Zero Hedge

The Lynch Mob Comes For Citizen Trump

The Lynch Mob Comes For Citizen Trump

Authored by Pat Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled this mob and lit the flame of this attack.”

So alleged Liz Cheney, third-ranking Republican in the House, as she led nine GOP colleagues to vote for a second impeachment of Donald Trump. The House Republican caucus voted 197-10 against impeachment.

House Democrats voted lockstep, 222-0, to impeach in an exercise the solidarity of which calls to mind the Supreme Soviet of Stalin’s time.

But is what Cheney said true?

Undeniably, the huge crowd that assembled on the mall Wednesday did so at Trump’s behest. But that peaceful crowd was not the violent mob that invaded the Capitol.

The mob was a mile away as Trump spoke. It was up at the Capitol while Trump was on the Monument grounds. It could not hear him. And the break-in of the Capitol began even before Trump concluded his remarks. It was done as he spoke. Nor is there anything in the text of those remarks to indicate that Trump was signaling for an invasion of the Capitol.

How then did he light “the flame of this attack”?

At the end of his remarks, Trump said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Is that a call to riot?

The impeachment resolution charges Trump with an “incitement of insurrection.” Where did he do this? Where is the smoking gun?

The House Judiciary Committee declined to conduct hearings and call witnesses to reveal the links between Trump and the rioters.

What was the imperative that demanded a suspension of the normal process? Urgency, answers House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump’s continuance in the presidency is a “clear and present danger” to the republic.

But this is hysterical nonsense that covers up the real motive.

The left wants to stigmatize Trump down through the ages with twin impeachments, and its hatred of him has overwhelmed any commitment they had to due process.

Trump not only defeated the establishment in 2016. He got 74 million votes for a second term. Then, he defiantly refused to recognize that his defeat was fairly accomplished. Trump is hated because he will not play the role the left has assigned to him in its historic morality play, in which the left is always the triumphant star.

The Washington Post is now demanding that the trial, conviction and expulsion of Trump from the presidency begin before Joe Biden takes the oath in five days.

This is a familiar mindset: the spirit of the lynch mob. No time for evidence. No need for a trial where both sides can be heard. No need for reflection. Just declare him guilty and hang him.

Concerning the riot and rampage on the hill, the right has offered no rationalizations or justifications, as the left invariably has ready when its minions go too far. It is not the right, but the left that has, since the ’60s, condoned and excused and called for empathy and understanding of those who use violent means to advance political ends.

It was Martin Luther King who urged us to understand the root causes of riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark and Detroit when he explained, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

In 1964, Hubert Humphrey, observing the same riots, declared, “if I were in those conditions… I have enough spark left in me to lead a mighty good revolt under those conditions.”

At Colby College in June 1964, Adlai Stevenson, twice Democratic presidential nominee, asked us to appreciate the indispensable role of civil disobedience in advancing social progress:

“In the great struggle to advance civil and human rights, even a jail sentence is no longer a dishonor but a proud achievement. … Perhaps we are destined to see in this law-loving land people running for office not on their stainless records but on their prison records.”

In a retort to President Eisenhower, who had deplored the giving of moral sanction to rioters, Sen. Robert Kennedy said: “There is no point in telling Negroes to obey the law. To many Negroes the law is the enemy.”

In 1970, Justice William O. Douglas described how we should regard leftist demonstrations that turned into violent riots:

“We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution!”

What should Trump’s people do now?

  1. If we are headed for an impeachment trial, force the Democrats to prove that Trump deliberately instigated an “insurrection.”

  2. Then, lay out the history of the American establishment’s endless condoning and justifying of disorders, riots and rampages when done in the hallowed name of the social progress in which they believe.

  3. Then vote down impeachment a second time and leave Pelosi 0-2 in her collisions with President and Citizen Trump.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 14:39

Iranian Long-Range Missiles Land Near US Commercial Ship In Indian Ocean

Iranian Long-Range Missiles Land Near US Commercial Ship In Indian Ocean

With a mere days to go till the presidential transition an Iranian military escalation and "near miss" has occurred in the Indian Ocean on Saturday. As reported by Fox News,"Long-range missiles from Iran splashed down dangerously close to a commercial ship in the Indian Ocean Saturday and 100 miles from the Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group."

No further details have been released as to the identity or country origin of the commercial vessel. 

Iran is currently holding a series of military exercises as a strong "message" to its enemies like the US, Israel and Gulf states. Friday into the weekend the IRGC is said to be testing long-range anti-ship missiles.

Two missiles are said to have exploded on impacting the water, as the report continues to describe:

Just as concerning to U.S. Navy officials, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group was also in the vicinity -- about 100 miles away -- from where at least two Iranian ballistic missiles exploded on impact when they hit the ocean, sending shards of debris in all directions.

This is the second major 'close-call' incident in as many days, after a Thursday encounter between what appeared to be the USS Georgia nuclear submarine and an Iranian military helicopter which warned it out of the area.

Iran's Navy had condemned the action of a "foreign" vessel which it said "intended to approach the naval drill" that Iranian forces are were conducting in the Gulf of Oman. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 14:17

What Is The Best Hedge To Hot Inflation?

What Is The Best Hedge To Hot Inflation?

Authored by Bryce Coward via Knowledge Leaders Capital blog,

This week investors learned of president-elect Joe Biden’s initial bid for the next round of covid-19 relief. The number came in at $1.9tn. Importantly, included in this figure is mainly covid relief as opposed to a longer-term fiscal package that will be heavily weighted to infrastructure. In other words, it’s covid relief first (plus some goodies to satisfy the democrat base), followed by infrastructure and other structural spending later in 2021. Even if the Congress won’t pass a $1.9tn covid relief bill, the final number is highly likely to be above $1tn. The longer-term package that includes infrastructure is likely to result in net spending of between $1-2tn, much of which is likely to be front loaded. Keep in mind also the $900bn in covid relief that was enacted in December. All in all, the US is likely to see fiscal stimulus up to ~10% of GDP in 2021 and another 5% of GDP 2022. This is on top of stimulus around 20% of GDP in 2020. This string of stimulus spending is simply unprecedented in peace time.

Now, we’ve been talking a lot about the possibility of the fiscal stimulus producing above-trend inflation for a period of time. Many pundits look back at the financial crisis period and point to the fact that, at the time, many investors also thought fiscal stimulus plus the Fed’s asset purchase program would lead to inflation. Asset purchases aside, fiscal stimulus during the financial crisis and years that followed amounted to less than half the stimulus as a percent of GDP than what will occur this time. Nevermind that fact that other catalysts for inflation exist today that have been absent in years past, including:

  • Regionalization of supply chains

  • Green energy policy that will put pressure on commodity prices from copper to lithium to nickel and cobalt. Indeed, EVs contain 183lbs of copper compared to 43lbs for combustion vehicles; wind turbines contain 800lbs of copper.

  • Green energy policy that will seek to raise fossil fuel prices in general (either through taxes, a reduction in subsidies, or other hindrances to new production)

  • Weakening USD from persistent budget and trade deficits (i.e. rising import prices)

  • Room for the household savings rate (which is currently at 13%) to fall back to the 2-decade average of 6% (i.e. pent up demand)

Given the above, inflation is now a risk investors must consider and hedge for, which is different from anytime over the last 20 years. So, what are the best hedges for inflation?

To answer that question we studied the correlations between returns of various asset classes/sectors and inflation, going back to 1971 where the data was available. Specifically, we calculated the correlation between 3-month forward returns and the following binary outcome:

1) inflation was above trend or rising or

2) inflation was below trend or falling.

We found copper, crude oil prices, value stocks and energy stocks to be the most sensitive to the binary inflation measure. Furthermore, each of those assets/factors sported t-stats that are highly statistically significant. Interestingly, gold showed no correlation to our binary inflation measure. Silver did show a statistically significant positive correlation, albeit a small one.

