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Did Bill Gates Just Reveal The Real Reason Behind The Lock-Downs?

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Did Bill Gates Just Reveal The Real Reason Behind The Lock-Downs?

Authored by Rosemary Frei via Off-Guardian.org,



On March 24 Bill Gates gave a highly revelatory 50-minute interview to Chris Anderson. Anderson is the Curator of TED, the non-profit that runs the TED Talks.





The Gates interview is the second in a new series of daily ‘Ted Connects’ interviews focused on COVID-19. The ser

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ies’s website says that:




TED Connects: Community and Hope is a free, live, daily conversation series featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom.”




Anderson asked Gates at 3:49 in the video of the interview – which well over three million views now – about a ‘Perspective’ article by Gates that was published February 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine.




“You wrote that this could be the once-in-a-century pandemic that people have been fearing. Is that how you think of it, still?” queried Anderson.



“Well, it’s awful to say this but, we could have a respiratory virus whose case fatality rate was even higher. If this was something like smallpox, that kills 30 percent of people. So this is horrific,” responded Gates.



“But, in fact, most people even who get the COVID disease are able to survive. So in that, it’s quite infectious – way more infectious than MERS [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome] or SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] were. [But] it’s not as fatal as they were. And yet the disruption we’re seeing in order to knock it down is really completely unprecedented.”




Gates reiterates the dire consequences for the global economy later in the interview.




“We need a clear message about that,” Gates said starting at 26:52.



It is really tragic that the economic effects of this are very dramatic. I mean, nothing like this has ever happened to the economy in our lifetimes. But … bringing the economy back and doing [sic] money, that’s more of a reversible thing than bringing people back to life. So we’re going to take the pain in the economic dimension, huge pain, in order to minimize the pain in disease and death dimension.”




However, this goes directly against the imperative to balance the benefits and costs of the screening, testing and treatment measures for each ailment – as successfully promulgated for years by, for example, the Choosing Wisely campaign – to provide the maximum benefit to individual patients and society as a whole



As noted in an April 1 article in OffGuardian, there may be dramatically more deaths from the economic breakdown than from COVID-19 itself.




“By all accounts, the impact of the response will be great, far-reaching, and long-lasting,”




Kevin Ryan wrote in the article. Ryan estimated that well over two million people will likely die from the sequelae of the lock-downs and other drastic measures to enforce ‘social distancing.’



Millions could potentially die from suicide, drug abuse, lack of medical coverage or treatment, poverty and lack of food access, on top of other predictable social, medical and public-health problems stemming from the response to COVID-19.



Gates and Anderson did not touch on any of those sequelae. Instead, they focused on rapidly ramping up testing and medical interventions for COVID-19.



Gates said at 30:29 in the interview that he and a large team are moving fast to test anti-virals, vaccines and other therapeutics and to bring them to market as quickly as possible.




The Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust with support from Mastercard and now others, created this therapeutic accelerator to really triage out [candidate therapeutics]...



You have hundreds of people showing up and saying, ‘Try this, try that.’ So we look at lab assays, animal models, and so we understand which things should be prioritized for these very quick human trials that need to be done all over the world.”




The accelerator was launched March 10 with approximately $125 million in seed funding. Three days later Gates left Microsoft.



Not long before that, on January 23, Gates’s organization the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced it will fund three programs to develop COVID-19 vaccines. These are the advancing of DNA-vaccine candidates against MERS and Lassa fever, the development of a “‘molecular clamp’ platform” that “enables targeted and rapid vaccine production against multiple viral pathogens,” and the manufacture and Phase 1 clinical study of an mRNA vaccine against COVID.




“The programmes will leverage rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as a new partnership. The aim is to advance nCoV-2019 vaccine candidates into clinical testing as quickly as possible,” according to a news release.




Then at 32:50 in the video, Anderson asked whether the blood serum from people who have recovered from a COVID infection can be used to treat others.




“I heard you mention that one possibility might be treatments from the serum, the blood serum of people who had had the disease and then recovered. So I guess they’re carrying antibodies,” said Anderson.



“Talk a bit about that and how that could work and what it would take to accelerate that.”




[Note that Anderson did not ask Gates about, instead, just letting most of the population – aside from people most vulnerable to serious illness from the infection, who should be quarantined — be exposed to COVID-19 and as a result very likely recover and develop life-long immunity. As at least one expert has observed, “as much as ninety-nine percent of active cases [of COVID-19] in the general population are ‘mild’ and do not require specific medical treatment” to recover.]




“This has always been discussed as, ‘How could you pull that off?’” replied Gates. 



“So people who are recovered, it appears, have very effective antibodies in their blood. So you could go, transfuse them and only take out white cells, the immune cells.”




However, Gates continued, he and his colleagues have dismissed that possibility because it’s “fairly complicated – compared to a drug we can make in high volume, you know, the cost of taking it out and putting it back in probably doesn’t scale as well.”



Then a few seconds later, at 33:45, Gates drops another bomb:




We don’t want to have a lot of recovered people...



To be clear, we’re trying – through the shut-down in the United States – to not get to one percent of the population infected. We’re well below that today, but with exponentiation, you could get past that three million [people or approximately one percent of the U.S. population being infected with COVID-19 and the vast majority recovering]. I believe we will be able to avoid that with having this economic pain.”




It appears that rather than let the population be exposed to the virus and most develop antibodies that give them natural, long-lasting immunity to COVID-19, Gates and his colleagues far prefer to create a vast, hugely expensive, new system of manufacturing and selling billions of test kits, and in parallel very quickly developing and selling billions of antivirals and vaccines.



And then, when the virus comes back again a few months later and most of the population is unexposed and therefore vulnerable, again selling billions of test kits and medical interventions.



Right after that, at 34:14, Gates talked about how he sees things rolling out from there.




Eventually what we’ll have to have is certificates of who’s a recovered person, who’s a vaccinated person...



...Because you don’t want people moving around the world where you’ll have some countries that won’t have it under control, sadly.



You don’t want to completely block off the ability for people to go there and come back and move around.



So eventually there will be this digital immunity proof that will help facilitate the global reopening up.”




[Some time on the afternoon of March 31 the last sentence of this quote was edited out of the official TED video of the interview. Fortunately, recordings of the complete interview are archived elsewhere.]



In the October 2019 Event 201 novel-corona virus-pandemic simulation co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum and a division of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a poll that was part of the simulation said that 65% of people in the U.S. would be eager to take a vaccine for COVID-19, “even if it’s experimental.”



This will be tremendously lucrative.



Vaccines are very big business: this Feb. 23 CNBC article, for example, describes the vaccine market as six times bigger than it was 20 years ago, at more than $35 billion annually today, and providing a $44 return for every $1 invested in the world’s 94 lowest-income countries.



Notably, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which has an endowment of $52 billion – has given more than $2.4 billion to the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2000, according to a 2017 Politico article. (While over the same time frame countries have reduced their contributions to the world body, particularly after the 2008-2009 depression, and now account for less than one-quarter of the WHO’s budget.) The WHO is now coordinating approximately 50 groups around the world that are working on candidate vaccines against COVID-19.



