Jan 192022
 
 January 19, 2022  Posted by at 9:36 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  63 Responses »


Alfred Sisley Snow at Louveciennes 1878

 

US Daily COVID Cases Drop By 47% And Deaths Fall By 38% Week-on-week (DM)
‘Much Brighter Than Before’: COVID-19 Cases Plunge Across US (ET)
The Narrative Is Falling Apart, Piece By Piece (Kirsch)
US Faces Wave Of Omicron Deaths In Coming Weeks, Models Say (AP)
New Research: Covid Less Deadly Than Thought In 1st Year Of Pandemic (JTN)
The Last Days of the Covidian Cult (CJ Hopkins)
Calls Grow To Ditch Compulsory Covid Jabs Law For NHS Staff (DM)
Observations From An Experienced Nurse About The Covid Vaccines (Kirsch)
Think About What Denying Health Care To The Unvaccinated Means (Vezina)
Nicola Sturgeon Announces Lifting Of Omicron Restrictions In Scotland (G.)
New Zealand Closes Borders To New Arrivals Over Omicron Risk (G.)
Grocery Stores Could Close If Labour, Product Shortages Worsen (CP)
Ghislaine Maxwell Ends Fight To Keep Eight ‘John Does’ Secret (CTV)
Western Governments Drop Plans To Cut Russia Off From SWIFT – Media (RT)
5G Network Deployment In The US Spawns A Cluster Of Disruption (TAC)
Multiple Flights to US Suspended Over 5G Fears (RT)

 

 

 

 

Dr. Bowden Houston Methodist

 

 

“The virus is better at immunising than the vaccine”.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1483485364065116163

 

 

That’s a lot.

US Daily COVID Cases Drop By 47% And Deaths Fall By 38% Week-on-week (DM)

Covid infections are falling in the U.S. for the first time since the Omicron variant erupted at the end of 2021. The nation recorded 721,651 new cases on Monday, a steep fall from the 1.364 million cases reported last Monday. America’s new daily case average has also dropped 10 percent over the past seven days, from 766,939 to 684,457. A DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins University data found there were 717,874 new cases recorded between midnight Monday and midnight Tuesday. Monday is often the day when reported case counts are highest as lagging figures from the weekend are finally reported. Last week’s 1.364 million cases recorded on Monday was the highest single day case total the nation ever recorded.

This week’s total was affected by the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, where many local governments and municipalities were closed and did not fully report cases. It is likely that some cases shift to Tuesday this week instead. But Covid cases have been plunging for days in those states hardest hit by Omicron when it first arrived in the US in early December, suggesting the latest phase pandemic could really be drawing to a close. Two-week case averages are generally the most stable figures and can smooth out single day outliers. Over the past 14 days, overall cases in the U.S. are up 40 percent, though that figure is expected to decline further in the coming days as many previous Covid hotspots in the U.S. are now seeing case counts trend in the right direction.

As of Tuesday morning, Johns Hopkins University reports that the U.S. has logged 66,456,516 cases and 851,730 deaths since the pandemic first began. That means there has been one reported Covid case for every five Americans so far – with the figure likely being even higher due to the mass underreporting of cases and test shortages that have been a problem during different waves of the pandemic.Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, put a fly in the ointment after warning that yet another new variant could emerge – and that it could resist existing immunity in those infected or vaccinated.

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As predicted.

‘Much Brighter Than Before’: COVID-19 Cases Plunge Across US (ET)

COVID-19 case counts have dropped across the United States in recent days, stoking optimism that the Omicron-fueled wave is subsiding. 34 states have recorded a decrease in cases in recent days, not including states that reported a single-day drop, according to an Epoch Times analysis. That includes some of the states that saw huge Omicron-fueled increases, including New York, California, and Florida. Other states that have seen fewer cases recently include Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. States in every region of the country have reported fewer cases, and a smaller number have also seen a lower number of people being admitted to hospitals with or for COVID-19.

Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant, which dominated the United States for months last year. However, it causes a smaller percentage of cases that require hospital care or lead to death. States saw a significant increase in positive tests with the emergence of Omicron late last year, in part because the COVID-19 vaccines provide little protection against infection from the strain. Cases in New York shot above 90,000 on Jan. 7, but have since dropped sharply, hitting 26,772 on Monday. Hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 have also gone down in the northeastern state in recent days. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, worries that hospital admissions may go back up in the near future, “but overall, the prognosis, the forecast, for COVID is much brighter than it had been before.” “The COVID clouds are parting,” she told reporters in Latham last week.

[..] Overall, the number of new cases nationwide dropped from 1.3 million on Jan. 10 to the mid-800,000s in the following days, according to data reported by states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. health officials have said the drop in cases could come quickly, similar to the plunges seen in South Africa and other countries that dealt with earlier Omicron waves.

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“I’m now hearing a lot from prominent formerly pro-vax docs that they are turning on the vaccine. This is great news. Nobody is going public yet, but they are all pissed and realize they have been misled.”

The Narrative Is Falling Apart, Piece By Piece (Kirsch)

Here are some narrative pieces that have been falling apart that were recently brought to my attention. Here are the four new truths:

1/ The vaccines make you more likely to get COVID: It was supposed to make things better, but we’re basically mandating you get a shot that makes you more likely to get infected. That is totally insane, but that’s what we are doing. Check out the graphs here. No age confounding this time: UK Government Data proves the Covid-19 Vaccines DOUBLE your chances of catching Covid-19.

2/ The vaccines aren’t safe: I’m now hearing a lot from prominent formerly pro-vax docs that they are turning on the vaccine. This is great news. Nobody is going public yet, but they are all pissed and realize they have been misled. It will not be pretty. This is of course great news.

3/ Cloth masks don’t work: The CDC finally admits that cloth masks that they said worked before and that everyone wore (including Rochelle Walensky) don’t actually work. The other mask types don’t work either, but it will take them longer to figure out the obvious. P100 respirators do work but only a small percentage of people know that. I can’t wait to see Rochelle Walensky wear a P100 respirator; after all, she should be modelling best practices.

4/ Kids shouldn’t have boosters shots: Top WHO scientist finally admits that kids shouldn’t get boosted!!!! Yet the US colleges and universities aren’t going to back off. Someone is very wrong here and for once it isn’t the WHO.

Here are some older truths that should have been realized by now, but are still going on:

1/ Remdesivir is killing patients, not saving them: RDV is standard operating procedure in the US, but everyone I talk to says it doesn’t work and is much more likely to kill patients than save them. Doctors are forced to give it by hospital policy.

2/ Social distancing doesn’t work: The MIT study came out in April, 2021 that showed social distancing makes no difference. 6 feet or 60 feet made no difference. People still haven’t figured this out.


P100 mask

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There we go again. Omicron deaths, in waves.

US Faces Wave Of Omicron Deaths In Coming Weeks, Models Say (AP)

The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, but COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing and modelers forecast 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans could die by the time the wave subsides in mid-March. The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has been trending upward since mid-November, reaching nearly 1,700 on Jan. 17 — still below the peak of 3,300 in January 2021. COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents started rising slightly two weeks ago, although still at a rate 10 times less than last year before most residents were vaccinated. Despite signs omicron causes milder disease on average, the unprecedented level of infection spreading through the country, with cases still soaring in many states, means many vulnerable people will become severely sick. If the higher end of projections comes to pass, that would push total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 over 1 million by early spring.


“A lot of people are still going to die because of how transmissible omicron has been,” said University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi. “It unfortunately is going to get worse before it gets better.” Morgues are starting to run out of space in Johnson County, Kansas, said Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of the health department. More than 30 residents have died in the county this year, the vast majority of them unvaccinated. But the notion that a generally less severe variant could still take the lives of thousands of people has been difficult for health experts to convey. The math of it — that a small percentage of a very high number of infections can yield a very high number of deaths — is difficult to visualize. “Overall, you’re going to see more sick people even if you as an individual have a lower chance of being sick,” said Katriona Shea of Pennsylvania State University, who co-leads a team that pulls together several pandemic models and shares the combined projections with the White House.

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Ioannidis.

New Research: Covid Less Deadly Than Thought In 1st Year Of Pandemic (JTN)

COVID-19 was less lethal across nearly every age group in its first full year than previously thought, according to an updated review of global research from Stanford University’s Meta-Research Innovation Center (METRIC). Between summer and Christmas 2021, METRIC’s estimates of deaths from infection fell by half in multiple age groups, including young people, and less sharply in others. The international estimates, which have not been peer-reviewed, are not substantially different from the CDC’s own “best estimate” of COVID mortality in the U.S., last updated in March. They use different age ranges, making exact comparisons difficult. The findings raise questions about ongoing COVID restrictions and mandates, particularly for schoolchildren and college students, who remain at the lowest overall risk from infection.

The risk-benefit ratio of vaccine boosters is also under scrutiny, with international authorities souring on their wide deployment and a new Israeli study finding that a fourth dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines doesn’t stop the Omicron variant. METRIC codirector John Ioannidis, credited by one medical publisher as having “practically invented” the field of meta-research, warned early in the pandemic that available infection data were “utterly unreliable.” His ongoing tracking of “seroprevalence,” which measures COVID infection rates using the presence of antibodies in blood samples, has made him controversial in scientific circles. Ioannidis led a study in Stanford’s backyard that estimated a much higher infection rate than local authorities were reporting in spring 2020, leading to criticism of his methods. The revised paper was published last spring in an Oxford medical journal.

He has also consistently emphasized that mortality risks for the non-elderly were “very small” even in COVID “hotbeds.” A June 2020 review of seroprevalence studies determined a median “infection fatality rate” (IFR) of 0.26% overall and 0.04% for everyone under 70. [..] The Greece-born Ioannidis told the Greek Reporter this week that he believes the earlier Delta variant is responsible for a substantial portion of recent COVID deaths in the U.S. and Europe, with infections predating the Omicron wave. “Omicron has the characteristics of an endemic wave,” he said, echoing South African research on Omicron infection providing some protection against Delta infection.

The milder variant has a “seasonal appearance, high rates of transmission, [and] disproportionately low death burden in a setting where there is very high background immunity due to prior infection and/or vaccination,” Ioannidis said. The chief epidemiologist at Denmark’s State Serum Institute made the same claim earlier this month, telling Danish TV 2 that “we will have our normal lives back in two months.” Tyra Grove Krause said her organization found the hospitalization risk from Omicron was half that of Delta. It welcomed the spike in cases in recent weeks, saying the “massive spread” of a mild variant will put the country “in a better place than we were before.’

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“And now the clock is running down, and the resistance isn’t crushed … on the contrary, it is growing..”

The Last Days of the Covidian Cult (CJ Hopkins)

This isn’t going to be pretty, folks. The downfall of a death cult rarely is. There is going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth, incoherent fanatical jabbering, mass deleting of embarrassing tweets. There’s going to be a veritable tsunami of desperate rationalizing, strenuous denying, shameless blame-shifting, and other forms of ass-covering, as suddenly former Covidian Cult members make a last-minute break for the jungle before the fully-vaxxed-and-boosted “Safe and Effective Kool-Aid” servers get to them. Yes, that’s right, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the official Covid narrative is finally falling apart, or is being hastily disassembled, or historically revised, right before our eyes.

The “experts” and “authorities” are finally acknowledging that the “Covid deaths” and “hospitalization” statistics are artificially inflated and totally unreliable (which they have been from the very beginning), and they are admitting that their miracle “vaccines” don’t work (unless you change the definition of the word “vaccine”), and that they have killed a few people, or maybe more than a few people, and that lockdowns were probably “a serious mistake.” I am not going to bother with further citations. You can surf the Internet as well as I can. The point is, the “Apocalyptic Pandemic” PSYOP has reached its expiration date. After almost two years of mass hysteria over a virus that causes mild-to-moderate common-cold or flu-like symptoms (or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever) in about 95% of the infected and the overall infection fatality rate of which is approximately 0.1% to 0.5%, people’s nerves are shot.

We are all exhausted. Even the Covidian cultists are exhausted. And they are starting to abandon the cult en masse. It was always mostly just a matter of time. As Klaus Schwab said, “the pandemic represent[ed] a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.” It isn’t over, but that window is closing, and our world has not been “reimagined” and “reset,” not irrevocably, not just yet. Clearly, GloboCap underestimated the potential resistance to the Great Reset, and the time it would take to crush that resistance. And now the clock is running down, and the resistance isn’t crushed … on the contrary, it is growing.

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“..more than 80,000 – 6 per cent of the workforce – remain unvaccinated..”

Calls Grow To Ditch Compulsory Covid Jabs Law For NHS Staff (DM)

Ministers are under pressure from Tory MPs to scrap a law requiring all NHS staff to have a Covid jab as bosses prepare to start sacking 80,000 in a fortnight. All frontline workers must have had two doses of the vaccine by April 1, meaning the first must have been administered by February 3. But more than 80,000 – 6 per cent of the workforce – remain unvaccinated despite repeated efforts to boost take-up. New NHS guidance to employers says staff who have not been jabbed should start being called into formal meetings from February 4 and warned they face dismissal with the notice period ending on March 31. But the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have urged ministers to delay the rules, saying they could have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on the delivery of services.