The above study helps us understand why copper has clearly broken out like a rocket ship from a 5-year long period of doing nothing at all. The move in copper explains why copper mining companies are the best performers in the S&P 500 over the last 3 and 6 months.

All in all, the hedging strategy here is fairly straightforward. If one believes above trend inflation is likely, or even rising in probability, one can hedge away some of that risk by owning a combination of copper and oil, or by expressing that view in the equity market by owning some combination of copper miners, energy stocks and value stocks.

Now, is this the most opportune time to load up on said hedges? Our view is there may be a better entry point. But, if the above inflation narrative takes hold in the market, we are just in the nascent phases of this bull run in the inflation hedges.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 13:50

Pelosi Puts Swalwell Back On Homeland Security Committee Despite Chinese Spy 'Entanglement'

Pelosi Puts Swalwell Back On Homeland Security Committee Despite Chinese Spy 'Entanglement'

Eric Swalwell - the Democratic Rep. who suggested using nukes on gun-owners, farted on live TV, and was duped by a Chinese honeypot known as 'Fang Fang', is returning to the House Committee on Homeland Security, because why not.

"My committee memberships — along with my experience as a prosecutor and as the son and brother of law enforcement officers — will give me a unique opportunity to delve into one of America’s most serious national security threats," wrote the California lawmaker, who was duped by a Chinese honeypot spy who he refuses say whether or not he slept with.

Swalwell's top priority? "highlighting and finding solutions to the scourge of white nationalist extremism" - as opposed to other threats to the homeland, such as, Chinese espionage of US military secrets and intellectual property.

 Aside from public ridicule, the 40-year-old congressman has faced virtually no professional consequences for his relationship with Christine Fang, an accused Chinese spy who interacted with Swalwell at several political events, helped raise money for his re-election campaign, and successfully embedded at least one intern into his office - leading to her being placed under FBI surveillance, according to Axios.

As the New York Post notes, "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood by Swalwell, even as a growing number of Republicans called for the Bay Area Democrat to be yanked from the House Intelligence Committee, another panel he serves on, out of security concerns."

"In the election, the American people elected a Democratic House Majority that not only will ensure that our nation recovers from this historic pandemic and economic crisis, but will Build Back Better," said Pelosi in a statement, adding "As House Speaker, I am pleased to announce the appointments of these outstanding Members to key Committees, where they will be relentless in leading Democrats’ work to combat disparities in our economy and country and to advance justice and progress For The People."

Swalwell was also named by Pelosi as one of the Democratic managers in Trump's second impeachment trial.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 13:25

Luongo On Overblown Nonsense: "Insurrection" & "The Death Of The Dollar"

Luongo On Overblown Nonsense: "Insurrection" & "The Death Of The Dollar"

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

Here Comes The Dollar Thanks To Italy

The whole “Death of the Dollar” thing is completely overblown nonsense. It’s as hyperbolic as the insurrection rhetoric coming from the Democrats over the “Attack on the Capitol” on January 6th.

This dollar death spiral narrative is just that, narrative. Weakness in the dollar in 2020 came from political unrest and the most epic, corrupt fight for control over the U.S. government in more than a hundred years.

That fight is over. Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday in an event worthy only of the mightiest Banana Republics. But don’t think for a second that political order hasn’t been restored for the time being in D.C.

It has. It may have been at the point of many guns and bucketloads of cheating but it happened. Be angry about it, of course. Cheating should never be rewarded, but from a market and investor perspective, uncertainty, for now, is off the table.

And markets hate uncertainty, which is why the dollar was weak after the Coronapocalypse.

So, it’s a new year, a new administration, new asset allocation strategies for fund managers and the dollar was staring at a cliff wall on the USDX, approaching but not breaching the February 2018 low of 88.15.

With each push lower on the USDX since the Coronapocalypse in March the USDX has pushed harder against resistance with each important moment (See chart, orange arrows).

Note the four periods highlighted. The first one was thoroughly bearish, with “No Hope of Reversal” in the bounce. After that there was a “Failed Reversal,” followed by a quickly reversed reversal (“Back-to-Back Reversals”) which culminates in this week’s strong “Two-Bar Reversal”).

In my read here, the “Failed Reversal” in September is what set up the last leg of the dollar bear market. Had the USDX completed the two-bar reversal there we would almost certainly be looking at a different scenario today.

But sometimes markets have to get way offside, overly unbalanced in one direction in order to finally put in a definitive bottom or top. The “Back-to-Back Reversals” in October were the catalyst for the further breakdown of the USDX.

That set up the strong move this week into the close on Friday which should be disturbing for a dollar bear.

That this happened against the backdrop of Biden’s unveiling his stimulus and tax plans for his administration tells me that risks are shifting away from the U.S. and back towards other areas of the world.

And other areas of the markets. Stocks sold off into the close, gold was monkey-hammered again, but held (barely) medium-term support at $1819 (cash basis) and bitcoin had the kind of volatile week associated with rallies running out of steam.

The euro put in a very weak close this week, which is why the USDX jumped the way it did. And the question is why?

It’s not a hard question to answer if you’re looking at the big picture. Political unrest in the U.S. is ending while it is rising again in Europe, post-Brexit amidst draconian lockdowns over the new Super COVID 2: Viral Boogaloo.

The Dutch government under Prime Minister Mark Rutte resigned on Thursday thanks to a scandal involving abusing lower-income families child subsidies.

Rutte is a Davos Man through and through and this resignation may be some typical deck chair shuffling ahead of March elections there, since he’s done his job to sell the Dutch out to fund euro-zone fiscal integration and tempt the country to go harder left after the ‘conservatives’ abused poor people clawing back gov’t handouts.

The current polling certainly suggests nothing untoward happening in March. But, things change and this election will be important to watch.

More significantly is what is happening in Italy as Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi took his ministers and left the coalition there. Renzi first bolted from PD, the Democrats, and formed a new party (with all of about 3% support) taking a couple of cabinet ministers with him.

Then they pulled out of the coalition sending Italy towards its 131st government in 160 years. Gods, I do love Italian politics… from an entertainment perspective, of course.

This, I think, is a power play by Renzi to change the makeup of the government without calling for an election, in effect restoring him to power as effective Prime Minister since the fragile coalition there needs his votes and polling is against all the parties in power.

Renzi becomes the tail wagging the dog in the corrupt romp and stomp of Italian politics.

It’s the kind of in-fighting and back-stabbing that is the hallmark of Italian Politics. And it doesn’t bode well for the government surviving until elections in 2022.

The goal will be to further marginalize Five Star Movement (M5S), reducing their influence within a government they are supposed to be the dominant member of.

Five Star made the enormous mistake of throwing in with PD in September 2019, ousting Matteo Salvini’s Lega from the government and they will now pay the ultimate political price, extinction, as fake populists. I laid all this out at the time.

The coalition has been stymied by both Conte and M5S and M5S’s poll numbers reflect their mission creep.

When that fails, Di Maio will have to make a deal with PD or face elections which will see M5S out of power.

And if he makes that deal, which Brussels and Rome want him to bite on, it will be the beginning of the end of M5S...

Salvini is still in the driver’s seat because a betrayal by M5S of that nature will see Italy ground into a paste. Look no farther than the English Channel to see what Brussels wants to to do the Brits over Brexit. IF you think Italy will be spared after their dalliance with insurrection you are terminally naive.

And Salvini not being a part of that works to his advantage going forward. Sometimes the best way to win a battle is to retreat and let your enemies over-extend themselves.

Di Maio wasn’t a strong enough leader to keep the disparate factions within M5S on mission. He will now pay the price for his lack of vision.

Expect polls in Italy to shift even further right while this goes on. Renzi, another Davos Man through and through, wouldn’t have made this move if he wasn’t confident the pro-Brussels status quo in Rome would be maintained.

