Dec 152022
 
 December 15, 2022  Posted by at 9:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  90 Responses »


Saul Leiter Taxi c1957

 

Why Crimea is Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Greatest Bargaining Chip (G.)
Germany & the Lies of Empire (Patrick Lawrence)
No Consensus In EU Over Ukraine Tribunal – Borrell (RT)
Civilian Death Toll From Ukrainian Attacks On Donbass Revealed (RT)
Twitter Became the Ministry of Truth (David Stockman)
Swimming With Sharks (CJ Hopkins)
Link Between MRNA Vaccine, Heart Inflammation ‘Covered Up’ – British MP (ToI)
DeSantis Forms Florida Grand Jury To Investigate Covid Vaccine Rollout (ZH)
The Mother of all Economic Crises (Ron Paul)
Bankman-Fried Lieutenant Alerted Regulators To Misuse Of Customer Funds (Block)
Trump Sues Pulitzer Board For Defamation (JTN)
Senate Unanimously Passes Ban On Using TikTok On Government Devices (JTN)
How Economic Sanctions in Ancient Greece Backfired, Prolonging War (GR)
With Elon Owning Twitter Government Only Controls 97% Of The Media (BBee)

 

 

 

 

Laura Ingraham: The left wants Covid amnesty, the right wants answers

 

 

 

 

Collusion

 

 

 

 

The color blindness in pieces like this from the Guardian is stunning. Western politicians and their media want their people to think they’re winning. But Crimea is Russian, and can’t be bargained with. It makes no difference what Zelensky says. Or anyone else. The only thing this attitude is good for is to keep the war going.

Why Crimea is Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Greatest Bargaining Chip (G.)

In a little noticed intervention the former British prime minister Boris Johnson – seen as a bosom ally of Volodymyr Zelenskiy – made the startling statement that if Russian troops were returned to lands they held inside Ukraine before the 24 February invasion that would represent a basis for reopening talks between Ukraine and Russia. The statement implies Ukraine would have to accept that the removal of Russian troops from Crimea would not be a precondition for the start of talks. In proposing this, in a piece last week in the Wall Street Journal, Johnson was making an admission made in private by many diplomats that a militarily enforced return of the Crimean peninsula – which was annexed by Russia in 2014 in a move rejected by the UN – to full Ukrainian control is fraught with risk.

Writing in the Spectator Henry Kissinger, the veteran diplomat, made a similar proposal, arguing Russia should only be required to disgorge territory gained since February this year. Land occupied nearly a decade ago, including Crimea, “could be the subject of a negotiation after a ceasefire”. If that negotiation failed to resolve particularly divisive territories, “internationally supervised referendums concerning self-determination could be applied”. Historically and ethnically Crimea is different from the rest of Ukraine, the argument goes. There are also 30,000 Russian forces dug in with little available Ukrainian amphibious access. Crimea’s retention in some form is so precious to Vladimir Putin that if he felt it were slipping from his grasp some fear he may act on his threat to deploy tactical nuclear weapons, the escalation that terrifies, and holds back, Washington and Europe.

In public Ukraine opposes a ceasefire with Putin retaining any land annexed since 2014. Zelenskiy has said countless times, for example at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore: “A simple ceasefire won’t do the trick. Unless we liberate our whole territory, we will not bring peace.” Zelenskiy has also invested diplomatically in setting up the Crimea Platform, a coordination body to put pressure on the world to keep the illegal occupation of Crimea in its sights. At the August meeting of the Platform the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, said: “Crimea is and was as much a part of Ukraine as Gdansk or Lublin are parts of Poland.” He added: “I think many of us need to do some examination of conscience for what has happened in the last year. Was the de facto consent to the occupation of Crimea a wrong signal from many countries to Russia?”

[..] One Ukrainian deputy defence minister, Volodymyr Havrylov, said Ukrainian forces would be on the peninsula by the end of December. In other pieces of bravado the senior presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak suggested a war crimes tribunal should be staged there on the basis “What started in Crimea must end there”. Petro Poroschenko, the former Ukrainian president, suggested a new Yalta conference could be held there next year, replicating the 1945 summit held to plan the post-second world war order.

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“By her own account, she was using diplomacy just as Kiev was, to scuttle the accord she pretended to sponsor.”

Germany & the Lies of Empire (Patrick Lawrence)

[..] how interesting to hear a German citizen object, in effect, that the Federal Republic has betrayed itself and its historical inheritance the very week its former chancellor told Germany’s leading newsmagazine and one of its leading dailies that the fruitful ambiguity of the nation’s past is gone now in favor of the manipulative, Russophobic dishonesty that lies at the heart of the proxy war the U.S. now wages against Russia in Ukraine. As has been widely reported and excellently analyzed — except in the mainstream American press, where Merkel’s remarks last week go unmentioned — the former German leader described her cynical, treacherous betrayal of Moscow during negotiations of the two Minsk Protocols, the first signed in September 2014 and the second the following February.

Berlin, Paris, the post-coup Kiev regime and Moscow were signatories to those accords. How well I recall the earnestness with which Russian President Vladimir Putin entered into the talks. How hopeful many of us were that, with Kiev having swiftly breached Minsk I, the second accord would produce what the Russian president sought — a lasting settlement that would leave Ukraine united and stabilize the security order on Russia’s southwestern border and Europe’s eastern flank. Earlier this year Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s first post-coup president, shocked everybody when he stated publicly that Kiev never had any intention of honoring the commitments it made when it signed the Minsk Protocols:

The talks in the Belarusian capital and all the promises were meant simply to buy time while Ukraine built fortifications in the eastern regions and trained and armed a military strong enough to wage a full-dress war of aggression against the Russian-tilted Donetsk and Lugansk regions. There was never any interest in the federal structure envisioned in Minsk II. There was never any intention of granting the breakaway regions the measure of autonomy Ukraine’s history and its mixed languages, cultures and traditions called for. Committing to all that was a ruse intended to deceive Moscow and the Donbass republics while Ukraine rearmed and shelled the latter in anticipation of the war that broke out in February.