And Mark Harper, the chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Conservative MPs, yesterday urged No 10 to reconsider its approach. He said: ‘The Government is still ploughing on, regardless of the consequences on staffing levels. It’s nonsense. Ministers must change course.’ He posted a link to the Government’s own impact assessment, which says 73,000 NHS staff in England could be lost because of the rules. He added: ‘Here are the stark numbers – which let’s not forget are real people with real families – behind this policy.’ Health Secretary Sajid Javid last week told the Commons the Government remained committed to the plans.

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“It’s time for us to admit that we’ve been completely deceived.”

Observations From An Experienced Nurse About The Covid Vaccines (Kirsch)

One of my nurse friends forwarded this note to me. It was originally written by a nurse, but the source is unknown, probably out of fear of retribution. Among all the vaccines I have known in my life (diphtheria, tetanus, measles, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis, meningitis, flu, and pneumonia, and tuberculosis) I have never seen a vaccine that forced me to wear a mask and maintain my social distance, even when you are fully vaccinated. I had never heard of a vaccine that spreads the virus even after vaccination. I had never heard of rewards, discounts, incentives to get vaccinated. I never saw discrimination for those who didn’t. If you haven’t been vaccinated no one has tried to make you feel like a bad person. I have never seen a vaccine that threatens the relationship between family, colleagues and friends.

I have never seen a vaccine used to threaten livelihoods, work or school. I have never seen a vaccine that would allow a 12-year-old to override parental consent. After all the vaccines I listed above, I have never seen a vaccine like this one, which discriminates, divides and judges society as it is. And as the social fabric tightens… It’s a powerful vaccine! It does all these things except IMMUNIZATION. If we still need a booster dose after we are fully vaccinated, and we still need to get a negative test after we are fully vaccinated, and we still need to wear a mask after we are fully vaccinated, and still be hospitalized after we have been fully vaccinated, it will likely come to “It’s time for us to admit that we’ve been completely deceived.”

I think she forgot to mention that she’s probably also never seen: • a vaccine which makes it more likely you’ll be infected by the virus they are trying to protect you from (after a brief efficacy period). See Incriminating evidence for all the studies showing this. • a vaccine which helps other latent viruses or cancers to re-emerge with a vengeance. • a vaccine which has killed at least 150,000 previously healthy Americans • a vaccine with over 20,000 deaths reported into VAERS and the CDC can’t find a single death that was due to the vaccine • lockdowns for the unvaccinated that can last for years to come

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“..be careful about deciding what medical ethics we are prepared to amend or abandon in order to “get life back to normal.”

Think About What Denying Health Care To The Unvaccinated Means (Vezina)

Once again, the calls to systemically deny or restrict health care to the unvaccinated are surging, opening the Pandora’s box of changing modern biomedical ethics. Many people are saying it is time for our leaders to have, as they phrase it, the difficult conversation. There are two assumptions made in this. The first is that we have decided a medical system which — overtly and in full view — places certain people’s lives above others is tolerable. It’s true we already have other systems which do this indirectly and subtly. There is no rule, for example, that explicitly states the rich are treated better than the poor, but in practice they are, for numerous reasons. The second assumption is that it is permissible to trade not just the quality of life, but lives themselves, especially in the short term, for securing critical infrastructure.

This is also already the case in our society although, again, it is done indirectly. For example, safeguarding economic infrastructure takes priority over extending people’s lives. Greater priority is given to safeguarding Canadian banks than to affordable housing. The poor are given limited public assistance so that the cost of living does not increase even faster for everyone else. Whether any of this is good or bad is irrelevant. It is simply what happens. But going beyond that, with the Pandora’s box of changing medical ethics having been opened, the following strategies can be considered, all doable and each with its own risks and benefits.

1. Deny health care to the unvaccinated. Benefits: Opens up significant ICU and hospital space; removes people who disagree with modern medical science from the population; perhaps gets us through the COVID-19 pandemic faster. Risks: Potential for widespread civil unrest; long-term effects on medical ethics with a precedent having been set; disproportionate impact on workers and industries required to keep critical infrastructures operational. External control measures, such as business closures and public gatherings would need to be maintained, or vaccinated patients might fill ICUs with uncontrolled Omicron spread.

2. Deny ICU health care to all COVID-only patients, regardless of vaccine status. Benefits: Can restart surgeries rapidly; difficult but easier to ethically justify than the first option; perhaps get through COVID-19 faster. Risks: Easy to abuse in terms of preferential treatment on an individual basis; difficult to implement in terms of practicality; potential staffing shortages, with some frontline health-care workers viewing this as the “last straw” ethically and quitting. With this strategy, external control measures are separated from hospital ICU capacity. Once everyone (of all ages) has an available vaccine to control their personal level of risk, removing control measures and allowing people to decide their risks for themselves becomes more attractive.

3. Reach endemic status rapidly, to decrease hospital load over the long term. By delaying the onset of COVID-19 infections and having hospitals at or exceeding capacity for long periods of time, cancer and many other life-saving surgeries are being further delayed. If the assumption is that everyone will get the virus eventually anyway, then a rapid endemic strategy would be to encourage people to become infected as quickly as possible, through the immediate removal of all external control measures to contain the pandemic. This includes allowing all businesses to reopen at full capacity and removing all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public and private events, as well as in people’s homes. Benefits: Reaches COVID endgame much more quickly, the load on hospital infrastructure recedes much faster, cancer and other life-saving surgeries can be resumed much earlier. Risks: Over the short term, a scenario from hell with increased deaths, the hospital system strained beyond maximum capacity during this period; increased chances of a new Canadian variant developing; it will appear to the public as if governments are abandoning frontline health care. In all of these strategies, the ability or inability of society to recover ethically from what has been done, once the immediate pandemic crisis is over, would be on the table. So be careful about deciding what medical ethics we are prepared to amend or abandon in order to “get life back to normal.”

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People who know more than they tell.

Nicola Sturgeon Announces Lifting Of Omicron Restrictions In Scotland (G.)

Restrictions brought in before Christmas to stem the Omicron surge across Scotland are to be lifted from next Monday, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said. Nightclubs will reopen, there will be an end to social distancing and to a three-household limit indoors, Sturgeon said, adding that the country had “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”. But Sturgeon urged the public to remain “cautious” about socialising in larger groups, while government guidance remains to work from home wherever possible and use face coverings, with vaccine passports still in place for large-scale events. Sturgeon said in her regular statement at Holyrood that the data suggested Omicron peaked in Scotland in the first week of January and that “we are now on the downward slope of this wave of cases” as hospital and intensive care admissions were falling.


Cases were down from 36,526 new cases on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of last week to 20,268 cases reported this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. She said that, after discussion with her cabinet, the remaining statutory measures introduced in response to Omicron – limits on indoor public events; the requirement for one-metre physical distancing between different groups in indoor public places; the requirement for table service in hospitality premises serving alcohol on the premises; and the closure of nightclubs – would be lifted from next Monday, 24 January. From that day, the guidance asking people to stick to a three-household limit on indoor gatherings will also be lifted.

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Locking people out of their own country, and home, should be a no-go.

New Zealand Closes Borders To New Arrivals Over Omicron Risk (G.)

New Zealand has temporarily cut off the only pathway home for overseas citizens and visa holders, citing the risk of the Omicron variant. Officials announced on Tuesday evening that new spaces in the country’s managed isolation and quarantine system (MIQ) would not be released. The Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, said on Wednesday that while the pause was “temporary” there was no date for when spaces would again be available – meaning New Zealand’s border would be closed for an indeterminate time to citizens without an existing booking. “Pausing the next MIQ lobby is a temporary position while MIQ is under extreme pressure from New Zealanders returning with Omicron,” he said.

“No decisions have been made on the date, sequence and conditions for the border reopening and cabinet will consider options within the next couple of weeks based on the most up to date advice. Until then, we are not in a position to release more MIQ rooms.” The MIQ head, Chris Bunny, said there had been an “unprecedented number of Omicron cases coming into New Zealand and MIQ”, with a tenfold increase in cases at the border compared with December, and a seven day rolling average of 33. On Wednesday, New Zealand recorded 24 new cases in the community. One of those cases has been confirmed as Omicron, a household contact of an MIQ worker. Separately, an airport worker tested positive on Wednesday.

New Zealand’s tough border restrictions have been crucial to its avoiding an Omicron outbreak and keeping Covid cases extremely low – but they are also a source of increasing heartache and rage for those who have found themselves locked out, often in extremely difficult personal circumstances. Other than the risky path of chartering a boat across the Tasman sea, securing a spot in MIQ is the only way into New Zealand. Competition for the rooms, which are released via a lottery system, is fierce. At the last release in early January, a queue of 16,000 people were vying to book one of 1,250 available rooms.

For those stranded overseas, the cancellation of future releases was distressing. Maxine Strydom, a member of Grounded Kiwis, which advocates for stranded New Zealanders, said she was stuck in Perth with her two children, and had been unable to secure a spot, despite her job and tenancy in Australia ending. “All of us stranded overseas are affected. We’re all going through mental and emotional stress,” she said. “Soon I’m going to have no money, no house, and no help in a foreign country.” Claire, a New Zealander in San Diego, said: “I feel like every shred of hope has been stripped away … There is no end in sight, it’s just demoralising.” Claire asked to be referred to by first name only amid concerns about criticism by fellow New Zealanders, most of whom have favoured border restrictions.

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Canada screwing up royally.

Grocery Stores Could Close If Labour, Product Shortages Worsen (CP)

Grocery stores are struggling with rising labour and product shortages that could threaten Canada’s food security, experts say. Employee absenteeism due to workers calling in sick and COVID-19 protocols has hit about 30 per cent at some stores and is continuing to rise, Gary Sands, senior vice-president of public policy with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, said Tuesday. Without access to rapid testing in many provinces, he said workers are repeatedly forced to isolate for a week or more after an exposure to COVID-19. If the situation worsens, some grocery stores won’t be able to stay open _ threatening food security in rural and remote areas that rely on a sole independent grocer, Sands said. “If we have to keep sending people home, at a certain point stores are not going to be able to operate,” he said. “We’re very frustrated with the lack of rapid test kits for grocers.”


Health Canada has made some rapid test kits available directly to companies in critical sectors, including the food industry, with 200 or more employees. But many independent grocery stores don’t meet that threshold, putting those kits out of reach, Sands said. Yet many grocers cannot obtain rapid tests through provinces either, he said. “Independent grocers are in a myriad of communities in this country where there is no other grocery store,” Sands said. “If those stores close, you’ve got a food security issue.” Meanwhile, stores are also experiencing a shortage of goods stemming from supply chain issues, including a shortage of truckers, packaging and processing delays and the Canadian winter. Grocers rely on “just in time” delivery, meaning even transient issues like inclement weather can cause delays and shortages, Retail Council of Canada spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen said.

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How many will be famous?

Ghislaine Maxwell Ends Fight To Keep Eight ‘John Does’ Secret (CTV)

Ghislaine Maxwell will no longer fight to keep the names of eight ‘John Does’ secret and will leave it to the court to decide whether the names should be unsealed, according to a Jan. 12 letter to federal Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York. The documents containing the names are connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The case was settled in 2017. Maxwell, 60, faces up to 65 years in prison after she was found guilty last month in a New York federal court on five federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. The charges were related to her role in Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls between 1994 and 2004.

“After careful review of the detailed objections submitted by Non-Party Does 17, 53, 54, 55, 73, 93 and 151, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell writes to inform the Court that she does not wish to further address those objections,” Maxwell attorney Laura Menninger wrote. “Each of the listed Does has counsel who have ably asserted their own respective privacy rights. Ms. Maxwell therefore leaves it to this Court to conduct the appropriate review.” Giuffre’s attorney had filed a brief on Wednesday, arguing for the names to be revealed. “[G]eneralized aversion to embarrassment and negativity that may come from being associated with Epstein and Maxwell is not enough to warrant continued sealing of information. This is especially true with respect to this case of great public interest, involving serious allegations of the sex trafficking of minors,” Guiffre attorney Sigrid McCawley wrote.

“Now that Maxwell’s criminal trial has come and gone, there is little reason to retain protection over the vast swaths of information about Epstein and Maxwell’s sex-trafficking operation that were originally filed under seal in this case.” McCawley said the court has already rejected similar arguments for anonymity and the same standard should apply to the eight ‘John Does’ who still remain anonymous in court documents.

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“Germany would have no way of paying Moscow for its natural gas contracts”

Western Governments Drop Plans To Cut Russia Off From SWIFT – Media (RT)

German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that Western leaders have ruled out the possibility of disconnecting Russia from the global banking interchange SWIFT. However, the US government has contradicted the assertion. “No option is off the table,” a spokesperson for Washington’s National Security Council told reporters on Monday. The denial comes after Handelsblatt claimed that the US had, in fact, given up on the threat of removing Russia from SWIFT in talks with the German government. If the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication cuts ties with Russian banks, Germany would have no way of paying Moscow for its natural gas contracts. It could also unleash a catastrophic rise in oil and food prices.


Instead, the Düsseldorf-based business daily reported that the US and German governments are discussing “targeted” sanctions against Russia’s largest banks in the event that Moscow “invades” Ukraine. US intelligence has claimed for several weeks now that Russia is preparing an attack on its neighbor. Moscow has rejected the insinuations as “fake news.” Germany has insisted that any sanctions include exceptions so that the import of oil and gas from Russia can continue, according to Handelsblatt. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the sanctions proposal with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the paper added.

