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À partir d’avant-hierAnalyses, perspectives

America’s Demise Is Near At Hand

Par amarynth
America R.I.P. by Paul Craig Roberts reposted on the Saker by permission source:  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/01/18/america-r-i-p-2/ For years I have been cataloging America’s decline into collapse, not merely economic collapse from economic

Peter Schiff: Economic "Rescue" Plan Like Throwing A Drowning Man An Anchor

Par Tyler Durden
Peter Schiff: Economic "Rescue" Plan Like Throwing A Drowning Man An Anchor

Via SchiffGold.com,

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his massive stimulus plan last week touted as the “American Rescue Plan.” In his podcast, Peter Schiff said it was more like throwing a drowning man an anchor.

Before Biden announced his stimulus plan, Jerome Powell spoke and reassured everybody that the Fed will continue with its loose monetary policy. He emphasized that the central bank will hike interest rates “no time soon.” He also pushed back against some of the other Fed presidents, particularly Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic, who hinted the central bank might consider “pulling back” on asset purchases in the near future. Powell said, “Be careful not to exit too early,” adding “by the way, try not to talk about exit if you’re sending that signal because markets are listening.”

Powell seems to sincerely believe that the Fed can stimulate economic growth and create jobs by printing money. Peter said Powell lecturing about economics is “the blind leading the blind.”

He knows nothing about economics and he’s talking to people who know nothing about it. But what’s worse  — it’s not just he doesn’t know anything — it’s that he thinks he knows something. And what he thinks he knows is wrong. And that is the real danger. You know, you have all this power in the hands of somebody that has no idea what they’re doing. Power and ignorance is a dangerous combination, especially when you’re the chairman of the Federal Reserve. You have the power to print all this money and you think that if you exercise that power you’re doing good. But you’re actually doing harm.”

Powell talked about how much the government is helping during the pandemic. Peter said if the government really wants to help, it should get out of the way.

The government needs to lighten the burden that it places on the economy. … It should be cutting spending. Instead, it’s doing the opposite and it’s adding an inflationary problem to the health problem, so we’re in much worse shape.”

It’s difficult to overstate the level of spending. The US government set an all-time record high December budget deficit of $143.6 billion last month. In just the first quarter of fiscal 2021, the federal government spent $1.3 trillion. And the spending isn’t about to slow down. In fact, it will likely accelerate.

Last week, Joe Biden unveiled plans for a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. It’s called the

First of all, this is not going to stimulate the economy. This is going to sedate the economy. So, it’s not a stimulus. It is a sedative.”

In a nutshell, Biden wants to “stimulate” the economy with a bunch of government spending paid for by more Federal Reserve money printing. Here are just a few highlights.

  • Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans

  • Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September

  • $350 billion in state and local government aid

  • $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education

  • $50 billion toward Covid-19 testing

  • $20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes

Biden said the expanded and extended unemployment benefits would help people make ends meet while they look for a job. Peter said it will just let them put off their job search.

They don’t have to start looking for jobs because they got a better deal on unemployment than anything they can hope for in the employment market.”

Biden also included a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Peter said that will make the unemployment benefits an even bigger deal.

The higher minimum wage is going to make it a lot harder for the low-skilled workers to get jobs. Because if they can’t convince an employer to pay them $15 an hour, they’re out of luck. They have no choice.”

Biden’s plan is effectively to incentivize people not to work by paying them more money to stay at home, and to make it more difficult for them if they actually do want to go back to work by making it harder for people with low skills to get a job because they’re not legally employable given their relatively low productivity.

So, Biden’s plan to revive employment is going to achieve the opposite result. It’s going to further incentivize people not to work and then make it a lot more difficult for the people who want to work to actually get a job.”

All of this stimulus spending will be almost entirely financed by the Federal Reserve. There may be some tax hikes on “the rich” down the road, but that won’t come anywhere close to closing the spending gap.

All this money – the $1.9 trillion – is going to be printed and spent into circulation. And that is the inflation that is driving commodity prices. It’s the anticipation of that inflation.”

This isn’t a rescue plan. It’s basically the equivalent of throwing a drowning man an anchor.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 18:35
  • 19 janvier 2021 à 00:35

The Rule of Law Over Fraud: Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

Par amarynth
A Citizen Against Fraudulent Elections for the Saker Blog Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored 1, The People’s Right to Fair Elections. 2, The Law

Greenwald Explains How Biden's Neoliberal Policies To Fuel Rise Of A "Smarter, More Stable Donald Trump"

Par Tyler Durden
Greenwald Explains How Biden's Neoliberal Policies To Fuel Rise Of A "Smarter, More Stable Donald Trump"

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, formerly of The Intercept, gave his broad assessment and predictions of the incoming Joe Biden administration during Chris Hedges' Sunday show On Contact.

"I don’t think it’s particularly difficult... to know what to expect from the Biden administration," Greenwald told Hedges early in the interview, which focused on both the growing immense power of Silicon Valley as well as an expected return to disastrous foreign policy thinking under Obama.

Biden is "somebody who has repeatedly supported militarism and imperialism" given also he was "one of the crucial leading advocates of the invasion of Iraq," Greenwald said. At the same time Biden is "a loyal servant of the credit card and banking industry" on the domestic front.

Greenwald has long been a thorn in the side of Liberals, given his politics are Left yet he's a foremost fierce critic of the Democratic establishment, unwilling to buy into the blind hyperpartisanism that often defines public discourse in America.

As an example of his willingness to be radically independent and buck the simplistic discourse, he again went after those among Democrats feigning progressive politics while imposing censorship in the name of anti-Trumpism.

Greenwald told Hedges in this fresh interview:

"The most disturbing event yet beyond as we discussed earlier, Facebook and Twitter's unity in blocking the New York Post reporting [on Hunter Biden], is the fact that Amazon, Apple, and Google, three of the four companies that a Democratic House Subcommittee, just three months ago, declared to be dangerous, monopolist, and illegal anti-trust, anti-competitors in a really comprehensive report that they issued, united to remove from the internet a competitor to Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram that had become the most popular app downloaded on the Apple Store, which is Parler, on the grounds that Parler played a role in inciting or agitating for the capital breach and the riot that occurred on January 6th, even though it was their own properties like Google's YouTube and Facebook that played a much, much bigger role.  They simply destroyed a competing platform at the urging of people like Congressman Ro Khanna, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-CortezThey issued demands for it on Twitter, and within 72-hours, Parler was gone from the internet."

And here's more on what to expect of President-Elect Biden, set to enter the White House January 20, based on the RT interview with Glenn Greenwald...

Glenn Greenwald, via ZUMA Press/Newscom

On Militarism, Imperialism, Corporatism

Greenwald: "Joe Biden has been at the national political level since 1972.  So we're talking about essentially 50 years.  He has a very clear record of who he is, somebody who has repeatedly supported militarism and imperialism.  He obviously was one of the crucial leading advocate in the invasion of Iraq as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002.  He, coming from Delaware, has been a very loyal servant of the credit card and banking industry, architecting the bill that Elizabeth Warren said made her so angry that she entered politics, which was the bill that made it much more difficult for consumers to discharge debt and bankruptcy.  Obviously, he is the architect of the 1994 Crime Bill, which is so ironic in a year when we had months and months of protests, largely from the Left against the police state and against racist police abuses, that the person who is probably more responsible than any other single person for that became the person behind whom they rallied."  

"And then you add on to that eight years of the Obama administration of which Biden was a crucial part of that, as you said, which he's clearly attempting consciously to replicate.  I think people have forgotten what the Obama administration is like.  The Democrats are very good at creating a brand that is radically different than the reality.  But essentially the Democratic Party serves militarism, imperialism, and corporatism. That's who funds them. That's what they believe in.  It's why you see neocons migrating so comfortably back to the Democratic Party, why you see... operatives cheering for Joe Biden, why Wall Street celebrated when he picked Kamala Harris, who of course has her own background as a harsh prosecutor.  I think it's very easy to see exactly who they are."

Biden's Neoliberal Policies to Fuel Rise Of a "Smarter more stable version of Donald Trump"

Greenwald: "I think you see the dangers of--that neoliberal mentality, that neoliberal ideology in not just United States but entirely--basically throughout the democratic world.  Here in Brazil where I live, people always ask me how is it possible that a country that elected a center-left Workers Party from 2002 until 2014, so essentially four consecutive national elections, suddenly lurched to this far-right extremism in Jair Bolsonaro, and the answer is it's because the system failed them, they know the system failed them, and then they rallied behind whoever it was who seem to be the most virile adversary of that political order.  Obviously, the same was true with Brexit in the United Kingdom with the rise of far-right parties in Western Europe, places we never expected to see them.  And it's not a coincidence that after eight years of Obama and Biden, we got Donald Trump.  And, obviously, if you go back and do exactly the same thing that the O'Biden administration did for eight years, which is what Biden is preparing to do, any rational person has to expect the same outcome."

"The same outcome being the middle class continues to be destroyed, companies that have no allegiance to the United States that will take as many jobs as possible and shift them to places where they can pay slave labor will continue to do so, communities will continue to be ravaged with unemployment, crisis with drug addiction, with suicide, with depression, all the things that are dominating small American towns, rural towns, and increasingly even larger ones.  And that anger and dissatisfaction is going to only continue to grow so that when you have a smarter more stable version of Donald Trump tapping into that populace anger, promising them to close the United States, to give them better lives, it's going to be even more appealing this time around."

The two cable personalities arguably more responsible than anyone on TV for Trump becoming the GOP nominee by endlessly promoting him are now demanding that Facebook "be shutdown," and they apparently want Biden to do it. Just listen: https://t.co/LNoIBsIOI2

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 18, 2021

Big Tech Censorship and Russia, Russia, Russia!

Greenwald: "I mean, one of the big causes of the Left during the 2020 election, it was one that I supported, was working to help Ed Markey, the long-time congressman, now senator from Massachusetts defeat a primary challenge nominally from his Right on the part of Congressman Joe Kennedy III.  He became a hero of the Left.  And right after he won, his primary and general election, there was a hearing convened where they called Silicon Valley leaders, including Mark Zuckerberg to testify before a committee on which Senator Markey sits and he told Mark Zuckerberg, Unlike my Republican colleagues who are complaining about censorship, we don't believe that the problem is that you're censoring too much.  We believe the problem is you're not censoring enough.  And then proceeded to show him a bunch of content on Facebook that Markey thinks is dangerous or extremist speech that he demanded be censored.  Obama delivered a speech a couple months before the election in which he says he believes the internet is the greatest threat to American democracy because of the role it's playing in disseminating misinformation."  

"So the Democratic Party, including its Liberal wing and its Left-wing, are very much on board with idea that we cannot have free speech in this age of, whatever they want to call it, White supremacy, domestic terrorism, right-wing extremism, because it simply too dangerous.  And not only should the free speech be restricted by laws and acted by Congress, which presumably would have to mean amending the First Amendment, but until then they're on their knees pleading with billionaires, and oligarchs, and monopolists, and Silicon Valley to censor in the way that they believe is politically advantageous.  And this was true, as you said, even before the election.  I honestly think, Chris, that one of the most momentous moments of the last five or six years was when the New York Post started reporting on documents that, to this day, everyone acknowledges are completely authentic.  And the intelligence community invented a lie that it was Russian disinformation, which immediately pressured or gave the pretext to Twitter and Facebook to ban report it." 

Banning Content in the Name of Protecting 'Biden Brand'

"If you wanted to go on Twitter and post a link to the New York Post reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop, which contain a lot of information about what Joe Biden was doing in Ukraine, what he was doing in China when he was the presidential frontrunner, you couldn't even post the link.  They had banned it.  Facebook algorithmically announced through a long-time Democratic Party operative networks at Facebook that they were going to suppress the spread of that story.  That was stunning intervention on the part of Silicon Valley in the ability to do journalism, in the election on behalf of a candidate that Silicon Valley overwhelmingly was supporting.  And since the Democrats won, every time the Democrats call on Apple, or Google, or Facebook, or Twitter to censor, those companies comply because they're in debt together.  There is an alliance between Silicon Valley billionaires, and oligarchs, and monopolist on the one hand and the Democratic party on the other.  And it's now all about to merge with the power of the state."

"I found it really interesting that numerous world leaders, including ones who have famously acrimonious relationship with President Trump stood up and very vehemently denounced Twitter's decision and Facebook's decision to ban President Trump from the platform, that includes Chancellor Angela Merkel, who's a center-right politician with whom Trump has argued and bickered almost his entire presidency.  It includes President Lopez Obrador in Mexico, who's a leftist president, who very eloquently and vehemently warned that Silicon Valley is becoming essentially a world media leader.  Something greater than nation states, because--and ministers high up in the Macron government in France, obviously who also don't love Donald Trump, denounced it in similar terms.  Why?  Because they're extremely concerned that these private tech monopolists who they cannot battle--the EU has been trying to break up Google and break up Facebook for years, and they simply can't because they're too powerful, are also coming for their democracies."

The Biden-MSM Nexus will try to Destroy Independent Media

Greenwald: "I think absolutely they are very committed to the destruction of any outlets that permit independent voices of dissent.  Already you could just pick up a New York Times this morning, and there was an article about how people who were using Parler but now can no longer because it was removed from the internet by Amazon, Google, and Apple are migrating to platforms like Telegram and Signal.  And there was a New York Times article, Laying the Groundwork, for saying, Look, Telegram and Signal are now the venues for this right-wing extremism that has become a dangerous.  It's only a matter of time as Substack grows before these groups of journalists that the--that NBC and the New York Times and the CNN employ whose only function is to demand censorship, start turning their guns on platforms like Substack or Patreon and saying, Look at the extremism that they're hosting.  Why aren't they removing this content that's extremist and radicalizing people, and is so dangerous. 

"They want to maintain a monopoly over the dissemination of information, and they're not--and the most shocking part of it is the people who are leading this crusade, this censorship crusade are journalists, are the people who work at the large corporate media outlets. They are the biggest and the most vocal cheerleaders for corporate censorship of anybody because they don't want any other voices competing with their own."

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 18:10
  • 19 janvier 2021 à 00:10

In Today's America, The Wise Person Willfully Suspends Belief

Par Tyler Durden
In Today's America, The Wise Person Willfully Suspends Belief

Authored by Frank Liberato via AmericanThinker.com,

In 2007, then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton deemed it necessary to “willfully suspend disbelief” to accept General David Petraeus’ progress report on the Iraq war.

In 2021, it seems necessary for the American people to willfully suspend belief in our government institutions, the media, and their corporate overlords. 

The body politic is putrid and lashing out with the most disgusting displays of immorality, deceit, and coercion. Entertainment, education, social media, and the MSM ‘watchdogs of democracy’ are now the defenders, recruiters, and propagandists for this sick, bloated, and festering bureaucracy. 

Twenty years ago, I believed most of what came over the nation’s airwaves. Ten years ago, I was becoming quite the skeptic. Today, after years of unrelenting attacks on the President, I don’t believe any of it.

It’s all lies, half-truths, and misinformation, designed to influence elections and steer the collective mentality toward accepting the loss of freedom, the loss of constitutional rights and, eventually, to embrace communist ideas and authoritarian policies. I’m not sure when it all went south, but I think it was probably long before I first became aware that there was a problem.

Fifty years ago, it seemed outrageous that the government would create laws requiring people to wear seat belts or to purchase auto insurance to be able to drive. Today, the debate is about forcing people to stay in their homes, wear masks, and allowing the government to inject them with “vaccines.” Where is the outrage? Oh, it’s all for “our protection.” Well, OK then. 

To stay out of jail, I’ll wear the mask where it’s required but I won’t be getting the vaccine and Joe Biden is not my President.

Anyone who stayed up to watch the election results on November 3rd knows that this election was a fraud. The counting stopped around midnight with the President enjoying seemingly insurmountable leads in all key states. We waited hours for a victory declaration or for the counting to resume. When neither was forthcoming, we called it a night.

We woke before sunrise to discover that all leads were gone and that Trump was losing in Michigan and Wisconsin. How is this possible? It’s not.

People ask me where is the evidence of fraud? I watched the fraud happen on the night of the election. I don’t need any more evidence, but it has been pouring in for weeks for those willing to look.

To this day, the President has not been granted a venue where he can present all the evidence. Is it any wonder that upwards of half-a-million people gathered in the capital to peacefully protest? They don’t need the President to tell them this was a fraud. They watched it happen.

The violence in the capital was a setup. Just as the Obama administration took extraordinary, and illegal measures to try to cripple or oust the incoming President, so too has the Deep State devised a plan to deface Trump’s legacy while simultaneously reducing all his followers to the status of domestic terrorists. It was brilliantly planned and executed, and altogether evil.

I would not have believed it possible four years ago, but after seeing the Russian collusion fiasco unravel with its illegal unmasking, spying, and politically motivated prosecutions, all orchestrated by the deep state and the opposition political party, and then to see all the actors that were caught red-handed walk away virtually unscathed, I can easily believe that political operatives with no scruples and nothing much else to do, could come up with this plan without any fear of being held responsible.

The Capitol scheme is already starting to unravel, with timelines not matching up and evidence of a preplanned attack coming to light. In the coming weeks and months, we should see a great deal more exposed, but the President is already impeached, and he and his followers are being banned from social media.

It’s very convenient that all the tech giants were ready to pounce. They were just waiting for the go signal from the deep state and now the media will run cover for all of them. If we do learn who was behind it all, I’m sure a never-ending investigation will be put to bed after a few years when everyone has fallen asleep. 

If not for President Trump’s pardons, General Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone would be languishing in prison for the rest of their lives. Their crime was having a relationship with Donald Trump. None of them would have faced any prosecution had they not tried to help the President in some way. 

Comey, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Strzok, Page, Clinton, Joe Biden, and many others have committed real crimes. Many of them are on tape and documented, but it looks like they will all skate. 

If we continue to accept the swamp narrative, we’ll never get this ship turned around. I no longer believe anything that comes out of that den of thieves. I’m willfully suspending belief. We all should.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 17:45
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 23:45

Trump Plans 100 Pardons For Tuesday - Will Assange Be Among Them?

Par Tyler Durden
Trump Plans 100 Pardons For Tuesday - Will Assange Be Among Them?

President Trump is expected to issue a long list of pardons and commutations on Tuesday, according to several sources who spoke to CNN:

President Donald Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the matter, a major batch of clemency actions that includes white collar criminals, high-profile rappers and others but -- as of now -- is not expected to include Trump himself. The White House held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons, two sources said.

The president had issued a number of pardons prior to Christmas, but this final large list is said to have been finalized in a White House meeting on Sunday.

Some of them may be controversial to say the least - for example Steve Bannon. But currently still dominating the news are those arrested in the wake of the Capitol Hill mayhem of last week.

Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed this on a Sunday news show, telling Fox "There are a lot of people urging the President to pardon the folks" involved in the rioting. "To seek a pardon of these people would be wrong."

But the biggest name said to be under possible consideration is WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, subject of a major independent and social media campaign to lobby for his full pardon and release from a London jail where extradition proceedings are still ongoing. Will President Trump pardon Assange?

Pamela Anderson says Donald Trump is 'debating' pardoning Julian Assange https://t.co/xrYq44uNM6

— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 18, 2021

Even if Assange's name isn't among the current list of one hundred expected to be pardoned, it's theoretically possible Trump could do so even on the morning of January 20 just ahead of Biden being formally sworn in as president.

