May 022024
 
 May 2, 2024  Posted by at 8:58 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Edvard Munch Separation 1896

 

Student Protests Among ‘Biggest Things’ in US in Decades – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
‘All Because Columbia Refuses to Divest’ (CD)
The US Student Intifada: Palestine’s New Soft Power Leverage (Cradle)
Google Workers Fired Over Israel Protests File Federal Labor Complaint
Weissmann: “One Vote Away from … the End of Democracy” (Turley)
The Death of Ireland and Replacement of the Irish People (Paul Craig Roberts)
The Ukraine Conflict Is Spinning Out of Control (Paul Craig Roberts)
Ukraine Must Defeat Russia To Join NATO – Zelensky (RT)
China Humiliated Blinken But Blinken Kept Begging (Chang)
Trump Campaign Slams Commission’s Refusal to Hold Earlier Debates (ET)
Appeals Court Denies Trump’s Bid to Have Judge Merchan Recused (ET)
BRIC-O-Rama: On The Road In Brazil, With An Eye On Russia-China (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

 

 

Watters

 

 

KJP

 

 

Kash Patel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785699469457023055

 

 

LA

 

 

Model 3

 

 

The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money. – Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

Scott Ritter: “I think these student protests right now are some of the most important things to have happened in American society in many, many decades..”

I didn’t know. Let’s see.

Student Protests Among ‘Biggest Things’ in US in Decades – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video address that the protests against his country on American universities that had then only recently sprung up were “antisemitic mobs” that had “taken over” college campuses. He called on US authorities to do more to stop them. The growing student protest movement against the continued bombardment of Gazans by the Israeli government is among one of the most important things to happen in the US in “many, many decades,” former UN inspector and military expert Scott Ritter told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Tuesday. “If you were an American like myself, who is not inclined to go out and protest and hold signs and disrupt things, man, we have to wake up,” he explained. “I have to wake up. We have to join these students one way or another and join their cause in letting the government know that we will not stand silent in the face of police oppression of the right of American citizens to speak out, to assemble, to hold their government [to] account.”

“I think these student protests right now are some of the most important things to have happened in American society in many, many decades,” Ritter emphasized. Tuesday night, what appeared to be hundreds of officers with the New York Police Department entered Columbia University in riot gear and military-grade vehicles, arresting approximately 300 people, according to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. That raid came after similar raids across the country, including in Texas, where 79 people, including some faculty members who joined students, were arrested. Meanwhile, a 65-year-old professor, Steve Tamari, was hospitalized after an officer at Washington University in St. Louis slammed him to the ground, breaking multiple ribs and his hand, according to a statement he put out from the hospital. More than 100 people were arrested in that protest. Colleges being a place for the free exchange of ideals is a critical part of our society, Ritter argued, adding that he believes the crackdown is designed to end this.

“As somebody who has taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States… I respect not only [the] students’ constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly, I also recognize that college is one of the great zones of developing good citizens,” Ritter said. Over the weekend, presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested at a protest. Stein says she was told she was being charged with assaulting an officer, but clarified in a later interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald that was not on her paperwork. Part of the purpose of colleges is “to create an incubator for the development of good citizenship, not compliant zombies,” Ritter explained, arguing that the US needs, “citizens who think, who empower themselves with knowledge and information and express that individually and collectively.”

At University of California, Los Angeles, a group of pro-Israeli protesters reportedly fired pepper spray and fireworks at student protesters during clashes. Witnesses claim that while the police were standing by, they did not intervene for hours. Ritter noted the US government is doing “just about everything possible wrong,” underscoring that the US “needs these students to come out and they’ve picked an issue, Gaza, which is the manifestation of the totality of all we do wrong as a government.” “When you go to university, we need you to become radical. We need you to think. We need you to exercise your brain and your spirit and your conscience. And [the government is] trying to suppress them because apparently we don’t want good citizens anymore,” the analyst concluded.

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Overkill.

‘All Because Columbia Refuses to Divest’ (CD)

Hundreds of New York City police officers descended on Columbia University Tuesday night to arrest dozens of pro-Palestinian student protesters and dismantle a Gaza solidarity encampment that inspired campus protests across the United States, with demonstrators calling on their schools to divest from companies profiting off Israel’s devastating war. Police, some wearing riot gear, entered Columbia’s campus at the request of the university’s president, Minouche Shafik, who authorized the NYPD to “clear all individuals from Hamilton Hall and all campus encampments.” Video footage shows officers entering a campus building that students occupied hours earlier, renaming it “Hind’s Hall” after a 6-year-old girl who was killed by Israeli forces earlier this year. The Columbia Daily Spectator, the university’s student newspaper, reported that “as they entered the building, officers threw down the metal and wooden tables barricading the doors and shattered the glass on the leftmost doors of Hamilton to enter with shields in hand.”

“Several officers drew their guns, according to footage posted by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry,” the newspaper added. “At around 9:37 pm, officers led dozens of protesters out the entrance of Hamilton. The protesters’ hands were zip-tied behind their backs. The arrested individuals chanted, ‘Free, free Palestine’ as they were led away from the building.” Other footage shows NYPD officers forcing their way through students who locked arms in front of the occupied campus building. One cop is seen kneeing a student on the ground. Students reported that police used tear gas, which is banned in war, on demonstrators. “Tonight, my university called in a militarized police force—armed in riot gear, with guns drawn, deploying weapons banned under international law—to attack teenagers,” Lea Salim, a student member of Jewish Voice for Peace-Columbia/Barnard, said in a statement. “All because Columbia refuses to divest from the Israeli military and its genocidal campaign on the people of Gaza.”

As police set up barricades around the perimeter of the campus, onlookers gathered and chanted, “Let the students go!” in solidarity with the arrested demonstrators. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said he was “outraged” by the police presence at both Columbia and the City College of New York, writing on social media that the “militarization of college campuses, extensive police presence, and arrest of hundreds of students are in direct opposition to the role of education as a cornerstone of our democracy.” “I call upon the Columbia administration to stop this dangerous escalation before it leads to further harm,” Bowman added, “and allow the faculty back onto campus so that all parties can collectively come to a solution that centers humanity over hate.”

In a letter to the New York City Police Department on Tuesday, Shafik—who is facing mounting calls to resign—requested that officers maintain a presence on Columbia’s campus “through at least May 17, 2024 to maintain order and ensure encampments are not reestablished.” The police crackdown on Columbia students is part of a broader wave of repression against campus protests that have emerged across the country in recent weeks as Israel’s assault on and forced starvation of Gaza civilians continues with no end in sight. Police actions, approved by the leaders of some universities and cheered on by right-wing government officials, have drawn international rebukes. In a statement Tuesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said he is “concerned that some of law enforcement actions across a series of universities appear disproportionate in their impacts.”

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“..soft power can be more effective than hard power in achieving political outcomes, because it influences the preferences of others rather than forcing them to change through coercion.”

The US Student Intifada: Palestine’s New Soft Power Leverage (Cradle)

On 18 April, students at Columbia University in New York initiated a sit-in on the campus lawn, protesting the Ivy League institution’s ongoing financial links to companies connected to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its brutal war on Gaza. The demonstrations quickly spread to other top US universities, including New York University, Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of North Carolina, as demands intensified for an end to both the war and support for the occupation state. This growing wave of US and global student activism is of vital importance: it represents the soft power ripple effects of the resistance‘s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, and as with other historic, mass US student movements against South African apartheid and the Vietnam war, will likely begin to fray at American support for Israeli aggressions. For decades, the US has portrayed Israel as a beacon of democracy in a region dominated by authoritarian regimes, often citing it as “the only democracy” in West Asia to justify its unwavering support.

However, recent shifts in public perception, particularly among western youth, now increasingly portray Israelis as “terrorists” and “colonizers.” This sea change in the discourse, driven by the global spread of information and activism, will have a significant impact on the Zionist entity. Israel’s global reputation had already been tarnished by the time South Africa filed genocide charges against the state in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) earlier this year, the first time Israel has faced such accusations at this level. In March, the ICJ demanded that Israel take immediate, effective measures to ensure the entry of essential food supplies to Gaza’s residents, emphasizing the severe famine conditions already present. “Soft power” is defined by Joseph Nye as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or pressure.”

Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, argues that “soft power can be more effective than hard power in achieving political outcomes, because it influences the preferences of others rather than forcing them to change through coercion.” This form of influence arises through culture, values, and policies that are universally attractive and morally legitimate – and, therefore, harder to contain. Decades of Tel Aviv’s “nation branding” or soft power initiatives in the west, geared at deeply entrenching the notion of Israel as “the only democracy” in West Asia that shared the occident’s “Judeo-Christian values,” aimed to justify Washington’s unconditional support for the occupation state. It took a show of Palestinian hard power, however, to unlock that narrative stranglehold in the west. Within weeks of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, western populations began for the first time to see the real face of Zionism – unleashed in an overwhelming military assault on Gaza’s hospitals, universities, infrastructure, and civilian populations.

