Jul 252021
 
 July 25, 2021  Posted by at 9:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  45 Responses »


Claude Monet Water lilies 1904

 

Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing
Adverse Reactions To The Covid-19 Vaccines Suffered By Infants (DE)
CNN: Segregate Unvaccinated, Make Them Pay For Tests Every Day (SN)
Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s ‘Noble Lie,’ Exposed (Rixey)
Big Protests Mark Global Anger At Covid Restrictions (F24)
Sydney Police Fine 100s Of Protesters For ‘Filthy, Risky Behaviour’ (G.)
Australian Leaders Blast Protesters, ‘Strike Force’ To Track Them Down (RT)
Protesters Slam Italian PM Draghi For Introducing Covid Health Pass (RT)
London Anti-vax Speaker Threatens Doctors With ‘Nuremberg Trials’ (RT)
FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror (Greenwald)
Space Returns Unwanted Amazon Delivery (BBee)

 

 

 

 

McCullough on long covid

 

 

The lower the vaccination rates, the lower the new infections.

 

 

Dalhousie: If a Professor of Infectious Diseases claims she’s been “immunized”, what hope is there for others?

 

 

 

 

Served its purpose?

Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

Level: Laboratory Alert

After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.

In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season. Laboratories and testing sites should validate and verify their selected assay within their facility before beginning clinical testing.

Read more …

“These vulnerable children will be used as part of a real-world experiment to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to all children, they are being treated in essence as sacrificial lambs.”

Adverse Reactions To The Covid-19 Vaccines Suffered By Infants (DE)

They’re coming for the children. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice to Sajid Javid’s Department of Health and Social Care, stating that children with disabilities should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine, despite the fact real world data shows that children as young as two-months-old in the USA have suffered paralysis, cardiac arrest and death after being given one of the experimental jabs. The JCVI said in a statement issued on the 19th July 2021 that “children aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, should be offered the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA Covid vaccine.

They have also recommended that “children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine”. The reason the JCVI give for this is that “immunosuppressed household contacts, who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 may not generate a full immune response to vaccination.” therefore in their opinion this will indirectly protect them. Perhaps the JCVI aren’t aware that the Covid-19 vaccines have not been proven to prevent infection or transmission? But they are aware that real-world data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in children is limited, and they are also aware that the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine are causing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) in younger adults; they say as such in their statement.


They’re also aware that all children and young people are at very low risk from Covid-19. Symptoms, and they know that fewer than 30 children have died because of Covid-19 in the UK since March 2020, all of them having severe underlying conditions which were the probably cause of death rather than the alleged Covid-19. So why are the JCVI recommending the Pfizer Covid-19 jab is given to children with disabilities and learning difficulties when they are fully aware of the above? These vulnerable children will be used as part of a real-world experiment to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be offered to all children, they are being treated in essence as sacrificial lambs. That is evident from the fact that the JCVI recommend children with learning difficulties should be offered the jab.

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They finally found a target that is not Trump. Same MO. Clickbait wars.

CNN: Segregate Unvaccinated, Make Them Pay For Tests Every Day (SN)

CNN continued its wall to wall broadcasts calling for unvaccinated people to be punished, with analysts again calling for those who haven’t gotten the COVID shots to be segregated from society and forced to pay for tests every single day. First up was CNN’s resident medical health “expert” Dr. Leana Wen who called for vaccine passports and forever masking. “I think it depends on the circumstance,” Wen said, explaining “So if you’re going to the grocery store, and the grocery store doesn’t have the capacity to enforce some kind of proof of vaccination, then they have to say that indoor masking needs to apply, because we don’t know who’s vaccinated and who’s not.” “The same thing for schools,” Wen continued, adding “Schools, you can’t expect the teacher in every school to be asking ‘well you’re not wearing a mask so are you vaccinated or not?’

And so that’s the case, everyone should be wearing masks.” “But I can imagine there are already concert venues or workplaces that are saying ‘if you are not vaccinated, you can’t come, or you have to get a negative test.’ And that’s what’s needed in order to really incentivize vaccines at this point,” Wen further stated. Wen previously suggested that life should be made as difficult as possible for those who are still opting not to take the shots, and that Americans should be banned from engaging in social events and forced to undergo PCR tests twice a week if they want to stay unvaccinated. She also previously advocated directly linking the amount of freedom Americans should be allowed to their vaccination status.

Next up on CNN, which should probably be renamed VNN, was Former White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt who proclaimed that the Biden administration should become “very aggressive” and force unvaccinated workers and students to take daily tests and to cover the costs themselves. “We should be really seriously considering whether schools, workplaces, government agencies ought to be saying, ‘Hey, if you’re coming here, you need to be vaccinated. If you’re not, you need to show you have a negative test every single day,” Slavitt declared.

He continued, “Look, if people say they don’t want to be vaccinated, which some people might say, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that’s fine. We want you to show up every morning an hour before work and get a negative test. Maybe even at your own expense. Until the point where people will say, you know what? It makes more sense to actually get vaccinated. If you give people that option, I think you’re going to see more and more people take the option to get vaccinated.” “Option.” Right.

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Amazing deep dive. Primarily on Fauci.

Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s ‘Noble Lie,’ Exposed (Rixey)

Six months ago, I began my first article on scientific censorship during COVID-19 by introducing Dr. Fauci as a surprise character that had emerged unexpectedly while digging through what was then 83,000 FOIA emails, published by US Right-to-Know over the course of the last year: [see files related to Ralph Baric, Linda Saif, Rita Colwell, Colorado State/Rocky Mountain National Laboratory & the NCBI; other FOIA releases from Judicial Watch, Buzzfeed & the Washington Post include NIH funding of the WIV & Dr. Fauci’s emails]

I’ve been trying for quite some time to get people to understand the full scope of the Dr. Fauci ‘situation,’ but it’s clear that segments of our national leadership are preventing an honest and open inquiry into his actions because they fear the backlash/collateral damage that will result from the tarnishing of their sacred cow. It’s time Americans were told the truth – that the grant money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] is merely a footnote in this narrative. After all, Dr. Fauci controls nearly $4 billion of annual grant funding for the NIAID, the institute within the NIH he has directed since 1984; over 37 years, more than 50,000 research projects have been supported with more than $50 billion [conservatively] of taxpayer funds have been doled out to them.

It’s reasonable to hold him accountable for the results of his organization’s efforts, but the direct funding received by the WIV for Gain-of-Function (GOF) research represents only a tiny fraction of Fauci’s involvement in enabling risky research – the 2017 repeal of the GOF ban was decided without the consultation of the Trump administration, even though news coverage during the pandemic blamed him for the decision. Neither Fauci nor his boss Francis Collins [the NIH director] bothered to clarify the record, which looks especially disgusting in the wake of persistent rejections of Senator Rand Paul’s assertions [with accompanying evidence] that the NIH ever financially supported such research.

Read more …

The crowds are still too small, and protesting on a weekend day doesn’t truly count.

Big Protests Mark Global Anger At Covid Restrictions (F24)

More than 100,000 people protested in Australia, France, Italy and Greece on Saturday, sparking clashes with police as they railed against Covid-19 measures and government sanctions against the unvaccinated aimed at prodding more people into getting jabs. Dozens of protesters were arrested after an unauthorised march in Sydney, with the city’s police minister branding those who took part as “morons”. Organisers had dubbed the protest a “freedom” rally. Attendees carried signs and banners reading “Wake up Australia” and “Drain the Swamp”. In France, where police deployed teargas and water cannon against some protesters, an estimated 160,000 took to the streets in nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s health pass that will drastically curtail access to restaurants and public spaces for unvaccinated people.

“Freedom, freedom”, chanted demonstrators in France, carrying placards denouncing “Macron, Tyrant”, “Big Pharma shackles freedom” or saying “No to the pass of shame”. The demonstrations highlight the conflict globally between people caught between the advice of the World Health Organization and other public health agencies and the need to earn a living — or simply to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. In Indonesia and the UK, governments have pressed ahead with easing of restrictions even in the face of surging. Meanwhile, around 5,000 people demonstrated in Athens, carrying placards touting slogans such as, “Don’t touch our children”, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. And in Italy protesters gathered in Rome to demonstrate against a mandatory “green pass” for indoor dining and entertainment.

Earlier in Sydney, demonstrators pelted officers with pot plants and bottles of water as they defied a month-long stay-at-home order, a day after authorities suggested the restrictions could remain in place until October. New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “utterly disgusted” by the protesters whose “selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us”. Police said they issued nearly 100 fines and arrested 57 people. In Melbourne, meanwhile, six people were arrested. police said. New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott said a team of detectives would be scouring footage to identify and charge as many people as possible in the coming days. “Sydney isn’t immune from morons,” he said.

Read more …

When you address your own citizes like this, you aim to rule and divide.

Sydney Police Fine 100s Of Protesters For ‘Filthy, Risky Behaviour’ (G.)

Hundreds of fines have been issued and dozens charged in Sydney after anti-lockdown protesters marched and clashed with police in what one deputy commissioner called “violent, filthy, risky behaviour”. The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said was “utterly disgusted” by the thousands who had breached the region’s coronavirus measures to protest, saying on Sunday that the scenes “broke my heart”. Detectives are now combing social media and footage from CCTV and police-worn body cameras to identify and punish everyone who defied stay-at-home orders, which are now entering their fifth week. Police issued 510 fines on Saturday, with the “vast majority” coming from Saturday’s protest. Two have been charged with allegedly striking a police horse.

State police minister David Elliott was scathing of Saturday’s unrest, saying: “Sydney isn’t immune from morons.” Victorian officials criticised similar protests in the state capital, Melbourne. The state’s Covid-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar described those who took to the stresses as a “small minority having a self-indulgent tantrum”, with the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews warning that you “cannot vaccinate against selfishness”. The Sydney region is struggling to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant that started in Bondi last month, amid a sluggish vaccination rollout and persistent violation of stay-at-home orders among family groups. A Guardian Australia analysis has found it could take months to recede.

Around half of Australia’s 25 million people are in lockdown across several cities and states, with anger growing at the federal government for a vaccine programme that has fully inoculated less than 13% of the population since it began in February. New South Wales reported another 141 cases on Sunday, and two deaths, including a woman in her 30s who had no pre-existing conditions. “If anybody think this is a disease just affecting older people, please think again,” said Berejiklian. The ugly scenes in Sydney and Melbourne, – as well Adelaide and Brisbane – were also reflected across Europe as people railed against Covid-19 measures and government restrictions aimed at improving uptake of vaccines.

Read more …

Australia is lost.

Australian Leaders Blast Protesters, ‘Strike Force’ To Track Them Down (RT)

Australian police have already issued hundreds of fines in the wake of mass anti-lockdown rallies, and are looking for more info about the violators, as state leaders condemn protesters for endangering other people’s lives. In just 24 hours after Saturday’s mass protest, police in New South Wales issued 510 penalty infringement notices, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. He vowed that the authorities will continue to investigate the acts of “violent, filthy, risky” behavior. “A strike force is set up right at this moment that continues to ask for people to bring forward any video files or telephone footage that they have of that sort of behaviour.”

NSW Police Minister David Elliott earlier announced that at least 22 veteran detectives will be working as part of a special unit to identify and track down people who attended the rallies. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian echoed these sentiments, saying she was “absolutely disgusted” by the mass gatherings, and urging anyone who recognized any of the activists to contact police immediately. “I’m just so utterly disgusted, disappointed and heartbroken that people don’t consider the safety and wellbeing of their fellow citizens. NSW reported two deaths and 141 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, which is slightly lower than the day before. Authorities, however, have hinted that as the protest risks turning into a superspreader event, the month-long lockdown in Sydney might be extended even further.

“We don’t want a setback, and yesterday could have been a setback – time will tell,” Berejiklian said. The state’s current lockdown rules bar residents from leaving home except to obtain food and other “essential” goods and services, for medical care, including vaccinations, and for outdoor exercise and “essential” work. The state of Victoria in the meantime recorded only 11 new cases, but Premier Daniel Andrews blasted the protesters for putting “many other people in real danger,” and said that he could not rule out that the state’s own lockdown will also be extended. “We can’t vaccinate against selfishness, and these people should be ashamed, absolutely ashamed, it’s just wrong.”

Since the pandemic began, Australia has repeatedly staved off the spread of Covid-19 with some of the world’s most draconian lockdown measures, in pursuit of driving new cases down to zero even at the expense of civil liberties. Over the course of the pandemic, the country recorded just over 32,700 cases and 916 total deaths. On Saturday, thousands of people sickened by perpetual restrictions and confinement marched through major Australian cities, chanting “Freedom!” and clashing with police who were deployed to disperse these “illegal gatherings.”

Read more …

In the US, it’s the right that clamors for freedom. In Europe, not so much.

Protesters Slam Italian PM Draghi For Introducing Covid Health Pass (RT)

Protests against the Italian government’s plan to introduce health passes were held in more than 80 locations on Saturday, where people denounced the measure as discriminatory. Around 3,000 rallied in Rome and 5,000 in Turin, the capital of the northwestern Piedmont region, while smaller protests were held elsewhere across the country, Italian media said. Overall, demonstrations were reported in more than 80 cities and towns. People took to the streets to denounce the plan of the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi to introduce a health pass, known as the ‘Green Pass’. The document serves as proof that a person has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, has tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 48 hours, or has recovered from the virus.

