Aug 262021
 
 August 26, 2021  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  83 Responses »


Vasily Polenov Christ among the teachers (doctors) 1896

 

67% Of UK Covid-19 Deaths Since February 2021 Were Vaccinated (DE)
McCullough: ‘The Vaccines Are Failing’ (CHD)
2 Things MSM Didn’t Tell You About FDA’s Approval of Pfizer Vaccine (CHD)
Comparing SARS-CoV-2 Natural Immunity To Vaccine-induced Immunity (Medrxiv)
Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Setting (NEJM)
Real-World Study Links Pfizer Vax to High Risk of Myocarditis (MPT)
Delta Will Charge Unvaccinated Employees $200 Per Month For Health Plan (AP)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Bans Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates (TT)
New Zealand Could Be Split Into North And South Island Bubbles (G.)
Origins of SARS-CoV-2: Window Is Closing For Key Scientific Studies (Nature)
Early Wuhan COVID Samples Contained Genetically Modified Viruses (ET)
Tucker Carlson Warns “Elitist Dems” Want You To “Shut Up And Obey” (SN)
“I Was Living Like Scarface” (MPN)
“Leftie” Is Now A Slur In Working-Class Towns (G.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment on the same Public Health England (PHE) briefing the Daily Sceptic addressed yesterday, saying “Calculating the vaccine effectiveness against Delta infection in the over-50s [..] gives a figure of just 15%..”

67% Of UK Covid-19 Deaths Since February 2021 Were Vaccinated (DE)

The latest Public Health England report on Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations, and deaths show that the Covid-19 injections do not work, and quite possibly make the recipient worse if exposed to the alleged Covid-19 virus due to the fully vaccinated population accounting for 21% of all infections but 58% of all Covid-19 deaths. PHE release a technical briefing on Covid-19 variants of concern every two weeks, and the 21st update released on the 20th August 2021 provides further proof; just as previous reports have, that the Covid-19 vaccines are in fact increasing the risk of hospitalisation and death, rather than reducing it by the 95% claimed by the vaccine manufacturers.

According to the report since the 1st February 2021 and the 15th August 2021 there have been 183,133 confirmed cases among the unvaccinated population, an increase of 32,079 on the last count made in the previous report where the confirmed figure was 151,054 up to the 2nd August 2021. There have also been 26,194 confirmed cases among people who had received a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, 21 days prior to their positive test, an increase of 2,176 on the last count made in the previous report where the confirmed figure was 24,018 up to the 2nd August 2021.

Confirmed cases among people who had received a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine more than 21 days prior to their positive test total 62,763 up to the 15th August 2021. This is an increase of 17,674 on the previous report where the confirmed figure was 46,089 up to the 2nd August 2021. Finally, the latest report reveals that there have been 73,372 confirmed cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant among the fully vaccinated population, an increase of 26,364 on the last count made in the previous report where the confirmed figure was 47,008 up to the 2nd August 2021.

Read more …

Are we getting McCullough overkill?

McCullough: ‘The Vaccines Are Failing’ (CHD)

Why is the world experiencing such a “prominent outbreak” of the Delta variant when so many people have been vaccinated? Cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough addressed those questions and more on the “RFK Jr. The Defender Podcast.” New research shows people who are vaccinated against COVID are more susceptible to the Delta variant, said McCullough, pointing to a pre-print study by the prestigious Oxford University Clinical Research Group published Aug. 10 in The Lancet. The paper’s authors demonstrated widespread vaccine failure and transmission under tightly controlled circumstances in a hospital lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. The study found vaccinated people carry 251 times the load of COVID-19 viruses in their nostrils compared to the unvaccinated, the study found.

“They had an outbreak and they locked down the hospital where the workers could not get out,” said McCullough. “They were assiduously checking the workers and testing them for COVID, as well as doing sequencing.” The researchers found workers were still getting COVID during the lockdown period, said McCullough, and they were passing it to one another. The study’s big finding is their calculation of viral load, McCullough said: “This group had actually calculated viral load from oral and nasal secretions in the past. The viral load was 251 times that of the previous unvaccinated era where they had used the same methodology. So, they had previous workers and patients who had COVID-19 before any exposure to the vaccines. And now the vaccinated were carrying a massive viral load and passing it to one another.”

The efficacy for the Pfizer vaccine is measured as being anywhere from 17% to 42% effective. “These levels are far below the 50% regulatory standard to even have a vaccine on the market,” said McCullough. Regardless of the variant or the vaccine, McCullough said the bottom line is that “the vaccines are failing.”

Read more …

“If it doesn’t say Comirnaty, you have not been offered an approved vaccine.”

2 Things MSM Didn’t Tell You About FDA’s Approval of Pfizer Vaccine (CHD)

Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a biologics license application for the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine. The press reported that vaccine mandates are now legal for military, healthcare workers, college students and employees in many industries. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has now required the vaccine for all teachers and school staff. The Pentagon is proceeding with its mandate for all military service members.

[..] First, the FDA acknowledges that while Pfizer has “insufficient stocks” of the newly licensed Comirnaty vaccine available, there is “a significant amount” of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine — produced under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) — still available for use. The FDA decrees that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under the EUA should remain unlicensed but can be used “interchangeably” (page 2, footnote 8) with the newly licensed Comirnaty product. Second, the FDA pointed out that the licensed Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine and the existing, EUA Pfizer vaccine are “legally distinct,” but proclaims that their differences do not “impact safety or effectiveness.”

[..] EUA products are experimental under U.S. law. Both the Nuremberg Code and federal regulations provide that no one can force a human being to participate in this experiment. Under 21 U.S. Code Sec.360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(III), “authorization for medical products for use in emergencies,” it is unlawful to deny someone a job or an education because they refuse to be an experimental subject. Instead, potential recipients have an absolute right to refuse EUA vaccines. U.S. laws, however, permit employers and schools to require students and workers to take licensed vaccines. EUA-approved COVID vaccines have an extraordinary liability shield under the 2005 Public Readiness and Preparedness Act. [..] At least for the moment, the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine has no liability shield. Vials of the branded product, which say “Comirnaty” on the label, are subject to the same product liability laws as other U.S. products.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices places a vaccine on the mandatory schedule, a childhood vaccine benefits from a generous retinue of liability protections. But licensed adult vaccines, including the new Comirnaty, do not enjoy any liability shield. Just as with Ford’s exploding Pinto, or Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, people injured by the Comirnaty vaccine could potentially sue for damages. And because adults injured by the vaccine will be able to show that the manufacturer knew of the problems with the product, jury awards could be astronomical.

Pfizer is therefore unlikely to allow any American to take a Comirnaty vaccine until it can somehow arrange immunity for this product. Here’s what you need to know when somebody orders you to get the vaccine: Ask to see the vial. If it says “Comirnaty,” it’s a licensed product. If it says “Pfizer-BioNTech,” it’s an experimental product, and under 21 U.S. Code 360bbb, you have the right to refuse. If it comes from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (marketed as Janssen), you have the right to refuse. The FDA is playing bait and switch with the American public — but we don’t have to play along. If it doesn’t say Comirnaty, you have not been offered an approved vaccine.

Read more …

Vaccinated people are 13x more likely to get infected than those with natural immunity.

Comparing SARS-CoV-2 Natural Immunity To Vaccine-induced Immunity (Medrxiv)

Reports of waning vaccine-induced immunity against COVID-19 have begun to surface. With that, the comparable long-term protection conferred by previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study comparing three groups: (1)SARS-CoV-2-naive individuals who received a two-dose regimen of the BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine, (2)previously infected individuals who have not been vaccinated, and (3)previously infected and single dose vaccinated individuals. Three multivariate logistic regression models were applied. In all models we evaluated four outcomes: SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptomatic disease, COVID-19-related hospitalization and death.


The follow-up period of June 1 to August 14, 2021, when the Delta variant was dominant in Israel. Results: SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinees had a 13.06-fold (95% CI, 8.08 to 21.11) increased risk for breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those previously infected, when the first event (infection or vaccination) occurred during January and February of 2021. The increased risk was significant (P<0.001) for symptomatic disease as well. When allowing the infection to occur at any time before vaccination (from March 2020 to February 2021), evidence of waning natural immunity was demonstrated, though SARS-CoV-2 naive vaccinees had a 5.96-fold (95% CI, 4.85 to 7.33) increased risk for breakthrough infection and a 7.13-fold (95% CI, 5.51 to 9.21) increased risk for symptomatic disease.

SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinees were also at a greater risk for COVID-19-related-hospitalizations compared to those that were previously infected. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity.

Read more …

New England Journal of Medicine. Israel study. Drowning in numbers.

