Mar 182022
 
 March 18, 2022  Posted by at 9:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »


Marcel Duchamp Sad young man on a train – Nude study 1911-12

 

Hunter Biden’s Infamous Laptop Confirmed In New York Times Report (NYPost)
Sure Seems Joe Biden Knowingly Lied about the Hunter Biden Laptop Story (NR)
The NYT Now Admits The Biden Laptop Is Authentic (ZH)
While You Weren’t Paying Attention (QTR)
NY Times Admits Hunter Laptop Authentic, Possible Basis for Charges (Turley)
German Chancellor Scholz: NATO Will Not “Intervene Militarily” In Ukraine (DW)
Putin Lays Out Demands For Cease-Fire In Call With Erdoga (ZH)
U.S. Dept. of State Thinks It’s an Authority on Fake News (RCP)
A Terrifying Monster To Blood Vessels – And Neurons (Chesnut)
Voice of Doom Dr Fauci Warns US Could Face More Covid Lockdowns (DM)
Covid Immunity Declines Steeply In Care Home Residents In England (G.)
Stagflation Trap Will Lead To Universal Basic Income And Food Rationing (Smith)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gonzalo

 

 

Tucker Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1504720080675954690

 

 

The New York Post deserves a Pulitzer. And Joe Biden needs to step down. Or Washington’s credibility is shot.

Hunter Biden’s Infamous Laptop Confirmed In New York Times Report (NYPost)

A comprehensive report about the ongoing federal probe into Hunter Biden’s tax filings published by the New York Times on Wednesday night confirmed the existence of the first son’s infamous laptop. In October 2020, The Post exclusively reported on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop that he ditched at a Delaware repair shop in April 2019. The laptop’s hard drive contained a trove of emails, text messages, photos and financial documents between Hunter Biden, his family and business associates — detailing how the president’s son used his political leverage in his overseas business dealings. The repair shop owner reported the laptop to the FBI, which seized the device and its hard drive.

As part of their investigation into Hunter Biden, the Times reports, federal prosecutors have looked into emails between the first son and his former business associates that were recovered from the laptop. Some of the scrutinized correspondence was between Hunter Biden and Devon Archer, who had served with the first son on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma, the report said. Archer, who was sentenced last month in an unrelated fraud case, has “cooperated completely” with the feds in their probe into Hunter Biden, The Post has reported. According to the Times, the emails between Hunter Biden, Archer and others regarding their international business activity came from files the publication obtained that “appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop.”

People familiar with the emails and investigation confirmed their authenticity to the Times. The laptop confirmation was included in the Times report that also revealed how Hunter Biden paid off a tax liability of over $1 million — a year after he announced he was under investigation for defrauding the IRS. Hunter Biden has been under investigation for failing to pay taxes since his father was vice president, but the inquiry broadened in 2018 to look into how his international business dealings intersected with President Biden’s political career.

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“He must have known full well that the story wasn’t “a bunch of garbage.” He must have known full well that it wasn’t “a Russian plant.”

Sure Seems Joe Biden Knowingly Lied about the Hunter Biden Laptop Story (NR)

Next time President Biden speaks about . . . well, about anything really, remember that he knowingly lied to your face about the Hunter Biden laptop story — which the New York Times confirmed today, and which Joe Biden must have known was entirely true when it was first published in 2020 by the New York Post. In 2020, Joe Biden responded to Donald Trump bringing up the Post‘s story by saying on live television: There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant. Five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except his good friend Rudy Giuliani.


This was a lie. Joe Biden is Hunter Biden’s father. He must have known full well that the story wasn’t “a bunch of garbage.” He must have known full well that it wasn’t “a Russian plant.” He must have known full well that Rudy Giuliani wasn’t the only one who believed it. Hell, he knew full well that Hunter Biden himself hadn’t denied the account, and instead had said that the laptop “absolutely” may have been his. And yet, when pressed, Biden said otherwise, because he assumed that the press and Silicon Valley would back him up in the lie. Which, of course, they did.

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“..pending a “fact check[] by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners” which, needless to say, never came — precisely because the archive was indisputably authentic.”

The NYT Now Admits The Biden Laptop Is Authentic (ZH)

One of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern American electoral history occurred in the weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election. On October 14, 2020 — less than three weeks before Americans were set to vote — the nation’s oldest newspaper, The New York Post, began publishing a series of reports about the business dealings of the Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in countries in which Biden, as Vice President, wielded considerable influence (including Ukraine and China) and would again if elected president. The backlash against this reporting was immediate and intense, leading to suppression of the story by U.S. corporate media outlets and censorship of the story by leading Silicon Valley monopolies. The disinformation campaign against this reporting was led by the CIA’s all-but-official spokesperson Natasha Bertrand (then of Politico, now with CNN), whose article on October 19 appeared under this headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”

These “former intel officials” did not actually say that the “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo.” Indeed, they stressed in their letter the opposite: namely, that they had no evidence to suggest the emails were falsified or that Russia had anything to do them, but, instead, they had merely intuited this “suspicion” based on their experience: We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.