Starting from August 6, only Green Pass holders will be allowed into cafes, restaurants, gyms, and open-air shows. Protesters view the measure as discriminatory. Some marched with signs that read, ‘Draghi Like Hitler’ and ‘Freedom, No More Dictatorship’, while others carried Italian flags and lit flares. “We say no to the Green Pass because it creates A-class and B-class citizens – those who have rights and those who have no rights,” a protester in Rome told RT’s Ruptly video agency. “This is against Italy’s constitution.” La Stampa newspaper reported that some business owners took part in the protest, fearing that the introduction of the pass will lead to a drop in clientele and endanger their livelihood.

Draghi said the Green Pass is necessary to stop the spread of the disease and restart the economy. Some politicians criticized Saturday’s protests. “Hearing words like ‘slavery’ and ‘Covid scam’ makes me shudder. According to these irresponsible [people], 130,000 deaths were perhaps only imaginary,” Senator Licia Ronzulli from the center-right Forza Italia party said, as quoted by La Stampa.

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Posted on RT, but sounds like MSNBC.

London Anti-vax Speaker Threatens Doctors With ‘Nuremberg Trials’ (RT)

Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination activists rallied in multiple British cities against the vaccine passport initiative. In London, one of the speakers triggered a major controversy by likening NHS staff to Nazi doctors. Thousands of people gathered at Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for the ‘Freedom Rally’, to protest the restrictive measures introduced amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Demonstrators flooded almost the entire square, holding placards and banners reading: “No to forced testing” and “No to forced vaccination.” Many activists went as far as accusing the government of “crimes against humanity,” while banners seen in the crowd ranged from 5G conspiracy theories to flags reading “Trump for 2024.” Though minor scuffles erupted on the sidelines of the event, resulting in several arrests, the rally was otherwise peaceful.


The gathering was attended by controversial media personality Katie Hopkins, who just returned from Australia after her visa was canceled over a quarantine breach. Former TV presenter turned-conspiracy theorist David Icke was also present, as well as Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. One of the speakers, Kate Shemirani, a former nurse turned-anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist, triggered a major controversy, calling the vaccines “Satanic” and describing them as part of a larger surveillance scheme – while urging people to send her the names of doctors and nurses involved in the vaccination campaign. “At the Nuremberg trial the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung.” “If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus… and stand with us, the people,” she said, claiming that a group of lawyers is helping her collect the information.

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The whole Whitmer thing stank from the get-go. But that no longer matters in the US. What counts is what words make you feel, not what they actually mean.

FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror (Greenwald)

The narrative that domestic anti-government extremism is the greatest threat to U.S. national security — the official position of the U.S. security state and the Biden administration — received its most potent boost in October 2020, less than one month before the 2020 presidential election. That was when the F.B.I. and Michigan state officials announced the arrest of thirteen people on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges, with six of them accused of participating in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had been a particular target of criticism from President Trump for her advocacy for harsh COVID lockdown measures. The headlines that followed were dramatic and fear-inducing: “F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” announced The New York Times.

That same night, ABC News began its broadcast this way: “Tonight, we take you into a hidden world, a place authorities say gave birth to a violent domestic terror plot in Michigan — foiled by the FBI.” Democrats and liberal journalists instantly seized on this storyline to spin a pre-election theme that was as extreme as it was predictable. Gov. Whitmer herself blamed Trump, claiming that the plotters “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed that “the president is a deranged lunatic and he’s inspired white supremacists to violence, the latest of which was a plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer,” adding: “these groups have attempted to KILL many of us in recent years. They are following Trump’s lead.”

[..] Yet from the start, there were ample and potent reasons to distrust the FBI’s version of events. To begin with, FBI press releases are typically filled with lies, yet media outlets — due to some combination of excessive gullibility, an inability to learn lessons, or a desire to be deceived — continue to treat them as Gospel. For another, the majority of “terror plots” the FBI claimed to detect and break up during the first War on Terror were, in fact, plots manufactured, funded and driven by the FBI itself. Indeed, the FBI has previously acknowledged that its own powers and budget depend on keeping Americans in fear of such attacks. Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes, in a documentary called “The Newberg Sting” about a 2009 FBI arrest of four men on terrorism charges, uttered this extremely candid admission:

If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive. In the Whitmer kidnapping case, the FBI’s own affidavit in support of the charges acknowledged the involvement in the plot of both informants and undercover FBI agents “over several months.” [..] An excellent piece of investigative journalism published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday documents that, far from being passive observers of the plot, FBI informants and agents were the key drivers of it:

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

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“..a giant metal gumdrop with 4 dudes in it..”

Space Returns Unwanted Amazon Delivery (BBee)

Outer space has returned an unwanted Amazon package that was sent to it unsolicited yesterday. According to witnesses, the package floated gently back down to earth after being rejected. Locals have asked Amazon to please “pick this thing up and bring it back to the warehouse” as no one really wants it around or knows what to do with it. If you know who ordered a giant metal gumdrop with 4 dudes in it, please call Amazon immediately.

Read more …

 

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Money

 

 

Protests July 24.

 

 

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Jul 242021
 


René Magritte Le Mal du Pays (Homesickness) 1940

 

Vast Majority Of Unvaccinated Americans Say They Won’t Be Getting Jabs (RT)
Alabama Governor Declares ‘It’s Time To Blame The Unvaccinated For COVID’ (SN)
Israel Finds Pfizer Jab Only 39% Effective At Stopping Delta Variant (ZH)
Vaxxed Employees Of CA City Must Wear Stickers To Work Without Masks (RT)
EU Watchdog Approves Moderna Jab For Ages 12 And Up (Y!)
French Hospital Goes On Indefinite Strike To Protest Vaccination Mandate (RT)
Big Fail (Jim Kunstler)
CDC Quietly Deletes 6,000 COVID Vaccine Deaths From Its Website
Biden DOJ Drops Investigations Into Nursing Home Covid-19 Deaths (RT)
Greece Invokes Constitution to Impose Compulsory Vaccination (GR)
Science vs. Religion As Greek Priests Lead The Anti-vax Movement (Pol.eu)
Hugely Experienced Nfl Coach Leaves Job After Refusing To Take Jab (RT)
Cleveland Indians Change Name To The “Guardians” (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Verkerk

 

 

Israel severe hospitalized patients yesterday 5, all vaxxed

 

 

Fleming VAERS

 

 

So far it’s about half?!

Vast Majority Of Unvaccinated Americans Say They Won’t Be Getting Jabs (RT)

The Biden administration faces an uphill battle to meet its goals for Covid-19 vaccinations, as a newly released poll shows that 80% of American adults who haven’t yet recived the jab have no intention of doing so. The results of the Associated Press-NORC poll, which was released on Friday, revealed that 45% of unvaccinated respondents said they “definitely” wouldn’t be getting inoculated against the virus, with 35% indicating they “probably” wouldn’t do so. Only 19% of those who hadn’t been vaccinated intended to get the shots, and just 3% consider those plans definite. The responses suggest there is little room for growth in US vaccination rates, because 67% of participants had already received the jab, and only 1% of overall respondents said they would definitely get inoculated.

Just 5% said they would probably get vaccinated. Other unvaccinated Americans don’t plan to get jabbed, meaning around 73% is the apparent upside for the nation’s adult vaccination rate. President Joe Biden had aimed to have 70% of US adults vaccinated with at least their first dose by July 4, but fell short, at 67%. Nearly three weeks beyond his target date, some 69% of adults have received a Covid-19 shot, according to CDC data. Nearly 60% of adults are fully vaccinated, and the rate is 49% for the overall population. Perhaps more troubling for vaccine proponents is the declining rate of new vaccinations. After the rollout hit a one-day record of 4.6 million doses delivered on April 10, the daily pace has slowed to around 500,000 in recent weeks.

In Alabama, which ranks last in the nation, with just 34% of its population fully vaccinated, and only a trickle of residents rolling up their sleeves to get the shots, Governor Kay Ivey became so frustrated on Thursday that she said it’s “time to blame the unvaccinated folks” for rising Covid-19 infections. While 83% of Democrat adults have been vaccinated, according to the Associated Press-NORC poll, just 51% of Republicans have been. And Republicans are more skeptical that the vaccines will be effective against the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19, which has driven the country’s recent jump in new cases. The poll found that 58% of Republicans expect the vaccines to work well against new variants, while 81% of Democrats expressed confidence. Among unvaccinated Americans, 64% don’t trust the shots to prevent the spread of Delta.

Read more …

Let’s turn that around.

Alabama Governor Declares ‘It’s Time To Blame The Unvaccinated For COVID’ (SN)

The governor of Alabama stated Thursday that it is “time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for rising cases of COVID in the state, adding that “These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.” Governor Kay Ivey made the comments during a press briefing, declaring “Let’s be crystal clear about this issue. The new cases of Covid are because of unvaccinated folks.” “Almost 100% of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths are certainly occurring with the unvaccinated folks,” Ivey added. She continued, “We got to get folks to take the shot. The vaccine is the greatest weapon we have to fight COVID. There is no question about that the data proves it. I’ve taken the shot back in December, both shots. It’s just the thing to do. The unvaccinated is who we need to focus on.”


“Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” Ivey further proclaimed. She added, “I’ve done all I know how to do. I can encourage you to do something, but I can’t make you take care of yourself.”

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“..perhaps as low as 30%..”

Israel Finds Pfizer Jab Only 39% Effective At Stopping Delta Variant (ZH)

Over the past month, Israel, the world’s most heavily vaccinated country (with leading mRNA jabs, no less) has seen the number of positive COVID tests has risen by more than 30x as the number of active infections in the country has surpassed 10K. Meanwhile, the Israeli Health Ministry, which has previously estimated the true efficacy of the Pfizer jab against the delta variant at only 64% (while still more than 90% effective at preventing serious illness and death), just released new data purporting to show that while the Pfizer jab is still 88% effective at preventing serious illness, it’s only 39% effective at preventing infection with delta.


Alex Berenson, a former NYT journalist who has often reported on scientific findings that don’t support the official narrative on masks and vaccines, shared the findings in a tweet, and speculated that the true efficacy in offering protection against the Delta variant might be even lower – perhaps as low as 30%. [..] The Israeli numbers are much lower than other recent studies, including one study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that two doses offers 88% protection against the Delta variant causing symptomatic disease, while offering 94% protection against the alpha variant.

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Nice that they didn’t make them yellow. Or star-shaped.

Vaxxed Employees Of CA City Must Wear Stickers To Work Without Masks (RT)

A California city has ordered its employees to wear a sticker identifying their fully vaccinated status if they choose to come to work without a mask, amid a growing global trend of distinguishing the vaxxed from the uninjected. The city of Montclair, located in California’s Pomona Valley, has decreed that starting next week, employees who want to work without a mask will have to wear a sticker showing they’ve had a Covid shot. According to City Manager Edward Starr, the policy is designed to ensure that Montclair is in compliance with a June directive issued by California’s workplace safety board, which instructs all vaccinated workers in the state to submit evidence or sign a pledge they have been vaccinated if they choose to abstain from wearing a face mask.

In response to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California issued new guidance in April stating that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo masks in most settings. The city official claimed that California’s Department of Public Health was encouraging the use of stickers on employee ID badges “to demonstrate they have been fully vaccinated.” He dismissed the notion that the labels could be seen as potentially problematic, and stressed that the policy would help the city to fulfill state and federal guidelines. Starr also pointed to the fact that the CDC offers a selection of printable stickers that workplaces can provide to employees who get vaccinated. However, it doesn’t appear that the public health authority has issued guidance recommending stickers be used as forms of identification.

[..] In Switzerland, the head of the country’s centrist Green Liberal Party advocated for people working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to wear identification showing their vaccination status, purportedly as a way to reduce the possibility of transmission in high-risk settings. The use of Star of David badges or other labels has become popular among protesters who object to global vaccine rollouts and other Covid measures. Such demonstrators have been routinely criticized and shamed by the media for their allegedly extremist views about worldwide vaccination drives, many of them now openly coercive.

Read more …

This cannot be based on science. There are no data for mid or long term. This is politics plain and simple.

EU Watchdog Approves Moderna Jab For Ages 12 And Up (Y!)

The European medicines watchdog on Friday approved the use of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 17, making it the second jab for adolescents for use on the continent. “The use of the Spikevax vaccine in children from 12 to 17 years of age will be the same as in people aged 18 and above,” the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, using the vaccine’s brand name. The vaccine will be given in two injections, each four weeks apart. The decision by the Amsterdam-based agency follows the approval of the first vaccine for European youngsters, by Pfizer/BioNTech in May. The effects of the jab have been studied among 3,732 children aged 12 to 17 years, the EMA said. “The study showed that Spikevax produced a comparable antibody response in 12- to 17-year-olds to that seen in young adults aged 18 to 25 years,” it said.

The Moderna jab employs the same mRNA technology as Pfizer/BioNTech, using genetic material to deliver instructions to human cells to create coronavirus spike proteins. It thereby trains an immune response without exposing the host to a real infection. The EMA said there were common side effects in children similar to those in adults. This included pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes, chills, nausea, vomiting and fever. “These effects are usually mild or moderate and improve within a few days from the vaccination,” the EMA said. But it noted that due to the “limited number of children and adolescents included in the study, the trial could not have detected new uncommon side effects”.

Nor could it estimate the risk of known side effects such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart). “However, the overall safety profile of Spikevax determined in adults was confirmed in the adolescent study,” it said. “The benefits of Spikevax in children aged 12 to 17 outweigh the risks, in particular in those with conditions that increase the risk of severe Covid-19.”

