Advertisements


A Microchip Containing Your Vaccine Passport Information Can Now Be Embedded In Your Hand

A Microchip Containing Your Vaccine Passport Information Can Now Be Embedded In Your Hand.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Five Trump-Russia "Collusion" Corrections We Need From The Media Now

Five Trump-Russia 'Collusion' Corrections We Need From The Media Now Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClearInvestigations.com, Five years after the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded collection of Trump-Russia conspiracy theories known as the Steele dossier was published by BuzzFeed, news outlets that amplified its false allegations have suffered major losses of credibility. The recent indictment of the dossier's main source, Igor Danchenko, for allegedly lying to the FBI, has catalyzed a new reckoning. In response to what the news site Axios has called "one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history," the Washington Post has re-edited at least a dozen stories related to Steele. For two of those, the Post removed entire sections, changed headlines, and added lengthy editor's notes. Rosalind Helderman: Bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@PostRoz Tom Hamburger: Other bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@thamburger But the Post's response also exhibits the limits of the media's Steele-induced self-examination. First, the reporters bylined on those two articles, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, and their editors have declined to explain how and why they were so egregiously misled. Nor have they revealed the names of the anonymous sources responsible for deceiving them and the public over months and years. Perhaps more important, the Post, like other publications, has so far limited its Russiagate reckoning to work directly involving Steele – and only after a federal indictment forced its hand. But the Steele dossier has been widely discredited since at least April 2019, when Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and his team of prosecutors and FBI agents were unable to find evidence in support of any of its claims. The dossier was also only one aspect of the Trump-Russia misinformation fed to the public. Even when not advancing Steele's most lurid allegations, the nation's most prominent news outlets nonetheless furthered his underlying narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy and a Kremlin-compromised White House. Along the way, some journalists won their profession's highest distinction for this flawed coverage. While co-bylining stories that the Post has all but retracted, Helderman and Hamburger also share a now increasingly awkward honor along with more than a dozen other colleagues at the Post and New York Times: a Pulitzer Prize. In 2018, the Pulitzer awards committee honored the two papers for 20 articles it described as "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect's transition team and his eventual administration." Above, Washingon Post and New York Times reporters whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on the Trump-Russia affair is tainted by evidence in the public record that significant reporting was erroneous or misleading -- reporting that still has not been corrected by their publications, even though the Post recently made numerous corrections regarding the long-discredited Steele dossier. Journalist identifications are here. (Credit: YouTube/The Pulitzer Prizes) Although neither newspaper has given any indication that it is returning the Pulitzer, the public record has long made clear that many of those stories – most of which had nothing to do with Steele – include falsehoods and distortions requiring significant corrections. Far from showing "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage," the Post's and the Times' reporting has the same problem as the Steele document that these same outlets are now distancing themselves from: a reliance on anonymous, deceptive, and almost certainly partisan sources for claims that proved to be false. Many other prestigious outlets published a barrage of similarly flawed articles. These include the report by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy that the Mueller team obtained evidence that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had visited Prague in 2016; Jane Mayer's fawning March 2018 profile of Steele in the New Yorker; the report by Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier of BuzzFeed that President Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress -- explicitly denied by Mueller at the time; and Luke Harding of The Guardian's bizarre and evidence-free allegation that Julian Assange and Paul Manafort met in London's Ecuadorian embassy. McClatchy and BuzzFeed have added editors' notes to their stories but have not retracted them.  In this article, RealClearInvestigations has collected five instances of stories containing false or misleading claims, and thereby due for retraction or correction, that were either among the Post and Times' Pulitzer-winning entries, or other work of reporters who shared that prize. Significantly, this analysis is not based on newly discovered information, but documents and other material long in the public domain. Remarkably, some of the material that should spark corrections has instead been held up by the Post and Times as vindication of their work. RCI sent detailed queries about these stories to the Post, the Times, and the journalists involved. The Post's response has been incorporated into the relevant portion of this article. The Times did not respond to RCI's queries by the time of publication. Falsehood No. 1: Michael Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russia and Lied About It Flynn faces the press in his only White House Briefing Room remarks as national security adviser. YouTube/C-SPAN Officials say Flynn discussed sanctions By Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen NakashimaWashington Post, February 9, 2017 Less than a month after BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, the Washington Post significantly advanced the then-growing narrative that the Trump White House was beholden to Russia. A Feb. 9, 2017, Post article claimed that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia" with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak "during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials." The Post sourced its reporting to nine "current and former officials" who occupied "senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls" between Flynn and Kislyak following the Nov. 8, 2016 election. The Post's sources – who were revealing classified information, presumably from taps on Kislyak's phone – left no room for doubt: "All of those officials said Flynn's references to the election-related sanctions were explicit." They also added their own spin to the meaning of the conversations: Flynn's calls with Kislyak "were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election." Adding some mind-reading to the narrative, a former official told the Post that Kislyak "was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time." The Post and its sources fueled innuendo that Flynn had floated a payback for Russia's alleged 2016 election help and lied to cover it up. Facing a barrage of anonymous officials contradicting him, Flynn walked back an initial denial and told the Post that "while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up." Four days later, he was forced to resign. The following December, Special Counsel Mueller seemingly vindicated the Post's narrative when Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, including about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn would later backtrack and reverse that guilty plea, sparking a multi-year legal saga. When the transcripts of his calls with Kislyak were finally released in May 2020, they showed that Flynn had grounds to fight: It wasn't Flynn who made a false statement about discussing sanctions with Kislyak; it was all nine of the Post's sources — and, later, the Mueller team — who had misled the public. Sergei Kislyak: Transcripts of Flynn's calls with the Russian Ambassador do not square with the Washington Post's reporting. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File In all of Flynn's multiple conversations with Kislyak in December 2016 and January 2017, the issue of sanctions only gets one fleeting mention – by Kislyak. The Russian ambassador tells Flynn that he is concerned that sanctions will hurt U.S.-Russia cooperation on fighting jihadist insurgents in Syria. The sum total of Flynn's response on the matter: "Yeah, yeah." The pair did have a longer discussion about a separate action Obama had ordered at the time: the expulsion of 35 Russian officials living in the United States. The expulsions, which were carried out by the State Department, were a distinct action from the sanctions, which targeted nine Russian entities and individuals under a presidential executive order. In discussing the expulsions, Flynn never addressed what Trump might do; his only request was that the Kremlin's response be "reciprocal" and "even-keeled" so that "cool heads" can "prevail." "[D]on't go any further than you have to," Flynn told Kislyak. "Because I don't want us to get into something that has to escalate, on a, you know, on a tit for tat." In its rendering of the call, the Mueller team cited these comments from Flynn – but inaccurately claimed that he had made them about sanctions. The Special Counsel's Office appeared to be following the lead of the Post's sources, who had claimed, falsely, that Flynn's references to sanctions were "explicit." Both the Post and the special counsel used Flynn's explicit comments about expulsions to erroneously assert that he had discussed sanctions. Yet the release of the transcripts did not prompt the Post to come clean. Instead, both the Post and the New York Times doubled down on the deception. The Post's May 29, 2020, story about the transcripts' release was headlined "Transcripts of calls between Flynn, Russian diplomat show they discussed sanctions." The Times claimed that same day that "Flynn Discussed Sanctions at Length With Russian Diplomat, Transcripts Show." In reality, the transcripts showed the exact opposite. In response to RCI, the Post acknowledged that the Feb. 9, 2017 story had conflated "sanctions" with "expulsions." "We appropriately used the word 'sanctions' in reference to the punitive measures announced by President Obama, including Treasury penalties on Russian individuals, expulsions of Russian diplomats/spies and the seizure of two Russia-owned properties," Shani George, the Post's Vice President for Communications, wrote. In other articles, however -- including a Dec. 29, 2016 article linked in the Feb. 9 story's second paragraph – the Post made a clear distinction between the two. Asked about dropping the distinction between sanctions and expulsions for the article discussed here, the Post did not respond by the time of publication.  Falsehood No. 2: Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence Left to right, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone: Repeated contacts with Russian spies? Doubtful. FNC/AP Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence By Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, February 14, 2017 On Feb. 14, 2017 – just one day after Flynn resigned – the New York Times fanned the flames of the growing Trump-Russia inferno. "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials," the Times reported. The story, written by three members of the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning team, Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, also suggested that these suspicious "repeated contacts" were the basis for the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's potential conspiracy with Russia: "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election." The article even threw in a plug for Christopher Steele, who, the Times said, is believed by senior FBI officials to have "a credible track record." The story helped build momentum for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller, and then quickly unraveled. Four months after the Times' report – and just weeks after Mueller's hiring – FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress about the story, saying that "in the main, it was not true." When the Mueller report was released in April 2019, it contained no evidence of any contacts between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officials, senior or otherwise. And in July 2020, declassified documents showed that Peter Strzok, the top FBI counterintelligence agent who opened the Trump-Russia probe, had privately dismissed the article. The Times reporting, Strzok wrote upon its publication, was "misleading and inaccurate … we are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials." Comey on Times story: "In the main, it was not true." It's still uncorrected. To date, the Times has appended two minor corrections. The most recent one reads: "An earlier version of a photo caption with this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D." Rather than address its glaring errors, the Times left the story otherwise intact. When the Strzok notes disputing its claims emerged, the Times responded: "We stand by our reporting." Earlier this year, the Times even claimed vindication. The occasion was an April 15, 2021, press release from the Treasury Department. The Treasury statement alleged that Konstantin Kilimnik, a former aide to Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is a "known Russian Intelligence Services agent" who "provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" during the 2016 election. Writing that same day, Times reporters Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt declared that Treasury's evidence-free press release — coupled with an evidence-free Senate Intelligence claim in August 2020 that Kilimnik is a "Russian intelligence officer" — now "confirm" the Times' report from February 2017. The Treasury announcement did not explain how the department, which conducted no official Russiagate investigation, was prompted to lodge an explosive allegation that a multi-year FBI/Mueller investigation found no evidence for. It also does not name the position Kilimnik allegedly held in Russian intelligence – much less say whether he was a senior official. It also failed to address ample countervailing evidence: that Kilimnik had shared this same, publicly available polling data with Americans; that the FBI still does not deem him a Russian intelligence officer, instead claiming that he has unspecified "ties"; that he had long been a valued State Department source; that he traveled to the U.S. on a civilian Russian passport, not the suspicious diplomatic one Mueller alleged without producing it; and that even the Senate Intelligence Committee was "unable to obtain direct evidence of what Kilimnik did with the polling data and whether that data was shared further."  Wanted in the U.S., Kilimnik shared his civilian (not diplomatic) passport with RCI. Konstantin Kilimnik via RealClearInvestigations In addition, no U.S. government or congressional investigator ever contacted him for questioning, Kilimnik told RCI in an April 2021 interview when he produced images of the civilian passport. To declare victory, Mazzetti and Schmidt not only relied on one sentence of a press release but distorted the claims of their original story. Even if Kilimnik somehow proved to be a Russian intelligence officer, the Times' 2017 story had reported that the Trump campaign had engaged in "intercepted calls" with multiple "senior Russian intelligence officials" – not just one person, and at a "senior" level. To elide that, Mazzetti and Schmidt abandoned the plural Russian "intelligence officials" to spin the Treasury press release as proof that "there had been numerous interactions between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the year before the election." It then returned to the use of the plural to further claim that Treasury's statement is "the strongest evidence to date that Russian spies had penetrated the inner workings of the Trump campaign." RCI sent Mazzetti and Schmidt detailed questions about their February 2017 article and their claim, four years later, that a Senate report and a Treasury press release confirm it. They did not respond. Falsehood No. 3: George Papadopoulos's 'Night of Heavy Drinking' With the Australian Envoy The Times mischaracterized George Papadopoulos's supposed Russiagate-launching barroom chat. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Unlikely Source Propelled Russian Meddling Inquiry By Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, December 30, 2017 By late 2017, the Russiagate saga was engulfing the Trump presidency. The indictments of several figures connected to Trump fueled a media-driven narrative that Mueller was closing in on a Trump-Russia conspiracy. But a roadblock emerged in late October. After a year of evasions, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its law firm Perkins Coie admitted that they had funded the Steele dossier and that a lawyer for the firm, Marc Elias, had commissioned it. The disclosure was forced by House Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, who had subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS in a bid to identify its secret funder. (Fusion GPS was the opposition-research firm hired by Perkins Coie that in turn hired Steele.) For those wedded to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, the admission was problematic: After months of anonymous media claims that Steele's dossier was "credible" and even "bearing out," the heralded document was exposed as a paid partisan hit job from Trump's political opponents. If the FBI was found to have relied on the dossier, the Clinton campaign's key role could discredit the entire investigation. Just before the 2017 year-end deadline for 2018 Pulitzer eligibility, the New York Times produced a new origin story for the probe that would temper these concerns and help the newspaper win the prize. The FBI's decision to open the Trump-Russia probe had nothing to do with Steele, the Times claimed. Instead, the instigator was George Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign volunteer indicted by Mueller two months prior. "During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016," the Times' piece began, Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer that Russia had "political dirt on Hillary Clinton," including "thousands of emails." Papadopoulos, the Times said, had learned of the Russian scheme the previous month from Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who claimed to be in touch with "high-level Russian officials." Mifsud's claim signaled inside knowledge of Russia's alleged hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Times said, because at that point the "information was not yet public." Alexander Downer: The Australian diplomat's account of his conversation with George Papadopoulos conflicts with the Times' reporting. Twitter/@AlexanderDowner When Downer, via the Australian government, relayed this information to the U.S. in July, the FBI decided to open its Trump-Russia probe, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, the Times reported. "The [DNC] hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," the Times claimed. The article pointedly asserted that the Steele dossier "was not part of the justification to start a counterintelligence inquiry, American officials said." (In a possible contradiction, it also claims, without specifics, "that the investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British.") Several key aspects of the article have been challenged by the principals involved — leaving aside a key question the Times appears never to have asked: Why would the FBI launch a counterintelligence probe of a presidential campaign based on a barroom conversation involving a volunteer? Moreover, the Times or its sources mischaracterized the barroom conversation, according to both of its participants. Speaking to a Sydney-based newspaper a few months later about the fateful London exchange, Downer said Papadopoulos had never mentioned "dirt" or "thousands of emails" — which the FBI would have linked to the DNC hack. Instead, Downer told The Australian, Papadopoulos "mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging." Contrary to the specificity of the Times' rendering, Downer recalled that Papadopoulos "didn't say what it was." He also said Papadopoulos made no mention of Mifsud, a mysterious figure with rumored ties to Western intelligence who vanished after a cursory FBI interview. A declassified FBI document would later confirm Downer's account of a vague conversation. In May 2020, the Justice Department released the July 31, 2016, FBI electronic communication (EC) that officially opened its Russia investigation. The EC states that Downer had told the U.S. government that Papadopoulos had "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist" the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing damaging information about Clinton and President Obama. The EC made no mention of any "dirt," "thousands of emails," or Mifsud. It also acknowledged that the nature of the "suggestion" was "unclear" and that the possible Russian help could entail "material acquired publicly," as opposed to hacked emails by the thousands. Another declassified document, the December 2017 testimony from Andrew McCabe — the former FBI deputy director who helped launch and oversee the Russia probe — also undermined the Times' premise. Asked why the FBI never sought a surveillance warrant on the Trump volunteer who supposedly sparked the investigation, McCabe replied that "Papadopoulos' comment didn't particularly indicate that he was the person … that was interacting with the Russians." Despite the countervailing claims of Downer, McCabe, and the FBI document that opened the investigation (not to mention the recollections of both Papadopoulos and Downer that they only had one drink, belying the Times claim of "a night of heavy drinking"), the Times has never run a single update or correction. Falsehood No. 4: Russia Launched a Sweeping Interference Campaign That Posed a ‘National Security Threat' Social media posts from Russia's effort to "assault American democracy," as the Times put it. HPSCI Minority Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked By Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip RuckerWashington Post, December 14, 2017 To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans By Scott ShaneNew York Times, September 8, 2017 As the Pulitzer-winning media outlets relied on anonymous intelligence officials to fuel innuendo about Trump-Russia collusion, they turned to these same sources to imply that a compromised president was unwilling to confront the existential threat of "Russian interference." "Nearly a year into his presidency," a Pulitzer-winning December 2017 Washington Post story declared, "Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House." As a result, Trump has "impaired the government's response to a national security threat." The Post's article was sourced to "more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who "described the Russian interference as the political equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." Another Pulitzer-winning story, written by Scott Shane of the New York Times two months earlier, offered a revealing window into the merits of the Russian interference allegations, and the appropriateness of equating them to attacks like 9/11. "To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans," the Times' headline blared. Aside from the Pulitzer board, Shane's article also impressed the New York Times' editors, who proclaimed in a follow-up editorial that their colleague's "startling investigation" had revealed "further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy." But from the details in Shane's article, it is difficult to see why anonymous U.S. intelligence officials, Pulitzer judges, and Times editors saw the alleged Russian "cyberarmy" as such a seismic danger. Melvin Redick, suspected Russian operator. The proof? Articles "reflecting a pro-Russian worldview," the Times reported. New York Times Shane's piece opened by describing a June 2016 Facebook post by an account user named Melvin Redick, who promoted the website DC Leaks, alleged by the U.S. to be a Russian intelligence cutout. Redick's posts, Shane writes, were "among the first public signs" of Russia's "cyberarmy of counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts" that turned the platforms into "engines of deception and propaganda." To Clint Watts, a former FBI agent turned MSNBC commentator, Russia's infiltration of Facebook and Twitter was so dangerous that social media, he said, is now afflicted by a "bot cancer." But these explosive conclusions, Shane's own piece later acknowledged, were undermined by a lack of evidence. The online users who manipulated social media, Shane quietly notes near the bottom, were in fact only "suspected Russian operators" [emphasis added]. Shane's uncertainty extends to Melvin Redick, the alleged Russian bot who begins the story. Redick is one of several identified accounts that "appeared to be Russian creations," Shane concedes. The only proof tying Redick to Russia? "His posts were never personal, just news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview." Robert Mueller's final report two years later also tried to raise alarm about what he called a "sweeping and systematic" Russian interference campaign. But as with the Pulitzer-winning outlets before him, the contents of his report failed to support the headline assertion. The Russian troll farm blamed for a sweeping social media campaign to install Trump spent about $46,000 on pre-election posts that were juvenile, barely about the election, and mostly appeared during the primaries. After suggesting that the troll farm was tied to the Kremlin, the Mueller team was forced to walk back that innuendo in court, and later dropped the case altogether. The other main claim regarding Russian interference – that the GRU (Russia's foreign intelligence agency) hacked the DNC's email servers and gave the material to Wikileaks – was quietly undermined by Mueller's qualified language and key evidentiary gaps, as RCI reported in 2019. The Russian hacking claim suffered an additional setback in May 2020, when testimony from the CEO of CrowdStrike — the Clinton-contracted firm that was the first to publicly accuse Russia of infiltrating the DNC — was declassified. Speaking to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, CrowdStrike's Shawn Henry disclosed that his company "did not have concrete evidence" that alleged Russian hackers had stolen any data from the servers. Despite its once exhaustive and alarmist interest in the operations of Russia's cyber army, neither the Times nor the Post has ever reported Henry's explosive admission. This includes Pulitzer-winning Post national security reporter Ellen Nakashima, who effectively kicked off the Russiagate saga by breaking the news on CrowdStrike's Russian hacking allegation in June 2016. Other than Henry, Nakashima's main source was Michael Sussmann – the Clinton campaign attorney recently indicted for lying to the FBI. Falsehood No. 5: The Justice Department Pulled Its Punches on Trump Ex-Justice official Rod Rosenstein was blamed for handcuffing Mueller -- a charge much doubted. AP Photo/Evan Vucci Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump's Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say By Michael S. SchmidtNew York Times, Aug. 30, 2020 (Updated June 9, 2021) When Mueller ended his investigation in 2019 without charging Trump or any other associate for conspiring with Russia, a collusion-obsessed media formulated more conspiracy theories to explain away this unwelcome ending. First came the belief that Attorney General William Barr had forced Mueller to shut down, misrepresented his final report, and hid the smoking-gun evidence behind redactions. When Mueller failed to support any of these allegations in his July 2019 congressional testimony, a new culprit was needed. One year later, the New York Times found its fall guy: Mueller's overseer, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, had handcuffed the special counsel. "The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump's decades-long personal and business ties to Russia," Michael Schmidt reported on Aug. 30, 2020. Rosenstein, Schmidt said, "curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere" and preventing the FBI from "completing an inquiry into whether the president's personal and financial links to Russia posed a national security threat." To buttress his case, Schmidt cited the Democrats' leading collusion advocate, Rep. Adam Schiff, who feared that "that the F.B.I. Counterintelligence Division has not investigated counterintelligence risks arising from President Trump's foreign financial ties." But as Schmidt's article tacitly acknowledged, that outcome did not come from Rosenstein but the Mueller team itself. After Rosenstein appointed Mueller, Schmidt reported, members of the special counsel's team "held early discussions led by the agent Peter Strzok about a counterintelligence investigation of the president." But these "efforts fizzled," Schmidt added, when Strzok "was removed from the inquiry three months later for sending text messages disparaging Mr. Trump." If Rosenstein had indeed "curtailed" a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller's team, why did the special counsel staffers discuss it, and why did it only "fizzle" upon Strzok's exit three months later? Strzok himself disputed the premise of Schmidt's article. "I didn't feel such a limitation," Strzok told the Atlantic. "When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel's Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president." The only problem, Strzok added, was that by "the time I left the team, we hadn't solved this problem of who and how to conduct all of the counterintelligence work." Strzok's "worry," he added, was that the counterintelligence angle "wasn't ever effectively done" – not that it was ever curtailed. Another key Mueller team member, lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, also rejected Schmidt's claim. NYT story today is wrong re alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, “without telling the bureau.” Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel's Office and we were never told to keep anything from them. 1 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Also erroneous is NYT claim "Rosenstein concluded the F.B.I. lacked sufficient reason to conduct an investigation into the president’s links to a foreign adversary.” See DOJ Special Counsel Appointment Order, para. (b)(i). 2 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Rosenstein's May 2017 scope memo, which established the parameters of Mueller's investigation, indeed contained no such limitations. It broadly tasked Mueller to examine "any links and/or co-ordination" between the Russian government and anyone associated with the Trump campaign, as well as – even more expansively – "any matters that arose or may arise directly from that investigation." In his July 2019 congressional appearance, Mueller had multiple opportunities to reveal that his probe had been impeded or narrowed. Asked by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) whether "at any time in the investigation, your investigation was curtailed or stopped or hindered," Mueller replied "No." When Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) tried to lead Mueller into agreeing that he "of course … did not obtain the president's tax returns, which could otherwise show foreign financial sources," Mueller did not oblige. "I'm not going to speak to that," Mueller replied. With no curtailing or interference in the probe, perhaps Mueller never turned up any Russia-tied counterintelligence or financial concerns about Trump because there was simply none to find. For a media establishment that had spent years promoting a Trump-Russia collusion narrative and sidelining countervailing facts, that was indeed a tough outcome to fathom. But it's no time for excuses or false claims of vindication: The tepid accounting spurred by the Steele dossier's collapse should be just the start of a far more exhaustive reckoning. Broadly misleading journalism that plunged an American presidency into turmoil demands much more than piecemeal corrections. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 24th, 2021

