China Shuts Down All Cinemas, As Scientists Fear Second Coronavirus Wave 

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China Shuts Down All Cinemas, As Scientists Fear Second Coronavirus Wave 

China spent most of March attempting to normalize its economy after several months of virus-related shutdowns. There were reports of retail stores opening, people going outside, virus cases declining, factories restarting, and even movie theaters reopening. 

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the government gave nearly 600 movie theaters across China the green light for pha

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sed reopening in the third week of March. Then by March 27, Beijing's Film Bureau requested that all theaters go into lockdown. 

"This second closure will not be a one or two-week issue," an executive at a major exhibition company told The Hollywood Reporter. "They are going to be even more cautious when they attempt to reopen again—and this will set us back a long time."

The Chinese government did not explicitly cite the reason for the latest theater closings. Still, scientists are now warning that a second coronavirus wave could be arriving by the end of April: 

"It's time to relax the lockdown, but we need to be alert for a potential second wave of infections," says Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong.

Cowling warned that a second wave of the fast-spreading virus could hit China by the end of April. 

China's large network of 70,000 movie screens were all shuttered in January because of the COVID-19 outbreak that started in December and has since infected 741,000 people globally and killed 35,114. 

Many Chinese theaters were closed on the weekend of the Chinese New Year, which is the most significant moviegoing time of the year. Box office sales in the country for the first two months were down $2 billion over the same period last year. 

How China deals with the second round of the virus outbreak remains to be seen. If China delays normalcy and extends the quarantines of its citizens, it could damage movie theater chains, Hollywood studios, and the entire global film industry. This also comes as Europe and the US have shut down movie theaters, further amplifying the stress for the industry. 

Major movie productions across the world have put filming on hold through spring. Warner Bros. delayed Wonder Woman 1984 from its June debut to mid-August, which suggests US theaters will be dormant through the summer months. 

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 01:00

The Propaganda Of Terror And Fear: A Lesson From Recent History

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The Propaganda Of Terror And Fear: A Lesson From Recent History

Authored by Dr Piers Robinson, Co-Director Organisation for Propaganda Studies,  via Off-Guardian.org,

The ongoing and unfolding reactions to the Coronavirus look set to have wide-ranging and long-lasting effect on politics, society and economics. The drive to close down all activities is extraordinary as are the measures being promoted to isolate people fr

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om each other.

The deep-rooted fear of contagious disease, hardwired into the collective consciousness by historical events such as the ‘Black/Bubonic Plague’ and maintained through popular culture (e.g. the Hollywood movies Outbreak and Contagion), means that people are without question highly susceptible to accepting extreme emergency measures whether or not such measures are rational or justified. The New York Times called for America to be put on a war footing in order to deal with Corona whilst former Army General Stanley McChrystal has been invoking his 9/11 experience in order to prescribe lessons for today’s leaders.

At the same time, political actors are fully aware that these conditions of fear and panic provide a critical opportunity that can be exploited in order to pursue political, economic and societal objectives. It is very likely, however, that the dangers posed by the potential exploitation of Corona for broader political, economic and societal objectives latter far outweigh the immediate threat to life and health from the virus. A lesson from recent history is instructive here.


The events of September 11 2001 represent a key moment in contemporary history. The destruction of three skyscrapers in New York after the impact of two airliners and an attack on the Pentagon, killing around 3000 civilians, shocked both American and global publics. The horror of seeing aircraft being flown into buildings, followed by the total destruction of three high rise buildings within a matter of seconds, and the spectre of a shadowy band of Islamic fundamentalists (Al Qaeda) having pulled off such devastating attacks, gripped the imagination of many in the Western world.

It was in this climate of paranoia and fear that extraordinary policies were implemented. The USA Patriot Act led to significant civil liberty restrictions whilst the mass surveillance of the digital environment became normalized.

In the United States torture was authorized in the name of preventing terrorism whilst the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba became a site in which accused individuals have been held without any adequate legal protection or due process.

Remarkably, the individual accused of leading the alleged 9/11 plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who ‘confessed’ to CIA interrogators after being ‘waterboarded’ 183 times, has recently received his trial date, set for January 11 2021 and 20 years after 9/11. Civil liberty restrictions, mass surveillance and torture were only a sub-strand of the major war-fighting-policy that was enabled by 9/11.

Presented at the time as America’s ‘New Pearl Harbour’, 9/11 provided the conditions for a series of major regime-change wars which persist until today.

Critically, these wars have not been primarily about combatting ‘Islamic fundamentalist terrorism’/Al Qaeda, but rather attacking ‘enemy’ states. Indeed, the evidence that the 9/11 event and the alleged threat of ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ was then exploited in order to pursue a geo-politically motivated set of regime-change wars which had little connection to the purported Al Qaeda threat is well established.

Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Wesley Clark, famously went public in 2006/7 stating that immediately after 9/11 he had been informed that the US was intending to attack seven countries within five years including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. Clark stated:

He [the Joint Staff officer] picked up a piece of paper, he said I just got this down from upstairs, from the Secretary of Defence’s office today, and he said this is a memo that describes how we are gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off Iran.

Clark’s claims have recently been corroborated by retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (chief of staff to Colin Powell and Iraq War planner) who stated that he had actually seen the same plans Clark was referring to many months prior to 9/11:

My first briefing in the Pentagon from an Air Force three-star general in February of 2001 I almost fell of my chair because their briefing included on the one hand the Air Force’s ability to take out 80 to 90% of the targets in North Korea in the first few hours of an aerial strike on that country to hey when we do Iraq we’re gonna do Syria and Lebanon and we’re going to do Iran and maybe Egypt … but this was more than that [just contingency planning] Wes Clark is right they had these plans they were going to go right through all these countries that they felt threatened Israel all through those countries that they felt threatened 25-30% of the world’s oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Documentary evidence for these claims has come by way of the UK Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War. For example, a report quoted a British embassy cable, dated 15 September 2001, explained that ‘[t]he “regime-change hawks” in Washington are arguing that a coalition put together for one purpose [against international terrorism] could be used to clear up other problems in the region.’ Another document released by Chilcot shows British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush discussing phases one and two of the ‘war on terror’ and when to hit particular countries. Blair writes:

If toppling Saddam is a prime objective, it is far easier to do it with Syria and Iran in favour or acquiescing rather than hitting all three at once.

The regime-change wars that have flowed directly and indirectly from 9/11 continue to this day. War and conflict continues in Afghanistan and Iraq whilst the nine-year-long war in Syria has borne witness to extensive and illegal policies pursued by Western governments including the funding and arming of extremist groups coupled with support for groups actually aligned with Al Qaeda. Iran continues to be subjected to US hybrid warfare tactics including sanctions and covert operations whilst the threat of military action is very clear and present.

The human cost of these wars, built upon the ruthless exploitation of public fear of terrorism in order to pursue multiple ‘regime-change’ wars, has been huge. According to the Brown University ‘Costs of War Project’, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have killed a combined 480,000 to 507,000 civilians, coalition military members, and foreign fighters, with an untold number having been maimed and disfigured. IPPNW estimated that the first ten years of the ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan killed 1.3 million people.

Since 2011, in Syria alone, over 400,000 people have died as a result of war. The numbers of people displaced as a result of these conflicts are also extremely high; wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria have wrought a combined 9.39 million refugees, 10.78 million internally displaced peoples, and 830,000 asylum seekers. In addition, there are persisting and very serious concerns with respect to the possible involvement of state actors with the event of 9/11.

Recent and critical developments regarding the events of 9/11 include the publication this week of the University of Alaska study of the WTC7 Collapse which confirms that the official US government investigation was wrong if not plain fraudulent. Other important developments include publication last year of the 9/11 Consensus Panel evidence and increasing scrutiny of the official narrative from mainstream academics.

Overall, the 9/11 global ‘war on terror’ is increasingly coming to be understood particularly across the world as, first and foremost, a remarkable propaganda campaign designed to enable violent conflict in the international system and with its effects and objectives being far wider and deeper than had been suggested by official narratives regarding the need to combat Al Qaeda.


The lesson of 9/11 is that major events can become what scholar Peter Dale Scott describes as deep events which are exploited by political actors in order to precipitate and manage major political, economic and social shifts. 9/11 became, in effect, the deep event that enabled 20 years of unfettered Western warfare abroad and severe civil liberty restrictions and extensive surveillance at home.

At the time of 9/11 many people in the West were terrified of terrorism. Public opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan (the first regime war to flow within months of 9/11) was almost impossible without being accused of being reckless in the ‘fight against terrorism’ or of being an ‘Al Qaeda’ sympathizer. Muslims throughout the West were widely despised. US President George Bush declared that ‘you are either with us or against us’. The parallels with what is happening today are obvious.

