Oct 262020
 


Henri Matisse Nu Blue IV 1952

 

America’s Class War Disguised As Race War May Cause A Civil War (Feierstein)
Will Anyone From The Left Realize Why Trump Won — Again? (MacKinnon)
Suppression Is A Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Hunter Biden Story (Taibbi)
Trump’s Post-Election Execution List (Axios)
Yes, Virginia, the Trump Administration Does Have a China Strategy (Paskal)
The Mother of All Stock Market Bubbles (Lendman)
NYC Hotel Occupancy Rate Crashes Toward 10% As Permanent Closures Loom (ZH)
Greece Insists On Turkish Arms Embargo (K.)
Soil Fungi Act Like A Support Network For Trees (Folio)

 

 

“The US just had its worst day of COVID cases ever—83k—and we’re somehow still lower than the trailing European average.

Adjusted for population, Belgium and the Czech Republic are averaging 300,000 cases/day for the last week.”

 

 

Biden stops campaigning 9 days before election

 

 

Leaflet left on chair of every member of the press boarding Airforce One yesterday.

 

 

“This is the biggest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.”

America’s Class War Disguised As Race War May Cause A Civil War (Feierstein)

In the United States, a class war has been amplified by a biased media and social media. Silicon Valley uses algorithms to move forward politically driven narratives and financial interests designed to polarize and sow seeds of discord that increase tribalism across the nation. US intelligence operatives and the media have joined forces with the Democratic Party to deploy psychological operations, disinformation, and propaganda campaigns, the likes of which have never been used before against the American people, in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November presidential election.

Facebook and Twitter censored a factual New York Post article based on evidence that was legally obtained from the laptop of his son, Hunter Biden, about a decades-long corruption and influence-peddling scandal that then Vice President Joe Biden perpetrated. The Biden family made tens of millions of dollars from Hunter Biden’s corrupt business deals in Ukraine and China. US VP Joe Biden threatened to withhold one billion dollars in aid from Ukraine until they fired a prosecutor named Victor Shokin. Shokin was investigating Burisma holdings. Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian energy firm that hired Hunter Biden. Hunter had no experience in energy markets or Ukraine, and Burisma paid Hunter $50,000 per month. Joe Biden’s threat worked, Shokin was fired, the Burisma holdings investigation ended, Ukraine received its billion dollars, and Hunter pocketed the cash.

Joe Biden disappears for days at a time, refuses to answer reporters’ questions or discuss if, as President, Biden intends to end the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court with liberal judges, add four US Senators (DC and Puerto Rico), and end the electoral college. The people and the media must demand that Joe Biden immediately: outline his policy intentions and address every issue and allegation found within the emails, photos, and videos found on his son’s computer—well, over a week of silence is unacceptable. Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of this blatant corruption and the media’s journalistic malpractice are crimes against democracy. This is the biggest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.

Read more …

“The sense of devastation and despair this has created is like nothing I have ever experienced. They have stripped us of everything that gave us joy. Every social outlet, every relief, has been made illegal.”

Will Anyone From The Left Realize Why Trump Won — Again? (MacKinnon)

Weeks before the 2016 election, I sent an email to several media and political personalities predicting that Donald Trump would win Pennsylvania and get 306 electoral votes. I’m not a professional pollster, but I did work on three winning presidential campaigns, and I simply tried to block out the noise from supporters of both the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns. I pulled up the 2012 electoral map to see which states Mitt Romney won and then, factoring in the latest data and political miscalculations, made an educated guess for 2016. Using that same system, I have come up with a prediction for 2020: an absolute floor of 278 electoral votes for Trump, with a real chance that he’ll win more than 310 electoral votes.

That may upset Joe Biden’s supporters and the Trump haters, but hopefully some of those who oppose Trump will ask themselves if this is a possibility and, if so, why it would happen — again. It is not an exaggeration to state that much of the mainstream media, academia, entertainment, medicine and science, Big Tech, the “deep state,” the Never Trumpers, the Democratic Party, and other entrenched establishment elites have joined forces to defeat Trump. Of course, they have a right to oppose the president on any grounds. But they should stop to consider what they themselves might represent to many Americans who struggle to pay bills, feed their children and, in some cases, simply survive.

To those Americans, those who adamantly oppose the president — Democrats or Republicans — look like the power center that has ruled over them for decades and made their lives miserable. These elites typically preach, “Do as I say, not as I do.” They’re rarely subject to the rules and dictates that they hand down. They have an “inside track” because they hold the keys to a club that’s off limits to the average American. For anyone who can do the math, the main answer to why Trump won in 2016 — and why I believe he will win again on Nov. 3 — should be blindingly obvious: Trump went out of his way to expose those elites to the American people as the very problem making their lives exponentially worse. He convinced enough voters that he is not one of those “ivory tower elites” and can’t be bought by their special interests.

[..] With the coronavirus pandemic, this year has been surreal — and painful — in so many ways for most Americans. There’s no question those issues will play a key role in the election. The virus has touched everyone, and its economic effects have been especially devastating to the working class. Trump, now a COVID-19 survivor, has made it clear that, in general, he opposes perpetual lockdowns to deal with the virus. After the government of Ireland issued a truly punishing new lockdown in that country, one person summed up the collective hopelessness in a tweet: “The sense of devastation and despair this has created is like nothing I have ever experienced. They have stripped us of everything that gave us joy. Every social outlet, every relief, has been made illegal.”

Read more …

“The suppression story is almost certainly a bigger scandal than the Hunter Biden affair itself, but it’s all become part of the same picture.”

Suppression Is A Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Hunter Biden Story (Taibbi)

As has been hinted at by several prominent journalists, controversies erupted within newsrooms across New York and Washington in the last week. Editors have been telling charges that any effort to determine whether or not the Biden laptop material is true, or to ask the Biden campaign to confirm or deny the story, will either not be allowed or put through heightened fact-checking procedures. On the other hand, if you want to assert without any evidence at all that the New York Post story is Russian interference, you can essentially go straight into print.

Many people on the liberal side of the political aisle don’t have a problem with this, focused as they are on the upcoming Trump-Biden election. But this same press corps might be weeks away from assuming responsibility for challenging a Biden administration. If they’ve already calculated once that a true story may be buried for political reasons because the other “side” is worse, they will surely make that same calculation again. What happens a month from now when an ambitious Republican like Tom Cotton leaks a document damaging to a President-Elect Biden? Or two years from now, if in the weeks before midterm elections, we get bad economic news, or a Biden/Harris administration foreign policy initiative takes a turn for the worse? Are we sure those stories will be run?

The Republican version of Burisma story – essentially, that former General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin was Elliott Ness, and Joe Biden intervened to fire him specifically to aid his son’s company – is also not supported by evidence. What Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts have done to date is take a few unreported or under-reported facts and leap straight to a maximalist interpretation of corruption on Joe Biden’s part. This isn’t right, but the room to make that argument has been created by the ongoing squelching of information coming from Ukraine. The suppression story is almost certainly a bigger scandal than the Hunter Biden affair itself, but it’s all become part of the same picture.

Bobulinski mail to Jim Biden:

Read more …

Nice headline, Axios! Execution. Big word.

Trump’s Post-Election Execution List (Axios)

If President Trump wins re-election, he’ll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two people who’ve discussed these officials’ fates with the president tell Axios. The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump’s priorities, starting with Wray. Wray and Haspel are despised and distrusted almost universally in Trump’s inner circle. He would have fired both already, one official said, if not for the political headaches of acting before Nov. 3. A win, no matter the margin, will embolden Trump to ax anyone he sees as constraining him from enacting desired policies or going after perceived enemies.

Trump last week signed an executive order that set off alarm bells as a means to politicize the civil service. An administration official said the order “is a really big deal” that would make it easier for presidents to get rid of career government officials. There could be shake-ups across other departments. The president has never been impressed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, for example. But that doesn’t carry the urgency of replacing Wray or Haspel. The nature of top intelligence and law enforcement posts has traditionally carried an expectation for a higher degree of independence and separation from politics. While Trump has also privately vented about Attorney General Bill Barr, he hasn’t made any formal plans to replace him, an official said.

Trump is furious that Barr isn’t releasing before the election what Trump hoped would be a bombshell report by U.S. Attorney John Durham on the Obama administration’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Durham’s investigation has yet to produce any high-profile indictments of Obama-era officials as Trump had hoped. “The attorney general wants to finish the work that he’s been involved in since day one,” a senior administration official told Axios. “The view of Haspel in the West Wing is that she still sees her job as manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field,” one source with direct knowledge of the internal conversations told Axios. “It’s bred a lot of suspicion of her motives.”

