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Today — 22 October 2021ZeroHedge News

Trump Critic Alec Baldwin Kills 1, Injures Another After Firing "Prop Gun" On Movie Set

22 October 2021 at 03:54
Trump Critic Alec Baldwin Kills 1, Injures Another After Firing "Prop Gun" On Movie Set

Actor Alec Baldwin, the prominent critic of President Trump who infamously portrayed the former president on sketch comedy show SNL, has found himself in a bit of hot water after a staggering tragedy on the set of a movie he was filming.

Baldwin, who is notorious for angry outbursts directed at fellow airplane passengers and violent confrontations with strangers vying with him for the same parking spot, apparently shot and killed the director of photography, and wounded the director, of the movie "Rust", a western which Baldwin was filming in New Mexico, according to the New York Times and the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office. The killing occurred Thursday when Baldwin fired a "prop firearm" on the set of the film.

The cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed, and the director, Joel Souza, 48, was injured around 1:50 p.m. on the set of “Rust,” which is being filmed in Santa Fe County, said Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation.

The Santa Fe Sheriff told reporters that the shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch happened in the middle of a scene that was either being rehearsed or filmed. He said the Sheriff’s Office was interviewing people on the set to determine how the two had been shot. No charges have been filed against anyone involved with the shooting, including Baldwin.

Law enforcement says they're still trying to nail down the details of exactly what happened.

"We’re trying to determine right now how and what type of projectile was used in the firearm," he said.

Hutchins, the director of photography, was flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she later died. Souza, the director, was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe. His condition was “not immediately available,” per the NYT.

The movie’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, said in a statement that "[t]he entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones. We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

When approached by the NYT (and other media outlets), the film’s producers didn't immediately respond to emails or phone calls on Thursday night, nor did Baldwin or any of his representatives.

The actor, who has starred or participated in many classic movies and television shows, has long been known for his liberal views, including his opposition to gun control.

Baldwin hasn't posted on his social media accounts since the incident. However, back in 2017, Baldwin tweeted about a police shooting, saying "I wonder how it feels to wrongly kill someone?"

I wonder how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone...https://t.co/WE6QsAAXGI

— AlecBaldwin (@AlecBaldwln____) September 23, 2017

What a way to find out.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 06:54

Path To A Greener Future: Tax Kids Or Just Ban Them Outright

22 October 2021 at 03:30
Path To A Greener Future: Tax Kids Or Just Ban Them Outright

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The Greens need to step up to the plate with some truly sustainable proposals. I have a couple of ideas...

Ironies of Build Back Better

President Biden wants free college education, free preschool for kids, and increased child tax credits. 

All of these proposals subsidize the single worst thing we can do for the environment: have kids. 

Kids eat, need medical services, eventually become teenagers and drive cars. And as shocking as this might seem, kids grow up and travel, eventually by airplane.

Poor Nations Say They Need Trillions From Rich Ones

Yesterday, I commented Hello President Biden, Poor Nations Say They Need Trillions From Rich Ones

It's one thing for developed countries like the US to demand a cleaner future, but it's another thing to attempt to force G7 goals on the rest of the world.   

About Those Climate Change Goals

John Kerry was speechless when he learned Poor Nations Need Trillions From Rich Ones to meet climate change goals.

At a July global climate gathering in London, South African environment minister Barbara Creecy presented the world’s wealthiest countries with a bill: more than $750 billion annually to pay for poorer nations to shift away from fossil fuels and protect themselves from global warming.

The number was met with silence from U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry, according to Zaheer Fakir, an adviser to Ms. Creecy. Other Western officials said they weren’t ready to discuss such a huge sum.

Kids are the single most destructive thing to the environment. Their toys are mostly made of plastic, diapers are throw-away, and as they get older, litter is inevitable.

A tax on corporations is not the answer. Corporations don't really pay taxes anway. Consumers do. 

Guarantee Living Wages 

Think about guaranteed living wages for a second. Sheeesh, what a Progressive disaster.  

Living wages encourage the single most destructive thing environmentally, having kids.

Modest Proposal

Dear readers, environmentally speaking, the proper thing to do is ban kids altogether.

Instead, we have Progressives demanding countless environmentally detrimental actions while simultaneously demanding a greener earth.

Meanwhile, poor nations demand outrageous bribes to produce clean energy.

Phooey. If we just ban having kids outright, the earth will heal itself in short order. 

Some might object to such a radical proposal.

Yet, it it pales in comparison Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal written in 1729.

In his essay, Swift proposed "Eating Children For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being A burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public"

Swift was clearly way ahead of his time.

We could use a man of his stature today.

*  *  *

Like these reports? If so, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts.Subscribers get an email alert of each post as they happen. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 06:30

Dutch Government Lab Decrypts Tesla's Data Storage System, Finds "Far More Data Than Previously Aware Of"

22 October 2021 at 02:45
Dutch Government Lab Decrypts Tesla's Data Storage System, Finds "Far More Data Than Previously Aware Of"

We may soon find out whether or not Tesla has been deceptive in presenting its driver data.

According to Reuters, a Dutch government's forensic lab says it has decrypted the car's data-storage system, which has uncovered "a wealth of information that could be used to investigate serious accidents." But the best part: the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) says it has found "far more data than investigators had previously been aware of".

How unexpected.

The NFI said that the decrypted data proved that Tesla stores information about Autopilot usage, speed, accelerator pedal position, steering wheel angle and brake usage. Some of the data can be available for over a year, the report says. 

Francis Hoogendijk, a digital investigator at the NFI, said: “These data contain a wealth of information for forensic investigators and traffic accident analysts and can help with a criminal investigation after a fatal traffic accident or an accident with injury."

For example, one investigation took place when the NFI looked into a collision involving a Tesla using Autopilot behind a car that braked hard. The investigation showed that the driver of the Tesla reacted with the expected response time, but the collision happened because the Tesla was too close. 

Aart Spek, NFI investigator, told Reuters: "That makes it interesting, because who is responsible for the following distance: the car or the driver?"

The lab said it decided to forego seeking the data from Tesla in favor of reverse engineering data logs for it. The NFI said it was “in order to objectively investigate them," which we're guessing is a kind way to say "side-step Elon Musk's bullshit". 

Data storage has been in question since Tesla announced earlier this year it had established a site in China to help store data. Tesla provides data in the Netherlands when a court orders it to do so, but now the NFI knows exactly what kind of data the carmaker is storing and for how long. 

“You cannot claim what you do not know, so it’s helpful that we now know what else is being stored,” the NFI said.

"Tesla however only supplies a specific subset of signals, only the ones requested, for a specific timeframe, whereas the log files contain all the recorded signals," the institute added. 

We're sure this revelation will catch the ear of the NHTSA, who is in the midst of a broad 700,000+ vehicle investigation into Tesla's Autopilot and its potential involvement in accidents involving emergency vehicles. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 05:45

UK Banks – Digital Dinosaurs

22 October 2021 at 02:00
UK Banks – Digital Dinosaurs

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“Tuppence wisely invested in the bank…”

As UK bank reporting season kicks off, the dull, boring, predictable UK banks should look good. But the reality is they are dinosaurs – their failure to digitise and evolve leaves them vulnerable to tech-savy FinTechs and Challenger filling their niche. If the future of modern finance is a Tech hypersonic missile… British Banks are still building steam trains. 

Today see’s the start of the UK bank reporting season. Yawn….

I wrote a piece for the Evening Standard y’day – Another set of numbers to disguise the rot. (I’ve reused some of it this morning – lazy, eh?) Exactly as I predicted in that note, Barclays came in strong this morning with a decent lift from its investment banking businesses. Lloyds and HSBC will also produce acceptable numbers and limited losses on post pandemic recovery.  The sector outlook looks positive, the regulator will allow them to increase dividends, and there is higher income potential from rising interest rates.

But… would you buy the UK banks?

They face substantial market and ongoing pandemic risk. The cost of economic reality falls heavy across them all. This morning the headlines are about Medical groups screaming out for a renewal of lockdown measures to protect the NHS – a move that will 100% nail-on recession and cause multiple small businesses to give up. The threat of recession in the UK is pronounced – exacerbated by global supply chain crisis and risks of policy mistakes. The worst outcome for banks would be stagflation resulting in exploding loan impairments.

Lloyds is the most vulnerable to the UK economy – hence it’s underperformed the others. Even without renewed Covid measures, potential policy mistakes by the Bank of England in raising interest rates too early, or by government by raising taxes and austerity spending, will hit business and consumer sentiment hardest, causing the stock prices to crumble back towards its low back in Sept 2020 when it hit £24.72. It’s got the largest mortgage exposure – but no one really expects a significant housing sell-off. (When no-one expects it – is when to worry!)

If you believe the UK’s economic potential is under-stated, then Lloyds has the best upside stock potential among the big three. If the economy recovers strongly, Lloyds goes up. If it stumbles, then so will Lloyds!

Barclays is a more difficult call. It’s a broader, more diversified name. It retains an element of “whoosh” from its markets businesses – which have delivered excellent returns from its capital markets businesses fuelled by low rates, but it also runs a higher-than-average reputational risk for generating embarrassing headlines. But, when the global economy normalises, higher interest rates will impact the fee income of all the investment banks, thus impacting Barclays to a greater extent than Lloyds. Barclay’s international business gives it some hedge against a UK economic slide.

HSBC is the most complex call. The UK banking operation is a rounding error compared to the Bank’s Hong Kong business. The bank is pivoting towards Asia, orbiting China and other high-growth Far East economies where it seeks to attract rising middle-class wealth. It’s underperformed due to a distaste among global investors for its China business, but also the perception it’s just too big a bank to manage effectively.

If its China strategy was to pay off, it will be a long-term winner. But that’s no means certain – Premier Xi’s crackdown on Chinese Tech threatens to morph into a China first policy, and the space for a strong foreign bank in China’s banking system looks questionable, even as the developing crisis in real-estate could pull it lower.

Ok – so good for UK banks…

Whatever the respective bank numbers show this week, the banks will remain core holdings for many investors. Generally, big banks are perceived to be “relatively” safe. Regulation has reduced their market risk profiles, and strengthened capital bases since the post-Lehman unpleasantness in 2008 which saw RBS rescued by government.

Conventional investment wisdom says the more “dull, boring and predictable” a bank is, the more valuable it will be perceived in terms of stable predictable dividends, sound risk management, and for not surprising investors. Strong banks are perceived to be less vulnerable to competition with deep moats around their business.

Since 2008 that’s changed – in ways the incumbent banks have completely missed. The costs of entry have tumbled as banking has evolved into a completely different service. New, more nimble Fin-Techs like Revolut, digital challenger banks such as Starling, and cheaper foreign competitors, including the Yanks, are not only eating their lunch, but dinner as well.

The old established UK banks don’t seem to have a clue it’s happening. These incumbent banks look like dinosaurs wondering what that bright shiny light getting bigger in the sky might be. Despite proudly boasting of hundreds years of history, they are constrained by old tech ledger systems and never built centralised data-lakes from their information on individuals or the financial behaviours of crowds to improve and develop their services and income streams.

The future of banking is going to be about Tech and how effectively banks compete in a marketplace of online digital facilities and services. Banks that you use tech smartly will see their costs tumble, freeing up resources to do more, better! (When I ran a major bank’s FIG (Financial Institutions Group) about 100 years ago – the best banks were those with lowest cost-to-income ratio!)

There is an excellent article outlining FinTechs and Challengers from Chris Skinner this morning: Europe’s Challenger Banks are Challenging (and worth more than the old names). Let me pluck a bite from his piece: “Revolut is the most valuable UK tech start-up in history and the eighth biggest private company in the world, worth an estimated US$33 billion, according to CB Insights. Revolut has more than 16 million customers worldwide and sees over 150 million transactions per month.”

The new generation of nimbler Fin Techs and Challengers can innovate product offerings with sophisticated new systems and software. In contrast, UK bank IT departments are engaged in digital archaeology.  I understand only 17% of Senior Tech positions are held by women. Within the banks, I’m told its still a boys club, where the best paid IT jobs are for ancient bearded D&D playing coders brought into to patch 50 year-old archaic systems. Legacy systems leave the big banks with impossible catch up costs.