Vaccines

    Nothing can convince them to get the shot. The most important article you can read this week is this: Our constitutional crisis is already here It’s no longer behind a paywall, but it wasn’t really written for non-subscribers. In this essay neoconservative Robert Kagan tells us to be afraid, very afraid. That the… Read More The post Vaccines appeared first on The Big Picture.     Nothing can convince them to get the shot. The most important article you can read this week is this: Our constitutional crisis is already here It’s no longer behind a paywall, but it wasn’t really written for non-subscribers. In this essay neoconservative Robert Kagan tells us to be afraid, very afraid. That the train has already left the station, that democracy is on its way to extinction as we fiddle while the wildfires burn. It was written for those inside the Beltway, those that subscribe to “The Washington Post.” Influencers. Newsmakers. Not those on social media, but the old guard, in the government, elected officials, you have the D.C. paper of record publishing what everybody knows but what everybody is afraid to say, the Republicans are leading us into autocracy. Doesn’t matter if you agree. As I said, this heads-up was not for the Covid deniers, the Trump enthusiasts, but the somnambulant believing its business as usual when it definitely is not. The best story I read today is how Liz Cheney’s Wyoming Senate challenger went from Trump hater to Trump lover, a complete 180: “How an Anti-Trump Plotter in 2016 Became His Champion Against Liz Cheney” Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming Republican, is the former president’s choice to take on his leading G.O.P. critic. But five years ago, she tried to overturn his victory in the party’s primary race” Not that you’ll find this on Fox News. The big news last week was how the White House already knew there was no issue with the Dominion voting machines, how the election results were secure, yet Giuliani and Sidney Powell still went out and testified to the opposite. I scrolled the Fox site for days, I couldn’t find a reference to it. That’s the big story in a just posted article in the “Washington Post”: “How badly unvaccinated Republicans are misinformed, in one stat” “Which brings us to unvaccinated Republicans. The median unvaccinated Republican believes that the percentage of unvaccinated people like themselves requiring hospitalization is 5 percent. How does that compare to how they believe the vaccinated fare? It’s exactly the same. They believe the hospitalization rate for vaccinated people is also 5 percent. So the median unvaccinated Republican essentially says the vaccines have net-zero efficacy — i.e. there is no benefit to getting vaccinated when it comes to landing in the hospital.”   Bottom line? The hard-core unvaccinated Republicans are not refusing vaccines because of their freedom, because they don’t want to get shot up, BUT BECAUSE THEY’RE CONVINCED THEY DON’T WORK! And why are they so convinced? It’s the media they’re exposed to, that’s what this article says. Now the world runs on gossip. Always has, always will. But it used to be gossip was inherently limited. To those in your social circle, to those in your school, or at your workplace. Gossip couldn’t travel from east to west very easily. Someone would have to get on the phone or travel, and it was a one-to-one proposition, whereas with social media it’s one to many. And the truth is prior to the internet the average person didn’t know much news. Most people did not subscribe to a newspaper and most people did not watch TV news broadcasts. They were uninformed and happy with that. They’d tune in around election time, maybe, then again vast swaths of Americans didn’t vote. Some felt powerless, others felt it didn’t make any difference, their life wouldn’t change no matter who was in power. But then the internet came along and it was gossip on steroids. As a matter of fact, it’s all gossip all the time. And you know Gossip, unless it’s juicy, it doesn’t spread. When someone tells us something boring, or something we already know, it ends there, we don’t pass it on. But if it’s a salacious rumor we can’t wait to tell others, we’re itching to tell others. And that is what is now happening. So the truth is there is no authoritative source. And as a result, as William Falk, Editor-in-chief of “The Week,” posited, there is a lack of trust. In Denmark, 90% of Danes trust the health service and the politicians, as a result, 86% of them are vaccinated and deaths over the course of the pandemic are only 22% of those in the U.S. Today Denmark is wide open, today you integrate with other Americans, especially in red states, at your peril. But it doesn’t have to be this way. “How France Overcame Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy” The French have long been wary of vaccines, but a mixture of mandates and inducements encouraged millions to get the shot as the Delta variant spread” This is behind a paywall. Like good food, you have to pay more for good news. Fast food is cheap, fruits and vegetables are not. Fast food makes you unhealthy and sick. Therefore only the wealthy and informed can AFFORD to eat well, never mind be aware of food facts. As for news, gossip online, on Facebook, on social media, it’s free. And it’s a free-for-all. Anybody can post anything, and Facebook bumps that which gets a reaction, the aforementioned juicy gossip. If you want to get the truth, you’ve got to pay for it. And except for “The Wall Street Journal”‘s opinion pages, you’d be shocked how aligned the paper is with “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.” Facts are facts. But if you’re never exposed to them… So in France, you need a health pass, i.e. vaccine passport, to go almost anywhere. That’s right, to eat out, go to clubs and attend sporting events. Talk about a mandate… And at the beginning of the Covid crisis, France “had one of the highest rates of (vaccine) hesitancy in the world.” “A poll in 2018 gave France the lowest levels of trust in vaccines out of 144 countries surveyed. In December, an Ipsos poll conducted found that France ranked at the bottom of 15 countries on willingness to take a Covid-19 vaccine, with only 40% of the public saying they wanted the shot.” “Some 88% of people over 12 years old in France have received at least one shot of vaccine, more than the U.S., U.K. or Germany. Its infection rate is now below 61 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 241 cases per 100,000 in the U.S. as of Sept. 24. The French figure is declining by more than one-quarter each week, with deaths and hospitalizations falling, too.”  –WSJ Whew! See how fast you can turn things around? Assuming you’ve got the balls to lay down the law, assuming people are not ignorant, assuming they have trust in institutions. But that’s the point of the Kagan article, Trump and Fox and other outlets are undermining trust 24/7, and it’s been happening for years, so what are the odds we can convince all Americans to get vaccinated? ZILCH! Then again, how many people are on the Trump train anyway? “America is not facing a civil war – only loudmouthed extremists” “The truth is that America is nothing like a polarized country. Large majorities agree on the most pressing issues of the day: They favor abortion rights, stricter gun controls and more COVID-related restrictions, especially on unvaccinated people. You might not be aware of this if you listen to programs on Fox News or even the average political commentary in our leading newspapers or on CNN.” As a result of gerrymandering and the Electoral College and loud angry voices, we have the impression that the two sides are equal in numbers when this is patently untrue. Most Americans want abortion rights, most Americans want gun control, but good luck getting any laws passed. Furthermore, Michael Hiltzik, the author of the above column, has absolutely no impact, because his words appear in “The Los Angeles Times,” and now with the big three newspapers available 24/7 all over the world, the L.A. “Times” has been marginalized. Keep cutting the budget and eventually, people stop reading and no one pays attention. But they do read “The New York Times.” And last week Paul Krugman wrote this article: “Are Centrists in the Thrall of Right-Wing Propaganda?” “The point is that as far as I can tell, those troublesome Democratic centrists are blinded by an economic narrative that was deliberately created to block progress and justify vast inequality. So they imagine that the Biden agenda — which is a fairly modest effort to address our nation’s very real problems — is somehow irresponsible and a threat to the nation’s future.” The bottom line, the infrastructure bill is $3.5 trillion over TEN YEARS! And the centrist Democrats have bought into the Republican mantra, fearful of looking like they’re taxing and spending. So there’s no there “there” in government, never mind Mitch McConnell, who single-handedly fixed the Supreme Court in his party’s favor, not only admitting he wants no bills passed, he doesn’t even want to pay for those that were already passed upon which the money has been spent. That’s what raising the debt limit is all about, not about new spending, but the money that already left the coffers. Try telling someone you bought their goods but refuse to pay for them, let me know how that works out, it won’t be good. So, being in “The New York Times,” Krugman’s words have an effect, since he wrote this the Democrats have started to emphasize the ten-year period of spending. As for Robert Kagan’s article? Bill Maher was all over it last week, as well as Rachel Maddow. You see it’s a club, you can join, but it takes effort, and oftentimes you have to pay for the information. And everybody in the club knows the truth, but plenty are banking on your not knowing it, keeping you in your backwater where they can manipulate you. And you can die. The best website I was turned on to this week was: Sorry, Anti-Vaxxer “The purpose of this site is educational, everyone listed on this site was/is an anti-vaxxer activist who helped spread COVID-19 misinformation on social media. Share to stop others from making the same mistake. GET VACCINATED!” You’ve got to go here. Please click through. These are people who believed the Covid misinformation and spread it far and wide and then died of the virus. And what the gossip will tell you is if you’re not over 65 and obese, if you’re sans comorbidities, you’re immune. But that is patently untrue. Really, read these people’s stories. Totally healthy forty-year-olds. Twenty-year-olds. They thought they were immune, but they weren’t. They’re DYING! Do you really want to take the risk of dying when there’s a vaccine? OF COURSE YOU DO! That’s the astonishing element of these stories. So many left behind ARE STILL ANTIVAXXERS! As William Falk said in “The Week”: “People shun a simple shot largely because they see it as a form of surrender.” So you can’t convince the unvaccinated to get the shot, the only thing you can do is force them to, make it so they can’t go into public places without being vaccinated. Is there enough political will in the U.S? I don’t think so. Which is just plain sad. Umair Haque wrote last week: “Brexit is Destroying Britain – And Britain Still Can’t Face It” Let’s go through the list of shortages above. Blood vials? Imported, made by a company called Becton Dickinson, made in America, mostly. Carbon dioxide? Imported from Europe, vital to producing beer and soft drinks and refrigerating meat and whatnot. Food and milk? Imported, mostly from Europe — the UK’s a net importer. Gas? Obviously imported, natural gas from Europe, and petrol, again via Europe. Where Can’t You Get Gas, Milk, Bread, and Beer? Welcome to Soviet Britain” There are no truck drivers to deliver goods. They just broke their own rules, they’re allowing foreigners to come in and do this job, those they wanted gone. But the irony is it’s still not enough, and most foreigners won’t come, the pay is too low. And you can’t get beer because the CO2 to make it comes from the Continent! But what really got my attention in the Haque article was the put-downs of America. “She was right. Britain’s turning Soviet. Even America – for all its folly and self-inflicted ruin, guns and theocracy and whole nine yards – isn’t as badly off as Britain.” But the conclusion is even worse, you don’t want to turn into AMERICA! “Eventually, Britain will probably find ways to get a little more bread and beer and so on. But they won’t be European. They’ll come from America, probably, and if you like American beer and bread, my friend, I feel a little sorry for you. Britain will eventually end up something like America’s 51st state – it’s NHS and BBC owned by American hedge funds, its people eating American diets, their minds poisoned by American junk culture. America’s a vastly poorer society than Europe. Americans live worse lives in every possible way — from health to wealth to trust to intimacy to stability and safety to basic decency and thoughtfulness. Britain’s only real destiny left at this point is to be Americanized. That was always the endgame of Brexit – to sell Britain off to American capital. But American capital has made paupers – literally, they’re lifelong debtors, without a penny to their names, most of them – of Americans.” The problem is this all rings true. The hedge funds buy the parking meters and therefore you’ve got to pay to park 24/7, there are no holidays. And the hedge fund buys the trailer park upon which your rust bucket sits and raises the price of rent on your little square of property, after all their investors have to see a return, and you lose your POS residence, forget YOUR investment, it’s history. I mean we have no national health care, no mandated vacations, no government funds for child care…we’re working like dogs to try and keep our heads afloat. Is this really the best we can do? America is no longer the country I grew up in. It slid while I wasn’t even realizing it. In the rest of the world our status has fallen to the level of…theirs. Haque posits the EU is more powerful than America, it fights bad actors like the tech companies while the FTC is paralyzed, if member countries get out of hand they stop sending them money, they freeze them out. But we’re supposed to believe the federal government has no power over Texas and Florida. Now the truth is Britain got Brexit because a lot of sentimental oldsters and rural folk wanted to return to a country that no longer squares with the modern world, just like those on the right in America want to go back to an era totally out of date with today’s trade and mores, it’s a fantasy. The Britons with money, the educated, they understood what was at risk, they overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU, but they were defeated by the votes of the idiots told falsehoods. It’s no different in the U.S. Mexico was gonna pay for the wall. China was going to pay the tariffs. Say it enough and people believe it, after all, they’re not exposed to the truth, and they wouldn’t believe it if they saw it. But you can…discover the truth and be informed. Unlike the right-winger who sent me an anti-vax article from a PARODY website! He didn’t even realize it was a joke! We are in a crisis. Whether you admit it or not. Never mind politics, there’s that pesky climate too. And there’s no way we can convince those on the other side, the deniers, the ignorant, we must FORCE THEM to do what’s right, like France. Yes, that’s how far we’ve fallen, we need to model ourselves after the French. But they have it right. Because contrary to what Kellyanne Conway said there are facts, unassailable, and once we make people aware of them, get them to believe in them, we can make progress. But that day seems to be far away.   ~~~ Visit the archive: — Listen to the podcast: — @Lefsetz — Subscribe to the LefsetzLetter The post Vaccines appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 3rd, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Snyder: They"re Working Relentlessly To Transform Our Society Into A Dystopian "Big Brother" Hellhole

Snyder: They're Working Relentlessly To Transform Our Society Into A Dystopian 'Big Brother' Hellhole Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, The past two years have fundamentally transformed just about every nation on the entire planet, and there will be no going back if the elite have their way.  For more than a decade, I have been warning about the rapid growth of the “Big Brother” control grid all around us, but in 2020 and 2021 things have gone to an entirely new level.  The pandemic has given them the perfect excuse to impose lockdowns, mask requirements, vaccine passports and mandatory injections all over the globe.  They have used fear of the virus to get the vast majority of the world population to accept measures that they never would have accepted during normal times.  As a result, now they can monitor us, track us and control us like never before. In many areas, it has already gotten to a point where you can’t even live a normal life without a “vaccine passport” or some other proof that you are up to date on your injections.  In New York City, people have been getting arrested just for ordering food without showing proof of vaccination.  As a result of such authoritarian measures, the vaccination rate in the city is up to about 85 percent, but that still isn’t good enough for those in charge. So now they are going to be sending vaccination teams around to “encourage” those that have not been vaccinated to get their shots. Oh, and if you give in they will hand you $100 for being a good little servant of the system. Sadly, it sounds like door to door vaccination teams will soon be coming to the UK as well… Door-to-door teams armed with Covid jabs will be sent to the homes of unvaccinated Britons in plans being considered by Ministers to reach the estimated five million people yet to be inoculated. Discussions between the Department of Health, NHS England and No 10 over the past week have looked at a nationwide drive to send vaccine teams to areas with low uptake rates as a crucial way to avoid lockdown and other restrictions. But at least the injections have not become mandatory in the United States and the UK just yet. However, an increasing number of nations are starting to move in that direction.  Ecuador just mandated the injections for everyone that is at least five years old, it appears that Germany could make them mandatory early next year, and Austria is actually hiring people to hunt down “vaccine refusers”. Yes, our world really is becoming one huge science fiction movie. In Canada, the government was actually “secretly tracking 33 million phones” in order to gauge “the public’s responsiveness during lockdown measures”… Canada – which has a population of 38 million – has admitted to secretly tracking 33 million phones during the Covid-19 lockown, according to the National Post, citing Blacklock’s Reporter which first noted the disclosure. The country’s Public Health Agency (PHAC) did so to assess “the public’s responsiveness during lockdown measures,” according to the report. Canada has gone completely and totally nuts during this pandemic. But the Canadians still have a long way to go in order to top the insanity in New Zealand. Not too long ago, an anti-euthanasia group asked the Ministry of Health if a patient that is in the hospital with COVID is “eligible” for euthanasia… In November, anti-euthanasia group #DefendNZ asked the New Zealand Ministry of Health (MOH) questions about the practice of the nation’s End of Life Choice Act (EOLC Act). One of these questions was, “Could a patient who is severely hospitalised with Covid-19 potentially be eligible for assisted suicide or euthanasia under the Act if a health practitioner viewed their prognosis as less than 6 months?” The response that the group got back was extremely alarming… Doctors receive a government fee of $1,000 plus expenses for each person they kill through euthanasia. The MOH confirmed that such patients with COVID could be killed by lethal injection under the new euthanasia law. This includes patients who are considered to be dying from COVID or those who have extreme suffering from its effects. The MOH stated, “A terminal illness is most often a prolonged disease where treatment is not effective.” If you live in New Zealand and you get COVID, you will want to be very careful to clarify what someone means when they ask you if you want to “go to sleep”. Of course all of the rules, regulations and mandates that have been imposed upon us are not for the elite.  They appear to be operating under their own special set of rules, and this should make all of us very sick. I really like how Emerald Robinson made this point in her most recent article… Meanwhile, my colleagues in the corporate media spent their time in 2021 telling you that you could fly on a packed airplane but that your church was closed. That you couldn’t walk into your favorite local restaurant but Target and Walmart were always open for you. That your schools were shut down but left-wing political rallies were safe to attend. They treated CDC “guidelines” as law. They repeated with a straight face that your civil rights were basically suspended indefinitely — unless you were a member of Congress or Bill Gates. The overwhelming majority of my so-called colleagues in journalism spent the entire year celebrating this state of affairs. The stench of their treachery to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will never be washed away. Our freedoms and liberties are being systematically destroyed all around us, but many Americans don’t seem to care. Instead, they just continue to allow fear of the virus to push them into doing very irrational things. For instance, a riot almost erupted in Brooklyn on Friday when officials started to hand out “free at-home COVID-19 tests”… Cops had to step in Friday as a crowd mobbed a Brooklyn corner where the city was giving away free at-home COVID-19 tests. Tempers flared as the larger-than-expected crowd descended on Flatbush and Church avenues, one of five spots in the Big Apple where city health officials were doling out tests amid a surge in demand over the holidays and lack of supply. People were so desperate to get those tests that the police had to be called in. It reminded me of scenes that we would see on Black Friday in the pre-pandemic days, but in this case people were ready to fight to get their hands on free COVID tests. Have we really sunk this low? I was really hoping that the pandemic was starting to subside, but now this new Omicron variant has caused a tremendous wave of fear. And politicians will inevitably respond to all of this fear by imposing even more authoritarian measures. I have been shocked by how easy it has been for much of the global population to accept the authoritarian measures that have been imposed so far.  If they are not willing to stand up to tyranny now, what will happen when much greater tyranny comes along later? These are such dark times, and I believe that they will get even darker in 2022. The fiery grip of tyranny is getting a little tighter with each passing day, but much of the population of our planet does not seem to think that this is a problem. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/27/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 27th, 2021

You"d Better Watch Out: The Surveillance State Has A Naughty List, And You"re On It

You'd Better Watch Out: The Surveillance State Has A Naughty List, And You're On It Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “He sees you when you’re sleeping He knows when you’re awake He knows when you’ve been bad or good So be good for goodness’ sake!” - “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” Santa’s got a new helper. No longer does the all-knowing, all-seeing, jolly Old St. Nick need to rely on antiquated elves on shelves and other seasonal snitches in order to know when you’re sleeping or awake, and if you’ve been naughty or nice. Thanks to the government’s almost limitless powers made possible by a domestic army of techno-tyrants, fusion centers and Peeping Toms, Santa can get real-time reports on who’s been good or bad this year. This creepy new era of government/corporate spying—in which we’re being listened to, watched, tracked, followed, mapped, bought, sold and targeted—makes the NSA’s rudimentary phone and metadata surveillance appear almost antiquated in comparison. Consider just a small sampling of the tools being used to track our movements, monitor our spending, and sniff out all the ways in which our thoughts, actions and social circles might land us on the government’s naughty list. Tracking you based on your health status. In the age of COVID-19, digital health passports are gaining traction as gatekeepers of a sort, restricting access to travel, entertainment, etc., based on one’s vaccine status. Whether or not one has a vaccine passport, however, individuals may still have to prove themselves “healthy” enough to be part of society. For instance, in the wake of Supreme Court rulings that paved the way for police to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes,” government agencies are preparing to use virus-detecting canine squads to carry out mass screenings to detect individuals who may have COVID-19. Researchers claim the COVID-sniffing dogs have a 95% success rate of identifying individuals with the virus (except when they’re hungry, tired or distracted). These dogs are also being to trained to ferret out individuals suffering from other health ailments such as cancer. Tracking you based on your face: Facial recognition software aims to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business. Coupled with surveillance cameras that blanket the country, facial recognition technology allows the government and its corporate partners to identify and track someone’s movements in real-time. One particularly controversial software program created by Clearview AI has been used by police, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to collect photos on social media sites for inclusion in a massive facial recognition database. Similarly, biometric software, which relies on one’s unique identifiers (fingerprints, irises, voice prints), is becoming the standard for navigating security lines, as well as bypassing digital locks and gaining access to phones, computers, office buildings, etc. In fact, greater numbers of travelers are opting into programs that rely on their biometrics in order to avoid long waits at airport security. Scientists are also developing lasers that can identify and surveil individuals based on their heartbeats, scent and microbiome. Tracking you based on your behavior: Rapid advances in behavioral surveillance are not only making it possible for individuals to be monitored and tracked based on their patterns of movement or behavior, including gait recognition (the way one walks), but have given rise to whole industries that revolve around predicting one’s behavior based on data and surveillance patterns and are also shaping the behaviors of whole populations. One smart “anti-riot” surveillance system purports to predict mass riots and unauthorized public events by using artificial intelligence to analyze social media, news sources, surveillance video feeds and public transportation data. Tracking you based on your spending and consumer activities: With every smartphone we buy, every GPS device we install, every Twitter, Facebook, and Google account we open, every frequent buyer card we use for purchases—whether at the grocer’s, the yogurt shop, the airlines or the department store—and every credit and debit card we use to pay for our transactions, we’re helping Corporate America build a dossier for its government counterparts on who we know, what we think, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time. Consumer surveillance, by which your activities and data in the physical and online realms are tracked and shared with advertisers, has become big business, a $300 billion industry that routinely harvests your data for profit. Corporations such as Target have not only been tracking and assessing the behavior of their customers, particularly their purchasing patterns, for years, but the retailer has also funded major surveillance in cities across the country and developed behavioral surveillance algorithms that can determine whether someone’s mannerisms might fit the profile of a thief. Tracking you based on your public activities: Private corporations in conjunction with police agencies throughout the country have created a web of surveillance that encompasses all major cities in order to monitor large groups of people seamlessly, as in the case of protests and rallies. They are also engaging in extensive online surveillance, looking for any hints of “large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals.” Defense contractors have been at the forefront of this lucrative market. Fusion centers, $330 million-a-year, information-sharing hubs for federal, state and law enforcement agencies, monitor and report such “suspicious” behavior as people buying pallets of bottled water, photographing government buildings, and applying for a pilot’s license as “suspicious activity.” Tracking you based on your social media activities: Every move you make, especially on social media, is monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line. As The Intercept reported, the FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies are increasingly investing in and relying on corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior. This obsession with social media as a form of surveillance will have some frightening consequences in coming years. As Helen A.S. Popkin, writing for NBC News, observed, “We may very well face a future where algorithms bust people en masse for referencing illegal ‘Game of Thrones’ downloads… the new software has the potential to roll, Terminator-style, targeting every social media user with a shameful confession or questionable sense of humor.” Tracking you based on your phone and online activities: Cell phones have become de facto snitches, offering up a steady stream of digital location data on users’ movements and travels. Police have used cell-site simulators to carry out mass surveillance of protests without the need for a warrant. Moreover, federal agents can now employ a number of hacking methods in order to gain access to your computer activities and “see” whatever you’re seeing on your monitor. Malicious hacking software can also be used to remotely activate cameras and microphones, offering another means of glimpsing into the personal business of a target. Tracking you based on your social network: Not content to merely spy on individuals through their online activity, government agencies are now using surveillance technology to track one’s social network, the people you might connect with by phone, text message, email or through social message, in order to ferret out possible criminals. An FBI document obtained by Rolling Stone speaks to the ease with which agents are able to access address book data from Facebook’s WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage services from the accounts of targeted individuals and individuals not under investigation who might have a targeted individual within their network. What this creates is a “guilt by association” society in which we are all as guilty as the most culpable person in our address book. Tracking you based on your car: License plate readers are mass surveillance tools that can photograph over 1,800 license tag numbers per minute, take a picture of every passing license tag number and store the tag number and the date, time, and location of the picture in a searchable database, then share the data with law enforcement, fusion centers and private companies to track the movements of persons in their cars. With tens of thousands of these license plate readers now in operation throughout the country, affixed to overpasses, cop cars and throughout business sectors and residential neighborhoods, it allows police to track vehicles and run the plates through law enforcement databases for abducted children, stolen cars, missing people and wanted fugitives. Of course, the technology is not infallible: there have been numerous incidents in which police have mistakenly relied on license plate data to capture out suspects only to end up detaining innocent people at gunpoint. Tracking you based on your mail: Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service, which has been photographing the exterior of every piece of paper mail for the past 20 years, is also spying on Americans’ texts, emails and social media posts. Headed up by the Postal Service’s law enforcement division, the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) is reportedly using facial recognition technology, combined with fake online identities, to ferret out potential troublemakers with “inflammatory” posts. The agency claims the online surveillance, which falls outside its conventional job scope of processing and delivering paper mail, is necessary to help postal workers avoid “potentially volatile situations.” Fusion centers. Smart devices. Behavioral threat assessments. Terror watch lists. Facial recognition. Snitch tip lines. Biometric scanners. Pre-crime. DNA databases. Data mining. Precognitive technology. Contact tracing apps. What these add up to is a world in which, on any given day, the average person is now monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears. Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother. Every second of every day, the American people are being spied on by a vast network of digital Peeping Toms, electronic eavesdroppers and robotic snoops. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, surveillance, digital stalking and the data mining of the American people—weapons of compliance and control in the government’s hands—add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence. In an age of overcriminalization, mass surveillance, and an appalling lack of protections for our privacy rights, we can all be considered guilty of some transgression or other. So you’d better watch out—you’d better not pout—you’d better not cry—‘cos I’m telling you why: this Christmas, it’s the Surveillance State that’s coming to town, and you’re already on its naughty list. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/24/2021 - 21:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 24th, 2021

Judgment Day: Sweden Vindicated

Judgment Day: Sweden Vindicated Via Swiss Policy Research, Austria, one of the most repressive European countries during the coronavirus pandemic, has recently overtaken Sweden in terms of total covid mortality, showing that almost all government interventions have been ineffective and unjustified. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Austria has been one of the most repressive European countries, implementing several lockdowns, school closures, far-reaching mask mandates and even an N95/FFP2 mask mandate, record-setting mass PCR testing and contact tracing, as well as early “vaccine passports”. Austria was also the first Western country to impose a “lockdown for the unvaccinated” and the first Western country to announce a general “vaccine mandate”. In contrast, Sweden has widely been regarded, or indeed criticized, as the least repressive Western country during the coronavirus pandemic, imposing no lockdowns, no elementary school closures, no mask mandates, no “vaccine passport”, and very limited testing and contact tracing compared to Austria and most other Western countries. And yet, in December 2021, Austria overtook Sweden in terms of total covid mortality (see chart above). This comes after Austria had reached, in late November, the highest seven-day covid infection rate in the world. The European average covid mortality had already overtaken Swedish covid mortality back in March 2021. Total covid mortality: Sweden vs. Austria (JHU/CSSE) But can Nordic Sweden and Alpine Austria really be compared in a legitimate way? Indeed, they can. To begin with, their population size is quite similar (10.4 million in Sweden vs. 9.0 million in Austria). While the median age in Sweden is slightly lower than in Austria (41.1 vs. 44.4 years; perhaps due to more immigration), the Swedish life expectancy is actually somewhat higher than in Austria (82.4 vs. 81.6 years). Interestingly, the population weighted density, which takes urbanization into account, is somewhat higher in Sweden than in Austria (2724 vs. 2191, see map below). Obesity rates are very similar in Sweden and in Austria (20.6% vs. 20.1%). ICU capacity is significantly higher in Austria than in Sweden (5.3 vs. 1.9 beds per 1000 people). In fact, total covid mortality in Austria and Sweden has reached the same level precisely because the two countries are so similar in terms of demographic and health factors. In both countries, the covid population fatality rate (PFR) has reached about 0.15% and is limited primarily to people over 70 years of age (the median age of covid deaths is about 83 years in both countries). But is it fair to call December 2021 the “judgment day”? Indeed it is, because Sweden has already crossed the “pandemic finish line” and was the first Western country to see the return of influenza, which had been displaced by the coronavirus since March of 2020. Of course, the novel coronavirus will not disappear from Sweden or from anywhere else, and Sweden will certainly see future coronavirus waves, but Sweden has achieved a high population infection rate (about 60% to 75%) and has entered the endemic phase. Thus, the fact that Austria has now overtaken Sweden in terms of total covid mortality really means that almost every single government intervention in Austria – and almost everywhere else – has been entirely ineffective from an epidemiological and medical perspective, while having caused almost unprecedented social and economic harm. In particular, it means that lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates, N95/FFP2 mask mandates, mass PCR testing and “contact tracing”, as well as “vaccine passports”, have been entirely ineffective and unjustified as interventions to “combat the pandemic”. Of note, this is not just “post-hoc knowledge”: with the exception of school closures (which are effective against influenza), it had long been known that all of these “interventions”, including masks and contact tracing, are ineffective against respiratory virus epidemics. Concerning masks, the question is not if they are effective in theory or in some lab experiment, but if they make any difference in the real world – and the answer is no. In fact, in terms of all-cause excess mortality, Austria had surpassed Sweden already several months ago: total pandemic excess mortality currently is 17% in Austria vs. 11% in Sweden. This is primarily because many Swedish deaths happened earlier in the pandemic (in the spring of 2020) and most covid victims were very old (median age of 83); thus, by September 2020, Sweden recorded its lowest mortality in history. (Nevertheless, claims that Sweden has no or almost no excess mortality are based on an incorrect calculation method; there is no “Swedish miracle”). The same result has been observed in many other regions throughout the world: In Eastern Europe, Belarus has recorded an average regional excess mortality despite almost no interventions at all; in Latin America, excess mortality in Brazil has been higher than in Chile and Argentina, but lower than in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and Paraguay; in Asia, lockdowns in India, Indonesia or the Philippines were horrific failures affecting 800 million children. There was only one situation in which lockdowns were a rational intervention: as a preemptive measure in support of early border controls. This situation applied primarily to some islands, such as Australia, New Zealand and Iceland, and possibly to Norway, Finland, Denmark and parts of China (more on these countries below). Critics of the Swedish approach have often argued that Sweden should only be compared to “its neighbors”. If one compares Sweden to all of its neighbors in the region – Norway, Finland, Denmark, but also Poland and the Baltic states – Sweden again shows an average covid mortality: Poland, Latvia and Lithuania are much higher, Estonia is similar, while Denmark, Finland and Norway are much lower. But some critics of Sweden insist on comparing Sweden only to Denmark, Finland and Norway. These critics would like to imply that Sweden is a high mortality outlier, when in reality, it is Denmark, Finland and Norway which are the true outliers, having by far the lowest covid mortality rates among Western countries. But why is this? It is not, as critics of Sweden would like to imply, because these countries had particularly strict measures. In fact, for the most part, their “stringency index” was even lower than in Sweden, and of course also lower than in repressive countries like Austria. Instead, three explanations seem plausible. First, Denmark, Finland and Norway imposed early border controls and could avoid a major unexpected wave in the spring of 2020. “Early” here is a relative term and always depends on when the coronavirus reaches a certain country. Due to the timing of its winter holidays, the Stockholm area unknowingly imported the coronavirus directly from early covid hotspots in Alpine skiing resorts near Italy, which was not the case in other Nordic countries or even in other regions of Sweden. (In the famous case of Uruguay in South America, the first covid wave hit not until November 2020). Second, and in the same context, other Nordic countries imposed preemptive lockdowns in support of early border controls that really may have helped disrupt early infections. But a lockdown is ‘preemptive’ only as long as there have been either no confirmed infections at all or only a very small number of infections that can still be contained without aerosolizing the virus. Third, and most fundamentally, Norway and Finland have by far the lowest population weighted densities in Europe (910 in Norway and 986 in Finland, vs. 2724 in Sweden and 6785 in Britain; see the map below), which may have slowed the spread of covid. In fact, in Western Europe, there is a striking correlation between population weighted density – which may influence the speed of virus transmission and the amplitude of infection waves – and covid mortality per country (see map below). This correlation does not apply, however, to Denmark, which has a low covid mortality but an average population weighted density (3434). At the global level, high population weighted density might help explain strong covid waves in Britain, Spain and Italy, Turkey, South America (including Mexico) and South Africa, but not (so far) in Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Low population weighted density could help explain the slow spread of the coronavirus in Norway, Finland, Indochina, and parts of Black Africa (see map below). Coming back to the comparison between Sweden and Austria, one factor that worked against Austria was the failure of covid vaccines: if covid vaccines had provided strong long-term protection, Austria could have avoided the very high covid mortality in the winter of 2021/22 (see chart above). On the other hand, in the spring of 2020, even optimists hadn’t expected covid vaccines becoming available before autumn 2021. The failure of covid vaccines is also a major problem for low-covid countries like Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and China, which now are in a very uncertain position. While all of the interventions imposed by Austria and other repressive countries failed, are there any potentially effective interventions that have not been adopted? A few options may be mentioned. First, research and use of repurposed early treatment drugs should have been a major priority to reduce hospitalizations (especially given the uncertainties regarding vaccine protection). Second, dedicated covid hospital facilities should have been created to avoid widespread in-hospital transmission (in some countries, including Sweden, the UK and the US, such facilities were indeed created, but they remained largely unused). Third, given their low covid risk, offering voluntary, medically supervised live virus infection to children and young healthy adults may have made sense to rapidly build up a natural immunity shield, protect high-risk groups (including parents), and ensure smooth education. Fourth, while masks have been a complete failure (as was already known before the pandemic), indoor ventilation to prevent aerosol transmission might have been one of the most effective interventions (with >99% of all transmission occurring indoors). Then again, living rooms and class rooms cannot be turned into airplane cabins. Fifth, the media should have supported the calm management of the pandemic, fostering social cohesion and mindfulness, instead of inciting panic and hysteria. The many “dashboards” and “live tickers” may well have been counterproductive. Sixth, we may have to recognize that societies with a life expectancy of over 80 years and obesity rates of over 20% are inherently susceptible to events like the coronavirus pandemic. Needless to say, most Western health authorities have not yet acknowledged that their entire approach to the pandemic has been a complete failure. In a typical move, the Austrian health minister in early December claimed that the most recent Austrian lockdown had been effective in breaking the winter wave, but independent analysts quickly pointed out that infections had decreased simultaneously in neighboring countries without a lockdown. In conclusion, the comparison of Austria and Sweden conclusively shows that a calm, low-intervention, almost business-as-usual approach to the pandemic has been best. In contrast, highly irrational strategies, such as “zero covid” and “no covid”, have caused unprecedented social, political and economic damage at an almost civilizational scale. *  *  * Figures A) Population weighted density in Western Europe (2015) The analysis above quotes 2020 figures, while the following map shows 2015 figures. Population weighted density in Western Europe (2015) (WorldPop) B) Global population weighted density (2020) Global population weighted density (2020) (WorldPop) C) Excess mortality per country (January 2020 to December 2021) Excess mortality per country (January 2020 to December 2021) (Economist) D) Daily covid tests per 1000 people Daily covid tests per 1000 people in Austria, Sweden and Britain. Daily covid tests per 1000 people (OWD) E) Austria: Interventions and infections Austria: Interventions and infections (IanMSC) Tyler Durden Fri, 12/24/2021 - 06:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 24th, 2021

