Oct 212022
 
 October 21, 2022  Posted by at 8:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  80 Responses »


Salvador Dali Llane Beach, Cadaques 1919

 

US May End Aid To Ukraine After Midterms – Axios (RT)
Berlusconi Trashes NATO Narrative On Ukraine (RT)
Putin’s Gift To Berlusconi May Have Breached EU Sanctions (RT)
Power Costs In Italy Going Through The Roof (RT)
Zelensky Denies Kiev’s Role In Crimean Bridge Blast (RT)
Britain’s Stark Choice Ahead – Transformation or Collapse (Nafeez Ahmed)
US Slams Turkey-Russia Deal to Form a Natural Gas Hub (GR)
Xi Gets Ready For The Final Countdown (Escobar)
‘Peaceful Modernization’: China’s Offering To The Global South (Escobar)
Saudi Arabia Is Interested In Joining The BRICS (Telesur)
Biden Admin Weighs Blocking Twitter Deal On “National Security” Grounds (ZH)
PayPal Faces House Inquiry On $2,500 ‘Misinformation’ Fine Controversy (JTN)
How An Illiquid Dollar Ruins The World (Piepenburg)
It’s Been 2 Years Since 51 Intel Agents Interfered With An Election (Devine)
One in Every 500 Small Children Who Get Pfizer Vaccine are Hospitalised (DS)

 

 

Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.
– G.K. Chesterton

 

 

 

 

Terhes

 

 

 

 

Gaddafi

 

 

 

 

Zakharova

 

 

 

 

Amazon books Tucker

 

 

 

 

Will the GOP turn its back on Raytheon? Maybe they reckon this cannot be taken any further, that too many impoverished Americans will turn their backs on them. November 8.

US May End Aid To Ukraine After Midterms – Axios (RT)

The extensive assistance provided by Washington to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia may be cut if the Republican Party takes control of Congress in the midterm elections on November 8, Axios has reported. Even the harshest critics of Vladimir Putin among the Republicans now acknowledge that there’s been a “noticeable shift away from what was once a broad bipartisan consensus” on providing aid to Kiev, the outlet reported on Wednesday. It cited House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who told Punchbowl News earlier this week: “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it. ”Ukraine might be important, but it can’t be the only thing on the agenda of the US administration, he insisted.

Republican Congressman Don Bacon also said he’d “noticed” a decline in support for Ukraine. “You see it a little bit on social media, you see it with some of our members,” he said. Bacon’s colleague Kelly Armstrong told Axios that the mood swing was likely a result of the feedback that the lawmakers had been getting from their constituents. “When people are seeing a 13% increase in grocery prices; energy, utility bills doubling… if you’re a border community and you’re being overrun by migrants and fentanyl, Ukraine is the furthest thing from your mind,” he pointed out. The website also cited a senior House Republican, who claimed that “after the $40 billion [in aid package in May], there were a lot of Republicans saying: ‘This is the last time I’m going to support Ukraine funding.’”

In a comment to Axios, Congressman Jim Banks, who chairs the Republican Study Committee (RSC), pointed out that his party is going to focus on domestic issues after the midterms. “RSC believes you can’t lead abroad when you’re so weak at home. Our GOP agenda in the new majority needs to secure our own border and get America back on our feet by addressing energy cost and inflation,” he explained. Asked to comment on McCarthy’s remarks, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that the Biden administration would “continue to work with Congress, as we have these past several months, on these efforts and support Ukraine as long as it takes.”Jean-Pierre reminded that this was a“commitment” that Joe Biden made to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

White House aides told Politico on Wednesday that the Biden administration hadn’t warned Kiev about the possibility of US aid coming to an end in the event that Republicans take control of at least one chamber of Congress after the election. However, officials in Kiev are aware that this may happen, they said. The US has been Kiev’s biggest backer since the outbreak of its conflict with Russia in late February, providing Kiev with more than $16.8 billion in military aid, including sophisticated hardware such as HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers, and combat drones. Moscow has been decrying those weapons deliveries, saying they only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

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Major threat to Meloni’s new coalition. Just because he’s right.

“Giorgia Meloni, who has been tasked with forming a new Italian government, stated that people who do not share a pro-NATO stance would have no place in her coalition.”

Berlusconi Trashes NATO Narrative On Ukraine (RT)

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly claimed that Kiev triggered a conflict with Russia by reneging on a peace plan for eastern Ukraine, a tape provided to the media suggests. In an apparent response to the leak, Giorgia Meloni, who has been tasked with forming a new Italian government, stated that people who do not share a pro-NATO stance would have no place in her coalition. Speaking to members of his Forza Italia party on Tuesday, Berlusconi reportedly offered a viewpoint about the origin of the Ukraine crisis that clashed with the NATO-favored narrative of unprovoked Russian aggression against its neighbor.

Italy is an important member of the US-led alliance and anyone who disagrees with this position will be excluded from government, Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, pledged on Wednesday evening, as quoted by the newspaper La Repubblica. In the audio clip, Berlusconi can be heard accusing Kiev of failing for years to uphold a peace deal with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. When Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky came to power in 2019, he “tripled down” on attacking the regions, the politician stated. Donetsk and Lugansk asked for Moscow’s protection, he continued. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in the hope that Zelensky would be overthrown and replaced with “good people of common sense” within a couple of weeks, Berlusconi claimed. The wording resembles what he told the Italian public broadcaster RAI after the September election. During this week’s meeting, Berlusconi allegedly suggested that the conflict in Ukraine could last for over “200 years,”after the country unexpectedly resisted Russia and received money and arms from Western nations to continue the fighting.

In another part of the recording, which was published by the LaPresse news agency, Berlusconi claimed to have received a crate of vodka and a “nice letter” from Putin for his birthday. He added that he responded by sending Lambrusco wine to the Russian leader. After the clip was released, the former prime minister’s party claimed he had been referring to historical contacts with Putin and not recent events. Berlusconi has a long record of friendly relations with Putin, which stretched beyond his tenure as prime minister. The three-time former leader of the Italian government’s participation in the right-wing coalition has resulted in claims that the country could make a foreign policy U-turn and oppose the US-led anti-Russian campaign under Meloni. She repeatedly pledged her support for the EU and NATO after winning the election.

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“I responded with 20 bottles of Lambrusco and a similarly sweet letter..”

Putin’s Gift To Berlusconi May Have Breached EU Sanctions (RT)

A case containing 20 bottles of vodka that Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly sent to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as a birthday gift may have violated EU sanctions, Der Spiegel reported on Thursday, citing an official comment from the European Commission to the DPA news agency. According to the statement, a spokeswoman for the Commission told the news agency that the April 2022 ban on goods imports from Russia to the EU includes spirits, namely vodka, and does not provide an exemption for gifts. The spokeswoman went on to explain that breaches of the sanctions can be reported to the competent national authorities of member states, or directly to Brussels. The news that Putin had sent the gift to Berlusconi was reported by Italy’s LaPresse news agency earlier this week.

The outlet released an audio recording of the former prime minister’s discussion with members of his party, Forza Italia, at a closed meeting. “I have reconnected with President Putin… He sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a really sweet letter for my birthday. I responded with 20 bottles of Lambrusco and a similarly sweet letter,” Berlusconi was heard saying in the recording. However, Forza Italia representatives later said that the former PM was not referring to his most recent birthday on September 29, 2022, but instead was telling “an old story to lawmakers about an episode that occurred years ago,” which means that EU sanctions may not apply at all. The party representatives added that “Berlusconi denies the news of alleged renewed relations with Vladimir Putin.”

However, later reports emerged, suggesting that the remarks were indeed made this year. The potential scandal comes just weeks after the 86-year-old politician returned to the Italian parliament, nine years after being forced out for alleged tax fraud. Previously, Putin and Berlusconi enjoyed a friendly relationship and often complimented one another. However, Berlusconi has lately been critical of Putin over Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, saying he was disappointed with the Russian leader, who he always considered “a man of democracy and peace.”

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How much longer will Italy support NATO and its Ukraine attack?

Power Costs In Italy Going Through The Roof (RT)

Electricity tariffs in Italy saw record growth last month, exceeding 136% on an annual basis, according to a National Union of Consumers report on Tuesday. The report said that in September, electricity prices came out on top in the ranking of the most expensive goods and services, which the union regularly compiles based on data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). In the category of non-food products, electricity prices were followed by costs for air travel across Europe, which have risen 128% over the past year. Then came intercontinental flights, for which the prices almost doubled (97.4%). Gas tariffs increased by just under 64% in September.As for food products, the ranking was led by vegetable oils (with the exception of olive oil), up by almost 60%.

The prices of butter and rice rose 38% and 26.7% respectively. Other foodstuffs that saw price increases of more than 20% include pasta, canned milk, flour, and basic vegetables. “Only for food and drink, every single Italian family will pay an average of €660 more per year,” the consumer union’s president, Massimiliano Dona, said. He added that families with two children will have to pay €900 ($885) more, and those with three children, €1,075 ($1,057) more.Inflation in Italy climbed to 8.9% in September on an annualized basis, ISTAT data shows. Meanwhile, the ‘consumer basket’ saw a rise of 10.9% over the year. Such a high increase in the price of basic foodstuffs and personal goods has not been recorded in Italy since 1983.

The head of Italian energy think tank Nomisma Energia said this week that Italy, along with the rest of Europe, is experiencing an energy shock of unprecedented magnitude, as electricity prices have almost doubled. According to him, Italians should be ready for rationing during the coldest winter months. He also urged households to make use of alternative methods of heating, such as burning firewood and pellets, though he added that prices for these are also up.

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Russia knows who did it.