Shocking, O.K. But Poroshenko was a jumped-up candy magnate running the wildly irresponsible, rabidly Russophobic regime that had seized power in Kiev. So: Shocking but also in keeping with the conduct of a corrupt-up-to-the-eyebrows pack of nobodies with no notion or regard for statecraft or responsible governance. It is another matter, to state the very obvious, for Merkel to say the very same things. The former chancellor was supposed to be leading the West’s diplomatic démarche along with François Hollande, France’s president at the time and plainly a junior partner to Europe’s most powerful political figure. By her own account, she was using diplomacy just as Kiev was, to scuttle the accord she pretended to sponsor.

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“the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy..” What a joke.

No Consensus In EU Over Ukraine Tribunal – Borrell (RT)

There is still no agreement on setting up a special tribunal to deal with alleged war crimes in Ukraine, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has said. Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday at the EU-NGO forum on human rights, Borrell stated “there’s a polemic about do we need something more than the [International Criminal Court] in order to fight impunity in Ukraine.” He said that “together with the commission” he had presented a proposal to establish a separate body for that purpose. “On Monday, we were discussing about it,” the diplomat remarked, while acknowledging that the consultations ended “without a result.”

Borrell suggested there is still a possibility that a special tribunal for Ukraine will be set up, saying “this is an interesting discussion that, for the time being, has not a concrete answer.” Borrell went on to claim that Russia’s actions in Ukraine are tantamount to the “destruction of a country” and a “war crime.” He said Moscow had deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure in an attempt to carry out the “assassination of millions of people by cold.” The top EU official also accused Russian troops of forced deportations and kidnappings of Ukrainians, including children. Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that the West has no legal right to establish courts to investigate and prosecute Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

Russia consistently denies its troops have committed any war crimes, saying its military personnel are doing all they can to minimize civilian casualties. Moscow also insists its aerial bombardments, which have intensified in recent months, target facilities related to Ukraine’s military and defense capabilities. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the harsh new tactics came in response to a Ukrainian attack against the Crimean bridge in early October and other “terrorist attacks” perpetrated on Russian soil. Moscow has also accused Kiev’s Western backers of turning a blind eye to evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by Ukrainian troops, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Donbass.

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Ukraine uses western weapons on its own territory, against its own citizens. Yes, things have changed since the September referenda, and the subsequent Russian decision to incorporate the regions. But what else could they do? Putin refused exactly this for 8 years, but was left with no choice.

Civilian Death Toll From Ukrainian Attacks On Donbass Revealed (RT)

Weapons supplied to Ukraine by NATO countries have allowed Kiev’s military to significantly ramp-up attacks on civilian targets in Donbass, a local watchdog has said. They further claim that over 4,500 civilians have been killed and 4,000 injured since Ukrainian forces escalated shelling in mid-February. “Military terror has escalated beyond all limits after NATO members started supplying weapons to Ukraine,” the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), a monitoring group that tracks attacks on the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, said on Wednesday. “We have recorded a four-fold increase in the number of victims among the civilian population,” Natalya Shutkina, a JCCC representative from Donetsk, said as quoted by TASS.

The JCCC held a press conference on Wednesday during which it showed fragments of Western shells and rockets collected after Ukrainian strikes in Donbass and explained the toll these attacks had taken. Since February 17, 4,527 civilians have been killed, including 154 children, Shutkina stated. Another 4,317 civilians, including 274 children, have been injured, she said, adding that Ukrainian attacks have damaged over 12,000 homes, 128 medical facilities, and 67 sites required for providing basic utilities, such as water and heating. The record-keeping begins in mid-February when the Donbas republics reported a significant escalation of strikes by Kiev in the lead-up to Russia having recognized the DPR and LPR as sovereign states and pledged to defend them.

The two regions have since been incorporated into Russia following referendums in September. Shutkina pointed out that the weapon systems provided by the US and its allies are supposed to be more accurate than the Soviet-era artillery guns and rocket launchers that Ukraine possessed previously. This leads the JCCC to believe that the Ukrainian attacks on civilian facilities have been intentional rather than being part of indiscriminate strikes, she stressed. Darya Morozova, the human rights ombudsman for the Donetsk People’s Republic, urged international organizations to acknowledge Kiev’s actions, arguing that “if the world community didn’t encourage the Ukrainian leadership with its inaction, the war in Donbass would have stopped a long time ago.” She called on Kiev’s sponsors to stop sending heavy weapons to Ukraine.

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Twitter numbers make no sense. Not if it were a business.

Twitter Became the Ministry of Truth (David Stockman)

Meanwhile, what was happening back at the ranch in 2020-2021 when the Twitter HQ was being transformed into the Village of the Damned? Well, on the one-hand the company’s stock price was coming up roses. After hitting the skids in 2015-2016, the Twitter’s market cap had risen from $12.5 billion in the fall of 2017 to $27 billion by the fall of 2019 to a peak of $54 billion in July 2021. In short, given a quadrupling of the company’s stock price in just four years and the resultant massive gains in the value of executive stock options, the top echelon apparently felt free to become moonlighting volunteers for the Deep State. That is, doing well they faced no penalty for doing good at the shareholders’ expense.

And we do mean shareholders’ expense. During its 2020 and 2021 fiscal years combined, which encompassed the peak period of the C-suite insanity chronicled by the Twitter Files, the company did harvest $8.8 billion of revenue from the Lockdown-world’s acceleration of the advertising migration from legacy to digital venues. Moreover, collecting those sums only required $3.2 billion in cost of goods sold, resulting in sterling gross profits at $5.6 billion and 64% of sales. In turn, that should have resulted in a shareholder bonanza on the bottom line. Except it didn’t. In fact, the company’s moonlighting management spent far more than that—$6.1 billion—on R&D, sales and marketing, general overhead and other top-side expenses. That is to say, Twitter’s putative business model went bust, with cumulative operating losses of nearly one-half billion dollars during the two year period.

Likewise, its bonifides as a cash-burning machine were reinforced. During 2020-2021 it generated $1.6 billion of cash from operations, but spent nearly $1.9 billion on CapEx. Accordingly, Twitter’s operating free cash flow came in at -$260 million. In short, when the company reached a peak valuation of $54 billion in July 2021 it was bleeding red ink and burning cash. It essentially had an infinite valuation multiple, which absurd valuation, in turn, amounted to a flashing green light for rampant moonlighting by not only its top management, but nearly the entirety of its the 7,500 work force.