Is the Coronavirus a new 9/11, a new deep event? We cannot yet be sure, as of this writing. Perhaps the current strategy of suspending basic liberties will work to effectively eliminate all threats posed by the virus. Governments will then restore the civil liberties currently being suspended and all will fairly quickly return to the way things were before. Perhaps the economy will confidently weather the fallout from the ‘lockdowns’ and everything will return to business as usual.

And perhaps a sober ‘lessons learned’ review will lead to public health officials developing reasonable and balanced plans, such as developing sufficient capacity for rapid testing and tracing, which can be deployed the next time a sufficiently dangerous virus starts to spread thus avoiding terrifying publics and implementing draconian measures that inflict significant damage to the social and economic fabric of society.

Or perhaps not. It may be that, as British journalist Peter Hitchens has been warning, the loss of liberty and basic rights will continue indefinitely as governments greedily hold on to their increased powers of control over their citizenry.

Similarly, Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi has warned about the risks in Italy of state authorities, hostile to open societies and the political left, exploiting Corona in order to increase their control.

An obvious concern here is whether there will be a permanent impact on mass gatherings and protests. James Corbett warns of a permanent state of ‘medical martial law’ and there is certainly the very real possibility of the normalization of government-imposed quarantine and other freedom of movement restrictions.

Margaret Kimberley of the US-based Black Agenda Report warns that Corona may be used as a way of covering up both economic crisis and collapse. She notes that the Federal Reserve ‘recently threw Wall Street a $1.5 trillion lifeline which only kicked the can down the road. The can has been kicked ever since the Great Recession of 2008’. The likely destruction of small businesses might allow for ever greater corporate choke-hold on the economy with more people forced into the corporate workforce.

There is certainly the danger that COVID-19 will be exploited in order to distract from severe economic problems whilst also enabling the pursuit of new economic strategies which worsen rather than mitigate the social inequalities that already tarnish Western countries.

And, of course those actors behind the regime-change wars that flowed from 9/11 may use the Coronavirus to increase pressure on the countries they have been targeting for the last 20 years and those they wish to target in the future.

Already we have seen the regime-change advocate John Bolton blaming China for the Corona Virus whilst the New York Times reported that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien were ‘arguing that tough action while Iran’s leaders were battling the corona virus ravaging the country could finally push then into direct negotiations’.

ABC news report that, despite the Coronavirus, US and UAE troops have held a major military exercise ‘that saw forces seize a sprawling model Mideast city’. It is also worth nothing here the recent US assassination of Iranian General Solemeni and the on-going proxy battles between US forces and Iranian-backed groups in Iraq. The possibility of Corona being exploited in order to further the regime change wars we have seen over the last 20 years is extremely likely and it would be naïve in the extreme to think otherwise.

Whatever the COVID-19 event may or may not be, the fundamental lesson of the last 20 years is that governments can and do exploit, even manipulate, events in order to pursue political, social, military and economic objectives. Fearful populations are frequently irrational ones, vulnerable and malleable. Now is not the time for deference to authority and reluctance to speak out.

It is time for publics to get informed, think calmly and rationally, and to robustly scrutinize and challenge what their governments are doing. The dangers of failing to do this likely far surpass the immediate threat posed by the Coronavirus.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 23:45

13 Reasons To Fear The Coming COVID World Order

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13 Reasons To Fear The Coming COVID World Order

Authored by Andrew Korybko via One World Press,

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed life as we know it, and it’s more than likely that our future will be a dystopian one given how various governments have already responded to this viral outbreak.

The skeptics among us are fearful that this whole pandemic is overblown and being e

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xploited as a smokescreen for stealing our freedoms, and while their attitude towards this disease is questionable (and quite possibly dangerous), their suspicion about a government takeover of society is warranted.

Never before have governments had so much power over the people, though in these emergency conditions, that might not be an entirely bad thing for the time being seeing as how it could very well be necessary for our survival.

The problem, however, is that these newly assumed powers probably won’t be voluntarily surrendered after this epidemic ends, which is why many people are so concerned. They’re convinced that we’ve suddenly entered a period of global dictatorship, and it’s difficult to argue with them.

So much else is also changing as well, and it’s hard to keep up with the “COVID World Order” that’s been thrust upon us, but what follows is an attempt to briefly describe everything that’s already taken place and predict what will probably follow:


There’s no other way to describe both the “recommended” and mandatory quarantines that many in the world are experiencing than to call them what they are, a state of de-facto martial law, which isn’t being formally declared in order to not provoke any more panic than there already is.


Now that de-facto martial law of a seemingly indefinite period has been accepted by the people (whether willingly or begrudgingly), it’ll probably become the “new normal” and be implemented countless times in the future, be it as an “overabundance of caution” in the event of another outbreak or under any other pretext.


“Big Brother” is already here, but he’s going to become a bigger bully than ever before by intensifying his censorship of people’s social media posts on the basis that they’re “socially irresponsible” (e.g. questioning the seriousness of this disease), after which the “politically incorrect” net will widen to encompass other topics too.


Domestic and international travel will never be the same again, with internal restrictions on movement likely becoming commonplace and most foreign guests being required to self-quarantine for a period of time except in special circumstances, thus all but killing the global tourism industry.


Gone are the days of so-called “open borders” where anyone can freely move between jurisdictions at will (whether legally or otherwise), with more stringent controls being put into place to protect the local population from outsiders (including their own compatriots from elsewhere in the country).


For whatever one thinks about vaccines, there’s probably no way to stop them from becoming mandatory after the COVID-19 pandemic, with it being predicted that people will have to prove that they’ve been vaccinated in order to do anything at all such as study, work, travel, and receive government benefits.


With so many people stuck at home and unable to leave except to purchase essential goods in most cases, it’s predictable that remote learning and working (the latter which will of course be for those whose jobs allow them to do so) will pick up in the coming future as society gets used to this way of doing things.


The massive surge of online traffic from folks who are learning, working, or simply entertaining themselves online will necessitate the rapid roll-out of 5G technology despite what some people suspect are its serious health concerns.


The “new normal” of de-facto martial law has made many people realize that society really just depends on a few jobs in order to continue functioning at the bare minimum, with these being techies, grocery store and pharmacy employees, bank clerks, healthcare professionals, food service workers, farmers, and truckers.


For better or for worse, governments across the world might go on a nationalization spree in order to take control of what they regard as “essential industries” (though whether some of them truly are or not is another story), which could lead to the informal imposition of either socialist or fascist economic models.


Given the scale and scope of the global economic collapse that was catalyzed by the world’s uncoordinated response to COVID-19, it’s foreseeable that governments will unveil what’s been described as a “universal basic income” in order to ensure that their people can continue to at least purchase basic goods and services.


Medical training is arguably more important than military service nowadays, so the state will probably make it mandatory in schools from here on out and for anyone who wants to receive government benefits, thereby enabling the government to draft them in the future whenever there’s a dearth of healthcare professionals.


The cashless society is coming, whether justified by the (real, false, or exaggerated) fear that lethal viruses can be spread by paper currency or as the government’s preferred method of dispersing its “universal basic income”, meaning that the authorities can cut folks off from their funds at any time that they want to.

*  *  *

There’s no guarantee that everything that was described above will come to pass, but there’s certainly a high likelihood that at least some of it will transpire with time, though it’ll remain to be seen how sustainable these socio-economic and political changes are and whether or not they can ever be reversed.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 23:25

"Overnight, The World Became The Twilight Zone" - Exodus From Cities Sparks Mountain-Dweller Greatest Fear

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"Overnight, The World Became The Twilight Zone" - Exodus From Cities Sparks Mountain-Dweller Greatest Fear

Social distancing is transforming society as we know it. City dwellers are packing up their bags and are heading for the mountains amid the virus crisis.  

"Overnight, the world took a sharp turn into the Twilight Zone," Gina Grande told the Los Angeles Times. "I had to get out of there. So, I made a beeline to my boss' office and said, 'Th

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is is awkward, but can I please telecommute from Southern California?'" 

Grande, terrified of the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak in San Francisco, which is where she works and lives, left the metro area for her second home on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park, a desert area located in southern California. 

As the pandemic sweeps across California's largest cities, residents are fleeing their urban settings to isolated communities in the Mojave Desert or the rugged Sierra Nevada. The hope is that a remote area can reduce their transmission risk. 

But for some, social distancing measures enforced by the government have not just limited their mobility to and from work and or even their ability to go outside, residents in Los Angeles last week were restricted from leaving the city to vacation homes. 

In Mammoth Lakes, a town in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, banned non-residents because infection risk in the small community would quickly overwhelm their hospital system. 

The flight from cities to rural communities during the outbreak, ignited by fear, could be the next hottest trend for real estate that revives dying suburbs. Families, who've been subjected to chaos at Costco stores of panic hoarding or forced quarantine in their tiny 550 square-foot studios, want the freedom of rural communities and the security of land that could power them through any crisis. 