But a media that was overwhelmingly desperate to ensure Trump’s defeat had no time for facts or annoying details such as what these former officials actually said or whether it was in fact true. They had an election to manipulate. As a result, that these emails were “Russian disinformation” — meaning that they were fake and that Russia manufactured them — became an article of faith among the U.S.’s validly despised class of media employees. Very few even included the crucial caveat that the intelligence officials themselves stressed: namely, that they had no evidence at all to corroborate this claim. Instead, as I noted last September, “virtually every media outlet — CNN, NBC News, PBS, Huffington Post, The Intercept, and too many others to count — began completely ignoring the substance of the reporting and instead spread the lie over and over that these documents were the by-product of Russian disinformation.” The Huffington Post even published a must-be-seen-to-be-believed campaign ad for Joe Biden, masquerading as “reporting,” that spread this lie that the emails were “Russian disinformation.”

This disinformation campaign about the Biden emails was then used by Big Tech to justify brute censorship of any reporting on or discussion of this story: easily the most severe case of pre-election censorship in modern American political history. Twitter locked The New York Post’s Twitter account for close to two weeks due to its refusal to obey Twitter’s orders to delete any reference to its reporting. The social media site also blocked any and all references to the reporting by all users; Twitter users were barred even from linking to the story in private chats with one another. Facebook, through its spokesman, the life-long DNC operative Andy Stone, announced that they would algorithmically suppress discussion of the reporting to ensure it did not spread, pending a “fact check[] by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners” which, needless to say, never came — precisely because the archive was indisputably authentic.

Russia Russia

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Turn it into a movie.

While You Weren’t Paying Attention (QTR)

It turns out that the party who spent four years accusing President Trump of Russian collusion performed a massive cover-up for Joe and Hunter Biden heading into the 2020 election that they have yet to be held accountable for. Go figure. I remember speaking to my father around the time of the election about the Hunter Biden laptop story, where presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son’s laptop was found to contain proof that the former Biden sold his influence to China while his father, the latter Biden, was Vice President of the United States. And in the midst of an ongoing media cover up of that story, I also remember talking to my father about former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski coming forward and blowing the whistle on the Bidens in an effort to get the public to take notice.


Instead, Bobulinski was only given airtime by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and was otherwise shunned and ignored by the rest of the left-leaning media. We both had watched Bobulinski’s interview and found him to be extremely credible. I remember my father saying that the censorship of the story and the story itself could, combined, be the biggest political scandal of all time. This caught me by surprise because my father, who has voted both Democrat and Republican over the last handful of elections, has lived through quite a few scandals. But now I understand what he was getting at. Selling your influence to China while running for President is a big deal. The media covering up that story completely in the United States in the midst of the election? An even bigger deal.

Because when you step back and objectively examine the issue of Joe Biden’s business dealings in China, it appeared that he was actually engaged in the types of conflict of interest that his party spent four years accusing President Trump of. Again, go figure. And then there was the laptop. After the New York Post broke what should have been a Pulitzer worthy story that Biden’s son had a laptop filled with incriminating evidence (in addition to dick pics taken while smoking crack with hookers), the story was promptly blackballed in the mainstream media and was talked about nowhere other than conservative news outlets. In fact, the mainstream media didn’t even give the story one shred of an objective chance. Half of the liberal media organizations covered the story as Russian disinformation, while the others didn’t carry it at all. The story was literally laughed off of TV and television as some kind of conspiracy theory.

And then a funny thing happened when the nation didn’t have access to what would turn out to be highly credible information: Joe Biden got elected president and, several months later, Politico reported that some parts of the laptop, including emails at the “center” of the controversy, were credible – a far cry from writing off the laptop as Russian disinformation.

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Let’s see those charges.

NY Times Admits Hunter Laptop Authentic, Possible Basis for Charges (Turley)

Last year, National Public Radio admitted that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic and not Russian disinformation. It appears to have taken the New York Times even longer to move along that journalistic path of the Kübler-Ross process of grieving. The Times has now expressly and unambiguously stated that the laptop was abandoned by Hunter Biden, contains authentic emails, and is part of the basis for the ongoing investigation of Biden by federal authorities. Even with this admission against interests, the Times is downplaying the possible criminal charges in coverage strikingly different from its coverage of Trump officials charged on the same grounds. For those of us who have written about the laptop for two years, it has been a constantly barrage of criticism of spreading “Russian disinformation” or discussing manufactured emails.

Notably, the Biden family never outright denied that the laptop belonged to Hunter. They just kept repeating that it was Russian disinformation. It did not matter that recipients of the emails confirmed the authenticity of the messages detailing extensive influence peddling schemes by the Biden family. The Biden campaign assembled the usual list of experts to shut off debate by declaring that this was all false. It was a mantra from President Biden to a legion of reports. As Biden stated “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant. [F]ive former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage.” The press ran with that account despite the early determination of American intelligence that it was not Russian disinformation.

Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid wrote said the quiet part out loud by telling the media: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.” Let that sink in for a second. It does not matter if these are real emails and not Russian disinformation. They probably are real but should be treated as disinformation even though American intelligence has repeatedly rebutted that claim. It does not even matter that the computer has seized the computer as evidence in a criminal fraud investigation or that a Biden confidant is now giving his allegations to the FBI under threat of criminal charges if he lies to investigators.

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“NATO has a responsibility to prevent this conflict from escalating further,” Stoltenberg said..”

