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[] NO WAY! New report says Covid-19 likely in the U.S. in December 2019 (Before China ever acknowledged it publicly) Published:12/1/2020 5:49:13 AM
[GOOG] Palantir Technologies: An In-Depth Look At Whether It Have A Sustainable Competitive Advantage Published:12/1/2020 5:49:13 AM
[Entertainment] 17 Books to Read This December E-Comm: December Books, 2020We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. The...
Published:12/1/2020 5:49:13 AM
[Markets] $2 billion deal struck in home health care equipment $2 billion deal struck in home health care equipment Published:12/1/2020 5:49:13 AM
[Enterprise] GoSite snags $40M to help SMBs bring their businesses online There are 12 million small and medium businesses in the US, yet they have continued to be one of most underserved segments of the B2B universe: that volume underscores a lot of fragmentation, and alongside other issues like budget constraints, there are a number of barriers to building for them at scale. Today, however, a […] Published:12/1/2020 5:49:13 AM
[Markets] : Piste-off: EU attempts united front to close ski resorts and prevent COVID Some European governments have ordered the shutdown of all ski resorts, fearing a repeat of earlier this year. But they didn't factor on the Swiss.
Published:12/1/2020 5:49:12 AM
[] The Morning Report - 12/1/20 Good morning, kids. Tuesday, and the first day of the last month of a year from Hell, which we are still going through and no doubt will persist into the next one for a host of reasons. On a... Published:12/1/2020 5:49:12 AM
[38e3797c-91fb-5a2e-b2f4-1b72f858e7fd] Cal Thomas: Government's assault on faith and conscience is far from over In the United States, the threat to religious liberty has been under siege for some time. Published:12/1/2020 5:20:08 AM
[Markets] Dispatches from a Pandemic: I’ve already been injected with a COVID vaccine. This is why I’m cheering for the Novavax underdog 'No, I never considered it was risky, and no, of course, I’m not getting paid. I just received my second shot a few days ago,' writes Pierre Briançon of volunteering for a vaccine trial in London.
Published:12/1/2020 5:20:08 AM
[Politics] Europe Sends Its Condolences to Iran Ever wonder why so many Americans share President Trump's skepticism of Europe? Look no further than its reaction to the assassination of the mastermind of Iran's atomic-bomb project. Moshen Fakhrizadeh was a leader of Iran's effort to obtain an atomic bomb to use on the country in which the survivors of the Holocaust found redemption. Yet the Europeans rushed out a statement calling the attack a "criminal act." Plus, too, the EU, in a statement from its High Representative, Josep Borrell... Published:12/1/2020 5:20:08 AM
[Markets] A November for the market record books: Morning Brief Top news and what to watch in the markets on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Published:12/1/2020 5:20:08 AM
[Europe] Nordigen introduces free European open banking API Latvian fintech startup Nordigen is switching to a freemium model thanks to a free open banking API. Open banking was supposed to democratize access to banking information, but the company believes banking aggregation APIs from Tink or Plaid are too expensive. Instead, Nordigen thinks it can provide a free API to access account information and […] Published:12/1/2020 4:50:26 AM
[World] Election results have more holes than Swiss cheese

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, has put it out there bluntly that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump by minions of the left, supporters of socialism, defenders of the Democratic Party — which is to be redundant, i.e., the socialists.

Meanwhile, the more and more ... Published:12/1/2020 4:50:26 AM

[Markets] : France defies U.S. and starts levying digital tax on tech giants. But will this change with a Biden presidency? The French government has sent notices to multinational internet companies that they should pay the country’s digital tax in December, a finance ministry spokesman said.
Published:12/1/2020 4:50:26 AM
[] The Morning Briefing: Whaddyaknow—Enemy of the People CNN Finally Admits China Lied About Bat Flu Published:12/1/2020 4:18:49 AM
[Markets] What About Scottish Independence? What About Scottish Independence? Tyler Durden Tue, 12/01/2020 - 05:00

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

Yesterday was St Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s National Saint’s Day. I think it’s worth noting and considering Scotland in context of this vexed and troubled year for the United Kingdom.

Brexit remains an immediate threat, Covid will still batter the economy for the next 6 months, and long-term we’ve got issues like future trade, the transition to a carbon neutral climate friendly economy to solve. When government has spent 40 years dithering about a new railway “Oop-North” and vital questions such as what colour to paint Heathrow airport – it’s difficult be positive about the Long-Term.  

I don’t need to tell Porridge Readers how bleak things look for UK Inc in terms of the underperformance on the FTSE, Sterling weakness, our failure to grow any significant new tech industries, or the current battle for the Soul of Government as modernisers try to argue spending our way of crisis is a valid solution, (which I believe it is), while the orthodoxy continues to preach that raising taxes, cutting services and cutting the deficit. Austerity will made a bad year utterly appaling.

While Boris is floundering, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon is having a good Pandemic. She’s an accomplished politician and crowd-pleaser. In May 2021 signs are the Scottish National Party will win an overall majority in Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament – largely on the back of blaming Boris for everything. They will push and shove for another Scottish Referendum on Independence. It will be fraught, bitter and if it happens, and create even more support if it’s not allowed. When it happens, the Nationalists will likely win, breaking the 313-year old Union. 

The breakup of the UK is therefore a significant likelihood event – greater than 10% - so it needs to be factored in. It’s got profound implications for investing in Scotland and for the UK as a whole. 

There is a small hope that a swift vaccination program and faster than expected economic recovery will ease some of the Scottish Tensions by May, giving the pro-union Scottish Tories something to base a fightback around. Or perhaps the SNP will implode from whatever really did happen regarding Surgeon’s interventions regarding Alex Salmond’s acquittal on sexual misconduct charges.  Hope is never a good strategy. And Scotland, historically, tends to be ruled by passions rather than common sense. 

Normally at this point I would write something reassuring: “don’t worry, things are never as bad as you fear they might be”. I’m not sure I can this time – it will take leaps of political faith and some stunning internal diplomacy to put the UK back on track. Things may be every bit as bad as we fear. 

To be clear.. Brexit is what Brexit will be. A no-deal will cause enormous dislocation, make trade a nightmare and constrain growth considerably. The deal currently on offer – which boils down to the French telling us our fish aren’t ours - is unacceptable. Simple as. One hopes saner minds in Europe will come up with a compromise the UK government can accept. It doesn’t make sense for the German car industry to be decimated for the sake of a couple of hundred French fishermen demanding preferential treatment. If a deal can’t be found.. there are times when dumb pride makes sense. It won’t help UK industry or Jobs, and it will cause pain in Europe, but sometimes lines have to be drawn.  

Covid will be done and dusted in the next 6 months. Recovery could be swifter than the doomsters in the OBR and other modelers expect. 

But losing Scotland? That’s a different issue. That’s an identity issue. What would the split-up of the UK do its constituent parts? Would England (and Wales) remain geopolitically significant? Where would Scotland find itself. 

The brutal reality is that England became a significant European power well before Union. While the Elizabethans were crushing all comers, we Scots stuck with our tradition of incessant warfare against our worst enemies. Ourselves. England will survive without Scotland. I’ve joked, half-in-earnest, that if the SNP really want independence, they should give the vote to the English!

Following the Union in 1707 the history of Scotland shifted from bleak poverty and desolation to stunning growth and wealth as Edinburgh became the Athens of the North, the centre of new learning, invention and innovation. Scots soldiers seized the empire and the great UK trading houses were founded by energetic Caledonians. In the 1900s Glasgow was the second city of the Empire, and Clyde-Built was the stamp of engineering excellence. 

The dream died in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher crushed Scottish industry, suppressed the unions, spent our oil money, and left much of the Country on the “Brew” – the Bureau of Unemployment. She will never be forgiven North of the Border. The bill for her actions can be seen in Holyrood today. The SNP has thrived by convincing Scottish Labour voters it’s the Tories and England that are to blame for Scotland’s dismal depression today, and that Independence offers a better future. 

I’ve always argued No to independence.

Better to deal with the devil we know. England has been good to me and countless other Scots who’ve taken the High Road south.  But now.. well maybe it is time to reconsider. As Independence looks increasing likely what would Scotland need to make it successful in the modern world? 

Let’s start by dismissing the idea Scotland would be an Oil Major – the myth oft floated by the SNP. Revenues from Oil and Gas are tumbling and – let’s be blunt – unpopular. But the skills learnt in the North Sea in terms of being able to harness the Winds, Sea and Tides are unmatched. Scotland is blest with plenty of weather. We could well establish ourselves as the premier powerhouse for renewable energy. There are superb universities with well-honed skills across commerce and industry to support a tech driven economy. For instance, my own, Heriot Watt, leads the world innovating robotics for the maintenance of offshore installations. 

There is agriculture: a potential future where premium agricultural products (green, organic, farm grown, and water rich), command higher prices looks probable. Whisky is a major export earner. And there is hospitality – tourism is a massive earner. When God made the planet he made Scotland the most beautiful place, blessed up with fine lads and lasses, made us smart and clever and gave us the gift of whisky. When the Archangel Gabriel suggested that was a bit unfair to every other nation, God replied: “Aye, but look who I gave them for neighbours.” 

Would a sound renewables, tech and agricultural base be enough to make Scotland stable as an independent nation? The naysayers immediately point to deprivation and the deficit, paid by Westminster to Hollyrood each year – around £15 bln before Corona costs. Scotland could expect to be burdened with a portion of the UK national debt on exit. These will not be insignificant costs to pay.

Then there is the issue of Europe. The SNP are determined to reverse Brexit and jump into bed with the EU – which would be pointless as England accounts for 60% of Scottish Exports against 18% to Europe. How would Scotland function with the Euro – where spending decisions, fiscal and monetary policy have effectively been seized by Brussels? Scotland in the EU would become another small country to be side-lined, and a stick for Brussels to beat England with. 

Which raises the currency issue. Monetary sovereignty will be critical. Scotland would fail dismally with either the Euro, or being tied to Sterling run from England. Perhaps the return of the Scottish Pound would make sense. That would require the new currency to receive swift acceptance and support in global markets – requiring a new Scottish Government to immediately establish its credentials and credibility to create confidence in the new country and currency. 

At present the SNP is a single-purpose party. Once it achieves its goal of independence it will likely fracture, (already it is riven by internal disputes,) into left and right – none of which are likely to present a strong unified face to the World. 

What sort of Country could Scotland be? With a strong socialist tradition, but sound entrepreneurial and mercantile history I suspect an Independent Scotland might surprise us. Imagine a strong welfare, health and education sector on the back of a green and technological economy? 

Why not? Much of Modern medicine was pioneered in Scotland. Penicillin was discovered by a Scot. While the SNP has made a right Horlicks of Education thus far – it’s always been a Scottish strength. We had universal education centuries before anyone else. (My primary school in Edinburgh, the Royal High School is over 1000 years old. My secondary school, Heriots, is a mere stripling at 392 years. )

How could Scotland get there? Becoming a comfortable, liberal welfare state with a strong tech and business led growth strategy? I’ve talked before how Scotland could become a little bit like Denmark.

It would all depend on how the split would work. It would make sense to retain many of the links – particularly in Defence, which could easily be achieved by retaining the Union of the Crowns; one Monarchy but two independent nations. The English would pay Scotland a significant sum – say the $15 bln annual deficit – to maintain the Faslane submarine base and Coulport nuclear depots (no English city would accept Europe’s largest nuclear weapons dump 40 miles from its heart, like Glasgow.)

I will continue to say No to Independence, but if it’s going to happen, let’s learn from the mistakes of Brexit and make it happen well. At its most basic, it would require at least the following: 

  • Monetary Sovereignty,

  • A transition period to allow Scottish politics to mature after the Single Purpose SNP de-establishes,

  • The establishment of a Scottish Central Bank and its own independent fund-raising capability,

  • A clear partnership agreement with the other parts of the UK on mutual defence, trade and financial partnership, and critically

  • The right of the Scots to approve the whole deal in a final referendum after the negotiations are completed

Lay out the rules and let the games commence. (I would be very interested in what readers think about Independence for Scotland.)

Published:12/1/2020 4:18:49 AM
[7d3bdc37-edda-5505-bff8-3ebee7c5384f] Audrey Hepburn’s son on how she coped with childhood famine during WWII: 'Her dreams kept her going' The Hollywood icon, who captivated hearts during the ‘50s and ‘60s, passed away in 1993 at age 63 from cancer. Published:12/1/2020 4:18:48 AM
[Markets] Tesla, Salesforce, Slack, Zoom Video, Jerome Powell - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday Stock futures rise as investors await testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and look back at the best monthly performance for equities since April; Tesla to be added to the S&P; 500 in one tranche; Salesforce reports earnings. Published:12/1/2020 4:18:48 AM
[Markets] : Here’s why cod and haddock threaten to scuttle trade talks as both EU and U.K. send Brexit warnings Deadlines have come and gone in the last 10 months, but the legal calendar now only leaves a few days for both sides to strike a deal in time for its ratification by parliaments.
Published:12/1/2020 4:18:48 AM
[Entertainment] He was ‘Doctor of the Year’ for helping thousands of women get pregnant. But DNA tests unraveled a dark secret. Dr. Quincy Fortier, who died in 2006 at the age of 94, was never charged with any crimes, did not forcefully admit to any wrongdoing and never lost his license while delivering thousands of babies. Published:12/1/2020 3:50:38 AM
[Entertainment] Gigi Hadid Shares Never-Before-Seen Pregnancy Photos of Herself and Zayn Malik Gigi HadidGigi Hadid is taking an adorable stroll down memory lane, just a handful of months after she and boyfriend Zayn Malik welcomed their first child. The 25-year-old model posted a trio of...
Published:12/1/2020 3:20:26 AM
[Markets] UN Climate Agency Slapped With Corruption Allegations  UN Climate Agency Slapped With Corruption Allegations  Tyler Durden Tue, 12/01/2020 - 04:15

The Financial Times recently acquired a draft report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) of audit and investigations, outlining how "fraud and corruption" have been linked to the multibillion-dollar Global Environment Facility (GEF).

FT examined the draft report which described "financial misstatements" that were discovered across UNDP's portfolio of GEF-funded projects around the world.

"Issues identified by the audit could seriously compromise the achievement of the objectives of the audited entity," the report said.

GEF was set up in the early 1990s with the World Bank to combat climate change. Its main objectives have been to help fight environmental challenges such as deforestation, species preservation, and pollution control. In recent years, GEF has become an independent organization with more than $21 billion dispersed in 170 countries, including $7 billion in projects managed by UNDP. 

The audit covers 2018 and 2019 - comes as donor countries have raised concerns about the facility's mismanagement of funds. 

In 2019, Foreign Policy published a report on whistleblower accounts of a UNDP-managed GEF project in Russia that was found to have possible misappropriation of millions of dollars. Top donor countries, including the US, France, Australia, and Japan, have requested an independent review of UNDP's Russian project, according to the letter seen by the FT. 

"Matters of misconduct and misappropriation of funds continue to obstruct sustainable development across the world," top donors said in March in the letter to Achim Steiner, the UNDP administrator, since 2017.

UNDP responded to the corruption allegations, saying it "takes all cases of financial mismanagement and other irregularities extremely seriously." UNDP said it "most closely monitored" GEF projects. 

"The portfolio, the majority of which are implemented by national and subnational institutions, civil society organizations as well as other UN organizations, is subject to an intricate system of regular reviews, independent assessments and audits," the UNDP said.

UNDP also said while there have been "allegations of misuse of funds" at numerous projects, these complaints are only "a tiny fraction - 1.4% of the UNDP's GEF-funded portfolio. 

The allegations of misconduct at GEF are not the first allegations connected with the UN's programs to fight climate change. 

In August, the FT noted that UN-backed, South Korea-based Green Climate Fund, the world's largest climate finance institution, faced internal misconduct complaints. 

"The words' climate' and 'corruption,' people see these as two different worlds, but there is a lot of overlap," said Brice Böhmer, the head of climate governance integrity at Transparency International, the global anti-corruption group. 

A person familiar with the UNDP-GEF allegations told FT: 

"No one is accountable; no one is responsible. The UNDP lets itself off the hook," the person said, also asking not to be named. "These funds are intended for the poorest of the poor . . . at what point will donors [to the GEF] decide to suspend funding?"

Published:12/1/2020 3:20:26 AM
[structure:news] Travel latest news: New testing options to unlock post-lockdown holidays Published:12/1/2020 3:20:26 AM
[VLKAF] QuantumScape: Building The Battery Of The Future Published:12/1/2020 2:49:33 AM
[Markets] Eton College Defends Sacking Teacher Over Video On Masculinity Eton College Defends Sacking Teacher Over Video On Masculinity Tyler Durden Tue, 12/01/2020 - 03:30

Authored by Simon Veazey via The Epoch Times,

Amid growing backlash for firing an English teacher over a video on masculinity, Eton College has said that it is “not an issue of freedom of speech.”

Teacher Will Knowland was dismissed from the school—which has famously educated over one-third of all British prime ministers, including Boris Johnson—after he refused to take down a lecture from his private YouTube channel that questioned “current radical feminist orthodoxy.”

The school initially refused to comment since an appeals process is underway.

After growing accusations of bending to woke progressivism, the school has now defended its actions, insisting they made the decision based on legal advice.

“The dismissal of Mr. Knowland was not an issue of freedom of speech,” the college said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.

“The school was advised by specialist lawyers that the content in question was in breach of the Equalities Act and the Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations. There was simply no other choice than to ask for it to be taken down.”

Pupils at Eton College hurry between lessons wearing the school uniform of tailcoats and starched collars, in Eton, England, in this file photo. Eton is one of the most expensive and prestigious private schools in the world. (Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

Eton says that they repeatedly asked Knowland to remove the video temporarily from his YouTube channel “pending further discussion” but that he refused.

He was sacked for gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel.

The Patriarchy Paradox

Knowland has taught English for nine years at the £42,500-a-year boys school, which is a byword for privilege and traditional private education.

His video was based on a lecture entitled “The Patriarchy Paradox,” which he had prepared earlier this year, as part of a course to encourage critical thinking in older students.

Before presenting to students, he pre-recorded a video of the lecture, which was circulated among other teachers on the school’s intranet. According to the Telegraph, when one of the teachers complained, the headmaster asked for the video to be removed. It was removed.

Knowland, however, refused to remove the lecture from his personal YouTube channel.

“Because I believe passionately in free speech, I said I would only take it down if given a clear reason, which is how I ended up being dismissed,” Knowland said, reported The Telegraph.

The Provost of Eton (chairman of the governing body), Lord Waldegrave, responded to what he described as a “fake news” narrative that Knowland had been sacked for preparing the video lecture itself.

“It is alleged that he was sacked for having the temerity to articulate such views,” Waldegrave wrote in a statement sent to The Epoch Times. “This is false.”

A student walks in front of Eton College, in Eton, west of London, on Oct. 1, 2015. (Jack Taylor/AFP via Getty Images)

Waldegrave said that Eton “prides itself on encouraging open-minded, independent, and critical thinking.”

Knowland’s personal video was, with the school’s permission, “clearly identified with Eton,” according to Waldegrave.

He said that the dismissal “is not about free speech within the law, behind which Eton stands foursquare. It is about a matter of internal discipline, quite properly now subject to appeal.”

A Letter from Pupils

Knowland said his intention was to present different views from “the current radical feminist orthodoxy”—but not to necessarily endorse them.

“In my lecture, I pointed out that, historically, masculine qualities like strength, courage, and tenacity have often been as beneficial to women as they have been to men,” he said according to the Telegraph.

A crowdfunding site set up in the name of Knowland says, “I have been dismissed from my employment. My wife and I will be made homeless, along with our five children. I am raising money to challenge my dismissal in the Employment Tribunal if necessary.”

The funding site has currently raised almost £35,000 ($46,700) of a £60,000 target.

Meanwhile, a petition letter written by current pupils at the school has been steadily gaining signatures from current and former pupils, reaching almost 2,000 as of writing.

The Epoch Times cannot verify signatories are all as stated.

The authors said that the disciplinary action could not be separated from the content of the lecture.

“We struggle to identify where Mr. Knowland’s video steps out of the realms of academic debate and into genuinely discriminatory private opinion,” the letter said.

“The boys have concluded from watching the video that the problem cannot lie in the way he sets out the ideas, but in the ideas themselves.”

The letter urged the school to be kind.

“The dismissal of Mr. Knowland—at least on the facts available to the boys—points to a heartless and merciless spirit at the top of the school,” they wrote. “Mr. Knowland is loved by all who have encountered him. He is an obviously and thoroughly good man.”

