a market there, futures are tumbling, with Eminis down more than 40 points to 2,980 the lowest level since the start of June.The drop follows renewed fears of a second coronavirus wave which massacred shares on Thursday before a modest rebound Friday. But the trigger for tonight’s drop appears to have come out of China, which reported 49 new cases of COVID19 in China on June 14, including 10 imported cases and 39 local cases.

36 local cases were diagnosed in Beijing and 3 in Hebei province, according to the National Health Commission, with China’s Vice Premier Sun Chunlan spooking traders saying that the risks are high for Beijing’s coronavirus resurgence to spread as all cases are related to Xinfadi wholesale market where a large population has visited, according to Xinhua. As reported yesterday, Beijing shut a major food market and imposed lockdown restrictions on residential areas nearby after dozens of people associated with the wholesale market were tested positive for coronavirus.

Additionally, the Global Times reported that 17 out of 19 new imported coronavirus cases registered on Saturday came from South Asia, Chinese health authorities said Sunday, a sharp spike which analysts said indicates that loosening restrictions and worsening contagion in the region poses a danger to the country’s domestic situation. The 17 patients were reported in South China’s Guangdong Province, with 14 flying from Bangladesh and three from India. The 14 patients and the three asymptomatic carriers arrived in Guangzhou on China Southern Airlines flight CZ392 from Dhaka to Guangzhou on Thursday, which prompted the Chinese aviation regulator to suspend the route for four weeks from June 22 in accordance with the latest policy.

Read more …

Here’s a doctor who claims a second wave has started in the US. But I don’t see it. What did happen was that peaks were not simultaneous all over the country, and the first ones were in some of the most populous areas (Northeast).

It’s really just been a shift from Northeast to South and West, though, and I see no overall second wave appearing yet. If and when it does, it will likely also be different in different regions of the country. Note: there is kind of a second wave in Houston.

 

 

 

 

Second Wave Has Begun in US, Medical System May Be Stressed – Doctor (CNBC)

A second wave of coronavirus has started in the U.S. — and people need to remain careful or risk stressing out the health-care system again, said William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The second wave has begun,” said the professor of medicine told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday. “We’re opening up across the country, but many, many people are not social distancing, many are not wearing their masks.” Even so, he said he “cannot imagine” a second shutdown due to the impact of the first one. Several states in America have reported recent spikes in Covid-19 cases as measures are eased throughout the country. The U.S. has the highest number of cases in the world. Nearly 2.1 million people have been infected by the disease and more than 115,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Schaffner added that mass gatherings and religious services are also being held. “Many people are simply not being careful, they’re being carefree,” he said. “That, of course, will lead to more spread of the Covid virus.” Despite signs of a second wave, Schaffner said the option of another lockdown is “off the table.” Instead, governments, businesses and religious leaders have to work together to promote mask wearing and social distancing in order to flatten the curve. He said wearing masks is “very, very important” and authorities should “persuade and educate” their residents to make this a “social norm.” “If we all do that in respect of each other, then I think we can make some progress,” said Schaffner.

“If we do all the opposite — if we open up, do not have social distancing, don’t wear masks and congregate in large numbers again, we are going to be very stressed in the medical care system,” he warned. “The complete shutdown was such a financial disaster, and had so many social and cultural implications that I cannot imagine we’ll have a shutdown again,” he said. Other countries, however, have not shied away from reimposing measures when new clusters are detected in the community. In May, South Korea shut all night clubs and bars in Seoul after a new cluster surfaced there. Last week, Beijing reportedly banned tourism and locked down 11 neighborhoods in response to infections related to a wholesale market.

Read more …

If things go well, I should be back in Athens soon. The sentiment here is probably more or less the same as in many other countries.

Greeks Against Second Lockdown – Survey (K.)

Greeks are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on public health and the economy, while also skeptical about the causes and repercussions of the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Pulse for Kathimerini. Eighty-four percent say that Covid-19 is “definitely” or “perhaps” a serious risk to public health. The risk appears greater among older age groups and educated individuals. Meanwhile, 76 percent say that the health measures, which damaged the economy, were “definitely” or “maybe” necessary. More specifically, the measures were deemed as necessary by 90 percent of New Democracy voters and 62 percent of SYRIZA voters. Concern is widespread. Thirty-two percent are more worried about their financial situation and 23 percent about their health, while 42 percent said that both issues have them “equally concerned.”

Most people say they are against a fresh lockdown in the case of a second wave in the autumn. The restrictions on public movement appear to have taken an economic and psychological toll. As a result, only 21 percent favor a repeat of the “horizontal restrictions.” Meanwhile, 65 percent favor restrictions only in places where a spike in cases is recorded while 10 percent say that the state “must only give recommendations” to citizens. The survey shows that people with lower education and income levels are more likely to question official theories about the origin of the virus. It appears that lower income individuals (usually people with limited educational opportunities) tend to associate Covid-19 with formal structures which they hold responsible for their condition.


More specifically, 33 percent believe that the virus is being used to “intimidate” the public, an equal share say it is being used to enforce compulsory vaccination, while 35 percent say that the virus is used as an excuse to compromise citizens’ personal data. However, Greeks appear relatively immune to the 5G coronavirus conspiracy, as only 10 percent believe there is any connection between the spread of Covid-19 and mobile phone technology. A key reason perhaps is that 5G technology is still not available in Greece. [..] More than half (52 percent) said Covid-19 was created by humans. Of these, 30 percent claim that the virus was created by humans with a specific purpose in mind (like an experiment on population control), while 22 percent say that the virus was created by mistake (like an accident in a lab). Eleven percent said they did not know where the virus might have come from.

Read more …

1) Does Macron -also- mean independence from the EU?
2) The French are not averse to a bit of nationalism, and Macron like many other leaders can and does use the idea that the virus came from abroad to play into it
3) Of course countries should cut their dependence on others when it comes to essential goods, but the EU wants the opposite
4) If there’s one police force that needs reform, it’s the French

Macron Says France Must Seek Greater Economic Independence After Virus (R.)

President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he was accelerating France’s exit from its coronavirus lockdown and that the crisis had laid bare the country’s need for greater economic independence. In a televised address to the nation, Macron promised that the 500 billion euro cost of keeping companies afloat and people in jobs during the worst downturn since World War Two would not be passed to households through higher taxes. Restaurants and cafes in Paris will be allowed to reopen fully from Monday, he said, the same day France lifts restrictions at its borders for European Union travellers, bringing sorely needed relief for the hospitality industry.

He said the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the “flaws and fragility” of France’s, and more broadly Europe’s, over-reliance on global supply chains, from the car industry to smart phones and pharmaceuticals. “The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, to work and produce more, so as not to rely on others,” Macron said. The coronavirus has killed more than 29,300 people in France and forced Macron, a former investment banker, to suspend his economic and social reform drive aimed at spurring growth, creating jobs and deregulating the economy. The government expects the economy to shrink by 11% in 2020. Macron said he would lay out a detailed blueprint for the final two years of his mandate in July.

[..] The global outpouring of anger has forced France to confront allegations from ethnic minorities and rights groups of racism and brutality within France’s own law enforcement agencies. Macron said skin colour too often reduced a person’s opportunities in France, promising to be unflinching against all discrimination. But he expressed support for French police and said fighting racism should not lead to a “hateful” re-writing of the history of France, whose empire once stretched from the Caribbean to the South Pacific and included much of north and west Africa. “I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: the Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues,” Macron said.

Read more …

The US can only play catch-up, and even that it’s not good at.

Putin: Russia Soon Able To Counter “Indefensible” Hypersonic Weapons (ZH)

The thing about hypersonic missiles is they are supposed to be impossible to defend against. Since Russia began touting its experimental arsenal two years ago, the prospect of devastating weapons capable of traveling at Mach 5, or at least a mile per second, has kept Pentagon generals up at night. “The hypersonic threat is real, it is not imagination,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves told a D.C. defense conference in 2018. “Greaves comments come amid reports that assess Russia will be capable of fielding a hypersonic glide vehicle, a weapon that no country can defend against, by 2020,” a report at the time underscored alarmingly.

The “indefensible” super weapon… but Russian President Vladimir Putin now says the Kremlin will soon have the technology to defend against it — this as more and more information has been slowly revealed concerning the US Department of Defense’s own multi-billion dollar hypersonics program. Putin made the new comments Sunday: “It’s very likely that we will have means to combat hypersonic weapons by the time the world’s leading countries have such weapons,” he said according to the RIA news agency. Russian state media further said Putin referenced an emerging hypersonins ‘arms race’. The Russian president said that Russia’s rivals will soon be “surprised” when they learn the Russian armed forces will be able to “combat them”.

Putin’s words, as conveyed by RT, were paraphrased as follows: Other nations are hastily designing their own hypersonic weapons – but by the time they are acquired, the Russian military will have learned how to shield the country from them, President Vladimir Putin said. The world’s leading military powers will eventually succeed in developing the ultra-fast weapons, President Vladimir Putin told Russia-1 TV. Russia, meanwhile, which seems to be leading the race for hypersonic dominance, won’t be caught off-guard once that happens, he pledged. I think that we can pleasantly surprise our partners with the fact that when they get these weapons, we will have the means of combating them, with a high degree of probability.

Read more …

Balance.

To Celebrate Obama Day, Here Are Barack’s Greatest Hits (Ben Norton)

To celebrate Obama Day, here are Barack’s greatest hits (wars, coups, slavery, sanctions, al-Qaeda, colonialism) In parts of the United States and the bottomless pit of the internet, today, June 14, is considered “Barack Obama Day.” On social media, the hashtag #ObamaDayJune14th is going viral. So I thought I would commemorate this day by listing some of the former Democratic president’s many accomplishments.

As his supporters are so keen to point out, Obama had no major scandals, you see, except for:
• wearing that tan suit one time
• deporting more people than any other president, 2.7 million, earning the ignominious title “deporter in chief”
• dropping 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in his last year in office alone
• overseeing a genocidal war in Yemen that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and unleashed the largest humanitarian catastrophe on Earth
• supporting al-Qaeda in Syria, funneling billions of dollars of weapons to hardened Salafi-jihadist fanatics to try to destroy the country, and fueling the rise of ISIS
• arming al-Qaeda in Yemen as well
• destroying Libya, once the most prosperous country in Africa, leaving behind a failed state with open-air slave markets
• giving the Israeli apartheid regime $38 billion in unconditional military aid and arming it as it bombed civilians in Gaza (in three separate, barbaric wars: 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014)
• creating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a neoliberal “free trade” monstrosity that would have ensured even more dystopian corporate tyranny over the global political and economic system

Oh yeah, and here are some more unforgettable classics from Obama:
• sponsoring the military coup in Honduras, overthrowing its democratically elected left-leaning government and installing a far-right narco-dictatorship led by a neoliberal autocrat whose drug lord brother smuggled thousands of tons of cocaine and machine guns
• managing Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, in which the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent thousands of guns to murderous drug cartels in Mexico
• backing the parliamentary coup in Brazil, removing the democratically elected Workers’ Party government and paving the way for the fascist Bolsonaro regime
• supporting a soft coup against the democratically elected government in Paraguay
• overseeing a violent coup against Ukraine’s Russia-leaning elected government with the “Euromaidan” movement, in which neo-Nazis and other fascists played a significant role
• subsequently arming the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukraine
• prolonging the military occupation of Afghanistan, after promising dozens of times he would end the war by 2014
• maintaining a daily “kill list” (known euphemistically as the “disposition matrix”) in which the US president personally approved extrajudicial assassinations of thousands of people, via a covert drone warfare program spanning multiple continents, regularly bombing countries including, but not limited to, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq

Read more …

The US totally ignores the video that’s central to the entire story, and the Guardian ignores teh fact that it’s published 1,000 Assange smear pieces. What a wonderful world.

Julian Assange Indictment Fails To Mention ‘Collateral Murder’ Video (G.)