German Chancellor Scholz: NATO Will Not “Intervene Militarily” In Ukraine (DW)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday, as the war in Ukraine entered its fourth week. The meeting came just after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the German Bundestag via video link. Scholz opened his remarks alongside Stoltenberg by praising Zelenskyy for his “impressive words.” But the German leader reiterated NATO’s refusal to intervene militarily in Ukraine. “One thing must also be made clear: NATO will not intervene militarily in this war,” Scholz said. Scholz’s view matched statements repeated by Stoltenberg on Thursday that the military alliance’s involvement in Ukraine would increase the likelihood of the war spreading.


In Berlin, the NATO chief said the alliance’s job is to de-escalate the conflict. “NATO has a responsibility to prevent this conflict from escalating further,” Stoltenberg said. “That would be even more dangerous and cause more suffering, deaths and destruction.” Stoltenberg also met with German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during his visit to Berlin. Beside Lambrecht, Stoltenberg called Germany’s new defense commitments of a special fund of €100 billion ($111 billion) and plans to commit 2% of GDP to its defense budget “impressive.” Baerbock said Germany is considering stationing more troops on NATO’s eastern flank.

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Consistent.

Putin Lays Out Demands For Cease-Fire In Call With Erdoga (ZH)

In a Thursday conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly outlined the conditions for ending his invasion of Ukraine. According to a BBC report, a Turkish official who listened to the call between the two leaders said that Putin would end his invasion if several conditions are met including a promise that Ukraine will remain neutral and not join NATO. Erdogan’s leading adviser and spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said Russia is also calling for Ukraine to undergo a disarmament process to mitigate threats to Russia in the future as well as legal protections for the Russian language in Ukraine. Additionally, Putin reportedly desires promises related to the “Denazification” of Ukraine.


Putin, according to the report, is also asking for face-to-face negotiations with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to hammer out his demands which Zelenskyy has previously stated he is not opposed to. According to Kalin, there were other conditions Putin listed that he did not go into much detail about but he believes they will involve territories that have broken away from Ukraine in the eastern Donbas region. The report states that it is “assumed” Putin will ask Ukraine to give up territory in the east and formally recognize that Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, is a part of Russia. The demands are in line with previous reporting that stated Putin has told Ukrainian officials he will end his invasion if six major conditions are met. News of Putin’s willingness to negotiate an end to the war comes as his invasion enters its fourth week.

Macgregor to Celente: Ukraine War Will End Sooner Than You Think

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And they are. Just not on someone else’s.

U.S. Dept. of State Thinks It’s an Authority on Fake News (RCP)

Some say America has a fake news problem. They might be on to something. Americans’ trust in our media is at one of its lowest points, and social media has made disinformation easy to spread. But as America is tackling its own fake news problem, our government is pretending to be experts on it in Zimbabwe. In fact, the U.S. is sending $100,000 to Zimbabwe to help that country tackle fake news, according to a grant notice from the U.S. Department of State. The grant description states that the goal of the grant is, “To improve and promote adherence to international best practice in implementing fundamental freedom of speech and the press freedom.”


It encourages a three-pronged approach: Strengthening public understanding of freedom of speech and press freedom, improving media literacy to combat disinformation and increasing media sustainability, innovation and professionalization. The idea that the U.S. is an expert on disinformation, free speech, and combating censorship, and that it should be teaching them to other countries, is absurd. Between domestic debates on big tech censorship, the increasing polarization of news outlets, and increasing disinformation on social media, the U.S. has no business telling other countries the right way to do such things, let alone spending tax dollars to do so.

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@parsifaler thread: MOLECULAR MIMICRY.

A Terrifying Monster To Blood Vessels – And Neurons (Chesnut)

OMNIPOTENT TROPISM; OMNIPOTENT MOLECULAR MIMICRY: A Terrifying Monster To Blood Vessels – AND NEURONS! Most Likely More. I don’t quite know how to say this. But I am shaking as I write this. I was smoking a cigar and contemplating a DM an amazing (and famous) doctor sent me. The DM was about Pericytes and the Spike Protein. And I just kept thinking about it. Slowly, it dawned on me. And now I am shaking as I write this. Spike in Endothelium. Spike in Pericytes. Spike in Basement Membrane. Spike in Myelin Sheath. Spike in Axon. Spike distributed through Blood Vessels. Spike distributed through Axons. Inducing Fibrosis. Inducing Autoimmunity. Don’t you see? It is an omnipotent burrower! And why? Because of its massive TROPISM!

And then I remembered a paper I had read from 2005. It talked about how Coronaviruses cause MS via molecular mimicry. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how a viral infection could lead to an autoimmune disease. Amongst these mechanisms is molecular mimicry. According to this model, a non-self agent first activates an immune cell. Then, the cell recognizes a self-element that shares antigenic conformation with the pathogen and directs a response towards it. Individuals who are genetically predisposed to respond to this antigenic determinant of a pathogen having a similar conformation to a determinant on a self-antigen could develop an autoimmune response following infection. Shared sequences or similar determinant conformations between coronavirus and myelin proteins such as myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid protein (PLP) have been identified.

