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[Markets] Obama set to endorse Biden for president Obama set to endorse Biden for president Published:4/14/2020 9:55:50 AM
[Markets] US State Department Cables Warned Of Potential 'SARS-Like Pandemic' After Visiting Wuhan Lab Experimenting With Bat Coronavirus US State Department Cables Warned Of Potential 'SARS-Like Pandemic' After Visiting Wuhan Lab Experimenting With Bat Coronavirus

The US State Department received two cables from US Embassy officials in 2018 warning of inadequate safety at a Wuhan, China biolab conducting 'risky studies' on bat coronaviruses, according to the Washington Post, which notes that the cables have "fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus."

A US delegation led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy's counselor of environment, science, technology and health took the unusual step of repeatedly visiting the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) - which had become China's first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (BSL-4) in 2015. The last of the visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018, was documented on WIV's website and subsequently scrubbed (archive).

US officials were so concerned by what they saw that they warned of a potential pandemic stemming from the lab's work on bat coronaviruses.

What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic. -Washington Post

"During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory," reads a January, 2018 cable drafted by two officials from the embassy's environment, science and health sections who met with scientists from the WIV.

Interestingly, the Chinese researchers were receiving assistance from the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other U.S. organizations, however the Chinese had requested additional help. Consequently, the cables warned that the US should give the WIV additional support because of how dangerous the research on bat coronaviruses was.

As the cable noted, the U.S. visitors met with Shi Zhengli, the head of the research project, who had been publishing studies related to bat coronaviruses for many years. In November 2017, just before the U.S. officials’ visit, Shi’s team had published research showing that horseshoe bats they had collected from a cave in Yunnan province were very likely from the same bat population that spawned the SARS coronavirus in 2003.

"Most importantly," the cable warns, "the researchers also showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases. From a public health perspective, this makes the continued surveillance of SARS-like coronaviruses in bats and study of the animal-human interface critical to future emerging coronavirus outbreak prediction and prevention."

Shi and other researchers have strongly denied that the new virus known as 2019-nCoV came from WIV, after her team was the first to publicly report it.

According to the report, the bat coronavirus research was aimed at preventing the next SARS-like pandemic "by anticipating how it might emerge," however according to the report "even in 2015, other scientists questioned whether Shi’s team was taking unnecessary risks."

In October 2014, the U.S. government had imposed a moratorium on funding of any research that makes a virus more deadly or contagious, known as “gain-of-function” experiments.

WaPo is careful to note that 'many' have said there's no evidence that COVID-19 was engineered, and that concensus is that it came from animals, "that is not the same as saying it didn't come from a lab, which spent years testing bat coronaviruses in animals," according to Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at UC Berkeley.

"The cable tells us that there have long been concerns about the possibility of the threat to public health that came from this lab’s research, if it was not being adequately conducted and protected," he said.

Meanwhile, similar concerns remain about the nearby Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention Lab - a level 2 biosecurity facility, while the Chinese government refuses to say whether either lab was involved.

Notably, the Wuhan CDC is located roughly 900 feet from the wet market which accounted for roughly half of the new COVID-19 cases late last year.

That said, the report notes that the wet market didn't sell bats - and the first known patient had no known connection to the market. That said, there's nothing to say that an employee from the Chinese CDC didn't accidentally infect themselves and go shopping for meat during the virus's well known asymptomatic incubation period.

According to WaPo, citing sources familiar with the cables, the US embassy wanted to sound an alarm about the grave safety concerns at the WIV lab, "especially regarding its work with bat coronaviruses."

"The cable was a warning shot," said one US official. "They were begging people to pay attention to what was going on."

Next, WaPo moves on to the 'blame the Trump admin' phase of the report, noting that "no extra assistance to the labs was provided by the US government in response to the cables" which "began to circulate again inside the administration over the past two months as officials debated whether the lab could be the origin of the pandemic and what the implications would be for the U.S. pandemic response and relations with China."

Inside the Trump administration, many national security officials have long suspected either the WIV or the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab was the source of the novel coronavirus outbreak. According to the New York Times, the intelligence community has provided no evidence to confirm this. But one senior administration official told me that the cables provide one more piece of evidence to support the possibility that the pandemic is the result of a lab accident in Wuhan.

Of note, the Obama administration 'paused' funding to the WIV, which was lifted a year into Trump's presidency according to the National Review.

"The idea that is was just a totally natural occurrence is circumstantial. The evidence it leaked from the lab is circumstantial. Right now, the ledger on the side of it leaking from the lab is packed with bullet points and there’s almost nothing on the other side," said one WaPo source.

Meanwhile, the CCP has put a complete lockdown on information related to the origins of the virus - refusing to provide US experts with samples collected from the earliest cases, and quickly shutting down the Shanghai lab which published COVID-19's genome on January 11th for "rectification."

As WaPo notes, "Several of the doctors and journalists who reported on the spread early on have disappeared."

On Feb. 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a new biosecurity law to be accelerated. On Wednesday, CNN reported the Chinese government has placed severe restrictions requiring approval before any research institution publishes anything on the origin of the novel coronavirus.

And now - considering the source of the report, the bat's out of the bag and the official narrative has been set - which we were called conspiracy theorists for positing three months ago.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/14/2020 - 09:50
Published:4/14/2020 8:58:23 AM
[Law] The Left Is Calling for Mail-In Voting. Here’s Why It’s a Bad Idea.

Political figures on the left, ranging from former first lady Michelle Obama to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are calling for the presidential election on Nov.... Read More

The post The Left Is Calling for Mail-In Voting. Here’s Why It’s a Bad Idea. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/14/2020 2:20:56 AM
[Markets] Caitlin Johnstone Rages "This Absolute Bullshit Would Not Be Possible Without Propaganda" Caitlin Johnstone Rages "This Absolute Bullshit Would Not Be Possible Without Propaganda"

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

So as of right now it’s Trump versus Biden. An incompetent plutocrat president selling himself as an anti-establishment people’s champion while simultaneously advancing garden variety Republican sociopathy, versus a warmongering authoritarian who is too demented to string a coherent sentence together and who is looking more and more credibly to be a rapist.

Needless to say, this is absolute bullshit.

How did we get here? How did we get to the point where the electoral contest to run the most powerful government on the planet is between a racist demented right-wing authoritarian warmongering rapist and another racist demented right-wing authoritarian warmongering rapist? How in the hell did this bullshit happen?

There are a number of factors, including anonymous and unsubstantiated “leaks” from the US intelligence community regarding Russian support for the Bernie Sanders campaign and a shockingly coordinated maneuver by Democratic Party leadership (including former president Obama) to sabotage Sanders in the late hours before Super Tuesday.

But the primary factor by far was domestic mass media propaganda. Propaganda during the primary season of course, with the billionaire press showing a very clear and undeniable bias against Bernie Sanders from the very beginning of the race. Had the Sanders campaign received a normal quality and quantity of mass media coverage for a candidate of his stature, he would doubtless have received far more support than he did. To deny that biased media messaging has an effect would be the same as denying that advertising, a trillion-dollar industry, has an effect.

But it goes so very much deeper than that. The influence of mass media propaganda upon the Democratic primary race was not limited to the propaganda that was employed during the actual contest; it’s been setting the foundation for it since long before that.

Without having been raised in a media environment that is saturated with establishment propaganda, it would never occur to anyone in a million years to describe a violent authoritarian extremist like Joe Biden as a “moderate”. It would never occur to anyone to think of this crazy wingnut as “electable”. It would certainly never occur to anyone that he should be running on the platform of what passes for America’s political left wing.

Joe Biden has been a horrible, evil politician since long before his rape allegations went mainstream and his brain started turning to porridge. If people could gaze with fresh, unmanipulated eyes upon someone who’s dedicated his entire political career to neoliberal exploitation at home and neoconservative mass murder abroad, someone who openly boasts about authoring the foundational documents of the USA PATRIOT Act, someone who promises rich donors that “nothing fundamentally will change” if he’s elected and who they know from experience can be taken at his word, it would never occur to them that this is someone who should be running for any elected office anywhere, let along within spitting distance of the most powerful one in the world.

It is only by the ability of the mass media to manufacture the illusion of normality that this bullshit has been made possible. The way the plutocratic class controls the mass media has given them the ability to persuade people to believe that freakish extremism is normal and healthy objections to oligarchic malfeasance is freakish extremism.

This is the case not just with this bullshit US presidential race, but with all bullshit everywhere. A world where powerful governments attack, destroy, starve and undermine weaker governments which refuse to bow to their interests, a world where the wealthy continue to steal more and more wealth from an increasingly impoverished working class and use the leverage that wealth gets them to steal more, a world where governments demand more and more opacity for themselves and more and more transparency from ordinary people, a world where police are becoming increasingly militarized and speech is becoming increasingly restricted, a world where the response to a global pandemic is not to rally together and overcome but to advance pre-existing authoritarian agendas and manufacture support for new cold war escalations against China.

None of this bullshit would have been possible without all of us having been raised in an atmosphere of mass-scale obfuscation and manipulation. None of us would ever accept such a world without having been manipulated into it, which is why they have done exactly that.

We will not collectively use the power of our numbers to force a change to this oppressive status quo until we can find some way to break free of our psychic bondage to the establishment propaganda machine, and we will not find a way to do that until we change something deep within ourselves about our relationship as a species to mental narrative. But as things get increasingly weird and unpredictable, gaps will open up in our preexisting patterns. When patterns degrade to the point of unpredictability, anything becomes possible.

We are at an adapt-or-die point as a species, and we’ll need to break free of the bullshit to make the jump. Hell, we just might make it.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Tyler Durden Mon, 04/13/2020 - 21:25
Published:4/13/2020 8:45:30 PM
[] Trump on ordering states to reopen for business: The authority of the president of the United States is "total" Published:4/13/2020 6:49:00 PM
[Politics] Rudy Giuliani rips ‘crooked old’ Joe Biden Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani called Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “crooked old Joe” and raised allegations that the former vice president and his son profited from his time in the Obama administration. “So we’re not dealing with a fair and square guy like you think he is,” Giuliani said Saturday in an interview on Fox... Published:4/13/2020 1:56:50 PM
[Politics] 37% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending April 9, 2020.

This week’s finding is down two points from a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from April 5-9, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:4/13/2020 10:46:21 AM
[Politics] Michelle Obama Backs Absentee Voting for 2020 Election Former first lady Michelle Obama is getting behind efforts to expand vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus outbreak. Her support for federal legislation, which would make it easier for people to cast their ballots during the presidential election, was made through a... Published:4/13/2020 7:16:51 AM
[Markets] Westward No! A Bitter Land-Office Business In Taming Federal Bureaucrats Westward No! A Bitter Land-Office Business In Taming Federal Bureaucrats

Submitted by Vince Bielski, of RealClearInvestigations

The Trump administration’s big strike against the federal bureaucracy is quietly unfolding at the Bureau of Land Management, where its senior managers and scientific staff have been told to pack up their desks in Washington, D.C., and move to its new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo. and other western offices. Most employees aren’t climbing aboard the wagon train.

Environmental protesters in Vail, Colo., 2019, greet Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt at a Western Governors Association meeting.
Dean Krakel/The Colorado Sun via AP, File

The shake-up, meant to make the bureaucracy more accountable to the drillers, cattle ranchers, hunters and hikers who use America’s public lands, is part of the sweeping deregulation that has fueled a boom in U.S. energy production through last year. In its earliest days, the administration declared energy independence a top priority and two years later oil production on federal and tribal lands and offshore hit record highs -- a surge that will likely slow as the coronavirus pandemic cuts demand and rocks the industry.

“It’s more efficient now,” says Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, a trade group representing 300 oil and gas companies that pushed for the BLM move. “You can be productive without fighting for years to get a permit. They are processed more efficiently in less time.”

The gusher that has been feeding the coffers of states like Wyoming and New Mexico, however, is also raising concerns about the impact on some of the country’s spectacular landscapes and wildlife. Noting that only 80 of 174 employees have agreed to move west, environmental groups and some former BLM managers warn that relocating the agency’s headquarters reflects a broader shift of authority to political appointees, from career bureaucrats with years of expertise.

“The relocation will have a substantial impact on the management of our public lands,’’ says Ray Brady, a retired senior manager and minerals specialist who worked in the Washington headquarters for 23 years. “We view it as a dismantling of the organization and turning major decisions on public lands over to political people who have agendas.” The department and bureau didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The move began in November 2019 with a target completion date of July 1, and the pandemic, which may provide an unexpected rationale for getting out of a major population center, is not expected to significantly slow it down. But nonessential BLM travel is on hold for now.

William Perry Pendley: "Sagebrush Rebel" and Bureau of Land Management acting director.

It represents tests both of the power of the administrative state and of striking a balance between the competing forces of development and conservation on public lands. It also promises to be a key regional issue in the 2020 election. At a campaign rally in Colorado in February, a state Donald Trump lost in 2016, the president touted the BLM relocation as part of his effort to end “the tyranny of Washington bureaucrats.” Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, would have the bureau flex its regulatory muscles like never before. He would ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters to reduce the threat of climate change. Carbon emissions from energy produced on federal lands amount to one quarter of the U.S. total. 

Americans have a lot riding on the outcome. BLM manages 245 million acres of public lands – 10% of the U.S. land mass -- primarily in 12 Western states. The iconic sagebrush deserts, grasslands and rugged mountains hold rich oil and gas deposits, robust elk and antelope herds, desert monuments and tribal cultural sites. Federal and tribal property produce about 10% of U.S. oil and gas sales. BLM also cares for 28 national monuments and other conservation areas encompassing red-rock deserts, jagged coastline and remote tundra.

The bureau was founded in 1946, and in its first three decades quietly served cattle ranchers and coal miners who needed permits to use public lands. The rise of environmentalism and increased pressure on the lands changed the game by the 1970s: The National Environmental Policy Act forced federal agencies to examine ecological and health impacts -- and take public input -- before making decisions. A few years later the Federal Land Policy and Management Act gave BLM new and broader marching orders to manage public lands under a multiple-use principle. It now had to balance the interests of many competing groups – conservationists, drillers, hunters, miners and ranchers – in carving up lands for grazing, historical preservation, recreation, resource extraction and wildlife protection.

Herding wild horses in Idaho: BLM manages 245 million acres – 10% of the U.S. land mass -- primarily in 12 Western states.
Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP

The “Sagebrush Rebellion” sprung up in the West in the 1970s to challenge the government’s tightening grip on public lands and the movement still reverberates today. William Perry Pendley, who was appointed BLM’s acting chief by Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt, calls himself a “Sagebrush Rebel.” The firebrand property-rights attorney rose to prominence by suing BLM and other federal agencies on behalf of ranchers and drillers who depend on public lands.

BLM has wiggle room in striking that balance between development and conservation, making its job tricky. Its offices spread throughout the West in cities like Boise, Billings and Carson City solicit input from groups with opposing land-use agendas. Staffers then apply scientific expertise to assess the best use of the resources and impact on the environment, and try to reach a consensus. But the hardest part of the balancing act can be navigating Washington politics, as Democratic and Republican administrations zealously push their priorities onto BLM decision-making. The radical swing from Barack Obama to Donald Trump is the latest example
“The Obama administration was laser focused on conservation and I wasn’t a fan of that. It was too far left and not enough in the middle,” says Mary Jo Rugwell, who retired as BLM Wyoming state director in August after 46 years of federal service. “The Trump administration is all about removing barriers and restrictions to development.”

Soon after Trump took office, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a shift in the balance. While Zinke’s strategic plan  includes fishing, hunting and recreation, it stresses drilling above all else: “An American-First energy policy is one that maximizes the use of American resources in freeing us from dependence on foreign oil,” wrote Zinke, who resigned in late 2018 amid investigations into his conduct and was succeeded by Bernhardt, his like-minded deputy.

David L. Bernhardt, right, Trump Interior Secretary: Put political appointees in charge of major land-use decisions. Photo: doi.gov

To speed up energy production, the department significantly streamlined BLM regulations. In January 2018 officials ended the requirement for public input during environmental review of potential leases and cut the days for protests of lease offerings by more than half to 10. The number of new acres leased shot up by 117% in fiscal 2018 compared with two years earlier. And the time it takes to get a drilling permit on leased land was slashed by almost three months in that period. In 2019, oil production on federal and tribal lands and offshore hit a record of more than 1 billion barrels, almost a 30% jump.

The BLM move shifts more than 200 filled and unfilled career positions in Washington to Grand Junction and other Western outposts -- primarily the bureau’s top leaders and staffers with training in biology, geology, forestry, rangelands and archeology.  As the experts leave Washington, major decisions will be made by political appointees who lack scientific training, say current and former BLM managers.

Retiree Brady said the agency’s renewable-energy program, which he helped create and oversaw, requires scientific expertise and collaboration that may be lost in the relocation. The large wind and solar energy developments on public lands can disturb the ecology and cultural sites, threaten endangered species like the desert tortoise and bald eagle and impinge on military installations and parklands. Brady said a technical staff is needed in Washington to collaborate with the National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service and the Defense and Energy departments to reduce possible harm from the renewable-energy projects.

Bernhardt has already put political appointees in charge of major BLM land-use decisions. In 2018, he said a team of six political appointees and one career professional must review all actions that involve an environmental impact statement. This includes pivotal resource management plans created by field and state offices that divide up public lands for conservation, drilling, recreation and other uses for 20-year periods. The appointees on the team are lawyers and former Capitol Hill and department staffers with little or no scientific training. Before the order, BLM experts in Washington had played the leading role in reviewing plans, with occasional input from political appointees on major decisions, says Steve Ellis, who retired in 2016 as BLM deputy director, the top career post.

The Bureau of Land Management is moving a long way from D.C.;blm.gov

“The review has been taken over by political people who are not scientists and have never worked in the field,” says Ellis, a forester by training.

State offices that have submitted plans to headquarters for review have been told to open more land to oil and gas leasing. In Wyoming, the biggest energy exporting-state in the country, the Rock Springs field office developed a draft plan that fenced off a limited number of acres from leasing in its region while allowing drilling in other areas. The restrictions, which were requested by local officials and groups, were meant to protect the city’s aquifer and some sensitive big-game habitat. When the plan was presented to headquarters in 2018, the then-BLM director shot it down. He told Wyoming staffers to go back to the drawing board and make a plan that was less restrictive to drilling, says Rugwell, who was in the meeting. 

“He said, ‘Are you trying to turn BLM into the National Park Service?’” Rugwell said. “That insulted me. I take pride in trying to be balanced. When I tried to explain that we had listened to the people of Wyoming, that didn’t make a difference.” The field office is now revising its plan.

In Montana, the Lewistown field office’s draft plan called for setting aside about 100,000 acres because of its wilderness characteristics. The land is next to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, some of Montana’s wildest habitat with robust herds of bugling elk and mule deer. While this land surface would be off-limits to development, the plan sought to strike a balance by permitting oil and gas drilling on more than 1 million acres in the district.

The political team in Washington asked for changes in the plan that eliminated the wilderness characteristics’ protections. The final 2020 plan allows for drilling and road building under controlled conditions in the wilderness area.

The tradeoff between energy production and wildlife conservation is evident in New Mexico, an epicenter of the U.S. surge in energy production. The state’s San Juan Basin is one of the country’s most prolific oil and gas regions. But the drilling infrastructure in the area has disrupted mule deer migration from Colorado to winter feeding grounds in New Mexico. That prompted Sen. Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, to introduce a bill last year with bipartisan backing giving federal agencies authority to create national wildlife corridors to protect the state’s big game and other animals around the country hurt by the loss of habitat.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is another flashpoint in New Mexico. Navajo Nation leaders oppose drilling close to Chaco Canyon where ancient ruins have been preserved. After Bernhardt visited the park last year, he said, he “walked away with a greater sense of appreciation of the magnificent site” and announced a one-year moratorium on leasing within a 10-mile radius of Chaco while BLM revised its resource management plan for the area.

Greater sage grouse: The thing with feathers, and lawyers.
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service /Wikimedia

The stakes are also high for the greater sage grouse. A 2015 plan from the Obama administration covering 10 states established restrictions on development to keep the bird from being listed as an endangered species. Last year, BLM revised the plan to permit more drilling and other development by reducing restrictions on millions of acres of sensitive habitat. But a federal judge in Idaho blocked the revisions from going into effect, citing a wildlife biologist who found that the bureau ignored analyzing how its changes would impact sage grouse habitat in a way that’s “inconsistent with standard practices and the best available science.” The bureau responded in February with supplemental environmental analysis to justify its revisions.

Amid a string of legal challenges, BLM’s Pendley points to the benefits of the U.S. becoming the world’s largest producer of crude oil.

People in states that depend heavily on energy production -- such as Wyoming, New Mexico and North Dakota -- are the winners. An astonishing 50% of Wyoming’s revenue comes from energy industry taxes and royalties. Job growth in oil and gas extraction has been robust until a recent slowdown, made worse by the pandemic that has caused oil prices to plunge.

“Barack Obama says you cannot drill your way out of energy dependence. And the president came in and said, ‘We are going to do it,’ and we have done it,” Pendley said in mid-February on a Colorado radio show. “It’s an unprecedented accomplishment.”

BLM employees in Washington appear to be the losers. Brady, the retired minerals expert, says far fewer employees, only about 20%, will end up making the move, based on a survey he has done will most of the leadership and staff. Many of them are disillusioned over their diminished role at BLM and are either retiring or finding positions at other agencies.

“A lot of good people are fleeing the agency,” a BLM senior manager with extensive experience in Washington wrote in an email before retiring in February. “This administration does not respect career employees.”

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who spearheaded the effort to move the agency to his state, isn’t concerned about the experts the bureau is losing. The Republican lawmaker said BLM is hiring to fill those spots and that it is more important to have career employees living in the West where they’ll learn about the local issues and take a more common-sense approach to regulation.

“If people don't want to live and work in the West, on the land that they're regulating, that’s probably a good decision” to leave the BLM, he says. “I find it offensive and elitist that somebody would refuse to live on the land they regulate.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/12/2020 - 21:20
Published:4/12/2020 8:43:00 PM
[Opinion] You Almost Have To Feel Sorry For Poor Old Barack

By Dave King -

Barack Obama upset

When Barack Obama stated that, as president, he intended to “fundamentally transform America”, he was basing this promise on taking over the nation’s healthcare system with Obamacare, and using the lie of global warming in order to outlaw automobile usage, halt commercial jet airline travel, convince people to stop using ...

You Almost Have To Feel Sorry For Poor Old Barack 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:4/11/2020 4:26:09 PM
[] REALLY? Barack Obama trips all over himself rolling out reminder for public officials to 'speak the truth' and not misinform Published:4/10/2020 10:00:01 AM
[Markets] The Project For A New American Century & The Age Of Bioweapons: 20 Years Of Psychological Terror The Project For A New American Century & The Age Of Bioweapons: 20 Years Of Psychological Terror

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A little over 20 years ago, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted a military exercise that involved a “hypothetical scenario” of hijacked planes flying into both the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

One year later, on October 24-26, 2000, another “hypothetical” military exercise was played out featuring an airline crashing into the Pentagon killing 341 people followed by yet another May 2001 Department of Defense “hypothetical scenario” which saw hundreds of medical personnel training for a “guided missile in the form of a hijacked 757 airliner” crashing into the Pentagon.

What arose from the smoke and debris of September 11, 2001 was unlike anything the sleeping masses or international community expected.

The shock effect so traumatized the masses that quite suddenly, citizens found themselves willing to give up their liberties at home while acquiescing to any retaliatory action desired by their government abroad.

The scale of horror was so great that the international community banded together and showed their love and solidarity towards America in the wake of the tragedy with candlelight vigils across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and South America. Humanity’s natural tendency to embrace and aid our fellow man in times of crisis expressed itself like a bright light in a world of confused darkness and a hope for a durable peace awoke in the hearts of many.

Alas, as the world came soon to discover, that hope was short lived.

The Neocon Takeover of America

Police State measures grew swiftly with the Patriot Act and mass internal surveillance under the “crisis management” run by the neocon cabal in the White House. While a new type of regime change war was created abroad, Dangerous protocols for Cheney’s “Continuity of Government” were set into motion and with these procedures, new mandates for Martial Law were created amplifying the powers, financing and deployment of U.S. Military capabilities both within the USA “under crisis conditions” and around the world.

Governments that had no connection to 9/11 were swiftly targeted for destruction using false evidence of “yellowcake” produced in the bowels of MI6, and a broader unipolar military encirclement of both Russia and China was set into motion which President Putin called out brilliantly in his famous 2007 Munich Security Conference Speech.

Of course this should not have been a surprise for anyone who took the time to read the Project for a New American Century manifesto published in October 2000 entitled Rebuilding America’s Defenses’ (RAD).

Under the Chairmanship of William Kristol (a neocon agent today leading the charge to impeach President Trump) and co-authored by John Bolton, Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, and Donald Rumsfeld, RAD stated that to “further the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one-absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event- like a new Pearl Harbor”. Going further to describe its Hobbesian agenda, the cabal stated that “the Cold War was a bipolar world; the 21st century world is- for the moment at least- decidedly unipolar with America as the world’s sole superpower”.

While much has been said about the “inside job” of 9/11, a lesser appreciated terrorist act occurred over several weeks beginning on September 18, 2001 killing five and infective 17 in the form of envelopes laced with bio-weaponized anthrax.

The Age of Bioweapons and PNAC

This anthrax attack led quickly into the 2004 Bioshield Act with a $5 billion budget and mandate to “pre-empt and defend further bioweapon attacks”. This new chapter of the revolution in military affairs was to be coordinated from leading bioweapons facility at the Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. Since 2002, over $50 billion has been spent on Bioweapons research and defense to date.

The earlier October 2000 RAD document emphasized the importance which the neocon cabal placed on bioweapons (and other next generation war tech) stating:

Combat will likely take place in new dimensions: In space, cyber-space and perhaps the world of microbes… advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool”.

Lawyer and bioweapons expert Francis Boyle stated in 2007 that Fort Detrick’s mandate includes “acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, packing, and dispersing classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens for offensive weapon programs.” These new post-9/11 practices fully trashed the 1975 UN Convention Against Biological Weapons ratified by the USA by establishing a vast international network of bioweapons labs coordinated from Fort Detrick which would be assigned the role of doing much of the dirty work that the U.S. was “officially” prevented from doing on its own soil.

Where Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag to justify his enabling Acts, the neocons had their 9/11. The difference in the case of America was that Cheney failed to achieve the same level of absolute control over his nation as Hitler captured by 1934 (evidenced by pushback from patriotic American military intelligence circles against Cheney’s Iran war agenda). With this neocon failure, the republic lurched on.

The Rot Continues Under Obama

Obama’s rise was seen as a hopeful light to many naïve Democrats who still had not realized how a “false left” vs “false right” clash had been slowly constructed over the post WWII years. Either camp increasingly found itself converging towards the same world government agenda through using somewhat dissimilar paths and flavors.

It didn’t take long for many of Obama’s more critically-minded supporters to realize that the mass surveillance/police state measures, regime change wars, and military confrontation of Russia and China begun under Cheney not only failed to stop, but even expanded at faster rates than ever.

In the months before Obama left office in July 2016, the classified Directive 40: National Continuity Policy was enacted creating a line of “Devolution authority” for all branches of the government to a “duplicate chain of individuals secreted outside Washington available in a catastrophic emergency”. Days prior to Trump’s inauguration, Federal Continuity Directive 1 was issued to transfer authority to military forces who could be used to suppress “insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy.”

The Importance of Knowing This History

There are very clearly two diametrically opposing methods of analyzing, and solving the existential crisis threatening our world currently: Multipolar or Unipolar.

While Russia and China represent a multipolar/pro-nation state vision driven by large scale development projects that benefit all- rich and poor alike exemplified by the New Silk Road, Polar Silk Road, Space Silk Road and now Health Silk Road, something much darker is being promoted by the same financial oligarchy that owns both right and left sides of the deep state coin. These later forces have provably positioned themselves to take control of western governments under crisis conditions and are not afraid to use every weapon in their arsenal to destroy their perceived enemies… including bioweaponry. This latter uncomfortable reality was asserted quite candidly by leading officials of Iran and even the Chinese Foreign Ministry just weeks ago.

Admittedly, whether or not the current coronavirus pandemic is a bioweapon is not yet fully proven (although growing body of evidence asserts that it is, as seen here and here and here and here). What we know for certain are the following facts:

Numbers are being systematically misrepresented to convey much greater rates of death vs infections as dozens of leading medical experts have proven.

Contaminated test kits have started showing up in the UK on March 30 and countless false results are showing up since covid test kits are often not differentiating between covid-19 and the typical coronavirus strains of the flu that average between 7-14% of flu cases every year. This doesn’t mean that COVID-19 should not be taken seriously, but only that the reported numbers are being artificially falsified to generate heightened panic.

The COVID-19 Task Force at London’s Imperial College has been found to be the singular source of the false “left” vs “right” debate poisoning the west’s response to the pandemic. Teams working out of this British Intelligence nexus have generated BOTH the “do-nothing-and-wait-until-natural-resistance-evolves” herd immunity theory while simultaneously creating the “shut everything down one-size-fits-all” doomsday models being used by the WHO, UN, and leading Deep State assets like Michael Bloomberg, Steve Bannon, Bill Gates and George Soros. In case you doubt the influence of the Imperial College on world policy, a March 17 New York Times article described them in the following terms: “With ties to the World Health Organization and a team of 50 scientists, led by a prominent epidemiologist, Neil Ferguson, Imperial is treated as a sort of gold standard, its mathematical models feeding directly into government policies.”

Investigative Journalist Whitney Webb’s February 2020 research demonstrated conclusively that DARPA had received funding in tandem with Fort Detrick since 2017 on genetic modification of novel coronaviruses (with a focus on bats) as well as the development of never before used DNA and mRNA vaccines which change the structure of DNA both for an individual and potentially for a whole race.

Lastly, and most importantly, the pre-9/11 military exercises were not merely hypothetical scenarios but exercises which led directly into a new “Pearl Harbor” that modified the behaviour of Americans under terror, panic and misinformation like nothing ever seen before.

The parallels to today’s coronavirus outbreak cannot be missed for anyone who has taken a serious look at the strange case of the Event 201 Global Pandemic Exercise on October 19, 2019 in New York.

Event 201 was sponsored by the Michael Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and World Economic Forum which ran simulations under the “hypothetical” scenario of a novel coronavirus pandemic killing 60 million people. Reviewing just one of Event 201’s many recordings openly available on their official site features some very disturbing parallels to the events unfolding today:

Unipolar Martial Law or Multipolar Marshall Plan?

As I outlined in my previous paper, the mass-panic generated by COVID-19 has created a 9/11-situation with the expected police state laws being passed under the radar of many people who would normally be paying attention to such things. One of the most dangerous measures enacted involved a classified bill in February which formally mandates the head of NORTHCOM (who is also the head of NORAD) to become acting President of the United States under conditions of Martial Law, un-governability of the executive branch or general chaos in America. This later scenario is not terribly unlikely considering the danger of a financial blowout of the banking system combined with economic lockdowns of the west.

China and Russia both understand the nature of the game and both nations have acted responsibly in dealing with the outbreak of Coronavirus with China’s successful containment having won seven consecutive days of no new cases. It is important that unlike the remedies promoted by London’s Imperial College, neither Russia or China have totally shut down their nations, but have rather kept their economies alive which selecting methods for selective quarantines and lockdowns (China only locked down 15 nations plus Wuhan while the remaining 95% of their economy continued to produces and support the recovering component).

We know that President Trump has resisted the pressure by Deep State Experts to shut down America and has stated so repeatedly, but up until his recent conversations with Xi Jinping and Putin, there were very few options available to him beyond those proposed by Dr. Fauci, the Green New Dealing Dems or “bailout everything” monetarists around Mnuchin and Kudlow.

Now that China and Russia have begun sending cargo ships of vital medical equipment to America as part of the Health Silk Road (over the screams of neocons and neoliberal technocrats like), a new possibility for a cure has presented itself.

  • If Trump acts decisively with courage and intelligence, there is still a chance that sovereign nation states may yet stay in the drivers’ seat and use this crisis as an opportunity to force through a debt jubilee, banking reform and new Bretton Woods emergency conference to establish a foundation for a new just economic system.

  • If Trump is unsuccessful in this task, it is more than a little scary to think about what hell will beset the world in the coming months and years.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/10/2020 - 00:00
Published:4/9/2020 11:27:14 PM
[Markets] Consider The Possibility That Trump Is Right About China Consider The Possibility That Trump Is Right About China

Authored by Nadia Schadlow via The Atlantic,

Critics are letting their disdain for the president blind them to geopolitical realities...

When a new coronavirus emerged in China and began spreading around the world, including in the United States, President Donald Trump’s many critics in the American foreign-policy establishment were quick to identify him as part of the problem. Trump had campaigned on an “America first” foreign policy, which after his victory was enshrined in the official National Security Strategy that his administration published in 2017. At the time, I served in the administration and orchestrated the writing of that document. In the years since, Trump has been criticized for supposedly overturning the post–World War II order and rejecting the role the United States has long played in the world. Amid a global pandemic, he’s being accused—on this site and elsewhere—of alienating allies, undercutting multinational cooperation, and causing America to fight the coronavirus alone.

And yet even as the current emergency has proved him right in fundamental ways—about China specifically and foreign policy more generally—many respectable people in the United States are letting their disdain for the president blind them to what is really going on in the world.

Far from discrediting Trump’s point of view, the COVID-19 crisis reveals what his strategy asserted: that the world is a competitive arena in which great power rivals like China seek advantage, that the state remains the irreplaceable agent of international power and effective action, that international institutions have limited capacity to transform the behavior and preferences of states.

China, America’s most powerful rival, has played a particularly harmful role in the current crisis, which began on its soil. Initially, that country’s lack of transparency prevented prompt action that might have contained the virus. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, Chinese officials initially punished citizens for “spreading rumors” about the disease. The lab in Shanghai that first published the genome of the virus on open platforms was shut down the next day for “rectification,” as the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported in February.

Apparently at the behest of officials at the Wuhan health commission, news reports indicate, visiting teams of experts from elsewhere in China were prevented from speaking freely to doctors in the infectious-disease wards.

Some experts had suspected human-to-human transmission, but their inquiries were rebuffed.

“They didn’t tell us the truth,” one team member said of the local authorities, “and from what we now know of the real situation then, they were lying” to us.   

Now China’s propagandists are competing to create a narrative that obscures the origins of the crisis and that blames the United States for the virus. This irresponsible behavior and lack of transparency revealed what Trump’s National Security Strategy had identified early on: that “contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of others.” Instead of becoming a “responsible stakeholder”—a term George W. Bush’s administration used to describe the role it hoped Beijing would play following China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001—the Chinese Communist Party used the advantages of WTO membership to advance a political and economic system at odds with America’s free and open society. Previous National Security Strategy documents had tiptoed around China’s adversarial conduct, as if calling out that country as a competitor—as the 2017 document unequivocally did—was somehow impolite.

But at some point, an American administration needed to shift the conversation away from hopes for an imagined future China to the realities of the Communist Party’s conduct—which is hardly a secret. For the decade and a half prior to 2017, Republican and Democratic leaders publicly worried about China’s unwillingness to play by the rules, but were reluctant to deal head on with China’s authoritarian government and statist economy. The bipartisan U.S.-China Economic Security Commission has consistently called out China’s unfair practices. In 2010, President Barack Obama lambasted China before the G-20 for its currency manipulation. The need to compete effectively with the policies of the Chinese Communist Party is one of the few points of agreement between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Even as he seeks to find ways to conclude reciprocal trade agreements, his administration has not lost sight of China’s aggressive rise.

At least as controversial as Trump’s critique of China is his emphasis on the importance of sovereignty and his insistence that strong sovereign states are the main agents of change. But states are the foundation of democratic governance and, fundamentally, of security. It is the citizens of states who vote and hold leaders accountable. And it is states that are the foundation of military, political, and economic power in alliances such as NATO, or organizations like the United Nations.

Trump’s emphasis on protecting U.S. sovereignty brought to a boil a simmering national debate about the overlooked costs of globalization. A blind adherence to what the economist Dani Rodrik has called “hyper-globalization”the idea that the interests of big corporations and the principle of market integration took precedence over widely shared prosperity and economic security—had come at the expense of domestic industries. For years, people who complained about these consequences were dismissed as isolationists or as being on “the wrong side of history.”

The coronavirus experience demonstrates that economic interaction does not occur in a vacuum of geopolitical competition. Dependence on China for crucial medical equipment throughout the pandemic has illuminated the dangers of a hyper-globalized economy. Experts had warned of American dependence on key drug ingredients from China. The Wall Street Journal has reported that China is the only maker of key ingredients for certain classes of drugs, including established antibiotics that treat a range of bacterial infections such as pneumonia. American reliance on Chinese suppliers for other pharmaceuticals and medical supplies is also worrisome. Americans should not depend on an authoritarian rival state for its citizens’ health—any more than the United States and other free and open societies should give Chinese companies, and by extension the Chinese Communist Party, control over communications infrastructure and sensitive personal data.

Many of President Trump’s critics in the foreign-policy community put great stock in the ability of multilateral and international organizations to constrain the misbehavior of China and other states. These organizations, at their best, promote concerted action against commonly recognized problems. But Trump’s critics tend to view them mainly in their idealized form and as the central instruments to solve global problems and advance values shared by all. In practice, though, how international organizations perform is profoundly influenced by power relationships among member states.

China’s leaders have become quite skillful at using these bodies to pursue their own interests. President Xi Jinping has made it a priority—as he put it in a 2018 speech—to “reform” and lead in the “global governance system,” viewing such efforts as integral to “building a modern, strong socialist country.” Despite its record of stealing patented technologies, China tried to lead the World Intellectual Property Organization, an effort thwarted by Washington. Chinese tech companies have also sought to induce the United Nations to adopt their facial-recognition and surveillance standards, to clear the way for the deployment of their technologies around the world.

The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy challenged the assumption that international organizations are always driven by a common global good. China’s undue influence in key international organizations was evident most recently, when the World Health Organization hesitated to declare COVID-19 a public-health emergency of international concern.

WHO officials amplified Chinese officials’ early claims that the virus posed no danger of human-to-human transmission. The head of the organization even congratulated China’s top leadership for its “openness to sharing information.” Apparently seeking to avoid Beijing’s wrath, the WHO refused to respond to Taiwan’s early concerns about human-to-human transmission of the virus outbreak in Wuhan.

The COVID-19 experience, although far from over, has generated strong evidence that, while the WHO and other international organizations are of course important for information sharing and coordination, nations continue to do the heavy lifting. The United States remains the largest contributor to the WHO, paying about 15 percent of the organization’s budget—compared with China’s 0.21 percent. In early March, Trump signed a supplemental appropriations act that included $1.3 billion in additional U.S. foreign assistance for pandemic response. Most recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an additional $274 million in emergency funding for at-risk countries. This aid does not come with the strings that China attaches to its aid.

Contrary to what critics argue, “America first” does not mean “America alone.” That Trump might be introducing needed correctives to the hyper-globalization pursued by earlier administrations is generating serious cognitive dissonance in some quarters. And the reality is that only one organization in the entire world has as its sole responsibility the American people’s safety. That institution is the U.S. government. Whether led by Republicans or Democrats—or by Donald Trump or anyone else—it should always put the American people first.

*  *  *

Nadia Schadlow, a former deputy national security adviser for strategy, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/09/2020 - 20:40
Published:4/9/2020 7:55:15 PM
[] Public Trusts Trump to Handle the Chinese Flu Over Senile Old Rapist Joey Fingers, 44% to 36% They trust Obama more than Trump, but that just makes it worse for Biden.... Published:4/9/2020 1:23:10 PM
[Politics] Susan Rice: Trump Administration Was Warned, Given Pandemic 'War Plan' The Trump administration was warned coming in that a global pandemic was "inevitable," including receiving a 69-page "war plan" from the Obama administration, Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama's national security adviser, said... Published:4/9/2020 10:52:03 AM
[Satire] Ex-Candidate Bernie Sanders Still Wants People to Risk Their Lives for Socialism

Stocks surged on Wednesday after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) announced he was suspending his socialist campaign for president. Former vice president Joe Biden is now the only candidate remaining in the race for the Democratic nomination, which means he might finally win an endorsement from his former boss, Barack Obama.

The post Ex-Candidate Bernie Sanders Still Wants People to Risk Their Lives for Socialism appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/8/2020 4:17:54 PM
[Satire] Joe Biden Emerges as Frontrunner to Receive Endorsement From Former Boss

Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) decision to end his presidential campaign means former vice president Joe Biden is the last Democrat standing in the 2020 primary.

The post Joe Biden Emerges as Frontrunner to Receive Endorsement From Former Boss appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/8/2020 2:19:14 PM
[Politics] Poll: Obama Would've Handled Coronavirus Better, but Trump Beats Biden Most voters think that former President Barack Obama would have done a better job at leading during the coronavirus outbreak than President Donald Trump, according to a poll from Politico and Morning Consult released on Wednesday. A majority of voters said... Published:4/8/2020 10:16:26 AM
[Politics] Trump slams HHS watchdog for report on hospital shortages, rips WHO President Donald Trump on Tuesday again lashed out at the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, accusing her of political bias after she compiled a report about serious shortages of supplies and equipment at many US hospitals. “Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on... Published:4/7/2020 12:11:45 PM
[Politics] 39% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending April 2, 2020.

This week’s finding is down one point from a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from March 29-April 2, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:4/6/2020 11:08:35 AM
[Markets] Has The US Cold War Shifted From Russia To China? Has The US Cold War Shifted From Russia To China?

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

Starting in the Obama administration the U.S. increased its full spectrum dominance campaign against Russia as an extension of its goals to destabilize the entire Middle East.

Russia’s intervention into the war in Syria after the so-called Arab Spring across North Africa emerged over an eighteen month period as the demarcation line between the unipolar moment of U.S. hegemony and the beginning of the multi-polar world now well underway.

From the moment President Putin brokered an agreement to halt the U.S. invasion of Syria over the chemical weapons attack blamed on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad Putin has been the main focus of U.S. foreign policy.

That focus has shifted now.

The thwarted invasion, helped by the betrayal of the U.K. parliament of Prime Minister David Cameron, set the stage for turning the Maidan uprising in Kiev into the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the bloody war to prevent Donbass secession that has raged since then.

That led to Russia’s reunification of Crimea and the worst strategic defeat for the U.S. since Vietnam.

Now, I bring up this history not to pedantically repeat myself but to remind you of how deep the roots of U.S. policy are and how hard it is and how long it takes to turn the ship of statecraft and point it somewhere else.

Because we’re nearly seven years since Putin stepped in to help President Obama save face over his ‘red lines’ in Syria. We’re six years and a month since the Crimea vote which the U.S. still refuses to acknowledge even though Crimea is healthier, happier and more prosperous despite sanctions than it ever was as part of Ukraine.

Events of the past few weeks have shifted the narrative significantly thanks to COVID-19 and the Coronapocalypse it has engendered. The escalating back and forth between the U.S. and China over this pandemic I would normally dismiss as typical statecraft and bloviating between rivals looking to create a small gain here or there.

But this time I don’t think that’s the case. There’s something much more serious happening here. Donald Trump has been making his pivot to China as the real threat to the U.S.’s future world standing a priority since the day he was elected.

And he has been hampered and dogged in this the entire time by the Democratic Party and its Clintonista and Obamaite holdovers in the CIA, State Dept. and both sides of the legislature who clearly work for the globalist oligarchy I love to call The Davos Crowd.

One could easily make the argument that RussiaGate itself was an extension of Chinese influence over the Democrats, which has been China Occupied Territory going back to the Clinton Adminstration.

And that has had the disastrous effect of putting the U.S. at odds with everyone who Trump thinks looks at him cross-eyed. The die-hard neoconservatives want him to finish their encirclement of Russia and secure Israel’s future as an energy exporter to Europe and destroying Iran.

The globalists of both Clintonian and Obaman persuasion want him to continue cozying up to China, outsourcing America’s productive capacity and propping up the failing European Union.

And he’s been focused on realigning our foreign policy towards China to reverse the globalism and decouple the U.S. economy from China. He’s used the crudest of tools, trade wars and tariffs, but there’s little denying what the goal has been.

And with the Coronapocaplyse coming on the heels of bitter confrontations in Hong Kong, Iraq, the Philippines, Kashmir, and Iran Chinese/U.S. relations have hit a new low as both sides openly accuse the other of a bio-weapon attack via COVID-19.

It doesn’t matter if the accusations are true or not. Likely neither claim is true. What is relevant is that both are using it to justify fundamental shifts in rhetoric to justify shifts in policy.

So, in contrast to the bitter words between the U.S. and China over COVID-19 and the growing propaganda operations by both governments, we have a pivotal phone call between Trump and Putin which seems very well timed.

Beginning with helping Trump save American lives with a plane-load of aid and expertise and potentially ending with a tacit agreement to keep oil prices from cratering further to assist Trump stabilizing the finances of his domestic oil and gas industry on which both his re-election campaign and the future of the U.S. rests.

So Putin now emerges as someone Trump can do business with when the chips are down. He found out Putin’s character when presented with a real crisis while MbS reacted with belligerence and, worse from Trump’s perspective, incompetence.

MbS has been incapable of wrangling OPEC into any kind of regional force. He’s started a price war while Trump is paying for defense of his oil fields from Yemeni attacks.

So, right now it seems to me the perfect opportunity for Putin and Trump to put MbS and the rest of OPEC in its place and dictate terms as to how the oil markets of the future will look. 

I’m not suggesting that Putin and Trump will bury the hatchet or anything, but they need each other in many ways. And they will need to tone things down on a number of fronts, especially the Middle East and Ukraine, if Trump is going to successfully pull the U.S. out of China’s economic orbit.

Putin’s partnership with China, his friendship with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is an asset which Trump can use to broker deals between all three nations during his second term if he survives this Coronapocalypse.

But he has to get through this summer and the concerted effort on the part of The Davos Crowd to destroy the U.S. economy through mismanagement of this pandemic and the insane power grab that is on the table.

It’s more pronounced and obvious in Europe, which I’ve talked about at length in previous posts (here and here), but it’s a real concern in the U.S. Riders on all of these stimulus bills will see the Democrats getting some of their worst ideas made manifest at the national level even after we see broad usurpation of power by officials at the state level.

And I have to wonder, now, just what these people were thinking in trying to stop the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the disease, especially in light of real hinckey circumstances in France and the overwhelmingly positive results doctors are getting with the treatment.

This, by all accounts, is a cheap and effective solution to the virus, which can be treated for around $20. And when people truly realize just how thoroughly ideological hacks like Bill DeBlasio, Andrew Cuomo, Emmanuel Macron of France and the media tried to kill their loved ones for their political gain, their anger will be explosive.

The attacks on Trump from all the usual suspects in the media after he let it ‘slip’ at that infamous press conference that the drug could be promising are a dead giveaway that he broke containment on the severity of the crisis.

If Trump did that against everyone’s advice it may turn out to be the most influential act of his presidency.

Becuase, there’s something not adding up about this Coronapocaplypse. I’m becoming more and more convinced this is a naked power grab during a crisis by The Davos Crowd to retain control while the financial and political systems fail.

The sheer speed we’ve gone from it’s just China’s problem to cries of the need for global government, gun control, nationalization of industry and financial repression has given even the most paranoid of us whiplash.