In Joshua Tree, vacation rental companies have said concerned families from large metro areas are renting short-term rentals for weeks and or months at a time following the virus outbreak. 

"We just confirmed two rentals for long-term stays over three weeks," said Josh Sonntag, who operates several rental units in the area. "In both cases, social distancing and the ability to work remotely was important."

Bryan Wynwood, the owner of Joshua Tree Modern Real Estate, said, "Every call I get is related to the coronavirus. Some of them are from city dwellers worried about being stuck in the center of a metropolis that loses control of its basic public services."

Sam Steinman, 28, owns several short-term rentals in Joshua Tree, said he'd noticed the desperation in city dwellers' voices who are willing to pay double for his properties to escape the outbreak in large cities. 

"I've seen this kind of fear and desperation before in Israel during rocket attacks," Steinman said. "A friend recently asked if I had a gun he could borrow. I said absolutely not."

And maybe, just maybe, COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on choices made by city dwellers, who have just realized their entire lives can come crashing down in a public health crisis - though, some are making a mad dash to remote areas where life goes on as usual. 

A noticeable trend is developing: A revival of dying suburbs could be on the horizon as cities are just too dangerous when everything goes to sh*t. 

If you’re looking to flee a metro area, not just because of a virus crisis, but also because housing prices in cities are due for a major correction, here are some affordable suburbs in America that you might find interesting.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 20:10

The Geopolitics Of American Fear

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The Geopolitics Of American Fear

Authored by Peter Zeihan via Zeihan.com,

Today, I’m not going to go through all the country-by-country details of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. My team and I are working diligently – franticly – to assimilate a huge amount of ever-changing information. As soon as we have some preliminary conclusions, we will share them. But for now we just don’t have enough hard data.


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will change soon.

This coming week (March 23-28) the South Koreans will be in the fifth week of their epidemic. To be blunt it is what I’ve been waiting for. The “typical” coronavirus experience for someone who requires hospitalization and survives is about 25 days end-to-end; five weeks is about what we need to get some good data.

Why the Koreans? The South Koreans are technically minded, they have a top-notch health care system, they are culturally wired for quick responses, their first instinct isn’t to lie about everything, and they believe in math. They will soon provide the world with the best and most holistic information about all aspects of the virus. If coronavirus had first erupted in South Korea, I have zero doubt it would have been contained, squashed, and we’d not be discussing it at all, much less living under self-imposed quarantine.

Until I have that information, however, I think our time is best served discussing the ongoing panic.

In particular, the (I’m not sure this is quite the right word) positive aspects of the panic. There is more to American panic than toilet paper shortages.

The American geography is by far the best on the planet. The Greater Midwest is the largest chunk of temperate zone, high-quality arable land in the world, and it is overlain by the world’s largest internal navigable waterway network. Development and industrialization is the cheapest there of anywhere in the world. Barren deserts, rugged mountains, dense forests, giant lakes and ocean moats make for a nigh invasion-proof homeland. For five generations the United States experienced greater development, rising standards of living, easy financial access, minimal health concerns, rising economic growth, all in an environment of almost perfect security.

This has many, many outcomes. Three are worth highlighting:

First, considering its riches, its low development costs and its security, the U.S. economy is geographically set up for massive success. It isn’t about policy or governance or ideology. It is about place. That cannot be copied. The American system has exited every decade in a stronger position than it was in when it entered, including the decade periods of the Great Depression and Great Recession. It came thru the 1920s Spanish flu epidemic (a far more deadly pathogen than coronavirus) just fine. It will come through this one.

Second, the United States isn’t very good at national governance. When geography takes care of all the big issues, there is little need for a large, overarching, competent, national government. And it shows. The U.S. isn’t Germany or Korea, countries that live in geographic pressure cookers and so governance has to be top notch to ensure survival. This isn’t Russia which is paranoid for good reason and so must excel and intelligence operations. This isn’t Brazil where the terrain and climate are hostile to development and so excellence at infrastructure policy is essential. America’s lack of federal competence means that when there is a crisis it all comes down to the personality, skill and contacts of the person at the top. America’s initial reaction to the coronavirus isn’t its first failure of presidential leadership. But America’s sublime geography means the country will survive this failure to have others down the road.

Third, Americans are cocky. When your national founding myth is one of achievement with minimal adversity, it is eaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasy to become convinced you are the Chosen People and life is simply about navigating oneself from success to success. Of course, I think we all realize this isn’t how things actually work. From time to time something or someone punches you in the face. And when that happens to Americans, we absolutely, positively, lose our shit.

Americans have no sense of proportion. The same thing that gives us our can-do optimism and arrogance means that when we face unexpected challenge we fear the covenant with God has been broken and doom doesn’t so much beckon, but instead will crash down upon us presently. And so we panic. We overreact. But we overreact with the power of the world’s largest and most stable and most technologically advanced economy. We overreact with the strength of a continent. We overreact with the world’s most powerful long-range military, a military that absolutely controls all global waterways. And in doing so we reshape the world. Not on purpose, but simply as a side effect of our panic.

American history of all eras is rich with examples of such manic-depressive behavior. Some “recent” ones:

  • The Pearl Harbor panic fostered the deepwater dominance strategy, culminating in a Navy more powerful than all other players combined.

  • The Sputnik panic brought us a root-to-branch overhaul of the educational system and industrial plant.

  • The Vietnam depression married tech to military strategy and brought us JDAMs, cruise missiles, the Internet and cell phones.

  • The 1979 and 1983 oil shocks led directly to deepwater oil production and the shale revolution.

Our allies understand this. Winston Churchill famously noted that “Americans will always do the right thing, after exhausting all the alternatives.” So do our rivals: a common Russian phrase during the Cold War was “Americans feel that if it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.”

Americans have not felt a panic since the September 11 attacks. It has been two decades since we were scared. We are due. I always assumed the next fear-response would be because of something that some dumbass country did to the United States, thinking the Americans were over the hill. Then the full force of the United States military and economy would crash down upon it and wipe it from memory.

Apparently, viruses can trigger America’s fear-response too.

In the past 96 hours the United States has gone from functionally zero actions against coronavirus to among the world’s most invasive. And unlike other countries – China comes to mind – who have only instituted constraints on specific areas where there are known coronavirus outbreaks, the Americans have instituted their restrictions nationwide. America now hosts the largest population in the world under lockdown.

The speed and depth of the change is something only Americans can culturally manage, and this is only the beginning.

The scale of resource application that is about to occur is nothing less than historically unprecedented, rivaled only by American actions in previous fear-response incidences.

  • The Federal Reserve’s new bond-buying program to support the markets? Its only analogue is what the same Federal Reserve did back during the 2008 Financial crisis, but this time it was done in a day instead of a month.

  • The industrial plant’s re-tooling to make medical supplies? Completely unprecedented…unless you compare it to America’s post-Sputnik industrial overhaul.

  • Want to see something really impressive? Watch the process for crafting, manufacturing and distributing the coronavirus vaccine. The US just human trials on March 16. That’s a solid two months faster than any such trials, ever. (And if that were not enough, in the heart of the crisis the US government is attempting to wholesale purchase the German firm furthest along in generating the German anti-coronavirus vaccine. Needless to say, in Germany this is perceived as a total dick move.)

Americans are capable of incredible ideological, economic, technological, logistical, military, and cultural leaps when the panic sets in. The coronavirus crisis is by no means anywhere close to being over, but the switch has been flipped. Now comes mobilization.

These are “merely” things the United States is doing at home. With a few weeks (maybe days?) the Americans are going to do what they’ve done during every other fear-response. Apply (perhaps unfairly) that fear to all aspects of all of their international relationships.

The timing of this particular fear-response gives it far greater weight than those that have come before.

The global system as we know it – the system that has enabled everything from global manufactures trade to global energy trade to the existence of the European Union to the rise of China – is an American creation, designed for the Cold War. That system was the payment to our allies to side with us against the Soviet Union. That system ceased serving American strategic interests at the Cold War’s end, and in the days before coronavirus it was coming to an end. Coronavirus has sped things up, severing most of the remaining ties that bind the world together. No one else has the military capacity to ensure freedom of the seas, nor the demographic consumptive capacity to fuel global commerce. Since their economy is largely self-contained, the Americans really don’t care if the system collapses.

And that was before the coronavirus-induced fear response.

In this environment, other nations need to be extremely careful, lest they court American wrath. America has a near-infinite capacity to act, a near-immunity to blowback, and a near-zero concern for consequences. It isn’t clear to me that there is yet recognition of this fact in the wider world.

Russia’s continual use of military aircraft to needle the North American air defense envelope during an American fear-response is monumentally stupid. I lack the vocabulary to communicate how fantastically foolish it is for Chinese state media to spread conspiracy theories that the US Army originated coronavirus and dropped it into Wuhan. Even Europeans whining that the Trump administration acted too hastily in enacting travel restrictions on flights between Europe and the United States wasn’t perhaps the right time to take issue with American policy.