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No Tech for Apartheid

Google Workers Fired Over Israel Protests File Federal Labor Complaint

Dozens of Google workers who were fired for protesting the tech giant’s cloud deal with the Israeli government filed a complaint on April 29 with the National Labor Relations Board over their termination. The complaint, obtained by The Washington Post, alleges that Google violated the workers’ rights by “terminating and/or placing them on administrative leave in response to their protected concerted activity, namely, participation (or perceived participation) in a peaceful, non-disruptive protest that was directly and explicitly connected to their terms and conditions of work.” The workers are seeking reinstatement of their jobs and back pay, alleging that Google “unlawfully retaliated” against them for engaging in “peaceful” protest, Jane Chung, a spokesperson for No Tech for Apartheid, was quoted as saying by the New York Post.

No Tech for Apartheid, the group organizing the protests, claimed that Google fired more than 20 workers on April 23, including bystanders who were not participating. This adds to the 30 workers fired last week for their involvement in sit-in protests at Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, bringing the total number of terminated workers to more than 50. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The protests targeted a $1.2 billion deal known as Project Nimbus that provides artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the Israeli government. The fired workers contend that the system is being lethally deployed in the Gaza war. “Google’s aims are clear: the corporation is attempting to quash dissent, silence its workers, and reassert its power over them,” the group said in an April 23 statement. “In its attempts to do so, Google has decided to unceremoniously, and without due process, upend the livelihoods of over 50 of its own workers.” The activist group has vowed to continue organizing until Google meets their demands: that it “drop Project Nimbus and stop powering Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza now.”

Project Nimbus was signed in 2021. It involves joint cloud computing and AI services provided by Google and Amazon to the Israeli government. Google has said that the program is not being used for military or intelligence purposes. Google has said that it fired the workers after gathering details from coworkers who were “physically disrupted” and it identified employees who used masks and didn’t carry their staff badges to hide their identities. Google didn’t specify how many were fired. In a blog post on April 18, Google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted that workers will be on a short leash as the company intensifies its efforts to improve its AI technology at a pivotal moment in the industry and, potentially, history. He did not openly refer to a specific incident. “But ultimately we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: this is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics,” Mr. Pichai wrote. “We have a duty to be an objective and trusted provider of information that serves all of our users globally.”

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Weissmann ran the Mueller probe.

Weissmann: “One Vote Away from … the End of Democracy” (Turley)

When Robert Mueller appointed Andrew Weissmann as one of his top advisers, many of us warned that it was a poor choice. Weissmann seemed intent to prove those objections correct in increasingly unhinged and partisan statements. This week, he ratcheted up the rhetoric even further in claiming that the nation is “one vote away” from the end of democracy if the Supreme Court does not embrace the sweeping claims of Special Counsel Jack Smith. At the time of his appointment, many Republicans objected to Weissmann’s status as a democratic donor, including his reported attendance of the election night party for Hillary Clinton in 2016. My objection was not to his political affiliations but to his professional history, which included extreme interpretations that were ultimately rejected by courts. Weissmann was responsible for the overextension of an obstruction provision in a jury instruction that led the Supreme Court to reverse the conviction in the Arthur Andersen case in 2005.

Weissmann then became a MSNBC analyst and a professor at New York University. In his book, he attacked prosecutors for refusing to take on his extreme views. Weissmann called on prosecutors to refuse to assist John Durham in his investigation. Now he is predicting the end of democracy if the Court remand the immunity case for further proceedings. Weissmann told MSNBC anchor Jen Psaki on Sunday: “I think that it’s important to remember that at the outset, the court had already given Donald Trump the win that he was seeking, which is the delay of the DC trial.” So going into this, this was all upside for him. I mean, I think he had to be thinking, I’m making this really outlandish argument, with ramifications that couldn’t possibly be squared with the text and history. The text of the Constitution or the history of the presidency? So it’s all upside if the court would actually bite on this.

And so what was surprising is that there were justices who actually were taking this seriously. And it just was, frankly, shocking. Remember, going into this, the given was that private conduct was certainly not, immunized from criminal liability. What everyone’s talking about now is, hey, maybe they think that some of this is private and they can go forward, but that was what was given going into this. And the reason people are thinking that is because there seem to be four justices who were really taking Donald Trump’s claim of criminal immunity seriously. And we are. I mean, I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I think your opening is so correct that we are essentially, as Neil put it, one vote away from sort of the end of democracy as we know it with checks and balances. And to say it’s an imperial presidency that would be created is, it’s frankly saying it would be a king, he would be criminally immune. And that that is what is so shocking is how close we are.

And we are really on the razor’s edge of that kind of result. But for the chief justice. Just for the record, it sounds less “like hyperbole” than hysteria. The justices were exploring the implications of the sweeping arguments on both sides of the immunity question. What they were not willing to do (as does Weissmann) is simply dismiss any arguments of official status on the part of the accused. That would establish a dangerous ambiguity for the future as prosecutors claim that political statements are private matters for the purpose of prosecution. Ironically, Weissmann’s lack of concern for the implications of such an interpretation is reminiscent of his prior sweeping arguments as a prosecutor that led to the stinging defeat in the Anderson case.

Of course, there is another possibility is that the justices were not seeking the end of democracy. The Court was honestly trying to get this standard correct not just for this case but future cases. To do so, it will require a record on the underlying actions rather than the categorical threshold judgment made by the district court. The argument showed justices exploring how to avoid a parade of horribles on either extreme with a more moderate approach. As I previously noted, it has been almost 50 years since the high court ruled presidents have absolute immunity from civil lawsuits in Nixon v. Fitzgerald. That protection applied to acts taken “within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility.”

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The Conquest of Ireland and the UK Nears Completion

The Death of Ireland and Replacement of the Irish People (Paul Craig Roberts)

Gaza is not the only genocide. Genocide is taking place all over Europe and in the US. All over Europe and the US governments prefer immigrant-invaders over their own citizens.“The migrants are eligible for free accommodation, free social welfare, free medical care, food, clothes, and various other perks. Whilst at the same time that the Irish government is facilitating mass immigration there are 14,000 Irish homeless people on the streets.” And many more homeless Irish citizens are on the way. Migrants are given free accommodation in hotels and country estates throughout the land, while the Irish people are seriously struggling to make ends meet in a rigged inflationary system, with a never-ending story of sky-high rents, high taxes, inflation, and an ongoing extremely serious accommodation crisis. Many young Irish citizens are left with little option but to live with their parents or emigrate to countries such as Australia as they cannot afford to live in their own country.

This is an extremely important article. It shows that the West is being intentionally destroyed by its own governments. The threat that all citizens in the West face comes not from Russia, China, Iran, but from their own government. Irish citizens who peacefully protest their replacement by immigrant-invaders are brutally beaten–even mothers and children–by police, which emphasizes the second class status of Irish ethnicity. “Many of the Irish police in balaclavas that are enforcing these tactics against the Irish people are not Irish at all, but are more akin to non-Irish hired mercenaries, or more like an EU army.” “The stark reality is the Irish government is not really the Irish government it is just a puppet of the EU bureaucracy. Ireland has been a fully controlled vassal state of the banker-controlled EU, in particular since the controversial (and rerun) Lisbon referendum 14 years ago, which hammered a nail in the coffin of Irish sovereignty.”

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“..they are walking into Armageddon by betting that Washington is rational..”

The Ukraine Conflict Is Spinning Out of Control (Paul Craig Roberts)

In my effort to awake humanity to its extinction in the nuclear war that is advancing upon us, I have pointed my finger at Putin and Xi’s mistaken belief that the way to avoid it is to ignore provocations and wait for Washington to come to its senses. This shows diplomacy at its highest level, but it is mistaken. The ignored provocations encourage more and worst provocations. The Asia Times, if the story can be believed, reports that NATO has begun deploying troops in Ukraine’s defense. “NATO is starting to deploy combat troops to Ukraine. Soldiers from Poland, France, the UK, Finland and other NATO members are arriving in larger numbers.“ Although Russia says there are over 3,100 mercenaries in Ukraine, these newly arriving troops are not mercenaries. They are in uniform, home country proclaimed via insignia.

They mostly are concentrated in the western part of the country, although in some cases they are close to the actual fighting in the east. “NATO is putting out the word these are not combat soldiers but are in Ukraine to operate sophisticated western hardware. But if they are firing at the Russians the only proper way to interpret their presence is that they are playing an active part in the shooting war.” It is the same plan as Washington’s intervention in Vietnam. What will the sequel be? Putin and XI are diplomats. But they have no comprehension of Washington. Their naiveness has blinded them to reality. Consequently, they are walking into Armageddon by betting that Washington is rational.

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Cut it out.

Ukraine Must Defeat Russia To Join NATO – Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine needs to defeat Russia on the battlefield in order to be admitted to NATO, President Vladimir Zelensky has said. The US-led alliance has made it clear earlier that Kiev cannot become a member while the fighting is ongoing. “I believe that we will be in NATO only if we win. I don’t think that we will be admitted to NATO during the war,” Zelensky said on Tuesday during a meeting with a group of military officers in Kiev. He explained that the admission of Ukraine would require unanimous approval by the alliance’s 32 members. Some members are reluctant to admit Ukraine in the midst of an ongoing armed conflict because “they feel the risks, while others are simply skeptical,” Zelensky argued. “Therefore, for Ukraine to be accepted into the alliance, we need victory.” He went on to add that eventual membership would secure Ukraine’s security and independence.