Zelensky Denies Kiev’s Role In Crimean Bridge Blast (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has denied “ordering” the bombing of the Crimean Bridge linking the peninsula to mainland Russia. The president made the remarks during an interview with the Canadian broadcaster CTV, aired on Wednesday. Asked to comment on the “spectacular attack” on the bridge, as the broadcaster put it, Zelensky said Kiev was not involved. “We definitely did not order that, as far as I know,” he told the reporters. The bridge was hit by a massive explosion on October 8, which severely damaged its road traffic section and killed three civilians, as well as setting a passing freight train on fire. Several top Ukrainian officials openly celebrated the attack, while the country’s postal service issued a stamp commemorating the blast, just hours after it happened.


Moscow has directly blamed Kiev for the incident, branding the explosion a “terrorist attack.” Russian law enforcement claims to have established how the bomb, which was disguised as construction materials, made it to the bridge from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, via multiple transit countries. Russian investigators believe the plot was hatched by Ukrainian military intelligence. Moscow has identified 12 individuals as suspected accomplices in the plot and has arrested eight of them, the FSB said. The list of people in custody includes five Russians and three foreign nationals, who hold passports of Ukraine and Armenia. A spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence told the media that the FSB was a “fake structure,” and that the report was unworthy of comment.

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“..states begin to fail within 15 years of losing their main sources of energy and economic revenue..”

Britain’s Stark Choice Ahead – Transformation or Collapse (Nafeez Ahmed)

Five years ago, I warned in a study that Europe faces an increasing risk of state failure due to the escalation of interlinked environmental, energy and economic crises – and I found an intriguing pattern: states begin to fail within 15 years of losing their main sources of energy and economic revenue. Escalating crisis drives social polarisation, undermining national cohesion and resulting in outbreaks of civil unrest. Without a change of course, these outbreaks coalesce to undermine the functioning of key state institutions. At worst, they can lead to total government collapse and a state of permanent warfare. Gripped by multiple crises, Britain now appears to be following a familiar pattern of environmental, energy and economic-driven state failure.

Since the 1970s, the world has experienced a rising trend of civil unrest and societal breakdown – in correlation with three realities: rising inequality associated with the neoliberal age of globalisation; escalating economic overshoot of the Earth’s ecological systems; and intensifying decline in the quality of fossil fuel energy resources. Britain’s North Sea Oil production peaked in 1999. Fifteen years later, as its domestic oil production haemorrhaged, fringe right-wing nationalist forces had moved increasingly into the mainstream. They blamed Europe, immigrants, asylum seekers, Muslims and ethnic minorities for Britain’s intractable social and economic crises. Their success was arguably reflected in the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. During that period, the quality of the UK’s energy dropped by a third, if not more.

In 2000, a year after the UK’s North Sea Oil production peaked, Britain’s ‘energy return on investment’ (EROI) – a ratio capturing the amount of energy used to extract a single unit of energy – was around 9.6. By 2012, this had plummeted to 6.2. This is well below the minimum EROI benchmark of 11 considered necessary to sustain continued economic growth. As a study by the University of Leeds’ Sustainability Research Institute concluded, this means that “more and more energy is having to be used in the extraction of energy itself rather than by the UK’s economy or society”. What is happening to Britain now is symptomatic of a wider global phenomenon. Its dependence on oil, gas and coal is self-cannibalising. The scientific consensus shows that it is driving us towards climate catastrophe and, at worst, civilisational collapse.

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Only US LNG allowed.

US Slams Turkey-Russia Deal to Form a Natural Gas Hub (GR)

The U.S. expressed on Wednesday its opposition to the agreement announced by Turkey for the creation of a natural gas hub in cooperation with Russia. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he had agreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to form a natural gas hub in Turkey. Speaking to members of his AK Party in parliament, Erdogan said Putin had said Europe can obtain its gas supply from the hub in Turkey. “Türkiye will be a hub for natural gas as well. In our last meeting, we agreed with Putin on this issue. We will create a hub here with Turkish gas coming from Russia,” Erdogan said. The U.S. State Department fired back.

“We have worked closely with our allies and partners to impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia, including through sanctions, export controls, visa restrictions. We have urged Turkey and all of our allies and partners that no one should have become a safe haven for illicit Russian assets or transactions, and we will continue to make that case,” Vedant Patel, State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson said. “And as it relates to the energy conversation, we have continued to urge our allies to take steps to diversify their energy sources, to reduce energy reliance on Russia. And in the case of Turkey, we are working with them closely to assist in their own efforts to enhance energy security in the long term,” he added.

Last month, on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in the Kazakh capital Astana, Erdogan held a closed-door meeting with Putin, who had proposed building a natural gas hub in Turkey. Putin has floated the idea of exporting more gas via the TurkStream gas pipeline running beneath the Black Sea to Turkey, touting the country as the best route for redirecting gas supplies to the European Union after the Nord Stream pipeline leaks. Erdogan previously said Russian and Turkish energy authorities would work together to designate the best location for the potential gas distribution center, adding that Turkey’s Thrace region, bordering Greece and Bulgaria, appeared to be the best spot.

Carrying natural gas from Russia to Turkey and further into Europe, the TurkStream was formally launched in January 2020. The pipeline, which allows Moscow to bypass Ukraine as a transit route to Europe, carries Russian gas to Southern Europe through the Black Sea and Turkey.

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About Xi’s speech this week.

Xi Gets Ready For The Final Countdown (Escobar)

Xi also did not mention the US by name. Everyone in the leadership – especially the new Politburo – is aware of how Washington wants to “decouple” from China in every possible way and will continue to provocatively deploy every possible strand of hybrid war. Xi did not enter into details during his speech, but it’s clear the driving force going forward will be technological innovation linked to a global vision. That’s where BRI comes in, again – as the privileged field of application for these tech breakthroughs. Only this way we can understand how Zhu Guangyao, a former vice minister of finance, may be sure that per capita GDP in China in 2035 would at least double the numbers in 2019 and reach $20,000.

The challenge for Xi and the new Politburo right away is to fix China’s structural economic imbalance. And pumping up debt-financed “investment” all over again won’t work. So bets can be made that Xi’s third term – to be confirmed later this week – will have to concentrate on rigorous planning and monitoring of implementation, much more than during his previous bold, ambitious, abrasive but sometimes disconnected years. The Politburo will have to pay way more attention to technical considerations. Xi will have to delegate more serious policymaking autonomy to a bunch of competent technocrats. Otherwise, we will be back to that startling observation by then Premier Wen Jiabao in 2007: China’s economy is “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable”. That’s exactly where the Hegemon wants it to be.

As it stands, things are far from gloomy. The National Development and Reform Commission states that compared to the rest of the world, China’s consumer inflation is only “marginal”; the job market is steady; and international payments are stable. Xi’s work report and pledges may also be seen as turning the usual Anglo-American geopolitical suspects – Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman, Brzezinski – upside down. The China-Russia strategic partnership has no time to lose with global hegemonic games; what drives them is that sooner rather than later they will be ruling the Heartland – the world island – and beyond, with allies from the Rimland, and from Africa to Latin America, all participating in a new form of globalization. Certainly with Chinese characteristics; but most of all, pan-Eurasian characteristics. The final countdown is already on.

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The Ukraine conflict hinders China’s BRI. They want it to flow into Europe unimpeded.

‘Peaceful Modernization’: China’s Offering To The Global South (Escobar)

All over the extremely incandescent global chessboard, international relations are being completely reframed. China – and key Eurasian players at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRICS+, and Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – are all proposing peaceful development. In contrast, the Hegemon imposes an avalanche of sanctions – not by accident the top three recipients are Eurasian powers Russia, Iran and China; lethal proxy wars (Ukraine); and every possible strand of hybrid war to prevent the end of its supremacy, which lasted barely seven and a half decades, a blip in historical terms.

The current dysfunction – physical, political, financial, cognitive – is reaching a climax. As Europe plunges into the abyss of largely self-inflicted devastation and darkness – a neo-medievalism in woke register – an internally ravaged Empire resorts to plundering even its wealthy “allies”. It’s as if we are all witnessing a Mackinder-on-crack scenario. Halford Mackinder, of course, was the British geographer who developed the ‘Heartland Theory’ of geopolitics, heavily influencing US foreign policy during the Cold War: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.”

Russia spans 11 time zones and sits atop as much as one third of the world’s natural resources. A natural symbiosis between Europe and Russia is like a fact of life. But the EU oligarchy blew it. It’s no wonder the Chinese leadership views the process with horror, because one of BRI’s essential planks is to facilitate seamless trade between China and Europe. As Russia’s connectivity corridor has been blocked by sanctions, China will be privileging corridors via West Asia. Meanwhile, Russia is completing its pivot to the east. Russia’s enormous resources, combined with the manufacturing capability of China and East Asia as a whole, project a trade/connectivity sphere that goes even beyond BRI. That’s at the heart of the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership.

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Critical mass.

Saudi Arabia Is Interested In Joining The BRICS (Telesur)

At an interview on the South African Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, President Cyril Ramposa announced that Saudi Arabia is interested in joining BRICS, an economic cooperation organization made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed the kingdom’s desire to join the BRICS,” the South African president said, adding that other countries are also interested in joining this organization. “In 2023, the BRICS summit will be held under the South African presidency and this request will be studied. Several countries are in contact with the BRICS and we have assured them that the accession issue will be discussed and a decision will be made,” Ramposa explained.