Yes, all-in-all it has been a crappy couple of weeks, and we should just bake into our expectations that the next three months won’t be even remotely fun. But honestly the real news is that we are now – right now – suspended in a deep-breath moment between eras of history, and the world’s only superpower is absolutely terrified.

*  *  *

My new book Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World published March 3. It is about the shape of a global Disorder when the Americans go home.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 23:45

Pandemic: The Invention Of A Disease Called Fear

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Pandemic: The Invention Of A Disease Called Fear

Authored by Julain Rose via Counterpunch.org,

The word ‘pandemic’ bears a similarity to the word ‘panic’ and indeed ‘pandemonium’. In fact ‘pandemic’ evokes an almost instant flush of fear in those easily manipulated by mass media, before any details have even touched the surface or context in which the word is being used.

Those who plan the major moves

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on the chess-board of covert human control know that by leading with the word ‘pandemic’ they have an instantly effective weapon at their disposal to psychologically weaken the resistance of individuals vulnerable to irrational and impressionistic mindsets.

So, in a world heavily conditioned by the proclamations of the mass media, the fear weapon has huge psychological power.

As we have all witnessed over the past months, the Coronavirus story has been unleashed with barely contained lascivious delight by news media under orders from the purveyors of malevolent missions against mankind. Pumped-up to maximum volume and dispersed globally, the deliberately designed fear message has the instant effect of making the majority of people feel powerless. The Big problem is at large – and we the people feel small. This is the beginning of entrapment which colors every aspect of daily life.

Most of humanity has undergone a process of education which depends for its effectiveness on the perceived power of some ‘authority’ to exert an unquestioned controlling influence over the general direction of life. A source of influence that depends for its continuing effectiveness on never being subjected to rational scrutiny, or genuine examination of any kind. Such is the beguiling power of full-on indoctrination.

In the battle now raging for ‘who controls the world’, some of the largely hidden or disguised controlling agents of planetary life – are now appearing on the surface. And that’s why chaos and fear are very much ‘flavor of the month’. The Corona Contagion is chock full of idiosyncrasies; in fact, there are so many nonsensical factors associated with media attempts to report on what’s going on, that one can only feel dazed and confused should one try and follow the script in real-time.

However, what has become all too clear is the fact that large numbers of people are being herded – and are not resisting. The scare tactics being employed are more dangerous than the virus that is the excuse for deploying them. Under this induced state of psychosis, all manner of tricks can be perpetrated on mankind – and that is precisely what we are witnessing at this time.

Many reading this will already be familiar with the ambitions of the controlling deep state ‘elite’ and will know that a pre-planned phase of social and economic chaos is a key factor in their attempted roll-out of totalitarian New World Order. We are now in this phase. Its success depends upon a large body of people following the instructions passed down by the political puppets of the deep state and by the cowardly repetition of these instructions by the mainstream media.

Once again, the fear card plays a key role. This time, in keeping a constant level of anxiety and hysteria on the boil, while working to ensure that those able to recognize the true nature of the scam are coerced into not stepping out of line, thereby risking their job, security or status within the rigidly enforced master/slave relationship of the status quo.

The whole sick edifice maintains its momentum based upon pure top-down deception and exploitation. Yet those at the receiving end largely choose to remain oblivious of the fact that they are being used and abused for the benefit of a fascist ideal. By not rebelling in the face of such treatment – but instead by complying with it – a mute populace establishes the basis of its own debasement and slavery.

These methods have been practiced over and over again in the history of the world, and each time hind-sight reveals the motivation to have been an obsession with power and control, and the perpetrators to be a small number of psychopathic despots. Whether taking the form of military might, religious dogma or modern-day corporate and banking control freaks, provided the drama has been well stage-managed and the ‘might has produced fright’, the hegemons get their way.

How well is the roll-out being stage-managed on this occasion – and what is the plan?

Owing to the trans-planetary link-ups that take place today, the ‘master plan’ is no longer a regional or national affair, but a global one. The main players have hatched the plot long before any of us get to know about it and gatherings like the Davos Economic Summit and Bildergerger meetings are used to gain consensus on the timing and methods to be deployed.

In the case of Covid-19, its appearance on the scene – or at least the spreading of the story about something nasty going under this name – is timed to divert attention from the speeding-up of the installation of what are deemed to be important spokes in the creation of a totalitarian New World Order. For example, the roll-out of 5G microwave modulated WiFi; a digitalised smart grid and ‘internet of things’; a robotic transport system; facial recognition population surveillance programmes; new strains of genetically modified organisms and vaccines, and so forth. However, the predominant game plan is to ‘re-set’ global finance so as to appear to be supporting the euphemistically named Green New Deal with its holy grail ‘Zero Carbon’.

The fact that China has likely been the initial bio-weapon target, does not detract from a more widespread aim to disrupt the world economy as a whole.

The effectiveness of this disruption depends upon the greater part of the populus being swept along in a bubble of blind belief in the authenticity of the ‘virtual’ story line. A line which disguises the very actual imposition of a fascist state.

I would say that the stage-management is pretty poor this time around. The plethora of contradictory and irrational clamp-down actions being imposed in the name of containing the bogey bug stretches the credibility of the operation to the braking point. In point of fact it’s a farce; but a farce which involves actual deaths and the support of a police state, cannot simply be laughed-off.

Instead, it can be put under the spotlight and be seen for what it is, a planned manipulation of the people and resources of this planet, whose main goading-tool consists of the well-rehearsed art of spreading fear and panic. And this, in turn, to undermine the rational and common sense based gift which we have all been blessed with from birth, and which – when in good order – can clearly see through the facade and hold the line of reason and truth.

Many have seen this ‘order out of chaos’ drama coming for years. The chaos bit is with us right now and very visible. The ‘order’ is to follow and consists in the emergence of a peacemaker – or peace plan – that involves the lead croupiers raking the chips off the roulette board and cashing them into their temporary satisfaction. Thus allowing for a little holiday period in which the weak-kneed can rejoice at their survival and bless the emergence of the ‘new order’, under the authority of no matter who or what, so long as they can believe that the world has been saved from anarchy and ruin.

Every one of us whose knees have not turned to jelly and whose brains have not turned to mind-controlled pulp must take this moment to declare ourselves, boldly and resolutely with these four words “We do not consent”.

There’s a surprise in store for the cowardly imposers of chaos – it is our time that’s coming and – not theirs. For ours is the True World Order which aligns with Universal Law, not the false laws of a manipulated status quo.

It is our re-emergent marriage with Universal Truth that is going to oust this scare loaded pandemic and all similar manifestations of dark-side deception that have gripped this planet for far too long. Our true-world-order is going to take on this obsessed and demonic dynasty, so that it stumbles, falls and fails to rise again.

Seize this auspicious moment – and let us be joined as one in an unwavering commitment to get off our knees and stand firm in the cause of defeating the ghosts of chaos and fear.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 22:05

Fear... Is Here

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Fear... Is Here

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

This is no longer about bulls and bears, this is now about our way of life. I don’t want to sound hyperbole here, but we still don’t know how any of this will unfold. We can all rightfully hope that all the drastic measures we now seen undertaken will get this virus under control and hopefully in a few weeks things can return to normal. It’s an absolute hu

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man tragedy that is unfolding in places such as Italy and each death is a travesty. And we don’t know how long or deep this will go. Nobody does.

This new virus has caught the world by surprise. Is it a one off that science will manage to control, or are we looking at a paradigm shift here? A virus that, like the flu, will now be around and mutating each year, but unlike the flu is much more aggressive, deadly and more difficult to combat? We can’t know yet, the prospects are daunting and humanity will have to adjust big time if this is the case.

While we all may live in our own insulated bubbles of perception, things certainly hit home for me when I drove through the small town we live nearby last night and found it shut down and deserted. No humans, no cars. Ghost town. UK schools are looking to shut down until September at least. For many families this already is a paradigm shift.

And the fear is suddenly palpable. Stores that were still fully stocked last week were suddenly void of any supplies.

My experience in the UK in past 24 hours:

No, things are real and people are hurting big time. Just in our local circle of friends here one person has already lost their business, another one is about to, others are feeling the pressure big time. We live in the country side and so we are very insulated from it all, but nobody can escape this. We have one neighbor only, a real estate developer with a multitude of projects in the pipeline, and he suddenly came by asking me to buy some land off of him including part of a forest he owns and I was glad to be in a position to help him out. Like many he sees all his projects freezing up with no visibility going forward.

So things are real, they are immediate and very urgent. Governments have no choice but to launch the greatest bailouts and stimulus packages of our lifetimes. Again. The ultimate consequences are neither here nor there for the moment and I highlighted some of them in the Big Picture.

We’ll get through this ultimately, but it won’t be easy and the immediate concern is a complete collapse of the economic and financial backbone of our way of life.