100 pardons from Trump tomorrow.
I hope Assange and Snowden get a pardon. They are the most important truth-tellers of our time and deserve to be treated with dignity. Please bring those shameful episodes of US bullying to an end. https://t.co/tYTUctkVUX

— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) January 18, 2021

"Still, Trump is expected to leave the White House on January 20 and could issue pardons up until noon on Inauguration Day," according to CNN.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 17:20
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 23:20

COVID Lockdowns Will Result In 1 Million Excess Deaths Over Next 15 Years, Scientists Find

Par Tyler Durden
COVID Lockdowns Will Result In 1 Million Excess Deaths Over Next 15 Years, Scientists Find

Back in the summer of 2020, a critical discussion almost broke out between progressives on one hand, who were adamant that if "just one life" could be saved with pervasive, widespread economic lockdowns that it was everyone's imperative to bring the economy to a crawl, and pragmatic, rational thinkers who argued that the economic cost of such lockdowns would end up being far greater than the immediate human cost in terms of lives lost, especially since the impacted lives would be far younger than potential covid vicitms most of whom are in their 70s and 80s. Deutsche Bank credit strategist Jim Reid summarized it best as follows:

... while the coronavirus has lead to virtually no excess deaths in younger age cohorts, it is the younger strata of society that are the most impact by the economic shutdowns that have resulted in tens of millions of unemployed Millennials.

Reid then argued that since "younger people will be suffering most from the economic impact of Covid-19 for many years to come, we wonder how history will judge the global response." To this, however, we countered that since the economic crisis resulting from Covid-19 helped crush Donald Trump's chances for re-election and also unleashed full-blown helicopter money as well as the biggest round of corporate bailouts of insolvent and zombie companies in history, "we are confident that the tsunami of global moral hazard - which will leave tens of millions of young workers without a job - will allow central bankers to sleep soundly at night."

Unfortunately as we said at the top, this discussion "almost" happened, although in the end it did not because any time an attempt for rational discourse emerged it would be promptly and violently shouted down by the armies of virtue signalers who were also monetarily incentivized in maintaining the lockdown status quo (such as bankers, pharma and online payment companies, politicians, the media and so on) and who would instantly defer to the "scientists" as the only expert class worth opining on the critical debate of "excess covid deaths now" vs "excess deaths from economic shutdowns later."

Well, with a roughly one year delay, scientists from Duke, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins finally wrote a paper which may come as a shock to all the virtue-signaling progs out there, because its conclusion is stunning: in a nutshell, the NBER working paper ("The Long-Term Impact Of The Covid-19 Unemployment Shock On life Expectancy And Mortality Rates") finds that while there have been roughly 400,000 covid-linked deaths so far (amid extensive debate of just what is a "covid-linked death" since even crash victims are counted as covid casualties, not to mention tens of thousands of others with terminal co-morbidities), the long-term economic implications from covid-related lockdowns are dire, resulting in COVID-19-related unemployment  "which is between 2 and 5 times larger than the typical unemployment shock" and resulting in a "3.0% increase in mortality rate and a 0.5%  drop in life expectancy over the next 15 years for the overall American population."

The bottom line, as scientists Bianchi, Bianchi and Song find is that...

For the overall population, the increase in the death rate following the COVID-19 pandemic implies a staggering 0.89 and 1.37 million excess deaths over the next 15 and 20 years, respectively

That's bad; where it gets even worse for the world's progressives is the report's finding that the "shock will disproportionately affect" women, particularly of Hispanic heritage; African Americans; foreign born individuals; less educated adults and individuals age 16-24 - in short all those racial and social classes that are of primary concern to the "progressives" - while "white men might suffer large consequences over longer horizons" (we doubt progs will care too much about this).

In short, everyone will be hit by the covid-lockdowns, with blacks, Hispanics and women first, and white men next for a far longer period of time. And, in the process, nearly 1 million excess deaths will take place that wouldn't have taken place otherwise.

We wonder how those same progressives, who demanded wholesale economic lockdowns - because that's the only way to save even one life - will feel now that scientists explicitly state that their preferred policies will lead to nearly a million excess deaths simply from the economic shutdowns. Or, as Reid warned all the way back in July 2020 - when nobody bothered to listen - "younger people will be suffering most from the economic impact of Covid-19 for many years to come, we wonder how history will judge the global response."

Here are some more details from the NBER paper:

While the trade-off between containing  the  COVID-19  pandemic and economic activity has been analyzed in the short-term,  there is currently no analysis regarding the long-term impact of the COVID-19-related economic recession on public health. What is more, most of  the papers interested in the relation between the COVID-19 pandemic and economic activity argue, correctly, that lockdowns can save lives at the cost of reducing economic activity, but they do not consider the possibility that severe economic distress might also have important consequences  on  human  well-being  (Gordon  and  Sommers  (2016)  and  Ruhm (2015)). This shortcoming is arguably explained by the fact that current macroeconomic models do not allow for the  possibility that economic activity might affect mortality rates of the agents in the economy.

Which merely goes to show just how idiotic macroeconomics as a so-called "science" truly is, because if economists are truly baffled by this "shortcoming", maybe they should take a look at the millions of small businesses and unemployed service workers to emerge from the covid crisis. Anyway, continuing with the paper:

Between  late  March-early April, most U.S. states imposed stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, resulting in widespread shut down of business. Unemployment rate rose from 3.8% in February 2020 to 14.7% in April 2020 with 23.1 million unemployed Americans.  Despite a decline to 6.7% in November 2020,the average unemployment rate over the year is comparable with the 10% unemployment rate at  the peak of the 2007-2009 Great Recession and it is near the post-World War II historical maximum reached in the early 1980s (10.8%). Importantly, COVID-19 related job losses disproportionately affect women, particularly of Hispanic heritage; African Americans; foreign born individuals; less educated adults and individuals age 16-24.  In fact, the unemployment rate underestimates the extent of the economic contraction as many potential workers have abandoned the workforce (especially women).

We fast-forward to the conclusion:

The long-term effects of the COVID-19 related unemployment surge on the US mortality rate have not been characterized in the literature. Thus, as a last step, we compute an estimate of  the excess deaths associated with the COVID-19 unemployment shock.   This corresponds to the difference between the number of deaths predicted by the model with and without the unemployment shock observed in 2020. For the overall population, the increase in the death rate following the COVID-19 pandemic implies a staggering 0.89 and 1.37 million excess deaths over the next 15 and 20 years, respectively. 

These numbers correspond to 0.24% and 0.37%of  the  projected  US  population  at  the  15-  and  20-year  horizons,  respectively.   For  African-Americans, we estimate 180 thousand and 270 thousand excess deaths over the next 15 and 20years, respectively.  These numbers correspond to 0.34% and 0.49% of the projected African-American population at the 15- and 20-year horizons,  respectively. For Whites, we estimate 0.82 and 1.21 million excess deaths over the next 15 and 20 years, respectively. These numbers correspond  to  0.30%  and  0.44% of the projected White population at the 15- and 20-year horizons, respectively. These numbers are roughly equally split between men and women.

And the damning piece de resistance which every virtue signaler will rush to burn before reading

Overall, our results indicate that, based on the historical evidence, the COVID-19 pandemic might have long-lasting consequences on human health through its impact on economic activity. We interpret these results as a strong indication that policymakers should take into consideration the severe, long-run implications of such a large economic recession on people’s lives when deliberating on COVID-19 recovery and containment measures. Without any doubt, lockdowns save lives, but they also contribute to the decline in real activity that can have severe consequences on health. Policy-makers should therefore consider combining lockdowns with policy interventions meant to reduce economic distress, guarantee access to health care, and facilitate effective economic reopening under health care policies to limit SARS-CoV-19 spread.

Needless to say, the longer the lockdowns continue, the death toll will only grow bigger across all races and social classes.

But wait, there's even more!

As we reported last week, a new peer reviewed study out of Stanford has questioned the effectiveness of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders (which it calls NPIs, or non-pharmaceutical interventions) to combat Covid-19. The study's lead author (an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Stanford), found that "the study did not find evidence to support that NPIs were effective in preventing the spread" and that "we fail to find strong evidence supporting a role for more restrictive NPIs in the control of COVID in early 2020."

So, did left-leaning states' rushed policies in response to the pandemic - to unleash broad lockdowns, crush economies, and spark mass unemployment and poverty leading to increasing deaths of despair actually achieve anything? The short answer is no...

... while the longer answer we now know thanks to the NBER report, is yes: they made the situation for African Americans, Hispanics and women (and yes, even white men) considerably worse for at least the next two decades.

In other words, while lockdowns may not have even led to a tangible improvement in halting the spread of covid, what they will certainly do is lead to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, in excess deaths over the next decade.

Which begs the question: now that "respected scientists" have finally quantified the "staggering" excess death toll resulting from covid lockdowns, is it time to finally have the discussion - which nobody has dared to have since about a year ago - about the cost-benefit analysis between widespread economic lockdowns, which will lead over a million early deaths, and locking down the economy every time there is even a modest rebound in covid cases...

... as per the covid we created several months ago, and which may have zero positive impact on actually halting the spread of covid?

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 16:55
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 22:55

Lincoln Project Co-Founder Steps Down After "Inappropriate" And "Sexually Charged" Texts To "Dozens Of Young Men"

Par Tyler Durden
Lincoln Project Co-Founder Steps Down After "Inappropriate" And "Sexually Charged" Texts To "Dozens Of Young Men"

John Weaver, co-founder of the Lincoln Project anti-Trump super-PAC, has stepped down after reports that he sent dozens of young men "inappropriate" sexually charged messages. 

At least 2 dozen men have claimed that Weaver, who is married, held job opportunities in the balance while "propositioning [the men] for sex", according to the NY Post. Weaver has said that he saw the exchanges as "consensual mutual conversations". 

One man claimed to have had consensual intercourse with Weaver in a hotel - before failing to land the job in question. Other men said that Weaver would DM them on Twitter, complimenting them on their hair or asking about their genitals. Weaver had taken a leave of absence from the Lincoln Project over the summer and confirmed last week that he would not be returning.

In a statement to Axios, he said: “For far too long I’ve tried to live a life that wasn’t completely true. I was lying to myself, to my family who gave me nothing but unconditional love, and to others, causing a great deal of pain to all. The truth is that I am gay. And I have a wife and two kids whom I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

“To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” he said

Weaver had formerly been a strategist for George H.W. Bush and John McCain. The Lincoln Project, who did not immediately comment for the Post story, has amassed more than 2 million followers on Twitter in less than 2 years.

Weaver's full statement is below:

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 16:30
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 22:30

Coronavirus : Prof. Joyeux, Alexandra Henrion-Caude, etc.

Par jp-chevallier

Un petit rappel : le Professeur Henri Joyeux qui a été professeur de chirurgie spécialisé en cancérologie est toujours très actif et compétent, en particulier à propos de cette histoire de coronavirus.

Il organise un webinaire mardi 19 janvier à partir de 21 heures : Face aux virus Boostez vos défenses immunitaires.

J’invite les personnes qui lisent mes articles à suivre ce séminaire qui devrait être très instructif.

Pour cela, il est nécessaire de s’inscrire préalablement sur le site de l’association qu’il a créée : Association Internationale Familles Santé Prévention.

Cliquer ici pour y accéder.

Une participation aux frais de l’association organisatrice de 5 € est demandée, pour des informations gratuites et officielles, c’est gratuit mais ça risque de coûter très, très cher !

***

L’émission d’Elise Blaise du samedi 16 janvier au cours de laquelle est intervenue Madame Alexandra Henrion-Caude a été rapidement censurée par YouTube qui refuse de diffuser pendant une semaine les émissions de TVLibertés !

La dictature sous un prétexte sanitaire est déjà très avancée en France comme dans d’autres pays.

Il devient de plus en plus difficile de s’y opposer.

Internet est le seul moyen de communication de masse qui permet aux gens qui s’opposent à cette dictature de s’exprimer encore.

Les réseaux dits sociaux ne sont plus fiables.

J’ai exposé dans un article précédent l’essentiel de ce que Madame Alexandra Henrion-Caude a dit lors de cette émission qui est toujours visible sur le site de TVLibertés, cliquer ici pour y accéder.

Cependant, il faut rajouter que Madame Alexandra Henrion-Caude nous apprend dans cette émission que les prétendus vaccins à ARN messager peuvent générer non seulement des anticorps pouvant neutraliser l’effet toxique d’un coronavirus mais aussi des antigènes de ce virus si bien que des personnes ayant reçu ce vaccin de Pfizer sont susceptibles de tomber malades du covid-19 au lieu d’en être protégées !

Cliquer ici pour accéder au site de TVLibertés.

 

© Chevallier.biz

The Next Wave Of Spending Will Not Bring Prosperity

Par Tyler Durden
The Next Wave Of Spending Will Not Bring Prosperity

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

The surprisingly bad job numbers recently released show America lost 140,000 jobs in December. A big part of the problem is that this is only one indicator of the carnage taking place in our economy. As small businesses close their doors forever, many of these jobs won't be coming back. This translates into far higher deficits going forward as many more Americans exit the workforce. Adding to our dilemma is the answer to our problem being touted around includes giving substantial amounts of money to most Americans which reduces their incentive to get out and hustle to find work. This underlines the fact we should not confuse what some call "the latest economic rebound" with a "recovery."

After these numbers were released, Biden came out declaring his administration with its two newly elected Democrat Senators would hit the ground running.

“The price tag will be high,” Biden said of his planned package in Wilmington, Delaware. He promised to lay out his proposals before taking office on Jan. 20, he also stated, “It will be in the trillions of dollars.”

The package Biden laid out only came in at 1.9 trillion dollars disappointing some of his followers. This is because it does not include a great deal of what he has promised. Missing were things like spending on infrastructure and forgiving student loans. This, however, is only the first of many packages that will be rolling through congress in an effort to halt the economy from unraveling. To see how devastating the pandemic and the lock-downs instituted to slow its advance have been on the economy we only need to look to cities such as New York where it has become obvious the effects will be long term. Recent revelations that many large and notable companies now intend to relocate to smaller cities in coming years will only exacerbate these problems.

While the nation's average unemployment rate is around 6.7%  Bloomberg reports the Bronx's unemployment rate stands around 16%. Not only could the virus-induced downturn result in roughly a third of the city's businesses going under. Cities, where tourism is a large part of the economy, have been particularly hard hit. Hotels, restaurants, and all the businesses that serve them and their customers are suffering. The failure of these small and medium-sized firms are causing people to flee such areas en masse. Which in turn causes vacancies to soar and rents to fall. Simply throwing money at a problem does not guarantee it will halt the formation of a self-feeding loop.

To be perfectly clear, the problem we face is that poorly spending even trillions of dollars does not necessarily create a strong economy. As usual, when it comes to government spending more often than not much of the money is simply squandered. An example of this is how many people see government spending on infrastructure as a job creator and a silver bullet for our ailing economy I would like to raise a word of caution, things are not that simple. What is clear is that when Washington begins to talk about infrastructure spending hands go out across America as politicians and businesses  rush to endorse such programs. Of course, they claim this should be administered on a local level so the money is not squandered by the inefficient minions of  Washington that do not understand the priorities we face.

This sets in play the feel-good issuance of what is herald as free money being gifted by those in charge. The truth is more "bridges to nowhere" and wasted spending exists than the taxpayer could ever imagine. Often infrastructure spending falls short of creating real wealth for our country but merely feeds cronyism and ends up lining the pockets of those in power and their friends. History shows much of infrastructure spending is poorly spent. In the long run, a country's economic policies and its system of taxation are far more important to the economy than government spending.

The fact governments across the world are embarking on similar spending programs should do little to reassure Americans considering the explosion of debt we have witnessed since 2008. A slew of problems come with economic decline and the working poor take much of the pain, this becomes evident in the form of more social unrest and increasing violent crime. As rents and mortgages go unpaid do not be surprised to see inequality continues to grow. We should remember this is all an experiment destined to result in a false economy so rooted in unsustainable stimulus that it cannot endure.

Footnote: Rather than seeing this as doom porn, please consider this as a strong objection to the path we are on and have been on for some time.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 16:05
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 22:05

Biden Plans '10-Day Blitz' Of Executive Orders To 'Reverse Greatest Damages Of Trump Administration'

Par Tyler Durden
Biden Plans '10-Day Blitz' Of Executive Orders To 'Reverse Greatest Damages Of Trump Administration'

President-elect Biden plans a '10-day blitz' to 'reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration,' beginning with a flood of first-day executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies, according to a weekend memo by Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain to White House advisers.

There are "four overlapping and compounding crises" to address, says Klain; COVID-19, the economy, climate change and racial inequality.

Biden’s chief of staff sent out this memo previewing dozens of executive orders he’ll sign in his first days in office to attack 4 crises: “COVID-19, economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis.”

Day 1: rejoining the Paris accord and reversing the travel ban pic.twitter.com/WVdGMydacs

— Alexander Panetta (@Alex_Panetta) January 16, 2021

"In his first 10 days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world," wrote Klain. "President-elect Biden will take action -- not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration -- but also to start moving our country forward."

Biden will begin with around a dozen executive actions on Wednesday, inauguration day, according to Bloomberg, which will include measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic, an extension of student loan forbearance beyond January 31 and an extension on the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. In addition, Biden will issue a "100 Day Masking Challenge" requiring the wearing of face masks on federal property and for interstate transportation.

Other '10-day blitz' items include presidential directives on safely reopening schools and businesses, after Democrats spent much of last year insisting they remain closed.

The week after his inauguration, Biden will take additional action on “Buy American” provisions in federal purchasing and on criminal justice, climate, science and health care matters, Klain said. He’ll overturn Trump’s border enforcement policies and set up a process to reunite migrant children the Trump administration separated from caregivers after they crossed into the U.S.

...

The Klain memo also made clear that Biden’s agenda would require “robust congressional action.” Biden will propose at least one significant piece of legislation on his first day: an immigration overhaul to create a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. -Bloomberg

Additionally, Biden's agenda includes a $1.9 trillion COVID and economic relief package, along with bills on minimum wage, violence against women, and voting rights, according to Klain.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 15:40
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 21:40

Stratégie d’investissement, au 18 janvier

Par jp-chevallier
[Cet article est réservé aux seuls abonnés des offres Gold et Platinum] Comme je l’ai écrit précédemment, que faire pour …

Stratégie d’investissement, au 18 janvier Lire la suite »

What Could Yellen Say To Move Markets During Nomination Hearings Tomorrow?

Par Tyler Durden
What Could Yellen Say To Move Markets During Nomination Hearings Tomorrow?

Janet Yellen's nomination hearings, which begin tomorrow at 10amET, are sure to be the usual parade of partisan back-slapping and gotchas. It is clear from leaked remarks which direction she is heading.

Bloomberg reports that the former Fed head will tell the committee that the U.S. economy has been suffering from entrenched inequality - and that the administration’s longer-term goal will be to create “more prosperity for more people.”

Well before Covid-19 infected a single American, we were living in a K-shaped economy, one where wealth built on wealth while working families fell further and further behind,” Yellen will say, according to a text of her prepared remarks obtained by Bloomberg News.

“This is especially true for people of color.”

Which, irony of ironies, has been dramatically worsened by the very organization that she herself ran...

From @JanetYellen prepared remarks: "Long before arrival of Covid-19, we were living in a K-shaped economy, one where wealth built on wealth while working families fell further and further behind."

Next: Janet Yellen discovers the Fed...

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 18, 2021

It will be interesting to see 'explain' her way out of being first the catalyst for inequality and now the virtue-signaling queen of reparations.

Yellen will likely also toe the line made by Biden that cheap borrowing costs are an opportunity for public spending to boost the economy.

“Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she’ll say, according to the prepared text.

But Yellen will likely get asked what the safe limit is, now that debt is on the verge of surpassing 100% of GDP... and what if rates go up?

However, after years of mixed messages on U.S. currency policy, and occasional outright endorsement of a weaker currency, Yellen is facing some pressure to restore the embrace of a strong dollar. But she’s also in the past highlighted the negatives from a strengthening greenback. But, the extensive advance discussion of Treasury nominee Yellen’s views on the USDollar suggests that she does not want her hearings to be market moving.

The WSJ quotes transition officials:

“The value of the U.S. dollar and other currencies should be determined by markets…

Markets adjust to reflect variations in economic performance and generally facilitate adjustments in the global economy…

The United States doesn’t seek a weaker currency to gain competitive advantage…

We should oppose attempts by other countries to do so.”  

Additionally, Bloomberg reports Yellen will tell lawmakers that low borrowing costs mean it’s time to “act big,” according to her prepared remarks, as she positions herself as head cheerleader for Biden's economic policy after years of defending Fed largesse.

But, as Standard Chartered's Steve Englander notes, prepping markets may simply reflect that there is little benefit to having markets move on USD comments before she and her team are installed.

Pushing the USD higher would probably be seen as a mistake and pushing it lower could be seen as a market signal of no confidence, so reassuring is likely seen as the preferred stance.

The formulations cited above, while very much in line with the G20 consensus, leave open some questions. For example,

(1) Under the conditions likely to prevail in the medium term, would a weaker USD facilitate international adjustment?

(2) Setting aside seeking competitive advantage, are there other reasons the US might seek a weaker USD, as other countries have argued to justify their currency market interventions?

(3) Does Yellen feel that currency markets reflect variations in economic performance sufficiently, so that there is limited need for a currency policy?

Ultimately, we do not see Yellen opposing a weaker USD but her confirmation hearings may not be the day to make that explicit.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 15:20
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 21:20

New Leaks Show How British Spies Infiltrate And Undermine Lebanon's Security Services

Par b
A few month ago we reported on documents which revealed secret British 'Strategic Communication' programs in support of the Jihadis who fight against the Syrian people and their government. In December documents of a different secret program revealed similar British...

"It Was A Non-Event" - MSM Forced To Admit Nationwide Pro-Trump Protest Panic Was Overblown

Par Tyler Durden
"It Was A Non-Event" - MSM Forced To Admit Nationwide Pro-Trump Protest Panic Was Overblown

“It was a non-event today and we are glad it was."

That's how Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Department of General Services - the agency that protects the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, described yesterday's mass national armed protest "domestic terrorism" event that the mainstream media (and various government agencies) has been "warning" 'good' Americans about all week.

As we reported in detail yesterday - avoiding the mainstream media's jump to a pre-conceived narrative conclusion - armed protesters did indeed appear at multiple state capitol complexes across the country Sunday morning.

This followed a special bulletin from the FBI last week that warned: "armed protests" were being planned at 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. This was immediately picked up by the media and amplified dramatically...

However, as Reuters reports, only small gatherings of demonstrators had taken to the streets alongside much larger crowds of law-enforcement officers and media personnel.

Even worse, they decried violence! Doesn't sound very "terrorist"-y or "coup"-y or "insurrection"-y:

“I am not here to be violent and I hope no one shows up to be violent,” said one man standing on the lawn in front of the capitol.

The man, who refused to give his name, wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and waving a “Don’t tread on me” flag.

And furthermore, as we detailed previously, while the protesters are being identified across various platforms as members of a so-called "boogaloo" movement, they largely appear to be generic anti-government anarchists - some of whom call themselves "liberty boys," and others who oppose the conservative Proud Boys. Their sudden emergence surrounding the inauguration is curious, to say the least.

Even The Guardian was forced to admit:

"At heavily fortified state capitals across USA on Sunday, law enforcement & media outnumbered protesters, with only a handful of armed men showing up to planned demonstrations."

 Some local news agencies flipped the narrative, proclaiming that the lack of turnout of "domestic terrorists" was due to the outsize presence of National Guardsmen nationwide.

We suspect otherwise, as we have already seen numerous walkbacks of hyperbolic headlines and statements from various deep-state-loyal agencies:

  • After FBI Director Christopher Wray told Vice President Mike Pence in a briefing on Thursday that the bureau was seeing an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter” of potential threats before and during the inauguration, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said on CNN’s “New Day," that “there’s no specific credible threats at this point in time. There’s just this raised level of tension. And so we’re raising our security level. And we’re doing it across the country,”

  • After local Federal prosecutors claimed “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,”...the top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. said on Friday there is no “direct evidence” to suggest that rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol had formed “kill capture teams.”

So who could blame Americans for not trusting the media or the government?

As Jordan Schachtel concludes, the FBI seems to be grossly exaggerating the capabilities of a fringe network of activists that does not have the capacity to mobilize significant numbers of people. Certainly, they do not present a threat of “insurrection,” or anything close. In leaking these bulletins to the media, it appears that the Bureau is once again, after four years of “Trump-Russia” madness, engaged in unsavory activism and attempts to manufacture a political narrative.

However, given this embarrassing propaganda-rife exaggeration of threats, and the FBI 'lies' and these local prosecutors' 'lies', the chances of a 'false-flag' event are rising rapidly as one might just get the impression that fear is being ratcheted up for political gain and to enable Patriot Act II's crackdown on "domestic terrorism" to more easily slide between the cheeks of an anxious American public desperate to be saved from this terror - to hell with liberty, just do something!

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 15:00
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 21:00

Does the West Actually Care About the Uighur Genocide in China or Is It a Handy Excuse for Conflict?

Par Activist Post
By Robert Wheeler While the United States is busy showing signs of imploding, all eyes are focused on the Capitol protests, the Presidential Inauguration, and... Does the West Actually Care About...

The Destructive Force And Failure Of QE

Par Tyler Durden
The Destructive Force And Failure Of QE

Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com,

This article concludes that quantitative easing as a means of stimulating economies and financing government deficits will fail. The underlying assumption is that the transmission of additional money to non-banks in order to inflate financial assets, and to banks to cover government finances, will become too great in 2021 for it to succeed without undermining fiat currencies and financial markets. Admittedly, this opinion stands in stark contrast to the common Keynesian view, that once covid is over economies will start to grow again.

To help readers to understand why QE will fail, this article describes how its objectives have changed from stimulating the economy by raising asset prices, to financing rapidly increasing government budget deficits. It walks the reader through the inflationary differences between QE subscribed to by banks and by non-bank financial institutions, such as pension funds and insurance companies.

Having exhausted the reduction of interest rates as the principle means of economic stimulation, central banks, and especially the Fed, have embarked on pure monetary inflation. Before the end of 2019, that became the driving force behind the Fed’s monetary policy. Since March 2020 the objective behind QE altered again to financing the US government’s budget deficit.

In this current fiscal year, just to fund budget deficits and in the absence of net foreign demand for US Treasuries, QE is likely to escalate to a monthly average of $450bn. Almost impossible with a stable exchange rate, but with the dollar being sold down on foreign exchanges and for commodities, the everything dollar bubble will almost certainly collapse.

Introduction

Now that the US has elected a new president who will appoint a new administration, we must forget recent political events and focus on future economic and monetary policies. It is a statement of the obvious that President-elect Biden and his new Treasury Secretary will be naturally more Keynesian than Trump and Mnuchin, and it is likely that the economic focus will be more on stimulating consumption than on supply side economics. Policies are likely to be closer to modern monetary theory, which is highly inflationary — certainly much more so than under Trump’s presidency.

An important change is therefore bound to occur in monetary policy, and for the purpose of this debate we can forget any idea that the Fed, of for that matter any central bank, is an independent government agent prepared to restrict monetary growth responsibly. Beyond routine public expressions of independence, the Fed will fall in line with the Federal Government’s fiscal policies: it is up to the Fed to find a way to comply without losing face. However, in the early days of the new Biden administration this should not be too difficult because last March the Fed had already reduced the funds rate to the zero bound and announced unlimited quantitative easing, initially set at $120bn every month, as well as a range of other expansionary measures.

More QE is likely to be central to future monetary policies. But other than a bald assumption that QE is a sure-fire way to rescue an economy in difficulty, the consequences are poorly understood. In today’s context and other than the Japanese experiment with it which started long before, it was originally intended to be limited to the rescue of national economies following the Lehman banking crisis. But the precedent having been created it should be no surprise that it has become a permanent fixture for the Fed and other major central banks.

Doubtless, through linguistic prestigitation the term quantitative easing was meant to detract from public accusations of inflationary financing. If so, it succeeded. Public awareness of what is involved is apathetic in nature, and its monetary effects remain insufficiently understood. And the political class, not usually endowed with economic and monetary knowhow, sees little or no danger of the consequences of monetary inflation, having placed the matter entirely in their central banker’s hands.

The original objective is encapsulated in a few words in a Bank of England paper published in its 2014 Q1 Quarterly Bulletin, Money creation in the modern economy:

“QE is intended to boost the amount of money in the economy directly by purchasing assets, mainly from non-bank financial companies…. raising the prices of those assets and stimulating spending in the economy.”

The statement in this quote that stands out is about raising the prices of (financial) assets, being an admission of deliberately pursuing a John Law policy of printing money to rig market prices. Apologists for monetary policies might say that central banks have been manipulating asset prices for some considerable time, which is true. But a train of thought accelerating on the rails of a policy’s objectives towards the buffers at the end of the line always ends in disaster. All further considerations of the consequences are blanked out. The consequential impoverishment of everyone other than the state and its licenced banking intermediaries through monetary debasement does not deserve a mention.

The other processes of monetary creation described in the Quarterly Bulletin paper are certainly informative, and worth studying for those fuzzy on the subject. But while the article in the Quarterly Bulletin goes on to explain the intended outcome of QE at that time, things have clearly moved on and an update is due. In examining monetary flows from QE in detail, this article goes further than the Bank’s paper and does so from an independent standpoint.

Understanding the role of bank reserves

Under QE, monetary stimulation is channelled through commercial banks, ending up crediting their reserve accounts at the central bank. Understanding how these reserve accounts operate is important for a full understanding of QE’s mechanics, and can be boiled down to the following bullet points:

  • Only licenced commercial banks are permitted to have an account with the central bank. Any interaction between a central bank with a non-bank is conducted through a commercial bank’s reserve account.

  • The balance on a reserve account is recorded as an asset on the commercial bank’s balance sheet and is therefore one of several line items under its asset column.

  • Just as in any banking relationship, there are active and passive roles. In this case, only the central bank can activate changes in total reserves. A bank cannot initiate a sale or purchase of reserve funds to or from the central bank.

  • If a central bank lends money to a commercial bank, it is credited to its reserve account. This is not widely appreciated, but it undermines statistical analysis.

  • A bank can exchange its reserves with another bank with a reserve account at the central bank.

  • Being an asset on a commercial bank’s balance sheet, reserves held on its account with a central bank are an active source of finance for its liabilities.

From the foregoing, it will be clear that reserves are just one of a commercial bank’s means of funding its liabilities. Broadly, those liabilities are comprised of chequing and deposit accounts due to customers, bonds and bills issued by the bank, wholesale market funding, and shareholders’ funds. An increase in reserves permits a commercial bank to increase its liabilities by expanding bank credit. But the degree to which this is possible is governed by the gearing relationship between total assets and shareholders’ funds, which is a separate matter.

Stimulating the financial sector

The Bank of England’s paper posits that once interest rates reach the lower bound, the central bank cannot stimulate the economy any further by cutting interest paid on commercial banks’ reserves. It is at that point that asset purchases are considered as the means of getting more money into the economy, and as the authors put it, it requires a shift of policy from interest rate management to directly expanding the quantity of money. The original intention was to access non-bank financial institutions such as pension and insurance funds, buying government debt from them and encouraging them to reinvest the cash gained in higher yielding assets: in other words, to adopt greater investment risk, reflected in higher yields on non-government debt and from prospective returns in equities.

QE has certainly worked in this respect by feeding cash through these institutions into financial markets, driving prices ever higher. QE aimed at large investment funds is the link between accelerating rates of monetary inflation and the equity market bubble, a point missed by those who believe that financial markets must be grounded on assessments of fundamentals and risk. But the central bank view is that rising prices for financial assets floats all boats, and the wealth effect stimulates both confidence and economic activity. But it is a mistake to think that all QE ends up in pension and insurance funds. Increasingly, it has become a means of financing government deficits with commercial banks acting as principals in QE transactions, rather than just puffing up financial assets. And the delineation between banks and non-banks is important, because the monetary and market consequences are different.

How QE for non-banks works

The Bank of England’s paper makes a distinction of QE transactions taken up by non-bank financial institutions for good reasons. It has little to do directly with funding of a government deficit, which it was assumed at the time the paper was published would be through normal channels. Furthermore, the inflationary effects of QE targeted at non-banks, such as pension funds and insurance companies, is entirely different from that when a commercial bank subscribes for government debt.

In order for a central bank to deliver monetary stimulus to non-banks it must do so through a commercial bank, because only commercial banks have accounts with the central bank. The chain of payments is for the central bank to credit the reserve account of the fund’s bank, against which the bank credits the fund’s account with a matching entry. In the case of the Fed, the financial asset being bought, usually Treasury or agency bonds, is delivered out of the fund’s name and reregistered to the Fed’s account. The schematic diagram below, taken from the Bank of England’s article, summarises the transaction.

Having disposed of its holding of government debt, the pension fund has newly issued money to invest credited to its account at the commercial bank. It invests it either by buying into new issues of regulated investments, including fixed interest and equities, or by buying existing stocks and bonds in the markets. The newly created money then moves from the pension fund into new hands with different consequences for prices. An investment into a new issue gets distributed through the non-financial sector and pursues a Cantillon course, driving up prices of goods and services in the wake of its absorption into the wider economy. An investment into existing stocks and bonds will mostly remain in circulation in the financial sector, being reinvested by the sellers in other securities.

If the pension fund invests in an exchange traded fund (ETF) it leads to an expansion of the ETF, which can either feed into purchases by the ETF of financial or non-financial investments in accordance with the ETF’s remit. By transmitting newly created money through pension and insurance funds into purchases of commodity ETFs, commodity prices are thereby increased by investment flows whose origin is QE.

This explains how central banks through QE increase financial asset prices by monetary inflation, and how it also affects commodity prices. In the case of the Fed, the mechanism requires government or agency debt to be available for purchase from insurance and pension funds. But there is a mismatch to overcome: both pension and insurance funds have long-term liabilities against which they wish to hold long-term risk-free investments. Consequently, the government debt they are normally prepared to sell to the central bank tends to be naturally restricted to shorter-dated maturities, which they own principally for liquidity purposes. Therefore, if they are to sell short-term maturity debt, they end up subscribing for new issues with similar maturities in the absence of their actuary’s recommended changes in overall investment strategy. The introduction of longer-term financing is a different issue, by which deliberate central bank intervention in the shape of the yield curve is used by a central bank to access non-bank ownership of longer-term bonds. This form of “operation twist” is discussed later in this article. For now, we must examine a second monetary objective, to be regarded as separate from the original intention behind QE: the financing of the government’s deficit.

Financing the government’s deficit

A pension fund which subscribes for new issues of government debt, only to sell it on to the central bank through its commercial bank is engaged in a different operation to that described above. Where a purchase of government debt is matched to its sale, the monetary effect is the same as that of a bank when it acts as a principal to a QE transaction

While rules and procedures vary between central banks, the effects are always the same. A commercial bank applying for a new issue of government bonds does so off its own balance sheet. QE then allows the bank to sell the bonds to the central bank for a turn. The proceeds of QE are credited to the commercial bank’s reserves at the central bank. Other than the profit on the transaction, the purchase and sale effectively net each other out and there is no material change in the money in general circulation as a result of the transaction.

In this, the monetary effect is fundamentally different from the end seller being a non-bank, such as a pension fund, selling an existing asset in its portfolio to the central bank. The sale of a previously existing bond to the central bank does not benefit government finances. But the pass-through of new government bonds via a commercial bank acting off its own book to the central bank does.

The inflationary effect from bank-funded QE comes from government spending of the raised funds and depends how that money is spent. It is also worth repeating that if a non-bank similarly subscribes for government debt and then sells it into the central bank’s QE programme via its commercial bank, following completion of the transaction there is no monetary expansion, other than the profit on the transaction. In any case where government bonds are bought only to be sold to the central bank the transaction does not involve monetary stimulus at the initial level. All one can say is there is no crowding out of private sector bond demand from increased government bond issuance, as there would be if QE was not involved. The monetary inflation comes from government spending of the funds raised.

In the current economic environment, where government deficits are growing rapidly, QE is increasingly deployed as a means of financing government spending instead of it being directed to stimulate financial asset prices. The original intention as described in the Bank of England’s 2014 article has not been the paramount objective since September 2019, so far as the Fed is concerned.

In the case of the US Government’s issues of treasury bills and bonds, until September 2019 there were ready buyers from foreign sources recycling dollars gained through America’s trade deficit, and from large hedge funds in a carry trade through the fx swap market; the latter being in effect the borrowing of euros and yen to invest in higher-yielding US Government debt. The significance of September 2019 was that was when the US banking system ran out of balance sheet space to finance fx swaps, and the repo rate exploded higher, fully 8% above the Fed’s funds rate which stood at 2%.

The unwinding of fx swaps was followed by a diminishing foreign appetite for US Treasuries and bills, made more acute by the Fed’s reduction of the funds rate to the zero bound in March 2020. To an extent, this fall in foreign demand was masked by continuing demand from captive insurance companies in centres such as the Caymans, reinvesting their dollar denominated premiums to match their US dollar liabilities.

But with the Fed funds rate at the zero bound, the process of squeezing risk premiums lower through QE is finite. The attraction to pension funds and insurance companies of a role in QE diminishes. Furthermore, the economic malaise from the impact of covid lockdowns has increased investment risks. As well as moving the emphasis of QE from inflating financial assets to funding a rapidly growing budget deficit, it appears that the momentum behind the inflation of investible financial assets is in danger of slowing down. New measures are called for, and the two possibilities are an “operation twist” to unlock access to non-bank medium and long-dated Treasury debt, and a venture into negative rates.

In a new operation twist, the Fed would reinvest maturing treasury and agency debt in medium and longer maturity bonds, keeping its fund rate at zero but reducing bond yields along the curve. When the Fed used this tactic in 2011, it was part of an economic stimulation package, and against a background of foreign demand for new US government debt. A new operation twist would be different, in that its primary objective would be to fund government spending in the absence of foreign demand for treasury debt.

The plan would be to replace, at least to a degree, the stimulus of QE to non-bank investors with a new stimulus in falling yields for ten-to-thirty-year maturities. If the 10-year Treasury bond yield could be returned to less than 0.75% from its current 1.1% that could prolong the wealth effect in financial assets without tapping the non-banks, while using QE to fund government deficit spending.

In other words, the stimulus for markets returns to lowering interest rates along the yield curve, but without breaking the zero bound. The banks operating off their own books can deal in billions for gains measured in basis points for a while, but already this thesis is running into the headwinds of benign assumptions.

The first assumption is that falling interest rates for the US dollar can continue into negative territory in order to enable QE funding to continue, the important part for the banks being their ability to use negative funding costs on their reserves for a yield pick up on subscriptions for government debt, which subsequently gets sold to the central bank. Precedents exist in euros and yen and are being debated for sterling. But with the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, negative rates would drive all commodities into nominal backwardations with spectacular unintended consequences. Furthermore, if passed on by commercial banks to their customers, it would be a tax on foreign deposits, accelerating the recent fall in the dollar on the foreign exchanges.