Among the nations that have already applied to join this international forum is Argentina, whose President Alberto Fernandez asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to join the BRICS. Sabino Vaca, Argentina’s ambassador to China, stated that the BRICS constitute an excellent cooperation alternative for developing countries given that the current world order has shown that it only works for the benefit of a few nations. At their 14th summit in July, the BRICS countries discussed economic cooperation options related to the creation of a new development bank, the formation of a contingent reserve arrangement, an intercountry payment system, and a BRICS basket reserve currency. Seen from the perspective of the global financial system, the consequence of those actions would be the gradual weakening of the U.S. dollar as an international reserve currency.

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ZeroHedge: “Just as Musk wanted”, “And the thing is Musk will still end up owning it… just 80% cheaper under the next admin.”

Biden Admin Weighs Blocking Twitter Deal On “National Security” Grounds (ZH)

One month ago we joked that should the Delaware judge force Musk to buy Twitter, then none other than the US government would step in and prevent the South African from gaining control over the blue-checkmark echo chamber of record, the one social media network which congressional testimony after congressional testimony has argued it can manipulate the outcome of elections. Well, that prediction is about to come true, because according to Bloomberg, the Biden administration is discussing whether the US should subject some of Elon Musk’s ventures to national security reviews, including the deal for Twitter and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network, citing people familiar with the matter.

In short, not only is the deep state government preparing to block Musk’s acquisition of TWTR on national security grounds (unlcear what that would achieve as the stock would crater to single digits, especially after today’s SNAP earnings, and so many of its employees have already quit), but it may “expropriate” Musk’s satellite pet project too, all for daring to ask a question about the US involvement in Ukraine, and what exactly the endgame there is. As Bloomberg adds, “US officials have grown uncomfortable over Musk’s recent threat to stop supplying the Starlink satellite service to Ukraine — he said it had cost him $80 million so far — and what they see as his increasingly Russia-friendly stance following a series of tweets that outlined peace proposals favorable to President Vladimir Putin. They are also concerned by his plans to buy Twitter with a group of foreign investors.”

The discussions are still at an early stage, the people familiar said on condition of anonymity. Officials in the US government and intelligence community are weighing what tools, if any, are available that would allow the federal government to review Musk’s ventures. One possible legal pathway is through the law governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review Musk’s deals and operations for national security risks. The CFIUS was used extensively in the Trump admin to block and undo numerous Chinese deals, arguing they could pose a national threat to the US. Now, it’s none other than Musk who has emerged as the deep state’s biggest nemesis.

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“..the company still maintains a $2,500 “liquidation” policy against accounts accused of “discrimination” and “hatred” as well as “intolerance”..”

PayPal Faces House Inquiry On $2,500 ‘Misinformation’ Fine Controversy (JTN)

House Republicans are launching an inquiry into PayPal after the payment processing company sparked major controversy for a policy that would fine customers for “misinformation.” The controversy began when news broke earlier this month that PayPal would fine customers $2,500 for spreading misinformation. PayPal quickly retracted the policy, saying it was a mistake that “went out in error” but not before “cancelPayPal” was trending and Twitter users boasted of deleting their accounts. The company’s stocks tumbled as the news unfolded. Now, House Republicans want answers. They sent a letter to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman asking how the policy originated, who approved it, whether the Biden administration was involved, and more.

“As a leading financial technology company, it is concerning that a user agreement that contemplates the restriction of free speech was uploaded and disseminated to PayPal users – even if in error,” the letter said. “We understand your company is currently investigating this matter. Upon the conclusion of your investigation, we request that you provide a briefing for the Committees as soon as practicable.” [..] The letter requests answers by the end of the month to a range of questions, including whether any entities were affected by the policy change, when the internal investigation will be over, and who was responsible for the policy in question.

Critics also point out that while PayPal rescinded its misinformation policy, the company still maintains a $2,500 “liquidation” policy against accounts accused of “discrimination” and “hatred” as well as “intolerance” as the company chooses to define it. “The ability to transact without fear of retribution and political censorship is the foundation on which a free economy is built,” Emmer said. “We cannot afford to sacrifice these freedoms, and we must keep a close eye on any actions that erode them. The now-rescinded penalties outlined in PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy were deeply concerning, and the American people deserve answers about how these decisions are made and whether their speech will be protected on this kind of platform.”

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Dumping Treasuries.

How An Illiquid Dollar Ruins The World (Piepenburg)

All of this scheming, leverage and swapping boils down to not enough available (i.e., liquid) USDs in a global financial system in which nearly everything—from debt, to oil to derivatives—still has to be paid in increasingly scarce and hence increasingly expensive Dollars. In addition to this twisted, illiquid and over-levered swamp, the USD rises even higher on Powell rate hikes, all of which combine to force the world’s other currencies to fall. Why? Because other countries and central banks have no choice but to swallow/import USD inflation, monetary policy and American political self-interest. Indeed, with financial allies like the U.S., who needs enemies?

Whenever the Fed, for example, prints more of the world reserve currency or raises its interest rate, the rest of the world, which is tied to that currency, is forced to react—i.e., debase, hike and suffer. We remind that nearly $14T in USD-denominated debt is owed by both emerging market and developed market economies. As the USD rises in strength on the back of Powell’s impossible Volcker-revival and tangled derivatives, other Dollar-desperate nations from Argentina to Japan find themselves with not enough Greenbacks to pay their debts or settle trades, wires and oil purchases, which thus forces them to print (i.e., debase) more of their local currencies to make USD-denominated payments.

But Japan takes the cake for debasing its own currency all on its own, as no nation has ever loved a money printer and currency-debaser more. This might explain why Japan is leading the charge in dumping its USTs into the FOREX markets, which only adds more pressure to rising yields and hence rising rates. Thanks Kuroda—just one more central banker with a mouse-clicker gone mad… Perhaps he’ll be next in line for a Nobel Prize? But Japan is not alone, as other nations dump the once sacred UST just to keep their currencies afloat…In short: The strong USD is crippling the word, and that world, as we’ve written numerous times, will be de-dollarizing at a steady and irreversible pace.No shocker there. At some point, Dollar-indebted nations crack and this twisted global game ends in a credit crisis for the history books.

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“..they still won’t apologize..”

It’s Been 2 Years Since 51 Intel Agents Interfered With An Election (Devine)

Exactly two years ago, on October 19, 2020, one of the dirtiest tricks in electoral history was played on the American people by 51 former intelligence officials, who used the false alarm of “Russian interference” to stop Donald Trump winning a second term as president. Using the institutional weight of their former esteemed roles, they signed a dishonest letter to mislead voters 15 days before the election, claiming that material from Hunter Biden’s laptop published by the New York Post “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” In their expert opinion, “the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue.” Russia was “trying to influence how Americans vote in this election … Moscow [will] pull out the stops to do anything possible to help Trump win and/or to weaken Biden should he win.

“A ‘laptop op’ fits the bill, as the publication of the emails are [sic] clearly designed to discredit Biden … It is high time that Russia stops interfering in our democracy.” It was all a lie. Their letter was the culprit “interfering with democracy” in broad daylight. Not one of the 51 had seen any material from the laptop or bothered asking for it, but their letter, instigated by, signed and delivered to Politico by Democratic operative and former John Brennan aide Nick Shapiro, killed the story stone dead. It got candidate Joe Biden off the hook for the corrupt influence-peddling scheme his family had been running through the eight years of his vice presidency. The shameful letter was used by Joe Biden three days later, on October 22, to deflect Trump’s attack in their last debate.

“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan … Four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage … You know his character. You know my character. You know my reputation is for honor and telling the truth … The character of the country is on the ballot.” Biden dismissed as a Kremlin smear all the evidence that was on his son’s laptop of dirty money from China and Russia, of all his meetings with Hunter’s overseas business partners, and all the lies he had told about his involvement in Hunter’s business deals The letter, like the Steele dossier and Russia collusion hoax peddled by many of the signatories, has helped fuel a moral panic about Russia in recent years that now has heightened the risk of nuclear war.

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A three month study will not reveal the real damage done. That takes years. But already 1 in 500 is insanely high. And still the CDC is pushing it.

One in Every 500 Small Children Who Get Pfizer Vaccine are Hospitalised (DS)

One in every 500 children under five years who received the Pfizer mRNA Covid vaccine were hospitalised with a vaccine injury, and one in 200 had symptoms ongoing for weeks or months afterwards, a study has found. The study published in JAMA included 7,806 children aged five or younger who were followed up of for an average of 91.4 days following their first Pfizer vaccination. It was a retrospective cohort study done as an authenticated online survey (response rate 41.1%) in spring 2022 which included parents or caregivers who registered children for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in outpatient care facilities in Germany. It compared the adverse events to those of the same children with other vaccinations in order to control for over-reporting.

7 year old boy

It concluded that the symptoms reported after Pfizer vaccination were “comparable overall” to those for other vaccines. Let’s see. • Any symptoms: 62% higher • Musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) symptoms: 155% higher • Dermatologic (skin) symptoms: 118% higher • Otolaryngologic (ears, nose and throat) symptoms: 537% higher • Cardiovascular (heart etc.): 36% higher • Gastrointestinal (stomach etc.): 54% higher. It calls these “modestly elevated”. In 0.5% of the children (40 of 7,806) symptoms were “currently ongoing and thus of unknown significance”. This is in a study with a 2-4 month follow-up period. That means 0.5% of children had an adverse effect that lasted for weeks or months. In two cases (0.03%), symptoms were confirmed to have lasted longer than 90 days.


Ten children were hospitalised with reported serious adverse events (SAEs), compared to zero with the other vaccines. This reported as 0.1%, as it is out of 7,806. However, the study also states that no hospitalisations were reported for children administered the low dosage of 3 μg. Since it also tells us that 6,033 children received at least one dose of over 3 μg. (or unknown dosage), the rate in the relevant cohort is closer to 0.2%, or around one in 500. Four of the hospitalisations were for cardiovascular injury; one child was hospitalised after both doses for this reason. Four were pulmonary (lung) related. Symptoms of the hospitalised children lasted an average of 12.2 days and a maximum of 60 days. None reported a myocarditis diagnosis. Mercifully, no deaths were reported in this relatively small sample.