Trump is also increasingly frustrated with Haspel for opposing the declassification of documents that would help the Justice Department’s Durham report. A source familiar with conversations at the CIA says, “Since the beginning of DNI’s push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election.” As for Wray,[..] Trump is angry his second FBI chief didn’t launch a formal investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business connections — and didn’t purge more officials Trump believes abused power to investigate his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia.

Read more …

Comprehensive National Power (CNP).

Yes, Virginia, the Trump Administration Does Have a China Strategy (Paskal)

On October 26, a week before the U.S. presidential election, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will begin two days of high-level talks in Delhi. In person. That shouldn’t be a surprise. If one puts politics aside, and connects the many and varied dots, one can see that the U.S. administration has a clear China strategy that is well thought out, multifaceted, and based on a deep understanding of China. It even has a name. But before getting to the administration’s strategy, we need to understand what it is designed to counter — China’s concept of Comprehensive National Power (CNP). Comprehensive National Power is a dominant framework in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) view of the world. CCP think tanks and organizations use it to shape policies and gauge success.

The premise is that a nation’s Comprehensive National Power can be given a numerical value based on a specific but exceptionally wide range of factors, from military strength, to soft power, to access to natural resources, to advances in research and development, and much more. Retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain Bernard Moreland — whose last posting was as U.S. Coast Guard liaison to Beijing — explains: “One of the important things to understand about CNP is that it is an objective metric. Beijing constantly calculates and recalculates China’s CNP relative to other nations the same way many of us watch our 401(k) grow. For us in the West, concepts like ‘national power’ are subjective vague concepts. The [Chinese Communist Party is] obsessed with engineering and calculating everything and believe that all issues can be reduced to numbers and algorithms. This is what they mean when they euphemistically refer to ‘scientific approaches.’”

The result is that any possible tactic – legal or otherwise – is considered fair game in serving the CCP’s goal of increasing China’s Comprehensive National Power. That includes using proxies and diversions to make counteractions more difficult. In an October 21 article for Foreign Affairs, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien detailed some of the many ways Beijing is trying to advance its CNP. They include intellectual property theft, co-opting international organization, using fishing boats for military action, hostage diplomacy, coercive economic policies, use and intimidation of Chinese nationals overseas to advance China’s interests, infiltrating and corrupting foreign education systems, debt traps, bribery, blurring the lines between state, commercial and military activities, and more. Much, much more.

Read more …

“Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google—four companies—have a combined market cap (over $6 trillion) that is greater than the GDP of every country in the world, minus the US and China.”

The Mother of All Stock Market Bubbles (Lendman)

Never before in US equity market history was there as great a disconnect between economic reality and equity prices as now. At a time of economic collapse and likely protracted US Depression, market valuations are at or near all-time highs. David Stockman explained some of the extremes in a period he called “outright fiscal insanity.” Count the ways: “Amazon, a company that didn’t exist pre-1994 is “43% of the S&P 500 consumer discretionary index.” “Nearly two-thirds of the market is underperforming so far this year.” “Year-to-date, only one in three stocks is actually in the green.” “One in five stocks is down 50% or more from its all-time high.” “The five largest stocks in the S&P 500 have a combined market cap that equals that of the ‘smallest’ 389 stocks.”

“Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google—four companies—have a combined market cap (over $6 trillion) that is greater than the GDP of every country in the world, minus the US and China.” “Tesla, having surpassed Walmart (with one-twentieth of the revenue!), has become the ninth-largest stock in the US.” All of the above give new meaning to the term surreal. If a Hollywood script writer presented the above scenario to a producer for filming, it would either be accepted as science fiction or rejected outright as too unrealistic. Who’d believe it? Under these conditions, it’s impossible to invest wisely because markets are dominated by speculative excess — riverboat gambling replacing what sound investing used to be.

No matter which right wing of the US one-party state wins control of the White House and/or Congress, nothing will change — things more likely to worsen until an inevitable day of reckoning arrives. Stockman asked: “How could the S&P 500 be trading at its highest multiple in 70 years when the growth rate of corporate earnings has been sinking for more than two decades?” “The recent S&P index value implies a PE multiple of 36.8X—a place the S&P 500 has never been before.” “The forward PE is now above the record high reached during the dot-com madness at the” end of the 1990s. In calendar year 2020, corporate earnings crashed. They’re “23% (below) their 2019 peak.” Yet market valuations are at levels that suggest double-digit earnings growth ahead — despite evidence indicating protracted economic Depression, mass unemployment, along with reduced business and consumer spending.

Read more …

Everyone’s still waiting for tourism to rise again.

NYC Hotel Occupancy Rate Crashes Toward 10% As Permanent Closures Loom (ZH)

Prices at New York City hotels have plunged as the hospitality industry continues to try and grapple with the effects of the global pandemic. Some hotels, like the Midtown Hilton, have remained closed since March. Others, like the Pierre, are operating in limited capacity. Those that are open for business have slashed prices by more than 60%, according to a new writeup by AlJazeera. Despite October usually being a fruitful month for tourism in NYC, coronavirus has forced the cancellation of staple events like the NYC Marathon and Fashion Week. And while the industry has definitely recovered since March, it still has a long way to go. 200 of New York’s roughly 700 hotels remain closed, the article notes.

Lukas Hartwich, an analyst at real estate research firm Green Street, said: “Next year is going to be far worse than any year we’ve ever had except this one. It’s going to be 2022 before we get back to where we were during the worst part of the last recession.” Occupancy rates in NYC stand under 40% right now, with the average daily room price at $135. Those figures, last October, stood at 92% and $336. Industry locals say the 2020 figure may even be inflated, as many hotels stopped reporting data for the time being. Vijay Dandapani, chief executive officer of the Hotel Association of New York City, said: “The true hotel occupancy is less than 10%. Hotels have theoretically been able to be open, but in many cases it’s pointless.”

In addition to risk-adverse travelers, corporate travel has also diminished, acting as a major headwind for the industry. Executives in the industry predict that up to 20% of the city’s hotels could wind up permanently closed. Those that have stayed open, like the Pierre, are offering limited services. For example, at the Pierre, room service stops after breakfast and the concierge clocks out at 5PM now.

Read more …

Good luck taking on the arms industry.

Greece Insists On Turkish Arms Embargo (K.)

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan making clear his plans to continue exploratory activities within Greece’s continental shelf over the next two months, Athens is pressing its case for an arms embargo against Turkey. Reacting to Ankara’s operational escalation in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Athens is determined to stress that it is unacceptable for European Union countries to continue exporting arms to Turkey while it threatens a member-state. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has insisted already on the need for an arms embargo on Turkey by Greece’s EU partners, and also raised the issue in person with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The case was also made by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in a letter to his counterparts in Germany, Italy and Spain.


The most serious aspect of the assistance provided by many of Greece’s European partners to Turkey is not only the equipment but, more importantly, the know-how that has enabled Ankara to rapidly develop and expand its domestic defense industry, including in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. Mitsotakis has made special reference to the know-how provided by Berlin to Ankara for the German-designed Type 214 submarine and for the anaerobic propulsion (AIP) systems. There is similar cooperation between Berlin and Ankara in the production of the integrated program of Leopard tank (2A4). Berlin also provides significant technological assistance in the production of the Korkut medium-range anti-aircraft system (Rheinmetall type), as well as PorSav missiles.

Read more …

One day, when it’s too late, we’ll acknowledge that it’s all one system of interconnected and co-dependent entities.

Soil Fungi Act Like A Support Network For Trees (Folio)

Being highly connected to a strong social network has its benefits. Now a new University of Alberta study is showing the same goes for trees, thanks to their underground neighbours. The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, is the first to show that the growth of adult trees is linked to their participation in fungal networks living in the forest soil.Though past research has focused on seedlings, these findings give new insight into the value of fungal networks to older trees—which are more environmentally beneficial for functions like capturing carbon and stabilizing soil erosion. “Large trees make up the bulk of the forest, so they drive what the forest is doing,” said researcher Joseph Birch, who led the study for his PhD thesis in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.

When they colonize the roots of a tree, fungal networks act as a sort of highway, allowing water, nutrients and even the compounds that send defence signals against insect attacks to flow back and forth among the trees. The network also helps nutrients flow to resource-limited trees “like family units that support one another in times of stress,” Birch noted. Cores taken from 350 Douglas firs in British Columbia showed that annual tree ring growth was related to the extent of fungal connections a tree had with other trees. “They had much higher growth than trees that had only a few connections.” The research also showed that trees with more connections to many unique fungi had much greater growth than those with only one or two connections.

