Major Technical Failures Confirm Bear Market Risk

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Major Technical Failures Confirm Bear Market Risk

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Major Technical Failures Confirm Bear Market Risk

In last week’s discussion, we stated the “bear market” was not yet complete. This was despite the “market rally,” which convinced the media the “bull market was back.”

While it was in

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deed a sharp “reflex rally,” and expected, “bear markets” are not resolved in a single month. Most importantly, as we discussed in our employment report on Thursday, “bear markets” do not end with “consumer confidence” still very elevated. 

“Notice that during each of the previous two bear market cycles, confidence dropped by an average of 58 points.”

This past week, we saw early indications of the unemployment that is coming to America as jobless claims surged to 10 million, and unemployment in April will surge to 15-20%.

Confidence, and ultimately consumption, Which comprises 70% of GDP, will plummet as job losses mount. It is incredibly difficult to remain optimistic when you are unemployed.

No Light At The End Of The Tunnel – Yet.

The markets have been clinging on to “hope” that as soon as the virus passes, there will be a sharp “V”-shaped recovery in the economy and markets. While we strongly believe this will not be the case, we do acknowledge there will likely be a short-term market surge as the economy does initially come back “online.”  (That surge could be very strong and will once again have the media crowing the “bear market” is over.)

However, for now, we are not there yet. As we noted last week’s Macroview there are two issues currently weighing on the economy and markets, short-term.

Most importantly, as shown below, the majority of businesses will run out of money long before SBA loans, or financial assistance can be provided. This will lead to higher, and a longer-duration of unemployment.”

Furthermore, the bill only provides for  two and a half times a company’s average monthly payroll expense over the past 12 months. However, the bill fails to take into consideration that not all small businesses are labor and payroll intensive. Those businesses will fail to receive enough support to stay in business for very long. Furthermore, the bill doesn’t provide for inventory, other operating costs, and spoilage.

Small businesses, up to 500-employees, make up 70% of employment in the U.S. While the government is busy bailing out self-dealing publicly traded corporations, there will be a massive wave of defaults in the small- to mid-size business sector.

Secondly, we are not near the end of the virus as of yet. As noted last week:

“While there is much hope that the current ‘economic shutdown’ will end quickly, we are still very early in the infection cycle relative to other countries. Importantly, we are substantially larger than most, and on a GDP basis, the damage will be worse.”

This was confirmed again this week by the New York Times’ columnist David Leonhardt:

“Five ways we know that the American response to the coronavirus isn’t yet working.

  1. There is still no sign of the curve flattening.

  2. The caseload is growing more rapidly here than in Europe.

  3. The shortage of medical supplies continues.

  4. There is still a testing shortage.

  5. Nationwide, the policy response remains inconsistent. 

What the cycle tells us is that jobless claims, unemployment, and economic growth are going to worsen materially over the next couple of quarters.

The problem with the current economic backdrop, and mounting job losses, is the vast majority of American’s were woefully unprepared for any disruption to their income going into recession. As job losses mount, a virtual spiral in the economy begins as reductions in spending put further pressures on corporate profitability. Lower profits lead to higher unemployment and lower asset prices until the cycle is complete.

Two important points:

  1. The economy will eventually recover, and life will return to normal. 

  2. The damage will take longer to heal, and future growth will run at a lower long-term rate due to the escalation of debts and deficits. 

For investors, this means a greater range of stock market volatility and near-zero rates of return over the next decade.

The Bear Still Rules

Over the last two weeks, we published several pieces of analysis for our RIAPro Subscribers (30-Day Risk Free Trial) discussing why the “bear market rally” should be sold into. On Friday, our colleague, Jeffery Marcus of TP Analytics, penned the following:

Meanwhile, the charts below of the S&P500 benchmark tell TPA the following:

  1. When the 11-year bull market trend ended, other shorter trends were also violated.  In late February, the S&P 500 fell below its 14-month uptrend line, and in early March the 13-month uptrend line was violated.  Those breaks set in place the steep declines seen in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of March.

  2. While it may seem like an epic battle is going on around S&P 500 2500, the real problem is the downtrend forming from the 2/19 high.

  3. TPA still continues to see real long term support in the 3% range between 2110 and 2180A less likely move below that support, would leave long term support levels of the lows of 2014 and 2015.

S&P 500 – Long Term

His analysis agrees with our own, which we discussed with you on Tuesday:

“While the technical picture of the market also suggests the recent “bear market” rally will likely fade sooner than later. As we stated last week:

‘Such an advance will ‘lure’ investors back into the market, thinking the ‘bear market’ is over.’

Importantly, despite the sizable rally, participation has remained extraordinarily weak. If the market was seeing strong buying, as suggested by the media, then we should see sizable upticks in the percent measures of advancing issues, issues at new highs, and a rising number of stocks above their 200-dma.”

Chart updated through Friday.

On a daily basis, these measures all have room to improve in the short-term. However, the market has now confirmed longer-term technical signals suggesting the “bear market” has only just started.

Major Technical Failures

Price is nothing more than a reflection of the “psychology” of market participants. The mistake the media made by calling an “end” to the “bear market” is they were using an outdated proxy of a “20% advance or decline” to distinguish between the two.

However, due to a decade-long bull market, which had stretched prices to historical extremes above long-term trends, that 20% measure is no longer valid.

Let’s clarify.

  • A bull market is when the price of the market is trending higher over a long-term period.

  • A bear market is when the long-term upward trending advance is broken and prices begin to trend lower.

The chart below provides a visual of the distinction. When you look at price “trends,” the difference becomes both apparent and more useful.

This distinction is important. With the month, and quarter-end, behind us, we can now analyze our longer-term weekly and monthly price trends to make determinations about the market.

The market has now violated the 200-week (4-year) moving average. Given this is such a long-term trend line, such a violation should be taken seriously. Also, that violation will be very difficult to reverse in the short-term, and suggests lower prices to come for the market.

Using the definition of “bull and bear” markets above, the market has also violated the long-term “bull trend” on a “confirmed” basis.

A confirmed basis is when the market violates a long-term trend, rallies, and then fails. As Jeffery Marcus, noted above, that market is now establishing a confirmed downtrend with the recent rally failing at downtrend resistance. (Also, the 50-200 dma negative cross will apply more downward pressure on any forthcoming rally.)

Most importantly, for the first time since the “Great Financial Crisis” lows, the market now has a confirmed close below the bull-trend line. If the market is able to rally in April, and close above the long-term trend line, then the “bull market” will technically still be intact. However, if the month of April closes below that trend, a confirmed “bear market” will be underway and suggests markets will see lower levels before it is over.

There are reasons to be optimistic about the markets in the very short-term. We will get through this crisis. People will return to work. The economy will start moving forward again.

However, it won’t immediately go right back to where we were previously. We are continuing to extend the amount of time the economy will be “shut down,” which exacerbates the decline in the employment, and personal consumption data. The feedback loop from that data into corporate profits, and earnings, is going to make valuations more problematic even with low interest rates currently. 

This is NOT the time to try and “speculate” on a bottom of the market. You might get lucky, but there is very high risk you could wind up losing even more capital.

For long-term investors, remain patient and let the market dictate when the bottom has been formed.

This was a point we discussed in Rothschild’s 80/20 Rule:”

You can have the top 20% and the bottom 20%, I will take the 80% in the middle.” – Rothschild

This is the basis of the 80/20 investment philosophy, and the driver behind our risk management process at RIA.

Yes, you may sell to early and miss the 10% before the peak, or you sell a little late and lose the 10% from the peak. Likewise, you may start buying into the market 10% before, or after, it bottoms. The goal is to capture the bulk of the advance, and miss the majority of the decline.

Investing isn’t a competition of who gets to say “I bought the bottom.” Investing is about putting capital to work when reward outweighs the risk. 

That is not today.

Bear markets have a way of “suckering” investors back into the market to inflict the most pain possible.

This is why “bear markets” never end with optimism, but in despair.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 12:50

Less Driving Amid Outbreak is Hurting Red Light Camera Revenue — Which is Great

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A silver lining to the economic shutdown is the fact that red light camera companies are being starved for revenue because people are driving less.

Grieving Chinese Families Can't Bury Dead, Perform 2,000 Year-Old Tradition

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Grieving Chinese Families Can't Bury Dead, Perform 2,000 Year-Old Tradition

While the Chinese Communist Party claims they've suffered just 3,300 coronavirus deaths out of more than 60,000 who have died around the world as of this writing, evidence exists that the actual death toll across China is far higher - and could be more than 40,000.

And as long lines form at Wuhan funeral homes over the last two weeks, family members - some waitin

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g up to six hours, have been collecting their loved ones in the hopes of giving them a proper funeral. In particular, mourning families want to be able to perform a 'grave sweeping' ritual that has been around for over two millennia - where families gather on the 15th day after the spring equinox to remove weeds and dirt from their ancestors' graves.

Long lines have formed at Wuhan’s eight main funeral parlors, including here at the Hankou Funeral Home, as relatives come to collect ashes before Tomb-Sweeping Day. (Weibo)

Unfortunately, due to the backlog in urns, lost bodies, and Chinese authorities banning, or severely limiting tomb-sweeping rituals due to the large crowds which gather at cemetaries, mourners in Wuhan won't be able to pay their respects until at least May, according to the Washington Post - which suggests that beyond health safety reasons, Beijing wants to limit the number of people standing around, criticizing the government response to the pandemic. 

“No one in the family got to say goodbye to Grandpa or see his face one last time,” said Gao Yingwei, an IT worker in Wuhan whose grandfather, Gao Shixu, apparently succumbed to the novel coronavirus on Feb. 7. The 76-year-old died at home; funeral workers in hazmat suits came to collect his body, telling the family it would be cremated immediately.

To this day, we have no idea how his body was handled, where his ashes are or when we will be able to pick them up,” Gao said. “I don’t even know which funeral parlor those guys were from.” -Washington Post

Cover up

As we've noted over the last several weeks, the numbers in China aren't adding up - as crematoriums have been processing thousands of bodies per day, according to several reports.

The Hankou Funeral Home, for example, told Caixin that it has been operating 19-hour days; enlisting male staff to carry bodies while reporting they've received 5,000 urns in two days.

Using photos posted online, social media sleuths have estimated that Wuhan funeral homes have returned 3,500 urns a day since March 23. That would imply a death toll in Wuhan of about 42,000 — or 16 times the official number. Another widely shared calculation from Radio Free Asia, based on Wuhan’s 84 furnaces running nonstop and each cremation taking an hour, put the death toll at 46,800. -Washington Post

"It can’t be right . . . because the incinerators have been working round the clock, so how can so few people have died?" said one Wuhan resident identified only as Zhang, in a statement to RFA.

Also notable are the uncounted deaths - those who likely died of coronavirus but weren't tested for the disease, such as 49-year-old Liu Cheng, who died February 12 of a "severe infection in both lungs." He was not counted in the official coronavirus statistics, and was immediately cremated before his family could see him, according to the report.

Wuhan cemeteries have reported that they will sweep tombs during the memorial period, while some private funeral companies have offered to tend to graves for a fee while the families watch on live stream. And they have nobody to blame but the CCP for their early inaction and destruction of samples in what may have been able to be contained if they had acted sooner.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 12:00
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Top Cop Arrested, Charged with Multiple Felonies for Stealing Asset Forfeiture Funds

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A Michigan prosecutor was arrested, along with his Chief Operations Officer, for embezzling $600,000 in Civil Asset Forfeiture funds over the period of 8 years.

Here's Every Vaccine And Treatment In Development For COVID-19, So Far

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Here's Every Vaccine And Treatment In Development For COVID-19, So Far

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket, healthcare researchers around the world are working tirelessly to discover new life-saving medical innovations.

As Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley notes, the projects these companies are working on can be organized into three distinct groups:

  1. D

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    iagnostics: Quickly and effectively detecting the disease in the first place

  3. Treatments: Alleviating symptoms so people who have disease experience milder symptoms, and lowering the overall mortality rate

  4. Vaccines: Preventing transmission by making the population immune to COVID-19

Today’s graphics provide an in-depth look at who’s in the innovation race to defeat the virus, and they come to us courtesy of Artis Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on life sciences and tech investments.