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“PULL UP WHOOP WHOOP DON’T SINK TOO LOW GEAR”

5G Network Deployment In The US Spawns A Cluster Of Disruption (TAC)

Something is going on with Runway 10L at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. Last week, a Bombardier-built CRJ200 regional jet on final approach had the strangest thing happen. The aircraft’s radar altitude abruptly ran down to zero, causing repeated loud aural warnings: PULL UP WHOOP WHOOP DON’T SINK TOO LOW GEAR. The flight landed without incident in good weather, but it wasn’t the first time. “Exact same location multiple times the past two weeks,” the pilot, who was on the flight deck for both anomalies, told The Air Current.

The incidents were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s not known definitively if the radar altimeter behavior was related to pre-deployment testing of 5G telecommunication technologies, but the unexplained incident underscored the fears of aviators, as well as the confusion and increasing disruption that is now befalling U.S. commercial aviation. International airlines like Emirates, Air India, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways have cancelled flights to select cities, citing the 5G C Band interference risk to their aircraft. Boeing on Monday night sent a so-called multi-operator message to carriers flying 777 and 747-8s and “recommends operators do not operate 777 airplanes on approach and landing to U.S. runways” with 5G C Band notices starting on January 19 unless there is an alternative means of compliance with FAA directives, according to guidance reviewed by The Air Current.

“The above recommendation has been determined through the Boeing Safety Review Board and engineering pilot evaluation based on the uncertainty of the 5G operating environment,” the company wrote. The review board meeting was held on January 15. “Boeing recommends that operators develop contingency plans for their operations.” Boeing referred comment to the FAA after saying, like Airbus, it was working with an industry coalition to address the 5G deployment issue with U.S. regulators. The FAA did not respond to questions about the reported incident in Palm Beach.

5G

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Y2K?

Multiple Flights to US Suspended Over 5G Fears (RT)

Prominent airlines from Japan, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have suspended flights to airports across the United States after expressing concern over the deployment of 5G. Emirates, Air India, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways canceled flights to New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Seattle, among other US cities. Air India announced on Tuesday that it would no longer operate flights the next day to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport “due to deployment of the 5G communications in USA.”


On the same day, Emirates canceled flights to at least nine US cities, again “due to operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the U.S,” while Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways canceled at least 13 flights. Airlines and the FAA previously repeatedly voiced concerns about C-band 5G potentially disrupting airplane instruments, namely radio altimeters. So far, the US aviation body cleared less than a half of the nation’s commercial fleet for low-visibility landings at the airports potentially affected by 5G interference. International airlines were also seriously affected, with All Nippon Airways saying that while its Boeing 787 aircraft could operate under the new guidelines, 777’s could not. In response to concerns, AT&T and Verizon postponed the Wednesday rollout of 5G service near some airports, but not all.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogan McMaster

 

 

 

 

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Sep 122021
 
 September 12, 2021  Posted by at 5:15 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Thomas Cole The Course of Empire – The Savage State 1834

 

 

There is nothing wrong with people remembering their departed loved ones; mourning has a beneficial function for the human mind -and body. It’s a bit different when it becomes a group process, or even one of an entire nation, especially when a vast media complex gets involved to tell readers and viewers what to think.

And when one of the eulogists is the guy who used the deaths to inflict death upon millions of others, it has become real different. Mourning, in its optimal form, binds people together. And if you can’t, or don’t mourn all deaths, it has lost that form. It has become as divisive as the initial cause of all the dying.

Does any American think that whoever killed 3,000 people in New York, should want or expect 2-3-4 million people to die in retribution over the following 20 years? Do you even have a right to mourn your own lost innocent lives if you neglect all other lost innocent lives?

I remember watching a video with Larry Silverstein, who had bought all -or most- of the WTC complex just 3 months before 9/11 (always found that a weird detail), saying at some point during 9/11 the fire department decided to “pull the building”. The video is still up. And I thought: you can only “pull” a building if you loaded it up with explosives first, which for a building the size of WTC7 takes days. Why on earth would you have done that in early September or before??

That’s when I stopped reading 9/11 stories, and trying to figure out what really happened, because it was too clear that we would never find out. It is JFK’s murder all over again. Lots of speculation, but never an answer. Just an endless barrage of deceit.

 

And lo and behold, we appear to be walking into exactly the same kind of barrage again, eyes wide open. This one has made, at last count, some 655,000 victims in the US alone over the past 20 months. As the country mourns 3,000 victims from 20 years ago. And while the last great deceit led to revenge on people half a world away, this time the target is “our own people”.

Dr. Robert Malone yesterday said: “I have seen reliable estimates that there have been 450,000 excess US deaths attributable to USG blocking early use of ivermectin and HCQ.” Other sources claim some 200,000 have died from the vaccines (and many more will follow). You keeping track of the numbers? We’re at 650,000 out of 655,000 already. And there’s more (or less, if you want). “Covid cases in UK are 26 times higher than a year go. ”

Does the virus even really exist? 7 Laboratories in US Can’t Find COVID-19 in One of 1,500 Positive Tests. It doesn’t even appear to have been isolated either. Just people with influenza A or B jotted down as covid.

And even if the coronavirus exists, how dangerous is it? More and more claim that the Delta variant, which is said to be almost all virus left, is fictitious, and merely a term used as a way to cover up vaccine deaths.

Meanwhile, Moderna is rushing to get a vaccine approved for 5-11 year olds, and working on one for 6 months old and up. Because they might infect their grandparents, or something. Case fatality rates of these kids are infinitesimal, much lower than the risks of the vaccines for them, but The Science has been abandoned by those who claim to represent it. And the grandparents might think: better me dead than my grandchild, but octogenarian Fauci sure ain’t going to ask them what they think.

That the vaccinated are doing much better than the unvaccinated, either in infections or in transmission, is a long dead mantra. But the idea that the vaccines prevent severe disease or death, is also rapidly vanishing. You’ve been spritzed with something that will be a threat for the rest of your life, and your best defense is to get fit and spruce up your immune system as best you can. Take vit. D, zinc and ivermectin, if you can still get it.

What remains is the deceit, from 9/11 to Covid, the government lies that by now should be expected, and the media lies that.. well, should also. Maybe that’s why we have the interwebs, so we can go out and find a kernel of truth in between the deceit. Even if 95% of people use it to do the exact opposite.

 

Time to start mourning the people who die of or with Covid, and who die of the vaccines, once you’re done with 9/11. And see that they didn’t have to die, that it was a political choice. You may be able to use that grief, and your nascent understanding of why they died, to make sure not more others die of fully preventable causes. Any Americans -and Europeans- who die from now on in will be like the Afghans and Iraqis and Syrians etc. who died post-9/11. Victims of failed -or worse- policy.

 

 

 

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Jul 272021
 


Emil Nolde Half Moon Over The Sea 1945

 

 

This is a double list from longtime Automatic Earth regular commenter TAE Summary , posted in yesterday’s Debt Rattle thread. It’s too useful, and nice, and well-done, to leave it there, it should -and deserves to- be seen by more people. Who will all recognize something here, but not all the same. Good! Now we’re talking!

 

 

TAE Summary:

 

The Mainstream Narrative

– It is not known where Covid 19 originated but the most likely origin is the transmission from an animal to humans

– Covid 19 has killed 600K people in the US

– Trump botched the Covid 19 response costing many lives

– Many deaths were preventable if we’d tested, masked, tracked and locked down better

– Vaccines are good and have eradicated polio, measles, whooping cough and other diseases

– Vaccines against Covid 19 are safe and effective and have saved many lives with only minor, acceptable adverse reactions

– There are no effective treatments for Covid 19 besides the vaccines

– Covid is spread by droplets and aerosols from infected people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, and can be spread through momentary casual contact both indoors and outdoors

– Children and young adults are at risk form Covid 19 and can spread the disease and should take the same precautions and measures as adults

– We need to do whatever it takes to defeat Covid 19 including frequent testing, mass vaccination, continued lockdowns and wearing masks

– The best information comes from the CDC, FDA and NIH

– The mainstream media warns us of the dangers of Covid 19 but unfortunately many do not take these warnings seriously

– As usual, conspiracy theorists and nut-jobs abound

– Antivaxxers are against all vaccines and now also against the Covid 19 vaccines

– Antivaxxers have believed phony information disseminated by scurrilous, right wing charlatans

– These people cost many lives and are the reason Covid still spreads and mutates

– They are responsible for continued lockdowns and the further decimation of the economy

– They are selfish, evil and anti-science

– The Covid 19 response is all about trying to get us back to normal as quickly as possible

 

 

The Counter Narrative

– Covid 19 was most likely created in a lab in China or the US

– Covid 19 kills people but far fewer than the official count

– Almost all officials in government have botched the Covid 19 response, costing many lives

– Most deaths were preventable if we had investigated and deployed early treatments including vitamin D, zinc, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin

– Vaccines are good and have eradicated polio, measles, whooping cough and other diseases

– The Covid 19 vaccines however are not actually vaccines but gene therapy and have not been adequately tested

– The Covid 19 vaccines have serious side effects including death and other as yet unknown consequences which are not being investigated and are suppressed by the media

– We need to defeat Covid 19 and the best way to do this is through early outpatient treatment with known, effective drugs and known drug protocols for hospitalized patients

– Covid 19 is primarily spread by aerosols from symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people, mostly in indoor situations with poor ventilation where peoples spend a long time together

– Children and young adults are at low risk from Covid 19 and need take fewer precautions and measures but should be treated with drug protocols if infected

– Masks, distancing and lockdowns are mostly ineffective

– The best information comes from front line doctors who actually treat patients and experienced researchers who have no financial interest in big pharma

– The CDC, FDA and NIH are largely compromised because of their association with and funding by drug companies

– The mainstream media is also compromised by their association with big pharma and the government

– The truth about Covid 19 is suppressed and labeled conspiracy theory in order to support the mainstream narrative

– People who insist that the vaccines are the only way to fight Covd 19 have believed lies told to them by the MSM from big pharma and a corrupt medical establishment

– The vaccine narrative has cost many lives and ineffective vaccines are responsible for the continued spread and mutation of Covid 19

– The fallacious mainstream narrative is responsible for all lock downs and the decimation of the economy

– The people who push the mainstream narrative are evil and anti-science; The people who believe this narrative are naive, dogmatic and anti-science

– The Covid 19 response is all about money, power and control

 

 

 

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Jul 092021
 
 July 9, 2021  Posted by at 7:52 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Alessandro Allori Portrait of a Lady c1560

 

 

 

Just a brief note on something I noticed yesterday and this morning. I’m not sure if this is predominantly a British issue, but even if it is, be sure it will spread to many nations. The issue is this: the narrative is being put on its head. It’s no longer the inoculation of millions upon millions of people with experimental and never approved substances that constitutes an experiment, the experiment now is NOT doing it.

You are now not a Covid guinea pig if you get one of the jabs that killed a estimated 20,000 people so far in Europe and the US and led to 100s of 1000s of severe adverse reactions. No, you’re a guinea pig if you don’t get a shot whose makers themselves say doesn’t protect you from infection. And don’t listen to Fauci et al who declare something “safe” because it only killed 20,000 people; they have no credibility left, they just still have the media on their side.

This is not a subtle shift, something one might expect when doing narrative control, it’s a full 180º, the “Ignorance is strength” variety. But if you read between the narrative lines, you might just pick up on the fact that this is coming from one of the most “successfully vaccinated” countries in the world, but where “cases” are skyrocketing once again.

And maybe just maybe this proves what the vaccine makers have said all along: that the vaccines do not protect you from infection. We should at least consider the possibility, and discuss it, and then act according to what we find. In the meantime, it looks like maybe whatever you do, you’re always a guinea pig.

 

Sturgeon Warns Against Treating Young People Like Covid ‘Guinea Pigs’

Nicola Sturgeon has warned against treating young people like “guinea pigs” by allowing them to get infected with coronavirus when lifting restrictions, amid fears they remain at risk of significant health impacts such as long Covid. Scotland’s first minister said the desire to live free of lockdown-style restrictions did not mean governments could “throw all caution to the wind”, while suggesting the “domination” of England’s plans to scrap Covid rules risked confusing other UK nations. The steep rise in infections across Scotland caused by theDelta variant may be levelling off, Sturgeon added. The current spike has led to six Scottish health boards being placed among the top 10 worst-hit regions in Europe by the WHO last weekend.


The levelling off gave her “more cause for optimism” that she would be able to confirm the move to level 0 of Scotland’s five-tier system of Covid controls in parliament next Tuesday, she said, before emphasising that the planned easing on 19 July “won’t be an abrupt end to basic protective measures like face covering, physical distancing, rigorous hand hygiene and advising on good ventilation.” However, she pointed out the “significant” impact the virus can have on younger people, even if there is a lower risk of death. She said: “I want to set out simply why we can’t just throw all caution to the wind. Firstly, this virus is still dangerous, as we see every day. It is still taking lives, though mercifully, thanks to the vaccines, it is doing so in far fewer numbers than we saw in earlier stages.”

 

One group wants the country shut down forever, the other does not.

 

Risking England’s Health: Not Everyone Can Choose To Stay Safe

In a letter to the Lancet, over 100 global scientists have warned that rushing ahead with reopening on 19 July – rather than waiting until more people are vaccinated – is dangerous and premature. Those concerns will be compounded by the relaxation of travel restrictions announced on Thursday. Allowing children and double-vaccinated adults to travel to amber list countries without quarantining on return increases the risk of importing new variants which could be more infectious or more resistant to current vaccines, just as opportunities for transmission increase. The health secretary, Sajid Javid, concedes we could soon be looking at 100,000 cases a day, but argues that hospitalisation and death numbers are what matter more than anything.