“We found that the more connected an adult tree is, the more it has significant growth advantages, which means the network could really influence large-scale important interactions in the forest, like carbon storage. If you have this network that is helping trees grow faster, that helps sequester more carbon year after year.”

Read more …

 

 

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Oct 182020
 


René Magritte The seducer 1953

 

 

USA Today Headline: “A Tabloid Got A Trove Of Data On Hunter Biden From Rudy Giuliani. Now, The FBI Is Probing A Possible Disinformation Campaign

(The FBI is examining whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani is part of a disinformation campaign by Russia.)”

 

Seeing that makes me think: with Comey, Strzok, Lisa Page, McCabe et al gone, who initiates and approves such “examinations”? The aforementioned were all involved in setting up the Special Counsel led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller, and that was the most embarrassing episode in the Bureau’s history. Which is saying something given J. Edgar’s penchant for dressing up in women’s clothing.

The Mueller probe was all predicated on vague and unproven Russian “disinformation”, and it fittingly ended with it too. With absolutely nothing coming out of the probe, that was based on the Steele Dossier which the protagonists knew was false even before the probe started, Mueller and his right-hand Andrew Weismann in the end had nothing left but “13 Russians” and Julian Assange to “justify” their $30 million, 2 year “effort”.

The only people they could lay any -always unproven- blame or suspicion on were those who could not defend themselves against false accusations. And when Concord Management unexpectedly did raise a defense, Mueller was shut down by a US judge in no time. It’s pathetic. Mueller’s a liar and a coward, as I’ve said a dozen times now. He should be exiled to Mars.

But what’s worse than his reputation having been destroyed, is that he and his pals hammered the FBI’s reputation as well. So when I read in October 2020 that “The FBI Is Probing A Possible Disinformation Campaign by Russia”, I’m obliged to ask: where does that come from?

Because apparently at least some things haven’t changed yet, despite the Mueller horror show. What the FBI needs is a thorough cleansing, not another nonsensical politically driven opaque “investigation” of Russians. The obvious problem, of course, is that the same media who edged on that disaster will also report on this one without an inch of actual journalistic curiosity or integrity.

The media are in the same political wing as the FBI. They are all counting down the days until November 3, and they are all counting on their mishaps and misdeeds being forgiven and/or buried deep if Joe Biden wins, something they spare no effort to achieve.

 

But unlike the Democrats, in their present-day DNC, Hillary, Pelosi et al, setting, and the mainstream media, who have lost all credibility, the FBI will have a role to play in the future of America. All of the above have been caught in scandalous endeavors to halt a presidential candidate and then unseat a president, but unlike in the case of the Democrats and the media, the nation itself actually has the means to change the FBI.

And it will have to. Because it needs a domestic intelligence service that can go after people who attempt to subvert the workings -and laws- of American society. But yes, that means people like themselves. And once the FBI becomes complicit in such subversion, there is no-one left to investigate them. A classic problem, who will investigate the investigators?

Sure, in “normal” times that should be the House, but the Democrat House is also part of the entire “cabal”. Just remember Adam Schiff’s and Jerry Nadler’s shameless statements of having evidence of collusion when they very obviously did not. So that’s not going to happen. Or at least, that’s what they all think. But it must, Biden victory or not.

Ironically, an Amy Coney Barrett confirmation for the Supreme Court, in that regard, may be seen as a move to save the country, to save the integrity and moral fiber of the United States. Because if the House won’t, and the Senate can’t, save the country from the FBI turning rogue and siding with one side of the political system , the Supreme Court will have to. Or else.

 

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for the entire DNC-FBI-MSM cabal. Which counts on all they’ve done to magically disappear under President Kamala. And that is not going to happen. If the FBI and Capitol Hill will not see to it, the judicial system will. How big a role Michael Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell will play in that depends on how much people like Bill Barr are willing to take on, but Powell is up to the task.

Of course there are legitimate questions about how exactly the New York Post and Rudy Giuliani got hold of the emails and other Hunter Biden-related material. But the fact that the Biden campaign after three days still hasn’t disputed its veracity is a major tell. All they have done is point to Russian disinformation -again- and now the FBI is “investigating” that. The exact same thing Mueller failed to prove.

In other words, we’re still caught in a circle-jerk, only now Facebook and Twitter have joined in too. But the real question should not be about the Russians, that’s always only been a ruse. It should be: how do we restore the reputation and credibility of the FBI that was so thoroughly annulled over the past 5 years?

If Biden wins, nothing will be restored. Because the FBI helped him win. If Trump wins, there’s a slightly better chance. Then again, Trump’s presidency didn’t change much. Comey, Strzok and McCabe disappeared, but new chief Christopher Wray is out there frustrating declassifications, and approving brainless probes like Russian disinformation in the Hunter Biden laptop case.

Which is not just useless, it’s an active attempt to direct attention away from what is actually there: the contents of the laptop. Which, again, remains uncontested by the Biden campaign.

If the FBI cannot be perceived by the American people as an impartial bureau, that will be a very big problem for many years to come. If people fear that it may -again- turn against a presidential candidate for partisan reasons, and lie through their teeth to achieve their goals, that will be it for the Bureau.

 

 

 

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Sep 182020
 
 September 18, 2020  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Fred Stein Paris evening 1934

 

COVID – Why Terminology Really, Really Matters (Kendrick)
Biden Nearly 5 Times More Likely than Trump to Win Election (NW)
Where Is Biden’s Ground Game? (TMI)
In 2016 Call Joe Biden Risked National Security To Sabotage Trump (Fed.)
Lindsey Graham: Comey To Testify Before Senate, Mueller ‘Declined’ (Fox)
Investigation Into Princeton After President Says Racism ‘Embedded’ (WE)
Wray: Russia Actively Interfering In 2020 Election To ‘Denigrate’ Biden (CNN)
China Only G20 Country With Positive Economic Output This Year – OECD (SCMP)
China ‘Acknowledges Scale Of Xinjiang Camps’ As US Applies Pressure (SCMP)
World Bank Warns Recovery Could Take “Five Years” (ZH)
Assange Hearing Day 11 (Craig Murray)
Assange Court Hears About History Of Prosecutions Under Espionage Act (Gosztola)
I Found Assange Paranoid, Crazy–Then His Methods Became Standard Practice (TH)
Noam Chomsky: World Is At The Most Dangerous Moment In Human History (NSM)

 

 

Global new daily cases continue to rise. The US has less than have as many new daily cases as India does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And they say Trump’s a liar….

Biden: All the people would still be alive. Look at the data!

 

 

Carson on Biden 1987

 

 

Excellent. Must read, all of it. Not that I agree there should never have been a lockdown, but it always should have been short. And now we know much more than 6-7 months ago, lockdowns are less appropriate.

But instead now what we see is not a single politician has any idea what to do anymore, so there’ll be more lockdowns, the only thing they know. And that leads to reaction.

COVID – Why Terminology Really, Really Matters (Kendrick)

Whilst everyone is panicking about the ever-increasing number of cases, we should be celebrating them. They are demonstrating, very clearly, that COVID is far, far, less deadly then was feared. The Infection Fatality Rate is most likely going to end up around 0.1%, not 1%. So yes, it does seem that ‘the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza.’ Wise words, wise words indeed. Words that were written by one Anthony S Fauci on the 28th of February 2020. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up. Critically though, eleven days after this, he rather blotted his copybook, because he went on to say this “The flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This (COVID) has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this.”

The mortality rate Dr Fauci? Could it possibly be that he failed to understand that there is no such thing as a mortality rate? Did he mean the case fatality rate, or the infection fatality rate? If he meant the Infection mortality rate of influenza, he was pretty much bang on. If he meant the case fatality rate, he was wrong by a factor of ten. The reality is that, no matter what Fauci went on to say, severe influenza has a case fatality rate of 1%, and so does COVID. They also have approximately the same infection fatality fate of 0.1%. It seems that Dr Fauci just got mixed up with the terminology. Because in his Journal article eleven days earlier, he did state… ‘This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza… [and here is the kicker at the end] (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).’