The Politico article quotes a Geneva-based NGO representative as saying Gates is “treated liked a head of state, not only at the WHO, but also at the G20,” and that Gates is one of the most influential people in global health.



Meanwhile, officials around the world are doing their part to make sure everyone social distances, self-isolates and/or stay locked down.



For example, here’s Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen DE Villa, at her and Toronto Mayor John Tory’s March 30 press briefing:




We find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. We should expect some more people will get sick – and for some, sadly, will die.



This is why it is so important to stay at home to reduce virus spread. And to protect front-line workers, healthcare workers and our essential workers, so they can continue to protect us. People shouldn’t have to die, people shouldn’t have to risk death taking care of us because others won’t practice social distancing or physical distancing.”




Yet look how close Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, is sitting to Haley Chazan, Senior Manager, Media Relations, for Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health of Ontario.



This was on Friday, March 27, just before the start of that day’s daily press conference by Dr. Williams and Ontario’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe:





They were sitting two seats, or just a couple of feet, apart. A short time later Chazan got up and stood even closer to Dr. Williams for a little while:





Dr. Williams and Chazan do not live together. Rather, Dr. Williams very likely knows – just as Gates knows – that there is little any reason to worry about being in close contact with other people unless you or they are vulnerable to developing a severe illness from COVID-19. He surely knows, also, that if you contract COVID-19 and you’re otherwise healthy you’ll very likely have few symptoms, if any, and recover quickly. And that this exposure in fact is beneficial because in the process you will develop antibodies to the virus and have natural, long-lasting immunity to it.



Yet in the March 27 press conference, just like all the others he has participated in during the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Williams lectured the public about maintaining social distancing. He told people not to go outside on the coming weekend to enjoy the nice weather because, otherwise, they might walk past someone and not be two metres apart.



Dr. Williams is among the large cadre of powerful officials who’ve crashed the global economy by forcing tens of millions of small- and medium-sized businesses to close in the name of the need for forced, severe, social distancing and lock-downs.



They’ve shattered society, suspended most civil liberties and prohibited most activities and connections that kept people mentally and physically healthy. At the same time the officials have prioritized COVID-19 care over everything else and, as a result, severely limited billions of people’s access to life-saving healthcare services ranging from acquiring medication and blood transfusions to having organ transplants and cancer surgeries.



*  *  *



Rosemary Frei has an MSc in molecular biology from a faculty of medicine and was a freelance medical journalist for 22 years. She is now an independent investigative journalist in Canada. You can find her recent detailed investigative analysis of COVID here and follow her on Twitter.




Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 23:40
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London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

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Flight risk remains, says judge as she refuses bail attempt

Julian Assange has failed to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to get out of prison – after a judge ruled that his previous antics made him a flight risk.…

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They Killed King For The Same Reason They Killed Kennedy

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They Killed King For The Same Reason They Killed Kennedy

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,



Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation, we shouldn’t forget that the U.S. national-security establishment — specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI — was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover

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of the United States.



This occurred during the Cold War, when Americans were made to believe that there was a gigantic international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world.





The conspiracy, they said, was centered in Moscow, Russia — yes, that Russia!



That was, in fact, the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state type of governmental structure after the end of World War II. The argument was that a limited-government republic type of governmental structure, which was the nation’s founding governmental system, was insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists in what was being called a “Cold War,” it would be necessary for the federal government, they said, to become a national-security state so that it could wield the same type of sordid, dark-side, totalitarian-like practices that the communists themselves wielded and exercised.



The conviction that the communists were coming to get us became so predominant, primarily through official propaganda and indoctrination, especially in the nation’s public (i.e., government) schools, that the matter evolved into mass paranoia. Millions of Americans became convinced that there were communists everywhere. Americans were exhorted to keep a careful watch on everyone else, including their neighbors, and report any suspicious activity, much as Americans today are exhorted to do the same thing with respect to terrorists.



Some Americans would even look under their beds for communists. Others searched for communists in Congress and within the federal bureaucracies, even the Army, and Hollywood as well. One rightwing group became convinced that even President Eisenhower was an agent of the Soviet government.



In the midst of all this national paranoia, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA became convinced that King was a communist agent. When King began criticizing U.S. interventionism in Vietnam, that solidified their belief that he was a communist agent. After all, they maintained, wouldn’t any true-blue American patriot rally to his government in time of war, not criticize or condemn it? Only a communist, they believed, would oppose his government when it was committed to killing communists in Vietnam.



Moreover, when King began advocating for civil rights, especially in the South, that constituted additional evidence, as far as the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon were concerned, that he was, in fact, a communist agent, one whose mission was to foment civil strife in America as a prelude to a communist takeover of America. How else to explain why a black man would be fighting for equal rights for blacks in nation that purported to be free?



The website kingcenter.org points out:




After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict saying, “There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband Martin Luther King Jr…. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal governments were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband.”




And why not? Isn’t it the duty of the U.S. national-security state to eradicate threats to national security? What bigger threat to national security than a person who is supposedly serving as an agent for the communists and also as a spearhead for an international communist conspiracy to take over the United States?



State-sponsored assassinations to protect national security were among the dark-side practices that began to be utilized after the federal government was converted into a national-security state. As early as 1953, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual that trained its agents in the art of assassination and, equally important, in the art of concealing the CIA’s role in state-sponsored assassinations.



In 1954, the CIA targeted the democratically elected president of Guatemala for assassination because he was reaching out to Russia in a spirt of peace, friendship, and mutual co-existence. In 1960-61, the CIA conspired to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the head of the Congo because he was perceived to be a threat to U.S. national security. In the early 1960s, the CIA , in partnership with the Mafia, the world’s premier criminal organization, conspired to assassinate Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba, a country that never attacked or invaded the United States. In 1973, the U.S. national-security state orchestrated a coup in Chile, where its counterparts in the Chilean national-security establishment conspired to assassinate the democratically elected president of the country, Salvador Allende, by firing missiles at his position in the national palace.



The mountain of circumstantial evidence that has accumulated since November 1963 has established that foreign officials weren’t the only ones who got targeted as threats to national security. As James W. Douglas documents so well in his remarkable and profound book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, the U.S. national-security establishment also targeted President John F. Kennedy for a state-sponsored assassination as well.



Why did they target Kennedy?



For the same reason they targeted all those other people for assassination — they concluded that Kennedy had become a grave threat to national security and, they believed, it was their job to eliminate threats to national security.



After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy achieved a breakthrough that enabled him to recognize that the Cold War was just one great big racket for the national-security establishment and its army of “defense” contractors and sub-contractors.



That’s when JFK announced an end to the Cold War and began reaching out to the Soviets and the Cubans in a spirit of peace, friendship, and mutual coexistence. Kennedy’s Peace Speech at American University on June 10, 1963, where he announced his intent to end the Cold War and normalize relations with the communist world, sealed President Kennedy’s fate. That’s also what had sealed the fate of President Arbenz in Guatemala and what would seal the fate of President Allende in Chile. (See FFF’s bestselling book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s. Also see FFF’s bestselling book The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger and his recently published The Kennedy Autopsy 2.”)