Ukraine formally applied to join NATO in September 2022. While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and individual members agree that Ukraine should someday become part of NATO, Kiev has not been presented with a concrete timetable. It is widely understood that the country will not be admitted until the conflict with Russia is resolved.v Stoltenberg, who visited Kiev on Monday, admitted to Reuters that the delays in promised weapons deliveries had “put a dent into the trust” between Ukraine and its foreign backers.

While the EU is struggling to find enough arms and ammunition for Ukraine’s wartime needs, the newest aid package from the US had been stuck for months in Congress due to political wrangling. The delays sparked worries in Kiev, with Zelensky openly warning that Ukraine would lose if ammunition shortages are not remedied. Ukrainian officials have blamed the slowdown of deliveries for last year’s failed counteroffensive, as well as more recent losses of cities in the east to the Russian army. Russia, for its part, has cited NATO’s continuing expansion eastward and the bloc’s military cooperation with Ukraine as one of the root causes of the conflict. Moscow considers NATO a threat to its national security and insists that Ukraine must become a neutral country.

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“In substance, therefore, Blinken in Beijing continued talking about talking.”

China Humiliated Blinken But Blinken Kept Begging (Chang)

It is not clear whether a Chinese official was at the Beijing airport to bid farewell to Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he ended his three-day visit to China on Friday, but the send-off was in any event low-key and Chinese leader Xi Jinping slighted America’s top diplomat at the end of his troubled stay. Also, China, literally and figuratively, did not roll out the red carpet for his arrival in Shanghai on Wednesday. Only a low-level official was on hand to greet Blinken as he stepped off the plane. “The Chinese government flouted international protocols at the airport on the secretary of state’s arrival in Shanghai and departure from Beijing,” Charles Burton of the Prague-based Sinopsis think tank told Gatestone. “It was petty.” “This was more than a slight,” Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who served in Beijing, said. “Aside from a calculated insult to the dignity of the United States, the move indicates Xi Jinping is making clear that the accepted norms of diplomacy will not be respected by China anymore.”

Blinken was in China to discuss the growing list of disagreements between Washington and Beijing. Not surprisingly, he did not accomplish anything there other than register America’s complaints on matters such as Beijing’s support for the Russian war effort in Ukraine and unfair treatment of U.S. companies. On every major issue, the U.S. and China take different sides, and the Chinese have clearly dug in. Blinken was reduced to begging. As a result, America is resorting to the dialogue-is-progress narrative. “I think it’s important to underscore the value—in fact, the necessity—of direct engagement, of sustained engagement, of speaking to each other, laying out our differences which are real, seeking to work through them, as also looking for ways to build cooperation where we can,” Blinken said to Chen Jining, Communist Party secretary of Shanghai, ahead of his talks in the Chinese capital.

After the end of fruitless sessions in Beijing—Blinken met with, among others, President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi—all the secretary of state could do is highlight new dialogue issues. “I’m pleased to announce that earlier today, we agreed to hold the first U.S.-PRC talks on artificial intelligence to be held in the coming weeks,” he said at a press availability on April 26, as he wrapped up his trip to China. “We’ll share our respective views on the risks and safety concerns around advanced AI and how best to manage them.” Blinken’s comments repeated those of President Joe Biden after his November 15 meeting with Xi Jinping in Woodside, California. In substance, therefore, Blinken in Beijing continued talking about talking.

There is no question that AI is an important topic, especially when it comes to the control of nuclear weapons. Yet this does not mean the U.S. should seek an agreement with China on that topic. “The latest shambolic display by the Biden administration comes in the form of Secretary of State Antony Blinken groveling before China’s Ruler-for-Life Xi Jinping for a new set of protocols for governing the development of artificial intelligence between America and China, the two nations contributing the most to both the advancement of AI and its weaponization,” Brandon Weichert, a national security analyst at The National Interest, told Gatestone. “Although creating such protocols may sound like a good idea, it seems like a bad idea for Washington to unilaterally agree to limit its own activities.”

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“..the first debate scheduled for Sept. 16 “will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held.”

Trump Campaign Slams Commission’s Refusal to Hold Earlier Debates (ET)

The Trump campaign on Tuesday issued a rebuke of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) refusal to move up its debate schedule until after millions of Americans have already cast their ballots, calling it “unacceptable” and a “grave disservice” to the electorate. In a statement, former President Donald Trump’s campaign representatives Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles intensified criticism of the body that sponsors all general election presidential debates. Previously, they had requested debates to be held “much earlier” than the commission’s planned first debate in mid-September. The Trump campaign repeated its argument that voters deserve to hear from both candidates before they begin casting their votes.

“The Presidential Debate Commission’s schedule does not begin until after millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots. This is unacceptable, and by refusing to move up the debates, they are doing a grave disservice to the American public who deserve to hear from both candidates before voting begins,” the statement read. The statement comes after the nonprofit commission told Fox News that it would stick with its debate schedule, which was released last November. Four debates are planned: three presidential and one vice presidential.The first presidential debate takes place on Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos; the second takes place on Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg; and the third takes place on Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The commission said that it “is proceeding with production and broadcast plans at its four debate sites as also announced on November 20, 2023.” Responding to the criticism, the CPD issued a statement on Wednesday, clarifying its decision-making process regarding the schedule for the 2024 debates. The commission noted that the first debate scheduled for Sept. 16 “will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held.” The selection of debate dates aimed to ensure accessibility for the American public, taking into account factors such as religious and federal holidays, early voting, and state ballot closing dates, according to the CPD.

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“It’s a disgrace to our Country — They’ve taken away my Right to Free Speech.”

Appeals Court Denies Trump’s Bid to Have Judge Merchan Recused (ET)

A New York state appeals court denied a request from former President Donald Trump to have his so-called “hush-money” judge removed. Lawyers for the former president sought a stay in the proceedings and the recusal of Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the trial that will likely last for at least another month. Both the application for his recusal and for a stay in the case were denied on Tuesday without explanation by the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division for the First Department. His lawyers had argued that the trial judge should be removed because he had acted out of his jurisdiction by refusing to recuse himself and restricting the number of docket entries, among other matters. “Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon,” Tuesday’s court order stated. “It is ordered that the motion is denied.”

In April, before the jury selection process started, Judge Merchan himself denied a request from President Trump’s attorneys to step down. Several days before that, the former president’s lawyers said in a hearing that the trial should be delayed, which the court also denied. “The unconstitutional effects of Justice Merchan’s rulings are causing ongoing, irreparable constitutional harms to Petitioner and the voting public and, if not stopped, will prevent Petitioner from receiving a fair trial,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche wrote in an application to the court. A judge, Ellen Gesmer, denied the application. Also last month, the state appeals court rejected another bid to stay the trial while the defense tried to move the trial away from Manhattan, arguing that they were concerned that the jury pool would be tainted. The court also rejected an appeal to pause the trial while President Trump appealed a gag order that was handed down by Judge Merchan earlier this year.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Merchan fined President Trump $9,000 for nine separate posts he made online that he believes violated the gag order. He further warned President Trump that he could be incarcerated if he continues to make the posts. Previously, President Trump and his attorneys argued that the gag order, which prohibits the former president from commenting on most people connected to the case, is a violation of his First Amendment rights. In a social media statement after the fines were handed down, President Trump wrote: “This gag order is not only unique, it’s totally unconstitutional. I am the Republican Candidate for President of the United States.” “This is a total Witch Hunt. Hours of sitting down and listening to nothing except EXONERATION AND LIES,” he continued. “The Trial is going like a speeding bullet, because the Judge is working hard to make all of his friends happy. Merchan is Rigged, Crooked and above all, and without question, CONFLICTED. It’s a disgrace to our Country — They’ve taken away my Right to Free Speech.”

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Pepe left Asia.

BRIC-O-Rama: On The Road In Brazil, With An Eye On Russia-China (Pepe Escobar)

I have just been immersed in an extraordinary experience: a mini-tour of conferences in Brazil encompassing four key cities – Sao Paulo, Rio, Salvador, Belo Horizonte. Full houses, sharp questions, fabulously warm people, divine gastronomy – a deep dive into the 8th largest economy in the world and major BRICS+ node. As much as I was trying to impress the finer points of the long and winding road to multipolarity and the multiple instances of frontal clash between NATOstan and the Global Majority, I was learning non-stop from an array of generous Brazilians about the current inner contradictions of a society of astonishing complexity. It’s as if I was immersed in a psychedelic journey conducted by Os Mutantes, the iconic trio of the late 1960s Tropicalia movement: from the business front in Sao Paulo – with its world-class restaurants and frantic deal-making – to the blinding beauty of Rio; from Salvador – the capital of Brazilian Africa – to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the third-wealthiest state in the Federation, Minas Gerais, a powerhouse of iron ore, uranium and niobium exports.

I learned about how China chose the state of Bahia as arguably its key node in Brazil, where Chinese investment is everywhere – even if Brazil is not yet a formal member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In Rio, I was presented with an astonishing work on Stoics Zeno and Cleanthes by essayist Ciro Moroni – delving among other issues into the equivalences between Stoic theogony/theology and the Hindu Vedanta – the tradition of culture, religion and sacred rituals in India up to the Buddha era.