You see, he did say the case fatality rate of influenza was approximately 0.1%. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong… wrong. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. With influenza, Dr Fauci, the CDC, his co-authors, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institutes of Health and the New England Journal of Medicine got case fatality rate and infection fatality rate mixed up with influenza. Easy mistake to make. Could have done it myself. But didn’t. You want to know where Imperial College London really got their 1% infection fatality rate figure from? It seems clear that they got it from Anthony S Fauci and the New England Journal of Medicine. The highest impact journal in the world – which should have the highest impact proof-readers in the world. But clearly does not.

Imperial College then used this wrong NEJM influenza case fatality rate 0.1%. It seems that they then compared this 0.1% figure to the reported COVID case fatality rate, estimated to be 1% and multiplied the impact of COVID by ten – as you would. As you probably should. So, we got Lockdown. The US used the Fauci figure and got locked down. The world used that figure and got locked down. That figure just happens to be ten times too high.

Read more …

Forever amazing that the polling industry got just about everything wrong in 2016, and hasn’t lost a beat. They might as well get things wrong on purpose now, what’s the difference?

Biden Nearly 5 Times More Likely than Trump to Win Election (NW)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is the odds-on favorite to win the U.S. election against President Donald Trump, according to an average of 7 different forecast models released on Thursday. Presidential elections in the U.S. are not decided by who gets the most votes. In order to actually win the contest, a candidate must receive a majority of votes in the Electoral College. There are a total of 538 individuals from each state who decide which candidate becomes president. Candidates need at least 270 Electoral College votes to clinch the presidency. While those electors often follow the popular vote, that has not always been the case. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote against Trump, gaining 48.2 percent of the vote to Trump’s 46.1 percent.


However, Trump picked up 306 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232 votes, making Trump the president. In each of Thursday’s seven election forecast models, Biden was projected to win both the popular vote and the Electoral College. As averaged together by the website Election Dice, those models predicted that Trump has a 17.9 percent chance of winning while Biden has an 81.8 percent chance of winning. Biden’s odds of victory are projected to be nearly five times greater than that of President Trump’s. Data from The Economist showed Biden holding an 8-point lead over Trump, 54 percent to 46 percent respectively. Biden was projected to get 335 votes in the Electoral College, more than the 270 votes needed to become president. Trump was projected to receive 203 electoral votes.

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This has puzzled me for a while, the story keeps on popping up. No ground game.

Where Is Biden’s Ground Game? (TMI)

As Joe Biden’s campaign faces questions about its lackadaisical outreach strategy, the former vice president’s campaign manager boasted on Tuesday about the campaign’s growing volunteer program. But Biden’s volunteer operation is still smaller than the one built during the primary by Bernie Sanders, with just seven weeks to go until the general election. Democrats in swing states have started voicing concerns that the Biden campaign has not opened any standalone offices in battleground states and — unlike down-ballot Democrats — isn’t knocking doors. Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon defended their outreach program on Tuesday in a live interview with Politico.

“We spend so much time talking about tactics, but, fundamentally, knocking on a door and not reaching anyone doesn’t get you much except leaving a piece of lit behind,” O’Malley Dillon said. “You might as well send a piece of mail.” She added: “We have 2,500 new volunteers that join the campaign every day.” Like the Sanders campaign, the Biden campaign organizes its volunteer network over Slack in several channels, including one for general intake, one for texters, and another for phone bankers. Screenshots obtained by TMI show the campaign’s volunteer Slack was still lagging behind the Sanders program as of Tuesday. The Biden volunteer slack had roughly 62,000 in the general intake channel, 16,000 in the text channel, and 23,000 in the call channel on Tuesday.

The numbers represent a substantial increase from early this month, when there were 37,000 volunteers in the Biden general intake channel — but still well short of the Sanders slack, which still had about 71,000 volunteers, even though the progressive senator officially dropped out of the presidential race in April. The Biden campaign has not exactly made volunteering easy. Last Wednesday, actress and activist Susan Sarandon pointed out that the volunteer section on the campaign’s website was badly outdated. As Sarandon noted, the “organizing tool kit” had been rolled over from the primaries and was not updated for the general. The campaign updated the site to fix the issue last Thursday.

Polls have consistently shown Biden ahead of President Donald Trump both nationally and at the state level as well as in terms of favorability. But below the surface, the numbers are less secure — the races in most key swing states are still close. Throughout his campaign Biden has struggled to generate voter enthusiasm — a metric which proved vital in 2016. Leading into the conventions, Biden trailed Trump by 30 points in terms of enthusiasm, although the gap had been steadily narrowing. Following the conventions, the difference shrunk to 9 points, though Biden did not get a post-convention polling bounce. Biden’s support among Latino voters is lower than Clinton’s was and young voters remain largely unenthusiastic about their choices in November. The youth vote was critical to former President Barack Obama’s winning coalition and youth participation in politics has been trending upwards.

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Biden and Ukraine. Someone should ask the Ukrainians what happened.

In 2016 Call Joe Biden Risked National Security To Sabotage Trump (Fed.)

A recently leaked phone call between then-Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko directly after the 2016 presidential election shows that Biden sought to sabotage the incoming Trump administration before Donald Trump even took office, and much worse. During the course of the call, Biden badmouthed the incoming administration, saying, “The truth of the matter is that the incoming administration doesn’t know a great deal about [Ukraine]” and that they were unprepared for the transition. This in itself is inappropriate, but it was meant to set the stage for Biden’s next statement and future plans. Biden then told Poroshenko, “I don’t plan on going away. As a private citizen, I plan on staying deeply engaged in the endeavor that you have begun and we have begun.”

In a matter of moments, Biden undermined the incoming administration, branded them as not knowing anything about Ukraine, and attempted to set up a foreign policy backchannel for himself after he left office as a private citizen, which could violate the Logan Act. The Logan Act bars private citizens from engaging in U.S. foreign policy, although its constitutionality remains questionable and no person has ever been convicted of violating it since it was signed into law in 1799. Ironically, this is the same act that, at Joe Biden’s suggestion, the FBI accused National Security Advisor Michael Flynn of violating as a result of a discussion Flynn had with the Russian ambassador to the United States around nearly the same time as Biden’s call with Poroshenko.

To fortify his position and to make Poroshenko more confident that he should continue to deal with Biden once he left office, in the call Biden also intimated that there is a problem with the incoming administration: “The reason I bother to tell you that is I have been somewhat limited on what I am able to tell their team about Ukraine.” While Biden blamed this on a late start to the transition process, we now know he said this at the same time the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies were conducting a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” of which Ukraine was a part.

Since it was leaked by a Ukrainian member of Parliament, the phone call was obviously recorded by the Ukrainians, and almost certainly by Russian intelligence services. Biden would have been aware of this from his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as vice president.

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Not sure that Graham is the one you want to do the investigation, but let’s see.

Lindsey Graham: Comey To Testify Before Senate, Mueller ‘Declined’ (Fox)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced Wednesday that former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify on his own volition before the panel in regard to “Crossfire Hurricane” — the counterintelligence investigation into whether President Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. Graham told “Hannity” that Comey will appear September 30th without necessitating a subpoena: “The day of reckoning is upon us when it comes to Crossfire Hurricane,” he said. “I appreciate Mr. Comey coming before the committee and he will be respectfully treated but asked hard questions. We are negotiating with [former Deputy FBI Director Andrew] McCabe; we are hoping to get him without a subpoena — time will tell.”

Graham however expressed dismay that the former special counsel behind the Russia investigation’s published report, ex-FBI chief, Robert Mueller, refused to appear on his own accord. “Mueller has declined the invitation to the committee to appear to explain his report,” Graham said. “[Mueller] says he doesn’t have enough time.” Host Sean Hannity asked whether Graham will accept that Mueller declined his invitation, noting recent reporting that Justice Department records showed the special counsel’s team’s cell phones were “wiped” during the Trump probe. The records show at least several dozen phones were wiped of information because of forgotten passcodes, irreparable screen damage, loss of the device, intentional deletion or other reasons — before the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) could review the devices.

Graham called that development “fishy as hell” and added he will call on the DOJ and its inspector general to look into the incidents. “We’ve invited [Peter] Strzok to come — he’s selling a book,” he added of the September 30 hearing. “[W]e will see if he will come without a subpoena. But I look forward to this hearing and I think it will be important to the American people.”

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Oh, really? Let’s see some examples. And then link those to things you’ve said in the past.