The second assumption concerns the deflection of bank business in favour of government funding from funding the private sector’s credit requirements. While banks in the current economic climate are not inclined to increase private sector lending anyway, an increase in the Fed’s QE can only encourage and accelerate a shift away from private sector financing through bank credit in favour of profiting from the QE roundabout. Remember, bank balance sheet capacity is strictly limited, irrespective of their reserve balances.

Furthermore, it must be assumed that there will be no feedback loops from a falling dollar or from prices rising in the non-financial economy, as a consequence of the government’s deficit spending — an assumption that appears unwarranted.

The increasingly inevitable failure of QE

It would appear that in 2021 the rate of QE will increase significantly compared with the rates for the central banks which deployed it last year. In the case of the Fed, it could soon find itself funding unprecedented amounts, just to cover the government’s budget deficit in the current fiscal year. The budget deficit in the second half of the last fiscal year (March-September 2020) was an astonishing $2.774 trillion out of a total $3.3 trillion for the whole year. If, as seems likely, US government deficits for fiscal 2021 run at a similar pace to that of the second half of last fiscal year, it implies the full year deficit to be financed will be close to £5.5 trillion, requiring an average funding rate through QE of about £460bn every month.

In the wake of the presidential election, Keynesian thinking has got little further than hoping that as soon as covid lockdowns end, economic activity will rapidly return to normal. All it requires is just one more stimulus package, currently in negotiation. Then, the Keynesians say, the Fed can begin to normalise its balance sheet and allow interest rates to gradually rise. Proof of this view was expressed recently by the regional Fed chiefs of Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and Richmond suggesting in unison that the Fed might start to wind down QE later this year, with rises in interest rates to follow.

It probably has an element of politicking, staking out the ground ahead of Biden’s first budget stimulus. But as non-banks look to their investment risks at a time of stalling bank credit, deflationary forces in credit markets are set to undermine the effectiveness of QE in managing to keep financial asset prices supported.

There is also a growing threat that pension funds and insurance companies, which need to keep core balances of government bonds, are in danger of running these balances too low and will be reluctant to sell any more to the central bank for cash, certainly in the quantities likely to be needed to support financial markets. The stimulus to markets from the reinvestment of this cash will then slow down to a point where markets begin to slide. Furthermore, the Fed is likely to find itself having to absorb selling by foreign holders of US Treasury bonds and bills as well, undermining attempts to keep short-term rates close to the zero bound.

The trend is already forming. Figure 1 below shows how the yield on the US Treasury 10-year bond is now rising, despite all the new money from QE being pushed into financial markets, which has suppressed bond yields until now.

Keynesians are presumably hoping that far from being a worry, higher bond yields are anticipating their vaunted economic recovery, and the Fed’s prospective tapering later this year. But that estimation is in the face of indisputable facts. Businesses in non-financial sectors are going bust on an unprecedented scale and any analysis of systemic risk shows that a major bank failure is on the cards, driven by a confluence of excessive bank balance sheet gearing and escalating bad debts. Bank share prices around the world, notably of some major G-SIB banks in the Eurozone, China and the UK, are trading at substantial discounts to book value. So, why is the UST 10-year yield rising?

The answer is disturbingly singular: markets see the value of the dollar being lower in the future. Holders of dollars therefore require a higher level of time preference to compensate them for their expectations of the purchasing power of the dollar. This is confirmed by rising prices across the board for commodities, and the funk money going into bitcoin. The fact that gold rose 26% last year is an additional indicator that this is so.

Therefore, the prospect of flooding bond markets with more government debt at an unprecedented scale has dollar bond yields rising they will continue to do so. The whole scheme, whereby the Fed prints dollars through its non-bank financial agents to continue to inflate financial asset prices, is set to fail. And as the John Law experience in France three centuries ago proved, the best way to benefit from today’s Keynesian replay on a global scale is to short the central bank’s money for sound money. In late-1719, Richard Cantillon shorted Law’s livre against English pounds and Dutch guilders in the foreign exchanges in London and Amsterdam in preference to shorting shares in Law’s Mississippi bubble. Today he would short dollars for gold, the only sound money available today.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 14:40
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:40

80 Million Kremlin Agents In United States

Par amarynth
South Front It took less than two weeks for the FBI, and other American intelligence agencies, to come to the usual (and expected) conclusion that Russia was somehow involved in

1000s Face Planned Power-Cuts As SoCal Winds Spark Critical Fire Risk

Par Tyler Durden
1000s Face Planned Power-Cuts As SoCal Winds Spark Critical Fire Risk

The most vulnerable months for wildfires in California run from July to October. After a record-breaking fire season last year, it appears the fire risk for Southern California is elevated this week. 

Bloomberg calls the move by Southern California utility companies to cut power to more than 280,000 homes and businesses to prevent wildfires this week as "unprecedented." 

Edison International's Southern California Edison tweeted a warning Sunday that "strong winds and unseasonably dry weather are bringing the risk of wind-driven wildfires to some areas of Southern California and may prompt Public Safety Power Shutoffs." 

The National Weather Service Los Angeles also warned about "widespread damaging winds" that are possible through the area for Monday and Tuesday. The weather agency said controlled power outages to mitigate wildfires were likely. 

The National Weather Service posted a critical wildfire map, outlining how Los Angeles And Ventura counties were at "critical" levels. 

On Monday afternoon, Southern California Edison reiterated that a strong wind threat was possible through Wednesday. The power company said, "without rain in the last four weeks, forecasted high winds & high temps are bringing the elevated risk for wildfires."

As of 1232 ET, Southern California Edison showed these are the "areas that are under consideration or that have been de-energized due to a Public Safety Power Shutoff."

The latest drought monitor map shows extreme dryness for Southern California. 

Bloomberg notes that it's extremely rare for utilities in the state to warn about blackouts in the winter season. Planned blackouts this week could affect hundreds of thousands of customers. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 14:23
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:23

Cop Banned From All Taxpayer Jobs After Video Showed Him Mace Innocent Teen on Private Property

Par Activist Post
By Matt Agorist Woodlynne, NJ — As TFTP reported last June, several teenagers were hanging out with friends, on their own property, when officers with... Cop Banned From All Taxpayer Jobs After...

L'Iran diffuse des armes dans tout le Moyen-Orient, par Gilad Erdan

Je vous fais part de ma vive préoccupation concernant les activités malveillantes du régime iranien, qui menacent de déstabiliser le Moyen-Orient et font peser une lourde menace sur la paix et la sécurité internationales. En outre, ces activités constituent de graves violations des résolutions du Conseil de sécurité. Je demande au Conseil de sécurité de se réunir d'urgence afin d'examiner et de condamner les activités nucléaires, balistiques et de prolifération iraniennes et de prendre des mesures (...)

  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:08

Bombardements massifs d'Israël en Syrie, par Bachar Ja'afari

D'ordre de mon gouvernement, je vous informe de ce qui suit : Le 6 janvier 2021 à 23 h 10, les autorités de l'ennemi israélien ont de nouveau attaqué le territoire syrien en violation flagrante de la résolution 350 (1974) du Conseil de sécurité relative à l'Accord sur le dégagement des forces israéliennes et syriennes et ont tiré des salves successives de roquettes depuis le sud du Golan syrien occupé. Le terrorisme d'État perpétré par les autorités d'occupation israéliennes a augmenté ces derniers (...)

  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:08

Le Pentagone place Israël dans la zone du CentCom

Le Pentagone dispose de cinq commandements régionaux chargés d'appliquer la politique impériale. Les chefs de ces commandements sont surnommés les « vice-rois » en référence au vice-roi britannique de l'empire des Indes [1]. Le CentCom (commandement des Etats-Unis pour le Moyen-Orient élargi) surveillera désormais également Israël qui jusqu'alors était placé dans la zone de l'EuCom (commandement des Etats-Unis pour l'Europe) [2]. Le Pentagone réorganise ainsi son dispositif régional en tenant compte de la (...)

  • 19 janvier 2021 à 00:45

L'Arabie saoudite rétablit ses relations avec le Qatar

Conformément aux conclusions du quarante et unième Sommet du Conseil de coopération des États arabes du Golfe, le « Sommet du Sultan Qabous et du Cheik Sabah », qui s'est tenu le 21 joumada el-oula 1442 de l'hégire (soit le 5 janvier 2021) dans la province d'Oula en Arabie saoudite, au cours duquel a été soulignée l'importance de la solidarité et de la stabilité arabe et musulmane dans la région du Golfe et l'importance du resserrement des liens d'amitié et de fraternité entre les peuples et les États du (...)

  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:08

Peu importe l’impeachment 2.0, le Trumpisme hante l’Amérique

Bhadrakumar revient sur la procédure d’impeachment lancée contre Trump. Une procédure bidon à plus d’un titre lorsqu’on regarde de plus près aux manigances du parti Démocrate et aux événements du […]
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:07

The FRN Daily News Brief 2021-01-15

Par Danny Froberg

This Daily FRN News Brief is a summary of 1, articles about Anglo-5, Conspiracy-Theories, Finance, Headline-News, United-States. Tags in this brief: {article_tags}. Let us know in the comments if there is anything you miss coverage on! Table of Contents Counter-gang: von Hayek Revives Mandeville’s Hellfire Club in the 20th Century Counter-gang: von Hayek Revives Mandeville’s […]

The post The FRN Daily News Brief 2021-01-15 appeared first on Fort Russ.

Cuomo Slams DHHS, Pushes To Buy COVID Jabs Directly From Pfizer; Norway Struggles To Ease Vaccine Worries: Live Updates

Par Tyler Durden
Cuomo Slams DHHS, Pushes To Buy COVID Jabs Directly From Pfizer; Norway Struggles To Ease Vaccine Worries: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Norway struggles to ease vaccine fears
  • Cuomo moves to buy jabs directly from Pfizer
  • Germany moves to extend lockdowns
  • UK says lockdown rollbacks could start in March
  • WHO slams global "me first" approach to vaccines

* * *

With US markets closed for the MLK DAY holiday on Monday, the world's attention is turning to Europe and Asia, as Chinese authorities see another surge in cases and a batch of Moderna-made COVID jabs has been linked to an unusually large number of "adverse" health reactions.

In Norway, health authorities are seeking to ease safety concerns raised by the death of some elderly patients after they were vaccinated against COVID-19, with the government claiming there’s no evidence of a direct link. The initial reports raised alarm as the world stays on alert for more signs of the vaccine-related complications, particularly for elderly patients in nursing homes.

But perhaps the biggest COVID-related news out of the US on Monday was Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing during a midday press briefing that he would be seeking a way to circumvent the federal government in the state's purchase of vaccines.

The CDC expanded eligibility to more than 7MM New Yorkers last week, but the government hasn't increased - and, according to Cuomo, in some cases it has decreased, but has not increased, and in some cases decreased - the supply to states, Cuomo said Monday at a press conference. New York state will receive 250K doses this week, 50K fewer than last week. At that rate, it would take seven months to inoculate those eligible, he said.

No state has ever purchased vaccines directly from the producer, but “my job is to pursue every avenue,” the governor said during the briefing. Cuomo said the state will give fewer or no new doses to health-care facilities that are slow to administer the vaccine, while facilities that move them more quickly will get more doses.

We have asked @Pfizer if we can work out a way to purchase vaccine doses directly.

We will look at every opportunity to speed up the vaccination process.#VaccinateNY pic.twitter.com/lfB6SIr6bO

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 18, 2021

He pointed to a wide disparity of administration, with many places using all of their allotment while others have distributed 20% to 50%.

Cuomo also accused DHHS and Secretary Alex Azar as deliberately breaking its word regarding the vaccines.

I'm demanding @HHSGov Secretary Alex Azar explain his false claim that reserve vaccine doses would be shipped to states—when in fact the fed gov had ALREADY distributed all of those doses and will not be increasing the supply. pic.twitter.com/71uIx2FOq6

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 18, 2021

Though the headlines got buried in the flood of news, Cuomo also announced that the Empire State's positivity rate has fallen since the holiday season.

👍The good news:

New York's test positivity rate has gone down from the post-holiday high.

⚠️The bad news:

The contagious UK strain is here in NY. This strain and others pose a serious risk to the hospital system & all NYers.

Wear a mask! pic.twitter.com/pgG5Plm3Uf

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 18, 2021

While the UK announced earlier that its total vaccinations have nearly reached 5MM people vaccinated while raising the possibility that the lockdown measures could be rolled back as soon as March, Germany announced over the weekend that it would likely extend lockdown measures until at least mid-February and may impose a nighttime curfew in coronavirus hot spots, as the "mutated" COVID strain continues to be used like a boogeyman by governments seeking to justify more lockdowns (and not just in Germany).

Merkel and state premiers are expected to decide on the latest strategy to stem the spread of the disease during a video call on Tuesday, after talks were moved forward from Jan. 25.

Finally, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is re-upping warnings about inequality tied to vaccine access, proclaiming Monday that the the world's "me first approach" is leaving the "poorest and most vulnerable people in the world" at serious risk of not having access to the top vaccines (ie, the vaccines produced by Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech).

Because of this, "the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure” and the "prospects for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are at serious risk." Ghebreyesus urged nations around the world to share doses of the vaccines "more fairly." Meanwhile, Beijing is once again refusing to let WHO investigators see or investigate anything related to the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, as word leaks that the State Department has found new evidence that the outbreak was caused by a leak from a lab, a theory that ZeroHedge was once banned from Twitter for allegedly sharing.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 14:00
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 20:00

La Chine enregistre un PIB positif en 2020 malgré la pandémie

Par Angèle Dupé

Un an après le début de la pandémie, la Chine enregistre une croissance de son PIB de 2,3% en 2020. Alors que l’économie mondiale est durement grevée par la crise sanitaire, la Chine obtient un bilan bien meilleur que celui des pays occidentaux. Au premier trimestre 2020, l’empire du milieu connaissait un repli historique de sa croissance de -6.8%, dû […]

L’article La Chine enregistre un PIB positif en 2020 malgré la pandémie est apparu en premier sur Le Média pour Tous.

US Continues To Fly B-52s As 'Show of Force' Against Iran Right Up To Inauguration

Par Tyler Durden
US Continues To Fly B-52s As 'Show of Force' Against Iran Right Up To Inauguration

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

Exemplifying US hostility toward Iran, America carries out B-52 overflights of the region with increased regularity, often twice a month. The US Central Command issued a statement confirming another such overflight this weekend.

As with previous cases, officials are calling it an “observable” show of military power, aimed explicitly at Iran. Sunday's bomber mission was out of Minot, North Dakota, making the long flight to Iran to prove a point about US hostility.

Sunday's B-52 Stratofortress operation over the Gulf area, via US Air Force

Officials did not say how many B-52s took part in this particular overflight, but past ones usually involved two. The bombers have an extreme amount of range, and have to fly a long route indeed to reach a potential target.

The impact of such flights is no doubt less because they keep happening just a week or two after another. This can only be seen as a continuation of Trump’s Iran policy, as Iran hopes for better prospects with Biden.

According to Military Times the latest provocative flyover came a day after "Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a U.S. pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic."

.@usairforce B-52H crews conduct second Middle East presence patrol of 2021 as key part of CENTCOM’s defensive posture. @DeptofDefense @USAFCENT @TeamMinot @AirMobilityCmd @US_Stratcom #B52https://t.co/evxntC3GeH pic.twitter.com/or9tKq7cPE

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 17, 2021

"Short-term deployments of strategic assets are an important part of our defensive posture in the region,” commented Gen. Frank McKenzie on both the B-52 missions and increased US presence in Gulf region.

"The training opportunity and continued integration with regional partners improves readiness and delivers a clear and consistent message in the operational environment to both friends and potential adversaries, alike," he added.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 13:35
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 19:35

California Halts COVID Vaccinations From Moderna Batch Linked To "Unusually High Number" Of Adverse Reactions

Par Tyler Durden
California Halts COVID Vaccinations From Moderna Batch Linked To "Unusually High Number" Of Adverse Reactions

As the suspected death toll attributed to COVID-19 vaccines rises around the world, with dozens already reported in the US and Norway, California health officials have asked health-care providers in the state to immediately stop administering a batch of Moderna COVID-19 jabs after an "unusually high number" of adverse reactions were linked to it, according to RT.

On order of State epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan and the California Department of Public Health, the vaccines should be shelved until a proper investigation can be conducted. The lot in question is Moderna Lot 041L20A.

Message to #CovidVaccine providers:

"This week, a higher-than-usual number of adverse events were reported with a specific lot of #Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic. Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours." pic.twitter.com/RsaIzd1Gap

— Shawna Khalafi (@ShawnaKhalafiTV) January 18, 2021

More than 330,000 doses from this lot have been distributed to 287 providers across the state.

The shipments arrived in California between Jan. 5 and 12.

All of the reactions appear to be tied to a single community clinic that was administering the batch. The clinic reportedly closed for several hours after a string of adverse reactions occurred.

California has confirmed nearly 3MM COVID cases as of Monday morning,

California COVID-19, By The Numbers:

🔹 Confirmed cases to date: 2,942,475
🔹 Note: Numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed

More information at https://t.co/TLLUGx7imH. pic.twitter.com/bYSD41PQRL

— CA Public Health (@CAPublicHealth) January 18, 2021

Officials on Wednesday announced a major expansion of vaccination eligibility guidelines, allowing all residents 65 and older to more quickly qualify for COVID-19 vaccinations. As far as numbers go, more than 330K doses from the same Moderna vaccine batch have been distributed to 287 providers across the state, but this is the first time that health authorities have received reports detailing adverse reactions associated with the lot.

While acknowledging that "less data exists on adverse reactions related to the Moderna vaccine," the state epidemiologist insisted that it’s still rare for vaccines to trigger serious side effects. Moderna, the CDC, and the FDA are reviewing the batch and all relevant medical data.

The COVID-19 jab has been linked to other cases of serious medical emergencies, not just in the US, but in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

In December, a physician in Boston said he suffered one of the worst allergic reactions he’s ever experienced after receiving Moderna’s vaccine, describing the episode as potentially life-threatening, while a doctor in Miami actually died due to a reaction from the vaccine.

Similar cases linked to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been referred to the CDC and FDA for review. According to other reports, Hong Kong’s government-appointed vaccine advisory panel is seeking more data from the Norwegian and German governments on the reported deaths of elderly people after they received.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 13:10
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 19:10

1000s Denounce COVID Lockdown In Amsterdam As Chaos Unfolds At “Unauthorized” Gathering

Par Activist Post
By Tyler Durden Multiple anti-lockdown demonstrations were observed in Europe over the weekend. The largest one was seen in the Austrian capital, Vienna, Saturday, where at... 1000s Denounce COVID...

Buffett Wins: Biden Set To Cancel Keystone Pipeline Permit On First Day Of Office

Par Tyler Durden
Buffett Wins: Biden Set To Cancel Keystone Pipeline Permit On First Day Of Office

For a decade TransCanada’s management said that the Keystone XL pipeline would be built because it makes too much economic sense for America. But, as @Greekfire23 points out this morning, "that’s not how we operate down here" because according to Reuters, "Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts in office, and perhaps as soon as his first day."

The words "Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit" appear on a list of executive actions likely scheduled for the first day of Biden's presidency, according to an earlier report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Biden - who was vice president in the Obama administration when it rejected the project as contrary to its efforts to combat climate change -  had earlier vowed to scrap the oil pipeline’s presidential permit if he became president. In 2015, Barack Obama axed the project saying Canada would reap most of the economic benefits, while the project would add to greenhouse gas emissions.

