Jun 032024
 


Domenico Fetti The Good Samaritan c.1620

 

Trump and ‘Our Democracy’: When A Political System Becomes A Meme (Johnston)
Trump Says He’s ‘OK’ With Serving Potential Jail Term (RT)
Maher: If Trump Goes To Jail There Will Be A Racial Civil War (MN)
Trump Campaign Raises Staggering $200 Million Since Thursday Conviction (ZH)
US Secret Service Reacts To Trump’s Criminal Conviction (ZH)
The Deepfake Privilege? (Turley)
‘Leader of the Free World’ Permits Genocide And Global Annihilation (SCF)
Biden Doesn’t Want To Be Responsible For WW3 – White House (RT)
Germany Bickers Over How to Get ‘Fit for War’ as Ukraine Drains Coffers (Sp.)
Saudi Arabia Won’t Attend ‘Ukraine Conference’ as Russia is Not Invited (Sp.)
Alex Jones Repels Ambush Seizure Of Infowars, Sleeps In Studio (ZH)
Boeing Enters ‘New Territory’ With Federal Probe, Possible Criminal Charges (ET)

 

 

 

 

Scharf

 

 

New Trump ad

 

 

O’Leary

 

 

Gov. Abbott

 

 

The largest organization in the history of the world: the US goverment

 

 

“German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock seriously stated at the Green party congress that her grandparents gave peace in Europe a second chance. It follows from this that now we cannot deviate from traditions and we must continue to support Ukraine for the sake of peace – “as long as it needs us.” Only the grandfather of the respected minister was not at all in the peacekeeping detachment, but, like a true Nazi, bravely defended the interests of the Third Reich. Yes, a minor nuance.”

 

 

Orwell 1943

 

 

Jim Rickards: U.S. is set to steal Russian-owned Treasury securities at the G7 summit in Italy on June 13. That theft will not destroy the Treasury market overnight. It will actually do something far worse. I explain in this new interview with @DanielaCambone

“Russia could retaliate by freezing the entire Western clearance system, warns Jim Richards, New York Times bestselling author. In an exclusive interview with Daniela Cambone, Richards explains that if Western countries seize Russian assets, Russia could sue Euroclear, the largest clearing, settlement, and custody organization in Europe, to recover damages. “You could throw a monkey wrench into the entire global clearance and settlement system by disrupting Euroclear, which is probably second only to DTCC in terms of settlement and clearance.” Additionally, Richards states that we may need to return to the gold standard to restore confidence in the U.S. dollar. “But if you have to go back to a gold standard, $27,000 would have to be the price in order to avoid massive deflation.”

 

 

 

 

The more people talk about democracy, the less of it there is.

Trump and ‘Our Democracy’: When A Political System Becomes A Meme (Johnston)

The verdict in Donald Trump’s hush money trial has bestirred the usual characters in all the predictable ways. And never far from anybody’s lips is the word ‘democracy’. “Donald Trump is threatening our democracy,” President Joe Biden himself opined, calling the ex-president’s questioning of the verdict “dangerous.“ The editorial board of the New York Times lauded the “remarkable display of the democratic principles” on display in convicting a former president, arguing that this proves that even men as powerful as Trump are not above the law. The word democracy is everywhere in the Western world these days. Hardly a day goes by without pleas to defend it, protect it, fight against its sworn enemies, or celebrate its virtues with pompous clichés. Precise and neutral usage has given way to an ideological tinge that is as electrified as it is vague. One senses the word is invoked in defense of a certain decaying America-led order and the elite institutions that uphold it – and yet, like its cousin the ‘rules-based-order’, it is never quite defined. In the 2024 US presidential election, we are told, democracy itself is on the ballot. Whatever that means.

If Trump is the archetypal demonic figure in the eyes of polite society, democracy is the bulwark against him. Democracy has been imbued with a primitive metaphysical potency that almost seems a stand-in for religious faith. Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address contained an exhortation to cure cancer once and for all, followed immediately by a grand summation of what has underpinned all American successes for all time – and, implicitly, will underpin futures ones, such as curing cancer. “Folks, there’s one reason why we’ve been able to do all of these things: our democracy itself.” Biden concluded: “With democracy, everything is possible. Without it, nothing is.” Turn back the clock a century or so, replace the word ‘democracy’ with ‘the grace of God’ and give the same speech and nobody would bat an eye. Democracy is a shield against accusations of wrongdoing. The defense being mounted against the war crimes charges facing the Israeli leadership is that the country is a democracy. As if how a government elects its leaders somehow changes the laws of war.

But what is curious is that this nauseating ubiquity of the word democracy has coincided with a period of deep dysfunction in actual self-proclaimed democracies. The more it is talked about, the less it seems to work and the larger the chasm between what is proclaimed and what is practiced. Many of the countries most vocally proclaiming democracy are the ones at the forefront of implementing highly undemocratic policies. It would be easy to become carried away pointing out the blatant hypocrisy in the Western embrace of all things democratic while at the same time leaning hard into authoritarian tendencies. Take your pick of stories: Earlier this month, for example, a German court rejected an AfD complaint about the classification of its youth organization as an extremist movement, meaning Germany’s domestic intelligence service can continue to monitor the activities and communications of the party itself. This was hailed as a victory by the government. “Today’s ruling shows that we are a democracy that can be defended,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

Clearly, for the current Western elites, democracy has come to mean a system not intended to be run democratically in response to the will of the people, but run by self-proclaimed democrats. But more interesting than simply laying out further instances of double standards and hypocrisy is to seek to grasp what explains the proliferation of democracy as a meme in exact proportion to the decline of the real thing. After all, the word democracy wasn’t always on the tip of every politician’s lips. Even Woodrow Wilson, the consummate evangelist of the American political order, whose “make the world safe for democracy” quote is now indelibly associated with his name, did not play loose with facile references to the political system through which everything is apparently possible. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 upon the conclusion of World War I, Wilson’s opening speech contained only one passing and modest reference to democracy. And yet at that time, America could much more reasonably than now lay claim to being the world’s preeminent democracy. What to make of this paradox?

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‘You don’t beg for anything..”

Trump Says He’s ‘OK’ With Serving Potential Jail Term (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump says he is “OK” with serving potential jail time or being under house arrest over his 34 convictions for falsifying business records. Any punishment, however, is not likely to be taken lightly by the public, he added. The ex-president made the remarks in an interview with Fox News aired Sunday. Asked about the potential punishments, Trump said he is “ok with it.” “I saw one of my lawyers the other day on television saying, ‘Oh no, you don’t want to do that to the president.’ I said, ‘You don’t beg for anything,’” he stated, suggesting, however, that the potential punishments would anger his supporters. “I don’t think the public would stand it. I’m not sure the public would stand for it.”

Trump jail

Trump reiterated his take on the case against him regarding alleged ‘hush money’ payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the wake of the 2016 election and the falsified paperwork to hide them, dismissing it as politically-motivated persecution. “People get it. It’s a scam. And the Republican Party… they’ve stuck together in this. They see it’s a weaponization of the Justice Department of the FBI and that’s all coming out of Washington,” he said. The former president was found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records by a Manhattan jury on Thursday. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of four years behind bars. Trump’s legal team has already vowed to appeal, with the ex-president saying the “real verdict” will be delivered by the public in the election on November 5. Trump is now the first US president to be convicted of a felony. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 11, just ahead of the Republican National Convention.

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Not sure race will be the dividing line.

Brett Tolman: “I predict he will give him some jail time, I think he will fine him, he’ll give him a stern lecture and then he’ll promptly plan his retirement and a book deal..”