This week the Fed introduced new panic measures every single day. From rate cuts to zero, to daily trillion dollar repos, to a whole heap of measures none of which arrested the selling as markets closed at the low of the week. Liquidations, funds blowing up, enormous damage done to portfolios around the world with far reaching consequences.

While I personally don’t mind arrogant and complacent bulls to get a bit of a spanking after years of excess I also don’t want to see millions get absolutely wiped out and devastated by all this. We’ve already had this in 2008. My worry is simply that the excess of the past 10 years has left us all vulnerable. Central banks too scared to normalize are impotent now, and the ill conceived tax cut of 2017 has not only resulted in exacerbated valuations, but has also robbed us of a potential big stimulus weapon for a rebound.

The US will introduce a massive stimulus program in short order. I don’t know what they are still waiting for, but it seems to me they have perhaps only hours or days left before things get really gnarly.

Indeed, looking at charts we have arrived at a key pivot point. Instead of overwhelming you with a bunch of charts I just want to focus on a few key ones.

The broader $NYSE index is a fascinating one to look at. Why? Because it contains over 2,000 stocks and gives you a better sense what’s going on in the overall economy.

And the message is one of an utter and complete collapse:

Four years of buying wiped out, dropping even far below the US election of 2016 and now sitting at the 2016 lows.

The MACD showing how absolutely vertical the collapse has been.

Here’s the larger time frame to gain an appreciation of what an utter shock to the system this is:


Now let’s put this all in a historic context.

On twitter this week I highlighted that $NYSE has reached a key support zone:

And indeed we got a big rally off of this support zone during the week. Even on Friday morning before market open $ES rallied all the way above 2,500 before collapsing again:

So yes, incredible chop in this market, but big tradable moves off of technical support and into resistance offering something for both active bulls and bears.

Now look where we closed on Friday:

Right above this support zone and the support zone being defined by the previous pivot lows going back years as well as the descending trend line of the larger infamous megaphone (I’ll get to that further below).

But it’s not only these two areas of support that define this price level on $NYSE. No, there are two additional key technical reasons why this zone is critical, this one term monthly chart highlights them:

The support trend line dating all the way to 1974 as well as the .382 fib dating from that time.

The combination of these 4 factors offer amazing technical confluence. Knowing this market is massively oversold it lends credence to the historical & technical arguments I made this week for a month end rally still to emerge. After all the financial system has a lot at stake to try to minimize the damage of an absolutely disastrous quarter.

But that only works if the liquidations can be brought under control and that the measures introduced show effect. Much is riding on the stimulus package the US aims to introduce by Monday. The combination of all these efforts and historic oversold readings have the potential to create a vacuum sucking rally of epic proportions once the supply of liquidations runs its course and now under invested asset managers seek to re-enter this market.

But besides support having held on $NYSE on Friday there’s also technical trouble brewing.

For while $NYSE has held onto support $SPX lost its .382 fib support on Friday at the close as it dropped below the December 2018 lows:

It is a monthly chart and breaks such as this can be repaired by month end. But the break does imply further downside risk first and here the megaphone chart can help address some immediate downside risk areas:

Yup, ugly. Should the wheels come off Sunday night into Monday the next immediate large support zones are the 2016 summers highs and the 2015 highs around 2,200 and 2,130 which implies another 3%-7% immediate risk lower with the megaphone trend line currently sitting at 2100. While principally a 3%-7% drop may not be that dramatic it sure would feel terrible for long holders of stocks that have just seen $SPX drop 32% in 5 weeks.

Whether we get these lower risk zones I can’t say but they are clearly possible in this environment as prices move incredible fast and liquidations are still present. Such a move would also imply $NYSE breaking its confluence support zone so nothing pretty about such a move should it occur.

A broader linear chart also offers perspective about the the historic nature of these market movements over the past few months.

From bear hell to bull hell:

What were stable trends over the past 12 years were just busted in both directions.. First the Fed liquidity rally to new highs appearing to break above the long standing uptrend. Bears were besides themselves while bulls got set up for the biggest bull trap in history.

And now the historic collapse not only invalidating the break out as false but also busting the long standing support. Bulls will want to hope that this breakdown is just as fake as the break to the upside. But now they are faced with immense resistance to the upside on a future rally.

Let’s be clear here: Without a very quick and complete resolution to this virus crisis the world is in major trouble and the damage inflicted is historic.

And the fear is real. It does not help to panic but one must be cognizant of the fear. As I walked into the store today and found shelves empty I was reminded of an old joke: Two guys hike in the woods when they come across a giant grizzly bear. One of the guys suddenly sits down and takes off his hiking boots and puts on his running shoes. His friend says to him:”What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear”. The guy putting on his running shoes replies: “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to be able to outrun you”.

Looks like I was too late putting on my running shoes going to the store today.

Look. I personally don’t prescribe to fear or panic. All we can do is navigate markets by identifying key technical pivot levels, react to them and then take advantage of the incredible volatility currently running through markets. Moves that used to take weeks and months now happen in days and hours. It’s incredible. Markets will calm down again at some point, but don’t expect $VIX 11 again anytime soon. That ship has sailed. Markets will remain subject to elevated to heightened price volatility in both directions for months to come. Best get used to it and take advantage of it. Since we can’t leave our homes right now may as well.

See, there’s always a silver lining ;-).

Anyways we’ll get through this. It won’t be easy, but humanity has had to deal with far worse situations.

*  *  *

For the latest public analysis please visit NorthmanTrader. To subscribe to our market products please visit Services.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 11:30

The Huge Fear: How Do I Pay The Bills?

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The Huge Fear: How Do I Pay The Bills?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Those living paycheck to paycheck are the first to lose their jobs and have hours cut. They are justifiably worried.

Jobs that require personal contact such as servers in restaurants, those running a cash register or cleaning hotel rooms are the most vulnerable to layoffs. Those wo

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rkers are flooding state unemployment websites across the country.

Here's the surging fear ‘I Have Bills I Have to Pay.’

As coronavirus shutdowns halt commerce across the U.S., low-wage workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, are being quickly stung. That includes restaurant workers, hotel maids, dog walkers and child-care providers. In many cases, the cuts are tied to shutdowns and cancellations of events in sports stadiums, industry conventions, casinos, music festivals and other public gatherings.

Malls, restaurants and hotels have closed in many areas of the country. Already, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits—a proxy for layoffs—increased last week by 70,000 from the previous week, with states telling the Labor Department the cause was the pandemic. Economists predict a much bigger surge when numbers are released for this week, with Goldman Sachs Economics Research estimating roughly 2.25 million new claims for jobless benefits.

More than 90% of the announced U.S. job cuts tied to the coronavirus were at restaurants and other entertainment and leisure businesses, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Job Contagion

Despite an economic expansion that brought with it a 50-year low in unemployment, many American households remain a paycheck away from financial stress. Almost 40% of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to cover an unexpected $400 expense, a 2019 Federal Reserve survey concluded.

The virus relief bill passed by Congress this week expands unemployment insurance and provides more money for food stamps, aiming to provide an initial safety net as layoffs increase. The bill also requires businesses with fewer than 500 employees provide two weeks of paid leave in certain circumstances, with an additional 10 weeks of leave at two-thirds pay for workers to care for children when their schools or day cares close.

Bill is a Disaster

Restaurants that are closed and have no money coming in have to pay cooks for not cooking and servers for not serving.

Please consider House Pares Back Paid Sick and Family Leave Benefits in Coronavirus Bill.

A small business industry group said the bill would impose "potentially unsustainable mandates" on its members. Many have already been negatively affected by the coronavirus outbreak, Kevin Kuhlman, senior director at the National Federation of Independent Businesses, wrote in a letter Friday to House leaders.

"Unfortunately, some small employers simply do not have the operating budget to afford paid family and medical leave," Kuhlman wrote. "By requiring small businesses to shoulder additional burdens and costs, small businesses who cannot afford to keep up will close."

Under the legislation, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees could apply for financial hardship waivers from the leave provisions affecting workers whose children's schools have closed.

The vast majority of the 35 million workers at these small firms currently lack paid family leave, said Sarah Jane Glynn, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.

Also, as part of a compromise with the White House last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed that the bill would not apply to the roughly 60 million Americans who work at companies with 500 employees or more -- though 89% of these folks already receive paid sick leave.

Small businesses on thin margins have to provide paid health care for two weeks and 2/3 benefits for another 10 but large businesses don't!

If this reporting is accurate, small businesses are going to go bankrupt in huge numbers over these absurd provisions.

London Joins the Closure Party

9% of the US Has Been Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus

A SurveyUSA poll shows 9% of the US Has Been Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus

I crunched the numbers based on those poll stats and come up with a U3 unemployment rate of 12% and a U6 rate of 39.7%. See the link for details and calculations.