Published:12/1/2020 2:49:33 AM
[Artificial Intelligence] Databand raises $14.5M led by Accel for its data pipeline observability tools DevOps continues to get a lot of attention as a wave of companies develop more sophisticated tools to help developers manage increasingly complex architectures and workloads. In the latest development, Databand — an AI-based observability platform for data pipelines, specifically to detect when something is going wrong with a datasource when an engineer is using […] Published:12/1/2020 2:49:33 AM
[Comedy] fuck donald trump

Fuck Donald trump, AKA the worst president ever.

"Man fuck Donald trump, he wants to build a wall and don't pay taxes!!"

Published:12/1/2020 2:19:36 AM
[Entertainment] Why Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Really Are a Perfect Match Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas, 2020 Grammys, Grammy Awards, CandidsSometimes Priyanka Chopra is simply burnin' up with pride at being Mrs. Jonas. There are her #husbandappreciationposts and, of course, her groupie behavior at Jonas Brothers concerts...
Published:12/1/2020 2:19:36 AM
[Security] What You Need to Know About the ‘Marginal’ State of the US Military

The military strength of the United States again is rated as only “marginal” in a new report, the “2021 Index of U.S. Military Strength“, from... Read More

The post What You Need to Know About the ‘Marginal’ State of the US Military appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/1/2020 2:19:36 AM
[Apps] WhatsApp is upping its wallpapers and stickers game WhatsApp is finally upping its wallpapers and stickers game. The instant messaging service said on Tuesday that it will now allow users to set custom wallpapers for different chats. There’s no limit on how many different custom wallpapers a user could choose to assign to different chats, it said. “Make your chats personal and distinguishable […] Published:12/1/2020 2:19:36 AM
[eCommerce] Ankorstore raises $29.9 million for its wholesale marketplace French startup Ankorstore has raised a $29.9 million Series A round (€25 million) with Index Ventures leading the round. Existing investors GFC, Alven and Aglaé are also participating. Ankorstore is building a wholesale marketplace that connects independent shop owners with brands selling household supplies, maple syrup, headbands, bath salts, stationery items and a lot more. […] Published:12/1/2020 1:50:28 AM
[Entertainment] Harry Styles Was the First Person to Find Out About Nick Kroll's Marriage Proposal Harry Styles, WTF WidgetHarry Styles may have found himself a new career in planning wedding proposals, just in case this whole music thing doesn't work out. Nick Kroll appeared on NBC's The Tonight...
Published:12/1/2020 1:50:28 AM
[structure:news] Tuesday morning news briefing: Tories in revolt over PM's Covid tiers Published:12/1/2020 1:50:27 AM
[Markets] British Elite Army Unit To Spy On & Combat 'Anti-Vax Militants': Sunday Times British Elite Army Unit To Spy On & Combat 'Anti-Vax Militants': Sunday Times Tyler Durden Tue, 12/01/2020 - 02:45

As anti-lockdown protests continue to rage in London, resulting in the arrests of over 150 this past weekend, The Sunday Times is out with a hugely alarming report that almost has to be seen to be believed given how open and brazen an example it is of the state using every means possible to crush free speech and independent thought.

Britain will literally use military intelligence to seek out and stamp out what The Times calls "anti-vaccine militants" and related "propaganda content" in cyberspace.

Of course, it's entirely open to state authorities' interpretation as to what this even means, and will likely morph into cracking down on any speech that's even remotely critical or questioning as to the potential harmful side effects of the new rapidly developed COVID-19 vaccines.

Anti-lockdown protester is arrested in London Saturday, via Shutterstock.

This as the UK has agreed to buy more than 350 million doses of vaccines from at least seven global producers, and hopes to start vaccinating as fast as possible as confirmed cases continue to rise into the winter months.

The Times writes that a secretive elite unit will be used as part of information warfare combating anti-vaccine content online:

The army has mobilized an elite "information warfare" unit renowned for assisting operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to counter online propaganda against vaccines, as Britain prepares to deliver its first injections within days.

The defence cultural specialist unit was launched in Afghanistan in 2010 and belongs to the army’s 77th Brigade. The secretive unit has often worked side-by-side with psychological operations teams.

If this doesn't sum up the British state's self-understanding of its own immense power and control over citizens in the year 2020 then nothing else will: the military will use psyops on UK citizens to enforce vaccine group think.

But it's not exactly that the UK military openly admitted this. Instead, it's coming to light via leaked internal documents:

Leaked documents reveal that its soldiers are already monitoring cyberspace for Covid-19 content and analysing how British citizens are being targeted online. It is also gathering evidence of vaccine disinformation from hostile states, including Russia...

And of course "Russia!" manages to be conveniently slipped in as the ultimate "justification" - given the military must fundamentally frame its operations as seeking to root out and subvert a 'foreign plot' as opposed to admitting blunt suppression of citizens' rights and freedom of information.

A follow-up statement to the reporting by the UK Ministry of Defence claimed the brigade’s efforts are "not being directed at the UK population" but primarily at hostile foreign actors wishing to sow disinformation.

Again, it's amazing just how casually The Times reports this - as if it's par for the course and merely another standard weekend news development in the creeping Orwellianism that is contemporary UK statism backed by the ultra-powerful military and intelligence communities (or perhaps already long established?).

Published:12/1/2020 1:50:27 AM
[topics:in-the-news/uk-coronavirus-lockdown] How many coronavirus cases have there been in your area? Use our tool to find out Published:12/1/2020 1:17:56 AM
[Markets] Can Poland & Hungary Crash The European Plan? Can Poland & Hungary Crash The European Plan? Tyler Durden Tue, 12/01/2020 - 02:00

By Elwin de Groot, Maartje Wijffelaars, and Piotr Matys of Rabobank

Summary

  • In this piece we take a closer look at the potential implications of a continued deadlock on the EU Budget and Recovery Fund
  • What has happened, what are the key issues at handand what are the options to resolve this standoff?
  • We ponder the potential impact for the European economy and markets should there be severe delays (or even a breakdown) in the implementation of the Recovery Fund

Recovery Fund held hostage by veto against budget

The EU is in limbo over its next multi-annual budget and, by implication, the Recovery Fund. In the week of 16 November, Hungary and Poland voted down the most recent proposals for the EU’s next multiannual budget, running from 2021 until 2027. Not because they oppose these proposals–in fact they would be among the main beneficiaries of the budget and recover fund-, but out of anger over the new rule-of-law mechanism that was adopted in early November and which is set to come into force next year. The new mechanism is supposed to block transfers of EU funds to countries infringing on EU standards in certain areas such as fundamental rights and judicial independence. This mechanism should protect the financial interests of the EU, i.e. to protect EU tax payers against the misuse of EU funds. Yet Hungary and Poland claim the mechanism to be a vague and therefore a political tool for the EU to interfere with domestic matters. Both countries have been at continuous loggerheads with the European Commission over rule-of-law issues over the past few years. Slovenia also supports the claim put forward by Poland and Hungary.

In any case, whereas the mechanism itself could be and has been adopted by a qualified majority in the Council, the 7y budget, i.e. the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Own Resources Decision (ORD), require unanimity in the Council. In addition, the ORD needs to be approved by national parliaments.

Below we look at the immediate implications and the potential scenarios further out.

The implications of a deadlock

As long as there is no agreement, the current MFF and ORD (2014-2020) would be rolled over. And, as things are looking right now, there will not be such an agreement before year-end. Importantly, this implies that the crisis recovery instrument (Next Generation EU, NGEU) would not see the light of day either. The ORD needs to be revised to provide the European Commission with the mandate to borrow money on financial markets to fund the crisis recovery instrument, among other things. Since the ORD also needs to be approved by national parliaments it is already a given that the NGEU will be delayed and that even if Hungary and Poland will lift their veto in December, crisis recovery funds will likely only start to flow late 2021 at the earliest. To be sure, this was already the assumption for the largest chunk of the recovery instrument, the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF, EUR 672.5bn), before the spat, because money from this fund would have to be earned by Member States by achieving reform milestones. Still a small part of the instrument was planned to become available ‘right away’, most importantly REACT-EU funds totaling almost EUR 40bn in 2021 (0.3% of 2020 GDP, figures 1 and 2). Clearly the longer an agreement takes, the more protracted the delay in disbursements of all parts of the new crisis recovery instrument.

Another implication would be that the annual budget for 2021 has to be based on the ceilings in the old MFF and that countries such as the Netherlands will lose their budget rebates. In case an agreement on next year’s budget would also not be reached, the EU will run an emergency budget, allowing it to spend 1/12th of its annual 2020 budget per month in 2021. The 2020 budget not only determines the amounts that can be spent, but also the eligible projects. Funds would only flow to those budget lines that were already present in the 2020 budget. So, for example, already existing cohesion projects in the budget of 2020 that carry over into 2021 can still be financed to some extent, but new cohesion projects cannot.

As for the Rule of Law mechanism, it could be implemented from the start of 2021, irrespective of what happens with the MFF.

What about SURE?

Aside from the RRF, many Member States have been making use of the EC’s SURE fund. The temporary “Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency” is available to Member States that need to mobilize significant financial means to fight the negative economic and social consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on their territory. It can provide financial assistance up to EUR 100bn in the form of loans from the EU to affected Member States on favorable terms to address sudden increases in public expenditure for the preservation of employment. The SURE fund itself would not be at risk from the current standoff. This is in the first place because these are loans apart from the budget rather than grants coming from the budget; and the loans are underpinned by a system of voluntary guarantees from Member States of in total EUR 25bn. Each Member State’s contribution to the overall amount of the guarantee corresponds to its relative share in the total gross national income (GNI) of the European Union, based on the 2020 EU budget. The funding is obtained in capital markets through ‘social bonds’ issued by the EC. Importantly, the EC has already been authorized to raise the EUR 100bn with these bonds via a separate SURE regulation. So, while not fully executed yet, new issuance is not linked to the new ORD and budget. Since its inception, the Council has approved EUR 11.2bn in support for Poland (2.1% of GDP) and EUR 0.5bn for Hungary (0.3% of GDP) – actual disbursements so far are still smaller. In total, EUR 87.9bn out of the total EUR 100bn has already been committed to Member States and final approval on EUR 2.5bn is on its way, bringing total commitments to EUR 90.3bn – EUR 31bn has actually been disbursed.

The current standoff would have no impact on the legal possibility to expand the SURE fund to mitigate the impact of the delayed implementation of the NGEU, if politicians would agree to increase the fund’s size. Given that, as mentioned, the European Commission is authorized to borrow for the SURE fund via a regulation apart from the budget. But to remain creditworthy and be able to borrow at very low rates, either a revision of the ORD, increasing the so-called available headroom, and/ or additional guarantees by Member States would seem to be required. Hence, even if it would be legally possible, it also requires political will, which can be very much questioned both from the side of Poland and Hungary and the other 25 Member States if the current standoff persists.

And the ESM?

Finally, the standoff has no impact on the functioning of the ESM. It could be called to draw a support program if asked for by a Euro area Member State and to activate credit lines within its Pandemic Crisis Support programme linked to the COVID-19 crisis. Remember? The hard fought cheap credit lines Member States can ask for with the only condition for them being that they spend this money on the fight against the health crisis. Indeed, no country has dared to use it, yet, probably out of fear of reputational damage when doing so. Admittedly, given the current, historically low, bond yields in the market, pressure on countries to do so has also been lacking. When push comes to shove (i.e. in case of a long-running standoff and rising bond yields), however, we would still expect EZ Member States to call for them.

Possible scenarios going forward

The big question is whether a compromise can be found on the rule-of-law mechanism or whether talks will remain in deadlock. The next official meeting of EU leaders is scheduled for 10 and 11 December, while finance ministers are due to meet 19 December. It is difficult to predict what will happen and whether either side of the table will blink beforehand. In any case, the risk that no agreement will be found is non-negligible.

One way out, perhaps, is a (non-binding) political declaration (similar to the political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and UK after Brexit) that promises to keep the rule-of-law mechanism at bay, as long as countries do not radically depart from the status quo. This is what the German presidency has proposed.

Yet according to Poland and Hungary such a declaration would be insufficient as it is not legally binding. In fact, on 26 November, Polish PM Morawiecki and Hungarian PM Orban underscored their view saying that the EU should drop the rule-of-law conditionality altogether and that any enforcement mechanism on democratic standards in future would require an amendment in the treaty. The joint declaration signed by both PMs implies that they are not willing to make substantial concessions to overcome the impasse caused by their veto and unlock hundreds of billions of euros which are urgently required by EU countries to start rebuilding their economies from a recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. They clearly believe they have considerable leverage and they are hoping that the European Parliament and other EU Member States are willing to substantially water down the rule-of-law mechanism, as the latter are loath to harm the post-crisis recovery. Particularly in poorer regions, a lack of cohesion funds could even be more painful than a lack of funds from the Recovery Facility later in 2021.

Meanwhile, on the part of European Parliament and most of the other Member States there is a conviction that there should be a strong link between EU funds and the rule-of-law, an opinion that has been building for years. Given that there is a tendency of slippage on this front (see figure 3), putting the mechanism on ice would be a signal to countries to ‘test the boundaries’ of a commitment to delay the enforcement of the mechanism.

Whereas poorer and hard-hit countries might be more willing to soften the tone, others, such as the European Parliament and the Netherlands, have extremely little wiggle room given the sentiment among their rank and file members. Moreover, they know that Hungary and Poland would eventually suffer major economic damage without new EU cohesion fund money and the substantial share of the recovery funds they would be entitled to. As explained below, however, the discussion is not only a matter of economy, but also of sovereignty and ideology. Furthermore, it could take a while before Poland and Hungary would feel economic pain in the event of an emergency budget and no crisis recovery funds.

Why Poland and Hungary may not cave in -for now

One may argue that it is irrational for Fidesz and the Law & Justice party to block the financial package. After all, over the next seven years Hungary and Poland are in line to reportedly receive at least EUR 180bn between them (over 25% of their combined 2019 GDP) from the EU budget and the Recovery Fund. For a short period of time Hungarian and Polish governments may be able to borrow funds from the markets to finance their expenditures, should European transfers be put on hold. However, without cash from the EU, GDP growth will be significantly lower over the long-term horizon and the upward potential for living standards substantially  lower.

But, what seems irrational from an economic point of view can be justified by a strong preference to set domestic policies. By blocking the mechanism that would allow Brussels to interfere in domestic policies, PM Orban and PM Morawiecki are fulfilling obligations to their conservative and nationalistic supporters who expect them to fight for sovereignty at all costs, even if the price is as high as EUR 180bn. Conservativism and nationalism are generally perceived as important pillars of support for Fidesz and the Law & Justice. Both parties have also allegedly tightened their grip on the media. This allows them to control the narrative at home and portrait their countries as victims.

Drawing parallels

Clearly, one can draw some parallels with how Brexit came about and the referendum on EU membership held in 2016 serves as a reminder that ‘nothing is set in stone’. Basically it shows us that the undercurrents in societies can prove very strong. Being able to ‘take matters in one’s own hands’ is one of those undercurrents that has been visible in many places over the last decades. Calls for more sovereignty (and strong leadership) may stem from dissatisfaction with the multilateral framework (which includes the EU) in which countries are operating. This may lead to alienation of voters (as powers increasingly shift from the national to the international level) and rising dissatisfaction with democracy, which is a global phenomenon. Rising inequality could be another source of voter dissatisfaction, which then turns itself on external institutions – if well managed by populist national politicians. To some extent this is what seems to have happened in Poland, for the general public has actually become more satisfied with how democracy is working in Poland (see figure 4) and a similar observation applies to Hungary (figure 5), although the public still is more positive on balance with the EU than with national democracy. However, this also points to another reason for both populist leaders to hold out: they have the support of an increasing number of their people.

Perhaps Hungary’s PM Orban and his Polish counterpart Morawiecki, under pressure from other European leaders, will soften their stance and a compromise can be reached. However, we would not underestimate their determination to fight hard against a mechanism that could potentially force them to ease their grip on power in Hungary and Poland. Reaching a compromise could therefore prove quite difficult in the very near future. This is also because Hungarian and Polish governments may be able to borrow funds from the markets to finance the possible shortfall in European transfers from the budget for a while. Moreover, the rule-of-law mechanism is projected to come into force in 2021, irrespective of whether there will be a deal on the new MFF. Hence, if Poland and Hungary fear they will miss out on EU funds because of this mechanism, they might have less incentive to agree on a new MFF and budget, because it would benefit them less than in previous years.

A different scenario: Bypassing obstructive states

Technically it seems possible to create a separate Recovery and Resilience Fund (the largest chunk of the total EUR750bn new crisis recovery instrument) among willing Member States, outside the MFF. It could be based on an intergovernmental treaty between all EU Member States except for Poland and Hungary – and possibly Slovenia. It might persuade Poland and Hungary to come around on the MFF given their needs for EU funds and weakened bargaining position, but could also reach the opposite, not for economic reasons but by feeding emotions of anger and frustration. We don’t think this scenario is viable in the foreseeable future, for several reasons. First, it would push the EU into uncharted waters and take months at least to talk things through, politically and legally, prior to implementing it. Also because it would likely require paid-in capital from participating Member States. Second, it could make it more difficult to solve the deadlock on the MFF and ORD, which would harm those Member States which depend more on regular budget funds than recovery funds and see budget rebates withheld from certain Member States. Third, it would underscore a failure of EU cooperation, with accompanying risks. That said, as time passes, this option might still become viable in the eyes of most Member States, as the EU would not want to be held hostage by (a few) obstructing Member States.

A track-record of last-minute deals and compromises

Admittedly, the EU has a reputation of sealing last-minute deals. In the past, the EU have shown considerable ingenuity when it comes to interpreting the Treaty, enabling them to do whatever they believe is necessary in the face of opposition from certain Member States:

  • Key examples of its ingenuity are the support for Greece in the sovereign debt crisis (despite the prohibition on financial support to Member States), the way it handled the German Constitutional Court ruling on ECB bond buying and, last but not least, the recent COVID-19 response, by (temporarily) watering down state-aid rules and suspending the Stability and Growth Pact;
  • The EU has also shown that - when push comes to shove - they can close the ranks, also vis-à-vis those countries that want to move in another direction; the Brexit dossier is a prime example here.

So expect the EU to look for all options/articles in the Treaty that would allow it to come to a solution including all Member States, but also for the cooperating Member States to raise the pressure on Poland and Hungary. For the latter, the key question remains, how sensitive these two Member States will be to financial and political pressures.

What would be the implications for markets?

What is perhaps most remarkable is that the market seems to have largely ignored the potential implications of this situation leading to a protracted stasis. The euro barely budged when Poland and Hungary broke ranks and it has even strengthened against the dollar in recent days. The impact on sovereign spreads has been insignificant as well. This either suggests that markets are not concerned, and/or that market participants have simply been sedated by overflowing liquidity in markets and the ECB’s plans to add even more from December onwards. That said, the Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty were on track to end the last full week of trading in November on the back footing underperforming the Czech koruna.

Still, we would argue, the market may be under-estimating the potential impact from a protracted delay or even a collapse in the EU’s Recovery Fund plans. In that case, the market could yet revise its positive stance on Europe, although we believe the impact will likely be most noticeable in the value of the euro. Some volatility may return in the sovereign bond markets, but the ECB’s PEPP remains the unstoppable force. To add more color to this view we first zoom into how the market has digested the (generally) positive news flow on the European strategy to mitigate the COVID-19 shock.

Looking back (over my shoulder)

Looking back on the market developments since the ECB launched its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme, the euro has clearly appreciated while sovereign spreads have declined to new lows. This is an unusual combination of currency and rates moves if we compare it to the ECB’s first venture into quantitative easing: while QE compressed spreads, back in 2015 the additional monetary stimulus also had a profound weakening effect on the currency (see figure 6). Fast forward to 2020, in the wake of the PEPP, spreads have acted the same as before, but it is the –at first glance counterintuitive– response of the euro that caused a breakdown in the correlation between the euro’s performance and peripheral spreads.

Ignoring factors that weighed on the US dollar, the fact that the euro appreciated despite more monetary stimulus can be explained by the one key difference in the pandemic response: the fiscal response. The ECB’s PEPP served as a nod to governments to open the fiscal spigots, which mitigated the economic damage. Moreover, Europe’s surprisingly quick agreement on a joint EU Recovery Fund in July reinforced confidence in the currency union, and in the EU as a whole by pushing back against fears of fragmentation. After an initial selloff of European assets in late Q1, early Q2, foreign investors flocked back into European assets, which was also visible in a rise in portfolio liabilities in the financial account after April (figure 7). Over the summer there was a general perception that Europe successfully contained the coronavirus pandemic, which increased demand for European assets.