And if Trump suspects that China was assisting his political enemies in withholding treatment for COVID-19 to do damage to him politically, true or otherwise, this will forever change the nature of the U.S’s relationship with China.

He already believes they purposefully downplayed the disease to let it infect the world.

This will accelerate the decoupling of their economies and set them on a path indistinguishable from open warfare.

Putin then becomes a very interesting middle man standing between these two behemoths struggling with maintaining their standing in the world while their economic and political fortunes metastacize in the new world built on a whole lot less credit and public trust.

Regardless of where things go from here, it should be obvious by now that Trump is ready to pursue a different path if he’s given the chance. It’s clear he’s still battling the remnants of the Clintonista and Obamaite globalists within the U.S. bureaucracy of dubious loyalty.

But after guiding the U.S. through this pandemic and the financial crisis it has catalyzed, he may be in a position in his second term to beat The Davos Crowd one more time.

*  *  *

Join my Patreon if you want help guiding your way through a Post Chi-merica world . Install the Brave Browser if you want to help yourself keep the lines of communication open.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/05/2020 - 15:30
Published:4/5/2020 3:02:22 PM
[Markets] "I'd Rather Vote For Trump" - Bernie-Backing Joe Rogan Disses Dems For "Making Us All Look Dumb Over Biden" "I'd Rather Vote For Trump" - Bernie-Backing Joe Rogan Disses Dems For "Making Us All Look Dumb Over Biden"

Comdeian and host of one of the world's most popular podcasts, Joe Rogan, has said he would rather vote for Donald Trump than Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, should the former vice-president become the Democratic nominee.

Speaking on April 3 with guest Eric Weinstein, a mathematician, economist, and managing director of Thiel Capital, Rogan said he “could not” vote for Biden, adding that the Democratic Party has “essentially made us all morons.”

Breitbart's Josh Caplan was the first to transcribe the conversation:

ERIC WEINSTEIN: I think that in general people, when they are given no choice at all, express themselves moronically.

JOE ROGAN: When they are given no choice at all — How so?

WEINSTEIN: I want a choice of an actual president that’s viable. I don’t have one. Now you’re going to ask me which of the none-viable people do you like best?

ROGAN: This is the real issue with the Democratic Party. They’ve essentially made us all morons with this Joe Biden thing.

WEINSTEIN: Can you imagine?

ROGAN: I can’t vote for that guy.

WEINSTEIN: I can’t vote for him, I can’t vote for Trump.

ROGAN: I’d rather vote for Trump than [Biden]. I don’t think he can handle anything. You’re relying entirely on his cabinet. If you want to talk about an individual leader who can communicate, he can’t do that. And we don’t know what the fuck he’ll be like after a year in office.

As The Epoch Times' Katabella Roberts reports, Rogan, who previously endorsed Biden’s primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), went on to speak about Trump’s ability to handle the pressure that comes with being president of the United States, noting that the role appeared to take a visible toll on previous Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“The pressure of being the president of the United States is something that no one has ever prepared for. The only one who seems to be fine with it is Trump, oddly enough. He doesn’t seem to be aging at all, or in any sort of decline. Obama, almost immediately, started looking older. George W, almost immediately, started looking older,” Rogan added.

Speaking of Biden, Rogan also noted that the former vice president can “barely talk,” and “forgets what he is saying halfway in the conversation.”

Describing the former vice president’s speech as “not a normal way to communicate unless he’s high as f**k,” Rogan alos pointed out that Biden is “showing actual real deterioration, he is not bouncing back.”

Watch the full podcast here:

Rogan had previously said that he would “probably vote” for Sanders back in January, noting that the Vermont Senator has been “insanely consistent his entire life.”

“I think I’ll probably vote for Bernie. Him, as a human being, when I was hanging out with him, I believe in him, I like him, I like him a lot,” he told New York Times columnist Bari Weiss in a podcast, which was later retweeted by Sanders.

“He’s basically been saying the same thing, been for the same thing his whole life. And that in and of itself is a very powerful structure to operate from,” Rogan added.

As of April 5, Biden is on track to win the nomination, securing 1,217 of the 1,991 delegates needed in the primaries held up to this point. His socialist rival, Sanders, has 914 delegates. According to the Washington Post, aides and allies of Sanders have advised him to step down from the presidential race after losing hope in his campaign.

The next primary is Wisconsin on Tuesday, which polls predict Biden will win.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/05/2020 - 08:50
Published:4/5/2020 8:00:18 AM
[Politics] USA Today fact-check confirms Obama did not replenish CDC national stockpile of masks USA Today factchecked an article from Daily Wire claiming that the Obama administration neglected to replenish the CDC national stockpile of masks after dipping into it several times during his tenure. During . . . Published:4/4/2020 8:58:08 PM
[Politics] USA Today fact-check confirms Obama did not replenish CDC national stockpile of masks USA Today factchecked an article from Daily Wire claiming that the Obama administration neglected to replenish the CDC national stockpile of masks after dipping into it several times during his tenure. During . . . Published:4/4/2020 8:26:56 PM
[Markets] America, We Have To End The Wars Now America, We Have To End The Wars Now

Authored by Scott Horton via The Libertarian Institute,

Can anyone think what our society might have spent six and a half trillion dollars on instead of 20 years of war in the Middle East for nothing? How about the trillion dollars per year we keep spending on the military on top of that?

Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the American empire and the state of Greater Israel sounds downright quaint at this point. Iraq War II, as Senator Bernie Sanders said in the debate a few weeks ago, while letting Joe Biden, one of its primary proponents, off the hook for it, was “a long time ago.” Actually, Senator, we still have troops there fighting Iraq War III 1/2 against what’s left of the ISIS insurgency, and our current government continues to threaten the launch of Iraq War IV against the very parties we fought the last two wars for. This would almost certainly then lead to war with Iran.

The U.S.A. still has soldiers, marines and CIA spies in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and only God and Nick Turse know where else.

Worst of all, America under President Donald Trump is still “leading from behind” in the war in Yemen Barack Obama started in conspiracy with Saudi then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman back in 2015. This war is nothing less than a deliberate genocide.

It is a medieval-style siege campaign against the civilian population of the country. The war has killed more than a quarter of a million innocent people in the last five years, including at least 85,000 children under five years old. And, almost unbelievably, this war is being fought on behalf of the American people’s enemies, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

These are the same guys that bombed the USS Cole in the port of Aden in 2000, helped to coordinate the September 11th attack, tried to blow up a plane over Detroit with the underpants bomb on Christmas Day 2009, tried to blow up another plane with a package bomb and launched the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, France since then. In fact, CENTCOM was helping the Houthi regime in the capital of Sana’a target and kill AQAP as late as January 2015, just two months before Obama stabbed them in the back and took al Qaeda’s side against them. So the war is genocide and treason.

As Senator Rand Paul once explained to Neil Cavuto on Fox News back before he decided to become virtually silent on the matter, if the U.S.-Saudi-UAE alliance were to succeed in driving the Houthi regime from power in the capital city, they could end up being replaced by AQAP or the local Muslim Brotherhood group, al-Islah. There is zero chance that the stated goal of the war, the re-installation of former dictator Mansur Hadi on the throne, could ever succeed. And yet the war rages on. President Trump says he’s doing it for the moneyThat’s right. And he’s just recently sent the Marines to intervene in the war on behalf of our enemy-allies too.

We still have troops in Germany in the name of keeping Russia out 30 years after the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Empire, even though Germany is clearly not afraid of Russia at all, and are instead more worried that the U.S. and its newer allies are going to get them into a fight they do not want. The Germans prefer to “get along with Russia,” and buy natural gas from them, while Trump’s government does everything in its power to prevent it.

America has expanded our NATO military alliance right up to Russia’s western border and continues to threaten to include Ukraine and former-Soviet Georgia in the pact right up to the present day. As the world’s worst hawks and Russiagate Hoax accusers have admitted, Trump has been by far the worst anti-Russia president since the end of the last Cold War.

Obama may have hired a bunch of Hitler-loving Nazis to overthrow the government of Ukraine for him back in 2014, but at least he was too afraid to send them weapons, something Trump has done enthusiastically, even though he was actually impeached by the Democrats for moving a little too slowly on one of the shipments.

We still have troops in South Korea to protect against the North, even though in economic and conventional terms the South overmatches the North by orders of magnitude. Communism really doesn’t work. And the only reason the North even decided to make nukes is because George W. Bush put a gun to their head and essentially made them do it. But as Cato’s Doug Bandow says, we don’t even need a new deal. The U.S. could just forget about North Korea and it wouldn’t make any difference to our security at all.

And now China. Does anyone outside of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps really care whether the entire Pacific Ocean is an American lake or only 95% of it? The “threat” of Chinese dominance in their own part of the world exists only in the heads of hawkish American policy wonks and the Taiwanese, who should have been told a long time ago that they are on their own and that there’s no way in the world the American people or government are willing to trade Los Angeles and San Francisco for Taipei.

Perhaps without the U.S. superpower standing behind them, Taiwanese leaders would be more inclined to seek a peaceful settlement with Beijing. If not, that’s their problem. Not one American in a million is willing to sacrifice their own home town in a nuclear war with China over an island that means nothing to them. Nor should they. Nor should our government even dream they have the authority to hand out such dangerous war guarantees to any other country in such a reckless fashion.

And that’s it. There are no other powers anywhere in the world. Certainly there are none who threaten the American people. Our government claims they are keeping the peace, but there are approximately two million Arabs and Pashtuns who would disagree except that they’ve already been killed in our recent wars and so are unavailable for comment.

The George W. Bush and Barack Obama eras are long over. We near the end, or half-way point, of the Trump years, and yet our former leaders’ wars rage on.

Enough already. It is time to end the war on terrorism and end the rest of the American empire as well. As our dear recently departed friend Jon Basil Utley learned from his professor Carroll Quigley, World Empire is the last stage of a civilization before it dies. That is the tragedy. The hope is that we can learn from history and preserve what’s left of our republic and the freedom that made it great in the first place, by abandoning our overseas “commitments” and husbanding our resources so that we may pass down a legacy of liberty to our children.

The danger to humanity represented by the Coronavirus plague has, by stark relief, exposed just how unnecessary and therefore criminal this entire imperial project has been. We could have quit the empire 30 years ago when the Cold War ended, if not long before.

We could have a perfectly normal and peaceful relationship with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Korea, Russia, China, Yemen and any of the other nations our government likes to pretend threaten us. And when it comes to our differences, we would then be in the position to kill them with kindness and generosity, leading the world to liberty the only way we truly can, voluntarily, on the global free market of ideas and results.

That is what the world needs and the legacy the American people deserve.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/03/2020 - 22:00
Published:4/3/2020 9:18:41 PM
[Politics] REPORT: John Durham investigation intensifies focus on John Brennan It looks like John Durham is zeroing in on former Obama CIA Chief John Brennan in relation to whether he tried to pressure the intel community into their assessment on Russian interference: . . . Published:4/3/2020 3:48:35 PM
[Politics] REPORT: John Durham investigation intensifies focus on John Brennan It looks like John Durham is zeroing in on former Obama CIA Chief John Brennan in relation to whether he tried to pressure the intel community into their assessment on Russian interference: . . . Published:4/3/2020 3:20:32 PM
[] Plouffe: Trump's going to win in November, you know Published:4/2/2020 9:16:45 PM
[] ‘LOL WHAAAT?!’ Valerie Jarrett gets ratio-DRONED for tweeting about how much BETTER Obama would've handled COVID-19 Published:4/2/2020 8:09:40 AM
[] Obama blasts Trump's "denials" on coronavirus, climate change Published:4/1/2020 10:04:39 AM
[Politics] Obama Compares Virus to Climate Change; Rips Emission Changes Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter on Tuesday to compare the spread of coronavirus to climate change. Published:3/31/2020 2:29:31 PM
[Politics] BOOM: Ted Cruz FIXES Obama’s tweet taking a shot at Trump over coronavirus warnings… This morning the LA Times reported that Trump has rolled back one of Obama’s biggest climate change regulations by lowering Obama’s gas mileage economy demands on the auto industry from 5% increases . . . Published:3/31/2020 1:29:59 PM
[Politics] BOOM: Ted Cruz FIXES Obama’s tweet taking a shot at Trump over coronavirus warnings… This morning the LA Times reported that Trump has rolled back one of Obama’s biggest climate change regulations by lowering Obama’s gas mileage economy demands on the auto industry from 5% increases . . . Published:3/31/2020 1:29:59 PM
[Markets] "This Will Be A Tsunami" - America Has A New Problem: How To Give Away $2 Trillion In 2 Weeks "This Will Be A Tsunami" - America Has A New Problem: How To Give Away $2 Trillion In 2 Weeks

Markets have rejoiced over the prospect of an unprecedented stimulus bill, which was passed by unanimous vote in the Senate earlier this week, and is awaiting passage in the House on Friday. But as BMO rates strategist Ian Lyngen argued in a note published earlier this week, passing the stimulus bill into law is merely the first hurdle. 

After that, bureaucrats will need to figure out how to get the money to the people, while individuals and small/medium business owners pray that the money finds its way into their hands before they're driven into bankruptcy or starvation (or both). The quest to distribute the money will require cooperation between various state and federal systems on a level that's unprecedented, while states make adjustments to their unemployment systems and other processes to disburse the federal grant money in ways that have never been done before.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was on President George W. Bush’s economic team during the 2001 recession, said he’s "cautiously optimistic" about the package, but worries about the money getting where it needs to go, while also worrying that it won't prevent a dramatic economic contraction.

“I hope it works. It’s designed sensibly on paper. Now we have to get the money out the door,” Holtz-Eakin said. Even still, “we’re probably going to have a second quarter growth rate that is double-digit negative."

Barack Obama's $800 billion stimulus bill was literally the first major policy accomplishment of his administration, undertaken almost immediately after his inauguration as most of the country was still wrapped up in the aftermath of the crisis. In March, Obama would remark that stocks looked 'cheap', effectively calling the bottom. And over the following years, the money slowly trickled out of federal departments and state grants.

Just as the selloff and economic hit seem more concentrated this time around, so is the government stimulus package meant to effectuate a powerful jolt to economic growth - something strong enough to resuscitate an economy that's bleeding more than 3 million jobs a week, a number that was effectively curbed by our country's ability to process the claims (remember, most state governments are still running on massive mainframe computers from the 1980s).

As Bloomberg explains, new programs like the $377 billion subsidy for small businesses via loans that will become "grants" if the businesses simply choose to retain all of their pre-crisis employees for the next few years are intended to get moving quickly, with the money being ladled out in weeks, not months.

Remember last week when President Trump first said he wanted checks in mailboxes in two weeks? That deadline is probably impossible. But if that money isn't there in a month or two, people are really going to start to feel it. As one reporter explained via twitter earlier, the financial system isn't really set up for the mass forbearance of payments.

In other words, the government, the banks, the Fed and everyone else involved is racing against the clock. Both the Treasury, the banks, the various state agencies that administer the welfare and unemployment insurance programs that have just been given a shot of "steroids", as Chuck Schumer put it - basically everybody involved in making sure this money gets to where it was intended to go - is now scrambling to compete in a sack race that will test the capacity of their systems to work together and also process the sheer volume of payments and disbursements necessary for this program to work.

Remember how state websites around the country crashed last week as millions of Americans tried to file for unemployment insurance? That was just a glimpse of the mayhem to come. The technological pandemonium will be tantamount to a mass marketing opportunity for Amazon, Microsoft and Google as they battle for the lucrative state and federal contracts to transition these systems off the old mainframes and on to the cloud.

But technological limitations aren't the only potential roadblocks. The bill was written in a hurry, and some legal definitions and processes remain vague, opening the door to lawsuits and injunctions and other potential disagreements intended to tie up the payments and divert money as everybody scrambles to get a piece.

The biggest single portion of the stimulus is the billions earmarked for large companies and state and local governments. But the rules for deciding who is entitled to that money, and how it will be distributed, are still being worked out.

According to the legislation, the Treasury has 10 days from the date Trump signs it into law to come up with a set of guidelines governing who will qualify for the loans and how the application process will be regulated.

One of the biggest components of the legislation is the $600 billion earmarked for states to dole out via beefed up unemployment benefits through July 31. Maximum state benefits range from $235 in Mississippi to $823 in Massacjusetts, and the number will range depending on income.

Though the government wants individuals to take advantage of the programs "quickly", at best, the money will take a few days to become available, and the checks won't start to flow for a week or two, probably longer.

The added boost would be four months for those laid off now, but less time for those losing their jobs closer to July 31. And with so many different state agencies administering their own programs, there's plenty of room for some stated to stand out as successes, and others to stand out as failures.

"We want people to take advantage of all of this quickly,” Pelosi said Thursday. Some of that will "depend on how the states do it, and they are not all uniform."

As one Obama-era official said to Bloomberg, compensating contractors and the self-employed gig economy workers could be a challenge for some states.

Seth Harris, who was deputy secretary of labor in the Obama administration, said the expanded coverage in the legislation, especially to contractors and those employed in the gig economy, may be a logistics challenge for some states.

"These under-resourced, strapped, stressed systems in many cases do not have the latest technology or data systems," he said. “Now they’re being hit by the largest tsunami of unemployment claims in the history of those data being collected. Now Congress is asking them to change the way they do things."

One Kentucky Republican is threatening to throw up roadblocks for the bill by essentially showing up and demanding an in-person roll call vote, while Speaker Pelosi tries to push through a voice vote to expedite the vote and avoid individuals coming close to one another after at least 2 Congressmen have tested positive for COVID-19.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/30/2020 - 19:45
Published:3/30/2020 6:55:06 PM
[Politics] 40% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending March 26, 2020.

This week’s finding is the same as a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from March 15-19, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/30/2020 10:51:55 AM
[2019 News] Former Obama official caught spreading lies

Former Obama official caught spreading lies to induce panic. Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Barack Obama, now apparently a full-time sleaze-dog Trump hater, posted a tweet last night claiming that a “major hospital in the Midwest” had just reached its limit “minutes ago” on ventilators and […]

The post Former Obama official caught spreading lies appeared first on IHTM.

Published:3/28/2020 11:40:34 AM
[Uncategorized] Fake News, Real Panic: Viral Tweets Of Ventilator Shortage Forcing Hospitals To Select Which Patients Will Die Former Obama Official Andy Slavitt and law professor Nicholas Bagley do their part to stoke panic and Trump-bashing. Published:3/28/2020 9:09:54 AM
[Markets] Suspending The Constitution: Police State Uses Crises To Expand Its Lockdown Powers Suspending The Constitution: Police State Uses Crises To Expand Its Lockdown Powers

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.”? Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

You can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured.

This coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Not only are the federal and state governments unraveling the constitutional fabric of the nation with lockdown mandates that are sending the economy into a tailspin and wreaking havoc with our liberties, but they are also rendering the citizenry fully dependent on the government for financial handouts, medical intervention, protection and sustenance.

Unless we find some way to rein in the government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be epic.

Everything I have warned about for years—government overreach, invasive surveillance, martial law, abuse of powers, militarized police, weaponized technology used to track and control the citizenry, and so on—has coalesced into this present moment.

The government’s shameless exploitation of past national emergencies for its own nefarious purposes pales in comparison to what is presently unfolding.

It’s downright Machiavellian.

Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been anticipating this moment for years, quietly assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s notice.

It should surprise no one, then, that the Trump Administration has asked Congress to allow it to suspend parts of the Constitution whenever it deems it necessary during this coronavirus pandemic and “other” emergencies.

It’s that “other” emergencies part that should particularly give you pause, if not spur you to immediate action (by action, I mean a loud and vocal, apolitical, nonpartisan outcry and sustained, apolitical, nonpartisan resistance).

In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been quietly trotting out and testing a long laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.

We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who should live or die…

You’re getting the picture now, right?

These are powers the police state would desperately like to make permanent.

Specifically, the DOJ wants to be able to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. The DOJ also wants to be able to pause court proceedings and suspend the statute of limitations on criminal and civil cases.

Both signify a clear violation of every right espoused in the Constitution, including habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus, a fundamental tenet of English common law that guards against arbitrary and lawless state action, does not appear anywhere in the Bill of Rights. Its importance was such that it was enshrined in the Constitution itself. And it is of such magnitude that all other rights, including those in the Bill of Rights, are dependent upon it. Without habeas corpus, the significance of all other rights crumbles.

The right of habeas corpus was important to the Framers of the Constitution because they knew from personal experience what it was like to be labeled enemy combatants, imprisoned indefinitely and not given the opportunity to appear before a neutral judge. Believing that such arbitrary imprisonment is “in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instrument of tyranny,” the Founders were all the more determined to protect Americans from such government abuses.

Translated as “you should have the body,” habeas corpus is a legal action, or writ, by which those imprisoned unlawfully can seek relief from their imprisonment. Derived from English common law, habeas corpus first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215 and is the oldest human right in the history of English-speaking civilization. The doctrine of habeas corpus stems from the requirement that a government must either charge a person or let him go free.

While serving as President, Thomas Jefferson addressed the essential necessity of habeas corpus. In his first inaugural address on March 4, 1801, Jefferson said, “I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong; that this government is not strong enough.” But, said Jefferson, our nation was “the world’s best hope” and, because of our strong commitment to democracy, “the strongest government on earth.” Jefferson said that the sum of this basic belief was found in the “freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.”

Throughout the twentieth century, the importance of the right of habeas corpus has repeatedly been confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet 200-plus years after America’s founders risked their lives to secure their freedoms, we find ourselves right back where we started, with a government determined to strip us of every vestige of our freedoms.

The DOJ’s latest request to Congress is merely a signal that the police state is ready to step out of the shadows, with the current national emergency being a convenient cover for their dastardly deeds.

Bear in mind, however, that these powers the Trump Administration, acting on orders from the police state, are officially asking Congress to recognize and authorize barely scratch the surface of the far-reaching powers the government has already unilaterally claimed for itself.

Unofficially, the police state has been riding roughshod over the rule of law for years now without any pretense of being reined in or restricted in its power grabs by Congress, the courts or the citizenry.

As David C. Unger, observes in The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs:

“For seven decades we have been yielding our most basic liberties to a secretive, unaccountable emergency state – a vast but increasingly misdirected complex of national security institutions, reflexes, and beliefs that so define our present world that we forget that there was ever a different America. ... Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have given way to permanent crisis management: to policing the planet and fighting preventative wars of ideological containment, usually on terrain chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies. Limited government and constitutional accountability have been shouldered aside by the kind of imperial presidency our constitutional system was explicitly designed to prevent.”

This rise of an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security is all happening according to schedule.

The civil unrest, the national emergencies, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters,” the government’s reliance on the armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems, the implicit declaration of martial law packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security: the powers-that-be have been planning and preparing for such a crisis for years now, not just with active shooter drills and lockdowns and checkpoints and heightened danger alerts, but with a sensory overload of militarized, battlefield images—in video games, in movies, on the news—that acclimate us to life in a police state.

Whether or not this particular crisis is of the government’s own making is not the point: to those for whom power and profit are everything, the end always justifies the means.

The seeds of this present madness were sown several decades ago when George W. Bush stealthily issued two presidential directives that granted the president the power to unilaterally declare a national emergency, which is loosely defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.

Comprising the country’s Continuity of Government (COG) plan, these directives (National Security Presidential Directive 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20), which do not need congressional approval, provide a skeletal outline of the actions the president will take in the event of a “national emergency.”

Mind you, that national emergency can take any form, can be manipulated for any purpose and can be used to justify any end goal—all on the say so of the president.

Just what sort of actions the president will take once he declares a national emergency can barely be discerned from the barebones directives. However, one thing is clear: in the event of a national emergency, the president will become a dictator because while the COG directives ensure the continuity of executive branch functions, they do not provide for repopulating or reconvening Congress or the Supreme Court.

Thus, a debilitating attack would give unchecked executive, legislative and judicial power to the executive branch and its unelected minions. The country would then be subjected to martial law by default, and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights would be suspended.

Originally devised as a plan for quickly restoring constitutional government, the COG concept arose during the Cold War. The fear was that a nuclear strike would paralyze the federal government.

These concerns continued into the 1980s.

Under President Ronald Reagan, an elaborate plan was created in which three teams consisting of a cabinet member, an executive chief of staff and military and intelligence officials would practice evacuating and directing a counter nuclear strike against the Soviet Union from a variety of high-tech, mobile command vehicles. If the president and vice president were both killed, one of these teams would take control, with the ranking cabinet official serving as president.

Among those Reagan handpicked to advise an inexperienced and potentially incompetent successor in a time of crisis were Congressman Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, then a business executive with G. D. Searle & Co. At least once a year during the 1980s, Cheney and Rumsfeld vanished on top-secret training missions, where each of the teams practiced evacuating and directing a counter nuclear strike against Russia.

This all changed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, when it became clear that the assumptions that drove COG planning during the Cold War no longer applied: there would be no warning against a so-called “terrorist” attack. Thus, instead of relying on part-time bureaucrats and evacuation schematics, the Bush administration permanently appointed executive officials, stationed outside the capital, to run a shadow government.

The U.S. military has reportedly already been given standby orders under COG for this present coronavirus pandemic.

The plans for the shadow government administered by those who run the Deep State are more elaborate than many realize. Massive underground bunkers the size of small cities are sprinkled throughout the country for the government elite to escape to in the event of a national emergency. Mount Weather, near Bluemont, Va., is one of a number of such facilities. Built into the side of a mountain, this bunker contains, among other things, a hospital, crematorium, dining and recreation areas, sleeping quarters, reservoirs of drinking and cooling water, an emergency power plant and a radio/television studio.

There is also an Office of the Presidency at Mount Weather, which regularly receives top-secret national security information from all the federal departments and agencies. This facility was largely unknown to everyone, including Congress, until it came to light in the mid-1970s. Military personnel connected to the bunker have refused to reveal any information about it, even before congressional committees. In fact, Congress has no oversight, budgetary or otherwise, on Mount Weather, and the specifics of the facility remain top-secret.

What is the bottom line here?

We are, for all intents and purposes, one crisis away from having a full-fledged authoritarian state emerge from the shadows, at which time democratic government will be dissolved and the country will be ruled by an unelected bureaucracy. 

This is exactly the kind of mischief that Thomas Jefferson warned against when he cautioned, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Power corrupts.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Thus far, we have at least pretended that the government abides by the Constitution.

Those who wrote our Constitution sought to ensure our freedoms by creating a document that protects our God-given rights at all times, even when we are engaged in war, whether that is a so-called war on terrorism, a so-called war on drugs, a so-called war on illegal immigration, or a so-called war on disease.

The attempts by each successive presidential administration to rule by fiat merely plays into the hands of those who would distort the government’s system of checks and balances and its constitutional separation of powers beyond all recognition.

Remember, these powers do not expire at the end of a president’s term. They remain on the books, just waiting to be used or abused by the next political demagogue.

So, too, every action taken by Trump and his predecessors to weaken the system of checks and balances, sidestep the rule of law, and expand the power of the executive branch of government has made us that much more vulnerable to those who would abuse those powers in the future.

Although the Constitution invests the President with very specific, limited powers, in recent years, American presidents (Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc.) have claimed the power to completely and almost unilaterally alter the landscape of this country for good or for ill.

The Trump Administration’s willingness to circumvent the Constitution by leaning heavily on the president’s so-called emergency powers constitutes a gross perversion of what limited power the Constitution affords the executive branch.

The powers amassed by each successive president through the negligence of Congress and the courts—powers which add up to a toolbox of terror for an imperial ruler—empower whomever occupies the Oval Office to act as a dictator, above the law and beyond any real accountability.

As law professor William P. Marshall explains,every extraordinary use of power by one President expands the availability of executive branch power for use by future Presidents.” Moreover, it doesn’t even matter whether other presidents have chosen not to take advantage of any particular power, because “it is a President’s action in using power, rather than forsaking its use, that has the precedential significance.”

In other words, each successive president continues to add to his office’s list of extraordinary orders and directives, expanding the reach and power of the presidency and granting him- or herself near dictatorial powers.

This abuse of presidential powers has been going on for so long that it has become the norm, the Constitution be damned.

We no longer have a system of checks and balances.

“The system of checks and balances that the Framers envisioned now lacks effective checks and is no longer in balance,” concludes Marshall.

“The implications of this are serious. The Framers designed a system of separation of powers to combat government excess and abuse and to curb incompetence. They also believed that, in the absence of an effective separation-of-powers structure, such ills would inevitably follow. Unfortunately, however, power once taken is not easily surrendered.”

All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush and now Trump—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects (including American citizens) indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to wage wars without congressional authorization, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to establish a standing army on American soil, to operate a shadow government, to declare national emergencies for any manipulated reason, and to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—have become a permanent part of the president’s toolbox of terror.

These presidential powers—acquired through the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements and which can be activated by any sitting president—enable past, president and future presidents to operate above the law and beyond the reach of the Constitution.

Think on this: the presidential election is right around the corner.

Suddenly, the improbable possibility of any incumbent president attempting to extend the police state’s stranglehold on power by using current events to justify postponing or doing away with an election—forfeiting the people’s rights to govern altogether—and establishing a totalitarian regime seems less far-fetched than it did even a few years ago.

The emergency state is now out in the open for all to see. Unfortunately, “we the people” refuse to see what’s before us. Most Americans, fearful and easily controlled, would sooner rouse themselves to fight for that last roll of toilet paper than they would their own freedoms.

This is how freedom dies.

We erect our own prison walls, and as our rights dwindle away, we forge our own chains of servitude to the police state.

Be warned, however: once you surrender your freedoms to the government—no matter how compelling the reason might be for doing so—you can never get them back.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, no government willingly relinquishes power.

If we continue down this road, there can be no surprise about what awaits us at the end.

The America metamorphosing before our eyes is almost unrecognizable from the country I grew up in, and that’s not just tragic—it’s downright terrifying.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/28/2020 - 00:05
Published:3/27/2020 11:11:45 PM
[Comedy] @Kendragarden One thing I’ve learned so far in quarantine is that my husband refuses to microwave anything for 45 seconds, he always does 44. When I asked him why, he said, “For Obama.” Published:3/27/2020 7:13:04 PM
[Middle Column] Rush Limbaugh: ‘We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know’

Rush Limbaugh: "The deep state extends very deeply. And the American people did not elect a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know."

"This country is shut down. It’s just incredible. And I’ll tell you, folks, it has been scary to me, it has been frightening to me to see how easy it has been to do this...it isn’t gonna be the same country." 

On coronavirus stimulus package: "Why even have budgets? We don’t have $2 trillion to be giving away to people...We don’t have the money. We have a national debt of 22, $23 trillion. We don’t have this money. We’re printing this money."

"You remember how everybody was fit to be tied when Obama had a $787 billion stimulus? That wasn’t even $1 trillion. That led to the creation of the Tea Party." 

Published:3/27/2020 4:09:44 PM
[Markets] White House, Senators Strike Deal on Massive Stimulus Package (Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration struck a deal with Senate Democrats and Republicans on an historic rescue package that tees up more than $2 trillion in spending and tax breaks to bolster the hobbled U.S. economy and fund a nationwide effort to stem the coronavirus.“At last we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said early Wednesday on the chamber’s floor. “I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver to the country.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called it an “outstanding agreement.”The legislation was still being drafted but McConnell said the Senate would vote on it Wednesday. It would still have to pass in the House before it gets to President Donald Trump’s desk. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had consulted with Schumer throughout his negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.The plan includes about $500 billion that can be used to back loans and assistance to companies, including $50 billion for loans to U.S. airlines, as well as state and local governments. It also has more than $350 billion to aid small businesses. Then there is $150 billion for hospitals and other health-care providers for equipment and supplies.Direct PaymentsFor individuals the package provides direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child. Unemployment insurance would be extended to four months, the benefits would be bolstered by $600 weekly and eligibility would be expanded to cover more workers.Democrats demanded and won a series of restraints on corporations that would benefit from loans or investments from the Treasury Department, as well as an oversight mechanism for who gets money.Any company receiving a government loan would be subject to a ban on stock buybacks through the term of the loan plus one additional year. They also would have to limit executive bonuses and take steps to protect workers. The Treasury Department would have to disclose the terms of loans or other aid to companies and a new Treasury inspector general would oversee the lending program.Notably, Democrats won language that would bar any business owned by Trump or his family from getting loans from Treasury. Businesses owned by members of Congress, heads of executive departments and Vice President Mike Pence also would be blocked.With the prospect that Congress was closing in on a deal Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 11% in its biggest advance since 1933, and the S&P 500 rebounded with the biggest one-day gain since October 2008 after starting the week with a rout. In Asia markets, U.S. futures pared early losses after news of the deal.In a letter to his fellow Democrats, Schumer highlighted a series of transparency measures that would prevent keeping loans secret and create a new inspector general to oversee the program.Schumer also said that hundreds of billions would be spent on Democratic priorities, including the expansion of unemployment benefits, money for hospitals as well as more funding for cities and transportation.Democrats also rejected the $3 billion sought by the Trump administration to buy oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.Pelosi said on Tuesday that the House could quickly approve a Senate-passed coronavirus stimulus with a voice vote that doesn’t require members to travel to Washington -- as long as the bill does not have any “poison pills” Democrats object to.That would also require the unanimous consent of all House Republicans. The second-ranking House Republican, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, told his vote-counting team during a conference call Tuesday night that the best option is to accept a Senate-passed economic stimulus bill, according to Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine.Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director, said after the agreement was reached that the “the president and his team look forward to swift action for urgently needed assistance to the American people and powerful aid to the nation’s economy as we work through this crisis.”The size of the stimulus package is unprecedented, dwarfing the approximately $800 billion Obama stimulus that passed five months after the 2008 financial crash.Together with Fed intervention, the proposed legislation amounted to a $6 trillion stimulus, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, or about 30% of annual GDP.The package will likely more than double a U.S budget deficit that was already set to hit $1 trillion this year before the outbreak. It also may not be the last infusion of government spending in response to the spread of the virus.Lawmakers universally expressed a sense of urgency as the nation’s economy deteriorates and the health outlook grows more dire. The World Health Organization said the U.S. has the potential to become the new epicenter of the global pandemic as the number of known infections soars.The proposal is the third -- and biggest -- plan by Congress to confront the coronavirus crisis as the disease spreads.An initial $8 billion plan passed by Congress March 5 is funding emergency health care needs stemming from the coronavirus, and a second plan enacted last week will provide many Americans with paid sick leave, food assistance and free coronavirus testing. It also will send tens of billions in fresh aid to states.(Updates with additional details of plan, beginning in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. Published:3/25/2020 2:49:39 AM
[Security] The Truth About the Charge That Trump ‘Eliminated’ White House Pandemic Office Before Coronavirus

A chief line of attack during the coronavirus crisis from former Obama administration officials and leading Democrats is that President Donald Trump shut down a... Read More

The post The Truth About the Charge That Trump ‘Eliminated’ White House Pandemic Office Before Coronavirus appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/24/2020 8:48:56 PM
[] Hot take: Ben Rhodes wants to know where the Tea Party is complaining about all this government spending Published:3/24/2020 7:20:08 PM
[National Security] ‘I Take My Hat Off to China’: Obama’s China Ambassador Praises Chinese Response to Virus

Former president Barack Obama's China ambassador Max Baucus, who established extensive business ties to China after leaving the ambassadorship in 2017, extolled China's government on Tuesday for the way the country has responded to the coronavirus outbreak.

The post ‘I Take My Hat Off to China’: Obama’s China Ambassador Praises Chinese Response to Virus appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/24/2020 2:19:55 PM
[Politics] Pelosi’s Identity Politics Pork Barrel

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel said during the country’s last major emergency. Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi... Read More

The post Pelosi’s Identity Politics Pork Barrel appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/24/2020 11:47:27 AM
[Entertainment] Even Michelle Obama Says She's Busy "Netflix and Chilling" During Coronavirus Outbreak Barack Obama, Michelle ObamaStars--they're just like us! As the world retreats indoors to avoid the spread of coronavirus, so is Barack and Michelle Obama. The First Lady caught up with TV host Ellen DeGeneres...
Published:3/23/2020 5:12:18 PM
[Politics] 40% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending March 19, 2020.

This week’s finding is down two points from a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from March 15-19, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/23/2020 3:41:49 PM
[] LA Times and Bloomberg News Both Report: Federal Stockpile of N95 Masks Was Depleted Under Obama and Never Restocked I imagine this is why we saw dozens of fake news "masks don't work" stories -- Obama's minions were putting out the spin because they knew they'd left the country open to a pandemic. Can't wait to see the new... Published:3/23/2020 12:13:28 PM
[2020 News] Video of Dr. Fauci in 2009 is Unearthed – Shows a Calm and Unalarmed NIH Chief During H1N1 Epidemic that Killed Over 12 Thousand Americans

Video of Dr. Fauci in 2009 is Unearthed – Shows a Calm and Unalarmed NIH Chief During H1N1 Epidemic that Killed Over 12 Thousand Americans. Today he’s Doctor Doom, back then not so much. What’s different? Trump is a Republican, in 2009 Obama was President.

The post Video of Dr. Fauci in 2009 is Unearthed – Shows a Calm and Unalarmed NIH Chief During H1N1 Epidemic that Killed Over 12 Thousand Americans appeared first on IHTM.

Published:3/23/2020 11:43:21 AM
[Politics] 40% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending March 19, 2020.

This week’s finding is down two points from a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from March 15-19, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/23/2020 11:10:39 AM
[Markets] Chang: China's Real Disease Is Not COVID-19 Chang: China's Real Disease Is Not COVID-19

Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute,

Last July, five American analysts who have been consistently wrong told us "China is not an enemy."

Actually, this time they were technically right. China's communism is not an enemy. It is the enemy.

After the coronavirus pandemic subsides, Americans should not forget Beijing's malicious campaign against their country.

For more than a month, the central government's foreign ministry and the Communist Party's Global Times have been trying to tar the Trump administration. The campaign culminated in a series of tweets from rising Beijing star Zhao Lijian, foreign ministry spokesman and deputy director general of the ministry's Information Department.

On March 12, in a tweet, he accused U.S. officials of being "immoral." Hours before, he had tweeted that "patient zero" was in the U.S. and suggested that the U.S. Army had "brought the epidemic to Wuhan" -- intimating that America was conducting germ warfare.

Also that day, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, Zhao's boss, twisted testimony of Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to try to show that the coronavirus outbreak had started in America.

President Donald J. Trump, in his Rose Garden press conference the next day, March 13, downplayed the overtly hostile messages. He first noted his conversations with Chinese ruler Xi Jinping and then said, referring to Chinese leaders, "they know where it came from."

Actually, it is worse if Chinese officials in fact knew where the coronavirus originated. In this case, these officials, by going out of their way to blame the U.S., were demonstrating once again the inherent hostility of their system to America.

Unfortunately, Beijing cannot be deterred. The U.S. State Department on March 13 summoned Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai to protest the foreign ministry's disinformation campaign. Despite the warning, the Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, on March 16 continued to promote the coronavirus-not-originated-in-China theory, with a tweet.

From here, it looks as if relations are only going to deteriorate. For one thing, Beijing's official Xinhua News Agency has been threatening to cut off "medical supplies," "plunging" America into a "mighty sea of coronavirus."

Beijing has, according to Trump's trade advisor Peter Navarro, already nationalized one American factory making medical masks. Moreover, Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on air repeatedly said the Chinese forced at least one ship carrying masks, gloves, and other protective gear to the United States to return to China.

Beijing's threat to cut off supplies and harm Americans will only encourage the U.S. to cut trade with China, or, more precisely, to not allow trade to return to pre-coronavirus levels. Reducing commerce, some believe, is the only long-term solution for the U.S. as Chinese communists have tried to use their central role as a manufacturer to spread totalitarianism and advance other geopolitical goals anathema to the Western democracies.

The cutting of links will still leave trade at high levels, at least at first. Nonetheless, the large volume of commerce, often called the "ballast" of China-U.S. ties, probably will not stabilize relations.

"Does trade increase or decrease the likelihood of conflict?" Samuel Huntington, the late Harvard political scientist, asked in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

"The assumption that it reduces the probability of war between nations is, at a minimum, not proven, and much evidence exists to the contrary."

High levels of trade did not prevent the First World War, he pointed out in that landmark book. As Huntington, building on the work of others, noted, what is important is expectation. "Economic interdependence fosters peace," he wrote, "only 'when states expect that high trade levels will continue into the foreseeable future.'" If, however, trade partners "do not expect high levels of interdependence to continue, war is likely to result."

Trump expects trade between the two nations to increase, saying on March 13 that China will be buying $250 billion more products pursuant to the Phase One trade deal signed January 15. Beijing in that agreement generally promised within a two-year period to increase purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over 2017 levels.

Trump's optimism is not shared in Beijing, however. China, using the epidemic as an excuse, is now pushing to change the agreement by deferring its purchase obligations, the heart of the arrangement as far as the U.S. is concerned.

The Global Times notes that the pandemic inhibits Chinese demand for American goods, but that is not necessarily a good reason for relief from the terms of the deal.

Why not? Xi Jinping, after all, knew about the coronavirus epidemic long before he authorized the signing of the deal in the White House. In February, he said he had chaired a meeting of the Party's Politburo Standing Committee on January 7 in which he issued orders to contain the epidemic. Xi's knowledge of the outbreak on January 15 and his push for relief now, therefore, makes him look cynical. In all probability, he had no intention of honoring his side of the bargain from the beginning. Recall that Xi broke his September 2015 pledges to former President Barack Obama not to militarize China's artificial islands and not to hack America for commercial purposes.

In any event, this year Sino-U.S. trade will almost certainly decline. Such a delinking would be in line with Trump's stated desire to bring manufacturing back home.

The president has evidently been thinking about these matters for a long time. On July 21, 2017, for instance, he issued his Executive Order on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States. The Defense Industrial Base study, as it is known, exposed American vulnerabilities and led to actions to encourage manufacturing to return home. Trump can now use his sweeping powers granted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 to continue this essential process.

Of course, war does not inevitably result when countries "delink," "decouple," or "disengage" their economies. Yet China and the U.S. are also moving apart as Americans become wary of an increasingly belligerent Chinese state, one that already has demonstrated that it has, for instance, little reluctance to injure Americans.

China, as we now know, allowed the coronavirus to spread for six weeks in December and January before Xi publicly acknowledged the disease. So, it is no surprise that Americans — and the Chinese people, who are now demanding fundamental political change — realize that the real disease is communism.

Coronavirus proves that for America and the Free World, China's communism is the enemy -- the one that really counts.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/23/2020 - 00:00
Published:3/22/2020 11:07:09 PM
[Markets] Operation 'Granite Shadow' - The US Military's Above-To-Secret Plans If COVID-19 Cripples Government Operation 'Granite Shadow' - The US Military's Above-To-Secret Plans If COVID-19 Cripples Government

Authored by William Arkin via NewsWeek.com,

As President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme Court could also be disabled, forcing the implementation of "continuity of government" plans that include evacuating Washington and "devolving" leadership to second-tier officials in remote and quarantined locations.

But Coronavirus is also new territory, where the military itself is vulnerable and the disaster scenarios being contemplated -- including the possibility of widespread domestic violence as a result of food shortages -- are forcing planners to look at what are called "extraordinary circumstances".

Above-Top Secret contingency plans already exist for what the military is supposed to do if all the Constitutional successors are incapacitated. Standby orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to protect Washington but also to prepare for the possibility of some form of martial law.

According to new documents and interviews with military experts, the various plans – codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac – are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. They are so secret that under these extraordinary plans, "devolution" could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.

"We're in new territory," says one senior officer, the entire post-9/11 paradigm of emergency planning thrown out the window. The officer jokes, in the kind of morbid humor characteristic of this slow-moving disaster, that America had better learn who Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy is.

He is the "combatant commander" for the United States and would in theory be in charge if Washington were eviscerated. That is, until a new civilian leader could be installed.

'We're in territory we've never been in before'

What happens, government expert Norman Ornstein asked last week, if so many members of Congress come down with the coronavirus that the legislature cannot meet or cannot muster a quorum? After 9/11, Ornstein and others, alarmed by how little Washington had prepared for such possibilities, created a bipartisan Continuity of Government Commission to examine precisely these and other possibilities.

It has been a two-decade long futile effort, Ornstein says, with Congress uninterested or unable to either pass new laws or create working procedures that would allow emergency and remote operations. The rest of the federal government equally is unprepared to operate if a pandemic were to hit the very people called upon to lead in an emergency. That is why for the first time, other than planning for the aftermath of a nuclear war, extraordinary procedures are being contemplated.

In the past, almost every imagined contingency associated with emergency preparedness has assumed civil and military assistance coming from the outside. One military officer involved in continuity planning calls it a "cavalry" mentality: that military assistance is requested or ordered after local civil authority has been exhausted.

"There might not be an outside," the officer says, asking that she not be named because she is speaking about sensitive matters.

In recognition of the equal vulnerability of military forces, the Pentagon has instituted unprecedented restrictions on off-base travel. Last Wednesday it restricted most overseas travel for 60 days, and then on Friday issued supplemental domestic guidance that essentially keeps all uniformed personnel on or near military bases. There are exceptions, including travel that is "mission-essential," the Pentagon says.

Mission essential in this regard applies to the maze of more than a dozen different secret assignments, most of them falling under three larger contingency plans:

  • CONPLAN 3400, or the military's plan for "homeland defense," if America itself is a battlefield.

  • CONPLAN 3500, "defense support of civil authorities," where the military assists in an emergency short of armed attack on the nation.

  • CONPLAN 3600, military operations in the National Capital Region and continuation of government, under which the most-secret plans to support continuity are nested.

All of these plans are the responsibility of U.S. Northern Command (or NORTHCOM), the homeland defense military authority created after 9/11. Air Force General O'Shaughnessy is NORTHCOM's Colorado Springs-based commander.

On February 1, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper signed orders directing NORTHCOM to execute nationwide pandemic plans. Secretly, he signed Warning Orders (the WARNORD as it's called) alerting NORTHCOM and a host of east coast units to "prepare to deploy" in support of potential extraordinary missions.

Seven secret plans – some highly compartmented – exist to prepare for these extraordinary missions.

  • Three are transportation related, just to move and support the White House and the federal government as it evacuates and operates from alternate sites.
    • The first is called the Rescue & Evacuation of the Occupants of the Executive Mansion (or RESEM) plan, responsible for protecting President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their families--whether that means moving them at the direction of the Secret Service or, in a catastrophe, digging them out of the rubble of the White House.

    • The second is called the Joint Emergency Evacuation Plan (or JEEP), and it organizes transportation for the Secretary of Defense and other national security leaders so that they can leave the Washington area.

    • The Atlas Plan is a third, moving non-military leaders – Congressional leadership, the Supreme Court and other important figures – to their emergency relocation sites. Under Atlas, a still- secret bunker would be activated and cordoned, with government operations shifting to Maryland.

  • The three most compartmented contingencies – Octagon, Freejack, and Zodiac – call upon various military units in Washington DC, North Carolina and eastern Maryland to defend government operations if there is a total breakdown.

  • The seventh plan – codenamed Granite Shadow – lays out the playbook for extraordinary domestic missions that involve weapons of mass destruction. (I disclosed the existence of this plan in 2005, and its associated "national mission force"--a force that is on alert at all times, even in peacetime, to respond to a terrorist attack or threat with the nuclear weapon.)