But it has, for now, thrown a cloud over the euro, causing the dollar to bounce. Because there is no easy path in handicapping Italian politics, not when the entrepreneur class there in the form of 50,000 restauranteurs are openly defying lockdown orders in protest and save their businesses.

Politicians in Italy have become so enamored of their own chess moves they’ve done the one thing you should never do…. get between Italians and their food.

Let’s call this the Antipasto Rebellion.

Current polling in Italy has Salvini, currently being given the Soros treatment by the Italian courts, returning to power without the need for the feckless M5S. Lega along with the Brothers of Italy (FdL) and possibly Forza Italia (FI) should take a majority in any election and oust the current ruling class.

Moreover, the Brothers of Italy will hold Salvini to his more extreme positions, like leaving the euro, mini-BOTs if not Italexit itself. So, this is an existential threat the establishment in Rome is facing and it’s why Renzi’s challenge is both brilliant political maneuvering and likely to succeed.

But, if M5S grows a spine and pulls out of the coalition then we are headed for early elections in Italy. And that is decidedly euro-negative. For now, we have a bounce in the dollar but euro headwinds are gathering and shouldn’t be ignored.

Biden will be pushed to trash the dollar as much as possible. His $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal won’t meet with much opposition, but if the Democrats are serious in pursuing an impeachment of Trump then, at a minimum, that will delay any action by the Senate which gets immediately bogged down in a strategically-moronic impeachment trial to satisfy Nancy Pelosi’s bloodlust.

That they fear Trump enough to do this tells you how scared they really are and that is long-term dollar negative. But, for now, I would listen to former Prime Minister and President of Russia Dmitri Medvedev who doesn’t believe the dollar’s demise is on the near horizon either.

But the long-term stability of the US dollar will be largely determined by the resilience of institutions for the protection of property rights, the demand for American goods and services in the global market, as well as the predictability and independence of the Federal Reserve System (FRS), which underpins the confidence in the US dollar. US dollar volatility will abruptly increase only if US manufacturers lose a considerable share of the world market or investors doubt the existing safeguards for the protection of assets, the relevance and soundness of the FRS’s long-term policy. Since this is impossible in the near future, it seems of much more interest to us what Joe Biden’s economic policy will look like.

Strategically, bet against the dollar over the decade. In the immediate-term, it is oversold along with the idea that America is no longer the center of the world’s economic system.

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Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 13:00

55 Americans Have Died Following COVID Vaccination, Norway Deaths Rise To 29

55 Americans Have Died Following COVID Vaccination, Norway Deaths Rise To 29

Amid increasing calls for suspension of the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people, the situation in Norway has escalated significantly as the Scandi nation has now registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

As Bloomberg reports, this adds six to the number of known fatalities in Norway, and also lowers the age group thought to be affected from 80.

Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway, and “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in a written response to Bloomberg on Saturday.

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said.

All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said.

“Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Norway’s experience has prompted the country to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines may be too risky for the very old and terminally ill... the exact group that 'the science' shows are actually at risk from this virus.

Pfizer and BioNTech are working with the Norwegian regulator to investigate the deaths in Norway, Pfizer said in an e-mailed statement. The agency found that “the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations,” Pfizer said.

However, it's not just Norway as The Epoch Times' Zachary Stieber reports that fifty-five people in the United States have died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports submitted to a federal system.

Deaths have occurred among people receiving both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, according to the reports.

In some cases, patients died within days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

One man, a 66-year-old senior home resident in Colorado, was sleepy and stayed in bed a day after getting Moderna’s vaccine. Early the next morning, on Christmas Day, the resident “was observed in bed lying still, pale, eyes half open and foam coming from mouth and unresponsive,” the VAERS report states. “He was not breathing and with no pulse.”

In another case, a 93-year-old South Dakota man was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 4 around 11 a.m. About two hours later, he said he was tired and couldn’t continue with the physical therapy he was doing any longer. He was taken back to his room, where he said his legs felt heavy. Soon after, he stopped breathing. A nurse declared a do-not-resuscitate order.

In addition to the deaths, people have reported 96 life-threatening events following COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as 24 permanent disabilities, 225 hospitalizations, and 1,388 emergency room visits.

It's not just the old and frail, in Israel, which proudly lays claim to the greatest vaccination effort in the world (largest percentage of the population inoculated),

As RT reports, at least 13 Israelis have experienced facial paralysis after being administered the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, a month after the US Food and Drug Administration reported similar issues but said they weren’t linked to the jab.

Israeli outlet Ynet reported, citing the Health Ministry, that officials believe the number of such cases could be higher.

“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it [facial paralysis],” one person who had the side effect told Ynet. 

“I can't say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

Ynet quoted Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center, who said she did not feel “comfortable” with administering the second dose to someone who had received the first jab and subsequently suffered from paralysis.

“No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That's why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose,” she told the outlet.

Finally, as we noted yesterday following the news of rising post-vaccination deaths in Noway, health experts from Wuhan, China, called on Norway and other countries to suspend the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people.

China's Global Times reports Chinese experts said the death incident should be assessed cautiously to understand whether the death was caused by vaccines or other preexisting conditions of these individuals.

Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist from Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Friday that the death incident, if proven to be caused by the vaccines, showed that the effect of the Pfizer vaccine and other mRNA vaccines is not as good as expected, as the main purpose of mRNA vaccines is to heal patients.

...

A Beijing-based immunologist, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Friday that the world should suspend the use of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine represented by Pfizer, as this new technology has not proven safety in large-scale use or in preventing any infectious diseases.

Older people, especially those over 80, should not be recommended to receive any COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

All of which is a problem since it is the elderly who are at most risk (quite frankly at any real risk at all) and thus who need the protection the most.

The Chinese health experts instead say that the most elderly and frail should be recommended to take medicines to improve their immune system.

Of course, one cannot help but note the irony of scientists from the source of the plague that has killed millions around the world and destroyed lives/economies almost everywhere, is now calling for the cessation of the process to protect against the plague.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 12:35

Bill Gates Becomes America's Largest Farmland Owner While 'Great Reset" Says Future Is 'No Private Property'

Bill Gates Becomes America's Largest Farmland Owner While 'Great Reset" Says Future Is 'No Private Property'

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

While Americans are being told by ‘Great Reset’ technocrats that the future is one without private property, Bill Gates and other billionaires have been buying up huge amounts of farmland.

Indeed, Gates is now the biggest owner of farmland in America, according to a Forbes report.

“After years of reports that he was purchasing agricultural land in places like Florida and Washington, The Land Report revealed that Gates, who has a net worth of nearly $121 billion according to Forbes, has built up a massive farmland portfolio spanning 18 states.”

“His largest holdings are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). Additionally, he has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, which is being developed as a new suburb.”

Gates now owns 242,000 acres of farmland across the U.S., mostly “through third-party entities by Cascade Investments, Gates’ personal investment vehicle.”

According to Forbes, it is not known what Gates is doing with the land and Cascade Investments refused to comment on the issue.

In terms of individual land owners, Gates is still far behind media mogul John C. Malone, who is in top spot with 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests and CNN founder Ted Turner, who owns 2 million acres of ranch land.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is also “investing in land on a large scale,” according to the report.

What billionaire philanthropists and technocrats are acquiring land at an accelerating speed, they appear to be telling the general public that in the future private property will virtually cease to exist.

In his books, World Economic Forum founder and globalist Klaus Schwab makes clear that the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ or ‘The Great Reset’ will lead to the abolition of private property.

That message is echoed on the WEF’s official website, which states, “Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city – or should I say, “our city”. I don’t own anything. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I don’t own any appliances or any clothes.”

Apparently, you won’t be allowed to own any private property and your only recourse will be to live in a state of permanent dependency on a small number of rich elitists who own everything.

That used to be called feudalism, which is a form of slavery.