US prosecutors have failed to include one of WikiLeaks’ most shocking video revelations in the indictment against Julian Assange, a move that has brought accusations the US doesn’t want its “war crimes” exposed in public. Assange, an Australian citizen, is remanded and in ill health in London’s Belmarsh prison while the US tries to extradite him to face 18 charges – 17 under its Espionage Act – for conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified information. The charges relate largely to the US conduct of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Assange’s publication of the US rules of engagement in Iraq. The prosecution case alleges Assange risked American lives by releasing hundreds of thousands of US intelligence documents.

One of the most famous of the WikiLeaks releases was a video – filmed from a US Apache helicopter, Crazy Horse 1-8, as it mowed down 11 people on 12 July 2007 in Iraq. The video starkly highlights the lax rules of engagement that allowed the killing of men who were neither engaged with nor threatening US forces. Two of those Crazy Horse 1-8 killed in east Baghdad that day were the Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a driver/fixer, Saeed Chmagh, 40. Their Baghdad bureau chief at the time, Dean Yates, said the US military had repeatedly lied to him – and the world – about what happened, and it was only when Assange released the video (which WikiLeaks posted with the title Collateral Murder) in April 2010 that the full brutal truth of the killings was exposed.

“What he did was 100% an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world what the war in Iraq looks like and how the US military lied … The US knows how embarrassing Collateral Murder is, how shameful it is to the military – they know that there’s potential war crimes on that tape,” Yates said.

Read more …

 

 

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Dec 282019
 
 December 28, 2019  Posted by at 10:41 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  18 Responses »


Alfred Palmer Conversion. Beverage containers to aviation oxygen cylinders 1942

 

OPCW Official Ordered ‘All Traces’ Of Dissenting Report On Douma Deleted (RT)
Interminable Impeachment (J.T. Young)
Democrats Brace For ‘Bloody’ Primary Season (Hill)
Bernie Sanders Warns ‘My God … Trump Will Eat Biden’s Lunch” (CD)
Biden Says He Won’t Comply With Senate Subpoena In Impeachment Trial (DMR)
Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential Campaign Issues Urgent Fundraising Plea (R.)
Rachel Maddow’s Defense In OAN Lawsuit Is That Her Words Are Not Fact (CTT)
FBI Investigates Ghislaine Maxwell, Others For Epstein Links (R.)
Evidence of Absence (Kunstler)
Guardian Corrects Article About Assange Embassy ‘Escape Plot’ To Russia (RT)
Russia Deploys First Hypersonic Missiles (G.)

 

 

WikiLeaks’ new leak. We now have OPCW, White Helmets, Bellingcat exposed as lying through their teeth about this. Much of their funding follows s similar trail: US government, Atlantic Council etc. The basis of US foreign policy.

OPCW Official Ordered ‘All Traces’ Of Dissenting Report On Douma Deleted (RT)

The leadership of the chemical weapons watchdog took efforts to remove the paper trail of a dissenting report from Douma, Syria which pointed to a possible false flag operation there, leaked documents indicate. In an internal email published by the transparency website WikiLeaks on Friday, a senior official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ordered that the document be removed from the organization’s Documents Registry Archive and to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever.” The document in question is a technical assessment written by inspector Ian Henderson after a fact-finding mission to Douma, a suburb of Damascus, in the wake of an alleged chlorine gas attack.

Western politicians and media said at the time that the government forces had dropped two gas cylinders as part of an offensive against jihadist forces, killing scores of civilians. The OPCW inspector said evidence on the ground contradicted the airdropping scenario and that the cylinders could have been placed by hand. Considering that the area was under the control of anti-government forces, the memo lands credence to the theory that the jihadists had staged the scene to prompt Western nations to attack their opponents. The final report of the watchdog all but confirmed that Damascus was behind the incident, but in the past months an increasing amount of leaked documents and whistleblower testimonies have emerged, pointing to a possible fabrication.


The OPCW leadership stands accused of withholding opinions contravening the West-favored narrative and using misleading language to report what the inspectors found on the ground. The alleged email was written by Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW. Its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, but the organization never said any of the previously leaked documents were not real. Another document published on Friday outlines a meeting with several toxicology experts and their opinions on whether symptoms shown and reported in alleged victims of the attack were consistent with a chlorine gas poisoning. “The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure,” the document said, adding that the chief expert suggested that the event could have been “a propaganda exercise.”

Read more …

J.T. Young served under President George W. Bush as the director of communications in the Office of Management and Budget and as deputy assistant secretary in legislative affairs for tax and budget at the Treasury Department. He served as a congressional staffer from 1987 through 2000.

Interminable Impeachment (J.T. Young)

President Trump’s acquittal in the U.S. Senate is a foregone conclusion. But it will not be impeachment’s conclusion for Democrats. Democrats’ decision not to send House impeachment articles to the Senate clearly signals their strategy: Delegitimize any action short of removal. They will not let impeachment go, now or ever, because they must counter their sagging – and President Trump’s strengthening – political position. Democrats have been calling for President Trump’s removal forever, pursuing de facto impeachment since taking the House this year, and pursuing it in fact since September. This marathon became a sprint: One week in the House Judiciary Committee and one day on the House floor.

Now, it has abruptly halted at what should be its climax. House leaders say they are not sending the impeachment articles to the Senate in order to leverage a fair trial there. How this gives them leverage, or how a trial there could be less fair than the House’s proceedings, is unclear. What is clear is that Democrats intend to maintain impeachment as an issue beyond its constitutional course. To rephrase Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over, even after the fat lady sings.” To understand why, it is necessary to understand the myriad reasons behind Democrats’ singular obsession with impeachment. First, they have a weak case. This was evidenced by the bipartisan opposition to impeachment and the Democrats’ inability to convince even one Republican to support it.


Democrats therefore must blame someone else, and they are laying the foundation for claiming that someone else – additional witnesses – could have provided it. Second, the left is pushing Democrats hard on impeachment, and Democrats are dependent on their left. The left forced impeachment on Democrats. The further left, the harder the push. Simply recall who Democrats’ impeachment leaders were and who stayed most assiduously away — even if ultimately voting for it. Democrats are as dependent on the left as the left is insistent on impeachment. The left is credited with the party’s 2018 success. In the Democrats’ 2020 presidential field, liberals dominate collectively, even if they have not yet coalesced around one candidate. The so-called moderates are running left, and the liberals are staying put.

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Sis weeks to Iowa. Time for the candidates to turn on each other. Time for Trump to laugh.

Democrats Brace For ‘Bloody’ Primary Season (Hill)

Democrats are bracing for a long, drawn-out primary season. With just six weeks until the Iowa caucuses, some Democrats say they don’t expect a likely nominee to emerge anytime soon after early-voting states hold their contests. Instead, they’re preparing for a bruising four-way match-up that could drag on for months as candidates compete for the chance to challenge President Trump. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have consistently topped nationwide polls, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg remain key contenders who show no signs of slowing down. “It’s going to be uglier than ugly,” one Democratic strategist said, pointing to surveys showing there is no clear winner across the first four states in the nominating process.

“It’s going to be a bloody slugfest. And the thing a lot of us fear is that Trump will benefit from all of it.” Democrats have focused their efforts on electability, making the case for rallying behind the kind of candidate who can topple Trump. Some Democrats say that while a progressive candidate can energize the party’s base and win in the primary, it would be much more difficult for that same White House hopeful to win the general election against Trump. Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, argued that because the top candidates each have strong pockets of support, the primary may even lead to a brokered convention in July. “Although people always say that, this time it could be true,” Zelizer said.

“Democrats are so desperate to defeat Trump they have very different visions of how to do this and won’t concede easily.” The party’s top four candidates — two progressive candidates and two moderate candidates — are indicative of where the Democratic Party is right now, said Democratic strategist Michael Trujillo. “It shouldn’t be a surprise you are seeing two progressives and two moderates vying for the top spot,” he said, adding that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also a wild card in the primary race. “What is the most interesting factor here is that voters are somewhat interchangeable between Biden and Sanders as they are between mayor Pete and Sen. Warren.”

[..] The Democratic strategist who predicted the primary would be a “bloody slugfest” said this election cycle is reminiscent of 2016, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sanders were locked in a bitter battle for the Democratic nomination. Clinton emerged the winner, but “she was damaged from the primary,” the strategist said. “And anyone who says Sanders didn’t hurt her has their head in the clouds,” the strategist said. This time around, a brokered convention “could only add further division at a time when we need it most. It’s a bit of a nightmare situation.”

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There you go. “Joe Biden is a personal friend of mine, but..”

Bernie Sanders Warns ‘My God … Trump Will Eat Biden’s Lunch” (CD)

Warning that President Donald Trump cannot be defeated by an establishment Democrat running a “same old, same old type of campaign,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times editorial board published Thursday that Trump would have a field day with former Vice President Joe Biden’s record of support for the Iraq War, job-killing trade deals, and other destructive policies. “Joe Biden is a personal friend of mine, so I’m not here to, you know, to attack him,” Sanders said. “But my God, if you are, if you’re a Donald Trump and you got Biden having voted for the war in Iraq, Biden having voted for these terrible, in my view, trade agreements, Biden having voted for the bankruptcy bill. Trump will eat his lunch.”

The Los Angeles Times interview was not the first time Sanders has distinguished his own record from Biden’s by highlighting the former vice president’s support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During a Democratic primary debate in September, Sanders noted that, unlike Biden, he “never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq.” “I voted against the war in Iraq, and helped lead the opposition,” the Vermont senator said. Sanders told the Times that defeating Trump in 2020 will require a candidate who embraces “ideas that are going to excite and energize millions of people who right now are not particularly active in politics, and who may not vote at all”—and the Vermont senator argued he is the Democratic contender best positioned to deliver such a campaign.


“The reason I believe that I am the strongest candidate, and the reason I believe our approach is right is if you want a large voter turnout, if we understand that there are tens of millions of people in this country who don’t vote, who’ve kind of given up on the political process… I think I am by far the strongest candidate to reach out to those people,” Sanders said. “I think I’m the strongest candidate to bring together a multiracial coalition of African Americans, of Latinos, of Asians.”

Read more …

Joe Biden’s biggest problem appears to be that he can’t identify his biggest problem. Either that or he knows there’s no escaping it.

Biden Says He Won’t Comply With Senate Subpoena In Impeachment Trial (DMR)

Former Vice President Joe Biden confirmed Friday he would not comply with a subpoena to testify in a Senate trial of President Donald Trump. The Democratically controlled U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump earlier this month alleging Trump abused his presidential power by tying foreign aid approved by Congress to a politically motivated investigation into a company on which Biden’s son Hunter Biden served on the board. Leaders in the House and Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate are trying to come to terms for an impeachment trial. Biden said in early December he wouldn’t comply with a subpoena by the Senate, and confirmed that statement Friday in an interview with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board.

He has not been subpoenaed, but Trump’s allies have floated the idea. Testifying before the Senate on the matter would take attention away from Trump and the allegations against him, Biden said. Not even “that thug” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City mayor, has accused Biden of doing anything but his job, the former vice president said. Biden also said any attempt to subpoena him would be on “specious” grounds, and he predicted it wouldn’t come to that. Biden said even if he volunteered to testify in an attempt to clear the air, it would create a media narrative that would let Trump off the hook.

“What are you going to cover?” Biden said to Register Executive Editor Carol Hunter in response to a question. “You guys are going to cover for three weeks anything that I said. And (Trump’s) going to get away. You guys buy into it all the time. Not a joke … Think what it’s about. It’s all about what he does all the time, his entire career. Take the focus off. This guy violated the Constitution. He said it in the driveway of the White House. He acknowledged he asked for help.” Shortly after the House voted to impeach Trump, Biden was campaigning in Iowa, where he called impeachment “a sad moment for our country.” It underscored the need for a president who can unify the country, he said.

“No one’s taken as much heat and as many lies thrown at them as I have, but again, this is not about me. It’s not about my family. It’s about the nation. And we have to reach out and unify this country,” Biden said in Ottumwa on Saturday. A centerpiece to Biden’s campaign is his ability to beat Trump in a general election. It was a sentiment most likely Democratic caucusgoers shared in a mid-November Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll. He was the only candidate whom a majority of respondents said they were either almost certain or fairly confident would defeat Trump, according to the poll.

Read more …

Warren and Bernie rely on the same donors. She may be gone in six weeks’ time.

Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential Campaign Issues Urgent Fundraising Plea (R.)

Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign told supporters on Friday its fundraising haul stands at just over $17 million and made a plea for more donations with just days left in the fourth quarter. The figure was a sharp drop from the previous quarter and accompanied the progressive Democrats’ slight slide in opinion polls in recent weeks in the Democratic contest to face Republican Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. “We’re only days away from the biggest fundraising deadline of the year, and we’re at risk of missing our $20 million goal,” Warren’s campaign said on its website. In an email to supporters, the campaign said its haul of a little over $17 million this quarter was “a good chunk behind where we were at this time last quarter.”


In the third quarter of 2019, Warren’s campaign reported raising $24.6 million, slightly behind the $25.3 million raised by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the only other 2020 Democratic candidate to swear off big-money fundraisers. Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, has for months been polling in the top three of the crowded Democratic field, along with Sanders and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Support for her White House bid has slid since she announced in November how she would finance her $20.5 trillion Medicare for All plan with new taxes on the wealthy and corporations but without raising middle-class taxes. The plan drew criticism from rivals who say it is unrealistic and from some voters concerned that it was too extreme.

Read more …

3 years of daily RussiaRussia rants transferred to the field of entertainment. Get real. Here’s hoping OAN does Maddow, MSNBC and Comcast real damage.

Rachel Maddow’s Defense In OAN Lawsuit Is That Her Words Are Not Fact (CTT)

One America News (OAN) is in court against MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow in a $10 million lawsuit after Maddow said her conservative competitor “really, literally is paid Russian propaganda.” Now, Maddow is arguing in court that her words should not be taken as fact. Her actual legal defense, put out in a motion by her lawyer Theodore Boutrous Jr., reads: “…the liberal host was clearly offering up her ‘own unique expression’ of her views to capture what she saw as the ‘ridiculous’ nature of the undisputed facts. Her comment, therefore, is a quintessential statement ‘of rhetorical hyperbole, incapable of being proved true or false.’”

During one of her MSNBC segments, Maddow claimed, “In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America is really literally is paid Russian propaganda,” and added, “Their on-air politics reporter (Kristian Rouz) is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government.” Leaving aside that Maddow now says her words should not be believed as fact, a linguistics professor’s testimony is leading observers to believe Maddow is also now lying in court. UC Santa Barbara linguistics professor Stefan Thomas Gries said, “it is very unlikely that an average or reasonable/ordinary viewer would consider the sentence in question to be a statement of opinion.”


[..] OAN host Jack Posobiec tweeted at Maddow after she made her defamatory remarks, writing “Do you understand how defamation laws work? Please feel free to respond to our lawyers.” OAN’s lawsuit also named MSNBC, Comcast, and NBC Universal Media as defendants, and accuses Comcast, MSNBC’s parent company, of “anti-competitive censorship” because the network refuses to carry OAN as part of its cable package.

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Who cares after all this time? Let’s see some action.

FBI Investigates Ghislaine Maxwell, Others For Epstein Links (R.)

The FBI is investigating British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and several other people linked to U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation. They said a principal focus of the FBI’s investigation is Maxwell, a longtime associate of Epstein, and other “people who facilitated” Epstein’s allegedly illegal behavior. Maxwell has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Her lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. The FBI also is following up on many leads received from women who contacted a hotline the agency set up at its New York field office in the wake of Epstein’s arrest in July, the sources said.

One of the sources said the probe remains at an early stage. The sources declined to give further details or identify the people they are looking at apart from Maxwell. However, they said the FBI has no current plans to interview Britain’s Prince Andrew, a friend of Epstein’s who stepped down from his public duties in November because of what he called his “ill-judged” association with the well-connected money manager. A representative for the British royal family said that whether the agency interviewed Andrew was “a matter for the FBI.” Following Epstein’s arrest, the FBI urged anyone who had been victimized by Epstein or had additional information to call the agency’s hotline.


U.S. Attorney General William Barr vowed to carry on the case against anyone who was complicit with the financier. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” he said in August. The two law enforcement sources said the FBI’s principal focus is on people who facilitated Epstein and that Andrew does not fit into that category. They did not rule out the possibility that the FBI would seek to interview Andrew at a later date.

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“..an anxious nausea creeps over the land that Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham are dawdling toward a goal of deflecting justice from the sick institutions behind the three-year coup..”

Evidence of Absence (Kunstler)

What is most perilous for our country now, would be to journey through a second epic crisis of authority in recent times without anybody facing the consequences of crimes they might have committed. The result will be a people turned utterly cynical, with no faith in their institutions or the rule of law, and no way to imagine a restoration of their lost faith within the bounds of law. It will be a deadly divorce between truth and reality. It will be an invitation to civil violence, a broken social contract, and the end of the framework for American life that was set up in 1788.

The first crisis of the era was the Great Financial Crash of 2008 based on widespread malfeasance in the banking world, an unprecedented suspension of rules, norms, and laws. GFC poster-boy Angelo Mozilo, CEO and chairman of Countrywide Financial, a sub-prime mortgage racketeering outfit, sucked at least half a billion dollars out of his operation before it blew up, and finally was nicked for $67 million in fines by the SEC — partly paid by Countrywide’s indemnity insurer — with criminal charges of securities fraud eventually dropped in the janky “settlement.” In other words, the cost of doing business. Scores of other fraudsters and swindlers in that orgy of banking malfeasance were never marched into a courtroom, never had to answer for their depredations, and remained at their desks in the C-suites collecting extravagant bonuses. The problems they caused were papered over with trillions of dollars that all of us are still on-the-hook for. And, contrary to appearances, the banking system never actually recovered. It is permanently demoralized.

How it was that Barack Obama came on-duty in January of 2009 and got away with doing absolutely nothing about all that for eight years remains one of the abiding mysteries of life on earth. Perhaps getting the first black president into the White House was such an intoxicating triumph of righteousness that nothing else seemed to matter anymore. Perhaps Mr. Obama was just a cat’s paw for banksterdom. (Sure kinda seems like it, when your first two hires are Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.) The failure to assign penalties for massive bad behavior has set up the nation for another financial fiasco, surely of greater magnitude than the blow-up of 2008, considering the current debt landscape. Not a few astute observers say they feel the hot breath of that monster on the back of their necks lately, with all the strange action in the RePo market — $500 billion “liquidity” injections in six weeks.

But now we are a year into Attorney General Bill Barr coming on the scene — the crime scene of RussiaGate and all its deceitful spin-offs. The Mueller investigation revealed itself as not just a thumping failure, but part of a broader exercise in bad faith and sedition to first prevent Mr. Trump from winning the 2016 election and then to harass, obstruct, disable, and eject him from office. And six months after Mr. Mueller’s face-plant, out comes the Horowitz Report tracing in spectacular detail further and deeper criminal irregularities in the US Justice agencies. What’s more, tremendous amounts of evidence for all this already sits on-the-record in public documents. The timelines are well understood. And so, an anxious nausea creeps over the land that Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham are dawdling toward a goal of deflecting justice from the sick institutions behind the three-year coup — that our polity is so saturated in corruption nothing will be allowed to clean it up.

Read more …

But not really.

Guardian Corrects Article About Assange Embassy ‘Escape Plot’ To Russia (RT)

The Guardian has corrected an article describing a “plot” to “smuggle” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of London, more than a year after publication. Russia called the article “disinformation and fake news” from the outset. Assange is currently languishing in London’s Belmarsh Prison, awaiting a hearing on his extradition to the US where he is facing espionage charges. However, in the runup to Christmas 2017 he was still safe inside the city’s Ecuadorian embassy. At the time, Assange had become a thorn in the side of Ecuador’s new president, Lenin Moreno, and Moreno was reportedly mulling a plan to offer him a diplomatic post in Russia, shifting him out of the UK and away from the threat of extradition.

When The Guardian reported on the story in 2018, it turned up the drama. Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper described a “plot” to “smuggle” Assange out of London on Christmas Eve, speeding the fugitive publisher away in a diplomatic vehicle and onwards to refuge in Russia. Ultimately, the report claims, the plan was deemed “too risky” and called off. Though the report painted a picture of a Kremlin-instigated cloak-and-dagger operation, Ecuador would have been well within its rights to grant Assange diplomatic status, had the UK Foreign Office signed off on it. However, plots and plans sell better than backroom diplomatic wrangling, and the paper went with the spy-movie version of events.

It even shoehorned in a paragraph on Assange’s “ties to the Kremlin,” and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ investigation, for good measure. The Russian embassy in London called the article a clear example of “disinformation and fake news by British media.” On Sunday, the Guardian itself issued a correction. “Our report should have avoided the words ‘smuggle’ and ‘plot’ since they implied that diplomatic immunity in itself was illicit,” read a statement from the paper. The correction was made after a complaint from Fidel Narvaez, who served as Ecuador’s London consul at the time of the alleged “plot.” The paper described Narvaez as a middleman between Assange and the Kremlin. Narvaez outright denied any discussions with Moscow.

Though The Guardian corrected its choice of words, the bulk of its story remains as is. The identity of the anonymous sources cited remain a mystery, as does the level of awareness the Russian government had about the plan at any stage in its formation. As events transpired, Assange was bundled out of the embassy by Metropolitan Police in April, after Ecuador revoked his asylum.

Read more …

Nothing more fitting mere days before 2020. Russia’s hypersonics travel at 27x the speed of sound. China’s testing 5x. The US? Nothing so far.

Russia Deploys First Hypersonic Missiles (G.)

Russia has deployed its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles, with Vladimir Putin boasting that it puts his country in a class of its own. The president described the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which can fly at 27 times the speed of sound, as a technological breakthrough comparable to the 1957 Soviet launch of the first satellite. Putin has said Russia’s new generation of nuclear weapons can hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield, though some western experts have questioned how advanced some of the weapons programmes are. The Avangard is launched on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, but, unlike a regular missile warhead, which follows a predictable path after separation, it can make sharp manoeuvres en route to its target, making it harder to intercept.

The defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, told Putin the first missile unit equipped with the Avangard had entered combat duty. “I congratulate you on this landmark event for the military and the entire nation,” Shoigu said later during a conference call with top military leaders. The strategic missile forces chief, Gen Sergei Karakaev, said during the call that the Avangard had been put on duty with a unit in the Orenburg region in the southern Ural mountains. Putin unveiled the Avangard and other prospective weapons systems in his state-of-the-nation address in March 2018, saying its ability to make sharp manoeuvres on its way to a target would render missile defense useless. “It heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball,” he said at the time.


China has tested its own hypersonic glide vehicle, believed to be capable of travelling at least five times the speed of sound. It displayed the weapon called Dong Feng 17, or DF-17, at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese state. US officials have talked about putting a layer of sensors in space to more quickly detect enemy missiles, particularly the hypersonic weapons. The administration also plans to study the idea of basing interceptors in space, so the US can strike incoming missiles during the first minutes of flight when the booster engines are still burning.

Read more …

 

 

 

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Jan 112019
 
 January 11, 2019  Posted by at 10:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Hieronymous Bosch The Haywain Triptych c.1516 (click to enlarge)

 

The Stock Market Just Got Off To Its Best Start In 13 Years (MW)
78% of US Workers Live Paycheck To Paycheck (CNBC)
Fed’s Powell Says He Is ‘Very Worried’ About Growing Amount Of US Debt (CNBC)
Trump Digs In As Shutdown Continues (BBC)
Michael Cohen To Testify Publicly Before Congress In February (G.)
China Set To Lower GDP Growth Target In 2019 (R.)
Can The Chinese Consumer Be Resurrected? (Jim O’Neill)
Why I Asked May If She Is On The Side Of Putin Or The People (Moran)
May’s Brexit Deal ‘Threat To National Security’ – Former MI6 Chief (Ind.)
May Begs Unions To Help Salvage Her Brexit Deal (Ind.)
US Defenses No Match For Russian Hypersonic Missiles – Retired US General (RT)
Bases, Bases, Everywhere… Except in the Pentagon’s Report (Turse)
Oceans Warming Faster Than Expected, Set Heat Record In 2018 (R.)
Julian Assange’s Living Conditions Deteriorate (Cassandra Fairbanks)

 

 

And there’s still people who claim the stock market reflects the economy.