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Macron will remember today’s protests.

French Hospital Goes On Indefinite Strike To Protest Vaccination Mandate (RT)

The staff of the hospital in Montelimar, in the French department of Drome, have gone on indefinite strike to protest the new rules demanding they take a vaccine against Covid-19 by mid-September or face losing their jobs. The strike against “forced vaccination” was announced on Thursday by the CGT-GHPP trade union, and affects some 200 doctors and 1,500 nurses in the southeastern French city. Hundreds of them gathered outside the hospital on Friday, denouncing lockdowns and vaccine mandates and chanting “liberté!” (freedom). The French legislature is finalizing the proposal that would require all medical professionals in contact with the vulnerable to be fully vaccinated by September 15, or else lose their salaries and even their jobs.


“We are against mandatory vaccination and vaccine coercion,” Elsa Ruillere, local union representative, told Sputnik France. “There is no choice between tests or vaccination: vaccination is compulsory. No, we don’t agree. We want to have the choice like the rest of the world and we do not want compulsory vaccination.” Ruillere says her union supports “free and informed consent” and is not against vaccination on principle but is against coercion. Some of the medical workers said they are waiting for the French-made Sanofi-GSK vaccine, promised for December.

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“..they will deny that such deaths are related to the ‘vax’ given the time distance from the injection.”

Big Fail (Jim Kunstler)

Poor Mr. Trump was hustled into the “Warp Speed” cover story for these shenanigans — which perhaps explains why he never looked entirely comfortable onstage with Dr. Fauci and the rest of the White House “team.” Meanwhile news about the efficacy of the vaccines, and especially any adverse reactions to the vaccines, has been very carefully managed by the government, the captive news media, and the — let’s just say it — the evil social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube. How much are they squelching the actual numbers of deaths directly related to the vaccines? A savvy correspondent with a medical license writes:

“…the rate of reporting [adverse reactions] to the VAERS system in the US and Europe is very poor: somewhere between 1 and ten percent of actual events being reported. This obviously means that the actual death rate is likely much higher. So, I would not be surprised if the real number of ‘vax’ induced deaths in the US is in the range of 100,000 or more, much more. This is very reasonable when you take into account the shockingly frequent effects involving myocardial inflammation and blood clotting. Both of these pathologic processes logically stem from inflammation stimulated by massive production of the S1 spike protein by the injected mRNA.

The S1 spike protein, as you know, is the inflammation-inducing toxin in Covid infections. There was a major fuck-up by focusing on stimulating the production of S1; they, the PTB researchers, thought that the S1 protein was just a marker for SARs-COV, not the pathogenic toxin. In my opinion, most of the deaths from the mRNA ‘vax’ are going to take much longer via long-term inflammatory damage to the vascular system (including heart tissue, brain blood vessels, etc.). Of course, they will deny that such deaths are related to the ‘vax’ given the time distance from the injection. Too many people, making too much money from the mRNA shot….”

This is where things stand at the apogee of summer. Every day we are learning more about the spike protein time-bombs the vaxed population is walking around with in their veins. And now its coming clear why science has been made such a fetish of lately: because science has failed spectacularly, which is an even greater tragedy because when this stupendous calamity is over, what’s left of the civilized world will, by default, turn to superstition as its logical replacement.

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“..a strange thing happened..”

CDC Quietly Deletes 6,000 COVID Vaccine Deaths From Its Website

As reported earlier the CDC-linked VAERS website released its weekly numbers last Friday. The website has now recorded 11,140 reported deaths from the COVID vaccine in the United States. This is up from 9,125 reported deaths from the COVID-19 vaccinations total from last week. The number of deaths linked to vaccines this year has absolutely skyrocketed. According to the CDC’s own data. On Wednesday the CDC posted on its own website that there were 12,313 reported deaths from the COVID Vaccine since December. This number would track with the VAERS website number.

But then a strange thing happened. After the CDC posted this number they went back hours later and switched it to 6,079 reported deaths in the US from the COVID Vaccine. Infowars posted video of screengrabs from the CDC website on Wednesday. The CDC deleted 6,000 vaccine deaths from its website in 6 hours. What gives?

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“..their review of data about the deaths was stopped because it was too “time-consuming.”

Biden DOJ Drops Investigations Into Nursing Home Covid-19 Deaths (RT)

The Biden administration has decided not to investigate the Democrat governors of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York over claims their Covid-19 policies led to the deaths of thousands of vulnerable people in nursing homes. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta informed House Republicans on Friday that the Justice Department had decided not to open an investigation into any public nursing facilities in the three states “at this time.”= In August 2020, the Trump administration requested data about nursing home deaths from Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York – states that had policies ordering nursing homes to take in Covid-19 patients.

“We have reviewed the information you provided along with additional information available to the Department. Based on that review, we have decided not to open a [civil rights] investigation of any public nursing facility within Michigan at this time,” said the letter sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer by Steven Rosenbaum, chief of the litigation section in the DOJ’s civil rights division, on Thursday. The same letter was sent to Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. Whitmer’s April 2020 executive order required nursing homes to accept Covid-19 patients discharged from hospitals and place them in dedicated isolation units. Melissa Samuel, president of the Health Care Association of Michigan, claims the order was never fully implemented, however.

Wolf’s former health secretary, Rachel Levine – who withdrew her own mother from a nursing home even as overseeing the state policy of mandating homes take in Covid-19 patients – has since been confirmed as the first transgender assistant secretary at President Joe Biden’s Department of Health. The DOJ apparently sent the same letter to New York’s Andrew Cuomo. The only remaining governor who could be under investigation at this point is New Jersey’s Phil Murphy. Michigan’s official figures say that 87% of Covid-19 deaths were among people aged 60 and older, and about a third of the state’s total deaths were “linked to” long-term care facilities, amounting to 5,754 residents and staff. However, investigative journalist Charlie LeDuff claims the numbers might have been undercounted by as much as 100%, and that officials at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services told him their review of data about the deaths was stopped because it was too “time-consuming.”

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Any lawyers left here?

Greece Invokes Constitution to Impose Compulsory Vaccination (GR)

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis defended compulsory vaccination for some groups in the country by referencing Article 25 of the Greek constitution on Friday. Mitsotakis spoke with the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou in front of the media about the coronavirus and the rate of vaccination in Greece. Both high-ranking politicians appeared to be in agreement about the need for a majority of the Greek populace to become inoculated. Mitsotakis highlighted that the Delta variant of the virus, which is much more transmissible than the original virus, means that it is more important than ever before for all Greeks who can get vaccinated to do so.

“The state has the right to demand the all citizens to pay their debt of social and national solidarity back,” noted Mitsotakis, referring to Article 25, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution. He then claimed that this part of Greek law is more relevant today than ever. “This is what we demand from our fellow citizens. The debt of social and national solidarity. The battle of our generation is tackling the pandemic. We will beat it. “But we must win it by taking all the responsibility of their citizens towards themselves, their families and society as a whole,” Mitsotakis said, arguing that people have a moral duty to become vaccinated.

[..] President Sakellaropoulou also spoke at length on Friday, and encouraged those who have yet to get inoculated to do so. She agreed with Mitsotakis that it was constitutional for the Greek government to coerce people who work in sectors where they endanger others to get inoculated. “The Constitution does not recognize anyone’s right, in the context of his own freedom, to endanger the life and health of his fellow human beings. This is because the rights outlined in the Constitution are granted not only because we are individuals with human value, which of course applies, but also because we are part of society as a whole,” the former Supreme Court justice explained. “And as part of society as a whole, precisely because we have the obligation of solidarity, that is, to take care of public health and the lives of our fellow human beings, we are obliged to accept restrictions on our own rights,” Sakellaropoulou added.

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“God does not force us to follow him, unlike those supporting vaccination.”

Science vs. Religion As Greek Priests Lead The Anti-vax Movement (Pol.eu)

Anti-vaxxers and churchgoers are out in force on a warm July Sunday morning in central Athens — and, for the most part, they are the same people. For the Greek authorities, one of the major sources of opposition to lockdowns, mask-wearing, social distancing and vaccination is influential Greek clerics and the power they wield from the pulpit. “The church authorities refuse to police the churchgoers, respecting the personality of the faithful,” reads a sign at the main entrance of Saint Nicholas’ Church in the capital. Inside the packed church, you could count the number of people wearing a face mask on the fingers of one hand. The priest, Vasileios Voloudakis, used his sermon to lash out against the government, doctors and church leadership.

“They want to treat the churches the same way they do gyms, but we believe that in here we are in heaven,” he told the congregation. “Scientists cannot explain some things, so they prefer to hush it up.” Voloudakis is one of the most prominent critics of coronavirus restrictions and vaccines in the Greek Orthodox Church and has even said that those who “alas” have the vaccine “will bitterly regret it.” He has a lot of supporters. “We stand up to protect human rights, the same rights that have been ratified by Christianity,” said Maria, a middle-aged woman attending the service with her husband who did not want to give her last name. “God does not force us to follow him, unlike those supporting vaccination.” “I fully trust my priest,” said Maria Papadopoulou, shortly after receiving Holy Communion.

“I don’t want to have an experimental vaccine. My parents are fully vaccinated, but I didn’t force them to do so; why should they do this to me? “They want to divide us and we shouldn’t allow that. Everyone should be free to do whatever they think is good for their health.” The church leadership officially supports vaccination. The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, spent several days in intensive care with coronavirus last November. A month later, he said: “I would be the first to go and get vaccinated if I had not been sick.” The archbishop announced he had received the vaccine on May 12. However, several influential archbishops and clerics repeatedly tell the flock not to get vaccinated, while some refuse to let people into church if they are wearing a mask or have had the jab.

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Some people pay big.

Hugely Experienced Nfl Coach Leaves Job After Refusing To Take Jab (RT)

Minnesota Vikings assistant Rick Dennison has reportedly left the team after refusing to take a vaccine for Covid-19, potenitally representing the first exit of its kind in the sport since jabs were made a requirement for staff.
In a ruling announced this summer, NFL bosses have ordered all staff at the designated ‘Tier 1′ elite coaching level of the sport to provide a valid religious or medical reason for not being vaccinated. 63-year-old Dennison, who won the Super Bowl three times as a coach with the Denver Broncos, where he also spent his entire playing career, has ended his two-season spell as the Vikings’ offensive line coach and run game co-ordinator because he chose not to take the treatment, according to ESPN sources. Coaches who lose top-tier status cannot be on the field, in meeting rooms or have direct interactions with players, leading to assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher filling Dennison’s position, the report claimed.

[..] Fans were divided as the report spread that Dennison had become the first NFL coach to lose their job after refusing to be vaccinated, with many rowing about whether the measure would be a breach of rights and others claiming the veteran had been free to make a choice the team may not have agreed with. “They didn’t fire him due to medical status,” argued one, speaking among an apparent majority of critics who showed little sympathy towards Dennison. “They are firing him because he can’t do the job due to a personal choice, which he has every right to make. “If he doesn’t want to get vaxed, based on the NFL guidelines, he could jeopardize the team, so they move on.”

Another echoed: “He wasn’t terminated. He chose to quit because he refused to follow mandatory NFL protocols outlined for the safety of players and staff during a global deadly pandemic. We cannot move on from this unless we contain it.” A self-described US Navy veteran retorted: “Society has lost their collective mind over a virus that kills far less than one percent [of people]. “Can’t watch any sport without being bombarded with woke bullsh*t and now this is the step towards corporate totalitarianism that will end my and many others’ NFL fandom.” A media host said: “Imagine throwing away the bag [money] over two shots that take 10 minutes of your time, protect yourself and others and set a good example.”

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I continue to find it strange that the cancel culture thinks that if they try to erase history, that somehow makes things better. What these teams should do is wear their names with pride, by reaching out to native communities, set up support projects, get involved in business, invest in the future of the children, so that the communities in turn feel pride in being represented by the teams.

Cleveland Indians Change Name To The “Guardians” (ZH)

After years of protests from Native American groups and some fans, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team has officially changed its name after more than 100 years. According to the Major League Baseball (MLB) website, the team announced Friday morning that Cleveland Indians is no more, and the new name, drum roll… is Cleveland “Guardians.” Cleveland first announced last summer that it would begin having conversations with local community members and Native American groups about the possibility of a name change. The organization announced in December that it was beginning a search for a new nickname.


More than 4,000 fans signed up to be part of the conversation, and over 40,000 fans were surveyed, including 140 hours of interviews with fans, staff and community members. The organization determined that the name should connect to the city of Cleveland, preserve the team’s rich baseball history and unite the community. -MLB This follows the Washington Redskins, who changed their name “Washington Football Team” in the summer of 2020. Both of these teams have ditched Native American terminology because in today’s “woke” culture it’s considered racist.

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Placebo or vaccine

 

 

 

 

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Mar 152021
 


Mark Chagall Peace window, UN 1967

 

 

In Holland Sunday, a protest demonstration against government Covid policies provoked a emergency order from that same government against thousands of people gathering in a place to … protest. The police and government had only “allowed” 200 demonstrators. So the government “allowed” a protest against itself, but demanded the right to determine where, how, and with how many people it could take place. But that’s not really a protest, is it? The police deployed dogs, horses and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

In Greece, a video appeared last Sunday of a policeman severely beating a man. Protests against that have occurred daily since. The prime minister spoke out against the protests, not the policeman. That made people even angrier. And then he proposed a “police reform” law. Yeah. And everybody lived happily ever after. But under heavy restrictions.