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Knots

 

 

 

 

Denzel

 

 

 

 

Blue wave+

 

 

City over the river

 

 

Pillars of Creation, known from Hubble, now captured by Webb telescope. Each pillar is about 3 light-years (over 27 trillion km) in width.

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 092022
 


Paul Gauguin Portrait of Ingeborg Thaulow 1877

 

Crimean Bridge Explosion Just ‘The Beginning,’ Ukraine Says (RT)
Kiev Amasses Troops On Donbass Border – Official (RT)
US Comments On Zelensky’s ‘Preemptive Strike’ Appeal (RT)
Michael Hudson: A Roadmap To Escape The West’s Stranglehold (Escobar)
US Asked Hungary To Invade Serbia – President Vucic (RT)
Putin Wants ‘Grand Bargain’ – Türkiye (RT)
NATO Should Give Ukraine ‘Everything We Have’ – Lithuania (RT)
Fanaticism Of The Apocalypse (Shellenberger)
Elon Musk, Former Exec Lead Backlash Against PayPal (DW)
Cynical Defense Of Hunter Biden: I Was Addicted To Drugs (Turley)
Lapado: Covid mRNA Vaccine- 84% Increased Risk of Death For Men Ages 18-39 (PM)
England’s Heatwaves See Highest Ever Excess Deaths Among Elderly (R.)
My Trip to Space Filled Me With ‘Overwhelming Sadness’ (William Shatner)

 

 

#TwoWords:


Dementia

 

 

 

 

Maté

 

 

 

 

Rus Prop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both car – and train traffic has been resumed. But the provocations will continue. Until Russia reacts in a way that can be used as a excuse for a large scale attack.

Crimean Bridge Explosion Just ‘The Beginning,’ Ukraine Says (RT)

The blast that rocked the Crimean Bridge early on Saturday is just “the beginning,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s aide, Mikhail Podoliak, has said. The bridge was closed in the early hours of Saturday after a truck exploded, damaging the road and causing a huge fire. “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning,”Podoliak tweeted. “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.” Ukrainian officials have promised to attack the Crimean Bridge, which connects the Russian peninsula of Crimea to the country’s Krasnodar Region, on numerous occasions during the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.


In August, Podoliak said that Europe’s largest bridge “should be destroyed” because it’s “an illegal construction and the main gateway to supply the Russian army in Crimea.” Zelensky and other members of his team have also stated that Ukraine will use force to retake Crimea, which overwhelmingly voted to reunite with Russia in a referendum in 2014. The blast occurred at around 6am local time, causing a partial collapse of the road on the section for vehicles. A blaze also broke out on the parallel rail section, where seven fuel tanks caught fire. Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said that a truck exploded as it was traveling along the 19-km-long structure. The fire has been extinguished, and the damage caused by the blast is being assessed. The Crimean authorities said a ferry service will be provided while the bridge is being repaired.

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40,000 troops on the Russian border..

Kiev Amasses Troops On Donbass Border – Official (RT)

Kiev has deployed some 40,000 troops to the border with the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), which recently became part of Russia, the LPR’s top representative in Moscow, Rodion Miroshnik, has said. “In the areas where attempts of a breakthrough are being made [by Kiev’s forces], large quantities of manpower and hardware have been concentrated on the Ukrainian side,” Miroshnik said during an appearance on the Soloviev Live program on YouTube on Friday. According to estimates by the LPR’s forces, “we’re talking about 40,000 men,” the official added.


Kiev’s troops have been gathering to the north and northwest of the LPR, as well as in the area around the town of Krasny Liman in the Donetsk People’s Republic, from where Russian forces withdrew a week ago amid a Ukrainian offensive, Miroshnik added. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin signed into law unification treaties with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, officially making them part of Russia. The four territories overwhelmingly supported the move during referendums in late September.

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“a monster, whose hands can destroy the planet.”

US Comments On Zelensky’s ‘Preemptive Strike’ Appeal (RT)

The US is not about to get directly involved in the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had urged the West to conduct “preventive strikes” against Russia. When asked about the Ukrainian leader’s latest appeal to the West, State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the administration of US President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that it has no intention of taking part in the fighting. “As long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we are not going to get directly engaged in this conflict either by putting American troops to fight in Ukraine or attacking Russian forces,” he reiterated, adding that Washington’s message on this matter has been “very clear.”

On Thursday, Zelensky, speaking at an online conference at the Australian Lowy Institute, called for “preventive strikes” against Russia so that Moscow knew what to expect should it resort to nuclear weapons. Later, Zelensky’s press secretary attempted to clarify these remarks, arguing that they should not be interpreted as a request for NATO to attack Russia. The Ukrainian leader himself also stepped in, telling BBC on Friday that he had meant “preventive kicks, not attacks.” The UK outlet also clarified that Zelensky was “referring to sanctions.”

The comments made by the Ukrainian president sparked a backlash from Moscow, which accused him of attempting to spark a world war, which would lead to “unforeseeable disastrous consequences.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova went so far as to describe him as “a monster, whose hands can destroy the planet.” Russia has repeatedly stated that a nuclear war should never be fought, while Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in August made it clear that Moscow is not considering a nuclear strike on Ukraine, given that there are no targets warranting such drastic measures.

2016

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“US policy has created a global state of dependency in which literally There is no alternative but to break away.”

Michael Hudson: A Roadmap To Escape The West’s Stranglehold (Escobar)

Are we reaching the point when the key players of the Global South – over 100 nations – finally get their act together and decide to go for broke and stop the US from keeping the artificial neoliberal global economy in a state of perpetual coma? This means the only possible option, as you have outlined, is to set up a parallel global currency bypassing the US dollar – while the usual suspects float the notion of a Bretton Woods III at best. Is the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) financial casino omnipotent enough to smash any possible competition? Do you envisage any other practical mechanisms apart from what is being discussed by BRICS/ EAEU/ SCO?

Hudson: “A year or two ago it seemed that the task of designing a full-fledged alternative world currency, monetary, credit and trading system was so complex that the details hardly could be thought through. But US sanctions have proved to be the needed catalyst to make such discussions pragmatically urgent. The confiscation of Venezuela’s gold reserves in London and its US investments, the confiscation of $300 billion of Russia’s foreign-exchange reserves held in the United States and Europe, and its threat to do the same to China and other countries resisting US foreign policy has made de-dollarization urgent. I have explained the logic in many points, from my Valdai Club article (with Radhika Desai) to my recent book on The Destiny of Civilization, the lecture series that I prepared for Hong Kong and the Global University for Sustainability.

Holding securities denominated in dollars, and even holding gold or investments in the United States and Europe, is no longer a safe option. It is clear that the world is breaking into two quite different types of economies, and that US diplomats and their European satellites are willing to tear up the existing economic order in hopes that creating a disruptive crisis will enable themselves to come out on top. It also is clear that subjugation to the IMF and its austerity plans are economic suicide, and that following World Bank and its neoliberal doctrine of international dependency is self-destructive. The result has been to create an unpayable overhead of debts denominated in US dollars. These debts cannot be paid without borrowing credit from the IMF and accepting terms of economic surrender to US privatizers and speculators.

The only alternative to imposing economic austerity on themselves is to withdraw from the dollar trap in which US-sponsored “free market” economics (markets free from government protection, and free from government ability to recover the environmental damage from US oil companies, mining companies and the associated industrial and food dependency) is to make a clean break. The break will be difficult, and US diplomacy will do everything it can to disrupt the creation of a more resilient economic order. But US policy has created a global state of dependency in which literally There is no alternative but to break away.”

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1999.

US Asked Hungary To Invade Serbia – President Vucic (RT)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic revealed on Saturday that American and British leaders, including President Bill Clinton, urged Hungary to invade Serbia by land in 1999. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who told Vucic of the request, refused. In a televised address, Vucic said that the US and UK wanted Hungarian forces to push south into Serbia in order to split the Yugoslav military between the front in Kosovo and a new front with Hungary. “Clinton and the British asked [Orban] to attack Serbia from the north so that they could extend our forces from Kosovo and Metohija to Vojvodina,” he explained. Orban, who at the time was one year into his first term in office, refused, and with the help of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, pushed back against the “pressure from the White House.”

Orban told Vucic of the request during a recent meeting and allowed him to speak about it publicly, the Serbian leader said. NATO launched a bombing campaign in 1999 against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which by that time was made up of Serbia and Montenegro. In waging the air war, NATO sided with ethnic Albanian separatists, who were fighting with the Serbs for the independence of Kosovo, a province of Serbia. Hungary had joined NATO earlier that year, but did not participate in the campaign.

According to Vucic, Orban then traveled to the UK for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair and former PM Margaret Thatcher. Greeting him at the door of Downing Street, Thatcher told Orban “it bothers me a lot that you refused to attack Serbia, that’s why more British soldiers will die,” Vucic said. Ultimately, no British troops died during the campaign. Hostilities ceased in June 1999 with the signing of the Kumanovo Agreement, after which NATO troops moved into Kosovo, where they remain to this day. The bombing campaign marked the first time that the US-led alliance used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council, and is still regarded by much of the world as illegitimate.

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Rebalance. I think I still prefer to use the word “Turkey” when we talk Erdogan.

