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[Comedy] onosecond

The horrible moment when you realise that you have accidentally done something very slightly wrong which has very bad (usually embarassing) implications for you. This is typically the moment of realisation that you just sent a dirty text message to a close member of family, typically your mother, rather than the intended recipient.

Message: "i'm free this afternoon so come over and fuck me senseless, my parents will be out all day"
Recipient: Mum
Message Sent
- Onosecond occurs here -

Published:7/12/2020 2:10:58 AM
[topics:in-the-news/Travel-ban] The 59 countries exempt from England's travel quarantine - full list Published:7/12/2020 1:41:12 AM
[topics:events/st-swithins-day] St Swithin's Day 2020: how a Saxon bishop's ire supposedly led to 40 days of rain Published:7/12/2020 1:12:40 AM
[topics:places/hong-kong] Australia to offer 10,000 Hong Kong passport holders chance to apply for  residency Published:7/11/2020 11:11:31 PM
[World] The Case for Kanye

The controversial rapper turned radical Christian family man may be the best successor to President Trump.

The post The Case for Kanye appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:7/11/2020 11:11:31 PM
[Markets] Communist China's Silent War Against America Communist China's Silent War Against America Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 23:30

Authored by Bowen Xiao via The Epoch Times,

Stealthily, surreptitiously, and with sweeping precision, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began a decades-long war against America for world domination by utilizing a military strategy known as “unrestricted warfare” that continues today.

Unbeknownst to most of the population, the CCP has infiltrated almost every major avenue of life in the United States - leaving virtually no industry untouched. While this threat has largely existed undetected, the effects it’s had on the nation, as well as its geopolitical consequences, are far-reaching.

Skirting the traditional, direct military confrontation offensives that have become somewhat outdated in modern times, this unconventional strategy has become central to the communist regime’s approach to warfare.

The strategy is highlighted in the 1999 book “Unrestricted Warfare,” authored by two Chinese air force colonels—Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui—and published by the People’s Liberation Army, the armed forces of the CCP. The book, which has been translated into English, is based on the original army documents.

Beijing uses an array of subversive tactics, including, but not limited to, propaganda warfare, culture warfare, memetic warfare, front operations, political infiltration, technological and telecommunications warfare, legal warfare, economic espionage, education espionage, cyberwarfare, and sanctions warfare.

Exploitation, infiltration, and espionage are all recurring themes. The CCP employs all of them to varying degrees simultaneously in multiple sectors of society in order to undermine or influence the United States—its main impediment to global domination.

While some examples are more obvious, such as China’s long history of intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices with the United States, others that use what it calls “soft power” are harder to detect.

One such avenue is its Party-backed Confucius Institutes (CIs) that infiltrate and operate on American college campuses in order to boost CCP’s image. It also aims to push a foreign policy goal of making the regime not only an economic superpower, but also a cultural one.

CIs have attracted attention from lawmakers, national organizations, and the FBI over allegations that the program undermines academic freedom. The CIs have been accused of promoting Chinese communist propaganda under the pretense of promoting the Chinese language and history. There are thousands of CIs over the world and, by one count, at least 75 in America.

Other examples are more blatant, from a former chair of Harvard University’s chemistry department being recently indicted for making false statements about funding he received from China to a Chinese citizen who was found guilty of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and conspiracy.

In the latter case, a man identified as 41-year-old Hao Zhang was found to have attempted to steal trade secrets from two U.S. companies “for the benefit of the People’s Republic of China,” according to the Justice Department. Zhang stole information specifically related to the performance of wireless devices.

Economic espionage “is a pervasive threat throughout the United States, particularly to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, which is the center of innovation and technology,” John F. Bennett, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Division of the FBI, said of the case involving Zhang.

The Thousand Talents Plan, one of the more widely known CCP talent recruitment or “brain gain” programs, encourages theft of intellectual property from U.S. institutions, according to the FBI. By offering competitive salaries, state-of-the-art research facilities, and honorific titles, these programs lure talent from overseas into China, “even if that means stealing proprietary information or violating export controls to do so,” the bureau states.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in 2018 that the bureau was attempting to view the danger posed by China “as not just a whole-of-government threat, but a whole-of-society threat on their end.” To counter China’s strategy effectively, Wray said the United States must also employ a “whole-of-society response.” 

Walter Lohman, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, said the United States has treated China’s “sensitivities” carefully, yet has received “nothing in return.”

“China’s aggressive behavior over the last 15 years or so has only gotten worse, despite our best efforts,” he told The Epoch Times.

China currently poses the biggest threat to the United States because it is “powerful across the range of indicators, and … is directly threatening so many American interests, like our communication networks, like Taiwan, freedom in Hong Kong, and freedom of the seas,” he said.

The CCP also has aggressively promoted and pushed its telecommunications companies, such as Huawei, and ZTE, as well as Chinese-owned apps like TikTok and Zoom, into the United States and around the world.

Lawmakers and U.S. officials have begun to realize the national security threats these Chinese companies pose. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in June formally designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, thus banning access to money from the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund to buy or modify any equipment or services provided by the suppliers.

One reason behind the decision, as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai notes, is that both companies are closely linked to the CCP and its military apparatus, in that they “are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services.” Both companies deny this.

Chinese-owned TikTok, which has seen meteoric growth in the United States, also was recently found to be secretly reading users’ clipboard data, although the app now claims that it has fixed the issue. There are similar concerns about Zoom, as researchers found that encryption keys were being transmitted to servers in China.

While the United States is stepping up its efforts to counter threats from Beijing, the communist regime is simultaneously ramping up its own aggressive endeavors through the CCP’s United Front Work Department.

This unit coordinates thousands of groups to carry out foreign political influence operations, suppress dissident movements, gather intelligence, and facilitate the transfer of other countries’ technology to China, according to a June report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Its political influence initiatives target foreign elites, including politicians and business executives, and are often covert in nature, the report said. Overseas Chinese communities are also key targets, with the Party seeking to co-opt and control community groups, business associations, and Chinese-language media.

Alex Joske, author of the report, said that the United Front’s work abroad amounts to an “exportation of the CCP’s political system.” Its effort “undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer,” the report states.

With these CCP-backed companies, the regime is attempting to exert its influence over the entire globe, not just the United States. Some major programs backed by the regime that also play into its international ambitions are its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its “Made in China 2025? plan.

The CCP, through the BRI, injected billions of dollars into low-income countries in order to build their infrastructure projects. Since 2013, the initiative has launched more than 2,900 projects valued at $3.87 trillion. The BRI has been called a “debt trap” because of Beijing’s predatory lending practices, which leave countries vulnerable to China’s aggressive influence campaigns.

Over the past two decades, China has become a major global lender, with outstanding debt exceeding $5.5 trillion in 2019—more than 6 percent of global gross domestic product, a report by the Institute of International Finance stated.

And the CCP’s “Made in China 2025? industrial plan, which was rolled out in 2015, seeks to make the country a global competitor in 10 tech sectors by 2025. In late 2018, Beijing also began “China Standards 2035” to accelerate efforts to become the leader in burgeoning tech sectors such as big data, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things (IoT).

Meanwhile, a report published in March determined that Beijing was exploiting the global CCP virus pandemic, which first broke out in Wuhan, China, to advance its economic goals and fulfill its wider ambitions.

“Beijing intends to use the global dislocation and downturn to attract foreign investment, to seize strategic market share and resources—especially those that force dependence [on China],” the report by Horizon Advisory, a U.S.-based independent consultancy, states. The group reviewed recent policies and notices announced by Chinese central government agencies, regional governments, and research institutes.

While a growing number of countries are expressing anger and frustration over Beijing’s botched handling of the outbreak, exacerbated by a wide-reaching coverup, backlash is also mounting against its efforts to brand itself as a global leader in combating the pandemic.

Beijing sent a slew of medical experts and supplies such as masks and respirators to countries where they were desperately needed in a bid to improve its image.

But the products it delivered often turned out to be defective, leaving countries no choice but to reject the faulty equipment. The Netherlands, Spain, TurkeyFinland, Britain, and Ireland are just some of the countries that received supplies found to be unusable.

“Authoritative Chinese sources state explicitly that the economic ravages and dislocation that COVID-19 creates give China an opportunity to expand its dominance in global markets and supply chains—both in the real economy and in the virtual domain,” the Horizon Advisory report states. “They also stress that the present crisis will allow Beijing to reverse U.S. efforts to protect its systems, and those of its allies, from China.”

Published:7/11/2020 10:39:31 PM
[Open Threads] Bookworm Beat 7/11/20 — the 2020 is really strange edition and open thread

This is smorgasbord illustrated edition, with 84 illustrations in no particular order on everything from Wuhan virus to BLM to to silly stuff, and more.

The post Bookworm Beat 7/11/20 — the 2020 is really strange edition and open thread appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:7/11/2020 10:39:31 PM
[Politics] Robert Mueller defends Russia probe — and points out Roger Stone remains a felon

A day after President Trump commuted the prison sentence of his longtime confidante Roger Stone, former special counsel Robert Mueller III broke his silence to sharply defend the prosecution and his investigation into ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Published:7/11/2020 10:10:08 PM
[Markets] First Federal Execution In 17 Years Halted On Coronavirus Fears First Federal Execution In 17 Years Halted On Coronavirus Fears Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 23:00

A year ago the Department of Justice announced for the first time in nearly two decades the resumption of capital punishment in federal cases, with Attorney General William Barr announcing the process for the execution of five death-row in mates is set to move forward, marking the first federal executions since 2003

The first federal execution in 17 years was to take place on Monday of this next week prior to a federal judge in Indiana halting it. 47-year old Daniel Lee is to die by lethal injection for the 1996 slaying of a family — William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell.

The only execution chamber in the federal prison system, at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute. Via AP

But Chief District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in an unusual ruling has halted the scheduled execution on coronavirus fears. She cited that the families of the victims are too afraid of traveling during the pandemic, as well as the potential risk to elderly family members at the site of the execution given that COVID-19 has especially ravaged prisons and correctional facilities.

The family of the victims filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to get the execution date pushed back:

Earlene Peterson, the mother of Nancy Mueller and grandmother of 8-year-old Sarah Powell, two of the three brutally murdered in 1996, says the coronavirus poses too much of a travel threat for her to leave her home in Hector to go to Indiana.

Right now, Lee is set to be put to death Monday at the federal prison in Terre Haute, but the lawsuit filed Tuesday could change that.

In it, Peterson’s attorney sites multiple health conditions of different family members that could be lethal if one of them contracts coronavirus while traveling to the execution.

Upon the delay, the Justice Department said it would be appealing Magnus-Stinson's ruling to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

1997 file photo Danny Lee, The Courier via AP.

Two more executions are scheduled at Terre Haute for next week as it's the only federal prison to have an active death chamber. The judge's ruling in the Lee execution does not impact these.

The men awaiting federal death sentences were involved in heinous crimes involving deaths of families and children: "In January 1996, Lee and his accomplice, Chevie Kehoe, burglarized Mueller's house in Tilly and waited for him and his wife and stepdaughter to come home. Lee and Kehoe used a stun rod to incapacitate the victims before taping plastic bags over their heads to asphyxiate them, authorities said."

Prior to stopping federal execution cases in 2003, perhaps the more notorious criminal to be put to death was Timothy McVeigh in 2001, for killing 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing, and further recent death row cases awaiting execution include Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in 2015 for the Boston Marathon bombing, and white supremacist Dylann Roof in 2017 for the Charleston church shooting.

Published:7/11/2020 10:10:07 PM
[Black Lives Matter] “No justice, no sleep” (Paul Mirengoff) This week, demonstrators took to the streets of Anacostia, an area in Southeast Washington, D.C. where I was born, to protest the taking of black lives. But they weren’t protesting police misconduct. They were protesting the killing by gang members of an eleven year old boy and the lax policing of their neighborhood. The boy, Davon McNeal a budding football star, was gunned down as he was leaving a Fourth Published:7/11/2020 9:38:15 PM
[Markets] Binney & Sullivan: An Open Letter Challenge To Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey On Censorship Binney & Sullivan: An Open Letter Challenge To Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey On Censorship Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 22:30

Authored by Jason Sullivan and Bill Binney,

Open Letter to Jack Dorsey...

The American People and Social Media

"We seek a free flow of information... we are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values."

– John F. Kennedy, February 1962

Dear Mr. Dorsey,

At the September 5, 2018, U.S. Congressional Hearing in which you gave testimony under oath, you stated, in part:

"Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules. We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially. We do not shadowban anyone based on political ideology. From a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform."

What we now know, thanks to multiple media investigations, is that; not only is Twitter engaged in censorship, but that it also openly weights its decisions by subjective terminology like "highest potential for harm" meant to obscure its motive of silencing any opposition to the mainstream narrative of both political "sides."

At its inception, America was intended to be a free and open society, a land of opportunity where common people could freely express their thoughts and ideas, a place where Americans could practice freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly without fear of persecution. Throughout the history of our great nation, brave men and women have fought and died to protect these God-given inalienable rights. That is why the Founding Fathers wrote protections into the Bill of Rights for the generations to come. Thomas Jefferson insisted on the 1st Amendment, and swore upon an altar of God against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man.

It is the great wisdom and divine vision of our Founding Fathers that is responsible for propelling America's trajectory to become the greatest nation on earth, both admired by those inspired by its idea and feared by those who oppose the light of truth it represents.

President Harry S. Truman said:

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

Our Founding Fathers drafted the Bill of Rights not to protect popular speech or the popular majority, but to protect the rights of the minority, lest they fall silent and all real social progress cease. By attempting to make polarized views inaccessible, you effectively shut down the discussion of ideas born out of the flaws in the current system, creating a two-sided echo chamber that neither enlightens people nor helps society grow.

It prevents people from engaging in quality discourse over any ideology that subjectively may "offend" people on all sides.

This Orwellian tactic represents the wishes of citizens on either side of the aisle, but perfectly captures the profit-driven motive behind the corporate stance. That no opinion except the popular view of the moment need be allowed. The popular opinion can be shaped by the controlling interests of the corporation that holds the medium hostage. After all, in a world where lines of division are controlled and silenced, new generations of people being immersed in only an ofGicial narrative will have little other recourse for truly free thought.

We understand that social media is not the government and that companies such as Twitter are private entities. Yet at what point does a private body expand beyond using this excuse to shelter themselves from accountability for their provably suspicious behavior, and enter the realm of being a public service used by billions of people the world over?

Twitter is not just a messaging board. After all, it aggregates news, offers content suggestions based on meticulously created algorithms that track a person's every click. It is designed to create and maintain echo chambers and censor out any offending opinions. This creates a dangerous precedent, especially in terms of abusing its power to shape public opinion along controlling party lines actively.

For example, the very powerful Democratic Congressman, Adam Schiff, chair of the Congressional Intelligence Community, wrote a letter to the top social media platforms, urging them to censor discussions of vaccine injuries, which certainly do occur. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out over $4 billion for vaccine injuries since its inception in December 1987. Yes, there are those who, in misplaced zeal, offer opinions less than worthy of note. Still, there should never be a point where a multi-billion dollar corporation steps in and removes people's ability to actively discuss issues like this on either side of the aisle. Healthy discussion, after all, is what leads to progress, spurs forward innovation, and motivates accountability across the board.

President John F. Kennedy said:

"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment."

By their very nature, social media platforms have become the dominant platform in the exchange of information and ideas. Technology's inexorable march into the Digital Age has created a connected world, a communications platform without peer or precedent. Whether by design or not, social media has become the largest and most powerful public forum on the planet. As you duly noted in your testimony, Twitter and other platforms have created a true "global public square."

Why would any American-based platforms intentionally design their rules or weight their "community standards" toward one group of views over another, in direct conflict with the protections of the 1st Amendment of the United States? Any "community standard" practices less than or not equal to the 1st Amendment standards would essentially be unAmerican, wouldn't it?

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized (in a unanimous opinion) that social media platforms are the most important platforms for the exchange of information and ideas. That is why so many people, government officials, human rights agencies, and activists are working around the clock to protect "equal and fair" access to social media for all of the people, even if someone's ideas are unpopular or controversial.

The more profound question then becomes: With evidence mounting to support the fact that censorship not only occurs but often leans toward the moderator's individual biases or those few interests who control the moderator, at what point do we look at the equation and note the collusion that takes shape? What begins to appear out of the murky water of legalese excuses is a distinct pattern of systematic control exercised by a few interests who can weight and shape the landscape of public opinion with a dangerous amount of unchecked power.

The fact is, that for all the excuses put forward, the lies given to not just the American People, but the citizens of the global community at large, the provability of censorship to a startling degree is not only easy to see, but can be identified with cold sets of data, and be recreated and shown to the masses.

Pursuant to the above, I, Jason Sullivan (aka "The Wizard of Twitter"), along with Bill Binney (former NSA Lead Technical Director and developer of its surveillance metadata program Thin Thread) hereby challenge you, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, that your company systematically and aggressively censor "free speech" on your ubiquitous platform concerning the following three criteria.

1. Twitter shadowbans ( including "deboosting" people and hiding their words to more substantial audiences "based on larger political success of their corporate ideology.

2. Twitter censors religious and medical freedoms that subvert human rights. (while promulgating some alarming content that Gits their broader agenda.)

3. Twitter removes and physically deplatforms voices that challenge its views and ideology while lifting similar content; it deems in line with its own goals.

We are intent on proving these facts beyond a shadow of a doubt and are fully prepared to do so.

Mr. Dorsey, please prove us wrong. Please show to the American people and us that you do not shadowban based on political views; you do not censor religious and health freedom views; and you do not censor voices dissonant with your personal views.

Please provide this evidence to the public within seven days. If you would like to discuss how to do that best, please contact us. We look forward to the evidence of testimony before Congress and the President of the United States. We look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely yours,

Jason Sullivan [aka The Wizard of Twitter]

Bill Binney [former NSA Lead Technical Director]

*  *  *


Lynnette Hardaway & Rochelle Richardson

aka: Diamond & Silk

Terrence K. Williams

Actor / Comedian / Commentator Extraordinaire

Chris Sullivan 

Founder of the Outback Steakhouse Restaurant Concept - Now Bloomin' Brands

Richard Beard, III 

Principal at RA Beard Company

Dr. Rodney Howard Browne 

Lead Pastor at Revival Ministries International

Dr. Ben Graham 

Pastor and President of Graham Family Films

David J. Harris, Jr. 

Author of Why I Couldn't Stay Silent: One Man's Battle as a Black Conservative

Christina Engelstad & Lyndsey Morris

The Deplorable Choir

Ben & Tina Garrison 

American Political Cartoonists

Zach Vorhies 

Google Whistleblower 

Dr. Tony B. Beizaee

Leadership Council at Republican Jewish Coalition, Special Envoy at America Israel Society

Ty and Charlene Bollinger 

Founders of The Truth About Cancer (TTAC)

Kevin Jenkins

Executive Director, Urban Global Health Alliance

Jason Fyke 

The ongoing lawsuit against Facebook on anti-competitive grounds in the 9th Circuit Court

Dr. Judy A Mikovits 

Ph.D., Author of Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science

Dr. Joseph Mercola 

D.O., F.A.C.N., Founder of

Dr. Sherri J Tenpenny


Dr. Andrew Jeremy Wakefield 


Ann Vandersteel

Host of SteelTruth

Dr. Edward F. Fogarty, III, MD

Adjunct Professor, Radiologist, HBOT Specialist

Past President of the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation

James O. Grundvig

Author & Investigative Journalist

Published:7/11/2020 9:38:15 PM
[Entertainment] Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan hospitalized with coronavirus Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is hospitalized in Mumbai Published:7/11/2020 9:38:15 PM
[Markets] Coronavirus: The Under-40s Dilemma Coronavirus: The Under-40s Dilemma Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 22:00

Last week, Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid made a striking observation, one which threw all coronavirus comparisons to the Spanish Flu, and the coming second wave of the pandemic, in for a loop.

Specifically, Reid cited a paper that influenced market thinking in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic looked at the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions like social distancing and school closures during the Spanish flu (link here). The paper found that the US cities that implemented these measures tended to have better economic outcomes over the medium term. This offered historical support to the argument that there wasn’t such a big trade-off between economic activity and public health, because you needed to suppress the virus to enable consumers to be more confident and for businesses to operate as normal.

However, a major difference between Spanish flu and Covid-19 was the age distribution of fatalities, as shown in the chart below:

Here is the punchline: for Covid-19, the elderly have been overwhelmingly the worst hit. For the Spanish flu of 1918, the young working-age population were severely affected too. In fact, the death rate from pneumonia and influenza that year among 25-34 year olds in the United States was more than 50% higher than that for 65-74 year olds, "a remarkable difference to Covid-19."

Now, in a follow up observation from Reid, the DB credit strategist points out another coronavirus peculiarity: the fact that the virus leads to virtually no fatalities of people below 45.

As Reid writes, the UK has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world when it comes to fatalities per head from Covid-19. The country has seen around 60,000 excess deaths relative to the previous 5-year average. But given the scale of these numbers, Reid points out a "remarkable fact" that among those aged under around 40, deaths have been roughly the same as for the previous 5-year baseline (using England and Wales data). This backs up previous observations on how age-discriminant Covid-19 has been.

It's not just the UK: in Sweden (pop. 10.25m), where there was no lockdown, huge international criticism of its strategy, and one of the highest fatalities per head in the world – only 70 people under 49 years old have died of Covid-19, out of 5,482 total virus deaths (1.3%) so far. For context, average annual deaths in Sweden over the last 5 years for under-49-year-olds have been 3,417.

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

Indeed, as the second DB chart below shows, lockdowns will likely lead to 2020 being the worst year for the UK economy for 310 years.