“Vaccination was most strongly associated with an elevated risk of myocarditis, lymphadenopathy, appendicitis, and herpes zoster infection”

Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Setting (NEJM)

Table S6 shows the effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the incidence of various adverse events. Infection substantially increased the risk of many different adverse events, including myocarditis (risk ratio, 18.28; 95% CI, 3.95 to 25.12; risk difference, 11.0 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 5.6 to 15.8), acute kidney injury (risk ratio, 14.83; 95% CI, 9.24 to 28.75; risk difference, 125.4 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 107.0 to 142.6), pulmonary embolism (risk ratio, 12.14; 95% CI, 6.89 to 29.20; risk difference, 61.7 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 48.5 to 75.4), intracranial hemorrhage (risk ratio, 6.89; 95% CI, 1.90 to 19.16; risk difference, 7.6 events per 100,000 persons;


95% CI, 2.7 to 12.6), pericarditis (risk ratio, 5.39; 95% CI, 2.22 to 23.58; risk difference, 10.9 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 4.9 to 16.9), myocardial infarction (risk ratio, 4.47; 95% CI, 2.47 to 9.95; risk difference, 25.1 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 16.2 to 33.9), deep-vein thrombosis (risk ratio, 3.78; 95% CI, 2.50 to 6.59; risk difference, 43.0 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 29.9 to 56.6), and arrhythmia (risk ratio, 3.83; 95% CI, 3.07 to 4.95; risk difference, 166.1 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 139.6 to 193.2).

Read more …

About that same Israel study.

Real-World Study Links Pfizer Vax to High Risk of Myocarditis (MPT)

The Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was found to be associated with a threefold increased risk of myocarditis, according to a real-world case-control study from Israel. Vaccination had a strong association with an increased risk of myocarditis (risk ratio [RR] 3.24, 95% CI 1.55-12.44), as well as increased risks of lymphadenopathy (RR 2.43, 95% CI 2.05-2.78), appendicitis (RR 1.40, 95% CI 1.02-2.01), and herpes zoster infection (RR 1.43, 95% CI 1.20-1.73), reported Ran Balicer, MD, of Clalit Health Services in Tel Aviv, and colleagues.

However, in a separate cohort, infection with SARS-CoV-2 was associated with a higher risk of myocarditis (RR 18.28, 95% CI 3.95-25.12), as well as other cardiovascular complications, including acute kidney injury (RR 14.83, 95% CI 9.24-28.75), pulmonary embolism (RR 12.14, 95% CI 6.89-29.20), and intracranial hemorrhage (RR 6.89, 95% CI 1.90-19.16), the authors wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. They noted that vaccination was “substantially protective” against anemia, acute kidney injury, intracranial hemorrhage, and lymphopenia. Balicer’s group examined data from the largest healthcare organization in Israel to compare incidence of adverse events among vaccinated individuals versus unvaccinated individuals, and estimated the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on these adverse events.

Participants in the vaccination cohorts were 16 years old and older, had been in the health organization for a full year, had no prior COVID-19 infection, and had no contact with the healthcare system in the last 7 days. Notably, populations with confounders, such as healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents, or people confined to their home for medical reasons, were excluded.

Read more …

As vaccinated people are 13x more likely to get infected than those with natural immunity. Logos.

Delta Will Charge Unvaccinated Employees $200 Per Month For Health Plan (AP)

Delta Air Lines will charge employees on the company health plan $200 a month if they fail to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a policy the airline’s top executive says is necessary because the average hospital stay for the virus costs the airline $50,000. CEO Ed Bastian said that all employees who have been hospitalized for the virus in recent weeks were not fully vaccinated. The airline said Wednesday that it also will stop extending pay protection to unvaccinated workers who contract COVID-19 on Sept. 30, and will require unvaccinated workers to be tested weekly beginning Sept. 12, although Delta will cover the cost. They will have to wear masks in all indoor company settings.

Delta stopped short of matching United Airlines, which will require employees to be vaccinated starting Sept. 27 or face termination. However, the $200 monthly surcharge, which starts in November, may have the same effect. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company,” Bastian said in a memo to employees. The surcharge will only apply to employees who don’t get vaccinated and won’t be levied for spouses or dependents, a Delta spokeswoman said. [..] Bastian said that 75% of Delta employees are vaccinated, up from 72% in mid-July. He said the aggressiveness of the leading strain of the virus “means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100% as possible.”

“I know some of you may be taking a wait-and-see approach or waiting for full (Food and Drug Administration) approval,” he told employees. “With this week’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time for you to get vaccinated is now.” A growing number of companies including Chevron Corp. and drugstore chain CVS announced they will require workers to get vaccinated after Monday’s FDA decision. United and Delta already require new hires to be vaccinated. Two smaller carriers, Hawaiian and Frontier, have said they will require either vaccination or regular testing for current employees. Other major U.S. airlines, including American and Southwest, said Wednesday that they are encouraging employees to get vaccinated but have not required it.

Read more …

“Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas..”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Bans Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates (TT)

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates regardless of a vaccine’s approval status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He also said he was adding the issue to the agenda for the current special session of the Texas Legislature. The order comes two days after the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine. That raised questions about the fate of a previous Abbott order that prohibited vaccine mandates, but only for those under emergency authorization. Abbott’s latest order is simple, saying “no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.” The order preserves exceptions for places like nursing homes and state-supported living centers.

At the same time, Abbott asked lawmakers to consider legislation addressing whether state or local governments could issue vaccine mandates and, if so, which exemptions should apply. “Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott said in a statement. Lawmakers are currently in their second special session, and time is limited to make progress on the 17-item agenda that Abbott previously announced. The House finally restored quorum last week after Democrats staged a nearly six-week protest of the GOP’s elections bill, and the current session is set to end Sept. 5.

Abbott’s last order regarding vaccine requirements, issued July 29, said “no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.” While there is a new state law that acted as a backstop for Abbott’s previous order if a vaccine received full approval, it was not as sweeping as the order and left the door open to new mandates. There specifically appeared to be the fresh potential for cities, counties and school districts to require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. San Antonio Independent School District had already announced mandatory employee vaccinations, prompting a lawsuit from Attorney General Ken Paxton. District officials said Wednesday they will move forward with the mandate — despite Abbott’s latest order.

Read more …

Says the “Covid modeller”. Get a life.

New Zealand Could Be Split Into North And South Island Bubbles (G.)

A Covid-19 modeller has suggested New Zealand’s North and South islands could become separate bubbles as the country grapples with a coronavirus outbreak, although South islanders with hopes of being fully released from lockdown should not hold their breath just yet. New Zealand is battling to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant that swiftly led to a nationwide, level four lockdown – the highest setting – which has been extended until at least the end of the week. There are now 210 cases in the community. Auckland – the largest city, where the majority of cases have been detected – will remain in lockdown until the end of the month.


There have been no cases in the South Island, but the 20,000-strong list of close contacts linked to the current outbreak extends across both islands. Around 120 people, who were potentially exposed to the virus at locations in Auckland, are isolating in the South Island. Auckland could expect to stay in lockdown for a number of weeks , but a North Island and South Island split could make sense, Covid-19 modeller at the University of Auckland, Shaun Hendy, told TVNZ. “I think at this stage, a North Island and South Island split is probably what we’d be looking at,” Hendy said. In order for the alert levels to drop in the South Island, any wastewater tests would need to come back clear, Hendy said.

Read more …

Daszak gets another shot at whitewashing Daszak, and Nature provides a podium to do it on.

Origins of SARS-CoV-2: Window Is Closing For Key Scientific Studies (Nature)

Our group was convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2020. We have been the designated independent international members of a joint WHO–China team tasked with understanding the origins of SARS-CoV-2. Our report was published this March1. It was meant to be the first step in a process that has stalled. Here we summarize the scientific process so far, and call for action to fast-track the follow-up scientific work required to identify how COVID-19 emerged, which we set out in this article.

The window of opportunity for conducting this crucial inquiry is closing fast: any delay will render some of the studies biologically impossible. Understanding the origins of a devastating pandemic is a global priority, grounded in science. We, all the members of the international expert team, each submitted detailed, confidential statements to the WHO on potential conflicts of interest, including funding, collaborative studies, public statements and other issues around the origins of COVID-19 that could be perceived as conflicts. After the WHO had reviewed these, team members were appointed in their individual capacity, not as representatives of their employers.

So far, our mission has been guided by terms of reference agreed between the WHO and China in 2020, before our involvement1. These terms tasked us with making a detailed reconstruction of the early phase of the pandemic, beginning in Wuhan, China, where the first known cases were reported. Our mandate was to conduct a collaborative study with leading scientists in China to review data they had generated on the basis of initial questions from the WHO. We refined the generic list of questions described in the mandate into a detailed workplan described in the mission report.

Read more …

Bet this is also Daszak.

“We found genetic manipulation of the Nipah virus, which is more lethal than Ebola.”

Early Wuhan COVID Samples Contained Genetically Modified Viruses (ET)

Samples from early Wuhan COVID-19 patients show the presence of genetically modified Henipah virus, an American scientist has found. Henipah was one of the two types of viruses sent to China by Chinese-born scientists from a Canadian laboratory at the centre of a controversy over the firing of the scientists and collaboration with Chinese military researchers. It is not clear whether the virus found in the Chinese samples is related to the virus samples sent by the Canadian lab, which were shipped in late March 2019. The finding was confirmed for The Epoch Times by another qualified scientist.

The evidence was first found by Dr. Steven Quay, a Seattle-based physician-scientist and former faculty member at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who looked at early COVID-19 samples uploaded by scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) shortly after China informed the WHO about the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. The samples from the patients, who reportedly were found to have an “unidentified pneumonia disease” in December 2019, were uploaded to the genetic sequence database, GenBank, on the website of the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH). Quay says that while other scientists around the world were mostly interested in examining the genome of SARS-CoV-2 in the samples uploaded by the WIV scientists, he wanted to see what else was in the samples collected from the patients.