It’s probably unfair to say the big UK banks don’t know what’s happening – their management can’t be that unaware? Surely not…. But…. Maybe..

Although the banks brag how well diversified they are with over 37% of UK board members female – how much have they really changed? Hiring on the basis of diversity is a fad. At the risk of lighting the blue-touch paper and this comment exploding in my face, I would hazard to suggest the appointment of senior ladies who’ve worked their way up the existing financial system simply risks confirmation-bias on how things are conventionally done in banking.

They might do better hiring outside movers and shakers – rather than listening to themselves.

The bottom line is its not just their failure to innovate tech that’s a crisis. Over the years the UK banks have become increasingly sclerotic – slow to shift and adapt. The middle to senior levels of banking are hamstrung by bureaucracy, a satisficing culture, stifled innovation, a compliance fearful mindset, and senior management fixated on impressing the regulators first and foremost.

If the future of modern finance is a Tech hypersonic missile… British Banks are still building steam trains.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 05:00

NATO Presence In Ukraine "Already Underway" Poses "Real Threat" To Russia: Putin

22 October 2021 at 01:15
NATO Presence In Ukraine "Already Underway" Poses "Real Threat" To Russia: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued statements in reaction to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's official visit to Ukraine, Romania and Georgia this week where Austin told Ukrainian leaders there's an "open door to NATO" membership if the necessary defense spending and anti-corruption reforms are made. 

"The military development of the territory [of Ukraine] is already underway, and this really poses a threat to Russia. We are aware of this," Putin said in public remarks Thursday before the Valdai International Discussion Club. "Let's see what will happen on the domestic political scene of Ukraine in the near future," he said.

"The Secretary of Defense has arrived, in fact, opening the doors for Ukraine to NATO, in fact, his statement should and can be interpreted in this way," Putin added.

However, the Russian leader suggested that NATO membership and the ensuing inevitable confrontation with Russia would not fundamentally arise through the will of the people, but through a West-backed clique of rulers holding "extreme political views".

"The Ukrainian people are not allowed and will not be allowed to form governing bodies that will directly represent their interests... Ukraine is realistically ruled by a small group of people who claim to have won the struggle for independence and who hold extreme political views, regardless of who the head of the state is in name," Putin said according to translations in Russian media.

"The silent majority voted for them in the hopes that they would fulfil their election promises, but the not so silent, aggressive nationalist minority suppressed their freedom to make decisions expected by the Ukrainian population. They are the ones to truly run the country," Putin described.

On Tuesday while meeting with top Ukrainian officials in Kiev, Defense Secretary Austin had called out Russia as an "obstacle to peace" in the region. 

"Let's be clear, that Russia started this war and Russia is the obstacle to a peaceful resolution," Austin said during a joint briefing with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Taran.

"So we again call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea, to stop perpetuating the war in eastern Ukraine, to end its destabilizing activities in the Black Sea and along Ukraine's borders," Austin said.

AFP/Getty Images

That prompted immediate warnings from the Kremlin of its "red lines" which would require "active measures". Austin had also charged that Russian intelligence has been carrying out "persistent cyberattacks" and demanded an immediate halt to its actions against the West.

It was Austin's second trip to Ukraine in less than two months, as Washington and Kiev work to lay the groundwork for deepening defense cooperation. Moscow has of late made veiled threats of launching military action should it perceive that NATO is expanding its military presence and base infrastructure into Ukraine.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 04:15

NIH Admits Funding Gain-Of-Function COVID Experiments; Gives EcoHealth Five Days To Report Data

22 October 2021 at 01:11
NIH Admits Funding Gain-Of-Function COVID Experiments; Gives EcoHealth Five Days To Report Data

A top NIH official admitted in a Wednesday letter that the US-funded so-called "gain-of-function" research in Wuhan, China - and that the US nonprofit which conducted it, EcoHealth Alliance - led by the controversial Peter Daszak, "failed to report" that they had created a chimeric bat coronavirus which could infect humans.

In a letter addressed to Rep. James Comer (R-KY), NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak cites a "limited experiment" to determine whether "spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model." According to the letter, humanized mice infected with the modified bat virus "became sicker" than those exposed to an unmodified version of the same bat coronavirus.

Daszak failed to report this finding, and has been given five days to submit "any and all unpublished data from the experiments and work conducted" under the NIH grant.

Rutgers University Board of Governors Chemistry Professor Richard H. Ebright sums it up. :

The NIH received the relevant documents in 2018 and reviewed the documents in 2020 and again in 2021.

The NIH--specifically, Collins, Fauci, and Tabak--lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public. Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly.

— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) October 20, 2021

See thread at:
https://t.co/SwJtZpix9b

— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) October 20, 2021

While Tabak's letter goes to great lengths to insist that EcoHealth's work couldn't have produced SARS-CoV-2, it absolutely vindicates Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who Fauci repeatedly called a liar in July for accusing him of funding GoF research in Wuhan, China.

“This is a pattern that Senator Paul has been doing now at multiple hearings, based on no reality … I have never lied, certainly not before Congress. Case closed.”

— Dr. Fauci ends back-and-forth with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). pic.twitter.com/WjGjQUFE0d

— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2021

As we noted in September, proof that the US funded of GoF research was blown wide open thanks to materials (here and here) released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Intercept against the National Institutes of Health, revealing that EcoHealth was paid to make chimeric SARS-based Covid that they confirmed could infect human cells.

While evidence of this research has been pointed to in published studies, the FOIA release provides a key piece to the puzzle which sheds new light on what was going on.

"This is a roadmap to the high-risk research that could have led to the current pandemic," said Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right To Know, a group that has been investigating the origins of Covid-19 (via The Intercept).

We also learned in September that 18 months before the Pandemic, Daszak applied for a grant to release enhanced airborne coronaviruses into the wild in an effort to inoculate them against diseases that could have otherwise jumped to humans, according to The Telegraph, citing leaked grant proposals from 2018.

New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid-19 cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China.

They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily, and requested $14million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to fund the work.

Daszak hoped to use genetic engineering to cobble "human-specific cleavage sites" onto bat Covid 'which would make it easier for the virus to enter human cells' - and included plans to commingle high-risk natural coronaviruses strains with more infectious, yet less deadly versions. His 'bat team' of researchers included Dr. Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as US researchers from the University of North Carolina and the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

Darpa refused the contract - saying "It is clear that the proposed project led by Peter Daszak could have put local communities at risk," while warning that Daszak hadn't fully considered the dangers involved in enhancing the virus via gain-of-function research, or by releasing a vaccine into the air.

Angus Dalgleish, Professor of Oncology at St Georges, University of London, who struggled to get work published showing that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had been carrying out “gain of function” work for years before the pandemic, said the research may have gone ahead even without the funding.

This is clearly a gain of function, engineering the cleavage site and polishing the new viruses to enhance human cell infectibility in more than one cell line,” he said. -Telegraph

In short, after a massive drop of receipts proved that Fauci, and his boss Francis Collins, lied, the NIH itself has finally acknowledged funding Gain-of-Function research.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 04:11

UK Energy Suppliers Face "Massacre" Amid Soaring Gas Prices

22 October 2021 at 00:30
UK Energy Suppliers Face "Massacre" Amid Soaring Gas Prices

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

  • More than a dozen power suppliers in the UK have exited the retail energy market in recent weeks

  • The UK has a so-called Energy Price Cap in place, which protects households from too high bills by capping the price that providers can pass on to them, but which additionally burdens energy providers

Another 20 energy providers in the UK could go bust in what looks like a “massacre” in the coming months unless the government reviews the energy price cap, the chief executive of one of the largest providers said on Thursday.

More than a dozen power suppliers in the UK have exited the retail energy market in recent weeks, and more are likely to do so, as wholesale gas prices rally.

Europe’s tight gas market, low wind speeds, abnormally low gas inventories, and record carbon prices have combined in recent weeks to send benchmark gas prices and power prices in the largest economies to record highs.

The UK has a so-called Energy Price Cap in place, which protects households from too high bills by capping the price that providers can pass on to them, but which additionally burdens energy providers.

Unless the UK government intervenes and reviews for raising the price cap soon, “we are in danger of just sleepwalking into an absolute massacre”, Keith Anderson, chief executive at ScottishPower, told the Financial Times.

“We think probably in the next month at least another 20 suppliers will end up going bankrupt,” Anderson told SkyNews.

The price cap currently costs providers around $6.9 billion (£5 billion), the top executive of ScottishPower, one of the largest utilities in the UK, told SkyNews.

Last month, the head of the UK’s energy regulator said more energy suppliers were set to go bust as soaring gas prices are putting an unprecedented cost burden on smaller electricity and gas providers.

“I think what is different this time is that dramatic change in the costs that those suppliers are facing,” Jonathan Brearley, chief executive officer of Ofgem, the independent energy regulator for Great Britain, said in September.

Back then, Brearley and the UK’s Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in a joint statement that the energy price cap would remain in place.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 03:30

Erdogan Threatens To Kick Out 10 Western Ambassadors Over Jailed "Soros Leftover" Billionaire Osman Kavala

21 October 2021 at 23:45
Erdogan Threatens To Kick Out 10 Western Ambassadors Over Jailed "Soros Leftover" Billionaire Osman Kavala

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is lashing out at the United States and European countries for their joint statement demanding the immediate release of billionaire philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala, who has been in Turkish custody since 2017.

Erdogan lambasted the demand, saying "Those who defend this Soros leftover are trying to get him released. I told our foreign minister that we cannot afford to host them in our country." He questioned, "Why would the 10 ambassadors make such a statement?"

Osman Kavala, file image

Erdogan lashed out further in front of reporters as cited in Anadolu Agency: "How dare you teach such a lesson to Turkey? Who are you? What do they say? 'Release Kavala.' Do you leave the bandits, murderers, terrorists in your own countries?"

As to the veiled threat about about not being able to "host them in our country," Ankara has signaled to foreign embassies it's ready to make good on this, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoning an unprecedented ten diplomats to discuss and protest the matter. They were reportedly told the joint statement "irresponsible" and "unacceptable".

The statement protesting Kavala's continued custody was signed by representatives of the US, Germany, France, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand. Social media messages calling for the philanthropist's release were further posted by the embassies.

Crucially the joint message questioned the state of democracy and human rights within the country that is NATO's second most powerful militarily.

As of today, Osman Kavala has been detained for four years. His ongoing case has cast a shadow over democracy and rule of law in Turkey.

Today, the United States together with 🇩🇪🇫🇷🇳🇿🇨🇦🇫🇮🇸🇪🇳🇴🇩🇰call for his release! See our full statement here: https://t.co/fCs5Lk5BCW pic.twitter.com/eyOq1loSM3

— U.S. Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) October 18, 2021

The full October 18 US State Dept. statement which has outraged Erdogan reads as follows:

Today marks four years since the ongoing detention of Osman Kavala began. The continuing delays in his trial, including by merging different cases and creating new ones after a previous acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system.

Together, the embassies of Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America believe a just and speedy resolution to his case must be in line with Turkey’s international obligations and domestic laws. Noting the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call for Turkey to secure his urgent release.

Kavala's supporters, meanwhile, have long said the charges against him are purely politically motivated. The 64-year old was initially arrested in October 2017, and the Turkish state heaped an array of charges on him which included supporting the Gezi protests in 2013 and even allegations of participation in the failed coup of 2016.

Erdogan's calling him a "Soros leftover" is due to the AK Parti seeing him as a malevolent and subversive figure intent on using his extensive wealth and influence to overthrow their rule via whipping up popular anger in the streets. Kavala has reportedly been held for years in appalling conditions without trial or recourse through the judicial system.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 02:45

Pupil Yells "Allahu Akbar" During Tribute To French Teacher Beheaded By Jihadist

21 October 2021 at 23:00
Pupil Yells "Allahu Akbar" During Tribute To French Teacher Beheaded By Jihadist

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

An 11-year-old pupil yelled “Allahu Akbar” during a school tribute to French teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded by a jihadist, while his Islamist father threatened to burn down the school.