Most of these plans have been quietly activated during presidential inaugurals and State of the Union addresses, the centrality of the weapons of mass destruction scenario seen in the annual Capital Shield exercise in Washington. Last year's exercise posited a WMD attack on Metro Station. Military sources say that only the massive destruction caused by a nuclear device – or the enormous loss of life that could be caused by a biological agent – present catastrophic pressure great enough to justify movement into extra-Constitutional actions and extraordinary circumstances plans.

"WMD is such an important scenario," a former NORTHCOM commander told me, "not because it is the greatest risk, but because it stresses the system most severely."

According to another senior retired officer, who told me about Granite Shadow and is now working as a defense contractor, the national mission force goes out on its missions with "special authorities" pre-delegated by the president and the attorney general. These special authorities are needed because under regulations and the law, federal military forces can supplant civil authority or engage in law enforcement only under the strictest conditions.

When might the military's "emergency authority" be needed? Traditionally, it's thought of after a nuclear device goes off in an American city. But now, planners are looking at military response to urban violence as people seek protection and fight over food. And, according to one senior officer, in the contingency of the complete evacuation of Washington.

Under Defense department regulations, military commanders are authorized to take action on their own – in extraordinary circumstances – where "duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation." The conditions include "large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances" involving "significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property." The Joint Chiefs of Staff codified these rules in October 2018, reminding commanders that they could decide, on their own authority, to "engage temporarily" in military control in circumstances "where prior authorization by the President is impossible" or where local authorities "are unable to control the situation." A new Trump-era Pentagon directive calls it "extreme situations." In all cases, even where a military commander declares martial law, the directives say that civil rule has to be restored as soon as possible.

"In scenarios where one city or one region is devastated, that's a pretty straightforward process," the military planner told me.

"But with coronavirus, where the effect is nationwide, we're in territory we've never been in before."

Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.POOL/GETTY

An extended period of devolution

Continuity of government and protection of the presidency began in the Eisenhower administration with the possibility emerging that Washington could be obliterated in an atomic attack. The need to plan for a nuclear decision-maker to survive even a direct attack led to the building of bunkers and a maze of secret procedures and exceptions, many of which are still followed to this day. Congress was also folded in – at least Congressional leadership – to ensure that there would always be a Constitutional successor. And then the Supreme Court was added.

Before 9/11, continuity and emergency programs were broadened beyond nuclear war preparedness, particularly as hurricanes began to have such devastating effects on modern urban society. And because of the advent of pandemics, broadly beginning with the Avian Influenza, civil agencies responsible for national security, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, which is the lead agency to respond to coronavirus, were also brought into continuity protection.

Despite well-honed plans and constant testing over 30 years, the attacks of September 11, 2001 severely tested all aspects of continuity movement and communications. Many of the procedures written down on paper were either ignored or thrown out the window. As a result, continuity had a second coming, billions spent by the new Department of Homeland and the other national security agencies to ensure that the Washington leadership could communicate and move, a whole new system established to be ready if a terrorist attack came without warning. Bunkers, many shuttered at the end of the Cold War, were reopened and expanded. Befitting the panic at the time, and the atomic legacy, the most extraordinary planning scenario posited a terrorist attack that would involve an improvised nuclear or radiological dispersal device in a major American city.

The terrorist attack scenario dominated until 2006, when the disastrous government response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans shifted federal government preparedness to formally adopt an "all-hazards" system. Civil agencies, the 50 states and local communities – particularly large cities – all began to synchronize emergency preparedness with common protocols. U.S. Northern Command was created to harness military assistance in domestic disasters, it's three overarching contingency plans the product now of 15 years of trial and error.

Government at all levels now have extensive "continuity" programs to respond to man-made and natural disasters, a national response framework that has steadily grown and taken hold. This is the public world of emergency response, ranging from life-saving efforts to protect and restore critical infrastructure, to drills that practice the evacuation of key officials. It is a partnership created between federal government agencies and the States, carefully constructed to guard the rule of law.

In July 2016, Barack Obama signed the classified Presidential Policy Directive 40 on "National Continuity Policy," establishing "essential functions" that government agencies were tasked to protect and retain. At the highest level were the National Essential Functions, those that posit "the continued functioning" of government under the Constitution. In order to preserve Constitutional rule, agencies were ordered to have not just a line of succession but also one of "devolution," a duplicate chain of individuals secreted outside Washington available in a catastrophic emergency. Federal Continuity Directive 1, issued just days before Donald Trump became president, says that devolution has to establish "procedures to transfer statutory authority and responsibilities" to this secondary designated staff to sustain essential functions.

"Devolution may be temporary, or may endure for an extended period," the directive states. And it further directs that the devolution staff be located at "a geographically dispersed location unaffected by the incident." Except that in the case of coronavirus, there may be no such location. This places the plans for the extraordinary into completely uncharted territory, planners not just considering how devolution or martial law might work in a nationwide disaster but also how those earmarked to implement these very plans have to be sequestered and made ready, even while they are equally vulnerable.

NORTHCOM stresses in almost everything it produces for public consumption that it operates only in "support" of civil authorities, in response to state requests for assistance or with the consent of local authorities. Legally, the command says, the use of federal military forces in law enforcement can only take place if those forces are used to suppress "insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy." A second test also has to be met, that such disturbances "hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State," that is, that the public is deprived of its legal and constitutional protections. Local civil authorities must be "unable, fail, or refuse" to protect the civilian population for military forces to be called in, Pentagon directives make clear.

Hurricane Katrina forced the federal government to shift from a terrorism scenario to an "all-hazards" system. A family on their porch in the Treme area of New Orleans, which lies under several feet of water after Katrina hit on August 29, 2005.RICK WILKING/REUTERS

Since Hurricane Katrina in 2006, no emergency has triggered any state to even request federal military aid under these procedures. Part of the reason, the senior officer involved in planning says, is that local police forces have themselves become more capable, acquiring military-grade equipment and training. And part of the reason is that the governors have worked together to strengthen the National Guard, which can enforce domestic law when it is mustered under state control.

But to give a sense of how sensitive the employment of military forces on American soil is, when the New York National Guard arrived in New Rochelle last week, even though they were operating under the control of the governor, Mayor Noam Bramson still found it necessary to assure the public that no one in military uniform would have any "policing function."

Local authorities around America are already expressing worries that they have insufficient equipment, particularly ventilators, to deal with a possible influx of coronavirus patients, the number of hospital beds fewer than the potential number of patients that could need them. And brawls have already broken out in stores where products are in short supply. The worst case is that shortages and violence spreads, that the federal military, isolated and kept healthy behind its own barricade, is called to take over.

Orders have already gone out that Secretary of Defense Esper and his deputy, David Norquist, remain physically separated, to guard against both of them becoming incapacitated. Other national security agencies are following suit, and the White House continuity specialists are readying evacuation should the virus sweep through the Executive Mansion.

The plans state that the government continues essential functions under all circumstances, even if that is with the devolved second string or under temporary military command. One of the "national essential functions", according to Federal Continuity Directive 1 is that the government "provid[e] leadership visible to the Nation and the world ... [while] maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people"

The question is whether a faceless elite could ever provide that confidence, preserving government command but also adding to public panic. That could be a virus too.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/22/2020 - 22:00
Published:3/22/2020 9:06:22 PM
[Markets] The 3 Pillars Of Trump's Reelection Campaign Are Shaking Simultaneously  The 3 Pillars Of Trump's Reelection Campaign Are Shaking Simultaneously 

In a little over a month, the three pillars underpinning President Trump's argument for reelection have crashed: "the greatest economy ever;" running against Bernie Sanders and demonizing socialism; and "draining the swamp" of big government as the administration combats the virus with big government and attempts to revive the economy through corporate bailouts, said CNBC's Christina Wilkie

President Trump's entire reelection campaign was built on the "greatest economy ever." A feel-good movement that was really overhyped. As the economy started to slow in late 2018, the president started focusing on the soaring stock market in early 2019, mostly because inflation, manufacturing, and employment were decelerating. But with the economy and stock market now crashed, President Trump's economic narrative has been virtually wiped out in a matter of weeks. Now his administration faces depression employment and growth numbers in the second quarter. 

S&P500 Crash Analogs 

Another pillar of the president's reelection campaign that came crashing down was the centric focus on demonizing Bernie Sanders and socialism. However, with Joe Biden surging in the primaries, that argument has become a lot less effective in the last three weeks. 

"Americans of all political beliefs are sick and tired of the radical, rage-filled left socialists," Trump said at a campaign rally in New Jersey in late January. "Really, the Democrat Party is the socialist party and maybe worse." Later in the rally. Trump claimed that Democrats "have never been more extreme than they are right now," adding: "These people are crazy. They're taking their cues from socialists like Bernie [Sanders]."

The Biden campaign was on political life support last month. Everything changed when he won South Carolina's primary election by a massive 30 points. 

Since then, Biden has been on a tear and has won a large share of Democratic primaries and delegates. Earlier this week, the former vice president won contests in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, which we noted has pretty much cemented his chances of becoming the nominee.

The Biden bump and Sanders stumble is bad news for the president: 

"Trump was very much hoping to run against Bernie Sanders and play the so-called socialism card, and now that plan has also fallen apart," said Matthew Barreto, a professor of political science and Chicano studies at UCLA. "Vice President Biden is going to be a very formidable opponent, who has more experience than Trump does in the White House."

The last pillar to be ripped down has been "drain the swamp," and "downsize the bloated federal bureaucracy." The president's virus response has been "a whole-of-government approach."

President Trump's downplaying of the virus last month led to containment windows for large metro areas across the country to be missed, partly the reason why confirmed cases are following an exponential curve today, due to a solid month of community spreading. The mortality rate has stayed low because the hospital bed and ICU-level treatment capacity can still handle the influx of patients across major hospital systems. However, when the most vulnerable can no longer be treated, that is when deaths start to rise. 

USA Virus Map (as of 3-20-20, 0815ET) 

The president's pitch of the "system is rigged," and socialism is evil, has also fallen apart after his administration is now proposing emergency bailout loans to corporate America. The administration is also adopting socialist universal basic income in the form of stimulus checks for tens of millions of Americans impacted by the virus.

With the economy crashed and a depression imminent for the second quarter, Biden's next narrative could be that he singlehandedly saved the nation from the 2008/09 financial crisis with his role in the 2009 economic recovery package during the Obama administration. 

"You are going to hear Biden talk more and more about his role in the 2009 economic recovery package that he helped promote during the Obama administration," said Barreto. 

With the election and a potential recession looming, Trump's boasting of the "greatest ever" economy, stock market, and employment markets are over. 

"Trump has to be careful now, not to say things that contradict the evidence of ordinary people's experiences, what's right in front of them every day," said William Galston, a senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution.

Wilkie concludes by saying: 

"In order for Trump to make a cogent argument for reelection, he will need to find a way to reconcile the two contradictory versions of himself that he's currently projecting. There's precoronavirus Trump, who built an entire presidency on principles such as not giving away government benefits for free and not trusting career bureaucrats. And there's post-coronavirus Trump, who tweeted out this message, previously unthinkable, on Wednesday morning."

"For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you," the president said.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/22/2020 - 15:40
Published:3/22/2020 2:54:20 PM
[Markets] Martial Law In The US: How Likely Is It, & What Will Happen? Martial Law In The US: How Likely Is It, & What Will Happen?

Authored by Robert Richardson via OffGridSurvival.com,

The march towards martial law is something that is often ignored by the general public, often labeled as Quackery or something belonging on conspiracy websites. But what’s happening in this country is exactly what our founders warned us about, and martial law is something they took very, very seriously.

What is martial law?

If you’re looking for a definition, then Martial Law basically means using state or national military force to enforce the will of the government on the people.

Under a declaration of martial law, Constitutional freedoms and liberties are suspended, and civilians are no longer entitled to their civil rights. It basically allows the government, or a tyrannical politician, to shred the Constitution and impose its will through military force.

History of Martial Law in the United States of America

“Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

- Winston Churchill

In one way or another, there have always been tyrants who have used the power of government to suppress and control the public. But if we are looking for specific examples of Martial Law being used inside the United States, we don’t have to look very hard or far to find them.

Using the strictest definition of the term, we can see the roots of martial law in America take hold during the lead up to the Revolutionary war. Although there were many reasons for the war, including resistance to taxes imposed by the British parliament, the main catalyst was England’s decision to use military troops to enforce everyday law throughout the colonies.

The beginning of the end? The Civil War Ushers in a Strong Central Government through Martial Law Enforcement

Flash forward a hundred years, and many of the most egregious examples of martial law can be found throughout the civil war. While today’s history books largely ignore the real reasons for the war or the many atrocities committed by President Lincoln, the facts of what really happened cannot be disputed.

The reason we have lost so many of our liberties can be tied directly to the civil war.

On September 15, 1863, President Lincoln imposed Congressionally-authorized martial law. While history contends the war was fought to end slavery, the truth is, Lincoln by his own admission never really cared about freeing slaves. In fact, Lincoln never intended to abolish slavery, his main interest was centralizing government power and using the federal government to exert complete control over all citizens. The abolishment of slavery was only a byproduct of the war. It actually took the 13th amendment to end slavery, since Lincoln actually only freed Southern slaves, not slaves in states loyal to the Union.

During the Civil War, Lincoln continually violated the Constitution, in some cases suspending the entire Constitution that he swore to uphold.  

  • He suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus without the consent of congress.

  • He shut down newspapers whose writers displayed any dissent to Union policy or spoke out against him.

  • He raised troops without the consent of Congress.

  • He closed courts by force.

  • He even imprisoned citizens, newspaper owners,and elected officials without cause and without a trial.

Our founders were very wary of using the military to enforce public policy, and concerns about this type of abuse date back to, and largely influenced, the creation of the Constitution. The founders continually warned about using military force to uphold law and order; unfortunately, most Americans are rather ignorant of history and are even more ignorant to what our founders intended when they created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What will happen under Martial law?

The actual words martial law will probably never be used.

The first thing you will likely see is a declaration of a “State of Emergency”. This may be done nationally, in cases of war or a large-scale terrorist attacks; or it may happen locally, as witnessed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In August of 2005, New Orleans was declared a disaster area and a state of emergency was declared by the governor. This allowed state officials to order evacuations and forcefully remove residents from their homes, suspend certain laws, confiscate firearms, and suspend the sale of items like liquor, firearms, and ammunition.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans police, the U.S. Marshals office, and the Louisiana National Guard forcibly confiscated over 1,000 legal firearms from law-abiding citizens.

Depending on the reasons behind the declaration you may also see:

  • The suspension of the Constitution, probably starting with the first and second amendment.

  • Confiscation of firearms; it has happened and it will happen again.

  • Suspension of Habeas corpus: Imprisonment without due process and without a trial.

  • Travel Restrictions, including road closures and possibly, even quarantine zones.

  • Mandatory Curfews and Mandatory Identification.

  • Automatic search and seizures without a warrant.

When can Martial Law be enacted?

When Martial Law can be enacted is a pretty touchy subject, largely because our founders never intended the federal government or a standing army be permitted to take such actions. Unfortunately, most people accept these unconstitutional activities and are more than willing to give up their essential liberties in exchange for peace of mind and not having to think for themselves.

This is something Benjamin Franklin warned about when he famously wrote,
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

How likely is martial law in the United States?

Let’s face it, this country is a ticking time bomb. From widespread social unrest, crime, and violence to a growing national debt which includes an entire subset of our population that depends on government assistance to exist, the writing is on the wall: Trouble is Coming.

In my opinion, we are already under a form of martial law. The founders never intended standing armies policing the citizens of the United States; sadly that is exactly what we have.

Drones, armored vehicles with high power weapons, tanks, and battlefield helicopters are no longer something that you see on some foreign battlefield; it’s now standard operating procedure at police stations throughout the country. Our federal government has poured billions of dollars into militarizing and taking over our country’s local police forces, in what can only be described as a domestic military force or standing army meant to enforce federal law.

President Bush Expands Martial Law Authority

On September 29, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122). The law expanded the President’s authority to declare Martial Law under revisions to the Insurrection Act and actually allowed the President to take charge of National Guard troops without state governor authorization.

While certain aspects of the bill were rolled back in 2008, President Obama used the 2012 NDAA to further strengthen the Executive offices ability to declare Martial Law and added provisions that would allow military troops to detain U.S. citizens without a trial.

President Obama Forms National Police Task Force; Uses Social unrest as Justification.

In March of 2015, the Obama administration put together a task force that outlined rules for our nation’s police.

In his Task Force on 21st-century policing report, he outlined the formation of a National Policing Practices and Accountability Division within the federal government. The report went on to describe how the Department of Homeland Security could be used to “ensure that community policing tactics in state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies are incorporated into their role in homeland security.”

Increasing number of Joint Police/Military Drills are using American Citizens as Theoretical Threats.

From the Jade Helm Military drills that classified Texas and Utah as hostile zones, to National Guard troops in California using crisis actors to portray “right-wing” U.S. citizens in their training exercises, there is a growing number of military-style drills that are portraying American citizens as the perceived threat.

Back in 2012, an army report about the future use of the military as a police force within the United States looked at theoretical situations where the U.S. Army could be used against Tea Party “insurrectionists” who take over U.S. cities. During that same time period, the Department of Homeland Security released a report titled, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States,” where they outlined who the federal government sees as the largest terrorist threat in the country – that threat was U.S. citizens with extreme “right-wing” views.

The United Stated of America that our Founders created is gone; it’s been replaced by a system that has grown so powerful that most people don’t even realize they’ve become enslaved by that very system.

So how likely is Martial Law in the United States? Well, in some form it’s already here; unfortunately, most people choose to ignore the reality of the situation. That being said, to see it fully enacted we will likely first see a major crisis – either real or manufactured – something like a large-scale terror attack, war with a rogue nation, or a major pandemic disease outbreak.

Martial Law Preparedness Resources:

  • Prepper 101: Your Survival Guide to Getting Started: General preparedness guidelines that will help during any crisis or long-term survival situation.

  • Bugout Planning: During martial law, it’s likely that most routes of travel will be severely restricted making bugging out something you need to think about well ahead of time.

  • Pandemics and How to Prepare for a Pandemic Outbreak: We list this here because it’s one disaster situation that has the potential to scare the entire populace into accepting some form of martial law, quarantine, and military checkpoints.

  • Emergency Communication Preparedness Checklist: During times of crisis, especially a martial law situation, uncensored information will be hard to come by. In all likelihood, you will see a sort of digital quarantine on top of the physical barriers with information on the internet and digital airwaves controlled by the government. You need to have a plan to get unfiltered news and information from trusted sources.

  • Best Emergency Food: The Top Survival Food Supplies: During any type of disaster you need to make sure you have adequate supplies on hand, including food, water, medical supplies, and self-defense supplies.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/21/2020 - 23:50
Published:3/21/2020 11:00:15 PM
[World] Recep Tayyip Erdogan blackmailing Europe by threatening a flood of refugees

Rahm Emmanuel, once former President Obama’s White House chief of staff, is remembered for saying that politicians should never let a serious crisis go to waste. While the European Union is trying to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and the trade effects of Brexit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ... Published:3/21/2020 3:58:51 PM

[Markets] From Quarantine To Tyranny To Rebellion: Where Is The Line In The Sand? From Quarantine To Tyranny To Rebellion: Where Is The Line In The Sand?

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

America is in a haze right now. It seems like half the country is in denial of the danger while the other half is awaking from apathy and frantically trying to prepare. This is creating a fog of confusion as one side screams “it's nothing but the flu, stop buying up the grocery store...!”, and the other side just keeps stocking goods, though in an inexperienced way that prioritizes comfort over practicality.

The other day I went by the grocery store to grab a few peripheral items while they still exist on sale, and this was the first time since the Covid-19 situation began that people in my area actually seemed...different.   The usual carefree obliviousness was gone from their faces and they all had a deer-in-the-headlights look, their eyes wide as saucers as they nervously scrambled around the store.  None of them were absorbed into their cell phones.  All of them were alert as many people huddled over their cart, quickly snatching items from the shelves as if protecting themselves from potential thieves.  It seems that reality is finally hitting the masses square in the face like a sucker punch.

Suddenly, the prepper movement doesn't look so “crazy” after all, and average people are now turning to prepper forums and websites to ask us for information on how to plan more effectively. Instead of stacking piles of toilet paper for psychological comfort, they are now buying food supplies.  The people who used to accuse us of being “chicken littles” and “doom mongers” are eerily silent. I almost miss them. At the very least, everyone is now concerned about the situation, if not for different reasons.

This is a far cry from the past two months, when governments around the world as well as the UN's WHO continually downplayed the pandemic threat and offered the public nothing in terms of usable advice. The establishment consistently kept the public in the dark, not just on the virus and its capabilities but also on the vast weaknesses in the global economy. Abruptly in the past week they suggest that a threat is ahead and now millions of people are scrambling to prepare however they can.

As I have noted in previous articles, there is a reason why the establishment refused to inform the citizenry of the instabilities inherent in the pandemic scenario; the more unknowns there are for the public the more panic will set it, chaos ensues, and it is chaos that can be exploited to push forward numerous agendas. These agendas include global centralization as well as the erasure of constitutional liberties.

Now that a national collapse event is slowly being accepted by many as a legitimate possibility, there is a debate rising as to what measures the government should take, or should be allowed to take. Those of us in the prepper and liberty movements always knew this day was coming; a day when the public would start considering trading away an array of freedoms in exchange for promises of security.

Even now, government officials are still trying to tell people that this event will be “short lived”.

“Don't worry”, they say, “It will only last a couple of weeks.” Oh, and “Don't concern yourselves with food shortages, that's not going to happen...” You can look at these lies in two different ways:

1) The government is trying to stave off a “panic” by slowly easing people into the reality that the system is breaking.

2) The government is trying to keep people passive to the danger so that when the system breaks completely they will be unprepared, desperate and easier to manipulate.

I believe the second option is the most likely given the evidence at hand, but in either case the government is crippling the public response time to the disaster. They did this for months and they are still trying to do it now.

So, my argument is, why should we suddenly take their advice or take orders from them when the manure hits the fan? They have FAILED in their responsibilities to inform and protect the citizenry, and they are about to violate their prime mandate, which is to protect the personal liberties that make our society worth living in. Without these freedoms, there is no point to keeping our system intact anyway.

The establishment and its defenders will claim that we all “have to make sacrifices” today in order to have freedoms tomorrow, but that's not how the constitution was designed to work. Our rights are MORE important during times of distress and crisis, for it is in these times that we need to know what we are fighting for, and what we are struggling for. Survival is meaningless if we have to accept tyranny to achieve it.

Once governments see a chance to usurp freedoms from the people, they DO NOT tend to give those freedoms back later unless the people become a viable opponent that could bring the establishment down.

There are some who will say that a forced quarantine is necessary to protect the “greater good” of the greater number. It is true that the Covid-19 virus is a danger, and I think the people who claim it's “no worse than the flu” are fighting a losing battle as the death rate is clearly much higher than the average flu virus. They will look extremely foolish a few months from now as the virus continues to cycle through the population and the dead continue to increase. That said, I think I understand why they cling to this crumbling argument.

They think that by arguing that the pandemic is “all hype” they can morally justify resistance to the inevitable totalitarian response from governments. They think it has to be one or the other:  Either the virus is hyped and resistance is acceptable, or the virus is real and resistance is unacceptable. I ask – Why can't it be both? The virus is dangerous to many, but a totalitarian response is still unacceptable.

The virus is in fact more destructive than any flu in recent memory – It's not a plague on the level of the Black Death, but if it continues to kill at a rate of 3% to 5% as it has been then this puts a large number of human beings at risk. It is not something to be taken lightly, and those people that are actively trying to discourage others from preparing for it are truly narcissistic in their ideology. If you don't think it's a threat, then don't prepare, but don't scream at others for taking precautions just because you desperately want to be right, and don't come around demanding food and supplies from those same people when the ceiling comes crashing down on your head.

Also, understand that Covid-19 is only part of the problem. The bigger crisis is in the economy itself; a collapse has been baked into this cake for years now, and the virus has little to do with it.  Leftist kids are going around calling this pandemic the "boomer remover", almost cheering the assumption that mostly older and conservative Americans will die from this.  I have to break it to them that during the economic collapse that is inevitably coming they will have to wipe the snot from their noses and put on their big-boy diapers otherwise they aren't going to survive either; most of them have no discernible skills and no preparations to speak of.  They are essentially useless.

If Covid-19 is a "boomer remover", then the economic crisis is a "snowflake bake", and they are about to get roasted.

As I have noted time and time again over the past few years, the Everything Bubble only needed one major trigger event to fully implode, but the international banks and central banks created that precarious bubble in the first place, and they set up all the conditions which made it so dangerous. The virus is not the cause of the crash, it is just very good cover for the banks who are the real perpetrators.

Ignore the virus if you want, but the economic collapse is undeniable. Accept that the national and global emergency is real (even if it has been financially engineered), and let's move on to a more meaningful debate: Should governments be allowed to implement martial law measures in response?

In my view there is no excuse for tyranny, even during a pandemic event. The majority of the public is more than capable of voluntary quarantine without government enforcement. Add government intervention into the mix and it will only make people want to do the opposite.  And beyond that, Covid-19 has such a long incubation period that ultimately most people will probably contract it anyway. Total containment is not achievable (as we have just seen in South Korea). Quarantines might slow the spread, which is good, but do not expect to avoid this virus indefinitely. Why sacrifice your freedoms for safety that is an illusion?

Then there is the argument of “herd immunity”, which is utter nonsense and always has been. Either a person or group is immune, or they are not, and people who are not immune do not put immune people at risk. Period. The claim that the virus might “mutate” within non-vaccinated or non-immune people and put vaccinated people at risk is a propaganda argument that ignores science. Generally, when a virus does mutate, it mutates into a less deadly or infectious strain, not a more deadly strain. Viruses are programmed to survive, too. If they evolved to kill ALL potential hosts then that would be counter to their survival imperative, which is why they usually evolve in the other direction.

In terms of Covid-19, there is no “herd immunity” by the establishment definition anyway, because it is a brand new virus. There is no vaccine and the vast majority of people have no antibodies. No one can make the argument that people need to be forcefully locked down in order to maintain a herd immunity that doesn't exist.

Finally, there is a question of agenda and motive behind the rising call for martial law-like measures over the pandemic. For example, Champaign, Illinois mayor Deborah Frank Feinen has given herself executive powers in response to the coronavirus infection that are outright dictatorial and Soviet in their violations. Among other things, she demands the power to enforce curfews, ban public gatherings, ban alcohol, ban or confiscate firearms, as well as confiscate supplies from any citizen if those supplies are “needed for emergency response”.

Is this really about protecting the public? How does it protect the public to confiscate their only means of defense, or confiscate their food and supplies? This type of thing is usually done in communist countries, and it is done to protect government power, not protect the people.

Understand also that the Champaign mayor is not the only official calling for these types of actions. From New York to LA and beyond, those of us who are paying attention have noticed a swift and quiet implementation of orders that are whittling down American freedoms. Do not expect Donald Trump to operate differently, either. Expect him to initiate martial law measures (though he may not call in “martial law”) in the next few months. Expect him to activate Executive Order 13603, which was created by Barack Obama in 2012 and allows the federal government to appropriate everything from land to food to firearms in the event of a national emergency. This is going to happen. Count on it.

The pandemic is not an excuse for tyranny, and I for one will not comply. I and many I know will self quarantine for a time with the expectation that we will eventually contract the virus, and hopefully our immune systems are strong enough to fight it. In the meantime, I will not be allowing any government officials to confiscate my supplies or my firearms "for my own safety" or "for the greater good".

I will not be cooperating with census takers asking questions about how much supplies I have stocked and whether or not I am ill.  I will not sit idle while checkpoints are set up in my county to enforce travel restrictions or demand people test for symptoms. I will not be signing up for government rations in exchange for my biometric data. I will not be visiting the local FEMA center for government aid. And, I will fight anyone that tries to assert martial law tactics in my area.

A message to the government: I know you won't, but I suggest you leave people alone and let them self isolate in peace. Your brand of "help" is not the kind of help we need. You and the financial elites that reside over you created this mess, and we do not trust you to clean it up. At bottom, this disaster should result in your removal from power. You should be held accountable and replaced.

The system itself needs to be rebuilt from the ground up and principles of liberty need to return to the forefront of our society. Centralization and globalization have caused untold grief and terror to humanity; this collapse only reinforces the argument that we need to try something different. They will say that the world was “not centralized enough” and that a more global (totalitarian) framework is the solution. But, of course, who really benefits from that in the end? The common man, or the elites?

They can offer any rationalization they want in the name of public safety, but we know what the real play is here. If the line is crossed into martial law, I plan to fight. Not just for me, but for the next generation. Because if I do not, those children may grow up in the world never knowing what freedom truly is. There are fates worse than death, and a life of tyranny and slavery is one of them.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 03/21/2020 - 00:05
Published:3/20/2020 11:26:24 PM
[Markets] The Inevitable Outcome Of The Oil Price War The Inevitable Outcome Of The Oil Price War

Authored by Simon Watkins via OilPrice.com,

One might reasonably posit that when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) signalled that Saudi Arabia was once again going to produce oil to the maximum to crash oil prices in a full-scale oil price war, Russian President Vladimir Putin probably fell off the horse he was riding bare-chested somewhere in Siberia because he was laughing so much. There is a phrase in Russian intelligence circles for clueless people that are ruthlessly used without their knowledge in covert operations, which is ‘a useful idiot’, and it is hard to think of anyone more ‘useful’ in this context to the Russians than whoever came up with Saudi’s latest ‘plan’. Whichever way the oil price war pans out, Russia wins.

In purely basic oil economics terms, Russia has a budget breakeven price of US$40 per barrel of Brent this year: Saudi’s is US$84. Russia can produce over 11 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil without figuratively breaking sweat; Saudi’s average from 1973 to right now is just over 8 mbpd. Russia’s major oil producer, Rosneft, has been begging President Putin to allow it to produce and sell more oil since the OPEC+ arrangement was first agreed in December 2016; Saudi’s major oil producer, Aramco, only suffers value-destruction in such a scenario. This includes for those people who were sufficiently trusting of MbS to buy shares in Aramco’s recent IPO. Russia can cope with oil prices as low as US$25 per barrel from a budget and foreign asset reserves perspective for up to 10 years; Saudi can manage 2 years at most.

A key reason why Russia can survive for so much longer than Saudis is actually thanks to MbS himself. Underlining this – and the fact that the Russians do have a very impish sense of humour, as they do – was that Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, last week praised the co-operation of the OPEC+ grouping over the past three years, which, he added “had earned Russia 10 trillion rubles [US$140 billion].” Presumably just to highlight the irony of this further, Russia’s Finance Ministry then helpfully chipped in that the accumulated funds from the previous OPEC+ agreements will help Russia to support the ruble and will also help Russia to cope with oil prices as low as US$25 per barrel for up to 10 years. The metaphorical icing on the cake, though, was Novak adding that “we may reach new agreements [with OPEC] if needed”. In practical terms this means that if, in fact, it takes longer than originally thought by Russia for Saudi to go bankrupt and it starts to have any negative impact on Russia, then Moscow will just click its fingers together and Riyadh will come running to sign a new OPEC+ output cap deal.

But surely, some may say, Saudi stands no chance of going bankrupt? In fact, as highlighted above, Saudi will absolutely go bankrupt if it continues this oil price war. As Saudi Arabia’s own deputy economic minister, Mohamed Al Tuwaijri, stated unequivocally in October 2016 last time that the Saudis tried this exact same ‘strategy’ from 2014 to 2016:

“If we [Saudi Arabia] don’t take any reform measures, and if the global economy stays the same, then we’re doomed to bankruptcy in three to four years.”

That is to say, that if Saudi kept overproducing to push oil prices down – just as it is doing right now, yet again - then it would be bankrupt within three to four years. The timeframe has halved for a variety of reasons outlined in my recent piece on this very subject here.

But what has Russia to gain from Saudi going bankrupt? Economically, it means that Saudi will default on sovereign and corporate debt, will not be able to service its key industries, and will be unable to meet the requirements for its major oil and gas contracts. Simply having less Saudi oil and gas competing in the same space as Russia and its allies – notably Iran and Iraq – would be benefit enough for Russia but there are even bigger added benefits too. One of these is the destruction of the already strained relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that has endured since 1945. At that time, as analysed in depth in my new book on the global oil markets, the deal that was struck between the then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Saudi King at the time, Abdulaziz, onboard the U.S. Navy cruiser Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake segment of the Suez Canal was that the U.S. would receive all of the oil supplies it needed for as long as Saudi had oil in place, in return for which the U.S. would guarantee the security both of the country and of the ruling House of Saud.

Support in the U.S. for the continuation of this relationship has already diminished markedly in the past few years. This change in attitude began in earnest when it came to the U.S. public’s attention that 15 of the 19 hijackers who flew the aeroplanes involved in the ‘9/11’ terrorist atrocity on the U.S. were Saudi nationals. The extent of the Saudi government’s involvement in funding such terrorism appeared front and centre following the overriding on 28 September 2017 by the U.S Congress of former President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. That made it possible for families of the victims of the ‘9/11’ terrorist attack to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for damages. Within a short space of time after this reversal, there were seven major lawsuits in federal courts alleging Saudi government support and funding for the ‘9/11’ attack, and more lawsuits are expected.

Subsequent events have not softened this negative view, with ongoing pressure from the U.S. Congress over the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the cosying up of Saudi to Russia in the OPEC+ grouping, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s allegation in 2017 that then-Prime Minister Saad al Hariri had been kidnapped by the Saudis and forced to resign. Matters grew worse with the murder of dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, on 2 October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, which even the CIA concluded was personally ordered by MbS. Such was the shift in sentiment away from Saudi over these years that the U.S. Presidential Administration has come under growing pressure to finally implement the  ‘No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act’ (NOPEC). This bill – which can still be implemented, incidentally (apparently something else that MbS has not taken into consideration) - would make it illegal to artificially cap oil (and gas) production or to set prices, as OPEC and Saudi Arabia do.

The bill would also immediately remove the sovereign immunity that presently exists in U.S. courts for OPEC as a group and for its individual member states. This would leave Saudi Arabia open to be sued under existing U.S. anti-trust legislation with its total liability being its estimated US$1 trillion of investments in the U.S. This, and all of the other aforementioned events, resulted in MbS being completely unable to find any international listing destination for the Aramco IPO. As highlighted ahead of the IPO in previous articles published in OilPrice.com, Aramco shares are now haemorrhaging value for precisely the key reason cited: that the company would be used as an instrument of government policy - however ill-considered - regardless of the considerations of shareholders.

Moreover, at the weekend, Aramco posted figures showing a 21 per cent fall in 2019 ‘due to a drop in oil prices’ – and this is before the new price-crashing strategy was put in place by MbS! After the ‘strategy’ announcement, the shares were trading at 15 per cent less than the offer price. In addition, again making a lie of its previous statements, it emerged at the end of last week that, despite its proven ridiculous claims by the Kingdom to boost supplies to levels never before even vaguely attained. Aramco rejected at least three Asian refiners’ (one Korean, one Taiwanese, and one Chinese) requests for additional crude for April, on top of their long-term supply deal.

So Russia, with Saudi Arabia either in the oil price war or better still bankrupt, benefits either way. The long-term goal of Russia is to control directly or indirectly all of the key players in the Shia crescent of power in the Middle East, including most immediately Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen (via Iran). All of these countries have vast oil and gas reserves and/or useful coastlines for Russian military and commercial needs (Mediterranean access or access to the Arabian Sea). To do this, Russia’s core foreign policy strategy is to create chaos and then project Russian solutions and therefore power into that chaos. In this respect, again, MbS is being very ‘useful’ to the Russians.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/20/2020 - 20:05
Published:3/20/2020 7:24:15 PM
[Markets] "This Is Our Hard Time" - Kunstler On America's Strengths & Weaknesses "This Is Our Hard Time" - Kunstler On America's Strengths & Weaknesses

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Happy Colorectal Awareness Month, everybody ­- in case you’re wondering why it feels like fate shoved a four-by-four up your nether region where the sun don’t shine. Millions around the country must be stunned at how bad this suddenly is. And every new morning seems worse than the last: Friday the Thirteenth meets Groundhog Day.

Jobs and incomes instantly gone. Businesses staring into the abyss. Retirements vaporizing. Everyone stuck home alone with nothing to think about but going broke and hungry. And the final indignity: the possibility of death if you stray outside to get something you need, or just seek the comfort of other people.

This is our hard time. If you ever needed God, or some human representation of the good father, this would be the occasion; someone to guide and reassure you and inspire you to do your best under difficult circumstances. For the time being, America has Donald Trump. To the agnostical thinking class, with its obsessive loathing of men, white men especially, and white men in the father role most of all, Mr. Trump represents the ultimate grotesquerie.

To that class of scribes, professors, assorted “creatives,” virtue signalers, and social justice seekers, even Tennessee Williams could not conjure up a more fearsome and detestable Big Daddy than Mr. Trump. Hence, their nonstop underhanded attempts to get rid of him the past three years — which had all the earmarks of a neurotic adolescent rebellion. (“The Resistance” was actually a good name for it.) And yet, there he stands at the podium in our hard time. You can call that a lot of things, but one of them has got to be: strength.

Yes, he is peculiar-looking: the strange blonde helmet, the orange face. Note, back in one of America’s earlier hard times, a lot people thought Mr. Lincoln looked like a great ape, and had much sport with that image of him in the newspapers. It’s also a fact that the decisions he made led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of mostly young men in the bloodiest slaughters then imaginable. Yet those young men going to their deaths called him Father Abraham in their songs around the campfire. I’m not saying that Donald Trump is another Lincoln — certainly not in sheer rhetoric — but I am saying we don’t know yet what his mettle will show in this crisis,  and where it might take us. One thing for sure: he’s been subjected to more political abuse than any character on-the-scene in my lifetime, and it’s amazing that he didn’t fold or quit or lose his shit as it went on and on and on.

And so, you now have the strange and ironic spectacle of his organized opposition, the Democrats, hoisting up onto their pinnacle of leadership absolutely the weakest candidate possible to oppose Mr. Trump in the election: Joe Biden. There was something certainly supernatural about his ascent in the recent cluster of primaries, as if some gang of someones worked strenuously behind the scenes to make it happen. If Mr. Biden ever had any charisma even in his prime as a young senator, there was no sign of that now, either in his own bumbling behavior or in the sparse crowds that were flushed out of the DNC’s voter registration thickets to show up at his rallies. In fact, he emanated the exact opposite of charisma, a faltering flop-sweat odor of weakness, and of every kind weakness: physical, mental, and ethical.

His role was not the good father, it was the half-crazy old uncle in the attic — the kind who puts on his threadbare best suit every day to go down to a corner bar and sip beers until it’s time to stagger back home, where a dutiful niece-in-law might give him supper, if he could manage to ask for it politely. The kind who, until his forced retirement due to incompetence and blundering, had worked as an errand boy for the local mob, picking up receipts from the numbers racket, and was then cast off like a banana peel in a drainage ditch when his usefulness ended.

Of course, Joe Biden’s eminence in government, as vice-president, afforded him grander opportunities for grift than that. He went into the anarchic mess of Ukraine — engineered by US agencies, by the way — as Mr. Obama’s “point man” and came away from it with at least several million dollars in a guaranteed revenue stream for his hapless fuck-up of a son, Hunter, and there’s hard evidence that many millions more found its way into Joe’s pockets, too, via Ukrainian oligarch money laundered through the banks of Estonia and Cyprus — who would look there? (Rudy Giuliani, actually.)

That is the sort of president America would get if they happen to elect Joe Biden. The Democratic Party could not elect a strong and stupendously corrupt woman in 2016, and they have reeled in disbelief at their own failure ever since. Now they are marching forward into a national election — if that election can even be held, and we don’t know that yet — with a nominee who looks and acts like a wax figure of a president in one of those eerie hushed chambers of Disneyland. But please understand, this is exactly what the Democrats have wished for lo these several years that have taken us into America’s hard time: weakness and their own death, by suicide. Let’s not go there with them.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:40
Published:3/20/2020 1:51:03 PM
[World] The real lesson of the Chinese pandemic

To paraphrase a former White House chief of staff, "Never let a pandemic go to waste."

Ex-President Obama's top policy enforcer offered his glint of wisdom at the height of the 2008 economic catastrophe that the U.S. is still digging out of today.

"You never want a serious crisis to ... Published:3/19/2020 8:49:03 PM

[National Security] Ayatollah’s American Allies Seize on Pandemic in Fresh Push for Sanctions Relief

The architects of the Obama administration's self-described pro-Iran echo chamber have used the coronavirus outbreak to argue that U.S. sanctions are to blame for the virus's aggressive spread across the Islamic Republic—a line the Iranian government is also peddling. 

The post Ayatollah’s American Allies Seize on Pandemic in Fresh Push for Sanctions Relief appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/19/2020 4:18:06 PM
[Markets] The CDC Was Fighting Racism & Obesity Instead Of Stopping Epidemics The CDC Was Fighting Racism & Obesity Instead Of Stopping Epidemics

Authored by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog,

The Centers for Disease Control has a $6.6 billion budget and one job which it messes up every time.

The last time the CDC had a serious workout was six years ago during the Ebola crisis. Back then CDC guidelines allowed medical personnel infected with Ebola to avoid a quarantine and interact with Americans until they showed undeniable symptoms of the disease. There were no protocols in place for treating the potentially infected resulting in the further spread of the disease inside the United States.

At the height of the crisis, confidence in the CDC fell to 37%. Meanwhile, CDC personnel had managed to mishandle Ebola virus samples, accidentally sending samples of the live virus to CDC labs. And the heads of the health bureaucracy blamed the lack of funding for their failure to have an Ebola vaccine.

The self-quarantine measures adopted in response to the coronavirus outbreak are partially a response to the lessons of the Ebola disaster.

But during the Ebola crisis, Democrats tried to shift responsibility from the Obama administration by blaming Republicans for cutting the CDC’s budget from $6.5 billion to $5.9 billion. Sound familiar? Where do those billions for the CDC actually go? Among other things, pushing gun control. The terrible budget deal from December allocated $25 million to the CDC and NIH to study gun violence.

During the Ebola crisis, the CDC had been spending a mere $2.6 million on gun violence studies. But the CDC has a history of wasting money on everything from a $106 million visitor's center with Japanese gardens, a $200K gym, a transgender beauty pageant, not to mention promoting bike paths.

The occasional outbreak only calls the CDC’s general incompetence to everyone’s attention. The rest of the time its incompetence, like that of other government agencies, just ticks along wasting money.

In 1999, the CDC announced a plan to end syphilis in 5 years. The Clinton era National Plan to Eliminate Syphilis was an unserious social welfare proposal that wanted to battle racism and was such a success that by 2018, syphilis rates had hit a new record high. But Democrat presidential candidates using the CDC for imaginary proposals to end a disease, not by utilizing science, but social welfare, had become a bad habit under Obama, diverting resources from what the CDC could realistically do for political scams.

In 2011, Hillary Clinton had promised an “AIDS-free generation” by, in part, using the CDC. Like her presidency, the “AIDS-free generation” never arrived and was never going to.

In 2016, Obama allowed Joe Biden to use the CDC for his Cancer Moonshot political stunt.

"If I'm elected president you're gonna see single most important thing that changes America, we're going to cure cancer," Biden promised last year.

Joe Biden can’t cure anything. Including his own mental state. But, like Hillary, he can waste the resources of the CDC to make false promises to voters while weakening its core competencies.

The CDC is a classic example of a progressive success story, an agency created to fight malaria by spraying DDT, whose original mission has long since become politically incorrect and which instead adopted a politically correct search for the social root causes of diseases like syphilis and AIDS.

Unlike fighting malaria by spraying DDT, fighting syphilis by combatting racism doesn’t work.

The CDC’s fight against the “obesity epidemic” is even sillier. That includes funding 15 colleges to “work with community extension services to increase access to healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity.” That meant giving LSU over a million bucks to work with farmers’ markets.

Obesity obviously can kill people, but it’s not something that the CDC can or should be trying to fix.

America doesn’t need the CDC as a pipeline for pork to state schools. We do need the CDC to fulfill its original mandate by dealing with outbreaks of infectious diseases, initially malaria and smallpox, and now Ebola or the coronavirus. We need science, not social welfare.

Unfortunately, the CDC, like every federal agency, has drifted from its core mission into social welfare.

By the time the Clinton administration had gotten through wrecking the CDC, its labs were infested with mice and rats, and had leaky ceilings. Not only hadn’t it cured syphilis, but it was utterly unready to deal with the anthrax threat. The Obama administration rolled back Bush administration reforms and brought back the old broken CDC under Thomas Frieden. After Frieden botched the Ebola crisis, even mainstream media outlets joined Republicans in calling for his resignation.

The CDC left the Obama era even more damaged than ever before.

Every administration has tried to put its own stamp on the CDC by playing around with organizational charts and adding more pointless initiatives. Meanwhile all those billions of dollars that Americans think are going to fight the outbreaks of contagious diseases are going to anything and everything but.

There is a vast gap between what the CDC should be doing and what it does. What it ought to be doing is utilizing its unique specialties and capabilities to study dangerous contagious diseases. And the CDC’s capabilities in this regard are impressive. But what it ends up doing is battling social problems like obesity, the opioid crisis, or STDs because that’s what politicians, especially Democrats, want.

President Trump is right to hold the Obama administration accountable for the woeful state of the CDC. But the problem didn’t begin in 2008. And it isn’t limited to the CDC, but to the entire government.

The government is full of agencies, departments, and sections that do nothing but waste time and money. Some also manage to advance dangerous and destructive initiatives. But there are times when we urgently need these otherwise useless parts of the government to work correctly and quickly.

And then we discover that they don’t work.

No one thinks about the CDC until we need it and discover it doesn’t work. And then the same story repeats itself a few years later while the CDC goes back to battling obesity and racism.

The solution begins with restating the mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, defining what a disease is, and what controlling or preventing it means. Rolling back mission creep starts with ending CDC campaigns against lifestyle behaviors and focusing on preventing actual disease outbreaks through science, not social welfare.

The old CDC studied behavior for targeted medical intervention. It would track malaria to its source and bring in the DDT or study smallpox outbreaks to find where they originated from. But the new CDC treats behavior as the object of study and the cure. It rolls out grandiose proposals to change behavior that never materialize. The CDC’s failure is fundamentally that of the big government welfare state.

Sociology isn’t science. Virology is.

Social welfare isn’t just a dangerous distraction, it prevents the CDC from making the right decisions about keeping infected people from entering the United States when lives are on the line.

The government doesn’t work because most of it is built on changing people’s minds, whether it’s winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, or convincing everyone to drive electric cars in Wisconsin, instead of grappling with physical problems by applying physics and chemistry to the problem of the terrorists or economics to the cost of transportation.

We don’t need a CDC that changes people’s minds about eating chocolate or engaging in unprotected sex. There are already multiple redundant parts of the government that are trying and failing there.

We need a CDC that deals with viruses instead of trying to brainwash people.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/18/2020 - 17:40
Published:3/18/2020 4:42:51 PM
[World] The mysterious rise, fall and rise of gaffe-prone Joe Biden

For most of early 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden — the declared custodian of liberalism who would continue the Obama glory years — seemed unstoppable.