So he collaborated with a few other scientists to analyze sequences from the samples. “We started fishing inside for weird things,” Quay told The Epoch Times. What they found, he says, are the results of what could likely be contamination from different experiments in the lab making their way into the samples, as well as evidence of Henipah virus. “We found genetic manipulation of the Nipah virus, which is more lethal than Ebola.” Nipah is a type of Henipah virus. [..] Documents released by the Canadian government state that the WIV’s intended use of the virus samples sent by Canada was “stock virus culturing,” which in simpler terms means storing the viruses while keeping them alive. Genetic manipulation would not be within the scope of this description.

Read more …

Worth watching.

Tucker Carlson Warns “Elitist Dems” Want You To “Shut Up And Obey” (SN)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson issued a stark warning Tuesday, emphasising that “we’re seeing now what happens when countries tolerate authoritarians, even for a moment” as people worldwide are being told to submit to increasingly draconian “rules” in the wake of the pandemic. Carlson noted “Has there ever been a clearer window into the society they’re trying to build? Our formerly middle-class nation now has a serf class. They’re the ones wearing the masks, being forced to take drugs they don’t want, being told not to communicate with one another, except through digital channels the Democratic Party controls.”


He continued, “We now have two groups of Americans, not a broad middle. The favored and the unfavored. The saved and the damned. The vaccinated and the unvaccinated. That’s how the architects of all this see the country.” Carlson also pointed to former NSA head Michael Hayden’s assertion that Trump supporters should be sent to Afghanistan to die. “That’s how contemptuous they feel about you,” Carlson noted, adding “Shut up and fetch another glass of Riesling, serf. And be sure not to breathe on me, or you’ll be deported.” “These are bad attitudes and are accelerating. How far can this go, you wonder?” he questioned. Carlson also described some of the insane policies being put into place in Australia and New Zealand, describing them as akin to North Korea.

Read more …

“Holy cow, I was living like Scarface…I was paying out anywhere between $300-400,000 per week to $5 million per week at times. All in cash.” Matthew Hoh, U.S. Marine Corps Captain and former State Department official

“I Was Living Like Scarface” (MPN)

The conflict in Afghanistan — for the U.S. at least — appears to be over. Essentially admitting defeat, American planes are beating a hasty and ignominious retreat from Kabul, with images of the withdrawal bearing a striking resemblance to those from the fall of Saigon 46 years previously. As the Taliban complete their takeover, many Americans are wondering what it was all about. For what, and on what, did the United States spend more than $2 trillion? A newly published study from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) — a U.S. government body — lays bare the waste and corruption of the whole affair, drawing parallels with famous satires such as “Catch 22” and “M*A*S*H*.” Uncompromising in its frankness, the 124-page report outlines the incompetence, venality and dark absurdity of the whole endeavor.

“When you look at how much we spent and what we got for it, it’s mind boggling,” one senior Department of Defense administrator admitted to SIGAR in 2015. Congress founded SIGAR in 2008 to provide neutral and objective oversight into the U.S.’ handling of Afghan reconstruction programs. The new report is the latest — and perhaps most critical — of 13 yearly offerings analyzing U.S. efforts in the country. At no point did the U.S. truly control all of Afghanistan. But officials in Washington wanted to see quantifiable results. In a region where American troops were barely able to leave their bases without being attacked, “cash spent” became one of the few concrete metrics commanders could report back with any accuracy. As the report concluded:

Perversely, because it was the easiest thing to monitor, the amount of money spent by a program often became the most important measure of success. A USAID official told SIGAR, ‘The Hill was always asking, ‘Did you spend the money?’…I didn’t hear many questions about what the effects were. Program budgets were massively expanded, often over the objections of USAID and others on the ground, who argued that inundating the country with dollars was not truly winning hearts and minds, and was a wasteful and ineffective strategy. There was no incentive to report on financial excesses, fraud or abuse, and barely any oversight over where the money was actually going. Contractors, NGOs and others who were aboard the seemingly endless gravy train also kept quiet as they stuffed their pockets with billions of dollars of public money.

MintPress spoke to a person who had been a central part of this bizarre story. Matthew Hoh was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and an official with both the Department of Defense and the State Department, spending almost 12 years in the U.S. military and government focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, he resigned from his position in the State Department in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, over U.S. policy in the country. “The way to prove that you were doing your job was by spending money,” Hoh told MintPress, continuing: Money being spent on an institutional level was a metric of success. Somehow in the minds of the U.S. political leaders, in Iraq and Afghanistan, dollars spent equated to things being constructed and effective counterinsurgency [against the Taliban]…But the Taliban themselves were taking the money! The Taliban guys were doing the construction work. It was absolutely nuts!”

Read more …

I don’t have time for the very few.

“Leftie” Is Now A Slur In Working-Class Towns (G.)

In 2011, Sam Fender was, by his own admission, “a little stoner” who had flunked out of his A-Levels in his hometown of North Shields, living with his mother in a flat with black mould on the walls. A decade later, he’s one of the UK’s best and most successful singer-songwriters: his 2019 debut album Hypersonic Missiles went to No 1, he won a Brit award, and his knack for writing songs about 21st-century disaffections marked him out from cheerier peers such as Ed Sheeran and George Ezra. His second album Seventeen Going Under, a superb record that channels the sound of Bruce Springsteen and the War on Drugs into an examination of his family, youth and frailty, is out in October.

[..] You’ve also written about politics – Aye, from the new album, is probably the angriest song you’ve ever written.

Because of the polarity between the left and the right, I don’t feel I have an identity with politicians on either side. The left wing have abandoned the working classes, and with a lot of the left – I don’t want to sound like Piers Morgan when I say this – I feel like there is too much nitpicking and stupid fights, especially online. But I hate the Tories with a passion. I was raised to hate them, I still hate them, and I always will. They clearly know who they stand for and they don’t represent people like us. A quarter of the kids in working families in my region are in poverty. Nobody sticks their neck out for the north-east. The line in Aye – “I don’t have time for the very few” – that’s the one thing that always going to be my main gripe on this planet, the sheer disparity between the 1% and the rest of the world. These culture wars are valid wars that need to be fought – there’s a lot of bigotry, a lot of racism and homophobia. But in order to get the Tories out, you’ve got to start representing the working class people of this country.

The right are sitting back and laughing, sweeping up every election. Blyth Valley up here went Tory. It’s a shipbuilding town. That’s insanity. Working-class people up here think the Tories are on their side – which shows how completely the left have fucked themselves. I’ve had arguments with people who say Jeremy Corbyn’s a twat, regurgitating Daily Mail headlines that he’s a terrorist sympathiser. I’m like: how? Tell me in your own words. And they go, “Ah you’re just one of them lefties”. “Leftie” is now a slur in working-class towns – what happened there? It upsets me that we’re in a place where the media have so much control over these blokes who have grafted all their life in a system that would benefit them if someone like Corbyn was in.

Read more …

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

New South Wales. New World Order.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Apr 282021
 


Juan de la Corte (1597–1660) Lot And His Daughters Escaping From The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah

 

COVID Pill That Cures Body At First Signs Of Infection May Come This Year (JTN)
Single Dose Of Covid Vaccine Can Nearly Halve Transmission Of Virus (G.)
The BBC & Bloomberg on India: B Stands For Bullshit. (Slog)
Oxford Jab ‘Could Be Banned For Under-40s’ After Blood Clot Reports Double (Metro)
A New World Order Brought To You By COVID-19 (Whitehead)
Scientists “Debunking” The Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Linked to CCP (NP)
Don’t Look Now (Jim Kunstler)
Supply Chains Implode As “Price Doesn’t Even Matter Anymore”
Gundlach Rejects The Fed’s “Inflation Is Transitory” Narrative (ZH)
CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist (Greenwald)
The Deep State Targets Matt Gaetz (AG)
Apple iOS 14.5 Update Includes ‘App Tracking Transparency’ Feature (G.)
Google Ad Surge Drives Up Profits For Parent Firm Alphabet (Y!)
Hunter Biden To Guest Teach A Class On “Fake News” This Fall (DM)

 

 

I forget who drew my attention to this UK government report, Covid-19 Response Spring 2021, but it paints a very stark and completely ignored reality: only 66% of people can ever be successfully vaccinated and may be protected.

34% either can’t be jabbed for medical reasons, or the vaccines don’t catch on. And that’s assuming full uptake, which of course you’ll never ever get. So the number of not successfully vaccinated will be higher than 34%, perhaps quite a bit, no matter the PR campaigns and threats.

This should put the entire Covid response on its head, but for some reason it doesn’t. Those 34+% would appear to be ineligible for a “vaccine passport” as well, depriving them of basic human rights.

 

 

 

 

Lemme guess: Pfizer waits until everyone has been vaccinated, and then introduces this pill?

COVID Pill That Cures Body At First Signs Of Infection May Come This Year (JTN)

The Pfizer pharmaceutical company is conducting trials on an antiviral drug could be ready for public use later this year that is intended to attack the spine of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and result in a cure to the sickness. The oral drug would stop the virus from mutating in the nose, throat and lungs, according to The Telegraph newspaper, ultimately causing the virus to dissipate. The possible home cure is being tested on 60 volunteers ages 18 and 60 at Pfizer facilities in the U.S. and Belgium. “We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care,” said Mikael Dolsten, who leads the company’s worldwide research, development and medical division.