In the UK, a peaceful vigil for a woman kidnapped and murdered -by a policeman!- was broken up by police Saturday because there was “no permission” given for it. Several women were handcuffed and dragged across the pavement. Meanwhile, the government is introducing a “police reform” law (they’re popular these days!) that would impose conditions even on one-person protests. And protesters can’t make noise. And so much police will be deployed that it may become too costly to “allow” the protest.

In Canberra, capital of Australia, 10s of 1000s protested because of a rape scandal inside government buildings. Good thing the restrictions were recently eased, or the same government that’s so busy trying to hide the scandal would have not “allowed” the protest.

 

 

It’s perfectly safe to call this extremism. It all takes place against the background of one year of failed Covid measures and restrictions. Though of course governments will always claim the pandemic would have been much worse without them. But after a year, what right do they still have to impose restrictions? What right did they ever have in the first place to tell people they cannot travel, assemble, see their family or go to work? And how has that right, if they ever had it, changed after a year-long “emergency”?

I’ve talked about legal issues before, but I still don’t see them discussed. I see no supreme courts testing laws or calling governments back. People in democracies are told they have basic and inalienable rights. But not anymore. Joe Biden talked about how Americans could, if they were good and obedient, maybe invite a few friends over for the Fourth of July. How many inalienable rights does that trample on in one go?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Where did these governments all go wrong? Well, here:

 

 

And here:

 

 

They’re not benign public servants, they’re drug pushers -in this case vaccines- with armies and bodyguards. They protect corporations and institutions, not the rights of their people. They’re not democrats, they’re authoritarians. We are ruled by ideologies, not principles. The only rights we have are those that they “allow” us to have. There are no basic or inalienable rights left. Our politicians represent, and serve, long established parties and systems that have ruled for at least decades, in a symbiosis with corporations.

If there’s one lesson to learn from the sordid never-ending Covid episode it must be that: your human rights are just a thin veneer that serves to make your reality look nice and shiny, but may be scraped off at any moment. What does that say about our forefathers and -mothers who fought, and died, in order to provide us with inalienable rights? Do we really owe those people less than we owe our current ruling classes?

I read yesterday that the health minister of Jordan has resigned because 6 Covid patients died due to a failing oxygen supply in a hospital. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a politician being held to account for Covid failure. And even he is probably just a scapegoat.

I’ve seen a few reports on the damage the lockdowns and other measures do to children’s minds. They mostly talk about schools being closed, as if schools are every child’s happy place. Of course not. Children simply need other children, so they can find their place in the world, it has nothing to do with a school. But this goes far beyond children, untold millions of adults also will come away with mental traumas. People need people.

We have a few questions we should ask ourselves. History teaches us that rights being taken away are awfully hard to regain. That the Constitution talks about the Consent of the Governed also means that the governed were considered to be able to make proper, just decisions about their own lives, and had the right to do that, without goverment intervention.

But you are not.

 

 

 

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

 

Nov 172019
 


Pablo Picasso Chair 1942

 

Ex-NSC Official Claims Sondland Said He Was Directed By Trump On Ukraine (CNN)
Prince Andrew Denies Sex With 17 Year Old, Says He Was At Pizza Express (Ind.)
High-Stakes Gamble On TV Interview Over Epstein Backfires On Prince Andrew (G.)
Boeing Pressures FAA To Re-Approve 737 MAX, Staff Beg Not To Fly In It (BI)
Macron Plays Fox in the EU Hen House (Spiegel)
Saudi Aramco IPO Set To Value Company Up To $1.7 Trillion (CNBC)
Iran Gas Price Hike Protests Escalate (RT)
Hong Kong Protesters Hurl PETROL BOMBS, Shoot ARROWS At Police (RT)
Tensions Run High During Yellow Vests Protests (RT)
Bolivia Death Toll Mounts Amid Pro-Evo Morales Protests (BBC)
Chile Agrees To Replace Pinochet Constitution Amid Turbulent Protests (AP)

 

 

The smell that emanates from this is something in the vein of : “How dare a president be involved in foreign policy?” Sure, Sondland is an out of place character, but to label this ‘interference’ is odd. “At the NSC, “we have a way we do things that works,” talking about regular vs irregular foreign policy channels. But the thing is that Trump didn’t trust the regular channels; he thought they’d protect Biden, and keep the focus on Russia Russia.

Is Trump dangerous for asking for a Burisma investigation? Or is he merely a problem for the State Lifers and their backers? Want to check what the Constituion says about foreign policy?

Ex-NSC Official Claims Sondland Said He Was Directed By Trump On Ukraine (CNN)

Gordon Sondland, the American envoy to the European Union, was acting at President Donald Trump’s instruction in his dealings with Ukraine, and Sondland said that the President told him Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “must announce the opening of the investigations,” according to the closed-door deposition of a former National Security Council official. Former NSC official Tim Morrison testified that he had heard from Sondland that US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Morrison’s testimony, which was released by House impeachment investigators on Saturday, adds additional corroboration to the testimony of others, like US diplomat Bill Taylor, that Sondland said he was acting at Trump’s direction when he was urging Ukraine to announce political investigations. Morrison’s testimony will only fuel questions about Sondland’s closed-door interview, which has been called into question based on the testimony others have given about his conversations with Trump. Sondland is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. House impeachment investigators also released Saturday the transcript of Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who listened into the July 25 call along with Morrison.

While Morrison did not take specific issue with the content of Trump’s call with Zelensky, both aides described their concerns as they listened to Trump discussing political investigations. Morrison’s testimony also added additional detail explaining how the call ended up on a highly secure server outside of normal channels. Morrison, who is scheduled to testify publicly on Tuesday, described how Sondland was a “problem” as he operated in what previous witness testimony described as irregular foreign policy channels. And he recalled Sondland speaking directly to Trump about the investigations and the military aid. “He related to me he was acting – he was discussing these matters with the President,” Morrison said.

[..] Morrison said Sondland was a concern for his predecessor, former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill, who is also scheduled to testify publicly next week. “She described Ambassador Sondland as a problem,” Morrison said, recounting a conversation they had about Sondland. “We both discussed that Ukraine was not in the EU, which led to the follow-on question of, why is he involved in Ukraine? And, as I mentioned, she mentioned Burisma, which I nearly did not know what that was.” Morrison explained their concern: “It was less about his role in Ukraine and more about how he conducted himself. He did not participate in the process. So we are very process-oriented on the NSC; we have a way we do things that works. And so when people come in and get involved in issues and they’re not of that process, it creates risk.”

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He can’t for the life of him remember meeting Virginia Giuffre, but he distinctly remembers going for pizza.

Prince Andrew Denies Sex With 17 Year Old, Says He Was At Pizza Express (Ind.)

Prince Andrew has claimed he could not have had sex with a 17-year-old girl on the night he is accused of doing so – because he had taken his daughter to Pizza Express in Woking. Giving an unprecedented television interview to address claims surrounding his friendship with billionaire sex offender Jeffery Epstein, the Duke of York denied having sex with Virginia Giuffre in 2001. [..] “On that particular day, that we now understand is the date which is the 10th of March, I was at home,” the duke said. “I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose, sort of, four or five in the afternoon.

“And then because the duchess [of York] was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away, the other one is there.” When asked why he remembered the specific trip to the restaurant, he replied: “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do. “I’ve never been … I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly. “As soon as somebody reminded me of it, I went: ‘Oh yes, I remember that’.”

[..] The duke went on to question the validity of a photograph with his arm around Ms Giuffre in London – saying it was not possible to prove if the image had, or had not, been faked. He said: ”I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because when I would out to… When I go out in London, I wear a suit and a tie. “That’s what I would describe as… those are my travelling clothes if I’m going to go… If I’m going overseas.” He added: ”Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken.”

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What a trainwreck of a man. Saw Epstein umpteen times, a man who everybody says was always surrounded by minor girls, but not during all those times Andrew was around, in London, New York, pedo island.

High-Stakes Gamble On TV Interview Over Epstein Backfires On Prince Andrew (G.)

The prince’s answers are likely to ensure he remains in the headlines for the conceivable future, and several commentators have condemned his approach. Catherine Mayer, founder of the Women’s Equality Party, tweeted that the prince was “too stupid to even pretend concern for Epstein’s victims”. Charlie Proctor, editor of the Royal Central website, said: “I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad.” It is known that some close to the prince had reservations about how the interview – reportedly the result of six months of negotiations with the royal household – would play out.

Jason Stein, who previously worked for the former work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, recently quit as an adviser to the prince after less than a month. It is understood he had disagreed with the decision to go ahead with the interview. It is claimed that the prince sought permission from the Queen before giving it, and that she gave her consent early last week. In the interview, the prince said that with “hindsight” his decision to stay at Epstein’s house was “definitely the wrong thing to do”. Giuffre’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment but her Twitter account retweeted a comment from the former editor of the Northern Echo, Peter Barron, who said: “Astonishing decision by the royal family to go ahead with this Prince Andrew confessional interview in the hope it would draw a line under the scandal. It will have the opposite effect.”

[..] Giuffre’s lawyer, Jack Scarola, told Mail Online the prince should agree to an interview “under oath” instead of giving statements to the media that carry “little weight”. He said: “I believe there is an ongoing investigation in New York by the FBI under the supervision of the US Attorney’s office into those involved in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse. “I would love to see Prince Andrew submit to an interview under oath with the investigating authorities. Talking to the media doesn’t quite cut it. Statements that are not under oath carry little weight.”


Prince Andrew: I don’t do public displays of affection

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Getting antsy: “Asking the FAA to let Boeing deliver newly-manufactured 737 MAXes to clients before it is approved to fly..” Wait, how are you going to deliver them then?

Boeing Pressures FAA To Re-Approve 737 MAX, Staff Beg Not To Fly In It (BI)

Boeing is exerting pressure on the Federal Aviation Administration to speed up the approval of its 737 Max jet to fly again, according to multiple reports, and seemingly confirmed by the agency’s head. At the same time, airline crew and pilots are pushing back against any expedited timescale for the Max’s return, with some begging not to be assigned to the jets even after they return to service. The Max has been grounded for eight months, since the second of two fatal crashes which killed more than 300 people between them. The approval process centers on proposed fixes to an automated flight control system which malfunctioned in the two crashes. It has taken far longer than many in the aviation industry expected.

According to The New York Times and the Reuters news agency, Boeing has pushed the FAA on two fronts in the hope of getting the plane back in the air faster: • Pushing for pilots to test the new software on flight simulators before the FAA has finished vetting it. • Asking the FAA to let Boeing deliver newly-manufactured 737 Maxes to clients before it is approved to fly, to shorten the lag between approval and airlines putting passengers on it. The FAA has resisted, The Times reported. It said engineers pointed out that it does not make sense to ask pilots to test software before it is fully vetted, since it could be changed during that process. Senior figures at the FAA have encouraged staff to take all the time they need to keep assessing the plane, both in public and in private.

Lori Bassani, the head of Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union representing staff at American, said: “I hear from flight attendants every day, and they’re begging me not to make them go back up in that plane.” She said Boeing needs to share more information with her members about their safety changes before they will be happy to get back on. Her words followed a harsh rebuke from Jon Weaks, the head of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, who said Boeing was demonstrating “arrogance, ignorance, and greed” in its push to get the plane flying again.

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“Russia, he said, is part of Europe and it cannot and should not be ignored..”

Macron Plays Fox in the EU Hen House (Spiegel)

French diplomats in Brussels are open about the fact that differences between Berlin and Paris are growing more frequent. Berlin officials, by contrast, insist that the frontlines now run between Paris and the rest of the EU. That has also been easy to see when it comes to Brexit. In recent months, Macron has repeatedly failed in his demand that Britain not be granted a deferral or, if unavoidable, merely a short delay. Most recently, the French had virtually no allies left on the issue. Macron was similarly isolated at the EU summit in mid-October, when he blocked the beginning of accession negotiations with North Macedonia by making use of his veto. Outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker referred to it as a “historic mistake” that could endanger the Balkan country’s stability.

Merkel likewise said pointedly that the EU had to “remain reliable.” Insiders say that it only became clear how Macron would vote on the issue just one day before EU heads of state and government gathered for the summit. When Chancellery staff inquire at the Élysée as to why they aren’t always kept informed, they sometimes receive answers that they have thus far only associated with the Trump administration in Washington: Élysée staff, they hear, only has limited influence over the president. In August, Macron initiated a new approach to Russia without consulting at all with his allies. Just a few days ahead of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, a group that Russia was expelled from after the annexation of the Crimea, Macron invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to southern France for talks.

Not speaking with Russia would be a major mistake, Macron said immediately before the consultations. Russia, he said, is part of Europe and it cannot and should not be ignored, adding that he believed in the power of geography and European history. Even then, it was growing clear that Macron was thinking about a new security concept for Europe. For Macron, a strong Europe is one that self-confidently seeks dialogue with the large and mid-sized powers the world over. The more we do to ensure that Russia becomes a power within Europe, Macron said at the time, the better.

Read more …

Some people are suggesting the Saudis badly need the cash.