But what many people often forget is that one day after his Peace Speech at American University, Kennedy delivered a major televised address to the nation defending the civil rights movement, the movement that King was leading.



What better proof of a threat to national security than that — reaching out to the communist world in peace and friendship and then, one day later, defending a movement that the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced was a spearhead for the communist takeover of the United States?



The loss of both Kennedy and King constituted conclusive confirmation that the worst mistake in U.S. history was to abandon a limited-government republic type of governmental system in favor of a totalitarian governmental structure known as a national-security state. A free nation does not fight communism with communist tactics and an omnipotent government. A free nation fights communism with freedom and limited government.





There is no doubt what both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought about a type of totalitarian-like governmental structure that has led our nation in the direction of state-sponsored assassinations, torture, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, alliances with dictatorial regimes, sanctions, embargoes, regime-change operations, and massive death, suffering, and destruction, not to mention the loss of liberty and privacy here at home.




Tyler Durden

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 23:45


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"Because You'd Be In Jail!" - The Real Reason Democrats Are Pushing Trump Impeachment?

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"Because You'd Be In Jail!" - The Real Reason Democrats Are Pushing Trump Impeachment?

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,



In the time-honored tradition of Machiavellian statecraft, all of the charges being leveled against Donald Trump to remove him from office – namely, ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of congress’ –are essentially the same things the Democratic Party has been guilty of for nearly h

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alf a decade: abusing their powers in a non-stop attack on the executive branch. Is the reason because they desperately need a ‘get out of jail free’ card?





Due to the non-stop action in Washington of late, few believe that the present state of affairs between the Democrats and Donald Trump are exclusively due to a telephone call between the US leader and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That is only scratching the surface of a story that is practically boundless.



Back in April 2016, before Trump had become the Republican presidential nominee, talk of impeachment was already in the air.




“Donald Trump isn’t even the Republican nominee yet,” wrote Darren Samuelsohn in Politico.



Yet impeachment, he noted, is “already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress.”




The timing of Samuelsohn’s article is not a little astonishing given what the Department of Justice (DOJ) had discovered just one month earlier.



In March 2016, the DOJ found that “the FBI had been employing outside contractors who had access to raw Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data, and retained that access after their work for the FBI was completed,” as Jeff Carlson reported in The Epoch Times.



That sort of foreign access to sensitive data is highly improper and was the result of “deliberate decision-making,” according to the findings of an April 2017 FISA court ruling (footnote 69).



On April 18, 2016, then-National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Mike Rogers directed the NSA’s Office of Compliance to terminate all FBI outside-contractor access. Later, on Oct. 21, 2016, the FBI and the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD), and despite they were aware of Rogers’s actions, moved ahead anyways with a request for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The request was approved by the FISA court, which, apparently, was still in the dark about the violations.



On Oct. 26, following approval of the warrant against Page, Rogers went to the FISA court to inform them of the FBI’s non-compliance with the rules. Was it just a coincidence that at exactly this time, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter were suddenly calling for Roger’s removal? The request was eventually rejected. The next month, in mid-November 2016 Rogers, without first notifying his superiors, flew to New York where he had a private meeting with Trump at Trump Towers.



According to the New York Times, the meeting – the details of which were never publicly divulged, but may be guessed at – “caused consternation at senior levels of the administration.”



Democratic obstruction of justice?

Then CIA Director John Brennan, dismayed about a few meetings Trump officials had with the Russians, helped to kick-start the FBI investigation over ‘Russian collusion.’ Notably, these Trump-Russia meetings occurred in December 2016, as the incoming administration was in the difficult transition period to enter the White House. The Democrats made sure they made that transition as ugly as possible.



Although it is perfectly normal for an incoming government to meet with foreign heads of state at this critical juncture, a meeting at Trump Tower between Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security adviser and former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, was portrayed as some kind of cloak and dagger scene borrowed from a  John le Carré thriller.



Brennan questioning the motives behind high-level meetings between the Trump team and some Russians is strange given that the lame duck Obama administration was in the process of redialing US-Russia relations back to the Cold War days, all based on the debunked claim that Moscow handed Trump the White House on a silver platter.



In late December 2016, after Trump had already won the election, Obama slapped Russia with punitive sanctions, expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed down two Russian facilities. Since part of Trump’s campaign platform was to mend relations with Moscow, would it not seem logical that the incoming administration would be in damage-control, doing whatever necessary to prevent relations between the world’s premier nuclear powers from degrading even more?



So if it wasn’t ‘Russian collusion’ that motivated the Democrats into action, what was it?



From Benghazi to Seth Rich

Here we must pause and remind ourselves about the unenviable situation regarding Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, who was being grilled daily over her use of a private computer to communicate sensitive documents via email. In all likelihood, the incident would have dropped from the radar had it not been for the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks on a US compound.



In the course of a House Select Committee investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attacks, which resulted in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US personnel, Clinton handed over some 30,000 emails, while reportedly deleting 32,000 deemed to be of a “personal nature”. Those emails remain unaccounted for to this day.




By March 2015, even the traditionally tepid media was baring its baby fangs, relentlessly pursuing Clinton over the email question. Since Clinton never made a secret of her presidential ambitions, even political allies were piling on. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), for example, said it’s time for Clinton “to step up” and explain herself, adding that “silence is going to hurt her.”



On July 24, 2015, The New York Times published a front-page story with the headline “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Clinton’s Use of Email.” Later, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post candidly summed up Clinton’s rapidly deteriorating status with elections fast approaching: “Democrats still show no sign they are willing to abandon Clinton. Instead, they seem to be heading into the 2016 election with a deeply flawed candidate schlepping around plenty of baggage — the details of which are not yet known.”



Moving into 2016, things began to look increasingly complicated for the Democratic front-runner. On March 16, 2016, WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive for over 30 thousand emails and attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State. The 50,547-page treasure trove spans the dates from June 30, 2010 to August 12, 2014.



In May, about one month after Clinton had officially announced her candidacy for the US presidency, the State Department’s inspector general released an 83-page report that was highly critical of Clinton’s email practices, concluding that Clinton failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private server.



“At a minimum,” the report determined, “Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”



The following month brought more bad news for Clinton and her presidential hopes after it was reported that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had a 30-minute tête-à-tête with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, whose department was leading the Clinton investigations, on the tarmac at Phoenix International Airport. Lynch said Clinton decided to pay her an impromptu visit where the two discussed “his grandchildren and his travels and things like that.” Republicans, however, certainly weren’t buying the story as the encounter came as the FBI was preparing to file its recommendation to the Justice Department.



The summer of 2016, however, was just heating up.




Hack versus Leak?

On the early morning of July 10, Seth Rich, the director of voter expansion for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was gunned down on the street in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC. Rich’s murder, said to be the result of a botched robbery, bucked the homicide trend in the area for that particular period; murders rates for the first six months of 2016 were down about 50 percent from the same period in the previous year.



In any case, the story gets much stranger. Just five days earlier, on July 5th, the computers at the DNC were compromised, purportedly by an online persona with the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” at the behest of Russian intelligence. This is where the story of “Russian hacking” first gained popularity. Not everyone, however, was buying the explanation.