The first phase of the trial looks at the tolerance to the drug including “significant side effects, and how people feel after taking it,” according to documents. The second phase studies the response to several doses, and the third phase looks at food consumption while taking the pill. More trials would be needed to determine how the drug reacts with people who are infected with the virus. Pfizer says if the trials are successful the drug could be available for public use later this year.

Read more …

VItamin D can do that too. Ivermectin can do more.

Single Dose Of Covid Vaccine Can Nearly Halve Transmission Of Virus (G.)

A single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can slash transmission of the virus by up to half, according to a Public Health England study. The PHE finding offers further hope that the pandemic can be brought under control as it indicates that vaccinated people are far less likely to pass the virus on to others. The study found that people given a single dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines – and who became infected at least three weeks later – were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on to people living in their homes, compared with those who were unvaccinated. Protection was seen from about 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels regardless of a person’s age. Other studies have already shown that both vaccines are highly effective at stopping people getting sick and ending up in hospital.

Experts will now assess whether two doses of vaccine can cut transmission of the virus even further, and more work is being carried out on transmission in the general population. PHE said similar results could be expected in places where the risk of transmission is like in the home, such as shared accommodation and prisons. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “This is terrific news – we already know vaccines save lives and this study is the most comprehensive real-world data showing they also cut transmission of this deadly virus. “It further reinforces that vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic as they protect you and they may prevent you from unknowingly infecting someone in your household.

Read more …

I’m guessing the truth is somewhere in the middle. India is not doing great right now, but it’s also not collapsing.

The BBC & Bloomberg on India: B Stands For Bullshit. (Slog)

Unless you made an early getaway to Planet Drongo before the lockdown, you will have read pretty much everywhere that “India sees world’s highest daily cases amid oxygen shortage”. In fact, the BBC tells us that “some people” have died waiting for oxygen, the Indian health service is “completely overwhelmed” and the country now has “sixteen million cases”. So it’s a disaster, right? Well actually, no – it isn’t. The Indian health ministry has already made it clear that the Covid19 variant they’re dealing with this year has “a considerably lower death rate than the previous version”. Go to the Worldometer site, and you’ll see that India’s deaths per million is a minute 134: that’s 7% of the US and French figures, 6% of the UK and Italy’s and the lowest by far of any country in the Top 30 for cases.

Virtually no vaccination has been undertaken in India (only 1.3% are fully vaccinated) and the country is not using lockdowns. The Times of India has just denied the BBC’s ‘deaths from oxygen shortage’ fakery. What India IS doing, however, is employing the anti-inflammatory drugs tocilizumab and itolizumab and the antivirals favipiravir and hydroxychloroquine on a very wide scale. Go to Pharma site/accolyte spaces, and you’ll see all four drugs being rubbished: the Pharmafia and their bureaucratic whores don’t want any signs of a success to get out. But the Truth already is out there: India is doing spectacularly well without either vaccines or lockdown. You won’t find that reality expressed anywhere in the Western MSM, but the facts show that its infection management drugs have delivered one of the lowest case to death rates on the planet.

Not that you’d notice, reading Bloomberg: “India saw the world’s biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases ever as a ferocious new wave grips the country, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums and prompting frantic cries for help on social media. The South Asian nation reported 314,835 new infections Thursday, topping a peak of 314,312 recorded in the U.S. on Dec. 21. People took to Twitter and Instagram to call for everything from hospital beds to medicine and doorstep Covid-19 tests. The grim milestone shows how the pandemic crisis has shifted firmly to the developing world, where variants and complacency are threatening containment measures and there’s a lack of vaccines, with supplies dominated by richer nations.”

It’s a pack of lies from end to end. India has a population of 1.4 billion people – so overcrowding is almost generic – and being four times more people than the US, the comparison with America is completely ludicrous. Hospitals do not get overwhelmed when 134 folks out of a million get ill. India’s water purity and basic hygiene measures are very Third World. Yet despite all that, it is doing phenomenally well against Covid….by having and doing respectively none of the advantages and policies of the West.

Read more …

“..the total number of people in the UK who developed blood clots after getting one dose has gone from 79 to 168 in a fortnight..”

Oxford Jab ‘Could Be Banned For Under-40s’ After Blood Clot Reports Double (Metro)

Under-40s may be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after blood clot reports doubled, reports claim. The chance of dying from a blood clot after having the jab is about one in one million – with 19 fatalities from around 20 million vaccinations. However, the total number of people in the UK who developed blood clots after getting one dose has gone from 79 to 168 in a fortnight, Medical Healthcare Products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) data suggests. These new cases have taken the odds of experiencing a blood clot up from one in 250,000 to one in 126,000. The MHRA has reiterated that the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab outweigh the risks for most people – but is considering offering under-40s the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine given that younger people are more likely to be affected by blood clots, The Telegraph claims.


It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided that under-30s should be offered an alternative to the Oxford jab. Currently, anyone over the age of 45 can get a jab in England. Over-50s in Scotland and Wales are being offered their doses, while Northern Ireland has already started vaccinating over-35s. Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said on April 7 that 0.8 per 100,000 30 to 39-year-olds suffered serious blood clots after getting their Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. This was compared to 2.7 in 100,000 who would be kept out of intensive care by taking the vaccine. But these figures were based on fewer cases and the MHRA is yet to release what these odds are now 168 people have had blood clots.

Read more …

“The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.”

A New World Order Brought To You By COVID-19 (Whitehead)

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled us into a whole new global frontier. Those hoping to navigate this interconnected and highly technological world of contact tracing, vaccine passports and digital passes will find themselves grappling with issues that touch on deep-seated moral, political, religious and personal questions for which there may be no clear-cut answers. We are about to find our ability to access, engage and move about in the world dependent on which camp we fall into: those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not. “It is the latest status symbol. Flash it at the people, and you can get access to concerts, sports arenas or long-forbidden restaurant tables. Some day, it may even help you cross a border without having to quarantine,” writes Heather Murphy for the New York Times.


“The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.” This is what M.I.T. professor Ramesh Raskar refers to as the new “currency for health,” an apt moniker given the potentially lucrative role that Big Business (Big Pharma and Big Tech, especially) will play in establishing this pay-to-play marketplace. The airline industry has been working on a Travel Pass. IBM is developing a Digital Health Pass. And the U.S. government has been all-too-happy to allow the corporate sector to take the lead. Spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA), which has shown itself to care little for constitutional limits or privacy, the surveillance state has come to dominate our government and our lives. Yet the government does not operate alone. It cannot. It requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of our massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental bureaucracy.

Read more …

I’m not much into CCP bashing, but also not into too many coincidences.

Scientists “Debunking” The Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Linked to CCP (NP)

Several researchers used by leading corporate media outlets to debunk claims that COVID-19 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have previously attended events or accepted awards from the controversial lab, The National Pulse can reveal. The researchers’ Chinese Communist Party ties – which present a clear conflict of interest – are omitted from the media reports, which instead present the scientists as unbiased adjudicators of COVID-19’s origins. In March 2020, NBC Science Contributor Dr. Joseph Fair called for the Trump administration to “stop blaming China” for the outbreak of the virus, despite mounting evidence – even at the time – that China was hiding information and data, and silencing whistleblowers. Dr. Fair equated called the lab leak theory – now increasingly mainstream – as a “conspiracy.”

Fair spoke at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2013, The National Pulse can reveal. “During the visit, he attended “Ge Hong Elite Forum” and gave an excellent academic report named “Biosafety Level 4 Containment Research and Recombinant Biology: How advances in molecular biology can advance in-vitro product design”. Many teachers and students, including Director Chen Xinwen and researchers such as Hu Zhihong and Wei Hongping, listened to the report,” a summary notes. “Dr. Joseph Fair is now engaged in the rapid diagnosis work of virulent viruses for GVFI and looks forward to cooperating with the Institute in the relevant research field in future,” the description adds. Fair’s Twitter account also contains posts describing WIV researchers as “collaborators,” “colleagues” and friends,” adding “I’ve very much enjoyed working with them over the years.”

Fair has praised the labs “openness with regards to sharing data” despite the institute erasing 16,000 virus samples in late 2019 and continuing to do so throughout the pandemic. Dr. Ian Lipkin, who’s seen his claims that there is “no evidence to suggest that [COVID-19] was created in a lab” amplified by outlets such as CBS and USA Today, also spoke at the WIV, in 2015. “He had given an excellent report on “Small game hunting”, which was presided by Professor Zhengli Shi, to the teachers and students in our institute,” a WIV summary revealed. The unearthed visit follows National Pulse reports highlighting Lipkin receiving awards from the Chinese Communist Party and describing himself as a “consultant” for the communist regime.