The Stock Market Just Got Off To Its Best Start In 13 Years (MW)

Things are coming up roses in the stock market, lately. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite Index are off to their best starts to a year since 2006 after a powerful series of gains. The Dow closed up 0.5% on Thursday, pushing its year-to-date gain to 2.89%, which would mark the best first seven days to a year since 2006, when stocks burst 3.04% higher over the same period. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% on the day and has returned 3.58% thus far this year, its best start since a 3.68% gain 13 years ago, while the Nasdaq Composite booked a 0.4% gain, enough for a 5.3% year-to-date advance, representing its best seven-session to kick off a year since its 5.72% rise also in 2006.

A late-session rally helped to solidify Thursday’s gains, coming after investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who pronounced at the Economic Club in Washington on Thursday afternoon that the economy is in good health, while adding that the central bank would be cognizant of stresses to financial markets amid rate hikes. The comments were a reiteration of Powell’s remarks last week during a broad panel discussion of current and former Fed bosses that helped to placate anxious investors and reverse what was shaping up to be another dismal year.

Read more …

Why is everybody quoting a 2017 report?

78% of US Workers Live Paycheck To Paycheck (CNBC)

The partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, has now stretched well into the new year. President Donald Trump said Friday that it would continue for “months or even years” until he receives the requested $5 billion in funding for a border wall. The shutdown has left approximately 800,000 federal workers in financial limbo. Around 420,000 “essential” employees are working without pay, while another 380,000 have been ordered to stay home, according to calculations provided to CNBC by Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University. In some cases, the furloughs have forced government employees to tap into their savings, rely on credit cards or crowdsource funds to make ends meet.

Government workers are far from alone in feeling stressed about not getting paid. Nearly 80% of American workers (78%) say they’re living paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2017 report by employment website CareerBuilder. Women are particularly vulnerable: 81% of them report living paycheck to paycheck, compared with 75% of men. Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, tells CNBC that the group has heard from hundreds of frantic federal employees. “They’re scared,” he says. “They don’t know how they’re going to put food on the table.” Various #ShutdownStories making that point have gone viral on Twitter.

It’s not merely those earning low wages who are struggling. CareerBuilder reports that nearly 10% of Americans with salaries of $100,000 or more live paycheck to paycheck as well. That means that many workers aren’t able to put anything significant into savings. More than 50% of respondents say that they save less than $100 per month. And a comparable 2017 survey from GOBankingRates found that 61% of Americans don’t have enough money in an emergency fund to cover six months’ worth of expenses. [..] more than 70% of all respondents say that they’re in debt, and a quarter of workers say they weren’t able to make ends meet at the end of every month of the past year.

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Which his own Fed has encouraged like nobody else could.

Fed’s Powell Says He Is ‘Very Worried’ About Growing Amount Of US Debt (CNBC)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is concerned about the ballooning amount of United States debt. “I’m very worried about it,” Powell said at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. “From the Fed’s standpoint, we’re really looking at a business cycle length: that’s our frame of reference. The long-run fiscal, nonsustainability of the U.S. federal government isn’t really something that plays into the medium term that is relevant for our policy decisions.” However, “it’s a long-run issue that we definitely need to face, and ultimately, will have no choice but to face,” he added. The Fed chief’s comments came as the annual U.S. deficit reaches new sustained highs above $1 trillion, a fact many economists worry could spell trouble for future generations.

Annual deficits have topped $1 trillion before, but never during a time of sustained economic growth like now, raising concern about what would happen if a recession hits. Total U.S. debt is about $21.9 trillion, of which $16 trillion is owed by the public. In part because of continued rate increases under Powell, the interest cost on that debt could start to become a bigger and bigger burden. Wall Street’s “bond king” and respected financial prognosticator Jeffrey Gundlach said in December that the Fed seems to be on a “suicide mission,” raising rates while the government deficit increases as a share of GDP. Normally when the deficit is expanding, the Fed would be lowering interest rates.

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View from the MSM: Trump digs in, not the Dems.

Trump Digs In As Shutdown Continues (BBC)

US President Donald Trump has threatened again to declare a national emergency to fund a border wall without Congress’s approval. “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” he told reporters. The White House has denied reports it is looking at diverting funds set aside for reconstruction projects. A political row over funding the wall has left the US government partially shutdown for 20 days, leaving about 800,000 federal employees without pay. President Trump has refused to sign legislation to fund and reopen the government if it does not include $5.7bn for a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border.

But budget talks have come to a standstill as Democrats – who control the House of Representatives – refuse to give him the money. Republican leaders insist the party stands behind the president, although some Republican lawmakers have spoken out in favour of ending the shutdown. On Thursday, Mr Trump visited a border patrol station in McAllen, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He said that if Congress did not approve funding for the wall, he would “probably… I would almost say definitely” declare a national emergency to bypass lawmakers. But such a move is likely to face legal challenges. The money would also have to come from funds allocated by Congress for other purposes – which some Republicans would also oppose.

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Planning a huge media spectacle. Imagine all the readers and viewers… Trump keeps on giving. Bread and circuses it is.

Michael Cohen To Testify Publicly Before Congress In February (G.)

Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and aide Michael Cohen says he has accepted an invitation from a top House Democrat to testify publicly before Congress next month. His testimony before the House oversight and reform committee on 7 February will be the first major public oversight hearing for Democrats, who have promised greater scrutiny of Trump after winning control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. Cohen said in a statement: “I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.”

The New Yorker, who is to begin a three-year prison sentence in March, is a pivotal figure in investigations by the special counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and by federal prosecutors in New York into campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments to two women who say they had sex with Trump. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s chair, said the panel would avoid interfering with Mueller’s investigation. “We have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller’s office,” Cummings said in a statement.

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But not to the 1.67% predicted by professor Xiang Songzuo, I’m sure.

China Set To Lower GDP Growth Target In 2019 (R.)

China plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6% to 6.5% in 2019 compared with last year’s target of “around” 6.5%, policy sources told Reuters, as Beijing gears up to cope with higher U.S. tariffs and weakening domestic demand. The proposed target, to be unveiled at the annual parliamentary session in March, was endorsed by top leaders at the annual closed-door Central Economic Work Conference in mid-December, according to four sources with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome. Data later this month is expected to show the Chinese economy grew around 6.6% in 2018 — the weakest since 1990. Analysts are forecasting a further loss of momentum this year before policy support steps begin to kick in.

“It’s very difficult for growth to exceed 6.5% (this year), and there could be trouble if growth dips below 6%,” said one source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. As the world’s second-largest economy loses steam, China’s top leaders are closely watching employment levels as factories could be forced to shed workers amid a trade war with the United States, despite a more resilient services sector, policy insiders said. Growth of about 6.2% is needed in the next two years to meet the ruling Communist Party’s longstanding goal of doubling gross domestic product and incomes in the decade to 2020, and to turn China into a “modestly prosperous” nation. [..] Local governments could be allowed to issue up to 2 trillion yuan worth of special bonds in 2019, up from 1.35 trillion yuan last year, they said.

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Goldman Sachs to the -image- rescue.

Can The Chinese Consumer Be Resurrected? (Jim O’Neill)

Last week, Apple published a letter to shareholders revising down its expected revenues for the first quarter of 2019, citing an economic slowdown in China, which has become an increasingly important market for iPhone, Mac, and iPad sales. Though tech industry analysts are debating whether internal dynamics at Apple might also explain the change, the company’s new guidance nonetheless adds to the evidence that Chinese consumption is slowing. A sustained decline in Chinese consumption would be even more worrying than the current US-China trade dispute.

Given that US trade policies and other external influences should not have much effect on domestic Chinese spending, the problem may be more deeply rooted in China’s economic model. To understand what is at stake, consider all that has changed just within the past decade. At the end of 2010, domestic consumption accounted for around 35.6% of Chinese GDP, according to official Chinese data. That was remarkably low compared to most other economies, not least the US, where consumption accounted for almost 70% of GDP. In nominal dollar terms, China’s domestic consumption thus was around $2.2tn, or almost five times lower than that of the US ($10.5tn).

Yet China’s high overall growth rate meant that Chinese consumers could potentially play a much larger role, with far-reaching benefits for global brands such as Apple, BMW, Burberry, Ford, and many others. As of 2017, Chinese consumption as a share of GDP had risen to 39.1%, representing just over $5tn in nominal dollar terms. That is an increase of almost $3tn in just seven years. And though Chinese consumer spending still lagged far behind that of the US ($13.5tn in 2017), the gap has narrowed. If China were to continue on the same trajectory in terms of nominal GDP growth and domestic consumption, its consumer spending could increase by another $2tn by 2020, putting it at around half that of the US. Chinese consumers would be more relevant to the global economy than anyone except Americans.

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From time to time you wonder what’s more hysterical, the Brexit mayhem or the UK’s fabricated Russophobia. This is pretty unbelievable, but it’s become normal.

Layla Moran is a Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

Why I Asked May If She Is On The Side Of Putin Or The People (Moran)

For all the farcical invoking of Blitz spirit, Brexit isn’t merely an absurdist experiment in English nationalist nostalgia – it is the most audacious example yet of a futuristic Russian nationalism that seeks to divide and rule Europe. If we can be judged by our friends then Brexit has no stauncher ally than Vladimir Putin. After all, Donald Trump has proved unreliable. But Putin? It is hard to think of anyone who has done more for the cause (and that is not to take anything away from the years of Brexit monologues by Tory MP Bill Cash). Russian bot farms have been exposed as having supported the Leave campaign. This comes on top of allegations of iffy Russian money funding Brexit campaigns, and Arron Banks’ almost comical inability to explain his donations to Leave.

Comical, that is, if his scarcely thought through Brexit wasn’t driving Britain to what Hilary Clinton has called the single biggest act of deliberate self-harm a nation has ever committed. As if Russian interference in the original referendum was not shocking enough, it is still going on. The Channel 4 drama Brexit: The Uncivil War might have relegated Russian involvement to the briefest postscript, but in reality Putin is still in the trenches fighting for a hard Brexit. At a recent press conference Putin attacked the idea of a referendum on the deal, claiming the original result should be respected. Oh, the irony! Putin, the arch kleptocrat, giving advice on democracy. “Don’t steal Brexit,” he seemed to demand, while probably stealing (sorry, being gifted) another superyacht.

It should have been sufficiently chilling to make even Boris Johnson pause for thought. And all while using the Brexiteer message script of delivering the will of the people. As any student of Russian history could tell you, “the people” are often invoked by the Kremlin, including when justifying the mass murder of innocent people. But rarely does the Kremlin actually ask “the people” for anything so radical as an opinion. For Putin, “the people” are to be manipulated and even killed for his own ends. And Putin’s ends are clear. He wants a weak and divided EU. Ultimately, he seeks to break it up, with the Eastern bloc – brought into the European fold by Margaret Thatcher’s single market – dragged back into the lair of the Russian bear.

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And why not? If all else fails, scare them.

May’s Brexit Deal ‘Threat To National Security’ – Former MI6 Chief (Ind.)

The former head of MI6 has warned Theresa May’s Brexit deal will “threaten the national security of the country”, in a call for Tory MPs to reject it. The agreement would “place control of aspects of our national security in foreign hands”, claims Sir Richard Dearlove, in an extraordinary letter to Conservative associations. It has also been signed by Lord Guthrie, a former chief of the defence staff, in a bid to stiffen grassroots resistance, ahead of next Tuesday’s vote.= Sir Richard and Lord Guthrie, who are both prominent Leave supporters, write: “Please ensure that your MP votes against this bad agreement.” The prime minister, a former home secretary, has insisted her agreement would protect national security by retaining existing cooperation arrangements during the 21-month transition.

However, she was forced to acknowledge the UK was likely to lose direct access to vital EU security databases after 2012, under the proposed long-term arrangements. In their letter, the ex-security chiefs argue the deal is dangerous because it would weaken membership of Nato and existing “close” defence and intelligence ties with the US. “This withdrawal agreement, if not defeated, will threaten the national security of the country in fundamental ways,” it says. Downing Street hit back immediately, insisting the letter was “completely wrong” and that the Brexit deal offered the broadest security agreement the EU has with any of its partners. But both sides of the Brexit divide seized on the intervention, arch-Brexiteer Owen Paterson calling it a “devastating warning”.