He led all other rivals for months. Mr. Biden seemed above the fray. Many Democrats saw the pre-debate and pre-election race for the nomination ... Published:3/18/2020 1:41:02 PM

[Politics] Exit Polls Suggest Dems Over Obama, Looking to Move Further Left Recent exit polls suggest that Democratic voters are looking for a presidential candidate who is more liberal than former President Barack Obama, and show that support for “Medicare for All” is growing in several states. Published:3/18/2020 11:08:40 AM
[Markets] Detect, Deter, & Annihilate: How The American Police State Will Deal With The Outbreak Detect, Deter, & Annihilate: How The American Police State Will Deal With The Outbreak

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Fear is a primitive impulse, brainless as hunger, and because the aim of horror fiction is the production of the deepest kinds of fears, the genre tends to reinforce some remarkably uncivilized ideas about self-protection. In the current crop of zombie stories, the prevailing value for the beleaguered survivors is a sort of siege mentality, a vigilance so constant and unremitting that it’s indistinguishable from the purest paranoia.”

- Terrence Rafferty, New York Times

What do zombies have to do with the U.S. government’s plans for dealing with a coronavirus outbreak?

Read on, and I’ll tell you.

The zombie narrative was popularized by the hit television series The Walking Dead, in which a small group of Americans attempt to survive in a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world where they’re not only fighting off flesh-eating ghouls but cannibalistic humans.

For a while there, zombies could be found lurking around every corner: wreaking havoc at gun shows, battling corsets in movies such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and running for their lives in 5K charity races.

Understandably, zombie fiction plays to our fears and paranoia, while allowing us to “envision how we and our own would thrive if everything went to hell and we lost all our societal supports.” Yet as journalist Syreeta McFadden points out, while dystopian stories used to reflect our anxieties, now they reflect our reality, mirroring how we as a nation view the world around us, how we as citizens view each other, and most of all how our government views us.

Indeed, the U.S. government has spent a lot of time and energy in recent years using zombies as the models for a variety of crisis scenarios not too dissimilar from what we are currently experiencing.

For instance, back in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put together a zombie apocalypse preparation kit “that details everything you would need to have on hand in the event the living dead showed up at your front door.” The CDC, in conjunction with the Dept. of Defense, even used zombies to put government agents through their paces in mock military drills.

Fear the Walking Dead—AMC’s spinoff of its popular Walking Dead series—drove this point home by dialing back the clock to when the zombie outbreak first appears and setting viewers down in the midst of societal unrest not unlike our own experiences of recent years (“a bunch of weird incidents, police protests, riots, and … rapid social entropy”). Then, as Forbes reports, “the military showed up and we fast-forwarded into an ad hoc police state with no glimpse at what was happening in the world around our main cast of hapless survivors.”

Forbes found Fear’s quick shift into a police state to be far-fetched, but anyone who has been paying attention in recent years knows that the groundwork was laid long ago for the government—i.e., the military—to intervene and lock down the nation in the event of a national disaster.

We’re seeing this play out now as the coronavirus contagion spreads.

What we have yet to experience (although it may only be a matter of time) is that the government through the imposition of martial law could pose a greater threat to our safety (and our freedoms) than any virus.

As the Atlantic noted about Fear the Walking Dead: “The villains aren’t the zombies, who rarely appear, but the U.S. military, who sweep into an L.A. suburb to quarantine the survivors. Zombies are, after all, a recognizable threat—but Fear plumbs drama and horror from the betrayal by institutions designed to keep people safe.”

Indeed, zombie fiction perfectly embodies the government’s paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent.

Why else would the government feel the need to monitor our communications, track our movements, criminalize our every action, treat us like suspects, and strip us of any means of defense while equipping its own personnel with an amazing arsenal of weapons?

For years now, the government has been carrying out military training drills with zombies as the enemy. In 2011, the DOD created a 31-page instruction manual for how to protect America from a terrorist attack carried out by zombie forces. In 2012, the CDC released a guide for surviving a zombie plague. That was followed by training drills for members of the military, police officers and first responders.

As journalist Andrea Peyser reports:

Coinciding with Halloween 2012, a five-day national conference was put on by the HALO Corp. in San Diego for more than 1,000 first responders, military personnel and law enforcement types. It included workshops produced by a Hollywood-affiliated firm in…overcoming a zombie invasion. Actors were made up to look like flesh-chomping monsters. The Department of Homeland Security even paid the $1,000 entry fees for an unknown number of participants…

“Zombie disaster” drills were held in October 2012 and ’13 at California’s Sutter Roseville Medical Center. The exercises allowed medical center staff “to test response to a deadly infectious disease, a mass-casualty event, terrorism event and security procedures”… 

[In October 2014], REI outdoor-gear stores in Soho and around the country are to hold free classes in zombie preparedness, which the stores have been providing for about three years.

The zombie exercises appeared to be kitschy and fun—government agents running around trying to put down a zombie rebellion—but what if the zombies in the exercises were us, the citizenry, viewed by those in power as mindless, voracious, zombie hordes?

Consider this: the government started playing around with the idea of using zombies as stand-ins for enemy combatants in its training drills right around the time the Army War College issued its 2008 report, warning that an economic crisis in the U.S. could lead to massive civil unrest that would require the military to intervene and restore order.

That same year, it was revealed that the government had amassed more than 8 million names of Americans considered a threat to national security, to be used “by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.” The program’s name, Main Core, refers to the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

Also in 2008, the Pentagon launched the Minerva Initiative, a $75 million military-driven research project focused on studying social behavior in order to determine how best to cope with mass civil disobedience or uprisings. The Minerva Initiative has funded projects such as “Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?” which “conflates peaceful activists with ‘supporters of political violence’ who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on ‘armed militancy’ themselves.”

In 2009, the Dept. of Homeland Security issued its reports on Rightwing and Leftwing Extremism, in which the terms “extremist” and “terrorist” were used interchangeably to describe citizens they perceived to be disgruntled or anti-government.

Meanwhile, a government campaign was underway to spy on Americans’ mail, email and cell phone communications. News reports indicate that the U.S. Postal Service has handled more than 150,000 requests by federal and state law enforcement agencies to monitor Americans’ mail, in addition to photographing every piece of mail sent through the postal system.

Fast forward a few years more and local police were being transformed into extensions of the military, taught to view members of their community as suspects, trained to shoot first and ask questions later, and equipped with all of the technology and weaponry of a soldier on a battlefield.

The Obama administration then hired a domestic terrorism czar whose job is to focus on anti-government American “extremists” who have been designated a greater threat to America than ISIS or al Qaeda. As part of the government’s so-called war on right-wing extremism, the Obama administration agreed to partner with the United Nations to take part in its Strong Cities Network program, which is training local police agencies across America in how to identify, fight and prevent extremism.

Nothing has changed for the better under the Trump Administration.

Those who believe in and exercise their rights under the Constitution (namely, the right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share their political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), continue to be promoted to the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

“We the people” or, more appropriately, “we the zombies” are the enemy in the eyes of the government. This coronavirus merely ups the ante.

So when presented with the Defense Department’s battle plan for defeating an army of the walking dead, you might find yourself tempted to giggle over the fact that a taxpayer-funded government bureaucrat actually took the time to research and write about vegetarian zombies, evil magic zombies, chicken zombies, space zombies, bio-engineered weaponized zombies, radiation zombies, symbiant-induced zombies, and pathogenic zombies.

However, in an age of extreme government paranoia, this is no laughing matter.

The DOD’s strategy for dealing with a zombie uprising, outlined in “CONOP 8888,” is for all intents and purposes a training manual for the government in how to put down a citizen uprising or at least an uprising of individuals “infected” with a dangerous disease or dangerous ideas about freedom.

Rest assured that the tactics and difficulties outlined in the “fictional training scenario” are all too real, beginning with martial law.

As the DOD training manual states:

“zombies [stand-ins for “we the people”] are horribly dangerous to all human life and zombie infections have the potential to seriously undermine national security and economic activities that sustain our way of life. Therefore having a population that is not composed of zombies or at risk from their malign influence is vital to U.S. and Allied national interests.”

So how does the military plan to put down a zombie (a.k.a. citizen) uprising?

The strategy manual outlines five phases necessary for a counter-offensive: shape, deter, seize initiative, dominate, stabilize and restore civil authority. Here are a few details:

  • Phase 0 (Shape): Conduct general zombie awareness training. Monitor increased threats (i.e., surveillance). Carry out military drills. Synchronize contingency plans between federal and state agencies. Anticipate and prepare for a breakdown in law and order.

  • Phase 1 (Deter): Recognize that zombies cannot be deterred or reasoned with. Carry out training drills to discourage other countries from developing or deploying attack zombies and publicly reinforce the government’s ability to combat a zombie threat. Initiate intelligence sharing between federal and state agencies. Assist the Dept. of Homeland Security in identifying or discouraging immigrants from areas where zombie-related diseases originate.

  • Phase 2 (Seize initiative): Recall all military personal to their duty stations. Fortify all military outposts. Deploy air and ground forces for at least 35 days. Carry out confidence-building measures with nuclear-armed peers such as Russia and China to ensure they do not misinterpret the government’s zombie countermeasures as preparations for war. Establish quarantine zones. Distribute explosion-resistant protective equipment. Place the military on red alert. Begin limited scale military operations to combat zombie threats. Carry out combat operations against zombie populations within the United States that were “previously” U.S. citizens.

  • Phase 3 (Dominate): Lock down all military bases for 30 days. Shelter all essential government personnel for at least 40 days. Equip all government agents with military protective gear. Issue orders for military to kill all non-human life on sight. Initiate bomber and missile strikes against targeted sources of zombie infection, including the infrastructure. Burn all zombie corpses. Deploy military to lock down the beaches and waterways.

  • Phase 4 (Stabilize): Send out recon teams to check for remaining threats and survey the status of basic services (water, power, sewage infrastructure, air, and lines of communication). Execute a counter-zombie ISR plan to ID holdout pockets of zombie resistance. Use all military resources to target any remaining regions of zombie holdouts and influence. Continue all actions from the Dominate phase.

  • Phase 5 (Restore civil authority): Deploy military personnel to assist any surviving civil authorities in disaster zones. Reconstitute combat capabilities at various military bases. Prepare to redeploy military forces to attack surviving zombie holdouts. Restore basic services in disaster areas.

Notice the similarities?

Surveillance. Military drills. Awareness training. Militarized police forces. Martial law.

As I point out in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if there is any lesson to be learned, it is simply this: whether the threat to national security comes in the form of imaginary zombies, actual terrorists, American citizens infected with the coronavirus, or disgruntled American citizens infected with dangerous ideas about freedom, the government’s response to such threats remains the same: detect, deter and annihilate.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/17/2020 - 23:10
Published:3/17/2020 10:13:56 PM
[Coronavirus] No, Trump did not dissolve the pandemic response office (Paul Mirengoff) Former Obama administration officials have been claiming that President Trump and his then-national security adviser John Bolton “dissolved” the office at the White House responsible for disaster preparedness. Trump’s legion of knee-jerk critics have run with this claim. But according to Tim Morrison, the former aide to whom direction of this office was assigned, the office was not “dissolved.” It remains in operation under Morrison’s successor. Writing in the Washington Published:3/17/2020 12:02:22 PM
[Markets] Number Of Confirmed Covid-19 Cases In US Passes 5,000 As Global Total Nears 200K: Live Updates Number Of Confirmed Covid-19 Cases In US Passes 5,000 As Global Total Nears 200K: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Fed reportedly plans to throw vital lifeline to Commercial Paper market
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases in the US pass 5k
  • WH planning $850 billion economic rescue package
  • 2nd rescue package still stalled over Senates' 'minor' changes
  • Cuomo reports 432 new cases, bringing state total over 1,000 and retaking No. 1 spot
  • Trump doubles down on "Chinese virus" phrasing after Beijing complains
  • Kentucky Derby postponed until September
  • Goldman says "world is in a recession"
  • Luxembourg declares 'state of emergency'
  • Mick Mulvaney self-isolating in SC after niece had contact with Brazilian official
  • EU eases rules, allows some state aid to companies
  • France says deficit will blow out to 3.9%
  • NYC Mayor says "absolutely considering" shelter-in-place order
  • Amazon stops shipments of "non-essential" goods to warehouses
  • Moscow denies reports of citywide quarantine
  • Turkey jails 19 over 'provocative' social media posts
  • Spain turns away 500 cars after setting up border checkpoints
  • Pakistan reports first death
  • S&P warns "sudden economic stop" will trigger deep recession
  • Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson leave quarantine
  • Poland says minister has caught the virus
  • 8 US banks access discount window
  • Trump slams Michigan's Democratic Gov.

*  *  *

Update (1250ET): The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has climbed above 5k, another grim milestone, as the global case total breaks above 190,000, on track to surpass 200,000 by the end of the week.

In other news, today's task force press conference was another action-packed affair, with the White House promising to send Americans checks within 2 weeks.

 

 

*  *  *

Update (1145ET): During his comments at the opening of Tuesday's task force press conference, President Trump offered some complimentary words toward Andrew Cuomo, and said he met with the leaders of America's fast food giants, and will meet with retail CEOs later.

"We're trying to get people to buy less...just take what you need," Trump said.

He also said Steven Mnuchin has been working hard to strike a new deal with Congress, though he didn't offer too many details.

*  *  *

Update (1115ET): Thanks in large part to Gov. Cuomo's decisive push to ready state and private labs for testing, New York has reported another 432 cases on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 1,375, re-taking the lead in cases from Washington, and making NY the first US state to break above 1,000 confirmed cases.

As of 10:30 a.m. ET, March 17, there are 4,458 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, and 88 deaths, up from 3,579 cases and 67 deaths yesterday.

After President Trump referred to NY as a "hot spot", Cuomo said during Tuesday's press briefing that he takes "full responsibility" for the crisis response in his state, for better or worse.

As Paul Krugman noted, Cuomo's crisis-performance has featured a surfeit of grandstanding, but it does seem like the governor has hit upon an approach that is working for his state, especially when contrasted with the bumbling interviews and indecisive replies from his chief political rival, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

As far as how long the crisis will last, Cuomo said projections suggest the infection rate will peak in 45 days. At that point, he said the state will need 55,000-110,000 hospital beds and 18,600-37,200 ICU beds compared with the 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 ICU beds that it currently has.

"I am telling you, this [state] government cannot meet this crisis without the resources and capacity of the federal government … We need their help, especially on the hospital capacity issue. We need FEMA," Cuomo said.

Readers can watch today's update below:

Cuomo also announced that 5 new drive-thru testing facilities in four counties this week - Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Staten Island.

*  *  *

Update (1020ET): Amazon has suspended shipments of "non-essential" goods to its warehouses, prompting groans from millions of quarantined Americans who were hoping to get some shopping done, at least.

In other news, Mick Mulvaney, the outgoing chief of staff, is in self-quarantine after his niece had contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive. Anything to avoid being shipped off to Northern Ireland...

*  *  *

Update (0950ET): President Trump slams Michigan's Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer, claiming "we are pushing her to get the job done."

Whitmer

Trump added that the White House is "working well with the governors and state officials."

Around the world in Moscow, officials have denied reports about a nation-wide quarantine.

*  *  *

Update (0935ET): Minutes after the open, the Fed is preparing to throw a vital lifeline to the commercial paper market, according to anonymously sourced reports.

  • FED SET TO REINSTATE COMMERCIAL PAPER FUNDING FACILITY: REUTERS

  • FED PAPER ANNOUNCEMENT MAY BE AS EARLY AS TODAY, REUTERS SAYS

Earlier, CNBC's Eamon Javers tweeted earlier that investors should expect "action from the Fed today."

Luxembourg and Armenia have both declared states of emergency Tuesday.  In Russia, President Vladimir Putin, who closed the country's land border with Poland yesterday, said the outbreak in his country was "under control."

S&P also warned that the "sudden economic stop" associated with measures being implemented to stop the virus will lead to a sudden recession - some real cutting-edge analysis right there.

Pakistan’s health ministry announced on Tuesday that the first infected patient had died in Pakistan. The country's first death was announced on a web portal set up to share news about the outbreak. According to the portal, 195 Pakistanis have tested positive for the virus so far, per Reuters.

Spain has set up police checkpoints at its border with Portugal and France, and has even turned away some 500 vehicles carrying foreigners attempting to enter as the latest rash of cases and deaths solidified Spain's status as Europe's second-worst-hit country, according to Reuters.

The government reported 182 new fatalities overnight, bringing the death toll to 491, and making Spain the country with the world’s fastest climbing death toll after Italy. The number of confirmed cases topped 11,178 last night, passing the psychologically important 10,000 barrier.

As the US scrambles to pass the 2nd & 3rd economic stimulus bills, companies hit by the coronavirus will be allowed to receive state grants of up to €500,000, or subsidized state guarantees on bank loans as part of new temporary rules, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In other fiscal news, France's finance minister allegedly told reporters that the country's budget deficit will blow out to 3.9% to finance measures to combat the economic decline associated with the virus, per Reuters.

Before we go, earlier, we posted on Goldman's latest cut to its global economic forecast for 2020.

*  *  *

Update (0915ET): During yet another appearance on CNN by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC mayor said he's "absolutely considering" a shelter-in-place edict that would - in addition to closing schools - shut down the subway and other public transit while closing all stores except for groceries and pharmacies.

A similar order in San Francisco and other nearby counties orders people to stay inside their homes and only leave for "necessities".

"We’re absolutely considering that," de Blasio said. "We’re going to look at all other options, but it could get to that for sure for the whole country."

*  *  *

Update (0908ET): Churchill Downs just confirmed that the Kentucky Derby, the most widely watched horse race in the world, has been rescheduled until Sept. 5.

As WDRB reported earlier ahead of the official announcement Tuesday morning, the 146th running of the Derby - a race which is responsible for some $400 million in economic activity in the Louisville area - will be postponed until the first Saturday in September.

*  *  *

Update (0850ET): President Trump just doubled-down on his "Chinese virus" phrasing, essentially confirming that his original tweet was intended to be both deliberate provocation (perhaps in response to China's repeated insults and lies about the virus originating from the US) and a reminder to the American people that this virus isn't Trump's fault, even as liberals act like Trump cooked up the thing himself in a bioweapons lab.

Somewhere in the Imperial City, President Xi is probably blowing his stack...

*  *  *

Update (0830ET): The White House has confirmed that it's planning a massive $850 billion package to put cash in the hands of everyday Americans while also bailing out the airline industry.

*  *  *

US stock futures stabilized overnight after another widowmaking session on Monday, even as strategists across Wall Street warned their clients not to try and 'catch the falling knife' - but in the absence of any concrete headlines, it seems traders in Japan are finally realizing that the White House is moving closer to the type of fiscal stimulus they want to see. And in Europe, though the G-7's "whatever it takes" pledge didn't do much to quiet local markets, reports about the Eurogroup potentially tapping into a €410 bailout fund appear to have done the job.

Another snippet of good news overnight: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been released from their quarantines, signaling that they have won their battles with the virus.

But perhaps the biggest headline, which landed late last night, was certainly discouraging: The death toll in the US saw its largest daily jump yet on Monday. The US death toll climbed to 85, with more than 4,660 cases confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins. Worldwide, more than 182,424 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, along with 7,155 deaths, affecting at least 155 countries according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

 

But there was also positive news: Regeneron reported that tests for its "antibody-based" remedies for the coronavirus infection could be ready for the final round of clinical testing by the beginning of the summer, which could see a drug shipped by the end of the summer, according to CNBC's Meg Tirrell.

Pfizer, meanwhile, announced it would partner with a Swiss biotech company to produce a vaccine using a technology similar to Moderna.

Reporting from Beijing, CNBC's Eunice Yoon, reported that a Chinese trial for favipiravir, another antiviral designed to treat the virus, showed "promising" results.

After Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said last night that he would push for an $840 billion economic rescue package for the administration's third rescue bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin one-upped him in a leaked report to Politico's Morning Playbook (which hits at around the time most US traders are beginning their pre-market research) claiming that he was pushing for an $850 billion package.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday ordered all bars, restaurants and wineries in the state closed, one day after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti acted unilaterally to impose similar restrictions in LA. California, the largest state in the US which accounts for 1/5th of US GDP, also suspended its state legislature for the next month. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered residents in his state not to leave their ho,es between the hours of 8 pm and 5 am.

Restrictions have also been imposed by other states, including New York, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland and others. in Connecticut, there have been whispers about a full quarantine and the call-up of national guard troops in the state.

With a hodgepodge of local authorities moving to combat the virus in their communities, more businesses and brands are ordering stores to close. After McDonald's closed its dining rooms and play areas, fitness classes like SoulCycle and OrangeTheory have suspended all classes.

Finally, 8 US banks also got together overnight and accessed the discount window to try and "remove the stigma" as Steve Leisman reported in the midst of the central bank's additional repo-market interventions.

In China, official data suggests the domestic outbreak is over. Across the country, 20 new cases were reported last night, 19 of whom were 'travelers' from abroad. Of course, any new arrivals to China will be herded into 14-day quarantines as Beijing tightens its borders, like everybody else.

At this point, much of the Balkans and Central Europe has shut its borders: Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and a handful of others have instituted strict restrictions or all-out bans on non-citizen, non-resident travelers entering their borders. Last night, French President Emmanuel Macron shut down France and tightened borders as the EU declared that it would begin limiting travel into the Schengen Area.

Some other good news overnight: Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has shipped some 400,000 tests. As drug trials continue at a breakneck pace in China and in the US, the Washington Post has published perhaps the most comprehensive investigation into the CDC's failure to distribute tests. The story seems to suggest that the errors were largely made by CDC bureaucrats and Obama-administration holdovers, though that wasn't WaPo's angle.

Yesterday, the CDC confirmed that one of its employees had tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, the WHO followed up by reporting that two of its staffers had tested positive.

Poland has become the latest government to confirm that at least one senior official has caught the virus. In the Philippines, the quarantine ordered for the island of Luzon, where roughly half the country's 104 million people live, has created complications, including preventing health-care workers from getting home, and from getting to work.

Late last night, when President Trump blamed the "Chinese Virus" for hurting American businesses, we suspected that American liberals and the Chinese regime (two groups that have been oddly in sync as of late) would respond with fury.

Individual epidemiologists warned the comment could strain relations with Beijing at a critical time...

The Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed Trump for "insulting China", and said the US should "learn to take care of its own business." Just like how China should learn to develop their own technologies instead of just stealing everyone's trade secrets.

And of course the Chinese press once again blasted the president's "racism" in blaming China for a virus that originated in China, and was unleashed upon the world thanks to the CPC's callousness and indiscretion .

Of course, if Beijing finds this phrasing so offensive, then why does it continue to call Swine Flu the 'African Swine Flu'?

As China, which has bludgeoned its subservient population with propaganda during the outbreak, was criticizing Trump for his audacious claim, Turkey detained 19 people early on Tuesday over "provocative" and allegedly 'incorrect' social media posts criticizing the Turkish government and its virus response plan.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/17/2020 - 12:58
Published:3/17/2020 12:02:22 PM
[Markets] Did Obama-Era CDC Bureaucrats Botch The Coronavirus Testing Response? Did Obama-Era CDC Bureaucrats Botch The Coronavirus Testing Response?

By now, it's become abundantly clear that the federal government's sluggishness in distributing functioning tests to labs around the country is one reason why governors and big-city mayors across the country are closing schools and businesses in preparation for a de facto 2 week quarantine.

The government seemingly had the whole month of February to distribute tests, which it should have been receiving from the WHO, which had contracted with a small Germany biotech firm to to produce millions of tests.

Instead, the CDC had only distributed a few thousand tests at the end of last month, and seems to have only taken steps to fix the problem over the last week, after a hail of criticism from doctors and experts as thousands of patients complained they didn't have access to tests.

Well, the left-wing press has been carrying out a campaign to place the blame for the agency's failures squarely on the shoulders of President Trump, with the Washington Post lambasting him for closing a pandemic preparedness office set up by President Obama to combat Ebola - even as the official charged with dissolving the office, writing also in the Washington Post, that these charges are specious.

At any rate, we've noticed that these claims have largely been circulated by former Obama-era CDC officials, who have leapt at every chance to criticize the administration's overall response, along with the 'botched' testing rollout, on cable news.

But in an investigative piece overnight, the Washington Post laid out how the CDC, acting mostly independently of the administration and in keeping with the precedent for epidemic response, strung the White House along by claiming to ramp up testing while many of the tests were defective. But even as some labs figured out how to fix the defects, and others carried out testing on their own, the CDC remained inexplicably inflexible until suddenly admitting that it had been wrong, then promising to do better, once the demand for tests hit a critical apex.

Fortunately, President Trump's decision to strike partnerships with pharma companies, both established firms and startups, has helped swiftly compensate for the shortfall. But the lapse in surveillance during the month of February has dealt a serious blow to the effort.

To be sure, it seems Trump badly erred by appointing Alex Azar to lead DHHS and Dr. Robert Redfield to lead the CDC. Coming from the lobbying world and academia, they didn't have the experience to lead the response, forcing them to rely on underlings inside the CDC, many of whom are career bureaucrats who resent the Trump Administration's management of the bureaucracy.

When these underlings insisted that the 'red tape' was there for a reason, Redfield had little choice but to defer to their expertise, at least initially, before other outside experts started to complain.

Meanwhile, all the Obama-era employees and underlings responsible for getting their leaders up to speed (like Dr. Messonnier, who is mentioned several times in the WaPo report), repeatedly told their bosses that this is the standard response and that they must wait for the CDC to figure out this knot of problems before opening the gates to corporate partners.

And as far as Dr. Fauci is concerned, he actually works for the NIH.

Now, as WaPo mentions in the final paragraphs of its story, a former CDC director who led the agency during the Obama years is calling for an "investigation" of the CDC's botched response.

Thomas Frieden, an infectious disease physician who served as CDC director under former president Barack Obama, called on Sunday for an “independent group” to investigate what went wrong with the CDC’s testing process. He said in the past, the CDC moved quickly to produce tests for diseases such as H1N1, or swine flu.

"We were able to get test kits out fast," Frieden said on CNN. "Something went wrong here. We have to find out why so we can prevent that in the future."

Frieden said the agency has been muzzled under President Trump and despite the multitude of problems with the rollout of testing, "the CDC is still the greatest public health institution in the world."

We suspect he already knows where the bodies might be buried.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/17/2020 - 12:25
Published:3/17/2020 11:35:02 AM
[Markets] DOJ Files To Drop Charges Against Russian 'Bot Farms' That Fought Mueller Indictment DOJ Files To Drop Charges Against Russian 'Bot Farms' That Fought Mueller Indictment

Less than a year after a US District court judge dealt a blow to the "Russian active measures" talking point when she ruled that Robert Mueller failed to link them to the Kremlin, the Justice Department has moved to drop all charges against the shell companies accused of interfering in the 2016 US election.

Mueller charged the companies, Concord Management and Concord Consulting in 2018 - along with 13 Russians and another company, the Internet Research Agency - in what prosecutors claimed was a sophisticated scheme to "knowingly and intentionally"  divide America through disinformation and election interference.

To Mueller's surprise, Concord actually showed up to a Washington courtroom to fight the charges - which Mueller's team tried to delay by claiming that Concord never served in the case, as they didn't 'properly' answer the special counsel's summons. When Concord argued that they appeared as provided by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed.

I don’t think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys — Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm — filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting. Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico here. -Powerline Blog

Prosecutors fought tooth and nail to keep confidential information out of Concord's hands - arguing that the defendants would obtain details about the government's sources and methods. Judge Friedrich, however, ruled last September that it was "significant and prejudicial that the government itself drew a link between these defendants and the Russian government," adding "In short, the Court concludes that the government violated Rule 57.7 by making or authorizing the release of public statements that linked the defendants' alleged activities to the Russian government..."

So, with trial approaching next month, prosecutors recommended that the Justice Department drop the charges against the companies in order to preserve national security interests and, as the New York Times describes it, "prevent Russia from weaponizing delicate American law enforcement information." Another factor was that the defendants - even if found guilty, would be difficult to meaningfully punish in the United States.

"Concord has been eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference," prosecutors said in a Monday court filing.

Of note, the day the charges were levied against the Russians which included allegations of a wide-ranging influence campaign over social media, former Facebook then-VP of advertising Rob Goldman admitted in a series of tweets that the majority of advertising purchased by Russians on Facebook occurred after the election - and their strategy was to "sow discord and divide Americans", as opposed to help Donald Trump win.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, paid a former UK spy to use Russian sources in a sham dossier, which the Obama FBI used to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign - while rumors of the Trump colluding with Russia were seeded to the media a month before the election by said operative. Meddlingly.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/17/2020 - 07:52
Published:3/17/2020 7:01:06 AM
[Markets] Coronavirus Bill Stalls As GOP Lawmakers Demand Corrections, Transparency Coronavirus Bill Stalls As GOP Lawmakers Demand Corrections, Transparency

House Democrats' coronavirus package which was passed on Saturday has become a point of contention, as Republican lawmakers continue to pick apart the bill negotiated between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi which garnered a late endorsement from President Trump, according to The Hill.

The bill faces two primary hurdles. First, technical changes had to be dealt with between House Democratic leadership and the White House - which they had hoped to have hammered out on Monday to no avail.

Second, with House lawmakers on a vacation of indefinite length over coronavirus concerns, any agreement will need to clear the house by consent - which isn't guaranteed at this point

Republicans have also demanded more transparency, with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) insisting that the technical corrections be read on the House floor before he'll let it move to the upper chamber, according to House aides on both sides of the aisle.

"He's concerned and wants all of the changes to be made public before the vote," one GOP aide told The Hill.

If Gohmert isn’t satisfied, he could stall the revamped House coronavirus bill until Pelosi is able to bring the chamber back to Washington to vote a second time.

I cannot in good conscience give my consent to something that has not been finished or made available to members of Congress before it is up for a vote,” Gohmert told CNN about the holdup.

The measure, which passed 363-40 on Saturday, includes provisions that would ensure some workers can take paid sick or family leave, bolster unemployment insurance, and guarantee that all Americans can get free diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. -The Hill

GOP Senators have criticized the bill for not doing enough to protect small businesses, or help struggling Americans cover short-term costs while the coronavirus epidemic takes a toll on the economy.

"I and a lot of the other senators who I’ve spoken to over the weekend are worried that we’re not doing enough to get cash in the hands of affected workers and families quickly, so we’re going to be focused this week on how to do just that," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) told Fox News in a Monday interview.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) also pushed back against the House bill during a Monday interview with Wisconsin radio station WTMJ, according to The Hill. "Nancy Pelosi is going to make businesses give paid leave when people aren’t working. The businesses are going to pay for that."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also signaled opposition, saying he wants to insert additional protections for small businesses into the House bill.

Another potential roadblock was removed on Monday after Senate GOP leaders cut a deal to extend three USA Freedom Act provisions for 77 days, along with allowing a handful of amendment votes once they adopt the deal passed by the House last week.

The House bill pairs an extension of the intelligence programs with certain changes to the court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Recall this is the same court which the Obama FBI tricked into granting a surveillance warrant on a Trump adviser during the 2016 US election, only to issue slaps on the wrist all around and carry on with business as usual.

"We’re working on trying to process both of these measures. Those discussions have been underway over the weekend, and we’re hoping to move with dispatch on both the House-passed bill, once we get it, and some way to move forward with the FISA issue as well," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.

Senators have urged leadership to agree to a short-term extension so they can turn their immediate attention to the coronavirus legislation.

Senators in both parties had urged leadership to agree to a short-term extension so they can focus on the coronavirus package.

The FISA program can also be extended with Senator [Mike] Lee’s [R-Utah] proposal for a 45-day extension and future consideration of the House bill with six amendment votes. That could all be done by [unanimous consent] as well. Given this pandemic, time is of the essence and we should not delay,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated that he could support a short-term extension.

If the alternative is staying dark, I’ll take an extension,” Warner said. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) added that the FISA program needs broader reviews and that the Senate should instead pivot to the coronavirus legislation.

FISA needs to be carefully reviewed. That takes time. That can wait. The emergency response to #coronavirus should be the first order of business in the Senate tomorrow. There is no reason for this to take days & days,” Hawley tweeted on Sunday. -The Hill

McConnell faces greater pressure from within his own party over the coronavirus legislation - as any amendments would mean the bill is bounced back to the House, which is now on the aforementioned indefinite break.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/16/2020 - 21:50
Published:3/16/2020 8:57:24 PM
[World] Is this panic over coronavirus justified, or not?

A friend tweeted from Ireland (in time for St. Patrick’s Day), blaming President Trump for the major decline in the value of stocks. This same friend credited Barack Obama’s economic policies when the Dow Jones Industrial Averages approached 30,000.

This — and more — is part of our political, economic ... Published:3/16/2020 2:29:35 PM

[Politics] 42% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty-two percent (42%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending March 12, 2020.

This week’s finding is down one point from a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from March 8-12, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/16/2020 10:56:08 AM
[World] Democrats and liberal media trying to use coronavirus to bring down President Trump

“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things that you would otherwise avoid.”

So said former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was President Obama’s chief of staff and an astute practitioner of smashmouth politics.

It’s worth remembering this as the Democrats and ... Published:3/13/2020 5:09:00 PM

[Markets] Watch Live: President Trump To Declare National Emergency Over Covid-19 Watch Live: President Trump To Declare National Emergency Over Covid-19

President Trump is set to hold a news conference at 3pmET to discuss the coronavirus as cases and deaths soar in the US.

The virus has killed at least 40 Americans and there are more than 1,700 cases nationwide as of Friday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

And set to get worse...

Bloomberg News reported he plans to declare a national emergency, a move that had been under consideration for some time.

As The Hill reports, declaring a national emergency would allow wider use of federal funds by state and local authorities, some of which have been overwhelmed by the fast-moving coronavirus.

The press conference will come as House lawmakers are likely to vote on sweeping legislation to provide financial help to victims.

We suspect Trump will also take this opportunity to blast the Obama administration (he spent part of Friday morning lashing out at them over its response to the swine flu), The Fed (for failing to take stronger action on the economy), and the current Democrats (he tweeted this morning that because we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths related to CoronaVirus. If we had weak or open borders, that number would be many times higher!).

Watch Live (due to start at 3pmET):

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/13/2020 - 14:55
Published:3/13/2020 2:10:10 PM
[Markets] Black Swans, Dead Cats, Live Bats, And A Goodbye To All That Black Swans, Dead Cats, Live Bats, And A Goodbye To All That

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Had enough excitement yet? At least the stock markets are following an established script: the bubble pops, the elevator drops, for a while it stops… and then investments sink to the deepest sub-basement, where they linger for long, long time. Hello, next great depression…. We know how that story goes, even if it hurts.

This corona virus is something else. It engulfs whole populations in a fog of confounding narratives. Is it no worse than a bad common cold, except for old folks already half-gone with chronic illness? Or does it really slam people even in the midst of life? Well, Wuhan hospital director Liu Zhiming, 51, went down two weeks ago, and gastroenterologist Xia Sisi, 29, and Dr. Peng Yinhua, also 29, and some prominent Iranian politicians, and lots of very sick healthcare workers from Korea to Italy. Whatever corona virus is, I’m not persuaded that it’s a hoax.

One monster banging around in that fog is the narrative that China started this thing simply to get rid of Mr. Trump. There’s a real baby-and-bathwater proposition. Would China, in effect, blow up its export economy for that, i.e. commit suicide? Because a lot of those prior arrangements will probably not come back — the manufacturing supply lines for this-and-that, the fabulous cornucopia of plastic goodies extruded from all those smoking factories and flushed out to the world, the whole glorious lets-get-rich extravaganza that Deng Xioping kicked off forty years ago. It’s looking like the global economy is on the rocks, perhaps for good, as we knew it. Is China as plumb crazy as, for instance, America’s political Left?

If anything, China has only validated Mr. Trump’s point that America bargained away its industrial independence, and must become more self-sufficient again. True enough. Where I depart from MAGA is my sense that the industrial age itself has probably shot its wad, and that whatever America makes of itself going forward is likely to be a much more modest and simpler way of life, without a lot of dazzling bells and whistles we’ve become accustomed to, and perhaps some genuine hardship.

I say that, readers will recall, because it really all comes down to the energy inputs available and that part of the picture has gone pretty grim in just the past week. The convergence of world events has driven a wooden stake through the heart of the shale oil business. From the get-go, shale oil was a loser because it just cost too much to get that oil out of the rock it was trapped in. It only worked as a financial stunt during the low interest lending orgy of the past decade. It was a magnificent stunt, you understand, goosing US production to 13 million barrels a day — energy independence, with all those short-term feel-good vibes — but it was just a stunt and now it’s over. The reality of this has yet to penetrate the American hive-mind.

Coronavirus neatly imploded that financing scaffold, and now, with world business locked down and markets cratering, capital is vanishing. As I’ve averred before, the shale companies spent ten years proving to investors that they can’t make a red cent. Their bonds and notes are sinking into sub-investment-grade oblivion. Some of the major producers — Whiting, Oasis, Chesapeake — have lost over 90 percent of their share value and will probably soon be gone. Who would lend them more money now, even if the money was there? (Maybe Uncle Sam’s wicked step-son, Mr. Trump, if it comes down to that… we’ll see.) Meanwhile, oil is cheap, but demand is gone, planes are not flying, ships are not sailing, stadiums are empty, lots of things are shutting down, and quite a bit of it may not ever come back.

US politics were already crazy enough before all this suddenly happened. The crisis of the past few weeks also saw the supernatural elevation of Joe Biden to the utterly implausible role of last-vehicle-standing in the Democratic Party demolition derby. Who do they think they are kidding? Not only is Joe Biden observably gone-in-the-head — that is, clearly unfit to be president — but he’s loaded down with a steaming, fetid cargo of easily proven grifting offenses so clunky and obvious they would embarrass a South Philly mobster. I’m sure Mr. Biden stayed in the race solely to avoid investigation for his operations in Ukraine and China with son, Hunter.

Corona virus has provided a chance for the former veep to duck out of the spotlight, where he spent recent weeks blathering incoherently and starting fights with voters. And now something really nefarious may be a’foot with the Dems. If the wounded Bernie Sanders does not use Sunday’s debate as an opportunity to expose Mr. Biden’s dementia and finish him off, here’s the DNC’s playbook: Hope that the stock market crash and broken economy sink Mr. Trump in public opinion, then contrive to nominate Mr. Biden and get a black woman on the ticket as veep.

That part of the story has been trotted out already. I’m beginning to wonder whether that black woman will happen to be Michelle Obama, and I’m also wondering whether Barack Obama is behind the scenes orchestrating this. Of course, Mr. Biden, if elected, will serve in office less than a week - just long enough to hustle him off with the 25th amendment. Voila! The Obamas are back in the White House, out-Clintoning even the Clintons! Happy days are here again! (Not.)

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/13/2020 - 14:25
Published:3/13/2020 1:39:15 PM
[Politics] Consumer Spending Update: Americans Jittery – But Not Panicked – About the Economy

With the coronavirus and falling oil prices battering the economy, economic confidence dropped four points this month with the Rasmussen Reports Economic Index hitting 140.0. This is the lowest finding since October after confidence had spiked to a five-year high in January.

Enthusiasm about the economy started to grow immediately following Donald Trump's election as president in November 2016 and jumped to 147.8 in January 2020. In President Obama’s final years in office, this index reached a high of 121.5 in January 2015 and was at 108.1 his last month in the White House.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.  

The survey of 1,500 American Adults was conducted on March 1-2, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/13/2020 11:06:22 AM
[Politics] Trump Blasts Obama, Biden Over Swine Flu Response President Donald Trump, touting his own response to the current coronavirus outbreak, blasted the response by the Obama administration and specifically Joe Biden for the past swine flu epidemic. Published:3/13/2020 7:39:00 AM
[Right Column] Former Obama climate adviser warns: ‘Unless coronavirus is quickly contained, another casualty will be much-needed climate action in 2020’

"Unless coronavirus is quickly contained, another casualty will be much-needed climate action in 2020." - KELLY SIMS GALLAGHER - Former Obama administration senior policy adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & senior China adviser in the Special Envoy for Climate Change office at the U.S. State Department.

Published:3/12/2020 3:02:40 PM
[Democrats] A socialist next time? (Paul Mirengoff) As it did in 2016, the Democratic party this year flirted with a socialist presidential candidate, but ultimately rejected him for a pragmatist. Bernie Sanders’s quest for the nomination seems doomed. The party almost certainly will select Joe Biden. The case for nominating Biden was three-fold. First, he was Barack Obama’s vice president. This was probably important to black voters, and it was black voters who carried Biden to victory Published:3/11/2020 2:25:43 PM
[] de Blasio: Good Lord, you realize Biden's never really been vetted, right? Published:3/10/2020 3:19:34 PM
[] "You're full of s***": Biden's 2nd Amendment voter outreach in Detroit going as well as you'd imagine Published:3/10/2020 11:18:15 AM
[Markets] Migrant Crisis 2.0: Who's To Blame And What's To Be Done? Migrant Crisis 2.0: Who's To Blame And What's To Be Done?

Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

It now looks like Europe may be moving towards Migrant Crisis 2.0 as footage from the Greek border is pouring in over the Mainstream Media. However the key player to pay attention to is Turkey, they may have started the new migration problem and thus they may be the ones who can end it.

The original Migrant Crisis at the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 was portrayed as an organic consequence of events that happened on their own. The Mainstream Media pushed hard to sell the idea of the migrants as victims of either circumstance or Assad, who deserved to get everything they want from the wealthy West.

However, this time around the narrative is surprisingly different (at least for the moment) as Migrant Crisis 2.0 is not really getting much media push, in fact the opposite appears to be happening, possibly due to the fact that Erdogan made it so bluntly clear that with his decision to allow migrants to leave Turkey is directly connected to his failures in Syria. If he doesn’t get a piece of Syria, then Europe will.

For example Foreign Policy frames the move as “Turkey’s decision to allow migrants to cross into the European Union was intended to pressure EU leaders to come to Ankara’s aid against Bashar al-Assad”.

 The Independent went with the headline “Turkey says it has allowed more than 100,000 migrants and refugees across its border with Greece”.

This is not the narrative of waves of poor victims coming to Europe, but instead the tale of the Turks using human beings as pawns of influence. Even the Hyper-Liberal Cultural Masochist den that is NPR positioned the event as an attempt for victims to “Leave Turkey For Europe, But This Time The Gate Is Closed” which is surprisingly soft. It is almost like NPR is hinting at some sort of logic like “well we should let them in but we can’t, I guess it’s bad, but whatever”.

What a difference a decade and a resurgent Turkey make as this migrant narrative has completely shifted. Furthermore, it is important to note that according to RT, the footage of the poor migrants trying to find peace and happiness in Europe, while being attacked by Greek authorities comes from Turkish sources. Essentially, the Turks who were able to hold all these migrants perfectly fine for years (since a deal was struck with the EU in 2016) have now, all of a sudden, decided they can’t do it anymore, releasing them into the wild. This also by a stroke of luck happened at the exact moment when NATO denied help to Ankara in their fight for Idlib partially via proxies against Assad and his Russian pals.

Even with the best of intentions massive waves of migrants are unlikely to be loyal to Europe thus turning into a subconscious fifth-column of foreign interest.

This is the point in an article where one might get the feeling that this is a hit piece against the Turks but it is far from it. The Turks are the ones making the moves now but they did not start the Syrian crisis, they just capitalized on it.

Firstly, the Civil War in Syria was started by Washington. This mess was started by the Obama era with a massive demonization campaign of Assad all over the Mainstream Media.

Secondly, it is the EU’s welfare state policies that send a message to the world that “if you sneak in, you are entitled to live like kings for free” that attracts the bottom of global society to immigrate to Europe. EU law/policies are really what created the Migrant Crisis, if they were to “man up” and have real borders and reasonable attitudes towards immigration (as well as dump the welfare state for immigrants) there would be zero problems.

So to be clear the Turks are just taking advantage of conditions created by Europeans and if I were born a Turk and were in Erdogan’s place I would have done many of the same moves. We shouldn’t blame others for jumping on the opportunities that we ourselves create for them. Yes, Turkey is now fanning the flames but they never started the fire.

So what could or should the strategies be for the various players going forward in Migrant Crisis 2.0?

Greece

This country finds itself as the farpost of Europe in terms of a migrant invasion. The Greek economy is still in ruins and the nation has definitely not been a beneficiary of EU status. If the Greeks actually have any political will of their own to take action, then they unfortunately need to “go hard” on any attempts to violate their borders.

Greece has nothing to lose but its Euro chains so they may as well militantly react to any attempts to violate their territory to send a message to Turkey that “this won’t work”. This may sound violent, but allowing enough migrants into your country to the point that it destabilizes, would lead to vastly more violence. A few unpleasant pieces of footage from Greece will make thousands of potential migrants think twice against storming a border unarmed with an army sitting on the other side of the barbed wire.

If Greece did become like a real country and actually protect its borders it would be demonized by Brussels, but then again so what? What are they going to do, kick them out of the EU? If so then that would be a boon for the average Greek. If Greece does actually have sovereign control of itself and can take action then Brussels has no real means to punish them for said actions, and any punishments would only push Greece towards an independence that it needs anyways. Harsh border control of Greece is a win win for anyone except the most delusional EU enthusiasts in Athens.

Turkey

In many ways the Turks are doing the right things to restore their former glory. They have done a good job of convincing Central Asians that they are actually Turks via their massive trade and education network in those countries. As stated above the flood of Turks into Europe is an exploitable beachhead for Ankara, and if they were to have negotiated with the Russians for some eastern chunk of Syria, this could have become an ideological Sudetenland for Erdogan, who may start to feel the heat as home as the proud Turks are losing to the WWII era looking Syrian Arab Army.

The Turks need to slow down and be patient. The West is slowly eroding, but until it hits the breaking point it will be an unstoppable barrier. Erdogan needs to stay cool and keep shoving as much of his fifth column of migrants into the EU as he can, and rally Europe’s migrant Muslims around himself even if they are non-Turks.

Turkey is in the rough geopolitical position of having Europe to the west and Russia to the north which made the idea to push south against weak Syria very logical, until it essentially became part of Russia. They want to expand but they are surrounded by spheres of influence even to the East. Right now there is no wiggle room for the Ottomans so they need to patiently grow and maybe try to make some deals with the Russians to understand just what the spheres of influence could turn into in a world with a collapsing EU that we will probably see in our lifetimes. Today is not Turkey’s day, but a weak West will open up huge opportunities for Turkey, they just need to stay patient, stay in NATO and wait it out.

Brussels

The EU is the source of its own problems. The mentality of those in power in the Euro bureaucracy is culturally suicidal. If they would only turn on a tenth of their former zeal for European Civilization and control their borders while cutting out immigrant welfare, they could save the continent, but they won’t do that.

Immigrating to Europe needs to become an impossibility so Europe an assimilate the people it has now and fine a future for itself. They need some sort of “Renaissance II: The Revenge of Europe” to take place, but the elite and intelligentsia fervently against any such move. The borders around Europe need to close but the powers that be are convinced the opposite is the correct policy. This is good for Ankara, Moscow and Beijing, but not so great for Europeans.