Investigation Into Princeton After President Says Racism ‘Embedded’ (WE)

The Department of Education has informed Princeton University that it is under investigation following the school president’s declaration that racism was “embedded” in the institution. President Christopher Eisgruber published an open letter earlier this month claiming that “racism and the damage it does to people of color persist at Princeton” and that “racist assumptions” are “embedded in structures of the University itself.” According to a letter the Department of Education sent to Princeton that was obtained by the Washington Examiner, such an admission from Eisgruber raises concerns that Princeton has been receiving tens of millions of dollars of federal funds in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which declares that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Eisgruber’s letter branding the 274-year-old university racist came after a summer of unrest rife with race riots and an open letter from hundreds of Princeton faculty members who wrote, “Anti-Black racism has a visible bearing upon Princeton’s campus makeup.” The admission was followed by dozens of “anti-racist” policy change demands. Among them were calls for select faculty race quotas and to “reconsider” the use of standardized testing for admissions. Now, the Education Department has sent a formal records request as it pursues its investigation. Its main point of contention is whether Princeton has lied to the public with its marketing and to the department in its promise not to uphold racist standards, in accordance with receiving federal funds.

“Based on its admitted racism, the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) is concerned Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances in its Program Participation Agreements from at least 2013 to the present may have been false,” the letter reads. “The Department is further concerned Princeton perhaps knew, or should have known, these assurances were false at the time they were made. [..] What the department seeks to obtain from its investigation is what evidence Princeton used in its determination that the university is racist, including all records regarding Eisgruber’s letter and a “spreadsheet identifying each person who has, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, been excluded from participation in, been denied the benefits of, or been subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance as a result of the Princeton racism or ‘damage’ referenced in the President’s Letter.”

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While Iran and China do the same with Trump. No American voter is safe. Or something in that vein. Evidence? Sorry, that’s classified.

Wray: Russia Actively Interfering In 2020 Election To ‘Denigrate’ Biden (CNN)

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that Russia has been “very active” in its efforts to influence US elections, with the primary goal being to “denigrate” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray told lawmakers that Russia is primarily interfering through “malign foreign influence in an effort to hurt Biden’s campaign” — echoing the intelligence community’s public assessment on Moscow’s meddling efforts issued last month. Wray’s comments come as President Donald Trump and several other top administration officials have recently attempted to play up the theory that China is meddling to get Biden elected, while downplaying well-founded reports that Russia is trying to help Trump win again, like it did in 2016.

Foreign election interference efforts differ from what was observed in 2016, when there was also an effort to target election infrastructure, Wray said. “We have not seen that second part yet this year or this cycle, but we certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020,” he added. According to Wray, Russia is using social media, proxies, state media and online journals to sow “divisiveness and discord” and “primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment.” Intelligence officials have said they have uncovered evidence that Russia is currently interfering in the election to hurt Biden’s campaign.

Separately, some evidence has already emerged about Moscow’s efforts, including Facebook’s announcement earlier this month that a troll group that was part of Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 election is trying to target Americans again. But while the intelligence community has assessed that China and Iran prefer Trump to lose in November, officials have offered no indication, to date, that either country is acting on that preference in the same way as Russia, according to public statements issued by the intelligence community and sources familiar with the underlying evidence.

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Michael Pettis:: “There is a very important point buried in this article. In June the OECD (like many others) calculated that China’s GDP would shrink sharply in 2020 – by 3.7% in their case. They are now projecting that it will grow by 1.7%.”

My question: how much of this is due to overproduction, the Silk and Road to nowhere?

China Only G20 Country With Positive Economic Output This Year – OECD (SCMP)

The rapid speed with which China tackled the coronavirus outbreak domestically allowed for the timely easing of strict confinement measures and the reopening of businesses, helping the Chinese economy rebound more quickly than originally expected, according to the latest forecast by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). While a gradual recovery of the global economy is projected to continue for the next 18 months, the pace will vary from nation to nation, with a significant upwards revision to the growth outlook for China. The intergovernmental economic organisation predicted that China’s economy will expand by 1.8 per cent in 2020, and 8 per cent in 2021.

The group attributed this to a better-than-expected recovery, with activity returning quickly to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the second quarter, fuelled by strong infrastructure investment. That is a significant upwards revision from its June’s projection that the Chinese economy would contract by 3.7 per cent this year and grow by 4.5 per cent in 2021. “China is the only G20 country in which output is projected to rise in 2020,” OECD chief economist Laurence Boone said, referring to the organisation of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 individual countries and the European Union. He pointed to China’s “rapid control of the virus and the policy support provided to enable a quick rebound in activity”.

[..] Boone cautioned that China’s recovery will be less of a driver for global growth than in the 2008 financial crisis, “because China is now much less export-driven and is importing much less capital. It is resting much more on consumption as a driving force. So, this means that the countries that used to export to China would do less in this recovery”. Nevertheless, the Paris-based policy forum said a gradual global recovery was under way after the unprecedented shock. For example, household spending on many consumer durables, including cars, has bounced back relatively quickly, as pent-up demand accumulated while strict confinement measures were in force. China’s pickup in demand has helped strengthen commodity prices while improving risk appetite in financial markets, OECD said. But uncertainty remains high, and consumer confidence is still weak.

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“..provided “vocational training” to nearly 1.3 million workers..”

China ‘Acknowledges Scale Of Xinjiang Camps’ As US Applies Pressure (SCMP)

China released a white paper on Thursday claiming that its far western Xinjiang region has provided “vocational training” to nearly 1.3 million workers every year on average from 2014 to 2019. It comes as Beijing is facing mounting criticism from Western countries and human rights groups over its policies in the region, where it is believed to have detained at least 1 million Uygurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in internment camps. China has been accused of subjecting detainees to political indoctrination and forced labour in the camps, but it has denied the allegations and insisted they are “vocational training centres” where people learn language and job skills. Observers said the white paper from the State Council, China’s cabinet, could be the first time the authorities had “indirectly” confirmed the scale of the camps.


Titled “Employment and Labour Rights in Xinjiang”, the white paper said the regional government had organised “employment-oriented training on standard spoken and written Chinese, legal knowledge, general know-how for urban life and labour skills” to improve the structure of the workforce and combat poverty. It had provided vocational training to an average of 1.29 million urban and rural workers every year from 2014 to 2019, the white paper said, apparently not using the Chinese government’s five-year planning period as the reporting time frame. Of those workers, about 451,400 were from southern Xinjiang – an area it said struggled with extreme poverty, poor access to education and a lack of job skills because residents were influenced by “extremist thoughts”.

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It could also be 2, or 20. It’s just that we have so many high-paid economists on our payroll, we need to come out with something from time to time, or people might start thinking we’re completely irrelevant.

World Bank Warns Recovery Could Take “Five Years” (ZH)

Global economic activity around the world has stabilized in mid-September, though far below pre-COVID-19 levels as recoveries risk reversing if monetary and fiscal stimulus is not continued at rates seen in the first half of 2020. We noted Wednesday, a new OECD report offered some hope the global downturn is not as severe as previously thought but is still viewed as an “unprecedented” decline. We also noted the OECD report is problematic for policy-makers who have unleashed easy-money policies during the pandemic to artificially inflate economies and boost risk assets, as policy support in the second half of the year might not be as great as what was seen earlier in the year (as is currently playing out in Washington with the prospect of a slimmed-down stimulus bill getting slimmer).

So with waning support from central banks and fiscal stimulus from governments, the quick rebound seen in the global economy has likely stalled, and the shape of the recovery will no longer resemble a “V” but more of a “W” or “U” or “L.” For more color on the shape of the global recovery, or rather perhaps how long the recovery will last, chief economist of the World Bank, Carmen Reinhart, warned Thursday, a full recovery could take upwards of five years, reported El País. “There will probably be a quick rebound as all the restriction measures linked to lockdowns are lifted, but a full recovery will take as much as five years,” Reinhart said, while speaking at a conference in Madrid, Spain. Reinhart said (as quoted by Reuters), “the pandemic-caused recession will last longer in some countries than in others and will increase inequalities as the poorest will be harder hit by the crisis in rich countries and the poorest countries will be harder hit than richer countries.”


“Central banks have tried to provide liquidity to avoid affecting more households. But as much as central banks give support, there are businesses that will not return, there are closed restaurants or stores that will not reopen, there are homes that will take a long time to find employment, there are airlines or hotels that will not survive a long period without normal mobility. There are going to be a lot of bankruptcies: if you look at the credit rating agencies, S&P, Moody’s, Fitch, the amount of reduction in credit quality that has been seen since the beginning of the year, both at the corporate and sovereign levels, has been a record. And central banks are not all-powerful either: no matter how much credit support is given, at some point you have to face the deterioration in the financial system, and that is not a criticism: it is inevitable because of the deep drop in the economy. Under these conditions, we have to think about cuts that allow new credits for recovery,” she said.