Diversity continues to be a strength.

Paty was killed last year by a Chechen refugee in revenge for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils in a class on free speech.

During a tribute to Paty at the Jean-Zay middle school in the department of Drôme, southeast France, the student yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which is a refrain routinely used by jihadists during the commission of terrorist attacks.

After the school gave the child a warning and informed his father, the father began threatening staff members, saying he firmly supported the actions of his son.

He then turned up in person to the school and threatened to burn it to the ground.

“Police were alerted and took the 43-year-old, who works as a security guard, into custody on Tuesday,” reports Breitbart.

“During a search of the man’s property, the prosecutor revealed that there were discovered several weapons, including a sword, and radical Islamic Salafist literature.”

Following the beheading of Paty, French ambassador to Sweden Etienne de Gonneville told broadcaster SVT, “France is a Muslim country.”

A subsequent poll found that 79% of French people believed Islamism had “declared war” on their country.

France’s presidential election takes place next April, with mass migration critic Eric Zemmour moving within 5 percentage points of Emmanuel Macron.

Zemmour has called for France’s notorious Islamic ghetto no-go zones, which are routinely the scene of violence and mass rioting, to be “re-conquered by force.”

Earlier this month, Conservative politician Gilles Platret was blasted by members of his own party and reported to the authorities after claiming that French people were being “ethnically cleansed” by migrants.

Conservative presidential candidate Xavier Bertrand also recently warned that the country faces the risk of a “civil war” due its problems with gang violence and uncontrolled mass immigration.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 02:00

COVID Authoritarians Are The Cause Of America's Problems, Not The Unvaccinated

21 October 2021 at 21:10
COVID Authoritarians Are The Cause Of America's Problems, Not The Unvaccinated

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us,

It’s an odd dynamic – One would think that if the covid vaccines were a generally benevolent program that actually “followed the science” then there would be no need to pile drive the public with an endless barrage of vax propaganda.

After all, if science and morality are on the side of the covid cult then the rest would naturally take care of itself and the overwhelming majority of Americans would have already voluntarily taken the experimental mRNA cocktail without any threats required.

And, if some people still refused, then the science would dictate that it doesn’t matter, because if the vax actually works then those people present no threat whatsoever to the rest of society.

It is highly revealing that this is not the case, and the more resistance the establishment encounters on mandates the more aggressive they become and the more they lie about the facts and evidence.

Remember when Fauci and company said they only needed 70% of the population vaccinated to hit herd immunity? That concept was thrown down the memory hole and now they want 96% (really 100%) of the population vaccinated.

They claimed that the vaccination programs were a success with between 70% to almost 80% of the public taking the double jab, and that was a lie as state numbers continue to contradict federal and CDC numbers.

They claimed that the only pandemic still ongoing was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, and this was of course a lie as we have seen studies from multiple states and mostly vaccinated countries showing that the vaccinated now make up the bulk of infections and hospitalizations.

They said the vaccines offered more reliable protection when compared to natural immunity, yet medical studies from around the world show that this was a lie and that natural immunity offers up to 27 times more protection than the vaccines do. And, they said that the vaccines were “safe and effective”, yet there is no long term data to prove they are safe, and multiple studies show that vaccine effectiveness is questionable to say the least.

Lie after lie after lie. If the vaccines actually worked, there would be no need for so much deceit, and if their true intention was to “protect public health” then the establishment would be promoting treatment programs and natural immunity, not untested vaccines that continue to disappoint.

Numerous fully vaccinated people including political figures like Colin Powell have died from covid but the mainstream media STILL claims this doesn’t disprove the efficacy of the jab. At the same time, unvaccinated alternative media figures like Joe Rogan beat covid in 3 days using treatments like Ivermectin, and the MSM attacks him relentlessly as some kind of charlatan merely because he dared to not die. The elitists think that the public doesn’t notice massive contradictions like this, but we do. We are not dumb, we see everything.

In Washington State, for example, studies show that there have been at least 51,000 “breakthrough cases” of covid in the past 10 months. Breakthrough cases are people who are fully vaccinated but were still infected with covid. Of those 51,000 people, 493 people died. When calculating the percentage of dead vs infected, we get around 0.96%. The median death rate of covid among unvaccinated people is only 0.27% according to dozens of peer reviewed medical studies. This means that the death rate of fully vaccinated people in Washington is actually HIGHER than that of unvaxxed people.

We have seen similar results in states like Massachusetts, where there were 5100 breakthrough cases in a single month and 80 deaths of fully vaccinated people, which is a 1.5% death rate for the vaxxed as opposed to 0.27% for the unvaxxed. Studies on death rates are going to have to take into account vaccinated deaths vs unvaccinated deaths from now on.

And what about studies from highly vaccinated countries like Israel, which show that the majority of infections and hospitalizations are among vaccinated people, with infections spiking well after the vaccines were introduced. Right after Israel became one of the most vaccinated nations on the planet, it also had one of the highest infection rates on the planet.

It should also be noted that the peak of US infections in 2020 ended well before the vaccine rollout even started in early 2021. Meaning, the vaccines did NOTHING to reduce infection rates. They dropped off on their own. This is a scientific fact that the mainstream avoids, just as they avoid admitting that the median death rate of covid is a mere 0.27%.

The solution that the establishment offers is not surprising – They claim we need MORE vaccines through booster requirements. As the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And so the demented propaganda machine continues into infinity.

The public is growing tired of the games as is evident in mass walkouts, sick-outs and other protests against Biden’s vaccine mandates for companies with more than 100 employees as well as most government institutions. We are seeing up to 50% of employees and government workers in many cases refusing to take the experimental jab despite the fact that they are being threatened with losing their jobs. This dynamic seems to have bewildered the covid cult and the globalists; they can’t wrap their heads around this level of resistance to their agenda.

It’s not a new thing, but I have noticed an increasing number of vax propaganda commercials and articles featuring Donald Trump in the past month. All of them herald Trump’s pro-vaccination stance, which is odd because leftists spent most of 2020 saying they would not take any vaccine that Trump was responsible for producing.

I was recently doing some research on YouTube and was annoyed to have to watch yet another vax ad, but this one had an odd tone. It showed clips of Trump making favorable statements on the mRNA vaccines, he and his wife taking the vaccines with dramatic music, and then a message at the end which said “There’s A Covid Vaccine Waiting For You, Too.”

The bizarre commercial was clearly aimed at conservatives, but it displays an obvious disconnect that the covid cult and the media have when it comes to conservative thinking and principles.

Leftists, collectivists and globalists function according to majority rule and herd mentality. They have gatekeepers, and the gatekeepers set the agenda and dictate decision making responsibilities for the group. Leftist herds wait patiently for top-down orders from their designated gatekeepers and most of them obey without question. This is how they operate.

Liberty minded people operate in the opposite fashion. Our “leaders” are always under scrutiny, and this includes political mascots like Donald Trump. This is why, during a recent speech in Alabama, Trump was booed by a crowd of supporters after he called for them to get the covid vaccine. Conservatives generally don’t care about the person promoting the message, they only care if the message passes the smell test.

Leftists and globalists are incapable of grasping conservative principles or the conservative mindset. This fact is hilariously evident in the style of propaganda they have consistently used to try to intimidate or pressure the conservative public into compliance with the mandates. We don’t view Trump as a philosophical leader; in fact, there were so many underlying issues with his cabinet and his policies that his leadership became suspect. At most, conservatives enjoyed Trump’s administration simply because his presence in the White House drove leftist authoritarians to greater madness.

We definitely don’t care what Trump has to say on the vaccines.

There is further evidence of the disconnect I describe in the actions of leftists and the establishment when it comes to vax mandates in the workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the argument from covid cultists that conservatives “Might say we will refuse to comply, but when our livelihoods are threatened we will submit.” They believe this because that’s how THEY would respond. They are cowardly weaklings with no heart, no principles and no morals. They think that since they would cave in to the pressure, the rest of us would cave in as well.

The past month has proven them oh so wrong as millions of people stage protests and walk outs across the country. There is even refusal among around 25% of the armed forced averaged across all branches, as well as up to 50% of city police forces. Most employers and government offices can barely function as is; there is zero chance they will be able to cope with a 10% loss of workforce, let alone a 25% to 50% loss. They would crumble.

This was obviously not the plan; the globalists were not prepared for this level of resistance in the US and this is evident in their pathetic propaganda scramble. That does not mean they don’t have contingencies in place. I am already seeing a fledgling narrative in the media which is implanting the idea that any breakdown of the system in the US will actually be the fault of the unvaccinated.

Biden has been a fervent culprit behind the narrative that everything from economic instability and supply chain problems to social divisions should be blamed on unvaccinated Americans. That’s right, the majority of these disasters started on Biden’s watch and because of his policies, but somehow WE are the real danger. Yes, the draconian mandates are illegal and unconstitutional and yes, mandates are not laws in any form, and yes, Biden and his handlers are acting like dictators and there is no reason to do anything they say. But, we are the bad guys. This is classic communist gaslighting.

Here’s an idea: Stop trying to enforce covid mandates and vaccine passports. Stop paying people to stay home from work with covid welfare bribes. Stop generating trillions of dollars in fiat stimulus from thin air to pay for even more useless programs we don’t need. Then watch how quickly stagflation, economic instability, the workforce shortages and most other problems in the US suddenly disappear. The unvaccinated are not the source of American distress, the globalists and errand boys like Biden and blue state governors are the cause. Remove them from the equation and America’s future looks much brighter.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 00:10

US Military Conducts Three Successful Tests To Advance Hypersonic Weapon Program

21 October 2021 at 20:50
US Military Conducts Three Successful Tests To Advance Hypersonic Weapon Program

The U.S. Navy and Army announced Thursday three hypersonic component prototypes that were tested on Wednesday would increase the development of a new missile, Reuters said, citing a Pentagon report. The so-called "components" were tested on the same day President Biden called China's latest hypersonic weapons test "concerning." 

The three components, which were not named in the report, were tested at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. A statement from the Pentagon said the tests will help "inform the development of the Navy's Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the Army's Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) offensive hypersonic strike." Flight tests of the new hypersonic missile will be conducted in the near term.  

The three tests "demonstrated advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment," the Pentagon added, adding that all the tests were successful. 

On the same day, President Biden told reporters he was concerned about the new developments around China's hypersonic weapons program, and Admiral Charles Richard, the head of Strategic Command who commands U.S. nuclear forces, indicated this week that more details about China's hypersonic weapon test would likely be released next month. 

The response by the Pentagon, to remain relevant in the headlines, following an investigative report by the Financial Times that alleges China launched a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle from low Earth orbit this summer, shows the U.S. is falling behind in the hypersonic race. In another FT report released Wednesday, it turns out the Chinese launched two of these hypersonic glide vehicles that circled the planet in low Earth orbit before dropping altitude and coming close to hitting their targets. 

Regarding China, FT said people familiar with U.S. intelligence assessments of the tests were baffled on how the Chinese were able to conduct the launches because they appeared "to defy the laws of physics." 

U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned that the West "needs to wake up" to the dangers of Chinese hypersonic weapons.

"I definitely think the West needs to wake up to the consequences of Chinese and Russian missile development. They are potent," Wallace said. "It is very important to understand what they are developing and what that means, both in range and speed of capabilities. We have seen China and Russia increase speeds in [their] missiles and ranges to an accurate level."

Hypersonic weapons can travel more than 3,850 miles per hour, or some five times the speed of sound. The U.S. has contracted Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to develop hypersonic weapons that could be fielded in the next few years. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 23:50
Yesterday — 21 October 2021ZeroHedge News

Why Congress Should Say No To An IRS Power Grab

21 October 2021 at 20:30
Why Congress Should Say No To An IRS Power Grab

Authored by Patrick Hedger via RealClearMarkets.com,

It’s hardly surprising that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) often receives low marks from American taxpayers. After all, simply filing your tax return can be a headache, let alone fighting for deductions or dealing with an audit. A recent survey conducted by Gallup found that Americans' view that the IRS was doing an "excellent" or "good" job has dropped from 50 to 37 percent in the last two years. It’s puzzling then that – with all the pressing issues facing our country today – some members of Congress are choosing to prioritize expanding the power and authority of the IRS at the expense of taxpayers and their privacy. 

