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Today — 17 January 2021Main stream

Ahead Of Inauguration, Washington DC Turns Into Garrison City

17 January 2021 at 20:10
Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Washington DC over the weekend was literally converted into a garrison city because of the...

​​​​​​​Feds Warn Amateur Radio Operators "Not To Commit Criminals Acts" Ahead Of Inauguration

17 January 2021 at 20:00
​​​​​​​Feds Warn Amateur Radio Operators "Not To Commit Criminals Acts" Ahead Of Inauguration

As tech giants shift into censorship overdrive - between Parler's deplatforming, Twitter purges, and Facebook seemingly cracking down on just about any political discussion ahead of the inauguration - and Sunday's imagery of anti-government anarchists who showed up to several US capitols on Sunday, those who wish to coordinate peaceful protests (and perhaps not-so peaceful protests) may try to use less-monitored methods to coordinate efforts.

As such, the feds have put would-be criminals on notice.

The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission is out with a Sunday warning reminding "licensees and operators in the Personal Radio Services, that the Commission prohibits the use of radios in those services to commit or facilitate criminal acts."

The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities. The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted purposes, including speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes.

Specifically, the Bureau reminds amateur licensees that they are prohibited from transmitting "communications intended to facilitate a criminal act" or "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning." 1 Likewise, individuals operating radios in the Personal Radio Services, a category that includes Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, are prohibited from using those radios "in connection with any activity which is against Federal, State or local law." 2 Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution. - the memo read 

The Bureau's warning comes days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. 

The FBI released a special bulletin last week warning about armed protests at 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration. Considering Sunday's footage of armed 'boogaloo boys' who actually showed up - and who appear to be largely leftist anti-government anarchists - it stands to reason that they, or others, may try to use radio amateur radio frequencies to coordinate rallies and or attacks.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 23:00

As Tech Companies Purge Users, Here Are Some Alternatives

17 January 2021 at 19:30
As Tech Companies Purge Users, Here Are Some Alternatives

By Simon Black at Sovereign Man

By now you’re probably aware of the various purges taking place across tech platforms and social media. Major companies have used the events of January 6th at the US Capitol as an excuse to delete users and deplatform businesses. But the scope of the purge has gone much further than removing calls for violence.

For example, 147 members of Congress are being blacklisted by banks, insurance providers, and hotel companies because they objected to certifying the results of the election.

The entire social media company Parler was shut down when Amazon banned it from its servers, while Apple and Google dropped the app from their stores.

Twitter executed over 70,000 accounts.

PayPal cut ties with the US President, as well as a Christian website that raised funds to send protesters to DC. Shopify removed accounts “associated” with Trump, and payment processor Stripe joined in the purge as well.

Facebook even suspended Ron Paul’s account for a time, before claiming it was a mistake. Ron Paul, keep in mind, has been an outspoken critic of this administration's defense and monetary policies.

The message is clear: your access, your data, and potentially your livelihood is not safe in the hands of the biggest tech companies, which we have been conditioned to rely on. Express the wrong opinion, and you may be the next casualty.

What this means:

The good news is there are alternatives, and the purge has been a major driving force for people to move to alternative platforms.

For example, Telegram, a private messaging app which allows you to enable encryption in private chats, attracted 25 million new users in a 72-hour period. The app now has over 500 million active daily users worldwide.

Almost 18 million people downloaded the (arguably better) encrypted messaging app Signal between January 5th and January 12th-- a 61x increase.

Meanwhile, Facebook-owned WhatsApp's downloads were down about 20% week on week.

Facebook and Twitter just voluntarily handed market share to their competitors. From January 5-14, Facebook lost over $70 billion of valuation. Twitter lost over $5 billion during the same period.

Don’t go where you aren’t wanted.

Spy-apps that repeatedly censor and abuse their customers have faced calls for an exodus for some time now. But now a critical mass is actually moving, which makes it more likely that the amount of content and users will keep people engaged in social media alternatives.

In that sense, you could consider the purge a good thing.