In July 2017, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, who call themselves Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent a memo to President Trump that challenged a January intelligence assessment that expressed “high confidence” that the Russians had organized an “influence campaign” to harm Hillary Clinton’s “electability,” as if she wasn’t capable of that without Kremlin support.



“Forensic studies of ‘Russian hacking’ into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer,” the memo states (The memo’s conclusions were based on analyses of metadata provided by the online persona Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for the alleged hack). “Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack.”



In other words, according to VIPS, the compromise of the DNC computers was the result of an internal leak, not an external hack.



At this point, however, it needs mentioned that the VIPS memo has sparked dissenting views among its members. Several analysts within the group have spoken out against its findings, and that internal debate can be read here. Thus, it would seem there is no ‘smoking gun,’ as of yet, to prove that the DNC was not hacked by an external entity. At the same time, the murder of Seth Rich continues to remain an unsolved “botched robbery,” according to investigators. Meanwhile, the one person who may hold the key to the mystery, Julian Assange, is said to be withering away Belmarsh Prison, a high-security London jail, where he is awaiting a February court hearing that will decide whether he will be extradited to the United States where he 18 charges.



Here is a question to ponder: If you were Julian Assange, and you knew you were going to be extradited to the United States, who would you rather be the sitting president in charge of your fate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Think twice before answering.



“Because you’d be in jail”

On October 9, 2016, in the second televised presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump accused his Democratic opponent of deleting 33,000 emails, while adding that he would get a “special prosecutor and we’re going to look into it…” To this, Clinton said “it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” to which Trump deadpanned, without missing a beat, “because you’d be in jail.”



Now if that remark didn’t get the attention of high-ranking Democratic officials, perhaps Trump’s comments at a Virginia rally days later, when he promised to “drain the swamp,” made folks sit up and take notice.





At this point the leaks, hacks and everything in between were already coming fast and furious. On October 7, John Podesta, Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, had his personal Gmail account hacked, thereby releasing a torrent of inside secrets, including how Donna Brazile, then a CNN commentator, had fed Clinton debate questions. But of course the crimes did not matter to the mendacious media, only the identity of the alleged messenger, which of course was ‘Russia.’



By now, the only thing more incredible than the dirt being produced on Clinton was the fact that she was still in the presidential race, and even slated to win by a wide margin. But perhaps her biggest setback came when authorities, investigating Anthony Weiner’s abused laptop into illicit text messages he sent to a 15-year-old girl, stumbled upon thousands of email messages from Hillary Clinton.




Now Comey had to backpedal on his conclusion in July that although Clinton was “extremely careless” in her use of her electronic devices, no criminal charges would be forthcoming. He announced an 11th hour investigation, just days before the election. Although Clinton was also cleared in this case, observers never forgave Comey for his actions, arguing they cost Clinton the White House.



Now James Comey is back in the spotlight as one of the main characters in the Barr-Durham investigation, which is examining largely out of the spotlight the origins of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory that dogged the White House for four long years.



In early December, Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, released the 400-page IG report that revealed a long list of omissions, mistakes and inconsistencies in the FBI’s applications for FISA warrants to conduct surveillance on Carter Page. Although the report was damning, both Barr and Durham noted it did not go far enough because Horowitz did not have the access that Durham has to intelligence agency sources, as well as overseas contacts that Barr provided to him.



With AG report due for release in early spring, needless to say some Democrats are very nervous as to its finding. So nervous, in fact, that they might just be willing to go to the extreme of removing a sitting president to avoid its conclusions.



Whatever the verdict, 2020 promises to be one very interesting year.




Tyler Durden

Sun, 12/29/2019 - 23:30


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Here's The Real Reason Why Hong Kong Authorities Are Desperate To Regain Control Of University

zerohedge News heres real reason hong kong authorities desperate regain control university All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Here's The Real Reason Why Hong Kong Authorities Are Desperate To Regain Control Of University

The last few days have seen scenes of utter carnage appearing on social media round the world as Hong Kong authorities (with the 'generous support' of the PLA) have fought with students at various universities.





However, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was apparently the main focus of the police, and became

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a literal battleground.




Why?





As The Epoch Times' Tang Jingyuan points out, the answer may be simpler (and more ominous) than many suspect. Many CUHK students suspect that the real goal of the police is to control the internet, as Hong Kong’s internet center which handles 99 percent of the city’s internet traffic is located inside the CUHK campus.



The police fired multiple rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bag rounds and a water cannon on Nov. 12. Students retaliated by throwing bricks and petrol bombs at the police. At least 60 students were injured, several were hit in the head. A reporter at the scene was also hit by rubber bullets in the head and lost consciousness, according to local media.



Even CUHK Vice Chancellor Rocky Tuan, who tried to negotiate with the police as a peacemaker, was among those affected by tear gas.



Many are wondering why the Hong Kong police focused on CUHK when almost all universities in Hong Kong are involved in anti-government protests. What’s more, the police seemed to be very determined to take control of the campus.



Is there anything unique and special about CUHK? The answer is yes. CUHK is the hosting university of Hong Kong Internet eXchange (HKIX)—the internet exchange center of Hong Kong.



HKIX is a cooperative project initiated by the Information Technology Services Centre of CUHK, providing service free of charge. It is now operated by HKIX Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CUHK Foundation.



The function of HKIX is to connect internet service providers (ISPs) in Hong Kong so that intra-Hong Kong traffic can be exchanged locally without routing through the United States or any other country. About 99 percent of Hong Kong’s internet traffic goes through the center. According to Cloudflare, HKIX is the largest internet exchange point in Asia.



Many CUHK students suspect that the police is actually going after HKIX, because taking control of HKIX means Beijing can either shut down the internet or monitor internet communications.



Based on the current situation, Hong Kong authorities are more likely to control the internet than shutting it down. In theory, every single message going through the HKIX center can be intercepted and monitored if the police gain access to the center.



Needless to say, the Chinese communist regime and their Hong Kong puppet rulers indeed have the motivation to control and monitor the internet. For China’s top leaders, quickly quelling the protest in Hong Kong is now a number one political task, with a higher priority than the U.S.-China trade negotiations.




Tyler Durden

Sun, 11/17/2019 - 20:00


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War Conflict
Technology Internet

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Was There Another Reason For Electricity Shutdowns In California?

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Was There Another Reason For Electricity Shutdowns In California?

Authored by Richard Trzupek via The Epoch Times,



According to the official, widely reported story, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut down substantial portions of its electric transmission system in northern California as a precautionary measure.



Citing high wind speeds they described as “historic,” the utility claims that if they didn’t

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turn off the grid, wind-caused damage to their infrastructure could start more wildfires in the area.



Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps. This tale presumes that the folks who designed and maintain PG&E’s transmission system are unaware of or ignored the need to design it to withstand severe weather events, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) allowed the utility to do so.



Ignorance and incompetence happens, to be sure, but there’s much about this story that doesn’t smell right—and it’s disappointing that most journalists and elected officials are apparently accepting it without question.



Take, for example, this statement from a Fox News story about the Kincade Fires: “A PG&E meteorologist said it’s ‘likely that many trees will fall, branches will break,’ which could damage utility infrastructure and start a fire.”