And in a sort of psychedelic synchronicity, I felt like Zeno in the Agora as we debated the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine at a lovely round pavillion – a mini-Agora – in fabled Liberty Square in Belo Horizonte, across the street from a fabulous exhibition of Treasures of Peruvian Art. Much to my astonishment, a Peruvian, Carlos Ledesma, flew in from Lima especially for my conference and the exhibition; and then he told me about the Chancay port being built south of Lima, owned 70% by COSCO and the rest by private Peruvian capital; that will be a sister port of Shanghai.

Chancay-Shanghai: APEC in action across the Pacific. Next November, there will be three nearly simultaneous key events in South America: the G20 in Rio, the APEC summit in Lima, and the inauguration of Chancay. Chancay will be boosted by no less than five rail corridors that may eventually be built – certainly with Chinese investment – from the agribusiness Valhalla in the Brazilian Center-West all the way to Peru. Yes, China is all over the place in its largest trade partner in Latin America – much to the despair of a Hegemon sending lowly functionary Little Blinken to Beijing to hear the letter of the new law by Xi Jinping himself: it’s cooperation or confrontation, a “downward spiral”. Your downward spiral.

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Markkula

 

 

Horse herd
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785657926448820571

 

 

Bugs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785832474494279693

 

 

Rebel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785599235297075474

 

 

Transform
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785594023543238942

 

 

 

 

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Aug 172020
 


Claude Monet The Wooden Bridge 1872

 

One-Second Coronavirus Test Achieves 95% Success Rate (JP)
Biden and Trump Matchup Tightens As Enthusiasm Hits New High (CNN)
Mueller Aide Weissmann Tells DOJ Attorneys Not To Help Investigators (Turley)
The Manufactured Hysteria Over Mail Delivery (PJM)
A Reality-Based Look At Trump And The Post Office (York)
Washington’s Successful Vote-by-Mail System Wasn’t Built Overnight (CC)
Adam Schiff’s Inaccurate Russia Tweets Raise Double-Standard Question (JTN)
Japan’s Economy Shrinks At Record -27.8% Annual Rate (AP)
UK Housing Market Has Busiest Month In More Than 10 Years (G.)
New Zealand Delays General Election By A Month Amid COVID19 Outbreak (G.)
The Roots Of Wokeness (Sullivan)

 

 

What do you think about the post office narrative? Which side is trying to use it to influence the election?

How about the CNN poll that says all of a sudden Trump has closed the double digit gap to Biden? Is that the Kamala effect, or did CNN wake up to the realization that those huge gaps make people less likely to vote?

How about CNN’s -implied- claim that Biden voters are mpre enthusiastic than Trump voters? Does that ring true?

 

 

Can we move new global cases under 200,000? US new cases at the lowest since June 23. US deaths at “just” 522, but that complies with a weekend pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can anyone at all explain why these tests are not used all over the world? There are many rapid tests with comparable success rates. What are we waiting for? Does anyone understand why these tests are much more useful than the standard CPR ones? This is presented as a breakthrough, but it isn’t, really.

One-Second Coronavirus Test Achieves 95% Success Rate (JP)

An initial clinical trial of a coronavirus-testing technology that is believed to detect viruses in a fluid sample in less than a second has achieved a 95% success rate, according to data released last week from the trial performed at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. The test was designed by Newsight Imaging, a Ness Ziona-based start-up firm, and centers on a device that is about the size of a computer mouse, which can identify and classify evidence of a virus in the body in less than a second, using a sample of fluid – blood serum or saliva – inserted into a disposable test cuvette. In spectroscopy, a sample is tested with a broadband light source, Newsight CEO Eli Assoolin told The Jerusalem Post last month when it first received Sheba Medical Center’s IRB Ethics (“Helsinki”) Committee approval to conduct a pilot program for rapid COVID-19 detection tests.


The light that returns from the sample is analyzed to determine its wavelength content. “We collect the spectral signature after the light is absorbed in the sample, and then we can analyze the content of it,” he said, noting that spectral-analysis technology has already been used to identify certain human diseases and abnormalities. “Basically, on one side, you have the source of light, and on the other side, you have the sensor chip – a sensitive and fast camera that can see different wavelengths. In the middle, you put the sample,” Assoolin said. Prof. Eli Schwartz of the Center for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba said that under laboratory conditions, the research team was clearly able to differentiate between COVID-19 samples that were positive and those that were negative, with a 95% accuracy rate. “For a new AI-based technology such as this, the results are quite encouraging,” Schwartz said.

Read more …

As the virtual Dem convention starts, CNN is in a bit of a bind. They’ve been reporting on various polls that all show Biden leading Trump by double-digit margins, but even their viewers haven’t forgotten how they predicted Hillary had a 95% chance of winning in 2016. And of course the problem with those wide margins is they make people wonder why they should vote, if the outcome is so clear.

So now there’s a poll that shows Trump is fast catching up (the Kamala effect?) , but not without adding the rather curious notion that “Among the 72% of voters who say they are either extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this fall, Biden’s advantage over Trump widens to 53% to 46%.”

Is there anyone who believes that Biden voters are more enthusiastic than Trump voters? Doesn’t that contradict everything we’ve seen?

Biden and Trump Matchup Tightens As Enthusiasm Hits New High (CNN)

Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump among registered voters has significantly narrowed since June, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, even as the former vice president maintains an advantage over the President on several top issues and his choice of California Sen. Kamala Harris as a running mate earns largely positive reviews. And on the eve of the party conventions, a majority of voters (53%) are “extremely enthusiastic” about voting in this year’s election, a new high in CNN polling in presidential election cycles back to 2003. Overall, 50% of registered voters back the Biden-Harris ticket, while 46% say they support Trump and Pence, right at the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Among the 72% of voters who say they are either extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this fall, Biden’s advantage over Trump widens to 53% to 46%. It is narrower, however, among those voters who live in the states that will have the most impact on the electoral college this fall. Across 15 battleground states, the survey finds Biden has the backing of 49% of registered voters, while Trump lands at 48%. The pool of battleground states in this poll includes more that Trump carried in 2016 (10) than were won by Hillary Clinton (5), reflecting the reality that the President’s campaign is more on defense than offense across the states. Taken together, though, they represent a more Republican-leaning playing field than the nation as a whole.


The movement in the poll among voters nationwide since June is concentrated among men (they split about evenly in June, but now 56% back Trump, 40% Biden), those between the ages of 35 and 64 (they tilt toward Trump now, but were Biden-leaning in June) and independents (in June, Biden held a 52% to 41% lead, but now it’s a near even 46% Biden to 45% Trump divide). Trump has also solidified his partisans since June. While 8% of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents in June said they would back Biden, that figure now stands at just 4%. And the President has boosted his backing among conservatives from 76% to 85%.

Read more …

Weissmann likely doesn’t know what Clinesmith agreed to tell Durham in his guilty plea.

Weissmann’s your typical dirty cop/dirty lawyer. Rumor has it he was in charge of the Mueller probe, not Mueller himself. And yes, he has strong links to the Dems and Hillary.

Mueller Aide Weissmann Tells DOJ Attorneys Not To Help Investigators (Turley)

I recently wrote a column discussing how Democratic leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, have argued against continuing the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham despite growing evidence of misconduct by Justice Department officials and now the first guilty plea by former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. Now, Andrew Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has derided the Clinesmith plea while actually calling on Justice Department attorneys to refuse to help on ongoing investigations that could implicate aspects of his own prior work. I was among those who expressed concern when Mueller selected Weissmann due to his history of controversial prosecutorial decisions, including a pattern of prosecutorial overreach in the Enron litigation.

Weissmann’s recent statements (made before the release of his new book on the Russian investigation) have only served to reaffirm those concerns. Recently, Weissmann wrote an extraordinary and disturbing New York Times op-ed (with former Defense Department special counsel Ryan Goodman). In the column, he appeared to call on Justice Department lawyers to undermine the Durham investigation as well as the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Bash’s investigation into the “unmasking” requests by Obama administration officials. They wrote “Justice Department employees in meeting their ethical and legal obligations, should be well advised not to participate in any such effort.”

Consider that line for a moment. Weissmann is openly calling on attorneys to refuse to help on investigations that could raise questions about his own decisions. Durham is looking at a pattern of errors, false statements, bias, and now criminal conduct in the Russian investigation. There is obviously overlap with the Mueller investigation which discussed many of the same underlying documents and relied on work by some of the same individuals. The failure to address misconduct, bias, or criminal conduct by such individuals would be embarrassing to both Weissmann and Mueller. Despite that obvious conflict of interest, Weissmann is calling on attorneys to stand down. It is the same troubling position that was once taken by Sally Yates, who told an entire federal agency not to assist the President in his travel ban.