The project, which would move oil from the province of Alberta to Nebraska, had been slowed by legal issues in the United States. It also faced opposition from environmentalists seeking to check the expansion of Canada’s oil sands by opposing new pipelines to move its crude to refineries.

Canada’s ambassador to the United States said she would continue to promote a project that she said fit with both countries’ environmental plans. “There is no better partner for the U.S. on climate action than Canada as we work together for green transition,” Ambassador Kirsten Hillman said in a statement.

Others were less diplomatic: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said on Twitter that cancellation would eliminate jobs, weaken U.S.-Canada relations and undermine American national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports.

TC Energy Corp., which operates the pipeline, said it would achieve net zero emissions by 2023 when it enters service. The company also pledged to use only renewable energy sources by 2030 in a bid to win Biden’s support. None of that mattered, however, and TC Energy shares fell as much as 5.9% at the open, the most since April 1. Peer Enbridge was down about 2.2% even though analysts have said Keystone's cancelation would be positive for ENB.

The permit cancellation will come as construction is well under way in Canada, with the international border crossing complete. In the United States, TC has started construction on pump stations in each of the states the line will pass through, but legal setbacks cost it much of the 2020 construction season.

Biden's executive order would follow almost exactly 4 years to the day since outgoing president Trump did the opposite, when he signed an executive order that advanced construction of the Keystone XL and Daokta access pipelines, putting a spoke, so to say, in the train wheels of Warren Buffett's train-based oil transportation quasi-monopoly.

But now that a democrat is back in the White House, it's time for all that generous lobby spending by Buffett and Berkshire to be put to political use, and as cynics have been quick to point out, "Warren Buffet getting paid right away. His trains will now transport the oil. Not about the environment. But hey believe what you want."

Warren Buffet getting paid right away. His trains will now transport the oil. Not about the environment. But hey believe what you want. https://t.co/CztEc8Ofk2

— Ed ☯️ (@DowdEdward) January 18, 2021
Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 12:44
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 18:44

Parents Shocked as Armed Cops Show Up at Their Homes to Talk About Kids’ Grades

Par Activist Post
By Matt Agorist St. Louis County, MO — Over the last decade, TFTP has been reporting on the encroachment of the police state into the... Parents Shocked as Armed Cops Show Up at Their Homes to Talk...

Workers Get Sonic “Dog Collars” To Enforce Social Distancing

Par Activist Post
Get within six feet of anyone and the ear-splitting siren goes off, similar in concept to no-bark collars for dogs. This dystopian Social Engineering tool... Workers Get Sonic “Dog...

America's Slide Into Economic Oblivion Is Already Starting To Accelerate Here In 2021

Par Tyler Durden
America's Slide Into Economic Oblivion Is Already Starting To Accelerate Here In 2021

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

Isn’t it fun to live in a rotting, decaying society that is coming apart at the seams all around us?  The latest economic numbers are extremely depressing, but now that free speech is being abolished and the elite are consolidating control over every aspect of our society, we are being assured that better days are right around the corner.  We have just got to be willing to accept the “new normal” which includes living in “tiny homes”, snacking on worms, and never expressing any independent thoughts which diverge from official mainstream narratives.  So with that in mind, I will try to share the horrible economic news that we have been getting in the most positive light possible.

This week, we learned that another 965,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits during the previous week…

The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and evidence that the resurgent virus has caused a spike in layoffs.

The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. Before the pandemic, weekly applications typically numbered around 225,000. Last spring, after nationwide shutdowns took effect, applications for jobless benefits spiked to nearly 7 million – 10 times the previous record high. After declining over the summer, weekly claims have been stuck above 700,000 since September.

But we are being told that this is only because of the failed policies of the outgoing administration and that things will definitely be much better under the next socialist administration.

2020 was particularly a tough year for low paid workers.  At this point, even officials at the Federal Reserve are admitting that the unemployment rate for low paid workers “is above 20%”

Unemployment for the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. is above 20%, a figure that Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said underscores the importance of policy help for the economy.

The figure indicates how uneven the recovery has seen since efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the biggest quarterly GDP drop since the Great Depression.

How can we put a positive spin on this?

Well, at least more of them have had an opportunity to stay home and not catch COVID.

So I guess you could say that this unemployment crisis has actually had a positive impact for public health.

And more Americans are getting the opportunity to “stay home” with each passing day.  Here is just one example

Dropbox is cutting its global workforce by about 11%, the company said in an 8K filing released Wednesday. The company’s stock was down more than 4.5% in late-morning trading.

The move will affect 315 people, who will be notified by the end of the business day.

Of course as fear of COVID continues to rise, American consumers are doing less shopping at Walmart and other corporate behemoths, and U.S. retail sales just fell for a third month in a row.

But that problem will soon be fixed, because more universal basic income checks are on the way.

All of the previous socialist “stimulus packages” weren’t enough, and so Joe Biden has unveiled “a $1.9 trillion plan to prop up the economy”

Friday offered the first chance for traders to act after President-elect Joe Biden unveiled details of a $1.9 trillion plan to prop up the economy. He called for $1,400 cash payments for most Americans, the extension of temporary benefits for laid-off workers and a push to get COVID-19 vaccines to more Americans. It certainly fit with investors’ expectation for a big and bold plan, but markets had already rallied powerfully in anticipation of it.

Doesn’t that sound great?

And Biden is also calling for “a national minimum wage of $15 an hour”.

Don’t worry, that won’t hurt the restaurant industry at all.

I don’t know why that statement is true, but that is what the “fact checkers” want us to say.

And since Republicans and Democrats both abandoned any pretense of fiscal responsibility long ago, nobody is really pointing out that we are already 27.6 trillion dollars in debt and that we simply can’t afford any more “stimulus packages”.

In fact, thanks to all of the reckless spending that we have already done, the budget deficit for the month of December 2020 was more than 10 times larger than the budget deficit for the month of December 2019…

The U.S. government posted a December budget deficit of $144 billion – a record for the month – due to far higher outlays with coronavirus relief spending and unemployment benefits, while revenues ticked slightly higher, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

The Treasury said the December deficit compares with a $13 billion deficit in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States.

Overall, the U.S. national debt increased by more than 7 trillion dollars under the outgoing administration, and even CNN is admitting that “it will go much higher under Biden”.

But the adherents of Modern Monetary Theory assure us that “deficits don’t matter” and that we can borrow and spend as much money as we want.

Since that is true, why don’t we make the stimulus payments much larger?

If we are liquidating the Republic anyway, why not send a billion dollars to everyone?

Seriously though, there are millions upon millions of Americans that are deeply hurting as the U.S. economy melts down all around us.

I hope that you enjoyed my attempt at injecting some humor into our situation, but what many Americans are facing right now is not humorous at all.

At this point, most Americans are barely scraping by from month to month, and some are literally facing life or death financial decisions

A mother’s tearful confession that she can’t afford her son’s insulin despite working full-time has left commenters deriding the American healthcare system.

Katie Schieffer’s ten-year-old son was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and requires insulin every two hours — but the North Carolina mother was left in tears when she couldn’t afford his $1,000 prescription.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes?

Our entire system is failing, and things are only going to get worse in the months and years ahead.

For decades, America has been running in the wrong direction and our leaders have been making incredibly foolish decisions.

Now there is deep pain everywhere around us, and the level of suffering is only going to increase as the U.S. slides even faster toward economic oblivion.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 12:15
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 18:15

Scientists: No Way To Control Super-Intelligent AI

Par Activist Post
Some scientists are now concerned that a day will come with super-intelligent AI programs will take on an autonomous life of their own. Already there... Scientists: No Way To Control...

How Billionaires Transfer Blame to Others

Par A A

In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side, Eric Zuesse writes.

Throughout history, aristocrats, and their flaks such as their ‘news’-media, cast blame downward, away from themselves who collectively control the government, and onto, instead, some minority or other mass group, who can’t even plan or function together so as to be able to control the government.

The U.S. has a two-Party aristocracy, as is clear from the “Open Secrets” list of the 100 biggest political donors in the 2020 U.S. Presidential and congressional campaigns, the “2020 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups”. Those are only these individuals’ publicly acknowledged expenditures, none of the dark political money, which, of course, is donated secretly. At the top there, of the donors’ lists, is Sheldon Adelson (who just died, on January 11th in California, and was buried in Israel), who spent far more than anyone in all of U.S. history had ever spent in any campaign cycle, $215 million, which amount far exceeded even the $82 million that he had spent in 2016, which in 2016 was second only to Thomas Steyer’s $92 million (the previous all-time highest amount donated in any campaign year). Adelson gave exclusively to Republicans, whereas Steyer gave exclusively to Democrats. Steyer in 2020 gave $67 million, which — though he was running for President in 2020, and hadn’t been running in 2016 — was only 73% of his 2016 donations, in that year, when he had been the nation’s top political donor. He was only the 5th-biggest donor in 2020, instead of #1.

The second-biggest donor in 2020 was the liberal Republican Michael Bloomberg, who ran in the Democratic Presidential primaries in order to defeat the only progressive in that contest, who was Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg spent $151 million of his own funds for that purpose. In 2016, he had spent $24 million in order to help Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders, and then try to beat Donald Trump.

The third-biggest in 2020 was Timothy Mellon, the son of Paul Mellon and grandson of Andrew Mellon. Timothy Mellon gave $70 million, all to Republicans.

In 2020, the top ten donors, collectively, spent $776 million to own their chunk of the U.S. Government. The second group of ten (#s 11-20) donated only $187 million; and, so, the top twenty together donated $963 million, just shy of $1 trillion. All 80 of the other top-100 donors, together, gave around $370 million, so that the total from all 100 was around one-and-a-third trillion dollars. 47 gave to Republicans; 53 gave to Democrats.

The smallest publicly acknowledged donor among the top 100, Foster Friess, gave $2.4 million, all to Republicans.

Most of these 100 donors are among America’s approximately 700 billionaires; and, even the ones who aren’t are serving and doing business with the billionaires, and therefore are to some extent dependent upon having good relations with them, not being enemies of any billionaire. All of these 100 are, obviously, also dependent upon the governmental decisions that the public officials whom they have purchased will be making, not only regarding regulations and laws, but also regarding foreign policies. For example, Friess merged his company into Affiliated Management Group, which “is a global asset management firm” that “has grown to approximately $730 billion.” Virtually all of the top 100 political donors are internationally invested, and their personal wealth is therefore affected by American foreign policies, in ways that the personal wealth of the rest of the population is not.

When the U.S. invades a foreign country, or issues sanctions against a foreign country, it benefits some American investors, not only in corporations such as Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil, but even in some foreign-headquartered corporations. America’s spending around half of the entire world’s military expenses gives an enormous competitive boost to America’s billionaires, which is paid for by all U.S. taxpayers. It takes away money that would otherwise go toward the rest of the U.S. population — people who might even become crippled or killed by their military service for the benefit of America’s billionaires. Marketing this military service to thepublic, as “national defense” — even at a time when no nation has invaded or even threatened to invade America after 1945 — is good PR for America’s wealthiest families, regardless of whether it’s of any benefit whatsoever to other Americans. Because of the success of this PR for the military, Americans consider the U.S. military to be America’s best institution — far higher than any other part of the U.S. Government or any non-governmental institution, such as churches, the press, or the medical system. The U.S. Department of Defense is, also, by far, the most corrupt of all Departments of the U.S. federal Government. This fact is carefully hidden from the U.S. public, so as to keep the public admiring the military.

Billionaires use their media, and their scholars, to point the finger of blame, for the problems that the public does know about, anywhere else than against themselves; and, though the billionaires have political differences amongst themselves, they are unified against the public, so as to continue the gravy train that they all are on.

In order for the aristocracy not to be blamed for the many problems that they cause upon the public, their first trick is to blame some minority or some other vulnerable mass within the public. Or else to blame some ‘enemy’ country. But if and when such a strategy fails, then, they and their media blame the middle class or “bourgeoisie,” in order to fool the leftists, and also they blame the “communists” and the poor, in order to fool the rightists. That’s a two-pronged PR strategy — one to the left, and the other to the right. Since the aristocracy is always, itself, fundamentally conservative, they would naturally rather blame the leftists as being “communists,” than to blame the middle class and poor, because to do the latter would place the public’s ideological focus on economic class, which then would threaten to expose the billionaires themselves as being the actual economic “elite” who are the public’s real enemy (and as being the elite against which the propaganda should instead be focused). Blaming the middle class and poor might work amongst their fellow-aristocrats, but if tried amongst the public, it would present the danger of backfiring. Consequently, there is a return to the days of Joseph R. McCarthy, but this time without communism. Thus, here is how the White House correspondent for a Democratic Party ‘news’-site, CNN, closed his ‘news’-analysis, on January 14th, under the headline “Washington’s agony is a win for autocrats and strongmen”:

Mission accomplished

Nice work, Mr. Putin.

According to a US intelligence community report, Russia’s chief goal in interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton was to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” Four years on, there have been two impeachments and an insurrection against the US legislature. Millions believe Trump’s lies that he was illegally ejected from power, and doubt Biden’s legitimacy.

Conspiracy theorists have seats in Congress. There are serious questions about whether one of the country’s great political parties is now anti-democratic. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in a federal system that grants vast power to the states. And America’s self-appointed role as an exceptional nation and beacon of democracy is in the gutter.

Most of the disorienting events of the last few years can be blamed directly on Trump and his particular skill at tearing at the social, racial and political divides that are just below the nation’s surface. So the ex-KGB man in the Kremlin hardly deserves all the credit. But Russia, China and other autocratic nations are gaining much from Washington’s agony. They’re already using it to promote their own closed and totalitarian societies as models of comparative order and efficiency — and to beat back brave local voices calling for democracy and human rights.

In an effective declaration of victory for Russia’s espionage offensive against the US more than four years ago, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, slid home the knife. “Following the events that unfolded after the presidential elections, it is meaningless to refer to America as the example of democracy,” he said.

“We are on the verge of reevaluating the standards that are being promoted by the United States of America, that is exporting its vision of democracy and political systems around the world. Those in our country who love to cite their example as leading will also have to reconsider their views.”

That’s propaganda from “leftist” (i.e., Democratic Party) billionaires. A good example of an independent American journalist who has been fooled by Republican Party billionaires to blame some amorphous mass of “leftists” is Sara A. Carter’s 12 January 2021 youtube “Rudy Giuliani talks big tech censorship”, blaming America’s problems on “the government,” or “the bureacracy,” and, of course, especially on Democrats. At 10:15 there, she said “My mother fled from Cuba.” Carter, as a conservative, is so obsessed with her visceral hatred of “communism,” that she interpreted America’s dictatorship as being communists, instead of as being billionaires — of both Parties: actually, fascists. In a two-Party fascist dictatorship, she fears the leftists. This is typical of propagandists on the conservative side. But propagandists on the liberal side (such as the CNN correspondent exemplified) are no better, just different.

Both propaganda-operations cast blame away from the real culprits.

In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side. What the public sees and hears, instead, is political theater, merely tailored to different audiences.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s 6 Principles of Non-Violence

Par Activist Post
By Hanna Cox Reconciliation has become a major theme in our political discourse, and rightfully so. For those who love our country and its foundations,... Martin Luther King Jr.’s 6 Principles of...

Conte Set To Keep His Italian Job

Par Tyler Durden
Conte Set To Keep His Italian Job

Over the weekend, and following last week's shock decision by former PM Matteo Renzi and current minor coalition partner Matteo Renzi to pull his ministers from the coalition, we saw the latest news on Italy’s political turmoil ahead of today’s confidence vote on the government - with Bloomberg reporting that PM Conte’s government will likely survive the vote in the lower house today. At the same time, Renzi said in an interview with Rai Tre television yesterday that his 18 senators will probably abstain in any confidence vote in the Senate on Tuesday. This would likely be enough for Conte’s government to survive and plays down the near term election risk for the country which were low anyway.

For those who missed the latest Italian government crisis, ex-PM Renzi’s party Italia Viva (IV) pulled out of the government coalition last week, causing a political crisis and speculation that Italy was about to have its 132nd government in 160 years.

IV and the Conte government mainly disagreed on the usage of the European Recovery and Resilience funds, as well as on the possibility of Italy taking up ESM loans – Renzi was in favor, Conte was against. The result is now a political crisis, of which the end-game still seems very uncertain.

So what happens next? Here are the most likely next steps courtesy of Nomura's George Buckley and Chiara Zangarelli:

Conte will face a confidence vote today to confirm that his government still holds a majority in parliament. Conte will address the lower house on Monday and the Senate on Tuesday, both at 8.30am London time. The PM’s decision to submit to a confidence vote is backed by the hope of finding enough senators by Tuesday willing to vote in favor. The more complex vote is in the Senate, where the current government holds a smaller majority. With IV pulling out of the government, Conte would be 20 votes short of a Senate majority (161 votes). However, in the past he has been able to count on the votes of three life senators as well as around nine independents, meaning that he required fewer than 10 votes from the centrist parties.

The best outcome for Conte is to win the confidence vote, but that would still leave the government with only a minority in the Senate, relying on the support of independent senators, who may pull out when most needed. The result would be a weak government, with a very precarious stability.

By contrast, if Conte loses the vote, then President of the Republic Mattarella should open consultations about the formation of a new government within the current parliament. According to recent comments from 5SM members, the fact that Renzi has caused the political crisis, means that the 5SM will not be willing to cooperate with IV in the future. PD, by contrast, would be willing to work within a majority similar to the current one (including IV), but would likely ask for a new PM. That is very similar to IV’s requests; in fact, the party would be happy with the current coalition government, but with a cabinet reshuffle and Conte’s resignation. In this scenario, we think all parties will play hardball to obtain as much as they can from the situation. However, we also think that the parties will show a willingness to negotiate if the confidence vote fails, and the only alternative is new elections. If new elections were to become a real threat, 5SM would probably prefer to cooperate with IV in a new government, and accept Conte’s resignation.

Nomura feels comfortable in saying that the option of fresh elections remains unlikely; however, at this stage it should not be underestimated, and the Japanese bank attributes a 10% probability to a new elections scenario. And while the situation remains very fluid: it is a close call, but at this stage and in view of Conte’s decision, the government will likely win the confidence vote (40%). If the confidence vote fails, then the most likely result of the crisis will be a new government composed of 5SM, PD and IV but with a new PM, with a 30% probability (no names have been put forward yet, but PD’s Dario Franceschini could be a viable alternative). A 5SM, PD and IV government, headed by Conte (that would be his third mandate since 2018), has a 20% probability.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 11:46
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 17:46

China "Sought To Influence" 2020 US Election, Director Of National Intelligence Assesses

Par Tyler Durden
China "Sought To Influence" 2020 US Election, Director Of National Intelligence Assesses

Authored by Ivan Pentchoukov via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe assessed that China interfered in the 2020 federal elections, according to a letter transmitted to Congress.

Nominee John L. Ratcliffe during a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office building in Washington, on May 5, 2020. (Gabriella Demczuk-Pool/Getty Images)

In the letter (pdf), Ratcliffe alleges that intelligence about China’s election interference was suppressed by management at the CIA, which pressured analysts to withdraw their support for the view.

Citing a report by the Intelligence Community’s analytic ombudsman Barry Zulauf, the director of national intelligence said that some analysts were reluctant to describe China’s actions as election interference because they disagreed with the policies of President Donald Trump.