Also note that Trump Asks States to Hide Unemployment Claim Data

Apparently the data is better if no one sees it. In practice, this makes people more nervous about what the government is hiding.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 12:10

Over 80% Of Companies Expect Covid-19 Disruptions, Fear "Lengthy Recovery"

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Over 80% Of Companies Expect Covid-19 Disruptions, Fear "Lengthy Recovery"

Despite the constant imploring from administration officials that all is well...

“We see no material impact on our economy,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council Director, told Fox Business Network.

Almost 75% of companies have reported supply cha

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in disruptions as a result of coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, according to a new survey released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). 

Additionally, the first-round results of the survey focused on the effects of COVID-19 on business and supply chains, show that more than 80% of companies expect to experience some impact because of COVID-19 disruptions.

“The story the data tells is that companies are faced with a lengthy recovery to normal operations in the wake of the virus outbreak,” said Thomas Derry, CEO of ISM.

For a majority of U.S. businesses, lead times have doubled, and that shortage is compounded by the shortage of air and ocean freight options to move product to the United States — even if they can get orders filled.”

Primary reported supply chain impacts include the following:

  • 57 percent noted longer lead times for tier-1 China-sourced components, with average lead times more than doubling compared to the end of 2019.

  • Manufacturers in China report operating at 50 percent capacity with 56 percent of normal staff.

  • More than 44 percent of respondents do not have a plan in place to address supply disruption from China. Of those, a majority (23 percent of respondents) report current disruptions.

  • Of the companies expecting supply chain impacts, the severity anticipated increases after the first quarter of 2020.

  • Six in 10 (62%) respondents are experiencing delays in receiving orders from China.

  • More than half (53%) are having difficulty getting supply chain information from China.

  • Nearly one-half are experiencing delays moving goods within China (48%).

  • Almost one-half (46%) report delays loading goods at Chinese ports.

Conducted between February 22 and March 5, the survey's 628 respondents largely represent U.S. manufacturing (52%) and non-manufacturing (48%) organizations, 81 percent of which have revenues of less than US$10 billion. Respondent roles range from emerging practitioner (4%), to chief procurement officer (6%), with 73 percent being experienced practitioners, managers and directors in a supply chain management role.

"We're seeing that organizations who diversified their supplier base after experiencing tariff impacts, are potentially more equipped to address the effects of COVID-19 on their supply chains," said Derry.

More than 60 percent of companies that ordinarily travel to China have no plans to do so over the next six months. Additionally, nearly one-half (47%) note travel to other international areas is subject to extra scrutiny or limitations, with the most mentioned areas being Korea, Italy, Japan, broadly Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 11:12

Covid-19, AIDS, & The Politics Of Viral Fear

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Covid-19, AIDS, & The Politics Of Viral Fear

Authored by Peter van Buren via TheAmericanConservative.com,

In the 1980's, agenda-driven panic around the HIV epidemic set back the public health response by years...

Nothing is more viral than fear. Fear - fight or flight - is a terrible way to make decisions that call for time, science, and rational thinking. W

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ant to screw up a public health crisis? Let fear drive.

Democrats, Pavlovian conditioned by years of believing everything Trump does is “an existential threat,” are about twice as likely as Republicans to say the coronavirus poses an imminent danger. Make a joke of it—pandemic or Dempanic—but one’s political party should not affect how we respond to an epidemic.

“Our hyper-polarization is so strong that we don’t even assess a potential health crisis in the same way. And so it impedes our ability to address it,” saidsaid Jennifer McCoy, a Georgia State political science professor who studies polarization.

 “I am not scared of Covid-19,” Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease expertat the University of Toronto in Canada,an infectious disease expert wrote.

“I am scared about the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic.”

This is not about downplaying something serious. It is about preventing mistakes that will make things worse. Trump Derangement Syndrome might actually help kill us this time, as fear makes for poor public health decisions. Remember the 1980’s?

In 1981 the CDC reported five cases of a new pneumonia. The disease didn’t even have a name until the next year, and wasn’t isolated in the lab until 1984. AIDS would go on to kill over 500,000 Americans. Yet while a horrible disease and a miserable way to die, in retrospect “the problem with AIDS was really two epidemics—the real health epidemic and the epidemic of the mind,” said Boston’s WBZ-TV station manager Tom Goodgame, quoted in Time. Meanwell, The New York Timesconcluded, “in the 1980’s, fear spread faster than AIDS.”

America paid the price in lives.

The fear was measurable. In the mid-80’s 60 percent of Americans wanted HIV+ people to carry a card noting their status; one in three said employers should fire employees who had AIDS. Some 21 percent said people with AIDS should be isolated from the rest of society in leper colonies. Even a professional medical journal wrote, “A specter is haunting our streets — the specter of AIDS, a remorseless and incurable disease whose nature, transmission and effects still contain elements of mystery.”

Those mysteries are always the most dangerous elements in shaping public health policy via fear, and with AIDS, centered on exaggerating the problem. When early cases surfaced inside communities already viewed as modern day Sodoms, many sought to exaggerate the crisis from a quasi-religious point of view: God was smiting the gays. Tragically, too many felt the more who died of AIDS the better, and played up the deaths as “Judgement.” The rest of us, God-fearing, were safe. Homophobia manifested as fear crushed human compassion. It’s almost like hoping the current economy goes into recession, destroying the savings of millions of Americans, so Trump’s chances of reelection fall. Or one politician hoping the virus infects those at MAGA rallies.

In the 1980’s, the Reagan administration, with its political debt to newly-empowered evangelical voters, was indifferent at best toward the study or prevention of AIDS. Congress agreed; in 1987 it banned the use of federal funds for AIDS prevention and education that “promoted or encouraged, directly or indirectly, homosexual activities.”

Years were lost as the virus spread, and too many died because of the delay in funding.

We were not innocent. In the mid-to-late 1980s “AIDS hysteria” was a familiar term in the media and public life, and popular comedians made crude jokes to amuse us. A study found “health care trainees and professionals demonstrated their level of empathy and caring for HIV/AIDS is negatively affected by the knowledge that the person being treated is homosexual.” A 1985 Time magazine story, “The New Untouchables,” focused on an incident in New York where parents refused to send their children to a school after one student was identified as HIV+. “What about somebody sneezing in the classroom? What about the water fountain? What about kids who get in a fight with a bloody nose? They don’t know!” said one frightened parent.

Gay activists also sought to drive public opinion through fear. The fear of a “heterosexual breakout” was employed to coax a Middle American audience toward political awareness. The community also exaggerated the crisis as spur to more government funding. In 1988, after New York revised its estimates of HIV+ citizens significantly downward, members of AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power were arrested at a sit-in at the Health Department. Hecklers trailed the Health Commissioner demanding he resign. His home was picketed and spray-painted. There were death threats against him. Yet statistical studies some 30 years later showed even his lower numbers from the 1980s overestimated the extent of the epidemic by some 50 percent. The Commissioner had been right to tamp down the threat.

Activists justify their use of fear as the only way to have focused attention on the disease. But that ignores the tragic results of their actions. While funding did increase, much of the government’s early AIDS-prevention budget was used to raise awareness among hetero college students, women, and others who faced relatively low risk. Money was diverted away from the communities that needed it most.

Even today, AIDS and other fear-mongered diseases soak up a disproportionate share of research funds. Diseases that account for 84 percent of deaths in the U.S. get less than half of NIH funding. Cancer and HIV/AIDS in particular receive a disproportionately large amount, while chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity receive less funding relative to the costs they impose on society.

The worry is always the unknown, and on Day One of an epidemic nearly everything is unknown. Mistakes get made as protocols are created (in reality, field tested) on the fly. Japan, with an excellent universal health care system and a non-partisan public health bureaucracy, miserably mishandled a cruise ship quarantine, turning the boat into a virus incubator. Remember when people believed they should not shake hands with a gay man for fear of catching the disease? Only when science replaced fear did AIDS subside to where today the disease is a manageable element of public health.

“AIDS is grim enough without exaggeration,” cited one New York Times editorial 1987. It continued:

 “Why has the truth disappeared so far from view? Perhaps because the chief interpreters of the data want to reflect their own messages. Public health experts see a unique chance to reduce all sexually transmitted diseases. Medical researchers demand $1 billion in new Federal spending against AIDS, hoping to refurbish their laboratories. Government epidemiologists, seeking to protect homosexuals and drug addicts, fear the Reagan Administration may acquire the notion that these are the only people at risk. Moralists see a heaven-sent chance to preach fire, brimstone and restricted sex. Homosexuals have no desire to carry the stigma of AIDS alone.”

While fear as a political manipulative tool is nothing new, the coronavirus panic appears at a new place in America. Social media encourages people Joker-like to pour fuel on fires. MSM pursues an unambiguous political agenda when it is not just peddling raw anxiety as a profit center. We are ever more diverse and ever more subreddit separated. It isn’t safe anymore for us to have common fears.