Maher: If Trump Goes To Jail There Will Be A Racial Civil War (MN)

HBO ‘Real Time’ host Bill Maher has predicted that if Donald Trump is sentenced to any prison time, there will be a civil war that will quickly evolve into a race war because of MAGA supporters. “Here’s the key question: Is he going to go to jail? Would this judge dare do that?” Maher said, adding “And should he? I heard some people say if his name wasn’t Donald Trump he would definitely get jail time.” “MAGA nation will go nuts. I don’t know if that’s a reason to or not to do something, but they will,” Maher continued during the discussion with former Obama chief strategist David Axelrod. Maher went on to suggest that “because the judge’s name was Juan,” putting Trump in jail would lead to racial political violence.

“Everything becomes racial in this country. That’s partly because of our horrible, despicable racial past, partly because some of that racism lives on in the present and some of it because the far left makes everything racial. But that’s what it’s going to be.” Maher further posited. “A civil war in this country, I’m sorry to say, becomes a race war. That’s the sad truth about this country,” the host continued, adding “And if they put him in jail, I mean, the first thing his supporters are going to say is, ‘Oh, that’s what it is.’ A Black district attorney. You know, all these people who are the district attorneys, they’re black. The judge was not White. This is what it is.”

As we highlighted earlier this week, former US Attorney for the District of Utah Brett L. Tolman is adament that Judge Merchan will give Trump jail time. “This judge has considerable power now, on July 11th he has the power to take Trump forthwith, he can take him, put him in custody right then and he can do it for whatever period of time,” said Tolman, warning that despite there being a range of sentencing, “the rules are out the window, who knows what this judge will do.” “I predict he will give him some jail time, I think he will fine him, he’ll give him a stern lecture and then he’ll promptly plan his retirement and a book deal,” concluded Tolman.

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“Biden and his Democrat allies have turned our legal system into a political tool, and Americans from every corner of the country have had enough..”

Trump Campaign Raises Staggering $200 Million Since Thursday Conviction (ZH)

If Democrats needed further confirmation that prosecuting Donald Trump on an obscure misdemeanor elevated to a felony just for him… (while the same DA reduced 60% of felonies to misdemeanors last year), the Trump campaign has raised over $200 million since Thursday’s verdict in the former president’s New York ‘hush money’ trial. Of that, $70 million was from small donors, and 30% of the total were first-time donors to a political campaign, Eric Trump told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. “I mean, these are Americans who are p*ssed off, said the younger Trump. “They’re coming out of the woodwork and they want to support a guy that they just believe is getting bamboozled by a system. “We saw it with Impeachment one, we saw it with Impeachment two, we see it where they weaponize every liberal DA and AG across the country with one intent: To take him down, to slander him, to ruin his reputation, to try and divide his family, to try and bankrupt him, to throw him in jail, to do whatever the hell they can do,” he added.

“America sees through it. They know exactly what’s going on.” As the Post Millennial notes further; The $200 million was raised in a matter of just three days, which far surpasses any amount raised by President Biden’s campaign in a similar time frame. Within 24 hours of President Trump’s guilty verdict, the Trump campaign received $53 million in donations. The Biden campaign raised a total of $51 million for all of April. According to a Friday statement by Trump campaign officials Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, “Biden and his Democrat allies have turned our legal system into a political tool, and Americans from every corner of the country have had enough,” adding “This momentum is just getting started and together, as President Trump stated perfectly, Americans will render the real verdict on November 5.”

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“..other 77-year-old, first-time offenders would never be sent to prison for this conduct.”

US Secret Service Reacts To Trump’s Criminal Conviction (ZH)

The US Secret Service on Friday said that Donald Trump’s conviction in his ‘hush money’ trial will have “no bearing” on whether the agency will protect him. According to the agency, “today’s outcome has no bearing on the manner in which the United States Secret Service carries out its protective mission,” adding that “our security measures will proceed unchanged,” the Epoch Times’ Jack Phillips reports. Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts for falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. He will face sentencing on July 11, during which Judge Juan Merchan could toss the former president in jail. Prosecutors have not indicated whether they will push for this, while Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg (who downgraded 60% of felonies in his district to misdemeanors, while elevating a an obscure, rarely prosecuted crime to a felony in Trump’s case).

As the Epoch Times notes, several weeks ago, the Secret Service issued a similar statement to The Epoch Times regarding how it would handle the former president’s security if he were jailed, coming after Judge Merchan warned him that he would be prepared to send him to jail over comments that he said violated his earlier gag order. On May 8, the agency responded to questions about how the Secret Service would respond if President Trump were jailed, saying that “under federal law, the United States Secret Service must provide protection for current government leaders, former Presidents and First Ladies, visiting heads of state and other individuals designated by the President of the United States.” That comment also didn’t go into specifics about how it would handle security. At the time, the spokesperson did not respond to a question about whether a Secret Service agent could be stationed in a cell with the former president.

“For all settings around the world, we study locations and develop comprehensive and layered protective models that incorporate state-of-the-art technology, protective intelligence, and advanced security tactics to safeguard our protectees,” the spokesperson said. “Beyond that, we do not comment on specific protective operations.” The lead attorney for President Trump, Todd Blanche, told CNN that he thinks the former president should not face prison time, in part due to his age. President Trump, 77, also has no prior convictions, he noted. “There’s a system in place where you rely on precedent, and somebody like President Trump should never, never face a jail sentence based on this conduct,” Mr. Blanche said. “And it would just kind of confirm what we’ve been saying all along,” he continued. “And a lot of people say that we’re wrong and that we’re missing key pieces. But other 77-year-old, first-time offenders would never be sent to prison for this conduct.”

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“..the legal version of a deepfake — misrepresenting the law to mislead citizens into believing that they are better off with less information..”

The Deepfake Privilege? (Turley)

We have been discussing the dubious constitutional basis for President Joe Biden withholding the audio tapes of his interview with special counsel Robert Hur. I have previously written that the claim of privilege makes little sense when the transcript of the interview has already been released. It seems curious that Biden is claiming to be the president “who cannot be heard” in withholding the audio version. It just got wackier as the Justice Department seeks to create a new type of “Deepfake privilege” that would effectively blow away all existing limits on the use of the privilege when it comes to audio or visual records of a president. Multiple committees are investigating Biden for possible impeachment and conducting oversight on the handling of the investigation into his retention and mishandling of classified material over decades. Classified documents were found in various locations where Biden lived or worked, including his garage. The mishandling of classified material is uncontestable. Broken boxes, unprotected areas and lack of tracking are all obvious from the photos.

Biden made the situation even worse with a disastrous press conference in which he attacked Hur and misrepresented his findings. Hur’s ultimate conclusion that Biden’s diminished cognitive abilities would undermine any prosecution left many dumbfounded. After all, the man who is too feeble to prosecute is not only running a superpower with a massive nuclear arsenal but running for reelection to add four more years in office. From impeachment to oversight to the 25th Amendment (allowing the removal of a president for incapacities), there are ample reasons for Congress to demand information and evidence from the government on these questions. Congress is also interested in looking at repeated omissions for “inaudible” statements. Under this sweeping theory that Biden can legitimately withhold these recordings under executive privilege, any president could withhold any evidence of incapacity or criminality. As previously explained, the claim that the audiotape but not the transcript remains privileged is hard to square with precedent or logic. However, now the Justice Department appears to be pivoting with a new claim with a late Friday filing.

The filing obtained by Politico states that the audiotape must be withheld due to the risk that it could be altered by artificial intelligence and passed off as authentic in a deepfake release: “The passage of time and advancements in audio, artificial intelligence, and ‘deep fake’ technologies only amplify concerns about malicious manipulation of audio files.” Consider the implications of that argument for a second. It would mean that any visual or audio recording of the President could be withheld due to the danger of digital or other manipulation. It would eviscerate any existing limits on privilege assertions. It is also absurd since you could create such fake recordings using the transcript and Biden’s voice from countless interviews through AI programs. The Justice Department acknowledges that obvious logical disconnect by noting that the release would make any fake version more credible. “To be sure, other raw material to create a deepfake of President Biden’s voice is already available, but release of the audio recording presents unique risks: if it were public knowledge that the audio recording has been released, it becomes easier for malicious actors to pass off an altered file as the true recording,.”