Editor’s note: R&D is moving fast on COVID-19, and the situation is quite fluid. While today’s post is believed to be an accurate snapshot of all innovations and developments listed by WHO and FDA as of March 30, 2020, it is possible that more data will become available.

Knowledge is Power

Testing rates during this pandemic have been a point of contention. Without widespread testing, it has been tough to accurately track the spread of the virus, as well as pin down important metrics such as infectiousness and mortality rates. Inexpensive test kits that offer quick results will be key to curbing the outbreak.

Here are the companies and institutions developing new tests for COVID-19:

The ultimate aim of companies like Abbott and BioFire Defense is to create a test that can produce accurate results in as little as a few minutes.

In the Trenches With Coronavirus

While the majority of people infected with COVID-19 only experience minor symptoms, the disease can cause severe issues in some cases – even resulting in death. Most of the forms of treatment being pursued fall into one of two categories:

  1. Treating respiratory symptoms – especially the inflammation that occurs in severe cases

  2. Antiviral growth – essentially stopping viruses from multiplying inside the human body

Here are the companies and institutions developing new treatment options for COVID-19:

A wide range of players are in the race to develop treatments related to COVID-19. Pharma and healthcare companies are in the mix, as well as universities and institutes.

One surprising name on the list is Fujifilm. The Japanese company’s stock recently shot up on the news that Avigan, a decades-old flu drug developed through Fujifilm’s healthcare subsidiary, might be effective at helping coronavirus patients recover. The Japanese government’s stockpile of the drug is reportedly enough to treat two million people.


The progress that is perhaps being watched the closest by the general public is the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Creating a safe vaccine for a new illness is no easy feat. Thankfully, rapid progress is being made for a variety of reasons, including China’s efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2 and to share that information with research groups around the world.

Another factor contributing to the unprecedented speed of development is the fact that coronaviruses were already on the radar of health science researchers. Both SARS and MERS were caused by coronaviruses, and even though vaccines were shelved once those outbreaks were contained, learnings can still be applied to defeating COVID-19.

One of the most promising leads on a COVID-19 vaccine is mRNA-1273. This vaccine, developed by Moderna Therapeutics, is being developed with extreme urgency, skipping straight into human trials before it was even tested in animals. If all goes well with the trials currently underway in Washington State, the company hopes to have an early version of the vaccine ready by fall 2020. The earliest versions of the vaccine would be made available to at-risk groups such as healthcare workers.

Further down the pipeline are 15 types of subunit vaccines. This method of vaccination uses a fragment of a pathogen, typically a surface protein, to trigger an immune response, teaching the body’s immune system how to fight off the disease without actually introducing live pathogens.

No Clear Finish Line

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for solving this pandemic.

A likely scenario is that teams of researchers around the world will come up with solutions that will incrementally help stop the spread of the virus, mitigate symptoms for those infected, and help lower the overall death toll. As well, early solutions rushed to market will need to be refined over the coming months.

We can only hope that the hard lessons learned from fighting COVID-19 will help stop a future outbreak in its tracks before it becomes a pandemic. For now, those of us on the sideline can only do our best to flatten the curve.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 22:20

China Floods Europe With Defective COVID-19-Fighting Medical Equipment

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China Floods Europe With Defective COVID-19-Fighting Medical Equipment

Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute,

As the coronavirus rages across Europe, a growing number of countries are reporting that millions of pieces of medical equipment donated by, or purchased from, China to defeat the pandemic are defective and unusable.

The revelations are fueling distrust

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of a public relations effort by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party to portray China as the world's new humanitarian superpower.

On March 28, the Netherlands was forced to recall 1.3 million face masks produced in China because they did not meet the minimum safety standards for medical personnel. The so-called KN95 masks are a less expensive Chinese alternative to the American-standard N95 mask, which currently is in short supply around the world. The KN95 does not fit on the face as tightly as the N95, thus potentially exposing medical personnel to the coronavirus.

More than 500,000 of the KN95 masks had already been distributed to Dutch hospitals before the recall was enacted.

"When the masks were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected them," a hospital worker told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

"If those masks do not seal properly, the virus particles can simply pass through. We cannot use them. They are unsafe for our people."

In a written statement, the Dutch Ministry of Health explained:

"A first shipment from a Chinese manufacturer was partly delivered last Saturday. These are masks with a KN95 quality certificate. During an inspection this shipment was found not to meet our quality standard. Part of this shipment had already been delivered to healthcare providers; the rest of the cargo was immediately withheld and not further distributed.

"A second test also showed that the masks did not meet our quality standard. It has now been decided that this entire shipment will not be used. New shipments will undergo additional tests."

The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported on March 17 that the Netherlands had only a few days' supply of masks: "All hope is now for that one cargo plane from China on Wednesday." The substandard quality of the masks delivered by China has left the Netherlands shattered. A spokesperson for a hospital in Dutch city of Eindhoven said that Chinese suppliers were selling "a lot of junk...at high prices."

In Spain, meanwhile, the Ministry of Health on March 26 revealed that 640,000 coronavirus tests that it had purchased from a Chinese vendor were defective. The tests, manufactured by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology Company in Guangdong province, had an accurate detection rate of less than 30%.

On April 2, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that it had been presented with leaked documents which showed that Bioeasy had lied to the Spanish government about the accuracy of the tests. Bioeasy had claimed, in writing, that its tests had an accurate detection rate of 92%.

Also on April 2, the Spanish government revealed that a further million coronavirus tests delivered to Spain on March 30 by another Chinese manufacturer were also defective. The tests apparently required between five and six days to detect whether a patient is infected with coronavirus and were therefore useless to diagnose the disease in a timely manner.

On March 25, the Spanish government announced that it had purchased medical supplies from China in the amount of €432 million ($470 million), and that Chinese vendors demanded that they be paid up front before the deliveries were made. Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa explained:

"We have bought and paid for 550 million masks, which will start arriving now and will continue to arrive for the next eight weeks. 11 million gloves will arrive in the next five weeks. As for rapid tests, we have acquired 5.5 million for the months of March and April. In addition, we will receive 950 respirators during the months of April to June. We are managing the purchase of more equipment."

It is not at all clear how the Spanish government will be able to guarantee the quality of these new mass purchases, or how it would obtain compensation if the products from China were again substandard.

On March 28, the French government, which apparently has only a few weeks' worth of supplies, announced that it had ordered more than one billion face masks from China. It is unclear whether the quality control problems experienced by other European countries would affect France's purchasing plans.

Other countries — in Europe and beyond — have also criticized the quality of Chinese medical supplies:

  • Slovakia. On April 1, Prime Minister Igor Matovič said that more than a million coronavirus tests supplied by China for a cash payment of €15 million ($16 million) were inaccurate and unable to detect COVID-19. "We have a ton of tests and no use for them," he said. "They should just be thrown straight into the Danube." China accused Slovakian medical personnel of using the tests incorrectly.

  • Malaysia. On March 28, Malaysia received a consignment of medical equipment donated by China, consisting of test kits, medical face masks, surgical masks and other personal protective equipment. A senior official in the Ministry of Health, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said that the test kits would be evaluated for accuracy after previous test kits from China were found to be defective: "This is a different brand from the one we tested earlier. We will assess the new test kit which is FDA-approved. I was assured by the Chinese ambassador that this is more accurate than the other one we tested." Abdullah previously stated that the accuracy of the Chinese tests was "not very good."

  • Turkey. On March 27, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that Turkey had tried some Chinese-made coronavirus tests but authorities "weren't happy about them." Professor Ateş Kara, a member of the Turkish Health Ministry's coronavirus task force, added that the batch of testing kits were only 30 to 35% accurate: "We have tried them. They don't work. Spain has made a huge mistake by using them."

  • Czech Republic. On March 23, the Czech news site iRozhlas reported that 300,000 coronavirus test kits delivered by China had an error rate of 80%. The Czech Ministry of Interior had paid $2.1 million for the kits. On March 15, Czech media revealed that Chinese suppliers had swindled the Czech government after it paid upfront for the supply of five million face masks, which were supposed to have been delivered on March 16.

On March 30, China urged European countries not to "politicize" concerns about the quality of medical supplies from China. "Problems should be properly solved based on facts, not political interpretations," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

On April 1, the Chinese government reversed course and announced that it was increasing its oversight of exports of coronavirus test kits made in China. Chinese exporters of coronavirus tests must now obtain a certificate from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) in order to be cleared by China's customs agency.

Meanwhile, the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei announced that it would stop donating masks to European countries as a result of allegedly derogatory comments by the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.

On March 24, Borrell had written in a blog post that China was engaging in a "politics of generosity" as well as a "global battle of narratives."

On March 26, a Huawei official told the Brussels-based news service Euractiv that due to Borrell's comments, the company would be ending its donation program because it did not want to become involved in a geopolitical power play between the U.S. and China.

On March 28, Huawei paid for sponsored content in the publication Politico Europe. Huawei's Chief Representative to the EU, Abraham Liu, wrote:

"Let me be clear — we have never sought to gain any publicity or favor in any country by what we are doing. We made a conscious decision not to publicize things. Our help is not conditional and not a part of any business or geopolitical strategy as some have suggested. We are a private company. We are trying to help people to the best of our abilities. That's all. There is no hidden agenda. We don't want anything in return."

On March 30, the BBC reported that Huawei was acting as if nothing had really changed since the coronavirus crisis began:

"That may be naive on the company's part. While nothing has really changed when it comes to the technical and security issues around Huawei's equipment, the political climate for the company has certainly worsened.

"A story in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend had Downing Street warning China 'faced a reckoning' over its handling of the coronavirus.

"And that is likely to embolden those MPs who have been telling the government no Chinese company should be allowed a role in the UK's vital infrastructure."

On March 29, the British newspaper Daily Mail reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his allies in parliament had "turned" on China because of the coronavirus crisis:

"Ministers and senior Downing Street officials said the Communist state now faces a 'reckoning' over its handling of the outbreak and risks becoming a 'pariah state.'

"They are furious over China's campaign of misinformation, attempts to exploit the pandemic for economic gain and atrocious animal rights abuses blamed by experts for the outbreak."

On January 28, Johnson had granted Huawei a role in Britain's 5G mobile network, frustrating efforts by the United States to exclude the company from the West's next-generation communications, which, it seems, can also be used for spying. The London-based Financial Times reported that U.S President Donald J. Trump vented "apoplectic fury" at Johnson in a tense phone call. Johnson is now facing pressure from his Cabinet as well as from Members of Parliament to reverse his decision.

After Chinese officials blamed the United States and Italy for starting the coronavirus pandemic, the Daily Mail quoted a British government source as saying:

"There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies."

The newspaper continued:

"Mr. Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China's officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be 'downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times.' And No. 10 believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with 'predatory offers of help' to countries around the world.

"A major review of British foreign policy has been shelved due to the Covid-19 outbreak and will not report until the impact of the virus can be assessed. A government source close to the review said: 'It is going to be back to the diplomatic drawing board after this. Rethink is an understatement.'

"Another source said: 'There has to be a reckoning when this is over.' Yet another added: 'The anger goes right to the top.'

"A senior Cabinet Minister said: 'We can't stand by and allow the Chinese state's desire for secrecy to ruin the world's economy and then come back like nothing has happened. We're allowing companies like Huawei not just into our economy, but to be a crucial part of our infrastructure."

In an article published by The Mail on Sunday on March 29, former Tory Party leader Iain Duncan Smith wrote:

"All issues can and will be discussed, except for one, it seems — our future relationship with China.

"The moment anyone mentions China, people shift uncomfortably in their seats and shake their heads. Yet I believe it is vital that we start to discuss how dependent we have become on this totalitarian state.

"For this is a country which ignores human rights in the pursuit of its ruthless internal and external strategic objectives. However, such facts seem to have been swept aside in our rush to do business with China.