Read more …

“..the supernatural victory on Super Tuesday that rescued his pitiful old ass from the glue factory of broken-down political war-horses.”:

Don’t Look Now (Jim Kunstler)

This was only one of countless mysteries orbiting around the dimming star that is Joe Biden. The biggest one, the planet Jupiter of all puzzlements, is how the guy managed to get elected occupant of the oval office. Or, more to the point, how did others manage to get him elected? I mean, considering those few embarrassing campaign forays from the basement to a bunch of empty parking lots back in the fall of 2020, not to mention the supernatural victory on Super Tuesday that rescued his pitiful old ass from the glue factory of broken-down political war-horses. We may be about to find out as Arizona’s State Senate finally got around to approving a full audit of the November 3rd vote in Maricopa County, comprising Phoenix and its asteroid belt of suburbs, which amounts to more than two-thirds of the state’s population.

The Democratic Party tried pretty hard to stop the durned thing, sending its gnarliest Lawfare warrior, one Marc Elias from the Clinton-indentured DC firm of Perkins Coie, and a posse of 70 other attorneys, to bury the proceedings in court orders. But all they got was a weekend pause from an Arizona judge who imposed a $1-million-dollar bond payment on the Democrats to cover expenses for the interruption — which would then be forfeited if the audit went forward. The Dems declined to pay up, so the pause was lifted and the audit goes forward today. The usual suspects in the mainstream media attempted to bury the Arizona vote audit story or denigrate it — for instance the The New York Times, which characterized the inquiry in its Saturday lede as “false claims of a stolen election,” and then “a snipe hunt for skullduggery,” before asserting the boilerplate “baseless theories of election theft” to seal the deal with its avidly credulous readership.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC practically jumped up and down going woo-woo-woo to discredit the audit. What do you suppose they’re afraid of? I’ll tell you: For one thing, if the vote turns out to have been compromised by fraud, Arizona is liable to lose a Democratic senator elected on Mr. Biden’s (possibly) phantom coattails — Mark Kelly (D) who defeated incumbent Martha McSally (R) — which would cancel the Democrats’ current one-vote majority grip on the body. The result of that would be the end of the party’s effort to jam various new laws down America’s craw: DC statehood, the HR-1 voter fraud act, the Supreme Court-packing bill, and, actually, anything else on the party’s Satanic wish-list for disassembling the republic.

Read more …

“.. it will almost feel like trade is coming to a halt.”

Supply Chains Implode As “Price Doesn’t Even Matter Anymore”

The number of container ships stuck at anchor off Los Angeles and Long Beach is down to around 20 per day, from 30 a few months ago. Does this mean the capacity crunch in the trans-Pacific market is finally easing? Absolutely not, warned Nerijus Poskus, vice president of global ocean at freight forwarder Flexport. “It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse,” he told American Shipper in an interview on Monday. “What I’m seeing is unprecedented. We are seeing a tsunami of freight,” he reported. “For the month of May, everything on the trans-Pacific is basically sold out. We had one client who needed something loaded in May that was extremely urgent and who was ready to pay $15,000 per container. I couldn’t get it loaded — and we are a growing company that ships a lot of TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units]. Price doesn’t always even matter anymore.”

Poskus said that trans-Pacific import volumes are still rising. He noted that January trans-Pacific imports were up 10% versus 2019 (comparisons to 2020 numbers are skewed by COVID) and 13.5% in February, then jumped 51% in March. “So, we’re now at 1.5 times pre-pandemic levels.” With imports far outpacing retail sales growth, he attributed volumes to inventory restocking. “The restocking is actually affecting the trade even more than growth in demand. That tells me that this will last even longer. Let’s say U.S. consumer demand slows down in Q3 and Q4. That’s not expected, but even if it does, [capacity availability and rates] shouldn’t improve quickly, simply because of the huge restocking demand.”

Poskus also believes there is a growing export backlog piling up each day in Asia, awaiting available ship slots. If that backlog grows too big, he said, “I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.” As a result of the backlog and restocking demand, he thinks “prices will remain high and shipping will probably remain difficult for the rest of this year. And then after that, you have the peak for Chinese New Year in 2022.” He said that the situation today is the worst he’s witnessed — and he believes it’s about to get even more severe. “Buckle up. The month of May will be the worst people have ever seen,” he predicted. Because some shippers will have to wait in line behind the growing backlog in Asia, he expects “what’s going to happen soon is that some importers won’t even be able to get on the boat. For them, it will almost feel like trade is coming to a halt.”

Read more …

“.. it really depends on just how much manipulation the authorities are willing to do.”

Gundlach Rejects The Fed’s “Inflation Is Transitory” Narrative (ZH)

Don’t believe your lying eyes, will be the message tomorrow from The Fed’s Jay Powell as he hypnotizes investors to believe that “inflation is transitory” and they have “the tools” to manage it. ‘Bond King’ Jeff Gundlach is not buying that line and told BNN Bloomberg in an interview this morning. “…more importantly, I’m not sure why they think they know it’s transitory… how do they know that?” “…there’s plenty of money-printing that’s been going on, and we’ve seen commodity prices going up massively… home prices in the US are inflating very substantially… so there’s a lot of inflation that’s already baked in to input prices.” Gundlach does admit that Powell has a point in the very near term as the prints were about to see “which could be as high as 4% [for CPI]” are off of year-ago, very depressed levels.

“…what he means by transitory is that the base effect will lead to problems in the next few months but then the base effect will become less problematic.” But, Gundlach adds, “it’s not clear to me that inflation is going to go back down to around 2 to 2.5%… we don’t know, nobody knows… but we’re most concerned with the fact that The Fed thinks they know.” This is worrisome because The Fed’s track record is anything but inspiring… “when I go back to the global financial crisis, when we almost had a complete meltdown of the financial system, Ben Bernanke completely missed all of the problems that led to the crisis.” Bernanke’s infamous “contained to subprime… and subprime is only a sliver of the market” comments could be about to be trumped by Powell’s “inflation is transitory” comments as Gundlach warns “there’s plenty of indicators that suggest inflation is going to go higher and not just on a transitory basis.”

The Fed is “trying to paint the picture” of control, but Gundlach tries to make clear: “they’re guessing.” So, what does that mean for markets? While some fear “we ain’t seen nothing yet” in terms of yields rising (and multiple contraction), Gundlach notes that “it really depends on just how much manipulation the authorities are willing to do.” The billionaire fund manager notes that yields are “still very low… well below the current inflation rate… so we have negative yields everywhere on the yield curve.” It’s also “hard to figure out who’s going to buy the bonds,” he notes, “as we are about to see issuance like we have never seen before.” Foreigners have been selling bonds for years and domestically there is little demand, so Gundlach notes the only one left to soak up all this extra supply is The Federal Reserve, which has already expanded its balance sheet massively in the last 12 months.

“Who’s going to buy all these many trillions of dollars of bonds? Foreigners have been selling for years and they’ve accelerated their selling in the last several quarters, domestic buyers are not exactly selling, but they’re not adding to their holdings. So what’s left to absorb all of the spawn supply is the Federal Reserve.“ “Left to true, free markets, bond yields at the long-end would obviously be higher than they are now.”

Read more …

“Each month, Bertrand produced dozens of Russiagate articles for the site that were so unhinged that they made Rachel Maddow look sober, cautious and reliable.”

CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist (Greenwald)

The most important axiom for understanding how the U.S. corporate media functions is that there is never accountability for those who serve as propagandists for the U.S. security state. The opposite is true: the more aggressively and recklessly you spread CIA narratives or pro-war manipulation, the more rewarded you will be in that world. [..] On Monday, CNN made clear that this dynamic still drives the corporate media world. The network proudly announced that it had hired Natasha Bertrand away from Politico. In doing so, they added to their stable of former CIA operatives, NSA spies, Pentagon Generals and FBI agents a reporter who has done as much as anyone, if not more so, to advance the scripts of those agencies.

Bertrand’s career began taking off when, while at Business Insider, she abandoned her obsession with Russia’s role in Syria in 2016 in order to monomaniacally fixate on every last conspiracy theory and gossip item that drove the Russiagate fraud during the 2016 campaign and then into the Trump presidency. Each month, Bertrand produced dozens of Russiagate articles for the site that were so unhinged that they made Rachel Maddow look sober, cautious and reliable. In 2018, it was Jeffrey Goldberg himself — knowing a star CIA propagandist when he sees one — who gave Bertrand her first big break by hiring her away from Business Insider to cover Russiagate for The Atlantic. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Queen of Russiagate conspiracies herself by becoming a national security analyst for MSNBC and NBC News.

From there, it was onto Politico and now CNN: the ideal, rapid career climb that is the dream of every liberal security state servant calling themselves a journalist. Her final conspiratorial article for The Atlantic before moving to Politico is the perfect illustration of who and what she is. CNN’s new national security star was no ordinary Russiagate fanatic. There was no conspiracy theory too unhinged or evidence-free for her to promote. As The Washington Post’s media reporter Erik Wemple documented once the Steele Dossier was debunked, there was arguably nobody in media other than Rachel Maddow who promoted and ratified that hoax as aggressively, uncritically and persistently as Bertrand. She defended it even after the Mueller Report corroborated virtually none of its key claims.

Read more …

Smear sells.

The Deep State Targets Matt Gaetz (AG)

It’s now been over three weeks since a torrent of sensational headlines about U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) blared from corporate media newsrooms. It sounded about as bad as it could get for the representative from Florida’s 1st Congressional District; breathless claims that he was “under investigation for underage sex trafficking” touched off a media frenzy. No stranger to controversy, Gaetz’s initial instinct was to confront the allegations live on Fox News with Tucker Carlson. While many saw it as a bizarre interview, it may at least have been the right move in terms of staring down a bloodthirsty establishment. As several weeks have passed, though, the controversy seems to have generated more heat than light. Indeed, this might be the longest running “sex scandal” in the nation’s history without an accuser.