Putin Wants ‘Grand Bargain’ – Türkiye (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to strike “a new grand bargain” with the West to erase the humiliations of the post-Cold War period, Turkish presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin told CNN on Saturday. In an interview with the American broadcaster, he said that the Ukraine conflict will inevitably end in a negotiated settlement, with the only question being when, “and how much damage will have been done by then?” Such a settlement will be about more than the borders of Russia and Ukraine, he continued, arguing that what Putin really aims to do is renegotiate the balance of power between Moscow and the West, after a weakened Russia accepted several rounds of NATO expansion in the aftermath of the Cold War. “Our understanding is that Mr. Putin wants to have a new grand bargain, a new deal, with the West,” Kalin said.

The Turkish official referenced agreements signed by Moscow and NATO in the early 1990s – which included the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, which stated that the alliance would continue to expand, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Russia agreed not to use force against its neighbors – as decisions Putin would like to re-do. “The Russian perception is that the Russia of that day, that signed that agreement – that is, the Russia of the Gorbachevs and the Yeltsins – is over,”Kalin claimed. “There is a new Russia, there is a new world, there is a new reality, and they want to have a new bargain.” Putin declared last week that “the ongoing collapse of Western hegemony is irreversible,” and that “things will never be the same.” A multipolar world, he said, will give non-Western nations “an opportunity to strengthen their sovereignty.”

According to Kalin, “This puts of course the entire global order, the liberal order, to a test.” He added: “So far the response has been war from both sides.” Western leaders have not indicated that they intend to negotiate an end to the Ukraine conflict in the near future. Washington’s official line is that it will continue to funnel tens of billions of dollars’ worth of arms to Kiev “for as long as it takes,” and will allow Ukraine to dictate its terms for ending the conflict. Amid the broader conflict between Russia and the West, Türkiye has positioned itself as a middleman, with Ankara hosting peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in March that ultimately broke down. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called for both sides to return to negotiations, declaring that “even the worst peace will be better than war.”

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Lithuania has nothing.

NATO Should Give Ukraine ‘Everything We Have’ – Lithuania (RT)

NATO countries should arm Ukraine with all available weapons, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Ukrainian media on Saturday. However, he expects the alliance’s other members to foot the bill. “Ukraine needs ‘everything we have,’” Landsbergis told Ukrinform, arguing that the Ukrainian military is already capable of working with the alliance’s arsenal now that its troops are receiving training in multiple European countries. While the US has supplied Ukraine with increasingly powerful weaponry, some of its NATO allies have balked at handing over certain arms systems. Germany, for example, refuses to send its most modern Leopard II main battle tanks for fear of causing further escalation. Even in Washington, Pentagon officials have argued that Ukrainian troops would need substantial training to operate Western tanks.

Landsbergis insisted that “these arguments no longer work,” after a series of successful offenses by Kiev’s forces, which are increasingly armed with NATO weapons. “If this is so, I see no reason why Ukraine should not be given everything we have?” the minister said. “I have already said this many times and now I will say it again.” Landsbergis has emerged as one of the most vocally anti-Russian ministers in the EU in the months since Moscow sent its forces into Ukraine. He has threatened Lithuanian entertainers with reprisals for performing in Russia, supported an EU-wide ban on all visas for Russians, and called on NATO to pursue the military defeat of Russia rather than seek a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine conflict.

However, his own military has little to give Ukraine. Landsbergis told Ukrinform that he would only provide “political arguments” for arming Kiev’s forces, as Lithuania does not have its own “significant stockpile of weapons.” While Ukraine has repeatedly called for more and heavier weapons from the West, EU stockpiles are running low, with Germany’s stocks already exhausted as of early September. Although US President Joe Biden has vowed to keep the arms pipeline open for “as long as it takes,” the US is reportedly cautious about delivering more advanced weapons systems. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Russia is now facing “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also warned that “the US, in fact, is teetering on the brink of turning into a party to the conflict” due to its lavish assistance to Kiev.

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Burn baby burn.

Fanaticism Of The Apocalypse (Shellenberger)

In Europe, they’re burning garbage to stay warm. “It’s so bad this season that you can smell trash burning every day, which is completely new,” said the 35-year-old mother of three from Jablonna, Poland, near Warsaw. “Rarely can you smell a regular fuel. It’s scary to think what happens when it really gets cold.” The Polish government suspended quality regulations on coal burning for those who can still afford it; 60% of households no longer can. Because of all the garbage burning, the government may soon hand out masks so its residents don’t inhale toxic fumes. Said one of Poland’s most powerful politicians last month, “one needs to burn almost everything, except for tires and similarly harmful things.” The government estimates that 40,000 people died annually from premature deaths from air pollution before the current crisis.

Forests are being hammered. In Estonia and Finland, forests that had been set aside to capture carbon dioxide to reduce climate change are now being so heavily logged that they are net emitters. Hungary lifted conservation regulations so old-growth forests could be logged; it then banned the export of wood pellets. “People buy wood pellets thinking they’re the sustainable choice, but in reality, they’re driving the destruction of Europe’s last wild forests,” said one conservationist. Wood pellets prices have doubled even in nuclear-heavy France which, under pressure from Germany, and in the grip of renewable energy mania, had been shutting down its nuclear plants so rapidly that it had stopped properly maintaining them. Romania has been forced to cap the price of firewood, which had skyrocketed. Burning wood releases more greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal, something most experts finally acknowledge.

And Europe is returning to coal as quickly as it can. This year it increased thermal coal imports more than any other region. Coal imports increased by 36% more during the first eight months of 2022 than of 2021. Europe’s coal imports are today 10% of the global total. Germany is importing coal from South Africa, which is ironic because, just one year ago, Germany gave South Africa $810 million in exchange for an agreement that South Africa not use coal. And at the United Nations climate change talks in Scotland less one year ago this month, the UN created a special CGI dinosaur to warn all nations, but particularly Africans, that they must not use fossil fuels, and instead do what Europe was doing and, supposedly, transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewables.

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Is the genius who came up with the idea still working there? Look, you can silence a social media account, but you cannot steal people’s money outright.

Elon Musk, Former Exec Lead Backlash Against PayPal (DW)

PayPal reversed its decision to fine users $2,500 for violating its terms of service after Elon Musk and a former executive led a furious backlash against the move on social media. In a tweet Saturday, former PayPal President David Marcus spoke out against a new policy, first reported by The Daily Wire, that would apparently allow the digital payment processor to charge users $2,500 for posting materials that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing.” Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, said he agreed with Marcus’ criticism, joining a number of others who have spoken out against the new policy. “It’s hard for me to openly criticize a company I used to love and gave so much to,” Marcus wrote on Twitter.

“But @PayPal’s new AUP goes against everything I believe in. A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity.” “Agreed,” Musk wrote in reply to Marcus. The criticism from Marcus and Musk, who was on the board of directors and briefly CEO of PayPal during its early days, were at the front of a fury of backlash to the proposed policy. “Get your money out of [PayPal] right now,” venture capitalist David Sacks tweeted. “Seriously, close your PayPal account immediately if they don’t reverse this today,” replied Scott Adams, creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip. “Why would anyone use @PayPal ever again?” conservative commentator John Cardillo wrote. “They’ve flat out told you they’re going to steal your money if you disagree with the regime.”

“The ‘misinformation’ police are now extending their reach beyond your social media accounts and into your financial accounts,” author and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy wrote. “PayPal probably isn’t protected by Section 230, so it could face legal liability in states with political nondiscrimination statutes,” Ramaswamy added later. “It’s an easier case to make than against a social media platform.” “Orwellian. Paypal reserves the right to take your money if you post a message that Paypal decides is ‘misinformation,’” former FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said. “This is why it is so vital that state and federal legislatures pass laws that prohibit discrimination by tech companies and protect free speech.”

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“Most hopeless addicts are trying to hock property or score a few bucks for their next hit. Hunter was flying around the world, arranging meetings with his father and coordinating multiple global accounts.”

Cynical Defense Of Hunter Biden: I Was Addicted To Drugs (Turley)

For years, President Biden repeated the same mantra when asked about Hunter Biden’s influence peddling and alleged crimes: “My son did nothing wrong.” It was always implausible — as was his denial of any knowledge of these dealings despite emails and pictures to the contrary. So the president and the press have been shifting to a new defense. As the father recently insisted of his son, “He fought an addiction problem. He overcame it. He wrote about it.” The family and the media have been cultivating the angle for months as they anticipated possible criminal charges. Such charges would not only be an embarrassment for the president but also the media, which have been actively complicit in covering up the multimillion-dollar influence-peddling schemes of the Biden family, including Hunter and his uncle James.

With possible criminal conduct exposed, all that’s left is the addiction defense. Hunter Biden’s autobiographical book laid the foundations for this final line of defense. While the book did not do particularly well in sales with the public, the media offered fawning interviews about his account of addiction. The narrative was ramped up by many of the same media outlets that buried the scandal, including articles on how the family fought “to keep him alive.” Now The Post reports prosecutors are second-guessing charges in light of the addiction and how it might undermine any criminal case. While there’s no question the defense would likely use such an addiction, it’s usually more of a concern for sentencing than charging. Addiction can be cited as a mitigating factor to the court in determining the defendant’s level of culpability.

The most obvious problem for the addiction defense is that Hunter did not appear to have any chemical-based challenge in maintaining a global, multimillion-dollar influence-peddling scheme. The image of a crackhead holed up in high-end hotels with call girls is undermined by thousands of emails on international money transfers and complex deals stretching from Moscow to Kyiv to Beijing. The fact is you can be an addict or alcoholic and still be a criminal. Addiction did not appear to inhibit prosecutors in cases like the murder trial involving Lillo Brancato, the actor from “The Sopranos” series and the movie “A Bronx Tale.” Brancato was a drug addict when he participated in a burglary that ended in a shooting. He was convicted and given 10 years. Indeed, in some cases, prosecutors use addiction is as a motive for committing crimes, particularly in paying for or acquiring more crimes.