[..] I believe that the public needs to have a full and transparent account of what happened in the Russian investigation on both sides. Like many, Weissmann would like transparency on only one side and to shutdown the Durham investigation despite Horowitz referring matters for criminal investigation and finding a host of false statements, errs, and professional misconduct. Even the addition of a criminal plea has not stopped Weissmann from denouncing this investigation. For years, I have criticized Weissmann’s record of dubious prosecutorial judgment, bias, and overreach. However, that case against Weissmann is not nearly as powerful as the case he is making against himself.

Read more …

What a crazy story.

The Manufactured Hysteria Over Mail Delivery (PJM)

That dastardly Donald Trump is at it again. He is either the evilest man ever to hold the office of president or the dumbest. He is either a Machiavellian genius manipulating the media and his hypnotized followers or a bumbling know-nothing idiot. Trump is being accused of sabotaging the November elections because he won’t give the postal unions and incompetent managers in the postal service $25 billion to play with. The money will stave off catastrophe for about a year at the rate the USPS is burning through cash. Without that money, we’re informed by those in the know, thousands — no, tens of thousands — no, millions of voters who wait until the last minute to mail in an absentee ballot might not have their votes counted because, well, Trump.

The procrastinators in America are up in arms and plan a demonstration to show their outrage. But it probably won’t happen until after the election since that’s when they’ll eventually get around to it. The “crisis” in postal delivery presupposes that, prior to Trump’s shenanigans, the USPS was doing fine — nothing that a few tens of billions of taxpayer dollars couldn’t fix. In fact, that’s what the postal unions are saying. In a statement released on Saturday, the letter carriers and postal workers’ unions assure the public that even without the money, they can do the job. [..] So what’s all the hubbub about? The letter carriers say they can deliver the ballots on time. The postal employees claim they don’t need the extra cash. Where, pray tell, is there a “crisis”?


Nancy Pelosi knows. In fact, she’s about to call the members of the House of Representatives off the campaign trail and back to Washington to deal with the “crisis.” Politico: “Pelosi and other top Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Democrats are looking to address organizational issues at the Postal Service in the coming weeks, not to provide additional funding at this time, according to sources familiar with the discussion.” Nothing says “crisis” in Washington quite like pulling politicians away from their campaigns for a political stunt like holding an “emergency” session of Congress.

Read more …

The USPS has been a mess for decades. Nothing to do with Trump. But yes, he does think the issue risks being used against him.

A Reality-Based Look At Trump And The Post Office (York)

The idea that the Postal Service will not be able to handle the volume of mail in the election, or not be able to handle it within normal Postal Service time guidelines, does not make much sense. According to its most recent annual report, last year, in fiscal year 2019, the Postal Service handled 142.5 billion pieces of mail. “On a typical day, our 633,000 employees physically process and deliver 471 million mailpieces to nearly 160 delivery points,” the report says. This year, that number is higher, given the Postal Service’s delivery of census forms and stimulus checks. Those alone added about 450 million additional pieces of mail.

In 2016, about 136 million Americans voted in the presidential election. The number will probably be a bit higher this year. If officials sent ballots to every single American registered to vote — about 158 million people — and then 140 million people returned ballots, the roughly 298 million pieces of mail handled over the course of several weeks would be well within the Postal Service’s ability to handle. Of course, officials will not send a ballot to every American registered to vote, and not every voter will vote by mail. Whatever the final number is, the ballots that are cast by mail will not cripple a system that delivers 471 million pieces of mail every day.

There are, of course, compelling examples of election dysfunction, most notably the mess New York made of some of its congressional primaries this summer. But rather than representing a Postal Service problem, that was because some states are unprepared for a dramatic increase of voting by mail. The states have to prepare the ballots, address them, and process and count them when the Postal Service delivers them. That is the focus of the entirely legitimate fears of a possible vote-counting disaster this year. But it’s not the Postal Service.

[..] The Postal Service is not funded by a regular appropriation. It is, instead, an “independent agency” and is expected to support itself, beyond a yearly appropriation of about $55 million to cover the costs of mail for the blind and overseas balloting in elections. The Postal Service has lost money for a very long time. In fiscal year 2019, it had operating revenues of $71.1 billion and operating expenses of $79.9 billion, leaving it with a deficit of $8.8 billion. At the moment, Postal Service officials have told Congress, it has about $14 billion in cash on hand, putting it on the road to fiscal insolvency (without further aid) in late 2021. In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief measure passed in March, Congress gave the Postal Service a $10 billion borrowing authority. After the bill became law, there were negotiations between the Postal Service and the Treasury Department on the terms of the borrowing; a deal was announced in July.

The ability to borrow $10 billion, the postmaster general said, would “delay the approaching liquidity crisis.” [..] The House HEROES Act would give $25 billion to the Postal Service in what is essentially a bailout. The bill mentions nothing about helping the Postal Service handle the upcoming election or any other election. Indeed, the only stipulation at all placed on the $25 billion is that the Postal Service, “during the coronavirus emergency, shall prioritize the purchase of, and make available to all Postal Service employees and facilities, personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, and sanitizers, and shall conduct additional cleaning and sanitizing of Postal Service facilities and delivery vehicles.” If the House Democrats who wrote and passed the bill intended the money to be spent specifically for elections, they did not say so in the text of the legislation.

Jie Boden

Read more …

From April, but highly appropriate. We’ve discussed this in the Comments, and I keep thinking that one, or a few, states having a working model doesn’t mean it’s endlessly scalable.

Washington’s Successful Vote-by-Mail System Wasn’t Built Overnight (CC)

State officials across the nation are turning to Washington state for advice on how to set up a vote-by-mail system before the November presidential election, but officials say that question is just the first of many they should be asking. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who is in charge of Washington’s election system, and King County Elections Director Julie Wise, who runs elections in the county where more than a third of Washington voters fill out a ballot, said the list of questions other states need to answer in order to effectively implement vote-by-mail is long and complicated. And mid-April may be too late to start making the switch from a mostly in-person system to a vote-at-home configuration, said Wise, who worked on in-person voting for a decade before moving, along with the state of Washington, to vote-by-mail elections in 2011.

“We’ve been at it for a decade. It’s not an easy lift to make that transition,” said Wise, between meetings to plan for a November election that could change dramatically — even in one of the nation’s five vote-by-mail states — because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. “You’re cutting it very short,” was her response to recent inquiries from other states and counties, in addition to sharing a packet of information about how King County votes by mail, from the technology to the people. Among the questions other states and municipalities should be asking, according to Wyman and Wise:


• Do we need to buy new equipment to count the votes? • Do we have current addresses of our voters? Have we tried to mail them anything recently? • How recent are the signature cards from voters? Do we need to ask millions of people to fill out new ones? • Do we have a place to count votes that can accommodate the people needed to verify ballots and count them, while allowing for social distancing? • What state laws would we need to change in order to allow for most votes to be cast by mail? • Will we provide free postage? • How much will that cost? • Will we provide drop boxes and, if so, how many? • Do we need to set up some in-person sites for people to vote or register and how can you do that while accounting for social distancing? • How much will this transition cost? Where will the money come from? And that’s just the beginning of the list.

Read more …

It’s not just his tweets. Schiff and the Dems have been getting away for so long with utter falsehoods they themselves may not even recognize them as such anymore. And who’s going to call them on it now? The MSM have been getting away with the exact same thing. But what use is it to go for a soft touch approach like this from John Solomon? Just say Schiff’s a blatant liar. Because he is. And opther people, like a journalist, may claim innocence, but the chair of the House Intelligence Committee can definitely not.

Adam Schiff’s Inaccurate Russia Tweets Raise Double-Standard Question (JTN)

Twitter has on more than one occasion appended or flagged President Trump’s tweets as misleading. But so far, it has not done the same with several posts by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff that are demonstrably false or misleading, raising questions of a double standard. For instance, Schiff tweeted in July 2018 that “the release of the Carter Page FISA application makes clear, once again, the FBI acted lawfully and appropriately” in reference to the surveillance warrant the bureau used to spy on the Trump adviser during the Russia collusion probe. In fact, the FISA application that Schiff referred to in the tweet contained 51 statements that were inaccurate, misleading or undocumented, and included 17 violations of FBI rules ranging from false and unverified information to omissions of exculpatory evidence of innocence, the Justice Department inspector general reported last December.

Likewise, DOJ officials withdrew two of the four Page FISA applications, and the chief judge of the FISA court ruled in March that the FBI has misled the court. “There is thus little doubt that the government breached its duty of candor to the Court with respect to those applications,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said. And last week, an ex-FBI lawyer agreed to plead guilty to a felony and admitted he falsified a document to deceive the court. In other words, the FBI acted unlawfully and inappropriately in the Page FISA debacle. And to date, Twitter hasn’t flagged or appended Schiff’s tweet even though he has enormous influence on the platform with 2.4 million followers.

Just the News identified more than a dozen tweets that Schiff has posted since 2017 that are inaccurate or misleading based on the declassified information that has been made public over the last year by the Justice Department, FBI, and intelligence community. Earlier this month, for instance, Schiff tweeted out a claim that Trump had not taken action to stop Russia from interfering in elections. “Donald Trump has never deterred Russia from interfering in U.S. elections. Far from it. The sum total of Trump’s words and actions has only encouraged Russian meddling in our elections,” Schiff wrote.