Progressive members of Congress, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are pushing to give the IRS the power and responsibility to prepare tax filings on behalf of all Americans, even though the private sector currently provides this service cheaply - many times at no cost — and efficiently.

Frankly, anyone who has had to deal with the IRS knows first-hand why this is a bad idea. 

First, and foremost, the primary function of the IRS is to raise and collect revenue for the federal government. An IRS-run “free” filing system would likely be built to represent government interests and would have no incentive to maximize taxpayer deductions or protect taxpayers from audits. On the other hand, certified professionals and tax preparation companies have every reason to help taxpayers take advantage of every deduction available to them. Many current tax filing services even provide refunds to users if another service gets them more money back. 

Such a program would likely cost billions of dollars. TechNet recently published a white paper written by former Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, who served under President Obama. Scott found that, “any effort to have the IRS prepare Americans’ tax returns would be operationally impractical, prohibitively expensive, and likely fail to deliver the promised benefits.” Taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to foot the bill for a massive new government program that the private sector has already successfully accomplished, especially with Congress pushing for massive new spending programs elsewhere. 

The Biden administration is already pushing for a law that would require banks to report transactions over $600 to the IRS. A government-run “free” file system would further require the IRS to collect troves of information from taxpayers that it currently doesn’t have access to. Both proposals should be concerning to privacy advocates and taxpayers.  

The IRS has already proven that it can’t be trusted with confidential information. In 2016, hackers breached the IRS and stole more than 700,000 Social Security numbers. In a 2017 legal settlement, the IRS apologized for using its authority to audit and unfairly scrutinize conservative organizations. Just this year, the IRS leaked sensitive tax records of the wealthiest Americans, records that showed absolutely zero wrongdoing, to the press. In addition, the IRS was also recently found to have not been properly sanitizing disposed computers of sensitive taxpayer data, exposing untold Americans’ sensitive information. Giving the IRS more authority could result in future administration’s targeting taxpayers, organizations or vulnerable populations, like immigrants and seniors, for any number of reasons. 

Time is running out to prevent Congress from granting the IRS a massive increase in authority. Sen. Warren and her progressive allies in Congress are attempting to push this proposal into the massive spending package currently being debated in Washington. Taxpayers and privacy advocates in all 50 states must unite and urge members of Congress to say no to this shortsighted and dangerous proposal before it’s too late. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 23:30

China's Evergrande Makes Last Minute Interest Payment On Dollar Bond, Avoiding Default

21 October 2021 at 20:21
China's Evergrande Makes Last Minute Interest Payment On Dollar Bond, Avoiding Default

In a surprise 11th hour development, China Evergrande made an overdue interest payment to offshore bondholders, the state-owned Securities Times reported Friday, an unexpected move that allows the property company to postpone - if not avoid - a default.

The Chinese property developer sent $83.5 million to the trustee for the dollar bonds, and that financial institution will in turn pay bondholders, reported the Securities Times which is run by the Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper. As reported earlier, this weekend was the deadline for a 30-day grace period before bondholders could send a notice of default to the company after it failed to make the interest payment on about $2.03 billion of dollar bonds on Sept. 23.

A default by Evergrande - which is China’s 2nd biggest developer and its most indebted, and which late last week made a payment on onshore bonds - would have spiraled into the biggest corporate default in Asia, as it would also enable creditors to declare cross-defaults on some of Evergrande’s other debts. However, with its liquidity effectively frozen, its real estate sales plunging 97%, and its asset sales attempts a dead end, while Evergrande may have kicked then can this time, the company - which has the equivalent of more than $300 billion in total liabilities, including some $89 billion in interest-bearing debt as of the end of June - is still facing a virtually certain default in the coming weeks when many more coupons and maturities come due.

Most international bondholders had expected Evergrande to fail to make its dollar bond payments before the end of the grace period. The company has also skipped other coupon payments in the past few weeks, and has outstanding dollar debt with a total face value of about $20 billion. Advisers to international bondholders said this month they had made little progress in their efforts to engage with Evergrande.

On Wednesday, however, the Shenzhen-headquartered group said in a regulatory filing that it will “use its best effort to negotiate for the renewal or extension of its borrowings or other alternative arrangements with its creditors.”

As also reported earlier, Evergrande has been trying to raise funds by liquidating assets such as stakes in subsidiaries and a Hong Kong office building that it owns. The company had also planned to sell a majority holding in its property-management unit for the equivalent of about $2.6 billion to a smaller rival, but said this week that it had terminated that deal. The news of the failed deal sent Evergrande stock tumbling on Thursday after it was unhalted after three weeks of being frozen.

In retrospect the "unfreezing" may have been a signal that at least this one payment was about to be made.

Evergrande’s Hong Kong-listed stock has lost more than 80% of its value this year and its dollar bonds are trading far below face value, indicating skepticism among investors that they will be repaid in full. On Friday, the shares rose 5% in early trading, even as its bonds were still at deeply distressed levels indicating investors still expect the company to ultimately default.

A $4.7 billion, 8.75% Evergrande bond due 2025 was quoted at just 21.75 cents on the dollar Friday morning in Hong Kong, according to Tradeweb, up from 20.5 cents late Thursday.

Some analysts were pleasantly surprised by the decision to make the offshore bond payment. Hans Goetti, founder and chief executive officer of HG Research, said that the payment is good news for foreign bondholders and signals authorities want to avoid the issue from spreading.  The payment “goes a long way to alleviate these fears because usually the foreign bondholders would probably be the ones holding the bag under normal circumstances”, Goetti told Bloomberg TC.

It appears that Chinese authorities are “behind all this to make sure that we can avoid a spillover into the broader economy and also outside of China" he said adding that "this sends a signal that China is not interested in making this a bigger issue, especially for foreign holders in this case. I think that’s good news."

Others, however, were more realistic. As Justin Tang of United First Partners said, "we have seen this before" and this “does not solve the company’s problem and does not change the fact that it is the living dead."

“Evergrande is a candle burning on both ends, it needs to address declines in revenue and at the same time find cash for looming repayments. Nothing short of a restructuring or white knight will do."

Below are several other kneejerk responses to the Evergrande news, compiled courtesy of Bloomberg:

Jun Rong Yeap, IG Asia Pte.

  • “It brings some near-term reprieve ahead of its official default deadline and presents a more positive scenario than what many will have expect”
  • “The plunge in share price yesterday seems to price in expectations that Evergrande will face difficulty in securing cash ahead with the sales deal fall-through,” but the interest payment report “just overturned that narrative for now”

Banny Lam, Ceb International Inv. Corp.

  • “It is positive for dollar bond holders. However uncertainties remain if the Group can sell assets to pay for the offshore debt. Investors are watching if Evergrande can make agreement with creditors on how to settle the debt”
  • “The interest payment today only occupies a small portion of total interest payment. Investors are more interested to watch the progress of Evergrande’s debt restructuring, especially sales of valuable assets”

Ting Meng, ANZ

  • The possibility of meeting the next coupon payment with a 30-day grace period due next Friday has risen. “We could see a rebound in the property sector in the short term”
  • “Evergrande has larger principal repayments next March, which is a critical date to watch closely. It needs to accelerate asset selling to meet that critical deadline”

Omotunde Lawal, Barings

  • The relief that Evergrande has averted a default “was in line with government comments” and “buys the Group more time to seek further asset sales and solutions for the medium to longer term”

Chang Wei Liang, DBS

  • “The bringing forward of debt restructuring is unfavored by large developers like Evergrande, with valuable offshore assets that can be subject to legal enforcement or with a storied reputation to maintain.” They are likely to “keep up their obligations as best as they can to avoid default”

Finally, while Evergrande may have averted a default in the last minute, it has only kicked the can for a few weeks as the following distribution of debt interest and maturity payments shows.

 

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 23:21

WaPo Editorial Board Calls For US Military Invasion Of Haiti

21 October 2021 at 20:10
WaPo Editorial Board Calls For US Military Invasion Of Haiti

Apparently ignoring every "lesson" of the last two decades of utterly failed and disastrous US foreign interventions and adventurism abroad, which has left especially the Middle East burning and in a state of perpetual destabilization, The Washington Post editorial board is calling for yet more experiments in nation-building, this time much closer to home in a seeming throwback to era of the Monroe Doctrine. 

"Haiti’s spiraling mayhem, florid lawlessness and humanitarian meltdown were predictable following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July," the op-ed published earlier in the week began. "In a country already crippled by governmental dysfunction, the vacuum of political legitimacy and authority after that murder left a breeding ground for anarchy." Naturally the premier hawkish beltway publication owned by Jeff Bezos and tied at the hip with the D.C. national security state sees only a singular "solution"...

🚨Alert🚨:

The Washington Post's editorial board is calling for a US invasion of Haiti 🇭🇹. pic.twitter.com/8mJy0dGPMk

— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) October 19, 2021

The article links Biden administration 'inaction' with the recent kidnapping of 17 Ohio-based missionaries in Port-au-Prince. Currently a criminal gang is demanding $17 million for their release, as FBI agents are reportedly on the ground searching for clues as to where they are being held.

"The mess was largely ignored by the Biden administration, which has been preoccupied with other crises, until the kidnapping Saturday of 17 missionaries — a Canadian and 16 Americans, including five children — near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince," WaPo continues.

"Now the maelstrom in the hemisphere’s poorest nation is no longer ignorable," the editorial board writes. And quickly bypassing any other possible efforts or options that might be available for Washington to help mitigate the ongoing crisis in Haiti, such as foreign aid or diplomatic or charitable efforts, the WaPo authors go straight to advocating direct military intervention and occupation to "fix" the Caribbean nation.

Here are the key lines calling for US military action:

Yet for all its unintended consequences, outside intervention could also establish a modicum of stability and order that would represent a major humanitarian improvement on the status quo, and with it, the prospect of lives saved and livelihoods enabled.

Marines in Haiti, US DoD image

In 2010 the US sent a major Navy and Marine deployment to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response in the wake of a deadly earthquake that devastated the country. Also this summer a couple hundred Marines were sent in response to an earthquake that resulted in the deaths of more that 2,000 Haitians. 

The editorial board concludes, "In the cost-benefit analysis that would attend any fresh intervention, policymakers must be alert to the risks, but also to the enormous peril of continuing to do nothing."

Though of course the obvious irony is that there will be zero "risks" for the WaPo armchair interventionists themselves. Fresh off one 'forever war' endless occupation in Afghanistan which just wrapped up after two failed decades a mere month ago, these beltway hawks are already salivating for more... all in the name of "helping others" - despite the whole 'humanitarian intervention' rationale being long ago exposed as a falsehood especially in places like Libya or Syria, where Washington meddling has only destabilized and destroyed once stable societies.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 23:10

Dr. Anthony Fauci Received Big Pay Increase To Prevent Pandemics

21 October 2021 at 19:50
Dr. Anthony Fauci Received Big Pay Increase To Prevent Pandemics

Authored by Adam Andrzejewski via Forbes,

In a January article published at Forbes, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that Dr. Anthony Fauci was the highest paid federal employee, earning $417,608 (2019).

Dr. Fauci is still the top-paid federal employee earning $434,312 in 2020. Fauci is the Director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and current Chief Medical Advisor to the President.

Fauci out-earned the U.S. president ($400,000); four-star generals in the military ($282,000); and roughly 4.3 million other federal employees.  

Now, new documents released via our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the NIH tell us a lot more. Dr. Fauci received a big pay hike for his biodefense research activities. In other words, Fauci was paid to prevent future pandemics.

The documents released to our non-profit organization OpenTheBooks.com reveal that Dr. Fauci was approved for a “permanent pay adjustment” in excess of his regular salary in December 2004, during the George W. Bush Administration.