This impact of the Recovery Fund on investors’ confidence in Europe becomes even more obvious if we look at the three phases toward an agreement (figure 8 below). These three phases are also well-illustrated by the news flow and search behavior on Google, which basically shows that the market turning points coincide with the peaks in the search activity for phrases related to the Recovery Fund:

  1. The first serious discussions on an EU Recovery Fund started in April following the ECB’s pandemic support package announced in March and pressure from the ECB on the EU to take up the baton; in that early phase (April-May) there was still considerable uncertainty, in part because of the hardline stance by (initially) Germany and the ‘frugal four’ Member States. In this stage, when the ECB was still at it alone, it was mainly sovereign spreads that were affected.
  2. But as the pressure on Europe grew and Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron launched their plan on 18 May (which was followed by the official EC plan one week later), the opinion among investors started to shift. Mid-May is also a clear turning point for the euro, while the proposal stopped the renewed widening of sovereign spreads in its tracks.
  3. Confidence in Europe was given another boost by the unexpectedly swift (preliminary) agreement in the European Council on the EC plan on 19 July, which, importantly, paved the way for a common EU debt asset as from 2021. Investors interpreted this as a  positive signal with regard to the ability and decisiveness of ‘Brussels’ and importantly as a confirmation the euro is here to stay; the euro strengthened well into the summer, reaching multi-year highs in trade-weighted terms in August.

What if… and then what?

Having established that at least part of the recent strength in the euro has been down to the ‘successful’ flight of the Recovery Fund plan and that, in its wake, sovereign risk premiums have only further tightened, this obviously raises the risk that if the Recovery Plan runs into significant delays we could expect part of that positive sentiment to reverse. Even worse, of course, would be a total collapse of the plan, as that would imply (how unpalatable or even unlikely that may sound) that the market will again start to question the whole European project.

So basically we can envisage two scenarios: either one side ultimately blinks, or the spat between Poland & Hungary and the rest of the EU blocks the implementation of the new EU budget. Technically speaking, a third scenario could be a circumvention of the Hungarian/Polish budget blockade altogether, but that would perhaps be more of an extension of the second scenario.

Either side blinks

It is still possible that either Poland and Hungary or the other Member States blink in the upcoming months – whilst signaling during the process that there is no definitive break. That could still pave the way for an agreement on the multi-annual budget. After all, as we argued above, Europe is known for its eleventh-hour deals. While this may still see some delays in the actual implementation of the Recovery Fund –largely owing to the need of national parliaments to ratify the amended ORD– the economic and market impact should be relatively limited.

National governments may need to pre-fund more of their spending plans, but the limited and temporary nature –and the continued presence of the ECB– should keep sovereign spreads from widening significantly. However, if the standoff persists in the coming weeks and the ratification is delayed beyond 10 December, that could lead to temporary pressure on the euro, but –like the standoff– this should not last in this scenario. As outlined in his latest note available here Piotr definitely sees the risk of a short-term squeeze higher in EUR/PLN and EUR/HUF on the back of growing tensions between Hungary/Poland and the rest of the EU.

Budget blockade

If, however, both sides stick to their red lines, this could block the EU budget for a protracted period, since it needs to be ratified by all EU members. This would put the EU on rations, and it would lead to much more severe delays in the time lines for the Recovery Fund. That puts more pressure on countries’ fiscal metrics; and would lead to lower-than-expected revenues from the EU, especially from 2022 onwards.

The severity of lost income differs per country and region, but crucially, those with weaker government finances also stand to lose more – particularly by omission of the Recovery Fund. These governments will have to cut back on their spending, or get themselves into more debt to continue boosting the economy. Either way, without the European funds, the economic recovery is likely to be less inclusive, and therefore less strong. Add to that the doubts it would cast on the newfound European solidarity.

Again, this is likely to weaken the euro as investors lose confidence in the continent and the currency. Meanwhile, reduced growth prospects and/or higher indebtedness are likely to exert upward pressure on spreads. With the ECB’s purchasing programs still in place, spread widening is likely to remain limited, but volatility is likely to increase as spread drivers would no longer be unidirectional. The question is then how much the ECB needs to intervene, and these interventions are then more likely to weigh further on the currency. In effect, this would bring us back to the 2015 period when quantitative easing was first started. Moreover, looking a bit further ahead, the lower growth prospects for Europe in this scenario would give more impetus to the ‘lower for longer’ rates environment.

The table below gives some indications for the direction, duration and extent of any of these three scenarios, although we have to stress that this is a good deal of expert judgment.

In short

The outcome of the current standoff is uncertain. While the EU is known for its eleventh-hour deals, the risk that no agreement will be reached in the Council’s meeting in December is non-negligible. This is especially because there is more at play than ‘plain’ economics. Identity and sovereignty are also part of the discussion – and this is by no means the first case at hand.

Should Hungary and Poland uphold their veto for a protracted period, especially poorer regions and countries hard-hit by the crisis will feel the pain. A protracted period of uncertainty could dent the euro in currency markets, although we feel that significant volatility in bond markets is likely to be attenuated by ECB policy actions if required.

Published:12/1/2020 1:17:56 AM
[Apps] Singapore-based mental health app Intellect reaches one million users, closes seed funding Intellect, a Singapore-based startup that wants to lower barriers to mental health care in Asia, says it has reached more than one million users just six months after launching. Google also announced today that the startup’s consumer app, also called Intellect, is one of its picks for best personal growth apps of 2020. The company […] Published:12/1/2020 12:50:39 AM
[topics:in-the-news/uk-coronavirus-lockdown] Scotland lockdown: what are the new Covid rules and Tier 4 restrictions? Published:12/1/2020 12:50:39 AM
[Comedy] motherhood statement

A platitude verbal contribution to a group, to show you are alpha, but has little or no value, and provides no constructive solution, only talk. Manager that have no skills, but have a well paid position, often do the mother statement talk. Who else can waste the time of experts and not be chastised for it?

Appointed Boss-man: We cannot go forward with these production inefficiencies.

Engineer: Thanks for that motherhood statement, we're golden now!

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:01 AM
[Politics] Biden Era Brews As the Times Plumps Socialism Anyone under the illusion that Joe Biden's victory over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary had vanquished the threat of socialism from American shores can get a reality check by picking up the Sunday New York Times, which features four articles pressing the anti-capitalist agenda. "Boeing's 737 Max Is a Saga of Capitalism Gone Awry," is the headline over one such article, by a business reporter for the Times. He complains that "in recent decades, Boeing like many American... Published:12/1/2020 12:19:01 AM
[2019 News] De Blasio changes his mind again and reopens schools

De Blasio changes his mind (again) and reopens schools… after closing them… then reopening them… then closing them… then reopening them… then closing them…

The post De Blasio changes his mind again and reopens schools appeared first on IHTM.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:01 AM
[ALBBY] Alibaba: Getting Back Up From A Bad Fall Published:12/1/2020 12:19:01 AM
[Politics & Ideas] Get a Grip
Underestimating America.
View Post
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[] 'Guess who was praised and who was attacked': Brit Hume weighs in on Dr. Anthony Fauci's advice to keep schools open Published:12/1/2020 12:19:01 AM
[] Canceling Katy: Dad's 'Nothing but American' t-shirt brings the heat from her fans Published:12/1/2020 12:19:01 AM
[Right Column] ‘No…EU emissions are not down 24% since 1990 — They have been exported to Asia in exchange for imported manufactured goods’
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[Markets] US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends down after rallying to best November ever The S&P 500 index ended lower on Monday as investors took profits following a sharp rally in recent weeks that led to the benchmark's best November ever. Nine out of 11 of the major S&P 500 sectors fell, with the energy index tumbling 5.4% and leading losses, tracking a drop in crude prices. The S&P 500 technology index rose 0.7%, thanks in part to a 2.1% rise in Apple Inc shares. Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[2020 Election] Ga. Secretary of State Investigating Warnock-Led Voter Registration Group

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The post Ga. Secretary of State Investigating Warnock-Led Voter Registration Group appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Markets] Dr. Scott Atlas reportedly resigns from coronavirus task force Dr. Scott Atlas reportedly resigns from coronavirus task force Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[IJR] Graham Says ‘if’ Biden Wins, Trump Should Attend His Inauguration "I hope that Biden will come to his." Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Uncategorized] Georgia Senate Candidate Warnock Laughs at Concealed Carrying Churchgoers

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The post Georgia Senate Candidate Warnock Laughs at Concealed Carrying Churchgoers first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Politics] Pennsylvania GOP Introduces Resolution to Dispute Election Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly formally introduced a joint resolution Monday declaring the general elections results in dispute and reserving the power to designate presidential electors for the Electoral College. Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[World] Dear Santa, kids want the 'germ' to go away

Dear Santa,

It's been awhile, a long while since many, perhaps most of us, have written to you.

Too many years, people merely run through post-Thanksgiving machinations 'til Christmas morn. The Festival of Lights and Mass, photo-ops with your mall stand-ins, and running about to make sure the kids (even ... Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM

[Politics] 4 Takeaways From Arizona’s Election Fraud Hearing

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Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Politics] Black Lives Matter and other activists protest possible Biden appointment for Garcetti

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[Politics] WATCH: Bill O’Reilly explains why this election just doesn’t make sense It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Bill O’Reilly clip, but I’ve got an interesting one for you tonight: The election results are VERY suspect as they stray from several . . . Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Politics] WATCH: Bill O’Reilly explains why this election just doesn’t make sense It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Bill O’Reilly clip, but I’ve got an interesting one for you tonight: The election results are VERY suspect as they stray from several . . . Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[2020 Election] House updates (Paul Mirengoff) Yesterday, I wrote about three races in which the outcome may still be in doubt. Today, there is news about two of the races. In Iowa’s second district, we have a winner — Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, at least for now. Today, the state canvass board certified her victory. The margin was six votes, reportedly the slimmest in any House race since 1984. However, Miller-Meeks’ opponent, Rita Hart, is likely to Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Second Amendment litigation] [David Kopel] Firearms Litigation: Liability, Regulation, and the Constitution Free CLE program on Dec. 1 Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Syndicated Posts] President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Tuesday, December 1, 2020

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump has no public events on his schedule for Tuesday. Keep up with the president on Our President’s Schedule Page. President Trump’s Itinerary for 12/1/20 – note: this page will be updated during the day if events warrant All Times EST No publicly scheduled events White House Briefing Schedule None Content created by Conservative …

President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Tuesday, December 1, 2020 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[088c7b25-75c9-5907-9bf7-0e946faa07cd] Tucker Carlson: Fauci admits what we all knew months ago -- schools must stay open The country's public health establishment admits it has tortured your children for eight months for no apparent reason. Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[] Monday Overnight Open Thread (11/30/20) *** The Quotes of The Day Quote I (commercial vehicles).......But it’s a sector that hasn’t been cared about much by traditional automakers. Most of them are simply rehashing a 10- to 15-year-old architecture when going electric. They just replace... Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Lefties on Parade] Renewed COVID-19 lockdowns again show leftists’ blinkered vision

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The post Renewed COVID-19 lockdowns again show leftists’ blinkered vision appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Markets] America's Future Is Liberal Fascism Sporting A Smiley Shirt And Armed With A Syringe America's Future Is Liberal Fascism Sporting A Smiley Shirt And Armed With A Syringe Tyler Durden Mon, 11/30/2020 - 23:50

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The globalists responsible for engineering a medical tyranny across much of the Western world have something valuable to teach right-wing nationalists and would-be fascists, and that is you don’t sell your damaged product out of the barrel of a machine gun, but rather dripping from the end of a syringe that promises to end all pain and misery.

Patrick Henry, one of America’s more outspoken Founding Fathers, famously remarked “give me liberty or give me death” when the life of his nation was on the line.

Today, America’s famous battle cry has been replaced by a masked and muffled gasp that advises, without hope of a second opinion, “give me lockdowns and keep me safe.”

So terrified is the American public of catching a virus that comes with a 99 percent survival rate that they are willing to forego Thanksgiving, the great national holiday commemorating – with no loss of irony – their Pilgrim ancestors’ collective courage to overcome the wild, hostile conditions of their new land.

It must be said that no fascist party has ever been so adept when it came to sealing the collective fate of their people to a common enemy. That’s because the threat facing mankind today, or so we are told, is not some nefarious ideology, like communism, or even a terrorist organization that the masses can be rallied to fight. Rather, the threat is a microscopic contagion that is capable of invading every nook and cranny of our lives. Already the age of manly handshakes is over, replaced by an emasculated majority, while an entire generation of youth now looks at their fellow human beings as infernal germ factories.

And unlike a traditional enemy that can be seen, attacked and eventually defeated, the coronavirus – we have been oddly forewarned – will make landfall again and again, while regularly morphing with comic book abilities into an increasingly deadlier villain. In this landless battle, only the medical authorities are decorated as heroes, while the people, lacking the professional credentials, are forced to be passive and helpless onlookers, their freedom of movement severely constrained. More importantly, the forces of nationalism have become irrelevant; only a globalist, one-world-order response can defeat this pandemic.

There is very good reason to suspect, however, that either the science on all of this is half-baked, or we the people are being intentionally duped on a grand scale. In fact, it’s probably a little bit of both. First, relying on nothing more than empirical evidence, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that there is no existential emergency confronting mankind. If there were, we would expect to see decomposing bodies piling up in the streets, like in the medieval times during the Black Plague. This would be especially the case among the homeless population, which is certainly not practicing social distancing etiquette as they pass around open containers on street corners.

Nor does there seem to be any massive queuing up at hospitals for emergency treatment. In fact, as early as April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told President Trump that the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort deployed to New York City by the federal government to help fight the coronavirus outbreak was “no longer needed”. Cuomo said the need for the support vessel “didn’t reach the levels that had been projected.” And I am certainly not the only one who has noticed that Covid cases seem to fluctuate curiously with the political climate.

Let’s not forget that the overwhelming majority of Covid ‘victims’ recover nicely at home, according to no less of an authority than Anthony Fauci. At the same time, many people who acquire the disease are asymptomatic and never even knew they were infected. Children, meanwhile, seem amazingly impervious to the virus. That is not to say that there has been no sign of a virus this winter season. Of course there has been, just like every year. But while Covid cases may be on the rise in some places, and invisible in others, the death rate from this illness remains low and tumbling, predominantly hitting elderly people already suffering from comorbidities.

There are other reasons to be suspicious that what we are dealing with is not a first-class medical emergency, but rather something much more sinister. Like maybe an excuse for rolling out a Western-made vaccine that carries a microchip implant with tracking technology? Such a claim will sound less fantastic when it is realized that it has already been developed.

It is no secret that just one month before Covid-19 made its dramatic landfall in the United States, purportedly from Wuhan, China, MIT researchers announced a new method for recording a patient’s vaccination history: storing the smartphone-readable data under the skin at the same time a vaccine is administered.

“By selectively loading microparticles into microneedles, the patches deliver a pattern in the skin that is invisible to the naked eye but can be scanned with a smartphone that has the infrared filter removed,” MIT News reported.

“The patch can be customized to imprint different patterns that correspond to the type of vaccine delivered.”

Would it surprise anyone to know that the research was funded largely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the same family venture that now provides the bulk of funding to the World Health Organization?

Then, in September 2019, ID2020, a San Francisco-based biometric company that counts Microsoft as one of its founding members, announced a new project that involves the “exploration of multiple biometric identification technologies for infants” that is based on “infant immunization.”

We could continue here with a long list of other disturbing technologies that would effectively turn people into walking antennae for the rest of their lives, but the point is hopefully clear: although many people might be willing to accept a vaccine against Covid-19, they probably do not want the extra technological add-ons that people like Bill Gates, a man with zero medical qualifications, seem extremely anxious to include.

So what can Americans expect next? How about ‘Freedom Passes’ that Britons may need before they are able to return to some semblance of normalcy?

According to the Daily Mail, “Britons are set to be given Covid ‘freedom passes’ as long as they test negative for the virus twice in a week, it has been suggested…To earn the freedom pass, people will need to be tested regularly and, provided the results come back negative, they will then be given a letter, card or document they can show to people as they move around.”

And this is what they call a “return to normalcy.”

Personally, I call those plans the approach of fascism. And for those who doubt that it could not happen in America should heed the words of the late sagacious comedian George Carlin, who once quipped that “when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts.” Had Carlin been alive today to see the tremendous mess we’ve inherited, he would most likely have included a syringe in the neo-fascist’s toolkit.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[World] Who Funds the Statue-Topplers?

This summer, a prominent statue of Christopher Columbus was destroyed by activist vandals. But this was no spontaneous act of passion.

The post Who Funds the Statue-Topplers? appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[World] Coming Home Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Entertainment] Pink's Daughter Willow Hart Brings Christmas Cheer During Disney Singalong Show Pink, Carey HartPink had a special little helper to assist with her appearance on The Disney Holiday Singalong. The pop star sang "The Christmas Song" during the ABC special that aired on Monday,...
Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[topics:in-the-news/uk-coronavirus-lockdown] How the Government's mass Covid testing plan will work Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Entertainment] What to watch on Tuesday: ‘The Holiday Movies That Made Us’ on Netflix Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 | “The Witmans” on Investigation Discovery. Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Markets] Dispatches from a Pandemic: Italy’s leading epidemiologist on why the virus has spread in a ‘surprisingly enduring’ way, and how Germany managed lower deaths Carlo La Vecchia, from the University of Milan, explains what's behind the second COVID-19 wave, why Germany has fared better than most other countries, and how to safely enjoy Christmas.
Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[418e3392-69ab-5bee-a28a-02d6179f981c] 'Bachelorette' star Trista Sutter says her husband has been 'struggling' with a mystery illness 'for months' "Bachelorette" star Trista Sutter said that her husband Ryan is facing an illness with symptoms similar to lymphoma. Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Asia] China’s tech firms rush to deliver solutions for grocery shopping Nearly all of China’s largest internet firms have established a presence in online grocery. Just this week, news arrived that Alibaba co-led the $196 million C3 funding round of Nice Tuan, the two-year-old grocery group-buying firm’s fourth round year to date. People in China shop online for almost everything, including groceries. At first, grocery e-commerce […] Published:12/1/2020 12:19:00 AM
[Comedy] @video_jame it's my dream interview at nasa. "how are ur programming skills" they ask. "out of this world" i nervously joke. the walls shake. the interviewer starts convulsing. several engineers run in and write math on me with sharpies. i begin to levitate Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[Sunday Funnies] Sunday Funnies Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[Markets] Black Friday store traffic down 52% even as online retail sales hit record high Black Friday store traffic down 52% even as online retail sales hit record high Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[2019 News] COVID19 death toll in Japan

COVID-19 death toll in Japan: Deaths directly attributed to COVID-19: 2,000 Deaths from lockdown-exacerbated suicide: 17,000 At what point do politicians around the world admit their solutions are worse than the problem?

The post COVID19 death toll in Japan appeared first on IHTM.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[2020 Election] Ossoff Embraces Bernie in Georgia Runoff

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff said he welcomes socialist senator Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) support in the state's upcoming Senate runoff election.

The post Ossoff Embraces Bernie in Georgia Runoff appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[Markets] Zoom earnings, November jobs report: What to know in the week ahead Traders are set to return from last week’s holiday-shortened week to a bevy of new economic data on the labor market, as well as a handful of corporate earnings results. Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[] REPORT: PA State Sen. David Mastriano tested positive for Covid-19 *during* his meeting with President Trump on Wednesday Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[7a6cbf57-415c-5607-b13b-eeab4687212e] Jim Daly: Struggling with online schooling? Here are 7 things to teach your children that really matter Nine months into the COVID-19 global pandemic, parents of school-age children might be forgiven for their frustration concerning the whipsaw nature of on-again, off-again in-person classroom learning.  Published:11/30/2020 1:37:45 AM
[] Here is how this year's visit with Santa Claus will be different Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Politics] Trump says it will be 'hard to get' his election claims to Supreme Court

Pressing unproved fraud claims, Trump acknowledges in first post-vote interview that legal effort has foundered.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[12f19992-f9cc-5de6-8726-0a9152210a2f] Rebel Wilson reached her goal weight early: ‘It’s about being healthy’ Rebel Wilson has reached her goal weight for 2020. Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Middle Column] JunkScience.com’s collection of climate activists admitting climate is not about — the climate
Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[World] Voters rejected radical Joe Biden and he now has a mandate to work with moderate Republicans

Voters have chosen the moderate Joe Biden who won the Democratic primaries, but by sending more Republicans to Congress and statehouses, they rejected the radical Joe Biden who embraced punitive taxes, racial and gender quotas and other socialist measures in the general election.