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Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 12:10

CDU Anoints Merkel's Successor In Party Leadership Vote

CDU Anoints Merkel's Successor In Party Leadership Vote

Ever since Angela Merkel's protege, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, resigned as minister of defense and Merkel's hand-picked successor as leader of the CDU 11 months ago after defying Merkel's ban on working with the far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party (the two parties worked together to install a conservative, pro-business candidate as premier), Germany, and its European allies, have been eagerly anticipating the election of her successor.

The wait is now over. On Saturday, Armin Laschet, prime minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has officially been elected to lead the CDU. With Merkel set to retire at the end of the year, Laschet has roughly 10 months to convince Germans that he could be a responsible steward, since - as he made clear in his first post-election remarks - "continuity" is the name of the game.

Laschet is now the front-runner in the race to succeed Merkel at the close of her 15+ year Chancellorship, during which time she has emerged as the de facto protector of the European political status quo. He won the vote for party leader on Saturday by a solid margin, beating Friedrich Merz, the former chairman of BlackRock Germany, by 521 votes to 466 in a poll held digitally, since Germany is in the middle of a strict lockdown.

Analysts at Goldman wrote in a recent note that Laschet has "styled himself as a safe pair of hands with executive experience who can appeal to conservaties and more centrist voters."

Among his top policy positions, Laschet has called for the return of the "black zero" - Germany's balanced budget rule at the federal level - to be reinstated by 2024.

In terms of European integration, Laschet and his ‘running mate’ Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, who is expected to stand for deputy party leader, would support the idea of a multi-speed European Union based more on majority voting (which might mean he's more amenable to working with EU rebels Poland and Hungary).

The FT lays out Laschet's appeal, which calls for protecting the CDU's status as a big tent party.

His win marks a triumph for the liberals and centrists in the CDU, who want it to continue the moderate, middle-of-the-road policies pursued by Ms Merkel in her 16 years as chancellor. Mr Merz was backed by those who want the party to tilt the right. Mr Laschet, 59 years old, won with an emotional speech that emphasised his humble beginnings — his father was a coalminer — and conveyed a message of conciliation and compromise.

The next CDU leader must, he said, have the “ability to unify”. “We’ll only win if we remain strong in the centre of society,” he said in his speech, which was viewed online by the 1,001 delegates. “We must ensure that this centre continues to have faith in us.”

An easy-going Rhinelander, Mr Laschet wants to preserve the CDU’s status as Germany’s last-remaining Volkspartei, a broad church bringing together hardcore conservatives, green-tinged city dwellers and Merkel-ite liberals that has governed Germany for 51 of the past 71 years.

Of course, Laschet must still win during September's federal elections. Unfortunately, Laschet still has an uphill battle, since the CSU's Markus Söder has an edge in the polls.

Germany’s next chancellor won’t necessarily be decided by this weekend’s vote, however. A YouGov poll taken in early January shows Markus Söder, the president of Bavaria and member of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU, as by far the top choice; 26 percent of those polled supported Söder, while Merz came a distant second with 8 percent. Tellingly for September’s elections, 47 percent said either none of the above or were undecided.

The next leader will also have a tough act to follow, since Merkel is essentially the darling of the globalist Davos set For the third year running, Germany topped a Gallup poll where respondents were asked to rate their approval of a country’s leadership. Another Pew poll cited by Foreign Policy showed Merkel's approval is at an all-time high, thanks to her handling of the coronavirus.

But Merkel and the rest of the German political establishment might have a serious problem on their hands. The AfD, Germany's conservative, anti-immigrant party, has been gaining in popularity as Europe's economy continues to struggle, problems that will undoubtedly be exacerbated by the latest lockdown.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 11:45

When Will The Window Of Euphoria Close?

When Will The Window Of Euphoria Close?

Authored by Mike O'Rourke, Chief Market Strategist, JonesTrading,

“The sucker play is always the same: To make easy money. That is why speculation never changes. The appeal is the same: Greed, vanity and laziness. The merchant who would not dream of buying and selling stocking or percales on the advice of fools and cheerfully risks his money on the say-so of men whose interest is not his interest or tipsters who have not grown rich at the game they want him to play.” 

- Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

These certainly are interesting times. Despite a global pandemic, the S&P 500 is 5 days removed from all-time highs.

Additionally, there are 20,000 members of the National Guard protecting Washington DC, notably Capitol Hill. That is 4x the amount of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Their purpose is obvious - to protect the nation's “peaceful” transfer of power from supporters of the outgoing President. Violence is expected throughout the nation next week. While those events are uncomfortable for Americans to contemplate, they have had no effect on the financial markets. Equities remain elevated and bonds have sold off, no haven bid necessary.

Amidst this geopolitical backdrop, this is how the week has progressed.

Monday: A case of mistaken identity sends pink sheet stock Signal Advance skyrocketing. The Monday’s intraday peak was the culmination of more than 12,000% gain in three sessions. Despite being more than 85% below that peak, shares are still 1,800% higher than a week ago.

Tuesday: Small cap Zomedica skyrocketed when Animal Rights activist Carole Baskin talked up the company in a $300 Cameo clip. The company, which is forecast to have $5 million in revenues in 2021, is still worth $570 million at current prices.

Wednesday: GameStop experiences a short squeeze engineered by a massive army of social media speculators from Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum. The group appears to be targeting activist short names, engineering numerous short squeezes throughout the market.

Thursday: The madness appeared to break the AAII Sentiment Survey. The results initially showed the survey as 100% bullish, which is a level of optimism never reached before in the survey's 33 year history. The results were subsequently taken down. AAII has officially stated there are no results for the last week and they could not be tabulated due to a software error. We can’t wait to see what Friday brings.

There is little doubt as to what is fueling this insanity. In 2020, there was nearly $5 Trillion of fiscal stimulus pumped into the United States economy. There was an additional $3.25 Trillion of monetary stimulus and zero interest rate policy added as well. President elect Biden is seeking an additional $1.9 Trillion in fiscal stimulus in the coming month, and the Federal Reserve will add another $1.4 Trillion in monetary stimulus this year.

This is a massive stimulus driven bubble. Market participants frequently talk about generational buying opportunities like Q1 2009, or maybe even March of 2020. Take note, 2021 is setting up to be a generational selling opportunity. In the span of 12 months' time, we are setting up to witness approximately $6.5 Trillion of fiscal stimulus and $3.5 Trillion of monetary stimulus for a $21 Trillion economy.

$10 Trillion of stimulus is a tremendous amount of stimulus to digest. In his futile quest for consumer price inflation, Fed Chairman Jay Powell has created a historic asset bubble that will be the downfall of the US economy. 

All investors should note that the market is not as easy as it has appeared. In a business where there are no guarantees, it is a guarantee the environment will get harder. Institutional investors and companies should be on the lookout for the social media cabal looking to run share prices higher and take advantage of that liquidity when it is offered.

This is hardly an environment where informed investors are transacting to establish price discovery. It is simply a story, a theme and a buy order. Please remember there is no such thing as a new economy, there have been technological advances since the beginning of time. Yes, there are technological revolutions, but there are centuries of history of investors overpaying in the near term for the shiny and new. This environment will prove no different.

The charts below of call option activity and total equity volumes reinforce that this is simply a speculative snapshot in time.

A window of euphoria as a $21 Trillion economy digests $10 Trillion of stimulus.

What happens after that? The window should be used for tactical exits and certainly not as entry.

The day will come when this window slams shut, and it is likely to be in the coming months.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 11:20

​​​​​​​"It Is Extremely Wrong" - Turkey Bargains Extradition Of Uighurs For China Vaccine

​​​​​​​"It Is Extremely Wrong" - Turkey Bargains Extradition Of Uighurs For China Vaccine

Even though scientists in Brazil have downgraded the efficacy of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, the Turkish Health Ministry this past week granted emergency authorization of it. Mass vaccinations in Turkey began on Thursday, starting with healthcare workers and the elderly population. But to obtain the vaccines, the Turkish government has been accused of bargaining with Beijing on the extradition of Uighur Muslims, according to Business Insider

More than a quarter-million Turkish people have received China's vaccine in a matter of days. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received the first dose on Thursday. 