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“Whatever the rules of evidence may say, Baraitser and Lewis have here contrived between them a blatant abuse of process. It is a further example of the egregious injustices of this process.”

Assange Hearing Day 11 (Craig Murray)

Yet another shocking example of abuse of court procedure unfolded on Wednesday. James Lewis QC for the prosecution had been permitted gratuitously to read to two previous witnesses with zero connection to this claim, an extract from a book by Luke Harding and David Leigh in which Harding claims that at a dinner at El Moro Restaurant Julian Assange had stated he did not care if US informants were killed, because they were traitors who deserved what was coming to them. This morning giving evidence was John Goetz, now Chief Investigations Editor of NDR (German public TV), then of Der Spiegel. Goetz was one of the four people at that dinner. He was ready and willing to testify that Julian said no such thing and Luke Harding is (not unusually) lying. Goetz was not permitted by Judge Baraitser to testify on this point, even though two witnesses who were not present had previously been asked to testify on it.

Baraitser’s legal rationale was this. It was not in his written evidence statement (submitted before Lewis had raised the question with other witnesses) so Goetz was only permitted to contradict Lewis’s deliberate introduction of a lie if Lewis asked him. Lewis refused to ask the one witness who was actually present what had happened, because Lewis knew the lie he is propagating would be exposed. This is my report of Lewis putting the alleged conversation to Clive Stafford Smith, who knew nothing about it:

“Lewis then took Stafford Smith to a passage in the book “Wikileaks; Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”, in which Luke Harding stated that he and David Leigh were most concerned to protect the names of informants, but Julian Assange had stated that Afghan informants were traitors who merited retribution. “They were informants, so if they got killed they had it coming.” Lewis tried several times to draw Stafford Smith into this, but Stafford Smith repeatedly said he understood these alleged facts were under dispute and he had no personal knowledge. This is my report of James Lewis putting the same quote to Prof Mark Feldstein, who had absolutely no connection to the event:

Lewis then read out again the same quote from the Leigh/Harding book he had put to Stafford Smith, stating that Julian Assange had said the Afghan informants would deserve their fate. James Lewis QC knew that these witnesses had absolutely no connection to this conversation, and he put it to them purely to get the lie into the court record and into public discourse. James Lewis QC also knows that Goetz was present on the occasion described. The Harding book specifies the exact date and location of the dinner and that it included two German journalists, and Goetz was one of them. It is plainly contrary to natural justice that a participant in an event introduced into the proceedings should not be allowed to tell the truth about it when those with no connection are, tendentiously, invited to.

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“Shenkman did not hesitate to tell her she was wasting his time and the magistrate court’s time.”

Assange Court Hears About History Of Prosecutions Under Espionage Act (Gosztola)

“There has never, in the century-long history of the Espionage Act, been an indictment of a U.S. publisher under the law for the publication of secrets,” declared Carey Shenkman, an attorney who has co-authored a first-of-its-kind peer-reviewed book on the Espionage Act. Shenkman testified during WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial and added, “There has never been an extraterritorial indictment of a non-[United States] publisher under the Act.” “During World War I, federal prosecutors considered the mere circulation of anti-war materials a violation of the law. Nearly 2,500 individuals were prosecuted under the Act on account of their dissenting views and opposition to U.S. entry in the war,” Shenkman added.

Assange is accused of 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime that, as alleged in the indictment, is written like an Espionage Act offense. The charges criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets from the United States government. It targets common practices in newsgathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world. Shenkman previously was an associate for Michael Ratner, an esteemed human rights attorney who was the president emeritus for the Center for Constitutional Rights. Ratner was part of the WikiLeaks legal team until he tragically died from cancer in 2016.

Prosecutor Clair Dobbin attempted to disqualify Shenkman because he worked for Ratner when he represented Assange. She also frittered away the time that she had to cross-examine by insisting Shenkman provide hypothetical opinions on statements in past cases with outcomes favorable to the prosecution. Few of the prosecution’s questions had anything to do with his testimony for the court on the Espionage Act, as it is being applied to Assange, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which Assange is also accused of violating. Shenkman did not hesitate to tell her she was wasting his time and the magistrate court’s time.

Ellsberg

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“Goetz said he had managed to find the 13 CIA agents who kidnapped, beat and sodomised El Masri – using flight logs and hotel records to track the men to North Carolina – and the investigation became the cover story for Der Spiegel. ”

I Found Assange Paranoid, Crazy–Then His Methods Became Standard Practice (TH)

A renowned investigative journalist has spoke of how he found Julian Assange “paranoid and crazy” when they first met – only for his methods to become standard journalistic practice a number of years later. John Goetz, an investigations editor with the German public broadcaster NDR, was among a handful of prominent journalists to be invited to the Guardian’s offices in London in the summer of 2010 – WikiLeaks had just received upwards of 100,000 sensitive documents that were leaked from the U.S. military. The classified cache of documents later came to be known as the Afghan War Logs – revealing torture, assassinations and CIA kidnappings. Goetz rubbished the American government’s assertion that Assange “recklessly endangered lives” at the second week of the WikiLeaks publisher’s U.S. extradition proceedings on Wednesday (September 17).

The Berlin-based reporter, who had then been a senior investigative journalist for Der Spiegel, spoke of those seminal 2010 meetings and how even veteran journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian and his publication found Assange to be ultra-obsessed with security. “I remember being frustrated by the constant emails and reminders that we needed to be secure and that we needed to use encryption on everything,” Goetz said. “It was the first time I had touched a crypto-phone. The amount of precautions were enormous. “I thought it was all paranoid and crazy, but it became standard journalistic practice.” Goetz, who had had a background on reporting on Afghanistan and the U.S. military, gave an inside look of how WikiLeaks transformed investigative journalism.

He detailed how the technology Assange and his whistle-blower organisation had built helped him substantiate allegations of serious wrongdoing that was previously considered unfathomable – namely in the case of Khaled el-Masri. El-Masri, a dual German-Lebanese citizen, had approached Goetz with his story five years before Goetz had ever come into contact with WikiLeaks. Goetz said: “It was interesting because at that point in time, very few people believed what he was alleging. He said he had been kidnapped, drugged, dumped in Afghanistan and ended up in some forest in Albania. “He said it was Americans and that he was taken to an American military base after we was kidnapped in Macedonia. All the allegations have since been proven in the European High Court.” Goetz said he had managed to find the 13 CIA agents who kidnapped, beat and sodomised El Masri – using flight logs and hotel records to track the men to North Carolina – and the investigation became the cover story for Der Spiegel.

You want to oppose Trump?
https://twitter.com/i/status/1306748514324668416

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Chomsky as a partisan shill is not a pretty sight.

Noam Chomsky: World Is At The Most Dangerous Moment In Human History (NSM)

Noam Chomsky has warned that the world is at the most dangerous moment in human history owing to the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear war and rising authoritarianism. In an exclusive interview with the New Statesman, the 91-year-old US linguist and activist said that the current perils exceed those of the 1930s. “There’s been nothing like it in human history,” Chomsky said. “I’m old enough to remember, very vividly, the threat that Nazism could take over much of Eurasia, that was not an idle concern. US military planners did anticipate that the war would end with a US-dominated region and a German-dominated region… But even that, horrible enough, was not like the end of organised human life on Earth, which is what we’re facing.”

Chomsky was interviewed in advance of the first summit of the Progressive International (18-20 September), a new organisation founded by Bernie Sanders, the former US presidential candidate, and Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, to counter right-wing authoritarianism. In an echo of the movement’s slogan “internationalism or extinction”, Chomsky warned: “We’re at an astonishing confluence of very severe crises. The extent of them was illustrated by the last setting of the famous Doomsday Clock. It’s been set every year since the atom bombing, the minute hand has moved forward and back. But last January, they abandoned minutes and moved to seconds to midnight, which means termination. And that was before the scale of the pandemic.”

This shift, Chomsky said, reflected “the growing threat of nuclear war, which is probably more severe than it was during the Cold War. The growing threat of environmental catastrophe, and the third thing that they’ve been picking up for the last few years is the sharp deterioration of democracy, which sounds at first as if it doesn’t belong but it actually does, because the only hope for dealing with the two existential crises, which do threaten extinction, is to deal with them through a vibrant democracy with engaged, informed citizens who are participating in developing programmes to deal with these crises.”