What you can do about it:

The following are some popular alternatives to common social media platforms. Keep in mind that we aren’t endorsing or vouching for the safety/ privacy of any particular company listed below. The point is to start exploring alternatives so that all your eggs aren’t in one tech-company basket.

Social Networks Alternatives to Facebook and Twitter

  • Gab.com - Similar to Twitter, Gab bills itself as a champion of free speech. It owns and operates its own servers, which means it can’t simply be shut down like Parler. But that also means the website is a little stressed at the moment, as so many new users flock to it.

  • MeWe.com - As a Facebook alternative, MeWe’s main draw is that it does not share or sell user data. But it does state in the user agreement that it reserves the right to terminate users who post “hateful, threatening, harmful” content.

  • Minds.com - This is a blockchain-based social media website which rewards engagement with tokens. Tokens can be used to boost your own content, fund other users, or redeemed for other currency. The website’s code is open source for transparency and accountability, and the content moderation policy is based on the First Amendment.

Private Messaging Alternatives to Whatsapp

  • Signal - This messaging app is end-to-end encrypted so no one can snoop on your communications. And its technology is open source, so anyone who knows the coding language can check that it’s truly secure. Signal does require your phone number to use, but that’s about all the information it collects.

  • Telegram - Plenty of Whatsapp groups are migrating to Telegram for privacy reasons. But it is important to note that only private messages can be encrypted, and even then you have to specifically select the “secret chat” feature.

Video Posting and Viewing Alternatives to YouTube

  • LBRY.com - This is an open source, blockchain-based, decentralized digital content sharing protocol. That means anyone can use it to build apps that allow peer to peer sharing of digital content. But the main selling feature is LBRY.tv or Odysee.com which facilitate the video sharing and viewing portions of the platform. Unlike Youtube, you have ultimate control over your own content.

  • Brighteon.com - Mike Adams, the creator of Natural News, started this video hosting website as a free speech alternative after he was repeatedly censored on YouTube and other social media.

Then there is Brave Browser to replace Chrome, Protonmail to replace Gmail, and plenty of methods to accept cryptocurrency, instead of using typical payment processors.

Clearly, this list is not exhaustive. And in the future we will be talking about more alternatives, and doing a deeper dive on their privacy and accountability. The point is you don’t have to allow these tech giants to have power over you.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 22:30

China Reports Stronger Than Expected GDP, Is Only Major Economy To Grow In 2020

17 January 2021 at 19:03
China Reports Stronger Than Expected GDP, Is Only Major Economy To Grow In 2020

China, which a little over a year ago unleashed a global pandemic on the world which reshaped economies, global supply chains, capital markets, and societies and was directly responsible for the downfall of a US president, was hell bent on demonstrating that it was the biggest winner from said plague, and early on Monday local time, Beijing's National Bureau of Statistics announced that Gross Domestic Product in 2020 growth beat expectations of 6.2% to reach 6.5% in the fourth quarter of last year, with the economy expanding 2.3% for the full year 2020, making China the only major economy to expand last year on the back of an unprecedented multi-trillion credit expansion.

That China's sprawling economy managed to calculate all this just two weeks into the new year was perfectly normal as nobody actually believes any "data" out of China; instead all that matters is what Beijing wishes to telegraph to the outside world, and for now that message is "all is well."

The "data" underlines a rapid turnround in the world’s second-largest economy, which declined in early 2020 for the first time in more than four decades after the country was hit by the pandemic and authorities imposed a harsh lockdown. 

The recovery was aided by record fiscal and monetary stimulus that boosted investment in infrastructure and real estate. Once China had virus cases under control and factories were able to resume production, growth was spurred by strong overseas consumer demand for Chinese exports, especially medical equipment and work-from-home devices. This led to higher industrial production which rose 7.3% in December, while Retail sales, which has lagged behind the industrial sector, added 4.6% in the last month of the year.

“The quarter really seems to have shown the economy ended the year on a strong note, manufacturing is doing well,” said Cui Li, head of macro research at CCB International Holdings in Hong Kong said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The softer-than-expected retail sales data in December may reflect the cooler weather and the resurgent virus in northern parts of China as some cities enforce new restrictions to control the outbreak.