The filing is logically and legally absurd. It is also dangerous. For a president who is already carefully insulated from questions and controlled in public appearances, the argument would allow staff to completely control any public or, more importantly, congressional review of his actual speech and discourse. In seeking to prevent “malicious actors” from altering reality, the government is claiming the right to frame reality as an inherent constitutional prerogative. The argument ignores that, if an audiotape is released, it is harder to pass off a fake as genuine. As it stands, actors can claim tapes as leaked or derived from other sources. In the absence of an official tape, such arguments can be difficult to refute. The fact that this spurious argument is being made by Merrick Garland’s Justice Department is another disappointing sign that he has abandoned his pledge to remain apolitical in office. This litigation is clearly designed for one overriding purpose: to delay any release until after the election when it cannot harm the President. It is the legal version of a deepfake — misrepresenting the law to mislead citizens into believing that they are better off with less information on the credibility and competence of their president.

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“If there is any hope, it may be that the abominable reality galvanizes the world to rise up against this criminal system and the war criminals that lord it in high office..”

‘Leader of the Free World’ Permits Genocide And Global Annihilation (SCF)

The nadir of Washington’s hypocrisy and collusion was seen following the massacres in Rafah this week. The Biden White House said the mass murder did not cross any supposed red lines that might cause Washington to end its huge military and financial support for the Israeli regime. Only a few weeks ago, the Biden administration was ostensibly warning Israel not to proceed with its offensive plans in southern Gaza. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken exhibited depraved psychopathy when he spoke during a visit to Moldova and claimed that it wasn’t clear if American weapons were used in the Rafah bloodbath. He went on to use weasel words to justify mass murder, saying: “I think we also see that even limited, focused, targeted attacks designed to deal with terrorists who killed innocent civilians that are plotting to kill more, even those kinds of operations can have terrible, horrific, unintended consequences.”

European powers are equally contemptible. Following the Israeli onslaught in Rafah, European figures like French President Emmanuel Macron and the European Union’s foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell voiced criticism of Israeli violence. Nevertheless, the European Union and its main members continue to provide vital military support and political cover for the Israeli regime to perpetuate the slaughter. In the news this week were moves by European states Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognize Palestinian statehood. However, such moves are tokenism and ineffective in halting the genocide. European “values” are worthless, if ambiguous. Ambiguity on Gaza is not for the Americans though. US complicity is flagrant and barbaric. The White House and Congress have boorishly dismissed the orders by the International Court of Justice and ICC as “outrageous”, insisting with barefaced perversion that “there is no genocide” in Gaza.

Washington has even threatened to impose sanctions on these legal bodies for daring to hold the Israeli regime to account. No doubt, part of the logic here is a concern that the United States and its Western accomplices could also eventually be indicted for complicity in Israel’s war crimes. The double standards and hypocrisy of the United States and its European partners are off the charts. Only a few months ago, they were hailing the ICC issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. There is no credible basis for such an indictment against the Russian leader unlike the overwhelming evidence for genocide by Israel in Gaza with full support from the US and Europe.

There are very sound reasons why Biden has become known as “Genocide Joe” in the eyes of a large section of the American and European population. Further mocking his credentials as “leader of the free world”, Biden has overseen the arrests of thousands of American students who have bravely held protests on university campuses across the US against the genocide that their government and taxes are enabling. The moral bankruptcy of Biden and the rest of the ruling elite in the United States and Europe is proven beyond all doubt by the ongoing support for genocide in Gaza. Not one of these self-proclaimed champions of the “rules-based order” has stood up unequivocally on the side of justice. Confirming their moral decrepitude, Biden and virtually all of the Western establishment are moving to escalate the NATO proxy war in Ukraine by sponsoring a NeoNazi regime to hit Russia with long-range ballistic weapons.

The criminals have become insane in their warmongering and gambling with a potential nuclear conflagration. President Putin warned that such relentless escalation would have dire consequences. That’s not a bluff or idle warning. The savagery of Western imperialism has become a full-blown disease – again. World War One and Two were earlier pandemics of this disease. It is threatening the world once more in the obscene disguise of “democracy, freedom and rule of law”. But that threadbare disguise is as transparent as it is grotesque. The diabolical image of a distraught Palestinian father holding up the body of a decapitated baby is the horrific reality of Western imperialism. There is no restraint in what this psychopathic system is capable of permitting – the genocide of millions and ultimately global annihilation. If there is any hope, it may be that the abominable reality galvanizes the world to rise up against this criminal system and the war criminals that lord it in high office.

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All that’s left is semantics.

Biden Doesn’t Want To Be Responsible For WW3 – White House (RT)

President Joe Biden does not want the standoff with Russia over Ukraine to trigger a global war, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby has said. He made his statement days after the White House confirmed that Biden had granted Kiev permission to use US-supplied weapons systems for strikes deep inside Russia. Ukraine had requested to ease the restrictions on the use of foreign arms after Russian troops launched a new offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkov Region last month and have captured several villages along the border. “We’ve been concerned about escalation since the very beginning of this war. And those concerns remain valid,” Kirby told ABC News on Sunday. “The president has said he does not want to be responsible for starting World War III. We’re not looking for a conflict with Russia, another nuclear power.” Kirby said that Biden “had understood all of the ramifications” of allowing Kiev to use American weapons “for counter-fire purposes.” He reiterated that Ukrainians were only permitted to target bases, artillery positions and other military sites “that Russians were using to create some sort of buffer zones.”

The White House previously clarified that the ban on the use of the “ATACMS [missiles] or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed.” Russia, however, said that Kiev had already been using ATACMS and other long-range weapons to hit targets in Crimea, the Donbass, as well as the regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson. Kiev and its Western backers continue to view these recently incorporated Russian territories as Ukrainian land. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the goal of the operation in the Kharkov Region is aimed at stopping frequent Ukrainian cross-border mortar and missile attacks on Belgorod and other Russian cities. Moscow has no plans of seizing the city of Kharkov itself, he told reporters during his trip to China last month. Moscow has repeatedly warned that the deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine from the West would not deter the Russian forces. Russia stressed, however, that military aid to Kiev leads to dangerous escalation. In an interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson in February, Putin said it is unthinkable for anyone to drag the world into a new global war. “A global war would put the whole of humanity on the brink of survival,” he said.

Pepe

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The German army could last for, what was it, 3 hours?!

Germany Bickers Over How to Get ‘Fit for War’ as Ukraine Drains Coffers (Sp.)

Tension is brewing between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his increasingly pugnacious defense chief Boris Pistorius, Bloomberg reported. The dispute between the two is rooted in their different visions for how Germany should rebuild its armed forces and revitalize its defense. Pistorius’ “tub-thumping” war rhetoric is fraught with potential trouble for his fellow Social Democrat Scholz ahead of next year’s elections, the outlet noted. Public messaging from the two sees Scholz using plying the word “peace” more often. Campaign posters for June’s European elections featuring Scholz emblazoned with the word “Frieden” (“Peace”). Pistorius, on the other hand, is avidly beating the “war” drum. The Bundeswehr needs to get “ready for war,” Pistorius said in an interview last year for Welt am Sonntag.

“It will take time for the defense industry to ramp up its capacities. We now have around five to eight years to catch up – both regarding the armed forces, industry and society,” he stated. Not that the two men are not on the same page when it comes to supporting the Kiev regime. Germany is one of the biggest cheerleaders of NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine, sending over 10 billion euros in military and economic support to Kiev. But its own Bundeswehr is both aging and shrinking. Modernizing the armed forces and covering maintenance costs for military equipment have become a challenge. This is where the war rhetoric comes in. Pistorius has been arguing the alleged “Russia threat” to urge the chancellor to dramatically hike up military spending. His language has been peppered with militaristic language that has not been heard from a German politician in the decades after World War II.