Chomsky added that “[Donald] Trump has accomplished something quite impressive: he’s succeeded in increasing the threat of each of the three dangers. On nuclear weapons, he’s moved to continue, and essentially bring to an end, the dismantling of the arms control regime, which has offered some protection against terminal disaster. He’s greatly increased the development of new, dangerous, more threatening weapons, which means others do so too, which is increasing the threat to all of us.

Having lived through 22 US presidential elections, Chomsky warned that Trump’s threat to refuse to leave office if defeated by Democratic candidate Joe Biden was unprecedented. “He’s already announced repeatedly that if he doesn’t like the outcome of the election he won’t leave. And this is taken very seriously by two high-level military officers, ex-military leaders, who’ve just sent a letter to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, reviewing for him his constitutional duties if the president refuses to leave office and gathers around him the paramilitary forces that he’s been using to terrorise people in Portland. “The military has a duty in that case, the 82nd Airborne Division, to remove him by force. There’s a transition integrity project, high-level people from the Republicans and the Democrats; they’ve been running war games asking what would happen if Trump refuses to leave office – every one of them leads to civil war, every scenario that they can think of except a Trump victory leads to civil war. This is not a joke – nothing like this has happened in the history of parliamentary democracy.”

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Accordion Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1306438597550243841

Tucker color revolution
https://twitter.com/i/status/1306048563210670080

 

 

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Aug 102020
 


Cy Twombly Fifty Days at Iliam: Like a Fire that Consumes All before It 1978

 

 

Might as well call it a social experiment. Any other name, like “coup” or “fishing expedition” or “hookers peeing on a bed” or “justice being done” would just inflame “passions” and lead away from what should be the actual topic.

Whatever you call it, the fact remains that Donald Trump has been the first US president to be under continued investigation for the entire 4 years of his first term, and for about a year before it as well. And that should be a cause for alarm for anyone who cares even a little bit about the American political system, including those who abhor Trump. Because once you do that, it’s no longer about just one president, it’s about all who will follow him, and inevitably about the integrity and validity of the system as a whole.

In principle, there should be no investigations of a sitting president, and not even of a presidential candidate, because this risks endangering 1) the entire electoral process, and 2) the Office of the President (not for once, but for ever). In principle. If there must be an investigation, it must be based on solid evidence available beforehand, it must be short, and the President must be removed. If all of these three things are not guaranteed, no investigation is warranted, and the accusing parties should be “liberated” from the positions they held when they initiated the investigation regardless. Skin in the game.

 

 

It gets increasingly harder to write about American politics, or express an opinion in any other way, without being dumped into one of two camps, never to be heard from again in the other (except for ridicule or slander). There is no such thing as a neutral or objective viewpoint anymore. You’re either with us or you’re against us – or them.

Seeing -and projecting- the world in black and white is a tempting proposal for anyone afraid of being confused; it should, however, never be an excuse for the media to not present its viewers and readers with a full color palette. But we can see every single day how that went. Black and white it is. And in that environment, too claustrophobic to be put in a box, I might as well paint the picture as I see it. Yes, in color.

 

The “social experiment” I see progressing has two parts:

1) can a political party, aided and abetted by the media and intelligence services, unseat an elected president it has just lost an election to?

2) can a presidential candidate be elected while shunning the media, debates, etc., and only appear at times and in forms that have been pre-selected by her/his handlers for maximum effect, while hiding his/her weaknesses?

 

As for no. 1, it has evidently not succeeded, but that is certainly not for lack of trying. One investigation has followed the other non-stop since 2016, in public and behind the scenes, and they have all come up empty. Of course one side would contest that and still say there was lots of evidence, but if so, it obviously wasn’t very strong, or Trump would have been gone.

People may also claim that the mandate of the Mueller investigation was too narrow, but really, go back and watch the man’s pathetic (sorry, but it was) testimony in Congress after the fact, that should be enough. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler and others have promised solid and inconvertible evidence many times, but we never saw any. Rest assured, whatever Trump may have done wrong, you would have heard about it by now.

Or to put it another way: he probably did many things wrong, but not the things he was accused of. In fact, the entire Putin puppet narrative is so idiotic it’s impossible not to ponder from time to time that it was designed from the get-go to support Trump, not hurt him.

As for no. 2, that looks even more experimental. The approach is helped along “wonderfully” by the pandemic, which provides plenty excuses to keep Biden hidden, but it goes against everything presidential campaigns have been built upon throughout American history: contact with voters. That very few people would believe Biden is his own man, and not a sock puppet, can’t help.

But there is more at stake. Presidential campaigns are one element of a much bigger process, and you can’t separate the two. Both parts of the “social experiment” seem to run afoul of the respect that bigger process, and ultimately the entire political system, necessarily demands from all participants, from an individual voter to a President. And that is much more important than either candidate. You can’t temporarily switch off that respect if and when that might suit your purpose, because you risk for it never to be switched on again.

 

You may dislike a presidential candidate, perhaps even intensely so, but that should never make you lose sight of the integrity, if not the sacredness, of the election process, of the political system, of the institutions, of the Constitution, and certainly not of the Office of the President of the United States. Because once you do that, you open the door for everyone to do the same in the future. And no, you can’t blame that on the candidate you don’t like, you do it.

When a candidate is selected through the primaries of his/her party, you must respect that, because if you don’t respect the process, you are lost, the system is lost, and there’s no telling when you’ll see it back, if ever. If that candidate is then elected President, a lot of doors that before allowed you to question and criticize him/her, should be closed. The country at that point has either a new President, or a second-term one. A different phase of the political process starts.

The House and the Senate become the critics, empowered by the system to hold the President accountable. But only the House and the Senate. Not the media, whose role it is, other than in the occasional opinion piece, to report on decisions made; not intelligence services, whose role it is to serve the country, and the new President it just elected; and not the opposition party, whose role it is to prepare for the next election, and to provide a degree of counterbalance, depending on how bad their loss was, on Capitol Hill.

The entire picture is crystal clear. So is everybody’s role in it. But now and then people -try to- refuse to accept their roles, obviously believing that they are more important than the integrity of the political system, and ignoring that in doing so they put the whole system at risk.

 

What was happening first became apparent in late 2015 – early 2016, when the New York Times began running multiple stories every day directed against Donald Trump. Mostly small bits, based on innuendo about his past, with a whiff of truth perhaps, but not more. The word “gratuitous” comes to mind. At a certain point, they did a dozen per day of the stories, it became assembly line work for the writers and editors..

The Washington Post chimed in, and so did CNN, MSNBC and others, including international press. It turned into a feeding frenzy, with all of them completely losing sight, voluntarily or not, of their roles as news providers. They all shape-shifted into opinion-only-makers, confident that their audience would not notice the difference, at least not at first. At that point it became a very Pavlovian thing.

Which is why I was initially going to name this essay “Trump vs Pavlov”. 100+ years ago, Ivan Pavlov “found” that if he rang a bell in front of a dog, and then gave her food, she would start to associate the two. When he increased the time-lapse between first, the bell, and then, the food, the dog would salivate in expectation of food at just the sound of the bell. In the end, all he had to do was ring the bell, with no food around, and the dog would salivate. So he had nothing to offer, no food, no substance, but the reaction was the same.

That is a very accurate description of what a large part of the US media have done -and become-. All they have to do at this point is mention Trump, or just show his picture, and their public will react the same every single time: Orange Man Bad. There doesn’t have to be any substance, any factual journalistic reports of wrongdoing. The “conditioned reflex” as Pavlov described it, has set in.

And their readers and viewers have become addicted to this. How could they not? They’ve been bombarded with 1000s of these bells ringing, and the substance may not be there, but the expectation of it is. If you’re a regular viewer of Rachel Maddow, what are the odds that your opinion is still your own after hearing RussiaRussia a million times? The only way it could be yours is if you switch her off.

I’ve written before that I don’t even think they really set out to do this. Initially, there were probably just some CEOs and owners and editors who didn’t like Trump and/or were affiliated in one way or another with the other party -and later candidate-. Who was counted on to win big anyway, so why not (well, because of the integrity of the political system!).

It was only later that they found out 24/7 anti-Trump “reporting” was a great business model for them. CNN was dying in early 2016, the New York Times was nor far behind, and all of a sudden numbers of viewers and readers and subscribers went through the roof.

Their problem is that if they succeed in making Trump lose in November, they will be back to where they came from before he appeared on the political scene. All of their “reporting” on US politics has devolved into a scheme based on ringing a bell, and on the scandal and anger their non-stop salivating audience have become addicted to, and mistake for substance.