But the media has been busy. Since the original story broke, there’s been a drip of follow-on stories at outlets like the Daily Beast, Politico, the Washington Post, and CNN—all using a shady collection of off-the-record and dubious government sources. Unsurprisingly, given that sourcing, none of the stories have contained anything close to serious detail or evidence. Reporters keep dropping tidbits of evidence likely to be emanating from within the Justice Department, yet none of which confirms any of the headline-grabbing allegations. Few of these articles even attempt to deal with the wild allegations first made about the congressman. Writing in Politico on Tuesday, Betsy Woodruff Swan stated: “[Gaetz] has not been charged with a crime, and no women have publicly accused him of sexual misconduct in the three weeks since the New York Times first reported on the investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing.”

Note how—after making a sensational media splash for maximum public relations damage—the accusations against Gaetz have shifted, from shocking and unsupported claims of underage sex trafficking and pedophilia to the less scurrilous (and still unsupported) accusation that Gaetz had sex at parties. Crucially, there has not been any evidence of payments, prostitution, or underage girls. As Scott Adams recently said, while some may first cringe at hearing too much about the sex life of a politician, deep down, they’re more likely to be indifferent. CNN even had to note in a recent report: “One of the women who spoke to CNN said she did so in part because the picture of Gaetz as potentially connected to sex trafficking that has emerged in recent days does not align with what she saw. Both women said that they never saw anyone at the parties who appeared to be underage.”

Read more …

Seems hard to argue against, but sure enough many are trying.

Apple iOS 14.5 Update Includes ‘App Tracking Transparency’ Feature (G.)

Users of iPhones can now prevent advertisers tracking them across their apps, after the release of the latest software update from Apple introduced the controversial feature despite the protests of Facebook and the advertising industry. The update, iOS 14.5, includes a setting called “app tracking transparency”, which for the first time requires applications to ask for users’ consent before they are able to track their activity across other apps and websites. If users decline, then applications will not be able to access the unique user ID that they need to follow individuals as they live their digital lives. The prompt, which will say “Allow [app game] to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” will show up for apps that request access to the ID number.

They may be able to use other methods, known as “fingerprinting”, to achieve the same goal, but Apple says that doing so could cause them to be expelled from the App Store. First announced last summer, app tracking transparency led to immediate pushback from the wider advertising industry. Initially slated for release in the autumn, Apple delayed its implementation for six months in order to give the industry time to prepare. But the delay wasn’t enough for some, and in December, Facebook launched an all-out assault on Apple, with the company’s head of ads and business products, Dan Levy, claiming that the setting was actually “about control of the entire internet”. “This is about a long-term view that is anti-personalised advertising and we think is trying to take the world back 10 or 20 years,” he added.

Facebook launched a glossy advertising campaign arguing that the real victim of the changes are “your neighbourhood coffee brewery, your friend who owns their own retail business, your cousin who started an event planning service and the game developers who build the apps you use for free”. Those small businesses, the company said, would lose out if they were no longer able to target customers with personalised adverts. The social network is not alone in its opposition: a group of Germany’s biggest media, tech and advertising companies, led by digital publishing house Axel Springer, have filed a complaint with the German competition regulator arguing that the new rules could lead to a 60% fall in advertising revenues for app developers.

Read more …

Looking at ad reveue here, I can assure you they’re keeping it all for themselves.

Google Ad Surge Drives Up Profits For Parent Firm Alphabet (Y!)

Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday reported that quarterly profit more than doubled as digital advertising surged with more people relying on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic. Profit in the first quarter leapt to $17.9 billion from $6.8 billion in the same period a year ago while revenues jumped 34 percent to $55.3 billion, led by gains in advertising and cloud computing services. “Over the last year, people have turned to Google Search and many online services to stay informed, connected and entertained,” said Alphabet and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. The surge in Alphabet’s earnings comes as the tech giant faces increased scrutiny from regulators regarding its power.

“Google essentially manufactures money; they are almost entirely ads,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group. “There is not a risk of downturn in revenue, it is that regulatory action strips the revenue from them.” Facebook and Google are the “short list” when it comes to scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States because of “their broad impact on the political process and almost complete dominance of ad revenues,” the analyst maintained. Google is among internet giants in the crosshairs of regulators and critics concerned about whether it unfairly wields its power to dominate markets and fend off competition.

[..] Alphabet shares were up nearly five percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures. “Google had an absolute monster quarter with ads leading the way,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy. “YouTube grew an eye-watering 49 percent year-over-year, which I attribute to increased YouTube viewing and increased YouTube TV subscribers.”

Read more …

I must admit I didn’t see this coming. Hunter, that is. That fake news producers would teach on fake news is all too predictable.

Hunter Biden To Guest Teach A Class On “Fake News” This Fall (DM)

Hunter Biden is helping teach a class on fake news at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana this fall. The course titled ‘Media Polarization and Public Policy Impacts’ will include several guest speakers throughout its 10 weeks, including the president’s son. The course description, according to a copy of the syllabus obtained by DailyMail.com, says: ‘America’s rapidly advancing partisan divide is fueled substantially by the growing political polarization increasingly evident in our news media.’ ‘This course will explore the current state of the media landscape in the United States and how media polarization, fake news, and the economics of the news business impact public policymaking in Washington, D.C,’ it continues. Hunter, 51, is a Yale-educated lawyer and has never, in any capacities, worked as a journalist, reporter or in the media world.


‘Hunter Biden has no background in media,’ conservative filmmaker Phelim McAleer said. ‘He has never worked for a newspaper or a media outlet.’ ‘Hunter Biden lecturing a class on fake news is like Harvey Weinstein teaching a course to prevent sexual harassment. It shouldn’t be happening. Period.’ the ‘My Son Hunter’ producer continued. Tulane University confirmed the course in a statement to DailyMail.com and confirmed the list of speaker, including:
Hunter Biden
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under President Donald Trump
Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox News Channel
Susan Glasser, columnist for The New Yorker
Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post columnist; Kylie Atwood, national security correspondent for CNN
Margaret Brennan, Face the Nation moderator
Bret Stephens, New York Times columnist
Dr. Michael Fauntroy, a professor in the Political Science Department at Howard University.

Read more …

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Primitive societies are largely free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, dental cavities, economic theories, lounge music, and other modern ailments.
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

 

 

 

Time Lapse

 

 

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

 

Sep 152019
 
 September 15, 2019  Posted by at 2:17 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Pavel Filonov The Kolkhoznik (Member of a Collective Farm) 1931

 

Those winds just keep on shifting, no matter that the western press either doesn’t see them shift, doesn’t recognize them for what they are, or chooses to ignore them. But these winds bring tidings of a tectonic plate-shaking shift in the global political climate.

The fires in Saudi oil installations, whether they were caused by drones or missiles, and whoever fired those, are a major story, and rightly so, because they could shake up economies in drastic ways. But they may still, not be the biggest story after all.

Last Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley (already occupied territory, 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live there). He did that to steal votes from the far right in next Tuesday’s (Sep. 17) Knesset election. “Bibi” also called Donald Trump his “friend” every second word for that same purpose. Trump responded in kind. He may come to regret that. Choose your friends wisely. Bit of background from RT:

 

US, Israel Talk About Mutual Defense Treaty – Trump

The US and Israel are discussing a mutual defense treaty that would further cement the already “tremendous” alliance between the two countries, President Donald Trump has revealed. “I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries,” Trump tweeted.

Trump voiced not-that-veiled support for Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Israel. “I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!” Trump wrote. The support surely comes in handy, as Netanyahu’s backing appears to be quite shaky. The September 17 polls are the second snap legislative elections this year after Netanyahu failed to form the government back in April.

The outcome of the upcoming vote is hard to predict, as Netanyahu’s party, Likud, has almost equal support as their main opponent the Blue and White led by Benny Gantz, opinion polls show. Netanyahu was quick to respond to Trump’s announcement, lauding the prospects of the alliance and managing to call the US president a “friend” twice in a single tweet.

[..] Israel was one of the first major non-Nato ally (MNNA), a designation that goes with a whole set of benefits, such as generous loans, a priority in delivery of various military surplus, possession of war reserve stocks of Pentagon-owned hardware outside US military bases (Israel is said to have at least six sites) and others.

Yet in 2014 the US enshrined Israel into a new class of ally – a major strategic partner. The new designation, which is a step above MNNA, was basically established specifically for Israel. It greatly expanded the US wartime stockpiles in Israel from $200 million in value to a whopping $1.8 billion. Under the Trump administration, the trend has continued, and in 2017, the US established its first permanent military base – an air defense facility – in Israel.

A second thing Bibi is trying to do to win Tuesday’s elections is intimidating the prosecutors who are on his tail for three different cases or fraud. He has a grand plan to become immune from this prosecution (basically, become King Bibi), but he must win the election to execute it. Haaretz is Israel’s oldest newspaper, but it’s not Bibi’s biggest fan(club):

 

Netanyahu’s Plan to Escape Trial, in His Own Words: ‘Time for Them to Be Frightened’

Immediately after the last election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined to members of his inner circle a plan to extract him from facing trial. The plan was based on obtaining immunity from the Knesset and passing legislation to prevent the High Court of Justice from removing that immunity. If his bloc wins 61 Knesset seats next week, Netanyahu will presumably resort to this rescue plan. For him it will be the Day of Judgment.