Unfortunately, he will not say what figures he expects or would tolerate. The link between infection and serious illness or death has been much weakened, but not broken. Vaccination rates vary widely; in some areas, fewer than 30% have received two doses. On Thursday, the UK reported weekly rises of more than 50% in Covid hospital admissions and deaths – both of which lag rises in cases – to 456 and 35 respectively. The government’s chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, has said that we are likely to see a significant increase in long Covid; experts fear that huge numbers could be affected. Though the government talks of personal responsibility, there can be no responsibility without choice. For too many, danger is being imposed upon them. Vaccines are widely available, and people can still cover their faces.

But masks are better at protecting people from the wearer than protecting the wearer. Young workers on public transport or in shops, not yet able to get a second jab, will be exposed to the virus by customers who choose not to wear masks. They surely need and deserve protection. Children are currently unable to be vaccinated. The immunocompromised are less protected by vaccines and more likely to become seriously ill if they contract Covid. Reportedly, the department of health will be issuing new guidance for the immunosuppressed and clinically very vulnerable. But while support for shielders is needed, confining them to quarters indefinitely is hardly a liberation.

Nor is there much choice for exhausted NHS staff who face a soaring workload again, or for patients whose operations are being cancelled because hospitals are treating growing numbers of Covid patients or staff are having to self-isolate. If anything, the authors of the Lancet letter are too generous in describing this as “a dangerous and unethical experiment”: that terminology suggests a degree of scientific rigour and concern. Instead, this is a political wager, in which large parts of the population are not players but gambling chips.

 

 

 

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Apr 142019
 


Edward Hopper The Sheridan Theatre 1937

 

Draghi Worries About Fate Of Fed’s Independence (MW)
The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada Deflate (WS)
UK Tories Face European Elections Drubbing (Ind.)
Corbyn Told To Promise Final Say Referendum (Ind.)
It’s The UK Political System, Not Just MPs, That Is Failing (G.)
UK Media, MPs Unveil Latest Assange Deception (Cook)
American Values: Embassies Are For Chopping Up Journalists (McDonald)
Assange Is In The Dock, But Investigative Journalism Is On Trial (Crikey)
The Obvious Dirty Dealings Behind Julian Assange’s Arrest (OG)
Anonymous Attacks Continue Against Ecuadorian Government Websites (Cassandra)

 

 

Independence from what? Reality?

Draghi Worries About Fate Of Fed’s Independence (MW)

Concerns about central-bank independence are on the rise.Take, for example, the cover of this week’s edition of the Economist. And while not solely a U.S. concern, a steady stream of complaints by President Donald Trump about the Federal Reserve’s earlier string of interest-rate hikes and his announcement he would nominate Stephen Moore and Herman Cain — both widely criticized as unqualified and likely to act at the behest of the White house on policy decisions — to the central bank’s governing board have sparked fears the central bank’s policy independence could be at risk. (Four Republican senators have said they would vote against Cain if he were formally put forward, likely sinking his chances.)

On Saturday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi appeared to take notice: ‘I’m certainly worried about central bank independence in other countries, especially…in the most important jurisdiction in the world.’ Draghi’s remarks, as reported by Reuters, came at a news conference at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. They also marked a rare instance of a central banker opining about the operations of a foreign central bank. “If the central bank is not independent, then people may well think that monetary policy decisions follow political advice rather than objective assessment of the economic outlook,” said Draghi.

Read more …

Amid all the loud news, both Canada and Australia are slipping fast.

The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada Deflate (WS)

Canada’s housing markets barely dipped during the Financial Crisis when US housing markets ran into deep trouble, causing the Mortgage Crisis that begat all kinds of other crises. Canadian homeowners and banks watched the mess from across the border and shook their heads. But now, after an 18-year housing boom, the downturn has arrived in Vancouver and Toronto, among the formerly hottest housing bubbles in the world.


The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index tracks single-family house prices, based on “sales pairs,” similar to the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller index for US housing markets. It compares the sales price of a house in the current month to the prior sale of the same house years earlier. Using “sales pairs” eliminates the issues that affect median-price indices. But the median-price data for Vancouver is a lot more disconcerting than the Teranet data. So let’s compare how Vancouver’s housing bubble stacks up against the legendary but now also deflating housing bubble in San Francisco.

House prices in the Greater Toronto Area fell 0.3% in March from February and are down 4.3% from the peak in July 2017, the steepest 20-month decline since May 2009. From January 2002 through the peak in July 2017, the index soared 218% — meaning that house prices more than tripled. But that pales compared to Vancouver, where house prices more than quadrupled. I converted this Teranet index for Toronto house prices to “percent-change since January 2002” and overlaid the insane mind-boggling housing bubble in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it shows just how majestic the 18-year Toronto housing bubble has been:

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European elections in Britain do seem surreal.

UK Tories Face European Elections Drubbing (Ind.)

The Conservatives are facing a humiliating defeat at the European elections next month after support for the party slumped to its lowest level since 2013, according to a new poll. The survey shows the Tories on just 28 per cent when it comes to general election voting intention – a four-point fall which leaves them trailing Labour on 32. When voters were asked which party they will vote for at the European elections, Theresa May’s party languished on 16 per cent, eight points behind Labour on 24. In a clear sign support for the Conservatives is crumbling over the failure to deliver Brexit, 56 per cent of people who voted to leave at the 2016 referendum said they would back Ukip or Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party during next month’s vote.


The Brexit Party is on 15 per cent, while Ukip stands at 14 per cent when it comes to European voting intention, the YouGov poll for The Times indicated. By comparison, the Lib Dems and the Greens are both on 8 per cent, while Change UK has 7 per cent support. No 10 is still hoping to get a deal through parliament in time to avoid participation in the European elections on 23 May. But the UK is formally on track to hold the poll, having informed the EU authorities ahead of Friday’s deadline that it would be taking part. Boris Johnson’s backers have suggested he may not even campaign on behalf of his party next month in an effort to show his displeasure at the UK’s involvement. “Boris won’t campaign in European elections. He believes the prospect of the UK fielding candidates is utterly preposterous,” a source told The Times.

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Something only a small group wants. But then, that’s true of all Brexit issues and ‘solutions’.

Corbyn Told To Promise Final Say Referendum (Ind.)

Jeremy Corbyn is under intense pressure from within his shadow cabinet to give a strong commitment to a new Brexit referendum as part of Labour’s European election campaign offer. A string of senior shadow ministers are advocating a new public vote, alongside MPs from the left and right of the party, buoyed by a groundswell of support from the membership. The Independent understands Labour is now beginning the process of drawing up its manifesto with those wanting to give the public a final say on Brexit pushing the leader to make a strong bid for the Remain vote on polling day. Mr Corbyn’s team is currently engaged in talks with the Conservatives in an effort to find a Brexit compromise deal that can enjoy majority support in the House of Commons, with a referendum having been discussed during the negotiations.


The leader’s office emphasised that decisions on the manifesto were yet to be discussed, with the party simultaneously defending its majorities against the pro-Remain Change UK party run by Labour defectors and Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party. One shadow cabinet source told The Independent: “We can’t credibly agree to any deal unless there is a confirmatory referendum attached to it. “We should be telling people about that, the support is there to be had.” The European elections are set to become a rerun of the 2016 referendum campaign with parties positioning themselves along the Brexit spectrum from Leave to Remain.

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Party before country.

It’s The UK Political System, Not Just MPs, That Is Failing (G.)

Brexit has prompted a recurring nightmare among an increasingly incredulous population: our very own Groundhog Day. Two weeks after the EU granted us an 11th-hour extension to prevent us crashing out without a deal, we are back in exactly the same position. The only thing standing between us and next Friday’s cliff edge is the hope the EU gifts us another extension. Meanwhile, the political turmoil engulfing the country worsens, the two main parties increasingly consumed by division and disarray and the political leadership we so desperately need to avert crisis as elusive as ever. It’s hard to believe that the Westminster model of democracy was one prized by constitutional theorists for the stability it purportedly delivers. As the stakes get higher, our political system has proved less and less capable of delivering a resolution to the gridlock that has infected Westminster.

Brexit has been a story of the favouring of party management over the national interest. From the very beginning, Theresa May’s approach to Brexit – from her premature decision to trigger article 50 to her red lines on freedom of movement and the customs union – has been driven not by a strategy to unite the country in the wake of a divisive referendum but to keep her Brexit ultras on side. Only now it has become clear that there are MPs in her party so fanatically dogmatic that they would rather hold out for no deal than vote for her deal has she opened compromise talks with Labour. But Labour emerged from the talks on Friday complaining that no changes to the political declaration were on offer, suggesting that this move may have been more about trying to lay blame for any further delay on the opposition.

Labour’s strategy has been no less determined by party interest. Jeremy Corbyn has kept a position of barely credible ambiguity for as long as possible to avoid alienating any of its voters. Labour has maintained the charade that it could deliver a Brexit deal that delivers all the benefits of EU membership with none of costs. And Labour has failed to provide any leadership support for a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal, with the shadow cabinet split on the issue. Time is running out for Labour to decide once and for all whether it will properly swing its weight behind a referendum. Thanks to the mess the Tories are in, Corbyn is in a position of power, if he only chooses to use it.

Read more …

Another excellent essay from Jonathan Cook.

UK Media, MPs Unveil Latest Assange Deception (Cook)

[..] the public conversation in the UK, sympathetically reported by the Guardian, supposedly Britain’s only major liberal news outlet, is going to be about who has first dibs on Assange. Here’s the first paragraph of the Guardian front-page article: “Political pressure is mounting on [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid to prioritise action that would allow Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden, amid concerns that US charges relating to Wikileaks’ activities risked overshadowing longstanding allegations of rape.” So the concern is not that Assange is facing rendition to the US, it is that the US claim might “overshadow” an outstanding legal case in Sweden. The 70 MPs who signed the letter to Javid hope to kill two birds with one stone.

First, they are legitimising the discourse of the Trump administration. This is no longer about an illegitimate US extradition request on Assange we should all be loudly protesting. It is a competition between two legal claims, and a debate about which one should find legal remedy first. It weighs a woman’s sexual assault allegation against Assange and Wikileaks’ exposure of war crimes committed by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. It suggests that both are in the same category, that they are similar potential crimes. But there should only be one response to the US extradition claim on Assange. That it is entirely illegitimate. No debate. Anything less, any equivocation is to collude in the Trump administration’s narrative. The Swedish claim, if it is revived, is an entirely separate matter.

[..] In another article on Assange on Friday, the Guardian – echoing a common media refrain – reported as fact a demonstrably false claim: “Assange initially took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.” There could be no possible reason for its reporters to make this elementary mistake other than that the Guardian is still waging its long-running campaign against Assange, the information revolution he represents and the challenge he poses to the corporate media of which the Guardian is a key part.

[..] Assange was previously wanted for questioning, and has never been charged with anything. If the Swedish extradition request is revived, it will be so that he can be questioned about those allegations. I should also point out, as almost no one else is, that Assange did not “flee” questioning. He offered Swedish prosecutors to question him at the embassy. Even though questioning overseas in extradition cases is common – Sweden has done it dozens of times – Sweden repeatedly refused in Assange’s case, leading the Swedish appeal court to criticise the prosecutors. When he was finally questioned after four years of delays, Swedish prosecutors violated his rights by refusing access to his Swedish lawyer.

Read more …

First amendment anyone?

American Values: Embassies Are For Chopping Up Journalists (McDonald)

202310Fair-minded people across the world have rightly condemned the US-ordered arrest of Julian Assange. However, few have noted how it fits part of a pattern of American hypocrisy when it comes to the treatment of journalists. Only six months ago, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and hacked to pieces by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. He was a columnist at the Washington Post and editor-in-chief of the Al-Arab News Channel, known for his sharp criticism of the illegal US-backed Saudi war on Yemen. Despite a CIA conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome assassination, President Donald Trump stood by his ally and no meaningful sanctions or penalties were directed towards Riyadh.


Turkey itself remains a NATO member, and close US partner, despite holding more journalists behind bars than any other nation on earth. This figure stood at 68, at the end of last year, around one-quarter of the global total of 251. Now we have the indictment of Assange, which seeks to criminalize basic functions of journalism. For instance, keeping sources anonymous or deleting records of conversations. Indeed, it also appears to be a breach of America’s own First Amendment. He has been targeted by Washington for exposing evidence of appalling atrocities, carried out by the US military, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, as a result, Assange sought sanctuary in the small London embassy of Ecuador. What followed was relentless pressure on Quito to reverse the asylum it granted the Wikileaks founder and it culminated in his arrest.

Read more …

“That would forestall extradition for long enough for Jeremy Corbyn to become PM, at which point extradition would be refused. But it may be just all screaming chaos.”

Assange Is In The Dock, But Investigative Journalism Is On Trial (Crikey)

Team Assange had a defence on the jumping bail thing: “Your honour, my client had a reasonable fear that from remand he would be extradited to the US.” That was received reasonably. “Also that the previous presiding judge Lady Arbuthnot, did not recuse herself …” That was not. “You had ample time to raise this issue, and now you are traducing the reputation of a fine judge…” Snow went on. I thought of Peter Cook’s great monologue of the summing-up of the Jeremy Thorpe trial: “You have ruined the reputation of one of the most pretty defendants.” Once Assange had been found guilty of skipping bail, it got even weirder. “Your situation is a product of your narcissism,” said the magistrate clearly riled. He did not want the situation of Justice Lady Arbuthnot further explored. I am happy to do so.