In that regard we have been waiting for our Twitter screen to go dark ever since Elon Musk fired the employment rooster back to at least its December 2017 level (3,372). But, alas, the tweets just keep on coming, even as expenses have been pared back to the levels extant when Twitter was valued at the aforementioned 25% of its eventual peak.

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More good questions. At least we can finally ask them.

Swimming With Sharks (CJ Hopkins)

So, here’s the other thing that is bothering me (i.e., in addition to how this story is gradually devolving into a “red/blue” slugfest). You saw the news about how James Baker, the FBI guy who worked with the Clinton team on perpetrating the Russiagate hoax and had a hand in censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story, was “vetting” the Twitter Files before they were released. Well, according to the story, Baker was doing this “vetting” unbeknownst to Elon Musk, who had apparently just accidentally forgotten to fire his Deputy General Counsel (who he had been aware of for at least eight months) when he fired all those other liberal “bad apples,” and so Elon, being totally “in the dark,” as it were, had absolutely no idea what Baker was doing to the Twitter Files until Bari Weiss caught it and brought it to his attention.

That bothers me…as in I do not believe it. I want to be clear about what I’m saying. I’m not questioning Matt’s or Bari Weiss’ motives, or methods, and certainly not their characters. If I were in their positions, I’d be doing the same thing, getting my hands on as many “Twitter files” as possible and reporting the story that is there to report. They are journalists. That is what journalists do. They have also been around the block a few times, so I assume they are aware that they are swimming with sharks. If they weren’t previously, they certainly are now, after this fishy Baker “vetting” business. What I’m saying is, how can we trust what they are getting? How many files were “vetted” by Baker? Why was he still in a position to “vet” them? Who’s “vetting” the files now that Baker has been “exited”?

Which files have been given to Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss and which files have not been given to them? The reporting they are doing is like creating a collage; they can only work with the materials they are given, and the materials they are given will determine the story, or at least limit the nature and scope of the story. Also, and notwithstanding my respect and disturbing affection for Matt Taibbi, neither Matt nor Bari Weiss have been particularly interested in covering the roll-out of the official Covid narrative, i.e., the most insidious propaganda and gaslighting campaign in human history, or the destabilization and radical restructuring of global society that I keep mentioning in this column and have been writing about, extensively, since March of 2020.

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“..the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is almost entirely (86%) funded by the pharmaceutical industry while research departments also get most of their money from so-called “Big Pharma” too..”

Link Between MRNA Vaccine, Heart Inflammation ‘Covered Up’ – British MP (ToI)

In a bombshell revelation, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has demanded the suspension of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, alleging the ‘cover-up’ of research linking mRNA jabs with heart inflammation by prominent health authorities of the British Heart Foundation (BHF). In addition, the British MP claims that the problems related to COVID vaccines are being suppressed due to its financial associations with big pharma giants. MP Andrew Bridgen has said, “It has been brought to my attention by a whistleblower from a very reliable source that one of these institutions is covering up clear data that reveals that the mRNA vaccine increased inflammation of the heart arteries. “They are covering this up in fear that they may lose funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

“The leader of that cardiology research department has a prominent leadership role with the British Heart Foundation and I am very disappointed to say that he has sent out non-disclosure agreements to his research team to ensure that this important data never sees the light of day. “This is an absolute disgrace. Systemic failure in an over-medicated population also contributes to huge waste of British taxpayers’ money and is an increasing strain on the NHS.” Adding to the claims he says that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is almost entirely (86%) funded by the pharmaceutical industry while research departments also get most of their money from so-called “Big Pharma” too. “In effect we have the poacher paying the gamekeeper,” he says.

The MP has been vocal about his opinions about the COVID vaccines. In the past, he has warned against the vaccination of young children, saying that the jabs are still in their experimental stages. Along with his latest allegations, he highlighted research that showed a 25 percent increase in heart attack and cardiac arrest incidences in 16-39 year olds in Israel associated with the first and second doses of vaccine and not linked to SARs-CoV-2 infection. He also notes that since the vaccination rollout, there had been 14,000 additional cardiac arrests in 2021 since 2020.

UK Parliament

Cole Bigtree

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Good.

DeSantis Forms Florida Grand Jury To Investigate Covid Vaccine Rollout (ZH)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is establishing a grand jury through the state’s supreme court to investigate malfeasance involving the rollout of the covid mRNA vaccines. The investigations will include the claims of vaccine safety by pharmaceutical companies and the CDC, along with the rising number of deadly reactions to the jab including Myocarditis. The announcement was made in a virtual town hall-style meeting and was met with a positive response. DeSantis notes the moral bankruptcy of the scientific establishment in the US during the pandemic lockdowns – With the federal government and many scientists admonishing the public for going outside their homes (even though UV light from the sun is a natural sterilizer), while at the same time supporting the BLM protests in which thousands of people congregated on city streets to riot.


Stopping the spread was not important in the case of BLM, but deadly important when it came to people walking on the beach or protesting the lockdowns. DeSantis has proven to be a consistent opponent of the lockdowns and mandates, despite Florida’s large population. This policy helped to provide proof that the lockdowns were pointless. If Florida (along with other defiant red states) could stay open without any noticeable jump in fatalities compared to blue states, then what was the point of the lockdowns and restrictions? A trend is growing among the American public which runs contrary to the mainstream covid narrative. People are beginning to question the validity of government policies, the claims of snake oil salesmen like Anthony Fauci and the rules enforced by the CDC. Most importantly, they are beginning to apply skepticism to the mRNA vaccines, which is something that should have been done before they were ever distributed.

Bannon Wolf

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“..interest on the national debt is already on track to consume 40 percent of the federal budget by 2052 (should be 25?)and will surpass defense spending by 2029! ”

The Mother of all Economic Crises (Ron Paul)

The Fed has been trying to eliminate price inflation with a series of interest rate increases. So far, these rate increases have not significantly reduced price inflation. This is because rates remain at historic lows. Yet the rate increases have had negative economic effects, including a decline in the demand for new homes. Increasing interest rates make it impossible for many middle- and working-class Americans to afford a monthly mortgage payment for even a relatively inexpensive home. The main reason the Fed cannot raise rates to anywhere near what they would be in a free market is the effect it would have on the federal government’s ability to manage its debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), interest on the national debt is already on track to consume 40 percent of the federal budget by 2052 and will surpass defense spending by 2029!