Did you ever notice how utilities cut wide swaths of trees away when transmission lines pass through forests? There’s a reason for that: When trees fall and branches break the grid can still function.



So, if badly designed and poorly maintained infrastructure is not the reason PG&E cut power to millions of Californians, what might have prompted them to do so? Could it be that PG&E’s heavy reliance on renewable energy means they don’t have the power to send when an “historic” weather event occurs?





Wind Speed Limits

The two most popular forms of renewable energy come with operating limitations. With solar power the constraint is obvious: the availability of sunlight. One does not generate solar power at night and energy generation drops off with increasing degrees of cloud cover during the day.



The main operating constraint of wind power is, of course, wind speed. At the low end of the scale, you need about a 6 or 7 mph wind to get a turbine moving. This is called the “cut-in speed.” To generate maximum power, about a 30 mph wind is typically required. But, if the wind speed is too high, the wind turbine will shut down. This is called the “cut-out speed,” and it’s about 55 mph for most modern wind turbines.



It may seem odd that wind turbines have a cut-out speed, but there’s a very good reason for it. Each wind turbine rotor is connected to an electric generator housed in the turbine nacelle. The connection is made through a gearbox that is sized to turn the generator at the precise speed required to produce 60 Hertz AC power.



The blades of the wind turbine are airfoils, just like the wings of an airplane. Adjusting the pitch (angle) of the blades allows the rotor to maintain constant speed, which in turn allows the generator to maintain the constant speed it needs to safely deliver power to the grid. However, there’s a limit to blade pitch adjustment. When the wind is blowing so hard that pitch adjustment is no longer possible, the turbine shuts down. That’s the cut-out speed.



Now consider how California’s power generation profile has changed. According to Energy Information Administration data, the state generated 74.3 percent of its electricity from traditional sources—fossil fuels and nuclear—in 2001. Hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass-generated power accounted for most of the remaining 25.7 percent, with wind and solar providing only 1.98 percent of the total.



By 2018, the state’s renewable portfolio had jumped to 43.8 percent of total generation, with wind and solar now accounting for 17.9 percent of total generation. That’s a lot of power to depend on from inherently unreliable sources.



Thus, it would not be at all surprising to learn that PG&E didn’t stop delivering power out of fear of starting fires, but because it knew it wouldn’t have power to deliver once high winds shut down all those wind turbines.




Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/02/2019 - 22:30


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Environment

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Was There Another Reason For Electricity Shutdowns In California?

zerohedge News there another reason electricity shutdowns california All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Was There Another Reason For Electricity Shutdowns In California?

Authored by Richard Trzupek via The Epoch Times,



According to the official, widely reported story, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut down substantial portions of its electric transmission system in northern California as a precautionary measure.



Citing high wind speeds they described as “historic,” the utility claims that if they didn’t

Read More
turn off the grid, wind-caused damage to their infrastructure could start more wildfires in the area.



Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps. This tale presumes that the folks who designed and maintain PG&E’s transmission system are unaware of or ignored the need to design it to withstand severe weather events, and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) allowed the utility to do so.



Ignorance and incompetence happens, to be sure, but there’s much about this story that doesn’t smell right—and it’s disappointing that most journalists and elected officials are apparently accepting it without question.



Take, for example, this statement from a Fox News story about the Kincade Fires: “A PG&E meteorologist said it’s ‘likely that many trees will fall, branches will break,’ which could damage utility infrastructure and start a fire.”



Did you ever notice how utilities cut wide swaths of trees away when transmission lines pass through forests? There’s a reason for that: When trees fall and branches break the grid can still function.



So, if badly designed and poorly maintained infrastructure is not the reason PG&E cut power to millions of Californians, what might have prompted them to do so? Could it be that PG&E’s heavy reliance on renewable energy means they don’t have the power to send when an “historic” weather event occurs?





Wind Speed Limits

The two most popular forms of renewable energy come with operating limitations. With solar power the constraint is obvious: the availability of sunlight. One does not generate solar power at night and energy generation drops off with increasing degrees of cloud cover during the day.



The main operating constraint of wind power is, of course, wind speed. At the low end of the scale, you need about a 6 or 7 mph wind to get a turbine moving. This is called the “cut-in speed.” To generate maximum power, about a 30 mph wind is typically required. But, if the wind speed is too high, the wind turbine will shut down. This is called the “cut-out speed,” and it’s about 55 mph for most modern wind turbines.



It may seem odd that wind turbines have a cut-out speed, but there’s a very good reason for it. Each wind turbine rotor is connected to an electric generator housed in the turbine nacelle. The connection is made through a gearbox that is sized to turn the generator at the precise speed required to produce 60 Hertz AC power.



The blades of the wind turbine are airfoils, just like the wings of an airplane. Adjusting the pitch (angle) of the blades allows the rotor to maintain constant speed, which in turn allows the generator to maintain the constant speed it needs to safely deliver power to the grid. However, there’s a limit to blade pitch adjustment. When the wind is blowing so hard that pitch adjustment is no longer possible, the turbine shuts down. That’s the cut-out speed.



Now consider how California’s power generation profile has changed. According to Energy Information Administration data, the state generated 74.3 percent of its electricity from traditional sources—fossil fuels and nuclear—in 2001. Hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass-generated power accounted for most of the remaining 25.7 percent, with wind and solar providing only 1.98 percent of the total.



By 2018, the state’s renewable portfolio had jumped to 43.8 percent of total generation, with wind and solar now accounting for 17.9 percent of total generation. That’s a lot of power to depend on from inherently unreliable sources.



Thus, it would not be at all surprising to learn that PG&E didn’t stop delivering power out of fear of starting fires, but because it knew it wouldn’t have power to deliver once high winds shut down all those wind turbines.




Tyler Durden

Sat, 11/02/2019 - 22:30


Tags

Environment

206
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Here Is The Real Reason The Fed Restarted QE

zerohedge News here real reason restarted All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Here Is The Real Reason The Fed Restarted QE

In the past month, a feud has erupted in the financial media and across capital markets between defenders of the Fed, who praise the return of its unprecedented easing in the form of $60BN in monthly T-Bill purchases, by refusing to call it by its real name, and instead the Fed's fanclub calls it "not QE" (just so it doesn't appear that ten years after the Fed first launched QE, we are back to square one), and

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those who happen to be intellectually honest, and call the largest permanent expansion in the Fed's balance sheet, meant to ease financial conditions and boost liquidity across the financial sector, for what it is: QE.



It is this same "not QE" that has boosted the Fed's balance sheet by $200BN in one month, the fastest rate of increase since the financial crisis.





Yet while the Fed's desire to purchase Bills instead of coupon Treasuries was dictated by its superficial desire to distinguish the current "Not QE" from previous "True QEs", even though both tends to inject the same amount of liquidity into the system, which as a reminder is what the Fed's bailout role in the past 11 years has all been about, and only true Fed sycophants are unable to call a spade a spade, the Fed's choice raises a rather thorny question of where the Fed will source those T-bills, because as JPMorgan calculates, the net supply of Bills in 4Q19 and 1Q20 is around $115-$130bn while JPM's economists estimate that at least $200-$250bn of purchases could be required to return reserves to around $1.5tr where they were in early September this year.