As Reid provocatively puts it, "younger people will be suffering most from the economic impact of Covid-19 for many years to come, we wonder how history will judge the global response." That said, since the economic crisis resulting from Covid-19 has also unleashed full-blown helicopter money as well as the biggest round of corporate bailouts of insolvent and zombie companies in history, we are confident that the tsunami of global moral hazard - which will leave tens of millions of young workers without a job - will allow central bankers to sleep soundly at night.

Reid's conclusion: "the debate is more nuanced than a 250-word email can capture (e.g. the potential long-term implications of Covid-19 on individual health, the need to protect healthcare systems, etc.), but it’s a good discussion to have."

Alas, the die has already been cast and it is now far too late.

Published:7/11/2020 9:10:01 PM
[Politics] Mueller pens op ed ripping into Trump for commuting Roger Stone’s sentence Former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about his opposition to Trump commuting the sentence of his buddy Roger Stone. Here’s part of what he said: … I . . . Published:7/11/2020 9:10:01 PM
[Politics] Mueller pens op ed ripping into Trump for commuting Roger Stone’s sentence Former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about his opposition to Trump commuting the sentence of his buddy Roger Stone. Here’s part of what he said: … I . . . Published:7/11/2020 9:10:01 PM
[] Saturday Overnight Open Thread (7/11/20) *** The Saturday Night Joke The Urinal Is Too High: A group of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, accompanied by two female teachers, went on a field trip to the local racetrack, (Churchill Downs ) to learn about thoroughbred... Published:7/11/2020 9:10:01 PM
[Opinion] Just A Bad Dream?

By Dave King -

Joe Biden creepy

Recently, I had a dream that a terrorist group that pretends to involve itself in matters concerning black lives, had formed in Seattle, Chicago and New York City. Soon thereafter, the New York police force got rid of its undercover officers on the force, while at the same time this ...

Just A Bad Dream? 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:7/11/2020 8:50:46 PM
[Markets] LA Teachers Union Says Schools Can't Reopen Unless Charter Schools Get Shut-Down, Police Defunded LA Teachers Union Says Schools Can't Reopen Unless Charter Schools Get Shut-Down, Police Defunded Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 21:30

Authored by Daniel Payne via,

A major teachers union is claiming that the re-opening of schools in its district cannot occur without several substantial policy provisions in place, including a "moratorium" on charter schools and the defunding of local police. 

United Teachers Los Angeles, a 35,000-strong union in the Los Angeles Unified School District, made those demands in a policy paper it released this week. The organization called on local authorities to "keep school campuses closed when the semester begins on Aug. 18."

The union outlined numerous major provisions it says will be necessary to reopen schools again, including sequestering students in small groups throughout the school day, providing students with masks and other forms of protective equipment, and re-designing school layouts in order to facilitate "social distancing." 

Yet the union goes even farther than those requests, calling for "local support" in the form of defunded police departments and the shuttering of charter schools. 

Police violence "is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue," the union writes. The document calls on authorities to "shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health."

"Privately operated, publicly funded charter schools," meanwhile, "drain resources from district schools," the union states. The practice of "colocating" charter schools in existing structures, it continues, "adds students to campuses when we need to reduce the number of students to allow for physical distancing."

The union also demands the implementation of a federal Medicare-for-All program, several new state-level taxes on wealthy people, and a "federal bailout" of the school district. 

"The benefits to restarting physical schools must outweigh the risks, especially for our most vulnerable students and school communities," the document continues. 

"As it stands, the only people guaranteed to benefit from the premature physical reopening of schools amidst a rapidly accelerating pandemic are billionaires and the politicians they’ve purchased," it adds. 

Published:7/11/2020 8:50:46 PM
[Entertainment] Keke Palmer Has the Classiest Response After August Alsina Slams Her On Twitter Keke Palmer, August AlsinaAugust Alsina had a few things to get off his chest on Friday night. The 27-year-old singer took to Twitter to share his honest thoughts, including some he specifically had about Keke...
Published:7/11/2020 8:08:11 PM
[Markets] China Says Samples Of Imported Salmon Tested Positive For COVID-19 China Says Samples Of Imported Salmon Tested Positive For COVID-19 Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 21:00

We've been paying close attention to Chinese propaganda since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and six months in now, we must give the CCP credit where credit is due: thanks to the tightly controlled media atmosphere inside the country, the CCP's propaganda machine is mercilessly effective. With the full weight of the state-controlled press behind them, the CCP can manufacture false narratives out of thin air, subtly sowing doubts in the minds of the Chinese people that maybe SARS-CoV-2 didn't originate in China.

Yesterday, we noted a report in the Global Times (one of many English-language outlets controlled by the CCP) relaying a warning from China's embassy in Astana about a deadly pneumonia potentially even more lethal than the coronavirus. More than 1,500 had apparently been confirmed already, and it's feared that more remain unconfirmed - at least, according to the report. Given the sourcing - the story cited China's embassy in the country as its primary source, not the Kazakh public health officials who have been overseeing the coronavirus outbreak.

Immediately, it was clear to us the report was planted as a nudge to the Chinese people to sow doubts about China's role in unleashing the outbreak. Unsurprisingly, the WHO treated the report with deference, saying that while they believed most of these pneumonia cases were caused by SARS-CoV-2, they would look into it nonetheless. 

Of course, every narrative becomes easier to swallow when the people want to believe it. But that's perhaps besides the point.

Much like the Big Apple, China's propaganda machine never sleeps. And on Saturday, Bloomberg signal-boosted local reports claiming that imported shrimp from Ecuador had been found to be carrying traces of the virus which were found in the packaging (apparently, no traces were detected in the shrimp itself).

China said samples of imported shrimp tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions again over whether the pathogen can spread through food or frozen products.

The virus tested positive on both the inside and outside of the shrimp packaging, said China’s General Administration of Customs. The samples were from three Ecuadorian plants, and imports from those processors will be halted, it said. A leading Ecuadorian shrimp exporter disputed the findings.

"The test result doesn’t mean the virus is contagious, but reflects the loopholes in companies’ food safety regulations,” said Bi Kexin, director of the food import and export safety bureau in the customs department. “Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food.”

This isn't the first time the CCP has tried to portray imported seafood as a threat. A few weeks ago, when the first post-lockdown cluster was found in Beijing and traced to a wholesale market in the southwestern parts of the city, officials there said traces of salmon found on a cutting board had tested positive. This triggered a nationwide boycott that led to thousands of tons of imported salmon being thrown in the trash.

Though traces of the virus were apparently found on the packaging, whether those traces may have actually been infectious isn't clear.

At the time, China began mass testing cold food imports at ports, and blocked shipments of meat from plants abroad that reported infections.

But as one Rabobank analyst confirmed to BBG, evidence suggests that it’s extremely unlikely for the virus to be transmitted through food, according to Gorjan Nikolik, Rabobank's director of seafood .

“It’s a typical food scare” he said. “I expect them to be very short-lived.”

By testing seafood so aggressively, this setup effectively guarantees the CCP a steady stream of legitimate 'positive' tests. These reports will induce panic, and hurt local businesses forced to take a loss on their wears, but the CCP doesn't care. The propaganda value is clearly too great.

Understandably, the FDA felt compelled to issue a statement on the issue, and in that statement the agency asserted that there is no evidence that tainted food packaging can transmit the virus (not even to workers at the warehouses that handle the packaging).

The Ecuadorian exporter, who agreed to close down and do a cleaning, helped put into context how minor the sample actually was.

Ecuadorian shrimp exporter Santa Priscila questioned the findings and lamented the blow to the industry’s reputation, saying Chinese officials had refused to provide information on the testing in recent weeks.

"They found one positive non-contagious test ‘inside the wall of the container’ as a result of 227,934 samples taken from the containers, that is 0.0000043%,” Santa Priscila President and founder Santiago Salem said in a statement.

So anybody shipping seafood to markets in China, beware: If there's even a speak of virus RNA on the packaging or in the food that you ship, the CCP will find it, and exploit it for political gain. And if you lose money and your business goes under? Well, my friend, that's just a little something called "counterparty risk".

Published:7/11/2020 8:08:11 PM
[Uncategorized] Democrats’ November Strategy: Worry, Don’t Be Happy Rebounding economic numbers are likely to be off the charts come the fall. So the media and Democrats need to create the perception of failure. Published:7/11/2020 8:08:11 PM
[0b895d73-dd3d-57fc-aeb0-41cfc1ca8415] Ex-prosecutors Tolman & Rizer: Romney wrong to attack Trump commutation of Roger Stone prison sentence Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Saturday denounced President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence as “unprecedented, historic corruption.” But as former prosecutors, we believe the Stone prosecution was always a questionable waste of resources, with a shaky factual basis and marked by blatant politicking. Published:7/11/2020 8:08:11 PM
[] Hey Marxists, You Don't Have to Tear Down National Monuments Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[] More than 150 Minneapolis police officers file PTSD claims, prepare to leave the force Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: OPEC and allies set to ease oil output cuts, anticipating demand recovery An alliance of crude producers led by Saudi Arabia is pushing OPEC and its allies to increase oil production starting in August, officials in the group said, amid signs that demand is returning to normal levels following coronavirus-related lockdowns.
Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[Politics] Breaking: Two police shot and killed in ambush attack in Texas Very horrible news from McAllen in Texas, two cops were shot and killed in an apparent ambush attack. Watch below: More from The Monitor: Two McAllen police officers were shot and killed . . . Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[Politics] Breaking: Two police shot and killed in ambush attack in Texas Very horrible news from McAllen in Texas, two cops were shot and killed in an apparent ambush attack. Watch below: More from The Monitor: Two McAllen police officers were shot and killed . . . Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[Crime] We’re Number One! (John Hinderaker) In recent years, when I have worried that Minneapolis might be the worst-governed city in America, I have taken comfort from the thought that however bad Minneapolis might be, Portland is even worse. Portland, whose Antifa chapter seems to have free rein in the streets and is constantly wreaking havoc. Portland, whose city government–I thought–was even more left-wing than Minneapolis’s. Portland is bad, of course. Check out this roundup. Every Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[Markets] When Will The Madness End? When Will The Madness End? Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 20:30

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The American Institute for Economic research,

I was sitting in the green room in a Manhattan television studio on the day that the storm seemed to hit. It was Thursday, March 12, 2020, and I was waiting anxiously for a TV appearance, hoping that the trains wouldn’t shut down before I could leave the city. The trains never did shut but half of everything else did. 

On this day, everyone knew what was coming. There was disease panic in the air, fomented mostly by the media and political figures. A month earlier, the idea of lockdown was unthinkable, but now it seemed like it could happen, at any moment. 

A thin, wise-looking bearded man with Freud-style glasses sat down across from me, having just left the studio. He was there to catch his breath following his interview but he looked deeply troubled. 

“There is fear in the air,” I said, breaking the silence. 

“Madness is all around us. The public is adopting a personality disorder I’ve been treating my whole career.”

“What is it that you do?” I asked. 

I’m a practicing psychiatrist who specializes in anxiety disorders, paranoid delusions, and irrational fear. I’ve been treating this in individuals as a specialist. It’s hard enough to contain these problems in normal times. What’s happening now is a spread of this serious medical condition to the whole population. It can happen with anything but here we see a primal fear of disease turning into mass panic. It seems almost deliberate. It is tragic. Once this starts, it could take years to repair the psychological damage.

I sat there a bit stunned, partially because speaking in such apocalyptic terms was new in those days, and because of the certitude of his opinion. Underlying his brief comments were a presumption that there was nothing particularly unusual about this virus. We’ve evolved with them, and learned to treat them with calm and professionalism. What distinguished the current moment, he was suggesting, was not the virus but the unleashing of a kind of public madness. 

I was an early skeptic of the we-are-all-going-to-die narrative. But even I was unsure if he was correct that the real problem was not physical but mental. In those days, even I was cautious about shaking hands and carrying around sanitizer. I learned later, of course, that plenty of medical professionals had been trying to calm people down for weeks, urging the normal functioning of society rather than panic. It took weeks however even for me to realize that he was right: the main threat society faced was a psychological condition. 

I should have immediately turned to a book that captivated me in high school. It is Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay (1841). I liked reading it because, while it highlighted human folly, it also seemed to indicate that we as a civilization are over that period in history. 

It allowed me to laugh at how ridiculous people were in the past, with sudden panics over long hair and beards, jewelry, witches, the devil, prophecies and sorcery, disease and cures, land speculation, tulips, just about anything. In a surprising number of cases he details, disease plays a role, usually as evidence of a malicious force operating in the world. Once fear reaches a certain threshold, normalcy, rationality, morality, and decency fade and are replaced by shocking stupidity and cruelty. 

He writes:

In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire of military glory; another as suddenly becoming crazed upon a religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity…. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

After 2005 when the Internet developed into a serious repository for human knowledge, and it became accessible via smartphones and near-universal access, I too was tempted by the idea that we would enter into a new age of enlightenment in which mass frenzies would be quickly stopped by dawning wisdom. 

You can see evidence of my naivete with my April 5, 2020 article: With Knowledge Comes Calm, Rationality, and, Possibly, Openness. My thought then was that the evidence of the extremely discriminatory impact of the virus on plus-70 people with underlying conditions would cause a sudden realization that this virus was behaving like a normal virus. We were not all going to die. We would use rationality and reopen. I recall writing that with a sense of confidence that the media would report the new study and the panic would end. 

I was preposterously wrong, along with my four-month-old feeling that all of this stuff would stop on Monday. The psychiatrist I met in New York was correct: the drug of fear had already invaded the public mind. Once there, it takes a very long time to recover. This is made far worse by politics, which has only fed the beast of fear. This is the most politicized disease in history, and doing so has done nothing to help manage it and much to make it all vastly worse. 

We’ve learned throughout this ordeal that despite our technology, our knowledge, our history of building prosperity and peace, we are no smarter than our ancestors and, by some measures, not as smart as our parents and grandparents. The experience with COVID has caused a mass reversion to the superstitions and panics that sporadically defined the human experience of ages past. 

Eventually, people have and do come to their senses, but it is as Mackay said: people “go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

Published:7/11/2020 7:41:33 PM
[] There's some doubt about who really wrote Robert Mueller's WaPo op-ed about Roger Stone's commutation Published:7/11/2020 7:08:35 PM
[Markets] Trump Admin Tells Minnesota Governor To Get Bent Over $16 Million Aid Request Following Riots Trump Admin Tells Minnesota Governor To Get Bent Over $16 Million Aid Request Following Riots Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 20:00

The Trump administration has denied a request by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) for $16 million in federal aid to help rebuild widespread damage in Minneapolis caused by rioters protesting the death of George Floyd.

Late Friday, Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann confirmed that the July 2 federal aid request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was denied.

"The Governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support," said Tschann in a statement. "As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, we look for support from our federal government to help us through."

Over 1,500 buildings were damaged by fires, looting and vandalism following Floyd's death on May 25 while in police custody. According to Walz, over $500 million in damages ensued.

Many small businesses and grocery stores, pharmacies and post offices were damaged during the unrest. In his letter to FEMA, Walz said what happened in the Twin Cities after Floyd’s death was the second most destructive incident of civil unrest in U.S. history, after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

The Walz administration conducted a preliminary damage assessment that found nearly $16 million of eligible damages related to fires. The federal funds would have been used to reimburse local governments for repairs and debris removal. -Star Tribune

On Thursday, Republican Rep. Tim Emmer (MN) sent a letter to President Trump asking for a "thorough and concurrent review" of how state officials handled the civil unrest so that "every governor, mayor and local official can learn from our experiences."

"If the federal government is expected to assist in the clean-up of these unfortunate weeks, it has an obligation to every American — prior to the release of funding — to fully understand the events which allowed for this level of destruction to occur and ensure it never happens again," wrote Emmer.

"Current damage estimates are now five times their original projections, but the extent of the destruction cannot be calculated solely in dollars and cents," continues Emmer's letter. "Thousands of livelihoods have been permanently disrupted, future economic development plans have been derailed as businesses reconsider investing in and around the Twin Cities, and numerous public lifelines for the community have been cut leaving Minnesotans searching for alternative means of care for their families.

"To date there have been no federal analysis of the actions that were - or were not - taken by local and state officials to prevent one of the most destructive episodes of civil unrest in our nation's history."

Published:7/11/2020 7:08:34 PM
[] Saturday Evening Movie Thread 07-11-2020 [Moviegique] Re-Viewing The New Classics As we've been shut out of the theater since King Kong, and as the strategy seems to be to lock everything up tight until it's completely destroyed, I've been taking to showing the family some of... Published:7/11/2020 7:08:34 PM
[] The Happiest Place on Earth re-opens despite COVID-19 case surge in Florida, cast member petitions Published:7/11/2020 6:37:40 PM
[] Jake Tapper contemplates how many lives would have been saved if President Trump had worn a mask in February and March Published:7/11/2020 6:37:40 PM
[Politics] Mueller Defends Roger Stone Prosecution in Op-Ed Former Russia special counsel Robert Mueller responded to President Donald Trump on Saturday, defending the prosecution of Roger Stone and the larger investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election in an op-ed in the Washington Post.Mueller said that the... Published:7/11/2020 6:37:40 PM
[topics:places/usa] Donald Trump wears a face mask in public for the first time Published:7/11/2020 6:37:40 PM
[Markets] Why The Roger Stone Commutation Is Not As Controversial As The Outrage Mob Thinks Why The Roger Stone Commutation Is Not As Controversial As The Outrage Mob Thinks Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 19:30

Authored by Jonathan Turley, op-ed via The Hill,

Washington was sent into vapors of shock and disgust with news of the commutation of Roger Stone. Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin declared it to be “the most corrupt and cronyistic act in all of recent history.” Despite my disagreement with the commutation, that claim is almost quaint. The sordid history of pardons makes it look positively chaste in comparison. Many presidents have found the power of pardons to be an irresistible temptation when it involves family, friends, and political allies.

I have maintained that Stone deserved another trial but not a pardon. As Attorney General William Barr has said, this was a “righteous prosecution” and Stone was correctly convicted and correctly sentenced to 40 months in prison. 

President Trump did not give his confidant a pardon but rather a commutation, so Stone is still a convicted felon. However, Trump should have left this decision to his attorney general. In addition to Stone being a friend and political ally, Trump was implicated in those allegations against Stone. While there was never any evidence linking Trump to the leaking of hacked emails, he has an obvious conflict of interest in the case.

The White House issued a statement that Stone is “a victim of the Russia hoax.” The fact is that Stone is a victim of himself. Years of what he called his “performance art” finally caught up with him when he realized federal prosecutors who were not amused by his antics. Stone defines himself as an “agent provocateur.” He crossed the line when he called witnesses to influence their testimony and gave false answers to investigators.

But criticism of this commutation immediately seemed to be decoupled from any foundation in history or in the Constitution.

Indeed, Toobin also declared, “This is simply not done by American presidents. They do not pardon or commute sentences of people who are close to them or about to go to prison. It just does not happen until this president.”

In reality, the commutation of Stone barely stands out in the old gallery of White House pardons, which are the most consistently and openly abused power in the Constitution. This authority under Article Two is stated in absolute terms, and some presidents have wielded it with absolute abandon.

Thomas Jefferson pardoned Erick Bollman for violations of the Alien and Sedition Act in the hope that he would testify against rival Aaron Burr for treason. Andrew Jackson stopped the execution of George Wilson in favor of a prison sentence, despite the long record Wilson had as a train robber, after powerful friends intervened with Jackson. Wilson surprised everyone by opting to be hanged anyway. However, Wilson could not hold a candle to Ignazio Lupo, one of the most lethal mob hitmen who was needed back in New York during a mafia war. With the bootlegging business hanging in the balance, Warren Harding, who along with his attorney general, Harry Daugherty, was repeatedly accused of selling pardons, decided to pardon Lupo on the condition that he be a “law abiding” free citizen.

Franklin Roosevelt also pardoned political allies, including Conrad Mann, who was a close associate of Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast. Pendergast made a fortune off illegal alcohol, gambling, and graft, and helped send Harry Truman into office. Truman also misused this power, including pardoning the extremely corrupt George Caldwell, who was a state official who skimmed massive amounts of money off government projects, like a building fund for Louisiana State University.

Richard Nixon was both giver and receiver of controversial pardons. He pardoned Jimmy Hoffa after the Teamsters Union leader had pledged to support his reelection bid. Nixon himself was later pardoned by Gerald Ford, an act many of us view as a mistake. To his credit, Ronald Reagan declined to pardon the Iran Contra affair figures, but his vice president, George Bush, did so after becoming president. Despite his own alleged involvement in that scandal, Bush still pardoned those other Iran Contra figures, such as Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.

Bill Clinton committed some of the worst abuses of this power, including pardons for his brother Roger Clinton and his friend and business partner Susan McDougal. He also pardoned the fugitive financier Marc Rich, who evaded justice by fleeing abroad. Entirely unrepentant, Rich was a major Democratic donor, and Clinton had wiped away his convictions for fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, and illegal dealings with Iran.

Unlike many of these cases, there were legitimate questions raised about the Stone case. The biggest issue was that the foreperson of the trial jury was also actually a Democratic activist and an outspoken critic of Trump and his associates who even wrote publicly about the Stone case. Despite multiple opportunities to do so, she never disclosed her prior statements and actions that would have demonstrated such bias. Judge Amy Berman Jackson shrugged off all that, however, and refused to grant Stone a new trial, denying him the most basic protection in our system.

Moreover, I think both the court and the Justice Department were wrong to push for Stone going to prison at this time, because he meets all of the criteria for an inmate at high risk for exposure to the coronavirus. None of that, however, justifies Trump becoming involved in a commutation, when many of the issues could have been addressed in a legal appeal.