From 2004 through 2007, Fauci received a 68-percent pay increase from $200,000- to $335,000-a year. This award was permanent and carried forward through 2020.

Fauci’s permanent pay raise was to “appropriately compensate him for the level of responsibility… especially as it relates to his work on biodefense research activities.”

However, critics say that Fauci was funding research that was actually creating pandemic pathogens in labs that, if leaked or if fell into the wrong hands, might create the very human pandemic they were trying to prevent.

Released here, for the first time, is a portion of NIH’s response to our OpenTheBooks FOIA request. These documents highlight Fauci’s central role in pandemic preparedness funding and biodefense strategies in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in the NIH production is a letter, date stamped December 15, 2004, from Dr. Raynard S. Kingston, the then-Deputy Director— which was approved and signed by Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the NIH Director under George W. Bush. The letter reads:

This is to request that the current retention allowance [(b)(6) redaction] for Dr. Anthony S. Fauci be converted to a permanent pay adjustment in the amount [(b)(6) redaction] over his base pay of [(b)(6) redaction] in order to appropriately compensate him for the level of responsibility in his current position of Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), especially as it relates to his work on biodefense research activities.”

Redactions labelled (b)(6) under federal FOIA, fall under a large range of categories protecting the employee’s personal information. These redacted items are likely dollar figures, including his salary at the time, which apparently NIH still deems redaction worthy – even 17 years after the fact. 

 We have already posted his salary back to 2010, but our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com discovered Fauci’s salary records as far back as FY2004. It’s settled transparency law that Fauci’s compensation falls under open records law.

So, why is NIH redacting financial information from 2004 that is 17-years old? Perhaps the answer is in the numbers…

Dr. Anthony Fauci year-over-year salary growth, 2004-2020 OpenTheBooks.com

Dr. Fauci’s “biodefense-related research”

Dr. Kingston’s 2004 letter regarding Dr. Fauci explains some background for his proposed raise:

“More recently, Dr. Fauci has been a key figure in the White House and Department’s response to bioterrorism. His contributions to this effort have been outstanding and include the development of the departmental strategy to augment smallpox vaccine supplies and the development of a plan to develop new anthrax vaccine. He serves as an expert consultant to the White House, the Secretary of DHHS, congressional staff, and a number of HHS groups on the development of biodefense-related research, and public health priorities. He is leading the development of a series of research initiatives, has coordinated fast-track initiatives for academia and industry participation in biodefense-related research, and is responsible for the development of future intermediate and long-range research plans and policies for a sustained and committed biomedical research response to bioterrorism threats. During FY2004, under Dr. Fauci’s leadership, NIAID significantly expanded, intensified, and accelerated its research programs in biodefense.”    

Dr. Fauci permanent pay adjustment justification OpenTheBooks.com

The timeline leading up to Dr. Fauci’s “permanent pay adjustment” is key to understanding Dr. Kingston’s recommendation letter and its approval by Dr. Zerhouni.

  • After 9/11 and the ensuing anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001, Dr. Fauci’s NIAID published, in February 2002, a 15-page document for the agency he oversaw at NIH. It was titled “NIAID Strategic Plan for Biodefense Research” and would kick start the NIAID efforts over the next 19 years to try and keep the country safe from bioterrorism.
  • Two years later, on December 15, 2004, Dr. Fauci’s increased workload was recognized by a permanent pay adjustment. To this day, Fauci’s portfolio still includes overseeing NIAID’s biodefense research, a portfolio that recently has grown by billions of dollars.

Biodefense Funding and NIAID’s Pandemic Pathogen Research

Over the years, NIH funding has gone towards numerous grants categorized as pandemic-prevention research, including grants for research on bat coronaviruses, both in the U.S. and abroad. Justification for the funding centered around trying to prevent the next pandemic and preventing a possible spillover of viruses from nature to humans

Some of the biodefense research Dr. Fauci’s NIAID funding came under fire from fellow scientists as too risky. Critics said that Fauci was funding research in labs that was actually creating pandemic pathogens that, if leaked or if fell into the wrong hands, might create the very human pandemic they were trying to prevent.

  • In 2014, President Barack Obama’s Administration enacted a federal funding pause for what was termed “gain-of-function” research. It turns out, through waivers and pause exemptions, Dr. Fauci’s institute was funding many of the very scientists doing the potentially risky pandemic research, including the University of North Carolina coronavirus researcher Ralph Baric, who collaborated with Shi Zhengli, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s so-called “bat lady,” and New York-based EcoHealth Alliance’s Peter Daszak.
  • In December 2017, weeks after President Donald Trump’s first Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary resigned over a private plane charter scandal, and while the agency was still without a confirmed Secretary (Alex Azar was not confirmed and sworn in until January 2018), NIH and Dr. Fauci’s NIAID quietly restarted funding, with guidance, for what was then termed “enhanced potential pandemic pathogens.” News of the funding restart surprised many in the scientific community.
  • In 2019, Dr. Fauci’s NIAID secretly approved funding for some of the controversial gain-of-function scientists whose very research caused the scientific community’s concern and led to the funding pause under the Obama Administration in 2014.
  • Last month, a rejected 2018 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant proposal was leaked and published online by a collaborate group of scientists and researchers known as DRASTIC, a leak detailed in The Intercept. The DARPA proposal included an idea to create a chimeric bat virus in the lab, to insert a special furin cleavage site, to test it in “humanized” mice, and do this all, in part, to study its potential to emerge as a pandemic.

DARPA documents included in the leak show the agency rejected the grant proposal as too risky, but the fact that most all of the DARPA grant applicants are or were at the time recipients of NIH NIAID funds, under Dr. Fauci, either directly or through subgrants, has raised more than a few eyebrows.

Few of these controversies made it into mainstream news cycles, most likely never would have except that in December 2019 the world learned of a novel respiratory coronavirus emerging in Wuhan, China – the very same city that had a lab that did pandemic bat virus research. Ironically, the Wuhan lab was funded with $600,000 in NIAID subgrants from Fauci’s agency’s biodefense funds, as the doctor himself admitted to Congress.

Further background

On January 27 and May 17, 2021, we asked NIH for Dr. Fauci’s fiscal year 2020 and 2021 financial and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms; job descriptions; and all employment contracts, amendments, modifications, and addendums; respectively.

Dr. Fauci is required by federal law to file these forms with his employer, the National Institutes of Health. It has been nine months and NIH has yet to produce most of the requested documents.

To say that that the details of Dr. Fauci’s employment are of the public interest – after almost two years of government decisions influenced by him – is an understatement.

Note: Dr. Fauci and his agency did not respond to our request for comment before publication.

*  *  *
 
Follow me on Twitter or LinkedInCheck out my website or some of my other work here
Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 22:50

NOAA's Winter Outlook Warns Of 'Double Dip' La Nina, Expect Colder Than Normal Pacific Northwest

21 October 2021 at 19:30
NOAA's Winter Outlook Warns Of 'Double Dip' La Nina, Expect Colder Than Normal Pacific Northwest

La Niña conditions are emerging for the second consecutive winter, impacting the weather across the U.S. in the coming months. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) announced Thursday its seasonal outlook for winter from December 2021 through February 2022.

NOAA's 2021 Winter Outlook outlines wetter-than-average conditions for the Northern U.S., mainly in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and western Alaska. The report said widespread drought in the western half of the U.S. would continue to be monitored.  

"Consistent with typical La Nina conditions during winter months, we anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S. while much of the South experience above-normal temperatures," said Jon Gottschalck, chief of CPC. 

"The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas," Gottschalck said. 

NOAA's temperature outlook for the States: 

  • Warmer-than-average conditions are most likely across the Southern tier of the U.S. and much of the Eastern U.S., with the greatest likelihood of above-average temperatures in the Southeast.

  • Below-average temperatures are favored for southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest eastward to the northern Plains.

  • The Upper Mississippi Valley and small areas of the Great Lakes have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.

The potential development for a double-dip La Niña will also influence precipitation outlooks:

  • The Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, and parts of the Ohio Valley and western Alaska have the greatest chances for wetter-than-average conditions.

  • Drier-than-average conditions are favored in south-central Alaska, southern California, the Southwest, and the Southeast.

  • The forecast for the remainder of the U.S. shows equal chances for below-, near- or above-average precipitation during winter months.

To sum up, La Niña conditions will push the jet stream further north, which leads to a drier and warmer pattern across the Deep South to Southeast. This doesn't mean those areas won't be hit with Arctic blasts, similar to what nearly collapsed Texas' power grid in February. The Lone Star State appears to be taking no chances this year and next as it warned power companies to brace for cold snaps and upgrade systems to avoid blackouts. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 22:30

'Thielism': Beyond The Dogmas Of Reaganism

21 October 2021 at 19:10
'Thielism': Beyond The Dogmas Of Reaganism

Authored by The Thielist via The Thielist Dispatch (emphasis ours),

On October 31st, 2016, Peter Thiel delivered a speech at the National Press Club in the heart of Washington, just a few blocks away from the White House. In his prepared remarks, he articulated the case for Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee whose chances of winning the upcoming election against Hillary Clinton seemed all but nonexistent to the political establishment. But Thiel, always a contrarian, offered a radically different perspective. He argued that Trump voters weren’t crazy, and that the sentiments which fueled the candidate’s meteoric rise were the inevitable result of a country that had been run into the ground by decades of incompetence, misplaced priorities, and bubble thinking. The voters cast their ballots on November 8th, and the rest is history. Thiel was vindicated.

How is it that a Silicon Valley billionaire could have understood what scores of pollsters, consultants, and other industry insiders did not? Thiel’s political endeavors, after all, comprise only a fraction of his work. First and foremost, Peter Thiel is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. And in the very same month that he gave a speech on Trump’s behalf at the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio, Thiel also bludgeoned Gawker Media out of existence and forced its founder into bankruptcy, exacting his revenge for outing him several years prior. But still, he somehow had a better read on the lives of everyday Americans than the pundit class, and in doing so made his peers look like arrogant buffoons.

In an interview with Walter Isaacson, Jeff Bezos said, “contrarians are usually wrong.” While Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” slip encapsulated the Democratic nominee’s contempt for a vast portion of the American electorate, the Amazon founder’s swipe at Thiel speaks to the larger phenomenon that lead to Donald Trump’s rise.

This country’s ruling elites have known nothing but fattening wallets and expanding cultural influence for decades. But in addition to self-enrichment, they have gained unprecedented control over all of America’s treasured institutions, slowly but surely chipping away at ordinary people’s ability to have a meaningful say in how their Republic ought to be run. Having wrested power away from the general public and the government designed to serve their interests, the ruling class has internalized the mentality that they can do no wrong; anyone who challenges their infallibility should simply be ignored. So strong was this self-confidence in 2016 that, when one of their own dared to suggest that the elite consensus was completely untethered from reality, other members of the ruling class simply reassured one another that everything was still proceeding according to plan. When you replay the events of that fateful year from their point of view, it is hard to doubt that waking up on the morning of November 9th must have been uniquely terrifying.

Defining Thielism

Nearly five years after his bet on Donald Trump, Peter Thiel is making his biggest foray into the political arena yet. He has given twin contributions of ten million dollars to the United States Senate campaigns of J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona, and he’s also thrown his support behind the likes of congressional candidates such as Joe Kent and Patrick Witt. No one can say for certain what these efforts will yield, but it is undeniable that Thiel seems determined to disrupt the American political landscape. If his endgame is merely to raise the profile of a strong crop of candidates and get them elected to federal office, the strategy seems to be working. The closely-vetted bunch is charismatic, competent, and strong on messaging, which poses a frustrating challenge to Republican and Democratic challengers alike. But Peter Thiel’s true ambitions are grander.