That means the Fed might need to source purchases from money-market funds and foreign central banks - which paradoxically would serve to further drain liquidity out of the system. As such, given the limited alternatives, JPM's Nikolas Panagirtzoglou believes that the Fed may be reluctant to do so and if they do, some may chose to leave cash in the Fed’s ON RRP facility which would represent a drain on reserves and make T-bills a less efficient vehicle for reserve creation.



Another key question: what if just returning to the previous reserve baseline is not sufficient, and the Fed needs to return reserves to a higher level than $1.5tr? Indeed, with close to $200bn of reserves injected via overnight and term repos for much of this week...





... helping to return reserves to around $1.5tr on a temporary basis from less than $1.4tr in mid-September, money markets appear especially vulnerable to volatility.



Indeed, in a week when the Treasury’s General Account with the Fed increased by $60bn, depleting reserves, both Fed Funds and the broader OBFR rates median rates rose again to 10bp above IOER on Tuesday Oct 15th after having settled at around 3bp above IOER and at IOER respectively after the quarter-end hurdle had been cleared. And the SOFR median rate rose to 20bp above IOER after having settled at 2-5bp above IOER after the quarter-end effects had settled.



There is another reason why the Fed's stated intention to only buy Bills will soon have to be adjusted to incorporate short-maturity (at first) Treasury bonds, and it has to do with the total open market purchases planned by the Fed. If the Fed would need to return reserves to a higher level, say to around the $1.7tr level in Dec 2018 when the 75th percentile of the Fed funds market began to persistently print above IOER, this could imply a further $200bn of purchases. JPM finds that "in principle" this could be completed in 2Q20 if the Fed were to sustain T-bill purchases at a pace of $60bn per month, which it set as the initial pace, but it would still imply a longer period of reserves being at a relatively tight level than if $1.5tr would be a sustainable level. But that would assume purchases at a continuous (rather than initial) pace of $60bn/m pace are sustainable, and ignores the prospect that purchases from MMFs and foreign central banks could prompt them leaving cash in the Fed’s ON RRP facility thereby draining some of the intended reserve injection.



Currently, close to $300bn of cash has been deposited with the Fed via the ON RRP facility, primarily by foreign RRP counterparties for whom the nearly $300bn is close to its recent highs. By contrast, other, largely domestic,  counterparties’ use of the ON RRP facility has collapsed to just $2bn, well below a high of nearly $450bn in late 2015, as institutions have a far more pressing needs for cash (liquidity) than collateral securities ("collateral shortage" was the big story in 2014-2017, just ask Zoltan Pozsar).





If T-bill purchases start to put upward pressure on ON RRP facility use, the Fed may eventually need to extend purchases to shorter-maturity Treasury bonds.



How and when the Fed shifts the composition of its purchases, however, is of secondary importance; a far more important question is why precisely did the Fed feel compelled to start monetizing debt, whether one calls it QE or not. The simple answer is that in a world in which all central bank-sourced liquidity is now fungible, JPM has found that without the Fed buying Treasuries across the curve, the ECB’s QE on its own would be unlikely to offset the negative G4 central bank duration absorption impulse from the BoJ’s efforts to re-steepen its domestic yield curve.



And that, in one sentence, is what really matters: not whether the Fed's monetization of debt is called QE or 'not QE' (spoiler alert: it is QE as it injects liquidity, impacts rates, eases financial conditions and supports risk assets), but that without the Fed's intervention, the global central bank balance sheet would shrink again, which if left unchecked would promptly lead to a market crash, the same way the markets crashed in late 2018 when QT was on "autopilot."



JPM's Nikolas Panagirtzoglou reaches that stark conclusion by revisiting his previous analysis that estimated the proportion duration that central banks removed from the market by adjusting both central bank holdings and outstanding government bonds to 10-year equivalent terms; back then, he assumed that instead of Bills, the Fed would purchase short-dated Treasuries. So, now that we know that the Fed will, for at least a few months, be buying Bills (before eventually shifting to shorter maturity bonds), the updated projections for the Fed is shown with the dashed lines (while the original one is the solid line).



In other words, rather than rising gradually to reverse some of the reduction in duration absorption in recent years, the duration absorption would merely stabilize around current levels.



Of course, the Fed's asset holdings impact the global central bank balance shee: the dashed red line shows the impact of the Fed going down the path of T-bill purchases on aggregate G4 central bank duration absorption, which suggests G4 duration absorption is set to continue declining roughly in line with its pace thus far this year. In other words, the ECB’s net QE purchases alone look set to be insufficient to offset the impact of the BoJ’s effort to steepen its domestic curve. It is also the reason why the Fed has initially started monetizing Bills, and why in the very near future, the Fed will be compelled to expanding the universe of eligible assets to regular Treasuries.





What are the conclusions? First, the Fed's choice of Bills to monetize leaves questions over whether the Fed will be able to source sufficient T-bills to facilitate a permanent increase in its reserves, particularly if it has to increase them significantly above current levels, and whether trying to do so would risk offsetting reserve drainage through increased use of its ON RRP facility.



But the top finding is that as a result of the BOJ's quiet tapering of its own QE...





... as Japan struggles to re-steepen its yield curve and which on October 1 caused a marketwide margin call, and sent shockwaves around the globe, the ECB’s QE on its own would be unlikely to offset the negative G4 central bank duration

absorption impulse from the BoJ. As such, the Fed had to step in, if only to keep the G4 central bank balance sheet from shrinking. And that - not whether it's called QE or something else - is what matters, as that's the real reason the Fed had to step in. As a result, as Bank of America's Michael Hartnett recently noted, the fix is in again, and after going nowhere for 2 years, the central banks' balance sheet is back to $16.1 trillion and is expected to hit $18 trillion in roughly two years.





Whatever you do, though, just don't call the coming surge in the global central bank balance sheet to a new all time highs, QE.




Tyler Durden

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 14:10


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Business Finance

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"Saving Ammunition" Is Not A Reason To Avoid Rate Cuts

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"Saving Ammunition" Is Not A Reason To Avoid Rate Cuts

Submitted by Eric Hickman, president of Kessler Investment Advisors, Inc., an advisory firm located in Denver, Colorado specializing in U.S. Treasury bonds.



It isn’t just how much the Fed cuts rates that matters; it is how soon they do it.



You don’t have to go far to hear calls for the Federal Reserve to not cut rates because they need to, “save ammunition

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” for when things are really bad. This imagines that the rate cut itself is the countervailing force against economic weakness



But it doesn’t work that way.



Outside of a questionable psychological effect, the change in rate isn’t important, it is the level of the rate and for how long it persists. In fact, the Fed’s stimulative effect is more potent the sooner it is used, because lowering interest rates sooner will cost borrowers less than lowering them later.



In order to illustrate this, consider two scenarios. In the first scenario, “fire the ammunition,” the Fed cuts 0.25% at each of the next seven meetings to get down to the prior Fed low – a range of 0-0.25%. In the second scenario, “save the ammunition,” the Fed doesn’t cut rates again until March of next year and subsequently lowers 50 basis points three times, then 25 basis points once.