Europe’s openness is on track to being essentially the same as Africa’s helplessness during the Colonial Period. If you cannot defend yourself you will get carved up, this is the reality of International Relations that the status quo in Brussels does not believe in.

In Summary

  • The Turks did not create the conditions for the first or second Migrant Crisis

  • The Turks are exploiting these conditions for their benefit by artificially starting a new Migrant Crisis, which is opportunistic and not evil.

  • The Greeks have everything to gain by using any means necessary to send a message that they cannot be overrun by migrants.

  • The Turks want to grow but have their backs to the wall geopolitically and have started Migrant Crisis 2.0 due to their failure in Syria and NATO’s lack of will to support them.

  • All migration problems in Europe could be solved by having a strict external border and enacting pro in-group policies towards throughout the EU, while cutting all welfare for the migrant out-group.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/10/2020 - 02:00
Published:3/10/2020 1:16:12 AM
[Social] Facebook’s board is its most gender-balanced yet with two new additions On Monday, Facebook announced the addition of two new names to its board of directors, Nancy Killefer and Tracey T. Travis. Killefer brings potentially valuable government insight to Facebook, as she served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the Obama administration. With last year’s departure of former Clinton administration chief of staff Erskine […] Published:3/9/2020 4:47:30 PM
[Politics] 43% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty-three percent (43%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending March 5, 2020.

This week’s finding is down two points from a week ago. By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from March 1-5, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/9/2020 11:45:08 AM
[Opinion] Can a former president serve as vice president (or president)?

By The Thoughtful Conservative -

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com Sen. Bernie Sanders recently released a video in which he is seen embracing former President Barack Obama. While many viewed the video as disingenuous and/or a desperate effort to win over black voters, it still raised an interesting legal question. Given that Obama served two terms, ...

Can a former president serve as vice president (or president)? 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:3/9/2020 9:43:56 AM
[2020 Presidential Election] Biden on the trail (2) (Scott Johnson) PJ Media’s Matt Margolis draws attention to a few of the videos compiled by RNC rapid response director Steve Guest. The videos depict Joe Biden has been struggling to name-drop Barack Obama. “[A]s much as Biden invokes Obama,” however, Biden has “still occasionally forgotten his name on the campaign trail.” It’s probably past time to ask what is happening here, or to keep pointing it out. "Because they invaded another Published:3/9/2020 7:16:55 AM
[Markets] Jussie Smollett's Attempt To Have Case Tossed Rejected By Illinois Supreme Court Jussie Smollett's Attempt To Have Case Tossed Rejected By Illinois Supreme Court

Jussie Smollett's career may be over, but his legal troubles have just been renewed for another season.

On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the former "Empire" star's request to throw out charges accusing him of staging a racist hate crime hoax in Chicago, after Cook County special prosecutor Dan Webb slapped him with a six-count indictment last month.

Smollett's lawyers had filed an emergency petition claiming that Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin overstepped his authority and erred when appointed Webb to investigate the case, according to Fox News. The State Supreme Court did not elaborate on why they rejected Smollett's arguments.

Smollett. 37, was initially accused by Cook County prosecutors of falsely reporting to police that the alleged phony attack was real. Sixteen counts of disorderly conduct originally filed against him were dismissed and Toomin found Smollett’s first prosecution was invalid.

After another investigation by special prosecutor Dan Webb, six counts of the same charges we filed against Smollett, to which he pleaded not guilty last week.

Smollett, who is black and gay, told police that two masked men attacked him as he was walking home in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019. He said they made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing, and that at least one of his attackers was a white man who told him he was in “MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” -Fox News

As we noted in Feburary, Smollett - whose sisters worked for President Obama, was originally slapped with a 16-count indictment for lying to the police, however the Cook County State Attorney's office suddenly dropped the charges after  Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, pressured Chicago's top prosecutor, Kim Foxx, to transfer the case to the FBI. When that wasn't done, Foxx's office decided not to pursue the case

Explaining their decision to drop the case, Foxx's office said: "After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition & appropriate resolution."

And now it's back on... Seems like things are just heating up for Jussie in 'MAGA country.'

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/08/2020 - 09:15
Published:3/8/2020 8:40:17 AM
[Markets] Joe Biden In 2020 Duplicates Hillary Clinton In 2016 Joe Biden In 2020 Duplicates Hillary Clinton In 2016

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Saker Blog,

Hillary Clinton, of course, received the Democratic Party nomination in 2016 and was widely expected to beat Trump but she lost to him (though she won California by 4,269,978 in the popular vote, and so beat Trump by 2,864,974 in the nationwide popular vote, while she lost all other states by 1,405,002 votes, and so she would have been California’s President if she had won, but the rest of the nation wouldn’t have been happy).

Among the top reasons why Democrats in primaries and caucuses voted for Clinton was that they thought she would have a higher likelihood of beating the Republican nominee than Sanders did. This was the impression that the Democratic National Committee spread, and the Party’s voters believed in it.

However, by the time when Election Day rolled around, the passion that Republicans felt for their nominee, Trump, was much stronger than was the passion that Democrats felt for their nominee, Clinton. During the Democratic primaries, polls were showing that the Democrats who were voting for Sanders to become their Party’s nominee were far more passionate in their support of him than was the case regarding the Democrats who were voting for Clinton to become the Democratic nominee. And nobody questions that Trump was the passion-candidate in the Republican Party’s primaries and caucuses.

On 1 May 2017, McClatchy newspapers headlined “Democrats say they now know exactly why Clinton lost” and reported that,

A select group of top Democratic Party strategists have used new data about last year’s presidential election to reach a startling conclusion about why Hillary Clinton lost. Now they just need to persuade the rest of the party they’re right.

Many Democrats have a shorthand explanation for Clinton’s defeat: Her base didn’t turn out, Donald Trump’s did and the difference was too much to overcome.

But new information shows that Clinton had a much bigger problem with voters who had supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but backed Trump four years later.

Those Obama-Trump voters, in fact, effectively accounted for more than two-thirds of the reason Clinton lost, according to Matt Canter, a senior vice president of the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. In his group’s analysis, about 70 percent of Clinton’s failure to reach Obama’s vote total in 2012 was because she lost these voters. …

Although Clinton has blamed her loss on Putin, and on Sanders — and perhaps if Biden wins the nomination he will likewise blame Putin and Sanders if he subsequently loses to Trump — the passion factor is actually much stronger an influence on whom the winner of an electoral contest will be than losing candidates wish to admit or publicly acknowledge; and it could turn out to be the case in 2020, just the same as it did in 2016.

On 24 August 2017, NPR bannered “Here’s How Many Bernie Sanders Supporters Ultimately Voted For Trump” and reported that,

12 percent of people who voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries voted for President Trump in the general election. That is according to the data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) — a massive election survey of around 50,000 people.”

That study was done for CCES by Brian Shaffner of Tufts and Harvard Universities, who also reported that:

  • WI: 9% of Sanders voters voted for Trump.

  • MI: 8% of Sanders voters voted for Trump.

  • PA: 16% of Sanders voters voted for Trump.

Shaffner failed, however, to mention that Sanders beat Clinton in Wisconsin and won 570,192 votes in the Democratic primary there, and that Trump beat Clinton there by 22,748 votes, and that 9% of Sanders’s voters having voted for Trump there constituted 51,317 Sanders-Trump voters, and that this was 2.26 times as high as was Trump’s 22,747-vote victory-margin in Wisconsin, and, consequently: Sanders’s voters who voted for Trump were 2.26 times Trump’s victory-margin against Clinton there; so, clearly, Trump became President because of the huge number of Sanders voters who voted for Trump against Clinton. And it was the same thing that happened in each of the other two crucial states that Trump won in 2016.

Sanders likewise beat Clinton in Michigan and won 598,943 votes in the Democratic primary there, and Trump beat Clinton there by 10,704 votes, and 8% of Sanders voters having voted for Trump there constituted 47,915 Sanders-Trump voters, and this was 4.47 times as high as was Trump’s victory-margin in Michigan, so that Sanders’s voters who voted for Trump were 4.47 times Trump’s victory-margin against Clinton there.

Similarly, though Clinton beat Sanders in Pennsylvania, where Sanders won 731,881 votes in the Democratic primary, Trump beat Clinton there by 44,292 votes, and 16% of Sanders voters having voted for Trump there constituted 117,101 Sanders-Trump voters, and this was 2.64 times as high as Trump’s victory-margin in Pennsylvania, so that Sanders’s voters who voted for Trump were 2.64 times Trump’s victory-margin against Clinton there.

Of course, virtually all of the primary voters for Sanders would have been voting against Trump if Sanders had been the Democratic National Committee’s choice as the nominee instead of Clinton, whom they chose instead. By contrast, almost none of Clinton’s voters in the primaries would have voted against Clinton and for Trump in the final election (though some of them would have voted third-party or not at all — just as happened with Clinton’s actually being the Democratic nominee). Sanders would have overwhelmingly beaten Trump according to all of the nationally-polled match-ups — by far larger margins in a Sanders-Trump contest than Clinton was shown likely to in a Trump-Clinton contest.

The DNC basically chose the overwhelmingly weaker nominee (and sometimes they even did it blatantly), and so they lost to Trump instead of to have their billionaire donors lose to Sanders and to the American public by Sanders becoming the nominee and then the President. Keeping the support from their billionaire donors was the DNC’s top priority, in 2016. Of course, America’s voting public generally don’t know that both the DNC and the RNC are far more committed to keeping the support from their billionaire donors than they are committed to winning elections. This is why those voters pay close heed to what their Party’s leaders say about which candidates are ‘electable’ and which ones aren’t.

The voters don’t understand how politics actually works, in today’s America — they think that winning the current general election is a Party official’s top priority. They think that Party professionals are professionals at selecting winners, but instead Party professionals are professionals at pleasing their Party’s billionaires. If a voter wants to please him or her self instead of please a group of billionaires, that voter ought to vote for whomever that voter thinks would best serve that voter and not serve any group of billionaires

As the Huffington Post reported on March 4th, the day after Joe Biden’s huge Super-Tuesday win, “‘Voters liked both candidates but clearly consolidated around the one they saw as most electable,’ said Jared Leopold, who was the communications director for the Democratic Governors’ Association during the race. ‘The intraparty ideological fight pales in comparison to the thirst to beat Donald Trump and his buddies.’”

Those people’s top concern is to please the few individuals who fund their careers. Winning the current electoral contest isn’t actually their #1 concern, though voters think it is. The Party professionals have a longer-term, personally career-oriented, goal in mind — pleasing their bosses’ bosses.

*  *  *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/07/2020 - 22:10
Published:3/7/2020 9:17:48 PM
[Markets] AOC Encourages Illegals To Participate In 2020 Census AOC Encourages Illegals To Participate In 2020 Census

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) says that "every single person, no matter your documentation status" should participate in the 2020 census, according to the Washington Examiner.

"We're all going to get mailed a prompt to fill out the census in the next two weeks or so," she said during a Thursday interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers. "Every single person, no matter your documentation status, no matter your housing status, income, etc., is to be counted."

In 2019, Ocasio-Cortez condemned the idea of a citizenship question on the census, saying, “unspeakable horrors have been executed in the United States in the name of citizenship.”

The census, which will begin on March 12, 2020, will be used to determine how government funds should be used to build a wide range of infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, homes, and supermarkets. A major debate around the census is related to how the numbers are used to alter congressional representation. Ten states are expected to either lose or gain congressional districts based on the results of the 2020 census. -Washington Examiner

In 2018, President Trump took heat after his administration announced plans for a controversial citizenship question on the census, which hasn't been included since 1950 according to the report. Federal Judge Jesse Furman, an Obama appointee, struck down the plan - writing that a citizenship test would be both "arbitrary and capricious."

Last year, Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were held in contempt by the House after they refused to respond to congressional subpoenas regarding the citizenship question.

The Trump administration gave up on adding the citizenship question to the census in June, 2019 after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the attempt.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/07/2020 - 16:50
Published:3/7/2020 4:02:00 PM
[Immigration] What part of NO AMNESTY doesn’t D.C. understand? What part of NO AMNESTY doesn’t D.C. understand? by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2020 The rumblings from the Beltway are ominous, my fellow Americans. As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on President Donald Trump’s termination of the Obama administration amnesty and work permits for 800,000 young illegal immigrants sometime between now and […] Published:3/7/2020 11:00:55 AM
[Markets] Stop Calling It A "Stutter": Here Are Dozens Of Examples Of Biden's Dementia Symptoms Stop Calling It A "Stutter": Here Are Dozens Of Examples Of Biden's Dementia Symptoms

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

It’s very bizarre and dissonant how there are currently two separate and non-overlapping lines of criticism going on against the campaign of establishment-anointed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. There are the perfectly accurate criticisms regarding the right-wingmilitaristic policy positions of the politician Joe Biden used to be, and then there are the equally accurate criticisms of Biden’s handlers and Democratic Party leadership for wheeling out the dementia-addled husk of a man he currently is to run for the world’s most powerful elected office.

These two debates do not interweave, because they are not relevant to one another. It doesn’t matter what political positions a dementia victim once had; what matters is taking care of him and keeping him away from hazards, like sharp objects and nuclear launch codes. It’s impossible to know what actual political convictions still remain held within a mind that can no longer lucidly string thoughts together anyway.

I hate doing this. I hate repeatedly writing about the obvious and undeniable fact that an old man is exhibiting obvious and undeniable symptoms of incipient dementia. It isn’t fun, and it doesn’t feel good. But the alternative is laying down and allowing the Democratic party and its allied media to gaslight people into believing it’s not a thing, as they are doing currently.

If you do a live Twitter search for the word “stutter”, you will as of this writing see that word being tweeted multiple times per minute on the social media platform as Democrats scramble to defend Biden from people who are accurately highlighting the indisputable fact that the former vice president is showing signs of cognitive decline. In my interactions with Biden supporters over the last 24 hours I’ve had this irrelevant word suddenly start getting thrown at me, because narrative managers in the mainstream media and the Biden campaign have been aggressively promoting the talking point that Biden’s increasingly frequent neurological misfirings on the campaign trail are actually the result of a longstanding speech impediment.

This is false. While it is true that Biden has periodically exhibited signs of a stutter, the inability to hold on to his own train of thought, forgetting where he is and who he’s with, grossly incorrect use of language, and inappropriate behavior are not symptoms of a stutter.

Here is the Mayo Clinic’s list of symptoms for a stutter, also known as a stammer:

  • Difficulty starting a word, phrase or sentence

  • Prolonging a word or sounds within a word

  • Repetition of a sound, syllable or word

  • Brief silence for certain syllables or words, or pauses within a word (broken word)

  • Addition of extra words such as “um” if difficulty moving to the next word is anticipated

  • Excess tension, tightness, or movement of the face or upper body to produce a word

  • Anxiety about talking

  • Limited ability to effectively communicate

Here is the Mayo Clinic’s list of dementia symptoms:

  • Memory loss, which is usually noticed by a spouse or someone else

  • Difficulty communicating or finding words

  • Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities, such as getting lost while driving

  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving

  • Difficulty handling complex tasks

  • Difficulty with planning and organizing

  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions

  • Confusion and disorientation

Clearly, the symptoms of the speech impediment are very distinct from the symptoms of a degenerative neurological disorder. What follows are dozens of examples suggesting the latter, most of which were compiled by the Twitter user @KoenSwinkels. You may be absolutely certain that Trump will not hesitate to highlight this growing mountain of evidence should Democratic Party leadership successfully install Biden as the nominee; in fact both Trump and his Fox News cheerleaders are doing so already.

Joe Biden is Jeb Bush plus dementia. Trump will be far less charitable with his symptoms than I am here, and if he’s nominated the president will make certain this story dominates news headlines from the convention until November. Anyone who wants Trump out of office should fiercely oppose Biden’s nomination.

1. “Make sure you have the record player on at night… make sure the kids hear words.”

Everyone talked about Biden’s bizarre call for families to make use of an archaic audio technology in response to a debate question about slavery, and some criticized his paternalistic suggestion that black Americans need to be taught how to raise their children correctly, but hardly anyone made a fuss about the fact that his entire answer was also a rambling, incoherent word salad.

It’s easy to overlook linguistic peculiarities when they’re spoken, so I made a verbatim transcript of Biden’s complete answer, exactly as he spoke it. There are no typos. Read it carefully, resisting the urge to mentally re-word it in order to make it make sense:

“Well they have to deal with the — Look, there is institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved I started dealing with that. Redlining. Banks. Making sure that we’re in a position where — Look, talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title 1 schools, triple the amount of money we spend from 15 to 45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise that equal raise to getting out — the sixty-thousand dollar level.

“Number two: make sure that we bring into the help the — the student, the, the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home. We need — We have one school psychologist for every fifteen hundred kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are reca — Now, I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have make sure that every single child does in fact have three, four, and five year-olds go to school — school, not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t wanna help, they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television, the — ‘scuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the-the-the-the phone, make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school, a very poor background, will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.”

Compare this muddle-headed mess, and all the following subsequent examples, to the crisp, forceful way Biden used to speak:

Or even just a few years ago:

2. “We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women created by the, go, you know the, you know the thing.”

3. “Super Thursday”

4. “I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. Look me over, if you like what you see help out, if not vote for the other Bi- gimme a look though okay?”

Fact check: Biden has not been a candidate for the United States Senate in a great many years, and is in fact running for the presidency.

5. “Alright Chuck!”

Fact check: Chris. Chris Wallace.

6. “Right here in the state of North South Carolina.”

Fact check: Not a state.

7. Randomly biting his wife’s finger.

Fact check: Don’t do that, Joe.

8. Worked with Deng Xiaoping, who died 23 years ago, on the Paris Climate Accord during the Obama administration.

9. “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

10. Whatever the hell this is.

11. We’ll increase healthcare premiums and make sure care is not quality, only affordable.

12. “Look, fat, look, here’s the deal.”

13. “My deceased son was the Attorney General of the United States.”

Beau Biden was only the Attorney General of Delaware.

14. Being aggressive and inappropriate with Iraq war veterans, wrongly insinuating that his son died in the war.

US veterans recently confronted Biden over his support for the Iraq invasion, one saying “My friends are dead because of your policies.”

“So’s my son,” Biden replied. “He was in Iraq, okay? For a year. Not that it matters, right?”

“I’m not going after your son,” the veteran said.

“You better not,” Biden replied.

Biden’s son was in Iraq from 2008 to 2009. He died in 2015, of cancer.

15. This incoherent word salad.

Here’s a transcript of an answer Biden gave to a question at a town hall. Read through it, resisting the urge to mentally revise it into something more coherent:

“And so I was saying that, and what they turned around and said, Joe Biden said, in effect, they said, that Joe Biden said that what he was told, that what, that what the white supremacists argue, that we have no problem, that our, our, our basic English jurisprudential system is not the problem. The problem is those countries like Africa and Asia and those places, they’re the reason why we have all these problems. So they turn it around to make it sound like that, and by the way, the title of the article is, was, is the Washington Post ‘The Deceptively (indecipherable) of Joe Biden Singles, Signals What Is Coming’ and that is that’s a whole bunch of lies. The generic point I’m making here is that, what has happened is that, I know we’re going to get in to, whomever the nominee is of the Democratic Party, is going to have a plethora of lies told about him or her, and misrepresentations and this went on the internet, this edited article, it got retweeted by some press people and then they realized it was edited to make it look like something not… white supremacists, see, Biden’s acknowledging that the problem here is that that all those folks, all those minority folks are the problem. And so, in essence. And so they corrected, they corrected. You’re going to see a lot more of it. You’re going to see a lot more of not only my statements being taken out of context, and lied about, or altered, you’re going to see whomever the Democratic nominee is because that’s how this guy operates. Now. Whether or not I can win?”

16. “We choose truth over facts.”

17. “150 million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability.”

This would be about half the population of the United States. Pretty sure that would’ve made bigger headlines.

18. Confusing Theresa May with Margaret Thatcher.

19. Confusing Angela Merkel with Margaret Thatcher.

20. “You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier.”

21. Rambling confused gibberish, including saying Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr were assassinated in the late 70s.

Both men were assassinated in 1968.

22. Fix the problem of violence against women by “punching at it and punching at it and punching at it.”

23. Implementing a childcare tax credit would “put 720 million women back in the workforce.”

This would be more than double the entire US population.

24. Thought he was in Vermont when he was in New Hampshire.

25. Confused New Hampshire and Nevada.

26. Said he was vice president during the Parkland shooting.

Biden left the office of the vice presidency in January 2017. The Parkland shooting was February 2018.

27. Said 1976 when he meant 2014.

28. Said he’s looking forward to “appointing the first African American woman to the United States Senate.”

Nobody “appoints” senators; they’re elected. The first African American woman in the US Senate took office in 1993.

29. “Go to Joe 30330 and help me in this fight.”

Biden apparently received instructions from his team to tell debate viewers to text “Joe” to 30330, but these directions were too complicated for him. He wound up sending viewers to a random empty URL which was subsequently bought up by a Buttigieg supporter.

30. Made, then dropped, claim that he was arrested in South Africa while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison.

31. “Clipping coupons at the stock market.”

That’s not a thing, Joe.

32. Confused his wife and his sister.

33. Jill Biden’s face revealing a flash freakout when he starts forgetting what he’s saying.

34. Claimed he had the support of the “only” African American woman that had ever been elected to the senate, while the other one was standing on the stage with him.

35. “Why why why why why why why!”

36. Referred to Bernie Sanders as “the president”, then, still unable to remember his name, called him “my friend Vermont”.

37. Also called Cory Booker “the president”.

That’s it for now. Let me know if I missed any good ones; I’ll probably keep this updated with all the latest neurological misfirings until this discussion goes mainstream like it should already be.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Tyler Durden Fri, 03/06/2020 - 20:25
Published:3/6/2020 7:29:37 PM
[In The News] Obama-Era DHS Inspector General Indicted on Theft of Govt. Property, Fraud, and Identity Theft

By R. Mitchell -

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 16-count indictment against a former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a former subordinate for their alleged theft of proprietary software and confidential databases from the U.S. government as part of a scheme ...

Obama-Era DHS Inspector General Indicted on Theft of Govt. Property, Fraud, and Identity Theft 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:3/6/2020 3:55:21 PM
[] Unexpectedly, February's Job Creation Numbers Either "Smash" or "Crush" Expectations Weird. I remember that under Obama, job creation expectations were always "unexpectedly" lower than the consensus estimates. And now? They're nearly always higher. "Unexpectedly" seems to mean "contrary to liberal-leaning professionals' desires." 2.73 trillion new jobs were added in February,... Published:3/6/2020 2:56:18 PM
[] Fox News' Bret Baier owns Obama bro Tommy Vietor with one word and it's glorious Published:3/5/2020 8:21:08 PM
[Politics] Obama Alum Evelyn Farkas Fundraising Off Free Beacon Report

Democratic congressional candidate Evelyn Farkas sent out a fundraising letter on Thursday slamming a Washington Free Beacon report on her ties to a lobbying effort by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, and arguing that she is the best candidate to stand up against foreign political influence.

The post Obama Alum Evelyn Farkas Fundraising Off Free Beacon Report appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/5/2020 4:50:28 PM
[Politics] Top Sanders Surrogate: Zionism Is a ‘Racist’ Ideology

A top surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presidential campaign claimed Zionism is a "racist" ideology and even criticized Barack Obama for saying otherwise.

The post Top Sanders Surrogate: Zionism Is a ‘Racist’ Ideology appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/5/2020 3:20:46 PM
[World] BOOK REVIEW: 'The Nation City'

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019, is introduced in a splendid Chicago Tribune profile by Christopher Borrelli as “Chicagoan, shark, bully, pitbull, leviathan, sledgehammer, former mayor, former Democratic operative and fundraiser, former  White House (Obama) chief of staff, former Hillary Clinton headache … investment banker, father, husband, ... Published:3/5/2020 1:22:41 PM

[] FLASHBACK: Barack Obama mocked 'comrade' Bernie Sanders in 2016 Published:3/5/2020 8:50:20 AM
[] Feeling Berned: New Sanders ad wraps arms firmly around Obama Published:3/4/2020 5:17:08 PM
[Markets] Ukrainian Court Throws Wrench Into Joe Biden's 2020 Election Plans Ukrainian Court Throws Wrench Into Joe Biden's 2020 Election Plans

Authored by John Solomon via JustTheNews.com,

A Ukrainian court has ordered an investigation into whether Joe Biden violated any laws when he forced the March 2016 firing of the country’s chief prosecutor.

The ruling could revive scrutiny of Hunter Biden’s lucrative relationship with an energy firm in that corruption-plagued country just as the former vice president’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is surging after a lackluster start.

Former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who has long alleged he was fired because he would not stop investigating the Burisma Holdings firm that employed Hunter Biden, secured the ruling last month. Ukrainian officials confirmed the State Bureau of Investigation has since complied and initiated the probe.

The Pecherskyi District Court of Kyiv ruled last month that Shokin’s lawyers had provided sufficient evidence to warrant a probe and “obliged the authorized officials of the State Bureau of Investigation" to accept the ex-prosecutor's complaint and "start pre-trial investigation of the reported data," according to an official English translation of the ruling provided by Shokin's attorney.

The ruling does not mention Biden by name, but court filings by Shokin's lawyers that led to the decision show that the former prosecutor had alleged “the commission of a criminal offense against him by Joseph Biden, a citizen of the United States of America, in Ukraine and abroad: interference in the activities of a law enforcement officer.”

Ukraine officials say the court-ordered investigation could include a review of non-public documents and possibly even interviews.

The court order revives allegations that were at the center of President Trump’s recent impeachment and acquittal, and which have dogged Joe Biden since he boasted in a 2018 video interview that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S.-backed loan guarantees if Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko did not fire Shokin as the country’s chief prosecutor.

Shokin alleges he was fired on March 29, 2016 specifically because his office refused to shut down a long-running corruption investigation into Burisma, one of Ukraine’s larger natural gas companies.  The firm hired Hunter Biden as a board member in spring 2014, shortly after Joe Biden was named by President Obama to oversee Ukraine-U.S. relations. Records gathered by the FBI show Hunter Biden’s American firm was paid more than $3 million between 2014 and 2016.

President Trump’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, asked the State Department and Ukraine officials back in 2019 to investigate the Bidens, an act which gave rise to the impeachment proceedings,

During impeachment testimony, multiple State Department officials said they believed the Bidens’ arrangement created the appearance of a conflict of interest and that the department even blocked a business deal with Burisma at one point over concerns the company was corrupt.

Joe Biden and his defenders have denied any wrongdoing, saying the vice president sought Shokin’s firing because the prosecutor was ineffective in fighting corruption. His supporters have also claimed that the Burisma investigation was dormant at the time Shokin was fired and therefore not a high priority.

But evidence has emerged in recent weeks that the probe into Burisma, in fact, was heating up when Shokin was fired in spring 2016. The prosecutor’s office had secured a ruling re-seizing assets of Burisma’s owner in early February 2016, and the Latvian government acknowledges it sent a warning to Ukraine officials that same month flagging several Burisma transactions, including payments to Hunter Biden, as “suspicious.”

Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act also show Burisma's lawyers were pressuring the State Department in February 2016 to end the corruption allegations against the firm, even invoking Hunter Biden's name as the reason.

And Shokin himself says he was making plans to interview Hunter Biden, an act that likely would have garnered major attention in the United States as Democrats were trying to defeat Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Hunter Biden recently left Burisma’s board and said he believes in retrospect it was bad judgment to join the Ukraine company while his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine relations. He also acknowledged he likely got the job because of his last name.

Whatever Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation does, the emergence of an investigation in Ukraine focusing attention on the Biden’s ethics comes at an unwelcome time for Joe Biden, whose presidential campaign lagged for months but got a jolt over the weekend when he won convincingly in South Carolina’s primary.

Biden’s momentum continued Monday on the eve of the critical Super Tuesday elections when rivals Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg dropped from the 2020 Democratic presidential race and announced plans to endorse the former vice president.

While the Ukraine probe just gets started, a separate investigation launched by Republicans in the U.S. Senate has been growing for weeks as investigators seek documents on Hunter Biden’s finances, his overseas travels with the vice president and possible interviews with Ukraine officials.

For a more complete timeline of key events in the Ukraine scandal, click here.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/04/2020 - 17:25
Published:3/4/2020 4:43:49 PM
[World] United States bargains with the Taliban devil

President Trump was rightly critical of the deal struck with Cuba during the Obama administration when he said the Communist Cuban government got everything they wanted, and the United States got nothing in exchange. He has thankfully been reversing some of those unilateral concessions.

Let’s apply his standard to the ... Published:3/4/2020 1:16:09 PM

[] 'Capitulation': Bernie Sanders is so DESPERATE he's now embracing the Dem establishment in a BIG way Published:3/4/2020 9:45:48 AM
[Politics] What Part of 'NO AMNESTY' Doesn't DC Understand? By Michelle Malkin

The rumblings from the Beltway are ominous, my fellow Americans. As the U.S Supreme Court prepares to rule on President Donald Trump's termination of the Obama administration amnesty and work permits for 800,000 young illegal immigrants sometime between now and June 2020, all the usual open-borders special interests are lobbying for a "DACA deal" in Congress.

Published:3/4/2020 7:43:31 AM
[Markets] The Myth Of Moderate Nuclear War The Myth Of Moderate Nuclear War

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

There are many influential supporters of nuclear war, and some of these contend that the use of ‘low-yield’ and/or short-range weapons is practicable without the possibility of escalation to all-out Armageddon.

In a way their argument is comparable to that of the band of starry-eyed optimists who thought, apparently seriously, that there could be such a beast as a ‘moderate rebel’.

In October 2013 the Washington Post reported that “The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, US-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war,” and the US Congress gave approval to then President Barack Obama’s plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State extremists. The belief that there could be any grouping of insurgents that could be described as “moderate rebels” is bizarre and it would be fascinating to know how Washington’s planners classify such people. It obviously didn’t dawn on them that any person who uses weapons illegally in a rebellion could not be defined as being moderate. And how moderate is moderate? Perhaps a moderate rebel could be equipped with US weapons that kill only extremists? Or are they allowed to kill only five children a month? The entire notion was absurd, and predictably the scheme collapsed, after expenditure of vast amounts of US taxpayers’ money.

And even vaster amounts of money are being spent on developing and producing what might be classed as moderate nuclear weapons, in that they don’t have the zillion-bang punch of most of its existing 4,000 plus warheads. It is apparently widely believed in Washington that if a nuclear weapon is (comparatively) small, then it’s less dangerous than a big nuclear weapon.

In January 2019 the Guardian reported that “the Trump administration has argued the development of a low-yield weapon would make nuclear war less likely, by giving the US a more flexible deterrent. It would counter any enemy (particularly Russian) perception that the US would balk at using its own fearsome arsenal in response to a limited nuclear attack because its missiles were all in the hundreds of kilotons range and ‘too big to use’, because they would cause untold civilian casualties.”

In fact, the nuclear war envisaged in that scenario would be a global catastrophe — as would all nuclear wars, because there’s no way, no means whatever, of limiting escalation. Once a nuclear weapon has exploded and killed people, the nuclear-armed nation to which these people belonged is going to take massive action. There is no alternative, because no government is just going to sit there and try to start talking with an enemy that has taken the ultimate leap in warfare.

It is widely imagined — by many nuclear planners in the sub-continent, for example — that use of a tactical, a battlefield-deployed, nuclear weapon will in some fashion persuade the opponent (India or Pakistan) that there is no need to employ higher-capability weapons, or, in other words, longer range missiles delivering massive warheads. These people think that the other side will evaluate the situation calmly and dispassionately and come to the conclusion that at most it should itself reply with a similar weapon. But such a scenario supposes that there is good intelligence about the effects of the weapon that has exploded, most probably within the opponent’s sovereign territory. This is verging on the impossible.

War is confusing in the extreme, and tactical planning can be extremely complex. But there is no precedent for nuclear war, and nobody — nobody — knows for certain what reactions will be to such a situation in or near any nation. The US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review stated that low-yield weapons “help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely”. But do the possible opponents of the United States agree with that? How could they do so?

The reaction by any nuclear-armed state to what is confirmed as a nuclear attack will have to be swift. It cannot be guaranteed, for example, that the first attack will not represent a series. It will, by definition, be decisive, because the world will then be a tiny step from doomsday. The US nuclear review is optimistic that “flexibility” will by some means limit a nuclear exchange, or even persuade the nuked-nation that there should be no riposte, which is an intriguing hypothesis.

As pointed out by Lawfare, “the review calls for modification to ‘a small number of existing submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warheads’ to provide a low-yield option.

It also calls for further exploration of low-yield options, arguing that expanding these options will ‘help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely.’ This is intended to address the argument that adversaries might think the United States, out of concern for collateral damage, would hesitate to employ a high-yield nuclear weapon in response to a ‘lower level’ conflict, in which an adversary used a low-yield nuclear device. The review argues that expanding low-yield options is ‘important for the preservation of credible deterrence,’ especially when it comes to smaller-scale regional conflicts.”

“Credible deterrence” is a favourite catch-phrase of the believers in limited nuclear war, but its credibility is suspect. Former US defence secretary William Perry said last year that he wasn’t so much worried about the vast number of warheads in the world as he was by open proposals that these weapons are “usable”. It’s right back to the Cold War and he emphasises that “The belief that there might be tactical advantage using nuclear weapons – which I haven’t heard being openly discussed in the United States or in Russia for a good many years – is happening now in those countries which I think is extremely distressing.” But the perturbing thing is that while it is certainly being discussed in Moscow, it’s verging on doctrine in Washington.

In late February US Defence Secretary Esper was reported as having taken part in a “classified military drill in which Russia and the United States traded nuclear strikes.” The Pentagon stated that “The scenario included a European contingency where you’re conducting a war with Russia and Russia decides to use a low-yield, limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory.” The US response was to fire back with what was called a “limited response.”

First of all, the notion that Russia would take the first step to nuclear war is completely baseless, and there is no evidence that this could ever be contemplated. But ever if it were to be so, it cannot be imagined for an instant that Washington would indulge in moderate nuclear warfare in riposte.

These self-justifying wargames are dangerous. And they bring Armageddon ever closer.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/04/2020 - 00:05
Published:3/3/2020 11:11:21 PM
[] Surprise: Samantha Power joins her old Obama administration pals in endorsing Joe Biden for president Published:3/3/2020 8:12:33 PM
[Markets] FEMA Is Preparing For Coronavirus "Emergency Declaration" FEMA Is Preparing For Coronavirus "Emergency Declaration"

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

As Americans scramble to prepare themselves for the possibility that the coronavirus outbreak becomes a pandemic, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is also preparing.  FEMA is “aware of the gravity of the situation” and ready to assist in a coronavirus response.

FEMA officials are preparing for an “infectious disease emergency declaration” by the president that would allow the agency to provide disaster relief funding to state and local governments, as well as federal assistance to support the coronavirus response, according to agency planning documents reviewed by NBC News.

The Trump administration would have to use the 1988 Stafford Act to enable FEMA to provide such disaster assistance. Emergency declarations are most often used in the event of natural disasters but can be used to help manage disease outbreaks.

“To me, this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation,” said Michael Coen, who was FEMA chief of staff during the Obama administration.

“They need to consider all tools available to them and have contingencies for action.”

But it isn’t immediately clear just what all of that could mean.

“I actually find this reassuring,” said Tim Manning, who was a FEMA deputy administrator under President Barack Obama.

“I hope this discussion has been happening continuously over the last couple of months.”

An emergency declaration would allow FEMA to provide disaster medical assistance teams, mobile hospitals, and military transport, among other kinds of federal support, Manning said.

FEMA’s disaster relief fund has a current balance of $34 billion, according to the latest agency update. “It’s money that’s sitting there and ready,” said another former FEMA official, who declined to be identified. –NBC News

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/03/2020 - 18:05
Published:3/3/2020 5:15:40 PM
[Politics] The Thrill Is Gone: The Best of Chris Matthews

We look back on some of the thrilling highlights of MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who stepped down as the host of Hardball Monday after a career dominated by shouting, Obama-loving, and hawk-denouncing.

The post The Thrill Is Gone: The Best of Chris Matthews appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/3/2020 2:07:05 PM
[Markets] Schiff: We're On The Precipice Of A Much Larger Crisis Schiff: We're On The Precipice Of A Much Larger Crisis

Via SchiffGold.com,

On Sunday, March, 1, Peter Schiff appeared on Fox News to discuss the market and economic turbulence surrounding coronavirus. Peter said the coronavirus isn’t the real problem. It’s the Fed. Everything the central bank has done since 2008 has only made things worse and set us up for an even bigger crisis.

Peter opened up the interview saying that even with the big declines through the previous week, the US stock market is still significantly overvalued.

The market was priced for perfection and clearly we’re not going to get that. But the larger economic issue is not the coronavirus itself. If the US economy were fundamentally healthy, this virus wouldn’t make it sick. The problem is the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates so low for so long to artificially stimulate the economy, that it has inflated a gigantic bubble, and the coronavirus may be the pin. But the problem is not the pin, but the bubble that the pin pricks.”

The anchor pointed out President Trump thinks rates are artificially high. He wants cuts. Peter laughed.

No, no. Sure, the president wants to keep the bubble inflated long enough to get reelected. But if you remember, when he was a candidate and Obama was still in office, he was very critical of Janet Yellen doing political things. Look, everything the Fed has done since the 2008 financial crisis has only exacerbated the problems that created that crisis, which is why we’re on the precipice of a much larger one and why the pricking of this bubble is so risky. And if the Fed, of course, goes back to the drawing board and just cuts rates again, all it’s doing is throwing gasoline on the fire that it lit.”

Marco Rubio blamed China for the escalation of the coronavirus, saying the Chinese are more interested in protecting their global image than they are in containing the virus. But as Peter pointed out, the US has plenty of problems of its own.

Look, the Chinese government is not responsible for our massive budget deficits, our trade deficits, the fact that the Fed has inflated a stock market bubble or a bond market bubble. We’ve done this stuff to ourselves. We have pursued these policies that have left our economy so vulnerable. I mean, we have nothing saved for a rainy day and now even if we get a drizzle we have a crash.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/03/2020 - 14:55
Published:3/3/2020 2:07:05 PM
[Opinion] Democrats Know Right From Wrong, So Why Do They Always Choose The “Wrong” Option?

By Dave King -

Democrats know that it’s wrong for an outgoing administration to use the power of the FBI and the State Department to try to spy on and defeat their opposing party during a presidential election. But the Obama administration did exactly that to the Trump campaign in an attempt to assure ...

Democrats Know Right From Wrong, So Why Do They Always Choose The “Wrong” Option? 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:3/3/2020 12:39:23 PM
[Markets] Why The Coming Economic Collapse Will Not Be Caused By Covid-19 Why The Coming Economic Collapse Will Not Be Caused By Covid-19

Authored by Matthew Ehret via Off-Guardian.org,

With last week's collapse in the stock market, the internet has been set ablaze with discussion of a new crash looming on the horizon (even with today's record-breaking point-gain in the Dow). The fact that such a chain reaction collapse was only kept at bay due to massive liquidity injections by the Federal Reserve’s overnight repo loans should not be ignored.

These injections which began in September 2019, have grown to over $100 billion per night… all that to support the largest financial bubble in human history with global derivatives estimated at $1.2 quadrillion (20 times the global GDP!).

Sadly economic illiteracy is so pervasive among today’s modern economists that the real reasons for this crisis have been entirely misdiagnosed with financial experts from CNN, to Forbes blaming the volatility on the spread of the Corona virus!

NOT THE CORONA VIRUS: THE REAL CAUSE OF THE ONCOMING FINANCIAL COLLAPSE.

As refreshing as it is to hear candid criticisms of the system’s failure and even support for the restoration of Glass-Steagall bank separation from presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard or even the lame Elisabeth Warren… we find that in each case, those candidates are on record supporting policies cooked up by the very same oligarchs they appear to despise in the form of the Green New Deal.

In spite of what many of its progressive proponents would wish, such a global green reform would not only impose Malthusian depopulation upon nation states globally were it accepted, but would establish a the supranational authority of a technocratic managerial elite as enforcers of a “de-carbonization agenda”.

Due to the rampant lack of comprehension of how this crisis was created such that such idiotic proposals as “green new deals” are now seriously being suggested as remedies to our current ills, a bit of history is in order.

SOME NECESSARY BACKGROUND

“The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, first Inaugural Address 1933

Knowing that the “money changers” had only been able to create the great bubbles of the 1920s via their access to the deposits of the commercial banks, Franklin Roosevelt made the core of his battle against the abuses of Wall Street centre around a 1933 legislation entitled “Glass-Steagall”, named after the two federally elected officials who led the reform with FDR.

This was a bill which forced the absolute separation of productive from speculative banking, guaranteeing via the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) only those commercial banking assets associated with the productive economy, but forcing any speculative losses arising from investment banking to be suffered by the gambler. The striking success of this law inspired other countries around the world to establish similar bank separation.

Alongside principles of capital budgeting, public credit, parity pricing and a commitment to scientific and technological development, a dynamic had been created that would express the greatest hope for the world, and the greatest fear for the financial empire occupying the City of London and Wall Street.

The death of John F. Kennedy ushered in a new age of pessimism and cultural irrationalism from which our society has never recovered. The destruction of a long term vision as exemplified by the space program, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the New Deal projects had resulted in a tendency within the population to increasingly look upon present pleasures as the only reality, and future goods as the mystical expression of the sum of present pleasures.

In this new philosophical setting, so alien in previous epochs, money was permitted to act as a power unto itself for short term gains instead of serving the investments into the real productive wealth of society. With this new paradigm shift into the “now”, a new economic model was adopted to replace the industrial economic model which had proven itself in the years preceding and following World War II.

The name for this system was “post-industrial monetarism”. This would be a system ushered in by Richard Nixon’s announcement of the destruction of the fixed-exchange rate Bretton Woods system and its replacement by the “floating rate” system of post 1971 fame.

During that same fateful year of 1971, another ominous event took place: the formation of the Rothschild Inter-Alpha Group of banks under the umbrella of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which today controls upwards of 70% of the global financial system.

The stated intention of this Group would be found in the 1983 speech by Lord Jacob Rothschild:

“two broad types of giant institutions, the worldwide financial service company and the international commercial bank with a global trading competence, may converge to form the ultimate, all-powerful, many-headed financial conglomerate.”

This policy demanded the destruction of the sovereign nation-state system and the imposition of a new feudal structure of world governance through the age-old scheme of controlling the money system on the one side, and playing on the vices of credulous fools who, by allowing their nations to be ruled by the belief that hedonistic market forces govern the world, would seal their own children’s doom.

All the while, geopolitical structures foreign to the United States constitutional traditions were imposed by nests of Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholars and Fabians who converted America into a global “dumb giant” enforcing a neo colonial program under a “Anglo-US Special Relationship”. The Dulles brothers, McGeorge Bundy, Kissinger, and Bush all represent names that advanced this British directed plan throughout the 20th century.

LONDON’S ‘BIG BANG’

The great “liberalization” of world commerce began with a series of waves through the 1970s, and moved into high gear with the interest rate hikes of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in 1980-82, the effects of which both annihilated much of the small and medium sized entrepreneurs, opened the speculative gates into the “Savings and Loan” debacle and also helped cartelize mineral, food, and financial institutions into ever greater behemoths.

Volcker himself described this process as the “controlled disintegration of the US economy” upon becoming Fed Chairman in 1978. The raising of interest rates to 20-21% not only shut down the life blood of much of the US economic base, but also threw the third world into greater debt slavery, as nations now had to pay usurious interest on US loans.

In 1986, the City of London announced the beginning of a new era of economic irrationalism with Margaret Thatcher’s “Big Bang” deregulation. This wave of liberalization took the world by storm as it swept aside the separation of commercial, deposit and investment banking which had been the post-world war cornerstone in ensuring that the will of private finance would never again hold more sway than the power of sovereign nation-states.

After decades of chipping away at the structure of regulation that FDR’s bold intervention into history had built, the “Big Bang” set a precedent for similar financial de-regulation into the “Universal Banking” model in other parts of the western world.

THE DERIVATIVE TIME BOMB IS SET

In September 1987, the 20-year foray into speculation resulted in a 23% collapse of the Dow Jones on October 19, 1987. Within hours of this crash, international emergency meetings had been convened with former JP Morgan tool Alan Greenspan introducing a “solution” which would have the future echoes of hyperinflation and fascism written all over it.

“Creative financial instruments” was the Orwellian name given to the new financial asset popularized by Greenspan, but otherwise known as “derivatives”.

New supercomputing technologies were increasingly used in this new venture, not as the support for higher nation building practices, and space exploration programs as their NASA origins intended, but would rather become perverted to accommodate the creation of new complex formulas which could associate values to price differentials on securities and insured debts that could then be “hedged” on those very spot and futures markets made possible via the destruction of the Bretton Woods system in 1971.

So while an exponentially self-generating monster was created that could end nowhere but in a meltdown, “market confidence” rallied back in force with the new flux of easy money. The physical potential to sustain human life continued to plummet.

NAFTA, THE EURO AND THE END OF HISTORY

It is no coincidence that within this period, another deadly treaty was passed called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). With this Agreement made law, protective programs that had kept North American factories in the U.S and Canada were struck down, allowing for the export of the lifeblood of highly skilled industrial workforce to Mexico where skills were low, technologies lower, and salaries lower still.

With a stripping of its productive assets, North America became increasingly reliant on exporting cheap resources and services for its means of existence.

Again, the physically productive powers of society would collapse, yet monetary profits in the ephemeral “now” would skyrocket. This was replicated in Europe with the creation of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 establishing the Euro by 1994 while the “liberalization” process of Perestroika replicated this agenda in the former Soviet Union. While some personalities gave this agenda the name “End of History” and others “the New World Order”, the effect was the same.

Universal Banking, NAFTA, Euro integration and the creation of the derivative economy in a space of just several years would induce a cartelization of finance through newly legalized mergers and acquisitions at a rate never before seen. The multitude of financial institutions that had existed in the early 1980s were absorbed into each other at great speed through the 1990s in true “survival of the fittest” fashion. No matter what level of regulation were attempted under this new structure, the degree of conflict of interest, and private political power was uncontrollable, as evidenced in the United States, by the shutdown of any attempt by Securities and Exchange Commission head Brooksley Born to fight the derivative cancer at its early stages.

By 1999 a politically castrated Bill Clinton found himself signing into law a treaty authored by then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which would be the final nail in the coffin for the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking in the United States.

The new age of unregulated trading and creation of over-the-counter derivatives caused these strange financial instruments to grow from $60 trillion in 2000 to $600 trillion by 2008.

THE 2000-2008 FRENZY

With Glass-Steagall now removed, legitimate capital such as pension funds could be used to start a hedge to end all hedges. Billions were now poured into mortgage-backed securities (MBS), a market which had been artificially plunged to record-breaking interest rate lows of 1-2% for over a year by the US Federal Reserve making borrowing easy, and the returns on the investments into the MBSs obscene.

The obscenity swelled as the values of the houses skyrocketed far beyond the real values to the tune of one hundred thousand dollar homes selling for 5-6 times that price within the span of several years.

As long as no one assumed this growth was ab-normal, and the unpayable nature of the capital underlying the leveraged assets locked up in the now infamous “sub-primes” and other illegitimate debt obligations was ignored, then profits were supposed to just continue infinitely. Anyone who questioned this logic was considered a heretic by the latter-day priesthood.