Saudi Aramco IPO Set To Value Company Up To $1.7 Trillion (CNBC)

Saudi Aramco has set a price range for its listing that implies the oil giant is worth between $1.6 trillion to $1.7 trillion, below the $2 trillion that the Saudi crown prince had previously targeted, making it potentially the world’s biggest IPO. Aramco said on Sunday it plans to sell 1.5% of its shares or about 3 billion shares, at an indicative price range of 30 riyals ($8.00) to 32 riyals, valuing the initial public offering (IPO), as much as 96 billion riyals ($25.60 billion) at the top end of the range. Aramco could just beat the record-breaking $25 billion raised by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba when it made its stock market debut in New York in 2014.

Read more …

A sreies of protests articles. The one in Iran ignited fast.

Iran Gas Price Hike Protests Escalate (RT)

The Iranian government’s surprise decision to raise gasoline prices, which caused protests around the country, should be implemented, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said, blaming the violence amid demonstrations on criminals. The divisive decision, announced this week, has caused protests in several Iranian cities. Khamenei was cited by the Iranian media on Sunday as saying that, while he was no expert in petrol industry, he still believed the government’s decision should be implemented. The Iranian leader also confirmed that there have been deaths related to the protests caused by the hike, blaming them on foreign influence.


“Sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so,” he said as quoted by state TV. The demonstrations that started on Friday have been largely peaceful, but on some occasions the public anger escalated into vandalism and clashes. Iranian authorities confirmed that one person was killed in the southeastern city of Sirjan. There were also reports of protesters vandalizing cars, setting banks on fire and otherwise causing property damage.

Read more …

There’s a shift in emotion going on. Sympathy for the Hong Kong protesters appears to be waning.

Hong Kong Protesters Hurl PETROL BOMBS, Shoot ARROWS At Police (RT)

Demonstrators in Hong Kong attacked common citizens who attempted to free the roads from barricades amid a new round of clashes with police. A fierce street battle erupted outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) on Sunday, as protesters threw bricks at police, which responded with tear gas and water cannons. The officers were trying to remove the barricades erected by the demonstrators earlier this week, and urged them to stop placing metal spikes on the roads in hopes of piercing the police vehicles’ tires. The protesters earlier attacked a group of citizens who were clearing the roadblocks and debris outside the PolyU. A man and a woman were hospitalized with head injuries in result of the attack.

Similar scuffles occurred near the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), where black-clad, masked rioters threw bricks and petrol bombs at the volunteers, who were removing the makeshift barricades. The residents, many of whom are alumnae of these universities, have answered online calls from pro-government politicians to help clean the streets. Some of them told the South China Morning Post that protesters have gone “too far” when they switched from rioting downtown to seizing campuses and blocking major roads, including the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which connects the Hong Kong Island with the rest of the city.

Around 50 Chinese army soldiers joined the volunteers to dismantle the barricades near the Hong Kong Baptist University, marking the first time when Beijing’s troops have left their barracks since the start of the protests this summer. The soldiers were unarmed and wore no protective gear.

Read more …

“Celebrating” the 1 year anniversary.

Tensions Run High During Yellow Vests Protests (RT)

Yellow Vest protesters were doused with water during clashes with police and rioting in downtown Paris, ahead of the first anniversary of their nationwide anti-government demonstrations. The Place d’Italie circle in the city’s 13th arrondissement descended into chaos as protesters erected makeshift barricades and threw stones at police officers, which responded with tear gas and water cannon. The protesters overturned several parked cars and set vehicles on fire. A group of Yellow Vests attempted to block a fire truck from getting through to the barricades, which were also set ablaze.


A shopping mall and several bus stops were vandalized when the protesters vented their anger over what they deem as government inaction towards their demands, made throughout a full year of weekly demonstrations. The windows of a bank were smashed during the rioting. The protester groups on social media had earlier called on their colleagues to occupy and block several stores, including the Ikea and Apple stores. Police were also called in to disperse protesters who were blocking traffic along the Boulevard Peripherique, the city’s main ring ‘beltway’ road. The authorities revoked their permit to stage a rally at the Place d’Italie, after the protests turned violent. Police had arrested 61 protesters by 3pm, Prefect of Paris Didier Lallement confirmed, adding that some officers were injured in the clashes.

Read more …

Can they bring Morales back?

Bolivia Death Toll Mounts Amid Pro-Evo Morales Protests (BBC)

The death toll in Bolivia continues to rise after violent clashes between security forces and supporters of former President Evo Morales. On Friday, security forces opened fire on supporters of Mr Morales in Sacaba, killing at least eight people. A doctor in the city told the Associated Press that most of those killed and injured had bullet wounds. The country’s national ombudsman said a total of 19 people had died since the disputed election on 20 October. On Saturday, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that violence in Bolivia could “spin out of control”. “Repressive actions by the authorities… are likely to jeopardise any possible avenue for dialogue,” she added. Amid claims of electoral fraud, Mr Morales resigned on 10 November and later fled to Mexico.


On Friday, before the violence in Sacaba, he told the BBC that there were no meaningful charges that could be brought against him. He was responding to interim President Jeanine Áñez, who said he could be prosecuted if he returned to Bolivia. Mr Morales had previously said he was willing to return to Bolivia in order to restore peace. He also told US broadcaster CNN that what happened in Sacaba was “a real massacre”. Ms Áñez, who declared herself interim president on Tuesday, has already broken ties with Venezuela and is sending home more than 700 Cuban medics. The moves are meant to show that the interim government is distancing itself from Mr Morales’s regional left-wing allies.

Read more …

Heavy protests in Chile too.

Chile Agrees To Replace Pinochet Constitution Amid Turbulent Protests (AP)

Chile’s most important political parties agreed Friday to call for a new constitution to replace one imposed by a military dictatorship almost 40 years ago, a move that follows a month of turbulent social protests in the streets. The agreement calls for an April plebiscite asking Chileans who should draft that document: the existing Congress or a new group made up of legislators and specially elected citizens. Holding the plebiscite itself will require a modification of the existing constitution. The agreement follows a month of demonstrations that began with a protest over subway fares and expanded into a mass movement against inequality that has shaken the nation.


At least 25 people have died and thousands injured. It wasn’t immediately clear if the pact would pacify the hundreds of thousands of Chileans who have taken to the streets in recent weeks. “They are hearing what the people have been asking for so long,” said Pedro Alastuey, a 36-year-old physical education teacher who took part in some of the protests. But he added, “Until they give a concrete solution to the demands of the people, it will be very hard to stop this.” [..] A broad swath of the centre and left of Chile’s political spectrum has long demanded scrapping or major overhauls to the 1980 constitution imposed by the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, which overthrew democratically elected Socialist Party President Salvador Allende in 1973.

Read more …

 

 

 

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Aug 302019
 

 

Of course the notion of addressing Hong Kong has been in my mind for a while, but it’s a bit of a moving target: things change all the time, and seemingly on the fly. However, with today’s fresh developments, it seems silly to wait any longer. Hong Kong Civic party lawmaker Dennis Kwok yesterday expressed the reason way better than I could:

As I said time and again, the use of troops in Hong Kong will be the end of Hong Kong, and I would warn against any such move on the part of the central people’s government.”

He said that before today’s arrests -and subsequent release on bail- of a handful of alleged protest leaders Joshua Wong, Andy Chan, and Agnes Chow. Who, if you read between the lines, didn’t lead much of anything; they may be figure-heads, but that’s not the same thing. The protests are either lacking leaders or everyone’s a leader, depending on who you ask. So why arrest them to begin with? You tell me.

What I did find enlightening was Reuters’ report yesterday on Beijing having rejected Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s (how is CEO a political function?) proposal to communicate with the protesters and perhaps allow some concessions to their demands. I know it’s only one source, but it appears quite feasible.

Carrie Lam is between a rock and a hard place, and she admits it -at least according to the Reuters piece-, though not to the protesters. Beijing is in exactly such a spot, but won’t admit it, ever. And that right there is Hong Kong’s main issue.

 

China Rejected Hong Kong Plan To Appease Protesters

Earlier this summer, Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, submitted a report to Beijing that assessed protesters’ five key demands and found that withdrawing a contentious extradition bill could help defuse the mounting political crisis in the territory.

The Chinese central government rejected Lam’s proposal to withdraw the extradition bill and ordered her not to yield to any of the protesters’ other demands at that time, three individuals with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. China’s role in directing how Hong Kong handles the protests has been widely assumed, supported by stern statements in state media about the country’s sovereignty and protesters’ “radical” goals.

Beijing’s rebuff of Lam’s proposal for how to resolve the crisis, detailed for the first time by Reuters, represents concrete evidence of the extent to which China is controlling the Hong Kong government’s response to the unrest. The Chinese central government has condemned the protests and accused foreign powers of fuelling unrest. The Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned other nations against interfering in Hong Kong, reiterating that the situation there is an “internal affair.”

Why the extradition bill, which would have allowed for people to be extradited from Hong Kong to the mainland was ever proposed, g-d only knows. Remember, the transfer of control over the city to China is still 28 years away. Why do it now? It was obvious all along it would meet with fierce resistance.

Blindness or blinders in the Politburo? Quite possible, it’s not as if those guys typically get out much. It’s just that they’re taking a giant risk, because as Dennis Kwok says, “the use of troops in Hong Kong will be the end of Hong Kong”. What he means, and Beijing surely understands, is the end of Hong Kong’s status as a trade and finance center.

Not a trifle matter for sure. Hong Kong has built that status over a long period -that happens in fields where trust is so crucial-, much like the City of London and Wall Street. You can break that down in no time, but you can’t rebuild the trust elsewhere in anywhere near that timeframe, it takes many years.

China has major plans to ‘move’ and/or ‘share’ Hong Kong’s financial and trade ‘qualities’ to/with neighboring Macau and Shenzhen, but it’s nowhere near ready to make that transition. Remember, Hong Kong has its own dollar, the HKD. That’s not going to move to the mainland, not even in 2047. China only have the yuan, which is quite useless for international trade and FX.

 

 

Alors, what are we going to do about it, guys? On the one side, you have Beijing, which tried to push through the extradition bill and got it thrown back in its face with interest. But Beijing is allergic to losing face. On the other side you have the protesters, who realize this is now or never, that if they give in now, their freedom(s) will never come back.

Two immovable entities, but Beijing seems to think they can move this, that they have the upper hand. Do they, though? 7.5 million people live in Hong Kong, a fair amount of whom are below the age of 10 or above the age of 75. So the 1.5 million that were already out on the streets in some of this year’s protests added up to a quarter of the population. That’s a lot of people.

Sending in troops would hurt China’s economy something real bad, because it would mean the end of the Hong Kong trade hub (corporations, banks, rich people would leave). And most of the population understand the now-or-never notion. I read somewhere that though 92% of the people are ‘Chinese’, only 11% call themselves that.

The vast majority ‘identifies’ as Hong Kongers. And (perceived) freedom is a big part of that. Many of those Hong Kongers are young and highly educated, salaries are high (finance sector), they can travel freely, study abroad. Those who are older are often the parents of these young people, who’ve worked very hard to give their kids these options.

There have been -and will be again- protests from groups of doctors, lawyers, finance professionals, you name it. They don’t want to run the risk of being picked off the streets by mainland Chinese soldiers OR by Hong Kong police forces instructed by Beijing.

When/If things get down to the wire, Hong Kongers will prove very much to be an immovable force. They have too much to lose not to be. They have, in their own view, everything to lose (which some people would translate as nothing to lose, but meaning the same). And they’re up against a Politburo that reacts to them like it’s never left the early 1900s.

This does not bode well for anyone, and if g-d forbid it comes down to serious fighting in the streets, it will bode ill for the entire world. Not only China depends on Hong Kong for much of its trade, the US and EU do, too, for their trade with China, from which they procure much of what is sold in their stores.

 

High time for everyone to sit down and talk. If there’s still time. The mass protest scheduled for tomorrow, August 31, may have been ‘officially’ called off, but there’s no proof Hong Kongers will stay home because of that. There IS proof of more military movements just across the Hong Kong border in Shenzhen, however.

Pre-emptively arresting and releasing a pair of 22-year-old kids may not do the job anymore for Beijing. But the Communist Party CCP thinks they cannot possibly lose. They may be wrong. 1.3 billion people is a mighty potential force, but it’s not always only about numbers. Sometimes it’s about now or never.

To me, personally, it feels like what is needed is for the CCP to modernize. But its very structure is set against that. It appears to be this inertia-laden colossus attempting to rule the 21st century with 100-year-old ideas. And yes, they’re talking about shutting down the internet in Hong Kong.

But that would mean shutting down the banks and trading houses too. As would sending in the tanks. According to the 1990s transition treaty signed with the UK, Beijing has until 2047 to fully incorporate Hong Kong. It may not go down smoothly then either, granted, but why push it today?

The West, the EU, UK, US -Putin even?!- can easily come up with a proposal for meetings on Hong Kong to be held over the next 28 years until 2047 that would allow Beijing to save face today. Let’s get it done, soon, win everyone involved some time, they all need it. We need it. And 28 years is plenty time. Before we inadvertently land in another Boxer War or Opium War or WWIII.