Separately, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.2% in December, while fixed asset investment added 2.9% over the full year, while real estate investment jumped 7% .

Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said the economy “recovered steadily” last year but added that the “changing epidemic dynamics and external environment pose a multitude of uncertainties”.

China’s activity was boosted by shifts in orders as other countries struggled with virus outbreaks and further lockdowns, which was evident in the continued jump in China’s exports, while factory data had been encouraging during the prior quarter as November Official Manufacturing PMI printed its strongest reading in over 3 years and although it then eased in December, it still registered the 8th consecutive month in expansion territory.

The GDP figures, which beat expectations, came days after China recorded its highest-ever monthly trade surplus in December, stoked by three consecutive months of double-digit exports growth. Exports rose 18% last month compared with the same period in the previous year.

Meanwhile, global demand for Chinese-made goods is expected to remain strong as the pandemic continues to keep large parts of the world’s population locked down. Already the top exporter, the value of China’s goods shipments increased 3.6% in 2020, according to official data. Imports declined 1.1%, resulting in a $535 billion annual trade surplus, the highest since 2015.

Of course, there is nothing organic about China's resurgent growth and the fiscal and monetary stimulus to support the economy has been accompanied by a record surge in debt, a development that authorities are now seeking to address as the recovery takes hold. At a December meeting to lay out economic goals for 2021, the ruling Communist Party signaled that stimulus would be gradually withdrawn, although it would avoid any “sharp turns” in policy.

In terms of forecasts, economists expect China’s GDP will expand 8.2% this year, continuing to outpace global peers, even as other large economies begin to recover with vaccines being rolled out. Chinese President Xi also recently touted positive growth whereby he expects China’s 2020 GDP to exceed CNY 100tln after around CNY 99tln in 2019. The country’s mandated return to growth last year attracted strong appetite from foreign investors, who injected about 1 trillion yuan ($154bn) into Chinese stocks and bonds  in 2020.

As with anything China related, there is always the question how manipulated this "data" is: in China, where new cases of Covid-19 slowed to a trickle in the middle of 2020, but a recent outbreak in the northern province of Hebei has prompted a renewed wave of social restrictions and lockdowns. Last week, the country reported its first coronavirus death since April.

The ongoing recovery in 2021 will depend on whether China can prevent a large-scale spread of virus infections, and on whether it can pass the baton of spending from local governments and large state companies to smaller businesses and consumers. Household spending and investment by manufacturing companies has lagged overall growth in 2020.

In any case, the onshore yuan strengthened as much as 0.06% to 6.4779 versus the dollar after the release of GDP data, while the ChiNext Index of small caps gained 1.6%. The yield on the most actively traded contract of 10-year government bonds gained 2 basis points to 3.165%, set for the highest in two weeks.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 22:03

Facebook Temporarily Bans Ads For Combat Gear Following Capitol Riots 

17 January 2021 at 19:00
Facebook Temporarily Bans Ads For Combat Gear Following Capitol Riots 

On Saturday morning, Facebook published a short update on their blog titled "Our Preparations Ahead of Inauguration Day," explaining how the social media company would temporarily prohibit advertisements from defense firms amid the fallout from the Jan. 6 US Capitol riots.

Facebook wrote, "we are banning ads that promote weapon accessories and protective gear in the US at least through Jan. 22, out of an abundance of caution."

"We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition, and weapon enhancements like silencers. But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests, and gun holsters in the US," the social media company continued. 

The ad ban on gun safes, vests, and gun holsters on the platform comes a little more than a week after the Capitol riots. 

What's concerning is the ban could be permanent if Democrats have it their way. 

Last week, three senators and four attorney generals sent letters to Facebook demanding that the platform permanently ban ads of defense products used in armed combat. 

The senators, all Democrats (Tammy Duckworth, Richard Blumenthal, and Sherrod Brown), said the social media company must take bold action to "hold itself accountable for how domestic enemies of the United States have used the company's products and platform to further their own illicit aims."