The majority may be weary of President ... Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM

[INTC] AMD Shorts Surge As Expected Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Politics] Facebook ‘fact-checker’ Politifact gets fact BODY checked by Candace Owens, forced to CHANGE false rating Let’s call this “step one.” Let’s also call it “about dang time.” Every one of us knows about, or has personally been subject to, the endless partisan biased manipulation and censorship of . . . Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Politics] Facebook ‘fact-checker’ Politifact gets fact BODY checked by Candace Owens, forced to CHANGE false rating Let’s call this “step one.” Let’s also call it “about dang time.” Every one of us knows about, or has personally been subject to, the endless partisan biased manipulation and censorship of . . . Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[IJR] Gottlieb Disagrees With Those Who ‘Don’t Think You Can Really Fully Stop This Virus’ "These states are pressed right now, but you're not seeing the widespread rates of transfer that you're seeing in other parts of the country that haven't taken more aggressive steps." Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Uncategorized] Cancel Mob Attacks U Chicago Geophysicist Dorian Abbot For Questioning Diversity Hiring Dogma

Grad Student Demand Letter seeks to strip him of access, resources, and teaching responsibilities for advocating "against ... setting up systems where group membership is a primary aspect of a candidate’s evaluation. I believe we should avoid discriminating against anyone for any reason."

The post Cancel Mob Attacks U Chicago Geophysicist Dorian Abbot For Questioning Diversity Hiring Dogma first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Politics] How the Elections Signaled a Breakthrough for Multi-ethnic Conservatism

President Donald Trump’s getting a greater share of the black vote than the average Republican candidate and California voters’ rejection of affirmative action, an effort... Read More

The post How the Elections Signaled a Breakthrough for Multi-ethnic Conservatism appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[World] [Eugene Volokh] Virginia Postrel Guest-Blogging About the History of Textiles I've always much enjoyed the work of Virginia Postrel (who, among many other things, was once the editor-in-chief of Reason), and I'm delighted to report that she'll be guest-blogging this week about her new book, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World. From the publisher's description: The story of humanity is the story… Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Syndicated Posts] President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Monday, November 30, 2020

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday. Keep up with the president on Our President’s Schedule Page. President Trump’s Itinerary for 11/30/20 – note: this page will be updated during the day if events warrant All Times EST 12:30 PM Lunch with Vice President Pence – Private Dining Room …

President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Monday, November 30, 2020 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Politics] Dominion Server Crashes During Georgia Recount Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Coronavirus] Is remote schooling “leaving children sad and angry”? (Paul Mirengoff) The Washington Post says it is: Some children are doing fine with remote school; some even prefer it. But many others are. . .suffering emotionally, mentally and even physically from so many hours, often alone, in front of a computer screen. To gauge the struggle, The Washington Post asked parents nationwide to share stories and artwork produced by youths participating in the mandatory home-school experiment, garnering more than 60 responses Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[] Sunday Overnight Open Thread (11/29/20) *** The Quotes of The Day Quote I "As mayor, there is responsibility for me to lead by example and showcase to all in our region that we need to follow all restrictions and guidelines to the letter," Windsor... Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[] Dr. Fauci Finally Confirms That Children Don't Catch or Transmit COVID-19 in Large Numbers Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[World] The Immigration Stakes in Georgia

If Georgia flips fully blue, immigration activists will deserve much of the credit — and they're ready to claim the spoils of victory. Will Biden let them?

The post The Immigration Stakes in Georgia appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Markets] There are many reasons to donate to charity this Giving Tuesday — but here’s a little added tax incentive ‘There’s just so much need right now. Nonprofits don’t want to turn anyone away.’
Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Entertainment] What to watch on Monday: ‘The Disney Holiday Singalong’ on ABC Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 | CMA Country Christmas on ABC. Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[TC] The Trump administration will add SMIC, China’s largest chipmaker, to its defense blacklist SMIC, one of largest chip makers in the world, is among several companies that the Department of Defense plans to designate as being owned or controlled by the Chinese military, reports Reuters. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, set to go into effect on January 11, that would bar U.S. investors […] Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[topics:in-the-news/uk-coronavirus-lockdown] Rule of six: The social distancing rules and exemptions Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[Markets] UK Government Running 'Orwellian' Unit To Block Release Of "Sensitive" Information UK Government Running 'Orwellian' Unit To Block Release Of "Sensitive" Information Tyler Durden Mon, 11/30/2020 - 02:00

Authored by Peter Geoghegan, Jenna Corderoy, and Lucas Amin via openDemocracy.net,

The British government has been accused of running an ‘Orwellian’ unit in Michael Gove’s office that instructs Whitehall departments on how to respond to Freedom of Information requests and shares personal information about journalists, openDemocracy can reveal today.

Experts warn that the practice could be breaking the law – and openDemocracy is now working with the law firm Leigh Day on a legal bid to force Gove’s Cabinet Office to reveal full details of how its secretive ‘Clearing House’ unit operates.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are supposed to be ‘applicant-blind’: meaning who makes the request should not matter. But it now emerges that government departments and non-departmental public bodies have been referring ‘sensitive’ FOI requests from journalists and researchers to the Clearing House in Gove’s department in a move described by a shadow cabinet minister as “blacklisting”.

This secretive FOI unit gives advice to other departments “to protect sensitive information”, and collates lists of journalists with details about their work. These lists have included journalists from openDemocracy, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, and many more, as well as researchers from Privacy International and Big Brother Watch and elsewhere.

The unit has also signed off on FOI responses from other Whitehall departments – effectively centralising control within Gove’s office over what information is released to the public.

Conservative MP David Davis called on government ministers to “explain to the House of Commons precisely why they continue” with a Clearing House operation that is “certainly against the spirit of that Act – and probably the letter, too.”

Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister Helen Hayes said:

This is extremely troubling. If the cabinet office is interfering in FOI requests and seeking to work around the requirements of the Act by blacklisting journalists, it is a grave threat to our values and transparency in our democracy.”

Details of the Clearing House are revealed in a new report on Freedom of Information published today by openDemocracy.

‘Art of Darkness’ finds that the UK government has granted fewer and rejected more FOI requests than ever before – with standards falling particularly sharply in the most important Whitehall departments.

The Clearing House circulates a daily list of FOI requests to up to 70 departments and public bodies that contains details of all requests that it is advising on. This list covers FOI requests about “sensitive subjects” as well as ‘round robin’ requests made to multiple government departments.

Press freedom campaigners have sharply criticised the Clearing House operation and have called for full transparency.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The existence of this clearing house in the Cabinet Office is positively Orwellian. It poses serious questions about the government’s approach to access to information, its attitude to the public’s right to know and the collation of journalists’ personal information.”

Jon Baines, a data protection expert at the law firm Mischon de Reya and chair of the National Association of Data Protection Officers, said that he was “far from assured that the operation of the Clearing House complies with data protection law.”

“Data protection law requires, as a basic principle, that personal data be processed fairly and in a transparent manner – on the evidence that I have seen, I do not feel that the Clearing House meets these requirements,” Baines added.

‘Art of Darkness’: the worst offenders

The new report published by openDemocracy paints a disturbing picture of the state of Freedom of Information in Britain.

In 2019, central UK government departments granted fewer and rejected more FOI requests than ever before. In the last five years, the Cabinet Office – as well as the Treasury, Foreign Office and Home Office – have all withheld more requests than they granted, according to the report.

The Cabinet Office – which is the government department responsible for Freedom of Information policy – has one of the worst records on access to information. Last year, Michael Gove’s department was the branch of Whitehall most likely to have its decisions referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulates information rights in the UK.

New analysis by openDemocracy also shows that some public bodies are cynically undermining requests for information by failing to respond to requests in any way – a tactic described in openDemocracy’s report as ‘stonewalling’. Decision Notices, which are issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about stonewalling, have increased by 70 per cent in the last five years. Again, the Cabinet Office is a repeat offender.

The study reveals that the ICO fully or partially upheld complaints about mishandled requests in 48 per cent of its Decision Notices last year: the highest proportion in five years.

Yet the ICO’s capacity to investigate complaints and enforce the Act is diminishing. The regulator has seen its budget cut by 41 per cent over the last decade, while its complaint caseload has increased by 46 per cent in the same period.

The ICO’s enforcement may also be hampered by its governance structure – under which it is accountable on FOI to the Cabinet Office. Michael Gove’s department also is involved in setting the ICO’s annual budget.

Responding to openDemocracy’s questions about the Clearing House, a government spokesperson said:

“The Cabinet Office plays an important role through the FOI Clearing House of ensuring there is a standard approach across government in the way we consider and respond to requests.

“With increasing transparency, we receive increasingly more complex requests under Freedom of Information. We must balance the public need to make information available with our duty to protect sensitive information and ensure national security.”

‘Jenna Corderoy is a journalist’

openDemocracy has had first hand experience of how the Clearing House slows down or obstructs FOI requests, and profiles journalists, on a number of different occasions.

In February 2020, openDemocracy journalist Jenna Corderoy sent an FOI request to the Ministry of Defence about meetings with short-lived special advisor Andrew Sabisky. The MoD subsequently complained internally that “due to the time spent in getting an approval from Clearing House, the FOI requestor has put in a complaint to [the FOI regulator] the ICO”.

The MoD refused the Sabisky request after 196 days, which is more than six times the normal limit for responding to an FOI request.

Separately, when Corderoy sent a Freedom of Information request to the Attorney General’s Office, staff at the office wrote in internal emails:

“Just flagging that Jenna Corderoy is a journalist” and “once the response is confirmed, I’ll just need [redacted] to sign off on this before it goes out, since Jenna Corderoy is a reporter for openDemocracy”.

Today’s findings on the operation of the Clearing House add to mounting questions about the British government’s approach to transparency and press freedom.

Earlier this year, Number 10 was heavily criticised after it barred openDemocracy from COVID press briefings. The Ministry of Defence was also subsequently accused of ‘blacklisting’ DeclassifiedUK after the department refused to provide comment to the investigative website.

Edin Omanovic, advocacy director at Privacy International said that

“the point of Freedom of Information is to access information from individual authorities themselves, not from a centralised body within the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office should not be interfering.”

Silke Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said,

“We’re appalled that such important information rights have been so disrespected by the government. The centralisation of difficult FOIs, the secrecy of this list and the fact that our names have been circulated around Whitehall is seriously chilling. This is a shameful reflection on the government’s attitude towards transparency.”

Long legal battle for transparency 

openDemocracy first asked for copies of the Clearing House lists back in 2018. The Cabinet Office refused this Freedom of Information request but, 23 months later, in July 2020 the ICO finally decided that the lists – including the advice that the Cabinet Office provides on dealing with FOI requests – should be disclosed to the public.

While the Cabinet Office eventually disclosed some material from the Clearing House list, it is keeping its advice to departments secret and is appealing against the ICO’s decision.

openDemocracy, represented by the law firm Leigh Day, will now be submitting evidence to an information tribunal hearing to determine whether this information about the Clearing House should be made public.

According to ICO guidance, a public authority can only look up a requester’s identity if the request is repeated – potentially a vexatious request – or whether the cost of two or more requests made by the requester can be aggregated under FOI.

The ICO has been aware of the Clearing House’s existence for some time. In 2005, the Clearing House’s annual budget was reported to be £700,000.

The Clearing House was initially housed within the then Department for Constitutional Affairs then later moved to the Ministry of Justice. In 2015, when the Cabinet Office took responsibility for freedom of information policy, the department also took over the Clearing House, despite concerns about its operation.

The Cabinet Office has previously advertised roles to work in the Cabinet Office’s Clearing House. Specific responsibilities listed for the positions included “creating a weekly FOI tracker of new cases and releases”, and “forwarding drafts for clearance, reverting to departments with advice and negotiating redrafted responses”.

But openDemocracy’s findings – and the upcoming tribunal case – have highlighted fresh and pressing concerns, including among rights advocates who campaigned for the initial, groundbreaking Freedom of Information legislation more than 15 years ago. The Campaign for Freedom of Information’s Katherine Gundersen has said: “It’s time the clearing house was subjected to proper scrutiny.”

Meanwhile Gavin Freeguard, head of data and transparency at the Institute for Government, said that, 15 years after the Freedom of Information act came into effect, it was not right that the public was still having to fight to access information.

“With delayed responses, more requests being rejected than ever before and these reports of a Clearing House it feels like we’re having to fight for the right to information all over again,” said Freeguard.

“And all this at a time when it’s vital for politicians, the press and the public to be able to scrutinise government.”

The Cabinet Office organises quarterly engagement meetings and biannual information rights forums with other government departments. openDemocracy sent an FOI requesting materials from these meetings and forums, but the request was denied.

Published:11/30/2020 1:37:44 AM
[topics:places/ethiopia] Ethiopian military operation in Tigray complete, PM says, but explosions reported in Eritrean capital Published:11/29/2020 12:05:19 AM
[Left Column] Are Face Masks Effective? Government’s ‘should not assume or suggest that cloth face masks will reduce the rate or risk of infection’
Published:11/28/2020 11:03:55 PM
[Markets] Fragile And Unsustainable Lies Fragile And Unsustainable Lies Tyler Durden Sun, 11/29/2020 - 00:00

Authored by Robert Wright via The American Institute,

Many times throughout history, policymakers have doubled down on their own mistakes, refusing to believe that they were wrong or hoping that somehow doing the wrong thing twice or thrice would somehow make things right. Then it all came crashing down at once and the rulers lost their minds, and sometimes their necks or heads.

Economic, governance, and social systems often rely on each other in ways not readily discerned by narrow technocrats. When one crumbles, the others fall in rapid succession while all the putative experts express surprise. Look at the way that the U.S.S.R, one of the world’s two “super” powers, fell apart in the late 1980s when it lost enough feathers from its peacock tail in Afghanistan that its lies about the superiority of its command economy became obvious even to its own systematically deluded subjects.

When NPR proved inadequate to prevent Americans from seeing the few feathers left in America’s peacock tail, as evidenced by the surprise victory of Trump and his MAGA messaging in 2016, mass media joined forces with various “progressive” elements to create a propaganda machine that puts the old clunky Soviet state media to shame. 

Precisely because it is ostensibly private and domestic, America’s mass media, tarnished as its reputation is becoming, retains more credibility than any state-run media ever possessed. Many pundits have noted how 2020 resembles 1984, except the propaganda so far has come from a political resistance movement backed by parts of the government (FBI, CDC) rather than “the” state per se

The phalanx of private media and sundry have convinced tens of millions of Americans that: 

  • we are better off imposing lockdowns that cause far more harm than the virus itself (and sundry cognates, like the virus is super serious and novel, spreads easily via asymptomatic people, yet is stopped by irrational policies like curfews, as if people won’t simply start drinking earlier!); 

  • the current president is somehow illegitimate (Russian election interference, Ukrainian quid pro quo); 

  • nation-altering Constitutional reforms are necessary (de facto elimination of the electoral college, creation of additional states, SCOTUS enlargement); 

  • calling all people of Euroamerican descent racist isn’t itself racist;

  • a virus can differentiate between good protests (pro-BLM and pro-Biden) and bad ones (anti-lockdown and pro-Trump);

  • the American people chose a candidate who essentially did not campaign or set forth a coherent policy platform over one who, for all his faults, was president when the economy finally palpably improved and made enough progress in the Middle East to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Most impressive of all has been the way the mass media censored or downplayed Biden’s many weaknesses, his deplorable record on race, his almost half-century of self-serving political machinations, and his family’s dealings with Ukraine and China.

Thankfully, the Truth always prevails, it is just a matter of when and how. When the real world is heavily involved, Lies quickly die. So many a hubristic tyrant from ancient times to Hitler has fallen in war; many a fiat currency, including confederal Continentals and Confederate graybacks, has evaporated when their nominal value in circulation rapidly outstripped the real value of goods brought to market. 

The most robust, sustainable Lies cannot even be properly called such because they make no real world predictions at all but instead appeal to emotion and faith, to Revealed Truth. Some have lasted for millennia and though less popular than previously in many places they will surely outlast 2020’s Lies, even though some of those have appealed to faith, oddly in the name of “science,” as in phrases like “follow the science” reminiscent of Sunday sermons beseeching congregants to “follow Scripture.”

But religion appeals to people’s inner worlds so it can get by on dodgy slogans like “God works in mysterious ways.” The Lies of 2020, by contrast, make real world predictions and no amount of media censorship, irrational analysis, or outright obfuscation can permanently hide the fact that lockdowns impose large net burdens, Trump is no more incompetent or flawed than previous presidents, Constitutional checks and balances need to be strengthened and not dismantled, and Americans/America are no more racist than any other people/country.

Just as a fiat currency can quickly lose value through the self-interested actions of market participants, so too can lockdowns dissolve. In fact, in both cases governmental attempts to bolster its Lie (that its monetary policies or lockdowns work) will serve to speed the inevitable. If policymakers do not take the “Thanksgiving Rebellion” as a serious warning, they are dumber or more hubristic than even the most pessimistic have claimed. 

In fact, Americans should use social media, a tool like all tools that can be used for good as well as evil, to pick a time to sing some vintage Twisted Sister in unison to underscore the point: “Oh, we’re not gonna take it anymore! … This is our life … oh You’re so condescending/Your gall is never ending … If that’s your best, your best won’t do. … We’re right … We’re free … We’ll Fight … You’ll see.”

I practice what I preach and drove 12 hours from Georgia to New Jersey to spend time with my family this Thanksgiving, which as usual is gathering near one of the branches of the Atilis Gym, the owners of which gained fame earlier this year by proving the state’s restrictions on places of exercise was not just wrong but wrongheaded. To this day, not a single case of coronavirus has been linked to the establishment and, in fact, its regular patrons stand (and run, bike, squat, and row) as bulwarks against the spread of the coronavirus.

What kind of public health system bemoans the fact that 40 percent of the population is so unhealthy that they are at higher risk of developing complications from the coronavirus and then shutters workout facilities (and even at points boardwalks, parks, etc.)? A coercive state that truly cared about its people would have forced them to exercise instead of shuttering gyms, walking paths, and bike trails!

The longer policymakers allow the pandemic to play out through forced restrictions on natural interaction, the more Americans who will conclude that the public health system and Big Medicine have formed a “complex” akin to the military-industrial and scientific-technical-research complexes that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans about when he left office in 1961, in the wake of another election apparently won with the aid of dead Democrats

This third complex is not interested in Americans’ health but rather their debility. Its goal is to make people dependent on pills and fancy vaccines (the kind now being tested, not the much easier and cheaper live vaccines that might have provided safe, voluntary herd immunity in a month or two, without lockdowns) and to charge through the nose for them, indirectly through taxes or insurance premia. Indirect billing renders the exorbitant costs easier to hide, but like all Lies with real world implications its effects are fragile and unsustainable as even indirect healthcare expenses become unbearable. That led to dropout (most uninsured Americans rationally opted out of insurance that was too costly relative to the expected benefit) and calls for “reforms,” all of which attempt to force everyone to pay tribute to the healthcare complex.

The big risk that I see is that some Americans are coming to understand 2020’s Lies much more quickly and clearly than others. There is a chance, therefore, that instead of The People rising up against feckless government tyrants a la Twisted Sister, tensions between the Still Masked and the Unmaskers, which started in March and intensified over the summer, may boil over into violence. That would be lamentable and counterproductive and could cause the deaths of more Americans in a single day than have perished thus far during the entire pandemic. Violence is a contagion to which nobody can become immune.

Published:11/28/2020 11:03:55 PM
[topics:people/oliver-dowden] The Crown viewers could mistake fiction for fact, Culture Secretary fears Published:11/28/2020 10:34:40 PM
[Markets] CCP Imposes Tough New 'Social Credit Score' Rules CCP Imposes Tough New 'Social Credit Score' Rules Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 23:30

China will consider individuals who seriously endanger people’s health and safety, or disrupt markets’ fair competition and normal social order, as threats to society under its new social credit guidelines.

State broadcaster CCTV reported that the measures were discussed during a recent meeting of the state council citing a state council meeting led by Premier Li Keqiang, President Xi's point man for handling the fallout for the coronavirus.

Among these new punitive measures, China will promote quality development of the credit reporting industry, while encouraging the  sharing of credit information related to finance, government administration and public utilities Speed up orderly use of government-related data Strengthen information security and privacy protection.

The meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday, decided on measures to refine the bad-faith deterrent mechanism to promote the orderly and healthy development of the social credit system.

The principles include adhering to laws and regulations, protecting rights and interests, taking a prudent and appropriate approach and implementing list-based managemen The scope and procedures of credit information shall be formulated in a science-based way, while those for sharing credit information shall be standardized, the meeting said.