"Remember how George Osborne [Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister David Cameron from 2010 to 2016] made our relationship with China a major plank of UK Government policy? So determined were Ministers to increase trade that they were prepared to do whatever was necessary.

"Indeed, I am told that privately this was referred to as Project Kow-Tow — a word defined by the Collins dictionary as 'to be servile or obsequious.'

"We were not alone. Countless national leaders over recent years have brushed aside China's appalling human rights behavior in the blind pursuit of trade deals with Beijing....

"Thanks to Project Kow-Tow, the UK's annual trade deficit with China is £22.1 billion ($27.4 billion). But we are not alone in being in hock to Beijing.

"For China has racked up a global trade surplus of £339 billion ($420 billion). Distressingly, the West has watched as many key areas of production have moved to China....

"The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behavior in every area of life — from healthcare to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression.

"For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals.

"But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis."

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 07:00

WATCH: Pregnant Woman Tackled, Arrested — For ‘Walking While Black’ During Outbreak

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A video posted to Facebook over the weekend, shows police surround a pregnant woman, tackle and kidnap her for allegedly "walking while black."

Waves Of Mutilation: Medical Tyranny And The Cashless Society

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Waves Of Mutilation: Medical Tyranny And The Cashless Society

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Back in 2014 during the Ebola scare in the US I published an article warning about how a global pandemic could be used by the elites as cover for the implementation of an economic collapse as well as martial law measures in western nations. My immediate concern was the way in which a viral outbreak could be engine

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ered or exploited as a rationale for a level of social control that the public would never accept under normal circumstances.

And this could be ANY viral outbreak, not just Ebola. The point is the creation of an “invisible enemy” that the populace cannot quantify and defend itself against without constant government oversight.

I noted specifically how the government refused to apply air travel restrictions in 2014 to nations where the outbreak had taken hold when they could have stopped the spread in its tracks. This is something that was done again in 2020 as the UN's WHO and governments including our government in the US refused to stop air travel from China, pretending as if it was not a hot zone and that the virus was nothing to worry about.

This attitude of nonchalance serves a purpose. The establishment NEEDS the pandemic to spread, because then they have a rationale for strict controls of pubic activities and movements. This is the end goal. They have no care whatsoever for public health or safety. The end game is to acquire power, not save lives.  In fact, they might prefer a higher death count in the beginning as this would motivate the public to beg for more restrictions in the name of security.

Authorities went from downplaying the outbreak and telling people not to bother with preparations like purchasing N95 masks, to full blown crisis mode only weeks later. In January Trump initially claimed he "trusted" the data out of China and said that "everything was under control"; as usual only a couple months down the road and Trump flip-flopped on both assertions.  The World Health Organization refused to even label this outbreak a "pandemic" until the virus was entrenched across the globe.  The question people will ask is, was this all due to incompetence, or was it social engineering?

The Ebola event six years ago seems to have been a dry run for what is happening today.  I believe it is entirely deliberate, and I will explain why in this article, but either way, governments have proven they cannot be trusted to handle the pandemic crisis, nor can they be trusted to protect the people and their freedoms.

At the same time, the pandemic itself is tightly intertwined with economic collapse. The two events feed off one another. The pandemic provides perfect cover for the crash of the massive debt bubble central banks and international banks have created over the years. I noted in February that the global economy was crashing long before the coronavirus ever showed up.  At the same time, economic chaos increases 3rd world conditions within each country, which means poor nutrition and health care options that cause more sickness and more deaths from the virus. As outlined in 2014:

Who would question the event of an economic collapse in the wake of an Ebola (virus) soaked nightmare? Who would want to buy or sell? Who would want to come in contact with strangers to generate a transaction? Who would even leave their house? Ebola (viral) treatment in first world nations has advantages of finance and a cleaner overall health environment, but what if economic downturn happens simultaneously? America could experience third world status very quickly, and with it, all the unsanitary conditions that result in an exponential Ebola (pandemic) death rate.

...Amidst even a moderate or controlled viral scenario, stocks and bonds will undoubtedly crash, a crash that was going to happen anyway. The international banks who created the mess get off blameless, while Ebola (viral outbreak), an act of nature, becomes the ultimate scapegoat for every disaster that follows.”

As the double threat of financial collapse and viral pandemic accelerate, fear becomes widespread for those that never prepared ahead of time (and we're talking about millions of people).  When people are afraid they tend to sacrifice their freedoms to anyone that offers them a promise of safety, no matter how empty. For now, the public is being convinced to assume that lockdowns and restrictions are temporary, but this is a lie. The elites must maintain and increase restrictions with each passing month in order to prevent rebellion until they are ready to implement martial law measures.

You see, the establishment is going for broke with this event, and because of this there is the potential for them to face dire consequences. The facade is quickly evaporating; the collectivists and globalists are risking exposure of themselves and their political puppets in order to build a totalitarian system with extreme speed. The establishment must keep the pressure on for now, because if the public is allowed to breath for just a moment they might look around and wake up to the bigger agenda. The public has to be forced to beg for aid from the authorities; only then will the pressure be lifted for a short time. The public has to believe the control grid was THEIR idea.

A new process of mass conditioning is about to be set in motion, using “waves” of panic and then waves of release and calm. After studying the behavioral traits and methods of narcissistic sociopaths (psychopaths) for many years, I can tell you this form of conditioning is very familiar. This is exactly what they always do, just on a global scale – They create an atmosphere of crisis to keep people around them unbalanced and on edge, then “relieve the pressure” intermittently so that those same people relax and their anger is deflated for a time. Then, the process starts all over again...

This conditioning traps the narcopath's victims in a constant state of flux and uncertainty, and the moments of calm become a placebo which prevent their rebellion against him. He can then feed off his victims at his leisure like a psychological vampire, and often these victims will see the narcopath as their only means of support. They have been convinced that all the threats are coming from the outside; they do not realize the source of the threats is the person standing right next to them.

The wave model of conditioning and control is starting to show up everywhere, and it is most blatant in the intended “solution” presented by establishment elites in response to the coronavirus outbreak. As Truthstream Media outlined in their excellent video 'We Are Living In 12 Monkeys', MIT recently published a paper written by their globalist editor in chief Gideon Lichfield titled 'We're Not Going Back To Normal' which admits quite brazenly how the elites intend to use this crisis to their advantage.

Lichfield lays out a kind of programming schedule for the population based on waves of viral infection outbreaks, waves of tight social restrictions, followed by waves of limited economic activity and limited calm over the next 18 months. As Lichfield suggests:

To stop coronavirus we will need to radically change almost everything we do: how we work, exercise, socialize, shop, manage our health, educate our kids, take care of family members.

We all want things to go back to normal quickly. But what most of us have probably not yet realized—yet will soon—is that things won’t go back to normal after a few weeks, or even a few months. Some things never will.”

He continues:

As long as someone in the world has the virus, breakouts can and will keep recurring without stringent controls to contain them. In a report yesterday researchers at Imperial College London proposed a way of doing this: impose more extreme social distancing measures every time admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) start to spike, and relax them each time admissions fall...”

Understand that there are 7 billion people on the planet, and this process of control could go on for years while we wait for every person to overcome the virus or die from it.  The only way for the public to escape this purgatory (according to Lichfield) is for them to submit to a biometric data grid. They must volunteer (or be forced) to participate in 24/7 tracking through their cell phones and through mass surveillance. In order to function in society, an individual must have the proper digital marker which tells the authorities that they are “clean” and devoid of infection.  The system is being used in China right now:

This system achieves a number of things. Much like the social credit system China has been using for the past few years, the public is compelled to constantly appease the hidden but all seeing eye of government. Everything they do is watched by algorithms and surveillance. Any deviation might trigger scrutiny and a loss of simple freedoms to move around or participate in normal human interaction. Lichfield argues:

Ultimately, however, I predict that we’ll restore the ability to socialize safely by developing more sophisticated ways to identify who is a disease risk and who isn’t, and discriminating—legally—against those who are.

...one can imagine a world in which, to get on a flight, perhaps you’ll have to be signed up to a service that tracks your movements via your phone. The airline wouldn’t be able to see where you’d gone, but it would get an alert if you’d been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There’d be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity—an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you’ve already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains.”

And there you have it.

The social and biometric control grid that globalists have been hungry to set up for years now has the perfect catalyst – a viral pandemic which could cycle indefinitely; all that would be needed is to release a designer virus every couple years which renews public fear. The populace becomes increasingly dependent on government for everything as their very survival depends on their ability to function within the new economy, and without a special mark granted by government saying you are not an infection risk, you could be shunned from all trade and participation.

Refuse to get vaccinated due to health concerns?  You're kicked out of the economy.  Homeschool your children?  They have not been monitored and are therefore an infection risk, and your whole family is kicked out of the economy.  Hold political views that are contrary to globalism?  Maybe you are listed as a danger to the system and wrongly labeled infected as punishment; and then you are kicked out of the economy.  The establishment can use the threat of economic removal to condition many people into complacency or slavery.

The MIT editor goes on to drive his point home in rather arrogant fashion:

We’ll adapt to and accept such measures, much as we’ve adapted to increasingly stringent airport security screenings in the wake of terrorist attacks. The intrusive surveillance will be considered a small price to pay for the basic freedom to be with other people.”

Beyond the effort to turn “social distancing” into a new cultural norm enforced by law, there is another agenda being quietly instituted – the cashless society. More and more businesses are starting to refuse cash payments, claiming that paper cash spreads the virus.  Oddly enough, they still accept debit cards using pin pads which are much more likely than cash to spread disease.

This may force the public to keep their money in banks despite the threat of a credit freeze or bank holiday. What if you pull cash out of your accounts but are not able to spend it anywhere? Eventually, they will ban debit and credit card transactions in stores as well, and replace them with a non-interactive payment model. This will probably be done through your cell phone in the beginning using a scanning app. In the end, they will use your biometric data for all money transactions.

This forces the public, yet again, to carry a cell phone on them everywhere for their very survival. The tracking network for the virus as well as the new payment transaction system makes this device indispensable. If you want to participate in society, you will have no choice but to be tracked and traced at all times.

Unless, of course, you build your own system of trade and interaction.

The solution to medical tyranny and the cashless society is to not need the system at all for your own survival. This means people will have to build their own economies based on barter and local scrip. They will have to dump their cell phones and rely on other forms of communication such as radio, or establish a digital communication system separate and independent from the establishment system. They will have to become producers and achieve more self reliance. They will have to break free from the grid, and this has to start RIGHT NOW.

Of course, the establishment will claim that these independent people are a threat to everyone else simply by existing.  They will perpetuate the lie of "herd immunity" and will claim that independent people will “spread the virus”, even to those who are supposedly protected through vaccination. And eventually they will try to stop decoupled and localized communities from existing using force. At that point we simply go to war with the elites, as we were always going to have to do anyway.

The alternative is slavery in the name of the “greater good”, but there is no greater good without freedom, and there is no society without individuality. Pandemic be damned.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 22:40

San Francisco Bans Reusable Bags To Counter Virus-Contagion Threat

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San Francisco Bans Reusable Bags To Counter Virus-Contagion Threat

The San Francisco Bay Area is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing environmentally-friendly policies to save the planet. However, city officials banned reusable shopping bags Wednesday as a way to enforce social distancing protocols imposed by the state government to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

The reusable bag ban was enforced by the San Francisco Departme

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nt of Public Health (SFDPH) under a new social distancing protocol that was published Wednesday, which restricts people from using reusable shopping bags at supermarkets to prevent outside germs from entering. 

The order says explicitly that store employees are not allowed to let "customers bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home" into essential businesses during the quarantine. 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Wednesday said the citywide shelter-in-place public health order would be extended through May 3: 

"I can't reiterate enough how important it is for all of us to continue to comply, for all of us to continue to be good citizens, to cooperate," Breed said.

Climate alarmist Greta Thunberg is going to be absolutely furiously about the ban. She's been organizing a climate strike online because of the social distancing measures enforced by governments across the world. 

However, Thunberg should be happy that the global economy has crashed, and pollution across China and Italy has subsided. 