[..] Several times, Schiff has tweeted claims that there is evidence Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election. For instance, the California Democrat posted a tweet in April 2018 accusing Republicans of ignoring “when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.” Multiple investigations ranging from the Senate Intelligence Committee to Special Counsel Robert Mueller have concluded there is no evidence any Trump campaign official – or any other American – colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. “The investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired to coordinate it with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller wrote, saying extensive contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians did not amount to a conspiracy.

Then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr last year came to a similar conclusion. “We don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” he announced.

Read more …

Again, it’s not the lockdowns:

“Private consumption dipped at an annual rate of nearly 29% as shoppers stayed home, leaving malls and restaurants nearly empty of customers. That was without any full shutdown of businesses to contain coronavirus outbreaks [..]”

Japan’s Economy Shrinks At Record -27.8% Annual Rate (AP)

Japan’s economy shrank at annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade, according to government data released Monday. The Cabinet Office reported that Japan’s preliminary seasonally adjusted real GDP, the sum of a nation’s goods and services, fell 7.8% quarter on quarter. The annual rate shows what the number would have been if continued for a year. Japanese media reported the latest drop was the worst since World War II. But the Cabinet Office said comparable records began in 1980. The previous worst contraction, a 17.8% drop, was in the first quarter of 2009, during the global financial crisis.

The world’s third largest economy was already limping along when the virus outbreak struck in China late last year. It has weakened as the pandemic gained ground, leading to social distancing restrictions and prompting many people to stay home when they can. “In April, May, a state of emergency was issued, it was a situation where the economy was artificially stopped so to speak, and the impact was severe,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister Economic and Fiscal Policy. “These are tough numbers but they bottomed out in April and May, we would like to put all our efforts into returning to a growth trajectory,” Nishimura told reporters.


[..] The economy shrank 0.6% in the January-March period, and contracted 1.8% in the October-December period last year, meaning that Japan slipped into recession in the first quarter of this year. Recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. [..] Japanese economic growth was flat in July-September. Growth was minimal the quarter before that. [..] For the April-June period, Japan’s exports dropped at a whopping annual rate of 56%. Private consumption dipped at an annual rate of nearly 29% as shoppers stayed home, leaving malls and restaurants nearly empty of customers. That was without any full shutdown of businesses to contain coronavirus outbreaks [..]

Read more …

In a bit of a dip? No panic, let’s blow another housing bubble. The instrument this time is a stamp duty holiday.

UK Housing Market Has Busiest Month In More Than 10 Years (G.)

The housing market has had its busiest month in more than 10 years in July, with the traditional summer lull replaced by a flurry of activity from buyers and sellers, according to the property website Rightmove. The site, which typically lists about 95% of homes for sale in the UK, said the “rulebook has been rewritten”, with the boom fuelled by pent-up demand during lockdown accelerating as the summer has progressed. It said the number of monthly sales agreed in Britain had been the highest since it started tracking the figure a decade ago, up by 38% on the same period last year and worth a combined total of more than £37bn. Would-be sellers were also active, with more properties coming on to the market than in any month since 2008.

Asking prices have fallen by an average of 0.2% across mainland Britain, but this has been driven by a 2% drop in London, where the number of homes coming on to the market is up by 69% year-on-year. In seven regions, asking prices hit record highs as sellers sought to make the most of the demand. The housing market was closed in lockdown and reopened in mid-May, sparking a flurry of activity. July brought a stamp duty holiday on homes costing up to £500,000 in England and £250,000 in Wales and Scotland, which further fuelled activity.


Last week figures from the UK’s largest estate agency firm, Countrywide, showed that demand for homes costing between £500,000 and £750,000 had soared since the tax break was announced, and Rightmove’s figures suggest a similar effect for other agents. The number of sales agreed for large homes was up by 59% annually, while for first-time properties the rise was 29% and on homes with three or four bedrooms, excluding four-bed detached properties, it was 38%.

Read more …

She didn’t want to do it.

New Zealand Delays General Election By A Month Amid COVID19 Outbreak (G.)

New Zealand is to delay its general election by a month due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Auckland, the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said. Calls had been growing from opposition parties for the election to be moved, with opposition leaders saying it wasn’t “just and fair” to hold an election while an outbreak was underway and level 3 restrictions were in place in the country’s largest city, prohibiting campaigning. Ardern said after consulting with every political party in parliament, as well as the electoral commission, she had decided to move the general election from 19 September to 17 October. She said her first suggestion of moving it by two weeks had been rejected by the Electoral Commission as not enough time to prepare logistics such as venues.

“The Electoral Commission, via the Ministry of Justice, has advised me that a safe and accessible election is achievable on this date,” Ardern said. “Moving the date by four weeks also gives all parties a fair shot to campaign and delivers New Zealanders certainty without unnecessarily long delays.” Ardern said Covid-19 would be with the world “for some time to come” and repeatedly pushing the election date would not lessen the risk of disruption to voters and parties. “This is why the Electoral Commission has planned for the possibility of holding an election where the country is at level 2, and with some parts at level 3. I will not change the election date again.” New Zealand is in the midst of its first outbreak since eliminating the disease in June, with dozens of people infected and held in quarantine in Auckland, a city of 1.5 million.


On Monday nine news cases of Covid-19 were reported, bringing the total number of cases related to the south Auckland cluster to 58. Maori and Pasifika people have been disproportionately infected by the latest outbreak. Five people were in hospital being treated for the disease, and the source of the outbreak remained a mystery, the ministry of health said. “We still don’t have any particular clues as to the origin of the outbreak,” director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

Read more …

Must read for today. How do new words enter our lexicon? To what extent are they propagated, and by whom, and for which purposes? Ever heard of critical theory?

In my view, this typifies the institutionalization of education and knowledge. Which claims that the only things that you can learn that are of any value are to be found in schools. Say that often enough and nothing of value can be found there anymore. Knowledge as a monopoly doesn’t work.

The Roots Of Wokeness (Sullivan)

In the mid-2010s, a curious new vocabulary began to unspool itself in our media. A data site, storywrangling.org, which measures the frequency of words in news stories, revealed some remarkable shifts. Terms that had previously been almost entirely obscure suddenly became ubiquitous—and an analysis of the New York Times, using these tools, is a useful example. Looking at stories from 1970 to 2018, several terms came out of nowhere in the past few years to reach sudden new heights of repetition and frequency. Here’s a list of the most successful neologisms: non-binary, toxic masculinity, white supremacy, traumatizing, queer, transphobia, whiteness, mansplaining. And here are a few that were rising in frequency in the last decade but only took off in the last few years: triggering, hurtful, gender, stereotypes.

Language changes, and we shouldn’t worry about that. Maybe some of these terms will stick around. But the linguistic changes have occurred so rapidly, and touched so many topics, that it has all the appearance of a top-down re-ordering of language, rather than a slow, organic evolution from below. While the New York Times once had a reputation for being a bit stodgy on linguistic matters, pedantic, precise and slow-to-change, as any paper of record might be, in the last few years, its pages have been flushed with so many neologisms that a reader from, say, a decade ago would have a hard time understanding large swathes of it. And for many of us regular readers, we’ve just gotten used to brand new words popping up suddenly to re-describe something we thought we knew already. We notice a new word, make a brief mental check, and move on with our lives.

But we need to do more than that. We need to understand that all these words have one thing in common: they are products of an esoteric, academic discipline called critical theory, which has gained extraordinary popularity in elite education in the past few decades, and appears to have reached a cultural tipping point in the middle of the 2010s. Most normal people have never heard of this theory—or rather an interlocking web of theories—that is nonetheless changing the very words we speak and write and the very rationale of the institutions integral to liberal democracy. What we have long needed is an intelligible, intelligent description of this theory which most people can grasp. And we’ve just gotten one: “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity,” by former math prof James Lindsay and British academic, Helen Pluckrose. It’s as deep a dive into this often impenetrable philosophy as anyone would want to attempt. But it’s well worth grappling with.

What the book helps the layperson to understand is the evolution of postmodern thought since the 1960s until it became the doctrine of Social Justice today. Beginning as a critique of all grand theories of meaning—from Christianity to Marxism—postmodernism is a project to subvert the intellectual foundations of western culture. The entire concept of reason—whether the Enlightenment version or even the ancient Socratic understanding—is a myth designed to serve the interests of those in power, and therefore deserves to be undermined and “problematized” whenever possible. Postmodern theory does so mischievously and irreverently—even as it leaves nothing in reason’s place. The idea of objective truth—even if it is viewed as always somewhat beyond our reach—is abandoned. All we have are narratives, stories, whose meaning is entirely provisional, and can in turn be subverted or problematized.