A small interest rate increase can raise yearly federal debt interest rate payments by many billions of dollars, increasing the amount of the federal budget devoted solely to servicing the debt. The federal government’s fiscal picture is made worse by the fact that the Social Security “Trust Fund” will begin to run deficits by 2035 while the Medicare Trust Fund will run deficits by 2028. The looming bankruptcy of the two major entitlement programs, combined with the unwillingness of most in Congress to reduce either welfare or warfare spending, puts the Fed in a bind. If it raises rates to the levels needed to really combat price inflation, the increase in interest payments will impose hardships on individuals and businesses, as well as raise federal interest payments to unsustainable levels.

This will cause a major economic crisis including a government default on its debt causing a rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status. Also, if the Fed continues to facilitate federal deficits by monetizing the debt, the result will be an economic crisis caused by a collapse in the dollar’s value and rejection of the dollar’s world reserve status.

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Where is SBF’s girlfriend, the Alameda chick?

Bankman-Fried Lieutenant Alerted Regulators To Misuse Of Customer Funds (Block)

One of Sam Bankman-Fried’s top lieutenants told Bahamian authorities that customer funds from the firm were used to plug holes in the balance sheet of his investment fund, Alameda Research. In a Nov. 9 call with Bahamian regulators, FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame told Bahamas Securities Commission Executive Director Christina R. Rolle that client assets possibly held by FTX were transferred to Alameda Research to cover the hedge fund’s financial losses. The transfer of customer assets was “contrary to normal corporate governance and operations at FTX Digital,” Rolle wrote in a Nov. 11 court document filed to the Supreme Court of the Bahamas, seeking an emergency intervention for the regulator to seize control of the company’s remaining assets.

“Put simply, that such transfers were not allowed or consented to by their clients.” Salame’s comments to the regulator also prompted her to alert the Bahamian police, requesting an investigation into the company, “on an urgent basis.” The request to police notes that Salame was in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 9. The FTX DM co-CEO told officials that only three people had passwords necessary for the transfer: Bankman-Fried, Nishad Singh and Gary Wang. A Monday court filing by FTX’s representatives in bankruptcy proceedings named Bankman-Fried and Wang as responsible for a separate shift in funds, as well as the minting of new tokens, after they had filed to start the bankruptcy process.

Rolle’s request, which was granted by the court, was included in a new filing in the bankruptcy case today made by the Bahamian government in response to arguments in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, suggesting that it is coordinating with Bankman-Fried. Lawyers for FTX, representing the company’s new leadership, have argued that Bankman-Fried, Wang and Bahamian authorities, including the Securities Commission, may have violated bankruptcy law around movement of assets after initiating the process. The Bahamian regulator has vigorously denied coordination with Bankman-Fried, and filed these documents as evidence in support of its argument. The judge presiding over the case will hear further arguments on Friday, with a full hearing on the issue scheduled for Jan. 6.

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Pulitzer prices have lost all value.

Trump Sues Pulitzer Board For Defamation (JTN)

Former President Donald Trump filed a defamation suit on Wednesday against the Pulitzer Prize board, pointing to a statement it made backing the reporting of the 2018 winning articles. Trump had requested the board review its decisions to award the 2018 prizes to the New York Times and Washington Post staffs for reporting on the now-debunked Russia collusion narrative. The board honored Trump’s request and conducted the reviews, after which the organization stood by its original choices, saying “no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes,” according to The Hill.

The former president repeatedly threatened to sue the board over its statement, but only filed the suit on Wednesday. He is seeking an unspecified amount in damages. “On the facts known to Defendants at the time these reviews were allegedly conducted, it would have been impossible that a single objective, thorough and independent review would have reached such a conclusion, much less two. Defendants knew this and published the Pulitzer Statement anyway,” the suit reads. “A large swath of Americans had a tremendous misunderstanding of the truth at the time the Times’ and the Post’s propagation of the Russia Collusion Hoax dominated the media. Remarkably, they were rewarded for lying to the American public,” it further reads, per the New York Post.

New York Times spokesman Charlie Stadtlander told The Hill that “[t]he mission and responsibility of The New York Times is to report thoroughly and impartially on matters of newsworthy importance. The foreign manipulation of the 2016 elections was both consequential and unprecedented in United States history. Our journalists thoroughly pursued credible claims, fact-checked, edited and ultimately produced groundbreaking journalism that was proven true time and again.”

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“The Senate bill comes the same day a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation to prohibit the app in the United States entirely..”

Senate Unanimously Passes Ban On Using TikTok On Government Devices (JTN)

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would ban federal employees from using Chinese social media platform TikTok on government-issued devices. The upper chamber sent the measure to the House for approval after granting it their unanimous consent, the Wall Street Journal reported. TikTok has long been the subject of federal scrutiny over potential security concerns involving its handling of U.S. user data and the close relationship between its parent company, the Beijing-based ByteDance, and the Chinese communist regime. Former President Donald Trump unsuccessfully attempted to ban the app outright though lawmakers have continuously warned of the lingering threat it poses.


The Senate bill comes the same day a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation to prohibit the app in the United States entirely. Moreover, it follows the Wednesday unveiling of a bipartisan plan to sanction Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, another Chinese company under scrutiny for its ties to Beijing. The plan would add the company to the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals list, which would prohibit American firms from dealing with the company almost entirely.

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Didn’t work then either.

How Economic Sanctions in Ancient Greece Backfired, Prolonging War (GR)

Sanctions date back to antiquity, with the “Megarian Decree” issued by Athenian statesman Pericles in 432 BC being the first economic sanction recorded. The Megarian Decree was an act of revenge by the Athenians for the treacherous behavior of the Megarians some years earlier. However, if Athens openly attacked the Spartan ally it would violate the peace. Athens imposed the embargo to show other Spartan allies that Athens had other means of punishing attackers who were under Sparta’s military protection. Thus, the decree could be seen as an attempt to avoid provoking Sparta directly. Some historians argue that the Megarian Decree ultimately helped to prolong and intensify of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). Using the excuse of sacrilege against the land that was sacred to Demeter, known as the Hiera Orgas, Pericles wanted to punish Megara.