Scholz announced a “Zeitenwende” or “historic turning point” in 2022 when the Ukraine crisis escalated. He pledged to revive Germany’s military, but ambitious plans have since been mired in spending squabbles and the need to pump weapons and cash to the Kiev regime. Accordingly, the chancellor’s 100-billion-euro ($109 billion) defense fund “has already been fully allocated and will have been spent by 2027,” the publication noted. The 100-billion-euro fund was announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to improve the country’s defense capabilities shortly after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The fund was approved by the German parliament in June of that year. In January 2023, Pistorius told the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the fund would not be enough for Germany to modernize its troops and called for an increase of 10 billion euros per year in the German defense budget. The defense minister has so far been unable to secure the extra funding.

Recently, several public disagreements have shone light on the growing distance between the two men. Scholz again rejected Pistorius’ request for greater defense spending, with Robert Habeck, vice chancellor from the Greens, and Finance Minister Christian Lindner all opting for belt-tightening. It should be noted that Germany has a so-called “debt brake” that restricts the federal deficit to 0.35 percent of GDP. Pistorius argued that “expenditure for defense and civil protection should not be included” in those rules. His statement was made during a trip to the US. “Unfortunately, Mr. Pistorius is only singling out the option of creating security through debt. The citizens would thus be saddled with more and more permanent interest burdens. The better way is to reallocate money in our large state budget and get the economy moving,” Christian Linder shot back.

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China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and counting.

Saudi Arabia Won’t Attend ‘Ukraine Conference’ as Russia is Not Invited (Sp.)

Saudi Arabia will not attend the Swiss-hosted peace conference on Ukraine in June because Russia will not be represented, German news agency DPA reported on Sunday, citing Saudi diplomatic sources. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Saudi Arabia, scheduled for past Saturday, may now take place after the “peace conference” in Switzerland, the report read. Riyadh has not yet officially announced its decision not to attend the conference. Switzerland will host the summit on Ukraine not far off from the city of Lucerne from June 15-16. In April, the spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Bern, Vladimir Khokhlov, told Sputnik that Russia was not invitied to the summit, adding that Moscow had no plans to participate in the event even if invited.

China and Brazil have also refused to take part in the conference. Even Washington, despite being its main proponent, cannot say who will represent the US. President Joe Biden is due to attend a Hollywood fundraising gala for his re-election campaign instead. Since the start of the special military operation in 2022, Moscow has said many times that it was ready to negotiate with Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian delegations held several rounds of peace talks in the early days of the conflict, but the negotiation failed, with Kiev legislating a ban on further peace talks. Western countries have been calling on Russia to engage in negotiations with Ukraine, but at the same time the West keeps ignoring Kiev’s continuous refusal of dialogue.

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“..different groups involved in the bankruptcy that will be exposed soon have literally made a move to shut this place down and end my show..”

Alex Jones Repels Ambush Seizure Of Infowars, Sleeps In Studio (ZH)

One day after Donald Trump was convicted of 34 felonies in his ‘hush money’ trial, a court-appointed officer overseeing the Infowars bankruptcy apparently went rogue on Friday and tried to seize and shut down Alex Jones’ studio without a court order, despite having a reported “path with the [bankruptcy] judge to continue on for years.” On Saturday, Jones held a four hour X space, in which supporters including Gen. Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon and Roger Stone commented on the situation. All three suggested that Jones stand his ground and peacefully resist. According to commentator and attorney, ‘Viva Frei’ (David Freiheit), the court-appointed Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) in the Infowars bankruptcy, Patrick Magill, “showed up to lock the place down,” adding “and apparently in the absence of a court order.”

“This is going to be Infowars’ last show, because I learned yesterday that they were going to padlock the door and kick us out last night,” Jones said during the Saturday space. “They are trying to shut us down,” Jones told us when reached for comment. A CRO is typically appointed during times of significant financial stress, and is tasked with overseeing the restructuring companies in bankruptcy. On Saturday, Jones suggested that his legal team had come to terms with the judge in the bankruptcy proceedings regarding a long-term timeline for transition, and was instead surprised with an ambush by Magill to seize his studio. “They want us shut down because in bankruptcy and what was happening we have a path with the judge to continue on for years, and the judge has signaled that. So, different groups involved in the bankruptcy that will be exposed soon have literally made a move to shut this place down and end my show,” Jones said.

In March, tensions came to a boil between Jones’ legal team and Magill, after a company managed and partially owned by Jones’ father, PQPR Holdings Limited, LLC asked the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas to replace Magill with a new CRO – days after accusing Magill of acting unprofessionally and in a dysfunctional manner. PQPR has been accused of receiving millions in payments from Jones’ Free Speech Systems while families of Sandy Hook Elementary School students attempt to collect $1.5 billion worth of legal judgements against Jones and Infowars. In a court filing, PQPR slammed Magill’s decision to replace the company’s lead bankruptcy attorney with someone new, after the CRO accused attorney Ray Battaglia of hindering progress on the bankrupcy. Jones says Magill is trying to “obviously and maliciously” entrap him, per Frei, in order to “facilitate the shutting down of Infowars.”

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“They killed 346 people over money and nothing else.”

Boeing Enters ‘New Territory’ With Federal Probe, Possible Criminal Charges (ET)

When a door panel ripped off an Alaskan Airlines flight after takeoff on Jan. 5, Boeing’s fortunes changed overnight. Had the company gone just two more days without an incident, it would have satisfied a settlement to avoid criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Instead, the accident triggered investigations by federal agencies and congressional hearings. The incident also renewed public scrutiny of Boeing and the 737 MAX 8 crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed everyone on board and led to criminal charges for the company. Boeing has since seen a significant financial fallout, reporting a $355 million loss and a near-50 percent drop in deliveries in the first quarter alone. The company also faces plummeting stock values and canceled orders from multiple airlines since the Jan. 5 incident.

The DOJ ended months of speculation on May 14 with a court filing alleging that Boeing violated its 2021 deferred prosecution agreement. The company failed to “design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws.” The DOJ will meet with the crash victims’ families on May 31 before announcing its intentions with Boeing’s case by July 7. According to career pilots, aviation safety experts, and attorneys who spoke with The Epoch Times, how Boeing violated the agreement and the possible consequences are complicated. To stay competitive, Boeing needed to design a new plane that could fly to destinations such as Hawaii with less fuel. The company’s competitor, Airbus, was edging out the market with new, more fuel-efficient jets. Instead of designing a brand new plane, which would have required extensive pilot training from the airlines that buy them, raising the jet’s price, Boeing opted to release an upgraded version of its 737 jet, the 737 MAX.

It has larger, more powerful engines that are installed farther forward on the plane’s wings, which causes the nose to push up higher during takeoff. Boeing compensated with a new flight control software called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which automatically lowers the nose to avoid midair stalling. Federal regulators said Boeing didn’t tell the airlines or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the extent of the software, how it controls the plane in the background, and how to disable it. Planes also use angle of attack vanes, or indicators, to tell the computer whether the jet is ascending or descending at the right pitch angle. Before the 737 MAX, these indicators were wired to two sensors in case one malfunctioned during flight—because of damage from a bird strike, for instance. On the original 737 MAXs, the angle of attack indicators were wired to a single sensor, causing the flight control software to assume that the plane was in critical danger if either indicator malfunctioned.

During the 2018 and 2019 fatal flights, the MCAS system kept pitching the nose downward with faulty angle-of-attack data, likely from a damaged angle of attack vane. Because Boeing didn’t properly disclose the software nuances and how to disable it to the airlines, the pilots took more than 10 seconds to respond. Federal guidelines expect pilots to respond to such as situation in four seconds to avoid a catastrophe. Boeing also didn’t overhaul the flight control software until after the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines crash, which was five months after the 2018 Lion Air crash. The FAA responded by grounding all 737 MAX jets for nearly two years to ensure compliance with regulations. “The MCAS accidents were pure, 100 percent money accidents,” said Shawn Pruchnicki, aviation safety expert and assistant professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies. “They killed 346 people over money and nothing else.”