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 132016
 
 November 13, 2016  Posted by at 5:57 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Esther Bubley Waiting for Greyhound bus trip from Memphis to Louisville, KY 1943

 

Been scribbling several some post-election notes over the past few days, it seemed a good idea to not publish things too soon after the upset, even if I at least had the advantage that it wasn’t that much of a surprise or upset. But I’ve read far too many people too eager to write about how they haven’t moved an inch, and too many others who have -mostly reluctantly- moved but don’t know how or where to. It’s okay to think about such matters first, guys and dolls. Make that: it’s better. There’s too much nonsense out there as is. Why bother adding to the pile? Here’s a few thoughts in no particular order:

 

 

The transition we find ourselves in, into an era as profoundly different as it will be from the one that preceded it, can only possibly be chaotic. Smooth is not an option. Because it takes much time for people to recognize let alone accept that there is such a transition to begin with, and not everyone acknowledges or accepts it at the same time. Many never will at all, they will be left behind in their own realities tied down by the chains of what once was.

This transition is the one away from economic growth and globalization -centralization in general- and towards smaller, less centered and grandiose, politics and markets. It is not an idealistic transition towards self-sufficiency, it’s simply and inevitably what’s left once unfettered growth hits the skids. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near as bad as people would have you believe, or at least not necessarily so. What could make it real bad, though, is the widespread resistance and denial which seem certain to meet it.

Our entire worldviews and ‘philosophies’ are based on ever more and ever bigger and then some, and our entire economies are built upon it. That has already made us ignore the decline of our real markets for many years now. We focus on data about stock markets and the like, and ignore the demise of our respective heartlands and flyover countries, even as we experience Brexit and Trump and similar movements set to come to many more countries.

Donald Trump looks very much like the ideal fit for this transition – but nor because he understands the issue itself, or its implications. What matters is he promises to bring back jobs to America, and that’s what the country needs. Not so they can then export their products, but to consume them at home, and sell them in the domestic market.

That is the future of the world post-growth, and post-globalization. Every country and every society needs to focus on self-reliance, not as some idealistic luxury choice, but as a necessity. And that is not as bad or terrible as people would have you believe, and it’s not the end of the world. What would be terrible is if all we do is try and restart growth and globalization, because that would be a hideous waste of time and resources.

You’ll be flooded in the years to come, even more than today if you can imagine, with terms like protectionism and isolationism and even populism, but ignore all that. There’s nothing economically -let alone morally- wrong with people producing what they and their families and close neighbors themselves want and need without hauling it halfway around the world for a meagre profit, handing over control of their societies to strangers in the process.

There’s nothing wrong or negative with an American buying products made in America instead of in China. At least not for the man in the street. It’s not a threat to our ‘open societies’, as many claim. That openness does not depend on having things shipped to your stores over 1000s of miles, that you could have made yourselves at a potentially huge benefit to your local economy. An ‘open society’ is a state of mind, be it collective or personal. It’s not something that’s for sale.

 

 

Earlier this week I read what looks to be an apt observation: ‘Every white person in New York who didn’t vote for Trump is now out in the streets protesting against him’. But the people who protest now are miles off target and months too late: they should have stood up for Bernie when it became clear that the Hillary camp and the DNC conspired to oust him. Indeed, Bernie himself should have stood up back then, not for himself but for his supporters; they would have stood up with him.

Whether they all like it or not, being asleep and/or silent when big things happen that count, does carry a price. If you drop the ball, you can’t just pick it back up again and pretend it didn’t fall. Shouting ‘not my president’ in the wake of an election is a sign of weakness, no matter how well-intentioned. The protests should have taken place before the election, not after.

Moreover, to a large extent people are up in protest against the image the Hillary campaign and the media have painted of Trump, not the man himself. A difference they cannot see. Would these same people have been protesting if Hillary had won? No, they wouldn’t. But why?

Many voices expressed the wish that Americans would vote for Hillary, a story about a woman and a glass ceiling, instead of for the male and allegedly sexist and misogynist Donald Trump. Simply because she’s a woman, and it’s time for a female president.

These voices have been consistently and for a long time been blind to the fact that Hillary’s campaign and Foundation, in legal, shady and downright illegal ways, have long been financed to a substantial degree by uber-rich men in charge of Middle East oil extracting nations who have far more misogynist views and attitudes towards women than Trump will ever have.

These men carry things like misogyny, racism, xenophobia and homophobia high and proudly in their banners. Also, they’re well on their way towards obliterating not just an entire country in Yemen, but indeed an entire people, all with the enthusiastic support of Obama, Hillary and their friends and donors in the arms industry. And lest we forget, they sponsor ISIS too. Is that the future Americans want?

 

 

The bright side is the chances of a war with Russia have gone down substantially. While the odds have gone up dramatically of much fewer US servicemen and -women being sent abroad to engage in endless and countless battles and wars that never seemed to have much to do with the US, going back all the way to Korea and Vietnam.

How can either of these things can be perceived as negative? The continuation and expansion of -often proxy- hostilities versus Moscow would have been cast in stone had Hillary been elected, it was a milestone of her entire campaign. And a major part of this would have been fought at some desert location in the Middle East.

Where America has needlessly squandered the lives of many of its young and finest, to and in a mad scramble over control of oil resources which has resulted in nothing but a shapeless chaos that has equally needlessly killed millions of people, sent millions of others fleeing their homes and razed entire ancient civilizations, accomplishments that will follow America around the world for many years to come. Is that the future Americans want? Double down?

There’s -undeniably- still a risk that Donald Trump will succumb to the mighty hand of the military industrial complex. But at the same time, he may well be the country’s -and the world’s- best if not only chance at making that hand that much less mighty. There may be many things wrong with Trump -there are- but being in the pockets of arms manufacturers and other doctors of death is so far not among them, to our best knowledge.

 

 

Hillary and her crowd ran the entire election process from inside a cocoon, built largely on hubris and a lack of contact with the world outside. They had the media so much on their side that TV and newspapers became part of the Hillary cocoon, and reporters got locked into a groupthink mode that then in its turn infected the campaign itself.

What I mean is you can’t stop at saying Trump is a disaster, so let’s pick the other side, it was always very much a choice between two disasters. And at the same time, as I wrote at the Automatic Earth the day of the election, the US presidency is a poisoned chalice. There’s nothing simple about this.

Trump means a big clean-up for the GOP, and the Hillary loss means the chance for the Democrats to do the same. You bet those folks realize achingly well they could have won with Bernie. Hopefully that wing can take over substantially from the lying conniving machinery the DNC has turned out to be.

Someone summed it up as: Trump swept aside the Republicans, the Democrats, the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty, all in one fell swoop, and we should perhaps be thankful to him for that.

 

 

Trump has run his campaign catering to the anger that exists among Americans. And people experience and label that as ‘terrible’ and ‘awful’. His Republican friends and opponents find it terrible, because it scares the bejeezus out of them, and they’re too scared to go anywhere near that anger. Trump embraced the anger. Because he knew from the start, instinctively, that it was the only way he could win.

And you can think like the majority of your peers do, that all that commingling with the anger, with racists and bigots and what have you, is inexcusable. But what you miss out on if you take that approach and hold on to it, is that in that case the anger does not get addressed at all. It’s instead left free to just wander over the land and fester and grow on society, out of reach of politics, media, everything.

A certain by now very vilified cartoonist explained that what Trump does is to ‘feel’ what the angry crowd wants, and then play into it by making over the top statements targeted at the anger. That way this crowd will follow him, gather around him. This has worked like a charm. But no, that doesn’t make him look like a certain German dictator.

Because it does not mean that Trump is going to literally do everything he said in the over the top statements he made. It’s all just a basic sales trick. Trump makes the angry people feel like he knows, and cares about, their grievances. Just like a car salesman makes you think he knows just what you want and need in a car, and praises the assets of that car in such a way that it touches that part of you which makes you want the car.

But that doesn’t mean at the end of the day he’ll drive the same car home that you just bought off of him. He makes you think he is like you, and knows what you want, so he can sell you that car. That’s all. He’s judged you to be the right ‘target’ for that vehicle.

That is how Trump has reeled in America’s hidden anger, how he has gathered its lost hidden mob. And before you say anything else, it’s perhaps a good idea to wonder where that anger would go without Trump. Because it’s not going to go away by itself. It’s been growing and festering for a long time, and it’s well-armed, lest you forget.

The question then becomes: would America be a better, or a safer, place if the entire angry part of its population had again, and still, been ignored by everyone? Or is it better to have them gathered under the umbrella of Donald Trump? Take your pick. Don’t be shy.

Another way to phrase the issue is this: without the exact same sales tactics that Trump used to ‘gather the anger’ around him, the TV ads (most ads in general) you see on a daily basis would look completely different. Whatever products these ads sell, from detergents to cars, they do it by referring to your unconscious, not your rational abilities.

The ads, like Trump, sell feelings, not facts (if you don’t get that, you’re lost).

Yet nobody would think of taking the companies whose products are advertized this way to court -nobody even gets really angry with them- because the happy smily people and unending open roads bathed in sunshine from the ads do not magically appear once you purchase the product. We would even find that crazy, that anyone might take the images shown in the ads, literally.

We should interpret Trump’s campaign words along those same lines, the same way we ‘undergo’ the ads that play to our subconscious. The problem is, how do you do that? How do you interpret what you are largely unaware of on a rational level?

The president-elect will now need the same skills in order to ‘come down that mountain’ without antagonizing each and every side of the discussion, of the nation. He’ll have to convince the liberal camp that he didn’t mean everything he said in a literal sense, while at the same time keeping his ‘angry mob’ satisfied that he will do enough of what he promised them.

That will take a lot of persuading. But at the same time that happens to be the one thing he’s really good at. He’ll have to convince his voters that he’s not breaking his promises, just adjusting them in ways that will, if at all possible, be even more beneficial to them than the original ones.

Difficult, but if he can convince them that there are signs, delivered relatively fast, that their living conditions are improving, he may succeed. They just vent their anger at people that are visibly not themselves, but that’s not where the anger stems from.

 

 

There are all sorts of nasty things going on, racists and supremacist etc. But you can’t say that Trump caused that to happen. The most you could say is that he gives the people involved in that stuff the idea that because someone finally hears them, they can, are allowed to, make themselves heard.

But just because a few loose cannons let loose, doesn’t mean America has 60 million loose cannons who all voted for Trump and should all be condemned including Trump himself for good measure because there’s a few incidents. Not only is that a misinterpretation of what goes on, it prevents you from understanding what lies behind.

Those incidents at least have a lot to do with the fact that so many ignored Americans live in what Washington has long considered flyover country. It would be a lot more positive and productive at this point in time if everyone looks at what they themselves have gotten wrong over the past years -not just this election campaign- before pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

But seeing the dug-in heels in Britain almost five months after the Brexit vote, it’s hard to get your hopes up about people coming together, or even doing some genuine introspection. It’s easier to just remain stuck in your comfy little rut.

Thing is, the world is rapidly changing -it already has-, America is changing, Britain is, and many more countries will, it just takes an election to show how much. We’re transitioning to a next phase, and trying to deny we are with all our might, good luck and good night.

Or in a more poetic fashion – we can do that too-:

 

the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul

 

 

 

 

Mar 152016
 
 March 15, 2016  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  1 Response »


John M. Fox WCBS studios, 49 East 52nd Street, NYC 1948

Stocks: Consensual Hallucination (WS)
Mineworkers’ Protests Shake Chinese Leaders (CW)
China Ocean Freight Indices Plunge to Record Lows (WS)
Yuan Loses Its Luster In Global Trade (WSJ)
Chinese Investors Increase Buying in the US (WSJ)
China Drafts Rules for Tobin Tax on Currency Transactions (BBG)
Bank of Japan Holds Fire on Stimulus, Negative Rate Unchanged (BBG)
ECB Rate Cuts Help Spanish Home-Buyers, Hurt Banks (WSJ)
JPMorgan, Goldman Discuss Buying Deutsche Bank Derivatives (BBG)
Fears Rise Over US Car Loan Delinquencies (FT)
The Recession Australia Has To Have (ABC)
Obama To Kill Off Arctic Oil Drilling (Guardian)
The Cyprus Problem (FT)
Greek Asylum System Is Broken Cog In EU-Turkey Plan (EUO)
FYROM Returned About 600 Refugees To Greece (Reuters)
Greek Minister Sees Refugees Stuck For At Least Two Years (Kath.)

“..of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 20 reported “adjusted” earnings, with 18 of them reporting adjusted earnings that were higher than their earnings under GAAP”

Stocks: Consensual Hallucination (WS)

The simple fact is that corporate earnings data is out there for everyone to see, but no one wants to see it. Instead, everyone wants to see and believe the sweet fairy tale that Wall Street and Corporate America spin with such skill just for us, because if everyone believes that everyone believes in this fairy tale, even knowing that it is a fairy tale, it will somehow lead to ever higher stock prices. This is part of a phenomenon we’ve come to call “Consensual Hallucination.” But that fairy tale got spun to new fanciful extremes in 2015. Revenues of the S&P 500 companies fell 4.0% in the fourth quarter and 3.6% for the year, according to FactSet, with most of the companies having by now reported their earnings. And these earnings declined 3.4% in Q4, dragging earnings “growth” for the entire year into the negative, so a decline in earnings of 1.1%.

While companies can play with revenues to some extent, it’s more complicated and not nearly as rewarding as “adjusting” their profits. That’s the easiest thing to do in the world. A few keystrokes will do. There are no rules or laws against it, so long as it’s called something like “adjusted earnings.” The rewards are huge, in terms of share prices, stock options, bonuses, and for Wall Street, fees. The ultimate target of the magic is earnings per share. EPS is the most crucial term in the canon of the markets. Turns out, the 2015 “growth” in earnings, and particularly the “growth” in EPS – so a decline – as reported by FactSet and others is a figment of the vivid imagination of Wall Street and Corporate America, called “adjusted earnings,” where everything bad has been “adjusted” out of it.