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After Tuesday all bets are off.

May Begs Unions To Help Salvage Her Brexit Deal (Ind.)

Theresa May has called the leaders of Britain’s biggest unions for the first time since becoming prime minister in a desperate bid to find backing for her Brexit deal. The calls to Unite leader Len McCluskey and the GMB’s Tim Roache – whose unions are Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest financial backers – mark just how far she is being forced to go in the hope of finding support for the deal expected to be rejected by MPs next week. She was scorned by second referendum-backing Mr Roache, who joked after his call that he was “glad the prime minister finally picked up the phone”. The unprecedented move came as she also sought to convince Labour MPs to back her by promising new commitments to maintain workers’ rights in line with EU standards after Brexit.

But expectations that she is heading for a heavy defeat on Tuesday simply grew further, with some estimates suggesting that opposition has actually grown since she delayed the vote on her deal in December. Capitalising on the deep Tory divisions, Mr Corbyn instead invited Conservative MPs to back a motion of no confidence in the government which he is promising to table if Ms May’s plans are defeated. Downing Street confirmed the calls to Mr Roache, whose union has 620,000 members, and Mr McCluskey, representing more than 1.4 million, and admitted it was the first time she had spoken to either of them since her arrival at No 10. The Independent understands the prime minister also attempted to call Dave Prentis, leader of Unison which also has some 1.4 million members, but could not get through because Mr Prentis was travelling.

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Click here for the original Hill article.

US Defenses No Match For Russian Hypersonic Missiles – Retired US General (RT)

A retired general and chief of staff has warned that the US’ missile defense systems are “simply incapable” of stopping the latest generation of Russian hypersonic missiles – some of which fly at 27 times the speed of sound. Now retired, Maj. Gen. Howard ‘Dallas’ Thompson was once Chief of Staff at US Northern Command in Ohio. In a column published by The Hill on Thursday, Thompson argues that military leaders have neglected to develop proper defenses against the hypersonic threat. There have been some calls for the US to pursue hypersonic weapons in defense policy circles, but America has lagged behind China – which conducted more tests in the last year than the US has is a decade – and Russia, which successfully tested such a missile in December. The ‘Avangard’ missile flew at Mach 27, and will be deployed in 2019.

At present, the US Missile Defense Agency’s sensors and radars are designed for one purpose: to counter an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fired by an adversary like Iran or North Korea. ICBMs have a predictable flight path, and the US’ Patriot and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries stand a reasonable chance of intercepting and destroying any incoming missiles. Not so with hypersonics. Missiles like ‘Avangard’ fly low and fast, evading radar detection. They can also engage in evasive maneuvers to dodge surface-to-air rockets or missiles, further lowering the chances of a successful interception.

“The stark reality is that our current missile defense systems, as well as our operational mindset, are simply incapable versus this threat,” Thompson wrote. The retired General’s words are backed up by a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, which concluded that there are “no existing countermeasures” against the threat. Thompson claims that a massive collaborative program between the Department of Defense and arms companies is needed to counter Russian and Chinese advances. “Countering this threat will require U.S. investment in an extensive defensive architecture,” he wrote. “…a highly robust ‘family of systems’ that nonetheless must be envisioned, designed, developed and deployed in a completely holistic manner.”

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800 bases, of which 300 are unreported?!

Bases, Bases, Everywhere… Except in the Pentagon’s Report (Turse)

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015 and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases. Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries.

A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

[..] According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine

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The reporting on the issue seems broken.

Oceans Warming Faster Than Expected, Set Heat Record In 2018 (R.)

The oceans are warming faster than previously estimated, setting a new temperature record in 2018 in a trend that is damaging marine life, scientists said on Thursday. New measurements, aided by an international network of 3,900 floats deployed in the oceans since 2000, showed more warming since 1971 than calculated by the latest U.N. assessment of climate change in 2013, they said. And “observational records of ocean heat content show that ocean warming is accelerating,” the authors in China and the United States wrote in the journal Science of ocean waters down to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Man-made greenhouse gas emissions are warming the atmosphere, according to the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, and a large part of the heat gets absorbed by the oceans.

That in turn is forcing fish to flee to cooler waters. “Global warming is here, and has major consequences already. There is no doubt, none!” the authors wrote in a statement. Almost 200 nations plan to phase out fossil fuels this century under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit warming. [..] Data due for publication next week will show “2018 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean, surpassing 2017,” said lead author Lijing Cheng, of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He told Reuters that records for ocean warming had been broken almost yearly since 2000. Overall, temperatures in the ocean down to 2,000 metres rose about 0.1 degree Celsius (0.18F) from 1971-2010, he said.

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Another issue on which reporting seems broken. We’re not getting anywhere.

Julian Assange’s Living Conditions Deteriorate (Cassandra Fairbanks)

I last visited Assange in March, days before the Ecuadorians placed the award-winning journalist in isolation for allegedly violating a draconian ban on all public political comments. [..] In order to visit the publisher last year, I simply organized it with him and his lawyer and went. This time I was required to provide details about my social media, my employer, and my reason for visiting in advance of my arrival and hope to be approved. If I wanted to bring my cell phone, I would have had to provide the brand, model, serial number, IMEI number and telephone number. Providing these details to a foreign nation with extreme surveillance seemed unwise, so I left it behind.

[..] Currently, Assange cannot even have a simple visit with a friend without it being monitored by some shadowy state actor. It’s like a scene from the Stasi spy drama The Lives of Others. While Ecuador presents this surveillance operation as a mission to “protect and support” Assange, this is contradicted by the fact that he isn’t even allowed to confidentially speak with a reporter and friend without being recorded. In May, the Guardian reported that there are “extraordinary reports” from these spies that include daily logs of Assange’s activities inside the embassy, even noting his “general mood.”

As John Pilger pointed out after his visit with Assange on New Year’s Eve, it could be any newspaper publisher or editor stuck in that embassy. For the crime of publishing journalism, Assange has not only had to give up his freedom, but also any semblance of privacy. It’s impossible to overstate how unsettling it feels to have multiple lenses pointed at you wherever you stand. Unable to speak privately, even with a noise machine attempting to muffle the microphones from picking up conversations, we resorted to passing notes. Assange is not only barred from sharing his views online under the new regulations — thanks to the constant surveillance, he can’t even do so among his friends in the embassy where he is arbitrarily detained.

If we value the principle of the freedom of speech — we must do something to stop this madness. While we do not know what Assange has been charged with by the U.S. as it remains under seal, we do know that it is related to his work as a publisher, the only publisher with a record of 100% accuracy. His dedication to truth is so profound that he has never once had to issue a correction or retraction.

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Dec 182018
 


Caravaggio St. John the Baptist in the wilderness 1604

 

S&P 500 Drops More Than 2% To New Low For 2018, Dow Dives 500 Points (CNBC)
The Latest Key Death Cross Is Poised To Engulf The Stock Market (MW)
Stock Market On Pace For Worst December Since Great Depression (CNBC)
How The Federal Reserve Could Spark A ‘Santa Claus’ Stock Rally (Yahoo!)
You Have A “Trading” Problem (Roberts)
China Politics Getting In The Way Of Reforms (G.)
China To Mark Economic Miracle That Pulled 700 Million People Out Of Poverty (RT)
Australia’s Central Bank Sees Risks From High Debt As House Prices Fall (R.)
‘No Existing Countermeasures’ To Russian Hypersonic Weapons – US Gov’t (RT)
The Bigotry Behind NY Times’ ‘Russians Targeted African-Americans’ (GJ)
Racist ‘Russians’ Targeted African-Americans In 2016 Election – Reports (RT)
Russia! The Gift That Keeps Giving For The BBC, Even In France (Bridge)
Fatal Over-Reach (Kunstler)
Coal Demand Will Remain Steady Through 2023 -IEA (CNBC)

 

 

Can’t wait for Christmas amd some days off. Close it down and it can’t fall further. Either that or give Jay Powell a call.

S&P 500 Drops More Than 2% To New Low For 2018, Dow Dives 500 Points (CNBC)

Stocks tanked on Monday, pushing the S&P 500 to a new low for the year amid growing concerns that the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates could be too much for the economy and stock market to handle. The S&P 500 fell as much as 2.5% to 2,530.54, surpassing its February intraday low of 2,532.69. The broad market index finished the session down 2% at 2,545.94, its lowest close for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 507.53 points to close at 23,592.98, bringing its two-day losses to more than 1,000 points. Shares of Amazon and Goldman Sachs led the declines.

The Dow and S&P 500, which are both in corrections, are on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931, down more than 7% so far for the month. The S&P 500 is now in the red for 2018 by 4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.2% to finish the day at 6,753.73 as Microsoft dropped 2.9%. The Russell 2000 — which tracks the performance of smaller companies — entered a bear market, down 20% from its 52-week high. DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said Monday that he “absolutely” believes the S&P 500 will go below the lows that the index hit early in 2018. “I’m pretty sure this is a bear market,” Gundlach told Scott Wapner on CNBC’s “Halftime Report. The major averages fell to session lows following his comments.

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There are so many death croses lately, the term loses meaning.

The Latest Key Death Cross Is Poised To Engulf The Stock Market (MW)

Ominous-sounding death crosses have been emerging in the stock market like weeds, with the latest — and arguably, the last important such cross — about to take hold in the Dow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on the verge of joining other major equity benchmarks in a so-called death cross, where the 50-day — a short-term trend tracker — crosses below the 200-day, used to determine a long-term trend in an asset. Chart watchers believe that such a cross marks the point where a shorter-term decline graduates to a longer-term downtrend.

Currently, the Dow’s 50-day moving average stands at 25,173.14, compared against its 200-day average at 25,083.23, according to FactSet data, as of Friday’s close of trading. That puts the 50-day less than 90 points shy of breaching the long-term average, which could occur by the end of this week or next, based on the current pace of decline. The Dow has suffered a series of punishing drops on nagging fears of slowing global growth, unresolved trade worries and the pace of the Federal Reserve’s rate increases, with Monday’s action placing the Dow at its lowest close since March 23, 2018.

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Thank the Fed.

Stock Market On Pace For Worst December Since Great Depression (CNBC)

Two benchmark U.S. stock indexes are careening toward a historically bad December. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are on pace for their worst December performance since 1931, when stocks were battered during the Great Depression. The Dow and S&P 500 are down 7.8% and 7.6% this month, respectively. December is typically a very positive month for markets. The Dow has only fallen during 25 Decembers going back to 1931. The S&P 500 averages a 1.6% gain for December, making it typically the best month for the market, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac. While the S&P 500 began dissemination in 1950, the performance data was backtested through 1928. It’s worth noting that historically, the second half of December tends to see gains.

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The Fed has absolute control. I don’t see nearly enough people being afraid of that.

How The Federal Reserve Could Spark A ‘Santa Claus’ Stock Rally (Yahoo!)

After a bruising few months for stocks, investors are banking on a ‘Santa Claus’ rally to close out 2018. Even with just a handful of trading sessions left in 2018, there is still one remaining catalyst that could spark a stock rally: the Federal Reserve. The market is pricing in a 78% chance the Fed announces a rate hike Wednesday, when it wraps up its two-day policy meeting, according to CME futures data. The rate hike itself wouldn’t spark the rally. In fact, rate hikes make stocks less attractive. But this rate hike is so priced in, that not going forward with it could signal that the Fed is worried about the economy. This would be the Fed’s fourth interest rate hike of 2018. It was in June that the Fed telegraphed this fourth rate hike.

Instead, the stock rally could be sparked by the Fed’s guidance about monetary policy in 2019. “For U.S. stocks to drift higher this week, the Fed will have to strike an easier tone about future rate hikes without signaling undue concerns about U.S. economic growth,” wrote Nick Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, in a note to clients Monday. But doing so may force them to downgrade U.S. economic growth forecasts for 2019, Colas said. “Changing course on rates without that air cover will make it look like the Fed is targeting asset price volatility (a.k.a. the “Fed Put”) or – worse – that the central bank is taking orders from the White House,” Colas noted, referring to President Trump’s months-long criticism — which occurred as recently as Monday — of the Fed’s monetary tightening.