However, how Turkey received the vaccines and the eventual future shipments of millions of doses have come under fire.

The allegations originate from the timing of two events. In December, Beijing approved a 2017 deal with Ankara to extradite people with criminal charges to China. Turkey had planned to start vaccinating people with the Sinovac in early December, but the first shipment didn't arrive until the end of the month, only after the deal was signed. 

Opposition parties in Turkey allege that Beijing pressured the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to ratify the extradition deal to receive the vaccine. The deal specifies that anyone with criminal charges to China can be extradited. 

This has allowed Turkey to receive upwards of 50 million doses of Sinovac Biotech's vaccine, which should arrive in the coming months. So far, Turkey has received about 3 million doses.

Turkey has a population of more than 50,000 Uighurs, the largest displaced Uighur group in the world. 

Readers may recall we've covered the harsh treatment of Uighurs, with many of them locked in vast labor camps in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in northwest China. Some of them are in "re-education" and imprisonment camps. 

A source in the Turkish government told Voice of America: "It is extremely wrong to view the extradition treaty with the People's Republic of China as targeting Uighur Turks." 

To sum up, China is a rising superpower that is using health and the vaccine to increase its dominance on the global political stage. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 10:55

Rosenberg: Why Comparisons Between Bitcoin & Gold Are Absurd

Rosenberg: Why Comparisons Between Bitcoin & Gold Are Absurd

Authored by David Rosenberg and Ellen Cooper via FinancialPost.com,

It has to be stressed that in the midst of the market mania in which we find ourselves, the cult-like fervour behind cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin has become untethered.

Bitcoin has indeed proven itself as a more enduring asset than many had predicted after the first few bubbles burst in 2013 and 2018, and there have been several high-profile institutional investors expressing interest in recent months. But we continue to believe that the comparisons between the digital currency and gold are absurd.

It’s understandable that alternative assets would come into vogue in the current macro environment, where central banks, and the U.S. Federal Reserve in particular, have probed the outer limits of monetary policy and expanded their balance sheets more so than at any other time, including in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.

And with trust in the U.S. government deteriorating at the same time that gobs of stimulus are being released into the economy, investors are wise to be looking for a store of value as a hedge against uncertainty, currency depreciation and inflation risks (though we don’t see meaningful inflation emerging any time soon).

But in our estimation, these are arguments for holding a diversified portfolio that includes hard assets such as gold, things that will keep their value in the face of these ongoing risks. But bitcoin is not guaranteed to hold value.

As we can see from the massive 26 per cent slide on Sunday and Monday (the largest two-day correction since March), even if bitcoin is able to maintain a higher level over time as more investors pile in, the volatility is still too extreme and the value too susceptible to manipulation for it to be a real safe-haven asset. Outside of the Hodl-cult (essentially those who pledge to buy bitcoin and hold indefinitely), many of those who invest in the digital currency do so because of its volatility, which makes it an attractive get-rich-quick scheme for speculators.

Comparisons to gold in this regard are baseless. No one ever talks about the risk that gold could go to zero because it simply can’t — there is a floor in its price, because it has physical properties that make it useful even outside of its primary function as a safe-haven asset. But bitcoin, which has marginal intrinsic value, relies on the faith of its holders that it is worth more than nothing and that the technology is sound.

One of the most oft-cited reasons cited for buying bitcoin is because heavyweight investors, such as Paul Tudor Jones, say on TV that they’re buyers. Sort of reminds me of the E.F. Hutton commercials in the 1970s. Oh, lest we forget, gold, last we saw, is used to conduct the very electricity that bitcoin utilizes in its mining process so intensively (why it is called an “energy hog”). Talk about the anomaly to end all anomalies (not just that anomaly, but consider that most bitcoin investors also tend to be vocal ESG investors … go figure; the bull market is really in hypocrisy).

Don’t get us wrong. As non-crypto-experts, it seems that the electronic ledger system is quite clever as are its built-in features, such as a limited supply at 21 million bitcoins and “halving” events every four years or so (keeping the cryptocurrency’s inflation rate low). The dispersed network also makes it difficult to tamper with the underlying data (though not impossible).

But there are already issues, including the figure reported by the New York Times just this week that up to 20 per cent of the existing 18.5 million bitcoins mined to date have been lost by users who forgot passwords or lost their “cold storage” devices (i.e., external drives) that held their “assets.” Issues that make traditional banking systems seem much more desirable and secure for the vast majority of people.

Again, though some of the technology behind Bitcoin is possibly revolutionary based on today’s capabilities, that doesn’t mean that innovations in the quantum computing world, for example, couldn’t make bitcoin obsolete. Up-and-coming technological innovations could put the entire cryptosecurity universe in jeopardy as the private keys that are currently thought to be impenetrable might be easily cracked by quantum technology. How useful is it to have a “store of value” that uses technology that could be hacked in a matter of five to 10 years?

Gold has been used as a store of value for thousands of years and is a safe and easily understood asset that has enduring value, whether or not it competes with cryptocurrencies for attention. As technology develops, who is to say that a future technology couldn’t create a “digital gold”?

Without a doubt, digital payment systems will become more mainstream as central banks continue to develop digital currencies, and we have to remain open-minded about how technologies can evolve into the future. But that doesn’t mean bitcoin will reign supreme: just because it was the first, does not mean that it is the best or the last.

Bottom line: we really don’t see the gold-bitcoin debate as being “one or the other.” There is nothing wrong with investing a small, and we mean small, share of your portfolio in something such as bitcoin, if your risk tolerance allows it (or you just want to go along for the ride). But as prudent investors, we maintain a healthy dose of skepticism about it as a store of value since its bubble-like price action speaks more to a risk-on quality than a hedge against uncertainty.

Look at its price performance: 5x the volatility in gold. It’s like comparing consumer staples stocks to semiconductors. Just because it has emerged as a means of payment, doesn’t mean bitcoin fits the requirement of being an investment. After all, whoever says, “I want to carve out part of my asset mix in Swiss francs.” But why not Swiss francs? The historically disciplined Swiss National Bank has been holding Swiss M2 growth in a tight and consistent annualized growth range of three to five per cent over the past five, 10, 20 and 30 years.

*  *  *

David Rosenberg is founder of independent research firm Rosenberg Research & Associates Inc. Ellen Cooper is an economist at the same firm. You can sign up for a free, one-month trial on  Rosenberg’s website.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 10:30

Millions Of Workers Are Still Calling Out Sick Or Taking Leaves Of Absence Due To COVID

Millions Of Workers Are Still Calling Out Sick Or Taking Leaves Of Absence Due To COVID

One of the biggest hits to supply chains across the country hasn't just been business shut downs, but rather the residual effect of employees calling out sick.

In addition to calling out sick when employees have Covid-19 or similar symptoms, some employees have been calling out because they are still simply too fearful of returning to work. 

This was the case at Smithfield Foods, Bloomberg notes, where 50 of the company's 2,300 employees have still not returned to work. One worker told Businessweek: “We work so close together. It’s like pulling teeth to find out if the person next to you tested positive.”

And so while unemployment numbers have been in focus, people calling out sick or taking leaves of absence remain overlooked issues in the labor market.

Even as unemployment numbers continue to look slightly better, the rate of absenteeism is near record highs. More than 1.9 million people in December alone missed work due to illness, the report notes, nearly matching the 2 million person record set in April, during the early days of the pandemic. The absenteeism rate at major corporations has been averaging about 10% over the last 2 months, the report notes. Some corporations have seen numbers as high as 25%. 

Absent workers are making it difficult for supply chains at businesses like Smithfield to continue uninterrupted. Overall, they're contributing to a slower economic recovery. The problem got so bad at General Motors that the company even had to put some of its white collar workers on the production floor in August. 

"Vaccinations could start driving down absenteeism by the second quarter," predicts Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays. Until such time, however, he says that continued absenteeism “could lead to shortages, it could lead to higher prices and more restrained output.”