For those who aren't familiar with it, Fox News explains that China’s social credit system is a government program being implemented the People's Republic of China regulate its citizens’ behavior based on a point system.

Citizens with higher scores have had an easier time getting bank loans, free medical checkups and discounts on heating. Points have been deducted for traffic violations, selling faulty products or defaulting on loan payments. In some cases, people with bad social credit scores have been barred from buying airline or train tickets.

Other infractions including smoking in non-smoking areas, along with buying - or playing - too many video games, according to various media reports.

Published:11/28/2020 10:34:40 PM
[Politics] Roger Stone to Newsmax TV: Evidence Denial Is a Media 'Stunt' The breathless claims of "no evidence" of voter fraud is a "mainstream media stunt," according to Roger Stone on Newsmax TV. Published:11/28/2020 10:05:29 PM
[2020 Election News] Watch: Jenna Ellis gives an update on Team Trump’s legal fight against election corruption

By R. Mitchell -

Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis updates the nation on the legal fight to get every legal vote counted. Content created by Conservative Daily News and some content syndicated through CDN is available for re-publication without charge under the Creative Commons license. Visit our syndication page for details and requirements.

Watch: Jenna Ellis gives an update on Team Trump’s legal fight against election corruption is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:11/28/2020 10:05:29 PM
[Markets] Inequality And The Gold Standard Inequality And The Gold Standard Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 23:00

Authored by David Howden via The Mises Institute,

[First published by Mises Canada, December 2013.]

Imagine that you earn $40,000 a year and your boss doubles you at $80,000 a year. Business was good to you both in 2013, and you received a 25% raise for your efforts. Not bad, and your boss gets to share in this good fortune too with an extra $25,000 (about 30%). You’re going to make $50,000 in 2014 and your boss will pull in $105,000.

Are you happy with this deal? Probably. But wait, income inequality just increased! Your boss originally outpaced you by 100%, but now his salary is 110% higher than yours.

To read the brouhaha going around right now, this situation is cause for alarm. Income inequality has increased and despite the fact that everyone is doing better than they once were, one group is doing relatively better.

What about if we reverse the example, starting from the original salaries? Instead of having a great year, imagine things were very bad and salary cuts are going around. You get a 25% pay cut so that you will now be earning $30,000 a year, and because he has more responsibility about the direction of the business and its lack of success, your boss gets a larger pay cut of $25,000. (This situation is the mirror image of the first example.)

You are making much less than you did last year. Are you upset about this? Probably. But wait, apparently there is a silver lining. Your boss now “only” makes about 80% more money than you, versus the 100% salary differential that existed last year. Income inequality decreased!

Apparently you can take solace in knowing that the playing field has been levelled, even if your kids are going to have a tough Christmas morning one year from now.

This is admittedly a very simple example. What I am trying to show is that the income inequality debate is not as straight forward as it is commonly framed. It is not just a question of one group getting a larger piece of the pie, but of increasing the size of the pie so that everyone can benefit.

John Cassidy recently entered the melee with a very digestible look at American income inequality over time. In his “six charts” there is some of the same (the top 1% of earners have seen their share of the pie rise rapidly over the past decades) and also some surprises.

Relying on data from Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, Cassidy shares the following graph showing changes in real income growth over the past century.

First let’s look at the top 1%. There seem to be about three distinct periods their incomes have gone through. The first from 1913 to roughly 1973 is more or less flat. Real incomes for the top 1% were no higher in 1973 than they were around 1930. After 1973 however there is a sharp and mostly uninterrupted spike upwards which seems to stop around the year 2000. After 2000 their real incomes have ebbed and flowed, primarily in response to capital gains and losses on their stock portfolios. Even though the volatility of their income has increased, it still remains quite high relative to any time over the past 100 years.

Compare this with the bottom 99%. There seem to be about four distinct periods of real income growth. From 1913 until the end of the Great Depression, real income remained more or less constant. The 1940s, 50s and 60s saw a rapid increase in real income growth, far more rapid than what the 1% experienced. This came to a sudden end around 1973 and a stagnation until the early 1990s. Then from 1993 onwards we see the same final stage as the 1%. Increasing real incomes (though much slower than the 1%) but more volatility as well.

There are many things which are the same in these two trends, but the one year that probably pops out for people who think income inequality is a bad thing is 1973.

This year marked the end of the steady advance for the 99%’s real income gains and set in motion the rapid advance of the 1%. In other words, the marked income inequality we see today is a product of the post-1973 world.

So what happened in 1973? Many things as it turns out. Decreased unionization was getting underway in the U.S. economy around this time, as was the spike in the price of oil.

Russ Roberts over at Café Hayek has a different explanation. He thinks it has to do with changes to the family unit. Large increases in the divorce rate and a steady increase in the number of households headed by women could be to blame for the sudden jump in income inequality.

Maybe, but although this could be a reason why, I doubt it is the primary reason.

Let’s try an informal test. What was the biggest event to occur in 1973?

Americans probably will answer Roe v. Wade, the completion of the World Trade Center as the world’s tallest building or the beginnings of the Watergate hearings. Maybe the start of withdrawal of troops from Vietnam or Britain joining the European Economic Community. Or for sports fans it could be Secretariat winning the Triple Crown and getting immortalized on the cover of Time.

Actually the most important thing to happen in 1973 actually happened in 1971, August 15th to be exact.

On that date Richard Nixon closed the gold window. The U.S. dollar was convertible by foreign governments into gold under the then-existing Bretton Woods system at the great price of $35 per ounce. Continued redemption demands by some belligerent countries (primarily France) drained the U.S. of its gold reserves until the breaking point when it became questionable how much longer this could continue for. In what could have been the most important day of the 20th century, Richard Nixon decided to renege on the U.S.’s promises to foreign governments and essentially default on its currency. No longer was the U.S. dollar tied to gold and the U.S. no longer had to worry about spending beyond its means.

Well, almost no longer. While there was no convertibility into gold after 1971 there was still that old bugaboo of fixity in the exchange rate. The U.S. dollar still functioned on a fixed exchange rate standard relative to gold until 1973, even if there was no convertibility. This meant that the U.S. was still not free to expand its money supply or incur ever increasing budget deficits at will. It had to target a dollar price of gold, which was reset a little higher in 1971 to $38/oz. Even though there was no redeemability, the U.S. was legally obliged to target this gold price, something which tied its hands concerning the extent to which deficits could be run and expansionary of the money supply policies could be pursued.

The effect on the deficit is easy to understand in light of this.

Since the late 1880s (and before) the U.S. government ran a somewhat balanced budget. Minor blips appeared during the two World Wars, but by-and-large the deficit hovered very close to the zero line. In the late 1960s we can witness the a growing deficit, partly in response to the cost of the Vietnam War but even that is relatively mild to what would come later. Likewise, 1971 also witnessed a growing deficit but the year which defines the point of no return is clearly 1973. At that point the U.S. deficit went into freefall and besides a few surplus years in the late 1990s it has never recovered.

The effect was also pronounced on prices.

Prices were indeed climbing throughout the 1960s, but 1973 was also the year that set off the most inflationary episode in America´s history. Being unhinged from that relic of gold, the Federal Reserve could increase the money supply and monetize the Federal government’s budget as it wanted. This culminated with 15% annual inflation in 1980 something which took a very strong-minded Federal Reserve chairman by the name of Paul Volker to tame by putting the breaks on money supply growth.

Inflation looks tame today, though the experience following the 1973 decoupling showed what happens when you let the government spend at will without any restraint. Gold provided restraint, just as political gridlock should today. But in the period of the mid to late 1970s there was no such luck.

All this takes us back to the original question: why did income inequality increase so much after 1973? We can look to two factors both related to the loss of the gold exchange standard in 1971 and the arrival of flexible exchange rates two years later.

  • First, as the U.S. government no longer had to worry about redeeming U.S. debt held overseas in gold, it was able to spend without restraint. Of course, this created a large budget deficit quickly, something which needed a solution.

  • This brings us to the second point. By monetizing the U.S. budget deficits, the Federal Reserve set off a period of high price inflation.

The reason why there is growing income inequality since 1973 is a direct result of this monetary mayhem. All this new money needs an entry point into the economy. Someone has to get it first and spend it. When they spend this newly created money they do so at the existing set of prices, but in the course of making these expenditures prices will rise. Those who get the money first “win” in the sense that they get a free lunch – they have a greater income and can spend it before prices rise. Those who get the money last are the “losers” – they get access to this money eventually as it is spent (trickles down?) but by the time that occurs, prices have already risen. They are no better off.

The 99% that have become relatively poorer over the past 40 years are those who get access to this new money last. (Remember however that these people are still, thankfully, wealthier than they were 40 years ago.)

Who are the remaining 1%, then? Well, who gets the money first?

Government officials and contractors, to the extent that they gets the proceeds of all the newly created money are the first and primary beneficiaries. Big banks and financial institutions also win as they are the enablers who help this newly created money enter the economy. Incidentally, 99 times out of 100, when we think of someone in the 1% who is getting ahead of the rest of us, they probably either work for the higher echelons of the government or are involved in the financial industry.

Coincidence? I doubt it, and you just have to go back in time to 1973 to understand why.

Published:11/28/2020 10:05:29 PM
[Politics] Sidney Powell to Newsmax TV: Dominion Contracts Warrant Criminal Probe The $107 million contract awarded by Georgia for Dominion Voting Systems should be thoroughly investigated for potential "benefits being paid to family members of those who signed the contract," according to former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell on Newsmax TV. Published:11/28/2020 9:35:25 PM
[Right Column] UN Sec Gen’s ‘advice to India amounts to asking for its virtual de-industrialisation and stagnation’
Published:11/28/2020 9:35:25 PM
[Black Lives Matter] Police chief escapes from Washington D.C. (Paul Mirengoff) Peter Newsham is Washington D.C.’s police chief. He has been with the D.C. police force for 31 years. Newsham will step down from his job, which pays him nearly $300,000, right after Joe Biden is inaugurated. He will become the police chief of Prince William County, Virginia, a D.C. exurb, earning a salary of a little more than $200,000. Newsham’s resignation continues a trend of big city police chiefs stepping Published:11/28/2020 9:35:25 PM
[structure:news] UK secures 2 million more doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccine Published:11/28/2020 9:35:25 PM
[Markets] Visualizing 50 Years Of Gaming History, By Revenue Stream (1970-2020) Visualizing 50 Years Of Gaming History, By Revenue Stream (1970-2020) Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 22:30

Every year it feels like the gaming industry sees the same stories—record sales, unfathomable market reach, and questions of how much higher the market can go.

We’re already far past the point of gaming being the biggest earning media sector, with an estimated $165 billion revenue generated in 2020.

But as Visual Capitalist's Omri Wallach illustrates in the infographic below, it’s important to break down shifting growth within the market.

Research from Pelham Smithers shows that while the tidal wave of gaming has only continued to swell, the driving factors have shifted over the course of gaming history.

1970–1983: The Pre-Crash Era

At first, there was Atari.

Early prototypes of video games were developed in labs in the 1960s, but it was Atari’s release of Pong in 1972 that helped to kickstart the industry.

The arcade table-tennis game was a sensation, drawing in consumers eager to play and companies that started to produce their own knock-off versions. Likewise, it was Atari that sold a home console version of Pong in 1975, and eventually its own Atari 2600 home console in 1977, which would become the first console to sell more than a million units.

In short order, the arcade market began to plateau. After dwindling due to a glut of Pong clones, the release of Space Invaders in 1978 reinvigorated the market.

Arcade machines started to be installed everywhere, and new franchises like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong drove further growth. By 1982, arcades were already generating more money than both the pop music industry and the box office.

1985–2000: The Tech Advancement Race

Unfortunately, the gaming industry grew too quickly to maintain.

Eager to capitalize on a growing home console market, Atari licensed extremely high budget ports of Pac-Man and a game adaptation of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. They were rushed to market, released in poor quality, and cost the company millions in returns and more in brand damage.

As other companies also looked to capitalize on the market, many other poor attempts at games and consoles caused a downturn across the industry. At the same time, personal computers were becoming the new flavor of gaming, especially with the release of the Commodore 64 in 1982.

It was a sign of what was to define this era of gaming history: a technological race. In the coming years, Nintendo would release the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) home console in 1985 (released in Japan as the Famicom), prioritizing high quality games and consistent marketing to recapture the wary market.

On the backs of games like Duck HuntExcitebike, and the introduction of Mario in Super Mario Bros, the massive success of the NES revived the console market.

Estimated Total Console Sales by Manufacturer (1970-2020)

Nintendo looked to continue its dominance in the field, with the release of the Game Boy handheld and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. At the same time, other competitors stepped in to beat them at their own game.

In 1988, arcade company Sega entered the fray with the Sega Mega Drive console (released as the Genesis in North America) and then later the Game Gear handheld, putting its marketing emphasis on processing power.

Electronics maker Sony released the PlayStation in 1994, which used CD-ROMs instead of cartridges to enhance storage capacity for individual games. It became the first console in history to sell more than 100 million units, and the focus on software formats would carry on with the PlayStation 2 (DVDs) and PlayStation 3 (Blu-rays).

Even Microsoft recognized the importance of gaming on PCs and developed the DirectX API to assist in game programming. That “X” branding would make its way to the company’s entry into the console market, the Xbox.

2001–Present: The Online Boom

It was the rise of the internet and mobile, however, that grew the gaming industry from tens of billions to hundreds of billions in revenue.

A primer was the viability of subscription and freemium services. In 2001, Microsoft launched the Xbox Live online gaming platform for a monthly subscription fee, giving players access to multiplayer matchmaking and voice chat services, quickly becoming a must-have for consumers.

Meanwhile on PCs, Blizzard was tapping into the Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) subscription market with the 2004 release of World of Warcraft, which saw a peak of more than 14 million monthly paying subscribers.

All the while, companies saw a future in mobile gaming that they were struggling to tap into. Nintendo continued to hold onto the handheld market with updated Game Boy consoles, and Nokia and BlackBerry tried their hands at integrating game apps into their phones.

But it was Apple’s iPhone that solidified the transition of gaming to a mobile platform. The company’s release of the App Store for its smartphones (followed closely by Google’s own store for Android devices) paved the way for app developers to create free, paid, and pay-per-feature games catered to a mass market.

Now, everyone has their eyes on that growing $85 billion mobile slice of the gaming market, and game companies are starting to heavily consolidate.

Major Gaming Acquisitions Since 2014

Console makers like Microsoft and Sony are launching cloud-based subscription services even while they continue to develop new consoles. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google are launching their own services that work on multiple devices, mobile included.

After seeing the success that games like Pokémon Go had on smartphones—reaching more than $1 billion in yearly revenue—and Grand Theft Auto V’s record breaking haul of $1 billion in just three days, companies are targeting as much of the market as they can.

And with the proliferation of smartphones, social media games, and streaming services, they’re on the right track. There are more than 2.7 billion gamers worldwide in 2020, and how they choose to spend their money will continue to shape gaming history as we know it.

Published:11/28/2020 9:35:25 PM
[Markets] 2021 Would Be A Great Time To Audit The Fed 2021 Would Be A Great Time To Audit The Fed Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 22:00

Authored by Nick Hankoff via The Mises Institute,

Gone are the days of the Federal Reserve hiding in the shadows. Now it’s a woke central bank fighting for climate and racial justice. Progressives must not fall for this but instead team up with the populist right to audit the Fed and demand transparency.

Let the healing begin! If it is going to be President Joe Biden a couple months from now, then there will be all the more incentive for antiestablishment Democrats to join forces with populist Republicans. What better issue than auditing the Federal Reserve System?

There is strong precedent for progressives and the populist right to unite around an “Audit the Fed” movement. In early 2009, Congressman Ron Paul introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which garnered 320 House cosponsors by the summer of 2010.

Since then, the antiestablishment factions of both parties have grown and at least one of the 2009 House cosponsors now holds a Senate seat. Audit the Fed has passed the House on three occasions, so it could see as much or more success this coming session.

Another development over the last eleven years is the Fed’s evolving public image. Before Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential run, the central bank lurked in near-total darkness. Two thousand nine was a breakout year for its public relations campaign, and the Fed has failed to return to its prior obscurity. 

Now the secretive power center larps as a super–social justice warrior, fighting for climate and racial justice, the top pet issues of the progressive left. Many grassroots progressives expressed their distaste for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, but even those who held their noses to vote for them shouldn’t feel at all obliged to apologize for the Fed’s virtue signaling.

Meanwhile, inflationary monetary policy most harms those people and communities whom the progressive left claims to champion. Saving becomes more difficult or impossible, while prices of goods rise.

All the more reason for the Fed to adopt the likeness of a woke institution. Just as it has blamed “irrational exuberance” for boom-bust cycles, it can now blame systemic racism or climate change for poor economic growth that’s actually fueled by its own monetary policy.

This week, the Fed officially sought membership in the Network for Greening the Financial System, an assemblage of central banks and other international forces that “support the transition toward a sustainable economy” for the sake of the climate.

This past summer, Fed chairman Jerome Powell promised to improve “diversity” within the Fed’s structure. Will the new friendlier, kinder, and woker Federal Reserve System win the trust of progressives or irk them for stealing their thunder and undermining their vision?

Most Americans already don't trust the Fed, especially Democrats, people forty-nine and under, and those making less than $50,000 a year. Those would be natural progressive constituencies.

Republicans in the House and Senate, especially if the president is unable to secure a second term, will be in a strong position to take on the Fed. Trump has long criticized the bank and its chairman, whom he picked. Although more recent frustration expressed was over interest rates not being low enough, Trump also supported auditing the Fed during his 2016 campaign.

Republicans will also likely control the Senate, so any other Fed-related bills that Democrats might propose would have more trouble finding enough votes for passage. Take for instance the Federal Reserve Racial and Economic Equity Act recently introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and cosponsored by Bernie Sanders.

This FRREE Act seeks to “minimize and eliminate racial disparities in employment, wages, wealth, and access to affordable credit.” That amounts to overhauling the Congress’s instructions for the Fed, which have focused the bank’s duties on job creation and price stabilization since 1977.

Unfortunately, its champions Warren and Sanders have opposed auditing the Fed in the past. It will take a groundswell of grassroots pressure to turn them around, but it can be done.

Any hope for real political unity that actually benefits the American people depends on the success of projects like Audit the Fed. If populist movements from the left and right can coalesce on this one thing, they will find their time well spent. 

Even if a President Biden or Trump vetoed the legislation, it would amount to progress in the pursuit of transparency at the Fed. Both the left and right side of grassroots politics could claim a piece of the same victory. That would be a nice turnaround from 2020.

Published:11/28/2020 9:03:25 PM
[] Saturday Overnight Open Thread (11/28/20) *** The Saturday Night Joke A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded: "Rome? Why would anyone want to go... Published:11/28/2020 9:03:25 PM
[] Thought experiment: Imagine if Iran had assassinated an Israeli nuclear scientist Published:11/28/2020 8:35:27 PM
[World] A Holiday Gift Idea: New books by Joshua Mitchell, Michael Walsh and Brandon Weichert Published:11/28/2020 8:35:26 PM
[topics:people/joe-biden] Pennsylvania high court dismisses lawsuit challenging mail-in ballots Published:11/28/2020 8:35:26 PM
[Markets] Cali Mansion Once Listed For $100 Million Sells For "Only" $48.4 Million Cali Mansion Once Listed For $100 Million Sells For "Only" $48.4 Million Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 21:30

Today in "a look into a luxury real estate market you will never likely participate in" news...

A famous L.A. mansion called "Opus" that was once listed for $100 million and has been on the market for over three years has finally sold - at a more than 50% haircut.

The 20,000 square foot mansion sold for $48.4 million this week, furniture included, according to Bloomberg. It is also the latest canary in the luxury real estate coal mine, selling for a large discount during a pandemic which has seen foreign buyers dry up and an exodus from city areas.

Additionally, as we have noted this year, California is seeing an outflow of residents as poor state management, higher taxes and more government are driving citizens to tax havens like Florida and Texas. 

Source: BBG

Jonathan Miller, president of appraiser Miller Samuel told Bloomberg of the original price tag: “It was never worth that to begin with. High-end properties are moving, but they’re not moving for prices that are disconnected from the market.”

The house sports 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, and was custom built by movie producer turned real estate developer (of course) Nile Niami. He first tried to sell the house "with a PR campaign involving a hyper-sexualized video of mostly-naked women in different parts of the house, including one shot of four women slathered in gold paint posing around a golden Lamborghini".