There is lots to criticize in this move without pretending it was a pristine power besmirched by a rogue president. Indeed, Trump should have left the decision to a successor or, at a minimum, to the attorney general. But compared to the other presidents, this commutation is not even a distant contender for “the most corrupt and cronyistic act” of clemency.

Published:7/11/2020 6:37:40 PM
[Uncategorized] Trump Admin Denies $500m Tax-payer Bail-out After Minnesota Failed To Stop Rioting Rep. Jeff Duncan: "Governors and Mayors who ordered police to stand down and watch their cities burn shouldn't get a penny in taxpayer aid!" Published:7/11/2020 6:37:40 PM
[6ad4c7d8-ee38-5050-8866-4c709e54fe9c] Andrew McCarthy: Dems attacking Trump for Roger Stone clemency defended outrageous Clinton and Obama pardons I can’t get too whipped up over President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s 40-month sentence for nonviolent criminal obstruction of a bogusly based and ridiculously over-prosecuted investigation. Published:7/11/2020 6:07:45 PM
[Entertainment] Darius Rucker and Wife Decide to "Consciously Uncouple" After 20 Years of Marriage Darius Rucker, Beth LeonardDarius Rucker and Beth Leonard are embarking on a new chapter this year. On Saturday afternoon, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman announced that he and his wife of 20 years have...
Published:7/11/2020 6:07:45 PM
[Markets] Russian Fighter Jets Intercept US Spy Plane Over Sea Of Japan  Russian Fighter Jets Intercept US Spy Plane Over Sea Of Japan  Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 19:00

Russia's defense ministry (MoD) announced that on Saturday its Su-35 and MiG-31 fighter jets intercepted a US spy plain over the Sea of Japan.

"On 11 July, the Russian airspace surveillance identified an air target over the neutral waters of the Sea of ??Japan [East Sea], flying in the direction of the state border of the Russian Federation," the MoD statement said.

Sukhoi Su-35 fighter, file image.

“On July 11, the Russian airspace monitoring system over the neutral waters of the Sea of ??Japan discovered an air target flying towards the state borders of the Russian Federation, and Russian fighters escorted the American reconnaissance plane at a safe distance, and the Russian fighters returned to the airport after the American plane had rotated and moved away from the Russian border,” the statement continued.

The Russian statements identified the American aircraft as an Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance jet.

Over the past two months there's been dozens of intercept incidents between the rival superpowers, but typically not in this location.

Most close encounters have taken place off Alaska's coast, as well as over the Black and Baltic Seas, as well as the Mediterranean near Syria.

Last month there was a rare similar intercept incident over the remote Sea of Okhotsk just off the Russian far east.

Russian media detailed of this latest Sea of Japan incident: "Russian fighter jets escorted the reconnaissance aircraft at a safe distance and returned to the home base after the US aircraft flew away from the Russian border."

The intercepts have been part of a developing tit-for-tat spate of intercepts between the US and Russian militaries over international waters and airspace. 

Published:7/11/2020 6:07:45 PM
[IJR] Trump Seen Wearing a Mask in Public for the First Time During Visit to Walter Reed "I think when you are in a hospital, especially in that particular setting when you are talking to a lot of soldiers, people that in some cases just got off the operating table, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask." Published:7/11/2020 6:07:45 PM
[d393416d-ec86-5a07-a3ad-13d8d934b1bf] The most dishonest, biased news coverage of our lifetimes — and it’s about to get worse ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen such dishonest and biased coverage of any event.” That was Brit Hume, who has been covering events for more than 50 years for Fox News, ABC News and investigative reporter Jack Anderson. Published:7/11/2020 5:41:10 PM
[Markets] The Delusion Of A Seamless Reopening Is Being Obliterated The Delusion Of A Seamless Reopening Is Being Obliterated Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 18:30

Authored by Brandon Smith via Birch Gold Group,

During the first wave of pandemic lockdowns, America became a rather surreal place. The initial shock that I witnessed in average people in my area was disturbing. Half the businesses in the region closed and a third of the grocery store shelves were empty. The look in people’s faces was one of bewilderment and fear; their eyes were like saucers, no one was staring into their cell phones as they usually do, and people huddled over their shopping carts like wild dogs protecting a carcass.

Luckily, this tension has subsided, but only because the majority of Americans have been assuming for the past couple months that the pandemic was going to fade away in the summer and that the “reopening” was permanent. Sadly, this is a delusion that is going to bite people in the ass in the next month or two.

In “The Economic Reopening Is A Fake-Out”, published at the end of May, I stated:

"The restrictions will continue in major US population centers while rural areas have mostly opened with much fanfare. The end result of this will be a flood of city dwellers into rural towns looking for relief from more strict lockdown conditions. In about a month, we should expect new viral clusters in places where there was limited transmission. I suggest that before the 4th of July holiday, state governments and the Federal government will be talking about new lockdowns, using the predictable infection spike as an excuse."

I also noted:

Certainly, it appears that most Americans hate the lockdowns. But will they be fooled by the “reopening” into complacency for the next several weeks while the government gets ready to hit them with the next round of restrictions? Will they be so caught off guard they won’t know how to react? Imagine the economic devastation of just one more nationwide lockdown event? It will be carnage, and a lot of hope within the population will be lost.

In “Pandemic And Economic Collapse: The Next 60 Days”, published in April, I predicted:

The extent of the crisis will become much more clear in the next two months to the majority. The result will be civil unrest in the summer, likely followed by extreme poverty levels in the winter. No measure of “reopening” is going to do much to stop the avalanche that has already been started.

My position at the time, on secondary infection spikes in the summer as well as renewed lockdown restrictions, appears to have proven correct. Currently, daily reported infections in the U.S. are at a record 50,000 per day or more and cases are rising in 40 out of 50 states. Many of the new infection clusters are in more rural areas and states that a lot of people thought had dodged the initial wave, including California. There has been a massive rush of home buyers moving to rural and suburban America away from the cities. The great migration has begun.

Subsequently, public anxiety is rising yet again. Protests such as those in Michigan over the lockdowns were overwhelmingly peaceful, yet liberty movement activists were demonized and accused of “inciting violence” and “spreading the virus”. Some groups with left-leaning political agendas used the death of George Floyd to create civil unrest. The mainstream media mostly lavished these groups with praise and refused to acknowledge that they might be spreading the virus.

The double standard is clear, but this is just the beginning.

As I have argued for the past few months, the REAL public crisis will strike when the secondary lockdowns are enforced, either by state governments or the federal government. Make no mistake, these orders are coming. We can already see restriction in some states being implemented, though they refuse yet to call the situation a “lockdown”.

California has recently added 24 counties to its “Covid watchlist”, and most of these counties have added new restrictions, including many non-essential businesses being ordered to remain closed.

The governor of Arizona announced statewide restrictions including business shutdowns, suggesting there may be a reopening at the end of July. If the previous lockdown is any indication, this means the next reopening will probably not happen until early September.

Similar restrictions have been announced in Texas, Florida, Georgia, etc. This is essentially a new shutdown that has not yet been officially labeled a “shutdown”.

So what does this mean for the U.S. economy going forward?

Well, the first lockdowns caused an explosion in unemployment, with 40 million jobs lost on top of around 11 million existing jobless. Beyond that, you can add the 95 million people without work that are no longer counted on the rolls by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only a portion of these jobs were regained when the reopening occurred. According to, the real unemployment rate including U-6 measurements is 31% – around the same level as it was during the Great Depression.

So far in 2020 there have been 4,300 major retail store closings, added onto the thousands of businesses already hit in 2019 in what many are calling “The Retail Apocalypse”. Small business closings are harder to gauge at this time, but according to Yelp, over 41% of their listed participants are announcing they are closing for good.

This outcome was easy to predict when it became clear that only 13% to 18% of businesses applying for the small business bailout loans received aid, and half of those businesses were actually large corporations

What happens next? The companies that did survive the first phase lockdowns are now going to get hit again, hard. I expect another 50% of small businesses to either close permanently or announce bankruptcy over this summer and fall. This means a second huge surge in job losses in the service sector.

It’s important to remember that the U.S. economy is 70% service based, and around 50% of total jobs are provided by small businesses. The lockdowns hit both these areas of our system mercilessly. And, with most of the aid from the government bailouts being diverted to major corporations, it’s as if someone was trying to deliberately crush the small business pillar of support for our economy. If you were attempting to drag the U.S. into an economic collapse, the Covid lockdowns are a perfect cover to make this happen.

Another economic threat is the slowdown in the supply chain. There will be renewed shortages in many goods. I have received numerous emails from readers who work in manufacturing, repair and acquisitions of vital parts for major companies who have told me that simple components, such as electronic and industrial parts that are required for factories to produce goods and repair goods, are almost gone. Meaning they are not being produced overseas in places like China, either due to the pandemic or geopolitical conflict. They tell me there is a maximum of two months before these components are completely gone.

The greater danger, however, is the higher likelihood of civil unrest. I’ve heard many people suggest that Americans will “never” put up with another round of shutdowns. I think it depends on the state you live in. If you live in places like California, Illinois, New York, or even Florida, the majority of people are going to conform to lockdowns even in the face of financial calamity. Interior states with more conservatives are not as certain. Regardless, I expect at least half the country to be shut down in the next few weeks, and those places that don’t shut down will be accused of “selfishly endangering others”.

As I have said many times since this crisis began, it does not matter how dangerous or deadly a virus is; shutting down the economy is assured destruction and is not an acceptable response.

Of course, certain special interest groups benefit greatly from the increased fear and chaos that economic instability brings. Right now, states like Georgia are pushing to stage the national guard to quell unrest, and I think this will spread to many places in the U.S. over the summer. They know what is coming, and they are worried about people hitting the wall of poverty that is ahead and reacting angrily.

As the globalist Imperial College of London published in March, the plan is for lockdowns to continue on and off for the next 18 months or more. This is not going away, and after the next wave of lockdowns, most Americans are finally going to realize it.

Rather than promoting localized production, independent economies and self-sufficiency, the establishment is going to suggest martial law and medical tyranny as the solution to the pandemic problem. In other words, they will demand total control over the population and the erasure of constitutional liberties in the name of “the greater good”.

These are the same people that downplayed the pandemic at the beginning of the year and refused to stop travel from China until it was too late. They are also the same people (including Dr. Anthony Fauci) who gave the Chinese millions of dollars to play around with the coronavirus at the Level 4 lab in Wuhan, which is the likely source of the current outbreak. I’m not sure why ANYONE would want to give more power to the people that caused the crisis in the first place.

Three factors are working hand-in-hand to undermine U.S. stability and create a rationale for totalitarian controls including the economic crash, civil unrest and the pandemic itself. Understand that preparations to protect yourself and your family must be finalized NOW. There will not be even a minor recovery after the next shutdown.

*  *  *

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Published:7/11/2020 5:41:10 PM
[] Federal government denies Minnesota governor's plea for aid to help rebuild after George Floyd riots Published:7/11/2020 5:07:56 PM
[Entertainment] Pitch Perfect's Skylar Astin Packs On the PDA with Jack Osbourne's Ex-Wife Lisa Stelly Skylar Astin, Lisa StellyIs there a new romance brewing in Hollywood? All signs point to yes! Pitch Perfect star Skylar Astin has been enjoying the single life after he and co-star, Anna Camp, announced their...
Published:7/11/2020 5:07:55 PM
[Markets] Testing, Tracing, Treating - How Asia's Biggest Slum Is Beating The Coronavirus Testing, Tracing, Treating - How Asia's Biggest Slum Is Beating The Coronavirus Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 18:00

As the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India passes 800k, pushing India past Russia and into third place on the ranking of most global cases...

...the country's leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been hard-pressed to come up with a solution, particularly after an economy-crippling shutdown.

Earlier this month, local officials in Mumbai and New Delhi, the country's two hardest-hit areas, launched an effort to perform a 'COVID-19 audit' on the city's inhabitants in an ambitious testing program that would ideally test everyone in the two cities.

Now, local media are reporting that the WHO has praised an effort to contain an outbreak in Mumbai's Dharavi slum, said to be the largest slum in all of Asia, and also one of the densest.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the WHO's press conference in Geneva on Friday that the situation in Dharavi is an example of how even some of the most intense outbreaks can be brought under control with a proactive strategy.

"And some of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi - a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai," he had said.

According to local officials, the strategy they used to successfully start suppressing the outbreak relied on proactive testing first and foremost, along with the support of medical professionals and other medical resources focused on the area aside from the tests and the people needed to administer them.

The neighborhood, once deemed a global COVID-19 hotspot, has managed to flatten its curve.

One of the top hospital officials who participated in the effort said that the linchpin of the strategy was going out into the community and proactively testing individuals - especially the most vulnerable -  instead of waiting for patients to come to get tested at a facility.

"Proactive screening helped in early detection, timely treatment and recovery," he said.

When positive cases were found, officials diligently guided the subject to care (if they needed it) or quarantine, then made sure to trace cases back to the point of infection while keeping confirmed patients from spreading it to others.

Across Dharavi, 14,000 people were reportedly tested and 13,000, were placed in institutional quarantine with medical facilities and community kitchen for free," the senior official said. That's across a slum that measures 2.5 square kilometers, with a population density of 2,27,136 people per square kilometer.

Soon, officials noted progress in the data. In April, the doubling rate was 18 days. It was gradually improved to 43 days in May and slowed down to 108 and 430 days in June and July respectively.

As many as 2,359 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Dharavi so far, of which 1,952 patients have recovered from the deadly infection, while there are only 166 active cases at present. However, achieving this monumental feat was not easy for the local authorities, who had to overcome their fair share of challenges.

"At least 80% of Dharavi's population depends on 450 community toilets and the administration had to sanitize and disinfect these toilets several times a day," Dighavkar said.


"Our approach to tackle the virus was focused on four Ts - tracing, tracking, testing and treating," he said.

Social distancing was next to impossible in Dharavi, where families of eight to 10 people live in 10x10 huts, and travel requires walking through narrow lanes in between the tenement houses.

Doctors and private clinics, as part of proactive screening and fever camps, covered as many as 47,500 houses, while 14,970 people were screened in mobile vans, the official said.

Apart from this, special care was taken for the elderly residents and 8,246 senior citizens were surveyed, he said.

Manpower was a major issue for organizing fever camps and proactive screening in high-risk zones.

"We mobilised all private practitioners. At least 24 private doctors came forward and the civic body provided them with PPE kits, thermal scanners, pulse oxymetres, masks, gloves, and started door-to-door screening in high risk zones and all suspects were identified," he said.

City officials also cleared schools and other buildings to transform them into makeshift hospitals and quarantine units. In just 2 weeks, a 200-bed hospital was devised.

Like the US, India saw a surge in cases after exiting a lengthy lockdown. The lockdown imposed by the Indian government was by all accounts far more strict than what most Americans experienced. Still, the virus has made a comeback, suggesting that lockdowns in India aren't a sustainable way to deal with the problem. But proactive testing sounds like it could certainly go a long way.

Published:7/11/2020 5:07:55 PM
[Uncategorized] AP misleadingly claims Catholic Church used “unprecedented exemption … to amass at least $1.4 billion” from PPP The church did not "amass" anything, the loans will be forgiven only if the funds are used to support employee payroll just like any other entity receiving Paycheck Protection Program funding. Published:7/11/2020 5:07:55 PM
[Politics] “Five Guys” employees refuse to serve cops, and now they’re looking for new employment A bunch of morons working at Five Guys Burgers and Fries are looking for new jobs after they brought their politics to work and refused to serve police that came into the . . . Published:7/11/2020 5:07:55 PM
[Politics] “Five Guys” employees refuse to serve cops, and now they’re looking for new employment A bunch of morons working at Five Guys Burgers and Fries are looking for new jobs after they brought their politics to work and refused to serve police that came into the . . . Published:7/11/2020 5:07:55 PM
[] Newsbusters adds up how much time MSNBC devoted to covering their medical expert's battle with coronavirus (except he never had it) Published:7/11/2020 4:37:00 PM
[Politics] Don Jr. Details Biden's 'Liberal Privilege' in Book This August Donald Trump Jr.'s new book, "Liberal Privilege," will be self-published the week of the Republican convention at the end of August, Axios reported Saturday. Published:7/11/2020 4:37:00 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Why do law professors do what they do? A question that is harder to answer than it may seem. Published:7/11/2020 4:37:00 PM
[c2aee788-1e7e-5b1c-9120-b3ad0e042ea9] Brooklyn Beckham is engaged to Nicola Peltz Brooklyn Beckham is engaged to his girlfriend Nicola Peltz. Published:7/11/2020 4:37:00 PM
[Markets] The Fed Put Narrative Era The Fed Put Narrative Era Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 17:35

Submitted by The Swam Blog,

For years, I have heard fund managers and economists claiming that “a financial crisis is unlikely as long as central banks intervene”. This postulate has been the foundation of the well-known “Fed put”. Stocks should only go up thanks to monetary policy.

The past ten years have reinforced that conviction, since all the actions of the Fed and the ECB had strong positive impact on risky assets. But, as Tyler Durden would say, “on a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”.

In fact, if you study economic history, then you are likely to realize that such relationship between money supply and asset prices has no real foundations. Besides, the purchasing power of money theory tells us that increasing money supply can lead to higher prices, but only if the so-called velocity of money does not decrease. Thus, velocity is a key variable. When it comes to investment, it seems that velocity is mostly driven by psychological factors. In other words, if QE has become so bullish for stocks or bonds, it is mainly because people believe that it is.

Therefore, everyone should remember that “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”. Not only can the market drop despite the Fed, but it might crash precisely because of such dominant belief.

Intersubjective Markets and Narratives

Intersubjectivity can be thought as a share agreement of meanings between multiple people. According to Yuval Noah Harari, without intersubjective frameworks like religions, governments, money, firms, etc., anatomically modern humans would not be able to form and control large social groups.

Financial markets can also be treated as an intersubjective framework. From that perspective, a market narrative can be defined as a subculture (or ideology) common to multiple investors, sharing a common vision on how markets work and how assets are priced.

Without narratives, there would be no bull or bear markets. Of course, bull markets can be driven by positive news such as earning growth. However, speculative bubbles would make no sense without intersubjectivity. The concept of narratives is the key to understand how markets work and how investor price assets.

The “Fed put” can regarded as the dominant narrative since 2009. And it has become so dominant that Nasdaq stock prices have disconnected from economic fundamentals like they did in 1999.

Fractals and Avalanches

Today, equity markets seem to display a macro-behavior, since almost everyone has turned bullish. Despite a few skeptical folks, even pessimistic investors have resigned themselves to the idea that markets would not drop anymore because of Jerome Powell. In other words, a form of order has emerged (i.e. low entropy), and the market has reached a critical state.

The problem is that such a state is very unstable, and a fast reversal becomes more and more likely. What could be the trigger?  It could be anything like the acceleration of the pandemic, bankruptcies, geopolitical tensions, etc. However, answering this question is not essential.

Indeed, the bubble has been driven by endogenous feedback loops. So, the market can crash without any obvious reason. This is what we observed on US equity markets in 1929, 1987 and 2000. And this is also how ended the bitcoin mania in 2017, and the China A shares rally in 2015.

What we know so far is that a reversal can lead to a significant volatility spike since the apparent order will be suddenly broken.

Hidden Risks Behind the Tech Rally

Some physicists state that the whole boom and bust process can be captured using the so-called log-periodicity power law singularity (LPPLS) model. Whether it is purely theoretical or not, the model indicates that Nasdaq euphoria is likely to terminate by the end of the summer (see It is All About Waves – Tech Stocks and The Log-Periodicity Power Law Singularity Model and We Are Warned – Precisions About the Log-Periodicity Power Law Singularity Model).

Beyond that statistical prediction, it is important to have a look at technicals as the current trend looks quite unsustainable (see Sven Henrich’s chart above) with numerous unfilled gaps below. And while the Nasdaq is breaking records every day, the VIX remains at historically high levels.

At this stage, the question is, what will support the market if the dominant narrative is broken? The Fed has our backs, until it has not. Extreme concentration and short-volatility bets are major risks for equity investors, especially Robinhood retail traders.

As Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, “missing a train is only painful if you run after it”.

Published:7/11/2020 4:37:00 PM
[] Saturday Afternoon Chess thread 07-11-2020 IM Guliskhan Nakhbayeva (KAZ) Moviegique will be along later with the movie thread. As always, the chess/dress pr0n thread is an open thread, so there is no such thing as an off-topic comment. Beginner Problem - White To Play (Chess... Published:7/11/2020 4:37:00 PM
[World] It's Finally Happening: The Far Side is BACK! Published:7/11/2020 4:07:24 PM
[] Hot take: Neera Tanden says the United States was lucky that the coronavirus hit blue states first Published:7/11/2020 4:07:24 PM
[Markets] Official COVID-19 Statistics Are Missing Something Critical Official COVID-19 Statistics Are Missing Something Critical Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 16:45

Authored by Thomas Smith via Elemental,

Even if you recover from Covid-19, you may not escape unscathed...

At the moment, official record-keeping offers only three options when it comes to Covid-19: infection, recovery, or death. This misses a broad range of other potential outcomes for people who catch the virus — many of them bad.

In medicine, physicians talk about “M&M,” or “Mortality and Morbidity.” Many hospitals even hold closed-door “M&M” conferences, where their providers discuss everything that’s gone wrong with their patients over the last week or month.

Mortality is a pretty straightforward concept. Have patients died from a particular disease process, and if so, how? Were their deaths avoidable? Can the field of medicine learn anything from them which will improve patient care in the future?