The stunning “success” of securitizing housing debts immediately induced a wave of sovereign wealth funds to come into prominence applying the same model that had been used in the case of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDO) to the debts of entire nations.

The securitizing of bundled packages of sovereign debts that could then be infinitely leveraged on the de-regulated world markets would no longer be considered an act of national treason, but the key to easy money.

CONCLUSION

This is the system which died in 2008. Contrary to popular belief, nothing was actually resolved. For all the talk of an “FDR revival” under Obama, speculation wasn’t actually regulated under the Dodd-Frank Act or the Volker Rule of 2010. No productive credit was created to grow the real economy under a national mission as was the case in 1933-1938.

Banks were not broken up while derivatives GREW by 40% with the new bubble concentrated in the corporate/household debt sector now collapsing. During this time, nation states continued to be stripped, as austerity was rammed down the throats of nations.

It should be no surprise that in the midst of this despair, a creative alliance was consolidated in defense of the interests of sovereign nation states and humanity at large led by the leadership of Russia and China.

This leadership took the form of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative which has grown to embrace over 130 countries today and looking more and more like an Asian-led version of the New Deal of the 1930s.

Indeed, China’s capacity to unleash long term credit for thousands of international long term infrastructure projects was made possible by the fact that it was the only country on the globe which had not given up the principles of bank separation which were destroyed in every other nation.

Very few western figures stood up to this self-induced destruction over the decades, but one notable exception here worth mentioning is the figure of the late American economist Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) who not only resisted this process for over four decades, but fought alongside the Schiller Institute to promote New Silk Road as early as 1996.

With the 2016 Brexit and election of President Trump, a new wave of nationalist spirit has become a fire which the technocrats have lost their capacity to snuff out.

Increasingly, the idea that nation-states have a power over the private banking system has become revived and discussion for reforming the now dead Trans-Atlantic system is increasingly shaped not by the calls for a “New World Order” as Sir Kissinger would have liked, but rather for a New Silk Road and a true New Deal.

The Eurasian nations are already firmly committed to this new system, and if the west is to qualify morally to take part in this new epoch, then the first step will be a return to a Glass-Steagall.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/03/2020 - 00:00
Published:3/2/2020 11:05:34 PM
[Politics] Firm Asks Supreme Court to Declare CFPB Structure Unconstitutional

A California law firm is asking the Supreme Court to rein in a top financial regulator established by the Obama administration because of its lack of accountability to the president.

The post Firm Asks Supreme Court to Declare CFPB Structure Unconstitutional appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/2/2020 7:01:58 PM
[Uncategorized] Report: Buttigieg to Endorse Biden Monday Night, Day After Phone Call With Obama Is Obama endorsing Biden behind the scenes so he can play uniter on the surface? Published:3/2/2020 3:37:43 PM
[Markets] Hillary Clinton Ordered To Give Sworn Deposition After Judge Tosses 'Preposterous' Defense Hillary Clinton Ordered To Give Sworn Deposition After Judge Tosses 'Preposterous' Defense

Hillary Clinton has been ordered to give a sworn deposition to Judicial Watch regarding her emails and documents related to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya while she was Secretary of State.

The ruling is in response to the conservative legal group's lawsuit, "Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State" - specifically regarding "talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack."

Judicial Watch famously uncovered in 2014 that the “talking points” that provided the basis for Susan Rice’s false statements were created by the Obama White House. This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015. -Judicial Watch

Discovery in the case began in December, 2018, when Judge Royce C. Lamberth allowed Judicial Watch to explore whether Clinton's use of a private email server was intended to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). JW also sought to determine: "whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request."

The court also authorized discovery into whether the Benghazi controversy motivated the cover-up of Clinton’s email. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.” The State and Justice Departments continued to defend Clinton’s and the agency’s email  conduct. -Judicial Watch

On Monday, Judge Lamberth overruled Clinton and the State Department's objections to limited additional discovery, writing "Discovery up until this point has brought to light a noteworthy amount of relevant information, but Judicial Watch requests an additional round of discovery, and understandably so. With each passing round of discovery, the Court is left with more questions than answers."

Lamberth also said that he is troubled by the fact that both Clinton and the State Department want discovery to end.

[T]here is still more to learn. Even though many important questions remain unanswered, the Justice Department inexplicably still takes the position that the court should close discovery and rule on dispositive motions. The Court is especially troubled by this. To argue that the Court now has enough information to determine whether State conducted an adequate search is preposterous, especially when considering State’s deficient representations regarding the existence of additional Clinton emails. Instead, the Court will authorize a new round of discovery -Judge Lamberth

Furthermore, Lamberth found that Clinton's prior testimony in the case - mostly given through sworn answers, was insufficient. 

The Court has considered the numerous times in which Secretary Clinton said she could not recall or remember certain details in her prior interrogatory answers. In a deposition, it is more likely that plaintiff’s counsel could use documents and other testimony to attempt to refresh her recollection. And so, to avoid the unsatisfying and inefficient outcome of multiple rounds of fruitless interrogatories and move this almost six-year-old case closer to its conclusion, Judicial Watch will be permitted to clarify and further explore Secretary Clinton’s answers in person and immediately after she gives them. The Court agrees with Judicial Watch – it is time to hear directly from Secretary Clinton. -Judge Lamberth

"Judicial Watch uncovered the Clinton email scandal and we’re pleased that the court authorized us to depose Mrs. Clinton directly on her email conduct and how it impacted the people’s ‘right to know’ under FOIA," said JW President Tom Fitton.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/02/2020 - 16:25
Published:3/2/2020 3:37:43 PM
[Opinion] Democrats Desperately Unhappy that America is Doing So Well

By Karen Kataline -

Ahead of Super Tuesday and after winning his first-ever primary contest in South Carolina, Joe Biden said, “We need to build on the coalition and the legacy of the most successful presidency in our lifetime, Barack Obama.” He then corrected himself:  “The Obama-Biden Presidency.” As Bill Clinton might say, I ...

Democrats Desperately Unhappy that America is Doing So Well 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:3/2/2020 2:02:29 PM
[Left Column] RIP Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I have strong views about climate because I think the majority is badly wrong’ – Morano’s Politically Incorrect climate book excerpt

RIP Freeman Dyson: World-Renowned Physicist, ‘Einstein’s successor’, Climate Skeptic, Died Aged 96

Freeman Dyson, Princeton’s legendary theoretical physicist, dies at 96 – A climate skeptic: ‘I like carbon dioxide’

#

Freeman Dyson was featured in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change by Marc Morano

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change (The Politically Incorrect Guides) by [Morano, Marc]

Freeman Dyson climate change thoughts: “I have strong views about climate because I think the majority is badly wrong,” he said.

“‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side,” Dyson explained in 2015. He called the UN climate pact “pointless” and explained, “pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn’t understand that.” 

The main thing that is lacking at the moment is humility. The climate experts have set themselves up as being the guardians of the truth and they think they have the truth and that is a dangerous situation.”

Published:3/2/2020 12:01:41 PM
[Politics] 45% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty-five percent (45%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending February 27, 2020.

This week’s finding is down one point from a week ago By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from February 23-27, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/2/2020 9:44:08 AM
[World] Biden: A Night Thirty Years In The Making

Socialism can still be put to the sword if Obama swoops in and saves him on Super Tuesday.

The post Biden: A Night Thirty Years In The Making appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:3/1/2020 9:54:14 PM
[Markets] Coronavirus: A Great Opportunity For Dems To Attack Trump? Coronavirus: A Great Opportunity For Dems To Attack Trump?

Authored by Lorraine Silvetz via LibertyNation.com,

As Coronavirus continues to make its way around the world, sickening and killing thousands, the U.S. government’s response to the crisis has become riddled with dissension between President Trump and the Democrats.

Trump requested $2.5 billion in funding from Congress to deal with the outbreak. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), however, said that amount was too little as he put down the administration’s preparedness for a disease federal officials say could cause “severe” disruption to everyday life in the U.S.

“With no plan to deal with the potential public and global health crisis related to the novel coronavirus, the Trump administration made an emergency supplemental appropriations request on Monday,” Schumer said in a statement on Feb. 26.

It was too little and too late — only $1.25 billion in new funding. For context, Congress appropriated more than $6B for the Pandemic Flu in 2006 and more than $7B for H1N1 flu in 2009.”

Donald Trump and Mike Pence

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also insulted the president’s funding request, calling it “completely inadequate” and criticized the president for previously cutting funding to public health programs. She called the response “anemic.”

After Trump tapped Vice President Mike Pence to lead the Coronavirus response in the U.S.,  Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), attacked Pence for his handling of HIV while still the governor of Indiana. True to form, in the words of Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, Democrats “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

“As governor, Pence’s science denial contributed to one of the worst HIV outbreaks in Indiana’s history,” AOC tweeted.

“He is not a medical doctor. He is not a health expert. He is not qualified nor positioned in any way to protect our public health.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she spoke with Pence and voiced her concerns regarding Trump’s choosing him to spearhead the Coronavirus initiative. “We have always had a very candid relationship and, I expressed to him a concern that I had of his being in this position,” she said at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.

At Trump’s announcement of his position on Wednesday, Pence said his time serving as governor provided valuable training for this.

 “I know full well the importance of presidential leadership, the importance of administration leadership, and the vital role of partnerships of state and local governments, and health authorities in responding to potential threats and dangerous infectious diseases,” the vice president said.

Pence announced the appointment of Debbie Birx, a medical doctor and HIV and global health expert, as the “White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.” She had previously been appointed by President Obama to the position of U.S. Global AIDS coordinator and confirmed by the Senate.

Presidential candidates didn’t hesitate to jump on the Coronavirus bandwagon declaring how they would respond to the outbreak.

“Like so much else, the Trump administration’s bungled response to the coronavirus outbreak is a mess,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted. 

“As president, I will lead a competent administration prepared to combat outbreaks—because our public health, economy, and national security depend on it.”

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg also joined the clamor of Trump insults regarding his approach to the coronavirus.

“I led NYC through its recovery after 9/11 and the financial crisis,” the billionaire tweeted Wednesday.

We faced health epidemics and weather emergencies. The key to leading in a crisis like the coronavirus is sharing the facts, demonstrating control and trusting the experts. Unfortunately, not Trump’s strong suit.”

Trump said that Democrats and the media are playing up the Coronavirus threat for political gain, as he sought to ease fears about the virus this week both in his Wednesday press conference and in public appearances during his trip to India and on Twitter.

And it turns out the majority of Americans have faith in Trump to handle it...

It is clear that the jury’s still out regarding how malignant Coronavirus will be both in the U.S. and around the world. Some experts estimate the mortality rate is 20 times higher than that of the seasonal flu. And while the seasonal flu kills roughly 35,000 Americans a year, if the coronavirus infects half the U.S. population, the 2% mortality rate still means 3.3 million American lives lost. Is Trump being misled by some of his advisors as to the magnitude of the coronavirus threat?

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/01/2020 - 18:55
Published:3/1/2020 5:59:40 PM
[Markets] The Democrats' Narrative Of Gloom Won't Fly In 2020 The Democrats' Narrative Of Gloom Won't Fly In 2020

Authored by Peter Van Buren via TheAmericanConservative.com,

Telling people their lives suck is no way to win an election. As James Carville says, they’re losing their damn minds...

The chaos of the primaries, the lack of a clear party vision in the last debate - are Democrats a progressive party, a party of moderates, a plaything for billionaires, or just people sniping each other for virtue points? It is time for concern.

Politics is always about the biggest story you tell and how voters see themselves in that story. If the Democrats lose in November, one of the main reasons—and the competition is strong—will be that they’ve gotten trapped inside a set of false narratives. Or they’re, in the words of James Carville, “Losing our damn minds.”

Think how powerful the narratives of “Morning in America” and “Hope and Change” were, and contrast those with the Dems’ “things suck more than you realize, people,” and you see where this is headed.

At the top of the list is the economy. The Democratic narrative is that the economy is bad, with a recession just around the corner (or maybe the corner after that, keep looking). Yet outside the debate hall, 59 percent of Americans say they are better off than they were a year ago. Overall quality of life is satisfactory for a massive 84 percent. Unemployment is at historic lows. Wages are up a bit.

The reality is bad enough for Dems. But the narrative problem is that they’re confusing a strong economy with economic inequality. The economy does benefit everyone, but it benefits a small percentage at the top much more. They have not gotten this message across to an electorate that is happy to have any job, content with some rise in wages, and, for the half of Americans who own some stock, want to see just enough growth in their 401(k) to suggest at least part of retirement won’t be dependent on canned soup being on sale. The Dems are running on a narrative that the economy is failing; Americans believe that if it is failing, it’s failing less than it did before, and that’s good enough.

Holding Democrats back is their false narrative of all-you-can-eat white privilege. Economic inequality across America is not primarily racial, though it does have a racial component. But Dems are still telling the same old story, as if whites across the Midwest have the same union factory jobs that raised them and blacks never did. The powerful message of “we’re all in this together” is being thrown away for black victimization narrative votes that may or may not turn out on Election Day.

Dems also insist on lumping blacks, Hispanics (30 percent of whom support Trump), Chinese, and everyone non-lily into “People of Color,” a classic case of one size fits none. It would be an award-winning SNL skit to watch Larry David’s Bernie try to convince a Chinese friend, a medical doctor with kids in the Ivies, that as a “POC,” his personal concerns have significant crossover with what’s happening to a guy uptown as played by guest host Samuel L. Jackson. It’s about money, stupid, not color.

Dems seem to be working this narrative into the ground in an effort to alienate as many voters as possible. Poor whites, too meth-addled to see Trump making false promises, deserve to be replaced by driverless delivery trucks. Poor blacks, it’s not your fault, because racism. Everyone else not white, whatever, go with the black folk on this one, ‘kay? An issue that could unite 90 percent of Americans gets lost. And if you don’t agree racism is the root cause of everything, from “top to bottom,” as Bernie says, well, you’re a racist! James Carville says for the Democratic Party to win it has to drive a narrative that “doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant.” Instead the strategy seems to be Dems turning from criticizing ideas to criticizing voters.

Much of the rest is a mighty credibility issue for the Dems. They have stuck with so many proven false narratives so long, no one believes them anymore. Trump did not work with Putin to get elected, yet Maddow on MSDNC is still pushing something similar even today. Do we really need to talk about how few Americans cared so little about impeachment? Trump did not start World War III. Roe v. Wade is still firmly the law.

But the transpeople! Dems have clung to the narrative that trans rights are somehow a major issue among voters. Biden tweeted, “Let’s be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time.” While most voters want to see transpeople treated decently, there is no national election issue here. Same for all the other virtuous baggage Dems drag around the social media. For example, rights and benefits for illegal immigrants. It makes them seem out of touch with mainstream America, a particular liability in an election likely to hinge on purple voters in swing states.

Dems also cling too hard to the narrative of Barack Obama. Maybe he deserves accolades for this or that, maybe not, but that the guy who seems to be the talk of the Democratic Party isn’t one of the people on the ballot does not indicate strength. Barack’s and Michelle’s formal portraits are touring the nation, apparently so Democrats can worship them like artifacts from some lost cargo cult, a “communal experience of a particular moment in time,” according to the National Portrait Gallery. Five equally desperate candidates, with Biden in the lead Art Garfunkel role, are airing ads featuring St. Barack.

Health care is a kitchen-table economic issue. A majority of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, rank cutting health care and drug costs as their top priority. That polls as far more important than passing a major health system overhaul like Medicare for All. Americans are not interested in converting the entire economy over to some flavor of socialism just so they can see a doctor. The bigger the change the Dems sell, the more it frightens people away.

Same for all the other free stuff Dems are using to troll for votes (college, loans, reparations). Each good idea is wrapped in a grad school seminar paper requiring America to convert its economy from something people have grown to live with into something they aren’t sure they understand. It is a hell of a narrative: Democrats turning an election against Trump into a sub-referendum on socialism lite at a time when Americans’ personal economic satisfaction is at a record high.

James Carville summed it up, saying

“We have candidates talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments—talking about that is not how you win a national election...

By framing, repeating, and delivering a coherent, meaningful message that is relevant to people’s lives and having the political skill not to be sucked into every rabbit hole that somebody puts in front of you.”

Where once you had hope and change, now there’s the always exasperated Warren, the out-of-breath grumpy Bernie, that frozen Pete grin, Steyer giving his TED talks, Biden looking like the last surviving member of a rock band playing a Holiday Inn gig remembering when he and Barack once filled arenas, man. And now, Mike Bloomberg, cosplaying a Democrat. Oh well. The Beto revival of 2024 isn’t that far away.

If I were writing ad copy for the Republicans, I might try this: “Voters, do me a favor. Look out the window. Do you see a republic on the edge of collapse, Rome, the U.S. in 1860? Is your life controlled by an authoritarian? That’s what Democrats say is out there. But you don’t see that, do you? You see more people with jobs. You have a little more. And more kids down the block are home from war than are gearing up to fight in places like Libya and Syria that none of us really care about. Your choice is pretty straightforward at this point. Have a good night, and a good day at work tomorrow.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/01/2020 - 13:55
Published:3/1/2020 1:02:58 PM
[Barack Obama] Obama’s airbrushed dreams (Scott Johnson) I placed David Garrow’s biography of the young Barack Obama (now available in paperback) in my top 10 books of 2017. Forgive me for quoting myself. This is what I wrote: Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, by David J. Garrow. This staggeringly researched book covers 1078 pages of text supported by 300 pages of footnotes — even though Garrow relegates his comments on Obama’s presidency to a 50-page Published:3/1/2020 9:56:42 AM
[Left Column] Freeman Dyson, Princeton’s legendary theoretical physicist, dies at 96 – A climate skeptic: ‘I like carbon dioxide’

Nat Geo excerpt: Freeman Dyson's criticism of climate science grew out of his own involvement with the JASON group and developed amid the nuclear winter debate with Carl Sagan and others. In his own simple climate model, Dyson underplayed the effects of greenhouse gases. Atmospheric physicists savaged his model for going against a broad consensus. That stung Dyson, who insisted that "global warming is grossly exaggerated as a problem." His skepticism continued to bring scathing criticism during his final years, as evinced in a New York Times Magazine article headlined "The Civil Heretic."

...

Flashback: Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side’

Published:2/28/2020 7:14:17 PM
[Markets] Democrats Have No Choice Left But To 'Feel The Bern' Democrats Have No Choice Left But To 'Feel The Bern'

Authored by Tim Kriby via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Now that Bernie Sanders has been informed that the Kremlin is trying to support him (whether he likes it or not) he has officially become a viable candidate who may actually desire to make real systemic change. In a way the Russia connection accusation can now be worn as a badge of honour by Gabbard and Trump due to them truly being a limited threat to the status quo. Sanders got a gentler version of this form of Deep State virtue signaling by just being told that Russians are pushing for him on their own, meaning that there “may be hope for him yet” to turn around and jump right back on the Beltway bandwagon. Ultimately, the #Russiagate tactic did not disway voters from electing Trump but it did eat up a massive amount of his precious time/resources as US President and put an invisible Iron Curtain between any possible positive cooperation between America and Russia. This “collusion” revelation of dubious validity for Sanders will probably have a similar impact on his campaign and possible time in the Oval Office as it did with Trump, but regardless he is the only chance the Democrats have of winning in 2020.

Democratic and Republican voters are obviously different in their beliefs falling onto one of two different sides of every wedge issue, but one thing unites all American voters – no one actually cares about Russia or really any foreign power. Over the last 6 months, less than 0.5% of Americans said their primary concern was “Situation with Russia” based on polling by Gallup. (Gallop lists all concerns with a tiny response at 0.5% meaning that literally one person could have listed this as their big issue and it would be rounded up to half a percent). If we then take a look at the biggest concerns that Americans do have, then not surprisingly it is things like the economy, healthcare, government/poor leadership, immigration, poverty and surprisingly unifying the country.

This has been a consistent fact for decades, the American voter is vastly more concerned about things that affect them personally than some greater threat or ideological goal. America is a society of individualists so naturally most people’s demands from power are based their own individual needs. There is nothing surprising here, except for the desire to “unify the country” which has not been a priority in previous years.

Photo: Bernie speaks to youth better than men half his age

Perhaps some people in the Beltway are concerned with Russia, but the voting masses are not and the narrative that “Bernie is getting help from Moscow, but then again he didn’t ask for it and is not involved” is very weak sauce. This will not dissuade any real large number of people away from voting for him as the Democratic Candidate.

What Sanders offered in 2016 that got crushed by inner Democratic Party moves and Hillary Clinton is still fresh and relevant today – “Free” Stuff and cutesy poo Socialism. Just like last time the only hope the Dems have is the man from Vermont with the thick New York accent as all the other candidates are dismal offerings to the public. Sanders’ position is what a large portion of the population wants. Is it viable and can Sanders actually do it? These questions do not matter as the average voter does not think about them, they want their college debt annulled and medical care guaranteed and who cares how it gets done. Sanders promises this clearly and bluntly while the others are too busy looking at percentages from focus group reactions to shift their image from day-to-day. Bernie is really the only choice for the Democrats to compete with Trump.

Graphic: A simple message that is deeply relevant to Americans is what gets votes

Biden managed to throw away all the years of positive brand recognition that he had attained thanks to standing next to Barack Obama by allowing #Russiagate to meltdown into #Ukrainegate expositing his corrupt dealings in America’s newest colony. Additionally there are lots of videos of Biden inappropriately touching children, which is far more important from an electoral standpoint. Biden had it and lost it.

Tulsi Gabbard as a female veteran (who doesn’t look White) should have gotten the Left excited, but instead they trounced her as she seemed unwilling to play ball. Yang has one idea (Universal Basic Income) and the complete lack of personality needed to push it. Elizabeth Warren has all the problems of Hillary Clinton while still managing to have less humanity on camera. Stuffy anti-gun nut Buttigieg will probably give the Republicans the largest amount of minority votes seen during our lifetimes. Bloomberg is a boring version of Trump who seems to be obviously trying to buy his way into the election, which will ultimately backfire. Who is this Amy Klobuchar woman and how did she actually get a tiny amount of delegates? Bernie’s competition is a joke.

Sanders, despite being the old rich bald White guy the Left claims to loath, is head and shoulders above anyone else in terms of his ability to deliver a message and get a positive reaction out of people. Basically, he has the showmanship and the ability to relate to people well enough to get the youth and minority vote. Most of all, he promises free stuff that he is going to tax us for which is the naive instant gratification solution that the masses want. The entire country has brutal college debt and the fear of life-crushing medical debt. Even though Sanders has almost zero chance of actually getting Scandinavian Style Socialized Medicine or a Student Loan Amnesty accomplished, just the promise alone is very tempting. When faced with the option of possibly getting tens of thousand of dollars of debt cancelled vs. a 0% chance of that happening with Trump, well you can see whom debt ridden Americans will be casting their ballots for.

Yang’s Universal Basic Income also speaks to the millions of voices fighting to get from paycheck to paycheck but he was unable to deliver it. Sanders has the charisma and the big pleasant sounding simple solutions that the common man will buy into. If the Democrats again somehow try to sabotage Bernie, then they will be the ones feeling the “Bern” as they will be utterly crushed by Trump, allowing the Republican party to continue its transformation from the perception of a pro-business party to one of a multi-racial pro-Constitutional populist party. The DNC can either back someone they don’t like or shoot themselves in the foot, but judging by their overall irrational political views and emotion driven logic they are probably already trying to put the “magazine” in the revolver as we speak.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/28/2020 - 19:05
Published:2/28/2020 6:17:07 PM
[Markets] "Here's Why I Don't Really Trust The Official American Coronavirus Numbers" "Here's Why I Don't Really Trust The Official American Coronavirus Numbers"

Authored by Daisy Luther via the Organic Prepper

A lot of folks have distrusted the numbers coming out of China since the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. That uneasy feeling was justified when it was discovered that many patients weren’t being counted because they were never tested.  Once an alternative testing method was temporarily approved, the number of infected people skyrocketed. This was only temporary though because Chinese officials reverted quickly to their previous method of only relying on the nucleic acid test, which is infamous for false negatives. (There are reports that suggest certain infected people tested negative as many as six times before a positive test occurred, according to MedicineNet.)

Looking at China’s official response and looking at the American official response, I see some troubling similarities that make me wonder if our own numbers are accurate at all.

Hardly anyone is actually being tested in the United States.

First of all, very few tests have actually been performed in the United States. As of Feb. 26, 2020, the CDC reported that only 466 tests had been performed in the US and the criteria for being tested is so narrow as to render the statistics useless.

This was proven to be the case with the patient in California who was finally tested after four days and found to have Covid19, even though she has not been to China or knowingly been in contact with anyone from China.  Why wasn’t she tested sooner?

Because she didn’t fit “the criteria” laid out by the CDC for testing.

Hospital administrators said they immediately requested diagnostic testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the procedure was not carried out because the case did not qualify under strict federal criteria: She had not traveled to China and had not been in contact with anyone known to be infected. (source)

So this delay in testing was not the fault of physicians caring for her, but because the CDC decided from afar that only certain patients could be tested. If this sounds familiar, it’s because, in China, only certain patients were given tests while thousands of others were turned away from healthcare facilities without assessment.

Here’s the narrow criteria to get tested. Basically, if you haven’t been to an affected country or been exposed to someone from an affected country, you’re unlikely to be tested.

And it gets even worse.

The first batch of tests sent out to health departments around the country was faulty.

…expanded testing has been delayed because of an unspecified problem with one of the compounds used in the CDC test. About half of state labs got inconclusive results when using the compound, so the CDC said it would make a new version and redistribute it. (source)

So 466 people have been tested with potentially flawed tests. Countless people have been untested simply because they haven’t traveled to certain countries or knowingly been in contact with someone who has traveled to certain countries.

In comparison, New York Magazine reports that more than 7,100 coronavirus tests have been conducted in the UK, South Korea has tested more than 30,000 people in “drive-thru” testing facilities, and the province of Ontario, Canada has tested 629 people. All of these places have far lower populations than the United States but they’ve tested a lot more people.

Given these facts, do you really think that only 60 people in the United States are infected?

We were all upset when we learned China was testing so few people and fudging the cause of death of others. But here we are, also testing very few people.

What about all those people being “monitored?”

You’ve probably seen that thousands of people across the country are being “monitored” by health departments. Unfortunately, that monitoring doesn’t mean that they’re being tested before they’re released from self-quarantine. It simply means the local health department is getting their temperatures and asking if they have symptoms.

So monitoring is mainly self-instituted and no testing is being done. Don’t be lulled into any sense of false security over “monitoring.” Actual monitoring would mean that the quarantined people would have to test negative to the virus before they were released from quarantine.

To be absolutely clear, those being “monitored” are basically staying home for a couple of weeks then going on their merry way, with no testing involved. And considering there have been instances of asymptomatic people spreading the virus, this is hardly comforting.

And now Vice President Pence has issued a gag order.

If the obfuscation above isn’t bad enough, now all statements from health officials must be cleared by Vice President Mike Pence, the unofficial Covid19 Czar, before they can be made public.

The vice president’s first move appeared to be aimed at preventing the kind of contradictory statements from White House officials and top government health officials that have plagued the administration’s response. Even during his news conference Wednesday, Trump rejected the assessment from a top health official that it was inevitable that the coronavirus would spread more broadly inside the United States.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s leading experts on viruses and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance. (source)

So not only is the US government restricted who can be tested, sending out faulty tests, and poorly managing the diagnostic process, they’re also filtering any further information the American people are allowed to get. All those warnings last week about how we could expect “severe disruptions” to our daily lives? The talk about potential quarantines and getting prepared to work and educate from home?

It looks like those may be the only warnings we get.

Remember how just weeks ago we were talking about the horrible dishonesty and subterfuge in China’s handling of the Covid19 outbreak? It kind of seems like deja vu but right here in America.

This goes right along with the Ebola crisis management playbook.

I’ve mentioned before about how the Ebola outbreak completely vanished from the news, and it looks like we’re watching exactly the same thing play out now with VP Pence in charge. Just a few days ago, I wrote:

The government prefers to “manage” the flow of information, as they did during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, when they instituted an outright blackout on information.

That information blackout was a little bit different, as it was aimed toward the media. In Cat Ellis’s book, The Wuhan Coronavirus Survival Manual, she wrote that the editors of mainstream media outlets were told by the President to stop reporting on it.

To counter the rising public tension, President Obama appointed Ron Klaine, a Fannie Mae lobbyist with no health care background at all as his Ebola Response Coordinator. Klaine was known in and around Washington DC as being a man who could circumnavigate government bureaucracy and regulations. The media referred to Klaine as Obama’s “Ebola Czar”.

Within weeks of Klaine’s appointment, the Associated Press released a statement that was sent to editors. There were to be no more stories on Ebola unless it is linked to a massive upset or delay. All stories about suspected cases disappeared from the mainstream television news coverage, although you could still find articles on their websites occasionally.

So, if it is a standard for governments to downplay the severity of an infectious disease in order to control public panic, it is reasonable to examine what we know and understand that the situation is likely worse than it appears to be. (source)

Heaven knows, President Trump isn’t exactly popular with the media, which explains why the tactic this time is different and aimed at people who answer directly to the government. The tactic may be different but the strategy itself is the same.

In his recent press conference about the coronavirus, the President repeatedly compared Covid19 to the flu, when the two viruses are hardly comparable. He downplayed concerns and recommended more handwashing (which, while good advice, is hardly sufficient for an illness that is so highly contagious.)

Why would the government hide the severity of Covid19?

Of course, any government would want to avoid a panic.  When people panic, things can devolve very quickly as Selco has warned. But is that the only reason they’re downplaying the spread of the virus?

As with most things when powerful people are involved, we can probably follow the money.

The market has been in a freefall and as Michael Snyder writes, it’s doing things we’ve never seen before, including yesterday’s plummet that was “the largest single-day point decline in all of U.S. history.”

Without a doubt, stocks could potentially fall a long, long way.  Thanks to a tremendous rally earlier this year, stock prices were pushed to the most overvalued levels that we have ever seen.  It was inevitable that prices would fall, and this coronavirus outbreak looks like it could greatly accelerate that process.

Meanwhile, analysts are increasingly coming to the realization that this virus is going to have very serious implications for the entire global economy.

For example, on Thursday David Kostin of Goldman Sachs warned that American companies “will generate no earnings growth in 2020”

…Up until recently, Wall Street had been acting as if this was a temporary problem that would soon fade.

But now it has become clear that we will be battling this virus for many months to come.

And what happens if this crisis is like the Spanish Flu pandemic which lasted for three years? (source)

So perhaps the biggest reason for all the secrecy and lack of testing is economic.

Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had some outrageous suggestions when he spoke with reporters in an attempt to assuage fears about the administration’s handling of the Covid19 outbreak. Here are the key points he made.

  • White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday suggested that Americans should ignore media reports about the coronavirus amid fears of the deadly disease spreading into the U.S.
  • Mulvaney claimed that the media has only started paying close attention to the coronavirus because “they think this is going to be what brings down the president.”
  • Mulvaney said he was asked by a reporter, “What are you going to do today to calm the markets?” “I’m like, ‘Really what I might do today [to] calm the markets is tell people turn their televisions off for 24 hours.’” (source)

And of course, the inevitable flu comparison.

  • “This is not Ebola … it’s not SARS, it’s not MERS,” Mulvaney said. “We sit there and watch the markets and there’s this huge panic and it’s like, why isn’t there this huge panic every single year over flu?” Mulvaney asked rhetorically. (source)

So, don’t worry. Just ignore the news. Keep going to work, spending money, and thinking happy thoughts.

Should we be concerned?

So, given that the President, the Vice President, and the White House Chief of Staff say this is no big deal, and that the CDC is hardly allowing the testing of anyone, should we still be concerned about the possibility of widespread illness and quarantines?

Personally, I’m even more concerned. Why would they go to such lengths to silence health officials? Why would testing and reporting be so shady?

I think it’s very wise to get prepared for a possible quarantine. You should make a financial plan for a possible interruption of income and you should learn all you can about the Covid19 virus and quarantine protocols. Don’t be surprised if it seems like things are under control and then suddenly, it all goes to hell in a single day. Because it won’t have been just that single day. It will have been going on all along behind the scenes.

If it gets to the point where information can no longer be hidden and a mandatory quarantine is announced, it’s going to be too late to get the food and supplies you need to hunker down for an indefinite period of time.

With the new gag order on health officials, don’t expect for a moment to get information of value before it’s too late to act on it.

I think we’re watching a desperate coverup to try and save the plummeting economy. I think there are likely to be far more infections in the United States than anybody knows about because so few people meet the criteria for testing. I think that is deliberate.

I do not trust the official numbers in the United States. Do you?

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/28/2020 - 18:25
Published:2/28/2020 5:46:21 PM
[] Did you hear who Obama endorsed in the Dem primaries? Published:2/28/2020 2:14:27 PM
[Politics] THANKS, OBAMA: Biden Eyes First Career Primary Win in South Carolina Ahead of Super Tuesday Bern-A-Thon

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former vice president Joe Biden may be on the verge of securing the first Democratic primary win of his political career here in South Carolina, where voters will head to the polls on Saturday.

The post THANKS, OBAMA: Biden Eyes First Career Primary Win in South Carolina Ahead of Super Tuesday Bern-A-Thon appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:2/28/2020 2:14:26 PM
[Markets] Punishing The Free Speech Of Julian Assange Punishing The Free Speech Of Julian Assange

Authored by Andrew Napolitano via LewRockwell.com,

“Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.” - First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

In the oral argument of the famous U.S. Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Pentagon Papers Case, the late Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the “no law” language in the First Amendment to mean literally no law. The setting was an appeal of the Nixon administration’s temporarily successful efforts to bar The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing documents stolen from the Department of Defense by a civilian employee, Daniel Ellsberg.

The documents were a government-written history of the Vietnam War, which revealed that President Lyndon B. Johnson and his secretaries of defense and state and the military’s top brass materially misrepresented the status of the war to the American people. Stated differently, they regularly, consistently and systematically lied to the public and the news media.

Though LBJ was retired, Nixon did not want this unvarnished version of the war he was still fighting to make its way into the public arena. The Nixon DOJ persuaded a federal district court judge to enjoin the publication of the documents because they contained classified materials and they had been stolen.

In a landmark decision, the court ruled that all truthful matters material to the public interest that come into the hands of journalists — no matter how they get there — may lawfully be disseminated. That does not absolve the thief — though the case against Ellsberg was dismissed because the FBI committed crimes against him during his prosecution — but it does insulate the publisher absolutely against civil and criminal liability.

The Pentagon Papers Case is a profound explication of one of the great values underlying the freedom of speech; namely, the government cannot lawfully punish those who publish truths it hates and fears.

After his administration lost the case and the Times and the Post published the documents, Nixon attempted to distinguish his presidency and administration of the War from LBJ’s, but he did not challenge the truthfulness of the publications.

Regrettably, the Trump administration is pretending the Pentagon Papers Case does not exist. It is manifesting that pretense in its criminal pursuit of international gadfly and journalist Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Sometime in 2010, Assange and his colleagues began receiving classified U.S. Department of Defense materials from an Army intelligence officer now known as Chelsea Manning.

Manning committed numerous crimes, for which she pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, whose Department of Justice publicly declined to prosecute Assange in deference to the once universal acceptance of the Pentagon Papers Case and the numerous court rulings that have followed it.

The Trump DOJ, however, sought and obtained two indictments of Assange, who is now charged with 17 counts of espionage and faces 175 years in prison. Assange is currently being held in a maximum-security prison outside of London. The U.S. has sought his extradition at a proceeding that began in a London courtroom this week.

When lawyers blatantly reject well-accepted law for some political gain, they violate their oaths to uphold the law. When government lawyers do this, they also violate their oaths to uphold the Constitution. For them, there is no escaping the Pentagon Papers Case. While the case turned on the concept of prior restraint of speech, it clearly reflects the views of the court that it matters not how the publisher obtained the secrets that he published.

WikiLeaks revealed - in partnership with major international publications, including the two involved in the Pentagon Papers Case - videos of American troops murdering civilians and celebrating the murders (a war crime) as well as documentary proof of American complicity in torture (also a war crime).

Just as in the Pentagon Papers revelations, neither the Obama nor the Trump administration has questioned the truthfulness of the WikiLeaks publication — even though they revealed murderous wrongdoing, duplicity at the highest levels of government and the names of American intelligence sources (which some mainstream publications declined to make known).

Assange fears that he cannot get a fair trial in the United States. The government says he can and will. When the government suddenly became interested in fair trials remains a mystery. Yet, arguments about fairness miss the point of this lawless prosecution. A journalist is a gatherer and disseminator of facts and opinions. The government’s argument that because he communicated with Manning and helped Manning get the data into WikiLeaks’ hands, Assange somehow crossed the line from protected behavior to criminal activity shows a pitiful antipathy to personal freedom.

Democracy dies in darkness. The press is the eyes and ears of an informed public. And those eyes and ears need a nose, so to speak. They need breathing room. It is the height of naivete to think that Ellsberg just dropped off the Pentagon Papers at the Times and the Post, without some coordination with those publications — coordination that the courts assume exist and implicitly protect.

Might all of this be part of the Trump administration’s efforts to chill the free speech of its press critics - to deny them breathing room? After all, it has referred to them as “sick,” “dishonest,” “crazed,” “unpatriotic,” “unhinged” and “totally corrupt purveyors of fake news.”

Yet the whole purpose of the First Amendment is to assure open, wide, robust debate about the government, free from government interference and threats. How can that debate take place in darkness and ignorance?

If “no law” doesn’t really mean no law, we are deluding ourselves, and freedom is not reality. It is merely a wished for fantasy.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/28/2020 - 02:00
Published:2/28/2020 1:09:47 AM
[Markets] Bernie Sanders Is Funded By The Wealthiest Zip Codes In America Bernie Sanders Is Funded By The Wealthiest Zip Codes In America

Authored by Daniel Greenfield via FrontPageMag.com,

In Los Angeles, it’s not unusual to see a Beemer streak by with a Bernie 2020 sticker on the back bumper. There’s no such thing as a poor socialist and Bernie’s backers tend to have lots of cash.

While Bernie Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to buy his way to the nomination, the socialist bought his surge with $50 million in spending. He raised $25 million just in January. There’s more buying to do.

And while he boasts of backing from small donors, the wealth of his donors is anything but small.

Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. Their employees are three of the top 4 Bernie donors. Apple is in fifth place. These dot coms are not exactly organizations known to employ members of the proletariat. Google software engineers have sent thousands of dollars, individually, to Bernie.

Google’s senior engineers, like the ones who have backed Bernie, make $250,000 a year.

Geographically, Bernie's top dollar zip code is 94110 in San Francisco. The average household income in this part of the Mission District, specifically the Inner Mission, the Bernal Heights area, is $166,302. The median home value is around $1.5 million and the median rent is almost $5,000 a month.

There are no poor socialists in what was dubbed as “the hottest neighborhood in San Francisco.”

This was the area that Salon founder David Talbot blasted as the "hottest zip code in the country" overrun by "Silicon Valley movers and shakers" in "new-model Teslas, BMWs and Uber limousines". It’s only fitting that it should also be the spigot through which so much of Bernie’s tech bros dollars flow.

The second top dollar Bernie zip code in San Francisco, 94117 or Haight-Ashbury, seems like a better fit for Bernie. But the Summer of Love has long since given way to the Winter of Trust Fund Hipsters in the Haight where the average income is $201,503 and average home values top $1.6 million.

The media has made much of Bernie’s flow of donations from Brooklyn. But the money isn’t coming from the working-class Brooklynites of Bernie’s old neighborhood, but the gentrifying areas of the borough. 11215 or Park Slope is the second biggest top dollar zip code of Bernie donors.

The neighborhood, formerly urban, known as the home of Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the Park Slope Food Co-Op and its anti-Semitic push to boycott Israel, is filled with renovated brownstones filled with wealthy hipsters. It’s a place where a three-bedroom apartment can go for $2.9 million.

To New Yorkers, Park Slope has become a curse word embodying everything wrong with the new elite.

In third place on Bernie’s donor list is 10025 or the Upper West Side of Manhattan. With an average rental price of $4,695, it’s not exactly an inexpensive place to live. The UWS is the 8th richest neighborhood with a $190,281 mean household income. And this is where Bernie’s cash comes from.

11238 or Prospect Heights, in fourth place, is a newly gentrified neighborhood in Brooklyn where the median sales price passed $1 million, and you can expect to spend $800,000 for a one-bedroom co-op. The formerly urban neighborhood has been colonized by wealthy hipsters from Park Slope, and much of what goes for Park Slope also goes for Prospect Heights. They’re the gentrifiers funding Bernie Sanders.

In fifth place is 98103, the Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford. With an average household income of $124,504, the University of Washington neighborhood with its $800,000 homes isn’t working class. Among the cheapest housing options is a $400,000 one-bedroom condo that’s a mere 757 square feet. The area is so expensive because it’s home to tech employees, including Microsoft engineers.

Microsoft employees are among Bernie’s top dollar donors.

And in seventh place is 90026. The Echo Park neighborhood in Los Angeles is a hipster haven which boasts the most expensive pizza in the city where the median price for housing is $813,000, and rents can hit $6,700 a month. Like Park Slope and Haight-Ashbury, Echo Park is full of wealthy hipsters.

That’s Bernie’s core demographic.

In eight place is the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago at zip code 60647. Logan Square is among the most expensive neighborhoods in the Windy City. A condo will set you back over half a million dollars. The rush got so bad that a garage transformed into a home was going for $2.85 million. With its hipster bars and a farmers market, it’s the perfect area for Bernie’s upscale and trendy base.

Ninth and tenth on the list of Bernie’s money neighborhoods are two expensive Manhattan areas.

10003, Union Square and Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan, is home to NYU, once a hive of angry radicals, now stuffed full of luxury co-ops with wealthy radicals, where condos cost millions of dollars. Greenwich Village has been listed as the ninth most expensive neighborhood in New York City. So, it’s only fitting that it’s the ninth on the list of areas funding the Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.

In tenth place is 10011 or Chelsea and the West Village of Manhattan. It’s also the single most expensive zip code in New York City. Not only is it the most expensive area in New York, but it’s the 23rd most expensive area in the country with a median sale price approaching $2 million. And with average monthly rents of over $4,000, it’s the 19th most expensive rental area in the entire United States.

It’s also home to New York’s Silicon Alley, the city’s tech industry ghetto of dot com and fintech startups.

What do Bernie’s top donor zip codes have in common? Beyond wealth, Bernie’s cash flow is coming from a handful of very blue cities, almost all of them in California and New York City. Only two of the top ten zip codes are located outside San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. That alone conveys the insular and unrepresentative nature of Bernie’s funding base compared to the rest of the country.

Bernie’s campaign is powered by the very concentrations of power and wealth that he condemns.

The unrepresentative nature of Bernie’s backers isn’t just a matter of geography, but of culture. Some of Bernie’s top dollar zip codes overlap with the tech industry. His candidacy represents another example of how the tech industry has not only distorted our economy, but also warped our politics.

Much of Bernie’s money comes from hipster hubs where wealthy young white people in major urban areas have made old neighborhoods, including Bernie’s Brooklyn, unaffordable to the working class and middle-class people who once used to live there. Bernie’s donors, especially in places like Prospect Heights and Echo Park have also played a significant role in displacing minorities and the poor.

Follow Bernie’s money and it’s easy to see his campaign for the hypocritical farce that it is.

Tech industry bros and trust fund hipsters are buying the nomination for Bernie, while displacing minority candidates, the way they bought up brownstones in Brooklyn and displaced black people.

He’s the candidate of class warfare, not on behalf of the poor, but of young wealthy people seeking more power and influence at the expense of the more established wealth of an older generation. It’s tech industry bros warring for influence with fossil fuel titans, not for the poor, but for themselves.

Bernie’s base is much less than 1%. Call it the 0.001%. A wealthy and influential young lefty elite with disproportionate influence over the internet is setting the nation’s agenda using digital media, tech dominance, and the Weekend at Bernie’s campaign of a senile socialist who barely knows where he is and won’t release his medical records after a heart attack because they will show he’s barely there.

 "Not me. Us."

That’s Bernie’s slogan. It’s true, just not how people are meant to perceive it. Bernie is little more than a puppet of the campaign pros who made him a household name in 2016 and are trying to make him more than that now. The “Us” are not Americans or even Democrats. It’s the elites of these zip codes.

0.001% of the country is using a confused elderly socialist as a proxy for imposing their will on America.

The 2020 election will be a test of wills between Americans and the 0.001% living in Park Slope, Echo Park, the Mission District, and Haight-Ashbury. After eight years of hipster rule under Obama, is the country ready to bow its heads and let a handful of wealthy young radicals run their lives again?

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/27/2020 - 22:25
Published:2/27/2020 9:41:05 PM
[Markets] The 2020 Democratic Primary Is Already The Most Expensive In History The 2020 Democratic Primary Is Already The Most Expensive In History

Authored by Karl Evers-Hillstrom via OpenSecrets.org

With only a sprinkling of delegates pledged to presidential contenders, the 2020 Democratic primary is already the most expensive. Candidates vying for the Democratic nomination have spent more than $1.2 billion, more than they shelled out throughout 2008 or 2016.

At this point in the highly competitive 2008 Democratic primary, candidates spent a combined $313 million, or $382 million when adjusting for inflation. The 2020 primary is roughly six times more expensive than the 2016 race was at this point in the cycle.

Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Two billionaires, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, are driving the spending record by self-funding their campaigns at unprecedented levels. They account for more than half of the total spending by primary candidates. But even when excluding the two billionaires, the 2020 Democratic primary is still the most expensive of its kind at this point in the cycle.

The 2020 primary includes more competitive candidates than previous races, and those candidates are unwilling to drop out of the race before Super Tuesday. That comes as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) increasingly becomes the favorite to win the nomination while the more moderate candidates split votes

Bloomberg, who based his expensive strategy around Super Tuesday, has urged his primary opponents to drop out or risk giving Sanders the nomination. The 2020 Democrats didn’t go along with that plan. Instead, they told Bloomberg to drop out

That stubbornness is driving up campaign spending. And it’s one aspect that separates the 2020 race from past contests. In 2008, the primary featured two fundraising giants, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and well-funded contenders like Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. However, each of those low-polling candidates ended their campaigns before Super Tuesday. 

This time around, the Democratic candidates trailing Sanders still believe they can win despite facing odds that become less favorable with each primary result. Former Vice President Joe Biden says his campaign will rebound with a win in South Carolina. Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg launched a massive Super Tuesday fundraising push last week. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) embraced a super PAC that is supporting her cash-poor campaign ahead of the March contest. 

Six Democratic candidates spent north of $60 million through January, according to the most recent filings. Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a late riser in the field, spent nearly $31 million. 

At its peak last year, the Democratic field included two dozen candidates, each of whom were focused on earning a spot in national debates. The Democratic National Committee required candidates to reach polling and individual donor thresholds to participate in the debates. Those rules forced candidates to spend big on social media advertisements and email lists to attract small-dollar donors, even though they were sure to lose money on those transactions. Steyer spent millions of dollars on Facebook ads that urged users to give just $1. 