Molecular mimicry provides a unifying mechanism that could explain both the genetic and environmental aspects in the triggering of MS. So, if an ORDINARY Coronavirus can induce MS. What about one whose Spike Protein has a SIXTY-FOLD increase in peptide sharing? A massive heptapeptide sharing exists between SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and human proteins. Such a peptide commonality is unexpected and highly improbable from a mathematical point of view, given that, as detailed under the “Methods” section, the probability of the occurrence in two proteins of just one heptapeptide is equal to ~ 20-7 (or 1 out of 1,280,000,000). Likewise, the probability of the occurrence in two proteins of just one hexapeptide is close to zero by being equal to ~ 20-6 (or 1 out of 64,000,000). That’s right. The odds of TWO shared peptides occurring is 1 IN 1.28 BILLION. It may be that everything the Spike Protein touches is either attacked by the body, turns to scar tissue, or both. My God. Stop this MADNESS!

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Shoot him into space.

Voice of Doom Dr Fauci Warns US Could Face More Covid Lockdowns (DM)

America’s top infectious-disease expert warned that the country could face more COVID-19 lockdowns if cases go up once again due to the latest variant, even as the most cautious begin to shrug off their virus fears once-and-for-all. Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and adviser to President Joe Biden, said easing restrictions, the waning protection from vaccines and the rise of the BA.2 subvariant around the world could bring on another wave of rising infections to the U.S. ‘If in fact we do see a turnaround and a resurgence, we have to be able to pivot and go back to any degree of mitigation that is commensurate with what the situation is,’ Fauci said in a CNN interview on Thursday. ‘We can’t just say, ‘We’re done. We’re going to move on.’ We’ve got to be able to be flexible because we’re dealing with a dynamic situation.’


Fauci added that the variant, which has seen a spike in the UK, could cause a surge in the U.S. as it appears to be as infectious as Omicron, but less fatal. ‘The overall mortality is actually down,’ Fauci said. ‘It’s a very interesting situation where the cases are going up, but it does not, at this point in time, appear to be any degree of severity.’ ‘We generally follow what goes on the UK by about two to three weeks,’ he added. ‘I would not be surprised in the next few weeks, given the fact that we’ve begun to open up, and we have an increase in the BA.2 variant, that we’ll be seeing an increase in cases.’ The warning came as COVID restrictions have been lifted all across the country amid a sharp drop in daily cases after the Omicron surge earlier this year.

Fauci returns

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The vaccines still don’t work. What a surprise.

Covid Immunity Declines Steeply In Care Home Residents In England (G.)

Immunity declines steeply among care home residents in the months after Covid vaccination, a study has found, leading to calls for regular boosters for the most vulnerable. The study of more than 15,000 care home residents found that protection against hospitalisation and death fell by one-third three to seven months after vaccination. The decline is far sharper than that seen in younger people, where immunity against infection wanes, but protection against severe illness appears to be robust. “What we’re seeing is that they are at increased risk of infection, hospitalisation and death as immunity wanes, and those increases look quite big,” said Prof Laura Shallcross, a public health expert at University College London and author of the paper. “That’s not good news at all.

“It suggests annual boosters in residents may not be enough,” she added. From April, a second booster (fourth dose), is being offered to adults aged 75 and over and residents in care homes. Further boosters could be rolled out in the autumn, depending on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the health secretary, Sajid Javid said this week. The latest findings, which have been published as a preprint, could be influential in shaping this decision. They come from the Vivaldi study, funded by the UK Health Security Agency, which monitored Covid in staff and residents in 331 care homes across England from December 2020 to December 2021.

The researchers found that two vaccine doses were effective at preventing 85% of hospitalisations and 94% of deaths among care home residents between two and 12 weeks after the second dose. But this protection fell to 54% of hospitalisations and 63% of deaths at three to seven months after vaccination. The trajectory looked very different in the 19,000 staff who were also tracked in the study. In staff, with an average age of 45, protection against infection fell just slightly from a 50% to 42% reduced risk after three months. There appeared to be no substantial waning in immunity against severe disease for staff, with very few hospitalisations occurring after vaccination.

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WEF.

Stagflation Trap Will Lead To Universal Basic Income And Food Rationing (Smith)

This past week during a conference discussing Biden’s “Build Back Better” scheme House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was confronted with questions on skyrocketing inflation. After referring to higher gas prices as the “Putin Tax”, she went on to offer perhaps the dumbest (or most insidious) denial on the causes of inflation that I have ever heard. She stated: “When we’re having this discussion, it’s important to dispel some of those who say, well it’s the government spending. No, it isn’t. The government spending is doing the exact reverse, reducing the national debt. It is not inflationary.” Anyone with a basic understanding of economics and how central banks operate must have felt their brains explode when they heard this, I know I did.

But before I get into the numerous reasons why this claim is completely false in every way, I want to give a warning – It’s very easy in this situation to assume that Pelosi and even Biden are making these arguments because they are too stupid to grasp the fundamentals of debt creation, money velocity and fiat. That said, never mistake evil for mere ignorance. All higher level representatives of the White House are briefed by economic experts (spin doctors) well before they answer any questions on inflation, and the things they say have been carefully scripted. It’s possible Pelosi mixed her lies up a little bit, but the narrative the establishment is trying to promote is well planned. Asserting that money creation is a counterbalance to inflation instead of the cause is not brilliant, but it’s not designed to convince many people, only create confusion.

Let’s not forget that only last year these same people were telling the public that inflation was purely “transitory” and that there was nothing to worry about. Now they are trying to cover their tracks and the culpability of the Federal Reserve. I believe the goal here is to simply stall for time until the stagflationary collapse unfolds. They have the perfect scapegoat as they launch an economic war with Russia (and likely China in the near term), and the effects of this war will hurt the US and Europe far more than many realize.