The Washington Examiner published Ratcliffe’s letter and the ombudsman report on Jan. 17, 10 days after publishing an original report on the documents. The ODNI didn’t immediately respond to requests from The Epoch Times to authenticate the documents.

“Based on all available sources of intelligence, with definitions consistently applied, and reached independent of political considerations or undue pressure—that the People’s Republic of China sought to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections,” Ratcliffe wrote.

The report by Zulauf was sent to Congress on Jan. 7 alongside an intelligence community assessment of interference in the 2020 election. In the report (pdf), Zulauf states that the analysts working on Russia and China applied different standards to their reporting on election interference. While labeling Russia’s activity as clear election interference, the analysts were reluctant to do the same for China.

“Given analytic differences in the way Russia and China analysts examined their targets, China analysts appeared hesitant to assess Chinese actions as undue influence or interference,” Zulauf wrote.

These analysts appeared reluctant to have their analysis on China brought forward because they tended to disagree with the Administration’s policies, saying in effect, I don’t want our intelligence used to support those policies.”

Neither the ombudsman report nor the letter from Ratcliffe includes details on China’s meddling. Zulauf redirected an interview request by The Epoch Times to the ODNI, which didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request.

The analytic ombudsman’s report assesses that politicization occurred in relation to both Russia’s and China’s election interference. Zulauf assessed that neither intelligence community leaders nor analysts are at fault, blaming the hyperpartisan atmosphere in the United States instead.

In most cases, what we see is the entire system responding to and resisting pressures from outside, rather than attempts to politicize intelligence by our leaders or analysts.

The report states that the analysts who assessed Russia’s election interference had complained that the intelligence community management was reluctant to deliver their assessments to government clients because the work was not “well received.”

Analysts saw this as suppression of intelligence, bordering on politicization of intelligence from above,” Zulauf wrote.

The Epoch Times previously documented a multi-pronged election influence campaign linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In a Dec. 3 op-ed, Ratcliffe said the CCP “poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II.”

“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily, and technologically,” he wrote.

“Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Congress certified Joe Biden as the president-elect on Jan. 7. In the two months leading up to the certification, Trump challenged the outcome of the election in seven states, citing unconstitutional changes to election laws and potentially illegally cast votes.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 11:45
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 17:45

If Martin Luther King Jr. Were Alive Today, Big Tech Would’ve Already Banned Him

Par Activist Post
By Matt Agorist Earlier this month, Donald Trump and 70,000,000 of his supporters were wiped off of Facebook and Twitter in a coordinated move by... If Martin Luther King Jr. Were Alive Today, Big...

They Are The Knights Who Say "Mon-Ni!"

Par Tyler Durden
They Are The Knights Who Say "Mon-Ni!"

By Michael Every of Rabobank

Monty Python's Flying Markets

"It’s…" Monty Python’s Flying Markets. Not on Friday, as yields, stocks, risk-on currencies like AUD, and risk-off assets like Bitcoin all went down. Even the Wall Street Journal now says stocks face a key test in coming weeks. Yet buyers are ready to snap up Treasuries if yields edge much higher, driving stocks higher, and risk-on FX higher, and Bitcoin too: and elsewhere, our Pythonesque world remains fully intact.  

The US has made an official statement of concern over voting irregularities and violence in the Ugandan presidential election, which it did not observe, as tens of thousands of National Guards are in DC for Wednesday’s inauguration. Mexico’s president has upped his language to claim US social media censorship is like “The Spanish Inquisition”. Nobody seems to have expected them, and some still say this is only threatening “the soft cushions” and “the comfy chair”; that as Twitter suspended the account of a US Representative for 12 hours for tweeting “I encourage all Americans, not just the 75 million who voted for President Trump, to mobilize and make your voices heard in opposition to these attacks on our liberties.” Overall, the global political atmosphere is akin to: “Is this the right room for an argument?” “Well, I’ve told you once.” “No, you haven’t!” ”Yes, I have!” “No, you haven’t!

New management in the US, and over the next 12-18 months in Germany and perhaps Italy, the Netherlands, and France will maintain the quest for The Holy Grail: an economic recovery with the right kind of inflation; shared by all income deciles; and all demographics; tackling the climate crisis; rebuilding geopolitical relations; and not upsetting Flying Markets. “That’s a good idea,” as King Arthur says in The Holy Grail. “Of course it’s a good idea!” is the reply – but how?

The economy, climate, inequality, and geopolitics are the Black Knight whom Arthur dismembers. Yet markets keep shouting “It’s just a flesh wound!” because they are The Knights Who Say “Ni!”, or rather “Mon-ni!. They demand a sacrifice: free money; and then more free money (“and you must place it here beside this first pile of free money, only slightly higher so you get a two-level effect with a little path running down the middle.”) This means rates can’t rise to reward savers, reduce risk, or deal with the inequality driven by asset bubbles.

The priests of central banking dole out that mon-ni while reading the liturgy of The Grail:

And the people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orang-utans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large chalupas,” they promise. Their economists debate the weight ratios of African swallows and coconuts, and give practical advice such as: “Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.”

The media are minstrels strumming: ”Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot; He was not afraid to die, oh, brave Sir Robin; He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways; Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin.” Or singing nasty songs about the other knights.

The EU is the ‘wise’ Sir Bedevere (Sir B-EU-devere?) who “follows the science” but forgot to order enough (of the right) Covid vaccine, which was one of the causes of Friday’s down day. Moreover, having just agreed a key China investment deal, the EU now wants to reduce the USD’s global role by pricing commodities and settling trade in EUR to build “strategic autonomy”. That investment deal was a victory for China, and reducing the status of the USD would be a major defeat for the US; so the EU is not propping up the liberal order unless the US is no longer an ally(?)….yet the EU remains reliant on it vis-à-vis the Eurodollar market and for its physical defence. What’s next? Build a giant wooden rabbit and let the enemy wheel it inside their castle while you wait bravely outside in the bushes?

Critics say the US is Sir Lancelot, eager to hack and slay while believing it is the hero. Swords at the ready(?): in terms of economic violence, there are now yet more US tech restrictions imposed on Huawei. Moreover, North Korea has doubled down on its nuclear plans; even France admits Iran is developing the components for a nuclear weapon – to which Sir B-EU-devere’s response is “Stop immediately, or we will negotiate!”; and Russian opposition leader Navalny has flown home and immediately been arrested.

Sir Galahad the Pure (Treasury Secretary Yellen) is due to speak tomorrow and will reveal the ‘surprise’ that the US wants a “market-determined exchange rate” and not a weaker dollar: that after the greenback has been smashed for months by the markets so we got a weaker USD anyway. Apparently this speech will reaffirm the market view that the Biden administration isn’t going to enter an FX War in the way the Trump administration did – during which the USD of course soared vs. most EM FX. At the same time Yellen is said to make clear that other countries should not seek a weaker currency to gain competitive advantage,….or what? Sir Galahad would obviously never be tempted to take any sinful policy actions that would end up with a weaker US currency. Never.

Today will see Chinese GDP Q4 numbers. They are going to be presented like Camelot, shining on a hill far off on the horizon, rising an expected 2.7% q/q and 6.2% y/y. To be fair, in comparison with the awful data we are about to see in the US and EU for both Q4 and Q1 2021, they indeed are. Yet as someone mutters as an aside in The Holy Grail: “It’s just a model.” Indeed, the closer one looks at the sustainability of the underlying fundamentals, the more one needs to ask if there are not the occasional two halves of a coconut being bashed together and pretending to be a horse. Markets will ride it all the way, regardless.   

Finally, I just transited a bustling Dubai airport and beheld the glorious sight of all of mankind coming together again…to not wear masks properly (under chins; on foreheads; noses showing; bunched up like a hedgehog). I don’t know if it is fake or not, but did anyone see the social media image members a school band playing flute wearing masks with the entire mouth area cut? I cannot help but think of the idiot guards trying to follow the king’s simple instructions to: Make sure the prince doesn't leave this room until I come and get him.” Then again, the instructions about how to deal with the virus we are being given are mostly also written by the same guards.

There are any number of other Python analogies that one could draw, of course: I haven’t even dipped into The Life of Brian. But one thing is certain: whatever happens today, the underlying paradigm we live in was drawn by Terry Gilliam; and all the lead actors are determined to maintain Flying Markets, even if we are nowhere near the Holy Grail.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 11:25
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 17:25

Twitter Suspends Account of Russian COVID Vaccine Citing Attempted U.S. Hack

Par A A

The Silicon Valley giant suspended the account after detecting suspicious activity originating in Virginia, home of the CIA and numerous other three-letter agencies.

By Alan MACLEOD

The Twitter account of the Russian COVID-19 “Sputnik V” vaccine was suspended yesterday after the Silicon Valley-based platform detected suspicious attempts to log into it. Raising more eyebrows was the stated location of the attempted hack: not Russia, but Virginia, U.S.A.

The news immediately prompted Internet sleuths to question who was behind the hack. “Now who in Virginia might want to sabotage a global health initiative by one of Washington’s “official enemies?” wrote former MintPress contributor Morgan Artyukhina. Virginia is, of course, home to many of the three-letter national security agencies engaged in online warfare, including the CIA. Many social media users suggested this was evidence of a failed nefarious action. Sputnik’s Twitter account has since been reinstated.

Now who in Virginia might want to sabotage a global health initiative by one of Washington’s “Official Enemies?” 🤔🤔🤔https://t.co/rtgzhe9sV0

— Morgan Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) January 14, 2021

Named after the first manmade satellite to orbit the Earth, the vaccine is among the first to be developed and brought to market. With rich nations buying up huge quantities of Western vaccines before they were even approved, leaving little for poorer states, Sputnik is primarily being used in Russia, Asia, and Latin America. Already, 727 million doses have been ordered by 50 countries, including 200 million from India and 160 million from Russia. Meanwhile, Brazil has ordered 100 million and Mexico 24 million. Bolivia, Argentina, and Venezuela are also major customers. In December, Hungary became the first EU nation to purchase the shots, and there is a possibility that the vaccine could be rolled out across the continent soon. Testing occurred in a number of nations in the Global South and the vaccine will be produced in nine countries.

Like Western variants, Sputnik must be delivered in two shots weeks apart and must also be stored in deep freezer conditions (-18°C/-0.4°F). Developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute, it is a viral vector vaccine, meaning that it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the desired immune response into cells. Protein coding genes from the coronavirus are inserted into two common cold-like viruses that have been genetically modified so they cannot replicate inside the human body. Trial results suggest that the injections are between 91-95% effective, similar to the Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines.

However, Western politicians and press have been casting doubts and fears on the safety and effectiveness of the product for months, describing it as “controversial” (The Guardian) or “rushed” (BBC). Others, such as CNN and CNBC have characterized it as unsafe and ineffective.

The new Cold War

This is perhaps unsurprising, given the new levels of anti-Russian sentiment expressed in the corporate media since 2016. A central claim from many in the Democratic Party is that the Russian government strongly interfered in the presidential election and swung the result for Donald J. Trump. Russian President Vladimir Putin is supposedly in possession of incriminating evidence on Trump, making the man in the White House a “Siberian candidate,” according to many. Russophobic sentiment has reached such heights that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper could appear on NBC’s Meet the Press to claim that Russians are “genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate [and] gain favor” and receive no push back at all.

Democrats also immediately saw Russia’s hand behind the deadly storming of the Capitol Building earlier this month. “A complete tool of Putin, this president is. Putin’s goal was to diminish the view of democracy in the world. That’s what he has been about … the president gave him the biggest of all of his many gifts to Putin” said Nancy Pelosi. “This is the day that Vladimir Putin has waited for since he had to leave East Germany as a young KGB officer,” reacted Obama advisor Ben Rhodes. “Putin’s Disinformation Campaign Claims Stunning Victory With Capitol Hill ‘Coup’” wrote Omer Benjakob in Haaretz.

All of this was a far cry from 2012 when Democrats relentlessly mocked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for suggesting Russia was a threat. “Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching ‘Rocky IV’” joked former presidential candidate John Kerry. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back… the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” President Obama quipped, attempting to present his opponent as a man stuck in the distant past.

But while many in the Democratic Party see Trump as being either soft on (or controlled by) Putin, in reality, the 45th president has adopted a highly aggressive policy towards Moscow. Trump’s administration armed far-right rebel groups in Ukraine, something Obama shied away from. He also increased sanctions on Russia, bombed a Russian military base in Syria, and walked away from a number of anti-nuclear treaties crucial in maintaining the peace between the two powers.

As a result, Americans’ view of Russia has crashed. As late as 2011, a substantial majority of the country saw Russia in a positive light. Today, the country has a 28% favorable and a 72% unfavorable rating. By comparison, in 1989, during the Cold War, 62% of Americans saw the Soviet Union as either “highly” or “mostly” favorable, according to historic data from pollster Gallup.

Despite the Western speculation about the vaccine’s effectiveness, Sputnik V is considered a superior, more trustworthy vaccine by people in the Global South, according to a study of 11 nations conducted by British polling group YouGov. Good thing too, as, lacking the ability to pay, they might not be able to receive any other COVID-19 shot. Although Russia continues to be a central issue in U.S. politics, it is doubtful whether this attempted hack will receive anything like the attention other alleged hacks going the other way have received.

mintpressnews.com

1000s Denounce COVID Lockdown In Amsterdam As Chaos Unfolds At "Unauthorized" Gathering

Par Tyler Durden
1000s Denounce COVID Lockdown In Amsterdam As Chaos Unfolds At "Unauthorized" Gathering

Multiple anti-lockdown demonstrations were observed in Europe over the weekend. The largest one was seen in the Austrian capital, Vienna, Saturday, where at least 10,000 people marched against new coronavirus restrictions. Then thousands more were seen in Amsterdam, the Netherlands' capital, denouncing new restrictive measures against their freedoms imposed by the government. 

On Saturday, the demonstration in Vienna was mostly peaceful, even with a massive crowd. As for protests in Amsterdam, well, many clashed with riot police in an unauthorized demonstration.

According to Reuters, the unauthorized gathering was around the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum art galleries on Sunday. 

People were waving flags and carrying signs the read: "Freedom: stop this siege" and singing "What do we want? Freedom!".

Many of the anti-lockdown protesters wore no masks nor practiced safe social distancing measures, such as standing six feet apart from one another. 

Museumplein, Amsterdam - Protest against the lockdown pic.twitter.com/n7yyZnGJT7

— Happy Harry (@HappyHarryMedia) January 17, 2021

Amsterdam protesting lockdowns and govt corruption...hey 🇨🇦 take notes pic.twitter.com/ZDSrEkUM8S

— 🇨🇦 in birth 🇺🇸 in 💗 (@kisslady69) January 17, 2021

Reuters noted the original protest on Museum Square was denied a permit. Still, demonstrators showed up anyway, angered that their freedoms have been whittled away under the guise of coronavirus restrictions. 

Dutch Police Spray Watter Cannon At Protesters 

 Amsterdam Riots 

The crowd became more irate throughout Sunday afternoon as they clashed with riot police. 

Thousands have gathered in #Amsterdam to protest the national lockdowns. Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters. Authorities extended #COVID19 restrictions last week, including the closure of schools and non-essential stores. pic.twitter.com/zXJMQliY2j

— CGTN Global Watch (@GlobalWatchCGTN) January 18, 2021

In the early days of the pandemic, the Dutch government was more reluctant than most neighboring countries to impose coronavirus restrictions. But during a dark virus winter, the government closed schools and shops in December, along with extending lockdowns by at least three more weeks.

Increased social restrictions have been the breaking point for many in the Netherlands. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 11:00
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 17:00

Le gouvernement renonce à remonter les déchets toxiques enfouis à Stocamine

Lundi 18 janvier, deux semaines après s'être rendue sur place, la ministre de la Transition écologique, Barbara Pompili, a pris sa décision. Les 42.000 tonnes de déchets dangereux enfouis à 500 mètres sous terre dans l'ancienne mine de potasse de Stocamine, à Wittelsheim (Haut-Rhin), ne seront pas ressortis. Ils resteront confinés définitivement, non loin de l'importante nappe phréatique d'Alsace.
Cette nouvelle a agi comme un coup de massue pour les élus locaux et les associations écologistes, qui (...)

Lire la suite - Brèves /

Capitol Lockdown Lifted After Propane Tank Explodes Near Homeless Camp

Par Tyler Durden
Capitol Lockdown Lifted After Propane Tank Explodes Near Homeless Camp

Update (1133ET): An "all clear" has been issued and the Capitol lockdown lifted, after a propane tank reportedly exploded near a homeless camp near the Capitol.

UPDATE: Lockdown has been lifted. Capitol Police gave the all clear, I'm told. https://t.co/TTQShGX8Ys

— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) January 18, 2021

*  *  *

Update (1050ET): Washington D.C. appears a bit jumpy, as the lockdown was apparently over a "small fire involving a tent that is now out," according to CNN's Manu Raju.

Things seem to be OK at the Capitol. DC Fire's Vito Maggiolo says the incident involved a small fire involving tent that is now out. DC fire was dispatched at 10:14 and the fire was put out. He said the response was "very minimal" and it was "pretty much a non-incident."

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 18, 2021

"In an abundance of caution following an external security threat under the bridge on I-295 at First and F Streets, SE, Acting Chief Pittman ordered a shutdown of the Capitol Complex," Capitol Police said in a statement, according to Fox News' Edward Lawrence. "There are currently no fires on or within the Capitol campus.  Members and staff were advised to shelter in place while the incident is being investigated.  As more information becomes available, this message will be updated."

* * *

I am inside the Capitol when US Capitol police announced an “external security threat”. The Capitol is locked down. National Guard told to get up and move. I see a lot of Capitol police running. pic.twitter.com/vpv5N4Qbkf

— Edward Lawrence (@EdwardLawrence) January 18, 2021

The US Capitol has been locked down after an undisclosed "external security threat" was identified "located under the bridge on I-295 and First and F Streets SE," according to an email sent to people who work on the Hill.

No entry or exit is permitted at this time, however those already within the complex are allowed to "move throughout the buildings," but are advised to "stay away from exterior windows and doors."

"If you are outside, seek cover," reads the email.

Here’s what was just sent via email to people who work on the Hill: building complex on lockdown bc of “external security threat” under a bridge outside the complex pic.twitter.com/Q2aW1oBoTf

— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) January 18, 2021

The lockdown comes as DC prepares for Wednesday's inauguration with approximately 20,000 National Guard troops, while the entire National Mall remains closed to the public and a "secure military zone" has been established throughout the entire downtown area.

Roads, bridges and Metro have all been shut down within that zone, according to WUSA9.

Meanwhile, a huge plume of smoke was seen on the 100 block of H Street Southeast near the Navy Yard. It is unknown if the two incidents are related.

Huge plume of smoke. Lots of sirens. Navy Yard. DC. Looks to be at ORE 82 building. By H st SE. pic.twitter.com/cC23Dd0Rhc

— Amy M. (@AmyAlbanayzay) January 18, 2021

Developing...

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 10:38
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 16:38

🎖S’expatrier en Afrique ? l’inquiétant exemple de Madagascar

Par Éric Verhaeghe

Ces derniers mois, plusieurs entrepreneurs français ont eu l'idée de s'expatrier en Afrique pour échapper à l'enfer fiscal français. Voilà une démarche que l'on peut comprendre, à cette nuance près qu'une fois passés les premiers mois d'expatriation où tout est beau, chaud et facile, les défaillances de l'Etat de droit au sud de la Méditerranée peuvent jouer bien des tours désagréables à ceux qui ont cédé au mirage. L'exemple donné ces jours-ci par un Français propriétaire terrien à Madagascar fait, sur ce point, beaucoup réfléchir.