When that didn't work, we guess he ran out of ideas and simply decided to start cutting the price 3 years ago. 

Niami is currently developing a $500 million private residence called "The One" that has 4 swimming pools, a nightclub and a bowling alley. We can't prove it, but we're sure this insanity is somehow Neel Kashkari's fault. Niami says he won't budge on the $500 million price tag. 

Umansky said of the project: “He just won’t listen to the market. If he would just sell and not try to hit a grand slam on every deal, he would be great.”

Source: BBG

The lack of a bid in general is isolated to speculative luxury homes over $100 million, the article notes (we can't imagine why). The rest of the real estate market has been showing signs of lack of supply, mirroring demand nationally in places like South Florida, the Hamptons and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Mauricio Umansky, chief executive officer of the Agency, said: “There’s a big gap between what the owners are willing to sell for and buyers are willing to pay. They didn’t underwrite correctly.”

While the bid/ask spread on real estate has narrowed, some celebrity real estate sales have seen their prices drop. Lori Loughlin, before heading to jail, sold her Bel Air mansion for almost 50% less than the $35 million she was asking. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi also recently sold their home for $33.3 million after it was originally listed at $40 million.

Published:11/28/2020 8:35:26 PM
[Markets] Stock Market Today: Nasdaq Notches Another High as COVID's Spread Worsens An error in AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trial and persistent coronavirus troubles in the U.S. led investors to chase the old COVID trade Friday. Published:11/28/2020 8:03:07 PM
[Politics] McConnell Halts GOP Lunches Amid COVID Concerns Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has suspended in-person Republican lunches amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Published:11/28/2020 8:03:07 PM
[World] Duh. Who Else Would It Be in 2024 Except Donald Trump? Published:11/28/2020 8:03:07 PM
[Coronavirus] Science, Minnesota Style (John Hinderaker) My friend Mitch Berg posted this on Twitter: Science, Minnesota style: crowds at the Eagan outlet mall (a clump of big box National outlets), versus Jensen‘s restaurant right across the street (local standalone joint). Remember – we’re all in it together. pic.twitter.com/8WtN8vmtuN — Mitch "The Walesa Project" Berg (@mitchpberg) November 28, 2020 The shutdown regime here in Minnesota is idiotic: bars and restaurants, which account for 1.7% of infections according Published:11/28/2020 8:03:07 PM
[Markets] The Strangely Unscientific Masking Of America The Strangely Unscientific Masking Of America Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 21:00

Authored by Jenin Younes via The American Institute for Economic Research,

I remember vividly the day, at the tail end of March, when facemasks suddenly became synonymous with morality: either one cared about the lives of others and donned a mask, or one was selfish and refused to do so. The shift occurred virtually overnight. 

Only a day or two before, I had associated this attire solely with surgeons and people living in heavily polluted regions. Now, my friends’ favorite pastime during our weekly Zoom sessions was excoriating people for running or socializing without masks in Prospect Park. I was mystified by their certitude that bits of cloth were the only thing standing between us and mass death, particularly when mere weeks prior, the message from medical experts contradicted this new doctrine.

On February 29, the U.S. surgeon general infamously tweeted:

“Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS. . . They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.”

Anthony Fauci, the best-known member of the coronavirus task force, advised Americans not to wear masks around this time. 

Similarly, in the earliest weeks of the pandemic, the CDC maintained that masks should be worn only by individuals who were symptomatic or caring for a sick person, a position that the WHO stood by even longer.

As rapidly as mask use became a matter of ethics, the issue transformed into a political one, exemplified by an article printed on March 27 in the New York Times, entitled “More Americans Should Probably Wear Masks for Protection.” The piece was heavy on fear-mongering and light on evidence.  While acknowledging that “[t]here is very little data showing that flat surgical masks, in particular, have a protective effect for the general public,” the author went on to argue that they “may be better than nothing,” and cited a couple of studies in which surgical masks ostensibly reduced influenza transmission rates.  

One report reached its conclusion based on observations of a “dummy head attached to a breathing simulator.”  Another analyzed use of surgical masks on people experiencing at least two symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Incidentally, not one of these studies involved cloth masks or accounted for real-world mask usage (or misusage) among lay people, and none established efficacy of widespread mask-wearing by people not exhibiting symptoms.  There was simply no evidence whatsoever that healthy people ought to wear masks when going about their lives, especially outdoors.  Yet by April, to walk the streets of Brooklyn with one’s nose and mouth exposed evoked the sort of reaction that in February would have been reserved for the appearance of a machine gun.

In short order, the politicization intensified. President Trump refused to wear a mask relatively early on, so resistance to them was equated with support for him. By the same token, Democratic politicians across the board eagerly adopted the garb; accordingly, all good liberals were wearing masks religiously by the beginning of April. Likewise, left-leaning newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post unequivocally promoted mask-wearing after that March 27 article, with no real analysis or consideration of opposing views and evidence.

The speed with which mask-wearing among the general public transitioned from unheard of to a moral necessity struck me as suspicious. After all, if the science was as airtight as those around me claimed, surely masks would have been recommended by January or February, not to mention during prior infectious disease outbreaks such as the 2009 swine flu. It seemed unlikely that the scientific proof became incontrovertible sometime between late February and late March, particularly in the absence of any new evidence surfacing during that time period. 

Perhaps none of this is particularly surprising in this hyper-political era. What is shocking is the scientific community’s participation in subverting evidence that does not comport with the consensus. A prime example is the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation’s (“IHME”) rather astounding claim, published in the journal Nature-Medicine and echoed in countless articles afterward, that the lives of 130,000 people could be saved with a nationwide mask mandate.  

As my colleague Phil Magness pointed out in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the IHME model was predicated upon faulty data:  it assumed that 49% of Americans were wearing masks based on a survey conducted between April and June, while claiming that statistic represented the number of Americans wearing masks as of September 21.  In fact, by the summer, around 80% of Americans were regularly wearing them.  (Ironically, had Dr. Fauci and the Surgeon General not bungled the message in March, mask use probably would have reached much higher rates much earlier on).

This called into question the accuracy of the 130,000 figure, since many more people habitually used masks than the study presumed. 

Although Magness contacted Nature-Medicine to point out the problem, after stalling for nearly two weeks, the journal declined to address it.  Needless to say, the damage had been done:  newspapers such as the New York Times undoubtedly would fail to correct the error and any retractions certainly would be placed far from the front page, where the initial article touting the IHME figure appeared. Thus, as expected, the unfounded claim that 130,000 lives could be saved with a nationwide mask-mandate continues to be repeated, including by president-elect Joe Biden and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins. 

That the science behind mask-wearing is questionable at best is further exemplified by a letter to the editor written in response to Magness’s article. Dr. Christopher Murray acknowledged that rates of mask-wearing have steadily increased, but then concluded that masks should be used because they are “our first line of defense against the pandemic” and current IHME modeling indicates that “if 95% of U.S. residents were to wear masks when leaving home, we could prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans” because “masks work,” and “much deeper pain is ahead if we refuse to wear them.”  

None of this accounts for the failure of either Nature-Medicine or the IHME modelers to recognize and correct the error.  Moreover, neither the IHME modelers nor Dr. Murray provide any evidence that masks work. They assume masks are extremely effective at preventing spread of the coronavirus, and then claim that the model is correct for that reason. This sort of circular reasoning is all-too typical of those who so vociferously insist that masks are effective without going to the trouble of substantiating that contention – or differentiating what is likely a modest benefit from mask-wearing in specific indoor locations and around high-risk individuals from the media-driven tendency to depict masks as a silver bullet for stopping the virus in all circumstances. 

Coverage of a recent mask study conducted in Denmark likewise epitomizes the failure of the scientific community to rigorously engage with results that do not fit the prevailing masks-as-a-panacea narrative. The first randomized and controlled study of its kind, it found an absence of empirical evidence that masks provide protection to people wearing them, although it apparently did not assess whether they prevent infection of those who encounter the wearer.  The report was covered in a New York Times article bearing the patronizing headline, “A New Study Questions Whether Masks Protect Wearers. You Need to Wear Them Anyway.”  

Noting that the results “conflict with those from a number of other studies,” primarily “laboratory examinations of the particles blocked by materials of various types,” the author remarked that, therefore, this research “is not likely to alter public health recommendations in the United States.” Notably, laboratory examinations, as opposed to the Danish study, do not account for the realities of everyday mask usage by non-medical professionals. 

The author then quotes Susan Ellenberg, a biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania, who claims that the study indicates a trend: “‘in the direction of benefit’ even if the results were not statistically significant. ‘Nothing in this study suggests . . . that it is useless to wear a mask,’” according to Dr. Ellenberg. 

Nor does anything in this study suggest that it is useful to wear a mask, a fact that Dr. Ellenberg (and the headline) conveniently ignores. Furthermore, if a result is statistically insignificant, it should not be used to make the case for any proposition — as even I, a layperson, know.  

Scientists ought to dispassionately analyze data that contradicts their biases and assumptions, and be open to changing their beliefs accordingly. That the results of the only randomized, controlled study were and continue to be automatically discounted demonstrates that, when it comes to the subject of masks, anything approximating the scientific method has gone out the window. That is all the more evident given the lack of interest that mask proponents have shown in conducting a randomized, controlled study themselves.

An article in the Los Angeles Times went even further: it twisted the findings of the Danish study to argue, incomprehensibly, that the research demonstrated more mask-wearing is warranted.  The author cited, as supposedly compelling evidence that masks work, the low Covid-19 death rates in Singapore, Vietnam, and Taiwan.  Indeed, according to the latest YouGov poll, administered in mid-November, 83% of Americans now wear masks in public, higher rates than Vietnam (77%) and Taiwan (82%).

Furthermore, there are other explanations, apart from widespread mask usage, for the remarkably low death rates in these countries.   Some scientists believe that previous exposure to other coronaviruses in these regions may confer partial or total immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Others have speculated that obesity, environment or genetics could be the reason that Europe and the United States have substantially higher death rates than many Asian and African countries; after all, obesity is one of the most significant risk factors for severe illness. 

To conclude on the basis of low death rates in several countries that masks prevent coronavirus transmission is patently absurd, illogical, and unscientific. A casual observer might also note that coronavirus cases (albeit not necessarily deaths) are rising in many parts of the world, regardless of mask mandates or rates of implementation. While not a controlled experiment, this fact at least ought to be addressed when making such sweeping claims. 

Ultimately, I do not have the credentials to determine whether or not –or to what extent — masks work. But it is obvious that the issue has become so politicized that mainstream media outlets, politicians, and even scientists seize upon the slightest bit of favorable evidence, dismiss out of hand anything that conflicts with their theory, and most egregiously of all misrepresent the data, to support the conclusion that masks worn by asymptomatic people prevent coronavirus transmission.  

And masks are only one part of this story: school closures, lockdowns, and social distancing all have been dogmatically embraced as a means of controlling infection. The substantial evidence that these mechanisms are not effective, particularly beyond their duration, has been automatically rejected for too long. This is not science: it is politics, and those within the profession who have refused to examine their confirmation biases, or manipulated the evidence to score political points, are utterly unqualified for the job. 

Published:11/28/2020 8:03:07 PM
[Uncategorized] Media Pivots From Steady Stream Of Anti-Trump #FakeNews To Biden Slobberfest

From Russia Russia Russia and Orange Man Bad to pet psychics, cat "exclusives," and sock choices.

The post Media Pivots From Steady Stream Of Anti-Trump #FakeNews To Biden Slobberfest first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/28/2020 8:03:07 PM
[Politics] Pennsylvania High Court Rejects Lawsuit Challenging Election Pennsylvania's highest court on Saturday night threw out a lower court's order preventing the state from certifying dozens of contests on its Nov. 3 election ballot in the latest lawsuit filed by Republicans challenging the vote count in the battleground state.The state... Published:11/28/2020 7:32:43 PM
[Markets] The 2021 Liquidity Supernova: Step Aside Fed - US Treasury Will Unleash $1.3 Trillion In Liquidity The 2021 Liquidity Supernova: Step Aside Fed - US Treasury Will Unleash $1.3 Trillion In Liquidity Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 20:30

One of the most poignant (and painful to some) lessons of the past decade - especially to contrarian, bearish investors such as Odey and Horseman - is that the Fed can keep print money far longer than any short can remain solvent. And while it was considered in poor taste until earlier this year to admit that the market levitation is entirely due to the Fed's manipulation of markets- a task best left to fringe, tinfoil wearing blogs - all pretense disappeared after Jerome Powell nationalized the bond market in March, and just last week Morgan Stanley's chief rates strategist, Matthew Hornbach, admitted that central bank liquidity is the most critical component of rising macro markets: "It both greases the wheels of transactional finance and changes the opportunity set available to investors."

It's also why Morgan Stanley has been especially bullish on markets in 2021: as Hornbach summarized it simply: "When it comes to liquidity, our focus is on both "narrow" and "broad" measures... We expect both types of liquidity to expand in 2021."

Last Monday we discussed the expansion of the first type of liquidity, namely that provided by central banks. The math was, in a word, staggering: combined, the 8 DM central banks are expected to purchase US$304 billion of securities ($238 billion of which will be government bonds), on average, from private markets every month in 2021 (with the Fed and the ECB naturally doing most of the buying).

Putting this number in context, in total these 8 central banks are expected to add liquidity worth 0.7% of annual nominal GDP, on average, every month in 2021. "That is a rapid pace of global liquidity injection, the likes of which we haven't seen outside of 2020" Hornbach casually inserts.

What is even more striking is that this may not be enough: as we showed two weeks ago, after the Fed monetized virtually every dollar of net Treasury issuance in 2020, in 2021 Treasury supply will significantly outstrip Fed purchases (and this is even without factoring in the possibility of another major fiscal stimulus).

Said otherwise, while the Treasury faces net Treasury issuance of roughly $2.4 trillion, the Fed is expected to monetize less than half of this total, or $960 billion. Considering that in 2020 under the auspices of "helicopter money" (from which we remind readers there is simply no coming back) the Fed will have monetized virtually every dollar of net issuance, this is a huge cliff and one which could lead to a shock drop in Treasury prices if the market reprices (lower) its expectations for Fed monetizations.

In other words, the Fed needs to more than double its scheduled monthly QE in 2021 just to catch up to where it was in 2020; and the Fed is hardly alone - in just the past month, the RBA, the BOE and most recently, the Riksbank, all announced expansions to their current QE.

And here comes the twist, because in what may come as a surprise to some, in 2021 liquidity injections won't be limited to QE.

As traders who lived through the reserve squeeze of Sept 2019 recall all too vividly, central bank purchases of securities via QE aren't the only way liquidity can find its way into markets. In the US, the Treasury can increase liquidity by allowing its cash balance - held at the Federal Reserve - to decline. When Treasury issues debt, it can either spend the money on government mandates or it can keep the money in its checking account at the Fed, known as the Treasury General Account (TGA).

To be sure, from a liquidity perspective Treasury debt issuance and the subsequent spending does not impact liquidity on net, in general. When Treasury issues debt, banking system reserves decrease. And when Treasury spends the money, banking system reserves increase.

However, as Hornbach reminds us, 2020 was unique in that Treasury issued lots of debt without spending the money, resulting in over $1.6 trillion in Treasury cash available for deployment at a moment's notice, yet due to Congress' inability to reach agreement on a fiscal stimulus, this money was never spent (and may have cost Trump a victory in the election).

As a result, the cash balance in the TGA increased dramatically, resulting in a massive liquidity drain; in fact were it not for other sources of liquidity injection - such as the Fed injecting hundreds of billions with monthly periodicity - that may have been a huge problem for markets. In any event, as the chart below shows, despite the Treasury's liquidity drain reserves increased in 2020 regardless, surpassing a record $5 trillion.

So what happens in 2021 with all this cash already sloshing around?

Well, as Hornbach writes, in 2021 the Treasury General Account will experience more volatility due to the debt ceiling deadline, but will initially result in a very large injection of liquidity. The debt ceiling deadline is August 1, 2021. On this date, the US Treasury will not be able to issue any additional debt above and beyond what it needs to cover existing debt obligations. However, what few may be aware of, is that there is a clause written into the law that prohibits the TGA from rising above levels prior to the debt ceiling deadline, which was in 2019.

This means that based on the 2019 debt ceiling, the Treasury cash will need to be at $200 billion by August 1, 2021. As such, there will be significant T-bill paydowns in 2021 through August in order for Treasury to reduce its cash balance - leading to a massive increase in reserves which is entirely apart from those injected via Fed QE, which continues at a pace of $120 billion per month. With the TGA cash currently at just under $1.5 trillion, it means that the US Treasury will unlock $1.3 trillion in liquidity over the next 8 months, more than doubling the liquidity coming from the Fed over the same time period which will be roughly $1 trillion ($120 x 8 months)!

We hope this massive liquidity injection explains why Biden was so interested in getting a former Fed chair - Janet Yellen - in charge of the Treasury. After all, the amount of liquidity to be injected by the Treasury Department will match, almost dollar for dollar, what Jerome Powell will do in 2021.

So when will this liquidity impact markets?

The Fed first announced its QE-driven foray into liquidity provision on Sunday, March 15, and as Morgan Stanley notes, "it took a couple weeks for the liquidity to flow to where it was needed most: the S&P 500 bottomed and the Fed's broad trade-weighted US dollar index topped on March 23."

Since then, the US dollar index has lost 9.4% and the S&P 500 index is up 60%. In addition, US 10y real yields have fallen 100bp while 10y breakeven inflation rates have risen 100bp. In that sense, the injection of liquidity in 2020 has already had an immense impact on markets.

So how do we know markets will feel the impact again in 2021? In the end, liquidity doesn't have to find its way around markets if it doesn't have an incentive. And it certainly doesn't have to find its way into risky assets.

As we saw ahead of the US election, US$ 1 trillion found its way into money market funds (MMFs), given the uncertainty of a well-telegraphed risk event. However, according to Hornbach, in 2021, the sheer size of liquidity entering markets will make it hard for investors to keep it sitting in cash accounts, earning next to nothing. And, given virtual guarantees that most central bank policy rates will remain at effective lower bounds (ELBs) in 2021, and many will remain there in 2022 as well, Hornbach concludes that "investors will have a (performance) incentive to move cash into higher yielding assets."

In the end, it's not possible for us to say exactly when the liquidity will impact market prices throughout the year. Still, once the race for returns begins as we enter the new calendar year (the new fiscal year for many investors), we expect liquidity to venture out of its safe-haven cash-cave - just as long as new, unforeseen uncertainties aren't mounting at the same time.

Translation: buy everything ahead of an unprecedented dollar devaluation orgy.

Published:11/28/2020 7:32:42 PM
[World] [Josh Blackman] The Supreme Court's Bar Membership Is Not "Shrouded in Secrecy." The Journal of the Supreme Court includes the name of every member admitted, as well as the name of every member who is subject to discipline. Published:11/28/2020 7:02:34 PM
[Entertainment] Camila Cabello Reveals She's "Learned a Lot About Love" With Shawn Mendes Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Clippers Court side GameCamila Cabello's latest Instagram post has fans saying "My Oh My." On Saturday, Nov. 28, the 23-year-old singer opened up about her relationship with Shawn Mendes with a...
Published:11/28/2020 7:02:34 PM
[Markets] Watch: CNN Admits There Are "Legal & Constitutional" Ways For Trump To Stay In Office Watch: CNN Admits There Are "Legal & Constitutional" Ways For Trump To Stay In Office Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 20:00

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

In a video released before the election but attracting fresh attention, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explained the “legal and constitutional” case by which President Trump could stay in office even if he loses the election.

In a moment of actual journalistic integrity, which is incredibly rare these days for CNN, Zakaria outlined how Trump could retain the presidency “without actually winning the vote.”

Explaining how the system worked, Zakaria said electors are determined by that state’s popular vote, but that this is “not a constitutional obligation.”

The host then outlined the exact scenario that happened on election day, with Trump leading on November 3rd but then mail-in ballots swinging the result for Biden, prompting a flurry of challenges and lawsuits.

“Taking account of the confusion, legislatures decide to choose the electors themselves,” said Zakaria before pointing out that eight out of nine key swing states have Republican legislatures.

“If one or more decide that balloting is chaotic and marked by irregularities, they could send what they regard as the legitimate slate of electors, which would be Republican.”

Adding to the confusion, Democrats from the same states would also send their electors to Washington, which Zakaria suggested could be “part of the Republican plan.”

“Because you see when Congress convenes on January 6 to tally the electors’ votes, there would be challenges to the legitimacy of some electors,” explained Zakaria.