Not only is this possible prosecution not based on a drug offense, it would feature a high-functioning defendant who earned millions in influence peddling. Indeed, the now-sober Hunter has repeatedly acknowledged that while his family name may have led to some of his past positions, he is a lawyer with experience that was useful in work like serving on the board of Ukrainian energy conglomerate Burisma Holdings. It will be difficult for Hunter to switch from the privileged-but-capable defense to the hopeless-addict defense. Most hopeless addicts are trying to hock property or score a few bucks for their next hit. Hunter was flying around the world, arranging meetings with his father and coordinating multiple global accounts.

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Common sense.

Lapado: Covid mRNA Vaccine- 84% Increased Risk of Death For Men Ages 18-39 (PM)

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo on Friday release the state’s analysis of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, revealing an 84 percent “increased risk of cardiac-related death among men 18-39.” Florida “will not be silent on the truth,” he said. The guidance “recommends against the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for males ages 18-39 years old.” In a statement, Ladapo said that “Studying the safety and efficacy of any medications, including vaccines, is an important component of public health. Far less attention has been paid to safety and the concerns of many individuals have been dismissed – these are important findings that should be communicated to Floridians.”

The Florida Department of Health released the findings of a self-controlled case series which they used to evaluate the safety of the Covid vaccines, which “studied mortality risk following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.” It found that “there is an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.” The findings also showed that “Males over the age of 60 had a 10% increased risk of cardiac-related death within 28 days of mRNA vaccination,” and that “Non-mRNA vaccines were not found to have these increased risks among any population. The guidance suggests that Floridians talk to their doctors and health care providers about the relative benefits and risks of vaaccination for Covid with use of mRNA vaccines, and that it should be weighed against the potential risks of Covid.

This analysis comes after the Florida Department of Health issued guidance in March that recommended against use of the Covid mRNA vaccines for “healthy children and adolescents 5 years old to 17 years old.” The state also recommends “against COVID-19 vaccination among infants and children under 5 years old, which has since been issued under Emergency Use Authorization.” When this guidance for children was issued, the Biden administration accused Ladapo of being a “politician.” Florida is not alone in their guidance. Sweden recommends against Covid mRNA vaccines for children ages 5-11. The Danish Health Authority recommends against Covid mRNA vaccines for children under 18. The UK has rolled back their offering of Covid jabs to children ages 5-11, per guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Read more …

Hoe much longer can we hide the true cause? Reuters cover its ass from its own headline: “..possibly due to complications arising from extreme heat..”

England’s Heatwaves See Highest Ever Excess Deaths Among Elderly (R.)

England saw the highest excess mortality figure from heatwaves this year since records began in 2004, health officials said on Friday, after a hot summer that saw temperatures rise to all-time highs. England recorded 2,803 excess deaths among those aged 65 and over during summer heatwaves this year, possibly due to complications arising from extreme heat, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement. The figures exclude deaths from COVID-19. “These estimates show clearly that high temperatures can lead to premature death for those who are vulnerable,” UKHSA Chief Scientific Officer Isabel Oliver said. “Prolonged periods of hot weather are a particular risk for elderly people, those with heart and lung conditions or people who are unable to keep themselves cool such as people with learning disabilities and Alzheimer’s disease.”


Britain recorded its highest ever temperature, of just above 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in eastern England on July 19. The heatwave, which caused fires across large grass areas, destroyed property and pressured transport infrastructure, had been made at least 10 times more likely because of climate change, scientists said. read more Around 1,000 excess deaths were recorded among those over 65 between July 17-20, the UKHSA said, while the Aug. 8-17 period recorded an estimated 1,458 excess deaths. Statisticians use “excess deaths” — a term that became more commonplace during the coronavirus pandemic — to describe the number of fatalities in excess of normally observed mortality numbers for a particular time of year.

Read more …

Excerpt from William Shatner’s new book, “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder,” the “Star Trek” actor reflects on his voyage into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space shuttle on Oct. 13, 2021. Then 90 years old, Shatner became the oldest living person to travel into space..

My Trip to Space Filled Me With ‘Overwhelming Sadness’ (William Shatner)

With all the attending noise, fire, and fury, we lifted off. I could see Earth disappearing. As we ascended, I was at once aware of pressure. Gravitational forces pulling at me. The g’s. There was an instrument that told us how many g’s we were experiencing. At two g’s, I tried to raise my arm, and could barely do so. At three g’s, I felt my face being pushed down into my seat. I don’t know how much more of this I can take, I thought. Will I pass out? Will my face melt into a pile of mush? How many g’s can my ninety-year-old body handle? And then, suddenly, relief. No g’s. Zero. Weightlessness. We were floating. We got out of our harnesses and began to float around. The other folks went straight into somersaults and enjoying all the effects of weightlessness. I wanted no part in that.

I wanted, needed to get to the window as quickly as possible to see what was out there. I looked down and I could see the hole that our spaceship had punched in the thin, blue-tinged layer of oxygen around Earth. It was as if there was a wake trailing behind where we had just been, and just as soon as I’d noticed it, it disappeared. I continued my self-guided tour and turned my head to face the other direction, to stare into space. I love the mystery of the universe. I love all the questions that have come to us over thousands of years of exploration and hypotheses. Stars exploding years ago, their light traveling to us years later; black holes absorbing energy; satellites showing us entire galaxies in areas thought to be devoid of matter entirely… all of that has thrilled me for years… but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold . . . all I saw was death.

I saw a cold, dark, black emptiness. It was unlike any blackness you can see or feel on Earth. It was deep, enveloping, all-encompassing. I turned back toward the light of home. I could see the curvature of Earth, the beige of the desert, the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky. It was life. Nurturing, sustaining, life. Mother Earth. Gaia. And I was leaving her. Everything I had thought was wrong. Everything I had expected to see was wrong. I had thought that going into space would be the ultimate catharsis of that connection I had been looking for between all living things—that being up there would be the next beautiful step to understanding the harmony of the universe. In the film “Contact,” when Jodie Foster’s character goes to space and looks out into the heavens, she lets out an astonished whisper, “They should’ve sent a poet.”

I had a different experience, because I discovered that the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound. It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered. The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna . . . things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind. It filled me with dread. My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral.

I learned later that I was not alone in this feeling. It is called the “Overview Effect” and is not uncommon among astronauts, including Yuri Gagarin, Michael Collins, Sally Ride, and many others. Essentially, when someone travels to space and views Earth from orbit, a sense of the planet’s fragility takes hold in an ineffable, instinctive manner. Author Frank White first coined the term in 1987: “There are no borders or boundaries on our planet except those that we create in our minds or through human behaviors. All the ideas and concepts that divide us when we are on the surface begin to fade from orbit and the moon. The result is a shift in worldview, and in identity.”

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Elephant rock, Iceland

 

 

 

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Dec 172020
 
 December 17, 2020  Posted by at 6:56 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  4 Responses »


Filothei Skitzi Human puzzle on COVID19 days 2020

 

 

I know, I know, I’ve been largely silent about most “usual suspect topics” lately, other than in the Debt Rattles, but I must admit, those topics have been draining me, along with the full lockdown here in Greece. I understand why politicians want to do lockdowns, but I also understand why they shouldn’t.

Lockdowns drain life out of societies and communities, and there’s no guarantee that this life will ever come back. As I wrote earlier today, when we wake back up, the world will have changed beyond recognition. And we cannot NOT ask if that is worth the price we pay.

A vaccine is hurriedly being promoted and rolled out that is drowning in question marks, while skipping much of what is considered normal in vaccine development. As things like vitamin D, HCQ and ivermectin are cast in a media cloud of doubt, though there are no such questions about them. Vaccine: no time for research. Everything else: years more research needed.

As for the other main topic in recent months, the US elections, all I see is people calling each other traitors and seditionists planning coups, and that has gone too far now. Let the legal process play out and the dice roll, and stop the clickbaiting propaganda. People are getting hurt.

In that light, I’d much prefer to write about better and happier things, and the Monastiraki kitchen in Athens is certainly one of those. It’s Christmas time, a time you’re supposed to care about, and for, people. I told you I’d have an update, and here it is. I think I’ll let the photos do most of the talking this time.

 

First of all, things haven’t gotten any easier out there. The lockdown, the police and the homeless are a strange combination. 100 people gathering to wait for a meal is no longer acceptable. So now the team have to go look for many of them. That takes time, because some are quite far away, but at least they know where to find most. These are crazy days, and everyone’s just simply trying their best.

I told you about the Greek athletes’ Love Van initiative last time, and they delivered: tons of winter coats and blankets and sleeping bags and shoes. It was plain to see that the police were standing by wondering what their orders were, but decided that denying people a warm coat was not in their job prescription. It was a wonderful little mess and anarchy for the hour it lasted, though.

But there is always the lingering fear that we, or everyone, might get arrested, or fined €300 each. There are still plenty regular kitchen volunteers who don’t come in because of that fear. They simply don’t have that kind of money.

 

 

 

In reaction to my November 20 article Automatic Earth in Athens November 2020, our very very generous readers donated some €3,000. That is inevitably an estimate because of the way Paypal donations work. I used to take the approximate amount in US dollars, and presume those were euros. But that was when the exchange rate was $1.10 or lower. Today, it’s $1.22.

And that’s not all. Paypal takes a percentage of every donation (2-4%?!), and then more when the dollars are converted to euros (their rate is over $1.26 right now). We could apply for charity status, but then we would have to 1) set up a separate account for the kitchen and 2) be registered as a charity in either the US or EU, which requires a ton of paperwork, rules, regulations, obligations.