The supposed killing of the Athenian herald who was sent to Megara to reproach them, and their giving shelter to slaves who had fled from Athens, brought about the economic sanctions against the city. The decree dictated that Megarian merchants would be excluded from the market of Athens and the ports in its empire, called the Delian League. The decree was something like a modern trade embargo. If farmers had trespassed on sacred land, it was strange that the Megarian Decree aimed at punishing the merchants of the city. That implied a political aim. Even though such sanctions were known and applied in the Near East, they had been unheard of in the Delian League. Pericles was the first westerner to apply them, and for some historians that was the first time that economic sanctions had been used as foreign policy.

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“..This is dangerous to democracy.”

With Elon Owning Twitter Government Only Controls 97% Of The Media (BBee)

The White House issued a dire warning this week, reminding the nation that Elon’s continued ownership of Twitter means they now only control 97% of the media. “We can’t overstate how dangerous this is,” said gay black Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “Yes, we still control Facebook, Google, Apple, Instagram, YouTube, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Hollywood, TIME, USAToday, The Wall Street Journal, and pretty much all the rest, but we don’t control Twitter. This is dangerous to democracy.” The entire intelligence community at the CIA, FBI, and NSA concurred with the warning, stating that “Elon’s ownership of Twitter leaves America vulnerable to dangerous opinions we do not approve of.”


Leaders with the agencies are recommending immediate investigations to bring down the Twitter CEO provided their planned drone strike doesn’t work first. “Democracy is at stake,” said all the agency leaders in a shared statement in which they all recited the words simultaneously in a robotic monotone. “We must do something. Democracy is at stake.” At publishing time, several watchdog groups had underscored the warning, pointing to a 128% increase in exposure to unapproved opinions since Musk’s Twitter purchase.

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Cryptome

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tambja morosa, also known as gloomy nudibranch lives primarily in the Indo-Pacific area

 

 

 

 

Swan landing

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 082020
 


NPC Shad fishing on the Potomac 1920

 

US Death Toll Would Have Been Halved Had It Acted 4 Days Sooner (SCMP)
US Doctors Want Details On Federal Distribution Of Remdesivir (R.)
China Backs WHO Investigating COVID19 Origin (SCMP)
Blood Thinners May Help Sickest COVID19 Patients Survive
COVID19 Wreaks Economic Havoc Across Europe (ZH)
Japan On Course For Deep Recession As Spending, Services Plunge (R.)
Black Britons Face ‘Twice The Risk’ Of Death – ONS (BBC)
Black African Deaths Three Times Higher Than White Britons (BBC)
Black People Four Times More Likely To Die From COVID19 – ONS (G.)
No One Can Be Evicted In New York Until August 20 (JTN)
The Great Potato Giveaway: US Farmers Hand Out Spuds To Avoid Food Waste (R.)
Seattle Permanently Closes 20 Miles Of Residential Streets To Most Traffic (ST)
This Year’s Pulitzer Prize Award Has An Anti-Russian Infowar Agenda (OffG)
Schiff Releases Transcripts Undercutting Dem Claims Of Russia Collusion (JTN)
Former FBI intel Chief Slams Comey’s Pursuit Of Flynn (JTN)

 

 

 

 

• US records 2,448 #coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 75,543, according to Johns Hopkins University.

• The US has now confirmed a total of 1,254,750 case

• Russia has 6th consecutive day of over 10,000 new cases

• Peru, India keep rising fast, Saudi Arabia is the next “crown prince”

 

 

 

Deaths are not increasing, but cases are in an upward trend. Today close to 100,000. Give it another half hour.

 

Cases 3,934,711 (+ 97,885 from yesterday’s 3,836,826)

Deaths 271,095 (+ 5,729 from yesterday’s 265,366)

 

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer Deaths among Closed cases is down to 17%. That still needs to come down much more.

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

True for every country, we must assume. There was a report a while ago that said China could have avoided 95% of cases had it acted earlier, I think that was a week.

US Death Toll Would Have Been Halved Had It Acted 4 Days Sooner (SCMP)

The daily death toll from Covid-19 in the United States could have been more than halved if authorities had acted more swiftly in recommending self-isolation and the wearing of face masks, according to a new study. Several US states began issuing stay-at-home orders in late March, while federal health authorities began recommending the use of face masks for all in early April. However, had such measures been implemented just four days earlier, the roughly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths currently being recorded each day would have been cut to less than 1,000, the study said. Furthermore, lifting the measures in a bid to kick-start the economy would almost instantly increase the daily death toll to more than 3,000, it said.

“These findings may inform policymaking,” said the researchers from Princeton Medical Centre and other research institutes in a yet-to-be-peer reviewed paper posted on Medrxiv.org on Wednesday. The findings echoed comments made last month by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US. “Obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different,” he said in a television interview on April 12. “But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then”. Both Fauci and other senior health officials were banned from speaking freely to the media or testifying at congressional hearings by the Trump administration, according to media reports. Swifter action “could have saved lives”, he said, without giving an exact number.

But the figures could be found in publicly available data, according to the research team led by Lanjing Zhang, director of gastrointestinal and liver pathology at Princeton Medical Centre. By tracking the changes in the numbers of infections and deaths after the implementation of the containment measures in the US, Zhang’s team was able to build a mathematical model to simulate the impact of the policies, and then used it to estimate what might have happened had they been introduced at different times. California was the first state to issue a stay-at-home order to its 4 million residents on March 19, and by April 7 similar restrictions had been implemented across the country, affecting almost 90 per cent of the population.

On April 3, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention changed its long-standing policy on the wearing of face masks, and urged everyone to cover their nose and mouth when in public. The effect of the policies was almost instant, the study said. The growth rate for both infections and deaths began slowing on March 23 and by April 4 had plateaued and begun a gentle decline. But according to the model, had the same measures been introduced just four days earlier, the number of new daily infections in April would have fallen by about two-thirds to 10,000. And had the move been made a week sooner, that figure would have dropped to just 3,000, with about 300 daily deaths, it said.

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We know since last week’s report that remdesivir has no impact on cure, it only -at best- helps patients spend a few less days in hospital. So you would expect doctors to have questions about that. But no, they only worry about how fast they can get the drug. If Reuters is to be believed, that is. But why worry about a drug that has zero chance of avoiding death? Nothing better to do?