S’expatrier en Afrique peut parfois réserver quelques très mauvaises surprises, qui rejoignent la problématique de l’Etat de droit dont nous avons parlé la semaine dernière. Si l’affaire qui suit ne se passe pas directement en Afrique, mais à Madagascar (c’est-à-dire très près de l’Afrique), elle aurait pu se dérouler à peu près partout ailleurs sur le continent africain. 

L’affaire est expliquée par RFI

Un producteur de litchis a été placé sous contrôle judiciaire peu de temps après avoir dénoncé un monopole dans la filière. Jean-Louis Bérard, 78 ans, est propriétaire de vergers aux alentours de Tamatave, d'où sont exportés par bateau les litchis à destination de l'Europe. Son placement sous contrôle judiciaire fait suite à une plainte déposée par le GEL, le Groupement des exportateurs de litchis. Jean-Louis Bérard avait saisi en octobre 2020 le Conseil de la concurrence pour constitution de monopole à l'encontre de ce groupement.

Poursuivi pour dénonciation calomnieuse, dénonciation abusive, dénigrement, désorganisation et banqueroute frauduleuse, Jean-Louis Bérard ne peut plus quitter Tamatave et doit attester de sa présence chaque vendredi en se rendant à la gendarmerie. « J'ai été interpellé le 28 décembre par trois gendarmes de la section de recherche criminelle. Après audition et signature du PV, j'ai été déféré sur le champ devant le procureur général », fait savoir ce dernier.

Ce propriétaire de 40 000 arbres de litchis explique ne pas pouvoir exporter ces fruits par bateau à cause « d'un monopole qui s'est institué en 2011 et qui est tenu par le Groupement des exportateurs de litchis, ainsi que par deux importateurs de Rungis. Je ne fais pas partie de ce groupement et je ne peux donc pas travailler normalement et exporter les fruits de la production de mes vergers », déclare-t-il.

Depuis septembre 2011, un arrêté interministériel a confié l'organisation de la campagne de litchis au GEL sous la supervision du ministère en charge du Commerce. Jean-Louis Bérard fait savoir qu'il a été écarté du groupement en 2010.

En octobre dernier, le producteur décide de saisir le Conseil de la concurrence à Madagascar. Une saisine à l'origine, notamment, de la plainte du GEL. « Suite à des dénonciations auprès du conseil de la concurrence, des articles parus sur certains quotidiens, le GEL a porté plainte contre Jean-Louis Bérard pour les faits sus visés », indique la décision de mise en liberté sous contrôle judiciaire signée par le procureur de Tamatave le 30 décembre.

RFI

Les ingrédients sont réunis : un patron français investit, il est écarté d’un marché complètement truqué par des acteurs locaux, il se plaint et se retrouve devant la justice pour dénonciation calomnieuse. 

Une anecdote qui mérite d’être longuement méditée. 

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L’article 🎖S’expatrier en Afrique ? l’inquiétant exemple de Madagascar est apparu en premier sur Le courrier des stratèges.

Denmark Serving U.S. Wars for Three Decades: Russia as Rogue State Is Rationale

Par A A

Denmark is not the only vassal state adhering to the U.S. Military Empire. All 27 members of the European Union and all 30 NATO members, follow suit to varying degrees. Denmark, however, has earned a sit in the front row, Ron Ridenour writes.

Denmark has been fighting with U.S. wars since the 1991 invasion of Iraq. It has sent troops into Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, Libya, and Syria—fighting a bloody Second Cold War.

“We perceive it as natural that once again we are on the way to war, part of our every day,” says Vibeke Schou Tjalve, researcher at Danish Institute for International Studies. “People believe that if the U.S. says it is wise, so it is wise for us to be with them … We have broken our hymen.”

Tjalve explained that, since at least October 2, 2014, practically every military researcher at universities and military think tanks agree that “Denmark is at war to please America.”[1]

At the time of Tjalve’s statement, Denmark announced that it had sent four F-16 war jets and 300 mercenaries to the Baltic States and Poland in response to the U.S.-led coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected government. Sanctions against Russia followed. [2]

New Cold War against Russia

Denmark is not the only vassal state adhering to the U.S. Military Empire. All 27 members of the European Union and all 30 NATO members, follow suit to varying degrees. Denmark, however, has earned a sit in the front row.

Russia is now under sanctions by the EU, because 97% of Crimeans (1,274,096) voted to join Russia, while 2.5% (32,000) voted to remain with the neo-fascist-led coup government of Ukraine. Eighty-three percent of those eligible voted. A year later, the very capitalist Forbes magazine wrote:

The U.S. and European Union may want to save Crimeans from themselves, but the Crimeans are happy right where they are. One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there—be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tatars—are mostly all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine.

Member-states rallied behind the sanctions despite traditional worshipping “free market trading.”

Economists from Kiel and Hong Kong calculated in 2019 that $4 billion in trade each month would be lost due to anti-Russian sanctions. Of these export losses, $1.8 billion, or 45%, are borne by authorizing countries, 55% by Russia.

The EU originally introduced sanctions on July 31, 2014, for one year in response to Russia’s actions of “destabilizing the situation in Ukraine,” and extends the sanctions periodically. A double standard is apparent in that Russia is targeted while other countries engaged in real human rights violations are not sanctioned. Examples: Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Colombia, and Israel, whose right-wing governments routinely seize Palestinian land and homes, encage children, and kill others. The U.S. wages wars of aggression and backs coups in scores of countries for two centuries.

Denmark allows its banks to whitewash money that come from drug and arms smuggling, and refuses to plug loopholes so that the rich can claim refunds from taxes they have not paid. These matters have been news for years, yet when a corporation sells jet fuel to Russia, which it uses to destroy IS terrorist enclaves in Syria, Denmark calls this criminal.

172,000 tons of jet fuel! That is what Dan-Bunkering in Denmark sold to Russia in the decisive years of 2015-17. According to Mikkel Storm Jensen, a military analyst for the Defense Academy, “Without Russian flying would Assad not have won the civil war?”

Does this mean that Establishment military analysts mean the preferred victors should have been the IS terrorists, al-Qaeda and other “milder” U.S.-armed opposition groups?

In November 2020, the government charged Dan-Bunkering with violating EU sanction rules and is seeking not only a fine, which is the most the government seeks for some corporate crimes, but also imprisonment for those responsible.

Dan-Bunkering CEO Keld Demant faces potential jail time for selling jet fuel to Russia. He says that the company had no knowledge that the jet fuel might end up in Syria.

DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) wrote that it was U.S. documentation and “sources” (read: NSA/CIA) that showed Denmark this “criminal” behavior on the part of Dan-Bunkering. The company purportedly earned about $3 billion from free market trading.

“Authoritarian” Russia was eliminating real terrorists who cut off heads for any “sinful” behavior or simply for being born in the wrong family. The “democratic” CIA and Pentagon back different terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government army while also fighting one another.

The Los Angeles Times reported, on March 27, 2016, that Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other. In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east. A fighter with the Suqour Al-Jabal brigade, a group with links to the CIA, said intelligence officers of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State know their group has clashed with the Pentagon-trained militias.

Fursan al Haq sometimes is with al-Qaeda’s Syrian group, Al-Nusra, The CIA operates inside Turkey where it directs aid “to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.”

Russia backs governments in Syria, Iran, Crimea, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, which the U.S. and allies consider illegitimate and criminal. On top of sanctions, more war weaponry stares at Russians on their borders, and war exercises take place in anticipation of a “Russian attack.”[3]

In 2018, 500,000 NATO troops, 250 aircraft, 65 warship and 500 war vehicles crossed into Denmark from Germany on their way to Norway to conduct maneuvers against a Russian invasion.

Danish Foreign Policy Post-WW11 History

Denmark accepted Nazi Germany’s occupation immediately as its tanks rolled in, April 9, 1940. Its government led by Social Democrats turned over Danish resistance fighters to the Nazis, sometimes even more than asked for. It allowed fascist Danes to fight with German Nazis.

The last two years of the war, Danish underground resistance became quite effective and that convinced the allies to accept Denmark as an ally after the war.

When British troops marched into Denmark on liberation day May 5, 1945, Danish politicians eagerly embraced them, and then decided to follow the lead of the United States. The economy was rebuilt with Marshall Plan funding. Much of that repaid in Danish currency once the economy grew.

Denmark had no conflicts with the Soviet Union after it left the Danish island of Bornholm a few months after ousting Nazi occupiers at the end of the war. Nevertheless, Denmark swore alliance to the UK-USA Cold War started by Winston Churchill and Harry Truman.

Denmark was one of the first dozen nations to form NATO in 1949 and established a clandestine Gladio army, created to stop an alleged forthcoming Communist invasion.

Nevertheless, Denmark did not participate in U.S. wars and coups, and most Danes were adamantly against the war in Southeast Asia. Many Danish youth and left-wing parties were peace activists.

Social Democrat Prime Minister Anker Joergensen led the Danish government most of the time between 1972 and 1982. Having been a union activist and warehouse worker, he argued that Denmark should be neutral in the Cold War and that NATO warships should be barred from carrying nuclear arms in Danish waters.

Joergensen also opposed the Vietnam War. When Vietnam retook its land from the invaders, PM Joergensen expressed support for its liberation, adding that the U.S.’s foreign policy has a “false ideological foundation.”

Peace organizations and left-wing parties, including Social Democrats at that time, opposed NATO’s fascination with escalating the Cold War with more nuclear missiles. A majority of parliament adopted a “footnote” policy that prohibited Denmark supporting Pershing and Cruise middle-range missiles not only on its territory but throughout Europe.

As the U.S. installed their new deadly ware, millions of Europeans resisted. In September 1981, tens of thousands demonstrated in Berlin against visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig. They were indignant that Haig had said during his confirmation hearings earlier in 1981, “There are more important things than peace, things which we Americans must be willing to fight for.”

The largest hand-linking demonstration, more than 100 kilometers long, stretched from Ulm to Stuttgart where I stood amongst 200,000 people. Organizers had hoped for half that number, which would have connected in one line the two cities and a U.S. military base where Pershing missiles were to be deployed. We were so many that we had to make a snaking formation. At precisely noon, all traffic stopped, not a word spoken. Our hands were literally electrified in a brotherly sensation as we melted into one spirit.

Our persistent actions connecting hands and hearts across the continents of North America and Europe, West and East, laid the foundation for the largest international peace conference since February 1972 when 1,200 delegates from 84 nations met at Versailles to plan actions against the U.S. war in Southeast Asia. In October 1986, twice that many delegates—2,200 from 2,468 organizations in 136 countries—met in Copenhagen at the World Peace Congress.

As a peace activist-journalist, I reported in print and radio from Stuttgart, from the Versailles conference, and from Copenhagen’s conference as co-chair of the journalist workshop. We were 254 journalists, who pledged to uphold the Helsinki Accords of August 1975 regarding the use of information in the context of “strengthening peace and understanding among peoples; to cooperate irrespective of their economic and social conditions.”

The conferees’ main goal was to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to dismantle those that existed. UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, India PM Rajiv Gandhi, and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy sent greetings.

The World Peace Council, the Soviet Union’s peace organization, was present. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had declared the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Unlike U.S. leaders, Gorbachev did not think economic and political systems led by elites were more important than peace. In the minds of the owners and editors of mass media, however, if Russians wanted peace there must be something fishy about it.

Despite the mass media’s reluctance to support world peace efforts, peoples’ resistance movements, coupled with de-escalation efforts by Gorbachev, led to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

In January 1986, Gorbachev had publicly proposed a three-stage program for abolishing all nuclear weapons. He convinced Reagan to meet in Reykjavik to discuss de-escalating as we met in Copenhagen. Reagan refused to go as far as Gorbachev but within months Gorbachev’s actions de-escalating nuclear weaponry could not be dismissed—the SU reduced its long-range nuclear missiles by half. On December 8, 1987, the INF treaty was signed, passed by the U.S. Senate on May 27, 1988, and ratified by both world leaders, on June 1.

The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers, and 1,000–5,500 km. By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.

However, a majority of voters put right-wing/center parties in the government in the 1980s, they changed the “footnote” foreign policy of no support for more nuclear weapons and war escalation with an “active” one.

Denmark’s subservience to U.S./NATO became a greater priority than the threat of nuclear war. The first war Denmark participated in was Bush I’s 1991 invasion of Iraq.

Modern Danish Viking warriors got their feet wet during the Gulf War (August 1990-February 1991) by invading Iraq, because it had a dispute with Kuwait about oil pricing and production.

On August 2, 1990, Denmark sent a corvette to blockade Iraq and relieve U.S. and UK warships.

The world’s largest shipping owner, A.P. Moeller-Maersk (APMM), was disappointed that the Danish government had offered so little to help the U.S.-led war that he demanded and received direct contact with the U.S. military. He sent dozens of ships to transport a half-million U.S. troops and armaments free of charge. This bought him future war contracts worth billions of dollars.

One of Maersk’s shipping lines, Maersk Line Limited, is based in Norfolk, Virginia. His 56 ships there fly the U.S. stars and stripes; 22 of them are used directly by the U.S. for military operations.

The company offer of ships and expertise brought the Danish government into the picture. APMM ships were contracted to sail parts from around the world to Lockheed Martin’s factory in Fort Worth, Texas. When Lockheed Martin received a contract for building 1,763 F-35 super jets following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Moeller-Maersk was right there.

During the 1990s, Denmark assisted in breaking up Yugoslavia. This ended the socialist-led state replaced by five separate capitalist states. On November 8, 1992, Denmark sent 170 soldiers and observers to Bosnia. Denmark was under UN “peace-keeping” missions and later under NATO fighting missions until March 1995.

In October 1998, the first 875 of many thousands of Danish mercenaries were sent to fight beside the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Nine F-16s accompanied them. The KLA was a drug-smuggling band and was on U.S. and European terrorist lists. When the KLA attacked socialist-led Serbian forces, it became an ally. Denmark still occupies Bosnia and Kosovo. Hashim Thaçi resigned the presidency on November 5, 2020, after being indicted in June 2020 on ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In December 2001, Denmark joined the U.S. in its invasion of Afghanistan, for allegedly giving refuge to al-Qaeda forces perhaps responsible for the terrorist attacks September 11. The U.S. refused to offer the Taliban government, which it had helped to gain power, any proof that those Saudi al-Qaeda forces were responsible for the terrorist actions.

What Danes, and U.S. Americans, forget, or wish to ignore, is that President Vladimir Putin, just elected following Boris Yeltsin’s decade-long betrayal to Russian sovereignty, complied with President George W. Bush request for assistance in his war against Afghanistan’s Taliban government. President Putin offered intelligence support, use of its military base in Kyrgyzstan, and even proposed a broader NATO with Russia as a member. For Putin’s pains of cooperation, Bush allowed the CIA to infiltrate terrorists in areas of Russian interests in the Caucasus, including in Baku, intending to create separatism and feuds between neighbors (Georgia, Chechnya, North and South Ossetia) and Russia. Bush also withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. (See The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, chapters 13 and 14).

Russia and China are accused of being anti-democratic, authoritarian, even totalitarian states. Yet Anders Wivel and Rasmus Mariager’s 2019 book, Krigsudredningen (The War Investigation), shows how “Denmark’s military engagement [is] driven by Danish politicians’ decision-making will to accommodate American desire for military contribution.”

The decision about going to war is “not what one fights for, but with whom we fight.” “What is lacking is any systematic discussion of goals, means, expected affect, resources, risk, time plan…alternatives and consequence. Elections are not determined by foreign policy… Denmark’s alliances and world goals are decided by politicians,” wrote Information’s editor about the book. By implication, the people have no say especially about foreign policy, i.e., who to murder or not.

Denmark has flown more than 1,000 F-16 missions, used helicopters, transport aircraft, tanks, and thousands of machine guns. It has spent more money there than any other invader in Afghanistan other than the U.S.—three billion dollars between 2002-2015, and still counting. They plan to remain in Afghanistan as long as the U.S. is there.

On March 21, 2003, Denmark became the only government to actually declare war on Iraq. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s public posture was that Iraq possessed weapons of massive destruction, as if that were an international crime warranting “regime change.” It was later proven that Rasmussen had lied. No such weapons existed and he knew it from his own intelligence service. However, such weapons do exist in the U.S. and some of its allies’ territory.

On March 18, 2011, the Danish parliament voted unanimously to create a no fly zone to prevent Libya’s government from protecting itself, in effect warring against Libya. The parties voting included the Peoples Socialist party (SF) and Red/Green (Enhedslisten). Denmark sent six F-16s, allegedly to prevent President Muammar Gaddafi from “crushing civilian opposition” armed in Benghazi, something that groups associated with al-Qaeda claimed would soon happen.

Denmark dropped one thousand bombs. The “brave pilots,” as the media called them, had no risk as Libya’s air force was crushed. Not one Danish invader was killed, but hundreds of Libyan civilians were. Denmark spent more than $100 million helping destroy schools, hospitals, homes, and soldiers protecting their sovereign nation. Western “humanitarian” forces watched as its “rebel opposition” captured President Gaddafi and tortured him to a painful death.

“WE CAME, WE SAW, HE DIED” chortled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CBS news.

In April 2014, Danish ships transported 1,300 tons of chemical weaponry from Syria’s government into the hands of the U.S., the country with the most chemical and biological weaponry. Denmark also sent F-16s on missions inside Syria against all laws of sovereignty.

In January 2017, Denmark sent 60 Special Forces to Syria to assist terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government. Denmark has focused on donating tax money to “opposition” “humanitarian” groups, such as “White Helmets” embedded with IS in its captured territory, and “friendly” militia fighters against the government.

The same month, Denmark flew four F-16s to aid Estonia from being “invaded by Russia”. This action was linked to supporting the neo-fascist Ukrainian coup government, which the U.S. set in. Denmark continues its “peace-keeping mission” in the Baltics.

Greenland Not For Sale, or What?

U.S. Homeland Security official Miles Taylor was with President Donald Trump in Puerto Rico, in August 2018. After he resigned, Taylor recounted: “Not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico…Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland because, in his words, Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor?”

Trump didn’t bother to ask Puerto Ricans or Greenlanders. He raised it with Denmark’s new PM Mette Frederiksen. Denmark’s prime ministers do not have the authority to make such a deal. Frederiksen made the error of telling Danish media that the notion was “absurd.” This term injured Trump’s vanity. He cancelled his planned trip to Denmark on September 2, 2019. About 1,000 of us gathered to demonstrate against him and Denmark’s cozy relationship with Trump anyway.

Donald Trump does not give up easily, as the 2020 election clearly shows. He tried buying “good will” so that Greenlanders would allow the United States to use their land for more war machinery. In April 2020, Trump sent $12 million “to enhance Greenland’s growth.”

Mette Frederiksen smiled and said the $12 million was a wonderful gift.

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, wrote, “Unlike Russia and the PRC [People’s Republic of China], America’s vision for the Arctic area is based on transparency, cooperation and democratic values.”

Sands also wrote that this money would screen Greenlanders from “malicious influence and extortion by Russia and China.” She encouraged Denmark to spend more to protect Greenland, i.e., buy more F-35s. The 27 already contracted will increase its war aircraft fleet by 40% along with General Dynamics F-16s.

The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir V. Barbin, replied that the U.S. rejects dialogue and cooperation, preferring “confrontation politics” oriented “to achieve domination.”