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 23:00

The US Military Is Preparing For "Worst-Case Contagion Scenarios" (But It's A Secret)

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The US Military Is Preparing For "Worst-Case Contagion Scenarios" (But It's A Secret)

Authored by Eric Felten via RealClearInvestigations.com,

The U.S. military is “preparing for worst-case scenarios with respect to the potential spread” of the COVID-19 virus, U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters told reporters Friday.

But just what those scenarios are is a military secret. At a time whe

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n the president and his advisers hold daily press conferences where worst-case scenarios for civilians are frankly and alarmingly discussed, the Pentagon is moving to tighten what information it shares about COVID-19’s impact on the military.

The Department of Defense has been providing running totals of military-related COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and mortality, with separate figures for service members, their families, and civilian contractors. For example, as of Monday, the Pentagon reported 1,087 cases, of which 569 involved troops. These figures were higher by two-thirds than they had been Friday. But the demands of epidemiological accuracy are beginning to clash with the imperatives of operational secrecy.

“I’m not going to get into a habit where we start providing numbers across all the commands and we come to a point six, seven weeks from now where we have some concerns in some locations and reveal information that could put people at risk,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Reuters.

No one wants to give bad actors the idea that American troop strength is weakened on any particular front.

If not necessarily weakening forces, the virus is already causing complications. The commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe, Christopher Cavoli, has spent most of March in self-isolation after coming into contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

Lt.. Gen. Cavoli is just one of many officers who have taken to the internet to communicate with their troops via video. But missing from the videos is the officer one would most expect to see in that part of the world, the chief medical officer for the European theater. Brig. Gen. Ronald Stephens was relieved of command Monday. He had been suspended Feb. 12. For what, the Army isn’t saying – it’s a different sort of military secret -- but the timing is less than optimal. Regional Health Command-Europe is being headed on an acting basis by Stephens’ former chief of staff, Col. Andre Pippen.

Wolters, commander of U.S. forces in Europe, was relatively forthcoming when he said that “to sustain the current readiness posture,” he might have to “go outside the forces I currently command.” But if it happens, don’t expect it to be announced: Department of Defense spokesperson Alyssa Farah put out a statement last week saying, “If at some point in the future, a commander believes that the coronavirus could affect the readiness of our strategic deterrent or strategic response forces we would understandably protect that information.”

A senior defense official told Military Times on Monday that though the Pentagon would be reporting general figures, it would be “tamping down” on the release of “unit, region and installation” details.

Dealing with disease is key to military readiness. Wars in which the majority of fatalities are due to battlefield slaughter are something of a 20th century invention. The Civil War displayed a staggering carelessness with men’s lives, whether Pickett’s suicidal charge or just about any campaign waged by U.S. Grant. And yet for all the carnage, of over 600,000 fatalities, some two out of three died from diseases, including dysentery, typhoid, malaria and tuberculosis.

In Britain’s Thirty Years’ War, “deaths from disease far outstripped deaths from weapon in this as in every European conflict prior to the twentieth century,” writes historian William H. McNeill in the book “Plagues and Peoples.” The Continental Army was ravaged with smallpox until George Washington forced reluctant troops to be vaccinated. “Disease has destroyed Ten Men for Us,” John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, “where the Sword of the Enemy has killed one.”

The U.S. military doesn’t face anything like that with COVID-19 so far. But it is a reminder of the importance of keeping soldiers healthy to keeping them ready as a fighting force.

Some fronts have already been affected, if only marginally, as coalition forces have been drawn down. In the last week, hundreds of troops from the Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal have left Iraq and Afghanistan, redeployed to their home countries to bolster civilian responses to the disease. U.S. and British training with Iraqi forces has been suspended and some U.K. soldiers have returned to Great Britain for emergency assignments.

The U.S. military has a deeper bench, of course, and can afford to assign the Army Corps of Engineers to outfit temporary emergency hospitals and the Navy to sail hospital ships to home-front hot spots. But that could eventually lead to drawdowns significant enough that the Pentagon wouldn’t want it known.

Still, a more detailed picture is painted by the information given to troops than that given the public. The Army’s acting regional health commander for Europe, Col. Pippen, held a virtual town hall with other medical officers to answer questions about COVID-19 and the Army’s response. Soldiers and their spouses emailed in. The answers they were given suggest the Army’s health system is stressed, even at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest military hospital in Europe.

“Every time I call the Landstuhl appointment line, I get a busy signal,” was one exasperated complaint.

Col. Randall Freeman, deputy commander for health readiness at Landstuhl, didn’t have much to offer:

“Our network is very heavily burdened right now, with a much higher volume of calls than we normally have,” he said.

“I encourage patients to keep trying. Sometimes it takes three, four, or five tries to get through.”

Freeman and the other Army health officials said the hospital was going to be focused on urgent care, and all other services would have to be online.

Soldiers can normally expect that their medical information and that of their families will be handled according to HIPAA principles. But not in the age of COVID-19. A soldier’s wife who had been tested for the virus emailed the town hall to ask what had happened to her privacy. The results of her test had been given first to her husband’s commanding officer, then to her husband, and only only after that to her. “In a public health emergency,” Freeman responded, “the command has to know certain things that affect the ability of the unit to carry out its mission.”

Some of the steps normally taken to clear troops as ready are being pushed off. For example, soldiers have to pass an annual dental exam to be considered deployable. But such routine care is no longer available. “We have stopped offering readiness exam appointments,” Col. Manuel Pozo-Alonso, the Army’s dental regional commander for Europe, said in the virtual town hall. Dental personnel are being seconded to COVID-19 duties. He admitted that because of even that minor consequence of switching to a COVID-19 footing, “There will be a little detriment to our readiness over time.”

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 23:20

Innocent EMT, Working the Front Line, Killed in Her Bed by Cops Raiding the Wrong Home

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Cops looking for the wrong person, kicked in the door to an innocent couple's home and killed an EMT, all based on incompetence, according to an attorney.

New York City "Doesn't Have Any Dogs Left To Foster" In Latest COVID-19-Related Shortage

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New York City "Doesn't Have Any Dogs Left To Foster" In Latest COVID-19-Related Shortage

There's been shortages of all types as New York City deals with the unprecedented lockdown as a result of the coronavirus. But one of the most surprising of these shortages has been dogs and cats.

There's been a "run on pets" in the city, according to Bloomberg, ostensibly as lonely New Yorkers realize they're going to be locked inside without anyone to mono

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polize the conversation with or boss around. So, many of them have adopted fostered animals. 

Shelters in the city say they have received a surge in applications that is as much as "10-fold" their normal rates. New Yorkers apparently see owning pets as a way to calm their nerves during a difficult time. And this means that pets are finding new, and hopefully happy, homes at a record rate.

Anna Lai, the marketing director at Muddy Paws said: “For the moment we definitely don’t have any dogs left to match with foster volunteers. Which is a great problem to have.”

Shares of pet-related companies have been surging during the pandemic, as well. Online pet supplier Chewy.com has seen shares rise 7% this year, despite the market's near 30% pullback. Its delivery lead times have been extended to between 7 and 10 days for most customers. 

RBC Capital Markets said in a report: “Chewy’s in-home delivery model mitigates the public health concern of consumers shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers.”

PetMed Express is another name that's been outperforming. Its shares are up more than 7% during the S&P's decline.

And the run on pets seems to extend itself far beyond New York. For example, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in LA says they have seen a 70% increase in animals going to foster care, also. Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends said: “We’re seeing people show up in droves to foster.”

But rescue organizations are also worried the opposite will happen once the pandemic is over or the economy plunges further. They fear they could see a rise in surrendered pets. 

Lisa LaFontaine, chief executive officer of the Humane Rescue Alliance said: “We’re doing whatever we can to empty all of our shelter facilities. We don’t know what’s going to happen when the economic wave starts hitting.”

But one Washington D.C. couple said the time was opportunistic for them to welcome a new member to the family. Tom Drescher and his wife, Becky Nolin said: “It occurred to us it would be a good time to adopt a dog because we’d have the time and bandwidth to help it settle in. It’s been a blast for us so far -- we’ve been thrilled to have her.”

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 23:40

The Shadow War Playing Out Behind The COVID-19 Crisis

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The Shadow War Playing Out Behind The COVID-19 Crisis

Authored by Gregory Copley via OilPrice.com,

The rush to what is essentially a new wartime footing began consciously and urgently in the first quarter of 2020 between some of the most powerful geopolitical players of the modern era: the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the United Kingdom.

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p>It was not about the “battle” to cope with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, or the global fear pandemic which it engendered, but those contagions broke the cycle of globalism and the belief in the indissoluble nature of interdependence. It allowed what was already emerging as a fundamental move toward a new, bipolar global competition to come out into the open.

By the end of March 2020, the global framework had changed sufficiently to become — behind the headlines about COVID-19 — about which system and ideology would triumph in the decades after the watershed. That meant a race by each of the major antagonists to determine how quickly national productivity could be resumed.

Even so, the failure of most major societies, including the PRC, to prepare for health pandemics, natural disasters, and associated contagions of fear was a significant function of the transformed realities of the “globalist”-dominated political structures over the earlier lessons of national self-reliance. I made this point in a report in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis on November 24, 2008:

The unintended, or unforeseen, consequences of economic dislocation — as this writer has repeatedly noted — can be expected to lead to a rise in globalized (or at least regionalized) pandemic health challenges at a time when societies are weakened. These will lead to wealthier societies becoming more nationalistic and isolated, in some respects, merely to protect themselves. Pandemics will be matched by similar anomic social responses, including rising crime, of which the new era of maritime piracy is merely one aspect

Indeed, it is clear that the best avenue which nation-states can take is one marked by gaining as much control over their own destinies as possible. That requires a growing focus on domestic food self-sufficiency, and domestic market bases for manufactured goods and services. In other words: a return to a sense of the nation. The age of globalization is ending; it was a brief window in which the technologies which were created to fight the Cold War became the technologies of global social integration. Now, again, the luxury of internationalism is ending, and survival is based around the extended clan: the nation.

It was a year later that the global H1N1 pandemic emerged, fortunately without triggering the associated fear pandemic which acted as a force multiplier to the impact of the 2019-20 COVID-19 epidemic.

By 2020, a dozen years later, the transformed strategic landscape meant that information dominance (ID) warfare was far more enabled, particularly as social media evolved as a conduit for mass mobilization to force government actions in Western societies. So there was a general transformation in the social and technological context which prevailed when the panic arose around COVID-19.

But, in order to gain the post-epidemic political high ground, the PRC was first to “declare victory” in managing the COVID-19 epidemic and to send its population back to work, despite the reality of evidence which defied the national statistics on the continuing levels of contagion in the PRC. However, it was clear that the epidemic, having its origins in Wuhan in the PRC, would peak first and begin to recover first. Still, it was the degree of top-down control which PRC Pres. Xi Jinping enjoyed — in contrast to Western heads of government — which enabled the PRC to “declare victory”, and to resume his offensive against the West in a now fairly blatant fashion.

Even so, it was clear that the overall nature of the restructured strategic balance would be less affected by a few weeks (or even months) in the battle to restart economic activity than by underlying fundamentals in systems. Meanwhile, as the information dominance (ID) wars between the PRC and (particularly) the US ramped up, both sides were careful to ensure that the risk of actual physical challenge was minimized.

What were some of the fundamental immediate outcomes and questions raised by the 2020 Fear Pandemic?