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Ukraine injured
https://twitter.com/i/status/1504656592830185474

 

 

 

 

John C. Reilly
https://twitter.com/i/status/1504579880851226634

 

 

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Apr 252018
 


Amedeo Modigliani Nu allongé 1917

 

Why All Companies Fear ‘Death By Amazon’ (G.)
Richmond Fed Manufacturing Survey Crashes By Most In 25 Years (ZH)
Markets Better Prepare for Stagflation (DDMB)
Trade War With US And China’s $14 Trillion Debt-Ridden Economy (CNBC)
Big Farms Set To Pay The Price As EU Eyes Subsidy Cuts (Pol.)
In Japan, New Rules May Leave Home-Sharing Industry Out In The Cold (R.)
Palma de Mallorca To Ban Holiday Rentals After Residents’ Complaints (BBC)
Greece Uncovers Tax Evading Airbnb Owners By Posing as Customers (KTG)
World Wine Output Falls To 60-Year Low (R.)
Homelessness In UK ’10 Times Worse’ Than Official Figures Suggest (Ind.)
Over One In Five Greeks Can’t Make Ends Meet (K.)
Greek Minister Drafts Action Plans Amid Fears Over Refugee Influx (K.)
Greek Government Defies Court on Asylum Seekers (HRW)
Arctic Sea Ice Contains Huge Quantity Of Microplastics (Ind.)

 

 

Do we want monopolies? We’re letting them grow in front of our eyes.

Why All Companies Fear ‘Death By Amazon’ (G.)

Although its retail site is the most visible of its business strands, the $740bn company has quietly stretched its tentacles into an astonishing range of unrelated industries. Google and Facebook might have cornered the online advertising market, but Amazon’s business successes now include groceries, TV, robotics, cloud services and consumer electronics. “If you try to measure power by how many executives are up at night because of X company, I think Amazon would win,” said Lina Khan, legal fellow with the Open Markets Program at the thinktank New America. Amazon has a restaurant delivery service, a music streaming service and an Etsy clone called Amazon Homemade. It makes hugely successful hardware and software; it makes movies, television shows and video games.

It runs a labour brokerage for computer-based work and another for manual labour. It publishes books, sells books, and owns the popular social network site for book readers GoodReads.com. It sells diapers, baby food, snacks, clothing, furniture and batteries. It sells ads, processes payments, and makes small loans. It is the unexpected owner of a huge number of websites – everything from the gaming livestream site Twitch to the movie database IMDb. Of the top 10 US industries by GDP (information, manufacturing non-durable goods, retail trade, wholesale trade, manufacturing durable goods, healthcare, finance and insurance, state and local government, professional and business services, and real estate), Amazon has a finger in all but real estate.

And how confident can the real estate industry be right now that Amazon won’t at some point decide to allow people to buy and sell homes on its platform? “I see them as kind of a great white shark,” said Greer. “You don’t really want to mess with them.” “It’s basically become a railroad for the 21st century,” added Khan. “It’s existential for so many businesses but also competing with all those businesses.” What makes Amazon so frightening for rival businesses is that it can use its expertise in data analytics to move into almost any sector. “Amazon has all this data available. They track what people are searching for, what they click, what they don’t,” said Greer. “Every time you’re searching for something and don’t click, you’re telling Amazon that there’s a gap.”

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Recovery.

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Survey Crashes By Most In 25 Years (ZH)

When hope dies… against expectations of a small rise from March to a 16 print, April came in at a disastrous -3 (the worst data since Sept 2016). From record highs just a couple months ago, Richmond Fed manufacturing has crashed by the most in the survey’s 25 year history into contraction…

It was a bloodbath below the surface too. New orders collapsed to -9 from +17, order backlogs plunged to -4 from +10 and while wages and employees rose, workweek dropped notably. Finally, prices paid rose once again even as new orders crashed… Must be the weather, right?

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No, inflation is not “heating up by all metrics”. But we get the point.

Markets Better Prepare for Stagflation (DDMB)

Investors better wake up to the growing risk of stagflation. The coming weeks promise to deliver the verdict on how they should be positioned. By all metrics, inflation is heating up. But it’s not clear the same can said for underlying economic activity. According to producers, input costs have risen for six of the past eight months. And it’s not just big companies that are feeling pressure. One in four small businesses say they plan to raise prices, a 10-year high, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. Inflation’s persistence will finally begin to trickle through to consumers.

David Rosenberg, chief economist at the wealth management company Gluskin Sheff, recently quipped that investors “better say a prayer for Jay Powell,” the Federal Reserve chair. The deniers will dismiss the suggestion. But Rosenberg is serious, citing the core consumer price index’s March leap to 2.1%, a level that breaches the Fed’s 2% inflation target. “There is going to be a price to be paid for last year’s string of wireless-induced 0.1% prints which are falling out of the year-over-year math,” Rosenberg explained, referring to the collapse in wireless services that skewed inflation lower in 2017. “I see 50/50 odds of a 3% core inflation by year end.”