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Sheep

 

 

 

 

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Feb 042021
 
 February 4, 2021  Posted by at 10:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


MC Escher Balcony 1945

 

‘Deadly Carrot’-Derived Antiviral Could Be Magic Bullet (RT)
5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility (IFS)
Dallas Fed’s Kaplan: Reddit-Fueled Trading Frenzy Driven Partly By Fed (R.)
Beware Of Social Media-Fuelled Bubbles In Market – French Regulator (R.)
The Stock Market Is Broken, Now for All to See (WS)
The Insiders’ Game (Sacks)
SWIFT Sets Up Digital Currency Joint Venture With China’s Central Bank (R.)
“It Can’t Happen Here” (Rickards)
Andrew Cuomo Was a Villain All Along (NR)
Media Runs Defense as Amazon Caught Stealing Millions From Workers (MPN)
Defense Sec. Orders 60-Day Stand-down To Confront Extremism In Military (MT)
US Admiral Warns Nuclear War With Russia, China a ‘Real Possibility’ (Antiwar)
Xi, Putin Make The Case For Win-Win, Not Zero-Sum (Escobar)
If BlacK Lives Matter Wins Nobel, Rename It ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Prize (RT)

 

 

The Working Class pay taxes.
The Middle Class pay accountants.
The Upper Class pay politicians.

 

 

There’s a new meme in town: #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett. No comment.

 

 

Psaki calls out RT and Sputnik in front of the MSM. It’s too much.

 

 

“..several hundred times more effective than the current arsenal of antiviral treatments and is also effective against combined infections.”

‘Deadly Carrot’-Derived Antiviral Could Be Magic Bullet (RT)

Scientists are extolling the efficacy of a wonder drug in combating not only Covid-19 but influenza and other respiratory illnesses, in what may pave the way for a new generation of medicines to prevent future pandemics. Researchers led by a team at the University of Nottingham discovered that the broad spectrum antiviral thapsigargin has shown to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19), a common cold coronavirus, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as well as influenza A virus. Acute respiratory infections can be somewhat indistinguishable from one another on initial presentation to a doctor, which may result in lost time in terms of deploying the correct treatment. However, with an effective, broad-spectrum antiviral that can handle many of the main, more serious culprits with ease, it could yield far more positive outcomes for patients and medical practitioners.

Furthermore, it could also turn the tide against spontaneous community outbreaks of certain infections, including the dreaded clusters of Covid-19 which humanity can expect even after widespread vaccine rollout. The researchers, led by Professor Kin-Chow Chang, closely examined the plant-derived antiviral and put it through its paces against a number of pathogens. They found that it triggers a highly effective antiviral immune response against three major types of human respiratory viruses, and works before or during active infection, while preventing a virus from self-replicating for at least 48-hours, a critical component in stamping out community infections.

The drug remains stable in hostile, acidic environments, such as the human stomach, meaning it can be administered orally, without the need for injection or hospital admission, saving precious resources in the process. The researchers also claim the drug, derived from the ‘deadly carrot’ thapsia plant, is several hundred times more effective than the current arsenal of antiviral treatments and is also effective against combined infections. A derivative of the drug has been used in prostate cancer treatment, so concerns about safety in humans have already been allayed.


“The current pandemic highlights the need for effective antivirals to treat active infections, as well as vaccines, to prevent the infection,” Chang said, adding that future pandemics are likely to be zoonotic in nature, either animal-to-human or vice versa, so treating viral infections in humans and animals is crucial to prevent future catastrophe. The drug may mark the beginning of a new generation of powerful, host-centred antivirals, resulting in a holistic “One Health” approach to control both human and animal viruses and, hopefully at least, prevent further pandemics from inflicting such damage on the human race.

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And that’s before suspected COVID influence on -male- fertility.

5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility (IFS)

Fertility rates have fallen around the world over the last decade—even in countries with generous social welfare states, which experts had long expected to be holdouts in the face of fertility declines. But while demographers often talk about this change in terms of “fertility rates” or “births per woman,” another way to tally the total is in terms of missing births. That is, if the population of women who might have kids changed the way it did over the last decade, and if fertility rates had remained at their 2008 levels (the last time we had replacement-rate fertility in America), how many more babies would have been born?


The answer is 5.8 million babies. Since births in the U.S. actually tend to run around 4 million per year, that’s almost like saying nobody had a baby for a year and a half. Figure 1 below shows the difference between the number of babies actually born to moms of each major racial or ethnic group tracked by the CDC from 2009-2019, and the number that would have been born, had 2008 fertility rates remained stable but underlying population totals changed in the same way.

The lion’s share of “missing babies” would have been born to Hispanic moms. That’s because in 2008, Hispanic moms could expect to have about 2.8 kids on average; now, they can expect to have about 2. Fertility rates declining by almost a third is a huge change, resulting in a loss of 2.7 million Hispanic babies that would otherwise have been born. Non-Hispanic whites make up the second biggest category of missing babies, with almost 2 million missing births. But that’s a bit of an illusion: in fact, non-Hispanic white fertility rates experienced the least amount of decline of any group (from 1.9 children per woman to 1.6; Asian-Americans have always been lower, falling from 1.8 to 1.5). But the number of potential non-Hispanic white moms is very large. Figure 2 below shows the percentage difference between actual births each year, and the expected number of births for that group and year.

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“Some of the current situation you are seeing – one of the factors – is there is a lot of liquidity, and some of that relates to Fed purchases..”

Dallas Fed’s Kaplan: Reddit-Fueled Trading Frenzy Driven Partly By Fed (R.)

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said Tuesday that while the Fed’s massive bond-buying program is creating plenty of liquidity in financial markets, there are no signs of broad market instability at present. “I don’t see anything right now systemic,” Kaplan said in a CNBC interview, responding to a question about a possible link between the Reddit-fueled frenzy in GameStop Corp shares and monetary policy. Kaplan did not comment on GameStop directly, and instead addressed the broader question of how Fed policy affects financial markets.


“Some of the current situation you are seeing – one of the factors – is there is a lot of liquidity, and some of that relates to Fed purchases of $80 billion of Treasuries and $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities every month: I think it’s wise for us to acknowledge that.” The Fed has kept interest rates near zero since last March and has pledged to keep them there until the economy has returned to full employment and inflation has reached, and is on track to overshoot, the Fed’s 2% goal. It has also said it will keep buying at least $120 billion of bonds each month until there is “substantial further progress” toward the Fed’s full employment and 2% inflation goals, a benchmark that Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida has said may not be reached until next year.

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“Customers with direct market access are welcome, but raises questions about… new ways to manipulate markets..”

Let’s stick with the old ways.

Beware Of Social Media-Fuelled Bubbles In Market – French Regulator (R.)

An increase in retail investors flocking to online brokers during the coronavirus pandemic risks creating “bubbles” engineered by social media, France’s top markets regulator said on Wednesday. Robert Ophele, chair of France’s AMF markets watchdog, said the trading frenzy fuelled by posts on the Reddit forum and surge in bitcoin prices have shown how technology and social media can bring “irrationality” to financial markets. “Customers with direct market access are welcome, but raises questions about… new ways to manipulate markets with a social media dimension,” Ophele told an Afore Consulting webinar.

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Step 1: stop calling it a market.

The Stock Market Is Broken, Now for All to See (WS)

It has finally blown into the open for all to see. The stock market has been broken for a while, for a long time, actually. The idea that the stock market is where price discovery takes place on a rational transparent basis, with ups and downs, and some amount of chaos, but free of rampant manipulations – that idea has now totally imploded. What has been visible for a long time but now blew into the open is just how manipulated the market is, by all sides, how overleveraged the big players are because the Fed encouraged them to, and how enormous the risks are, and how crazy the trading strategies are. And the stock market soared to record out-of-whack valuations, in a terrible economy where at least 10 million people have lost their jobs and are still out of work, and where entire industries have gotten crushed.