Sources: MetrocosmFederal Election CommissionNew York Magazine

The DNC scrapped those rules late last month in exchange for stricter polling thresholds and guaranteed spots for those who had already won delegates. That opened the door for Bloomberg — a recent six-figure donor to the committee — to make the debates. The decision was criticized by current and former candidates who had crafted their strategy around the DNC rules. Bloomberg’s campaign, which is entirely funded by the New York billionaire himself, is spending $6 million per day

Still, it’s the third highest spender in the race who has the best shot at the Democratic nomination. With his dominant win in Nevada, Sanders secured his third popular vote victory in three contests. Sanders’ fundraising haul of $133 million is on par with Hillary Clinton’s $130 million total at this point in 2016, and he has nearly $17 million cash on hand compared to $19 million combined for the rest of the non-billionaires. 

Researcher Doug Weber contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/27/2020 - 20:25
Published:2/27/2020 7:38:09 PM
[Markets] Anonymous Sources & Iraq War Enablers Are Now Claiming The Kremlin Is At It Again Anonymous Sources & Iraq War Enablers Are Now Claiming The Kremlin Is At It Again

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Those hapless individuals who run the United States are again slipping into a fantasy world where Americans are besieged by imaginary threats coming from both inside and outside the country. Of course, it is particularly convenient to warn of foreign threats, as it makes the people in government seem relevant and needed, but one might recommend that the tune be changed as it is getting a bit boring. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and Russian President Vladimir Putin must pause occasionally to eat or sleep, so the plotting to destroy American democracy must be on hold at least some of the time.

Yes, anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! Hints over the past year that Putin might try to replay 2016 in 2020 only do it better this time have now been confirmed! Per one news report the enemy is already at the gates: “U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost President Donald Trump’s re-election.”

And there’s more! In a New York Times article headlined “Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Vladimir Putin is eager both to take the sheen off U.S. democracy and for a counterpart who is less likely to challenge his territorial and nuclear ambitions,” it was revealed that the Kremlin is intending to also help Bernie Sanders, so whichever way the election goes they win.

According to the Times Bernie has been “warn[ed]… of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat.” The article then goes on to explain, relying on its anonymous sources, that “…to the intelligence analysts and outside experts who have spent the past three years dissecting Russian motives in the 2016 election, and who tried to limit the effect of Moscow’s meddling in the 2018 midterms, what is unfolding in 2020 makes perfect sense. Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders represent the most divergent ends of their respective parties, and both are backed by supporters known more for their passion than their policy rigor, which makes them ripe for exploitation by Russian trolls, disinformation specialists and hackers for hire seeking to widen divisions in American society.”

The Times article was written by David Sanger, the paper’s venerable national security correspondent. He is reliably wedded to Establishment views of the Russian threat, as is his newspaper, and strikes rock bottom in his assessment when he cites none other than “Victoria Nuland, who in a long diplomatic career had served both Republican and Democratic administrations, and had her phone calls intercepted and broadcast by Russian intelligence services.” Nuland, clearly the victim of a nefarious Russian intelligence operation that recorded her saying “fuck the EU,” opined that “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” Nuland is perhaps best known for her role in spending $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. She is married to leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, which Sanger fails to mention, and is currently a nonresident fellow at the liberal interventionist Brookings Institution. She also works at former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s consultancy, presumably for the Benjamins. Albright, one might recall, thought that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. sanctions was “worth it.”

Given the fact that Russia will have very limited resources in their effort to corrupt American democracy, which is, by the way, doing a very good job of self-destruction without any outside help, how exactly will they do it? Sanger explains:

“As they focus on evading more vigilant government agencies and technology companies trying to identify and counter malicious online activity, the Russians are boring into Iranian cyberoffense units, apparently so that they can initiate attacks that look as if they originate in Iran — which itself has shown interest in messing with the American electoral process… And, in one of the most effective twists, they are feeding disinformation to unsuspecting Americans on Facebook and other social media. By seeding conspiracy theories and baseless claims on the platforms, Russians hope everyday Americans will retransmit those falsehoods from their own accounts. That is an attempt to elude Facebook’s efforts to remove disinformation, which it can do more easily when it flags ‘inauthentic activity,’ like Russians posing as Americans. It is much harder to ban the words of real Americans, who may be parroting a Russian story line, even unintentionally.”

So those wily Russians are making themselves look like Iranians and they are planning on “feeding disinformation” to “unsuspecting Americans” consisting of “conspiracy theories” and “baseless claims.” Sounds like a plan to me as the various occupants of the White House and Congress have been doing exactly that for the past twenty years. That we had a national election in 2016 in which a reality television personality ran against an unindicted criminal would seem to indicate that the effort to brainwash the American people has already been successful.

The usual bottom feeders are also piling on to the Russian interference story. Jane Harman, former congresswoman who once colluded with Israeli intelligence to lobby the Department of Justice to drop criminal charges against two employees of AIPAC in exchange for Israel’s support to make her chair of the House Intelligence Committee, warns “How dangerous it would be if we lose the tip of the spear against those who would destroy us.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan also has something to say. He is “very disturbed” by his conviction that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in support of President Trump. He said “We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.” Brennan is best known for having orchestrated the illegal campaign to vilify Trump and his associates prior to, during and after the 2016 election. He also participated in a weekly meeting with Barack Obama where he and the president would add and remove names from a “kill list” of U.S. citizens residing overseas. He and his boss should both be in prison, but they are instead fêted as American patriots. Go figure.

Time to take a step back from the developing panic. As usual, the U.S. government intelligence agencies have produced no actual evidence that Moscow is up to anything, and there are already reports that the Office of National Intelligence briefer “overstated” her case against the Kremlin in her briefing of the House Intelligence Committee. Sure, the Russians have an interest in an American election and will favor candidates like Trump and Sanders that are not outright hostile to them, but to claim as the NY Times does that Russia has incompatible “territorial and nuclear interests” is a stretch. And yes, Moscow will definitely use its available intelligence resources to monitor the nomination and election process while also clandestinely doing what it can to improve the chances of those individuals they approve of. That is what intelligence agencies do.

In American Establishment groupthink there is one standard for what Washington does and quite a different standard for everyone else. Does it shock any American to know that the United States has interfered in scores of elections all over the world ever since the Second World War, to include those in places like France and Italy well into the 1980s? And in somewhat more kinetic covert actions, actually removing Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, Salvador Allende in Chile, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Mohamed Morsi in Egypt just for starters, not even considering the multiple plots to kill Fidel Castro. And it continues to do so today openly in places like Iran and Venezuela while also claiming hypocritically that the U.S. is “exceptional” and also a “force for good.” That anyone should be genuinely worrying about Russian proxies buying and distributing a couple of hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of ads in an election in which many billions of dollars’ worth of propaganda will be on the table is ridiculous.

It is time to stop blaming Russia for the failure of America’s ruling class to provide an honest and accountable government and one that does not go around the world looking for trouble.

That is what the 2020 election should really be all about.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/27/2020 - 19:05
Published:2/27/2020 6:08:42 PM
[Markets] Capitol Report: This is the ‘despicable’ ad that caused Obama to send a cease-and-desist letter to a group of Trump supporters Reps for Barack Obama are demanded that a Republican super PAC stop airing ad using the former president to paint Joe Biden in a negative light.
Published:2/27/2020 12:06:36 PM
[Politics] Pence Names Top AIDS Official as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Vice President Mike Pence has selected the State Department's top AIDS official, Deborah Birx, to join his coronavirus response team, his office announced on Thursday.Birx is a career government official who was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2014 as the U.S.... Published:2/27/2020 11:06:31 AM
[Markets] U.S. Intelligence Is Intervening In The 2020 Election U.S. Intelligence Is Intervening In The 2020 Election

Authored by Jefferson Morley via TruthDig.com,

President Trump’s ongoing purge of the intelligence community, along with Bernie Sanders’ surge in the Democratic presidential race, has triggered an unprecedented intervention of U.S. intelligence agencies in the U.S. presidential election on factually dubious grounds.

Former CIA director John Brennan sees a “full-blown national security crisis” in President Trump’s latest moves against the intelligence community.

Brennan charges, “Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.” But congressional representatives, both Democratic and Republican, who heard a briefing by the intelligence community about the 2020 election earlier this month say the case for Russian interference is “overstated.”

On February 21, it was leaked to the Washington Post that “U.S. officials,” meaning members of the intelligence community, had confidentially briefed Sanders about alleged Russian efforts to help his 2020 presidential campaign.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller documented how the Russians intervened on Trump’s behalf in 2016, while finding no evidence of criminal conspiracy. Mueller did not investigate the Russians’ efforts on behalf of Sanders, but the Computational Propaganda Research Project at Oxford University did. In a study of social media generated by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Oxford analysts found that the IRA initially generated propaganda designed to boost all rivals to Hillary Clinton in 2015. As Trump advanced, they focused almost entirely on motivating Trump supporters and demobilizing black voters. In short, the Russians helped Trump hundreds of thousand times more than they boosted Sanders.

The leak to the Post, on the eve of the Nevada caucuses, gave the opposite impression: that help for Trump and Sanders was somehow comparable. The insinuation could only have been politically motivated.

What’s driving the U.S. intelligence community intervention in presidential politics is not just fear of Trump, but fear of losing control of the presidency. From 1947 to 2017, the CIA and other secret agencies sometimes clashed with presidents, especially Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Carter. But since the end of the Cold War, under Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, the secret agencies had no such problem.

Under Trump, the intelligence community has seen a vast loss of influence. Trump is contemptuous of the CIA’s daily briefing. As demonstrated by his pressure campaign on Ukraine, his foreign policies are mostly transactional. Trump is not guided by the policy process or even any consistent doctrine, other than advancing his political and business interests. He’s not someone who is interested in doing business with the intelligence community.

The intelligence community fears the rise of Sanders for a different reason. The socialist senator rejects the national security ideology that guided the intelligence community in the Cold War and the war on terror. Sanders’ position is increasingly attractive, especially to young voters, and thus increasingly threatening to the former spy chiefs who yearn for a return to the pre-Trump status quo. A Sanders presidency, like a second term for Trump, would thwart that dream. Sanders is not interested in national security business as usual either.

In the face of Trump’s lawless behavior, and Sanders’ rise, the intelligence community is inserting itself into presidential politics in a way unseen since former CIA director George H.W. Bush occupied the Oval Office. Key to this intervention is the intelligence community’s self-image as a disinterested party in the 2020 election.

Former House Intelligence Committee chair Jane Harman says Trump’s ongoing purge of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is a threat to those who “speak truth to power.” As the pseudonymous former CIA officer “Alex Finley” tweeted Monday,

the “‘Deep state’ is actually the group that wants to defend rule of law (and thus gets in the way of those screaming ‘DEEP STATE’ and corrupting for their own gain).”

Self-image, however, is not the same as reality. When it comes to Trump’s corruption, Brennan and Co. have ample evidence to support their case. But the CIA is simply not credible as a “defender of the rule of law.” The Reagan-Bush Iran-contra conspiracy, the Bush-Cheney torture regime, and the Bush-Obama mass surveillance program demonstrate that the law is a malleable thing for intelligence community leaders. A more realistic take on the 2020 election is that the U.S. intelligence community is not a conspiracy but a self-interested political faction that is seeking to defend its power and policy preferences. The national security faction is not large electorally. It benefits from the official secrecy around its activities. It is assisted by generally sympathetic coverage from major news organizations.

The problem for Brennan and Co. is that “national security” has lost its power to mobilize public opinion. On both the right and the left, the pronouncements of the intelligence community no longer command popular assent.

Trump’s acquittal by the Senate in his impeachment trial was one sign. The national security arguments driving the House-passed articles of impeachment were the weakest link in a case that persuaded only one Republican senator to vote for Trump’s removal. Sanders’ success is another sign.

In the era of endless war, Democratic voters have become skeptical of national security claims - from Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, to the notion that torture “works,” to “progress” in Afghanistan, to the supreme importance of Ukraine - because they have so often turned out to be more self-serving than true.

The prospect of a Trump gaining control of the U.S. intelligence community is scary. So is the intervention of the U.S. intelligence community in presidential politics.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/26/2020 - 19:25
Published:2/26/2020 6:32:22 PM
[Politics] Obama Lawyers Want Pro-Trump Ad Yanked as Misleading Attorneys for President Barack Obama are sending a cease-and-desist letter demanding that South Carolina broadcast stations stop airing a misleading ad from a pro-Donald Trump super PAC that makes it sound like Obama is criticizing his former vice president, Joe Biden. Published:2/26/2020 6:02:16 PM
[World] Land mines in U.S. military arsenal necessary

On March 6, 2014, America's highest-ranking military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, called anti-personnel land mines "an important tool in the arsenal of the armed forces of the United States."

Barely six months later, the Obama administration all but removed that tool from the ... Published:2/26/2020 5:05:17 PM

[Markets] The Nobel Peace Prize Is A Sick Joke The Nobel Peace Prize Is A Sick Joke

Authored by Ben Barbour via Off-Guardian.org,

The Nobel Peace Prize was founded in 1901 by Alfred Nobel, an arms manufacturer. His family factory first gained notoriety for producing weapons for the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and various other powerful explosives. These explosives were used to devastate people in conflicts such as the Spanish-American War.

After Nobel’s brother died, because of a journalistic error, the public believed that Alfred Nobel had died. In his obituary, he was portrayed as an amoral businessman who made millions of dollars off of the deaths of others. His critics declared that “the merchant of death is dead” and that Alfred Nobel “became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before.”

According to Live Science, this discovery shocked Nobel, and to improve his legacy, “one year before he died in 1896, Nobel signed his last will and testament, which set aside the majority of his vast estate to establish the five Nobel Prizes, including one awarded for the pursuit of peace.” This may very well have been a genuine act, but it is important to draw parallels between the origin of the award and its not so peaceful recipients. Here are three of the Nobel Peace Prize winners that turned out to be war criminals.

HENRY KISSINGER

Henry Kissinger won the award in 1973 for his “efforts” to conclude the Vietnam War. What a joke. In 1968, Kissinger helped tank President Johnson’s peace talks on behalf of the Nixon campaign for political gain. Kissinger helped orchestrate the secret bombing of Cambodia. These bombing operations were known as Operation Menu and Operation Freedom Deal.

The carpet bombing of Cambodia led to the deaths of 10,000s, if not 100,000s, of Cambodian civilians. The total death count has been estimated to be as high as 500,000 (most estimates range between 150,000-300,000 deaths). The vast majority of these deaths are considered to be civilians because of the indiscriminate nature of the carpet bombing. These bombings also destabilized Cambodia and allowed for the rise of the genocidal ruler, Pol-Pot. The bombing campaign was so gratuitous that it made Congress pass the War Powers Resolution in 1973, in an attempt to curb the bombing campaign.

With all of that being said, Kissinger still won the award for his role in the Paris Peace Accords. The peace talks began in 1968, the same year that Kissinger undermined the process to win an election for Nixon. After the agreement was signed in January 1973, it lasted less than two months before full-scale war broke out again in March 1973.

After winning the award, Henry Kissinger then proceeded to indirectly back Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia. This was done primarily as a way to put pressure on the former North Vietnamese Army. Pol-Pot’s genocide killed between 1.5-2 million people (20%-25% of Cambodia’s population).

Henry Kissinger’s crimes are not limited to Vietnam. He has a long bloody history in Latin America as well. Kissinger was a major proponent of Operation Condor. The highly secretive US-backed campaign enabled South American dictators to kill an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 people. It also led to political imprisonments of over 400,000 people. Transcripts of telephone conversations reveal that after President Allende’s election in 1970, Kissinger began plotting a coup with CIA director Richard Helm. After the 1973 coup in Chile, Kissinger, as Secretary of State, formalized close ties between Pinochet and the United States.

For years to come, Kissinger proceeded to have close ties with the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, who killed 1000s of his political opponents and imprisoned and tortured 10,000s more. Pinochet popularized death flights: a practice where people’s stomachs were cut open before they were tossed out of planes into the ocean.

Kissinger also backed Argentina’s military dictatorship. He was buddy-buddy with Jorge Videla, a dictator who disappeared an estimated 30,000 political dissidents. Videla also tortured political opponents and their families at secret concentration camps. Kissinger encouraged all of this brutality and praised the dictatorship for stamping out “terrorism.”

Henry Kissinger’s war crimes are far too numerous to neatly fit into one article. For a better understanding of his many war crimes that I left out, I recommend reading The Trail of Henry Kissinger.

BARACK OBAMA

In 2009, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” Before digging into Obama’s war crimes, I would like to add a few caveats. Obama is not exactly like Kissinger.

On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama did claim that he would meet with adversaries without preconditions. Furthermore, he followed through on this promise in two major ways. He successfully negotiated the Iran Deal and lifted the embargo on Cuba. These are not accomplishments that should be brushed aside. That being said, Obama’s diplomatic achievements are overshadowed by his imperialist failures. I also blame most of Obama’s failures on a lack of conviction in his values and not on any Machiavellian schemes. Most of Obama’s bad foreign policy decisions can be traced back to him getting rolled by people in the military industrial complex establishment like his CIA director John O. Brennan.

Barack Obama’s most reprehensible policy was his support of the Saudi Arabian-fueled genocide in Yemen. Obama authorized mid-air refueling to refuel Saudi bombers on average twice per day and he set up a Joint Planning Cell to give Saudi intelligence and logistical support to bomb Yemen.

Obama also approved 10s of billions in arms sales to Saudi Arabia that were used to devastate Yemen’s infrastructure and throw the country into a mass famine.

In 2016 alone, Obama’s policies led to the deaths of 63,000 Yemeni children. They died from preventable causes overwhelmingly linked to malnutrition. These deaths were caused by the Saudi bombing campaign and the de-facto blockade of humanitarian aid.

For example, Saudi Arabia, with US backing, bombed the cranes at the port of Hodeidah in August 2015. 70% of all humanitarian assistance to Yemen is channeled through Hodeidah. Bombing the cranes of the major port in this area is a war crime.

In fact, humanitarian aid groups warned that the US-backed August 2015 bombings would lead to mass child death in Yemen. The Obama administration’s support and aid of these siege warfare tactics was an abhorrent moral failure. It is highly unlikely that the war in Yemen would have even been possible without US support. Neither Saudi Arabia or the UAE had the ability to wage a sustained bombing campaign without outside support from a major imperialist power like the United States.

Barack Obama also authorized Operation Timber Sycamore, the CIA train-and-equip program in Syria. The multi-billion-dollar program armed and trained fighters to topple Assad. I personally believe that the Syrian conflict is not black and white. There is a lot of blame to go around. In my opinion, both pro-Assad and anti-Assad writers do not tell the entire complex story. Over half a dozen countries helped fuel the proxy war for different reasons, and Assad himself is not simply a victim of Western imperialism.

Those caveats aside, it is very clear that Timber Sycamore was a terrible idea that led to textbook mutual escalation that broke open the Syrian conflict further and might well be the reason that 100,000s more Syrians died. Billions of dollars were poured into “vetted” rebel groups. Many of these groups turned out to be Salafi jihadist groups and Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups that carried out ethnic murder and various other war crimes.

Among these groups that received either training or weapons were Ahrar al Sham, Jaysh al Islam, and Nour al-Din al-Zenki, all of whom have been accused of war crimes as per Amnesty International. The massive delivery of BGM-71 TOWs via Timber Sycamore is also sometimes cited (in my opinion correctly) as the policy that caused Russia to intervene in Syria. This is the aforementioned textbook case of mutual escalation.

Obama also set up a worldwide drone program that Noam Chomsky called “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” A study done in Afghanistan over a six-month period found that 90% of people killed in US drone strikes were not the intended targets. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is one resource that has documented the high civilian casualty rate that occurred under Obama’s drone program (and continued and oftentimes increased under Trump’s administration).

AUNG SAN SUU KYI

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for “her nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights.” She is currently the State Counsellor (equivalent of prime minister) of Myanmar. State Counsellor Suu Kyi just oversaw one of the largest violent ethnic cleansing projects of the 21st century. It turns out that she fought for human rights and democracy…unless you are a Rohingya Muslim.

The crackdown on the Rohingya that Suu Kyi oversaw led to a conservative death toll of 10,000 Rohingya. The Myanmar military burned children alive and raped 1000s of Rohingya women. Since 2015, over 900,000 Rohingya have had to flee from Myanmar, mostly into neighboring Bangladesh.

There have been claims that the ethnic cleansing project may have been a response to violent Rohingya extremist groups that operated in the Rakhine State area of Myanmar. I find this to be plausible given the history of oppression that Rohingya faced and their subsequent insurrections dating back over a half a century.

However, this certainly does not excuse hacking Rohingya civilians to death with machetes (similar to what the Hutus did to the Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide)

State Counsellor Suu Kyi denied that an ethnic cleansing project was taking place and she backed the military crackdown. She gave cover for the war criminals in her military by stating “there have been allegations and counter-allegations…We have to listen to all of them.”

Suu Kyi proceeded to be the figurehead that attacked the International Criminal Court investigations into Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing project as “not in accordance with international law.” She proceeded to run interference for her military’s war crimes at the UN.

To be clear, as I alluded to above, not all Rohingya are innocent in the conflict. There are credible reports that tie some of the more extremist groups in Rakhine State to outside Saudi funding. But it is a false equivalency used by ethnic cleansing apologists to conflate all the Rohingya in Myanmar with Al Qaeda. Buddhist nationalists used the (likely) correct allegation that worldwide terrorism sponsor Saudi Arabia was funding a couple of Rohingya groups as an excuse to ethnically cleanse an entire population that is mostly peaceful.

CONCLUSION

It’s very simple. The Nobel Peace Prize is just like most other awards. Sometimes its distributors get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. The people that win awards do not win them based off of objective score cards about morality. They win these awards based off of media narratives.

When the Nobel Peace Prize awarded Martin Luther King Jr. with the award, they got it right. When they awarded Henry Kissinger with the award, they exposed themselves to be clowns of the highest order. Do not take awards like the Nobel Peace Prize seriously. They are popularity contests, where oftentimes those that are popular are actually in favor of abhorrent policies.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/26/2020 - 00:05
Published:2/25/2020 11:27:50 PM
[Markets] What Will Americans Do If The Democrats Steal It From Sanders Again? What Will Americans Do If The Democrats Steal It From Sanders Again?

Authored by John Eskow via Counterpunch.org,

 “If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two.”

–James Carville

“Well, you know, James Carville is well-known for spouting off his mouth without always knowing what he’s talking about. And I intend to stay focused on fighting for the American people because what they don’t need is 20 more years of performance art on television. And that’s what James Carville and a lot of those folks are expert at … a lot of talk and not getting things done for the American people.”

–Barack Obama

This is what they’ve got? James freaking Carville?

Yes, twelve years after he mismanaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign into a thoroughly delightful but stunningly unlikely defeat, James freaking Carville is the best footsoldier that MSNBC can muster up in the tireless (and tiresome) war they are fighting against Bernie Sanders, against the will of the voters, and against any chance of progressive change in our lifetimes.

I have no idea how—-or even if—-James Carville is still alive. He seems to be permanently coated in the death-spray of a female praying mantis, some corrosive fluid that’s permeated his brain and turns him more bitter by the millisecond; as you watch him writhe around in his seat among the standard MSBNC crew of failed Democratic Party apparatchiks, Chris Matthews-type mental cases, and ex-CIA bosses with weak-ass gravitas, he seems even more disturbed than the rest of the panel; it seems like he’s about to start consuming his own flesh, live, on national TV.

(Now, I think I speak for a sizable portion of the American public, of all political stripes, on this one: I wish James Carville hadn’t forced me to consider the issue of Hillary Clinton’s balls. It’s, um, distasteful. But when you delve into Carville’s quotes, you discover that they’re nearly ALL distasteful. While proudly fighting to break that glass ceiling and elect the first female president, for example, he said of Pamela Jones—-one of the women sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton—-“this is what you get when you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park.” The guy seems to have some deep psychosexual issues.)

The fact that MSBNC is already so desperate to kill the Sanders’ candidacy in its cradle that they’re willing to exhume poor James Carville, dress him up in his least filthy rugby shirt, stick a baseball cap over his skull to keep the children from shrieking, and prop him up to babble at Joy Reid is one more signal that the fix is in. As if we needed it: for months, MSNBC hacks have been saying that Sanders is a Russian plant, an idiot, someone only “racist liberal whites” and “misfit black girls” could like, and-—when all else fails, simply a guy (Jew?) who “makes my flesh crawl.”

Lets’ spare ourselves months of these subtle, rapier-like rhetorical thrusts and cut, as they say, to the chase: the Democratic Party, with James Carville serving as just one of their low-rent Paul Reveres, is screaming out a warning: it doesn’t matter if Bernie Sanders sweeps all, or most, of the remaining primaries, as he seems certain to do. It doesn’t matter what the plurality of Democrats actually wants: their hopes, their passions, their dreams mean nothing.

They’re simply not going to let him win.

Bloomberg, Biden, god help us Klobuchar, the reanimated corpse of Hubert Humphrey: God knows what human form the Party will assume, but it won’t be Bernie Sanders.

So I find myself wondering how those voters will respond to the brazen theft that we’re about to witness. “What happens to a dream deferred?” asked the poet Langston Hughes. How will the young people of America—-the idealistic anti-Carvilles among us-—react on that day, when they see the last pretense of American democracy stripped away to reveal the huge and reeking meat factory that’s owned and operated by the Mike Bloombergs of this world? What about the older ones among us, lying dormant in cynicism for decades, who’ve dared to awaken to at least a flicker of hope?

Will this blatant death-blow to democracy send us, at last, into the streets? Will we finally rain hell down on these monsters?

“Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load,” wrote Hughes, speaking of that dream deferred.

And that would be the most heartbreaking of outcomes…the outcome that James Carville, and Hillary Clinton, and Chris Matthews, and Joy Reid, and the CIA, and Wall Street, are all calmly expecting, as they lie back, smiling in the absolute certitude that they’re always right…

“Or does it explode?”

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/25/2020 - 22:45
Published:2/25/2020 9:59:06 PM
[World] Liveblogging the South Carolina Democratic Debate Alas, my esteemed colleague Vodkapundit is off drinking elsewhere, so he won't be able to drunkblog the continuing trainwreck of the Democratic primary this evening. You'll have to settle for my buzzed blog instead. Although I make no guarantees I won't get hammered watching this "democratic" socialist steamroll his way to the nomination of one of our two major parties. A Bernie presidency really would mean the Soviets will have belatedly won one of their central Cold War aims. But it's not all doom and gloom tonight. Pop the popcorn, mix your martinis, and settle in to watch the dumpster fire. First, there is Obama's unwanted stepchild Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (D-Cornpop), the man resting all his hopes on some black voters in South Carolina. He's sure to make the corn pop and his own poll numbers drop with a few more embarrassing gaffes. Then there's former Big Apple Mayor Mike Bloomberg (D-PILES OF CASH), everlasting proof that the Democrats want to buy elections far more than any Republican. (Here's the real reason why they hate Citizens United, but I digress.) At least Mikey-Mike understands why socialism is a serious threat to America, but he's also got more than a few skeletons in his closet... Expect more hate thrown his way this evening. Speaking of billionaires, coal investor-turned-green activist Tom Steyer is also expected to shout "NEED TO IMPEACH!" at random moments throughout the debate. Drink if he says "impeachment" or spreads climate alarmism. Then there's the Lord of the Poultry (D-Church of Social Justice), who wants to out the sexual orientation of nine-year-olds, for some reason. Make sure to take a swig during his lecture about how GOP tax cuts and a booming economy are somehow a grievous sin against Mayor Pete's pro-abortion deity. Let's not forget the senator who formerly identified as Native American (ex-trans-racial?) and who belatedly realized her plans didn't make any sense economically. Liz Warren (D-1/1024th of a plan) has every reason to be ticked about how the mean press called her out for her pie-in-the-sky notions while seemingly giving the pro-USSR socialist a pass. Finally, there's Goldilocks. Normally, a fifth-place finish in Iowa followed by third-place showing in New Hampshire and a sixth-place lag in Nevada would be enough to convince a candidate to throw in the towel, but Amy Klobuchar is the next big thing. Her fundraising is keeping her in the race, and she has replaced Kamala Harris as the fifth-place candidate in national polls. Will the anti-Sanders support consolidate and make her America's abusive boss? So... Dems are stuck with the socialist? Let's drink to them revealing their true colors — and pray our knees off he doesn't beat Trump in November. After all, it's Ash Wednesday tomorrow! Tyler O'Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil. Published:2/25/2020 7:27:47 PM
[Markets] Watch Live: 'Bloomberg Bashing' Round II At South Carolina Democrat Debate Watch Live: 'Bloomberg Bashing' Round II At South Carolina Democrat Debate

After being savaged in the previous Democratic presidential candidate debate, all eyes will be billionaire Mike Bloomberg to see if he can recover tonight and his campaign is definitely coming out swinging as Bernie dominates the pack.

Seven Democratic presidential candidates qualified for the South Carolina debate:

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard did not qualify for the debate stage in South Carolina.

As Politico reports, after the disastrous first outing - his net favorability rating dropped 20 points in the aftermath, according to Morning Consult - Bloomberg’s debate goals in the Charleston, S.C., debate are twofold:

  1. Persuade viewers that Sanders is too divisive to defeat President Donald Trump in November,

  2. while sidestepping landmines surrounding complaints from women at his private media company and his race-based policing practices as mayor.

“The debate tomorrow night and the campaign in general … needs to be about one candidate and that’s Bernie Sanders,” Dan Kanninen, a top strategist overseeing Bloomberg’s states operation, said in a conference call with reporters Monday morning.

“We’ve been saying for some time that the nature of this contest means someone with even a small plurality of delegates can come away with an outsize and disproportionate delegate lead.”

“We've trained our eyes on [Bernie]. Something the rest of the field has failed to do eight debates prior and a year in a campaign,” a top aide said in an interview.

However, since the last debate, Bloomberg's odds plummeted as Bernie's soared...

But, most worryingly for the DNC et al., the odds of a Trump win have surged in line with Bernie's rise...

Which makes us wonder if tonight will be different... with the candidates ganging up on Bernie and toeing the establishment line.

Here the five key things to watch in tonight's debate according to The Hill:

Sanders is going to come under attack

Sanders is heading into the debate as the primary race’s nominal front-runner following a near-win in Iowa and back-to-back victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, giving his opponents all the more reason to go on the attack. Already, some campaigns have telegraphed plans to go after Sanders on Tuesday night. Dan Kanninen, an adviser to Bloomberg’s campaign, told reporters on Monday that the debate “needs to be about one candidate and that’s Bernie Sanders.” Meanwhile, Biden has stepped up attacks on the Vermont senator in recent days, launching a digital ad in South Carolina that accused him of plotting to undercut former President Barack Obama. Buttigieg has also shown a willingness to aggressively take on Sanders, using a speech after the Nevada caucuses on Saturday to sharpen contrasts between himself and the senator. All the candidates have a common goal in targeting Sanders: to cast themselves as a leading alternative to a front-runner who some Democrats fear will be a liability to the party if he clinches the nomination. The situation is now viewed as more urgent than ever, especially with Super Tuesday just a week away. Bloomberg’s and Buttigieg’s campaigns have already warned that the March 3 primaries could give Sanders an “insurmountable” delegate lead in the race unless a moderate alternative is able to emerge from the crowded pack.

Candidates will make appeals to black voters

South Carolina may be the fourth state to vote in the Democratic nominating contest, but it’s the first in which a majority – about 60 percent – of the Democratic electorate is black. Expect the candidates to make explicit appeals to those voters when they take the stage in Charleston on Tuesday night. For Biden, who has long held a polling edge over his rivals in support among black voters, Tuesday’s debate may be more of a test of whether he can hold onto that support. The former vice president has faced criticism over his past stances on issues affecting black communities – the 1994 crime bill or his opposition to mandatory school busing in the 1970s, for instance – and recent polls suggest his advantage may be fading. He’s also facing competition from billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who has spent heavily in the state and is aggressively courting black voters. Recent polls show the former hedge fund manager with some strength in South Carolina, but he’s also likely to face attacks for his business record, including his past investments in private prisons. For Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in particular, there’s a sense of urgency to the South Carolina debate. All three have struggled to build strong support among black voters in the Palmetto State, with recent polls showing them lingering in single digits. An NBC News/Marist survey released on Monday showed Warren with 7 percent support among black voters, while Buttigieg and Klobuchar notched 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively. The debate may offer them their last big chance before the primary on Saturday to make a case to those voters.

Can Warren have a second big night?

Warren came alive in the Democratic debate in Las Vegas last week, delivering the kind of incisive attacks against Bloomberg and other rivals that many of her supporters had been hoping for for months and fueling a fundraising surge that netted her more than $5 million in the day that followed. The Massachusetts senator is likely to try to recreate that energy on Tuesday night when she takes the debate stage in Charleston. But unlike the Las Vegas debate, the one in South Carolina carries more urgency. She’s running in fourth place in recent polls in the state and Tuesday’s debate offers one of her last chances to improve her standing. One key question is whether – or how aggressively – she’ll go after Sanders. The senators two are longtime allies and both occupy the primary field’s progressive lane. On one hand, attacking Sanders too sharply risks isolating many of the liberal voters that Warren will likely need to succeed in the race. On the other, she hasn’t yet notched any victories in the nominating contest and time is running out for her to show that she can be a competitive candidate.

Bloomberg gets a chance for a bounce-back

In the roughly three months since he launched his presidential bid, Bloomberg propelled himself near the top of national polls with a free-spending advertising campaign that cast him as the only candidate capable of taking on President Trump in the 2020 general election. But the image that Bloomberg had spent hundreds of millions of dollars cultivating took a massive hit last week as he struggled to fend off rapid-fire attacks from his rivals on the debate stage in Las Vegas. Throughout the forum, he stumbled through responses, often appearing out of touch and unrepentant for past policy positions. Tuesday night’s debate will give him an opportunity to try to revive his image. Making it even more important for Bloomberg is the fact that Super Tuesday is just a week away. The former New York City mayor declined to compete in the first four primary and caucus states and opted instead to anchor his presidential prospects on a strong showing in the March 3 primary contests. There won’t be another debate for another three weeks, meaning that the forum in Charleston on Tuesday night will be his last chance for a while to show he has what it takes to win.

How nasty will the attacks get?

As the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has become more urgent, the candidates’ attacks on one another have grown more bitter and personal, and it appears increasingly likely that that shift may set the tone for Tuesday night’s debate. In his digital ad attacking Sanders as being disloyal to Obama this week, Biden asserted that the Vermont senator “can’t be trusted.” Buttigieg mounted his most explicit attacks yet on the Sanders in a post-Nevada caucuses speech that accused his rival of “ignoring, dismissing, or even attacking the very Democrats we absolutely must send to Capitol Hill.” And that’s not to mention the flurry of attacks that characterized the last debate in Las Vegas. The debate in Charleston may end up being the most hostile yet. Not only will there be more candidates on stage than in Las Vegas, but it may end up being the last debate for some of the candidates, especially those that fall flat in the South Carolina primary or on Super Tuesday. Consequently, it’s possible that the candidates see little downside to getting nasty or personal on Tuesday night.

The debate, co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, will begin at 8 p.m. EST.  Watch Live here...

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/25/2020 - 19:50
Published:2/25/2020 6:56:42 PM
[Politics] Biden accuses Sanders of plotting run against Obama in 2012 primary Former Vice President Joe Biden has been airing a new campaign ad in South Carolina accusing Sen. Bernie Sanders of trying to primary former President Barack Obama ahead of his 2012 reelection campaign. Published:2/25/2020 4:57:36 PM
[Politics] Rahm Emanuel: Attacks on Obama No Way to Win Nomination Launching attacks on former President Barack Obama is not the way for Democrats to win the party's presidential nomination, ex-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama's chief of staff, said Tuesday.  Published:2/25/2020 3:01:02 PM
[Markets] Some Questions That Should Be Asked At Tonight's Democratic Presidential Debate Some Questions That Should Be Asked At Tonight's Democratic Presidential Debate

Authored by Fred Eckert via The Epoch Times,

Very often - not always, but usually - news media moderators of presidential debates aggressively go at Republicans but are prone to lob softball questions at Democrats. It’s as if they pitch to strike out Republicans but try to make it easy for Democrats to hit it out of the park.

Truly good journalists either are not biased or are able to keep their bias under control sufficiently well to not let it be a weapon to unfairly assist or unfairly injure any candidate they question.

In the quest to elicit the truth for the public and help give voters better insight into a candidate, journalists need to play a Devil’s Advocate role and not play favorites.

We rarely see this - and we’re not likely to see it in tonight’s South Carolina Democratic presidential debate.

So here are some questions I would put forth were I cross examining these candidates tonight. Each of them is difficult, brutally blunt, and designed to try to force the candidate to refrain from vague gobbledygook that conceals rather than reveals. No candidate is spared from the toughest questioning.

Yes, these questions being asked here of left-wing Democrats are crafted by this committed conservative Republican. But they’re the type of Devil’s Advocate questions any true journalist could—and should—ask. And, yes, if called upon to do so, I could come up with equally brutal Devil’s Advocate questions to put to President Donald Trump or any other Republican.

I’ve made these questions as lengthy as they are in an effort to be effective in preventing evasion of the answer or successful defusion of it by use of gibberish. While, of course, not every one of these questions could likely be worked into the debate, each one is, I submit, a question it would be interesting to have answered.

Joe Biden

1. You and congressional Democrats accuse President Trump of seeking dirt on you and members of your family. But what you dismiss as dirt, he and others would describe as unethical conduct, albeit legal, that profited from your high political position in ways that crossed the line into corruption. Tell us why there’s nothing corrupt or unethical about each of these Biden family member practices:

  • While you were playing a key role in America’s dealings with China and Ukraine, your son Hunter was awarded an equity fund deal of $1.5 billion from the Communist Party-controlled Bank of China, despite his having no experience in equity fund finance or experience in China, an arrangement that could still yet pour millions into his pocket; and in Ukraine he partnered with an oligarch whose energy company was suspected of being corrupt, for which he was paid $1 million-a-year, this despite the fact that he had no prior experience in Ukraine or in the field of energy.

  • While you were playing a key role in the rebuilding of Iraq, the president of a struggling construction company that was hoping for government contracts to remain in business met with the Office of the Vice President. Three weeks later they made your brother James their executive vice president, despite his having no real background in construction. This company shortly thereafter received lucrative government contracts and your brother James made millions from this.

  • When you began playing a key role in U.S. assistance to Costa Rica, your brother Frank suddenly became the beneficiary of great assistance from the Costa Rican government for such business ventures as a huge solar energy park, despite his having no background in solar energy, and developing a lavish country club, despite his having no experience in building such developments.

These are just a few samples from many of family members potentially leveraging their connection to your political influence to greatly enrich themselves. You’ve claimed that you’ve never discussed any of their business schemes with them, which strains credibility. But certainly you knew about them and you turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to them. Why? This may not be illegal, but please now tell us why there is nothing corrupt or unethical about each of these Biden family member practices. Tell us why you think it passes the smell test.

2. During the 2012 campaign, you often boasted that “General Motors is alive, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Yet you had, in fact, urged President Barack Obama not to order the operation that succeeded in killing bin Laden. Why? What if President Obama had heeded your advice and bin Laden was still alive conducting terrorism attacks? Would you feel guilty?

3. You’ve called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the leading advocate of The Green New Deal, “brilliant.” Please explain which ideas of hers you consider most brilliant—and why?

Michael Bloomberg

1. For the first eight debates, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) rigidly enforced ever-increasing-in-difficulty rules for qualifying to make the debate stage—and, as intended, the number of qualifying candidates kept diminishing. Five days before you declared your candidacy, you wrote a check for $800,000 to the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, which then redistributed your $800,000 among the DNC and state party organizations. The DNC later drastically revised its rules to make it possible for you to qualify to be included in these debates. Was this a quid pro quo? Does this pass the smell test?

After Mr. Bloomberg answers, would those of you who think this passes the smell test please so signal by raising your hand?

2. Bloomberg News, which you own, is one of the world’s largest media organizations, with about 2,700 journalists in TV, radio, magazine, and digital operations. It announced that it will continue what it calls its tradition of not investigating you, you family, or your wealth—and that Bloomberg News will now extend the same policy to every other candidate competing in the Democratic presidential primaries. But it will not extend this “hear no evil/see no evil/speak no evil” investigative policy to Republicans. Isn’t this the sort of thing that is causing the public to distrust the news media? Don’t you think the fact that a major news organization muzzles journalists and orders them not to investigate stories that might be embarrassing to you or to any of the other Democratic candidates on this stage is something that the American people should find very troublesome?

After Mr. Bloomberg answers, would those of you who think the American people should feel disgusted knowing that a news organization is covering up for any political candidate or public official, please so signal by raising your hand?

Pete Buttigieg

1. Your only experience in government is eight years as mayor of a very small city—it ranks as the 308th largest city in the United States; it doesn’t even make the top three in Indiana; many communities classified as towns are far larger; it has a reputation for violent crime; and USA Today ranks it among America’s 20 worst cities. What makes you think that being mayor of South Bend, Indiana, proves that you’re qualified to be president of the United States?

2. In previous debates you’ve asserted, or at least strongly implied, that your military service qualifies you to be commander-in-chief. Most of your time as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve was spent at a center not far from your home to which you drove for weekend duty once a month, although you were called up for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan where you from time to time drove or guarded a superior office along routes that were dangerous places to be. Is it your view that anyone of similar rank and experience should be considered qualified to be commander-in-chief of the world’s greatest military power?

And if the mayor answers yes, would those of you who agree please raise your hand?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

1. You have presented yourself at these debates as a level-headed public official who works well with people. But a column published recently in your home state, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has resurrected stories that paint a very different picture of your temperament and self-control. It reports that you don’t deny throwing things at employees and that you seem to enjoy humiliating people, an example of which being that you once made a point of eating your lunch with a comb to humiliate a staffer who had failed to include a fork when delivering your salad to you. An article in Politicio describes you as among “the worst bosses in Congress.” You had the highest turnover rate in the Senate. Vanity Fair has referred to your having a “reputation for cruelty and repeated emotional abuse.” You’ve criticized President Trump for not acting presidential. These reports certainly don’t portray you as one who acts presidential. Are these reports about you, as President Trump might put it, “fake news”? If true, how do you explain your bad behavior?

Sen. Bernie Sanders

1. You proudly label yourself a socialist. America’s Soviet enemy called themselves the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Another enemy of the United States, Hitler’s Germany, called themselves Nazis, short for National Socialist. You have a long history of expressing admiration for such tyrannical dictators as Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, whose socialist policies have turned Venezuela from being the richest country in South America into one of its poorest, with many of its people now starving and where inflation and political oppression are destroying their lives and robbing them of hope for a decent future. It’s been said that people can vote themselves into socialism, but they have to shoot themselves out of it, which is what’s happening right now close to us in Venezuela. Given socialism’s abysmal record in the world, why should the American people risk following the example of the Soviet Union and Venezuela by embracing your call for a “political revolution” to impose a socialistic agenda here?

2. Your plan and the plan of Sen. Elizabeth Warren to spend untold billions of dollars to replace college tuition with government-guaranteed free college and to award taxpayer money to erase tuition loan debts raises great issues of basic fairness. What about the people who don’t go to college but instead go to work? Why should they be forced to help bear the cost of providing a college education to strangers so that those strangers will be able to later land higher paying jobs than they themselves will likely ever have? Why should people who took responsibility to pay off their student loans be forced to help pay off the loans of those who didn’t? Why shouldn’t people who took the responsibility to pay off their student loans receive a refund from the government if we’re paying off the debt for those who didn’t bother to pay off their student loans?

3. Since you so strongly believe America needs socialism, given your age and health, will you commit to selecting a fellow socialist to be your vice president?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

1. Harvard Law School for some time hyped you as “a woman of color.” Why didn’t you speak up and point out that all one has to do is look at you to realize it’s ridiculous to claim that you’re a person of color? Why did you go along with such a lie?

2. You said that you were a Cherokee Indian—and that claim has been proven to be false. You said that you were fired from a teaching position because you were pregnant—and it turns out you voluntarily left that job. Last August you tweeted that Ferguson, Missouri, white police officer Darren Wilson had murdered an unarmed black man named Michael Brown—but surely you must have known from all the unusually extensive news coverage that both a Grand Jury and an Obama Justice Department investigation had confirmed that after committing robbery and assault, Brown had attempted to grab officer Wilson’s gun and was again charging at him when he was shot in what was determined to be justifiable self-defense. You promised months ago that you would never rely on PAC money to help finance your campaign for president—and already you’re breaking that promise. Given your pattern of saying things that simply aren’t true, why should the American people not see you as a dishonest politician who can’t be trusted to tell the truth?

After Sen. Warren answers, would former Vice President Biden please tell us his opinion about Sen. Warren’s in effect accusing the Obama–Biden administration of being complicit in the murder of a black man?

To All Candidates

1. Nearly every one of you has endorsed implementing The Green New Deal. Republicans and other critics say it’s lunacy economics that would destroy our economy and cause a severe depression. Please explain why they’re wrong and you’re right about these provisions: It calls for Americans no longer having the option of traveling by air, thereby making trips to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, South America, or the South Pacific extremely time consuming and impractical. What makes you think this is reasonable and realistic? It calls for retrofitting every building in the country—every office, every plant, everything, including every private home. What makes you think this is reasonable and realistic? It even calls for doing away with cows and cattle and government-guaranteed economic security not just for anyone unable to work but also for anyone who is unwilling to work! Please explain how this enormously costly plan would be a good deal for the American people rather than what Republicans and other critics say it would be—an ordeal. Sen. Warren, last week you said, “I not only support a Green New Deal, I don’t think it goes far enough,” so we’ll go first with you and ask that you also tell us what else you want included and what the additional cost would be.

Other candidates, besides explaining why Republicans and other critics are wrong and you’re right about these specific provisions just cited, please also state whether you agree or disagree with Sen. Warren that The Green New Deal doesn’t go far enough—and why.

2. Each of you has suggested that we need to ask the rich to pay their fair share in taxes. Setting aside the fact that government doesn’t ask us to pay taxes—taxes are not some invitation or request we can decline—what annual income do you believe deems someone to be rich? And what do you think is the “fair” share the rich should have to pay? That is, what percentage of their income tax should they pay in taxes? Just to refresh your memory, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other neutral experts, the top 20 percent of households pay 27 percent of their income in federal taxes while the bottom 20 percent pay only about 2 percent; and the top 1 percent pay 38 percent.

This may be a long question, but we can move along quickly because all each of you is being asked is to say exactly what income level you believe should qualify one as being rich and exactly what percentage of that person’s annual income should be surrendered to the federal government. Please—no repetition of glittering generalities like “fair share.” Again—what annual income do you believe deems someone to be rich? And what do you think is the “fair” share the rich should have to pay? Be very specific.

3. Democrats like to say you believe in science. Republicans and other critics say you are biology deniers. Former Vice President Biden has said that “there are at least three genders,” something he never asserted in all his years in the Senate or during his previous campaigns for president or vice president. As a party, Democrats have embraced the notion that a person who has a penis, a person with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, must be considered a female if he says he thinks he’s a female, and a person who has a vagina, a person with two X chromosomes, is a male if she says she thinks she’s a male. Critics who view such thinking as biology denial point out that it is resulting in a situation in which males claiming to be female are defeating females in athletic contests and in which a lot of young people are undergoing radical irreversible drug and surgery procedures that may ruin their lives. Why are you Democrats embracing this notion that none of you touted before just recently adopting as policy? And if you believe there are more genders than male and female, please tell us how many, name a few, and explain exactly what visible sign identifies it as different from male and female?