At the conclusion of his aforementioned National Press Club speech, Thiel spoke of then-candidate Trump ushering in “a new Republican Party, beyond the dogmas of Reaganism” and the birth of “a new American politics that overcomes denial.” The sentiment suggests that the project at hand is far more consequential than boosting a handful of impressive political outsiders. As the patron of an emerging movement within the Republican sphere, Peter Thiel is staging an effort to save the country. This is the dawn of Thielism as a political philosophy, which can be defined as follows:

A contrarian conservatism is one whose priorities and strategies diverge from the platform of the Republican establishment. While reigning in Big Tech, fixing the American university system, and addressing the decline of domestic manufacturing have all become points of conversation on the Right, Thielism emphasizes the need to address each of those problems substantively. Furthermore, it rejects the premise that we always have to subscribe to established methods when devising solutions to those problems. Protecting the American worker, for example, requires us to reassess the near-sacred status of free trade within Republican orthodoxy.

On a fundamental level, Thielism also rejects the doctrine of American exceptionalism. Why? Because it recognizes that America’s greatness cannot exist in rhetoric alone; it must be backed up with action, achievement, and honesty. What made us great in the past is worth celebrating, but simply assuming that some special national character will continue to buoy us into the future is ludicrous. We are still masters of our own destiny, but we can only reassert our national sovereignty if we become far more self-aware than we are today. This awareness requires us to take stock of our problems and begin solving them.

Charting the Course Forward

Every great movement has a founder, but the movement’s impact is inseparably linked to how much its adherents actually accomplish. If one espouses genius ideas but remains largely ignored, it’s not a movement at all. Fortunately, Thielism is reaching a critical mass on the legislative front, as candidates from Washington to Georgia position themselves to win seats in both houses of Congress next fall. But, as important as gaining an electoral foothold may be, it’s only one small part of the Thielist mission. The political dimension of the conservative movement must interface with the cultural dimension. And, most importantly, both politics and culture need to be responsive to the ever-present force of technology, which the Republican establishment has long ignored save for the purpose of generating funds for its campaigns. If leveraged correctly, technology of all varieties, not just digital, can become the space in which we finally reverse America’s decline.

But first, it’s critical to note that we can’t afford to get bogged down in the culture wars. Despite an avalanche of opposition to them, the facts of biology which have underpinned all of human existence and been fundamental to Western civilization remain true as ever. In engaging with debates over such obvious matters, we conservatives lock ourselves into a hopelessly defensive posture. It’s time to drop our shovels and refuse to dig ourselves in any deeper. The only way out of the hole we’re in now is to go up, and the only way up is to build.

This is not to say that we should outright ignore the state of our culture. To do so would be a grave mistake, as the work of preserving whatever fundamental truth and history we have left, reduced and diminished as they may be, remains an always important task. But, as many of us have come to understand already, the brand of conservatism to which we had subscribed up until this point has failed to conserve almost anything meaningful. The Thielist perspective on the matter is to filter out the distractions and devote energy to constructive, new endeavors that will serve our interests in tangible ways.

Towards this end, there are a practically infinite number of pathways which can be taken. Particularly promising are the areas of decentralized finance, human inhabitance of space, and developing new modes of transportation. The common denominator among these three examples is the usage of technology for our own purposes rather than letting it be wielded mercilessly against us. While the current ruling class controls all major institutions, a truly disruptive advancement within a domain beyond their influence will loosen their grip. Of course, artificial intelligence and robots do pose a challenge to the new conservative movement, as both have thus far hurt the American worker immeasurably in service to the globalist agenda. But those scores are not entirely settled, and there is still a chance to stave off the worst possible outcomes if we address both items with urgency.

Ultimately, Thielism seeks to return America to the state of definite optimism, which it has not experienced for some five decades now. Indefinite optimism—the “everything will be fine” mentality—has been the prevailing disposition of the ruling class since the dawn of the 1970s, and it was also the attitude of ordinary people until very recently. Today, most ordinary people aren’t optimistic. We are now in an era of indefinite pessimism, where things are just expected to get worse. And as much as we want to believe that the present storms will pass, a prolonged period of indefinite pessimism will eventually lead to collapse unless things change. A course correction is needed if we are to have any hope of keeping the Republic.

Getting the compass reoriented back towards the ideal, definite optimism, means we need to provide concrete proof that the future will be better than the past. It means overcoming the blackpill, once and for all. It means harnessing the power of technology, which is supposed to improve our quality of life, and actually reaping its benefits. It means reclaiming the American Dream and using the government which exists to protect it in an effective, efficient manner.

In beginning this project, I hope to play a small role in commentating on emerging developments within the conservative movement. It is abundantly clear that we need to take this country back, and doing so requires a worldview that looks beyond the tired solutions of the past to face the future, unafraid to acknowledge the many challenges before our nation today. With the same firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence as our forebears, let us go forward to create and build a better tomorrow for ourselves and for America.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 22:10

'Let's Go Brandon' Rap Kicks Into Overdrive As Dancing Hotties Go Viral

21 October 2021 at 22:11
'Let's Go Brandon' Rap Kicks Into Overdrive As Dancing Hotties Go Viral

What started out as an NBC reporter's ham-handed attempt to suggest NASCAR fans shouting "Fuck Joe Biden" were actually saying "Let's go Brandon!" - is now a viral sensation.

One can buy "Let's Go Brandon" t-shirts, Christmas ornaments, stickers, and other merchandise to express how they feel about Biden - however nothing has gone quite as viral as rapper Loza Alexander's "Let's Go Brandon" rap - which went from a viral TikTok video to the #1 rap hit on iTunes this week.

For the uninitiated:

But wait - there's more...

Loza's FJB rap went so viral that fans started the #LetsGoBrandonChallenge - which attracted submissions from several hotties and a bunch of dudes dancing to the song.

Submitted for your edification in no particular order:

And the dudes...

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/22/2021 - 01:11

CDC Issued Last-Minute Changes To School Reopening Guidance After Being Asked By Teachers Unions, Emails Show

21 October 2021 at 18:30
CDC Issued Last-Minute Changes To School Reopening Guidance After Being Asked By Teachers Unions, Emails Show

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued last-minute changes to its school-reopening guidance after two prominent teachers unions asked the agency to do so, according to newly obtained emails by watchdog group Americans for Public Trust.

The emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog and published online show a string of communications between the CDC, the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second-largest teachers union and one of the top donors to the Democratic Party.

Multiple emails show that both of the teachers unions also received a copy of the guidance, pertaining to the reopening of K–12 schools, shortly before the CDC released it to the general public.

“These documents are further evidence that instead of following the science, the White House and the CDC allowed politics to influence policy,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News.

One such email from AFT’s senior director of health issues, Kelly Trautner, to the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Feb. 11, shows AFT suggesting alterations be made to the CDC’s guidance just one day before it was publicly posted.

“Thank you for your continued openness to our suggestions and input. We would like to share some thoughts regarding the paragraph below which was apparently leaked from the imminent guidance on reopening schools.”

The paragraph reads:

“At any level of community transmission, all schools can provide in-person instruction (either full or hybrid), through strict adherence to mitigation strategies. Recommended learning modes vary to minimize risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in school by emphasizing layered mitigation, including school policies requiring universal and correct mask use. The recommended learning modes (in-person, hybrid) depend on the level of community transmission and strict adherence to mitigation.”

Within the email, Trautner says that “it would be great,” if the CDC insert the line:

“In the event high-community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.”

Trautner goes on to cite concerns over the “likely” implications the language will have in schools where it is difficult to adhere to strict mitigation strategies due to them being located in “high density, crumbling infrastructure areas, and particularly when community transmission is high.”

“We don’t believe that any current research has demonstrated that all schools in those areas can safely reopen,” Trautner wrote.

One day later, on Feb. 12, CDC Chief of Staff Sherri Berger flagged Trautner’s suggestion for “possible follow-ups.”

Walensky forwarded the email on to the CDC’s Director of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, Henry Walke, who replied, “Yes, will work with team.”

On Feb. 12, Walke emailed Walensky with updated language for the guidance, writing, “see below, new is second paragraph.”

“Super, thank you for doing that,” Walensky replied, adding, “I’m so grateful for your help.”

People who are part of standout protest organized by the American Federation of Teachers chant, hold signs, and raise their fists outside of the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 19, 2020. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

The emails also show CDC officials coordinating an early release of the final guidance with both teachers unions.

An email dated Feb. 11 from the CDC’s acting associate director for communications, Christopher Jones, has the subject headline, “AFT/NEA closing the loop.”

“Greta and team will reach out to NEA/AFT this evening to set up a technical discussion tomorrow with both groups to talk through the CDC operational strategy,” Jones wrote.

“Targeting 1130am so they have time to digest prior to the 2 pm release. Feel free to make that offer when you talk to them this evening and say CDC will be reaching out later tonight to set it up,” he continued.

Walensky responded: “Perfect. Will do. Will try to reach them before I board. Thank you!”

The following day, on Feb. 12, Jones wrote that the Department of Health and Human Services “said they are comfortable if we want to send something out at 145 we can. I am going to send the strategy and FS [fact sheet] to the unions at 145. If you all want to send the FS to partners at that time, that is fine. Amy, lets send FS to press at 145.”

Jones messaged Becky Pringle, NEA’s president, and Randi Weingarten, AFT’s president, thanking them for their “continued partnership and input,” along with a PDF version of the strategy posting that day with a fact sheet embargoed until 2 p.m.

“I know not much lead time but wanted to send your way as soon as was able,” Jones wrote.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaks during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 9, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

AFT President Randi Weingarten has defended her organization communicating with the CDC regarding its school opening guidelines earlier this year.

“The CDC in February and March basically asked all sorts of different organizations to sit down with them and give them comments about what they thought was important,” Weingarten said in an interview with C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.”They talked to parent organizations, they talked to the two [teachers] unions.”

“This is normal rule-making,” she said.

The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC and the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers for comment.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 21:30

Video Of Mystery Man Goading Trump Supporters To 'Enter Capitol' Surfaces

21 October 2021 at 18:10
Video Of Mystery Man Goading Trump Supporters To 'Enter Capitol' Surfaces

Four months ago, Revolver News' Darren Beattie reported that the FBI was possibly involved in organizing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Their evidence? A glaring omission in charging documents related to the event - that of several 'unindicted co-conspirators' which could point to either FBI operatives, or 'protected' agitators working with the agency.

BREAKING: @DarrenJBeattie of Revolver News breaks down the involvement of FBI operatives who organized and participated in the January 6th Capitol riot. pic.twitter.com/t1UOnT5zgc

— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 16, 2021

More recently, a September "Justice for J6" rally appeared to have been infiltrated by a group of similarly built and attired gentlemen who were absolutely glowing.

Pockets bulging with nothing in them

The same digital watch (non apple)

All black sunglasses

Athletic builds

Dude still wearing his dress socks

Well groomed short faded haircuts

Suspiciously watching someone record them in a group

This is a piece of art https://t.co/PqRLuHlKHK

— ELIJAH (@ElijahSchaffer) September 18, 2021

Meanwhile, over the past two weeks, several videos have emerged of Trump supporters casually strolling into the Capitol - and in one case, appeared to be waved inside by a Capitol Police officer. 

Is this officer waving the people inside? pic.twitter.com/20MX0uR0fC

— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 18, 2021

And while there doesn't appear to be any direct public evidence that a federal agency was involved in the J6 'insurrection' - a shocking video posted by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has people wondering exactly who this man is telling Trump supporters to 'go into the Capitol' before the January 6 protest.

"I'll say it," says the unidentified man, "We need to go in to the capitol," to which one man starts a "FED!" chant. The same man can be seen approaching other groups of Trump supporters with the same suggestion.

According to Massie, he presented the video to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who refused to acknowledge "how many agents or assets of the federal government were present in the crowd on Jan 5th and 6th and how many entered the Capitol."

I just played this video for AG Merrick Garland. He refused to comment on how many agents or assets of the federal government were present in the crowd on Jan 5th and 6th and how many entered the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/lvd9n4mMHK

— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 21, 2021

Needless to say, speculation abounds:

Holy shit. pic.twitter.com/WwbSjSeLh2

— Cernovich (@Cernovich) October 21, 2021

This man has not been charged https://t.co/xI9rsj2TVm

— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) October 21, 2021

At about 1:03 he says: "We need more people". https://t.co/sNscaLH6wt

— Scooter Downey ☦️ 🇺🇸 (@TrueLegendFilms) October 21, 2021
Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 21:10

Walmart Rolls Out Bitcoin ATMs Across 200 Stores Nationwide

21 October 2021 at 17:50
Walmart Rolls Out Bitcoin ATMs Across 200 Stores Nationwide

While adoption of cryptocurrencies is accelerating among the investor class, rapidly enabled by this week's launch of the first bictoin (futures) ETF, it appears the even broader adoption of digital currencies into day-to-day life and mom-and-pop may be about to escalate dramatically.