[..] The New York Fed’s regional survey also raised red flags. Delivery Times remained near their highest levels in seven years while New Orders, Backlogs and Employment all declined. The survey showed an even gloomier outlook for the future. The six-month business activity outlook dove to 18.8 from 44.1, the weakest since February 2016. Though one month can never make a trend, the depth of the plunge is bound to have raised eyebrows given that prior moves of its magnitude tend to coincide with recession.

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China’s so bloated with debt it is very vulnerable.

Trade War With US And China’s $14 Trillion Debt-Ridden Economy (CNBC)

While some of the rhetoric around trade tariffs on China has died down over the last couple of weeks, the prospect of a trade war has not. On April 18, China imposed preliminary antidumping tariffs of 178.6% on sorghum, a crop used to make alcohol and biofuels, while President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on $150 billion worth of goods on everything from solar panels to aircraft to cars remains on the table. If an actual U.S. trade war ensues, then China’s economic growth prospects could be negatively impacted in a significant way. While the country’s economy has shifted inward over the last few years, relying on its own citizens to fuel growth, it still exports billions of dollars in goods and services every year.

Last year it sold $506 billion in exports to the United States — nearly 20% of its exports go to America — while the United States sold just $130 billion to the Chinese. In January the IMF said China’s economic growth would top 6.6% in 2018, but it could now drop by as much as 0.5% if these tariffs are imposed — and it could slow even further if a global trade war truly heats up. China’s economy can likely weather a small decline in growth, in part because of its increased reliance on domestic spending, but this isn’t the only potentially GDP-destroying situation it’s dealing with.

Over the last few years, China’s debt-to-GDP has ballooned to more than 300% from 160% a decade ago, causing many people, including Chinese officials, to warn of a financial-sector debt bubble that’s waiting to burst. [..] How did it get so bad? After the recession, the country spent trillions on infrastructure projects, with many banks, including unregulated or “shadow” banks, loaning money to companies that have been unable to pay back their debts. According to a Chinese news outlet, Lai Xiaoming, chairman of China Huarong Asset Management, one of the country’s biggest asset management firms, said that total volume of nonperforming loans could hit a record $476 billion by 2020.

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Why the insects are dying. Europe should cut subsidies for anyone using chemicals.

Big Farms Set To Pay The Price As EU Eyes Subsidy Cuts (Pol.)

EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger said Monday that Brussels plans to cut its payments to Europe’s biggest farms in the next budget cycle in order to reduce the bloc’s lavish agricultural subsidies by 6%. Brussels is due to make a proposal for the EU’s 2021-2027 budget framework on May 2, and cutbacks are seen as inevitable because Britain will no longer be contributing funds. Agricultural spending is one of the most obvious targets for cost cutting because the Common Agricultural Policy represents almost 40% of the EU budget, or some €59 billion each year.

When asked by POLITICO about CAP cuts on the sidelines of a trade conference in Hannover, Oettinger said: “We cannot fully exempt the existing programs from cutbacks. And in comparison to 2020, as the last year of the existing financial framework, my proposal will focus on approximately 6%, a moderate 6%, reductions.” One of the biggest criticisms of the CAP is that it has prioritized big landowners with direct payments based on acreage. Some 80% of CAP funds go to 20% of farms, owned by the likes of British royalty and major multinational companies. Oettinger said the new budget model would aim to balance that slightly.

“What we have in mind is degressive funding: That means a very big business receives for its hectares a little bit less money than a small enterprise. And that’s exactly what we still have to discuss within the next next days. On Wednesday, we will have a discussion between [Agriculture Commissioner Phil] Hogan and me on this.” Hogan has already told farmers to prepare for belt-tightening. “We need to be realistic: In the absence of more money from member states, there will be a cut to the CAP budget. My job as I see it is to build the strongest possible coalition to resist the worst of these cuts, and achieve the best outcome in a difficult scenario,” he said last week.

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Governments are starting to tackle Airbnb.

In Japan, New Rules May Leave Home-Sharing Industry Out In The Cold (R.)

Japan’s new home-sharing law was meant to ease a shortage of hotel rooms, bring order to an unregulated market and offer more lodging options for foreign visitors ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Instead, the law is likely to stifle Airbnb Inc and other home-sharing businesses when it is enacted in June and force many homeowners to stop offering their services, renters and experts say. The “minpaku,” or private temporary lodging law, the first national legal framework for short-term home rental in Asia, limits home-sharing to 180 days a year, a cap some hosts say makes it difficult to turn a profit.

More important, local governments, which have final authority to regulate services in their areas, are imposing even more severe restrictions, citing security or noise concerns. For example, Tokyo’s Chuo ward, home to the tony Ginza shopping district, has banned weekday rentals on grounds that allowing strangers into apartment buildings during the week could be unsafe. That’s a huge disappointment for Airbnb “superhost” Mika, who asked that her last name not be used because home-renting is now officially allowed only in certain zones. She has enjoyed hosting international visitors in her spare two-bedroom apartment but will stop because her building management has decided to ban the service ahead of the law’s enactment.

“I was able to meet many different people I would have not met otherwise,” said Mika, 53, who started renting out her apartment after she used a home-sharing service overseas. “I may sell my condo.” Mika added that if she were to rent the apartment out on a monthly basis, she would only make one-third of what she does from short-term rentals. The ancient capital of Kyoto, which draws more than 50 million tourists a year, will allow private lodging in residential areas only between Jan. 15 and March 16, avoiding the popular spring and fall tourist seasons.