Lady Arbuthnot, who ruled on the lawfulness of Assange’s continued criminalisation in the UK in 2015, is the wife of Lord Arbuthnot, a Conservative who has held multiple defence industry posts over the last two decades. This sally got short shrift, but it seemed to me intended to do so. Although when I asked a member of the legal team how it had all gone, they said “well, you saw that shit show in there”. So perhaps not. Assange is now on remand awaiting sentencing for the fleeing bail charge — the Magistrates Court having transferred it to the Crown Court, so a larger maximum sentence of 12 months instead of six, can be awarded. Is that a plan too? That would forestall extradition for long enough for Jeremy Corbyn to become PM, at which point extradition would be refused. But it may be just all screaming chaos.

Read more …

“Of course, the idea that Moreno is handling the economy brilliantly, but somehow also needs over $10 billion dollars in loans is never addressed.”

The Obvious Dirty Dealings Behind Julian Assange’s Arrest (OG)

The US has been planning to have Julian Assange handed over for a longtime, that much is obvious. Mike Pence, the Vice President, was visiting Ecuador last year, notionally to discuss the Venezuela situation, and trade. But it was fairly obvious at the time, and even more so now, that they were discussing the details of Assange being handed over to UK authorities, and eventually extradited to the US. “Trade”, indeed. In terms of quid pro quo, the situation is clear-cut – In February, Ecuador got a $4.2 BILLION loan approved by the International Monetary Fund (amongst other pay-outs). Reuters reported on February 19th of this year:

“Ecuador has reached a $4.2 billion staff-level financing deal with the IMF, President Lenin Moreno said on Wednesday, as the Andean country grapples with a large fiscal deficit and heavy external debt. The country will also receive $6 billion in loans from multilateral institutions including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the CAF Andean development bank…” So, less than 2 months ago, it was announced Ecuador was going to receive over 10 billion dollars of loans. Where all that money will eventually end up is anyone’s guess, it certainly isn’t being spent on infrastructure or state enterprise: “Moreno has begun to implement an austerity plan that includes layoffs of workers at state-owned companies and cuts to gasoline subsidies, also plans to find a private operator for state-run telecoms company CNT and other state-owned firms.”

President Moreno has already been the subject of numerous corruption accusations. So these “loans”, nominally for “[creating] work opportunities for those who have not yet found something stable”, could more realistically be described as “a pay-off”. More than just money, Lenin Moreno has been gifted something all insecure third-world leaders crave: Western approval. The Economist ran a story on April 12th, the day after Assange was arrested, praising Lenin Moreno’s economic policies, and blaming the previous administration for the “mess” that Moreno has to clear up. (Of course, the idea that Moreno is handling the economy brilliantly, but somehow also needs over $10 billion dollars in loans is never addressed. A tiny logical contradiction compared with the nonsense the MSM dish-up on a daily basis).

Read more …

Expect it to be used against Assange.

Anonymous Attacks Continue Against Ecuadorian Government Websites (Cassandra)

Over 30 websites belonging to the Ecuadorian government are now offline — some of them defaced — in protest of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The hackers are calling their efforts #OpEcuador, and are also promoting #OpUS and #OpUK. The United States and United Kingdom have not yet been hit with any cyber attacks, that we know of. It is important to note that none of this was directed by WikiLeaks or Assange himself. Supporters are acting on their own with the attacks. A data dump from the hackers warns that “Ecuador Government websites has been taken #Offline with 1 Direct attack. There are few most important websites that’s still down at this time. If some of their servers comes up again, we will fire again to take them down!”

Websites that have been hit include the Central bank of Ecuador, their Ministry of Interior, the Ecuadorian Assembly in UK and the main website for the Government of Ecuador — mot of which had been down for over twelve hours by Saturday evening. The hackers primarily appear to be speaking and coordinating in Spanish — though one of the data dumps was in Indonesia. A Twitter account belonging to the hackers stated that if the websites come back online they will “burn their servers.” The hacking group also called for other supporters to join them.


An InfoSec expert and Assange supporter who has been monitoring the situation told the Gateway Pundit that he is concerned that the attacks will be used against Assange by the media. “My opinion is that it’s deserved karma, but it could enable the anti-Assange media to divert attention away from Julian’s value to journalism by wrongly associating him with reckless hacktivism culture.” He also expressed concern about there being collateral damage within the large data dumps that are being posted online. Other supporters expressed similar concerns, though many still agreed that the attacks are warranted.

Read more …

Mar 252019
 


Yves Klein Leap into the Void 1960

 

Message to Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kemala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard and the rest of the crew: you can stop asking for campaign donations, because you no longer stand a chance in the 2020 elections. Your own party, and the media who support you, made sure of that. Or rather, the only chance you would have is if you guys start another smear campaign against your president, and I wouldn’t recommend that.

I don’t want to start another Lock Her Up sequence, that’s too ugly for my taste. But three parties in this No Collusion disaster must be held accountable: US intelligence, the Democratic party, and the media. You can’t just let it go, too much water under the bridge. No can do. “The Democrats need to move on”, a recent ‘soft line’, is not good enough. They must be held to account.

Bill Barr can investigate the FBI and DOJ, but the obstacles there are obvious: investigating the investigators. The Democratic party would mean going after individuals, but sure, let’s see what Loretta Lynch, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Maxine Waters have to say for themselves and take it from there, before you get to Hillary. The media, though, is something else altogether.

Freedom of the press, and freedom of opinion, is one thing. Conducting a 2-year+ smear campaign against your own president is another. So what does US law say about this? Let’s hear it. Since Trump made Bill Barr the new Attorney General, Barr is instrumental in answering these questions. Is it a smear campaign? Is that acceptable? Is it legal? Asking for a friend.

Not a soul could blame me if I were to gloat because what I’ve said since the 2016 elections has been proven: there is no collusion between ‘the Russians’ and Donald Trump and there never was. But I don’t feel much like gloating because 1) it’s old news and 2) this tale is far from over. The media, and the Democrats, are not going to cave in, because they have nowhere left to ‘cave into’.

The biggest shame, I think, is not that the media will just keep doing what they have, but that a remnant, a residue of all the made-up narratives will remain in their audience’s minds, long after Robert Mueller has said it was all lies all that time. That the public will say: there’s been so much, surely some of it must be true?! The power of repetition.

 

The same media that has spun the collusion theme all this time will simply continue doing what it’s done, just perhaps without using that term -and not even that is sure. Don’t let’s forget, and I’ve said this 1000 times, that while there is a dose of genuine hatred of their own president involved, and some political issues, most of all it’s about their business model. Trump scandals mean readers and viewers. And money.

Because of that, or at least partly because of it, I would seriously like to ask what the odds are of putting Rachel Maddow behind bars. How many lies can you tell, and how often can you repeat them, about anyone, but certainly about your President, before someone calls you on it? Trump can’t really defend himself, or couldn’t as long as Mueller was busy, but this can’t be.

Does the fact that you work for the media protect you to the extent that you can just say anything? And Maddow of course is just an example, albeit an extreme one, but the same goes for CNN, New York Times et al. What freedoms do you have as a journalist? And at what point are you no longer a journalist at all? Who decides that?

BuzzFeed said Mueller was in possession of evidence that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Mueller himself had to discredit that. The Guardian’s Luke Harding wrote a #1 NYT bestselling book called “Collusion” before writing an article with Dan Collins claiming that Manafort had met with Assange multiple times in London.

Not a word of that was true. But Harding And Collins and their editor still work at the Guardian, and no apologies or corrections were ever issued. And at some point you have no choice but to ask: where does it stop? Where do we draw the line? Can anyone who labels themselves a journalist and/or anyone employed by MSM, say anything they want? From sources:

The nonpartisan Tyndall Report pegged the total amount of time devoted to the story on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC last year at 332 minutes, making it the second-most covered story after the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

According to a count by the Republican National Committee released Sunday, The [Washington] Post, The New York Times, CNN.com and MSNBC.com have written a combined 8,507 articles [since 2017] mentioning the special counsel’s investigation [into nonexistent collusion], some 13 articles a day. The cable news networks, particularly CNN and MSNBC, have added hundreds of hours of discussion about the topic, too.

And they wrote many more in 2016 as well. They were on a mission. Tyler Durden adds:

Mueller’s 40 FBI agents issued over 2,800 subpoenas, executed “nearly 500 search warrants,” and “obtained over 230 orders for communication records. They also issued 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

All that time, and all those resources, dedicated to a figment of the imagination, invented out of this air to derail a presidential election and a presidency. Where do we think these people see their country go? I must admit I’m not sure about that one. But I see Bernie Sanders on the anti-Trump wagon, and AOC and Tulsi trying to get on, and I think: please don’t do that, it doesn’t go anywhere.

I’ve called for a second special counsel many times, and I can’t imagine there won’t be one, and as much as I think it’s desperately needed, it’s obvious at the same time that it can only divide the nation further.

There was a reason Trump was elected: people had gotten sick of what was there before, of what Republicans and Democrats had to offer. And there is absolutely nobody in either party who addresses that issue. In other words, there’s still nobody who is listening to those people. So they tune into Rachel Maddow and her kind of ‘reporting’.

Looks like Bill Barr will be badly needed. And that to restore the credibility of US intelligence, he will need to clean up the FBI and DOJ and get rid of all those who’ve taken part in the collusion debacle. A formidable task. I’d suggest he start with Maddow et al and take it from there. Find out who feeds the media their fantasy stories.

Oh, and now that collusion’s off the table, free Julian Assange. Let Robert Mueller show he’s not as much of a coward as he looks until now. To that end, let him swallow the Guccifer 2.0 nonsense as well. That Rachel Maddow makes things up from scratch, doesn’t mean Special Counsels should do that too. Mueller knows exactly what this is about.

A friend (not exactly a Trump fan) mailed me last night saying this was never a witch hunt. And I’m thinking: maybe that depends on how you define it. Here’s one definition: “an unforgiving, evidence-scant campaign against a group of people with unpopular views.” Not too far off, is it?

Time for spring cleaning, Bill Barr.

 

 

Mar 132019
 


René Magritte Personal values 1952

 

Commenting on my own essays has never been my favorite activity, because before you know it you land into Russian doll territory. But a few recent comments from readers have me rethinking that, for once.

Of course I understand that my expressed views over the past two years and change on the era of Donald Trump and his presidency do not please everyone out there, whether they’re long time Automatic Earth readers or new to the site. It’s just that a surprising -to me- number of people let their thoughts and opinions be shaped by media that primarily follow the color of politics and money, not objective facts.

Or perhaps it shouldn‘t be all that surprising, given the amount of attention the mainstream media still manages to gather. Then again, if the MSM would have been right on more issues, there would never have been a place for the Automatic Earth and many other ‘alternative’ media sources. So yeah, I’m a bit of two minds on that.

What I am sure about is that I don’t think the advent of Donald Trump has been the main event since 2016, I have very few illusions about US politics. For me the big story has been how the media has shifted from reporting the news to manufacturing it. I’m seeing the Russiagate narrative falling apart in real time right now and I think: I saw that coming, because none of all those collusion stories were based on facts to begin with.

And I’ve said exactly that for two years now as well. It started off with supporting their favorite candidate, who was a shoe-in anyway, then it turned into being angry when she lost, and it ended up with figuring out that denouncing Trump ten times a day was a goldmine that could save entire papers and TV channels, because Americans are addicted to scandals, even if they’re invented and/or inconsequential.

 

In my view, media making up stories and narratives from scratch is a much bigger threat to America than Donald Trump. Obviously, people believing the made-up tales is just as bad. You don’t have to be pro-Trump, let alone even like the man, to be very wary of reporters and papers and news channels and everyone and their pet hamster with a social media account, publishing a dozen anti-Trump stories every single day, most of them entirely made up and most of the rest just plain dumping on him.

And you certainly don’t need to be pro-Trump to point out that this is happening, or to agitate against it. But that’s how it’s presented, and that’s how many people, including no doubt many readers of the Automatic Earth, see it. In this day and age, if you wander too far from what the MSM tell you the truth is, you get punished even by somewhat smarter people.

If you don’t support the anti-Trump narrative, and elect to stay out of that echo chamber, you become a Trump supporter. And we all know what happens when you actively resist the narrative.

The reason why one so easily gets labeled a Trump supporter only for pointing out that stories contain no facts, provokes interesting questions, but none of them will have me shy away from saying what I think of it. I mean, just take a look at the Reuters/Ipsos poll that came out last week, which shows that Americans have made up their minds about Trump-Russia way ahead of the Mueller report being published.

Only a small number of Americans have not yet made up their minds about whether Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign coordinated with Russian officials, according to new Reuters/Ipsos polling, which also showed deep divisions in the United States in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Eight out of 10 Americans decided almost immediately about Trump campaign ties to Moscow and only about two in 10 appear to be undecided; about 8 in 10 Democrats said they thought the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, while 7 in 10 Republicans said they did not.

Now how is that possible, the majority ‘knowing’ what to believe without knowing the facts? Easy, the media made up their minds for them, and they did it without knowing the facts either. A much bigger story than Trump. And you would think old-fashioned journalism could have gotten a lot of real dirt on the Donald, but the entire MSM chose to go for unproven smear instead..