US Doctors Want Details On Federal Distribution Of Remdesivir (R.)

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) is asking for more information on the federal government’s plan for deciding how and where to supply the only drug so far shown to help patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday gave emergency use authorization to Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir for patients with severe COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – clearing the way for broader use in more hospitals around the United States. The federal government began distributing the drug this week.


But doctors across the country, particularly in COVID-19 hotspots like New York and Boston, became concerned after being denied their request to obtain the new therapy, IDSA president Dr. Thomas File told Reuters on Thursday. “Some are seeing other hospitals approved, but say ‘we have more cases than they do, so why were we turned down?’” he said. The IDSA on Wednesday called on the Trump Administration to explain how it will ensure equitable distribution of remdesivir to states and hospitals based on COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates. The physician group also stressed the importance of fair allocation to health facilities in communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, including African American and Hispanic populations.

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This becomes interesting only if and when a WHO team can investigate in China, not bothered by anyone.

China Backs WHO Investigating COVID19 Origin (SCMP)

China says it supports World Health Organisation efforts to investigate the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, but rejects any “presumption of guilt”, after the global body said it was talking to Beijing about sending another delegation to the country. The remarks came as Beijing is under mounting international pressure – particularly from the United States – to allow an inquiry into how the pandemic started, and if it was linked to a laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the new virus strain was first reported. Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist with the WHO, on Wednesday said the agency was in discussion with China about examining potential animal origins of the coronavirus.

“There is discussion with our counterparts in China for a further mission, which would be more academic in focus and really focus on looking at what happened at the beginning in terms of the exposures with different animals, so that we can look to have an approach to find the zoonotic source,” she said. “The public health importance of this is critical because without knowing where the animal origin is, it’s difficult for us to attempt to prevent this from happening again,” she added. US President Donald Trump has suggested the virus may be the result of an accident at a Chinese lab, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US had evidence of this. Trump has also been critical of the WHO, calling it “China-centric” and halting funding to the body. He described the pandemic as an “attack” worse than Pearl Harbour and September 11 that “could have been stopped in China”.

In Beijing on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused the US of “untruthful and insincere remarks”, but said China would support a review of the outbreak “at an appropriate time”. “China has supported the work of the WHO for a long time, and worked with the WHO in an open, responsible and transparent manner. China agrees to make a conclusion on the origin of the virus at an appropriate time,” Hua said. “China opposes nations such as the US politicising the issue regarding the origin of the virus, and pushing for an international investigation with a presumption of guilt.”

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And they can kill them too.

Blood Thinners May Help Sickest COVID19 Patients Survive

Blood thinners could improve the survival rate among the most severely ill Covid-19 patients, according to a hospital study in New York City. The finding comes as doctors have been observing blood clot disorders among coronavirus patients that can damage vital organs. The researchers found that intubated patients treated with anticoagulants – medicines that help prevent blood clots – had a mortality rate of 29 per cent. Of those who were not treated with blood thinners, 63 per cent died. And among the ventilated patients who did not survive, those on anticoagulants died after 21 days, while those not given the medicine died after nine days, the researchers said.


“Our findings suggest that systemic anticoagulation may be associated with improved outcomes among patients hospitalised with Covid-19,” they wrote in a peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on May 6. The study analysed 786 cases where patients had been given blood thinners – about 30 per cent of all Covid-19 patients admitted to five hospitals in the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City between mid-March and April. They were given the medicine orally and via injection under the skin or into a vein, the study said. The researchers also noted that “patients who received anticoagulation were more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation”.

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No. The economic system is eating itself. The virus is merely a catalyst.

COVID19 Wreaks Economic Havoc Across Europe (ZH)

The European Commission has released its Spring 2020 Economic Forecast which shows that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on Europe’s economy. The collective GDP of the EU-27 was expected to grow 1.2 percent this year but it is now forecast contract 7.4 percent due to the pandemic. By contrast, Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that the Financial Crisis “only” led to a contraction of 4.5 percent for the EU-28 back in 2009. The current crisis has now pushed the EU into the deepest recession since its foundation with unemployment rates set to rise drastically. Last year, unemployment across the bloc was 6.7 percent and it is now forecast to grow to 9 percent this year.

The data shows that no EU member state is going to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis unscathed with countries in southern Europe set to be worst impacted. Even though Greece has made progress since the Financial Crisis and has earned plaudits for limiting the spread of the coronavirus, it is expected to suffer the worst decline in GDP our of all EU member states at 9.7 percent. Italy and Spain who have both been badly impacted by the pandemic are also expected to suffer GDP contractions greater than 9 percent this year. Even though Germany has suffered a far lower death toll than many of its neighbors and is slowly easing its lockdown, Europe’s economic powerhouse is still predicted to see its GDP shrink by 6.5 percent this year.

While the situation remains serious in some parts of Europe, particularly the UK, there is light at the end of the tunnel. After 7 weeks of strict confinement, Italians finally emerged from their homes at the start of the week while Germany’s schools and restaurants are set to open over the next couple of days. Even though the situation is improving, most EU leaders are remaining cautious due to the possibility of a second wave of infections. The European Commission has stated that fundamental uncertainty surrounds the forecast and that the danger of a deeper and more protracted recession is very real.

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The entire rich(er) world has economic systems that cannot withstand a few weeks of less activity.

Japan On Course For Deep Recession As Spending, Services Plunge (R.)

Japan’s household spending plunged in March and service-sector activity shrank at a record pace in April, reinforcing expectations that the coronavirus pandemic is tipping the world’s third-largest economy into deep recession. Overtime pay – a barometer of strength in corporate activity – also plunged at a record pace in March, data showed, a sign companies were hit by shrinking business even before the government announced a state of emergency in early April. The weak readings make it a near certainty the economy suffered a second straight quarter of contraction in January-March, the technical definition of a recession, and was on track for a deeper decline in the current quarter as the health crisis kept shoppers home and businesses closed.