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“..only 645 of 11,000 holiday rentals being offered to tourists on Palma have the licence required to do so.”

Palma de Mallorca To Ban Holiday Rentals After Residents’ Complaints (BBC)

The Spanish resort city of Palma, on the island of Majorca, is to ban flat owners from renting their apartments to travellers, becoming the first place in Spain to introduce such a measure. The restrictions follow complaints from residents of rising rents due to short holiday lets through websites and apps. Palma’s mayor says the ban, to be introduced in July, will be a model for cities suffering with mass tourism. But business associations say many families will be financially impacted. It was not immediately clear if the ban was restricted only to private flats advertised by their owners on apps or websites.

Houses and chalets will be exempt from the restrictions unless they are located inside protected areas, next to the airport or in industrial zones. Palma, like many other cities around the world, has seen an increase in visitor numbers driven, in part, by private rental accommodation offered through websites and apps. Officials from the local left-wing governing coalition cited a study suggesting that the number of non-licensed apartments on offer to tourists increased by 50% between 2015 and 2017. According to Spanish newspaper El País, only 645 of 11,000 holiday rentals being offered to tourists on Palma have the licence required to do so.

Locally, there is resentment over tourism pushing up prices – rents in Palma have reportedly increased 40% since 2013 – but also about deteriorating conditions in neighbourhoods popular with travellers due to noise and bad behaviour. “Palma is a determined and courageous city,” Mayor Antoni Noguera said. “We agreed on this [ban] based on the general interest [of the city] and we believe it will set the trend for other cities when they see that finding a balance is key.”

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They’re all doing it all wrong. Simply force Airbnb to supply numbers on all rentals.

Greece Uncovers Tax Evading Airbnb Owners By Posing as Customers (KTG)

Tax inspectors uncover tax evading Airbnb owners by pretending to be customers. According to Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE), the trap has revealed a total of 55 Airbnbn tax evaders, so far. In some cases, the ‘fake customers’ even proceeded to booking an Airbnb flat. The first Airbnb owners who failed to declare their earnings from home-sharing practices were uncovered by Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) this week. Under a pilot program aiming to weed out violators, AADE inspectors posed as customers seeking to rent out short-term accommodation via the Airbnb platform. The undercover inspections focused on central points in the Greek capital as well as on luxury options available on popular Greek islands. In some cases, AADE authorities even proceeded to book.

According to AADE, 55 proprietors who had not proceeded with the mandatory declaration of earnings from home-sharing services were notified of the violation. A total of 39 came forward and proceeded with corrections to their income tax declarations indicating additional property income of approximately 921,163 euros resulting in over 200,000 euros going into state coffers. It should be noted that all owners renting out their properties on home-sharing platforms are required by Greek law to declare earned incomes from short-term lease in 2017 on their E2 Forms (column 7).

For income up to 12,000 euros, tax is imposed at a rate of 15%. Takings between 12,001 and 35,000 euros will be taxed at a 35% rate; annual gains over 35,000 euros at a 45% rate. For those offering additional services on the side, the earnings are assessed as income from business activity and taxed at 22% for earnings up to 20,000 euros, 29% for yields between 20,001 and 30,000 euros, 37% for takings between 30,001 and 40,000 euros, and 45% for profits exceeding 40,000 euros.

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Looked it up: World population 60 years ago was less than 3 billion (it hit that in 1960). It is now 7.5 billion. Ergo: people used to drink over 2x as much wine back then.

World Wine Output Falls To 60-Year Low (R.)

Wine production totaled 250 million hectoliters last year, down 8.6% from 2016, data from the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) released on Tuesday showed. It is the lowest level since 1957, when it had fallen to 173.8 million hectoliters, the OIV told Reuters. A hectoliter represents 100 liters, or the equivalent of just over 133 standard 75 cl wine bottles. All top wine producers in the EU have been hit by harsh weather last year, which lead to an overall fall in the bloc of 14.6% to 141 million hectoliters.

The OIV’s projections, which exclude juice and must (new wine), put Italian wine production down 17% at 42.5 million hectoliters, French output down 19% at 36.7 million and Spanish production down 20% at 32.1 million. The French government said last year production had hit a record low due to a series of poor weather conditions including spring frosts, drought and storms that affected most of the main growing regions including Bordeaux and Champagne. In contrast, production remained nearly stable in the United States, the world’s fourth largest producer, and China, which has become the world’s seventh largest wine producer behind Australia and Argentina.

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Failed state.

Homelessness In UK ’10 Times Worse’ Than Official Figures Suggest (Ind.)

The true scale of homelessness in the UK is almost 10 times worse than official figures suggest, according to a new report. Homeless charity Justlife warns thousands of people are being “forgotten in statistics” after it estimated that at least 51,500 people were living in B&Bs in the year to April 2016 – compared with 5,870 official B&B placements recorded by the government. It comes after a separate investigation found that 78 homeless people died last winter – an average of at least two a week. The report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed the fatalities included rough sleepers, people recognised as “statutory homeless” and people staying in temporary accommodation.

Justlife reached its estimate on the homeless B&B population using data gathered from Freedom of Information requests to local authorities, along with other information from the government’s Rural and Urban Classification for Local Authority Districts data. Christa Maciver, author of the report, said: “We can no longer ignore the tens of thousands of people stuck homeless, hidden and ignored in our cities. This report shows there is so much we don’t know and that we really need to be calculating homelessness more accurately.