“Stop being frightened. It’s time for them to be frightened,” Netanyahu told his confidants, referring to justice officials, headed by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who have decided to indict him in three cases, subject to a hearing. Netanyahu told his confidants why he insisted on his destructive plan, telling them he had lost all confidence in the legal system on all levels – the attorney general’s office, the state prosecutor and the court system.

“They want me in prison,” he told one of his cronies, noting that if he were indicted that would indeed be the result – not because he had crossed a red line, but merely due to the jurists’ collective hostility toward him and his ideology. Netanyahu appears to wholeheartedly believe himself to be a victim, framed by prosecutors and that Mendelblit, who is weak, doesn’t believe in them at all, but couldn’t withstand the pressure.

In his interviews with the police Netanyahu acted like a hunted man. “It’s a wacky conception,” he told national fraud squad chief Koresh Bar-Nur in January 2017. Bar-Nur came to Netanyahu’s residence with a team of investigators to question him under caution on Case 2000, involving a bribery deal Netanyahu allegedly negotiated with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.

 

And that wasn’t all. To court the right wing vote, Bibi also planned to bomb locations in Syria controlled by “Iran-backed” Assad troops, right about right now. And he needed permission from Vladimir Putin to do that. So he flew to Moscow, did a bunch of photo-ops with Putin to show Israeli voters he’s an important statesman, but all he got was a big load of coal in his stocking. Putin said: we’l shoot you out of the skies if you dare. And do note: this is not the first time.

In other words, Bibi was deeply humiliated one week before the election he so deperately needs to him to stay out of jail. Now tell me, which western paper or TV channel did you read or watch the news about this in/on? Remember, this happened before Trump announced his Mutual Defense Treaty with Bibi. By the way, what does that “Mutual” mean anyway, that Israel will save America? This is from Zero Hedge:

 

Israeli Attacks On Syria Halted After Russian Threat To Shoot Down Jets

According to reports in both Israeli and Arabic regional media, Israel this past week was preparing to expand major airstrikes against “Iran-backed” targets in Syria, but Moscow imposed its red line. The Independent has published a story describing that Russia’s military in Syria threatened to shoot down any invading Israeli warplanes using fighter jets or their S-400 system.

The Jerusalem Post, citing sources in the UK Independent (Arabia), writes just after the latest meeting in Sochi between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin: “According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli airstrikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S400 Anti-aircraft missiles.

The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice, and that during August, Moscow stopped an airstrike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S300 missile battery is placed.” Netanyahu’s hasty trip to meet with Putin on Thursday – even in the final days before Tuesday’s key election – was reportedly with a goal to press the Russian president on essentially ignoring Israel’s attacks in Syria.

Citing further sources in the British-Arabic Independent Arabia, The Jerusalem Post continues: According to the Russian source, Putin let Netanyahu know that his country will not allow any damage to be done to the Syrian regime’s army, or any of the weapons being given to it… Israel sources cited by the Arabic newspaper described Netanyahu’s attempts to persuade Putin as “a failure”. This in spite of Netanyahu telling reporters after the meeting that his relations with Moscow were stronger than ever.

[..] The Russian source said: “Putin has expressed his dissatisfaction from Israel’s latest actions in Lebanon” and even emphasized to Netanyahu that he “Rejects the aggression towards Lebanon’s sovereignty”, something which has never been heard from him.

Putin further stated that someone is cheating him in regards to Syria and Lebanon and that he will not let it go without a response. According to him, Netanyahu was warned not to strike such targets in the future.

 

 

This is where and how the winds -and with them the tectonic plates- have shifted. And don’t underestimate it. Bibi can presumably count on Trump more than any other US President in his time, and the US is supposedly this almighty force, also in the Middle East, but today Putin just tells him “don’t you dare!” Putin refuses to let him touch Assad’s territory and -Russian- weapons.

The clincher is those weapons have become so sophisticated that Bibi, Trump support or not, puts his tail between his legs and flies back, hoping nobody notices what shape he’s in. And in that humiliation, Lebanon is the cherry that Putin puts on top of the pie. “Now that you’re here, I want you to stop harassing Lebanon too. Yes, now you may go.” Lebanon must have stunned Bibi.

What these shifting winds tell us is that the shots in that part of the world, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, (I wouldn’t go as far as including Iran and Saudi Arabia just yet) are no longer called by Bibi or the US. The main reason, as we’ve mentioned often before, is that Russian weapons have become so powerful.

Because as also previously discussed, Russian arms may well be -far- superior to American ones, which in turn in due to the US arms industry developing weapons for profit, vs Russia producing them to defend itself. Putin outright humiliating Bibi Netanyahu may be the first real obvious consequence of that.

This is something that will play out over a long time, but it may change the global political climate dramatically very rapidly. Mike Pompeo can try to blame Iran for whatever it is that happened to Saudi oil facilities, but for the US to attack Iran, which may be the reason for that blame game, it would need to ask Putin for permission, just like Netanyahu did.

And why would Putin give that permission? That’s a real good question. Mind you, Netanyahu may on Tuesday get the Knesset seats he needs to stifle the investigations against him, and to annex the Jordan Valley, but he will still have to ask permission if he has big dreams. And neither Trump nor Jared Kushner nor anyone else can help him there.

The US neocons have been talking about a New World Order for decades. Well, now they got one.

 

 

 

 

Aug 232018
 
 August 23, 2018  Posted by at 9:28 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Seated woman 1903

 

 

 

The Weaponization of the Dollar (Lebowitz)
Turkey’s Lira Crisis Was Written In Istanbul’s Skyline (G.)
U.S.-China Trade War Escalates As New Tariffs Kick In (R.)
Shooting War With China More Likely Than You Think (Rickards)
Wall Street Marks Longest-Ever ‘Bull Market’ (AFP)
Saudi Energy Minister Denies Aramco IPO Will Be Called Off (R.)
Australia In Crisis As Prime Minister Faces Down Political Coup Attempt (G.)
Trump Says He’s Considering Pardon For Manafort (R.)
Making Plans For A New World Order (Heiko Maas)
Italian Prosecutors Investigate Salvini’s Bar On Ship Arrivals (G.)

 

 

“..the true all-in cost of borrowing was not 5% but 54%.”

The Weaponization of the Dollar (Lebowitz)

China, Turkey, and Iran are all classified as emerging markets. While the classification is broad and includes a diverse group of countries, these countries have many things in common. One is that their currencies, for the most part, are not liquid or highly valued. Thus, they heavily rely on the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar, to conduct international trade. As an example, when Pakistan buys oil from Qatar, they transact in U.S. dollars, not rupees or riyals. To facilitate trade efficiently, these countries must hold excess dollars in reserve. In almost all cases, emerging market nations rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt for their transactional needs.

Dollar-denominated debt is currently the cause of much economic pain for Turkey. To understand why, we present a simplified example. Suppose on January 1, 2018, a Turkish corporation borrowed $100 million U.S. dollars with an agreement to pay it back with interest of 5% on August 15th, 2018. The company, as is typical, converts the loaned dollars to Turkish Lira. On August 15, 2018, the company will convert the Lira back to dollars in order to pay the principal and interest due on the loan. The following graph charts the Turkish Lira versus the Dollar over the life of the loan.

On January 1, 2018, one U.S. Dollar was worth 3.79 Lira. Over the next eight months, the U.S dollar appreciated significantly versus the Lira such that one U.S. dollar was worth approximately 5.81 Lira. As such, the company will now need 5.81 Lira to purchase each dollar it needs to repay the loan. Due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar versus the Lira over the time period of the outstanding loan, the company would need 584,282,000 Lira to pay back what was originally a 378,750,000 Lira loan. In other words, the true all-in cost of borrowing was not 5% but 54%.

Read more …

“90% of the credit in Turkish real estate companies came from loans in foreign currencies.”

Turkey’s Lira Crisis Was Written In Istanbul’s Skyline (G.)

From a distance, Esenyurt, a newly built up neighbourhood on the edges of Istanbul, looks a bit like Hong Kong or Dubai, with a bustling downtown of shiny skyscrapers. Upon closer examination, however, you notice that tower after tower stands incomplete, lacking windows or furnishings; others are only half-occupied, their windows dark after nightfall. “In the residential areas, 100% of the construction has stopped,” says Mohamed Karman, a local estate agent, from his small office in the central square of Esenyurt. “Do you know why? The materials. Everything is in dollars, you pay in dollars.” The crash of the Turkish lira last week after two years of steady decline spooked global markets – but anyone looking at Istanbul’s skyline would have been far from surprised.