The whole thing is propped up by stimulus and bailout payments to consumers and companies alike. And then came a new force – or rather the force wasn’t new, but the magnitude was: regular folks ganging together in the social media, particularly on Reddit’s WallStreetBets, and they were deeply cynical about the fake markets and they saw an opportunity, and they conspired to make a ton of money and push some hedge funds over the cliff, by buying long the most shorted stocks, in other words, they conspired to engineer a historic short-squeeze. This coordinated buying by the crowd on WallStreetBets, of a handful of small most-shorted stocks, drove up their prices sometimes by 100% or more in a day, which pushed the hedge funds that were short these stocks to the brink. And it pushed online broker Robinhood to the brink. And it revealed for all to see just how broken the stock market has been.

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“With the Town Square now digitized, centralized, and privatized in the hands of a cartel of Big Tech companies, the protections of the First Amendment no longer apply.”

The Insiders’ Game (Sacks)

Some of us warned of a slippery slope when Parler was taken down and a sitting president was systematically ghosted from every online speech platform. But we could not have foreseen how slippery the slope would be, or how fast we would slide down it. We were told that the curbs on speech of President Trump and his supporters were necessary to prevent further “insurrection” and protect the peaceful transition of power. However, much like the troops and barricades that still ring the Capitol, these speech restrictions remain in place well after the transition of power has occurred. The censorship power is always justified in response to a genuine outrage or crisis, but it is rarely relinquished once the threat passes. Rather it gets weaponized to protect powerful, connected insiders, as the GameStop fiasco illustrates.

How do we suppose Discord chose that moment to enforce its “Community Guidelines” against WallStreetBets? Almost certainly, one of the hedge funds whose ox was being gored combed through their message boards looking for anything that might violate the terms of service. And surely they found it, as these boards contain the same raunchy language you would hear if you visited any trading floor or boiler room on Wall Street. They presumably reported the content to Discord, which took the group down. Did Discord warn WallStreetBets of content violations before last Wednesday? I’m sure they did. Amazon sent such a warning letter to Parler as well. Frankly, such a letter could be, and likely is, sent to every large message board on the web.

The founder of a user-generated content site described it to me as “the One Percent Problem.” Every user-generated content site will have a small percentage of offensive material that gets through, no matter how many content moderators are hired. For example, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube allowed far more content advocating for and planning the Capitol riot than Parler. But instead of acknowledging this, they were eager to blame the upstart, which had recently taken over the top spot in the social networking category in the app store. Scapegoating Parler served the dual purpose of deflecting blame and squashing a competitor. Critics of social networks insist that these sites simply need to double down on censorship in order to finally rid us of problematic speech. But that ignores how social media moderation actually works.


Algorithms set to recognize keywords capture only a small fraction of problematic posts, leaving millions of posts for humans to review. The work is so voluminous that it’s outsourced to far-flung locales where English may not even be the first language. Low-level employees must decipher complicated guidelines while navigating our increasingly Byzantine world of political and cultural hot-buttons. Mistakes are inevitable, and the harder a company tightens the standards to get the One Percent Problem down to 0.1 or 0.01 percent, the more undeserving accounts—from Ron Paul to the Socialist Equality Party—will be swept up in the dragnet. With the Town Square now digitized, centralized, and privatized in the hands of a cartel of Big Tech companies, the protections of the First Amendment no longer apply.

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The battle against Bitcoin will be fierce.

SWIFT Sets Up Digital Currency Joint Venture With China’s Central Bank (R.)

SWIFT, the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments, has set up a joint venture with the Chinese central bank’s digital currency research institute and clearing centre, in a sign that China is exploring global use of its planned digital yuan. Other shareholders of the Beijing-based venture include China’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) and the Payment & Clearing Association of China, both supervised by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), according to public information.


The new entity, called Finance Gateway Information Services Co, was established in Beijing on Jan. 16, and its business scope includes information system integration, data processing and technological consultancy, according to the website of the National Enterprise Credit Information Public System. China is a front-runner in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies, having launched domestic trials in several major cities including Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Its digital currency will help increase oversight of money flows, while also raising the efficiency of cross-border payments and facilitate yuan internationalization, HSBC said in a recent report. China’s cross-border payment system CIPS both partners and competes with SWIFT amid growing Sino-U.S. tensions.

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Rickards recognizes the role of money velocity in inflation, but doesn’t explain why he sees it change.

“It Can’t Happen Here” (Rickards)

The Federal Reserve printed $4 trillion in the years following the 2008 crash, expanding its pre-crisis balance sheet of about $900 billion to roughly $4.5 trillion. Many people thought, if hyperinflation were ever going to happen in the U.S., it would have already. Well, it never happened. Today, in response to the pandemic and the economic lockdowns that followed, the Fed has cranked up the printing press to even higher levels. It’s printed almost as much money in one year as it printed in the several years after the financial crisis. On February 26, 2020, the balance sheet was $4.16 trillion. Less than one year later, it’s roughly $7.3 trillion. Meanwhile, America’s M1 money supply spiked 70% last year.

But this blizzard of money-printing has not caused the level of alarm that the post-financial crisis money creation caused. If we didn’t get the hyperinflation then, they say, why should we get it now? Most people are complacent. They have a point. We still have no hyperinflation or even moderate inflation (except maybe in asset prices). But I’ve even argued that we won’t see inflation right away. Inflation is not only a product of money creation but also of money velocity. You can print as much money as you want, but if it’s not exchanging hands and there isn’t much turnover, it won’t lead to inflation. Inflation is at least as much a psychological phenomenon as a monetary phenomenon. And expectations right now are for disinflation.


Because of the lockdowns and their economic fallout, we will likely suffer a recession in the first quarter of 2021. Money velocity is low, so disinflation is the problem in the short term. But that doesn’t mean inflation isn’t coming back or even that hyperinflation isn’t possible once it does. Inflation will return, and when it does, it could be massive and potentially lead to hyperinflation. All this can happen faster than most people think.

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A useful scapegoat is past his best before date.

Andrew Cuomo Was a Villain All Along (NR)

For much of the past year, the mainstream media and Democrats have largely blamed former president Donald Trump and his administration for most of America’s COVID-19 deaths. Trump did indeed fail in certain aspects of coordination, messaging, and inserting politics into the parts of the process where it didn’t belong. He deserves credit, however, for Operation Warp Speed, the initiative that (ultimately successfully) fostered the development of coronavirus vaccines, one of the most successful public-private ventures in modern history. But Trump’s overbearing personality tended to absorb all the attention, leaving little room for real debate on the successes and failures of other politicians, except when the media found time to criticize Republican governors. But serious criticism of Democrats in this period was rare. Until now.

Last week, New York attorney general Letitia James, a Democrat, released a long-awaited report on the state of New York’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as led by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Her findings were stunning in their demonstration of both gross incompetence and outright malfeasance, and were recently reinforced by a New York Times report this week on Cuomo’s leadership failures and staffing troubles during the coronavirus period. The Times now reports that nine leading health-care experts for the state of New York resigned during the last summer and through the fall, all of whom complained that Cuomo had politicized health-care decisions and was ignoring the experts on long-standing plans for the pandemic, including regarding vaccinations.

Why the discrepancy? First, the state refused to count those patients who were transferred to, and later died at, hospitals. Why this loophole? Nobody has ever provided a good answer. Every other state in the country counts these deaths in the nursing-home numbers, because that is the practical and commonsense way to count it. New York specifically chose to be an outlier. The real failure, however, was New York’s unwillingness to be transparent with the data after the fact. For many who analyzed the data in April and May, it quickly became apparent that the state was not being fully transparent on nursing-home deaths. Many individuals were reporting that their family members died at the hospital, but only after getting severely ill at their extended-care facilities first. But somehow the numbers did not appear to bear that out.