[..] the Fed’s statement on Wednesday, roughly 200 words in length, will be scrutinized by investors. “The Fed could delete the words ‘gradual increases’ — meaning a hike every quarter is no longer a working assumption,” said Danielle DiMartino Booth, a former Fed advisor and CEO of Quill Intelligence. “That would take March off the table in theory and could spark a rally, even if based only on technicals, that could run into year-end.” The Fed has started to use the phrase “gradual increases” when referring to interest rate hikes in its statements starting in June. Prior to that, many of the statements included the phrase “gradual adjustments.” “Investors are hungry for even a morsel of dovishness, and what they do not say could be even more powerful than what they do say,” Booth noted.

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I don’t think the problem is where Lance sees it.

You Have A “Trading” Problem (Roberts)

As Sy Harding says in his excellent book “Riding The Bear:” “No such creature as a ‘buy and hold’ investor ever emerged from the other side of the subsequent bear market.” Statistics compiled by Ned Davis Research back up Harding’s assertion. Every time the market declines more than 10%, (and “real” bear markets don’t even officially begin until the decline is 20%), mutual funds experience net outflows of investor money. To wit: “Lipper also found the largest outflows on record from stocks ($46BN), the largest outflows since December 2015 from taxable bond ($13.4BN) and Investment Grade bond ($3.7BN) funds, and the 4th consecutive week of outflows from high yield bonds ($2.1BN), offset by a panic rush into cash as money market funds attracted over $81BN in inflows, the largest inflow on record.”

Most bear markets last for months (the norm), or even years (both the 1929 and 1966 bear markets), and one can see how the torture of losing money week after week, month after month, would wear down even the most determined “buy and hold” investor. But the average investor’s pain threshold is a lot lower than that. The research shows that it doesn’t matter if the bear market lasts less than 3 months (like the 1990 bear) or less than 3 days (like the 1987 bear). People will still sell out, usually at the very bottom, and almost always at a loss. So THAT is how it happens. And the only way to avoid it – is to avoid owning stocks during bear markets. If you try to ride them out, odds are you’ll fail. And if you believe that we are in a “New Era,” and that bear markets are a thing of the past, your next of kin will have our sympathies.

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Xi is not reforming, he’s trying to keep China above water.

China Politics Getting In The Way Of Reforms (G.)

Xi’s speech comes as the Chinese leadership is facing criticism over slowing growth and confrontation with the US. Observers hoped his speech would lay out new directions or reforms needed to help the Chinese economy, weighed down by debt and lagging consumption, and an overly dominant state sector. Instead, Xi stressed that the Party’s leadership and strategy up to now have been “absolutely correct.” He promised to support the state sector while continuing reforms in appropriate areas. His remarks lacked any detail about new policies and failed to inspire confidence in Asian markets. Hong Kong and Shanghai both dropped sharply during the speech. They are now off 1% for the day while losses have deepened to 1.8% in Tokyo and more than 1% in Sydney.

“President Xi was perhaps unsurprisingly long on rhetoric and short on details,” said Tom Rafferty, regional manager for China at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “There will be a sense of disappointment, among both local and international investors, that Xi did not give clearer signals about the direction of future economic reform at a time when the Chinese government’s commitment to market liberalisation is seen to have waned.” Critics say politics are getting in the way of needed reforms – a rare challenge to Xi, who has amassed power more quickly than any of his predecessors.

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Central question is how much of it was borrowed. How much is based on unproductive investments and sheer waste?

China To Mark Economic Miracle That Pulled 700 Million People Out Of Poverty (RT)

China has pledged more economic reforms to push growth higher and help offset any impact from the US trade conflict. It comes as the world’s second-largest economy marks the 40th anniversary of “reform and opening up” this week. Statistics show that more than 700 million Chinese people have shaken off poverty since Beijing started its program of economic reforms four decades ago. The figure accounts for over 70% of global poverty reduction during that period. The first wave of reform, which lasted from 1978 to 1989, was characterized by agricultural reform and revival of the private sector. The second wave of reform (from 1992 to 2012) resulted in the legalization of the market economy, China’s accession to the WTO, and a booming private sector.

China’s record in poverty reduction since reform and opening up is without parallel in human history, according to Wang Yiwei, professor of the School of International Studies at Renmin University. “Between 1978 and 2017, China’s economy expanded at an annual average 9.5% growth rate, increasing in size almost 35 times,” he told Xinhua News. The total expansion of China’s economy over a 39 year period was almost three times as much as Japan’s, Ross noted, adding that “No other economy commencing sustained rapid economic growth even remotely approaches the 22.3% of the world’s population as China had in 1978 at the beginning of reform and opening up.”

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Australia hasn’t gone down in 2 decades. That takes a lot of debt.

Australia’s Central Bank Sees Risks From High Debt As House Prices Fall (R.)

A combination of falling home prices, stratospheric household debt and low wage growth posed downside risks to the Australian economy, the country’s central bank warned on Tuesday, even as it predicted the next move in interest rates would likely be up. Minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) December policy meeting showed members spent a considerable time discussing the recent slowdown in global growth momentum, partly caused by a bitter tariff dispute between the United States and China. Australia is heavily leveraged to global trade with China its No.1 trading partner so any deceleration in momentum overseas will likely be negative for the A$1.8 trillion economy.

Indeed, Australia’s gross domestic product expanded at a weaker-than-expected 2.8% pace last quarter, when policy makers were hoping for “above-trend” 3%-plus growth. Dismal private consumption was a major factor hurting economic activity, even though there were some early signs of a small uptick in wages growth. “The outlook for household consumption continued to be a source of uncertainty because growth in household income remained low, debt levels were high and housing prices had declined. Members noted that this combination of factors posed downside risks,” the RBA said.

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The key to why Russia is seen as a problem. And that in turn leads to all the articles following this one.

‘No Existing Countermeasures’ To Russian Hypersonic Weapons – US Gov’t (RT)

The US is currently unable to repel an attack from the hypersonic weapons that are being developed by Russia and China, as they can pierce most missile defense systems, a recent US government report has revealed.
“China and Russia are pursuing hypersonic weapons because their speed, altitude, and maneuverability may defeat most missile defense systems, and they may be used to improve long-range conventional and nuclear strike capabilities,” the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reads. The report also highlights the challenges to American security posed by Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons and stealth aircraft that “could fly faster, carry advanced weapons, and achieve further distances.”

The rapid development of the cutting-edge technology “could force US aircraft to operate at father distances and put more US targets at risk,” the report notes. Speaking at a Valdai Club session in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia surpassed its rivals in terms of hypersonic weapons, calling Russia’s prevalence in the field “an obvious fact.” “Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months. We have them in service already,” Putin said. In March Putin unveiled several advanced weapons systems, including the Avangard hypersonic glider warheads and the Kinzhal –or Dagger– hypersonic cruise missile. The Kinzhal can fly at Mach-10 speed and has a reported range of 2,000 km (1243 miles).

It was reported that Russia’s advanced Sukhoi Su-57 jet might soon be armed with a missile similar to the Kinzhal. While the Avangard is about to enter military service, the Kinzhal has already been deployed with the force. Faced with the unmatched hypersonic capabilities, the Pentagon has launched about a dozen programs to protect the US from hypersonic weapons. A project named ‘Glide Breaker’ to develop an interceptor capable of neutralizing incoming hypersonic gliders has been in the works with The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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If you were African-American and you’re told all the time that you would have voted Hillary if not for the Russians co-opting you with $5,000 in ads, you would get mad too.

The Bigotry Behind NY Times’ ‘Russians Targeted African-Americans’ (GJ)

This morning, the New York Times decided to stop insulting our intelligence and instead chose to insult decency. In an article written by Scott Shane and Sheera Frenkel, Russians allegedly unleashed an intricate plot to targeted African-Americans in order to foment discontent and dupe “black people” to vote against their self-interest. According to the corporate recorders at the NY Times, the reason that African-Americans did not uniformly vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is because they were too dimwitted to think for themselves and were subsequently manipulated by foreign agents. [..] Let me dispel some myths here about people who refused to vote for Hillary since I happen to be one of them.

I chose to withhold my support not because Russians conditioned me to think that way but because I refused to support a warmongering sociopath otherwise known as John McCain in pantsuits. I’ve followed Hillary’s career long enough to know that she is a corporate courtesan who can’t get enough of destabilizing nations and enriching herself by trading access for cash. Eight years of Obama catering to Wall Street and furthering George Bush’s war first policies was enough for me to tap out. [..] In other words, just because my skin color is “black” does not mean I owe my vote and loyalty to Democrats. True enough, there was a time where I was an unflinching supporter of team blue, but after seeing how Democrats are no different than Republicans, I chose to wake up.

[..] The level of duplicity on display by establishment voices is truly astounding. If leading Democrats and media personalities want to know who is responsible for the rise of Trump, they should look in the mirror. After all, it was Hillary Clinton’s “pied piper” strategy—heeded by her sycophants in the press—that elevated a reality show clown into a serious contender. Hillary Clinton and her cronies rigged the primaries, spent more than $1.2 billion and Trump was given more than a billion dollars in free media by CNN, MSNBC and their ilk, yet we are supposed to believe that $5,000 in Google ads and $50,000 on Facebook was enough to tilt the outcome of the 2016 elections.

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Who exactly here operates a troll factory?

Racist ‘Russians’ Targeted African-Americans In 2016 Election – Reports (RT)

Low voter turnout among African-Americans is usually blamed on purged voter rolls or decades of socioeconomic stasis – but in 2016, ‘evil’ Russia was the main culprit, according to two controversial reports for the US Senate. Though described as “Senate reports” by mainstream US media outlets, the two documents were actually compiled by third parties. The first was produced by a consultancy called New Knowledge, with the help of two other researchers, while the second was done by a group at Oxford University and the UK research firm Graphika. By the social media giants’ own admission, the criteria for labeling posts as “Russian” is so broad as to be practically meaningless.

That hasn’t stopped the authors of the two reports, though, who saw President Vladimir Putin’s fingerprints on every keyboard and under every bed. In particular, they argued, the “Russians” sought to depress the 2016 turnout by targeting Black Americans. Both groups relied on posts provided to the US government by Twitter, Facebook and Google and identified as coming from the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), also known as the “troll factory.” “These campaigns pushed a message that the best way to advance the cause of the African-American community was to boycott the election and focus on other issues instead,” said the Oxford report.

“The most prolific IRA efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets,” says the New Knowledge report. While some African-American activists saw the reports as recognition of their community’s influence in US politics, others pointed out that blaming the “Russians” downplayed very real and long-standing racism in American society.

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African-Americans have no opinions of their own, and neither do Yellow Vests. They’re all like Putin’s zombie armies. Next up is Orban blaming Putin for Hungary’s protests.

Russia! The Gift That Keeps Giving For The BBC, Even In France (Bridge)

Given the rash of conspiracy theories leveled against Russia of late, it is no surprise that the BBC is deep-sea fishing for a Kremlin angle to explain the protests against the government of French President Emmanuel Macron. This new and improved beast of burden to explain every uprising, lost election, accident and wart, popularly known as ‘Russia’ – a strategy rebuked by none other than President Putin as “the new anti-Semitism” – provides craven political leaders with a ready-made alibi when the proverbial poo hits the fan. Yes! It can even rescue Emmanuel Macron, who just experienced his fifth consecutive weekend of protests in the French capital and beyond.

Here is the real beauty of this new media product, which promises to outsell Chanel No.5 this holiday season. Reporting on ‘Russia’ does not require any modicum of journalistic ethics, standards or even proof to peddle it like snake oil to an unsuspecting public. Simply uttering the name ‘Russia’ is usually all it takes for the fairytale to grow wings, spreading its destructive lies around the world. ‘Russia’ is truly the gift that keeps on giving! Allow me to demonstrate how easy it is to apply. Just this weekend, BBC journalist Olga Ivshina was engaged in correspondence with a stringer in France. In an effort to explain what has sparked the French protests, Ivshina gratuitously tossed out some live ‘blame Russia’ bait.