The reason every developed economy uses standardized accounting rules is to give investors a modicum of insight into what is going on in a company, compare these numbers to those of other companies, and make at least not totally ignorant investment decisions. In the US, these are the generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, the most despised acronym of Wall Street and Corporate America. Yet even these principles offer plenty of flexibility for financial statement beautification. We get that. Yet they’re way too harsh for Wall Street. So companies file the required financial statements under GAAP for everyone to look at, but then they hype their “adjusted” earnings in their communications with investors. And the gap between the two in 2015 was a doozie.

For example, of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 20 reported “adjusted” earnings, with 18 of them reporting adjusted earnings that were higher than their earnings under GAAP, according to FactSet. That 18-to-2 relationship alone shows the clear bias of these adjustments: They’re used to inflate earnings, not to lower them to some more realistic level. These adjusted EPS were on average 31% higher in 2015 than EPS under GAAP. That’s way up from 2014 when 19 of the Dow components reported adjusted earnings that were on average 12% higher than under GAAP. And yet, despite the soaring portion of fiction, these adjusted EPS of the companies in the DOW still declined 4.8%. That’s bad enough. But under GAAP, beautified as it might have been, EPS plunged 12.3%.

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It’s beginning.

Mineworkers’ Protests Shake Chinese Leaders (CW)

Thousands of coal miners in the far northeast of China have been on strike for six days, demanding that China’s rulers – the so-called Communist Party dictatorship (CCP) – “give us back our money!” The protests, captured in dramatic video footage that is banned inside China, have shaken the Chinese regime during the very week when its ceremonial National People’s Congress (NPC) has been meeting in Beijing. A key discussion at the NPC has been about how the regime will cut the workforce in state-owned industries, with widely cited reports of 5-6 million redundancies, equivalent to one in six state sector jobs. The striking mineworkers of Heilongjiang province, a region already devastated by closures and layoffs, have given a courageous and resounding answer to these plans.

The mineworkers’ protests began on Wednesday 9 March in the city of Shuangyashan. Longmay Group, the largest state-owned coal producer in Heilongjiang and the whole of northeastern China, operates 10 mines in Shuangyashan and over 40 across the province as a whole. Last September, Longmay announced 100,000 job cuts – 40% of its entire workforce. The company owes a total of 800 million yuan (US$123 million) in unpaid wages dating from 2014. There have been earlier protests to demand payment of wage arrears by Longmay workers in different cities around Heilongjiang. The strike in Shuangyashan did not materialise from nowhere in other words, but is akin to a match being dropped into a large pool of gasoline.

“What the Shuangyashan incident has exposed is just a tip of the iceberg. It has been pretty endemic (workers not getting paid),” a rights activist from Heilongjiang told the Voice of America website. The trigger for the strike was a statement made by Heilongjiang’s governor Lu Hao during the NPC. At a televised meeting on 6 March, Lu claimed there were no wage arrears among Longmay workers and held the company up as an example of successful restructuring. He also stated that annual payrolls of Longmay are 10 billion yuan, equivalent to one-third of the provincial government’s entire budget, implying that the Longmay workforce are a burden on the province. “Their income hasn’t fallen a penny,” said Lu, in comments that made the workers’ anger spill over.

Initially breaking out in the Dongrong district of the city where Longmay runs three mines, the protests quickly spread across the whole of Shuangyashan. According to local sources eight out of the ten pits in Shuangyashan are only partially working, with mineworkers facing months of wage arrears. Whereas underground workers could earn 6,000 yuan a month in the past, most receive just half this level now – when they get paid. For other workers, monthly salaries have been cut to just 800 yuan (US$120)..

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Wolf Richter summarizes China perfectly: “As exports of money from China is flourishing at a stunning pace, exports of goods are deteriorating at an equally stunning pace. “

China Ocean Freight Indices Plunge to Record Lows (WS)

Money is leaving China in myriad ways, chasing after overseas assets in near-panic mode. So Anbang Insurance Group, after having already acquired the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan a year ago for a record $1.95 billion from Hilton Worldwide Holdings, at the time majority-owned by Blackstone, and after having acquired office buildings in New York and Canada, has struck out again. It agreed to acquire Strategic Hotels & Resorts from Blackstone for a $6.5 billion. The trick? According to Bloomberg’s “people with knowledge of the matter,” Anbang paid $450 million more than Blackstone had paid for it three months ago! Other Chinese companies have pursued targets in the US, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere with similar disregard for price, after seven years of central-bank driven asset price inflation. As exports of money from China is flourishing at a stunning pace, exports of goods are deteriorating at an equally stunning pace.

February’s 25% plunge in exports was the 11th month of year-over-year declines in 12 months, as global demand for Chinese goods is waning. And ocean freight rates – the amount it costs to ship containers from China to ports around the world – have plunged to historic lows. The China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI), published weekly, tracks contractual and spot-market rates for shipping containers from major ports in China to 14 regions around the world. Unlike most Chinese government data, this index reflects the unvarnished reality of the shipping industry in a languishing global economy. For the latest reporting week, the index dropped 4.1% to 705.6, its lowest level ever. It has plunged 34.4% from the already low levels in February last year and nearly 30% since its inception in 1998 when it was set at 1,000. This is what the ongoing collapse in shipping rates looks like:

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What state control gets you.

Yuan Loses Its Luster In Global Trade (WSJ)

The yuan is losing its luster as a means of settling cross-border transactions, a development that trading companies blame in part on the Chinese government’s reluctance to loosen its grip on the currency. Bureaucratic issues and a lack of yuan-denominated assets in which to invest have discouraged non-Chinese companies from using the currency in trade with their Chinese partners. Beijing’s recent heavy-handed market interventions have further reduced the currency’s appeal for foreigners, according to Chinese importers and exporters. The yuan’s popularity outside China slipped 0.2% last year, according to an index of metrics such as deposits and foreign-exchange turnover compiled by Standard Chartered since late 2010.

That was the index’s first ever annual decline, although it ticked up in the first month of 2016. Payments using the yuan fell to 21% of China’s total trade last October, before recovering to 30% in January, still well below the 37% peak recorded in August, according to central-bank data. “Given the yuan’s volatility and the authorities’ murky policy intentions, it’s hard to see interest in using the currency among our customers,” said Zhou Lin, finance director of Ningbo United Group Import & Export, a trading firm from China’s east coast that exports steel products and garments and imports coal and wood. “Demand for [yuan trade settlement] will only shrink further,” Mr. Zhou predicted.

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“..36 purchases of U.S. companies valued at $39 billion, eclipsing 2015’s full-year record of $17 billion..”

Chinese Investors Increase Buying in the US (WSJ)

Chinese companies are continuing their U.S. shopping spree. On Monday, the focus was on real estate. A group led by China’s Anbang Insurance came in with a $12.8 billion takeover offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The buyout offer threatens to upend Starwood’s tie-up with Marriott International. Anbang is also near a deal to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts from a Blackstone-managed real-estate fund, people familiar with the situation said. Chinese companies have announced 36 purchases of U.S. companies valued at $39 billion, eclipsing 2015’s full-year record of $17 billion through 114 deals. And 2015 broke the record set in 2014, when Chinese buyers spent $14 billion on U.S. acquisitions. The tally for each year includes transactions where Chinese firms took big stakes in U.S. firms, such as the 5.6% stake that Alibaba took in Groupon in February.

Globally outbound Chinese M&A activity is closing in on its full-year high. Chinese companies have spent $102 billion to buy companies outside of its borders, just shy of its full-year record set in 2015 of $106 billion. The $43 billion acquisition of Swiss pesticide and seed company Syngenta by government-owned China National Chemical Corp. accounts for a large portion of that volume. Beyond real estate, Chinese companies have aggressively pursued deals for U.S. chip makers. In mid-February, U.S. technology distributor Ingram Microid said it had agreed to be acquired for about $6 billion by a unit of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group. Chinese buyers also have sought break up a number of existing deals for U.S. semiconductor companies with offers of their own.

Late last year, a group including China Resources Microelectronics and Hua Capital Management made an unsolicited bid for Fairchild Semiconductor International, which already had a deal with U.S. chip maker ON Semiconductor. Prior to that deal, the Chinese chip maker Montage Technology sought to break up Diodes planned purchased of Pericom Semiconductor. Both Fairchild and Pericom rejected the proposals from the Chinese firms, citing concerns that they would fail to pass muster with U.S. authorities on national-security grounds. U.S. regulators -specifically the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment- have pushed back on Chinese purchases. In January, the committee blocked Royal Philips planned $2.8 billion sale of most of its lighting components and automotive-lighting unit to a Chinese investor on national-security grounds. The aggressive push into the U.S. comes amid slowing growth in China.

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Smells desperate.

China Drafts Rules for Tobin Tax on Currency Transactions (BBG)

China’s central bank has drafted rules for a tax on foreign-exchange transactions that would help curb currency speculation, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The initial rate of the so-called Tobin tax may be kept at zero to allow authorities time to refine the rules, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. The tax is not designed to disrupt hedging and other foreign-exchange transactions undertaken by companies, they said. Imposing a levy on foreign-exchange trading would be the most extreme step yet by policy makers to prevent speculative bets against the Chinese currency, after state-run banks repeatedly intervened to support the yuan and the government intensified a crackdown on capital outflows.

A Tobin tax would complicate plans by China to create an international reserve currency and could undermine the leadership’s pledge to increase the role of market forces in the world’s second-largest economy. “These measures can’t guarantee volatility in the market will come down since it’s difficult to identify if currency trading is down to speculation or the genuine need of companies hedging their foreign-exchange exposure,” said Tommy Ong, managing director for treasury and markets at DBS Hong Kong Ltd. “There haven’t been many successful experiences of this happening anywhere else in the world.” The rules still need central government approval and it’s not clear how quickly they can be implemented, the people said. PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang raised the possibility of implementing the punitive measure late last year in an article written for China Finance magazine.

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Deflation misunderstood.

Bank of Japan Holds Fire on Stimulus, Negative Rate Unchanged (BBG)

The Bank of Japan refrained from bolstering its record monetary stimulus as policy makers gauge the impact of the negative interest-rate strategy they adopted in January. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his board kept the target for increasing the monetary base unchanged, and left their benchmark rate at minus 0.1%, the BOJ said in a statement on Tuesday. The decision was forecast by 35 of 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The central bank reiterated that it will add easing if necessary. With the BOJ far from its 2% inflation goal and economic growth stalling, most analysts have seen additional stimulus as just a matter of time.

The stakes are rising for Kuroda, with household and corporate sentiment waning and investors questioning whether monetary policy is reaching its limits. The governor holds a press briefing later today. “You can see from the statement the agony for the BOJ in the gap between their hopes and the realities in the economy and prices,” said Kyohei Morita, an economist at Barclays. “Japanese inflation is at a level where even the BOJ has to admit its weakness. It is leaning toward additional stimulus and I expect it to be in July.”

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Mortgages for free.

ECB Rate Cuts Help Spanish Home-Buyers, Hurt Banks (WSJ)

Sheila Guerrero loves Mario Draghi. Her Spanish bank probably doesn’t. Ms. Guerrero’s mortgage payments have fallen by about 40% since she and her husband took out a loan in 2006 to buy their two-bedroom home on the southern outskirts of Madrid. The current payments of €485 a month, or about $541, she says, are “less than some people pay in rent.” Mortgage borrowers in Spain, and their banks, are acutely affected by the rate cuts that ECB President Mr. Draghi, rolled out on Thursday. That is because 96% of mortgages in Spain, a far higher percentage than in other European countries, are variable-rate loans that fluctuate with the rise and fall of the euro interbank offered rate. The 12-month Euribor, as the rate is known, plummeted from 2.2% in mid-2011 into negative territory last month. It is now around -0.03%.

The nosedive is a boon to millions of Spanish homeowners, whose mortgage payments are typically repriced each year based on changes in the rate. It has been a bust for the balance sheets of Spanish banks, helping to drive down their stock prices in recent months. The ECB’s announcement Thursday brought some relief for lenders because it included an offer of cheaper funding through new long-term loans to eurozone banks. Investors welcomed the news, and shares of major Spanish banks surged on Friday. Still, negative rates remain a drag on the banks’ profitability. Each drop of 10 basis points in the 12-month Euribor rate triggers around a 2% decline in a profit metric for Spanish banks known as net interest income, Daragh Quinn, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, wrote in a research report Tuesday.

One basis point is equal to one one-hundredth of a percentage point. Net interest income is the difference between what lenders pay clients for deposits and charge for loans. Spanish banks are trying to compensate for the hit to net interest income by shifting away from mortgages, which have accounted for about half their lending, to business loans that carry higher interest rates. But the shift is happening en masse, driving down the rate on business loans too. Ms. Guerrero and her husband, a mechanic, began paying €800 a month when they took out the 50-year loan a decade ago, when they were in their 20s. Their current mortgage will be repriced in April based on February’s negative Euribor rate, which she expects will reduce it by €15, to €470. “Every extra bit you can get is welcome,” said Ms. Guerrero. Mortgages issued by Spanish banks yielded an average of 1.51% in January, one of the lowest rates in all of Europe, ECB data show. That figure compares with 2.58% in Italy and 3.27% in Germany.

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Deutsche derivatives start cracking. Uncleared, single-name, oh boy! How many pennies do they get on the buck?