1. The global economy and the economies of most states have been dramatically weakened, and they will remain relatively weakened and transformed for some years; in many cases for decades. This means that economic deprivation will reach more pervasively down into the mass of society, reversing the trend of the past seven decades. It will exacerbate the polarization of societies, but seems likely to push the trend toward forms of nationalism more than it will reinforce the ideology of globalism;

2. The power of central governments has been dramatically increased, and the rights and freedoms of individuals constrained. By late March 2020, the situation in most Western societies had approached a quasi-martial law environment, with little social resistance;

3. Funding for R&D, national security, and consumer spending will decline, further exacerbated by the reduction in core size/wealth of most populations in advanced economies. The question is whether the limitation in wealth will exacerbate or constrain inflammatory populism and social action;

4. The role of global bodies has been weakened, as have alliances. This will lead to a rethinking of alliance structures and how to manage them. It will, even if only for reasons of fiscal constraints, lead to an increasing momentum toward the bilateralization of trade, even to the point, once again of thinking in terms of structured barter or counter-trade dealings;

5. The reach of formal military structures will be inhibited by funding, and will this open seams in the global power framework? Will it allow space for more independent, regional actions?;

6. While the Communist Party of China (CPC) probably has the strength to enforce control over the People's Republic of China (PRC), will the European Union (EU) have sufficient cohesion to enforce control over its member states? If the EU cannot "hold it together", would this create a space for Turkey to revive its neo-Ottomanist expansions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Balkans? Did the United Kingdom escape from the EU just in time to preserve its economic base? Did the EU’s poor handling of the crisis end forever the chance of bringing Serbia into the Union? And what will this new dynamic do for the encouragement of separate geopolitical alignments, such as the creation of the Three Seas Initiative as a potentially viable successor to part of the EU? Can Three Seas gain traction if Serbia is excluded, given its regional hub importance for the north-south infrastructural needs of the Alliance?;

7. What skills will be necessary in the post-2020 environment? Has the economy sobered enough to embrace the restoration of practical skills training instead of ideological education which has no market, while an impetus toward revived domestic manufacturing (rather than foreign-sourced manufacturing) will see significant demand for trained personnel?;

8. There was a widespread belief that the crisis had caused a collapse in petroleum and gas prices to the point where the US domestic shale industry would be forced from the marketplace, re-opening the US to the need for imported energy. But this is likely both untrue and irrelevant, and the US would remain considerably less vulnerable to energy exposure than the PRC;

9. The PRC would continue to see extreme vulnerability to food and water shortages, which can only be ameliorated by (a) dependence on imported food and agricultural products, most of which would need to come from the United States (given that other suppliers cannot meet the demand), and (b) reduction in the lifestyles and numbers of the PRC population, a factor which could have significant social-political ramifications;

10. The longer the constraints on societies imposed by the crisis, the more pro-found were the likely post-crisis attitude changes likely to be. In other words, if the crisis lingered in various forms through 2020, it was likely that the year would be seen by society and historians as a breakpoint equivalent to the world wars of the 20th Century;

11. Nowhere in the world have we seen the development of economic theories or approaches to managing societies in decline in terms of economics as well as in terms of the downward transformation of market size and demand. Studies of recent-term lessons from Japan, Russia, and Germany would be helpful, even though these examples all predicated their economic thinking — despite market size decline — on growth in economic opportunity, but with notable shortcomings;

12. Africa, which had moved from a Continent gradually modernizing within the framework of a Western model to one dependent almost solely on the PRC, was likely to be left in an almost ruinous situation by late 2020 and beyond. African societies would themselves be forced to evolve new economic models. There was a likelihood that the US would strongly move, in the post-crisis period, to strengthening its dominance in the Americas (where the PRC, in particular, had built a strong presence), and also in Central Asia, as a means of providing an alternate path in the Eurasian Silk Road complex.

The COVID-19 pandemic will do little to impact the demographic trends in global population numbers. The trend toward population decline was set in place in the second half of the 20th Century and is only now becoming evident. Similarly, the disruption to the global economy also began before the COVID-19 crisis, largely as a result of the global demographic transformation, but the 2020 crisis became an iconic breakpoint.

The post-COVID-19 world would thus be markedly different, structurally, than the world which preceded it. But most significantly, the perception of that "new" world would have changed, ensuring that a linear extrapolation of older remedies or progressions of earlier thinking would no longer be acceptable.

It is important to stress that the two underlying strategic trends impacting the US-PRC competition had begun well before the 2020 pandemic scares. The PRC economy had been essentially in decline for several years, disguised by ongoing state-sponsored investments in infrastructure projects, which boosted the appearance of growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). Moreover, the PRC’s water shortage and quality problems had reached almost panic levels over that same timeframe.

In a talk in Perth, Western Australia, on October 23, 2019, I noted:

[The PRC] has almost 20 percent (18.4 percent) of the world’s population, and yet only seven percent of its water, and of that water some 25 percent, at least [as the PRC Government acknowledges], is polluted, along with much of its agricultural water table [to a far greater degree than the PRC Govt. acknowledges]. And the problem is getting worse. The great water source, the aquifers flowing from the melting snows of the Tien Shan Mountain range in Central Asia, is reducing for the moment.

The result of this, and the fact that Chinese agriculture has not modernized to any great degree, is that the People’s Republic of China is perhaps more strategically dependent on imported food than any great power since Rome. And Rome, arguably, collapsed, finally, for that very reason: its foreign sources of food became less dependable. The PRC Bureau of Statistics in the 1980s recorded that there were some 50,000 rivers in mainland China. But by 2017, there were only some 23,000. Beijing, serviced by the so-called “Three Gorges Dam”, recorded in 2017 that 39.9 percent of its water was so polluted as to be unusable. Tianjin, a principal port city of the north (and with a population of 15-million), had only 4.9 percent of its water in a potable state.

The growing urbanization of the constituent populations of the PRC have made the food and water crises more and more urgent. Urban populations use far more water than rural societies. They also demand more water-intensive food, such as pork and beef, especially as the city-dwellers become more prosperous. And the PRC’s urbanization rate continues apace: by the end of 2017, some 58.52 percent of its population was urbanized, compared with only 17.92 percent in 1978.

You can see where this is going. And we have not even touched on the impact of air quality on health in the PRC, or the fact that urban-related diseases, such as diabetes, are rising at a higher rate than in other industrial economies; or the fact that a rapidly-aging population is transforming the economic viability of the state.

And by late 2019, it became clear that the PRC was unable to continue the pursuit of military equivalence with the US. Minnie Chan, writing in The South China Morning Post on November 28, 2019, noted that the PRC Government had canceled plans for the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) to build two nuclear-power very large aircraft carriers to compare with the capability of US carriers. The PLAN has two carriers afloat with two more abuilding; all conventionally-powered. The reasons for the cancelations of the prestige super-carrier program were cited as “technical challenges and high costs”.

The PRC has significant technologies which had briefly leapfrogged the US, particularly in the areas of hypersonic weapons and space, but belatedly a more resilient US economy was beginning to redress the years of neglect by all US presidents between Pres. Ronald Reagan (1981-89) and Pres. Donald Trump (2017- ). The US was slowly beginning to compensate for the sense of smugness and hubris which pervaded its global thinking after the end of the Cold War in 1990.

But the US had, along with most European powers, subcontracted most of its manufacturing to the PRC in the post-Cold War era, and the COVID-19 epidemic — and the US-PRC “trade war” which immediately preceded it (and which was likely to resume significantly in late 2020) — saw the extent of global dependence on mainland China factories. Beijing was counting on this dependence to restart its economic push in the second quarter of 2020.

But will that manufacturing/export revival be sufficient to restart the PRC economy, which was essentially already hollowed out?

And was the US (and Western) dependence on the PRC manufacturing sector likely to be the same as pre-COVID-19? Unlikely, given the reality that global demand would have declined substantially for at least the remainder of 2020 because of the economic impact of the crisis, and because a number of efforts to restore domestic manufacturing of key products had already begun in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and the like.

Moreover, the weakness of the PRC position, economically, seems to be borne out by the understanding that it had made dramatic cuts in the first quarter of 2020 to its investment in its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) global supply chain. BRI had, in its origins, been conceived merely as a material and transactional form of maoist globalist ideology; a way to bind foreign states to the PRC as “tributary” states and to provide the PRC with its resource needs and markets. But most of the BRI contracts and loans to foreign states had not been calculated on a realistic market basis.

Reports from Beijing indicated that funding for BRI projects had dropped in early 2020 by some 80 percent over the same period a year earlier. But some of these cuts were already well underway by the time the COVID-19 crisis struck.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper, The South China Morning Post, reported on October 10, 2019, that investment in BRI had begun to drop in 2018. It noted: "The value of new projects across 61 countries fell 13 percent to US$126-billion in 2018 [compared with the previous year], with the figure falling further in 2019." In fact, it said that investment had fallen a further 6.7 percent in the seven months leading up to August 2019, and existing contracts were reduced by 4.2 percent in the first eight months of 2019.

The Post article continued: “[I]n the first half of 2019, China’s investment and construction activity around the world plunged by over 50 percent compared to the first half of 2018, while new projects under the belt and road plan dropped sharply, according to a report published in July by Derek Scissors, resident scholar at the China Global Investment Tracker from the American Enterprise Institute. Scissors said Chinese SOEs were still moving car and steel capacity overseas and building new motorways and cement plants in developing economies, but that is now “on a smaller scale” compared to the 2016 investment peak.”

The cutbacks were not only caused by Beijing. By late 2019 and early 2020, a significant number of major programs in the BRI which had received commitments from foreign countries were canceled or scaled-back. These were particularly evident in Pakistan (which has a major strategic need to depend on Beijing), Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sierra Leone. The arrival of the new Government in Ethiopia in April 2018 had already seen that country sour on involvement with new BRI projects.

To a degree, all this decline in the PRC’s economic reach was likely to see the PRC attempt to regain global market share by dumping of goods onto the global marketplace in a bid to ensure that nationalistically-oriented commitments in the US, Europe, Australia, and the like did not attempt to rebuild their own manufacturing sectors. So the response by client states to PRC attempts to recapture markets and prevent the rise of national or sovereign independence would be a measure as to how much Western leaders learned from the crisis period of early 2020.

For this reason, strategically, it was critical for the Communist Party of China (CPC) to ensure that US Pres. Donald Trump was not re-elected to the US Presidency on November 3, 2020, and that the Democratic Party in the US would strengthen its position in the US Congress. As a result, the CPC’s information dominance warfare against the US was geared specifically toward the downfall of Pres. Trump, and in this it sought to enlist the support of the anti-Trump sections of the US polity. There were clearly some elements of the US political community which were prepared to align with Beijing — albeit not overtly — in order to ensure the removal of Donald Trump and the ascendance of Democratic Party presumed candidate Joe Biden.

So the US elections would become the next major breakpoint in the now overt US-PRC war.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 00:00

WATCH: Cops Kill Teen for Running Away and Rule it ‘Justified’

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The two officers who opened fire on a fleeing teenager — killing him — were ruled justified after an investigation, despite the graphic video evidence.

Trump Fires Ukrainegate Inspector General Who Helped Initiate Impeachment

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Trump Fires Ukrainegate Inspector General Who Helped Initiate Impeachment

President Trump on Friday fired the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who brought a hearsay whistleblower complaint to Congressional Democrats, kicking off President Trump's impeachment. 

Atkinson's closed-door testimony was so troubling to House Republicans that they launched an investigation into his role into what President T

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rump and his allies coined the 'impeachment hoax.'

Ranking member of the House Intelligence Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) told SarahCarter.com that transcripts of Atkinson's secret testimony would expose that he either lied or needs to make corrections to his statements to lawmakers.

Trump notified the Senate and House Intelligence Committees of his decision to fire Atkinson, according to Politico, citing two congressional officials and a copy of a letter dated April 3.

"This is to advise that I am exercising my power as president to remove from office the inspector general of the intelligence community, effective 30 days from today," wrote Trump, who added that he "no longer" has the fullest confidence in Atkinson.

"As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as president, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general," Trump wrote. "That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general."

Trump knocked Atkinson on January, noting that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's (D-CA) decision to withhold Atkinson's testimony was a "major problem."

Democrats had a fit at the news, with Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) calling Atkinson's firing "unconscionable" while accusing Trump (with a straight face?) of an ongoing effort to politicize intelligence.

"In the midst of a national emergency, it is unconscionable that the president is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another intelligence official simply for doing his job," wrote Warner in a statement.