The Old Gray Lady and her consorts have made it entirely acceptable to disrespect the Office of the President of the United States. They’ve made doing so an honorable thing to do. All on the basis of rumors about Vladimir Putin pulling Trump’s strings. How this can fail to have terribly dramatic consequences for the US I do not see. Once the respect for the office is gone, how do you get it back? By putting a different questionable person in it?

 

But now I’m doing what I swore not to do: repeat myself. Inevitable when commenting on your own essays perhaps, but still. So let’s move on to the comments. Both came in by private emaiI, and I haven’t asked for permission to use real names, so they’ll be anonymous.

The first one was from a highly respected -and not just by me- retired US professor and writer I’ve had contact with for a decade or so, and came after I published The House Hit A New Low, commenting on Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House on February 27. Which I thought was about nothing at all, “A phishing expedition with a willing whale in the center who sort of volunteered to be harpooned..”, other than Democrat showboating.

But my friend the professor wrote:

Just so you know……… I thought Cohen courageous, believable and completely on target. I think people see what they are predetermined to see…. You and I see different things. As Congressional Republicans and apparently you do not see the problem is Trump, and as he said those who are blinded by him. Not Cohen. We should all speak out. The “conservatism” of your columns sometimes annoys me, but your insights are often good. I try to get different perspectives.

As I said above, and often before, I agree that “people see what they are predetermined to see”. It’s just that I think that originates at the NYT, WaPo, CNN, and my friend does not. But what struck me in his comment is him calling my writing “conservatism”. Nobody ever called me that, I don’t see myself that way, and I doubt that anyone did before I started talking about the way Trump has been treated.

And again, you don’t have to like Trump to dislike the made-up narratives that dictate what ‘news‘ in America has turned into. And that’s not conservative. Not that I think that conservatism is a wrong thing per se, but I don’t see many ‘conservatives’ these days conserving anything at all, other than their privileges.

See, I would think MAGA means protecting bald eagles, mountain lions, humpbacks and even mom-and-pop stores, but what counts as conservative today is the opposite of that. It basically revolves around making a few people rich at the expense of everyone else and the natural world they all depend on for their survival.

Other than that, as I said, I have few illusions about US politics, on either side of the aisle. Which is why I welcomed Trump three years ago, and I welcome Ocasio, Tulsi Gabbard and Ilhan Omar today: something better change, because if things don’t change fast, we’re bound to see the 21st century American version of pitchforks; yes, that would be rifles and handguns.

I hope perhaps that clears things a up, even if just a little, for my friend. But still, I didn’t think Cohen looked “courageous, believable and completely on target”. I thought he looked like a worn out tool of Nadler and Schiff’s committee, telling obvious lies about not having asked Trump for a White House job or a pardon. But let’s agree not to agree.

Then I mentioned the professor’s mail in the Automatic Earth comments section the next day, saying:

Someone mailed me yesterday talking about the conservatism of my columns. Never saw that before. And I don’t agree. Raging against the empty narratives of the anti-Trump machine does not make me a Trump supporter. (People should read more carefully. The world is not divided into two camps.)

… and a second mail came from someone who’s, let’s say, one of my more critical readers (he seems to think I’m full of it, and uses that as a reason to keep reading me):

You’re right: to the extent that you agree with anything Trump says or does to reduce US aggression in different parts of the world, the anti-Trumpers should be shouted down.

You’re wrong: your refusal to even mention racism, sexism, anti-democratic voter suppression, gerrymandering, campaign finance laws, electoral college, gun control, health care, tax cuts and the wholesale attack on the environment by Trump and Republicans (Trump is representative not an outlier among Republicans) is what makes you conservative.

Your silences speak louder than anything you say or print. Your alleged concern for the environment is comical compared to your total silence on American (Trump) policies on the environment. Keep up your selective silences. Its what you do best.

That’s a nice list, but it doesn’t appear to be all around fair. Criticizing Trump over all these things is at best a double-edged sword. But first of all, I don’t refuse to mention them, but I’m not here to provide a fully balanced picture. I’m here to balance out the one-sided positions the Old Gray Lady vents on a daily basis and 27 times on Sunday.

As for racism and sexism, I see those as America-wide issues, not Trump issues. Anti-democratic voter suppression: go ask Bernie Sanders and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Gerrymandering ditto. And campaign finance laws. How one can hold such things against Trump and not others in US politics is beyond me. But let’s talk.

The electoral college problem, if it indeed is one, has absolutely nothing to do with Trump. America as a society would need to come together to move to the popular vote. But what are the odds of any such unity happening given the anti-Trump campaigns?

Gun control: I can’t recall Obama doing anything much about that, so how can one hold it against Trump? Guns seem to be too big a problem for the US to deal with, and I see it leading to the American version of France’s pitchforks: the one tool the unwashed masses have left to defend themselves and get their grievances across. A good thing? No. But Trump’s fault? No.

When it comes to health care, things are a bit more confusing and clearer at the same time. The conservatives who conserve dick all, stand quasi-united against universal health care, while the Democrats, who long held a similar position, are starting to shift.

Health care is a much more worthy topic than the ones before mentioned in that comment, but that particular discussion, like so many others, has been stifled by the neverending accusations of Russia collusion that the MSM have placed -the vast majority of- their bets on.

Trump has been president for two years, and not one day has gone by in which he was not accused of sitting on Putin’s lap in some way or another, so how are you going to get him to open up to your different point of view? He’s had to retreat into his trenches just to survive and go about the business of being a president. He was never given a chance to open up and change his mind. Is he to blame for that?

What else was there? Tax cuts. Yeah, well, conservatives and their privileges. And a short-term way to make the economy look better. Long-term economic benefits? Maybe not so much. But don’t let’s go there, because Pandora would open and reveal, again, very little that’s Trump-specific. It’s simply Washington.

Last thing is the environment, and because I post many articles on that topic in my daily news aggregators, it’s obvious that my views are not the Donald’s. But that, again, is conservatives refusing to conserve. It’s not just Trump, and it’s not just Republicans either. From what I see, America has destroyed far too much of its natural world already, and I haven’t seen a single voice in Washington with a convincing story to stop it, not AOC and the Green New Deal either.

 

To summarize: the Automatic Earth has sought, and continues to seek, to provide a balance vs one-sided ‘news’, because it is a much bigger problem than any single presidency. Reporting in the age of Trump has not just been one-sided, most of it has been outright falsehood. Why does it happen? Because it sells. You are prone to believe fictional accounts, you have a tendency to become addicted to scandal, and so you are targeted.

Now, the reason the Automatic Earth exists is that it tells people things they don’t want to hear. That goes for the odd professor, no matter how much we appreciate him or her, for all those who dislike an individual like Donald Trump so much they let others form their opinions for them with trumped-up narratives, it goes for Trump himself, and for everyone else we think fail to think for themselves any longer.

If your opinions are shaped by people who seek to make a profit off of doing that for you, you are merely one among millions who fall into the same trap. It’s ironic and funny too that the Old Gray Lady et al could never have started out on their new business model without the internet and the social media it spawned, while the very same business model makes entities such as the Automatic Earth necessary.

It gets more ironic still: the MSM developed the model because the old one, just plain reporting, wasn’t paying them enough to survive. Orwell was never that easy to understand. After all, he was talking about things that existed only in his mind’s eye when he was alive, and came alive themselves long after he was gone. But look at us today.

One last thing: I can’t perhaps speak for the entire Automatic Earth, because Nicole Foss, though she may have been silent for a while, appears to detest Donald Trump. That gives her and I something to talk about.

 

 

Aug 052018
 
 August 5, 2018  Posted by at 1:19 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »


Salvador Dali Spain 1936-38 (Spanish civil war)

 

Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-semite. Julian Assange is a rapist, a Russian agent and a terrorist. Donald Trump is an anti-semite, a rapist AND a Russian agent. Vladimir Putin wants to invade and enslave the entire western world and to that end employs Assange, Trump, maybe also Corbyn(?), as well as thousands upon thousands of hackers and murderers who make people vote for whoever Putin chooses, and poison former Russian agents on western soil.

These allegations, and there’s many more of them, have a number of things in common. Most importantly, they serve to change your mind. They serve to change your perception of reality. They seek to whip up your support for the very people and forces that launch them into the media.

Something else they have in common is that none of them has ever been proven, even though some of them are getting on in years. But they were never meant to be proven, simply because they don’t have to be. If your mind is a fertile breeding ground for such allegations, all that needs to be done is plant a seed, and plant another, and then water them day after day by repeating the allegations and make them ‘yummier’, until they sprout a plant or a tree ‘spontaneously’.

A third feature the allegations have in common is that as they change your perception of reality, you will be -more- inclined to support those who invented them for that exact purpose, so you will not oppose their -further- grab for power and wealth.

That Jeremy Corbyn would hate Jews goes against the man’s entire life history. But he’s been exceedingly weak in defending himself, and his Labour Party, against the accusations of anti-semitism, so the label sticks and has been very successful. Instead of explaining his position in the face of the unfolding and increasingly disastrous Brexit proceedings, all Corbyn gets to do is utter some feeble defence about his history with Jewish people. On Brexit, he’s been all but silenced. Even his own party merrily goes along with the smear.

 

The accusations concerning Assange in the Swedish rape ‘case’ are, if possible, even more preposterous, even if they have also ostensibly been even more successful. The Swedes, British and Americans involved in the narrative knew beforehand that all they needed was to plant a fragile seed. Julian had historically enjoyed a lot of support from women, and that was over in a heartbeat.

Sweden’s female(!) prosecutor, Marianne Ny, refused for 4 years to talk to Assange one on one and when she finally did, dropped the case right after. But that’s 4 years of allegations hanging over him, easily enough to serve the purpose of those allegations: plant a seed of doubt. By then, another -hollow- tree had sprouted: Assange was accused of working directly with the Kremlin.

He always denied this, but after negotiations with the US Justice Department in early 2017 were abruptly halted by then FBI-head James Comey and US Senator Mark Warner (D.-VA) as Assange offered to prove that it wasn’t Russians who provided him with files from the DNC server(s), Robert Mueller felt free to accuse him of working with Russia once again in his indictment of 12 Russians last month. Not only could Assange not defend himself by then, since he had been totally silenced, but Mueller didn’t even attempt to provide evidence.

And I’ve said this numerous times before, but I still think it bears repeating: WikiLeaks is based on one underlying principle above and beyond anything else: trust; which means uncompromising honesty. WIthout that, no-one would ever again offer them any files. WikiLeaks doesn’t reveal sources, and it doesn’t redact things out of files other than to protect people’s lives.

In that sense it’s interesting that even with the Vault7 CIA files, after Comey had betrayed Assange, the latter still held back from publishing certain pages, just so CIA operatives wouldn’t be exposed. If Assange is caught in just one lie, be it about rape or about Russia, WikiLeaks is done, and so is he and his life’s work. So what do you do about someone who doesn’t lie? You spread lies about him.

But, again, that’s not what people see, because that’s not what their media report. Papers like the New York Times and the Guardian, who were more than happy to share, and profit from, WikiLeaks files before, have turned on Assange with a vengeance. Journalists are more than willing to throw a fellow journalist under the bus and then turn around and accuse Donald Trump of endangering journalists when he says they spread fake news. Well, they do, that’s what Assange’s case proves without a doubt.

 

That brings us to Trump, a ‘case’ that has much in common with Assange -even if the men themselves don’t-, but is also very different. Trump doesn’t seem to shy away from the odd white lie or embellishment. And sure, that may be putting it mildly. But both journalists and their viewers and readers need to keep one thing in mind: their work does not consist of spouting allegations. They need to provide proof.

And in the 18 -or 24- months since Trump prominently rose upon the Washington scene, precious little has been proven. Robert Mueller has alleged plenty, but proven next to nothing. It’s fair to say after all that time that he’s fishing. Sure, Paul Manafort will likely go to jail, but his case has nothing to do with Russia collusion, at least not in any way that Mueller has evidence for (we would have known if he did).

And you know, if you spend so much time, and resources, trying to find something, trying to find proof, and you have failed to find it, you have to acknowledge just that. Maybe not halt the investigation entirely, but go public and state that you haven’t been able to find what you thought you would or could. The country deserves that, The American people deserve it, and yes, Donald Trump does, too.

But the whole country now lives on a narrative. Media left and right profit from it, each to feed their audience the ‘latest’ 24/7. And there’s nothing really, so they have to make it up in order to continue profiting from the whipped-up attention. One side tells you how evil Trump is, the other how great he’s doing. The truth is always in the middle, but America has no middle left.

 

I said before that Donald Trump is portrayed as an anti-semite, a rapist AND a Russian agent. As for the first bit, I covered that a few days ago in “Globalist”. Does Trump hate Jews? Even if he does, he hides it pretty well. He’s always done business with Jewish people (hey, this is New York!), there are plenty Jews in his government, and in his own family. Calling someone an anti-Semite is a very serious thing, not a detail to be thrown around at will. Prove it or hold your tongue.

Is Trump a rapist, like what Assange is accused of? You can certainly find no shortage of people willing to state that in both cases. But again, no evidence. And with the fame and glory awaiting anyone who does prove it in either case, you would think by now someone would have found something. Again, prove it or hold your tongue.

Thirdly: is Trump a Russian agent? Look, if Robert Mueller hasn’t been able to prove that he is after two years and tens of millions spent, at least get off your high horse and focus on something else for a bit, if you want to be taken serious as a journalist. Russia, and Putin, are America’s favorite bogeyman today, and about the only thing that still unites the country.