JPMorgan, Goldman Discuss Buying Deutsche Bank Derivatives (BBG)

Deutsche Bank, the lender exiting some trading operations, is in talks with JPMorgan Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to sell the last batches of about 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in complex financial instruments, people with knowledge of the matter said. Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, has sold about two-thirds of the portfolio of uncleared, mostly single-name credit default swaps since last year and wants to sell the rest within the next few months, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. The three U.S. banks have already purchased some of the instruments, the people said.

Deutsche Bank is withdrawing from countries, dumping unprofitable clients and pulling out of businesses as co-CEO John Cryan, 55, tries to boost profit and meet tougher capital rules after starting in July. He inherited a plan by his predecessor, Anshu Jain, to stop trading most credit default swaps tied to individual companies after new banking regulations made them costlier. “It’s all about capital and leverage,” said Chris Wheeler at Atlantic Equities. “Cryan clearly feels it’s not a profitable business, given the need to provide more capital under new regulations.” JPMorgan was among banks in talks to purchase more than $250 billion of the swaps, while Citigroup had already bought almost $250 billion, Bloomberg News reported in October. Deutsche Bank’s portfolio of swaps had a gross notional value of about 1 trillion euros when it began sales last year, the people said. That measure includes long and short bets and doesn’t account for offsetting contracts.

[..] Deutsche Bank’s swaps are uncleared, meaning that investors trade them directly with each other rather than through one of the clearinghouses that are mandatory for many trades after the crash. Europe’s biggest banks will need billions of dollars to meet new rules for collateral that they must set aside when trading uncleared swaps, regulators said this week. The swaps are mostly “single-name,” meaning that they’re tied to individual companies’ creditworthiness, as opposed to an index of securities, one of the people said. Deutsche Bank stopped trading these instruments in late 2014, the lender said then. The total size of the credit derivatives market has dropped by almost two-thirds from $33 trillion in 2008, according to the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.

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Those are old worries, FT.

Fears Rise Over US Car Loan Delinquencies (FT)

HDelinquencies on poor-quality US car loans have climbed to their highest level in almost two decades, according to Fitch Ratings, reinforcing concerns over the rapidly growing market. The rate of “subprime” auto loans overdue by more than 60 days rose to 5.16% in February. This surpassed the post-financial crisis peak and was the highest since the 5.96% reading in October 1996, according to the rating agency. Subprime auto loans have long been a concern for analysts, some of whom feared that rapid issuance since the crisis and weakening lending standards would cause problems in the market for securitised auto loans. There, banks repackage loans into asset-backed securities and sell them on to investors, much like they did with subprime mortgages in the 2000s.

“Sharp origination growth, increased competition and weaker underwriting standards over the past three years have all contributed to the weaker performance of the past year,” Fitch Ratings said in its report. The overall US auto finance market passed $1tn in 2015, powered by strong car sales. Issuance of US auto loan-backed ABS climbed 17% to $82.5bn last year, according to data provider Dealogic, the strongest year for such sales since 2005. Fitch tracks the performance of almost $100bn of auto loans that have been securitised into so-called asset-backed bonds, of which just over a third is considered subprime. The delinquency rate on prime US auto ABS stood at just 0.46% in February, up slightly month-on-month but flat compared to the same month in 2015.

Subprime typically means borrowers with scores below 620 from FICO, the biggest credit risk scorer, which rates consumers from 300 to 850. Fitch expects both prime and subprime auto loan ABS performance to improve this spring thanks to tax refunds, but that the seasonal benefits will be more muted given the weakening of loan quality and the expected softening of the US wholesale car market. “Both the prime and subprime sectors have been buoyed by strong used vehicle values over the past five years, contributing to lower loss severity on defaults,” the report said. “However, with new vehicle sales and expected off-lease vehicle supply levels at historical highs entering 2016, Fitch anticipates weakness in the wholesale market.”

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“Australia’s net foreign debt is now over a trillion dollars, and less than a quarter of that is public debt.”

The Recession Australia Has To Have (ABC)

Earlier this week, Liberal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton warned that Labor’s proposed property investment tax changes would bring the economy to “a shuddering halt” and “crash” the stock market. His comments drew a swift rebuke from Labor’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, who described them as “reckless” and part of an “outlandish scare campaign”. But are they really so farfetched? Given the massive impact of Australia’s housing market on the economy as a whole, perhaps not. But that’s precisely why something needs to be done now, so that the possibility of a recession doesn’t become the threat of a depression. If we look closely at Australia’s GDP figures, we can get a sense of how out of kilter our housing market has become – and what might happen if the rug was pulled out from beneath it.

Over the past year, residential construction and renovations grew by around 10%, according to the ABS national accounts. The residential building sector alone thus directly added around half a percentage point to the nation’s 3% GDP growth. Obviously, if the sector stopped expanding, other things being equal, GDP growth would slow to 2.5%. If the industry shrank by an equivalent amount, it would have directly pulled GDP growth back closer to 2%. However, that’s only the beginning. As the home is by far the biggest asset for most of the roughly two-thirds of households who own one (outright or mortgaged), the “wealth effect” of rising property prices is a major driver of household consumption. Unlike residential building which makes up about 5.3% of spending in the economy, household consumption makes up nearly 56%.

If household consumption fell, there is a good chance Australia could see its first recession in a quarter of a century. Last quarter, “final consumption expenditure” was by far the biggest contributor to Australia’s economic growth, adding 0.4 percentage points out of a 0.6% GDP increase. Its mammoth size relative to the total economy saw household expenditure contribute just over half of Australia’s 3% economic growth last year, even though household spending only grew a tepid 2.9%. If falling home prices halted growth in household consumption, that would take a further 1.6 percentage points off growth. Not only has Australian household debt-to-income roughly tripled since the late 1980s to a fresh record 184.6%, driven entirely by surging housing debt, but most of that money has been borrowed from offshore. Australia’s net foreign debt is now over a trillion dollars, and less than a quarter of that is public debt.

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Canada wins?

Obama To Kill Off Arctic Oil Drilling (Guardian)

The Obama administration is expected to put virtually all of the Arctic and much of the Atlantic off limits for oil and gas drilling until 2022 in a decision that could be announced as early as Tuesday. The decision reverses Barack Obama’s move just last year to open up a vast swathe of the Atlantic coast to drilling – and consolidates the president’s efforts to protect the Arctic and fight climate change during his final months in the White House. The five-year drilling plan, which will be formally announced by the interior department, was expected to block immediate prospects of hunting for oil in the Arctic, according to those familiar with the proposals. The move was widely anticipated after Obama and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, declared last week they would follow “science-based standards” when it came to sanctioning new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

But the plan was also expected to seal off large areas of the Atlantic coast from future exploration, following protests from coastal communities in the Carolinas and Georgia – and that could cause reverberations in the presidential elections. Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron have been pushing heavily to reopen drilling off the Atlantic coast, and Republicans and some state governors were also in favour. Obama had been inclined to agree. But after protests from dozens of coastal tourist towns, which feared a repeat of BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and opposition to drilling from the Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Georgia and the Carolinas were expected to remain closed to future drilling, sources familiar with the plans said.

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Why the EU doesn’t work, and never will. This time it’s all of Europe against tiny Cyprus.

The Cyprus Problem (FT)

Donald Tusk, the European Council president who has been attempting to broker a deal to stop the influx of refugees into the EU, has flown to Nicosia for a meeting this morning with Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades. For a man who spent the week before the last EU migration summit travelling to seven different capitals in four days, the fact that Mr Tusk is making Cyprus his only stop ahead of the next two-day gathering beginning Thursday is telling: the small island nation may prove the most difficult needle to thread in Brussels’ nascent deal with Turkey to take back thousands of migrants now washing ashore in Greece. [UPDATE: Mr Tusk has tacked on an evening trip to Ankara at the last minute.]

Cyprus has long been one of the biggest complicating factors in EU-Turkey relations, so objections from Nicosia to the demands being made by Ankara– another €3bn in aid, a visa-free travel scheme, opening of new “chapters” in EU membership talks – may have been expected. But the small group of EU leaders who brokered last week’s deal, led by Germany’s Angela Merkel, seemed to have forgotten that Cypriot objections this time around are far more consequential: the country is in the middle of delicate talks that diplomats believe are the best (and perhaps last) chance to reunify an island divided since Turkey invaded and held its northern half in 1974.

For Mr Anastasiades, making concessions to Ankara now without any compensation would not only cost him politically at home, but could wreck reunification talks altogether since the Greek Cypriot community he leads would likely abandon him. Like all other 27 EU heads of state, Mr Anastasiades can, on his own, veto the Turkey deal. Officials involved in last week’s summit now admit they may have mishandled the Cyprus issue; at one point, Mr Anastasiades was put into a room with Ms Merkel and the leaders of four other countries, all of whom pressured him to give up the “freeze” Nicosia has on the five membership chapters. The freeze was imposed by Cyprus in 2009 because Ankara had not lived up to commitments made to the EU to recognise the Nicosia-based Greek Cypriot government, and Mr Anastasiades has repeatedly insisted he cannot simply give up on the position without something in return.

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There’s enough being blamed on Greece as is.

Greek Asylum System Is Broken Cog In EU-Turkey Plan (EUO)

Much has been said on the merits of a draft EU-Turkey deal to return unwanted migrants from Greek islands. The plan hinges on designating Turkey as a “safe” country in order to send all “irregular migrants” packing. But Turkey’s patchy application of the Geneva Convention, Europe’s post-WWII human rights bible, and allegations of push-backs have cast a shadow over the draft accord. Big questions also remain on how Greece intends to implement EU asylum law under the new plan. Even if Ankara fulfills its side of the bargain, Greece can still expect a years-long backlog of asylum applications, appeals and meta-appeals that risk undermining the objective of speedy returns. Greece’s asylum system is dysfunctional. Some asylum seekers have waited up to 13 years to have their cases heard.

For rapid returns to work, Greece would need to overhaul its system and hire many more judges. The European Commission wants Greece to make it quick and efficient. “It’s up to the Hellenic authorities to organise this,” commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Monday (14 March). The Greek deputy minister for citizens’ protection, Nikos Toskas, over the weekend said a return under its bilateral agreement with Turkey could take just 48 hours. But a glance at EU laws and at the Greek asylum process makes that prospect seem unlikely. EU law gives anyone, Syrian or otherwise, the right to defend their case before a Greek court after having transited through Turkey. “Asylum seekers won’t be denied the rights to be heard,” said Schinas.

It means all will have the right to claim Turkey is not safe enough for them to be returned to. If Greek authorities reject their initial claim, the asylum seeker can appeal. That appeal must heard before a Greek court. Past cases in Greece show that the system is cumbersome and already overstretched. The Greek Forum for Refugees, an Athens’ based migrants’ group, said in a blog post earlier this month that people who have had their appeal interviews “are now waiting for months, or even years, to receive a decision from the authorities”. As of September last year, Greece had 23,000 pending appeals for applications filed before June 2013. Nobody seems to know how many more cases were filed after June 2013 when the vast bulk of asylum seekers arrived in Greece.

The Greek administrative body that oversees them stopped digging into the cases last October after its mandate expired. “So currently there is a freeze in the examination of appeals. We don’t know how many are pending,” the Brussels-based European Council on Refugees and Exiles, a non-profit watchdog on EU policy, told EUobserver. Meanwhile, 35,000 more people became stuck in Greece in recent weeks after the EU slammed shut its Western Balkan borders About 2,000 more are arriving on Greek shores from Turkey each day. It is likely that many people who struggle across the Aegean will exploit their legal rights to prevent their immediate return. In an added complication, it is also unclear if the legal challenge would be handled in the zones where people are first screened, identified and registered or in separate courts in the Greek islands’ local capitals.

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Another sorrowful episode. Should Greece let them in? Or should it protect its borders?

FYROM Returned About 600 Migrants To Greece (Reuters)

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has sent about 600 refugees who crossed the border on Monday back to Greece, a FYROM police official said on Tuesday. Most of the migrants were taken back to Greece on Monday or overnight on trucks, the official said. Hundreds of migrants marched out of a Greek transit camp, hiked for hours along muddy paths and forded a rain-swollen river on Monday to get around a border fence and cross into FYROM, where they were detained.

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It’ll get completely out of hand way before.

Greek Minister Sees Refugees Stuck For At Least Two Years (Kath.)

It may take up to two years for refugees and migrants trapped in Greece by closed borders at its north to be relocated to other countries of the EU or deported, Alternate Defense Minister and coordinator of the ministerial team managing the crisis Dimitris Vitsas, told the Financial Times on Sunday. “The thousands of migrants at the border are awaiting the outcome of the March 17 summit [of EU leaders] on refugees, hoping they will then be able to cross”, Vitsas said, referring to a summit later this week with Turkish officials to finalize a plan for migrant returns and relocations. “We have to persuade them this is not going to happen .. then the Idomeni camp will quickly empty, I think by the end of the week”, Vitsas told the FT.

His interview came a day before a spokesman for the UNHCR warned that conditions at the makeshift camp that is home to over 10,000 migrants on Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are just unbelievable. Official estimates on Monday put the number of migrants trapped in Greece at over 44,000 as new arrivals kept landing on the country s eastern islands. Vitsas estimated that even if EU and Turkish leaders agree to speed up relocations, clearing the backlog in Greece may take up to two years. “We also have to recognize that some migrants will stay in Greece permanently. It’s going to happen”, Vitsas told the FT.

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