Morbidity, though, is a much trickier concept. It includes the complications, health issues, and other negative outcomes (other than death) that a disease causes. Basically, it’s all the ways that a disease can make you unwell, even if it doesn’t actually kill you.

Official statistics capture deaths that occur from Covid-19 reasonably well. Reporting methods are often updated, and epidemiologists have gone back and attempted to quantify Covid-19 deaths that were originally missed. But overall, death counts are a relatively easy metric to apply. Patients are either alive or dead. Knowing the difference is comparatively simple.

But these official statistics miss quite a lot. Specifically, they fail to represent Covid-19 morbidity — the harm that the disease causes, even in people that it doesn’t kill. In terms of measuring the long-term impact of the disease — and accurately evaluating risk — that’s a big problem.

Mounting evidence shows that even if Covid-19 kills less than 1% of patients, it doesn’t necessarily leave the others it infects unharmed. Even those who have “recovered” may have long-term impacts from it.

Morbidity can happen over a long-term period, so it is a harder variable to study and track in the early stages of a pandemic than death. Anecdotal reports and early data, though, show that Covid-19 morbidity may be a very real concern. According to a report in The Atlantic which followed several people with Covid-19 over multiple months, many had long-lasting symptoms and impairments (including headaches and debilitating fatigue) that didn’t resolve when their active infection stopped.

All of these cases were considered “mild” and didn’t result in the use of a ventilator or a stay in the ICU. And they occurred in people from a variety of age groups, not only older adults and the infirm. Yet despite these “low risk” factors, patients were still experiencing major impacts from the disease months after contracting it.

A handful of studies about Covid-19 (as well as scholarship on previous coronaviruses) bears this out. Covid-19 infection can have long-term impacts on the lungs, heart, immune system, and even the brain. These include an increased risk for heart attacks, future respiratory infections (including more severe cases of flu), and neurological impacts like cognitive impairment.

These are in addition to the known risks for hospitalization, especially if a hospitalization results in an ICU stay and might trigger ICU delirium, a condition that can be permanent. Just because you’ve recovered from Covid-19 doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily escaped unscathed — especially if the disease landed you in the hospital.

Even more concerning is emerging data showing that “asymptomatic” Covid-19 infections can cause long-term damage. Recent studies, including one published in Nature Medicine, have found “ground-glass opacities” in the lungs of asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 — evidence of inflammation which could be causing damage internally, even if the patient feels completely fine.

And although earlier evidence suggested that children are less affected by the disease, the emergence of a new condition, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, suggests that the virus may be having longer-term impacts even on the young. MSIS symptoms can emerge weeks or months after the original infection and can be deadly without prompt treatment.

All these early reports point to the possibility that Covid-19 causes acute infection, but also long-term inflammatory damage. Inflammatory diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. If Covid-19 worsens these conditions — or causes its own long-term inflammatory damage — the result could be millions of additional deaths from heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and the like, especially in already vulnerable populations. These effects of the disease may not be apparent for years or decades.

At the moment, official statistics largely fail to take such ongoing health impacts of the coronavirus into account. Traditional epidemiology does have metrics for morbidity. But they tend to focus on disease prevalence. Once a person’s active infection has passed, they are often no longer followed or counted.

As risk professionals like Nassim Nicholas Taleb have pointed out, the failure to measure Covid-19 morbidity makes it far harder to evaluate the true risk from the pandemic. Simply looking at deaths is not enough. Mortality statistics fail to account for the people who survive the disease but suffer long-term harm — or those who die from its complications long after their initial infection has subsided.

This blindness to morbidity may push populations toward more aggressive reopening, or away from risk-reduction measures like mandating face coverings. If deaths are declining, the picture may appear rosy. But in reality, the disease may be causing irreparable harm to millions of people — just in a way that’s invisible in current statistics.

In an increasingly polarized world, morbidity is an issue that cuts across political lines. Even if your primary goal is to restart the American economy, you should care about Covid-19 morbidity. Chronically sick people often have a hard time working, or the efficiency of their work suffers. Several of the patients profiled in The Atlantic experienced “brain fog” and other neurological effects from the virus, and have found even simple activities like housework and yoga challenging. These patients would almost certainly have a hard time returning to work. To achieve lasting economic recovery with minimal burden from worker illness, Covid-19 morbidity has to be accounted for.

Thankfully, tracking Covid-19 morbidity doesn’t require reinventing the wheel. Medicine and risk management already have a robust tool for measuring the impact (health-wise and financial) of morbidity: the Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) and its sister statistic, the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY).

QALYs and DALYs take into account both a person’s life expectancy and their quality of life (defined, broadly, by how much a disease affects their ability to perform daily tasks). Lowered life expectancy affects QALYs, but so do long-term disease effects like the kind we’re beginning to see from Covid-19.

QALYs and DALYs are often used to evaluate new treatments. But there’s no reason QALYs and DALYs couldn’t be applied more broadly, to estimate and measure the disease burden of the Covid-19 pandemic on a given population.

In the early stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, QALYs and DALYs could be applied by deciding on an estimate for a “weight factor” measuring the severity of Covid-19’s impact on patients’ health (this is usually done on a scale of 0 for “perfectly healthy” and 1 for “dead”). This weight factor could be set differently for different populations. For example, older people with Covid-19 or those with more preexisting conditions could receive a higher weight factor.

Using demographic data for a particular population (mean age, prevalence of existing diseases, etc.) and these weight factors, an estimate of the impact of Covid-19 morbidity could be established for a population. This could then be multiplied by the number of confirmed infections in the population to arrive at a crude estimate of the overall burden of Covid-19 morbidity.

Accounting for morbidity in this way could have some major impacts on plans for reopening. Regions with highly vulnerable populations (those expected to suffer more morbidity as a result of Covid-19 infections) could reopen more slowly. And those with relatively lower projected morbidity might be emboldened to open more quickly.

As the pandemic continues and more data on the long-term impact of Covid-19 becomes available, weights could be adjusted. If it emerges that certain populations are less vulnerable than expected, their weights could be adjusted downward. If more long-term impacts of Covid-19 infection emerge (like breathing issues in asymptomatic carriers), weight factors could be adjusted upward.

QALYs and DALYs are not perfect metrics. Setting weight factors is inherently subjective, and can reflect biases present in a society. At the early stage of a pandemic, very little data is available, so estimating morbidity is more an art than a science. There are also ethical concerns with QALYs and DALYs since they’re often used to weigh the value of one life against another. QALYs and DALYs can also miss the hard-to-measure impacts of disease, like their impact on mental health.

But given that Covid-19 morbidity is basically invisible in current public health models, measuring morbidity with metrics like QALYs and DALYs would at least be a helpful start. It could begin to give us a way to estimate not only how many people will die from Covid-19, but how many lives will be negatively impacted by the disease.

Measuring morbidity could also provide better treatment and follow-up. Current approaches assume that once an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 tests negative, their disease has run its course. Follow-up for these patients is likely to be limited. If it turns out that Covid-19 causes ongoing morbidity in patients who appear healthy, providers could shift toward monitoring them months or years after their infection (looking for evidence of inflammation and lung damage, for example).

On a personal level, if you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 and feel fine now, don’t assume your disease is over. Especially in the longer term, be aware of potential Covid-19 symptoms, and talk with your doctor about testing for any long-term impacts that emerge.

And if you still have symptoms after your Covid-19 test has turned negative, and are told that these are unrelated to the disease, be skeptical. In the grand scheme, very little is known about Covid-19. You may be experiencing lingering effects from your infection, which your doctor should help you address and manage.

Tracking deaths and recoveries is a start. But current approaches to tracking Covid-19 are binary — you’re either positive or negative, alive or dead. To truly measure (and react to) the long-term impacts of the pandemic, we need more nuanced measures.

Specifically, we need a way to measure morbidity. Otherwise, we risk missing impacts of Covid-19 which could have massive, invisible consequences — especially for our most vulnerable.

Published:7/11/2020 4:07:24 PM
[Uncategorized] Trump Administration Turns Down Request to Pay for Minneapolis Riots (John Hinderaker) In a letter dated July 2, Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz asked–pleaded with–the Federal Emergency Management Agency for money to help pay for the damages caused by rioters and arsonists in Minneapolis. Walz’s letter is disingenuous in its description of how $500,000,000 in destruction came about: The resources of local, tribal, county and state governments were already stretched thin due to our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, all levels Published:7/11/2020 4:07:24 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: S&P 500 earnings set to plunge as the coronavirus batters all sectors — with Wall Street counting on a bounce that may not come The one certainty about the outlook for companies in a COVID-19 world is that second-quarter earnings will be very bad, the worst in over 10 years.
Published:7/11/2020 4:07:24 PM
[] Lisa Page, in outrage overload, says Defense Secretary Mark Esper should have resigned the instant Alexander Vindman announced his retirement Published:7/11/2020 3:37:11 PM
[Politics] Johns Hopkins Sues ICE Over Policy Forcing International Students to Leave Johns Hopkins University has filed a lawsuit in federal court to keep the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from taking visas from international students and kicking them out of the United States if they cannot take in-person courses for the fall semester. Published:7/11/2020 3:37:11 PM
[Politics] Black student horrified at racist notes left on his car – the police says he wrote them himself Oh boy here we go again. Another Jussie Smollett race hoax happened in Texas to a black student looking for attention. From KBTX: A Texas A&M University student is speaking out finding . . . Published:7/11/2020 3:37:11 PM
[Politics] Black student horrified at racist notes left on his car – the police says he wrote them himself Oh boy here we go again. Another Jussie Smollett race hoax happened in Texas to a black student looking for attention. From KBTX: A Texas A&M University student is speaking out finding . . . Published:7/11/2020 3:37:11 PM
[Markets] 5 ways to beat the stock market — from a fund manager who’s done this for years These lessons from Amana Growth Fund can make you a better investor.
Published:7/11/2020 3:37:11 PM
[] No way: Personal injury attorneys who brandished weapons at BLM protesters have a history of filing lawsuits Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[] Are Recent COVID-19 Cases in Florida Inflated? Data Suggests It Could Be as Much as 30 Percent Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[] Elizondo: The government has "a lot more" UFO videos Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[Markets] Nordstrom Tells Landlords To Expect Just Half Their Rent Until January 2021 Nordstrom Tells Landlords To Expect Just Half Their Rent Until January 2021 Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 15:55

Authored by Daphne Howland of RetailDive,

  • Nordstrom June 3 notified landlords of its full-line and off-price Rack stores that it will pay only half the occupancy costs for the remainder of the year, according to a letter from President of Stores Jamie Nordstrom to property owners, which was obtained by Retail Dive. A Nordstrom spokesperson didn't immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for more information or comment.

  • In the letter, the company also said it will use store comps as the basis for any "true up rent payment, up to a full reconciliation should 2020 sales reach 90% of sales made in that location in 2019." The department store said it "will continue to maintain insurance coverage, pay utilities on which we are the account holder, and maintain your building(s) as required by the lease."

  • Separately, Nordstrom on Wednesday confirmed that it's "realigning and reducing our workforce to support our market strategy, including in our corporate support teams." The layoffs are part of a 20% reduction "to non-occupancy related overhead expenses," a spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email, but declined to say how many people are affected. Sourcing Journal last week, citing unnamed sources, said plans are to cut up to 25% of its workforce. Those don't include layoffs at the 16 stores slated for permanent closure, according to that report. In 2019, the retailer employed about 68,000 full- or part-time employees.


Dive Insight:

Even as stores reopen in most areas, retailers are scrambling to hold onto as much cash as possible, in order to run a business that is entertaining precious few customers in the middle of a pandemic.

While Nordstrom executives in remarks to analysts in May expressed confidence in their overall strategy, which is to knit together the company's full-price, off-price and Local stores into one retail ecosystem, the pandemic and its economic fallout have interfered with that. The department store in May said first quarter net sales fell 40% year over year, with full-line sales down 36% and off-price sales down 45%. The retailer experienced loss before interest and taxes of $813 million, from EBIT of $77 million a year ago, and swung to a net loss of $521 million, including after-tax COVID-19 charges of $173 million, from net earnings of $37 million a year ago.

"COVID-19 has had a very real impact on Nordstrom, accelerating the importance of our market strategy and capabilities we've invested in for years," the Nordstrom spokesperson said Wednesday, noting the company's recent permanent store closures and executive salary cuts. "Our new operating model helps us serve customers across our business as one company, while enabling us to be more agile and flexible. We'll continue to invest in critical capabilities across technology, data analytics and supply chain to deliver for our customers."

But with its outreach to landlords, the company is flirting with litigation, warns Nick Egelanian, president of retail real estate firm SiteWorks?. Simon Property Group, Brookfield and others in recent weeks have gone to court to force rents out of their retail tenants. Nordstrom's letter was sent out en masse "apparently with no forewarning or prior discussion," Egelanian said.

Along with ominous signs of the depth of Nordstrom's struggles — including the pullback of its fleet and under-merchandising in some locations that Egelanian said has been part of an effort to cut costs and stem losses at those stores — the letter was an inelegant attempt at negotiation, he said.

"Many landlords, apparently unimpressed with the company's slipshod approach to rent reduction and generally less enamored with a company once considered the gold standard in service and apparel retailing, are opposing Nordstrom's action vigorously," he told Retail Dive in an email. In addition to possibly heading to court with its landlords, Nordstrom "has become the subject of wide-spread speculation that it could end up in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization before the story of the pandemic is fully written."


A Nordstrom spokesperson declined to answer specific questions about the letter from Jamie Nordstrom, but acknowledged that its pandemic-related cost cuts involve pushing back against lease obligations. "As part of our continued efforts to navigate this situation and achieve the expense reductions announced previously, we are modifying our rent payments until January 2021, at which point we'll fully reconcile our payments," the spokesperson said in an email. "We're working closely with our store landlords to find a mutually agreeable path forward."

Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[Politics] AG Barr Reportedly Against Stone's Commutation Attorney General William Barr recommended against President Donald Trump commuting the jail sentence for longtime ally Roger Stone, according to NBC News. Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[Entertainment] Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan hospitalized with coronavirus Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is hospitalized in Mumbai Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[2020 News] Yikes: California County’s Coronavirus Numbers Were Inflated

Yikes: California County’s Coronavirus Numbers Were Inflated. Caught with their fingers in the cookie jar helping Gavin justify continued lockdown? Or just a stupid mistake? In California, we always go with the nefarious side of things. During the peak of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in April and May, Orange County, California health care officials reported […]

The post Yikes: California County’s Coronavirus Numbers Were Inflated appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Ilya Somin] Why the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" isn't Always a Fallacy Philosopher Aeon Skoble provides a helpful explanation. Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[Uncategorized] California plans on releasing 8,000 prisoners, in effort to stop coronavirus spread California's coronavirus situation may have just turned deadlier, but for reasons not having anything to do with the pathogen. Published:7/11/2020 3:07:46 PM
[] Why Erdogan Converted the Hagia Sophia to a Mosque, and Why the State Department Should Be Concerned Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[Startups] Startups Weekly: The world is eating tech Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here. You could almost hear the internet cracking apart this week as international businesses pulled away from Hong Kong and the US considered a ban on TikTok. Software can no longer eat the entire […] Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[Entertainment] The Female Rappers Who've Proved Rap Was Never Just a Man's Game Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, 30 Biggest Music Moments"Us women have always been talented. But it was a thing where there could only be one woman [rapper] at a time. You got all these guy rappers out here who ain't really talking about a lot!...
Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[Politics] Trump Tweets Kanye Could Siphon Votes From Biden Kanye West, who says he plans to launch a late bid for the White House, ould siphon off votes from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, President Donald Trump suggested Saturday. Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: In This Coronavirus Stock Market Rally, Go APE; Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix In Focus The coronavirus stock market rally is going great, with big-cap techs soaring. Here's what investors need to do now. Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[topics:organisations/greater-manchester-police] Man arrested on suspicion of assault after 10-year-old boy stabbed Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[8557cdc9-085f-5542-b91c-bb5e308c251e] Andrew McCarthy: Is Electoral College headed for extinction? Republicans should oppose Dem attempt to kill it The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, would effectively eliminate the Constitution’s Electoral College system. It would reduce the college to a nullity by requiring a state’s electors to vote for the candidate who wins the national popular vote — regardless of whether that candidate loses the state’s popular vote. Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[Markets] Trump: Something Big Will Happen With Venezuela & "We'll Be Very Much Involved" Trump: Something Big Will Happen With Venezuela & "We'll Be Very Much Involved" Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 15:30

Currently the United States is looking to seize gasoline aboard the next group of Iranian tankers bound for Venezuela, after the last delivery by five sanctions-busting tankers last month were successful despite being accompanied by similar US threats. 

President Trump on Friday signaled the US is indeed about to "move" on Venezuela and its sanctions thwarting activities with the help of 'rogue states' like Iran. He told the Spanish-language American channel Noticias Telemundo on Friday that—  

“Something will be happening with Venezuela” and that the United States will “be very much involved.”

The president was also asked about the future of election in the country, especially related to US-backed opposition leader and self-styled 'Interim President' Juan Guaido.

Trump said the US would “take care of the people of Venezuela” and ultimately support whoever was legitimately elected. But of course, it remains that the US deems any support to Nicolas Maduro by definition "illegitimate".

The interviewer, Jose Diaz-Balart, asked Trump point-blank: “For you, Venezuela, is it Guaido, is it Maduro, is it U.S. intervention?

Trump said in response: 

“It’s freedom for their people. It’s freedom. Venezuela was a rich country 15 years ago, and it’s been destroyed by two people, but a system, a horrible system. … And something will happen with Venezuela. That’s all I can tell you. Something will be happening with Venezuela.”

And when pressed over precisely through what route this "something big" will occur in Venezuela, Trump responded: 

“We’ll be very much involved.”

“We’re going to take care of the people of Venezuela,” Trump emphasized.

Since last year the president has reportedly been pressing his generals and admirals on enacting some kind of naval blockade off Venezuela's coast.

However, top Pentagon leadership has reportedly been by and large against the idea, citing the impracticability of such an operation, and likelihood of unnecessary escalation without clear overall goals of how far US military force would be willing to go against pro-Maduro forces. 

Washington reportedly does have naval ships in the Caribbean Sea, however, to crack down on what the White House previously described as Maduro's "narco-trafficking" as well as illegal sanctions-busting activities. 

Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[Podcasts] The Power Line Show, Ep 199: The “Three Whisky Happy Hour,” Flight #2 (Steven Hayward) I’m back today with “Lucretia” for another “Three Whisky Happy Hour” to end the week, dishing out a sweet Irish whisky to go with our idea for the attack ad we hope the Trump campaign will run against the Democrats; a mild American bourbon whisky for the uneven Harper’s magazine statement opposing “cancel culture;” and a bracing peaty/smoky Scotch whisky to ponder the question of whether universities have passed the Published:7/11/2020 2:39:26 PM
[] Ann Coulter: C'mon, let's take out Mitch McConnell in November Published:7/11/2020 2:06:22 PM
[World] Pro-Trump Goya CEO Pushes Back Against Boycott Calls Published:7/11/2020 2:06:22 PM
[Entertainment] Police Release Underwater Footage as Search for Naya Rivera Continues Naya RiveraThe search for Naya Rivera continues. On Wednesday, July 8, the Ventura, Calif. authorities confirmed the Glee actress was missing after her 4-year-old son was found alone on the boat in...
Published:7/11/2020 2:06:22 PM
[Politics] Trump Advisers Rally Wisconsin Republicans, Mock Democrats Mercedes Schlapp, a Trump adviser who is Cuban American, and Katrina Pierson, who is Black and worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, are among the highest-profile senior female staffers working to help him get reelected. Published:7/11/2020 2:06:21 PM
[] Ace of Spades Pet Thread *** Good afternoon and welcome to the almost world famous Ace of Spades Pet Thread. You're probably busy on this Saturday afternoon. However, kick back, relax and enjoy the world of animals. Let's leave the world and its problems... Published:7/11/2020 2:06:21 PM
[Entertainment] Washington Ballet director Julie Kent says she is recovering from covid-19 Kent’s announcement comes in the wake of the ballet’s in-person gala after which multiple attendees were diagnosed with the virus. Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[Politics] Sessions Fires Back at Trump Ahead of Tuesday Alabama Runoff Jeff Sessions, fighting for a political comeback in Tuesday's GOP primary in Alabama, pushed back Saturday at a major hurdle in his quest to regain the Senate seat he held for decades: President Donald Trump. Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[Markets] Ex-Jewel Thief Claims Epstein And Ghislaine Maxwell "Forced Him To Watch Pedo Videos Involving US Politicians" Ex-Jewel Thief Claims Epstein And Ghislaine Maxwell "Forced Him To Watch Pedo Videos Involving US Politicians" Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 14:15

An alleged former Jewel thief who says he had group sex with Ghislaine Maxwell but 'drew the line at under-age girls' claims he was forced to watch pedo videos involving 'two high-profile US politicians' and 'two high society figures having a threesome with an under-age girl.'

Whether one believes an anonymous ex-jewel thief's exclusive interview with The Sun is up to the reader. That said, Epstein accuser Maria Farmer claimed there was a 'secret media room' in the dead pedophile's New York mansion which was full of recording equipment.

What's more, former Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe - alleged "handler" of Ghislaine's father, Robert Maxwell, told the authors Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales, that the Epstein was operating a "complex intelligence operation" at the behest of Mossad, and 'filmed US politicians and power players having sex with underage girls to blackmail them.'

Jumping into the salacious claims by the jewel thief, who goes by the name William Steel, the story begins in the mid-1990s when Steel claims he met Epstein in the "upstairs room at a very high-end diamond dealer, the kind of place where only a few people are allowed in at a time."

“I was there doing what I do. I was meeting my fence.