“Even without the virus, Japan’s economy was very weak due to the hit from last year’s sales tax hike. The pandemic has completely destroyed any chance of a recovery,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute. “The economy may rebound somewhat in July-September but won’t return to pre-coronavirus levels for the rest of this year,” said Saito, who expects the economy to contract an annualised 30% in the current quarter. Household spending slumped 6.0% in March from a year earlier following a 0.3% fall in February, marking the biggest drop in five years, government data showed on Friday.

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I noted yesterday that in their coverage of a report, the BBC and Guardian came to very different conclusions. One said blacks in the UK were twice as likely as whites to die from COVID19, the other said it was 4 times. Then when I read the BBC piece this morning, a link had appeared to an article that claimed it was 3 times.

Black Britons Face ‘Twice The Risk’ Of Death – ONS (BBC)

Black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die with coronavirus as white people in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. The analysis shows the inequality persists after taking into account age, where people live and some measures of deprivation and prior health. People from Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities also had a significantly higher risk of dying. The government has launched a review into the issue. The analysis by the ONS combined data on deaths involving Covid-19 with information on ethnicity from the 2011 census.


Taking into account age, location and some measures of deprivation, disadvantage and prior health, it found black people were 90% more likely to die with Covid-19 than white people. Men and women from Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities had an increased risk of between 30% and 80%, the analysis found. The ONS suggested some of the risk might be caused by other social and economic factors that are not included in the data. And it said that some ethnic groups may be “over-represented in public-facing occupations” and so more at risk of being infected while at work.

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And yeah, there are a bunch of different data, age, sex etc., but it looks weird.

Black African Deaths Three Times Higher Than White Britons (BBC)

Coronavirus patients from black African backgrounds in England and Wales are dying at more than triple the rate of white Britons, a study suggests. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said a higher proportion of people from ethnic minority backgrounds live in areas hit harder by Covid-19. However, they tend to be younger on average, so should be less vulnerable. But the report found various black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were experiencing higher per capita deaths. And after accounting for differences in age, sex and geography, the study estimated that the death rate for people of black African heritage was 3.5 times higher than for white Britons. It added that for people of black Caribbean heritage, per capita deaths were 1.7 times higher, rising to 2.7 times higher for those with Pakistani heritage. The IFS study said given demographic and geographic profiles, most minority ethnic groups are dying in “excess” numbers in hospitals.

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In the end it’s simply a class society.

Black People Four Times More Likely To Die From COVID19 – ONS (G.)

Black people are more than four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people, according to stark official figures exposing a dramatic divergence in the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in England and Wales. The Office of National Statistics found that the difference in the virus’s impact was caused not only by pre-existing differences in communities’ wealth, health, education and living arrangements. It discovered that after taking into account age, measures of self-reported health and disability and other socio-demographic characteristics, black people were still almost twice as likely as white people to die a Covid-19-related death.


Bangladeshi and Pakistani males were 1.8 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white males, after other pre-existing factors had been accounted for, and females from those ethnic groups were 1.6 times more likely to die from the virus than their white counterparts. The risk of Covid-19 death for people from Chinese and mixed ethnic groups was found to be similar to that for white people. “These results show that the difference between ethnic groups in Covid-19 mortality is partly a result of socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances, but a remaining part of the difference has not yet been explained,” the ONS said.

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And some of the things he does are actually good. Nobody screws up all the time.

No One Can Be Evicted In New York Until August 20 (JTN)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday New York renters cannot be kicked out of their homes for failing to pay rent until Aug. 20. “The No. 1 issue that people talk to me about probably is rent, and fear about being able to pay their rent, and this just takes that issue off the table until August 20,” he said at his daily coronavirus briefing. Cuomo extended for another two months his 90-day suspension of evictions in the state — issued in March and set to expire in June. Cuomo said that landlords who face utility bills and mortgages can turn to banks and federal programming for help. He also said that officials will ban any late-payment fees and allow renters to use their security deposits as payment. “Everyone is just making do, and everyone has hardships,” he said during his daily briefing Thursday. “We just want to make sure the people who are most vulnerable are protected.”

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“Everyone in Washington would have to eat about 500 pounds of potatoes from now until the 4th of July to clear out that pipeline..”

The Great Potato Giveaway: US Farmers Hand Out Spuds To Avoid Food Waste (R.)

Giving away food is just one example of how people around the world are adjusting to the strain the coronavirus pandemic has put on supply chains, as restaurants, schools and hotels close. With unemployment soaring, demand from food banks is rising fast at the same time farmers have fewer outlets to sell their crops. In Washington, the No. 2 U.S. potato growing state after Idaho, a billion pounds of russet potatoes, normally processed into french fries and hash browns, are sitting in warehouses that would typically be emptying ahead of the July harvest, the Washington State Potato Commision said. Instead, the organization is handing out the surplus for free in brown sacks, 100,000 pounds at a time.


“Everyone in Washington would have to eat about 500 pounds of potatoes from now until the 4th of July to clear out that pipeline,” said Brandy Tucker, the commission’s director of marketing. Around 90% of Washington potatoes are processed for food service, nearly half for international markets. Potato producers in Europe have also faced enormous surpluses. The commission is planning more than a dozen donation events by the end of May. But even giving away potatoes comes with the cost of washing, bagging and shipping. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is attempting to chip away at the mountain of produce unable to get to consumers. This week it said it would buy an additional $470 million in food, including $50 million in potatoes to give to food banks.

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Good, give public space back to where it belongs, the public. Not cars. Like the guy’s name, Sam Zimbabwe.

Seattle Permanently Closes 20 Miles Of Residential Streets To Most Traffic (ST)

Nearly 20 miles of Seattle streets will permanently close to most vehicle traffic by the end of May, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday. The streets had been closed temporarily to through traffic to provide more space for people to walk and bike at a safe distance apart during the coronavirus pandemic. Now the closures will continue even after Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order is lifted. Over the next couple of weeks, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will replace the temporary closure signs on the so-called Stay Healthy Streets with permanent markings, guiding drivers to other routes.


[..] Residents, delivery drivers, garbage and recycling workers, and emergency response vehicles can continue to use the streets, but no through traffic is allowed. “Our rapid response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 have been transformative in a number of places across the city,” SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said. “Some of the responses are going to be long lasting, and we need to continue to build out a transportation system that enables people of all ages and abilities to bike and walk across the city.”

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The Off-Guardian has turned too much into a 24/7 anti-lockdown channel lately, but this is good.