A Connecticut man received a fake COVID-19 vaccine card when he ordered a passport holder on Amazon, attorney general says

The phony card was nearly identical to a genuine one, according to a purported picture of the card shared by The Connecticut Post. A healthcare worker displays a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images A man's passport case from Amazon came with a fake COVID card, Connecticut's attorney general said. The fake was similar to a real one, according to a purported picture shared by The Connecticut Post. Amazon removed a listing of 10 blank vaccination cards after Insider contacted the company. A man received a fake COVID-19 vaccine card from Amazon after he ordered a passport holder through the platform, Connecticut's attorney general said. The phony card looked nearly identical to a legitimate COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card and featured all the same descriptions — a place to write your name, dosage information, and birthday, among other things — and the US Centers for Disease Control Prevention's (CDC) logo in the top right, according to a purported picture of the card shared by The Connecticut Post. After the man received the phony card, he informed Connecticut State Rep. Matt Blumenthal, who told Attorney General William Tong's office, according to The Connecticut Post. Tong's office told Amazon about the product, and the platform reportedly said they flagged the seller and removed the listing, The Connecticut Post reported. Blumenthal tweeted The Connecticut Post's article on Thursday, thanking the man for reporting the listing and Tong's office for taking action.Tong reportedly said in a statement that "fake vaccination cards are deceptive, dangerous, and unlawful," according to The Connecticut Post.Tong's office did not respond to a request for comment.Amazon previously removed a listing for a pack of 10 blank vaccination cards after Insider reached out to the company. "We do not allow the products in question in our store," Amazon previously told Insider in an emailed statement. "We have proactive measures in place to prevent prohibited products from being listed and we continuously monitor our store. In this case, we have removed the items and taken action on the bad actors involved in bypassing our controls."Amazon did not respond to Insider's request for comment on this recent incident.In May, a 21-year-old was arrested after police discovered 62 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards in his vehicle.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 23rd, 2021

Futures Ramp Above 4,700 On Growing Omicron Optimism

Futures Ramp Above 4,700 On Growing Omicron Optimism If you had gone to bed on Thanksgiving after eating a little too much tryptophan and only woken up today, roughly one month later, you would have completely avoided a rollercoaster move in global markets, and much of the omicron panic, with the S&P now trading precisely where it was the night before scattered reports of Omicron in South Africa sparked a global selloff. As of 730am, e-mini S&P futures were trading at exactly 4,700, up 14 points or 0.3% - and once again less than 1% from all time highs - on rising hopes the omicron variant won’t impact global growth even as officials remain cautious about its spread, after studies showed it’s less severe than other strains; Dow Jones futures also rose 0.3% while Nasdaq 100 futures were 0.2% higher. US Treasury yields rose, the 10Y trading at 1.475%, while the USD index traded flat. The  pound rose as traders stepped up bets on a Bank of England rate hike. Soaraing European natural gas prices plunged more than 20% as this year’s rally attracted a flotilla of U.S. cargoes, helping offset lower flows from Russia. U.S. stocks reversed a sharp drop earlier in the week, advancing over the past two days amid signs the omicron variant won’t thwart growth, with consumer confidence rising by more than expected in December. Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the U.S. on Wednesday and three studies showed omicron appears less likely to land patients in the hospital than the delta strain, fueling optimism.  Adding to the positive newsflow on omicron, lab results indicated a third dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine significantly boosted antibodies against the strain, and Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the U.S. “Markets hate uncertainty and not knowing, and when omicron hit the markets, we didn’t know,” Carol Schleif, BMO Family Office deputy chief investment officer, said on Bloomberg Television. “But it seems like it’s edging toward something more positive.” A gauge of global stocks is up more than 2% so far this month, leaving the index 15% higher for the year and on course to surpass 2020’s gain. In U.S. premarket trading, Tesla Inc. shares rose after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk sold down more of his stake. Nikola gained after the electric-vehicle startup said that more deliveries were to come. Here are some other notable premarket movers today: Novavax (NVAX US) shares jump 5% in U.S. premarket after the biotech firm said that both a vaccine booster dose as well as an omicron-specific shot may be beneficial in helping to protect against the Covid-19 variant. Nikola (NKLA US) rises 3.5% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric-vehicle startup said on Twitter that more deliveries were to come, posting photos of a previous event. Tesla (TSLA US) shares gain 1.1% in U.S. premarket trading after CEO Elon Musk sells down more of his stake, drawing nearer to his pledge of cutting his stake in the EV maker by 10%. JD.com’s (JD US) ADRs slump 9.2% in U.S. premarket trading after Tencent said it plans to hand out more than $16 billion of JD.com shares to its investors as a one-time dividend. SciPlay (SCPL US) the maker of mobile and web games such as Jackpot Party Casino, falls 17% in premarket after ending talks to sell out to majority owner Scientific Games. Shares in tiny biotech stocks soar in U.S. premarket trading in strong volume, amid broad risk-on appetite thanks to positive omicron variant studies, ahead of the holiday period. “Our outlook for the global economy remains positive, but we have preference on developed markets,” Janet Mui, director of investment at Brewin Dolphin Limited, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “The economic recovery will continue in the major economies like the U.S., U.K. and the Euro area, thanks to the very high vaccination rates and ongoing rollout of the booster jabs.” Elsewhere, European shares advanced for a third day, with travel shares leading gains. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.6%; travel is the strongest sector with recent studies showing omicron appears less likely to land patients in the hospital than the delta strain. IBEX leads with a 1% gain. Travel and leisure was the top-performing sector in Europe on Thursday amid optimism of fewer hospitalizations linked to the omicron variant of Covid-19. Airlines shruged off a profit warning from Ryanair (+1.1%) that was first reported late in the trading session on Wednesday. British Airways-owner IAG adds 3.7%, Wizz +3.3%, hotelier Whitbread +2.6%, Deutsche Lufthansa +2%, caterer Sodexo +0.8%. Stoxx travel and leisure index also helped by Flutter (+3%) which gains following M&A news Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were on track to gain for a third straight day, bolstered by signs the omicron strain is less severe than previous variants. Tech and communication services sectors led the advance. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.9%, with Tencent as the biggest contributor to gains after a 4.2% rally in Hong Kong. The Chinese internet giant declared a one-time dividend in the form of JD.com’s shares worth more than $16 billion, causing the latter’s stock to plunge intraday by the most on record. Sentiment in Asia improved as a trio of studies found that the omicron variant led to lower hospitalization risk than the delta strain, and Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the U.S. Separately, lab results indicated a third dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine significantly boosted antibodies against the strain though another study released late in the Asia day found that three doses of Sinovac’s vaccine weren’t enough to protect against it. “We expect Asian equities to improve their relative performance in 2022 given less demanding valuations and prospects for solid earnings growth,” said Tai Hui, Asia chief market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Reflation and economic reopening could help to boost earnings expectations for cyclical sectors, especially those focusing on domestic demand.” The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down almost 4% for the year compared with a 25% gain in the S&P 500 Index, which is trading close to a record high.  Equity benchmarks in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand were among the top gainers amid a broad advance in the region Thursday even as trading volumes were thin ahead of the Christmas holidays. Japan stocks also rose as the country looks set to unveil another record annual budget this week. Shares in China also rose even as the country locked down the western city of Xi’an to stamp out a persistent virus outbreak. Equities slumped in Vietnam as Covid-19 cases continued to rise. In rates, fixed income is thin with only ~100k bund futures contracts trading as of 10:50am London. Cash space is under small pressure: bunds and USTs bear steepen, gilts bear flatten with short dates ~5bps cheaper. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.47%, with gilts notably underperforming and are cheaper by around 3bp in the sector vs. Treasuries; curves are steady with U.S. cash spreads broadly within a basis point of Wednesday close. Treasuries drifted lower into early U.S. session as S&P futures grind higher. 10-year futures remained inside Wednesday session lows with yields cheaper by up to 2bp across long-end of the curve. Thursday’s highlights include a packed data slate, and cash markets are due for an early 2pm ET close ahead of Friday’s full closure. In FX, tge Bloomberg dollar index chopped either side of flat. The pound was the stand out mover in London hours, topping the G-10 leaderboard with cable regaining a 1.34 handle. USD/JPY was little changed as it holds above 114. Aussie dollar drifts back towards 0.72 against the greenback. Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is steady after falling for three days. In commodities, crude futures are little changed; WTI trades near $72.70. Spot gold is rangebound, holding just above $1,800/oz. Most base metals are in the green, drifting higher in quiet trade. LME copper and tin lag. European natural gas prices plunged more than 20% as this year’s rally attracted a flotilla of U.S. cargoes, helping offset lower flows from Russia. Looking at today's calendar, we get personal spending and income as well as a new look at inflation data, including the Fed’s preferred price measure -- the change in the core personal consumption expenditures price index -- and jobless claims. We also get the latest Durable goods orders, UMichigan sentiment and new home sales prints. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,692.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 480.16 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.28% Euro little changed at $1.1317 MXAP up 0.9% to 192.23 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 623.33 Nikkei up 0.8% to 28,798.37 Topix up 0.9% to 1,989.43 Hang Seng Index up 0.4% to 23,193.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,643.34 Sensex up 0.7% to 57,350.50 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,387.57 Kospi up 0.5% to 2,998.17 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $74.99/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,807.61 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The highly-mutated omicron variant appears less likely to land patients in the hospital with Covid-19 than the delta strain, according to preliminary data from a trio of studies France reported a jump in Covid-19 infections as the fast-spreading omicron variant tightens its grip on Europe The Chinese yuan is having a greater impact on its emerging-market counterparts than ever before and may play a crucial role in determining their performance in the coming year New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s rhetoric of distributing wealth more equally appears to signal a change of priorities for post-pandemic Japan that may run counter to plans to improve the country’s presence as an international financial hub Oil settled at the highest level in nearly a month after U.S. crude stockpiles decreased and economic data pushed equities higher A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded modestly higher amid some tailwinds from Wall Street in holiday-thinned trade and the absence of fresh catalysts. The US majors closed in the green across the board, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq propelled higher by Tesla shares which jumped 7.5% to regain USD 1tln market cap. US equity futures resumed trade relatively flat with an upside bias. In APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.3%) was supported by its gold miners following the recent gains in the yellow metal. Japan’s Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) was underpinned by its mining names, while South Korea’s KOSPI (+0.2%) saw gains in Tech mostly offset by losses in Autos. The Hang Seng (+0.3%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.2%) quickly dipped at the open into modest negative territory but later recovered. The overnight focus was on Tencent declaring an interim dividend payable in JD.com shares – which would reduce Tencent's holding of JD to about 2.3% vs prev. nearly 17% reported earlier this month. JD.com shares extended downside in early trade to losses of over 10%, whilst Tencent rose over 3%. US 10yr Treasury futures traded with no firm direction overnight despite the mild positivity seen across APAC stocks, with the debt now looking ahead to the November PCE report. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Head for Third Day of Gains as Tencent Shares Rally Alibaba-Backed RoboSense Said to Pick JPMorgan for Hong Kong IPO Foreigners Haven’t Finished Selling India Stocks: Street Wrap Asia Traders Are Most Bullish Stocks, Europe Least: Markets Live European bourses are firmer in very thin trading conditions, with a distinct holiday-feel setting in. News flow has been minimal, and remains focused on the familiar themes of Omicron and geopolitics. The Euro Stoxx 50 trades around +0.5%, after a constructive handover from Asia, although there are some very modest regional discrepancies. Sectors are predominantly in the green, with the likes of Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, and Autos benefitting from the generally constructive tone of news flow around Omicron. US futures are firmer, though the magnitude is limited, and benchmarks have essentially been in a holding pattern since the US cash close on Wednesday. Top European News Spain Revises GDP Growth Sharply Higher After Data Doubts Traders Ramp Up BOE Bets to See Key Rate at 1.25% Next Year U.K. PM Not Expected to Announce Post-Xmas Curbs This Week: Sky Pound Reaches One-Month High After BOE Rate Hike Bets Increase In FX, in stark contrast to this time yesterday, the Dollar index is trying to grind higher from a fractionally firmer base between 96.018-199 parameters, though well below Tuesday’s range amidst an ongoing improvement in overall risk sentiment based on the latest Omicron analysis. In short, studies continue to find lower hospital admissions and generally less acute symptoms even though the mutation is more virulent, while the current batch of vaccines provide varying degrees of protection and new drugs designed specifically for the new strain are in the pipeline. On the fundamental front, the final full trading day before the Xmas break contains some potential market-moving US data, including the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, core PCE, plus jobless claims, new home sales and the often volatile durable goods. NZD/GBP/AUD - The Kiwi, Pound and Aussie have all picked up where they left off on Wednesday, with impetus from the aforementioned positive market tone allied to increasingly bullish technical impulses. Indeed, Nzd/Usd didn’t encounter much in the way of psychological resistance at 0.6800, while Sterling has breached 1.3350 more emphatically to expose/probe 1.3400 and Aud/Usd overcame any sentimentality that might have hampered its progress beyond 0.7200. Cable has also advanced with the aid of Eur/Gbp tailwinds as the cross approaches 0.8450 following sell orders above, and an element of relief after reports suggesting that UK PM Johnson is now likely to hold off from making any further decisions on pandemic measures until after Xmas. Back down under, some good news for the Aussie via a pickup in private sector credit and loans for housing. CAD/EUR - Both narrowly mixed vs their US counterpart, but the Loonie has extended its rebound towards 1.2800 in advance of Canadian monthly GDP and average weekly earnings, while the Euro is forming a firmer base on the 1.1300 handle as EGBs continue to underperform/outperform in futures and cash terms respectively. However, Eur/Usd topped out around 1.1341/2 again and may be wary of decent option expiry interest between 1.1330-40 in 1.3 bn as much as 1.6 bn rolling off at 1.1300-05. CHF/JPY - The Franc and Yen are still lagging on risk factors and their carry characteristics, with the former unable to sustain advances through 0.9200 against the Buck and the latter failing to overcome offers/resistance into 114.00. Hence, Usd/Jpy remains poised for more attempts to scale the next Fib retracement at 114.38 in the run up to Japanese inflation data and post-remarks from BoJ Kuroda who adhered to pretty standard lines on currency matters. To recap, he repeated that FX rates must move in a stable fashion and reflect economic fundamentals, while the negative impact of a weak Jpy on Japanese household income may be increasing, though the benefits outweigh the demerits. In commodities, crude benchmarks continue to see modest pressure that crept in during APAC trade; Brent is pivoting USD 75.00/bbl, with losses of circa USD 0.30/bbl. News flow has been minimal. Russia’s President Putin is making some geopolitical noises, although he is largely reiterating familiar themes. Elsewhere, Exxon’s (XOM) Baytown complex (560k BPD capacity) in Texas reported a fire at a gasoline component processing unit; reports thus far indicate no facility impact from this incident. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver remain contained as the yellow metal holds onto the USD 1800/oz mark it reclaimed amid USD weakness in APAC hours. While base metals are firmer but again within familiar ranges. Russian President Putin says Russia meets gas supply obligations under long-term deals, prior to providing gas to spot markets; adds that Gazprom has not booked gas via the Yamal-Europe line due to a lack of requests, pipeline in reverse mode. Europe has created its own gas problems, should resolve this themselves; are prepared to assist.Germany is selling Russian gas to Poland, think it ends up in Ukraine. Exxon (XOM) Baytown complex (560k BPD capacity) in Texas has reported a fire at the facility, according to the community alert system; Some injuries have been reported following a 'major industrial accident' at the Exxon (XOM) Baytown complex (560k BPD capacity) in Texas, via the Harris County Sheriff - No reports to evacuate/shelter in place after the fire. Based on current information, no adverse impact. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 205,000, prior 206,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.84m, prior 1.85m 8:30am: Nov. Personal Income, est. 0.4%, prior 0.5% Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 1.3% 8:30am: Nov. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 5.7%, prior 5.0% PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%; YoY, est. 4.5%, prior 4.1% 8:30am: Nov. Durable Goods Orders, est. 1.8%, prior -0.4% Durables-Less Transportation, est. 0.6%, prior 0.5% Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.7%, prior 0.7% Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.6%, prior 0.4% 10am: Nov. New Home Sales MoM, est. 3.3%, prior 0.4% 10am: Dec. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 70.4, prior 70.4 Current Conditions, prior 74.6 Expectations, prior 67.8 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.9%, prior 4.9%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0%; 10am: Nov. New Home Sales, est. 770,000, prior 745,000 Tyler Durden Thu, 12/23/2021 - 08:06.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 23rd, 2021

Why Don"t People "Trust The Science?" Because Scientists Are Often Caught Lying

Why Don't People "Trust The Science?" Because Scientists Are Often Caught Lying Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, There has been an unfortunate shift in Western educational practices in the past few decades away from what we used to call “critical thinking.” In fact, critical thinking was once a fundamental staple of US colleges and now it seems as though the concept doesn’t exist anymore; at least not in the way it used to. Instead, another brand of learning has arisen which promotes “right thinking”; a form of indoctrination which encourages and rewards a particular response from students that falls in line with ideology and not necessarily in line with reality. It’s not that schools directly enforce a collectivist or corporatist ideology (sometimes they do), it’s more that they filter out alternative viewpoints as well as facts and evidence they do not like until all that is left is a single path and a single conclusion to any given problem. They teach students how to NOT think by presenting thought experiments and then controlling the acceptable outcomes. For example, a common and manipulative thought experiment used in schools is to ask students to write an “analysis” on why people do not trust science or scientists these days. The trick is that the question is always presented with a built-in conclusion – That scientists should be trusted, and some people are refusing to listen, so let’s figure out why these people are so stupid. I have seen this experiment numerous times, always presented in the same way. Not once have I ever seen a college professor or public school teacher ask students: “Should scientists today be trusted?” Not once. This is NOT analysis, this is controlled hypothesis. If you already have a conclusion in mind before you enter into a thought experiment, then you will naturally try to adjust the outcome of the experiment to fit your preconceived notions. Schools today present this foolishness as a form of thinking game when it is actually propaganda. Students are being taught to think inside the box, not outside the box. This is not science, it is anti-science. Educational programming like this is now a mainstay while actual science has taken a backseat. Millions of kids are exiting public schools and universities with no understanding of actual scientific method or science in general. Ask them what the equations for Density or Acceleration are, and they’ll have no clue what your are talking about. Ask them about issues surrounding vaccination or “climate change”, and they will regurgitate a litany of pre-programmed responses as to why the science cannot be questioned in any way. In the alternative media we often refer to this as being “trapped in the Matrix,” and it’s hard to think of a better analogy. People have been rewarded for so long for accepting the mainstream narrative and blindly dismissing any other information that when they are presented with reality they either laugh at it arrogantly or recoil in horror. The Matrix is so much more comfortable and safe, and look at all the good grades you get when you say the right things and avoid the hard questions and agree with the teacher. Given the sad state of science in the West these days surrounding the response to covid as well as the insane and unscientific push for forced vaccinations, I thought it would be interesting to try out this thought exercise, but from an angle that is never allowed in today’s schools: Why don’t people trust the science and scientists anymore? This is simple: Because many scientists have been caught lying and misrepresenting their data to fit the conclusions they want rather than the facts at hand. Science is often politicized to serve an agenda. This is not conspiracy theory, this is provable fact. That’s not to say that all science is to be mistrusted. The point is, no science should be blindly accepted without independent examination of ALL the available facts. This is the whole point of science, after all. Yes, there are idiotic conspiracy theories out there when it comes to scientific analysis, but there are a number of scams in the world of science as well. The usual false claim is that the average person is ignorant and that they don’t have the capacity to understand scientific data. I do find it interesting that this is the general message of the trust-science thought experiment. It fits right in line with the mainstream and government narrative that THEIR scientists, the scientists they pay for and that corporations pay for, are implicitly correct and should not be questioned. They are the high priests of the modern era, delving into great magics that we dirty peasants cannot possibly grasp. It is not for us to question “the science”, it our job to simply embrace it like a religion and bow down in reverence. Most people have the capacity to sift through scientific data as long as it’s transparent. When the facts are obscured or spun or omitted this causes confusion, and of course only the establishment scientists can untangle the mess because they are the ones that created it. Let’s look at a couple of examples directly related to human health… GMO Crops And The Corporate Money Train The propaganda surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms is relentless and pervasive, with the overall thrust being that they are perfectly safe and that anyone who says otherwise is a tinfoil hat crackpot. And certainly, there a hundreds if not thousands of studies which readily confirm this conclusion. So, case closed, right? Not quite. Here is where critical thinking is so useful and where reality escapes the indoctrinated – Who paid for these studies, and do they have a vested interest in censoring negative data on GMOs? Well, in the vast majority of cases GMO studies are funded by two sources – GMO industry giants like Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, or, government agencies like the FDA and EPA. Very few studies are truly independent, and this is the problem. Both the government and corporations like Monsanto have a vested interest in preventing any critical studies from being released on GMO’s. Monsanto has been caught on numerous occasions hiding the dangerous health effects of its products, from Agent Orange to the RGBH growth hormone used in dairy cows. They have been caught compiling illegal dossiers on their critics. The industry has been caught multiple times paying off academics and scientists to produce studies on GMOs with a positive spin and even to attack other scientists that are involved in experiments that are critical of GMOs. Research shows that at least half of all GMO studies are funded by the GMO industry, while the majority of the other half are funded by governments. There has also long been a revolving door between GMO industry insiders and the FDA and EPA; officials often work for Monsanto and then get jobs with the government, then go back to Monsanto again. The back scratching is so egregious that the government even created special legal protections for GMO companies like Monsanto under what is now known as the Monsanto Protection Act (Section 735 of Agricultural Appropriations Bill HR 993) under the Obama Administration in 2013. This essentially makes GMO companies immune to litigation over GMOs, and the same protections have been renewed in different bills ever since. Beyond the revolving door, the government has approved many GMO products with little to no critical data to confirm their safety. Not only that, but in most cases the government has sovereign immunity from litigation, even if they’ve been negligent. Meaning, if any of these products is proven to cause long term health damage the government cannot be sued for approving them unless there are special circumstances. If they could be held liable, you would be damn sure the FDA would be running every conceivable test imaginable to confirm GMOs are definitively safe without any bias attached, but this is not the case. Instead, the government actively propagandizes for GMO companies and uses hired hatchet men to derail any public criticism. I, for one, would love to know for sure if GMOs are harmful to the human body in the long term, and there is certainly science to suggest that this might be the case. There have been many situations in which specific GMO foods were removed from the market in foreign countries because of potentially harmful side effects. Endogenous toxins of plants with modified metabolites are a concern, along with “plant incorporated protectants” (plants designed to produce toxins which act as pesticides). There is data that tells us to be wary, but nothing conclusive. Why? Because billions of dollars are being invested by corporations into research designed to “debunk” any notion of side effects. If the same amount of funding was put into independent studies with no bias, then we might hear a different story about the risks of GMOs. All the money is in dismissing the risks of GMOs; there’s almost no money in studying them honestly. The science appears to be rigged to a particular outcome or narrative, and that is lying. Science is supposed to remain as objective as possible, but how can it be objective when it is being paid for by people with an agenda? The temptation to sell out is extreme. Covid Vaccines And The Death Of Science I bring up the example of GMO’s because I think it is representative of how science can be controlled to produce only one message while excluding all other analysis. We don’t really know for sure how dangerous GMOs are because the majority of data is dictated by the people that profit from them and by their friends in government. The lack of knowing is upheld as proof of safety – But this is not scientific. Science and medicine would demand that we err on the side of caution until we know for sure. The same dynamic exists in the world of covid vaccines. Big Pharma has a vested interest in ensuring NO negative information is released about the mRNA vaccines because there is a perpetual river of money to be made as long as the vax remains approved for emergency use by the FDA. It may be important to note that the FDA has said it will take at least 55 YEARS to release all the data it has on the Pfizer covid vaccines, which suggests again that there is a beneficial collusion between the government and corporate behemoths. In the meantime, anyone that questions the efficacy or safety of the vax is immediately set upon by attack dogs in the media, most of them paid with advertising dollars from Big Pharma. These attacks are not limited to the alternative media; the establishment has also gone after any scientist or doctor with questions about vaccine safety. There are clear and openly admitted ideological agendas surrounding covid science which have nothing to do with public health safety and everything to do with political control. When you have the head of the World Economic Forum applauding the covid pandemic as a perfect “opportunity” to push forward global socialist centralization and erase the last vestiges of free markets and individual liberty, any rational person would have to question if the covid science is also being rigged to support special interests. Luckily, the covid issue is so massive that it is impossible for them to control every study. Instead, the establishment ignores the studies and data they don’t like. The virus is being hyped as a threat to the majority of the public and as a rationale for 100% vaccination rates, by force if needed. Yet, the median Infection Fatality Rate of covid is only 0.27%. This means that on average 99.7% of the population at any given time has nothing to fear from the virus. This is confirmed by dozens of independent medical studies, but when was the last time you heard that number discussed by mainstream government scientists like Anthony Fauci? I’ve never heard them talk about it. But how is it scientific to ignore data just because it doesn’t fit your political aims? Again, deliberate omission of data is a form of lying. What about the multiple studies indicating that natural immunity is far superior in protection to the mRNA vaccines? What about the fact that the countries with the highest vaccination rates also have the highest rates of infections and their hospitalizations have actually increased? What about the fact that the states and countries with the harshest lockdown and mask mandates also have the highest infection rates? What about the fact that the average vaccine is tested for 10-15 years before being approved for human use, while the covid mRNA vaccines were put into production within months? That is to say, there is NO long term data to prove the safety of the covid vax. These are easily observable scientific facts, but we never hear about them from corporate scientists or government scientists like Fauci. Instead, Fauci argues that criticism of his policies is an attack on him, and attacking him is the same as “attacking science.” In other words, Fauci believes HE IS the science. And doesn’t that just illustrate how far science has fallen in the new millennium. Real scientists like Kary Mullis, the inventor of the PCR test, call Fauci a fraud, but they are ignored while Fauci is worshiped. I can’t even get into climate change “science” here, I would have to write an entire separate article about the fallacies perpetrated by global warming academics (did you know that global temperatures have only increased by 1 degree Celsius in the past century? Yep, just 1 degree according to the NOAA’s own data, yet, institutions like the NOAA continue to claim the end of the world is nigh because of global warming). The stringent bottleneck on science today reminds me of the Catholic church under Pope Innocent III when church authorities forbade common people from owning or reading a bible in their own language. These laws remained in effect well into the 13th and 14th centuries. Instead, the peasants were to go to church and have the texts read to them by specific clergy. Often the bible readings were done in Latin (bibles were only allowed to be written in Latin) which most people did not speak, and interpreted however the church wished. It was only the invention of the printing press in the 1400s that changed the power dynamic and allowed bibles to be widely distributed and information to spread without church oversight. Much like the creation of the internet allows the public to access mountains of scientific data and methodologies at their fingertips. The free flow of information is an anathema according to the establishment; they argue that only they have the right to process information for public consumption. Cultism requires excessive control of data and the complete restriction of outside interpretations. As information becomes openly available the public is then able to learn the whole truth, not just approved establishment narratives. Science is quickly becoming a political religion rather than a bastion of critical thought. Conflicting data is ignored as “non-science” or even censored as “dangerous.” Government and corporate paid studies are treated as sacrosanct. Is it any wonder that so many people now distrust the science? Any reasonable person would have questions and suspicions. Those who do not have been indoctrinated into a cult they don’t even know they are a part of. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Sun, 12/19/2021 - 17:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 19th, 2021