In both scenarios, the Fed has lowered to 0.125% by July of next year. These scenarios shouldn’t be construed as predictions, but rather were arranged to illustrate the concept. See the chart below for a graphical representation. For simplicity, I considered the Fed Funds target rate to be the mid-point of the target range.



If you compare the average interest rate over the next year between the two, it doesn’t take much imagination to guess that the, “fire the ammunition” scenario costs a borrower less than the, “save the ammunition” scenario. And it isn’t a trivial amount. It would cost 0.28% less on average for the whole year.





And so, lowering earlier could generate more than a full rate cut worth of stimulus. The stimulating effect of rate cuts is not just how much the Fed cuts, but also how soon they do them. There are reasons left to be cautious in cutting rates, but saving ammunition isn’t one of them.




Tyler Durden

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 21:50


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Business Finance

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Here's The Real Reason Why America's Seniors Won't Retire

zerohedge News heres real reason americas seniors wont retire All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share
Here's The Real Reason Why America's Seniors Won't Retire

Forget about millennials working until they die. As we've repeatedly reported, there's a far more pressing retirement crisis gripping America. And it's the unprecedented number of contemporary workers of retirement age who are putting it off. Some are still reeling from losses during the financial crisis. Others never had enough socked away to begin with, and didn't start paying attention

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to their situation until it was too late.





Seniors have many reasons for lingering in the workforce, either part-time or full-time, until after the age of 66 (the age at which American citizens can start receiving full Social Security benefits). In an attempt to learn more about the reasons seniors often delay retirement, Provision Living commissioned a study asking seniors about why they're delaying retirement.



As it turns out, overwhelmingly, seniors decide to stay in the workforce after being eligible for social security for financial reasons. Though some claim they're still working for personal reasons like boredom or because they still enjoy working. According to the survey, it's a 60% to 40% split.





For those who are still working, a slight majority say they're only working part-time, vs. full time. The average age of switching from full- to part-time? 61.





Out of the seniors who are still working, a whopping 47% said they wish they were retired. Another 33% said they were happy still working, while another 20% said they're happy to work, but would like fewer hours.





Much more shocking is the average retirement savings of seniors who are still working: $133,108 - far less than the roughly $2 million people of retirement age are supposed to have socked away to ensure they won't run out of money at the end of their life. And that's for college-educated retirees.



Average retirement savings for non-college-educated seniors is just $80,221.





Surprisingly, when it comes to retirement income, an equal percentage of respondents said they're relying on a 401k as pension-related payouts. 





For many, retirement is the ultimate reward after a lifetime of work. But if the baby boomers who are just reaching retirement age are struggling, just imagine what these numbers might look like when the millennial generation reaches retirement age.




Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 21:45


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Social Issues
Labor

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"There's Not Much Left": Tesla Burns To The Ground In Germany For "No Apparent Reason"

zerohedge News theres much left tesla burns ground germany apparent reason All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

A Tesla in Germany has gone up in flames and burned to the ground "for no apparent reason" according to a translation of a Stern Newsmagazine article published on Tuesday. 



The Tesla was reportedly in the residential area of Ratingen-Breitscheid when it caught fire, leaving "not much more than a pile of ash" behind.



Police reports said the car "burned out completely" in a parking lot. 



The photos of the car, post-fire, are stunning. 





A local resident reporte

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dly heard a large "bang" during the night, the article says. It continues:




"When he ran into the street to check, he found that a Tesla was burning there, and the man immediately alerted the fire department, which in turn informed the police about the fire."




Emergency services reportedly found a "completely flaming car" when they arrived on the scene and the fire department was able to extinguish the fire eventually. The fire was so big that a BMW located four meters away was damaged from the heat. 



There were no indications of the cause of the fire at the time and investigations are ongoing.

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Did Steve Liesman Just Expose The 'Existential' Reason For A Fed Cut This Week?

zerohedge News steve liesman just expose existential reason this week All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Stocks are at record highs.





Unemployment is near record lows.





Inflation is only marginally below mandated levels.





And macro data has been surprising to the upside recently.





So, why the f**k are markets (and Fed speakers) so adamant that a 25bps (or 50) cut is required (or else)?





Is all of the above a lie and The Fed sees liquidity issues? Maybe, but in a somewhat stunning moment of

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clarity for the business channel, CNBC's Steve Liesman just ever-so-quietly dropped a hint as to the real reason why The Fed is so keen to cut-cut-cut...





In a brief 45 seconds, Liesman drops the "existential" threat argument for why Powell will do whatever it takes to stay in Trump's good graces...




"If The Fed gets this wrong, I think that they think if they make a mistake here, The Fed could be gone..."




Liesman expands on his ominous view:




"Think about what happens when a person gets up at a rally and starts railing against The Federal Reserve, and starts to create what could lead to Congressional pressure on The Fed, then you could imagine that their could be support for a different system."



"I think they think there's a lot of political downside risk to getting this wrong."






With Democratic Party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard urging a new 'Audit The Fed' Bill, we wonder if Ron Paul will live to see the day when The Fed is ended!





One wonders if that is one of the drivers of gold's recent run?



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The Real Reason The Propagandists Have Been Promoting Russia Hysteria

zerohedge News real reason propagandists have been promoting russia hysteria All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,



Former MSNBC host Krystal Ball slammed her ex-employer’s relentless promotion of the Russiagate conspiracy theory following the embarrassing spectacle of Robert Mueller’s hearing before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday.





“After watching seven hours of a spectacle that felt much more cruel than enlightening, I cannot avoid pondering a question which honestly gives me no joy to ponder: just how much damage has MSNBC in particular done to the left?”

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strong> The Hill’s Rising star began, before excoriating her former employer’s “fevered speculations” about an “Infowars conspiracy theory” and the way it hosted people like Jonathan “maybe Trump has been a Russian asset since the 1980s” Chait and “conspiracy gadfly Louise Mensch” in search of ratings bumps.



“This whole setup has done more damage to the Democrats’ chances of winning back the White House than anything that Trump could ever have dreamed up,” Ball argued.




Think about all the time and the journalistic resources that could have been dedicated to stories that, I don’t know, that a broad swath of people might actually care about?



Healthcare, wages, the teachers’ movement, whether we’re going to war with Iran? I’m just spitballing here.



I actually heard some pundit on Chris Hayes last night opine that independent women in middle America were going to be swayed by what Mueller said yesterday. Are you kidding me?



This is almost as bonkers and lacking in factual basis as that time Mimi Rocah said that Bernie Sanders is not pro-women because that was what her feelings told her. Rocah, by the way, a political prosecutor with no political background, is only opining at MSNBC because of her role in leading viewers to believe that any day now SDNY is going to bring down Trump and his entire family.”






Ball argued that the fact that MSNBC is doing so much damage to the Democratic Party in the name of ratings proves that MSNBC isn’t “on Team D in the same way that Fox News is on Team R”, saying they’re really just in it for the money. But this is where Ball gets it wrong. It is of course true that ratings are a factor, and that conspiracy theories can be used to sell advertising space, but MSNBC would have had a much easier time marketing conspiracy theories about Trump’s loyalties to Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which would have had vastly more factual evidence to back them up. The only difference is that the US-centralized empire doesn’t have agendas that it wants to advance against those two countries.