"Whether through negligence or with full knowledge, Facebook is placing profit ahead of our Nation's democracy," they said.

An update on the blog on Friday said the social media company was "implementing a series of additional measures to continue preventing attempts to use our services for violence," adding that "we are blocking the creation of any new Facebook events happening in close proximity to locations including the White House, the US Capitol building and any of the state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day."

Under a Biden presidency, a taste of what's coming could be a major clamp down on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Biden has already said he will "defeat" the now-bankrupted NRA. 

Last week, readers learned that New York could be the first state to ban body armor for civilians if a new bill is passed. If the bill is passed, body armor bans could sweep across blue states. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 22:00

China GDP Grows 2.3% In 2020, Bounces Back To Pre-Pandemic Trajectory

17 January 2021 at 18:16
China's economy grew at the slowest pace in more than four decades last year despite a rebound after the country's coronavirus outbreak, official data showed Monday.

Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

17 January 2021 at 18:30
Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

Authored by Brandon Smith and originally published at Birch Gold Group,

Over the past six to eight months, the U.S. has seen perhaps one of the largest migrations of people based on economic and ideological concerns in almost a century. Not since the Great Depression has there been so many Americans relocating in search of a better life. Today, however, those who relocate seem to be largely conservatives and moderates. There is a very good, multifaceted, reason for this.

One of the best recent explanations for the conservative migration is visible in the near-180-degree turnaround by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on his draconian lockdown mandates. All of a sudden, Cuomo has announced that New York simply cannot stay closed any longer and that businesses need to reopen quickly.

What could have possibly forced the thick-skulled Cuomo to finally see the light?  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that New York has attempted to distribute millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and they have only been able to give out 30% of them. This means that around 70% of people eligible to get the vaccine in New York are apparently refusing to take it (a smart move in my opinion considering the highly experimental and untested nature of the cocktail). Surprisingly, at least 30% of NY healthcare workers are also refusing to take the vaccine. Cuomo has resorted to threatening hospitals with fines if they do not distribute the vaccines fast enough.

In his latest statement Cuomo is trying to send a message that New Yorkers need to take the vaccine so that a reopening can begin. In other words, “take the vaccine or the economy will collapse”.

I don’t believe Cuomo is mending his totalitarian ways, but at least for now, I think he is realizing what most of us in the alternative economic field have been saying for the past year:  Blue state economies are dying because they are oppressive and this stifles trade and business.

Beyond the business factor and the restrictions on people’s daily movements and activities, the lockdowns and subsequent financial crisis have triggered rising crime levels across the country, but predominantly in blue states and democratic controlled cities.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, New York City alone saw over 300,000 residents pick up everything and leave from March to October. This is an unprecedented spike, an exodus the likes of which New York has not seen in a long time.

On the other side of the country, California is witnessing its own exodus, and it started well before the pandemic struck. In 2019, California saw over 653,000 residents escape the state’s suffocating bureaucracy and high taxes. In 2020, the state has hit its lowest population growth rate in history, even after accounting for babies born. More than 200,000 people left the state than moved in in the past year, and before anyone claims that these people are “liberals” invading red states, even the California media admits they are mostly conservatives seeking to escape the socialist sinkhole.

U-Haul, one of the largest moving companies in the nation, has compiled data on the top states which Americans are moving to during the pandemic. The list is loaded with well-known conservative strongholds and red states, with Tennessee, Texas and Florida at the top.

But what does this mean for leftist states in economic terms?  First, a huge loss of tax revenue, and this is dangerous for blue states in particular. California was projecting a $5.6 billion surplus in January of last year, only to face a $54 billion deficit by August. The state’s net tax revenue fell by 42% from March to May year-over-year, far outpacing losses in the rest of the country. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom begged Congress for $14 billion in federal aid, claiming that the government has a “moral and ethical obligation to help the states”.

And this seems to be exactly how states like California are surviving, by stealing tax dollars from people in other states that have been more responsible in caring for their economies.