Major corporations like Clorox and Kellogg are now fighting to get their employees to the front of the line for vaccinations, as a result. 

Timothy Fiore, chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said on January 5: “The quantity of infections and the quantity of people who are having to self-quarantine or be sick is just so overwhelming that everybody has to be affected by it.”

Geoff Freeman, chief executive officer of the CBA, concluded: “The challenge in keeping lines up and running, the challenge in continuing to meet the extraordinary demand that’s out there is absolutely enormous—and our companies are feeling it. There are instances of having to shut down lines at various points in time in order to manage the absenteeism.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 09:55

Germany To Put COVID-Rulebreakers In "Detention Camp"

Germany To Put COVID-Rulebreakers In "Detention Camp"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Germany is set to put COVID dissidents who repeatedly fail to properly follow the rules in what is being described as a ‘detention camp’ located in Dresden.

Yes really.

In order to try to increase compliance, violators are told that if they receive both a warning and then a fine, a court will decide whether they should be punished with a stint in the camp.

“We don’t assume that there will be very many, but in the event that a court decides that way, there will be a facility to accommodate them,” a spokesperson told RT.

Camps. For dissidents. In Germany.

What could possibly go wrong?

As we previously highlighted, last year authorities in New Zealand said that they will put all new coronavirus infectees and their close family members in “quarantine facilities.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made it clear that anyone in the quarantine facility who refused to take a coronavirus test would simply be held there for at least 14 days.

Earlier this month, a lawmaker in New York also introduced a bill that would give the government the power to remove and detain “disease carriers” in quarantine facilities.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 09:20

Russia To Start Mass Vaccination Of Its Population Monday

Russia To Start Mass Vaccination Of Its Population Monday

The Russian government announced that mass coronavirus vaccination of the population is to begin Monday after earlier in the week President Vladimir Putin ordered the broader vaccination rollout.

The official overseeing the efforts, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, said Friday "The country’s president announced a mass vaccination beginning on Monday, that is, on January 18, 2021," according to TASS.

Russia will rely on two domestic produced vaccines, foremost among them the Gamaleya Research Institute's Sputnik V vaccine, while Golikova noted that a third is getting close to formal approval.

Russia has the fourth highest number of cases worldwide at just under 3.5 million infections, and among these over 63,000 deaths from the virus.

It was on Wednesday that Putin ordered members of his cabinet to begin a large-scale inoculation campaign next week following frontline medical workers receiving the shot:

"We need to move from large-scale to mass vaccination," Putin said at a cabinet meeting, according to the Kommersant business daily, calling Russia's domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine the "best in the world."

Putin said he learned from Prime Minister Mikhail Mishutin last week that Russia has "exceeded" its coronavirus vaccine production volumes, allowing health officials to ramp up vaccinations. 

Teachers were also among the first group to receive Sputnik V, which began to be made available to the public on December 4.

Next week's mass vaccination plans come at a moment critics are doubting the Kremlin's official claims to have already vaccinated 1.5 million people with Sputnik V, which some suggesting the true number is in the low hundreds of thousands. 

Moscow further says it's received orders for over a billion doses to be administered abroad.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 08:45

UK To Close All Travel Corridors To Curb New COVID Variants

UK To Close All Travel Corridors To Curb New COVID Variants

Authored by Alexander Zhang via The Epoch Times,

Britain will further tighten entry restrictions by closing all its “travel corridors” with other countries in order to stem the spread of new CCP virus variants, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

“We must take additional steps now” to reduce “the risk of new strains coming from overseas,” he said during a news conference held in Downing Street.

“To protect us against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains, we will also temporarily close all travel corridors from 0400 on Monday.”

He said the government had coordinated with all devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland so that the change will apply across the whole of the UK.

The change means all passengers must have a recent negative CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus test and transfer immediately into isolation upon arrival. The isolation period lasts for 10 days, unless the passenger tests negative after five days.

The UK has banned travel from South America and Portugal from Friday morning to tackle a potential new CCP virus variant that emerged in Brazil, which has raised concerns among some scientists due to similarities to a variant in South Africa.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday afternoon that all travel corridors must now be closed because “it’s impossible for the Joint Bio-security Centre to provide live scientific updates to predict which countries or regions will now originate new variants.”

Johnson told reporters that over 3.2 million people had been vaccinated against the virus across the UK.

“What we don’t want to see is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine busting,” he said.

The UK reported on Friday 55,761 more positive CCP virus cases, and 1,280 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

“This is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve and our individual efforts,” Johnson said.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 08:10

Poland Set To Make Censoring Social Media Accounts Illegal​​​​​​​

Poland Set To Make Censoring Social Media Accounts Illegal​​​​​​​

On Jan. 6, pro-Trump extremists stormed the US Capitol complex and disrupted Congress's joint session to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory. Days later, social media companies went on a free speech crusade against President Trump, banning or limiting the president from various platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

It appears some Polish government officials have denounced big tech's censorship of Trump. They are preparing to draft a law that will make it illegal for tech firms to ban accounts, according to The Guardian

"Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not," wrote the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

"There is no and can be no consent to censorship."

Morawiecki's comments were published on Facebook days after Twitter and Facebook suspended the US president, citing a "risk of further incitement of violence" in the wake of his supporters storming the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.

Speaking vaguely and without mentioning Trump, Morawiecki said:

"Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently," he said. 

"The owners of social platforms cannot act above the law," Morawiecki added, noting that in Poland, the functioning of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are regulated by law.

"We will suggest that similar regulations are also put in place in all of the European Union," he said.

Morawiecki's comments came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Trump's ban from Twitter is "problematic."

The fallout from last week's deadly raid on the Capitol has included the purging of Parler, which is a social media app mainly used by conservatives. Apple and Google both banned Parler from their respective app stores over concerns the app aided Trump supporters in the Capitol attack. 

Banning Trump from Twitter and other social media platforms has set dangerous precedence where big tech companies can, at their convenience, censor anyone they want, even the president of the US. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 07:35

EU Gives Go-Ahead For Eating Worms

EU Gives Go-Ahead For Eating Worms

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

The EU has officially approved the sale of worms as food to be consumed by humans.

The announcement, made Wednesday by the EU’s food safety agency, specifically states that dried mealworms, the larvae of beetles, are safe for humans to eat, despite the fact that the report also noted that “allergic reactions are likely to occur”.

The report also states that as long as the mealworms have not been able to eat anything for 24 hours before being killed, they should be safe for people to eat.

The report adds that the bugs need to be boiled “to eliminate potential pathogens and reduce or kill the bacteria.”

The ruling will mean that the worms can be ground up and used in foods, such as pasta and biscuits, as sources of protein, so long as national member countries go along with the authorisation.

Ermolaos Ververis, a scientific officer in EFSA’s nutritional unit commented “This first EFSA risk assessment of an insect as novel food can pave the way for the first EU-wide approval.”

In coming months the agency hopes to approve all kinds of other bugs to be sold as meals, including the lesser mealworm, house cricket, banded cricket, black soldier fly, honeybee drone and a type of locust.

YUM YUM.

The EU has been pushing “insect-based proteins” as a replacement for animal products, claiming it will save the planet.

Last year, the European Commission announced the Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy, touting it as a “fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly” program that will focus on “increasing the availability and source of alternative proteins such as plant, microbial, marine, and insect-based proteins and meat substitutes.”

The draft noted that the program “will not happen without a shift in people’s diets”.

“Moving to a more plant-based diet with less red and processed meat and with more fruits and vegetables will reduce not only risks of life-threatening diseases, but also the environmental impact of the food system,” claims the strategy.

EU centric news site EURACTIV, noted that the policy is calling for eating bugs, and spoke to Constantin Muraru from the international platform of insects for food and feed (IPIFF), an EU non-profit organisation which represents the interests of the insect production sector.