“And maybe some Russian business is making big bucks on it,” the BBC journalist solicited in an effort to conjure up fake news out of thin air. “Maybe they are eating cutlets out there en masse, for example. Or maybe the far-right are the main troublemakers?” When the question only managed to elicit an uncomfortable laugh from the stringer, the nonplussed BBC journalist exposed more trade secrets than was probably advisable. In fact, what followed seems to have been the only nugget of truth to emerge from the discussion. Ivshina confided that she was “looking for various angles” since the broadcaster, like a modern day Dracula flick, was “out for blood.”

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The next scheduled chapter in the story is Gen. Flynn’s sentencing this Tuesday. It would be a surprise if the Judge does not observe that Mr. Mueller has acted in contempt of court. Ditto if the charge against Gen. Flynn is not thrown out.

Fatal Over-Reach (Kunstler)

Last Friday morning, we adjourned the blog in anticipation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handing over certain FBI documents in the General Flynn matter demanded by DC District Federal Judge Emmett G. Sullivan no later than 3:00 p.m. that day. Guess what. Mr. Mueller’s errand boys did not hand over the required documents — original FBI 302 interrogation reports. Instead, they proffered a half-assed “interview” with one of the two agents who conducted the Flynn interrogation, Peter Strzok, attempting to recollect the 302 half a year after it was written. Of course, Mr. Strzok was notoriously fired from the Bureau in August for bouts of wild political fury on-the-job as FBI counter-intel chief during and after the 2016 election. (This was the second time he was fired; the first was when Robert Mueller discarded him from the SC team in 2017 as a legal liability.)

So, 3:00 p.m. Friday has come and gone. It appears that the FBI 302 docs have come and gone, too. Actually, we have reason to believe that nothing ever created on a computer connected to the internet can actually disappear entirely. Rather, the data gets sucked into the bottomless well of the NSA server-farm out in Utah. Most likely, the original 302s exist and Mr. Mueller is pretending he can’t find them. In effect, it appears that Mr. Mueller has responded by gently whispering “fuck you” to Judge Sullivan.

Interestingly, The New York Times didn’t even report the story (nor The WashPo, nor CNN, nor MSNBC). Since their “Russia Collusion” narrative is foundering, they can’t tolerate any suggestion that their Avenging Angel of Impeachment, Mr. Mueller, is less than the sanctified plain dealer he affects to be. Judge Sullivan kept his own counsel all weekend. The next scheduled chapter in the story is Gen. Flynn’s sentencing this Tuesday. It would be a surprise if the Judge does not observe that Mr. Mueller has acted in contempt of court. Ditto if the charge against Gen. Flynn is not thrown out. After all, the main articles of evidence against him apparently don’t exist.

And if it turns out that Mr. Mueller and his team are disgraced by their apparent bad faith behavior in the Flynn case, what then of all the other cases connected to Mueller one way or another: Manafort, Cohen, Papadopoulos? And the other matters still in question, such as the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian “Magnitsky” lawyer and Golden Golem Junior, the porn star payoffs… really everything he has touched. What if it all falls apart?

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This is it. Given recent claims that emissions must be cut five times more than is now recognized, and there are just 2 years left to do anything meaningful concerning climate change, this is it.

Coal Demand Will Remain Steady Through 2023 -IEA (CNBC)

Coal consumption is expanding after two years of decline, but miners should brace for another period of sluggish growth, according to the International Energy Agency. In its latest annual report, the IEA forecasts global coal demand will remain essentially stable over the next five years, inching up by just over 1% between 2017 and 2023. The reason for coal’s stagnation remains unchanged from recent years: Developed nations are ditching the fossil fuel, while India and other emerging economies are turning to coal to quickly scale up electric power generation.

“In a growing number of countries, the elimination of coal-fired generation is a key climate policy goal. In others, coal remains the preferred source of electricity and is seen as abundant and affordable,” said the IEA, a Paris-based agency that advises developed nations on energy policy. The IEA’s forecast comes on the heels of a series of reports that the world is falling short of commitments to prevent catastrophic impacts from climate change and running out of time to take action. Burning coal for electric power and industrial purposes such as steelmaking is a major contributor to global warming.

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Dec 102018
 


Jerry Bywaters Oil Field Girls 1940

 

Investors Managing $32 Trillion In Assets Call For Climate Change Action (R.)
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil Face Shareholder Challenge Over Carbon Targets (G.)
Bear Market Is Here, Stocks To Plunge At Least 20% – Ned Davis Research (CNBC)
Everyone Is Bearish But No-One Is Short (ZH)
Senior Tory Vultures Circle With May On Brink (Ind.)
EU’s Top Court Says UK Can Unilaterally Stop Brexit (R.)
UK Government Funds Secret Anti-Corbyn, Labour Unit (DR)
Comey: FBI Never Verified Steele Dossier Used To Justify Special Counsel (ZH)
Russian Stealth Jets To Be Armed With New Hypersonic Missiles (ZH)
Medical Researchers Still Routinely Hiding Funding From Big Pharma (RT)
Italian Priests Vow To Open Church Doors To Evicted Immigrants (G.)
Why Greeks Traditionally Decorate a Boat Instead of a Christmas Tree (GR)
The Antidote To Civilisational Collapse (Adam Curtis)

 

 

Right. Questions: How much of the $32 trillion was made doing things that increased emissions? How much of it is presently invested in polluting companies? And how much are the investors prepared to lose in order to comply with whatever it takes to lower emissions?

To put it simply: these people are talking their books. They got rich by polluting. They intend to get even richer by going green.

If you’re serious about the topic, don’t join them.

Investors Managing $32 Trillion In Assets Call For Climate Change Action (R.)

Global investors managing $32 trillion in assets have called on governments to accelerate steps to combat climate change, as policymakers meet for talks at a United Nations conference in Poland. A total of 415 investors from across the world including UBS Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard Investments signed the 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change demanding urgent action. “The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks,” the statement said.

The intervention is the single largest on the topic to date, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change said, as talks continue in the Polish city of Katowice to agree how to slow global warming to below 2ºC. That goal was agreed at a 2015 meeting in Paris, but investors said national governments were being too slow in enacting the policies needed to help the world transition to a low-carbon economy. Failure to act could lead to permanent economic damage three or four times the scale of the impact of the financial crisis, British asset manager Schroders said.

As well as ramping up the involvement of the private sector, governments needed to commit to improving climate-related financial reporting, a move that would help investors better assess the risk and allocate capital to the right companies. “The reality is that the long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” said Chris Newton, Executive Director Responsible Investment, IFM Investors. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”

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If these activist shareholders succeed, the value of their shares will plunge. That’s why in an earlier vote at Shell, 94% of shareholders votied against and 5% abstained. That reduces this to window dressing.

BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil Face Shareholder Challenge Over Carbon Targets (G.)

BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil face a shareholder challenge to set carbon targets in line with the Paris climate agreement, as a green group seeks to repeat its success in pressuring Shell to set environmental benchmarks. When Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, laid out an ambitious long-term carbon target last year, he acknowledged the role played by a resolution on carbon targets submitted by Dutch activist shareholders Follow This. Follow This is hoping to use investor power to push other major oil and gas firms into setting similar goals. The organisation has bought shares in several major fossil fuel groups and has submitted two resolutions to the European firms BP and Shell. It will file identical resolutions with the US companies Chevron and ExxonMobil later this week if other parties do not submit a similar demand.

Investors at the firms’ annual general meetings next year will be asked to vote in favour of them publishing climate change targets in alignment with the international goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures well below 2C. Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This, said: “Targets should be on the agenda of every oil company, given that the oil industry can make or break the Paris climate agreement.” The group has little chance of winning by persuading a majority of the four companies’ shareholders to back the resolution but it believes the tactic can put public and investor pressure on firms. Although backed by the Church of England and major pension funds, the resolution filed for Shell’s AGM on carbon targets failed in 2017, with 94% of shareholders voting against and 5% abstaining.

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New Davis have no idea how big the fall will be, no more than you or I. And besides, they think that by spring, “the pain will be largely behind the Street”.

Bear Market Is Here, Stocks To Plunge At Least 20% – Ned Davis Research (CNBC)

The wild trading that’s gripped Wall Street may be no ordinary correction. According to Ned Davis Research’s Ed Clissold, a bear market is officially here. “If you take this as a typical bear market, not associated with a recession, it’s going to take you down around 20% — maybe a little bit more,” the firm’s chief U.S. market strategist told CNBC’s “Futures Now” last week. “That’s what we need to be thinking about over the next several months.” A bear market is defined as an environment when overwhelming pessimism sparks a 20% drop or more from recent highs. In this case, it would wipe out 588 points from the S&P 500’s all-time high of 2940.91 hit on Sept. 21. The index closed Friday in correction territory at 2,633.08. That’s down 10% from the high and 4.6% for the week.

Originally, Clissold called for a bear market to hit Wall Street in 2019, due to jitters over interest rate hike risks, U.S.-China trade tensions and slowing growth in earnings and the economy. However, he decided to move up his forecast due to “severe” technical damage from the October correction. Now, it appears the market may soon get hit with another batch of discouraging news. “Earnings growth is becoming a front-burner issue. Everybody expected it to slow down next year because we don’t have the benefit of tax cuts. But the slowdown is probably going to be more than expected,” said Clissold. [..] He may be predicting a deep pullback, but he does not see any signs of a recession. By spring, Clissold said, the pain will be largely behind the Street.

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Everyone still relies on central banks.

Everyone Is Bearish But No-One Is Short (ZH)

In the past two months we have written extensively on how most market participants got caught offside by the dramatic reversion in risk assets, and which after several attempts at bottom-fishing – attempts which have failed because as Morgan Stanley first noted two months ago the Buy The Dip trade no longer works…

… increasingly more traders have thrown in the towel, resulting in YTD returns which are truly “historic” with not one single asset generating positive returns for the first time since the Nixon presidency.

Well, that’s not exactly right: one asset is outperforming – the one which usually does best just as the economy slides into a recession or worse: cash. As Bank of America notes, the YTD score for the top global assets is the following: • equities -4.2%, • bonds -2.3%, • commodities -6.2%, • cash 1.7%, • US$ 4.9%.

Drilling down reveals an even uglier picture: the 2018 bear market has spared nobody with US Treasuries down -4.9%, the 5th largest loss since 1970, US IG bonds -3.3%, their 4th largest loss since 1970, meanwhile 1881 of 2767 global stocks are in a bear market, down more than 20%, 86 of 94 equity indices underwater, and the cherry on top – the FAANG bull market “leader” is down -26% from highs, which according to BofA’s Michael Hartnett is “a big nasty bear market.” The result, per Bank of America, is that “capitulation to lower credit & equity allocations begins but from high allocations to risk assets.” That’s the good news: the bad news is that even as investors are bailing out of risk assets, they are also dumping safe havens like treasuries, and in the last week we saw broad based risk-off flows, including $5.2BN outflow from equities, and $8.1BN outflow from bonds this week

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By the day, it becomes more like one of those Shakespeare plays with gossiping and backstabbing and all that. Love it.

Senior Tory Vultures Circle With May On Brink (Ind.)

Theresa May is set for the bleakest week of her time in power after leadership rivals publicly positioned themselves to grab the Tory crown if her Brexit plans collapse. Ex-cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey all signalled a willingness to bid for the leadership amid speculation that Ms May faces a heavy defeat in the crunch Commons vote on her proposed Brexit deal. More resignations were expected from the front bench in the run-up to the vote, with government insiders indicating it could still be delayed. If she survives the first half of the week, Ms May is expected to head to Brussels where she will implore the EU to offer a concession on the hated “Irish backstop” so that she can try to sell the deal to Tory rebels one last time.

The prime minister spoke to president of the European Council Donald Tusk on Sunday, who said afterwards that it would be “an important week for the fate of Brexit”. In London thousands of protestors waving union jacks joined a “Brexit betrayal” march sponsored by Ukip and addressed by far-right activist Tommy Robinson, while even more were said to have turned up to an anti-fascist counter-march. The febrile atmosphere as the week starts is only set to intensify as MPs return to Westminster on Monday, with talk of Conservative plots and leadership challenges filling the air. One Tory backbencher told The Independent: “No one knows if the prime minister is still going to be in Downing Street at the end of the week.