We often hear about states like California and New York as having GDPs comparable to entire countries. We hear about all the manufacturing and agricultural production, and a couple of years ago, there were even calls for secession in California on the grounds that “orange man bad” and that the state could fiscally support itself “easily.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. What leftist cheerleaders often refuse to mention is the deep and insidious debt problems and deficits blue states suffer from. Looking at a list of the most indebted states in the U.S. in terms of total assets and liabilities, you will find that the vast majority of them are Democrat controlled.

Furthermore, blue states tend to have the highest levels of unfunded pension liabilities. In other words, their public pension obligations are only partially funded and are suffering a net loss. California, Connecticut and Illinois top the list and the only red state that comes close in terms of percentages is Alaska. Red states top the list in terms of the best funded pensions and the lowest debt per capita.

These debts are caused by irresponsible spending policies and endless socialist welfare measures, and as with most socialist systems, they always end up spending more money than they can bring in. They also end up wasting money more than they effectively spend money. This translates to much higher taxes, as blue states refuse to admit policy errors and fix their mistakes. Instead, they punish the citizenry with increased taxation. A list of the highest personal income taxes across the country is dominated by blue states.

Blue states like Illinois also stack the list of highest property taxes.

One might assume that with such high taxation that social welfare programs would be in place to help the needy and to reduce poverty, but this is not the case. California and New York have the highest population of homeless people by far (151,278 in CA and 92,091 in NY). The next highest homeless population is in a red state, Florida, with only 28,000.

Add to this the fact that blue states have been the most lockdown-happy during the pandemic despite the fact that the lockdowns have done nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19, and now you know why people are leaving these places en masse.

This dynamic has led to red states outperforming blue states across the board in terms of economic recovery. Job recovery in red states far outpaces blue states, along with recovery in GDP. As a result, a call has been rising for a “Blue State Bailout”, and with Biden ostensibly entering the White House they may very well get what they are asking for.

The problem is, the amount of bailout money that would satiate the hunger of blue states would have to be in the multi-trillions. As more and more people and businesses leave these places for more free states, it’s inevitable that tax revenues will dry up. And, as leftists raise taxes to cover the deficit even more people will relocate. It is a vicious cycle that will lead to complete dependency on federal dollars for blue states to survive.

Red states, on the other hand, will not be enforcing strict lockdown mandates. In fact, I suspect that even if Biden tries to institute a Level 4 federal lockdown that many red states will defy him and carry on with business as usual while blue states quickly bow and submit. The only practical option is for blue states to ignore the lockdowns and fully reopen, not just for a couple of months, but permanently. Will they do this?  I doubt it.

It is also important to consider at a fundamental level the types of people that make up the populations of red states versus blue states. Blue states have built a culture of dependency and the majority of leftists have no useful skill sets that would allow them to adapt to an economic crisis. Meanwhile, red state culture encourages independence, self-reliance and productivity.

The most likely reaction among blue states or the federal government under Biden will be to try to “redistribute” the wealth and stability from red states to blue states. This could happen in the form of stimulus measures that unfairly benefit blue states. The resulting dollar devaluation and price inflation might hit red states harder because they would not be receiving bailouts to offset the higher costs. In the worst-case scenario, in which a full spectrum financial collapse occurs, we may even see the federal government attempt to redistribute production and manufacturing from red states to blue states in the name of “national emergency.”

There could also be an attempt to stop people from moving away from blue states entirely. We have already seen a beta test for this in California, where legislators are attempting to pass a bill which would legally require former residents to continue paying taxes to the state for years after they leave.

Of course, this would lead to severe resistance from conservatives, but that is a discussion for another time. The bottom line is this: the economic and pandemic policies of blue states have failed miserably. Their only option is to see the error of their ways, become fiscally responsible and remove totalitarian lockdown measures, or, attempt to leech success from the red states like parasites. Which one do you think they will choose?