Muraru lauded the idea of both humans and animals eating more bugs, saying that there is “enormous potential.”

“Currently, the EU is heavily reliant on the importation of feedstuffs, but the disruption in the past few months with the coronavirus outbreak has made it increasingly apparent that we must look to make our agriculture more self-sustainable,” he said.

“Insects can be produced locally and are a highly nutritious, protein-rich foodstuff that can be produced in high quantities in a small area,” he added.

The EU continues to push the idea of eating bugs, with its Food Safety Authority having approved the sale of a range of bugs as “novel food” earlier this year, meaning that they are increasingly likely to be mass produced for human consumption.

“These have a good chance of being given the green light,” the secretary-general of the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed, Christophe Derrien, told The Guardian.

The craze for eating insects stems from UN guidelines that “promote insects as a sustainable high-protein food.”

As we have previously highlighted, eating bugs has been heavily promoted by cultural institutions and the media in recent years because people are being readied to accept drastically lower standards of living under disastrous global ‘Green New Deal’ programs.

This will be exacerbated by the expected economic recession, or even depression, caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

This is why globalist publications like the Economist have been promoting the idea of eating bugs despite the fact that the kind of elitists who read it would never consider for a second munching on crickets or mealworms.

Unsurprisingly, restaurants are not seeing a big uptake for worm burgers, otherwise known as ‘bug macs’, or cricket based cuisine.

How about a weed side salad? And why not wash down your worm food with a tall refreshing glass of sewage?

Last month, the World Economic Forum published two articles on its website which explored how people could be conditioned to get used to the idea of eating weeds, bugs and drinking sewage water in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

Yes, really.

A separate article also published on the WEF website investigates how people can be conditioned to enjoy consuming ‘food’ which on the surface sounds disgusting.

The ‘Great Reset’ is about enacting a drastic reduction in living standards for the plebs which will force them to put bugs, weeds and sewage on the menu while the Davos elites continue to feast on the finest cuisine in their ivory towers.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/16/2021 - 07:00

Is Impeachment More Dangerous Than Trump?

Is Impeachment More Dangerous Than Trump?

Authored by Michael Tracey via UnHerd (emphasis ours),

The most apt parallel for the second impeachment of Donald Trump may not be any other of the three previous presidential impeachments, including his own just over a year ago. It may instead be the PATRIOT Act, which was passed in the heated emotional aftermath of the September 11 attacks, with negligible debate afforded to the long-term implications of what Congress was enacting. Reason and deliberation had given way to a collective desire for security and revenge, and thus the most sweeping curtailment of civil liberties in the modern historical record was approved. Those who departed from the swiftly assembled consensus could expect to be denounced as sympathisers to terrorists.

Likewise, if you deign to raise concerns about the implications of this sudden impeachment sequel — or any of the other extraordinary actions taken in the past week, such as an ongoing corporate censorship purge of unprecedented proportions — you can expect to be accused of defending or supporting the “domestic terrorists” who carried out the mob attack on the Capitol.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, rationalised rushing through Wednesday’s impeachment resolution at spell-binding speed — by far the fastest impeachment process ever — on the grounds that Trump posed a “clear and present danger” to the country, and needed to be removed immediately. “Imminent threats” of various stripes also have a long history of being cited to justify sweeping emergency action, such as the invasion of Iraq. Often upon further inspection, the purported “threat” turns out to have been not so “imminent”, or in fact to have never existed at all.

But as rushed as the impeachment was, if the purported emergency conditions were truly so dire as Pelosi maintained, she could have theoretically summoned the House to convene the day after the mob attack and impeach Trump right away. Congress convened the very next day after the attack on Pearl Harbor to declare war on Japan, for example. Instead, Pelosi waited a full week, and gave everyone the weekend off in the interim. Trump, alleged to be in the process of orchestrating a violent “coup”, was allowed to remain in office unimpeded with access to the nuclear codes for seven days.

Nonetheless, with a total of two hours of perfunctory debate — and no hearings, fact-finding or meditation on the relevant Constitutional Law considerations — Trump was impeached for the second time. As such, the text of the impeachment article will now be permanently embedded in the fabric of American governance.

One wonders who even had a chance to actually sit down and read it. The article, which charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection”, is far-reaching in its potential implications. “Incitement” is an extremely narrowly circumscribed doctrine in US law, and for good reason: anyone who engages in inflammatory but protected political speech could theoretically be said to have engaged in criminally punishable “incitement” without the shield of the First Amendment. If someone who hears your speech chooses on their volition to engage in violent or criminal conduct, you in almost all circumstances cannot be prosecuted.

This new impeachment changes that equilibrium. The one quote cited from Trump in the article to demonstrate his alleged “inciting” speech was: ‘‘If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’’ That line — which could have been uttered by Trump in about a thousand different contexts over the past five years — is alleged to have “foreseeably resulted in… lawless action”.

I witnessed countless instances of political speech expressed by activists, journalists, and others during last summer’s protests and riots which under the same standard could have been deemed to have “foreseeably resulted” in “lawless action”, such as attacks on police or destruction of property. But there was always a presumption that the speech was nonetheless protected under the First Amendment. The new “Trump standard” codified by this impeachment could have drastic implications for the the future, should it be applied more widely throughout US jurisprudence. Impeachable “incitement” is also unlikely ever to include statements by a president “encouraging” violence by way of, say, military force.

Still, Trump’s statements on 6 January  — just like a seemingly infinite number of others over the past five-plus years — could surely be worthy of political rebuke or censure. Indeed, Trump has already been rebuked. He’s been roundly condemned by his own party and administration. His main communications platform, Twitter, has banished him. His high-profile supporters are being systematically nuked from social media writ large. He’s been made to issue several humiliating statements conceding defeat and “disavowing” the MAGA mob which marched in his name. The bozo rioters at the Capitol were undoubtedly inflamed by a barrage of lies and conspiratorial delusions that Trump churned out on an almost hourly basis since losing the election — that’s beyond dispute.

But it was still clear pretty soon after the mob intrusion began last week that the most significant consequences from what occurred would arise not from the intrusion itself, which was dispersed by agents of the state in a matter of hours. Rather, the real consequences would stem from the predictably rash over-reaction. The more extreme the characterisation of last Wednesday’s events, the more emotional ammunition that lawmakers have to demand whatever extreme remedial action they had been ideologically committed to pursuing anyway. This goes well beyond the expedited impeachment, and into the corporate censorship purge which has now radically altered the principles undergirding the open internet.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the most high-profile member of the Left-wing Congressional “#squad”, has claimed that she narrowly escaped assassination at the Capitol and has thus been “traumatised”. Evidently she will be publicly working through this “trauma” on Instagram. It is also her contention that half of the House of Representatives (over 200 people) had been on the verge of mass execution. This style of political rhetoric has already been marshalled by “AOC” and others to demand corporate censorship on a vast scale, and successfully so; last week she tweeted pressure on Apple and Google to expel the alternative social media platform Parler from their app stores, and the corporations quickly obliged.

Amazon, falling like a domino, then completely terminated Parler from its web hosting service — effectively killing the site. As perhaps the country’s most influential Democrat by online following, AOC is someone who these tech corporations have an interest in appeasing, especially as Democrats enter full control of the federal government on 20 January. Her exceedingly dramatic recounting of what transpired during the mob intrusion is a powerful tool in her arsenal.

Curiously, the most putatively “progressive” members of Congress seem to be the most exercised about resurrecting concepts that sound like Woodrow Wilson suppressing dissidents in wartime. Mondaire Jones, a highly touted “progressive” incoming freshman Congressman, took to fulminating on the House floor during the impeachment proceeding about “treason and sedition”.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney further declared from the floor of the House that Trump had “wilfully incited an armed insurrection”. Which is again another curious characterisation, because while a Capitol Police officer was in fact killed in the melee, the only person against whom armed, deadly force was used against was Ashli Babbitt, a Trump-supporting Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran who was shot dead at point-blank range by an officer.