4. Each of you publicly condemned President Trump for ordering the attack that succeeded in its mission to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a terrorist responsible for killing or severely wounding thousands of Americans. Do you wish Soleimani were still alive—or are you glad he’s dead? And if you’re glad he’s dead, isn’t this an admission that President Trump did the right thing and you were wrong to berate him for doing it?

5. Please name three, or at least one or two, specific accomplishments—specific accomplishments, not mere vague statements about some positions you’ve taken on issues—very specific accomplishments that you think clearly demonstrate that you are a much better choice than the current president and all of the others standing on this stage to be President of the United States.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/25/2020 - 11:56
Published:2/25/2020 11:06:36 AM
[Politics] The Resistance Starts To Infect Our Courts We wonder what the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, makes of that headline about the Ninth United States Circuit Court of Appeals. "Trump has flipped the 9th Circuit and some new judges are causing a 'shock wave,'" the headline said. Los Angeles Times attributes the claim to one of the circuit's own judges. Chief Justice Roberts can't be happy. The Chief Justice, remember, was so irked when President Trump laced into "Obama judges" that he issued a rebuke. "We d... Published:2/25/2020 4:28:13 AM
[2020 Presidential Election] Mayor Pete: Plain Vanilla Obama? (Steven Hayward) A lot of people have suggested that Mayor Peter Buttigieg is trying to be the white (gay) Obama, and it makes a certain amount of sense. But maybe he is taking this too far? Check out this 24-second video: Yeah, I think we had enough of this the first time. Published:2/25/2020 1:22:04 AM
[Politics] The Wit and Wisdom of Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, the 38-year-old presidential candidate who previously served as mayor of Indiana's fourth-largest city, is the Democratic Party's most gifted rhetorician since Barack H. Obama. His deep-voiced demeanor and majestic oratorical prowess have made him a formidable candidate among a select demographic of wealthy whites with graduate degrees.

The post The Wit and Wisdom of Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:2/24/2020 2:52:41 PM
[Politics] 45% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty-five percent (45%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending February 20, 2020.

This week’s finding is down one point from a week ago By comparison, this number ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from February 16-20, 2020. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:2/24/2020 11:18:23 AM
[Markets] 11 Of The Most Outrageous Things Establishment Democrats Are Saying About Bernie Sanders 11 Of The Most Outrageous Things Establishment Democrats Are Saying About Bernie Sanders

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

The Democratic establishment has officially shifted into panic mode.  In 2016, they watched a bold political outsider shred a divided field of establishment Republican candidates on his way to winning the White House.  Now they have one and only one shot of denying Donald Trump a second term, and the same thing that happened to the Republicans in 2016 is now happening to them.  So far, Bernie Sanders is trouncing a divided field of establishment Democratic candidates, and that is a huge problem for party leadership for a number of reasons.  For one thing, most top establishment Democrats absolutely detest Sanders.  Secondly, most of them don’t believe that he has a prayer of actually beating Trump in November.  So they are desperate to find a way to deny Sanders the nomination, but with each Sanders victory that is going to become increasingly difficult to do.

At this point, an all-out civil war has just about erupted on the left.  Establishment Democrats are all in a tizzy about potentially nominating a “socialist”, but of course the truth is that America has been drifting toward socialism ever since FDR first entered the White House.  Yes, there have been a few times when we have attempted to change course (the Reagan administration for example), but in general the federal government has just gotten bigger and bigger over the decades.  Today we have the biggest government in the entire history of the planet, and the Democrats are primarily to blame.

Ultimately, what this conflict is about is power.  Bernie Sanders may have won the hearts of the voters, but he isn’t supposed to actually win the nomination, and the Democratic establishment will pull out all the stops in order to keep that from happening.

All of a sudden, operatives on the left can’t stop talking about how the Russians want Bernie Sanders to win.  This is coming from the same people that spent years trying to find evidence that President Trump colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 election and that accused Tulsi Gabbard of being a “Russian operative” in order to derail her quest for the Democratic nomination.

Are there people out there that actually believe this stuff?

Apparently there must be, because establishment Democrats just keep going back to the same playbook over and over again.

In the weeks ahead, we should expect the attacks on Sanders to continue to escalate.  The following are 11 of the most outrageous things that establishment Democrats have said about Bernie Sanders so far, but this is probably just the beginning…

#1 Rahm Emanuel: “Putin and Trump are picking their opponent.”

#2 Joe Biden: “The Russians don’t want me to be the nominee,” Biden said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” later adding, “they like Bernie.”

#3 James Carville: “Right now, it’s about 1:15 Moscow time. This thing is going very well for Vladimir Putin. I promise you. He’s probably staying up watching this right now. How you doing, Vlad?”

#4 MSNBC’s Joy Reid regarding the tremendous enthusiasm of Bernie’s voters: “Democrats need to sober up, and figure out what the hell they’re going to do about that.”

#5 Democratic House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn: “If you know how well we did the last time and look at the congressional districts, these are not liberal or progressive districts. These are moderate and conservative districts that we did well in. And in those districts it’s going to be tough to hold on to these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.”

#6 NPR’s Maria Hinojosa: “As somebody who has been around for a while…I want receipts. What has he done in all his time to actually deliver for Latino/a voters?”

#7 Pete Buttigieg: “Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders in our one shot to take on this president, let us take a sober look at what is at stake for our party, for our values and for those with the most to lose.”

#8 Joe Lockhart: “In any political campaign, candidates need to know what they stand for, and who — or what — they’re up against. At this stage in the game for Bloomberg, that enemy is not Trump. It’s Sen. Bernie Sanders and the election calendar.”

#9 James Carville: “If you’re voting for him because you think he’ll win the election, because he’ll galvanize heretofore sleepy parts of an electorate, then politically, you’re a fool.”

#10 Hillary Clinton: “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said of Sanders in a documentary about the campaign, released this year. “He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

#11 MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: No pundit on the left has been more critical of Sanders than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.  In the aftermath of the vote in Nevada, Matthews actually compared the Sanders campaign “to the Nazi invasion of France in 1940?…

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is under fire after comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders‘s (I-Vt.) decisive win in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, with some on social media calling for the “Hardball” host to resign.

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940,” Matthews said during MSNBC’s live coverage of the caucuses on Saturday. “And the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can that be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.'”

Needless to say, that comment sparked a tremendous backlash.

In addition, Matthews suggested that the Democrats might be better off waiting four years and then putting in “a Democrat that they like”

“I’m wondering whether the Democratic moderates want Bernie Sanders to be president. That’s maybe too exciting a question to raise. They don’t like Trump at all. Do they want Bernie Sanders to take over the Democratic Party in perpetuity?” he said.

“I mean, he takes it over, he sets the direction of the future of the party — maybe they’d rather wait four years and put in a Democrat that they like.”

Matthews must not understand that the only reason he has a job is because the radical left has embraced MSNBC over the years.  Now Matthews and the other commentators on MSNBC are greatly alienating their core viewers, and that could potentially be absolutely disastrous for the network.

But Matthews is not likely to back down.  Earlier this month, he explained why he detests socialists so much

“You know, I have my own views of the word ‘socialist,’” Matthews said earlier this month. “They go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed, and certain other people would be there cheering, OK? So, I have a problem with people who took the other side.”

This is coming from the same guy who was so giddy about the candidacy of Barack Obama in 2008.

Very strange.

In any event, I think that President Trump did a great job of summarizing the current state of the race for the Democratic nomination when he tweeted the following

Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates. Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!

None of the establishment candidates currently in the race has a prayer of winning enough delegates to secure the nomination before the convention.

So at this point the Democratic establishment has two options if they want to prevent Sanders from becoming the nominee.

  • Firstly, they can encourage everyone to stay in the race and try to divide the delegates enough ways so that Sanders cannot clinch the nomination prior to the convention.  Then once the convention rolls around, they could try to put forward a “compromise candidate” as an alternative to Sanders.

  • Secondly, they could try to convince the one person that could actually beat Sanders during this process to enter the race.  But Michelle Obama has said over and over again that she will absolutely not run for president.  Unfortunately for the Democrats, she is probably the only one that could pull off such a miracle at this point.

Assuming that Michelle Obama is out of the picture, the Democratic establishment’s only hope of stopping Sanders is probably at the convention.

Usually the conventions are rather sleepy affairs, but this year might be an exception.

So you might want to stock up on popcorn, because a contested Democratic convention would be very strange, but it would also likely be very entertaining.

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/24/2020 - 12:04
Published:2/24/2020 11:18:22 AM
[Barack Obama] Is there a Democrat who can stop Bernie Sanders? (Paul Mirengoff) I think there might be, but he probably will choose not to. Suppose Barack Obama endorsed his former VP for president. The endorsement would probably carry Joe Biden to victory in South Carolina and position him for a solid showing on Super Tuesday. Suppose Obama endorsed Pete Buttigieg, the gay Obama. Biden, who is campaigning on the fact that he was Obama’s number two, would be finished. Buttigieg would suddenly Published:2/24/2020 10:49:12 AM
[Markets] How The "Interpreter" Scam Brought 75,000 Iraqis And Afghans To America How The "Interpreter" Scam Brought 75,000 Iraqis And Afghans To America

Authored by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog,

The latest battle over Special Immigrant Visas pitted Stephen Miller, President Trump’s senior advisor, against the Pentagon. The military brass was lobbying for 6,000 special immigrant visas for Iraqis who worked for American forces in the country. These visas were once again billed as helping “interpreters”.

That’s a lot of interpreters considering that there were only 5,200 American troops in Iraq.

How could there be more Iraqi interpreters for American troops than there are troops?

The Special Immigrant Visa scam has been sold for over a decade using the same claim that it’s needed to save the lives of Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who are risking death by helping American soldiers.

In one decade, the United States has handed out 75,250 of these visas to Iraqi and Afghan employees, and their dependents. Between 2007 and 2017, they represented 1 percent of all immigrant visas.

The truth is that the military brass has wrongly used the incentive of Special Immigrant Visas to recruit local personnel and cut costs by promising them resettlement in the United States. Considering the costs of resettling even the nicest Iraqi or Afghan families, it would have been cheaper to pay each of them a six-figure salary. But that would have come out of the defense budget. The SIV scam passes the buck to local cities and states, to ordinary taxpayers and communities who have to hire interpreters who speak Pashto to interact with the children of the interpreters who are swamping local school systems.

One Iraqi or Afghan employee brings a lot more dependents and expenses with him. In 2017, the 4,677 Iraqi and Afghan employees brought 13,713 dependents with them for a total of 18,390 refugees.

Those were the worst numbers since before Obama took office.

While conventional refugee numbers have been slashed, the number of Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqis and Afghans drastically shot up because the Pentagon was getting its way on immigration. Few of these visas were for actual interpreters. That number tends to be capped at 50 a year. Most of the SIV applicants coming in had to have only worked for a few years in often vaguely defined capacities.

Some were actual interpreters. Many more were cultural advisors and linguists.

All they have to do is claim that they received threats over their work for the US or the ISAF, the multinational force in Afghanistan, and they are resettled in the United States as refugees.

While the media has repeatedly accused President Trump of stopping interpreters from coming to this country even though they, allegedly, risked their lives, the number of SIV visas for Afghans and Iraqis shot up from 10,681 in 2014, to 14,383 in 2016, to 18,390 in 2017.

That's when Stephen Miller tried to slam on the brakes.

The media complains that visa processing isn’t fast enough. And that the lives of SIV applicants are at risk every day they’re living in their own country. But bypassing vetting puts American lives at risk.

As a measure of how bad the vetting is, Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri, the Emir of an Al Qaeda group in Fallujah, entered this country as a refugee and applied for disability. He then went to work as a military contractor on a California base, teaching soldiers deploying to Iraq about the local culture. That’s the typical sort of task that many SIV visas are provided for which require little more than English skills.

Was an Al Qaeda Emir employed by the US military in Iraq? Did Al-Nouri come here on an SIV visa? The answer is he probably did, but no one seems to be especially willing to ask or answer that question.

Bilal Abood came to the United States on an SIV visa. Like many SIV applicants, he had worked as a contract linguist in Iraq. Like most SIV applicants, he claimed to have faced threats because of his work.

Once in the United States, Abood began viewing ISIS beheading videos and tweeted, “I pledge obedience to the Caliphate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” That was the leader of ISIS.

"The United States is the enemy of Allah," he had said.

Jasim Mohammed Hasin Ramadon and Ali Mohammed Hasan Al Juboori, Mustafa Sataar Al Feraji, Ali Mohammed Hasan Al Juboori, and Yasir Jabbar Jasim, 5 Iraqis who who came to America on SIV visas, took part in the rape of an American woman in Colorado Springs who was abused so badly that there was blood splattered on the wall. Her mistake was sympathizing with the poor hapless refugees.

That’s our mistake as a country.

Ramadon, like the other SIV applicants celebrated by the media, had an NCO lobby for him. He appeared on Oprah, was featured in a book, and became a celebrity. Then he was hit with a restraining order for choking and threatening to kill his girlfriend. His crimes ended with the brutal rape of an older woman.

But the SIV lobby doesn’t care about the woman he nearly killed. Or the threat to Americans.

District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee involved in controversial decisions, like inventing a right to taxpayer-funded abortions for illegal migrants, ruled that the Trump administration must immediately start processing visa applications for SIV migrants and bring them to America.

Meanwhile the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 provided 4,000 more SIV slots for Afghans.

Shutting down the SIV pipeline has been painfully difficult because the refugee program has broad bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and from military brass.

In this case, it’s actually the bureaucracy that has saved American lives by slowing SIV visa processing.

The United States has spent years figuring out exactly how to throw in the towel in Afghanistan through some sort of meaningless deal with the Taliban, even as we continue passing out SIV visas to Afghan employees in a country we may be leaving at any time. And we are handing out SIV visas like candy to Iraqis even though we have a very limited military presence there that is not expected to last for long.

But facts have never stopped the SIV express from barreling through America at an incredible cost.

85% of SIV recipients have received refugee resettlement benefits. Over 17,000 have been dumped in California, over 10,000 in Texas, and over 7,000 in Virginia. In Virginia, that meant that over 800 Iraqi children and almost 2,000 Afghan children became part of the system. In Northern Virginia, SIV holders increased tenfold and doubled in just one year, putting a potential terrorist population close to the center of government, to top terror targets, including the headquarters of the CIA in Fairfax County.

Meanwhile a GAO report found that 60% of SIV refugees were unemployed after three months and 94% were on food stamps.

70% of Iraqi SIVs were unemployed.

In one single year, SIV refugees racked up $80 million in federal aid from two agencies alone. That doesn’t account for some federal refugee assistance programs that go on for as long as 5 years.

How many American soldiers could have been trained to speak Arabic or Pashto for that money?

As their number has grown, so has the monumental expense of subsidizing them. In 2008, SIV refugees accounted for only 1% of resettlement assistance. By 2017, SIV refugees made up a quarter of costs.

After 75,000 Iraqi and Afghan SIV recipients, maybe it’s time that we shut down the SIV scam, instead of expanding it, as politicians from both parties and Pentagon brass, keep insisting that we must do.

We currently have 14,000 troops in Afghanistan and over 55,000 Afghans here through the SIV program. There are 5,200 American military personnel in Iraq and over 20,000 Iraqis through the SIV program in America. We’ve resettled enough “interpreters” to fill Kalamazoo, Wilmington, or Boca Raton.

America is all “interpreted” out.

The US Army began deploying the Machine Foreign Language Translation System (MFLTS) in 2011. Millions of dollars have been signed in contracts for MFLTS systems that can provide automatic translations of Arabic, Pashto, Urdu, and many other languages. The system was deployed in 2017.

MFLTS is no doubt inferior to living translators. But software doesn’t shoot our soldiers in the back, rape women in Colorado Springs, demand food stamps, swamp social services in Virginia, or join ISIS.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/23/2020 - 23:30
Published:2/23/2020 10:45:26 PM
[Politics] Whistleblower who exposed Obama era Muslim scrubbing found dead by suicide So hang on your tinfoil hats. Phillip Haney, a whistleblower during the Obama administration, has been found dead, and authorities say he committed suicide. From Fox News: Philip Haney, a Department of . . . Published:2/23/2020 7:14:38 PM
[Politics] Whistleblower who exposed Obama era Muslim scrubbing found dead by suicide So hang on your tinfoil hats. Phillip Haney, a whistleblower during the Obama administration, has been found dead, and authorities say he committed suicide. From Fox News: Philip Haney, a Department of . . . Published:2/23/2020 7:14:38 PM
[Markets] The Atlantic: Trump Is Going To Cheat The Atlantic: Trump Is Going To Cheat

Authored by Jeff Charles via LibertyNation.com,

It isn’t even March yet, and progressives are already making their excuses for why they may lose to Trump in 2020. In a piece written for The Atlantic, Sarada Peri – a former senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama – launched the latest in a long line of arguments explaining why their loss would be unfair.

The piece, titled “Trump Is Going to Cheat,” is the usual Democratic fare.

The author insists that the president is going to somehow use underhanded means to sway the election in his direction. Unfortunately for her, the argument doesn’t pass the smell test.

President Trump Is Going To “Lie” To Win In 2020

Peri begins by pointing out that the Democrats are currently in a heated contest to determine which one of them is the most electable. It doesn’t take long, however, for her to identify the real challenge any nominee will face: “He or she will need to run against a president seemingly prepared, and empowered, to lie and cheat his way to reelection.”

The author claims that President Trump would seek another win by lying and saying “absolutely anything necessary to attract and maintain support.” She also points to the so-called list of Trump’s lies as president. If the newspaper responsible for this particular curation is to be believed, he has rattled off over 15,000 since taking office. Of course, even a cursory glance shows that most of the statements in the fib collection are either Trump’s opinions, hyperbole, or even simple mistakes.

Moreover, the notion that the Democrats — and their close friends and allies in the press — are somehow the epitome of honesty is laughable given their constant caterwauling about Russiagate conspiracy theories. But, according to Peri, President Trump is going to do far worse when it comes to winning in November.

Trump Is Going To “Cheat!”

Just in case bending the truth a little doesn’t quite cut it, the president will find a way to cheat, somehow. Peri is sure of it. She recalls an observation made by journalist Katy Tur during a discussion about the challenges involved in covering the president:

“She said that what made covering Trump as a reporter and running against him as a candidate so difficult was the way that scandals stuck—or didn’t stick—to him. Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state was like a stain on her shirt that people couldn’t get past, because it was the only mark on an otherwise clean shirt. But Trump had so many stains that ‘you couldn’t tell if it was a stained shirt or if it was just supposed to be that way.’”

The author goes on to cite the controversy over Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as an example of how he will break the rules to defeat his opponent. Of course, she forgets to mention that the Democrats failed to prove that Trump’s motivation in his dealings with Ukraine was specifically to hurt former Vice President Joe Biden.

Peri also seems to forget the fact that Hillary Clinton’s campaign brazenly paid money to have a former British spy dig up dirt on Trump using Russian and Ukrainian sources. A little bit of “good for me, but not for thee,” perhaps? But that’s not the worst of it. It seems employing the Democrats’ tactic of using foreign powers to gain an edge in the election isn’t the only card up Trump’s sleeve.

Trump Will Use Media To Cheat!

In her effort to convince readers that Trump will use unfair means to keep his position in the Oval Office, Peri makes one of the most laughable arguments a progressive could suggest in this type of conversation: She blames the media. That’s right — she actually complains that right-wing media would support Trump and influence the masses:

“Perhaps the most troubling form of cheating is the most diffuse, and therefore the hardest to grasp. Trump’s reelection campaign, abetted by right-wing media and companies like Facebook that have absolved themselves of any democratic responsibility, is waging a disinformation war modeled on the efforts of dictators and unprecedented in its scale. As reported by this magazine, the campaign is prepared to spend $1 billion to harness digital media to the president’s advantage, including bot attacks, viral conspiracy theories, doctored videos, and microtargeted ads that distort reality.”

Trump Ain’t Leaving!

Just when you think the author’s arguments couldn’t get any more ridiculous, she makes her final assertion: If Trump’s lying and cheating don’t secure his position, he will simply refuse to leave. Now, she is not the first to put forth such a silly idea, but, as proof, she cites the fact that he has made jokes about remaining in office past his term.

“He retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr.’s suggestion that he ought to have two years added to his term and ‘joked’ about staying in office longer than eight years,” she wrote.

“If he loses in November, the litigious showman might claim that the election was rigged against him and theatrically contest the results in court.”

The Democrat Delusion

According to Google, the definition of the word “delusional” is as follows:

“Characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.”

Peri’s piece is chock full of the delusional talking points the corporate press has bandied about since Trump took office. But it is far more than that. It is a stellar example of a tactic that is all too relevant nowadays: Always accuse your opponent of that which you are doing.

Most of the accusations that one hears from Peri and her ilk have a ring of familiarity to them – but that’s because they describe the behavior and tactics the left tries to use against Trump...

And as The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board notes,

Democrats now know how millions of Republicans felt in 2016. A populist with devoted plurality support charges through the primary and caucus states, racking up delegates against multiple “establishment” candidates who all want to be the last alternative standing. Before the media knew it, Donald Trump could not be stopped.

...

Democrats are waking to the prospect of a nominee who wants to eliminate private health insurance, raise taxes on the middle class, ban fracking and put government in charge of energy production, make college a taxpayer entitlement, offer free health care to illegal immigrants, raise spending by $50 trillion, and tag every down-ballot Democrat with the socialist label.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/23/2020 - 20:10
Published:2/23/2020 7:14:38 PM
[Markets] Syria Stands As A Mega-Embarrassment For America Syria Stands As A Mega-Embarrassment For America

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

For a long time, America has tried to ignore and distance itself from its role in making Syria the disaster it is today. Syria stands as a mega-embarrassment that shines a spotlight on America's failed foreign policy. To say President Obama blew it is an understatement. His inexperience took us down a rabbit hole with each turn revealing more ugliness than the one before. Both Obama and Trump pledged to reduce America's role in Afghanistan and Iraq but it has proven easier said than done, it has also had massive far-reaching ramifications.

Aleppo Is Just One Of The Many Cities Destroyed

By reassuring and almost encouraging the people of Syria to rise up and overthrow their brutal leader Obama started a series of events that has taken countless lives and destroyed millions of others. Three of the most damaging developments flowing from this are the development of ISIS, the flow of millions of refugees into Europe, and the bombing and destruction of cities and innocent civilians.

 Continued violence in the region over the last decade has spurred the destabilizing mass migration of millions of people from the area.

Many people do not realize the formation of ISIS is rooted in this mess and flowed out of America's meddling. A failed attempt to build an army to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad backfired.  A report published by Reuters claimed that 200 men were trained and that over 1200 were to be added in a plan to prepare to free Syria from the rule of President Bashar but General Ibrahim al-Douri. who had been on the US most-wanted list since the second Gulf War took over control. This left the group with a problematic leader and a huge war chest at his disposal. Most of the money had come from US allies, including Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, all are Sunni-based countries that originally supported ISIS.

The Middle East Is Ready To Kill

For years, day after day, week after week, month after month, the American people have busied themselves with ignoring the Pandora's box of misery Obama opened and unleashed is his arrogance. Please don't take this as an Obama bashing, he didn't do it alone. The same old group of clowns that have infected American foreign policy for years weighed in and helped bring us to where we are today. America simply can't mind its own business.

While it could be argued a great deal of this is a continuation of President Bush's folly, anyone making such a case should concede that Obama widened the conflict destabilizing the situation even more. In 2011, he and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to undertake a "military intervention " in Libya. Years later in a 2016 Fox interview, Obama said the handling of the military intervention in Libya was his “worst mistake” Today, oil-rich Libya is a violent mess split between rival governments, each backed by an array of foreign countries jockeying for influence and control of Libya’s resources. According to a statement from the UN, the failed country is continuing its long efforts to reach a lasting cease-fire. 

Looking back at President Obama’s legacy in early 2017, The Guardian reported that in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. Most of these air attacks were in Syria and Iraq but US bombs were also dropped in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. All seven of these countries have populations where a majority of the people are Muslim. as for the numbers of civilians killed by these bombs it could be in the thousands. We will never know because both the administration and mainstream media remained nearly silent about the civilian toll of the administration’s failed interventions.

Returning to the issue of Syria, currently, around a million Syrians have their backs against the wall in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports the number of civilians displaced since December 1 at 700,000. These civilians are trapped, the population is caught under the bombs of a three-way war which now involves the Syrian-Russian alliance fighting Turkey, as well as Turkish proxy jihadists as well as terror group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

The Syrian and Russian armies are bombing these people while Turkey refuses to let them cross the border partly because once there they become Turkey's problem. Adding to the problem is that the European Union has signaled they don't want them either. The situation has degraded into an almost bizarre state where America and the Trump administration are backing Turkey and its President Tayyip Erdogan. This is definitely not a marriage made in heaven. Over the last few years, Turkey has bashed the Kurds and played Russia against America while constantly leaning on Greece and the Euro-zone.

People Have Fled To Horrible Camps

Those that have fled the fighting are suffering horrible conditions. A YouTube video is linked to the picture to the right. Clicking on the picture brings up drone footage showing the horrible conditions in a refugee camp covered in snow. Snow blankets the countryside while mothers and their children live in flimsy tents without heat or enough to eat.

Living in the mud, cold and hungry without proper sanitation is far from ideal. The children have no real schools and people have little to do except to suffer. To make matters worse the men have little or no work or any way to make money. Life in the refugee camps is a case of just trying to survive until things get better. It is important to remember most of these were happy middle-class people simply wanting to go about their lives before we stirred the pot.

I started writing about Syria back in 2012. At the time I predicted the country had passed the tipping point and was facing a civil war. That was at a time forces were lining up to supply weapons to both sides of the Syrian conflict. This fueled the fire and turned the Syrian people into pawns in a very dangerous and deadly game. As in Libya, a parade of foreign countries jockeying for influence and control have poured weapons and fighters into the area and it is the people of the region that are paying the price.

Was their government perfect? No, but they were not living under the conditions under which they are currently forced to exist. To make matters worse the vice is expected to tighten. Syria is only one example of how meddling in the affairs of other countries has consequences. Unfortunately, America's history of intruding in the affairs of others has been widespread. To say these people face a bleak future is most likely an understatement because the world is doing little to help them. It could be said that with friends like us these counties don't need more enemies.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/23/2020 - 18:30
Published:2/23/2020 5:45:35 PM
[Markets] Key Takeaways From Nevada Democratic Caucuses Key Takeaways From Nevada Democratic Caucuses

With 60% of precincts reporting, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won a decisive victory at the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, after a flood of minorities, young people and working class voters came out in numbers to give him 46% of the votes - earning him 10 of Nevada's 36 pledged delegates so far, while Biden (19.6%), Buttigieg (15.3%) and Warren (10.1%) had dismal showings, and no delegates.

Via NYT

Here are some key takeaways:

Sanders may get the nomination, robbing neocons and establishment Democrats of power once again

Thanks to Sanders wooing of minority voters - who largely went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the Vermont socialist has a diverse coalition of surrogates who may propel him to the nomination.

This means that if Sanders and Trump are the only two choices, neocons who would have found a friend in Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg will have to sit out two election cycles - while their holdover surrogates continue to be purged from various agencies.

According to The Hill:

Some establishment Democrats have been warning for months that nominating a self-described Democratic socialist will be ballot box poison for the party in November.

...

But Sanders has a hostile relationship with many national party leaders, who will be sounding the alarm in the weeks ahead that he must be stopped at all costs, even if it means contesting the nomination at a brokered convention.

Of course, who knows what kind of knee-bending Bernie would do, should he win the election.

Sanders' Democratic rivals have a serious battle ahead if they want to stop him

With Joe Biden having been beaten like a drum, Buttigieg failing to maintain the support he found in the botched Iowa caucus, and Warren and Klobuchar relegated to side-show status, the Democratic nomination comes down to Sanders vs. Bloomberg - who was badly injured during a drive-by of criticism during the last week's Nevada debate. Of note, Bloomberg was not on the ballot on Nevada.

According to The Hill, Buttigieg and Bloomberg's campaigns are warning that Sanders may have an "insurmountable" delegates lead by March 3.

Democrats turned out in huge numbers

While the Iowas caucuses had a fairly low turnout (slightly more than 2016, but nothing like the 2008 turnout when Obama ran), New Hampshire saw a record 300,000 voters turn out - blowing past 2008's then-record 288,000.

And while the final numbers aren't in yet for Nevada, over 75,000 people participated in early caucuses alone - not far behind the 84,000 who came out in 2016.

Things are going to get ugly from here

With both Warren and Buttigieg using their Nevada concession speeches to hammer Sanders, expect the infighting among the left to get worse.

The former mayor warned that Sanders would be a general election disaster, an argument that plays to the fears of many Democrats, whose top priority is to defeat Trump.

“Sen. Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” Buttigieg said.

And he warned that Sanders had fomented a divisive movement that would turn away potential new voters

“Sen. Sanders’s revolution has the tenor of combat, division and polarization, a vision where whoever wins the day, nothing will change the toxic tone of our politics,” he said. -The Hill

Sanders also won't enjoy support from the MSM after constantly railing against the "corporate media" which was in the can for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in 2016. But for now, the money is betting on Sanders to get the nod...

In short, the Democratic primaries are going to be fraught with twists and turns.

Now imagine Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump amid what could be a massive, nationwide coronavirus outbreak by November, and we're looking at a very chaotic 2020.

For now, at least - and all liquidity manipulations aside - it appears the more likely Sanders is to get the Democratic Party nomination, the more likely a Trump victory in November...

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/23/2020 - 10:35
Published:2/23/2020 9:42:57 AM
[Markets] Who Is Funding The Anti-Bernie Sanders Super PAC? Who Is Funding The Anti-Bernie Sanders Super PAC?

Authored by Ilma Hasan via OpenSecrets.org

Several outside groups are trying to slow the momentum of current Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) by spending millions on ad buys, as he continues to dominate the polls

The campaign against Sanders originated with hybrid PAC Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel moderate group, that spent over $1.4 million against Sanders. The group spent over $800,000 running ads against the frontrunning Democratic presidential candidate in Iowa and it’s spending $600,000 in Nevada, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. 

Sanders campaign file image via Der Spiegel 

Most of the PAC’s contributors have a clear history of giving money to candidates on both sides of the aisle. Its biggest donor is Stacy Schusterman, CEO of Samson Resources, an oil and gas company, who donated $1 million to the group in 2019. Schusterman has a long history of donating to Democratic candidates, except in 2016 when she contributed almost $130,000 to 25 Republican lawmakers including $2,700 to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Venture capitalist Gary Mark Lauder was the second highest donor to the hybrid PAC giving $500,000. New York businessman Milton Cooper was the next highest at $150,000. Active in donating to various Democrats, he also contributed $4,000 to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and $2,000 to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in 2019.

Ron Zeff, founder and CEO of Carmel Partners, a real estate investment firm, gave the group $100,000. He previously contributed over $70,000 to the GOP. Zeff also donated to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012 against President Barack Obama

The Sanders campaign said it raised $1.3 million within a day of the super PAC ads airing. Of the non-billionaires in the race, Sanders is the only candidate to report substantial cash on hand through January. 

On Wednesday, Mark Mellman, president of Democratic Majority for Israel, announced the group will no longer be running any ads against Sanders or contribute in the presidential race after its ad buys in Nevada run out. The group will focus on Democratic congressional races instead, Jewish Insider reported. 

“We will be involved in congressional races and in some cases those are Democrats running against Republican and in some case, those are pro-Israel champions running against anti-Israel challengers,” Mellman reportedly said.

The pro-Israel super PAC is closely affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and some of it’s largest donors are top members of the group, according to The Intercept.

While Mellman’s group will be taking a backseat, the committee has been running an anti-Sanders campaign through Facebook ads since last year. It recently came under scrutiny for accusing “radicals” in the Democratic Party of “pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people.” The group later apologized for “the ad’s imprecise wording (that) distorted our message and offended many.”

Another group meant to boost moderates, The Big Tent Project, reportedly has a budget of $1 million to run ads against Sanders. Big Tent has spent $200,000 of the budget running two test ads in Nevada and South Carolina, as both states will hold upcoming primaries. Sanders is projected to win both states according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls. 

While one ad accuses the frontrunner of dumping waste in Latino communities, the other criticizes his healthcare policy. “The cost? Another four years of Trump,” the ad says. Run by Jonathan Kott, a former top aide to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Big Tent is classified as a 501(c)(4) and is not required to disclose its donors. 

Sanders has long questioned American policy toward Israel and advocates an approach that addresses both Israeli security and a “pro-Palestinian” perspective. His criticism has made pro-Israel Democrats and supporters anxious, resulting in a surge of anti-Sanders ads. 

As Sanders is projected to win the upcoming contests, big Democratic donors have concerns about him being the presidential candidate, Politico reported. The concern within democrats is that an anti-Sanders campaign could result in boosting his contributions from an already devoted support base. For others, it’s about Sanders’ possible inability to woo moderate and Republican voters. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:30
Published:2/22/2020 7:39:52 PM
[Opinion] What Happened to Justice?

By Amanda Alverez -

An old adage teaches us “Don’t listen to what someone says, but observe closely what they do!” If government employees and representatives accept their positions stating “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; ...

What Happened to Justice? 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:2/22/2020 2:42:26 PM
[2019 News] Sources: DHS whistleblower on Obama administration, terrorism in America found dead Sources: DHS whistleblower on Obama administration, terrorism in America found dead. According to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), whistleblowers are to be protected at all costs. Another “Arkancide?” Published:2/22/2020 2:42:26 PM
[Markets] Assange Seeks Asylum In France As Extradition Trial Approaches Assange Seeks Asylum In France As Extradition Trial Approaches

Julian Assange will seek asylum in France, according to the Associated Press. Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder are currently preparing for his lates hearing, where he faces extradition to the United States on 17 criminal charges for unlawfully publishing the names of classified sources, as well as conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to obtain access to classified information.

Manning's 35-year sentence was commuted by President Obama after spending nearly seven years in prison. Assange, meanwhile, spent nearly seven years on Ecuador's London embassy before he was ejected and arrested by British police for jumping bail in an unrelated case.

Speaking from Paris, Assange's defense team said that the case against him is unfair, and violates his human rights while his health is suffering.

"We consider the situation is sufficiently serious that our duty is to talk about it" with French President Emmanuel Macron, said French lawyer Eric Dupont-Moretti.

Assange's Spanish coordinator, Baltasar Garzon, confirmed that the legal team will argue that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) acted as a middle man for the Trump administration to offer Assange a pardon if he showed proof that Russia was not involved in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee's email. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied on Wednesday.

"The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman," said Grisham. "He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie."

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/20/2020 - 14:16
Published:2/20/2020 1:24:56 PM
[Uncategorized] Democrats and Media attack Trump’s choice of Richard Grenell for Acting Director of National Intelligence Grenell is viewed as too "loyal" to Trump, but after all the mischief by Obama holdovers, it's about time. Published:2/20/2020 10:24:20 AM
[] Joe Biden (!!!) gets called out for lying about the Obama administration on stop-and-frisk Published:2/20/2020 10:01:51 AM
[Politics] Voters Give Trump The Edge Over Obama For Improved Economy

Former President Obama took credit for the booming economy in a tweet earlier this week, but voters still tend to think President Trump deserves more of the credit.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters agree the economy has gotten better since Trump was elected president in November 2016. Despite numerous economic indicators to the contrary, 24% say the economy has gotten worse, while 26% feel it has remained about the same. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted February 18-19, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:2/20/2020 10:01:50 AM
[Markets] Peter Schiff: Printing Money Is Not The Cure For Cononavirus Peter Schiff: Printing Money Is Not The Cure For Cononavirus

Via SchiffGold.com,

In his most recent podcast, Peter Schiff talked about coronavirus and the impact that it is having on the markets.

Earlier this month, Peter said he thought the virus was just an excuse for stock market woes. At the time he believed the market was poised to fall anyway. But as it turns out, coronavirus has actually helped the US stock market because it has led central banks to pump even more liquidity into the world financial system.

All this means more liquidity - central banks easing. In fact, that is exactly what has already happened, except the new easing is taking place, for now, outside the United States, particularly in China.”

Although the new money is primarily being created in China, it is flowing into dollars — the dollar index is up —  and into US stocks. Last week, US stock markets once again made all-time record highs.

In fact, I think but for the coronavirus, the US stock market would still be selling off. But because of the central bank stimulus that has been the result of fears over the coronavirus, that actually benefitted not only the US dollar, but the US stock market.”

In the midst of all this, Peter raises a really good question.

The primary economic concern is that coronavirus will slow down output and ultimately stunt economic growth. Practically speaking, the world would produce less stuff. If the virus continues to spread, there would be fewer goods and services produced in a market that is hunkered down.

Why would the Federal Reserve respond, or why would any central bank respond to that by printing money? How does printing more money solve that problem? It doesn’t. In fact, it actually exacerbates it. But you know, everybody looks and central bankers as if they’ve got the solution to every problem. They don’t. They don’t have the magic wand. They just have a printing press. And all that creates is inflation.”

Sometimes the illusion inflation creates can look like a magic wand. Printing money can paper over problems. But none of this is going to fundamentally fix the economy.

In fact, if central bankers were really going to do the right thing, the appropriate response would be to drain liquidity from the markets, not supply even more.”

Peter explained how the Fed was originally intended to create an “elastic” money supply that would expand or contract along with economic output. Today, the money supply only goes in one direction — that’s up.

The economy is strong, print money. The economy is weak, print even more money.”

Of course, the asset that’s doing the best right now is gold. The yellow metal pushed above $1,600 yesterday. Gold is up 5.5% on the year in dollar terms and has set record highs in other currencies.

Because gold is rising even in an environment where the dollar is strengthening against other fiat currencies, that shows you that there is an underlying weakness in the dollar that is right now not being reflected in the Forex markets, but is being reflected in the gold markets. Because after all, why are people buying gold more aggressively than they’re buying dollars or more aggressively than they’re buying US Treasuries? Because they know that things are not as good for the dollar or the US economy as everybody likes to believe. So, more people are seeking out refuge in a better safe-haven and that is gold.”

Peter also talked about the debate between Trump and Obama over who gets credit for the booming economy  – which of course, is not booming.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/20/2020 - 08:50
Published:2/20/2020 7:53:01 AM
[Markets] Dollar Roars, Futures Slide On Surge In New Virus Corona Cases In Japan, South Korea Dollar Roars, Futures Slide On Surge In New Virus Corona Cases In Japan, South Korea

S&P futures slipped, Asian stocks eased and European markets were a sea of red even as the relentless dollar juggernaut continued on Thursday, as virus cases rose in South Korea and Japan even as China added more stimulus via a rate cut to support its economy.

US equity futures first pushed higher reaching just shy of 3,400 before turning lower after Japan reported two deaths from passengers holed up on the formerly quarantined Diamond Princess viral cruise ship, with South Korea confirming its first fatality from the disease shortly after. China reported a large drop in new cases which was due to yet another change in the definition of "infection", but that came together with a jump in infections in South Korea, two apparent deaths in Japan and researchers finding that the virus spreads more easily than previously believed

Corporate earnings also disappointed with ViacomCBS slipping in the premarket after its quarterly revenue missed estimates. Underwhelming results from AXA SA and Telefonica SA dragged the Stoxx Europe 600 Index lower. In Asia, stock gains in Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney were countered by declines in the rest of the major markets.

European shares eased from record highs on Thursday, as a raft of disappointing earnings added to fears about the global impact of the coronavirus outbreak after research suggested it was more contagious than previously thought. The European Stoxx 600 dropped 0.3%, led by a 1.2% fall in insurance stocks after Swiss Re posted a lower-than-expected annual profit. The reinsurer’s shares dropped 4.2% to a two-week low. A 4.6% fall for Spain’s Telefonica weighed on the benchmark index after the telecoms group said one-off charges in Mexico and Argentina hurt its annual profit. The stock was also the biggest decliner on the Spanish bourse. Joining a growing list of companies to put a number on the impact from the coronavirus epidemic, Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM SA forecast an earnings hit of as much as 200 million euros ($216 million) by April. Its shares fell 6.5%.

Analysts said European equity investors were in a wait-and watch mode ahead of flash readings of the PMI on manufacturing activity in the euro zone, due on Friday. "You’ve got the manufacturing PMIs tomorrow, which is probably the most important figure this week because they may show the early impact of the coronavirus on demand and the supply chain,” said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex.

Earlier in the session, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6%, led by falls of 0.8% on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s KOSPI.  Markets in the region were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite Index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rising, while Thailand’s SET and South Korea’s Kospi index fell. Trading volume for the MSCI Asia Pacific Index members was 26% above the monthly average. In the latest news about the health emergency, South Korea reported its first death from the coronavirus, with infected patients doubling in one day. Japan confirmed two deaths from a quarantined cruise ship. The Topix gained 0.2%, with Yuki Gosei Kogyo and V-Cube rising the most. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.8% to an almost one-month high

China cut its benchmark lending rate earlier on Thursday, as anticipated, with both the 1 and 5 Year LPR cut by 5 bps, adding to a slew of measures in recent weeks aimed at cushioning the virus’ impact on the economy.

That kept Chinese stocks supported, while Japan’s Nikkei advanced 1% as an overnight slide in the yen is a boon for exporters, though the mood was more nervous elsewhere.

"I think there’s a realisation that before we get all the stimulus measures that people have been frothing about, you’ve got to deal with a lot of companies that are finding themselves with impairment charges or indeed solvency problems," said Sean Darby, global equity strategist at Jefferies in Hong Kong, before adding something we have been pounding the table on for the past month: "Markets have taken a step back because the authorities won’t do any major stimulus until they are completely sure the virus has stopped, because there’s no point in doing it when people are sitting at home."

Bingo. If and when the algos figure this out, watch out below.

China had 394 new cases on Wednesday, the lowest since Jan. 23, after Beijing reversed an earlier, broader definition of "infection" to represent fewer cases and get people to get back to work; so far that approach has failed. More than 2,100 people have died from the coronavirus in China, with eight deaths in other countries but not including the two from the quarantined cruise ship in Japan.

However, overnight the attention was not on China but rather its neighboring countries: South Korea’s government reported 31 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, after a new outbreak traced to a church, bringing the number of people infected in the country to 104.

In Japan, where the government has come under intense criticism for its handling of an outbreak on a cruise ship carrying about 3,700 people, broadcaster NHK reported that two passengers in their 80s had died.

In FX, dollar’s strength climbed to the highest level in more than four months and the Swiss franc gained on haven bids while the yen extended its slump, weakening past 112 per dollar, with market participants ascribing a host of reasons, ranging from disappointing economic news to early positioning before the fiscal year-end next month.

The Yen plunged nearly 1.4% against the dollar, its sharpest fall in six months, and 2% against the Norwegian krone - its sharpest daily drop in almost three years. "Nearness to China and dependence on China have not helped the yen as a risk-off. We have seen the yen and gold diverging for a while and this may not be the end of it,” said Shafali Sachdev, head of FX in Asia at BNP Paribas Wealth Management. “The kind of classic correlations between U.S. yields and the yen, those have been kind of breaking down...we need to see past this virus situation to see whether the yen will regain its safe-haven status.” The skittish mood had investors punishing the Australian dollar, sending it down 0.6% to an 11-year low of $0.6633 after a surprise rise in unemployment.

The flight to safety was observed across most assets, with treasuries and European higher and gold surging to a seven-year high.

Elsewhere, oil prices added to overnight gains while gold loitered around $1,609 per ounce. U.S. crude last sat 25 cents firmer at $53.54 per barrel and Brent added 16 cents to $59.28.

Economic data include initial jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed survey. The Southern Company, Newmont and Hormel Foods are due to report earnings

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 3,385.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 432.58
  • MXAP down 0.5% to 167.59
  • MXAPJ down 0.5% to 551.21
  • Nikkei up 0.3% to 23,479.15
  • Topix up 0.2% to 1,674.48
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.2% to 27,609.16
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.8% to 3,030.15
  • Sensex down 0.4% to 41,157.48
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,162.49
  • Kospi down 0.7% to 2,195.50
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.4 bps to -0.422%
  • Euro down 0.02% to $1.0803
  • Brent Futures up 0.07% to $59.16/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 2.2 bps to 0.787%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 1.2 bps to 0.259%
  • Brent Futures up 0.1% to $59.18/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,610.13
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 99.71

Top Overnight News

  • The global death toll climbed to 2,129 and the number of confirmed cases reached 75,730. Hubei province reported a sharp drop in new cases after another change in the way China diagnoses infections, raising questions over the reliability of the data
  • U.K. retail sales jumped the most in almost two years in January, ending the worst run for British stores on record and adding to signs of an economic rebound. Sales excluding auto fuel rose 1.6% from December, the biggest increase since May 2018. Economists were expecting a rise of 0.8%.
  • The bond market is signaling approval of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s planned spending spree. With the March 11 budget looming into view, the average cost of government borrowing is close to the lowest levels on record
  • The world’s largest container shipping company, is positioning itself for a strong rebound in two months, based on an expectation that the fallout of the coronavirus on global trade may soon peak
  • Indonesia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.75% after a three-month pause as the spread of the coronavirus threatens growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy

Asian equity markets traded mixed having pared a bulk of earlier gains despite the promising lead from Wall Street which saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq print fresh record highs. The optimistic sentiment in the region faded following the number of coronavirus cases in South Korea rising by 60%, and amid reports of two deaths from the Japanese cruise ship. Nonetheless, ASX 200 (+0.3%) was buoyed by its large-cap mining and energy sector, following recent gains in the respective complexes. Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) initially posted gains of over 1.5% with upside originally fuelled by a considerably weaker JPY, although the index later pulled back with a chunk of its transport stocks in the red, and amid reports that multinational companies are avoiding travel to and from Japan over fears that the country will be the next hotspot in the outbreak. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (-0.9%) erased opening gains and underperformed as a bulk of its stocks reversed course into negative territory, and with its heavyweight financial sector on the defensive. Meanwhile, Shanghai Comp (+1.0%) rebounded with a vengeance in late trade and topped the 3000 mark for the first time since before the Lunar New Year, after initially swinging between gains and losses despite the expected stimulus measures by the PBoC, as traders were cautious following the case jump in South Korea and deaths on the cruise ship off Yokohama, with the former prompting South Korea’s KOSPI (-0.5%) to trade with losses of almost 1.0% at one point.

Top Asian News

  • China Nears Takeover of Troubled HNA as Virus Rocks Economy
  • 7- Eleven Owner Said in Exclusive Talks for Marathon’s Speedway
  • Ping An Insurance Full Year Net Income Misses Estimates
  • Vietnam to Order Loan Interest Rate Cuts for Virus-Hit Companies

European indices kicked the session off on a relatively directionless footing before seeing modest downticks amid increased fears over the spread of coronavirus outside of China. Focus in recent trade has been placed upon developments in Japan and South Korea with the former reporting two passenger deaths abord the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Yokohama, whilst the latter announced a marked pickup in coronavirus cases (total now stands at 104 vs. Prev. 51