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 21:30

Masked Crowd, No Trump: Why Biden Inauguration Will Be Like No Other

17 January 2021 at 18:04
With war-zone-like security, no crowds and coronavirus distancing for guests, Joe Biden's swearing-in as the 46th US president will be a muted affair unlike any previous inauguration.

SEC Whistleblower Tips Have Soared 31% Since Most Employees Started Working From Home

17 January 2021 at 18:00
SEC Whistleblower Tips Have Soared 31% Since Most Employees Started Working From Home

Sitting around at home with nothing to do during the pandemic? Why not become a corporate whistleblower! It allows you to exact revenge on your boss and co-workers for years of misery and can also pay well!

That must be exactly what many are thinking, as it is being reported that since the work from home boom started, whistleblower tips to the SEC have soared. The SEC received 6,900 tips for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, which marked a 31% rise from the previous 12 months, Bloomberg reported

The increase in tips "really started gaining traction in March when Covid-19 forced millions to relocate to their sofas from office cubicles," the report notes.

Jordan Thomas, a former SEC official who helped set up the agency’s whistle-blower program, said: “You’re not being observed at the photocopy machine when you’re working from home. It’s never been easier to record a meeting when you can do it from your dining room table.”

Adam Waytz, a psychologist and professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said: “When you feel disconnected from work, you feel more comfortable speaking up.”

And the increase in tips has led to larger and more consistent payouts from the SEC. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the agency has paid out $330 million in awards, including one award of $114 million to a single tipster in October. The payments are likely tied to cases prior to the pandemic, but are indicative of a trend of growing payouts. 

The SEC has been paying whistleblowers since the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which was put into effect as a result of massive financial blowups like Madoff and Enron. Bloomberg wrote:

Under the program, tipsters can receive financial awards if they voluntarily provide unique information that results in an enforcement action. Payouts can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected in cases where sanctions exceed $1 million. Awards are paid from a fund set up by Congress -- not money owed to harmed investors.

Whistleblowers are never named and, on occasion, when working with lawyers, the SEC may not even know the name of a whistleblower. 

Joseph Grundfest, a former SEC commissioner, said: “Corporations and their lawyers are acutely aware of the fact that tips are flooding in and that whistle-blower awards have ballooned. You pay whistle-blowers more than $100 million, you’re going to get more whistle-blowers.”'

“Making more awards -- certainly larger awards -- all those things do go toward incentivizing whistle-blowers to come forward,” former SEC Enforcement Director Stephanie Avakian said.

“The problem is that they’re being flooded with tips and don’t have a robust mechanism for separating the wheat from the chaff,” Grundfest concluded. 

Since the program's inception it has paid out about $737 million.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 21:00

Over 100 Infected With UK Coronavirus Variant At Belgian Retirement Home

17 January 2021 at 17:52
More than 100 people have been infected with the UK strain of the coronavirus at a Belgian retirement home, its director told AFP on Sunday.

Conservatives Should Learn From The Left

17 January 2021 at 17:30
Conservatives Should Learn From The Left

Authored by Heather Higgins via RealClearPolitics.com,

As the political right struggles to regroup after the horrible events at the U.S. Capitol, it should learn from the masters. The left has a consistent pattern when responding to terrible behavior by activists associated with their cause — from the widespread destruction and violence last summer during protests of police brutality to mobbing Republican senators during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to the Bernie Sanders acolyte who opened fire at GOP members of Congress in 2017.

The left starts by driving the narrative that their protests or movements were mostly peaceful while amplifying participants’ concerns to give them legitimacy.

They downplay any violence, positioning it as nothing to do with them, a distraction from the cause. Having disassociated themselves from the bad behavior, they never act embarrassed.

Compare this to those on the right:

Everyone has unambiguously condemned the rioters in the Capitol, as they should. But many have fallen into the trap of accepting that they ought to be embarrassed, as though the rioters represented them, or even most Trump supporters, neither of which is the case. Nor have they defended the right to protest and the importance of recognizing and hearing concerns. Failing to do so has allowed the false equivalence between the rioters and the Trump supporters who were protesting to advance their concerns about election fraud, even though the vast majority of those in Washington on Jan. 6 were peaceful people who revere the Constitution.