Wash your hands. Ask questions. But keep fear in check. As you encounter information focusing on worst-case scenarios, which seems to exaggerate unknowns, uses terms like surge, crash, skyrocket, Katrina, is more White House gossip than science, anything that starts with Report: ask yourself if the primary purpose is peddling fear — to sell you a product, to get you to click, to influence your vote. Socially isolate yourself from that source.

And stop reading political journalists to learn about a health issue. 

Politico, currently bleating out Trump isn’t doing enough and is bungling what he is doing, was only recently criticizing Trump’s prescient travel ban for China travelers as ineffective, and worried it would antagonize Chinese leaders. I write this from New York, under a declared state of emergency. Yet for all the screaming headlines one finds the primary motivation for the declaration was simply “a more expedited purchasing and testing protocol.” It’s more about a better bureaucracy now than something with sirens and flashing lights now.

The numbers will go up until they start going down (new cases are declining in China and South Korea.) There is nothing investors fear more than uncertainty, kryptonite to the markets. Right now that is all there is and volatility in the markets will continue until uncertainty, and then fear, back off. Before you blame someone or something, figure out how to blame away the virus in China, Italy, Iran, and elsewhere where they don’t have Trump, and do have universal healthcare, sick leave or whatever other partisan talking point is being pushed. Panic is easy, a measured response hard. We need to make good decisions. Lives depend on it.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 00:05

Americans' Vanishing Fear Of Foreign Trade

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Americans' Vanishing Fear Of Foreign Trade

Authored by Lydia Saad via Gallup

Story Highlights

  • Nearly four in five Americans now see trade as mainly an opportunity

  • Fewer than one in five consider trade an economic threat, an all-time low

  • New U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade is favored by both parties

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More Americans than Gallup has seen in a quarter century view foreign trade positively, with 79% calling it "an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports."

Fewer than one in five (18%) -- down by about half from 34% in 2016, and the lowest Gallup has recorded -- now perceive trade as mainly a "threat to the economy from foreign imports." A high of 52% of Americans held this skeptical view of trade during the last recession.

While the percentage of Americans viewing trade as a threat has slipped three percentage points in the past year, the share viewing it positively has risen five points to 79%.

The latest results are from Gallup's 2020 World Affairs survey, conducted Feb. 3-16. Gallup has asked this question periodically since 1992, including annually since 2011.

Americans' perceptions of whether trade is more of a benefit or a hindrance have closely tracked the U.S. economy, particularly since the 2007-2009 recession. As that recession got underway, Americans were highly likely to view trade as a threat because of imports. But as the economy improved and unemployment declined to historical lows, so too have perceptions of trade as an economic threat.

Party Groups Largely Agree on Trade

Trade enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. today, with roughly eight in 10 Democrats (82%) and Republicans (78%), in addition to 76% of independents, seeing it as more of an opportunity for growth than a threat from imports.

Today's views by party reflect marked increases in both Democrats' and Republicans' positive outlook on trade since their low points in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

NAFTA's Replacement Enjoys Broad Support

The new poll was conducted shortly after President Donald Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) -- his long-promised replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- after bipartisan approval of the bill in both houses of Congress over the prior month. Trump and his North American counterparts signed the initial agreement over a year ago, but its implementation has been held up as congressional Democrats negotiated with the Trump administration over environmental and labor provisions.

Americans' views of the USMCA closely mirror their opinions of trade overall. Eight in 10 say the agreement will be good for the U.S., while 13% predict it will be bad.

Reflective of the bipartisan nature of the USMCA's passage, the newly minted trade agreement receives high support from all party groups, including 88% of Republicans, 78% of independents and 73% of Democrats.

This reaction is similar to Americans' initial response to NAFTA after that agreement was proposed during Republican George Bush's presidency in 1991. At that time, 72% of U.S. adults thought it would be good for the U.S., including 71% of both Republicans and independents, and 73% of Democrats. It was only in later years that NAFTA became more controversial, as well as more closely associated with the Democrats, possibly in part due to Trump's declaring the agreement a "disaster" during his 2016 campaign.

Public Not Following USMCA News Story Closely

Americans' attention to news about the USMCA has been on the low side for news stories Gallup has measured since 1991. Twelve percent say they have followed it very closely and another 34% somewhat closely, while 28% say not too closely and 26% have not followed it at all. Republicans (56%) are more likely than Democrats (45%) and independents (39%) to have followed it at least somewhat closely.

The 46% of all Americans following news about the USMCA very or somewhat closely falls short of the 60% average attention score for nearly 230 news items in Gallup's trend. Support for the agreement is a bit higher among those following it closely (88%) than among those following it not too closely (79%) or not at all (67%).

Bottom Line

The large majority of Americans now see trade as mainly an opportunity for economic growth through increased exports rather than a threat from imports. Apart from continued low U.S. unemployment, which raises everyone's comfort level with trade, Republicans and Democrats likely have differing reasons to feel positively about what trade means for the country. Republicans may feel confident that trade is in better hands under Trump, while Democrats may feel that supporting trade is supporting the effectiveness of the trade deals put in place or championed by Trump's Democratic predecessors.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 02/28/2020 - 21:45

Contractors welcome Lords inquiry into IR35 before tax reforms hit private sector but fear it's 'too little, too late'

logicfish Business contractors welcome lords inquiry into ir35 before reforms private sector fear little late All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Seeing as rules roll out in April and freelancer confidence is at a 6-year low

The House of Lords has opened an inquiry into the UK.gov's controversial off-payroll working rules set to come into effect later this year, as confidence in freelance business drops to its lowest recorded levels.…


Hundreds of millions of Broadcom-based cable modems at risk of remote hijacking, eggheads fear

logicfish Security hundreds millions broadcom-based cable modems risk remote hijacking eggheads fear All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
It's got a name and logo so it's serious, you guys

A vulnerability in Broadcom's cable modem firmware has left as many as 200 million home broadband gateways in Europe, and potentially more worldwide, at risk of remote hijackings.…


The '80s "Fear Of Inflation" & "Ignorance" Now - Polar Opposites

zerohedge News fear inflation ignorance polar opposites All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
The '80s "Fear Of Inflation" & "Ignorance" Now - Polar Opposites

Excerpted from a Twitter thread by Garic Moran,

Polar opposites

My first job in the investment field was as an intern at a local brokerage firm in New Orleans in the summer of 1981. At that time the Federal Reserve was a couple of years into targeting money supply.

President Carter had nominated Paul Volcker Jr. as Fed Chairman in August

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of 1979. The dollar's status as the reserve currency of the world was in serious doubt.

U.S. investors convinced that inflation would never come down were dumping Treasury's at any price & panicking into Gold, which peaked in January of 1980 @ $875...

18 months later in the summer of 1981, all traders were transfixed Thursday afternoons with the release of the money supply report.

Interest rates & Gold would move the following morning, rates were floating; the Fed was targeting money supply!

The Fed had already allowed 1 recession in 1980; causing President Carter to lose the election (IMO).

By June of '81, Fed Funds returned to 19%; a 2nd recession began. The greatest bond bull in history also began. As an aside; Michael Steinhardt was leveraged long Treasury's & his partners thought he was crazy.

Peak inflation psychology was crushed by the Fed's targeting of money supply! 3 1/2 years later I started with Smith Barney as a broker selling 30 year BBB Ga Power bonds yielding 13.5%. They were popular as money market rates & bank CD's had plummeted; yet, investors were deeply skeptical of the BBB rating & concerned about the potential of inflation returning.

Interestingly, we were using leads compiled by people who had bought oil & gas limited partnerships in the late '70's., many of which had turned into horrible investments as Chair Volcker had defeated inflation.

Gold mining equities peaked at 8% of the S&P 500 in '81 as investors paid up for miners after the peak in Gold with the fear that inflation would return. Today, Newmont Mining (less than .5%) is only miner in S&P 500.

Today is the polar opposite

U.S. investors have bought $250B worth of bond ETF's, YTD. BBB credit has never been a greater % of bond fund holdings. Corporate debt to GDP is at an all-time-high.

Total Financial Assets to GDP have never been higher.

In 1980 Total Financial Assets to GDP bottomed at 2.7X; today they are valued at twice that level.

This summer Chair Powell said the last 2 recessions were caused by financial crises; he would not allow that again unlike Volcker, he has no tolerance for a recession & appears to be supporting the current President (IMO, just as Chair Yellen did with the previous President).

Investors have responded by bidding stocks to new All-Time-Highs & global bond debt is reported to be over $250T.

Incredibly many hedge fund managers are leveraged long negative yielding bonds; their partners have no fear of inflation (polar opposite).

IMO, we will all look back one day & wonder what Central Banks & investors were thinking when $17T of global bonds carried negative rates. Iit will be obvious that was the peak in disinflationary psychology.