This would prompt Congressional Republicans to argue that disputed states should not be counted, which would ensure Biden’s could not reach 270 electoral college votes.

“At that point, the constitution clearly directs that the House of Representatives vote to determine the presidential election, but it does so with each state casting a single ballot,” said Zakaria, noting that this process would result in the re-election of Donald Trump.

“Trump doesn’t have to do anything other than accept this outcome, which is constitutional,” concluded Zakaria.

The video has caused consternation amongst some Biden supporters, who are eagerly pointing out that it was released before the election.

However, this makes no difference whatsoever. Zakaria’s explanation of how Trump could still win is still in play.

*  *  *

New limited edition merch now available! Click here. In the age of mass Silicon Valley censorship It is crucial that we stay in touch. I need you to sign up for my free newsletter here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown. Also, I urgently need your financial support here.

Published:11/28/2020 7:02:34 PM
[] Science isn't dead, but it is ailing - part 4 [Jay Guevara] ?Is it obvious? YES! It IS obvious!? Previous installments: Science isn't dead, but it is ailing - part 3 Science isn't dead, but it is ailing - part 2 Science isn't dead, but it is ailing - part 1... Published:11/28/2020 7:02:34 PM
[World] U.S. lacking focus on partnership between Iran and North Korea regimes

President Trump’s administration gave great attention to two toxic triangles that this author highlighted, though ignored by the mainstream media. They dubbed the first of these the “Axis of Resistance,” a self-declared malevolence of Iran, Syria and Hamas.

The second underscored by then-National Security Adviser John Bolton was the “Troika ... Published:11/28/2020 6:32:47 PM

[Politics] BREAKING: Pennsylvania Supreme Court throws out lawsuit challenging constitutionality of mail-in ballot law The activist Supreme Court of Pennsylvania just tossed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the legislature to create a law that expanded mail-in voting. This is the same case we reported on . . . Published:11/28/2020 6:32:47 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: Pennsylvania Supreme Court throws out lawsuit challenging constitutionality of mail-in ballot law The activist Supreme Court of Pennsylvania just tossed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the legislature to create a law that expanded mail-in voting. This is the same case we reported on . . . Published:11/28/2020 6:32:47 PM
[4a1d04e0-5bfa-5af4-ad6b-56cbe796316e] Adriana Cohen: Give teachers priority for COVID-19 vaccinations so schools can reopen Now that COVID-19 vaccines are expected to soon become available, governors nationwide must prioritize vaccinating teachers so America's schools can reopen without delay. Published:11/28/2020 6:32:47 PM
[Markets] "I Want To Build A World Where Someone Like Me Is Impossible" - Meet The Trust Fund Brats Trying To Destroy Capitalism "I Want To Build A World Where Someone Like Me Is Impossible" - Meet The Trust Fund Brats Trying To Destroy Capitalism Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 19:30

Roughly 18 months have passed since New York Magazine published a cover story declaring that, in the age of President Trump, all the new "it" kids in Brooklyn (we use the term "kids" loosely; most are well into their 30s) are avowed socialists.

As the reporter explains, the new generation of Brooklyn cool kids have blue check marks on twitter and low-paying editorial jobs at digital magazines like the (now defunct) Outline, Deadspin (a media outlet ostensibly dedicated to sports but realistically covered whatever its reporters and editors felt like writing about on any given day) or Jacobin, a magazine that has been described by some as "straight up Marxist" in its editorial slant. Almost all of them were white women, the most oppressed class.

One year later, a staff uprising at the NYT exposed just how deeply embedded these new crypto-marxist values have become in the modern American media environment. Staffers successfully ousted Opinion Page editor James Bennett over his decision to curate an essay from Republican Sen. Tom Cotton despite the fact that the opinion page is supposed to be an entirely separate editorial entity from the NYT's newsgathering operation.

This week, the NYT has published a story about a handful of wealthy heirs who have embraced the socialist credo, and who see their massive piles of inherited wealth as a symbol of shame, not a blessing for which they should be extremely grateful.

Take 25-year-old Sam Jacobs, for example. Described as "a socialist since college", he reportedly sees his family's "'extreme plutocratic wealth' as both a moral and economic failure".

"I want to build a world where someone like me, a young person who controls tens of millions of dollars, is impossible," he said.

Fortunately for Jacobs, his grandfather was one of the founders of Qualcomm, the ubiquitous chipmaker. And even if he gives $30 million away, he'll still have another $70 million or so coming to him over the course of his lifetime. And what's more, he's not alone. As the NYT reports, for all their kvetching about student loans, American millennials will soon become the beneficiaries of what social scientists are calling "the great wealth transfer": tens of trillions of dollars are expected to pass from the hands of baby boomers to their millennial and Gen X spawn over the coming decade.

However, most American millennials won't inherit anything, except for "debt, dim job prospects" and a "figment" of the social safety net (that seems like an exaggeration, especially considering that literally every single American citizen who reaches the required age will receive a monthly check from the federal government, part of a program called "social security", not to mention medicare/medicaid).

But as both a "trust-fund kid and an anticapitalist", Jacobs "is in a rare position among leftists fighting against economic inequality". And he's hardly along in trying to navigate "what it means to be with the 99%, when you're the 1%" - embracing the type of reductive, us-vs.-them thinking promoted by Bernie Sanders and his allies.

30-year-old Rachel Gelman is another example. Her wealthy family gave generously to liberal causes growing up. Now, as a 30-year-old preparing to inherit millions from her parents, Gelman is trying to find a way to give back since most of her family's money "comes from stocks...which means it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people, and that’s impossible to disconnect from the economic legacies of Indigenous genocide and slavery."

Of course, no story about modern day socialism would be complete without a quote from professor Richard Wolff, an "economist" who currently teaches at the New School in Manhattan (an overpriced university dedicated to serving the overprivileged elite who could score high enough on their SATs to get into NYU).

As Wolff, known to millions of millennials for his guest appearances on the left wing podcast "Chapo Trap House", explains, all the money being inherited by today's millennials came from "a mammoth redistribution away from the working masses, creating a super-rich tiny minority at the expense of a fleeting American dream."

Later on in the story, one of the heirs whose wealth comes from a chain of strip malls, said the business model just reeks of "intersectional oppression".

Heirs whose wealth has come from a specific source sometimes use that history to guide their giving. Pierce Delahunt, a 32-year-old "socialist, anarchist, Marxist, communist or all of the above," has a trust fund that was financed by their former stepfather’s outlet mall empire. (Mx. Delahunt takes nongendered pronouns.)

"When I think about outlet malls, I think about intersectional oppression," Mx. Delahunt said. There’s the originally Indigenous land each mall was built on, plus the low wages paid to retail and food service workers, who are disproportionately people of color, and the carbon emissions of manufacturing and transporting the goods. With that on their mind, Mx. Delahunt gives away $10,000 a month, divided between 50 small organizations, most of which have an anticapitalist mission and in some way tackle the externalities of discount shopping.

In reality, most of the wealth held by baby boomers wasn't redistributed, but was in fact created during the 20th century during the post-war economic boom - an economic movement that generated more prosperity, and dragged more people out of poverty, than any earlier period in human history.

Published:11/28/2020 6:32:47 PM
[] This painting of Iran's top nuke scientist in the clouds with Qassem Soleimani should soothe Ben Rhodes Published:11/28/2020 6:05:23 PM
[World] Pandemic Nightmare Returns. Supply Chains Stressed Leading to Empty Store Shelves Published:11/28/2020 6:05:23 PM
[Constitution] Havens Garden Defies Shutdown Order (John Hinderaker) I wrote here about Larvita McFarquhar, a single mother who owns a bar and restaurant called Havens Garden in Lynd, Minnesota, a town of 448 in the southwestern part of the state. McFarquhar announced on Facebook that her establishment would be open for business with music and food service from 9 to 11 last night, despite last week’s order from Minnesota’s governor purporting to close all bars and restaurants and Published:11/28/2020 6:05:23 PM
[Entertainment] Clare Crawley Says She Tries to "Rise Above the Negativity" When People "Pass Judgments" Clare Crawley, The BacheloretteClare Crawley's world isn't always rosy. The Bachelorette alum took to Instagram on Saturday, Nov. 28 to share a refreshingly honest post about the downside of fame. The...
Published:11/28/2020 6:05:23 PM
[Uncategorized] Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses challenge to mail-in ballot procedures, vacates halt to certification

"Petitioners failed to act with due diligence in presenting the instant claim. Equally clear is the substantial prejudice arising from Petitioners’ failure to institute promptly a facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory scheme, as such inaction would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of Pennsylvania voters.

The post Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses challenge to mail-in ballot procedures, vacates halt to certification first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/28/2020 6:05:23 PM
[Markets] Glenn Greenwald Opines On Ilhan Omar's Misguided Defense Of John Brennan Glenn Greenwald Opines On Ilhan Omar's Misguided Defense Of John Brennan Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 19:00

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com

The right to dissent from, and to work against, the official foreign policy of the U.S. Government is vital: foundational to Constitutional liberties. There is very little such dissent in the U.S. Congress, where many of the core tenets of the Foreign Policy Community (from CIA drone warfare and clandestine coups to steadfast support for Gulf State and Middle East tyrannies as well as Israel) enjoy overwhelming, at times virtually unanimous, bipartisan support.

That is one of the reasons that — as I’ve said repeatedly — I am glad that there are now members of Congress such as Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan who so vocally and unflinchingly dissent from this general foreign policy orientation and especially from those policies which most members of Congress either cannot or do not want to denounce.

Whether or not one agrees with these two lawmakers on every issue, having members of Congress questioning and objecting to highly consequential foreign policies is inherently healthier than full-scale agreement or fear-driven acquiescence. Dissent strengthens all democracies. That is why I have relentlessly defended Congresswoman Omar, even in the face of less-than-ideally-phrased proclamations, from what I regard as bad faith accusations of bigotry and a lack of patriotism (just as I denounced moronic claims that Trump was a “traitor”): bad faith accusations of bigotry or treason are often designed to demonize attempts to question pieties and ostracize those who do it.

For that very reason, I was quite surprised to see that late Friday night, Congresswoman Omar, in response to something I wrote, defended not only former CIA Director John Brennan — who as Obama’s CIA Director presided over the bombing of numerous countries including Somalia — but also The Logan Act. The Logan Act is nothing more than an unconstitutional attempt to criminalize foreign policy dissidents, like her, and is so dangerous in the hands of the CIA, FBI and federal prosecutors precisely because it lacks any clear definition or meaning.

Despite this, Congresswoman Omar depicted that ancient statute not as what it is — an impossibly vague and overly broad attempt to criminalize the core Constitutional right to dissent — but instead as some kind of specific, precisely defined, and well-established precedent, the contours of which are clearly established and easily applied. None of that is true.

This 219-year-old statute is one of the most unconstitutional and dangerous laws in the U.S. Code. Because it has never been used to prosecute anyone, and was only used to obtain an indictment one time in its entire history — back in 1803, against someone who wrote an op-ed criticizing U.S. foreign policy toward France — nobody knows what it actually prescribes or allows because there is no binding judicial precedent interpreting what it means. It is precisely because it has never been used to prosecute anyone that there is no judicial clarity about what it means, and that’s how the U.S. Government wants it (for the same exact reason, the DOJ has never made good on its threats to prosecute any journalist who publishes classified information under the Espionage Act of 1917: they prefer to weaponize the fear of uncertainty regarding the law’s scope and application rather than prosecute journalists under it and thus risk a judicial ruling declaring it unconstitutional or inapplicable to journalists).

The wildly broad vagueness and lack of clarity is what makes it so dangerous to leave the Logan Act on the books. These are exactly the kinds of ambiguous laws that can serve as an abusive pretext in the hands of the FBI, empowering it to investigate anyone it wants under the rubric of this archaic, ambiguous law. A law can be so vague that it can be unconstitutional for that reason alone: a failure to clearly advise citizens of what is and is not legal violates the right of due process.

But while all such vague laws are dangerous, the Logan Act is particularly menacing to those who dissent from core U.S. foreign policy and are thus often accused of disloyalty, such as Congresswoman Omar. All members of Congress, but particularly foreign policy dissidents, should be working to repeal this ancient and repressive law, not wielding it as a weapon against adversaries and pretending that it is some highly specific, clear and valid criminal constraint on the conduct and speech of U.S. citizens.

*  *  *

The context of the exchange with Congresswoman Omar, and the key role played in it by former Obama CIA Director John Brennan, is necessary to understand Rep. Omar’s point. Far more importantly, this context illustrates the severe, ongoing dangers of allowing this dangerous law to fester on the books.

On Friday, reports emerged that, just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key Iranian nuclear scientist was ambushed and murdered by gunmen. U.S. officials told The New York Times that Israel was behind the assassination — which should be unsurprising given that Israel assassinated several senior Iranian nuclear scientists during the Obama years.

This news provoked indignation from MSNBC’s John Brennan, formerly Obama’s Director of the CIA, an agency heralded worldwide for its righteous opposition to assassinations. Along with condemning the assassination of this Iranian scientist as “a criminal act and highly reckless,” Brennan also used his tweet to send an explicit message to Iranian officials: urging them not to retaliate but instead to wait for the Biden administration to take over, promising the new U.S. administration would “respond against perceived culprits.”

In other words, Brennan, like many people (including myself), is concerned that the Trump administration and Israel are seeking to escalate tensions with Iran during the transition — either because they seek war with Tehran or, more likely, because they want to provoke a cycle of retaliation that would prevent the incoming Biden administration from re-implementing the Iran Deal which Trump nullified and which Israel vehemently opposes.

Thus, Brennan sought to subvert what he perceives as the current foreign policy of the U.S. Government — to provoke and punish Iran — by encouraging Iranian officials to ignore the provocation and therefore not derail efforts by the incoming U.S. administration to establish better relations once Biden is inaugurated:

There are so many amazing ironies to this Brennan statement. To begin with, it’s just stunning to watch Obama’s Chief Assassin — who presided over a global, years-long, due-process-free campaign of targeted assassinations, under which the official “kill list” of who was to live and who was to die was decreed by Judge, Jury and Executioner Brennan in a secret White House meeting that bore the creepy designation “Terror Tuesdays” — now suddenly posture as some kind of moral crusader against assassinations. I have denounced these Israeli assassinations as terrorism — both in the past and yesterday — but I have also denounced with equal vigor the Obama/Brennan global assassination program.

The audacity of Brennan’s moral posturing became even more evident as he tried to explain why his and Obama’s assassination program was noble and legal, while the one that resulted in Friday’s killing in Iran was immoral and criminal. After all, this is the same John Brennan who got caught red-handed lying about how many innocent civilians were killed by Obama’s global assassination program, and who even claimed the right to target American citizens for execution by drone without any transparency let alone due process: a right they not only claimed but exercised.

When you’re reduced to sitting on Twitter trying to distinguish your own global assassination program from the one you’re condemning, that is rather potent evidence that you are among the absolute last persons on earth with the moral credibility to denounce anything. That’s particularly true when you directed your unilateral assassination powers onto your own citizens, ending several of their lives.

But that’s the Trump era in a nutshell: the most bloodthirsty monsters and murderers successfully whitewash their own history of atrocities by deceiving people into believing that none of this was done prior to Trump, and that their flamboyant opposition to Trump — based far more in stylistic distaste for him and loss of their own access than substantive policy objections — absolves them of their own prior, often-worse monstrosities. Call it the David Frum Syndrome.

But to me the most glaring irony — as I pointed out — is how similar is the transition message sent by Brennan on Friday to the Iranians when compared to the one sent by Gen. Michael Flynn to the Russians during the 2016 transition after the Obama administration sanctioned Moscow. The message of both Flynn and Brennan was virtually identical: don’t over-react or excessively retaliate: a new administration will soon take power and wants to work with you, so don’t do anything rash now that could prevent that from happening.

But the difference is that while Brennan was predictably celebrated for his message to the Iranians, with viral likes and re-tweets, Flynn was criminally investigated by Jim Comey’s FBI for his. After Comey, then the FBI Director, ordered the investigation into Flynn’s ties to Moscow closed at the start of 2017 due to lack of evidence, FBI agents deeply hostile to Trump seized on Flynn’s December, 2016, intercepted phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — when Flynn was a national security transition official just weeks away from taking over — to continue the criminal investigation on the ground that he may have violated the Logan Act by attempting to subvert current U.S. foreign policy with his message to Moscow not to overreact and instead to wait for the new administration.

Read the rest of the report here.

Published:11/28/2020 6:05:23 PM
[KBWY] Last Chance To Get 5.9% Yield On This Premium Triple Net REIT: W. P. Carey Published:11/28/2020 5:33:57 PM
[] Kamala Harris scoffs at running against Donald Trump again; Kurt Schlichter says GOP establishment is going to foist 'Girl Jeb' on us Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM
[World] Tyrannical governors are giving the Tenth Amendment a bad name

The Tenth Amendment states that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

That's supposed to be a comfort for citizens, to keep the big boot of federal government at bay. ... Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM

[Middle Column] ‘Sidelined’: Young climate activists ‘concerned’ that ‘climate change is being neglected during COVID-19’
Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM
[Entertainment] Nina Dobrev and Shaun White Celebrate First Thanksgiving Together Nina Dobrev, Shaun WhiteNina Dobrev and Shaun White just took a big step in their relationship. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and snowboarding champion posted photos of the two celebrating Thanksgiving...
Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM
[Uncategorized] More Bad News for Pelosi: Republican David Valadao Flips #CA21 House Seat

"The GOP won all 27 toss up seats. And the Dems failed to flip even ONE house seat nationwide."

The post More Bad News for Pelosi: Republican David Valadao Flips #CA21 House Seat first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM
[Markets] : What a COVID-19 vaccine would mean for mortgage rates and the housing market ‘Some home sellers that would have sold in a normal market decided just to hunker down because of COVID,’ said Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans’ parent Rocket Cos.
Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM
[Markets] "Washington Is Exhausted": Swamp Gears Up For Post-Trump Power Orgy "Washington Is Exhausted": Swamp Gears Up For Post-Trump Power Orgy Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 18:30

Washington elites are breathing a sigh of relief, as power players on both sides of the aisle gear up for 'business as usual' following a four-year disruption in swamp-activities - thanks to one Donald J. Trump, whose anticipated departure from the Oval Office has the DC establishment lick their chops in anticipation.

"The classic friendly-rivals dinner party will be back, likely bigger than ever, with VIP guests from the Biden administration, a few formers from the Obama crowd, a senator or two seated next to a Supreme Court justice," according to the Washington Post's Roxanne Roberts

Shoving the Uniparty's collective excitement in our plebeian faces, Roberts writes in. full. stops. "Washington is exhausted. Washington is optimistic. Washington is desperate for change. The aristocracy of this city is ready to move on, daring to hope that the last four years was a fever that finally broke and life can get back to normal."

Poor Washington.

"Normal, as in a respect for experience and expertise. Normal, as in civility and bipartisan cooperation. Normal, as in not wanting to punch someone in the face," Roxanne continues.

And who's about to usher in this period of 'bipartisan cooperation' and controlling one's violent delights? Joe Biden, of course!

Biden and wife Jill Biden “know how to get around Washington, how to be a part of the establishment, how to make it work for them in their everyday lives,” says an influential Republican hostess who, like many of the city’s social leaders, spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly without retribution. “People who have always enjoyed the Washington scene are yearning to get back to that, have some semblance of what they enjoyed so much before. There are a lot of Republicans who sat out the Trump years and bit their tongues for four years who are thrilled to have Biden.” At the heart of this optimism is the belief that politicians on both sides of the aisle get more accomplished when they like each other. -WaPo

And of course, no self-respecting DC power-player can survive without attending establishment soirées, fundraisers, diplomatic corps and 'historical traditions' underpinning the 'business of Washington' - which Roxanne says needs 'bipartisanship to really thrive' after the Trump administration made everything a 'test of loyalty.'

"Washington’s elite social world can pivot faster than a prima ballerina," Roxanne continues - noting that a COVID-19 vaccine and a 'call for comity' will allow them to 'press the reset button and start fresh.'

According to the report, the 'permanent establishment' was polarized by a White House that referred to them as the 'swamp' or 'deep state.' Not anymore, writes Roxanne - who looks forward to DC's return to its 'former glory.'

For the last four years, the tone from the White House was contemptuous of Washington, dismissing the permanent establishment — the longtime politicians and former administration officials who call it home — as the “swamp” or “deep state.” The social arbiters, traditionally respectful of a new administration, quickly found themselves between a Trump and a hard place: To invite or not to invite?

...