The left has used those missteps to play a semantic game of expanding definitions and thus tar an ever widening circle. They start with the remarkable premise that there were no election shenanigans whatsoever, and consequently that it’s heresy to question rule changes or unrequested mailed ballots. Why? To label legitimate issues as merely a “fringe” contentions. 

Over the course of a week we’ve watched this metastasizing of definitions — President Trump “should have known” what his statements would lead to became “he deliberately incited” the rioting. And assertions that “everyone should have known” was expanded to “everyone who supported Trump incited the violence,” which led to “those who were silent and didn’t oppose Trump are enablers” and -- when you are on a roll, why stop? -- that conservatives are nascent Nazis.

With blame comes punishment — not just deserved penalties for the rioters but threatened retaliation, starting with employment prospects, against the peaceful protesters, those who worked for the administration, and now even anyone who supported Trump and his policies.

They are also ratcheting up censorship of conservatives by de-platforming the president and tens of thousands of others, shutting down alternate platforms, and revoking book publishing deals, all by applying standards that magically do not pertain to others. 

Most toxic is the assault on speech through redefinition — it is no longer what was said or intended, it is how it might be interpreted. That subjective non-standard gives an excuse to those on the left to define what constitutes permitted opinion, not just on this matter but a range of issues where disagreement will be labeled as dangerous. 

The implications of that are dire. It will mean the left  can use social pressure against cowering corporations, and foundations, to cut off the oxygen of speech and commerce — not just  access to social media platforms or hosting servers, but also banking services and funding — for individuals and organizations with a different view. 

To prevent this, the right needs to defend the peaceful participants and their right to protest, explain the roots of their deep legitimate concern (years of fake news, social media suppression, and election rule overrides and ballot proliferation), and use this as an opportunity to unite, not divide. 

Some conservative leaders and commentators, especially Never Trumpers, seem to see this as an opportunity to purge the movement of everyone associated with Trump and mistakenly presume that by feeding him and his allies to the alligator, they will be allowed to escape and achieve the left’s promised unity.  

But as the social media putsch shows, this kind of “unity” really means “accept your guilt and be silenced.” With Trump out of the White House, the alligator won’t go away; his menu will simply shift to any others who won’t shut up and “unify.” The penalty: their platforms, social standing, and sources of funding will all be cut off.

Efforts to force the 74 million people who voted for Trump over Joe Biden to feel ashamed and responsible or to publicly punish and silence their advocates, will be devastating not just to the Republican Party but to our country. We must instead regroup around our positive agenda, defend the tremendous policy gains that have been made — and stand strongly for the right of free speech and association, applied with neutral rules to everyone, including conservatives.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 20:30

Mike Pompeo Says US "Strongly Condemns" Detention Of Kremlin Critic

17 January 2021 at 17:12
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday the United States "strongly condemns" the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained when returning to Russia for the first time since his...

Parler's Website Is Back Online But App Still Not In Stores

17 January 2021 at 17:04
The chief executive of social media platform Parler, popular with American right-wing users but which virtually vanished after the US Capitol riot, posted a brief message on the company's website....

Whole Foods CEO Suggests Americans Wouldn't Need Healthcare If They Ate Better 

17 January 2021 at 17:00
Whole Foods CEO Suggests Americans Wouldn't Need Healthcare If They Ate Better 

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said Americans would not need healthcare if they ate better and lived healthier lives. 

"I mean, honestly, we talk about healthcare. The best solution is not to need health care," Mackey told Freakonomics Radio on Nov. 4 and was first reported on Monday by CNBC.

"The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet," he said. "There's no reason why people shouldn't be healthy and have a longer healthspan. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem." 

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey

Mackey dropped some pretty alarming health statistics that show Americans make bad health choices. 

"71% of Americans are overweight and 42.5% are obese. Clearly, we're making bad choices in the way we eat," he said. "It's not a sustainable path. And so, I'm calling it out." 