An objective observer might be willing to give anyone in charge during such horrific events the benefit of the doubt. New York was at the time the worldwide center of COVID deaths, and it continued in this manner all through the spring. The vast majority of the more than 40,000 deaths in the state occurred during a horrific twelve-week period, when hospitals and health professionals faced war-like situations as patients died left and right.

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Please don’t send anyone to jail!

Media Runs Defense as Amazon Caught Stealing Millions From Workers (MPN)

It has been a turbulent 24 hours for retail giant Amazon. First, the company’s founder (and world’s richest individual) Jeff Bezos announced that he would step down as CEO. Then, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that the company had illegally stolen more than $61 million worth of customer tips meant for its delivery drivers. Under their contracts, Amazon drivers were supposed to make between $18 and $25 per hour and keep all their tips. However, since at least 2016, the company had been secretly confiscating tips customers sent through an app, using their contributions to reduce their own wage payouts, meaning they were swindling both customers and employees. “In total, Amazon stole nearly one-third of drivers’ tips to pad its own bottom line,” said FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Unlike corporate crime cases in other nations, Amazon will merely be required to pay back the money it took from employees. Thus, it will face no negative consequences, except a possible public relations backlash due to bad press. Yet, instead of grilling Amazon, the media appear to be working hard to run defense for it, downplaying the nature of the crime in their headlines. The word “steal” was noticeably absent from much of the reporting, despite the fact that the original Reuters report used the word in its title — a direct reflection of the FTC’s ruling. Many newspapers instead decided to go with “withhold” instead. Even worse, many more framed the news as a mere allegation, despite the fact that the FTC had made a formal ruling.

Forbes, for instance, led with the headline “Amazon Will Pay $61.7 Million Settlement After Allegedly Withholding Tips From Delivery Drivers.” Others (Daily Caller, Daily Mail) did the same. Meanwhile, in a tweet on the news, Vox claimed that (emphasis added) “Amazon will pay $61.7 million in a settlement over allegations that the company used customer tips to subsidize the hourly wages of some delivery drivers.” Thus, the fact that Amazon had been caught stealing was watered down into a claim that it was merely “subsidizing” “some” of its employees’ wages.


Perhaps the worst offender was business and tech news site ZDNet, whose headline was “Amazon will pay $61.7 million to settle Flex driver tip dispute with FTC,” which obscured the matter into a foggy and very technical sounding financial dispute. Only a very small number of outlets, including Slate and The Huffington Post, echoed the FTC’s decision by using the word “stole” in their headlines.

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The most extreme things in the US military take place in far-away lands.

Defense Sec. Orders 60-Day Stand-down To Confront Extremism In Military (MT)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has called on the services to conduct a 60-day stand-down on the issue of extremism in the military, prompted by the Jan. 6 attack on the the Capitol and subsequent reports of both active-duty and former service members attending a rally calling to overturn the 2020 election and the riot that ensued. Austin held a meeting Wednesday of the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, to ask them about their concerns and ideas for improving the situation. “Even though the numbers might be small, they may not be as small as we would like them to be, or we believe them to be,“ Kirby said of the prevalence of troops with extremists views, ties or activities. “And that no matter what it is, it is not an insignificant problem.”


Guidance is forthcoming on what Austin expects to see after the 60 days. “It wasn’t a blithe, ‘Hey, just go talk to your people,’” Kirby said of Austin’s direction to the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs. “He was very clear that he wants commands to take the necessary time. And I didn’t hear him be overly proscriptive about that … to speak with troops about the scope of this problem, and certainly to get a sense from them about what they’re seeing at their level.” The Defense Department does not centrally track troops who have been investigated for domestic terrorism or extremist sentiment, and neither do the services, making it difficult to get a read on how prevalent the problem is. Kirby told reporters on Jan. 28 that the FBI opened 143 investigations into troops and veterans in 2020, 68 of those for domestic extremism.

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The MIC needs orders.

US Admiral Warns Nuclear War With Russia, China a ‘Real Possibility’ (Antiwar)

The head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warned that a nuclear war with Russia or China is a “real possibility” and is calling for a change in US policy that reflects this threat. “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” Vice Adm. Charles Richard wrote in the February edition of the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. Richard said the US military must “shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”


The STRATCOM chief said Russia and China “have begun to aggressively challenge international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.” Richard hyped up Russia and China’s nuclear modernization, calling for the US to compete with the two nations. When it comes to China’s nuclear weapons, the US and Russia have vastly larger arsenals. Current estimates put Beijing’s nuclear arsenal at about 320 warheads, while Washington and Moscow have about 6,000 warheads each.

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Was it Trump’s policies that made them stronger, or was it the way America handled Trump?

Xi, Putin Make The Case For Win-Win, Not Zero-Sum (Escobar)

The best in-depth analysis of Putin’s extraordinary speech , hands down, was provided by Rostislav Ishchenko, whom I had the pleasure to meet in Moscow in 2018. Ishchenko stresses how, “in terms of scale and impact on historical processes, this is steeper than the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk combined.” The speech, he adds, was totally unexpected, as much as Putin’s stunning intervention at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, “the crushing defeat” imposed on Georgia in 2008, and the return of Crimea in 2014. Ishchenko also reveals something that will never be acknowledged in the West: “80 people from among the most influential on the planet did not laugh in Putin’s face, as it was in 2007 in Munich, and without noise immediately after his open speech signed up for a closed conference with him.”

Putin’s very important reference to the ominous 1930s – “the inability and unwillingness to find substantive solutions to problems like this in the 20th century led to World War 2 catastrophe” – was juxtaposed with a common sense warning: the necessity of preventing the takeover of global policy by Big Tech , which “are de facto competing with states”. Xi and Putin’s speeches were de facto complementary – emphasizing sustainable, win-win economic development for all actors, especially across the Global South, coupled with the necessity of a new socio-political contract in international relations. This drive should be based on two pillars: sovereignty – that is, the good old Westphalian model (and not Great Reset, hyper-concentrated, one world “governance”) and sustainable development propelled by techno-scientific progress (and not techno-feudalism).


So what Putin-Xi proposed, in fact, was a concerted effort to expand the basic foundations of the Russia-China strategic partnership to the whole Global South: the crucial choice ahead is between win-win and the Exceptionalist zero-sum game.

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Amen.

If BlacK Lives Matter Wins Nobel, Rename It ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Prize (RT)

While 2020 may be remembered as the year Orwell turned over in his grave – and also the year deemed the perfect “match” for Satan – 2021 might well be remembered for the year Alfred Nobel did back flips in his. The Nobel Peace Prize has often generated controversy over many of its dubious nominees and recipients. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shared the prize with his counterpart, Le Duc Tho, “for jointly having negotiated a cease fire in Vietnam in 1973.” Kissinger won despite his role in the bombings in Cambodia and in the killings in ‘Operation Candor’. President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, inspiring him to bomb seven countries as he managed to out-Bush G.W. Bush. The former Nobel secretary told the AP news agency in 2015 that in awarding the prize to Obama, “the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.” You don’t say?

Yet, one of the biggest jaw-droppers may be a current contender, the corporate-funded Marxist front group, Black Lives Matter. The nomination must make BLM’s sponsors proud. And how much do corporate socialists like Black Lives Matter? As of June 2020, corporate America had pledged BLM over $1.678 billion, led by Bank of America and cheap-labor lover Nike. BLM was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Norwegian lawmaker. NBC News reported: “In his nomination letter, Petter Eide, a Socialist Left member of the Storting, Norway’s parliament, wrote that he had nominated Black Lives Matter ‘for their struggle against racism and racially motivated violence.’”