Warner's House counterpart, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) called Atkinson's firing "retribution" in the "dead of night" - adding that it's "yet another blatant attempt by the president to gut the independence of the intelligence community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck 'six ways from Sunday' Schumer (D-NY) said Atkinson's firing was evidence that Trump "fires people for telling the truth," according to Politico.

Whistleblower lawyer and Disneyland aficionado Mark Zaid - who once bragged about getting security clearances for pedophiles, called the firing "delayed retaliatory action" for Atkinson's "proper handling of a whistleblower complaint."

"This action is disgraceful and undermines the integrity of the whistleblower system," said Zaid. "It is time GOP members of the Senate stand up for the rule of law and speak out against this president."

The whistleblower complaint effectively kicked off the House’s impeachment inquiry, which began in late September amid allegations that Trump had solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election when he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, including Joe Biden.

Atkinson opposed the decision by then-acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire to withhold the whistleblower complaint from the House and Senate intelligence committees — in particular, Maguire’s decision to seek guidance on the issue from the Justice Department, rather than turn it over to Congress as required by law. -Politico

To learn more about Atkinson, read here and here.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 00:10

Delaware State Police Authorized To Pull Over Out-Of-State Drivers During Pandemic

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Delaware State Police Authorized To Pull Over Out-Of-State Drivers During Pandemic

Delaware police have been granted the authority to pull over drivers displaying out-of-state tags to ask questions about why they're on the road, before telling them that "they are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Delaware, or immediately return to their state," according to Gov. John Carney's state of emergency declaration.

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According to CBS Philly, the order excludes out-of-state drivers on I-95, I-295 and I-495, as well as motorists entering the state to work for an essential business, care for a family member or for health care reasons.

"Now is not the time to visit Delaware. As a state and a nation, we are facing a serious situation that is getting worse each day.  Our goal is to limit a surge in COVID-19 cases that would overwhelm our hospital system. Per the order, we must control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Delaware communities coming in from other states. We’ll get through this – but everyone needs to do their part," reads a statement from the Delaware State Police.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 21:40

America, We Have To End The Wars Now

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America, We Have To End The Wars Now

Authored by Scott Horton via The Libertarian Institute,

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

Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 22:00

WATCH: Dad Getting Food for His Kids During Outbreak Owns 6 Cops Harassing Him for It

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An Arkansas man claims he is being targeted by Fort Smith police officers and pulled over after committing no crimes whatsoever. So he proceeds to flex his rights.

Facial Recognition Companies Profit From COVID-19 By Adding Thermal Imaging

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Facial Recognition Companies Profit From COVID-19 By Adding Thermal Imaging

Via MassPrivateI blog,

The biometrics industry has never been known to miss an opportunity to make a profit. Especially when it comes at the expense of everyone's privacy.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, facial recognition companies have been hard at work creating a new sales pitch that will allow them to maximize their profits

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Across the globe, facial recognition companies are hard at work trying to convince politicians, law enforcement and the public that thermal imaging cameras will help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Forbes.com is all too eager to jump on the thermal imaging bandwagon, claiming that Athena Security's facial recognition/thermal imaging software can scan 1000 people per hour.

“With Covid-19, you see the problem at airports today,” Athena Security CEO Lisa Falzone explains. “Passengers are waiting in lines to manually take their temperatures, which slows traffic down. With our technology, we can analyze 1000 people per hour.”

In fact, Athena Security has gone so far as to combine fever detection, facial recognition and gun detection into an all-in-one screening system.

"Our Fever Detection COVID19 Screening System is now a part of our platform along with our gun detection system which connects directly to your current security camera system to deliver fast, accurate threat detection – including guns, knives, and aggressive action. Our system can also alert you to falls, accidents, and unwelcome visitors."

As Forbes.com points out, what makes Athena's software so unique is their ability to send out real-time alerts to authorities.

"What’s different about Athena’s system, explains Falzone, is its ability to send out immediate alerts to the appropriate parties, who can then make an informed decision on how to act."

The scariest thing about the proliferation of facial recognition/thermal imaging cameras is it gives law enforcement near god-like powers to identify and quarantine anyone they choose.

Real-time facial recognition being offered to universities and hospitals for free

The biometrics industry has put a new spin on marketing by offering universities and hospitals free real-time facial recognition.

A recent Jumio press release revealed that they are donating their facial recognition identity verification services to U.S. and U.K. hospitals and universities.

"Starting today, Jumio will provide free identity verification services through our AI-powered, fully automated solution, Jumio Go, to any qualifying organization directly involved in helping with COVID-19 relief including (but not limited to): Hospitals and Universities. This free offer is powered by Jumio Go, our real-time, fully automated identity verification solution."

DroneUp suggests that law enforcement could use thermal imaging drones as an excuse to monitor people for COVID-19.

"Assurance is key in uncertain times. That is why DroneUp is functioning in conjunction with FAA regulatory precautions as we collaborate with state and local officials to ensure safety for all. We strongly encourage our fellow drone operators to also become keenly aware of the protocol and regulations as the pandemic evolves."

That same scenario is being played out across the country, with more than 1,500 police departments using drones to monitor the public. In Michigan, the Hillsdale Sheriff's Office recently purchased a DJI Matrice 210 drone equipped with thermal imaging.

Three police departments in particular have taken drone surveillance to a whole new level.

The Owensboro Police Department in Kentucky has created a 10-member thermal imaging drone surveillance team.

"The Owensboro Police Department recently created a 10-member Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team who were trained and certified to fly the department’s $2,300 drone inside city limits."

In Texas, the Public Safety Unmanned Response Team has partnered with the Airborne Incident Response Team to help expand police drone surveillance.

"The objective is to create a robust network of drone responders and geographic information systems experts capable of rendering direct assistance and location intelligence during complex emergencies, rapidly expanding incidents, and major disasters. Increased communication and cooperation are essential to the successful deployment of drones and other unmanned systems in support of public safety operations,” said Travis Calendine, chairperson of the Public Safety Unmanned Response Team North Texas.

The Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), arguably the most famous drone surveillance police department in the country, is creating a 52 square mile drone surveillance zone.

"The CVPD can proactively cover about 17 of the 52 square miles of our city with drones launched from two sites. Our goal this year is to add launch sites to provide 100% aerial support coverage during daylight hours 7 days a week by the end of the year," Vern Sallee, patrol operations captain said. 

The worldwide fear of the cornavirus is so widespread that MIT, Harvard and The Mayo Clinic have designed a new COVID-19 warning app called "Private Kit."

credit: Private Kit

As Fast Company explains, Private Kit will allegedly alert a user when someone infected with the COVID-19 virus is close.  Maybe they could use this app to alert them when a "Walking Dead" zombie is close by?

"Researchers just released an app in beta that alerts people when they come into contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19, potentially reducing the virus’s spread if the app is downloaded by a large chunk of the population."

Of course there is a catch to using Private Kit: users will lose their privacy.

"After you download the app and consent to sharing your location (which is necessary in order for the app to work), the app starts tracking you. Should you cross paths with someone who’s been diagnosed with the coronavirus who also has the app, you’ll receive a notification telling you when and for how long."

Facial recognition companies like Veriff show how little they care about everyone's privacy by offering universities and health care providers 1 million free identity verification's.

"Potential beneficiaries of free verification's range from universities who need to verify people taking exams to marketplaces that have volunteers who help people in need and to registries that could tackle fake accounts and set up reliable databases about people in quarantine. But also, digital health care service providers, organizations fighting fake news and beyond."

If corporations, politicians and law enforcement can convince an apathetic public that facial recognition, thermal imaging and gun detection cameras can keep us safe, then our privacy will vanish before COVID-19 runs its course.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 18:40

"I Found The Source Of COVID-19..."

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"I Found The Source Of COVID-19..."

"After living and working in China for over 10 years and speaking fluent Chinese, you get to know a society pretty well... and let me tell you this - if you're applauding or admiring the political leadership of China, you're all deluded beyond belief."

That is how "laowhy86" begins this succinct  video exploring the 'facts

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' - not conspiracies - behind the source of the coronavirus that is ravaging the earth.

"China doesn't operate like 'your' country," he warns, "the Chinese government is a face- and greed-driven government that relies on lies and bullying to maintain leadership."

Furthermore, he notes, the Chinese government layers are "broken and fragile" and so it didn't surprise him when he was able to follow breadcrumbs - as begun by our inquisition about the roles that certain individuals played in Wuhan - to discover the "very suspicious" fact that the Wuhan Bio lab had a job opening from November 18, 2019, asking for scientists to come and research the relationship between the coronavirus and bats.

However, after ZeroHedge was permanently suspended from Twitter for daring to suggest anything but the official narrative handed down, laowhy86 notes that another job opening appeared on December 24th (remember this is before any news broke of the virus publicly), which basically says 'we've discovered a new and terrible virus and would like to recruit people to come deal with it'...

So, he decided to dig a little bit more into the staff... and that's where it gets interesting... as he discovers silenced scientists, disappeared doctors, and constant propaganda...

"...it's quite clear that the Chinese government needs to close its mouth and acknowledge that this virus did in fact come from Wuhan, Hubei, China."

As he concludes,

"I did not get into any conspiracy theories, I'm not talking about bioweapons or biolabs; this is all public information on the Chinese internet published by researchers, scientists, and doctors."

"Despite the CCP's all-powerful ability to hide everything it can, the truth usually finds its way out - the Chinese government should cover their tracks better next time if they're going to blame this on Italy or the US or whatever is convenient to your narrative."

"...the CCP's incompetence and its understanding of the danger of the virus on a pure scientific level - and then going on to silence those who wanted to warn the public... and letting the virus spread for months... is the reason the Chinese government must be held accountable!"

Watch the full breakdown below:

What is really fascinating, however, is that while this thread was dismissed and censored as utter nonsense just two months ago (and got many banned for even daring to mention it), none other than David Ignatius, The Washington Post's favorite establishment columnist, is now questioning China's narrative and raising his own doubts as to the origin of the virus, writing that ...as China dished wild, irresponsible allegations of its own.

On March 12, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao charged in a tweet: “It might be [the] US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”

He retweeted an article that claimed, without evidence, that U.S. troops might have spread the virus when they attended the World Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019.

A competing theory has been gathering momentum - of an accidental lab release of bat coronavirus...

Less than 300 yards from the seafood market is the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from that facility and the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology have posted articles about collecting bat coronaviruses from around China, for study to prevent future illness. Did one of those samples leak, or was hazardous waste deposited in a place where it could spread?

Richard Ebright, a Rutgers microbiologist and biosafety expert, told me in an email that “the first human infection could have occurred as a natural accident,” with the virus passing from bat to human, possibly through another animal. But Ebright cautioned that it “also could have occurred as a laboratory accident, with, for example, an accidental infection of a laboratory worker.” He noted that bat coronaviruses were studied in Wuhan at Biosafety Level 2, “which provides only minimal protection,” compared with the top BSL-4.

Ebright described a December video from the Wuhan CDC that shows staffers “collecting bat coronaviruses with inadequate [personal protective equipment] and unsafe operational practices.” Separately, I reviewed two Chinese articles, from 2017 and 2019, describing the heroics of Wuhan CDC researcher Tian Junhua, who while capturing bats in a cave “forgot to take protective measures” so that “bat urine dripped from the top of his head like raindrops.”

Ignatius unapologetically admits that what's increasingly clear is that the initial “origin story” - that the virus was spread by people who ate contaminated animals at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan - is shaky.

"Shaky" indeed, David!


Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 19:00

High Level Child Rapists Released from Prison Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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Police are crying foul as dangerous and violent child rapists are released from prison to stave off the COVID-19 outbreak.

McConnell Acknowledges Fourth Coronavirus Bill In The Worls

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McConnell Acknowledges Fourth Coronavirus Bill In The Worls

Update (1810ET): Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Friday that a fourth coronavirus bill is in the works, and that health care should be prioritized - telling the Associated Press that "there will be a next measure."

"[It] should be more a targeted response to what we got wrong and what we didn’t do enough for — a

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nd at the top of the list there would have to be the health care part of it," said McConnell.