I saw Jeff with a young girl who looked only about 13 or 14 and he had his hand in the back of her shorts.

“That’s what first got my attention.

“She was so young and he was much older. That’s when I knew that he was dirty.

I had about 200,000 dollars worth of jewellery that I was getting rid of and later I struck up a conversation with him.

“He later said the girl he was with was his niece but I called bulls**t on that, telling him I saw what he was doing with her. -The Sun

At some point later, Steel says he met Ghislaine Maxwell - who he says he had sex with on multiple occasions - and wanted to see how she could use him to help Epstein. Steel says he was trying to do the same thing:

"I wouldn’t say it was a relationship — it was all about what she could use me for to help them. Me being a cocky young guy from New York City, seeing their arrogance and their wealth — I just looked at it as an opportunity to milk them for what I could.

I used to brag about what I was capable of to them."

Steele added that "When I wanted to impress or scare somebody, I’d get my briefcase out and it would have police scanners in it, gloves, lock picks, guns with silencers," adding "I even owned an ultra-thermic torch which would burn a hole into anything in seconds."

"That impressed Ghislaine and Jeff."


Steel claims that he saw a parade of underage girls 'coming and going' from Epstein's Palm Beach oceanfront mansion, but that he never participated in pedophilic sex acts.

"I only ever had sex with Maxwell and threesomes with her and other adult females," he said. "I suspected what they were doing with the under-age girls, I knew their routine, so when they tried to get me involved, I said, ‘No, I’m not into that — you’re not getting me on video doing any of that’."

Steel also says Ghislaine is a "nymphomaniac" who would try "everything and anything in bed."

...he was shown footage involving two high-profile US politicians having sex with minors and two high society figures having a threesome with an under-age girl.

Steel — who is not being paid for this interview — also branded Maxwell, 58, who was arrested last week in connection with trafficking young girls, a wild “nymphomaniac” who would try “everything and anything in bed”.

He says: “I was forced to watch their videos because they were trying to impress me.

“They wanted to convince me of their power and who they held in their grip.

They boasted about ‘owning’ powerful people.

Ghislaine was more into showing me those than Jeff.

“When you’re in a situation like that, you have to pretend to be non- judgmental. But it was shocking. -The Sun

"She said to me that she often thought she needed to do something about Epstein, telling me, ‘He is going to be the death of me’" claimed Steel. " So while she protected him and helped him, she was simultaneously plotting against him and trying to distance herself. "

"She knew they could drag each other down," adding "I think she saw herself as the more respectable of the two. She wanted me to do something about Jeff."

Ghislaine allegedly told Steel she had a "Polanski plan," named after disgraced pedophile and film director Roman Polanski, who fled the US after he was charged with the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

"She told me about her Polanski plan where she would flee to France because they couldn’t extradite her," he said, adding "I was surprised to hear she’d been picked up in New Hampshire."

"I want the authorities to know about her plan before her bail hearing."

Steel claims he absconded with evidence - "discs and things they were trying to get rid of," and says he "sent them to the authorities, but I don’t know if they did anything with them."

Why he wouldn't make copies is anyone's guess.

Steel said the pair also asked him to help them find girls — but he refused.

He adds: “Ghislaine was always talking down to people.

“She tried to pull that on me but I told her straight, ‘Don’t speak to me like you speak to your f***ing staff. I’m doing favours for you guys. You’re not talking down to me. I don’t give a f how much money you have’.

“They knew I had connections in various places and they offered me money to bring in girls but I never took them up on any of that.

“They told me, ‘Whatever the girls want, I can help them with their modelling career if they want that or pay for their education, and it’s just massages’.

“And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty sure what your massages turn into’.

“And he would just smirk at me and say that I could have what I wanted.
“I said I didn’t want that, it’s not fair to take advantage of these young girls. It’s not right.

He wanted me to help him with a plan he had to kidnap or pay 100 young girls and take them to an island where he would have sex with them, orgies, use them for blackmail and have babies with them.

“I just told him to shut up. I didn’t even realise he was serious until years later.

“For him, at that time, his focus was getting girls that were not from the United States.

He wanted girls from abroad because he felt they wouldn’t know how the criminal justice system in the US works and would be less likely to report him.

“He said he would help look after their families but I said, ‘I’m not going to help you ruin a teenage girl’s life’. -The Sun

And that, is the rest of the ex-jewel thief's sordid tale.

Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[Politics] Trump denies Minnesota gov’s request for taxpayer money to repair massive damage from BLM riots El Presidente Trump denied a request from the governor of Minnesota for federal funds to help pay for the nearly half a billion in damage from the BLM riots and looting. Great . . . Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[Politics] Trump denies Minnesota gov’s request for taxpayer money to repair massive damage from BLM riots El Presidente Trump denied a request from the governor of Minnesota for federal funds to help pay for the nearly half a billion in damage from the BLM riots and looting. Great . . . Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[f9390d9f-7030-5fca-b7ad-cf64928e7058] French princess dead at 54 after motorcycle crash, monthlong coma French Princess Hermine de Clermont-Tonnerre has died at the age of 54 following complications from a motorcycle accident. Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[2020 News] Black student at Texas A&M who claimed he found racist notes on his car saying the n-word, ‘all lives matter,’ and ‘you don’t belong here’ put them there himself, campus cops say

Black student at Texas A&M who claimed he found racist notes on his car saying the n-word, ‘all lives matter,’ and ‘you don’t belong here’ put them there himself, campus cops say. Do they ever have real racists incidents? They all seem to be fake these days. Shame on Isaih Martin. No doubt not one […]

The post Black student at Texas A&M who claimed he found racist notes on his car saying the n-word, ‘all lives matter,’ and ‘you don’t belong here’ put them there himself, campus cops say appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/11/2020 1:36:28 PM
[World] Portland Rioters Surround Car and Driver Shoots His Way Out Published:7/11/2020 1:06:07 PM
[Entertainment] Christina Perri Announces She's Pregnant 6 Months After Suffering a Miscarriage Christina PerriChristina Perri has a lot to celebrate these days. The 33-year-old singer took to social media on Saturday morning to share some heartwarming and special news: she's pregnant and...
Published:7/11/2020 1:06:07 PM
[Politics] Trump Demands 'Sick' Steele Dossier Author Be Jailed President Donald Trump wants Christopher Steele to be extradited and brought to justice in the United States for election meddling with his dossier of unverified opposition research. Published:7/11/2020 1:06:07 PM
[Markets] Safety First Is A Bad Ideology Safety First Is A Bad Ideology Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:50

Authored by Diana Thomas and Michael Thomas via The American Institute for Economic Research,

When you walk out of your house, or enter the public street, you are on shared ground, a community space. During the pandemic of 2020, community spaces that are private venues, like Disney, have closed down just as often as community spaces that are public venues, like schools and playgrounds. 

Public and private distinctions do not make a difference. Risk is the key factor to understanding why common spaces are closed and likely to remain so, at least in the way we were used to. In what is called the asymmetric loss function, a decision maker’s cost of a mistake in one direction is many times greater than the cost of error in the other direction. 

Individuals with asymmetric loss functions are extremely risk averse when it comes to potential losses. Individuals often employ asymmetric loss functions in everyday life. For most people being 30 minutes early for a flight, for example, is much less costly than being 30 minutes late. 

But, because people are different, individuals decide for themselves how late they can arrive and risk missing a flight. Things get trickier when decisions regarding risk tolerance are made for common spaces and groups, because one size doesn’t always fit all.

Weighing downside risks too heavily can be socially costly, because some valuable private activities are prohibited. 

Historically and across cultures, individual risk-taking is associated with growth and prosperity while minimizing risk and emphasizing potential social losses is not. In the last several decades, public tolerance of risk has shifted towards lower socially acceptable levels of risk-taking and in the long run, these changes may leave us all worse off.  

In her Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, Deirdre McCloskey details how attitudes toward risk-taking transformed at about the same time as the birth of capitalism. It was the ability of individuals to take risks and still recover from failure that paved the way for radical experiments. Prior to this, to take a risk and fail was to be labeled a prodigal, if one was thought to have wasted the money, or a projector, if one’s idea failed.

Some of this dishonor would extend to the guilty party’s family as well. As a whole, society’s ethical norms were to avoid risk and as a result, many good ideas which were technically possible stayed as abstract thoughts and not as steps on the road of progress. For McCloskey, this, more than any other explanation, explains the when and how of the birth of the great divergence since all other factors that have been attributed occurred elsewhere in various combinations. 

Risk, therefore, can be expressed as an attitude about the commons more than anything else. If the rules of society protect those who are willing to take risks, this increases risk not only to the risk-takers but also has various effects on others around them regardless of their risk tolerance. There is no escape; the status of risk legally and socially impacts everyone. The risk-taker arrived in English via the French word, entrepreneur, describing the willingness to undertake risk. Jeremy Bentham, in a letter to Adam Smith, colorfully compares risk-taking in business to Marcus Curtius, a Roman martyr described in Livy’s history. Bentham was arguing against Smith’s defense of an interest rate cap, suggesting it would stifle innovation and advantage incumbents. 

We find ourselves at the other end of a collective conversation on risk-taking today. The tolerance of any level of risk is often cast often as a threat. We have justified unprecedented economic losses based on very uncertain risks. Merely mentioning a potential downside seems to carry more weight nowadays than it did in the past. 

Part of this might be due to years of public health rhetoric about externalities; e.g. second-hand smoke, the collective costs associated with obesity, and the health costs of pollution. 

In 2020, the implicit calculation of risk relating to the pandemic would have to be very large to justify the trillions of dollars in terms of economic losses that have been incurred so far, with a cumulative total economic cost that is even higher. We also must account for the human costs of worldwide economic contraction, measured in terms of starvation deaths alone. 

During the current pandemic, two astronauts boarded a previously unmanned rocket and rode it into near earth orbit to meet up with the International Space Station. As a percentage of people injured while attempting this feat, astronauts bear a much larger risk than ocean bathers. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken took this risk which is understood as heroic by a society that is anxious for the technological progress that comes from making space accessible to human exploration. 

In an everyday sort of example, on June 2nd, a 17 year old named Paige Winter was attacked by a shark standing in waist deep water on the coast of North Carolina. A shark attack is precisely the sort of thing we remind people of when they visit beaches, but most of us consider the activity of standing in five-foot-deep water a reasonable risk. This activity is socially understood, currently, as a risk worth taking. The beaches remain open for this sort of activity.

Related specifically to the current pandemic, what message are venture capitalists getting about local businesses; smaller retail shops, restaurants, and venues? The shift from evaluating risk as an individual to collective risk evaluation may ultimately empower local public health officials to return to 2020 measures any time seasonal flu peaks. 

In all of these examples, we understand the role that perceptions play in evaluating risk. The recent willingness to elevate risk as a primary category cannot be understood without a growing concern over liability. The asymmetric loss is not only with respect to individual decisions, but it is a mental habit that administrators also take. 

From your school’s principal to your city’s mayor, to your governor or president. The focus they have is on the potential loss. Not only in terms of legal liability, but also in terms of social response. Every governor knows that they will get very little credit for a situation that is unremarkably safe, but they will get all the credit for rising numbers of deaths and hospitalizations. The calculation almost has to be toward safety. 

What we see, in addition to this, is that some safety measures people are taking do not actually move the needle on risk, but probably increase the risks we expose ourselves as well as others to. Wearing gloves to the grocery store is one discredited example of misguided safety measures. 

The logic of glove wearing requires changing gloves each time you touch a contaminant, and if you cannot do this, then you are far better off washing your hands and using hand sanitizer between washes. 

No one knows, of course, when they have touched a contaminated surface and so gloves give a false sense of security and may increase cross contamination. In this example as in many others, compliance alone doesn’t ensure best practices.

The use of ritualistic safety measures is as effective as a batsman making the sign of the cross on their bat as they step up to the plate. It does confer an important advantage, however, to the decision maker. The longer the list of safety measures a decision maker can point to when inevitably something undesirable happens, the better exonerated they are from popular sentiment. 

In the court of public opinion, the failure to enact more extreme safety protocols is seen as contributory negligence. The concept of due care, which does not hold an individual liable as long as they can show that they have taken due care has almost entirely disappeared. As a result, our leaders are focusing on compliance with popular standards rather than experimenting to find the right standard of safety.

In this environment it becomes excruciatingly difficult to argue for what is lost on the other side of the equation of risk. The implied trade-offs are of no consequence when compared to safety. We lose scientific advancement if the benefits of experimentation, even when it is risky, could not sometimes outweigh the costs—including the low but positive risk of losing astronaut lives. If all but the lowest risks are considered too large to take, then progress is essentially halted. 

In a time where the socially acceptable level of risk-taking is up for debate, we are moving toward too little risk tolerance. The attitude of low risk tolerance was the norm among aristocratic families, monarchies, and totalitarian regimes throughout history. All of these structures were essentially conservative in the worst sense of the word: they could not allow for change because it would threaten the power structure. 

With the birth of capitalism, we tolerated social mobility: both downward and more heroically, upward. The churning of the social space is consistent with a greater toleration of risk. Maybe we haven’t convinced you with regard to public health issues during a pandemic, but at least consider the weight placed on safety the next time you use a satellite connected device, visit a beach, or take an antibiotic.

Published:7/11/2020 1:06:07 PM
[Uncategorized] Turkey’s Erdogan Signs Decree Turning Hagia Sophia into a Mosque Crowd gathers outside the 1,500-year-old Byzantine-era cathedral, cries "Allahu akbar." Published:7/11/2020 1:06:07 PM
[World] Death of Black Man Found Hanging in CA Park Ruled Suicide Published:7/11/2020 12:35:52 PM
[Latest News] Judge Delays Execution of White Supremacist, Slowing Return of Federal Death Penalty

Federal district court judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on Friday evening temporarily halted the execution of white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee, whose execution on Monday would have been the first federal death sentence carried out since 2003. Magnus-Stinson delayed Lee's execution after the family of Lee's three victims—William and Nancy Mueller, and their eight-year-old daughter Sarah—said the ...

The post Judge Delays Execution of White Supremacist, Slowing Return of Federal Death Penalty appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/11/2020 12:35:51 PM
[85ecc727-0d53-5157-afb7-2e3a455e9617] David Limbaugh: Authoritarian left vs. conservatives — Dems fear a level playing field, seek to control debate The left, at its core, lacks confidence that its views could prevail in the marketplace of ideas. Published:7/11/2020 12:35:51 PM
[Politics] Pelosi Calls on Law to Limit Presidential Pardon Power House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., seeks to write a law to limit presidential pardon power after President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Roger Stone. Published:7/11/2020 12:35:51 PM
[b3127c9d-a3e9-52cf-821b-4cb527c5612e] Christie Brinkley says she's gained weight in quarantine but is 'determined' to get back in 'fighting shape' She's one of the world's most famous supermodels but Christie Brinkley just proved she's a lot like the rest of us. Published:7/11/2020 12:35:51 PM
[Markets] Phoenix Mayor Lied About Morgues Bringing In 'Refrigerator Trucks' To Store Overflow COVID Bodies Phoenix Mayor Lied About Morgues Bringing In 'Refrigerator Trucks' To Store Overflow COVID Bodies Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:26

As the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Maricopa County climbed to new highs late this week, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego appeared on MSNBC Friday morning for an interview with Chuck Todd and Katy Tur to discuss the situation in the state, which has moved to close bars, and rollback other reopening measures to combat the outbreak.

During the interview, Gallego claimed that the county's public health agency had just put in an order for refrigerated trucks because they were running out of space in the morgue.

"Maricopa County, which is our county public health agency, just announced that they're going to be getting refrigerated trucks because the Abrazo health care system has run out of morgue beds," Gallego said.

Hours later, as the mayor's comments started proliferated through the media, representatives for the hospital system called and complained that the mayor's comment wasn't true, despite the fact that she made the claim - seemingly with a high degree of certainty - on a popular cable new show.

Spokesman Keith Jones told that Abrazo hospitals have "adequate morgue space."

Here's the story: Phoenix and the rest of the state have been asked to implement their emergency plans to prepare for possible COVID-19 overloads.

Part of the plan, Jones said, was to proactively make sure there would be enough morgue space. So the hospital system ordered refrigerated storage weeks ago, but they have yet to be deployed.

"At this point, it is not needed," Jones said.

Of course, it's not difficult to imagine why Gallego made such a specious - and, some might argue, alarmist - claim: Democrats in the state believe they need to discredit Gov Doug Ducey's COVID-19 response if they want to succeed in flipping John McCain's old Senate seat, currently occupied by Republican Senator Martha McSally, on Nov. 3. The special election is being held to find a permanent successor to the former presidential candidate and longtime Republican Senator.

For some reason, we couldn't find the video of the interview on YouTube.

Published:7/11/2020 12:35:51 PM
[] Saturday Gardening and Puttering Thread, July 11, 2020 [KT] Happy Saturday to all Gardeners, Putterers, Outdoor Enthusiasts and Dreamers. Today, I am starting with a photo of my own, for a change. The peaches above are July Elbertas. There are actually two varieties of peaches called "July Elbertas.... Published:7/11/2020 12:35:51 PM
[] 'Not even a distant contender': Jonathan Turley reality checks Mitt Romney (and others) about Trump's 'unprecedented' and 'corrupt' commutation Published:7/11/2020 12:11:28 PM
[Politics] Trump Calls Roger Stone Victim of a 'Witch Hunt' President Donald Trump tweeted a defense of his commutation of the prison sentence of his longtime ally and 2016 campaign adviser Roger Stone, calling him the target of a "witch hunt." Published:7/11/2020 12:11:28 PM
[Entertainment] Nicola Peltz's Stunning Engagement Dress Was Designed by Future Mother-in-Law Victoria Beckham Nicola Peltz, Victoria BeckhamNicola Peltz said "yes" in style. On Saturday, the Bates Motel alum and Brooklyn Beckham announced the exciting and special news that they're engaged. While the world of...
Published:7/11/2020 12:11:28 PM
[Issues] Judge Delays Execution of White Supremacist, Slowing Return of Federal Death Penalty

Federal district court judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on Friday evening temporarily halted the execution of white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee, whose execution on Monday would have been the first federal death sentence carried out since 2003. Magnus-Stinson delayed Lee's execution after the family of Lee's three victims—William and Nancy Mueller, and their eight-year-old daughter Sarah—said the ...

The post Judge Delays Execution of White Supremacist, Slowing Return of Federal Death Penalty appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/11/2020 12:11:28 PM
[Entertainment] World Council of Churches expresses dismay over Hagia Sophia The head of the World Council of Churches has written to Turkey’s president about the “grief and dismay” among members over the decision to convert the Hagia Sophia landmark in Istanbul into a mosque Published:7/11/2020 12:11:27 PM
[World] Joe Biden's lying, bullying and cognitive deficits make him a poor choice for president

Not near enough critical discussion has been had about what it would really be like to have a Joe Biden administration in Washington. Collected here are some of the more troubling aspects of that possibility — in a national security context and context of the election campaign.

• Biden’s competency: ... Published:7/11/2020 12:11:27 PM

[Markets] Global Outrage As Erdogan Orders Historic Hagia Sophia Church To Reopen As Mosque Global Outrage As Erdogan Orders Historic Hagia Sophia Church To Reopen As Mosque Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:00

On Friday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that for the first time in nearly a century the historic Hagia Sophia church would be reopened as a mosque, sparking fury and outrage from Greece, Russia, and other East European predominantly Orthodox Christian countries.

Earlier this week as multiple countries and Christian religious leaders lodged formal protest over the plans, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill warned that “A threat to Hagia Sophia is a threat to the entire Christian civilization.”

Considered an architectural marvel and the top tourist attraction in Turkey, the 6th century building constructed under Byzantine emperor Justinian has been a museum ever since a 1934 presidential decree, which a Turkish court annulled Friday. But it remains the symbolic heart for half the Christian world, namely the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Via Reuters

According to the WSJ:

In a ruling issued Friday via the official Anadolu news agency, the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, canceled a decades-old decision under which Hagia Sophia—originally a Byzantine cathedral then an Ottoman mosque—was transformed into a museum.

Friday’s ruling effectively returned the building to a place of Islamic worship, Turkish law experts said, the status it had after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, as Istanbul was previously known, in the mid-15th century.

The move is broadly seen as part of Erdogan's continuing program of reversing secularization in politics and the public sphere in favor of a more conservative Islamic face to modern Turkey.

The WSJ underscores that "By returning Hagia Sophia to a home for Muslim prayer, Mr. Erdogan moved closer to fulfilling his longtime pledge of making more room for Islam inside the secular republic, and showed that he still has control over the destiny of Istanbul, even after his ruling party suffered a stinging defeat in last year’s local elections."

Greece slammed the move as an "open provocation to the civilized world" while Orthodox Church leaders decried it as an open attack on the world's 300 million Orthodox adherents. "The nationalism displayed by Erdogan... takes his country back six centuries," Greece's Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said on Friday.

Erdogan however, has interpreted it more simply as a matter of "asserting Turkey's sovereignty" over the site. Turkey argues that it can legally do what it wants with monuments and historic places within its sovereign territory.

Mike Pompeo has even weighed in on the side of the Greek government, urging that it be kept as a museum. “We urge the government of Turkey to continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect Turkey’s diverse faith traditions and history, and to ensure it remains accessible to all,” the US Secretary of State said within the last weeks.

It's but one more symbolic provocation, albeit a serious one further worsening Greece-Turkey relations, and risking Moscow's wrath as well.

Meanwhile, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople - who represents the Orthodox Church and its some 300 million adherents worldwide, is still in residence in Istanbul. He and his predecessors have been barred from using Hagia Sophia as a place of prayer since the 15th century, though over the years there's been a few provocative instances where Greek clergy were said to have stealthily entered the now museum to "illegally" conduct Christian worship.