So find something instead that unites you that is not your enemy. Find common cause. Find what makes you proud to be America. Are you all going to be proud if Assange is dragged into some place like Gitmo? Then you have completely lost what it is that should make you proud citizens of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Because no matter how you may twist it, Julian Assange is braver than any of you, and braver than all of you put together too. But no, he’s not free. He gave up his freedom so you would know what it means to be free. Free from manipulation, free from people making up your minds for you, free from indoctrination, free from the forces that take more of your freedom away every day.

You see, Julian Assange is not free. But neither are you. He’s a prisoner of the very people who are taking your freedom away, day by day, step by step. That’s why you should stand up for him. And of course, it’s not just your freedom that’s at stake, it’s your humanity, it’s the very essence of what makes you human, the difference between a life worth living and a life wasted by complacency and cowardice.

Anything else is just narrative. It’s not life.

 

 

And yes, the title is from Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al.

 

 

 

 

Jun 072018
 


Vincent van Gogh The good Samaritan (after Delacroix) 1890

 

UK House Prices Have Soared 100-Fold Since 1966 (CityAM)
No Need To Buy US Gas At Triple The Price, Will Buy From Russia – Austria (RT)
European Businesses Advised To Avoid Using British Parts Ahead Of Brexit (Sky)
Volatility May Hit Wall Street As Alphabet, Facebook Leave Tech Sector (R.)
China’s Debt Default Avalanche (ZH)
Turkey Escalates Row With Greece Over ‘Putschist’ Soldiers (G.)
Merkel Backs Macron’s European Defense Force Initiative (RT)
Airbnb Culls Japan Listings Ahead Of New Rental Law (AFP)
Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World (CJ)
How Humanity Could Become Impossible To Propagandize (CJ)
Study Warns Of Alarming Decline In Australian Fish (AFP)

 

 

Shifting priorities. Homes are no longer places to live.

UK House Prices Have Soared 100-Fold Since 1966 (CityAM)

UK house prices are 106 times higher than they were when England won the World Cup in 1966, according to research from online mortgage broker Trussle. Average house prices have gone up from £2,006 to £211,000, the company found, while wages have risen at around a third of the rate, moving from £798 to £26,500. But for the country’s footballers, the story is somewhat different. On average Premier League footballers earn 1,136 times more than top-flight stars like Bobby Moore and George Best did back in 1966. It’s estimated that the average wage of the current England squad is just below £80,000 per week – more than 3 times the annual UK average wage.

Ishaan Malhi, CEO and founder of Trussle, said: “A lot of has changed since England won the World Cup. We’ve put a man on the moon, invented the internet and we’ve seen technology transform almost every aspect of our lives. “We’ve also seen the UK housing market change dramatically. Prices have soared in the last 52 years, wages have struggled to keep pace and for young people, the chances of getting on the property ladder today will feel a lot slimmer than they did in 1966.” The research from Trussle comes as analysis from trade union GMB published yesterday showed that rents in London are far outpacing wage growth. Analysing data from the Valuation Office Agency, GMB found that between 2011 and 2017, rent prices for two-bedroom flats in London increased by 25.9%, whilst over the same period, monthly earnings increased by just 9.1%.

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European ties to Russia are old and deep.

No Need To Buy US Gas At Triple The Price, Will Buy From Russia – Austria (RT)

The US is force-feeding Europe its liquefied natural gas, which is three times more expensive that buying it from Russia, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said after signing a gas-supply contract with Moscow until 2040. While US politicians are accusing Europe of being dependent on Russian gas, they forget that “American liquefied gas is two or three times more expensive than Russian gas. Under such circumstances, it makes little sense in purely economic terms to replace Russian gas with American LNG,” Van der Bellen said at a press conference after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna on Tuesday.

Putin noted that Austria is a major transportation hub for Russian gas being exported to Europe. “Austria has become one of the key, if not to say, one of the most important units of Russian gas transportation to Western Europe and plays an important role in ensuring the energy security of the entire European continent,” Putin said. He recalled that Russia has exported more than 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Austria in the past 50 years. After the meeting, Russia’s Gazprom and Austria’s OMV signed a gas supply contract until 2040.

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Trade deals can be bitches.

European Businesses Advised To Avoid Using British Parts Ahead Of Brexit (Sky)

European governments are advising businesses not to use British parts in goods for export ahead of Brexit, Sky News has established. In its advice rolled out to all Dutch businesses, the Dutch government has told its exporters that “if a large part of your product consists of parts from the UK” domestic exporters may lose free trade access under existing deals. The advice says: “Brexit will have consequences for exports outside the EU. “After Brexit, parts made in the UK no longer count towards this minimum production in the European Union.” This is a reference to what are known as “rules of origin” and “local content” under international trade rules. In order to qualify for EU free trade deals, a certain proportion, typically 55% of a product’s parts, needs to come from the EU.

The Dutch government says UK parts “no longer count towards EU origin” in its official “Brexit impact scan” advice to Dutch businesses. That warning has also been underpinned by the EU’s own technical notice on this issue. “As of withdrawal date, the UK becomes a third country. UK inputs are considered ‘non-originating’,” it says. A leading car industry executive told Sky News that not using UK parts for EU exports would be a “catastrophe” for the British industry. “The hard Brexiteers have built a bomb under the UK automotive industry and the EU have lit it,” said one chief executive. Sky News has also heard of major UK automotive suppliers now ceasing UK supply of major components to cars for export to countries currently covered by EU Free Trade Areas – countries such as South Korea, South Africa and Canada.

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A new day.

Volatility May Hit Wall Street As Alphabet, Facebook Leave Tech Sector (R.)

Volatility could well be in the cards for Wall Street again early this fall, but not for the same reason stocks got rattled in February. This time the culprit would be the largest-ever shakeup of the stock market’s broad business sectors, which will mean some of the hottest stocks, like Facebook and Google parent Alphabet, will shift from their traditional homes in the top-performing technology sector and into a deepened pool of telecommunications and media stocks. The sweeping reorganization of the Global Industry Classification Standard, or GICS, means that funds tracking the telecom, tech and consumer discretionary sectors will be forced to trade billions of dollars of stock to realign their holdings by a Sept. 28 effective date.

While the choppiness many investors expect to see is unlikely to hit stocks in quite the same way that wave of the global uncertainty did in early 2018, the fact that so much money must be shifted among index funds in a short time will cause a stir. In a bid to ensure a smooth transition, leading fund provider Vanguard Group has have already started adjusting its sector exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, while State Street Global Advisors is launching an entirely new fund. Other investors predict price swings and commotion on trading desks if last-minute sales of Alphabet and Facebook shares by heavyweight technology index funds dwarf demand from a handful of telecom funds buying those stocks.

“There’s probably going to be net selling,” said Andrew Bodner, president of Double Diamond Investment Group in Parsippany, New Jersey. “That will be a temporary scenario, and it could be a good buying opportunity for a lot of those stocks.” Maintained by S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI since 1999 and widely used by portfolio managers, the GICS classifies companies across 11 sectors. The newest, real estate, was split off from financials in 2016. The upcoming changes, which have yet to be finalized, are meant to reflect evolving industries. Facebook and Alphabet will move from information technology and sit alongside AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications in a broadened telecommunication services sector that will be renamed communications services.

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Who’s the boss in China? Xi or the shadows?

China’s Debt Default Avalanche (ZH)

[..] what if the first domino to fall in the coming corporate debt crisis is not in the US, but in China? After all, as part of China’s aggressive deleveraging campaign, there has already been a spike of corporate bankruptcies as banks shed more of their massive note holdings and de-risk their balance sheets. According to Logan Wright, Hong Kong-based director at research firm Rhodium, there have already been least 14 corporate bond defaults in China in 2018; a separate analysis by Economic Information Daily, as of May 25, there had already been no less than 20 corporate defaults, involving more than 17 billion yuan, a shockingly high number for a country which until recently had never seen a single corporate bankruptcy, and a number which is set to increase as Chinese banks pull pull back from lending to other firms that use the funds to buy bonds, exacerbating the pressure on the market.

“You have seen banks redeeming funds placed with non-bank financial institutions that have reduced the pool of funds available for corporate bond investment overall,” Wright told Bloomberg, adding that additional bond defaults are especially likely among those property developers and local-government financing vehicles which have relied on shadow banking sources of funds. As we discussed last year, as part of Beijing’s crackdown on China’s $10 trillion shadow banking sector, strains have spread from high-yield trust products to corporate bonds as the lack of shadow funding has choked off refinancing for weaker borrowers. Separately, Banks’ lending to other financial firms, a common route for funds and securities brokers to add leverage for corporate bond investments, declined for three straight months, or a total of 1.7 trillion yuan ($265 billion), since January according to Bloomberg calculations.

The deleveraging campaign is also depressing bond demand: “Unlike the U.S., where the majority of buyers of bonds are mutual funds, individuals and investment companies, in China, the key holders of bonds are bank on-and off-balance sheet positions,” said Jason Bedford at UBS, who noted that Chinese banks are buying far fewer bonds as a result. Putting the number in context, according to Bloomberg, China’s four largest banks held about 4.1 trillion yuan in bonds issued by companies and other financial institutions at the end of 2017, nearly 20% below 5.1 trillion yuan a year earlier; all Chinese banks held about 12 trillion yuan of corporate bonds on or off their balances sheets, some 70% of outstanding issuance, according to Citic.

It is therefore hardly surprising to see that Chinese corporate bonds, especially riskier issues, have been getting slammed in recent weeks. According to Chinabond data, as noted first by Bloomberg, the yield premium of three-year AA- rated bonds over similar-maturity AAA notes has blown out 72 bps since March to 225 basis points, the highest level since August 2016, an indication of the recent pressures on weaker firms. One can imagine what is going on with deep junk-rated corps.

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Under heavy police protection in Greece. Because the Turks may come and get them. Elections June 24.

Turkey Escalates Row With Greece Over ‘Putschist’ Soldiers (G.)

Turkey has sent fighter jets roaring into Greek airspace as tensions mount between the two neighbours following the release from pre-trial detention of eight Turkish army officers described as traitors by Ankara. Formations of F-16s flew at low altitude over Aegean isles for more than 20 minutes on Tuesday as Turkey furiously accused Greece of sheltering terrorists. Ankara vowed to trace the commandos who it claimed participated in the failed July 2016 coup against the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. “It is our duty to find these ‘putschist’ soldiers wherever they are, pack them up and bring them to Turkey,” the country’s deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, said late on Monday.

He personally criticised the Greek prime minster, Alexis Tsipras, for failing to hand the soldiers over to Turkey after they flew into Greek airspace. “From statements made in Greece by its prime minister right after the coup, we were of the positive opinion that they would be extradited to Turkey,” he said. “We thought that Mr Tsipras would keep his word. With time, though, we saw that the judicial authorities were mobilised and these ‘putschists’ were not extradited.” The fate of the eight has been in Greek hands ever since the army officers took local authorities aback, landing their helicopter outside the northern border town of Alexandroupolis a day after the abortive coup.

[..] On Monday Greek authorities moved the military personnel out of police custody; following expiry of the 18-month pre-trial period they are legally allowed to be detained while they apply for asylum. They have been placed in top-secret locations under heavy police protection. “Given Turkey’s mindset, the situation is very dangerous,” said a senior judicial source. “But this is an issue of justice and we feel strongly that we must stand up for it.”

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Competition for NATO?!

Merkel Backs Macron’s European Defense Force Initiative (RT)

Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported “in principle” the idea of a joint European Defense Force proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron. Germany’s opposition had been the main stumbling block for the much-discussed project. “I am in favor of President Macron’s proposal for an intervention initiative,” the German chancellor told Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper on Sunday. “However, such an intervention force with a common military-strategic culture must fit into the structure of defense cooperation,” she said. Merkel said that the German military, the Bundeswehr, “must, in principle, be part of such an initiative,” but added that her statement “doesn’t mean that we are to be involved in every mission.”

During his key speech at Sorbonne University last September, Macron proposed a European military “intervention force” that would protect the continent by taking action in hotspots around the globe. It’s a crucial element of the French leader’s defense reform, which is aimed at integrating European defense capacities. But the talks on implementing the European Defense Force have so far been complicated due to Berlin’s cautions approach to the initiative. “European defense cooperation is very important. Of the 180 weapon systems that currently co-exist in Europe, we must move to a situation like the United States, which has only about 30 weapons systems,” Merkel said.

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Still a pretty weak law.

Airbnb Culls Japan Listings Ahead Of New Rental Law (AFP)

Rental platform Airbnb has suspended a large majority of its listings in Japan ahead of a new law that goes into effect next week regulating short-term rentals in the country. The law, which will comes into force on June 15, requires owners to obtain a government registration number and meet various regulations that some have decried as overly strict. “This weekend we reached out to those hosts who have not yet obtained their notification number to let them know that they will need this to accept any new bookings,” Airbnb spokesman for Asia-Pacific Jake Wilczynski told AFP. “We have informed those hosts that we are in the process of turning off future listing capabilities.”

He declined to confirm the exact number of listings affected, but local media reports and sources put the figure at about 80 percent of the rentals available on the site across Japan. Wilczynski said many Airbnb hosts had already obtained their registration, and others were “going through or finalising” the process. “We are on course to register tens of thousands of new listings in Japan in the months ahead,” he added. [..] The law limits stays to 180 days a year, and allows local governments to impose additional restrictions, with the tourist magnet of Kyoto only permitting rentals in residential areas between mid-January and mid-March, the low season for tourists.