That said, McConnell said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have a "little different point of view" on the timing for the fourth package, and that he is "not in favor of rushing" the next bill.

McConnell tweeted on Friday that Senate GOP are now focusing on 'tracking the implementation' of the the $2.2 trillion package passed last week.

*  *  *

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has walked back ambitious plans for infrastructure spending in the next coronavirus stimulus package - and is instead focusing on boosting direct payments to individuals as well as loans to businesses, according to Bloomberg, which notes that the shift will leave an estimated $800 billion infrastructure plan in limbo.

"While I’m very much in favor of doing what we need to do to meet the needs of clean water, more broadband and the rest of that, that may have to be for a bill beyond this," Pelosi told CNBC in a Friday appearance. "I think right now we need a fourth bipartisan bill -- and I think the bill could be very much like the bill we just passed."

"So I’d like to go right back and say let’s look at that bill let’s update it for some other things that we need, and again put money in the pockets of the American people," she said - promoting the much easier sell, which Bloomberg notes would probably have an easier time getting through Congress. 

Pelosi said the $350 billion included the last stimulus for small business to maintain payrolls for two months won’t be sufficient. She said the nation also will need an extension of the expanded unemployment benefits and additional direct payments to middle income individuals. -Bloomberg

Pelosi and other Congressional Democrats pitched approximately $800 billion in new infrastructure spending, which would be allocated towards boosting broadband, access to clean water, and funding for community health centers.

Congressional Republicans have pushed back against the idea - suggesting that we should wait and see what the impact of the first three packages have had, despite President Trump's call for a $2 trillion infrastructure package.

Meanwhile, nobody has said how the infrastructure plan will be paid for, as nobody has come forward with an actual proposal.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 18:10

Oil Jumps, Stocks Dump As 'Helicopter Money' Sends USA Risk Soaring

zerohedge News jumps stocks dump helicopter money sends risk soaring All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Oil Jumps, Stocks Dump As 'Helicopter Money' Sends USA Risk Soaring

The story of the week is fourfold:

  1. Helicopter money begins... and the sovereign risk of the USA soars

  2. Oil has best week ever on hopes of supply cut.

  3. Stocks sink as any rebalance flow support e

    Read More

  4. Lockdown effects are starting to be seen in labor and survey data

'Helicopter Ben' unleashed hell...

Source: Bloomberg

As the trillions in bailout booty starts to get handed out to the public, markets did not "love the smell of helicopter money in the morning"...

As USA Sovereign risk accelerated further...

Source: Bloomberg

Hopes of a supply-cut sparked the single-biggest daily gain ever and the biggest weekly gain ever in crude oil...

Source: Bloomberg

But in context, there's a long way to go...

Source: Bloomberg

And despite energy's gains, US equity markets were carved up this week, with Small Caps clubbed like a baby seal (5th weekly loss of last 6), as any month-/quarter-end rebalance flow support evaporated entirely... (NOTE broiadly speaking US markets rallied into the EU close then sold off every day this week),,,

Over the past two weeks however, The Dow is still up around 9% and Small Caps just over 2%...

And finally, the impact of the lockdowns is starting to hit as US Macro Surprise Index crashes by the most ever

Source: Bloomberg

*  *  *

The 'Virus-Fear' Trade is back in a big way...

Source: Bloomberg

After last week's hope-filled bounce, big banks bloodbath'd this week...

Source: Bloomberg

And virus-impacted sectors were also slammed...

Source: Bloomberg

"Most Shorted" stocks are down 6 days in a row

Source: Bloomberg

VIX and the market decoupled this week (VIX notably lower as stocks sank)...

Source: Bloomberg

Credit markets were sold all week, despite The Fed's support...

Source: Bloomberg

Treasuries were bid this week with 10Y outperforming, 2Y underperforming...

Source: Bloomberg

10Y Yields fell back below 60bps...

Source: Bloomberg

Note - yields did spike at the end of the day after The Fed announced another taper...

Source: Bloomberg

The week's yield drop pushed everything across the curve back near cycle yield closing lows...

Source: Bloomberg

The Dollar was up 4 of the 5 days this week (and 3rd week of last 4)

Source: Bloomberg

A late-week bid pushed most of the cryptospace into the green with Bitcoin Cash leading the week...

Source: Bloomberg

Commodities were practically unchanged on the week despite the dollar gains, but obviously oil was the outlier with its best week ever...

Source: Bloomberg

Interestingly, oil's surge coincides with its price relative to silver dropping below 2x (2 ounces of silver / barrel of oil) once again...

Source: Bloomberg

Gold Spot and Futures have started to decouple again as physical delivery fears resurface...

Source: Bloomberg

Where does gold go next?

Source: Bloomberg

Finally, the question is - is this bounce still viable?

Source: Bloomberg

Not if fun-durr-mentals have anything to do with it...

Source: Bloomberg

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:00

AOC Demands COVID-19 "Reparations" For Black+Brown People

zerohedge News demands covid-19 reparations blackbrown people All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
AOC Demands COVID-19 "Reparations" For Black+Brown People

Update (1615ET): AOC is making further headlines as a NYPost report exposes her lavish "locked-down" lifestyle:

“While Queens and The Bronx have lines down the block at hospitals and grocery stores, AOC is holed up at a brand new luxury apartment where she shops at Whole Foods in her lobby,” Democratic primary opponent Mi

Read More
chelle Caruso-Cabrera said.

“That’s shameful. No wonder voters think that she is out of touch. She has a golf-simulator and infinity pool and Peloton Cycle room as well as other luxuries while families in the Bronx and Queens are worried about how long the lines are at the grocery store and where they are going to get their next paycheck. AOC isn’t even here to see their desperation and their struggle to survive with her own eyes,” the challenger said.

As Kyle Bass tweeted after the report: MCC is a friend and a great Democrat who should rep the Bronx in Congress.

*  *  *

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for coronavirus “reparations” for black and brown people, claiming that “environmental racism” is an “underlying health condition.”

Yes, really.

“COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” tweeted the Democrat lawmaker. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.

AOC provided no source to substantiate the claim that COVID-19 deaths were spiking in black or brown communities (coronavirus deaths would naturally be higher in any densely populated area), nor did she explain how the environment can be racist.

One of her supporters responded to the tweet by suggesting there was some kind of conspiracy amongst store owners in black areas not to enforce social distancing properly.

However, another respondent suggested that black and brown people were deliberately flouting social distancing rules and putting themselves at greater risk.

Another individual suggested that black bodies “work differently” and that this was also the fault of white supremacy.

Ocasio-Cortez previously waded into the coronavirus debate by demanding the FDA relax rules on blood donation, allowing homosexuals to donate blood despite a greater risk of infection. The rule was subsequently relaxed.

*  *  *

My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 16:15

WATCH: Cops Suffocate Innocent Elderly Blind Man in Hospital Until He Passes Out

logicfish News Filming CopsPolice Brutalityblind manLAPDpolice brutality All https://thefreethoughtproject.com   Discuss    Share
Deeply disturbing video was released as part of a lawsuit this week showing police allegedly suffocate an innocent blind man until he fell unconscious.

'Mark It Zero' - Triple-Levered Short Oil ETN Crashes To "Complete Loss"

zerohedge News mark zero triple-levered short crashes complete loss All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
'Mark It Zero' - Triple-Levered Short Oil ETN Crashes To "Complete Loss"

And just like that, it was gone!

Following the biggest daily surge in oil prices ever... and another major surge in prices today, things have gone a little bit slightly turbo for "investors" in one leveraged oil ETN.

Source: Bloomberg

Unprecedented spikes in price along with a record 'super-contango' have

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ng>left the VelocityShares Daily 3x Inverse Crude exchange-traded notes, or DWTIF, worthless, according to Credit Suisse.

Source: Bloomberg

“Because the Closing Indicative Value of the ETNs will be $0 on April 2, 2020 and on all future days...

...investors who buy the ETNs at any time at any price above $0 will likely suffer a complete loss of their investment,” Credit Suisse said.

As Bloomberg reports, that’s one of the final chapters in a once-popular product that amassed more than $1 billion in assets at its peak over four years ago.

Source: Bloomberg

Until the last two days, the bearish triple-leveraged ETN, had screamed higher in 2020 as oil prices have collapsed at a record pace amid a double-whammy of supply- and demand-concerns. At its peak on March 18th, DWTIF was up a stunning 978% year-to-date...

Source: Bloomberg

But now, as Morningstar's co-head of passive strategy research, Ben Johnson, notes:

“I can say with confidence that this is a bad investment.”

Oh the wonders of leveraged-ETFs...

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 13:00

Cuomo Warns "More People Are Going To Die" As New York Case Total Tops 100k: Live Updates

zerohedge News cuomo warns more people going york case total tops 100k live updates All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Cuomo Warns "More People Are Going To Die" As New York Case Total Tops 100k: Live Updates


  • US nonfarm payrolls was an unmitigated disaster.

  • Russia reports drop in cases after extending quarantine

  • NY COVID-19 cases top 100k

  • Bolsonaro urges country to "go back to work" as Brazil's governors say opposite

  • Brazil says first COVID-19 case and death in Sout
    Read More
    h American happened 1 month earlier

  • Beijing says more than half of foreign diplomats identified as close contacts of COVID-19 patients

  • NJ reports jump in new cases, deaths

  • Number of recovered patients tops 250k globally

  • Japan sees resurgence of cases continue

  • Navy hospital ship in NY only treating 20 patients

  • UK reports biggest daily jump in deaths

  • Thousands of small business owners excluded from 'Paycheck Protection Program'

  • Spain, Germany report encouraging deceleration in new cases

  • Singapore launches strict 14-day lockdown to fight virus resurgence

  • Trump slams 3M on twitter

  • 400M in loans doled out

  • Bank of America becomes first big bank to issue loans via the plan

  • Mnuchin confirms 'Paycheck Protection Plan' is a go

  • Tokyo mayor warns about resurgence of cases on CNN

*    *    *

Update (12:10ET): New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has started his latest daily press conference.

Gov. Murphy reported 4,372 new COVID-19 cases and 113 new deaths, bringing statewide total to 29,895 cases and 646 deaths. He also announced he would be signing an Executive Order directing that all flags across NJ be lowered to half-staff indefinitely in honor of those who have died from the virus around the world.

"This is one of the greatest tragedies to ever hit our state. We must have a constant and visible memorial," he said.

If these latest data make you depressed, here's one reason not to despair: the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 around the world has passed 250,000, many multiples of the 55,781 deaths recorded so far by Johns Hopkins.

*    *    *

Update (12:10ET): Italy's Civil Protection agency just released the latest coronavirus numbers for Friday, and while there were some bright spots, the 766 deaths recorded across Italy over the last day is the biggest jump since the outbreak started.

But more encouragingly, the 4,585 new cases amounted to about a 4% rise, bringing the nationwide total to 119,827, up from 115,242 a day earlier. The death toll, meanwhile, climbed to 14,681, up from 13,915, still the highest death toll in the world. The mortality rate climbed slightly to 12.2%, as the number of deaths continue to climb, while new cases reported continued to drop.


Meanwhile, back in NY, CNN just reported that the USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship deployed to NYC to help with the hospital overflow, is only holding about 20 patients so far.


*    *    *

Update (11:50ET): As thousands of small and medium sized business owners find out that they aren't eligible for the 'Paycheck Protection Program' bailouts, Mnuchin has opted to continue tweeting dollar amount updates to show that loans are indeed being processed.

The market is paying close attention now, so let's keep those bullish headlines coming, Steve.

*    *    *

Update (1110ET): NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo kicked off Friday morning's press conference with some somber news: the number of positive coronavirus cases confirmed in the state of New York has surpassed 100k. He went on to explain that NY has been so badly impacted because so many foreign visitors travel there, meaning that before Trump finally barred all foreign travelers, many little outbreaks were likely started by travelers from Europe and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Cuomo reported another 562 deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 2,935. That's the largest jump in deaths yet.