Reuters reports that Walmart customers at some of its U.S. stores will be able to purchase bitcoin using ATM-like machines installed by Coinstar.

Coinstar, known for its machines that can exchange physical coins for cash, has partnered with digital currency exchange CoinMe to let customers buy bitcoin at some of its kiosks.

A bitcoin-enabled Coinstar kiosk at a Walmart in Warminster, Pa. (Kevin Reynolds/CoinDesk)

“Coinstar, in partnership with Coinme, has launched a pilot that allows its customers to use cash to purchase bitcoin,” Walmart communications director Molly Blakeman told CoinDesk via email.

“There are 200 Coinstar kiosks located inside Walmart stores across the United States that are part of this pilot.”

Source: Coindesk

This is all good news for those who see the network effect building more sustainable value in bitcoin, but, as CoinDesk.com reports, there are some 'complications'.

After inserting bills into the machine, a paper voucher is issued.

The next stage involves setting up a Coinme account and passing a know-your-customer (KYC) check before the voucher can be redeemed.

The machine charges a 4% fee for the bitcoin option, plus another 7% cash exchange fee, according to the Coinstar website and verified by CoinDesk.

That's considerably more complicated than a standard bank ATM and we suspect may leave a few eager adopters holding back.

“Large retailers need to make sure they know the vendor they’re getting into bed with and what that organization is doing to manage risk,” Seth Sattler, compliance director of BTM provider DigitalMint, said in an interview.

However, as Coindesk notes, the cryptocurrency ATM industry is expanding at a rapid pace, partly fueled by the COVID pandemic.  Coinstar announced plans in 2020 to double its fleet of 3,500 Coinme BTMs amid a spike in usage. More recently, Coinstar, which started adding bitcoin-buying services with Coinme in early 2019, added 300 bitcoin-enabled machines at Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más, Harveys and other grocery stores across Florida.

There are now almost 30,000 Crypto ATMs worldwide...

Source: CoinATMRadar.com

But Walmart (with 4,700 stores and a market cap of $409 billion), long seen as the crown jewel to bringing crypto financial services into the mainstream, is another step in the evolution of cryptocurrencies in everyday life.

And no, this is not another Litecoin-like hoax.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 20:50

Blacklisted Huawei Paid Tony Podesta $500K To Lobby Biden Admin During Same Quarter CFO Released

21 October 2021 at 17:30
Blacklisted Huawei Paid Tony Podesta $500K To Lobby Biden Admin During Same Quarter CFO Released

Chinese tech giant Huawei paid Democratic lobbyist and donor Tony Podesta $500,000 to lobby the White House during the third quarter - the same period in which the Biden DOJ struck a deal to allow Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to return home from Canada, where she was awaiting extradition to face criminal charges in the US.

Whether Podesta spirit-cooked up Wanzhou's release is unknown, however the White House says they had nothing to do with it - and that the company is still subject to trade restrictions.

"This was a law enforcement matter that was entirely in the Justice Department’s hands – not a policy matter," a White House official told CNBC. "As the Justice Department has said, they ‘reached the decision to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with Ms. Meng independently, based on the facts and the law, and an assessment of litigation risk."

"President Biden and this administration believe digital infrastructure equipment made by untrustworthy vendors, like Huawei, pose a threat to the security of the U.S., our allies, and our partners. Export controls against Huawei remain in place," the official continued, adding. "We are engaging with all of our partners and allies on the risks posed by Huawei and dozens of countries and carriers have made the decision to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks. And we expect this trend to continue."

According to the report, Podesta registered to lobby for Huawei in July - his first official return to lobbying after his firm's 2017 collapse under heavy scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russiagate probe.

Podesta, according to the third quarter disclosure, targeted only the White House Office for Huawei last quarter. The disclosure form says it was for “issues related to telecommunication services and impacted trade issues.” The White House Office is run by the president’s chief of staff, who, in this case, is Ron Klain, another veteran Democratic power player.

...

For years, Huawei has sought to curry favor with American officials as it faces accusations that it is a threat to American national security. China’s government is known to exert a great deal of influence over the nation’s companies, although Huawei has denied that it would give data to Beijing. -CNBC

Podesta's now-defunct lobbying firm earned hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for Russian-owned mining company Uranium One during the same period that the Clinton Foundation was receiving millions from individuals connected to the U1 transaction.

The Podesta Group ended 2015 as Washington DC's third-largest lobbying firm - with nearly $30 million in revenue from over 100 clients. After a string of embarrassing news reports, including a failure to improperly report a $300,000 shipping expense for Tony's art collection, employees set up a system to prevent Mr. Podesta from being reimbursed by the company for personal expenditures, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2016, SunTrust bank severed ties with the Podesta Group when they discovered that they were doing work for a U.S. subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian bank - presumably Russias Kremlin-owned Sberbank, which paid the Podesta group $170,000 over a 6 month period through September 2016 to lobby against 2014 economic sanctions by the Obama administration.

Then, during the Russiagate investigation, Podesta clients became spooked as Special Counsel Robert Mueller began closing in on associate Paul Manafort. The Podesta Group decided (coincidentally) to retroactively file as a foreign agent for their work with the Manafort's Pro-Russia Centre for a Modern Ukraine campaign  tied to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, shortly before Manafort's indictment. The Podesta Group made $1.2 million as part of that effort

With the Manafort probe red-hot, the unraveling of the Podesta Group was swift. With clients such as Wells Fargo, Wal Mart and Oracle Corp. bailing on Tony, the lobbying firm death-spiraled into default - as Tony refused to pledge his giant art collection against firm obligations.

That said, like a cat with nine-lives, Tony Podesta has risen from radioactive recluse to DC power broker once again,. now that his old friends from the Democratic party running the show.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 20:30

Shipping Containers From Stranded Ships Abandoned In California Neighborhoods

21 October 2021 at 17:10
Shipping Containers From Stranded Ships Abandoned In California Neighborhoods

Authored by Christopher Burroughs via The Epoch Times,

Shipping containers stranded for weeks at sea are now reportedly being abandoned in California neighborhoods.

Anaheim Street in Los Angeles has become one of the locations where an overflow of empty containers now line local streets, as nearby UCTI Trucking deals with more than they can handle under the local port’s 24/7 operations.

“It’s a bunch of neighbors that are very upset because it’s a non-stop issue,” local resident Sonia Cervantes told CBSLA.

Cervantes also said a container had blocked her car at one point.

UCTI Trucking owner Frank Arrieran addressed the situation, as the company experiences massive overflow to its usual 65 container spaces.

“Right now with the ports and everything that’s going on over there we’re stuck with the containers, having to bring them all to the yard, and we only have so much space,” Arrieran told CBSLA.

Arrieran hopes to strike a deal with local officials to access more space to meet the growth in operations.

As of Tuesday, 100 container ships were reportedly waiting to unload in the Los Angeles Port. Industry leaders claim the backlogs are partly due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The growing supply chain issues have led some to label it a crisis. Republicans have spoken out for more from the Department of Transportation, while President Joe Biden addressed plans to improve shipping.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said there “is more that the Department of Transportation can and should be doing to help address ongoing supply chain issues related to the pandemic,” in a statement to the Washington Examiner last week.

The supply chain crisis led Biden to make new announcements last week to address congestion at some of America’s ports.

“After weeks of negotiation and working with my team and with the major union and retailers and freight movers, the Ports of Los Angeles—the Port of Los Angeles announced today that it’s going to be—begin operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Biden announced.

“This follows the Port of Long Beach’s commitment to 24/7 that it announced just weeks ago,” he added.

Biden called the effort a “first key step” to improving the nation’s supply chain.

The president’s speech also announced the expansion of shipping companies to meet the growing demands.

“Additionally, FedEx and UPS, two of our nation’s biggest freight movers, are committing today to significantly increase the amount of goods they are moving at night. FedEx and UPS are the shippers for some of our nation’s largest stores, but they also ship for tens of thousands of small businesses all across America,” he added.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 20:10

China Tested Two Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Glide Vehicles This Summer, FT Reports

21 October 2021 at 16:50
China Tested Two Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Glide Vehicles This Summer, FT Reports

The Chinese military threat continues to be realized this week as it now appears two hypersonic weapon tests were conducted from low Earth orbit this summer, according to Financial Times, citing four people familiar with US intelligence assessments. 

China's next-generation hypersonic weapons appear far superior to anything in the US arsenal (that we know of). The first test was reportedly conducted on July 27 when a rocket used a "fractional orbital bombardment" system to launch a nuclear-capable "hypersonic glide vehicle" around the world. 

FT initially reported the test was conducted in early August. However, sources familiar with US intelligence assessments say the second test occurred on August 13. 

Three people familiar with the hypersonic tests said US military officials were "stunned" because China tested weapons that the US does not currently possess. 

One person said US government space experts were baffled on how the Chinese were able to conduct such tests because they appeared "to defy the laws of physics." 

China orbiting nuclear-capable hypersonic gliders exploits the weakness of US missile defense systems which means the new weapons could potentially strike the US mainland. On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian downplayed the August test and disputed FT's initial report indicating the object was a "reusable space vehicle" similar to the ones used by SpaceX. 

On Thursday, during a regular news briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, "I want to reiterate that this test reported by certain media is a routine spacecraft test to verify the technology of the spacecraft's reusability." 

The tests reported by FT have garnered concern from the White House. President Biden on Wednesday told reporters he was worried about the hypersonic development overseas. 

US Admiral Charles Richard, the head of Strategic Command who oversees US nuclear forces, told Stars and Stripes this week that he wouldn't be surprised if more reports are published in the press next month. 

In response to the tests, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned that the West "needs to wake up" to the dangers of Chinese hypersonic weapons.

"I definitely think the West needs to wake up to the consequences of Chinese and Russian missile development. They are potent," Wallace said. "It is very important to understand what they are developing and what that means, both in range and speed of capabilities. We have seen China and Russia increase speeds in [their] missiles and ranges to an accurate level."

If the hypersonic tests are confirmed, they would suggest China is lightyears ahead of the US and the rest of the world. President Xi Jinping would then have the ability to unleash orbital strikes on the US mainland or allies. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 19:50

Salmonella Outbreak In Multiple States Linked To Onions: CDC

21 October 2021 at 16:30
Salmonella Outbreak In Multiple States Linked To Onions: CDC

Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a food safety alert on Wednesday regarding an outbreak of Salmonella infections in multiple states it says has been linked to whole onions.

At least 652 people from 37 states have reported sick, 129 of whom have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, the CDC announced.

The onions—whole red, white, and yellow varieties—were all imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed across the United States by ProSource Inc., according to epidemiological and traceback data, per the CDC.

“The outbreak strain was identified in a sample of cilantro and lime from a restaurant condiment cup collected from a sick person’s home,” the CDC alert reads.

“The sick person also reported that the cup contained onions, though none were left in the cup when it was tested.”

About 75 percent of the sick people who were interviewed said that they ate or possibly ate raw onions or dishes containing raw onions before they became sick, and several ill people reported eating at the same restaurants, which the CDC said indicates “they may be part of illness clusters.”

Investigators determined that ProSource Inc. supplied onions to many of the restaurants where sick individuals had eaten, including the restaurant where the condiment cup was collected. The investigators are now working to see whether other onions or suppliers are also linked to the outbreak.

The CDC advises people who have unlabelled whole onions at home to throw them away. If the onions are known to have been imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed by ProSource Inc., people should not eat them and businesses should not sell or serve them, the agency advised.

Furthermore, people are urged to wash surfaces and containers that may have touched the onions, using hot soapy water or a dishwasher.