We’re not going to do that, for much of the same reasons we won’t register the kitchen as an NGO. We want to be independent. Even if that costs some money. I’ll continue to round off everything in favor of the kitchen, and pay the difference myself, as long as it is somewhat reasonable.

 

 

 

On to happier tidings. The private space I told you about where the cooking takes place now is a small stone yard without a roof.

 

 

And since it rains in winter sometimes, we decided to buy one of those big umbrellas you see outside bars and restaurants, it seems the only way to get some shelter while cooking. They’re €200. I said we’ll use €100 from the donations, and I’ll pay the other half. That way we involve all of you to an extent, in day-to-day operations. Maybe we’ll even need two, but we’ll tackle that as the time comes.

 

 

Also, I purchased our first new €1,000 batch of supermarket checks (50x€20) on Tuesday, paid for with your fresh donations (Filothei and I are both painfully camera-shy, but the Acropolis in the background more than makes up for that ;-):

 

 

And Filothei did a big shopping trip with the checks yesterday:

 

 

 

 

What I didn’t know last time is that the kitchen still has a pretty solid amount of staples in storage, oil, pasta, tomato paste etc. That takes away some of the pressure, and it will be needed.

 

 

 

And then of course, wouldn’t you know, the crew decided they’re going to add a second day every week to cook. Purely led by increased demand and need. Not a huge surprise, that need is everywhere, just look at US and UK foodbanks. But we will still need to find a way to fund it. Nudge nudge wink wink. Someone like Filothei just says: we will do what must be done, whereas I then say: and how are we going to do that? You know, at €240 per meal? You just doubled the costs…

And still I’m pretty sure we indeed will make it happen, just because we have to. We must find a way, and therefore we will, with your help. And a bit of good cheer goes a long way:

 

 

Those Santa hats are brilliant, they change the entire mood and picture. As do these facemasks for the homeless, made by girls who themselves are too “vulnerable” healthwise to come in, but still want to contribute. I love those things:

 

 

Same goes for the winterhats (can you say “tuque”?)

 

 

As the cherry on the pie, and because everyone deserves a real Christmas, especially if they live on the streets, and very especially in a lockdown, we’re going to hand all our clients a big package of sweets for the festive season.

 

 

And then if you’ll allow me, I’ll repeat my last paragraph of the November 20 article, With one main difference: twice the meals will mean twice the costs, by and large. But hey, it’s Christmas. The time when miracles come true!

Sure, I’m a little apprehensive about January and February, with the Christmas hope and spirit gone, and temperatures dipping, but I also know that 4 days from now, the days will start getting longer again in our hemisphere.

 

 

Most of you will know the drill of this by now: any Paypal donations ending in $0.99 or $0.37 go straight to the Monastiraki kitchen, while other donations go to the Automatic Earth -which also badly needs them, especially for Christmas-. (Note: a lot of Automatic Earth donations also went to the kitchen the past month).

I dislike few things more than asking people for money, even though the Automatic Earth now runs primarily on donations, and there’s some sweet justice in that as well, in depending on people’s appreciation of what we do, instead of ad revenues.

But I cannot do this on my own right now. To get through the winter in one piece, the Monastiraki kitchen will realistically need about €1,500-2,000 per month. I don’t have that to spare. So I’m calling on you. Unashamedly, because I know there is no reason to be ashamed of the cause.

I love all you people, and I’m sorry I can’t thank you all individually who have supported -and still do- the Monastiraki kitchen and the Automatic Earth all this time, and I ask you to keep on doing just that. The details for donations on Paypal and Patreon, for both causes, are in the top of the two sidebars of this site. Could not be much easier.

Love you. Thank you. This kitchen would not exist without you, these people would not get fed.

 

 

 

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.

Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

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

 

Oct 022018
 
 October 2, 2018  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Children’s games 1560

 

US Gross National Debt Hits $21.5 Trillion in Fiscal 2018 (WS)
Average Stock Is Overvalued Somewhere Between Tremendously And Enormously (MW)
A Three-Way Train Wreck Is About to Derail the Markets (Rickards)
China Says Its Economy Is Slowing. PBOC May Be Preparing To Intervene (CNBC)
China Blocks Bad Economic News As Economy Slumps (ZH)
Real Estate Rage Signals Turn in Chinese Housing Market (IICS)
Di Maio Accuses EU Of Market ‘Terrorism’ Over Italy Budget (R.)
Greece Tests Creditors And The Markets With Its 2019 Spending Plans (CNBC)
Iran “Finalizing” Mechanism To Bypass SWIFT In Trade With Europe (ZH)
Alex Jones Sues Paypal For Infowars Ban (ZH)
The Woman Who Accuses Ronaldo of Rape (Spiegel)

 

 

They are only boom times BECAUSE the debt rises so fast.

US Gross National Debt Hits $21.5 Trillion in Fiscal 2018 (WS)

But wait — these are the Boom Times!

The US gross national debt jumped by $84 billion on September 28, the last business day of fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department reported Monday afternoon. During the entire fiscal year 2018, the gross national debt ballooned by $1.271 trillion to a breath-taking height of $21.52 trillion. Just six months ago, on March 16, it had pierced the $21-trillion mark. At the end of September 2017, it was still $20.2 trillion. The flat spots in the chart below, followed by the vertical spikes, are the results of the debt-ceiling grandstanding in Congress: These trillions are whizzing by so fast they’re hard to see. What was that, we asked? Where did that go?

Over the fiscal year, the gross national debt increased by 6.3% and now amounts to 105.4% of current-dollar GDP. But this isn’t the Great Recession when tax revenues collapsed because millions of people lost their jobs and because companies lost money or went bankrupt as their sales collapsed and credit froze up; and when government expenditures soared because support payments such as unemployment compensation and food stamps soared, and because there was some stimulus spending too. But no – these are the good times.

Over the last 12-month period through Q2, the economy, as measured by nominal GDP grew 5.4%. “Nominal” GDP rather than inflation-adjusted (“real”) GDP because the debt isn’t adjusted for inflation either, and we want an apples-to-apples comparison. The increases in the gross national debt have been a fiasco for many years. Even after the Great Recession was declared over and done with, the gross national debt increased on average by $954 billion per fiscal year from 2011 through 2017.

Read more …

Katsenelson.

Average Stock Is Overvalued Somewhere Between Tremendously And Enormously (MW)

Here’s another, called the “Buffett Indicator.” Apparently, Warren Buffett likes to use it to take the temperature of market valuations. Think of this chart as a price-to-sales ratio for the entire U.S. economy, that is, the market value of all equities divided by GDP. The higher the price-to-sales ratio, the more expensive stocks are.

This chart tells a similar story to the first one. Though I was not around in 1929, we can imagine there were a lot of bulls celebrating and cheerleading every day as the market marched higher in 1927, 1928, and the first 10 months of 1929. The cheerleaders probably made a lot of intelligent, well-reasoned arguments, which could be put into two buckets: First: “This time is different” (it never is). Second: “Yes, stocks are overvalued, but we are still in the bull market.” (They were right about this until they lost their shirts.)

I was investing during the 1999 bubble. I vividly remember the “This time is different” argument of 1999. It was the New Economy vs. the old, and the New was supposed to change or at least modify the rules of economic gravity. The economy was now supposed to grow at a much faster rate. But economic growth over the past 20 years has not been any different than in the previous 20. Actually, I take that back — it’s been lower. From 1980 to 2000 the U.S. economy’s real growth was about 3% a year, while from 2000 to now it has been about 2% a year.

Finally, let’s look at a Tobin’s Q Ratio chart. This chart simply shows the market value of equities in relation to their replacement cost. If you are a dentist, and dental practices are sold for a million dollars while the cost of opening a new practice (phone system, chairs, drills, x-ray equipment, etc.) is $500,000, then Tobin’s Q Ratio is 2.0. The higher the ratio the more expensive stocks are. Again, this one tells the same story as the other two charts: U.S. stocks are extremely expensive — and were more expensive only twice in the past hundred-plus years.

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China foreign reserves under threat.

A Three-Way Train Wreck Is About to Derail the Markets (Rickards)

The U.S. trade war with China and China’s daunting debt problems are well understood by most investors. Coming U.S. sanctions on Iran and Iran’s internal economic problems are also well understood. What is not understood is how these two bilateral confrontations are intimately linked in a three-way tangle that could throw the global economy into complete turmoil and possibly escalate into war. Untangling and understanding these connections is one of the most important tasks for investors today. Let’s begin with the China debt bomb. As is apparent from the chart below, China has the largest volume of dollar-denominated debt coming due in the next 15 months.

The chart shows China with almost $100 billion of external dollar-denominated liabilities maturing before the end of 2019. But this debt wall is just the tip of the iceberg. This chart does not include amounts owed by financial institutions nor does it include intercompany payables and receivables. China’s total dollar debt burden is over $200 billion and towers over other emerging-market economy debt burdens. This wall of maturing debt might not matter if China had easy access to new finance with which to pay the debt and if its economy were growing at a healthy clip. Neither condition is true.

China has entered a trade war with the U.S., which will reduce the prospects of many Chinese companies and hurt their ability to refinance dollar debt. At the same time, China is trying to get its debt problems under control by restricting credit and tightening lending standards. But this monetary tightening also hurts growth. Selective defaults have already emerged among some large Chinese companies and certain regional governments. The overall effect is tighter monetary conditions, reduced access to foreign markets and slower growth all coming at the worst possible time.

Read more …

Yeah, sure, the PBOC may cut reserve requirement ratios, but there’s a reason for those requirements: shaky banks.