This Year’s Pulitzer Prize Award Has An Anti-Russian Infowar Agenda (OffG)

The Russian Embassy in the US condemned the Pulitzer Prize Board’s awarding of its eponymous prize for “International Reporting” to The New York Times “for a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime”, describing it as: “.. a wonderful collection of undiluted Russophobic fabrications, which can be studied as a guideline on creating false facts.” The six articles and two videos that were responsible for the outlet receiving that “recognition” shared the theme of military-intelligence intrigue, be it accusing the country’s GRU intelligence agency of involvement in several shadowy assassination attempts across Europe or claiming that businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin had a hidden hand in election meddling in Madagascar, for example.

Other assertions that were made by the “journalistic” pieces in question also include the Russian state’s complicity in carrying out war crimes in Syria. As has become the norm in the Western Mainstream Media’s reporting about Russia, an abundance of unnamed sources, fabricated recordings, and disreputable sources were relied upon to push fearmongering narratives about the Eurasian Great Power. The conclusions that were reached – or rather, “reverse-engineered” after first determining the meta-narrative and then subsequently fleshing it out from a variety of geopolitical angles – were predictable enough because they perfectly conformed to the “politically correct” interpretation of President Putin’s global intentions.

It’s for that reason The New York Times’ pieces were “celebrated” by the Pulitzer Prize Board with this supposedly “distinguished” award in an attempt to “legitimize” them for posterity. The Russian Embassy in the US, therefore, did the right thing by condemning this charade as Russophobic and describing The New York Times’ work as “a guideline on creating false facts.” That said, the success of the Pulitzer Prize Board’s efforts to manage global perceptions about Russia as part of the West’s ongoing Hybrid War against it is dependent on whether their targeted audience even cares about what that institution says. In theory, the Pulitzer Prize is supposed to be one of the most distinguished awards that any journalist or outlet can ever receive, but it’s actually more akin to an elite club commending its own members.

To explain, the Pulitzer Prize Board counts among its ranks representatives from The Washington Post and even The New York Times itself. It also includes other professionals as well, such as those from Bloomberg, National Public Radio, and a few folks from academia. Prior to Trump’s rise, these figures might have been almost universally respected, but the American President has since opened the eyes of a broad swath of the country and even the world more broadly to the so-called “Fourth Estate’s” insidious political agendas. Trust in traditional media is dwindling by the day, meaning that the awards ceremonies that they preside over are becoming similarly less prestigious as well.

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One can only imagine what attention this would have gotten were it not for COVID19. The MSM is still trying to defend the FBI, DNC and Obama White House, but that battle has long been lost.

And there is still this kind of thing, as if nothing had changed: “In releasing the transcripts Thursday, the current Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff claimed they provided proof of nefarious connections between Russians and Trump associates.”

It is almost hard to believe.

Schiff Releases Transcripts Undercutting Dem Claims Of Russia Collusion (JTN)

“Papadopoulos’ comment didn’t particularly indicate that he was the person that had had — that was interacting with the Russians,” McCabe answered when asked by lawmakers why a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant request in October 2016 focused only on Page and not the man the FBI originally predicated the Trump investigation upon. It was one of the few extraordinary admissions from McCabe: The FBI opened up an entire counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign on a figure agents did not believe was having contact with Moscow. The transcripts, otherwise, contain mostly old news, long since surpassed by revelations in Robert Mueller’s final report that concluded there was no collusion between any Americans and Russia to hijack the 2016 election and Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s detailed report of abuses of the FISA process by the FBI.

But perhaps the biggest piece of previously unreported news came from Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Perkins Coie law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. It was that law firm that contracted with Fusion GPS to hire Steele to develop the anti-Trump dossier that was shared with the FBI. Sussmann acknowledged under questioning by Republican staff that in February 2017 he shared dirt he had gotten on the Trump organization’s possible ties to Russia with the CIA. The agency’s name was redacted from the transcript but confirmed to Just the News by multiple U.S. officials. What was your contact [redacted] about?” a lawyer asked Sussmann.

“So the contact was about reporting to them information that was reported to me about possible contacts, covert or at least nonpublic, between Russian entities and various entities in the United States associated with the — or potentially associated with the Trump Organization,” Sussmann answered. The lawyer followed up: “And when did that contact occur, month and year?” “February 2017,” Sussmann answered. “Where did you get that information from to relay to [redacted]?” he was asked. “From a client of mine,” he answered, declining to be more specific. In releasing the transcripts Thursday, the current Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff claimed they provided proof of nefarious connections between Russians and Trump associates.

“The transcripts released today richly detail evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election,” he alleged. In fact, witnesses were repeatedly pressed to offer specific evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and Russia and could offer none, saying it was either too preliminary or they did not have any. “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers. “That’s not to say that there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence.

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Former FBI intel Chief Slams Comey’s Pursuit Of Flynn (JTN)

The FBI’s former top intelligence official says the bureau under James Comey’s leadership did not have a legitimate reason to launch an investigation into Michael Flynn and may have engaged in an “historic misuse” of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. Retired FBI Assistant Director for Intelligence Kevin Brock told Just the News that agents had sought to close the investigation into the incoming national security advisor in January 2017 but the “Comey team” intervened via fired agent Peter Strzok to stop the closure and to pivot to an interview with Flynn. The closing memo communicated that “they had never established any reasonable suspicion that Michael Flynn was acting on behalf of a foreign country at all, ever in the beginning. In other words they had no basis to start the investigation in the first place,” Brock explained.

He described the FBI’s interview of Flynn as “some type of intimidation” and he said they did not have a legal justification to question him. “They wanted to get in front of him and see if they could elicit some type of false statement, that was their goal,” Brock told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Thursday. “They had no right to get in front of him. They had no legal basis to be in the same room with him. That’s the disgrace of all of this.” [..] Brock, the bureau’ first ever intelligence chief under former Director Robert Mueller, described the Flynn episode as very abnormal.

[..] Brock described a 302 interview report related to Flynn’s interview as the most peculiar he had ever encountered out of the thousands he has written or reviewed. He said that if it is shown that the FBI interviewed Flynn for reasons pertaining to “a policy dispute” that would represent a “historic misuse of the FBI.”

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