Recent protests by Turkish Islamist groups outside Hagia Sophia have witnessed people chanting"Let the chains break and open Hagia Sophia" for Muslim prayers, and now Erdogan is making good on that demand.

Published:7/11/2020 12:11:27 PM
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[Markets] "This Is Nuts...Again" - Reducing Risk As Tech Goes 'Full 1999' "This Is Nuts...Again" - Reducing Risk As Tech Goes 'Full 1999' Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 12:30

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

Twice In One Year

It is a bit hard to comprehend that twice, in the same year, I would be writing primarily the same article.

In early January, I penned the following:

“When you sit down with your portfolio management team, and the first comment made is ‘this is nuts,’ it’s probably time to think about your overall portfolio risk. On Friday, that was how the investment committee both started and ended – ‘this is nuts.'”

At that time, I tweeted the following chart, which compared the Nasdaq to the S&P 500 index. The bands on both charts are 2-standard deviations of the 200-WEEK moving average. there are a couple of things which should jump out immediately:

  1. The near-vertical price acceleration in the markets has been a historical hallmark of late-stage cycle advances, also known as a “melt-up” phase.

  2. When markets get more than 2-standard deviations above their long-term moving average, reversions to the mean have tended to follow shortly after that. 

That was so 6-months ago.

Here is where we are today.

As I warned then, not only has the price of the Nasdaq gone parabolic, this time it is pushing 3-standard deviations of the 200-dma.

Fundamentally Detached

The divergence is particularly notable when you consider the economic and fundamental differences between now and then. (While we are discussing the Nasdaq, to maintain consistency with previous reports, I am using earnings estimates for the S&P 500 to show the relative change.)

When looking at the acceleration in the price of the Nasdaq, and particularly within the small group of stocks driving that advance, you can begin to fathom our concerns. Furthermore, the divergence between the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 index is emulating the late 90’s. (The horizontal red line is where the ratio was last Friday just for perspective.)

Optimism in the Nasdaq 100 has also reached levels of exuberance seen only once previously in the last 25 years. Yep…the late 90’s.

Yes, “This Is Nuts.” 

For the second time in a single year, we have begun the profit-taking process within our most profitable names. Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, Costco, PG, and in Communications and Technology ETF’s.

(Note: Taking profits does not mean we sold the entire position. It means we reduced the amount of our holdings to protect our gains.)

As discussed in this week’s #MacroView (below), the “bearish case” does have “teeth” and should not be summarily dismissed. As Doug Kass noted this past Monday:

“Several key labor-intensive industries – education, lodging, entertainment (Broadway events, concerts, movie theaters, sporting events), restaurant, travel, retail, non-residential real estate, etc. – face an existential threat to their core. For these industries, they simply cannot survive the conditions they face. For these gutted industries, we face, at best, an 80% to 85% recovery in the years to come. It should be emphasized that Covid-19 just sped up what was already a secular decline.”

When the market historically becomes this detached from the underlying fundamentals, reversions tend to happen fairly quickly.

A Very Narrow Market

In our subscriber service (RIAPro – 30-Day Free Trial) we recently added a new service with institutional money manager Jeffrey Marcus of Turning Point Analytics (TPA). One of his latest notes to subscribers drove home the point we are discussing now. To wit:

It seems like we have dodged a bullet, yet a look under the surface reveals a much sicker market.  The relative performance chart below shows that while the S&P 500 is still down 1.88%, but TPA’s BIGTECH Index (the top 8 stock in the NASDAQ 100 by market cap)is up an astonishing 48.99% year to date (YTD).

The table below shows that these 8-stocks represent $8 trillion in market cap, which is 29% of the market cap of the S&P 500 ($27.3 trillion). TPA ran the numbers to see just what effect these 8 stocks have had on an index of 500 stocks. The BIGTECH effect has been to add 8.71% of performance to the S&P 500 YTD.

Just A Handful Of Stocks

At the time of the analysis, the S&P 500 is down 1.88% for the year. Without the BIGTECH stocks, the benchmark would be down 10.5% in 2020.

We have mentioned this before, but a healthy rally is one with broad participation. The current rally is very narrow, historically dependent on less than 2% of the S&P 500 member stocks. Such means the overall performance of the S&P 500 is not representative of the market as a whole. It also means the index performance hinges on a very small group of stocks.

In addition, TPA Canaries in the Coalmine (table below) shows that the 14-day RSI of the ratio of BIGTECH/S&P 500 is also at 70.87. That RSI level denotes that BIGTECH is overbought relative to the S&P 500. At this juncture, one of two things can happen to make the BIGTECH/S&P 500 ratio less overbought:

  1. Stocks other than BIGTECH can rise faster than BIGTECH; or,

  2. BIGTECH can fall. 

Given how much BIGTECH has meant to S&P 500 performance, investors should pray for the former.”

Here is a visual of what Jeff is talking about.

Throughout history, whenever there seems to be a “Can’t Lose Bet” in the financial markets, you are essentially guaranteed to “Lose Money.”

Updating Risk/Reward Ranges

As noted by Sentiment Trader this past week, the CNN Fear/Greed Proxy has turned down recently from very high readings. While this does NOT suggest stocks will crash, it does indicate over the next few weeks returns will likely be more muted with increased volatility.

With this in mind we can update our risk/reward ranges for next week.

As noted last week:

“The rally reversed much of the short-term oversold condition. While the bulls are in control of the market currently, the upside is somewhat limited. However, the downside risks are reduced with the improvement in the technical underpinnings. Such puts the risk/reward dynamics to a more equally balanced, than opportunistic, positioning. As such, risk controls and hedges should remain for now.”

That advice played out well this past week, given daily swings in the market. While the market was up for the week, it has not reclaimed the June highs. As such, the consolidation continues with risk/reward remaining primarily “neutral” with a “negative” bias.

  • -2.6% to breakout level vs. +1.1% previous rally peak. (Neutral)

  • -4.5 to 5.4% to 50 & 200 dma support vs. +4.0% to January peak (Neutral)

  • -7.9% to previous consolidation peak vs. +5.5% to all-time highs. (Negative)

  • -14.2% to previous consolidation lows vs. +5.5% to all-time highs. (Negative)

Reason To Focus On Risk

It seems appropriate to restate something I wrote the last time we saw these types of divergences.

“Our job as investors is to navigate the waters within which we currently sail, not the waters we think we will sail in later. Higher returns come from the management of ‘risks’ rather than the attempt to create returns by chasing markets. Robert Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury, defined this philosophy when he stated;

‘As I think back over the years, I have been guided by four principles for decision making. First, the only certainty is that there is no certainty. Second, every decision, as a consequence, is a matter of weighing probabilities. Third, despite uncertainty, we must decide and we must act. And lastly, we need to judge decisions not only on the results but also on how we made them.

Most people are in denial about uncertainty. They assume they’re lucky, and that the unpredictable can be reliably forecasted. Such keeps business brisk for palm readers, psychics, and stockbrokers, but it’s a terrible way to deal with uncertainty. If there are no absolutes, all decisions become matters of judging the probability of different outcomes, and the costs and benefits of each. Then, on that basis, you can make a good decision.'”

An Honest Assessment

It should be evident that an honest assessment of uncertainty leads to better decisions. Still, the benefits of Rubin’s approach, and mine, goes beyond that. For starters, although it may seem contradictory, embracing uncertainty reduces risk, while denial increases it. Another benefit of acknowledged uncertainty is it keeps you honest.

“A healthy respect for uncertainty and focus on probability drives you never to be satisfied with your conclusions.  It keeps you moving forward to seek out more information, to question conventional thinking and to continually refine your judgments and understanding that difference between certainty and likelihood can make all the difference.” – Robert Rubin

We must be able to recognize and be responsive to changes in underlying market dynamics. If they change for the worse, we must be aware of the inherent risks in portfolio allocation models. The reality is that we can’t control outcomes. The most we can do is influence the probability of specific outcomes. Such is why we manage risk by investing on probabilities rather than possibilities. 

Such is essential not only to capital preservation but to investment success over time.

Published:7/11/2020 11:36:50 AM
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Published:7/11/2020 11:36:50 AM
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[Entertainment] Original Content podcast: Yep, ‘Hamilton’ is still very good With the release of “Hamilton” on Disney+, Jordan and Darrell finally got to watch the musical biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton — albeit in recorded form, rather than live on-stage. And as we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, they were pretty delighted by what they found. Not that a […] Published:7/11/2020 11:11:18 AM
[Markets] Cops Raid Mansion Of St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home From Protesters, Confiscate AR-15 Cops Raid Mansion Of St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home From Protesters, Confiscate AR-15 Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 12:00

St. Louis authorities confiscated an AR-15 used by Mark McCloskey, who made headlines with his wife Patricia last month when they defended their historic mansion from protesters who had broken down a gate to trespass on their private road.

Police executed a search warrant Friday evening at the McCloskey's home, seizing the rifle used in the June 28 incident, according to KSDK. The couple said their attorney was in possession of the pistol Patricia McCloskey brandished during the confrontation. The raid comes two weeks after St. Louis circuit attorney Kimberly Gardner vowed to work with the St. Louis Police Department to conduct an investigation into the incident.

According to the report, there are no charges against the McCloskeys at this time, as the warrant was just for the guns.

As Fox News reports, the McCloskeys appeared on "Hannity" where they said that protesters had returned to their neighborhood on July 3, however they had been tipped off and hired private security before "300 to 500 people" entered their gated community, according to Patricia McCloskey.

"[They said] that they were going to kill us," she said. "They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead, and they were pointing to different rooms and said, 'That’s going to be my bedroom and that’s going to be the living room and I’m going to be taking a shower in that room’."

And now they've been disarmed.

Published:7/11/2020 11:11:18 AM
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Published:7/11/2020 11:11:18 AM
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Published:7/11/2020 11:11:18 AM
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[Markets] US Single-Day COVID-19 Cases Top 70k For First Time; In India, Cases Top 800k: Live Updates US Single-Day COVID-19 Cases Top 70k For First Time; In India, Cases Top 800k: Live Updates Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 11:00

The US reported yet another record-breaking single-day number of new coronavirus cases on Friday. And while counts by Johns Hopkins and others put the total at roughly 64k cases, a tally by worldometer put the number of new cases at 71,787, the first time the US has reported more than 70k cases in a day.

Those numbers brought the case total in the US to 3,294,539, while the US also reported another 854 new deaths, bringing the total to 136,735k.

That number marked a fourth day of new deaths trending closer to 1k, a psychologically important level.

Globally, the world recorded 228,000 new cases yesterday, another record high as Brazil and India see cases spiral out of control. That brought the international total to 12,689,741.

Friday's numbers brought the mortality rate in the US to 4.8%, while the number of total cases in the country, home to the world's largest outbreak, still represented roughly a quarter of the global total. Globally, there were 12,689,741 confirmed cases as of Saturday morning on the East Coast of the US.

Meanwhile, in Florida, hospitals confirmed that a total of 7,063 patients were hospitalized with the virus in Florida, according to data released Saturday by a state agency. Miami-Dade County is the state leader with 1,601 patients hospitalized, the most in any single county in the country.

While the Sun Belt outbreaks continue to spiral out of control, we noticed an interesting report out of NYC on Saturday. The NYT recently reported that more than 68% of people tested positive for antibodies at a clinic in Corona, a working-class Queens neighborhood,  while 56% tested positive at another clinic in Jackson Heights, Queens.

That compares with just 13% of people tested in ritzy Cobble Hill, a ritzy Brooklyn neighborhood.

India has registered more than 800,000 Covid-19 cases so far, the country’s health ministry announced Saturday.

It reported a record 27,114 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 820,916.

This is the third consecutive day that the country has recorded its highest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases.

As Covid-19 cases continue to soar, Indian cities and states are reimposing strict measures to curb the spread.

On Friday, India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state issued several restrictions in the state for the weekend in a bid to contain the surge, with only essential services operating. At least 515,000 people have recovered from the virus to date, the ministry said.

The South Asian nation has so far tested over 11.3 million samples for coronavirus, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Japan recorded 430 new cases, first time the country has registered more than 400 in a day since April 24, when the countywide emergency order was still in effect. Tokyo contirbted 243 of those, its highest daily jump in new cases yet.

Finally, in Australia, the state of Victoria, home to Melbourne, recorded 216 new coronavirus cases, Premier Daniel Andrews announced Saturday. Of these 186 remain under investigation, while the other 30 have been linked to known outbreaks. The number was down from the 288 cases reported Thursday, the most in a single day in any Australian state. So far, a total of  21,841 cases have been confirmed, along with 995 deaths.

Published:7/11/2020 10:08:06 AM
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[Customs, Border and Immigration News] Methamphetamine and Black Tar Heroin Seized at Border Patrol Checkpoint

By R. Mitchell -

NILAND, Calif. – El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents seized methamphetamine at the Highway 111 checkpoint on Thursday afternoon. A search of the vehicle revealed two black boxes containing several plastic packages hidden inside the passenger’s foot well and another in the rear cargo area The incident occurred at approximately ...

Methamphetamine and Black Tar Heroin Seized at Border Patrol Checkpoint 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:7/11/2020 9:42:11 AM
[Entertainment] Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz Are Engaged: See Her Ring Brooklyn Beckham, Nicola PeltzBrooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz are engaged! The 21-year-old son of David Beckham and Victoria Beckham has confirmed that he recently proposed to the 25-year-old Transformers actress....
Published:7/11/2020 9:42:11 AM
[Markets] The Threats To The Bullish Thesis Have Grown The Threats To The Bullish Thesis Have Grown Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 10:30

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

Since the March lows, the markets have rallied on optimism of a “V-shaped” economic recovery and constant stimulus from the Fed. So far, that has been the right call. However, in recent weeks, the threats to the bullish thesis have grown.

We recently discussed the Fed’s inflation of an asset bubble. The crux of the analysis was the unprecedented amount of monetary stimulus to counter the “pandemic.”

The Fed was able to inflate another asset bubble to restore consumer confidence and stabilize the credit markets. The problem is that since the Fed never unwound their previous policies, current policies will have a more muted long-term effect.

However, this time there are 50+ million unemployed, wage growth is declining, and bankruptcies are on the rise. The Fed’s attempt to inflate another bubble to offset the damage from the deflation of the last bubble, will likely not work.”

In the short-term, the Fed’s actions had the intended outcome by providing “stability” to the financial markets.

The Paradox

What is most imperative for the Fed is those market participants, and consumers “believe” in their actions. With the financial ecosystem more heavily levered than ever, the “instability of stability” remains the most significant risk.

“The ‘stability/instability paradox’ assumes that all players are rational. That assumption implies participants will avoid complete destruction. In other words, all players will act rationally, and no one will push ‘the big red button.’”

The problem the Fed, and Global Central banks, currently face is an inability to extract themselves from ongoing monetary policy measures. After the “Financial Crisis,” the Fed had hoped they would be able to reduce their accommodation as economic growth and inflation returned.

Neither ever happened.

A Diminishing Rate Of Return

Instead, as each year passed, more monetary policy was required just to sustain economic growth. Whenever the Fed tightened policy, economic growth weakened, and financial markets declined. The table shows it takes increasingly larger amounts of QE to create an equivalent increase in asset prices.

As with everything, there is a “diminishing rate of return” on QE over time. Since QE requires more debt to be issued, the consequence is slower economic growth over time.

“The relevance of debt growth versus economic growth is all too evident. Debt issuance initially exploded during the Obama administration. It further accelerated under President Trump, and has taken ever-increasing amounts of debt to generate $1 of economic growth.”

In other words, without debt, there has been no organic economic growth.

Importantly, after a decade of unprecedented monetary policy programs in U.S., the risks in the system have been expanded. It is now imperative that everyone continues to “act rationally.”

By not letting the system correct, letting weak companies fail, and allowing valuations to mean revert, the Fed has trapped itself. Such was a point we discussed previously:

“One way to view this problem is by looking at the Nasdaq 100 versus the S&P 500 index. That ratio is now at the highest level ever.”

These levels of extremes rarely exist for extended periods. It currently seems as if “nothing can stop the bullish market.” However, it is always an unexpected, exogenous event, which pops the bubble.

The Bear Case

My colleague Doug Kass recently penned an interesting post on this issue:

“In aggregate terms, COVID -19 will likely have a sustained impact on the domestic economy. Such will be seen in reduced production and profitability for several years and forever in some industries.

At the core of my concerns:

  • Important Industries Gutted: Several key labor-intensive industries, such as education, lodging, entertainment, restaurant, travel, retail, and non-residential real estate, all face an existential threat. For these industries, they simply cannot survive the conditions they face. For these gutted industries, we face, at best, an 80% to 85% recovery in the years to come. In the case of some of these sectors like retail, Covid-19 only sped up what was already a secular decline. 

  • A Negative Knock-On Effect: Tangential industries, like food and other services surrounding less utilized offices, malls, and other spaces, will also get hit. They, too, face at best, an 80% recovery.

  • Widening Income and Wealth Inequality: The combined unemployment impact will run deep and cause adverse economic ramifications and intensified social imbalances.

  • A Battered Public Sector: With a lower revenue base, the Federal government and municipalities will cut services (and employment).

  • Rising Tax Rates and Redistribution: To fund the revenue shortfall tax rates will steadily increase. Such will exacerbate the disruption described above, and create a less than virtuous cycle.

Negative Impact To Stocks

As Doug also notes, there are substantial impacts to companies individually, which will eventually manifest in lower asset prices.

  • Weak Capital Spending: With a large output gap and higher debt loads ($2.5 trillion of Federal Debt and $16 trillion of non-financial debt), the outlook for capital spending is weak over the next several years.

  • Higher Costs And Lower Profit Margins: The surviving companies in a post-virus world will face higher costs of doing business. 

  • The Competitive Influence of Zombie Companies Exacerbate Lower Profitability: Corporations will face further pressure on profit margins from “zombie companies.” These companies compete aggressively on cost, and take longer to die due to low interest rates and weak loan covenants. 

  • Small Businesses Gutted: The greatest brunt from the pandemic is faced by small businesses that historically account for the largest job creators.

  • The Specter of a Secular Erosion in Unemployment: Permanent job losses will be surprisingly large, ultimately killing consumption. 

  • More Cautious Business Confidence and Spending: The surviving companies were ill-prepared operationally and financially, in early 2020 for the disruptive impact of COVID- 19. Such will force companies to maintain a “buffer” of additional capital (and cash) in the event of another unforeseen event or tragedy. In all likelihood, this will make for less ambitious capital spending and expansion plans relative to the past. 

  • Financial Repression Holds Multiple Risks: A sustained period of low-interest rates, necessary (by some) to offset reduced economic growth, could backfire. Repressing interest rates runs the risk of a pension fund crisis, and intransigence on the part of businesses to expand and may impair the U.S. banking system.

  • A Political Stasis: Political divisiveness and partisanship could intensify – dimming the probability of effective, pro-growth fiscal policy necessary in a low growth economy.

Overly Bullish

When reading through Doug’s list, the immediate response from readers who have a “bullish bias,” is “yeah…but what about the Fed?”

In the short-term, the Fed’s monetary interventions can certainly lift asset prices. As noted in the table above, the biggest “bang for the buck” is when asset markets are profoundly depressed, and negative sentiment is exceptionally high.

Such is not the case currently with retail investors chasing momentum in the markets with reckless disregard of the underlying investment risk. The sharp rise in the Russell 2000 index, as noted by Sentiment Trader, supports this view:

“Below is the percentage of Russell 2000 firms that have negative operating earnings over the trailing-12 months. It just moved above 30%, the most in over a decade. Only twice before in 20 years have such a high proportion of these small companies lost money. Those two periods were in April 2002 and December 2009 through February 2010.”

Furthermore, you have a near-record number of small traders speculating on asset prices through the use of options.

As noted previously, investors are also using 24-month forward estimates to justify overpaying for assets.

But, by nearly any metric, stocks are extremely expensive. There is only so much “future growth” that can be pulled forward. Eventually, “the piper must be paid.”

The Risks Of Being Bullish

At the moment, none of these risks seem to matter.

What is vital to understand none of these issues will “cause” the “bear market.”

They are just the “fuel” that will exacerbate an eventual decline when the right catalyst is applied. Much like a can of gasoline stored in your garage, gas is inert until introducing the proper catalyst (a match.)

Concerning the financial markets, it will most likely not be a resurgence of the virus, weak economic data, or even a dismal earnings season. Such has already been “priced in” by the market. However, as stated, it will require an unexpected, exogenous event to ignite the fuel. At the point, it will become hard to contain the flames.

From an investment standpoint, it is critical to understand the “risk” under which you deploy capital into overvalued and extended assets.

While it may seem like a “no-lose” scenario due to the Fed’s liquidity programs, mean reversions can, and have previously, occurred.

As Doug concluded:

“While the Federal Reserve can provide the necessary ammunition (and liquidity) to stabilize activity briefly – it is unlikely a longer-term solution.

As we pass another Independence Day, the downcast prospects will impact the markets in the coming weeks and months

These are not an ingredient for a “Bull Market” or rising valuations. Instead, the above factors may be an ingredient to:

  1. Increased market volatility.

  2. Increasing economic uncertainty and cautiousness in the C-suite.

  3. An irregular period of growth.

  4. Lower price-earnings ratios.

  5. More social unrest.

The U.S. economy and our financial markets now face a crossroad – they are once again decoupling. The test of economic aspiration and market optimism will come in the years ahead.”