Ball is correct that MSNBC doesn’t serve the Democratic party, but she’s incorrect that it serves only money. MSNBC, which is now arguably a more aggressive war propaganda network than Fox News, serves first and foremost the US national security state. And so do all the other western mainstream news networks.



Consider the way the Syrian province of Idlib is being reported on right now, to pick one of many possible examples. Al-Qaeda-controlled Idlib is the final stronghold of the extremist militant groups that the US and its allies flooded Syria with in a premeditated campaign to effect regime change, and Syria and its allies are fighting to recapture the region. They are using methods that are identical to those commonly used by the US and its allies, yet the bombing campaigns of the US-centralized empire receive virtually no critical coverage while western mainstream outlets like CNNand the BBC are churning out brazenly propagandistic pieces about the evils of the Assad coalition’s airstrikes.




“Civilians are dying in Idlib, just as they died in their thousands in recent US UK air strikes in eg Raqqa and Mosul,” political analyst Charles Shoebridge observed on Twitter today.



“The difference is that when it’s (often unverified) claims that Russia or Syria are doing the killing, US UK media make it front page news.”





This marked discrepancy is due to the fact that western mass media outlets serve not a political party, nor even money, but the power structures of the western empire. This is the real reason why Russia hysteria has been mainlined into mainstream consciousness day in and day out for three years. Not for ratings, not to hurt Trump, not to help the Democrats, but because Russia is viewed as a disobedient geopolitical adversary by the US-centralized power alliance. That’s all it’s ever been.



There are many gaping plot holes in the Russiagate narrative that outlets like MSNBC have been bashing everyone over the head with, but the most obvious and easily provable of them is the indisputable fact that Donald Trump has escalated tensions against Russia more than any US president in decades. You never hear anyone talk about this self-evident fact in all the endless yammering about Russia, though, because it doesn’t advance the agendas of either of America’s two mainstream parties, and it doesn’t advance the interests of US imperialism. Democrats don’t like acknowledging the fact that Trump has been consistently and aggressively working directly against the interests of Moscow, and Trump supporters don’t like acknowledging that their president is just as much of a neocon-coddling globalist as those they claim to oppose, so the war machine has gone conveniently unchallenged in manufacturing new cold war escalations against a nation they’ve had marked for destruction since the fall of the Soviet Union.



In a very interesting new Grayzone interview packed full of ideas that you’ll never hear voiced on western mass media, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spoke openly about the various ways that Russia, China, and other nations who’ve resisted absorption into the blob of the US power alliance have been working toward the creation of a multipolar world. Ryabkov said other nations have been watching the way the dominance of the US dollar has been used to economically terrorize noncompliant nations into subservience by way of sanctions and other manipulations, with Washington expecting that the dollar and the US financial system will remain “the cardiovascular system of the whole organism.”




“That will not be the case,” Ryabkov said. “People will bypass, in literal terms. And people will find ways how to defend themselves, how to protect themselves, how to guarantee themselves against any emergencies if someone comes up at the White House or whatever, at the Treasury, at the State, and says ‘Hey guys, now we should stop what is going on in Country X, and let’s squeeze them out.’ And this country sits on the dollar. So they will be done the moment those ideas will be pronounced. So China, Russia and others, we create alternatives that we will most probably continue using not just national currencies, but baskets of currencies, currencies of third countries, other modern barter schemes.”



“We will use ways that will diminish the role of dollar and US banking system with all these risks of assets and transactions being arrested, being stopped,” Ryabkov concluded.




That, right there, is the real reason you’re being sold Russia hysteria today.





And it isn’t just on the matter of financial systems in which the unabsorbed powers are uniting against the imperial blob. Russia and China just carried out their first joint air patrol on Tuesday, drawing a hostile response from imperial vassals Japan and South Korea.




“Russian and Chinese bombers on ‘first’ joint patrol in the Asia-Pacific region. The China-Russia alliance has become a reality and will last for long time,” reads a post by one Russian Twitter commentator in response to the news.




The emergence of this alliance, which the Chinese government has warned Washington is ‘not vulnerable to interference’, has been something the west has feared for a long time. A Pentagon white paper published this past May titled “Russian Strategic Intentions” mentions the word “China” 108 times. Some noteworthy excerpts:




  • “The world system, and American influence in it, would be completely upended if Moscow and Beijing aligned more closely.”




  • “The allies’ goal should be deterrence. At the same time, the US should bilaterally engage Russia to peel them away from China’s orbit.”




  • “He also encourages the development of the US’s ‘capability to effectively foster distrust and unease between the Russia Federation and China.’”




  • “Along with Beijing, Moscow seeks a multipolar world in which US hegemony comes to an end. As Alexander Lukin recently pointed out, the ‘common ideal of a multipolar world [has] played a significant role in the rapprochement between Russia and China.’”




  • “Russia and China were explicitly mentioned in the 2018 National Defense Strategy as the great powers with which the US is in competition. Both Russia and China have come a long way since the 1990s, and the ‘friendship’ that emerged in the immediate post-Tiananmen period and continued to grow over the years now today appears to be one of the strongest bilateral alliances on the planet.”




  • “Together, Russia’s tentacles on its former Soviet neighbors and Moscow’s strategic alliance with Beijing in pursuit of a multipolar world (in which the US is no longer the global hegemon) form the two main pillars upon which Putin’s grand strategy rests. All other aspects of its foreign policy behavior can be traced back to this dual-pronged grand strategy.”



I think you get the picture. From the Pentagon’s point of view, US hegemony good, Russia-China alliance very, very bad. Analysts like the white paper’s authors, and even The New York Times editorial board, have urged the drivers of US foreign policy to attempt to lure Moscow away from Beijing, the latter rightly perceived as the greater long-term threat to US dominance due to China’s surging economic power. But diplomacy has clearly been ruled out toward this end, with only a steadily escalating campaign to shove Russia off the world stage now deemed acceptable.




This is all happening because after the USSR fell and America emerged as the undisputed ruler of a unipolar world, it was determined with the help of influential neoconservative think tankers that the US must maintain this unipolar paradigm at all costs. As soon as that view became the establishment orthodoxy, any threat to US hegemony was now interpreted as a threat to national security. An “attack” on America was no longer limited to physical attacks on US soil, or even on US allies and assets: any attempt to escape unipolarity is now treated as a direct attack on the empire.



This is why we’ve seen nations like Iraq, Libya and Syria spoken about by the propagandists as “enemies” as though they pose some kind of direct threat to the American people. There was never any actual threat to the physical United States, but those nations were not complying with the dictates of US hegemony, and that noncompliance was treated as a direct attack.



This “if you’re not obeying us you’re attacking us” mentality is ridiculous on its face and no right-thinking citizen would ever consent to it, which is why the consent manufacturers need to promote imaginary nonsense like weapons of mass destruction, a Russian “attack” on American democracy, and a conspiracy theory about the Kremlin infiltrating the highest levels of the US government. It’s got nothing to do with actual fears of those nations posing any threat to actual Americans. It’s about continuing to rule the world.



*  *  *



The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.



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