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Two excellent pieces from Caitlin Johnstone.

Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World (CJ)

MSNBC host Joy Reid still has a job. Despite blatantly lying about time-traveling hackers bearing responsibility for bigoted posts a decade ago in her then-barely-known blog, despite her reportedly sparking an FBI investigation on false pretenses, despite her colleagues at MSNBC being completely fed up with how the network is handling the controversy surrounding her, her career just keeps trundling forward like a bullet-riddled zombie. To be clear, I do not particularly care that Joy Reid has done any of these things. I write about war, nuclear escalations and the sociopathy of US government agencies which kill millions of people; I don’t care that Joy Reid is or was a homophobe, and I don’t care that she lied to cover it up.

The war agendas that MSNBC itself promotes on a daily basis are infinitely worse than either of these things, and if that isn’t obvious to you it’s because military propaganda has caused you to compartmentalize yourself out of an intellectually honest understanding of what war is. What is interesting to me, however, is the fact that Reid’s bosses are protecting her career so adamantly. Both by refusing to fire her, and by steering the conversation into being about her controversial blog posts rather than the fact that she told a spectacular lie in an attempt to cover them up, Reid is being propped up despite this story constantly re-emerging and making new headlines with new embarrassing details, and despite her lack of any discernible talent or redeeming personal characteristics. This tells us something important about what is going on in the world.

It is not difficult to find someone to read from a teleprompter for large amounts of money. What absolutely is difficult is finding someone who is willing to deceive and manipulate to advance the agendas of the privileged few day after day. Who else would be willing to spend all day on Twitter smearing everyone to the left of Hillary Clinton while still claiming to stand on the political left? Who else would advance the point-blank lieabout “17 intelligence agencies” having declared Russia guilty in US election meddling months after that claim had been famously and virally debunked? Who else would publicly claim that Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks did not benefit anyone besides Russia? Who else could oligarchs like Comcast CEO Brian L Roberts, whose company controls MSNBC, count on to consistently advance his agendas?

While it’s easy to find someone you can count on to advance one particular lie at one particular time, it is difficult to find someone you can be absolutely certain will lie for you day after day, year after year, through election cycles and administration changes and new war agendas and changing political climates. A lot of the people who used to advance perspectives which ran against the grain of the political orthodoxy at MSNBC like Phil Donahue, Ed Schultz and Dylan Ratigan have vanished from the airwaves never to return, while reporters who consistently keep their heads down and toe the line for the Democratic establishment like Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid are richly rewarded and encouraged to remain.

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It’s just that I’m asking myself if maybe the notion that ‘we can change and be better people’ is itself a narrative?!

How Humanity Could Become Impossible To Propagandize (CJ)

Narrative rules our world today, from our most basic concepts about ourselves to the behavior of nations and governments. Right now your direct experience of life is little more than the air going in and out of your respiratory system, your gaze moving from left to right over this text, and perhaps the sensation of your bum in a chair or sofa; without any narrative overlay, those experiences are all you are in this moment. Add in mental narrative and all of a sudden you’re a particular individual with a particular name and a particular story, who has perhaps some concerns about the future and regrets about the past, with all sorts of desires and goals and fears and aversions. As far as your actual present experience is concerned, all that stuff is pure mental noise. Pure narrative.

The same is true of things like power, money, and government. There is nothing grafted onto the electrons of the universe which says that the world needs to be mostly ruled by a few billionaires and their lackeys. Only the made-up rules about how power, money and government operate cause that to be the case, and those rules are only as true as we all collectively agree to pretend they are. They are all mental constructs that people made up, and we can therefore change them whenever we want to. Which is why so much plutocratic effort goes into making sure that we don’t.

Narrative dominates our society from top to bottom, which means that all someone has to do to control society is control its narratives. If people are sick, hungry, or poor, you don’t have to give them medicine, food or money to pacify them; you can just give them a narrative instead. If you can get them subscribed to the notion that attempts to rectify these problems with economic justice ought to be rejected and avoided by all hardworking Americans, you can have them defending the plutocracy and advocating their own poverty without giving them a thing. In a society where power is relative and money equals power, the rich are necessarily incentivized to keep everyone else poor in order to retain power, so using narrative control to pacify the masses is a common and useful tactic.

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Wherever you look, life itself appears to be exiting the planet. Rapidly.

Study Warns Of Alarming Decline In Australian Fish (AFP)

Conservation experts warned Wednesday of alarming falls in Australian fish populations and called for more marine reserves and better management to halt the decline. A 10-year study, looking at nearly 200 species at 544 sites, found the main cause was overfishing, with climate change also contributing, although the organisation that manages the nation’s fisheries disputed the findings. The research, in the decade to 2015 by the University of Tasmania and Sydney’s University of Technology, indicated that the numbers of large fish species – over 20 centimetres (eight inches) – had decreased by about 30 percent.

Claimed to be the first independent assessment of the size and abundance of coastal fish species off the Australian continent, it used frequent underwater surveys by divers along blocks of reef. Researchers compared areas where fishing was allowed with marine parks where it was limited or not permitted at all. “We found consistent population declines amongst many popular commercial and recreational fishes, including in marine parks that allowed limited fishing, while numbers increased within no-fishing reserves,” said lead author Graham Edgar. The study, published in the journal Aquatic Conservation, warned that the present situation globally — with more than 98 percent of seas open to some form of fishing — needed “immediate multinational attention”.

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Mar 292018
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ In The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee 1633
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered

 

I am gullible. Very. I betcha I am more gullible than you. And that tells you something, because you know how gullible you are. Or so you think. Still, as bad as I got it, something physically snapped in the back of my head this morning, I could hear it snap, when I saw this Guardian headline:

Skripals Poisoned From Front Door Of Salisbury Home, Police Say

Detectives investigating the attempted murders of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal have said they believe the pair were poisoned with a nerve agent at the front door of his Salisbury home. Specialists investigating the poisoning of the the Skripals have found the highest concentration of the nerve agent on the front door at the address, police said. Counter-terrorism detectives will continue to focus their inquiries on the home address for the coming weeks, and possibly months…

See, because of my gullibility, I’ve decided that if I’m to have any idea of what really goes on around me, I’m condemned to reading a lot. Obviously, like you, I’ve found that the vast majority of what passes for news is as fake as it gets. More so by the day. So we have to read between the lines all the time. It’s what it is. But this…

If these two people have actually been poisoned, that’s a really terrible thing. But maybe lying about such things is much worse. And I doubt that anything at all we’ve been told about the Skripal case is true. Not because I don’t want to believe it, but because the storytellers plant so many trees they’re getting lost in their own forest.

Today the British press reports that the Skripal father and daughter pair were poisoned “from their front door”. They do that with the same level of certainty that just a few days ago they used in telling us they were poisoned through the air vents of the dad’s BMW. Exact same story, just a different location. And that’s after a by now long sequence of headlines that claimed it had happened inside the home, or in a bar, a pizzeria, or on the parkbench they were ostensibly ‘found’ on.

What that headline above, and all others on the topic that came before it, tells me is that evidently the hundreds of ‘experts’ involved in the case have not yet been able to locate the ‘nerve agent’. They’re still just guessing, even 25 days after the incident is supposed to have happened. How would that be done? I have no idea, but I’m surely thinking that after almost 4 weeks it’s essentially a pure guessing game, and nothing more than that.

Does the alleged nerve agent leave traces after all that time? I don’t have a clue, but I do know from what I’ve read that it’s apparently so toxic (as in lethal) that even very faint traces of the stuff are, well, lethal. So when I first read the BMW air vent theory last week I was thinking: did the guy who towed that car to the police station wear a full hazmat suit? He would have had to if he’s still alive.

And where is that car anyway? Come to think of it, where are the Skripals? And how is it possible that they survived the ‘attack’? Were they given a full blood transfusion? Are they being treated 24/7 by dedicated personnel in hazmat suits? There are too many questions for me to answer. And that goes for you too. And for Boris Johnson. And Donald Trump. And the governments of the 30-or-so nations that nevertheless expelled well over a hundred Russian diplomats.

 

Now, I’m not a chemist, let alone an organic chemist. So perhaps I should consult with my friend Dave Collum, who is. But I was going to write this from memory, not go back and find all those headlines, or ask around. This is not about me being 100% correct, it’s about the ‘news reports’ being so far off the truth.

Here’s what I have picked up about the nerve agent. The press calls it “Novichok“ (Russian for newbies), but Novichok is not a nerve agent, it’s a group of them. In the Skripal case, the journalists -who I can only hope are not as gullible as I am- behind all the ‘news’ have been told by ‘authorities’ that we’re dealing with A-234, which is a novichok nerve agent.

Developed by Russia a long time ago, but no longer produced in Russia after 1993, as the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has confirmed. Its chemical formula has been made public, which means that at least in theory anyone could produce it.

Russia would seem to be the last country to try that, because it would point straight to them. And they haven’t stood still for 25 years, they can make Novichok 2.0 if they want. Not that they appear to have much if any reason to poison the Skripals, there are quite a few parties that have at least as much incentive to do that.

 

Wait, before I forget, there was a policeman who allegedly ‘treated’ the Skripals first, and was himself ‘poisoned’ in the act and hospitalized, but was released a few days ago. What exactly happened to him? How did the A-234 not kill him? Did he receive such a faint trace that he was ‘cleaned’ within days? Where is he now? Why has he not released any statement? Doesn’t he strike you, too, as being a little bit pregnant?

But, again, I’m not a chemist. Collum, who I can’t really claim as a friend anymore, because he’s everybody’s friend these days, tweets a hint:

Hey organic chemists: the Novichuk nerve agents are like those below. [..] You could just use the racemate with plenty of effect. Unlike drugs, the goal here is to kill the recipient.

From what I understand, A-234, like all novichoks, is just a pesticide with a fancy dress on. Not terribly unique or special, and not terribly Russian after 25 years either. Just terribly lethal. Which by the way is saying something about how we produce our food, too. Can we blame Putin for losing our insects as well, please? It’s so much easier that way.

 

But I digress. As I started out saying, it’s the ‘news’ that yet another ‘location’ for the ‘nerve agent’ had been discovered after 25 days and hundreds of specialists, at the bleeping front door of the ‘victims’ home, as if nobody ever thought of looking there, that snapped that thingy in my head. Location, location, location.

Still, when I venture beyond what can be or has been proven, which is about as near to zero Kelvin as I even want to think about, there was this other thing this morning. Julian Assange has been cut off from the internet by his gracious Ecuadorian hosts in their London embassy. And I betcha that’s because he dared question Britain in the Skripal case, on Twitter.

Here’s my theory, borne off my gullibility in all its glory: Theresa May and her government have been stumbling from disaster to catastrophe over the Brexit calamity for months now, and they needed some relief. But they themselves are not smart enough to provide it. So someone got it for them.

They’re keeping Labour boss Jeremy Corbyn occupied for all he’s worth with a cocked-up narrative of him being an antisemite. Stupid as can be story, but it works for as long as they need it to. The other day the BBC photoshopped a Russian hat on Corbyn’s face; that stuck less than the Jew-hater tale, so they went with that one. Some UK parliamentary fake news committee wants to talk to Zuckerberg, but they should look closer to home. If fake news is what they’re really after.

So anyway, they all went with the Novichok concocted thing, and boy did that ever catch on. Even every western politicians’ pet hamsters have now sent their Russian caregivers packing. And you know what it is, even if May and Boris had any proof of Russian involvement, all those countries certainly do not. Even if they had the evidence, they’re not going to send it around to dozens of countries. Just not.

Boris Johnson couldn’t resist comparing Putin to Hitler. You can’t fall any lower than that. Or can you? The diplomats were all expelled on a day that Russia was lamenting the death of 64(?) victims (mostly children) in a shopping mall fire, in what they declared a day of national mourning. You think Boris sent his condolences?

 

I can write about this all day long, and weekends too. You know, Crimea, Ukraine, MH17, the new cold war narrative has been well prepared. And now John Bolton, who may well be the deadliest cartoon character we’ve ever seen -let alone imagined-, is all set to score the easy tip-in. But that is possible only because all of you are as gullible as I am. Don’t forget that. They’re blinding you with silence, with stupidity, with your own lack of neuron activity.

Even if this is a story with too many holes in it to qualify as Swiss cheese. The story doesn’t make any sense? Who cares, really, all the front pages shout it out in bold print. And if you get tired of it: where’s the remote, Mildred?

 

British politician and former candidate for mayor of London, George Galloway, on Twitter, says it so much better than I ever could, and shorter too, which is why I quote him at the end of this article:

Why do I not believe you? Let me count the ways. You’re not looking for anyone in connection with the attack on the Skripals. There is no manhunt, no all points alert, no description, no identikit drawing, no CCTV. No suspects. That means you already know what happened. #Russia

We know Facebook is trying to screw with your brains. Well, they’re not the only ones. Your government -and ‘intelligence’ services- want the monopoly on that, too.

I can not make this a definitive, or final, or complete story. Because nobody can. But I can tell you this: if you think that Russia or God forbid Putin, ‘poisoned’ the Skripals, you’re so wrong you’re beyond salvation. Not because it may or may not be true, but because you have seen no evidence. And you still go with it. Where’s the remote, Mildred?