Unlimited consumerism is causing the melting of all the Arctic’s glaciers within a few years. The territories and countries around it (Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, China, Russia) should see the need to cooperate to help save its glaciers and not remove oil and mineral wealth beneath them. Nor should they put every human in the area in threat of diseases from radioactive chemicals, or entire elimination from nuclear accidents or nuclear war.

Greenlanders remember what most others do not about how dangerous flying around with nuclear weapons can be. On January 21, 1968, a B-52 carrying four nuclear bombs caught on fire and crashed into ice nearby Thule Air Force Base.

Denmark has had a no-nuclear policy since 1957.

The U.S. had moved Greenlanders from Thule village during WWII to build the base. Denmark unwillingly gave the U.S. eternal use of Greenland. It agreed to never inspect what the U.S. brought. After the war, the enemy was again the Soviet Union, and the U.S. brought nuclear weapons to Thule. Since then, the U.S. flies and sails nuclear missiles anywhere regardless of any nation’s laws. Danish politicians faithfully cover up the fact that the U.S. has nuclear weaponry on its territory.

Following the crash, teams of Danes and U.S. Americans conducted as much clean-up of nuclear waste and plutonium as they said they could. The whole matter was hushed up, but a report revealed that only 90% of dangerous material was recovered; 10% was sunken below the seabed at North Star Bay, contaminating plants and fish.

Of the 1,500 Danish workers, 450 died from radiation cancer. There is no information available about how many Greenlanders fell ill and died. In 1995, Danish survivors of the clean-up (“Operation Chrome Dome”) sued for compensation.

Survivors received the grand total of $6,000 each for their pain. Neither the American workers nor native Greenlanders in the area received anything. The Association of Former Thule Workers called it a “cover-up.”

Cover-up is what the Danish governments’ Defense Department has been doing for years, and has led to illegally spying on its residents and European neighbors, a Danish weapons firm, Terma, even the Ministry of Finance, all to please NSA and Lockheed Martin.

Social Democrats Embrace the New Cold War with Relish

In the autumn of 2019, the new Social Democrat government leaders wet their skirts scrambling to convince the most narcissistic president in U.S. history that they are his most loyal of all lackeys. Great Britain move over.

Mette Frederiksen and her war minister, Trine Bramsen, felt the need to make up for not being able to sell Greenland to Donald Trump’s government, something he felt was a condition for his scheduled September 2019 visit.

Frederiksen pledged even closer U.S.-Danish cooperation in efforts to control the Arctic, whose melting ice has increased competition with Russia over oil and minerals. Frederiksen made further offerings to assist the United States Military Empire:

  1. The same day that Trump would have walked beside PM Frederiksen, she instructed her war minister to send four F-16s to Lithuania just in case Russia decided to invade there.
  2. The same day, Frederiksen-Bramsen announced they were buying top-notch sonar so it could help search for Russian submarines.
  3. To offset Trump’s criticism that Denmark as a wealthy country should pay more for its military, Frederiksen-Bramsen pledged millions for NATO.
  4. Bramsen assured us that her elite corps (comparable to Navy Seals and Frogmen) will be used as protection against Russia. She did not tell us what the threat was but emphasized that the elite corps would be “effective when there is need for it.”
  5. September 6, the PM, Secretary of State and War Minister stood together as they announced sending 500 more soldiers to various vulnerable parts of the globe. They will sail Denmark’s largest vessel, a frigate, alongside U.S. aircraft carriers to patrol the waters close to Russia and Iran. (A Danish frigate with helicopters and 155 sailors sailed in a France-led surveillance mission in Hormuz Strait beginning in December 2019.)
  6. September 27, the largest military exercise on Danish soil in 15 years engaged in maneuvers against a hypothetical Russian invading force. Operation Brave Lion confronted the invisible Brown Bears with two thousand men and women (women now comprise 20% of the military).

Kristian Soeby Kristensen, senior researcher at the Institute for Military Studies, Copenhagen University, told DR, “Russia constitutes a potential military threat to Europe…so it is decisive that European countries also equip themselves and pose with more powerful forces.”

The “threat” from this huge country is frightening for those who refuse to see how ridiculous it is to claim that 145 million Russians will take on 900 million people in 30 NATO countries.

Denmark and the EU are also increasing the demonization of Russia by following U.S.’s lead in denying that the Soviet Union/Russia played an important role in winning WWII.

On Victory Day, May 4, 75 years after Germany surrendered in Denmark, Danish politicians gave no credit to the fact that the Soviet Union played a central role in liberating Europe from the Nazis. Twenty-seven million Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed (13% of its people), compared to 450,000 in the UK (1%), and 420,000 Americans (0.32%).  

Denmark has also come up with reasons to sanction Russia’s ally, China. Denmark’s largest telecommunications company (TDC) worked with Huawei and was satisfied. No one could find any spying capabilities with Huawei products. Trump, however, just as all U.S. presidents tied with Wall Street, must have enemies. They serve for weapon-industry profiteering and as diversions from internal problems. With sanctions against Huawei, TDC switched to Ericsson, a Swedish company.

Mette Swinging with Trump

Following the tense situation about who should control Greenland, Mette Frederiksen met with Donald Trump in London during the December 2019 NATO meeting.

She told the media, “I have a good and positive impression of the president.” “We can count on one another and we can trust one another.” “We swing well.”

To prove how well she swings with her big partner, Frederiksen increased Denmark’s military support over what she had offered just two months before. This support includes:

  • More military focus and money in Greenland’s Arctic area for “national security.”
  • Double Denmark’s aircraft for NATO from four to eight in honor of its 70th birthday.

Key features of Denmark’s military might for its 5.7 million inhabitants include:

  • $3 billion military budget (3% of 2019 Financial Budget), a 20% increase in military spending over a six-year period.
  • Mercenaries in Afghanistan (160) plus Danish police instructors; $50 million for what is admittedly Afghanistan’s corrupt police corps; aircraft and war vehicles come and go.
  • Mercenaries in Iraq (150). Denmark sent 50 more as it takes charge of the remaining NATO countries’ 500 “advisers.” This is Denmark’s third mission in Iraq. Its first 2003-7 aimed at crushing Saddam Hussein’s government and resistance forces. Denmark also has 14 operators at a United Arab Emirates airbase as part of its mission in Iraq.
  • Mercenaries in the Baltic (200-300). The Danes are there officially to keep “Putin’s troops away.” The three Baltic countries are in NATO and the EU making it ludicrous to believe the Russians would invade.
  • Mercenaries in Bosnia (400) and Kosovo (three dozen).

Denmark’s Wars: The Toll

Thirty thousand troops and mercenaries sent 67,371 times to war between 1990-2017 (and running) as an aggressor in half-a-dozen countries, either as part of NATO or part of the “coalition of the willing.” Danish troops have also been in two dozen countries as part of UN peacekeeping forces.

Danes killed: 64; wounded, approximately 300; 47 suicides in 300 attempts between 1992-2013 (and running). No figures are kept of how many human beings Denmark has murdered!

  1. Balkans=33,691 Danes; 12 Danes killed; 35 wounded. 1992-today.
  2. Afghanistan=20,000 Danes; 43 killed; 214 wounded. 2002-today
  3. Iraq=9,605 troops; 8 killed; 19 wounded. 2003-today
  4. Libya=629 pilots+, none killed or wounded. 2011
  5. Lebanon=1,551; one killed; no wounded.
  6. Gulf of Aden=3,149 sailors/military; none killed or wounded.
  7. Syria=738 air force and special forces; none killed or wounded

Conclusion: Why are Danes so obedient to the United States Military Empire?

Profiteering from the weapons industry and wars is always one answer, usually the main answer. Nevertheless, with the exception of a handful of capitalists (A.P. Moeller Maersk, Terma) income from weapons and war is negligible in Denmark.

Demonizing President Vladimir Putin is the key ideological reason. Copying the United States Military Empire goes hand-in-hand with that.

Can Danes really believe that the Russians would invade them if the U.S. wasn’t behind them militarily? Would the U.S. drop its support if Denmark refused to fight the Yankees’ wars? No. If it did, it would have serious problems with several current vassal states.

Not all 30 NATO countries and the 27 in the EU are so obedient as are the Danes. Danes want to be first in line. In fact, “shoulder to shoulder” was how Social Democrat Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen expressed Danes support for U.S. wars following 9/11 attacks.

In summary, this is what Danes have told me about their complacency over the decades.

  1. We had to do what the U.S. wanted of us so we could come in out of the cold, and get Marshall Plan benefits.
  2. Danes profited from colonialism/slavery. Much of Denmark’s wealth has come from being oppressors. Danes don’t want to confront that past, clearly seen on many monuments/statues/street names, and Greenland is still a colony.
  3. Danes now see themselves as just a “little land” needing “security” from a big land.
  4. Danish culture has long been passive, authoritarian faithful, conflict-adverse and indifferent.

END

[1] Denmark does not even have a large profiteering weapons industry, not yet. Most of its war profits come from supplying advanced radar and communication apparatuses for satellites and jets, measurements of heat, dust, sounds, and drones. Before Denmark began its warring era, there were less than a handful of such firms. Since 1996, the Defense and Aerospace industry has grown to 73 members (2014). Its exports in 2008 (latest figures provided) were some $3 billion. It has recently reorganized its production from delivery of components to entire systems for such warring giants as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, as well as NASA. It sells war materials to the Balkans and to the Baltic States, pressing Russia on its western borders. (See Outposts of the U.S. Surveillance Empire: Denmark and Beyond, CovertAction Magazine for information on Denmark’s largest weapons firm, Terma, and the Defense Intelligence Service (FE).

[2] Mercenary because if Denmark has not declared war or is not under attack, no soldier is forced to take to foreign war missions without volunteering, and do so with greater pay. Denmark’s war in Iraq began in March 2003 as George W. Bush invaded the cradle of civilization, murdering hundreds of thousands of human beings while destroying and stealing much of its ancient and modern works. Tjalve pointed out that the so-called “red” social democratic government was then even more willing to continue warring in Iraq—this time against IS instead of the defeated forces of Saddam Hussein—than was the majority in the U.S. The 2014 mission was not official war, rather part of the “anti-terror” mission against IS. Danish soldiers were not ordered to fight in other countries where Denmark had not declared war. They went voluntarily, and are thus mercenaries.

[3] One must bear in mind that the combined military forces of U.S./NATO/EU/Israel are ten-fold what Russia has. The U.S. has about 800 military bases outside (plus 4,154 on its soil); NATO has 30; Russia has a dozen, and China one. See William Blum books. Blum documented that since WWII the U.S. has attempted to overthrow 50 governments, most of them democratically elected, and been successful about half the time. See also my book, The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, chapter 18. Amazon.com: The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert eBook: Ridenour, Ron: Kindle Store

Russia Jails Alexei Navalny For 30 Days After Telling West To "Butt Out"

Par Tyler Durden
Russia Jails Alexei Navalny For 30 Days After Telling West To "Butt Out"

Moscow is telling the West to "butt out" of the Alexei Navalny case after the anti-Putin activist was detained immediately upon his arrival in Moscow Sunday night after coming from Berlin on a Russian airline Pobeda flight.

He's now been sentenced to 30-days in jail after a hasty court hearing, also as Europe ramps up pressure, threatening new sanctions on Russia if he's not immediately released.

The 44-year-old Kremlin critic and political figure returned to Russia knowing he'd be arrested while also asking his supporters to come out en masse to cheer his arrival at the airport. Over the past months he's given media interviews from Germany where's he's directly accused Vladimir Putin for ordering his alleged poisoning by a nerve agent last August - something which the Kremlin has vehemently denied.

Russian police awaited Navalny's return to Moscow, via AP.
 

Multiple reports said about 200 supporters were at the airport Sunday night to greet him, some of which were led away by police. Navalny's surprise return to Russia - where authorities have long sought to interview and investigate him over the claimed poisoning incident which saw him collapse on an Aug.20 flight over Siberia - appears to be toward garnering more popular support within the country as an 'opposition martyr' of sorts.

According to Reuters, he's facing prison time for leaving Russian soil unauthorized while serving probation for a 2014 embezzlement case. 

"State prosecutors in Russia asked a judge on Monday to jail Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for 30 days, after he was detained the previous evening at a Moscow airport when flying home for the first time since he was poisoned last summer," Reuters reports.

Алексея из зала «суда» pic.twitter.com/Dqsa4x0qrz

— Кира Ярмыш (@Kira_Yarmysh) January 18, 2021

Soon after his Sunday evening detention Navalny recorded a video from inside a police station saying his hasty court hearing was "the highest degree of lawlessness".

He again attacked President Putin in the video, saying the Russian leader is making a "mockery" of justice by "throwing it in the trash" according to a translation.

“Fear nothing,” @navalny tells followers. “Take to the streets.” https://t.co/JCV8RbrI8Y

— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) January 18, 2021

"The United Nations and Western nations told Russia to immediately free the opposition politician and some countries called for new sanctions," Reuters noted. "Moscow told them to mind their own business."

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 09:45
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 15:45

Key Events This Busy Week: Biden, Central Banks, PMIs And Earnings

Par Tyler Durden
Key Events This Busy Week: Biden, Central Banks, PMIs And Earnings

With the US closed for MLK day, it will be a quiet start to the week. After the lull today, the week ahead is a busy one with Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday an obvious focal point. Outside of that, DB's Jim Reid writes that we have an array of central bank decisions to expect, including from the ECB and the Bank of Japan (both Thursday), while data highlight will be the flash PMIs for January. In addition, earnings season will begin to ramp up, with 43 S&P 500 companies reporting this week before the heavy couple of weeks after that.

Looking more into the week ahead now, with regards to Joe Biden, the clock will start on his first 100 days in office post the inauguration. He has already announced that he is aiming for 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, as well as an economic package that includes topping up the recently passed $600 checks to individuals up to $2,000. In February, he is then expected to outline his “Build Back Better Recovery Plan” before a Joint Session of Congress, where he’ll push for investments in infrastructure, R&D and clean energy.

Staying on the political scene, the German CDU have elected Armin Laschet as the new party leader over the weekend and someone who was the closest politically to Chancellor Merkel. However, it’s far from a given that the new leader will necessarily be the chancellor candidate of the CDU/CSU in September’s federal election, with the CSU’s Markus Söder strongly tipped for that role which is expected to be decided upon in April. So from that respect there’s too much water to flow under the bridge before September for this to be a big market moving event at the moment.

This week sees an array of central bank decisions, with 7 of the G20 central banks deciding on rates. In terms of the highlights, the consensus is not expecting the ECB to make any changes in rates on Thursday following their easing package in December, and President Lagarde warned earlier this week against tightening simply on the back of inflation rising thanks to pent-up demand. Meanwhile, the BoJ will maintain their policy stance, but they’re likely to downgrade their economic outlook in light of the state of emergency declaration. The other monetary policy decisions to watch out will be from Canada and Brazil on Wednesday, and then Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia on Thursday.

As also discussed above, earnings season ramps up as 43 companies in the S&P 500 will be reporting. The highlights will be Bank of America, Netflix, Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs tomorrow, then on Wednesday, releases will come from Procter & Gamble, UnitedHealth Group, ASML Holding, Morgan Stanley and BNY Mellon. Finally on Thursday, we’ll hear from Intel, Union Pacific and IBM.

In Europe we have 30 reporting in the Stoxx 600 as the season slowly gets into gear. The median beat over the last 15 years is 3.4pp. The last two quarters have been 20pp and 17pp above consensus.

On the data side, the main highlight next week will be the release of the flash PMIs on Friday, which will be one of the first indications of how the global economy has fared into 2021. However, with the pandemic continuing to spread in numerous regions and fresh restrictions having been imposed, the consensus estimates are generally pointing to lower readings in January compared with December. Over the last couple of months of fresh lockdowns, growth had generally held up better than expected as more activity seems to be permissible relative to last spring. However it’s fair to say that these restrictions are likely to last longer than economists expected so calibrating what that means for revisions is tough. Probably less bad but for longer is the message.

Day-by-day calendar of events courtesy of Deutsche Bank

Monday January 18

  • Data: China Q4 GDP, December industrial production, retail sales. All now out.
  • Central Banks: Bank of England Governor Bailey speaks
  • Other: US equity and bond markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday January 19

  • Data: Germany January ZEW survey, US November foreign net transactions
  • Central Banks: Bank of England Chief Economist Haldane speaks
  • Politics: Janet Yellen has confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary at Senate Banking Committee
  • Earnings: Bank of America, Netflix, Charles Schwab, Goldman Sachs

Wednesday January 20

  • Data: UK December CPI, Euro Area final December CPI, Canada December CPI, US January NAHB housing market index, Japan December trade balance (23:50 UK time)
  • Central Banks: Monetary policy decisions from the Bank of Canada and Central Bank of Brazil, BoE Governor Bailey speaks
  • Politics: Inauguration of Joe Biden as US President
  • Earnings: Procter & Gamble, UnitedHealth Group, ASML Holding, Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon

Thursday January 21

  • Data: France January business confidence, Italy November industrial orders, industrial sales, US weekly initial jobless claims, December housing starts, building permits, January Philadelphia Fed business outlook, Euro Area advance January consumer confidence, preliminary January manufacturing, services and composite PMIs from Australia (22:00 UK time), Japan December nationwide CPI (23:30 UK time)
  • Central Banks: Monetary policy decisions from the ECB, the Bank of Japan, the Central Bank of Turkey, Bank Indonesia and the South African Reserve Bank
  • Earnings: Intel, Union Pacific, IBM

Friday January 22

  • Data: Preliminary January manufacturing, services and composite PMIs from Japan, France, Germany, Euro Area, UK and US, UK January GfK consumer confidence, December retail sales, public sector net borrowing, Canada November retail sales, US December existing home sales

* * *

Finally, looking at just the US, Goldman writes that the key economic data releases this week are the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index and jobless claims reports, both on Thursday. There are no major speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, reflecting the FOMC blackout period.

Monday, January 18

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. There are no major economic data releases scheduled. NYSE will be closed. SIFMA recommends bond markets also closed.

Tuesday, January 19

  • There are no major economic data releases scheduled.

Wednesday, January 20

  • 10:00 AM NAHB housing market index, January (consensus 86, last 86)
  • 12:00 PM Presidential inauguration

Thursday, January 21

  • 08:30 AM Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, January (GS 10.0, consensus 11.3, last 9.1): We estimate that the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rebounded marginally in January to 10.0 from a downwardly revised 9.1. Our forecast reflects the decline in the Empire Fed measure but continued resilience in the industrial sector more broadly.
  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended January 16 (GS 935k, consensus 923k, last 965k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended January 9 (consensus 5,250k, last 5,271k): We estimate initial jobless claims declined to 935k in the week ended January 16.
  • 08:30 AM Housing starts, December (GS +1.2%, consensus +0.8%, last +1.2%): Building permits, December (consensus -2.0%, last +6.2%): We estimate housing starts increased by 1.2% in December. Our forecast incorporates higher permits and stronger construction job growth, but a potential virus drag.

Friday, January 22

  • 09:45 AM Markit Flash US manufacturing PMI, January preliminary (consensus 56.5, last 57.1)
  • 09:45 AM Markit Flash US services PMI, January preliminary (consensus 53.4, last 54.8)
  • 10:00 AM Existing home sales, December (GS -2.0%, consensus -2.1%, last -2.5%): We estimate that existing home sales declined by 2.0% in December after declining by 2.5% in November. Existing home sales are an input into the brokers' commissions component of residential investment in the GDP report.

Source: DB, Goldman, BofA

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/18/2021 - 09:30
  • 18 janvier 2021 à 15:30
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