If Joe Biden should win, that scheme is dead. They may hope to last a bit longer on the angry scandal of a possible persecution of Trump if he leaves office, but that would be it, and that’s not a business model. They can’t very well now turn on Biden and his puppeteers.

New York Times writer and editor Bari Weiss said it very well when she left the paper a few weeks ago, she summarized the essence of the MSM problem in just a few words:

“[..] the lessons that ought to have followed the election – lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else”.


Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world?

 

That’s the media. Second in line is US intelligence. Which, there’s no other way to put it, conspired against a presidential candidate and, when he was elected, a sitting president. The Strzok-Page “insurance policy”, the Obama Oval Office conversations where Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice were present, plus 1,000 other things, the overall picture doesn’t exactly point to that famous seamless transition, and US Intel played a pivotal, because accommodating, role in that.

The best way to show this is perhaps that US intelligence themselves did not (could not) come up with a report on alleged links between the -prospective- president’s team and Russia, but took a dossier paid for by the president’s opposition and used it to discredit and persecute him and people in his team. The dossier was written by a two-bit MI6 hustler who hadn’t set foot in Russia in at least a decade, and whose main ‘Russian source’ wasn’t there either, but sitting in an office in the US.

That source in turn had contacts with a group of Russians whose very business model it was to make up and embellish whatever stories the highest bidder required, while failing to deal with their own severe drinking problems. That dossier was the entire foundation (or 99% of it) behind Rod Rosenstein appointing Bob Mueller as a Special Counsel. The appointment would never have been made, never have been possible, without the Steele dossier.

 

How was the dossier vetted by US intelligence, if at all? It’s very clear now what was wrong with it, but the all knowing and very clever intelligence people could not have figured that out 4 years ago, and instead cleared it for Mueller, for further FBI use, for FISA applications? How about their treatment of Michael Flynn, who they had already cleared only to resurrect the dead corpse of their investigation into his talks with Russian ambassador Kislyak? How would you, personally, spell “in good faith”?

We will see in the near future what the Durham investigation into all Russiagate players will come to. Apparently, Durham has just another three weeks to present at least something, because there is a two-month “no-go-zone” before the election, during which he would be accused of tampering with the election. And the premise for the Democrats and their sympathizers is that if Biden wins, all slates will be wiped clean.

They won’t, by the way. America still has a justice system, even if it is oftentimes crippled and grinding(ly) slow. Just watch Michael Flynn attorney Sidney Powell and her team. They have vowed to not only have their client be exonerated, but to fully clear his name, which according to their view has been besmirched by everyone up to and including Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

 

The third leg of the “creature” is the Democratic party. Who have stepped so far over their boundaries, nobody recognizes anymore that there were any. Or that the political system they are an integral part of, dictates that there are things they cannot do, lest they corrupt that system to the core.

Once you lose a presidential election, you prepare for the next one. You don’t use the next 4 years to try and frustrate the president you just lost to with all you got. The system should not allow it and can not tolerate it. There should be skin in the game for opposition politicians, who when they come with accusations of gross misconduct serious enough to remove a president, should be forced to step down when the accusations don’t lead to the intended result.

It should never be a free for all, in which you can simply try again the next morning. Because the system cannot work if that is possible. It can’t be that if you win a midterm election and get a majority in the House, you can then use that majority to make it impossible for a president to work on the agenda that made millions vote for him/her. That would cause the system to grind to a halt, and the system must always be more important than its temporary participants (even those who “sit” for 40-50 years).

When you look at the speaker’s list for the Democrat -non- convention next week where Joe Biden will be confirmed as their -virtual- candidate, you see that other than AOC, it’s just a long list of the same old people who were already there when they lost in 2016, and co-losers Hillary and Obama still have a very tight grip on the power and the purse strings.

Why they stick with Joe Biden, g-d only knows, and the same goes for whichever highly unpopular black woman they pick as VP who could soon be president. And sorry, but they all are. Kamala Harris was among the first to step down during the primaries because she didn’t get any votes. Susan Rice is not exactly “loved by the people” either, and the rest are no-names, except for Warren, but she’s both too left and much too white.

So you’re thinking: what’s going on there? That’s really the best you can do? But it does seem to be, likely because Barackillary have a small group of confidantes to choose from who they themselves are confident will be willing to cede all actual power to them once elected. And if Harris and Rice don’t get picked as VP, they’ll still exert a lot of power.

As will Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, there’s more new blood at Madame Tussaud’s than at the upper echelons of the Democratic party. Yes, AOC can come in to represent the squad in a cynical move (no power but brings in lots of votes), but that’s it. For the rest it’s still just the broken left wing of the war party. But you’re right, they’re none of them, Trump. And that at the same time is the sole identity they possess.

 

Anti-Trumpism has become a political religion. Because Trump is the only topic that attracts clickbait and viewers. The only topic that rings a bell. Joe Biden rings no bells whatsoever. A while back Donald Trump jr tweeted:

Trump is really running against the media, Silicon Valley, the establishment, the swamp, Hollywood and maybe Joe Biden.

While investor GreekFire23 did even better:

Trump is running against himself in this election. The vote will come down to those who love him vs those who hate him. Biden is totally irrelevant and not even campaigning. Biden has no platform, no slogan, no stickers, no signs, no rallies, no followers. It’s Trump vs Trump.

What can still sink Trump is obvious: it’s the economy and the pandemic. America’s problem is that no matter who wins, those will still be its main problems by January 2021. And another problem has been added in the course of 2020: protests and violence in the streets.

 

Update: I thought I could leave it at that for now, step out for a moment, have a glass of wine, let it all sink in, and write a closing paragraph. But then I was sitting outside in gorgeous Athens and this popped up, which I very obviously can’t leave out:

Senate Chairman Subpoenas FBI Director Wray For Russiagate Records; Puts Bidens On Notice

FBI Director Christopher Wray has been subpoenaed by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to produce “all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation,” which includes “all records provided or made available to the Inspector General” regarding the FISA probe, as well as documents regarding the 2016-2017 presidential transition..

[..] The subpoena was issued by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) as part of his investigation into the origins of Russiagate. It gives Wray until 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 to produce the documents. Johnson also released a lengthy letter on Monday in which he defended his Committee’s investigation and accused Democrats of initiating “a coordinated disinformation campaign and effort to personally attack” himself and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in order to distract from evidence his committee has gathered on Joe and Hunter Biden’s Ukraine dealings.

[..] Johnson’s committee has secured testimony from at least one State Department official who worked in Ukraine, and says the Bidens’ conduct created the appearance of a conflict of interest. “The appearance of family profiteering off of Vice President Biden’s official responsibilities is not unique to the circumstances involving Ukraine and Burisma,” wrote Johnson. “Public reporting has also shown Hunter Biden following his father into China and coincidentally landing lucrative business deals and investments there.

“Additionally, the former vice president’s brothers and sister-in-law, Frank, James and Sara Biden, also are reported to have benefited financially from his work as well.

I can’t let that go because it addresses exactly what my closing paragraph would have been about. Which is the risk of the giant divide that has developed in US society, getting even wider, and potentially leading to utter mayhem. Actually, it’s not even ‘potentially’ anymore, there already has been a lot of violence.

The Democrats think they will win easily on November 3, and then push through all of their their policies, after dumping on Trump for 4 years with their media and intelligence friends, but the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump, and most of their family and friends with them, don’t think so. That’s not a threat, it’s an observation.

They feel cheated out of their 2016 victory. They realize (or should I say “suspect”) that Russiagate and the Mueller probe and the Zelensky-linked impeachment “hearings” were empty vessels directed against the election outcome that they won fair and square, and I guarantee you they won’t take it sitting down.

Which means that no matter who wins, polarization will reach levels America has never seen, and, frankly, should never wish to. Because all of the people involved, bar just a precious few, will have to live together in the same country, and share the same society, streets, highways, stores and resources.

And sometimes I wonder: how are they going to do that? If Trump should win, how will the entire so-called left react, from the Democrats through the MSM to BLM? Will they just increase the protests and the violence in the streets?

Alternatively, if Joe Biden wins, how will the Conservative side of America react? Will they all go home and wait for what the DNC has in store for them, or will their reaction be pro-active? I know which reaction I would see them lean towards.

You have these two sides in society who appear further apart than even Moses could have hoped to bring back together again, you have the media who thrive on widening that divide even further, it’s a scary picture.

 

And in the meantime, while everyone’s busy blaming each other, who’s going to take care of the country?

 

 

 

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