Back to normal will mean more state dinners, a prestigious and glamorous way of reestablishing global ties. And it means that Washington events traditionally attended by the president and first lady for the better part of five decades — the Honors, the Alfalfa dinner, the Gridiron, the Ford’s Theatre gala and the correspondents’ dinner — will likely return to their former glory. -WaPo

"The president-elect has a great number of friends who are Republicans that he served with," says Clinton and Obama administration veteran, Ambassador Capricia Marshall. "And he will be inviting them into the White House because that’s how you get work done: creating those relationships in these social atmospheres, making people feel invited and welcomed."

Bipartisanship equals money

Perhaps the biggest relief to Washington insiders from a lack of Trumpian politics will be the restoration of bipartisan fundraising - as "The quickest way to attract money is to have support from both sides of aisle: a Republican and a Democrat prominently displayed at the head table, with the corporate support and underwriting that greases all those wheels."

"This idea that we are a democracy, we disagree on a lot, but we come together around certain moments. You may not be happy with who wins, but you understand and recognize the power of it," says event planner Philip Dufour.

Capricia Marshall fondly recalls a textbook scene from every movie about corrupt Washington officials, which DC elites have been unable to recreate in Trumpian times:

I fondly remember Senator [Daniel] Inouye and Senator McCain all getting into these wonderful debates about various issues on the environment and on the economy," says Marshall. "It was very entertaining to watch. And in the end, they would lift their glass, give each other a toast, a smile, a great laugh and carry on."

Published:11/28/2020 5:33:56 PM
[] Joe Biden is talking about civility but his left flank isn't interested Published:11/28/2020 5:05:16 PM
[] Toronto barbecue restaurant owner arrested, police officers stationed around boarded-up restaurant Published:11/28/2020 5:05:16 PM
[Opinion] Op-Ed: Vote-by-Mail Fraud Prophesies Come True

By Don Boys, Ph.D. -

While Bigfoot, flying saucers, unicorns, and green, hairy monsters under your bed doesn’t exist, voter fraud is real as taxes and almost as certain to happen in November. Anything will be acceptable if it sends Trump from the Oval Office back to his New York Penthouse. Democrats have long stuffed ballot boxes, bribed voters, “lost” …

Op-Ed: Vote-by-Mail Fraud Prophesies Come True is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:11/28/2020 5:05:16 PM
[9d665fa4-0891-520d-a1b2-877ef13ef137] Bobby Jindal & Wes Anderson: Hispanic support for Republicans growing as Democrats move leftward The leftward lurch of the Democratic Party is driving a significant disconnect between Democrats and many Hispanics. This philosophical divide isn’t new, but has deepened. Published:11/28/2020 5:05:16 PM
[Left Column] Arctic Sea Ice Linked to Little Ice Age
Published:11/28/2020 5:05:15 PM
[Markets] A Key Time For Gold A Key Time For Gold Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 18:00

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

I wanted to offer some thoughts on Gold on this Thanksgiving weekend as Gold has reached a key price pivot and has seen sizable selling in recent weeks as the rest of the market continues to melt into the stratosphere and speculative bubbles are spreading across asset classes.

So why not Gold?

There are multiple factors at play: The more obvious is that market participants thought Gold to be a safety hedge in an uncertain world and with Covid vaccines being announced weekly that uncertainty is being presumable priced out of the market and the safety hedges unwound.

Yet Gold has also been presumed to be a central bank currency printing trade as the dollar is being pounded into the ground. That correlation worked all year but has stopped working as both dollar and Gold have been dropping together lately and that has to be concern for Gold longs. If Gold can’t rally with the dollar dropping then when can it rally?

This is where technicals are coming in and they suggest a key time for Gold.

Now those that are following our market videos know I’ve been cautious Gold ever since the target got hit in the summer:

The main reason being technical, once targets are reached and charts show negative divergences I’m of the mindset to sit back and wait for new chart patterns to evolve.

As market video subscribers know I’ve been watching key patterns that could suggest Gold to be buying opportunity here.

Firstly, the most obvious chart aspect is the support of the 200MA which probably most people are watching, also in context of bullish falling wedge/bull flag that has formed:

Note this pattern was challenged late last week, but also note Gold has been following one bullish pattern after another which we identified ahead of time in 2019 ( Gold Going BullGold Bull Part II ).

So Gold continues to follow bullish patterns, also note Gold is getting oversold, but has room to become more oversold.

What’s more interesting to me here is how Gold has precisely reached the retrace target zone I’ve been outlining in the market videos since the summer, the .382 fib along with the 2012 bounce highs as support:

That is confluence support and holding this confluence zone would support the notion of this corrective move in Gold off of the weekly negative divergence having the opportunity to build a larger cup and handle pattern which would be tremendously bullish Gold long term for a target north of $3,000.

I need to outline two caveats here.

First, note how similar the rip rally in 2020 is to the one of 2011. That period was followed by a steep correction similar to the current one. Gold then chopped up and down in price for 2 years before finally dropping to the 2015 lows. The similarity of the structure certainly leaves room for a similar outcome. One argument to support such a price development is to say that incremental central bank intervention will be diminishing in the years to come. They went all in this year and there are frankly less assets for them to buy, certainly in comparison to the magnitude they bought in the short time period in 2020.

Second, and this goes to my earlier point: Watch the US dollar:

Gold should’ve been able to take advantage of the recent dollar weakness, but hasn’t been able to. That’s a concern. Note Gold peaked in the summer near the time when the dollar bottomed. Now the dollar is retesting these lows with a potential falling wedge which could play as bullish pattern and firm as a potential double bottom.

If Gold can’t rally with a falling dollar how will it cope with a potential rising dollar? As the dollar has yet to show strength it is an academic question at the moment, but it’s something to keep a watchful eye on it as correlations are to be viewed with extreme caution at the moment.

Let’s not forget: We are inside the largest asset bubble of all time:

Distortions having been created that central bankers are fully aware of, but rarely admit. But when they do one best pay attention:

Distortions brought about by the loosest financial conditions in history:

Pedal to the metal risk on. Except in Gold in recent months.

Bottomline: Gold has continued to follow technicals beautifully and the recent weakness is no surprise to those that have followed the technical chart structures. Now Gold has reached key confluence support and has the opportunity to rally from this support. But the caveats need to be watched and risk managed as we live in times of broad market correlations having been mercilessly raped by central bankers and their policies.

*  *  *

For the latest public analysis please visit NorthmanTrader. To subscribe to our market products please visit Services.

Published:11/28/2020 5:05:15 PM
[Fundings & Exits] What to make of Stripe’s possible $100B valuation This is The TechCrunch Exchange, a newsletter that goes out on Saturdays, based on the column of the same name. You can sign up for the email here. Welcome to a special Thanksgiving edition of The Exchange. Today we will be brief. But not silent, as there is much to talk about. Up top, The Exchange noodled […] Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[] California: ISIS Jihadi Stabs Four in University Classroom, University Blames Toxic Masculinity Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[Entertainment] Why Selena Gomez's Fans Are Upset Over the Saved By the Bell Reboot Selena Gomez, CannesSelena Gomez fans are upset over the new Saved By the Bell reboot on NBC's Peacock streaming service. The "Souvenir" singer's followers defended her on Twitter on...
Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[Politics] Ted Cruz shoots down Brennan for siding with Iran after assassination of top Iranian scientist Yesterday a top Iranian scientist, responsible for Iran’s nuclear program, was assassinated in a shootout with unknown assailants: An Iranian scientist that Israel alleged led the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program before . . . Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[Politics] Ted Cruz shoots down Brennan for siding with Iran after assassination of top Iranian scientist Yesterday a top Iranian scientist, responsible for Iran’s nuclear program, was assassinated in a shootout with unknown assailants: An Iranian scientist that Israel alleged led the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program before . . . Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[Left Column] Flashback 1923: Experts predicted that Glacier National Park would be ice-free by 1948

Image

Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[In The News] Carter Page Sues FBI And DOJ For $75 Million Over ‘Unlawful Spying’

By Chuck Ross -

Carter Page filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, the FBI, and several key figures in Crossfire Hurricane for $75 million on Friday.  The FBI obtained four warrants to surveil Page based on unverified allegations in the Steele dossier.  An inspector general’s report showed that FBI investigators withheld exculpatory information in applications for spy warrants …

Carter Page Sues FBI And DOJ For $75 Million Over ‘Unlawful Spying’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[] Saturday Afternoon Chess thread 11-28-2020 WGM(?) Elizabeth Harmon (USA) As always, the chess/dress pr0n thread is an open thread, so there is no such thing as an off-topic comment. This is the week where we schedule a fishing thread, but I don't see one in... Published:11/28/2020 4:31:41 PM
[Entertainment] Thanksgiving Grandma Celebrates First Holiday After Her Husband's Death Due to COVID-19 Wanda Dench, Jamal Hinton, Thanksgiving grandmaUPDATE: Jamal Hinton posted on Twitter photos from the preliminary Thanksgiving celebration and reunion on the holiday itself on Thursday, Nov. 26. See them below. ...
Published:11/28/2020 4:01:32 PM
[Markets] NY Gym Owner Rips Up $15,000 Lockdown Fine On Live TV: "We Will Not Comply" NY Gym Owner Rips Up $15,000 Lockdown Fine On Live TV: "We Will Not Comply" Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 17:00

Submitted by Rusty Weiss of The Mental Recession,

Robby Dinero, the owner of Athletes Unleashed gym located in Orchard Park, New York, tore up a $15,000 fine from the Erie County Health Department during a live Fox News interview.

Dinero got hit with the extraordinarily hefty fine following a confrontation in which roughly 50 business owners attending a meeting inside the gym refused to allow a pair of sheriffs and a health inspector entry to the building without a warrant.

"They picked a fight with a Marine and a whole bunch of patriots," the gym owner said in a separate interview with WBEN, before pointing out that “The Constitution protects those rights.”

New York Gym Owner Rips Up His Fine, Says He Will Not Comply

Dinero, speaking with Fox anchor Sandra Smith, reiterated that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s lockdown edicts infringe upon his rights.

The veteran, having pointed out Cuomo’s and Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz six-figure taxpayer-funded salaries, challenged them to look their constituents’ children in the eyes and tell them their parents’ work is not “essential.”

The lockdown rules, he believes, deny citizens their Constitutional right to earn a living.

Dinero then ripped up the fine on camera while supporters behind waved American flags and shouted, “We will not comply.”

Confrontation With Business Owners and Authorities Goes Viral

Last week, Dinero held a meeting with business owners inside his gym. He explained that the meeting was a protest of New York’s regulations that have closed gyms, salons, and other businesses deemed nonessential.

Oddly enough, despite the state’s blind eye to riots under the guise of ‘protests’ over the summer, authorities took issue with this particular peaceful protest. Sheriffs and the health inspector showed up and things escalated as the business owners refused to let them on the property without a proper warrant.

"Get out! Get out!" they repeatedly yelled.

As the authorities leave, one protester can be heard shouting, "Take your Commie s*** elsewhere!"

Cuomo has been regulating everything in his state during the pandemic, from what time New Yorkers can eat in restaurants to what they can eat in restaurants, and on to what people can do in their own home. His constitutional overreach has prompted several sheriffs to refuse to enforce his orders. 

Cuomo responded by calling any sheriff who refuses to enforce his edicts a “dictator.” He said that without a hint of irony.

Published:11/28/2020 4:01:32 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Man who called Dow 20,000 says 3 factors will make 2021 ‘a very good year’ for stocks Jeremy Siegel, the Wharton professor credited for calling Dow 20,000 in 2015, predicted that the market could be in for a solid gain in the coming year based on three factors.
Published:11/28/2020 4:01:32 PM
[] TIME's Person of the Year nominations are out - Here is who should win Published:11/28/2020 3:32:22 PM
[] Rep. Dan Crenshaw has suggestions to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing 2020 election chaos Published:11/28/2020 3:32:22 PM
[Markets] Outside the Box: 7 advantages a late starter has over the FIRE world in saving for retirement You can still end up with a secure retirement.
Published:11/28/2020 3:32:22 PM
[Markets] Saudi King Was Not Informed Of Netanyahu's Visit & Meeting With MbS Saudi King Was Not Informed Of Netanyahu's Visit & Meeting With MbS Tyler Durden Sat, 11/28/2020 - 16:30

Some fascinating new details have emerged regarding last Sunday's (11/22) unprecedented visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Saudi Arabia.

First to recap, amid widespread reports that the Saudis will be the next Arab country to normalize ties with the Jewish state, after the UAE and Bahrain were the first to do so, Netanyahu met with crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MbS) the Saudi city of Neom. It was also in the presence of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Via Daily Sabah

This was reported as a "covert meeting" - also given Riyadh officially denies it took place while it was widely acknowledged in Israeli and international press. The two leaders reportedly discussed joint efforts to counter Iran, an issue which already saw intelligence and operations sharing in places like Syria.

Reuters on Friday released new bombshell information alleging the whole meeting with Netanyahu was done without the approval or even knowledge of the Saudi head of state, King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The Times of Israel also underscored that "Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was reportedly kept out of the loop about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secretive trip to the kingdom this week for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman." And further:

Quoting a Saudi source and a foreign diplomat in Riyadh, Reuters reported Friday that normalization with Israel appeared off the table as long as the Saudi monarch is alive — an analysis also made Thursday by a senior Israeli source cited by Israeli TV.

Given the king's age and increased reported senility, MbS has in recent years acted as de facto head of the kingdom, but it remains an incredibly bold move (the meeting with Israel's leader) especially given King Salman is said to be against any 'normalization' with Israel. 

And then there's this incident from thie G-20 the prior week... the video was said to have been intentionally leaked:

"A video was leaked during the G20 summit which showed MbS correcting the confused king’s recollection, a leak which sources said was intentional," according to Reuters.

It appears MbS plans to further sideline his father especially when it comes to foreign policy, relying on the 'poor health' angle to argue Salman is incapable of making crucial decisions as official head of state.

Published:11/28/2020 3:32:22 PM
[World] 62 Arrested After Squatters Evicted from Vacant Homes in California Published:11/28/2020 3:03:34 PM
[Entertainment] Sarah Fuller Makes Football History as First Woman to Play in Power 5 Game Sarah Fuller, Football PlayerA senior student at Vanderbilt University just made history. On Saturday, Nov. 28, Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game when the Vanderbilt Commodores played the...
Published:11/28/2020 3:03:34 PM
[Uncategorized] Suspected North Korean hackers target COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca

Meanwhile, the rogue nation executes coronavirus rule-breakers, closes capital, halts fishing & salt production & warns that Chinese dust may carry virus.

The post Suspected North Korean hackers target COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/28/2020 3:03:34 PM
[] Los Angeles County steering millions of dollars of CARES Act money to 'remarkably ineffective' PR firms Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[Quick Takes] University of South Florida Acknowledges Campus Once Belonged to Native Americans

"Acknowledging this is important to being able to start a dialogue."

The post University of South Florida Acknowledges Campus Once Belonged to Native Americans first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[43a9d4ff-cf56-55a7-9bf8-cf7c6c745879] 'Duck Dynasty' star Bella Robertson engaged to Jacob Mayo: 'I am blown away by God's goodness and grace' "Duck Dynasty" star Bella Robertson is engaged to Jacob Mayo. Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[Entertainment] Anne Hathaway Has the Most Relatable Response About Her Biggest Motherhood Challenges Anne Hathaway, 2020 Critics Choice Awards, Red Carpet FashionAnne Hathaway isn't sugarcoating her motherhood journey. The Oscar-winning actress is used to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. However, when it comes to her home life that's a...
Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[World] [Josh Blackman] President Obama's Memoir Includes Virtually Nothing About the Supreme Court There is a nice discussion of his appointment of Justice Sotomayor, once sentence about his appointment of Justice Kagan, and a rebuke of Justice Alito's Ledbetter Decision Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[Politics] Trump says Wisconsin recount is NOT about finding mistakes in the count… There are headlines out of Wisconsin that suggests that Trump’s recount thus far has netted Biden more votes: Milwaukee County officials announce the completion of the recount. It resulted in a net . . . Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[Politics] Trump says Wisconsin recount is NOT about finding mistakes in the count… There are headlines out of Wisconsin that suggests that Trump’s recount thus far has netted Biden more votes: Milwaukee County officials announce the completion of the recount. It resulted in a net . . . Published:11/28/2020 2:39:40 PM
[] PA state senator, retweeted by Trump, falsely claims more mail-in ballots were returned than were sent out Published:11/28/2020 2:02:01 PM
[Politics] House GOP: Censure Dem for Complaint in Trump Legal Team House Republicans are calling for the censure of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.M., who filed complaints with state bars seeking the disbarment of Rudy Giuliani and 22 other Trump campaign lawyers over the lawsuits they filed in several states after the election. The resolution... Published:11/28/2020 2:02:01 PM
[] CLAIM: Dominion Exec Bragged That He Made Sure 'Trump Is Not Gonna Win' on Conference Call Published:11/28/2020 2:02:01 PM
[Entertainment] DWTS' Gleb Savchenko Celebrates Thanksgiving With His Kids After Breakup With Wife Elena Gleb Savchenko, Dancing With the StarsFollowing his split from wife Elena Samodanova, Dancing With the Stars' Gleb Savchenko reunited with his kids for Thanksgiving. On Nov. 27, the dad shared an Instagram slideshow of...
Published:11/28/2020 2:02:01 PM
[e0290e4c-2a2d-52e5-ba15-126df36f3548] Celebrities who have discussed sobriety in 2020 A number of Hollywood stars have spoken out this year about their decisions to get sober. Published:11/28/2020 2:02:01 PM
[] Ace of Spades Pet Thread (PUPPY!!!!) *** Good afternoon and welcome to the almost world famous Ace of Spades Pet Thread. Set aside the pie and enjoy the world of animals.... Published:11/28/2020 2:02:01 PM
[Uncategorized] Communist China Escalates Trade War With Australia

Beijing slaps up to 200% export duty on Australian wine.

The post Communist China Escalates Trade War With Australia first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.

Published:11/28/2020 1:33:56 PM
[a0d0eaeb-03a3-5613-bb1d-84e9e8b97d72] Kat Timpf: Talk of canceling or forgiving student loan debt is based on a false premise The debate about whether or not we should “cancel” or “forgive” student loan debt has been raging for years, but a pretty crucial point keeps getting ignored — the fact that doing this is impossible. Published:11/28/2020 1:33:56 PM
[Entertainment] NASCAR Pit Crew Member William "Rowdy" Harrell and His Wife Killed in Car Crash On Their Honeymoon William NASCAR fans are mourning the loss of a Hendrick Motorsports pit crew member. According to the sports team, William "Rowdy" Harrell, 30, and his wife, Blakley Harrell, 23,...
Published:11/28/2020 1:33:56 PM
[Markets] Brett Arends's ROI: Why the only place you should invest in bitcoin is in your IRA I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t buy the digital virtual currency, but if you do decide to buy it, do it in your IRA or some other tax-sheltered account.
Published:11/28/2020 1:33:56 PM
[Entertainment] Drake Cuddles With Son Adonis in Touching Post-Thanksgiving Photo Crystal Ball, Kendall Jenner, Drake, Tracee Ellis Ross, Katy Peryy, Leonardo DiCaprioDrake is giving fans a glimpse into his life as a dad, and it's seriously sweet. On Nov. 27, the "In My Feelings" rapper posted an Instagram photo of him cuddling up to his...
Published:11/28/2020 1:00:47 PM
[World] Slumbering GOP Deficit Warriors Awaken to Do Battle Published:11/28/2020 1:00:47 PM
[Markets] Help Me Retire: I’m a 31-year-old engineer who wants to shift to a lower-paying job one day — what rate of return do I need to sustain my retirement savings? Have a question about retirement? Email HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com
Published:11/28/2020 1:00:46 PM
[World] Trump Urging Supporters in Georgia Not to Boycott Runoff Elections Published:11/28/2020 12:30:23 PM
[Politics] Pennsylvania judge upholds ruling blocking Pennsylvania from certifying election results AND suggests the lawsuit will prevail Last night Judge Patricia McCullough, the same judge who issued an injunction earlier this week blocking the finalization of the certification of the election in Pennsylvania, upheld her injunction and suggested that . . . Published:11/28/2020 12:30:23 PM
[Politics] Pennsylvania judge upholds ruling blocking Pennsylvania from certifying election results AND suggests the lawsuit will prevail Last night Judge Patricia McCullough, the same judge who issued an injunction earlier this week blocking the finalization of the certification of the election in Pennsylvania, upheld her injunction and suggested that . . . Published:11/28/2020 12:30:23 PM
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