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And another failed state.

Over One In Five Greeks Can’t Make Ends Meet (K.)

Last year 21.1% of Greeks – or more than one in five – were unable to cover their basic needs, such as the timely payment of utility bills and regular consumption of meat, according to Eurostat. That 21.1% in 2017 may constitute a minor improvement from the 22.4% rate in 2016, but is still a particularly high level. This rate was also the second highest in the European Union and translates to a large share of the population, or 2.24 million people.

The people or households in that category are by definition those unable to meet the costs of at least four of the following: payment of utility bills in time, sufficient heating at home, tackling extraordinary expenses, consumption of meat (or fish or the equivalent in vegetables) on a regular basis, a one-week vacation away from home, and capacity to purchase a TV set, a washing machine, a car or a telephone. The age group with the highest rate of material deprivation in Greece includes those between 20 and 24 years, amounting to 32.6% – or one in three – though this is according to 2016 data. Notably, the year with the highest material deprivation rate in Greece from 2003 to 2017 (for which Eurostat has data), was 2009.

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Arrivals on Lesbos are 4 times what they were last year this time.

Greek Minister Drafts Action Plans Amid Fears Over Refugee Influx (K.)

Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas conceded on Tuesday that he is “worried” about the significant increase in the flow of migrants and refugees to Greece observed recently. Vitsas said that arrivals on Lesvos had increased almost fourfold since last year, noting that daily arrivals were 54 on average last year compared to the 206 migrants who arrived on the island on Tuesday. Between January and April, more than 7,000 migrants and refugees arrived on the islands of the eastern Aegean, he said, noting that just 112 people were returned to Turkey during that same period. However, Vitsas appeared far more concerned with the increase in arrivals over the Greek-Turkish land border, noting that 340 people crossed the border on Tuesday.

“I’m not scared about the islands because we know what we have to do. What is really worrisome is the huge increase through Evros,” he said. Under pressure from the opposition over mistakes and omissions in the government’s current migration policy, Vitsas said that his ministry has prepared two plans to deal with the situation and pledged to outline their content to political party leaders in private. According to Bulgarian government statistics, 356 migrants have crossed into that country from Turkey since the beginning of the year. In the same period, more than 2,700 crossed Turkey’s land border with Greece, Vitsas said.

There are fears that the difference in flows is due to deteriorating ties between Greece and Turkey while relations between Sofia and Ankara are good, particularly since Bulgarian authorities returned alleged supporters of the US-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey in 2016. Security along Turkey’s border with Bulgaria has intensified since then. The opposite has been happening along the Greek border since the detention of two Greek soldiers who strayed across the border in early March. Greek border guards are now more cautious, and less inclined to crack down on migrants.

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Curious. Athens should be open about EU pressure on the topic.

Greek Government Defies Court on Asylum Seekers (HRW)

The Greek government’s move on April 20, 2018, overturning a binding court ruling ordering it to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands raises rule of law concerns, 21 human rights and humanitarian organizations said today. Rather than carrying out the April 17 ruling by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, the government issued an administrative decision reinstating the policy, known as the “containment policy.” It also introduced a bill on April 19 to clear the way to restore the policy in Greek law. Parliament members should oppose such changes and press the government to respect the ruling.

Parliament began discussing the draft law on April 24. But the government has preempted the debate on the bill, including the issue of the containment policy by reinstating it. On April 20, the new director of the asylum service reissued an administrative order setting down the reasons for the containment policy. Among grounds given to justify the restrictions imposed by the policy are the need to implement an EU-Turkey deal on migration and a broader public interest claim. But the decision goes against the Council of State ruling and Greece’s responsibilities under international, EU and Greek law, as it offers insufficient justification for the restrictions, the groups said.

The Council of State’s April 17 ruling said that Greece’s containment policy had no legal basis and that there were no imperative reasons under EU and Greek law justifying the restrictions to the freedom of movement of asylum seekers. It ordered the annulment of the administrative decision imposing the restrictions and permitted the free movement of asylum seekers arriving on the islands following the ruling’s publication. The ruling also highlighted that the disproportionate distribution of asylum seekers has overburdened the islands. The ruling is limited, however, applying only to new arrivals.

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“Each litre of sea ice contained around 12,000 particles of plastic..”

Arctic Sea Ice Contains Huge Quantity Of Microplastics (Ind.)

Scientists have found an unprecedented number of microplastics frozen in Arctic sea ice, demonstrating the alarming extent to which they are pervading marine environments. Analysis of ice cores from across the region found levels of the pollution were up to three times higher than previously thought. Each litre of sea ice contained around 12,000 particles of plastic, which scientists are now concerned are being ingested by native animals. Based on their analysis, the researchers were even able to trace the tiny fragments’ paths from their places of origin, from fishing vessels in Siberia to everyday detritus that had accumulated in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

“We are seeing a clear human imprint in the Arctic,” the study’s first author, Dr Ilka Peeken, told The Independent. “It suggests that microplastics are now ubiquitous within the surface waters of the world’s ocean,” said Dr Jeremy Wilkinson, a sea ice physicist at the British Antarctic Survey who was not involved with the study. “Nowhere is immune.”

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