Pandemic Could Be Solved Quickly If Politics Thrown Out: Dr. Ben Carson

Pandemic Could Be Solved Quickly If Politics Thrown Out: Dr. Ben Carson Authored by Harry Lee and Jan Jekielek via The Epoch Times, “We’ve been having tunnel vision” dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ben Carson told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. “Let’s throw the politics out. We could solve this problem pretty quickly,” he stated in an interview that will premiere on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. New York time. “Let’s open this thing up to all the different mechanisms,” said Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian award in the nation—in 2008 for his work. He retired in 2013 and ran for the presidency in 2016, before serving as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration. “Let’s look around the world at things that work. Let’s look at the fact that on the western coast of Africa, there’s almost no COVID. And let’s ask ourselves, why is that? And then you see, it’s because they take antimalarials, particularly hydroxychloroquine. Let’s study that. Let’s see what’s going on there. “Let’s listen to these physician groups who’ve had incredible success with ivermectin. Let’s look at the results with monoclonal antibodies. Let’s look at all of these things. Let’s put them all in our armamentarium so that we don’t have a one-size-fits-all system.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at one time had authorized hydroxychloroquine for treating certain COVID-19 patients but quickly revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) in June 2020, claiming no data showed its effectiveness. The FDA hasn’t approved or issued an EUA for ivermectin to treat COVID-19, citing the same reasons. Using hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients has been highly controversial. Some studies show, and some doctors claim, that hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin can effectively treat COVID-19 patients. A vaccine confidence insight report (pdf) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labeled such claims as misinformation or disinformation. “COVID is a virus. Viruses mutate. That’s what they do. And they will continue to mutate,” Carson said. Carson pointed out that fortunately, most of the time, viruses become a little weaker with each mutation. “We can admit that and deal with it, or we can take every little mutation and every little change and try to make it into a crisis so we can frighten people and control their lives more,” Carson said. The latest variant has been named Omicron. During a White House COVID-19 Task Force briefing on Dec. 15, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that she expected Omicron cases to increase in the coming weeks, urging people to take preventive measures such as being vaccinated and getting booster doses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 4, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Carson said he has some concerns with how COVID-19 is being utilized to “manipulate and frighten people.” “We should be using every tool available to us to fight the pandemic. There’s no question about that,” Carson said. “But that means, you know, therapeutics, which had been poo-pooed. And I understand why. Because in order to get an EUA—an emergency use authorization—to pursue the vaccines, you can’t have anything that’s effective as an alternative. So, that’s a defect in our system, we need to get rid of that. “I think a lot of people died unnecessarily because we had that attitude,” Carson added. He shared that when he contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and was severely ill, monoclonal antibodies saved his life. He said monoclonal antibodies weren’t really utilized the way they should have been early on. The FDA issued its first EUA for monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19 patients in November 2020. “There are many things that have been very effective that we have not pursued, including natural immunity,” Carson said. “Well, why wouldn’t you collect that information? Why wouldn’t you want to know that? The only reason you wouldn’t do that is because you didn’t want to know the answer,” he said. “Because it didn’t fit very neatly into what you’re trying to do, which is get everybody to be vaccinated.” That’s one of the reasons people are losing confidence in federal health agencies, he suggested. Last month, the CDC said it had no record of naturally immune people transmitting the CCP virus. “A lot of people who probably should be vaccinated are not doing it because they see these inconsistencies, these things that make absolutely no sense,” Carson said. “This demand that everybody get a vaccination, except if you’re coming across the southern border illegally, then it’s not all that important.” Carson also opposes forcing children to be vaccinated. First-grade student, 6-year-old Leonel Campos, receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Arturo Velasquez Institute in Chicago, on Nov. 12, 2021. ( Scott Olson/Getty Images) “We have a situation where you have the government advocating that children be vaccinated, even though the risk for death for a child with COVID is 0.025 percent, essentially the same as it is for seasonal flu. You don’t see us doing all this every year for seasonal flu,” Carson stated. “The risk of mortality for a healthy child is approaching zero, and yet we’re saying do this without knowing what the long-term risks are?” he said. “And why would you subject an innocent child to a lifetime of unknown risk? It just makes absolutely no sense. “We need to have faith in our government. We need to have faith in our health care systems. And by injecting politics into it, I think we have put ourselves behind the eight ball. It’s going to take a while to reestablish that trust,” he said. “Why not learn how to look at what’s logical and what makes sense? And why not encourage discussion of those things, rather than everybody getting their respective corners and shooting hand grenades at each other?” The way out is real leadership, he said. “The only path is strong leadership. We don’t have that.” Tyler Durden Sat, 12/18/2021 - 18:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 18th, 2021

Market Extra: Here’s why concerns about omicron and doubts in the Fed’s ability to deliver aggressive rate hikes are pulling down Treasury yields

Paul Ellis/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesInvestors flocked to the safety of Treasurys on Thursday, pulling down yields as concerns about the omicron variant flared and doubts lingered that the Federal Reserve will be able to lift interest rates aggressively to help combat inflation.The rally led to lower yields on everything from 1-month bills to the 20-year Treasury bond. Yields on 2-year to 7-year maturities, which capture the period in which the Federal Reserve plans to execute its next rate-hike campaign, bore the brunt of the declines.Thursday’s moves, which included drops in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, the S&P 500 Index SPX and Dow industrials DJIA, came a day after the Federal Reserve penciled in three rate hikes for 2022, while boosting its rate outlook through 2024 relative to September forecasts. Meanwhile, Fed-dated overnight-indexed swaps and eurodollar futures continued pointing to a view that policy makers won’t be able to hike rates above 1.5%, or well short of policy makers’ 2.5% long-run forecast. “Even though Powell is talking tough, the bond market doesn’t believe the economy can get its legs underneath it,” said Michael Franzese, head of fixed-income trading at MCAP, referring to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. “What the market basically is saying to the Fed is, you won’t be able to raise rates much. And if you did, you would have done it by now.” A multitude of factors were weighing on investors in the bond market Thursday, including the view that the U.S. and/or global economy may be heading for a slowdown. One of the biggest potential reasons is the omicron variant of COVID-19, which has led to canceled holiday parties, the abrupt end of in-person activities at a number of colleges, and delayed return-to-office dates at companies like Apple Inc.Read: Apple delays return-to-office indefinitely, gives workers $1,000 ‘work-from-home’ bonusOverseas, European Union leaders met to coordinate a response to omicron’s fast spread across the continent and France imposed fresh restrictions on travelers from the UK. Back in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was set to meet Thursday to discuss safety concerns associated with Johnson & Johnson’ s JNJ COVID vaccine. Want intel on all the news moving markets? Sign up for our daily Need to Know newsletter. Use this link to subscribe.“Concerns over Covid seem to be the driving force at the moment,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a senior U.S. rates strategist for TD Securities. “With festivities canceled and a resurgence of covid, there’s worries this could dent the economic recovery, at least for the near term.”With traders now expecting the first Fed rate hike around May and just under three hikes for 2022, “the market today is a little bit nervous about how omicron will evolve, and is still trying to decide whether the economy can get through omicron without a rehash of March 2020,” Goldberg said via phone.Thursday’s bond-market moves were counterintuitive because the Fed’s hawkish turn was expected to drive Treasury yields sustainably higher, at some point. Ordinarily, investors would be selling off bonds on the prospect of higher interest rates from the Fed, driving yields up. Instead, continued demand for government debt is sending yields lower despite the Fed’s anticipated tightening cycle, particularly in the 5-year sector BX:TMUBMUSD05Y known as the “belly,” where the yield fell to as low as 1.162%. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.Markets and the Fed appear to be caught between two competing narratives: One is that higher inflation unleashed by pandemic dynamics will need to be brought under control with higher interest rates. The other is that the U.S. and/or world economy isn’t strong enough to handle such higher rates, and the Fed may be forced to abandon its efforts early. Other central bank decisions overseas also weighed into the thinking of bond investors Thursday, according to MCAP’s Franzese.On one hand, ECB President Christine Lagarde continued to play down the prospect of any rate increase before the end of next year — raising the possibility of a global slowdown on the horizon that hasn’t yet been factored in by the Fed, Franzese said via phone.On the other, the Bank of England’s decision to deliver a surprise rate hike on Thursday, becoming the first major central bank to lift rates since the pandemic, also gave some credence to a possible global slowdown, Franzese said. That’s because “the BOE raised rates tepidly to acknowledge the present inflation picture,” he said. The fact that the rate hike was so small is “an acknowledgment” that the new omicron virus “can rapidly change” the pace of economic conditions.Back in the U.S., the domestic economy can handle “mild” rate increases, but “a lot higher interest rates and an aggressive tightening cycle would cause disruption in markets and the global economy,” according to Kathy Jones, Charles Schwab’s chief fixed income strategist.“The market has been skeptical about a 2.5% terminal fed-funds rate throughout this cycle,” she said via phone. “It may not be that the U.S. economy is too fragile, but maybe it’s the global economy that’s still too fragile for the Fed to tighten so much. The market is hoping the Fed can move step-by-step in fighting inflation without upsetting the apple cart. But there are a number of risks out there that may make it really tough.”Another factor said to be behind the move lower in yields on Thursday is the year-end rebalancing needs of investors, such as pension funds, mutual funds, and insurers, which entails taking profits out of equities and moving into bonds.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchDec 16th, 2021

Should I still travel? Answers to 8 questions as Omicron overshadows the holiday season

Although there is still a lot of unknown, a flurry of preliminary data provides a clearer picture on what best to do ahead of the holidays. A person in line for vaccination, surrounded by Christmas lights in Manchester, England, on December 14, 2021.Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Although much is still poorly understood about Omicron, a flurry of new studies have shed some light. Ahead of the holidays, experts and public health officials have provided some tips about best behavior.  Here is are eight question you might be asking yourself and answers according to best available data.  The fast-spreading Omicron variant is casting a huge shadow during the holiday season, traditionally a peak time for travel and social mixing.Here are eight questions you might be asking yourself and the best answers we have based on the fast-changing data. Can I catch Omicron if I had two doses of vaccine? Yes.Early data suggests vaccinated people might be at higher risk of catching and passing on Omicron, compared with other variants (though double vaccination has never been a total defense from COVID-19).However, you might be less likely to get COVID-19 so bad that it kills, although it is too soon to know for sure.Early lab data and real-world data suggest that two doses of vaccines still substantially reduce the risk of severe disease and death.A third, booster dose may also restore some protection against infection and transmission, according to early studies.Women dance after the world's largest Hanukkah Menorah is lit on the first night of Hannukah at Grand Army Plaza on November 28, 2021 in New York City.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImageIf I catch Omicron, what symptoms will I get? According to the European Medicines Agency and CDC, Omicron cases have been mostly mild.The most commonly reported symptoms are similar to the common cold: cough, fatigue, and a runny nose.Nevertheless, the World Health Organization said Tuesday that it is too early to trust that Omicron is milder.The good news is that antiviral pills seem to still reduce the risk of death after exposure, even with Omicron.Two woman Christmas shopping in the city centre on December 15, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesIs it safe to go to weddings, dine indoors, and plan vacations for 2022? There is no hard and fast rule here. Anthony Fauci, the White House Medical advisor, shared what he would do in the following settings in an interview published Wednesday. "I would want to make sure that the wedding had a rule that if you are not vaccinated, you don't come to the wedding.""I certainly would not have diner indoors with people who are not vaccinated."On planning vacations for 2022: "I would believe that that would be safe because a) I'm vaccinated, b) I'm boosted, c) It's pretty safe traveling on a plane."How early should I get tested before an event or trip?Early data suggests that people can become infectious very quickly after catching the virus, Insider's Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported previously.Experts have suggested taking a test hours, not days, before an event where there would be mixing, like a party or traveling, per Insider reporting.Lateral flow or antibody tests still work with Omicron, according to the UK's health agency.  However, if you're showing symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC advises using a PCR test, which is more sensitive than a lateral flow.How do I know if I caught Omicron? Scientists might be able to figure out what variant you got, but you probably will never know.It is actually pretty easy to tell from PCR tests if someone is carrying Omicron, but that bit of information is unlikely to appear in your test result. Another way to determine what variant is making someone sick is to do whole-genome sequencing.But, at least in the US, it is illegal to share sequencing data with patients because the tests have not been approved for results, Insider's Aria Bendix previously reported.Customers shop for Christmas trees at a street market on December 14, 2021 in San Salvador, El Salvador.Camilo Freedman/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty ImagesIs it safe to go to my office holiday party?It depends. There have been several reports of large parties turning into superspreader events.The best practice is to keep wearing a mask indoors, try to keep your distance, wash your hands often, and get tested before mixing, the head of the CDC Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. How can I reduce the risk to my loved ones over the holidays? The best way to prevent Omicron is to get fully vaccinated and boosted, Walensky said. "Get your kids vaccinated, if they are eligible," she said. In the run-up to the holidays, Walensky said to take extra care over masking, social distancing, hand washing, "and making sure that the people you're going to be gathering with are doing those things as well.""If you want that extra reassurance, always a good idea to test before you gather and mix households," she said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 16th, 2021

Is Clickbait Tearing America Apart? (How to Help Stop The Cycle)

Elaine Parke examines what drives the never-ending parade of provocative, clickable headlines—and provides suggestions for removing yourself from the negative news cycle. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Usage Of Clickbait Berkeley Springs, WV (December 2021)—Clickbait has taken over the news. We’re bombarded with sensational, shocking, and scandalous stories, often at the expense […] Elaine Parke examines what drives the never-ending parade of provocative, clickable headlines—and provides suggestions for removing yourself from the negative news cycle. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Usage Of Clickbait Berkeley Springs, WV (December 2021)—Clickbait has taken over the news. We’re bombarded with sensational, shocking, and scandalous stories, often at the expense of accuracy and fairness. (Even celebrities who are used to being scrutinized have recently called out the media for reporting only the most salacious and controversial details from their lives and books.) This unrelenting cycle of dramatic news is upsetting and divisive, says Elaine Parke—and it’s time we changed the dynamic. But before we can swap clickbait for quality information, we need to understand why the negative culture cycle keeps churning. “Content creators are desperate for attention in a crowded market,” says Parke, author of The Habits of Unity: 12 Months to a Stronger America…one citizen at a time (Outskirts Press, 2021, ISBN: 978-1-9772-4276-1, $21.95, www.12habits4allofus.org). “To get more views, they distort information and focus on what’s most shocking, often with little regard to whether their story is exaggerated, true, or fair—or to what its impact on society might be.” Consuming so much negative content makes us feel anxious, suspicious, and frightened. That’s when we’re susceptible to falling down an internet rabbit hole rife with exaggeration and untruths. (Consider all the political and vaccine misinformation swirling around.) “The real kicker is, many algorithms promote stories that are triggering and divisive, which means more people read them and create them,” says Parke. “It’s a truly vicious cycle.” We need to take responsibility for the content we consume—but that’s easier said than done. Many people are literally trying to break an addiction to clickbait, says Parke. Her book, The Habits of Unity, was written to help people take charge of what she calls their “mental nutrition.” Much in the same way that we (hopefully) approach the food we eat, we need to develop the discipline to make more nutritious mental choices every day. Her book’s 365 one-“magic”-minute-a-day uplifting and enjoyable motivationals make it easy to hardwire these choices into habits. Parke hopes to get everyone focused on the same branded behavior each month: January: Help Others February: You Count March: Resolve Conflicts April: Take Care of Our Environment May: Be Grateful June: Reach Higher July: Become Involved August: Know Who You Are September: Do Your Best October: Be Patient and Listen November: Show a Positive Attitude December: Celebrate Community, Family, and Friends The Habits of Unity have been statistically proven to make community-wide behaviors more uplifting and unified—and given time, Parke believes those benefits can extend to our online lives, too. A few tips: Focus on uplifting your own life with the 12-month unity system. Spend a few minutes in the morning reading the “magic minute” for that day, and look for ways to apply it to your life. “Your mental nutrition is just as important to your daily well-being as your dietary nutrition,” Parke asserts. Take a break from divisive social and mass media topics for a few days. Find some nourishing mental peace and quiet in nature or with friends and family. “For some people, that might mean consuming only content that will be nourishing, encouraging, and educational,” she says. “Others might need to completely unplug for a few days.” On multi-opinioned, potentially divisive topics, make it a personal rule to always research the topic from at least three different types of sources and perspectives before settling on your truth or perspective. Even then, always be open to new information that might change what you think. Accept the fact that 99 percent of the divisive beliefs out there are NOT first-hand truths or certainties that are worth arguing with friends and loved ones over. Conclusion Finally, Parke reminds us not to allow controversial news to seep too heavily into our personal lives. We are in charge of our own thoughts and our own attitudes. “When we all hold ourselves accountable for the quality of our mental nutrition, our thoughts and behaviors will change for the better,” she says. “Eventually, social and mass media will get the message that we want to like and share a new, more positive brand of messaging that’s about kindness instead of clickbait.” About the Author: Elaine Parke, MBA, CS, CM, NSA, is the author of The Habits of Unity: 12 Months to a Stronger America…one citizen at a time. For 30 years, under the umbrella of the non-profit All of Us, Inc., her scalable and evidence-driven 12 habits of social unity model has transformed several million community citizens and youth across the USA’s Midwest and in Rwanda, helping them feel more caring and connected to one another. In 1993, her monthly branded and colorful habit-forming model was deemed a “Social Invention” by the London Institute for Social Inventions. Parke spent 25 years fine-tuning her mass-market media skills in corporate America. Then, in 1987, she redirected her focus to helping people get along better. Her first book, Join the Golden Rule Revolution: Practice One Habit…Each Month of the Year, was published in 2000. She has won many awards and recognitions for her work. Parke is certified in public speaking, violence prevention, conflict management, and mediation, as well as meditation, and has been a popular speaker in her field of driving health and positive social and civic engagement with managed media strategies. She has been an occasional guest marketing lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carnegie Mellon University. To learn more, please visit www.12habits4allofus.org. About the Book:  The Habits of Unity: 12 Months to a Stronger America…one citizen at a time (Outskirts Press, 2021, ISBN: 978-1-9772-4276-1, $21.95, www.12habits4allofus.org) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers. Updated on Dec 15, 2021, 4:21 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 15th, 2021