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Ha ha! Don’t forget to say thank you to the EU for your freedoms, Brits! Rumor has it May’s Plan B will include a second vote that does not have a Remain option.

EU’s Top Court Says UK Can Unilaterally Stop Brexit (R.)

The European Union’s top court ruled on Monday that the United Kingdom can unilaterally revoke its divorce notice, raising the hopes of pro-Europeans ahead of a crucial vote in the British parliament on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal. Just 36 hours before British lawmakers vote on May’s deal, the Court of Justice said in an emergency judgement that London could revoke its Article 50 formal divorce notice with no penalty. May’s government says the ruling means nothing because it has no intention of reversing its decision to leave the EU on March 29. But critics of her deal say it provides options — either to delay Brexit and renegotiate terms of withdrawal, or cancel it altogether if British voters change their minds. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU,” the court said.

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Surprised? Don’t be.

UK Government Funds Secret Anti-Corbyn, Labour Unit (DR)

A secret UK Government-funded infowars unit based in Scotland sent out social media posts attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. On the surface, the cryptically named Institute for Statecraft is a small charity operating from an old Victorian mill in Fife. But explosive leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists. The “think tank” is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming “clusters” of friendly journalists and “key influencers” throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.

But our investigation has found worrying evidence the shadowy programme’s official Twitter account has been used to attack Corbyn, the Labour Party and their officials. [..] David Miller, a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, added: “It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office would be funding a Scottish charity to counter Russian propaganda which ends up attacking Her Majesty’s opposition and soft-pedalling far-right politicians in the Ukraine. “People have a right to know how the Government are spending their money, and the views being promoted in their name.”

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That’s not legal, is it?

Comey: FBI Never Verified Steele Dossier Used To Justify Special Counsel (ZH)

Former FBI Director James Comey didn’t know a lot during Friday’s congressional testimony – claiming hundreds of times (245 according to Trump) that he simply couldn’t remember various things. What Comey did remember, however, confirms that the FBI could not verify the dossier submitted by former UK spy Christopher Steele – which the agency used as the foundation of a spy warrant application to surveil the Trump campaign. While Comey said the dossier came from “a reliable source with a track record, and it’s an important thing when you’re seeking a PC warrant,” he also admitted that the FBI was unable to corroborate the document’s claims.

“But what I understand by verified is we then try to replicate the source information so that it becomes FBI investigation and our conclusions rather than a reliable source’s,” Comey said, adding “That’s what I understand it, the difference to be. And that work wasn’t completed by the time I left in May of 2017, to my knowledge.” The FBI is required to fully vet information they submit to FISA courts, which they of course did not do in their haste to deploy a counterintelligence dragnet on the Trump campaign during the final months of the 2016 US election. Steele, meanwhile, was fired by the FBI for leaking information to the press while the agency was using him as a source. To get around this, the FBI went through former #4 DOJ official Bruce Ohr – who was demoted twice for lying about his contacts with Steele.

Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for the embattled research firm Fusion GPS on the Trump dossier. Fusion GPS hired Steele as part of their ongoing effort to investigate the Trump campaign and any ties with Russia. It was discovered in 2017 that Fusion GPS was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the campaign’s law firm Perkins Coie to investigate any alleged ties between Trump and Russia. More importantly, the FBI used information from Steele, a foreign source who was openly antagonistic about Trump. In fact, Ohr told FBI officials that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” as stated in the House Intelligence Committee investigation memo. -Sara Carter

Comey’s confirmation echoes comments made in a string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification – as reported last week by The Hill’s John Solomon. The emails – kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, “included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division,” according to the report – and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

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In a worst case scenario, the US will use this as a reason to attack now, before Americans figure out they can’t win.

Russian Stealth Jets To Be Armed With New Hypersonic Missiles (ZH)

The advanced Sukhoi Su-57 multipurpose jet, Russia’s first domestically produced fifth-generation stealth fighter, will be armed with new hypersonic missiles, according to a Russian military source. “In accordance with Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027, Su-57 jet fighters will be equipped with hypersonic missiles,” a Russian defense industry source toldTASS news agency on December 06. “The jet fighters will receive missiles with characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal missiles, but with inter-body placement and smaller size,” the source added. Moscow said the new Kinzhal (“Dagger”), a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile, can hit speeds of up to Mach 10 and can perform evasive maneuvers that can render NATO’s US-led missile defense system completely “useless.”

The missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads with a range of about 1,200 miles. The new hypersonic missile will be much smaller than the current Kinzhal; this is due to size constraints of fitting the weapon inside the stealth aircraft’s weapons bay. The alternative would be mounting the missile on the outside of the plane, but that would increase the jet’s radar signature. No details within the report explain about a timetable for the development or the planned specifications for the new missiles. The Defense Ministry would neither confirm nor deny the information. The Kinzhal missile is currently being tested in field training exercises.

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The US needs to clean up its pharma, along with the entire healthcare system.

Medical Researchers Still Routinely Hiding Funding From Big Pharma (RT)

A huge proportion of scientists and doctors publishing in major medical magazines continue to conceal ties to corporations relevant to their research, while punishment for not declaring interests remains weak, says a new report. “The system is broken,” Mehraneh Dorna Jafari, assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine, told the New York Times and ProPublica, an investigative journalism non-profit. Jafari was one of the authors of a landmark study published back in August that took the names of the 100 doctors receiving the most funding from medical equipment and drug manufacturers, and then studied whether they declared a potential conflict of interest in their published research. Only 37 did.

For example, Dr. Howard A. Burris III, has been elected as the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) that includes 40,000 members, and can make influential recommendations on cancer drugs worth tens of billions of dollars. Companies where Burris is an employee have been paid $114,000 in speaking fees, and $8 million in research funding by private corporations. Yet in none of his last 50 articles did the man, whose bio boasts that he “was selected by his peers as a ‘Giant of Cancer Care’ for his achievements in drug development,” think it was necessary to declare any potential biases resulting from corporate involvement.

In the latest investigation, the Times and ProPublica revealed that Dr. Robert J. Alpern, the dean of the Yale School of Medicine, writing about an experimental kidney disease drug failed to state that he was on the board of the company producing it. When journalists approached the publisher of the article, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, its editor discovered that all 12 authors of the article in question had interests they failed to declare.

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Really? Salvini is about to take on the Pope?

Italian Priests Vow To Open Church Doors To Evicted Immigrants (G.)

Italian priests have declared their willingness to “open the church doors of every single parish” to people expelled from reception centres as an anti-immigration law from Italy’s rightwing government threatens to make thousands homeless. The so-called “Salvini decree” – named after Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and leader of the far-right League – left hundreds in legal limbo when its removal of humanitarian protection for those not eligible for refugee status but otherwise unable to return home was applied by several Italian cities soon after its approval by parliament earlier this month. The Catholic church expressed its profound disapproval immediately after the vote.

The Vatican’s position is “very clear”, its secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said last week. “You don’t leave migrants in the street … A profound sense of solidarity must prevail. You cannot put people in this position. You must always focus on people and their rights.” According to Italy’s ministry of the interior, between 2016 and 2017 Italy provided humanitarian protection to 39,145 asylum seekers, who under the Salvini decree risk being made homeless within weeks. In early December, a letter announcing the expulsion of 50 people was sent to the reception centre in Mineo, Sicily: the largest in Europe after the Moria camp in Greece.

The bishop of Caltagirone, Monsignor Calogero Peri, said he was prepared to provide 40 beds in nearby facilities owned by the church to welcome people who risk expulsion. “And if there are not enough beds? I have already spoken with other bishops: we will open the church doors of every single parish under our control,” he said. “It’s not a question of politics. It’s a matter of protecting individuals. Imagine this: in Italy now it is a crime to abandon dogs, but it is not a crime to abandon people. Even worse, abandoning men, women and children is now the law.”

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A little nothing news. But cute.

Why Greeks Traditionally Decorate a Boat Instead of a Christmas Tree (GR)

The most traditional symbol you will find in Greece during the holidays is a small boat decorated with lights, usually placed in the main square of a town and close to the more international Christmas tree. To karavaki, or small boat is rooted in the traditions of a country with a symbiotic relationship with the sea. In fact on the many Greek islands the Christmas boats remain the most popular ornament of the holiday season. Different legends explain the tradition of the Christmas Greek boat. One of them is related to Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), the Patron Saint of Sailors. This saint is celebrated on December 6, the day when many households start decorating their houses for Christmas. Some agree that this is why boats are decorated, in order to honor the saint.

It’s also true that Greece is proud of the large amount of sailors, fishermen and intrepid captains the country has, which makes them as a symbol of local identity. Men would often be away for months at a time, and those back home would be anxiously waiting for their return. On the islands, the wives, mothers, and daughters of seaman used to spend the cold and dark winter months with their heart and mind at sea. There, their men were battling the stormy seas during the holiday season. These were months of expectation, hope, and prayer for their safe return. The joy of seeing the boats coming back, approaching the shores, made the women celebrate in relief. The boat is a symbol to honor those brave men coming back home.

The tradition wanted the small wooden boats placed inside close to the fireplace and pointing towards the center of the house, never towards the door. They were also lovingly decorated to give a warm welcome to the men of the household. Even kids prepared their own boats with paper and chips of wood, and on Christmas Eve, they used these little boats to collect the treats they had received when singing the carols (kalanda) from house to house.

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Don’t miss the fantastic Adam Curtis. He knows more about what makes our world go round than just about anyone. Watch his docs, all of them.

The Antidote To Civilisational Collapse (Adam Curtis)

Adam Curtis: “HyperNormalisation” is a word that was coined by a brilliant Russian historian who was writing about what it was like to live in the last years of the Soviet Union. What he said, which I thought was absolutely fascinating, was that in the 80s everyone from the top to the bottom of Soviet society knew that it wasn’t working, knew that it was corrupt, knew that the bosses were looting the system, knew that the politicians had no alternative vision. And they knew that the bosses knew they knew that. Everyone knew it was fake, but because no one had any alternative vision for a different kind of society, they just accepted this sense of total fakeness as normal. And this historian, Alexei Yurchak, coined the phrase “HyperNormalisation” to describe that feeling.

I thought “that’s a brilliant title” because, although we are not in any way really like the Soviet Union, there is a similar feeling in our present day. Everyone in my country and in America and throughout Europe knows that the system that they are living under isn’t working as it is supposed to; that there is a lot of corruption at the top. But whenever the journalists point it out, everyone goes “Wow that’s terrible!” and then nothing happens and the system remains the same. There is a sense of everything being slightly unreal; that you fight a war that seems to cost you nothing and it has no consequences at home; that money seems to grow on trees; that goods come from China and don’t seem to cost you anything; that phones make you feel liberated but that maybe they’re manipulating you but you’re not quite sure. It’s all slightly odd and slightly corrupt.

[..] No one is really sure what Trump represents. My working theory is that he’s part of the pantomime-isation of politics. Every morning Donald Trump wakes up in the White House, he tweets something absolutely outrageous which he knows the liberals will get upset by, the liberals read his tweets and go “This is terrible, this is outrageous,” and then tell each other via social media how terrible it all is. It becomes a feedback loop in which they are locked together. In my mind, it’s like they’re together in a theatre watching a pantomime villain. The pantomime villain comes forward into the light, looks at them and says something terrible, and they go “Boo!!”. Meanwhile, outside the theatre, real power is carrying on but no one is really analysing it.

This is the problem with a lot of journalism, especially liberal journalism at the moment. It’s locked together with those people in the theatre. If you look at the New York Times, for example, it’s continually about that feedback loop between what Trump has said and the reaction of liberal elements in the society. It’s led to a great narrowing of journalism. So in a way, he is part of the hypernormal situation because it’s a politics of pantomime locked together with its critics. [..] ..It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a distraction from what’s really happening in the world. I would argue that there is a sense—in a lot of liberal journalism—of unreality. They’re locked into describing the pantomime politics and they’re not looking to what Mr Michael Pence is really up to, and what’s really happening outside the theatre.

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