People who eat food contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria can develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramping within 6 hours to 6 days, the CDC warned. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment, but sometimes cases can be severe and warrant hospitalization. Severe illness is more likely in children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with compromised immune systems.

The CDC urges people to contact a doctor if they have severe symptoms.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 19:30

CDC Advisory Committee Quietly Confirms Moderna Jab Significantly More Dangerous Than Pfizer

21 October 2021 at 16:10
CDC Advisory Committee Quietly Confirms Moderna Jab Significantly More Dangerous Than Pfizer

Update (1900ET): The CDC's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for certain populations and allow people to mix-and-match doses.

This aligns with The FDA's authorization Wednesday night which said people could switch to whichever vaccine they wanted for their booster shot.

  • Boosters for Moderna’s two-dose vaccine and J&J’s single-dose shot may be taken by Americans over 65, as well as those over 18 with a higher risk of severe COVID or exposure to the virus.

  • Dosing for the Moderna booster will be less than its two-dose regiment and will be permitted six months after the third shot.

  • J&J will be allowed after two months.

  • The Food and Drug Administration authorization Wednesday night greenlit people could switch to whichever vaccine they wanted for their booster shot.

As a reminder, the committee in late September did not support a Pfizer booster for people in high-risk workforces but was overruled by CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

"We have to acknowledge where we’re in a situation where we don’t have as much data as we would like. But we still have to make practical decisions and I think there’s as much data to support mixing and matching as there is for boosters in general," John Whyte, chief medical officer of WebMD, tells Axios.

*  *  *

Back in July, we reported on a study published in JAMA's Cardiology journal which linked "acute chest pain" in male American soldiers to mRNA jabs. The pain, as researchers found, was caused by myocarditis and pericarditis, two different types of heart inflammation, which, as we now know, are rare but dangerous side effects of the mRNA vaccines.

About six weeks after that, the Washington Post published leaked data from a Canadian study which claimed that the risks of these types of dangerous side effects (which mostly occur in younger men) were significantly higher in patients given the Moderna jab vs. the Pfizer jab.

Now, one day after the FDA defied its own advisors by approving the Moderna jab and J&J jab for booster doses for practically all American adults (while also producing guidelines for mixing and matching of vaccines for booster doses), a CDC advisory panel met Thursday and, while reviewing all the data on safety and efficacy, finally admitted that the earlier warnings about the excess dangers associated with the Moderna jab have been confirmed.

What's more, as the slide below says, rates of rare heart risks (myocarditis/pericarditis) among 18-39 year olds are higher for the Moderna jab than the Pfizer jab. But risks are still present for both, and it's the younger patients (who least need the vaccines) who are most at risk for the side effects.

To be sure, the CDC advisory committee presentation notes claim that most cases of heart inflammation following vaccination are "generally mild, with prompt resolution of symptoms". But keep in mind, that's in adult patients under the age of 40, who are among the lowest risk for COVID (unless they have a weakened immune system, are obese or have any other issues that make them particularly vulnerable).

For a visualization of the risks of Moderna vs. Pfizer, check out the chart below, which was presented to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and relies on data gathered by Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Of course, this data doesn't include patients who received boosters, although some data have shown that booster doses raise the risk for rare side effects (though they do remain pretty rare).

When it comes to boosters, it is unclear if the myocarditis risk of the Moderna booster will be as high since the FDA and CDC are asking Moderna to reformulate boosters with a lower dose (since there's also data showing that the Moderna jab's efficacy is longer lasting than that of the Pfizer jab).

Unfortunately, ACIP member Keipp Talbot, who chairs a work group on COVID vaccine safety, told his colleagues on Thursday that there's no way of knowing for certain right now if the risks from the Moderna jab will be lessened by giving boosters that are half the dose of the original courses. 

Another advisory committee member said she's worried about giving boosters of mRNA jabs to young men, and also worried about giving boosters of the J&J jab to young women (the J&J and AstraZeneca jabs have been linked to serious side effects and even deaths).

Finally, after reviewing all the safety and efficacy data, one observer who apparently monitored Thursday's meeting still has a burning question: Will mRNA boosters lead to stabilized boosting? Or is mRNA protection inherently short-lived?

31. Here's the conclusion slide for the VE presentation.
Another thing I'd like to know: Will mRNA boosters lead to stabilized boosting? Or is mRNA protection inherently short-lived? @florian_krammer? @TheBcellArtist? @EJohnWherry? pic.twitter.com/MpPICsHPwH

— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) October 21, 2021

Thanks to the Biden Administration's rush to dole out booster jabs due to the delta variant (and now, with the threat of the delta-plus variant looming on the horizon), it looks like we'll all find out together.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 19:10

House Votes To Hold Steve Bannon In Contempt Of Congress

21 October 2021 at 15:50
House Votes To Hold Steve Bannon In Contempt Of Congress

Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times,

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold former President Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress after he declined to cooperate with a congressional investigation of the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally.

The partisan vote came after the Democrat-led Jan. 6 Committee voted to move the charge forward to be confirmed in the House. Members of the commission alleged that Bannon refusing a subpoena to provide documents and testimony to the panel constitutes contempt of Congress.

Five 'Republicans' voted "yes" on Bannon's contempt charge:

  1. Liz Cheney

  2. Adam Kinzinger

  3. Anthony Gonzalez

  4. Peter Meijer

  5. Mike Simpson

The contempt resolution argues that Bannon has no legal standing to defy the subpoena.

Trump’s attorney argued that Bannon shouldn’t comply because the requested information is protected by the former president’s executive privilege. Team Trump submitted a memo to Trump’s website announcing a “lawsuit to defend executive privilege.”

“The January 6th Committee is a partisan sham to distract Americans from the Democrats’ policies that are killing and robbing Americans,” the memo alleged.

The committee says it wants Bannon’s documents and testimony because he was in touch with Trump before the Jan. 6 incident, because he tried to get Trump to focus on the congressional certification of the election results, and because he said on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose” the next day.

Bannon “appears to have had multiple roles relevant to this investigation, including his role in constructing and participating in the ‘stop the steal’ public relations effort that motivated the attack” and “his efforts to plan political and other activity in advance of Jan. 6,” the committee alleged in the resolution.

“Based on the committee’s investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advance knowledge of the plans for January 6th and likely had an important role in formulating those plans,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chair, said at the committee meeting.

“His testimony is important because he was predicting that all hell was going to break loose on Jan. 6 and he was reportedly in communication with the president in proximity to the 6th, in multiple communications with the White House leading up to that day,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of nine members on the Jan. 6 committee, told reporters.

With the House’s certification of the charge, it is now up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decide whether or not to pursue legal action.

President Joe Biden has encouraged the DOJ, led by his appointee Merrick Garland, to prosecute those found to have violated the Jan. 6 commission’s subpoenas.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later sought to clarify Biden’s remarks, writing on Twitter that he “supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions.”

The post drew pushback from Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), who responded by wondering if the DOJ would be charging Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who’s under investigation for alleged tax fraud.

“How about the millions of illegals crossing our southern border? There is nothing independent about this DOJ. They serve the far left and only care about investigating conservatives,” Steube said.

The DOJ has promised that it will react to the case on its merits, and will not be swayed by partisanship.

“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” a DOJ spokesperson told news outlets in an Oct. 15 statement.

Garland promised much the same. “The department recognizes the important oversight role Congress plays in respect to the executive branch. I’ll say what a DOJ spokesperson said yesterday: The House votes for a referral of a contempt charge, the DOJ will do what it always does—apply the facts and the law and make a decision.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) argued that the subpoena issued by the committee is “invalid” because neither party knows whether Bannon is protected under executive privilege.

“They’re issuing an invalid subpoena,” McCarthy said.

“Issuing an invalid subpoena weakens our power. He has the right to go to the court to see if he has executive privilege or not. I don’t know if he does or not, but neither does the committee. So they’re weakening the power of Congress itself by issuing an invalid subpoena.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) applauded the committee at a Thursday press conference.

She alleged that “The January 6 domestic terrorist attack was intended to interfere with the constitutional transfer of power.”

House Democratic Caucus Co-chairman Pete Aguillar (D-Calif.) said of the vote. 

“Let me be clear that this is not done to be punitive, this is done to uphold the law.”

Trump has also commented on the ongoing proceedings on his website.

Trump said in a statement on the situation:

This is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt which started with the now fully debunked and discredited Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, quickly reverting to a perfect phone call with Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and now this. The Unselect Committee is composed of absolute political hacks who want to destroy the Republican Party and are decimating America itself.

“I am the only thing in their way,” Trump concluded, promising continued intervention on Bannon’s behalf.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 18:50

Stocks That Miss Expectations Are Being Hammered By The Most On Record

21 October 2021 at 15:30
Stocks That Miss Expectations Are Being Hammered By The Most On Record

It was just a quarter ago (and then again, the quarter before that) when we reported that in a market as priced to perfection as this one, where stock prices have massively outrun fair value based on corporate earnings (in some cases by years, but that's where super generous earnings multiples come in), that investors have no patience for companies that miss, and the result was a furious hammering of all stocks that missed top or bottom-line expectations (and in many cases, companies that beat but did not beat by enough were also punished).

Well, fast forward to this quarter when the same phenomenon is at play: while earnings are expected to (still) come in hot, the market has a familiar warning to companies: miss and you will get punished.

While so far Q3 earnings has come is surprisingly strong - amid whispers that stagflation will hit margins - and 84% of reporting companies have posted earnings that topped expectations, just shy of the best showing ever, similar to last quarter the firms that surpassed profit forecasts got almost nothing to show for it in the market while misses got punished the most since Bloomberg started tracking the data in 2017.

As Bloomberg details looking at recent reports, Procter & Gamble beat on sales and earnings on Tuesday, only to have investors fixate on rising commodity and freight costs. Baker Hughes plunged 5.7% after reporting a third-quarter earnings stumble. And streaming giant Netflix Inc. fell 2.2% on Wednesday as traders looked past a profit and subscriber-growth beat.

On average, companies that beat on profit estimates outperformed the S&P 500 by less than 0.2%.

What about companies that did not beat? Here it was really ugly: shares of firms that missed profit forecasts underperformed the S&P 500 by 4.4% a day after the report, the worst post-earnings reaction since at least 2017, Bloomberg reported.

Combining with our previous observations on this striking phenomenon, this makes Q3 the fourth consecutive quarter in which earnings are not being rewarded and where beats are being severely punished by a market which has been priced to beyond perfection. And while U.S. companies overall have been able to deal with the pandemic-related headaches, analysts want to see whether they can continue to charge more for products without losing business should costs from labor to raw materials continue to go up.

“It is just going to take time to get all those container ships to port and to have enough trucks and truck drivers to take it the last mile to the store shelf or distribution facility,” said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management. “We hear corroborating evidence from corporate CEOs and, frankly, our own clients — that the current bottlenecks will persist into mid-2022.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 18:30

Feds Confirm Body Found In Florida Nature Preserve Is Brian Laundrie

21 October 2021 at 15:13
Feds Confirm Body Found In Florida Nature Preserve Is Brian Laundrie

One of the biggest American manhunts in recent memory is finally over.

After a day of anxious speculation by millions of Americans who have become engrossed in the Gabby Petito drama, the FBI has just confirmed that human remains found in a Florida nature preserve do in fact belong to Brian Laundrie. According to the bureau, dental records on the cadaver match those belonging to Laundrie.

#UPDATE: On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie. @FBITampa pic.twitter.com/ZnzbXiibTM

— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) October 21, 2021

Laundrie’s parents helped lead the FBI the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, Bertolino told news outlets this week.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie were at the reserve earlier today when human remains and some of Brian’s possessions were located in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be,” he said Wednesday.

Steven Bertolino, the lawyer representing the Laundrie family, confirmed the FBI’s findings to news outlets.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s. We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie’s privacy at this time,” Bertolino said.

Laundrie is a person of interest in the death of his former girlfriend, Petito, whose body was found in Wyoming a month ago. Laundrie was wanted on a federal warrant for using a debit card belonging to Petito after her disappearance.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 18:13
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