We tested 13 vacuums designed for pet hair, and these 5 picked up the most fur

We tried 13 vacuums to find the best ones for picking up pet hair and fur, whether on carpet, hardwood floors, or furniture. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.James Brains/InsiderWhen your fur friend sheds constantly, you have to stay on top of your vacuuming or risk an infestation of dust bunnies. A good vacuum makes it easy for you to keep your floors and furniture pet hair-free while also handling other messes.For this guide, I tested 13 vacuums to see how they cleaned up cat and dog hair, cat litter, flour, coffee grounds, and Cheerios on carpeting, hardwood floors, and furniture. I have reviewed vacuums for three years and have developed many objective tests to determine which models are best for different budgets and cleaning needs. Below, I outline how I tested the vacuums and provide answers to pet vacuum FAQs. Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products.Here are the best vacuums for pet hair of 2021Best overall vacuum for pet hair: Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum, $599.99 on Best BuyThe powerful suction of the Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum picked up all of the pet hair in our tests, and emptying the dustbin was easy and clean.Best budget vacuum for pet hair: Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner, $154.49 on AmazonWhile there are cheaper options out there, the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner is the most affordable vacuum that still does an outstanding job of collecting pet hair.Best canister vacuum for pet hair: Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum, $593.23 on AmazonThe pricey Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum picked up messes better than any other vac in our tests, and the disposable vacuum bag keeps you out of contact with the debris.Best handheld vacuum for pet hair: Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, $195.23 on AmazonIf you're looking for a vacuum that's easy to use on furniture and in cars, consider the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with its outstanding performance in its handheld configuration.Best robot vacuum for pet hair: Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum, $299 on AmazonThe Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum picked up all the pet hair on carpet in our tests and has a great assortment of mop attachments and accessories.Best vacuum for pet hair overallJames Brains/Insider$599.99 FROM BEST BUY$599.99 FROM DYSONThe powerful suction of the Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum picked up all of the pet hair in our tests, and emptying the dustbin was easy and clean.Overall size: 49.6" x 10.3" x 9.8"Weight: 7 poundsDustbin capacity: 0.76 litersFilter type: 5-stage designed to pick up 99.97% of 0.3-micron particlesBattery life: 9 minutes on boost modeCharge time: 4 hours, 15 minutesWarranty: 2 yearsExtras/Attachments: Crevice tool, mini motorized tool, docking station, stiff bristle brush, combination tool, wand clipPros: Performed well in our tests, especially removing pet hair; powerful suction; contact-less debris disposal; comes with a wall-mounted docking stationCons: Tiring to hold in handheld configuration, short battery life in boost mode, have to keep trigger depressed for vacuum to runDyson has developed a name for itself with its collection of high-quality, high-end products. The Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum is a prime example of this quality. Per Dyson, it engineered the V11 Animal for larger homes with pets. For the most part, this bore out in our tests. It was one of only three vacs to collect all of the pet hair on all of the surfaces we tested, and the hair didn't get tangled in the brush. This Dyson vac also did an outstanding job of picking up other debris on hardwood and furniture, leaving behind just a trace of flour. Flour was a challenge for the V11 on carpeting, leaving behind about 17% of the flour. None of the vacuums I tested did well in every category, and the V11 Animal performed poorly in terms of ease of use. You have to keep the trigger depressed for the unit to run. My workaround was to wrap a piece of duct tape around it. To empty the dustbin, you have to remove the attachments. If you don't have it positioned just right, the bin's trap-door release could send debris flying. For the most part, though, I appreciated how cleanly the bin emptied: My hands didn't end up dirty.Lastly, I wasn't impressed with the battery. On boost mode, it only lasted nine minutes. Then it took over four hours to recharge. Granted, the boost mode felt more powerful than the other cordless vacuums I tested. In eco mode, the battery lasted for 75 minutes, and in Auto mode, it lasted for 45.For most uses, you can get by with eco mode, which Dyson claims will run for 60 minutes on a single charge. Since it's removable, you could purchase additional batteries, but they're pricey at $150.On the plus side, the V11 Animal was easy to maneuver. I found I could easily move it perpendicular to where I was standing. The non-Dyson vacuums couldn't do this. Also, the V11 Animal comes with a wall-mounted docking station that holds all of the attachments for convenient, out-of-the-way storage.Read our full Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum review.Best budget vacuum for pet hairJames Brains/Insider$154.49 FROM AMAZON$154.49 FROM BISSELLWhile there are cheaper options out there, the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner is the most affordable vacuum that still does an outstanding job of collecting pet hair.Overall size: 45.5" x 13.5" x 12.5"Weight: 13.65 poundsDustbin capacity: 1 literFilter type: Multi-level filtrationPower source: CordedWarranty: 4 yearsExtras/Attachments: Crevice tool, combination dusting brush and upholstery tool, extension wand, Pet TurboEraser tool, pet hair corner tool.Pros: Picked up all of the pet hair in all of our tests, great on hardwood, features a retractable cord, powerful suctionCons: Messy debris disposalPerhaps unsurprisingly, the four vacuums I tested that cost less than the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner (model 2256) performed poorly. I can't recommend any of them. Consequently, our budget pick is still somewhat pricey at $150, but it's well worth the price.The CleanView Swivel Rewind was one of three vacuums that picked up all the pet hair on all of the surfaces in our tests. Also, the hair didn't get tangled in the brush. While its ability to pick up other debris was just average on carpeting and furniture, it did exceptionally well on hardwood. On every surface, it picked up all of the cat litter and Cheerios. It struggled with the coffee grounds on carpeting and only did a so-so job of collecting flour in all of the tests.I appreciated how simple the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind was to use. The swivel head makes it easy to maneuver with one hand. The cord never got in my way thanks to the easy retraction feature (the "Rewind" in the name), and since it's upright, I didn't have to support the weight of the vac. I just guided it as it made quick work of messes. And the hose detached effortlessly to reach elevated areas.However, I had a hard time emptying the dustbin without getting my hands dirty or inadvertently sending gunk flying outside of the trash can. Your best bet is to release the trap-door mechanism with the bottom inside your trash receptacle.Best canister vacuum for pet hairJames Brains/Insider$593.23 FROM AMAZONOriginally $699.00 | Save 15%The pricey Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum picked up messes better than any other vac in our tests, and the disposable vacuum bag keeps you out of contact with the debris.Overall size: 40.5" x 20" x 18"Weight: 21 poundsDustbin capacity: 4.5-liter vacuum bagFilter type: HEPA and charcoalPower source: CordedWarranty: 1 year; 7 years for key components (including motor)Extras/Attachments: Brushless floorhead, dusting brush, upholstery tool, crevice tool, handheld motorized brush, extra filterPros: Did an impressive job of collecting all debris on all surfaces, disposal bags keep debris contained, runs quietlyCons: Not particularly user-friendly, have to buy replacement bags, heavy, expensiveFor those who can afford them, canister vacuums provide a powerful, yet quiet and mess-free way to clean up after your pet. The benefits of a canister vacuum were exemplified in our testing of the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum. The Classic C1 was the best overall at picking up debris. In addition to picking up all of the pet hair on all of the surfaces we tested — while remaining free of pet hair tangles — the vacuum picked up almost all of the other materials on carpeting, hardwood, and furniture. The only substance it seemed to have any difficulty with was flour, but it still picked up at least 90% of the flour on each surface.My main gripes with the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum have to do with how user unfriendly it can be. At over 20 pounds, it's the heaviest vacuum we tested. Fortunately, you don't have to support the weight. The motor and debris collect in the wheeled canister which is connected by hose to the handle and vacuum head. However, I didn't like the feel of dragging the canister behind me as I cleaned. While the hard plastic handle felt durable, it wasn't comfortable in my hand. Also, the bulky powerbrush head didn't lend itself to easy maneuverability.I have mixed feelings about the disposable dust bag. The Classic C1 was the only vacuum we tested that used bags. On the one hand, I don't like the idea of producing more garbage, and replacement bags are an added expense ($14.90 for four replacement bags and two filters). (Miele also makes a bagless version of its pet vacuum, the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog.) On the other hand, the 4.5-liter bag holds an impressive amount of debris, and it did a great job of keeping particles contained, which makes it a smart solution for allergy sufferers. How often you need to change the bag depends on a variety of factors, but I didn't come close to filling it despite sucking up more than two pounds of debris in my tests.Best handheld vacuum for pet hairJames Brains/Insider$195.23 FROM AMAZONIf you're looking for a vacuum that's easy to use on furniture and in cars, consider the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with its outstanding performance in its handheld configuration.Overall size: 45.5" x 11" x 8"Weight: 7 poundsDustbin capacity: 0.65 litersFilter type: Washable filter and prefilterBattery life: 13 minutes on top powerCharge time: 4 hours, 45 minutesWarranty: 2 yearsExtras/Attachments: Crevice tool with flip-out brush, toothed attachments for pet hair, accessory holderPros: Cleaned well on all surfaces, lightweight in handheld configuration, easy to use, mess-free dustbin emptying, removable batteryCons: Short battery run time, long charge time, left behind pet hair on carpeting and hardwoodAll of the traditional handheld vacuums I tested performed poorly. Consequently, I can't recommend any of them. We will test more models for future updates to this guide. In the meantime, we wanted to provide a suitable handheld alternative. In its handheld configuration, the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is your best bet.When used as a handheld, the Powerseries Extreme vacuum picked up all of the cat litter, flour, and pet hair on furniture. Plus, it was light enough that my arm didn't strain while holding it for long periods. In its stick vacuum mode, the performance was less impressive but still good. On both carpet and hardwood, it collected all of the Cheerios, cat litter, and ground coffee. But the Black+Decker vac only picked up around 85% of the pet hair and flour on the two surfaces.The rubberized bristles did a good job of remaining tangle-free, and I liked how the brushroll head swivels so you can make tight turns. I noticed that the vac seemed to do a better job of collecting debris when pulling the head toward me rather than pushing away.Emptying the dustbin was a tidy affair. The narrow design makes it easy to direct the gunk into the trash can, and the trap door release kept the particles out of contact with my hands. The biggest negative with the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is its battery. On high power, the battery was in the middle of the pack in our tests. However, it was one of the slowest to charge. Fortunately, the battery is removable, and you can buy additional 20V lithium-ion batteries, which work with all Black+Decker cordless tools. They're currently about $35 on Amazon.Best robot vacuum for pet hairJames Brains/Insider$299.00 FROM AMAZONOriginally $399.99 | Save 25%$299.00 FROM WALMARTOriginally $399.99 | Save 25%$299.99 FROM TARGETOriginally $399.99 | Save 25%The Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum picked up all the pet hair on carpet in our tests and has a great assortment of mop attachments and accessories.Overall size: 12.25" x 12.25" x 3.25"Weight: 7.5 poundsDustbin capacity: 0.4 litersFilter type: Carbon foam and pleatedBattery life: 130 minutes (in low mode per manufacturer)Charge time: 5 hours (per manufacturer)Warranty: 1 yearExtras/Attachments: Wi-Fi app connectivity (available for iOS and Android), water tank with spinning mop pads, extra mop pads, trial-size cleaning formula, damp-proof mat, extra side brushes, extra air filter, cleaning toolPros: Quiet operation, app connectivity, picked up all of the pet hair in our tests, small size, great mop attachment and accessories, great job on corners and hardwoodCons: Gets stuck easily, can't set up no-go zones, can't clean furniture If you have pets that shed heavily and are tired of vacuuming every day, a robot vacuum may be your best bet. Since these robots try to pack a lot of features into a small space, they tend not to have the suction power or dustbin capacity of other vacuums. For daily, automated cleaning, though, a robot vacuum is indispensable. Since robot vacuums have a mind of their own, I put them through a different testing methodology. You can read more about how we test in our robot vacuum guide.  Based on my testing of dozens of robot vacuums, the Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum is the best for pet hair. It picked up all of the pet hair mix I laid out on hardwood and carpeting. And it only left traces of flour and kitty litter behind on hardwood. It also did a great job of going deep into corners. Pets are sometimes skittish around robot vacuums. Fortunately, the SpinWave is one of the quietest models I've tested. On high suction, it's 65 decibels (a little louder than a normal conversation), and it's just 58 decibels on quiet mode. The mop attachment has spinning mop pads that do an outstanding job of scrubbing dried-on liquids while avoiding carpets. The cleaning tool that comes with the vac is perfect for cutting away hairs that get tangled in the brush, though this wasn't a common problem in my testing.You can schedule the SpinWave to clean at the same time every day or mix it up using the Bissell Connect app (available for iOS and Android).The biggest negatives were the robovac got stuck on a one-inch threshold between rooms. You can't set no-go zones to avoid it, so you may need to put a physical barrier in the way. Also, if your pets tend to have frequent accidents, a robot vacuum may not be a good choice since it could potentially spread the mess and destroy the vacuum.What else we testedJames Brains/InsiderWe tested 13 vacuums for this guide. These are the ones that didn't make the cut.What else we recommend and why:Bissell MultiClean Allergen Lift-Off Pet, Model 2852: This and the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind were the best upright vacuums we tested. We decided to include the CleanView Swivel Rewind because it's more affordable and did a better job of picking up pet hair. Still, if you find the MultiClean Allergen Lift-Off Pet on sale for cheaper, consider picking it up, especially if your home is heavily carpeted.Bissell ICONpet Edge, Model 2894A: The ICONpet was easy to use, had one of the longest battery runtimes, and charged the fastest. It also did a great job of sucking up cat litter and flour on furniture in its handheld configuration. Emptying the dustbin was mess-free. However, it left behind 23% of the pet hair on carpet and furniture. Dyson V15 Detect: At $700, this is the most expensive model we tested. It has a bunch of fancy, high-end features, such as a screen that gives you a rundown of what size and how much particulate matter it sucked up. It did a great job of cleaning all of the surfaces, except it left behind traces of pet hair on carpeting and furniture. I liked that the battery charged in under four hours, but it only lasted for eight minutes on top power. I also found the unit was tiring to hold in handheld mode, and I didn't like that I had to keep the trigger depressed for it to run.Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins, Model AZ2002: The suction and rollers were so powerful with this upright vac that I felt like I was trying to rein in a shark. It excelled on carpet and hardwood. It was also easy to use. The biggest negative was the large dustbin was hard to empty without sending particles flying.What we don't recommend and why:Black+Decker Dustbuster, Model HHVK515JP07: This handheld was easy to use, affordable, and had one of the longest battery runtimes. However, it didn't do a good job of cleaning on any surface. It appears to have a loose flap leading into the dustbin, which caused a lot of the debris it sucked up to just fall back out onto the floor.Bissell Pet Hair Eraser: After testing this corded handheld vac on carpeting and hardwood, I gave up on it. It's just not pleasant to use. The head has a narrow opening so cleaning a mess takes several passes. Cheerios clogged it. Flour would come pouring back out of the head after I turned off the power, and it was hard to stay clean when disposing of debris.Black+Decker Spillbuster Portable Carpet Cleaner: In all fairness, this cordless handheld is designed for cleaning up wet messes. This is a guide for vacuums that clean up pet hair, a dry mess. It did not do well in our tests, but if I ever write a guide about the best vacuums for pet waste, I look forward to putting this vac through its paces.Shark Vertex Ultralight DuoClean PowerFins, Model HZ2002: This corded stick vacuum showed promise, initially picking up all of the materials except flour. As I used it more, I noticed that debris was escaping from the dustbin. This was a dealbreaker.Our pet vacuum testing methodologyJames Brains/InsiderWe put each vacuum in this guide through several objective tests. The most important factors to take into account when buying a vacuum are how well it picks up pet hair on a variety of surfaces and how easy it is to use, empty, and maintain.Here's a breakdown of how much of each material (in grams) the top picks cleaned up on each surface in our tests:Surface - MaterialDyson V11 AnimalBissell CleanViewMiele Classic C1Black+Decker Powerseries ExtremeCarpet - Cheerios47505048Carpet - Litter9710010098Carpet - Coffee100779697Carpet - Hair1110.89Carpet - Flour83889283Hardwood - Cheerios50505050Hardwood - Litter1001009797Hardwood - Coffee1009798100Hardwood - Hair1110.84Hardwood - Flour95939389Furniture - Litter50505050Furniture - Hair1111Furniture - Flour49444549 Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:Carpet cleaning: One at a time, I poured 100 grams of different substances on a five-square-foot patch of carpeting. I used 100 grams of flour, coffee grounds, and cat litter; 50 grams of Cheerios; and a one-gram mix of cat and dog hair of varying lengths. Then I vacuumed up as much of each substance as I could in 30 seconds. Lastly, I compared the weight of the dustbin after vacuuming to the starting weight to determine how much of each material the vacuum collected.Hardwood cleaning: The process was the same as with carpet cleaning, only the tests were conducted on five square feet of hardwood flooring.Furniture cleaning: I poured 50 grams each of cat litter and flour plus the one-gram pet hair mix on a chair with fabric upholstery. Then I used the manufacturer-recommended cleaning configuration for furniture. Again, to determine how much debris the vacuum collected in 30 seconds, I compared the weights of the dustbin before and after sucking up each material.Battery (if applicable): I fully charged the vacuum. Then I timed how long it could run on top power until the battery died. Lastly, I timed how long it took to fully charge the vacuum.Ease of use: This is a somewhat subjective experience measurement. As I used each vacuum, I paid close attention to what made it hard or easy to use. For example, the Dyson vacuums were harder to use because you need to keep your finger on the trigger to keep the vacuum running. Also, they were heavy in the handheld configuration. The cord got in the way with some of the corded vacuums. The Miele lost points because of its suboptimal maneuverability.Disposal: Aside from the Miele, which has a disposable vacuum bag, I emptied the dustbins of the vacuums at least a dozen times each. As I did this, I noted how messy the process was and if I came in contact with the debris. Preference was given to vacuums that were easy to empty and didn't send dust flying outside of the trash bin.Pet vacuum FAQsJames Brains/InsiderDo you need a vacuum for pet hair, or is it just marketing?There are certainly vacuums that aren't specifically marketed for pet hair that will work just fine. However, some characteristics set the best ones apart from ordinary vacuum cleaners. The main features that make a vacuum ideal for pet hair are strong suction, excellent filtration, and specialized cleaner heads and attachments. A good cleaner head will loosen up debris stuck deep in the fibers of carpeting and furniture. The strong suction will suck it up, and a well-sealed filtration system will ensure the debris doesn't end up back in the air you breathe.If you're concerned about allergens in your air, be sure you choose a vacuum that has a true HEPA filter. These filters (commonly found in air purifiers) capture 99.7% of 0.3-micron particles. What are the best attachments for pet hair?Powerful suction alone doesn't cut it when you're trying to remove pet hair that is embedded in your carpeting or furniture. To get pesky pet hair, you need a cleaner head that agitates the surface you're cleaning.The brushroll on the main head of most vacuum cleaners will loosen the pet hair enough for the vac to suck it up. But, for furniture, cat trees, dog beds, and other elevated surfaces, look for attachments that have mini-motorized brushrolls or at least bristles that will free up pet hair.What can you do to ensure the longevity and top performance of your vacuum?I'm guilty of not maintaining my vacuum until it gets so clogged that it doesn't work. Today's vacuums are so easy to clean, and the few seconds you take to clean them will increase their cleaning performance so drastically that you'll save time in the long run.Though maintenance varies from vacuum to vacuum and you should consult your user manual for the most accurate information, most models can benefit from regular filter cleaning and checking the brushroll and removing any debris that's built up.GlossaryJames Brains/InsiderBrushroll: Also known as a brush bar or roller brush, this is the long, cylindrical part of the vacuum head that comes in contact with the surface you're cleaning. It's designed to agitate carpet fibers so that the vacuum can suck up embedded dust, hair, and other debris that might not come loose with suction alone. On hard surfaces, you'll typically want to turn the brushroll off since it might scatter the substances you are trying to clean up.Canister: A canister vacuum has a wheeled container that houses the debris collection (typically a vacuum bag), suction motor, and filter system. This container is connected to the handle with a hose. As you vacuum, the debris travels through the vacuum head and hose and collects in the wheeled container that rolls with you as you clean.Crevice tool: This attachment, which comes with most vacuums, is long and narrow making it ideal for reaching into crevices between couch cushions, in your car, and other hard-to-reach spots.Handheld: While you hold most vacuums in your hand, this specifically refers to small vacs that you hold entirely off the ground while you use them. They are ideal for furniture, walls and ceilings, and vehicles.HEPA filter: An acronym for high-efficiency particulate air, HEPA filters must be able to capture at least 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles. This makes them ideal for allergy sufferers or anyone who wants to keep dust out of the air.Upright: Upright vacuums are the popular design that most people think of when they think of a vacuum cleaner. They have all of their components located in one unit: a vacuum head, dustbin, motor, and handle. These vacuums typically feature a cord and can stand upright on their own.Stick: Stick vacuums are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility and easy storage. The motor, dustbin, and handle are one unit. A pole or stick connects the handle to the vacuum head, and you can typically remove the pole for handheld operation. Most stick vacuums are cordless.Check out our guides to more great vacuum cleanersConnie Chen/InsiderThe best vacuumsThe best affordable vacuum cleanersThe best cordless vacuumsThe best robot vacuumsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 9th, 2021

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface After three days of torrid gains, US futures and European markets fell as concerns about economic risks from restrictions to control the new variant outweighed optimism about the efficacy of vaccines after a study from Japan found that the omicron variant is 4.2 times more transmissible (as largely expected) in its early stage than delta. Both S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures dropped around -0.4% as traders awaited earnings from Broadcom, Oracle and Costco after the market close and tomorrow's key CPI print, while European equities drifted lower in quiet trade with little fresh news flow to drive price action. Uncertainty about monetary policy could keep stocks “significantly volatile,” according to Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “Investors are likely to remain cautious and keep on monitoring the macro outlook, especially today’s U.S. initial jobless claims, in order to gather more clues on what and when could be the Fed’s next move,” said Veyret. In Asia, China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. officially defaulted on their dollar debt, while the People’s Bank of China raised its foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for a second time this year after the yuan climbed to the highest since 2018. Among individual moves, CVS Health Corp. jumped in pre-market trading after saying it would buy back shares and raise dividends. Drugmakers including Pfizer rose, while travel companies and airlines declined. European stocks erased gains of as much as 0.3% with the Stoxx 600 trading -0.1% in the red as investors weigh new economic restrictions prompted by the omicron variant against earlier optimism. The real estate subgroup was best performer, up 0.7%; energy company shares lead declines with a drop of 1.2%. The Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.25%, reversing a modest push into the green at the open. Other cash indexes trade either side of flat. Oil & gas and retail names are the weakest sectors. UniCredit SpA rose after saying it will return at least 16 billion euros ($18.1 billion) to shareholders by 2024. Meanwhile, Electricite de France SA fell with the government considering a cap on regulated power tariffs to help curb soaring electricity prices. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: LPP shares rose as much as 12% after its 3Q earnings beat expectations. The figures confirm a rebound of sales in traditional stores and stronger margins, according to analysts. UniCredit shares gain as much as 8.4%, the most since November 2020, after the Italian lender unveiled its new strategic plan that includes the distribution of at least EU16b to shareholders by 2024. Société Marseillaise du Tunnel Prado Carénage (SMTPC) shares rise as much as 5.5% after Vinci Concessions and Eiffage said they reached a pact to act in concert for a tender offer at EU27/share. Zur Rose drops as much as 7.3% in Zurich after an offering of 650,000 shares priced at CHF290 apiece, representing a 12% discount to the last close. Neste Oyj shares slid as much as 5.7% as investors digested the unexpected resignation of Chief Executive Officer Peter Vanacker from the helm of the world’s biggest maker of renewable diesel. FirstGroup shares fall as much as 5.9% after 1H results, with Chairman David Martin saying the U.K.’s work-from- home edict will “clearly have an impact” on commuter trips. There are potential downside risks to estimates in the short term, if Covid restrictions tighten, according to Liberum (buy). Dr. Martens released solid 1H results, but there’s “nothing material to flag” and unlikely to be upgrades to FY Ebitda estimates, Morgan Stanley says in a note. Shares drop as much as 5.2% after initially gaining 8.9%. Electricite de France shares fall as much as 5.1% after Le Figaro said the French government is considering taking additional steps to keep electricity prices from rising too much amid a spike in energy costs. The global equity rally will be tested as traders expect volatility until there’s more clarity on omicron’s threat to the economy, and ahead of U.S. consumer inflation numbers this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week that may provide clues on the pace of tapering and interest rate increases. “We are looking to potentially have a rise in volatility even if the market continues higher around those events next week,” said Frances Stacy, Optimal Capital portfolio strategist, on Bloomberg Television. “Many of the catalysts that gave us this boom out of Covid are slowing. And then you have the Fed potentially tapering into a decelerating economy.” Geopolitical tensions are also adding to investor concerns. Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock doubled down on warnings from western politicians to Russia over Ukraine, saying that Moscow would pay a high price if it went ahead with an invasion of its neighbor. Separately, the U.S. said it will place SenseTime Group Inc. on an investment blacklist Friday, accusing the artificial intelligence startup of enabling human rights abuses. That’s after the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation designed to punish China for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang province. Asian stocks rose for a third day as investors reassessed concerns over the new virus strain and factored in the possibility that the Federal Reserve will accelerate the end of its quantitative easing.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added as much as 0.5%, extending its advance since Tuesday to almost 3%. Information technology and communication services were the sectors providing the biggest support to the climb, with benchmarks in China and Hong Kong among the region’s best performers. The CSI 300 Index gained 1.7% as consumer stocks rallied.   “The market had been initially wary of the Fed’s hawkish tilt in their stance, and a change in how they view inflation, but investors don’t seem too worried about it anymore,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, a fund manager at Saison Asset Management Co. “But this isn’t a theme that’s going away in the short term.”  Asia’s benchmark headed for its highest since Nov. 25, set to erase losses since the omicron variant was detected during the U.S. Thanksgiving holidays, but still in negative territory for 2021. The S&P 500 Index is up 25% this year, after gaining Wednesday on announcements by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that early lab studies showed a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralizes the omicron variant. “Funds are flowing into growth stocks with high estimated profit growth and ROE levels, a continuation of moves seen from yesterday,” said Takashi Ito, an equity market strategist at Nomura Securities in Tokyo. “But there could be some profit taking after the market rose for a few consecutive sessions.” Japanese stocks fell, cooling off after a two-day rally as investors weighed the potential impact of the omicron variant on the global economy. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.6%. Fanuc and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 0.5% loss in the Nikkei 225 Indian stocks ended higher, after swinging between gains and losses several times through the session, as traders shifted their focus to key economic data globally and at home in the days ahead.  The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.3% to close at 58,807.13 in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.5% earlier in the day. The gauge has gained 3.6% in the last three sessions, its biggest three-day advance in over a seven-month period, on optimism the economic recovery will be resilient despite the spread of the new Covid variant, with the RBI continuing its policy support intact.  The NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by similar magnitude on Thursday. Reliance Industries Ltd. contributed the most to the Sensex gain, rising 1.6%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, equal number of stocks rose and fell. Fifteen of 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a gauge of capital goods companies. The Reserve Bank of India kept borrowing costs at a record-low on Wednesday and voted 5-1 to retain its accommodative policy stance for as long as is necessary, reflecting its bias to support economic growth. The RBI expects the economy to expand 9.5% expansion in the year ending March, one of the fastest paces among the major growing world economies.  Markets’ focus will now shift to U.S. inflation data this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week, which may provide clues on the pace of tapering and policy tightening. India will release its factory output data on Friday and consumer-price inflation on Monday.  “All eyes will be on crucial macro data (CPI & IIP) outcome which may further provide some direction to the markets,” Ajit Mishra, vice-president research at Religare Broking Ltd., wrote in a note. “The focus will remain on the global cues and updates regarding the new variant. We reiterate our cautious yet positive stance on the markets and suggest traders to focus on managing risk.” Australian stocks edged lower as miners, consumer shares retreated. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3% to close at 7,384.50, snapping a four-day winning streak. Miners and consumer discretionary shares contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline. Redbubble was the worst performer, dropping the most since Oct. 14. Sydney Airport was among the top performers after regulators cleared a proposed takeover of the company. The stock also joined a global rally in travel shares after Pfizer and BioNTech said initial lab studies show a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine may be effective at neutralizing the omicron variant. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 12,771.83 In rates, Treasury yields were mostly lower, led by the long end of the curve, while underperforming German bunds. 10Y TSY yields are lower by ~2bp at 1.4973%, trailing declines of 3bp-5bp for most European 10-year yields but remaining above 200-DMA, which it closed above Wednesday for first time since Nov. 29. Treasury futures trade near session highs, with cash yields lower by 3bp-4bp from the 5-year sector to the long end, inside Wednesday’s bear-steepening ranges. European bond markets lead the move, led by Ireland which cut 2022 issuance plans, as virus concerns weighed on most equity markets. U.S. auction cycle concludes with $22b 30-year reopening at 1pm ET, following two Fed purchase operations. Wednesday’s 10Y reopening auction drew 1.518%, tailing by about 0.4bp; Tuesday’s 3Y, which drew 1.000%, also trades at a profit, yielding 0.989% The WI 30Y yield 1.865% is below auction stops since January as sector has benefited from expectations that Fed rate increases beginning next year may strain the economy, as well as from strong equity-market performance driving increased allocation to bonds In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index resumed its ascent, climbing 0.2% as the dollar advanced versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. TRY and ZAR are the weakest in EMFX.  The euro retreated, nearing the $1.13 handle and after touching a one-week high yesterday. One-week volatility for euro and sterling has risen to multi-month highs, with meetings by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in focus. The British pound fell as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages.   The pound hovered near its lowest level in more than a year against the dollar as fresh coronavirus restrictions weighed on the U.K.’s economic outlook. Expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next Thursday continue to wane, with markets pricing less than six basis points of hikes. Goldman pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages. Norway’s krone led losses among G-10 currencies as it snapped a three-day rally that had taken it to an almost three-week high against the greenback. In commodities, Crude futures drift lower. WTI slips back near $72 having stalled near $73 during Asian trade. Brent dips 0.5%, finding support just above $75. Spot gold trades flat near $1,782/oz Looking at the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,691.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 478.52 MXAP up 0.4% to 195.63 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 638.47 Nikkei down 0.5% to 28,725.47 Topix down 0.6% to 1,990.79 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 24,254.86 Shanghai Composite up 1.0% to 3,673.04 Sensex up 0.3% to 58,839.03 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,384.46 Kospi up 0.9% to 3,029.57 Brent Futures down 0.3% to $75.58/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,783.15 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 96.09 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1318 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg European Central Bank governors are to discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Program with limits on the size and time of the commitment at a Dec. 16 meeting, Reuters reports, citing six people familiar with the matter Hungary raised interest rates for a fifth time in less than a month as policy makers try to rein in the fastest inflation in 14 years. The central bank hiked the one-week deposit rate by 20 basis points on Thursday to 3.3%, broadly matching the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey China’s central bank has signaled a limit to its tolerance for the yuan’s recent advance by setting its reference rate at a weaker-than-expected level China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings, which cited missed dollar bond interest payments in Evergrande’s case and failure to repay a $400 million dollar bond in Kaisa’s. Evergrande Group’s inability to meet its obligations will be dealt with in a market-oriented way, the head of the nation’s central bank said PBOC is exploring interlinking the e-CNY, as the digital yuan is known, system into the Faster Payment System in Hong Kong, says Mu Changchun, head of the Chinese central bank’s Digital Currency Institute Money managers have shown some tentative signs that they may be willing to start buying more Chinese dollar bonds again, after demand for the securities plunged to a 27-month low in November Greece plans to early repay the total amount of IMF’s bailout loan to the country in the first quarter of 2022, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras says in a Parapolitika radio interview The omicron variant of Covid-19 is 4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than delta, according to a study by a Japanese scientist who advises the country’s health ministry, a finding likely to confirm fears about the new strain’s contagiousness Pfizer will have data telling how well its vaccine prevents infections with the omicron variant before the end of the year A detailed look at global markets courtesy of newsquawk Asian equity markets eventually traded mixed as the early tailwinds from the US gradually waned despite the recent encouragement on the vaccine front. All major US indices were underpinned in which the S&P 500 reclaimed the 4,700 level and approached closer to its ATHs, while Apple extended on record levels and moved closer to USD 3tln valuation. The ASX 200 (-0.3%) was initially kept afloat by resilience in defensives, although upside was restricted amid weakness in tech alongside concerns of a further deterioration in ties with China after Australia’s decision to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was rangebound with the Japanese benchmark stalled by resistance ahead of the 29k level, although the downside was cushioned by recent currency weakness and a modest improvement in the Business Survey Index. The Hang Seng (+1.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) outperformed after China’s NDRC pledged support measures to boost consumption in rural areas and with some chatter regarding the possibility of another RRR cut in Q1 next year according SGH Macro citing a senior Chinese official. Furthermore, participants digested mixed inflation data from China including firmer than expected factory gate prices. CPI Y/Y was softer than forecast but it still registered the fastest pace of increase since August last year. Finally, 10yr JGBs briefly declined below the 152.00 level following the bear steepening stateside in which T-notes tested 130.00 to the downside and following a somewhat tepid US 10yr offering in which the b/c increased from prior but remained short of the six-auction average, while the results of the 5yr JGB auction were mixed and failed to spur prices with higher accepted prices offset by a weaker b/c. Top Asian News Evergrande Declared in Default as Massive Restructuring Looms China Dollar Junk Bonds Up After Fitch Move on Kaisa, Evergrande Gold Steady as Traders Assess Virus Risk Before Inflation Data China’s Credit Growth Rebounds After Slowing for Almost a Year Stocks in Europe trade have drifted lower in recent trade, giving up the modest gains seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, Stoxx 600 -0.2%), and following the mixed lead from APAC and amidst a lack of fresh fundamental catalysts. US equity futures are also subdued, with a relatively broad-based performance seen across the ES (-0.3%), NQ (-0.4%), YM (-0.3%) alongside some mild underperformance in the RTY (-0.6%). Markets are awaiting tomorrow’s US CPI metrics, but more importantly, are gearing up for next week’s blockbuster FOMC confab. Desks have attributed this week’s rebound to several factors working in unison, including a milder Omicron variant (thus far), Chinese policy easing, FOMO, buybacks/upbeat corporate commentary alongside the widely telegraphed hawkish Fed pivot. On the last note, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the rotating voters next year on the FOMC will be more hawkish with the addition of George, Mester and Bullard as voters, albeit some empty spots remain – namely Brainard’s spot as she takes over the Vice-Chair position. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly in the green but portray a defensive bias – with Healthcare, Telecoms, Food & Beverages and Personal & Household Goods at the top of the bunch, whilst Oil & Gas, Retail and Travel & Leisure resides on the other end of the spectrum. In terms of individual moves, UniCredit (+7.8%) shot up to the top of the Stoxx 600 after unveiling its 2024 targets – with the Co. looking to return at least EUR 16bln via dividend and buybacks between 2021-24. Sticking with banks, Deutsche Bank (-2.1%) is pressured after the US DoJ reportedly told Deutsche Bank it may have violated a criminal settlement, due to failures in alerting authorities about internal complaints at its asset management unit, according to sources. Elsewhere, AstraZeneca (+1.0%) is supported as its long-acting antibody combination received emergency use authorisation in the US for COVID-19 prevention in some individuals. Finally, Rolls-Royce (-3.7%) slipped despite an overall positive trading update. Top European News Rolls-Royce Sinks as Omicron Clouds Outlook for 2022 Comeback Harbour Energy Plans Dividend But Pushes Back Tolmount Again Toxic U.K. Tory Press Is Flashing Warning Sign for Boris Johnson Credit Suisse Chairman Horta-Osorio Broke Quarantine Rules In FX, the Greenback remains rangy amidst undulating US Treasury yields and a fluid flow of Omicron related headlines that are filling the void until this week’s main macro release arrives tomorrow in the form of CPI data. However, the index is drifting down in almost ever decreasing circles having retreated a bit further from peaks to a marginally deeper sub-96.000 trough on Wednesday, at 95.848, and forming a fractionally firmer base currently to stay within contact of the psychological level within a narrow 96.154-95.941 band, thus far. Ahead, latest jobless claims updates and the last refunding leg comprising Usd 22 bn long bonds after a reasonable 10 year outing, overall. CHF/EUR/CAD - No obvious reaction to Swiss SECO forecasts even though supply bottlenecks and stricter COVID-19 measures are putting a strain on the economy internationally in winter 2021/22, according to the Government affiliated body. Similarly, ECB sources reporting that views on the GC are converging on a limited, temporary increase of the APP at December’s policy meeting, via an envelope or time specified increase with more frequent reviews, hardly impacted the Euro, as Eur/Usd remained towards the bottom of a 1.1346-16 range and Usd/Chf continued to straddle 0.9200, albeit mostly on the weaker side. Meanwhile, the Loonie has also slipped to the back of the major ranks following yesterday’s largely non BoC event against the backdrop of softer crude prices and an indifferent risk tone, with Usd/Cad hovering mainly above 1.2650 between 1.2645-80 parameters. JPY/GBP/NZD/AUD - All sticking to tight confines against their US peer, as the Yen rotates around 113.50 again and Pound pivots 1.3200 in limbo awaiting top tier UK data on Friday that might shed more light on what is gearing up to be another tight BoE rate call next week. Moreover, Usd/Jpy looks pretty well and heavily flanked by option expiry interest either side and in between its 113.81-35 extremes given large amounts running off at the NY cut - see 6.59GMT post on the Headline Feed for full details. Elsewhere, the pendulum has swung down under in favour of the hitherto underperforming Kiwi, as Nzd/Usd popped over 0.6800 and Aud/Nzd stalled ahead of 1.0550 alongside a pull back in Aud/Usd from 0.7185+ at best to test support into 0.7150 in wake of comments by RBA’s Harker and the RBNZ rebalancing its TWI. In short, the former said Australia’s economy can run hot while dodging the runaway inflation that’s plaguing much of the world, signaling monetary policy will stay ultra-loose for some time yet, while the latter culminated in a bigger Cny contribution at 27% from 23.5%. SCANDI/EM - Another day and more appreciation for the Cnh and Cny, at least in early hours, with validation via the PBoC setting a sub-6.3500 midpoint fix for the onshore Yuan vs Buck. However, the offshore then re-weakened past 6.3500 per Dollar after the Chinese central bank opted to raise the FX RRR by 2ppts - effective 15th Dec. Meanwhile, the Nok gives back after midweek gains as Brent slips with WTI to the detriment of the Rub and Mxn as well. Conversely, the Huf has a further 20 bp 1 week repo hike from the NBH to lean on and the Brl got a boost from 150 bp tightening on top of the BCB signalling the same again when COPOM delivers its next SELIC rate call. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have drifted lower from their best levels printed overnight, which saw WTI Jan briefly mount USD 73.00/bbl and Brent Feb eclipse 76.50/bbl. The complex was unfazed by WSJ source reports suggesting the Biden administration is said to be moving to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran, whilst US officials say if there is no progress in the nuclear talks. This comes ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks today, albeit the US delegation will only travel to Vienne over the weekend. With the likelihood of an imminent deal somewhat slim, participants will be eyeing any further deterioration in relations alongside additional demand/sanctions. Aside from that, price action will likely be dictated by the overall market tone in the absence of macro catalysts. Elsewhere, reports suggested the Marathon pipeline has been shut due to a crude oil leak estimated to be around 10 barrels from the 20-inch diameter Illinois pipeline, but again the headlines failed to spur the oil complex. Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways and remains under that cluster of DMAs which today sees the 100 at 1,790/oz, 200 and 1,792.50/oz and 50 and 1,795/oz. LME copper meanwhile has been drifting lower since the end of APAC trade, but the contract remains north of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 220,000, prior 222,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.91m, prior 1.96m 9:45am: Dec. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 51.0 10am: Oct. Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.2%, prior 2.2%; Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.1% 12pm: 3Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5.85t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap On the theme of advertising, here’s a final reminder about our special monthly survey for 2022, which will be closing today at 1pm London time. We ask about rates, equities, and the path of Covid-19 in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’s your last chance to complete. All help filling in very much appreciated. Following the strongest 2-day equity performance so far this year, yesterday saw the rally begin to peter out amidst growing concern that another round of restrictions over the coming weeks could set back the economic recovery. Ultimately the issue from a health perspective is that even if Omicron does prove to be less severe, which the initial indications so far have pointed to, a rise in transmissibility could offset that, and ultimately mean that more people are in hospital as a much bigger number of people would actually get Covid-19, even if a lower proportion of them are severely affected. We’ll start with the good news, and one new piece of information yesterday was that Pfizer and BioNTech announced the results from an initial study showing that three doses of their vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant of Covid-19. President Biden tweeted that the new data was “encouraging” and said it reinforced the point that boosters offer the highest protection, whilst Pfizer’s chief executive said that the final verdict would be the real-world efficacy data, which they expect to see toward the end of this year. We also had an update from the EU’s ECDC, who said that of the 337 Omicron cases reported in the EU/EEA so far, all of them were either asymptomatic or mild where severity was available, and that no deaths had yet been reported. Obviously, these sample sizes aren’t big enough to come to concrete conclusions yet, but if things continue this way that’s clearly a promising sign. On the other hand, the spread of infections has continued in South Africa, and the country reported 19,482 cases, which is the highest number since Omicron was first reported. That comes as a study from a Japanese scientist advising the health ministry in Japan said that Omicron was 4.2 times more transmissible than delta in its early stage. That hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet but would certainly back up all the other indications that this is a much more transmissible variant than seen before. These growing warning signs have led governments to keep toughening up restrictions, and here in the UK, the government announced they’d be moving to “Plan B” in England, which will see the reintroduction of guidance to work from home from Monday, and an extension of face masks to most public indoor venues. They will also be making Covid-19 passes mandatory for nightclubs and venues with large crowds, though a negative test will also be sufficient. That comes as cases have continued to rise, with the 7-day average now above 48,000 and at its highest level since January. Separately in Denmark, the government said that schools would close early for the Christmas break, amongst other restrictions. Equities struggled against this backdrop, with Europe’s STOXX 600 down -0.59%, although the S&P 500 managed to pare back its earlier losses to eke out a +0.31% gain. Cyclicals underperformed, but we did see volatility continue to subside, with the VIX down to its lowest closing level since Omicron emerged, at 19.9pts. In addition, there was an outperformance from tech stocks, with the NASDAQ (+0.64%) and the FANG+ index (+0.62%) seeing solid gains. The increasing risk-off tone didn’t bother oil prices either, with Brent crude (+0.50%) and WTI (+0.43%) continuing their run of gains this week, including further gains overnight, whilst European natural gas futures (+5.86%) closed above €100 per megawatt-hour for the first time in nearly 2 months. Over in sovereign bond markets, yields moved higher on both sides of the Atlantic for the most part, with those on 10yr Treasuries up +4.8bps to 1.52%, though this morning they’re down by -1.2bps. That’s the first time they’ve closed back above 1.5% since the session just before Thanksgiving, ahead of the news emerging about the Omicron variant. In Europe, there was an even bigger sell-off, with yields on 10yr bunds (+6.3bps), OATs (+6.9bps) and BTPs (+10.4bps) all moving higher, alongside a further widening in peripheral spreads. This more mixed performance has continued overnight in Asia, with a number of indices trading higher including the CSI (+1.76%), the Shanghai Composite (+1.03%), Hang Seng (+0.89%), and the KOSPI (+0.37%). However, both the Nikkei (-0.27%) and Australia’s ASX 200 (-0.28%) lost ground. On the data front, China’s inflation numbers this morning showed that CPI rose to +2.3% year-on-year in November, slightly lower than forecast +2.5%, albeit still the highest since last August. The PPI readings remained much stronger, but did fall back from a 26-year high last month to +12.9% year-on-year (vs. +12.1% forecast). Looking ahead, futures are indicating a mixed start in the US & Europe with S&P 500 (-0.13%) and DAX (+0.12%) seeing modest moves in either direction. Overnight we also heard from President Biden on Russia, who said that he hoped to announce high-level talks by tomorrow where they would discuss Russian concerns about NATO, and that this would include at least four major NATO allies. President Biden said the meeting was an explicit attempt to “bring down the temperature along the eastern front” that’s ramped up over recent days and weeks. Nevertheless, President Biden reinforced that the US was ready to implement severe economic sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine, telling reporters that he said to Putin there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen”. Back to yesterday, and the Bank of Canada kept policy on hold at their meeting, as was expected. The bank reinforced their expectation for the 2 percent inflation target to be sustainably achieved in the “middle quarters of 2022”. Like other DM central banks, they are focused on persistently elevated inflation, which they tied to supply constraints that will take some time to alleviate. We had some rate hikes elsewhere, however, yesterday with Brazil’s central bank taking rates up by 150bps to 9.25%, whilst Poland’s hiked rates by +50bps to 1.75%. The main data of note yesterday were the US job openings for October, which rose to 11.033m (vs. 10.469m expected) after 2 successive monthly declines. Notably the quits rate, which is a good indicator of labour market tightness, saw its first monthly decline since May as it came down to 2.8%, from an all-time record of 3.0%. To the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/09/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2021