By now, much has been said about BLM’s violent roots. I discovered attempts by BLM (and its enablers) to disguise its history and ideology. But BLM’s scrubbing of its shady past has been to no avail, since its goals and tactics were on full display in the BLM-inspired riots. Protests and riots, including looting and arson, rampaged through the US from May to December 2020. The violence that resulted in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was the first “multi-state catastrophe event” ever declared for civil disorder by claim-tracking company Property Claim Services, Triple-I has said. BLM demonstrations have included calling for the murder of police officers: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now!” On August 29, 2015, during a Black Lives Matter march outside the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, a chant rang out: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.” Inspired by BLM, at least two police officers were murdered, one at point-blank range.


On September 16, 2020, Axios headlined: “$1 billion-plus riot damage is most expensive in insurance history.” But noted in the report was the obligatory leftist cover for those who looted and set many cities ablaze. “The protests that took place in 140 U.S. cities this spring were mostly peaceful, but the arson, vandalism and looting that did occur will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims.”

Read more …

 

 

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Nov 222019
 
 November 22, 2019  Posted by at 2:24 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


Claude Monet O Rio 1881

 

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party presented a big plan yesterday which, as the Guardian ever so subtly put it, “would mean the UK having a bigger state than Germany”. My first reaction to it is that this is inevitable. My second reaction is that it is also too early.

After decades of being squeezed by both the Tories and Tony Blair’s “New” Labour, both the British themselves, and their economy, are so parched that they will vote for something like Corbyn’s plan at some point. Unavoidable. The same on all counts I think is true for Bernie Sanders’ plans.

The wealthier classes don’t appear to be smart enough to understand that they can’t take it all, that they have to leave something for everybody else. But there’s no brake on such currents, they all get carried away, it happens all the time. One side takes too much, and the other side fights back.

Still, while what leads to Corbyn and Sanders rising may be the same, the reasons they fail to attract enough votes is different. In the US, people start shouting: socialism, communism, or maoism, leninism, stalinism, and that will do. These words are fully interchangeable for 99.9% of Americans. If there are 3 of them left that know the difference, you’re lucky.

The reason Sanders is popular is to a large extent that his Democrat competitors are so godawful. For Corbyn, there are other factors in play. But first, a bit about that plan:

Jeremy Corbyn Urges Public To Vote For ‘Manifesto Of Hope’

Jeremy Corbyn has urged the public to vote for his “manifesto of hope” as he unveiled plans for the most dramatic increase in tax and spending in more than half a century if Labour wins power next month’s general election. In an upbeat launch event at Birmingham City University, the Labour leader said he welcomed the hostility of the billionaires, bad bosses and dodgy landlords who would lose out from his policies. Experts were taken aback by the scale of Labour’s spending plans, which dwarfed the substantial increase in the size of the state envisaged in the party’s 2017 manifesto.

“See this [2019] manifesto and vote for the person who’s struggling who you don’t even know,” Corbyn urged the public, adding: “How can any government claim it cares about our country when it cares so little about the people who live here?” With Labour still trailing significantly behind the Conservatives in the polls, party strategists hope the manifesto will help to tempt wavering voters. Corbyn said it was “full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation”. The slim red volume, titled It’s Time for Real Change, included a number of fresh announcements, in addition to the policies announced earlier in the campaign. Key plans include:

• Universal free broadband, delivered by part-nationalising BT and paid for with a tax on tech companies.
• An immediate 5% pay rise for public sector workers, plus above-inflation increases for future years.
• 100,000 new council houses a year by the end of the parliament.
• 1 million new jobs as part of a “green industrial revolution”.
• Nationalisation of rail, water and mail, and new powers to allow councils to take control of bus services.

Corbyn promised an “investment blitz”, which he said would leave no part of the country untouched, and suggested the deindustrialisation that begun in the 1980s would be reversed. “Margaret Thatcher’s government wiped out huge swathes of Britain’s industry. We will rebuild it, as green industry,” he said. Torsten Bell, the director of the Resolution Foundation thinktank, said: “This spending increase would be comparable to the first Wilson government and would mean the UK having a bigger state than Germany.”

As the graph shows, the “giant state” idea is not what it’s made out to be, compared to many countries. So on the face of it, what’s not to like for the impoverished millions in Britain? The answer is easy: there has been a large campaign of people perpetuating whole-cloth out of thin air accusations about Corbyn being an anti-semite, including from his own party (Tony Blair and his ilk).

Sure enough, the Brexit campaigners have gone through an entire litany of outrageous claims and promises, but it’s the anti-semite smear that looks likely to decide not only the December 12 elections, but also the Brexit matter. Yeah, that is deplorable. But it’s the time we live in. Some memes are funny, others are seriously misleading, and many strongly influence people’s way of thinking.

In the US, it’s enough to say that Bernie is a socialist or a leninist, in Britain you need a somewhat stronger and bigger cannon. Anti-semitism in just the thing. What makes these smears and/or memes so effective is repetition. At some point people think: I’ve seen this from ten different sources now, that means it must be true. And social media are all about endless repetition, which makes them perfect for the job.

 

That is of course also how they got to Julian Assange. A rape allegation was all it took. And then they waited 9 years to declare it false, by which point he had been silenced, drawn and quartered. Same mechanism. Jeremy Corbyn is no anti-semite, anymore than Julian Assange is a rapist, but that makes no difference whatsoever.

If you manage to plant the seed of an idea, no matter how ridiculous, in enough people’s heads, and then you make sure it’s repeated every day, you can today make anyone believe anything. Perhaps it’s time to re-label “social” media. Really, social? But the term “mass media” has already been taken.

 

And though many people will not be ready to acknowledge it, what goes for Corbyn and Assange also goes for Donald Trump. Only in his case the old mass media have been much more massively involved, not just the new not-so-terribly social media. But that principle is identical: plant an idea in people’s heads and repeat it ad nauseam.

In Trump’s case, it’s been so successful that entire media organizations that were about to croak were revived by it, at least financially. At this point it’s probably good to illuminate the role intelligence agencies play in the entire meme/smear ‘politics’. They are all over it, they hardly even attempt to hide their roles.

In the cases of Assange and Corbyn, there have been no large-scale investigations. In Corbyn’s case, none at all, and in Assange’s case, probes hidden from view that would not stand any legal daylight, in Sweden, the UK and the US. These investigations always seem directed at ‘affirming the accusers’ case, not at finding if the accused are actually guilty of what they are charged with.

As for Trump, we have of course lived through years of Mueller’s probe, which ended in nothing, seamlessly transitioning into Ukrainegate, in which another stream of potential accusers saw the limelight to provide their particular version of what “hearsay” means in legalese.

I’ve remarked before that Adam Schiff’s little theater wouldn have been throw out of a court in one second flat, because there is no proof and hearsay is inadmissible. I also think Corbyn should have taken one of his many accusers to court, simply to have a judge or jury state publicly that he is not a -proven- anti-semite. Assange obviously was never allowed any such route.

And if you looked and listened closely at the Ukrainegate spectacle, it was clear that the Mueller disaster has not closed the RussiaRussia meme/smear. Russia wants to conquer Europe. The president wanting to direct his own foreign policy was anathema for the “regular channel” crowd. “We have this thing that works beautifully”. And it ain’t the Constitution.

 

What Trump has going for him is that IG Michael Horowitz and Special Counsel John Durham are set to release their respective reports on how Russiagate came about. It looks as if they will have to do without any info of Burisma or its links to the Bidens, because the “regular channel” has frustrated efforts into finding out their roles, but then that was never their probes’ concern.

We now have the first allegation against an FBI lawyer for tampering with FISA documents, through the unusual leakage stream of CNN, which happens to employ lots of ex-FBI people. There is no doubt that we’ll see a whole lot more where that came from. It’ll be an entertaining holiday season, because of course the FBI and CIA will want to (pre-emptively) strike back. And they’re all working at CNN et al.

Their problem is they’ve been working this for years now, and came up zilch. The other side is just getting started. Looks like there’ll be more fireworks than candlelight dinners going into 2020. But perhaps it would still be a good idea for Bill Barr to find himself a good meme or smear, just to be sure.

 

 

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