China Says Its Economy Is Slowing. PBOC May Be Preparing To Intervene (CNBC)

Beijing will likely take steps to mitigate the impact of the trade war with the U.S. as recent economic indicators from China point to a slowdown, an economist said on Monday. “We were calling for some slowdown, but the degree is much more than what we expected,” said Jeff Ng, chief economist for Asia at Continuum Economics, a research firm. Over the weekend, a private survey showed growth in China’s factory sector stalled after 15 months of expansion, with export orders falling the fastest in over two years, while an official survey confirmed a further manufacturing weakening. The official manufacturing index fell to a seven-month low of 50.8 in September, from 51.3 in August and below a Reuters poll forecast of 51.2.

That index has stayed above the 50-point mark for 26 straight months. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction. But the Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell more than expected to 50.0 in September, from 50.6 in the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 50.5 on average. “I think we are expecting some more triple-R cuts by the end of the year … I think one more triple-R cut by end of the year,” Ng said, referring to possibility that the People’s Bank of China may cut reserve requirement ratios for banks in order to boost liquidity and growth.

Read more …

That should help.

China Blocks Bad Economic News As Economy Slumps (ZH)

China’s Shadow-banking system is collapsing (and with its China’s economic-fuel – the credit impulse), it’s equity market has become a slow-motion train-wreck, its economic data has been serially disappointing for two years, and its bond market is starting to show signs of serious systemic risk as corporate defaults in 2018 hit a record high. But, if you were to read the Chinese press, none of that would be evident, as The New York Times reports a government directive sent to journalists in China on Friday named six economic topics to be “managed,” as the long hand of China’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ have now reached the business media in an effort to censor negative news about the economy.

The New York Times lists the topics that are to be “managed” as: • Worse-than-expected data that could show the economy is slowing. • Local government debt risks. • The impact of the trade war with the United States. • Signs of declining consumer confidence • The risks of stagflation, or rising prices coupled with slowing economic growth • “Hot-button issues to show the difficulties of people’s lives.”

The government’s new directive betrays a mounting anxiety among Chinese leaders that the country could be heading into a growing economic slump. Even before the trade war between the United States and China, residents of the world’s second-largest economy were showing signs of keeping a tight grip on their wallets. Industrial profit growth has slowed for four consecutive months, and China’s stock market is near its lowest level in four years. “It’s possible that the situation is more serious than previously thought or that they want to prevent a panic,” said Zhang Ming, a retired political science professor from Renmin University in Beijing. Mr. Zhang said the effect of the expanded censorship strategy could more readily cause people to believe rumors about the economy. “They are worried about chaos,” he added. “But in barring the media from reporting, things may get more chaotic.”

Read more …

The Chinese think their property should hold value or gain. And of not, Beijing should make it.

Real Estate Rage Signals Turn in Chinese Housing Market (IICS)

Chinese homebuyers have demanded to return their housing in 2008, 2011 and 2014: each time the market price declined, but real estate rage first appeared in 2011. There was a report of real estate rage in Shanghai. The developer had slashed prices by one-third and homebuyers who purchased days or weeks responded by smashing up the sales office. “My house’s value has dropped by as much as one-third, and we have lost some 10,000yuan,” a homeowner surnamed Yang told Shanghai Daily. Real estate rage returned in early 2014. Angry homeowners in Hangzhou were upset for the same reason as those in Shanghai: the developer slashed prices. They flooded the developer’s office, but police were quickly on the scene.

“In 2008, 2011, 2014, there were three rounds of very obvious check-outs in the country. As long as the house price fell, the pre-purchasers began to reduce their prices.” Chongyuan Real Estate pointed out that the phenomenon of price reduction “rights” It has appeared from time to time, with 2011 being the most typical. According to public information, since September 2011, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo and other places have continued to reduce prices and defend their rights. The sales offices of various projects such as Vanke, Longhu and Hesheng have been destroyed, and some project owners have also physical conflict with security guards.

In September, there were several reports of “real estate rage” across the country. Instead of smashing offices, homeowners are protesting outside to “protect their rights” but the cause of their anger is the same: developers slashing prices to move inventory. While this evidence is anecdotal, there have been many reports about developers moving inventory to recoup cash. More importantly, both the 2011 and 2014 “real estate rage” incidents were coincident indicators of a housing market top.

Read more …

He’s at least partly right.

Di Maio Accuses EU Of Market ‘Terrorism’ Over Italy Budget (R.)

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio on Monday accused European Union officials of deliberately upsetting financial markets by making negative comments about Italy’s budget plans. “Some European institutions are playing … at creating terrorism on the markets,” said Di Maio, who is the head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement. He specifically took aim at European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, saying he had deliberately “upset the markets” with earlier comments on Italy.

Read more …

Pension cuts may not be needed, but the IMF demands them regardless.

Greece Tests Creditors And The Markets With Its 2019 Spending Plans (CNBC)

Greece could be about to start another fight with its creditors and the financial markets. The government unveiled last evening the first draft of its 2019 budget plan in which two scenarios were put forward for its spending plans and economic targets for the coming year. One of them included planned and pre-legislated pension cuts, in line with its creditors’ expectations. The other spending plan does not include pension cuts, however, indicating that the Greek government is willing to make changes to reforms that it had previously agreed with its creditors.

The pension cuts were due to start in January and were one of the most difficult reforms to come to an agreement. Potential changes to pensions, or to other reforms, could spark confrontations with European institutions and the IMF. The IMF said last month that the 2019 pension cuts are part of the reforms that the Greek government agreed to, and that Greece needs to show it is investor-friendly. The 2019 budget is the first in nearly a decade without Greece being subject to a bailout program. Nonetheless, Athens promised on Monday to stick to fiscal targets that had agreed with its creditors. In fact, Greece has said it will over-deliver when it comes to its primary budget surplus.

Read more …

Iran gets desperate. But this may still work.

Iran “Finalizing” Mechanism To Bypass SWIFT In Trade With Europe (ZH)

Just days after Europe unveiled a “special purpose vehicle” meant to circumvent SWIFT and US monopoly on global dollar-denominated monetary transfers – and potentially jeopardizing the reserve status of the dollar – Iran said it was finalizing mechanisms for the oil trade to bypass US sanctions against the country, said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. According to RT, Araghchi said that Tehran is not ruling out the possibility of setting up an alternative to the international payments provider SWIFT to circumvent sanctions imposed by Washington. “As we know, Europeans are also trying to see how SWIFT can continue working with Iran, or if a parallel [financial] messaging system is necessary… This is something that we are still working on,” Araghchi said.

According to the Iranian diplomat, the independent equivalent of the SWIFT system that was earlier suggested by the EU to protect European firms working in Iran from US sanctions will be available for third countries. “This is the important element in SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) that it is not only for Europeans but other countries can also use this. We hope that before the re-imposition of the second part of the US sanctions [from November 4], these mechanisms can be in place and be functional,” said the official. One can see why: the Iranian economy has been hit hard in recent days, and the Rial has plunged to all time lows, amid fears that the sanctions will cripple Iran’s most valuable export resulting in a shortage of hard currency, eventually leading to a replica of Venezuela’s economic collapse.

Read more …

Points also to Paypal’s de facto monopoly.

Alex Jones Sues Paypal For Infowars Ban (ZH)

Alex Jones’s company, Free Speech Systems, LLC, has sued PayPal for the its ban of Infowars because the controversial website “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.” In the complaint filed by Jones’s lawyers, Marc Randazza Legal group, they accuse PayPal of banning Infowars “for no other reason than a disagreement with the message plaintiff conveys” and call ban “unconscionable” because PayPal has never advised users that “it might ban users for off-platform activity.”

“It is at this point well known that large tech companies, located primarily in Silicon Valley, are discriminating against politically conservative entities and individuals, including banning them from social media platforms such as Twitter, based solely on their political and ideological viewpoints,” Jones’ lawyers claim in the 15-page complaint. Jones claims PayPal’s decision was based purely on “viewpoint discrimination.” He also says the decision was made based on conduct that “had nothing to do with” the PayPal platform, which purportedly violates Infowars’ contract with the payment-processing giant. If PayPal’s decision were allowed to stand, it would set “a dangerous precedent for any person or entity with controversial views,” the lawsuit alleges.

Read more …

A few days old, and an odd one out for a Debt Rattle, I know. But Las Vegas police have yesterday involved re-opened the file. This comes after Ronaldo called the Spiegel article fake news, and one of the journalists posted 24 tweets detailing their investigation, saying they worked on it with 20 people for a long time, and have a strong legal team. Spiegel first opened the case in 2009, but the woman didn’t want to talk. She refused to name Ronaldo to police at the time as well.

The Woman Who Accuses Ronaldo of Rape (Spiegel)

She was supposed to be invisible, damned to silence. Forever. Nobody was to ever learn about that night in Las Vegas back in 2009, especially not her version of events. She even signed a settlement deal and received a payoff ensuring that she would never give voice to the accusations. She signed, she says, out of fear for herself and her family. And out of impotence, the inability to stand up to him. And out of the hope that she could finally put the incident behind her. But, says Kathryn Mayorga, she was never able to close that chapter. The American is a slender 34-year-old with long, dark hair and green eyes. Until recently, she worked at an elementary school. But she quit, she says, “because I need all my strength now.”

She needs the strength to stand up to the man who she accuses of having raped her nine years ago — accusations that he denies. The man isn’t just anybody. It is Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best soccer player in the world, with vast amounts of success, money and adoration from the fans. An anonymous woman versus Ronaldo — the discrepancy could hardly be greater. They met on June 12, 2009 in a Las Vegas nightclub. Ronaldo was there on vacation with his brother-in-law and cousin. It was the summer when the star, then 24, would transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid for a then-record sum of 94 million euros.

Read more …