Everywhere you look in the city, evidence of a debt-fuelled construction boom abounds: new skyscrapers frame the horizon, huge shopping malls dot the streets and among several megaprojects is a new airport, set to be the world’s largest. Funding for this construction frenzy has been at the heart of Turkey’s economy, accounting for up to 20% of the country’s GDP growth in recent years, and employing around two million people. In a parallel to the 2008 financial crash, the boom was funded by low-interest loans and ballooning debt. Property developers funded their buildings with cheap loans in foreign currencies – and will be struck particularly hard by the lira’s collapse, as those loans grow harder to repay every day. According to government statistics, at the end of 2016 nearly 90% of the credit in Turkish real estate companies came from loans in foreign currencies.

[..] The Istanbul Sapphire – one of the tallest buildings in Europe when completed in 2011 – was financed through loans worth 164m lira in 2013, 154m of which was in US dollars. That loan would now cost around 539m lira.

Read more …

Is this the best they can do?

U.S.-China Trade War Escalates As New Tariffs Kick In (R.)

The United States and China escalated their acrimonious trade war on Thursday, implementing punitive 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other’s goods, even as mid-level officials from both sides resumed talks in Washington. The world’s two largest economies have now slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on a combined $100 billion of products since early July, with more in the pipeline, adding to risks to global economic growth. China’s Commerce Ministry said Washington was “remaining obstinate” by implementing the latest tariffs, which kicked-in on both sides as scheduled at 12:01 p.m. in Beijing (0401 GMT). “China resolutely opposes this, and will continue to take necessary countermeasures,” it said in a brief statement.

“At the same time, to safeguard free trade and multilateral systems, and defend its own lawful interests, China will file suit regarding these tariff measures under the WTO dispute resolution mechanism,” it said. President Donald Trump has threatened to put duties on almost all of the more than $500 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States annually unless Beijing agrees to sweeping changes to its intellectual property practices, industrial subsidy programs and tariff structures, and buys more U.S. goods. That figure would be far more than China imports from the United States, raising concerns that Beijing could consider other forms of retaliation, such as making life more difficult for American firms in China or allowing its yuan currency to weaken further to support its exporters.

Read more …

“The U.S. will win this trade war because Xi does not want to lose his throne.”

Shooting War With China More Likely Than You Think (Rickards)

The mainstream media narrative about the U.S.-China trade war implies that Trump is on a highly damaging ego trip and China holds all the cards. The exact opposite is true. Trump has ample financial warfare weapons including tariffs, penalties, bans on direct investment, improved cybersecurity, forced divestiture and freezing of assets. Meanwhile, China has almost run out of room to impose tariffs. Further, they will invite retribution if they try to devalue their currency further. China’s vulnerabilities run deeper than that. The U.S.-China trade war comes in the aftermath of a Chinese Communist Party conference that made Xi Jinping dictator for life and enshrined his doctrines on the same level as Mao Zedong.

Once Xi got these powers, he proceeded on a disastrous policy course that has resulted in a slowdown of the Chinese economy, higher debt defaults, lost investment opportunities in the U.S. and declining hard currency reserves. The knives are now out in Beijing. Reports are circulating that Xi’s opponents are questioning his judgment and the wisdom of expanding his powers at such a critical time. Many are starting to blame Xi for the trade war almost as much as they blame Trump. Xi still has torture, firing squads and concentration camps at his disposal, but the notion of a unified, coherent leadership structure in Beijing is now seen to be a myth. Trump will keep up the pressure; he never backs off and always doubles down.

It will be up to Xi to blink and acquiesce in many U.S. demands. The U.S. will win this trade war because Xi does not want to lose his throne. Yet there will still be material damage to the global economy and lasting animosity between Xi and Trump.

Read more …

Party.

Wall Street Marks Longest-Ever ‘Bull Market’ (AFP)

Wall Street graduated to the longest-ever “bull market” Wednesday, a run that began amid extraordinary crisis-era monetary policy and which experts think could persist at least a while longer. US President Donald Trump cheered the news after the S&P 500 closed for the 3,453rd straight time without a drop of 20 percent over the more than nine-year stretch. “Longest bull run in the history of the stock market. congratulations America!” Trump said on Twitter shortly after the closing bell. The marathon run comes amid signs the US economy has accelerated this year after a long period of slow but steady growth. Experts say trade wars and higher interest rates are among potential threats to the persistence of the bull run.

Market watchers liken the landmark to other stock market records, such as when the Dow hit 25,000 points for the first time. Investing in stocks remains concentrated among the wealthiest, with many Americans still hesitant to buy stocks following the 2008 financial crisis. While financial experts are well aware of the durability of the current stock market cycle, the record is “news more to Main Street than to Wall Street,” according to Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. The S&P 500 finished the day down less than 0.1 percent at 2,861.82. When stocks fall at least 20 percent below their previous record, they enter a “bear market.”

Read more …

But several people insist it is. it’s just that it can’t be announced right now.

Saudi Energy Minister Denies Aramco IPO Will Be Called Off (R.)

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister denied a Reuters report that state oil giant Aramco’s initial public offering will be called off, in a statement issued early on Thursday. “The government remains committed to the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, in accordance with the appropriate circumstances and appropriate time chosen by the Government,” Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement released on Saudi Press Agency. Reuters reported on Wednesday that four senior industry sources said Saudi Arabia has called off both the domestic and international stock listing of Aramco.

Read more …

Oz politics is so bad it’s not even funny.

Australia In Crisis As Prime Minister Faces Down Political Coup Attempt (G.)

Australia is on the brink of having its sixth prime minister in a decade after a chaotic, internecine coup attempted, but failed, to topple the incumbent Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday. In a media conference during which he refused to resign, Turnbull called on his challengers to prove he had lost the confidence of his own party, and made a thinly veiled swipe at influences “outside the parliament”. The reference was widely interpreted as an attack on the power of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation newspapers and TV channels, which have consistently campaigned against him. “The reality is that a minority in the party room supported by others outside the parliament have sought to bully, intimidate others into making this change of leadership that they’re seeking,” Turnbull said.

The leadership brawl stalled political business on Thursday morning when the government voted to shut down the House of Representatives until 10 September, unsure it would be able to command a majority on the floor of the House, and unwilling to face questions from the opposition after at least 13 ministers tendered their resignations. Since 2007, no Australian prime minister has served a full term in office, with four cut down by their own parties while in office, earning Canberra the title of “coup capital of the Pacific”. Turnbull survived Thursday, but appears almost certain to lose the prime ministership to a party room vote, likely as soon as Friday.

Read more …

But not today, for sure.

Trump Says He’s Considering Pardon For Manafort (R.)

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would consider pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on Tuesday of bank and tax fraud, according to a Fox News reporter who interviewed Trump. Fox News reporter Ainsley Earhardt said Trump told her in an interview on Wednesday that “he would consider” pardoning Manafort.“I think he feels bad for Manafort. They were friends,” Earhardt said in an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” program on Wednesday night.

Fox News has been airing excerpts of the interview with Trump, which is scheduled to be shown in its entirety on Thursday morning. The excerpts have not included a clip of Trump saying he would consider pardoning Manafort. Manafort was convicted on Tuesday of two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. In a tweet on Wednesday about the verdict, Trump called Manafort a “brave man” and said, “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family.”

Read more …

Maas is the new German foreign minister. His proposal for an alternative SWIFT system launched a debate. But really, “new world order”?

Making Plans For A New World Order (Heiko Maas)

It starts with us exposing fake news. Like this: If the current account balance of Europe and the US includes more than just trade in goods, then it is not the US that has a deficit, it’s Europe. One reason is the billions in profits that European subsidiaries of Internet giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google transfer to the US every year. So when we talk about fair rules, we must also talk about the fair taxation of profits like that. It is also important to correct fake news because it can quickly result in the wrong policies. As Europeans, we have made it clear to the Americans that we consider the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran to be a mistake. Meanwhile, the first US sanctions have come back into force.

In this situation, it is of strategic importance that we make it clear to Washington that we want to work together. But also: That we will not allow you to go over our heads, and at our expense. That is why it was right to protect European companies legally from sanctions. It is therefore essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels independent of the US, a European monetary fund and an independent SWIFT [payments] system. The devil is in thousands of details. But every day that the Iran agreement lasts, is better than the potentially explosive crisis that threatens the Middle East otherwise.

Read more …

Let the courts decide.

Italian Prosecutors Investigate Salvini’s Bar On Ship Arrivals (G.)

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the illegal detention of 177 migrants onboard a coastguard vessel that the minister of the interior, Matteo Salvini, refuses to allow to land. The Ubaldo Diciotti has been docked for 48 hours at the port of Catania, Sicily, but the migrants have not been allowed to disembark without having certainties from Brussels on their distribution to other countries. The investigation, conducted by the prosecutor of the city of Agrigento, was launched against “unknowns” but it is clear that if the magistrates were to go ahead with a judicial proceeding, Salvini would end up under investigation, being the only one responsible for the landing ban.

“I heard that the prosecutor’s office in Agrigento has opened an investigation,” said Salvini in a recent video on Facebook Live. “I also heard that the suspects are ‘unknown’ at the moment. But I’m not unknown. My name is Matteo Salvini, I’m the minister of the interior. Come on, try me too, I’m here.” The Ubaldo Diciotti docked on Monday night in the port of Catania but the migrants, including 29 unaccompanied minors, were refused authorisation to disembark. The ship picked up 190 people on 15 August from an overcrowded boat about 17 nautical miles from the Italian island of Lampedusa. Thirteen of them were evacuated for emergency medical treatment.

Read more …