Casedemic: The Hideous Scandal Of The Irredeemably Flawed PCR Test

Casedemic: The Hideous Scandal Of The Irredeemably Flawed PCR Test Authored by Ian McNulty via The Brownstone Institute, Investigating the cause of a disease is like investigating the cause of a crime. Just as the detection of a suspect’s DNA at a crime scene doesn’t prove they committed the crime, so the detection of the DNA of a virus in a patient doesn’t prove it caused the disease. Consider the case of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) for example. It can cause serious diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer. A Japanese study in 2003 found that 43% of patients suffering from Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus (CAEBV) died within 5 months to 12 years of infection. Yet EBV is one of the most common viruses in humans and has been detected in 95% of the adult population. Most of those infected are either asymptomatic or show symptoms of glandular fever, which can have similar symptoms to ‘long Covid.’ If an advertising agency attempted to create demand for an EBV treatment with daily TV and radio ads representing positive EBV tests as ‘EBV Cases’ and deaths within 28 days as ‘EBV Deaths,’ they’d be prosecuted for fraud by false representation so quickly their feet wouldn’t touch the ground. How Viruses Are Detected Before the invention of PCR, the gold standard for detecting viruses was to grow them in a culture of living cells and count damaged cells using a microscope. The disadvantage of cell cultures is they need highly skilled technicians and can take weeks to complete. The advantage is they only count living viruses that multiply and damage cells. Dead virus fragments that do neither are automatically discounted. The invention of PCR in 1983 was a game changer. Instead of waiting for viruses to grow naturally, PCR rapidly multiplies tiny amounts of viral DNA exponentially in a series of heating and cooling cycles that can be automated and completed in less than an hour. PCR revolutionised molecular biology but its most notable application was in genetic fingerprinting, where its ability to magnify even the smallest traces of DNA became a major weapon in the fight against crime. But, like a powerful magnifying glass or zoom lens, if it’s powerful enough to find a needle in a haystack it’s powerful enough to make mountains out of molehills. Even the inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993, vehemently opposed using PCR to diagnose diseases: “PCR is a process that’s used to make a whole lot of something out of something. It allows you to take a very miniscule amount of anything and make it measurable and then talk about it like it’s important.“ PCR has certainly allowed public health authorities and the media around the world to talk about a new variant of Coronavirus like it’s important, but how important is it really? The Dose Makes The Poison Anything can be deadly in high enough doses, even oxygen and water. Since the time of Paracelsus in the 16th century, science has known there are no such things as poisons, only poisonous concentrations: “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes the poison.” (Paracelsus, dritte defensio, 1538.) This basic principle is expressed in the adage “dosis sola facit venenum“ – the dose alone makes the poison – and is the basis for all Public Health Standards which specify Maximum Permissible Doses (MPDs) for all known health hazards, from chemicals and radiation to bacteria, viruses and even noise. Public Health Standards, Science and Law Toxicology and Law are both highly specialised subjects with their own highly specialised language. Depending on the jurisdiction, Maximum Permissible Doses (MPDs) are also known as Health Based Exposure Limits (HBELs), Maximum Exposure Levels (MELs) and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). But, no matter how complicated and confusing the language, the basic principles are simple. If the dose alone makes the poison then it’s the dose that’s the biggest concern, not the poison. And if Public Health Standards in a liberal democracy are regulated by the rule of law then the law needs to be simple enough for a jury of reasonably intelligent lay people to understand. Although the harm caused by any toxin increases with the dose, the level of harm depends not only on the toxin, but the susceptibility of the individual and the way the toxin is delivered. Maximum Permissible Doses have to strike a balance between the benefit of increasing safety and the cost of doing it. There are many Political, Economic and Social factors to consider besides the Technology (PEST). Take the case of noise for example. The smallest whisper may be irritating and harmful to some people, while the loudest music may be nourishing and healthy for others. If the Maximum Permissible Dose was set at a level to protect the most sensitive from any risk of harm, life would be impossible for everyone else. Maximum Permissible Doses have to balance the costs and benefits of restricting exposure to the level of No Observable Effect (NOEL) at one end of the scale, and the level that would kill 50% of the population at the other (LD50). Bacteria and viruses are different from other toxins, but the principle is the same. Because they multiply and increase their dose with time, maximum permissible doses need to be based on the minimum dose likely to start an infection known as the Minimum Infective Dose (MID). Take the case of listeria monocytogenes for example. It’s the bacteria that causes listeriosis, a serious disease that can result in meningitis, sepsis and encephalitis. The case fatality rate is around 20%, making it ten times more deadly than Covid-19. Yet listeria is widespread in the environment and can be detected in raw meat and vegetables as well as many ready-to-eat foods, including cooked meat and seafood, dairy products, pre-prepared sandwiches and salads.  The minimum dose in food likely to cause an outbreak of listeriosis is around 1,000 live bacteria per gram. Allowing a suitable margin of safety, EU and US food standards set the maximum permissible dose of listeria in ready-to-eat products at 10% of the minimum infective dose , or 100 live bacteria per gram. If Maximum Permissible Doses were based solely on the detection of a bacteria or virus rather than the dose, the food industry would cease to exist. Protection of the Vulnerable The general rule of thumb for setting maximum permissible doses used to be 10% of the MID for bacteria and viruses, and 10% of the LD50 for other toxins, but this has come under increasing criticism in recent years: first with radiation, then Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), then smoke in general, then viruses. The idea that there is no safe dose of some toxins began to surface in the 1950s, when radioactive fallout from atom bomb tests and radiation from medical X-rays were linked with the the dramatic post-war rise in cancers and birth defects. Although this was rejected by the science at the time, it wasn’t entirely unfounded. There are many reasons why radiation may be different from other pollutants. Chemicals like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are recycled naturally by the environment, but there is no such thing as a Radiation Cycle. Radioactivity only disappears gradually with time, no matter how many times it’s recycled. Some radioactive substances remain dangerous for periods longer than human history. All life forms are powered by chemical processes, none by nuclear energy. The last natural nuclear reactor on earth burned out more than 1.5 billion years ago. The nearest one now is isolated from life on earth by 93 million miles of vacuum.  As evidence mounted to show there was no safe dose of radiation, maximum permissible doses were lowered drastically, but limited doses were still allowed. If public health standards were based purely on the detection of radiation rather than the dose, the Nuclear Industry would cease to exist. The susceptibility of any individual to any health risk depends on many factors. Most people can eat sesame seeds and survive bee stings without calling an ambulance, for others they can be fatal. In the US bees and wasps kill an average of more than 60 people each year, and food allergies cause an average of 30,000 hospitalisations and 150 deaths. If public health standards were based solely on the detection of a toxin rather than the dose, all bees would be exterminated and all food production closed down. Food allergies set the legal precedent. Where minuscule traces of something might be harmful for some people, the law demands that products carry a clear warning to allow the vulnerable to protect their own health. It doesn’t demand everyone else pay the price, no matter what the cost, by lowering maximum permissible doses to the point of no observable effect. Minimum Infectious Doses (MIDs) have already been established for many of the major respiratory and enteric viruses including strains of coronavirus. Even though SARS-CoV-2 is a new variant of coronavirus, the MID has already been estimated at around 100 particles. Whilst further work is needed, nevertheless it could serve as a working standard to measure Covid-19 infections against. Are PCR Numbers Scientific? As the philosopher of science, Karl Popper, observed: “non-reproducible single occurrences are of no significance to science.” To be reproducible, the results of one test should compare within a small margin of error with the results of other tests. To make this possible all measuring instruments are calibrated against international standards. If they aren’t, their measurements may appear to be significant, but they have no significance in science. PCR tests magnify the number of target DNA particles in a swab exponentially until they become visible. Like a powerful zoom lens, the greater the magnification needed to see something, the smaller it actually is. The magnification in PCR is measured by the number of cycles needed to make the DNA visible. Known as the Cycle Threshold (Ct) or Quantification Cycle (Cq) number, the higher the number of cycles the lower the amount of DNA in the sample. To convert Cq numbers into doses they have to be calibrated against the Cq numbers of standard doses. If they aren’t they can easily be blown out of proportion and appear more significant than they actually are. Take an advertisement for a car for example. With the right light, the right angle and the right magnification, a scale model can look like the real thing. We can only gauge the true size of things if we have something to measure them against. Just like a coin standing next to a toy car proves it’s not a real one, and a shoe next to a molehill shows it’s not a mountain, the Cq of a standard dose next to the Cq of a sample shows how big the dose really is. So it’s alarming to discover that there are no international standards for PCR tests and even more alarming to discover that results can vary up to a million fold, not just from country to country, but from test to test. Even though this is well-documented in the scientific literature it appears that the media, public health authorities and government regulators either haven’t noticed or don’t care: “It should be noted that currently there is no standard measure of viral load in clinical samples.” “An evaluation of eight clinically relevant viral targets in 23 different laboratories resulted in Cq ranges of more than 20, indicative of an apparently million-fold difference in viral load in the same sample.” “The evident lack of certified standards or even validated controls to allow for a correlation between RT-qPCR data and clinical meaning requires urgent attention from national standards and metrology organisations, preferably as a world-wide coordinated effort.” “Certainly the label “gold standard” is ill-advised, as not only are there numerous different assays, protocols, reagents, instruments and result analysis methods in use, but there are currently no certified quantification standards, RNA extraction and inhibition controls, or standardised reporting procedures.” Even the CDC itself admits PCR test results aren’t reproducible: “Because the nucleic acid target (the pathogen of interest), platform and format differ, Ct values from different RT-PCR tests cannot be compared.” For this reason PCR tests are licenced under emergency regulations for the detection of the type or ‘quality’ of a virus, not for the dose or ‘quantity’ of it. “As of August 5, 2021, all diagnostic RT-PCR tests that had received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for SARS-CoV-2 testing were qualitative tests.” “The Ct value is interpreted as positive or negative but cannot be used to determine how much virus is present in an individual patient specimen.” Just because we can detect the ‘genetic fingerprint’ of a virus doesn’t prove it’s the cause of a disease: “Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.” So, while there’s little doubt that using PCR to identify the genetic fingerprint of a Covid-19 virus is the gold standard in molecular science, there’s equally no doubt that using it as the gold standard to quantify Covid-19 ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ is “ill-advised.” The idea that PCR may have been used to make a mountain out of a molehill by blowing a relatively ordinary disease outbreak out of all proportion is so shocking it’s literally unthinkable. But it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened. The Epidemic That Wasn’t In spring 2006 staff at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire began showing symptoms of respiratory infection with high fever and nonstop coughing that left them gasping for breath and lasted for weeks. Using the latest PCR techniques, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s laboratories found 142 cases of pertussis or whooping cough, which causes pneumonia in vulnerable adults and can be deadly for infants. Medical procedures were cancelled, hospital beds were taken out of commission. Nearly 1,000 health care workers were furloughed, 1,445 were treated with antibiotics and 4,524 were vaccinated against whooping cough. Eight months later, when the state health department had completed the standard culture tests, not one single case of whooping cough could be confirmed. It seems Dartmouth-Hitchcock had suffered an outbreak of ordinary respiratory diseases no more serious than the common cold! The following January the New York Times ran the story under the headline “Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.” “Pseudo-epidemics happen all the time,” said Dr. Trish Perl, past president of the Society of Epidemiologists of America. “It’s a problem; we know it’s a problem. My guess is that what happened at Dartmouth is going to become more common.” “PCR tests are quick and extremely sensitive, but their very sensitivity makes false positives likely” reported the New York Times, “and when hundreds or thousands of people are tested, as occurred at Dartmouth, false positives can make it seem like there is an epidemic.” “To say the episode was disruptive was an understatement,” said Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, deputy epidemiologist for the New Hampshire Department of Health, “I had a feeling at the time that this gave us a shadow of a hint of what it might be like during a pandemic flu epidemic.” Dr. Cathy A. Petti, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah, said the story had one clear lesson. “The big message is that every lab is vulnerable to having false positives. No single test result is absolute and that is even more important with a test result based on PCR.” The Swine Flu Panic of 2009 In the spring of 2009 a 5-year old boy living near an intensive pig farm in Mexico went down with an unknown disease that caused a high fever, sore throat and whole body ache. Several weeks later a lab in Canada tested a nasal swab from the boy and discovered a variant of the flu virus similar to the H1N1 Avian flu virus which they labelled H1N1/09, soon to be known as ‘Swine Flu.’ On 28 April 2009 a biotech company in Colorado announced they had developed the MChip, a version of the FluChip, which enabled PCR tests to distinguish the Swine Flu H1N1/09 virus from other flu types. “Since the FluChip assay can be conducted within a single day,” said InDevR’s leading developer and CEO, Prof Kathy Rowlen, “it could be employed in State Public Health Laboratories to greatly enhance influenza surveillance and our ability to track the virus.” Up until this point the top of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pandemic Preparedness homepage had carried the statement: “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” Less than a week after the MChip announcement, the WHO removed the phrase “enormous numbers of deaths and illness,” to require only that “a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity” before a flu outbreak to be called a ‘pandemic.’ No sooner had the laboratories started PCR testing with MChip than they were finding H1N1/09 everywhere. By the beginning of June almost three-quarters of all influenza cases tested positive for Swine Flu. Mainstream news reported the rise in cases on a daily basis, comparing it with the H1N1 Avian Flu pandemic in 1918 which killed more than 50 million people. What they neglected to mention is that, although they have similar names, Avian Flu H1N1 is very different and much more deadly than Swine Flu H1N1/09 . Even though there had been less than 500 deaths up to this point compared to more than 20,000 deaths in a severe flu epidemic people flocked to health centres demanding to be tested, producing even more positive ‘cases,’  In mid-May senior representatives of all the major pharmaceutical companies met with WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, to discuss delivery of swine flu vaccines. Many contracts had already been signed. Germany had a contract with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to buy 50 million doses at a cost of half a billion Euros which came into effect automatically the moment a pandemic was declared. The UK bought 132 million doses – two for every person in the country. On 11 June 2009 WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, announced: “On the basis of expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.” On 16 July the Guardian reported that swine flu was spreading fast across much of the UK with 55,000 new cases the previous week in England alone. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, warned that in the worst case scenario 30% of the population could be infected and 65,000 killed. On 20 July a study in The Lancet co-authored by WHO and UK government adviser, Neil Ferguson, recommended closing schools and churches to slow the epidemic, limit stress on the NHS and “give more time for vaccine production.” On the same day WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan announced that “vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario.” Four days later an official Obama administration spokesman warned that “as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren’t successful.” The warnings had the desired effect. That week UK consultation rates for influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) were at their highest since the last severe flu epidemic in 1999/2000, even though death rates were at a 15-year low. On 29 September 2009 the Pandemrix vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was rushed through European Medicines Agency approval, swiftly followed by Baxter’s Celvapan the following week. On 19 November the WHO announced that 65 million doses of vaccine had been administered worldwide. As the year drew to a close it became increasingly obvious that swine flu was not all it was made out to be. The previous winter (2008/2009) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had reported 36,700 excess deaths in England and Wales, the highest since the last severe flu outbreak of 1999/2000. Even though the winter of 2009 had been the coldest for 30 years, excess deaths were 30% lower than the previous winter. Whatever swine flu was, it wasn’t as deadly as other flu variants. On 26 January the following year, Wolfgang Wodarg, a German doctor and member of parliament, told the European Council in Strasbourg that the major global pharmaceutical corporations had organised a “campaign of panic” to sell vaccines, putting pressure on the WHO to declare what he called a “false pandemic” in “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century.” “Millions of people worldwide were vaccinated for no good reason,” said Wodarg, boosting pharmaceutical company profits by more than $18 billion. Annual sales of Tamiflu alone had jumped 435 percent, to €2.2 billion. By April 2010, it was apparent that most of the vaccines were not needed. The US government had bought 229 million doses of which only 91 million doses were used. Of the surplus, some of it was stored in bulk, some of it was sent to developing countries and 71 million doses were destroyed. On 12 March 2010 SPIEGEL International published what it called “Reconstruction of a Mass Hysteria” that ended with a question: “These organizations have gambled away precious confidence. When the next pandemic arrives, who will believe their assessments?” But it didn’t take long to find an answer. In December the Independent published a story with the headline “Swine flu, the killer virus that actually saved lives.” The latest ONS report on excess winter deaths had shown that instead of the extra 65,000 swine flu deaths predicted by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, deaths in the winter of 2009 were actually 30% lower than the previous year. Instead of the low death rate proving that swine flu had been a fake pandemic, confidence in the organisations that had “gambled away precious confidence” was quickly restored by portraying swine flu as something that “actually saved lives” by driving out the common flu. PCR and Law Portraying something as something it isn’t is deception. Doing it for profit is fraud. Doing it by first gaining the trust of the victims is a confidence trick or a con.  In England, Wales and Northern Ireland fraud is covered by the Fraud Act 2006 and is divided into three classes – ‘fraud by false representation,’ ‘fraud by failing to disclose information’ and ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ A representation is false if the person making it knows it may be untrue or misleading. If they do it for amusement, it’s a trick or a hoax. If they do it to make a gain, or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by false representation.’ If someone has a duty to disclose information and they don’t do it, it might be negligence or simple incompetence. If they do it to make a gain, or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by failing to disclose information.’ If they occupy a position where they are expected not to act against the interests of others, and do it to make a gain or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ In Dartmouth Hitchcock’s case there’s no doubt that using PCR to identify a common respiratory infection as whooping cough was ‘false representation,’ but it was an honest mistake, made with the best of intentions. If any gain was intended it was to protect others from risk of loss, not to expose them to it. There was no failure to disclose information and nobody abused their position. In the case of swine flu things aren’t so clear. By 2009 there were already plenty of warnings from Dartmouth Hitchcock and many other similar incidents that using PCR to detect the genetic fingerprint of a bacteria or virus may be misleading. Worse still, the potential of PCR to magnify things out of all proportion creates opportunities for all those who would gain by making mountains out of molehills and global pandemics out of relatively ordinary seasonal epidemics. The average journalist, lawyer, member of parliament or member of the public may be forgiven for not knowing about the dangers of PCR, but public health experts had no excuse. It may be argued that their job is to protect the public by erring on the side of caution. It may equally be argued that the massive amounts of money spent by global pharmaceutical corporations on marketing, public relations and lobbying creates enormous conflicts of interest, increasing the potential for suppression of information and abuse of position across all professions, from politics and journalism to education and public health. The defence is full disclosure of all information, particularly on the potential of PCR to identify the wrong culprit in an infection and blow it out of all proportion. The fact this was never done is suspicious. If there were any prosecutions for fraud they weren’t widely publicised, and if there were any questions raised or lessons to be learned about the role of PCR in creating the 2009 Swine Flu panic they were quickly forgotten. The First Rough Draft of History The first rough attempt to represent things in the outside world is journalism. But no representation can be 100% true. ‘Representation’ is literally a re-presentation of something that symbolises or ‘stands in for’ something else. Nothing can fully capture every aspect of a thing except the thing itself. So judging whether a representation is true or false depends on your point of view. It’s a matter of opinion, open to debate in other words. In a free and functioning democracy the first line of defence against false representation is a free and independent press. Where one news organisation may represent something as one thing, a competing organisation may represent it as something completely different. Competing representations are tried in the court of public opinion and evolve by a process of survival of the fittest. Whilst this may be true in theory, in practice it isn’t. Advertising proves people choose the most attractive representations, not the truest. News organisations are funded by financiers who put their own interests first, not the public’s. Whether the intention is to deliberately defraud the public or simply to sell newspapers by creating controversy, the potential for false representations is enormous. Trial By Media Despite the CDC’s own admission that PCR tests “may not indicate the presence of infectious virus,” its use to do exactly that in the case of Covid was accepted without question. Worse still, the measures taken against calling PCR into question have become progressively more draconian and underhanded since the very beginning. The mould was set with the announcement of the first UK death on Saturday 29 February 2020. Every newspaper in Britain carried the same front page story: “EMERGENCY laws to tackle coronavirus are being rushed in after the outbreak claimed its first British life yesterday,” screamed The Daily Mail. The first British victim contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, not Britain, but it didn’t matter. With less than 20 cases in the UK and one ‘British’ death in Japan, the media had already decided it justified rushing in emergency laws. How did they know how dangerous it was? How were they able to predict the future? Had they forgotten the lessons of the 2009 Swine Flu panic? After almost 2 weeks of newspaper, TV and radio fearmongering, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it official at the Downing Street press conference on Thursday 12 March 2020 when he said: “We’ve all got to be clear. This is the worst public health crisis for a generation. Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity this disease is more dangerous and it’s going to spread further.” None of that statement stood up to scrutiny, but none of the hand-picked journalists in the room had the right knowledge to ask the right questions. After 20 minutes blinding the press and public with science, Johnson opened the floor to questions. The first question, from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, set the mould by accepting the Prime Minister’s statement without question:  “This is, as you say, the worst public health crisis for a generation.” Any journalist who remembered the 2009 Swine Flu panic, might have asked how the PM knew, after just 10 deaths, that it was the worst public health crisis in a generation? He didn’t say it may be or could be but definitely ‘is.’ Did he have a crystal ball? Or was he following the same Imperial College modelling that had predicted 136,000 deaths from mad cow disease in 2002, 200 million deaths from bird flu in 2005 and 65,000 deaths from swine flu in 2009, all of which had proved completely wrong? As the BBC’s chief political correspondent Kuenssberg wouldn’t be expected to know any more about science, medicine, or PCR than any other member of the general public. So why did the BBC send their chief political correspondent to a press conference on public health and not their chief science or health correspondent? And why did the PM choose her to ask the first question? But the BBC wasn’t alone. Six other correspondents from leading news outlets asked questions that day; all were chief political correspondents, none were science or health correspondents. So none of the journalists allowed to ask questions had the necessary knowledge to subject the PM and his Chief Scientific and Medical Officers to any degree of real scrutiny  With the rise in the number of coronavirus ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ reported on a daily basis and the Prime Minister’s solemn warning that “many more families, are going to lose loved ones before their time” filling the headlines the following morning, questioning what the numbers actually meant became more and more impossible. If the press and the public had forgotten the 2009 Swine flu panic, and those who helped calm it down had dropped their guard, those whose intention was to make a gain had learned their lesson. Subject the Corona Crisis of 2020 to close scrutiny and it begins to look more like a carefully orchestrated advertising campaign for vaccine manufacturers than a genuine pandemic. But that scrutiny has been made impossible for all kinds of reasons. ‘Follow the money’ was once the epitome of investigative journalism, popularised in the movie of the Watergate scandal, ‘All The President’s Men’ which followed the money all the way to the top. Now following the money is called ‘Conspiracy Theory’ and is a sackable offence in journalism, if not yet in other professions. The idea that there may be real conspiracies to make false representations with the intention of making a gain or exposing others to a risk of loss has now been driven so far beyond the pale it’s literally unthinkable.  If PCR has been tried by media in the court of public opinion, the case for the prosecution was demonised and dismissed at the outset and prohibited by emergency legislation soon after. The Last Best Hope The last line of defence against false representation in both science and the media is the law. It’s no coincidence that Science and Law use similar methods and similar language. The foundations of the Scientific Method were laid by the Head of the Judiciary, the Lord Chancellor of England Sir Francis Bacon, in the Novum Organum, published exactly 400 years ago last year. Both are based on ‘laws,’ both rely on hard physical evidence or ‘facts,’ both explain the facts in terms of ‘theories,’ both test conflicting facts and theories in ‘trials’ and both reach verdicts through juries of peers. In science the peers are selected by the editorial boards of scientific publications. In law they’re selected by judges. In both law and science trials revolve around ‘empirical’ evidence or ‘facts’ – hard physical evidence that can be verified through the act of experiencing with our five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. But facts by themselves are not enough. They only ‘make sense’ when they are selected and organised into some kind of theory, narrative or story through which they can be interpreted and explained. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, more than one way to interpret the facts and more than one side to every story. To reach a verdict on which one is true, theories have to be weighed against each other rationally to judge the ratios of how closely each interpretation fits the facts. Trial By Law The ability of PCR to detect the genetic fingerprint of a virus is proven beyond reasonable doubt, but its ability to give a true representation of either the cause, severity or prevalence of a disease hasn’t. To say the jury is still out would be an understatement. The jury has yet to be convened and the case yet to be heard. Testing coronavirus particles in a swab is no different to testing apples in a bag. A bag of billiard balls rinsed in apple juice would test positive for apple DNA. Finding apple DNA in a bag doesn’t prove it contains real apples. If the dose makes the poison then it’s the quantity we need to test for, not just its genetic fingerprint. Grocers test the amount of apples in bags by weighing them on scales calibrated against standard weights. If the scales are properly calibrated the bag should weigh the same on any other set of scales. If it doesn’t, local trading standards officers test the grocer’s scales against standard weights and measures. If the scales fail the test the grocer can be prohibited from trading. If it turns out the grocer deliberately left the scales uncalibrated to make a gain they can be prosecuted for ‘false representation’ under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. Testing the quantity of viral DNA in a swab, not the quantity of live viruses, is like counting billiard balls rinsed in apple juice as real apples. Worse still, in the absence of standards to calibrate PCR tests against results, tests can show a “million-fold difference in viral load in the same sample.” If a grocer’s scales showed a million-fold difference in the load of apples in the same bag they’d be closed down in an instant. If it can be shown that the grocer knew the weight displayed on the scales may have been untrue or misleading, and they did it to make a gain or expose customers to a loss, it would be an open-and-shut case, done and dusted in minutes. If the law applies to the measurement of the quantity of apples in bags, why not to the measurement of coronavirus in clinical swabs? By the CDC’s own admission, in its instructions for use of PCR tests: Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms. From that statement alone it’s clear that PCR tests may give a false representation that is untrue or misleading. If those using PCR tests to represent the number of Covid cases and deaths know it may be misleading and do it to ‘make a gain,’ either monetary or just to advance their own careers, it’s ‘fraud by false representation.’ If they have a duty to disclose information and they don’t do it it’s ‘fraud by failing to disclose information.’ And if they occupy positions where they’re expected not to act against the interests of the public but do it anyway it’s ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ If the law won’t prosecute those in authority for fraud, how else can they be discouraged from doing it? As Dr. Trish Perl said after the Dartmouth Hitchcock incident, “Pseudo-epidemics happen all the time. It’s a problem; we know it’s a problem. My guess is that what happened at Dartmouth is going to become more common.”The potential of PCR to cause problems will only get worse until its validity to diagnose the cause and measure the prevalence of a disease is tested in law. The last word on PCR belongs to its inventor, Kary Mullis: “The measurement for this is not exact at all. It’s not as good as our measurement for things like apples.” Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 7th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease S&P futures and European stocks rebounded from Friday’s selloff while Asian shares fell, as investors took comfort in reports from South Africa which said initial data doesn’t show a surge of hospitalizations as a result of the omicron variant, a view repeated by Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Meanwhile, fears about a tighter Fed were put on the backburner. Also overnight, China’s central bank announced it will cut the RRR by 50bps releasing 1.2tn CNY in liquidity, a move that had been widely expected. The cut comes as insolvent Chinese property developer Evergrande was said to be planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring plan. US equity futures rose 0.3%, fading earlier gains, and were last trading at 4,550. Nasdaq futures pared losses early in the U.S. morning, trading down 0.4%. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook, which helped lift European energy shares. The 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.40%, while the dollar was little changed and the yen weakened. “A wind of relief may blow the current risk-off trading stance away this week,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at U.K. brokerage ActivTrades. “Concerns related to the omicron variant may ease after South African experts didn’t register any surge in deaths or hospitalization.” As Bloromberg notes, the mood across markets was calmer on Monday after last week’s big swings in technology companies and a crash in Bitcoin over the weekend. Investors pointed to good news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Initial data from South Africa are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday. At the same time, he cautioned that it’s too early to be definitive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Alibaba’s (BABA US) U.S.-listed shares rise 1.9% in premarket after a 8.2% drop Friday prompted by the delisting plans of Didi Global. Alibaba said earlier it is replacing its CFO and reshuffling the heads of its commerce businesses Rivian (RIVN US) has the capabilities to compete with Tesla and take a considerable share of the electric vehicle market, Wall Street analysts said as they started coverage with overwhelmingly positive ratings. Shares rose 2.2% initially in U.S. premarket trading, but later wiped out gains to drop 0.9% Stocks tied to former President Donald Trump jump in U.S. premarket trading after his media company agreed to a $1 billion investment from a SPAC Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumble amid volatile trading in Bitcoin, another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets Laureate Education (LAUR US) approved the payment of a special cash distribution of $0.58 per share. Shares rose 2.8% in postmarket Friday AbCellera Biologics (ABCL US) gained 6.2% postmarket Friday after the company confirmed that its Lilly-partnered monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, together with etesevimab, received an expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA as the first antibody therapy in Covid-19 patients under 12 European equities drifted lower after a firm open. Euro Stoxx 50 faded initial gains of as much as 0.9% to trade up 0.3%. Other cash indexes follow suit, but nonetheless remain in the green. FTSE MIB sees the largest drop from session highs. Oil & gas is the strongest sector, underpinned after Saudi Arabia raised the prices of its crude. Tech, autos and financial services lag. Companies that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns are underperforming in Europe on Monday as investors assess whether the omicron Covid variant will force governments into further social restrictions. Firms in focus include meal-kit firm HelloFresh (-2.3%) and online food delivery platforms Delivery Hero (-5.4%), Just Eat Takeaway (-5.6%) and Deliveroo (-8.5%). Remote access software firm TeamViewer (-3.7%) and Swedish mobile messaging company Sinch (-3.0%), gaming firm Evolution (-4.2%). Online pharmacies Zur Rose (-5.1%), Shop Apotheke (-3.5%). Online grocer Ocado (-2.2%), online apparel retailer Zalando (-1.5%). In Asia, the losses were more severe as investors remained wary over the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and the spread of the omicron variant.  The Hang Seng Tech Index closed at the lowest level since its inception. SoftBank Group Corp. fell as much as 9% in Tokyo trading as the value of its portfolio came under more pressure. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, hovering above its lowest finish in about a year. Consumer discretionary firms and software technology names contributed the most to the decline, while the financial sector outperformed.  Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was among the region’s worst performers amid the selloff in tech shares. The market also slumped after the omicron variant spread among two fully vaccinated travelers across the hallway of a quarantine hotel in the city, unnerving health authorities. “People are waiting for new information on the omicron variant,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo. “We’re at a point where it’s difficult to buy stocks.” Separately, China’s central bank announced after the country’s stock markets closed that it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost to economic growth.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 gained further in Asia late trading. The underlying gauge slumped 1.7% on Friday, after data showed U.S. job growth had its smallest gain this year and the unemployment rate fell more than forecast. Investors seem to be focusing more on the improved jobless rate, as it could back the case for an acceleration in tapering, Ichikawa said.  Asian equities have been trending lower since mid-November amid a selloff in Chinese technology giants, concern over U.S. monetary policy and the spread of omicron. The risk-off sentiment pushed shares to a one-year low last week.  Overnight, the PBoC cut the RRR by 50bps (as expected) effective 15th Dec; will release CNY 1.2tln in liquidity; RRR cut to guide banks for SMEs and will use part of funds from RRR cut to repay MLF. Will not resort to flood-like stimulus; will reduce capital costs for financial institutions by around CNY 15bln per annum. The news follows earlier reports via China Securities Daily which noted that China could reduce RRR as soon as this month, citing a brokerage firm. However, a separate Chinese press report noted that recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean that there will be a policy change and an Economics Daily commentary piece suggested that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic and could lead to misunderstandings after speculation was stoked for a RRR cut from last week's comments by Premier Li. Elsewhere, Indian stocks plunged in line with peers across Asia as investors remained uncertain about the emerging risks from the omicron variant in a busy week of monetary policy meetings.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 1.7% to 56,747.14, in Mumbai, dropping to its lowest level in over three months, with all 30 shares ending lower. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also declined by a similar magnitude. Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both indexes and declined 2.3%.  All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of software exporters.  “If not for the new omicron variant, economic recovery was on a very strong footing,” Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services at Hem Securities Ltd. said in a note. “But if this virus quickly spreads in India, then we might experience some volatility for the coming few weeks unless development is seen on the vaccine side.” Major countries worldwide have detected omicron cases, even as the severity of the variant still remains unclear. Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its rate decision on Tuesday, while the Indian central bank will release it on Dec. 8. the hawkish comments by U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell on tackling rising inflation also weighed on the market Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower, as investors considered prospects for inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the omicron virus strain. Telecommunications and services providers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Daiichi Sankyo were the largest contributors to a 0.4% loss in the Nikkei 225. The Mothers index slid 3.8% amid the broader decline in growth stocks. A sharp selloff in large technology names dragged U.S. stocks lower Friday. U.S. job growth registered its smallest gain this year in November while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%. There were some good aspects in the U.S. jobs data, said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “We’re in this contradictory situation where there’s concern over an early rate hike given the economic recovery, while at the same time there’s worry over how the omicron variant may slow the current recovery.” Australian stocks ended flat as staples jumped. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed little changed at 7,245.10, swinging between gains and losses during the session as consumer staples rose and tech stocks fell. Metcash was the top performer after saying its 1H underlying profit grew 13% y/y. Nearmap was among the worst performers after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the stock will be removed from the benchmark as a result of its quarterly review. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,597.81. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up a modest advance as the European session got underway; the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies among the leaders and havens among the laggards. JPY and CHF are the weakest in G-10, SEK outperforms after hawkish comments in the Riksbank’s minutes. USD/CNH drifts back to flat after a fairly well telegraphed RRR cut materialized early in the London session.  The euro fell to a day low of $1.1275 before paring. The pound strengthened against the euro and dollar, following stocks higher. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent due to speak. Market participants will be watching for his take on the impact of the omicron variant following the cautious tone of Michael Saunders’ speech on Friday. Treasury yields gapped higher at the start of the day and futures remain near lows into early U.S. session, leaving yields cheaper by 4bp to 5bp across the curve. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.395%, cheaper by 5bp vs. Friday’s close while the 2s10s curve steepens almost 2bps with front-end slightly outperforming; bunds trade 4bp richer vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Italian bonds outperformed euro-area peers after Fitch upgraded the sovereign by one notch to BBB, maintaining a stable outlook. In commodities, crude futures drift around best levels during London hours. WTI rises over 1.5%, trading either side of $68; Brent stalls near $72. Spot gold trends lower in quiet trade, near $1,780/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME copper outperforms, holding in the green with lead; nickel and aluminum drop more than 1%. There is nothing on today's economic calendar. Focus this week includes U.S. auctions and CPI data, while Fed speakers enter blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,567.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 466.39 MXAP down 0.9% to 189.95 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 617.01 Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,927.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,947.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 23,349.38 Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,589.31 Sensex down 1.5% to 56,835.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,245.07 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,973.25 Brent Futures up 2.9% to $71.89/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,780.09 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.26 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1290 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Speculators were caught offside in both bonds and stocks last week, increasing their bets against U.S. Treasuries and buying more equity exposure right before a bout of volatility caused the exact opposite moves Inflation pressure in Europe is still likely to be temporary, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said Monday, even if it is taking longer than expected for it to slow China Evergrande Group’s stock tumbled close to a record low amid signs a long-awaited debt restructuring may be at hand, while Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. faces a potential default this week in major tests of China’s ability to limit fallout from the embattled property sector China Evergrande Group is planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring that may rank among the nation’s biggest ever, people familiar with the matter said China tech shares tumbled on Monday, with a key gauge closing at its lowest level since launch last year as concerns mount over how much more pain Beijing is willing to inflict on the sector The U.S. is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, CNN reported, a move that would create a new point of contention between the world’s two largest economies SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg to retire at the end of July 2022, according to statement Bitcoin has markedly underperformed rivals like Ether with its weekend drop, which may underscore its increased connection with macro developments Austrians who reject mandatory coronavirus vaccinations face 600-euro ($677) fines, according to a draft law seen by the Kurier newspaper Some Riksbank board members expressed different nuances regarding the asset holdings and considered that it might become appropriate for the purchases to be tapered further next year,  the Swedish central bank says in minutes from its Nov. 24 meeting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities began the week cautiously following last Friday's negative performance stateside whereby the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq closed lower by around 2% apiece, whilst the S&P 500 and Dow Jones saw shallower losses. The Asia-Pac region was also kept tentative amid China developer default concerns and conflicting views regarding speculation of a looming RRR cut by China's PBoC. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) was initially dragged lower by a resumption of the underperformance in the tech sector, and with several stocks pressured by the announcement of their removal from the local benchmark, although losses for the index were later reversed amid optimism after Queensland brought forward the easing of state border restrictions, alongside the resilience in the defensive sectors. The Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) suffered from the currency inflows late last week but finished off worse levels. The Hang Seng (-1.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were mixed with Hong Kong weighed by heavy tech selling and as default concerns added to the headwinds after Sunshine 100 Holdings defaulted on a USD 170mln bond payment, whilst Evergrande shares slumped in early trade after it received a demand for payments but noted there was no guarantee it will have the sufficient funds and with the grace period for two offshore bond payments set to expire today. Conversely, mainland China was kept afloat by hopes of a looming RRR cut after comments from Chinese Premier Li that China will cut RRR in a timely manner and a brokerage suggested this could occur before year-end. However, other reports noted the recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean a policy change and that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic which could lead to misunderstandings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady after having marginally extended above 152.00 and with prices helped by the lacklustre mood in Japanese stocks, while price action was tame amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today and attention was also on the Chinese 10yr yield which declined by more than 5bps amid speculation of a potentially looming RRR cut. Top Asian News SoftBank Slumps 9% Monday After Week of Bad Portfolio News Alibaba Shares Rise Premarket After Rout, Leadership Changes China PBOC Repeats Prudent Policy Stance With RRR Cut China Cuts Reserve Requirement Ratio as Economy Slows Bourses in Europe kicked off the new trading week higher across the board but have since drifted lower (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a somewhat mixed lead from APAC. Sentiment across markets saw a fleeting boost after the Asia close as China’s central bank opted to cut the RRR by 50bps, as touted overnight and in turn releasing some CNY 1.2tln in liquidity. This saw US equity futures ticking to marginal fresh session highs, whilst the breakdown sees the RTY (+0.6%) outpacing vs the ES (Unch), YM (+0.3%) and NQ (-0.6%), with the US benchmarks eyeing this week’s US CPI as Fed speakers observe the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision – where policymakers are expected to discuss a quickening of the pace of QE taper. From a technical standpoint, the ESz1 and NQz1 see their 50 DMAs around 4,540 and 16,626 respectively. Back to trade, Euro-indices are off best levels with a broad-based performance. UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.8%) received a boost from base metals gaining impetus on the PBoC RRR cut, with the UK index now the outperformer, whilst gains in Oil & Gas and Banks provide further tailwinds. Sectors initially started with a clear cyclical bias but have since seen a reconfiguration whereby the defensives have made their way up the ranks. The aforementioned Oil & Gas, Banks and Basic Resources are currently the winners amid upward action in crude, yields and base metals respectively. Food & Beverages and Telecoms kicked off the session at the bottom of the bunch but now reside closer to the middle of the table. The downside meanwhile sees Travel & Tech – two sectors which were at the top of the leaderboard at the cash open – with the latter seeing more noise surrounding valuations and the former initially unreactive to UK tightening measures for those travelling into the UK. In terms of individual movers, AstraZeneca (+0.7%) is reportedly studying the listing of its new vaccine division. BT (+1.2%) holds onto gains as Discovery is reportedly in discussions regarding a partnership with BT Sport and is offering to create a JV, according to sources. Taylor Wimpey (Unch) gave up opening gains seen in wake of speculation regarding Elliott Management purchasing a small stake. Top European News Johnson Says U.K. Awaiting Advice on Omicron Risks Before Review Scholz Names Harvard Medical Expert to Oversee Pandemic Policy EU Inflation Still Seen as Temporary, Eurogroup’s Donohoe Says Saudi Crown Prince Starts Gulf Tour as Rivalries Melt Away In FX, the Buck has settled down somewhat after Friday’s relatively frenetic session when price action and market moves were hectic on the back of a rather mixed BLS report and stream of Omicron headlines, with the index holding a tight line above 96.000 ahead of a blank US agenda. The Greenback is gleaning some traction from the firmer tone in yields, especially at the front end of the curve, while also outperforming safer havens and funding currencies amidst a broad upturn in risk sentiment due to perceivably less worrying pandemic assessments of late and underpinned by the PBoC cutting 50 bp off its RRR, as widely touted and flagged by Chinese Premier Li, with effect from December 15 - see 9.00GMT post on the Headline Feed for details, analysis and the initial reaction. Back to the Dollar and index, high betas and cyclicals within the basket are doing better as the latter meanders between 96.137-379 and well inside its wide 95.944-96.451 pre-weekend extremes. AUD/GBP/CAD/NZD - A technical correction and better news on the home front regarding COVID-19 after Queensland announced an earlier date to ease border restrictions, combined to give the Aussie a lift, but Aud/Usd is tightening its grip on the 0.7000 handle with the aid of the PBoC’s timely and targeted easing in the run up to the RBA policy meeting tomorrow. Similarly, the Pound appears to have gleaned encouragement from retaining 1.3200+ status and fending off offers into 0.8550 vs the Euro rather than deriving impetus via a rise in the UK construction PMI, while the Loonie is retesting resistance around 1.2800 against the backdrop of recovering crude prices and eyeing the BoC on Wednesday to see if guidance turns more hawkish following a stellar Canadian LFS. Back down under, the Kiwi is straddling 0.6750 and 1.0400 against its Antipodean peer in wake of a pick up in ANZ’s commodity price index. CHF/JPY/EUR - Still no sign of SNB action, but the Franc has fallen anyway back below 0.9200 vs the Buck and under 1.0400 against the Euro, while the Yen is under 113.00 again and approaching 128.00 respectively, as the single currency continues to show resilience either side of 1.1300 vs its US counterpart and a Fib retracement level at 1.1290 irrespective of more poor data from Germany and a deterioration in the Eurozone Sentix index, but increases in the construction PMIs. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned revival in risk appetite, albeit fading, rather than Riksbank minutes highlighting diverse opinion, is boosting the Sek, and the Nok is also drawing some comfort from Brent arresting its decline ahead of Usd 70/brl, but the Cnh and Cny have been capped just over 6.3700 by the PBoC’s RRR reduction and ongoing default risk in China’s property sector. Elsewhere, the Try remains under pressure irrespective of Turkey’s Foreign Minister noting that domestic exports are rising and the economy is growing significantly, via Al Jazeera or claiming that the Lira is exposed to high inflation to a degree, but this is a temporary problem, while the Rub is treading cautiously before Russian President Putin and US President Biden make a video call on Tuesday at 15.00GMT. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are firmer on the day with the complex underpinned by Saudi Aramco upping its official selling prices (OSPs) to Asian and US customers, coupled with the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear front. To elaborate on the former; Saudi Arabia set January Arab light crude oil OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai average +USD 3.30/bbl which is an increase from this month’s premium of USD 2.70/bbl, while it set light crude OSP to North-West Europe at ICE Brent USD -1.30/bbl vs. this month’s discount of USD 0.30/bbl and set light crude OSP to the US at ASCI +USD 2.15/bbl vs this month’s premium of USD 1.75/bbl. Iranian nuclear talks meanwhile are reportedly set to resume over the coming weekend following deliberations, although the likelihood of a swift deal at this point in time seems minuscule. A modest and fleeting boost was offered to the complex by the PBoC cutting RRR in a bid to spur the economy. WTI Jan resides on either side of USD 68/bbl (vs low USD 66.72/bbl) whilst Brent Feb trades around USD 71.50/bbl (vs low 70.24/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways with the cluster of DMAs capping gains – the 50, 200 and 100 DMAs for spot reside at USD 1,792/oz, USD 1,791.50/oz and USD 1,790/oz respectively. Base metals also saw a mild boost from the PBoC announcement – LME copper tested USD 9,500/t to the upside before waning off best levels. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’re really at a fascinating crossroads in markets at the moment. The market sentiment on the virus and the policymakers at the Fed are moving in opposite directions. The greatest impact of this last week was a dramatic 21.1bps flattening of the US 2s10s curve, split almost evenly between 2yr yields rising and 10yrs yields falling. As it stands, the Fed are increasingly likely to accelerate their taper next week with a market that is worried that it’s a policy error. I don’t think it is as I think the Fed is way behind the curve. However I appreciate that until we have more certainly on Omicron then it’s going to be tough to disprove the policy error thesis. The data so far on Omicron can be fitted to either a pessimistic or optimistic view. On the former, it seems to be capable of spreading fast and reinfecting numerous people who have already had covid. Younger people are also seeing a higher proportion of admissions which could be worrying around the world given lower vaccinations levels in this cohort. On the other hand, there is some evidence in South Africa that ICU usage is lower relative to previous waves at the same stage and that those in hospital are largely unvaccinated and again with some evidence that they are requiring less oxygen than in previous waves. It really does feel like Omicron could still go both ways. It seems that it could be both more transmittable but also less severe. How that impacts the world depends on the degree of both. It could be bad news but it could also actually accelerate the end of the pandemic which would be very good news. Lots of people more qualified than me to opine on this aren’t sure yet so we will have to wait for more news and data. I lean on the optimistic side here but that’s an armchair epidemiologist’s view. Anthony Fauci (chief medical advisor to Mr Biden) said to CNN last night that, “We really gotta be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t clause any severe illness comparable to Delta, but this far the signals are a bit encouraging….. It does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” Anyway, the new variant has taken a hold of the back end of the curve these past 10 days. Meanwhile the front end is taking its guidance from inflation and the Fed. On cue, could this Friday see the first 7% US CPI print since 1982? With DB’s forecasts at 6.9% for the headline (+5.1% for core) we could get close to breaking such a landmark level. With the Fed on their media blackout period now, this is and Omicron are the last hurdles to cross before the FOMC conclusion on the 15th December where DB expect them to accelerate the taper and head for a March end. While higher energy prices are going to be a big issue this month, the recent falls in the price of oil may provide some hope on the inflation side for later in 2022. However primary rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER), which is 40% of core CPI, is starting to turn and our models have long suggested a move above 4.5% in H1 2022. In fact if we shift-F9 the model for the most recent points we’re looking like heading towards a contribution of 5.5% now given the signals from the lead indicators. So even as YoY energy prices ease and maybe covid supply issues slowly fade, we still think inflation will stay elevated for some time. As such it was a long overdue move to retire the word transitory last week from the Fed’s lexicon. Another of our favourite measures to show that the Fed is way behind the curve at the moment is the quits rate that will be contained within Wednesday’s October JOLTS report. We think the labour market is very strong in the US at the moment with the monthly employment report lagging that strength. Having said that the latest report on Friday was reasonably strong behind the headline payroll disappointment. We’ll review that later. The rest of the week ahead is published in the day by day calendar at the end but the other key events are the RBA (Tuesday) and BoC (Wednesday) after the big market disruptions post their previous meetings, Chinese CPI and PPI (Thursday), final German CPI (Friday) and the US UoM consumer confidence (Friday). Also look out for Congressional newsflow on how the year-end debt ceiling issue will get resolved and also on any progress in the Senate on the “build back better” bill which they want to get through before year-end. Mr Manchin remains the main powerbroker. In terms of Asia as we start the week, stocks are trading mixed with the CSI (+0.62%), Shanghai Composite (+0.37%) and KOSPI (+0.11%) trading higher while the Nikkei (-0.50%) and Hang Seng (-0.91%) are lower. Chinese stock indices are climbing after optimism over a RRR rate cut after Premier Li Kequiang's comments last week that it could be cut in a timely manner to support the economy. In Japan SoftBank shares fell -9% and for a sixth straight day amid the Didi delisting and after the US FTC moved to block a key sale of a company in its portfolio. Elsewhere futures are pointing a positive opening in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.46%) and DAX (+1.00%) futures both trading well in the green. 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.+4.2bps with 2yrs +2.6bps. Oil is also up c.2.2% Over the weekend Bitcoin fell around 20% from Friday night into Saturday. It’s rallied back a reasonable amount since (from $42,296 at the lows) and now stands at $48,981, all after being nearly $68,000 a month ago. Turning back to last week now, and the virus and hawkish Fed communications were the major themes. Despite so many unknowns (or perhaps because of it) markets were very responsive to each incremental Omicron headline last week, which drove equity volatility to around the highest levels of the year. The VIX closed the week at 30.7, shy of the year-to-date high of 37.21 reached in January and closed above 25 for 5 of the last 6 days. The S&P 500 declined -1.22% over the week (-0.84% Friday). The Stoxx 600 fell a more modest -0.28% last week, -0.57% on Friday. To be honest both felt like they fell more but we had some powerful rallies in between. The Nasdaq had a poorer week though, falling -c.2.6%, after a -1.9% decline on Friday. The other main theme was the pivot in Fed communications toward tighter policy. Testifying to Congress, Fed Chair Powell made a forceful case for accelerating the central bank’s asset purchase taper program, citing persistent elevated inflation and an improving labour market, amid otherwise strong demand in the economy, clearing the way for rate hikes thereafter. Investors priced in higher probability of earlier rate hikes, but still have the first full Fed hike in July 2022. 2yr treasury yields were sharply higher (+9.1bps on week, -2.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields declined (-12.0bps on week, -9.1bps Friday) on the prospect of a hard landing incurred from quick Fed tightening as well as the gloomy Covid outlook. The yield curve flattened -21.1bps (-6.8bps Friday) to 75.6bps, the flattest it has been since December 2020, or three stimulus bills ago if you like (four if you think build back better is priced in). German and UK debt replicated the flattening, with 2yr yields increasing +1.3bps (-0.7bps Friday) in Germany, and +0.3bps (-6.7bps) in UK this week, with respective 10yr yields declining -5.3bps (-1.9bps Friday) and -7.8bps (-6.4bps Friday). On the bright side, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through February, buying lawmakers time to agree to appropriations for the full fiscal year, avoiding a disruptive shutdown. Positive momentum out of DC prompted investors to increase the odds the debt ceiling will be resolved without issue, as well, with yields on Treasury bills maturing in December declining a few basis points following the news. US data Friday was strong. Despite the headline payroll increase missing the mark (+210k v expectations of +550k), the underlying data painted a healthy labour market picture, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.2%, and participation increasing to 61.8%. Meanwhile, the ISM services index set another record high. Oil prices initially fell after OPEC unexpectedly announced they would proceed with planned production increases at their January meeting. They rose agin though before succumbing to the Omicron risk off. Futures prices ended the week down again, with Brent futures -3.67% lower (+0.55% Friday) and WTI futures -2.57% on the week (-0.15% Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 07:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