Navigating The Risk

Whenever I write an article that discusses a “bearish view” on the financial markets, readers construe it to mean I am sitting in cash, or short the “bull market.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. As stated over the last few weeks, we are currently “uncomfortably long” the market on our portfolios’ equity side. While we continue to hedge our risks to some degree through our bond, gold, and cash holdings, we are still well exposed to potential downside risks.

Having a thorough understanding of the “risk” is to have better control over long-term outcomes. While it is essential to make money while markets are rising, it is even more critical to control the losses. Spending a bulk of your time getting “back to even” is not a long-term investment strategy.

In January and February of this year, we discussed taking profits in stocks like AAPL, MSFT, AMZN, and others. The reason was not some prediction about the impact of the virus, but rather the gross deviation and extension of these positions from long-term means.

That risk reduction benefited us much when the crash came in March.

On Wednesday, we took profits in AAPL, MSFT, NFLX, and AMZN. (Taking profits does not mean we sold the entire position.)

I don’t know what might cause the next correction, or if there will even be one. But what I do know is that when stocks are this extended, overbought, and deviated above long-term means, bad things tend to happen.

Published:7/11/2020 9:42:11 AM
[World] FA Center: Tesla’s stock is forming a bubble and new buyers should buckle up for a crash Tesla bulls are running but what goes up must come down, writes Mark Hulbert.
Published:7/11/2020 9:42:11 AM
[Free Speech] Book Banning Is Back (John Hinderaker) Every year, American libraries feature displays of “banned books” to promote freedom of speech and of the press. Of course, the books they display aren’t banned; hence their ability to display them. The books are titles like Ulysses, Catcher in the Rye, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and so on. This reflects the fact that for close to a century, no books were actually banned in the United States. But book banning Published:7/11/2020 9:42:10 AM
[] Barack Obama Threatened to Defund Schools, and Democrats Were All For It Published:7/11/2020 9:04:31 AM
[Middle Column] Faith-based climate ‘solutions’: Mandate now, wait 30 years to see if it worked! WaPo: ‘Even if we start to fix climate change, the proof may not show up for 30 years’

WAPO: We have to "manage our expectations," researchers warn.

Even with an immediate halt to all carbon dioxide emissions, the study found that proof of a change would probably not emerge until 2033...

Countries around the world have agreed in principle to slash their emissions over time as part of the Paris climate accord, but it remains uncertain whether there will be political pressure to pull back if the impacts aren’t immediately visible."


Dinesh D'Souza responds: "What an incredible racket the climate brigade has created. Not only have their models been wildly wrong for DECADES, but now they say they won't even be able to prove their ideas work for 3 more decades! No accountability and no dissent allowed."

Published:7/11/2020 9:04:31 AM
[Markets] Mark Hulbert: When Wall Street stock analysts scream ‘buy,’ the smart money is already way ahead of them Most brokerage analysts tend to play it safe rather than risk their reputations and jobs, writes Mark Hulbert.
Published:7/11/2020 9:04:31 AM
[Featured News] President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Saturday, July 11, 2020

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump will visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Saturday. Keep up with Trump on Our President’s Schedule Page. President Trump’s Itinerary for 7/11/20 – note: this  page will be updated during the day if events warrant Keep up with Trump on Our President’s Schedule Page. All ...

President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Saturday, July 11, 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:7/11/2020 9:04:31 AM
[Markets] Watch US Armored Convoy Retreat As Syrian Army Threatens Fire In Tense Standoff Watch US Armored Convoy Retreat As Syrian Army Threatens Fire In Tense Standoff Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 09:55

Though long off the media's radar, it remains that a thousand or more US troops are still occupying northeast Syria's oil rich region, provoking multiple recent dangerous "close call" near-clashes with Syrian and Russian troops who are also patrolling a region considered sovereign Syrian soil.

The latest tense encounter this week as a US military convoy came upon a check point manned by Syrian Army soldiers and pro-Assad militia almost resulted in a direct clash.

Video shows Syrian soldiers halting the US-flagged patrol unit, consisting of three armored vehicles, demanding that they turn back. At one point a Syrian soldier even approaches the doors of the lead American vehicle and is seen waiving his Kalashnikov point-blank at the driver side windows (at 3:40 mark below). 

The convoy then promptly initiates a U-turn and heads in the opposite direction, likely given it was clear that the Syrian soldiers were ready to engage.

"Run baby, run!" the cameraman is heard saying. The incident reportedly took place in western Hasakah along the M-4 highway. The Americans were apparently trying to access a key bridge along the strategic road.

Syrian state media outlet SANA published photos of the encounter, claiming it as a victory against the “US occupation in the village of Mansaf Tahtani” which “forced them to return to their illegal bases.”

Imaged published by SANA of the incident.

In of the official photos released by SANA, a Syrian soldier is seen brandishing a rocket-propelled grenade while walking toward the retreating convoy.

It's but another reminder that the war in Syria is far from finally settled, though Assad is in form control of most of the country.

Though brief, there's a rare moment a Syrian soldier points his rifle directly at US troops inside the Army vehicle.

There's clearly still the potential for major war to erupt once again given the significant presence of US forces in Syria's most oil-rich area.

Both Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly demanded all American forces leave Syria immediately, and have at times threatened use of force to make that happen, though to some degree an unspoken 'status quo' has remained, preventing outright gunfights among major powers on the ground.

Published:7/11/2020 9:04:31 AM
[357dd26c-fe67-5a59-a69d-fd43e00f916a] Newt Gingrich: Good riddance anti-Trump Republicans who would rather support Biden, Pelosi and Schumer The revolt of the anti-Trump Republicans is further proof of just how different and disruptive the Trump presidency has been. Published:7/11/2020 9:04:31 AM
[Uncategorized] Trump Directs Treasury to Review Tax-Exempt Status of Colleges and Universities "Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education." Published:7/11/2020 9:04:30 AM
[] 'This is some insanity': Nancy Pelosi wants a law regulating who presidents can and can't pardon (and people have thoughts) Published:7/11/2020 8:35:32 AM
[AA] Stocks To Watch: Bank Earnings And SPAC Deals Blaze In Published:7/11/2020 8:35:31 AM
[IJR] DeSantis Dismisses Fauci’s Suggestion Florida ‘Jumped Over a Couple of Checkpoints’ With Reopening DeSantis insists there was no reason not to reopen. Published:7/11/2020 8:35:31 AM
[Markets] Seattle Officials Back Defunding Police By 50%, Mull 911 Overhaul Seattle Officials Back Defunding Police By 50%, Mull 911 Overhaul Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 09:20

After four shootings over 10 days in Seattle's cop-less 'autonomous zone' left two teenagers dead last month, the majority of City Council is now backing proposals to defund the police department by 50% and completely overhaul the city's 911 system after an activist group, Decriminalize Seattle, launched a pressure campaign to redirect millions of taxpayer dollars to community organizations.

The change would mean firing approximately 1,000 personnel from the Seattle Police Department.

"The status quo is no longer acceptable," said Council President Lorena Gonzalez in a Thursday statement reproted by KIRO7. "We have to take away the things that no longer and should have never belonged to law enforcement in the first place."

Others on the council, including budget chair Theresa Mosqueda echoed the sentiment during a news conference, saying "I look forward to implementing the proposals outlined by you all."

"When millions of people took to the streets to protest excessive use of force and police violence, they were met with excessive use of force and police violence in Seattle and around the country, proving that it’s not just about a few bad actors."

"It is the institution of policing itself that must be dismantled," she added.

According to the coalition, its plan to reallocate more than $200 million from the Seattle Police Department’s budget would replace current 911 operations with a civilian-controlled system; scaled up community-led solutions; an investment in housing; and a fund for a “community-created roadmap to life without policing.”

“Ensure that young people and our families have access to the sorts of resources, housing, economic and employment opportunity, health care, education, which actually prevent young people and their families from ever entering the school -to -prison pipeline or the prison industrial complex,” Nikkita Oliver of Creative Justice said.

“You want us as visionaries in thinking through community solutions to policing,” Jaelynn Scott with the Black Trans Taskforce said. -KIRO7

"How many victims would not have to be victims?" said K. Wyking Garrett, CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust. "Because when the police show up, there’s already a victim, and there’s already a suspect, who’s also a victim in certain ways."

Police Chief Carmen Best pushed back, telling KIRO7: "I respect Councilmember Mosqueda. I think she is very passionate about what she’s doing, but she also needs to think about the fact that public safety and the budget are intertwined," adding "And we need to make sure we’re doing what’s in the best interests of everybody. It’s really interesting — if anybody recognizes issues of system racism and institutional racism, it’s me."

"I think it’s rash and irrational to make that decision without having a thoughtful conversation with community members," she added. "And I’m hoping that the City Council will rethink the plan to do that — without having a plan for how we’re going to re-envision policing and how it will work."

Published:7/11/2020 8:35:31 AM
[Quick Takes] Student Groups at George Washington U. Want Names of Madison And Monroe Removed from Buildings "Madison’s presidency, contribution to our political system, and status as a Founding Father does not and should not override his deep connection to slavery" Published:7/11/2020 8:35:31 AM
[Politics] Search warrant served at McCloskeys home, guns seized So last night the McCloskeys were served with a warrant by police over their brandishing firearms in defense of their home against BLM protesters. NEW: Police officers executed a search warrant Friday . . . Published:7/11/2020 8:35:31 AM
[Politics] Search warrant served at McCloskeys home, guns seized So last night the McCloskeys were served with a warrant by police over their brandishing firearms in defense of their home against BLM protesters. NEW: Police officers executed a search warrant Friday . . . Published:7/11/2020 8:35:31 AM
[Markets] Comic: Federal Reserve Stimulus Drives Wall Street Towards All-Time Highs By Jesse Cohen Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[World] Iran Accuses West of 'Disinformation' As Another Huge Explosion Rocks Tehran Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[Entertainment] Gina Prince-Bythewood is the first black woman to direct a comic book movie. It looks like the future. At a time when representation is top-of-mind in Hollywood, ‘The Old Guard’ shows the way. Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[Markets] Melania Trump Statue Set On Fire In Slovenian Home Town Melania Trump Statue Set On Fire In Slovenian Home Town Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 08:45

On America's Independence Day and a week after President Trump signed an executive order to protect federal monuments from vandalism, a life-sized sculpture of first lady Melania Trump was burned near her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia. 

Brad Downey, an American Berlin-based artist, told Reuters police contacted him on July 5th about hooligans who torched his sculpture of the first lady. He said the statue was "blackened and disfigured" - and police removed it the next day. 

"I want to know why they did it," Downey said, adding that he would like to interview the arsonist for an upcoming film he is working on. 

Police spokeswoman Alenka Drenik said the investigation "has not been completed yet, so we cannot reveal details due to the interest of further procedures.

The wooden statue of the first lady was unveiled last year - it depicts the first lady as she stood at President Donald Trump's inauguration day - wearing a light blue coat and waving her left hand. 

A resident of Sevnica told Reuters in 2019 that the statue "does not look as beautiful as she normally is." 

Downey told CNN locals had been nothing but "supportive" about the statue. They were really proud of this thing."

Before the virus pandemic, a wooden statue mocking President Trump was burnt in Slovenia's city of Moravce. 



Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[Michael Flynn] In the Flynn case, more exculpatory evidence (Scott Johnson) The case brought by Team Mueller in the name of the United States against Michael Flynn constitutes a sidebar to the biggest political scandal in American history by far. While the United States now seeks to dismiss the case, Judge Sullivan resists. His resistance now extends to the The D.C. Circuit opinion granting Flynn’s petition for a writ of mandamus ordering him to dismiss the case. While the D.C. Circuit Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[Entertainment] So You Think You Can TikTok? 5 Things to Learn From Allison Holker and Stephen "tWitch" Boss Stephen tWitch Boss, Allison HolkerWho doesn't want to TikTok with the stars?! If you're like us, chances are you have come across Allison Holker and Stephen 'tWitch" Boss' Instagram and TikTok feeds...
Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[Markets] NewsWatch: The Biden-Sanders climate-change policy pact: 8 key features Presidential candidate Joe Biden has advanced environmental policy recommendations that most analysts find more ambitious than his stance in favor of curbing man-made climate change earlier in his campaign.
Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[37e5dc0e-8bd3-5597-9cff-f9e84da6ed58] Arnon Mishkin: Trump’s refusal to appeal to centrists could make Biden president and give Dems Senate majority Former Vice President Joe Biden is getting help in his presidential campaign from a surprising source — President Trump. Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[Fundings & Exits] The Exchange: Remote dealmaking, rapid-fire IPOs, and how much $250M buys you Welcome to The Exchange, an upcoming weekly newsletter featuring TechCrunch and Extra Crunch reporting on startups, money, and markets. You can sign up for it here to receive it regularly when it launches on July 25th. You can email me about it here, or talk to me about it on Twitter. Let’s go! Ahead of parsing […] Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[] Saturday Morning Coffee Break My sentiment exactly!... Published:7/11/2020 8:09:14 AM
[] Why Trump is continuing to oppose Sessions Published:7/11/2020 7:34:26 AM
[Uncategorized] Canceled on Campus Week in Higher Education Your weekly report on campus news. Published:7/11/2020 7:34:26 AM
[Markets] Whitney: Looks Like Sweden Was Right After All Whitney: Looks Like Sweden Was Right After All Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 08:10

">Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

Why is the media so fixated on Sweden’s coronavirus policy? What difference does it make?

Sweden settled on a policy that they thought was both sustainable and would save as many lives as possible. They weren’t trying to ‘show anyone up’ or ‘prove how smart they were’. They simply took a more traditionalist approach that avoided a full-scale lockdown. That’s all.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? And that’s why Sweden has been so harshly criticized in the media, because they refused to do what everyone else was doing. They refused to adopt a policy that elites now universally support, a policy that scares people into cowering submission. The Swedish model is a threat to that approach because it allows people to maintain their personal freedom even in the midst of a global pandemic. Ruling class elites don’t want that, that is not in their interests. What they want is for the people to meekly accept the rules and conditions that lead to their eventual enslavement. That’s the real objective, complete social control, saving lives has nothing to do with it. Sweden opposed that approach which is why Sweden has to be destroyed. It’s that simple.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with Sweden’s fatality rate, which is higher than some and lower than others. (Sweden has 543 deaths per million, which means roughly 1 death in every 2,000 people.) But like every other country, the vast majority of Swedish fatalities are among people 70 years and older with underlying health conditions. (“90% of the country’s deaths have been among those over 70.”) Sweden was not successful in protecting the people in its elderly care facilities, so large numbers of them were wiped out following the outbreak. Sweden failed in that regard and they’ve admitted they failed. Even so, the failures of implementation do not imply that the policy is wrong. Quite the contrary. Sweden settled on a sustainable policy, that keeps the economy running, preserves an atmosphere of normality, and exposes its young, low-risk people to the infection, thus, moving the population closer to the ultimate goal of “herd immunity”.

[ZH: in Sweden (pop. 10.25m) – where there was no lockdown, huge international criticism of its strategy, and one of the highest fatalities per head in the world – only 70 people under 49 years old have died of Covid-19, out of 5,482 total virus deaths (1.3%) so far. For context, average annual deaths in Sweden over the last 5 years for under-49-year-olds have been 3,417.  ]

Presently, Sweden is very close to reaching herd immunity which is a condition in which the majority have developed antibodies that will help to fend-off similar sars-covid infections in the future. Absent a vaccine, herd immunity is the best that can be hoped for. It ensures that future outbreaks will be less disruptive and less lethal. Take a look at this excerpt from an article at the Off-Guardian which helps to explain what’s really going on:

“Sweden’s health minister understood that the only chance to beat COVID-19 was to get the Swedish population to a Herd Immunity Threshold against COVID-19, and that’s exactly what they have done…

The Herd Immunity Threshold (“HIT”) for COVID-19 is between 10-20%

This fact gets less press than any other. Most people understand the basic concept of herd immunity and the math behind it. In the early days, some public health officials speculated that COVID-19’s HIT was 70%. Obviously, the difference between a HIT of 70% and a HIT of 10-20% is dramatic, and the lower the HIT, the quicker a virus will burn out as it loses the ability to infect more people, which is exactly what COVID-19 is doing everywhere, including the U.S, which is why the death curve above looks the way it looks.

Scientists from Oxford, Virginia Tech, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, all recently explained the HIT of COVID-19 in this paper:

We searched the literature for estimates of individual variation in propensity to acquire or transmit COVID-19 or other infectious diseases and overlaid the findings as vertical lines in Figure 3. Most CV estimates are comprised between 2 and 4, a range where naturally acquired immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may place populations over the herd immunity threshold once as few as 10-20% of its individuals are immune….

Naturally acquired herd immunity to COVID-19 combined with earnest protection of the vulnerable elderly – especially nursing home and assisted living facility residents — is an eminently reasonable and practical alternative to the dubious panacea of mass compulsory vaccination against the virus.

This strategy was successfully implemented in Malmo, Sweden, which had few COVID-19 deaths by assiduously protecting its elder care homes, while “schools remained open, residents carried on drinking in bars and cafes, and the doors of hairdressers and gyms were open throughout.

One of the most vocal members of the scientific community discussing COVID-19’s HIT is Stanford’s Nobel-laureate Dr. Michael Levitt. Back on May 4, he gave this great interview to the Stanford Daily where he advocated for Sweden’s approach of letting COVID-19 spread naturally through the community until you arrive at HIT. He stated:

If Sweden stops at about 5,000 or 6,000 deaths, we will know that they’ve reached herd immunity, and we didn’t need to do any kind of lockdown. My own feeling is that it will probably stop because of herd immunity. COVID is serious, it’s at least a serious flu. But it’s not going to destroy humanity as people thought.

Guess what? That’s exactly what happened. As of today, 7 weeks after his prediction, Sweden has 5,550 deaths. In this graph, you can see that deaths in Sweden PEAKED when the HIT was halfway to its peak (roughly 7.3%) and by the time the virus hit 14% it was nearly extinguished.”

(“Second wave? Not even close“, JB Handley, The Off-Guardian)

In other words, Sweden is rapidly approaching the endgame which means that restrictions can be dropped entirely and normal life can resume. They will have maintained their dignity and freedom while the rest of the world hid under their beds for months on end. They won’t have to reopen their primary schools because they never shut them down to begin with. Numerous reports indicate that young children are neither at risk nor do they pass the virus to others. Most Americans don’t know this because the propaganda media has omitted the news from their coverage. Here’s a clip from the National Review which helps to explain:

Kari Stefansson, CEO of the Icelandic company deCODE genetics in Reykjavík, studied the spread of COVID-19 in Iceland with Iceland’s Directorate of Health and the National University Hospital. His project has tested 36,500 people; as of this writing,

Children under 10 are less likely to get infected than adults and if they get infected, they are less likely to get seriously ill. What is interesting is that even if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults. We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents.”

(“Icelandic Study: ‘We Have Not Found a Single Instance of a Child Infecting Parents.’“, National Review)

This is just one of many similar reports from around the world. Most of the schools in Europe have already reopened and lifted restrictions on distancing and masks. Meanwhile, in the US, the reopening of schools has become another contentious political issue pitting Trump against his Democrat adversaries who are willing to sacrifice the lives of schoolchildren to prevent the president from being reelected. It’s a cynical-counterproductive approach that reveals the vindictiveness of the people who support it. In an election year, everything is politics. (Watch Tucker Carlson’s short segment on “Kids cannot afford to stay locked down.“)

Here’s a question for you: Have you ever wondered why the virus sweeps through the population and then seemingly dissipates and dies out? In fact, the virus doesn’t simply die-out, it runs out of people to infect. But how can that be when only 1 of 7 people will ever contract the virus?

The answer is immunity, either natural immunity or built up immunity from other Sars-Covid exposure. Here’s more from the Off Guardian piece:

“Scientists are now showing evidence that up to 81% of us can mount a strong response to COVID-19 without ever having been exposed to it before:

Cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes revealed preexisting T-cell responses in 81% of unexposed individuals, and validation of similarity to common cold human coronaviruses provided a functional basis for postulated heterologous immunity.

This alone could explain WHY the Herd Immunity Threshold (HIT) is so much lower for COVID-19 than some scientists thought originally, when the number being talked about was closer to 70%. Many of us have always been immune!

(“Second wave? Not even close”, JB Handley, The Off-Guardian)

What does it mean?

It means that Fauci and the idiots in the media have been lying to us the whole time. It means that Covid-19 is not a totally new virus for which humans have no natural immunity or built-in protection. Covid is a derivative of other infections which is why the death toll isn’t alot higher. Check this out from the BBC:

“People testing negative for coronavirus antibodies may still have some immunity, a study has suggested. For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells which identify and destroy infected cells. This was seen even in people who had mild or symptomless cases of Covid-19..

This could mean a wider group have some level of immunity to Covid-19 than antibody testing figures, like those published as part of the UK Office for National Statistics Infection Survey, suggest…..And these people should be protected if they are exposed to the virus for a second time.”

(“Coronavirus: Immunity may be more widespread than tests suggest“, BBC)

Now, I realize that there’s some dispute about immunity, but there shouldn’t be. If you contract the virus, you either won’t get it again or you’ll get a much milder case. And if immunity doesn’t exist, then we’re crazy to waste our time trying to develop a vaccine, right?

What the science tells us is that immunity does exist and the reason the vast majority of people didn’t get the infection— is not because they locked themselves indoors and hid behind the sofa– but because they already have partial immunity either from their genetic makeup or from previous exposure to Sars-CoV-2 which was identified in 2002.

It’s worth repeating that the reason everyone was so scared about Covid originally was because it was hyped as a “novel virus”, completely new with no known cure or natural protection. That was a lie that was propagated by Fauci and his dissembling Vaccine Mafia, all of who are responsible for the vast destruction to the US economy, the unprecedented spike in unemployment, and the obliteration of tens of thousands of small businesses.