Watch Cuomo live below:

As NYC hospitals reach maximum capacity on both ICU and regular hospital beds, forcing Cuomo to move COVID-19 patients to the Javits Center, which had initially been designated as an 'overflow' facility, Cuomo reiterated gripes about the inability of states to purchase vital medical equipment from China (though China has selectively allowed some orders to leave through the red tape they've suddenly thrown up). Though Cuomo said he is working with Alibaba to procure supplies for the state.

Using some of his most strident language yet, Cuomo warned that "people are going to die" if New York State doesn't get the ventilators and other vital medical equipment that it needs, and that the state is willing to pay up for this equipment. As for the federal stockpile, Cuomo reiterated that the doesn't believe there's enough to help all the states.

That said, Cuomo acknowledged that there are private businesses in the state that have ventilators that they still haven't turned over to the public effort. Cuomo promised that either the equipment would be returned, or the lenders would be reimbursed.

“I’m not going to be in a position where people are dying and we have several hundred ventilators in our own state somewhere else,” Cuomo said.

*    *    *

Update (1053ET): As PM Johnson tries to guide his government through an unprecedented crisis while struggling with the brutal flu-on-steroids symptoms of COVID-19, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has also tested positive for COVID, has confirmed that UK saw its biggest jump in deaths over the last day.

As the latest data throw cold water on the hopes for a "flattening" in the UK curve, Hancock suggested to a terrified public that deaths could peak on April 12 - Easter Sunday - as some models have shown, according to the FT. 

Meanwhile, here are the latest numbers.

Downing Street has said it will next review the UK's lockdown conditions after Easter. In the meantime, Hancock and Johnson have their hands full trying to get tests to frontline workers, while trying to stave out an all-out collapse of the NHS.

*    *    *

Update (1038ET): Just as yet another reputable scientist declares that the theory that COVID-19 may have leaked out of a Chinese biolab shouldn't be dismissed, Beijing is cranking up its propaganda machine and doubling down on its blaming of "foreign visitors" for igniting a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The Global Times just reported that out of 84 foreign diplomats who recently returned to China, 66% were traced as close contacts of confirmed patients.

This statement, if accurate, offers a glimpse into the depth and complexity of China's surveillance network, which it has marshaled to help trace the contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients. It also sets up the foreign ministry to propagate another round of conspiracies that blame the US and the West for the outbreak.

*   *   *

Update (0944ET): Is Mnuchin going to keep a running ticker of loan figures? It's starting to look that way:

*    *    *

Update (0920ET): Bank of America just confirmed that it has started issuing loans through the program. Now, will we see the rest of the big banks turn on the taps in the next few hours?

*    *    *

Update (0912ET): Thousands of small and medium-sized business owners just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

After reassuring the public during last night's press conference that the bailout bill's "Paycheck Protection Program" would be up and running "tomorrow" (i.e. Friday), Mnuchin tweeted Friday morning that the first loans had been issued via the program, and that small business owners are now welcome to apply.

So far, community banks have issued 700 loans...

...and big banks are expected to come online shortly.

Last night, Mnuchin revealed that the administration had agreed to pay Wall Street a 50 bp 'tribute' on all loans (ie billions of additional dollars in risk-free profits) issued via the program.

All of this comes after the BLS released a surprisingly discouraging jobs report, showing that more than 700k jobs have been destroyed in the last month, ending a more than 110-month streak of job creation that began after the end of the financial crisis.

*    *    *

As we arrive at the end of another week, In NYC, subway trains are still crowded with commuters as the MTA is forced to reduce trains and cars as more of its workforce falls ill or simply refuses to show up. As the number of hospitalized patients surges, the city's hospital system has already run out of ICU beds, forcing Gov. Cuomo to move coronavirus patients to the Javits Center, which was initially intended for hospital overflow patients. Amid all of this, the state's unemployment fund is in worrisome shape, meaning New Yorkers will soon need to depend solely on federal benefits if the state well runs dry.

After the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases topped 1 million on Thursday, several Asian territories and countries, including Singapore and Hong Kong, are struggling with a second wave of COVID-19 cases that health officials claim is mostly travel-related. As we reported a few days back, China has reimposed lockdowns as begins to disclose "asymptomatic" cases that government functionaries explained were left out of China's initial case totals.

One month ago, on March 3, there were 92,000 coronavirus cases, most of them in mainland China. As of Friday, the US and Europe account for the bulk of the world's more than 1 million confirmed cases.

Professor Gabriel Leung, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, warned on Friday that the pandemic would likely last a few more months, even if heavy-handed prevention strategies are adopted. He also said the warmer weather would give the world no respite from the virus: "Is warmer weather going to give us some respite? The answer is maybe, but probably not,” Leung said during a live-streamed forum, pushing back against prognostications made by the mainland's leading respiratory disease expert, who assured the public that this would all be over by late April, even as Beijing continues to impose a near-moratorium on international and domestic flights.

In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon on Friday announced a major shift as Singapore shutters workplaces and schools for a month, beginning next week, with the government calling the more aggressive containment measures a "circuit breaker" to avoid using the word "lockdown.'

As Nikkei explains, Lee's decision marks a major shift in strategy for the city-state. Until now, Singapore had focused on strict border controls, thorough contact tracing of patients as well as extensive "social distancing" campaigns. While it encouraged telecommuting, it tried to keep life for businesses as normal as possible.

One major change that could foreshadow a similar move by the White House: The Singaporean government is now advising citizens to wear facemasks in public.

Lee also addressed the "psychological toll" of the "circuit-breaker" (don't call it a lockdown), in what one reporter described as a surprisingly thoughtful and forward-thinking change.

Despite the new measures, Singaporeans will need to continue sharing all their cell phone location data with the government as part of a sweeping program of monitoring and contract tracing that has alarmed privacy advocates.

Singaporean Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told reporters that "all of the workplace activities will have to come to a stop, meaning that everyone will have to work from home and at the work premises, there will be no one." Unless a business has special permission or is deemed an essential service, "it will be an offense to still have operations at the workplace" and any violators will be punished.

Singapore's decision comes after more local transmission and new clusters have been identified in recent days, including cases of undetermined origin. As of Friday morning, Singapore had reported 1,049 infections with five deaths. Additionally, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have barred foreigners from entering in recent days. Early Friday morning, the Communist Party boss for the city of Wuhan warned that the risk of a full-on "resurgence" of the virus in the city was "still high." Meanwhile, Japan has barred visitors from dozens of countries, including South Korea and the US. South Korea is mandating that foreign visitors spend 14-days in a government lockdown facility, though it hasn't outright banned travelers from any country, though individuals from Hubei Province are banned.

Tokyo's governor even appeared on CNN last night to warn that the situation in her city is rapidly worsening, as the number of new cases skyrockets.

By comparison, in US, over 75% of individuals, and 90% of GDP, are under mandatory lockdown, including 38 state-wide orders.

Additionally, in other US news, President Trump bashed 3M, one of America's largest manufacturers, in a late-night tweet, where he claimed he used DPA authority so speed up manufacturing of ventilators.

In other international news, a British-made invention that can reduce the spread of coronavirus is being bought up by governments around the world, but not by the NHS, the FT reported Friday. In Germany, health officials recorded more than 6,174 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the latest sign that the growth rate of the virus is slowing. Spain also reported an encouraging slowdown in new cases.


Russia reported 601 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, a 17% jump in total cases that marks a slight slowing in the spread of the outbreak in the country. So far, Russia has reported 4,149 cases and 34 deaths from the virus, a much lower per-capita rate than many of its European peers.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to dismiss the risks of the virus. During a recent visit to a gas station in Sao Paolo covered by WSJ, Bolsonaro empathized with a worker to whom he spoke in the crowd.

"Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease,” he told him, according to the report. “People should go back to work.” But 25 of 27 of Brazil's governors feel differently, and have been pushing Bolsonaro to endorse their safety guidelines. After Brazil's case total ballooned to nearly 8,000 cases and 299 deaths, officials confirmed that a woman who died on Jan. 23 had been infected, more than a month before South America's first confirmed case. It's just the latest sign that the virus may have spread more widely across Latin America than many had previously believed.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 13:16

WATCH: Cop Kills Unarmed Teen After Mistaking Fellow Cop’s Gunfire as the Teen’s

logicfish News Badge AbuseChicago Policepolice shooting All https://thefreethoughtproject.com   Discuss    Share
“They shot at us too, right?” Despite ruling the shooting death of an unarmed teen justified, the cops who opened fire on him were finally fired nearly four years later.

How We'll Beat COVID-19: "Everyone Should Wear A Mask!"

zerohedge News well beat covid-19 everyone should wear mask All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
How We'll Beat COVID-19: "Everyone Should Wear A Mask!"

Via PeakProsperity.com,

So many of you asked us to create a short educational clip for why masks are so important, so that you can get others onboard this movement.

That was a GREAT idea!

Because the most effective single step each of us can take right now to beat covid-19 is to start wearing a mask.

Read More
trong>It’s cheap. It’s easy. And if we all do it, it will give us a HUGE advantage in the fight against this pandemic.

You don’t need a fancy mask. A simple DIY version will suffice.

Wearing one does the following:

  1. greatly reduces the particles a sick person can spread

  2. prevents you from touching your mouth and nose, by far the most common way we can get infected

  3. substantially increases your odds of having a mild case, should you get infected

If we all wear masks: I protect you, and you protect me. It just makes so much sense.

So you asked; and we’ve answered by creating this short, shareable video:

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 10:50

Millions Of Small American Businesses Stunned To Learn They Are Not Eligible For Government Bailout Loans

zerohedge News millions small american businesses stunned learn they eligible government bailout loans All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Millions Of Small American Businesses Stunned To Learn They Are Not Eligible For Government Bailout Loans

It's the first day that America's small business can apply for the Treasury's Paycheck Protection Program, i.e., the $350BN program that is part of the bigger $2 trillion bailout package designed to provide small businesses access to capital for payroll and other overhead costs to the tune of 2.5 months of average payroll and which must be accessed vi

Read More
a an existing banking relationship - and the rollout is predictably a mess, with some banks such as BofA already accepting loans (which convert to grants if used exclusively for payrolls and business continuity purposes), while others like JPM delaying the roll out to 1pm; a third group of banks such as Wells Fargo has conspicuously failed to provide its rollout plans - perhaps it is scheming how to cross-sell bailout loans with auto insurance or engage in some other typically Wellsfargoian fraud.

Yet one of the big surprises to emerge this morning is that contrary to the SBA's guidance that any small business with 500 or less employees can apply, going to lender portals shows that only a very narrow subset of America's millions in small businesses are be eligible. In fact, only those companies that already have a lending relationship, i.e., an outstanding loan with a given bank are - at least as of this moment - eligible.

Bank of America's website confirms as much, stating on its eligibility page that only "clients with a business lending and a business deposit relationship at Bank of America are eligible to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program through our bank." In other words, any business that only has a deposit account and no loan or business card is out of luck.

And the kicker, literally, for those BofA clients who would like to become eligible and open a business loan account, well it's too late: as the bank makes clear, this should have happened as of Feb 15.

To apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through our bank, you must have a pre-existing business lending and business deposit relationship with Bank of America, as of February 15, 2020. A Business Credit Card, line of credit or loan may be the lending product used.

Said otherwise, business who ran a clean balance sheet without debt are seen as riskier than businesses that carry loans, and are unduly penalized just because they never opened a loan with BofA.

JPMorgan is even more draconian in its selectivity of whom it will hand out Treasury-guaranteed money to. As the bank notes in its ironically-named "CARES" website, "You must have a Chase Business checking account as of February 15, 2020." Anyone who does not is straight out of luck.

And as countless other banks follow suit, the question becomes is this how the banks that were bailed out by ordinary Americans in 2008 will treat those same Americans when they need a rescue too? Alternatively, what happens to these banks when millions of small business fail and America's economy plunges into an even deeper depression. One final question: how is it logical for banks to only bailout those companies which already have debt and are by extension riskier, than to provide funds to their ordinary clients who only now, for the first time, need a helping hand.

We eagerly await Steven Mnuchin's answers to these questions.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 11:13
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