The numbers also shed light on why the US has had a relatively difficult time containing the virus pandemic because obese Americans are more at risk of contracting the infection. 

To make matters worse, lockdowns and restrictions have led the most obese nation in the world, the US, to become ever more overweight. About a quarter of Americans gained between five and ten pounds since the coronavirus lockdowns.

The reason for the "Quarantine 15" weight gain has been changes in diet, lack of regular exercise and a more sedentary lifestyle.

Mackey has been vocal about adult health for years. In 2009, he argued in a WSJ op-ed that "the last thing our country needs is a massive new healthcare entitlement."

"This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health," Mackey wrote. "We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health."

Suppose Americans listened to Mackey's advice. Then how would big pharma make their billions of dollars from obese people who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure? 

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 20:00

Joe Biden Eyes Covid Action, Aims For Calm After Twice-Impeached Trump

17 January 2021 at 16:31
He was derided as too entrenched in Washington, too hesitant to campaign during Covid-19, and too old, but Joe Biden outmaneuvered doubters and will become the 46th US president Wednesday, inheriting...

Russia Advances In The Field Of Autonomous Combat Robotic Platforms

17 January 2021 at 16:30
Russia Advances In The Field Of Autonomous Combat Robotic Platforms

Via South Front.org,

Russia has been testing autonomous combat robotic platforms.

The experimental robotic platform “Marker” completed a trek of approximately 30 kilometers, entirely in autonomous mode, the Advanced Research Fund (FPI) reported on December 30th. The tests were carried out in the Chelyabinsk region.

The route of the vehicle was laid through an unprepared territory – a forest-steppe with a snow cover. The autonomous platform motion control system, having received a route assignment with the coordinates of a given point, ensured the platform’s arrival at the finish line in an hour and a half. The vehicle relied on the data of the technical vision system built on new neural network algorithms.

The autonomous control system of the platform movement provides autonomous laying and adjustment of the route of movement in the event of obstacles – trees, rises, ravines, bushes, etc.

The technical characteristics of the platform provide the possibility of autonomous operation for up to 48 hours on paved roads and up to 24 hours on rough terrain. As part of the next tests, the “Marker” platform will have to cover 50, 100 and 200 kilometers.

The “Marker” experimental robotic platform was developed as part of a project by the Advanced Research Foundation, which was launched in 2018. The goal of the project is to create and conduct a full-scale development of technologies and basic elements of ground-based robotics.

The “Marker” in the version on a tracked platform completed movement trials in July 2019, and then moved towards the firing practice. the Marker platform was developed and produced by the NPO Androidnaya Tekhnika as part of the first stage of the FPI project. The “Marker” uses two types of platforms: tracked and wheeled. A total of five robotic complexes will be manufactured to test the technologies.

The robotic platform “Marker” is a joint project of the Foundation for Advanced Study and NPO “Android Technology”. It is assumed that this combat robot will become the basis for working out the joint interaction of ground robots, unmanned aircraft and special forces. The “Marker” is positioned as a constructor for creating models of warfare in the future.

The evolution of modern ground-based robotic systems for military purposes is moving towards increasing the ability to perform tasks in an autonomous mode with a gradual decrease in the involvement of the operator in the process of controlling. To increase the level of autonomy of ground-based robotic systems, the development of a number of key technologies is required, which together determine the appearance of promising robotic system. Therefore, it is relevant to develop robotics technologies and bring them to the level of readiness that allows the technologies being created to be applied on promising autonomous robotic systems in real conditions.

To test the technologies being created, to bring their level of readiness, a mobile demonstrator of robotics technologies was created using the modular design principle, with an open information architecture of construction, which provides the possibility of carrying out a full-scale development of technologies and basic elements of ground-based robotics.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/17/2021 - 19:30

"Non-Event": US Capitals See Few Protesters After Bracing For Violence

17 January 2021 at 15:32
Law enforcement officers far outnumbered protesters at state capitol grounds on Sunday, as few Trump supporters who believe the president's false claim that he won the 2020 election turned out for...
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