Read more …

 

 

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Jul 242019
 
 July 24, 2019  Posted by at 9:04 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Marie-Thérèse Walter 1937

 

Mueller In Last-Minute Request For Aide To Be With Him During Testimony (NBC)
Questions for Mueller (Aaron Maté)
Robert Mueller, The ‘Magician Of Omission’ On Russia (Solomon)
Mueller Deputy Andrew Weissmann’s Offer To An Oligarch Could Hurt DOJ (Solomon)
The Clown Is Crowned As The Country Burns In Hell (G.)
Deutsche Bank’s Problem Derivatives Cloud Recovery (R.)
Deutsche Bank Flagged Epstein’s Overseas Transactions To US Watchdog (CNBC)
Berkeley First US City To Ban Natural Gas (G.)
Libra Scams Are Already Popping Up On Facebook (F.)
Big Tech Faces Broad US Justice Department Antitrust Probe (R.)
MH17 Evidence Tampering Revealed by Malaysia (John Helmer)
Ralph Nader Says Boeing 737 Max Should Never Fly Again (CNBC)

 

 

From what I understand Zebley will be sworn in for the Intelligence Committe part, the last part, but not the Judiciary Committee, the first 3 hours. Hints at them knowing at least some of what’s going to be asked.

Mueller In Last-Minute Request For Aide To Be With Him During Testimony (NBC)

One of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s longtime aides will appear alongside him during his highly-anticipated testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, a spokesperson said Tuesday, but is not expected to be sworn in. Mueller’s team made a last-minute request that Aaron Zebley be sworn in and testify with him during his scheduled hearings before Congress on Wednesday, a congressional source familiar with the request told NBC News. Mueller is slated to testify on his report into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the country’s influence on President Donald Trump for three hours before the House Judiciary Committee, take a break, then appear for at least two additional hours before the House Intelligence Committee.

For the first hearing, Zebley will sit alongside Mueller as his counsel, according to the Judiciary Committee spokesperson. The committee, however, is not updating its guidance to include Zebley as a witness. This means that Zebley will not be sworn in. Mueller can confer with him as he is questioned by the panel, according to committee rules, but cannot answer questions. The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said Tuesday that GOP members had “not gotten assurances from the House Democrats on the committee that he [Zebley] will not speak.”

“He’s not supposed to speak in that role to anyone on the committee or asked questions. And we’re asking, and, frankly, that that be confirmed before the hearing. So we don’t have to waste time with it tomorrow,” Collins said. Jim Popkin, Mueller’s spokesperson, disputed the idea that Zebley’s presence at the hearings amounted to an 11th-hour addition. “Aaron Zebley was the Deputy Special Counsel and had day-to-day oversight of the investigations conducted by the Office,” Popkin said in a statement Tuesday. “He will accompany Special Counsel Mueller to the Wednesday hearings, as was discussed with the committees more than a week ago.”

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Mueller’s people asked Barr for guidance on what he can talk about. Wonder how many times they will refer to that guidance when not answering questions. Sort of like taking the fifth.

Questions for Mueller (Aaron Maté)

”For two years, Democrats have waited on Robert Mueller to deliver a death blow to the Trump presidency,” The New York Times observed on July 20. “On Wednesday, in back-to-back hearings with the former special counsel, that wish could face its final make-or-break moment.” The very fact that Democrats had to subpoena Mueller in order to create this final moment should in fact be the final reminder of what a mistake it was for Democrats to have waited on him. If Mueller had incriminating information yet to share, or had been stymied from doing his work, or if Attorney General William Barr had somehow misrepresented his findings, then it stands to reason that Mueller would be welcoming the opportunity to appear before Congress, not resisting it.


The reality is that Mueller’s investigation did not indict anyone on the Trump campaign for collusion with Russia, or even for anything related to the 2016 election. Mueller’s report found no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, and even undermined the case for it. That said, there are unresolved matters that Mueller’s testimony could help clarify. Mueller claimed to have established that the Russian government conducted “a sweeping and systematic” interference campaign in order to elect Trump, yet the contents of his report don’t support that allegation. The Mueller report repeatedly excludes countervailing information in order to suggest, misleadingly, that the Trump campaign had suspect “links” and “ties” to people connected with Russia. And Mueller and other intelligence officials involved in the Russia probe made questionable investigative decisions that are worthy of scrutiny.

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Horowitz has to finish his report first before Durham can do anything. Today’s hearings are far from the last thing on the topic.

Robert Mueller, The ‘Magician Of Omission’ On Russia (Solomon)

While most of the political world focused its attention elsewhere, special prosecutor John Durham’s team quietly reached out this summer to a lawyer representing European academic Joseph Mifsud, one of the earliest and most mysterious figures in the now closed Russia-collusion case. An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. The contact, confirmed by multiple sources and contemporaneous email, sent an unmistakable message:


Durham, the U.S. attorney handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to determine whether the FBI committed abuses during the Russia investigation, is taking a second look at one of the noteworthy figures and the conclusions of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. The evidence I reviewed suggests Mueller’s handiwork may be exposed for glaring omissions that, when brought to public light, leave key questions unanswered, especially about how the FBI’s unprecedented probe of the Trump campaign started. Durham is focused on determining whether any government or private figures who came in contact with the Trump campaign in 2016 “were engaged in improper surveillance,” a U.S. official told me when asked about the Mifsud overture.

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Is someone going to question Weismann at some point?

Mueller Deputy Andrew Weissmann’s Offer To An Oligarch Could Hurt DOJ (Solomon)

At the time, pressure was building inside the DOJ and the FBI to find smoking-gun evidence against Trump in the Russia case because the Steele dossier — upon which the early surveillance warrants were based — was turning out to be an uncorroborated mess. (“There’s no big there there,” lead FBI agent Pete Strzok texted a few days before Weissmann’s overture.) Likewise, key evidence that the DOJ used to indict Firtash on corruption charges in 2014 was falling apart. Two central witnesses were in the process of recanting testimony, and a document the FBI portrayed as bribery evidence inside Firtash’s company was exposed as a hypothetical slide from an American consultant’s PowerPoint presentation, according to court records I reviewed.

In other words, the DOJ faced potential embarrassment in two high-profile cases when Weissmann made an unsolicited approach on June 4, 2017, that surprised even Firtash’s U.S. legal team. To some, the offer smacked of being desperately premature. Mueller was appointed just two weeks earlier, did not even have a full staff selected, and was still getting up to speed on the details of the investigation. So why rush to make a deal when the prosecution team still was being selected, some wondered. Second, Weissmann’s approach was audaciously aggressive, even for a prosecutor with his reputation.

According to a defense memo recounting Weissmann’s contacts, the prosecutor claimed the Mueller team could “resolve the Firtash case” in Chicago and neither the DOJ nor the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office “could interfere with or prevent a solution,” including withdrawing all charges. “The complete dropping of the proceedings … was doubtless on the table,” according to the defense memo.

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“So we beat on, against the sun, borne back ceaselessly into hell.”

The Clown Is Crowned As The Country Burns In Hell (G.)

Well, here we are then. Someone who could easily be rejected as a Guess Who character for looking too ridiculous is now to lead the country. A man whose DNA profile is the exact same as a Bernard Manning joke. A man who mentioned the 20 hustings he had taken part in, approximately 30 seconds after Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis talked of the 16 hustings held. With 8,000 members of the Johnson family watching on – and Jeremy Hunt, looking for all the world like a sub who’s never gonna get off the bench and knows it – Boris Johnson was announced as the new leader of the Conservative party, and, in short order, the new prime minister. Elected by a staggering 0.2% of the nation, we can’t say it isn’t the will of the people.

It’s quite extraordinary, isn’t it, when the new leader of the country opens his inaugural speech with: “There may be people here who wonder quite what they have done!” – having to address the fact that many people in the room are coming to terms with the fact they’ve got shit on their shoe. “Do you look daunted?!” he boomed, “You don’t look remotely daunted to me!” Which was met with a Spectoresque wall of silence, a number of faces as white as Elizabeth I’s, and a solitary cry of: “No!”.

[..] I don’t really know what to say myself. I don’t understand how a man can lie his way about bananas and condoms to high office. I don’t understand how a man whose entire prep for anything seems to consist of drawing a cock and balls – but in Latin! – on a sheet of paper, ends up in high office. I don’t understand how a man can be recorded offering to facilitate the assault of a journalist and reach high office. I don’t understand how a man can be fired twice for cavalierly making stuff up and reach high office. I don’t understand how a man whose entire personality is a job-lot sold off from a closing down joke shop can reach high office. A racist, an inveterate liar, a man who makes Machiavelli look misunderstood and Pinocchio button-nosed. It’s 33C outside in London. You can’t tell whether people are crying or sweating. We can’t do anything until we get a say – which, this time, we did not. So we beat on, against the sun, borne back ceaselessly into hell.

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There will not be a recovery. The only thing they can so is prolong the agony.

Deutsche Bank’s Problem Derivatives Cloud Recovery (R.)

Deutsche Bank’s turnaround strategy rests in large part on shedding 288 billion euros of unwanted assets. Three bank insiders said it will take years, tying up capital that could have generated income of 500 million euros ($557 million) a year. The opportunity cost of holding the assets, which has not been previously reported, underscores the challenges facing Chief Executive Christian Sewing as he attempts to turn around the bank and restore confidence among investors who have seen the value of their shares decline by 75% in the past four years. Sewing said earlier this month that Deutsche, Germany’s largest lender, would set up a bad bank to house the assets, which include equity, credit and interest-rate derivatives.