As the author points out, we should have known from the incident on the Diamond Princess (Cruise Liner) that immunity was far more widespread than previously thought. Readers might recall that only 17% of the people on board tested Covid-positive, “despite an ideal environment for mass spread, implying 83% of the people were somehow protected from the new virus.”

Think about that for a minute. All of the passengers were 60 years old or older, but only 17% caught the virus. Why?

Immunity, that’s why. What else could it be? Cross immunity, natural immunity, or SARS-CoV-2 T-cell immunity. Whatever you want to call it, it exists and it explains why the vast majority of people will not get the highly-contagious Covid no matter what they do.

It’s also worth pointing out that even according to the CDC’s own statistics, the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) is a mere 0.26% whereas “According to the latest immunological and serological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% and thus in the range of a strong seasonal influenza (flu).” (“Facts about Covid-19”, Swiss Policy Research)

So the death rate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in every 500 (who contract the virus) to 1 in every 1,000. How can any rational person shut down a $21 trillion economy and order 340 million people into quarantine, based on the fact that 1 in every thousand people (mostly old and infirm) might die from an infection?? That was a act of pure, unalloyed Madness for which the American people will pay dearly for years to come. Once again, the US response was crafted by people who were promoting their own narrow political, social and economic agenda, not acting in the interests of the American people. We should expect more from our leaders than this.

So what does all of this say about the sharp spike in Covid positive cases in the south and the chances of a “second wave”?

There’s not going to be a second wave (The massive BLM protests in NY city has not produced any uptick in deaths, because NY has already achieved herd immunity. In contrast, Florida will undoubtedly experience more fatalities because it has not yet reached HIT or the Herd Immunity Threshold. Cases are increasing because younger- low-risk people are circulating more freely and because testing has increased by many orders of magnitude. At the same time, deaths continue to go down.

On Wednesday, US new cases rose to an eye-watering 62,000 in one day while deaths are down 75% from the April peak. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because the pattern has been the same as in countries around the world. The trajectory of infections was mapped out long ago by UK epidemiologist and statistician, William Farr. Take a look:

“Farr shows us that once peak infection has been reached then it will roughly follow the same symmetrical pattern on the downward slope. However, under testing and variations in testing regimes means we have no way of knowing when the peak of infections occurred. In this situation, we should use the data on deaths to predict the peak. There is a predicted time lag from infection to COVID deaths of approximately 21 to 28 days.

Once peak deaths have been reached we should be working on the assumption that the infection has already started falling in the same progressive steps. …

Farr, also illustrated that those who are the most ‘mortal die out’, and in a pandemic are those in most need of shielding….(So, Farr saw the wisdom of the Swedish approach a full 180 years ago!)

In the midst of a pandemic, it is easy to forget Farr’s Law, and think the number infected will just keep rising, it will not. Just as quick as measures were introduced to prevent the spread of infection we need to recognize the point at which to open up society and also the special measures due to ‘density’ that require special considerations. But most of all we must remember the message Farr left us: what goes up must come down.”

(“COVID-19: William Farr’s way out of the Pandemic”, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine)

What this tells us is that the fatality rate is a more reliable barometer of what is taking place than the spike in new cases. And what the death rates signals is that the virus is on its last legs. We are not seeing the onset of a second wave, but the gradual ending of the first. Also, the fact that tens of thousands of young people are contracting Covid-19 without experiencing any pain or discomfort, confirms that immunity is widespread. This is a very positive development.

Here’s how Dr. John Thomas Littell, MD, who is President of the County Medical Society, and Chief of Staff at the Florida Hospital, summed it up in a letter to the editor of the Orlando Medical News, He said:

“Why did we as a society stop sending our children to schools and camps and sports activities? Why did we stop going to work and church and public parks and beaches? Why did we insist that healthy persons “stay at home” – rather than observing the evidence-based, medically prudent method of identifying those who were sick and isolating them from the rest of the population – advising the sick to “stay at home” and allowing the rest of society to function normally.”

(“Second wave? Not even close”, JB Handley, The Off-Guardian)

Why? Because we were misled by Doctor Fauci and the Vaccine Gestapo, that’s why. In contrast, Sweden shrugged off the dire predictions and fearmongering, and “got it right the first time.”

Hurrah for Sweden!

Published:7/11/2020 7:34:26 AM
[IJR] Pelosi and Top Dems Criticize Trump for Commuting Roger Stone’s Prison Sentence Several top Democrats are not pleased with Trump's decision. Published:7/11/2020 7:34:26 AM
[Markets] Market Extra: China’s stock market just jumped 6%. This is a good thing and Westerners should be glad. No, really. The stock-market frenzy that’s gripped China over the past few weeks is probably grounded in economic fundamentals, analysts think, and the government’s response suggests they’ve learned some hard lessons over the past decade - all good news for U.S. investors.
Published:7/11/2020 7:34:26 AM
[Markets] Swiss Mountain Vault Offers Wealthy Elites $500,000 Plots For Storing Valuables  Swiss Mountain Vault Offers Wealthy Elites $500,000 Plots For Storing Valuables  Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 07:35

With world trade collapsed, socio-economic chaos has unfolded across the Western world as central bank money printing and massive fiscal injections by governments might not be enough to ward off the next round of economic declines

The virus pandemic and social unrest in the US has shown just how fragile everything is - as wealthy elites flee metro areas for rural communities. We've shown those with economic mobility, considering the virus-induced recession has crushed tens of millions of folks into financial ruin - are buying underground bunkers so if Western economies plunge deeper into chaos -  they will be protected, from social unrest and or nuclear war with China. 

The wealthy have been the primary asset gathers in the last decade, thanks to central bank policies that has decimated the bottom 90% of Americans, stripped of assets, hence the record wealth inequality - and maybe another reason why people are protesting. 

Now, these wealthy folks have to figure out where they can safely store their post-war Ferraris, expensive artwork, rare wine collections, precious metals, and anything else of value. 

Bloomberg might have found that place, located in Switzerland, where a company is set to embark on a project to build deep underground vaults within a mountain. 

The Brünig Mega Safe Project, the firm heading up the project to build underground vaults in the Swiss Alps, said on its website, "Your treasure chamber in a solid rock massif," adding that, "The secure place for safekeeping your assets and sensitive data."

The vault is expected to be absolutely massive - equivalent to about ten soccer fields, according to board member Hugo Schittenhelm. He said the underground space could "multiply" if needed.

"The Swiss vaults will range from 100 cubic meters (3,531 cubic feet) to 1,000 times that large with heights of up to 90 meters, according to the website. The rock walls ensure a constant relative humidity of 40% and a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Prices start at $500,000 and go up from there," said Bloomberg. 

Brünig Mega Safe will be constructed by engineering and underground construction firm, Gasser Felstechnik AG. 

Already, the project has attracted potential clients, including family offices, corporations, art galleries, and high net worth individuals, said Schittenhelm. 

Bloomberg notes the project needs $7.5 million to begin construction, expecting work to start as early as next year - the first vaults are expected to be commercially available 18 months from construction start.

With no V-shaped recovery in the global economy this year - turmoil is expected to last for the next several years as social fabric unravelings will continue in many Western countries, more specifically, in the US - it now might make sense for wealthy folks to start storing valuables in rock valuts before the social-economic implosion worsens. 

Published:7/11/2020 7:04:46 AM
[Markets] Economic Preview: Coronavirus spike in the dog days of summer sap economy of momentum Summer doldrums are taking on a whole new meaning during the coronavirus pandemic. The momentum in the U.S. economy appears to have melted away.
Published:7/11/2020 7:04:46 AM
[5fc05654-13e0-5d71-a159-5ccefa0d331c] Tucker Carlson: ‘Social justice’ shields elites from criticism New York City leaders don’t have to address their failing schools. Instead of helping kids to learn, the city can just blame racism. But 84 percent of students are non-White. Published:7/11/2020 7:04:46 AM
[Entertainment] Shop The Best Accessories Deals at Lululemon's Warehouse Sale E-Comm: Best Accessories Deals at Lululemon Warehouse SaleWe 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...
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[News] ‘A Free Man’: Trump Commutes Longtime Adviser Roger Stone’s Prison Sentence "Roger Stone has already suffered greatly." Published:7/11/2020 6:34:07 AM
[Markets] Earnings Outlook: S&P 500 earnings set to plunge as the coronavirus batters all sectors — with Wall Street counting on a bounce that may not come The one certainty about the outlook for companies in a COVID-19 world is that second-quarter earnings will be very bad, the worst in over 10 years.
Published:7/11/2020 6:14:40 AM
[The Week In Pictures] The Week in Pictures: Mount Trumpmore Edition (Steven Hayward) I remember back at the very end of the Reagan presidency when R. Emmett Tyrrell proposed in the pages of the American Spectator that Reagan be added to Mount Rushmore, just to watch liberals have an embolism. Well, now that the left wants to take down Mount Rushmore for the sin of being built on “unceded native American land” plus slave-owning (Washington, Jefferson), colonialism (TR), and all-around hatred for greatness Published:7/11/2020 6:14:40 AM
[Markets] The Groupthink Pandemic The Groupthink Pandemic Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 07:00

Authored by Kevin Smith via,

Groupthink is all around us. Decision-making in government, in the media and at work. It’s slowly killing the world.

In the background of the most important events, the Covid-19 response and increasing tension and conflict in the world, it might be worth looking through some of this in a bit more detail.

I’ve experienced groupthink working for large organisations, most notably in my last job. We were tasked with investigating and solving complex problems. Some technical expertise helped but was not crucial to the role.

Critical thinking and balancing evidence and differing viewpoints was key.

Yet the organisation decided that this was no longer required and changed the whole operating model to a one-size fits all type of call-centre. This new high-risk approach was recommended to us by the outside consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) who were clueless about our business.

Those of us who were experienced in the role argued that the model wouldn’t work. But the organisation ploughed on regardless. It was obvious from day one that the financials didn’t stack up which they tried to deny and later concealed.

The executive largely ignored our concerns to start but then paid limited lip-service when the wheels started to come off. Anyway, in the end they offered us redundancy while employing fresh university graduates to replace us. As far as I know the place is still in denial and heading down the pan.

Groupthink is described as follows:

Groupthink is a term first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving L. Janis that refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group.

People who are opposed to the decisions or overriding opinion of the group as a whole frequently remain quiet, preferring to keep the peace rather than disrupt the uniformity of the crowd’.

Groupthink is common where group members have similar backgrounds and particularly where that group is placed under stress, resulting in irrational decision outcomes.

These are the main behaviors to watch out for:

  1. Illusions of invulnerability lead members of the group to be overly optimistic and engage in risk-taking.

  2. Unquestioned beliefs lead members to ignore possible moral problems and ignore the consequences of individual and group actions.

  3. Rationalising prevents members from reconsidering their beliefs and causes them to ignore warning signs.

  4. Stereotyping leads members of the in-group to ignore or even demonise out-group members who may oppose or challenge the group’s ideas.

  5. Self-censorship causes people who might have doubts to hide their fears or misgivings.

  6. “Mindguards” act as self-appointed censors to hide problematic information from the group.

  7. Illusions of unanimity lead members to believe that everyone is in agreement and feels the same way.

  8. Direct pressure to conform is often placed on members who pose questions, and those who question the group are often seen as disloyal or traitorous.

There are two further observations I made in the workplace, particularly relevant to groups going through major change or/and a crisis.

Firstly, they tend to swing from the status quo to the complete opposite. In our organisation, we definitely needed some changes and tweaks but we lurched towards a model which was completely unsuitable and unsustainable operationally and financially.

The other thing I noticed was our employers became control freaks. They started to talk down to us and our customers like children. They introduced office slogans such as ‘let’s crack on’ or ‘we’re all in this together’ and deflected from the problems of the disastrous reorganisation towards ‘celebrating diversity’ in the workplace. Critical thinking, creativity and expression were sucked out of the place.

The obvious analogy for all these behaviors is the response to Covid-19 when government ministers were collectively panicked into making extreme decisions on lockdown, using just one preferred source of ‘expertise’.

At the same time, they sidelined dissenters and independent experts who could have offered a calm, rational perspective and a targeted response to Covid-19.

In summing up this thinking and behavior, I’m reminded of these observations from Dr Malcolm Kendrick and Lord Sumption about the response to Covid-19. Dr Kendrick here:

We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group. If you had written a plan for making a complete bollocks of things you would have come up with this one”.

And Lord Sumption writing in the Mail on Sunday:

The Prime Minister, who in practice makes most of the decisions, has low political cunning but no governmental skills whatever. He is incapable of studying a complex problem in depth. He thinks as he speaks – in slogans.

These people have no idea what they are doing, because they are unable to think about more than one thing at a time or to look further ahead than the end of their noses.


A large organisation which has a high opinion of its news service. But of course, the reality is the opposite. There are so many groupthink case-studies but the BBC is as good as any, particularly in terms of making a bollocks of things.

The executives at the BBC and some senior correspondents will no doubt be aware that they run a politicised agenda of bias and misinformation on a grand scale. Outsiders who’ve researched their coverage will recognise this too. But this won’t be obvious to the vast majority of BBC employees, the victims of groupthink.

This came across in some of Andrew Marr’s incredulous reactions to Noam Chomsky’s observations about the media during their interview:

Andrew Marr: How can you know I’m self-censoring?

Noam Chomsky: I’m not saying you’re self-censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you say. But what I’m saying is if you believed something different you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.

I believe the foreign affairs reporting of the BBC is where this problem stands out most. Real expertise and impartiality has been completely absent from any reporting I’ve seen in recent years.

First, while not unusual in this profession, most journalists employed by the BBC will have a degree. Typically, when you look at today’s ‘top’ BBC journalists, many have attended the elite universities which tends to create a culture of like-minded people of similar backgrounds. This has been identified as one cause of creating groupthink.

Also, the younger journalists will be impressionable within the BBC hierarchy to the views and ways of the senior house-hold name journalists.

It’s sometimes said that there aren’t specific rules within the BBC and other media stating what a journalist can and can’t report and write and they generally don’t knowingly mislead. But they will learn almost instinctively to self-censor and operate within a set of unwritten, unspoken rules and a strait-jacket narrative.

The other problem in foreign affairs reporting is that BBC journalists and most others rarely visit the warzones. On Syria, they typically report from Lebanon or Turkey only occasionally venturing into a government or relatively safe terrorist or Kurd held area. So unlike previous conflicts, such as Bosnia where I remember at least a tiny degree of balance, journalists seldom see what is actually going on.

Under the pressure of deadlines they rely on dubious sources such as Al Qaeda terrorists and Bellingcat and pre-determined assumptions which conveniently slot in with the anti-Assad narrative of the BBC and establishment.

Recently, some grave doubts emerged about the OPCW report on the Douma incident, a huge story which has wider implications.

The investigations of Robert Stuart into a likely previously staged incident involving BBC journalists was swept under the carpet. Both matters have been ignored because the BBC have no way or will to refute evidence which goes against their bias.

On the other hand, the BBC are more than happy to provide extensive coverage to more allegations against Russia and Trump from anonymous sources, providing no background or balance within the overall of climate of related allegations which have collapsed or are unproven.

And in recent days the BBC has provided coverage on Hong Kong which looks like it’s come from a script.

It’s well known BBC journalists are silent on malpractice. We saw this with the Jimmy Savile scandal and decades of sexual abuse. This attitude is similar to what I experienced with my employer who were very vocal and proud of their anti-bullying and mental health policies. Yet when the staff were surveyed anonymously, bullying rates were through the roof.

The other obvious signs of groupthink within the BBC, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, is dumbing-down and its slogan-filled website written as though their readers are idiots.

Another strong theme is a preoccupation with race and diversity, American affairs and general tittle-tattle, to the detriment of more pressing matters such as the longer-term and wider impact of the world’s current problems.

Covid-19 and our response to it is probably the most important event of our lifetime but there’s barely a peep about whether the response is necessary and proportionate. Instead, this totally rational viewpoint is only ever mentioned in the context of BBC articles about Covid-19 ‘conspiracy theories’.

Many of the examples I’ve described neatly fit in with groupthink behaviors and experiences I encountered in a large organisation.

But I think the biggest groupthink problem is with senior BBC journalists. Ultimately their lazy arrogance has trickled down to the newer journalists and so over time, wrong behavior has been normalised throughout.


A few months ago Huw Edwards made some comments about accusations of bias directed towards the BBC, defending the corporation and journalists. These are some of the specific comments he made which to me showed a complete lack of understanding of the concerns people have.

The BBC is not, to put it politely, run like some newspapers, with an all-powerful proprietor and/or editor making his or her mark on the tone and direction of the coverage […] BBC News is a rather unsettling mix of awkward, contrary and assertive people who (in my very long experience) delight in either ignoring the suggestions of managers or simply telling them where to get off. That’s how it works.”

Around this time, I also recall Edwards arguing on Twitter on the subject and he said that it was ridiculous to say that journalists within the BBC were willfully misleading the public. His Twitter opponent replied that this was not what he had said and was simply stating that the BBC had fallen victim to groupthink. Edwards just couldn’t get his head past this, while continuing to attack and misrepresent BBC critics.

This defensive attitude and stereotyping of critics is classic groupthink behavior in which he, Nick Robinson and others have taken part.

I used to admire John Simpson and in the 1980s he visited Iran post-revolution. He wrote a book of the visit which I enjoyed. But in recent years, he has shown that he doesn’t understand modern geo-politics and like the BBC can only assess it in terms of the ethno-centric British view on the world and our influence.

In this President Putin press conference he asked the most ridiculous question imaginable which confirms he’s lost the plot. His question was about Russian behavior in the world and whether Putin wanted to create a new Cold War.

Putin wiped the floor with him pointing out the hundreds of NATO bases and numerous wars which put Simpson’s aspersions into their rightful place.

Jeremy Bowen is another who has lost his way. I saw a recent report from him from the position of a Christian militia unit fighting terrorists in Syria.

Again, BBC arrogance was on full display. His report made generalised comparisons between him meeting Serbs in Bosnia in the 1990s and these Syrian fighters, clearly indicating that he doesn’t listen and is not interested in Syrian views on western complicity and the White Helmets.

In the usual group-speak he described the Syrian Government ‘the regime’ and Al Qaeda as ‘rebels’. His report simply rubber-stamped the BBC coverage of the whole conflict.

This arrogance is typical of journalists who rely on their past achievements, creating an air of gravitas to impress their audience. The reality is his reporting is based on no substance and outdated and lazy assumptions.


Ex-BBC nowadays, John Sweeney’s arrogance is off the scale. These days he spends his time on Twitter attacking lockdown sceptics, like Peter Hitchens accusing him of ‘killing’ his Mail on Sunday column readers with his views on Covid-19 lockdown.

Sweeney is off his trolley but the reality is he probably always was as this clip during his BBC days shows.

This behaviour, extreme as it is, certainly suggests groupthink played a big part somewhere in his career.


BBC Dateline is a current affairs TV panel discussion which I occasionally watched. The panel which changed regularly were seemingly well qualified with foreign writers and journalists which included Russia or Arab affairs experts.

Sitting around that table they gave the impression of people who knew what they were talking about.

However, when you listened carefully to what they were saying, there was very little substance. Their arguments, all based on a simple premise that Russia/Syria are bad, the West is good, tempered with a little occasional criticism of western policy to give the illusion of balance.

Occasionally you would have a more pro-Russia expert on but with the prevailing consensus of the rest of the panel, his or her views would be ridiculed. It got to the point any dissenting panel member started to self-censor to sound more credible, perhaps to remain on the panel. This is the dilemma for any progressively minded BBC guest nowadays.

Peter Hitchens who complains the BBC never invite him on, appeared on Good Morning Britain (GMB) recently. As is normal with many GMB debates, the discussion on Covid-19 descended to retorts and abuse and was simply not the forum for Hitchens to get across his well thought out points on the big picture.

But I don’t think he would have fared any better on the BBC. The BBC create an illusion of civilised, intelligent discussion but the reality is there is no substance, depth or balance. The crucial discussion points about Covid-19 or conflict in the world don’t get a hearing. The premise and the rules are already set in stone before the guests arrive.


There are many reasons why the world is in its current madness and on the brink of serious conflict.

Groupthink in government, the media and the general public is probably a key factor as this represents the thinking culture alongside and below the psychopaths and war criminals who pull the strings.

It’s almost impossible to break this cycle by chipping away at it. But it’s possible a large event connected to Covid-19 or a major war will be the catalyst which might shock us out of our distorted view of reality.

In the meantime, independent commentators and ex-MSM like Peter Hitchens, Anna Brees and Tareq Haddad, are putting their careers on the line and self-interests aside. We can only encourage others employed by the BBC and other media to be brave and do the same.

Certainly, the consequences will be far more disastrous doing nothing and not speaking up.

In the sudden, new founded willingness to demonstrate on the streets perhaps those participating might be better reflecting on who and what the real enemy is.

Party politics, Brexit and Black Lives Matter really don’t matter.

Groupthink, escalating world conflict, All Lives Matter, including Syrians, Libyans, Palestinians and Blacks,(including those outside of US,UK and Europe) together with the post-Covid-19 march to an uncertain ‘new normal’, are the issues which matter right now.

Published:7/11/2020 6:14:40 AM
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[The Courts] House Blunders to Blame for Dems’ Setback in Trump Subpoena Case

Just a few minutes into Supreme Court arguments over congressional subpoenas for President Donald Trump's financial records, it was clear that House Democrats were in trouble.

The post House Blunders to Blame for Dems’ Setback in Trump Subpoena Case appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/11/2020 4:40:32 AM
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Published:7/11/2020 2:33:31 AM
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