Any rational observer who has the capacity to detach from the temporary passions of the moment should be able to recognise that the United States government was never at risk of being “overthrown” by the chaotic band of yahoos who stormed the Capitol. All they accomplished was to delay the certification of Joe Biden’s victory by a few hours. They also humiliated the man they apparently thought they were valiantly coming to the defence of; even Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader of the House, took to the floor during the impeachment session to declare that “Antifa” was not to blame for the chaos which unfolded, and blamed Trump as bearing responsibility for the events. Indeed, the full force of state and federal law enforcement power is now being deployed against the intruders, and many — perhaps hundreds — will be going to prison.

Reminiscent of the post 9/11 period, the “crisis” of the past week has been seized upon to execute a pre-existing agenda. Impeachment, purges, the militarisation and lockdown of the Capitol — it’s only the beginning, and it’s all happening with hardly even a peep of criticism or moment for reflection. Given this historical continuity with the events of 2001, it was therefore fitting when Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Majority Leader in the House, went out of his way Wednesday afternoon to herald the valour of Liz Cheney — daughter of the architect of US policy after 9/11, Dick — who was one of the ten Republicans to vote along with Democrats to impeach.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/15/2021 - 23:40

M1 Abrams Tank Gets New Round That Can Destroy Almost Anything 

M1 Abrams Tank Gets New Round That Can Destroy Almost Anything 

The US Army's main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, is about to receive a new multipurpose super tank round that can breach concrete walls, pulverize obstacles, and destroy bunkers, according to Forbes

The Advanced Multi-Purpose, or AMP, is specially designed for the M1 Abrams to replace the rapidly aging inventory of tank munitions. 

The new round is long overdue as tank crews on the modern battlefields in the Middle East have been confronted by new evolving threats. 

Unlike the M829 depleted uranium round, which can punch through almost anything - it tends to have difficulties blowing up vehicles or houses, as it just zips right through those types of targets. The new AMP can destroy everything the M829 cannot. 

"The AMP adds an important new capability. The existing canister round is only for short-range use with a maximum reach of about 500 meters. This makes it useless for dealing with one of the biggest threats to tanks, infantry equipped with anti-tank guided missiles like the Russian-made AT-14 Kornet, used in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. When used in airburst mode, the AMP can target groups of personnel at ranges of up to 2,000 meters: even if it does not disable a missile team, the round is likely to distract them enough so that they are not able to keep a missile on course."

Another important new capability is breaching walls. Currently, making a breach an infantry assault requires engineers to get next to the wall and emplace explosives. Three rounds of AMP will create a thirty-by-fifty-inch hole clean through a double-thickness reinforced concrete wall, big enough for troops to advance through. This includes cutting through the steel reinforcement bars, and breaching can be carried out from several hundred meters away," said Forbes. 

Forbes described the new round has "three different fusing options" for blowing up different targets. 

"With Point Detonation, the round explodes on contact with the target — this mode will make it effective against targets like light armored vehicles. Set to Point Detonation-Delay, the round does not explode immediately on contact – this is the mode used against obstacles and bunkers, as it gives enough time to penetrate deeply into concrete or other material before exploding. In the Airburst mode, the round explodes at a pre-set height above the ground, spraying the area below with tungsten shrapnel – this is the antipersonnel mode," said Forbes.

Watch the new AMP round in action.

To sum up, the AMP round is a significant advancement in tank ammunition technology as it provides additional capabilities to defeat opponents on the modern battlefield. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/15/2021 - 23:20

Woke Elementary: Critical Race Theory & California's "Inconvenient Minority"

Woke Elementary: Critical Race Theory & California's "Inconvenient Minority"

Authored by Christopher Rufo via City-Journal.org,

An elementary school in Cupertino, California - a Silicon Valley community with a median home price of $2.3 million - recently forced a class of third-graders to deconstruct their racial identities, then rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.”

Based on whistleblower documents and parents familiar with the session, a third-grade teacher at R.I. Meyerholz Elementary School began the lesson on “social identities” during a math class. The teacher asked all students to create an “identity map,” listing their race, class, gender, religion, family structure, and other characteristics. The teacher explained that the students live in a “dominant culture” of “white, middle class, cisgender, educated, able-bodied, Christian, English speaker[s],” who, according to the lesson, “created and maintained” this culture in order “to hold power and stay in power.”

Next, reading from This Book Is Antiracist, the students learned that “those with privilege have power over others” and that “folx who do not benefit from their social identities, who are in the subordinate culture, have little to no privilege and power.” As an example, the reading states that “a white, cisgender man, who is able-bodied, heterosexual, considered handsome and speaks English has more privilege than a Black transgender woman.” In some cases, because of the principle of intersectionality, “there are parts of us that hold some power and other parts that are oppressed,” even within a single individual.

Following this discussion, the teacher had the students deconstruct their own intersectional identities and “circle the identities that hold power and privilege” on their identity maps, ranking their traits according to the hierarchy. In a related assignment, the students were asked to write short essays describing which aspects of their identities “hold power and privilege” and which do not. The students were expected to produce “at least one full page of writing.” As an example, the presentation included a short paragraph about transgenderism and nonbinary sexuality.

The lesson caused an immediate uproar among Meyerholz Elementary parents.

“We were shocked,” said one parent, who agreed to speak with me on condition of anonymity.

“They were basically teaching racism to my eight-year-old.”

This parent, who is Asian-American, rallied a group of a half dozen families to protest the school’s intersectionality curriculum. The group met with the school principal and demanded an end to the racially divisive instruction. After a tense meeting, the administration agreed to suspend the program. (When reached for comment, Jenn Lashier, the principal of Meyerholz Elementary, said that the training was not part of the “formal curricula, but the process of daily learning facilitated by a certified teacher.”)

The irony is that, despite being 94 percent nonwhite, Meyerholz Elementary is one of the most privileged schools in America. The median household income in Cupertino is $172,000, and nearly 80 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. At the school, where the majority of families are Asian-American, the students have exceptionally high rates of academic achievement and the school consistently ranks in the top 1 percent of all elementary schools statewide. In short, nobody at Meyerholz is oppressed, and the school’s high-achieving parents know that teaching intersectionality instead of math is a waste of time—and potentially dangerous.

One parent told me that critical race theory was reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

“[It divides society between] the oppressor and the oppressed, and since these identities are inborn characteristics people cannot change, the only way to change it is via violent revolution,” the parent said.

“Growing up in China, I had learned it many times. The outcome is the family will be ripped apart; husband hates wife, children hate parents. I think it is already happening here.”

The small fight at Meyerholz reflects a larger development: for the first time, Asian-Americans on the West Coast have become politically mobilized. In 2019, Asian-Americans ran a successful initiative campaign against affirmative action in Washington State; in 2020, Asian-Americans ran a similar campaign in California, winning by an astonishing 57 percent to 43 percent margin. In both cases, they defended the principles of meritocracy, individual rights, and equality under the law—and roundly defeated a super-coalition of the states’ progressive politicians, activists, universities, media, and corporations.

The stakes are high for the Asian-American community. For progressives insisting on the narrative of “white supremacy” and “systemic racism,” Asian-Americans are the “inconvenient minority”: they significantly outperform all other racial groups, including whites, in terms of academic achievement, college admissions, household income, family stability, and other key measures. Affirmative action and other critical race theory-based programs would devastate their admissions to universities and harm their futures.

At Meyerholz Elementary, the Asian-American families are on high alert for critical race theory in the classroom. Since their initial victory, they have begun to consider campaigning against the school board.

“We think some of our school board members are [critical race theory] activists and they must go,” said one parent.

The capture of our public institutions by progressives obsessed by race and privilege deserves opposition at every level. The parents of Cupertino have joined the fight.

This article is part of an ongoing series on critical race theory in American schools.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/15/2021 - 23:00

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