So Chair Powell said he would not allow the greatest financial bubble in the history of the world to pop & cause a recession. By this September repo rates spiked as the supply of Treasury Bills from a run-away deficit soaked up liquidity in the financial system: the Fed responded with a Friday afternoon conference call where they unanimously approved $60B in monthly T-Bill purchases (monetization).

At the same time stress in the shadow banking community increased as leveraged loans default rates began to increase. Venture Capital Funds came under pressure as money losing Unicorns began to fail. Private Equity default rates are rising.

The Fed responded with overnight repo's to provide financing to holders of worthless securities. With real corporate profits down 6%, YOY, stress in the most leveraged corporations in history will continue to grow. The Fed's commitment to keep Financial Conditions will also continue to grow.

Since repogeddon in September, U.S. M2 has accelerated to a 13.8% annual rate.

They have committed to buying T-BIlls into Q2/20, the above chart will continue to rise. If you look closely at the below chart, M2 appears to be in the early stages of going parabolic.

Yet, I am not aware of any trading desks or investors who are transfixed to the weekly money supply reports. Indeed, disinflation psychology is at such extremes, investors continue to pile record capital into bonds that are yielding less than the current inflation rate. They have chosen to ignore that Cleveland Fed Median CPI is rising.

The Federal Reserve is now allowing money supply to grow at whatever rate it takes to stop "deflation", but what they are really trying to stop is the greatest financial bubble (which they created) from popping; they have no tolerance for a recession.

There is no concern for the dollar as the reserve currency of the world or future inflation rates: polar opposites.

This is not investment advice; just an observation from 38 years of following capital markets & human psychology!

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 13:55


Business Finance


The Elite Controllers Fear The Individual And Individual Intelligence

zerohedge News elite controllers fear individual intelligence All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
The Elite Controllers Fear The Individual And Individual Intelligence

Authored by Gary Barnett via LewRockwell.com,

This once great country of America has gone through many changes, and these changes, while implemented by the design of its true rulers, are not understood by the huddled masses that have been taught to accept mediocrity as desired normalcy.

The ruling

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class fully understands that the only way to control people, and to finally control the world, is to stifle individual excellence by creating a society that refuses to think. This has been accomplished through planned conflict, the instilling of fear, the total control of education by the puppet state, by building dependence through public welfare, and by dominating most all positions of power in a myriad of state, corporate, and important intellectual appointments.

“At its root, the logic is that of the Grand Inquisitor, who bitterly assailed Christ for offering people freedom and thus condemning them to misery. The Church must correct the evil work of Christ by offering the miserable mass of humanity the gift they most desire and need: absolute submission. It must “vanquish freedom” so as “to make men happy” and provide the total “community of worship” that they avidly seek. In the modern secular age, this means worship of the state religion, which in the Western democracies incorporates the doctrine of submission to the masters of the system of public subsidy, private profit, called free enterprise. The people must be kept in ignorance, reduced to jingoist incantations, for their own good. And like the Grand Inquisitor, who employs the forces of miracle, mystery, and authority “to conquer and hold captive for ever the conscience of these impotent rebels for their happiness” and to deny them the freedom of choice they so fear and despise, so the “cool observers” must create the “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent oversimplifications” that keep the ignorant and stupid masses disciplined and content.”
~ Noam Chomsky,

This quote by Chomsky is correct in that it describes the current condition of the general populace, but is incorrect in that it claims free enterprise is the problem. There is no free market in this country, and there has not been a free market for many years. We live in what is best described as a fascist oligarchy, one that relies on the premise of state and corporate partnership. Without that dynamic in place, the situation would not be as dire as it is today.

It is important to state that I believe the common people are not incapable of intelligent thought, but have given in to the pressure from their self-appointed overseers, and accepted a subordinate position in society. They have been programmed to suppress their curiosity, and therefore have chosen to hide from responsibility. I refer to this attitude as a fear of freedom, as freedom requires much work, a strong moral base, an active intellect, and constant defense of self-rule. It is difficult to achieve and even more difficult to keep, so most are willing to take the easy way. By doing so, tyranny of the masses is always the resulting societal structure.

In any society such as this, what the common people perceive as freedom is in realty a type of controlled servitude. While this should be easily recognized by most, it is not, and this is mainly due to a fear of the truth. So pretending that the threat does not exist allows the underclass to avoid conflict, but only temporarily. This avoidance is a natural protection measure, but in the case of a slave society, this hiding from responsibility by the people will eventually become deadly.

The monopoly of power that is held by the few over the rest of society is all consuming, and the ultimate control sought by these elites is getting ever closer to fruition. It has been affected over long periods of time through incremental measures. It did not happen overnight, but over centuries, and at this point, the final objectives desired are within sight.

This is the most dangerous time for man as I see it, as the elite design for future economic decision-making for all is to be placed in the hands of so-called chosen experts, with power over the entire world economy. All economic decisions are to be based on a controlled allocation for society, which is simply centrally planned socialism, with a top-down hierarchy of control by the few. This ruling system is known as Technocracy, and when implemented, it will be the end of liberty.

I do not make these assertions lightly, and this is not theory, it is the current state of affairs. Consider the division among the general population, and the hatred amongst the masses. This is not natural, but has been put in place purposely to achieve a particular outcome by those controlling the now ignorant and indoctrinated general population.

The new world order that is desired by the ruling class is getting ever closer to becoming reality. This is not conjecture or some wildly fantastic science fiction, but is a plan that is gaining momentum due to a society consumed by blind indifference.

In past history when a ruling class went too far, and exceeded all the bounds of accepted power, the people arose, and a new system emerged. But can that happen in this country in this time of extreme political change and concentrated power? The creation of conflict that is evident today is a driving force in bringing about a world run by the few. And the common people are already relegated to a position of cogs in the wheel of society, as opposed to thinking for themselves and taking control of their own lives. This phenomenon must change in order for freedom to survive, and a reversal of the power structure must be forthcoming, if Americans are once again to control their own destiny.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 23:45

Four words from Cisco to strike fear into the most hardened techies: Guest account as root

logicfish Security four words from cisco strike fear into most hardened techies guest account root All http://go.theregister.com   Discuss    Share
Now is a very good time to patch your estate

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Google takes sole stand on privacy, rejects new rules for fear of 'authoritarian' review

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Lone 'no' vote nixes renewal of W3C's Privacy Interest Group

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Chin up, CapitalOne: You may not have been the suspected hacker's only victim. Feds fear 30-plus organizations hit

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Prosecutors file papers to keep Paige Thompson behind bars while awaiting trial

The ex-Amazon software engineer accused of stealing the personal information of 106 million people from Capital One's cloud-hosted databases may have hacked dozens of other organizations.…


Amazon Facial Recognition Can Now Detect Fear

zerohedge News amazon facial recognition detect fear All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Amazon this week said that it's Rekognition facial recognition software can now detect a person's fear, according to CNBC

(Photo: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images)

As one of several Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services, Rekognition can be used for facial analysis or sentiment analysis by identifying different expressions and predicting emotions based on images of people's faces. The system uses AI to 'learn' as it compiles data. 

The tech giant revealed updates t

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o the controversial tool on Monday that include improving the accuracy and functionality of its face analysis features such as identifying gender, emotions and age range.

“With this release, we have further improved the accuracy of gender identification,” Amazon said in a blog post. “In addition, we have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Disgusted’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘Fear.’” -CNBC

AI researchers at Microsoft, Kairos, Affectiva and others have spent considerable time and resources trying to read a person's emotions based on their facial expressions, movements, voice and other factors. 

That said, some experts have noted that people react and communicate differently based on culture and situation - which means that similar facial expressions and movements can convey more than one category of emotions. As such, researchers have warned "it is not possible to confidently infer happiness from a smile, anger from a scowl, or sadness from a frown, as much of current technology tries to do when applying what are mistakenly believed to be scientific facts," according to the report. 

CNBC notes that Rekognition has faced criticism for its use by law enforcement agencies, as well as a reported pitch to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and that it has been used by organizations that work with law enforcement. 


Project Fear Panic: Predicted Hard-Brexit Job Losses Across Europe

zerohedge News project fear panic predicted hard-brexit losses across europe All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

As a no-deal, hard Brexit becomes ever more likely, the fearmongering of the establishment has been turned up to '11' as it appears they have little to no control over the process - no matter what they think - now that Johnson (and his cabinet) are in charge.

And on the heels of a surprise contraction in GDP in The UK, Statista's Niall McCarthy notes the latest projections for just how end of the world, a hard Brexit will be... A study by Leuven University in Belgium has predicted that 1.2 million jobs will be lost across Europe 

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in the case of a hard-Brexit.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Unsurprisingly, the study finds that the United Kingdom is expected to be the country that will suffer the most with over 500,000 jobs set to be lost. Germany would also be significantly impacted with just under 292,000 redundancies while France and Italy would lose 141,320 and 139,140 jobs respectively.

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