4 Solid Microchip Stocks to Buy on Soaring Global Demand

Growing demand for microchips amid supply crunch has been helping companies like NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), Microchip Technology (MCHP), ON Semiconductor (ON) and STMicroelectronics (STM). The semiconductor industry has been on a high, with sales soaring on surging demand. However, a supply crunch has kept several other industries worried, with carmakers suffering the most. The pandemic saw massive sales of electronic goods, leading to higher demand for microchips.According to a new report form Deloitte, the crisis may continue for months. Thus, microchip demand is only going to soar, helping chipmakers like NVIDIA Corporation NVDA, Microchip Technology MCHP, ON Semiconductor ON and STMicroelectronics STM.Microchip Shortage to ContinueAccording to Deloitte’s new Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) 2022 Predictions report, the global semiconductor shortage could last till early 2023.Things will start stabilizing only around late 2022 when customers will have to wait around 10 to 20 weeks after placing orders to get the supply in hand. However, the crisis doesn’t mean that customers will continue to suffer.Given the growing demand and resultant supply crisis, massive investment will be made to boost production in the coming days. The report predicts that venture capital firms will invest over $6 billion in microchip companies next year to boost production. This is thrice more than the total investment made by venture capital firms between 2000 and 2016.The report further says that the shortage is expected to last about 24 months from when it began, much like the 2008-09 microchip crisis.The ongoing shortage is severely affecting the production of automobiles and is now biting into their profits. A number of carmakers have already cut down on their production and expect sales to be down in the fourth quarter too. This is also somewhat delaying the automobile industry’s recovery after the battering it suffered due to the pandemic.Semiconductor Industry on a HighNot only automobile manufacturers, but also production of electronic goods, including laptops and smartphones,is being hampered now due to the supply crunch. That said, surging demand has been working miracles for the chipmakers, as sales are skyrocketing.According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, global semiconductors sales totaled $144.8 billion in the third quarter of 2021, jumping 27.6% year over year and 7.4% from the second quarter.  Also, the semiconductor industry achieved a milestone of shipping the highest number of semiconductor units in the market’s history during this period.The chip industry had somewhat slowed down, but the pandemic worked miracles. As more people worked and learned from home, they invested in electronic goods, computers and accessories, giving a boost to the demand for microchips anddriving sales.The trend continueswithchip sales growing every month and hitting new record highs. Semiconductor sales totaled $48.3 billion in September, jumping 27.6% year over year and 2.2% month over month.This growth is expected to continue in the coming months too.Our ChoicesGiven the rising demand for semiconductors and continuing supply crunch, the semiconductor industry is only likely to benefit in the near term. Below are five chip stocks that investors can gain from in the current scenario.NVIDIA Corporation is the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies and inventor of the graphic processing unit, GPU. Over the years, NVDA’s focus has evolved from PC graphics to AI-based solutions that now support high-performance computing, gaming and virtual reality platforms.NVIDIA’s GPU success can be attributed to its parallel processing capabilities supported by thousands of computing cores, which are necessary to run deep learning algorithms.NVIDIA’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 73.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.8% over the past 60 days. Shares of NVDA have gained 21.7% in the past 30 days. NVIDIA’s carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.ON Semiconductor Corporation is an original equipment manufacturer of a broad range of discrete and embedded semiconductor components.ON continues to gain traction among electric vehicle manufacturers for both silicon carbide and insulated-gate bipolar transistor-based products. ON Semiconductor has a well-diversified business generating a significant percentage of revenues from each of the computing, consumer, industrial, communications and automotive end markets.ON Semiconductor’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 12.4% over the past 60 days. Shares of ON have gained 9.5% in the past month. ON Semiconductors holds a Zacks Rank #2.STMicroelectronics N.V. designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductor integrated circuits and discrete devices used in a wide variety of microelectronic applications, including telecommunications systems, computer systems, consumer products, automotive products and industrial automation and control systems. STM is currently witnessing very strong demand across most product lines and end markets. This is leading to strong pricing and allowing STMicroelectronicsto operate at full capacity.STMicroelectronics’expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 65.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.7% over the past 60 days. Shares of STM have advanced 6.8% in the past 3 months. STMicroelectronics carries a Zacks Rank #2.Microchip Technology Incorporated develops and manufactures microcontrollers, memory, and analog and interface products for embedded control systems, which are small, low-power computers designed to perform specific tasks. MCHP reported second-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings of $1.07 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.06 per share. Microchip Technology Incorporated reported revenues of $1.65 billion for the quarter ended September 2021, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.10%.Microchip Technology Incorporated’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 33.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.5% over the past 60 days. Shares of MCHP have gained 6.9% in the past 30 days. Microchip Technology has a Zacks Rank #2. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM): Free Stock Analysis Report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report Microchip Technology Incorporated (MCHP): Free Stock Analysis Report ON Semiconductor Corporation (ON): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls U.S. equity futures are flat, rebounding from an overnight slide following news that 5 "mild" Omicron cases were found in New York, and European stocks wavered at the end of a volatile week as traders waited for the latest jobs data to assess the likely pace of Federal Reserve tightening and accelerated tapering. Emini S&P futures traded in a narrow range, and were up 2 points or 0.04%, Nasdaq futures were flat,while Dow Jones futures were up 8 points. The dollar edged higher, along with the euro after ECB President Christine Lagarde said inflation will decline in 2022. Crude advanced after OPEC+ left the door open to changing the plan to raise output at short notice. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts fluctuated after dip-buyers Thursday fueled the S&P 500’s best climb since mid-October, a sign that some of the worst fears about the omicron virus strain are dissipating. That said, concerns about omicron are overshadowing economic news for now with “a lot of noise and very little meaningful information,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at Federated Hermes in London. “The prospect of a faster monetary policy tightening could -- and should probably -- lead to a clear market reaction,” he said. “It is also another argument for why we assume value stocks outperform growth stocks. At the moment, however, investors’ attention is elsewhere.” In the latest U.S. data, jobless claims remained low, suggesting additional progress in the labor market. Traders are awaiting today's big event - the November payrolls numbers, which could shape expectations for the pace of Fed policy tightening (full preview here). Bloomberg Economics expects a strong report, while the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists predicts an increase of 550,000. “Assuming the omicron news remains less end-of-the-world, a print above 550,000 jobs should see the faster Fed-taper trade reassert itself,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “That may nip the equity rally in the bud, while the dollar and U.S. yields could resume rising.” In premarket trading, Didi Global Inc. jumped more than 14% in U.S. premarket trading before reversing all gains, after the Chinese ride-hailing giant said it began preparations to withdraw from U.S. stock exchanges. U.S. antitrust officials sued to block chipmaker Nvidia’s proposed $40 billion takeover of Arm, saying the deal would hobble innovation and competition. Elon Musk’s offloading of Tesla Inc. shares surpassed the $10 billion mark as he sold stock in the electric-car maker for the fourth consecutive week. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: DocuSign (DOCU US) plunges 32% in premarket trading as the e-signature company’s quarterly revenue forecast missed analysts’ estimates. JPMorgan and Piper Sandler cut ratings. Marvell Technology (MRVL US) shares rise 18% in premarket after the semiconductor company’s fourth-quarter forecast beat analyst estimates; Morgan Stanley notes “an exceptional quarter” with surprising outperformance from enterprise networking, strength in 5G and in cloud. Asana (ASAN US) shares slump 14% in premarket trading after results, with KeyBanc cutting the software firm’s price target on a reset in the stock’s valuation. Piper Sandler said that slight deceleration in revenue and billings growth could disappoint some investors. Zillow Group (ZG US) shares rise 8.8% in premarket after the online real-estate company announced a $750 million share repurchase program and said it has made “significant progress” on Zillow Offers inventory wind- down. Stitch Fix (SFIX US) jumped in premarket after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to equal-weight from underweight. Smartsheet (SMAR US) rose in postmarket trading after the software company boosted its revenue forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate. National Beverage Corp. (FIZZ US) gained in postmarket trading after the drinks company announced a special dividend of $3 a share. Ollie’s Bargain (OLLI US) plunged 21% in U.S. premarket trading on Friday, after the company’s quarterly results and forecast disappointed, hurt by supply-chain troubles. Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI US) stock fell 15% in postmarket trading after adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter missed the average analyst estimate. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped as much as 0.2% before turning green with mining companies and carmakers underperforming and energy and utility stocks rising. Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB fell as much as 26% after private-equity firm Advent International and Singapore wealth fund GIC abandoned their $7.6 billion bid to buy the drugmaker. Volatility across assets remains elevated, reflecting the Fed’s shift toward tighter monetary settings and uncertainty about how the omicron outbreak will affect global reopening. The hope is that vaccines will remain effective or can be adjusted to cope. New York state identified at least five cases of omicron, which is continuing its worldwide spread, while the latest research shows the risk of reinfection with the new variant is three times higher than for others. “The environment in markets is changing,” Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citigroup Private Bank, said on Bloomberg Television. “Monetary policy, fiscal policy are all losing steam. It doesn’t mean a down market. But it’s not going to be like the rebound, the sharp recovery that we had for almost every asset in the past year.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks held gains from the past two days as travel and consumer shares rallied after their U.S. peers rebounded and a report said Merck & Co. is seeking to obtain approval of its Covid-19 pill in Japan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after climbing as much as 0.3%, with Japan among the region’s best performers. South Korea’s benchmark had its biggest three-day advance since February, boosted by financial shares. Still, Asian stocks headed for a weekly loss as U.S. regulators moved a step closer to boot Chinese firms off American stock exchanges. The Hang Seng Tech Index slid as much as 2.7% to a new all time low, as Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding fell after Didi Global Inc. began preparations to withdraw its U.S. listing.  “While the risks of delisting have already been brought up previously, a step closer towards a final mandate seems to serve as a reminder for the regulatory risks in Chinese stocks,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asian stocks remain stuck near a one-year low, as the delisting issue damped sentiment already hurt by omicron and the Fed’s hawkish pivot. A U.S. payrolls report later today could give further clues on the pace of tightening Japanese equities rose, paring their weekly loss, helped by gains in economically sensitive names. Electronics makers reversed an early loss to become the biggest boost to the Topix, which gained 1.6%. Automakers and banks also gained, while reopening plays tracked a rebound in U.S. peers. Daikin and Recruit were the largest contributors to a 1% gain in the Nikkei 225, which erased a morning decline of as much as 0.6%. The Topix still dropped 1.4% on the week, extending the previous week’s 2.9% slide, amid concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant. Despite some profit-taking in tech stocks in the morning session, “the medium and long-term outlooks for these names continue to be really good,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “The spread of the omicron variant doesn’t mean an across-the-board selloff for Japanese stocks.” India’s benchmark equity index recorded a weekly advance, partly recovering from a sharp sell-off triggered by uncertainty around the new Covid variant, with investors focusing on the central bank’s monetary policy meeting from Monday.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.3% to 57,696.46, but gained 1% for the week after declining for two weeks. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 1.2%, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 26. All but three of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a gauge of energy companies. “The focus seems to be shifting from premium Indian equities to relatively cheaper markets,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of retail equity search at Kotak Securities said in a note. The cautious mood in India was heightened by the “unenthusiastic” response to the IPO of Paytm, which was also the biggest public share sale in the country, and a resurgence of Covid concerns across Europe, he added.  Investors also focused on the country’s economic outlook, which is showing signs of improvement. Major data releases this week -- from economic expansion to tax collection -- showed robust growth. “Strong domestic indicators are playing a key role in driving the market amid negative global cues,” said Mohit Nigam, a fund manager with Hem Securities. But any further spread of the omicron strain in India may cap local equity gains, he said. Two cases of the new variant have been detected so far in the country. The market’s attention will shift to the Reserve Bank of India’s policy announcement on Dec. 8, after a three-day meeting from Monday. The panel is expected to leave record low interest rates unchanged as inflation remains within its target range. The economy faces new risks from the omicron variant after expanding 8.4% in the three months through September. Reliance Industries contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, falling 3%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 26 fell and 4 gained. Australia stocks posted a fourth week of losses amid the Omicron threat even as the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to close at 7,241.20, boosted by banks and miners. That trimmed the benchmark’s loss for the week to 0.5%, its fourth-straight weekly decline.  Corporate Travel was among the top performers, rising for a second session. TPG Telecom led the laggards, tumbling after media reports that founder David Teoh entered into an agreement to sell about 53.1 million shares in a block trade.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 12,676.50. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced and the greenback was higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers, with risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies the worst performers. Turkish lira swings back to gain against the USD after central bank intervention for the 2nd time in 3 days. The pound weakened and gilt yields fell after Bank of England policy maker Michael Saunders urged caution on monetary tightening due to the potential effects of the omicron variant on the economy. The euro fell below $1.13 and some traders are starting to use option plays to express the view that the currency may extend its drop in coming month, yet recover in the latter part of 2022. The Aussie dropped for a fourth day amid concern U.S. payroll data due Friday may add to divergence between RBA and Fed monetary policy. Australia’s sale of 2024 bonds saw yields drop below those in the secondary market by the most on record. The yen weakened for a second day as the prospects for a faster pace of Fed tapering fans speculation of portfolio outflows from Japan. In rates, Treasury yields ticked lower, erasing some of Tuesday jump after Fed officials laid out the case for a faster removal of policy support amid high inflation.  Treasurys followed gilts during European morning, when Bank of England’s Saunders said the omicron variant is a key consideration for the December MPC decision which in turn lowered odds of a December BOE rate hike. Treasury yields are richer by up to 1.5bp across 10-year sector which trades around 1.43%; gilts outperform by ~1bp as BOE rate- hike premium for the December meeting was pared following Saunders comments. Shorter-term Treasury yields inched up, and the 2-year yield touched the highest in a week Friday’s U.S. session features a raft of data headed by the November jobs report due 8:30am ET where the median estimate is 550k while Bloomberg whisper number is 564k; October NFP change was 531k Crude futures extend Asia’s modest gains advanced after OPEC+ proceeded with an output hike but left room for quick adjustments due to a cloudy outlook, making shorting difficult. WTI added on ~2.5% to trade near $68.20, roughly near the middle of the week’s range. Brent recovers near $71.50. Spot gold fades a small push higher to trade near $1,770/oz. Most base metals are well supported with LME aluminum and zinc outperforming.  Looking at the day ahead, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,574.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 466.43 MXAP little changed at 192.06 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 625.64 Nikkei up 1.0% to 28,029.57 Topix up 1.6% to 1,957.86 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,766.69 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,607.43 Sensex down 1.3% to 57,692.90 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,241.17 Kospi up 0.8% to 2,968.33 Brent Futures up 3.3% to $71.97/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,767.28 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 96.29 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1286 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg “I see an inflation profile which looks like a hump” and “we know how painful it is,” ECB President Christine Lagarde says at event Friday. She also said that “when the conditions of our forward guidance are satisfied, we won’t be hesitant to act” and that an interest rate increase in 2022 is very unlikely The betting window is open in the fixed-income market as hedge funds and other traders hunt for mispriced risk heading into 2022 -- whether it’s predictions for accelerating inflation or rising interest rates The U.K. Municipal Bonds Agency aims to sell the first ethical bonds on behalf of local governments early next year. The body, set up to help U.K. councils access capital markets, is looking to issue a couple of sustainable bonds in the first quarter of 2022, according to officials advising on the sales. It expects to follow that with a pooled ethical bond to raise money for a group of different local authorities Low- income countries indebted to Chinese commercial and policy banks could buy specially-created Chinese government bonds and then use these as collateral to support the sale of new yuan debt, Zhou Chengjun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s finance research institute, wrote in an article published in the ChinaBond Magazine Chinese tech shares briefly touched their record lows in Hong Kong, as Didi Global Inc.’s announcement to start U.S. delisting and rising scrutiny on mainland firms traded there dealt a further blow to already soured sentiment The yuan is set to weaken for the first time in three years in 2022, as capital inflows are expected to slow amid a shrinking yield gap between China and the U.S., a Bloomberg survey shows Turkish inflation accelerated for a sixth month in November to the highest level in three years, driven by a slump in the lira that continues to cloud consumer price outlook A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities eventually traded mostly higher following the cyclical-led rebound in the US, but with the mood in the region tentative as Omicron uncertainty lingered after further cases of the new variant were reported stateside and with the latest NFP data drawing near. ASX 200 (+0.2%) lacked direction as resilience in cyclicals was offset by underperformance in defensives and amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns which prompted the Western Australian government to widen its state border closure to include South Australia. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) was initially subdued amid recent currency inflows and with SoftBank among the worst performers amid several negative headlines including the FTC suing to block the Nvidia acquisition of Arm from SoftBank, while the Japanese conglomerate also suffered from its exposure in “super app” Grab which tumbled 20% in its New York debut and with Didi to start delisting from the NYSE in favour of a Hong Kong listing, although the index eventually recovered losses in latter half of trade. Hang Seng (-0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.9%) were varied with US-listed Chinese companies pressured as the US SEC moved closer to delisting Chinese ADRs for failing to comply with disclosure requirements, while the mood across developers was also glum with Kaisa shares at a record low after its bond exchange offer to avert a default was rejected by bondholders and China Aoyuan Property Group slumped by double-digit percentages following its warning of an inability to repay USD 651.2mln of debt due to a liquidity crunch. Furthermore, participants digested the latest Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which slowed from the prior month, but both remained in expansion territory and with reports that advisors are to recommend lowering China’s economic growth target to 5.0%-5.5% or above 5%, fanning hopes for looser policy. Finally, 10yr JGBs gained and made another incursion above 152.00 with prices supported amid the cautious mood in Japan and with the BoJ also present in the market today for a total of JPY 1.05tln of JGBs heavily concentrated in 1yr-5yr maturities. Top Asian News Astra Said to Sink Advent’s $7.6 Billion Buyout of Biotech Sobi BOJ Is Said to See Omicron as Potential Reason to Keep Covid Aid Kaisa Swap Rejected, Developer Bonds Slide: Evergrande Update Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL The positivity seen heading into the European open dissipated as the session went underway, with the region seeing more of a mixed configuration in cash markets (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%; Stoxx 600 Unch) – with no clear drivers in the run-up to the US jobs report. The release will be carefully watching measures of labour market slack to gauge the progress towards the Fed's 'three tests' for rate hikes, whilst the Fed appears almost certain to announce a quickening in the pace of asset purchase tapering at its December meeting (Full NFP preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). The recent downside in Europe also seeps into the US futures, with the RTY (-0.2%), NQ (-0.2%) and ES (-0.3%) posting broad-based losses as things stand. Sectors have shifted from the earlier firm cyclical layout to one of a more defensive nature, with Healthcare, Food & Beverages, and Personal & Household Goods making their way up the ranks. Travel & Leisure still sits in the green but largely owed to sector heavyweight Evolution (+6.3%) as the group is to acquire its own shares in Nasdaq Stockholm. Oil & Gas sits as the current winner as crude markets claw back a bulk of this week's losses. On the flip side, Basic Resources are hit as iron ore tumbled overnight. In terms of individual movers, Dassault Aviation (+8.0%) shares soared after France signed a deal with the UAE worth some EUR 17bln. Allianz (+1.0%) stays in the green after entering a reinsurance agreement with Resolution Life and affiliates of Sixth Street for its US fixed index annuity portfolio, with the transaction to unlock USD 4.1bln in value. Top European News U.K. Nov. Composite PMI 57.6 vs Flash Reading 57.7 The Chance of a BOE Rate Hike This Month Has Fallen: BofA’s Wood AP Moller Holding Agrees to Buy Diagnostics Company Unilabs Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL In FX, it’s debatable whether this month’s US jobs data will carry as much weight as normal given that Fed rhetoric in the run up to the pre-FOMC blackout period has effectively signalled a faster pace of tapering and the likelihood of more hawkishly aligned dot plots. However, the latest BLS report could be influential in terms of shaping the tightening path once QE has been withdrawn, as markets continue to monitor unfolding COVID-19 developments with the main focus on vaccine efficacy against the new Omicron variant. In the meantime, Buck bulls have resurfaced to lift the index more firmly back above 96.000 and towards loftier levels seen earlier this week within a 96.075-324 range, eyeing Monday’s 96.448 peak ahead of the semi-psychological 96.500 mark and then the w-t-d best at 96.647 set the day after. Back to Friday’s agenda, Fed’s Bullard is due to speak and the services ISM rounds off the week. AUD/NZD - The high betas are bearing the brunt of Greenback gains, but also bearish technical forces as the Aussie and Kiwi both lose sight of key chart and simple round number levels that were keeping them afloat or declines relatively contained at least. Aud/Usd is now probing 0.7050 and a Fib retracement just above, while Nzd/Usd is hovering around 0.6775 as the Aud/Nzd cross holds in the low 1.0400 zone. JPY/CAD/CHF/GBP/EUR - All softer vs their US counterpart, with the Yen looking towards 113.50 for support with added protection from option expiry interest up to 113.60 in 1.1 bn, while the Loonie is relying on WTI to maintain recovery momentum before Canada and the US go head-to-head in the employment stakes. Usd/Cad is meandering in the low 1.2800 area as the crude benchmark regains Usd 68+/brl status from a sub-Usd 66.50 base and even deeper trough below Usd 62.50 in knee-jerk response to OPEC+ sticking to its output plan yesterday. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to straddle 0.9200, Sterling has retreated from 1.3300+ terrain again post-fractionally softer than forecast final UK services and composite PMIs, whilst a less hawkish speech from BoE hawk Saunders took Cable to a session low of 1.3255 and a 15bps Dec hike pricing fell from 51% to 26%. The Euro has also reversed from recent highs beyond 1.1300 amidst rather mixed Eurozone readings and pretty routine ECB rhetoric from President Lagarde plus GC members Knot, de Cos and de Guindos. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures continue to nurse losses seen earlier this week, with the post-OPEC downside completely erased alongside some more. To recap, oil contracts were under pressure from compounding COVID headlines at the start of the week and in the run-up to OPEC+ whereby ministers opted to keep production plans despite the Omicron variant and the recent SPR releases. Delving deeper into these themes, desks suggest that a dominant Omicron variant could actually be positive if the strain turns out to be milder than some of its predecessors – with the jury still out but initial reports from India and South Africa suggesting so. Regarding OPEC+, some oil traders suggest the move to maintain plans was more of a political strategy as opposed to an attempt to balance markets, with journalists also suggesting that tensions with the US have simmered down and the prospect of further SPR releases have significantly declined. Further, it's also worth bearing in mind that due to maintenance and underinvestment, the real output hike from OPEC+ producers will likely be under the 400k BPD. In terms of Iranian developments, updates have been less constructive, with sources suggesting that Iran is holding a tougher stance than during the June talks. Negotiations will break today and resume next week. Crude contracts are modestly lower on the week and well-off worst levels, with Brent Feb now back around USD 71.50/bbl (65.72-77.02 weekly range), while WTI Jan resides around USD north of USD 68/bbl (62.43-72.93/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold and silver vary, with the former finding some overnight support around USD 1,766/oz as risk sentiment erred lower, whilst the cluster of DMAs remain around the USD 1,790-91/oz region. In terms of base metals, LME copper is flat on either side of USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Dalian iron ore futures fell amid a decline in mill demand, whilst China's steel hub Tangshan city is to launch a second-level pollution alert from December 3-10th, the local government said – providing further headwinds for iron demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 550,000, prior 531,000 Nov. Change in Private Payrolls, est. 525,000, prior 604,000 Nov. Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 45,000, prior 60,000 8:30am: Nov. Unemployment Rate, est. 4.5%, prior 4.6% Nov. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.3% Nov. Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.7%, prior 61.6% 8:30am: Nov. Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9% Nov. Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% Nov. Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.5 Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.0, prior 57.0 10am: Oct. Factory Orders, est. 0.5%, prior 0.2% Oct. Factory Orders Ex Trans, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7% Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. -0.5%, prior -0.5% Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.3% Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.6% 10am: Nov. ISM Services Index, est. 65.0, prior 66.7 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I got great news yesterday. It was the school Xmas Fayre last weekend and at one stall we had to guess the weight of the school duck that lives in their pond. I spent a long time analysing it outside and was trying to mentally compare it to the weights of my various dumbbells at home. I learnt yesterday that I’d won. My prize? A rubber duck for the bath. In more trivial news I also learnt I was voted no.1 analyst in four categories of the Global Institutional Investor Fixed Income Analyst awards for 2021. So many thanks for all who voted. It is very much appreciated. However in terms of physical mementoes of my achievements yesterday, all I actually have to show for it is a brown rubber duck. Guessing the weight of a duck is a walk in the park at the moment compared to predicting markets. Indeed it’s been a wild week. If you’ve managed to time all the various swings you can surely only have done it via a time machine. If you have done so without one though I will happily hand over my prized rubber duck. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (+1.42%) had begun to recover following its worst 2-day performance in over a year. The VIX index of volatility ticked back down beneath the 30 mark again, but finished above 25 for the fourth day in five for the first time since December of last year. Meanwhile Oil plunged and then soared on OPEC+ news and curves continued to flatten as 2yr yields got back close to their pre-Omicron levels after a near 20bps round journey over the last week. I’m glad I’m a research analyst not a day trader, and that’s before we get to today’s payrolls print. We’ll start with Omicron, where yesterday predictably saw a number of new countries report confirmed cases for the first time, as well as a second case in the United States during market hours, this one with roots in New York City, which reported more than 11,300 new cases yesterday, the highest daily count since January. After the market closed, an additional five cases were identified in New York, which sent futures over -0.5% lower at the time. They are back to flat as we type possibly helped by a late deal and vote in Congress to fund the US government through to February 18th and avert a shutdown at midnight tonight. Back to the virus and governments continued to ramp up their defence measures, with Germany yesterday announcing a range of fresh restrictions as they grapple with the latest wave, including a requirement that you must either be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid in order to get into restaurants or non-essential stores. There’s also set to be a parliamentary vote on mandatory vaccinations, and incoming Chancellor Scholz said that he expected it to pass. In the US, President Biden announced new measures to fight the impending winter wave and spreading Omicron variant, including tighter testing guidelines for international visitors, wider availability of at home tests, whilst accelerating efforts to get the rest of the world vaccinated. Over in South Africa, the daily case count rose further yesterday, with 11,535 reported, up from 8,561 the previous day and 4,373 the day before that. So definitely one to keep an eye on as we look for clues about what this could mean for the world more broadly. That said, we’re still yet to get the all-important information on how much less or more deadly this might be, as well as how effective vaccines still are and the extent to which it is more transmissible relative to other variants. Back to markets, and the revival in risk appetite led to a fresh selloff in US Treasuries, with the 2yr yield up +6.7bps, and the 10yr yield up +3.7bps. Nevertheless, as mentioned at the top, the latest round of curve flattening has sent the 2s10s slope to its flattest since before the Georgia Senate seat runoff gave Democrats control of Congress. It’s now at just +82.0bps, whilst the 5s30s slope is now at flattest since March 2020, at +55.0bps. So a warning sign for those who believe in the yield curve as a recessionary indicator, albeit with some way to go before that flashes red. In Europe there was also a modest curve flattening, but yields moved lower across the board, with those on 10yr bunds (-2.6bps), OATs (-3.2bps) and BTPs (-5.6bps) all down by the close. Over in equities, there was a decent rebound in the US following the recent selloff, with the S&P 500 (+1.42%) posting a solid gain. It was a very broad-based advance, with over 90% of the index’s members moving higher for the first time since mid-October. Every S&P sector increased, which was enough to compensate for the noticeable lag in mega-cap shares, with the FANG index gaining just +0.15%. The STOXX 600 decreased -1.15%, though that reflected the fact Europe closed ahead of the big reversal in sentiment the previous session. Aside from Omicron, one of the other biggest stories yesterday was the decision by the OPEC+ group to continue with their production hike, which will add a further +400k barrels/day to global supply in January. The news initially sent oil prices sharply lower, with Brent crude falling to an intraday low beneath $66/bbl, before recovering to end the day back at $69.67/bl in light of the group saying that they could adjust their plans “pending further developments of the pandemic”, with the ability to “make immediate adjustments if required”. Even with the bounceback yesterday however, oil has been one of the worst-performing assets over recent weeks, with Brent hitting an intraday high of $86.7/bbl in late-October, followed by a November that marked its worst monthly performance since the pandemic began. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher with the KOSPI (+0.86%), Shanghai Composite (+0.58%), CSI (+0.35%) and the Nikkei (+0.29%) up but with the Hang Seng (-0.74%) under pressure amid the ongoing regulatory clampdown in technology from China as Didi prepares to delist on US markets. Looking forward now, the main highlight on today’s calendar is the US jobs report for November, which comes less than two weeks’ away from the Fed’s meeting where they’ll decide on the pace of tapering. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for nonfarm payrolls to grow by +600k, which would be the fastest pace of job growth since July, and that in turn would take the unemployment rate down to a post-pandemic low of 4.4%. Ahead of that, we had another decent weekly claims report (albeit that took place after the jobs report survey period), with the number for the week through November 26 coming in at a stronger-than-expected 222k (vs. 240k expected). The previous week’s number was also revised down -5k, sending the 4-week moving average down to its own post-pandemic low of 238.75k. Looking at yesterday’s other data releases, the Euro Area unemployment rate fell to a post-pandemic low of 7.3% in October, in line with expectations. However producer price inflation shot up even faster than anticipated to +21.9% (vs. 19.0% expected). To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021