The bank said it wants to offload most of its derivatives by 2020. Executives managing the book can either sell positions or allow them to gradually wind down over time, depending on which is more profitable. The bank is planning an auction of its short-dated equity derivatives book, having already received “significant expressions of interest,” the sources familiar with the matter said. However, its long-dated interest rate and credit derivatives are expected to be much harder to offload, the sources said. Deutsche Bank has held on-and-off talks with potential buyers of some of those assets over the past two years, three people said. The sales did not happen because the prices offered would have resulted in hundreds of millions of euros in losses for the bank, they said.

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What, laundering as well?

Deutsche Bank Flagged Epstein’s Overseas Transactions To US Watchdog (CNBC)

Deutsche Bank notified U.S. financial watchdogs about suspicious transactions by accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein — a customer of the bank — according to a new report Tuesday. The transactions, which involved Epstein moving money out of the United States, were flagged after Deutsche Bank discovered them while looking for indications that the wealthy financier was using his money for sex trafficking, The New York Times reported. Epstein had been a client of Deutsche Bank’s private banking division since at least 2013, five years after he pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges involving a teenage girl filed by Florida state prosecutors, the Times noted.


That guilty plea led to Epstein — a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton — being required to register as a sex offender. According to the new article, an anti-money laundering compliance officer in Deutsche Bank’s office in New York and Florida raised concerns about the bank’s relationship with Epstein in 2015 and 2016. Those officers also reportedly put together a suspicious activity report on potentially illegal activity in an Epstein account at the time, which had moved money outside of the U.S. The Times said it was not clear if that report was ever filed with the financial crimes division of the U.S. Treasury Department. But the latest suspicious transactions were reported this year, according to the article.

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But but.

Berkeley First US City To Ban Natural Gas (G.)

Berkeley this week became the first city in the United States to ban natural, fossil gas hook-ups in new buildings. The landmark ordinance was passed into law on Tuesday, after being approved unanimously by the city council the previous week amid resounding public support. Although Berkeley may be pushing the vanguard, the city is hardly alone. Governments across the US and Europe are looking at strategies to phase out gas. In California alone, dozens of cities and counties are considering eliminating fossil fuel hook-ups to power stoves and heat homes in new buildings, while California state agencies pencil out new rules and regulations that would slash emissions. Natural gas, it seems, has become the new climate crisis frontline. Berkeley’s ordinance, which goes into effect on 1 January, will ban gas hook-ups in new multi-family construction, with some allowances for first-floor retail and certain types of large structures.


The reasons behind the decision are multifold. Energy use in buildings accounts for about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in California. If the state is to meet its goal of 100% zero-carbon energy by 2045, the gas will have to go. For decades, gas was considered among the preferred energy sources for buildings and embraced as a bridge from dirtier fossil fuels to a green energy future. “There’s been a lingering perception that burning gas was cleaner than electricity, which might have been true 20 years ago when electricity came from burning coal,” said Pierre Delforge, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council . “When we look at electrification policies, we need to think about what the grid will look like in 10 or 20 years, not what it looked like yesterday.”

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Not the Onion.

Libra Scams Are Already Popping Up On Facebook (F.)

As Facebook faces skepticism from regulators that it can handle launching its cryptocurrency Libra, a raft of fake accounts and scams purporting to sell Libra have cropped up on its own platform, according to the Washington Post. At least a dozen fake pages and websites on Facebook and Instagram claim to be associated with Facebook’s Libra, which has yet to be officially launched. One video offered a discount on Libra coins that have been distributed to early investors. Another linked to a realistic-looking fake website called “buylibracoins.com.” The website remains online. The scams even spread to YouTube and Twitter, according to the Washington Post. Facebook says Libra will allow people to send money to each other without a traditional middleman, such as a bank.


A digital wallet, called Calibra, will also be available as a stand-alone app on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. A Facebook spokesperson told Forbes that it “removes ads and Pages that violate our policies when we become aware of them, and we are constantly working to improve detection of scams on our platforms.” Key Background: In 2018, Facebook banned advertisements involving cryptocurrency or initial coin offerings to combat the proliferation of scams and bogus ICOs cropping up as the price of Bitcoin soared. Over the last few months, Facebook has been softening the ban in the run up to the announcement of Libra—and it appears scammers are taking advantage. Libra scams may not help Facebook convince lawmakers and regulators that it can protect user privacy and prevent the digital currency from being used in criminal activity.

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I’ll believe it when I see it. Because Big Tech=CIA.

Big Tech Faces Broad US Justice Department Antitrust Probe (R.)

The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it was opening a broad investigation of major digital technology firms into whether they engage in anticompetitive practices, the strongest sign the Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of Big Tech. The review will look into “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers,” the Justice Department said in a statement. The Justice Department did not identify specific companies but said the review would consider concerns raised about “search, social media, and some retail services online” — an apparent reference to Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, and potentially Apple Inc.


[..] The announcement comes a day before the Federal Trade Commission is set to announce a $5 billion penalty to Facebook for failing to properly protect user privacy. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said the Justice Department “must now be bold and fearless in stopping Big Tech’s misuse of its monopolistic power. Too long absent and apathetic, enforcers now must prevent privacy abuse, anticompetitive tactics, innovation roadblocks, and other hallmarks of excessive market power.” In June, Reuters reported the Trump administration was gearing up to investigate whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google misuse their massive market power, setting up what could be an unprecedented, wide-ranging probe of some of the world’s largest companies.

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The FBI tried to steal the black boxes, but Malaysian secret service had already ‘smuggled’ agents into the Donbass ahead of other countries. Oh, and literally everybody has been caught lying. What a story this is becoming,

MH17 Evidence Tampering Revealed by Malaysia (John Helmer)

A new documentary from Max van der Werff, the leading independent investigator of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster, has revealed breakthrough evidence of tampering and forging of prosecution materials; suppression of Ukrainian Air Force radar tapes; and lying by the Dutch, Ukrainian, US and Australian governments. An attempt by agents of the FBI to take possession of the black boxes of the downed aircraft is also revealed by a Malaysian National Security Council official for the first time. The sources of the breakthrough are Malaysian — Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohamad Mahathir; Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the officer in charge of the MH17 investigation for the Prime Minister’s Department and Malaysia’s National Security Council following the crash on July 17, 2014; and a forensic analysis by Malaysia’s OG IT Forensic Services of Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) telephone tapes which Dutch prosecutors have announced as genuine.

The 298 casualties of MH17 included 192 Dutch; 44 Malaysians; 27 Australians; 15 Indonesians. The nationality counts vary because the airline manifest does not identify dual nationals of Australia, the UK, and the US. The new film throws the full weight of the Malaysian Government, one of the five members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), against the published findings and the recent indictment of Russian suspects reported by the Dutch officials in charge of the JIT; in addition to Malaysia and The Netherlands, the members of the JIT are Australia, Ukraine and Belgium. Malaysia’s exclusion from the JIT at the outset, and Belgium’s inclusion (4 Belgian nationals were listed on the MH17 passenger manifest), have never been explained.


The film reveals the Malaysian Government’s evidence for judging the JIT’s witness testimony, photographs, video clips, and telephone tapes to have been manipulated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), and to be inadmissible in a criminal prosecution in a Malaysian or other national or international court. For the first time also, the Malaysian Government reveals how it got in the way of attempts the US was organizing during the first week after the crash to launch a NATO military attack on eastern Ukraine. The cover story for that was to rescue the plane, passenger bodies, and evidence of what had caused the crash. In fact, the operation was aimed at defeating the separatist movements in the Donbass, and to move against Russian-held Crimea. The new film reveals that a secret Malaysian military operation took custody of the MH17 black boxes on July 22, preventing the US and Ukraine from seizing them. The Malaysian operation, revealed in the film by the Malaysian Army colonel who led it, eliminated the evidence for the camouflage story, reinforcing the German Government’s opposition to the armed attack, and forcing the Dutch to call off the invasion on July 27.

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Not the first time he’s said it, but this time it’s directly to the FAA.

Ralph Nader Says Boeing 737 Max Should Never Fly Again (CNBC)

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader on Tuesday urged the Federal Aviation Administration to permanently ground Boeing’s 737 Max jet. “The plane cannot be refixed,” said Nader, whose grandniece was killed in a March crash of a 737 Max jet in Ethiopia. “It has to be recalled” and permanently taken out of service, he said. Regulators worldwide ordered airlines to ground their 737 Max planes in mid-March after the crash in Ethiopia and one in Indonesia that occurred within five months of one another, killing a total of 346 people. Since then, Boeing has been preparing to get the Max back in the air. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights due to the grounding and are planning to do so until at least November, a move that Boeing said it took a $4.9 billion charge for in its second quarter.


But the planemaker needs to “take their losses” on the jet, Nader said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” Crash investigators have pointed to an issue with the jets’ software, for which Boeing said it has developed a fix, as the cause behind the two fatal crashes. But once a software upgrade is submitted to the FAA, it will likely take at least another month before the planes are back in operation. On the software fix, Nader said it shouldn’t be trusted since executives are “stuck in their bad decision” and are “ignoring preventable aerodynamic design.” “It’s a new plane; they can’t say it’s just a little bit changed,” he said. “It needs full certification.”

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